Showing posts with label time-travel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label time-travel. Show all posts

Monday, November 28, 2016

[Review] The Blazing Star - Imani Josey: Time-Travel and Ancient Egypt

In THE BLAZING STAR, Portia touches a scarab and accidentally time-travels to ancient Egypt.

What intrigued me: Black girl on the cover! <3

Slow Start, but Killer Setting

THE BLAZING STAR is a hard one. It takes an immense amount of time until the premise kicks in. The first 60ish pages are spent introducing characters and bantering and simply filler. I almost lost interest completely because the premise of time-travel and ancient Egypt just isn't delivering from the get-go. Especially because this is only 239 pages that's a little disappointing. But I'm glad I stuck around. 

When protagonist Portia is finally transported to Egypt, Josey packs a punch and shows what she's capable of. THE BLAZING STAR is written beautifully, with lush imagery and such an ease that it's a pleasure to fly through the story. I'm fascinated with the time travel aspect and it's one of my favorite favorite things to read about. Josey definitely didn't disappoint, she amazed. 

I just love love love Josey's rendition of ancient Egypt. I had the images right before my eyes and felt like a lot of research went into creating this. Culturally sensitive and lovely, I just love how Josey doesn't play into stereotypes and strives for authenticity instead. All my love for seeing writers strive for that.

Diversity and Charming Egyptians

Because of the slow beginning in the high school there's a lot of time to be spent with Portia and the side characters, but the characters I grew to love the most are actually -all- Egyptians. Her world building and characters are just so much stronger in this part of the book and I wish wish wish that there had been more. Because the characters and the world are that great. 

I think it's obvious that this is an extremely diverse book starring a Black protagonist (I mean look at the gorgeous cover), but I'm still going to spell it out. This book mostly takes place in ancient Egypt and of course everyone is Black. Extremely diverse and extremely great.

Go read THE BLAZING STAR.


Rating:

★★★½☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

If you can look over the structural issues, THE BLAZING STAR is definitely a book you shouldn't skip if you love fantasy, diversity, and time-travel. Portia's journey through ancient Egypt is mesmerizing and so is Imani Josey's writing.


// review copy provided by Rich in Variety Tours //


Additional Info

Published: December 6th 2016
Pages: 239
Publisher: Wise Ink
Genre: YA / Historical Fantasy
ISBN: 9781945769160

Synopsis:
"Sixteen-year-old Portia White is used to being overlooked—after all, her twin sister Alex is a literal genius.

But when Portia holds an Egyptian scarab beetle during history class, she takes center stage in a way she never expected: she faints. Upon waking, she is stronger, faster, and braver than before. And when she accidentally touches the scarab again?

She wakes up in ancient Egypt—her sister and an unwitting freshman in tow.

Great.

Mysterious and beautiful, Egypt is more than they could have ever imagined from their days in the classroom. History comes alive as the three teens realize that getting back to the present will be the most difficult thing they’ve ever done. Stalked by vicious monsters called Scorpions, every step in the right direction means a step closer to danger.

As Portia and the girls discover that they’re linked to the past by more than just chance, they have to decide what it truly means to be yourself, to love your sister, and to find your way home."(Source: Goodreads)



What's your favorite time-travel read?

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Friday, January 9, 2015

[Review] Sapphire Blue (Precious Stone #2) - Kerstin Gier: Just Get On With It!

In "Sapphire Blue", the second novel in the Precious Stone Trilogy by Kerstin Gier, 16-year-old time traveler Gwyneth Sheppard basically continues right where she left off in "Ruby Red". We're still trying to figure out whether her cousin Lucy Montrose and her boyfriend Paul De Villiers are villains and we're still looking for the odd one out that got the whole looking-for-the-traitor thing going on.

Like I already critiqued in my review of "Ruby Red", you can't read this thing without having read the first novel. It's impossible because the story is just cut in three parts and published in three novels without any real cliffhangers or a real justification. Well, aside from wanting to make some extra cash of course. To me it's all just one big novel and that's what made me have such a hard time reading "Sapphire Blue".

Because I've read the first novel in German I also had a lot of difficulties with the name changes and the distinct vocabulary. I still don't get why they had to change Gwendolyn into Gwyneth, but okay. (Writing 1/5)

There are still, after having read an entire novel set in their world, too many goshdarn characters and I found myself cramming out "Ruby Red" in order to look up what relation which character had to whom. That's not even enough, to make it all more complicated more and more characters are joining the party and I contemplated drawing a character map for myself, because I really just didn't understand who was talking and what their business was. In addition to that suddenly everyone has a distinct military rank that isn't explained any further. Why give that information to us without explaining it? Frustrating!  It's just annoying to be unable to follow the story without knowing all family trees (plus their corresponding precious stones and abilities) by heart. Don't even get me started on those idiotic prophecies that aren't even 1% mysterious and still had to be repeated four zillion times so that even the last person that dosed off, figured out the magic abilities before the characters.

The new characters aren't really necessary and the sidekick gargoyle-demon-thing Xemerius just made me want to give up on the book. I understand that it might be tempting to add a witty side character that can act as a spy for the protagonist, but the comments and his entirely unexplained being just ... no. I'd rather have James, the school ghost, as Gwyneth's companion than that annoying thing. Gideon is probably the most unlikeable love interest after Will Traynor from "Me Before You" that I've encountered lately. And come on, how old is that whole "my love was just a trick ... wait but now I'm actually in love" plot line thing? Every romantic comedy movie ever, huh? I can't even say that Gwyneth is stupid for falling for it because she seems to genuinely care about the dude. God knows why. Probably because he's pretty. That leads to the next point: Please don't give everyone the notion that teen girls all fall in love with the next dude that's handsome. In "Sapphire Blue" everyone is all over the hot dudes, except Lesley, Gwyneth's best friend, who seems like the only one isn't completely immune to common sense. (Characters 2/5)

Despite everything I said I didn't like so far, I haven't even as much as started talking about the biggest and worst thing about this novel. The plot is completely bonkers. There are scenes that have been in the first novel and are said to take place in the future, that didn't even happen in the sequel. The timelines are criss-crossed several times and you CANNOT expect the average reader to keep up with this mess.
For example: Gideon and Gwyneth travel to ... let's say 23rd October 1783 in Ruby Red. Then because of another undated travel taking place in the future something happens. Gideon and Gwyneth travel to 21st October 1783 in Sapphire Blue and meet the Count of Saint-Germain who references ANOTHER travel that they haven't even made yet. Rinse and repeat infinite times.

I couldn't keep up and I really didn't care anymore. Then cram in some making out and whining about that awful love triangle Charlotte/Gwyneth/Gideon and there you go, you successfully annoyed me right out of this trilogy! (Plot 0/5)

Rating: ★☆☆☆

Overall: Do I Recommend?

Absolutely not. The first novel was fun and really got me on the whole time-travel-train and I hoped for the best. The secon novel isn't really a novel on its own, just a terrible way to make more money out of a story that isn't really suitable for a trilogy. The same question gets asked over and over again, the theme of the entire series is "Are Lucy and Paul evil" and "What happens when they get the blood of all twelve time travelers". Had they cut some scenes and not crammed the entire storyline of TWO novels into ONE week, this would have been amazing. But like this, I have no intention of ever reading "Emerald Green" and I actually wouldn't even recommend "Ruby Red" anymore, now that I've read this disappointing sequel.

Official Synopsis:
"Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.
At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out."



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