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review 2017-01-12 10:25
Kinslayer (The Lotus War 2) - Jay Kristoff
Kinslayer - Jay Kristoff

This second part of the Lotus War was much easier to get into than its predecessor, though some parts still dragged a little, I found myself not wanting to put this book down (but hey, we all have to sleep sometime).

There was some predictability, some twists and, a few slaps in the face just to keep you on your toes. Enjoyed this more than Stormdancer, and look forward to reading book 3, Endsinger, at some point (after I track down a copy...) this year.

 

One question still bugs me though, what did Buruu do to earn the hatred of his brethren and the name of kinslayer... 

4/5 stars.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2016-06-27 21:02
Thoughts: Kinslayer
Kinslayer - Jay Kristoff

Kinslayer

by Jay Kristoff
Book 2 of The Lotus War trilogy


**Because this is the second book in the series, there will likely be some information in this review that will give away pertinent information in the first book.  Continue at your own risk, or skip this review until you've read both books.

 

 

A SHATTERED EMPIRE
The mad Shōgun Yoritomo has been assassinated by the Stormdancer Yukiko, and the threat of civil war looms over the Shima Imperium.  The Lotus Guild conspires to renew the nation’s broken dynasty and crush the growing rebellion simultaneously – by endorsing a new Shōgun who desires nothing more than to see Yukiko dead.

A DARK LEGACY
Yukiko and the mighty thunder tiger Buruu have been cast in the role of heroes by the Kagé rebellion.  But Yukiko herself is blinded by rage over her father’s death, and her ability to hear the thoughts of beasts is swelling beyond her power to control.  Along with Buruu, Yukiko’s anchor is Kin, the rebel Guildsman who helped her escape from Yoritomo’s clutches.  But Kin has his own secrets, and is haunted by visions of a future he’d rather die than see realized.

A GATHERING STORM
Kagé assassins lurk within the Shōgun’s palace, plotting to end the new dynasty before it begins.  A waif from Kigen’s gutters begins a friendship that could undo the entire empire.  A new enemy gathers its strength, readying to push the fracturing Shima imperium into a war it cannot hope to survive.  And across raging oceans, amongst islands of black glass, Yukiko and Buruu will face foes no katana or talon can defeat.

The ghosts of a blood-stained past.



One of the things that came to mind while I was thinking about how to write my review of Kinslayer had to do with the love story in The Lotus War trilogy.  It had never really occurred to me to think of the triangle between Yukiko, Kin, and Hiro as a triangle at all, if only because it never really occurred to me that the word love was even being tossed around.  But one of the conflicts in this trilogy, as seen in Kinslayer, centered on the betrayal by a loved one.

And it hadn't been until nearing the ending of this book that any mention of love was brought up.  Now, this wasn't just the brotherly love or the friendship type of love, but I'm of the impression that this was a romantic love that both Hiro and Yukiko claimed had been each other's downfall.

As I understand it, between the three of them, Yukiko, Kin, and Hiro all feel as if they'd been betrayed by the person they love.  Well, we already saw that Kin felt betrayed by the end of the first book, Stormdancer, when he found out about Yukiko and Hiro; although why that is, I'm not certain.  And now in this second book, Yukiko and Hiro are both throwing around extreme emotions due to being betrayed by the one they loved.

Except that, throughout Stormdancer, I never actually got the impression that ANYONE was in love with ANYONE...  If anything, Kin's love for Yukiko felt like a crush; Yukiko's feelings toward Kin felt more like a friendship type.  As for the relationship between Yukiko and Hiro, I had always been under the impression that the two of them were just in lust with each other, with maybe a spattering of a crush--what they had never felt like love, nor was that word even used at any point.

Which then brought me to the realization, now, that there had to have been insta-love of the typical YA variety in that first Lotus War book--I just never really saw it.

But all of that is moot in the face of all the other depressing twists and developments that come out of Kinslayer.  As I'd stated earlier in my pre-review thoughts, this entire book felt like a long, drawn-out hot mess--having taken some time to think on the book, my feelings have not changed.

To be honest, the book started out quite promising.  Here, we have Yukiko, after the events of Stormdancer, with a big problem when her kenning abilities seem to have lost control of themselves.  She's hearing too many voices (animal and human alike) and is unable to block them out; it gets to the point where she's becoming a danger to life around her and to herself, because this effect causes her headaches, but also causes pain to the animals around.  In effect, rather than becoming the great hero that everyone is looking at to save the lands, Yukiko has become a pitiful, drunken mess, mirroring what her father had become, what she had despised so much about him throughout the first book.  Because in order to drown out all the noises of the kenning, Yukiko has taken up losing her mind in drink.

Along the way, we have Kin who has given up everything he ever knew in life to join the rebellion, to join Yukiko in her cause.  And now he's being hunted by the Guild, with nowhere else to go.  And at the same time, he's now living amidst a bunch of hypocritical rebels who claim to be fighting for the greater good, but can't seem to see anything outside of their prejudiced hate.  They hate the Guild, erego, they hate Kin--no matter what he sacrificed to help Yukiko, and no matter that he's turned his back on the Guild and the Shogunate, they just hate him.

One of the things that bugged me the most about the Kagé's hate for Kin is that they hate what he used to be--and that's it.  Except that, if it's the fact that he used to be a Guildsman that is so wrong, I don't see how the Kagé can like anyone at all.  As Kin had said to the Kagé leader, "everyone used to be someone else," and so why can't Kin also be someone who used to be someone else?  Daichi is the Kagé leader who used to kill for the Shogun before he finally chose to walked away.  Lady Aisha is the Shogun's own sister by blood until she chose to help the rebels.

The Kagé are able to cast aside the identities of these two and consider them trusted allies, in spite of the fact that they were part of the enemy who watched the lands suffer and innocent people die.  It also doesn't seem to matter to the Kagé when their own actions cause innocent people to die--the means to an end.

It just feels like there was no real logic to why the Kagé hated certain people.  They were ready to kill Yukiko in the first book because of a tattoo... but now she's the symbolic leading light of their rebellion.

I guess I just don't really understand the logic of their hatred for Kin, or even Ayane, when they can trust Lady Aisha or any others who also used to be part of the enemy team.  I mean, the Guildsmen are born into their roles, so it's not like they had much of a choice in what they wanted to do with their lives.

Anyway....

Meanwhile, the entire kingdom is falling apart... well, more so than it already has, after the death of the Shogun.

And that's when we get introduced to multiple other lines of story, all seeming to be heading on the same path, destined to converge at some point.  Except, even as we follow all of these side tangents and separate POVs, we're not entirely sure what significance they all hold.  Okay, I'm not entirely sure what significance there was.  All the while, my own impression of the events in this book was a feeling of impatient frustration--because while there was a lot of activity, and while there were a lot of events, and while there felt like a lot was happening, I'm not entirely certain anything really DID happen outside of revealing several more convoluted plot twists and exercising Murphy's Law.

Anything that was bad that COULD happen, DID happen.  There was so much hate and betrayal and espionage and chaos and death and bloody gore that I'm surprised the book didn't implode upon itself.  It almost felt as if each scene and each new development was carefully structured in attempt to wring as much FEELS from the reader as humanly possible; every possible worst case scenario was thought of and the utmost worst of the worst was chosen for the final draft.

And for most readers, maybe it worked.  There's certainly a lot to think about in this book.  I, personally, just started feeling quite exhausted.  And that's not simply because nothing was really getting accomplished.  People were also making poor decisions, and no one was thinking of the bigger picture nor could they see past their hate.


Some Final Thoughts:
Jay Kristoff is really a great writer.  His prose is smooth and I don't deny the creativity of the characters and the world he created.  I mean, after listening to the audio book of Stormdancer, I realized that I loved the book in spite of many quibbles and frustrating factors that I would have condemned many other books for.  Which is why I had no qualms about finally jumping into finish the rest of the Lotus War trilogy.

But Kinslayer turned out little different than Stormdancer, but in a different way, and I'm not sure that the things I didn't like about Stormdancer were improved upon.  To be totally honest, while I found the entire ideal of girl and thunder tiger as partners in crime really intriguing, I never found much I liked about Yukiko--she's the typical Mary Sue of fiction who was created to be well-received and somewhat powerful and sexy and any other factor that can make people fall in love with her.  But she was a standard type of heroine with nothing actually outstanding to distinguish her from any other standard heroine.

I loved the new conflict inflicted upon her in Kinslayer, though... but I'm not sure I saw any development in her character because of it.  Instead, Yukiko seemed to have been detached from the main events of the story to go on a journey of her own wherein things happen, but nothing really gets resolved.  Her righteous, holier-than-thou attitude had been a bit of an annoyance to me in the first book; in this second book, nothing really changes.

I'm not sure where else to even point out what was going on in Kinslayer that didn't entirely work out for me--too many tangent story lines, too many dramatic events, too much gushy love between girl and arashitora... too many people making uninformed or dumb decisions based on their own gut feelings which are all biased, at best.

There were some things I DID like:

  • I liked the story line that involved Hana, even if I didn't quite understand the significance of her brother's connection story line with the yakuza, which felt more out of place than anything.
  • I also liked Michi... but I'm not entirely certain that particular line needed to be dragged on for so long.
  • I liked Kin's development.  But I also thought it was entirely predictable and clichéd, and it was one of those few conclusions of this bridging installment of the trilogy that anyone could see miles before the story even started.
  • I wish we could have seen more of Akihito and the Kagé group in the city--they seemed to be doing more than the rebels hiding in the mountains managed to accomplish.
  • I liked the inclusion of other legendary monsters, more arashitora... but I did not like how the events were executed.  I mean, WTF, Buruu?



Final Final Thoughts:
I'm going to finish reading the trilogy if only because I want to know how everything ends.  I want to know if the world WILL eventually implode.  I want to know if the entire ordeal that was Kinslayer was worth all the effort.  I want to see if my thoughts about Kin are correct and whether or not the progression of Lotus War will surprise me in the end.  And I'm also curious to see what other dramatic, new surprise twists might be in store for the concluding installment.  

Goodness knows, Kristoff didn't pull any stops on all the secret reveals in Kinslayer.  Nor did he hold back on all the possible twisted revelations either.


***


2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge

COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board One | Square R20 -- Steampunk

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/06/thoughts-kinslayer.html
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review 2016-06-21 05:36
Pre-Review Thoughts: Kinslayer
Kinslayer - Jay Kristoff

Kinslayer

by Jay Kristoff
Book 2 of The Lotus War trilogy


I really feel awkward being one of the dissenters in the whole Lotus Wars trilogy fan-love here, but to be totally honest, this book just felt like a long, drawn-out hot mess. Either that, or it's just me and I just didn't really get what was going on here.

Ever have the feeling that a whole lot of something has been going on in an ~500 page book, while at the same time a whole lot of nothing actually happened instead? I found myself wondering if I was missing something for the first half of the book, then I found myself wondering how much longer to go before I was done with said book.

Anyway, there will probably be a more well-articulated review once I've got my thoughts sorted out. I'm just a tad bit disappointed because I really DID like the first book a lot, even if it wasn't my favorite thing in the world. If it's any consolation, I really DO feel that Jay Kristoff is a great writer and that Kinslayer had a boatload of potential and that the world of Lotus Wars is very imaginative.

Maybe this is just a case of: "It's not you, it's me."

 

 

***

2016 Reading Challenges:
Goodreads Reading Challenge
BookLikes Reading Challenge
Reading Assignment Challenge
Bookish Resolutions Challenge
Mount TBR Challenge

COYER Summer Vacation 2016 -- Bingo Board One | Square R20 -- Steampunk

 

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/06/pre-review-thoughts-kinslayer.html
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text 2015-03-31 13:27
March Wrap up
Kinslayer - Jay Kristoff
Faefever - Karen Marie Moning
Frostbite - Richelle Mead
Eyes Like Stars - Lisa Mantchev
Nightbird - Alice Hoffman
Of Metal and Wishes - Sarah Fine
MARY: The Summoning - Hillary Monahan
For a Few Demons More - Kim Harrison
We All Looked Up - Tommy Wallach
First Frost - Sarah Addison Allen

March was a much better month for me. Finally over the prolonged stomach illness I've had for a few months and back to work and regular routine. 15 books read and I think I had a month of no DNFs this month too! So a good month all round.

 

I also renewed my library card at the weekend and was quite surprised at how much stuff there is in the YA section these days. Its also a great way to read the books I'm mildly curious about but I wouldn't buy in the shops. I got Velvet by Mary Hopper, The Dolls by Kiki Sullivan, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy, and Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr. I do actually have a kindle copy of The Dolls, but I loved the paperback with its hot pink edged pages and just had to get it.

 

March books read were

 

Kinslayer - Jay Kristoff - 5 Stars - review

Faefever - Karen Marie Moning - 5 stars

Disappear Home - Laura Hurtwitz - 2 stars - Review

Frostbite (Vampire Academy 2) Richelle Mead - 5 Stars - Review

Eyes Like Stars - Lisa Mantchev - 3.5 Stars - Review

Love is Darkness - 1 Star - Review

Of Metal and Wishes - Sarah Fine - 5 Stars - read not reviewed.

Mary: The Summoning - Hillary Monahan - 3 Stars - read not reviewed

For a Few Demons More (The Hollows 5) Kim Harrison - 4 Stars - Read not reviewed

Mind Games - Teri Terry - 2 Stars - Review

First Frost - Sarah Addison Allen - 3.5 Stars - Review

We All Looked Up - Tommy Wallach - 4 Stars - Review

Struck - Jennifer Bosworth - 3.5 stars - read not reviewed

Nightbird - Alice Hoffman - 5 stars - Review

Marly's Ghost - David Levithan - 2 stars - Review

 

Best books this month - Of Metal and Wishes, Frostbite,  Kinslayer and Nightbird.

 

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text 2015-03-10 09:40
Mini Reviews, General Update and a Book Haul
Faefever - Karen Marie Moning
Something Real - Heather Demetrios
Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
Frostbite - Richelle Mead
A Thousand Pieces of You - Claudia Gray
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer,Stephenie Meyer
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling,Mary GrandPré
Nevermore - Kelly Creagh
Everbound - Brodi Ashton
Kinslayer - Jay Kristoff

Updates, Mini Reviews and a Book Haul

 

I’ve not been very active recently due to suffering a sever stomach illness since January and have pretty much only been reviewing Netgalley books. Thankfully all better now, hoping to get the all clear at the doctors tomorrow and go back to work. So instead of bombarding Booklikes with lots of reviews, I figured I’d do a mini review post of some of the books I’ve read and not reviewed.

 

Early January I finished my Twilight reread. I have this book on audio, paperback, iBooks and Kindle. Yes, I know there are plenty of problems with it that can be picked a part and its one of those books that in spite of loving it to pieces, I do like to unmercifully make fun of the stupid heroine and sparkly vampires. But that being said, its still a five star book for me. This is one of the books that got me hooked on YA fiction, so it will always have a special place for that reason alone.

 

I got a shiny new Harry Potter set for Christmas so I’ve been working my way through that as well, so far up to Order of the Phoenix. My favourite is Goblet of Fire. I’ve read Order of the Phoenix a few times, and in years past its always been my least favourite, mainly due to Harry’s poor attitude problems. However, reading again now, I can actually understand where he’s coming from. I never bother reviewing Harry Potter books, I can never find the words to express how much I love them. I was never fond of the final book, I’ve only read it once, (one of the rare occasions where I thought the movies were better than the book), we shall see when I get there if I have changed my mind at all. 

 

January 17th I finished the first book in Cassandra Clare’s infernal Devices series. Considering I’m a total Clare fangirl, I just did not love this series. I’ve never been overly fond of Victorian era steam punk as a genre, so maybe that’s it. I liked it, and have the other books in the trilogy, so its got my interest enough to want to finish the series, but I just didn’t find it as good as the Mortal Instruments. Then again, it took a few books into the series before I completely fell head over heels for the Mortal Instruments, so maybe I will like the next book more. 3 stars. 

 

January 21st I finished A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray. This was a bit of cover lust, as time travel and parallel universes aren’t really my thing. And as a former Dr Who fan (I’ve not watched the last few seasons) time travel always in my mind comes back to the Doctor. (Which may be an unfair generalization but that’s just me) I’ve been surprised by time travel books before, but this one didn’t really do anything for me. It was an interesting concept, but a little predictable in the plot. The sciency stuff was interesting, even logical, but the romance angle got annoying. 

 

Jan 31st I finished the first book in Kelly Creagh’s Nevermore series, Nevermore. This was a paperback I’d bought used from Amazon on a whim, and has been sat on my shelf for ages, and while I’ve picked it up a few times, I’ve never got past the first few pages. Looking over the blurb it was like...a five hundred page plus book about a cheerleader and a Poe obsessed Goth boy? What the hell was I thinking? I was surprised at how much I loved the book. And the characters, particularly Isabelle, the cheerleader. Great character development, and fantastic world building, I loved the Poe angle, and filtered in lines from the Raven (though in my mind, thanks to The Simpsons the Raven always sounds in my mind like its read by James Earl Jones) 4 stars. 

 

Jan 31st I also finished the second book in Brodi Ashton’s Everneath series, Everbound. Picking up shortly after where the first book left off the second book follows Nikki’s journey through the Everneath as she tries to rescue Jack after his sacrifice. This book had some terrific world building, and Nikki’s character showed immense growth as well. The first book she was whiny and annoying, the second book she’s got her head out of her ass and is doing something rather than sitting back and complaining. I liked her a lot more in this installment. The ending was a little annoying, there was a twist which was eye roll inducing in well should have seen that coming way. Left at a cliffhanger (of course) I am looking forward to seeing how this trilogy concludes.  3.5 stars

 

Feb16th I finished Something Real by Heather Demetrios. Something else I picked up on a whim as it deals with a girl who grew up in a huge family based reality TV show. With the exception of Judge Judy and The Hotel Inspector I loathe reality TV. But the concept of the book got my attention. And I fell head over heels in love with the story pretty much from the first page. 

The premise of the story is the heroine grew up on a reality TV show, which was cancelled when she was a tween, now she’s a senior getting ready to graduate High School and she comes home one day, cameras everywhere and the show is back on. And a total nightmare ensues. I loved the writing, the characters were incredible. What the older high school aged kids go through is gripping, but appalling considering they’re trying to live normal lives while dodging unscrupulous producers and paparazzi and horrible parents. 

The mother and step father in this book are quite possibly some of the worst parents I have come across in YA fiction. The mother is completely self absorbed and only interested in how she looks to the cameras, regardless of the heroine’s obvious problems. She won’t listen to reason and can  turn anything back to what ungrateful brats her kids are. I wanted to punch the mother on numerous occasions. Along with the producers and TV interviews they deliberately instigate unnecessary and cruel drama on the oldest kids and then wonder why the kids are rightly pissed off. 

How the heroine and her twin brother rise above this is brilliant. There’s a wonderful romance built in for the heroine as well, when she finally gets the attention of the boy she’s been crushing on, and she has some pretty good friends too. This is my best book of the year so far. 5 stars.

 

Feb 24th I finished Velveteen by Daniel Marks. This book was awful. I was really looking forward to it. From the sound of the blurb it looked like a book about the ghost of a teen girl who was murdered by a serial killer and how she gets her revenge from beyond the grave.  What I got was an annoying bunch of teens and tweens running around a poorly constructed Purgatory with some weird stuff happening. Initially I quite liked Velvet, it started out with her haunting her killer and full of rage. She was a complete bitch who shot her mouth off regardless of the consequences. But her attitude became grating. Sent to Purgatory, Velvet is in charge of some sort of street team who Salvage souls. At least that was the impression I got. The purgatory world building was so haphazard it made no sense. There were lots of things going on and it was hard to keep track of the plot. Made worse when Velvet rescues a guy named Nick and falls in insta love. Nick is too annoyingly perfect for words. Velvet became too annoying for words. The plot was lousy and the ending was terrible. 1 star. Not recommended at all. 

 

March 2nd I finished the second book in Jay Kristoff’s Lotus War trilogy, Kinslayer. This is one of my favourite dystopias. The second book took me nearly four months to get through. And is fantastic. I can not even form words for how much I love this series. This is also one of the most horrific dystopias I have ever read. On the one hand, the second book was a lot easier to read because I was more familiar with the characters and the style of writing, but on the other hand, the plot is so dark and terrible there was only so much of it I can take. The characters go through pure hell and the good guys determination to make things right again is totally gripping and absorbing. I was a bit of an emotional wreck after finishing this one. 5 stars. 

 

(I need some light and fluffy reads before I read the last book in this series)

 

March 4th I finished the third book in Karen Marie Moning’s Fever series, Faefever. I’m a little late to the party in becoming totally addicted to this series. This is a series I never review after reading, I just like reading and rating this one.  What keeps me addicted to this series is the world building, I love the Fae world building (even if it is scary and creepy) and Mac. Mac is one of my absolute top favourite urban fantasy heroines. One thing I do not get at all is the fangirling over Barrons that I’ve read in some reviews. In my mind the man is an asshole of epic proportions and while there is certainly an intriguing mystery about him, I don’t find him sexy in the slightest. I don’t get it.  That ending had my eyes bulging. How the fuck is Mac going to get out of that? 5 stars. Best book in the series so far.

 

March 9th I finished the second book in Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series.  After being less than impressed with the first Vampire Academy series I really had no interest in the rest of the them. At some point I must have figured what the hell, I’ll give it another shot. And I’m so glad I did because I just loved the second book. Better writing, better characters and a totally absorbing plot. I found Rose very annoying and full of herself in the first book, but I warmed towards her so much more in this installment. Yes, she certainly had more than a few bitchy and idiotic moments in this one but I found her so much more likable and character growth was amazing. Before I was even half way through this book I got the rest of the books in the series. The end of the second book was surprisingly moving and I actually teared up. That bumped my rating up from a 4 star to a 5 star. And now I’m totally hooked. 

 

This turned out to be a lot longer than I thought! To finish off, a book haul photo of books purchased in February. 

 

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