Sunday, December 28, 2014

Stormdancer (The Lotus War #1) by Jay Kristoff

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff was, in a word, brilliant. I devoured this book in just a few days, and what a wonderful few days those were!

            Yukiko had learned from the time she was small to hide her gift; no one could know about it or a terrible fate would befall her. In a world where the Guild burns those they call “Impure,” and a parasitic crop on which their whole society is run on, called blood lotus, is ruining their lands, it is hard to imagine a worse situation. When the Shōgun demands that she and her father find a mythical creature believed to be long extinct, called an arashitora, they expect to come back empty-handed and dishonored. However, they somehow seem to find one and they capture it. However, their airship cannot withstand its might, so it crashes to the ground, bringing Yukiko with it. So, Yukiko is stuck in the wilderness with an injured arashitora that isnt too fond of her, but being alone for so long can do things to people. Like make them friends. And the friendship between these two may have the power to destroy the corrupt nation and start righting the wrongs that the Shōgun has commited for years. Will the two have the power to stir an entire nation? Or will they be crushed by the ultimate power of the land?

            Yukiko is an absolutely amazing heroine, smart and strong and compassionate. She’s not the “hard” kind of strong; she’s the caring kind, the kind that sacrifices for others, but not overly so that they are walking all over her. She also knows her way with a sword, and she is really smart and cunning: “Kitsune takes care of his own.” She is part of the fox (Kitsune) clan, so she is stealthy and sly (and awesome, but I think that’s just her). Then, there’s Buruu. He’s an arashitora: the front half is an eagle and the back half is a tiger. That description alone should make you like him already. But, other than that, he’s super strong; he can rip off the head of an oni in ten seconds flat.  Plus, once he actually likes Yukiko, he’s really protective and he gets adorably jealous when she talks to other people instead of to him. I’m IN LOVE with Buruu and Yukiko’s relationship. It’s more of a familial relationship and it’s SO ADORABLE I CAN’T EVEN HANDLE IT. And together, these characters alone make up for an amazing story. But throw in a drunken father, a badass maid, and a defiant princess, and you’ve got an awesome set of characters!

            The story, of course, was another strongpoint of the book, but before I get into that, I have to talk about the writing. I know I usually don’t pay much attention to it, but it’s hard not to notice it in this book. It is so descriptive and the adjectives perfectly fit the mood and theme of the book. And I mean PERFECTLY. I honestly don’t think that that Kristoff could have chosen better words to use. And may I just add that he used the word “squeezeway” a few times, and it made me crack up every single time I read it for some reason…

            Anyway, the story. It was fast-paced, nail-biting (seriously, my nails are all gone), and, for the most part, unpredictable. There were a few things here and there that I could see coming, but definitely not everything (which I seem pretty good at most of the time…). I was so into the book that I couldn’t ever put it down!! There were times in the story when one of the characters would be talking, and I would literally get goose bumps from whatever it is they were saying. I don’t remember exactly what they said, but I’m sure it was profound and great from my reactions to them! J

            Before any of you read this book, I have a few words of caution: It is extremely confusing. At first. If you’re not good at following characters and remembering the names of things, it may seem a bit confusing. Heck, even if you’re good at it, it may seem a bit challenging. But, don’t worry too much because it gets better! Within the first few chapters, I had everything sorted out just fine and I understood everything, so if you’re reading and are confused, don’t give up! It gets better! And trust me, you won’t regret reading this marvelous book.

LOVE!!! 5 Smileys!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns #3) by Rae Carson

After the second book in Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns trilogy, I was really excited to read the third one, The Bitter Kingdom. It met my expectations and more!

            Conde Eduardo and General Luz-Manuel, two of Elisa’s top advisors, have betrayed her and attempted to get Elisa out of power, in any way possible; including the death of the queen. What’s worse, the Commander of the Royal Guard, Hector, has been captured by the conde’s advisor and an Invierne, Franco, and she still hasn’t completed her act of service for God. So, Elisa and her friends head off to rescue Hector, hopefully before they reach Invierne, for Franco stole him in order to lure Elisa to their capital city, Umbra de Deus. She wants to evade their trap, but at the same time she can’t help but wonder what the enemy country is like. With her country on the brink of civil war, and another country waiting to destroy it, will Elisa be able to fulfill her act of service? Or will she be just another one of the bearers snuffed out before she even has a chance?

            After each book I seem to like Elisa more and more, and this one was no exception! She gets tougher and smarter after each book, and I really like how dynamic of a character she is; she clearly grows during each of the books and, in the end, turns into a wonderful queen and overall person. I also grew to love Storm. I liked him in the second book, but not very strongly. But in this book, I loved him so much! For some reason I found him hilarious, even when I don’t think he was supposed to be… oh well, I must have a distorted sense of humor, but that I already knew ;) Hector, being the love interest in this third book, was a good guy, funny and charming, so I think she made a good choice. Good job, Elisa! J Lastly, the new character, Red, was completely adorable!! Her cuteness level was right up there with Rosario’s (which, from previous reviews, you can see is pretty high)! I loved reading about this cast of characters so much and I’m a bit sad that it’s over!

            The story kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time, rooting for Elisa to win. I was also completely happy with the ending; it gave me closure, providing just enough details about the events that brought the tumultuous part of Elisa’s life to a close, but it didn’t give too much away. Let’s just say that it left just enough up to my imagination for it to be satisfying! It was highly entertaining to watch Elisa figure everything out so cleverly, using her brain to solve her problems before plunging into them headfirst. I also really enjoyed watching all of the relationships develop, not only through this book, but through the entire series, as well. I don’t really have much else to say, other than I really liked reading this series and this book was the perfect conclusion to Rae Carson’s trilogy! 

An amazing conclusion to a heart-pounding trilogy! 5 Smileys!!

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2) by Rae Carson

The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson, the sequel to The Girl of Fire and Thorns, was much more enjoyable than the first, at least to me. I read it in about two days and it was over four hundred pages long! And this was in the midst of two vacations and packing with just a week between, so I kind of forced time out of my schedule to read it, but it was so worth it!

            Elisa just fought back the Invierne army and killed many of the animagi attacking her country of Joya d’Arena. Now, as queen, Elisa must face dangers and frustrations that she had never encountered before, such as scheming condes, the betrayals of those she holds in the closest trust, as well as a forced betrothal, not for the sake of love, but power. After an animagus burns itself in the center of her capital, Brisadulce, during her birthday parade and an assassination attempt folowing soon after, Elisa goes in search of the perpetrator in the catacombs beneath the city, only to find an Invierno man named Storm, who has information that could help her finally tap into the Godstone’s incredible power. He tells her of the source of all power, the zafira, and Elisa and her crew go on a journey to find it. Oh, and she also falls in love again, though this time I think it’s for real. But will she survive her perilous journey to be with the man she loves? Even if she does, will he?

            I liked Elisa three thousand times more in this book than the first. She wasn’t a weakling, or a coward, or anything like that. She was strong and brave and smart, a strong female lead, though she kept saying that she was weak as queen. No, girl; Alejandro was weak and you are nothing like him, don’t worry! Rosario, once again, was super adorable and I just want to take him home with me! I’m just sad that he has such a small part in these books; I hope we get to see him more in the next one! I also really liked Hector, the captain of Elisa’s Royal Guard. He’s kind and brave and caring; plus, he’s yummy J I did not like Ximena at all in this book; I know she’s supposed to be Elisa’s guardian, but she just needs to back off! I liked the part of this book when she wasn’t in it because she always keeps things from her and coddles her way too much. I’m glad she (hopefully) won’t be around too much in the next book!

            The story was fast-paced, but in a good way; it kept me reading and I didn’t ever want to put it down! The romance was also very well paced- it wasn’t the quick love at first sight that is found in so many YA books today. It began in the first book and it didn’t truly come to fruition until the second half of the second book, so it took its sweet time (and I don’t mean that sarcastically, it actually was really sweet J). The world that Carson has created is intricate and interesting, and I love the way she describes each new place that Elisa goes to; this time it was the island (that had gigantic bird-sized bugs, ew) and next time it will hopefully be Invierne! I have been wondering what it looks like, so I’m excited that the next book will take us there!

And with that, I will start reading the next one, The Bitter Kingdom!

I really enjoyed this book! 4 and 1/2 Smileys!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

The Girl of Fire and Thorns (Fire and Thorns #1) by Rae Carson


For some reason, I really enjoyed The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson, but at the same time I felt completely emotionally unattached to it. It could be because I was still emotionally drained from finishing Champion by Marie Lu, or I just didn’t care, I’m really not sure…

            Elisa has always thought of herself as the fat, useless princess of Orovalle; her sister, graceful and powerful, seemed like the complete opposite, worthy of being a queen. However, it’s Elisa who is married off to King Alejandro, the ruler of the largest territory, Joya d’Arena, on her sixteenth birthday. However, their marriage remains a secret, for Alejandro is afraid that his court may discover that Elisa holds the Godstone, a stone bestowed upon her on her naming day, prophesizing that she would complete some great will of God. Meanwhile, Joya d’Arena is on the verge of war with the neighboring country, Invierne, which has the use of animagi at its disposal, men that can burn people with the necklaces they wear around their necks. They seek the bearer of the Godstone, for they believe that it can increase their powers. At the same time, another, revolutionary group is also searching for her, looking for a savior. With so many people wanting her for her Godstone, who will Elisa side with? Will she even live to join a side at all?

            Elisa is a strong character; physically weak, but mentally tough. There were times that I found her a bit annoying, but most of the time she was fine. I didn’t really like her at the beginning, but by the end I found that I liked and respected her a lot more, which I think was what the author was trying to do. Alejandro was at first a likeable character, but by the end I saw him as nothing but a weakling and a coward. I think I was supposed to be sad when he died, but I felt nothing and I actually kind of enjoyed it… Is that bad? It’s not like I hated him or anything, but it just felt like he was getting in the way of the story. Humberto and Rosario (the young prince, so adorable!) were the only characters that I actually liked, and of course, Humberto dies in a way that elicited absolutely no emotion whatsoever. I think it may have been because I was expecting Humberto to come back to life or something; it seemed so sudden, but at the same time I saw it coming. It was obvious what was going to happen, really, but I still felt confused when it actually did. I just looked up from reading and said “What” out loud a few times, then continued reading.

            The story was good and kept me reading; I was never bored and the world was interesting. It was fun to see what would happen next and to fit the pieces of the puzzle together, but too many of the main characters died, which was kind of strange. Well, at least Rosario didn’t die, that’s all I really cared about. There’s not really much else for me to say on the point because I really don’t know what to feel. Hopefully I can give you a more coherent review on the next one!! J

This book was really interesting! 4 Smileys!!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu

First, I would like to say that if you have never read any of the Legend series, then read it RIGHT NOW. You will not regret it and it may turn out to be your favorite series of all time, just like it is mine! Trust me; would I ever steer you wrong? Well… maybe, but definitely not on this!

Being that the Legend Series is my favorite series, it may be surprising that I actually held off on reading Champion by Marie Lu for quite a while. But, being that it is the last book of the series, I didn’t want to read it. I didn’t want the series to end, or face that fact that it was over. And let me tell you, I’m still in shock from finishing it. It made me sob harder than I think I ever have before. It ripped me apart, but I loved every second of it. Honestly, I’m not sure how much I can write about it right now because I am completely emotionally drained, but I shall try!

            Champion picks up where Prodigy left off, but I don’t want to get too into detail, so as not to give too much away to people who haven’t finished Prodigy yet. Basically, it’s about the fight between the Republic and the Colonies, as well as Anden being accepted as the new Elector Primo, Day struggling against his disease, and June working at becoming the next Princeps. And that’s all I’m going to say about that!

            I LOVE JUNE AND DAY. Especially Day <3 font="" style="background-color: white; line-height: 18px;"> They’re so adorable together and they have to be my favorite pair of all time- they’re both beautiful and broken with actual serious problems between them. In most books, it’s some insignificant, stupid little problem that always seems to get in the way of the romance. But, in the Legend series, the problem that gets in their way actually makes sense and is important, so that makes their relationship (and their relationship problems) seem much more realistic. And the fact that they’re trying despite that makes me root for them all the more. GO JUNE AND DAY!!! Separately, the characters are just as loveable as when they are together. Day’s sarcastic way of viewing the world is priceless and I love his personality; he seems like an awesome person to be around, light and funny and good. June, on the other hand, is a little darker, but her personality is also amazing, kind and strong and caring. And let’s just say near the end of the book we get to see June’s badass side again! And just as a little side not, Eden (Day's little brother) is so cute and precious! Love him!!

            As for the story, it honestly started off a little slow, but it was actually quite fitting. In the beginning (when it moved slowly), June is immersed in politics, but by the end (when it moved quickly), she was surrounded by action, in the element that she truly loves. So, it seemed almost symbolic of the way that politics is slow and tedious (to June, anyway), while the fighting is where she really belongs. However, after the first few pages, it quickly picked up and I was fully immersed in the story. I nearly lived and breathed Champion for the past two days. It was heart breaking and fun and amazing. I’m incredibly sad that it’s over and I really wish it weren’t. I now understand why Marie Lu cried while writing it.

            The ending was amazing and terrible at the same time: amazing because it was perfect; terrible because I sobbed my eyes out in a hotel room. The ending was beautifully written and heartbreakingly hopeful; it may not make any sense now, but you’ll understand once you experience it for yourself. So go read it right now if you haven’t!

Now for my last words regarding the Legend series, perhaps ever: Thank you, Marie Lu, for writing these books that will forever be held the closest to my heart and for taking me on June and Day’s journey. Thank you for writing stories that move hearts and pull tears out of our eyes. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!! Until next time!

This book was completely breathtaking and amazing! 5 Smileys!!