Reviews Galore! Well… 3 to start.

Going to be using the next few days to move some reviews from amazon and other places to here.  Some will be about series, some won’t.  And some will be about the few series that I have quit.  There aren’t many, but since I have spent the time writing the review, I figured I’d put ’em all in the same place.

And, that will keep me posting since I am taking a small break from reading new stuff.  I was going to read Forever but I went and saw HP DH2 and am suffering from massive Harry Withdrawals.  Therefore, I am re-reading (I think the count on the # of reads for the series is 10 now) the series before I read anything else new.

So… let me astound you with some reviews.   Here are 3 that aren’t about series.  I will post more over the next few days!

Betwixt by Tara Bray Smith (YA; 2 stars).  “So far, most of the characters have promise. With the notable exception of Morgan… we’ll have to see what happens once we get to the solstice.”

Well, that was what I thought before getting to the end. I must say that it seemed to have so much promise. But that promise was dashed. Hard. I am hardest on endings of all books – but this one was so bad that I don’t really even know what happened. It is totally set up for a sequel – but I won’t read it. I kept reading because I was waiting for this grand revelation (which sort of happened) and an ending that would at least make sense (as opposed to much of the rest of the book!)… but it never happened. I was also waiting for some great new twist on a “fairy” story… but that great new twist was a total let down too.

There wasn’t enough character development for me – don’t get me wrong, we get background info on all three of the “lings” (shot for changelings – and the “shorts” version, well, I could live without; it came across as an attempt to create new lingo in this genre and that isn’t necessary, moreover, it felt forced and new lingo needs to just happen, it can’t be forced). But the only one we really get to know is Ondine. And while Ondine is so important, why are we told over and over that Nix is the key? But we really get very little of Nix and we don’t get enough to really get invested in him. Morgan on the other hand – she would have made a great villain and it seems that she is headed that way, but then I am really not sure what happens to her. And honestly, the way she is introduced made me wonder what happened in the really short time frame of the first few chapters to take such a character – who I was sort of indifferent to and turn her into such a bit__. All of a sudden it was like the reader is meant to hate her – and I did so I had no sympathy for her nor did I care what happened to her.

I like plots where I care about what happens to the characters (even if I want the villain to get what he/she deserves, at least I care about the villian in some way – here, not so much). The story seems to have promise, but the execution of the “exidis” falls way short. And don’t even get me started on the conflict that happens towards the end – the danger they are in – my reaction was “what? huh?” at the conclusion of that fiasco and I am a pretty careful reader. I won’t waste my time on the sequel if there is one.

The Hallows by Michael Scott.  (Horror; 4 1/2 stars) This is one of those books that makes me realize we need 1/2 star rating capabilities… this would definitely get 4 1/2 – why not the full 5 (although I gave it the full 5 since I don’t have the 4 1/2 option!)? Well, because I would have like to have seen a little more of the end. And it’s hard to explain what I mean by that without giving up the end. I also would have liked a little more of the history of the Hallows – we get quite a bit towards the end, but I think there was a little more…more This is one of those books that makes me realize we need 1/2 star rating capabilities… this would definitely get 4 1/2 – why not the full 5 (although I gave it the full 5 since I don’t have the 4 1/2 option!)? Well, because I would have like to have seen a little more of the end. And it’s hard to explain what I mean by that without giving up the end. I also would have liked a little more of the history of the Hallows – we get quite a bit towards the end, but I think there was a little more potential that was left untouched – especially with the sword’s history. But it was excellent!

Michael does a great job of cutting back and forth between scenes and yet I still feel like the book flows – sometimes authors try to do that and I feel so disjointed about it – and here, the transition is seemless and the book still flows and keeps things moving forward. I am becoming a fan of the way Michael sets out chapters/sections of the books by date too (see the Alchemyst and Magician for the same device).

There is suspense, action, gore (although not too much) and history all rolled up into one here. The opening chapter sucked me in and I couldn’t put the book down. I really felt for the character Greg Matthews and his losses. I also really disliked the bad guy – and when I can identify with the characters and feel invested, I know it’s a great book!

This means I am off to pick up more of Michael’s books!

Raven by Allison Van Diepen (YA; 3 stars).  Wish I could give the darn thing 2 and 1/2 stars. 

Plot – Nic is a HS girl and part of a break dancing troupe. She works at a bar on weekends where her sort-of boyfriend works. He’s a little older but a great dancer and a little mysterious. He doesn’t mind that all the other members of his dance group are in HS and he’s not. Nic has a “ghost” (which I thought had potential until we are told that it’s not really a ghost just that’s how she thinks of her drug addict brother who moved out but still sucks mom and dad dry). Turns out Zin is one of a group of immortals, lead by Carlo. And the immortals are Jiang Shi. Carlo had a vision that Nic will lead the Jiang Shi to a new existence and wants her to become one of them. And there are hunters after the Jiang Shi.

It had a few things going for it – it was a really quick read. As in, took me about 3 hours to read. The star-crossedness isn’t the primary focus of the relationship between Nicole (aka Raven) and Zin. It’s a unique take on the immortality “thing” that is goin’ on in all these YA novels. And the end was fairly satisfying. There are a few loose ends, but if there’s never a sequel (or if there is and I don’t feel like bothering), it won’t be nagging me the way I feel nagged when ever I catch a re-run of the tv show Las Vegas (remember that one?) because it ended on such a cliff hanger. Maybe a bad example, but it certainly demonstrated my point.

The bad things – well, a few of them were really pretty bad. The writing didn’t have much emotion to it at all. The narration was very cold and choppy. I felt like I was reading one of those Dick and Jane books that they used to print to teach kids how to read (“I got out of bed. I ate breakfast. I got dressed for school.”) And the relationship between Nic and Zin had so much potential but they really didn’t spend enough page time together to feel like there was anything between them. Except we were told about 5 times that Nic loved him the moment she saw him and he was dancing at the time. That’s not exactly depth to their relationship. Then there was the break dancing lingo. It was worse in the beginning then later and I found myself skipping paragraphs because I don’t know the moves and their names and it felt like a waste of pen space.

As for the mythology – it was almost as if the writer heard of these types of people but did no research. Heck, she could have made up the mythology for all I care, but it was so superficial the way it was dealt with. I would have loved to have felt like there was more conflict – so that the end felt more satisfying. Even the stuff with Nic’s brother was almost too easy and there was no real emotion in the story. The who Jiang Shi story just sort of fizzled out. The whole book and the immortality story line felt rushed. The book was less then 300 pages, big type and big line spacing. A little more to the story, both the love story between Nic and Zin as well as the mythology and the resolution to it, and a little less “see jane run” could have easily turned this into a 4 star book. 

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2 comments

  1. Im reading the hallows now, i have about 100 pages left, Im really like it so far but its very different from his ya. Its funny though you can still tell its his writing because of how he describes scenes and characters, its very much like the flamel series in that respect as well as the jumping between story lines. Im looking forward to finding out what happens 🙂

    Like

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