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text 2017-08-24 03:57
Legion
Legion - Julie Kagawa

I'm quitting this series with this book. At the end of the last book, there was a cliffhanger that reminded me of the author's previous series. I decided if she pulled the same move, I would be done. It didn't take long into the book to confirm the exact same thing was happening, so I'm going to quit because I think I'll just be frustrated otherwise.

 

In case you want the specific reason:

this book had a love interest death fake-out. The last book ended with Ember's human boyfriend dying. This book began with him getting saved by getting a blood transfusion from a dragon, so he's perfectly fine and alive. It just made the end of the last book feel cheap. Plus Ember's relationship with him was the weakest element of the series for me, and I just don't feel like reading two more books of it.

(spoiler show)
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review 2017-02-18 08:00
Review: King's Cage (Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard
King's Cage (Red Queen) - Victoria Aveyard

Quick review for a not so quick read. Short version: This book was a hot mess. I'm basically ending my journey with the series here because of how things were (mis)handled through the narrative. Read on for details.

 

Yeah, I'm a fair shade of vexed, might as well get the hot air out of me before I dive into the bulk of my review. I feel like I just wasted a day and a half's-worth of reading time just to do, what - power through close to 500 pages of filler? Anti-climatic self-indulgent character tokenism with incomplete scenes that seemed to jump willy nilly? Vital scenes that could've been interesting to watch/see/experience are skipped while others about bland place details or character self-loathing go on for page after page? Side characters, who have interesting motivations on their own, keep marching to the chain of centering on the heroine while their own stories and revelations get shafted?

 

I just...can't, man. Argggggh.

 

Okay...hot air gut reaction released. Now into the reasons why I'm so thoroughly vexed at the journey of this book. I'll put this in list form just to make it easier to digest.

 

WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD!!![

 

 

1. Poor pacing which is both anti-climatic and over focused on details that don't matter in the scheme of the story. This book could've easily been shaved about 200-250 pages. I'm not kidding. The story summary of "King's Cage" summed up in a nutshell has Mare being held captive by Maven, wallowing around in her own misery for a good 200 some pages while waiting either to be rescued or for some political conflict she witnesses to give her an opportunity to act like a badass and escape. (Though many times she's like "What's the point? I'm just gonna get captured anyway. Can't use my power. They're all too powerful, blah blah.") And then after said revolt comes into play, she has a momentarily happy reunion with Cal, some time with the family, jumps back into the fray of conflict, leaving less than 15% of the book to put in some key scenes of conflict. Much of the narrative felt like wasted space and time.

 

Granted, I'll give credit for a few scenes that furthered the political rift between the Reds and Silvers. I can name them on three fingers really:

 

Mare being marched like a puppet and causing doubt among the Scarlet Guard in their respective role for things - but we've seen this before.

 

Mare witnessing the union of Maven and his new bride to be a show of power and prominence. (including an awkward bath scene for sexual tension when Maven and Mare have a conversation about said pending union).

 

And lastly: Mare and Cal having to deal with the aftermath of a key battle that didn't go according to plan.

 

But even then, considering how much time it takes to get to these key points, was it really worth wading through about 500 pages just to get to those points? (Answer: nope, nope, noppity, nope, nope.)

 

2. Misuse of multiple POVs: This could be contentious because, for what it's worth, I liked reading Evangeline and Cameron's perspectives and I wanted more of a deeper experience with their roles in the story. Definitely not when they were essentially tooting Mare's horn, leaving less room to dig into their own motivations and contentions within the overarching conflict (and it's pretty bad when you feel like one of the characters highlighted basically has her sexual identity shoehorned into the story just to add conflict and not for the time and connection that it truly deserved. Same with another character whose sexual identity really didn't have a lot of time to expand or develop, these are things that happened off scene and left me wondering "Wait, where the heck was I when this happened?" )

 

That served to piss me off on several occasions. Dude, when you have multiple POVs, it's to get into the heads and motivations of the characters you're writing about specifically, not toot the horn of the main character. Mare has her own space for that. It doesn't need to be spelled out. I get that Cameron has a like/hate relationship with Mare, she doesn't have to tell me this. I get that Evangeline reluctantly has to call a truce with Mare because she has her own reasons for acting the way she does, that can be shown as well. I get there's a purpose to their POVs in the novel, but the way they were done just felt...very fillerish and empty. Definitely not what they deserved through the whole of this narrative.

 

3. Mare. Yes, Mare still continues to be the Achilles' heel of this series. This is unfortunate because for a while, I was willing to follow her journey even with how insufferable she was through the last two books. It was hard to care, but at least I still cared enough to continue.

 

At least until this book. It showed me just how this series badly wants to paint her as a badass, TCO character only to actually portray her as being very passive and a product of the plot points this series pushes her through. This is said even knowing that the experiences she's going through are supposed to be traumatizing and noting the PTSD that she suffers towards the end of the novel. I didn't feel convinced by how this was framed because other dystopian/fantasy novels have done it with much better conviction and connection and didn't drag their heels while doing so. When her powers return, basically she has moments of returning to her self worth, but in the end it's dampened by her self-centeredness yet again. Which leads me to:

 

4. The climax/the ending. Oh heck no to all of it. I honestly think if the pacing and characterizations were more solid, this could've not led into another book. That may be up for debate in itself, but there were two things about the last 15% of the book that upset me. From the scheme of events, Cal and Mare are training for a battle against Maven and his respective forces. Okay. (Even if some scenes feel like they're lifted too closely from The Hunger Games or Divergent.)

 

They get into that respective battle and fight with a few harrowing scenes to match (never mind that none of the extra characters here are relevant other than passing mention. There's even a point where Mare says she doesn't remember a character, and I'm like "What goes with the main character mind, goes with the reader" so whenever Mare says she's bored or doesn't remember someone, how would one expect the reader to feel?)

 

I was thrown from the story towards the very end because a key scene felt like it was missing between the battleground and the direct aftermath (which switches to Evangeline's perspective). I couldn't get past how it just took that leap and the climax/promise of that scene just felt relatively unfulfilled. Maven escapes their grasp, but...you barely get to feel that sense of defeat or frustration from the main characters involved because of the change in POV and how it just sums up events.

 

The second point of frustration: Mare's selfishness creeps up again in the epilogue, leading to the next book for obvious *drama*. "Choose me or your kingdom, Cal!" essentially is what it boils down to without rehashing the whole of the exchange. Never mind all of the political tensions the book has established up to this point. Never mind that Mare knows very well what's at stake and is like "I don't care."

(spoiler show)

 

 

At that final point, to the effect of seeing this series through to the end? My reaction was much the same:

 

description

 

So I think I'll wait to see what other series Aveyard writes because this one's lost me. And that's unfortunate really, because there's so much potential in the ideas this series has, but the execution isn't there. Not at all.

 

Overall score: 1.5/5 stars.

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review 2016-04-17 19:07
THE READING Book 21: Silent Night (Stanley Weintraub)
Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914 - Stanley Weintraub
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text 2015-10-28 13:04
The Sword of Summer
The Sword of Summer - Rick Riordan

Well, I give up. I got 112 pages in, but I have no desire to go any further. Magnus Chase sounds just like Percy Jackson from his first series except Magnus is far more irritating. Of course, his sounding just like Percy suits the book since it's reading just like the first Percy Jackson book. Add in some pop culture references that have me questioning when exactly the timeline is and a bit of poor editing that has the main character doing things like describing a drink as yummy a page before we find out he's never had it and is in fact super hesitant to try it and I just have no desire to continue.

 

I was curious to see what the author was going to do with Norse mythology because I had enjoyed his take on Greek and (most of) his take on Roman. But Magnus is far too irritating for me to follow him for almost 500 pages.

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photo 2015-09-22 02:35

My baby (Kenzie, 11) made her very first, from scratch dinner. PIZZA! It was for a school project. I am so proud of her! She done messed up now! This was great. Dinner made by her once a week now!

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