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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 2016-05-30 07:08
Sleeping Giants
Sleeping Giants - Sylvain Neuvel

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

Oh, and I also won an ARC copy of this through Goodreads Firstreads!! So pretty.

2.5 stars.

I less liked this book than I was intrigued. And even at the end (whaaaaaaaaaaaaat?), I'm only really going to be reading Book 2 because I kinda NEED to know what's going on.


The Writing

So the book is told through a series of interviews and takes place over a number of years. Books from this POV can be really rough, but it worked in this case. Probably even more so because most of the characters know as little as the reader does. So at least you aren't alone.

The Characters

I didn't connect with any of them, so weirdly plot is the only reason I'm keeping with this series. I can't tell you if I didn't connect due only to the characters themselves or if the interview style of writing contributed in any way.

I liked Rose the best of the bunch, but she died too quickly to really make it devastating for me. Ryan was pretty annoying, but he was actually chill in the last half. I felt sorry for Vincent and I liked him well enough, but Kara also annoyed me. BUT the Interviewer, whoever he is, at once made me hate him and like him and I'm just so conflicted?? He's so clever and mysterious and SUCH AN A-HOLE. I just really want to know who he is, where he came from, what he knows, who he works for, etc. Oh, and Mr. Burns was legit, though I have so many questions about him as well.

I thought the romance aspect of this, though it was definitely put on the back-burner, was hecka frustrating and really just didn't need to be in here. I guess maybe it was supposed to put a little more of a personal side to the story, but really it didn't help anything and I just want to know about the alien robots, okay?

THE PLOT

Haha, I don't actually understand it at all, because every time I thought we'd figured something out, then we'd find something else contradictory to what I thought we knew. So I am just gonna admit I know nothing. I also will admit I want to know everything. Basically, there's giant alien robots and we found one with pieces of it buried all over the earth and maybe it's from a more technologically advanced alien race that wanted to communicate with us but when they visited we were too lame to know what the heck they wanted to say so they left it for us to find once we were cool and now we have it but we definitely don't want to use it as a weapon because then the alien race will wipe us out because they only want us to use it for defense? If the alien race wanted to communicate with us and they would know enough to know we used it as a weapon, why aren't they communicating with us now?? Also, is this giant alien robot one from the giant race mentioned in Genesis in the Bible??? Or it is a Titan???? Or could it be both? (Because you know, the myth of the Titans doesn't actually have to be gods, they just would have been seen as them, because....they were giant alien robots.)

The Ending

....

Huh. I didn't see that coming.

(spoiler show)



So yeah, I'm SO there for Book 2, but I do wish I liked the characters more, because that was pretty much my only only complaint. (Also, if this isn't optioned for film nigh immediately, I'll be surprised.)

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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 2016-04-11 23:06
Into The Dim
Into the Dim - Janet B. Taylor

*DNF 330 PAGES* (I had less than 100 pages left. That's right.)

 

Honestly, were it not for the ire I had for the maligning of a historical figure, I would have probably enjoyed this quite a bit. Not because it was that good, but the writing was engaging and it was pretty fun, with a kinda Timeline (movie) vibe going for it. However...

My biggest issue was what the author decided to do with Thomas a Beckett. She made him out to be the most vile slimy, greedy, Jew-hating, nun-slapping monster. That was really bad and made me quite upset, but the final straw that made me not only a little bit sick but wanting to throw the book out the window ala Pat in Silver Linings Playbook leading to a rage-quit is when he hands over a Jewish girl to some lecherous creep and condones him raping her.

 

What.

 

The.

 

*blaring horn covers loud swearing*

 

No. Like, what un-Godly version of history is this??? Maybe, maybe, if there was an author note saying "hey, I totally changed a bunch of historical figures and here's why I decided to go that direction in my alternate history" but THERE ISN'T THAT HERE.

 

 

To add insult to injury, Eleanor is practically worshiped as this bad-ass wonderful queen who went shirtless at a battle and wow, that's so amazing and she is the golden role model for girls and guys and everyone.

 

Ugh.

 

Beyond that, Hope is a super special snowflake, but while I didn't overly care for her, that actually didn't bother me a whole lot until she lost any likability once they went to back to the past and her inner Eleanor fan-girl came out. The two characters I actually liked the most were Phoebe and her techie boyfriend Doug. They were both cute as a couple and likable on their own. Didn't care much at all for "Crayola eyes" (I am not even kidding) Raisin Bran,

who I nearly immediately called as being not only A. from the rival time-traveling gang but also B. Celia's son. I mean, seriously, as soon as the rival gang was mentioned, I guessed it.

(spoiler show)

 

The time travel aspect was kinda fun to read about, and at least tried to be buy-able, what with ley lines and Tesla's inventions and whatnot. However, I had to disappointed with how our characters acted in the past. They try (though not really) to avoid using modern language, and while I understand why the author did not actually have their dialogue in Old English, what I found frustrating is how often they A. slipped up and B. (infinitely more frustrating) it was treated like it was still normal for the time period.

Exhibit A.

"No way," I whispered incredulously, forgetting my medieval speech for a moment."



Okay, fine. Except that she has been using contractions left, right, up, and down this WHOLE time.

Uggggggh. This could have been so much more, or the very least, a passably fun ride, but the issues were too big to ignore. Actually, it was decent until they went back to the past, and then everything pretty much went to heck.

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review 2016-02-26 18:19
The Looking Glass Wars: CrossFire
The Looking Glass Wars: CrossFire - Frank Beddor,Curtis Clark

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

I've always loved The Looking Glass Wars, and pretty much anything having to do with Alice in Wonderland, but I wasn't a fan of Hatter M. Thankfully, this was a whole lot better. Not only was the art somewhat better (still not very good), but the story was so much more cohesive. It is a continuation of the LGW (after 7 years!!), with a big cast of characters that were really great to revisit.

I'll definitely be around for Vol 2!!

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