Archive for March, 2016

ThreePartsDead

Premise: All is not well in Alt Coulumb, where Kos, God of Fire, has just been murdered. But who murdered him? Tara, straight out of Craft school, is determined to find out, along with a crew that includes her formidable new boss, a novice priest to the dead god and a vampire junkie. Published 2012

I LOVED THIS BOOK! LOVED IT ENTIRELY! COMPLETELY!

All of My Favorite Things: (1) THE CHARACTERS! Especially Abelard the priest, who is completely adorable.

When Abelard and Tara’s boss discuss something weird:

ABELARD: “It all seems…unnatural.’

BOSS: ‘Whereas using the love of your god as a heat source for steam power is perfectly normal.’

ABELARD: ‘Yes,’ he said, confused” (192).

ME: <33 Abelard

Also, Tara is an awesome female protag.

(2) The concepts, oh, all the many pretty concepts. The author balances the power between gods and humanity in a really interesting way—and the gods themselves are quite interesting constructs. I look forward to finding out more about them in future books. I also love how the different characters relate to the gods—Abelard, trust; Tara, suspicion; Tara’s boss, professionalism (toward the god who is her client); the bad guy, greed (over the god’s power and immortality). The idea of Craft also intrigues me; it seems unique, distinguished from your usual magic system by a distinctly…”professional” air. I really like it. I don’t understand it very well because Gladstone throws us into the story without a lot of explanation (which is why I was able to jump right in and love it from the start). I think future books will portray more of it and what it means. (3) The worldbuilding. Unique—kind of steampunk mix of urban and high fantasy, mostly magic-powered as opposed to technology-powered. The story stays mostly in Alt Coulumb, but the world is clearly large and well-constructed, leaving much room for further explanation. (4) The quick, twisty plot is fairly understandable for character-driven readers, but still unpredictable. Part mystery, part “overcoming the monster.” (5) The comedic factor is one of the most refreshing aspects of this story. I LOVE the voice. It adds to the tone, which is optimistic in the face of large odds. I also love the character-based humor.

What I Disliked: Nothing. Literally nothing, I loved it all.

Themes: humanism verses medieval-pagan-remix priesthoods, church corruption, prejudice, faith, crises of faith, other cool things.

Recommendation: Any fans of urban fantasy. I see a lot of positive reviews by Jim Butcher fans. (I enjoyed this more than the 2.5 Harry Dresden books I read a few years ago. Sorry! I’m sorry! But it’s true.)

What’s Next: BOOK II, HERE I COME!

P.S. The Audiobook: I listened to the preview and it sounded…meh. I definitely recommend reading the hard copy or e-copy of this one.

***** 5/5 STARS

My thanks to Anthony Vicino (and his blog One Lazy Robot), whose post “Top 5 Books of 2015” convinced me to read Three Parts Dead.

City_of_BonesCity_of_AshesCity_of_glasscity_of_Fallen_Angels

This is a review of Books I-IV. Series unfinished.

Premise: Fifteen-year-old Clary finds herself launched into an urban-fantasy version of NYC when she witnesses the murder of a demon–by demonhunters.

Thoughts: I like a lot of the wordbuilding and mythology of this series. I LOVE SIMON.

But I don’t care for the City of Bones series. I wanted to like it, but I can’t finish it, even on audio. (It doesn’t help that I disliked the voice and style of the audiobook narrator of #5 City of Lost Souls, the book I tried to begin again with. Molly C. Quinn makes a melodramatic series sound even more melodramatic.)

This is one of those series that tells me I’ve lost touch with the genre, just a little bit, because every teen girl I talk to loves it. Like, “Hey girl, what have you been readi-” “OMG CITY OF BONES IT’S THE BEST THING EVER AND BANE CHRONICLES I LOVE IT SO MUCH <3<3<3”

I liked it well enough at ages 18/19, but I stopped after book IV because the series became a drag as I lost interest. I won’t read six (very long) books for the love of one character.

A couple adult booktubers seem to love this series and I just don’t get it. It’s melodramatic and angsty- she bit her lip until it bled; he stayed up waiting until five am when exhaustion finally took its toll; all of the teenagers are skinny or gorgeous. Does no one else get tired of the cliches?

And also, I really don’t like Jace. Sorry girls! Too arrogant for me. My final complaint: there’s too much focus on how everybody looks. That really doesn’t matter to the story…

Recommendation: But like I said, I enjoyed the series well enough, as a teen. If you can get a teen reading it, go for it—the worldbuilding is really smart. The series just doesn’t appeal to adult me.

** 2/5 STARS

GatesThreadStone

About: When her beloved brother Reev disappears from the Labrynth of Ninurta, Kai sets out beyond the city walls to find him.

Why I Picked It Up: The cover and the blurb.

What I Liked: (1) First things first, the gorgeous cover! Holy cow! (2) At its good moments, I enjoyed this book. For example, the ending came as a total surprise! I love that.

Disappointments: Unfortunately, there weren’t a lot of other good moments for me. No real commentary on life, humanity or politics. I always hope a YA novel will live up to the genre’s potential for those insightful little gems. This book is a debut, but I still had high hopes for it, since it garnered some good reviews on Goodreads. I think the good reviews must have been related to the worldbuilding, which I occasionally appreciated; or perhaps readers liked the love interest, with his sort of “sexy-and-experienced-but-inexplicably-shy?” bit. I think the main ill was a lack of dialogue. I feel like I didn’t get to know the characters much, especially Avan. He still felt like a stranger to me, by the end.

Reev was probably my favorite character, or maybe Mason (which is unfortunate, as I’m rooting for a losing cause, in Mason’s case). Kai was okay…just okay. Likewise, the plot was…okay. Just okay.

And that’s really all I have to say about the book. It was okay…just okay.

Overall & Recommendations: Not for me. I’m not really sure who it’s for, either, because I really thought it would be for me.

Book II?: The description sounds really cool (does the plot come into its own?) and the cover is even more gorgeous than that of the first book; but it’s not on my READ IMMEDIATELY!!!!! list because I picked up the first book for the exact same reasons. If someone reads it, let me know your thoughts!

** 2/5 STARS

Currently Reading: Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone