Friday, November 7, 2014

Explanations + Reviewing: Juliet Immortal by Stacey Jay

You may have noticed that after Day 5 my community service posts stopped happening. Well, I'll tell you why. First of all, I forgot to do Day 6. I got too busy to do Day 7. I had no wi-fi Day 8. And by Day 9, well-- I gave up. It's not like there was a lot to talk about-- if you'd read all my past posts they withered down to complaining about the heat, Windex getting in my mouth (had I mentioned that? if I hadn't, it's terrible), sore feet, waking up early, and having to be social. Also, doing the exact same thing every weekend. It's great knowing exactly what to do and how to do it (I'm very much a control freak-- at least, I am when it comes to a situation I'm in), so it's not all bad. It's actually gotten to the point where I don't mind it.

But enough about community service. I have other topics for this post, one of which is a book I recently read called Juliet Immortal.

It was another recommendation by my sister, who had been torturing me to read it for months (minor exaggeration) and I finally got around to it.

I liked it. I liked it lots.

Fans of Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver and Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush will relish this intense paranormal love story featuring Romeo and Juliet, literary history's most tragic couple, who meet again, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.
The most tragic love story in history . . .

Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.

"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Okay well let me start off by saying it is not like Shiver or Hush (thankfully, because Shiver was just okay and Hush, well... I did a review on that). And even if I loved both of those books, it still was nothing like Juliet Immortal.
Ahem... Quick Tip

This is one of those books that is very hard to review without giving away major spoilers, so in preparation for that, spoilers will be shown as [  ] with variating spaces between brackets. The type between them is white so you'll need to highlight to read them.

The Main Characters

Juliet wasn't immediately like-able. I didn't really enjoy reading about her until the last half of the book, and even then she was just okay. She seemed naive, love-sick, and indecisive, and then we suddenly see the darker side of her-- the side of her that grew in response to Romeo's betrayal. But if we're being completely honest here, [it wasn't actually Romeo's fault. Juliet killed herself, and he didn't anticipate that she would].

Romeo has got to be one of the best villains I have ever read. I was constantly questioning if he was a villain or not. If he still loved Juliet or not. If he was just insane or not. And that's what villains are supposed to do. They are supposed to make you question. Not just to question them or their goals, but yourself. In fact, I'm still not sure that he was the villain. I'm sure that he didn't start out the villain all those years ago when he was still Romeo Montague-- naive and innocent. Maybe he became one through all the choices he made and all the torture he went through.

About the Ending...

Not only was it kind of abrupt after the endless possible endings the author was offering, it was way too neat. Way too neat. Everything just fit together perfectly, and to be honest [the whole alternate universe thing made close to zero sense to me]. However, I didn't hate it. It was okay, and it wrapped things up, thus completing its assigned job. 

Final Judgement 

Things I Liked:

Romeo. Shocker here. I thought I would hate him (not as a character but as a villain. Does that make sense?) but turns out he was one of my favorite characters.
The creepy factor. Call me twisted. The creepiness honestly is one of the things that kept me tied to the book.
How Juliet [fixes the relationship between Ariel and her mom] < super minor spoiler. I liked this part because it shows what Juliet's job really is. To bring hope and love to people's lives. Also, it was just super touching.
Ben. I didn't like [the insta-love that happens between him and Juliet and how he ends up being Benvolio (how convenient, amiright?)] < this is NOT a super minor spoiler-- but he was so nice that I couldn't help but like him.
Contemporary Romeo and Juliet with a dark twist. Need I say more?

Things That Were Just Okay OR I Hated:

Juliet. Juliet could have been better. For me, who thinks the story rides on the characters-- especially the main character-- she was a little bit of a let-down.
Gemma. So bitter and angry and her mood-swings are cray. (I understand that half the characters in this book are supposed to be damaged people, but Gemma...)
Nurse. Nurse made me very mad. That is all. 
How convenient the ending was. With the amount of tension leading up to what I assumed would be a huge finale that would leave me clapping like an elated seal (that is a thing, by the way) this was also a bit of a let-down.


She will fight for light, and he for dark, 

Battling through the ages for love's sweet spark. 

Wherever two souls adore truly, you will find them, lo, 

The brave Juliet and the wicked Romeo.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Reviewing: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.


Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.

In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.

While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. Forhope.

But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?




*Contains spoilers*
Spoilers will be between these [ ] -- Highlight to read them.

Days of Blood and Starlight moves on the lighthearted romance/magic/action vibe that Daughter of Smoke and Bone had and becomes entirely war-based, meaning the book just got a whole lot more violent, gory, and intense.

And I liked it. In the first book, my attention would sometimes drift off and I would start thinking about fudge and chocolate chip cookies and the like. But in this one... I couldn't tear my eyes away. I read it in one sitting.

So why, you ask, are you missing a star?

Okay, well, as fabulous as it was, it just wasn't perfect. I still didn't [see how Madrigal and Karou were the same person at all. There wasn't even a fraction of Madrigal inside of Karou, and even though I liked that it showed how much she had changed, I just couldn't feel the story as much as I could have.]. Also, the book focused less on the characters and more on the plot. Now, I am all for plot, don't get me wrong. But in my opinion, characters carry the plot, not the other way around.

Karou is an amazing character, but I wasn't really able to connect with her in either DoSaB nor Blood and Starlight. The only thing I really felt when reading in her point of view was her love for her family and her fierce will to survive. 

I loved Mik and Zuzana. They added so much... spark to the book and I am so, so glad Laini Taylor didn't just let Zuze -- the best friend-- fade into the background once Karou started getting involved with the chimaera. However, I was not a big fan of [how easily Karou decided to stay with the chimaera-- the ones who tricked her and plotted to kill her-- instead of her best friend in the modern word. The modern world that has wi-fi. Priorities, people.].

Akiva had a lot of character-building in this book. At least, I thought so. I liked how it actually showed things from his point of view and allowed us to really get to know him beyond the fierce warrior with awkward side angel person we saw in Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Laini Taylor has an incredible writing style that makes every sentence sound haunting and has a big impact on the reader. I hung on to every word.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Reviewing: Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

A SACRED OATH
A FALLEN ANGEL
A FORBIDDEN LOVE


Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.

I am completely aware that there are a ton of different opinions (both negative and positive) about this book and by sharing mine I will possibly be offending a lot of people. (Oops.) This is why I'm going to try to give a non-ranty (by this I mean no unreasonable venting) review while trying to say what I liked about the book.

Leggo.

Okay, so about Nora. Nora, in my opinion, was mediocre for a main character. She needed to stand up for herself more and take control of what was happening to her. I understand that it was difficult-- these are angels and Nephilim, after all-- but in all fairness the angels in this book were not the toughest angels. She also was guessing around to much. She was letting Patch get into her head and control her actions and her thoughts-- which is absolutely not good, in case you were wondering-- and never actually takes action to make him stop harassing her, sexually or otherwise. So, yeah. I thought she was pretty weak.

Her best friend, Vee, sucked at being a best friend. She was constantly shoving Nora into situations that made Nora uncomfortable, scared, or downright terrified. At first I sort of enjoyed her quirky loudness, but then it just got on my nerves as it became more and more obvious that Vee cared more about hanging out with hot guys than the safety of her best friend. I don't know about you, but if someone was harassing my best friend and making her feel threatened to the point that Nora was, I would get her as far away from them as I could. I wouldn't even want to share the same airspace as him, let alone push her to spend time with him.

Patch was a stalker. He followed her everywhere, made mental notes on her likes and dislikes, friends and possible boyfriends, etc. Harassing her and embarrassing her were just added bonuses. He tried to make literally every conversation have a sexual element, and he knew that made Nora uncomfortable. 

Here are some examples:

"You smell good, too," said Patch

"It’s called a shower." I was staring straight ahead. When he didn’t answer, I turned sideways. "Soap. Shampoo. Hot water."

"Naked. I know the drill."


-

"Say 'provoking' again. Your mouth looks provocative when you do."

I understand that Patch was the villain. Because of this, he was actually one of my favorite characters in the book, because he made a very good villain. I just thought his reason for becoming a hero was shakey. 

Nora's teacher was terrible. No teacher should force two students to be together in a class when one of them has already stated how uncomfortable the other has made her felt, unless he's secretly a shipper at heart. And when he said "no way," to Nora's request, she should have gone straight to the principal and continued to try and get Patch the heck away, not just submitted and gone to her next class.

But that's not even my biggest issue. My biggest issue are the angels. Now, in my opinion, angels are pretty powerful. And by pretty powerful, I mean a human could never stand a chance against one in battle, okay? Some angels are warriors, some are messengers, etc., etc, The warriors are called what they are for a reason. It bothered me that out of the two angels that became important, Patch was the only one that was described as powerful and there was actually supporting evidence that he was. I couldn't really get the angels in this book. Not only were they totally not pure at heart (not even the ones who weren't fallen), they couldn't kill Nora. Nora, who was not armed and was totally panicking, and just hiding while the angel (I forgot her name sorry) ransacked the room looking for her. 



Two stars, because even though I didn't really enjoy this book, it managed to make me read it until the end. I was intrigued.

Also, quick tip if you haven't read it but want to: Read this book as though Patch is the villain, because until the nearing-end of this book, he absolutely is.