Showing posts with label assassin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label assassin. Show all posts

Friday, March 24, 2017

[Review] The Kiss of Deception (Remnant Chronicles #1) - Mary E. Pearson: Runaway Princesses and Assassins

In THE KISS OF DECEPTION, princess Lia runs away from home on the day she is supposed to get married to the prince of a nearby kingdom.

What intrigued me: I don't know. I guess I wanted a decent high fantasy read.

Romance and Love Triangles

Ebony Dark'ness Dem- ... um I meant Arabella Celestine Idris Jezelia is your typtical runaway princess with special powers who falls herself torn between the prince she was supposed to marry and the assassin sent to kill her for fleeing the wedding.

It doesn't sound very original and really doesn't read that way either. THE KISS OF DECEPTION really reads like a very lengthy set up for a boring love triangle in a world that isn't interesting or original either. If you're generally a romance reither, you may like this, but since I was looking for fantastic world building and epic high fantasy, THE KISS OF DECEPTION fell more than just flat for me. There is just too much plot convenience and instant love to make all that even remotely interesting. THE KISS OF DECEPTION really is just a read for hardcore romance fans. The rest of the story is filled out with aimlessly wandering around, reminiscing, and of course the obligatory run-ins with the evil peoples of the surrounding kingdoms. 

Very uncreative world building

What instantly irked me about THE KISS OF DECEPTION is the world building. The protagonist's home kingdom is surrounded by other kingdoms whose inhabitants are described as vicious barbarians that dance around fires and bite heads off, and dangerous vagabonds (often called g*psies). It's quite obvious that both of these peoples are very clear allusions to the very common savage aggressor trope and of course a questionable portrayal of Romani people. Generally, I just wish authors would stop inlcuding that in their books. I'm done reading about it. If it's not #ownvoices or historical fiction, can we stop basing our fantasy races on real people or disgusting stereotypes of them? It's not 1930 anymore. It's fantasy - make something up instead of halfheartedly writing down maybe/maybe not offensive portrayals of real peoples.

THE KISS OF DECEPTION generally severely lacks creativity when it comes to the world and the plot. Nothing happens for the majority of the narrative and blank spots are filled with ramblings and passive narration. Considering that this book is more than 490+ pages long (550 in my translated version!), this is a tough read.


Rating:

★☆☆☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE KISS OF DECEPTION really is just your average not-so-special high fantasy read with a love triangle. The lack of plot and questionable world building made me raise eyebrows more than actually get me invested.

[If there are any Romani reviewers who read this - let me know, I'd be happy to link your review here.]

Additional Info

Published: July 14th 2014
Pages: 489
Publisher: Henry Holt & Co.
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9780805099232

Synopsis:
"A princess must find her place in a reborn world.

She flees on her wedding day.

She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.

She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.

She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.

The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.

Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love."
(Source: Goodreads)



What's your favorite high fantasy read?

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

[Review] Assassins: Discord (Assassins #1) - Erica Cameron: Girls Who Like Girls, Murder, and Action, Baby!

In ASSASSINS: DISCORD, assassin Kindra who has been raised to follow the rules, starts rebelling.

What intrigued me: f/f. Enough said.


Fast-paced action-style writing

I was really excited for ASSASSINS: DISCORD. I really really wanted this to succeed, because of the winning combination - fast-paced action + assassination + lady-loving ladies? 
Who doesn't need this in their lives? Unfortunately it was the writing style at the end of the day that irked me the most. 

The way the reader gets thrown into the story isn't written elegantly enough to make it that kind of smooth action-filled, thrilling story ASSASSINS: DISCORD wants to be. It definitely is written like an action movie - cut scenes, lots of different scenery, no time wasted. Murder, car chases, walking away from explosions, spying - you'll find all of that in this book. That's all without exception a great thing, however combined with the writing it doesn't translate very well in my opinion.

I had tremendous problems even establishing the characters, even understanding what is going on and why it is going on. I went in blind without reading the blurb, which I really don't recommend you do. You're going to want to cling to every little bit of information you can find without spoiling the novel for yourself, because ASSASSINS: DISCORD doesn't waste time explaining anything. It simply reads like the second book in a trilogy. I actually went back and checked because I was afraid I had accidentally picked up the second book instead of the first.  

Very plot-driven

A fantastic asset of ASSASSINS: DISCORD is the representation. You'll find characters of many different sexualities in here and also a cheeky little f/f romance that I won't say too much about, only that I enjoyed  that but that we got tremendously. At times I was hoping that the author went more for it, and really really pursued that romance. However, this is a plot-driven book and that's really minor criticism.

But again, I have to criticize a bit; because this is so fast-paced the characters are lacking slightly. From the start I couldn't really identify with anyone or even get attached to anyone, simply because they aren't really introduced. Of course this will also then have an impact on how you perceive the romantic subplot, and how you read this story. 

ASSASSINS: DISCORD is a really really fast, quick book. Sometimes you have to be careful, because it may overtake you.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Sure. ASSASSINS: DISCORD is the read for people who like their thrillers diverse and their ladies loving ladies. It gains a lot of sympathy points with that and really makes me turn a blind eye to the couple of issues I had with it. You will, too.



Additional Info

Published: September 5th 2016
Publisher: Riptide Publishing / Triton Books
Genre: YA / Thriller

Synopsis:
"Kindra’s moral compass has never pointed north, but that’s what happens when you’re raised as an assassin and a thief. At sixteen, she’s fantastic with a blade, an expert at slipping through the world unnoticed, and trapped in a life she didn’t chose. But nothing in her training prepares her for what happens when her father misses a target.

In the week-long aftermath, Kindra breaks rank for the first time in her life. She steals documents, starts questioning who their client is and why the target needs to die, botches a second hit on her father’s target, and is nearly killed. And that’s before she’s kidnapped by a green-eyed stranger connected to a part of her childhood she’d almost forgotten.

Kindra has to decide who to trust and which side of the battle to fight for. She has to do it fast and she has to be right, because the wrong choice will kill her just when she’s finally found something worth living for."(Source: Goodreads)



What's your favorite assassin book?

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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

15-Year-Old Protagonists Confuse Me | YA Talk

I can't be the only one who noticed this. Suddenly you're a twenty-something and go back to your favorite novels as a teen, maybe your even starting a new YA book.

The protagonist is a badass space avenger, fighting for the rights of cannibalistic aliens on a planet that's on the verge of being destroyed by an evil overlord.

They're great at combat, a feared assassin and know no mercy to anyone who comes in their way. They're also fifteen.

?????????????

Maybe I'm just old, but when I look back at the time when I was fifteen - I didn't fight evil alien kings. I awkwardly tried to make it through high school. I would've probably peed my pants if somebody handed me a gun, even though I would have loudly proclaimed that I would shoot all the bad guys given the opportunity. I never would've gone through with it though. It could be that this was just the mentality of my generation, but I always cringe when I notice how YOUNG the protagonists of popular YA novels are.

I don't get why common themes, even in contemporary YA fiction are love, sex and civil uprisings, when you've got a fifteen year old protagonist on the loose.

Is puberty even a thing in YA?

It's funny how I haven't read a single YA novel featuring puberty without being only about that.

  • Badass assassins don't seem to struggle growing a beard (I mean, we all know, 16-year-old guys all look like twenty-five and can grow full beards within a week at will)
  • 17-year-old girls are masters of seduction and have every guy at their feet because they could pass for twenty as well
  • No body insecurity in sight. 
  • No acne. 
  • Flawless skin and good hair days all the way!
  • Everybody is ready and interested in sex at the same age
Sign me up for living in that world.


You're 18, you're an adult now, right?

I understand that teenagers want to read about people their age going on magical adventures and exploring new worlds.

Every time I read a novel with protagonist 5 or even more years younger than me I'm baffled at how little most novels deal with problems of people who are ACTUALLY that age. They're little adults.
Think about Caelena Sardothien from "Throne of Glass". Think about Katniss Everdeen from "The Hunger Games". If you'd put a real-life grown up in their position, they'd probably pee their pants. 

This is even more unsettling if you consider the fact that YA literature is still frowned about these days, when basically, it features characters that could've been ten years older and nobody would have noticed. Of course there's YA with super immature characters as well, but there doesn't really seem to be an inbetween category in the majority of novels that I read.


Who cares? It's only fiction.

Is it? My whole life I thought that by eighteen I would have figured my whole life out and would probably have experienced a lot of amazing things already. The bitter truth is, you're not even remotely an adult at eighteen and those YA novels I read my entire life didn't really prepare me for that.

Of course you can't argue that fiction reading is the cause of that, but it surely should contribute to your positive development as a "young adult", shouldn't it? The problematic thing about this is that those novels really reflect badly on young, impressionable readers. At least I think that.

So what should we do?

I'm not saying we should stop reading YA with young protagonists saving the world and not batting an eyelash. Representation is key.

I want more novels with heroes and heroines that:
  • Don't want any part in saving the world and flat out refuse
  • Are scared to death every time they're faced with life or death situations
  • Think dating their crush is more important than the fate of the universe
  • Are stubborn, immature and stupid, because we all go through phases like this
  • Simply don't care.
  • Let their mom/dad deal with it
  • Are the sidekick. Not everyone has to be a hero. Not even main characters
I'm sick of reading about teenagers making the right and wise decisions. I want realistic portrayals. 

Maybe you know novels like that and can give me recommendations?

What do you think about unrealistically young protagonists?



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Hey Authors, Why Is LGBTQ Representation So Hard? 
I Fall For Problematic Love Interests 
Are Diverse Characters and Representation Unnecessary?
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