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

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

Review: Eona

April 13, 2011 at 10:28 am (5 stars, Australian, review) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Eona by Alison Goodman

Pages: 448, paperback

ISBN: 9780732284947

Publisher: HarperCollins

Date Released: April 1st, 2011 (Australia); April 19th, 2011 (US)

Genre: Young Adult / fantasy / eastern mythology / aventure

Source: bought

Premise:

Eon has been revealed as Eona, the first female Dragoneye in hundreds of years. Along with fellow rebels Ryko and Lady Dela, she is on the run from High Lord Sethon’s army. The renegades are on a quest for the black folio, stolen by the drug-riddled Dillon; they must also find Kygo, the young Pearl Emperor, who needs Eona’s power and the black folio if he is to wrest back his throne from the self-styled “Emperor” Sethon. Through it all, Eona must come to terms with her new Dragoneye identity and power—and learn to bear the anguish of the ten dragons whose Dragoneyes were murdered. As they focus their power through her, she becomes a dangerous conduit for their plans….(Taken from Goodreads)


Buy it now from The Book Depository

Okay, so when I saw this book in stores at the beginning of April, I kind of freaked out. I thought it would release on the 19th of April, like Goodreads said. But lucky me got it early. For once, I’m glad to be an Australian book-lover.

The writing is rich and descriptive. It’s beautiful and makes you want to savour the words. I found myself constantly rereading passages because of the amazing descriptions. Goodman certainly has a way with words. From the way she describes the vibrant world that Eona lives in, rich with eastern mythology, it’s clear that she’s done her research, but there’s something more than just that that makes her world-building so magnificent.  While Eon was mainly situated within the palace, Eona takes us all across the fantastic world, through mountain passes and deserts and forests, even across the water. This is a tale of adventure, and we explore the land and its people. Every minute detail is vivid and so easy to visualise, every bit of their culture is shown to us and appreciated.
Because of the first person POV, it feels personal, and you really get to know the character of Eona. I mean, not that you need to learn much about her after Eon, but this has far less angsting over her uncertainty about uniting with her dragon. This time, Eona has to deal with not knowing how to control her powers, which cause great strife to the rest of the cast.

It seems that this book has everything: action, adventure, world-building and character growth. It also has a slight dash of romance. I’m not going to say who it is with, but all I can say that Goodman really made it work. She made their feelings so clear, so easy to believe in. There was a lot of tension in the air between them. There were many times where I practically shouted “Oh, Just rip her clothes off already!”
But not only that, she made their relationship realistic. They weren’t without hardships. They constantly mistrusted each other, and kept the truth. There seemed to be a hidden agenda with their interactions to each other. But that they were able to work through all those problems showed that they were a truly strong couple that really did deserve to be together. I mean, it’s much better than most other YA romances where their biggest problems are keeping away from each other for 18 days and a new hair style (as seen in Torment). So, this realistic romance was done quite well, especially considering the love triangle that tried to separate them time and time again.
The second person in the love triangle, though I didn’t want him to be with Eona, man, I loved their interactions the most. They were SEXY together. Rough and raw passion dripping off every word. They too had the same amount of mistrust, but in a different sort of way. They had a sort of… mutual survival thing going on (and before you complain about spoiling this for you, believe me, this person isn’t who you think it is.)

A wonderful theme explored in both this book and Eon is what it means to be a woman. Examples of this are Lady Dela, who has the body of a man, but the spirit of a woman; and now Eona, who has come to terms with her femininity–to an extent. She mentions often that she had been denied her femininity for years and has forgotten what it means to be a woman. This installment delves deeper into her psyche and offers insight to the issue of the topic, especially considering the less than stellar views of women that this world has.

Trust is also an important theme, which was also present in Eon when she lies about being a eunuch. Eona constantly finds herself in situations where she needs to keep the truth hidden, despite her dragon’s virtue being truth. I think this is an important thing to note while reading the two books.
This theme explore the concept of if you lie to someone once, they will constantly doubt you, even in times of truth, such as Ryko’s rocky relationship with Eona. Ryko still hadn’t recovered from Eona’s betrayal in the first book, and it causes strains in their relationship. Not only that, but because of the lack of truth, everyone’s relationships are on edge. This is also the cause for a major upheaval near the end of the book, which changes the course of things.

In this book, there is more history, answering a great deal of questions concerning Eona’s ancestors, the red and black folios, and why the Mirror Dragon had disappeared for five hundred years. From this also comes a mystery which keeps the reader constantly guessing. We learn a much deeper truth concerning the dragons and their dragon eyes, and from this, Eona is forced to make the greatest sacrifice.

I loved this book so much. Even though it’s only April, and I haven’t read many books released this year, I think this is the best book 2011 has to offer. I beg you all to go out and read this book. Your lives depend on it.

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

Total: 5/5 stars

I believe that this is the highest score I’ve given for any book. Almost full marks! So, you KNOW it’s going to be good.

Permalink 4 Comments

Review: Eon

January 25, 2011 at 10:03 am (5 stars, review) (, , , , )

Eon by Alison Goodman

Pages: 430, paperback

ISBN: 9780732290115

Publisher: Harper Collins

Date Released: December 1st, 2009

Genre: Young Adult / fantasy / Asian mythology

Where I got it from: bought

Premise:

Eon has been studying the ancient art of Dragon Magic for four years, hoping he’ll be able to apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune. But he also has a dark secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been living a dangerous lie for the chance to become a Dragoneye, the human link to an energy dragon’s power. It is forbidden for females to practice the Dragon Magic and if discovered Eon faces a terrible death. (Taken from Goodreads)

There were a million things that I loved about this book. The fact that it was centered around Eastern mythology basically blew me away and had me begging for more. I’ve been able to find very few fantasy books with dragons and the Asian cultures being an influence, so it was very comforting to finally find something of interest.

The writing was brilliant, I found. Goodman writes in a very poetic way, describing every detail so perfectly, much like I wish  could. Everything is very detailed and colourful, and she provided the reader with all the neccessary information, avoiding the feared ‘info dump’. I could literally feel like I was in this fantasy world, as if I myself was seeing all those dragons, smelling those whiffs of frangipani, feeling all the pain that Eona was feeling (actually, on that note, it was so detailed in fact, that I felt queasy whenever I came across a part about pearls being threaded through the skin of the royals, and during some particularly graphic fight scenes).
Though, sometimes it seemed that despite all the intricate details, it was somewhat hard to decipher what was happening in the story. I found this happened most often when Eon entered the domain of her energy; it just wasn’t explained properly, or maybe it was described too much.

The characters were well developed, and I loved how Eon was the opposite of what a hero is seen to be: female, the submissive sex in the society; and a cripple, which needs no explanation.
In a society where both are shunned, Eon has to pretend to be male or risk death. It was an interesting concept, and well played upon.
The role of genders in this world was a heavy theme, as shown by Sun energy for males and Moon energy for females. Also presented in the novel was Lady Dela, a transvesite (who provided most of the entertainerment, I found) and eunuchs. Honestly, I was blown away by that. This is the first YA novel I’ve read that has transvestites and eunuchs as characters, and talks about such mature themes. And I loved it. It shows that someone finally realises that teenagers shouldn’t be shunned from such things. Plus, it was just so interesting, being told small pieces of information, new facts about this whole world of people I had barely known existed.

The plot was somewhat predicatable in some places, but completely unforseeable in other parts, so I guess it balances out. I did not expect Eon to not get chosen by the Rat Dragon, or to wake the Mirror Dragon, but then again, I did correctly assume that the Sun drug and the tea inhibiting her period had something to do with why the Mirror Dragon refused to show. That part was way too obvious for my liking.

What I disliked most was the ending, how Ido seemed to reform magically. It seemd almost unrealistic. I sort of loved him as a villain, he was fresh, devious and just interesting. Who doesn’t love a villain that wants to rape the main character?

Overall, this book is something I would love to reread over and over again. I really can’t wait for the next book, I’d love to see how things will pan out, and know what the hell happened to the prince (I was annoyed when it wasn’t told).

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

Total Rating: 5/5

Permalink 2 Comments