Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Review: Beautiful Creatures

Beautiful Creatures
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I started reading Beautiful Creatures, I didn't quite know what to expect. It's been a while since I read from a male p.o.v. and at first I found it kind of strange - Ethan's entire life before meeting Lena, in fact, felt really alienating to me.

As soon as Lena appeared, though, it seemed like everything just lighted up. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery (who is she? what is she?) which was perfectly paced, and I found Lena's struggles to be absorbing and real.

The only problem I had was kind of with the ending. I don't know, for me it didn't really seem like that hard a choice, and that's all I'll say about that for fear of spoilering everything.

All in all, a highly recommended book of haunting love, heartache and magic.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Review: Demon Girl (Rae Wilder #1)

Title: Demon Girl
Author: Penelope Fletcher
Series: Rae Wilder #1
Genre: YA Paranormal Dystopian
Age restriction? 10+?
Published: 7 October 2010
Recommended for: I wouldn't recommend it.
Buy: Demon Girl @ Amazon (Free Book)
What seemed like an interesting idea was ruined by lack of editing. Too bad, really.

DESCRIPTION (via Goodreads): Rae Wilder has problems. Supernatural creatures swarm the earth, and humanity is on the brink of extinction. Stalked by a handsome fairy who claims she is like him, demonkind, Rae thinks maybe it was a mistake breaking the rules by going over the Wall into demon territory. Plunged into a world of dark magics, fierce creatures, and ritual sacrifice, she is charged with a guarding a magical amulet. The changes to her mind and body are startling, but rather than accept her purpose she struggles against who she is destined to be. Throw in a big lust for a vampire who can't keep his hands off her, and life starts to get complicated. Rae is forced to make the ultimate choice: to live and die human, or embrace her birth-right and wield magics that could turn her into something wicked, a force of nature nothing can control.

REVIEW: I thought this sounded like a fun and original story and couldn't wait to read it. Sadly, I simply couldn't get through the egregious grammatical errors, homonym confusion, and general lack of editing.

This could be a great book, but I simply could not finish it. I have great respect for Indie authors, but this is one book that really needed a good editor. Besides the language issues, the plot needed some serious tightening up and the pacing - oh lawd the pacing!

It read like an unedited NaNoWriMo attempt, sadly. Most disappointing indeed.

RECOMMENDED FOR: I couldn't finish it.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Review: Delirium

 Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #1
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Age restriction? None
Published: 1 February 2011
Recommended for:
Buy: Delirium: The Special Edition @ Amazon

Great YA Dystopian with a few minor flaws. A stellar idea executed very well overall.

Lena Holoway is counting the days until she can have her operation and be free of the curse of love forever. Unlike many of her peers, she doesn't resent the government's interference in her life - she welcomes it, counts the days until it can happen. Because love is dangerous. Love hurts. And love kills. Lena knows this first-hand - that's the reason she's living with her aunt and her two cousins.

Desperate to escape the "curse" her family must bear, the increased scrutiny, the whispers of them being sympathizers, eager to just be normal and happy and free, Lena doesn't even consider that things could be, (should be?), different. Until the day of her evaluations to determine her future partner and life course, when the Sympathizers stage a protest. When she meets him, and her entire life and everything she thought she knew gets turned upside down.

Well-written and captivating, Lauren Oliver's Delirium is a gentle look at identity, feelings and duty as well as being a decent love story and a terrifying glimpse into what might be.

One of the things I particularly enjoyed about Delirium was how every symptom, every justification given for the outlawing of love is made to make absolute sense. I mean, it's true: love is dangerous. Love has caused people to kill themselves and others. Love has driven people insane, it's shattered nations and leveled empires. It's irrational, unexplainable and uncontrollable. And yes, it freaking hurts! It hurts a lot, sometimes.

The only major problems I had with Delirium was that the romance between Alex and Lena seemed a little bit too "pat" and easy and the Authorities of this Dystopian world seem slightly incompetent and useless. I mean, if you're going to have a totalitarian government that wants to control people up to and including what they feel, you'd need to be stricter and it wouldn't be so easy to sneak out after curfew and so on.

Still, all in all this was an excellent and satisfying read with a memorable (albeit cliffhanger!) ending.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Lovers of YA and anyone with any interest in dystopian fiction.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Review: Shifting


Author: Bethany Wiggins
Series: This is a standalone book, I think.
Genre: YA, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Age restriction? None.
Published: 27 September 2011

Buy: Shifting @ Amazon
Breathes new life into a familiar theme with an incredible main character and fast-paced, action-packed story.

Maggie Mae's life has been everything but a fairy tale. After the death of her parents and family when she was only five, she has spent close to thirteen years in the foster care system, drifting from home to home, never belonging but trying her best. It was only in the last two years that she's had trouble with the law, trouble which led to her latest foster family begging her social worker to find her yet another home... but someone follows her. Someone who wants her dead.

With so little time to go before she turns eighteen and graduate, Maggie Mae hopes that this foster home will be her last and that she will just be able to hold out until graduation to enter an unsure future. When she meets Bridger, she warns herself not to get attached, that everyone she gets attached to comes to harm, besides, Bridger is not even allowed to date local girls, never mind an orphan scarred from years in the system... but her heart has plans of its own. How can she keep her secret from Bridger, elude the hunters that are intent on killing her and survive for long enough to even have a future?

I enjoyed Shifter a great deal. It's an exquisitely crafted book and Maggie Mae is one of the most sympathetic-without-being-pathetic characters out there. Her life is hard but she's not letting it get her down for one second. The plot is tight and action-packed with heart-stopping pacing and some genuinely surprising twists and turns, and the romance! Beautifully executed, the romance is the heart of the story, knitting it all together into one brightly coloured and extraordinary read.

I had some issues with the resolution of the plot - it felt slightly deus ex machina to me - but other than that, this is a wonderful and satisfying book that will stick with you long after you've read the last page.

RECOMMENDED FOR: Fans of Urban Fantasy, Young Adult or Paranormal Romance.