Posts Tagged With: ya book

Series Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone – 4/5

Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

smoke daughter2daughter3

It may be possible that these are the prettiest YA series covers ever. Srsly.

To those of you who pick up this book – I recommend you buy/borrow the other two from the trilogy at the same time. You’re going to want to read them all in quick succession.

I love this series’s imagination, the colors, the scenes. It’s all so beautiful. The setting is incredible – Prague, the art studio, Poison. Even better are the people! Humans, angels, and creatures – they are all fascinating. Taylor does such a great job of showing me everything without overloading me with exposition. I can see so much, and I don’t even think that’s because I’ve traveled to many of the places (Prague and Marrakesh being two main settings – gorgeous on paper and in real life!).

Then there’s a plot. It has the scary angels which fascinate me (quick plug for how awesome Angelfall is) along with just as fascinating underworld beings. I love the way you’re not sure who is good and who is bad. The action is intense on both a large and a small scale.

Book one, for me, was an obvious 5 out of 5 – hit it out of the park kind of style.  But, with the curse of most trilogies (in my opinion), the second and third books get too weighty.  The second book doesn’t move nearly quick enough and the super bad-a** main character (necessarily) stumbles and whines and moans a bit. I get that Karou was going through hardship, but it’s just not fun as a reader to see how long it takes her to see what is right in front of her face.

Book two ramps up at the end and by the time you make it through book three, you’ll feel all weepy for not seeing more of the characters (at least I did) – Zuzana, Mik, Liraz, Hazael, Issa, Ziri, and, of course, Karou and Akiva. I loved them all, particularly the humans, throughout the whole process. The fighting, the plotting, it was all so beautifully done. I love how little right and wrong there is (did I say that already?  Well, it’s true). Every once in a while you get your certainty for who is inherent good or evil, but I love how the idea of angels and demons just doesn’t hold up. It’s a beautiful message, all and all.

The book should have ended at the end of the battle, when we know who won. Truly. It did not need to go on into this whole other plot. I’m not sure where Taylor was taking all of that – there were too many new ideas (and characters, for that matter) introduced in the final book. I think it was all one giant plot line that wasn’t needed. I think the core plot was perfect on its own.

Even though I have a few qualms, I loved the trilogy. Per usual, book one was the best and one I ate up quickly, but the other two well supported it all. Definitely a great YA series to pick up!

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YA Book Review: Impluse – 3.5 of 5

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins

impulse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I checked this book out from the library, I didn’t bother to crack the cover. I just went on my merry way. When I finally opened the book I almost snapped it right shut – I had no idea it was written entirely in verse (or close enough). I’ve only read one book in this style before, long ago, and it didn’t sit too well. I decided to keep an open mind, though, and jumped in. Overall, I’m glad I did. This book is a solid 3.5 with enough oomph to round up instead of down.

I could have done without that style of writing and just gone with the prose, but it worked. It focused more on the characters and their thoughts and required less regarding the setting and other goings-on (not that those were absent). I also enjoyed the way the three characters’ pages actually looked different. It was an easy way to tell apart the voices (which was needed, since otherwise everyone was similar in their manner of speaking).

This book is angsty to the extreme. It’s necessary, a book about three characters who failed at suicide is bound to be angsty, but it’s still good to know coming in. Despite all their problems, I found their ability to move through the Levels of their care too easy. This book is pro-medication as a fixer; I know meds help many people, so I’m not knocking it, the book just makes the opinion obvious. The workers at this group are strangely oblivious – maybe that’s another statement being made as well. I think by the end we as readers all knew something was going to happen (this type of book couldn’t be all happy-go-lucky, after all) but that unfortunately made the “happening” dulled.

Despite a few of my misgivings, I think this is a very solid YA book about many difficult subjects. My absolute favorite part of the book is how these three characters see each other. I love, love, love how Hopkins did this characterization. All three people, of course, hate themselves in some way (who doesn’t, especially as an adolescent?) but they all see each other as wonderful. They all see the others as strong and capable and beautiful. It’s a great message and woven in very subtly.

Overall – not bad and it’s worth it to try something new!

Categories: Pick Ups, Weekly Review, Young Adult | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

YA Book Review: This is What Happy Looks Like – 3 of 5

This is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

happy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

You know what this book needs? I little whoopie to go with all those whoopie pies. (Heeeey oh!) You can’t have a super dashing movie star and a cutesy red head and only have a couple of chaste kisses. Is that a spoiler? Apologies, friends.

It’s not that I didn’t like the book. I did. In fact, I power read the book in about 6 hours. Usually that means it’s a home run, but instead, as I closed the cover, I didn’t feel much of anything. Imagine a meal at your local supper club. (Aka: the Lobster Pot) You leave with that happy, full-stomach feeling, but it’s nothing to write home abut.

The whole book has an ongoing feel of anti-climax. All the characters think they are taking a giant leap of faith, but in truth it’s only a hop. The “mix-up” of people in the beginning is quickly resolved. Ellie’s mom issue is short lived, her father issue is almost confronted, but not really, and movie star’s parent issues aren’t really issues at all. Even the difficult personalities of Olivia and Quinn end up fizzling.

The problem with this book is it’s too damn realistic. Smith has taken a straight forward, real-world approach – where grudges aren’t really held, where big plans fall through, and where love doesn’t have to be a big deal. Love can flow into life and slowly grow. That’s a wonderful truth about life, but it’s not what we want to read in books. We want big bangs and daring leaps – especially when one of the main characters is a movie star. Instead we get sprinkles and taffy. It’s all lovely, but it’s not enough.

Also – how is it that we never got o meet Wilbur the pig? I was so looking forward to that!

Categories: Weekly Review, Young Adult | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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