Showing posts with label vampires. Show all posts
Showing posts with label vampires. Show all posts

Monday, May 1, 2017

[Review] The Coldest Girl in Coldtown - Holly Black: Vampire Segregation and An Actually Quite Fun Love Triangle


In THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN, Tana is among the sole survivors of a vampire attack. Supported by a vampire and her infected ex-boyfriend she now has to find a way to save her ex from fully turning.

What intrigued me: I'm attempting to read every vampire novel ever published.




Fresh concept, but a very, very frustrating read

THE COLDEST GIRL IN COLDTOWN definitely brings a fresh concept to the table and surprised me with it. I love the idea of Coldtowns and the way Black treats vampires in this new world. 

However, the execution of it all couldn't really grip me as much as I would have liked. The writing is very difficult - it reads like you're trying wade through mud and the reading flow is often broken by narrative passages.

There are flashback-like narrative info dump passages at the beginning of every chapter that annoyed me immensely. The story is very interesting and getting thrown off the main storyline by having to read through these flashbacks is a little irritating. All of these do serve a purpose, but I think they could've been implemented into the story more elegantly. Because of all this narration the concept is basically trampled down and it took me ages to read even a couple of pages of this. I never really got really into the story, couldn't possibly because of all those flashbacks, and it's really sad because I love the basic idea.

The first love triangle I tolerate, but an annoying cliche vampire

The characters are interesting, If you're going to do a love triangle, please do it like Black. I loved how her annoying ex-boyfriend tried to compete for her attention while vampire Gavriel wasn't even trying. I absolutely loved the relationship Tana and Aiden have and it's super amusing to read - I almost wish there was a contemporary novel about the two. 

However, it doesn't get more vampire cliche than Gavriel. Strangely talking in a weird accent, extremely aware of every phrase he speaks. 
I have a huge problem with characters who speaks in awkward, archaic lingo and it almost never works. The entire time Gavriel was on screen I pictured the author trying to come up with a witty, deep line rather than the character. He seemed utterly one-dimensional and pretty unappealing to me. It's kinda sad that this otherwise so fresh and promising read plays into the typical vampire stereotype personality-wise with him. 


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Ugh, difficult. I think it's not a must-read. I like that it's a stand-alone, but the writing made this terribly difficult for me to read and I just am not a fan. Probably not. 



Additional Info

Published: September 3rd 2013
Pages: 419
Publisher: Little Brown Books
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Vampires
ISBN: 9780316213103

Synopsis:
"Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown's gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself."(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite vampire novel?

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Monday, March 28, 2016

[Review] City of Glass (TMI #3) - Cassandra Clare: This Whole Incest Drama Is Getting Old



In CITY OF GLASS, the gang has to travel to Idris to find the one person that can help save Clary's mother and awaken her from the sleeping spell.

What intrigued me: Well, I had my issues with CITY OF ASHES and powered through it because I was hoping it would get better.


It all goes downhill from here...

What really caught my interest in this series in the first place was the brilliant first person narration in CITY OF BONES. By the third installment every character gets a point of view passage, even minor characters. There are multiple POV changes, sometimes even twice per page, and the only purpose they serve is info-dumping. 

Clare dumps information wherever she can, introducing minor characters for the sole purpose of narrating a bedtime story length flashback that nobody wants and nobody needs to understand the story. The main storyline is Clary, Simon and the shadowhunter gang (Isabelle, Alex, Magnus, Jace) going to the shadowhunter country Idris to find a cure for Clary's mother who has been in a coma for what feels like 78 years.

In itself, that's a great premise right there and I was hoping the series would start to catch my attention again, but it really just got worse. There are too many characters, too many complicated family relations that nobody cares about, and the reader is just not grounded. I wasn't rooting for anyone, how could I possibly when there are POV changes all the time? Not a single character in this is properly developed and just changing the POV doesn't really mask that. 

Who are all these people???

Yet again, I did not care. Clary and Jace are so replaceable and annoying, three books of their weird incest romance aren't going to change anything. I didn't care about them, even less about the mysterious new guy in Clary's life that's trying very desperately to kick off a new love triangle. I just... I can't. I'm sorry, but the character relationships are just non-existent. I had no fun, I wasn't rooting for anyone. 
I kept flipping back and forth trying to remember who all these shadowhunter families and their 427847382 offsprings are, I feel like you need an actual lexicon with all the names in order to understand everything that's going on. It's just not for me. It's too complicated, it requires way more attention that I'm willing to give, and I'm just really over it. 


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Absolutely not. One bad sequel is all every book series I start gets. But two bad sequels are unforgiveable.



Additional Info

Published: March 24th 2009
Pages: 541
Publisher: Margaret McElderry Books
Genre: YA / Fantasy / Urban Fantasy
ISBN: 9781416914303

Synopsis:
"To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters - never mind that entering the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.

As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadowhunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadowhunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City - whatever the cost?"(Source: Goodreads)



 Did you make it past CITY OF GLASS? What's your secret?

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Friday, March 4, 2016

[Review] Monsterland - Michael Phillip Cash: Jurassic Park - Now With Vampires and Zombies!





In MONSTERLAND, Wyatt is invited to the opening of a theme park showcasing vampires, werewolves, zombies, and many more terrifying creatures.


What intrigued me: Excellent blurb and premise.

Poor writing and flat characters

The premise of MONSTERLAND is pretty much an accident waiting to happen. It's very reminiscent of Jurassic Park, but ultimately the premise couldn't quite be fulfilled to the extent that I would've liked - mainly because of the writing. I found it too descriptive, from lengthy landscape descriptions to changes in point of view and flat characters. All characters are very much clichés, act predictably and are involuntarily, almost cringe-worthily funny while doing so.

My least favorite thing are the frequent changes in POV that just make it impossible to sympathize with the characters. Generally this novel would have benefited tremendously from being written from person's POV. 

Generic and not scary

While I was initially intrigued by the blurb, there isn't much more to this novel than that. It's very predictable. Following the example of the Jurassic Park movies, MONSTERLAND never quite manages to develop originality and it just isn't flattering. Even the very generic, poorly-written villain couldn't improve this. I was hoping to be scared, to have that eerie feel from the Jurassic Park movies, maybe even the occasional jump scare. Overall, I wasn't scared, I wasn't even remotely unsettled, which was what I was hoping to get from MONSTERLAND.

For me, MONSTERLAND isn't able to stand on its own, always overshadowed by the so much better movies which clearly were the inspiration for this.


Rating:

☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

MONSTERLAND has a nice idea, but absolutely fails in the execution. I would love to see this topic executed once more, but with better writing.



Additional Info

Published: 2015
Pages: 284
Publisher: Createspace
Genre: YA / Horror
ISBN: 9781517180676

Synopsis:
"Welcome to Monsterland – the scariest place on Earth. All guests can interact with real vampires in Vampire Village, be chased by an actual werewolf on the River Run, and walk among the dead in Zombieville.
Wyatt Baldwin, a high school student and life-long movie buff is staring bleakly at a future of flipping burgers. Due to a fortuitous circumstance, Wyatt and his friends are invited to the star-studded opening of Monsterland. In a theme park full of real vampires, werewolves and zombies, what could possibly go wrong? "(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite horror novel?

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

[Review] The Human Cure - Tracy Auerbach





In THE HUMAN CURE, Kate gets kidnapped by the vampire Hunter and held captive in an underground city to become a breeder for him.

What intrigued me: As if I could ever, ever say no to a vampire book, guys.

Old school vampires!

Sometimes books seem to find you at the perfect time. THE HUMAN CURE looks like a scary vampire read, possibly with a side of romance. But what it actually is, is a flat out hilarious, incredibly witty, and captivating fun urban fantasy story. This is fast-paced, strangely funny, and a delight for any vampire lover.

I loved all the characters. I seldom say that because there's always one I despise, especially with a dual POV (which is almost never done well). I love, love, love how this isn't your average "girl meets swoony, mysterious boy. they kiss. they are in love now. but wait, he's a vampire!!!" story. It's actually quite the opposite. The vampires in THE HUMAN CURE are reckless, mean, rude, and absolutely perfect. This is how I like my vampires - old school and angry. I'm so very glad I decided to read this.

All the basic ingredients for the perfect fun vampire read

The biggest issue I had with this is the length. THE HUMAN CURE is truly a fun and entertaining read, but I struggled a little with connecting to the characters up until the end, just because this is such a short novel. Sometimes it felt like the characters were rushing from one scene to the next, and I just wanted it all to slow down a little, give the reader more time to fall in love with the undoubtedly unique concept and great characters.
The novel doesn't do itself a favor by being so fast-paced. The writing style and sentence structure mirrors the pace of the novel - it's quick, it's down to the point, it's devoid of metaphors and anything that doesn't bring the story forward. That's not a bad thing necessarily, it's very easy to read, but it makes getting attached a little difficult and doesn't compliment the world building (which has so much potential!).

What I cherished most about this is the very unexpected hilarity. I grew very attached to Hunter's vampire cousin Chase, whose dead-pan tone and dislike of humans is definitely the highlight. The protagonist Kate has a bunch of lines that almost made laugh-cry, too! THE HUMAN CURE is really entertaining and that's exactly what I wanted from this - a short distraction that made me laugh. You can't argue with that, it's a great read.


Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

I do. It's quick, it's fun, it won't hurt to read this. If you like your vampires mean and gore-y, you're going to love Chase just as much as I do.



Additional Info


Published: 5th November 2014
Pages: 167
Publisher: 48fourteen
Genre: Adult / Paranormal / Vampires
ISBN: 9781937546366

Synopsis:
"Kate Plesser is leading a dead-end life as an office assistant with a penchant for bad relationships. She is lost. When Kate is kidnapped by Hunter, a gorgeous stranger, she assumes he is just some sick psychopath. She never suspects he is actually a vampire, and that she is about to be plunged into a world stranger than her wildest dreams. In the underground city where Hunter lives, she encounters his otherworldly cousin Chase, who holds the key to her freedom. She is thrust into a village where humans are farmed for feeding and breeding. In this mysterious new world beneath Queens, New York, Kate finds something she never expected."
(Source: Goodreads)

What's your favorite vampire novel?

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Monday, January 25, 2016

[Review]: City of Ashes (TMI #2) - Cassandra Clare



In CITY OF ASHES, the second book in the The Mortal Instruments series, über villain Valentine Morgenstern steals the second of the mortal instruments very conveniently shortly before it will be used in a trial against Jace.

I liked the first book alright, but didn't really enjoy this one at all. There is a multitude of reasons for that, mostly because it's nothing like the first. 

Not what I bargained for

CITY OF ASHES isn't told from Clary's perspective. The booksisn't even about Clary anymore. The first one set up a new world being introduced to her and gave off the vibe that it all would be about her. But really, the books are more about showcasing this insanely big world Clare has created. 

The new omniscient narrating perspective is very confusing and makes this feel more like an adult novel than a YA. In general, this is unlike any YA I've ever read. It's hardly possible to root for any characters because the perspectives are changed all the time, a new character gets introduced every twenty pages and also brings more information dump with them. 

Clare is the queen of information dump. Oddly enough, she seems to be aware of this and just decides to stop explaining 3/4 into the book. New weapons, new demons, new runes, everything thrown at you without any explanation whatsoever. I feel like you need a lexicon to read this. I had no idea what was happening to whom with what weapon and how half the time. Trying to make sense of action scenes is very short from being torture. 

Why it's not worth DNF-ing either

There's a lot wrong with this book and I didn't enjoy it half as much as I did CITY OF BONES, which didn't even receive a very good review from me either. 

However, this insane world full of new concepts and beings is just too interesting to quit. The writing is sub-par at most, full of cringe-worthy similes and annoying foreshadowing, and unlikeable characters. Still, I probably won't quit this series. I want to know what Valentine did to Clary and Jace. I want to know more about this world. And this is why these books are so popular and beloved, I think.
Even when you acknowledge and fully realize it's mediocre at most, you won't quit. You won't want to. Let's hope the third one doesn't make me want to claw my eyes out.


Rating:

★★☆☆

  

Overall: Do I Recommend?

Ugh. I'm not even going to attempt to answer this truthfully. They're a guilty pleasure. Just do whatever you want but be aware that this isn't high class literature.



Additional Info

Original Title: City of Ashes
Author: Cassandra Clare
Published: March 28th 2008
Pages: 453
Genre: YA / Fantasy / Urban
ISBN: 9781416914297

Synopsis:
"Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father?"(Source: Goodreads)


 Have you read CITY OF ASHES?

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Monday, November 9, 2015

[Review] The Rise (The Originals #1) - Julie Plec





In "The Rise" by Julie Plec, the three original siblings Rebekah, Elijah, and Niklaus find themselves fighting for the reign over New Orleans in 1722.

Werewolves and witches are ruling the city and the siblings choose the most inconvenient time possible to all fall in love.


Wait, haven't I seen this before?

While I do like the TV show, the novel is a very different thing. The characters do not feel true to the show and there is a lot of instant love involved.

Instead of the sanguinary, dangerous original hybrid Niklaus we get a love-struck doofus that is instantly falling in love with the first ~special~ girl he sees. Elijah's story line feels just like filler and we've seen him fall in love with witches before. Of course Rebecca is choosing another vampire hunter to fall in love with. It's all been done in the show before and it's extremely disappointing because I was hoping for additional content, not just a rewrite of things we've already heard and seen. 

The story around the werewolves and witches fighting over New Orleans feels very repetitive if you've seen the show. In the book, the three siblings have arrived in New Orleans and are desperately looking for a place to stay in a city that's already crowded with supernatural creatures. Sound familiar? We have repetitive filler love interests, the same setting, and characters that are in no way comparable to the compelling and exciting characters from the show.

It's very hard to keep up

However, the main problem I have with this book is not the repetitive plot or the characters. If you look over all of that and just read it without actually thinking too hard about this being a novelization of the show, it's an okay read. It's well-written, but the writing is insanely dense, which just makes it super hard to keep up with everything that's happening and get invested in the characters. 
We have three separate story lines for the siblings that play out at the same time. This is only a 400-page-book so there's not much time to develop the plot in much detail. All plot lines end up resolved very conveniently for the siblings to further the plot and it's just not exciting. The second they face an obstacle, you can be sure that it's going to get resolved in the next chapter.


Rating:

★★☆☆



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Well-written, but just not the same thing as the TV show. The plot is very similar but the characters feel off. I would have enjoyed this way more, had it only focused on one of the siblings. The story is interesting but is too dense to be crammed into a 400-page-novel. Stick to the show, this is only for super fans.


Additional Info

Original Title: The Rise
Author: Julie Plec
Published: October 12th 2015
Pages: 440
Medium: Paperback
Publisher: cbt
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Vampires
ISBN: B00XSQE41Y
Synopsis:
"Family is power. The Original vampire family swore it to each other a thousand years ago. They pledged to remain together always and forever. But even when you're immortal, promises are hard to keep. 

Arriving in New Orleans in 1722, Original vampire siblings Klaus, Elijah and Rebekah Mikaelson believe they've escaped their dangerous past. But the city is lawless, a haven for witches and werewolves unwilling to share territory. The siblings are at their mercy…especially after Klaus meets the beautiful and mysterious Vivianne. Her impending marriage is key to ending the war between the supernatural factions—and Klaus's attraction to her could destroy the uneasy alliance. As Elijah works toward securing a piece of the city for his family, and Rebekah fights her unexpected feelings for a French captain, will Klaus's volatile desires bring their world crashing down—and tear them apart for good?(Source: Goodreads)



Do you watch The Originals?


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Monday, November 2, 2015

[Review] Dead Until Dark (Sookie Stackhouse #1) - Charlaine Harris




"Dead Until Dark" by Charlaine Harris is the first novel in the Southern Vampire Mysteries Series.

In a world where vampires are acknowledged by the general public, telepathic waitress Sookie Stackhouse meets and befriends vampire Bill Compton.

When people start getting murdered in the small town of Bon Temps and everyone suspects Bill, Sookie is determined to defend him.


Show or Books - Pick one.

I love the TV show, so picking this up was a no-brainer. However, it feels more like the books were written after the TV show came out, not the other way around.

As a dedicated fan who knows every single line in almost every episode, I couldn't help but notice that even the dialogues are absolutely the same. I would even go as far as to say that you don't have to bother with the books/show if you're familiar with one of them. It really just reads like a transcript of the show. Therefore I was insanely bored and couldn't really get into it.

Cardboard Cutout Characters

Sookie is a very nontransparent character, it's super hard to sympathize with her. Harris is absolutely unable to portray her emotions, so all her reactions towards things seem to come out of the blue. Every other page Sookie starts crying and from one second to the next everything is okay again. It honestly felt like the story were told from the perspective of an omniscient narrator instead of an actual person.
We really don't find out anything about the love interest, the vampire Bill. I don't think Harris even bothers to explain what he looks like. One second he's there, the other he's gone and all the relationship between the two is 100% dialogue.
Then again, their dialogues feel like chat conversations and they don't really seem to react to anything the other one says. The whole novel reads like a transcript. It feels extremely static and the characters just don't come to life. No chemistry either, their first kiss and attraction in general came out of the blue.


Rating:


 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

Stick with the show. Don't even bother. It's just flat out very bad writing, I'm sorry. I have never read a book that made it so difficult for me to get pictures in my head. While I do love the premise and overall idea, "Dead Until Dark" is a trainwreck.
The southern feel doesn't come across, it reads like a caricature, I even enjoyed "Beautiful Creatures" more than that.


Additional Info

Original Title: Dead Until Dark
Author: Charlaine Harris
Published: September 3rd 2008
Pages: 292
Medium: Paperback, Media Tie-In
Publisher: Ace Books
Cover: Ace Books, 2008
Genre: Adult / Paranormal
ISBN: 9780441016990


Synopsis:
"Sookie Stackhouse is a small-time cocktail waitress in small-town Louisiana. She's quiet, keeps to herself, and doesn't get out much. Not because she's not pretty. She is. It's just that, well, Sookie has this sort of "disability." She can read minds. And that doesn't make her too dateable. And then along comes Bill. He's tall, dark, handsome - and Sookie can't 'hear' a word he's thinking. He's exactly the kind of guy she's been waiting for all her life.

But Bill has a disability of his own: He's a vampire. Worse than that, hangs with a seriously creepy crowd, with a reputation for trouble - of the murderous kind.

And when one of Sookie's colleagues is killed, she begins to fear she'll be next ...
 "
(Source: Goodreads)

Have you seen the TV show?


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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

On Trends and Why You Should Stop Mocking Them | YA Talk

When I tell people that I love to read books about vampires, I still get a bunch of weird looks. 
"Vampires are so 2007", "Vampires aren't in anymore"
"Vampires are sooo boring", "Omg did you like Twilight??!" - 

I can't even recall all the things people have said to me, because at some point, I just stopped listening.


Yeah, vampires may have been a trend in 2007, but that doesn't mean I still can't like them, right?

There actually is a crowd of people in the book blogging community that is all about the same stuff. You tend to find the same books on ten different blogs. Especially with YA, people play favorites. You can't run a YA book blog without even just having heard of Marissa Meyer, Stephanie Perkins, Tahereh Mafi, and Sarah J. Maas.

Whether it's the same five authors all over everyones' blogs or the same topics, sometimes posts tend to get repetitive. I see the same genre stuff on countless blogs all the time.

Is it a bad thing to like popular stuff?

Of course not. You can like whatever you want, and if you want to post about it, you do you. What bugs me isn't that people tend to go for the same genre/author books all the time, but seeing people pretend to like them just for the sake of belonging to the IT crowd. If you obsess about something for quite some time, you'll start to romanticize it. Same goes for books.

Why is it that you can't like what you like and not be afraid to show it?

What's in today, might be out tomorrow. I'm not a high schooler anymore, I don't care what people think is cool. My reading habits are maybe influenced by what's popular right now due to hypes, but I decide on my own whether I actually like it or not. You should, too.

Swimming with the stream in terms of reading preferences can get pretty exhausting and is not worth it. I used to try to keep up with the recent trends and at least read the books everyone is going on about. I don't anymore, because I don't want to have to keep up with anyone's expectations but my own. I like to read what I read and if it isn't what's cool right now, so be it.

Guilty pleasures don't exist

You may be mocking the trends of the early 2000s right now, but do you really think that dystopian fiction, those New Adult novels, or your paranormal romance books will still be cool in 2020? I don't think so.

I hate that we have to label everything a guilty pleasure that other people don't approve of. There should be no such thing as guilty pleasures. Whatever you enjoy should be what you're proud of reading. Even if it's smutty mom porn. I mean, these days that kind of stuff even makes it to the big screen ;).

No one should be ashamed of what they're reading, especially not on the internet.

Who the heck cares about trends anyways.

What is your stance on trends? 
Do you check out the popular stuff or do your own thing entirely?

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

[Review] Origins (Stefan's Diaries #1) - L.J. Smith


In ORIGINS, we get to find out how it all began and how Stefan and Damon met and fell in love with Katherine.

These books are the prequels to the TV show and are written by a ghostwriter. They stand in no relation to the book series by L.J. Smith.
If you're a fan of the original books, this will definitely confuse you. If you're a fan of the show and want to find out how it all began, be my guest.

I'm a sucker for the TV show and it's not a secret. So naturally I jumped at an opportunity to find out the origin story of the Salvatore brothers and Katherine. Because all these books are written by a ghostwriter, the writing is very, basic, clean and absolutely not unique. It feels generic. The characterization of Stefan isn't really something I'd agree with as a fan of the show.

I've read the third novel before I read this one and as both a human and a vampire, Stefan acts like a little boy. There's nothing left of the charming gentleman of the first season, he's just an insecure kid. For a seventeen-year-old he's very immature and naive. I get that this probably the point - to show a side of Stefan that the fans of the show not know, but I just couldn't empathize with his character, because he's so unlike the Stefan that I know.

A Novelization of the Show

The relationship between Katherine and him is extremely off as well. Through the show you've got the impression that it was epic head-over-heels love between the two and they really thought they were meant for each other at the time. In ORIGINS, Stefan falls in love with her madly from the second he sees her and it's absolutely ridiculous. He's supposed to marry some other girl and is conflicted because he fell in love with Katherine after talking two sentences. Unbelievable. I didn't buy it and it really made me dislike him irrationally. Katherine isn't even portrayed charmingly. She's barely in the novel and Stefan characterizes her passively, which just leads to unrealistic expectations. More show, less tell.

I can just overall say that I was insanely bored with this and had to force myself to keep going. Stefan proves to be a super boring and almost sleepy character to read about. No doubt, had this been the first Stefan's Diaries book that I'd read, I wouldn't have even bothered to pick up the sequels. I think the main flaw of this is that they really tried to incorporate all the flashback scenes and dialogue from the show in too little time. Literally every scene we've seen with Katherine/Damon/Stefan in 1864 is in this novel and it happens in a ridiculously short time span. It's not realistic, it's just boring. I can't find any better adjective to describe it.

Rating:

☆☆

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I'm not a fan. I liked the third novel way better and even that one was a pretty mediocre read. I'm probably still going to continue reading these novels to find out more backstory to the show, because I'm really interested in the characters. The books on their own aren't worth reading if you're not a hardcore Vampire Diaries fan.



Additional Info

Published: November 2nd 2010
Pages: 237
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Vampires
ISBN: 9780062003935

Synopsis:
"A love triangle that will span eternity… 

The year is 1864 and the Civil War rages on. But seventeen-year-old Stefan Salvatore is fighting a battle all his own. Engaged to marry someone he does not love, Stefan falls for a mysterious girl named Katherine. With her gleaming curls and mischievous brown eyes, Katherine is beautiful and seduction…but she also harbors a dark secret: She’s a vampire.

Based on the popular CW TV show inspired by the bestselling novels, Stefan’s Diaries reveals what really happened between Stefan, Damon, and Katherine—and how the Vampire Diaries love triangle began."
(Source: Goodreads)

Have you seen the TV show or read the novels?

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Sunday, March 8, 2015

[Short Story Review] Homecoming (VA #6.5) - Richelle Mead (from: Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction)

What?! There's a seventh book in the series?! Yes, exactly my thought. Sadly, it isn't a full book, just a short story to be found in "Foretold: 14 Tales of Prophecy and Prediction", which is basically an anthology including works of pretty much all popular YA Paranormal Romance writers there are right now.

In HOMECOMING, Rose and Dimitri travel back to Russia to go see his family and deliver the news that Dimitri is alive after all.

I loved meeting Olena, Victoria, Sonya and Karolina again, because I feared that they were only a plot device in BLOOD PROMISE. While I do understand how this couldn't make it into the official series, I'm kind of sad that Mead didn't decide to release a stand-alone novel. 

Back to Russia!

The Belikov family's reaction to Dimitri coming home wasn't as dramatic as I had expected. Even though Mead made them all tear up and hug him, there was just the certain spark missing. No emotion in her words. It all seemed just like she hastily wrote it down to get it over with. Mead is an excellent writer, but she's not so great with big emotions, which are essential to this plot line. Making Dimitri's grandmother Yeva an all-knowing super-witch was really unnecessary and frankly, it annoyed me a bit. It's very easy for authors to insert omniscient characters, but making them believable is a completely different thing. It doesn't make any sense why she would withhold the knowledge that's needed for her to get her grandson back as fast as possible. Yes, you might argue that she knew Rose could do it on her own, but still...?! No. I'm disappointed at how little "on-screen" time the Belikov family got in the first place.

The title suggests that this is about the Belikovs. I was looking forward to cure childhood flashbacks, lots of dialogue and maybe even a chastising for Victoria from her big brother for her Moroi shenanigans. I didn't get either of it, it's all just way to fast-paced. The characters don't have time to breathe, and what's even worse is that Mead tried to cram as many people into the story, only to have them mentioned at least once, even if their appearance didn't mean anything.

Halfheartedly Written Plot

The plot around the Blood King is flat out ridiculous. Starting with the cryptic prophecies that Dimitri's grandmother Yeva makes and ending with an Alchemist looking for help to kill a single Strigoi. Because Mead wrapped up the supposed-to-be tearful and emotional reunion in about five pages, there's nothing more to tell and she had to make up a new plot line.

Because this is a short story, I definitely have to make a note about whether you're able to understand this without having read the Vampire Academy Series. If you've read my reviews to any of the books in the series, you know that I got quite annoyed at Mead always taking up at least a chapter for summarizing what happened so far. When you're reading the entire series in a month, it may be annoying, but if some time has actually passed, this is a great idea. Mead does this again in "Homecoming" and paraphrases everything from Moroi magic to the three vampire types and their dangers.
Still, I don't think this story would appeal to anyone who has no idea what Vampire Academy is. The story is about Rose and Dimitri and filled with little nods to their relationship throughout the course of the novels. For passionate fans, it's just... d'aww. For people who have no idea who these two idiots are and why they're so grossly in love- why would you care? It's understandable in terms of plot lines, but the Romitri relationship is probably not portrayed in a way that could make someone fall in love with them who has no idea who they are. As a short story, it definitely failed.



Rating:

☆☆

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I don't really understand what "Homecoming" has to do with the topic of the anthology. Absolutely nothing, I guess. It just seems like a way to get her established audience to buy the anthology. If you look at reviews of it on Goodreads for example, every second review says I just bought this for Homecoming. And for that, it  isn't that much of a great story.

If you're a super fan like me, you obviously won't care, but looking at it realistically, this is just a remnant from the first draft of LAST SACRIFICE. To me, it is not a must-read.


Have you read HOMECOMING?


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Monday, March 2, 2015

[Review] Spirit Bound (VA #5) - Richelle Mead


In SPIRIT BOUND, Rose is back at St.Vladimir's Academy after her quest in Russia. Having failed to kill her newly turned Strigoi lover Dimitri, she just wants to graduate now and focus on her own life.
I must say that this is definitely my last chance for Mead to turn it all around. I wasn't a fan of  BLOOD PROMISE, the fourth novel, especially because she decided to flip the setting. I'm happy that we're back at St. Vladimir's now and getting back to all the familiar characters instead of those annoying filler people in Russia. 

You don't have to read the fourth to understand the fifth. All the characters that were introduced don't really matter and it didn't do anything for Rose's character. What Rose did in Russia is merely just briefly mentioned and nobody actually cares.

Just another filler story...

As a fan of Dimitri and Rose as a couple it pains me to say this, but at this point I just wish Mead had killed Dimitri off for good in the last novel. I'm sick of that storyline, I just want Rose to focus on herself and becoming a guardian and just let it go. Though Mead made the whole hesitation thing believable and all, it's hard to believe that she actually staked the man and he still survived. Somebody's attached to her characters, eh?

I'm not going to sugarcoat it- I really skimmed a lot of it. Since SHADOW KISS (#3) the series has really started to drag. Things that are said to be impossible suddenly work and are used for another super innovative storyline, and seriously, I can't even tell you in a few sentences what happened in the last novel anymore because everything just seems so irrelevant.You can just tell that Mead is trying to fill pages and beat around the bush up until she's reached that typical point about 80% in where she finally tells the story she meant to tell in the first place.


Really lazy writing and too little stakes

As terrible as the non-existant plot is, the character development in SPIRIT BOUND is just amazing. I loved that Dimitri got a chance to grow as a person and I also loved how Rose dealt with adult life and realized that it isn't all fun and games just like she had imagined back when she was still at St. Vladimir. A major major major thing that bothered me insanely though is Adrian's and Rose's relationship. Seriously. Rose made it clear from FROSTBITE (#2) on that she doesn't and never will like Adrian romantically. Starting the novel off with them together just seems like a lazy way of starting a weird love triangle off.

Talk about things that were dealt with poorly: if you're going to have a lot of casualties and risky battles in your novel, make them matter and don't exclusively kill people you just introduced. The world of the Vampire Academy Series is dangerous, we all get it. There's lot of battles, many occasions where guardians have their life at stake (get it)- but the way Mead deals with it, it's not really believable. Her characters, even main characters are sent into battle all the time, but in the end the only casualties we have are people that remain nameless. At least give the main characters some injuries! It's just bad writing to me to only kill off unimportant people. The battles lose meaning.

Rating:

★★☆☆


Overall: Do I Recommend?

No. After BLOOD PROMISE another very weak novel. I only hang on because I'm desperately hooked on the characters. At this point I'm only here for Dimitri, Tasha and Adrian. Just stop at FROSTBITE and get somebody to tell you what happens. It's not worth the time and frustration.

Additional Info

Published: May 18th 2010
Pages: 479
Genre: YA/  Fantasy / Paranormal / Vampires

Synopsis:
"Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong...

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri's birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir's-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can't wait for their real lives beyond the Academy's iron gates to begin. But Rose's heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he's out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won't rest until Rose joins him... forever."

Have you read the series or are planning to?

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Monday, February 23, 2015

[Review] Blood Promise (VA #4) - Richelle Mead

In BLOOD PROMISE, Rose Hathaway has dropped out of St. Vladimir's Academy to find Dimitri and hunt him down. After the events of SHADOW KISS, he has turned into an evil Strigoi. Just like she promised him before the battle, she is now off to kill him, because he told her that he wouldn't want to continue life as a Strigoi and would rather be dead. In order to fulfill his dying wish and find him, Rose has to go to Siberia, his home country. 

What intrigued me: I read the first three books. I'm trapped. 
 Interesting Change of Scenery

To me, this novel is definitely entirely different from the previous Vampire Academy novels. Due to it not taking place at St.Vladimir's anymore, the vibe is slightly darker. There's no high school drama as in FROSTBITE and instead of focusing on rivalries 24/7, everyone seems to be preparing for upcoming, possible battles. Because Rose has separated from the familiar scenes, the side characters get very little screen time and are replaced by new Russian acquaintances that she meets on her travels. While I do not really like that Mead decided to simply replace everyone, I understand that with this setting it's hardly possible to keep track of the old characters. For the first time in the series though the bond between Lissa and Rose is now finally useful (at least for the author) to give us at least a bit of information on what's happening back in the US. Clever move, also including the dreamwalking thing that fellow spirit user Adrian does, I have to give that to Mead. 

However, BLOOD PROMISE is solely about Dimitri and Rose. If Rose hasn't been your favorite character before, she certainly won't rise to becoming that now. If you're interested in the two as a couple and Dimitri's family history, you're certainly going to LOVE this. If you've been a fan of other characters in the series, you're most likely going to hate this one. I think it's sad that Mead decided to make such a harsh cut and basically throw in twenty new characters at once that are hardly able to catch the reader's attention as much as those that you've read about since book one. Sydney, who's an alchemist, whose only purpose is to get rid of the dead Strigoi bodies Dhampirs leave around in human territory, is a textbook filler character. I couldn't really sympathize with her, neither was I particularly interested in Dimitri's 34278937 sisters and family members. 

...Wait There Is a Point in This?

Rose's tendency to waste time and go into the whole situation without a plan causes to BLOOD PROMISE to drag extremely. 
When she finally meets Dimitri I was overwhelmed by how out-of-character they both acted. Given that Dimitri is undead now, I was okay with that, not exactly thrilled, but okay. But Rose instantly became such an annoying, whiny, weak and just imbecile character within ONE chapter break that I was actually shocked. I fully understand that Mead wants to put emphasis on the Strigoi being NOT human/moroi/dhampir anymore, but the way she chose to portray Strigoi Dimitri can only be summarized with one word: terrible. It might have as well been any other character, I saw nothing of him in his "awakened" new self and I actually got reminded of Franklin from the TV show True Blood. The situation was almost exactly the same and just as painfully frustrating to watch/read. I lost almost all motivation to continue the novel during Rose's stay at Galina's estate because it was so dull to read and doing nothing for the progression of the storyline. Also, the fact that she lets him take blood knowing what it had done to her previously with Lissa in VAMPIRE ACADEMY... I don't recall Rose ever being that naive. Maybe I was wrong. 

Rating: ★☆☆☆☆


Overall: Do I Recommend?


The weakeast novel so far! I said that before about SHADOW KISS, but this is actually worse. Mainly because you can tell that Mead introduced new characters so that she has something to fill her thin plot with and then completely lost herself in giving all those characters a purpose and backstory.


Official Synopsis:
"Rose Hathaway's life will never be the same.

The recent attack on St. Vladimir's Academy devastated the entire Moroi world. Many are dead. And, for the few victims carried off by Strigoi, their fates are even worse. A rare tattoo now adorns Rose's neck, a mark that says she's killed far too many Strigoi to count. But only one victim matters ... Dimitri Belikov. Rose must now choose one of two very different paths: honoring her life's vow to protect Lissa—her best friend and the last surviving Dragomir princess—or, dropping out of the Academy to strike out on her own and hunt down the man she loves. She'll have to go to the ends of the earth to find Dimitri and keep the promise he begged her to make. But the question is, when the time comes, will he want to be saved?

Now, with everything at stake—and worlds away from St. Vladimir's and her unguarded, vulnerable, and newly rebellious best friend—can Rose find the strength to destroy Dimitri? Or, will she sacrifice herself for a chance at eternal love?"
 
Continue Reading...

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

[Review] Shadow Kiss (VA #3) - Richelle Mead

In "Shadow Kiss", the third novel in the Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead, everything is pain and everything hurts. This novel will lure you into thinking that everything's going to be alright, when it isn't and never will be. Everyone's issues are revealed and you're not going to want to finish this novel, fearing that it will get worse in terms of emotions. 

With Mason dying in "Frostbite", the tragedy only just started- seriously. Starting with his death Rose's connection to Lissa as a shadow-kissed is finally proving to be useful, and I actually think that Mead did a great job at incorporating it smoothely into the storyline. "Shadow Kiss" is basically centered around the guardians and fighting off Strigoi. Rose and the other novices are doing the so-called field experience now, which simulates the life they're going to have when they graduate and are assigned to their moroi. The older guardians are pretendending to be attackers and they have to fight them off. Well, unlucky for the novices the real life experience comes right after that.
Initially I got pretty annoyed with the storyline being centered around strigoi again. I vividly remember that time Dimitri put his hair up for the first time and Rose got SO impressed by him having five molnija marks for having killed five strigoi. Funny, how he's considered such a respectable character in the guardian world, yet has only killed five. It's hard to believe that little novice Rose Hathaway killed two Strigoi in "Frostbite" and a bunch of others in "Shadow Kiss" then. While I do love her as a character, I think she really is a Mary Sue. She can do everything, she can fight everyone and when she can't, it's due to her shadow-kiss situation, but not because Rose Hathaway can't manage to do something once. I don't know, it's not like she's becoming a more unlikeable character throughout the series, but I think that the credit she gets and the fights she is involved in, are solved way to easily on her side. She never has sacrifices to make and is almost never really hurt in battle, while experienced guardians die like flies.

I would have wished the novel to dive a little bit deeper into exploring spirit magic and have less action scenes. Mead crammed all the interesting stuff (the big battle) into the end, causing the novel to drag extremely. I found myself putting it aside for days at a time, because I was so bored with everything. The characters didn't really get to me either, because I felt like Mead rushed their relationships. Starting with Dimitri and Rose, I was actually shocked when he said I love you for the first time to her and it wasn't even addressed in the novel. Casual saturday, the dude you've been loving for ages tells you he loves you and you're like "ha, lol, same." Dimitri and Rose are probably the only couple in literature that manage to seem instant-love-y after three books, still. Not that I don't love them together, but, seriously? They went from 0.5 to 100 within fifty pages of "Shadow Kiss" and I didn't even know whether to shake my head or just start lauging.
Mead is truly the master of dragging storylines around and feeding youw ith unimportant, boring stuff as filler material for the middle and then hitting you like a train with a massive cliffhanger ending that leaves you HAVING to continue. I have to give her credit for that.

Overall: Do I Recommend?

As a standalone, it would be a very weak novel. The middle drags extremely, but the resolutions of previous storylines are both smart and logical. It made me want to smack my head on something for not thinking about them myself. I hope that it will remain the only weak novel of the series. So yes, I recommend.

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Official Synopsis:
" It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling quite right. She's having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all... might be seeing ghosts.

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose's forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line - and choose between the two people she loves most."




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Friday, January 23, 2015

[Review] Frostbite (VA #2) - Richelle Mead


In FROSTBITE, Rose and Lissa are forced to go on a mandatory skiing trip when Strigoi attacks are happening all over the state and close to St. Vladimir. 

Pleasant Surprise!

I was very excited for this novel mainly because I fell in love with every single character in the first novel. Since it's common knowledge that the second book in a series is always not so great, I was prepared for the worst, and therefore pleasantly surprised when I finished this. FROSTBITE is a little off with the pacing and the middle is quite slow, but it's overall not that bad and makes me want to continue the series still, which is a major achievement because I have serious series-commitment issues.

I loved that the book is centered around the Strigoi, the "bad" kind of vampires that just wants to feed and kill. I really like that the series went for the dark path while still keeping the charm and flirty aspects that I loved about VAMPIRE ACADEMY. FROSTBITE has a very strong focus on character relations, which is probably the reason why the plot suffers so much during certain parts. This novel is the novel of new romance, everyone's falling in or out of love and every character goes through major development.

Extraordinary New Characters

Since the first novel, Rose has a giant crush on her instructor Dimitri, but he thinks that it's pretty inappropriate, given the fact that she's 17 and he's 24. In FROSTBITE we meet Tasha Ozera, Christian's aunt, which is a big, big reason for Rose to get even, because she isn't only stunning, she's ready to get some of Dimitri. That's already where my dislike of her starts. I can imagine that I'm not the only who's frowning at the thought of Tasha, but Mead solves this cleverly by making Tasha such a likeable and smart character that you just feel bad for not liking her. 

The biggest appeal about this series has always been the characters and I'm happy that Mead decided to focus on them a lot and give them space to develop in this. It's just a mystery to me how she makes even side characters so lively and real without a whole lot of description. With Adrian Ivashkov we have another awesome character that I hope we'll see a lot in the future. 

I was also very excited to finally meet Janine, Rose's mother. There's a lot of tension between the two and I think it's just amazing how Mead manages to mirrors Rose's behavior exactly in the way she writes Janine. 




Rating: ★★★☆☆


Overall: Do I Recommend?

If you've read the first one, might as well continue. It's really not a bad read and exceptionally good for a second novel. On it's own though, this probably wouldn't have made me want to read a sequel. 


Synopsis:
"It's winter break at St. Vladimir's, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy's crawling with Guardians--including Rose's hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to- hand combat with her mom wasn't bad enough, Rose's tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason's got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa's head while she's making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy's not taking any risks.... This year, St. Vlad's annual holiday ski trip is mandatory.

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price..."

Continue Reading...

Friday, December 12, 2014

[Review] Vampire Academy (#1) - Richelle Mead: I Smell a New OTP

In VAMPIRE ACADEMY, two vampires in training are forced to go back to school after dramatically taking off.

There they aren't as perfectly sheltered as their teachers assure them they will be - mainly because one of them is the last heir of a royal vampire family and also has a lot of special gifts that everyone is eager to use for their own benefits.

What intrigued me: After seeing the movie and falling in love with each and every character, picking up the novel was just the right thing to do. 

My new favorite characters!

However, the book is just as good as the movie, probably even a little better. Starting with the badass protagonist Rose Hathaway, who's just about the coolest main character I've ever read about.
What I love most about Rose is that she's just all the elements of what could be a Mary Sue combined, but yet she is very far from being that. She's beautiful, she knows it and she doesn't waste any time to let everyone know that she knows how to use her god-given gifts.

Lissa on the other hand, her full-blood vampire best friend, just drives me up the walls. I love that Mead put in mental illness in an actually believable context but I just didn't get Lissa as a character. Due to the novel being told mainly from Rose's point of view aside from a few shifts in perspective, it's rather difficult to get to know Lissa. 

Every YA paranormal novel needs a romance subplot. And boy, do we get it. Enter Dmitri, 24-year-old long-haired hot mess vampire guardian, assigned to be Rose's teacher in all things vampire hunting. It's always difficult to write a teacher/pupil-sort-of relationship without making it creepy, inappropriate or just flat out tasteless. There is nothing actually happening between these two but the tension is in-flipping-sane. I can't wait to find out what will happen in the next novel and if these two finally (FINALLY) get together.

Missing action?

We do have plot twists and plot, but I don't feel like the action had any rollercoaster-y tension going on. Weren't the characters so brilliant and the way she combined magic and vampires without overdoing the clichés, I probably would have had difficulties finishing this. Although I have to say that I didn't see the plot twist coming. I had at no point the notion that something great was going to happen, and I didn't anticipate the ending for the plot resolutions. More for the resolution whether Dmitri and Rose would finally hit it off (oops). 

The biggest problem in my opinion is the point of view. Rose is a great and interesting character with an entertaining character voice, but the story demands some passages to be told from another person's perspective. Yes, using the bond between Rose and Lissa to justify shifts may be nice and a smart solution, but still it's quite distracting and I think that the novel would have worked better, had Lissa been the main character. 

Overall: Do I Recommend?


This novel may seem to people that haven't had any contact with it before like another attempt at beating the dead horse, but I think that it's something refreshingly new. It's not Hogwarts meets Twilight. More of a ... Addams Family meets True Blood. With exactly the same amount of blood. 

It's definitely a novel that revolves around sensitive topics (especially mental illness) and that's why I would recommend it. The novel explores it without being too much in-your-face and while still remaining an average YA read. I like it. You should read it.


Rating:

★★★★


Official Synopsis:
"St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever. "


Have you read VAMPIRE ACADEMY?

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