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Få inspiration til din næste læseoplevelse og læs mere om alt lige fra kærlighed, krimi, YA og historiske romaner til fantasy, science fiction og gys. Alt er på dansk - på nær de anmeldelser, jeg har lyst til at skrive på engelsk. Occasional posts/reviews in English.
~ Iben
Bibliotekar, bogblogger & boganmelder

27/05/2013

The Awakened Mage by Karen Miller

Kingmaker, Kingbreaker #2

My review of The Innocent Mage (Kingmaker, Kingbreaker #1) can be found here

"The evil foretold has risen ... and we are all that stands between it and the end."

Asher has come a long way for a fisherman's son. Together with his friend Prince Gar, he has defended their kingdom against its bitterest enemy, but at great cost.
Now, the evil mage Morg is preparing for his most deadly assault. Desperate, trapped in a broken body, Morg has little time and fewer scruples. And he has a plan.
As Gar and Asher unwittingly fall into a dangerous deception, Morg gets ever closer to his goal. And this victory would be particularly sweet - for who better to destroy the kingdom than the two who would give anything to save it?

Looking back at both this book and the first one, it's hard to review them apart. They're not so much a series as just one long story, one book that turned out too long to be published, and thus had to be split up into two.

Like the first it's well written and very mature fantasy (I think my mind is so baffled by the very YA book I'm reading currently, that all else seems very grown up and rational).

The first book more or less is all about introducing the characters - book two would have been better if it had done a better job developing them and moving them forwards. Thinking about it the only one who changes is Darran. The rest remain the exact same throughout the story, from beginning to end. Dathne is always bossy, Asher is always noble but blunt, Matt is always dependable but quiet and so on.

I grew more distanced from Asher in this one though, enjoying Gar better. Dathne annoys me; she annoyed me in the first book and gets no redeeming qualities in this one. Matt I never get to properly know and Morg is just evil - evil because that's the plot-moving point of his character. The same goes for Jarralt, though he's not exactly evil, just greedy, selfish and cruel. And this Barl we keep hearing about? A woman who died 500+ years ago, a sorceress now worshipped as a deity? I would have liked to been given a more plausible identity for all of them and I would have liked to know more about the world they live in. We're told a vague background story for their present world and only given nightmarish glimpses of Morg's realm. The history they care so much about as well as the issue around magic is never explained properly to the reader, and in the end it's hard to empathise with any of it.

The ending disappointed me. With 50 pages to go, we still weren't anywhere near a plausible ending.  40 pages to go. 35 pages to go. And then BOOM. Everything - in very few pages. Such a condensed action-filled ending with the tiniest of wrap ups afterwards. All strings are tied up, there are no lose annoying ends, but the book is 678 pages long - surely a few more pages could have been spared for the ending?



The Awakened Mage 
(Kingmaker, Kingbreaker #2)
ISBN13: 9781841496054
678 pages / published in 2007
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013


I actually started out rating this book 4 stars, but while writing my review and giving it proper thought, I realised that was too high.

20/05/2013

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me #1

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.
The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.
The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.
Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior

To start out, the underlying story is quite interesting, I'll give it that.

However, it couldn't be more bad YA even if it tried. Every. single. important. character is desribed as either beautiful or gorgeous etc. Instant burning passionate I-WANT-YOU-RAWR love happens immediately based on nothing but looks and looking at each other over a peroid of time with no talking. We know next to nothing about any of the characters and only know that Juliette, for girl who's been shunned all her life is exceptionally bright and knowledgeable in a Mary-Sue kind of way.

Another negative aspect for me is the very flowery poetry-like way in which it's written. It's not my style and while I can appreciate some of it, most of the time it's just way over the top.
Some spoilerfree examples of that:
(and this is just a tiny handful)
He leans back against the couch. Runs a free hand over his face. Seasons change. Stars explode. Someone is walking on the moon.
The room is heavy with the scent of wet stone, upturned soil; the ait is dank and earthy. I take a deep breath and tiptoe to the window only to press my nose against the cool surface. Feel my breath fog up the glass. Close my eyes to the sound of a soft pitter-patter rushing through the wind. Raindrops are my only reminder that clouds have a heartbeat. That I have one, too.
I catch the rose petals as they fall from my cheeks, as they float around the frame of my body, as they cover me in something that feels like the absence of courage.
I wish I could stuff my mouth full of raindrops and fill my pockets full of snow. I wish I could trace the veins in a fallen leaf and feel the wind pinch my nose.
I’m choking
I’m shaking shuddering splintering into teardrops
and he’s holding me the way no one has ever held me before.

Like he wants me.
Every organ in my body falls to the ground.
I try to fight it
I try to stay awake
I try to find my head but I can’t.

I collapse from sheer exhaustion.

When Mafi wasn't busy overly descriping the-sun-rotates-around-the-moon kind of passion (actual phrase. I don't even), she made main character Juliette gasp - constantly. That is, literally, her most often used response. Even to straight forward questions or answers. She gasps - I sigh.

There are some nice twists and turns (which I won't give away) and the bad guy does seem genuinely messed up (rather than just "evil" being his sole trait) - HOWEVER rather than let us figure some things out for ourselves, even the basic things are spelled out. And other elements, particularly some of the action/army scenes are just too simple, where I really got the feeling that the author had no idea other than seeing it in films and just emulated that. It seems that the book takes place sometime in our not to distant future, but it gives no answers as to what happened and to be honest it felt a little half-hearted. This is not a book about what happened; what happened is merely a backdrop for Juliette to be awesome in.

Seeing as they can both be labelled as dysopian, when I started reading this, I excepted something similar to my last read, Slated, however as the cover should have warned me, this is a very different kind of YA book. Where Kyla from Slated is more in the style of  Katniss from The Hunger Games, Juliette reminds me more of Elena from The Vampire Diaries. They do have similar endings though. Shatter Me is a book that's all about telling the initial story, introducing people, letting us know exactly how special Juliette is. The fight we won't see till the next book (or the next? who knows).

But as I started out saying the overall story is interesting and despite Mafi's efforts to dumb it down I liked the conspiracy feelings to it and I'll probably bite my tongue and read the next book, Unravel Me, to see what happens. I'm debating whether to give it 2 or 3 stars, but will land on 2, because it annoys me how ridiculous the YA genre has become when it comes to beauty and body image as well as love.


Shatter Me
Shatter Me #1
ISBN13: 9780062085481
338 pages / published in 2011
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

16/05/2013

Slated by Teri Terry

Slated #1

Kyla’s memory has been erased, her personality wiped blank, her memories lost forever. She’s been Slated. The government claims she was a terrorist, and that they are giving her a second chance - as long as she plays by their rules. But echoes of the past whisper in Kyla’s mind. Someone is lying to her, and nothing is as it seems. Who can she trust in her search for the truth?

Slated had me hooked from the very first page. It is very well written and the plot is somehow both simple and yet very interesting. It's probably one of the better dystopian novels I've read in a long time. Particular Kyla's character development stands out - she is such a solid character.

I won't say much, as I don't want to spoil anything, everything is explained so well and in it's own time in the book. I can say though that with the exception of potential love showing up early and brightly, it didn't suffer from the usual YA trap. No extraordinary beautiful people, no mindless teenage love, no whining about their "hard" lives - Kyla has plenty of real issues to deal with!

Also, the dystopian world is actually the future - our future. In other words it's grounded in reality and the lack of science fiction is quite a relief, compared to the many dystopian novels based in fantasy.

I would have rated it 5 stars if it had had a more solid ending. As it is, it gave me nothing but the adamant need to get my hands on the next book!



Slated
(Slated #1)
ISBN13: 9781408319468
448 pages / published in 2012
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

12/05/2013

So I got hit by a car...

As those who follow me on Twitter may know, I was hit by a car Friday evening when biking home from work.

I felt the need to write it down to work it through.

I recently set up a second blog for non-book related things, and frankly this kind of post wasn't how I'd imagined I'd start it out. However it's the best option I've got and it was nice to put some words to some feelings.

The post below is very long though and I don't blame you if you skip it.

To sum it up, the driver (an elderly man) didn't see me as he turned right crossing the bicycle path and though I managed to swerve and avoid the worst of a collision I was going too fast to stop that quickly and ended up hitting the ground. I've bent a few ribs and some scrapes and bruises, and frankly I'm not in the happiest place physically right now. However I was incredibly lucky and I try not to think about how badly things could have ended for me.


I hit the ground hard on my right side. Music still blaring in my ears (Will.I.Am and Britney's Scream & Shout), I could hear myself screaming. I didn't want to scream, but I couldn't stop. I couldn't breathe either. It wasn't a high pitched scream, it was more of an animalistic sound, air in, noise out.

09/05/2013

Books To Buy


Some have been published longer than others and I'm waiting for some to be released in a cheaper paperback version. Others I want to read now(!) but with money being tight it seems silly to buy them when I have so many unread on my shelves already. Will buy them all eventually though!

Do you have any books you want to buy as soon as possible?

EDIT: Yeah... I just caved and bought 3 of them. The Traitor Queen, Dead Ever After and A Memory of Light is now coming my way!

08/05/2013

Book Haul #6

I promised myself I wouldn't buy any more books!

Oops.

After watching the 4 amazing seasons of The Tudors about Henry VIII and his many wives I just had to know more and when I realized that one of the books I haven't read by one of my favourite authors, Philippa Gregory, is about Anne of Cleves and Kathryn Howard? Buy buy BUY!

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

04/05/2013

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

I've reviewed some of the books in the Artemis Fowl series and others not. I have read the entire series, the first four many years back and the final four during the past 9 months. I thought I'd jot down my thoughts about the series as a whole, now that it has come to an end - or at least so I presume.

While the finer details of the earlier books are long forgotten, I do remember I always enjoyed the books. This is a series, that I'll do my best to encourage my own children to read it (you know, if I ever have some).

The writing is fun and engaging, the creativity of the world, culture and history of the fairies and magic is spectacular and I fell in love with both Artemis and Butler from page 1. Holly always was the fierce kick ass heroine and Foaly was just plain awesome. I think I remember either the 3rd or 4th book being sort of dull (or possibly just confusing), but overall the series score 4 stars from me, easily. Quite possibly the 1st was the best, but while the rest may have held somewhat weaker stories, the characters remained fresh and fun and made every book worth the read.


Artemis Fowl (Artemis Fowl #1)
The Arctic Incident
(Artemis Fowl #2)
The Eternity Code
(Artemis Fowl #3)
The Opal Deception
(Artemis Fowl #4)
The Lost Colony
(Artemis Fowl #5)
The Time Paradox
(Artemis Fowl #6)
The Atlantis Complex
(Artemis Fowl #7)
The Last Guardian
(Artemis Fowl #8
by Artemis Fowl
Published in 2001-2012
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2013

01/05/2013

Book Haul #5

4 more used books arrived and I completely forgot to post this and all of a sudden I was way busy with the readathon!

I've in the process of buying used books discovered that instead of buying them via play.com I can buy them directly from awesomebooks.com who also ship to Denmark free of charge! However I've banned myself from buying any more books till I've read all (or at least most) of my recent purchases - used books in great conditions are turning out to be so cheap I can barely control myself :)



From left to right:
  • Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  • Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (Blade Runner) by Philip K Dick