Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Partials by Dan Wells

I got this both as a galley from Net Galley and as an ARC at Barnes and Noble courtesy of HarperCollins Children’s Books.
I really enjoyed reading this! It was sort of a mixture of sci-fi, dystopia, and epic fantasy. It took me a while to read, but I think that is because my week has been crazy and not because of anything bad about the book.
It’s about Kira, a girl growing up in a world where no more babies are being born. There was an awful war against partials (aka: engineered creatures that look exactly like humans, but actually have super strength, hearing, speed, and agility) that decimated most of humankind along with the RM virus. The virus is actually what prevents infants from living past a few hours after childbirth. Kira lives in a city of survivors who are all desperate for a cure for the virus. Each human life is important because nobody knows how much longer life can last.
You can’t help but love Kira. The book begins with her internship at the maternity ward, and her witnessing yet another baby die. You love Kira not because of what she lives through or even how she handles it, but you love her because of how strong she is and how intelligently she works her way through her biggest problems. She knows what is happening is wrong, yet she doesn’t whine about it like her friends do; she tries to find a solution.
Because humans seem to be an endangered species, there are a lot of laws about pregnancy. Women 18 and over are required by law to pretty much always be pregnant. The government wants as many babies born as possible, so each child can be studied and analyzed until a cure can be found. It’s not long before the age is lowered to sixteen and there’s a lot of conflict about choice, a lot of comparisons made involving women and cattle, and a lot of literal political explosions. A civil war seems to be underway brought on by the Voice, a group of people who rightly believe that their voice has been taken away. And Kira, being the intelligent individual that she is, can see the positive side to both arguments. She knows that as many babies as possible need to be studied to find a cure, yet she’s not ready to become pregnant herself.
Kira decides to take matters into her own hands when of her best friends becomes pregnant. She promises her that she will do everything she can to find a cure. And she does. Kira soon realizes that the key to finding a cure to RM involves studying partials and their immunity to it. Against the orders of the senate, she and her friends (minus her boyfriend who is unwilling to go) leave safe territory and venture out into partial territory in search of one to capture and study.
Well, she finds one. There’s a lot of chasing, bombs exploding, deadly fight scenes, torture, and science in involved. Kira studies the parital (aka: Samm) up until her lab is bombed. There’s a lot of politics, surgery, and fast-paced escape scenes. One of the scariest moments was when Kira was captured in partial territory and was tested on herself. There’s all the wonderful themes of loyalty, ambition, and peace that make up any good dystopia. Add a little romance, some amazing adventures, and a bit of a Hunger Games type finale, and that pretty much sums up the book!
This world was so interesting to read about. It was not too far-fetched, and I definitely could see this being a rather believable future. I loved Samm and Kira’s relationship. And I loved how scientific Kira was and how much she believed that what she was doing was right. I thought the ending was fantastic. You know not all is right with Kira and the senate, though on paper, it all looks a-okay. And I’m so looking forward to a sequel.

My only qualm about the book is the lack of character development for her friends. I kind of feel like a lot of Kira’s ultimate decisions was based on a friend I barely knew or cared about. I know Kira. And I know her boyfriend. I also felt like I knew Samm and her guardian that was never really there. Yet, her friends who did all these crazy, dangerous things weren’t all too developed. I didn’t really find myself caring about what happened to them at all, let alone keeping their names straight.
All in all though, this was a great dystopia! I’m so glad I read this. And I give it a 9/10.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepard

First, this is my 100th blog posting!!!! And as promised, I am offering a super sweet book giveaway contest at the end of this book review, to celebrate.
So, I’m a big fan of the TV show, The Lying Game, and was inspired to start reading the books that started the show. I’ve reviewed the first two books in this series already. And while these books are not my favorite YA books, they do make for some entertaining reading!
The first book was all about how everyone in Sutton’s life was a suspect to Emma in trying to solve her twin sister’s murder. Her newly discovered twin was murdered, and she kind of takes over her life before anyone notices, in order to find out what happened to her. The second book was all about clearing the names of those closest to Sutton, and now Emma. And this third book is about Thayer, the brother of Sutton’s best friend, Mads. He disappeared before the first book started and Emma had been hearing some rumors about how Sutton had something to do with his disappearance since she took over Sutton’s life.
My favorite thing about these books is how they are all told from Sutton (the dead twin’s point of view). She doesn’t remember everything about her life, particularly how she died, but as Emma goes along pretending to be Sutton and trying to find clues, Sutton gets memories and flashes of her life. And it becomes clear that while Thayer is a big suspect on Emma’s list, he was also the love of Sutton’s life. And I love how snotty Sutton is. I find her character, while kind of evil at times, to be so much more interesting than Emma. Emma is doing all she can and genuinely seems to be a good person. But, she’s also kind of not that interesting.
This book is full of all the drama and mystery of the first two. There’s break-ins, lying game pranks, jail visits, sisterly rivalry, romantic meet-ups in the tennis courts, parties, lots of family craziness, and all the creepiness of a teen horror movie with a killer on the loose. Hearts are broken and memories are had. I made a promise to myself that after the second book ended back at square one for Emma that I wouldn’t continue with the series if book 3 ended the same way. And it kind of did. Some interesting things were learned though, and Sutton definitely recalls a lot more about the day she died, so it’s not exactly square one. I still can’t give up though. I feel like I need to keep reading even more. I need to know who killed Sutton!
I loved the drama. I loved the eerie, supernatural twin connection, and I loved the suspense. I got a little tired of all the thrift store mentions about Emma. We get that Sutton likes name brands and Emma likes thrift stores; I don’t need to be reminded of this 101 times. I feel like their differences in class were exaggerated enough in the second book. It’s okay to stop pointing out these differences as much now. I really liked Thayer’s character, and I felt bad for him not knowing what happened to Sutton, and why she stopped caring about him. I give this one an 8/10, and I will keep reading because I really need to know.
Now it’s contest time!
What you can win: one of my top five favorite books of 2011.  These were my favorites:

1) Beauty Queens by Libba Bray
2) Divergent by Veronica Roth
3) Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
4) Blood Red Road by Moira Young
5) Across the Universe by Beth Revis

My rules: You need to follow my blog. You need to live in the United States. You need to leave a comment to this post with your email address in it. (If you don’t want the world sending you spam, put your email in this format: noriscloset at gmail dot com). And you need to tell me in your comment which of my top five you want to win, and why.
I will pick one of the comments randomly, and send whoever wins an email by Wednesday Feb. 29th (one week from today). You will have two days to respond to my email with your shipping address, and if I don’t hear back from you in two days, I will pick another winner. The winner will win whichever of the five books you mention in your post.
Good luck everyone! Happy 100!

Monday, February 20, 2012

The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittredge

So, I recently reviewed the first book in the Iron Codex Series: The Iron Thorn, and I really loved the world Caitlin Kittredge created. I got this one (the sequel) courtesy of Random House Children’s Books on NetGalley. And I was so excited to continue with this story.
If you haven’t read the first book yet, be warned that I am about to spoil things. This book begins with Aoife, Dean, Cal, Conrad, Aoife’s father and the father’s girlfriend holed up in the girlfriend’s family home. Everyone in Aoife’s life is determined to keep Aoife safe for the time being, to train her on how to use her weird better, and to better prepare her for some tough times ahead. Aoife can’t stop thinking about what she did with the gates and how now all the creatures from one land are entering another land.
She also can’t stop blaming herself for leaving her mad mother behind. And despite the warnings of everyone she has ever cared about, she decides to go back toward Lovecraft, where she is famous for being the destroyer. She did destroy the engine, and practically decimate a whole city. Proctors know what she looks like and are searching for her. But, she decides to go any way. She fights monsters, meets new friends, gets captured (several times by different bad guys), gets put on various missions (one per bad guy), and learns a lot about the creation of her world and how the universe works, and even how time works.
The explanations for her universe and for time, and their connection to one man/creature was a little vague and confusing, yet so, so fascinating! I loved the whole concept of the old ones, and how the one gate was connected with dreams. And I liked that a lot was left for the reader to figure out about this. The one thing Kittredge really mastered above all else was creating this world!
Aoife’s ultimate mission (the one she decides to do herself), is to find the machine that can turn back time, so she can stop herself from ever destroying the engine and leaving her mother behind. But, nothing is ever as simple as turning back time. And between her deals to the fey to hand herself (and her mother) over to them, her deals with the proctors to destroy a brotherhood against them in order to get Dean back, and a narrow escape of the only people who ever cared about her, Aoife has a lot going on and a lot to think about in this book. I loved seeing the Winter Court! And all the scenes on the submarine were so cool!
I did not like this book as much as the first one. It took me over a week to read this one, when normally a book like this is finished in a matter of a day or two. I feel like the world was just as interesting. And the story definitely had a lot of twists and turns.  It was the characters that were kind of not as interesting to me any more. To start with, my favorite character, Dean, was only in about half of it. And while I love how brave and strong Aoife is, I couldn’t help but think about the many ridiculously poor decisions she continued to make, even after all the mistakes made in book one. A) A character needs to grow throughout the series. And B) So many comments are made on her intelligence; yet, I couldn’t help but think how rather un-intelligent she was, making rash, dangerous decisions, without any regard for her life and safety, along with the well-being of others. In a way, she kind of reminded me of a certain boy wizard.
I get that she had a tough life with her brother before. Though, we only technically get to witness one scene of her past life that demonstrates this. I would have liked to have seen more of that because then I might have felt more empathy toward Aoife and her brother. But, even with this assumed tragic past, she was way too worried about her mother! Everyone was telling her that her mother was a survivor. Her mother survived the mad house for years. And she survived living in a world of iron. Why was the possible destruction of the world along with the possible destruction of all the worlds in the universe worth risking to save her crazy mom, who’d most likely survive any way?!? I really did not get Aoife’s motives. And I certainly lost most of the respect I had left for her for doing this. I mean her mother wasn’t even a real mother to her. She grew up in foster care as a ward of the state! Why was her mother worth everything? And why couldn’t she have learned anything from her past mistakes?
The story is good. The world is unbelievably good. I just wish the characters were more realistic and or easier to care about, especially the main character. I give this one a 7/10, and it really would have gotten a 10/10 if not for the lack of character development and growth.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

Happy Valentines day! I thought this was the perfect book to review for today. I won the ARC from a contest on Goodreads. And it’s a very different kind of YA book. The book, itself, is a story mostly told in photographs, postcards, and instant messages. I’m debating buying the ebook because it’s supposed to be very interactive. The book involves a lot of links to YouTube and a lot  of songs. And the electronic version of the book is supposed to have the songs and video.
A lot has been happening recently in regards to cross methods of literature. I love the 39 Clues books because there is the book series, the online game, and then also a trading card game. And I know there are other books that involve a mixing of online culture with story. And frankly, I think this is genius. Chopsticks takes it a step further by combining, story with photographs, with art, with music, and with video. The links to a lot of the videos in the hard copy version, are displayed with photographs.
The story is about a piano prodigy: Glory. It’s about her handling her mother’s death, and about her remarkable piano talent. Her father has her practicing all the time, and when she’s not practicing, she seems to be performing. And she performs all over the world, music hall to music hall. The book is a love story between Glory and Frank, the boy who moves in next door to her. Frank is an artist. So, once he’s introduced, there’s a lot of painting and drawings added to the mix of music, photographs, and concert tickets. And there’s a lot of interesting racial/cultural conflicts for Frank (short for Francisco) who’s from Argentina.
The book is supposed to be about the events leading up to Glory’s disappearance. And from the beginning I was questioning whether she runs away or if something happens to her. The creators of the book really leave a lot up to the reader to decide. And the actual moment of her disappearance is never talked about. It’s all about the news after her disappearance and then the years leading up to it. And the years leading up to it, minus the love story, seem to involve a steady decline in Glory’s sanity. She keeps messing up at her performances and playing the song Chopsticks. And eventually, Chopsticks is all she can play.
I both loved and hated how much I had to decipher and fill in for myself. It was a totally unique reading experience. When the majority of the story is told through visual media, there’s a lot of filling in the lines the reader has to do. And this is no simple tale. There are certain things I caught on to, certain symbols, certain moments, and certain interactions that I could easily see a young person not getting. However, you don’t need to catch a lot of the clues and details to fully love this book.
The book is just beautiful. And while I think the best experience would be with the digital book because of the interactive elements, I’m glad I also have this hard copy because it’s gorgeous. Some photographs just demand to be looked at and thought about. Seriously, some of this could be framed and put in a famous gallery and no one could argue its artistic merit. Rodrigo Corral designs book covers for famous authors, and it’s clear he has a fantastic sense for how to fill a page.
The story, as I kind of hinted at earlier, is not so easy to follow. I’m pretty sure that if I had not read the back of the book, I would not have gathered the finer details for what was happening. It’s rather abstract. And at first this annoyed me because I felt like I actually had to work at getting this. But, then I loved it. It’s just so different, so beautiful, and such an amazing idea, that I can’t see anyone really hating it. It works as an authentic example for what art has evolved into over the years, and what social media and technology means for art. And like all good art it makes you think. I give this a 10/10

Sunday, February 12, 2012

A Good Week in Books (2)

So, I have had a rather excellent week in books, again. I got an amazing haul from Net Galley (thank you to my friend, Christina, for the heads up)! I purchased some good ones! I won a book from a Goodreads contest. And I also acquired two ARC’s from my wonderful bookstore that both employs me and feeds my rather intense book addiction.
Thanks to Net Galley, I have these beauties to look forward to:

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks
Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Candlewax by C Bailey Sims

Some books I couldn’t leave my store without purchasing (3 YA titles and 2 Children’s –Dr. Suess’ birthday is coming up and I will be doing a story time dedicated to him at both libraries I work at) :

Shine by Lauren Myracle
Two Truths and a Lie by Sara Shepard
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood

Oh, the Places You’ll Go
by Dr. Seuss
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Partials by Dan Wells
Embrace by Jessica Shirvington

Contest Win from Goodreads:

by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

Saturday, February 11, 2012

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

I loved this one! Imagine a book that is part steam punk, part dystopia, part fantasy, and part fairy tale, and then imagine some really scary Lovecraft type monsters, some fantastic characters, and a bit of some classic Gothic themes. Then you might be on your way to understanding the uniqueness of this story.
It took me a little while to get into it because there was no dumbed down explanations for all the crazy happenings of this world that Aoife lives in. You kind of have to get used to some of the steam punk lingo and descriptions, and take in all the hardships of the world as you go along. I ended up liking this a lot because I tend to feel like if there’s too much explanation in the beginning, the author doesn’t trust the readers to understand things. Kittredge definitely trusts her readers.
The dystopia steam punk society Aoife presides herself in is all about reason and science. Anyone that questions reason, reads a fairy tale, looks like they have been infected by the virus that drives people mad, or does anything non-scientific, gets charged with being a heretic, and usually ends up being burned to death. Isn’t the religion reversal here interesting? If you believe in God, you burn; the society only wants people to believe in science. And religion is grouped together with fairy tales.
But how does science explain the Lovecraft type creatures that go bump in the night? They are apparently people who have been greatly damaged by the virus that the city is trying to protect everyone from. Also, like in most dystopias, girls have the short end of the stick. Aoife is actually the only girl to make it to her engineering academy. She gets a lot of rude remarks about being a smart girl. But, it becomes very clear that she’s used to all the rudeness form those around her because she’s a ward of the state, technically born a bastard, has a mother in a mental asylum, a crazy brother who tried to kill her, and an inevitable sink to madness herself. Everyone in her family goes mad at the age of sixteen. And she’s trying to spend as much time doing what she loves as she can before she goes nuts, which pretty much involves working with engines, hanging out with her friend, Cal, and visiting her mother.
The story really starts when she gets a letter from her brother, who has been MIA from his mental institution. She and Cal run away from the academy (followed by ravens and proctors who want to catch as many heretics as possible), to go to her father’s estate. She’s never been there or even met her father, but that’s where her brother’s letter told her to go. She and Cal escape death many times on their journey. They hire a guide, Dean, a mysterious, street-smart character you can’t help but fall in love with, and go on airships, escape from flesh eating monsters, and find Aoife’s fathers estate.
There, Aoife gets involved with other worlds, fairies, mysteries of her family, and then  discovers her weird (aka: super power that connects her to machines). She’s given an impossible task that will require her to return to the world she just escaped from. There’s romance, there’s demon dens, pipe work, giant engines, secret rooms, magic, family drama, a couple of twists (that I did catch on to, but only because of how many fairy stories I read). And the fate of a lot of people rests on Aoife’s shoulders, all while she has a very limited time before she knows her mind will go.
The book is fast-paced. And while the monsters and fairies make this dystopia a little less believable than others, it certainly made this one a lot of fun! I liked how strong Aoife was. She was just the right amount strong and the right amount doubtful. A small part of her always wanted to be a “good girl” and blend in and listen to all the lies her leaders had fed her, but the independent, intelligent part of her always seemed to hold out the winner in all of her inner conflicts.
I loved Dean! I sort of imagined him as a mixture of George from Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books, Peter Pan, and Dodger from Oliver Twist. Cal, the best friend was not as loveable for me. I liked his story and I certainly was not expecting the twist that involved him, yet he was just too whiny for me (too much like Simon from City of Bones). And I know I’m doing a lot of YA comparisons here. It’s just so hard not to when an author combines so many different elements like this. There were some definite Harry Potter elements as well, particularly with a certain journal and some memories that Aoife received.
But, Kittredge handles all the intermingling of genres and themes beautifully. There’s a lot of layers to her book, always a lot of things going on. And at times (especially in the beginning) I was expected to take in almost too much information. But, she managed to do this “too much information” in a way that worked. I really enjoyed reading this and getting something so unique! And I am about to get started on the sequel. I give this one a 10/10.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Wow. First, I need to mention the fact that this is my 95th blog posting! Stay posted because I will be offering up my first book contest when I hit 100!
I need to mention now that I am a big John Green fan. His award-winning book, Looking for Alaska, was actually my least favorite of his books, but still gets a 10/10 from me. And I still need to read Paper Towns, which I own and will read soon. But the book he co-wrote with David Levithan: Will Grayson Will Grayson is one of my all time favorite YA novels.
I also love all other John Green fans. I feel like, growing up as a bit of a book nerd, going to book signings for me is a lot like how going to concerts is like for big music fans. The Harry Potter midnight release parties, the signings I ditched school to go to, and the readings I’ve been able to attend for free in Chicago are all kind of like what going to see Madonna or Lady Gaga would be like for someone else. It’s more than just the show or the book; it’s being in a room/building/arena full of people who all seem to care about the same things you do, just as much. And I have been around John Green fans in Chicago, in New Orleans, and in Pittsburgh. I’ve even been to a Harry Potter Wrock concert, where one of the bands sang a side song dedicated to John Green. People love him. And they have a good reason to.
I bought a signed copy of this book the day it came out. And if nothing else can convince you to read this one, read the blurb from E. Lockhart that’s on the back cover: “John Green writes incredible, honest truths about the secret, weird hearts of human beings. He makes me laugh and gasp at the beauty of a sentence or the twist of a tale. He is one of the best writers alive and I am seething with envy of his talent.”
It took me a little while to read this one, not because I didn’t like it, but because it dealt with some serious, heavy stuff. The two main characters/teens have cancer. And a lot of the book takes place in hospitals and support groups. And frankly, I have spent so much time in hospitals the past few months, with my dad that I found myself getting a little too invested in these characters. Thinking so much about death, survival, and illness was hard for me. But then again, it was also kind of perfect.
It’s about Hazel, a girl who with one medical miracle is granted a little extra time in life, but knows that soon she will die. She meets Augustus, a cancer survivor, in a support group that takes place in a church basement they quickly coin “the heart of Jesus” for all of the prayers and mention of the name. The book is essentially a love story between these two teens who have already been through so much. They bond over a mutual friend in support group. And they continue to bond over a series of amazing conversations, violent video game playing, and book sharing.
Hazel is obsessed with this one book: An Imperial Affliction. And she and Augustus switch favorite books. Hazel gets the series his favorite video game is based off of, and devours several in the series really quickly. And Augustus loves her book too, which ends mid sentence where the main character is assumed to have died of cancer. But both Hazel and Augustus are obsessed with trying to figure out what happens to the other characters in the novel. And the two teens end up going to Amsterdam, spending Augustus’ wish (something all cancer kids seem to get and that Hazel wasted on a trip to Disney when she was 13) to go meet the author of An Imperial Affliction and get some asnwers. There’s international adventures, first love, death, survival, philosophical questions, some amazing characters, and a lot of talk about the people cancer patients have relationships with, who they know they will end up leaving behind. There’s a scene when the two go to Anne Frank’s house and the connections Hazel kept making between herself and Anne Frank, without even realizing she was making the connections, were so scary, and moving.
It’s not a typical cancer book. It’s jam-packed with amazing dialogue, dark and witty humor, and plenty of intense philosophical questions. Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do some people survive and some don’t? How can you make your life mean something? Is love worth it even when you know it will end badly? So many of the questions asked in this book are questions you think of adults (way past the stage of mid-life crisis’) asking. So, it’s really hard reading about kids asking these questions. And these kids are brilliant, real, and so wise beyond their years.
I stopped reading all of the other books I was reading to finish this one. Sometimes I’d read a page, or a conversation, and just need to pause and let it all sink in. I slowly savored this book in meaningful and small bites because I didn’t want any other food corrupting this flavor.
On a side note: the book made me want to know how many children (around the same age) in the same area tend to all have cancer? Does this typically happen? I feel like they all lived really close to each other too –and you know I’m thinking about Erin Brockovich…But, this has nothing to do with the book. It’s just something random I thought about.
Really, this book is beautiful. And it was capable of putting me in a completely different mindset. It’s sad. And I knew it would have a sad ending, so I kind of postponed finishing it.  But, really, I shouldn’t have done that because the sad ending was such a beautiful ending. I give this one a 10/10. Go, read it!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Shadowcry by Jenna Burtenshaw

I bought this one for myself a long time ago. Actually, it’s the author’s first book but I can’t count it in the DAC because it debuted in 2011. I’m sort of reading about 10 different books at the same time right now, and I have been reading this for a long time (over weeks). I’m not going to lie; the cover is what drew me in. The snow, the columns, and the mysterious cloaked figure all made this book look eerily fantastic. Then I read what it was about and it sounded similar to one of my all time favorite YA books: Garth Nix’s Sabriel. 
And the story is really good. It’s unique and it reads like a good old-fashioned fantasy novel, which I love. It was just hard for me to stay focused with this one. It’s about Kate, a girl living with her uncle, working in a bookshop, ignorant of all she is capable of. Wardens in her land are famous for invading villages and capturing all able bodies to either sell off in cities for coins or to send off to be soldiers in a never-ending war. Kate discovers her ability to bring the dead back to life at the worst possible time. The wardens have come, and her “skill” has drawn the attention of everyone.
Her uncle is captured. Her bookstore is burnt to a crisp. And her only friend seems to have a very mysterious past. After some hiding, some chase scenes, a really interesting underground passage, and a crazy killer intent on finding her, Kate is eventually captured by Silas. And Silas is definitely my favorite character. He sort of seems like a Clint Eastwood type cowboy, with a very clear sense of what is right and wrong. However, he’s also the head warden working for the evil Da’ru. Da’ru is on an epic search for the book: Wintercraft, a book that best works for people in Kate’s family. Kate’s family is well known for their skills in opening the veil to death, and her parents were killed for it.
You soon learn that Silas has his own agenda and instead of bringing Kate directly to his boss, he goes on his own search for the book. He believes Kate and the book will be his answer to dying. Da’ru brought him back to life and did something to his soul, making it impossible for him to die. All his wounds heal very quickly, making him the ultimate solider. Da’ru planned on making many soldiers like him but the important book was taken from her before she could. Kate makes a deal with Silas. Together Kate, Silas, and Edgar (her friend that just might be in love with her), learn about the skilled, the veil, and the book. They rescue her uncle and Kate eventually comes to want to help Silas.
It’s a story about family, about magic, and about honor. There are some very unique concepts in regards to death, souls, magic, healing, and shades. And there’s this really cool thing all skilled people can do that involves going into another person’s memories. And getting to really see Silas and Da’ru was interesting. I loved the bad guys in this book because their motives made sense to me.
I never really cared for Kate. She was boring. She could have been obsessed with books. She could have been training in self defense. She could have been dying to know about magic, or wanting to bring her parents back. But, she was as boring as cardboard. I liked that she fought back all the time and knew how to throw a punch, but there was no mention of who taught her to do that. It’s like the author couldn’t decide how to write her. Should she be weak or strong? And I like strong better, but still even just a weak main character that was consistently weak would have read better than one that never seemed to stay the same.
I liked the politics, the fights, the rescues, and the magic. The book definitely had a lot of action, and a kind of western feel.  But, it really would have been so much better with just a little character development. It ended without me really knowing anything about the main character or her potential love interest. And I just feel like Kate was missing something important.
I think the sequel has already come out, but I’m not sure if I plan on reading it. I probably will because half of it is in Silas’ point of view and I love reading about him. I just don’t know if I can take more of boring Kate. I give it a 7/10.