Tag Archives: souls

Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

6 Feb

12812550Title: Days of Blood and Starlight
Author: Laini Taylor
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Genre: Fantasy
Page Count: 517

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil held a wishbone between them. And its snap split the world in two. 

After breaking the enchanted wishbone that held all Karou’s memories of her life as Madrigal, the chimaera resurrectionist’s apprentice beheaded for loving the angel Akiva, Karou finally felt as if she had all the answers regarding her mysterious identity that she had been searching for for her entire life. But within minutes of getting all those answers she also learned that Akiva had betrayed her, and that the age-old war between angels and chimaera had been rekindled as a result of that betrayal. Days of Blood and Starlight picks up right where Daughter of Smoke and Bone left off. Akiva has returned to his regiment of Misbegotten (bastards sired by the Emperor to be soldiers) where he must hide his grief over what he has done, pretending to go along with the enslavement and murder of chimaera so he can covertly try to save and warn as many as he can of their impending slaughter. Meanwhile, Karou has transported what’s left of the chimaera army to a Kasbah in Morocco, where she has taken up Brimstone’s mantle as resurrectionist for the White Wolf. But as Akiva and Karou, in different worlds appearing to work towards different ends, begin to unravel threads of conspiracy, intrigue, and deception, it becomes more and more apparent that they are still both working to the same end: hope for peace.

So, for months now I’ve been getting lackluster feedback about this book from my various friends and coworkers. And I get it, but I disagree. Whereas Daughter of Smoke and Bone was a perfect blend of urban fantasy and high fantasy, to the point that it could potentially appeal to paranormal fans and readers who don’t necessarily loooooooove fantasy, Days of Blood and Starlight is straight up high fantasy. It’s an all out war in another world; even the parts that take place in our world are utterly removed from the world as we know it (excluding the parts with Mik and Zuzana)(and yes I know I just used the word “world” three times in one sentence). While I am 100% cool with this, the genre shift means that Days of Blood and Starlight has a fairly different appeal, so I guess I get the disappointment in some contingencies of the readership.

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What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang

29 Sep

“Addie and I were born into the same body, our souls’ ghostly fingers entwined before we gasped our very first breath.”

Hi, precious flowers. Once upon a time, I got my very first YA or GTFO ARC in the mail. OK, so maybe it was through Goodreads firstreads, but whatever. I would like to think that maybe I got chosen because of this blog. We all have our little delusions. Needless to say, I was pretty excited about Kat Zhang‘s What’s Left of Me, both because it was an interesting concept for a “dystopia” (I am using this term loosely here) and because it was the first time an ARC showed up on my doorstep with my blog’s name on it. Unfortunately, all those fresh-faced hopes were really disappointed with this dud.

Eva lives in an alternate reality in which people are born with two souls in one body. As the body goes through childhood, one of the souls gets weaker and weaker until finally it relinquishes control to the dominant soul and takes a nap for the rest of its “life.” Eva is a recessive soul that never left; she and Addie share one body, but they must live as if only Addie is present. People who make it through childhood with both souls alive and kicking are known as “hybrids,” and if they are discovered they’re carted off to looney bins or whatever and never heard from again. After years of being covertly dual-souled, Eva and Addie befriend Hally, a girl whose “foreign” looks mark her as strange in this alternate imagining of a pseudo-Aryan nation isolated U.S.A. (the rest of the world is overrun by rascally hybrids, which means wars and famine and general chaos). As they become closer, Hally shows Eva/Addie that there is a way to give Eva control over their body again, and even though it could risk their lives, Eva is willing to risk anything for the opportunity to be bodily alive for even a short while.

I’ll start with the positive. This was a really interesting concept and Kat Zhang did a good job of playing with language to convey the idea that there are two people living in one body; whenever something happens to Eva/Addie, Eva refers to herself as “we,” or “us.” The only times that she refers to herself as “I” is when she is talking about her thoughts or feelings, or when she is actually moving their body. It’s an interesting examination of what it is to be human, what it means to have an identity, and the horribly claustrophobic feeling of being trapped inside a physical body that you cannot control. I enjoyed the relationship between Addie and Eva; there was a subtle examination of the power play between them, and the interplay of guilt and reassurance that comes from it. Aside from those positive points, I’ve got nothing.

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Diabolical by Cynthia Leitich Smith

31 Aug

Until the night I was taken, demonically infected, the guardian angel Zachary watched over me. Now, I watch over him.

One of my (admittedly, many) pet-peeves is when authors write a “trilogy,” see the piles of money they’re accumulating, and then decide to publish a fourth/fifth/sixth/eleventy-billionth book. What started out as a contained story spirals out of control into series-ville, where the original snappy idea gets hashed and rehashed until faithful fans start grumbling that the seventy-eighth book just isn’t as good as the first twenty-two. So, given my general grumpiness when it comes to the inevitable add-on, you’d think that I would have just ignored Cynthia Leitich Smith‘s newest release, Diabolical. Well, I didn’t, because this series is my personal paranormal romance guilty pleasure; it’s full of allusions to some of my very favorite things (most notably Dracula and very occasionally Buffy the Vampire Slayer) it’s funny, and not too obnoxiously sappy. So, I sold my soul to the series devil and took Diabolical home with me.

A supernatural alarm is raised when Miranda, former Eternal (vampire) royalty now sitting bored in the Penultimate (a sort of heavenly limbo), sees that her best friend from her mortal life, Lucy, is starting at Scholomance, an elite New England finishing school that almost certainly has demonic connections. When slipped guardian angel, Zachary (who is also Miranda’s long distance boyfriend, btw. More on that later), catches wind of the sitch he and Kieren (werewolf) decide to do the ol’ fake enrollment con while Quince (vampire, Kieren’s girlf) cools her heals in a B&B. Of course, the whole jam goes to hell (haha! Literally.) when Zach and Kieran realize they are (dum dum dum!) trapped in Scholomance, where not only their mortal lives are in danger, but also their immortal souls.

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The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

6 Jun

So I haven’t written a post in forever and a day, and for that I apologize. See, I did this thing recently, in fact I’m still doing it, and it is called “moving.” I hate “moving” with the fire of a thousand hells. It’s really hard to find the time or the motivation to write when all of you free time is devoted to organizing your life via the filling and emptying of boxes. I have yet to figure out how to get my office chair up the stairs into my adorable attic bedroom, so that is an added challenge. Argh. Anyways, let’s get right into it.

Mary Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox (Square Fish Books) was first recommended to me by a coworker who is a huge jerk and told me what it was about before I read it. I didn’t realize what a jerk she was until I started reading and realized “this would be a hell of a lot better if I didn’t know what this book was actually about!” So, I am going to try really, really hard to sum up and review without giving away key plot elements and TWISTS so that you are actually SURPRISED and feeling the SUSPENSE if you choose to read it.

Seventeen-year-old Jenna Fox wakes from a year-long coma with no memories. None. Nada. Zilch. She doesn’t know anything about her life prior to her accident, which means she also has no idea who she, Jenna Fox, is. As Jenna unravels the mystery of her own identity by watching videos of her extensively recorded life, the nature of her coma and her present life come into clearer focus, leaving her to question not only who she is but what she is.

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