I have quite a few reviews I need to catch up on, so I thought I’d do another installment of bite-sized reviews and knock a few of them out. Hopefully these bite-sized reviews will be enough to feed your fiction addiction!
RoseBlood by A.G. Howard
Published by Amulet Books on 1/10/17
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Retellings
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing)
In this modern day spin on Leroux’s gothic tale of unrequited love turned to madness, seventeen-year-old Rune Germain has a mysterious affliction linked to her operatic talent, and a horrifying mistake she’s trying to hide. Hoping creative direction will help her, Rune’s mother sends her to a French arts conservatory for her senior year, located in an opera house rumored to have ties to The Phantom of the Opera.
At RoseBlood, Rune secretly befriends the masked Thorn—an elusive violinist who not only guides her musical transformation through dreams that seem more real than reality itself, but somehow knows who she is behind her own masks. As the two discover an otherworldly connection and a soul-deep romance blossoms, Thorn’s dark agenda comes to light and he’s forced to make a deadly choice: lead Rune to her destruction, or face the wrath of the phantom who has haunted the opera house for a century, and is the only father he’s ever known.
I don’t know why, but I BARELY made it through this book. I just wasn’t engaged and nothing happened. Until the end of the book, literally almost nothing interesting (in my opinion) happened. It was all Thorn creepily watching Rune and Rune worrying about a boy she hurt with her magical opera voice. I nearly DNF’d at 50% but I was curious how it ended up, so I skim-read the second half, only reading carefully when something exciting happened. I did a lot of skim-reading.
Lots of my friends enjoyed this book, so maybe it was just me? I simply couldn’t connect to it, though I will say that the ending got a lot more interesting. I’m giving this one 1/5 Stars because it was as close to a DNF as I get.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
Frost by M.P. Kozlowsky
Series: Frost #1
Published by Scholastic Press on 10/11/16
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some violence)
Being human is her greatest strength.
Sixteen-year-old Frost understands why she’s spent her entire life in an abandoned apartment building. The ruined streets below are hunting grounds for rogue robots and Eaters.
She understands why she’s never met a human besides her father. She even understands why he forbids her to look for medicine for her dying pet. But the thing is, it’s not her real father giving the orders…
It’s his memories.
Before he died, Frost’s father uploaded his consciousness into their robot servant. But the technology malfunctioned, and now her father fades in and out. So when Frost learns that there might be medicine on the other side of the ravaged city, she embarks on a dangerous journey to save the one living creature she loves.
With only a robot as a companion, Frost must face terrors of all sorts, from outrunning the vicious Eaters…to talking to the first boy she’s ever set eyes on. But can a girl who’s only seen the world through books and dusty windows survive on her own? Or will her first journey from home be her last?
I thought that the premise for this book was interesting enough, but for some reason I could never completely connect with Frost or understand her motivations. I understood her desire to save her pet, but many of her other decisions were somewhat of a mystery to me—and a few of the other characters seemed to vacillate erratically, so I wasn’t sure what to think about them. There was a bit of a twist to the zombies in this book, which added a unique flair, and I liked the idea of robots infused by human consciousness, but sometimes it felt like there was too much going on in Kozlowsky’s dystopian world. The ending included a few twists, some of which I’d suspected and some that were a complete surprise. I just don’t know that I’m invested enough to continue with the series, though.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead
Series: The Glittering Court #1
Also in this series: , Midnight Jewel
Published by Razorbill, Listening Library on 4/5/16
Genres: Young Adult
Narrator: Kristen Sieh
Length: 12 hours and 53 minutes
My content rating: YA (Characters have sex, but it isn't shown)
For a select group of girls, the Glittering Court offers a shot at a life they’ve only ever dreamed of, one of luxury, glamour, and leisure. To high-born Adelaide, whose wealthy family is forcing her into a loveless marriage, the Glittering Court represents something else: the chance to chart her own destiny, and adventure in an unspoiled, prosperous new land across the sea.
After a chance meeting with the dazzling Cedric Thorn, Adelaide poses as a servant to join the crop of impoverished girls he promises to transform into proper ladies. But her familiarity with upper class life comes with a price: she must hide her identity from her new friends, mysterious refugee Mira and fiery former laundress Tamsin, and most importantly, from Cedric himself—even though she’s falling in love with him.
Everything begins to crumble when Cedric discovers Adelaide’s ruse, and she catches the eye of a powerful young governor, who wants her for a wife. She didn’t leave the gilded cage of her old life behind just to become someone else's property. But nothing is as daunting—or as wonderful—as the potent, forbidden attraction simmering between Adelaide and Cedric. One that, if acted on, would make them both outcasts in a wild, dangerous, uncharted world, and possibly lead them to their deaths.
I really enjoyed this one. In many ways, the world that Mead created ran parallel to Europeans settling in America, but the fact that this was a fantasy (of sorts) meant that she was able to take as many liberties as she wanted with the circumstances. I enjoyed both the historical and the semi-fantastical aspects of the story and I was wrapped up in all of Adelaide’s trials and tribulations. I also thought that the broader themes of women’s rights, religious freedoms and native peoples were fascinating (I’m sure there are people who probably found some of these aspects problematic, but I liked how Mead took the historical viewpoints of the characters and bent them slightly in order to explore them.) I’m really looking forward to book two now!
I also really enjoyed the narration for this one, and I’ll definitely watch for more books narrated by Kristen Sieh.