Friday, February 28, 2014

Everywhere You Look, Red

Blood Red Road
~Blood Red Road~
Dust Lands Trilogy
Book 1

By Moira Young
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on a quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. She has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

This book must have been a nightmare to edit. The cover copy says it has "a poetically minimal writing style". Put in layman's terms, it has a simple vocabulary, absolutely no quotation marks, no traditional chapters, and a ton of phonetically-spelled words. For example, "I figger if only we could unnerstand crow talk..." It's almost dialectical, except its throughout the narration and dialog, which I'm sure will put some readers off immediately. I admit it took some getting used to, training my mind to be lazier and not wince with each misspelling, but after a few pages (and with the audiobook's help) I managed to wade through and get to the heart of the story.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

A Whole Universe Waiting To Be Discovered

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe

Dante can swim. Ari can't. Dante is articulate and self-assured. Ari has a hard time with words and suffers from self-doubt. Dante gets lost in poetry and art. Ari gets lost in thoughts of his older brother who is in prison. Dante is fair skinned. Ari's features are much darker. It seems that a boy like Dante, with his open and unique perspective on life, would be the last person to break down the walls that Ari has built around himself.

But when Ari and Dante meet, they bond. They share books, thoughts, dreams, laughter. They teach each other new vocabularies and begin to redefine each other's worlds. And they discover that the universe is a large and difficult place.

This is the story about two boys, Ari and Dante, who must learn to believe in each other and the power of their friendship if they ever are to become men.

I'm a bit out of my comfort zone on this one. Really the only reason I picked it up was for the Jumble Your Genres reading challenge I've taken on. I know I've said I'll read just about anything, but I have to admit that I find Contemporary Fiction just about the hardest thing to review. Not because I hate it, but because there's usually not much left to interpretation. The characters are supposed to be real, the setting is supposed to be real, and the conflicts are supposed to be real. Therefore, if a contemporary novel is written well, it makes the review of it pretty sparse.

Still, I'll give it my best shot.

Friday, February 21, 2014

The Endless Knight, An Immortal Killer

This review is for those who have read or are familiar with the previous book, Poison Princess or don't mind knowing some spoilers for it. Endless Knight, however, will remain spoiler-free.

Endless Knight
~Endless Knight~
The Arcana Chronicles
Book 2
By Kresley Cole
Amazon ~ Powell's ~ Jan's Paperbacks

Shocking secrets.

Evie has fully come into her powers as the Tarot Empress, and Jack was there to see it all. She now knows that the teens who've been reincarnated as the Tarot are in the throes of an epic battle. It's kill of be killed, and the future of mankind hangs in the balance.
Unexpected allies.

With threats lurking around every corner, Evie is forced to trust her newfound alliance. Together they must fight not only other Arcana, but also Bagmen zombies, post-apocalypic storms, and cannibals.

Gut-wrenching treachery.

When Evie meets Death, things get even more complicated. Though falling for Jack, she's drawn to the dangerous Endless Knight as well. Somehow the Empress and Death share a history—one that Evie can't remember, but Death can't forget. ...

This book/series sure knows how to press my buttons. In all my years of reading (even before these last three of reviewing) I have come across quite a few things I despise reading. Besides poetry (which I'm forced to analyze) and long-winded sagas of nothingness, I've also run into a few tropes that I abhor, particularly if they are depicted in a favorable light, among which are included fate and possessive romances.

Guess which tropes are heavily featured in The Arcana Chronicles?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Some Thoughts on 'Shipping

If you're in literature circles, have read lit news, or have any interest in the Harry Potter series at all, then you've no doubt heard the news that JK Rowling dropped a couple weeks ago.

For anyone not already in the know, it seems she regrets not pairing Harry and Hermione in the series, instead writing Hermione with Ron (and Harry with Ginny).
“I wrote the Hermione/Ron relationship as a form of wish fulfillment. That’s how it was conceived, really. For reasons that have very little to do with literature and far more to do with me clinging to the plot as I first imagined it, Hermione ended up with Ron.”
[JK admits Harry should have wed Hermione]
I'd seen the news here and there, on Facebook and dA and such, but didn't really think much of it. So J.K. had second thoughts on her writing, big deal.

It wasn't until I read an article on Bookish that I realized what everyone was getting out of sorts about.