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Classic Fantasy, just...WAY too predictable

The Sentinel Mage - Emily Gee

I read this within 24 hours. I did not love it.

First the good:

Emily Gee writes well, not doubt about it; her prose is fluid and moves at a really good pace and her descriptions are short, yet they paint a very detailed picture, which is really hard for authors to do without dragging it on for too long.

She is really good at info-dumping, discreetly, and setting up an interesting premise even if the recipe is a little too "tried and true"; the political intrigues are very well explained and don't really bog down the plot.


Now the bad:

The romance. She has gone the all-too-familiar way that has been threaded a 1000 times and there's absolutely NO deviation from it.

You see a female protagonist, you see a handsome prince, he hates mages, she is a mage and your first thought is inevitably: They're going to doink! You see a gentle and kind princess, you see her loyal and over-protective armsman, and your first thought? They're going to doink, too!

(show spoiler)


It is so predictable and annoying that it bogs down the whole plot because there are no twists in there, none! And to make matters worse, Gee has picked some of the worst kind of stereotypical characters to drive her point through:



1. The prince who hates magic, turns out to be a mage, thus hating himself and mages even more.

2. The extraordinary mage who's the only one (apparently) who can protect him and is shy and gentle and of course falls for him.

3. The smart, young mage who's in love with the extraordinary mage and is jealous of the prince.

4. The kind and gentle princess who saves bugs and protects everyone around her.

5. The loyal armsman who's in love with the kind princess.

6. The orphaned boy, running from the destruction and gets picked up by someone who wants to train him...he will of course meet the protagonists sooner or later.

Finally the secret: The mages shapeshift into a seemingly ordinary man, so they can properly protect the magic-hating prince, thus leading to the woman he's attracted to, deceiving him the WHOLE DAMN TIME. Yeah, that's not gonna blow up in their faces.

My biggest gripe with the story was prince Harkeld. He was a walking contradiction, not because he's a mage, hating magic, but because he was smart enough to doubt that the whole myth about the curse (set in place by a mage) was real, yet was stupid enough to believe rumors that mages ate babies, gave birth to kittens and mated with animals (WTF?).


There's a complete disconnect in logic, surrounding his hate; it goes beyond mere lack of understanding to the absolutely moronic. These rumors were centuries old and at no point did he stop and say: "Hey, these mages don't do that, so maybe the rumors weren't true or maybe it was only some mages?"

No, reason be damned, he goes around constantly yelling at them that they're monsters, he's oh-so-scared of them and can't open his horizons the tiniest bit to even think of another possibility. That is NOT a smart guy, despite Emily Gee trying to harp on the fact that he's actually quite intelligent.

He even, almost kills his best friend (shapeshifted mage) because some woman he slept with once says the guy raped her. Doesn't even ask his friend or others if they know the truth, just beats him up until he's on the verge of death. And the mage (posing as an ordinary guy) just forgives him. Reason and rationality be damned! She wants to bone him so bad, she can't stay mad at him!

(show spoiler)



This leads me to my last complaint: over-characterization. The Armsman from another country is the best example; he's being discriminated against...all the time. By everyone. Could have been mentioned once or twice, or shown, rather than told. Instead, every time he's around some other armsmen they have to point out that he's outlandish and call him names based on that fact alone.

Seriously, if I should pinpoint one feature that this book sorely lacks, it's subtlety. You never wonder what a person actually thinks or feels, it's all clear as day and the attributes of a character are hammered onto the pages, every few chapters, in case you forget.


There was potential for a really gripping, classic fantasy tale here but it is so mired in clichés, stereotypes and a reason to hate mages that is not quite convincing or even all that logical that it just made me annoyed with the characters rather than trying to understand them.

I'll skip the other two, this series is not original enough to put up with the annoying protagonists' little game of love, to me.


EDIT: Despite my severe objections, the author manages to get around some of the fantasy settings very originally. Magic comes with its own set of rules, spelling disaster if you forget them (though it has yet to be shown) and undead are treated in a way that makes you wish to never meet them.

The potential of Gee as a writer is unmistakable and she could become epic if she strayed a little from the "romance" as the main plot line and focused on the other aspects of the story, which were enough to make me turn the pages in the sparse form they represented, despite me rolling my eyes at the protagonists.


Fallen...Almost Asleep

Fallen - Lauren Kate

EDIT: I wasn't entirely happy with my review, too messy, so I decided to rewrite it with a better overview.


This book... It didn't do it for me, plain and simple. The story tells of Lucinda Price, a girl who's unsure whether she caused the death of the last boy she liked, or not; she ends up at the Sword & Cross, a reform school, as a result and meets Daniel, an unfriendly loner, whom she seems to remember from somewhere.


Here's what I like about the book:


1. Writing flow

The writing flows naturally (though it isn't innovative and it is riddled with cliches); there a not too many awkward sentences or nonsensical paragraphs that need to be re-read to understand them.


2. Interesting Setting

The setting for the story is very well described, though unoriginal, and the descriptions of the characters are engaging and easily imagined.


Each of these points gets half a star because even though I like them, they are neither original, nor terribly amazing.


Here's where the book failed, with me (WARNING: If you don't like spoilers or negative reviews, stop reading NOW!):


1: Fallen...A title, one step beyond obvious

Fallen, Fallen...hmm, wonder what that could mean. Seen as it takes place at a reform school, maybe it could be about how the student have 'Fallen from grace' in society?

Maybe the main character falls into a deep hole and discovers something amazing?

Oh, it's a supernatural novel? Never mind, then.


2. A Reform School? Really?

Putting aside the whole: another YA-novel in a boarding school setting, I could have miss-read the first few chapters, but as far as I understood, Lucinda was never indicted, she wasn't actually convicted of murder so why would she have to go to a reform school?

If she's having difficulty remembering and she seems to see shadows everywhere, the professional opinion of a psychiatrist would have pushed for admitting her to a psych-ward for a certain period of time, rather than sending her to a place with hardened criminals that could potentially harm her mental welfare. At least in the part of the real world that this seems to take place.


3. Sword & Cross? Riiiight...

The 'Sword and Cross' doesn't sound like some school penitentiary, in fact it sounds like a high-class academy, that you'd be lucky to attend and graduate from; it's not like the school needs to try and change its reputation to attract more students with rich parents, so why the name?

Such a blatant attempt at romanticizing juvie seems insincere and...childish, for lack of a better word.


4. All Angels Gathered...wait, what?

By some freaky little coincidence, almost half the student body either are or are involved with supernatural biblical beings and what, they just happen to attend the same school? These beings are immortal and they have NOTHING better to do than hang out, together? Way to make eternity suck, seen as half of them despise each other!


5. First day, two guys

She's at the school for less than an hour and she falls for two different guys: Cam, who's friendly, open and cheery, and Daniel, who's hostile and secretive (Edward, anyone?). Oh, and he happens to have known Luce in previous lives (And her comes Damen!).

So, we have a love triangle (sigh).


6. Love Triangle, how I loathe thee!

On one side: the charming, nice guy, who just happens to represent the 'serpent of Eden' and is therefore a bad guy (way to skew the balance of nice and mean).

The other: a 'good' fallen angel who's so madly in love with Luca that he just can't help but kiss her in every lifetime, ending in her death (way to show sacrifice) and otherwise treats her like crap 'because he wuvs her!'.

Here's the reason I hate love triangles: A lot of people claim that they are there to represent a protagonist who has to choose between two sides of themselves, which would make sense, except most people try to reconcile their own differences within, rather than make a metaphorical choice in the shape of 'true love'.

Usually, I just see a whiny spoiled brat, who doesn't have the balls to make the choice and the decency to let the other off the hook once he/she has made it, not to mention that it's apparently impossible for them to say 'out of two evils, I'd rather be single and independent'.

I never feel too sorry for the two love interests, though, seen as they both constantly fight over someone who's willing to expose them to such torture.

No one EVER moves on in the fictional world!


7. Male Cardboard Cutout (Otherwise known as Lead)

You know, it really speaks to the depth of a character when the author needs to slab on a coat of supernatural paint to make him even remotely interesting.

But that's what happened to Daniel; his bad qualities: he treats Luce like a little child who doesn't know anything (what a turn on!) but he doesn't want to explain things to her and she's okay with that, he constantly kiss her because 'the power of boner is stronger!' despite it killing her, (he's so unselfish!) but apparently, that's a good thing...or something.

'Good' qualities: He really loves her, he's good-looking and he's an angel...uh...

I'm not even sure there's enough characteristics here to make half a person, let alone a male lead! And here's the biggest mistake: Daniel just happens to be perfect, perfect looks, perfect athletic abilities, smart, and wings (OMGOSH!).

When will these authors learn that there's nothing more boring than a perfect male lead? IT'S.NOT.REAL! And, to think about it, it kinda objectifies men...huh.

If you ever met Daniel in real life you'd be forced to eventually dump him because you'd realize that he'd be wrong, he'd be boring.


8. Lore...what little there is

So Daniel and Lucinda can't kiss, because she'd die...except in some lifetimes they can, except it's never happened before, except it has, except everything is different this time, except she'll still die if they explain to her, except if they explain slowly, except they barely explain at all! ARGH, I'm getting an aneurism from trying to sort this out!

There's a lot of rules set up but almost no explanation and the story ends up breaking them and breaking its own lore in a frustrating merry-go-round of unanswered questions.


9. Death doesn't really matter

The first boy she likes burns to death in front of her eyes...this should affect her but she's more concerned about the shadows she's been seeing since she was little.

The boy who helps save her from the library fire falls and breaks his neck...this should hurt her, deeply, but she's happily sipping drinks with her friends and wondering about Daniel bringing her flowers. Todd's death is conveniently used to propel her relationship with Daniel forward, instead, hurray!

Her best friend gets her throat slashed in front of Luce but as soon as Daniel shows up, she's more absorbed about how beautiful he is, rather than him being too late to save Penn.


10. Lucinda...Where do I start?

Lucinda is the most pathetic, whimpering, simpering, wishy-washy, boring protagonist I have ever read. I'm serious. I didn't care two bits about her, honestly, I just wanted her to stop whining, already.

You see, Lucinda never actually does anything, she just sort of stands around, letting things happen to her and waits to be rescued by (wonder of wonders) Daniel. She doesn't even have enough backbone to tell Cam off, going as far as letting him kiss her, even though she's with Daniel, already.

She barely has any opinions not concerning Daniel and she's constantly thinking about how unfair the whole world is to her. And while Daniel treats her like crap she turns around and dishes it on to Cam.

The entire first half of the book is all about her obsessing over Daniel, and after the first few chapters, it gets old.

She's supposedly very smart, but not smart enough not to get into a car with a stranger...FAIL!FAIL!FAIL! Red warning bells should have gone off all over the place when Cam wanted her to drive somewhere to meet him, what the HELL did her parents TEACH her???

Cam would have eventually come back to school and she could have confronted him THEN! That one, really just made me want to throw up (to be fair, I'm pregnant so that might have influenced it, a little).

And then, when she finally gets Daniel, she's all over him, all her thoughts are about him, all her opinions, all her fears, everything, everything, everything! It's pathetic how she's constantly crying 'I can't leave you!', 'I won't let you go!', 'I love you!' ALL.THE.TIME! Ugh.


11. Trust your instincts...please.

Daniel tells Luce to trust her instincts because they're probably right...these are the instincts that makes her feel safe with Cam, even though he's the bad guy, and makes her follow Sophia, even though she kills Penn and wants to kill Lucinda too...those instincts?

You know what, Luce? In real life, you'd be dead, already, so...yeah...go ahead.


12. Book Ending.

Thank God! But the ending? Nothing is wrapped up, everything is left open, begging people to read the sequel. Even the Lord of the Rings had some loose ends tied up in the end of every book but this one is almost a set-up, readying for the next one, while answering almost NOTHING. 

This is barely a proper work to sell to people, it's simply the first 250 pieces of a 1000 piece puzzle but you have to pay more to get the rest. Luckily, enough is showing to let me know that I won't care for the final product.


I recommend this book to people who liked Twilight and Evermore and have a thing for weak heroines but that's about it.

First Book by Tamora Pierce

Alanna: The First Adventure - Tamora Pierce

I have to admit, I fell in love with this author's books and her world of Tortall, which is by no means boring or cliche, despite being a rather traditional fantasy setting.


Alanna wants to become a knight, her twin brother, Thom, doesn't. They switch places, with him going to the temple to study magic and her going to the royal palace to receive training to become a knight. She must disguise herself as a boy, however, because women are forbidden from taking up arms.


This story is not your usual undercover-girl falls in love with the prince, kind of romance, there are several subjects brought up in the story, such as Alanna's problems with hiding her gender through the onset of puberty and dealing with the intrigues at court and unfriendly pages around her.


The first entry in the Song of the Lioness is an amazing read and easy to follow for younger audiences as well, I warmly recommend it.

A Nice Collection from Famous Fantasy Authors

Firebirds: An Anthology of Original Fantasy and Science Fiction - Nancy Springer, Delia Sherman, Laurel Winter, Elizabeth Wein, Emma Bull, Meredith Ann Pierce, Sharyn November, Megan Whalen Turner, Sherwood Smith, Kara Dalkey, Nina Kiriki Hoffman, Lloyd Alexander, Diana Wynne Jones, Nancy Farmer, Michael Cadnum, Garth Nix, Charles Vess

These seems like a collection of 'what if' scenarios from various fantasy Authors and they are very enjoyable for a casual read; a few of them would even qualify for college-level analysis, I believe.

Epic Ending with a Twist

The Pearl of the Soul of the World - Meredith Ann Pierce

This series has an ending that starts out confusing but the book wraps up the trilogy in such a surprising and refreshing way that leaves most questions answered and explained.

The story raises several questions about the inhabitants of this world and their relation to humans and Earth and it is strongly hinted that this could be an alternate version of our own solar system.


This time, Aeriel has lost all her memories, due to an artifact, which was attached to her skull by one of the White Witch's minions. She travels to NuRavenna where she meets Ravenna, the last of the Ancients. A lot is explained about the origins of the Ancients as well as how the inhabitants of the world came to be.


The book is one of my favorites because it does not tread the tried and true path of young romance and it focuses so much more on the world and its lore as well as Aeriel's path to maturity and responsibility.


My main complaint about this book, is that it ends on a sort of open note; I would have really liked an epilogue, describing how Aeriel continued her journey and what it all led to.

However, there are no annoying, lose ends, just a kind of new beginning that I would have liked to pursue.


I highly recommend this book and actually the entire trilogy to fantasy lovers who want something different and don't mind romantic undertones.

Gripping Story, Interspersed by Long Descriptions

Jane Eyre - Michael Mason, Charlotte Brontë

I grew up in Europe, (not the UK), so I was never forced to read the great classics in school or taught their significance, only achieving a reluctant enjoyment in the process. However, I wanted to see what was considered feminism in that time and how that translated to this day for someone who was not beaten over the head with the greatness of this work, through her formative years.


The story follows the title character through her life as she grows from a young girl, resentful of her unfair, spiteful aunt and cousins, to a young woman, finding love and betrayal, real family and independence.


For those who know little of the work, a word of warning: the story starts up slow; though what happens as she grows up, is by no means boring, it is long-winded, mostly due to the descriptions and in there lies my primary gripe with this work: Describing the surroundings.


The story itself is engaging and full of unexpected twists and turns but at times it seems Ms. Brontë was carried away with describing a particular room or the landscape, which sometimes leads to 5 pages verbally painting the setting for five paragraphs of actual plot progressions, sometimes spread out, decently but mostly placed in the end or the beginning.

Now, the descriptions themselves are beautiful and enthralling but I often found that after each and every little thing being thus worded I became weary of the picture it painted and nothing stuck, anymore, other than a few significant landmarks.

The biggest problem was that it was very condensed, most of the time, so I would skip forward a bit to see how many more pages I had to wade through, telling me how magical a particular piece of shrubbery looked in the blue light of a full moon before something actually happened.

It may be that I'm a victim of my generation and therefore blind to the splendor this heavy element adds to the novel but it frankly took from my enjoyment of the story rather than whetting my appetite and aiding my mental imagery.


Other than that, the story is obviously a classic and with good reason, showing a woman who stays true to herself throughout her trials and is rewarded in the end with happiness and prosperity. The story has a lot of layers and depth to it that are a joy to peel away to discover the deeper meaning behind a character's actions and words.

Of this I have two (very minor) complaints:

One is the level of convenient coincidences that befall Jane, especially regarding her uncle, John Eyre, and other relatives whom she 'just' happens upon.

Two is the lack of flaws in Jane's adult character. She is only eighteen yet it often seems that she is superior to her elders in many ways and I felt there was a lack of realism to this personality as she never seems to need to check herself but can freely find faults in others.

However, these did no retract from the enjoyment of the story being told and I was happy I read it. I particularly like the banter between Jane and Mr. Rochester, it seemed very natural and fresh and sometimes extremely endearing.


I can recommend it to those who feel like reading classics but for those who are not too fond of long-winded description, I would recommend to either find an abridged version or set their sights on something with better pacing. A very moving romance with engaging characters.

Exploring Aerie's World

A Gathering of Gargoyles - Meredith Ann Pierce

This continuation of the Darkangel can seem a little confusing, at first, because it's a huge leap from its predecessor, in terms of story.

A Gathering of Gargoyles does the very thing I missed in Darkangel: it explores the world Pierce has set up.

When feeling rejected by her husband, Irrylath, our heroine is visited by his former brides, who bring an important message: Aeriel needs to find the Ions, guardians of the kingdoms, created by the Old One, Ravenna.

In this volume, we see very little of Irrylath and instead follow Aerial as she discovers what has happened since she freed her husband and the gargoyles and how it has affected the world.

I love this book, I really do, but for as much as the world and its inhabitants are described, it still feels a little empty, at times, like the people there don't really matter.

Nevertheless, it's a wonderful story and amazingly engaging. I highly recommend it to fantasy fans as something new to try, as it does have a different feel to it.

A Darker Side to Romance

The Darkangel - Meredith Ann Pierce

I've always had a soft spot for the books from this author. It has been a long time since I read this trilogy but I remember a good deal of the wonder and dread that filled me as I turned the pages.


The story follows the young girl Aerial, who, as a servant, feels responsible for the kidnapping of her, Mistress Euodin, by a vampyre, who steals young, pretty girls to drain their hearts, blood and soul. She seeks revenge but are kidnapped as well, and taken to the vampyres castle to serve as a seamstress for his ghostly wives, since he killed the previous one.

Her life comes to revolve around the wraiths, she spins for, the gargoyles who guard the castle and a duarough, a small, dwarf-like creature from underground named Talb, who turns to stone when hit by sunlight.


Though this is decidedly a fantasy romance, it's by no means comparable to its more modern competitors. While Aerial does fall in love with her captor, there is much more focus on her interactions with the other residents of the castle and her attempt at preventing her kidnapper from becoming a full-fledged vampyre.


The world, Pierce has created, is one of wonder and fables, that begs the question of whether the story takes place near our own planet (is Earth Oceanus?). The legends and stories within the book begs for the world to be explored, further. Unfortunately, not a lot of time is spent on that, as far most of the story takes place in the vampyre's castle.


I would suggest the book for children and young teens, as the sense of wonder that it brings is best experienced by a younger audience. It has a lot of fairytale elements and even a prophecy that speaks to people who love that kind of fantasy but it is also worth reading for the older generations.


I warmly recommend this as a good read and a really enthralling story.

Between Loving the World and Hating the People

Splintered - A.G. Howard

I was tethering between 2 and 2.5 on this one, but finally opted for the bigger one because 1) the cover-art, which we all know is stunning, is also an amp to help imagining the various pictures the author paints and 2) I've always found the darker side of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland oddly appealing.

This author is amazing at describing the two worlds Alyssa finds herself in and it paints this surreal, yet breathtaking picture that keeps the reader engaged and hungry for more. Sometimes, she takes it a few steps too far, unfortunately, in describing what people are wearing and what they look like, rather than who they are and how they act.


The story tells of how Alyssa's ancestor, Alice Liddell, messed up things in Wonderland, and now Alyssa has to fix it with the help of her forgotten childhood friend, Morpheus, the 'Caterpillar', and her long-time friend and secret crush Jeb, from the real world.

Most of the events and inhabitants in Wonderland have been given a macabre twist, their original appearance apparently seen 'falsely' through a child's eyes. A really engaging and clever twist, that makes the whole story spring to life and engages even those who've read the original.


First thing I want to get straight, though: Queen of Hearts and Red Queen? NOT THE SAME! This common misperception that they are, always gets under my skin, though I cannot completely explain why, and this book makes the exact same mistake.

The Queen of Hearts, refers (obviously) to the card in a regular 52-card deck, between the King of Hearts and the Jack of Hearts. The Red Queen refers to the Red Queen in a red and white chess set; they were never the same person in Carroll's books, and they never behaved the same. It was disappointing to see Howard morph them into her Queen Red, at least for me, it's been done to death.


Now, as for the characters? They bugged me...a lot. I hate love triangles because it's usually VERY obvious which way it'll ultimately go and I have yet to find a good, strong heroine who says 'screw both, I'm better off on my own!' which I strongly believe Alyssa should be saying when presented with these two particularly sub par specimens.


Let's look at Jeb: devilish handsome and muscular, got the whole 'alternative look' going for him and seems to totally get Alyssa's human side, such as her art and love for skateboarding. However, he's a condescending control freak who's going behind her back to support her father in keeping her home, showing massive hypocrisy in doing so, since he's already planned his own trip to London.

He treats her like a child, who can't do anything, going out of his way to protect her in Wonderland but can't bothered to lift a finger in order to stop his nasty girlfriend's attacks on his supposed 'secret crush', blaming Alyssa, rather than the girl whom he admits has a manipulative mean streak. O, Logic! How thou hast fallen!


Now for Morpheus: Let's see, he's also smoldering hot, mysterious and dangerous, and he believes in Alyssa's powers and inner strength and totally gets her Netherling side and the way it calls to her. He's a manipulative, lying jerk who cares about no one else's agenda but his own and though he encourages Alyssa's powers, he believes the best way to 'let them develop' is simply throwing her into countless dangerous situations, never telling her why it's necessary beforehand.

Rather than gaining wisdom from his age (and he is old) it seems to have merely heightened his arrogance to the point where all I wanted to do was have him transform into a moth and pull of his wings, slowly, one at a time. His condescension is of a different kind but equally as bad and even dangerous. And it's quite possible (even hinted at times) that he played his 'sexy tricks' on Alyssa's mother, maybe even her grandmother and great-grandmother which just reaches a whole new level of EW! Mothers, lock up your daughters, daughters lock up your MILFs, 'cause Morpheus is playing the entire board!


And Finally Alyssa: The pretty, little, alternative girl, with mixed blood, split between two worlds with the spine of a noodle. Alyssa is outspoken, for the most part, just not towards Jeb or Morpheus, not really. The two of them jerk her around so much, I was banging my head against the wall in frustration when she never finally said 'Enough! You suck, get the hell away from me!' to either of them.

I commend her for trying to save her mother but I cannot help but sigh because things never happen on her own terms. She's a teenager, she should know how to push her will through, at least SOME of the time, not just when circumstances provide the perfect opportunity (i.e. teardrop).

The saddest thing is that she's so caught in the love triangle that it really takes away from the story, that could have focused so much more on her coming to terms with her identity and her mother's supposed insanity but instead is a constant guessing game of 'who's she gonna choose?'. I also really dislike the whole cheating-bit, with Jeb, seen as I absolutely loathe cheating and the ways it is justified.

And it ends as all other love triangles (in first volumes): she picks one but keeps the other 'on the hook', because she 'just can't give him up'.


Other characters never seemed all that important or well fleshed out, not even those in Wonderland, which is a shame, because such a beautifully described place should have some equally enthralling inhabitants, IMO.


However, I do think the book is worth a read, because it is absolutely beautifully written and well described and the locations alone, will have you turning pages to soak in more.

Unfortunately, the characters bothered me so much that I don't think I will be picking up the sequel, I'm simply not a fan of love triangles, especially when there's such a wasted opportunity for the heroine to show some real gumption and take the smartest road: neither.


Have to claim DNF on this one. (EDIT: Now Finished)

Evermore - Alyson Noel

Okay, I'm not proud of it but there was not enough in this book (for me) to stay interested, could be because I'd read a few spoilers beforehand, I don't know.

I will review what I've read and try to keep it fair in relation to what I've missed out on. Maybe I'll get around to finish it, if so I'll change my review to reflect on that.

My first gripe with the story is a more-than-typical psychology-bashing.





"The whole time I was cooped up in that sterile white room, I received regular visits from a psychologist, some overeager intern with a beige cardigan and clipboard, who always started our sessions with the same lame question about how I was handling my "profound loss" (his words, not mine). After which he'd try to convince me to head up to room 618, where the grief counseling took place.


But no way was I taking part in that. No way would I sit in a circle with a bunch of anguished people, waiting for my turn to share the story of the worst day of my life. I mean, how was that supposed to help?"

(show spoiler)



Now, there are plenty of people who don't necessarily need a shrink after a traumatic experience to get back on their feet but this trend of viewing the profession with disdain perpetuates the impression that only the weak need therapy, the strong can simply shake off their trauma and return to an ordinary life. This is not only untrue, it's a bad message to send to teenagers/young adults whom this book is marketed for.

These two small paragraphs make light of the idea that someone may truly need psychological help to deal with a loss and almost mocks the efforts that many shrinks put into their work, not to mention treating the act of voluntarily seeking counseling almost as a sign of weakness.


Now, for the rest of what I read, I felt no real animosity towards the characters and their behavior but there was nothing to really make me care about them, either. I was a bit surprised that apparently outside Miles and Haven EVERY STUDENT thought of Ever negatively; I mean, through sheer statistics, there should have been a majority who barely thought anything of her, at all, or simply in very mild terms (i.e. 'she's hot', 'wonder what she's doing', 'who's she again?'), yet she constantly points out that EVERYONE thinks of her as a freak.

However, for as numerous as the random thoughts were, the book felt a bit empty. It felt like a story for two: Ever and Damen, with Riley as an unwilling third wheel, at times. There was no deep interactions with Ever's "best friends", Miles and Haven; for someone who reads thoughts, it seemed she had no interest in actually being a good friend to either of them, trying to talk to them and learn something, legitimately, rather than through the backdoor. They weren't particularly good friends to her, either, but all three of them weren't exactly bad (though Miles' being gay, seemed a little too obviously stated).

Finally, there's the 'dealing with death' theme; it never seemed to be dealt with, thoroughly. I have lost people before and sometimes there are still situations when I realize how much I miss something specific they did and I almost cry.

Ever, on the other hand, seems sad but distant about it; of course, people react differently but I would have enjoyed a deeper look into how it truly hit her, through dreams/nightmares, bad/overwhelming memories, days when it all just slammed down on her or when someone did something her mom or dad used to do, because I CANNOT find this kind of slight apathy even remotely believable but that could just be me.


On a more positive note, the story is easy to read, there are no extra lengthy descriptions that take away focus from the actual story but still enough that you can easily follow what happens and where and picture the surroundings as you read. The story is intended for those who like light romances without too many intertwining webs of storylines and subplots.

The concept of immortals and psychics is an interesting take on the supernatural and, though I felt it wasn't implemented to its full potential, it's well-described and a bit more original than the usual vampire/angel/werewolf/etc. spin that's become trend.


In conclusion, not terribly original or deep in its handling of its own themes (love, loss, friendship), and following the recipe 'love story for young adults' a little too closely but can be a nice quick read on a rainy day, if you keep a light mind to do so.


EDIT: So, I felt guilty enough to go back and finish it, immediately after writing the review. I will admit that there was a scene in which the past finally overwhelmed her but the experience seems a little glossed over, as do most things not directly concerning Ever, Damen or Drina, but at least it's there. I felt that it should have been a bit stronger or more often since she spends half the book crying 'It's my fault! I know it!' but again, different strokes.

I know it's tempting to have one sort of 'explain everything'-conversation but it seemed a little excessive with Damen towards the end when all is finally revealed, it should have been spread out a little more, in my humble opinion.

Other than that there was nothing that really deviated from my original thoughts on the story, so I'll leave the rest, as is.

The End for the Children of Halla

The Son of Summer Stars - Meredith Ann Pierce

This is my absolute favorite of the trilogy because of the complicated quests the various characters set out on before they eventually come full circle. There is a clear path as the story matures and more adult themes take the stage, leading to hard choices and confrontations.

This is, of course, the final battle, the big showdown between unicorns and wyverns and when even dragons enter the mix, it just enters a state of ecstasy for me. The eventual revelations and choices of the main characters wrap the whole saga up, nicely.

As with the two predecessors, I can only recommend this.

The Sequel to a Childhood Wonder

Dark Moon - Meredith Ann Pierce

When I read Dark Moon, it was a bit difficult for me to get through; I cannot quite explain why, just that the story did not enthrall me as much as the previous one.

However, I did love the introduction of humans and the main characters are all enjoyable. I have never been annoyed with any of them, though that often is a problem for me, when reading.

The story is an important part of the trilogy and I recommend that people who loved the first book, read it, it shows the trio that we love as they mature and reach adulthood.

My Childhood Entrance into the Wonder of Books

Birth of the Firebringer - Meredith Ann Pierce

This book had been a very dear story to me, ever since I was 8 (I think). It was the first, full-sized, novel I ever read and I loved it, have loved it since then. The whole concept of warrior unicorns fighting griffins, satyrs and wyverns was a girlish fairytale-dream come true.

The writing and story-telling is obviously geared towards children but it is an enjoyable and easy read and I can only recommend it to young people who love this kind of fantasy with epic prophecies, fantastic creatures and great battles.