This is my first time participating in a blog theme that's hosted by another blog, so I'm excited and nervous at the same time. If you're curious, Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This post will be cross-posted on my main blog "Writing Through Rose-Tinted Glasses", as will be future posts on this topic.
So, this week's topic is "Ten Finished Series I've Yet to Finish". Oh boy. This is hard. I'm rather compulsive about finishing series, but I'll admit in at least the last year, there have been a number of series that I've been meaning to finish that I just haven't gotten around to. That's probably (and conveniently) what gives me fuel for this post. I don't know whether to be thankful or start kicking myself to the curb about it.
Here they are, in descending order:
10. Flin's Destiny series by Erik Olsen
This is a series that pretty much flies right by many of my reading friends, and I never really knew the reason why, because I really love this middle grade fantasy series. I started reading Cobble Cavern as a recommended NetGalley read back when I was really getting into the swing of book blogging and something about the rather mischevious but well meaning Flin traversing with his friends on a school trip that went horribly wrong, leading them into an underground otherworld clicked with me. I've purchased all the books in the series as a result. Why I haven't finished reading it? Because I read them out of order for one (I read the first and third book as galleys, didn't realize it until later, ended up purchasing the second and fourth books. The fourth I believe is the last book in the series), and I have yet to write proper reviews for any but the first book. Urgh. That's a fault on my part for time and such.
9. Lumatere Chronicles by Melina Marchetta
I adore Melina Marchetta. I really do. Some of the books I've read by her have torn my heart to bits. (See my review of "The Piper's Son" for one.) But I'll admit I was less than impressed with "Finnikin of the Rock" the first time I read it. Then I read "Froi of the Exiles" as a galley from NetGalley and despite how much I didn't like Froi in the first book (there are reasons, and there are some of my reader friends who won't pick up this series because of what said character did, which I totally understand), I still ended up liking the second book quite a bit. "Quintana" is the last book in the series, finished for a while - and I have it as a galley. I have yet to pick it up. Reasons? There are a few:
1. Large ARC stacks, just haven't gotten around to it.
2. It's Melina Marchetta, I imagine there will be feels and I might have some anxiety over what happens for events, but we'll see.
3. I have yet to properly review "Froi of the Exiles". I've read this book twice, and it's a thick book. I still don't know how to reflect on it.
I'm making it a point to finish this series by the end of the year.
8. Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand
I hate myself for forgetting to remember (contradiction much?) to read this series, because I really liked the first book a lot. I haven't read very many angel books in YA (you guys might not be surprised by what follows this entry as another unfinished series in this vein), but for a beginning, it was good. And I really like Tucker (*cough*). I think the only reason why I haven't finished this series is because my library didn't have all the books available and I just had too many in my stack to tackle at the time. I hope to finish it eventually now that all the books are released.
7. Penryn and the End of Days series by Susan Ee
I feel like I'm listing this book slightly ahead of "Unearthly" only because I remember when Angelfall was released and virtually EVERYONE I knew was talking/reading/discussing it. I made it a point to read the second book in the series as soon as it came out because I liked the first, even with a few caveats in the mix of things.
And yet I didn't. One reason was because I found myself reading other books around that time and I think I'd steered clear of reading many paranormal/supernatural books for a while (probably to vary up my reading palette at the time). Another was that my reading stack was just too high and never came back to it. I'm happy to say that I have the second book as a galley and will be reading it probably within the next few months, and I own the third book. But I'll admit I'm nervous about the third book. It's had mixed reactions, but I figure I've made it this far, might as well jump feet first into the experience.
6. Mystyx series by Artist Authur
I think the only reason I haven't read this series in full is because the first book I read in the series ended up being the fourth book. I actually really liked "Mesmerize", too, considering it's a series that features prominent characters of color and supernatural battles, but the experience felt incomplete for me because I started in the middle. I wish I'd started it from the very beginning. I want to read it in full eventually.
5. Spiritwalker series by Kate Elliot
I hate myself so much for not picking up this series sooner. The first book was awesome (I have yet to write a review for it though, so bear with me). I have the third book as a galley. I think the only reason I haven't been able to finish this series is because of availability. I searched for it in my local bookstores and library, couldn't find it for the longest time. Ended up footing the bill on the first and second book. When I do write a review for this series, it'll be after a marathon read in which I'll start with the first book again, and I bet the experience will be epic.
4. Metamorphoses by Sarah McCarry
I'm actually not sure if this series is complete or not, but the third book was released two months ago. I remember being the odd one out of my friends in saying that I liked (with caveats) the start to this series with "All Our Pretty Songs". (And I'll admit I was captivated by cover lust. I mean, LOOK AT THE COVER. The other covers are just as pretty). But McCarry's first entry in this series was defined by very dense prose and sluggish momentum. Even with the super cool music references (I was surprised that Jesus and Mary Chain was even featured in a YA book. Props, man), there was always going to be the fact that this series was a hard sell with everything that goes on within it, despite some beautiful and intriguing points that you don't normally see in a YA series. (Prominent girl-girl relationships, sensuality, etc.)
Nonetheless, I have galleys to all three of these books, and I will be reading the second and third books in this series when I have the chance. The unfortunate thing is that I haven't gotten around to it because of my large ARC stack.
3. Prep School Confidential by Kara Taylor
I've read the first two books in this series and absolutely loved them. I adore Anne Dowling and think she's kick-awesome. The only reason I haven't finished this series is just a lack of time and a growing ARC stack (and yeah, I was introduced to this series via NetGalley as well.) It's since become one of my favorite YA series, since I love the humor, the mystery, and the characters within.
2. The Bloodlines Series by Richelle Mead
I'm definitely kicking myself over not finishing this particular series considering I liked Vampire Academy quite a bit. I'm actually surprised I liked Vampire Academy as much as I did with the sheer amount of vampire series that were somewhat in flux around the time it was released, but I totally rooted for Rose (and not just because she has my namesake. Heheh...) I really liked Sydney's character and I thought "Ooooh, she's got her own spinoff series! And Adrian's supposed to be a major character, too? Ermahgerd! (Or some other non-sensical squeeing phrase)
Unfortunately, the only reason I haven't touched this series is because I wanted to wait until all the books had been released before getting through it, and - well - somehow I missed the date of release for the last book. I expect the book marathon of this to be quite eventful and full of feels...I think.
1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
I know what you're thinking. "Rose, what's wrong with you?" But I've read all but one of the Harry Potter books, and you know why I haven't touched the last book in the series yet? It was spoiled for me. Mercilessly around the time the last book was released. I was so upset I knew I had to put the brakes on reading it for a while, just to clear my head and be able to read it from something of a fresh perspective. Unfortunately, I never got around to finishing it, and I've been meaning to actually read the book series from the beginning. I wanted to actually to a reboot read last year, but I never got around to doing it for personal, professional, and other reasons. Still, I want to do a full series re-read (and the final book) when I have the opportunity. Count on it. I expect it to be epic.
That's all for this entry. Until next time, same book place, same book channel. :)
(Note: I'm featuring some of my favorite covers from the series mentioned above, so I know some of them are not the first books in the series. I figure the cover love was worth the feature.)
(Wouldn't trade a minute of it though)
Why is it that when something is annoying or drives you mad it is so easy to find a million words to say about it? But when you find something you incredible, nay, so AMAZING, that you can't seem to find the words to say how you feel about it. I am here now. Melina Marchetta, where have you been all my life? Why am I just now reading these books? You HOOKED me with Finnikin of the Rock, but you OWNED me with Froi of the Exiles. This book was enchanting. Every page was captivating. This was epic fantasy at it's very best! I'm not even exaggerating when I say that all I did yesterday was devour this book. I read all 596 pages in a day. I stayed up until 2am marveling at this gem. I want to take this book, wrap it up, cradle it like a baby and keep it near my heart for all of time.
Froi of the Exiles how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...
The characters. Oh the characters. They are broken. They are ravaged, down deep in their souls. We see how they got that way, we watch it happen or so it breaking down more and more. But we also see a glimpse of light, and hope, at the end of this dark tunnel of despair, and sometimes we get to see this fraction of light grow so bright that it's blinding. Oh what a pay off it is. It's worth every torturous moment in the darkness. No character is inconsequential. Be it a main character or secondary, or even a small role as a villager, they all mean something to this grand story.
"She is worth nothing, Arjuro had said. If Froi understood anything, it was that in this world one's worth came from others. He had no worth until he crossed the path of the novice Evanjalin and Finnikin. So he found himself writing his own bond to Quintana of Charyn. Her worth would come from him and Lirah and the idiot last borns. She would not die alone. That would be his bond to her."
I found myself loving Froi most of all in this book. Don't get me wrong, I adored Finnikin and even the novice Evanjalin in Finnikin of the Rock, still do, but Froi was just something more to me. He was even more damaged, and there was such a darkness in him. Where in FotR the beast inside roamed free, you could see Froi constantly struggle in this book to keep his darkness leashed. It made me love him even more. We got to see so much more to Froi in this book. He has grown to be so much more than I could have even hoped for.
"Most days, he feared that a monster of great baseness lived inside of him, fighting to set itself free. Killing the traitors of Lumatere for Isoboe made sense. But killing also fed the monster. He could not bear the idea of letting that monster free among the girls of Lumatere So Froi kept away from them."
We got to meet loads of new characters in this story. Quintana was one of my new favorites. She kind of reminded me a little of the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland. There were layers and layers to her, each one you uncovered only made you want to see more and more of what made this madly intriguing girl tick. She was so strong. Even when she appeared weak and useless, it was real a testament to how smart and strong she was.
Honestly nearly everyone new we met, along with some others that we had but glimpses of, they all weaseled their way into my heart. Gargarin, Arjuro, Rafuel, Lucian, De Lancey (and even his silly children), and sweet Phaedra....just to name a few. Amidst this love fest of characters here, there were a few that broke my heart. People I had grown to trust, right along with Froi, people I liked, they let me down in ways that were heartbreaking. I think that's one of the things I love most about these books, no one person is all good or all bad. The prettiest, shiniest egg can turn out to be nothing but rotten in the end. Likewise, the seemingly cruelest and most standoffish people end up being the ones you need with you the most for they are the only ones you should trust with your life. Nothing really ends up being what you see on the surface, there is always more to people than that.
I really appreciated the dual point of views in this book. While it was clear that Froi and his journey into enemy territory in Charyn was the main focus, it was so wonderful to also get breaks to see things still progressing in beloved Lumatere. It was great how everything started tying together at the end as well. It was clear that the fates of both kingdoms are going to be intertwined. It's such a delicate balance between these to lands, I'm still really unsure which way things are going to go down between them. There seemed to finally be some progress starting to be made between the two races of people but in the end I'm just not sure that it was enough to halt the looming war creeping to their doorsteps. One can only hope, I guess. It was eye opening to say the least to get a look at the Charynites in this book and see them for more than that of the heinous deeds some of their kin did to the Lumaterians during the curse in Lumatere. It was so easy in the first book to paint them all as monsters, but no so easy in this book where we see the good in their community as well. Also all the plight they bear as their own torturous curse of 18 years has been reeking havoc on their people.
"Phaedra shook her head. "If your people mean no offense, they should not speak their thoughts out loud in front of their children, Tessadora. Because it will be their children who come to slaughter us one day, all because of the careless words passed down by their elders who meant no harm."
I don't know what else to say. This book was flawless. It had me comepletely enamored from page 1 to the very last page. At nearly 600 pages I never skimmed, I never grew bored. I only felt EVERYTHING. I laughed, I cried (seriously, literal tears)
(If anyone has wads of 100 bills that they want to give me to wipe my tears with, I'm not opposed to it)
I was hopeful, heartbroken, excited, nervous, and about a million other things throughout reading this book. Books like this aren't just a story, they are an experience. I can't sit here and tell you about it and do it any kind of real justice, you need to experience it for yourself. It is one of those rare books that you finish and you think
you feel like no other book is going to make you feel this much again. It's just not possible. This is the best it's ever going to get. Until one day another one grabs you by the heartstrings and drags you through the whole ride all over again, and leaves you feeling exactly the same way. I have a bunch of "favorite" books, but even amongst my favorites there are only a few of these kind of books. My only hope is that the next book in this series, the final book, Quintana of Charyn will be a book I can add to that elite list. If you haven't started this series yet, you should.
I read the first book in this series, Finnikin of the Rock, earlier this year. I had always heard good things about it, but while I did like it I adding feel that connection that I always heard about from others.
Well, Froi gave me a lot of feelings in a good way. Though looking back at the, it doesn't seem like it would. Finnikin I read in one sitting and I did debate about staring Froi since I was interested, but I had the feeling that I wouldn't be continuing it. Which is what happened. It sat around for over a month before I finally finished it and I had to rescind the beginning since I had forgotten it. Even as I read it, I could easily put it down.
But I enjoyed it much more. It's not 100% dependent on the previous book and focuses obviously on Froi, who we met as in the first book. He's grown up a lot since then and is happy with his life in Lumatere and his service to its rulers.
Due to his skills in combat and language, he ends up being sent on a mission to Charyn, to kill its King. Charyn has been an enemy of Lumatere since it invaded about 15 years ago. But the country has been under a curse which gives Froi the opportunity to infiltrate the palace.
What he doesn't see coming is the probably insane princess, Quintana. Their relationship was my favorite part of the book.
I had some ideas of who Froi was since it was always obvious that he was never going to end up being just a regular person. I thought the reveal was much better done than in Finnikin, which made it obvious from the start to everyone except Finnikin.
The hotel book has a fantastic new group of characters and while it doesn't ignore the previous book, most of our time is spent in Charyn. The book does end on a cliffhanger for pretty much all the characters and I look very forward to seeing what will happen in the finale.
It's not often that second books in a series are even better than the first, but as amazing as Finnikin was, Froi topped it. I will read anything that Melina Marchetta writes. It's not that Froi was a better character than Finn, but that the scope of the story was even fuller. Not only did we follow Froi on his quest, we stayed with the Castle people and got to know new and wonderful characters.
The one thing to realize about this series is that while Finn's story (in terms of the relationship) wraps up in his book, Froi and Quintana are a two parter. Which means that Quintana becomes the protagonist in the final book.
I, for one, can't wait!