Monthly Archives: September 2013

KayKay #CRB5 Review #48 Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire

RosemaryandRue

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

After my review of Storm Born by Richelle Mead (short version: I liked it), I got a comment from Malin who recommended two series: 1- October Daye and 2-Kate Daniels.   Not only did she enjoy the series, but she said they get better as the series develops (which is a rare find).  I finished the first October Daye book- Rosemary and Rue and here is what I thought….

Plot

The main character (October) is half fae with very weak magical blood.  She normally works as a PI, but made a mistake and spent 14 years as a fish in the bottom of a pond.  After she breaks the spell she finds her old life impossible to return to (her boyfriend and daughter want nothing to do with her) and she mopes around until her acquaintance Evening (I hesitate to say friend) dies and curses her to solve the mystery.  Evening left her a magical chest and key, and must figure out who murdered Evening before the curse kills her.  (Spoiler alert: she lives)  The hope chest was carved by Oberon (the missing king of the fae) and has the power to change the balance of your blood (either make you all human or all fae), which makes it an attractive artifact to changelings (hint hint).

Plot Score: 3/5

World Building

Fae breakdown:

There are purebloods, mix bloods (fae with different type of fae parents) and changelings (half fae half human).  Changelings have ‘baby magic’ that allow them to keep up human appearance, but it once it starts to fade (anywhere between 3 to late teens) they have to between staying human and being fae.  If they choose to stay human, they die and the fae parent could have stayed in the moral world.  If they choose fae, their parent must stay in the Summerlands.

Knowes- little pockets of reality balanced between the mortal world and the Summerlands

Daoine Sidhe- fae that can measure another’s death by the taste of their blood.

Cait Sidhe- Violent group of Fae.

World Building Score: 3/5

Characters and Relationships

October- A changeling who has pointed ears and colorless eyes, but otherwise looks human. She always seems to be getting shot or otherwise hurt.

Tybolt- king of the Cait Sidhe

Sylvester Torquill- October’s liege.

Devin- another changeling, who basically runs a halfway house for changelings.  He’s more like a street boss.  When October fled the Summerlands he took her in, and they had ‘relations’.  But he got power hungry and wanted the hope chest and killed Evening to get it.

Characters Score: 3/5

Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)

None

Life Lessons Score:  0/5

Style

I never like when the plot is driven by a lack of communication.  October refused to tell anyone (Devin, Sylvester, Luna) what was really going on.  In the end, it was wise she didn’t trust everyone, but I prefer a mystery that couldn’t be resolved by simply having a conversation (not that it was that simple, but you get the point).

Other than that, it was action filled and an enjoyable read.

Style Score: 3/5

Final Thoughts?

– 0 Bonus Points for the cover, it looks likes a photo taken with a bad camera.

-This plot/book/character seems a little forgettable, so I’ll definitely be reviewing this before reading book 2.

-Cheesiest line “October always brings rain, even in California”

-Title explanation- rosemary and rue is what she leaves on the grave of a little girl she meets – and tries to save, but the girl ends up dying.

-Plot points not tied up: I’d like to see her return to her daughter (Gilly), the Queen seems to be crazy, still don’t know why Sylvester’s wife and child went missing (this was the case that October was on when she was turned into a fish by Simon and Oleander),  still don’t know what’s up with Raysel (she didn’t come back ‘normal’)

Total Score and Recommendation

12/25- It was an enjoyable read, and I will continue on (for the promise of series picking up at book 3)

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KayKay #CRB5 Review #47 Crux by Ramez Naam

crux

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

Nexus is one of the best books I read this year, so good that I pre-ordered Crux (I normally will wait to buy until I read the sample).  Did Crux live up to the first novel?  Or does it make my list of disappointing second installments? Here is what I thought….

Characters and Relationships

Kade- I’m on the fence about Kade, I wish he was becoming more confident, but on the other hand, his nerdish fumbling is more realistic.

Holtzmann- he is the reason I gave this section a 2.  As much as I am unsatisfied with Kade, he is MUCH better than Holtzmann.  He was a completely unlikeable weak character who didn’t even step up until Kade influenced his mind to action.

Characters Score: 2/5

World Building

It seemed to me that this book took a huge leap in technology.  Instead of Nexus just being a software that can connect minds, it becomes something that other people (if they have the ‘back door’) can use to control your body.  Kade, with no medical knowledge, is now able to enter peoples minds and tie their basic human instincts (for violence or sexual arousal) to nausea, anxiety and pain.  At another point in the story he pairs his brainsteam to Holtzmann.

World Building Score: 2/5

Plot

Nexus has been released, Kade is on the run, Sam finds the Nexus orphans, then losses them.  Kade is eventually caught (and escapes), Sam finds the orphans again.  Ilya dies instead of giving up the codes, Rangan gives up the codes, then finds out Kade changed the codes.  Rangan also escapes with another group of Nexus children.

Plot Score: 2/5

Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)

I had initially scored this area a little higher, because this book carries the theme of how to handle terrorism without restricting freedom (in the case scientific freedom).  But when I sat down to write this section, I felt as if the life lessons /themes were a side note to the convoluted plot.

Another theme- group consciousness- is not one that I necessarily agree is good.  I believe more in the power and importance of the individual.  I do think that in some cases a group coming together and being able to build on all their strengths is a good concept, but what if the weaknesses were shared and not the strengths?

Life Lessons Score:  3/5

Style

Since I loved Nexus so much, I thought this would be a ‘read every word’ type of book, as opposed to a ‘skim read’.  I was wrong.  I started out in the reading every word mode, and almost gave up reading the book all together.  Instead, I decided to employ skimming technique.  I made it through the book, but barely.

I read the book on my Kindle app, and there were times when there was a perspective switch inside a chapter, but with no extra return or anything separating the two stories.  This was very annoying.  I’m not sure if the physical book had more indication between these types of changes.

Style Score: 2/5

Final Thoughts?

Disappointing second installment

This book lacked the coding excitement in the first book

Total Score and Recommendation

11/25- I’m on the fence about whether I would read any further installments, and I wouldn’t recommend reading this one (unless a third one comes out that it just fantastic and this is needed as a bridge).  But Nexus (the first book, should definitely be read).

KayKay #CRB5 Review #46 Storm Born by Richelle Mead

thCAOW2IXW

**SPOILER ALERT**

My book reviews are written as a discussion of a book, and not as an advertisement.  Please be aware that there may be information that some would consider spoilers.  Continue on at your own risk!

I was very impressed with Gameboard of the Gods and I was hoping that the rest of Richelle Mead’s adult books are just as good.  Storm Born is the first in a set of 4 books that I bought as a bundle (The Dark Swan series).  I’m happy to see that it ends at 4 (at least for now) because I’m feeling a little tired of series that have gone on so long that there is no longer an original story to tell (I’m not mentioning any names here!) Did Storm Born live up to the bar that Gameboards set?  Here is what I thought….

Characters and Relationships

Eugenie- Step aside Mercedes Thompson, there is a new kick ass lead female.  Eugenie is a powerful shaman (although we later find out she also has special fae powers due to her dad being the storm king).  She is raised by her mother (a regular human- who was kidnapped and held by the Storm King) and her step father who is a shaman who killed the Storm King to save Eugenie and her mother.

Kiyo- a half human / half kitsune (Japenese Fox spirit) who has established relationships in the Otherworld.  He is also a love interest of Eugenie (although they hit a bump in the road when Eugenie finds out he impregnated a fairy queen).

King Dorian- a fairy king who helps Eugenie control her newly found fae magic.  I actually prefer him for Eugenie- although I know she leans toward Kiyo- and neither one of them are really good for her.  The love triangle reminds me of Sookie / Bill / Eric (of which I still prefer Eric)

Characters Score: 4/5

World Building

There are three known worlds: our world, Otherworld and Underworld.  Eugenie can go to all worlds, with the help of her patron gods, Hecate (guards the crossroads between worlds), Persephone (guides transitions to the world of death) and Selene (who is bound to the human world).

“I only knew about three worlds: the world we lived in, the world the dead lived in, and the Otherworld, which caught everything in between.”

World Building Score: 4/5

Plot

A prophecy about the Storm Kings daughter having a son who will conquer the human world causes many fae to either want to kill Eugenie or father her son.  At this crucial time, Eugenie must enter the Otherworld to find a human girl trapped in the Otherworld and rescue her from a fae king.  In order to succeed, she will have to discover her heritage and learn to control her fae powers.

Plot Score: 4/5

Life Lessons (fka Bigger Meaning)

There is not necessarily a ‘moral of the story’, but there are a few lines that make you go hmmm…

“Humans always feel the need to point out any drop of foreign blood in a person”

“They twist nature and the elements for the sake of their perverted creations until they no longer know what it is they do” (talking about not being able to describe what is in a Milky Way candy bar)

Life Lessons Score:  2/5

Style

I really enjoyed the main character and her relationships in this story.  The book moves along at a good pace, and I looked forward to picking it up and reading.  I could have done without the sex scenes, but I guess it’s needed since it’s an ‘adult’ book.

Style Score: 4/5

Final Thoughts?

-Eugenie is such an odd name in the ‘real’ world, but I thought it was the perfect character name, and was almost cool enough to translate.

-I liked the twist on the standard side kick.  Instead of someone loyal to the main character, this side kick, Volusian, is a servant who hates Eugenie (and frequently tells her how he wants to kill her).

Total Score and Recommendation

18/25- If you like Sookie or Mercedes you should love Eugenie.