Review: Daughter of the Forest

July 11, 2011 at 9:54 pm (5 stars, Australian, review) (, , , , , , )

Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier

Pages: 552, paperback

ISBN: 9780330424417

Publisher: Pan Australia

Date Released: November 1st, 2008 (first published 1999)

Genre: adult/ fantasy/ romance / retelling / historical

Source:  library

Premise:

A beautiful retelling of the Celtic “Swans” myth, Daughter of the Forest is a mixture of history and fantasy, myth and magic, legend and love… To reclaim the lives of her brothers, Sorcha leaves the only safe place she has ever known and embarks on a journey filled with pain, loss and terror. When she is kidnapped by enemy forces and taken to a foreign land, it seems that there will be no way for Sorcha to break the spell that condemns all that she loves. But magic knows no boundaries, and Sorcha will have to choose between the live she has always known and a love that comes only once.

(Taken from Goodreads)

Buy it from: The Book Depository / Amazon

It was about time that I started this book. I’d heard nothing but stellar reviews about this book. The fact that Marillier lives in Australia (albeit the Western part, which is literally desert)and being born in New Zealand made this even more irresistible.

When I first started this, I sort of really disliked it. My thoughts were “WTF is this? It’s so slow, nothing’s happening! I don’t care about her family! How do you pronounce that?” It takes some getting used to, because the writing is so thick and verbose. This is not a quick read. This is the kind of book you slowly savour, reading it and relishing in the beauty of the words. Everything comes to like around you, the smells and sounds of the forest, the hardships that Sorcha had to deal with, everything. By the end of the first chapter (which is 30 pages long, but feels like 300), I was loving it. I loved how the reader got to know every detail about Sorcha’s family, no matter how grizzly and dark it may be. I loved the relationships between Sorcha and her brothers, how they all felt real and different from each other, which I think is quite a feat when too many characters are introduced at once. You really get to know all the characters in such a way that they become important to you, and not only do you see a growth in Sorcha,  but in everyone else.

Sorcha is a very strong young woman; despite her gift for storytelling, she keeps silent, even when it costs her her life. She does all she can to break the spell that the Lady Oonagh cast on her brothers. She lives through her hardships, seemingly by herself, but she had Red to help her, and her brothers, who believe in her persistence and patience.

The story, based on the Celtic Swans myth, adds so much depth to such a fairytale. I absolutely love fairytales, and this one is one of the best that I’ve read so far. It still retains the magical properties of a fairytale, while having its own element.

This is a novel that doesn’t shy away from the hard stuff. There is rape, abuse, torture. It really feels like a kick in the gut. So why read it, then, if it’s so heavy? Well, there are also moments of hope and love–both romantic love and familial love.

Cover Art: 3
Plot: 4
Characters: 5
Writing: 5
Level of Interest: 5

Total Rating: 5/5 stars

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Once Upon a Read-a-thon Update 1

July 11, 2011 at 5:39 pm (Read-a-thon) (, , , , )

Well, I’m back, like I promised, and here are a few quick stats about the last few hours. I woke up with a sore throat and a migraine today, so I’m a bit loopy on cold and flu medication, which is making reading a bit of a challenge. BUT I WILL PERSEVERE! I need to make a dent in my library book pile so that I can actually manage to read books for review and books that I own.

Also, I might post a few reviews later on so that you’re not bombarded with boring updates.

If you want, you can follow me on Twitter (button in the side column) and follow my progress. Alternatively, you can follow the #OUreadathon hashtag for mine and other peoples progress.

Currently Reading:
Last Book Read:

Next to Read: 
Total Books Read: 1
Total Pages Read: 147
Books Read Since Last Update: 1
Pages Read since last update: 147
Total time read: 3 hours, on and off

Well, happy reading! I’ll be back in a few more hours with another update just before bed. 🙂

Once Upon a Read-a-Thon

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Once Upon a Read-a-thon

July 11, 2011 at 12:20 pm (Read-a-thon) (, , , )

Hello fellow book-lovers. I know I haven’t been doing much updating, but I’m hoping to remedy that with this nifty little read-a-thon.

Once Upon a Read-a-ThonThe Once Upon a Rea-a-thon is hosted by Lori at Pure Imagination, Candace at Candace’s Book Blog, and Angela at Reading Angel, and runs from 12:01 AM on July 11 to 11:59 PM on July 13th.
I’m starting a bit late (it’s12:09 PM July 11th as of writing this), but oh well. I’m sure I’ll catch up. I’ll try to update every 2-3 hours (except for when I’m sleeping, of course) with reading stats.

Right now, I’m reading The Goblin Wood, and have about 20 pages left of it. Afterwards, I’m hoping to dive into The Adoration of Jenna Fox. As for after that, who knows. I’m not sure how many books I’m aiming for in these next three days. Perhaps 6-8. I’ll probably also be reading a few graphic novels to ease the pressure and stop me from getting too bored. I don’t think that’s cheating? I hope. 😛

I’ll see you all in a few hours with updates. 🙂

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In My Mailbox #13

June 26, 2011 at 6:51 pm (In My Mailbox, Meme) (, , , , , , )

Hello, fellow bookaholics. It’s Sunday, and you know what that means!

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren where bloggers showcase the books they received over the week.

I haven’t been updating much, but I’ve been rather busy lately. I promise I’ll try to be better at updating.

Anyways, I’ve gotten my hands on quite a lot of books this week.

Bought:

Bought from The Book Depository

The Stepsister Scheme by Jim C. Hines

Imaginary Girls by Nova Rem Suma

Bought from a Borders sale

Falling Under by Gwen Hayes

Die for Me by Amy Plum

The Living Dead 2 by John Joseph Adams; Zombies + Short stories + a story by Cherie Priest = EPIC

Library:

The Goblin Wood by Hilari Bell

Juicy Writing by Brigid Lowry

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Mortal Kiss by Alice Moss; With a tagline like “What would you sacrifice for a kiss?” I’m not expecting much out of this.

–  M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger; I guess it’s about time I read this. Everyone and their grandmother has read this.

The Folk Keeper by Franny Billingsley; After recently reading Chime by this author, I had to get my hands on her other work.

The Cup of the World by John Dickinson

A Pocketful of Eyes by Lili Wilkinson; I’m fairly sure this is set in Melbourne. How could I resist?

A Novel in a Year by Louise Doughty

That’s my haul for the week. What did you guys get in your mailboxes this week? Feel free to leave a link in the comments 🙂

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Review: Behemoth

June 20, 2011 at 12:00 pm (4 stars, review) (, , , , , , , )

Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld

Pages: 485, hardcover

ISBN: 9781416971757

Publisher:

Date Released: October 5th, 2010 (first published September 25th, 2010)

Genre: YA / steampunk / historical

Source: library

Premise:

The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.

Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan‘s peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.

Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what’s ahead.

(Taken from Goodreads)

Buy it from: Book Depository / Amazon

To start off with: I hate the cover. It is such a disaster compared to the masterpiece that was the original Leviathan cover. What went wrong? If I were some random browsing the aisles of the YA section of my local bookstore, I would have shrunk back in disgust, and quickly averted my eyes, as if the horrific cover might somehow infect me. In fact, that’s exactly what happened when I did encounter this book. I had heard news of Behemoth‘s release, and I eagerly went forth to buy the book, which I had pictured would be similar in majesty and beauty as Leviathan had been. But no, I was met with this monstrosity. Once again, I ask, what went wrong? What were Simon Pulse thinking? I actively avoided buying this book for almost a year, until I managed to get my hands on it for $1 when a Borders was closing down. Even then, I was reluctant. Was I willing to pay $1 to have this accident of a cover sit next to my beloved copy of Leviathan? Finally, I caved in, but only because I had already borrowed it from the library and loved what was between those frightening covers.

And this is coming from a hardcore fan of the first book. I had waited impatiently for over a year to read Behemoth. I loved the first book so much. I reread it several times.  And you know what the worst thing is? That the cover for Behemoth would have been even more stunning than it was for Leviathan. Here, have a look. Aren’t you just seething with rage? It’s beautiful, isn’t it. I don’t understand what Simon Pulse were thinking. They had potentially lost a customer (me) and maybe many more with their hideous reboot covers. (and to be brutally honest, I don’t know who’s who on the reboot covers. Whoops. :-/ )

Now, cover rant aside, I loved this book. If I thought Leviathan was good, then this is just a work of art, meant to be savoured.

This book deals with a lot of emotional baggage, from Deryn’s experience with her father dying a few years earlier, to her developing crush on Alek. But, poor girl, she can’t reveal her feelings to him without revealing her true identity! And with that came a fresh and delightful dose of drama. Especially when a new girl enters the picture, causing jealousy to spark from poor Deryn. The results were completely unexpected and hilarious, and I couldn’t have been more pleased at the maybe-love-triangle.

And while Deryn is struggling to hide her true identity, so is Alek. He’s in a new world, filled with the enemy. At any moment, he could be found and killed. The similarities between the experiences of Alek and Deryn make this a great tool to understanding their characters and their motives. They mirrored each other in so many ways, and it was awesome reading about their characters.

The plot is just as exciting as it was in Leviathan, with explosions starting right off the bat (if you’re into that sort of thing). And after that, there’s non-stop action and suspense all throughout the book, making it literally impossible to put down. I sat with Behemoth in my hands for four hours, braving a grumbling tummy and neglected housework. It will leave you completely hooked and wanting more.

The writing is  amazing, but, it still uses the annoying over-used vocabulary like bum-rag and such. Thankfully, the descriptions make up for it. Everything was described so vividly that it was really easy to imagine what was happening, and what everything looked like. This is especially amazing in the completely new setting of Turkey, where everything feels surreal, exotic and wild. The city actually felt like a whole new character, just like how the Leviathan felt like a character in the first book. For that, I applaud Westerfeld. It’s hard to pull off a setting like that, and to make it feel like a living, breathing characters with its own flaws and characteristics.

And, lastly, I have to give an honorable mention to Keith Thompson, whose artworks also feature in this book. Once again, they have left me speechless with their precise beauty. They certainly add depth to an already fantastic book.

I’m eagerly awaiting Goliath, but, unless they go back to the original covers, I probably won’t buy it. The cover just looks bad. I’m very picky with my covers, as you can see. But August can’t come soon enough.

Cover Art: 0
Plot: 5
Characters: 5
Writing: 4
Level of Interest: 5

Total Rating: 4/5 stars

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In My Mailbox #12

June 19, 2011 at 6:34 pm (In My Mailbox, Meme, Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Well, it’s that time of the week again, fellow bookaholics! Yep, it’s Sunday, which means it’s time for In My Mailbox. In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren where bloggers showcase the books they received over the week.

I got quite a few books this week. A few from an Angus and Robertson that had a super amazing sale (so amazing that I bought 4 books for just $18! *swoons*) (here in Australia, A&R are owned by the same company that owns Borders, and since Borders is completely shutting down here in Aus–yep! you heard that right! *sobs*– A&R are having sales as well), and quite a few from The Book Depository, and finally, several from my library.

Bought:

Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier; I got this from A&R for just $5! Justine is an Aussie author, so I’m excited to read it and showcase it here.

White Time by Margo Lanagan; I’d heard many things about Margo Lanagan’s work, both good and bad–the bad is mainly how Lanagan doesn’t shy away from hard issues, which I think is a good thing–and I’m excited to read it. I got it from A&R for $5.

Black Juice by Margo Lanagan; Got it for the same reason as mentioned above. It was also $5. *squeals*

Clarity by Kim Harrington; I was fairly excited to read this book until I had heard some less than stellar reviews from people whose opinions I trusted. But when I found it in A&R for $3.50, I quickly snatched it up. I don’t care if I end up hating it, it was cheap, and that’s all that matters. 😛

The following books were obtained from The Book Depository.

The World Above by Cameron Dokey; I have to admit, I love the Once Upon a Time series. I’m going to start slowly collecting them. I hope they bring out more, because there just aren’t enough out there! 😛

Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Society by Carolyn Turgeon; The premise of this book sounds so fun! And it’s about fairy tales! I love fairytales!

Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon; I hadn’t realised that I got two books from the same author, I only got this because it has mermaids! I love mermaids!

The Girl Who Was on Fire edited by Leah Wilson; I love The Hunger Games and I love essays on modern works.  So how could I resist this?

Kat, Incorrigible by Stephanie Burgis; I’ve been hearing such fantastic things about this book everywhere, so I knew that I would have to get it. Plus, the cover is so cute and awesome! I hope to review this soon.

Library:

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson; Can you believe that I’ve never read a book by Anderson? I really should start now.

Betrayed by P.C. & Kristin Cast; Okay, I hated the first book, but I still found the urge to read the next book in the series. I’m a masochist.

The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer; I’ve been in the mood for stories with Norse mythology in them and found this. Hopefully, it’s good.

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller; I liked Frank Miller’s story-telling technique in Sin City, even though the views on women are sometimes fairly offensive. Plus, I like the Batman world (even though I hate Batman. He has no super powers therefore isn’t a real superhero, IMO).

Fables: March of the Wooden Soldiers by Bill Willingham; This is the 4th volume in the Fables series. I loved the first 3, and really can’t wait to read this one.

Fables: The Mean Seasons by Bill Willingham; I’ve been in a very graphic novel sort of mood lately. This is the 5th volume in the Fables series.

The Sandman: Brief Lives by Neil Gaiman; I love love love the Sandman series. This is the 7th volume. I really can’t wait to get into this.

So, that’s what I got in my mailbox this week. What did you get this week? Feel free to leave a link in the comments.

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Review: Angel Burn

June 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm (4 stars, review) (, , , , , , , , )

Courtesy of Candlewick Press

Angel Burn by L. A. Weatherly

ISBN: 9780763656522

Publisher: Candlewick Press

Release Date: May 24th, 2011 (first released September 30th, 2010)

Genre: YA/ paranormal / romance  / action / angels

Source: galley from the publisher

Premise:

Willow knows she’s different from other girls, and not just because she loves tinkering with cars. Willow has a gift. She can look into the future and know people’s dreams and hopes, their sorrows and regrets, just by touching them. She has no idea where this power comes from. But the assassin, Alex, does. Gorgeous, mysterious Alex knows more about Willow than Willow herself. He knows that her powers link to dark and dangerous forces, and that he’s one of the few humans left who can fight them. When Alex finds himself falling in love with his sworn enemy, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, least of all good and evil. In the first book in an action-packed, romantic trilogy, L..A. Weatherly sends readers on a thrill-ride of a road trip – and depicts the human race at the brink of a future as catastrophic as it is deceptively beautiful.

They’re out for your soul . . . and they don’t have heaven in mind.

(Taken from Goodreads)

Buy it from: Book Depository / Amazon

*Sorry I haven’t been updating in a while, I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather this past week. But I’m feeling better now, and will be updating a bit more often to make up for it.*

I’ll admit, I was rather skeptical about this book at first. I thought it’d be another stupid angel romance story with next to no plot and an abusive, angelic love interest, and a main character who was TSTL (too stupid to live).

Boy, was I wrong. Not only are angels not romanticized here, they’re actually the enemies, who steal something special from their victim, leaving them sick and helpless–a shell. There isn’t some long, drawn out and overused religious lore behind them, they just are. They aren’t God’s messengers. They aren’t heaven-sent. They aren’t the angels you’d expect. They became the perfect enemy, taking over the human world, leaving their imprint and making people of faith put all their trust to them, only to exploit them by feeding off them. What I loved most was that they founded a religion devoted to their worship, making people love them and trust them; it was a nice, ironic touch, and I loved it immensely.

Willow is different from other main characters that I’ve encountered. Right off the bat, we see how strong she is as a character, and she keeps getting stronger. She’s smart, cautious, real. And the way she cares for her mum, it makes me appreciate her more, because, for once, here is a YA main character who doesn’t ignore others for her love interest, especially her family. I love how she gets frustrated with her mother sometimes, because despite doing her best to help her, her mother is too far gone to do anything. Her frustration at her mother’s vegetative state is selfish, honest, real.

At first, I thought the psychic thing would be used to make Willow ‘speshul’, but she actually uses it properly, which is something I applaud. For example, when she see’s Beth’s choices, and what happened to her, she handles it maturely forthe situation and her character, and tries to help Beth as best as she can, even though she knows that it would be futile.

I loved the interaction between Willow and Alex. They had this chemistry together, and it was done really well. They were awkward towards each other, ad avoided interacting with each other because of who they were–Willow, the human/angel hybrid freak, and Alex, the protector of humans and killer of angels–and it brought a whole new meaning to the whole “I love you but I want to kill you” thing that’s so popular in YA romances these days. Alex actually has justification to try to kill Willow at the beginning of the book. He thought she was on the angel’s side, being half angel and what not. All his life, he had been taught that angels are evil creatures, and yet, he found himself stuck with a girl who was seemingly half evil. The way he reacted to her then was fantastic and real.

After a few days of knowing him, Willow tells us that she’s fallen in love with Alex. While this sort of insta-love usually bothers me, I’m willing to accept this, since they’d literally been stuck together for the last few days, getting to know each other and bond. And, oh how they bonded! Their chemistry was beyond delicious! It was addictive, and I wanted more of their shy flirting, of their awkwardness, everything.

Once they manage to finally declare their love, though, they turn into love-sick tweens, acting all cutesy and saying stuff like “I’d die without you”, and it’s enough to make anyone gag. It was a bit of a downer, after such a fantastic build-up. I think I’d rather stick with the teasing sexual tension than deal with twu wuv~! that feels forced and annoying.

One of my main concerns with the book was the writing. It is narrated sometimes in third person, from the POVs of various characters, including the baddies, and sometimes it’s narrated in first person from the POC of Willow. I think that this is the only fault in the otherwise spectacular and gripping writing, but it wasn’t enough for me to drop the book–which I totally would have if it weren’t so OMG-worthy. The writing made it so impossible to put down, it was so action-packed. It will constantly keep you guessing.

This is a book that I would recommend for everyone. It isn’t your typical paranormal novel. It has a well thought out background, a gripping plot and plenty of action. Read it immediately.

Cover Art: 3
Plot: 4
Characters: 3
Writing: 4
Level of Interest: 5

Total Rating: 4/5 stars

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Review: Firelight

June 9, 2011 at 12:00 pm (4 stars, review, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Pages: 323, hardcover

ISBN: 9780061935084

Publisher: HarperTeen

Date Released: September 7th, 2010

Genre: YA / romance / fantasy / dragons

Source: library

Premise:

A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki—a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away—if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

(Taken from Goodreads)

Buy it from: Book Depository / Amazon

I won’t lie. For a YA, this blew me away.

The writing is so vivid and descriptive, and it paints the perfect image in the readers head. It’s so engaging that it becomes fairly impossible to put down.  The writing was definitely my favourite part of this book, especially the first couple of chapters, when we see Jacinda in the wild, where she belongs. The descriptions of her surroundings are amazing, and her world is one that the reader can immerse themselves in.

Jacinda was a character that  really liked. She was strong, defiant and loyal. Her relationship with her sister is rocky, since Jacinda is a draki, but Tamra isn’t. Tamra’s jealousy got in the way of their friendship as they were growing up, because Tamra was the black sheep in the family and in the pride. But once they escape the pride and live amongst the humans, the tables turn. It’s Tamra’s turn to fit in naturally, and Jacinda is the odd one out. She doesn’t belong in the human world.

Now, regarding that, that’s where my problems lie.Their mother takes them to the desert to kill the draki inside of Jacinda, claiming it’s for her own good. She never once asked for consent in that matter, and the idea of slowly losing her draki actually bothers Jacinda a whole lot more than her mother expects. A friend of mine recently opened my eyes regarding consent in stories–particularly in the case of Tangled, when Ryder cuts her hair without consent. I didn’t think these little things mattered, but now, it really bothers me to see that.

That said, Jacinda’s relationship with her mother is strained. Jacinda tells us that whilst her father was proud of Jacinda’s draki, her mother was wary, as if Jacinda was “someone she had to love, but wouldn’t have chosen”. That’s why it’s so easy for her mother to decide to kill Jacinda’s inner draki. It’s kind of tragic, really, that their relationship is like this. It’s the cause for Jacinda’s rebellious stage, because she’s tired of her mother making all of her decisions.

All the characters here are selfish. Tamra and her mother have no qualms with killing Jacinda’s draki, just to have a normal life as humans, and Jacinda is doing all she can to keep her draki alive. I’m not sure if this is intentional or not, but I sort of love it. Their intentions parallel the others’, and it sort of works.

Regarding the romance, I’m sort of on the fence. The writing–as I said before–was fairly fantastic, and it especially shows in the uber hot makeout scenes. The chemistry between Will and Jacinda is just breathtaking, sexy and hot, and it makes me wish that it weren’t YA, so that I could read the hot sex scenes that would have arisen. But Will is an odd character. One moment, he’s sweet, the next, he’s controlling, telling Jacinda what to do. He acts like he has multiple personalities. Also, he sort of breaks into her house and makes her breakfast. It’s sweet that he makes her breakfast, I guess, but still really creepy that he let himself into her house without her permission, especially after knowing her for only a month. And by then, they ‘love’ each other, which I find unbelievable and hardly realistic.
What I liked between them was that this time, it was the girl who was different. It was a nice change, but unfortunately, didn’t stop her from constantly switching from “OMG I love him” to “But we can’t be together :(” and back in a matter of seconds. Ugh, just make your decision and stick with it, please?

I had a huge problem with Brooklyn and Tamra, though. Brooklyn was the stereotypical blonde bitch, who’s angry at the new girl because the hot guy likes newbie more than herself. Brooklyn attacks Jacinda in the bathroom, and when Jacinda fights back–with her fire power, though, so a bit dumb on her part–Tamra throws a massive hissy fit because according to her, Jacinda started that fight just to ruin Tamra’s chances of making friends. Just… no. Tamra didn’t even want to hear Jacinda’s side of the story. Tamra is the most selfish, bratty, conceited sister ever, and I feel really sorry for Jacinda.

Despite that, I’m still really excited to read Vanish, which is expected to come out this September. After the ridiculous cliff-hanger and the plethora of unanswered questions at the end, I’m itching to get my hands on Vanish.

Cover Art: 4
Plot: 3
Characters: 4
Writing: 4
Level of Interest: 5

Total Rating: 4/5 stars

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Review: Magic Under Glass

June 6, 2011 at 1:43 pm (5 stars, review) (, , , , , , )

Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore

Pages: 225, paperback

ISBN:9781408802120

Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing

Date Released: February 1st, 2010

Genre: YA / fantasy / light steampunk / romance / faeries

Source: bought

Premise:

Nimira is a music-hall performer forced to dance for pennies to an audience of leering drunks. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to do a special act – singing accompaniment to an exquisite piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new life. In Parry’s world, however, buried secrets stir.

Unsettling below-stairs rumours abound about ghosts, a mad woman roaming the halls, and of Parry’s involvement in a gang of ruthless sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. When Nimira discovers the spirit of a dashing young fairy gentleman is trapped inside the automaton’s stiff limbs, waiting for someone to break the curse and set him free, the two fall in love. But it is a love set against a dreadful race against time to save the entire fairy realm, which is in mortal peril.

(Taken from Goodreads)

Buy it from: Book Depository / Amazon

I had been so excited to read this book, and it wasn’t what I had expected. In a good way.

The most important aspect about this book is the magical elements and the world building. It was done in such a way that, not only does it feel believable, it feels natural. From the Victorian-esque universe to the prejudice that Nimira has to face for her skin colour and background, and the slight hints of steampunk, it created this nice blend.

I really liked Erris and the way that he interacts with Nim when they’re first getting to know each other. Though the book is short–too short for my liking; I wish it had gone on for several hundred more pages–their relationship grows into something sweet. That said, I didn’t feel too much character growth on Nim’s part, which I feel was partly due to the shortness of the novel. Nim started off as a well-rounded character: strong, independent, dealing with the pressure of coming from a well-off background to being looked down upon because of her ethnicity and  occupation.

The political intrigue in this book was the bast part, I thought. It was all explained in such a way that didn’t make it seem dull, or like a history text-book, which I found most surprising. I haven’t come across too many YA books that deal with that sort of thing and come off natural like this book does.

Now for the magical aspect: the fey, the alchemy, how Erris works, it was so wonderful to read about, and I loved it. Everything was very well-thought out. This is a world that I would love to immerse myself in over and over again.

I can’t wait to read the sequel, Magic Under Stone. I have high expectations of it.
Also, the US paperback to this book came out on the 24th of May, and you can find info here.

Cover Art: 4
Plot: 4
Characters: 4
Writing: 3
Level of Interest: 5

Total Rating: 5/5 stars

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In My Mailbox #10

June 5, 2011 at 2:33 pm (Australian, In My Mailbox, Meme) (, , , , )

Wow, I am really bad at this whole ‘updating often’ thing. I swear I’ve been meaning to, but books got in the way.

Anywho, In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren where bloggers showcase the books they received over the week.

I got quite a few awesome looking books over the week, thanks to Book Depository. They had a sale that I just couldn’t resist.

Bought:

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones; I write fantasy, so this looks like the greatest thing in the world when it comes to worldbuilding. I really can’t wait to get into this.

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz; I’ve been seeing good reviews about this book everywhere, and I knew I have to get it.

The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw; Does this not sound like an amazing book? The premise is just beautiful. I’m expecting marvelous things from this book.

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss; This may sound pretentious, but I love literary fiction. I love the directions they take, and what they do with words, because sometimes it’s not what one expects. I like unpredictability.

Beauty Queens by Libba Bray; Miss America Pageants crossed with Lord of the Flies/Lost? Oh man, what could be better? So excited for this.

Entwinedby Heather Dixon; I love me some good fairytale retellings, and I’ll do anything to get my hands on them. Plus, look at the cover, it is gorgeous. I’m a sucker for gorgeous covers.

The Clockwork Three by Matthew J. Kirby; I’ve been eying this book for quite some time. Steampunk = love. How could I resist?

The Kneebone Boy by Ellen Potter; Man, this just looks so deliciously creepy, I so can’t wait to read this.

Library:

The Duke and I by Julia Quinn; I’d been recommended this by a few close friends, and I do love a well-written historical romance.

Fruits Basket, #4 by Natsuki Takayo; I own the first 3 in this series, and really love this series. It’s cute and adorable.

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell; I saw the movie, and I loved it. Hoping the book will be as cute and awesome as the movie.

The Struggle by L.J. Smith; After reading the first book, I concluded that the TV series is a million times better than the books, but I still want to finish the series, or at least see how far I can go.

Exile by Rebecca Lim; I read (and really liked) the first book. You can find the review for it here. Plus, it’s a book by an Aussie writer! There’s not nearly enough Aussie authors.

Enticed by Jessica Shirvington; Another sequel to a great book written by an Aussie author! You can check out the review I wrote to the first book, Embrace, here.

Fables: Storybook Love by Bill Willingham; This is the third volume in the Fables series, and I just love it! It’s an awesome twist on fairytales, and I just love it.

Fable & Reflections by Neil Gaiman; The 6th volume of the Sandman series, and I’m super excited to read this. 😀

What did you guys get this week? Feel free to leave a link in the comments section. 🙂

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