Monday, June 30, 2014


(image from
Robin McKinley

Maggie lives in a world that has separated itself from magic. Newworld's workings are based on science, and magic was gene-chopped from every family generations ago. But Val, her new stepfather, carries with him a presence that can only be the magic of the Oldworld, where he came from. Shadows seem to center around him, and he refuses technology in his shed/office. But soon Maggie will have to face a reality that forces her to rely on Val's shadows and, possibly, her own heritage.

THERE. Summary DONE. If anyone can figure out what genre this book is, I'd be glad. Dystopian, fantasy, paranormal? I think I'll just file it under "other".

I'm going to have a Jill appreciation moment. Practically first YA BFF that wasn't cast aside for romance. Platonic relationships for the win!

On a less savory note, the plot didn't really come to a boil until nearly the end of the book. There was a lot of set-up, and that set up was cool, but even at the end the conflict seemed a bit hazy. I have a feeling this book is the first in a series and I'm missing the others. 

The characters were so great. I'm giving them individual paragraphs because I don't want a huge text block.

Maggie- Somewhat irritating tendency to use valley girl-esque slang, but that kind of added to character, so it was all okay. Cool with animals and non-animal things that may or may not be sentient, always a plus. Interesting character for a POV. B+ Character, would be A if she wasn't so obsessed with butts.

Jill- The best character by far. She's possibly the only character that, despite her foresight, was any bit NORMAL.If you can't tell from the top note, yeah, I really love how she was in a platonic relationship that wasn't thrown aside for the romance. Even if she acted as wingman occasionally.

Takahiro- Quiet, but not brooding. Interesting to learn about, but not because of some super deep-dark mysterious past. [DEAR GOD THE SPOILERS HAVE RETURNED, HIDE YOUR CHILDREN] He wasn't totally love interest material. However, no love interest is perfect- they can just sucker punch cliches like Taks here. [Hush my darling, don't fear my darling, the spoilers sleep tonight...] It's also really nice not to have another white love interest. Speaking as a white person, I'm okay without another black-hair-green-eyes-tan-skin-but-still-white guy.

Casimir- Well, I thought [THE Spoilers from Italy are coming today ] That he was going to be the love interest, and was kind of thrown off by how he wasn't. Really, he was kind of pushed away. Sad. [*creeps away from the spoilers with a sense of loss and confusion*] Anyhow, I think he would have been cool if he'd been given a little more time. Interested in science, knows his mythos... THERE WAS SO MUCH THERE. WHY.

Val- Seems like the bad guy, but I assure you he isn't. Fun to read about, decent for sympathizing. I'm glad he didn't end up as the villain, because that would be way too easy.

The writing style was a bit weird. There was a lot of future slang and a clear attempt at being open to the "younger" audience (read: valley girl talk). There was also virtually no commas. That's not a voice complaint, that's a comma-hoarder feeling bizarre that no one agrees with them. It's not a perfect voice, but you can get into it easily enough.

The fantasy elements were awesome. I loved the shadows, even though they weren't described in detail (lots of legs, snake-like, silver eyes- anything else?). I wish the cobeys were explained a bit more, but, eh, we can't have everything.

I'll admit, it didn't exactly keep you on the edge of your seat. The exciting stuff only really started in the last two thirds of the book. That was disappointing, but at least it happened eventually.

Now, to the romance. If you don't like spoilers just go to the point where I sign off. It'll be easier that way. Takahiro as the love interest gave me mixed feelings. While it's nice to have a love interest that isn't the mysterious bad boy, he didn't seem like a love interest. He doesn't seem to talk to Maggie until they fall in love. The two have one common interest- origami. That's ONE thing. ONE. I require two common goals or interests to be pleased.


Thursday, June 19, 2014

Words you may want to read- maybe

I'm going to put up a queue on here. My own schedule is pretty erratic, so I'm thinking that if I just write the reviews and let them auto-post at set times, it'll be easier on all of us. I'm shooting for three times a month, on the 1st, 15th, and 30th. Complaints will show up when I write them.

Otherwise, no change. Carry on.



(image from

Okay, I'm going to put the actual summary here, but I swear it's not because I'm lazy. You'll see why later.

Paul is the new kid at Mortingham Boarding Academy, and he has a dark secret.
Caitlyn admires Paul from afar and resents that he only has eyes for Erika.
Erika thinks that she and Caitlyn are best friends, but she's wrong.
Adam is a bully with a major chip on his shoulder.
Mark is outgrowing his old friends but doesn't know how to make new ones.

In a few short hours, none of this will matter. Without warning, a horrifying infection will spread across the school grounds, and a group of students with little in common will find themselves barricaded in a classroom, fighting for their lives. Some will live. Some will die. And then it will get even worse.

(Summary EBILLY taken from its amazon page)
Okay, this review has a lot of spoilers. You might as well ignore it if you don't want spoilers.

Silver is a book I'll have trouble describing. I desperately want to say it was good or bad, but it just... wasn't. It felt like it wasn't even there. However, I'll try my best to break it into parts.

The plot screamed "zombies!", but it wasn't a regular zombie book. It had a different take on zombies, making them something new and interesting. It also wasn't a robot-uprising book. Frankly, I hadn't ever thought the two could even come together, much less so well. Anyone know any other genre combining books like this? I'm really getting to like them.
The characters were distinct in their own ways, but I'm going to have to admit their voices didn't seem too different. That might have been just because the narrative was third person (making it, like, a yasreadyas first, I think). At the same time, it was just a little too hard to differentiate them. The boys were much better off than the girls in that respect. They had plenty of development and were active characters. Generally, they were just so much better than the girls. Caitlyn and Erika were nearly indistinguishable if you didn't pay attention to the opinions they were stating. 

Continuing on the last paragraph, I don't even think this book passed the Bechdel test. With two female main characters, I'm not certain if it passed the narrative Bechdel test, if that exists. Caitlyn's thoughts entirely revolve around Paul or being mad at Erika because Paul likes her. Just read the mini descriptions in the summary. The boys all get blurbs of their own. Caitlyn's is about Paul. Erika's is about Caitlyn, and it tracks back to Paul. I don't know, it just made me really uncomfortable how little Caitlyn and Erika acted on their own.

The boys, I'll restate, were really interesting. Paul was an extremely proactive character who's actions were great to follow. Mark was my personal hero, as the socially inept geek trying to look normal. And failing. Miserably. There are probably a few readers on here who can relate to that. Adam's backstory was blurry and a bit generic (bully who's only mean because of a bad home life, thus making them unaccountable for all actions), but his character, present tense, was strong and true.

The descriptions in this book were fantastic. How the Infected were shown was so interesting. It felt like you could really see them. Also, they were painfully creepy. So maybe you don't want to see them. However, if you enjoy being plagued by nightmares for what may be the rest of your natural life, this is your book!

Subtle mentions at the beginning of the book may become very important later on, just warning you. I liked how everything tied together that way.

Since the romance didn't quite exist outside of one-sidedly, I'll give you this mini-rant. Why is science always the bad guy in these books? Why? You are not helping anyone by making science evil. I mean...

(Before I forget, trigger warnings for the book- Suicide, death)

Sunday, June 1, 2014



(Image from its goodreads page)
Donna Jo Napoli

Trigger warnings for the book- mentions of rape and death

Sixteen-year-old Sebah's home is washed away in a flash flood, killing her family. She is left with only a swamp kit, Screamer, and her mantle. She finds a nook in the rocks to live in, but she grows weaker by the day.

Eventually, a man washes up next to her. Now she has to take care of him, too, but he's slipping away. When they come upon an ark, will she be willing to leave him behind?

So, this book is kind of a retelling of Noah's Ark. I'm going have to admit, the last time I read the Bible I had a high fever and no clue what was going on. I'm not shooting for biblical accuracy here.

Sebah was a great character. She was smart and protective and... eee, I just wanted to hug her! Later in the book she no longer seemed to do anything, becoming a sort of plot device instead of a character, but if she stayed like she was in the beginning, I think I would have loved her.

I dearly hope Aban wasn't meant to be a sympathetic character. He's arrogant and possessive of Sebah. When the first thing a character does is grab the MC by the hair and say 'you are mine, you will be my wife', I start to hate them. And continue to hate them. Frankly, I was kind of glad when [spoiler] he died.[end spoiler]

There's a thousand Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White, and so on retelllings, and I LOVE seeing something new. I think a take on Noah's Ark was a great idea, and (to my limited knowledge of the story) it had great execution.

The story didn't have a lot of dialogue. Sebah, after all, is mostly with animals. However, that didn't make the book feel empty. Ms. Napoli wrote the lack of speech well, still building characters and pushing intrigue without spoken words. 

The one thing I really need to get off my chest, though, is the rating for this book. I think I might have really liked it had it not been labelled as YA. The voice of the story seemed very grown-up, and the goings-ons follow suit. There's a lot of talk of 'mating' or implied mating. Or descriptions of mating. If it was just the animals I would push it aside and ignore it, but it applies to Sebah, too. She mentions 'mating' with Aban multiple times. I understand it becomes important later on, but the wording messed it up.

(Still on the same thing as last paragraph) There's a lot of things I had to file under 'either I read something wrong or you said something wrong'. Sebah [HOLY SPOILER BATMAN] gets pregnant and then there's a lot of boob talk. Later, when she has the baby there's things like 'I heard the baby's cry and milk rushed from my breasts'. Like, okay. Really, didn't need to hear that. [It's okay, the spoiler is over]. What I'm trying to say is it didn't read like a YA. I think I would have been okay with it had it been called an adult book instead of a YA.

The stuff about Noah's family was really interesting. I wish there was a bit more on Ada and Leba, but what was there was great. The way Noah developed was amazing.

So, here's something weird that I want to say but isn't important. There's a lot of retellings that are set in modern times. Honestly, I haven't seen many 'add a character but keep the rest' stories. I liked that. It was fun that way.

The romance. The romance. You already heard my piece on Aban. [Just ignore the rest of this if you don't like spoilers] Bash would have been an okay character if he hadn't turned into another love interest. He felt like an excuse to keep Sebah from being independent. I loved the parts where she was independent.

(I liked this book a bit more than I let on, sorry)