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Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Book Review: The Iron daughter

Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: The Iron Fey #2
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: August 1, 2010
Pages: 359
Read it in: 2 days
Source: The library :)
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Summary: Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey— ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

LC's Take:

"I couldn't be normal and ignorant ever again, knowing what was out there. Faery was a part of me now. As long as I lived, I would always be watching for hidden doors and figures from the corner of my eyes. And for a certain dark prince who could never be mine..."  ~p.125-6

Gah! I don't know why it took me so long to get to the second book in this series-- because from the moment I picked up The Iron Daughter, I was reminded of why I love these books so much. The Iron Fey series is just one of those stories that sucks you into another world and makes it so that you never want to leave. The faery world that Julie Kagawa creates, I mean what can I say? It's freaking magical!

So honestly, it had been so long since I read The Iron King, that I didn't even remember what had been going on. But The Iron Daughter does a really good job of not only picking up with things where they left off, but also explaining bits of what had already happened, so I didn't feel totally lost. Basically, after defeating the first Iron King in book one, Meghan has to go back to the Winter (Unseelie) Court to fulfill a promise she had made (and if you know anything about the world of feary, you can never break a promise!) While at the Winter Court, the Scepter of the Seasons is stolen from Queen Mab, which controls the Winter and Summer seasons, and her oldest son Sage is brutally murdered. Mab assumes this is the Summer Court's fault, and now Winter and Summer are at war. Added to this, Meghan finds out that the Iron realm, which is slowly killing the entire faery world, is still very much in existence and growing stronger... now she has to get back the Scepter of the Seasons and stop Virus, the new leader of Iron from destroying the Nevernever.

Whew! Yeah a lot was going on in this book! It was super intense but I absolutely loved following the story, especially since there were so many new and amazing characters like Leanisidhe, and old characters that came back like Grimalken the Caithe Sidhe (faery cat). Seriously, the characters in this series are really what make it so awesome to read-- they are all so fleshed-out and interesting, and so many of them are really quirky and just a lot of fun to read about. So besides the awesome story, the characters just make these books even better!

Then we have the whole development of the love triangle between Meghan, Ash and Puck. And honestly, for as much as I usually can't stand YA love triangles  this one is being done right so far. It's believable, and it's not too overdone. I actually liked reading about Meghan's confusion over whether Ash truly has feelings for her or is just tricking her to get her back to the Winter Court. And I have to say, I also really like Puck, and how he has feelings for Meghan and she sort of does too, but she isn't sure whether to go with him or the forbidden Winter Prince. I'll be very interested to see where things go with Meghan and these two guys!

My ONE problem with this book-- and it's a bit of a spoiler, so if you haven't read this far yet, you might want to skip here-- my one problem, or question, was near the end when Ash is talking with Mab, Queen of the Winter/Unseelie court, and he says the following:

"I swear an oath," he whispered, "never to see her [Meghan] again, never to speak to her again, to sever all relationships with her, and return to the Winter Court."   ~p. 352

Now, in context, Ash is responding to Mab when she asks him what he has to do next if he wants to be able to stay in the Nevernever. HOWEVER-- I thought when I read this that he was ACTUALLY taking an oath and promising all those things... And couldn't Mab and the rest of her court also have interpreted his words that way? Aren't words like the number one thing that holds power in the realm of faery?!? So how was Ash able to say this statement-- which can SO easily be interpreted in two different ways-- and still get to make a choice whether to go or stay?? Unless this potentially is going to come into play again later on in the series, I kind of feel like this is a huge plot slip. But I don't know, I guess I'll have to see what happens with that!!

So overall, The Iron Daughter was a great sequel to The Iron King. Also, it didn't suffer from "second book syndrome" at all-- the plot was paced well and I never lost interest in what was going on. When I chose to pick up on this series again, I had really been in the mood for a good paranormal story and this one absolutely satisfied my YA-paranormal craving. If you are looking for an amazing story with great characters and beautiful writing, I would highly suggest getting into this series, it really is just as wonderful as everyone says it is!

~Cover Talk~

The covers for the Iron series are gorgeous, hands down. And put them all together, and they are absolutely stunning! I really like this cover, the model used for Meghan is beautiful, I love all the scroll-work details, the font used for the title, the icy blue shades-- this is one of those books that I can literally just sit and admire for the outside look alone! I *only* wish that they came in hardcover, because that would be amazing!!

LC's Rating:
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Another amazing book in the Iron Fey series! With a story you can't put down and interesting characters that you won't be able to forget, The Iron Daughter was a great sequel. I can't wait to read the next book and see what happens with Meghan, Ash, Puck, and everyone else in the Nevernever!

Find it!

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Friday, March 8, 2013

Book Review: Ashes

Author: Ilsa Bick
Series: Ashes Trilogy #1
Publisher: Egmont USA
Release Date: September 6, 2011
Pages: 465
Read it in: 3 days
Source: Won in Zombie Craze Giveaway 2012 from the Bookish Brunette! :)

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Summary: It could happen tomorrow...

An electromagnetic pulse flashes across the sky, destroying every electronic device, wiping out every computerized system, and killing billions.

Alex hiked into the woods to say good-bye to her dead parents and her personal demons. Now desperate to find out what happened after the pulse crushes her to the ground, Alex meets up with Tom—a young soldier—and Ellie, a girl whose grandfather was killed by the EMP.

For this improvised family and the others who are spared, it’s now a question of who can be trusted and who is no longer human. Author Ilsa J. Bick crafts a terrifying and thrilling post-apocalyptic novel about a world that could become ours at any moment, where those left standing must learn what it means not just to survive, but to live amidst the devastation.

LC's Take:

"So far this book is AWESOME-- just don't read it and eat at the same time."

(my first Goodreads update)

So, have you ever come across a book and your first reaction to it is: "UGH! No WAY am I ever reading that one!" But then... something about it intrigues you, and you sorta can't stop thinking about it, so eventually you're just like, "OK, what the hell, I'll give it a shot."

Yeah, that was me with Ashes. The cover quite frankly scared the living daylights out of me, but for some reason, I was still interested in it-- then I won it in a giveaway, so at that point it was like, well now I have to read it-- and I'm really glad that I did. I mean, where do I EVEN begin?? This book was gory, intense, horrific, and FREAKING SWEET. It gave me chills, it grossed me out, and it had me on the edge of my seat for pretty much the entire time I was reading it!

A brief synopsis: Alex is in the woods when it happens-- the "Zap"-- the shock that sends everyone into a terrifying Post-apocalyptic world where teens Alex's age start to go crazy... and cannibalistic. But Alex is no stranger to near-death experiences and fighting to survive, because with a giant brain tumor slowly eating away at her, Alex has always felt like it's only a matter of time before the silent "monster" defeats her... but while so many others are either dead or eating the dead, the Zap has actually given Alex the superhuman ability to sense, or more specifically smell, when danger is around or when people's emotions change. Most importantly, she can tell the difference between who's still human and who has changed and gone berserk...

Alright so first of all, Alex was such a kick-ass main character. Strong, independent, and armed with an arsenal of survival skills and a dry sense of humor, she was one of those characters who you just LOVE to read about. I could relate to her, I became invested in her story, and so I was pretty much hanging on every word. Not to mention the fact that the girl has a brain tumor that is slowly killing her, and yet she doesn't have any major self-pity or cynicism to make her unlikable. She goes through some of the most horrific and painful experiences and yet there is no whining from her-- this was a YA character who I completely respected and was thrilled to be reading about!

Ellie and Tom, the two main supporting characters who Alex meets in the woods, were equally as intriguing. For example, when Alex first meets 8-year Ellie on the mountain, I couldn't stand her. She was a whiny little brat who caused about 50 million problems for Alex and was ungrateful that Alex saved her life a bunch of times. However, around chapter 12, Ellie decides to stop being a major pain in the rear and then she actually becomes a very endearing character. And Tom worked well as far as a love interest goes because his interactions with Alex were so interesting, and because the romance that builds between them was very gradual and not forced.

My only *one* caveat with Ashes was that I felt the story slightly lost its momentum in the latter part of the book. For the first part of the story, I got so deeply involved with the three main characters, and how they interacted together-- Ellie, Tom and Alex were interesting themselves, and I was loving seeing how their relationships played out. PLUS the first part of the story was so freaking scary and suspenseful, and I loved that feeling like just around the next page could be something else truly horrific. But then... the plot takes a turn, and Alex, Ellie and Tom get split up-- Alex winds up in a small town called Rule, where she becomes stuck in their strict society and religious fanaticism, and at this point I kind of felt like the plot lost some of its original intensity. It's not that the story got to be boring, but I did somewhat lose interest in it and I wasn't as invested in the new characters. However, then there was the MAJOR cliffhanger at the end-- OMG the ending!!

So even though Ashes was not even a book I had originally planned on reading, I am so glad that I made the decision to give it a shot-- it was an action-packed thriller filled with heart-stopping scenes, horrific and gory descriptions that gave me the chills, and complex characters that I couldn't help but become attached to. Not to mention, the writing was amazing. This one definitely stands way out from a lot of other YA, and if you love a great story, great characters, and aren't too squeamish, I would absolutely recommend that you give this one a chance as well!

~Cover Talk~

Let's not beat around the bush-- this cover scares the living bejeezus out of me. In fact, the cover art on this book is so insanely creeptastic and disturbing that I had to take the book jacket off the book while I was reading it just so I wouldn't have nightmares. No, I'm not joking. But let me also say that it was BECAUSE of the fright-level of the cover art that I eventually came around to reading this one-- it's just one of those images that you can't really forget once you've seen it.

I'm also a huge fan because it appeals not just to girls or YA-lovers-- don't get me wrong, I love covers with the pretty models in pretty dresses, but those books are really being put in a box and are limited in their appeal to a wider reading audience. The cover of Ashes however is awesome because it is not only extremely eye-catching; it crosses over to many different reader groups.

Find it!

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LC's Rating:
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Don't let the cover fool you-- Ashes was more than just a horror story. It had interesting and complex characters, awesome writing, and tons of plot turns to keep you guessing what will happen next. This is one book that will definitely keep you on the edge of your seat!

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