Friday, December 2, 2016

Patrick Rothfuss - The Name of the Wind

This is the riveting first-person narrative of Kvothe, a young man who grows to be one of the most notorious magicians his world has ever seen. From his childhood in a troupe of traveling players, to years spent as a near-feral orphan in a crime-riddled city, to his daringly brazen yet successful bid to enter a legendary school of magic, The Name of the Wind is a novel that transports readers into the body and mind of a wizard.

Comment: Another book I wanted to get read this year. It has been in the pile since October last year and it never seemed like the best time to start it, so this month I added it to my reading list and before November was over, I took a deep breath and got to it. It's not the biggest book I've read (not even the biggest of the month) but small letters and many pages mean more time than small books, obviously.

This is basically a tale that a man, the innkeeper of the Waystone inn, shares with his apprentice Bast and the Chronicler he saved the night before.
The story will be told in 3 days, each day focusing on specific parts of the narrator's, Kvothe, life and experiences. At the same time, some weird things are happening in the present day but we have minimal scenes about it.
Kvothe is a man who has had joy and sadness in his life, he suffered and he achieved high moments. Who he is and what he can do is what truly makes this story unique.

Reading this book was interesting. It took me almost a week to go through it because it's a long book but especially because there is a lot of detail that we need to pay attention to. Many readers talk about the beauty of the writing, and I agree but it's the rich content, even when nothing major is happening in terms of plot, that makes the story feel full and solid. And this is only one part of the whole thing.

The plot is pretty simple in its development but complex in what is telling us. We learn how Kvothe's childhood was and how it all changed in one moment. I think this was probably the worst part, as you can imagine, Kvothe isn't a happy, rich kid who does as he pleases. This isn't also original, many fantasy books (and in other genres) feature the poor kid who has determination and need to overcome his odds and prove himself. But in this case, it was quite amazing because Kvothe didn't get lucky all the time, he suffered to accomplish even the easiest tasks we don't even think about in our daily lives.
My favorite part of the plot was when Kvothe finally arrives at his destination, the University where he hopes to study magic and chemistry. While there, he obviously has to go through some tasks, he has his challenges and adventures but he makes friends, he learns how to get things done, he meets people that will help him and he has one specific enemy to balance his better moments. It's amazing to see him triumph through some situations and despairing to wait and see if he will be punished by things he can't always control.

The characters are well constructed, Kvothe and his friends especially. I still find myself confused about certain characters and why would they matter but overall, the author did a good job.
The pace is interesting and so often the present day characters intervene to let us breathe again from Kvothe's adventures as a teenager in school.

The writing is one of the things most readers talk about. It's poetic, beautiful, poignant and precise when it matters. But for me, there is one problem, the author has this thing about letting us know some things indirectly that totally annoy me. For instance, Kvothe describes how he got the better hand on his enemy at the university and says something about how harmless he was and then "I was a fool.", which means he will be in trouble later and every time the enemy is mentioned I keep thinking "will it be now" and then it's not and I can see how on the edge of your seat it can be but to me it's irritating and ruins the fun of things because I keep waiting for the bad things to happen. I suffer a lot because of anticipation therefore I'd like it if we had less sentences that make it so.

So far, this has been interesting, richly described and done but because it's only one part it feels incomplete, of course. I hope the next installment will offer more explanations about things we've seen and about what can possibly be happening.
I'm not jumping to start it though. And the thought the 3rd long awaited installment hasn't been published yet makes me nervous to get to a point of having to suffer even more. So I guess I'll wait a bit more before getting the 2nd book.
Grade: 8/10

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Susan Wiggs - The Mistress

As the historic fire ignites across town, Kathleen O'Leary finds herself dressed in borrowed diamonds and silk, enjoying a lavish masquerade. The penniless maid has caught the eye of Dylan Francis Kennedy, the rich, handsome gentleman all of high society has been speculating about. The night feels alive with magic...and ripe with promise.
Then fire sweeps through the city, cornering the young lovers with no hope of rescue. Desperate to share their last moments together, Kathleen and Dylan impulsively marry. Incredibly, they survive. Now, as the fire burns down to cold ash, Kathleen must tell Chicago's most eligible bachelor that he has married a fraud. But the joke's on her. For this gentleman is no gentleman. While Kathleen had hoped to win Dylan's love, he had planned only to capture her heart and steal her fortune. Dylan Kennedy -- con artist, gambler, and ne'er-do-well -- has been unwittingly caught in his own game. Now the real sparks are about to fly.

Comment: This is the second installment in the Great Chicago Fire trilogy by author Susan Wiggs. The books can be read as standalone but there's an obvious sequence in the facts presented and they are best read if in order.

In this second story we follow maid Kathleen O'Leary as she goes along her friends' Lucy and Phoebe ideas that people from good breeding and families will always recognize one another and Kathleen will be discovered as a fraud. But if she succeeds in being asked for a special event then she will prove people only believe what they see. This seems to be proven real when one of the most sought after men in Chicago, Dylan Francis Kennedy, is smitten with her and asks her to dance and later on to the ball.
What Kathleen doesn't know - nor anyone else for that matter, is that Dylan isn't who he says he is and, in fact, it's even poorer than Kathleen herself. In the aftermath of the fire that affected so many lives, can Kathleen and Dylan come to terms about what they mean for one another?

While reading the first book, the reader is given some little clues about this and that including the protagonists of the following stories. It's nothing detailed, only a reference to Dylan saying he is rich and looking for a wife and we see the preparations of turning Kathleen into the mysterious young woman to be presented as some heiress or, at least, belonging to a good and well placed family.

I was very much looking for to this story based on those glimpses because I really thought I'd get that story, the one about a woman who only wants to know what it's like to be rich and noticed and that of the man who will like her beyond her origins and masquerade. A bit like Cinderella really, I actually like the Cinderella trope in romances.
However, it wasn't so, I haven't read the blurb for this book while reading the first so it was quite the surprise when I was reading this book and realized Dylan is as much a fake as Kathleen! This wouldn't be a sweet romance about Cinderella-like characters but a story about common people who lied and were caught in their secrets and deceiving. I mean, I was ready to be convinced Kathleen's actions wouldn't cause harm to everyone and that a man would still love her but the two of them playing to be someone they're not and the joke instead of being on the other is actually on the reader? Ehhh...

This fact alone kind of crumbled all my expectations for this book and I was already disappointed, no matter how interesting their story ended up being.
I liked Kathleen's family and I do applaud her dreaming of being different, of having a different life, of trying to have a different reality. I also like she didn't just give up but it's not as if Dylan is a great catch! Could she really be in love in such a short time and can she really be expected to not change her feelings when she finds out he not only deceived her too but wasn't even sorry and let her go when he found out the truth? I don't think it's brave and persistent to still go after some liar if they leave you while saying bad things about you...

Dylan is a character I both understand and dislike. Yes, her is a liar and he doesn't come from a good childhood so his actions are understandable but at the same time he is a grown up, why can't he be a good citizen or why didn't he try? Yes, it's much easier to settle and don't try and that's realistic but this is a romance, for me to like the hero he has to, at least, try. He never does, even by the end, when the HEA happens, he didn't try to change, he simply saw the light once at church but went away and got lucky, what he does to help or to switch something within his own limits isn't ever for himself, it's because it serves a purpose, even if good intended.

Because this book didn't positively surprise me nor did the main characters turned out to be anything close to what I expected, I can't really say much about it. The plot has some interesting moments, especially when the protagonists interact with other characters and when they try to help in feeding the poor after the fire, but the whole thing left me rather disappointed. Not even the relationship between the main characters seemed strong enough or romantic enough to justify everything else, so...
I really hope the third one won't be like this and is actually as intriguing as it promises.
Grade: 5/10

Saturday, November 26, 2016

M.M. Kaye - The Far Pavillions

The Far Pavilions is a story about an Englishman- Ashton Pelham-Martyn -brought up as a Hindu. It is the story of his passionate, but dangerous love for Juli, am Indian princess. It is the story of divided loyalties, of friendship that endures till death, of high adventure and of the clash between East and West.

Comment: I've started this book a week ago, more or less. I saw it mentioned at one of the book related sites I often visit and the fact it contained a forbidden romance with a happy ending for the couple somehow convinced me to get it. I managed to buy a hardcover edition, all 960 pages of it, for a very low price at amazon.UK and there it went to the pile. This was by the end of last year and I convinced a friend to read it with me. Too bad my friend hasn't much time to buddy readings... anyway, this was our pick for this month.

In this epic tale, we follow the life of Ashton Pelham-Martyn, a British citizen born in India and who always felt like that country was his real home. After a fascinating but challenging childhood he goes to England where he dreams of returning to the place in his heart. As soon as he can, he enlists in the army and goes back to India, as a British officer.
In India, politics and military actions are changing the way the British live and are welcomed but to Ash all that is irrelevant for he has always thought of India as a place that shouldn't need any other nation ruling it. However, when fate intervenes and he meets his childhood friend Anjuli again, his actions and goals change and he will do anything to follow his own wishes...

This is certainly an epic story and plot. It follows hero Ash since his birth to the moment he goes to live in his dream place, the Far Pavillions he wants to be in since he was a little boy looking at a distance. The story is basically the tale of his adventures, the steps he takes towards different goals throughout the book and how he fails or gains what he needs. In terms of sagas, this is impressive, even more so by the huge amount of detail the author has included to describe, tell and solve several situations.

It's clear the author knows all themes extremely well and she felt dedicated to tell such a story and share so many elements. I didn't dislike the writing, I think it accomplished its role but I have to admit I also found some parts to be very boring, namely when it concerned to military situations or strategy plans, whether British or related to the Hindu or other people. The book is divided into 8 sections, all focusing on a different stage of Ash's life. The last two, when things were more or less solved were too much. I think the author could have told things in a different, more direct and simple way and still maintain the style and type of writing. I understand this need for detail, the amount of knowledge and History to be shared but in terms of fictional plotting, it was boring and I struggled to focus, especially after so many pages already.

The plot has its moments, to me the best parts were the beginning, when we get to meet Ash, his background life, his experiences as a boy and at the same time how India saw those who lived there, Hindu or foreigners. I also liked all the parts where Ash, already a grown man, wants to help the people he knew as a boy and pursues Anjuli, the girl who followed him almost everywhere and who now has a fate so far apart from his own. The romance in this book is very subtle, not the focus but it allows for several plot moves. It also makes it possible for the reader to learn a lot about Hindu traditions and so many things inherent to India, some of them still on these days.

I was eager to read about Ash and Juli, both together or apart because those sections were vibrant and has this demand about them. When the romance situation got sort of solved at the end of section 6, we still had two more to go but it had so little to matter about Juli or Ash' personal life and goals that it got boring. 
What it got instead was something I consider unnecessary, too much death of important characters and that only served to make this dramatic in a way it didn't had to, even if the author wanted to highlight these facts from the British presence in Kabul and other areas. Boredom plus annoyance aren't good mates in reading...

I think this is a well detailed story, filled with real facts and situations, something that should teach and impress the reader. There are many things I looked for to see and enjoyed knowing about, but less pages describing avoidable situations and things that wouldn't aid the plot, no matter how interesting or realistic, just didn't have to be included.
I appreciated the effort, I feel glad I went through with reading but I confess Ash and Juli, the main characters, weren't always so amazing and vibrant to the point of making me sad I left them. I feel worse about certain things I wouldn't have added but...anyway, it's an interesting epic story but yes, it's not the best thing ever to me.
Grade: 6/10

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Lisa Kessler - Moonlight

Rancher Adam Sloan is more than meets the eye. As the heir to his Pack, the sexy werewolf’s biggest challenge is keeping his kin’s true nature under wraps. But a group of jaguar shifters threatens to reveal the pack, blasting into town killing humans in plain sight. And when he smells one at the local diner, his standing orders are to take her out.
Lana Turpin doesn’t realize she’s a moving target. Raised in the foster system, she only knows that she blacks out during the new moon and wakes up without remembering a thing. But now she’s being tracked by some strange organization that wants her back—even though she’s never stepped foot inside their compound. And the stranger across the diner is watching her like an enemy.
It should be a simple mission for Adam, but when he touches the frustratingly beautiful Lana, his inner wolf howls…mate. Now, the two must find and stop the people who hunt her…and Adam must keep his own family from killing the only woman he will ever love.

Comment: This is the first book I try by this new to me author and it's also the first installment in a series featuring shape shifter characters, in particular a small pack of wolves. The series are set in a contemporary reality and there are also jaguar shifters.

Lana Turpin is a woman who was told she should be institutionalized because every month she looses track of her movements and there's a strange thing in her brain that, despite not being a tumor, can be the cause of her loss of conscience. But Lana is afraid and on the run so when she meets Adam, in his town, and he talks to her as if she knew what it was all about, she tries to run once more but one touch with their hands is enough to tell Adam she is his mate.
Adam knows Lana is a jaguar shifter and those are usually the enemy and currently the cause of some deaths in the wolves territory, so Adam only wanted to escort her out but after saving her and knowing who she will be to him, can they simply be together or will be pack pressure be too much?

I think I won't ever be the same reader, in love with most shape shifter stories ever again. Magnificent world building such as Nalini Singh and Anne Bishop have created are simply no match to the rest, when it comes to shape shifters. I can't help but compare them all and usually everything comes some notched down. It doesn't mean authors aren't talented or creative but I just can't see them as great when I've read almost perfection.
This book sort of suffered from it, it's not bad, but it's certainly not as richly developed or described as the others. I wanted to see more structure, more character relationships and interactions, more community rules and dealings... the way things are presented, it feels the pack and most characters just happen to be wolves or live close by. I felt the lack of magic and background in the world building.

The characters were interesting. Adam and Lana make a good couple but despite recognizing the technique that is to present mates and how instantaneous that connection can be, they were exchanging love declarations too soon! I liked their romance wasn't immediate, that they didn't jump to intimacy right away but their relationship felt very superficial even with the amount of time we know that goes on before they acknowledge their feelings. I also don't think it was very romantic. Practical in some parts yes, but there was no passion or chemistry to convince me they had to be together, to be mates.

The secondary characters were intriguing, obviously mysterious to entice us to  keep reading, some of them I would love to read their stories but to think the plots would be all over the place and not deeply worked on as they could...
I liked Aren's presence but it wasn't presented as best at it could, Malcolm is a character I think was there just because, there was no need for him to progress the way it happened and the enemies are generic. I mean, I don't mind not having much focus on the bad guys and honestly, the plot would have been better without that! How great it would have been, had the author focused only the world and society where the shape shifters exist? That would have been better and who knows, with more time, a more solid structure would have been done.

I think this story had many elements but the plot was superficial and I wished more substance was given to us. Some parts were slightly boring because why would that specific things matter and it was quite amazing how often they traveled by plane just t have a conversation or something. I think there wasn't enough background to support well the characters. The shape shifting business wasn't very interesting either, they basically only shift during the full moon, we don't get many references to this aspect of their lives, except the basics...

I was entertained, I was and I am, curious about some things, I'd read the next book but the overall feel I got wasn't as special as that and I don't feel rushed to grab the next book now.
The HEA in this book was ok but well, some things were rushed here instead and it only made everything look a bit silly, I think.
It's not a bad book but well, to me it wasn't as magical as I would have liked.
Grade: 5/10

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Brooke McKinley - Shades of Gray

Miller Sutton, a by-the-book FBI agent, is starting to see some troubling shades of gray in his black-and-white world. He comes face-to-face with his doubts in the person of Danny Butler, a mid-level drug runner Miller hopes to use to catch a much larger fish: Roberto Hinestroza, a drug lord Miller has pursued for years. Danny has no interest in being a witness against his boss, both out of a sense of twisted loyalty and because he knows double-crossing Hinestroza is a sure death sentence. But he reluctantly agrees to cooperate, and as he suspects, it doesn't take long for Hinestroza to figure out the betrayal. 
Miller is surprised to discover Danny's not the career-criminal lowlife he expected; at the same time, Danny finds himself helplessly attracted to Miller's innate goodness. They barely begin to explore the sparking attraction between them when Hinestroza's hitman tracks them down, and then they're on the run, both for their lives and for any kind of love.

Comment: This is a book I've had in the pile for years. I always assumed I'd save it for the perfect time but well, I guess that only meant it was left aside... but this month I just added it to my reading list, otherwise it would remain, along so many others...

In this book we meet Danny Butler, a man who's worked for a drug lord and has delivered drugs, went to prison for it twice, someone who's had had a bad life and now things are getting worse because he is caught again and sort of forced to make a deal.
Miler Sutton is the FBI agent who interrogates Danny and who stays with him when the drug lord sends his killer to shoot Danny. The two man have to share a small apartment and they talk and what they discuss is not just a way to spend the time, they bond and by doing so, change both their POVs in life...

I actually enjoyed this book a lot more than what I imagined I would, mainly because I tend to dislike books with characters dealing with drugs or drug related. It's a subject that annoys me deeply but thankfully, the author has written an emotional based story, good enough to distract me.

This is the first story I read by this author, apparently she hasn't got more and this one was published in almost 8 years. I liked the writing style, I feel very fond of both main characters but yes, some things just didn't get along with my tastes, even if I recognize why the author used them, namely the drug related issues, the chasing and fights, the dealings with the drug boss and the not so clean actions by the characters. Precisely what gives this book's title importance are the things I'd change. I was imagining all this without the drama and the issues outside the character's feelings and thoughts.

The plot is pretty interesting, despite the things I didn't like much, the emotional journey both characters do is convincing for their lifestyles and decision making, their past and experiences and, after all, no one has a perfect life, carefree and without choices, but yeah, this is fiction and I'd have liked the characters to decide other ways sometimes so the plot could move more alike my tastes. Many readers say this is precisely what makes the plot interesting and strong, this showing off of the differences and the path they take into becoming different people. Yes, I agree but at the same time I wouldn't do it this way, no matter who well done.

Danny and Miller are a good couple, for me the best part about their story was how slowly they fell in love, it wasn't always very obvious what they were thinking, some things are inferred and not very highlighted, but the end was sweet and it was very easy to imagine how their fictional life would develop from the end on. Their romance tended being sweet and cute, despite some not so positive scenes with them or about them.

Danny is fascinating, I think he's the best character and apart from all the details that turn him from possible bad guy to hero, my favorite thing about him is how despite all the bad things in his past, all the negativity of his experiences, he still has a bright inner self, he is a good guy at heart.
Miller, on the other hand, started as the hero and at the end some of his choices are debatable. This is where readers point out the importance of the title and so on but honestly, I think too much fuss was done. Yes, he breaks some rules but his actions don't seem as radical in the context of the story. In reality, they would have been for sure and I understand the dilemma but...ehh I was just focused on the romance.

After finishing the book, I was smiling because the HEA is cute and deserved and had a lot of potential. The bad guys aren't all punished, which sucks for fiction, we want justice even if in rel life it isn't so, but I was still pleased by having read this book. It was good it got out of the unread pile.
Grade: 8/10

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Rachel Bach - Fortune's Pawn

When professional mercenary Deviana Morris took the security guard job aboard the Glorious Fool, all she wanted was a fast route into the Devastators --- the elite league of armored fighters entrusted with the most important duty on her home planet of Paradox. But this security job isn't just twelve-hour patrols, armor-polishing, and whiskey. The supposedly-cursed Captain Caldswell keeps sending Devi and her partner into unimaginably dangerous situations. Ren, the captain's daughter, is a kind of weird that Devi has never experienced before. And to top it off, there's the insufferably sexy cook, Rupert Chekov, who is far more than what he seems -- possibly even far more than human.

Comment: This is the first book I red by this author, it's a sci-fi story with some elements of romance. Some people also describe it as space opera, which I can understand but it feels more like an adventure than just presentations of the lives of space travelers.

In this new adventure, we meet Devi Morris, a mercenary who has worked to the top of her position and leaves her job to try a new career with a renowned but apparently dangerous ship so she can try to get to the best place possible for someone like her, a place with the Devastators. To get her isn't easy or fast, but working for Captain Caldswell will make her get there fast, as a recommendation from him would do wonders. His ship has the ill fame of not holding on staff for long but Devi has what it takes. This novel lets us see what her life is like on board and the strange things that happen to her until she just can't remember it anymore...

Curious? I know I'm not the best writer out there but I couldn't properly convey the idea of how interesting the world building is and how special the story is told, so just try it if you can. 
I had a great time reading this book! Not that it was a comedy - it's not - but the time I spend reading was well spent and now I can't wait to keep reading. This story is mostly the description of what Devi does, who she deals with, her daily tasks, how her personality is like and what happens around her. Sure, it's only her POV we get and every reader knows how limitative first person narrators can be, but there is one help here which is greatly appreciated.
Still, I think this is a great story.

Obviously, it's not perfect.
Devi is a great heroine but I confess certain attitudes of hers were too harsh but one can always say it's just an abundance of confidence... but I still would have liked to see her think more on her vulnerable side too, and not just how great she is or how amazing her suit and weapons are.
The world created here is interesting, it's space, it's planets, it's weird beings out there and the beginning almost seems to have Star Trek vibes because of the different types of people within the ship. But I found it really interesting and the best thing is that it mixes mundane, daily routines with some strange happenings so we are always waiting for something to happen and the anticipation is well done, not too obvious, not subtle but always there...

I also wasn't much of a fan of the constant talk about fights and how Devi would do this or be that when she gained the upper hand nor did I appreciate some of her actions and decisions about certain personal choices. I'd certainly change her a bit to suit my personal preferences but I thinks he was funny and brave and in the end I couldn't wait to see her succeed. Some things happen and she really wants to discover what is going on, why some things are so secret and in the end I was dying to know what happens.

There is a hint of romance here, not too detailed, not too explored because of writing and plot but still meaningful enough for me to want to see Devi and the man she loves, together. There are some crazy drama scenes here, I mean, not melodramas we see in woman's fiction or tragedies but still enough to make us think. The way the book ends...I wouldn't say it's a cliffhanger because we know things Devi doesn't, but still. I'm very eager to get my hands on the next book and see what explains certain things in this book, why those things happen and how and, most important, what will happen to Devi and her romantic life!!

I was sold on the writing style, on the plot, on the secret vibe surrounding some characters and their actions and now I'm very curious to know more.
I know the author writes under other names but those other books don't compel me the way this ne did and how the rest of the trilogy will too. I already bought them, I just need to be patient fo them to arrive and to find the time to devour them.
This one is a great start.
Grade: 8/10

Monday, November 21, 2016

Saturday, November 19, 2016

DB Reynolds - Damian

Damian Stephanos honed his skills in battles fought with magic as much as swords. Caught by a deadly spell that left him trapped for centuries in darkness and obscurity, he is finally freed, only to discover that his enemy still lives. Determined to find him—and to free his brothers in arms—he first must fulfill his blood debt to the woman who released him from his torment. Unfortunately, being so close to this enticing female is another type of torment altogether . . .
Cassandra “Casey” Lewis is a hunter. Possessing the rare ability to sense magic, she spends most of her time shadowing arcane collectors, and more often than not, stealing the dangerous artifacts she pursues. Her job is risky, especially when she’s stealing from one of the most powerful sorcerers alive. But having a gorgeous warrior by her side is a definite bonus. He’s great in a fight . . . and in other places, too.
Following a trail of dead bodies, the two of them must join forces to track down the sorcerer who cursed Damian, and who now plans to turn an ordinary magical device into a deadly weapon. Risking everything, including their hearts, they’re about to discover that trusting each other might be the hardest thing of all.

Comment: This is the story chosen for my book club this month. It's the first of a new series by author DB Reynolds and it is a spin off the successful series Vampires in America so many fans enjoy.
I've read one book in that series so I'm not familiar with the moment when this series might have started but this works very well as a standalone and no references are made to the point where you would need to have read the other series to start this one.

This new series focuses, apparently, on a group of warriors led by Nicodemos, known as Nick now. In ancient times, an enemy has done a spell and turned four warriors into stone with the bonus that only a special combination of factors could "unlock" the curse/spell. Somehow, when this story begins, the heroine Casey brings Damian back to life and he is bound to help her defeat her enemies. Therefore, they join forces and try to recover a talisman she was in run to protect but lost. While going away to complete their mission, they must work together and be a team. But can their team last or will things between them change when all is over?

This is my second story by this author. Many fans say amazing things about her most successful series called Vampires in America but sincerely, after having read the first book in that series I have to say I don't share the same enthusiasm. Therefore, I was pretty reluctant to try this one and I imagined it would be more of the same. Sadly, to me, it more or less was. I do think this is a better story but several items made me think it wasn't very good.

I'll simply enumerate the reasons why this didn't exactly worked for me...
1) The concept was interesting but the plot wasn't. I had the feeling nothing really happened in terms of plot development and I can't understand if it was because there wasn't much to go on or if the focus simply wasn't on it, if there wasn't much balance to sustain the chase after the talisman while Casey and Damian dealt with personal issues.

2) The individual characterization of both protagonists left a lot to be desired. Damian doesn't have much to support him for more than one reason, but especially because he has been dormant for millennia. He is a good guy, he has been a great warrior and friend but I didn't get to know anything about him special enough to make it a need. I was fine knowing or not knowing but then his character didn't seem very well built.
Casey was more intriguing, the focus was clearly on her and she is more intriguing but her attitude is so.... I understand she is a tough girl, used to be independent and to be confidant in who she is, in her abilities, but some of her attitude towards life is too harsh and I didn't think I'd like to meet her in real life if she existed. She's not a bad person but some of her choices annoyed me.

3) The main couple's relationship isn't one. That cannot be a relationship, they just met, they didn't, they shouldn't have gone into sex right away no matter what! Why are books nowadays all about insta-sex, even tough or self confidant people must have some doubt before embarking on personal relationships and being sexually vulnerable with someone else. Come on... well, it's the way it is, I didn't find it funny or amazing and that made the whole story look even weirder because why bother being the professional you claim you are if you're too busy thinking the guy is good in bed...

4) Details. So many little things that should have been used to enhance the story and not make it weak. Nico and Damian haven't seen each other for ages, Nico feels guilty since ever and as soon as he hears Damian is alive does he let go of everything to meet him? No.
Casey is a professional and when she knows a clue was given to Damian and not her, does she stop to think strategically? No, she goes and acts stupidly alone.
We spent time listening about how this was, how that was in the past for Damian and Nico but does that help the characters grow? No, it was just noise.
I could go on to even smaller things but I'd repeat myself.

I think this story has good elements that written about well, could have been a good story but maybe it's just me, I don't think the author has the best style for my taste. Se sure works out well for many, though. I'm still thinking about a third try, about a different series again...if that one doesn't work when I finally get to it then...stop. There are way to many books in my pile to be read.
Grade: 5/10

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Accidental findings

I was browsing some of the bookish sites I usually visit and saw this article:

I think it's quite interesting, that special moment you find a book, not what you would usually read but how it shaped part - if not all - your reading life from that moment on.
I guess I have two of those moments, when in my grandmother's house, my uncle's book collection included a good sized number of books and it was when I first read a Jules Verne book, which opened up my eyes to adult reads when I was 13 or 14 - I had read other adult books at the time but not by an author I wanted to repeat, so it was a good finding. Michael Strogoff is still one of my favorite literary memories.
I was still keeping up with juvenile books though but the day I tried to climb the local library stairs in hopes of finding some intriguing title or romance in the adult floor, I stumbled on Agatha Christie's Death in the Nile. I stopped going to the juvenile section and that was it.
Finding random books at certain moments can be very helpful. If only we could have time to read everything....
What about you?