Graphic Novel Review: Giant Days vol.1

Synopsis:

Susan, Esther, and Daisy started at university three weeks ago and became fast friends. Now, away from home for the first time, all three want to reinvent themselves. But in the face of handwringing boys, “personal experimentation,” influenza, mystery-mold, nu-chauvinism, and the willful, unwanted intrusion of “academia,” they may be lucky just to make it to spring alive. Going off to university is always a time of change and growth, but for Esther, Susan, and Daisy, things are about to get a little weird.

First Thought:

I found Giant Days in a hole in the wall comic book store near Asheville North Carolina. I enjoy supporting small businesses and this brightly colored book grabbed my attention. So I decided to pick it up because it was about normal girls going to college, no superheroes or monsters, just the normal stressors of life and school. Some say it sounds boring, but I wanted to give it a try!

Overall Opinions:

It took me a little while to figure out that this story isn’t set in the US. I had a sneaking suspicion that this story took place somewhere in Europe, my leading guess being England, until it was confirmed by the mention of currency (£). Once I realized that the story was set in England, then the humor started to make more sense.

This story tries to explore the friendship between unlikely friends their freshman year of college by using humor. To a portion of Americans the humor in this story might go completely over their heads or they might not think it so funny if they’re unfamiliar with British comedy. As for myself, I thought the humor was very light hearted, nothing to cynical. However, there were some jokes that revolved around references that I wasn’t aware of and therefore didn’t understand the joke or what was going on. For the most part though, the humor was very light and fun to read. Nothing that busted my gut due to uncontrollable laughter, but good humor that made my day better.

I enjoyed exploring the friendship between Susan, Esther, and Daisy. These girls were an unlikely trio (a sheltered girl, a goth, and a tomboy) of loyal friends and their relationship was shown very well within the story. I would have preferred to see how they became friends, I think that would have been wonderful character development and background, but I understand that the story had to start somewhere more exciting first. There is a little background of the girls, but it’s so brief for Daisy and Esther that you don’t get much of their story. Instead, you get more into the background of Susan, and specifically her relationship with McGraw, which is full of tension.

Romanced is also explored in this volume. Esther is oblivious to the guy that likes her, they’re great friends but she doesn’t know his true feelings for her. I wanted to see more between Esther and Ed, he’s a cute dork of a guy and it would’ve been interesting to see where their friendship went. However, Ed plays a bit of a background role in this volume and helps to move the plot forward, but not toward Esther. The relationship that is more explored is between Daisy and Nadia. Daisy is a bit new to love, she doesn’t know what her preferences are and she’s never tried to figure it out until she meets her more adventurous new friend Nadia. The new girl is into partying and taking drugs to have a good time, nothing too hardcore (yet), and she takes Daisy on some of her adventures. Susan and Esther are cautious about Nadia, but they give Daisy advice when asked and they try to watch out for her. The relationship between Nadia and Daisy isn’t heavily explored, but I’m sure there will be more to them in a later volume.

Last thing, I really enjoyed how Giant Days portrays college. College is such a cluster of different personalities and youths trying to explore who they are. It’s also full of nasty people and terrible obstacles that no one should have to jump over anymore. Giant Days explores the insensitivity of some guys who use the internet for their own gain at the expense of others. It also shows how archaic some of the higher-ups are when it comes to sexual harassment and the internet, while illustrating more creative ways at getting revenge without breaking the law or making things worse. I also enjoyed how feminism can suddenly become a rabid beast and hurt those who actually want to stand behind and empower women. I’m all for feminism, but current feminism makes me sick and I see it attack the men in my life who have been my biggest supports (some even bigger supporters than the women in my life). In Giant Days a joke is taken too far and a real gentleman is attacked and hated because young girls target him under the name of feminism; he wasn’t even aware of the joke played on him and the girl who played it didn’t think it would get that out of hand. Anyways, I saw that little bit of the story as a way of showing that feminism, while a good thing, can be turned against those who don’t actually oppose it and want to support it instead.

Ratings:

Art: 4

The art style reminds me of other stories by BOOM!, like Steven Universe and Lumberjanes. Overall, I really enjoyed the art but there were some things that just didn’t thrill me. For one, there were a lot of extra lines in various places. For whatever reason extra lines would appear below the characters’ eyes when they were surprised, embarrassed, angry, tired, sick, etc. I could understand the latter two, because it gave the characters a very badgered look that fit their mood. But what happened to showing a character blushing when they’re embarrassed? All the extra lines made the art look a little sloppy and rushed, drawing me out of the story at times. The background also wasn’t very consistent, sure the general idea stayed the same but the texturing changed from barely there to hyper detailed between single pictures. Other than that, I really enjoyed the character designs of main, secondary and background characters; it really reminded me of college and the wild people I see there. The colors were pretty good too, mostly bright but subdued colors that looked very natural.

Story: 4

The story was well written and the characters were interesting to follow. Allison did a good job of introducing the characters quickly. Within the first few pages you got a good feeling of who each of the girls were and their friendship. I would’ve liked to have had more background into each character and how the girls met and became friends, but this was a pretty good start as well! Some of the comedy either went over my head or just didn’t sound all that funny to me, but that’s something everyone will determine for themselves. Overall the story had a nice flow and made for a nice relaxing read after a rough day.

Overall: 4

I would highly recommend this story to anyone in college or entering college soon. There are some mature subjects mentioned in this story, but honestly it’s probably nothing an average American high school student wouldn’t know. But for those a little squeamish talking about sex and sexuality, this book might not be for you just yet. Honestly, I wish I was able to read this my first year of college!

Details:

Title: Giant Days

Volume: 1

Issue(s): 1-4

Publisher: BOOM! Box

Writer(s): John Allison

Illustrator: Lissa Treiman

Colors: Whiteny Cogar

Letters: Jim Campbell

Released Date: November 24th 2015

Pages: 128

Genre(s): Slice of Life, New Adult

Book Review: On Their Way

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

Details:

Title: On Their Way

Author: A.D. Green

Publisher: self published

Release Date: June 3rd, 2016

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic

Pages: 275 (eBook)

Synopsis:

On Their Way centers on the ordinary, but confusing modern-day lives of two close friends in their mid-twenties who find themselves on an unexpected journey to Spain.
Meet Ella – she is perceptive, creative, cerebral, loyal, opinionated, full of dilemmas, and torn between decisions, people, places and life trajectories. Meet Will – he is stubborn, free-spirited, witty, sarcastic, and a writer. The novel offers a glimpse into their lives before, during and after their trip.
As the story unfolds we follow how they change, what they resolve, and how they handle the consequences of their choices. It is a story about friendship, finding meanings, self discovery and moving on. The characters search for understanding, take new chances and realize that you cannot await happiness but have to step into the unknown.

My First Thoughts:

I haven’t run into many New Adult books that I’ve liked, and the ones I did enjoy were actually mislabeled. So when the author presented me this book and called it New Adult, I got rather excited. I don’t normally go for many contemporary romances, but it sounded like a coming of age story and so I gave it a try.

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

It took me months to finish this book and by the end it was a bit of a chore to finish. Yes, that’s a harsh thing to say but this book frustrated me to no end the more I read it.

The beginning was hard to get into. I understand that it’s supposed to be just-another-day sort of feeling, but if I wasn’t asked to read this book then I would’ve put it down before the end of the first chapter. Nothing interesting happens during the first few chapters, or better yet there should’ve been drama but it felt hollow because I didn’t understand why or what was going on.

We’re introduced to Ella first, who already has her masters in Criminology and is checking her email for job/interview acceptance (mostly rejection) messages. She complains about roommates you never meet and don’t seem to actually exist within the story before she’s scared by a previous lover, who magically entered the house without her knowing. She’s angry to see him there and they keep referencing something that happened between them years ago, but the author doesn’t tell us what it is until much later. This kind of writing pisses me off, to be frank, because I spent more than two-thirds of the book wanting to know what happened to them not out of interest for the story but to understand Ella’s hostility. When I do find out what happened between Victor and Ella it was so underwhelming that I almost gave up on the book right there. The author spends so much plot time referencing this one thing only to reveal it too late in the game for me to really care anymore and the impact was barely a tap. But for Ella this one thing shaped her for all of her college years, blah-blah-blah, and she couldn’t move past it. I get that she’s supposed to be sympathetic, but her character was the least likable for me and I felt nothing for her and her plights.

In fact, none of the characters were likable. Victor, who was a minor character, was a controlling and lifeless individual. Will, her best friend, is some pompous guy that has a thing against authors and self-help books. There’s this whole arc that deals with his failures and stuff, but I felt no compassion for him and not enough time was spent on it to make me care. Ella was also rather pompous, and when I say this I mean that their dialogue between them and others made me imagine their noses high in the air, and her actions made absolutely no sense what’s so ever. Out of all the characters, I liked Will the most because he was less of a jerk.

The dialogue in On Their Way felt so unnatural that it was almost robotic, but set to modern old English. All the characters, except Victor, took so long to say something so simple that I almost forgot that they’re supposed to be closer to my age than older adults. The conversations were also really dry, at times almost completely unnecessary, as if the author didn’t know how else to get to the next scene. Most of the time the dialogue was the only thing that propelled the plot, which weakens the story all together. I learned the most about what was going on from the dialogue and not Ella’s inner thoughts that she kept sharing. The big reveal/decision that she makes at the end came up suddenly in dialogue instead of gradually coming to that decision in her thoughts. The author told me that Ella thought long and hard on her decision and the plans she made, but I didn’t read a single word of that progression. Instead, I got useless ramblings that amounted to nothing. I was told more than shown what was going on, which is what led to much of my anger with this book and what killed any enjoyment I had reading it.

The other thing the angered me was the unrealistic nature of this book. I labeled it as realistic fiction, but I was half tempted to mark it as a science-fiction story instead because the author had no concept of time. The author kept switching back and forth about how many days had passed and how many more days Ella had. Hours passed in a blink of an eye even though nothing really happened during that passage of time.

The author also used this story to bash authors and airport security, all through the boring conversations between Will and Ella. According to the characters, anyone can be an author but few can be writers, which made me laugh because I believe the exact opposite. Will also takes way too much time spitting on authors of self-help books and the whole genre as a whole. Why? No. Idea. Then when they go through security to go to Barcelona, Ella takes the time to criticize airport security because they took her laptop aside and checked it. This actually happened to me before, it was no big deal and it may be possible for electronics to be made into explosives. Normally I don’t care what the author wants to speak out against in their novels, but this was all the action in the beginning-exciting, right?

The romance was the worst thing that I’ve ever read and it lead to my dislike of Ella. The reason I hated it was because in any other scenario, Ella’s actions would’ve lead to another Taken movie with Liam Neeson. She sparks an interest in a hotel bartender, okay that’s fine. She doesn’t ask for his name, they don’t even introduce each other before the first several dates, and she made it into some sort of game…Sorry, what? That can be hella dangerous not knowing anything about a person, not even a phone number, before going out a not one but several dates. She doesn’t even tell Will, her best friend and only known person in a foreign country, that she’s going out or with whom. Her actions in this romance were nonsensical and ill-advised, again in rea life she would be in serious danger of being kidnapped and sold into the slave trade.

Finally, the relationship between Ella and Will was barely there. They have all these memories and inside jokes, but they don’t act like friends. They spend hardly any time together on their trip, which was a gift for their birthdays, and when they do they’re jerks to each other. Will willing leaves Ella by herself in a foreign country, even brought her to a small town only to ditch her. Ella lets Will run off and be alone during some critical moments for him, when he’s in a pretty dark place. Overall, reading their interactions lead me to think that they were best friends at one point but are more like acquaintances now.

Rating:

1/5

Honestly, I have nothing good to say about this book. I’ve tried so hard to come up with something positive to say, but I haven’t found a single thing. The dialogue was a chore to read and propelled the story forward. The action wasn’t really there, the characters just floated in space for most of the story. None of the characters were interesting or relatable, so I couldn’t bring myself to invest in them or feel for them. The romance was infuriating, boring, and dangerous. Ella’s inner monologues were trivial. The tone and language of the story drew me out of the plot more times than in. There wasn’t a whole lot of imagery are descriptive passages. Overall the story was boring and frustrating, with the author spending all their time tell me what was happening instead of showing.

Related Reviews/Books:

COMING SOON!!!

Book Review: Empire of Storms

empire-of-storms

Details:

Title: Empire of Storms

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Previous: Queen of Shadows

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens

Date Released: September 6, 2016

Genre: NEW ADULT, Fantasy, Romance, Action/Adventure

Pages: 693 (Hardcover)

Synopsis:

The long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those who don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

What I first Thought:

So I’ve been waiting for this book for almost a year and the wait almost killed me. I made sure that I got this book the day it was released so that I could read it before the spoilers started pouring out all over the internet. I was actually driving back to school that day after a long weekend of packing, and I added an extra hour and a half to my drive time so that I could go to Barnes & Noble. I actually almost didn’t get it that day, because the B&N that I went to didn’t have the books out, even though their computer said it was displayed in the YA section. I was so mad because they’re usually pretty good about getting popular books out on the day of the release, but I ended up finding the book! It was just lying on the help desk, all by itself in a random stack of books, so I grabbed it and bought it. My expectations were pretty high, fueled by the wait and excitement; I absolutely love Maas’s work!

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

WARNING: When reading this book, I suggest you find a seatbelt and strap yourself to whatever surface you’re reading on. And please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times!

You think I’m kidding, right? No seriously, do yourself a favor and buckle yourself in for the adventure, it is one fantastic thrill ride!

Sarah J. Maas took my expectations and laughed at them as Empire of Storms stomped them into the ground and used them to lift off into space. Translation: the book was bloody fantastic and went way above what I had expected. Typically, I find that when I read long series, normally having more than three books, the later books are much weaker than the first ones. However, Sarah J. Maas has broken that norm for me. I have found that as this series progresses, it gets better and better with each book that Maas rolls out! Her writing, world, and characters improve with each installment and she leaves me craving for more and more.

This book is definitely going onto my favorites’ shelf. There are way too many reasons as to why it belongs there and why you should read this book too. I won’t be able to list everything, but I’ll try to sum things up as best as I can. And I apologize in advance if I ramble and this becomes rather long-winded!

What I love most about Maas’s stories are her characters, whether they’re main characters or minor ones, they’re always well done. This book is no different. The characters from book one are still developing, becoming more and more rounded as their journeys unfold. Her newer characters are developing beautifully as all the character storylines converge. The interactions between the vastly different characters are realistic as well. Maas shows that the stress and death is really putting a strain on the characters and their relationships. The novelty of this grand adventure pretty much disappears as the story progresses, as the characters realize just how impossible everything seems to be and how unlikely their story will end happily.

There were times in which I could see where Maas wanted to go with the story, accurately predicting certain events and character reactions. However, there were still many turns that I didn’t see coming and I enjoyed the good few shocks that I had. I thoroughly enjoyed the details and events that I saw resurface from previous books, riddles and passing words finally taking shape and making sense in this installment. I believe that this really shows how long Maas has been planning this series and that she knew what she wanted to do with it from the beginning.

I’ve also really enjoyed how much Maas has expanded her story. If she wanted to, she could just stick to Aelin’s point of view and the story would still be entertaining. However, she chooses to tell this story from more than one character from different sides of the major conflict, which really helps to round out the story more. She decides to show you what happens on the different sides instead of just telling you why something happened or that it happened. Some stories don’t really need that kind of coverage, but I think it really works out for Maas’s series, especially for Empire of Storms.

The action in Empire of Storms is non-stop, there’s hardly a break between each conflict our characters face. For some people, this may be a deterrent because it doesn’t give them enough time to absorb anything. It’s possible people might find the action too much, wanting a lot more substance between each major action sequence. For myself, I enjoyed the pace of the story and the amount of action written. If Maas added more ‘substance’ between the big sequences then the book would probably be close to 1000 pages. I wouldn’t mind a book of that size, but I’ve heard people complaining about the current books being too long already.

Last thing, I have to rant a little. This book is listed as a Young Adult book, however, I have to severely disagree with that listing. Growing up, YA never really touched on sex. Sure, there were times when it would briefly mention that the characters had sex or the main characters would talk about it. There were even times when the reader would just assume that the characters had sex based on their previous actions. But YA never really had sex scenes, and Empire of Storms definitely has sex scenes that might not be appropriate for some readers. The few sexual scenes aren’t nearly as detailed as erotica or the cheesy romance novels, but it’s more than causal too. I have no problem with these scenes, but I feel as if the marketing category should be changed to New Adult instead.

Final Thoughts:

This book defied all expectations that I had. It was absolutely fantastic and the more I read Maas’s new work, the more impressed I am with how far she’s come.

If you were on the fence about Queen of Shadows read this book! Continue the series, because Empire of Storms answers so many questions and really does a wonderful job of moving the overall story along. You’re emotions will be toyed with, there may be tears of laughter or sadness, or both. It’s an intense read that won’t be easy to put down, I know I had issues getting the motivation to go to class a few times. I don’t suggest people starting this book if they know that they’ll be busy for an extended period of time.

If you really loved Queen of Shadows, then what are you waiting for? Clear your calendar, pick up the book, and dive right in! Don’t be shy! And start reading before the spoilers find their way to you and ruin your experience!

If you’ve never read the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas are have been intrigued by my review, please pick up the series. The first book may be rough for you, but by Empire of Storms you’ll understand where I’m coming from. Also, it’s a good series to dive into if you have a lot of time to kill reading!

Rating:

5/5

I absolutely love Sarah J. Maas’s writing, she’s one of my favorite authors at the moment, and this book is going onto my favorites list. Her characters have grown up so wonderfully, they’ve made me laugh, smile, and cry as I’ve followed their development. The interactions between the various characters were entertaining and very believable, especially as the danger really started to push in on them. I’ve been able to predict specific events, but I’ve still been surprised more often than not, which thrilled me to no end! Again and again I’ve been impressed with Maas, and she has yet to disappoint me!

Book (and Audiobook) Review: A Court of Mist and Fury

A Court of Mist and Fury

Details:

Title: A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2)

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (book), Recorded Books (Audiobook)

Release Date: May 3rd 2016

Genre: New Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 624 (hardcover) 670 (paperback)

Narrated by: Jennifer Ikeda

Read time: 23 hours and 17 minutes

Synopsis:

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.

My First Thoughts:

I was pretty surprised by how much I liked the first book, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and I was intrigued by how Maas would continue the tale. In the previous book she left things pretty wide open, Feyre with new possibilities and a few loose strands that never got tied up. I think that made me the most excited, and willing to read this book, was one of the final scenes in the previous one: the odd departure of Rhys from the balcony before everyone left the mountain. That scene alone made me want to read the sequel.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

Boy am I glad that I decided to listen to this sequel! The first book wasn’t terrible, not my favorite from the author, but the world and characters were interesting enough to keep me reading (or listening in this case). As sequels go, Maas did a fantastic job with A Court of Mist and Fury! Everything that I loved in the first book, the characters, the world, the history, the intriguing new species, all appeared in this book and were expanded way beyond my hopes.

The book is over 600 pages long borderline 700, the audio is almost 24 hours, and I never got bored once. Sometimes, especially when it comes to long fantasy stories, that’s really hard for an author to pull off. But Maas was able to spin a story full of romance, intrigue, history, character development, and action that kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time!

A Court of Mist and Fury was full of so much creativity that I marvel and wonder about how strong her imagination is and what it’s like to be in her head. If you thought her other series or the previous book had a lot of description, then you’ll be in for a surprise. I would have to guess that about 30% of the book is pure world building, either with physical descriptions, various clothing styles of the courts visited or visiting, various new species, and history, so much history. While some people find all of that to be boring, I absolutely loved it! If an author creates a new world never thought of before, then I want them to describe to me what they created and what they see. I find the story more enjoyable if I can submerse myself in the history, either of the lands or people, or of the characters themselves, so that I can truly understand the reasons behind their various actions. Maas also does a fantastic job of making the various mentioned courts unique, and even some of the cities and places visited in each. She makes each place memorable and easy to create within your own mind, which can be difficult for some authors or some just don’t bother. And sure, there were several paragraphs dedicated to clothing description, especially when the characters dressed up, but I actually enjoyed that too. I enjoyed “seeing” what various courts wore, or what the various characters wore as well, and in some ways Maas used the clothing descriptions as foreshadowing or used them to show character growth. And don’t get me started on her fae species, I could talk for several more sentences or even paragraphs about that part. But in short, Maas doesn’t really use a lot of the more common Fae in her stories, sure a few of them show up, but she also uses some of the more obscure ones or even creates some of her own, which I believe is a mark for her creativity.

As much as I love Maas’s descriptions and world building, I love her characters even more. With this installment of the series you get a whole new cast of characters. Some are brief but still impressionable, while others are more lasting and surprisingly quirky. I didn’t know how I felt about some of the new characters, I disliked some at first and by the end there was only one that I still disliked, and for good reason apparently! Each new character is not quite unique, but memorable. They each have their own little quirks, the things that get them riled, and their own history, even if it is brief. But the interactions between the various characters was the best part. Maas used their interactions to really show who each of them were, and even used it as growth for some of the main characters from the previous book. They were funny, some were rather snippy, angry, or sad, but all the interactions seemed realistic, not forced, but natural and smooth.

In my review of the previous book I talked about how much I enjoyed the character development in the story, especially of the more minor characters. Well, Maas did it again and absolutely delighted me with the great and small character development of both main and minor characters. I could really see how the characters felt for each other and how their relationships changed as they went through more and more together. And it was the little things too that added to the development, not just big scenes or action or events. Sometimes the little things played a bigger role in the change than the larger ones.

In the first book I liked Feyre, but I didn’t love her as much as I hoped I could. In this book, I grew to love her more than I ever thought I could. I think she had the most development in this book and her character tickled me pink! I’ve seen other authors put their heroines through traumatic experiences, ones that would totally change and damage a person, but then in the next book their completely fine, no mental damage, not change in personality, nothing. Maas doesn’t do that with Feyre. Instead, Maas shows you a broken, beaten young woman who did everything she could for those she loved, and still lost so much of herself that the repercussions were great. Maas shows the consequences to Feyre’s psyche do to her trials at the end of the previous story and it’s the first time that I feel like an author portrayed PTSD beyond the stereotypes and quick Google searches. And it’s because Maas understood how broken her heroine would be, that I grew to appreciate Feyre, especially when she realizes what has happened to herself and she tries to change it. Because of her PTSD, which is never actually named in the story, Feyre had the biggest character development of all and one that I felt wasn’t forced either. Even broken, Maas showed her heroine to be strong and not in a butch or bitchy way.

I was not a pet, not a doll, not an animal. I was a survivor, and I was strong. I would not be weak, or helpless again. I would not, could not be broken. Tamed.

The last thing that I will talk about here is the story itself. If I could rename the book it would be either A Court of Plot Twists and Drama or A Court Internal Squeals and Fangirling, either would be perfectly fine, in my opinion…Anyways, this book has so much drama that it’s dripping off the pages. Now, that’s not a mark against the book, on the contrary. A Court of Thorns and Roses, in my opinion, didn’t have a lot of action or real plot for most of the book, it read more like a collection of experiences within a few months. It was a set up book, fine. A Court of Mist and Fury, however, was the book I was hoping the other one to be. There was so much action and tales of adventure that actually lend to the plot of the story. When there wasn’t action there was drama, so much drama, but it was fun and interesting, it sounded so real and I could actually understand where the drama came from and why. And the plot twists, most of them I didn’t even see coming until right before it happened or not at all. Now, I normally pride myself in figuring out big reveals and twists before they occur, that’s why I get really excited when I’m bested by an author. Maas is a worthy opponent, and her twists had me squealing and screaming to the point that I believe my family thought me mad. Some of them were small, others colossal, but none of them made me sit there and question why they occurred. Once they revealed themselves I was able to go back and actually see the clues, the subtle signs, and the reasoning behind the characters’ actions. All in all, this story was fantastic from the little details to the big scenes, from the minor, small characters to the main characters, from description and history to the big and small reveals.

Final Thoughts:

I would recommend this book to those who loved, or even liked or barely liked, A Court of Thorns and Roses. This story is so much fun and much, much better than the previous.

I do have to say though, while the story was 30% descriptive, I’d say it was also 60% plot and 10% sex. Yea, there’s a lot of sex and sexual tension in this book, or at least, more than I was expecting for a ‘Young Adult’ novel. And it went into much more detail than I was anticipating as well, it wasn’t briefly mentioned, no there are actual scenes within the book and they went a bit more beyond than what they did in the previous novel. However, the scenes are not quite on the same level as Adult novels or the famed ‘Adult Romance’ novels. So for anyone with younger children, don’t let them read this book unless you’re comfortable with that. I don’t believe that books have specific ‘ages’ but they do generally target a specific audience, and if you’re an adult with a child that wants to read this book or series, seriously think on that. In reality, this book belongs in the New Adult category with a target of older teens and 20 somethings, but it can be read by anyone comfortable with the violence, gore, and sex.

Rating(s):

Story: 5/5

A Court of Mist and Fury is bloody fantastic! I had so much fun listening to it and it kept me up late at night, on the edge of my bed. It was everything I wished its predecessor was and so much more. It’s 600-700 pages, or 24 hours (listening time), of pure fun, drama, romance and intrigue. And with the ending, which wasn’t really a cliffhanger more like a bookmark in a longer story, I’m already dying for the next installment. I can’t wait to see what Maas does with this story or her characters, and I can’t wait to see what hell Feyre will bring to the world.

Narration: 5/5

As before, I absolutely loved the narration by Jennifer Ikeda. She might have been the first to narrate a story to me as an adult, but she is by far my favorite. I loved how she brought the characters to life, and even her male voices weren’t too bad. She was able to craft her voice in such a way that their various personalities showed through as she spoke for each character. Her reading was neither slow nor fast, but it never kept the same rhythm. If the story demanded action then she read a little faster than normal, if the characters were thinking then she drew out there thoughts a little, giving time to appear as if they were slowly putting the pieces together. All in all, she did a fantastic performance of the book and she will always be the voice of Feyre, even if I may read the book myself.

Related Reviews/Books:

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Book Review: Fangirl (Audiobook)

Fangirl

Details:

 

Title: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: September 10th 2013

Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Pages: 445

Audio: 12 h 49m 0s

Narrators: Rebecca Lowman and Maxwell Caulfield

 

Synopsis:

 

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

 

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

 

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

 

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

 

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

 

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

 

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

 

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

 

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

 

My First Thoughts:

 

A lot of people seemed to really enjoy this book and I wanted to see what all of the hype was about. The cover was absolutely beautiful and I loved the pastel coloring, so I thought: Aw hell, why not? I enjoyed listening to my first audiobook and this one was pretty lengthy, so I thought it would be perfect for the several multiple hour drives I was doing within the week.

 

Story Breakdown:

 

The major theme within this book is Coming-of-Age, in which Cather has to decide through trial and error just what it means to be ‘more adult-like’. Cather must realize what’s important for her future and what’s less important, and the middle ground between the two. This is a very classic theme found in many Middle Readers and Young Adult books. However, because Cather is in college and in that between stage of teenager and adult, I would say that this book is more of the New Adult category, simply because psychologically she’s in that stage of development. If you’re interested, I’ll be uploading a post at some point explaining New Adult as a category in more detail.

 

Cather is the perfect character for a Coming-of-Age story simply because she’s on the fence between two stages of her life and development. Cather is also a character who faces something a lot more people are realizing that they face as well: anxiety. Anxiety is such a broad term and can be applied to many aspects of a person’s life, such as social anxiety, testing anxiety, travelling anxiety, etc. Because the term is so broad many authors, it seems to me, don’t really approach the subject or declare a character to have it, even in some cases in which readers can identify clearly the signs of anxiety within that character. That’s fine, however, Rainbow Rowell

Created Cather with many of the ‘common’ forms of anxiety and used them to both hinder Cather and make her achievements more admirable.

 

Wren, however, is the exact opposite of Cather. She doesn’t suffer from anxiety, instead she’s ready to find new adventures and try new things. Wren’s story, though not the main focus, also follows the Coming-of-Age theme as she tries to find the right balance and place for her in college.

 

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

 

This book didn’t live up to the hype for me. Fangirl was extremely interesting and was very enjoyable to read. However, there were parts that frustrated me to no end.

 

What really makes a book enjoyable is the main character and their journey. To me, Cather’s journey was entertaining and a bit stimulating, but Cather was a different story. Cather was one of those main characters that I loved and hated at the same time. I was ecstatic that she had anxiety and that she wrote fanfiction because I’ve never read a book in which a main character had a mental illness, or that wrote fanfiction. Rowell did a fantastic job, I my opinion, portraying someone with a form of anxiety. Granted, every person with anxiety is different, no two people who have anxiety suffer in the same ways. With that said, Rowell did well to make Cather’s anxiety very generic and recognizable so that other readers may relate. However, there were times in which I wanted to strangle Cather because her actions and mindset really frustrated me to no end. For one, I did not agree with her on what it means to be a fan in fandom and two, her ‘information’ was extremely one-sided and wrong in places. But again, all my opinion.

 

Wren was a fine enough character, though I can’t say that she was more likable. I did, however, enjoy seeing her turn around and where her journey took her development. I would have to say that my favorite character in their family was their father. Rowell tackled another mental illness that is left out of literature, most of the time, and is mostly not talked about in media. Bipolar is something that surprisingly a lot of people suffer from, including a lot of actors, actresses, and other celebrities, and it’s usually linked to people with high levels of creativity. Again, Rowell created a character with a disorder not many people talk about, that character is Cather’s father. By giving Cather’s father, a very creative individual in a job that demands creativity, bipolar Rowell shows how a person may live with that illness and who it affect them and their family. With that said, I loved their father. He sort of reminded me of some of the people that I know who are bipolar, and I was glad to see that he was made out to be quirky, but normal. I also loved listening to the interactions between him and his daughters.

 

I realize that I actually liked the male characters more than the family ones this time around. It’s a little unusually, because naturally female writes portray women better in their novels, while male authors portray men better. There’s honestly nothing wrong with that, authors write what they know, and the most convincing characters are usually the same sex as the author. This time though, I found the female characters to be more frustrating than the males, and I liked them way better. With that said, I really enjoyed reading/listening about Levi. He was an interesting character that was definitely the flip-side to Cather. I also liked that he wasn’t a complete ‘good guy’, he was really nice but made his own mistakes too, it made him more human. And the romance wasn’t bad, it was actually pretty light and kinda cutesy. I enjoyed seeing Cather branch out some and figure out what she likes in a relationship, it’s definitely something not all people take the time to do. The romance was also unusual, totally normal by my definition, but it didn’t follow the normal equation for Young Adult/New Adult romance, which was refreshing.

 

From what I’ve read, not a lot of people enjoyed the extra Simon Snow inserts at the end of each chapter. I actually really enjoyed those little bits at the end. I don’t really have a particular reason, maybe because I had a male British-American reading them to me and I absolutely adore accents. Either way, I really delighted in listening to those extra parts at the end of each chapter, and they actually convinced me to get the companion novel Carry On.

 

Final Thoughts:

 

If you’re interested in contemporary romance, witty dialogue, and diverse characters this book may be for you. If you get bored by character driven stories, i.e. stories with no real main action/quest, then you’ll get tired of this book pretty quick. There’s no real ‘adventure’ it’s more of a psychological journey, or character development/character maturity driven story, rather than this is the goal and these are the steps the character has to take to get there. I don’t normally read these kinds of books, but it was a nice break from what I normally read.

 

Also, if you’re very sensitive about what it means to be a ‘fangirl’/’fanboy’ you may love or hate this book. Personally, I don’t agree with Cather’s, or Rowell’s for the matter, idea of what it means to be a ‘fan(in in the blank)’ of anything. In my opinion, their ideas are a bit one-sided and honestly a bit ignorant. I believe myself to be a fangirl of many things and I have been raised, quite literally, by people of multiple fandoms so Rowell and Cather’s ideas of what it means to be a fan actually angered me from time to time. However, I’ve seen other people who completely agree with their ideas, so it really depends on the person.

 

Also, if you’re sensitive about mental illness, specifically anxiety and bipolar, read with caution. This book was not written to showcase and explain the two, but instead tried to show two (mildly) functioning individuals and how they fell and came back due to their illness. I believe this book tried to show how people with mental illnesses can still function within a society, unlike a lot of characters in various media forms, even when they ‘fall’ and that they can live pretty normal lives.

 

Rating(s):

 

Story: 3.5/5

 

The story was enjoyable and kept me entertained for a while, but it didn’t strike me as ‘Oh wow!’ like everyone else. It fell short of my expectations, which was a little bit of a bummer, but it was definitely worth reading. Cather didn’t completely win me over, but her dad and Levi definitely made up for it. The romance was cute and refreshing, nothing like what I have been reading lately, which is a little depressing on my part. The Coming of Age journey that Cather took was interesting to follow. However, this will not be one of the first books that I’ll be recommending to my friends anytime soon, but I’m definitely eager to read the companion novel.

 

Narration: 4/5

 

At first I was a bit confused as to why there were two narrators, but due to my inexperience with Audiobooks I thought nothing of it. I actually enjoyed listening to the two narrators, it was refreshing, especially during the monotonous drives, and it allowed me to distinguish from the story and the various Simon Snow inserts. I thought Rebecca Lowman did a fantastic job bringing her characters to life, and I really enjoyed how she portrayed the male characters. Maxwell Caulfield also did a fantastic job setting up the atmosphere in the various Simon Snow inserts; I loved how I felt like his voice was transporting me into the made-up Mage Universe.

 

Related Reviews/Books:

COMING SOON!!!

Book (and Audiobook) Review: A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses

Details:

Title: A Court of Thorns and Roses

Author: Sarah J. Maas

Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s

Release Date: May 5th 2015

Genre: New Adult, Romance, Fantasy, (possibly a retelling-ish)

Audio: 16 hours and 8 minutes

Reader: Jennifer Ikeda

Synopsis:

When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world.

As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.

My First Thoughts:

In all of my readings I have yet to find a book that retells or uses the elements of Beauty in the Beast well enough for me to enjoy. Yes, I have read Crimson Beauty and I will be posting that scathing review at some point. Anyways, I decided to give this book a shot because I’ve enjoyed Sarah J. Maas’s writing in her other series and I love original lore faeries (not Tinker Bells). I just so happen to also be doing a lot of driving, with visiting back home and my boyfriend, so I finally decided to get audiobooks to listen to during the long road trips. This was the longest audio that I could find that I also wanted to read, so two birds with one stone.

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

Overall this book was pretty fun and beautifully written. While I didn’t fall in love with this book as hard, or as quickly, as her other series Maas did a wonderful job reeling me into this story. As I have said before, up until this book I had yet to read a story that really impressed me by using the themes from the original Beauty in the Beast. This book, by far, is the best compared to all the failures that I have read in the past, and let me explain.

First, this book never proclaimed to be a fairytale retelling of Beauty in the Beast. Once a book advertises that it’s a reimagining of a story, no matter what fairytale it is, you are guaranteed to upset a lot of fans of the original fairytales or the Disney versions. Disney was never the masterminds of their popular Disney Princesses, their stories came from all over the world from centuries before Walt Disney was ever even an embryo. However, these versions of the fairytales are what young readers are most familiar with, so many retellings will only retell the Disney version of the story, angering fans of the originals and angering other readers by their lack of originality. On the flip side, books the retell the original gruesome stories recorded a few centuries ago anger fans of the Disney films because the books are vastly different from what they were expecting. The Lesson: Don’t market a story as a retelling, in the end someone is always upset. A Court of Thorns and Roses never advertised that it was a retelling, but used some of the themes from The Beauty in the Beast, which in my opinion, allowed many readers, including myself, the ability to identify it as a totally different story.

Now, what themes from The Beauty in the Beast can be found in A Court of Thorns and Roses you may ask? Well the biggest is the forced imprisonment of the heroine Feyre. Her imprisonment is through no fault of her family, like in many previous stories, instead it’s her own punishment for a crime she committed. Now, I was a little disappointed that there was no mention of Stockholm syndrome, however, I was happy that it was not love at first sight and that the relationship within the story was a slow burn. Another major theme borrowed from the fairytale was the heroine’s ability to see past the superficial characteristics of “The Beast” and fall in love with his personality and who he was as a person. The last major element that the story used was the idea of a “curse” that transformed the love interest into the “beast”. However, I was rather impressed with how Maas used this theme but made it into her own thing. She ‘cursed’ her love interest, who already had natural beast-like characteristics, by magically fusing a mask to his face, allowing Feyre to see only the bottom half of his face. And the ‘curse’ the Maas crafted was a very clever one that wasn’t the easiest to guess at before she revealed all aspects of the curse to her readers, and there was no cliché idea of using a beautiful plant to count down the days until the curse was permanent. Other than those three major themes, the rest of the similarities that I found with the original were rather minor.

 

The rest of the story was brilliantly crafted by Sarah J. Maas. I loved how she started using faeries in her original series, Throne of Glass, and I was absolutely giddy with the faeries she used in this story. Many ‘fey’ that popular books use nowadays are very elfish or Disney Tinker Bell, some cases their a little larger. However, Maas uses faeries that are very similar to the ones found in Celtic and other Old European folklore. Her faeries are very animalistic, some being highly majestic while others being the things of nightmares. It was a lot of fun to try and imagine what these faeries looked like as she described them to us, and each species had their own unique characteristic and caste. I loved how dark the story got in places without being too terribly gruesome in the imagery and how she kept true to the relationships between the humans and the fey from the old legends.

 

I really didn’t know what to think of any of her characters at first, even the main ones, because they were all a bit rough in the beginning. However, over time Maas really fleshed them out and gave each of them distinguishing characteristics. One thing that I have noticed with Maas’s other series, is that she doesn’t just show character development in her main characters, a lot of the minor characters have taken great strides as well and this book isn’t an exception. The biggest character development that I saw, and that surprised me, was actually with one of her minor characters that ended up having a profound effect on Feyre. A lot of stories that I have read mainly focus on the main cast, which is perfectly fine because minor characters are usually made to be static and contrasting to the major characters. However, I’m always impressed when an author shows growth with their minor characters, whether they’re in a series or a single book, because they stick out better in our minds. Granted, a lot of characters stayed a bit static but Sarah J. Maas has at least another book to round those characters out if she wanted too.

 

The story itself was really fascinating to listen to. The author did a wonderful job building the story’s world, giving it some geography, lore, and history as well. Not only did she create a human world, but also a faerie world that included its own beliefs and traditions. A major development in the story even surrounded a celebration that was loosely similar to some of the old Celtic traditions. And a lot of the last part of the book played into some of the fey traditions and characteristics. Maas created two vastly different worlds that were only separated by a magic wall, one with the diluted traditions of the other. One thing that I noticed, that I found to be rather loud, was that the more animalistic of the two societies was also the most religious and bound by honor.

Final Thoughts:

I didn’t really have a lot to say about the characters themselves like I normally do, but that doesn’t make them any less interesting. For instance, I fell in love with Feyre because she wasn’t a dandelion of a heroine, but a self-supported woman that was strong while not being too haughty to ask for help. The interactions between the characters were a lot of fun to listen to, but the thing that stuck out to me the most was how Maas really fleshed some of them out, even the more minor characters.

I labeled this as a New Adult book because Feyre is a lot older than a lot of Young Adult heroines. She also goes through a different stage of life and general obstacles that a lot of Young Adult books don’t get into right away. Also, the book has sex, which is occurring more often in newer YA books, however, this story goes into more detail but not as much as Adult books. It’s nothing major, but it was really awkward when I arrived to that scene while driving back to school one weekend. My face got rather hot and I was thankful no one was in the car with me.

If you really enjoy reading fantasy, especially with more old traditional faeries, then this book may be a lot of fun for you. The romance is a slow burn, once it gets going though it speeds up a bit, but not enough to make you sick. There is sex, but not a lot, so you’ve been warned. The story is also a bit darker in some places, just because the faeries are usually rather dark and cruel themselves. The world building in the story is rather thorough for the first book in a series, so if you enjoy reading the history and lore that influences the characters then you’re in for a treat. And if you’re looking for a book that isn’t necessarily a fairytale retelling, but still uses the themes from a popular fairytale then this book is right up your alley. Also, if you enjoyed Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series, then you may enjoy this story as well. While A Court of Thorns and Roses is a different story from her original series, there are many similarities in writing style and story telling that I loved from the latter in the former.

Rating(s):

Audio: 4/5

I really enjoyed listening to this book. I haven’t been read to in a while so it was weird and disorienting at first, but I got into the swing of things pretty quickly. This story was great to listen to while taking long drives or doing a bunch of house work, just because it’s so long. Jennifer Ikeda did a fantastic job trying to capture the personalities of each character as they spoke. While it was hard for me, personally, to distinguish between the various male roles at first, she did a fantastic job fleshing out the characters with her voice.

Story: 4/5

Personally, I did not enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed Maas’s first book, Throne of Glass. However, on its own, A Court of Thorns and Roses was captivating once the story picked up. I was fascinated by the lore she created and the faerie lore that she used, specifically naming some of the more common fey species. I enjoyed listening to the story and its characters, how they changed and interacted. I also enjoyed the mystery in the book. Maas liked to leave little bread crumbs until the big reveal, some of the mystery and riddles I was able to solve, other caught me by surprise though. All in all, a fantastic fantasy that combines the word of Faeries and some of the elements from The Beauty and the Beast.

Related Reviews/Books:

COMING SOON!!!

Book Review: Predestined

PredestinedWARNING! This review contains SPOILERS, if you haven’t read Existence then don’t read this review!!!

Details:

Title: Predestined (Existence #2)

Author: Abbi Glines

Publisher: self-published

Release Date: March 26th, 2012

Genre: Young Adult (maybe New Adult???), Paranormal, Romance

Pages: 247

Synopsis:

You would think after helping save her boyfriend from an eternity in Hell that things would go back to normal. Well, as normal as life can be when you can see souls and your boyfriend is Death. But for Pagan Moore, things are just getting weirder.

The high school quarterback and reigning heartthrob, Leif Montgomery, is missing. While the town is in a frenzy of worry, Pagan is a nervous wreck for other reasons. Apparently good ‘ol Leif isn’t your average teenage boy. He isn’t even human. According to Death, Leif doesn’t have a soul. The quarterback may have skipped town but he’s still showing up in Pagan’s dreams… uninvited.

Dank has known from the beginning Leif wasn’t human. But he hadn’t worried about a simple soulless creature. Now, he realizes he made a grave mistake. Pagan’s soul has been marked since birth as a restitution, to a spirit so dark not even Death walks near it. Dank knows saving Pagan’s soul won’t be easy but Pagan is his. And he’s already proven he’ll defy Heaven to keep her. If Hell wants a piece of him too, then bring it on.

My First Thoughts:

I honestly forgot I had this book until I looked at the bottom of my TBR stake and found it there. Since the first one was fun to reread, even though the story was slightly flawed and simple, I decided to continue the series!

Overall Thoughts/Opinion:

What the f*** did I just read? If you read the review that I did for the first book I mentioned that it would have been better with an editor. That’s not the case for this book. Oh no, this book needed to go back to basic grade school English for some grammar lessons! While reading I was tempted to fix all of the mistakes with a red pen, however, I thought better of it when I realized that I would make the pages bleed…And yes, this book sadly had an editor listed, but apparently they didn’t know how to use the most basic commas (or verb tense in some cases). So this editor wanted to eat grandma instead of telling her to eat (You know: ‘Let’s eat, Grandma’ instead of Let’s eat Grandma)!

Aside from the grammar this book was a train wreck that got worse as the pages went on. The story started out fine, until the author explained what Leif was and who the bad guy of this tale was going to be. All I’m saying is that Voodoo is the big baddie in this story…Yea, voodoo. But it’s okay, because Pagan is dating Death himself and no one messes with Death, right? Wrong, they mess with Dank and time and time again he makes the same mistakes that lead Pagan into getting herself into trouble!

For a being that probably existed at the beginning of humanity, Dank is a dense character. He’s cocky, which gets Pagan into trouble, and he doesn’t learn from his mistakes. He also has an issue controlling human emotions such as jealousy and rage, especially when Pagan is concerned because even though she won’t leave him he still gets pissy when another guy even looks in her general direction. In this installment, Dank’s character development went downhill fast, which can happen, however, his character lost all sympathy from me. Also, his name is too ironic, Dankmar is an old name meaning famous for his spirit. Glines, do you need to hit it on the nose any harder?

Pagan got really annoying in this book. Her character is very static. She didn’t change any from the last book, her attitude didn’t change, and there was no character development what’s so ever. A piece of cardboard probably has more dimension and character to it than Pagan. By the end of the book her character screamed Mary Sue to me, and honestly, I would not have shed a tear if her soul ended up trapped in Hell forever.

Leif wasn’t any better. Like Dank, his character development took a turn for the worst. In a nut shell, he is a weak, ball less, and stalker-ish Voodoo spirit or something. Yea, big softy that felt bad for causing Pagan to almost die is weak and psychotic. Again, Glines really doesn’t like noses because Leif’s name is like Dank’s. Leif has Scandinavian origin, coming from Old Norse meaning heir. Though why a voodoo spirit would give their child a name from a different race (with a totally different belief system) is beyond me!

And don’t get me started with Voodoo being completely evil and blah, blah, blah! Again, this author seems to have no research capabilities to save her life and relies solely on stereotypes (By the way, I did a search on Ghede and found serval important voodoo figures with that name). She uses tiny details here and there, stringing them together like the stereotypical whack-job conspiracy theorists on TV, you know with all the random pictures on a tac-board connected together with red string. Anything about voodoo in this book made my eyes bleed. All the scenes that pertained to voodoo made me want to stab this book with sharp pins like a voodoo doll. Glines also doesn’t have a concept about biology, specifically about genetics and skin color…

The minor characters were so much more interesting than the main characters. Honestly, if she wrote a story about Miranda and Wyatt I would probably read it because I loved those two more than Pagan and Dank! However, Pagan’s mother I could have done without. The mother did something big and awful and Glines barely touched on it. The mother should have been beside herself, possibly becoming suicidal for what her actions did to Pagan. Instead, the subject was blown up and then left on a back burner, like the author didn’t know how to write the mother’s reactions and decided not to bother with it.

Finally, the main fight scene was a total let down. The author built it up and up for a good chunk of the book, only to have a show of muscle be what saved Pagan. Yea, this scene put the final knife in this book. It was disappointing, infuriating, underwhelming, and actually a bit sexist. All around, it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Final Thoughts:

This book tried too hard to break out of its Young Adult shell to be a part of the New Adult genre. With that said, this book is not for the faint of heart. There are some crude things that the author briefly describes, but gives enough information for a detailed mental image.

The main characters of this story were unredeemable in every way, and Pagan is as flat as a piece of paper between two marble slabs. The minor characters (for the most part) were the shining light of the book. Glines can’t write from the male perspective or do intensive research on her subjects. The author also can’t seem to write realistic reactions from her characters. The dialogue was horrendous and half-done, like the research. The main battle was underwhelming and the story ended with a prom scene and graduation (oooooo, exciting!).

Also, the title of this story makes no sense. Predestined literally means determine (an outcome or course of events) in advance by divine will or fate. The only ‘divine will’ in this book with that kind of power, as the author has set up, would be this faceless Creator mentioned a few times. However, this Creator is as useless as an oxygen tank for a fish underwater. There’s nothing about this character that screams divine, or powerful. Instead, they’re a wishy-washy character that is empathetic, even when it’s their curtains getting pissed on by the voodoo spirits. Instead, this book should have been called Restitution.

Rating(s):

1.5/5

Predestined had a few shining aspects that were completely muddied by the rest of the book. I enjoyed the minor characters and the concept of souls and soulmates. However, the rest of the book drove me insane. The grammar was horrendous, even though it had an editor listed. If I gave this to one of my English teachers the book would’ve come back bleeding with a pen stabbed through the back. The research for this book was half-assed, the dialogue for the New Orleans characters was hard to read, and the book had enough plot holes to give Dr. Who a run for its money. Overall, this book has ruined any chance of me finishing the series. I just can’t do it. Abbi Glines, I wish you luck in the future, however, I doubt I will ever chance reading one of your books again to see if you’ve gotten better.

Related Reviews/Books:

Existence