Review: The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time, #1) by Robert Jordan

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Rating: ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆
Date Read: January 17 to February 21, 2016
Recommended by: a lot of people
Recommended to:

Done. Finally.

It’s actually not that bad, or rather not as bad as I anticipated.

The first half or so is definitely a struggle to get through if you can’t get past all the Tolkien “homages”–they were basically what I couldn’t put aside every time I started this book only to abandon it a few days later. But the second half is a lot better, especially in terms of pacing and action. I found myself much more invested in the story once I figured out what the end game was… and also once I stopped comparing it to The Lord of the Rings.

Characterization is still a problem for me though, in that I don’t feel inclined toward any of the characters and furthermore not a single one of them is growing on me. For now it’s unlikely I’ll continue this series, but I kind of want to learn more about the dragon reborn mythology, so will keep the next book on the maybe list.

I should also mention that the only reason I even made it to the end of this book was because it rained all week (in the middle of February–the end really is nigh) and I had forgotten my ereader, and with it my newly purchased copy of Small Angry Planet, at a friend’s house.

 

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Review: Cupcakes, Trinkets, and Other Deadly Magic (The Dowser #1) by Meghan Ciana Doidge

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Rating: ★ ★ ½ ☆ ☆
Date Read: February 04 to 06, 2016
Recommended by: Vaginal Fantasy Group
Recommended to:

A few good things about this book is that it’s a quick read, doesn’t take much effort, and currently free in ebook form. Can’t say I enjoyed it, but I didn’t hate it either. It’s just okay and I’m mostly neutral toward the story as a whole. Well, I’m mostly neutral toward a lot of things these days, and this book just happened to catch me at a bad time.

I’m currently going through another reading slump and haven’t found anything un-put-down-able yet, so I’m picking up and putting down a lot of different books in a short amount of time, hoping to find one that’ll capture my interest for more than a few pages. This book did okay even with those odds against it. Although to be honest, I might not have finished if it hadn’t been a book club pick because of the writing. It’s very derivative and you can tell it’s heavily influenced by more famous urban fantasy series featuring female leads with unique powers that all the paranormal guys wanna get with. Primarily Sookie Stackhouse and whoever are the stars of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s and Kresley Cole’s books come to mind. So it’s very noticeably derivative in most, if not all, PNR sense.

But it’s got one thing going for it that other “edgy” series lack, and that’s an undertone of sweetness to the main character and setting–there’s a reason the cover features a cupcake. She’s sweet but rather naive about the world in which she lives. But don’t they all start out this way though?

So if you like baking, sweets, baking sweets, Vancouver, and some romance and magic in your urban fantasy, then you might like this book. You might even think it’s cute, and I suppose it is. It’s a light fluffy dessert that, while not a good fit for my particular salty palate, can be enjoyable for people who like Sarah Addison Allen’s books.

Review: Archangel’s Blade (Guild Hunter, #4) by Nalini Singh

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Rating: ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Date Read: January 24 to 27, 2016
Recommended by:
Recommended to: no one

There was a good reason for my abandoning this book a couple of years ago: too much pain and suffering, which isn’t exactly what I have issue with. It’s the way these things are written about that bothers me. You can’t slip in sexy times or eye-sexing in between episodes of PTSD, or while on a hunt for a depraved killer, and expect me to take the story seriously. Bad timing is incredibly bad here.

So many issues, but where to begin. I have to emphasize one thing right away though. This book is not representative of the previous three, which were good. They have their own issues, but they’re good (for PNR). This one though… There’s something about it that’s quite disjointed. It was not so much content but the pacing that did it for me. I kept getting pulled out of the story every few pages. It was to either roll my eyes or facepalm because of all the inappropriately timed sexing going on. Like seriously, is that all these characters think about? Even while chasing a bloodthirsty psychopath?

There were things that bothered me about this series as a whole, but the world building and mythology were interesting enough that they overshadowed them. This book, though again, I don’t know. It feels to me like Nalini Singh took all the problems of the previous books and ramped them up, but she neglected to bring back the things that made the previous books memorable. So all that’s left is pain and misery… and a lot of–angsty?–sex*.

As interesting as the world and mythology and angels are**, I cannot put up with Singh’s oversexed writing style anymore. It’s just so over the top and takes itself too seriously. It’s ridiculous and quite comical how dramatic everything is. Doesn’t help that the main characters keep stripping each other with their eyes. *facepalm* These two really know how to ruin a moment… and a whole book.

A big thanks to Milda for reading this book with me because otherwise I would have abandoned it for the second time.

 

* There isn’t really that much literal sex. It just feels like there is because Dmitri and Honor keep thinking about it.

** They really are–so much so that I wish another author had written this series

 

The more I think about it, the more I think this series could be amazing in Max Gladstone’s hands.

Review: Radiance (Wraith Kings #1) by Grace Draven

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Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Date Read: January 05 to 07, 2016
Recommended by: Vaginal Fantasy Group
Recommended to:

Better than I expected, but still it’s not for me.

I have no problem with the romance though, surprisingly. I thought it was actually nice and well developed. The main characters started out as unwilling participants in an arranged marriage to seal a shaky political alliance. They’re good-hearted, wholesome characters that you root for, so it’s nice to read about them learning about each other, and fortunately, much of the book is spent on them growing to like one another. Those feelings deepen later on, much later on. If I remember correctly, they don’t fall into bed until the 80% mark. So no head-over-heels insta-love here. Rather, this one’s a slow burning kind of romance.

My issue with this book is all about the writing style. I couldn’t really get into the story until near the end, and I think it’s because it’s too explain-y. For a world that’s not that complicated and characters not that complex, there sure is a lotta explainin’. The POV alternates between the leads from chapter to chapter, and too much, I feel, is revealed about each character’s thoughts, feelings, motivations, wishes, goals, etc etc. So while you get a good sense of the characters… there’s almost no room left for surprise. But if you enjoy the characters, none of that would matter.

Overall, a good read (for a romance), but light on SFF elements. This book was picked for Vaginal Fantasy’s January BOTM, and I look forward to what those ladies have to say.

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Just figured out who Brishen and the Kai remind me of (aesthetically speaking):
Anomander Rake and his people from the Malazan books.