Book Review: The Night Angel Series, books 1 & 2

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I’m baaaack! Did ya miss me? =P LOL

While the semester isn’t quite over, I think (I think) I have enough time to post semi regularly now. I mean, yeah, I have an exam in about 4 hours that I have yet to study for, but hey! This is more fun right?

So, first things first, I’ll be revamping format a little bit. With so much time off, my book count is going to be way off, so I’m going to take a break from that and start back up again in January. I’m also not going to be reviewing absolutely everything I read. I’m not sure how I’m going to chose which to review, because I don’t want to only review the things I think are fabulous, but I found it difficult to keep up with just because of the volume of books I was reading.

I’d also like to make the blog a little more interactive. To that end, I’m hoping to make regular posts (say at least once a week at first) where I introduce topics for discussion. The first is already planned, and I’m planning on having it up on Saturday, so please join me! =D

And finally on to the review:

The Way of Shadows and Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks

I’ve been working on these for a very long time. A friend of mine lent them to me to read just after I got back, because the library was shut the week I got back, and I was desperate for something. I am so glad she did!

The novels follow the story of Azoth aka Kylar Stern, who is training to become a wetboy – an assassin so good he doesn’t even call himself an assassin. That in itself I find an interesting concept. It is so very rare that we see a protagonist who is so easy to judge negatively. Why would we want to sympathize with a murderer? We don’t condone murder, and we’re not murderers so it should be very difficult. Yet at the same time, Weeks explains how and why Kylar makes his choices, and we can understand why he becomes an assassin. We even begin to relate to him in some ways. He falls in love against his master’s direct orders, and we feel so very sorry for him when his master finds out. In fact, that little love story is so cute!

But this series is no light romance in the face of adversity, and it is most definitely not for the squeamish or faint of heart. Firstly, Kylar’s job just about guarantees enough gore to turn even the most hardened reader’s stomach. Second, this is most definitely a high fantasy, kings, wars, despotic and deranged bad guys and all. It was something I needed, and in the mood I was in, I just loved it.

So, I would definitely recommend this one to anyone up to the challenge of a high fantasy on the lines of the Wheel of Time series or The Lord of the Rings. On the other hand, if your taste in fantasy is all Harry Potter, all the time, then maybe not such a good idea.

Thanks for sticking with me through a too-long hiatus, and hope to see you around the blogosphere =D

Book Review: Shades of Grey

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Shades of Grey Shades of Grey by
Series: Shades of Grey #1
Published by in 2009
Pages: 400

As long as anyone can remember, society has been ruled by a Colortocracy. From the underground feedpipes that keep the municipal park green to the healing hues viewed to cure illness to a social hierarchy based upon one's limited color perception, society is dominated by color. In this world, you are what you can see. Young Eddie Russett has no ambition to be anything other than a loyal drone of the Collective. With his better-than-average red perception, he could well marry Constance Oxblood and inherit the string works; he may even have enough red perception to make prefect. For Eddie, life looks colorful. Life looks good. But everything changes when he moves with his father, a respected swatchman, to East Carmine. There, he falls in love with a Grey named Jane who opens his eyes to the painful truth behind his seemingly perfect, rigidly controlled...


Finally I can give a review that’s not just listing good things! I feel like I’ve been a broken record, just finding the good stuff in the books I read.

Before I get into the stuff I didn’t like, let me just say that Jasper Fforde is one of my favorite authors. I love both his Thursday Next series and Nursery Crime series. When I heard he was writing a new novel I was really excited. Besides, the premise sounds so interesting! A dystopia based on what colors you can see? Isn’t that clever? My main problem with the novel wasn’t that it didn’t live up to my expectations – it was that it left me confused. I spent nearly the first half of the book trying to figure out what was going on, and the second half trying to catch up on everything I managed to miss while trying to figure out the first half. I didn’t like that. With someone as clever as Fforde writing, I expect some deeper meaning. Even the fluffy satires that he usually writes are written for more than just entertainment. This time I spent so much time just sorting through the plot points and rules and regulations of the colourtocracy that I never managed to even scratch that surface.

That said, I think the novel really is quite clever. Once I began to understand the colourtocracy and all its seemingly arbitrary rules, I was amazed. The mind that created this society must be absolutely genius. I would love to just meet Fforde once and sit down and have a conversation with him. I’m sure it would be fascinating. And you can tell this wasn’t just a “oh wouldn’t this be cool!” kind of idea. He must have sat for hours just working out the details.

I think in the end, the jury is still out on whether or not I like the book. I’d like to read it again. I think a second reading will give me a different perspective, and perhaps a different opinion. But for now, I’ll say if you decide to read this book, prepare to be confused.

Book Review: Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour

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I am an awful blogger. It’s been nearly two weeks and all I’ve done is the Book Blogger Hop. Sure, it’s the first week of school and my schedule is nuts even without the fact that I haven’t entirely figured it out yet (results for auditions went up last night – I got what I wanted, picc in orch YAY, but that means I now have to actually decide which class I want to drop. See I currently have two courses that are very similar that count for the same requirement, but one of them I couldn’t take if I was put in band because it’s the same time, so I signed up for both, figuring I’d drop whichever I couldn’t take. But now, my schedule will allow me to take both. Therefore I have to decide which I’d prefer. Major dilemma.) But that is no excuse. My pile of books to be reviewed keeps growing – one thing I love about school is all those tiny little 10 minute windows you get to sneak a few pages. So. I am going to post once a day now until I finish reviewing the books on my “finished but un-reviewed” pile. It’s part of my homework.

So, on to what we came for.
Roger and Amy's Epic Detour Roger and Amy's Epic Detour by
Published by in 2010
Genres: ,
Pages: 352

Amy Curry thinks her life sucks. Her mom decides to move from California to Connecticut to start anew--just in time for Amy's senior year. Her dad recently died in a car accident. So Amy embarks on a road trip to escape from it all, driving cross-country from the home she's always known toward her new life. Joining Amy on the road trip is Roger, the son of Amy's mother's old friend. Amy hasn’t seen him in years, and she is less than thrilled to be driving across the country with a guy she barely knows. So she's surprised to find that she is developing a crush on him. At the same time, she’s coming to terms with her father’s death and how to put her own life back together after the accident. Told in traditional narrative as well as scraps from the road--diner napkins, motel receipts, postcards--this is the story of one girl's journey to find herself.


One of the things I loved about this book was how different it was from my normal fare. When I received it (as part of Candace’s mini-tour) I was right in the middle of Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde. Normally his stuff is just fun, fluffy thinkers that take no time at all, but Shades of Grey was really heavy and I needed the break. Within 24 hours of receiving the book I’d finished it. It was a fast, easy read, breaking up the prose with fun “pages” from Amy’s travel diary and Roger’s playlists. After a novel that made my head hurt every few sentences, this was what I needed.

The thing about this book is it isn’t just a light fluffy summer read. I would put this book nearly on a level with John Green’s Paper Towns at least topic-wise. Amy is grieving and handles her grief in a certain way for very specific reasons. The reader isn’t spared from the awfulness of Amy’s past and her memories of the accident. And why should they be? Amy is the same age as her intended audience, and she was not spared (forget that she’s fictional for a minute, k?). Teens have to deal with big issues the same as adults when something like this happens, and it’s unfair to patronize them and say “you can’t handle this, because you’re not old enough yet.” Age has nothing to do with it! I have a grandmother who isn’t mature enough to handle this stuff and she’s going on 85, while I have other friends who have had much worse happen at a younger age and while they’re not fine, they can handle it. (/end rant)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this book does what I wish books would have done when I was that age: treats Young Adults as young adults, not as kids.

Sorry that took so long to get up. I’ve just been running around all over the place with so much going on. Anyways, next up, review of Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde

Book Review: The Princess Diaries 3-6

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Wow. It’s been a LONG time! I’m so sorry about that. But I’m back now, and I have tons of reviews for you! Since my last review I have read books 3-6 of The Princess Diaries, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and The Shack. To save some time, I’ve decided to review the Princess Diaries books together, so here we go!

Book Number: 7-10 (Summer “Beach Reads” Challenge: 6-9)
Pages: Not sure, but lots
By: Meg Cabot
Summary: The continuing saga of Mia Thermopolis, normal teenage girl turned princess.

Review: I don’t quite know where to start, and a lot of that comes from not knowing what I really think about these books. They’re not awful. In fact, they’re not even bad. But I didn’t find them that good either. For me they became place holders: something to read while I was traveling and couldn’t get anything else.

I think my main complaint here, is that the series is just too long. The first book held my interest pretty well. After all, we’re just learning with Mia that she is a princess and we can laugh with her as she makes mistakes. The second book was less interesting – the whole princess thing was old news so she had to try harder to keep our attention, but still amusing. Mia still messed up her etiquette and had extremely funny moments because she didn’t know what she was doing. By the time we hit the third book, though, it’s starting to get a little old. Mia has learned enough that she’s not making mistakes (except on purpose, if she disagrees with Grandmere on something) and the problems seem a bit forced. Instead of being about telling the story, the later books seem to have become more about making money on an established franchise.

That said, it would be unfair to say it was completely awful. I think it is still well written. Meg Cabot seems to have a way with getting into the head of a teenage girl and getting exactly the right tone. There was still the occasional funny moment – I loved the mentions of the film, and what the characters thought about having a film made about their lives. But I’m not going to run out and get the next one immediately. I’m vaguely curious how she ends it, but not enough to pursue it. Maybe someday when I’m in the mood for a really fluffy fun book, I’ll pick it up.

So, that’s Princess Diaries done, look for my review of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime soon!

Book Review: The Princess Diaries Take Two

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The Princess Diaries Take Two The Princess Diaries Take Two by
Series: Princess Diaries #2
Published by in 2002
Genres: ,
Pages: 213

Mia was sure her life couldn't get any worse. Already the least popular girl in school, she suddenly became Princess of Genovia causing even her friends to desert her. Just when she thought it couldn't get any worse, her mother goes and gets pregnant by her Algebra teacher. Now Mia is stuck in the middle, trying to convince Grandmere not to have a huge wedding, all while trying to figure out who her own secret admirer is.


I really didn’t mean to read this one next. I’m borrowing it from a friend, and I need to finish all the library books first (I leave in a week! *gulp*). But once I get in the mood for fluff I just can’t put it down. Unfortunately, I didn’t find this one nearly as fun as I did the first one. I guess there just something much more interesting about the very first time you find out you’re a princess and have to take princess lessons. Mia was much more of a drama queen and she really started getting on my nerves. I guess, the thing I disliked the most was that this felt like it was just a filler. Nothing very big happened to Mia in this book (all the major events happened to her mother). I felt like this book was just marking time until the next book, in which I assume we have the resolution of the deal Mia and Grandmere made in the first book. So, overall, not as good as I’d hoped.

I know this review is really short, but as I just reviewed the first book in the series, I don’t have as much to say. But, I am hoping that I’ll have The Healer’s Keep read for the next one (as long as I can resist the short fluffy ones =P )

Book Review: The Princess Diaries

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The Princess Diaries The Princess Diaries by
Series: Princess Diaries #1
Published by in 2001
Genres: ,
Pages: 230

Mia Thermopolis has always been the very bottom of the totem pole in her high school, but suddenly her father shows up with some surprising news; he is prince of Genovia, which makes Mia his heir. Mia now has to juggle the typical high school issues as well as everything that goes with being a Princess.


I have been meaning to read this book ever since I saw the movie. That in itself is rather unusual, because I am a firm believer in reading the book before the movie. I find that if I see the movie first, that completely colours my impression of the book. When I read a book, I get a very distinct picture of the characters in my head (even if it’s very wrong – before I saw the movies my mental Draco Malfoy had black hair!) If I’ve seen the movie first then I already have a picture of the characters, and I tend to have trouble getting away from it. I was therefore highly surprised to find myself flying through The Princess Diaries. I barely even thought about the movie, aside from the occasional “ooh they didn’t quite get that right” (Isn’t the movie set in LA? I always thought it was in LA. BIG difference from NYC!)

Some of this may be due to the fact that it’s been donkey’s years since I’ve actually seen the movie but I would argue that it’s more due to the way the book is written. The quirky, original characters that made me seek out the book are ten times better when you’ve read them on the page. Lilly is more than just a weird kid who begs for attention in a slightly off TV show, Mia is much more believable (I know it makes for a good story but bad at public speaking? Really? Algebra is much more believable, and besides you don’t have to fix that for your story to work out right). As for the ones that weren’t necessarily more believable, they certainly make the story more interesting. As much as Grandmere from the book drives me nuts, she makes the story so much more fun!

Not that I’m saying the movie was bad. I loved the movie. I just loved the book that much more. Besides, I needed the fluff =D

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