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review 2014-09-10 02:29
Final Thoughts on The Healing Wars series: Darkfall
Darkfall - Janice Hardy

It took me three books to make a decision on what it is about this series that doesn't work for me. While this third book has a lot more action and a lot more forward progress and doesn't have a repeating story line like the first two books did, it was still a mediocre to MEH read for me. In fact, the entire world of The Healing Wars had quite the potential to become a great story, if only because there was a well-thought out story line and a decently created world with depth in culture and the people.

Unfortunately, the book read like a detached, unemotional screenplay that was waiting for the actors and the director to inject excitement and feeling and bring everything to life. The characters felt detached from what they were doing and they weren't in the least likable or relatable enough for me to forgive them for being lifeless character bios on paper. At least two significant deaths occurred, a war happened, more people died, and the younger sister is in terrible shape with brain damage and stuff... but I couldn't find a smidge of care in me to feel anything for these tragic happenings when I knew that I SHOULD at least feel SOMETHING.

While I will admit that I can be a cold and calculating bitch with no compassion, I do have human emotions (contrary to popular belief), and if written well to evoke those emotions in me to present themselves, I would at least manifest my own version of sadness, pity, anger, or happiness. But the entire series of The Healing Wars never brought any of this out. The only feeling I had was relief that the story was over.

Sincerely, however, I will say that the book was written well. It flowed, it progressed, and it got you from point A to point B without dilly-dallying too much on insignificant matters. This was how I was able to finish reading it, because the book wasn't terrible to read at all--it just didn't stand out, nor did I care for it.

Once again, I really would just give this book (and the entire series) a simple "MEH" rating. Not good, but not bad... just okay. I don't discourage people from reading it, but it wouldn't be one of the first books at the top of my list to recommend--especially for non-fantasy readers, or non-high fantasy fans (like my best friend who thinks that high fantasy novels are boring).

At the very least, I got a few answers to some of my questions and I've grown to accept the way the magic system works even if it still doesn't make sense. The world's magic logic has some gaping holes that I know will never get answered, but I can live with that. At least now I know that the people in this world do know how to use traditional means of healing--bandaging wounds, allowing cuts and bruises to heal on their own... and such--even though it is mentioned that the Healers see herbs and salves and such as an unorthodox form of healing and not "true healing", which is an interesting concept that I would have liked to see explored more if this story wasn't already long enough.

My biggest complaints are really for the characters; especially Nya. Honestly, sometimes I wish Nya would just shut-up and let the experts do the war planning. Because, just because she has saved the day more than once doesn't mean that she's very good at being diplomatic and when her rash tongue starts pissing off people she shouldn't be pissing off and ruining the bigger picture for the world, then she's just being childish and needs to go away and let the adults do the negotiating. Several times she would chime in with her own two-cents and I really just wanted her to go away and find something else to play with before she ruined more chances of survival by continually being too daft to realize that there is more to saving the world than just her powers and what she can do.

She got annoying really fast. So did her best friend Aylin. Aylin evoked some eye rolls from me because she just kept resurrecting old conflicts and old arguments about Nya's powers. She doesn't like that Nya uses her shifting powers to kill or torture. But, oh, it's alright if someone else came along and put a knife in the enemy's chest... because that's different than killing... with Nya's shifting powers? I just didn't understand that aspect of Aylin's repulsion over the way Nya used her powers. Because in the first book we've already established that, like it or not, there are certain ways that Nya can use her powers as a weapon and she need only learn how to use them properly.

I don't know why Aylin keeps bringing this up as a means to evoke argument.

Nya was written to be way too perfect as "The One" who will save the day. And honestly, she was the most complex character in the story if only because everyone else was so straight-forward and predictable that they became cardboard cut-outs in the background. There was just no life in these people.  They were all drones or lemmings, which conveniently allowed Nya to become the more ideal, more intelligent "leader" for these people.

Then again, I cared little for the characters, so it doesn't bother me all too much.

Simply put, The Healing Wars is a mediocre read that many people may enjoy. It's just not my cuppa.

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text 2014-09-01 07:59
Starting: Dead Silence... Because, reasons.
Dead Silence - Brenda Novak
Bitterblue - Ian Schoenherr,Kristin Cashore
Darkfall - Janice Hardy

I spent around three hours before going to sleep reading Bitterblue only to realize that, 50% into the book and I'm not even quite sure I care about what's actually happening to the characters.  The only thing keeping me reading it would be the strange "puzzles" that Queen Bitterblue herself keeps bringing up over and over again.  And as much as I hate to admit it, I'm curious enough to read the rest of the book just to figure out what the deal is with all the strange people in the Monsean kingdom.

 

Also, I don't recall Katsa and Po being quite so annoying from Graceling, but no doubt, I'm not very fond of either of them right now.  In fact, there isn't one character in this book I actually care for, really.  They all feel so detached in a strange way.

 

Nonetheless, I'm going to start a new book so I can take a break from Bitterblue.

 

As for Darkfall...  I had started reading Bitterblue so that I could take a break from The Healing Wars series.  And unfortunately, it seemed kind of counter-productive for me to go back to Darkfall in order to take a break from the book I had chosen to distract myself from Darkfall in the first place.

 

 

Anyway...

 

A good romantic suspense novel always hits the right spot.  And after finishing up my planning for my next big Reading Challenge project, I simply decided to chose a book from that list.  Also because I bought the entire series from a used book store since the books aren't available at my local library in any format at all.

 

It's probably about time I got started on making a dent in my TBR Bookshelf... a very small dent, but the beginnings of a dent, nonetheless.

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review 2014-02-13 00:00
Darkfall Book 1 of the Legendsong
Darkfall - Isobelle Carmody What must be a long time ago now I had a Borders voucher and wanted to get 'bang-for-buck' on an Isobelle Carmody book. I was up to Ashling in the Obernewtyn series, but Darkfall was such a thick and inviting book I had to go with that option. And though it has taken a couple of years (and two trys) to get through it, I'm glad I did.
This is not a light, easy read. It's complicated, emotional, deep and at times a little confusing. The first time I read it I got half way before I needed a break and then forgot about it. The second time round I found I understood the deeper hidden meanings a little more and though it took me a few weeks I got all the way through and enjoyed it immensely.
What Carmody does best is fusion genres that blend a little of something with a little fantasy. She does it in a way that is both believable and enchanting. Darkfall is no different, the blend between the real life drama of the word we live in and the epic fantasy of a whole other world with three moons and a sun named Kalinda is just breathtaking.
The characters have such a rich depth (more so even than Obernewtyn, I think) and the story is so well thought out and woven together that I can imagine the following books being just as amazing.
The only fault is that it is long. It's hard work to get through. I think if it was a third shorter that would be idea. But this isn't that much of a big deal because although it's hard work - it's good hard work. If I could give it an extra half a star I would.
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text 2013-10-02 04:50
30 Day Book Challenge: Day One - Best Book You Read Last Year
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
Plague Town - Dana Fredsti
Darkfall: Book One of the Legendsong - Isobelle Carmody

The best book I read last year has to be The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson.  When I read it and wrote the review I hadn't found GR, and so, my review is not what you'd call comprehensive.  One day I'll go back and read it again (possibly before reading the sequels for the first time) and review it properly.

 

Parts of it were horrible to read, but I loved it. The rape scene and the torture scene were difficult to read, especially as my memory works way better than my imagination. I saw the American version of the movie first and so, was able to remember the very graphic way it was filmed as I was reading, instead of relying on my own imagination, which is not nearly as sadistically creative as the director of the movie. But all this made it a really gripping book to read. Larsson was a great crime/horror author, imagine what he could have written if he was still with us today.

 

If there was a second and third place they would have to go to Plague Town by Dana Fredsti and Darkfall (The Legendsong, #1) by Isobelle Carmody.

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review 2013-10-02 04:42
Darkfall (The Legendsong, #1) by Isobelle Carmody
Darkfall - Isobelle Carmody

Thoroughly enjoyed this book from the prolific (series-wise) but exceedingly slow-writing Isobelle Carmody. I took this with me on a skiing trip to Canada this year. There were many mornings when I had trouble dragging myself out of bed early enough to get first tracks on the snow. I found the story very exciting, intensified by the fact that Carmody split the story between the twin sisters Glynn and Ember. The chapters were long and with each change there was a point of view change between Glynn and Ember and back again. Each change happened at an exciting, mini cliffhanger-type moment which really kept the pace of the book moving along. I would get to the end of a chapter, read a particularly exciting part and then really want to get back to that part of the story, and so I would have to read the next 2 chapters (at least). That's how 10:30 pm can become 1:30 am in the turn of a page. And so, many late nights and yawny mornings whilst reading this book.

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