Audiobook Review: The Gate Thief by Orson Scott Card

After reading The Lost Gate, I immediately jumped back into the world by borrowing the audiobook The Gate Thief  by Orson Scott Card ,as narrated by Stefan Rudnicki and Emily Rankin, from the library. 

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Summary from GoodReads:

In this sequel to The Lost Gate, bestselling author Orson Scott Card continues his fantastic tale of the Mages of Westil who live in exile on Earth. Here on Earth, Danny North is still in high school, yet he holds in his heart and mind all the stolen outselves of thirteen centuries of gatemages. The Families still want to kill him if they can’t control him…and they can’t control him. He is far too powerful. And on Westil, Wad is now nearly powerless–he lost everything to Danny in their struggle. Even if he can survive the revenge of his enemies, he still must somehow make peace with the Gatemage Daniel North. For when Danny took that power from Loki, he also took the responsibility for the Great Gates. And when he comes face-to-face with the mages who call themselves Bel and Ishtoreth, he will come to understand just why Loki closed the gates all those centuries ago.

Orson Scott Card is a well known author and for good reason, his books are excellently written and The Gate Thief is no exception. As the story encompasses an otherworldly setting, a contemporary setting, and magic the scenes could get quickly overrun with bad exposition of world building, but they don’t because the author knows how to build up his characters so that they are their relationships are even more exciting than the worlds he creates. Which is high praise considering the worlds he creates are both literally and figuratively fantastical.

What I liked about The Gate Thief was that it held up to the first book and is not just a place holder in the series, the story moves forward while exploring who Danny is and who Ward is and how this impacts their interactions. There is a greater story than their present feud and only as Danny begins to realize this, and how much he must have the help of people other than himself, does he grow up and start to become the person he is meant to be.

Again, I enjoyed the two people narrating as it helps keep track of the two story lines. Both narrators are excellent and had great pronunciation and dictation as well as emotional depth in their voice acting to bring the story to life. Their voice acting ability is able to keep up with the fantastical story line and that makes them great at what they do.

I don’t want to give too much away about this particular book as it is part of a series, but I definitely recommend the Mither Mages series. I can’t wait to get my hands on the third book! The Gate Thief is an excellent tale in itself, but I would definitely recommending reading the books in order so as to get the entire depth of the series. If you like contemporary magical stories or mythical old-world stories, or want to see how than can entwine about each other, check out the Mither Mages series!

Audiobook Review: The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg

I was looking for something different when I came across The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg and read by Scott Brick. Recently I’ve been reading a lot of young adult fantasy and I thought and adult contemporary novel would be a nice palate cleanser. I was right. The Chase was just what I wanted to read next as I listened for 9 hours, 7 minutes, to Scott Brick tell the adventures of FBI Special Agent Kate O’Hare and one time con man Nicolas Fox.

Cover of The Chase

 

Summary from GoodReads:

Internationally renowned thief and con artist Nicolas Fox runs daring cons, now teams undercover for FBI with agent who caught him, Kate O’Hare. Together they catch the world’s most wanted—and untouchable—criminals, next Carter Grove, former White House chief of staff, now ruthless leader of Black Rhino private security for a rare Chinese rooster from the Smithsonian.

Like all Janet Evanovich books, The Chase, which is the second book in the series, was a hilarious romp of various capers and eccentric characters. I really enjoyed it. I thought it was funny, had some clever moments, and was exactly what I expected to read when I chose the book. I didn’t have as many laugh out loud moments as in previous books. This was in part because a couple of Kate’s father’s cronies show up and they were rather reminiscent of various characters in other Evanovich books that I didn’t find their addition to the novel to be all that necessary or new. I will admit there were some tired moments in the book, but over all I found myself enjoying the adventures of Kate and Nicolas.

Part of my discontent with the book was due to listening rather than reading it myself. Maybe I read sarcasm into the characters more than is warranted, but Scott Brick’s choice of no sarcasm in the voice acting characterization of Kate and Nicolas left me a bit baffled. I think it may be because I read the first novel and had my own character voices going that Brick’s skewed slightly away from what I was expecting and that was an internal disappointment others wont experience. I’m not saying he did a bad job, because he did an excellent one, it just wasn’t what my head thought it was going to hear.

While I enjoyed listening to The Chase, if I pick up the third in the series, it will be a paper version that I’ll read quietly laughing to myself.

Audio Book Review: Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor

Audio Book Review of Dreams of Gods & Monsters by Laini Taylor read by Khristine Hvam is the third and final book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy. I really liked the first two books in this series and when I saw it was available as an audiobook I snatched it up and devoured it. Not as quickly as I liked though as it is a long book running at 18 hr., 08 min., 28 sec.

Dreams of Gods & Monsters: Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Book 3

Summary from Amazon:

What power can bruise the sky?

Two worlds are poised on the brink of a vicious war. By way of a staggering deception, Karou has taken control of the chimaera’s rebellion and is intent on steering its course away from dead-end vengeance. The future rests on her.

When the brutal angel emperor brings his army to the human world, Karou and Akiva are finally reunited–not in love, but in tentative alliance against their common enemy. It is a twisted version of their long-ago dream, and they begin to hope that it might forge a way forward for their people. And, perhaps, for themselves.

But with even bigger threats on the horizon, are Karou and Akiva strong enough to stand among the gods and monsters?

The New York Times bestselling Daughter of Smoke & Bone trilogy comes to a stunning conclusion as–from the streets of Rome to the caves of the Kirin and beyond–humans, chimaera, and seraphim strive, love, and die in an epic theater that transcends good and evil, right and wrong, friend and enemy.

While I really liked the first two books in the series, I am enthralled with the third book. It is of epic proportions and story telling might. You can read my review of Daughter of Smoke & Bone and Days of Blood & Starlight at the links provided. This is definitely a series that needs to be read in order or you will get lost. In fact I had not read Days of Blood & Starlight in quite a while and I had a bit of trouble in the beginning catching up to the story line, but I soon did and listened every chance I got.

What I love about the series are all the amazing and strong female characters that are quite a bit different from each other, that lean on each other for support instead of back stabbing each other, and go forth into the universe with their own path to walk, not because they are chasing after a boy. Though there are quite a few complex male characters as well, and the story does have its romances which play into the paths that the female characters choose for themselves.

Also, I’m in love with the voice over actor, Khristine Hvam. She is simply wonderful and I wish I had read all of the books via audiobook just to hear her say the words and work the character voices and accents. She told the story beautifully and captivatingly. Gah! If it wasn’t being automatically returned to the library tomorrow and the second book in my queue due back in two days, I would listen to it again! In fact, I think I need to hunt down some other series that she has read…… OK. Getting back to the task at hand.

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy is a wonderful story full of otherworldly creatures, but centered around universal themes of love, betrayal, life, death, rebirth, and hope. If you enjoy stories with strong female characters and interesting world building, check out this trilogy. And if you like audiobooks or want to give them a try I would highly recommend the audio version of this series.

Audiobook Review: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

In search again for a series that I could enjoy listening to, I decided to give The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Oz Series, Book 1 a radio dramatization by The Colonial Radio Theatre a try. I read the books when I was younger, but it has been a while. I remember liking the first few quite a bit, and then petering off as the author, L. Frank Baum, got heavier and heavier handed with his message to the reader. The version by The Colonial Radio Theatre was adapted for the dramatization by Jerry Robbins, performed by Jerry Robbins and The Colonial Radio Players.

Cover of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Summary from Brilliance Audio:

One of the true classics of American literature. Originally published in 1900, it was the first truly American fairy tale, as Baum crafted a wonderful fantasy, peopled with memorable characters — a cornfield scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and a humbug wizard. Follow the adventures of young Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, as their Kansas house is swept away by a cyclone and they find themselves in a strange land called Oz. Here she meets the Munchkins and joins the Scarecrow, the Tinman, and the Cowardly Lion on an unforgettable journey to the Emerald City.

Jerry Robbins did a fair job with his adaption for dramatization. I felt it closely resembled the book, at least from what I can remember. Which may surprise some people as the movie definitely veered away in some aspects. I also quite enjoyed the multiple voice over actors speaking the different parts, that is always far more enjoyable I find. I did have a hard time with the minimization of narration. Often the characters would say things I thought would be better suited for a narration. It was more like a play with a small narrator part than a book being read.

Of course as a dramatization by a theater group, I probably should have expected this. Perhaps, it is because I have Neil Gaiman’s, American Gods on constant repeat as I fall asleep, but I expect a great deal from dramatizations and voice over acting. I find very few productions live up to that particular audiobook. A book that I have found a greater and greater appreciation for the more times I listen to it. You can read my review here.

If you are looking for a family friendly fun theater dramatization of first book in The Wizard of Oz series The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as radio dramatized by The Colonial Radio Theatre is an excellent choice. Plus they did several books in the series, which I may eventually get back to when I’m done with my current selections.

eAudiobook Review: The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel Series

After two years of not being able to borrow eaudiobooks from the library, I now have gained access to the libraries free titles of wonderful books read to me as I’m driving my horrible commute every morning and evening. I’ve always wanted to read The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott and when I saw it was available, I jumped at the chance to check out the first book in the series, The Alchemyst as read by Denis O’Hare

The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel, Book 1 | [Michael Scott]

Summary from Audible:

He holds the secret that can end the world.

The truth: Nicholas Flamel was born in Paris on September 28, 1330. Nearly 700 years later, he is acknowledged as the greatest alchemist of his day. It is said that he discovered the secret of eternal life. The records show that he died in 1418. But his tomb is empty.

The legend: Nicholas Flamel lives. But only because he has been making the elixir of life for centuries. The secret of eternal life is hidden within the book he protects, the Book of Abraham the Mage. It’s the most powerful book that has ever existed. In the wrong hands, it will destroy the world. That’s exactly what Dr. John Dee plans to do when he steals it. Humankind won’t know what’s happening until it’s too late. And if the prophecy is right, Sophie and Josh Newman are the only ones with the power to save the world as we know it. Sometimes legends are true.

And Sophie and Josh Newman are about to find themselves in the middle of the greatest legend of all time.

When I started this book I didn’t realize it would be so focused on Sophie and Josh. It was a bit more young than adult, young adult. But overall a very enjoyable read.

Some of the plot points were predictable, I did, however, enjoy the author’s tweeting of history based on the knowledge that magic and alchemy exist in this universe. I also enjoyed the magical world of spells and auras and hidden shadow realms.

Denis O’Hare was a decent voice actor. He had several accents, pitches,and character voices. It was slightly difficult to tell the voices of Sophie and Josh apart, but other than that, a really fun story to listen to.

I do want to read a few more books in the series because I have found most authors improve with time and the parts I found a little young may disappear as the kids age and the series grows. At the moment, though, it’s a bit hard to think of pushing forward with a series I found a tad young and predictable.

eBook Review: Player Choice by Jeff Deck

Recently I was contacted by Jeff Deck co-author of The Great Typo Hunt, which was one of my very early reviews on this website. You can read my review of The Great Typo Hunt here. Jeff sent me a free copy of his newest creation, his eBook Player Choice, in exchange for an honest review.

player choice

Summary from Amazon:

It’s 2040. With neural implants, people can play games in an immersive virtual reality known as the aether space. Game designer Glen Cullather has a plan for the most ambitious aether game ever imagined: a fantasy epic that gives players the freedom to do anything.

But Glen’s own life is fragmenting into alternate realities. He can’t tell whether his aether game idea has succeeded, or failed miserably. And Freya Janoske is either his biggest rival, or his most intimate partner. Glen must figure out what’s real and what’s, well, fantasy—for his own survival.

Player Choice is a fast-paced gaming sci-fi adventure that dares to ask:

What happens when unreality becomes our reality?

The book is divided into two very distinct parts. The first part is about Glen’s very real alternate realities that are akin to reading about some very lucid dreams. The question is which one is real. Like lucid dreams there are some really real and emotional moments that make it hard to decipher what is happening, but like Glen I knew something was up and while I figured out mostly what was going on, I didn’t quite figure out everything. Which, as we all know, I enjoy immensely. I also enjoy reading about, discussing, and researching lucid dreaming, so this was definitely my favorite part of the book.

Part of the message that Glen is trying to tell in his games is about player choice besides violence and human agency. But Glen has almost no agency in his own life. In fact, I really didn’t like his character at all for quite a bit. He’s that guy. The guy that thinks every single romantic female wants to cut away at his manhood. Just because he fantasizes about her, she must be who he thinks she is. He has no idea how to socially interact with anyone except for two people, and even then after years of friendship, he has hidden huge areas of his life from them. Yet, he expects everyone to respect him. This is the guy I’ve avoided all my life. Glen is unable to express anything except through anger or leaving. His interests must be everyone’s interests. How he sees the world is how it is. Introspection is for the weak. Yes, real healthy there Glen. Thankfully, Glen does learn a lesson or two and by the end of the first part I could at least stand him if not completely empathize with him. His choices led to where he is, and he has to deal with those consequences.

The second part of the book delves into Glen’s gaming world, the one that he created. I’ll be honest, not my favorite part of the book. But, I’m not the worlds biggest gamer. So reading about, what I’ll admit is a very cool gaming world, wasn’t as exciting for me as the lucid dreaming like part. I think people who are gamers, will really enjoy this part of the book. Jeff has definitely built a cool game in Glen’s world and the game has nuances that make it interesting on a deeper level than just conquering bosses. It was interesting, but I was looking for human interest pieces in among the gaming. Glen’s relationship with his girlfriend was interesting and Glen’s past was interesting. I wish there had been more of that than of the gaming, but that is just the type of thing I enjoy more personally.

Glen’s past is rather sordid. He has a lot of family issues. Which are usually the points of a book I really enjoy. I did have one minor issue and that was Glen’s relationship with his sister. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it is not a healthy relationship, and may even need a trigger warning that it is of very adult non-healthy relationship issue. I think such things do need to be talked about, and dealt with and definitely fiction is an avenue for that discussion. But I don’t think gaming is therapy. Glen did not deal with his “coming to terms” with their relationship in a way that is conducive to him actually healing from it. He goes from one emotion about it to the next without any real introspective reflection or decision about what is healthy for him. I also believe it takes more than a few days to heal from something like that and while it is definitely a very good start that Glen started talking about his past with his friends, it is just that, a start.

I wish authors would create some sort of sci fi/ fantasy universal health center that they would periodically send their characters to so that people who read these books could see a way of dealing with emotions that isn’t slashing at them with magical swords or dousing them in potions. Take Harry Potter for example, that is one character that really needs some sort of therapy. I could name a ton billion trillion characters like that. I know this is one of my personal soap boxes, so other people who read this book may not have the same reaction.

What I do think is telling, is that I had a reaction. I like books that strike up an emotional feeling and engage me  in the world that I am reading. Jeff has definitely written such a book. As a side note, Jeff’s grammar past has definitely done him some good. I’ve read a few self-published books recently and his is definitely formatted the best, and didn’t have any typos or grammar mistakes that I caught. It was quite refreshing! If you want to give Player Choice a try, check it out on Amazon where it is free! I assume that is for a limited time, so hurry up and head on over there.

Player Choice leads the reader down dream like paths into alternative realities and worlds that will make them reexamine their own choices and agency.

eBook Review: Taking the Fall by Laney Monday

Taking the Fall by Laney Monday is a free ebook I downloaded after reading about it in my BookBub daily email. If you haven’t been getting BookBub’s emails, you really should sign up for their free service! It is awesome.

taking the fall

Summary via Amazon:

Olympian Brenna Battle once had the fire. Now, she’s just burned out—and burned by love. She’s ready to retire from competitive judo and pursue a new dream in a new town, with her biggest supporter, her recently divorced little sister, Blythe. But on their first day in town, Blythe falls for local sleaze-bag reporter, Ellison Baxter, and their small-town welcome is stained by Baxter’s murder. The weapon—Blythe Battle’s hair brush.

In this fast-paced, fun cozy mystery, Brenna, the proud new owner of the building that formerly housed Bonney Bay’s lone recreational opportunity for kids, Little Swans Ballet, is ready to turn tutu-clad powder-puffs into little warriors by opening a judo school for kids in its place. But now she must clear her sister’s name and save her new dream from ending even more disastrously than her Olympic hopes. Brenna must deal with one crazy member of the local police force, who’s determined to see the sisters pay—and another cop, whose deep brown eyes just might drive Brenna crazy—in a way her battered heart just can’t take.

I’ve read a lot of cozy tea novel mysteries, so I think I have a fair idea of what to expect when I read them. I found this book to be a bit aggravating. For a fairly intelligent woman and written character, Brenna does some crazy stupid things. Once something that did not even make sense with her character. Other than this flaw, the story is lively and interesting with some fun quirky characters. I liked Blythe as a character and I wish her background had been worked into the story a little more. I get that she is a side character, but a pretty big one. If she and Brenna have a great relationship this should be shown with back story, and it was a little lacking in the first book. I get that it is the first book in a series and the author doesn’t want to reveal everything, but a little more background of their relationship would have flushed out the story and filled in some gaps.

Riggens is the romantic interest in the story, and he is surprise! a cop. One of my favorite tea cozy novel series is the Aurora Teagarden series by Charlaine Harris.  What was so unique about the series was the intelligence and ingenuity of Aurora while throwing away a lot of the cliches of the genre, for example her romantic interest was not a cop/FBI/badboywhoworksforthegoodguys type of person. While the character Riggens was different his insertion and place in the plot line was predictable. I would also have liked a little more background on him as he is another important secondary character. Hopefully that part of the story is also expounded upon in future books. In the mean time, can he at least make a decent move on Brenna? A kiss? A kiss! Not even a date. Bah. One of the reasons people read cozy tea novels is for the romantic interest, and his interest was a little low and a little lame. Get it together Riggens!

A decently written tea cozy novel, Taking the Fall by Laney Monday fits nicely into its category and gives the reader what they expect from the genre. Interesting and fairly strong female characters with a dose of danger and mystery.

You can read another review here.

Audio Book Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I downloaded The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (as read by the author himself) via Audible with a free credit. I’m quite a fan of Gaiman, so when I was searching for an audio book I am always drawn to his stories and discovered this one.

ocean at the end of the lane

Summary from Audible:

Sussex, England: A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. He is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet sitting by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean), the unremembered past comes flooding back. Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie – magical, comforting, wise beyond her years – promised to protect him, no matter what.

One of the reasons that I am constantly downloading audiobooks is that I like to listen to stories as I fall asleep at night as well as listen to them as I drive around town. I started The Ocean at the End of the Lane and immediately found myself drawn to this strange otherworldly tale, at times scary and intense, always imaginative and all consuming. But soon discovered this is not a good bed time story. I would lie there at night as Chris slept soundly beside me, wide awake staring at my phone to caught up in the story, too scared to stop the story, too frightened to keep going. I would pause it, try to drift off, then worried about the boy, sit up and start it again. Restless I started a different audiobook and drifted off to sleep within a matter of minutes.

This is not a book to try to fall asleep to.

Like his other stories, The Ocean at the End of the Lane is full of strange mythologies interwoven with such relatable characters that I was pulled into the story, sucked in, and had to fight to find my way out again. Though the main part of the story happens in a man’s past when he is quite young, it is not a story for children. At the same time, Gaiman is able to capture the voice of a young boy, reminding me of how I used to view the world, that I began to recall my own childhood, well, at least all the scary moments of growing up.

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As I’ve come to expect from Gaiman, his prose is wonderful and wonderfully read by himself. The pacing of Gaiman’s writing is beyond compare and I never step outside the story to wonder what will happen because I am always entranced by what is happening, in that moment. Some times so engulfed in the story that I can’t sleep. Gaiman has such an amazing talent for voice acting that I have come to love the stories he reads himself. Just the other day I was in a bookstore and discovered a book of his I have yet to read, but didn’t pick it up because I want to find out if it is an audiobook instead. My queue in Audible is full of books by Gaiman and I don’t see that discontinuing any time soon.

I realize that my review more describes my experience reading this book than what it is about, but as far as I can tell, this is the best way to review this book. For one, to describe the story would be to ruin the magic of the tale, anything more said than the blurb ruins the world building and character building that Gaiman worked hard to create. Secondly, I’m not alone in my experiential review of this book. Patrick Rothfuss’ own meandering love story about this book is more about his experience of reading The Ocean at the End of the Lane than a typical review.

This is a story to experience. So, go out there and find your experience. Buy a copy, listen to the audiobook, fall in love with Gaiman just a little bit more.

Audio Book Review: Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater

One of my favorite series I’ve read in the last few years is the Raven Boys Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater. The most recent of these is Blue Lily, Lily Blue. When it finally finally was available to read I knew that I wouldn’t get it from my library for several months, so I used a credit on Audible and got to read it a whole lot quicker. I’ve read some of Stiefvater’s books via eaudible versions and I really liked her Shiver Trilogy that way. While I really enjoyed the continuing adventures of the Raven Boys and Blue, since I read the first two books in hardcover I had the voices of the characters already set in my head and so the voices that the narrator, Will Patton, used were not my own and that threw me. I reconciled most of them except for his version of Blue which was really different than my own.

blue lily lily blue

Summary from Amazon:

The third installment in the mesmerizing series from the irrepressible, number one New York Times best-selling author Maggie Stiefvater.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things, though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.

Mothers can disappear.

Visions can mislead.

Certainties can unravel.

I really enjoy the otherness of and strange mystical adventures in The Raven Cycle Series. Interestingly, while each book has sections from the perspective of all of the characters, I felt that The Raven Boys had a slight focus on Gansey, The Dream Thieves centered around Ronan’s abilities, and in Blue Lily, Lily Blue the core of the story revolved around Blue and her interactions with The Raven Boys as she falls madly in love with all of them. After being accused of being crazy for being in love with them all.

Orla wasn’t wrong, of course. But what she didn’t realize about Blue and her boys was that they were all in love with one another. She was no less obsessed with them than they were with her, or one another, analyzing every conversation and gesture, drawing out every joke into a longer and longer running gag, spending each moment either with one another or thinking about when next they would be with one another. Blue was perfectly aware that it was possible to have a friendship that wasn’t all-encompassing, that wasn’t blinding, deafening, maddening, quickening. It was just that now that she’d had this kind, she didn’t want the other.

What makes this book stand out from other Young Adult fiction is this all encompassing love for each other that the characters feel and live even as their lives are turned around and around with the mythical search Gansey is determined to solve and conquer and understand. Since they want that for him, that want it for themselves as well, and the unit stands firm against grey men and assassination attempts.

I also always enjoy the narrative based on the town of Henrietta, I can picture it perfectly because I can see the bits and pieces from the author’s home town, where I coincidentally also grew up, emerge on the scene and it is just a delight. For me, it gives the series a grounding that I haven’t felt in any other series, not even the ones about Chicago (which aren’t always accurate). But by making up a town while using parts from a real one, Stiefvater gives solid footing to an otherwise otherworldly story.

My favorite quote from the book, because it at once reminded me of where I grew up, made me laugh at its accuracy, and sad all at once for its truth was:

Blue had discovered that there were two distinct stereotypes for the rural population of her part of Virginia: the neighbors who loaned one another cups of sugar and knew everything about everyone, and the rednecks who stood on their porches with shotguns and shouted racist things when they got drunk. Because she grew up so thoroughly entrenched in the first group, she hadn’t believed in the second group until well into her teens. School had taught her that the two kinds were almost never born into the same litter.

The third installment of The Raven Boys Cycle continues to intrigue and mystify. While Stiefvater weaves a tale that is its own throughout the book, more mysteries are created than solved and pathways are taken that I never expected. I love this series for its characters, its setting, and its mythology. The interwoven roads are leading somewhere spectacular and I can’t wait to discover what the journey brings.

Some day I’m going to turn to some self righteous prick trying to talk above me and say, “Don’t you Richard Gansey the Third me.” And they will have no idea what I’m say, but I’ll just laugh to myself and enjoy my little inside joke.

Check out some really good fan art by shardsofmyheart on DeviantArt.

Book Review: Cress by Marissa Meyers

cress

Summary from Goodreads:

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

What I enjoy about Meyers characters is that they are all interesting and quite different. The three girls have very distinct personalities, and Cress is no exception. I also enjoyed the fact that Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress have learned skill sets throughout the years and they are smart and know how to use those skill sets while trying to save the world. They make for very strong female role models in that respect. However, their ability to handle romance is altogether lacking. I guess though, that is why these would be considered young adult reading.

Because she has been sheltered all of her life from the outside world, Cress is not able to handle her infatuation with Thorne, who is a complete jerk to her nearly all of the time. It was a little frustrating, even though I understand that because of her limited access to the outside world she would not be able to handle a sudden immersion in that outside world. Unlike Rapunzel of Tangled, she has a hard time using her learned skill set and her brains when confronted with the unknown. Arguably, by the end of the book she has learned some lessons, and therefore, she remains an interesting and dimensional character. Just one I would like to take by the shoulders and shake.

My irritation with Cress’ inability to deal with Thorne aside, the series itself is one of my favorites. The story arc for each book quite wonderfully feeds into the overall story arc of the series and when I came to the end of Cress I was again dismayed I didn’t have the next book in my hands already. Meyers weaves a wonderful retelling of stories that we already know, and she does it in such a way that they are new and exciting and original and all their own. Her female characters are heroines in the true sense, they save themselves, they use their learned skill sets to make the world a better place, and their male companions do not take over as so often happens in female protagonist books.

If you like fairy tale retellings and original characters full of surprises check out the Lunar Chronicle series by Marissa Meyers.