"WARNING: This review will contain spoilers for the first book in the series, The Innocent Mage. If you haven't read it yet, why are you even reading a review for the second book??
Let's talk about feelings first. It's hard to rate a book that leaves you satisfied, but strangely emotionally detached. Perhaps it was because of the way the story was structured. I read the last half of the book in one day, not an easy feat for a slow reader like me, but throughout that section of the book, my heart was pounding with suspense. I wanted to, no needed, to read what was going to happen next, when Asher was going to save the day.
Speaking of good and evil, the line between them is not as clear cut as it may sound in the novel. Sure, there is Morg, the absolute evil, and Barl, the supposed goddess. Sure, she saved a bunch of Doranen by migrating to and settling Lur, but she practically subjugated the already present Olken in the process. It stinks of the early English colonists and their quest for Native American lands... But I digress. Perhaps Miller wanted us to see that, perhaps not.
On to the storyline. If you enjoyed the way the first book centered around politics, then you will be happy to know that this book will have much of the same. Getting to see what Morg is scheming just makes the slow downfall that much more unbearable and dreadful. Morg just plays on human faults and expands upon them, it was somewhat frightening to watch it helplessly unfold.
All in all, it was an interesting series. I will be looking forward to putting my hands on the other books in the same universe, hoping against hope that they will contain more magic for my liking. It was an entertaining read, but it fell a little short for me. I don't regret reading it, but I'm glad to have satiated my curiosity and get it out of the way.
Hey, if I sound a little meh about this book, remember that I rated this 4 stars! That means it had something going for it that made this book good but not great."
"This is probably the first non-school fiction that I've ever read that has footnotes. The footnotes are sometimes informative and always humorous. Just like the rest of the book, may I add. The book is split between the past and the present. I thought it was a little weird that it alternated, but it turned out to work well, especially in the beginning, when I was more interested in Pietro's action filled past, as opposed to his seemingly half-a$$ed attempt at being a doctor.
A warning to the squeamish (or not so, because I was quite disturbed as well), there is one VERY disturbing scene in this book. It should not deter you from reading this book, however, just a word of caution."
"I'm not sure why I didn't particularly like this book. Perhaps it is because it is only one of two books that I have read as an ebook on the small screen (phone). It took me a while for me to finish reading this book because I would only read little snippets when I had free time in between doing something. But anyways.
I wanted to like it, I really did. It has dry humor, which is either a hit or miss for me. In this case, it was a strike. There were various aspects of the story that I was unclear of, whether that was a lack of concentration on my part or the writing I can't say. But that is the result, either way.
In terms of characters, there are a few that stuck with me, for better or worse. The eccentric Cadman, who has been around for quite a while, the ever righteous Shader, the assassin Shadrak, and the love interest, Rhiannon. The story jumps around to cover everyone (there are a few other ones, the names of which are escaping me at the moment). That is probably one of the reasons that I was so confused, it was hard to keep track of so many people. And I have to say, Shader and Shadrak are pretty similar.
In any case, this book wasn't for me, but that doesn't mean it's a bad book by any means. With all of the five star reviews, mine is the odd one out. You can only try it for yourself and see."
"Typical 'escape from societal restraints and recover amidst nature' romance, yet it manages to connect its characters to me. There are characters that make you want to blame for everything that is wrong, but you can't, because they try their best to make things work.
Truly an emotional and touching book. I read it in one sitting. Death is always lurking in the future, but knowing and accepting it as the inevitable is what allows us to appreciate life, and everything that it brings, that much more."
"To start off, half of the book (probably less than that) is set in a foreign land, Malent. The other half is in the real (and boring) world. With that, I can say, as an avid fantasy reader, I definitely enjoyed reading about Malent much more than I did about the other things set in the real world.
I understand that this is a YA novel, but it still irks me to no end the way Alara acts throughout the book. She does some crazy, potentially dangerous things that no sane girl would do (or at least, I hope they won't). And her attitude was very annoying (I feel sorry for her parents).
Another thing that threw me off a bit was that Alara, along with her buddies, is only 14 years old. She is young! Only a freshman in high school. But some of her day-to-day routines make it seem as if she is older, like makeup and boyfriends. Maybe it's just me, but even if all of that is accurate, I can't help but think of the ideas this book may plant into kids' heads after reading this.
But even as annoyed as I am with the mundane reality portion of the book, I can't help but be pulled into the fantasy portion, which is why I still gave this book four stars. The glimpses into the world of Malent genuinely piqued my interest. The characters, through which Malent is revealed, were definitely intriguing and I am sorely disappointed that the authors did not give them a little more attention.
Right to the end, I was stumped as to who is the "bad guy" in the book (That's a plus!). There's one side saying one thing, and then another side saying the total opposite.
In the end, I can't say how I feel about the book. On one hand, I don't really like Alara, although I have some sympathy for her. But on the other hand, I am interested in how the story will unfold and what happens to the secondary characters that only appeared once or twice in the novel. I guess I can say, if somewhat reluctantly, that I will read the next book when it comes out.
(If there is a request I can put through to the writers, please! I hope Alara can mature as quickly as possible!)
I received a copy of the book via Goodreads Giveaway."
"Book 5 tackles the specific topics of rape and HIV/AIDS. I have only read book 5 of this series, but I am glad that author drew out the situations into manga format, therefore allowing more young adults to understand these perhaps taboo or misunderstood... things.
This manga has reinforced my beliefs that anime and manga are not only for little kids. It isn't always about a kid saving the world with superpowers or a flowery romance story about a couple in high school; there are series that tackle the dark, taboo issues of today's society. Thank you Reiko Momochi-san, for opening my eyes."
"This provides a very insightful glance into life in Japan, as told by a 'gaijin' (foreigner) who has grown accustomed in the ways. Whether you are looking to travel to Japan for a vacation or plan to stay for an extensive time, this guide will inform you of the ins and outs of social interactions. The author's humor certainly makes this guide an interesting read. If you are interested in Japanese culture at all, then this is the book for you!"
"If there's ever anything I like in life, it's humor. Whether it's dry, moist, or any varying degree in between. Perhaps that's why I found Domestic Violets to be so refreshingly plainspoken.
This book is a satire. From the very first page, it was obvious. It is a satire about everything. Life. Relationships. The boring, daily job. It also includes snippets of almost current events. If you enjoy satires as much as I do, then this book is a definite must.
As much as I like this book, it was a little slow in the beginning. I feel that a good portion of the book was dedicated to establishing the setting. When I say good, it isn't in a good way either (bad writing there, but oh well, who reads these anyways?). But when the book picks up steam, it doesn't let up until you read to the back cover.
[Insert witty, closing line here]
*Thanks Goodreads First Reads Giveaway for a copy of this book, it will have an honorary place on my bookshelf*"
"Ever since I read Enchantment by Orson Scott Card, I've been on the lookout for other fairy tales told with a twist to them. And Mercedes Lackey definitely exceeded my expectations in this book.
First of all, I've had the pleasure of enjoying some of Lackey's other books, and it is a pleasant surprise to see the vastly different writing styles between her epic fantasy series and... well, this. Although, it is a change that is well-suited to this genre.
Going into it from just the synopsis, I was expecting more of a "challenge a day" type story, which is not the case here. Perhaps I should have expected it, but the story is more of a romantic story than an empowered woman story. (Get it? Romantic? *Slaps a knee*)
Although an entertaining story, character development was a bit undermined. There are static characters throughout the novel. Those who have changed can usually attribute their miraculous improvement to magic.
Still, an interesting and thought provoking novel that poses the questions, what if there are such things as destiny and fate? Is any decision that we make of our free will, or is there a higher power prodding us along?"
"Finally, a book that I can say that I was genuinely intrigued by! I started this book believing it to be about the war between science and faith, but it turns out that it is faith versus faith. Still, the question of whodunit brings Bruno (and the reader) on a thrilling chase to an unexpected conclusion (at least for me). It brings about the question, what is right and wrong? Who can answer that with certainty? Is the truth sometimes better left unsaid?"
"This book was a required reading for one of my classes, but it was also recommended to me by a family member long before the class assignment. As such, I didn't approach this book with the same apprehension I approach other class required readings. For the record, I haven't read many nonfiction books that I really enjoyed... Until I read this book.
Even though this is a well-researched nonfiction book, it reads like fiction. The great part about this book is that the abundant information about such complex and technical topics, like cancer and genetics, is presented in a way that isn't too overwhelming for the average reader to understand.
So, if you wish to read an interesting and informative book, I can't point to a better book."
"With a title like this one and the blurb that it has, I was expecting a tad more magic to be involved. But that does not negatively affect the book's performance. There is certainly plenty of political intrigue involved, for those who enjoy it (I certainly do).
I think this book does a great deal of justice to the development of the "minor" (or shall I say, "less major") characters. I found it hard to hate some of the characters, even though everything they have done have warranted that feeling. Although, of course, there are some exceptions whom we can channel our strong feelings toward without feeling the slightest remorse.
At the end of the day, the difference between a five stars rating and a four stars rating is my own personal bias. There is one "plot mechanism" (I'm not sure what else to call it) that I really dislike, but by no means does that make the book bad.
One warning though, make sure to have the second book on hand before finishing this book, it will make you want to read more!
In short, great book! I would recommend it to people who like political intrigue and fantasy readers who like magically based worlds."
"Disclaimer: Since this is the second book of the series, please don't read this review if you haven't read the first book yet. Unless you really don't care about spoilers, then go right ahead.
Sorry, had to go back to the beginning to see where I can start without significant spoilers. Anyways, the majority of the book is about Phedre chasing after Melisande and trying to stop her devious plots. In addition to that, Phedre and Joscelin have problems that have Phedre mopey. If it sounds like I didn't like the book, that is far from my true feelings. The book may have been a tad slow in the beginning, but midway through the book, it picked right up until the very end.
It was interesting to read about how Phedre adapted to her various surroundings (different countries and such). She dealt with new trials and tribulations. Her growth as a character really shown through in this book, in my opinion.
One thing I do admire in this series is the weaving of religion into the plot. Even though the different countries follow different gods, they are all somehow intricately related, perhaps an allegory to our own world and its religions? It's a possibility, if only a suggestion. Anways, I digress.
If you liked the first book, you will probably like this book as well. I will now be off to twirl my thumbs, awaiting the arrival of the third book of the series."
"I like this book. This book has reminded me of why I enjoy reading so much; whether it's the political intrigue or the vast world building and character development, I enjoy fantasies because they bring another world and reality to me. As a testament of this book's well written story, I have spent the week before my finals (and the week of my finals) reading instead of studying.
From the description alone, one can deduce that this has a lot of political drama and multi-layered plots laid by various factions in the story. Another thing that can be easily deduced is that sex is a central point of this book. Needless to say, this book has sex scenes, albeit well written ones that develop the story.
The only gripe that I have with this book is the somewhat slow beginning, although one can argue that it helps develop her character and the reasoning behind some of her future actions and behaviors. But I digress.
Don't be put off by the fact that the book is about a woman that likes sex because it is more than that. Give this book a chance and a lesson may perhaps be learned - to not be so quick to judge, whether a book or a person."
"What can I say? This book leaves me with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside. I picked up the book not expecting much and I came out more than satisfied that I read this book. This part love story and part mystery will keep you reading (once it sucks you in).
I really liked the format of the story. It alternates between present day and the past. The way both stories unfold complement each other and help to slowly open the readers' eyes. I admit that I do rather like the history of how they came to be better than present day, but as the past caught up with the present, the author blended the two seams perfectly for a continuous story.
This is one story that definitely had me intrigued and feeling every emotion the characters were feeling.
Thank you Goodreads First Read Giveaway for allowing me the chance to enjoy such a delicious book."
"Before my review, I would like to give a little background to the knowledge I have of the Black Magician trilogy of which this book is the prequel of. That trilogy was one of the first fantasy series I've read, so of course, it holds a fond memory in my heart. It also means I read it a very long time ago, so while fond, it's a more than a little vague of a memory. Then I got a hold of the prequel. I debated re-reading the series, but decided against it; might have needed to if I were to read the sequel, but I digress. So, I jumped into this book with a vague recollection of the setting (I had Wiki-ed the series to refresh my memory).
Trudi Canavan had written this book in a way that anyone can pick up this book and read it, without the pressures of needing to read the main series, which is good, since it is a prequel and all. But those of you who have read the series will be pulled into the story by how things will change to the way they are in the Black Magician trilogy.
The book follows Tessia (as can be expected from the blurb) and two other characters. One of those characters are constantly followed by the narration of the book while the other gets a regular following a little over half way into the book. I'd have rather followed only the first two, because it seems to me that the third character doesn't really have any real significance to the story. (For those who have already read this book and recalls the series, please PM me if you know how they affected the series)
I would say the story is good, but not great. (I know, I waited a long time into this review to state that) I think the story concentrated too much on the actions of the characters instead of the development of the characters themselves. And I think the last line of the blurb on the back of the hardcover of this book, "One young apprentice stands in the path of the coming storm," is a little inaccurate of the actual role that the apprentice takes, assuming I have the right apprentice in mind.
I am glad I read this book though, although I think it will be more enjoyable for people who have read the series first than those who just happen to pick up this book."
"True thriller, kept me reading throughout the night. A lot of tech jargon, but it doesn't negatively affect the reading, it enhances the authenticity of the situation. Plus the main character is pretty much in the same position as the readers, so it's kind of amusing. The twists and turns in this book give it those extra brownie points. Fantastic piece of writing, highly recommended!"
"Half historical, half thriller. I was hoping for more historical, but the thriller was intriguing enough to keep me hooked. The ending definitely leaves me wanting more. It contains an interesting take on the various people of the Arthurian legends. A big part of the book's humor is Eddie's crass use of language. The book also concentrated heavily on Eddie's and Nina's relationship as future spouses, which is great for people following the series, but a bit of a drag for others who just picked up this book (like me)."
"An amusing book to be sure. There was romance in this book, but it was very low-key, the main plot being revenge.
Since this is a light book, I didn't expect much character growth, but there is - surprisingly - a couple. Behind the humor and the satire, there is definitely a push for environmental awareness, which I think is fantastic. I mean, if you're dead, how are you going to spend all of that cash?
This is certainly a laugh-out-loud book, from beginning to end. I highly recommend it."
"While I have a passing interest in art history, this book more than fulfilled it, providing well researched background information on the pieces covered in this book. I would say that aspect is a little too well done. Sometimes the background information would drag on bog down the stories of the heists. As a consequence, it did take me a lot longer than I had wished to finish this book.
I do like that there are pictures of the paintings as well as other relevant objects included in the book, because by the descriptions, I was very tempted to look up these masterful paintings that have 'captured the masses.' Although I do believe the book will be a more worthwhile investment if there were more pictures included (in color).
Either way, the book is passingly interesting. I wouldn't say I regret reading it, but my time would have probably be better spent reading something written less dry and with a little more 'oomph.'"