Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Outpost (Razorland #2) by Ann Aguirre

         I read Outpost by Ann Aguirre about three weeks ago (which is forever ago in my brain) so this review might be a little rusty. Just a bit. 

        Deuce, Fade, Stalker, and Tegan have just arrived at Salvation, a small community protected from the Freaks by a huge wooden wall. Fade and Tegan seem to fit in perfectly, but Deuce and Stalker have a bit more trouble assimilating; Deuce because of the community's strict gender roles and Stalker just because he's difficult and slightly feral. Fade has begun to... well, fade away (THAT PUN Haha) from Deuce and become more distant. With the summer quickly approaching, Deuce, Fade, and Stalker all sign up for the summer patrol to protect the farmlands outside of the city walls. They quickly discover that the Freaks are getting smarter, plus they have yet to find the most terrifying thing of all. Will Deuce and her friends survive outside of the city walls? Or will the ever-developing Freaks finally conquer them once and for all?

         From what I remember, Deuce was an okay character. She didn't blow me out of the water, but I didn't hate her, either. Once again, Deuce has an obsession with her being a Huntress (or lack of being one, I guess). However, in the first book it says the word "Huntress" about 300 times per page, but in this one it was only, like, 100. Much more manageable. I must admit, though, she is an incredibly strong and brave character and she never caves under the pressure of the gender role that was expected of her. 

        Fade was, of course, once again amazing. He is so sweet and more loyal than a dog. That's pretty dang loyal. The only thing about him that annoyed me was that *semi-spoiler alert, but not really* when his adopted father whipped him all the time, he didn't tell anyone about it. I mean, maybe that shows his strength or maybe that shows his weakness, I'm not really sure which. 

      The story was sometimes a bit boring, but other times it was full of action and suspense. When Deuce is in the town, it's kind of boring because she doesn't really do anything. She pretty much goes to school, eats, spars, then sleeps. Not that exciting. But then when everything happens with the Freaks, it was really exciting, so it kind of balanced itself out. Like in the first book, the writing wasn't very flowery, which was actually a good thing. The narrator (Deuce) is not very well-educated and she basically ate violence and suffering for breakfast, so it would make sense that she wouldn't have a fancy mindset; it would be much more harsh and brutal, which was definitely what the writing portrayed. 

This book had a good story and a fairly good set of characters, though at some points it was a tad slow.

I liked this book! 4 Smileys!!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Siege and Storm (The Grisha Trilogy #2) by Leigh Bardugo


        The Grisha Trilogy is one of my favorite series of all time, and as such I will probably die of anticipation in the year that I have to wait for the third book, Ruin and Rising (which is horribly named) to come out. That being said, let’s continue…

            Alina has escaped from the Darkling’s clutches with her childhood friend and true love, Mal. Living in a new country with the hopes of disappearing, the two don’t get much of a reprieve; the Darkling soon capture them once again. With the help of the sly foxlike captain, Sturmhond, and the rest of his crew, they escape from the Darkling and all of the Grisha that defected to his side when he tried to overthrow the King. With the King sick, the Apparat missing and raising a cult to follow “Sankta Alina,” and the Darkling all but abandoning his control of Ravka, the country has little leadership. It’s up to Alina and her friends to control the Second Army and mount an attack against the Darkling, who has showed an interesting, and frightening, new power. Meanwhile, Alina must fight against her growing internal corruption as her power grows stronger and she feels more and more alienated from humanity. Will Alina be able to defeat the Darkling and save all of Ravka? When the time comes, will she even want to?

            Told from the point-of-view of Alina, as was the first book, you can’t help but feel attached to her. She has an amazing power, she can fight pretty well, and she always means well. Well, most of the time, anyway. What was most impressive about her character though, was something that Bardugo did extraordinarily well. She showed Alina’s slow descent into corruptness in a way that wasn’t obvious. It wasn’t like there was a single dark statement thrown into a bunch of cheery sentiments that blatantly stated “oh, look how what she wants to think now is so different from what she normally thinks.” No, none of that. It was subtle, but I could still pick it up while I was reading it, and it was really skillfully done and awesome.

            Mal kind of annoyed me in this book. Like to the point where I wanted Alina to be with the Darkling and love him forever. I mean, I’ve actually been thinking that the whole time, but who hasn’t, honestly? It’s obvious Alina and the Darkling are perfect for each other, but I digress… Right, Mal. He was really possessive and cranky, but I guess I’ll let him off the hook considering the number of times he was almost killed and his entire life destroyed, but still. Sometimes, I just did not appreciate his attitude, but I think the point of him acting so annoyingly was so that it would show just how different Alina is becoming from the rest of human kind. Not that all human kind are annoying and cranky, but… I don’t know I’m just going to stop there before I dig myself a deeper hole.

            Sturmhond/Nikolai was my favorite character, perhaps of all time. He was absolutely AMAZING. He was hilarious all the time, to the point where I would actually burst out laughing. He was wise even though he was young (and gave great advice on how to be a leader, honestly), slightly ruthless and slightly sweet, just an awesome character all around. Plus, he’s a prince and a mighty good one, at that. However, he was a bit deceptive and sneaky for my taste, but everyone has their flaws, right? I say Alina should forget Mal and just become a queen with Nikolai… At least that’s what I’d do if the whole Darkling thing didn’t work out.

            Both the story and the writing were phenomenal. Bardugo can write anything and I would love it. Her humor is so similar to my own that I can’t help but laugh out loud at some of the jokes she makes and the things she says. I want to be best friends with her; I think we’d get along really well. Anyway, the story had just the right balance between action and dialogue, just as Shadow and Bone did. Her diction brought the book to life before my very eyes and I absolutely loved the Russian influence in the book. I really have nothing bad to say about this book. AMAZING!!

SO MUCH LOVE!! 5 Smileys!!