Saturday, January 18, 2014
Title: Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles 2)
Themes: heredity, madness, duty, love
Plot: From Amazon "From master storyteller Melina Marchetta comes an exhilarating new fantasy springing from her celebrated epic, Finnikin of the Rock. Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home . . . or so he believes. Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been taken roughly and lovingly in hand by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper with a warrior's discipline. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds in its surreal royal court. Soon he must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad princess in this barren and mysterious place. It is in Charyn that he will discover there is a song sleeping in his blood . . . and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen."
My Thoughts: Froi of the Exiles follows Finnikin of the Rock in the Lumatere Chronicles, but it feels like a whole new series? trilogy? Finnikin of the Rock felt like a YA fantasy romance, Froi feels like the start of an epic YA fantasy. Froi is sent to Charyn to assassinate it's king, but along the way stumbles into discovering his parentage, falls in love with the mad princess, and breaks his bonds to Queen Isaboe to protect this new family.
I was sucked into this book. I was in anguish at the end (it is a cliffhanger, just so you know) because I can't afford to buy the next book! With that said, there were a few quibbles. First, I really did not like how everytime Froi had a violent impulse or did something wrong he blamed his blood. Really? Only one kingdom in your world has violent people? only one kingdom rapes? Let's blame your Serker ancestry for your decision to do bad things! Like every other flipping page! On another note, I felt like Quintana...who has been systematically raped for the past who-knows-how-many years could suddenly enjoy sex with our main character? I don't know. I also feel like that wasn't addressed properly in the book. I do appreciate how she is called a "whore" because that is how she would be addressed in such a society....but as a reader I felt that the violence done to her wasn't addressed as straightforwardly as I would have liked.
Friday, January 17, 2014
Title: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
Themes: family, belonging, love
Plot: From Amazon "Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil's supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she's prone to disappearing on mysterious "errands"; she speaks many languages--not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she's about to find out.
When one of the strangers--beautiful, haunted Akiva--fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?"
My Thoughts: First of all. I found Karou obnoxiously perfect....almost manic pixie dream girl status with the incredible artistic talent, blue hair, beauty, etc. But at the same time rather flat as a character. There were a few times I liked her and wanted something good to happen...but most of the time I was wondering when we would get to the cliched love triangle or love at first sight or whatever.
Taylor did a great job building the elseworld with chimera and seraphim duking it out through eternity. I felt like the little details built into that story were rather fascinating, and I adored the chimera characters who raised Karou-they were absolutely fantastic.
The love angle with Akiva was also a little flat. Taylor tried to make it less "omg love at first sight" by building into the reincarnation thing...but it just seemed a little...silly. I doubt I'll continue the trilogy (?) but this was a fast, light read.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Title: The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray, a Novel
Themes: immortality, youth, searching for new physical experiences, violence, rape, sex, debasement
Plot: From Amazon "Inspired by Oscar Wilde’s classic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, Mitzi Szereto’s Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray continues where Wilde left off with the Faustian tale of a man of eternal youth and great physical beauty who lives a life of corruption, decadence and hedonism. The story begins in the bordellos of Jazz-Age Paris, moving to the opium dens of Marrakesh and the alluring anonymity of South America. In his pursuit of sensation and carnal thrills, Dorian’s desires turn increasingly extreme and he leaves behind yet more devastation and death. He ultimately settles in present-day New Orleans, joining with a group of like-minded beings known as The Night People. They inadvertently return to Dorian his humanity when he falls in love with a young woman he rescues from becoming their victim. She will be his redemption, but she will also be his final curse."
My Thoughts: Szereto's The Wild Passions of Dorian Gray was a surprising "sequel" to Oscar Wilde's classic. I was not expecting erotica. I was certainly not expecting such violent erotica. Of course I can see where the author was coming from with this idea, and I can see how it could be a logical continuation of Dorian Gray's story. I'm not sure it made for a great story, and the violence made me extremely uncomfortable through the entire book.
I appreciated the different locations Dorian has to run to to escape anyone noticing his eternal youth (Paris, Marrakesh, Brazil, etc.) and how quickly the decades seem to pass for him.
I did find the ending rather abrupt and less than convincing. It seemed a rather forced end, as though the author simply did not know how to wrap up Dorian Gray's escapades.
Rating: 1/2 star....