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Mini Reviews

August 16, 2012

Here are some mini reviews of several books that I read in July. Mini as in, did I enjoy the story or not. I hate reviews that give away too many plot details but even so, these reviews are really brief. 🙂

Seraphina – Rachel Hartman

Series: Seraphina #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Published: July 2012
Links: Amazon   Book Depository

Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty’s anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high. Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen’s Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life. In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina’s tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they’ve turned the final page.

I wanted to like this book.Seraphina had great buzz and several bloggers that I respect thoroughly enjoyed the story but it just wasn’t for me. I liked the idea and execution of the dragons but my gripe with the story was characterisation. I felt that many of the characters were under developed. Seraphina was supposed to be intensely lonely hiding her true self from those around her. We were told often in the text that she was lonely, but I never got that from her – a case of show don’t tell. Also the romance sub-plot didn’t work for me.  My Rating: 5/10

Once Burned – Jeaniene Frost

Series: Night Prince #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Published: June 2012
Links: Amazon   Book Depository

She’s a mortal with dark powers… After a tragic accident scarred her body and destroyed her dreams, Leila never imagined that the worst was still to come: terrifying powers that let her channel electricity and learn a person’s darkest secrets through a single touch. Leila is doomed to a life of solitude…until creatures of the night kidnap her, forcing her to reach out with a telepathic distress call to the world’s most infamous vampire… He’s the Prince of Night… Vlad Tepesh inspired the greatest vampire legend of all—but whatever you do, don’t call him Dracula. Vlad’s ability to control fire makes him one of the most feared vampires in existence, but his enemies have found a new weapon against him—a beautiful mortal with powers to match his own. When Vlad and Leila meet, however, passion ignites between them, threatening to consume them both. It will take everything that they are to stop an enemy intent on bringing them down in flames.

I’m unsure about Once Burned. The story was okay but not particularly original. But I will check out the next book in the series. My Rating: 6/10

The Way We Fall – Megan Crewe

Series: The Fallen World Trilogy #1
Genre: YA, Dystopian
Published: January 2012
Links: Amazon   Book Depository

It starts with an itch you just can’t shake. Then comes a fever and a tickle in your throat. A few days later, you’ll be blabbing your secrets and chatting with strangers like they’re old friends. Three more, and the paranoid hallucinations kick in. And then you’re dead. When a deadly virus begins to sweep through sixteen-year-old Kaelyn’s community, the government quarantines her island—no one can leave, and no one can come back. Those still healthy must fight for dwindling supplies, or lose all chance of survival. As everything familiar comes crashing down, Kaelyn joins forces with a former rival and discovers a new love in the midst of heartbreak. When the virus starts to rob her of friends and family, she clings to the belief that there must be a way to save the people she holds dearest.  Because how will she go on if there isn’t?

The Way We Fall is a disaster story told in diary format. The book didn’t work for me – I just couldn’t connect with the story and lost interest pretty quickly. But many others love it, so perhaps the diary format just isn’t for me. My Rating: DNF

City of Bones – Cassandra Clare

Series: The Mortal Instruments #1
Genre: YA, Urban Fantasy
Published: March 2007
Links: Amazon   Book Depository

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .  Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

The plot raced along and there was some great world-building but the lack of character development was annoying. Characters had little depth – all about the plot. My Rating: 6/10

This is Not A Test – Courtney Summers

Series: Stand alone
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Zombies
Published:June 2012
Links: Amazon   Book Depository

It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, the motivations for survival change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life—and death—inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?

Horror. Zombies. This story was really hard to grade. It was compelling reading, I couldn’t put the book down and raced through the story. Really well drawn characters, who felt real. But I don’t know, at the end what I felt. Definitely not the usual run of YA at all. I liked that at the end of the story, it wasn’t all neatly tied up. My Rating: 8/10

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. August 16, 2012 1:52 pm

    I agree with City of Bones! I’m still interested in seeing what else the series has to give us, but a little disappointed in the first book!

    • August 16, 2012 8:28 pm

      So many people adore this series. Maybe the other books are much better.

  2. August 16, 2012 7:20 pm

    Ooo I loved Seraphina! But I can see what you mean about the loneliness…she has her garden! I have ‘This is Not a Test’ on my bookshelf and you might just have convinced me to read it next! x

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