April 29, 2012
Goodreads Synopsis: Cassandra is lost, alone and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident ten years ago, feels like she has lost everything dear to her. But an unexpected and mysterious bequest from Nell turns Cassandra’s life upside down and ends up challenging everything she thought she knew about herself and her family. Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairytales written by Eliza Makepeace – the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century – Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past; little knowing that in the process, she will also discover a new life for herself.
My Ramblings: Kate Morton, the author of this book, should by rights be quite proud of this work. However, as much as I try to appreciate it I really can’t. I’ve tried. Maybe it’s just because I’m insanely tired of the heroine who’s had a difficult life storyline. I try to warm to it. I really do, but it has never worked. It’s not that it’s terrificly bad. I think it’s just that after a while, only things that are a little bit different from what I read before really intrigue me. It’s got a little bit of that ‘dark fairytale’ thing going on, mixed in with the careful splicing of different time periods. Whilst I know that this book is much loved by many, it’s really not my cup of tea. It seems to be a bit like marmite- you either love it, or you hate it.
April 24, 2012
Goodreads Synopsis: Poison has always been a willful, contrary girl, prone to being argumentative and stubborn. So when her sister is snatched by the mean-spirited faeries, she seeks out the Phaerie Lord to get her back.
But finding him isn’t easy, and the quest leads Poison into a murderous world of intrigue, danger, and deadly storytelling. With only her wits and her friends to aid her, Poison must survive the attentions of the Phaerie Lord, rescue her sister, and thwart a plot that’s beyond anything she (or the reader) can imagine. . .
My Ramblings: Poison was what I called a ‘post office read’- a book I picked up wanting to read something new but with expectation of something a little awful. As usual I am reviewing it because it did surpass my expectations. I do not demand you go out and buy it immediately, but it is still interesting if you’re just looking for a filler read. The themes are very gothic, dark fantasy- nothing happy and fairy-taily about it. For those of you who watch Grimm on NBC, I’d say that Poison is a PG version of this program. There are some classical cliches- the evil stepmother, the naive but witty heroine going on an adventure and thus you do need to persevere for the first chapter or two- but the characters, particularly in the second half of the book, are relatively original and well written (for a fantasy novel). Congrats to Chris Wooding on a solid piece of work.
April 14, 2012
Goodreads Synopsis: Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries-and she is the only creature who can break its spell.
My ramblings: Possibly because I wasn’t expecting much of a book that I paid 99p for, I ended up actually quite enjoying this novel. My mind was not blown and I had difficulty getting into the book but I found myself getting drawn into the story (slightly ruined by disappointing ending) living the lives of the characters, and that is always fun. It’s about 70% cliche, and the rest is actually not bad reading material. Not a novel made to change your world, but a fairly entertaining read to send you off to sleep. It’s part of a trilogy, so I await to arrival of installments two and three with a very mild sense of excitement. In short, I would describe this book as (a far less nauseating) twilight story with some brutality and a bit of fun that is all its own. (Book written by Deborah Harkness)
January 24, 2012
There are books that should just never be published. For the good of literature everywhere. Legacy, by Cayla Kluver, is undoubtedly one of those books. I wrote recently about a book called Daughter of the Forest, which I found cliché, but its faults pale in comparison to the immense amount of just awfulness that this book has to offer. The plot follows Alera, a princess in the fictional land of Hytannica who must ascend the throne on her 18th birthday. However, as a woman, she must marry before she may do so. Her father’s only approved choice is Steldor- a boy whom Alera despises. The reader is then subjected to an incredibly whimpy heroine and a derth of anything actually happening in this novel. Safe to say, I’m reviewing it not to add to my 100 book work count but just to warn fellow book lovers that it is awful.
It’s only saving grace is that the author, Kayla Cluver, was only 14 when she wrote it. As anyone can tell you, a writer can only write what they know and what she knew at 14 clearly wasn’t very much- so for that she is forgiven. What is more, for a 14 year old, the piece is frankly spectacular, and I am certain that in time her writing style will improve. The real blame should lie with the publisher in allowing someone with such a terribly naive world view (who can blame her) to actually publish. That said, when the second and third books come out I will still make an effort to read them- Cluver is not without talent, and perhaps as she matures, so will her writing.