Series

Book Review: Glass Sword

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2)

Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard – Paperback, 464 pages – Published February 11th 2016 by Orion (first published February 9th 2016)

When I read the first novel in this series, Red Queen, I was absolutely hooked on Aveyard’s writing. So I found the second book, Glass Sword, eager to follow Mare’s story as she fought alongside the Scarlet Guard and bring the newbloods to safety. Although the book is good, it was not as amazing as I had first hoped. Still, I’m really looking forward to reading the next one.

After the battle in the Bowl of Bones, Cal and Mare are on the run. Everyone knows their faces, their stories – the stories Maven and Elara are telling, anyway. Cal, the fallen prince, the murderer of the king and his own father. And Mare, the Lightning Girl, to one who corrupted the prince. And of course, the Scarlet Guard are being hunted.

Farley, Kilorn, Cal, Mare, and Shade steal a jet from the Scarlet Guard’s hidden island, and set out to collect as many people from Julian’s list before Maven finds them. Sadly, they are not always the first ones there. Eventually, they have a small army ready, just in time for meeting Jon – a newblood with vision that stretches farther than any Silver eye’s. He hints at their fate, the action they should take. In three days, they will free both Reds and Silvers from Corros prison.

As always, this war brings death. One death is particularly important, but I won’t ruin it. And one death honestly broke my heart. (I was kinda hoping they would come back throughout the whole of the rest of the book, even though I knew they were dead.) I was so not expecting that death.

The not-relationship between Mare and Cal is continued, and sort of developed. They clearly still care for each other, but try not to let their affections get in their way.

Honestly, I didn’t like Mare that much in this book. She came across as kind of stuck up, often pointing out how she was so “valuable” and “special”. She also became colder and more comfortable with murder, but that would happen to most people in a violent environment like hers. Still, I felt like she lost some of her original charm and personality, and became too harsh and, well, bitchy.

Also, Mare misses Maven (or the person she thought he was, anyway) which is natural. She tries to remind herself that he was never truly like that, and that he was always a monster. But I actually found myself still rooting for him, hoping for him to come out innocent. I just don’t seem to hate him as much as intended.

Despite Mare’s character flaws, the story was still great. The ending has definitely left me wanting more. What will happen now that the truth is out? Now that the imprisoned Silvers are free to tell their stories? I can’t wait to find out. 4 stars.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: Kahayatle

Kahayatle

Kahayatle (Apocalypsis #1) by Elle Casey – eBook, 385 pages – Published June 22nd 2012 by Elle Casey

I can’t actually remember where I got this – probably Instafreebie or from the author’s newsletter – but I know I got my copy for free.

The book’s about a couple of kids coming together after the death of every adult and young child. It’s hard to survive, with everyone fighting over any supplies, but things are getting really bad – as in, cannibalism bad.

Bryn partners herself with the skinny, gay kid hiding next door, despite knowing he’s not gonna be much help in the defense department. He tells her about the death of his little sister – eaten by other kids. They decide it’s no longer safe to stay where they are, and are proven right when attacked inside their home. They plan to retreat to the everglades, where the swamps should be inhospitable enough for others to avoid them, but still safe enough to survive in. On their way, they find Bodo, a German exchange student.

Eventually, they do end up at their destination. But the everglades – or Kahayatle, as the indians call it – hold many new problems.

I did notice a fair few grammar mistakes, and just generally found this book a little unprofessional at times. Often, I find unprofessional books really hard to read – but I actually enjoyed this. I’m even considering buying (or borrowing) the rest of the series.

The tiny bits of romance did seem a little out-of-place, not integrated particularly well sometimes. But I suppose it’ll be developed later in the series, and I didn’t find it too lovey or anything, which is definitely good.

With a bit more polishing, I think this could easily be a 4 star book. But for now, I’m going to give it 3.5. It was a good read, but there are some improvements that could be made.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: The Monstrous Child

The Monstrous Child

The Monstrous Child (Mortal Gods #3) by Francesca Simon – Paperback, 320 pages – Published December 1st 2016 by Faber Faber

I finished this on Tuesday but have had some technical problems, which is why I’m posting it now. (Sorry.)

Apparently this is book #3 in the Mortal Gods series – but I read it believing it to be a standalone novel and really enjoyed it like that. It’s another short, new YA book, which a pretty large font to fill up more space. I never used to like short books, but I’ve found some I’ve really enjoyed recently, including this one.

One of Loki’s (monstrous) children is Hel, a girl with a perfectly normal human body… except her legs are deadLike, full-on decaying dead. Still, she’s a goddess, even if she’s never treated as one.

Hel has learned to just deal with what she’s got in life and carry on. But when she’s kidnapped and taken to Asgard – the home of the gods – she finds an unexpected light of hope. His name is Baldr, and he’s the only one who’s ever treated her like she’s normal. The only problem is that he’s married.

And then, just to make matters worse, Hel is literally thrown into the underworld, sentenced to be the queen of Nifelheim for all of eternity. It’s cold, smelly, and soon enough, full of dead people. She’s alone, plotting her revenge on the gods, with no chance of escape – but at least it’s hers. She can build her own fortress without anyone guiding her; she can order the dead around however she pleases. And she can have a high seat ready, beside hers, for when Baldr inevitably comes for her.

What she wasn’t planning was a third seat…

Anyway, Hel has created Hel for the dead, the End of Days is drawing nearer, and dear old Dad has dropped by for a favour. All very… fun. 

I thought this was a really different kind of book. The narrative voice is really sarcastic and youthful, pretty funny too, as well as still sounding like a Norse goddess. She also sounded somewhat modern, too – which I suppose would be the case if you were immortal. Sometimes I found her to find a little too sarcastic and bitter, a little too chatty and “different”. I don’t know, it just didn’t sound all that natural sometimes.

The whole Norse theme was refreshing – not some paranormal YA romance that you see everywhere – and really well told. Hel was a really interesting character, too; modern enough to relate to yet still believably a Norse goddess.

As I said, I read this without realising there were other books before it in the series. I didn’t realise that at all while reading – I didn’t feel like I was missing anything and still enjoyed it plenty. I’m going to say 3.5 to 4 stars for The Monstrous Child. I’ll have to look out for the other books.

DSCN9574.JPG

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Superman Action Comics Volume #2: Welcome to the Planet

Superman Action Comics Volume 2: Welcome to the Planet

Superman Action Comics (Action Comics III, Volume #2 – DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #2: Welcome to the Planet by Dan Jurgens – eBook, 130 pages – Published by DC Entertainment (first published May 30th 2017)

Another great comic, featuring some of our favourite people – including Clark Kent, Superman (no, they’re not the same person), Lois, Jon and even Superwoman.

Carrying on from the previous volume, we’re waiting to discover who this new Superman is after the original Superman’s death, not to mention the mysterious Clark Kent who’s turned up too. And tying into Superwoman, Lana is still mourning the death of her friend when the replacement Lois turns up.

I’ve found this plot really intriguing – what happened to Superman and Lois Lane? Where have all these “replacements” come from?

The first issue(s) in this volume touch(es) on Lex becoming the new Superman, featuring several other famous heroes. Again, this ties in to Superwoman.

I love Jon, and it’s nice to see Lois and Clark/Superman making themselves a little life together. And I like how the different Clarks and Lois’ have their little differences as characters, despite technically being the same people. And Jon is trying to cope with the change in lifestyle, with this whole new world.

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I think this is a really interesting story currently. It’s a good comic in general, and I plan to keep up with it. 4 stars.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Blue Beetle Volume #1: The More Things Change

The More Things Change

Blue Beetle (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: The More Things Change by Keith Giffen – eBook, 146 pages – Published by DC Entertainment (first published May 10th 2017)

I really didn’t know much about this comic before. All I knew about Blue Beetle is that my boyfriend pointed out how he, in Injustice 2, has a face like Groot. I just can’t unsee it now.

Another teen hero – but one that was not raised into the role. Jaime Reyes has a strange beetle attached to his back, found by him and his friends. With the “help” of Ted Kord, Jaime goes into some pretty interesting scenarios, playing hero. And then Doctor Fate makes an appearance, warning them about the scarab being “unreliable”. Extensive tests on Jaime bring to light what is happening to him.

He runs into The Posse, a gang who are well-acquainted with Jaime’s mother. And then Mordecai shows up, threatening Mrs Reyes’s life. But it’s not her he’s after.

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I won’t lie, I kind of had no idea what exactly was happening half the time. I liked the banter and humour in this – especially with Ted Kord – but I couldn’t really keep up with the main plot. Maybe if I read more, I’ll understand what’s going on. I’m not sure. 3 stars for this.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Supergirl Volume #1: Reign of the Cyborg Supermen

Reign of the Cyborg Supermen

Supergirl (DC Universe Rebirth) Volume #1: Reign of the Cyborg Supermen by Steve Orlando – eBook, 166 pages – Published April 4th 2017 by DC Entertainment

I went on a little comic spree yesterday and this is my favourite of the three I read. It was my first introduction to the Supergirl series, and I really enjoyed it. I look forward to reading more!

Kara Zor-El, the cousin to Superman, is sent to Earth while her home city is dying. She;s given a secret identity, a human life to lead under the name of Kara Danvers. Her human parents try to help her settle in and live like a normal human, going to school with other teens and even learning to drive a car. But then her father – who she thought was dead – returns, with some strange new (and very modern) changes.

I love Kara as a character. She’s a sassy teen, but she also has so much more going on. She’s from a whole different planet, she lost her parents (twice, now) and has to make decisions that no teenager could ever dream of.

And the art style in this is a bit different to other comics – more sketchy, kind of sharper. I liked it.

The overall plot was really good – Kara’s dad, Zor-El, is trying to rebuild Argon for her. But his visions are twisted, and he’s causing harm to Kara’s new family while trying to bring back her old one.

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

This was easily one of my favourite comics I’ve read. 5 stars. It was so interesting and exciting and I just love Kara’s character so much.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Graphic Novel/Comic Book Review: Superwoman Volume #1: Who Killed Superwoman?

Superwoman Volume #1: Who Killed Superwoman?

Who Killed Superwoman? (Superwoman: DC Universe Rebirth Volume #1) by Phil Jimenez – eBook, 170 pages – Published May 9th 2017 by DC Entertainment (first published April 4th 2017)

I finished this ARC this morning, just one day before the file expires. Oops.

So the protagonist of this novel is Lana Lang – probably a lesser-known character from the DC Universe. She, along with the infamous Lois Lane, doubles as a Superwoman – protecting the city now that Superman is gone. Of course, they still have Lex Luthor playing Superman, but he seems to be bringing more trouble than good.

I won’t ruin it for any potential readers, but I will tell you this: Lex’s past is really coming back to haunt him now. After all these years, there appears to be a new Luthor on the block…

My favourite part of this was Lana’s battle with anxiety. Yeah, I know, I always point out stuff like that. But this was really good – I found it so relatable at times. It was so refreshing to see a big superhero character have human issues like anxiety.

And I actually found myself feeling kinda sorry for Lex. He was only trying to help (though I suppose we all know the road to Hell is paved with good intentions).

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I really liked this volume. The art was great, the plot interesting, and the characters relatable. 4 out of 5 stars. A series I’ll be reading more of.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Manga/Graphic Novel Review: The Beast’s Tale

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

A few days ago I posted my review of the first instalment of this collection, Belle’s Tale.

The Beast's Tale

The Beast’s Tale (Beauty and the Beast #2) by Mallory Reaves – eBook, 178 pages – Published March 2017 by TokyoPop

There’s not a whole lot extra I can say about this one, as I mentioned the art style last time. I did like how this featured the Beast’s side – as the title suggests – and therefore provides more insight into his own experiences and feelings. It was nice to read these two parts together; the same story but from different perspectives. I think it was a pretty unique was of telling the classic fairytale.

This has never been my favourite story, but I still enjoyed it. I preferred this book to the first one, as it seems a bit more original and took a bit of a new turn on the original story. Overall, a strong 3.5 stars.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Manga/Graphic Novel Review: Belle’s Tale

pro_reader

Thank you to the author/publisher for accepting my request to read and review this book

I’ve never actually read the original book of Beauty and the Beast but I love manga and thought I’d request a review copy from the publisher. I’m assuming it’s been kept pretty close to the original story, but like I said, I don’t really know.

Belle's Tale

Belle’s Tale (Beauty and the Beast Volume #1) by Mallory Reaves – eBook, 178 pages – Published March 2017 by TokyoPop

Most people are pretty familiar with the general plot of this tale, where Belle meets the Beast and is kept prisoner in exchange for her father’s freedom. She discovers the truth about what happened to her mother all those years ago, and begins to fall in love with the once-terrifying Beast. But when the village learns of his existence, they are not welcoming or friendly toward him. And his time is running out…

I’ve always found it to be a bit of a weird story, but I suppose it is kind of cute? But this review isn’t on the plot, as this is just an adaptation of the original. The art that’s used is quite nice, not particularly outstanding in my opinion but still good. I always find these manga adaptations to be a lot easier to understand, but the watermark on this review copy did get in the way a bit! Obviously, you won’t have that issue if you buy the novel, though.

If you’re a fan of the classic tale then you’d probably really like this. And it’d make a great gift, I think. 3.5 stars.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491

Book Review: Evil Rises

Evil Rises

Evil Rises (Noah Reid #0.5) by Wesley Robert Lowe – eBook, 42 pages – First published June 10th 2014

This is just a short prequel to Lowe’s Noah Reid series, with a little extract from the first book included at the end. The story itself is only about 35 pages long.

There’s a little intro to the culture and the origin of Shaolin Martial Arts, which is an important theme in this story. It helped to understand the story, so I appreciated that detail.

The beginning of this story is almost a prequel to the prequel; the childhood experience of Wudan, who would later become Master Wu. Why he chose to take up Shaolin training, and then why he decided to leave “Heaven” to teach the art to others.

The protagonist of the series, Noah, is introduced in this story. He’s not a big character here, though – we’re simply given a taste of what he’ll be like and what purpose he will serve. Instead, this story focuses on some of Master Wu’s students: Tommy, Garret, and (presumably) the antagonist of the series, Chin. We see how Chin went from a young student to a criminal businessman, and are even given some of his motives. And then, after a tragic “accident”, we see his former friends and colleagues planning to defeat him when the time comes.

I like the idea of this, and having all this backstory is really interesting. But this was one of those books that just didn’t stand put to me. The writing seemed mediocre, the characters average at best. I didn’t dislike it, exactly, but it didn’t really excite or interest me. 2.5 stars, as it wasn’t awful but it just wasn’t my kind of thing.

866A98B32CBD639D32E20CEBF70E4491