Review of “The Thousandth Floor” by Katharine McGee

24921954

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Pub: August 2016 HarperCollins

New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.
Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.

A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.
Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.
Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.
Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?
Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.
And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.
Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….”-Summary from Goodreads.com

I had a lot more technical cons than pros for this book. I felt that McGee was much better at world building: she created this rich futuristic environment that was honestly super cool. But, she wasn’t so great at character development. A lot of these characters seemed 1-D, I kept forgetting who was who, and very superficial. Rylin and Eris were the only redeemable ones for me throughout. I can’t say too much about it but Leda’s personality was not super believable. Also we finally get a queer relationship, yay!!! And bi characters are super underrepresented in any fiction. There was some refreshing diversity in characters and relationships.
There isn’t really any action until at least half way through, the whole time I was reading this I just knew that all the action would go down in the last 50 pages as setup for the next book. I find that ultra frustrating, but I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy those last 50 pages. Reading it was a lot of fun.
Lastly, there was quite a bit of obvious foreshadowing. Things like in the beginning Avery says she never wants to fight with Leda because of her revenge fueled personality, and they immediately begin drawing apart. There were a lot of instances of heavy handed foreshadowing and she should trust her readers more/leave more to surprise.
I think the character problems may have been helped with less POVs. But overall, it was a fun read, and I plan on reading the second.
(Also the cover is gorgeous and the inside of the hardcover is literally liquid gold glitter.)
Advertisements

Review of “A Court of Mist and Fury” by Sarah J. Maas

17927395

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Pub:  May 2016 Bloomsbury

“Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.” -Summary Goodreads.com

Ugh. I’m not sure where to start on this review so I will start at the beginning of my expansive notes which start at the beginning of the book. Also, I apologize for the length of this review, I have a lot of things to say.

From the setup, and the way she paints Tamlin, which I’m guessing is from her spending too much time within the book that she lost a little perspective, you can tell that she does not like Tamlin. Perhaps I need to re-read the first one, and I plan to, but I do not remember Tamlin being this big of an ass. I thought he was more accepting of her fighting and tough side in the last book. Feyre so abhorrently did not want to marry Tamlin, that it took me, as a reader, by surprise.

With all that said, this is a book, that at its heart, is a story of a girl finding her freedom and finding herself. It was absolutely gorgeous and powerful. This is a book for people who have suffered from unhealthy relationships, PTSD (I’ll come back to this), and the guilt of not wanting what you once thought you needed. Maas also covers male rape respectfully, something not talked about enough. A quote that absolutely struck me right in the feels: “I realized how badly I’ve been treated before, if my standards had become so low. If the freedom I’d been granted felt like a privilege and not an inherent right.” Holy. Shit. Maas hits the nail on the head here. I know this feeling and I know that many young girls do. She no longer needed a protector or a safe life full of food, wealth and safety. She became someone else when her human body died. Yes, this was hammered into us a lot of times throughout the book, but we needed to hear it. We needed to listen.

Maas handles PTSD with stunning grace. She did her research. Feyre couldn’t handle certain colors, the feeling of being trapped, and Tamlin’s disrespect and misunderstanding of that cemented their differences. He ignored it all together.

Coming back to what I said in the first paragraph, I do think that Maas went a little far with the heavy comparison between Spring and Night court. Everything was better: the clothes, the company. While yes, accurate, the setup was a little obvious.  With that said, everyone in the Night Court was pretty fucking awesome. Also, the conversations were well-written and nothing felt like boring court politics. That is not easy.

From then on my notes devolve into “WOWOWOWOW THIS BOOK IS FUCKING AMAZING”. I mostly ran out of intelligent things to say when my emotions took over. This book, this book right here, is so much, miles better than the first. I think this made my list of favorite books of all time. You can tell she must have been planning or already done with this book when she wrote the first because pieces of the second were important in the first and vice versa. I definitely want to read some more things from her. (Based on this, she would write a good vampire! There were many similarities).

Tamlin was such a flat character, but Rhys? Rhys is incredible. Sometimes I forgot about the war building because I got so into the story of him and Feyre. Maas showed us that you can be possessive in a way that is healthy and what an honest, real relationship should look like. (The sex scenes were quite a bit for YA, seems more like new adult, not that I’m complaining!)

The ending let me down a little bit. I was frustrated because the plot buildup of this war throughout the whole book, which was secondary to her and Rhys, but still, didn’t really happen at all? I didn’t completely understand what the King of Hybern wanted. And now the whole next book will be about that again? The last few chapters felt a little rushed and confusing. It was most certainly a buildup for the next book. Which I get, but I do enjoy everything getting resolved and I’m also a little bummed at what the immediate future holds for them. Without spoiling, let’s just say things are gonna be a bit awkward? Not sure how she is going to handle certain things there. But we shall see.

Regardless of the ending, this is a truly incredible book. A female character who is strong, but wasn’t afraid to break along the way and let herself be true to what she wanted and needed. I loved it. Perhaps this holds a special place based on my experiences, but even so, the writing was excellent. What can I say? Maas is kind of a master.

Review of “Uprooted” by Naomi Novik

22544764

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Pub: May 19th 2015 by Del Rey

“Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley. We hear them sometimes, from travelers passing through. They talk as though we were doing human sacrifice, and he were a real dragon. Of course that’s not true: he may be a wizard and immortal, but he’s still a man, and our fathers would band together and kill him if he wanted to eat one of us every ten years. He protects us against the Wood, and we’re grateful, but not that grateful.”

Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted Wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.

Her people rely on the cold, driven wizard known only as the Dragon to keep its powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as falling to the Wood.

The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows—everyone knows—that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia, all the things Agnieszka isn’t, and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.

But Agnieszka fears the wrong things. For when the Dragon comes, it is not Kasia he will choose.” -Summary from Goodreads.com

This book has a few instances of violence against women. Dragon grabs her arms and quite literally drags her, to the point of bruising, and early on a prince tries to rape her. Dragon calls her useless among many other things. These things didn’t sit well with me. The Dragon was almost too mean in the beginning. That being said I am a romantic, and I still liked the buildup of them getting to know each other. I won’t spoil it but I loved loved learning his real name and the magic she felt with it.

I am aware that this book draws quite a bit from Eastern European folklore of which I’m not too familiar with (except vampires) so I don’t feel a great authority to speak on that. I’d also be interested to learn more about the language used for the magic spells!

Dragon and Agnieszka spend a good chunk of the story apart, rendering it not really/completely about them, as the sorely lacking synopsis alludes to. (Seriously that synopsis is bad). There was also a lot of uninteresting court politics in this book. It was very long and had a few different pieces to it, I think this whole world and story could have been told in more than one book (and I am not usually the person to say this).

I did like the ending, even if it did feel a little abrupt. The best part of it for me was what Agnieszka was doing, that felt real to her character. It wasn’t all about the love story and she didn’t just blindly follow Dragon, she did what she knew was true to her. I liked that.

With all that said I don’t think this is exactly my type of fairy tale retelling, there was a good amount of pieces I didn’t really enjoy. But the story is there and quite detailed, so still 3 stars for me.

Review “Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined”

Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined

Stephenie Meyer

Pub: Oct 2015 Little, Brown

26874617

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I was pretty excited about this. I love Twilight and I am not ashamed to admit it and I don’t think you should ever be ashamed to love the things that bring you joy. Yes, people have said over and over that Twilight gives young girls an example of an unhealthy relationship. To those I would say 1: it’s fiction, he’s a vampire, he’s not even human and they are often betrayed as possessive due to their animalistic nature. This was never meant to be a book about relationship advice. 2: in the foreward to this Stephenie Meyers states: “She’s [Bella] also been criticized for being too consumed with her love interest, as if that’s somehow just a girl thing. But I’ve always maintained that it would have made no difference if the human were male and the vampire female- it’s still the same story. Gender and species aside, Twilight has always been a story about the magic and obsession and frenzy of first love.” Gosh, she hits the nail on the head here. We all remember our first love. Mostly, it wasn’t healthy. It was obsessive, all consuming and tortured. You could think of nothing else and it was filled with a childish innocence and beauty. Isn’t that what Twilight does for us? I think it’s beautiful and that my life has been made better for this story.

Now, mushy stuff aside. I love Edythe…I might actually love Edythe more than Edward (shh don’t tell). She is way less broody and tortured and suffering. She is strong and she says stuff like “Try not to get caught up in antiquated gender roles” BOOM (Stephenie probably put this in here to appease us, but I still love it). There’s also a scene where Beau sees Edythe in his dreams and it’s really quite beautiful. I will say I wasn’t as attached to the other Cullen members as I was in the original series, but I think that’s due to the fact that I kept picturing them in the original. It was a little bit more confusing to keep track of everyone.

If you’re a team Jacob fan…sorry guys, Jules role is minimal to nothing. Stephenie hints at a budding friendship but this story is different. I won’t spoil it but the ending is a total surprise and is INCREDIBLE. I wish the original could have ended this way but I can see why it couldn’t (plus we would have had way less books). It’s more practical and I love it, I really do. I’m also really impressed that Stephenie kept this a secret, it wasn’t public until the release day. Considering what happened with Midnight Sun I can see why she pulled all stops and probably had legal documents alllll over this. Good for her. That is seriously difficult to do in this day and age.

I would say if you’re a Twilight fan then you definitely need to read this. If you kind of liked it but were unsure about the gender roles, read it. Otherwise, check your negativity at the door, this is a safe space 🙂

(Also I’ve been really excited to see the fan art coming out and they all make Edythe a red-head even though it’s supposed to be golden. Weird?)

 

12 Contemporary Adult Fairy Tale Books For Grown Women Who Need A Touch Of Magic

12 Contemporary Adult Fairy Tale Books For Grown Women Who Need A Touch Of Magic

This is pretty much my dream list. Which ones have you guys read? I’ve read The Book of Lost Things and can say it’s absolutely excellent. Also, how beautiful is the photo on the top of this page?

Review “Crimson Bound” by Rosamund Hodge

Crimson Bound

Rosamund Hodge

Pub: Balzer + Bray May 2015

IMG_9611

Rating: 4/5 Stars

“When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Inspired by the classic fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood, Crimson Bound is an exhilarating tale of darkness, love, and redemption.” -Summary, Goodreads.com

As much as I loved Cruel Beauty and fairytales I was definitely excited to read this book. I may disappoint by saying that it wasn’t quite as good as Cruel Beauty. Of course, this could be because I have a soft spot for Beauty and the Beast.

Let me start off by saying that Hodge still kills it with her beautiful world building, lush language and picture painting. Girl kills it. I even missed my train stop because I was so engrossed in it. Also, once again a beautiful embossed hardcover and jacket.

One of my only issues with Cruel Beauty was that I felt that some of her characters needed work, especially the second-level or background characters. Going into this book I felt that way but towards the end I changed my mind. I thought that Erec was multi-layered and so was his relationship with Rachelle. A mark of good character building (hello Orange is the New Black) is when the writer makes me change my mind more than once on how I feel about them. I definitely felt this way with Erec ad Rachelle. Towards the end you realize that Rachelle doesn’t always make the right decisions, that she’s flawed, and I love that. She’s human (well, not really). Without giving away too much, at one point she tells Amelie that she couldn’t have gone on without her, that she would have given in to the forest. And as a reader, I believed that.

A big gripe I had was the summary. This is compared as a re-telling of Little Red Riding Hood…but it isn’t. At all. I think they may have taken this angle to sell more books, but she really doesn’t need it. The forest and perhaps her aunt’s cottage were the only similarities. Some parts were a bit trippy and filled with odd creatures that reminded me of Alice in Wonderland but overall this stands on its own. Not to mention the summary didn’t even include Erec, who was pretty important… I also enjoy reading her acknowledgements because she always lists inspirations.

Crimson Bound had less musings on humanity and life lessons than Cruel Beauty but here’s one quote I liked: “This is the human way, she thought. On the edge of destruction, at the end of all things, we still dance. And hope.” (Hodge, 383).

Overall, I recommend and will continue to read her beautiful books. Any thoughts?

Review of “Cruel Beauty” by Rosamund Hodge

Cruel Beauty

Rosamund Hodge

Pub: Balzer + Bray Jan 2014
IMG_9064

 

Rating: 5/5 Stars

Graceling meets Beauty and the Beast in this sweeping fantasy about one girl’s journey to fulfill her destiny and the monster who gets in her way-by stealing her heart.

Based on the classic fairy tale Beauty and the Beast, Cruel Beauty is a dazzling love story about our deepest desires and their power to change our destiny.

Since birth, Nyx has been betrothed to the evil ruler of her kingdom-all because of a foolish bargain struck by her father. And since birth, she has been in training to kill him.

With no choice but to fulfill her duty, Nyx resents her family for never trying to save her and hates herself for wanting to escape her fate. Still, on her seventeenth birthday, Nyx abandons everything she’s ever known to marry the all-powerful, immortal Ignifex. Her plan? Seduce him, destroy his enchanted castle, and break the nine-hundred-year-old curse he put on her people.

But Ignifex is not at all what Nyx expected. The strangely charming lord beguiles her, and his castle—a shifting maze of magical rooms—enthralls her.

As Nyx searches for a way to free her homeland by uncovering Ignifex’s secrets, she finds herself unwillingly drawn to him. Even if she could bring herself to love her sworn enemy, how can she refuse her duty to kill him? With time running out, Nyx must decide what is more important: the future of her kingdom, or the man she was never supposed to love.” -Goodreads Summary

God, was this book beautiful. Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite fairy tale, albeit the Stockholm Syndrome-esque and feminist issues…god I love it. Maybe this is why I like vampire novels so much…but I digress. I included a photo of my book jacket and the hardcover underneath it which I was enamored by the embossed rose on the front. Both covers are absolutely gorgeous. I apologzie for the longer review than normal but I believe this is one of my best.

I honestly don’t have any complaints about this book, and I’m sure that’s hard to believe. I guess it kind of fulfills everything I’ve ever liked about a book since I was a little girl. I even feel as though I wasn’t able to fully appreciate it. Hodge draws so much from Greek mythology as well as she lists inspiration from T.S. Eliot Four Quartets and C.S. Lewis Till We Have Faces, and embarrassingly enough I am not familiar with any of the latter.  (I also love that her name is Nyx, which of course is the goddess of Night personified. This is something we see in House of Night novels.

On top of the traditional Beauty and the Beast story-line it also reminds of “Once Upon a Time’s” Belle and Rumpelstiltskin. Ignifex is commander of demons and shadows and also the deal maker. He makes deceiving deals with those desperate enough to call upon him.  However, I found this really interesting as he remarks that humanity as a whole is very selfish and believes that what they want is so important and that they deserve it so much, they believe they can afford the price and that it’s their right. Is that not true? Are we not a highly individualistic society who is told that whatever we want is attainable? Ignifex is less a demon and more the bearer of the truth.

Hodge does some beautiful world-building, as the castle is this labyrinth of magical and twisting rooms and hallways. Not to mention that the world they live in, Arcadia, has been sundered and has a parchment sky. It’s Beauty and the Beast in a fantastical realm.

There are some great themes coursing through such as duty vs. destiny, family and honor, you are more than your duty and what others have made you out to be. Although repetitive, I enjoyed the idea that her and her sister just smiled at each other and pretended to fit into their role of dutiful, loving/sheltered sister and duty-bound, strong, fearless sister.  I didn’t have many feelings towards her father or her aunt. They were background pieces and he was fool enough to wager away his daughter and wife. (Although the idea that he chose the daughter who looks more like him to atone for his sins was an expert move on Hodge’s part).

It was beautiful that Ignifex loved her for her wickedness and the parts of her she couldn’t control. Overall, an enchanting, richly told novel. My only gripe, honestly, was that they were always falling and tumbling over. Somewhat comical at some point. But anyway, Hodge certainly has skill and this book can be enjoyed by an older audience with an appreciation for Greek mythology.  I completely recommend this one and I can’t wait to read her others, though I think this one will hold a special place in my heart because Beauty and the Beast ❤

Any thoughts?