Book Review: Tales of the Zodiac: The Goat’s Tale

Note: I got a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, which reads as follows:


Title: Tales of the Zodiac: The Goat’s Tale

Author: P.J. Hetherhouse

Publisher: Createspace

Release Date: December 6th, 2014

Genre: Young Adult, Action/Adventure, Dystopia

Pages: 467


It is the distant future. Time has seen humanity rise and fall many times, seemingly unable to learn from the mistakes of the past. Now, on the brink of another decline, twelve people step forward to change the course of destiny. Each of them has a tale to tell…

The tales of the zodiac is a series inspired by Celtic mythology, Arthurian legend and, most importantly, astrology. Living in a time when Mother Nature has resumed control, the human race has regressed back to its feudal past. It is here, in two civilizations gripped by political intrigue and religious fanaticism, that the tales take place. We begin with Capricorn—The Goat’s Tale.

A boy of sixteen, Gruff is old beyond his years. He is a dour, dogged, determined character driven by competitiveness and his rigid moral code. Unsurprisingly, this attitude wins him more enemies than friends and, eventually, earns him the most powerful enemy of all—the king.

This royal enmity sets him on a quest that will change his life forever. With nothing but sheer belligerence, and the help of fierce companions (including Cancer and Scorpio), he defies the king and ultimately achieves an unthinkable personal victory. Above all things, The Goat’s Tale is a tribute to the indomitable soul of the Capricorn.

My First Thoughts:

Astrology, in general, doesn’t really interest me all that often. Most of the time I find it to be quite annoying actually, especially when people use it as an excuse to make terrible decisions. But I really like Celtic mythology and Arthurian legends, so I thought I would give this book a go!

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

It took me well over a month to read this book, it actually took me almost two months to read this. Granted, some of that time was taken up by a busy work schedule, but overall this book took so long because it actually drained me to read it. I had to read this book when I was in the mood and normally I couldn’t read it for more than an hour before I had to take a break. I believe in total this book spans about two years, but in the middle of reading the story it felt like it actually lasted a lot longer than that.

If you can’t tell, one of my first complaints is that this book is incredibly slow. It takes forever to get to the action or even the main objective of the story; I believe it took almost 100 to get to the very beginning of the quest and then another 20 before the characters actually set out on the quest. Even on the quest there are several pages between big points of action, that don’t even last that long in hindsight, before there’s another long drag of really nothing. When we did get to the action it felt too drawn out, and not by long fight scenes, but by the hyper attention to every single detail by Gruff. The pacing was just terrible and inconsistent. There were times when the author would spend tons of words and pages on little things, but then do massive skips in time and summarizing them in long boring passages. The author really needed an editor, if they had one then this book would be at least 100 pages shorter.

I like world building as much as the next person. In fact, it’s something that I look forward to when starting a new series. However, it is not something that I wish to drown in when reading the first book. While a lot of the world building was very interesting in this story, there was just too much of it to handle at times. As a writer, one needs to focus on the important information that the reader needs in the moment to understand what is happening and why. If there’s an adequate space for expansion, then do so sparingly and in ways that don’t hinder the storytelling. At times in The Goat’s Tale, I felt like the story was suspended to have a history lesson of the current status of the world and its people. Sometimes, it was very interesting and actually added some to the story. Other times it felt like it didn’t actually belong and the author just shoved it into the story because they wanted to show it off. There were even passages about people and places that we briefly meet or visit, but the passages were longer than the time spent in the location or with the people.

For the most part, the characters were alright. The one that gets the most ‘on-screen’ development is Gruff, which is a little bit of a shame. The story is in his point of view, so it makes sense for him to get the most development but I felt like we spent too much time focused on Gruff. The other characters that he encounters just sort of disappear and then reappear with slightly different personalities and viewpoints. For instance, there are arguably two other main characters in this story who at one point disappear for several chapters. When these characters reappear again they’ve changed in ways that don’t make a whole lot of sense. Then there are other characters that change along the journey but we’re told about it rather than shown, and I felt that it would’ve been nice to actually see these developments unfold. For someone as observant as Gruff seems to be, when it came to details regarding other people he was uncharacteristically quiet about it—and this kid had a lot to say about almost everything else.

The last thing I’ll touch on here is the conventional story structure of The Goat’s Tale. Most stories are told in the shape of a hill, there’s a rise to the top and shortly after we get to the top there’s a fall to the bottom. I honestly had a hard time telling where the ‘top’ or the climax of this story was, I can narrow it down to two events but they didn’t feel very climatic just more so than the other noteworthy events. But after those two events I didn’t feel like I was reading the falling action, or the decline, of the story. To me, after what I could argue was the climax the story just kind of sputtered until it ran out of pages. Even the ‘end’ didn’t feel like an actual ending because it was an obvious setup for the next book. If the series suddenly ends at that point then the story doesn’t make a whole lot of sense and feels uncompleted. I understand that nowadays books are written with the idea of a series in mind, but a good author ends each book like there might not be a next one while leaving unfinished threads that could expand on the story.

Final Thoughts:

This book wasn’t really for me. There were several times in which I thought about putting it down and reading something more enjoyable, but I wanted to get to the end to see how the tale unfolded. But when I got to the end I felt a bit let down. My favorite character isn’t in the story anymore, and my next favorite character I feel might not get an interesting story because of how she was handled at the end. And on top of all this, I felt like this story read more like a long-winded fantasy rather than a dystopian. If you take out any references to plastic, muskets, or anything related to technology I would’ve believed that this story was set in some sort of fantastical setting. Instead it’s a dystopian that doesn’t really read like any other that I’ve read so far, which may not be a point against it—just depends on the person I guess.

I would recommend this story to anyone who is looking for something a bit different and wants to get into a new series. While it honestly wasn’t my cup of tea, I can see how other people might enjoy it, especially if you are into long stories with a ton, and I mean a ton, of world building.



I don’t think I’d want to continue the series, especially with how this book ended. There was no real resolve to this story, just a short lull before a big lead into the next book. I don’t really care for stories that end like this, but I understand that other people are different. I felt like the narrative of this story was too long winded, I felt that I could cut 100 pages from this book and the story wouldn’t have suffered the loss. However, I’ve always been rather picky about the length of my books only a few rather lengthy ones have ever been able to hold my complete interest all the way through. For those who love long stories, this one may be a breeze for you to read. I really enjoyed a lot of the world building, but at times I felt like it was too much and could’ve been saved for other books later in the series. The characters are alright, though I found the main character, Gruff, to be a bit unemotional and extremely pessimistic. The one line of thought I didn’t care for of his, was that when he becomes maimed he views himself as an invalid due to his acquired disability. While this is an arguable thought for the setting of the story, I feel like this can become hurtful to some readers, especially since it felt in some cases that the author went out of their way to make Gruff that way.

Overall, it’s an okay story. It’s not one that I will continue, but I found the premise of the story to be quite interesting. I believe what made me not want to continue the most was actually Gruff, because I spent too much time in his head. There’s a chance that the next book will be led by a different character, but with how this one ended and with the cast so far, I doubt I can pick up the next one.

Comic Review: No World (#1)


From Goodreads:

They exist in the all-new ASPEN UNIVERSE…yet belong to NO ONE! Enter a brand-new phase in Aspen’s growing collection of thrilling series, as characters from our most critically-acclaimed titles unite—EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT IRIS, Soulfire’s MIYA, the supernatural vigilante DELLEC, along with an exciting new cast of characters come together in this altogether different story–yet one thing is certain—their respective lives are in no less danger! A mysterious conglomerate has emerged on the scene with a sinister purpose—the incorporation of pure evil on a scale never seen before! But, will this collection of unstable personalities come together as friends to defeat this new adversary—or will they instead battle as foes?! Find out in this new Aspen Comics title ready to tip the scales on everything you thought you knew about the Aspen Universe!

What I First Thought:

I bought this issue back on Free Comic Book Day in 2017. I wanted to buy a few comics from the store I was in because I was grabbing quite a few freebies, so I grabbed No Worlds. The cover really grabbed my attention and it looked like it was going to be an action packed adventure!


Art: 3/5

The art overall is alright. The pen work looked a bit heavy to me, making the lines really thick in some places. I’ve never been one for thick black lines because I feel like it doesn’t really add much to the picture and just things blockier or less sharp. I like a lot of the designs so far; some of the character designs, especially in what looks to be the next issue, look pretty interesting and fun. I could do for more diversity in body types, though, especially the women. I’m not a huge fan of the shadowing and detailing in this one so far, just because it’s very dark and I felt like it drew too much attention to certain features.

Story: 3/5

The story isn’t bad, it’s actually interesting if not a bit dark. Not a whole lot is divulged in this issue, leaving a lot of questions unanswered. You get a brief introduction to at least two of the characters, but not enough to give you a clear understanding of who they are. I know that a weird thing to remark on, but if I’m unfamiliar with these characters and I’m not given a reason to see how their story ends then most likely I won’t. However, this story intrigued me enough to at least read the next issue just because it looks like we’ll be introduced to a really fun character then.

Overall: 3

This is a bad start, I’ve read worse. I’m interested to see how these characters fit together and get along. I also want to know what kind of dystopian, end-of-the-world, event we have going on here!


Title: No World

Issue: 1

Publisher: Aspen Comics

Writer: Scott Lobdell

Illustrator: Jordan Gunderson (pencils), Mark Roslan & Charlie Mok (digital inks)

Colors: Juanchoo

Letters: Zen

Released Date: April 26th, 2017

Pages: 32

Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Book Review: The Senator’s Youngest Daughter

32073917**The views of this book do not reflect our political views or ideals. This book was provided in exchange for an honest review, which reads as follows:


Title: The Senator’s Youngest Daughter

Author: Kelley Rose Waller

Publisher: Versive Press

Release Date: October 1, 2016

Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia

Pages: 313


Senator A.C. McFerren has been missing for more than six months. The obvious prime suspect in his disappearance is the homegrown terrorist group known as the Army of Social Justice.

Searching for her kidnapped father leads Brenna McFerren Jefferson to the terrorists’ elusive “Death of Government” headquarters, known as The Doghouse. But nosing around where the federal government won’t investigate puts a target on her family and sets in motion a rebellion she isn’t prepared to lead.

Dreams of liberty cause the Senator’s daughter to disguise herself for undercover recon, recruit a high-ranking defector, and partner with a subversive news agency that combats government propaganda. As Brenna’s strength and family ties are tested, she unites a political party that commands the power to transform the United States.

My First Thoughts:

I was so excited to read this book. Dystopia is probably my favorite genre, and I especially love really political, espionage-y ones. From the synopsis, this book sounded like it was right up my alley.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

It’s taken me a long time to write this review; I couldn’t figure out what to write about it. I don’t really know if I enjoyed it or not. I found that the writing was fine. It was easy to follow and clear. The characters were developed, if a little lacking in dimension.

This story is narrated by the main character, Brenna, and I found that the narration did match her dialogue, which I appreciated. However, as a fellow teacher, I did find her hard to connect with at times. She mentions often how all she wanted was to be a kindergarten or first grade teacher, but she left because of how government restrictions were affecting the education system. Now, there are many teachers who are frustrated and feel restricted by what we currently deal with in education and there are many teachers who leave because of it. However, the teachers that talk like Brenna talks throughout the story are never the ones who do, because they know they need to be there for the students. They work with and around restrictions; they don’t normally just give up. As someone who had to fight tooth and nail to get where I am in my career, Brenna’s thoughts about teaching are almost infuriating.

Here’s the part that has been killing me about writing this review: This book reads like a republican’s nightmare about socialism. That’s not to say that I am in favor of socialism, because I’m not. When I took my “What is your political alignment” test in my government class, I was almost in the exact center. While I can see how aspects of socialism have had positive impacts in several countries, I believe there are fundamental differences between the US and those countries that make it so it probably wouldn’t work here. However, this book seems to ignore the fact that it has worked other places and that there are positive ideas in this. It also runs off of several misconceptions about socialism, portraying a more communist society than a socialist society. Politics and society are difficult and complex, but the viewpoint of this book is very simplistic and fear based, rather than a critique based on research.

Final Thoughts:

In conclusion, my feelings about this book are mixed. I was ok with the writing, characters, and overall story; this is a genre I really enjoy. However, the political situation and climate is so one sided and filled with the fearful ideas I hear constantly in the conservative place I live I found it jarring. It was hard to read, not because it was bad, but because it hit close to home.



I would recommend this book to people who don’t understand why some people cannot see “How socialism would be a benefit to society.” I think it is a very good perspective into the thought processes of people who are fearful of socialism. It is also a fine political drama, but one that I did find was so extreme it would pull me out of the story and turn me off reading it for a while.

Related Reviews/Books:


Book Review: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)


Title: Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2)

Predecessor: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Narrator: Rebecca Soler

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan Publishers); Macmillan Audio (Audiobook)

Released: February 5, 2013

Genre(s): Young Adult, Romance, Dystopian, Sci-Fi

Pages: 452

Listen time: 11hr 20min


Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second installment of the Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison- even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out that there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf,  a street fighter that may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loathe to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

My First Thoughts:

The synopsis doesn’t leave a lot of room for the imagination does it? Well, I’m hoping that this novel will be better than Cinder. People still think highly of this series and of this book, so why not?

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

Let me answer my first question from the previous section. Yes, the synopsis didn’t leave much to the imagination and gave away some of the stuff to the next book too! What do I mean? Spoiler! The last two sentences literally reveal the end of the book, the big bloody reveal, the plot twist, the major conflict, whatever you want to call it. Just like Cinder there were no surprises. None of the twists shocked me because I saw them a mile away. And my disappointment doesn’t stop there, no this entire book frustrated me.

Scarlet has to be one of the most infuriating characters that I have had the displeasure of reading about in a long time. She was a raging little girl parading around as an adult with  terrible reasoning skills and thoughts that gave me whiplash! She hates him. She tolerates him. She hates him. She likes him and feels sorry for him. She hates him. She wants to kiss his face off. She loathes him. She trusts him. She hates him. She loves him, trusts him, and defends him. All of this happens within a few days, yes a few days. The romance in this book was laughable, no real reason behind it, and takes the cake from Disney about being the fastest most illogical romance ever! And for being raised on a farm around weapons like shotguns and pistols, and having a gun license, she has no concept of how to use them properly, but is treated like she does. Scarlet was an annoying and frustrating character with no depth, no development, and no real reason to be in the book because the only point in her story was to find Cinder, which happened by complete accident.

Wolf, Scarlet’s counterpart, was less frustrating and more likable. His role in the story was predictable, his actions towards the end weren’t surprising at all, but his presence made Scarlet’s parts in the story more durable. He’s also the only male, other than Dr. Erland, that was tolerable and barely stereotypical YA male.

The other characters introduced were either annoying or infuriating or both, except for Scarlet’s only friend. I wished Emily had more in the story. Even some of the characters from the previous novels infuriated me. For instance, Kia not only pissed me off but disappointed me, he had potential. Instead, you briefly see him struggle, you see his accusations and thoughts toward Cinder, but no real reason to the changes to his thinking in the beginning or the end. Basically, Kia went from could be a round character to flat as a board. In fact, most of these characters were flatter than boards. Some of them were understandable, they were minor characters or had brief roles. The main characters, they had no excuse and Cinder was the only one with any sort of roundness to her and that was just barely visible. The character with the greatest development was bloody Iko, who is still my favorite character in the series! And any man that was presented, briefly or otherwise, was a complete pig or a loser of a human being. The only exception was Wolf, and maybe Kai (he wasn’t a pig, but maybe a bit of a loser). Every other man was demeaning toward women, disgusting, or too cocky to even try liking, sometimes a combination of the three.

After the characters themselves, it was their actions and the author’s loose grasp of reality that frustrated me to no end. That sounds a bit harsh, but it’s true. The author, therefore her characters, didn’t seem to understand a lot of basic things when it comes to weapons, wounds, or the human body. I gritted my teeth as not one, but two characters who should have both been trained in shooting, aimed a shotgun both close and long range at a person’s head! Close range, maybe you won’t miss the person’s head if the kickback doesn’t knock your aim. Long range why bother using a shot gun at all? And a shotgun, or any gun other than one with excellent aim, should never be aimed at the head when there are larger parts of the body that could still be fatal if wounded! Hell, shooting a person in the thigh may be more affective and easier to hit than their head. Then there were all the times that the characters should have suffered from serious diseases or infections because of the filth and ill-treatment of their wounds. But nothing happened when characters trekked through sewage or wrapped an untreated, not cleaned wound. The Lunars might have had an excuse, but the humans, no way. And I won’t even start on how unrealistic the wounds in this story were treated or acted or the human body, that’s a whole other rant and a half. All in all, this really bothered the scientist in me and made the story highly unenjoyable, along with all the other blunders this story had to offer.

Final Thoughts:

If you really enjoyed Cinder then you may enjoy the sequel as well. However, if you enjoy just a bit more than a dusting of science fiction or dystopian themes in your stories, then don’t read this novel. Or, if you’re disappointed when a plot becomes easy to guess then I suggest finding another book to read and save your disappointment.

I do have to say that this will be the last of the Lunar Chronicles that I will read in a very long time. If I ever see the end to my reading list, then I might consider adding the others to the list. However, I feel that I shouldn’t waste my time reading the rest of the series when I have other authors asking me to read theirs and other more enjoyable series to read.


Story: 2/5-meh

The story was barely enjoyable. The only parts that I liked where the parts that focused on Cinder. Scarlet was a complete disaster as a character. She was flat, annoying, and gave me whiplash. The romance in this story would give Disney a run for its money as being the shortest build-up and was laughable. But what hurt the story the most wasn’t the lackluster characters, the terrible romance, or the author’s loose grip on reality, but how predictable it was. Nothing surprised me, none of the reveals or plot twists, nothing. So everything else that I listed just put me in a fowler, less enjoyable frame of mind making it impossible for me to truly like this story.

Narration: 4/5

The narration to this story wasn’t terrible, I believe Soler really tried in this installment of the series. My only complaints are that I still don’t care for the accent she’s given to Americans, and her male voices need work. Some are rather good, though with more and more male characters they either sound a like or like frogs. But, I did notice that when the scenes were full of action she read them just a little faster, to give the illusion of an adrenaline rush.

Related Books/Reviews:


(Audio)Book Review: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)



Title: Cinder

Author: Marissa Meyer

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: January 3rd 2012

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Dystopian, Fairytale Retelling

Audio: 10h 8m

Narrator: Rebecca Soler



Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My First Thoughts:

I’ve heard a lot of good things about this book and I’m honestly curious. Also, while I was looking at reviews for Spinning Starlight (which I absolutely loved) I found that quite a few people accused that novel as being a copy of Cinder. I really wanted to find out for myself, see if their claims were true or not, and I enjoy listening to audiobooks, even when I’m not driving so I thought this would be interesting.

Story Breakdown:

If I gave you a breakdown of this story I would reveal way too much and spoil the whole book. I can’t even say much about the characters in general without giving away something….

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

A part of me really wants to stop picking up widely popular novels, but that would be wrong because there are novels out there that actually deserve their praise. I’m not saying that Cinder didn’t deserve the praise it got, just no all of it. While listening to the book I was constantly hit with the thought of ‘wow, this is definitely a first time author!’ After doing some research I found that I was absolutely right, Cinder was Meyer’s first novel and boy did it sound like it too.


First, I would like to say that no, this book is nothing like Stitching Snow. Why?

  1. Stitching Snow is a Snow White retelling while Cinder is a Cinderella retelling.
  2. More than one female character of all time can be a kickass mechanic.
  3. They aren’t even the same subclass of Science Fiction
  4. Their journeys are nowhere close to each other.
  5. Their characters are vastly different.
  6. (Completely my opinion) Stitching Snow is the better debut novel…just saying!


Anyways, now that that is out of the way. While the story wasn’t fantastic, it was still mostly enjoyable to read. If you hadn’t guessed from the book cover or the title, this was a fairytale retelling of Cinderella. I haven’t read a lot of retellings of that story, but this honestly didn’t strike me as super impressive.

Cinder was an enjoyable character to follow, I was a little disappointed that the author pretty much made her appearance to be pretty blank, as in letting the readers design her as they pleased. Which is fine, but can often lead to confusion. For instance, I heard that she was an Asian character and expected her to look it. However, upon getting into the actual story you find out that that’s not exactly the case. Cinder had a very Asian-esc name but she was not born in Asia, therefore there was no real evidence to lead to her being Asian, other than her name and where she lived. Which was a little unsettling, though not really a mark against the author. I did enjoy her being cyborg, which I haven’t really seen much in YA. I saw a lot of people complain that she was too human, which made me laugh because theoretically anyone with a paste-maker is a cyborg because they have inorganic/man-made material helping them live, but that’s a different topic for discussion. I actually found her cybernetic aspects to be quite interesting, especially how she used them in her daily life and how they affected her wellbeing. Cinder’s cyborg features were my favorite parts about her because I can’t really say much about her character. Sure she was a strong female character, who was very much out for herself only, and was done with how she was being treated. However, she didn’t really have any defining character traits, she just appeared to be a very classic YA heroine, very much from the cookie-cutter. She may get better as the series goes, but for her debut she fell a little short.

As for the other characters, there’s not much I can say about them. Prince Kai is very much a ‘Disney Princes’-like character with very few flaws other than being completely and utterly naïve. He’s not a terrible character, I enjoyed the parts of the story that he appeared in, but again cookie cutter. The step sisters were fine, only one of them was evil to Cinder but the one who wasn’t didn’t really do much to help Cinder…at all, but don’t worry because the step-mother made up for it. The step-mother was a work of art, in the bad way, constantly using Cinder as her scapegoat and not seeing any sort of reason, only hatred for someone who couldn’t help who she was. But, she wasn’t the evilest, no that medal goes to Queen Levana. While Queen Levana was a very stereotypical sick and twisted villain, I actually enjoyed how cruel she was to people and the means she took to get what she wanted. Her character was actually more enjoyable than most.

Out of all the characters, my favorite would have to be Iko. She was an adorable little android with more personality than everyone combined, except for maybe one other character. It may be possible that my opinion is skewed because I really enjoyed how the narrator portrayed her. However, she is definitely one of the more memorable characters and I loved every scene that she was in.

As for the story itself, it was pretty enjoyable. The world building was pretty neat, though I wish the Meyer did more of it in the first book. Hopefully, this futuristic dystopian Earth will be better explored in the next installment. While the story ran smoothly, for the most part, there were parts in the book that could have been devoted elsewhere. Basically, there were scenes that were meant to show character development and/or traits, but instead beat a dead cow with things the reader already knew or didn’t need any elaboration on. Instead, those scenes should have been replaced with scenes that showed the reader more of why there was an attraction between Cinder and Kia.

Speaking of romance, it was pretty dry. Sure there were parts of ‘aaaaawwwwww!’ but they were very few, and the romance just felt very Disney or movie-esc where after a few encounters the audience was supposed to believe that there was a valid attraction. But I ask, where was it? I honestly don’t see how Kia was smitten by Cinder or how Cinder liked Kia. Sure, he was very princely and charming and she was different than what he was used to and not fawning over him, but there has to be more to win someone over and I just never saw it! I take my romance very seriously, most of the time.

And while I enjoyed the Cinderella themes, they made the book very predictable. That was the worst part about reading, not once, did this story surprise me. I was able to guess every twist and every turn, usually chapters before they happened. That doesn’t make the writing terrible, it’s just something that Meyer needs to work on. Yes, I believe in leaving little hints for the reader to guess at the bigger picture, but most of the time Meyer was too obvious. Within the first chapter or so I knew where the story was heading, and about a third of the way I was able to guess the major reveals at the end of the book. Maybe I’m more perceptive than most. Maybe I’ve read too many books or written too many stories myself, making it easier for me to pick up on all the signs and writing on the wall. Either way, the predictability of the book made it less enjoyable than it could’ve been.


Final Thoughts:

If you enjoy cyborgs and androids in a futuristic, mildly dystopian setting than you would enjoy Cinder. If you thought that Disney’s Cinderella always needed a metal foot rather than glass slippers, or a cute little android friend rather than little animals, then look no further! Or if you’re looking for a little dash of Asian to sprinkle onto your reading list, this may be it. While it doesn’t explore Asian culture in depth, it does provide an interesting innovated setting, mixing both new technology with old architecture, style, and customs.

However, if you aren’t interested in science-fiction or retellings of fairytales, than don’t even try. If you tend to be perceptive, and hate the predictability of a book, than you have been warned and read at your own risk!



Story: 3/5

With everything said, I found this story to be average and a modest attempt for a writer’s first novel. Meyer made a lot of rookie mistakes, but with practice and time I’m sure she’ll be a wonderful author. The story kept me intrigued enough that I want to continue the series just to see how things play out in the other novels, and to see how Meyer has grown since 2012.

Narration: 4/5

I really enjoyed Rebecca Soler’s narration, she definitely made my drive back to school more enjoyable. I also loved how she portrayed Iko, I cannot stress that enough and I hope to hear more from her in the future!


Related Reviews/Books:



Book Review: Dead of Winter

Dead of WinterWARNING!!!! This review may contain spoilers for the previous books in this series! So DO NOT READ if you haven’t read the previous books! You have been warned…


Title: Dead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles #3)

Author: Kresley Cole

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers     

Release Date: January 6th 2015

Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance, Paranormal

Pages: 303


Heartbreaking decisions

Evie was almost seduced by the life of comfort that Death offered her—until Jack was threatened by two of the most horrific Arcana, The Lovers. She will do anything to save him, even escape Death’s uncanny prison, full of beautiful objects, material comforts…and stolen glances from a former love.

Uncertain victory

Despite leaving a part of her heart behind with Death, Evie sets out into a perilous post-apocalyptic wasteland to meet up with her allies and launch an attack on the Lovers. Such formidable enemies require a battle plan, and the only way to kill them may mean Evie, Jack, and Death allying. Evie doesn’t know what will prove more impossible: surviving slavers, plague, Bagmen and other Arcana—or convincing Jack and Death to work together.

Two heroes returned

There’s a thin line between love and hate, and Evie just doesn’t know where she stands with either Jack or Death. Will this unlikely trio be able to defeat The Lovers without killing one another first…?

Story Recap:

Last time on Endless Knight:

Evie and Co find themselves a new friend, Mistress of Fauna (Strength) or Lark. With control over animals, specifically a bird and three giant wolves, Lark is able to see through her animals’ eyes, and they will live as long as Lark lives. On their travels, Evie and her friends wander into the mountains, where they get kidnapped by cannibals. Inside the cannibals’ layer, they find out that the leader of the cannibals, and the one who turned them that way, is another Acrana card, The Hierophant, He of the Dark Rites. The Hierophant uses mind control to trick people into doing what he wants them to do, in this case eat other people, and as soon as they give in, they are forever under his control. After some time, the Hierophant tries to trick Evie into eating human flesh; however, Death comes to her rescue by snapping her out of the trance. Evie ends up killing the Hierophant, gaining his icon and the wrath of his followers.

As she and her friends escape the mountain, Death and Ogen show up. The Devil, causes parts of the mountain tunnels to collapse, though not before Death takes Evie away from her friends. It is then that they found out that Lark had betrayed them to Death, and helped him kidnap Evie, leaving the others to die in the mountain.

Death steals Evie away to his apocalypse-proof mansion, all the while she tries to figure out how to escape him. She almost succeeded in getting away; however, Death stops her and takes away her powers. During her imprisonment, she discovers Mathew’s betrayal: helping Death get into her head and telling him how to take away Evie’s powers. She also discovers her link to Death. The Empress is the only one that Death can touch without killing. They were lovers once, and they were even married in a previous game, until Death killed her for trying to murder him on their wedding night. Since that game he has been hunting her down, trying to see if she had changed and killing her when he found no love from her.

For three months Evie is trapped with Death, Lark and Ogen. For three months Evie tries to figure out how to escape and get back to her friends. In those three months, Death begins to see that she isn’t like her other incarnates and he starts to fall in love with her again. In those three months, Evie fights to remember and hold onto the love that she and Jack had shared, all the while she starts to fall for Death as well. After three months, Evie believes that life at the mansion would not be too bad. Until Ogen tries to kill her and Lark, causing Death to step in and steal the Devil’s icon. After that, Evie discovers that Jack has been taken by the Lovers and she is determined to save him, even if it means escaping Death.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

Holy ever loving Lord! This book was a trip!

Dead of Winter is like a runner that starts off a two mile race by sprinting, and then doesn’t really slow done, instead, at the end they just sprint the last 400-800 meters like a bat out of hell. You track runners will know what I mean! Anyways, this book starts off running. There wasn’t a recap. There wasn’t a slow build up from a jog to a run. No, this book just starts off running and doesn’t really slow down. I had the hardest time finding good places to stop so that I could go to class, do homework, or even sleep! At the end of each chapter I had to read more, to find out what happened next and sleep be damned.

If you thought the series had some pretty horrific scenes in the last book, wait till you read this one. WARNING! Dead of Winter has torture themes! I do have to clarify though; Cole doesn’t describe any scenes in which there is active torture. Instead, she describes all the torture devices, the area in which they were found, the horrible smells of death, people in the beginning stages of turning into Bagmen, all the blood and gore, but no actual torture. There’s one scene in which the reader finds a tortured individual, however, it is not that bad. Any torture that is mentioned, or even partially described, is through dialogue. I will say though, that at times I had to set the book down and just collect myself because the gore did get intense, at least for me.

As other people have reviewed, not a lot goes on in this book. Dead of Winter spends a lot of time developing the love triangle that appeared in the last book. You get to see Evie try to actually choose between Aric and Jack, and how they compete for her favor. You also get to see a lot of character development for the characters, even some of the minor ones, which was nice. I actually enjoyed reading more detail come to life in some of the other characters, and reading as bonds formed and fell. I felt like I had all the piece of the puzzle layed out, until Cole lifted up the puzzle box and threw the hidden pieces at me. Suffice to say, Dead of Winter adds some more intricacy to the plot of just ending the game.

Oh Lord, that ending though. The ending for this book is a dozy, like the top of the cliffhanger is Mt Everest level and there are birds pecking at your fingers. I’m pretty sure my whole building heard me scream in anguish and frustration. Anguish for the epic heart break in my chest and frustration that I have to wait until next July for the next installment. Whatever you do, don’t get attached to any ship!

Final Thoughts:

I’m not usually a fan of dystopias, especially post-apocalyptic ones that make humanity out to be a bunch of scumbags even in the face of extinction. I realize that we are scumbags as a species, I don’t need a reminder of the sick things that we would do to survive in a dying world. However, Dead of Winter and the rest of the books in the series are not that bad. Yes, they’re dark, and this one gets really dark, but the idea for this dystopia is rather interesting and creative.

I’m also not much of a fan for love triangles, but I have read worse. Both guys start off pretty rough and I found no love for either of them. However, as time went on through the series, especially in this book, you get to read about their transformations. No, they might not be complete flip arounds, but they are not the same assholes they started out to be. In Dead of Winter, you get to see how Evie affects them and changes them for the better.

I would recommend this book to anyone that loves dystopia, especially if they like The Hunger Games. While this book has different themes, they both still have a very gladiatorial feel to them, especially when you read about the Acrana Game origin. I would also recommend it to anyone interested in post-apocalyptic books; this one is a bit different from the others I’ve heard about.

I would not recommend this to anyone that doesn’t do well with neck-break cliffhangers, especially if the entire series isn’t out yet.



This book is going unto my favorites. While parts of it were frustrating, especially when I thought I was going to suffocate from the testosterone poisoning or the ‘steamy’ scenes, it was a pretty fun read. Well, fun in the sense that you don’t stop running until the end when the author rips out your heart and chews on it right in front of you. It was an interesting installment to the series. While yes, it did not add much to the journey, the book did add to the characters (minor and major) and the nature of the game. Some people may find this book a waste of time, but I found it to be a wonderful, if gory, reprieve from my studies as a college student. I have always loved the idea for this story, and the characters are all so interesting and different, and after dead of Winter my opinion of the series hasn’t changed.

The only reason this book doesn’t get 5/5 is because at the end I had a hard time following Evie to her ‘decision’. I think Cole built Aric and Jack up to where you felt pity (and sympathy) for both of them, and could see Evie with either. However, I think she didn’t show Evie’s train of thought clearly enough to follow, at least for those who were rooting for the other guy.

Related Reviews/Books:

Coming Soon!