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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-14 22:46
Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder (2016 Review)
Storm Glass - Maria V. Snyder

Storm Glass by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Four years attending the Magician's Keep, and Opal believes she's nothing but a disaster and a disappointment. Instead of being able to learn and practice new powers like other students, her one and only ability is placing a thread of magic within the glass figures she creates, which can then be used as a means for cross-country communication. Definitely not combat related, thus she is shocked to learn the Master Magicians have an assignment for her.

(WARNING: This reviews contains MAJOR spoilers.)

I quickly fell in love with the world of the much conflicted Ixia and Sitia all the way back in Poison Study. Not only was the book a perfect reminder of why I love immersing myself in works of fiction, but it created pleasant excitement for the future instalments penned by Snyder. It was then unfortunate that the following segments of the series only declined, leaving me disappointed and pessimistic. What my gripe essentially stemmed from was the character development of Yelena, and how she evolved drastically into a famous, almighty Soulfinder than could accomplish everything and anything. But whilst Yelena's magic varied to the extreme, Opal's was very limited... At first. It offered zero offensive and defensive capabilities, but it was extremely useful and beneficial to the Sitian council and magicians as a whole. This, after the sheer extent of Yelena's power growth, was refreshing and I welcomed the unique simplicity. Imagine my irritation that as the book progressed, new magical discoveries were made, each more powerful than the last. It's an easy assumption to make that history will repeat itself.

Opal suffered through quite a lot in her ventures, and made more one than one mistake along the way. Her insecurities could've been endearing, but I felt they became a little too much when she continuously refused to accept praise or compliments of any kind. She also displayed a hunger for power, which in itself was slightly off-putting, though to be fair, if I were considered a "one-trick wonder", I'd probably feel sour about it as well. Despite these faults, which definitely threatened her likeability, I thought she was an average protagonist with the potential for improvement. Perhaps if she was given room to breathe and grow into her own person, and not overshadowed by Yelena, which of whom played a part in this book and was mentioned regularly.

Of course the love triangle ticked me off, as they usually do. I just don't understand how they can appeal to anyone. It seemed, at least to me, that Opal settled with Ulrick because Kade didn't reciprocate her interest - it's ALWAYS selfish, in one way or another. It doesn't matter which one I favoured (Kade though), it just becomes unbelievably tedious.

However in regards to the other characters, I believed there to be a satisfactory variety. I actually became a little fond of Leif, whereupon I initially hated his immaturity. Zitora I liked, Pazia was a tad annoying, as was Ulrick. Kade was a delight, and I immediately wished him the love interest. The plot itself was eventful, yet at times confusing as it veered off into different directions. I don't think it needed to be as complicated; sometimes a straightforward story does the job just as well. I very much liked the in-depth look at the Stormdancers in particular, and I would've loved if they were focused on a little longer. Hopefully they make appearances in the next two books of the Glass trilogy.

Speaking of glass, I enjoyed the detailed scenes of craftsmanship found throughout the pages. I never thought I'd find an interest in such a thing, but the writing was very well done and inspired me to perform some additional research. I do appreciate when an author can ignite enthusiasm on a certain subject otherwise ignored.

In conclusion: Looking forward to delving into more Chronicles of Ixia, but let's hope they rise to the standard of the very first. It just strikes me as the protagonists get overly powerful, which takes all the fun out of them struggling for their survival.

Notable Scene:

The roar of the wind and sea ceased the moment the monster wave engulfed me. For one heartbeat, my world filled with gurgling sounds and foamy green light. Then the force of the crashing water slammed me into an unyielding object. The sea grabbed my limp body and tossed it about. Confusion dulled the pain until my forehead smacked into a jagged rock.

© Red Lace 2016

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/04/14/storm-glass-by-maria-v-snyder-2016-review
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review 2018-04-14 08:19
An Argumentation Of Historians
An Argumentation of Historians - Jodi Taylor

Collective noun for historians: an argumentation.

One of the consequences of having a Mt. TBR that is just short of keeping me awake at night (both literally and figuratively speaking) is that there are few times I'm really waiting for a book to be published, because I have at least twenty (or a hundred) that are constantly screaming for my attention. However, An Argumentation of Historians was one of those few books, that I immediately bought on release day and I dropped all the rest so I could read it.

St Mary's is one of my favourite series. It is so light and British I find it the ultimate way to relax. Luckily the tone of this book is lighter compared to the previous one, and I enjoyed it much more. (Apparently Jodi Taylor received much complains about And the Rest is History, because she mentions it in her introduction). If you ever wanted to know what people get up to when they are 'investigating major historical events in contemporary time' read this series (this is book #9 and they should really be read in order). Don't bother with the science though, you will find very little of that, which is just fine because it is their not having an idea what they're doing that's at least half the fun of it. Additionally, it makes their responses when they historian better. Oh, and if you can't stand tea, stay wide from this series, because you will be reminded about it every second page or so.

This all being said and done, it is not all gold that glitters of course. There were some things I didn't like, so the next part will contain some spoilers for this book and the previous ones in the series.

After ATRIH I was pissed off, because she pulled the 'assuming someone was dead' again, and it is just such a cheap plot point. So I was glad she stayed far away from that in this one (even though it was clear from the start that Max would eventually return to the right St. Mary's). Which was really good, because in a fit of rage I might have declared to throw the entire series out of the window. See, I've certainly learned from the impulsiveness of everyone at St. Mary's. As I mentioned above, there is not a lot of scientific explanation to the workings of the time travel, but apparently it can't be that hard, since there are enough rogue time travellers to keep an full police force going. Also, the moments it bordered more on science fiction were some of the weakest in the series, in my opinion. Ellis' explanation of the future, with the Time Police's involvement in almost all things, was really bad. It would have better been left out. Finally, I feel the Ronan storyline should have ended some time ago. It feels rather repetitive at this point and I think there would be more than enough nice, interesting historical events to explore without him.

I see a new short story is due in 10 days, I can't wait!

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review 2018-04-10 14:29
Not Intriguing Enough For Me to Continue Series
Song of Blood & Stone - L. Penelope

Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not impact my rating or review.

 

Ehh I was just bored while reading this. There is a reason why I went screaming off to read books by Rosamunde Pilcher. I kept hoping that the story would improve, but it did not. I read elsewhere this was originally a self-published book (back in 2015) that was re-published again this year. I don't know why that was, maybe the publishers were hoping to hop on some of the Young Adult fantasy with characters who are POC. But unlike with two books this year that I really enjoyed (The Belles and Children of Blood and Bone) this needed edited. I was initially intrigued by the main character (Jasminda) but I didn't get her or her powers after a while. We have her love interest Jack who just felt underdeveloped. There are two other books in this universe that I have no interest in trying to read.


"Song of Blood and Stone" starts off with Jasminda going to town and finding out that her maternal grandfather is going to offer her a lot of money to not claim her mother or use her name. I remember going huh when reading that whole thing. We start off with a quick exposition dump about this world we are in with Jasminda wondering what she's going to do (she doesn't want to give up her mother, but needs the money to save her family farm) when she comes across a young man who is being hunted by soldiers. Jasminda ignores him at first and heals him with her gift (Earthsong) then runs and hides when the soldiers find him again. Jasminda realizes that the soldiers are going to have to stop at her farm and she does what she can to intervene to help Jack. This eventually leads Jack to realizing that he needs Jasminda's help to use her Earthsong to fight off someone called the True Father (yeah I rolled my eyes too).

 

I can honestly say that though this book is tagged as Young Adult, it is really New Adult. I thought the age for this novel should definitely be in the late teens and older range. You have sex scenes in this one. There's also a scene where you have to worry that Jack is about to raped by soldiers. Also Jasminda is also almost raped. Reading about her potential rapist's penis made me gag. Jasminda goes through standard romance land trope of being a virgin, but the sex is so powerful and there is no pain. I maybe laughed at that whole thing. 

 

The writing was okay, I just thought the chapters were really short. I didn't get Jasminda's song at all. I just went with it. Also no fault of the author, but every time I read "Earthsong" I started to think of Jean M. Auel's Earth's Children series. 

 

I thought the flow could be improved since it felt like each chapter ended on something important happening. 

 

The world-building could be improved. I really didn't understand what was happening or why Jasminda's powers were called Earthsong. I seriously thought there be singing (sorry) or something happening. I mentioned this in one of my updates, I started to compare this book to the "Witch Song" books by Amber Argyle. I mean at least in those books the main character was actually singing. 

 

I also think that Penelope did not go far enough in her book with showing the differences between the Lagrimari and Elsirans. We know that Jasminda is a young WOC. Jack is a young white male. Jasminda even mentions that Elsirans have reddish hair and pale skin so I was all oh okay, we have a predominately white race and one that is not. I hoped that we would get some discussions about race or something in this book, but everything is glossed over. I assume that the author wanted us to think about race though with the Lagrimari having abilities and the Elsirans not, but honestly, I started to think about "magical negroes" and what that means and cringed inside. 

 

Having a biracial romance in this world seems like a very big deal (and it definitely is in our world) so I wish there had been some discussions about it. 

 

The ending just sets things up for the second book in the series called "Whispers of Shadow & Flame."I really didn't even understand what had happened or why and was pretty dumbfounded on how things end up for Jasminda and Jack. 

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-04-07 16:43
[Book Review] Cinder by Marissa Meyer - The *actually* Good Sci-Fi Revamp
Cinder - Marissa Meyer

The Lunar Chronicles have become very popular as of late, and I finally picked up Cinder, and boy was I impressed. I have seen a few novels that mix-up the classic tale, the real one, like In a Glass Grimly, which is a very good book, but a book for younger kids. I've also seem some that change the Disney-version of the classic story, and those normally do worse. But Cinder is like a Sci-Fi mixture of both, in a good way. Though, the cover of the book does not do it justice. It looks like a girly book, but it isn't, it's emotional and a bit of an action novel. The cover also makes it seem like Cinder gets skin grafting and has a happy ending, while, if you've read the book, you know it ends a different way.

 

The main character, Cinder, is well developed with good morals and realistic reactions to the things that happen to her. She is full of worry and self-doubt, but also a strong passion for the truth and to help those around her. Even if you may think she makes some bad decisions, she never wavers off her path or switches her morals around magically like many characters in other novels do. The supporting characters, like Prince Kai and Linh Adri are also developed well. You see how Kai's emotions change for Cinder, and how he reacts to his father's death, and how it impacts him. It is explained that he has to keep his composition for the public, and you understand what is going on in his personal life. You see, in detail, how he reacts to finding out the truth of Cinder as well, as heart-breaking as it is. Adri is described well, giving reason to both Cinder and her stepsisters' emotions and actions, and Adri herself helps to advance the plot even though she is the worst human in the whole first novel. 

 

The struggles Cinder endures can be interpreted to relate to your own life and that makes the book greater. Relating to the main character helps you get deeper into a book and experience it as the character does. The other characters are relatable as well, so if you don't find similarities between yourself and Linh Cinder, there are many others to find relations to. 

 

The plot is actually good, and, as far as I can tell, stays consistent throughout the rest of the novels. The development and its pacing makes sense and is understandable, and the writing is good as well. It's not a very quick read I don't think, but it's not a slow one either because you enjoy it the whole way through. 

 

The ending is amazing, and there are many emotional parts throughout that make you want to keep reading. I can assure you that you will always find yourself on the edge of your seat. 

 

I definitely recommend this book, and the rest of the chronicles.

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text 2018-04-07 13:27
Reading progress update: I've read 14%.
Song of Blood & Stone - L. Penelope

I think I am going to start another book. This one is not drawing me in. Probably due to the world building aspect. I am getting too much information thrown my way to start off with. I don't really get the whole Earthsong thing (sorry this book is making me think of the Witchsong books I read).

 

Jasminda and Jack do interest me, but not enough to read this book in one sitting. Apparently this is a re-release, this series was published years ago. 

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