Friday, December 20, 2013

My Name is Memory Book Review

Rawr Reader,

Hey, it's been a while. How you doing?
It's a little funny, I was just talking to my best friend about this blog and she asked about it since she hadn't seen anything in a while. Who knew I found a book I wanted to talk about so soon. ^_^

This is My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares, the synopsis is provided by Goodreads:

Daniel has spent centuries falling in love with the same girl. Life after life, crossing continents and dynasties, he and Sophia (despite her changing name and form) have been drawn together-and he remembers it all. For all the times that he and Sophia have been connected throughout history, they have also been torn painfully, fatally, apart.

But just when Sophia (now "Lucy" in the present) finally awakens to the secret of their shared past, the mysterious force that has always separated them reappears. Ultimately, they must come to understand what stands in the way of their love if they are ever to spend a lifetime together.

I was at Books-A-Million and they had this in the bargain section, as you can see in the picture above.

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
   I don't read many romance driven stories, however I haven't read a romance story that isn't even implemented in the story for 1/4 of it. Seriously, pitiful. Most of this book was flashback and though it had some beautiful moments, world-building, character development, characterization as a whole, was lacking. This book tackled too much without a strong structure. It bounced back and forth and that is very dangerous, at least with me they are. Such as The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, if an author chooses to jump around in time, you best be prepared to amaze me with excellent plot or you will be reviewed harshly. (I didn't do a review on The Night Circus since I read it before I created this blog, but I did like it a little more than this book, but it did lack plot.)
   The writing of this book was beautiful, though not memorable. I got myself caught up in the story in the moments when it wasn't dragging, and it made me wonder if what I look in a book, what I prefer in a book. Is it good writing or a good story? I choose the latter.
    The characters I found likable, however none of them stand out and I'll forget their names soon enough. And they lacked consistency, especially the two protagonists, they need consistency and development, not just development. Lucy is obsessed then completely frightened off by Daniel within the first chapter. And then Daniel is determined then left hopeless by the end of the first chapter. The first chapter actually is the first tumbling block in the story because the first chapter sets up our protagonists, but then Brashares writes the rest of the book contradicting the characterization that she's set up. So either the first chapter should've been rewritten, or the rest of the chapters after the first. Either way, this story just doesn't work.
    And it's a little funny because I wanted to like this book, but when I stepped away from the book and really thought about it, I found myself seeing only bad and not a lot of good. So let me say something I did like about the story.
    The idea had potential, this story really could have been great and their love romance epic, however it was just cut off in parts it shouldn't have and idea wasn't as explored as it could have been. A book I say had the potential, but the attention was focused on the wrong things. Sorry, that's the most good I could say. 

       I give this book 2/5 stars.

 Some other books that I think have interesting interpretations on souls (first two) or reincarnation (last two):
   Every Day by David Levithan
   The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (I haven't read but I've seen the movie)
   Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
   The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

Author's Quote:
“Love who you love while you have them. That's all you can do. Let them go when you must. If you know how to love, you'll never run out.”
-Ann Brashares, My Name is Memory

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
City of Thieves by David Benioff

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
    Okay, I had many many problems with this book, of which I'm sure you've heard of above. ^-^
    First is the introduction of Alexander, Marnie's younger brother. He was cute, then a little annoying, then his true colors revealed. Okay, I understand why Brashares wanted to include him-- maybe he turns out to be the guy that Joaquim teams up with. But no, he's not. He doesn't even show up after his night with Lucy, only briefly mentioned that they hooked up several more times after that. 
    And one of the biggest problem I had with this story was that I came into it thinking that it would be a romance story, where the couple would actually, you know, be in story together. Waaaaay too much flashback for my liking and most which didn't actually benefit the story. I counted, 75% of the story, from page 23-277 they make no contact. Of course, monkey-see-monkey-do-Edward-wannabe Daniel just stalks her for some parts or just completely avoids her altogether which I don't understand for several reasons.
     1) In the most recent life where they have recognized, trusted and loved each other for the first time equally since Sophia (in the life of Constance in England), is the first time Lucy/Sophia actually accepted what Daniel tells her, you would think that in the next life they were together that Daniel would be more optimistic about them being together. For crying out loud, this is the first time that she is his age or around it, not married, and she actually likes him, heck she even kisses him after five minutes even though he ignored her for two years without so much as a word, but in the first chapter he tried to commit suicide. SERIOUSLY??? He didn't even try again which he would have done when he was her brother-in-law, or fatally wounded, dying, not her age-- but no, when he has no legit excuse to actually try and pursue her or just explain, he just gives up. This is either the stupidest 1200 year old soul or this is just another case of the the Twilights. 
     2) Lucy. Seriously, give a guy a break. I didn't have a problem with her when reading, but thinking back on everything she did after she ran out on him. I mean oh no, an attractive guy telling you he loves you and always will, better run before he I don't know, turns to be a millionaire and prove his faithfulness to you (oh wait he is and he does!) I just see her as another stupid-headed girl whose life is defined by a man. Which, technically, I should expect since this is the 21st century and a romance nonetheless, God forbid that girls actually want something of their lives. I will admit, she didn't just give up which Bella Swan would've done, she tried to move on and graduated college, attending grad school by the time she and Daniel meet again, but she still obsessed over a boy who didn't so much as spend more than five minutes with her.
   3) The flashbacks. We step into a great hunk of history which I enjoyed at first since I love historical fiction, but I didn't want to read only about their past, I wanted to know their present. I was bothered and bored with reading about past families that didn't affect Daniel since he was so committed to being with Sophia, but then all of a sudden he did find a family he actually cared for, more the mother Molly than anything, but ohp! he killed himself so he could reincarnate with Sophia. Seriously, this man doesn't make sense or remain consistent, let me get to the point with consistency.
     THERE WAS NONE. Daniel kept going from hopeful to depressive, to suicidal to determined, he wanted to give up but then ohp! no he didn't. I know you want to make your characters round, but authors need to give them ground to stand on, not quicksand. Daniel just sank. There was no outstanding character development from any character.
   And the plot. Jeez, if the characters won't give me much, at least give me some form of plot, but there was none. The villain only appeared for about five seconds at the end---so what was driving this story?? Nothing. Which means that this story, though intriguing at some parts, was pointless for most of it. Why should I care about their pasts or the past of Daniel if they don't even have a reason to be apart if the villain isn't even there. Only Daniel was standing in his own way and not even for a real reason, and not even without trying very hard which doesn't match his prior lives who wouldn't stop at anything.
   And we aren't explained what these souls are. (At least Every Day by David Levithan did, or at least ventured to do so.) Ben briefly and cryptically explains some things that Joaquim is a shapeshifter while Daniel is a Memory keeper, but nothing is explained about the souls like them. Ben sounded omniscient which got me thinking he was some god-like person who somehow had no powers, unless his power was knowing all but not actually having the power to control any of it. But what confused me was the fact that Ben could change gender. Joaquim as far as we know, and Daniel had always reincarnated in male forms. So why did Ben/Laura/Amita change?
   Joaquim was the unseen villain. He didn't even really do much. He shot Lucy but even then she ended up not losing her arm... A bunch of characters that were mentioned but that never were fully developed were her sister Dana, her snake, Alexander, Lucy's parents and her relationship with them. But yeah, Joaquim was the worst written villain ever, which is a pity, because he had potential, as did this book. 
    But it fell utterly short of anything impressive.    
    Which leads me up to my last problem which wouldn't exist if all the others hadn't accumulated as they have-- why did Branshares have to give the only Spanish-sounding name in the book to the bad guy. I wouldn't have even noticed before, but alas, I did.
    The ending didn't bother me. The fact that they spent more of it in an ocean than actually talking bothered me. I like that it was open-ended like Every Day, however it didn't accomplish half as much as Every Day did with the concept.

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Doctor's Wife Book Review

Rawr Reader,

      Woah, it's been a month and a half. How are you? Have you missed me as much as I've missed you? I've read so many books since my last review and I'm sorry I just never got around to writing a quality review. And then November started and I'm participating in Nanowrimo and so reading at all went to the back of my priorities. However, school trumps Nanowrimo and so I had to read and I just finished such an awesome book! This is The Doctor's Wife by Mary Elizabeth Braddon. The excerpt as always, is provided by Goodreads:

When The Doctor's Wife was first published in 1864, Mary Elizabeth Braddon was well known for her scandalous bestseller, Lady Audley's Secret. Adultery, death, and the spectacle of female recrimination and suffering are the elements that combine to make The Doctor's Wife a classic women's 'sensation' novel. Yet it is also Braddon's most self-consciously literary work and her rewriting of Madame Bovary. Like Emma Bovary, Braddon's heroine, Isabel Gilbert, is trapped in a marriage to a man incapable of understanding her imaginative life. But Braddon's novel differs vastly from Flaubert's in the nature and consequences of Isabel's 'affair'.

    This is one of five books I had to read for my women in literature class.

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
   Just to set up a little background on the novel itself, the very little I know but do only because of my literature class, I want you to know this is very different from what you usually see on my blog. But I like to be diverse in my reading endeavors so I hope by the time you finish reading my review, you'll be interested in checking this book out. It's a Victorian novel published in the 1860s, and is subgenred as a "sensation" novel which entitled several themes but not exclusive to murder, disguise, secrets, mistaken identity, women and their conflicts with their domestic lives. Sensation novels helped a rise in literacy and increase of printed material which resulted in decrease of price, which means more read and more could be bought to be read. Alright, that's about all I have in my notes, onward to the text. ^^
   This story, though may have been written in the 1860s isn't difficult to read at all. In fact, other than The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Brontë which is another book I had to read for the class, I outright enjoyed reading it. I actually enjoyed this one more because I enjoyed almost every character, whereas in Tenant I only really enjoyed one character. But it's easiness in read is probably what helped it make it so popular among the masses. I don't know how successful this book itself was back then, but as a sensation novel I can understand why this type of book was. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I've been exposed to many more genres of literature and fiction than they had accessible to them. Reading this reminded me a lot of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley I read for the first time earlier this year (though of which I don't have a review, I apologize) because I fell under it's spell of both language and plot. I, probably like you, think that some classics (not famous Classics but books written before the twentieth century) can be predictable and boring and with nothing interesting that happens but I promise you that there are books that aren't and I defend that this book is one. Granted, if you're looking for action, seek sci-fi, fantasy, any YA being released nowadays. 
     Now I said that I enjoyed this book because, compared to Tenant, I loved most of the characters. The first I want to talk about is Sigismund Smith, a writer who absolutely loves word. This man is dedicated to his profession, an aspect that I hope one day I can claim to be my own as well. He writes penny-numbers, basically thrilling stories that are released at extremely fast paces. His name itself is an illusion, his real name being Samuel. I don't know about you, but if I meet someone who is so dedicated to his craft that he believes he needs to change his name to live up to readers expectation, that's someone who I want to meet and be friends with. As I read his scenes, I just wanted him to step out of the pages so I could be his friend. My only regret is that he's in such a small portion of the book.
     The next character is Isabel Sleaford, later to be known as Isabel Gilbert, Geroge Gilbert's wife. Before she meets and going into their marriage, we learn how Isabel is a very enraptured reader, absolutely loving and investing in her characters in all the books she reads, albeit how naive it can make her depictions and expectations of the real world. So while others in my class argued that she was just childish, melodramatic, and naive, I found her very relatable because of her passions for novels. Her basic knowledge of any form of education has only been drawn from her reading novels and she was never taught otherwise, which wasn't allowed due to her place as a woman. So yes, when she finally married George and still possessed her pre-marital obsession with books and the dramas and deaths it brought, and who still expected a "hero" to come into her life, I didn't judge her and condescend on her character.
     Enter Roland Lansdell, the charming, godly-looking man who chanced upon her life. Oh, and did I mention that he just so happens to be one of Isabel's favorite authors? Oh, and he's ridiculously rich, with 15,000 pounds a year (equivalent to 1.5m dollars a year today)? Oh, and if that isn't enough for you, he's cousin to Isabel's late employer before she was married, Charles Raymond, the closest living relation to Roland in the world. Yeah. So, he's definitely a sign of trouble. But what made him so remarkable was that he was so flawed in his feelings for Isabel, when at first he thought her merely stupid and not that pretty. Ah, love.
     So it would be a lie to say that a romance doesn't form between them, but it's a romance with love that does not equate the other. Because what is life but separate interpretations of people, and their interpretations of love? I won't go into what types of love, because not all love is good, but equally, not all love is bad. And I really came to loving this tentative couple and how they grow and learn what they can of the world. While one has the keys to the world and wishes to share it with someone and the other who yearns to see it but only does through her novels, it makes it quite an argument how these two can't be a perfect couple. 
     However, earlier this week my teacher made it light that certain events in the book which seemed to be closed at the beginning begin to come to light and return to Isabel's world, I may or may not be expecting what happens in the end. Me, being the most open-minded person in the world, began to consider a million and one ways this book could end. And now that I have, I was right in one of them. Which doesn't help you, but I just wanted to let that be known. ^_^
     For most of this novel I wanted to give it 5 stars, then nearing the end I wanted to give it 4 stars because it got a little boring, but decided on 5 stars because there were several really beautiful words said and just like Frankenstein, it really stuck with me and transcended in its story above all those I've read so far. I found what Frankenstein opened my eyes with in the question of humanity, this story does with different interpretations of love.

                                                           I give this book 5/5 stars.

Author's Quote:
"He has told me what I am: 'an infant crying in the night; an infant crying for the light; and with no language but a cry.' "
-Roland Lansdell, The Doctor's Wife

Next To Read:

My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
   Why did Sigismund get no love after the beginning? I mean yes we saw him once more after Isabel was married and Roland had left to try and get over Isabel, but he was so charismatic, I wish Braddon wrote more scenes with him. Anyone else who's read it loved him?
    And yes, I hated the ending. A little before George got sick I thought to myself, watch her end up losing both of them. So yeah, Roland's death really ate my heart out and chewed it and spat on my remains. And his final words to Isabel really made me fall in love with him, but I pitied how he was such an empty character. He genuinely believed that he didn't have anything to offer to the world even with his mass amounts of money, and how that his love for Isabel wasn't enough even on his deathbed. While he did love her, he knew that even if she did end up marrying him after George's death, them together wouldn't have been pure and true, only coincidental for him and only a second love for her. 
     Both Isabel's and Roland's mentalities toward their young demises was a little depressive. Don't get me wrong it was a little funny at the beginning, but then as they kept saying how they were going to die young, and even slightly, embracing that they would to finally fulfill their literary fantasies of an epic life. 
    Isabel got a lot of heat in my class for being so childish, naive and melodramatic, but I only saw it as wishing for the life that she read about. Her home life wasn't terrible, but she was lower middle class and she was part of a family who didn't understand her. She fell in love with novels and its characters and the world through literature's lens instead of reality's, and I connected with her for that. And she wasn't perfect, she didn't love her husband but a man who wasn't, but she didn't do it to harm anyone. In that way, she was completely innocent whereas Roland at first wasn't. Though eventually he grew to love her, they both represented and stood for two ends of the spectrum, what it means to be worldly and what it means to be innocent. Roland was, he was rich and had traveled abroad and had loved women though not truly, and Isabel was poor and meek and who invested herself into novels because she only ever thought that was the closest she'd ever get to it. So yes, the masses may hate Isabel and think Roland foolish, but the only true fault I see is that they weren't allowed the liberties that our society offers today, which is to love and actually show you love.
   Another of my favorite characters is Charles Raymond, arguably the moral compass of the story. He admits to pondering how perfect Isabel and Roland would have been for each if they had met a year before, but he tries to keep them in focus that that was a life that wasn't an option anymore and that they had to focus on the truth of how life is now. He tries to convince Roland to give up his infatuations and its all because of his love he had for Roland's mother, so he knows what life was like to love someone that wasn't theirs to love. 
   And while leaning of his past love for his other was only one of the most heartbreaking parts of the story, and another of learning how Isabel's life was after two years after Roland's death, my number one would have to be Roland's final words to Isabel. I haven't been so emotionally toyed with since reading The Bronze Horseman trilogy or actually more recently, A Storm of Swords. I hated how I completely understood the truth he was saying to Isabel, how he couldn't be happy with her if they could be together. I understood that he didn't just believe in only their earthly love, but a more universal one, that wouldn't be constrained by time and existence. And coming from a man who had the world at the palm of his hand and who wasn't very religious, that just had to be one of the most romantic things to be read. That's right, read, if a guy said that to me in real life, I more than likely would react differently. 

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

The Bone Season Book Review

Rawr Reader,

   I should be studying for my test, but alas, here I am.
   This is The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon, and the synopsis is provided by Goodreads

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

    From the booktuber: ItsWayPastMyBedTime, aka Carrie Hope Fletcher. 

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
     This book took me 50 pages. Fifty pages to go from "what the hell is going on???" to "I must know what happens next." I kid you not, the first break I took from reading was at pg 150 and that was because I needed to go to sleep because I had school tomorrow. And then I picked it up again today (knowing full well I have a test tomorrow) and kept saying oh, I will put it down after my first class, then after my second. Well, suffice to say, after my second class, I was 100 pages from the end so I thought I might as well finish it. My point is, I couldn't put this book down, and just to push through the abstruse beginning and the world you'll discover is something that is very unlike something you've read before. 
   Whilst reading the first 50 pages, I'll admit I kept reading words I had no clue as to their meaning, but then I flipped to the back, where a dictionary is located, and I was sure that I was going to hate this book. Hopefully when rereading, I won't flip to it so much. So, my point is, this is one of those books. ^^
   Finally, a young adult series that actually lives to its hype. I'm sure you've heard this before, but if you hadn't, there are some critics who are comparing this young author to J.K. Rowling. For myself, I say I wouldn't go as so far as to say that. Perhaps for the atmosphere for which this world possesses, let alone the "magical" qualities such a persons with special supernatural gifts, but other than that, this book doesn't sound like it'll be another Harry Potter. The prose isn't tremendously unique and while the characters aren't very memorable, this world I have to say is rather remarkable and I got a very good sense of the laws and rules which our characters must live through.
    There were several loose ends which clearly leave open for possible sequels (word is that this is meant to be the first of seven), and I typically don't mind but there were more questions being asked than being answered. Many of the characters were too cryptic and never revealed much about themselves or their intentions even at the end, which is typically the location for these sorts of things to be answered. But like I said, since this book is about 450 pages and is meant to be part of a long series, I can see that they don't want to explain everything in the first book. It's alll about pacing, and with a series, execution is key.
    About 100 pages from the end, I was sitting with the book on my lap, just not reading simply because I didn't want to leave this world. I was growing attached, to specifically our protagonist, Paige and I felt she was written successfully as a complex character. Seriously, I'm really sad to have finished this book, I just want to reread it and live it all over again.
    I wasn't a fan of the ending, through everything that happened, I felt that it didn't do it justice. As soon I passed page 50, this story kept a pace that kept increasing and increasing, we learned more and more about Paige's struggles or more about her past or more about others, but once we get to that end, I felt that it didn't spike but simply plateau. Don't get me wrong, I want to know what happens next, I want to know how our characters fair, but it should've spiked and not left me feeling "blah." And it's strange, because usually endings are never the problem.

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

Author's Quote:
"A well-composed book is a magic carpet on which we are wafted to a world that we cannot enter in any other way."
-Caroline Gordon

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
The Doctor's Wife by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
   I felt that at times, Shannon was a little hypocritical in certain "rules" at Oxford, but then again I'm not entirely sure it was on purpose, so it could've just been an accidental detail slip. I mean, there's so many new terms so I could understand messing up details (especially when they're small details-- and who always catches those? *points both index fingers at myself). The first is when Rephaims and humans are not allowed to touch, and then Warden several times would touch Paige's cheek or grab her arm or something. I don't know if we were just supposed to assume he was wearing gloves, but I didn't imagine it that way so I guess it could've just been a missed detail. Second is when amaurotic servants weren't allowed to the blood-consort Warden, but then half way through (or about there) we are introduced to Michael. Most people probably read over it, but I'm not most people.
   Something that bothered me more than most is lack of "he said" and "she said," because more times than I remember, I had to back track and see who was speaking. It was especially confused when it was between characters with unusal names, because not only was I confused with who was who, but then who was speaking and if they were a Rephaim or if they were a voyant. 
    Once I got to the scene where Warden mentioned he was centuries old, I rolled my eyes. But then I got to the scene where he had been injured for the second time and the mention of blood-sucking was required, and I got a little annoyed. I wasn't here to read about vampires, but thank goodness that it turns out he wasn't. I'm sure that if this story turned out that way, I would've been repelled from this series and not enjoyed it as much. I, as many others, have had enough of vampires for a long time. Though I was confused, why was he fighting the Emims, just to rebel since he wasn't allowed to or because he actually was doing it for a reason? And Shannon didn't do a very good job at really describing what they were. Establishing what kind of creatures many of our main characters are is something that should be explained in the first book, especially if it's part of a series. Something about them coming from a perguatory equivalent universe called the Netherworld, that bleed ectoplasm, that's about all I got.
    I had a pretty good guess early on, once we learned of the Bone Season of XVIII, that Warden was involved. He wasn't acting like the typical Rephaim, so it wasn't hard to deduce. Also by the end, I was expecting to learn who the voyant traitor was from the rebellion in Bone Season XVIII, but again we were left with no answer. (I think I should reread this book just to see how many unanswered questions there are... I argue there shouldn't be more than 2 or 3.)
    And I have to say it because we all know I'm a romantic at heart. The whole love triangle thing was a little tragic. Warden, one of the most consistently stoic characters of any book I've read, clearly had feelings for Paige whether she wanted to confront it or not, so the whole Nick situation was a little heart-breaking. I mean, you really do grow to care for Warden, who's clearly tormented because he's betrothed to this evil witch and brothers with savage creatures and can't outwardly show any sympathetic emotions, let alone personal emotional for people he likes *cough* *cough* Paige *cough* *cough*. So yeah, when they finally hook up I was like, hell yeah, finally! And of course, they being discovered was a little predictable. I mean, what did you expect to happen? This wasn't the first time I predicted what was going to happen (despite the unique world building). Also the fact they departed without much emotion made the ending a little too flat for my liking. All this action and it ends: "if you never see me again, it's good, but if you do see me again, it's bad-- even though I really like you and you really like me." So yeah, the romance is clearly not a priority in this series (which is okay, but honestly, that ending!).
    Lastly, I don't know if anyone else felt this when reading this, or it's only because I'm watching it now, but did anyone think V For Vendetta when reading this world? No? Just me then?

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Jellicoe Road Book Review

Rawr Reader,

   This was going to be a quick read, since the text in my book is only in the middle of the page... Random question, whenever you pick up a book you've heard a lot about, do you kind of hope to hate it? And likewise when you've heard nothing about a book or bad things about it, you want to be the one person who loves it? No, is that just me? Well in this case (huh, I guess not so random anymore) I wanted to dislike it since I only have heard good things about it. The synopsis of Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta is provided by Goodreads:

At age eleven, Taylor Markham was abandoned by her mother. At fourteen, she ran away from boarding school, only to be tracked down and brought back by a mysterious stranger. Now seventeen, Taylor's the reluctant leader of her school's underground community, whose annual territory war with the Townies and visiting Cadets has just begun. This year, though, the Cadets are led by Jonah Griggs, and Taylor can't avoid his intense gaze for long. To make matters worse, Hannah, the one adult Taylor trusts, has disappeared. But if Taylor can piece together the clues Hannah left behind, the truth she uncovers might not just settle her past, but also change her future.

   I believe it was from EpicTeens that I first heard it from, if not it was the one who was broadcasting it the most. They were reading this a couple months back and I thought, since it gets such great praises, why not take a shot?

(safe for those who haven't read this book yet)
   I honestly started to read this to get rid of one of the few unread contemporary teens out of my to be read list. I was a little done with teen books, I don't know why since the last one I read was Fangirl and while I didn't completely and utterly love it, I did really like it at moments.
   Now this goes the same for this one. Let's start with the pros. 
   I am in love with Marcheta's writing style. (Just read the prologue, attention-grabber!) I can't explain, just read a chapter or two (actually a couple-- but I'll explain why down in the cons section) and I think you'll understand. This is told from first person's POV and in a way as we are being told the story from inside the protagonist's head, I feel like she takes the present and past and scenes and thoughts and intertwines them in a mystifying way that sometimes you don't really notice but you're not actually at place A but remembering of some dream back at place D. That was a theoretical example, I don't want to give away any spoilers. But while you're coming back and forth-- while it did take some getting used to, the protagonist's voice was so light and innocent and fragile that I absolutely loved being in her mind. I'm sure if this story was written by another author, I would be annoyed as heck to be pulled back and forth so much. Also I felt what made this book very original was the fact that most of the quotes are orginal, the author made so many familiar emotions seem new and fresh and the unfamiliar not as strange as you would expect. 
   Next is the plot. Whoo-wee, I did not think it would unravel to a conclusion like that. Imagine it like this: you bought this rug with a collage on it from a seller and haven't seen it yet, but you're told that it's a beautiful, beautiful rug. You race home to see it, laying it down on the floor, and you begin to unroll it. At first you see some color, a dark green, an ocean blue, or maybe some cool reds against vibrant orange and yellows, anyways you see these colors and you're excited because you're already in love with it. But then you unravel it more and a color you thought wasn't going to be there is walling up beside the colors you loved before and you're disappointed. (You were so sure...) But nevertheless, you unroll the rug more and more and the more you see, the more you begin to realize the collage beginning to make sense and its image beginning to resonate and win you over, and for a moment near the end, you think you don't even to finish unrolling it because it's such a beautiful rug. But once you finish unrolling it, you see every color and look closer to see every detail and you're so amazed and you can't believe what a steal you got with rug seller. 
--Maybe you haven't had this experience before, but can you imagine it? Seeing something and not understanding it at first, but the more you learn the more you begin to see the beautiful intricacies that make something what it is. Sorry, I'm getting off topic, but I think I don't need to say more about my feelings for the plot.
    How about pacing? Pacing as you probably already know if you've read several of my reviews before, counts as a big chunk of my rating score. Beginnings are the worst for me, I almost always dislike beginnings. Out of every book I've read, I've only liked 2 beginnings that I can think of (one is True Grit by Charles Portis and the other is The Rook by Daniel O'Malley). Beginnings for me range from page 1 to about 50, and that may even be stretching it. However, I'd have to say that this books beginning took me about 200 pages for me to get over it. Yeah... 200 our of 420 pages. Now it was an extremely easy read and the pages didn't have a lot of words on them, but this story was so gosh darn confusing for the first 200 pages, I was thinking of dropping it and starting another book-- but I don't have it in me to do that, especially if I love the writing style. So while the beginning took me a while to get over, once I had more or less a clue of what was going on (thinking back on it I still don't really know, again I'll elaborate in the con section below), the book just kept getting more and more interesting. So as the pacing was a little rocky in the beginning/first half of the book, the plot and characters and feelings by the end made up for all that.
   Lastly, the characters. They aren't the most impressive bunch of kids you'll ever see, but that's what makes them so great. They're not idealized, they're a bunch of kids you'd meet walking down the street or have met in your past. They're dysfunctional yet have desires and feelings like any human being. They all have flaws that show and aren't dominated by their appealing traits, if anything, they're shown later. They make the reader earn when to see the "good side" of these characters. Not saying that this was good vs. evil which in a complicated way it was-- but I don't want to get into it because I honestly don't really know how to explain it myself. Taylor Markham, Jonah Griggs, Chaz Santangelo, Raffaela, Ben, Hannah, the Brigadier, other characters I can't remember, at some point you really like them and others you don't. I love to meet new characters like this, it's liking meeting real people.
  Alright, and for the moment I've been dreading, the cons.
   This book had one of the rockiest beginnings in literature history ever! Alright, I'm being a little melodramatic. But the world placement and setting placement was evidently non-existent for too long. I felt like I was just reading about some girl's random fits of dreams and reality. I didn't know much but that this girl wanted to leave (wherever she was), but I didn't know why or if because of who. There are a plethora of names thrown at you in the beginning (with a lack of Johnny said or Mary said which ticked me off since I had to backtrack and read who was saying what) and it gets more tolerable as you continue, but it doesn't get easier. Finally I learned that this was taking place in Australia, at some point someone even says 'Mate.'
   And the I didn't really understand the whole concept of Townies vs. Cadets. Sorry if that's why you're here. I can't help you. I know about half way or around then, some of the rules are explained, but I still don't understand why. These are high schoolers but it's like they're at war with one another. And then at the end (6 weeks later), they'll have this dance or something and then the Cadets will go away. Reading this, especially in the beginning, I kept saying to the book, "what's the point??" And even at the end I said the same thing, but I had grown to love my characters so much that it was placed on the side where are the things I don't care for anymore lie.
   Well that concludes my cons. I'm a little surprised but then again, I did really like this book. And that I know what's going on, I can reread stuff I missed before and it enjoy it sooner. Because I really really did love this author's writing. I think this will be on my To Be Reread soon pile. :)

I give this book 4.5/5 stars.

Author's Quote:

"It happened on the Jellicoe Road. The prettiest road I’d ever seen, where trees made breezy canopies like a tunnel to Shangri-La."
Melina Marchetta, Jellicoe Road

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
  Someone please explain to me why the Cadets and Townies have war? I know that it was started by Taylor's mom and dad, Webb and Tate, Jude, Fitz and Narnie, but why war? And how does the Cadets come into play, or is that supposed to be the foreign people like Jude (the Brigadier) was? And then the different houses represent the other four that were actually from there? And where do the seniors go, the ones that left in the beginning. They made being the leader so intriguing and then it didn't sound something very "Top Secret" worthy.
   Oh and can someone tell me how Webb was killed by Fitz? Was he the boy in the tree, or the guy in the car? Was that what the picture showed him in (the one Chaz showed Taylor)?
    Taylor and Griggs are on my top fictional characters couple list. And are my favorite teen literary couple. Any agree, disagree? :)
    I loved how the five people in italics mentioned early become the people that all surround Taylor's childhood. Narnie=Hannah, Jude=Brigadier, Fitz=Hermit, Webb=Taylor's father who died at 17, Tate-Taylor's mother who's MIA. I definitely need to reread so I can better understand now all those sections with italics because I for the most part skimmed over them (much like I did in Fangirl, since I thought it was unimportant to the plot.) Oh...
    I enjoyed the concept of the hidden tunnel and I felt that it made a great final scene, well one of the more dramatic final scenes. My only thing was I don't know why Griggs offered to go in first-- he said he needed to do it for Taylor but I was nodding my head along like "okayyyy..." I really just need to reread this book to get a better grasp at everything because I'm pretty sure I have more questions than answers. ^^
    Santagelo and Raffaela have such beautiful chemistry. My favorite part was when Marchetta had Ben(?) predict how they'd marry separate people then have kids that went to the same school then they'd have an affair. It's what I was thinking would happen one day so I'm happy that someone called it out. But they were a great secondary couple to focus on, more interesting than the Brigadier and Hannah anyways.
   Anyone have any recommendations for another book by this author?

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fangirl Book Review

Rawr Reader,

   I read most of this in one sitting-- was only supposed to be 100 pages... ^^
   Anyhoo, this review will be on Fangirl, the first book I've read from Rainbow Rowell. The synopsis is provided by Goodreads:

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

  Booktubers, published authors, bookstores. I initially wanted to read it then I took it off my to read list thinking it was too contemporary romance, but then I reconsidered because while I may not write fanfiction-- I'm still a fangirl at heart and always will be. ^^

(safe for those who haven't read the book yet)
    Fangirl is a contemporary romance young adult novel about an 18 year old's first year in college and her adaption to the new environment and people and everything new that college brings, which includes many extracurricular activites. This isn't new, you see this in real life and you'll see it literature. However what makes this book slightly different is that the new-to-college experience is being told through the eyes of a devoted fangirl to a fictional Simon Snow series that has a very large internet-based following since the series has grown with the students in this college's childhood. While some students have gotten over it, some still devotedly follow, such as our main protagonist, Cather Avery. 
    Not only does she still follow the Simon Snow series, but she even writes fanfiction, too (and is quite popular too! writing under the pseudonym of Magicath). Her twin sister Wren used to write fanfiction alongside her, going by the pseudonym Wrenegade, but represents the part of her generation who still loves the series, but doesn't follow it as avidly anymore. Her twin isn't an exact copy of Cath, in fact, they're almost exact opposites. Wren is more free-spirited and independent while Cather is more reclusive and private with people (internet friends excluded). This is what starts off the book, with Cather moving into a dorm with a complete stranger, who is not like Cath at all. This is the first time Cath hadn't spent most of her time with Wren in their entire lives, and the fact that her writing professor (a professional, published writer) doesn't like fanfiction makes Cath's expectations in college spiral down more and more. 
    In our first few months in college, we are introduced to several characters, all unlike Cath in more ways than one. We have Reagan, Cath's tough-looking roommate. Levi, who's always hanging out with Reagan. Nick, Cath's fiction writing partner, the one person at school who she can relate to the most. Abel, Cath's long-distance boyfriend who texts every once in a while from a college out of  state. Courtney, Wren's rommate who seems to only want to party and drink and come in between Cath and Wren (something that bothers Cath more than most). Arthur, Cath and Wren's father who's trying his best to handle being without his daughters. And Professor Piper, a published author who's written several books that Cath has read, yet who isn't a fan of Cath writing fanfiction. All with unique personalities that stand out one against the other and are lovely contrasts to our protagonist. And honestly, from the good to the bad, and to the good who I thought was bad, and the bad that I thought was good, I loved all these characters and I can imagine meeting them in real life-- some more than others. 
    Cath was a very relatable protagonist, in all honestly a little too relatable. We both love to write, we both decline going out and partying like most college students, we both are fangirls, we both are quiet and don't speak up in classes. Seriously, aside from writing fanction, which I personally don't do, I prefer to make up my own stories, we're identical. So if you're reading this and you didn't like Cath, I want to guess it is 90% most likely you won't like me. But you're here reading a review on Fangirl, so you must in some way enjoy reading, or reading fanfiction, or are a fangirl or fanboy, or even just being around fandoms, so I think even if you fell in the other 10% personality wise, we'd get along just fine. (Honestly my best friend and I are almost complete opposites in almost every way, but we were brought together by the show Supernatural, and five years later we're still the best of friends. Fandoms bring everyone together. <3) So in the end, I loved Cath as well as all the other characters. I just liked this story.
    Now for me, one of the hardest things about this book for me to get over was the writing style. It would get a little too colloquial for my liking, and sometimes there'd be fragments that screamed at me and I would have to reread sentences 5x before continuing. However I'd say once you get to around 180 pages, you get used to it and the story becomes thoroughly more enjoyable.
    A thought on the whole Simon Snow series: it was probably what got me hooked on page 1, (thought around page 10-180 I wasn't a fan). It was almost exactly like Harry Potter, even having the amount of books in the series identical (except for the final installment that would be released at the end of spring the next year). My only stickler, which isn't really a stickler in the grand scheme of things, but Harry Potter was mentioned once and I was a little thrown back by his random appearance. That means that Harry Potter existed and would mean that there were 2 huge fandoms that were very, very similar in almost every way. Now don't get me wrong, there are a bunch of fandoms that have huge followings all over TV and literature and movies, but none that are quite so similar. Think of some of your favorite fandoms that you follow, and try to list out all the similarities they share with one another. Can't list many right? I don't really know why it was mentioned and I wish it was cut, but hey, I'm not the editor and it isn't my book. Just my thought. 
    Another thought on Cath's Simon Snow fanfiction. I love the fact about Cath is that she's a fangirl, and while I may not do it myself, I love the fact that she likes to write fanfiction. I am inspired by things around me and like to write my own stories, she's the opposite, she loves to have something to go off of and have her own twist on characters and events in books she loves. However, I didn't enjoy reading about it. It brought me out of Cath's real world and that was the reason I was reading this book in the first place. I understand it does that to show everyone who reads it what Cath's writing style and stories and passion is like, however before every chapter and sometimes for several pages in a chapter or so, there'd be an excerpt from the Simon Snow series or Cath's fanfiction herself, and I honestly couldn't tell you what happened in any of it. I can't even describe a scene. I just read over the words. All I know is that there were two main characters, Simon and Baz, and some minor characters, Agatha and Penelope. There were some other names mentioned but I didn't know if they referenced places or people (like He-Who-Should-Not-Be-Named) or society or spells or magical objects or what. Next time I read this book I may try to read it again just to give it another shot, but honestly if it doesn't catch my interest the second time around, I may just skip those sections all together from that point on. However, while I didn't like reading it, it does make the book unique because not only does the protagonist write fanfiction, the reader can read it for himself. 
    There was a lot of dialogue, but when there were moments of description of character's actions or settings and I found myself in love with the story. This is a story of first loves and new experiences of independence and friendship and I think for any fangirl/fanboy, it would be really hard not to like this book. Not even have to love, just like it for the fact that there are other fangirls and fanguys out there who love to read and still love to be devoted and passionate about fictional worlds in literature and TV and movies.
    I'm a fangirl and proud. <3
    Though I was iffy at first, I am glad I did buy this book because I would definitely crack it open again for a nice light-hearted read. Though I don't usually do recommendations, (which actually I may start doing, I don't know we'll see) this book is a lot like Anna and the French Kiss by Stephenie Perkins. I even gave them both 4 stars, for writing style and story-telling, though I do say that the pacing is very fast and it's really easy to read in one sitting without even realizing it.

I give this book 4/5 stars.

Author's Quote:
"I'd rather be broken than wasted."
-Cath, Fangirl

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
    Okay I have a lot to talk about. I don't want to dissect every little scene, but there's some biggies that I want to talk about. First off with characters.
    Let's start with roommates, Reagan is nothing like I thought she'd be. I was expecting her to not develop and remain a flat character, but Rowell cleverly decides to surprise you and make her Cath's ally. While there may be some tension when Cath and Levi become more and more serious, Reagan acts like the adult she is (she's 21, and honestly I see many immature people in my college that are all around her age and still act stupidly-- wonder why I choose to read so much...) and it's a trait I think many readers love about her. She has a tough attitude and a tough exterior and tough personality, but she's a friend when Cath needs her the most and it's more than I ever expected from her. So I say that while I love every character, good or bad, Reagan stands at one of the top favorite, most complex characters we meet.
    Next is Levi. Levi is the first guy we meet, heck he's the first person-- even before Cath is mentioned. He's super-friendly, always smiling, charming, really chill, and a great friend. While I wasn't sure or not at first, thinking that maybe Nick was going to be the guy Cath was originally expecting to hook up with, it all worked out in the end since Nick was a douche. (will continue with his thoughts in the next paragraph). The chapter where Cath finally decides to go out and she ends up catching Levi locking lips with a blonde was predictable. Okay, maybe not her being blonde, but him kissing another girl "unexpectedly." An event that would deter Cath from Levi and would have him need to prove his feelings for her. Though I do admire that Cath didn't try to make him jealous by bringing Nick around (like he'd anyways though right? xD ), but just stuck to her character and avoided him. You go girl! Lol. I probably fell in love with Levi about the time that he tried to get a second chance. I feared that she'd forgive him so easily and then they would magically be BF-GF (like another book I'm reading-- The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, though they were already married but I digress...). She made him earn it and he seemed to want it for himself, too, to show both of them how important Cath was to him. And I especially love how he kept saying I like you. Sorry, I don't remember reading any novel in the past where one party says it repeatedly to the other party. They may say it once or twice, but otherwise it would be assumed in their actions that they liked them-- but not Levi, he reminded her constantly so she would know. Ahhh amore. <3
   Nick was a difficult character to like, even if he was bad. He seemed to be described and thought of so much that I thought in the end he'd be really important, but the final scene with him is very anticlimatic. Like that's it, just let your boyfriend, sister and roommate threaten him to leave Cath alone (more or less)? I felt that Cath didn't really grow cajones and stick up for herself, but then I'm kind of happy she didn't because not all people are like that. It showed her true charcater in that moment and it just made me like Cath as a character there, but not Nick overall. In the beginning, I'll admit after some time I thought maybe he'd offer her to walk her to her dorm but nope, he was just using her. And then later on when Cath was getting more serious about Levi, one of the last, if not the last library writing meetings they meet up, I thought that Nick was having an affair with the teacher. I don't know why-- if anything he wouldn't be needing to meet up with Cath I guess, but I'm just happy I was wrong. And then disappeared for a good chunk of the last half of the book and I was a little confused because he seemed too important at first. Sorry don't want to go in a circle again, but yeah, I think Nick was one of the most unimportant characters that was emphasized over-abundantly. If anything, Courtney turned out to be one of the more important characters because she just ditches Wren at the hospital about 60 pages from the end. But that can be an argument that goes on for a long time.
    Cath and Wren's parents. I predicted Laura, aka their mom would make an appearance, however I thought that that meant they would reconcile and make up. Thank the Heavens they did not! I would have disliked this book if so. She didn't deserve a second chance and in a way that made her flat-- not changing to try and become more involved in Cath and Wren's lives-- however Cath ultimately not reconciling with her shows that she just grew to get over her mother and in the end not need her. While Cath never showed she did, actually she repelled any meeting with the woman, but I just love that she chose to accept the fact that her mother wasn't going to change and there were other more important people who did care for her and that were worth the effort. Now Laura abandoning Cath, Wren and their father Aruthr (aka Art) is what made Art downspiral. He wasn't outright crazy, but he did have his low moments and I found that an admirable trait in a single father. He could have given them up or remarried, but he chose to be devoted to his daughters and just be happy with that. I wonder if that was perhaps a shout out to all the single fathers who don't get enough cred. And I found it funny when he argued for Cath to stay in college when she wanted to come back, and for Wren to come home when she wanted to stay in college. Anyone else laugh in that part? No? Huh.
    Wren, she was a lovely complement to our narrator and while she wasn't entirely opposite of Cath, she was a firm complex character. She had similar interests with Cath, but she had many more dissimilarities with her as well that made her stand out, and ultimately to help Cath become her own person, too. I especially loved the little detail that Rowell includes about how they were always together in their hometown, even after college had started, but when they were away from home they were separate. I admire that she wanted to make an identity of herself and that she was able to grow alongside Cath, albeit in a different way.
   The end was one of my most enjoyable moments. The last page is just a little excerpt of Cath branching out from her comfort zone and eventually being confident in herself and her writing to write fiction and not fanfiction. Though she was extremely lucky and was able to get a second chance to write a 10,000 word paper (yeah right you could do that at my school), I love the fact that by the end of the school year she was able to develop this part of her life. A part of her life that she thought may never change.

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Vicious Book Review

Rawr Reader,

   I wasn't pulled toward this book at first, but after several months I just wanted to read a new book from her since I love her writing and didn't want to wait until The Unbound in January, so as time came closer and closer to its release, I realized I actually am excited for this book and really do want to read it. So here it is, my review for Vicious by V.E. Schwab. The synopsis is provided by Goodreads:

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong.

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

    I'm a huge fan of this amazing author's writing and first discovered her through The Archived.

(safe for those who haven't read this book)
   I found the pacing a little uneven at first, taking me about 150 pages to really get into the story (while the story wasn't dreary, I felt it too weighted in the past than the present.)
  But something I absolutely loved about Vicious was the development of our characters backstories and their development over the course of the novel (particularly our protagonist duo: Victor and Eli). I won't spoil their intentions and who's bad and who's good, because if you look at this externally, no one is really good, but they remind me a lot like A Song of Ice and Fire characters. You start off having these feelings toward these characters but then they shock you by revealing their true selves, but then they trick you again and again and you're like, are you good-bad or bad-bad?? Ahhh! Hehe. Okay, maybe not that dramatic but I loved this journey with our protagonists, especially Victor (probably because we start off from his POV) and all the other characters we learn to care about. 
   Now I know that Schwab has repeatedly mentioned that Vicious is an adult book and not a young adult book, I felt that it did have a little of the air of one. A good third of this book takes place in the final year in college-- and while this isn't what most consider "young adult" having a set of 16 year old protagonists, I still think that's more young adult than adult. While granted, there's plenty of obscenity and action and detailed violence that makes this I guess more adulty and for more "mature" readers, but I'd still suggest younger readers check this out.
    Something that I love the most to see in books and movies is the chemistry of brothers and sisters, or any siblings, or two friends who become like siblings. So when I read more and more of Victor and Sydney's bond, I found their scenes together more enjoyable than the Victor/Eli scenes or any other ones. 
    One of my favorite parts of this book is the setting. Like The Archived, the story takes place in a contemporary world but in a fictional city/university. I don't really have much to say other than that I really liked this because whenever authors describe settings based off of real locations and cities, I can't really connect with the atmosphere since I haven't been there. However when the setting is unfamiliar and new to everyone, I'm on the same page and can create this place with my characters. This new world will be a equal in realism as my fictional characters and in a fast, action-packed book like this one, I need everything to have the same weight and equality in realism.
   And I won't say how, but this book did remind me of some movies, particularly The Prestige and X-Men. So I guess if you like those movies or like comic books, I think you'd really enjoy it.
   But this story is very unique, much like her other works are, and I highly recommend. Of course! ^^
I give this book 5/5 stars.

Also I got these wicked awesome trading cards several weeks back and I need to share them. :)

Author's Quote:
“There are no good men in this game.” 
― Victoria Schwab, Vicious

My Goodreads:

Next To Read:
Fangirl by Rainboy Rowell

River Song's Spoilers:
(unsafe for those who haven't read this book yet, so don't read this section)
   While I did very much enjoy this book, I did have problems with it. Pacing for one, it took my about 150 pages to start getting into the meat of the story. Second was the predictability of several of the characters. I predicted Angie would die in the beginning (as for why Victor and Eli would be budding heads still 10 years later-- which reminded me of The Prestige but with superpowers), I predicted Eli would be this boyfriend who tried to kill Sydney, and I predicted Mitch was going to die for standing in the crossfires at least once. What makes it so predictable I feel is the fact that there aren't many characters to begin with, and with how the majority of these characters seem to die, it was only the questions of matter of time and their role in the book.
   Okay, Mitch is one of my favorite characters, and the fact that I was so deeply relieved he survived the two murder attempts against him shows how much I love him. This guy can't catch a break, always getting judging looks from everyone just because he's big and tatted and has been in prison once or twice or maybe a couple more times... My point is, don't judge a book by it's cover. Also, I love the relationship he builds with Sydney, I love when characters that are in no way related to each other show brotherly/sisterly devotion. Not every character in each book doesn't have to be seeking romance with every acquaintance they make, and I love how Sydney is able to find this friendship with Victor and Mitch.
   While Mitch taught me not to judge a book by its cover, and Sydney taught me not to doubt the strength in a young female character (which technically I didn't since The Archived I know Schwab does a fantastic job at creating strong female characters), Victor and Eli show readers that like Mitch we shouldn't judge our characters by their external features/pasts but by their actions. While Victor begins the story with the "villain" personality while Eli arises as the "hero," as the story continues, we see that these roles slowly reverse. And while they both don't completely do a one-eighty, we see that they both come do begin to become the villain/hero the other was meant to be. 

Until Next Time,
Nicole Ciel