Tag: Dark (page 2 of 7)

BOOK REVIEW – Rites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley

BOOK REVIEW – Rites of Passage by Joy N. HensleyRites of Passage by Joy N. Hensley
Purchase on: Amazon
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Synopsis:

Sam McKenna’s never turned down a dare. And she's not going to start with the last one her brother gave her before he died.

So Sam joins the first-ever class of girls at the prestigious Denmark Military Academy. She’s expecting push-ups and long runs, rope climbing and mud-crawling. As a military brat, she can handle an obstacle course just as well as the boys. She's even expecting the hostility she gets from some of the cadets who don’t think girls belong there. What she’s not expecting is her fiery attraction to her drill sergeant. But dating is strictly forbidden and Sam won't risk her future, or the dare, on something so petty... no matter how much she wants him.

As Sam struggles to prove herself, she discovers that some of the boys don’t just want her gone—they will stop at nothing to drive her out. When their petty threats turn to brutal hazing, bleeding into every corner of her life, she realizes they are not acting alone. A decades-old secret society is alive and active… and determined to force her out.
At any cost.

Now time's running short. Sam must decide who she can trust... and choosing the wrong person could have deadly consequences.

“They can get into my room. Whenever they want. Oh God. They’re not going to stop. Not ever. Not until I’m gone.”

Rites of Passage left me on such a high, I’m jumping around at 5AM like a crazy person when I should have been tucked up in bed like the reasonable adult I’m supposed to be. Yet as I’ve been flirting on a slump all summer, I wasn’t going to stop reading such a captivating story : the unfairness of everything Mac had to go through because of misogynic assholes ensured to drive me furious, and I couldn’t look away.

The thing is, it would have been so easy to write Mac in an unrealistic way, to make her so successful that her kickass personality would have reeked of unbelievability, and I’m so glad it wasn’t the case. She fails, she doubts, she needs HELP, and that’s okay – no, that’s GREAT. I admire her all the same. I’ve never understood why kickass female leads had to fight alone to be strong – “valuable”. What the fuck is that?! It’s the working woman fighting to the top all over again, and that’s so sad. Why are we accepting that? Why are we condoning the wicked message that we need to be alone to deserve our success? FUCK THAT.

In my opinion Rites of Passage‘s message is way more important : don’t let anyone destroy your dreams, and don’t let your pride refuse help – your achievements won’t be diminished because you trusted others. I loved the complicity and friendship between Mac and some of her classmates. I loved that she found people to stand up for her and yet kept making her own decisions. Girl power, but not only – let’s not put all men in the same basket, alright? I also completely crushed on the love interest, which is a shock, because men in uniforms give me the CREEPS (I know how irrational that is, trust me – one of my close friends was in the military and teased me endlessly about it, but what can I say, I am weird). But YUM. I loved this adorable guy.

Military : 1 Anna : 0

About the romance : I need to stress it because I’ve read it a lot and HUH, WHAT : this is in no way a love triangle. Granted, there are two boys, but never at the same time, and the first one is already history when the second one (YUM) steals the show. If that’s a love triangle, then we’ve all been in one once in our life (what a frightening thought, I know).

I’ll end this night rambling by saying that I wasn’t completely satisfied with the ending because of two opposite reasons :
– The general plot is wrapped up in a neat bow and everything felt too rushed to be entirely believable.
– The romance aspect is, WELL, we’ll say open to stay optimistic (I AM) and sadly realistic (WHY THOUGH??) but in that case I didn’t want it to be realistic (I’m so unfair, right?) (also, I feel betrayed). Aw hell, I don’t care. In my head everything goes well in the end OKAY?! Okay.

Nearly perfect as far as I’m concerned : some issues weren’t completely dealt with View Spoiler », some parts seemed a bit over the top to me (but what do I know?), and I had to suspend my disbelief pretty hard sometimes (the hacking), but if Joy N. Hensley can interest me in anything military related, I’d say that she’s a pretty damn good author (a sequel, THOUGH?).

BOOK REVIEW – In The Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana French

BOOK REVIEW – In The Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1) by Tana FrenchIn The Woods (Dublin Murder Squad #1)
by Tana French
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

As dusk approaches a small Dublin suburb in the summer of 1984, mothers begin to call their children home. But on this warm evening, three children do not return from the dark and silent woods. When the police arrive, they find only one of the children gripping a tree trunk in terror, wearing blood-filled sneakers, and unable to recall a single detail of the previous hours.

Twenty years later, the found boy, Rob Ryan, is a detective on the Dublin Murder Squad and keeps his past a secret. But when a twelve-year-old girl is found murdered in the same woods, he and Detective Cassie Maddox—his partner and closest friend—find themselves investigating a case chillingly similar to the previous unsolved mystery. Now, with only snippets of long-buried memories to guide him, Ryan has the chance to uncover both the mystery of the case before him and that of his own shadowy past.
Richly atmospheric and stunning in its complexity, In the Woods is utterly convincing and surprising to the end.

“Not any more. In ways too dark and crucial to be called metaphorical, I never left that wood.”

I know that I ought to gather my thoughts to organize them or whatever I usually do before writing a review, especially when the last page let me shell-shocked as In the Woods did. But I can’t. I’m leaving tomorrow and I’m not one for writing reviews weeks after having read the damn book. I’m actually in awe of people who manage to do just that. I think that it says something about me : in the end, I’m an emotional reader, and I’ll always hold to the bewilderment and wonder I feel when fictional stories get to me in such a strong level.

And I just began too many sentences with I. Ugh. Bear with me, would you?

In the Woods affected me in a way that I didn’t expect, slowly enveloping me in its sickeningly sweet lure. Little by little, I’ve been rocked by a false sense of safety, by the discreet and uncertain laughs, proofs of Rob and Cassie’s complicity. Of course I saw the warnings, the insights, yet I chose to ignore the bad taste in my mouth, the inexorable growth of my doubts and then the pang of betrayal and sadness. God, this book let me so fucking sad. Hollowed. There’s nothing, really, that I could say to convince you to give it a chance, and many reviewers did it before me and with much more eloquence.

So I’ll only say this : rarely did I feel that the character’s personality – whether they’re likeable or not – was so besides the point as when reading this book. Is Rob a jerk? Maybe, but I don’t care, he’s real, all of them are real to me. I care so much, og my god, do I care for him still. Did I guess some clues before he did? Yes, actually, I did, but again, it changes nothing to the way I feel right now, to the sheer awe still palpable in me when I’m writing these (clumsy) words. View Spoiler »

I am frustrated, does that show? I’m just so sick of writing that, it’s not perfect but – god, I’m so fed up with that sentence and I write it way too often. Nothing’s perfect. Life is far from perfect (or everybody would look at populists and say, What The Hell, do I look like an idiot to you?!). Tana French pictures the unfairness and imperfection of it all perfectly. It’s enough for me. Of course it’s enough.

PS. One day later and I’m still dazzled and yeah, so very much sad. It will linger, I just know it.

BOOK REVIEW – Monstress, Vol. 1 : Awakening (Monstress (Collected Editions) #1) by Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda

BOOK REVIEW – Monstress, Vol. 1 : Awakening  (Monstress (Collected Editions) #1) by  Marjorie M. Liu, Sana TakedaMonstress, Vol. 1 : Awakening (Monstress (Collected Editions) #1)
by Marjorie M. Liu, Sana Takeda
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Set in an alternate matriarchal 1900’s Asia, in a richly imagined world of art deco-inflected steampunk, MONSTRESS tells the story of a teenage girl who is struggling to survive the trauma of war, and who shares a mysterious psychic link with a monster of tremendous power, a connection that will transform them both. Entertainment Weekly praised MONSTRESS as “one of Image Comics’ most imaginative and daring new series” and dubbed it the “Best New Original Series” in their year-end “Best Comics of 2015” list.

Collects MONSTRESS #1-6

 Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening was… weird, but dark and pretty good?

There’s no hiding that the plot is convoluted… at best, and if there was such thing as a CONFUSING ALERT!, I would raise it instantly. Indeed Monstress, Vol. 1: Awakening doesn’t burden itself with simple details like chronological order and basic knowledge before throwing you in the meat of the (epic fantasy-like) action.

Keyword being : HUH?!

And then, there are these cat-ish info-dump pages at the end of every chapter (issue) : Oh my GOSH. MY EYES. Too long, too tiny, too much.

However, despite the general confusion and slowness, in the end I’m eager to know where the story will go… especially after THAT. BIG. CLIFF. DAMMIT.

Overall, the characters are very interesting and pretty fun to follow :

First a kickass heroine

… teamed-up with an adorable fox girl… Awww <3

… a talking cat

… also, a monster

… and many complex villains. What more could we want?!

See above. Mix everything. You’ve got your world.

Want more details, do you? Alright. What you need to know is that the world is separated into two parts (so far), the Human World (with witches) and the Arcanic World (with old gods, animal-head people). Because differences and greed always win, once upon a time there was a war (of course there was). Finally, because those in power are often morons, they built a wall (of course they did). Oh, and the talking cats somehow achieved the status of wise entities at some point during the History. Don’t ask me when, though (info-dumping cat pages, remember?) They even go so far as calling themselves Masters *snorts*

As the plot, the world is interesting and complex, yet so very confusing at first.

Remarkable. Stunning. I loved it to pieces, okay?

Sources :
– Flower doodle : http://www.vecteezy.com/flourishes-sw…
– Other vector images (edited by myself): Free vector art via Vecteezy.com

BOOK REVIEW – Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1) by Jay Kristoff

BOOK REVIEW – Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1) by Jay KristoffNevernight (The Nevernight Chronicles #1)
by Jay Kristoff
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The first in a new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author.

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

 

UPDATE : Because it seems that Nevernight wasn’t shitty enough as it was, it also shows problematic rep for Maori. Please read Anjulie’s brilliant post about it.

MY EYES, O, MY EYES! O, gentlefriends, you may not approve of my decision to rate Nevernight with a severe and lonely star given the fact that I failed to finish it. But I tried, O, gentlefriends, trust me, I tried, yet completing the task of reading all 18,695 pages of this wonder-

There are only 448 pages…

Oh, FUCK OFF, the cat “who is not a cat” (why thank you I KNOW you told me one billion times already – go haunt someone else’s shadow, watch over another balcony with your not-eyes would you even though I don’t even want to know how THAT bloody works)

Truth is, O, gentlefriends, I’m taking my life back. The 42% I read were painfully indigestible and I am very sorry if I offend 99% of my friends who love Jay Kristoff‘s writing but I cannot do this. I CANNOT.

1) The metaphors and similes

First, I don’t like them as a whole. While I do believe that they can add a poetic touch to a novel, if I start highlighting them, it either means that :

a) they’re overused ;
b) they don’t make any kind of sense ;
c) they make me forget the story to focus on the prose, as if the writer was tapping me on the shoulder in a “I am so clever, am I not?” fashion.

Some of them made me roll my eyes.

“Mia caught her temper by the collar, gave it a good hard shake. Clearing her throat, she brushed her crooked fringe from her eyes.”

“Mia sighed. Took her temper by the earlobe and pulled it to heel.”

Others earned a well-deserved WTF?!

“Tric gave another half-hearted stab, but the beast had forgotten its quarry entirely, great eyes rolling as it flipped over and over, dragging its bulk back below the sand, howling like a dog who’s just returned home from a hard turn’s work to find another hound in his kennel, smoking his cigarillos and in bed with his wife.”

O_o

“They’re led by a dozen camels, Tric. A noseless dog could follow this trail of shit in the middle of truedark. If they suddenly start trekking faster than a forty-a-turn smoker with an armload of drunken prostitutes, I think we can find them again.”

????!?!!

2) Heavy wordiness and other useless descriptions

This is a matter of taste, alright? But I can’t do this? Not willingly, at least? Look, I graduated in French Literature and hence have had my fair share of wordy books for the sake of being wordy. After five years, I’ve come to the conclusion that this overwritten and purple writing style does not suit me. Words are meant to carry the story, and not to prove how clever and well-read the author is. Again, in my opinion anyway.

“She introduced her boot to his partner’s groin, kicking him hard enough to cripple his unborn children.”

BECAUSE THAT’S A THING.

Nope. That’s a commonplace.

I tend to find commonplaces useless.

“The horizon was crusted like a beggar’s lips, scoured by winds laden with voices just beyond hearing. The second sun kissing the horizon was usually the sign for Itreya’s brutal winters to begin, but out there, the heat was still blistering.”

Many of you might adore this writing. I do not. Oh, and no, before some gentle soul implies it, it is not because I’m “used to YA” or “unable to ‘get it'”. As I said, I can enjoy classics. Just not the ones that make me want to pull my hair out.

3) There are footnotes as a world-building

Call it as you want, when an author uses LONG footnotes to narrate parts of the world-building, it seems like info-dumping to me. And an annoying one, at that. Honestly? I stopped reading them after two chapters : I had a hard time connecting with the story already, and would have DNFed Nevernight way faster if I had stopped every few pages to read these damn footnotes. More generally, I find it lazy to use footnotes when these legends could have been incorporated into the main story.

There’s also a character who speaks like a Shakespeare’s lad, but at this point, I’m not even counting anymore.

As much as I wanted to love Nevernight, whose blurb made it sound so captivating, I cannot stand this writing and it spoiled my read. If you add it to the facts that :

1) The world-building is a mash-up between the Roman Empire, the Venice Republic, Harry Potter and The Young Elites (not a bad thing per se, but again, distracting) ;

2) The heroine already earned her special nemesis whose only purpose seems to glare and glare and glare again ;

3) I don’t care about any of the characters whatsoever (except Tric. I did like Tric) ;

4) I don’t appreciate the so-called wit of that fucking cat who is not a cat (I didn’t laugh ONCE, alright?) ;

5) I am BORED ;

… Well, you’ll understand why Nevernight and me will part ways now, at 42%.

Mark my words, though : this will be a hit. Oh, well. On my minority shelf it goes.

BOOK REVIEW – Deceptions (Cainsville #3) by Kelley Armstrong

BOOK REVIEW – Deceptions (Cainsville #3) by Kelley ArmstrongDeceptions (Cainsville #3)
by Kelley Armstrong
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Otherworld series delivers her most suspenseful novel yet, where the discovery of Cainsville’s dark past and the true nature of its inhabitants leads to murder, redemption, love, and unspeakable loss.

Olivia Taylor Jones’s life has exploded. She’s discovered she is not only adopted, but her real parents are convicted serial killers. Fleeing the media frenzy, she took refuge in the oddly secluded town of Cainsville. She has since solved the town’s mysteries and finds herself not only the target of its secretive elders but also her stalker ex-fiancé.

Visions continue to haunt her: particularly a little blond girl in a green sundress who insists she has an important message for Olivia, one that may help her balance the light and darkness within herself. Death stalks both Olivia and the two men most important to her, as she desperately searches to understand whether ancient scripts are dictating the triangle that connects them. Will darkness prevail, or does Olivia have the power to prevent a tragic fate?

✨ Now available in Paperback! ✨

Whaaaat? Is it finished already? Damn it.

Gabriel character’s growth : Alright. I feel like a broken record, so don’t mind me. As in the first two books, here lies my favorite part of these books. I’m all about the characters most of the time, and a great characterization can decide of my love for a book. In Deceptions Gabriel continues to learn how to stop being a cyborg (not really) and I absolutely adored peeking through the layers of his character. GAH. I love this man. See, I love the way he talks. All practical. I’ve loved his tough side from the start, his inability to react like people are supposed to, because that what makes him different from other characters : he’s not a bad-boy, he’s not a knight in shining armor either, he just… is, and I can’t help but enjoy every time he appears, even if he is being an ass (yes, it happens. No, it doesn’t change a thing). When he starts showing vulnerabilities, though? I melt. I just – I can’t. It’s subtle, and it’s way more interesting as it is. It’s showing, never telling, but he cares, so much – it made my heart throb with wonder and yes, break a little.

“He kept giving me that look, the confusion deepening to something like disappointment, like hurt, as if he’d tried to be kind and thoughtful, and I was rejecting it, and he didn’t know why. That little boy, reaching out and being pushed away. Goddamn it, Gabriel. Don’t look at me like that. Wake up. Snap out of it, pull that wall back up and retreat behind it.”

Finally, his interactions with Olivia and really – everyone – made my day. I’ll take more of this, please.

“His brows shot higher. “That would imply I have time for such frivolities. I don’t watch television or movies, and while I read a fair bit, fiction would hardly advance my education. Data, data, data. I cannot make bricks without clay.” I crossed my arms and glowered up at him. “Obviously, you’ve made an exception.” “I never make exceptions. An exception disproves the rule.” ” I hate you so much right now.”

Ricky’s case : Strangely, I feel bad about Ricky. Why? Because he’s genuinely adorable with Olivia and they seem really great together but even if 1)he doesn’t annoy me and 2)I don’t mind their sex scenes, on the contrary, I can’t help but feel not involved in their story. I’m a Gabriel girl through and through, even if I repeat, it’s not a love triangle-team Gabriel kind of situation. Not really. To be frank, I have nothing against Ricky : he’s sweet, respectful, charming, a little wild… I like him, really. And still… He isn’t near as fascinating as Gabriel. *shrug* Gabriel is the one who makes me smile. Always.

Olivia’s behavior : I still like her, but I have to admit that she annoys me a little when she refuses to see the obvious View Spoiler ». However, she does act on it and I appreciate how realistic that makes her : yes, in real life we bury our head in the sand sometimes. I’m often the Queen of that ship, even if I’m not proud of it. That doesn’t prevent me from waking up when I sense that I need to, and Olivia does. Whilst lost and confused, she always stays brave, smart, and funny. Am I tired to be in her head? No, never. And that’s saying something : she doesn’t ramble, she doesn’t daydream, but she always tries to make the best out of the chaos that followed her arrival in Cainsville. However, I cannot stand how she handles a certain situation, and it’s a spoiler, so here we goes (sorry) :View Spoiler »

TC! Every book needs a moody cat.

Addictive factor : Once again, the writing is completely addictive and I couldn’t stop reading for the life of me. From page one I dived into Cainsville’s mess as if I had never stopped, and there are very few series about which I can say that.

Creepy factor :

First of all : I’m a chicken (yes, it’s important to state). This being said, the creepy scenes increased in number in this third book, definitely. I got chills at her visions and no, the light of my Kindle wasn’t enough anymore. Chicken, I said.

ANSWERS! I’m not gonna lie, the first two books let me –

You get the idea. Lost. Confused. Did I say lost? So, does it change? Yes we get explanations about the murders. Yes they’re twisted and wicked. Yes I loved that. Does the story seem less captivating after getting these answers? Oh hell no. I’m even more curious to see where the story will go from now on. Now, I must confess that some parts disappointed me and that I am scared that this series will become stereotypical (that’s why I lowered my rating) View Spoiler ». I hate Fate related plots and I really can’t fathom why authors do that. I strongly hope I’m wrong, and I want to trust Kelley Armstrong to stay far from the easiest path View Spoiler », because so far everything was way more complicated than it seemed, and I loved these books for it.

Ps. I need to say something about the bike club scene : it made me cringe so bad. I do not like girl fight at all, and the whole “handling over” Olivia played with my nerves. I know, I have no idea if it is accurate or not. Maybe it is. I still can’t help but hate the casual sexism that is pictured there. Ugh.

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