Saturday, February 26, 2011

Review: Halo

Since I'm taking longer than usual to finish what I'm currently reading, I'm posting an old review of a book that I read in December so that my blog won't go review-less for long.

Title: Halo (Halo, #1)
Author: Alexandra Adornetto
Release Date: September 1, 2010
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends
Cover Designer: Filomena Tuosto
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal
Summary: Three angels - Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow and superhuman powers, all the while avoiding human attachments. Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

My Review:

-The cover. Admit it, you like the cover. The cover is beautiful. If you read this book, I'm sure you only read it for the cover.
-The fact that the protagonist (rather than the guy) was the angel made this book unique from other angel books. What was also unique is that the angels come to earth to heal rather than fight, making this book different from the dark romances that are popular in angel books.
-The writing. While she's nothing exceptional, Adornetto is a good writer. Especially considering she was only 18 when she published this book.
-It was interesting to see how Beth adapted to living on earth. I especially liked the scene where she asks what a MILF is.

-At first Beth seems like a strong character, but then she gets to the point where she can't go for two days without seeing Xavier. What's with that? Your significant other doesn't have to be your everything. You can have a life too, you know! *sighs* Why are dependent whiner protagonists so popular in YA paranormal?
-The religious aspect was too biased. I think this book would have been better if the religious aspect was kept vague, or at least more diverse.
-It was really slow for the first 300 or so pages. There was hardly any action until the demon whose name escapes me (Jake?) comes along. This book could have been 200 pages shorter and still have covered everything.
-Xavier was a completely predictable, flat character. So was Molly and Beth's other school friends.
-The 50 or so pages about Beth adapting to life on earth were interesting, so I think this book would have been better if it focused on that rather than her relationship with Xavier.
-Since it wasn't Ivy or Gabriel's first time on earth, so shouldn't they have known that their human bodies need food?

So, overall, this wasn't such a good book. But you might like it.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Follow (my book blog) Friday [1]

This is my first time using this, and I'm excited!!!

This Week's Question: What's your favorite TV show?


I watch a lot of anime, if they count as TV shows. My two favorites are Ouran High School Host Club and Fruits Basket. I love Ouran for the humor, the characters, and......Kyouya Ootori (he's the guy with glasses in the picture on the right). I love Furuba for pretty much the same reasons. Minus any guy, that is. Some other animes I more or less recommend are Lucky Star and Azumanga Daioh.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: Shadow Kiss

Title: Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, #3)
Author: Richelle Mead
Release Date: November 13, 2008
Publisher: Razorbill
Cover Designer: Emilian Gregory
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal
Summary: For Rose Hathaway, everything seems out of kilter. Ever since she made her first Strigoi kills, a dark shadow has been creeping over her. Looming in the background, too, is another realization: If she follows her forbidden love for guardian Dimitri Belikov, she might lose her best friend forever. And these sleep-shaking worries couldn't have come at a worse time. The immortal unloving are prowling everywhere, famished for vengeance against her.

My Review:

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I really have mixed feelings about the Vampire Academy series. I can't put my finger on it, but there's just something about this series that makes it...shallow. No, shallow isn't the right word. Like I said, I can't really explain it.

Anyways, on the the review of this particular book.
(Here come the spoilers! Don't tell me you weren't warned!)
I already knew that Dimitri was going to turn Strigoi because I had heard spoilers from the Internet, but it still came as a bit of a shock to me. Usually I read Vampire Academy books when I have nothing else to read, but I finished this wanting the next one! Still, I wasn't attached enough to the characters to cry. If I had been reading Eragon (for example) and something like this happened, I would be blubbering like a baby.

Speaking of the characters, there is a lack of character development in this series, at least where Rose is concerned. Although it's true that she isn't as slutty as she was in the first book, her manners certainly haven't improved. Then again, you know how boring this series would get if she was like Lissa?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Review: The Ruins of Gorlan

Title: The Ruins of Gorlan (Ranger’s Apprentice, #1)
Author: John Flanagan
Release Date: January 1, 2004
Publisher: Puffin
Cover Designer: John Blackford (shield design by Cliff Nielsen)
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Fantasy
Summary: Will had always wanted to be a warrior. The Rangers, with their dark cloaks and shadowy ways, made him nervous. The villagers believe the Rangers practice magic that makes them invisible to ordinary people. And now fifteen year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger's apprentice. What he doesn't realize yet is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. The exiled Morgarath, Lord of the Mountains of Rain and Night, is gathering his forces for an attack on the kingdom. This time, he will not be denied.

My Review:
I read this book for my book club. I thought the cover was corny (except for the Cliff Nielsen part). And when I started reading it, I thought the prologue was corny too. But when the book actually started, it got interesting.

One thing I liked about this book is that the names of the characters were relatively normal. In real life, there are people named Will, Horace, Jenny, etc. In most fantasy books, the characters have names that sound completely made up (example: Graceling by Kristin Cashore). I also liked how the Rangers were archers. I love archers in fantasy.

The writing was good, but it wasn't anything exceptional. I also think that sometimes unnecessary details were given. For example, at one point it goes on for a whole paragraph about how Sir Rodney's bedroom looks after his wife's death. Honestly, I didn't think that was relevant to the story at all. It wasn't even interesting. But the upside of the overload of details is that you can really picture the setting in your mind, unlike with some books that don't give much details except whether it's raining or snowing (*cough cough* Twilight). Like, during the battle scenes, I felt like I was there watching the battle.

Here's one thing about this book that makes me wonder. Halt says a French phrase to mount his horse, and he tells Will that it's another language. Which makes me wonder, is this book set in an imaginary world, or in the real world at a time when countries had different names? Come to think of it, the name Skandia is very similar to Scandinavia, and if you look at the cover of book four (The Battle for Skandia) the Skandian looks a lot like a Viking.

Overall, this was a good book, although a little kiddish.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Review: Ash

I actually read this book two months ago, I just thought that I needed to post a review to get things started.

Title: Ash
Author: Malinda Lo
Release Date: January 1, 2009
Publisher: Little, Brown
Cover Designer: Alison Impey
Age Audience: YA
Genre: Fairy tales, LGBT
Summary: In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted. But when Ash meets Kaisa, the King's Huntress, her heart begins to change. Instead of chasing fairies, Ash learns to hunt with Kaisa. Though their friendship is as delicate as a new bloom, it reawakens Ash's capacity for love. But Sidhean has already claimed Ash for his own, and she must make a choice between fairy tale dreams and true love.

My Review:

Wow. This book really exceeded my expectations. Although the pace was slow, the writing was lush and beautiful, and descriptive without going overboard. Because the writing is so good, I'm surprised that this is Lo's debut novel. It felt like she had to have been writing for years to be able to write so lyrically.

One thing I really loved about this book is that there is no emphasis on the fact that Ash loves another girl. It makes it seem completely natural, which is why this barely felt like a LGBTQ book. It is so much more than the "lesbian retelling of Cinderella" that it is commonly labeled as. I don't know why I haven't given this book 5 stars.

Oh, and in case you're wondering where the name "Ash" came from, the Grimm brothers called Cinderella "Aschenputtel", which contains the word Ash. A few more reasons why the character has a name related to ashes are that in the original fairytale, Cinderella slept on the hearth when she finished her chores (so she is always covered in ashes) and that ashes are a symbol of humiliation and punishment.