Friday, July 31, 2015

Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton

I have read a few DNF review of this book.  I can see where they were coming from.  The beginning of this novel is shrouded in secrecy, but I think that works to it's advantage as well as the whole point of the magic encompassed in the book (it is by nature, very mysterious to be a seeker).  There is not much by the way of plot in this novel.  But that does not preclude a good rating.  I actually loved this book in both world building, magical concept and the real kicker: character.  I loved the character development in this story and cannot wait to see where they end up in the following books.  They were both realistic and flawed (often difficult to do in magical settings).

Final Recommendations:  if you like unique magical semi-steam-punk settings, a variety of intriguing characters, bad guys who are not entirely bad & good guys who are not entirely good, if you are not totally concerned about plot development

Friday, July 24, 2015

Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

This is the book that would result if "Rich Kids of Beverly Hills" had a baby with "The Divinci Code" and "Mission Impossible."  I know that seems biologically impossible, it is, and in parts this book was impossibly convoluted but, as a whole, it was not entirely unreadable.  For starters, I read a lot of fantasy.  Which is a precursor for "I'll believe anything once."  But even I had a hard time believing a lot of things these rich and powerful kids got away with.  That being said, this was a very action-packed thrill-ride of a book.  It had the swoony romance thing down and some pretty decent twists and turns.  But there will still a lot of things that were left unexplained.  I probably will pick up the second book just to see if many of the unanswered questions are clarified.

Final Recommendations: if you like action & adventure, secret missions, swoony strangers, secret society that can basically do anything they want

The Heir by Kiera Cass

Really, you should not start here if you have not already read the previous installments to Kiera Cass' much beloved Selection Series, as this is basically the same book as the previous 3 but with a new cast of characters.  Cass draws out the seemingly meaningless Selection for Eadlyn Shreave (the daughter of King Maxon and Queen America).  There is a lot of hemming and hawing as Eadlyn wants nothing to do with it.  It does have many of the bright spots that its predecessors possessed: chock full of romance, some silly/funny moments, but it lacks a lot of the endearing moments that we, as the readers were afforded under America's point of view.  Because basically (and I stand by this although many of my middle school girls would disagree), Eadlyn is unlikable.  She is whiny, self-absorbed and pretty clueless in many respects.

Final Recommendations: if you loved the Selection series, bratty princesses, a bit of romance, vague conflicts that go nowhere, world building that is on the fringe, or if you are a 13 year old girl

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh

This one was a slow start for me.  I teach ancient history so the concept immediately jumped off the shelf for me (a retelling of the 1001 Nights from the point to view of Shahrzad).  It started slowly though, with so many characters and so many regionally specific names and words (there's a glossary in the back), it might be recommended to be read on your Kindle of ease of access.  But while it did start slowly, the intrigue, excitement and romance pick up the pace about 1/4 of the way into the book.  The result is magical.  The foreign landscape is refreshing.  And the constant secrecy will keep you guessing til the end, and event then, leave you wanting more.  Also, the stories within the story are just as good as the main plot (this lady can weave a tale).

Final Recommendations: if you like epic romance, super-secrets, DELICIOUS description of of foods and exotic locals, and a sprinkling of magic