Monthly Archives: February 2012

Mockingjay

This is a review of “Mockingjay” by Suzanne Collins. It is the third and final novel in The Hunger Games Trilogy. It follows on from “Catching Fire“.

Katniss Everdeen is back. And she is the Mockingjay. A symbol of hope for the people of the districts. The rebellion is in full swing, The Capitol is at war with the districts. After surviving her second Hunger Games, Katniss feels anything but brave. She does not want to be the symbolic Mockingjay. Peeta was not rescued alongside her from the arena, and without him Katniss is despairing.

With the help of Gale, Katniss slowly comes around. She realises the power she holds as the Mockingjay. Power that will help her to bargain for what she wants. And what she wants is Peeta’s safety, if and when he is recovered from The Capitol. The other rebels believe Peeta to be a traitor, as he has appeared on television asking for a ceasefire on behalf of President Snow.

Peeta is retrieved. But he is not the same. He is deeply changed and at times delusional. He has been tortured and coerced and has immense difficulty distinguishing “real” from “not real”. And he hates Katniss.

Can Katniss get the real Peeta back? Can the rebels defeat President Snow without too many losses? Who can Katniss trust? And who will she choose when it’s all over? Peeta or Gale?

My thoughts:
CAUTION: the following may contain spoilers. Do not read if you have not read the book and wish to read it in the future.

It was too dark. I mean the concept of The Hunger Games is pretty bleak, but at least the first two novels were really fast paced and held hope. Katniss is very depressing in this novel-and I know that’s realistic- but it didn’t make for uber exciting reading. I flew through the first two novels, but this novel was a bit hard to stick with. Too many people died! And favourite characters too. In saying that, I liked who she finally chose (though many didn’t) and I thought she made the best decision.

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Catching Fire

This is a review of “Catching Fire” by Suzanne Collins. It is the second novel in The Hunger Games Trilogy. It follows on from “The Hunger Games“.

Katniss Everdeen has survived The Hunger Games. Peeta Mellark has survived too. The Capitol, and in particular President Snow, are extremely unhappy about this. There is only ever meant to be one victor. But when Katniss and Peeta showed they were willing to kill themselves over killing each other, they were quickly pulled from the arena.

Katniss only wanted to save Peeta, but their actions in the arena have been construed by many to be an act of rebellion. President Snow threatens Katniss. He warns her that if she cannot convince everyone that her actions were only those of a lovesick girl, he will execute everyone she cares for. Her family and her best friend Gale.

So Katniss heads out with Peeta on their Victor’s Tour of the twelve remaining districts and the Capitol. Unwittingly, they inspire the people of the districts to show their unrest. The very opposite of what President Snow wanted them to do. And to add even more pressure, the next Hunger Games is approaching, and Katniss and Peeta will be expected to be mentors for this year’s tributes.

But a very special Hunger Games is to be held this year. It is the 75th Hunger Games, and a Quarter Quell. Every 25 years The Hunger Games gets an added twist. And this twist is Katniss’ worst nightmare.

Can Katniss keep herself and her loved ones alive? Will President Snow back off? And what is happening in this year’s Hunger Games?

I really enjoyed this book. It was a brilliant sequel, and just as fast-paced and action packed as the first novel in this series.

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The Hunger Games

This is a review of “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins. It is the first novel in The Hunger Games Trilogy.

It is many years into the future. The world as we know it no longer exists. Instead there’s Panem and The Districts. There are 12 Districts. There used to be 13, but after a violent rebellion, the 13th District was destroyed. Every year, The Hunger Games are staged to remind the people that rebellion is futile and any such course of action will be severely punished.

Each year, youths aged 12 to 18 must face The Hunger Games. The name of a girl and a boy must be drawn from each of the twelve districts, and they must all compete against one another. It is the ultimate fight to the death. The last one standing is the winner. The Hunger Games are televised for the entertainment of Panem and as a bleak reminder of their powerlessness for The Districts.

Katniss Everdeen is resourceful. She hunts to feed her family (even though the practice of hunting is highly illegal) and is the sole breadwinner for her family. So when her 12 year old sister is called to compete in The Hunger Games, she steps up to take her place. It is a horrible moment when the male contestant is chosen, and he is someone she feels immense gratitude toward. For to win the games and return to her family, eventually she will have to kill him too.

Can Katniss survive The Hunger Games?

A comment on society and the direction in which we are headed, this suspenseful and highly entertaining novel gives the reader plenty to think about. Aimed at adolescents, this book is still relevant and entertaining for adults. I loved this book. I could not put it down and immediately went out to buy the next two novels in the trilogy. Fans of John Marsden’s “Tomorrow When The War Began” will enjoy this book. Look out for The Hunger Games film that comes out this March.

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Shadow Heir

This is a review of “Shadow Heir” by Richelle Mead. It is the fourth novel in The Dark Swan Series. It follows on from “Iron Crowned“.

Eugenie is pregnant. She’s tried not to become pregnant for so long, that the reality of her situation has left her somewhat in a state of shock. And to top it off, she’s pregnant with twins. One boy and one girl. It’s her worst nightmare. A prophecy has foretold that her Father’s (the formidable Storm King) eldest grandson will conquer the human world. Eugenie never wanted to have a son, but she cannot bear to sacrifice her unborn babies for the sake of a prophecy that may or may not come true. So she goes into hiding.

After suffering a few close calls with attacks from her enemies, and from trying to dwell in the human and gentry (fey) world, Eugenie makes the difficult choice to remain hidden in the human world until she gives birth to her children. This is an unpopular choice. Her half sister Jasmine is unhappy with Eugenie’s decision. But no one is more disappointed than Dorian, who has been offering sanctuary to the pregnant Eugenie up until this point.

Eugenie shelters with a lovely human family in remote Alabama. Her twins come early and must be placed in the NICU. But Eugenie cannot remain with them. She has learned of a terrible blight that has all but laid waste to her two kingdoms and it’s neighbouring lands. The prophecy has been all but forgotten about. Many gentry are dying and it is up to Eugenie to try and save her kingdoms. Leaving the twins has been the hardest thing she’s ever had to do.

Eugenie journeys to the Otherworld and sets out with Dorian, Jasmine and a band of warriors to restore her lands. It is suspected that the Queen of the Yew Land is responsible for the blight. But Eugenie has to travel with Kiyo. The father of her children. The same man who has tried to kill her children and Eugenie herself.

Can Eugenie survive a trip with Kiyo? Will their kingdoms and people be saved? Will her twins be allowed to live? What of the prophecy? And what about Dorian? Can he and Eugenie work things out?

A great book. Richelle Mead said that this is the last of The Dark Swan Series. If that’s the case, I wasn’t too impressed with the way it ended! But maybe Mead is just leaving space to write a spin-off series like she has done previously with her Vampire Academy and Bloodlines Series. I hope so! Eugenie seemed a bit different in this novel. But I guess that can be put down to her becoming a mother. I found her recovery from being pregnant to be a little unrealistic (having had a child myself) and although she describes how difficult it was for her to leave her children, I still think it would have been much harder to bear!

Also there was a huge mistake with Kiyo’s daughter’s name. In previous novels her name was Luisa, but in this novel her name was Marta?! Umm, how did no one pick up on that one? I liked how this book gave some back story to Volusian, and there are some really juicy twists toward the end!

I highly recommend reading this book.

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Iron Crowned

This is a review of “Iron Crowned” by Richelle Mead. It is the third book in The Dark Swan Series. It follows on from “Thorn Queen“.

Eugenie is living in two worlds. The Otherworld and the human world (our world). She rules her Thorn Kingdom with the help of her consort King Dorian, and keeps the locality of Tucson safe from paranormal mayhem. Queen Katrice has declared war on Dorian and Eugenie for the “murder” of her son Leith. But Dorian and Eugenie are strong and can hold their own.

Things with Kiyo are strained. And Eugenie is as surprised as anyone when Dorian suggests he accompany her on a dangerous quest to obtain the Iron Crown, a relic believed to cause fear of and respect for the one who wields it. Eugenie thinks that her possession of it will cause Katrice to call off the senseless war. But will Eugenie forgive Dorian when she finds out what the Iron Crown can really do? What about her residual feelings for Kiyo? Will they ever go away? Will the war with Katrice come to an end without too much bloodshed?

A really interesting read. But…
POSSIBLE SPOILER ALERT: don’t read the following if you don’t want plot details revealed to you.

Why the hell can’t she just choose one of the boys to stay with?! I mean GOSH! How hard is it? Choose one or the other. Or you know, she could just stay single for a while… Seriously she should just stick with Dorian. He’s the one.

So yes, I liked this book. I thought it was great. But yeah. I wanted to slap Eugenie around a little bit when it came to her “romances”.

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Thorn Queen

This is a review of “Thorn Queen” by Richelle Mead. It is the second book in The Dark Swan Series. It follows on from “Storm Born“.

Eugenie has inadvertently become queen of Aeson’s old realm. It has changed to suit her and now closely resembles her home town of Tucson (desert land). This change has affected the people of her new kingdom. Eugenie hadn’t realised just how much. She sets about to help her subjects and discovers that young gentry girls have been going missing.

She also hears of a group of dangerous brigands that have been terrorizing some of the smaller villages in her kingdom. Are the two linked? Or is someone else behind the disappearances of the girls?

Eugenie’s relationship with Kiyo has been placed under a lot of strain. Maiwenn’s pregnancy is making Eugenie feel a little inadequate and Kiyo wants her to cut herself off from the Otherworld and remain in the human world for good. But Eugenie can’t leave her people to suffer. Dorian is still interested in Eugenie, not to mention all the other males wanting to beget their heirs. Prince Leith of a neighbouring kingdom has expressed a strong and unwavering interest in Eugenie.

Where is her half sister Jasmine? Can she find her before she gets herself pregnant with Storm King’s heir? Will her issues with Kiyo work themselves out? Can she find the missing gentry girls? And how to put off all of her suitors?

A great second book in this series. This book deals with some sensitive issues in a believable manner. Looking forward to reading the next book: “Iron Crowned”.

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Darkfall

This is a review of “Darkfall” by Isobelle Carmody. It is the first novel in The Legendsong Series.

Glynn and Ember are twins. But they are as different as night and day. Glynn is strong bodied, strong willed, practical, blonde and tone deaf. Ember is sick, weak, dreamy, red haired and a talented musician. They have made a lot of money by selling Ember’s music and are holidaying together in Greece. One night, Glynn goes swimming and is inadvertently transported to the parallel universe of Keltor.

Here she is rescued by wind walker Solen. Glynn fakes amnesia to cover up the fact that she knows nothing of the world she has found herself in. Solen has no choice but to take her home with him to Acantha. Here, Glynn works in a mine to earn enough money to find a way to get back to Ember who is dying of sickness. In her efforts to gain coin she is enslaved by the Draaka, leader of a religious cult. It is here that she forms a strong bond with a fienna, a small fox-like animal. This bond cannot be broken.

Ember however, in her effort to save Glynn (whom she believed was drowning) has crossed to Keltor as well. She is found by the soulweaver Alene and her two warrior guardians, the amazon myrmidons Feyt and Tareed. Ember actually suffers from amnesia. She does not remember anything. She forms complex relationships with Bleyd, protector of the mermod (heir to the throne of Keltor) and Tarsin the mad ruler of Keltor. Tareed believes Ember to be the Unraveller, a mythical foretold person from Glynn and Ember’s world who comes to Keltor to fulfill The Legendsong.

Can Glynn escape the clutches of The Draaka? Will Glynn resolve her complicated relationship with Solen? Will she discover that Ember is in fact on Keltor and not back home as she believes? Will Ember remember Glynn? Will she stay alive to be healed on Darkfall?

I love this book! It’s so complex and enthralling. As with many of her novels, Carmody really makes her readers delve for a deeper meaning in her work. The segues into plot lines from our own world are intriguing. It’s sequel “Darksong” is just as great, and I will be reviewing that shortly. I cannot wait for the last book in this series “Darkbane” to finally be released this year or next year. It has been a long wait!

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i heart my kobo

I LOVE my kobo. It’s awesome. I love the way it feels, the way it looks and the way I can carry around hundreds of books in one tiny device.

I like that you can read all different types of file formats and that you are not just limited to one type. So far I have read books in ePub format and in PDF format. Both formats were great. The e-ink display is so aesthetically pleasing and does not cause any discomfort to my eyes like some backlit displays do.

Another thing I enjoy about the kobo is the fun little inbuilt app “Reading Life”. Reading Life gives you awards for your reading achievements. It’s actually fun to see what awards you can amass. And you can share them with your friends via Facebook (not that they’d probably care…but still.)

The kobo also has an inbuilt dictionary. You can highlight a word or type one in and find out it’s definition. I have had lots of fun with this. And contrary to many reviews of the kobo that I have read, you can leave a bookmark in more than one book. Which is great news for those who like to read more than one book at a time.

I had a lot of fun picking out a cover to protect my kobo while I stow it in my handbag. There are so many to choose from! The kobo store is also super easy to navigate and very reasonably priced.

All in all, I highly recommend a kobo for those who may be interested. I heart my kobo! ❤

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Storm Born

This is a review of “Storm Born” by Richelle Mead. It is the first novel in The Dark Swan Series.

Eugenie Markham is a shaman. She lives to protect humans and the human world from the gentry (fairies). She is badass and tough. Most of her jobs involve banishing Otherworld beings; sending them to their death or just back home. While working, Eugenie operates under the title Odile, The Dark Swan. But many Otherworld creatures have begun using her real name, and Eugenie is curious as to how they know it.

Approached by a human to enter the Otherworld to find his 15 year old abducted sister, Eugenie feels that she must help the young girl. So she journeys to the Otherworld to find Jasmine, the 15 year old human girl, who is at risk of rape as well as imprisonment. While she is there Eugenie learns a number of things.
1. Her parents have withheld an extremely big piece of information about her origins.
and
2. Eugenie is considered to be very impregnate-able by Otherworld beings because of it.

Eugenie must now fend off sexual advances; the polite kind, and the not-so-polite “rape-y” kind. She does this with the help of her spirit minions the evil Volusian and the morbidly depressed Nandi and the sexy and mysterious Kiyo and the handsome gentry King Dorian.

Can she get Jasmine back? Who is Kiyo really? Does Eugenie know him well enough to trust him? And what is Dorian after?

A really interesting start to Richelle Mead’s Dark Swan Series. I wasn’t sure what to expect of this series after reading The Vampire Academy Series and The Georgina Kincaid Series. But I really liked this book and am looking forward to reading the rest of this series!

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Foxmask

This is a review of “Foxmask” by Juliet Marillier. It is the second book in The Saga of The Light Isles. It follows on from “Wolfskin“.

Creidhe is a young girl living in The Light Isles with her family. She’s the daughter of Wolfskin Viking warrior Eyvind and priestess Nessa of the folk (Wolskin). She is something of a domestic Goddess, with her quick and clever hands and extensive cooking and embroidery skills. She is best friend to Thorvald, son of Margaret.

Thorvald is a quiet and thoughtful boy with few real friends. He has an intense and withdrawn manner that keeps most people away. After keeping a secret from him since birth, Margaret deems Thorvald a man and shares with him the true identity of his father. She tells him that he is the son of Somerled, a man who was long since banished from The Light Isles for his evil doings. Thorvald, hurt and upset, sets out on a quest to find his father. He takes with him his Fisherman friend Sam, and Sam’s fine boat. Unbeknownst to both, Creidhe has stowed away.

While at sea, a storm blows them into a region known as The Lost Isles. After landing they find this place is a dark and forboding settlement, filled with grim and tight-lipped folk. Creidhe is separated from the boys and dwells among the women of The Lost Isles. It seems the men are at war, but no one is telling Creidhe anything. She sets about to live as close to normal as possible among the strange, quiet women. She attends a woman giving birth, using her prized midwifing skills to deliver the baby safely. But soon after the birth, an eerie singing begins. A singing that sets a chill in the bones and a dread in the heart. When the singing stops the infant is dead. It becomes clear to Creidhe that the enemy the men face is like no other she has ever heard of.

Thorvald and Sam find themselves in the men’s camp, where the men of The Lost Isles are readying for battle. A yearly battle that is undertaken amd referred to only as: ‘The Hunt’. But what are they hunting for? And why is the hunt held on the mysterious Isle of Clouds? What will be the reward for locating the prize? Thorvald sets out to find these answers, but the men are just as tight-lipped as the women. And who is Thorvald’s father? Is it The Leader of The Lost Isles? The intimidating and threatening Asgrim? Or has Thorvald failed in his search to find his father?

And what of the Christian monks dwelling on The Lost Isles? Why does one of their number carry with him a concealed and deadly knife? And what is the meaning behind their cryptic warnings to young Creidhe?

An excellent and touching book. A couple of times throughout this story I found my heart twisted by Marillier’s beautiful prose. She sure knows how to convey strong emotion. I love the snippets of writing at each chapter’s beginning. It was a joy to follow each character’s development and journey to self-discovery. I enjoyed this novel immensely.

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