Well, there you have it – my first 5 star read of 2017! Kicking myself in the shins for not reading it sooner. I didn’t jump around in ecstasy after I finished it, no. I simply closed the book and said “What an excellent story!”
Now I am waiting for the second book in this duology to come in the mail, so I can read it, love it and then put them both on a special shelf of honor so I can look at them every day. With occasional fireworks going off around them. Maybe some confetti too. See, I am fine.
When I first started reading, it felt like Game of Thrones style, so I thought "good start", as I really liked those. I really enjoy books that are written with several points of views. I think it makes the telling of the book so much more alive and dynamic. In Six of Crows chapters surge with different personalities, as different characters take on the task of narrating, it kind of makes you feel as part of their group. However, in the beginning, I had the hardest time placing the timeline of when the events in the book had happened. Is it future or is it early 1900’s? The Ice court sounds ancient and there are brothels and slave ships all around, which made me think it was set way in the past. But then they go and talk about revolvers, clubs, and coffee and waffles – and those things sound so modern to me! I got over it eventually, but still, if you asked me, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what year the book is set in. Not necessarily a bad thing, it just confused and irked me a little bit.
The thing I appreciated the most in this book is that the characters, despite their young age, did not act their age at all. They were all mature and collected, as expected from individuals who had such rough lives: sibling’s traumatizing death, prison, slave and a soldier. Kids who were forced to grow up in order to survive. This fact played a big role of tugging on my heart strings while I was reading this book. I just didn’t think I could take anymore of overly horny and whiny teenagers as main protagonists, and boy, I was not only relieved, I was ecstatic!
“When everyone knows you’re a monster you needn’t waste time doing every monstrous thing” – Kaz Brekker
Kaz – has so many eccentric rules about himself and his surroundings. I thought the whole ordeal with his gloves and the legends that surrounded them was just brilliant. When his past, and with it the reasons, for those eccentrics was revealed – his picture became complete. And so, so sad. I cannot think of many worse things than for a child to float around with corpses, holding on to his dead sibling. It was heart breaking, as you suddenly understood that the cold and merciless bastard of the barrel, had very good reasons to be one.
“She was Inej Ghafa, and she would not quiver like a rabbit in a snare.” - Inej Ghafa
Inej’s pain and fear of being a Menagerie was so real, I felt it seeping through the pages. But it is from her pain and fear that she drew all of her courage. Need I mention that she trained herself to be a complete badass? Women with skills are my jam when it comes to the book world. Inej’s driving force was her biggest desire to never disappoint anybody – her father, Kaz… But in the end she understood that the only one she does not want to disappoint is herself.
“I’m a very valuable investment.”
“Tell me he didn’t say that.”
“Of course he did. Well, not the valuable part.”
“Also, an idiot”.
I absolutely adored Inej and Nina’s friendship – it was beautiful and they made a badass team. Well, all six of them did, but the girls rocked the most in my opinion.
She rolled her eyes “It’s not natural for someone to be as stupid as he is tall, yet there you stand” - Nina Zenik
Out of all crows Nina was my favorite from the first pages of her chapter. Down to earth, loves to eat, compassionate, a flirt and a Heartrender! I found the whole Grisha nation to be fascinating, but later about that. When you think that Nina is enough badass as she is, she goes and sacrifices herself for the whole group. The battle at the harbor (well, if you can call it battle, more like the “Nina raising of hands at the harbor”) was quite epic.
“Drop the girl. Free the boat. Disable the shooter. Kill Nina. Kill Nina. Kill Nina”. – Mattias Helvar
Out of all of them I had the hardest time trusting Mattias, his character was so conflicted! He was loyal as he was passionate, and his confusion about the dregs ways was quite funny. When Mattias learned the true doing of his Druskelle, it was as both of us, Mattias and me, the reader, had the blindfold fall from our eyes.
“Stop being dense. You’re cuter when you’re smart.” – Jesper Fahey
At first it seemed that Jesper was there only for jokes, but he had a lot up under his sleeve. I did not see it coming when it was revealed that he was a Grisha too.
Wylan Van Eck was a closed book for, well most of the book. He didn’t have his own chapters, but the twist that came with his character was totally worth it. I have never read a book, yet, where a character’s disability was that he did not know how to read. It was clever, to say the least. Wylan might have seemed like a hopeless kitten at first, but we soon learned that he definitely had claws too.
Now I will talk about things I was grateful for in this book:
Grisha nation. I have not yet read Grisha trilogy (but you know I will like asap) but I was submerged into the Grisha powers and abilities. It was a great way of introducing magic into the book, without it being too magic-y or too mainstream.
This book steered clear of all the clichés that seem to be surging through many young adult books. No love triangles, insta-love, horny teenagers, badly timed passion bursts – what a breather! Romance was subtly and properly present, as hints, but what hints they were!
“She'd laughed, and if he could have bottled the sound and gotten drunk on it every night, he would have. It terrified him.”
“I have been made to protect you. Only in death will I be kept from this oath.”
“I can hear the change in Kaz's breathing when he looks at you."
"You... you can?"
"It catches every time, like he's never seen you before.”
“Oh, I see. I'm the wicked Grisha seductress. I have beguiled you with my Grisha wiles!"
She poked him in the chest.
"No. I'm beguiling you.”
“Maybe I liked your stupid face!”
This review turned out to be quite different from what I usually write, but I decided that I just wanted to share my favorite quotes and my favorite moments. So I can relive the book again (I see myself re-reading it pretty soon, already. I’m fine, I’m fine).
No mourners, no funerals!
So, you want to write book reviews?
It seems easy enough – pick up a book, read it, and write a review. But how do you write a review that will help someone to decide if they want to read the book? Or a review that will warn people to stay away from the book, without making you sound like an ignorant hater? Or one that will spike pages and pages of conversations and comments from your fellow reader friends?
There are no defined steps, no rubric to follow. Well, there is, but if you follow the rubric your review will drown in the sea of other rubric followed reviews. And we don’t want your review to drown, not even to float, we want it to swim against the current! So here are a few tips you might want to remember before setting on to write your most epic review yet.
1. Calm down. There are usually two scenarios (well, three, but we will only briefly mention the third one) that come to play after you have finished the book.
You either loved it so much that you can’t stop gushing about it:
“ohhhhmy goooodnesssss this is the best book ever, I love it sooooo much, it’s soooooo good, if you say anything bad about it I will come at you with a pick axe, I ship everybody in this book, they are my babiesssss!!!” Ever read one of those? Is this something you want to look at years later and feel proud of your review writing skills? Didn’t think so.
Or you really disliked it and can barely contain your rage:
“This book was a total garbage I cannot believe I wasted my time reading it, all of you leaving 5 star reviews for it are ignorant and dumb for liking a book like this” This piece of work is even worse than the previous one. At least the other one was funny.
In the third scenario you don’t really care about the book, so you don’t really care about leaving an epic review either.
Now back to my little tip, take time to calm down before you write your review, no matter what emotions you have felt. Sure, a hyped review might be fun to read once in a while, but you also run a risk of saying things that you don’t really mean. Do you want that on your permanent record? On the vast realms of the internet? Sure, you can edit it later, but you can’t edit minds of people who already read your unstable review. Point is – we all get book drunk sometimes, so take some time to get sober.
2. Decide on spoilers/ or no spoilers. That is the question. Now that you have calmed down, decide what type of review you would like to leave. No spoilers review means that you must not mention anything that happens in the book, besides the things that have been already revealed in the blurb. Your review should consist of evaluations of the style of writing, the story progression speed, character’s build and some philosophical questions you had while reading. Those are reviews that people will use to determine if they want to read a certain book. If you spoil if for them, they will be coming with pick axes for you. A review that contains spoilers is meant for people who have already read the book and want to dig deeper into the lovely theories and speculations about it. And don’t let anybody tell you that you should not write a review with spoilers! They are good, they are needed and they always, ALWAYS come with a “Spoilers ahead” warning sign! This type of review can contain anything your little heart wishes, but mostly people talk about the plot and how they see it building (if the series are not finished yet),specific traits of characters, romantic speculations, tragic deaths and “ships” (romantic relations between characters that readers really, really like).
3. Check your facts. This is more applicable when leaving a negative review (also don’t let anybody tell you not to leave those! They are your thoughts and feelings and they need to be said). Just make sure you don’t offend anyone. Here is a list of people you should try not to offend:
Offending readers who adored the book is even easier, as books can turn people into raging fanatics. Anything barely negative can set off a World Wide Web Verbal War (say it out loud, it’s fun). Obviously, people who are obsessively unstable is not your problem, they will see their wrong ways in time. But there are people who genuinely connected with a book, so try not to call them poop –bags for liking it, just because you didn’t.
Everybody else, and their mothers, too? Well, let’s say I have seen people go to great deals of trying to offend anybody and anything that had the ill fortune of stumbling in their zone of the book hating rage. Don’t be that person.
4. Sleep on it. I know that this little tip is not for everybody, as a lot of people like to write the review and then post it immediately. But I always let my reviews sit for at least a night before I post it. I feel like reading it with fresh eyes the next day gives me an excellent opportunity to catch any mistakes, or silliness that might have crept in into my precious review (am I going to sleep on this blog post? You bet!). You also might discover that the next morning you have something more to add to your review, a thought that you had while in the shower (the place where all best thoughts live. Maybe they like to be clean?).
5. Make it yours. “So, how do I write an amazing review that will blow other people’s minds away?” you are still asking. Make it yours! Your feelings and your thoughts already make for a great review! You just have to sit down and write it. Not go and read bunch of other reviews then copy them and call it yours, not go and read bunch of reviews and then rephrase them and call it yours, and not read bunch of reviews then change your feelings on the book and call them yours. None of this! For these things are called: plagiarism, rephrasing (aka cheating) and sheep (having no opinion, blehhhh). You may read other reviews and have other feelings, and thoughts added to your review, obviously, but you probably should mention in your review where you acquired them. Make the review yours and only yours. Your personal style will shine through as you read more books and write more reviews. So, I guess my main tip would be – don’t compare yourself to anybody else. And don’t spoil books for people who haven’t read them yet!
I am currently re-reading Harry Potter series, and being immersed into the amazing world of HP again, I am reminded of just how much I did not enjoy The Cursed Child. So I thought I would write about the things that irked me the most.
Can you think of a harder book to review than the long awaited Harry Potter sequel? With half the people blindly fawning over its every word and attacking anybody who says anything moderately negative about it? The other half f people? Well some of them hate it, some of them are heartbroken and disappointed, and some of them don't care in the slightest about this book (I think I covered everybody). So where do I stand?
I believe in good books. I believe in constructive reviews. And I believe in not loving something just for the sake of "old times", or just for the sake of the author or the beloved character.
Which is what I think is happening with this book. People are unable to not like it, because of how good the previous gooks are. But, constructively speaking, if your favorite author suddenly goes and writes about satanic demon worshipers would you like the book just because your favorite author wrote it? I hope not. So no matter how much you love the author, or the characters, it is still okay not to like the book. It does not make you a hater.
Now, here are the things that went horribly wrong in Harry Potter and the cursed Child, in MY opinion.
1. Delphi. Being the child of Voldemort. Yes, I know it is the biggest plot twist and I don't have a problem with that. I have a problem with Voldemort being the father (it even feels weird to write Voldemort and father in the same sentence).
Now, why Delphi couldn't have been Tom Riddle's child? Yes, I know she would have been old, and the time lines would have been messed up, but it's a magical community, surely there could have been ways to explain this. She could have been an orphan her whole life and then somehow find out who's child she is. She could have been frozen in time by Tom, imprisoned in a book, or anything else that your magical mind can come up with. And when she resurfaces she would use magic to alter her looks, so she does not look her age.
In essence, she would still be Voldemort's child, but back when he could still have children. Feelings. Emotions. Be able to touch another human being with some kind of affection? Make love?
Heck he didn't have a nose, who knows what other important body part he might have been missing.
But having Voldemort impregnate Bellatrix while he was what he was, is very twisted and sick in my opinion. Voldemort died when he tried to kill Harry (well 99 percent of him did), he didn't have a body, barely had a soul and he was able to have a child? All Voldemort ever was is dark magic and twisted hatred for the most of his life. I can imagine young Riddle getting drunk and getting some poor witch pregnant, but Voldemort? Not so much.
HP books have a lot of darkness in them and a lot of horrible things happen, but to implement the idea that something as foul as Voldemort (he wasn't a real human at the end, he was basically part snake) had a child is just a bit too sick and twisted for HP series.
2. It might only be me, but the person I wanted to see the most in the new book (before I even knew the new book was coming out) was Teddy Lupin. J.K.Rowling did an amazing job with the story line of Lupin and Tonks, it was an inspiring love story with an extremely tragic end. His parents sacrificed themselves, so their child can have a better future. And maybe be in the new book? No? That really disappointed me, so truthfully speaking this isn't very constructive of me.
3. Ron's character in this book is laughable. And not the Fred and George's kind of laughable, but a horrible "what have you done with him" laughable. Through all of the HP books Ron has been a rock everybody could lean on. Yes, he wasn't the chosen one, not the cleverest one, not the sportiest one, but that didn't stop him from being just as important. He was a great friend, he was funny and he felt like a real person - he had flaws, he had ups and downs and that is why I love Ron. Somehow adult Ron has degraded to barely a wisp of what he used to be. Having absolutely no important place in the new book, he trails his wife around making jokes. Why spend years building an amazing character just to dump-sack him later for no reason at all?
4. One of the messages that stood out very strongly to me in this book was this: No matter how hard you work for your dreams, even if you are the chosen one, you will still end up as an overworked, average person with family problems and crushed dreams. Makes Harry more relatable to average folk? Maybe. Crushes hopes for kids who have dreams and work hard towards them, because even orphan Harry can study hard and become an amazing auror? Definitely. While previous HP books had the ability to help people, and pull them out of depression, The Cursed Child promises to do quite the opposite.
I understand that this way is more life-like, more relatable. Because only about 2 percent of people grow up to be what they really wanted to be when they were kids, while the rest suffers slow agony of unsatisfied job force. However, this is not why I read fantasy books. I want a book that will make me want to keep going, to believe that things will turn out better. not a book that will make me stop and say "eh, what's the point anyway?".
5. The format. Is that a new thing to write script books? Because I don't dig it. Especially not in HP world. HP books require a lot of details, descriptions and background scenery. Confining a story into a script and presenting it as a finished book to the world is like wrapping a piece of fabric around yourself and calling it a dress. The old characters feel hollow, merely shells of their old selves, the new heroes of the story( Albus and Scorpius) don't feel like heroes at all because they have no story, no backbone, no chemistry, and to be honest they are quite bland.
6. The repetition. Repetition of exact quotes and scenes from old books in this book comprises at least 30 percent of the material. I can see The Cursed Child doing very well as another addition to the pottermore website, But becoming a whole book, I don't think that was necessary.
Now, all of this said, I am going back to re-reading The Deathly Hallows, and pretending that The Cursed Child never happened.
I recently had finished reading Shatter Me, Unravel Me and Ignite Me, a trilogy written by Tahereh Mafi. Here are some thoughts and comments about these books, while they are still fresh in my mind.
I decided to read Shatter Me series after I stumbled upon it on the GoodReads website. This book had incredibly good reviews,nd pretty high ratings, so I decided to go ahead and order a whole set for myself. I regretted doing so after I got through the first half of the first book.
Shatter Me (2011)
I have to say that the first few chapters lured me in and I was fascinated with the story and the writing. I thought that it was very different and out there. But that got old very quickly.
You see, this book feels like it was written by a child. More precisely, a child that had just learned how to use a thesaurus. Some chapters were merely a collection of metaphors that did not add to the story, but just simply sat there making no sense and taking page space.
"My jaw is dangling from my shoelace" and "My stomach drops onto my knees".
What does this even mean?!
Now, from the synopsis we can understand that Juliette is most likely insane, due to her imprisonment and her traumatizing past. So from one point of view, all the weird writing techniques contribute to her state. But while reading this novel, somehow, it is hard to fully reflect and understand that.
Catherine from Wuthering Heights was completely insane (heck all of the people from that book were) and it was portrayed and delivered to the reader clearly. What I am saying is that, I can appreciate and understand the want and the need to make something different, to create a unique style of writing. But I think the writer had definitely overdone it with this book. Something that might have started as unique and different ended up being a complete gibberish mess.
If you were to cut down on repetition of words, words, words and take out synonyms, synonyms, synonyms and get rid of all the metaphorical nonsense - this book would be barely half it's size.
There are not that many characters in the first book.
We start out with the main character, Juliette, and for a couple of chapters you like her and sympathize with her.
Then towards the middle of the book she turns into a puddle of a whiny, idiotic and delusional mess and you want to shoot her. Even when it seems that she might pull out of her "I am so pathetic I cry myself to sleep" phase, she then turns around and becomes even worse.
It is very hard to tell if she is completely lacking any personality, or if her personality is so bad that you would rather she had none.
There is Adam, who is very unrealistic, for no self-respecting guy would act as he does. He is also very blah. The combination of him and Juliette becomes quite unbearable to read.
here is also Warner, who is portrayed as a villain, but he is not doing a very good job at being one, though chapters with him were the most rewarding.
From the firs pages the plot is very good. It is interesting, it is different, there is a good back story about Juliette's childhood.
Then she meets Adam, and somewhere near the middle of the book the plot gets completely lost amidst two ridiculously horny teenagers.
Is there a rule somewhere that says that a young adult novel has to have a steamy almost sex scenes in it? One scene would be fine. But how about, I don't know, seventeen??! It gets old people, and quickly.
Not fully to the author's fault, it's just all of the modern dystopian YA novels have it. For once I would love to read a novel that does not have teenagers rubbing their genitalia against one another in it.
And why, once again, dystopian novels only focus on a 16-19 year old teenagers? But that is another topic entirely. However I absolutely loved the message behind this book. Their world was destroyed by our horrible living habits: environment gave up, government only wanted money and work force from people, rich people getting richer and poor getting poorer.
Unravel me (2013)
Not much has changed in writing style from book 1 to book 2. It just feels very stretched out, as if trying to meet the word count requirements, but not finding what to fill it with.
Juliette got nowhere. She is still that same annoying, whiny and ridiculous girl. It is quite hard to read, actually.
It is like watching a 5 year old roll around on the floor crying for candy. That is if that 5 year old would stop just for long enough to make out with it's boyfriend.
Her every thought, and every move, and every word is so overly exaggerated it is laughable.
Adam, well I lost interest in Adam somewhere around the beginning of this book. He is just not a good character. Also it felt like the writer knows nothing about boys, or male gender in general.
In this book they do not act like boys, but more like girls on their first period. Hormonal and extremely dramatic.
Now Warner on the other hand was getting more and more interesting. I honestly kept reading mostly for his story line.
Kenji, who was introduced at the end of the first book became my complete favorite, as he was a nice breather amidst all of the "romance" drama that was going around.
Instead of talking about a very slowly unfolding story line I would like to talk about things that irked me the most in this book.
Selfishness of a main heroine. Juliette is far from a heroine you want to admire, she is quite the opposite. Besides her lacking an actual human personality, she is incredibly selfish. There is a war going on, people are dying and while other members of the Omega Point are doing their hardest to help with the big picture, Juliette's thoughts are only focused on when is she gets to make out next.
Which brings me to another point, her sexuality. I think that the book brings a horrible image of a teenage girl, who has no respect for her own body and is willing to sleep with somebody she literally just met.
And the most damaging thing in this book is the physical description of the main characters. They all are: perfect, beautiful, handsome, perfect bodies, muscular, sexy, smoldering etc. I am sorry, but was there no room in this dystopian world for normal and average looking people? I understand that this is what 90 percent of society wants to see and be, but I thought that writers write books to change the world views for the better, not push them deeper into the dirt. I think that TV has enough of this nonsense already, no need to bring it into the books.
Ignite Me (2014)
This is the book where everything changes. The writing has been cleaned up, and it is very pleasant to read.
After the first two catastrophes of a book, I was a little ashamed to admit that I could not put this one down.
I also understand that the writing style has changed due to the main character evolving, and basically not being insane anymore. It goes with the story and it makes sense, but I think that if the whole series have been written like this, it would have been much, much better.
Juliette, oh Juliette. I gave up on you in book two. You remained selfish, whiny and, total and complete idiot till the very end of the book two. But from the first pages of Ignite Me she was changed. Reborn. Quite literally.
Now Adam on the other hand, you will want to shoot him. I know I did. But, surprisingly, his "new" demeanor fits incredibly into the story.
Kenji's character remained great till the very end.
And Warner, well let us just say that this book should have been about Warner. Great background story and great redemption, with minor annoying set backs, but hey, we all got those.
Despite the cliffhanger and a bit of a rushed ending (all trilogies seem to have this problem) this book was quite good. If I did not read through and got to the 3rd book, I would not have recommended these series. But as I did, I have to say that the last book made it worth for me. Sure it was cheesy, quite predictable and very "x-men" like, but it was still good. I also thought that it was ironic that most trilogies seem to start fantastic and completely degress by the third book, while this one was quite the opposite.
This is my extensive review of Shutter Me trilogy. I know this book has very mixed reviews, some people really hate it, some people really adore it, and some people are stuck somewhere in between of those two. I think that I am somewhere in between.
Freelance BETA reader.