Thursday, 30 June 2011

Books I'm Squeeing About in July

How is it already the end of June? I’ve been moving this month and there’s barely been time to read, but somehow I’ve crammed some books in around the painting and packing, and there have been some truly awesome books floating around.
Luckily most of the unpacking is done, because there is a positive deluge of books appearing in July, most of them being released on the 7th quite randomly… I think it’s some sort of conspiracy.

Lady Alexia Maccon, soulless, is at it again, only this time the trouble is not her fault. When a mad ghost threatens the queen, Alexia is on the case, following a trail that leads her deep into her husband's past. Top that off with a sister who has joined the suffragette movement (shocking!), Madame Lefoux's latest mechanical invention, and a plague of zombie porcupines and Alexia barely has time to remember she happens to be eight months pregnant.
Will Alexia manage to determine who is trying to kill Queen Victoria before it is too late? Is it the vampires again or is there a traitor lurking about in wolf's clothing? And what, exactly, has taken up residence in Lord Akeldama's second best closet?

Gail Carriger leapt onto my all time favourite authors list when I read her debut novel ‘Soulless’. Now the fourth book in the ever fabulous Parasol Protectorate series is due out, and I cannot wait.
I mean just look at that blurb! ZOMBIE PORCUPINES PEOPLE. Ahem. Carriger seamlessly blends brilliant humour, steampunk, sleuthing, tea, parasols, werewolves, vampires, fashion, and terrible hats into one brilliant blend. If you haven’t read her why the hell not? And if you have, I imagine you get why I’m so excited about this latest book.

A Q&A with the author herself will be available on this blog on the 7th July to celebrate the release.

Melissa Mar is known to young adult readers as the author of the popular faery series Wicked Lovely. Her debut leap into adult fiction lands her in the small community of Claysville, a town where the dead walk free unless there their graves are not properly tended. Into this eerie maelstrom, Rebekkah Barrow descends as she returns to a place that she once believed she knew. Kelley Armstrong justly described Graveminder as "a deliciously creepy tale that is as skillfully wrought as it is spellbindingly imagined." A new genre author to watch.

I fell in love with Melissa Marr’s captivating faerie series that all began with ‘Wicked Lovely’, and I didn’t need anything more than the fact that she’d written this book to recommend it to me. Her writing is an incredible fantasy blend with some beautiful prose and incredible imagination. And now after reading this blurb, I’m even more excited to see what she’s come up with after the epic faerie politics of the last series.

1586 – London, England. Sixteen-year-old Mercy Hart is the daughter of one of London’s richest – and strictest – cloth merchants. Kit Turner is an actor and the illegitimate son of the late Earl of Dorset. A chance encounter finds Kit falling for the beautiful Mercy’s charms, but their love is forbidden. A merchant’s daughter and a vagabond – it simply cannot be. If Mercy chooses Kit she must renounce her family name and leave her home. Will she favour duty over true love, or will she give Kit his heart’s desire?

This series is one of the best historical romances in the young adult section at the moment. Extremely well written and researched, Edwards really drops you right into the centre of Elizabethan England. I’ve loved the stories of the last two books in the series, and whilst I wasn’t that keen on Kit in the last book, I’m hoping a closer time with him will win me over.

Simon Van Booy brings to the page his unique talent for poetic dialogue and sumptuous imagery in this his remarkable debut novel of love and loss, dependence and independence. Rebecca has come to Athens to paint. Born and raised in the south of France, Rebecca's mother abandoned her and her sister when they were very young, left to be raised by her loving yet distant grandfather. Young and lost, she seeks solace in the heat of Athens. George has come to Athens to translate language. Dropped off at a New England boarding school when he was a child, he has close to no relationships with anyone, except the study of ancient language and alcohol. Henry has come to Athens to dig. An archaeologist, Henry is on-site at Athens during the day, and roams the Agora on the weekend. Three lost and lonely souls whose worlds become inexorable enmeshed with consequences that ripple far among the ruins of ancient Athens.

Simon Van Booy’s prose is so exquisite it quite often reduces me to tears. He’s authored two short story collections – ‘Love Begins in Winter’ is one of the most beautiful pieces of writing I have ever read – and now moves on to this, his debut novel. His view on human emotions, specifically love, and all the different forms it can take are breath taking, and as I said, his prose is so perfect it can make me cry with one brilliantly turned sentence. The only thing I ever wanted was to have more of the stories, so I cannot wait to read this and see how his deft handling of short pieces translates into a full novel.

Trying to work things out with Nash—her maybe boyfriend—is hard enough for Kaylee Cavanaugh. She can't just pretend nothing happened. But "complicated" doesn't even begin to describe their relationship when his ex-girlfriend transfers to their school, determined to take Nash back.
See, Sabine isn't just an ordinary girl. She's a 
mara, the living personification of a nightmare. She can read people's fears—and craft them into nightmares while her victims sleep. Feeding from human fear is how she survives.
And Sabine isn't above scaring Kaylee and the entire school to death to get whatever—and 
whoever—she wants.

I’ve loved this series, it’s been a breath of fresh air in the otherwise vampire cluttered young adult fantasy section. The cliff hangers of the previous book have left me desperate to get my hand on this one, and I’m curious to see how this ex-girlfriend stirs up the already muddy waters that are surrounding Kaylee and Nash. Whilst it’s been out in the USA for a while, this is the books first release in the UK.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Review: The Dark Enquiry by Deanna Raybourn

Partners now in marriage and in trade, Lady Julia and Nicholas Brisbane have finally returned from abroad to set up housekeeping in London. But merging their respective collections of gadgets, pets and servants leaves little room for the harried newlyweds themselves, let alone Brisbane’s private enquiry business. 
Among the more unlikely clients: Julia’s very proper brother, Lord Bellmont, who swears Brisbane to secrecy about his case. Not about to be left out of anything concerning her beloved—if eccentric—family, spirited Julia soon picks up the trail of the investigation. 
It leads to the exclusive Spirit Club, where the alluring Madame Séraphine holds evening séances...and not a few powerful gentlemen in thrall. From this eerie enclave unfolds a lurid tangle of murder, espionage and blackmail, whose tendrils crush reputations and throttle trust. 
Shocked to find their investigation spun into salacious newspaper headlines, bristling at the tension it causes between them, the Brisbanes find they must unite or fall. For Bellmont’s sake—and more—they’ll face myriad dangers born of dark secrets: the kind men kill to keep...the kind that can destroy a fledgling marriage. 

Reading a Lady Julia novel feels like coming home; if your home was filled with crazy people, intrigue, murder and the occasional high terror. I adore this series of books and find every opportunity to wax lyrical about them or shove them at unsuspecting friends.

They are all kinds of awesome. The writing is intelligent and beautiful, the characters incredibly drawn and remain three dimensional and multi-faceted no matter how many books are written – in fact I think they become even deeper the further we go. The research is astounding, and it truly feels as though you are a part of Julia’s world from the first page.

And this book was no exception. The cover – oh the cover! The blurb! And from the first page it felt like sinking into a warm bath. Relaxing, welcoming, and as though everything was alright with the world suddenly.

I loved seeing a plethora of old faces – no matter how briefly Daddy March! And was fascinated to see how Portia was taking to motherhood, and Plum to the enquiry business. And Val – I’ve missed him so since the first book, so I was particularly pleased to see him too. And then there were new faces, some I hope to see again, and others I’m fairly sure we won’t, but all of them intriguing.

However, as much as I love the host of characters surrounding them, I was particularly pleased to see Julia and Brisbane again. I loved watching their romance spark in the first three books, and have been fascinated with Raybourn’s skilled portrayal of the couple in their marriage. None of the spark is missing, and it hasn’t diminished the individuals in any way being finally united – in fact it’s raised more questions and issues, and I’ve loved to see how they’ve been tackled and over come. It was so good to finally see Brisbane acknowledging that Julia is just as capable as him of strong emotions and intelligent thought - and whilst he must have realized on some level, to see him truly acknowledge it and bring her further into his work and his life was brilliant after four books of him steadfastly pushing her away.

It was fascinating to see them back in London again – oh London how I’ve missed you too! Whilst I loved the travels and seeing the places the cases took them to, I did love to come back to London, the setting of the first book, and their first meeting. It raised old and new issues and ghosts, and stripped some characters back so that we saw them raw for the first time, and learned a little more about their pasts.

However, they never once lose their individuality, and I love seeing how far Julia has come, how much she has grown as a person, and particularly that she doesn’t lose it all now that she has Brisbane. She continues to grow, to infuriate and intrigue me, and I love watching her journey through each book. She is a fabulous narrator – skilled, witty and intelligent, and it’s a pleasure to be brought back into her life.

They made me laugh with them, and weep when everything seemed at its blackest, and truly lose all composure when all was finally revealed at the end. The book takes you on such a rollercoaster of emotion, and I loved losing myself in it for a few hours.

I cannot really talk further about the book without ruining it – and that would be a cruelty too far. All I can say is that I adore these books. They are my all time favourite series – one I come back to again and again, and this latest instalment is a beautiful continuation of the story – one I hope to continue reading about in Rome…

There are no words, for Deanna Raybourn has used all of them already. All there is left is to say that if you buy one book this month, or even this year, let it be this one – or the first in the series “Silent in the Grave” if you haven’t yet discovered Lady Julia.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Review: Wrapped by Jennifer Bradbury

Agnes Wilkins is standing in front of an Egyptian mummy, about to make the first cut into the wrappings, about to unlock ancient (and not-so-ancient) history.
Maybe you think this girl is wearing a pith helmet with antique dust swirling around her.
Maybe you think she is a young Egyptologist who has arrived in Cairo on camelback.
Maybe she would like to think that too. Agnes Wilkins dreams of adventures that reach beyond the garden walls, but reality for a seventeen-year-old debutante in 1815 London does not allow for camels—or dust, even. No, Agnes can only see a mummy when she is wearing a new silk gown and standing on the verdant lawns of Lord Showalter’s estate, with chaperones fussing about and strolling sitar players straining to create an exotic “atmosphere” for the first party of the season. An unwrapping.
This is the start of it all, Agnes’s debut season, the pretty girl parade that offers only ever-shrinking options: home, husband, and high society. It’s also the start of something else, because the mummy Agnes unwraps isn’t just a mummy. It’s a host for a secret that could unravel a new destiny—unleashing mystery, an international intrigue, and possibly a curse in the bargain.
Get wrapped up in the adventure . . . but keep your wits about you, dear Agnes.

This book had so much potential, and seemed destined to never arrive, so by the time it did I suppose I had built it up into more than it could ever be in my head.
The cover is fabulous, the blurb divine, but the book never really lifts itself above the mundane.

My biggest gripe with the book was the lack of research that had gone into simple things about the period. Yes the author had certainly done her research on Napoleon and Egypt etc. but when it came to addressing people at parties? Not a chance. And little things like that should be second nature to someone writing a book set in Regency England. If you don’t do the research the whole thing becomes pointless.
So throughout the book people are addressed by their Christian names without formal introduction, social standing of maids seems to be virtually ignored, and no one ever seems capable of calling anyone else by the appropriate title. On several occasions it should be Lord so and so, or sir, rather than ‘Mr’ – and things like that aggravate me.

So that put me in a bad mood from the start.
Agnes was likeable, but a bit irritating. I understood why she didn’t tell her father, but it still seemed too ridiculous to bear. She seemed petty and irritating, and her constant translations into other languages more egotistical than a nervous habit.

The plot was again predictable, you could tell who the hero and the villains would be from the first few chapters, and everything in between was just a jumble of historical facts mushed together with some Egyptian myths. I wanted to love it, the blurb had me so excited, but in actuality I was quite bored by some of it. Yes the author may have researched some of these bits, but that doesn’t mean the reader necessarily knows all of it. So some of it felt unnecessary or not sufficiently explained, and as a result I lost interest.

However – and this is a big however, the last forty pages or so really pick up. The otherwise slow pace suddenly sweeps you up and takes you to the (rather inevitable) conclusion. I really loved that last section of book, and it made me want to see a sequel, to find out about the sort of adventures Agnes was going to go off and have. And yet, because of the slightly idiotic and yes very good at translations, but otherwise not particularly brilliant girl that Agnes was portrayed as throughout the rest of the book, the ending seemed particularly ridiculous.

If her character had been shown off in a better light, and if some of the sleuthing had come in the last forty odd pages I would have believed the ending, and would be demanding a sequel, no matter how dissatisfying the rest of the book had been.

As it is I feel let down, and quite irritated. This book was hard to get hold of in the UK, and I almost wish I’d waited instead of trying to get hold of it sooner. It’s alright if you’re not expecting high standards of historical accuracy of the period, or don’t want a ground breaking plot, but if you’re expecting more than light fluff I wouldn’t bother. Which is irritating, because often I love light fluff, and this falls short even of that.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Review: The Demon's Surrender by Sarah Rees Brennan


The Goblin Market has always been the centre of Sin's world. She's a dancer and a performer, secure in her place. But now the Market is at war with the magicians, and Sin's place is in danger. Keeping secrets from the market she loves, struggling with a friend who has become a rival, Sin is thrown together with the Ryves brothers, Nick and Alan - whom she's always despised. But Alan has been marked by a magician, to be tortured as the magician pleases, and as Sin watches Alan struggle to protect the demon brother he loves, she begins to see both brothers in a new light. But how far will brother go to save brother - and what will it cost them all?

There is going to be an awful lot of me loving everything in this review – because I really did love everything. Which in itself is impressive because I can be incredibly picky about books.

I loved the first two books in this trilogy, I love the dynamics, the characters, the way that Sarah Rees Brennan plays with family and all the different facets of love and relationships. I love that she wasn’t afraid to mix it up and that each book has a different narrator at its core.
And I love that with each new narrator you see different sides to the other characters. You notice different things, you realize different things, and it makes everything seem so much more real.

For example book two is narrated by Mae, and I loved Mae, but along comes Sin in book three who likes but also doesn’t like Mae, and I immediately rushed to Sin’s side and disliked Mae. I then got a grip and went back to liking Mae, but it’s impressive that simply with another turn of voice Sarah Rees Brennan can completely change your view of a character.

I’m going to throw out a warning here and now that you are going to need a box of tissues and large quantities of chocolate to get through this in one piece. The first two books had darkness in them, but they were nothing in comparison to the darkest places she takes you in this book. It felt like all the hope was being drained from the world. That everything was a trap set up by someone who had thought ahead three steps more than you could, and there was no way that anyone was going to emerge from this in one piece.
I cried like a small child in most of the scenes between Sin and Alan. I wanted to throw things, I wanted to howl, I wanted to devour the rest of the book because even at the darkest most awful moments I tried to cling on to the idea that there had to be some hope somewhere. That not everyone was going to end up dead or miserable for all eternity.

One of the main things I love about Sarah Rees Brennan’s writing is that she isn’t afraid to go there – to do the horribly upsetting things that make us scream and howl and tear our hair out with the stress (in fact I think she thrives on it) – that she can do all these things, but still leave you with a sliver of hope, and still leave you with the idea that even though bad things happen, we might be strong enough to overcome them.

I love her wit – seriously the dialogue goes from heart breaking to hysterical so smoothly it’s incredible. I love watching the characters grow and change, and as I said earlier, I love that each character narration offers us new sides, new ideas about the people we thought we knew and understood, and prods us into realizing we never really understood them at all. People are complex, and not only does she get that, she puts it down on paper so eloquently it makes me want to cry.

I was so excited to see more of Sin – she hasn’t featured too heavily before, so it was great to get to know a new character, to see how she interacts, and how she views the people around her. And again, this is another fabulous thing, that I love each of the narrators despite their flaws, in fact probably because of them, and because of their strengths too, and because of how much each of them grow throughout.

Every character made me gasp at some point or another – because they all did things that were so completely ‘I can’t believe you just did that!’ and it’s even better because you’re with Sin, so you only know about the schemes and plans that she knows about, and everything else you’re finding out about together. And some feel like a betrayal, and some filled me with hope. And some just made me want to cry.

The only thing I wish I could have had more of? More Jamie. I adored him in book two, and I wished there was more of him here. So as well as a Jamie book, I’d also like an Alan book. Even though I know there won’t be, I can still wish…

Because despite the fact that this tale is over, I can well imagine the things they might get up to next, because this is by no means the end for all of them. And that in itself is a great thing – that the characters keep living and breathing beyond the last page when you’ve put the book down. It feels as though they’ve truly existed, and for a little while they let you in to watch their lives. And I feel so privileged that they did and we were allowed to read it.

So thank you Sarah Rees Brennan, for providing one of one my all time favourite series of books. I want to go back again and again and re-read them to see all the things I missed the first time. To see how you’ve woven them together, and how that affects my views the next time round. I want to re-read them just for the pleasure of immersing myself in that world again.
And then I’ll try to wait patiently until her new series is released…

Monday, 13 June 2011

Book Giveaway: We Have A Winner!

First off I want to say a massive thank you to all of you who entered this give away. It was great to read people's answers, and just lovely to have some more people following the blog!

I was very torn, you really did have some great answers! But after some deliberation, I've decided on Tanyaw1224's answer - you gave me quite a giggle!
If you want to email me on the address in my profile box with your address, I'll get the book shipped out to you in the next couple of days.

I'm really sorry I didn't have a copy for all of you! But to tempt you back, I will be doing another give away in the next week for a copy of 'The Girl In The Steel Corset' by Kady Cross - so if you're interested in winning check back soon, when details will be posted!

A big thank you again to everyone who entered.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Book Giveaway: Die For Me by Amy Plum

This give away is now closed.

So I'm trying out this whole tempting people with free books thing... If it goes well then I'll make the book give-away a regular feature on the blog, but as it's new we're going to start out simple.

The book on offer is 'Die For Me' by Amy Plum

In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.
When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.
Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant--an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.

All you have to do to be in for a chance of winning is comment on this blog post explaining if you had/were a super power/super creature what would it be and why?
One of the big themes in 'Die For Me' are the Revenants - undead people who go around saving people. So I want to know if you want a super power what would it be, if you were an immortal what sort (feel free to make up cool new ones, don't just stick with the traditional vampires) and why.

I will then pick the best/coolest/one that makes me laugh the most (in my opinion) and that lucky winner will get a paperback copy of the book posted out to them. All clear? Excellent.

You don't have to do any fancy things to get extra entries, although if you follow this blog I will like you even more...

Closing date is Sunday/Monday morning (13th June 2011) at midnight (London time.)

Good luck, and get creative!

On a quick side note - because I was lame and forgot to put which countries are open for this giveaway, I'm going to make it international so those who have already entered from anywhere not the UK still are in with a chance. 

Friday, 10 June 2011

Review: Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Honoria Smythe-Smith, the youngest daughter of the eldest son of the Earl of Winstead, plays the violin in the annual musicale performed by the Smythe-Smith quartet. She's well aware that they are dreadful. In fact, she freely admits (to her cousins) that she is probably the worst of the bunch. But she's the sort who figures that nothing good will come of being mortified, so she puts on a good show and laughs about it. Marcus Holroyd is the best friend of Honoria's brother Daniel, who lives in exile out of the country. He's promised to watch out for Honoria and takes his responsibility very seriously. But he has his work cut out for him when Honoria sets off for Cambridge determined to marry by the end of the season. She's got her eye on the only unmarried Bridgerton, who's a bit wet behind the ears. When her advances are spurned, can Marcus swoop in and steal her heart in time for the musicale?

Anyone who is an avid reader of Julia Quinn’s books will know that it was only a matter of time really before the Smythe-Smith’s had their own series of books, particularly given the number of cousins readily available. And I am so glad that this has finally happened.

The thing I love most about Julia Quinn is that she has now written so many books in a specific time frame in the 1800’s, that she has virtually an entire London ton of characters to draw upon. Depending on what book you read different scenes or balls will happen from different points of view, characters that were mentioned briefly in a scene three books back will suddenly be given a book and a romance of their own, and when you read a new book even though it is a new character that you’re getting used to, it feels like you’re coming home because they themselves are surrounded by characters you already know and love.

There is a tried and tested formula for Julia Quinn books, which I have absolutely no problem being repeated in each book – it makes me happy. I know what I’m getting. I know that there will be an amusing hero and heroine, they will meet, they may not necessarily like each other at the start, but there will be CHEMISTRY and SPARKS. They will spend time with each other, some of it inappropriate. There may be kissing, a moment of clarity when they realize they love the other one, but remain utterly convinced their love cannot possibly be returned. Then we get a twist of circumstance or a misunderstanding of some kind which peeves them or forces them apart. Then all is resolved, much sex is had, a proposal, and everyone lives happily ever after.

I don’t care that they always follow this pattern, because it is a good pattern and it works, and there are enough differences in plot and character to make each book individual on that basis alone. Her writing is brilliant and witty, and her characters so clear and well rounded that it really feels real whilst you're reading. There are a few modernisms that creep in, but on the whole the books really make you feel as though you are in London in the 1800's at a society ball, or taking tea with friends. 

So this book follows the pattern. It has the most brilliant heroine – I love her, she’s funny but has a strong core, although she does get a little irrational towards the end, but in a funny completely understandable way.
The hero is swoon worthy, although he didn’t make me go weak at the knees as much as some of the Bridgerton boys have…

The big thing for me was the life and death peril in the middle, that was new. And even though I knew everything had to be ok, it was still quite frightening real – and I have to admit that this is the first Julia Quinn book to actually make me cry. Shush don’t tell anyone.

There were lots of little cross overs with other books, particularly the Bridgerton’s which made me smile insanely, and Lady Danbury featured! I love it! I love Lady Danbury like you wouldn’t believe. When I am old I want to be JUST LIKE HER.

So yes, it was good, it probably wasn’t my favourite, but it was very much up there, despite the lack of knee weakening over the hero. But that’s not his fault. I’m really looking forward to the rest of the series, I believe there are going to be four books in total pairing off the girls, and I cannot wait.

As a celebration of my love of Julia Quinn and how she gets me through the rough times when all else in my life is a big ball of stress, I’m going to be re-reading all of the other books she’s written and aim to be reviewing one at least once a week – so if you’re a Julia Quinn fan, check back as I make my way back through the classics. And if you haven’t discovered her yet, why on earth not?!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Review: The Girl In The Steel Corset by Kady Cross

In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.
When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no 
normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of 
them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.

This book was a little bit hit and miss for me. Some of the things were personal preferences, and others were just problems in general. However despite that, I really enjoyed bits of the book.

I love the premise – it was a great idea, and the Steampunk aspect was genius. The clothes, the machines, the whole atmosphere was great. There were a few things that felt a bit unrealistic but I will get to those in a bit.

I loved Finley, I could identify with her and I liked her, apart from when she was being really whiny. I liked that she was our way in to this new secret family as it made the explanations a lot easier to take as they were given to her. I also loved the premise of rich teenage duke saving the country. I would have preffered him to be a bit older, because whilst the revenge was a great reason for him to be doing all this stuff, he still just seemed a little young. However over all I loved him and he made me swoon – always a good start with a boy.

Jack, ah Jack. I have a soft spot for bad boys and I have to say I particularly loved this one. He reminded me a lot of Damon from the Vampire Diaries (never a bad thing) but I will admit that I wasn’t fussed on the love triangle aspect – I’ll get to that later on.
Emily and Jasper both took me a while to get into. I’m not sure what it was but I just didn’t warm to them straight away, so it was a slow build with them.

There was so much recommending this book to me, but there were some problems that just made it fall a bit short.
For example, personal preference, I’m not sure if this is a regular feature in Steampunk books, because I haven’t read loads in this genre, but I really disliked the short ‘knickers’ that Finley seemed to favour. I’m a purist, and I love historical fiction, and whilst I love most of the changes that comes in Steampunk, this one seemed a little too far. It felt too modern and like the whole Victorian era was just a backdrop, not a time period that needed to be considered in clothes or speech.

I really struggled with how modern the dialogue was. Again, I understand this is a different branch of Victorian esq time, but I still feel that some of it should remain untainted – and one of those things for me is the speech. It was too modern, too informal to really ring true.

There were just too many inconsistencies - for example Finley races around in short pants, spends time chaperoned with men, and then gets all 'oh it's improper' when Griffin shows her his shoulder. Right then...

I struggled with some aspects of the writing as well. The well worn mantra of ‘show not tell’ seemed to be virtually forgotten at times. I wanted to scream at the number of times Emily’s hair was described as ‘ropey’ literally every time she was on the page, and again at the number of times villain or villainous was used. They were little things that should have been picked up on in editing and hadn’t been – and there is nothing worse for me than things that should have been caught in the editing process.

I disliked Sam completely. He was such a toss pot that even when he’d apologised to everyone I still didn’t like him. Because we hadn’t seen the past friendship between him, Emily and Griffin there was no comparison, he was just a jerk, and I couldn’t understand why they were just putting up with it.

I also disliked the love triangle. I love Jack, in fact he was one of my favourite characters in the whole book – something about a weakness for bad boys – but whilst his attraction to Finley was fine, her constant ‘oh but he’s a bad boy and I shouldn’t like him, and I will only like him if it turns out he didn’t do all those naughty things’ really peeved me. Don’t try to change the bad boy! It’s part of his charm, and just wanting to change him indicated it was infatuation and nothing more with him. I think it just felt like the love triangle was thrown in there because there has to be a love triangle in everything now. And it’s really not necessary!

However Finely and Griffin should be getting it on – all the time. I love that romance and spark. It seemed genuine, it was really well written, and I loved the two of them together. Yes sure, we need Griffin to realize that he liked her and the jealousy was a good vehicle for that, but I really just wanted the two of them to get more time together without all of that with Jack.

One of the biggest let downs however, was that I could see the plot twist coming pretty much from the start of the book. Considering they’re all supposed to be geniuses of some description, it took them an awfully long time to work it all out, whereas I had it worked out pretty much from when Sam met Leon. And I don’t like working it out that quickly! I love the intrigue and mystery and being led on and fed clues as the author wants to dish them out. It just made me feel a bit bored because there weren’t any big surprises.

However, please don’t take my whinging as a sign that the book is bad or that I didn’t enjoy it. I loved it, it was simply that I loved it so much that the downsides were that bit more disappointing, because I wanted it to be perfect.
I loved the world, I loved the premise, and for the most part the characters. I’m presuming based on that ending that there will be a sequel, and I cannot wait for that either. There was something about this book that just made me squee inside. That made me race to get to lunch at work so I could find out what was going to happen next, and stay up far too late to finish it. I waited for this book for months and it was definitely worth it – I’m sad about those things I’ve pointed out, but otherwise I loved it and highly recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy and steampunk, or is looking for a good book to get into the genre.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Book I'm squeeing about in June (Part 2)

A late minute addition to the books I'm squeeing about in June!
(because, you know, Amazon lie to me about dates for ages and then suddenly move the date forward by a month... Not that I'm complaining, because I am totally squeeing about getting hold of this book sooner...

The Demon's Surrender
by: Sarah Rees Brennan

The Goblin Market has always been the centre of Sin's world. She's a dancer and a performer, secure in her place. But now the Market is at war with the magicians, and Sin's place is in danger. Keeping secrets from the market she loves, struggling with a friend who has become a rival, Sin is thrown together with the Ryves brothers, Nick and Alan - whom she's always despised. But Alan has been marked by a magician, to be tortured as the magician pleases, and as Sin watches Alan struggle to protect the demon brother he loves, she begins to see both brothers in a new light. But how far will brother go to save brother - and what will it cost them all?

Oh my god, I am so excited about this book it's unreal. I love it. I love Sarah Rees Brennan. I love this series. I love Nick. I love Alan. I love Jamie! 
I cannot get over how awesome this series is. I love the different point of views for each instalment, and I'm so excited to get to know Sin better in this book. I mean she was sassy and sexy and all, but I want to know more.
And I want more of the most delicious brothers ever written. And I want the cute sarcasm, and the witty banter, and the hot make out scenes.
I mean *swoon*

So yeah, not much else to say other than OMGWTF I LOVE IT! And also, this whole being released a month earlier than I was expecting? Totally fab.
Go out. Buy it. Pre-order it. Read it. Worship at its greatness.