DNF: Ink and Bone  My Thoughts: Six of Crows My Thoughts: A Darker Shade of Magic My Thoughts: Quake

Monday, December 26, 2016

Book Alert: The Dark Prophecy, By Rick Riordan!

Once we get the full cover this article will be updated
  • Release Date: May 2 2017
  • Series: 5 books
"Zeus has punished his son Apollo—god of the sun, music, archery, poetry, and more—by casting him down to earth in the form of a gawky, acne-covered sixteen-year-old mortal named Lester. The only way Apollo can reclaim his rightful place on Mount Olympus is by restoring several Oracles that have gone dark. What is affecting the Oracles, and how can Apollo do anything about them without his powers? After experiencing a series of dangerous—and frankly, humiliating—trials at Camp Half-Blood, Apollo must now leave the relative safety of the demigod training ground and embark on a hair-raising journey across North America. Fortunately, what he lacks in godly graces he's gaining in new friendships—with heroes who will be very familiar to fans of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Heroes of Olympus series. Come along for what promises to be a harrowing, hilarious, and haiku-filled ride. . . . "-Goodreads


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

My Thoughts: The Speed of Darkness, by Catherine Fisher

25893169Paperback: 400 pages

Publisher: Hachette Children's (May 3 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1444926322
ISBN-13: 978-1444926323
Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 19.7 cm

"A great storm brews out at sea and batters the Devon coast, flooding vast swathes of land. At Wintercombe Abbey the preceding weeks have been spent in a ferment of experimentation, as Jake Wilde's father, David and Maskelyne work furiously on Operation Leah. They have been practising changing tiny events in the past, in preparation for the rescue of Venn's wife Leah from death, the culmination of their work with the Obsidian Mirror. But in the aftermath of the storm, the Abbey is a drowned house. Where is the Mirror? What has happened to the two halves of the Janus coin? Whose is the mysterious boat wrecked up on the nearby beach? And what plans of mischief and mayhem lay in store for Halloween - the day chosen for Leah's return? Riddles and mysteries unfold in the spellbinding conclusion to The Obsidian Mirror quartet." - Goodreads

The Speed of Darkness marks the end of series that expertly blended Sci-Fi, with historical fiction, and folkloric fantasy, in such a way that fans of either come away with the story they want. But as with the conclusion to any story involving time travel, the real question is how well did the author handle inherent time paradoxes? 

The answer is, indirectly as possible. Its obvious after finishing the the Chronopitka Quartet that time travel runs more on an "emotional" logic, than actual scientific logic/rules. A fact that may send some sci-fi purists into rage-induced fits of book shredding. Though for me at least, the delightfully vivid writing of Catherine Fisher distracted me from a considerable amount of the plot's shortcomings.

"It is not wise for a mortal man to gaze too long into the darkness. He comes to see strange shapes and cold imaginings. He comes to doubt all that he once held true."- SOD

Quibbles aside, The Speed of Darkness was a entrancing read, with many detours (Or "Scenic routes" I Should say) that were at times equally or more interesting than "Operation Leah". Through these deviations the reader gets to witness the End times with the likes of Jake Wilde and the Venn's, which are some of the books most visually intense moments.

We also receive a back story for Janus, finally, and I can say its every bit as shocking as I hoped it to be. The reveal really ties into the general theme of the Obsidian mirror, which of course, I now can't say without spoiling the surprise!

It's sad to say goodbye to such an engrossing series, but its much easier when you feel all the loose time threads have been tied up - When you feel satisfied that whatever tale you've purchased has been given a proper sendoff. And for that peace if mind, I have to thank the author.

My Rating: 4.1/5

Sunday, February 14, 2016

My Thoughts: The Tattooed Heart, by Michael Grant

  • Series: Messenger of Fear (Book 2)
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (September 22, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062207431
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062207432

"The games continue in New York Times bestselling author Michael Grant's sequel to Messenger of Fear—a haunting tale for fans of Stephen King that combines fantasy with real-world horror stories.
Mara has learned to punish the wicked as the Messenger's apprentice. Those who act out of selfishness and greed, and others who become violent because of prejudice and hate, pay the ultimate price. But Mara is constantly reminded that Messengers are serving their own kind of punishment—for every person who is offered justice, they wear a tattoo that symbolizes the heart of the crime. As Mara delves deeper into her harsh reality she will discover that in spite of all the terror she and Messenger inflict, caring in this world is the hardest part of all." - Amazon
My Thoughts:
Alright. I've gone through many iterations of this review, but the bottom line is that although The Tattooed Heart, is considerably better than Messenger of Fear, it still falls into some of the same trappings. Namely, utilising too many hard-to-describe and subsequently, hard to visualize feats of magic, and a few stilted metaphors. Like this one for example:
"I have caused the world to rewind, to advance at half the speed to accelerate as though reality itself was just Netflix on my laptop."

On the other hand, it did improve on some of the things I didn't like about the first entry, and by that I mean expanding the mythology and the story behind why the Messengers exist. Michael Grant has worked up a beautiful origin-story prose in the form of a Tome Mara reads that's sure to be a treat to readers, as well as a semi-fleshed out appearance by the goddess of balance herself - Isthil. No doubt, these scenes were among many intriguing "I-cant-stop-now-one-more-page" moments contained in this novel.

Additionally, The Tattooed Heart brought an exciting and revamped "theme" with it - the spread and ripple effects of hatred. Mr.Grant's take on this subject matter through both Messenger and Mara is topical, honest and to some individuals, probably controversial. Which is too say, I loved it. Moreover, I also relished the way Mara "Min-Messenger" became a little more self aware, noticing similar traits between herself and those she was punishing, and in a sense, still holding herself accountable for her part in Samantha Early's suicide. Hatred can be caused by many things, and it was nice to see a character that on some level recognized her own, comparable sins.
"She reminded me of an earlier guilt, of Samantha early, the talented young writer that I -yes, I-had cruelly driven to suicide. Maybe I saw too much of myself in Nicolet"
Now according to Goodreads, a third Messenger of Fear Book is planned. Is it needed? No, I think one can quit the series right here and be nearly fulfilled with its conclusion. But having the way The Tattooed Heart ended, I'm sticking around for the ride.

My Rating: 3.9/5
Take a peek at the trailer for book 1!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

My Thoughts: Six of Crows, By Leigh Bardugo

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Lexile Measure: HL790L (What's this?)
  • Series: Six of Crows
  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (September 29, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1627792120
  • ISBN-13: 978-1627792127

"Ketterdam:  a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone..

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. 

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz's crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they 

don't kill each other first"
 - Goodreads

My Thoughts:
In a sea of post-apocalyptic bloodfests and other end-of-the world scenarios, Six of Crows is a refreshingly low-stakes novel, that reads more like a character drama as opposed to a big summer blockbuster. Of course the inherent risk in this, and the reason why there are so few novels like Bardugo's is that the characters have to be amazing. Which is thankfully the case here.
“He needed to tell her...what? That she was lovely and brave and better than anything he deserved. That he was twisted, crooked, wrong, but not so broken that he couldn't pull himself together into some semblance of a man for her.
Our big escapade, courtesy of a wealthy merchant is headed by five acquaintances and "employee's  of Kaz Brekker's street gang- the Dregs. Each of who have each been selected for their specific and prodigious abilities, making them indispensable to each other. That however doesn't stop this group of  17 year old's from occasionally rubbing shoulders, or even breaking into a few heated arguments. I can say with confidence that the banter, and perhaps even more so the emotional dialogue between these outlaws carried the book, and even "lubricated" the moments without much action. Which somewhat ties into my criticism about...

Six of Crows being too long. Huh!? I get the idea, I know - its a wonderfully "slow burn" story. But as I turned the last few pages, and carefully closed the decorative hardback - two thoughts rose to the surface. 1: The entire first chapter and almost all of the Ketterdam city setup could've been shortened, and 2: This whole fiasco doesn't need to be a series. It could have been a perfectly good standalone adventure had the last few chapters been done a bit differently.

Hell, the way Volume 1 ends, you'd practically HAVE to buy the next installment; which would be fine if it were a post-apocalyptic end-of-the-world saga like Star Wars and had a bunch of perceivable material to go on, but judging by book one, I'm starting to doubt it.

"Kaz flexed his fingers in his gloves. How did you survive the Barrel? When they took everything from you, you found a way to make something from nothing"
The quality that redeems Six of Crow's in my mind, and reedeems some of the points raised above is its very "qoutesy". And by that entirely made up term, I mean to say its chock full of vibrant and thought-catching quotes, Seriously, the ones I've used in this review are just a few of many that significantly help emphasize the brutality of Ketterdam's "Barrel" as well as the people who come out of it. I can't say you'll emphasize with the savagery of Kaz, but after taking a peek into his backstory, you'll certainly feel for him.

My Rating: 4/5