How much do you know about Circe? Only remember her as the one who turned men into pigs? Ever wondered what her backstory was? Circe was disgraced, cast out and forced to find a way to stand on her own two feet. She went from wishing anyone would see her, to hiding from the world to finding her place in the moral and immortal world.
I have stated in past reviews and posts that I adore mythology. Something about these past stories still speaking to us today pulls me in. I love learning about how ancient people tried to make sense of the world we live in. Take that love and give me a new way of seeing a character I have read about before and you have my undivided attention.
I know of Circe as the woman who turned men into pigs and that was all I knew about her. So when I saw this book popping up on blog after blog I had to give it a try and I adored it. I thought the way this book breathed new life into a character I knew next to nothing about and really didn’t care about, was fantastic.
I loved the progression of Circe’s character throughout the story. She starts off as someone who is left out. She is the unwanted child of Helios. She is not special, she is missing something. She does not stand out and no one sees her.
I thought it was really interesting how she fought to be seen when she was younger. She goes so far as to trying to get herself punished. She thinks if she does something everyone hates at least someone will know her. Someone will notice her. I found it really interesting how this is the place where she started.
Throughout the book we learn how she was able to find a way to be true to herself. She didn’t need anyone to see her because she saw herself. She found purpose in her own life, in her own talents and destiny. She found her feet and she stood proudly tall. Her evolution was inspiring and great to read.
The writing of this book was lyrical. I fell into the words and they kept me captured throughout the story. The comparisons made were unique. I felt like I have never read a book quite like this one before. I never found myself feeling like I have heard the metaphors or similes used before. It swept me onward and through the the story and I wanted to read it not only for the story but for the way the words sounded in my head.
I also found it really interesting how Odysseus was portrayed in this story. I know him as this larger than life hero. He stands high and he is noble. He does everything he can to get home and take care of his wife and son. I saw him as this perfect man and this book gives us a different angle of this man who we thought we knew.
I liked that this story made Odysseus more human. He is flawed and we see that shine bright in this story. He is a man who will fight for what he wants and he kills whenever necessary. We see that darker side of him in this book, we see that he is not perfect. Through his story we get a look at PTSD in a character as well. The fact that this was explored without really naming it was interesting.
I also really enjoyed how this book explored bigger ideas that connect to us today. A good book can remark on our world without having to be outright blatant about it. You don’t have to give a lecture on rape culture to get your message across. Miller does a great job at commenting on real life events in a non-heavy handed way.
My only issue with this book was how it ended. I loved the progression of Circe but I thought we were cheapened by the end. It felt a bit rushed. I wanted to see the way Circe took that last step into becoming who she was meant to be. Everything led up to that point and then it happened in a matter of pages.
We really only get a summary of the last part of her life. I wanted more. I wanted to feel that final connection her and how she ended up.
There was nothing that threw me out of this story. I enjoyed the character development, the plot lines and the writing.
I gave this book five stars on Goodreads. I was enthralled the whole way through and am eager to read her other book, The Song of Achilles.
“Beneath the smooth, familiar face of things is another that waits to tear the world in two.” (pg. 16)
“Sons were not punished.” (pg. 182)
“Humbling women seems to me a chief pastime of poets. As if there can be no story unless we crawl and weep. ” (pg. 206)
Puck is cursed with the demon of Indifference. He hides all emotions from the world or else he risks being incapacitated. He is resolute on finishing out a prophecy made about
him and his brother centuries ago. That is until Gillian walks into his life.
Gillian is an abused woman who is struggling to find a new life. She has been broken by her past and she is unsure if she can ever have a true and whole future. She is presented with an impossible choice, one that ultimately saves her life. She finds out that her past doesn’t have to define her and love is something that can be hers.
(This review is for the 14th in series so there may be spoilers for previous books).
I really liked how Gillian’s story evolved over this book. I remember when she was first introduced into the series back in the second book (I believe), she was so broken and so lost. She was desperate to find somewhere safe. She had no one and nothing to live for.
I enjoyed watching her starting to trust the Lords and their wives and girlfriends. I enjoyed watching her learning to find a way to live on her own. This book completed that journey. Though there was a serious time jump, she was able to find her own way to overcome her past.
Gilly became a badass. She was no longer the one to hide. She was no longe scared of every man who came near her. She was able to overcome her past and find her inner strength. She became a warrior. She fought for what she believed in. I loved that transformation. Loved seeing her be able to take care of herself and not need anyone else.
I also enjoyed the glimpses we got into the Hades and William storyline. While it was not nearly enough it left me interested in the next book. I want to know where Hades and his storyline are going. I am also now very intrigued where William’s story is going now that he is not ending up with Gilly.
This was probably my least favorite book in this series and there were a few things that I was able to handle but not be thrilled with and there were things that I just did not like. First I had a bit of an issue with the serious time jump in this book. In order to give us the character development of Gilly, we skip ahead about 500 years.
While this is fine I wanted to see that growth. I wanted to see more than through a few letters. I thought her character deserved us to see that transformation and not just the end. I think her story would have been even more powerful if we not only watch her transformation first hand but also saw how that connected to her growing love for Puck. That would have been the powerful story.
I thought I was going to be really upset by the fact that Gilly didn’t end up with William. The series did make it seem like those two would be together for about 12 books. I thought that would by hard for me to get over but I was okay with it.
While I would have preferred William and Gillian to be together, I do like the idea of them being friends. I think that friendship relationship could be explored more. I do like the idea of William being friend with a female and not sleeping with them. I do think that is a nice element to his character.
One of the first things that was driving me insane about this book was mainly in the beginning. Gilly is very against sex, which is undestandable because she was abused. I could not stand the way that Puck and even William kept saying that she would be alright with them. She would want to sleep with them. They could change her mind.
That is not how that works. Her wishes should have been respected. They should have stayed away and understood that she needed time to heal. If she was ever going to be with them they needed to give her the chance to make that choice for herself. Instead we did a 500 year time jump to skip over that healing process. There could have been serious commentary about sexual abuse and survivors in this story instead we stayed within the confines of the romance genre and didn’t try to go above and beyond.
I think this book would have been great if it had dared to try something different. There was so much potential to tell an interesting and different story. We could have had a story about Puck and Gilly using their relationship to learn how to heal. They could have healed each other. Puck could have realized he could be strong despite his demon and Gilly could have learned to trust and ended up with William.
Or we could have had a story where Gilly didn’t end up with anyone. She realized she didn’t need anyone. That a relationship and sex were not defining characteristics of her life. Instead we got neither. We got the generic usual love story, which was fine but wasn’t what I wanted from this story.
I gave this 2.5 stars on Goodreads. I didn’t despise this story but it was one I read through to just finish. I will continue the series because I have to know how it ends. I just wanted this story to be so much more than it was.
Rini lands in the pond at Elenor West’s Home for Wayward Children. She is looking for her mother, Sumi. Problem is that Sumi died a few years earlier. Rini, with the help from some of the wayward children sets out to fix the past so that she can exist in the future
This was probably my favorite book in this series so far. This one I think had the strongest and the most interesting plot. I love a good story about a paradox. I also loved that this was a journey to put someone back together.
I wasn’t sure how exactly this story was going to play out when I read the summary. I didn’t know if it was going to just be about Rini and her journey or if we were going to involve other characters. I loved that we got to see some of our favorites from the pervious book.
This book made me want to learn more about Christopher. I was only half interested in him from the other books. This book showed me that he has more to his story. I would love to have his book. I think he has a fascinating backstory and I want to know more about the world he was in.
I really enjoyed that the process of putting together Sumi involved more than just a simple spell or trick. Sumi was a complex person and putting her back together was a process. She needed all parts of her, not just her skeleton but her soul and her nonsense as well. This was a great look at how people are not just one thing, we all are complex human beings. If you lose one piece of yourself you are missing something vital. In the end Sumi needed the essential parts of herself to live again.
This book also looked at how nonsense and logic can work together. Just became something seems crazy or out of sorts doesn’t mean there isn’t some rules. Rules don’t have to be insufferable or annoying, they can be helpful. Rules don’t have to make life not fun. I think this showed how complex this world is as well. We get to see the different directions that exist int his world and are getting a even more clear picture of how this place works.
Each one of these books is short and I think sometimes that hurts the story a little bit. We get glimpses of people but don’t get to truly dive into anyone. We get introduced to Cora and Nadya, but we don’t get too much about them. We know they are both from water worlds but that is about it. We do know that Cora struggled with her body but I wanted to know more about her and her past.
We get hints at these characters but none are fully developed right away. I guess it does help build up for sequels. I hope we get more about them in future stories just so we have full pictures of them and they aren’t just side characters meant to fill out the cast.
There was nothing in this book that bothered me or made me have to pause while reading. I was able to get absorbed in the book and fly through it.
I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads. It was a fun ride that showed us more about the world and the characters in it.
“We try to make things make sense, even when they’re never going to.” (pg. 32)
“Futures, pasts, it didn’t matter. Everything fell apart.” (pg. 34)
“We don’t go where we’re not meant to be, even if we sometimes get born the wrong place.” (pg. 61)
“The fact that they had survived different somethings didn’t change the fact that they would always be, in certain ways, the same.” (pg. 106)
“It took me years of saving a world that stopped wanting me when I changed my pronouns to figure it out.” (pg. 110)
“There is kindness in the world, if we know how to look for it. If we never start denying it the door.” (pg. 174)
Chet has just gotten out of jail. He is determined to turn his life around. He finds his wife Trish and runs away with her. He runs to his grandmother’s house. A grandmother he thinks will protect him and help them all start fresh.
What Chet doesn’t know is that his kindly grandmother is actually a demon. She is hell-bent on capturing their unborn child and using its soul to rejuvenate herself. She kills Chet and sends him to purgatory. Chet finds himself in a hell-scape that is under attack. He must survive to find a key to get him home before Trish and his unborn child meet him in this underworld.
I liked the setting of this book. It was interesting because it took place in purgatory. I have read very few books that take place in purgatory. Usually it is either Heaven or Hell, rarely is it in the space in-between. It was interesting to explore this world and see how it operates. It was much different setting than I have seen before.
I also thought it interesting that almost all the characters were expendable. Some times you get into a story and realize that no one is in any real danger. Everyone is protected because they are main characters. In this book Chet was the only one that I thought was always going to get revived. Some of the characters I thought were going to be big players throughout the story died early. I liked that because it keeps you on your toes and guessing.
I also thought the idea of the old gods and “One Gods,” was great. I liked hearing about this separation and how there were these two time periods of gods. I thought it was an interesting addition to the story. I love stories that explore the idea of gods and religion and putting all them into one was a good addition. I just wish that they had been the focus of the story and not Chet.
I felt like this was one of those stories that just ran from obstacle to obstacle. Chet would get himself into one issues, someone would save him and he would then be onto the next one. It felt very formulaic to me.
I wanted to see the problems grow on one another. I wanted to see him building up something and not just running around in circles. He would get captured, freed and captured again. It was a constant back and forth with the same idea. I wanted the plot to have a bit more substance to it.
I also thought the idea of how the gods could get revived by Ka was used way too much. As soon as we were introduced to the idea it was used every other chapter to heal someone. The idea I liked earlier of characters being expendable faded when this new healing aspect showed up. Suddenly everyone was savable.
The old gods we meet get taken down so many time to be revived over and over again. It was almost as if these parts were there to expand the page count and plot line a bit longer. We had about three different fight scenes where they all go seriously injured, looked like they were defeated and then were saved. We could have done one, two at the most. It got very repetitive.
This story focused on Chet and his desire to get home to save his family. That was fine but that wasn’t what held my interest in the story. I actually didn’t really like Chet or Trish. It thought they were very flat and didn’t strike me as appealing in any way. They could have done with more fleshing out.
What held my interest and the real reason I finished this book was the fight between the old gods and the Green coats and the “One Gods” part in it all. I loved the idea and I think the book could have been so much better had it focused on that fight instead.
That part of the story was how the old gods are fading because no one believes in them or prays to them. They were banished to purgatory by the “One Gods” or the gods of all the major religions of today, Buddha, Muhammad, Jesus etc. They are fighting to stay alive in this new world.
The Green coats are souls who want to get rid of the gods and rule with demons and Lucifer. This was fascinating to me. I wanted to see how this played out. I wanted more about the old gods and how they ruled when they were on Earth. I wanted their full back story. I wanted to see them fight for their land and way of life. I wanted to see them encounter the “One Gods” and figure out how to co-exist.
Instead we got Chet running around and bits and pieces of the other story. I feel like there was a missed opportunity to tell the real fascinating story.
I gave this book 2 stars on Goodreads. I only finished it because I wanted to see if we got anymore from the god storyline.
“Death is madness and chaos – a hundred gods fighting over the dead.” (pg. 93)
“Soon, very soon, souls will no longer kneel to the gods.” (pg. 150)
“A god, a true god, gives man meaning to their existence….” (pg. 280).
“Peace comes from knowing you helped those that you could.” (pg. 379)
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to dead began to walk at Gettysburg. Life is flipped on its head, when the dead no longer stay dead. Jane is raised in a world where survival is the most important aspect of life.
Jane is sent to Miss Preston’s School of Combat. Here she learns her place, learning survival skills to keep the rich white people alive. Life quickly falls apart around her. Jane realizes there is more going on then just the dead walking. She learns she needs to step up, take charge and save not only herself but those she cares about.
This book was all over my Twitter for quite a while. Many of my favorite authors were raving about it which heightened my interest in the story. I was hooked at the idea of zombies in the Civil War era. In the end this one definitely lived up to the hype.
One of the elements I loved most about this book was the idea of zombies in the Civil War era. This was new and fresh. All the stories I know that involve zombies are set in our modern times. I have not read or seen anything where zombies exist in a different time period.
Setting the story here gives the story the ability to do something new and different. We get to see how people would fight this threat without our modern technology and knowledge. It is interesting because it doesn’t seem like a hindrance to them. As I read I wondered if this would be the ideal time to have this kind of thing happen. These people all know how to fight to survive and thus are able to survive longer.
Another aspect I found interesting was the fact that this wasn’t about a complete apocalypse situation. They aren’t living in the woods or running from place to place. At first it seems like the plague is under control, at least in a sense. Not all hope is lost. They have managed to live life as usual with this threat, something you don’t usually see. Of course, there is more than meet the eye but I liked this fresh take on the situation.
I also liked the idea that the “shambles” or zombies are learning. They evolved throughout the story. I think there is potential for some serious interesting aspects to this zombies throughout the rest of the series.
Jane was a fantastic character. Not only was she strong but she was real. Sometimes these kind of characters are one we think have to be strong at all times. They don’t break which isn’t realistic. People are going to break when they are hurt. People all have their breaking points. It is only human to be vulnerable sometimes.
Jane’s character emphasizes this in a great way. She is able to stand up for herself when she needs to. She is a fighter that won’t take any crap but she is also human. She falls and needs to find a way to stand back up again. I admired her character. I felt like she was someone I could relate too. I am very interested to see how her character grows throughout the story.
This book is about race relations. You would think that in the zombie apocalypse race would not the a thing that would divivde people but that is not true. In this world African American’s are not slaves but they are still enslaved. They are thought of being only useful to fight to keep the white people alive. It is preached that this is their punishment for being who they are. It is infuriating but it hits on points that need to be hit on.
This explores topics in a way that feel modern and present day. I think this does a great job at portraying one way of life while commenting on things that relate to us now. Nothing felt preachy but it made its points in a great way.
I enjoyed the story a lot. I loved Jane and Katherine. I just wish we had learned more about Jack. I feel like he has a good story to him. He seems misunderstood and I wanted to see more of him. I hope we see more in the coming books. I want him to be a deep character and I think he has great potential.
There was nothing that threw me out of the story. I was wrapped up in the tale the whole time and wish I had the next book right now.
I gave this 5 stars on Goodreads. The story was fresh take on a stale topic, had great characters and was able to make comments about race and race relations in a strong way.
“Sometimes you have to live down to people’s expectations, Kate. If you can do that, you’ll get much further in life.” (pg. 63)
“Lots of ways to pretty up the same old evils.” (pg. 243)
“It seems strange that in these very fraught times folks would be more concerned about hardworking people trying to find a better life than the monsters that actually want to eat them.” (pg. 360).
“See, the problem in this world ain’t sinners, or even the dead. It is men who will step on anyone who stands in the way of their pursuit of power.” (pg. 435)
Been a minute since we went through my TBR shelf. I first saw this tag on on Howling Libraries It was originally created by Lost in a Story and seems like a good way to go through some of my TBR on Goodreads and see what is there and what I can get rid of or push me to start reading.
Links will be on the titles for the books Goodreads page. (I am going to do ten for this round of this tag).
It works like this:
- Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
- Order on ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
- Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time!
Current TBR – 250
Chimera – John Barth
I have this one on my shelf. I like the idea of telling different myths. I am currently in a myth mood so maybe I’ll pick this one up soon.
Legend- David Lynn Golemon
This is another one of those thrillers with a twist to history. I like the idea and I get into the moods for these stories at least once a year.
Cyptonomicon – Neal Stephenson
I tried to read this book years ago. I still have it but I remember only being able to get through about 50 pages. I remember it being hard to read and not holding my attention. I still own it but I don’t think it is one I will ever get back too.
I Am Number Four – Pittacus Lore
I liked the idea of the story but I have heard some not great things about the author. I don’t have a desire to read anything by him.
Turning Angel – Greg Iles
I have zero memory of this book. After reading the summary it just sounds generic murder mystery. Doesn’t hold any interest for me.
The Absolute Sandman, Volume One – Neil Gaiman
I have read the first issue of this comic. I enjoyed it. I just haven’t gotten around to getting anymore of them. I will finish it though because I have heard such great things about it.
Unwind – Neal Shusterman
I just finished Scythe by Neal Shusterman and I loved it. I am interested in this series more now.
Wither – Lauren DeStefano
This kind of sounds interesting but it didn’t stand out that much. I don’t know if would ever actually pick this one up.
The Forest of Hands and Teeth – Carrie Ryan
This summary reminded me of the movie The Village. I know that ending was terrible and I can’t get those vibes out of my head.
Delirium – Lauren Oliver
A world where love is outlawed? Sounds interesting.
Current TBR Count – 245
Ten teens are left out in the wilderness to learn how to come together as a team and make their way back to the Zeppelin Bend an education camp for delinquent children. On the journey they begin to tell stories in order to not only learn more about each other, but to also stay sane.
Interesting thing is that stories tend to help you learn about the people around you, even if they don’t mean to let anything about themselves be known. As they journey they realize they have more in common then first thought. Connections are built as they work to survive this final test.
I picked up this book because Shaun David Hutchinson was one of the authors. I don’t know if I would have picked it up otherwise, the story itself didn’t seem all that interesting to me but I figured I would give it a shot. I am glad I did. While it didn’t amaze me it was an enjoyable read.
I really loved the use of storytelling in this book. Each character gets a chance to tell a story, whether it is about them or about something completely unrelated. We learn about the characters through each of the stories. I loved how stories are used to get to the heart of the characters. We don’t have to just watch them trapeze through the woods and make assumptions.
We get stories that tell us something about all the characters. We don’t learn everything but we do learn that they all have something to relate to. They all are put into this situation because they are perceived as a problem. They made poor choices and are labeled as problem child. In the end we learn that they are all young people trying to figure out what they are doing in life.
While it is a cliche the characters do form a connection to one another. We know that at the end that connection is not going to last but it was a nice element to the story. I liked that each of them realized that they weren’t the only ones to have hit a rough patch.
There was nothing surprising or out of the ordinary in this story. It was a classic understanding one another story. They all had issues, tell stories and come to understand that they are alike. There is nothing that I couldn’t have predicted from reading the summary.
The journey through the woods was just the backdrop to the story. They hit a few snags but I never felt like they were at risk. I didn’t feel like this was much of test of survival for them. It was just a place for them to tell the stories. I kind of wanted a bit more from the walk.
I enjoyed the story but as I said there was nothing out of the ordinary in the story. It was pretty simple. I kind of wished for a twist. Maybe not to have a feel good ending. Maybe even though they tell each other their stories they don’t form an understanding. Maybe having one person or a few of them just not find a place would have made it seem different.
I gave this book four stars on Goodreads. I enjoyed the storytelling aspect of it. I liked that this was how we learned about the characters. I just wished for a bit more depth or twists to the story.
“And sometimes when you’re telling a story, you can’t let stupid shit like the truth get in the way.” (pg. 1)
“It’s not that they lie intentionally, but when people describe themselves they’re really describing what they see in the mirror, and most mirror are too distorted to show the truth. If you listen hard enough, there’s more truth in fiction than in all the other shit combined.” (pg. 6)
“I guess what I like are stories that don’t just make you scared of what’s out there, waiting to get you. I like the ones that make you scared of what might be hidden somewhere inside of yourself. Not knowing one’s own secrets, never mind anyone else’s.” (pg. 161)
“None of that makes a difference, though.[…] Not if all people see is what we’ve done rather than who we are.” (pg. 266)
“You could spend a lifetime exploring the vastness between a person’s words and still never really know them. ” (pg. 305).
(Since this is a review for a second book in a series there will be spoilers for the previous book. )
Citra has been given the role as Scythe, taking the name Anastasia. She is determined to be merciful and respectful to the lives she chooses to end. She will not take a life without giving them the proper time for that person to come to terms with their death. She is determined to make the Scythe purpose closer to the original purpose, taking life to help society but to never enjoy the act.
Rowan was not give a ring, though he does have one. He is out for revenge. He is out to take down those he believes are destroying the Sycthedom. He has taken on a name fitting to his purpose.
When an old threat resurfaces and is determined to destroy all those in its path it is up to Citra and Rowan to save the society they have come to respect and hold dear, even if it costs them everything.
I was curious where this story was going to go in this sequel. I thought I had an idea, and I was partially right but it was much deeper than what I thought it was going to be. We got to see Rowan’s character develop as well as Citra’s.
I again felt partial to Rowan’s story. I think it is because his is a much more complicated storyline. I have always been partial to the storyline where someone tries to be good while doing bad things. I love to see the way their mind twists and tries to keep a moral high ground while doing things that we would normally find reprehensible.
Rowan starts this book as a vigilante. He is out to take down all the Scythe’s who abuse their power. He is ruthless and he even adopts the name Scythe Lucifer. I understood his point, he knew these were the Scythe’s that were destroying the true nature of the work they were supposed to be doing. The way he stalked them and killed them though was hard to read at times.
I wondered if he was going to end up a god-like figure. Someone certain people admired for his work but that wasn’t the case. He was feared, he was understood but never admired. I liked that part way through he understood that what he was doing wasn’t going to solve anything. He was helping to take out part of the problem but wasn’t solving the problem. I liked that this distinction was made.
I liked too that Citra seemed to come into her own in this book. We saw her decide to give her targets time to get their affairs in order. We saw her take great respect in taking a life. I liked how she was understanding enough to do what needed to be done while also still having the fighting spirit when necessary. I think her character plays well against Rowan’s character.
I also really enjoyed the addition of the Thunderhead as a sentient character. In the first book it was just a concept but in this one the in-between portions gave the Thunderhead a personality. I found myself feeling bad for it. It just wants to help the world. It wants to save humanity and yet it isn’t all powerful. I liked that it got frustrated and upset while, making it feel very human.
I am very curious how its character will develop in the next book. I can see it really becoming human like which will be interesting. The storyline of AI becoming human has been done many times before but I am still very interested to see where this one goes.
I also really enjoyed the ending, while the middle again felt a little slow the ending threw everything out the window. I have zero idea how this is going to play out. I am very curious where the story will go. How much time will pass and how this will all end?
I am still not a fan of the romance between Citra and Rowan. It is still feeling forced to me. I think a lot of times authors feel like YA books have to have a romance storyline but that isn’t always true.
These two feel very much to me like best friends. They care about each other but there is no real romantic feelings between them. I want to see them bond as friends who will go to any lengths to protect each other. I want to see them center their relationship on their shared experience and their shared desire to bring respect to death. I don’t need to see them try to find a way to be romantically involved, that would change the direction of the story which would hurt the story I think.
There was nothing that I really found out of bounds or threw me out of the story. I enjoyed the pacing. I enjoyed the story itself. I enjoyed the characters. I am eager to see where the story goes from here.
I gave this four of five stars on Goodreads. I loved the continuation of the story. I enjoyed seeing the characters evolve and loved the ending. I just hope this doesn’t swerve into a romance story.
“Did people miss the dizzy extremes of imagination as they lived their endless, uninspired lives?” (pg. 15)
“Simply put, humanity had a need to be bad. ” (pg. 99)
“While freedom gives rise to growth and enlightenment, permission allows evil to flourish in a light of day that would otherwise destroy it.” (pg. 176)
“Faith is an unfortunate casualty of immortality.” (pg. 241)
“….finding an easy scapegoat for complicated problems had been a human pastime since the first mob of cavemen struck someone down with a rock.” (pg. 326)
Death has been conquered. You hit your head on the sidewalk, fall off a building or end up in a car crash and you are taken to a revival center. You body is mended and you are able to live your life again. Humans are immortal.
Death has been conquered but the world is not perfect. The population has to be controlled, a job left to an elite group known as Scythes. They are charged with “gleaning” or killing people in order to keep the world’s population under control.
The Scythedom appears like a well oiled machine on the outside but on the inside it is falling apart. Something that two new apprentices Citra and Rowan begin to learn quickly. They can become masters of death but is that something they want? What does it mean to be the one that controls if people live or die? What does that do to a person? Can you keep your moral heart and do this job?
The concept of death being conquered is what drew me to this story. I loved the idea of a story that centers around reapers or scythes. This group is not one that you find in stories very often and I was eager to find out how this concept was interpreted.
I thought the idea of no one dying and what that means for the people was really interesting. It is pointed out numerous times that without the fear of death and an end to life, people have become complacent. They just live to live. They don’t work towards anything. They know they have literally eternity and no one really strives to make anything of themselves. They are all alive to be alive.
There are no more issues to conquer. There is no hunger, no war, no real crime and no death. All of life is controlled by an AI called the Thunderhead. Life is literally perfect and simple. But without anything new to discover and no problems to conquer what does life mean then? What do you do when you can’t change anything? What do you do when your job is to just keep you from being bored? What does life mean in this world? I loved exploring that concept.
I also really enjoyed Citra and Rowan’s journey’s. In this book Rowan stood out to me more than Citra did. I think it was because Rowan was thrown into a situation where he had to find a way to keep the good side of him alive. I really enjoyed watching him struggle between two sides of himself.
Rowan gets caught up with a group of Scythes that love to kill. They enjoy bringing death to people. In our world they would be classified as Sociopaths. They show no care or remorse for their actions. They take in Rowan and we watch as he struggles to not become them though that is not an easy task.
For a character who has always felt invisible or like “lettuce” as he puts it, he finds his new role enticing. There is power at his fingertips. There is meaning to his actions. People notice him. He is caught up in that feeling at times and we watch him struggle to keep himself from falling down a wormhole. I love watching characters struggle with their darker sides.
At first I thought I had an idea of what this story was going to be about. These two apprentices coming to terms with their new roles and then fighting to right any wrongs. It had some of that but there were some serious twists throughout the story. I actually found myself shocked at points. Any book that can throw me for a loop is one that I will enjoy.
There was a middle chunk where Citra was running away, for a reason that I won’t state to no spoil anything, that I thought was not necessary. It was there more to give her something to do while Rowan was completing a part of his story. It was also an update on another character.
I thought it felt like it was just there to buy time. There was no real consequences of the whole ordeal other than some character development. For the plot thought it really didn’t do to much. I think there are other ways for those moments to happen without needless running around.
I also had a little issue with how resolute Scythe Curie was about Rowan having turned dark while he was with his tutor. She was firm that he was not on their side anymore and that Citra could not trust him. I thought that seemed harsh. They didn’t even talk to Rowan at first. It was a decision made quickly without thinking about why he did what he did.
I think Curie’s character was smarter and could have seen that some of the things Rowan did was to save himself and Citra. I just felt like her character was not the right character to have this doubt. It just didn’t fit with what we knew about her.
The only true issue I had with the book was the romance aspect. I did not feel any chemistry between Citra and Rowan. I thought of them more as best friends. There was no reason for them to have a romance storyline. I think it would have been better to keep them as close friends and nothing more.
I highly enjoyed this book and went out at ten o’clock to Target to get the next one to continue the story. I ended up giving it four stars on Goodreads. It is a fun story about what life and death mean in this “perfect” world.
“So then, if we are no longer human, what are we?” (pg. 110)
“The sanctity of the law… and the wisdom to know when it must be broken.” (pg. 114)
“Immortality has turned us all into cartoons.” (pg. 191)
“Without the threat of suffering, we can’t experience true joy. The best we get is pleasantness.” (pg. 244)
“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace of comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we were lose that.” (pg. 386)
Connor’s life is in turmoil. Everyday is uncertain and he is beginning to become lost inside his world. He is expecting one type of monster to rampage through his life but ends up with a much different one. This one tells him he will tell him three stories in exchange for Connor telling him one.
Connor is apprehensive, not knowing what to expect from this new force in his life. As he hears each story he realizes how to deal with another part of his world. A world that is slowly crumbling and not even a monster can stop it.
I have heard about this book for a while. It was recently made into a movie and that sparked my interest further into reading it. I knew the atmosphere of the story. I knew that Connor was dealing with his mother being sick and her inevitable death. I also knew that this was going to be a tough one to read and I was not wrong.
The atmosphere of this book is somber and haunting. I felt like I was almost in a fog while reading it. I felt his somber air hang over me as I went through the story. Connor is trying to deal with his mother’s illness, his grandmother stepping into his life, his father stepping father away from his life and the rest of those around him tip-toeing around his every move. He is lost in a fog of his own, trying to figure out what life will be like and I fell right into that same pit.
I knew where the story was going from the very beginning. You know that his mother is not going to beat her cancer. We know this is a story about dealing with that pain. I thought it was interesting how the monster tied into all of it.
The monster is a manifestation of all of Connor’s fear and frustrations. Each one of the stories is about him dealing with a piece of his life. Whether that is his grandmother and how he relates to her. Or his anger at the situation he finds himself in or the invisible feeling he has to those around him at his school.
I loved the way the stories were used to explore these ideas. One of the reasons I love books and stories so much is because they give us a way to see situations and the world around us in a new way. We get a chance to come to terms with things that can hurt or harm us. We come to term with ideas or feelings that are building up and that we can’t necessarily explain in a concise way. The monster’s stories did that for Connor. Gave him a way to deal with things he couldn’t otherwise deal with.
I also found the parts of Connor at school and how he is treated at school interesting. While he is at school his teachers and other students kind of treat him as if he is untouchable. They are all afraid of doing anything to him because they don’t want to hurt him. In the end they are shunning him, making him feel even more disconnected from the world that he already is.
I thought the way this idea was explored was done well. By trying to help they were actually hurting him worse because they left him no one to turn to. They didn’t want to upset him and yet gave him no one and nowhere to vent his frustrations and pain.
I also liked the addition of the pictures in this version as well. I thought the pictures really enhanced the story itself. They kept the atmosphere darker and most somber. It also helped me visualize the monster better.
I wasn’t a huge fan of the father’s character, which I don’t think we were supposed to be. I found it hard to believe that he would not try to be there more for his son. His son’s mother is dying and going to leave this kid all alone and he was barely there for him. He seemed more concerned about his other life while Connor was just a side issue.
Personally that bugged me because I have parents for who we (their children) are their whole world and I could never see either of them doing that. I thought it made the father shallow but then again it did enhance the grandmother’s character. We saw how caring she was. When you juxtapose the two of them you definitely come out rooting for the grandmother and are thankful for her taking care of Connor.
I can’t think of anything that stood out as a real issue for me. The story flowed well. I understood what each of the stories were about and how they connected to the rest the situations at hand. I liked the metaphor of the yew tree and the monster itself. It was quick read that was emotional, poignant and powerful.
I gave this one 5 stars on Goodreads. It was an emotional story that was told well and did the story matter justice.
“Stories are the wildest things of all. […] Stories chase and bite and hunt.” (pg. 35)
“Storis are wild creatures. […] When you let them lose, who know what havoc they might wreak?” (pg. 51)
“Belief is half of all healing. Belief in the cure, belief in the future that awaits.” (pg. 109).
“Stories are important. […] They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.” (pg. 141)