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Nevernight and Godsgrave – Jay Kristoff – Review

(I am going to review both books since I finished them while I was on my hiatus and the way I think about them is as one entity. It is just easier to review them at the same time instead of trying to piece out what happened in which book).

“The books we love, they love us back. And jut as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us. I can see it in you as I see it in me. You’re a daughter of words. A girl with a story to tell.”

Nevernight, pg. 243

Mia is our for revenge. Her father was killed. Her mother and brother imprisoned. She was supposed to die but escaped. Now she has a list of people that need to die. The only way she knows how to get her true revenge is by joining an elite group of assassins. But the test to get in is brutal. Even after she makes it the world is not as simple as she would like to think. Is revenge necessary and needed and who are her real enemies?

“Never flinch.” A cold whisper in her ear. “Never fear. And never, ever forget.”

Nevernight, pg. 16

This is again one of those book series that I have seen around but never pariticualy felt drawn to. I liked the premise but it didn’t stand out as anything too unique. Plus I thought it was more YA assassin and I thought it might be a little watered down.

Boy was I wrong on all accounts. First of all this is NOT YA. The author frequently says this and I have no idea how anyone who has read it can mistake it for YA. I know the protagonist is a teenager but damn this is beyond what you find in YA novels. I mean it opens with Mia literally losing her virginity and killing someone. This is how this series starts and the tone is set from that page onwards. (The way the same language is used to describe both scenes is poetry in action and I was blown away by that bit of storytelling).

Mia is my new favorite person. I adore her because she is one of those characters that is so dark and deep that you realize you will never truly understand her. You watch her struggle with her plans, her past and her present. She is constantly wondering if she is making the right choice while also taking lives in the process. While she questions the world around her, she is also not one to lay down at someone’s feet and let them control her.

Mia has complete control of her life and I admire that. Even with everything against her she finds a way to hold onto herself. She doesn’t forget who she is truly on the inside. She could become this full on killer or this wrecked soul instead she finds a way to be both.

Another thing I loved about this series is that it is unapologetically dark. People die, a lot. People are killed in brutal ways. People betray others and don’t care. People look out for themselves and themselves only. There is no sugar coating the darkness. There is no sidestepping around the issues trying to find the moral way of looking at things. Sometimes the world is dark and sometimes it is brutally dark. I like that Kristoff doesn’t sanitize it. You worry about the character because you know that they might not die but they will not come out of this series whole.

I also liked the way all the characters develop throughout the story. This story doesn’t have any shallow characters. There is no one who is just there to talk or be part of a backstory. Everyone has depth. Everyone has meaning. I feel like they are all alive and I worry about all of them. I want my favorites to make it but I know that won’t happen. In the end I want them to have a full and true story and I feel like that that is what we will get from this series.

“If you can’t hurt the ones who hurt you, sometimes hurting anyone will do.”

Nevernight, pg. 210

This is purely because of my personal preference and has nothing to do with the actual writing or story itself. I got a little bored in the middle of Godsgave because of the amount of battle sequences and fighting sequences.

The whole premise of that book is that Mia is part of this fighting ring in order to get close to one of those she wants to kill. To get to the end point she has to go through a number of fights and training. I am not someone who enjoys reading about battles, fighting or training to fight. I find the descriptions boring. I find it hard to focus on those moments.

The scenes were all well written and conveyed the story well. I just didn’t connect with those moments as much. Though I will say that the connection between the characters throughout this time was great. I found new favorites and feared for them during the fights.

“But there is beauty in knowing all things end, Mia. The brightest flames burn out the fastest. But in them, there is warmth that can last a lifetime.”

Godsgrave, pg. 134

There was nothing that stood out and threw me out of the book. I was able to predict many of the coming deaths. There is a lot of the – here is a character we are growing attached to, and now they are dead. Or the look, they got what they want or will get it and now they are dead. But that is not unsurprising in a book like this. You have to do that many times in order drive home what is at stake for everyone in the story.

I gave Nevernight five stars and Godsgrave four stars. As I stated above for Godsgrave I knocked off a star just because of my issue with the huge focus on fights. But as a whole I would defiantly give this series five stars so far. I can’t wait for DarkDawn in September. (I even preordered it and I never do that!)

“Thats the power of words: twenty-six letters can paint a whole universe.”

Godsgrave, pg. 265

Obisido – The Illuminae Files #3 – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Review

A1C5pfGdBaL(This is a review of the third book in the series, there will be spoiler for the first two books).

There is one fight left. The group comes together to get their home back. They take what they have learned and work together to take out the Bitech goons who have destroyed their lives. Will they all make it out in the end? Or are some sacrifices needed to save all those they hold dear.

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4
This ending was action packed. It was paced perfectly for the end of a series. It starts off running and never slows down. The stake were well set up in the first two books and now we are ready to see how this all plays out. I felt like anything could have happened throughout the whole fight.

I also liked that there was tension between the adults and the teenagers when it came to leadership. Too often in YA books kids take control and no one questions it. People just shrug and say sure, because they were able to fight through one moment. In reality that makes no sense, trained adults are going to know more than teenagers no matter what they fought through.

This whole scenario played out in a realistic way. I liked that in the end they do end up working together. You felt like both sides were heard. Tragedy occurred but the emotions that sparked the mutiny made sense. I liked that you saw this infighting mixed in with them trying to determine how to get Kerenza back.

I found Rhys interesting. He was this kid who fell into this chaos. He was up in a honored spot, watching everything take place but never understanding. Then he is on the front lines and forced to figure out what he is doing. He is forced to see the realities of what has been told to him by his superiors. The grey lines that his story showed were interesting. You wonder who is the bad person and how is just trying to stay alive and keep their job.

I thought the growth of Nik, Hannah, Kady and Ezra was done well. You saw their growth from their previous stories. The way they changed and had to deal with the result of their adventures was realistic and good to see.

I want a story all about Aiden. I think Aiden as the most fascinating aspect of this book. Aiden is an AI that is alive, that can feel and that can love. It was fascinating to see him come into a realization that he loved Kady. I want to know more about how he was created and if there is potential for him to have a future.

What I was just okay with
While the ending was well paced I thought it didn’t have the impact that the ending of Gemina had. Gemina was a gut punch surprise, while Obsidio ended as you thought it would end. I saw a fight coming and saw danger for all our players. That is what happened.

I think the ending of this book would have had a bit more impact if the whole Gemina particle and alternate universe storyline was in this book instead. I would have put down the series in awe instead of just feeling somewhat satisfied.

Asha was probably the weakest character for me. I didn’t feel like I connected much with her thought the story. I think we would have benefitted from learning more about her in the previous books. Maybe if we had more time with her I would have felt more connected to her.

What I Wished was Different_
Again this book did the thing where deaths are faked. I mentioned in my last review that I usually don’t mind this tactic, but this became too much. I am fine with it for a minute but it is something to use sparingly. Once, twice if you are creative with it. Beyond that you take out all the tension of the story. If I know they come back, almost every time, why worry about a character at all? I see them die, I shrug knowing they will come back somehow and move on. If you are going to kill a character commit to it, make it have an impact for the reader and the story.

I was excited for the storyline about Ezra’s mother being tied into all of this but that petered out quickly. I felt like that was there for shock value and didn’t do much for the story itself. I would have loved to have a showdown between those two characters. Would have loved for that to be part of the epic finale but instead we got a hint that didn’t flourish like I think it could have.
I gave this one 3 stars on Goodreads. It was fun, it answered the questions that needed to be answered, but it left me wanting more.

 

Copy of What I was just okay with
“Live a life worth dying for.” (pg. 194)

“I have heard it said that evil is imply a point of view. The villain is always the hero in his own story. And he definitions of “wrong” and “right” ever shit on the inconstant tides of human morality.” (pg. 259)

Gemina – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff- Review

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Kady and Ezra have escaped the clutches of their pursuers but the war is far from over. Hannah and Nik have things to worry about, like upcoming parties and selling drugs. Then their home is invaded and they are forced to join forces to save themselves and all those they care about.

 

 

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4
The second book in a series has a tendency to be the book where little happens. Everything is designed to set up the final battle or climax in the last book. You get character development but usually not too much else. This book did the exact opposite. While it did set up the last book it blew me away with the story.

At first I was hesitant about getting to know two new characters. I wondered what it would be like to have a focus on two characters that I knew nothing about. I thought it would feel like a completely different story and thought it would take away from the story. I was very wrong.

I liked Hannah and Nik so much more than Kady and Ezra. Hannah seems like a spoiled princess but we learn quickly that is hiding a tougher side. Her father trained her to take care of herself and she does not back down easily. I loved how she was able to get on top of the situation. She was not going to let her home be taken down. She fought for her life. She didn’t even let grief cripple her.

Nik is my favorite kind of character. He seems like a low-life criminal but that is only the outside. In fact he is someone who cares with his whole heart. He is stuck in a situation that life gave him. In the end we learn that he is willing to do anything, even kill, to protect those he loves. I adored his character.

I can’t say too much about the plot element that I adored in this because it is a super spoiler but it made this series for me. I was shocked and beyond excited. If you have read any of my other reviews or any posts about my latest novel you may have an idea of what this element is. It was unique, didn’t see it coming and it raised the excitement factor so far.

I had to keep reading the series. I wanted to read something else in between but that end left me needing the next book.

What I was just okay with
There is a little bit of a feel that death is not permenant in this story. People “die,” but aren’t actually dead. I am oaky with this in some part but when it happens repeatedly you begin to lose the emotional element. I start to not feel sad because I know that the person could come back. I think this twist is fine once but not more than that throughout the course of a story.

I hope that in the last book we learn a little more about Bitech and their background. I am having a hard time understanding why they are doing what they are doing. I can’t quite get what their issue is. I would like a little history to have context behind their decisions.

What I Wished was Different_Again there was nothing that threw me out of the story. It was a solid part of the story. It set up new parts well, the new characters were integrated well and I am excited for the end.

I rated this one 5 stars on Goodreads. That plot point is what pushed that last star. I just loved it so much.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“Recent can wait a long time if it has to.” (pg. 217)

“….when u fight a monster, b careful you don’t become the monster.” (pg. 249)

 

Illuminae -Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Review

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They thought it was going to be a bad day because they broke up. For Erza and Kady that became the least of their problems when their home is destroyed. Now refugees on two separate spaceships they are out to find out what really happened. Can they discover all the secrets, right the wrongs and save themselves before time runs out?

 

 

 

 

What I Loved_-4
I have seen reviews about this book and heard about it in a  number of a places. I initially didn’t pick it up because of the plot (more on that in the next section) but the format peeked my interest. The idea of a whole book told through “found” footage was fascinating to me. I have not seen it done before and I wondered how it could change the reading of the story.

I thought the whole concept was done really well. I really loved the way the story was told through all these pieces of information. You get email messages, security footage summaries, mayday calls, and so many other ways  of telling the story. It made the story seem interactive. I felt like I was in the spaceship going through all the files, desperately trying to figure out what was going on.

The sense of urgency that you got from this book is astounding. I felt panicked at times and I wonder if I would have felt the same way reading the story in a regular novel format. Would I have felt like I was running with them? Would I felt the panic as the ship closed in to destroy them if I didn’t have the countdowns around me? I don’t think I would have.

I also loved that the format used pictures to describe the ships. I think sometimes descriptions of these type of spaceships can get difficult. You have to be very specific and detailed because it is something that people don’t see every day. We all know what a car looks like but a control room in a spaceship is not the same. I liked that we didn’t get bogged down in that. Instead we got to continue with the story and move the plot along.

I was impressed at how connected I felt to the characters as well. I was worried that this format would leave me feeling disconnected. I thought without descriptions of the characters or moments dedicated to them alone I would feel like I was on the outside. I didn’t. I felt like I was right beside them with every move they made.

Kady and Aiden’s characters were my favorite. Kady was a tough ass. She didn’t take any crap. She didn’t back down. She was not going to be played with. I loved her fighting spirit. She knew something was wrong and she was intent on fixing it.

Aiden the A.I. was fascinating. It was so lifelike that many times I forgot it wasn’t human. I thought it was interesting the way it connected to the human and how it could logic things out. I am curious to see how it returns and changes throughout the series.

What I was just okay with
I am gong to be honest the plot wasn’t anything that particularly astounded me. I felt it was very simple and pretty easy to predict. They get attacked, someone is hiding something, mysterious sickness takes over and then they run for their lives. It is a pretty set plot.

It is the format that makes this book. Without the format I think it would have taken much much longer to finish the story and I am not sure I would have gone onto the other books. In a normal novel format this would have felt done before. In this format it felt fresh and new.

I wasn’t very impressed with Ezra’s character. He was pretty simple. I felt like he was two  dimensional throughout the story. I hope that his character grows throughout the rest of the series. I want to see him get to the same level of being a badass as Kady.

What I Wished was Different_
I think in the middle things slowed down a little because much of the content was the same type of instant messages back and forth. I think that portion could have been broken up a little bit. Something different thrown in. I got a little bored reading that format but in the end it didn’t harm the story at all.

I gave this book 4 stars out of 5 on Goodreads. I loved the found footage feel, the mystery of it is what kept me reading.

Copy of What I was just okay with
“Point is, I had no idea how safe I was because I’d never been unsafe.” (pg. 103)

“Too young to know failure and the fear it brings.” (pg. 279)

“Perhaps bravery is simply the face humanity wraps around its collective madness.” (pg. 302)

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