Books I Didn’t Finish: July & August 2016

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on 8 September, 2016 | 0 Comments



Review: Brightly Woven by Alexandra BrackenBrightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken 
Genre: High FantasyYoung Adult
Published by Egmont USA (3.23.2010)
Hardcover, 354 pages
Source: I own it

try again later

The day the rains came was like any other, blistering air coating the canyon in a heavy stillness….

Just as the rains come after ten long, dry years, a young wizard, Wayland North, appears, to whisk Sydelle Mirabil away from her desert village. North needs an assistant, and Sydelle is eager to see the country – and to join him on his quest to stop the war that surely will destroy her home. But North has secrets – about himself, about why he chose Sydelle, about his real reasons for the journey. What does he want from her? And why does North’s sworn enemy seem fascinated by Sydelle himself?

I could not get into this book at ALL. I made it about 45 pages before I decided to put it down. It wasn’t doing anything for me, and felt so pointless. Which makes me super sad, because I loved Bracken’s Darkest Minds series and enjoyed Passenger, too.

You could tell this was Bracken’s older work. I wasn’t impressed with the writing style, and the characters (really just Sydelle) grated on my nerves. The main character was so petulant and annoying, and overreacted a lot. I didn’t understand her reactions to North at all. Sure, she resented him for taking her away, but he was nothing but nice and understanding with her. I’m pretty sure I would have knocked her teeth out. I mean, he asks to carry her bag and she freaks out:

“Are you sure I can’t carry your bag for you awhile? Your loom doesn’t weigh much at all.”
I whirled around so quickly I nearly lost my balance. North saw, of course, and his hands flashed out to steady me. His fingers weren’t on my arms for more than a moment before I pushed him away as hard as I could.
“Don’t touch me.”

She goes on to yell at him to leave her alone, then trips and smacks her chin on the ground, and starts crying. *eye roll* Later, North is drunk at a tavern and offers to share his room, and Syd tells him she hopes he chokes on his own tongue and calls him a miserable human being. She refuses to eat when he gives her food, then scarfs it all when he’s not looking. Because that solves your problems.

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Maybe the book gets better, but my annoyance with Syd and boredom with the story ultimately forced me to put this book down. I may try again sometime, though, since it is Alexandra Bracken.

 

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Review: Air AwakensAir Awakens by Elise Kova
Series: Air Awakens #1
Genre: High FantasyYoung Adult
Published by Silver Wing Press (8.27.2015)
eBook, 377 pages
Source: I own it

DNF Stars

A library apprentice, a sorcerer prince, and an unbreakable magic bond…

The Solaris Empire is one conquest away from uniting the continent, and the rare elemental magic sleeping in seventeen-year-old library apprentice Vhalla Yarl could shift the tides of war.

Vhalla has always been taught to fear the Tower of Sorcerers, a mysterious magic society, and has been happy in her quiet world of books. But after she unknowingly saves the life of one of the most powerful sorcerers of them all—the Crown Prince Aldrik—she finds herself enticed into his world. Now she must decide her future: Embrace her sorcery and leave the life she’s known, or eradicate her magic and remain as she’s always been. And with powerful forces lurking in the shadows, Vhalla’s indecision could cost her more than she ever imagined.

I bought this book solely for the reason that everyone was RAVING about it on bookstagram. I was curious to see what all the hype was about. As it turns out, I was the black sheep….again. I did not like this book at ALL. It was ridiculous, and the writing grated on my nerves, and I just couldn’t summon even an ounce of emotion for anything that was happening. I didn’t take notes while reading, sadly, so I have no examples. I just didn’t understand what all the hype was about. I think bashing my head into a wall would have been more enjoyable than the 75 pages I read.

Check out Cait’s (Paper Fury) review on Goodreads, which brilliantly (and hilariously) explains my feelings on this book better than I could ever hope to!

To quote Cait: 98% of the names were keyboard smashes. HOW DO YOU EVEN SAY “VHALLA”????? It sounds like I’m coughing.

How do you pronounce Vhalla, anyway?! It DOES sound like a cough. Actually, in my head there’s a bit of a silent phlegm in the first syllable, so it ends up just reminding me of Gollum’s coughing pronunciation of his own name…

 

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Lord of the Fading LandsLord of the Fading Lands by C.L. Wilson
Series: Tairen Soul #1
Genre: AdultHigh Fantasy
Published by Leisure Books (10.2.2007)
Paperback, 402 pages
Source: I own it

lost interest

Once he drove back the darkness.
Once he loved with such passion his name was legend.

Once, driven wild with grief over the murder of his beloved, the majestic Fey King Rain Tairen Soul had laid waste to the world before vanishing into the Fading Lands. Now, a thousand years later, a new threat draws him back into the world—and a new love reawakens the heart he thought long dead.

Ellysetta, a woodcarver’s daughter, calls to Rain in a way no other ever had. Mysterious and magical, her soul beckons him with a compelling, seductive song—and no matter the cost, the wildness in his blood will not be denied.

As an ancient, familiar evil regains its strength, causing centuries-old alliances to crumble and threatening doom for Rain and his people… he must claim his truemate to embrace the destiny woven for them both in the mists of time.

When I saw my book twin Ashley raving about Wilson’s books, I immediately went and ordered both this one and Winter King off of Amazon. She spoke so highly of it I was sure I’d love it too. (Maybe I set my hopes too high?)

And at first, I did. I was hooked from the first page as the tairen were introduced. Magical winged cats?! Yes please!!! I was intrigued by the tairen and I actually wanted their race to be saved. I was interested in the idea of it, and I wanted more.

Enter Ellysetta and the “truemate” bond. At first, I was okay with it. Sure, it was a bit instalovey and cheesy, but the concept was so cool I handled it. But somewhere along the way I started losing interest. The cheesiness began to be overbearing, and it was too hardcore romancey for me. It became all about how special Ellie was, and how important she was, and how much Rain lurved her. I get it, the bond is strong, blah blah blah. But they didn’t even know each other, so it was hard for me to become invested in their relationship. Plus it was just too much for me. The plot was lost and the book was just purely romance, constantly harping on the bond and their feelings. It was becoming harder and harder to bear, then I put the book down for a while, and when I tried to pick it back up again I had lost all interest.

It makes me sad, really, because I was enjoying it so much in the beginning. And I made it 159 pages in, which is nearly half of the book. Even though I’ve lost interest, I’m still curious about the tairen. I do want to try again sometime in the future, or maybe just skip the first book and try the second, who knows.

 

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Review: Everland by Wendy SpinaleEverland by Wendy Spinale
Series: Everland #1
Genre: DystopianScience FictionYoung Adult
Published by Scholastic Press (5.10.2016)
Hardcover, 312 pages
Source: I own it

DNF Stars

London has been destroyed in a blitz of bombs and disease. The only ones who have survived are children, among them Gwen Darling and her siblings, Joanna and Mikey. They spend their nights scavenging and their days avoiding the ruthless Marauders — the German army led by Captain Hanz Otto Oswald Kretschmer.

Unsure if the virus has spread past England’s borders but desperate to leave, Captain Hook hunts for a cure, which he thinks can be found in one of the survivors. He and his Marauders stalk the streets snatching children for experimentation. None ever return. Until the day they grab Joanna. As Gwen sets out to save her, she meets a daredevil boy named Pete. Pete offers the assistance of his gang of Lost Boys and the fierce sharpshooter Bella, who have all been living in a city hidden underground. But in a place where help has a steep price and every promise is bound by blood, it will cost Gwen. And are she, Pete, the Lost Boys, and Bella enough to outsmart Captain Hook?

I wanted so badly to love this book, because I find Steampunk fascinating, and LOOK AT THAT COVER. But sadly, it just didn’t do it for me. This one was a buddy read, and we had chosen to read two chapters a day, which comes out to about 20 pages per day. Not much at all. It should have been easy, but I found myself procrastinating until I was skipping the chapters each day and I got further and further behind.

I was bored. There were things happening, but the book wasn’t holding my attention. I didn’t care for the writing style – in fact, I found it rather sophomoric. It was closer to MG than YA. I didn’t care about any of the characters. Not even Hook, who should have intrigued me because I love villains. His chapters did absolutely NOTHING for me. In fact, they were boring me to death.

I didn’t like Gwen. The further into the book I went, the more annoying she got. She grated on my nerves with how childish she was. How did she survive for so long?! She was SO naive. I couldn’t connect to her at all, and even when she did feel emotion it just felt like she overreacted about everything. Also, the Super Speshul Snowflake syndrome. She was the ONLY child immunized? Seriously? That’s so farfetched that it’s not even believable in a fantasy.

I was mildly intrigued by Pete when he first arrived – “when suddenly two green eyes lined with black powder peer at me” – but let’s be honest, it was only because he was wearing guyliner. (Yummm.) But then he became overbearing with his arrogant asshat-ness that I lost interest in him, too.

I made it to page 76 before I decided to put this one down. I wanted to continue for the sake of the buddy read, and because the concept is intriguing, but it was becoming a chore just to pick the book up so I knew it was time to move on.

 

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Review: The Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena BrignullThe Hawkweed Prophecy by Irena Brignull 
Genre: Urban FantasyYoung Adult
Published by PerseusWeinstein Books (9.6.2016)
Hardcover, 368 pages
Source: From Publisher

DNF Stars

Poppy Hooper and Ember Hawkweed couldn’t lead more different lives. Poppy is a troubled teen: moving from school to school, causing chaos wherever she goes, never making friends or lasting connections. Ember is a young witch, struggling to find a place within her coven and prove her worth. Both are outsiders: feeling like they don’t belong and seeking escape.

Poppy and Ember soon become friends, and secretly share knowledge of their two worlds. Little do they know that destiny has brought them together: an ancient prophecy, and a life-changing betrayal. Growing closer, they begin to understand why they’ve never belonged and the reason they are now forever connected to each other.

Switched at birth by the scheming witch Raven Hawkweed, Poppy and Ember must come to terms with their true identities and fight for their own place in the world. Enter Leo, a homeless boy with a painful past who – befriending them both – tests their love and loyalty. Can Poppy and Ember’s friendship survive? And can it withstand the dark forces that are gathering?

I was actually quite enjoying this book in the beginning. I found Irena’s prose to be engaging and interesting, and I was super intrigued by the concept and the magic. (And I’m also sad because THAT COVER.)

But, cat murder is a trigger for me. It’s not something I want to read about. And this book went on and on and ON about it, in detail, for eleven pages before I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was bawling when poor little Minx was brutally murdered. My heart can’t take it, I don’t even care how stupid that sounds to anyone else. I DO NOT WANT TO READ ABOUT IT. Period.

After the mutilation I tried to continue. I did. But every time I picked it back up and it was mentioned yet AGAIN, I got upset all over again. I’m putting details in spoilers because I wouldn’t want to read them if I hadn’t already had to. View Spoiler »

Jessi (Geo)

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