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Friday, March 1, 2013

Curse of the Thirteeth Fey- Jane Yolen


Curse of the Thirteenth Fey: The True Tale of Sleeping Beauty was really good. I am not usually a HUGE Jane Yolen fan but this was an excellent novel. It was sleeping beauty from the “wicked” fairies point of view.

It really twisted the story of sleeping beauty, to the point where I am not sure this should have been actually called the true tale of sleeping beauty. I mean honestly that part of the tale was thrown in haphazardly and was prominent in maybe the last ten pages. I found it trivial to all the other wonderful great things this book had going for it.

1) Great writing

2) Great setting

3) Great and interesting characters

4) A huge loving magical quirky family

5) A new interesting take of elves and the fey

6) MAGIC! And you know the kind with explanations that actually make sense and has rules and all sorts of fun stuff to go along with it.

7) No love triangle

8) No insta-love

Gorse is the 13th daughter in a family of Shouting fey, which are winged large fairies with magic. Her father is an elf that likes books and she develops his love of learning. Gorse grows up getting sick a lot and magic makes her head hurt. When she is 13 she finds out that her family is tied to the land they live on under the rule of a once great human family who is now corrupted by power and greed. They are stuck living in the same place and not being able to leave because of an Oath her great great grandfather and his wife made many years passed. Because of this they have to do Biddings and other magic any time the royal family asks for it. If a fey breaks an Oath then they die, bursting into a thousand stars.

So…. The family gets Bid to come to a baby blessing, and here is where it ties in with the original tale of Sleeping Beauty. Gorse gets left behind and on her way to the blessing she falls into the trap of an Unseelie Fey prince who makes her swear an Oath to help him. The remainder of this book is about Gorse helping the mean Unseelie Prince and his cousin and rescuing them from their prison. well sort of…but that’s a HUGE spoiler alert. When she finally makes it to the blessing, accident prone Gorse curses the new baby instead of blessing her with long life. Gorse mom winds up being the only Shouting Fey to not have given a gift and changes it from death at 16 to the simple 100 year sleeping spell we have all come to know and love.

The book then jumps ahead to the baby’s 16th birthday and the sleeping spell. Gorse is now around 16 or 17 in Shouting Fey years and has fallen in love with a fey boy…Though honestly this isn’t that important, it’s mentioned simply in passing. Gorse finds out that after sleeping for one hundred years the king and his family will no longer be the rulers of the land which breaks her family’s Oath to them and will allow them to finally leave, if they want to. Happily Ever After.

I was very happy and content after reading this book. It was entertaining and I enjoyed myself. It felt a little bit more like middle grade fiction in some parts and Jane Yolen does have a tendency to ramble a bit on things that do not move the plot forward. However, as far as fairy tale retellings go this one was pretty awesome and certainly going in my to be kept pile.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Beautiful Redemption- Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl


** spoiler alert **

Ughn… Oh Beautiful Redemption where or where did you go wrong? This was a decent series wrapped up in the crappy way.

We start with poor Ethan being dead, and I pretty much cried through the first few chapters because Ethan being able to be back with his mom was some powerful and really good writing. In fact the first part of Beautiful Redemption made me very happy. Ethan in limbo (which I won’t spoil the details but was an A-mazing take on the after life) hanging out with his mom and his Aunt Pru and all her husbands. Ethan figures out how to get back to Galtin and see Amma, Lena and all the people he left behind. He leaves them messages in the crossword puzzles which I found to be very clever.

Then Ethan figures out why he actually had to die and the plot line finally takes off. Ethan now needs the help of his living friends to destroy his page in the Caster Chronicles (which is going to be a BIG SCARY EPIC JOURNEYL) and then he will get to live again… Which did feel a little convenient, but oh well, I can get past that.

Ethan’s part held everything that I loved about this series from the first book. I enjoy Ethan’s tone and the prose used to write him first person. The way he views people and life in Gatlin or even in the afterlife is something I will always enjoy reading…. But that’s where it ends and suddenly I am thrown into….. *cue scary music* Lena Land

The second part of this book is first person Lena, basically full of her moping around missing Ethan and refusing to believe he is dead for good. Even worse, now she no longer writes her horrible emo poetry she just thinks it ALL THE DAMN TIME until I wanted to rip out my hair with just how awful it truly was. Finally the plot moves on and Lena, John Link, Liv and thank the dark goddess Ridley, have a plan to help Ethan come home to the land of the living.

So we spend another two hundreds pages kind of doing something while really doing nothing, all the while Ethan is stuck with some creepy Gate Keeper waiting for the Book of Moons to be delivered to him. There is a very sloppy scene where Macon, Link, John, Ridley and Lena dispatch of the big bad Abraham Ravenwood (in the lamest manner possible I mean c’mon this guy was supposed to be the villain here!) and a rather nasty Blood Incubus.read vampire wannabee

Finally we come back to Ethan who manages through many trials and tribulations to reach the Caster Chronicles and defeat nasty evil that no one before has been able to defeat all the while maintaining his pathetic mortal status. When he finally has the option of destroying his page, does he do anything to help anyone else? How about his poor zombie ancestor who got screwed loving a Caster girl back in the civil war? Or Lena’s poor cursed family, since this series never explains if the curse really did die when Lena claimed herself for dark and light…. I mean what if Ridley or Lena have a damn kid? Does he destroy his mom’s page so she can come back to life too? You know since she only died because of corruptness in the Caster Library Keeper’s Guild? No…Ethan only saves himself.

So after all the crap Ethan has gone through he winds up alive again, but wait that’s not all !! Amma has to die to pay the price for Ethan living… Um….wait…WHAT THE FUCK? Didn’t Ethan go through hell and back to save himself? Why does Amma have to still pay a price when Ethan did all the work? It makes no sense.

I digress….

Ethan can now touch Lena so they can be together read fuck and while Ethan’s mom and Amma are dead now they are all going to live happily ever after and everything is wrapped up all nice and neat with a bow and chocolate milk and one of the corniest “things have never been sweeter” Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory lines I have read in FOREVER.

Disappointed is the only word I have for this final installment of the Caster series. So three stars but only because I couldn’t give it 2.5… And then only because of the first part and my severe Ethan Love

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Beautiful Chaos- Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl


Beautiful Chaos was a bit of a mixing bag for me. I did like it more that Beautiful Darkness and more than Beautiful Creatures, but I still had some of the same issues.

I love the author’s tone, how they delve into the deep south and bring forth all the little hang ups and beauties of small town life. Even though I do think they play into some of the stereotypes a little too much.

I enjoy the in-between, so all the info that they crammed in to the novel in-between the actual story line and plot. I loved the minor characters like Ethan’s Great Aunts and Lena’s family.

It was all the little tidbits and juicy gossip and small details; like the Caster Tunnels and Ethan’s family that makes this series worth the read. I could read a whole series just about Ethan’s life in Gatlin and his desire to escape it.

But it is the plot line that this book, like the ones before it fail at.

First off I had the plot figured out within the first few chapters of this book. It was not difficult and just made Ethan look incredibly stupid that with all the crap going on around him he could not figure out that The One Who is Two was in fact him…I mean there were dozens of times with the songs, dreams and Amma acting weird that I was like Damn now Ethan has to get it, right? unfortunately….no….Ethan acted stupid almost the entire book. With a novel 500 + pages long one would think that there would be more actual storyline…But there wasn’t.

There was a bit about horrid weather, his Aunt Pru dying (which many people have complained about but since she is IMPORTANT in the last book I found to be some of the better writing) and Abraham trying to find John Breed while he’s actually being kept prisoner by Ridley who eventually finds a way to get her dark magic back….It just wasn’t enough. This book was like going to a steak house and when your meal arrives it’s a 8 ounce potato, with five ounces of salad and a two ounce steak. Now that would be fine if you hadn’t per say gone to a steak house!

As always I loved Link, Liv, Marian, Macon and Ethan, finding them to be the most interesting of the main characters and I enjoyed that they finally got Liv over Ethan and hooked her up with John. Lena was, thankfully, not near as annoying as she was in the two books past, but I still find her to be an all powerful, lack luster, unsympathetic character who writes too much emo bad poetry. Amma was also kind of bugging me in this book, not up to her usual fun second mommy-to-ethan standard.

Some points of interest:

Ethan’s dad kind of hooking up with the glass eyed English teacher was just creepy…I mean in a Why did they do this kind of way…. Like I get why Ms. English was needed, but after Ethan’s mom how could Ethan’s dad hook up with an older creepy pirate lady?

Lilum was bad ass and I was SO very thankful that we could finally get rid of Sarafine, though the flashbacks into her life just made me WTF the basic premises of these books even more. How is it fair that when a Caster in the Ravenwood/Duchanness family goes dark (through no fault of their own) their whole family suddenly gets to treat them like shit? Maybe if they had support and love then the ones who go dark and don’t embrace it, might…I don’t know, not be as horrible. Look at Ridley, she is actually trying to not be a horrible Dark Caster and it’s because Lena still loves her.

I am tired of authors calling relationships liked Liv/John and Ridley/Link love cause it is not. Link is ADDICTED to Ridley, she is a Siren and he is part INCCUBUS. Liv is ADDICTED to John cause he is a INCCUBUS, end of story it’s lust, not love. Stop trying to trick us, we readers iz smart.

The scene where Ridley casts the Furor spell is awesome. Liv just rips into Lena and EVERYTHING she says is stuff I have been thinking about the whole damn series.

” Poor beautiful me. My gorgeous boyfriend is so in love with me, but my heart is broken because-hey-that’s how beautiful emo girls like me are supposed to act. Instead of being happy that a great guy loves me I am going to slap on some more black nail polish and run off with some other gorgeous guy. And-wait for it- I’m the most powerful Caster in the universe.” I wanted to cheer Liv on, though it was a bit like even now the authors are making fun of Lena.

And then at the end where surprise surprise, not, they find out Ethan needs to sacrifice himself cause Lena couldn’t make a damn claiming decision to save her and everyone else’s life Lena spews the worst teen angst since Twilight.

But I want you here. I don’t care if it’s a hundred degrees and every blade of grass dies. Without you done of that matters to me. Yes, you spoiled brat…the world ending is totally less important that the life of your boyfriend, gotcha,

The last bit when Ethan knows he has to die was beautifully written. It even made me tear up a little at the support he is given and how much those he cared about rallied around him. It also made for a smooth transition into the last book.

Over all I enjoyed reading this, way more the Beautiful Darkness, and it was entertaining. Is it the be all and end all of my existence? No…..But it was pretty good for a YA paranormal romance.