Monday, August 19, 2013

That wasn't so bad now

The author must have just been experiencing some growing pains. A sappy, over-the-top mushy introduction led to an angsty (haven't you moved past this after high school? or have the current generations matured that slowly?) headache. Maybe that just happens with sophomore novels. (I could easily have cut the second and third Twilight book... heck even the first half of book four.) 

Vindicated by Keary Taylor

After a rickety second installment, Keary Taylor came back to wrap up her series concisely. Jessica was much less whiny and the heart-felt touchy-feelies were back in full swing. Every body gets their happy ending; just as it should be with a sappy New Adult love story.

Other than getting back on the correct path, there isn't much to say about this final installment that wouldn't be a huge spoiler alert. (And who wants not only the ending, but the overall, ultimate ending, ruined for them?) So.... no major spoilers but a few minor ones in order to have something to review.

My frustrations from the second novel hold strong, though. "Adam" (who I will not reveal his true identity to protect his superhuman angel ways... actually it would just be an unfun spoiler) serves no role in the story. He is Scottish filler fluff and I'm hurt on his behalf at the lack of character development. Caroline ends up as some form of second thought that should probably make a reappearance. 

Cole yet again saves the plot and my mood from eviscerating this review. A second, throw in review: I also read Afterlife, the (too brief) short story of Cole's point of view. As a short, it is complete. But.... I really feel this could have made a full novel. One that could have competed with this whole series.

I'm just glad that the end of the day was beautiful and loving. I won't recommend these books as a purchase and am glad that the cost was not higher. Rent them from a library or borrow them from your sappy friend because they will fill your rainy weekend.

Here is to some more Galleys!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Will Napoleon ever lose?

Just kidding on the next Fall of Angels book. I am just too excited to finally be able to get this review out there. Everyone needs to know about this amazing series and I will truly be sad to see the end of Will Laurence and crew. I know that creativity has its limits and authors want to tell the stories of other characters that are building in their mind, but I have deeply fallen into the world of Temeraire.

Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik

I felt the series had been struggling slightly in its middle books. Like life they were beautiful, creative infants that progressed to gangly, awkward teens. Now that we are approaching the close of the series we have the majestic wisdom of an accomplished author. The last novel really had fallen off the pace for me. I was still happy to read it so I would not lose the overall arc of the story, but I was even happier when Blood of Tyrants succeeded so magnificently. Once again, I couldn't put the book down. We entered yet another new area of the globe in Napoleon's war. It truly makes the vastness of his campaign felt more than any history lesson I have ever had on the subject. 
The writing was fluid and cohesive this time. We were taken through the landscape and met a whole new set of characters. No rushing pell mell through the story line. With every Temeraire saga we are in a new place with new faces, yet it all feels like a comfy old slipper. You just know the people and have bonded with their characters and progression. I respect that the people and places aren't getting worn out. There is an excellent blend with the new and the known, while at the same time, feeling seamless to be in amongst so much new story. The settings are fresh and independent but are necessary for the overall picture of Captain Will Laurence's life. I have not read many series that can boast the same skill.
I truly appreciated the opening twist to the story. I really felt the confusion of our protagonist stumbling to regain the story within myself. I have become very tied to Novik's creations. Her writing is lovely and reminiscent of Victorian era without needing a translator. I feel like there really could have been dragons fighting with the Navy. A beautiful cliffhanger ending that has certainly left me greatly anticipating the final novel.
I look forward to a lovely boxed set when the series is complete. It will be well worth the price tag they put on it if we get some maps and package it in a sea chest (hint, hint... as if the publishers read this). Excellent scores for the penultimate novel and high recommendations for everyone picking up the entire series if they have yet to experience this beauty.

Here is to a new series while I (try to) patiently wait for the next Temeraire!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Harassed by an angel

I got caught up in reading so many excellent books last week I forgot to publish on here... eek! Also I was organizing my "library" which turned into a daunting task as I categorized, scanned, and shelved each book. I have an awful lot of books.

Forsaken: Fall of Angels by Keary Taylor

This sequel left me a little wanting. While I was not overly impressed with the writing of the first book, I chalked it up to an amateur that will grow and develop. Then, I read Forsaken, and now I am left wondering how Vindicated will turn out with quite a bit of worry since I already shelled out $10. There are definite growing pains going on here. The pains were not so gnawing that the story was rendered unreadable, more like stumbling blocks in pace, though.

Jessica (who happens to have the same name as a childhood friend and unwittingly makes certain connections in my mind the author cannot help) complains an awful lot. I do not appreciate whiny protagonists. In Branded, she appeared to be stronger than her problems. She took a life of hardship and made something on her own. Now in Forsaken, we are listening to her non-stop complaints about her relationship. Groan (face-palm)!
Then the story takes a huge turn. Adam is revealed and his story doesn't quite blend in with the main thread, but I appreciate the attempt. His sudden exit only seems to fit with his sudden entrance. I am crossing my fingers he will suddenly mean something in Vindicated and this was a moment of way too obvious foreshadowing. I mean, who doesn't love a little Scotish accent? 

Caroline suddenly is discovered where she should have been left. We already had enough angst for Alex and Jessica. Cole reenters the picture. What is up with the sudden air raid of characters? Don't get me too wrong here; I love Cole. He makes an excellent villain, and I appreciate his part of the plot. It seems like the best writing comes from his storyline. Maybe the love story should have just been left at the mercy of the editor's red pen?
A jumbled end attempts to line up the plot for the finale of the series. I will continue reading because now I am definitely invested in knowing where this lovehatetragedy (Papa Roach seemed to be an appropriate record title for this triology to make a soundtrack in my mind) is going. I like unrealistic; I like romance; I like to feel like I have a heart; but they just didn't blend together well in this novel. Maybe some serious violence will ensue and balance the world of Fall of Angels.
Here is to being Vindicated!

Go out and pre-order today!

The full review will have to wait for the fall, but I will put in an excellent plug for a pre-order to an excellent series. Check out the works of Emma Jane Holloway as she reinvigorates a classic through the niece of Sherlock Holmes.

A fascinating look at the steampunk genre from the Victorian Literature classics that inspired it. There is clockwork and steam of course, but in yet another twist Miss Holloway has added magic and pirates as well. The Baskerville Affair promises to be an intriguing blend of inspiration.

Get enticed here: