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I’ve kindly asked a friend to review a book for me. This book has been reviewed by Deborah Osborne:


I found the Iron Kingby accident while browsing books on my Kindle.  The cover was the first thing that attracted me because it was mysterious and gorgeous.  The second thing was the idea of a race of iron faeries and how they would fit into the story.  It did take me a while to get stuck into the book as in the first instance it seemed to be a premise that had been done quite a lot before (she was just an average American high school student when suddenly…) Having said that I liked the books so much that I read the first three in the series in a few weeks, and have the fourth downloaded.

 

Story

The plot begins with Meghan going to save her brother from the Iron King, a race of fae who are toxic to other faeries. The pace was brisk and the tension kept coming, especially towards the end of the book.  There was a steady stream of obstacles to block Meghan’s way too.  My favourite of these was King Oberon, whose aloofness and certainness in his own opinion made it very clear that being related to him wouldn’t get Meghan anywhere fast.  Plus it gave her a whole other barrel of obstacles to deal with as she is soon drawn into the politics between Oberon’s Court and their long-time adversaries at Queen Mab’s court.
There are the flickerings of a love triangle between Meghan, Ash and Goodfellow, but it doesn’t take over the main story.  Plus it’s quite clear that Meghan’s heart belongs to the boy she can’t have, which only adds to the fun.

Character

I liked Meghan Chase, the heroine of these books.  She was good natured and brave.  Sometimes with books in this genre I find the main female protagonists too similar.  Meghan Chase is definitely of the same type as other YA fantasy romance heroines, but I still enjoyed her company and could connect to her journey. Although she does have a talent for forgetting deals she’s made with other faeries that are quite important. For me though this book was all about the boys. 
The ancient feud between Ash and Robin Goodfellow added an extra layer of tension to the story as they are forced to work together to help Meghan save her brother.  They are contrasted well and are satisfying foils for each other. Grimalkin the Cait Sith is sophisticated and crafty. It’s nice never being entirely sure what he is up to, or what side he is on. His dialogue is brilliantly distinctive too and oozing with sarcasm in some places.

World Building

I love faeries, especially bad scary faeries, and the world created was sinister mostly due to the system of deals and favours between the fair folk. You never get something for nothing which means that the characters are constantly in a state of assessing what they are prepared to lose in order to get what they want. 
We learn right from the start that this land is dangerous as within a few minutes of arriving Meghan is being hunted by numerous beasties. Most of these beasties also exist in the ‘real’ world too so even on the occasions Meghan travels back to America she isn’t safe from horny satyrs and scheming oracles.
The description of Oberon’s court with the magical moving hedges is one that stays in the memory. I loved that and was disappointed that more of the action didn’t take place there. The second one that stayed with me most were the tunnels that lead Meghan to the Iron King’s Castle.  They were sinister and filled with peril, especially for the more traditional faery characters.
 Overall, I would have to give The Iron King 4/5!

Debbie has her own blog that you can check out. Go over to www.thewickedqueensmirror.wordpress.com !!!

When I realised that this was going to be a book about a girl android, I was over the moon. Finally, a decent sci-fi book from a girl’s perspective. For some reason most of the sci-fi books I’ve read are from boy’s perspectives and are Children’s books.

In any case, Mila is an android. Or at least, that’s what she discovered, by accident. After a fire killed her father, she’s started a new life with her mother in a small town in Minnesota. Her relationship with her mother isn’t what it used to be, and the two are a bit distanced, but all in all, she has a fairly normal life. Queue the cute boy, an almost fatal accident that forces her to realise her true identity, and some bad guys chasing after her, and her normal life goes out the window.

The most Mila has ever had to deal with are boy troubles and bitchy so-called friends. Then an attack turns her life upside down and she’s running for her life with her mum. That’s when things get interesting.

Pacing

There are a number of things I liked about this book, but the pacing at the beginning could have done with a bit of improvement. I think it’s quite difficult for anyone to know how long is needed to introduce a character and show their lives before the big CHANGE and introduce that PROBLEM. Whilst I did appreciate getting to know Mila before her life spiralled out of control, I think Driza focused on a number of mundane things that made me get a little bit fed up. But when the conflict occurs, things really get pumping and this is when the bad-assery begins.

Romance

I don’t know whether this counts as spoilery but I will tell you that I was rather dissapointed by the romance in this novel. The character that was introduced as a love interest remained a mystery. He wasn’t a person. He was a stencil. He was the same-old mysterious, brooding outsider type that I’m used to reading about. Don’t get me wrong, I liked him. Or what little I knew about him. But Mila spent half the book yearning for him and it made her seem weak. Surely he shouldn’t have been seen as one of the things that made her more human when what she had with him was more of a crush than a romance. I just felt that Driza should have either taken it a step further with the romance, or should not have even included it.

Plot

There is not a lot I can say about the plot. Driza mentions two organisations that are after Mila. One is a government group (The CIA I think), and the other are alluded to be an illegal organisation. Mila spends a third of the book being an ordinary girl, two thirds being an android and 99% of the time wishing she wasn’t. She goes around running with her mum in the hopes of finding some semblance of safety, and when she is captured, she does all that she can to survive. Sadly, there really isn’t much of a plot beyond simply surviving. There is no great mystery except for the one about Mila 1.0 and yet this doesn’t seem to have much prominence at all.

And yet what I really enjoyed about the book was Mila’s voice. Some readers on Goodreads have complained that Mila was annoying because she wouldn’t accept being an android and she refused to use them even when they could have meant the difference between life and death. Yes, that does seem a bit stupid but in all honesty, I completely understand. Why would you want to be anything but human if it is what you have always firmly believed? Mila’s reaction, though at times a disappointment, were completely understandable. To me it give her layers. She was such a well though out character and I loved her. I just wish everyone had been given this kind of attention.

Driza does however excel at her action sequences. I was definitley rooting for Mila through all her trials and tribulations. She was a different kind of bad ass. In some ways she is more relatable than bad asses like Tris and Katniss. From the beginning it is clear that she does not want to survive at the risk of losing her humanity. For Katniss, this is a revelation she seems to realsie as she gets closer to Peeta, but for Mila, her humanity is something she doesn’t take for granted. It’s a tenuous argument when her survival hinges on her hiding her emotions, of course.

My Rating: 3 stars

Brilliant voice for the main character, but there lacked a great mystery in the plot and some of the characterisations fell flat.

Either way, I am definitely reading the sequel, so all is not lost. I’m rooting for you Mila. I’m rooting for you, Driza!

First of all, I would like to sincerly apologise for not posting for a few weeks now. This is due to the fact that I have been participating in NaNoWriMo. For those of you who don’t know, once a year in the month of November, crazy writers like myself embark on a quest to write 50,000 words in one month. I didn’t “win” as I didn’t achieve this goal but on the bright side, I have 20,084 words more than when I started.

In any case, on with the review…

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole was an intriguing novel I couldn’t find myself letting go of. Thus, I read the entire book in the space of about 12 hours from 1pm to 1am, thankful to have something engaging to do on the train journey back to university.

Synopsis:

Evie has finally accepted that she is The Empress, one of 22 Major Arcana cards gifted with special powers. She finally knows what she was fated to do: win the game by killing the other cards. But she can’t do that. Doing so would mean losing herself, and the boy she loves. Now that Jack knows what she is, tensions rise as he struggles to accept her. But that isn’t half the problem.
Thanks to the apocalypse, zombified bagmen and crazed Major Arcana are out to kill Evie and her group. The worst card of them all? Death. He is an immortal knight who has a long history with the Empress, and he is very fascinated by Evie. Question is, does he want to seduce her, or kill her?

The Style

The narrative for Endless Knight was far more simplified than Poison Princess as we only get the story from Evie’s point of view. Although more limiting, I think it’s a good that Cole still found a way to keep my interest. On the whole, I don’t think there was as much action in this book as the last one in the series, but this did enable Cole to concentrate more on the relationships within the story. And lo and behold, I feel it is only fair to warn you that there is somewhat of a love triangle in the works here.

As in the last book, Jack speaks quite a bit in Cajun French and Evie often translates that to the readers. I can’t say that I find this a problem but I am aware that some reviewers found it irritating in Poison Princess. Personally I find it to be a necessary tool because being Cajun French is an essential part of who Jack is. I’ll talk a bit more about that at the Characterisation section though.
 

The Mythology

The novel revolves around the 22 Major Arcana, with Evie the MC being the Empress. As such she has power over plant life.

A bit like this, except Evie revives plants from her blood…

Shame Evie doesn’t get the cool dress. Also, these are from Sky High, a Disney movie.

This would be more awesome if not for the fact that the world was struck by a meteorite or something during “The Flash”, destroying most animals and plant life. The Game ends when only one Major Arcana is left standing, so in essence it’s some sort of crazed Hunger Games which the gods started with the entire world as the battlefield. Or at the very least, the idea of the gods is alluded to by Matthew, the Fool.

I have to give Cole a lot of respect for creating a myth this original. Whilst in the first book I thought that the whole post-apocalyptic scenario was just some sort of an excuse to get the two love interests together without adults or any kind of authority to stop them, the need for the catastrophic event is explained a bit. Every few centuries, the game starts and it only ends when there is only one card standing. The winner gets immortality… until the next game. Personally, I find that unfair, but I would never accuse the gods of being fair.

Characterisations

I like Jackson’s portrayal. I completely understand that he needs time to fully accept Evie. I wouldn’t have liked him if he had rejected Evie, but I don’t think it would have been believable for him to be completely comfortable with the situation the whole time.
Jackson is what he is and never once tries to be anything else. He is fierce, strong, but not invulnerable, and certainly not a white knight– though he seems to be the closest thing that Evie will get. He isn’t a dark knight either though. That role might be reserved for Death. Jack is protective of Evie and it seemed that he wasn’t entirely sure what to do when he realised that “his girl” was capable of kicking ass on her own. He seems a bit old-fashioned that way.
He screws up and he admits to that and tries to do better next time, a quality I admire. Having said that, WHY JACKSON, WHY?! I can’t reveal any spoilers, but secrets will be unveiled…

Evie is headstrong and powerful. She values the lives of others, which very well could be her undoing one day. Her relationship with Matthew for instance is one I find interesting. She saved him from drowning in Poison Princess and constantly defending him when the others complained that they would be better off without him because he didn’t pull his weight. She has compassion, which in the age after The Flash, the apocalypse that wiped everything everyone once knew, is rare.
She also has intelligence. I’m not saying that she’s the smartest protagonist I’ve read about, but she isn’t the sort to immediately cry when she’s in a tough situation, either. I think she’s a wonderful blend of girlishness and badassery. Except for maybe Evie from the Paranormalcy series by Kiersten White (She has a PINK taser!)

But perhaps one of the most interesting characters is Death. He has a hidden past that is slowly unveiled in the last half of the book (last two thirds?). I can’t say much without giving away spoilers, but I can definitley say that his relationship with the past Empresses have definitley been rather destructive. He was sort of like an onion. He had a lot layers. Cole peeled away his layers slowly, but I don’t think we have the full story yet. I’m sure he’ll have plenty to surprise us with in the sequel.
One thing I am glad about is that Cole was able to humanise him without making him look like a complete wimp. This was a problem I had with the Hades character in Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test, Henry. He was mourning the loss of Persephone for centuries and he wanted to fade away, out of existence. Touching tragedy, but honestly, a real let down for me considering how epic I think a Hades figure should really be. And Cole’s Death is no different, except the fact that he’s a card, not a god.
Regardless, I found him to be a multifaceted character whose only real problem was the fact that I don’t think he had a legitimate enough reason for ever having loved The Empress to begin with. They guy gave up his heart too quickly to a woman who had been trying to kill him from the beginning. Did he really think that she would so easily forget?

There are a number of minor characters who certainly serve a purpose. I can’t get too much into them, but I can definitely say that I want to know more about them in the sequel. We’ve barely even scratched the surface with the likes of Finn and Selena and Cole spends a lot of the book tantalizing us with secrets about Matthew. For some reason he is indebted to Death, but we never know why. Le Sigh.

I rate this book 4/5 stars

I really want the sequel. WHY WON’T THEY GIVE ME THE SEQUEL LIKE NOW?!

There are several reasons why I enjoyed The Iron Traitor more than The Lost Prince. It’s darker, more suspenseful, and has better characterisations than TLP.
My biggest concern however was that the title was a dead giveaway and I suspect that Kagawa (or her publishers) did that on purpose to tease us. Either way, I think that the journey was more important than the ending.


Plot:
What is interesting about this sequel is that for once, it’s not really bad things happening to even. Of course that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect him, we wouldn’t have a book.
Kierran, the Iron Prince, has disappeared and many people are in search of him — especially his parents, that iron Queen, and the once winter Prince, “touch me and I’ll kill you,” now iron Prince consort, “if you even think of moving from the spot are freeze is will feet to the floor of your room.” Okay, so he’s still sort of an ice-boy 😉

Annwyl is dying and Kierran seeks to find a way to stop her from Fading.As Kierran’s best friend and uncle, Ethan finds himself getting sucked into the world of fey once more to help a family member in stop all the while, Kenzie, his girlfriend, is dying from leukaemia. But with an eerie prophecy hanging over his head, Ethan fears the worst of Kierran.

Overall, I enjoyed the balance of action, romance, and even a bit of mystery. And when Ethan uses his brain, he is very badass!


Characters:
Ethan — a.k.a. “tough guy”; “Iron Prince” (by relation to Meghan). I like him — nay — I LOVE him 🙂 Ethan has a firm sense of loyalty. Whilst he isn’t the cleverest character, he isn’t as impulsive as Kierran. Having encountered the Good Neighbours as a child (he was kidnapped by Machina, iron King) he is very cautious around the fey.
As a boyfriend, Ethan can often be overbearing and overprotective, as he himself points out. This can be infuriating at times when he attempts to protect Kenzie when she claims she does not need protection, and he does do one or two things that are a bit stupid and may potentially ruin their relationship. This of course was a brilliantly thought out idea because in reality a lot of the problems are actually internal as opposed to external. This means of course that aside from the potential threat that the faeries could be, Ethan also has to worry about his relationships which are founded on trust, reliability, and of course love.
On the whole, Kagawa has represented the mind of a teenage boy quite well. In this book, Ethan comes out of that broodish/thugish/mystery boy shell. The walls of his placed around him come crumbling down and it’s all thanks to Kenzie. We get to see more of the person, as he is represented in multifaceted way. 

Kenzie– For some time in the first book I did wonder why Ethan was interested in her but of course it became quite apparent. Kenzie is one of the few people who isn’t afraid of Ethan. She strives to find the truth about him, to break him out of his shell so that he can actually try and interact with other human beings. Of course, she gets more than she bargained with when she discovers the world of the fey in the process, but through it all, she remained strong and defiant. She continues to do the same throughout The Iron Traitor, despite other people constantly trying to protect her due to her illness. She was definitely one of my favourite characters, strangely reminding me of Annabeth Chase from the Percy Jackson series because she is smart and resourceful. I also occasionally felt sorry for her when the boys were being stupid.

Kierran– I don’t even know where to start with this guy. Oh, I know. Desperate. Kierran is desperate to save the love of his life, Annwyl, from Fading. As a summer fey exile, her destiny is to Fade away into nothingness, and her encounter with the Forgotten in the previous book has speeded up the process. In a race against time, the Iron Prince seeks to find a cure, but it will come at great cost. How far is he willing to go save the one he loves?
Now if you know about the Iron Prophecy already, you’ll know what’s to come and it’s all a matter of how and when. 
Kierran didn’t seem to have much of a personality to me in the previous book but Kagawa has given him more depth in this sequel. He comes across as generally loyal, and very intense. Though usually slow to anger, desperation has made him quick tempered and impulsive. In other words, he does stupid shit that will make you want to slap him, but you can still sort of sympathise. Sort of. Most of the time, I find myself asking “What the hell, Kierran?”

Cameo appearances– Characters from the original series do appear, and are generally more prominent than the previous book, which made me very happy 🙂 Seriously, seeing these characters again made me this happy:

As to be expected from a Julie Kagawa book, she hit me right where it hurts at the end. So I warn you, there will be pain. But really you’ll love it. And hate it. At the same time.

And once you are finished you can say “Julie Kagawa broke my heart… and it was awesome!”
I rate this book… 4/5 stars!

 I really wanted to like this book, I really did. Melissa Marr is one of my favourite authors. I love the Wicked Lovely Series — They Were Amazing. I Still Think about Them A Lot All of Them, Especially Niall, Irial and Leslie and everybody else, but let’s face it: those are my favourite three.
 
I like Melissa Marr’s writing because she usually portrays strong, independent women. Some of the characters in Wicked Lovely were cruel, and some of them were downright crazy, but I think the vast majority did have some sort of justification for the things they did — except for Bananach because she was bat-shit crazy.

Carnival of Souls was a book I was heavily anticipating and although it was rather adventurous, I think that it reminded me too much of Wicked Lovely in some ways, but it seemed to fail where WL succeeded.

Synopsis from Goodreads:

In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures—if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.

All Mallory knows of The City is that her father—and every other witch there—fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it’s only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable.While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.

 
World Building: 

The very first thing I have to wonder about this book is: What are daimons?
Marr is rather descriptive of her world and its characters, but it is never properly explained what these creatures are. With mentions of fur and claws, I envision creatures akin to werewolves, but I really can’t be sure. The word looks like Demons, but they don’t seem to be like the demons from shows like Supernatural and Charmed.
For some reason the witches and daimons hate each other. Daimons live in a place simply known as The City. Perhaps this is Marr’s way of trying to make the place sort of anonymous like she did with Huntsdale in WL (try as I might, I can’t figure out where Huntsdale is meant to be) to give it the impression of being a sort of ‘Every City’. I’m not sure. But I find that the history between the daimons and witches was somewhat obscure. The witches cursed the daimons so that Nature would consume The City and so witches who live in the The City only do so as slaves to the daimons. At the moment I’m not really getting an idea of who is good and who is evil, but I’ve come to expect that from Marr. The Dark Court wasn’t evil for instance, even though we were sort of led to believe that from book 1 in the WL series.

Narrative:

The book was written in the 3rd person, which is more or less what I expected from Marr. In the past I have found this way of story telling to be disengaging but Marr long ago rekindled my love for it. I now write most of my stories in 3rd person.
The novel follows 4 characters:

Mallory- the damsel
Aya- the psychobitch
Kaleb- the lower class bad boy
Belias- the upper class boy

Now, Mallory came across as “the main character” to me because a lot of things seemed to revolove around her. Unfortunately she was one of those characters who had things happening to her, but she never really overcame them.
Mallory has been growing up with her father most of her life (her mother had to leave), who is a witch. And because witches and daimons are sworn enemies, her father, Adam, teaches her how to fight. Which is kind of funny because she doesn’t do a lot of actual fighting. He claims to love her but he has a terrible way of showing it. Mallory didn’t stick out to me because overall, she was a weak character who could barely look after herself. Now, it wasn’t always her fault because of her father using his powers on her, but regardless, I didn’t really connect with her.

You may think I am being a tad harsh about describing Aya as a psychobitch but come one, she IS cold and callous. Of couse she does prove to have a conscience, but the very first scene showed her fighting a loved one for personal gain. She comes across as over the top and arrogant. Altogether, she is the complete opposite of Mallory. In time, she grew on me so I wouldn’t say that this character is a complete failure. I certainly like her better than Mallory. I am glad that Marr had a purpose when she gave Aya these charactersitics. Aya isn’t cruel for the sake of being cruel. She hides a secret that could be her undoing.
The romance between Aya and Belias was an interesting way of showing Aya’s softer side, which brings me to discussing The Upper Class Boy…
 
I can’t say I remember much about Belias. Like Mallory his arc consists of external forces causing conflict. The secret that Aya has been keeping with her all her life affects him greatly, and he soon finds that his life is no longer in his own hands.

Kaleb is a bit of a rogue. He is a lower class daimon, which means that he has little rights, and he has to take on dangerous jobs to make ends meat. Like for many of the other competitors, the competition is Kaleb’s lifeline. If he wins, he can finally have a good life, not just for himself but for his packmate, Zevi. He and Zevi have been friends for quite some time and they take care of each other like brothers.
One of Kaleb’s dangerous jobs included going to the mortal realm to keep an eye out for Mallory. And of course, romance ensues 😉

Overall, I will say that I am disappointed with Carnival of Souls, but regardless, I couldn’t put the book down. I read this one in less than 24hrs and it was absoloutley absorbing. So despite my grumblings, Marr did something right, proving once again that she is a great writer. Unfortunatley, I didn’t like many of her character’s and I found that the deal that Kaleb made at the end was simply terrible. Once again, Mallory is left helpless to a fate she didn’t decide.

I rate this book 3 stars!
 
 

Boy Nobody is the perennial new kid in school, the one few notice and nobody thinks much about. He shows up in a new high school, in a new town, under a new name, makes few friends and doesn’t stay long. Just long enough for someone in his new friend’s family to die — of “natural causes.” Mission accomplished, Boy Nobody disappears, and moves on to the next target. 

When his own parents died of not-so-natural causes at the age of eleven, Boy Nobody found himself under the control of The Program, a shadowy government organization that uses brainwashed kids as counter-espionage operatives. But somewhere, deep inside Boy Nobody, is somebody: the boy he once was, the boy who wants normal things (like a real home, his parents back), a boy who wants out. And he just might want those things badly enough to sabotage The Program’s next mission.

(Summary from Goodreads)

Like many of my books, I heard about this one through the grapevine known as Goodreads. I was instantly taken by the description. I had to have it. I wasn’t even thinking about it when I went to the book store almost a week ago, but when I saw it, I remembered. I remembered and now I wonder how I could have forgotten.

So here was my reaction when I got the book:

And here is my reaction now that I’ve finished it:

Now don’t get me wrong. It was an awesome book. No, these are not happy tears, but you know…
On with the review!
For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to the MC as “Benjamin” or “Ben” because that was his cover name for the main assignment featured in this book. His real name is revealed on page 278.  What is that about? Poor guy hasn’t heard his real name in years. 

The Plot

Can I start by stating how creepy it is that “Ben” calls his handlers “Mother” and “Father”. Having said that, I think the name Mother kind of strikes fear into my heart. I’m African. African parents are strict. Mine aren’t too bad, but the stories I have heard… 
Anyway, “Benjamin”has been given a new assignment. He has to kill the mayor of New York. Now that’s not your average teen job. I don’t have a job, but the worst my friends have had to endure are rude customers at McDonalds, early hours getting the newspaper round done… and digging holes. That last friend works as a builder or something. 
Now, having already witnessed an earlier assignment that “Ben” has completed, I’m thinking, no big deal. But he’s being told he has to complete the assignment in 5 days. “Ben” isn’t arrogant, which is one thing I really like about him. In fact, he’s a little worried about this one, although, I’m sure a part of him is thinking: “Pffh? Five days? I can do that, no problem”
 

The Characters


“Boy Nothing” AKA: “Benjamin”

Now, I know… Comparing “Ben” to Bane? What’s that about? Well, at the very least, they both have very questionable morals. Well, I’m not sure they have any. “Ben’s” moral compass is almost non-existent when we meet him. He gets a message from The Program and then he heads off to kill someone. What I really admire about this book is the way he goes about killing people. “Ben” is that kid that slips into your life, and gains your trust. Admittedly I often wonder how I became friends with some of the people I know. The tale seems to be lost in the past. Which immediately has me worried that some kid from The Program will come and…
Never mind. I’m over-thinking it. “Boy Nobody” is a book. “Boy Nobody” is a book. Okay. I think I’m calm now. 
“Ben” has a  lot of skills. He is very good at analysing people and emulating them. What really got to me is when he didn’t understand this sign somewhere that said “Home is where the <3 is”. He was so puzzled by how the home could be in the heart, and it made me so sad, because he has no family. That,  on top of all the training he’s had, has conditioned him into being used to being alone. He is very detached from people on the inside, and yet he is very good at pretending. 
Samara “Sam” Goldberg

So, Sam is the teenager that “Ben” must befriend in order to take out their parent. She’s pretty likeable. Being the mayor’s daughter, she’s pretty high on the social ladder, but due to political differences, she is also a victim to other students, occasionally, as shown in AP European when she was being picked on. Unlike “Ben”, she seems to have a sound moral compass. She is strong in her beliefs, and she’s generally a very nice person. She is also perceptive. She calls “Ben” out on his mind games. This makes his job harder, of course, thereby making the book more enjoyable. 
Now, of course there were other, minor characters, but I don’t want to give too much away. 
Having said that, another character of note was Howard, the techy, was a very interesting addition. You just might laugh out loud when you find out why he’s an outsider. Or you might feel bad for him. I know I was in hysterics when he thought “Ben” was a vampire! So Howard is sort perceptive too. In a sort of delusional way. The point is, he knows that there is something different about “Ben”, and he proves to be a very unexpected ally. 

The Gadgets

Okay, so his iPhone is basically a means of communicating with The Program, securely. “Ben” also always speaks in code, referring to his mission as an “assignment”, like homework he has to turn in. Zadoff explains the technicalities of the gadgets very simply, which I appreciate. The idea of having another operating system beneath a phone is ingenious. It may have already been done in some other spy movie or the like, but I still think it’s cool. 
My favourite gadget of course is his pen. In safe mode, it’s just a regular pen. When it’s activated, it’s a weapon. Two clicks and it’s set to stun mode. One click, and it’s lethal. I’m sorry Percy, but I have to admit that this one just might be better than Anaklusmos. 

Poseidon, please don’t smite me! 
I mean, Riptide is awesome, but it’s only just occurred to me that you can’t actually write with it. 
I will never think of pens the same way again. Beware the “lucky” pen!

Criticism

Now, the one thing I didn’t like was that it took “Ben” ages to figure out who “The Presence”- his stalker- was. I figured it out a long time ago. Having said that, I was only working from intuition, not actual facts. When things are fictional, it’s easier to guess, and I suppose the fact that he didn’t figure it out sooner shows that despite his training, he’s still only human. 

Writing Style

The book is in 1st person, from “Ben’s” perspective at all times. The chapsters are actually pretty short which makes it pretty easy to digest. The writing style is clear and easy to understand, overall. It took me ages to notice, because it flowed so well, but the book flits between present tense and past tense. Everything In the Now- his current mission, is of course in the present tense. The flashbacks are in past tense. I particularly enjoyed these flashbacks because they helped to humanise “Ben”. Seeing it as it was helps me to understand how deeply the conditioning has affected him. 

Favourite quotes

“All’s fair in love and war.”
“Which one are we doing?”

“I look out for her. Think of me as the early asshole warning system.”
“You specialize in ass, that’s what you’re telling me.”

“Did you spit in it?”
“That’s elementary school stuff. We’re in the big leagues now. I pissed in it.”

And this is my very lame attempt at creating my own GIF:
And yes, that is Robert De Niro.
As usual, the wait for the sequel of the book will be very difficult to cope with. So this is how I feel:
I rate this book 5 stars, but seeing as how it’s too awesome for mere, stars, I think it deserves this, because it blew my mind:


And I will end with this trailer: 

New year, new targets. This year, I aim to read at least 40 books. Last year it was 30. I’d aim for 50 but what with exams coming up, I have too much at stake to get side tracked. The next 5 months will determine where I end up for the next FOUR years. University here I come!

So far I’ve read 6 books. Here’s the list:

#1 The Goddess Hunt by Aimee Carter

Unlike my other reads, this one is a novella. This one was multi narrative. It wasn’t always necessary though. What I don’t understand about Kate is how she can just go off on a holiday with James just like that after everything that has occurred. He was going to replace Henry! The Castor and Pollux story was cool but I think it needed a bit more but seemed to me that Zeus was overreacting, even for him. What a dysfunctional family!

#2 Endure, by Carrie Jones

And so the countdown to Ragnarok begins.

Zara is now a pixie, and is also Astley’s queen. But she still loves Nick. It’s hard to believe that this character is the same one who used to whisper phobias to herself all the time. Little Miss Peace is now she is fighter trying to save her town, and potentially the world, from a pixie invasion. I know a similar transformation that occurred in a favourite book series of mine. It was the Iron Fey series’ Meghan Chase. By the Iron Queen, she was there with the rest of them, fighting it out, much like Zara does. I liked how Jones resolved the love triangle in this book, although I think she took a bit of a risk. Still, I liked it and I found it believable. I also really like Hel. She was pretty nice and I like how Jones incorporated Norse Mythology. If I had made as many transformation as Zara had, I think I’d be even more messed up than she was if I’m honest.
#3 Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

This one was a strange book. The origins behind it, The Arcana cards, was unfamiliar to me, which excited me. Yet at the sane time I was a big unnerved. But that might have been my reaction to the whole post-apocalyptic thing, and if course the romance which had me cringing from time to time.
Jack was a strange fellow but I loved how Cole used his background to shape him. The MC (what was her name? Evie? I’ve read too many books this month.) got in my nerves from time to time. Jack wasn’t all bad and sometimes she treated him like dirt and I didn’t like that. But then again, he had faults if his own, especially his lustful nature. I’m convinced that the only reasons Cole went for the post-apocalyptic thing is because they’re really trending, it gives the characters a reason to be travelling extensively, and it somehow justifies all the male character’s REALLY uncontrollable lust. Like seriously, can’t they control themselves!
I didn’t like the post-apocalyptic thing because Cole didn’t really explain how it had gotten that way. I mean I guess neither did Evie but at the moment I don’t think that even the author has that part figured out either.
#4 Intertwined by Gena Showalter

I’ve already written an extensive review about this book so you should go over there to check it out. I don’t want to reiterate myself but basically it’s a story about a guy with four different voices in his head, who he believes are different souls. And one of them predicts is death. He seeks to set them free so that he can live a normal life… And falls in love with a vampire along the way.

#5 The Lost Prince by Julie Kagawa

Ethan Chase has grown up now. He isn’t the same helpless boy who kidnaped by faeries anymore. He’s 17 now, but the fey are still a part of his life because he has the Sight. The fey are constantly making his life miserable which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t hurt the ones he loved too. When a mysterious new species of fey emerge and kidnap a halfling, Ethan embarks on a quest to get him back.
Mmm… Does this plot seem familiar? Yes I thought so too. But do not fear, there are enough twists and turns to keep this story interesting, with appearances from out fave characters from the previous series as well.

#6 Gates of Paradise by Melissa de la Cruz

So the final book in the Blue Bloods series has finally come out. After reading Wolf Pact I was definitely ready to see Bliss again. GoP finally tied up all the loose ends in the series. I really enjoyed it, with the exception if the very last chapter which I thought was very odd. I’m happy for all the characters and Cruz did a good job portraying Lucifer, which I had been wary about before. There is enough suspense, action, and of course romance to keep you going. My only problem was thy the characters would occasionally get distracted. I mean, this is an end I the world situation and you’re busy doing what? (I will not be spoil sport and tell you what Sky gets up to). It’s a shame that it’s the end, but what a great ending it was!

#7 Supernaturally by Kiersten White

After yearning for a normal life for so long, Evie finally gets her wish. She’s left a little bit disappointed by high school, but she loves her locker. Although she may have escaped IPCA, they are in need if her again. And of course there’s the relationship problem. She’s worried about how Lend is immortal and whether she should tell him. In this department, I think she gets on my nerves a little. Why can’t she decide? Still, I sympathise.

I wish Reth appeared more often, but I kind of liked Jack. He was an interesting addition. Some say the villain was obvious, but it wasn’t obvious to me. Overall, with the lack of Reth and Lend, there was quite a lot to be desired in this sequel by I have hope for the final book of the trilogy.

There’s something about the new guy at Crossroads High…

Most sixteen-year-olds have friends. Aden Stone has four human souls living inside him:

One can time travel.
One can raise the dead.
One can possess another human.
One can tell the future.

Everyone thinks he’s crazy, which is why he’s spent his entire life shuffled between mental institutions and juvie. All of that is about to change, however. For months Aden has been having visions of a beautiful girl—a girl who carries centuries-old secrets. A girl who will either save him or destroy him.

Together they’ll enter a dark world of intrigue and danger… but not everyone will come out alive.

 

I recall first hearing about this book at the back of The Iron King by Julie Kagawa as an advertisement by Mira INK. The synopsis sounded interesting but I more or less dismissed it, instead determine to Kagawa’s sequel. I never would have guessed that I would have ended up liking this book as much as I did. It was utterly addictive. I finished within 2 days, and that is no easy feat when you’re stuck up to HERE with A level coursework and examination preparation. It’s no wonder my friends think I’m insane.

Anyway, on with the review…

Haden “Aden” Stone has 4 souls in his body + his own. Each of these souls has their own power, which makes him a beacon for trouble. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, he has been sent from one mental instituion to the other, even being adopted from time to time. All he wants is to find a way to free the souls inside him. I really admired the relationship he had with the souls, and found it a little touching that he helped them pick their names. Things would have been far easier if they had remembered who they had been in their previous lives. It isn’t until one of them remembers their past life that Aden can really confirm that they are the spirits of dead people. It might have been a bit more interesting if one of the souls had been antagonistic, but their family banter was great all the same.

Being a YA book, romance was always going to have a part to play. Aden has being having dreams of a mysterious girl. It’s pretty clear that he’ll be having a romanic relationship of sorts with this girl and I’m not surprised when she finally appears. Victoria is a vampire princess. Sorry, minor spoiler there. She is strong, powerful and of course, beautiful. I’ve read a lot of YA books so really I find her a type-cast with not much in her to make her particulalry unique. She has the slight “Oh- I’m- A- Monster” thing that a lot of vampires are represented as going for her. She is often disgusted with herself and doesn’t want Aden to see her for what she is- a blood thirsty parasite. So yeah, she’s essentially the female Edward Cullen. It’s pretty ironic too considering that her name is Victoria, the name of the vampire who wants to kill Bella for revenge. Did I hate Victoria? No. Did I like her? Not overly. I regard her with a cool indifference. It’s funny because I think I kind of liked her before, but my opinion has changes slighlty upon reflection.

The other main character is Mary-Ann. First thing you should know about her? She’s a complete Mary-Sue. She hasn’t got a lot of depth to her. Her life starts off more or less perfect. She’s in the popular crowd, dating the popular guy. She’s even a straight A student, even though she pretty much seems to hate working. She does it so that her dad can be proud of her. At least that’s one insecurity she has. One step to becoming more flawed and understandable. When we first meet her, I’m afraid that she’ll fall in love with Aden, but thankfully the one thing this book does not have is a LOVE TRIANGLE. I think I’d die or at the very least chuck this book back at the library I found it in if it did.

There is even a romance between Mary-Ann a certain wolfman but I think I’ll let you discover that on your own. Team Riley <3 The plot mostly consisted of trying to uncover the secrets surrounding Mary-Ann and Aden’s lives. For some reason, Aden is very powerful and has attracted the attention of lots of different magical creatures. And I mean lots. The vampires were the first, but then there came the witches, faeries, demons and goblins. Even angels and a motley of other creatures were mentioned. Were all these supernatural creatures necessarry? No. Did they add to the story? Not really. I mean, sure they make the whole situation seem more dire, but in Aden’s point of view it was scary enough jut to have caught the attention of vampires. My advice would have been to choose only two or three creatures. Perhaps vampires, werewolves, and the witches. There is of course a way of having multiple creatures in a book series, but you have to make it believabe. Of course the other issue is the fact that Aden is apparantly fated to die in the near future. So how about you pick up this book and read about his fate? Overall, I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it, but at the same time, I did find it slightly lacking in some areas. Aden was a likeable character. He was both brave and vulnerable. Cute (even allegedly hot) but not conceited. And Mary-Ann was Meh. I give it 3 1/2 stars.

Liyana has trained her entire life to be the vessel of a goddess. The goddess will inhabit Liyana’s body and use magic to bring rain to the desert. But Liyana’s goddess never comes. Abandoned by her angry tribe, Liyana expects to die in the desert. Until a boy walks out of the dust in search of her.

Korbyn is a god inside his vessel, and a trickster god at that. He tells Liyana that five other gods are missing, and they set off across the desert in search of the other vessels. For the desert tribes cannot survive without the magic of their gods. But the journey is dangerous, even with a god’s help. And not everyone is willing to believe the trickster god’s tale.

The closer she grows to Korbyn, the less Liyana wants to disappear to make way for her goddess. But she has no choice: She must die for her tribe to live. Unless a trickster god can help her to trick fate — or a human girl can muster some magic of her own.
– Synopsis from Sarah Beth Durst’s Official Website

I loved Durst’s idea. Gods needing human hosts in order to walk the earth. The nomadic life of the desert people, who depended on the gods in order to survive was also well thought out. So when the Great Drought threatens to kill them all, each clan must sacrifice one boy it girl, a vessel, who will give up their body for their god or goddess. In turn, this deity will look after the clan. Our protagonist, Liyana, is ready to make the ultimate sacrifice but on the night of her ceremony, her goddess does not come. Abandoned by her clan, she is left distraught. Eventually she embarks on a quest with the trickster god, Korbyn, to find the missing gods.

Sounds promising, right? And it was. Unfortunately we spend half of the book gathering forces with the other vessels, which to be honest gets very dull after a while. I know finding the others was necessary but couldn’t Durst have spiced things up a not with an interruption? They could have made another detour or two to liven things up a bit.

My other complaint would have to be the segments with the emperor of the Crescent Empire. It wasn’t clear that he had some sort of involvement with the rest of the story and I was often tempted to skip his chapters near the beginning. Some hint that he was even in the same timeline would have been helpful.

Liyana was a strong character. She was smart, wise, and resourceful. I read a review on Goodreads that criticised her viewpoint in the ethics of gods killing mortals in order to inhabit their body. For the majority of the book, she is perfectly fine with this sacrifice and so this reader was frustrated that she didn’t question it and change her mind. Liyana is a very loyal character so if she believed that this was the only way to save the ones that she lived, the that’s what she would do. If you look at it that way, then you can only admire her. But towards the end, she does take a different perspective on things when she discovers that there is another way.

Atmitedly, the ending was not to my liking. A brief love triangle appears and after a showdown with some super pissed sky serpents, it’s all over. I don’t like how her relationship problem is solved but I’m glad that she didn’t die. It’s pretty clear to me that there won’t be a sequel which saddens me. No more Korbyn. Can I just state that he was my favourite character?! For a long time he was my only reason for continuing this novel.

So what do I rate it?