The Telemachus family definitely has their fair share of miscommunication. From the father Teddy, a card shark/magician who pretended to be psychic and ignores his children; to the eldest, Irene, who can detect lies and therefore closes herself off from love; to Frankie, who used to be able to move small objects with his mind until he lost his confidence, but still yearns for fame and greatness (leading to more trouble); to Buddy, who is silent, but knows the future and works to push it slightly, without letting anyone else know; to Matty, Irene's son, who is just coming in to his own power (more powerful than his Grandmother, a Government spy), but is too afraid to tell anyone.
The parts with the Government and spies were intriguing, and I would have loved to read more about Maureen and all of her powers. It seemed more interesting to me than the mob and Teddy, with all of his faults and having learned nothing new by the end of the novel.
The children in the novel were more adult than the adults, often understanding things before their parents, being direct and fixing problems the adults create for themselves. Matty and Malice become the glue that held the family together, often interceding and saving the day. Again, the lack of communication between adults leads to the children needing to take some of the control. The main malfunction within the family is that each adult thinks they are the ones caring for the others, without ever discussing their own issues. So, their "burdens" cause anxiety and resentment. Irene resents her absentee father and her power, Frankie resents their lost fame and his failed powers, Teddy resents being the only "parent", Buddy resents living throughout time, without a life of his own.
The beginning of the novel was very slow paced, which again made it hard to keep interest. However, the end the novel became a roller coaster ride, really picking up in the last 70 pages or so, and I could not seem to put down the book. I finally found I was invested in the outcome of this troubled psychic family. I was glad I stuck it out, as there were moments of laughter, redemption and sadness. I would have missed out on some eye opening realizations. I recommend this book for fans of crime/spy drama, with a dash of maladjusted family and a touch of magic.
At first, Ashton comes across as arrogant and cold hearted; however, as we begin to learn more about him, the reader can see that he has a caring, loving soul, which has been trapped in heartache, bitterness and loneliness. He is indifferent towards his charge, Adelina, but begins to soften as he sees his own neglect and tries to be a better man (mostly through knowing Beatrice).
Beatrice is fierce, determined, a broken soul trying to find a better life for herself. After all of her hardships, she is still selfless, loving, and kind. She is smart and will do anything to protect those she comes to care for, even at the expense of her own life.
Fantastically written, with rich descriptions that pull the reader into the past; as though we have become a character in the novel, watching the story unfold, in the ballrooms of the ton, at the Opera, or event at the country estate of Lord Burns. The prose are often imbued with poetry, filling the readers heart with the romance of that era. An example, and my favourite line: "Ashton's laughter, muffled though it was, rang all around them, following the night to the star-studded heavens."
I could not put this book down, which meant passing out with my ereader falling on my face, but it was worth the sudden jolt. The pace was quick, even when I wanted the romance to bloom faster, and at the end I was sad there was not more to read. However, the conclusion perfectly suited the story.
So, if you are a fan of classic love stories, a Bronte fan, a fan of Gothic romance, or just a romance fan in general, I suggest picking up this beautiful book. You will be engrossed until the very end, be intrigued by the fashion, the history, the magic of another time. You will feel the passion between Beatrice and Dominic, and feel a surge of hate and disgust towards one character. You will also come to love the wonderful secondary characters, who work to lighten the mood, fill the book with laughter, and create drama of their own. Fantastically done, M. C. Frank!
*I was given this book in exchange for an honest review.*
This book was fantastic, a nail biter from start to finish. In this post-apocalyptic setting, the city is at once too large and too small. The setting induces feelings of both vertigo and claustrophobia; from 'the top of the world', where most of the poor live and toil away their lives (including giving their first born children to the rich, a tithe), to the ground level where the rich reside in luxury. Each step our heroine takes on her harrowing journey is dogged by the feral demon-like Home Guard (the police of the city), intent on killing Naiya and those she loves. But, why?
Throughout the novel, the reader is in the dark as much as Naiya, trying to figure out the clues her adoptive father left her, meant to help in the search for her true heritage. Be prepared to be enthralled by her back story and the history of this disheveled world. A world where any offense is punishable by death or disappearance, but no one knows the where or for what purpose.
I enjoyed the detail in each paragraph, which painted a vivid picture of the ruins in the inner city (an old library, crumbled warehouses, a dilapidated mayoral mansion) and the newer installations built by the Government (food dispensaries, state of the art laboratories). There is beauty in the old, falling down structures; which hint at a lost time, when people felt more freedom and did not have to worry about the chips implanted in them from birth, that let the Government know where they are at every moment. Whereas, the Government buildings are cold, heartless and filled with terrifying secrets.
Naiya was a fantastic character, full of both fear and courage. Questioning everything she knows, while still fiercely protecting those she loves. She is at war with herself, determined to find out the truth about herself, her dreams and the burgeoning powers that both scare her and give her hope that maybe she can make the world better for those she cares about. With memorable characters both hindering and helping her mission to find out what the word 'terminus' (left to her by her 'father') really means to her and the world.
A great start to a fascinating series, my only big issue being that I have to wait for the next installment, when I am excited to know how our heroine plans on saving the dying world.
I was given a copy of Broken Moon, by the author, in exchange for an honest review.
I loved that this book turned so many tropes on their heads. That when we are first introduced to the 'skittles' we think we know exactly the kinds of girls these two are, only to be shifted in to their narrative and realize maybe we are wrong. First impressions, from the perspective of an introverted outsider become unreliable, now we have to rethink mean girls and their motivations. Peyton and Mei quickly turn into unstoppable forces who happen to drive a lot of the plot forward, who help when they fear for themselves. They are funny, caring, and they push past mean girl stereotypes to become badass.
Not to give too much away, but the powers being extensions or enhancements related to the character's personality was ingenious. The bad guy, or insidious villain, reminded me of corny 80s movies, which I love to pieces. The terror seems so real, while also seeming so unbelievable, that you find yourself second guessing everything, much like the characters. But, there are several hair raising moments, moments where you realize you are holding your breath, worried that this is it, this is the end of the line, only to have our girls manage to find an escape. The twists and turns are well thought out, and hard to see coming. The history behind the villain is detailed, the characters are flushed out, the dialogue is believable. The scenes suck you in to this seemingly quiet, small town with skeletons hiding in the closet, ready to bite.
There is also a love story, no escaping it in a young adult novel. However, it was perfectly done, not too in your face, and it did not overshadow the main story. There was clear chemistry between Laurel and Jasper, the mysterious new teenager in town. These two create their own sparks, pun intended, that make you route for them when the odds are stacked against them. He pulls her out of her shell and she grounds him in reality and the present. They blend well, while also being able to exist separate from each other, turning what could be a cheesy romance into a well rounded young adult relationship.
The cliffhanger ending leads me to believe I will have more of these characters to enjoy in the near future. I'm excited to see what lies next, what terrors might be awaiting our intrepid and reluctant superheroes.
P.S. I received this book from the Once Upon a Young Adult Book Club subscription box, where I also received four gifts to open at certain parts of the book (they were linked with an item on that page). I received it as a gift from my older sister, and will do a blog post about the experience soon.
The only negative I felt about this novel were the couple instances where I felt the scene seemed too surreal or a little unbelievable, or the repetitiveness of a few scenes. However, this was very slight, and the rest of the narrative was so heart wrenching and powerful that you move past these instances quite quickly and are sucked back in to the story.
Wes is a world famous actor, with that comes press and misrepresentation. He is a man fighting his past in order to have a better future. While at first he seems arrogant and closed off, you begin to connect with him, to understand his softer side and why he has built a wall around himself. He is loyal, funny and dependable. He looks after those he loves and hides his true feelings in order to protect himself (even if this leads to creating isolation).
Ari is fearless, determined and powerful. However, this fearlessness and determination cause her to block out those that love her. Her independence may lead to trouble, possibly affecting the stunt career she has worked so hard to start. In many instances I could see myself in Ari, fearing to let others in or ask for help. I could feel empathy in her avoidance and shame in her guilt.
There were so many wonderful side characters that helped to build up the main characters. They made them more relatable, more lovable, more human. I loved Ollie, Wes' best friend, who later becomes integral to the story and the growth of the narrative. The setting is also beautiful and refreshing. I could imagine the warmth of the sun, the waves of the Ionian sea crashing to shore and around the Rubble, the breeze, the beauty of white washed buildings, of the history there, and of the small community. The island itself became a character, offering hospitality and love. A true home of comfort.
I loved this take on a classic, about two people from different walks in life meeting and ultimately changing each other. Such a realistic love story, filled with hardships that must be overcome in order for the characters to be themselves and to learn to trust and love (both themselves and others). I cannot recommend it enough, but be ready for tears, smiles and laughter (have Kleenex on hand).
Favourite quote: "I had no idea that we become a different version of ourselves when we're with someone; that we're different when we're alone...Not different as in not myself. Different as in better. A better me. A more open me, a safer me." (pg. 330)
It was hard to select a favourite; although, I had read The Witch of Duva previously and loved the ominous gloom surrounding the story. To be honest, I loved the fresh take each tale took on old stories dried up from telling. The lessons to be learned, the harsh realities we as readers must now bear. From abuse to torture and finally murder. These are tragic, no holds barred, filled with darkness, pain, loss and sometimes a change in character that means no going back, no redemption (yet the reader understands and is empathetic to the outcome).
I love the nods to The Nutcracker, The Velveteen Rabbit, Nibble, Nibble Mousekin (which we own), The Little Mermaid and a few others. We are also reacquainted with a well-loved villain from the Shadow and Bone Trilogy (but only briefly, and not by name).
These tales will stick with the reader, scrape away the flesh and dig down into the bone ("current caught on some dark thing in [our] hearts"). I enjoyed that in many of the stories the supposed "villain" turns out to be your favourite character, and often times the true hero. Bardugo is very fond of turning monsters into martyrs and tropes into trivialities.
I highly recommend this book, there are six folktales in all (placed throughout the Grishaverse/map; although, if she does another set, I hope it will include a tale from Shu Han). You do not have to have read her novels about the Grishaverse to appreciate this work. Some are short/easy reads and some are longer. Just be prepared for shifting your perspective around those well loved fables, and know that they are dark, sometimes twisted, but always entertaining. Breathtaking, they leave an impression long after you turn the last page.
The colour scheme was vibrant when there was happiness, but dark and muted when Canada is captured. The main hero is a young woman wearing all white, very symbolic in terms of a saviour to her people. She meets up with a ragtag group, led by a strong woman (who later betrays them).
There are several strong woman in this graphic novel, in fact most of the significant characters are women. From the leader of the rebels, to the head of the U.S. armed forces, to Canada's saviour in white. Women play a significant role in the progress and power throughout. In fact, it is the saviour's mother who was one of the original targets in the first wave of America's assault on Canada.
There were faults throughout, which led to my lower rating. For one, I found the story to be lacking in meat. The graphics were wonderful, but there needed to be more story attached to the panels. I felt bereft at times, that I needed more, that I wanted to spend more time with the characters and their histories and less with the fighting and violence. I know it was meant to be shocking and extremist, but at the same time I could not empathize as well, since I was only receiving once back story and lacking on all of the rest. The end was also quite abrupt, for all of the drama and accumulation of suspense previous. So, there was quite a bit of action, which is good, but it was lacking in development.
Overall, it was an interesting story line, both provocative and powerful. The graphics were compelling and the colouring whisked you into a county, once beautiful and light, which has been darkened by devastation. I liked the character dynamics and interaction, and I enjoyed there being so many powerful women, but I would have enjoyed it more with a little more plot, character development and purpose. How can I empathize when I am only witnessing gore, violence and conflict?
Several of my favourite pages did turn out to be the beautiful two page spreads, which highlighted the powerful machines that the United States had at their disposal (so visually stunning, and horrific all in one). No words necessary to convey the dread.
What follows is a trip down the rabbit hole. Filled with pop culture references, quick wit, laughter, and lots of fear. This was edge of your seat reading. The beasts reminded me of something out of a Lovecraft novel, with ties to the ever elusive Necronomicon of pulp horror infamy.
I loved the imagery splashed throughout. It was beautiful, frightening, alarming at times, but it painted a vivid landscape/portrait of the world the Blyton Summer Detective Club lived in. With side characters that begin as one-dimensional plot devices, who shift dramatically into developed characters that help to move plot forward and create more sympathy and empathy for our main characters. Favourite imagery goes to Kerri's hair, the amount of descriptors about her being a redhead were impressive, expressive and overpowering. The hair became an entity in and of itself by the end of the novel.
The story made fun of itself, while portraying the realities of becoming an adult. The changes we all must face; returning to our past only to find it has shrunk, or that our minds have made it scarier, grander, or more protective than it really ever was. There were moments when the descriptiveness became too convoluted or too forced, which made me cringe, but was quickly offset by another funny or important moment meant to further the plot or break the tension.
This novel was spot on, shifting the characters into something other than what you would normally find. No more tired, nerdy, unattractive girl (now we have an attractive and fashionable nerd), no more attractive and fashionable girl who plays arm candy to the rest of the team (now we have a self-professed tomboy, who can take care of business on her own, not afraid to throw down or 'woman up'), and finally we lose the lanky, drug addled teen (in favour of a geek, who can show strength and courage in the face of fear). And the jock everyone loves, easily replaced. The group dynamics have also shifted, bringing our tomboy to the forefront, and adding in her eternal love for the nerdy redhead, Kerri.
A startling read, with a twisty plot that throws you for a loop a few times; and, when the final "mask" is pulled off, you cannot help but love these dysfunctional "meddling" kids.
Book 50/50...doing a happy dance. Now on to book 51...
Abigail is as determined, smart, strong-willed and capable as ever. She has become Jackaby's conscience, his crutch, and his weapon. She can both tell him squarely when he is being wrong, or build him up with confidence when he needs a push. She is one of the best female characters written of late, a feminist with hopes and dreams to accomplish that do not include familial obligation or a man (unless she decides that man will not overshadow her own desires). She is full of potential and Jackaby knows this and is determined to see her fulfill everything she is meant to be. While she fears many of the tasks or confrontations they face, she jumps into every situation without a second thought, willing to risk life and limb for humanity and those she cares about.
Jackaby and Abigail have formed an unbreakable friendship. He has grown into a decent human being with her at his side. As well, as more of his character is revealed, the reader realizes that often times his brashness, his pigheaded determination, and his self-involvement are all a mask. A guise to make himself, and others, believe he knows what he is doing at all times (when really he is frightened and confused and befuddled half the time).
Charlie and Jenny were back, full of spunk, loyalty, and laughter. Those two are splendid sidekicks and amazing characters in their own right. Both have given so much of themselves and their pasts for a city, a cause, and a new family.
This novel was so well written. There were several thrilling scenes, dangerous escapes, and quick thinking. My heart raced throughout, wondering just how our group of heroes would manage to avert disaster this time. There were so many twists in the plot, so many jaw-dropping moments, and instances where I shouted A-ha! It was hard to choose my favourite twist, but I suppose the ending for me was it, because it was pure perfection. I will not spoil it, although I wish I could quote the last line of the novel here, as it was so poetically beautiful. Again, it was a wonderful and fond farewell to a place, people and wonders that, as a reader, I had fallen in love with.
These novels were the perfect blend of Victorian mystery and young adult fantasy. With a strong heroine and a somewhat clumsy, but charming hero (neither playing second fiddle to the other). As well, the main characters were completely platonic friends, no romance between them. Just mutual respect for one another and absolute trust.
This novels themes are so intrinsic to the state of the world today. Pushing the idea that we must all come together, no matter our differences. That we must set aside hatred and fear in favour of love, respect and learning. It is so easy to hate, or to allow others hate to dictate our actions, but it is so much more amazing when we can change our viewpoint for a moment and see life from another perspective; when we allow ourselves to grow and change, to open our minds, to push past our prejudices and find common ground.
Book 49/50...only 1 more novel until I reach my reading goal for 2017, woohoo!