Tuesday, 31 August 2010

BR: Hush, Hush

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1)Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read this in one night. It is a fun and quick read, you get sucked in immediately. I don't get all the Twilight comparisons. It is nothing like Twilight. Twilight, to be honest, quite sucked. This was fun. Patch (what I think is quite a cute name) is damn hot. Wish I could touch his back too..

Fitzpatrick has created a world that's quite believable. I was glad it didn't resemble Fallen too much. It starts off the same; mysterious boy at a school that seems unreachable. But where Daniel is really rude, Patch is just being distant, but he is never mean to Nora. He is a tease, but who doesn't like a hot guy teasing you...

The process of Nora accepting that Patch isn't human, and that angels do exist was a bit rushed in my opinion. She only deals with Patch being unhuman, not with that the Bible was right and her whole world is upside down. Shouldn't she doubt what else is real if angels are real? I think this is one of the great gaps in the story.

The Nephelim lore was interesting. I haven't read a lot of books that focus on angels, so it felt quite new for me. It is refreshing to read something different than the old vamp/were stuff. I would like to read more about angels, they are quite interesting (and hot!).

You can just feel the chemistry between our couple. Patch cares for Nora from the beginning of the story, and Nora slowly grows into it. The development wasn't rushed and felt natural. She acts very like her age, which I think is quite an achievement. You see her slowly admitting her feelings for Patch, even though he is dangerous and she knows nothing about him. She does some irresponsible things, but who doesn't at that age? I liked that even though Hush, Hush is a young-adult book they don't act like sex doesn't exist. It isn't that implicit and in-your-face, but you can tell Nora wants more from Patch than just a little kiss.

Okay, the ending might be predictable, we all knew this would be the best solution, but it was sweet. Now we can read more about our new favourite angel-human couple. Give me part two!

Monday, 30 August 2010

BR: Dracula

DraculaDracula by Bram Stoker

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dracula was nothing like I had expected. This is one of those stories that has been retold so many times by so many people, the original gets more and more lost. In contemporary vamp fiction we see the vampires being the good guys. They save innocent humans, fall in love with them and care for them. And some of them even sparkle.

But nothing like that in the original Dracula by Bram Stoker. Vampires are monsters, downright evil, the devil on earth. They have no redeeming quality, they are horrible and sadistic, only on this planet to spread their doom.

Dracula was refreshingly different. It feels good to have a big evil vamp again, and not the sexy vamp fluff we have nowadays. And the way Stoker describes him, you really believe there is nothing good left in the Count.

We start reading Jonathan Harkers diary. I truly love that Stoker choose for this form. The diary feels like you are reading someone's intimate thoughts, like you are peeking into someone's life. And in this book the diary actually makes sense. It has a purpose, and it is logical that this diary is still being kept in the most pressing situations. And it doesn't take away the action. The story is off course not so fast paced and action-packed as a lot of novels are now, but it isn't boring at all, the story unfolds like the tide; slowly, but you cannot stop it.

Because we read this story from so many points of view, we get to see a much larger picture than if we would only read the diary of lets say, Mina. We can get to conclusions and see connections between the stories before the characters do. I think this made the story quite enjoyable.

I really felt for the characters, they seemed so real. Their despair and fear is so heartfelt and at some point of the story when (trying really hard not to spoil) something bad happened to one of the characters I almost felt like crying with them.

There were only two things that really bothered me. The first: Stoker has never been to Holland, and he should not write about a Dutchman if he apparently has never seen one ever. Most Dutch people would rather be found dead than to be heard saying "Mein Gott". That is German. We speak Dutch, not German. Van Helsing should be such an academical and smart man, why can't he learn the simplest English grammar? This was the one and only time I did not believe Stoker. Evil creature that wants to take over London, sure. But a professor that has knowledge of so many languages, doesn't understand that after "he" or "she" the verb gets an S? That just seemed so wrong to me.

The other thing that bothered me is just fundamental. The women in this book are being looked upon as so much different from men. A quote to illustrate this: "I am truly thankful that she is to be left out of our future work, and even of our deliberations. It is too great a strain for a woman to bear". They do not think about women as lesser human beings, at another point in the book they are praised for their compassion that men do not have, but it just irks me they leave the women out of something as important as this. Why should all women be so faint at heart? This kind of book makes me think about how glad we have to be that there is so much more equality between men and women. Stoker is never condescending about it, and I give him credit for that. He did not live in such an woman-friendly age.

I think this book is legitimately called a classic. It isn't the first story about vampires, and it definitely isn't the last, but it is such an inspiration and such a captivating story. The ending was satisfying, tying all the strings together. I would recommend this book to anyone that wants to know where all this vampirestuff comes from.

Monday, 23 August 2010

BR: Industrial Magic

Industrial Magic (Women of the Otherworld, #4)Industrial Magic by Kelley Armstrong

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Having been ousted as leader of the American Coven of Witches, Paige is reluctant to do anything more than hide under her duvet for a few months. However, a murderer with superhuman skills and a grudge against the supernatural community is on the loose and targeting children. With her own ward, Savannah, a potential target; she and her lover, sorcerer Lucas Cortez, attempt to track down the killer. In the process Paige finds herself in a world of sorcerers, necromancers, druid gods and vampires.

This is one of those books where plot is actually secondary to characters. It is fast paced and well thought through, but a little predictable at times. The great strength of this book is all the little quirky manners that make every character so unique and makes it have them their own distinct voice. The dialogue flows and feels natural and made me laugh out loud at times. Eve seems like an interesting person, I'll enjoy reading more about her in the next instalment, Haunted.

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Sunday, 15 August 2010

BR: Shadowfall

  Shadowfall (Godslayer Chronicles, #1)Shadowfall by James Clemens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Myrillia the gods live between the humans. A hundred of them settled and claimed their land, and made their Grace flow into it. The solitaries live far away, in barbaric land. Then, one day, one of the Hundred is killed. And Tylar de Noche is falsely accused of the slaying of a god.

We follow Tylar in his journey to clean his name. The story starts off very slow, especially since there are a lot of characters introduced pretty early on. The strength of this book is that it ties up all these characters so neatly in the end, without giving too much away for the sequel, Hinterland. There were a lot of twists I did not see coming. I loved how corruption is so wide spread and that not even the gods are spared. The desperation was so heartfelt it made me uncomfortable.

Of course, you cannot write a review about Shadowfall without mentioning the magic system. It's awesome. It is different, it is gross, and it even is well thought through. I did wonder a few times why Tylar wasn't just throwing his blood at his enemies. It should work, right?

Tylar undergoes a great transformation. He is turned from a broken man into a perfect knight, and his mind slowly grows into it. It goes very gently and with little steps at a time he is accepting his new fate. I also really liked how things aren't easily resolved between Tylar and Kathryn. It made this book feel so more credible. And that's quite an achievement in a book where it is common to be covered in someone's faeces.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

BR: Fingersmith

FingersmithFingersmith by Sarah Waters

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sue Trinder, an orphan raised in 'den of thieves' by her adoptive mother, Mrs. Sucksby, is sent to help Richard 'Gentleman' Rivers seduce a wealthy heiress. Posing as a maid, Sue is to gain the trust of the lady, Maud Lilly, and eventually persuade her to elope with Gentleman.

This book was not at all what I expected. It was more dark and depressing. It kind of fits the time, but I think it was a little bit too dark for this kind of story. The main characters don't even see each other for the biggest part of the time. The asylum is portrayed very accurate and London really feels like London how it has once been.

Ah, the lesbian romance, the thing we were all waiting for... Well, it's pretty non existent. Okay, it's there, but how can we be satisfied with just one kiss and a very tiny love scene? I wanted a little bit more. It feels like the romance was in complete disproportion with the heavy weight of depressing stuff in the book. We need some light, Sarah!

The ending was all right. Not even a little kiss? Shame on you. If it had been a guy/girl thing they would have kissed! Don't be such a prude. Especially since Maud knows exactly what to do. *giggles*

Five stars for the setting, Four for the plot twist and two for the story itself. Overall I think four stars is quite generous for this book.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

BR: Veronika Decides To Die

Veronika Decides to DieVeronika Decides to Die by Paulo Coelho

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wish I could say I picked this book up because I wanted something more to read than the plain old paranormal romance. I wish I could say I read this book because I wanted to know more about life. I wish I reviewed this book because I wanted to share with the world the joy of life.

The reason I picked this book up? My favourite band, Billy Talent, has a song called Saint Veronica. About a girl that decides to die. I like that song.

Yes, for that superficial reason I took this book from the library shelf and brought it home.

Then I read it in two sittings. And discovered that my superficial reasons don't do this book right. It is truly a great book. It makes me want to say "but I do enjoy my life!". Coelho writes in such clear and simple language that this book is enjoyable for about anyone. It makes you think about your life. It still has you thinking days after you have said goodbye to Veronika and Eduard and Doctor Igor.

Can't say it's a masterpiece, 'cause well, it isn't. It has some flaws, like the quite unrealistic plot twist and the questionable medical research. Sometimes we lose Veronika, whom I think to be the main character, for way too much time because we have to listen to the life story of a character that doesn't really matter anyway.

I just loved the way Coelho portrayed the mental hospital. The madness, and even the structure behind the madness.

Inspiring. Read it for superficial reasons, but read it anyway.

No one ever thought that she was capable
And the damage done is irreversible
Now she clings to life inside a hospital
Like she's trapped inside a frozen waterfall
Always said her life was never meant to be
Stuck here living someone else's dream
Well beyond your window there is so much more
Even every prison has a open door

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