Saturday, March 22, 2014

On My Nightstand - March

On My Nightstand is going to be a regular feature this year, as I read my way through 40 books in 12 months (yusssss!!!!  Best challenge everrrrrrr!!!).  These are not typical reviews, just some short (and sometimes longer) responses to the books that end up on my nightstand.  So far - 11/40 books completed.

The Iron King - Julie Kagasawa

This wasn't absolutely terrible, but it can't be a good thing when the only character you find remotely likable is... a cat.  That right there, that's a fail.

The protagonist was super bland, and annoying.  So, so annoying. In addition, I found it really hard to really locate myself in this story world (probably there are others who would enjoy it more), it just seemed really grim and uninviting to me.  There was an element of fun, and some interesting bits.  However, the story felt like a retelling of other, better stories, and I just didn't caring enough to enjoy being pulled along.

Added: I gave this book to my 14 year old niece who read it in one night, went to the library the following day, borrowed the next two in the series and finished them by the weekend.  So I'm thinking I just didn't fall into the target ;-) 

Prized - Caragh O'Brien

Yuss!  After spending several weeks struggling through The Iron King, Prized was such a welcome relief!  I really like O'Brien's writing style, super easy to slip into, and she surely knows how to draw a scene.  Gaia the 16 year old midwife is kicking all sorts of ass in this second installment (okay, so not exactly ass-kicking, but you know, delivering babies and standing up to peops and fighting to uncover truths - all that exciting stuff).  The new setting is quite divine, I much prefer it to the Enclave, and there is still plenty of mystery to solve, so attention equals grabbed.

I feel a little conflicted about Gaia after the second round.  In a lot of ways my opinion of her grew, but I found her fickleness and naivety confusing at times, especially as she was super competent and up front in most situations.  The whole love square thing... Too much for me (though I have to say, I am Team Will, all the way - and yes, I realise that you have all now lost any respect you may have had for me :-P).  I felt like perhaps just concentrating on building some (less angry maybe?) tension between Gaia and Leon would have been enough, but you know, whatevs.

One thing I have to say is that these books have some weighty themes (which I love) and some really loaded social commentary.  There's potential that some readers could be upset by some of the content, I think, though O'Brien deals with these subjects very sensitively.

Promised - Caragh O'Brien

Again, superb, clean, colourful writing.  Gaia and her new clan return to the Enclave (doom) and a bitter hostilities ensue.   The dislikes: Urgh, the Enclave.  I actually felt physically distressed each time Gaia re-entered the place and this became an overriding issue with the book.  I get that there was pressure to keep the plot moving, and interesting, and full of action (because apparently this is what teenagers want *shrugI'mnotsureIbelievethat*), but I would have enjoyed this book infinitely more if Gaia had just stayed the heck away from that place.

I felt like Leon's character became murkier and murkier throughout the second and third books.  What I loved about him initially, felt lost along the way.  I can't exactly put my finger on what it was, but...  Sadly, many of the characters I found super interesting in previous books, were overlooked or undeveloped.  A shame, I think, to sacrifice character development for (more) action.

The likes: I was hooked the entire way through, even during the parts that were hard to read.  So riveting, and interesting.  The amount of research she must have done prior to writing these, wow.  It definitely adds.

This book really ups the ante in terms of scary, evil antagonists.  Creeeeeepy.  Definitely more edge-of-your-seat that way.  And Gaia is pretty awesome, I have to say.  Tough breaks, but she so handles it.  It was a strong and satisfying conclusion to the trilogy.  Recommend, totally.

On My Nightstand - Jan
On My Nightstand - Jan/Feb
On My Nightstand - Feb/Mar

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