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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 SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-03 02:32
Morium by S.J. Hermann
Morium - Stephanie Needleson,Hermann S. Füeßl

Morium by S.J. Hermann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Whilst walking home one night, Alexandria and Nathan catch sight of something crashing to earth - some form of rock. Letting their curiosity get the better of them, they decide to seek out the object, but little do they know their lives will forever be changed. Gaining supernatural abilities, they find themselves having the power to rise up against the anguish that dominates their daily life.

(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to S.J. Hermann for giving me the opportunity.

Having been bullied in school, this book instantly struck a chord with me. The sad thing is, everyone's bullied in one form or another during those supposed "best days of your life" - a term I constantly heard as a child. I'm a firm believer that whilst school is necessary, it's a toxic environment through and through. There will always be a pecking order, and those at the bottom will undoubtedly suffer. Hermann did a good job in depicting the misery in which Lexi and Nathan had to endure. The descriptive writing, despite containing a few errors, successfully communicated their array of emotions. I genuinely felt for them, especially Lexi and Stacy, who were the most likeable.

At first I did feel sorry for Nathan, and his downward spiral toward villainy - he experienced power for the first time in his life, something able to stop his daily torment. The temptation was just too great, the pull too strong. It makes sense that he'd direct his anger toward those who wronged him, or those that prey upon the weak, but my pity for him evaporated when his actions became too indefensible. This is where I'm going to address the elephant in the room, but first let me state that I've no issue with adult themes. Many of the books I read delve into the uncomfortable and extreme, so the subject matter itself isn't why I'm bringing this up. You see, being labelled as "young adult", I admittedly found the rape and sexual tones to be a bit much. There's no question that it was sexual abuse; not only did Nathan feel up both Lexi and Stacy against their wishes via mind control, he also used his mind to impose his will upon a teacher, his intention to lose his virginity to her right there in a classroom.

I've read other reviews, and none have mentioned this aspect. Hell, someone complained about the swearing and self-harm, which absolutely baffled me, when there's literal murder and rape. The tone of the book was thus exceedingly dark, I'd even say too dark for younger readers. But I get it, I do - Nathan was a teenager, having never explored his sexuality, and suddenly he became intoxicated with otherworldly power. It's not far-fetched to believe a teenager would do horrid things with that sort of ability, but it sets the book, as a whole, to a more mature level. I suppose this relates to the name of the book itself; "Morium" in Latin meaning "character" and "morals". Hermann creates two similar people with the same adversities, yet they go down very different paths.

Moving on from that main critique of mine, the plot itself kept a decent pace, yet at times I truthfully felt a little bored, but being a relatively short book, it was easy enough to get through and reach the parts that piqued my interest. "The Gift" certainly did hold my attention, specifically the voices in Nathan's head.

It was very obvious that it would have a sequel, possibly even a third book following, as nothing at all was concluded in the end. I was left wanting to read more, to find out what happens to Lexi, her father Robert, Stacy and even Nathan. I always appreciate when an author pulls me in, in such a way that I'll gladly carry on with the story after the initial instalment.

In conclusion - My interest wandered off at some points, but when it got down to it, I enjoyed it. It's however my opinion that the themes included are more adult than young adult.

Notable Scene:

As the dust settled over the ground, a streak of energy made its way to every root buried under the burnt soil. From the root hairs, to the secondary roots, the energy travelled through the epidermis, flowing through the xylem and phloem, making its way up the stems and filtering into the leaves. The cell structure of the plants and vegetation altered as the mysterious energy invaded each of the plant's individual cells. It was photosynthesis on steroids and the exchange took place within seconds.
Energy flowed through each wilted plant, bringing them back to life, stronger and healthier than ever. The once decimated twenty-five-square-foot area where the objects had fallen was now teeming with scores of new life.


© Red Lace 2018

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Source: redlace.reviews/2018/02/03/morium-by-s-j-hermann
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video 2017-11-24 19:13

Vivian Amberville® is a bestselling philosophical fantasy book series about a girl whose thoughts can control and reshape reality. https://www.vivianamberville.com 

 

The main protagonist, Vivian is an orphaned child who uncovers her imagination can influence certain events, and even twist reality into impossible shapes - a mind-over-matter ability called “Weaving”

 

But Vivian’s powers prove hazardous to keeping the universal balance. Beyond the fabric of reality, she finds herself in the custody of the original Weavers, thrown head-first into the most dangerous competition the multiverse has ever known: The Weaver Trials.

 

The universe that spanned millions of fans worldwide and captured readers imagination all around the world invites you to journey alongside unforgettable heroes you would want to take home. Fantasy like never told before: a mythical fiction of friendship and acceptance; of fate and free will; of destiny and despair; of extraordinary ordinary heroes and their reality-changing journeys.

 

BOOK SUMMARY

 

First in the Vivian Amberville® fantasy series, "The Weaver of Odds" introduces 13-year old Vivian Amberville to her unique if hazardous power of altering odds, outcomes and the very substance of reality.

 

ORDER INFORMATION

 

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Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/nl/en/ebook/vivian-amberville-the-weaver-of-odds

 

Source: youtu.be/LIAo08tSr_Y
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review 2017-05-21 15:14
Audio Book Review: Fall of Thrones and Thorns
Fall of Thrones and Thorns (Threats of Sky and Sea) (Volume 3) - Jennifer Ellision

*I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

Bree and her friends have come to help Nereidium stay safe from King Langdon and his Ruin Reaping. But as everyone's trying to adjust to the life altering news shared, they learn that Nereidium is suffering from new troubles of their own - earthquakes. Could it be that King Langdon has found an Earth Shaker and looking for their hidden land. King Langdon needs to be stopped before he gains to much power and destroys more than his own lands.

The writing sounds so poetic in how the moment and feelings are described as we open on the beach with Bree and her friends. Grace's narration keeps a rise and fall to the words and sentences that adds to the feeling we get. Very beautifully written.

Grace feels to put a lot of thought in the story as she voices the characters. The sentences flow neatly together, making us feel as the scene and words are together in thoughts. No sentence or words, unless needed to be, feels to stick out as an extra addition. I like this flow. But, with this strong thinking also comes a feel as though the pacing is slow with the drawing out of the words. This was an easy fix for me as I bumped the speed a quarter to keep going a bit faster.

We start at the exact moment Riot of Storm and Smoke ended.

Everyone's lives are changed coming into this book. Bree's true self is known. Which also goes to say for Aleta as well. Caden left his father, the king, and his land. There are so many possible ways this could play out, and for the good in coupling way. But these are drastic, sudden changes.

We also start to get to know new characters that are from Nereidium. In the beginning, Lady Helen seems nice and could be easy for Bree to talk and work with. I feared she would turn on Bree as others had in the past.

We start to see there is more at work than just people and Elementals. The Makers are gods/goddesses that are believed in (though not truly called gods/goddesses) have an influence in what's happening too. They have attempted to contact those of our group in different ways, some ways that may not be direct. It was a gradual draw to this through the books, but we get there and I like it. Though, if the balance in the world doesn't come to an even keel, the Makers may let the world go. I enjoyed this story as we get a connection to the Water Element and gods/goddesses in the world.

We move through time quickly with this book. We get the telling how many days or weeks have passed as we start into each chapter, if time has passed. There are times we don't get a time frame but know they've crossed sea or land to be to a destination point.

We get the story from Bree, Aleta, and Caden's POV. As all in their group are important, these three are the one's impacted the most and have connections we need to know about. Their feelings and knowledge is very important in how things will play out in the end. Bree grows up in this book, growing into a strong young woman. Aleta, strong as she is, has a brief fall but her determined personality returns and she moves on. Caden still has things to work through as he hasn't faced his biggest. Things come together and work, mostly, out after they all fight for their lives and countries.

There were are few moments with these characters that felt breezed over and not 100% believable for me. The separation from Bree, they didn't work harder to see each other and the time frame apart seems long but may not be as long as I got the feel for. They are determined young adults and this seems to not fit for me. Then when they leave Nereidium, the queen is let go easily. Really? After being lost all these years they'll let her leave without argument? Let alone on such a dangerous expedition? Erm... I don't know. I felt these moments could have been strengthened.

One big fight for part of the crew is very neat as it's a battle of Elementals, nature and humans fighting. Lots happening and sounds fast but cool seeing the use of Elemental powers. I've enjoyed seeing them use their powers in small moments and this is bigger and more action.

In the end this was a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. I like where the relationships are left. These are young adults with important lives to live. But where the major arc ends is fitting as well.

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review 2016-08-18 04:05
Death's Gift
The City of Death - Sarwat Chadda

This is even darker than the first book. Ash's problems grow exponentially. He suffers a terrible personal loss that drives him over the edge and forces him to return to the place of origin of his dark powers: India. This time, he is following the trail of Alexander Savage, his nemesis with strange companions, the street thief John and Parvati, a half-demon girl with a very ancient heritage. Ash has to face that the person he was before will never fit again. Too much has happened, and integrating all his past selves into that mundane existence doesn't work.

I know little to nothing about Indian mythology and folklore, but this book fills in a lot of those gaps. Ash has powers endowed by the black goddess, Kali, and that means that he draws from death energies. A horrible thing when it becomes apparent that those closest to him give him even more energy. Ash is learning the cost of his abilities and what powers they give him. He gains the accumulated knowledge of his past lives, but must suffer through the violent memories of those past selves and for them not to take control of him. The people, history, and places of India are vividly illustrated in this book.

Chadda writes excellent action, and there are no opportunities to be bored. Ash is an ideal hero, likable and snarky, and while he's powerful, he has not allowed those powers to give him a sense of overpowering arrogance, knowing how flawed those abilities truly are.

This book isn't for those who balk at seeing young people in danger. Oh, there is plenty of danger for the youngsters in this book. Some blood and guts, but not over the top. Ash and his companions end up in some nasty scrapes, and the bad guys aren't afraid of harming a young boy, or anyone else who gets in the way.

The characterizations are complex and layered. There are no blacks and whites, but instead each person has a little of both inside of them. Ash has to decided what path he will take and what he is willing to sacrifice to defeat Alexander Savage and to gain his greatest hope in this book.

The narrator does an excellent job with the various accents, Indian and British, not stereotyping either. I have enjoyed both books on audiobook and I hope to continue listening to the series in the future.

This series is a distinctive one, touching on a culture that is not often explored in young adult books. While the ending isn't strictly a cliff-hanger, it ends in a way that will make readers eager and ready for the next book, myself included. I'm looking forward to more adventures with Ash Mistry.

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