Thursday, July 30, 2015

Review: I Am the Traitor

I Am the Traitor I Am the Traitor by Allen Zadoff
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've been waiting for a while to finish this trilogy off, and like I expected, it does so in great style. It's short, but action-packed all the way just like its predecessors. Twists, turns, and increasingly insane revelations abound, particularly around the page-250 mark. Nobody is what they seem, except maybe Howard, Boy Nobody's Muggle Best Friend (for lack of a better word to describe this tech-savvy Sam Goode-type.)

The only real problem I have is a very minor one - the open ending. I really do hope that there's a Next Generation spinoff of some kind in the works.

But until then, ave atque vale, Boy Nobody!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Review: Code of Conduct

Code of Conduct Code of Conduct by Brad Thor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The idea of an ebola threat is, literally, yesterday's news by now. Was it really just last year that we were all worried that disease was gonna spread throughout the country and kill us all? But trust Brad Thor to come up with a way to make it hit home once again, in a way that I'm pretty reasonably sure could never have happened for real. Seriously, Mr. Thor's got a talent for subjecting the US to serious catastrophes that should really bring all semblance of peaceful society to a permanent end, and yet it doesn't. Because this country has the uncanny ability to get back on its feet no matter what, and the action heroes who will do anything to defend it. Scot Harvath deserves a place in the pantheon along with Jack Bauer, Jethro Gibbs, G Callen (and incidentally, am I the only one who pictures Chris O'Donnell as Harvath?), and more.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Review: Vicious

Vicious Vicious by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I believe I once saw Schwab tweet that, for the two main characters in this book, we weren't supposed to root for one over the other. And yet, I found myself doing exactly that - rooting for Victor, who spent much of this book being the universe's cosmic bitch while his former friend Eli became a Villain With Good Publicity whose personality and methods were a little too Sam-Jackson-in-Jumper meets Ellen Faustino for my taste. Not to mention, Eli's extraordinary (EO, not to be confused with the captain once played by Michael Jackson) superpower of invulnerability was a more boring one than Victor's Rogue/Juliette Ferrars-style ability. Or Sydney's amazing and freakish power to raise the dead.

All this OMG-insanity makes for a magnificent, and magnificently insane, story. I'm not sure why my library doesn't carry this one - every library and bookstore should, seriously.

I really hope there's a sequel, though. Because the ending to this book just demands one.

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

Review: Dexter Is Dead

Dexter Is Dead Dexter Is Dead by Jeff Lindsay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Forget Season 8, which deserves a lot of the negativity it gets. This here, this way-too-short final novel in Mr. Lindsay's series, is the true swan song of Dexter Morgan. It's short, and yet it really has no idea how to stop the action from keeping on coming. From the beginning, picking up from the cliffhanger Book 7 left us with three years ago (has it really been that long? The show was still running at that time!), all the way to the Whiskey-Tango-Foxtrot ending, Dexter's last ride never ceased to amaze or entertain.

And thus, like many other great series, I hereby bid Dexter's adventures ave atque vale.

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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Review: Finders Keepers

Finders Keepers (Bill Hodges Trilogy, #2)Finders Keepers by Stephen King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A noticeable improvement over its predecessor, because it's largely a standalone book that tells its own, more personal story, rather than the all-over-the-place madness of Mr. Mercedes. However, it's not entirely standalone - if not for the events of Mr. Mercedes, this book probably wouldn't happen as it does. And it seems that, with the epilogue, we're setting up a third book that'll be more dependent on Book 1 than on Book 2, in a way similar to The Dark Knight Saga.

And as for the story in this book - even the dust jacket immediately compares it to Misery, but this one does a much better job. I couldn't stand Misery at all - I barely made it a hundred pages into that one. But this story was much better able to keep me interested in the tale of the crazed fan, especially since he kills his favorite author off right in the prologue, rather than spend an entire book torturing him like in Misery.

Pete was a favorite character of mine too, mostly because of the fact that, like me, he intends to major in English and also has an interest in libraries. I'm also the opposite of Pete, though, in that I'm taking the major to bolster my career as a writer, whereas Pete doesn't think he could be a writer himself.

I hope the third book manages to ride the high of this one - especially since Mr. King is setting up a possible paranormal spin, based on the epilogue I just finished reading. :)

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1)A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I took an unusually long time to read this new dark and delightful tale from Sarah J. Maas, and good thing I did too. A Court of Thorns and Roses really depends on being savored and ruminated on in your brain for a while, like most dark things (coffee, chocolate, bloodthirsty gothic fantasy.)

One thing I liked about the faerie world presented in this story was its division into multiple courts, some of them split by season like in Snow Like Ashes. In this case, though, the Spring Court isn't the bad guys, but the good guys...after a fashion, anyway. After all, Tamlin is this story's equivalent of the Beast, with Feyre as the Beauty. Speaking of Feyre, I loved the way she was a more Katniss-like Beauty (the whole reason why she gets captured by the faeries to begin with is because she goes into the woods to hunt for her family and shoots a wolf, unaware that the wolf is really a faerie), and how she has a great passion for painting, not unlike Belle's love of reading. I imagine her paintings are as beautiful as Rapunzel's, too. :)

As for Tamlin, naturally, he was the guy I wished would just get nice already. But character development, you wouldn't be the same if he didn't start out getting this reaction from me:

And eventually getting this:

Oh, but Rhysand. Dear God, Rhysand. I admit, I liked him at first, 'cause he was Night Court (darkness incarnate can't be too bad, right?) and he reminded me a lot of the cat from Coraline for some reason too.

Eventually, though, once his true colors were revealed, he became a little more like this:

And he wasn't even the true Big Bad, either. Ugh, the darkness around him is so thick, it tastes like tar. My reaction when he ended up being basically in the Big Bad's pocket:

But that still pales in comparison to my reaction to the twist at the very end of the book, which will go unspoiled here. Trust me, though, if you're anything like me, it'll leave you whispering something like this:

So, don't just take my word for it - go ahead and read the book. :) And when you're done, wonder, as I am, what the hell the sequel will have in store, 'cause if it was this dark in Book One... *shudders*

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Monday, July 13, 2015

Review: Torment

Torment (Fallen, #2)Torment by Lauren Kate
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Overall, this book actually isn't much different from its predecessor. In many ways, it's a rehash of Book 1, right down to Luce finding herself being moved to a new boarding school in a different part of the country (I was happy to see it being Northern California, though), meeting some quirky new classmates, developing feelings for a handsome new boy, and ultimately a wild and crazy finale that manages to validate the slow-moving four hundred or so pages that precede it.

The major difference for this one, though, is that we're meant to already be fully aware of the presence of various classes of angels (fallen, Outcast, Nephilim) and demons without the online blurb spoiling the hell out of it. So this time, Luce is put in a school full of Nephilim (not to be confused with Cassie Clare's deadly, awesome Shadowhunters), and with Daniel largely out of the picture, she's able to discover things she doesn't know about him. And, even better, the new boy she develops feelings for has more of a personality - and is less perfect, because he's got only the barest hint of angel blood. (Yeah, I'm shipping Miles and Luce now. Shoot me.) And the best part for me is the way this new school of Luce's works. Shoreline is similar to Balthazar from my own Red Rain books in a number of ways - most notably the NorCal setting, the relatively down-to-earth teenage angels (or partial angels, anyway) with very human troubles, and the less restrictive environment compared to your typical boarding school.

So, while this book doesn't bring much to the table, it brings enough to keep me interested. Next up - Passion. :)

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Review: Burn

Burn (Scan, #2)Burn by Sarah Fine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So, once again, a great new YA book gets its conclusion the following year. Somehow, it feels like duologies are taking over where trilogies used to be the norm. But that doesn't stop this here adventure from being any less crazy, though. Especially since it provides the much-needed answers that Scan didn't provide - namely, what are the people who flash orange under the scanner?

Oh, and the ending...hoo boy. Not only does it provide a great significance to this book's title (they better make this into a movie yesterday just for that one visual alone), but it also kills off a character you'll no doubt come to love. The fact that that character shares a first name with another fan favorite from another popular series doesn't help.

Now, for the second time in as many days, I'll be saying this to a series I enjoyed immensely from the beginning: ave atque vale, Scan and Burn! :D

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Monday, July 6, 2015

Review: Born of Shadow

Born of ShadowBorn of Shadow by Sarah Benson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

From the weird and wonderful world of Wattpad comes a weird and wonderful fantasy adventure set in Egypt. No, it's not The Akhenaten Adventure, or another book by Uncle Rick, but it's definitely in the same wheelhosue as those. The only real difference is that it's aimed at a YA audience as opposed to MG, but aside from being a tad bit more PG-13, it's a familiar, and yet different, addition to the genre. (I'm pretty sure this is, at the very least, one of the first YA books to channel James Rollins with its use of radioactive ancient artifacts...)

I've already started reading the sequel too, and it's proving even better already. :D

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review: Crimson Bound

Crimson BoundCrimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This latest addition to the annals of YA Fairytale Adaptations is a pretty strange one. It's based on Little Red Riding Hood, but pretty loosely, and includes even more Big Bad Wolves (a whole race of them, in fact) to contend with. It's set in a fantasy kingdom that's essentially France in all but name (if the characters' names are anything to go by.) It's got a well-done love triangle, the kind where you have trouble determining which of the guys the girl's gonna get with in the end.

However, at the same time, the story is pretty muddled and confusing. I had more than a bit of trouble telling characters apart sometimes, and the distinction between "forest-born," "bloodbound," etc. was lost on me for a good chunk of the time.

I did manage to fight through the confusion, though, and in the end, the story was fairly satisfying. If there's a sequel, I'll probably not try to be first in line for it, but I'll certainly check it out. :)

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Review: A Darker Shade Of Magic

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I admit, I went into this one sort-of expecting another YA adventure, simply based on my previous experience with Schwab (the Archived series.) This, of course, was not the case. What was the case, however, was a very uniquely crafted story world - or, more accurately, story worlds, because of the presence of no less than four different versions of historical, pre-Victorian London. Each one has different metaphysics, different rulers, different languages (Antari being especially interesting, because I'm still not sure what it's meant to be based on)...but the same danger in the form of an entity from Black London which basically spreads by infecting other people with its magic through any means necessary. And the only ones who can stop it are Kell, the young man who can travel between the multiple Londons, and Lila, the strong-willed street girl you can't help but love.

I believe there's already been a sequel announced - hope to see it soon! :)

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