Thursday, October 23, 2014

[Review] The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead

Description

Title: The Immortal Crown
Author: Richelle Mead
Pages: 448
Series: Age of X #2
Publisher: Penguin
Date of Publication: May 26th, 2014
ISBN13: 9781405913584
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.

Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.

Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.


Age of X-Trilogy
2. The Immortal Crown
3. Untitled


My Thoughts

I find it difficult to write about what I thought about this book. I immensely enjoyed the setting, although at times I kept thinking "Really? A Sci-Fi world with religion and gods in the mix?". I mean, that's not something you see every day. Maybe that's why it works so well for the Age of X trilogy. But then Justin and Mae travel to Arcadia and ... oh boy.

Aside from them not keeping religion and state separate, they also have very... interesting ideas of how women should be 'kept' and treated. It basically boils down to men keeping women as more or less their slaves (housework has to be about as hard as possible to build character, concubines can be sold, men can buy multiple wives, etc.) while at the same time keeping them under lock and key, most of the time either in long dresses or even completely veiled (which I assume is a reference to the burqa). While I didn't find the cloistering very nice, obviously, I realise it's a common practice today and I'm not going to comment further on that. I'm aware that most women who wear a burqa are likely not treated like the Arcadian women.

But back to the plot! Aside from small ventures into Tessa's point of view (which were boring and not exactly relevant to the bigger picture) the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. I'm not very familiar with nordic gods and goddesses, but I thought everything was well done concerning them. Nehitimar - the god the Arcadians are subscribed to - on the other hand felt very one-sided. He was at one point described as "only taking, never giving" and it seems unlikely to me that such a big populace would believe in such a god. Well, and then there is the last god that is revealed. We don't know much about his involvement yet, but I have a bad feeling about this.

What I don't have a bad feeling about, however, is where this story is going. To me, this book is ten times better than Gameboard of the Gods and I enjoyed reading it very much. I'm definitely looking forward to the as-of-yet untitled third book!

Rating

Buy It

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Thursday, October 9, 2014

[Review] Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Description

Title: Eleanor & Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Pages: 325
Series: //
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Date of Publication: April 12, 2012
ISBN13: 9781250012579
Source: Bought
Format: eBook
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.


My Thoughts

The first book of the Summer Reading Book Club! I've had Eleanor & Park on my 'To Read'-list ever since I finished Fangirl a few months ago. I just really enjoyed Rainbow Rowell's writing and while I'm not usually one to enjoy romance-only books (I like myself some supernatural) and I'm also not really a fan of the 80s, I just thought... why the hell not.

It took me maybe five chapters (they're pretty short) to get into it, but then... WHAM. I just couldn't stop reading it, even though I should really get on with City of Heavenly Fire ... the longer I wait, the liklier it becomes that someone spoils the ending for me. But I just couldn't put Eleanor & Park down!

I enjoyed all of the characters and found them very believable. Especially Eleanor and her sad past. She was a little bit dysfunctional maybe, and I thought she was a bit... too defensive at times. I was bullied at school, I know what that can do to you. And if you add that to her good-for-nothing-mother and her... interesting... stepfather, I can see how it changed her.

Park is just... a dream. I can't imagine that he had it very easy, being half white, half asian in the US in the 80s. The book doesn't really touch on this, which I think is a missed opportunity. It could have been really great to add racism and the potential backlash of a "mixed race" relationship to Eleanor & Park. Especially since Park's parents would probably have been able to relate and to help.

But nevertheless! The speed with which I read a book is usually a supreme indicator of how well I liked it. That's definitely true in this case. Sigh. That ending. I'm not sure if i'm satisfied with it, or if I think ... well. No, I do think it's right. Maybe. You'll have to read it for yourself.

Rating

Buy It

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

[Review] City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

Description

Title: City of Heavenly Fire
Author: Cassandra Clare
Pages: 733
Series: The Mortal Instruments #6
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Date of Publication: May 27, 2014
ISBN13:
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
ΕRCHOMAI, SEBASTIAN HAD SAID.

I am coming.

Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance?


The Mortal Instruments-Series:
1. City of Bones (not reviewed)
2. City of Ashes (not reviewed)
3. City of Glass (not reviewed)
4. City of Fallen Angels (not reviewed)
6. City of Heavenly Fire


My Thoughts

Oh man, I'm so attached to this series/universe, you don't even know. I keep telling myself: Stop. Clare is going to write a bajilion sequels/spin-offs and whatnots and you do not want to go through that. You don't. But alas... sigh. When I started reading this, I was a bit ticked off that the main characters for her next spin off (The Dark Artifices) were introduced in the prologue of City of Heavenly Fire. Aside from some... strange... wordings, it did pull me in immediately, all annoyance aside. We get glimpses at Julian and Emma all through this book, probably in order to make the readers get attached to her new series...

But back to this book! Up until a certain point, I was feeling a little "meh" about it. People rushing from left to right, some killing, some evil things, some betrayal... it all ties together well, don't get me wrong. But it lacked something that I can't quite put my finger on. It might have been Magnus's absence for most of the book, since he's definitely the character I enjoy the most. Instead of making him a centerpiece, he was somewhat of a damsel in distress... but oh well.

Otherwise, though, I'm satisfied with the conclusion of the series. I have a feeling we'll get more information about what happened to the characters in spin offs like The Dark Artifices, but even if we don't, I feel good about how it was handled. I liked all the references to The Infernal Devices, which you probably only get if you've actually read that series, but they don't give anything away, I think. So kudos!

Now, I'll probably check out the spin offs.... sigh. But as you can maybe tell, I'm growing a little tired of this universe. It's well-crafted, etc. etc. but I wish Cassandra Clare would just write something new and refreshing and stop giving her characters different appearances and plopping them into different wars...

Rating

Buy It

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