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Search tags: magic-and-other-magical-substances
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review 2016-06-16 18:16
The Invisible Library
The Invisible Library - Genevieve Cogman

This sounds like it would be just my thing, but for some reason, it wasn't.

It's got good writing, concerning both the prose and the plot, but the world-building, while interesting, felt very discombobulated. It tried to explain itself: the Language, the Library, and the fey, creatures of chaos, and dragons, creatures of order, but it wasn't working too well for me.

Also, the writing mostly evokes a Victorian feel to it (though less than the cover would indicate), but the combination of modern technology here and there and modern phrases scattered throughout, while it made sense far as the story was concerned, didn't actually mesh very well in the story. (Congrats if you understood that. Have a cookie.)

As far as Irene and Kai go, I really have very little opinion of them. Kai felt rather one-dimensional and I didn't really...care about Irene? But Vale was pretty cool, and I'd love to see more of him in future books.

As far as the plot goes, I liked the clever bits dealing with Alberich, but I don't quite understand his motivation (they kinda explained it) but even less so how it would work. Kicking myself I didn't write down the page number for this.

To be totally honest, I think I would have liked this best if it had been a completed standalone, rather than at least a six book deal. But I liked this passably well, and am just interested enough to give the next book a go.

This is a bit of the stuff I garnered about the things I wanted more info on:

The Library does what it does for the love of books. Simply to collect books, all the books in all the alternate worlds, and store them and protect them, so that if that book should ever be lost to time or disaster, there will still be a copy to make more from.

The Library exists out of time, so the Librarians are essentially ageless, except when out on book missions, when time passes for them normally.

The Language the fully initiated Librarians use is apparently heard by those who don't understand it in their own language, but with a certain unplaceable accent. The Language is sort-of magic, but it works best when directing something to do what it naturally should be doing, or that it naturally is designed to do (unlocking a door and such). The Language is ever evolving, adding grammar and vocabulary, as most books brought back to the Library are studied and the words or phrases or cool descriptions of the color black are added to the Language. (Or the Language itself evolves from the newly gathered literature???)

Chaos can infect a world, and after the world has been infected and corrupted, then the Fey can manifest to wreck more havoc. But thenDragons are like super chill and creatures of order and often show up to help restore order to the Chaos-corrupted world. Dragons can also take humanoid form.

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review 2016-05-31 18:20
Baker's Magic
Baker's Magic - Diane Zahler Baker's Magic - Diane Zahler

**An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

Don't bake angry!

Whatever mood Bee is in when she bakes is the same mood whoever eats her baked goods will be in. This magic can be useful, but sometimes pretty rough, especially when Bee bakes in a bad mood, and before they figure out that's the cause of the unusually ill-tempered customers. But Bee also is a pretty rad baker, and soon the royal palace wants Bee's baked good delivered to the palace, where she discovers a rather nasty arranged marriage in the making and dastardly plots ruinous to the country. She befriends the Princess Anika and helps her to escape so they can go inform the Mage Council of the unsavory goings-on in Zeewal. Along the way, they encounter a friendly gang of roving tulip pirates, father figures, and tree spirits. Oh, and Anika has a pet hedgehog, so that's cool.

I was so very pleased that Wil had a sort-of romance with Anika and NOT with Bee. #blessed

Overall, it was okay and there were some elements that I very much enjoyed, but it didn't bridge the gap for older readers as well as some MG books manage to, so that I would probably only recommend it for the intended audience.

I also got my hands on a hard-copy, so props to Capstone for their quality of publishing - the pages were thick and the binding was strong and tight.

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review 2016-04-19 23:15
Cogling
Cogling - Elizabeth Jordan

**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

One of those in-between books. I liked it more than not, but due to my lack of interest in the beginning, procrastination, and the fact that most Netgalley books expire after a couple months, I realized I had two days to read this, which after company came and we played Pinochle all day long, that meant a few hours of staying up in order to finish this. So I was reading a little faster than normal so I could go to bed darnnit. (Daylight Savings is brutal).

At its core, this story is all about family. Edna's brother is stolen away by a hag and replaced with a cogling, and come hell or high water, she's gonna get him back. Enter Ike, who has his own agenda but is willing to help Edna get her brother back. They become a thing, but it was handled fairly well, and was mostly put on the back-burner and the rescue/quash hag takeover took precedence. Which I mightily appreciated.

Also, it must be noted that hags and ogres are not your typical hags and ogres of folklore. These guys are all magical folk who got magic by living on a swamp and then they came back to the city, and whoops, everyone hated them now (because ewwww and magic) and banished them, and then the hags and ogres rebelled and won, and then THEY were rebelled against and quashed, and now some of them are allowed to practice magic to heal the elite, but are mostly scorned, and shocker, some of them would very much like to try for a hostile takeover. The females are the hags and the males are the ogres, and much like the non-magical humans, they can be either good or bad, though of course, with derogatory names like "hag" and "ogre", quite a bit of ill-will has been cultivated against them as a whole.

I guess I liked the overall idea of this book, but it failed a bit in my estimation in the execution. I didn't get a good sense of atmosphere, which with this world and the magic, would have been very nice to have. The world building in general felt rather one-dimensional, and the religion concerning the "Seven Saints" (which were mentioned frequently by both the hags and Edna) was vague at best. Not a bad book by any means, but not great either.

 

I figured out Edna had magic nigh instantly, and was reminded of this fact every couple chapters because "the evil" running through her blood kept being mentioned. This got old pretty quick, and also makes me wonder if we were supposed to immediately know she had magic, or was it supposed to be a surprise?

(spoiler show)
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review 2016-04-10 20:37
A Stolen Kiss
A Stolen Kiss (The Stolen Royals) (Volume 1) - Kelsey Keating

**A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

 

What to say about this one...it's a tough one to talk about, in my opinion, because it's not bad per se, but not good either. (Ugh, these books are the worst to review.)

 

Mainly, I didn't care. I thought about giving up pretty much the whole way through, which is just never good. But some of the actual issues I had with this beyond lack of interest are that this is labeled YA but the writing, the dialogue, everything is juvenile, and not in a good way. Especially as the oldest MC is supposed to be 18, with the rest of them a few years younger, but they all pretty much have the same maturity level. Ellis was the best character, and there was a definite lack of the shapeshifter, alas.

 

Also, for being near 350 pages, it's actually quite surprising how basically nothing happens. For that reason, it also moves very slow.

 

 

Pretty sure this whole thing could have been solved so much quicker if Derric had just FRICKING kissed her as soon as he realized he was the one who had cursed her in the first place. Could have saved like 100 pages but whatever. 

(spoiler show)

 

 

Honestly, it's not terrible, but it didn't hold my interest, and is the exact opposite of what you might call memorable.

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review 2016-03-01 18:29
The Last Of The Firedrakes
The Last of the Firedrakes (The Avalonia Chronicles, #1) - Farah Oomerbhoy

**An copy of this book was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review**

How? HOW does this have such high ratings and favorable reviews? 'Cos this was so bad, you guys. Oh, I should have DNFed. There's an hour of my life I won't be getting back.

It started out, not promising perhaps, but not totally terrible, in a generic fantasy story marginally better written than if written by an average 12 year old sort-of way. And it continued in this vein for the next 350 pages or so, with the addition of about a bajillion hackneyed cliches, an honest to goodness Pixie Hollow (with accompanying names eg. Penelope Plumpleberry), and a terribad romance. Let's look at the story, noting some of the cliches, shall we??

(Okay, not all of this will be totally 100% chronological. I'm only human. And I was speed reading.)

Aurora, an orphan, lives with her horrid adoptive aunt and uncle and cousin. Her uncle sells her to some baddie, who takes Aurora to a magical land, where Aurora discovers she is not only royalty but has inherited both of her parent's powers; she is both a mage AND an immortal fey, the combination of which is practically unheard of. She is also literally the most powerful fey-mage since the bestest and most awesomeest fey-mage whose names escapes me but basically he was super important and powerful. Her aunt wants her dead so she can take over the throne with absolutely no competition from the true heir. (But the "true heir" was in an entirely different fricking WORLD before the aunt brought her to Avalonia.) She falls into Insta!love (she actually refers to him as the love of her life, and her soul mate *gag*) with the Black Wolf, a dashing tall dark and handsome dude who runs around the kingdom doing who knows what but he's got this big huge reputation and he is actually the crown prince in disguise (I didn't see that coming AT ALL) and a total smarmy ass-hat. Aurora can talk with Pegasi, and she has one named Snow, and every scene with those two was dripping in awful saccharine pretty princess Pegasus power hour writing. Aurora is sent to a magical boarding school to learn how to control her powers, and where she encounters an Avalonian version of Draco Malfoy named Damien Blackwater, if memory serves, who blathers on about his pure "bloodline", is a general twat, and whose family is secretly in cohoots with Morgana. (At which point, I was jabbing at the Ipad screen at the rate of probably 20 pages a minute, just scanning the pages, because I was pretty confident there was nothing worth reading past that.) Aurora moons over Rafe, and they make out a bit but it never seems like it comes from any place of actual affection and it's written TERRIBLY. (This, and what was going on plot wise, had started to induce groaning and facepalming.) And then I think we are learning more about this special book of Abraxis that Morgana wants so she can control Dragoth (who is a demon?? I forget) but there are four keys you need to open the book, and she only has one. And then Aurora is an idiot (see below) and opens a portal (to hell?????) and lets Lilith (...like....that Lilith???) into Avalonia, and I don't know, Lilith is gonna use Morgana as a host body, because her wraith form will dissipate or she's weak in wraith form, or something like that. And that's mostly the end.

Aurora is also incredibly stupid. She's on the run from people who want to kill her, but instead of trying to get to someone who can help her, she begs to stay in Pixie Hollow (or whatever it was called) to sightsee the fairy market. Which gets raided by the Shadow Guard and she gets captured. Aurora also decides NOT to tell on one of the girls at the boarding school who let the Shadow Guard in, and is basically a big fat traitor, because.....that would be...tattling??? Oh gosh, there were so many instances of her stupidity, but here's another goodie. Aurora is told that bringing Snow back to life would be "dark magic" aka VERY VERY HELLA BAD DON'T DO IT and she fricking does it, because she neeeeeds Snow back. Well, guess what, Aurora? I hope you're happy that you using dark magic opened a hell portal.

(spoiler show)



Anyways, up till the last 60 pages or so, it was pretty darn bad, but it would have probably gotten two stars, because it was basically just a poorly written generic fantasy amalgamation of tropes and tween dreams when you'd daydream in your backyard about secretly being magical royalty. It wasn't something I would ever recommend, but as a wee girl with very few standards I might have even enjoyed it. Until Aurora and Rafe's gag-o-matic tripe of a "romance" was two-sided, and the plot went completely haywire.

Also worth mentioning is that this reads VERY middle grade, from plot to characters to the writing style, but then some bits felt more like they belonged in a YA? I think maybe this is one of those weird little books that was meant and marketed as YA but comes off as extremely childish and MG.

Thank goodness it's finally over.

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