Friday, December 21, 2012

Minis: 12 - 21 - 12

Happy Apocalypse!

Hmmm... I should have read something apocalyptic today to celebrate. :D

It has been a crazy month! I've been wanting to blog, but my goal with this blog is that I should never do it if it feels like a chore and I'm afraid I've been so busy I just didn't want to add it to my to-do list. Until today! I've just finished getting my music students all ready for their recital and I had a sudden afternoon open. It's glorious. Hot chocolate. Blogging. Making my lists of favorite books of the year and books I'm most looking forward to (those posts coming soon!).

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season! For now, here's a quick batch of minis. I'll be back soon with my lists!

My Rating: *****

I haven't given one of those out in a while! I loved Days of Blood and Starlight. Laini Taylor's writing is incredible, so gorgeous, so lush, so heart-wrenching. This story is much more violent and heartbreaking than the first book (Daughter of Smoke and Bone), but every bit as captivating. I love Karou. And Akiva. And Karou's human friends Zuzana and Mik! I feel like gushing, but I'm sure I couldn't do that without spoiling anything from the first book. Just know that I recommend this story wholeheartedly.
 My Rating: ****

Another sequel (the first book is Blood Red Road). First off, I really don't like this cover. And they changed the cover of the first book too! I hate it when they do that. Ok, so I loved Blood Red Road, completely raved about it last year. This one was a little disappointing. The story was just as intense and fast-paced, but I didn't feel as emotionally involved in Saba. She kept making stupid decisions (WHY couldn't she just trust Jack??????) and I was beyond irritated at the introduction of a love triangle. Also, some weird magical elements got introduced into the story that didn't seem to fit the same gritty, post-apocalyptic world of the first book. Definitely some beefs, but overall this was still a good read.

From Goodreads:
Within the walls of Baalboden, beneath the shadow of the city's brutal leader, Rachel Adams has a secret. While other girls sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father's apprentice, Logan--the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. But treason against the Commander carries a heavy price, and what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

At nineteen, Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city's top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor's impulsive daughter. Logan is determined to protect her, but when his escape plan goes wrong and Rachel pays the price, he realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

My Rating: ****
First off, don't even read the blurb. It is very misleading. If you've just read it, forget it. :D It makes you think that Rachel and Logan escape the city and battle through the wasteland together, right? Doesn't happen. There were about 50 pages of the book left before they'd each finally escaped (separately) finally met up again. This book just wasn't what I wanted it to be. I wanted the romance to be less gushy and have more of a slow build-up. I wanted Rachel to be a little more complex than she was (she was so I-am-warrior-hear-me-roar it was very hard to get to know her and like her). Logan was awesome and I loved his nerdy, inventor side. BUT, I just didn't get how the world could have so much technology but still feel so medieval. No transportation, no modern conveniences, nothing beyond rudimentary weapons, but tracking devices and complicated explosives? Sure!

But, I loved the setting. I'm such a fan of the fantasy/dystopia mix. The story had me hooked from the beginning and pssst... there are dragons!!! I will definitely be reading the sequel, but I just wish this book had been what I wanted it to be.

From Goodreads:
Enter a tangled world of secrets and intrigue where a girl is in charge of other’s destinies, but not her own.

Sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has always been special. When her parents discover her gift—the ability to weave the very fabric of reality—they train her to hide it. For good reason, they don’t want her to become a Spinster — one of the elite, beautiful, and deadly women who determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die.

Thrust into the opulent Western Coventry, Adelice will be tried, tested and tempted as she navigates the deadly politics at play behind its walls. Now caught in a web of lies and forbidden romance, she must unravel the sinister truth behind her own unspeakable power. Her world is hanging by a thread, and Adelice, alone, can decide to save it — or destroy it.

My Rating: ****

Crewel got me out of a reading funk, where I just didn't want to sit down and read because I was so busy doing other things. Sure, I loved Days of Blood and Starlight, but it took me a long time to read because it's the kind of book that needs to be digested slowly. I read Crewel in a day.

Crewel is fascinating and I flew through it. I loved the idea of being able to manipulate time and matter like threads on a loom! It's so Norse, so mythological. But the story itself is fast-paced and dystopian, very modern and cool. The world-building here is top-notch. Brava to Gennifer Albin!!! Such a complex mix of sci-fi, mythology, and fantasy! But it's well fleshed-out and the confusing things are explained at a very good pace. Enough to keep me from feeling constantly lost, but without info dumping.

And the characters were great. Adelice is geniunely likable and not stupid. I hate it when characters in dystopians are clueless about how screwed up their worlds are. Adelice is clever and sneaky and snarky. She's also a fighter. The romance was good (despite the love triangle) and there were some sweet moments.

But be prepared. Crewel is cruel (haha - except now I'm wondering if that's where the title actually came from). People die. Families are ripped apart. Children face peril. There's no mercy and the story can be relentlessly brutal.

Final word? If you like dystopians but are sick of reading the same plot line over and over, try Crewel. It is refreshingly original and surprisingly unpredictable. And the ending. I just... WOAH... Sign me up for book 2!

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