Review: Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered a reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace, and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust, and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and she develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life’s at stake again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear!


So I pick up this book, it’s young adult and fantasy. All the things I love most are high fantasy.

Yessm’

It’s a little slow at first, but then: it becomes impossible to put down.

*crazy meme says addictive and so do I*

Poison nerdery in this book. Do I have you yet? No.

Well how about assassins who are nerds for poison lore? No yet? Damn.

How about a prisoner who becomes a poison taster and works for an assassin?

YEEAHHHHHHHHH!!!

I am on board with Valek and Yelena. Still, I didn’t completely love the book. I know. I know. I am apparently supposed to love this. It’s epic and fantasy and Young adult, but I didn’t. I didn’t. The world building was shabby at best. It’s kind of like the author couldn’t decide what genre she wanted to write in.

Should it be epic fantasy? No that’s not right.
I know I’ll submit it as a dystopian with a fantastical setting? No they wouldn’t buy that.
Maybe I’ll just say it’s high fantasy YA and write it off as a “different” type of high fantasy. No more medieval shit here! It’s got some modern doo-dads in there too.
MuahahahahaHA HA HA THEY’LL NEVER GUESS MY MAD SCEMES!!”

*careful you’ll actually fool someone with your crazy*

As you can see, I didn’t buy into the world building because I expect more consistency with fantasy. It’s incomplete, inconsistent, and irrational.

The writing is good and the dialogue is witty and involving. The only thing is that I was more interested in the characters and the poison lore than I was with the actual story.

Let’s make one thing clear: if it’s just the characters, dialogue, and romance that’s interesting clearly there’s some pacing issues or the plot just isn’t as interesting as you would have thought. The magic is interesting, but doesn’t really make sense. She explains it up to a certain point and then oh yeah then that happens. No more explanations? You went half ass on me?

At least, it’s more interesting than the majority of assassin books I’ve read. I have yet to read a really good Young Adult assassin book. I haven’t even read that many good adult fantasy assassin books.

*so much idiocy*

IF YOU EVEN DARE MENTION THRONE OF GLASS I WILL KICK YOU IN THE FACE.

About sixty percent in I was noticing that there seemed to be a lack of intensity? Is that the word I want to use?

You know that feeling you have when the plot is increasing and you are yelling

WHAT IS HAPPENING? OMG SHE’S GOING TO DIE! AHHHHHH FEELLINGS!

That stuff.

It was missing this far into the book. Where did it go? I don’t know. That’s what’s so confusing. It just disappeared like Amelia Earhart.

And um….sex in Young Adult? I approve. There should be more of this. And don’t give me that crap that “this isn’t a young adult.” The side of my book says it’s Young Adult.

Anyways I’m done with this review. I’m gonna go read more stuff now.

3 stars: because I enjoyed the writing and the characters so much. I am being very forgiving right now. I wouldn’t normally give a book with such inconsistent world building such a high rating. This book is very lucky right now.

Review: Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning



MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.

When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….

As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands….


I curse every mother fucking day that I only spent only one day in Dublin.

Had I read this book back then, maybe I would’ve dug my heels in and demanded more time in that beautiful city. My time there was short, but memorable. And here’s my input: Moning got it right. She painted a Dublin that I remember. She was able to capture the people, the old buildings, the atmosphere, without making it into a cliche. The city of Dublin is a great part of the world building of the Fever series. It’s not until you’ve re-read this series that you realize how talented Moning is at world building.

Full dark had fallen and Dublin was brilliantly lit. There’d been a recent rain, and against the coal of night, the shiny cobbled streets gleamed amber, rose, and neon-blue from reflected lamps and signs. The architecture was a kind I’d seen before only in books and movies: Old World, elegant, and grand. 

Mac comes to Dublin searching for vengeance.She’s a barbie girl searching for death. On the outside she’s a pretty girl with pink nails and shiny silk outfits, but on the inside she’s hurt and looking for blood. She’s immature and innocent when she first meets Barrons, but by the end of this book she’s a little less so. She walks into Barrons Books and Baubles (he owns a bookshop for crying out loud!) looking for an ancient artifact her sister was looking for. I won’t repeat the spelling because the Irish language has some serious accents that I won’t even try to replicate. It’s a book and it’s more dangerous than she can even gather. Barrons wants nothing to do with her. But she gets into his hair, and then she discovers what she is. Then she’s angry for people telling this to her. HOW DARE THEY TELL HER THE TRUTH! Damn those realistic petunias assholes and their reality. But she changes and she learns how to be safe because of Barrons. Barrons is one smart motherfucker. He’s a perfectionist. He has a use for Mac and her special talent. She’s a Null, which basically means that she can track this artifact. He helps her find her sister’s killer and she helps him find the book.

The interesting thing about Mac and Barrons is that despite being very different people, they seem to be attracted to each other. Neither likes this fact and ignores it with every ounce of defiance. But eventually they begin to build a relationship that could almost be considered a partnership.

My relationship with this book is a headache and a half. I hated Mac and her pink nails. Her rants, her petunia cursing, her TSTL moments, her ever loving rendition of NONONONOSHUTUPIDONTWANTTOHEARIT!! But, I think in my re-read I began to understand her and why she’s the way she is.

She’s wasn’t as annoying this time, that’s a plus. But she still had her moments of annoying immaturity.

Mac is a sheltered, southern, sun girl. She comes from a small town in Georgia, born in a privileged family, and she had no ambitions. She’s very much a barbie doll, and the author smartly recognizes this. She’s very immature. But the reason is clear as the day is long: her upbringing. She is so fucking sheltered, it’s not even funny. Her life, before she got the call that her sister was murdered in Ireland, was perfect. All she had to think about was nail polish and what shiny silver sandals she was going to wear that day. She had no troubles in her life. And as such, I think it’s clear why she doesn’t want Barrons bringing that perfection and innocence to a rigid stop. She’s never lived a life where things are in a crap-pile. While I wouldn’t say I like her, I understand her. I don’t hate her as much as I used to. She’s immature, innocent, and doesn’t understand the reality of her situation. But in this one book, she grows a lot.

What I do like about her is her determination to find her sister’s killer. She wants vengeance and I respect that. A lot. I also really like that she’s not ashamed that she’s a girl. I like that she’s not the leather in pants cliche of a urban fantasy heroine. That gets old. I don’t care about the MC’s looks and I don’t care about Mac’s, but I do like that she’s a confident woman who is proud of the way she looks. Whether the way she dresses is the way a high school girl would dress or not, I can admire her confidence. I’m so sick of the demure and bashful main character that constantly tries to tell the reader how “plain” she is. Get over it. I don’t need to you to tell me you’re plain and then find out you’re gorgeous. It’s misleading and idiotic. Then there’s the scene at the end of the book where she really grows a pair and faces reality. She may not be kickass yet, but she certainly kicked some faery butt.

She doesn’t grow out of her immature attitude, but she does come to learn some important lessons. Moning’s development of her characters is no short of amazing. They are so flawed and they demand that you feel every inch of every possible emotion you could ever feel while reading this book. I recognize this now, while I didn’t before. The fact that Moning was able to make me feel so much is a great compliment to her skills. But that she was still able to make me feel so much the second time around is fucking incredible.

One of my favorite scenes is when Mac see’s Barrons walking through a dark alleyway. It gave me the shivers the first time, and it still does. She’s just so bloody brilliant at pacing. With the most insignificant scenes she’ll make you feel EVERYTHING!

First you shiver. Then you get goosebumps all along your arms. Then, your heart starts to beat faster. Then your eyes pop out. Then you put the book down and stare at the room to make sure all the lights are on. Lastly, you go get that DAMN BOTTLE OF VODKA FOR COMFORT.

Because shit, she’s good at making you scared. If it’s not the descriptions of the monsters:

its mouth–which consumed the entire lower half of its hideous face–wasn’t pink inside, it had a tongue and gums that were the same gray color as the rest of its rotting flesh covered with the same wet sores. It had no lips and double rows of teeth like a shark. 

It’s the dark alley:

The only sounds were the muted muffle of my footsteps and the slow dripping of gutters emptying into drainpipes.

If it’s not the dark alley, it’s the sexy Barrons:

His blood-red silk shirt was splattered with rain and molded to his hard body like a damp second skin. 

If it’s not Barrons, oh who are you kidding HE IS SEX ON A STICK.

He’s motherfucking Barrons, whom I wasn’t attracted to before but am now. He’s just so LICKABLE. That’s what she said. Licks. Lots of them.

I hated him when I first read this book. So much hate. I was so concentrated on all of his jerk moves, his annoying dominance, and his demands that I forgot how sexy he is. I’m usually not into the asshole guy, but Barrons is so sexy that he defies logic. He’s the type of guy you know you shouldn’t be attracted to, but you are. There is no reality when it comes to your attraction to Barrons. How did I not realize this? Who the fuck cares anymore? NO ONE. Either you like him or you don’t. Or you hate him the first time and then re-read the book and suddenly he is JOE MANGANIELLO.

He’s just okay, let me put this in perspective. He does this:

“But considering everything that’s after you, I don’t need to, do I, Ms. Lane? Which puts us right back where we started: Go to your room and do not come out again for any reason until I come for you. Do you understand me?”

No one deserves that you prick.

and then he does this:

Barrons bent his head over my hand, applying pale pink polish to my ring finger with exacting care. He looked big and muscular and male and silly painting my fingernails, like a Roman centurion decked out in a frilly chef’s apron. 

That is so damn sweet, if you know Barrons. He wouldn’t do this for just anyone. IT’S A BIG DEAL.

But then there’s the whole “who the fuck cares” side of Barrons that is just so damn appealing:

He studied me with his predator’s gaze, assessing me from head to toe. I studied him back. He didn’t just occupy space; he saturated it. The room had been full of books before, now it was full of him. 

GULP. VODKA. NOW.

And then you grab that bottle again because you hate that you’re attracted to him while at the same time YOU HAVE NO SHAME.

The cool thing about this book is Moning’s ability to plant clues. My original thought is that because I hated the characters so much, I din’t think Moning was that good of a writer. But, she is. She’s really quite talented. Her world building has very little nicks and cranies. Her world feels more real than the majority of the Urban Fantasy novels I’ve read. Her characters while annoying, they are incredibly developed in ways I never appreciated before. Her plotting in this book is a slow build, but an exciting one. You get to see the Faery lore first hand through Mac’s samplings of her journal along the way. She doesn’t info dump you through conversations, she gives you a dictionary.

I will not mention V’lane. I will not mention V’lane. I will not mention V’lane. Ah screw it! He is so scary. No I am not team who gives a fuck. He’s an ass. He’s scary. Forcing a girl to her knees and almost raping her IS NOT SEXY. I’ve read about the type of faery he is. They are called Gancanagh, or love talker. They have a sort of fae magic that has to do with putting a spell on women that makes them have incurable and forcible lust. That is scary. When you have no choice, but to be a attracted to someone. It’s sick. It’s sad. It’s disgusting. I don’t like him. Never have.

AHEM:

This book’s purpose is to get the reader to understand the characters and the world. Her characters hide so many things and I think that’s why it takes such a long time for you to learn their secrets. Barrons is not an open box. He’s a closed one with a bomb ready for anyone who opens it, with chains wrapped around it, and a big honking lock around the whole thing. His secrets are as sacred and hidden as the artifacts he hunts.

Damn me and my mouth. While in America my mouth is on a roller coaster, but in Ireland? I shut up and don’t say anything. I should have said something! I wanted to see more of it. This is what Ireland does. It dumbs you up. Next time, I want to stay in Dublin for good.

Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

At sixteen, Meira has only been allowed to have one goal: help the other Winterian refugees free their enslaved people from the King of Spring. Her life has been a whirl of bloody missions to steal back the magical conduit that will return power to Mather, Winter’s quiet and strong future king.

When one mission lands Meira with half of the conduit, she discovers that nothing is above being sacrificed for Winter’s freedom – not even herself. With Sir – Winter’s former General and Meira’s only father-figure – treating her like a pawn, a heartbreaking alliance made with a dangerous kingdom, and all-out war looming around her, Meira begins to wonder if it’s possible to save Winter without losing herself.

But who Meira is links her to Winter and its conduit more than she could ever guess – and her connection is only the first snowflake in a blizzard that will change the world.


Oh “big reveal” why you got be so obvious, man. Seriously, the little “clues”? Too damn obvious. I read you. I loved you. But then things started to fall into a big bulbous mess. I love your words. I love your quiet romance. I love your main character. I love your story. But dude: you suck with the world building. Then, there’s that whole surprise surprise, bet you didn’t see that coming! I did. Not an epic fail, but still a fail.

The main character became my favorite part. She made the novel for me. She reminds me of Eowyn from Lord of Rings. Warrior.Princess. Queen. Disguises herself during a battle as a man. Swords. Armor. Romantic times with hunky prince. Plus, love triangle cough cough Aragorn and Faramir. Yep. All there. Which, by the way, I TOTALLY LOVED!

Running in a dress is hard enough, but running in a ball gown is like trying to run while wrapped in a tent, so eventually I concede to defeat and heft the whole mess of silk into the air. A few passing courtiers raise their eyebrows, but I hurry past them, too glad to move my legs freely to really care about their shocked looks.

Oh gosh. The sass. I love it when the main character has a mouth on her. Boy oh boy do I love this. She’s sarcastic and witty and I love her. She’s a warrior. She’s a fighter. She’s also a teen. So, yeah, she says things. Things I like. But guys: She’s got feelings. But guess what? As I said, she’s a teen. No shit, Brigid? She’s a teen. NO WAY. A Young Adult novel has a teen? And sometimes every teen has moments of immaturity. Is she immature? No. But she has her moments of immaturity. However they do not dominate her character.

Meira’s a tomboy. When she’s told stories of court intrigue and the fashion of the court it bores her. Yeah. I feel you, girl. She loves the old tales past wars. But just because she’s a tomboy doesn’t mean she shies away from being a girl. When she’s told to dress up for a ball, she’s like “yeah, sure. Whatever. I’m cool with that.” Which is great, because she realizes the bigger picture. She knows it’s important. She’s rational about things. She’s not a dick or a selfish brat when it comes to doing things for her country. She’s a rare case of heroine who is not TSTL (Too Stupid To Live).

Meira wants to do what’s best for her country. She puts her people’s needs in front of her own feelings and desires. She wants to fight. But she listen’s to what Sir (her father figure) tells her to. Because, hey he’s got more experience. So, she doesn’t rush into things trying to get her head cut off. He knows his shit, him being a general. While she wants to save her country by fighting, Sir wants her to fight for her country in a different manner. She’s accepts it. While she’s not happy about it, she’s rational about it.

As you’ve already probably read in the blurb Meira goes on a bit of a mission. Well, once she arrives to said mission spot, the people don’t like her. She’s lower than they are. Too “barbaric” or peasant like they say. Not good enough for our type of people. She’s like whatever. I don’t know you. You don’t know me, so up yours assholes.

I drop a curtsy and turn away from their assessments, making for the terrace doors. Let them think whatever they like. Let them conspire and say horrible things about me. This isn’t my kingdom.

There’s a love triangle. I know. I know. Major shocker. I like to make fun of love triangles. What’s not funny about a love triangle? Oh, you fool. Watching two guys pull their shirts off and swing their “swords” about is the most hilarity of hilarious things about love triangles of Young Adult fiction. Oh, dear. I can’t decide! Which dude has the bigger pecks? Hmmmm…..the guy who might bite my neck or the guy who might hump me like a dog? Oh dear. Choices. Choices. But, here’s the thing dear reader: The love triangle did not feel like a love triangle. I wasn’t smirking or huffing and puffing about it. I wasn’t dropping the book to get my snorts under control. I wasn’t rolling my eyes until this red stuff came out. It didn’t bother me. How did that happen? I’m thinking because the romance was quite quiet and not the main focus of the novel. The writing is very well done. I love it when the romance is hushed.

So both guys are nice. But, I found one to be much more whiny and emo than the other. Mather. Why are you so damn moody? I get that you’re the king and you just got to get your feelings out about it: But grow a pair. Face reality. Take the reins. Stop the sobbing, man. You are ruining my good experience with this stellar book. SHUSH!

But dude, saying a girl’s success is due to a rock? NO. I can’t even explain how degrading that is.

I find it odd that I like Theron. He’s a prince. Usually princes are spoiled little brats who could care a rats ass about their people. Theron wants to be a good king. He wants to be a better king than his father. If anyone is the brat, it’s his father. Theron is smokin’ hot, likes books, a writer, a soldier, and he’s smart. He’s also nice. Check, check, and check. Things that made me like him:

Theron cocks up a corner of his mouth, studying me in a way that doesn’t feel possessive or condescending. It feels equal.

Then, this:

“I want to be someone worthy of my kingdom. I want to be someone worthy of you.”

I’m a fan, guys.

You’ve probably already come across season themed world building, if you’re a frequent reader of fantasy. Even though it’s already something that’s been done before, it was still very cool to come across once again. Each nation has it’s own season: Winter (the poor destroyed nation), Spring (the damn enemy), Autumn, and Summer. Then there are the rhythms, the nations outside of the Season Kingdoms. The most important being Cordell, since that’s where our sassy lass travels to. I’m always in bliss when a book features fall or winter. I love descriptions that center around Autumn. Gasp. Sigh. Oh, look at the purty!

Oktuber was a maze of rickety barns and tents in maroon, azure, and sunshine orange, with the crystalline blue sky gleaming above, a sharp and beautiful contrast to the kingdom’s earth tones.

For real, I love this type of shit.

I have some opinions on the not so good stuff. And I’m not too happy about it. I may come off a little…annoyed. The world building had basic and formulaic written all over it. At times, it didn’t make sense. Rings or objects with powerful magic can be directed all the way back to Tolkien’s tales of fantasy and the shenanigans that ensue. But objects that have power that connect a ruler to their kingdom, which you can talk to, makes little sense to me. How are you able to talk to a conduit, whether it’s a locket or a knife? Yeah, I get it. Magic isn’t real. Unexplainable they say, but world building includes making sure the reader understands how things work. I don’t understand what the deal is with the object talking and the mysterious premonition happenings. What is the deal here? Half assed explanations, if you ask me. Show me. There’s detail with the world building, sometimes to the extent of info dumping, but I need my explanations. Rant over. Sorry, people.

But, I lied. Rant not over!!! The last 60% of the novel is so much less exciting than I had wanted. The first part of the novel is, as Borat would say “VERY NICE!” Excuse my American accent. Sword fighting. Conduit wielding. Sassy flirting. Dresses. Blood. Murder. All the things happen. Then, after that dreaded sixty percent mark it dies down. It becomes blah blah blah slave camp. Blah blah blah evil guy. Blah blah blah I shall save you. Maybe I’m the only reader who has this opinion, but the pacing seemed to change. Not in a good way. In an “I’m bored” kind of way. I get annoyed when I’m bored.

I’m not going to even talk about that “big reveal” because WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? That was supposed to be the “WOW. WHAT? I would have never guessed. Ya-da ya-da ya-da.” No. That did not happen. If you read high fantasy often, it will be very clear to you.

To those who think this book is like Throne of Glass: I don’t understand this comparison. I mean, I guess there are certain elements. Like both heroines have white-blond hair. But, think about it. A lot of high fantasy heroines have that color of hair, mostly famously Dany (the chick from Game of Thrones). There’s also this thing with a slave camp. Then, there’s a love-interest prince. A love-interest warrior. But really? These two books aren’t all that similar. The MC in this book is so much more badass and proves her badass-ery. She’s sarcastic without being annoying. You actually get to see her kill people.

To reiterate,

Celaena:

Meira:

Should I pick it up?

YES!!! Yes. You should. Do not be scared of the issues. Because, while they exist, they can be overlooked. Plus, a lot of critical reviewers have loved this book despite its faults.

A Bollywood Affair by Sonali Dev

Mili Rathod hasn’t seen her husband in twenty years—not since she was promised to him at the age of four. Yet marriage has allowed Mili a freedom rarely given to girls in her village. Her grandmother has even allowed her to leave India and study in America for eight months, all to make her the perfect modern wife. Which is exactly what Mili longs to be—if her husband would just come and claim her. Bollywood’s favorite director, Samir Rathod, has come to Michigan to secure a divorce for his older brother. Persuading a naïve village girl to sign the papers should be easy for someone with Samir’s tabloid-famous charm. But Mili is neither a fool nor a gold-digger. Open-hearted yet complex, she’s trying to reconcile her independence with cherished traditions. And before he can stop himself, Samir is immersed in Mili’s life—cooking her dal and rotis, escorting her to her roommate’s elaborate Indian wedding, and wondering where his loyalties and happiness lie. Heartfelt, witty, and thoroughly engaging, Sonali Dev’s debut is both a vivid exploration of modern India and a deeply honest story of love, in all its diversity.


 

He was arrogant and impatient and stubborn. But he was also self-deprecating and more gentle and generous than anyone she knew. And when all his contradictions mingled in his face, in his big muscular body, he was like a huge living magnet…

A huge living magnet that had totally sucked her in.

All the people in this book are completely….irrational. Is that the word I want to use? close enough, really. But I had very much fallen in love with the words, the relationship, the Bollywood film references, the descriptions that I came to forget all the faults. But while I may have problems with this novel, I still think it’s important to review this novel on the grade that I think is the most honest. My issues had nothing to do with the writing. The writing is what entranced and engaged me. My favorite part about this book is the prose and the character’s relationships with each other. It wasn’t just the romantic relationship that I loved. Relationships, in whatever form, are among the elements that fascinate me most when reading a novel. This was no different with Sonali’s debut. I also appreciated the confidence that the heroine portrayed. She explains to her reader that she used to feel shame in herself, and wonder’s if there were some reason her husband had not come for her, but once she comes to realize that shame will fix nothing. But, understand, this is not a story of growth. She’s already confident when the novel starts. Plus, she’s got the hots for food which I love. In addition to being a hard core coffee addict, I’m also foodie.


The story is a tale that not everybody may get on board with. It centers around a heroine who was married at only four years old, and she’s yearning to start a life with her “husband”. She hasn’t seen him in twenty years. And yet she believes they’re married and one day he’ll come. You’d think he’d at least contact her in some way in these twenty years, but does she still believe they’re still married? Of course. Why not? Virat, the husband of our dear heroine, he’s got a life of his own now. As he should. Don’t blame the guy. The letter he receives causes worry and and even fear amongst Virat and his brother. The love interest or hero, whatever word you prefer, Samir goes off to good ol’ America to sort things out. He finds Mili and…the clumsy girl runs her bike into a tree thus ending her self in a hospital. Samir and Mili grow a relationship based on friendship. They grow to know each other. They have many similarities. They argue about movies. He’s turned on by her love for food. She’s turned on by his confidence and kindness. One thing leads to another and….they fall in love. I loved the relationship they built together. The descriptions of the slow build until the satisfying part where the hero apologizes. Always a sexy thing, I might add.


I would have given this book a B, had I not been so uncomfortable with the portrayals of other women. It’s not that I felt like the author didn’t write strong women. She wrote some beautifully strong women like Samir’s mother, Rima, and Mili. What I had issues with was the way the author made Mili’s best friend into someone the reader would normally hate had she been the main character. I’ll be straight with you, I believe this was done as a way to encourage or manipulate the reader into sympathizing with the heroine even more. Ridhi was bratty, whiny, entitled, and acted like an immature young girl. Surprising, considering she was about to get married. I have examples: 1. “What’s wrong with this? You told me to wear something casual for the henna ceremony. So, I wore casual.” “I said casual, not Chandni-Chowk-whore slutty! Brainless daughter of an oaf.” Mili smiled, but quickly covered her mouth when Ridhi glared at her. 2. The way the girl had gyrated on the floor last night it would be a miracle if she even woke up on her wedding day. No blushing bride at this wedding. 3. “How would I know? Who measures their waist?” “Um, everyone with two X chromosomes.” 4. He was too distracted by the screaming banshee, who wouldn’t stop jumping up and down like a two-year-old.     The point is: it didn’t need to be there. I saw no real reason why this was the way the author decided to portray the MC’s best friend. Why in this fashion? Why was she portrayed like this? That’s where my issue lies.


The other thing I had a hard time dealing with was the way that even though it had been twenty years and she hadn’t been in contact with her husband once, she believed she was still married and even desired her marriage with Virat. Maybe it’s because the way Mili grew up was very old fashioned and certain things were expected of women, but I just couldn’t grasp being in love with someone when you’ve never met them. It’s crazy and like I said…irrational:

“…The truth is I can’t imagine being married to anyone else. I know you don’t understand it. But my marriage is very real to me.”

Allow my favorite Bollywood Actress, Rani Mukherjee, to roll her eyes for me:  

I could appreciate how honest Mili was about herself. But I think her desire for this “marriage” largely came from her Naani. I think sometimes when you grow up with someone wanting so much for you, that eventually you perceive that person’s dreams as your own. This is what happened to Mili. Still her inability to realize this earlier, even after falling in love with Samir, fucking pissed me off.


But the writing is sorcery! sorcery I say!!! I enjoyed it a lot. Don’t be put off by the bad, if you like all the things I’ve mentioned: this book is for you. It’s got lots of swoony scenes with smooches and the hero makes a “i’m sorry speech”.

Guys are sexy when they apologize. It’s like Darcy all over again. Oh and the fact that I actually used the word swoon means I’ve had too much coffee…again. Fucking god I hate that word.   ARC provided through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

3 Star Review: The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa

“Why are you here, Grim?”
“Is it not obvious?” Grimalkin yawned and looked at each of us in turn. “The same reason I am always here, human. To keep you from falling down a dark hole or wandering into a giant spider’s nest.”

No one in this book would’ve gotten an inch near the false king if it weren’t for this cat. No. One.

While Meghan has grown quite a bit in this book since the previous, I still remain that if Grim hadn’t saved her ass (repeatedly, might I add) she wouldn’t have succeeded. Ironic, considering she resents his presence every time he shows up. Seriously, girl. Have some appreciation.

I can’t believe I actually enjoyed this book. The first time I picked up, I had to DNF it. I rarely leave books. If I’m not in the mood for a certain book, I’ll put it down for a bit. But I don’t flat out abandon a book. I was ridiculously fed up with Meghan’s antics. She’s so prone to jumping to conclusions and saying things just to anger people when she’s pissed off. If you’re going to insult some one, mean it. Don’t fucking act like a child, just because things don’t go your way. Get a grip, woman.

But this time, I began to recognize the level to which Meghan has changed since the first book. She’s actually sticking up for herself, she’s coming into her own as the daughter of the Summer King (and admitting it), and she’s picked up a sword. I’ve been waiting for her to start fighting for herself both verbally and physically. Ash or Puck are always the ones shoving her behind their asses so she won’t get a little scratch.

Summary:

Meghan and Ash have been exiled from The Nevernever. The false King is becoming stronger and his war on the Summer and Winter Courts reaches to dangerous heights. The tree’s have become iron…and the beauty of Nevernever is not as it used to be. Both Mab and Oberon fear for their lives as well as their people. The Summer and Winter Courts want her help. They have a proposition for her.

Meghan is the only one who can defeat the Iron King. She’s both of Iron and of Summer. No Faery would be able to walk within the land of Iron and survive. The very air would kill them. Meghan has agreed to fight their war for them, but along the way she learns that it isn’t their war alone. It’s hers. She’s half faery and it affect those she loves most: Ash and Puck.

The Characters:

Meghan changed some in this book, but not enough for me to be satisfied; particularly because her perspective finishes with book. I had hoped her personality would mature more. I would’ve liked less fused anger and pouting, this time around.

“There are more important things to think about. We should be concentrating on your training, and what we’re going to do about the false king once it’s time. He’s still out there, looking for you.”
I pouted, not liking that statement.

Really, Meghan. Really? The little girl pout is not something a mature girl would do, especially a girl who’s gone through the shit you’ve gone through. Let’s not re-enact the old Britney Spears video where she’s twirling her hair like an innocent little girl.

One more thing to add to the bunch:

Megan Chase, this way.
A faint glow emitted from the center of the ruins, drawing me to it like a moth to a flame. Without saying anything, I started walking toward it.

Yes. Listen to the mysterious unknown voice, Meghan. Nothing bad could happen.

This is a classic example of what not to do and yet she does it. It’s like in those old horror flicks where the girl walks towards a whispering voice, without knowing what the hell she’s getting herself into. And what happens to those girls?

As for Ash and Meghan, they go through something altogether new. They’re a couple. They kiss. They flirt. They make go-go eyes at each other. I liked this. They weren’t without their dramatic moments, but I liked seeing them together. It was refreshing and wonderful. Ash makes everything better. It’s why I’m giving this book a higher rating.

Puck:

Puck is where the humor comes in. Because even when Meghan tries to be funny, it’s pathetically not. Ash can be funny, but it’s really not in his nature to do so. Puck isn’t as great at deadpan humor as Grim, but he still has quite the lines.

I’m actually surprised with where his character has gone. I’m also slightly skeptical, as well. I’m not sure that he would’ve gotten over Meghan’s betrayal as he seems to have. This book doesn’t take over a huge time line. It’s a very short time frame. In real life, my experience is that people take a while to get over people when they’ve fallen in love with someone. Puck really did love Meghan, more than a friend. I think her rejection should’ve taken a lot longer for him to get over than it did. The circumstances may have been dire, but Puck didn’t seem as heartbroken as I’ve seen close friends go through. We go through our pain with time. While he is a faery, from what I understand of Kagawa’s world, they deal with emotions on a higher level once they fall in love. So I find it a little difficult to believe he was able to so quickly come to forgive Meghan.

Grim:

I don’t need to say much about Grim, except:

“Bravo,” Grimalkin deadpanned, rolling his eyes. “The light bulb finally comes on.”

How do you not love Grim. He’s got a classic type of deadpan humor that fails to amuse.

The Writing:

I love Julie Kagawa’s writing. She’s very consistent in her world building. It’s very hard to pinpoint where she’s made a mistake. I’m sure there’s some, but I can’t recognize any. I do feel she’s a little trigger happy with some words, like tension and adrenaline. Her writing is so fast paced and quick, yet she also gives the reader time to adjust to what’s happening.

3 Star Review: Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews

Kate Daniels takes on were-dolphins, eels, and dragon-like creatures in Magic Rises. She also kicks ass while her legs are essentially useless:

“What the fuck,” Hugh snarled. “Look at her, she’s half-dead. She isn’t even on her last leg. She can’t fucking stand and she’s cutting you down like you’re children.”

No other heroine does it like Kate Daniels. She’s tough, sarcastic to boot, and has a heart of ice; except when it involves His Furriness.
Magic Rises changes things in the world of Kate Daniels. Kate and Curran go through something in this book that will raise a lot of reader’s eyebrows. It’s not surprising, per say, but it definitely will test reader’s love for the beast lord. There are intensely sad parts, infuriating parts, and sweet parts in this novel.

It amazes me how much mythology and lore that team Andrews fills into their novels, and this one is no different. We get to meet new creatures and new history. We even get fed more information about Kate’s father from people who knew him. Some of my favorite parts in this series are the mythology segments that Ilona Andrews weaves throughout the novels.


Summary:

Kate and Curran have taken on another job, but not without their reasons. They’ve been asked to protect wolf princess Desandra, who’s in danger of being killed as a territorial dispute between two packs. Kate and Curran, obviously wouldn’t taken this job willy nilly. There’s something they want: Panacea.

Produced by European shape shifters, who guarded it like gold. The Pack had been trying to reverse engineer it for years and had gotten nowhere. The herbal mixture reduced chances of loupism at birth by seventy-five percent and reversed biotransformation in one third of teenagers.

Kate and Curran head across the Black Sea, to Georgia, with some of their most trusted Pack members to kick some werewolf butt. But when they get there not only do the packs resent their presence, but Desandra wants them out. The chick is the epitome of a doormat.Even Aunt B says it herself, if that tells you anything. They find her laying around her room in her own smells.

But in addition to the rotten smelling wolf princess, there’s someone there they know. Someone they’ve met before. Kate and Curran start to realize nothing on this job is a coincidence. There’s a connection between Kate and the Lord of the castle.

Every fucking shape shifter in the castle see’s Kate as weak and human. Fools. They see nothing of the warrior that Kate had been melded into.


Plot:

The plot was one thing after another. I never felt bored or exhausted of nothing happening. Often authors go on and on for chapters, without anything happening. More than once will this kind of thing make my imitate see red. This is one thing I love about Ilona Andrews. They never leave anything in the novel that doesn’t need to be in there. The book is never longer than it should be, and I appreciate that. I want the story straight-forward and to the point. I want to enjoy the ride, but I also don’t want to be invited to read things I don’t need to know.


Kate and Curran:

These two have become iconic amongst fans. No one mentions kick-ass without mentioning Kate. No one mentions sexy beast without mentioning Curran. But together, these two make other well known kick ass couples look like wimps. You can be sure by the end of the novel these two will be tumbling in their own blood and still survive.
Kate is put through hell by Curran and not in a way I’m happy about.

The anger and hurt inside me crystallized into an icy cage. I hid inside it, using it as my armor. Whatever punches Jarek Kral threw at me, they wouldn’t breach it. The ice was too thick.

I wanted to fucking kick the beast in the nuts. But….I’m glad Kate punched him for me. And the great thing is that he knows he fucking deserved it. She was absolutely in the right.

“I don’t want to go anywhere. I love you. You love me. We’re together. We’re a team.”

Suddenly my emotions sorted themselves out and anger finally ran to the front of the pack. “No, we’re not a team. You made me a patsy in your scheme. You treated me like I’m an idiot…”

I’m so grateful that Kate didn’t buy into his speech. She’s rational. Even though she loves him, she see’s things clearly. Most heroines would walk the blind walk of relationship death into his arms.

And yet…as much as Curran fucked up, they’re perfect for each other. I’m not saying I think Curran deserves forgiveness because I don’t think he’s earned it at this point. I think it’ll take a huge reason for that to happen.

“I can’t change who I am,” I told him. “Neither can you. I get it.
“I love you and you love me, and we’re both too fucked up for anyone else. Who else would have us?”
I sighed. “Well, clearly we’re both crazy and this relationship is doomed.”

I second this.


The Setting:

On behalf of Gagra, I’m here to extend the hospitality of my beautiful city to you,” Hibla said. “Gagra welcomes you with all its warmth, its lakes and waterfalls, its beaches and orchards. But be forewarned, if you come here with violent intentions, we will leave your corpses for the crows.

*cough cough* foreshadowing.

For the first time Kate and Curran go on a road trip to a distant land. I love it when books are set outside of the ‘states. It doesn’t happen as often as I’d like it to. There are books set in Britain, but that really gets dull after a while. How often do you get an urban fantasy novel set in Georgia (the country, not the state)? I thought the setting was a very unique touch to the novel.

The History:

Not many readers may be interested in the history and ‘lore detail of the novel, but I am. I’ve always loved the snippets and gems that the authors put into their books on history, mythology, or the creatures of their world.

“My father, my real father, walked the planet thousands of years ago, when the magic flowed full force. Back then he was a king, a conquerer, and a wizard. He was very powerful and he had some radical ideas about how a society should be structured…”


Conclusion:

I was both happy with the way this book turned out, as well as disappointed with Curran’s relationship stupidity. I’m interested to see where their relationship goes from here.

And last but not least, my favorite thing: Kate’s blood armor. That girl.

3.5 Star Review: The Star Thief by Jamie Grey

The entire world had shifted, like she was fucking Alice in Wonderland and had just fallen down a rabbit hole.

Surprise me, why don’t you. This is a New Adult novel? I’m honestly astonished because there’s no slut shaming. The MC even walks with confidence about her sexuality and doesn’t go around pointing out what she looks like all the time. Let me be clear:

1. No slut shaming
2. No over analyzing her own looks
3. No comparing her own looks to other female characters
4. No over-angst
5. No whining
6. No over the top soap opera drama
7. No male love interest stalking.
8. No male love interest pressuring the MC into an emotionally abusive relationship

I’m not even sure this is New Adult, to be honest. But if it is, it’s my favorite New Adult novel I’ve ever read, which is saying a lot.

I’d also like to mention: It’s fucking rare for me to like science fiction. So you have Science Fiction + New Adult= and you have one surprised reader in Brigid.

I thought this was a wonderfully written novel. I really enjoyed it. I loved how the author portrayed a sexually confident character who took pride in her abilities (no pun intended). Renna likes being a girl. One of my favorite scenes, where Renna’s annoyed by all the plain underwear she‘ll have to wear:

“What the hell are these? Do they actually expect me to wear this?” They were soft white briefs, military-issue-a far cry from her lacy thongs back home, the bras with the special enhancements and frilly cups.

Heroines who wear sexy underwear should be more common.

She’s proud of her abilities in hacking as a thief mercenary. Most heroines are so demure and meek. She’s also got a lot of witty dialogue in this novel that had me chuckling many times. The romance wasn’t gag-worthy, which again for New Adult….is surprising.

Summary:

Renna, the Star Thief, is renowned throughout the galaxy as a thief. Always with a smirk on her face, she’s talented at hacking and bidding top items on the black market; things no one else would be able to steal, she naps. Renna‘s exhausted. She’s wants to be free. She’s almost ready to retire. On her last job she’s caught and a man working for MYTH blackmails her. He wants her help to keep a little boy safe and to steal something no one else would be able to.

She joins the team, reluctantly, and forced to work with someone from her past. Growls and glares ensue.

The team works together to save the Universe from impending doom!

The World:

Okay…so as much as I liked this novel. It has flaws when it comes to the world building. Meaning that, the author doesn’t really delve into much. We’re told these things exist, but we’re not really told why or the details of said gadgets and creatures abound. It’s not like I expect things to be spoon fed to me. But seriously, give me a little something to work with here. I’m told names of things, and little bits and pieces about them…but those pieces are so vague. It’s hard to really grasp why there’s even an Old Earth. How did things change and why? How does the world work? I don’t need a huge detailed info dump at the beginning of the novel, but I expect some more explanation.

The creatures descriptions, while nothing I haven’t seen on television before, put a smile on my face. It reminded me of some of the creatures from Star Trek:

A squat gray alien with a thick, fleshy neck and four large eyes spread horizontally across his face appeared at the door.

I remember being a kid and sitting on my father’s lap, entranced by Leonard Nemoy’s voice. As a kid many of those creatures with different colors, names, languages, and floppy skin entertained the shit out of me. The races in this novel did no different.

The Writing:

The humor in the novel made me laugh. I really loved the MC’s sarcasm and wit. I really appreciated the slow build of the story and how things gradually took place. But it didn’t slow down so much that I started to snore. However, I had some problems.

The incessant use of the word “growl“. What is with all the freakin’ growling in this book? She growls, he growls, they growl, it growled. I have examples people:

Example 1: With a growl, Finn spun around…
Example 2: He growled…
Example 3: Finn growled and turned away…
Example 4: Viktis growled…
Example 5: Finn let out a growl…
Example 6: She felt a burn of tears again and growled.

The last one is particularly hilarious. But, I don’t get it. Humans don’t growl that often…unless you’re the Hulk. But even then he turns into a big green monster.

Relationships:

Some of the best parts of this novel was watching Renna and Finn have glaring contests. Their relationship grows gradually. They don’t jump right into the sack. We don’t experience the ever hated insta-lust that dominates most fields of fiction these days.

When I got deeper into the novel, Finn comes to a point where he forgives Renna, but I had a problem with the speed he came to forgive her. It didn’t seem like something a real human being would do. It happened within two pages. People tend to take time to let things sink in for a while. Real forgiveness takes time. When we thing one thing happened for so long, and then suddenly figure out that’s no what happened, that’s going to take some time to adjust to emotionally and mentally.

Other reviewers have been likening this book to the Sirantha Jax series, but I highly disagree. I love that series, but I don’t see the similarity at all. I can see elements between Jax and Renna when it regards their independence. I’d also say they’re both likely to run off when things get to serious. Jax is so different from Renna, though. As in fucked up, different. A hundred times more than Renna. Actually, I had difficulty connecting to Renna emotionally. She’s always mentioning her triumphs and greatnesses that I feel like the author left out integral emotional feelings for Renna. It made it hard to understand her character and her M.O. We understand she sticks to herself, but what about her character’s emotional development?

Renna’s excuses for her freaking out when her relationship with Finn gets serious, became lame:

The kid had been nothing but trouble since she’d found him. And Finn…he’d already left her once. Why stay and watch a repeat performance?

This tells me that 1. She’s irrational and 2. She’s not very good at making up excuses for herself or the reader.

Then there’s the whole weird thing with Keva, a lieutenant of the ship Athena. I didn’t understand where the author was going with this and why. It didn’t really end up to any real culmination. Basically:

– Cat fight
– snark
– blah blah blah you’ll never wear one of those ninja outfits.
– glare, glare, glare.
– scowls
– Renna messes up
– poetic justice
– Renna saves day
– No more antagonism. Smiles abound.

WHAT. I don’t even understand where the fucking antagonism came from in this first place:

Gods, she hated working with other women. They were always so catty and competitive. Always so ready to stab you in the back if it meant getting ahead.

It can’t be because Renna dislikes working with other women because Keva initiated the hatred. Is it because Keva was attracted to Finn? Was it because Keva dislikes thief’s? Or was it because she just doesn’t get along with other chicks? I don’t understand why this had to be in the novel, anyway. Even if it is because of Renna’s thievery, why include it?

Conclusion:

I didn’t totally love this novel, but I really enjoyed it. I would definitely recommend it to other readers, depending if none of the things I mentioned wouldn’t bother them. If you like independent heroines and science fiction, I would suggest trying this novel.

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead Review

3 Star Review:

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“The greatest and most powerful revolutions often start very quietly, hidden in the shadows.”

Let’s talk about something for a moment, particularly heroines in Young Adult. How many of you have read the demure, chaste, and boring heroine who always does the right thing even if it means basically chopping her own head off? You won’t get that with Rose. She cares most about doing her job in protecting Lissa, and she couldn’t give a fuck about others feelings if it means protecting her friend. Rose has absolute confidence. She doesn’t do that odd thing that most YA heroines do, where they think they’re average looking when really they’re just pulling a bunch of crap on the reader. She’s honest in her attractive qualities with the reader just as she is with herself.

“You don’t know your father, do you?”

I shook my head. “No. All I know is he must have had wicked cool hair.”

I have always loved how sexually confident Rose is about her body image. I would love to see more heroine in Young Adult be confident about how they look. That’s not to say that Rose doesn’t run into a few people who would slut shame her for wearing a little cleavage, because she does. But unlike most heroines, she doesn’t do the slut shaming herself.

I’ll save her kickassery for later ;p

If there’s anything Richelle Mead stellars at, it’s her plots. She’s very adept at explaining the world without leaving anything that could be confusing to the reader. Nothing’s done half-assed here. The world’s developed slowly, just as the romance develops slowly. You don’t understand everything all at once. Richelle Mead feeds information throughout the book, so the glutton of information spouted at them doesn’t piss off the reader. One of my favorite things about Richelle’s books is the way she plants clues along the way that you won’t recognize unless you’ve already read the book, or the entire series.

Summary:

Rose wants to protect her best friend at all cost, even if it means escaping their world of Vampire Academy. But, that’s exactly what she did. Even though as the reader we don’t understand yet why Rose had to protect Lissa. Why is she able to protect her better than a bunch of adults can?

Rose and Lissa are living as college students when guardians come down on them. Rose gets her ass kicked, wherein we first meet guardian Dimitri. The great thing about their first meeting is that even though Rose is clearly attracted to him, she doesn’t really care at the moment. Because her job is to protect Lissa, and she’s not going to be taken down by a hot Russian dude when her friends life could possibly be in danger.

Dimitri and the other school guardians bring the girls to headmistress Kirova, who almost bans Rose for her irresponsibility. I won’t say that Rose wasn’t irresponsibile and immature in this matter because I do agree with Kirova. Rose’s actions were immature. But it’s the start of the series and even from the start I oculd tell Rose would become an ever developing strong MC.

This is when Dimitri reluctantly steps in to train Rose to catch up with her classmates in her guardian training. Lissa goes off to learn how to be a royal Moroi vampire, while Rose gets to learn how to kick people’s asses for a living. One problem though: Rose gets her ass kicked by Dimitri and her fellow classes, repeatedly.

But there’s something else happening at Vampire Academy, someone who’s plotting against Lissa. specially gifted at compulsion (kind of like hypnotizing people) and especially gifted at healing, has found disemboweled dead animals in her bed. Someone seems to be targeting Lissa, as if they know her secrets. As the reader you wonder whether it’s Mia, the bitch who hates Lissa for little reason that’s recognizable at first. Her reason becomes well known as the plot picks up.

The mystery, the world, the characters, and the villains in this novel all flow to make a consistent and well formed story. But truly, it’s the characters that dominate Richelle Mead’s world.

Characters:

There are many reasons to love Rose, but here are a few:

1.  She’s badass in a way most YA heroines aren’t.

She punches the villain, instead of being passive about it like most heroines. The scene where she punches Mia is fantastic:

I heard a crunch as my fist impacted her nose, and blood spurted out. Someone screamed. Mia shreaked and flew backwards into some squealing girls who didn’t want to get blood on their dresses. I swooped in after her, getting one more good punch before somebody peeled me off her.

Rose takes action, however rash those actions are. She goes for it, instead of just glaring at the bitch.

2. Her snark is actually funny

“Rose, we know none of that stuff happened.”
I almost chocked on my own laughter. “Do you? Wow. I’m really glad to hear that. Because you see, until you said that, I’d been thinking it had happened. Thank God you guys are here to set me straight and tell me what the hell I have or haven’t done!”

If you love Meda Melange’s humor from Cracked by Eliza Crewe: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/919323414 , than you’ll love Rose.

3. She’s smart. She’s doesn’t give a fuck for others feelings when her friend’s life is at stake:

Dimitri’s push on laps and stamina paid off. She wasn’t moving very quickly, and I could feel the distance closing between us, giving me a more precise idea of her location. Likewise, Christian couldn’t keep up with me. I started to slow for him but soon realized the foolishness of that.

She worries for Lissa’s safety above all else, since she’s training to become her guardian. But to be completely honest, she’s often irrational about it:

Why don’t you just leave her alone? Are you so messed up and desperate for attention that you can’t tell when someone doesn’t like you?” He scowled. “You’re some crazy stalker, and she knows it. She’s told me all about your weird obsession-how you’re always hanging out in the attic together, how you set Ralf on fire to impress her. She thinks you’re a freak, but she’s too nice to say anything.

Now this may turn off some readers, but if you like your heroines truly badass than you’ll love Rose. I’d much rather have a smart and mean heroine, than a passive heroine.

You may actually end up disliking Rose. For some, Rose’s sexual confidence turns them off. Her rash behavior and penchant for punching people may also piss you off. She is immature. She’s young. But here the thing, she grows and becomes responsible. She grows so much in this book. But in the series overall, she becomes an amazing woman.

Lissa has a fuck ton of issues. At times, I was frustrated with her irrationality to not realize it when she needed help. Her magic makes her emotions overwhelming and that becomes part of the problem for Lissa. Yet I loved how real she felt as a character. I felt like there’s so much more of her character than what is in this one book. That’s the most exciting thing to me. When I know there’s more to learn about a character, but the author hasn’t quite shared it with me just yet.

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The World:

There are Strigoi who have lived for thousands of years and fed off generations of Moroi. They’re almost impossible to kill. And that is why Moroi numbers are dropping. They aren’t strong enough-even with guardians-to protect themselves.”

The world makes most YA paranormal’s look like Kristen Stewart trying to show real emotion. The squinting; always the squinting of the eyes.

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Whew, look at all that damn emotion!

She created a world unlike any I’ve read, at least when I first read it. She portrays a world that blends on the lore of the Slavic Vampire. No sparkly shit here, mister. She even explains everything in her world without boring the shit out the reader. Mead shows the reader the reason the Dhampirs and Vampires live in different dorms, besides the fact that the Royals drink blood. The Vampire’s dorms are dark and have very little windows since the sun can damage their skin. Moroi are pale and look like runway models, whereas Dhampirs are strong and curvy like humans.

The Romance:

How fucking rare is it to come across a YA where the romance actuals builds slowly. Rare, it’s fucking rare. Almost non-existant.

The relationship between Rose and Dimitri builds very slowly and realistically. They start out as friends, Rose even freaks out when she’s starting to get the hots for her mentor:

I wondered what it’d be like for him to touch me and-shit!
What was I thinking? Was I out of my mind? Embarrassed, I covered my feelings with attitude.
“You see something you like?” I asked.

We get to realize that their relationship isn’t just attration and that it’s more than just a friendship. They get to know each other as if they truly understand each other. Nothing to do with fate or any shit like that. But Rose explains her it like this:

I suddenly understood why he and I had this weird attraction, good looks aside.
I’d never met anyone else who took being a guardian so seriously, who understands all the life-and-death consequences. Certainly no one my age did yet; Mason hadn’t been able to understand why I couldn’t relax and drink at the party…We understood each other, understood that we had other to protect. Our lives would never be easy.

While I love this book. It’s not my favorite in the series. It’s probably my least favorite. I personally didn’t like all of the high school drama that surrounded this book. It became a little too much for me. It was one thing after another and I kinda got sick of that. I loved the characters, but the High School clique was not within my tastes. I also disliked Rose’s prejudice towards Christian. It didn’t always make sense to me why would believe the rumors about him when so many rumors were thrown around about her.