Friday, June 10, 2016

Bloodlines by Richelle Mead

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Blurb: I wasn't free of my past, not yet.

Sydney's blood is special. That's because she's an alchemist - one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives. But the last encounter Sydney had with vampires got her in deep trouble with the other alchemists. And now with her allegiences in question, her future is on the line.

When Sydney is torn from her bed in the middle of the night, at first she thinks she's still being punished for her complicated alliance with dhampir Rose Hathaway. But what unfolds is far worse. Jill Dragomir - the sister of Moroi Queen Lissa Dragomir - is in mortal danger, and the Moroi must send her into hiding. To avoid a civil war, Sydney is called upon to act as Jill's guardian and protector, posing as her roommate in the unlikeliest of places: a human boarding school in Palm Springs, California. The last thing Sydney wants is to be accused of sympathizing with vampires. And now she has to live with one.

The Moroi court believe Jill and Sydney will be safe at Amberwood Prep, but threats, distractions, and forbidden romance lurk both outside - and within - the school grounds. Now that they're in hiding, the drama is only just beginning.

My Review: I'd put this book on hold for a pretty long time now, mainly because I'm not particularly fond of immediately starting a spin-off after finishing a series. I really, really liked Rose in Vampire Academy and always liked Adrian better than Dimitri so maybe that's why it took me so long to pick up this book. I wasn't ready to let go of my Adrian-Rose ship. Nevertheless, I started Bloodlines and although it took me a day to finish this, I still felt that it was too...slow. I had the same problem with Vampire Academy but with the second book, the series became one of my favourites so I'm hoping that something like that happens with this series too because even though I loved the characters and the story, in general, I just didn't feel like it had that much matter in it. I actually skipped a few pages now and then just because I knew the story isn't going anywhere and I guess that's the only reason I'm giving this book a 3 stars.

If I ignore the slug pace of the book, I actually really loved the characters. Sydney was a little annoying in the beginning with her bigoted views about humans and vampires but she goes through some major changes as the book proceeds and her character development was really interesting. I could understand how difficult it is to alter what she's believed in all her life and I think she did really well adjusting to the situations she was thrown into. She still has a long way to go though and honestly, I can't wait for it to happen.

Adrian was just..perfect, as usual. Considering how I finished Spirit Bound, the last book in the VA series, like 5 years ago, you'd think that I would've been over Adrian Ivashkov by now but noooooooo, he still happens to be one of my favourite book boyfriends and perhaps the only reason why I was able to finish the book as quickly as I could. I really didn't like the fact that Sydney and Adrian weren't thrown in together that often because it reduced his appearances in the book.
But the way Richelle Mead slowly built up the chemistry between Sydney and Adrian was really intriguing and engrossing.
They both come a long way at the end of the story and I just really enjoyed watching them transform in their own ways.

The story itself was alright. I wouldn't say it was something spectacular because halfway through the book I could figure out most of what was going on so I didn't feel any surprise or shock as such when the mystery is unraveled. However, I can tell that there's a lot to come and the first book was just about covering the surface so I'm not exactly disappointed..or elated, for that matter.

Overall, I'd say that it COULD'VE been better BUT I'm not too upset about this. It's just how Richelle Mead works. She creates some major foundations in the first book itself and builds upon those foundations in the next books which is exactly what makes the series as a whole so strong and least that's what happened in VA so I'm just going to assume the same for Bloodlines and hope for the best.

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Consequence of Loving Colton by Rachel Van Dyken

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Blurb: My name is Milo Caro and I have a confession to make.

I’ve been in love with Colton Mathews since I was five. He should have known that sharing a cookie with a sugar obsessed little monster would do the trick–it sealed his fate. So really, the fact that he’s sporting a black eye, a limp, almost got ran over by a car, and was nearly responsible for another person’s death? Right. His fault. Not mine. 

I made a pact with myself–this weekend would be different. I’d come home for my brothers wedding, smile, and Colton would naturally melt into my arms, we’d get married have five kids, live in a house by the river, and get a dog named scratch (clearly I’ve thought this through).

What really happened? I punched my brother in the face, Colton kissed me and apologized, I lied about having a boyfriend, oh and everyone wants to meet the mystery man. 

They say laughter always comes before insanity–ha, ha. All I wanted was my brother’s best friend…instead I’m sitting in prison. 

Let this be a lesson to you all…life rarely happens the way you want it to. 

Damn cookie

My Review: 
If I had to use a single word to describe this story it'd be "ridiculous".
It had SUCH a good start and I honestly enjoyed it so much till the point where everybody starts planning how to sabotage Jason's marriage.

In a bid to make it hilarious, the author went all over the place. I mean, Max and Reid get assaulted, Jason turns into human pulp because he just can't stop getting injured for some reason, Colton and Milo are busy playing games with each other while the rest of the characters are running here and there doing random crap which is supposed to be found funny by the reader, I'm guessing.

I love a good romantic comedy and I did like the romance part between Milo and Colton. I'm actually really fond of jealousy games between two lovebirds but the book's rating automatically went down from a 4.5 to 2.5 in my mind when the horny Grandma assaulted Reid, both mentally and physically.
Imagine an 80 year old man running after a 20 something, touching her, grabbing her inappropriately and taking the harassment to such an extent that the female actually tries to take drugs and gets drunk to cope with it. No matter how lightly you try to put this scene in your story, it'll still be scorned upon and not be found funny.

However, you reverse the genders, and suddenly it's okay to portray sexual harassment because it's happening to a man. The whole thing between Reid and the creepy Grandma just disgusted me, not to mention the scene where Max is sent to Jason's fiance's bachelorette party and he comes back traumatized, and tries to cut down a tree to make himself feel manly again. (I STILL can't figure out how cutting down a tree gives you back your manhood). Anyway, while this is going on the men call it taking one for the team while our pretty princess Milo cheers on.

It reeeeealllyyyyyy got on my nerves how lightly the author just put such incidences in the latter part of the story and tried to pull them off as funny scenes and it reeeeaaaallllyyyyy annoyed the crap out of me when this book with such an amazing start ended up disappointing me like this.

I don't think a lot of people mind or even notice that men get harassed and traumatized too but that doesn't mean it isn't a serious issue and trying to pull it off as something funny is just sad. I really expected better stuff from this book.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Blurb: “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

My Review: Okay so frankly, the first half of the novel was boring. A lot of people praised this book so I was quite excited when I started it but it took me wayyyyyy too long to finish because my attention kept wavering every few pages. There just wasn't enough stuff happening to keep my interest for long and that should've been enough reason for me to drop the book except that I do not like to abandon books. It's like abandoning a puppy you don't find as adorable as compared to others in the litter. Just because it's quieter and less cuter than other puppies doesn't mean there isn't potential for it to grow into an amazing, beautiful, loyal dog.
Sorry I can't really think of any other simile because I'm missing my own dog too much right now (he's a Lhasa Apso and he's a darlingggg, though a little spoilt.)
Anyway, my point is The Raven Boys grew into a wonderful dog/book/story/youknowwhatImean.

I was at 52% completion of the book (I think) when I actually FELT the change. From the monotonous, shifting POVs, suddenly, things actually started happening and I stopped minding the shifts as the story became more action packed and the characters started showing some more..well, character. This is right about the time Blue decides to defy her mother and go on the helicopter ride with Adam and the others. I say others, because Gansey really wasn't an important OR interesting character till then and seemed just as irrelevant as Ronan, Noah and everybody else.
I couldn't see the point of dragging the story so much and it just felt like the only real content the author had was so less that she had to put in unnecessary sentences in the middle of the chapters for the first part just so that she could turn it into a book instead of a short story.

Nevertheless, the second half of the book was admittedly pretty awesome and it just kept getting better till the end. There was more action and some mystery elements as well, related to the identity of Neeve, Whelk and another character which I'm not going to name because that was a BIG surprise for me and completely got me hooked to the book. Gansey also started showing signs of being a real normal human being instead of some rich, stoic dude with an identity and existential crisis.

"If you're going to embarrass me, I'll throw you out and fly myself," Gansey said from the seat beside her. This was not a true threat. Not only would he not push Helen out at this altitude, he wasn't legal to fly without her"

His dig at Helen, his sis, and this scene in general made me laugh. I mean, there was some real consideration behind that thought. "Oh shit, I can't really do that because you know I'm not legal to fly this thing without my sister if I push her out right now. Oh and yeah she might die but the more important point is truth be told, he wasn't very good at flying a helicopter, despite several lessons " seemed such a sibling-y thought and consideration that this became the part where I started paying more attention to Gansey. Honestly, he seemed like a very motivated robot before.

I could imagine Blue and Gansey together and Blue also started growing on me even though initially I had thought that maybe I wouldn't end up liking her after all, especially because she wanted to keep Gansey's journal to herself and just assumed that it belonged to Adam. However, she proved my assessment of hers to be wrong in the end and actually turned out to be quite captivating.

The writing style also improved a lot in the latter part of the book and I genuinely wanted to know what happens next and how exactly the ley lines work and everything else as the story progressed.
I think I should have given this book three stars because one part was bad and the other part was good so it evens out to be okayish but the thing is that the second part was extremely riveting. It pulled me into Henreitta and Cabeswater and the corpse road. It made me want to expperience the power of the magical willow tree and search Glendower. It was more than good. It was excellent. And so, I want to continue this series and see if the next book can do better than 3.5 stars. (Dream Thieves, here I cooooooooomeeeeeee)
Seriously though, if you're the type of person who requires instant gratification of your thirst for good reads, I wouldn't recommend The Raven Boys to you. However, if you're patient and are looking for something new related to the paranormal YA genre, I'd say go for this. New concepts are really hard to find and Stiefvater still managed to do it.