Showing posts with label wizard. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wizard. Show all posts

Sunday, January 22, 2017

[Review] Poison Study (Study #1) - Maria V. Snyder: Food Tasters and Poison





In POISON STUDY Yelena was arrested for murder and is released from the dungeon to become a food taster.


What intrigued me: I've seen this one around a lot.

Let me love you, Yelena!

The story starts right off with Yelena getting released from her dungeon, malnutritioned, almost hallucinating, and absolutely exhausted. POISON STUDY had me from the first page.

Snyder has a way of conjuring up images with words that make this novel easy to read and the fantasy world easily accessible. I often struggle with the High Fantasy genre because I don't really encounter concepts that fascinate me. Same with POISON STUDY to some extent - I didn't really care about the fictional region of Ixia that is ruled by different generals that have their own territories and force everyone to wear uniforms. 

I zoned out whenever there were intricate descriptions of uniforms. The whole world is certainly a weakness of POISON STUDY - the story about Yelena could take place in any other fictional world and be just as fantastic. I didn't find the world building particularly inventive or outstanding.

Making a murderer the food taster doesn't sound that interesting and groundbreaking of a story either, but it just is. There doesn't happen much in POISON STUDY, aside from Yelena getting attacked continuously by the soldier's of the father of the guy she killed, but yet it's ridiculously addicting. The writing is top-notch, the story feels like you are Yelena, you're experiencing everything first-hand and wandering through the castle yourself. I seldom have found myself so thrown right into a book as I read and grown attached to a protagonist.

Wonderfully refreshing concept

If you read a lot of YA and are very tired of seeing the same cliche tropes everywhere, POISON STUDY is the novel for you, because I don't think I counted a single one. No love triangles! No Mary Sue! No plot convenience! Actual danger! Consequences for messing up! It's so refreshing to read a book that makes you feel like the protagonist is in actual danger the whole time.

However, this book is very, very, very slowly paced. I did like this at first, but the more the pace slowed down, the more I disconnected from the characters. I do like to know what I'm getting myself into when I start a novel and the introduction of magic halfway in confused and annoyed me a little. POISON STUDY takes a completely different direction halfway in, causing me to lose interest completely. I was very enamored with the premise of the food taster and would have loved to just see an story about intrigues without any magic.

POISON STUDY awkwardly turns into Duel of the Magicians and this is just not what I'm personally interested in and/or signed up for. Regardless, I did enjoy this and think it's a good read!


Rating:

★★★★

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

POISON STUDY is a fantastically unique novel. I really needed this breath of fresh air and I can recommend this book to you, because it's just so creative and fun! If you don't mind a dash of magic, sure, go for this!



Additional Info

Published: March 1st 2007
Pages: 409
Publisher: Mira
Genre: YA / High Fantasy
ISBN: 9780778324331

Synopsis:
"Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison...

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She'll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly's Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can't control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren't so clear...
 "(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read the Study series?

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Saturday, March 19, 2016

[Review] Carry On - Rainbow Rowell: Is This Queer Harry Potter?



In CARRY ON, Simon Snow, chosen one, wizard, and roommate to his moody vampire nemesis, is facing his arch enemy the Humdrum for the last time in his final year at a magical school.

What intrigued me: I wasn't a fan of FANGIRL and didn't really enjoy the snippets from CARRY ON in there, but I decided to give Rowell one last chance. And what can I say - sometimes books or certain authors just don't match your taste. It doesn't necessarily mean that they're bad.

If you're going to rip-off/write an homage, at least TRY to be original...

When I first heard that Rowell is writing this, I was actually pretty offended. It's cash grabbing, obviously. Simon Snow and Baz are the subject of the fan fiction of Rowell's character Cath from FANGIRL. They're an homage to Draco and Harry from the Harry Potter Series. And then Rowell goes ahead and writes a book about them. This would be fine and all if she actually put any effort in making "Carry On" an actual stand-alone. 

This book can't survive without Harry Potter. It's full of references that you only get if you're familiar with the HP books and every single chapter is blatantly ripped off from Rowling. From a genderbent!Hagrid to Hermione/Penelope to Dumbledore/The Mage  to Voldemort/The Humdrum.

And it's just not fun to guess who's who for 500 pages, it's just insanely frustrating to read a super predictable retelling of a better book whose only difference to the original is that it has more diverse characters. This is all there is to CARRY ON for me, the only thing that it does better than the HP books is the diversity. It's not suggested, it's not implied, it's referenced repeatedly. Kudos to Rowell, my rating goes up a whole star just for this.

The base frame may be copied, but the plot is her original... and it's not good.

Rowell completely loses herself in world building and neglects everything else. There is no reason for the reader to root for Simon, who's constantly complaining and cursing and giving off bad vibes. He's not sympathetic and he really is "the worst chosen one who's ever been chosen" like love interest Baz put it so nicely. He's a horrible character. I've had issues with Rowell's voice before, and yet again she can't write authentic teenage voices at all. Every word that comes out of Simon's mouth makes me cringe, even worse when combined with the excessive unnecessary cursing.

Well, not everything is bad about CARRY ON. I like the way she did copy stuff from the HP books but just altered it enough for this book to not be considered fan fiction. There are numerous magical beings and there's a nice ghost sub plot, but it's just not enough to keep my attention for whopping 522 pages. This book seriously needs some tightening. It's definitely interesting, but it gets old very easily. 
After about 150 pages I was just bored and had to force myself to continue. It just wasn't fun for me. I wish I would have liked this more, but the bitter aftertaste of CARRY ON being the least original thing to hit the YA market last year just makes me cringe infinitely.

Rating:

☆☆


Overall: Do I Recommend?

I'm simply not a fan of Rowell's novels personally. Her style is hard to read for me and insanely boring and every time I actually finish a book by her I feel like I've wasted my time. This doesn't mean that the books are bad. You'll have to find out for yourself, but I can just say that I didn't enjoy it and wouldn't recommend it to anyone with similar taste like me.



Additional Info

Published: October 6th 2015
Pages: 522
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Witches and Wizards
ISBN: 1250049555

Synopsis:
"Simon Snow is the worst chosen one who’s ever been chosen.

That’s what his roommate, Baz, says. And Baz might be evil and a vampire and a complete git, but he’s probably right.

Half the time, Simon can’t even make his wand work, and the other half, he sets something on fire. His mentor’s avoiding him, his girlfriend broke up with him, and there’s a magic-eating monster running around wearing Simon’s face. Baz would be having a field day with all this, if he were here—it’s their last year at the Watford School of Magicks, and Simon’s infuriating nemesis didn’t even bother to show up.

Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story—but far, far more monsters.
 "(Source: Goodreads)


Do you think it's a Harry Potter rip-off? Are you as upset about it as I am?

Continue Reading...
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