Paranormal

[Review] Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone, #1)

Author: Laini Taylor

Series: Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1

Publication Date: September 27th, 2011

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Number of Pages: 418

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA, Romance

Source: Public library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages–not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When one of the strangers–beautiful, haunted Akiva–fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret le

arning the truth about herself? (more…)

[Review] Vicious – V.E. Schwab

Vicious

Author: V.E. Schwab

Series: Vicious #1 (I think)

Publication Date: September 24th, 2013

Publisher: Tor

Number of Pages: 364

Genre: Adult Fiction, Action, Paranormal

Source: Public library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository


Summary

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world.

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end?

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.’

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[Review] Vampire Academy – Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy

Author: Richelle Mead

Series: Vampire Academy #1

Publication Date: January 1st, 2007

Publisher: Razorbill

Number of Pages: 336

Genre: Paranormal, Romance, YA

Source: Library

Links: Goodreads | Amazon | The Book Depository

Summary

Prepare to be Tested.
The story that kicked off the international #1 bestselling Vampire Academy series is NOW A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE.
Hit Theaters February 7th, 2014!
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger. . . .
Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.

(more…)

The Clockwork Angel – Cassandra Clare (DNF)

Clockwork Angel

Clockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices, #1)

Author: Cassandra Clare

Series: The Infernal Devices #1

Publish Date: August 31st, 2010

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal, YA

In a time when Shadowhunters are barely winning the fight against the forces of darkness, one battle will change the course of history forever. Welcome to the Infernal Devices trilogy, a stunning and dangerous prequel to the New York Times bestselling Mortal Instruments series.

The year is 1878. Tessa Gray descends into London’s dark supernatural underworld in search of her missing brother. She soon discovers that her only allies are the demon-slaying Shadowhunters—including Will and Jem, the mysterious boys she is attracted to. Soon they find themselves up against the Pandemonium Club, a secret organization of vampires, demons, warlocks, and humans. Equipped with a magical army of unstoppable clockwork creatures, the Club is out to rule the British Empire, and only Tessa and her allies can stop them….


Review

Yes I DNF-ed this book. After hearing that The Infernal Devices series was better than The Mortal Instruments series, I read Clockwork Angel expecting it to be great. I read the first two books in TMI series but I never finished the third book. City of Glass was just boring and in the end, I had to return it to the library before I was finished. Naturally, I thought that I’d read TID since there are less books in the series and because the majority of the people who’ve read both series have said that they prefer this one over TMI.

I might as well have gone back to TMI because I really really hated Clockwork Angel. It was okay when I first started it. The historical-y old-timey speak was really pretentious but it was bearable. But then, I began to see the character of Tessa. And I hated it. I hated it with a burning, fiery passion. I dreaded the moment when I’d open the book again, hoping that some type of change would hit Tessa. Clearly, nothing really happened to her personality or else I’d still be reading the book. I swear, every time she opened her mouth to say something or think about how girls shouldn’t do certain things I wanted to slap her. Oh you say that it’s unladylike to read novels, but then you go and fangirl over other books that are clearly novels. I looked up these titles just to make sure too! The Woman in White is a mystery novel. Tessa was hypocritical and this really annoyed me.

OH BUT THEN. THEN WE MET THE OTHER CHARACTERS. I wanted to wring the necks of every character I’d meet and to be able to do that every time I read about some stupid action they did.

I struggled through 200ish pages of the book, realized that I wasn’t even halfway through and after much consideration, decided that I wasn’t going to spend any more of my time on it. Obviously, I wasn’t going to begin to enjoy it anytime soon. Even though I had heard that it gets better, by that point, I was too done with the book to care. And thus, I decided to DNF Clockwork Angel.

I’m pretty positive that I’m not going to pick up another Cassandra Clare book after this. Malec is fabulous, but the books themselves aren’t as great.

The Monstrumologist – Rick Yancey

The Monstrumologist

The Monstrumologist (The Monstrumologist, #1)

Author: Rick Yancey

Series: The Monstrumologist #1

Publish Date: September 22nd, 2009

Genre: Horror, YA, Paranormal, Historical Fiction

These are the secrets I have kept. This is the trust I never betrayed. But he is dead now and has been for more than forty years, the one who gave me his trust, the one for whom I kept these secrets. The one who saved me . . . and the one who cursed me.

So starts the diary of Will Henry, orphaned assistant to Dr. Pellinore Warthorpe, a man with a most unusual specialty: monstrumology, the study of monsters. In his time with the doctor, Will has met many a mysterious late-night visitor, and seen things he never imagined were real. But when a grave robber comes calling in the middle of the night with a gruesome find, he brings with him their most deadly case yet.

A gothic tour de force that explores the darkest heart of man and monster and asks the question: When does man become the very thing he hunts?


Review

Before I start this review, I have to say a few things regarding The Monstrumologist.

Firstly, I picked this book for a school book report and that I read it because every other girl in my English class was reading some sort of contemporary novel (and it was on my neverending to-be-read list). The next couple of posts on my blog will be related to this book because one of the options for the projects were to create a series of blog posts. They’ll cover a variety of topics from symbolism, theme, to other aspects of the novel. Needless to say, there will most definitely be spoilers. I’ll do my best to try to censor or warn but my teacher is going to read this so I’m sorry in advance if you get spoiled.

Maybe I’ll turn this into a sort of book feature. “Deconstructing a Novel” or something like that.

But yes, onto the review.

I was so so so excited to read The Monstrumologist. It had been on my to-be-read list for a while and omigod the premise sounds amazing. It mixes historical fiction (which I love) and monsters and it sounded really good. And I’m happy that I picked this one. I really enjoyed reading The Monstrumologist but there were a few problems here and there that I had with it.

Obviously it’s going to be completely fictional so any qualms I had about how realistic it would be flew out the window. Sure, I questioned the relationship between Will Henry and Dr. Warthrop (*cough child labor cough*) but in a world with monsters, why not?

It’s classified as a horror novel, yet never once did I ever feel scared. The Anthropophagi are depicted as fierce, man-eating beasts with long claws, huge jaws, and the ability to jump forty feet high. While the monsters and setting are fantastically described, the mood and suspense fell flat. The mood did feel historic (as the book is set in the 1800s) but there was a noticeable lack of suspense and fear. In my opinion, had Yancey had this aspect, the novel would have been even better than it was. While this book was missing this one emotion, it did have some pretty gory scenes in which I felt disgust (reading about worms come out of some nasty sores? ew.)

Additionally, the book started to really drag about halfway through. It had already been a slow book but it had really start to become boring at this point. The Monstrumologist chronicles the entire Anthropophagi case, from the moment Will Henry and Warthrop discover the first death to the aftermath of the case. As a result, the moments that are less suspenseful and exciting became extremely slow and were the reason that it took me so long to finish it. Would it surprise you if I said that entire 450ish-page book happens over the course of 2ish weeks? It feels like their expedition would have taken so much longer when you read it but it’s just how slow the plot progresses.

The characters are characterized very well. I have a love-hate relationship with Warthrop at the moment. I adore his eccentric personality but I hated some of the things he did and said to Will Henry. He was portrayed as a hard-working man that didn’t understand people emotionally. His backstory did explain why he was like that though. His change over the course of the book was simply great. He grew to learn how to understand people a little more, especially Will Henry, and I enjoyed reading about the progression and changes in his character over the course of the book.

He had a catch-phrase which some people might have found annoying. Contrary to this, it made me smile every time I read it.

“Will Henry!” floated his call through the open basement door. “Will Henry, where are you? Snap to, Will Henry!” Page 38

The main character, Will Henry, is a 12-year-old boy, orphaned a mere year earlier. He has been taken in as Dr. Warthrop’s apprentice and is the author of the journals. The book is entirely from his point-of-view. Will Henry was an interesting character. Although he isn’t forced to stay with Dr. Warthrop, in fact, he’s been asked many times during the book if he wants to live with a foster home instead, he stays with Dr. Warthrop for reasons unknown to the reader at the beginning of the novel. His reasons and desires for staying are complicated and also related to his back-story. While the writing and language is significantly more mature in terms of vocabulary and word choice than a 12-year-old would have, it can be attributed to the fact that these journals had been penned years after the incidents had happened. His character was also portrayed very well.

I wasn’t satisfied with the ending. The epilogue felt rushed and cheesy compared to the rest of the book. It flashed back to the future, the same setting as the prologue, right after the man (he’s unnamed in the book) has finished reading the journals. It was fine up until the last two pages. Then the events that transpire feel like a cop-out. Yancey ended it with a scene that felt unfinished and a quote! I would have been perfectly okay with it if there had been no prologue or epilogue. I felt that they didn’t contribute to the story of Dr. Warthrop and Will Henry. The ending of the last chapter before the prologue felt like a more appropriate ending.

About halfway through the book, I realized that this was the same author that wrote The 5th Wave. While I haven’t read that one yet, I’ve been hearing a lot of good things about it and after reading The Monstrumologist, my expectations have skyrocketed. I will be picking up the sequel, The Curse of the Wendigo as well.

4/5 Stars