Review: Poison Study

Poison Study (Study, #1)Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow! I was not expecting to love this book as much as I did!

The writing was clean, the story was intense, and the characters were pretty "human." By that I mean that I could see them as actual people, not just objects inserted in a book to make the plot move. There are only two things keeping this from a five-star rating:

1. (view spoiler)

2. (view spoiler)

And that's all the bad I have. I highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy, adventure, danger, and a character who starts off incredibly weak (and I mean really, her intelligence was the only thing she had going for her when she came out of that dungeon) but learns to trust herself and come out of it a stronger person.

*goes off to add the other books to my to-read list*

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Review: Philomena

PhilomenaPhilomena by Mark Guiney
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

[Disclaimer: I have no idea how I got a copy of this book. I may have gotten it from the author and completely forgotten, because I didn't win it in a giveaway, but in all honesty I have no clue. So in the event the author sent it to me for a review, here's a disclaimer that I didn't pay for this book, but my opinion is my own.]

For a first novel this was mostly enjoyable. There were the obvious first-novel problems with plot, pacing, details, etc. I noticed a lot of typos in the PDF, although that could just be the edition, and for all I know it's been polished in print. There were a few plot holes/things I didn't quite "get" about the book, some of the character dynamics didn't really make sense (Veronica/Forthright's dislike of each other is obvious, but it's not obvious as to why, even with the back story scene halfway through). I thought maybe the author was working up to a love triangle (which I would have disliked even more so thank goodness that wasn't it).

Basil as a character is pretty much inherently good. He doesn't seem to have a flaw, aside from self-doubt and selflessness. Cyprian is a good guy too, but he doesn't really seem realistic to me. He's a great person and seems to be a good ships captain, but what else?

The "magic" in this book isn't really magic as most people think of it, and I give some props to the author for developing something unusual at the least. It was interesting how the people who can use Words (with a capital "W") are limited and the Words aren't necessarily "words" or even explicitly stated at all times. A lot of it was that "Basil started speaking and Words poured from his mouth" kind of stuff which is great, but what exactly the Words did wasn't clear until the very end of the book. It didn't really make much sense, though, and left me with more questions than there were answers provided. I get that it's sort of hereditary, and only the rulers of Cor Nova are able to wield the Words, but Basil's sudden ability and ability to control it without really thinking about it seems like it came on too quickly.

The battles were well-written and the adventure was interesting, although I think it was a bit too easy for the characters to get where they were going. Maybe that's just because most of the confrontations were wrapped up in a chapter or two, as opposed to any lengthy derailing of the plans they kept making. And at the end, (view spoiler)

The last thing that really stuck in my craw throughout the read was how the author kept referring to characters by their whole names, instead of a first or last name, except Cyprian, Basil and Veronica. By the end of the book I had forgotten Basil's last name! But Clip McElhaney and Burt Spacklebrook (who I don't think was ever referred to as simply a first or last name) were almost always mentioned by first and last name. It is a method of naming that doesn't quite sit right with me, because I feel that if we're going to learn to love these characters, we should be familiar enough with them to know them by first or last name only. Most books I've read do it that way, and that's the way I prefer it.

As an overall experience the book was a fun fantasy novel that ends very solidly, with the potential for more, but which works as a stand-alone. I LOVE that it's technically a stand-alone because it's not another first-in-a-series that I have to worry about not getting everything out of it. I see that the author is writing more stories about Cor Nova, which is nice, but I can say I am satisfied with the way this ended.

Also, Lilith is stinking adorable and while a lot of people hate the "precocious child" character, personally I found her to be hilarious and completely believable. I also liked Forthright better than most of the other characters, despite being abrasive and rude at times (or maybe because of it).

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Review: The Girl with Glass Feet

The Girl with Glass FeetThe Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This wasn't a bad book, it was actually pretty well-written style-wise, but going simply by what the designated stars mean it was simply "OK" for me.

The side characters were never really fleshed out enough for me. Their side stories never quite fit with the main one, and didn't seem to add much to the actual narrative other than their existence. None of them help Midas or Ida in any tangible way, aside from Gustav (quite literally) at the end. Ida and Midas are simply existing in this sea of people who don't like other people and have nothing to give. Any back story that was included, and any tangents the author went into were never completed or given relevance that met my expectations.

Ida and Midas as characters aren't exactly the most shining examples of human beings, but at least Midas gets a bit of a personality "expansion" by the end. I guess you could say that was the book's one saving grace.

I was moved by the end, but that was the only part that made me feel anything besides indifference. And the only reason I felt something was because (view spoiler).

I closed the book feeling unsatisfied. Perhaps it was because I was expecting a bit more magic (you know, aside from people turning to glass), a bit more folklore, a bit more of something else that this book just wasn't. But it felt like there was so much more that needed to be said, while the author may have been valuing brevity of sorts rather than developing the narrative.

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Review: The Great Lenore

The Great LenoreThe Great Lenore by J.M. Tohline
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm torn on this book. It's written very well, but it's also pretty short, and not entirely a great read. I felt rushed through, and I felt like the relationships were formed so quickly and then lost again. The overwhelming high-society attitudes of some of the characters combined with the narrator's not-so-opulent background didn't seem to be as much of a gap for him to bridge as I would imagine it to be. I also didn't really get to know Lenore, and why everyone loved her so much, aside from the fact that she was "perfect" in almost every way. That doesn't tell me much about her, and her back-story didn't really either. It was also mentioned that she was brilliant and funny and entrancing. I didn't really see that expressed, the reader is simply told and expected to believe. That didn't sit so well with me.

But the story was interesting, and the pace kept me going, so while I didn't love it I did like it, and for that it gets 3 stars.

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Review: Dance of Thieves by Mary Pearson

Dance of Thieves by Mary E. Pearson My rating: 5 of 5 stars I received a free e-copy of this book from NetGalley for review purposes. ...