Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1)

Title: Lady Midnight
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices #1
Publication: 8th March 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Genre: YA, Fantasy.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A books from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016.

Synopsis (Goodreads)

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.

My Thoughts

I told my self I wouldn’t do this. I told myself I wouldn’t read another Cassandra Clare book. I told myself I wouldn’t put myself through the disappointment. Then I ending up buying it. I told myself I wouldn’t read it. I told myself it could just sit on my shelf to complete my collection. Then I read it.

I don’t know why I did it. I dislike Cassandra Clare. She blatantly takes things from other people’s books and says they’re inspiration (see my review on The Iron Trial). She is a fan pleaser, and I freaking hate that. Her fan pleasing completely destroys what was good about the books (See review of TMI).

Firstly, this is meant to be a stand alone series. But if you haven’t read any of her other books, don’t read this first. It completely ruins the endings of TID and TMI. I would say all of her books, but I don’t know about The Bane Chronicles, so I would say go ahead and read that before you read this one too.

This book is a whopping 698 pages long. And what happens in those 698 pages? Bugger all. This book is about 400 pages too long. Stuff happens in the first 150 pages and in the pages 450ish -550ish and that’s it. The rest of it is just filler. There’s lots of talking and lots of focus on different characters.

The problem was, there were so many different characters that I didn’t really get attached to any of them. Emma was basically a gender-bend version of Jace, who was sarcastic and made lots of stupid decision like going off without telling her Parabati. She’s confident and a strong female protagonist but I didn’t overly like her. Julian like a mixture of Simon and Clary; family focused, fiercely loyal and with an artistic flare. Marc was a bit more interesting, having returned from the faeries, it was interesting to see his conflict between where his loyalties lied. My favourite character was Cristina because she felt different and there was a bit of mystery there.

What really wound me up about this book was the cameos. Now I know lots of readers would love this but it really got on my nerves. Was there really any need for them to appear? Did they really add anything to the plot other than a constant reminder that they’re there?

One of my saving graces of this book was Emma’s decision at the end. I know what lots of fans reaction will be, and I bet Cassandra will rectify that in later books, but that peaked my interest a bit.

Will I read book 2? I say no. I want to say no. I bet I’ll end up reading it.

My Rating

2-stars

On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher

On the Other Side

Title: On the Other Side
Author: Carrie Hope Fletcher
Series: N/A
Publication: July 14th 2016 by Little Brown and Company
Genre: Fiction, Romance, magical realism

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge– A dual-timeline novel

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Evie Snow is eighty-two when she quietly passes away in her sleep, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. It’s the way most people wish to leave the world but when Evie reaches the door of her own private heaven, she finds that she’s become her twenty-seven-year-old self and the door won’t open.

Evie’s soul must be light enough to pass through so she needs to get rid of whatever is making her soul heavy. For Evie, this means unburdening herself of the three secrets that have weighed her down for over fifty years, so she must find a way to reveal them before it’s too late. As Evie begins the journey of a lifetime, she learns more about life and love than she ever thought possible, and somehow , some way, she may also find her way back to her long lost love . . .

On the Other Side will transport you to a world that is impossible to forget. Powerful, magical and utterly romantic, this is a love story like no other from everyone’s favourite ‘big sister’, Carrie Hope Fletcher.

My Thoughts

I picked this book up for the beautiful cover and because the premises intrigued me.

I knew the author was a youtuber, and that this is her first novel, so I didn’t go in with overly high expectations. I came out thinking that the whole thing was just a bit sillyI just had so many issues with the book, some of which probably wouldn’t bother other people but just really got on my nerves.

Firstly, those ridiculous names. Evie Snow, Vincent Winter, Colin Autumn, August Summers, Sonny Shine and Clementine Frost. It felt like a a teen who had read how some great authors use names to suggest their character and foreshadowing and had no sense of how to do with subtly.  The characters themselves felt quite two dimensional. Based on the world I don’t understand why she decided to cave to her parent’s demand to support her brother if he was disinherited. They’re both adults living in a seemingly accepting society with jobs, which Evie easily got. Also, why keep with the choice for so long if it is clearly what none of you want? It was partly hard to understand the characters choices because there was no timeline to link it to.

The magical realism was also problematic for me. Firstly, I actually rolled my eyes at “Little Bird”, the white bird they wrote love notes on until it was so full it was a “black” bird. Especially how this bird lived almost fifty years because of their love.

The dove’s wings had become almost entirely black, so he’d started carrying their messages on his back and his chest, but he welcomed them with open wings. No one wanted their love to work more than he did. Their messages of love and kindness gave him strength and a purpose.

The tree was bizarre and although was explained I don’t really feel it fitted in with the book. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, just wait for that delight… I just personally feel the whole magical realism should have been removed.

Vincent was described as being bi-sexual and her brother as being gay. Although I liked this as it was inclusive and wasn’t too predominant, I was also annoyed because I had this bugging feeling that the author only added it because she knew her audience would love it. Vincent being bi-sexual also added literally nothing to the plot.

I just didn’t love this book.

My Rating

2-stars

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Publication: 2nd December 2010 by Dutton Juvenile
Genre: YA, Fiction.

Around the Year in 52 Book Challenge – A book with along title (5+ words)

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

My Thoughts

Anna has been ‘abandoned’ by her parents in an American boarding school for rich, gorgeous American teens in Paris. L’horreur! It gets worse! There’s a hot, mopey guy back home who she’s in love with but he prefers her friend and the other guy who she’s in love with in Paris has a girlfriend. Oh non! What an awful life with such huge problems.

I enjoyed Anna and Etienne going around Paris, as it reminded my of my time there, but that was about it.

With a title containing French Kiss I expected kissing and romance. What I was given was a lot of self pity, pining and then some cheating.

I think I’m getting too old for this…

My Rating

2star

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

accident season.jpg

Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moira Fowley-Doyle
Series: N/A
Publication:  18th August 2015 by Corgi Children’s
Genre: YA Fiction.

52 Book Challenge category –  A book by an author you haven’t read before

Synopsis (Goodreads)

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

My Thoughts

I finished this book late at night. I’m not sure if it was my tiredness or the abstract prose but I’m not really sure how this book ended.

The story is about a girl called Cara and her family. In October, her family begin to wrap themselves up in extra clothing to protect themselves as they become more accident prone – the time they call the accident season. The book begins with Cara noticing a childhood friend, who she rarely speaks to any more – Elsie – appearing in all her pictures. Sometimes it’s her hair, others her elbow but she appears in every photo.

The book is full of a lot of strange bits, often seemingly random, about witches and mermaids. The first 3/4 of the book was quite slow, obviously building up to some twist. I almost put the book down within the first half as I found the plot to be going no where. So when I finally read the last quarter, I was confused with the explanation of the accidents and Elsie, among other things.

Due to the revelations and twists at the end of the book, it’s really hard to delve into character’s and why I liked/disliked them. I found Bea’s personality off putting. She’s a tarot  reader and has the a flare for creating strange tales. I found her tales unusual, out of place and in a few instances went on for a while. On the other hand, I really liked Alice and found her realistic.

As my first read of 2017 it was a very unusual and strange book.

My Rating

2star

Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything

Title: Everything, Everything
Author: 
Nicola Yoon
Series: N/A
Publication:
1st September 2015 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA

Synopsis (Goodreads)

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Thoughts

I originally picked this book up because it was the book sent in the previous Illumicrate box, so I thought it must be good!

This is one of those books that’s just okay, then it has a massive twist at the end. And it just left me feeling so cross and cheated.

Everything, Everything is a story about Madeline, a girl who has the rare condition SCID, meaning that due to her hypersensitivity, if she were ever to go outside of her house into the unfiltered air, something, anything, could trigger symptomatic attacks that could potentially kill her. For the past seventeen years, she has been in the house with her nurse and mum looking after her, whilst she does her school work through skype sessions. When Olly moves in next door, her daily consistencies change.

To sum this book up briefly:

  • Instalove
  • An illness that you don’t really learn much about
  • A plot twist that is unrealistic and left me feeling cheated and annoyed, not shocked or happy.

By halfway through the book I was bored. I pushed myself to finish it because it’s not that long and because I’d heard of the hype so thought it had to get better. I liked Madeline and Olly, especially the IM and little messages but I just wasn’t feeling it. The whole story didn’t sit right. Then we got to the plot twist and I turned from bored to cross. It explained why the story didn’t feel right but it felt like an easy cop out to let love triumph.

When will I learn and stop picking up over hyped book…?

My Rating

2star

King Breaker by Rowena Cory Daniells

King Breaker (King Rolen's Kin #4)

Title: King Breaker

Author: Rowena Cory Daniells

Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Political Fantasy.

Published: 13th September 2013 by Solaris

Book 4 in King Rolen’s Kin series.

Synopsis (Goodreads)

The conclusion to the hugely popular King Rolen’s Kin series!

The story of Byron, Fyn and Piro picks up immediately where the cliff-hanging ending of The Usurper let off! When Cobalt stole the Rolencian throne, Byren, Fyn and Piro were lucky to escape with their lives, now they’ve rallied and set out to avenge their parents’ murder.
Byren is driven to defeat Cobalt and reclaim the crown, but at what cost? Fyn has sworn to serve Byren’s interests but his loyalty is tested when he realises he loves Byren’s betrothed. And Piro never wanted to win a throne, now she holds the fate of a people in her hands.

Alex’s Thoughts

It’s sad that I’ve had to rate this book so low. I thoroughly enjoyed The King’s Bastard, which was one of the first modern high fantasy books I read, having previously encountered some Tolkien and Pratchett. The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin was my first real experience of political fantasy, which gripped me from the start. What I’m trying to say is that the first book is very good. The Uncrowned King and The Usurper were good too. This makes the problems that King Breaker has even more painful.

The fundamental problem is that this book should not exist. As with the Inheritance Cycle, the tale was initially intended to be a trilogy, yet, as fans of the series will know, book three did not resolve all the key plot points. This leads to the book becoming bloated with unnecessary bits to try and justify its existence, like multiple films based on a single book. What we seem to have is another case of a fantasy tale getting bigger than its author. When this happens, there is always at least one book that stands out as sub-par (every series has its Feast For Crows or Order of the Phoenix). It just turns out that the weak point in this series is its finale. The main problem is that there are a bunch of storylines that meander about with no urgency and then all sort of crash at the end, leaving a partially resolved plot, but then none of the characters really get what they want. Whether Rowena Cory Daniells is trying to set up a sequel series or not is unclear; the ending rushes to fix everything, but then everything is still a bit messy by the final chapter. As the seventy-two chapters may warn the reader (in comparison to the thirty-one chapters of Book One), the plot often crawls at a snail’s pace, that snail being a particularly unfit one that has to take a rest every once in a while, then wakes up and forgets where he’s going, starts crawling in a completely different direction before remembering where he’s meant to be going.

To explain further, we enter spoiler territory for the first three books, and possibly some for this one too.

The start of the book sees our hero Byren trying to set himself up as king of Rolencia and Merofynia, the two adjoined countries that make up ninety per centof the known world (I know, what could possibly go wrong for him?). These two nations are divided by the Snow Bridge, an impassable… bridge of snow. Except when people just cross it. But if everyone did that, we’d miss the rollicking ride of the first third of the book, where most of our heroes are on boats waiting to go places. That’s Byren, Piro and Fyn for the most part of the start of it. Byren leaves his Merofynian fiancée without at first marrying her immediately, because that would have cemented their alliance. Instead, his watertight plan is to leave his younger brother Fyn, who has spent most of his life in an abbey with zero per cent government experience. This masterstroke is made even better by the fact Fyn is madly in love with Isolt, the princess-turned-queen of Merofynia. To his credit, Fyn does the best he can. His character is one of the more compelling and its only when his storyline becomes repetitive that I started to lose interest. He is crushing spar warlords (spars being the pointy-out bits of land encircling Rolencia and Merofynia) which is fun to see, until they liberate an estate from the spar warriors then leave, only for the same spar to attack the same estate two chapters afterwards. But at least he isn’t on a boat. Piro and Byren both faff about on boats to places, then do some stuff in those places, then turn around and go right back to Merofynia. Byren doesn’t seem to evolve much as a character, he’s just after the Rolencian throne to get revenge against Cobalt, a descendant from a royal bastard who claimed the throne through treachery. Cobalt doesn’t really play much of a role, and considering he was virtually supplanted as the main villain by Palatyne in Book Three, the reader doesn’t have many reasons to root against him. His methods to gain power were treacherous, but that’s royal politics. Byren doesn’t have anything that blatantly makes him the better choice for king. Does he think he will be a good king? Irrelevant. How does he plan to govern Rolencia and Merofynia? Doesn’t matter. With all this in mind, he is hard to root for. His siblings are more compelling, as Fyn is toiling with forbidden passion and Piro is trying to dodge being married off as a piece in someone else’s game. She heads towards the Ostron Isle, before becoming entangled with a whole other mess which goes on for a bit. Her companion Lord Dunstany is a bloke everyone seems to repsect enormously, but does not seem to do much to justify his huge reputation. The Ostron plot reads like a crossover into Assassin’s Creed, as Dunstany and co. have to convince “Lady Death” (no, not Thanos’s wannabe girlfriend) to call off her coraxes trying to wipe out our plucky Rolencian heroes. The coraxes in this book are awesome though. Cobalt’s bodyguard corax is a beast when he’s unleashed, but again, these guys don’t appear enough.

Speaking of Cobalt’s corax, that leads us to Florin’s storyline in Rolencia. This starts the most promising out of all the plots, before she winds up back with all the others and becomes superfluous to requirements. She likes Byren and Byren likes her but remember Orrade likes Byren too but Byren’s not gay but Orrade is and anyway Byren is betrothed to Isolt but Fin likes Islot…. And breathe. Florin’s initial potential is exciting, as she’s a badass with  nothing to lose, but before she even realises she’s a typical damsel in distress, helpless until the chiselled, broad-shouldered protagonist swings in at the last second. The Orrade-Byren dynamic seems to be thin as well. Byren’s drive to be king robs him of all other personality, to the point where it would be unsurprising if halfway through it was revealed he was a cardboard cut-out that Orrade had been carrying about with him.

There’s also a guy called Garzik who was thought dead in Book One, is Orrade’s brother, the main character of a short story set around this bigger one and does nothing to influence the plot. His inclusion feels like Rowena Cory Daniells is building towards a new series and is introducing him now (like that Emma girl in Caasandra Clare’s City of Heavenly Fire). He’s with the Utlanders and basically they’re big, hairy, thieving murderers but some still have hearts of gold. Or maybe slightly softer steel than the other ones do.

All this wasted potential and meandering plots leave the story lacking. Its most criminal offence is to build up towards something happening with one character and then jumping to another character arriving after all the action. This happens once in particular and leaves the reader feeling cheated, like you waited for ages for something that you then never got (remember when we were all ready to see the Mandarin in Iron Man 3?). Add to this that every character has some sort of Affinity power (magic) that gets them out of any mess they’re in. If Fyn and Isolt are in a pickle they can use their tag team of a wyvern and a foenix to unalive any problems they have. Byren can summon magical creautres (Affintiy beasts) and Orrade can get special visions. The Affinity was interesting at first, being an original interpretation of magic, and it being a part of magical creatures gave it an interesting nuance to it. The main issue is that Byren’s dad wasn’t a fan of it, so those with Affinity could not rule. As he and his all his closest relatives and friends have it, his claim to the throne is questionable.

Overall, I am sad to say that the finale to this series just did not deliver. Epic battles were avoided or skipped over, people were going back and forth with no clear direction and despite some promise, and ultimately the hurried conclusion does not justify the slow build-up. Two stars.

Alex’s Rating

2star

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

My Rating: 2/5

Book 2 of the Divergent Series.

An e-book was provided by NetGallery in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (Goodreads)

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My Thoughts

This book had classical second book syndrome. It most certainly is a filler and is building up to the third book. Unfortunately, it was huge and very slow to get going.

I enjoyed Divergent (review here), which was essentially a long initiation process, but I liked the obstacles along the way and that the romance, although predictable, wasn’t overly forced.

Insurgent picks up directly from where Divergent leaves off, which could be very frustrating for people who haven’t read the first one in a while. While Divergent was very strong in it’s plot, it knew exactly where it was going, Insurgent was a bit all over the place. The main points were that society collapses, Tris deals with the consequences of her actions, an alliance is forged, a broken alliance, an alliance, a broken alliance…  I just found it really hard to get through, it wasn’t as gripping as Divergent, and I had to put it down a few times.

Whilst I liked Tris and Four in Divergent, I almost loathed them both in Insurgent. They felt like completely different characters. Tris made stupid, reckless and short sighted decisions that seemed out of character. Although events before would change her choices slightly, her whole character changed seemed very sudden and out of the blue. While before, Four  was sweet and a little mysterious, now he seemed aggressive and always shouting at Tris and picking fights. Both kept secrets from each other and picking fights which was just frustrating and eliminated all romance that was in the first book. They seemed a team in the first book and weren’t even close in this one.

There were quite a few deaths within this book. Which was in a way good because they weren’t predictable. However, I found myself feeling no emotional loss when they died. This worries me.

I found this book disappointing in comparison to Divergent, but I am praying that the third installment is much better.

Saving Grace by Jane Green

Saving Grace

Rating: 2/5

ARC provided by NetGallery

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Grace Chapman has the perfect life, living comfortably with her husband, bestselling author Ted, in a picture-perfect farmhouse on the Hudson River in New York State.Then Ted advertises for a new assistant, and Beth walks into their lives. Organized, passionate and eager to learn, Beth quickly makes herself indispensable to Ted and his family. But Grace soon begins to feel side-lined in her home – and her marriage – by this glamorous, ambitious younger woman.

Grace becomes increasingly distressed, as nobody around her believes that Beth could mean any threat.Is Grace just paranoid, as her husband tells her, or is there more to Beth than first thought? Then an unexpected email from Beth’s former employer changes everything. What is Beth really capable of? Can Grace get her life back? And what if she realizes it’s no longer the life she wants?

My Thoughts

(Contains some spoilers)

I’ve never read a Jane Green book before. I had heard good things about her books, but this one left me disappointed. Everything about this book seemed not quite right. The Characters. The plot. The random recipes at the end of chapters. The relationships. The medication…

Grace is married to a famous author, Ted, who’s ego surpasses his talent. Their whole relationship seems off from the beginning, with Grace praying that Ted is in a pleasant mood, spending most of her time tip-toeing around him and trying to do things to make him happy. He doesn’t seem to be violent, but my first thoughts were that she needed to get out of the relationship, because it didn’t sound healthy. But that’s not what the book is about…

When Grace isn’t trying to please her husband, she is a Cookbook editor and enjoys cooking and baking, especially for the homeless shelter. Which is why at the end of every chapter there is a recipe… which I would complete skip. The first time it happened it threw me off. After that, it just got frustrating, breaking the flow of the book.

Then there is the plot. Ted’s last wonderful, amazing, reliable PA has left due to family, and they need a replacement. Which is where plain Beth roles in, which is where Grace’s world comes crashing down. At first, I thought it was indeed Grace going insane and making things up, especially with the flash backs to her mother’s mental illness. However, it turns out it is all due to Beth being conniving. Because it makes total sense that someone that has know you for a few months can convince everyone, including Doctors and your husband, that you are going insane. It makes complete sense that a Doctor would prescribe tonnes of medication, for something you don’t have. The manipulation is just very hard to believe.

I also found the ending unbelievable and unsatisfying – which I won’t spoil  for everyone.

If you don’t want anything too realistic, then I am sure you will enjoy this book more than I did.

The Red House by Mark Haddon

The Red House

Rating: 2/5

I really enjoyed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night time, so when I saw this book I was very eager to read it. I was severely disappointed as it was such a struggle for me to complete. This is the main reason why it has been over a week since my last review, I battled my way to the end of this book, and really couldn’t face writing a review for it.

The book is based around a two estranged siblings, and their families, getting together for a weeks holiday after their mother dies. The book is not only written as a stream of unconscious thought, but flicks between different points of view. Now, I love books that flick between different perspectives, however, countless times within this book I had to re-read the paragraph (or even chapter) to figure out who’s perceptive it was!  In addition to this frustration, all speech and thoughts were written in italics, with no differentiation between the two. I found this really confusing, and frequently had to read the last paragraph back to decipher what was said and by whom. These thoughts were also sometimes really random. And I don’t mean “I like that tree” random, but completely philosophical, nothing to do with the plot, out of place thoughts. For example:

“One person looks around and sees a universe created by a god who watches over its long unfurling, marking the fall of sparrows and listening to the prayers of his finest creation. Another person believes that life, in all its baroque complexity, is a chemical aberration that will briefly decorate the surface of a ball of rock spinning somewhere among a billion galaxies. And the two of them could talk for hours and find no great difference between one another, for neither set of beliefs make us kinder or wiser.”

Although these may be interesting the first few times, it ultimately became tedious and added to the confusion.

There’s no denying that the writing style is very clever, but for me, it didn’t work. Which is a shame, because I found that this really effected my enjoyment of the book, especially as the character’s dilemmas were all very interesting – including that the sister is getting memories of her deformed, stillborn baby, her husband is having and affair and the teenage girl is coming realise her sexual orientation which is conflicting to her religious beliefs. Although I found the characters dull to begin with, there was huge character development throughout to make it somewhat worthwhile.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

“Oz has changed,” Gert said. “The trees don’t talk. The Pond of Truth tells lies, the Wandering Water stays put. The Land of Naught is on fire. People are starting to get old. People are forgetting how it used to be.”

Dorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1)

Rating: 2/5

I love books that do a modern twist on the classic. So when I saw this, where Dorothy “wicked” and destroying the land she once had saved, It was an instant buy.

Amy Gumm has a terrible life. After her father left her for another woman, she is living in a trailer park with her pill addicted mother, in Kansas, and during the day at school is bullied by a cheerleader. When a tornado strikes, Amy finds herself in the middle of Oz. But this isn’t quite the same Oz as the one Amy grew up watching. The magic is being drained, the Munchins are slaves and Dorothy and her gang are a little different. Amy has landed in an Oz where words like good and Wicked have lost their meaning. It’s up to Amy to determine who to trust, and to what extent she will go in order to save the land of Oz.

This novel had a really strong beginning. I didn’t love Amy straight off, but I did find her, and her messed up life, interesting. When she was swept up and landed in Oz, I was excited to see where it would go! Unfortunately, that yellow road lead downhill…

I really liked the idea that each of the gifts given to Dorothy, the Tin Woodman, the Scarecrow and the Lion ended up being their downfall. Except from that, Oz was pretty dull. In the story, the training took up a large bulk. of which a large focus was placed on the love story, which I found really irritating. Once again, the main character falls for the mysterious boy *yawn*. Yes, Nox was intriguing, but the jealousy that overtook Amy after a short period of time, causing essentially a cat fight between the two girls was infuriating.

What was most frustrating is that no where on the book did it say it was part of a series. So I get to the end of a pretty chuncky, and needlessly bulked out book in which very little happens until the last 50 odd pages, to find that no one actually dies. In fact, the knowledge of how to kill Dorothy (found out in the last 10 pages) is written on the blurb!

A very frustrating read. I probably won’t be reading the next one if it’s as drawn out as this one.