Friday, June 29, 2012

Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dear Laini Taylor: what can I write that it is not covered in the +4,000 reviews your book already has? I can honestly say that I am very very glad I was introduced to this creative world you wrote about. Chimaeras and angels, Prague and goulash, art and words. Ohhh it's a wonderful wonderful world carefully constructed inside 417 pages. In many parts I felt I was reading a beautiful poem. From the beginning we know something beautiful yet simple is going to happen, specially after we are introduced with these words: Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.

This book tells the story of Karou, a blue haired seventeen year old girl who has been raised by Brimstone, a Chimaera who runs from his store an underground trade of wishes for teeth in the human world. He and two more chimaeras are the caregivers of Karou for as long as she can remember. She is living in Prague, while she is studying art and knows many languages and places, she is very proficient in martial arts and loves to visit with her friend Zuzanna a restaurant called Poison Kitchen, where they serve goulash on tables shaped as coffins. She has a secret life as the errand girl of Brimstone, but everything she knows (and craves to find out) is about to change...

The world and words builded around this story are amazing. I can only wish that the next installment comes fast!!!

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Review: Froi of the Exiles

Froi of the Exiles
Froi of the Exiles by Melina Marchetta

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Today was a day of fresh starts and finishing unfinished words. As such, Froi of the Exiles was calling my name from the bookshelf, after 2 months of idleness... And what a finale!!! These last chapters were full of threads that will be weaved in the Lumatere Chronicles' tapestry in such a divine crafty way... I cannot wait to see it as a whole.

Froi is sent to Charyn to fulfill a task which he has been preparing for after Lumatere's curse has ended. He discovers more about his life than he could have expected, making his bond with his queen and heart heavy burdens. We learn so much more of the lives of those who live in Skuldendore: their history, background and a bit more geography, which becomes a perfect compliment for Finnikin of the Rock.

Quintana of Charyn is a woman who, I must say, I'm a bit weary to have met... To understand her is an understatement. She does grow in to you, and then.... Oh dear Froi... Ok I am trying really hard not to spoil anything, as such the only think that I can say at this point is: if you don't know who Finnikin or Froi are, go right now and get ahold of these 2 books: make yourself a favour and introduce them to your life. You will not regret it. Life without Melina Marchetta's stories is very boring.

Melina, I am awed, moved and completely devoted to your written works; and very touched by your generosity. You are a master in writing and skilled weaver of stories. These characters are alive in my head, all thanks to you. I cherish them dearly now. I'm not even worrying a bit if I will enjoy the last book, I only worry right now if it will be soon enough for me... Patience is not one of my virtues ;)

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review: A Million Suns

A Million Suns
A Million Suns by Beth Revis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In the spacecraft Godspeed there are many secrets that will destroy carefully crafted assumptions of its inhabitants. Amy and Elder are going to try to understand and solve all that is left after book one: Orion's betrayal, Eldest secrets, Elder's final revelation to Amy of her cryogenic unfreezing and life after Phydus.

This book delivers, while prompting the reader to wonder, unravel and follow up on the choices Amy and Elder make. What will happen next....Specially after all that is discovered ... it was good, simple and merciless.

Do I seriously have to wait until 2013?? Why, oh, why...

For now I will leave you with David Bowie, whose Space Oddity song was playing in my brain all over a series of chapters halfway through:

Ground control to major Tom
Ground control to major Tom
Take your protein pills and put your helmet on
(Ten) Ground control (Nine) to major Tom (Eight)
(Seven, six) Commencing countdown (Five), engines on (Four)
(Three, two) Check ignition (One) and may gods (Blastoff) love be with you

This is ground control to major Tom, you've really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare

This is major Tom to ground control, I'm stepping through the door
And I'm floating in a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today
Here am I sitting in a tin can far above the world
Planet Earth is blue and there's nothing I can do

Though I'm past one hundred thousand miles, I'm feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much, she knows
Ground control to major Tom, your circuits dead, there's something wrong
Can you hear me, major Tom?
Can you hear me, major Tom?
Can you hear me, major Tom?
Can you...
Here am I sitting in my tin can far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue and there's nothing I can do

Here is the video

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Review: Fifty Shades of Gray

Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades, #1)Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In real life, I am shamefully a marketer's and social media's dream come true. Advertisements that are well presented find a direct line in my brain, as well as word of mouth and posts online. As such, after reading everywhere possible during my daily commute in the subway all these things that this book supposedly contains, and all the mixed reviews I was receiving from many sites and friends (including fun wonderful Facebook critiques, specially one from a cherished lady, Jess), I could not help myself and succumbed into reading the Fifty Shades...

It is one of those books that you can't stop reading, even though you are not enjoying... I made an initial comparison with Twilight when I was trying to describe this apprehensive feeling while reading to my lovely husband, pairing up Bella with Anastasia, the latter I described as being 10x more annoying than the vamp loving chick. This comparison was made without the prior knowledge that the book was written as Twilight fan fiction. But it grew horns, a twisted tail and without the vampire, this comparison lost all sense, and so did the book. I don't even know why I ended up reading it [and worse, as it stands I have just finished reading its sequel].

Anastasia is a very disappointing character. She has a lot of potential as a main strong female lead, but her qualities and wits end up being better described by others, rather than by her actions. She is completely mesmerized by Christian Grey, a man who, in my most humble opinion represents an obscure fantasy by an unhappy woman from another century. Rich, moody, violent, obsessive, possessive, over controlling, detached with reality and lacking any depth.... who wants to dream and get all worked up by a guy who is stalking your every move through your phone's GPS, after having only shared what, a max. 2 hours of your life with? tsk-tsk-tsk first sign there is something definitely wrong with Anastasia.... she does live in a fantasy world after all.

The sexual content (one of the reasons I read in my subway ads: 'It is no surprise women like sex'.... *face palm*) was perhaps one of the interesting explanations I can think of why this book is read. The story is very tasteless and obvious, but the way it shows the Bondage/Discipline/Submission lifestyle is enthralling and creative, it was richer than I expected and to my surprise it felt stoic at the same time.

The literary figures and actions were too repetitive. The eye rolling, lip biting and inner goddess were extra features that were included so many times, and in very similar contexts that made me want to break my vow of not harming books and re-edit this book with some corrector or a sharpie.... but I was reading it on my e-reader, so my book-vow is still unbroken...

However, after finishing, I have to admit: I was curious and really wanted to know what was going to happen, specially with the mild cliffhanger at the end! So... yes, I just finished the sequel after this guilty reading pleasure, and maybe, perhaps some day I will dare to read the third... who knows, maybe Christian will end up becoming a vampire and decides to drain Anastasia, or she is bitten by a zombie and then, this book will be fantastic.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Review: Grave Mercy

Grave Mercy
Grave Mercy by R.L. LaFevers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ismae: your life is very dangerous, yet so unique and very entertaining. Set in the XVth century, this tale of plotting, religious charms, political allegiances and turmoil brought a refreshing cast of characters to my life. I really truly enjoyed this book. I devoured eagerly it's 549 pages and I am craving more!!

Ismae is a daughter of Death. He is worshipped as a saint/god at the place she is taken to safety after a horrible arranged marriage. This is a convent, where she will be trained as an assassin, a handmaiden of Death. Her training and further assignments leads us to a fantastic story of trust, love and deception. It was well told and I will definately look forward to the next chapters of this series, specially after Ismae's tale left a nice soft spot in my heart.

I'm ready for the bloodshed! ready? photo tumblr_mraexyJBWv1rdqbfro1_500_zps126e0328.gif

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Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Review: Fire

Fire by Kristin Cashore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Dell is another land, set apart, yet a bit similar from the one were Graceling takes place. These are dangerous times, and Fire is a key character whose abilities as a Lady Monster are the unfolding forces around this story.
I enjoyed this book. It is very different from the YA novels that are out there right now. However, it wasn't as engaging as the first one and the actual story was a bit dull. I really don't care what happens to Fire; to tell you the truth I would do much as to preferred reading and learning more from Brigan's POV and of his life. I'm more inclined in this stance -even if a comparison is not necessary - to suggest more development on characters and less focus in Fire. I get it... She is sand and unhappy with her powers, she feels lonely and in constant awareness of her powers.... But it gets a bit frustrating to follow this story after reading 45% of it.

Love ... Let's say that if you ate reading this for its romance, please close it and try another novel.

Adventure... It tries to take you in different rides, but they seem to be obscured by constant reminders of Fire's monthly periods, and the not very clear role-story of monsters.

Political schemes ... It got tiring and the actual main critical point of the story ended up being short and non- well-describes.

I will definitely read Bitterblue, the 3rd book but to tell you the truth ? I don't expect it to he good.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Review: Battle Royale

Battle Royale
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 minutes have elapsed since I read the final page and closed the book. And I feel my head in full over-drive mode. What a ride!!! Battle Royale you delivered beautifully your gory-adventure full of despair, helplessness and survival. I really really enjoyed this book.

The premise [before The Hunger Games existed, this was crafted]: 42 students are forced to kill each other in a set environment called: The Program; and only one can survive.

I cheered for some, wished wrongfulness, had nightmares with one very sinister student whom made sure to keep a steady deadly route; and restrained myself in various occasions from yelling to the characters I was reading about, in order for them to stop some crazy trains of thought and get their mindset straight. It was amazing! And now I see why Hunger Games are easily compared with it. It is similar for its premise, but it delivers it's magic in such a different way.

My only critique is that some stories from these students felt incomplete. It feels that some things are left with many loose ends, such as the society in which is set, the aftermath, Shogo's story.... however, it could be that even though it's rich enough, I ended up craving for more, so it is not entirely negative.

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