City of Heavenly Fire

If you’ve come here looking for spoilers, you have definitely come to the wrong place. As a matter of fact, I’m not going to tell you much of anything about City of Heavenly Fire, the long-awaited conclusion to Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. Do yourself a favor and read it. And the rest of the series. And the prequel trilogy. And anything else that Cassie Clare writes. Even if it’s her grocery list. I’m pretty sure even that would be epic.

For those not caught up with all things Shadowhunter, you absolutely MUST read the first five books of the Mortal Instruments saga before picking up City of Heavenly Fire. Those books are City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass, City of Fallen Angels, and City of Lost Souls. (And no, seeing the movie adaptation of City of Bones is not a substitute for reading the book. In my opinion, the movie was absolute crap and didn’t begin to do the book justice.) I’d also highly recommend reading the prequel series, The Infernal Devices (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, and Clockwork Princess). There’s a fair amount of crossover, and you may not get the importance of certain things if you don’t have the background provided in the prequels. (Hint: Brother Zachariah for the win!)

I honestly don’t know what I can say about City of Heavenly Fire without giving too much away. From the very first page, I was enthralled, and I’m still processing a lot of what happened. Throughout this 725-page tome, I laughed, I cried, and I got angry. It was an emotional journey, and one that I won’t soon forget…especially since I was extremely worried about my favorite character for much of the latter part of the book. (If you’ve read my other posts on these books, you likely know who I’m talking about.)

Those of you who’ve read the series thus far will get everything you’ve come to expect in a Mortal Instruments book. Snarkiness, sadness, redemption, action, emotional upheaval, intense battles, loss, fear, laughter, and love overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds. The characters we met in the first book–Clary, Jace, Simon, Alec, Isabelle, and Magnus–have grown so much, endured so much, to get where they are, and this final war with Sebastian, Clary’s own brother, is their greatest battle yet. They are being tempered in a great fire, and, if they emerge, they will be stronger than ever.

I will say that the ending, while heart-breaking at times, was rather satisfying, and didn’t leave me with–you know–the urge to throw the book across the room or egg the author’s house. (I cannot say the same for my feelings when I finished reading Allegiant.) I felt it was a very fitting end to a beloved series, and it served well as a new beginning for many of the characters who’ve come to mean so much to me.

The official City of Heavenly Fire book trailer was released a few weeks before the book, and it captures the basic mood of the book. (I will admit I’m not crazy about the trailer. Something about it felt a bit off. The same is definitely NOT true of the book!) Check it about below, compare it to the book, and judge for yourself.

I first met these characters six years ago, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of the time we’ve spent together. Luckily, I don’t really have to say goodbye. I’m fairly certain I’ll see them again in Cassie Clare’s next Shadowhunter series, The Dark Artifices. We definitely get glimpses of what we’ll encounter in the new series, starting with Lady Midnight in 2015. Our newest adventure will center around Julian Blackthorn and Emma Carstairs in the Los Angeles Institute, and, if what I saw in City of Heavenly Fire is accurate, we can expect another thrill ride from these young Shadowhunters!

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I know this post didn’t give you a ton of information about City of Heavenly Fire, and I do apologize for that. It’s just that this series means a great deal to me, and I find it rather difficult to put my thoughts on it into words. Those I’ve used here don’t feel adequate in any way. If you take anything away from this, though, I hope it’s this: Read anything you can find by Cassandra Clare. She will wrap you up in an intense story, give you characters you grow to love, and teach you a little something about caring for your fellow man (or vampire, werewolf, warlock, whatever) along the way. Her books–this one and any others–are not to be missed.

The series is complete...for now.

The series is complete…for now.

Endure

A word to the wise: If you haven’t read the first three books in Carrie Jones’ Need series (Need, Captivate, and Entice), it might be a good idea to do that now.  And if it’s been about three years since you’ve read these books, a refresher might be in order before proceeding with the fourth and final book in the series, Endure. (Should have taken my own advice on that one.)

So, I’m spending part of my reading this year catching up on various series. It’s hard to keep up when most of what one reads is part of a series.  Three years ago, during a week-long snowstorm here in South Carolina, I read the first three books in the Need series by Carrie Jones.  Fast forward a little over three years, and I finally started reading the fourth book, Endure, during yet another freak snowstorm in South Carolina.  (When I say “freak” here, I’m talking like 6 inches of snow…which basically shut down the entire state.  It was a big deal, and I didn’t leave my house–or my pajamas–for days.) It seemed to fit as this series takes place in Maine, and pixies have brought on some sort of super-winter as a prelude to Ragnarok. (Don’t know what Ragnarok is? Look it up. That’s my sassy librarian answer for you.)

Anyway, I say I started this fourth book during Snowpocalypse 2014, but I didn’t finish it until a bit later.  It was difficult to get invested in the series again after spending so much time away from it.  To put things in perspective, it took me about three weeks to get through the first 30 pages of Endure…but I read the last 230 pages in the span of a single evening. Once I refamiliarized myself with the characters and story, I was enthralled, but it did take some time…and a mention of my favorite Norse god, Loki (who I will always and forever picture as the glorious Tom Hiddleston).

Zara White is not exactly a normal girl. Not anymore, anyway. After turning pixie to save Nick–her boyfriend and a werewolf–from Valhalla, Zara has hopes that things can return to some kind of normal.  But normal’s not really possible when you are tied to a pixie king, being hunted by another one, your grandma–a weretiger–is missing, people all over your town are being abducted, and you’re at the center of it all.

As if Zara didn’t have enough to deal with, Nick wants nothing more to do with her now that she’s a pixie–a pixie queen, as a matter of fact–and Zara’s growing feelings for Astley, the good pixie king, are more confusing than ever. It’s quite the conundrum, but Zara will have to put her love-life on the back burner for now…especially if she is to have any hope of halting the apocalypse. No pressure.

Zara is facing some tough choices. How can she train her human friends to fight evil pixies? Can she retain her humanness while taking her place as Astley’s queen?  What does that even mean, and what will Zara do when some things are completely taken out of her hands?  Will she still be a strong leader? Will she still save the world from certain destruction? How? What sacrifices will Zara have to make to protect those she loves the most…and will those sacrifices be enough? There’s only one way to find out. Jump headfirst into trouble…

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Now that I’ve finished the entire series, I must say that the first book was probably my favorite, and this last one came in a distant second. (It would have been a close second, but it just took me way to long to get re-invested. The perils of loving to read serial fiction.) The entire series turns pixie lore on its ear, and it pays homage to Norse mythology. That’s something I appreciate.

On top of all that stuff, the Need series features some very strong female characters. Yes, Zara is the protagonist and is seen as the strongest of the series’ female characters–which I think she is–but there are many other strong women and girls given time in this series, and each one has her own brand of strength. From Zara to her grandma to Issie to Cassidy and several more, the females in this book do not depend on men to do their fighting for them. These ladies go out and make things happen, and they are fully capable of stopping the end of the world on their own, thank you very much. (The guys do help some, but the action definitely centers on the girls in the group, in my opinion.)

All in all, the Need series is a great read if you’re into supernatural stuff with a bit of good, old-fashioned mythology thrown in. You may need to look up a few things if you’re unfamiliar with Norse mythology, but that’s part of the fun! (Granted, my idea of “fun” may need a bit of work.)

For more information on the Need series and author Carrie Jones, check out her website at http://www.carriejonesbooks.com/. You can find links to all of Carrie’s social media pages there.

Published in: on March 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm  Comments (2)  
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Daylighters

Danger, danger! Turn back now if you haven’t read the first fourteen (yes, fourteen!) books in Rachel Caine’s Morganville Vampires series. They’ve all led up to the fifteenth and final book in the series, Daylighters, and you absolutely must read every single book before you dive into the finale.  If you’re wondering what the first fourteen books are, here you go:

If you’re not already immersed in this fantastic series, now’s a great time to get into it. You don’t have to wait for anymore books! For now, though, I’m going to reflect a bit on the final book in the series, so be off with you if you’re not caught up!

It’s been a wild ride. A few years ago, my friend Jennifer introduced me to the Morganville Vampires series, and, after reading the first book, I was hooked. (I didn’t know at the time that I would be in for a fifteen book commitment, but that’s okay. I love reading books in a series, and, honestly, it wouldn’t upset me now if there were more books to come. There aren’t, by the way.)

During this journey through Morganville, I’ve lamented that the main characters never have anything good happen to them for long. That doesn’t really change in Daylighters (nor would I expect it to). In this final installment, Claire and company are fighting what may be their most dangerous foe yet.

The Daylight Foundation and their charismatic leader Fallon are ridding Morganville of vampires. Sounds like it would be a good thing, right? Well, things aren’t as rosy as Fallon would have everyone believe…and Claire knows it. She and her friends see firsthand just what Fallon is doing to keep the vampires corralled, and they know things are bound to get much worse. (They’re right, as usual.) “Worse” comes in the form of Michael and Eve being split up, Shane becoming some sort of weird hellhound, Claire being arrested, and their beloved Glass House being threatened with demolition. Sunshine and roses, yes?

Things may actually be sunshine and roses for many of the humans in Morganville, but there is a definite undercurrent of menace in this new order. And when Claire’s vampire allies–Myrnin, Amelie, and Oliver–find sufficient strength and will to fight back against this new threat, all bets are off.

War is coming to Morganville, and, loathe as she is to admit it–even to herself–Claire wonders which side she should really be on. Should she side with the Daylighters, who are bringing a peaceful existence to many of the humans who lived in fear for so long, or should she stay with the vampires who founded this town?

There really is no choice for Claire and her friends. Even though many of the vampires are truly terrifying, many more have shown loyalty to the humans in their charge. How could Claire possibly abandon Michael, Myrnin, Amelie, and even Oliver (who is grumpy on a good day)?

Claire, Shane, Eve, Michael, and company will use every tool and ally at their disposal to bring the Daylighters down…but will it be enough? Can vampires and humans work together to bring down a fanatical zealot and convince his followers that a peaceful coexistence is possible?

No matter what the outcome, one thing is certain. A new day is dawning in Morganville. Will it be a day full of light and possibilities or a day soaked in the blood of war? I’ll leave that for you to discover…

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This finale, like the other books in the series, was quite the roller-coaster ride. There were times when I wondered how on earth my favorite characters could possibly get out of their predicaments. I was anxious throughout the bulk of the book, and I longed for a happy-ish ending, especially since I hadn’t got one in fourteen other books! I’m thrilled to say that, to a certain extent, I got what I wanted. The ending was rather satisfying, and I closed the book with a contented sigh.

After fifteen books, I am sad to say goodbye to Morganville and the characters I’ve come to know and love. I’ll especially miss Myrnin, the mad scientist vampire. Every time I put on my killer bunny slippers (with sharp, pointy teeth!), I think of him. Yes, Claire, Shane, Michael, and Eve drove the stories along, but, for me, Myrnin was one of the main reasons I kept coming back for more.  (That probably says more about me that I’m comfortable revealing.)

If you’d like to learn more about The Morganville Vampires or author Rachel Caine, take the time to visit one of these sites. If you go to the young adult page on the author’s website and click on YA short fiction, you’ll find a selection of short stories that explore Morganville and its residents just a bit more. (These may also be on the official Morganville Vampires site.)

Goodbye, Morganville. It’s been an adventure.

Published in: on December 16, 2013 at 12:52 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The 5th Wave

Every once in a while, I come across a book that absolutely blows my mind. Some of my favorites are: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, American Gods, Watchmen, the Harry Potter series, The Hunger Games, anything by Cassandra Clare, and a few others. Now, I can add another book to the list–The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey. I read one of Mr. Yancey’s other books, The Monstrumologist, a few years ago, so I had an inkling that I was in for quite the roller coaster. That’s an understatement. At times, The 5th Wave was absolutely excruciating to read (in a good way). It was disturbing, exciting, anxiety-inducing, and a fine example of what really good science fiction should be. Yes, the book is about an alien invasion, but, in my most humble opinion, it also forces the reader to examine his/her own humanity.

No one knew what to expect when the Others arrived. It soon became clear what they could expect–the worst.

The first wave knocked out power. The second wave brought massive tsunamis and eliminated all coastal cities. The third wave delivered disease that would wipe out most of who remained. The fourth wave silenced many of the survivors. What will the fifth wave bring?

That’s a question that plagues Cassie, a young girl who has become a warrior to survive. Just a short time ago, her only worries were getting her crush, Ben Parish, to notice her, and getting decent grades. Now, though, she’s lost nearly everything thanks to the Others…aliens who are systematically destroying her home. She doesn’t know why they’ve come–and, at first, she doesn’t really care–but she does know that she must do everything in her power to find the one person she has left. Her little brother, Sammy. But even Cassie isn’t prepared for what–or who–she’ll have to face to get back to her brother. She’ll discover just what she’s willing to do–and who she’s willing to trust–to get back to what really matters to her.

Cassie isn’t the only one asking questions about what the aliens are really after and what they have planned next. A boy nicknamed Zombie is being trained as an alien-killing soldier. He’s not the only one. Kids all over are being gathered and trained to think about nothing but killing. But why? Why kids? When Zombie, who was once a carefree kid with everything going for him, begins to question what’s going on around him, he’ll arrive at some upsetting and game-changing conclusions. It seems that the fifth wave has already begun. Is there any way to stop it…or have the Others already taken too much from humanity for any hope of its survival?

If you’re paranoid like me, The 5th Wave will make you extremely uncomfortable (like all the best books do). This disquieting story, in my opinion, is a much more realistic alien invasion tale than many of the others I’ve read. All that “We Come in Peace” crap is stupid. If aliens really came to Earth, do you really think they’d be friendly or diplomatic? Would we? I don’t think so.

Though The 5th Wave is being marketed as a young adult novel, I actually think the wider appeal will be to adults who have grown up with stories like Invasion of the Body Snatchers,  AlienIndependence DayDistrict 9Terminator, and other tales of alien invasions that aren’t even close to the loving E.T.-type stories that give us the warm fuzzies. The 5th Wave is not a happy book, and, since it is the first book in a planned trilogy, even the ending doesn’t really provide a ton of closure…but this book is an amazing work of science fiction and should be experienced by any fans of the genre.

For those that want to know more about this exhilarating book, check out the official website at http://the5thwaveiscoming.com/. The site contains loads of information on the book, including the official Facebook and Twitter pages and several book trailers that totally capture just how intense this book really is. (I’ve embedded one of them below.) If you decide to experience The 5th Wave, I hope you enjoy the ride as much as I did.

Published in: on June 16, 2013 at 9:30 pm  Comments (2)  
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The Serpent’s Shadow

Spoiler alert!  If you haven’t read The Red Pyramid or The Throne of Fire, turn back now!  If you don’t want to know what happens in the third book of Rick Riordan’s Kane Chronicles, The Serpent’s Shadow, turn back now!  This will be your only warning.

Last night, I finished reading the third and final book in The Kane Chronicles.  This book is The Serpent’s Shadow, and it’s already getting a lot of buzz at my school.  (Honestly, Rick Riordan could write a book about almost anything, and my students would have a fit over it.)  The book has only been out a week, and I’m already getting offers of food, school supplies, and money to have certain students moved to the top of the list to check it out.  (One kid offered up his dog.)  While I cannot be bribed (yet), I am thrilled that this book is so in demand.  Like Riordan’s other books, The Serpent’s Shadow is a great read and will appeal to readers from third grade on up.  It’s full of action, suspense, intrigue, humor, a heavy dose of Egyptian mythology, and even a little bit of romance.  Everyone will find something to enjoy.

Normal is not a word that the Carter and Sadie Kane are familiar with.  They are magicians descended from Egyptian pharaohs, and they often communicate and take on the forms of Horus and Isis, gods of ancient Egypt.  They run a school for young magicians out of their house in Brooklyn, their dad is Osiris (god of the afterlife), and their mom is a ghost.  Sadie has feelings for two different guys:  Walt, a descendent of King Tut who is cursed with a very short lifespan; and Anubis, god of the dead who tends to take on the form of a really attractive teenage boy.  Carter is enamored of a fellow magician, Zia, who spends most of her time babysitting Ra, a senile sun god.

As if life is not abnormal enough, add in a god of chaos, Apophis, who wants to swallow the sun and destroy the entire world.  The incredibly ginormous job of stopping him falls to Carter and Sadie and their merry band of misfits.  It’s up to them to unite magicians and gods in fighting Apophis and his minions, but how can they possibly destroy something so huge, terrifying, and powerful?  Well, they may have found a way, but it involves trusting an evil psychopath (not usually a smart move) and risking their own lives (also not preferable).  Carter and Sadie will have to face unbelievable horrors to save the world, and it still might not be enough.

Can the Kanes defeat the god of chaos without losing themselves?  Can they save those they love in the process?  Is there any hope for a normal life if their longshot of a plan actually works?  Probably not, but they have to try.  In a world that is falling into chaos, it’s up to two teenagers to restore order.  (I was laughing as I wrote that last bit.)  Read The Serpent’s Shadow to find out if their completely crazy heroic quest saves the world or destroys it forever.

Like The Red Pyramid and The Throne of Fire before it, I can’t say enough good things about The Serpent’s Shadow.  The humor alone was enough to keep me reading.  When you throw in a whole bunch of action and, you know, destroying stuff, I’m totally hooked.  This book was the perfect conclusion to The Kane Chronicles, but it definitely left the door open for more of Carter and Sadie Kane and friends.  (I’m hoping we’ll see them in some Percy Jackson crossover kind of thing…maybe in The Mark of Athena—the third book in The Heroes of Olympus series—which comes out this fall.)

To learn more about Rick Riordan, The Kane Chronicles, and Riordan’s other fabulous books, visit http://www.rickriordan.com/home.aspx or follow the author on Twitter @camphalfblood.  You may also want to check out this book trailer for The Serpent’s Shadow from Puffin Books.   It’s short, the cover is different (at least, it’s different from my copy), and the trailer gives nothing away, but it still may be worth a look.  Enjoy!

Wings of the Wicked

Spoiler alert!  This post will be all about Wings of the Wicked, the second book in Courtney Allison Moulton’s Angelfire series.  If you haven’t read Angelfire yet, get thee to a library or bookstore and start reading!  (If, like me, it’s been a while since you read Angelfire, it’s probably a good idea to reread a bit—particularly the last couple of chapters—to refresh your memory.)

Wings of the Wicked has been on my to-read list for quite some time.  This weekend, I finally made the time to settle in and immerse myself in this story.  I call it a weekend well spent.  The story, like the one in Angelfire, was totally captivating and had me jumping at every little noise, particularly when I was reading at night.  (You can’t be raised as a Southern Baptist and not have a little fear when it comes to reading about demons gaining power and trying to bring about the end of the world.)  This book is chock-full of action, adventure, tension, romance, and grief.  It’s not for the faint of heart, and it packs quite the emotional wallop.

In Wings of the Wicked, Ellie continues to struggle with the knowledge of who she really is—the Preliator, or the human reincarnation of the archangel Gabriel.  She spends her days trying to live as a normal seventeen-year-old:  high school, college applications, parties, friends, parents, etc.  Her nights, however, are devoted to hunting demonic reapers, beings sent from the depths of hell to destroy her.  She fights alongside Will, an angelic reaper who has been her Guardian for quite some time.  He may also be the love of her life, however long that might be.  Their love for each other is strictly forbidden, but they may not be able to help themselves.  Distancing themselves from each other puts them both at risk, and, with war coming between demons and angels, Ellie and Will need each other more than ever.

When Ellie become the target of reapers who wish to capture her, it becomes apparent that the forces of evil have some larger purpose for her.  What could they want with her?  Why do they want her alive?  As Ellie, Will, and a few allies seek the answers to these questions, the attacks on Ellie and company continue.  Ellie is exhausted and sick of lying to her family and friends—even if it’s for their own protection.  She is growing tired of constantly living in two worlds.  Her mind wars with the desire to be a normal teenager and the knowledge that she is Gabriel, and the world’s ultimate salvation may depend on her.  When her oh-so-complicated feelings for Will are piled on top of everything, Ellie is a girl on the edge, and it won’t take much to push her over.

Unfortunately, that push over the edge arrives all too soon, and Ellie is left with feelings of betrayal, anger, and grief.  She doesn’t know where to turn, and she doesn’t know if she’s ready for what’s expected of her.  Feeling all alone, Ellie retreats into herself, shuts out nearly everyone, and places the blame for everything that’s happened on her all-too-human shoulders. 

But the war wages on, and Ellie must fight.  It’s up to her to stop the unspeakable evil that is about to be unleashed on the world.  She needs all the help she can get—and she finds assistance in some unexpected places—if she plans to save the world and everyone in it, including Will, the one who holds her heart.  Will it be enough?  Or will Ellie lose more than she ever thought possible?  Just how much is she willing to sacrifice to stop a holy war?  Find out when you read Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton.

If you liked Angelfire, I think you’ll enjoy Wings of the Wicked even more.  (I did.)  Even as I was eager to turn each page, I was also scared of what each page would bring.  I knew the characters were in for quite a battle, but I was unprepared for everything they had to face.  I know the next book will be just as anxiety-inducing, and, quite frankly, I can’t wait.  I’m hoping against hope that everything works out for Ellie and Will.  (Given the way Wings of the Wicked ended, that hope is very fragile.)  I also have high hopes for a couple of the secondary characters (like Cadan), and I really pray that I’m not disappointed.  Sadly, I’ll have to wait until sometime next year to find out what happens.  The third book in this trilogy is set to be released sometime in 2013.

For more on the Angelfire trilogy and author Courtney Allison Moulton, visit http://www.courtneyallisonmoulton.com/.  You can also follow the author on Twitter @CAMoulton.

You may also want to check out this creepily awesome book trailer for Wings of the Wicked.  It made me want to go back and read the book again!

Published in: on April 22, 2012 at 5:13 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Legend

It’s my 300th post here on Knight Reader!!!  Let’s all pause to do the dance of joy before I get to my latest read…

Okay, now that we’ve gotten that out of our systems, we can move on to the real reason for this post.  I just finished a truly outstanding book that will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent by Veronica Roth, Ally Condie’s Matched series, and other notable dystopian literature.  The book is Legend by Marie Lu.  I finally picked this up a few days ago after several librarians and bloggers recommended it, and I was hooked from the first page. 

Legend takes place in what I can only assume is the not-too-distant future, in an America that is divided and engaged in a civil war.  Two young people are being drawn together by death, secrets, and lies…and neither of them knows who to trust.

Day is the most wanted person in the Republic of America (formerly known as the west coast of the United States). He’s considered a traitor and a threat to the government…and he’s fifteen. Day knows that the Republic is keeping secrets from the people, and he’s doing his best to thwart their efforts. He’s also trying to keep his family safe from the plagues that kill more and more people every year.

June is a fifteen-year-old on the brink of becoming one of the youngest military officers in history.  She is a prodigy committed to her country, her duty, and her brother, Metias.  She has a few issues with following rules, but she is secure in what her future holds…until one night changes everything.

When June’s brother is murdered and the blame falls on Day, the lives of these two young people become entangled.  June goes on the hunt for her brother’s killer, and Day is still searching for a way to protect his family.  Eventually, their paths cross.  Neither is prepared for the immediate chemistry between them.  And neither is prepared for the fallout when their true identities come to light.

June thought she knew everything about Day, her brother’s death, and the Republic, but her time with Day, things she witnesses, and cryptic messages from her brother are causing her to question everything she knows.  What is the Republic’s true agenda, and can she and Day figure things out before one (or both) of them meet the same fate as Metias?  Read Legend by Marie Lu to discover how far a corrupt government will go to make sure its secrets stay secret.

I cannot say enough about Legend.  I am shocked that this is Marie Lu’s first novel.  It is truly amazing, and it definitely gives paranoid people like me something to worry think about.  In my opinion, this would be a great read for anyone interested in government and how much power one should be allowed to have over its people.  (When I was reading, I kept seeing images of Hitler’s rise to power.  It’s not that much of a stretch to think that it could happen again.)

This wonderful story has already been optioned for a movie (like so many great young adult books) by CBS Films, and director Jonathan Levine is already attached to the project.  If done right, Legend will be amazing on the big screen.  Marie Lu’s writing makes Legend a “movie in my mind,” so I look forward to seeing if Hollywood’s version lives up to the one in my imagination.  (This rarely happens, but a girl can dream.)

Legend is gripping, fast-paced, and full of suspense and intrigue.  It is fairly violent (as is most dystopian literature), so keep that in mind when recommending it to young readers.  This is a book, like The Hunger Games, that will appeal to male and female readers, and it will not limit itself to young adult fans. 

If you’d like more information on this amazing first book in the Legend series (the second is due out sometime this year) and author Marie Lu, visit http://marielu.org/index.html and http://www.legendtheseries.com/.  I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did!

Bloodrose

Spoilers ahead!!!  I finished reading Bloodrose, the third book in the Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade trilogy last night.  If you keep reading this post and haven’t already read Nightshade and Wolfsbane, you will be sorry!  Sorry, I tell you!

After you’ve read these two books, then you should proceed directly to Bloodrose!

War is looming. Calla Tor and her pack of Guardians (aka werewolves) are uniting with the Searchers to finally defeat the evil Keepers who have oppressed them for as long as anyone can remember.  The primary weapon in this war is Shay, the Scion (and, quite possibly, the love of Calla’s life), who can only defeat the bad guys if he obtains every piece of the Elemental Cross (two kick-butt swords made out of four pieces empowered by earth, air, water, and fire).  Finding the pieces of the Elemental Cross is treacherous, but it is a journey that must be made if this war is to be won.

As if waging war isn’t tough enough, Calla also has to tread the dangerous waters of her own love life.  After saving Ren, the guy who was supposed to be her alpha mate, Calla is worried about Shay’s reaction and what it could mean for the battles ahead.  Calla must deal with her feelings for both guys.  She thought everything was so cut and dried, but what if it’s not?  What if she really is meant to be with Ren?  What if Shay’s role as the Scion places him forever out of her reach?

Even though Calla is torn between the boy she’s always known and the one she gave up everything for, she has to put her own desires aside to face the difficult journey ahead.  She must step up as the alpha of the pack (since she can’t choose her mate at the moment) and lead her fellow wolves and their Searcher allies into battle.  They will face horrors that make them want to give up, they will encounter former friends who have become their enemies, and they will lose people they’ve come to care about. 

These warriors will dive headlong into certain death in order to break the hold the Keepers have on them and everything they hold dear.  Will they be successful?  Do they have any hope of winning this war when it’s not clear who is friend and who is enemy?  And if they do drive the Keepers away, what does it mean for Calla and her pack?  Will Calla finally choose her mate, or will that choice be taken out of her hands?  Do the wolves even have a place in a world without Keepers?  Read Bloodrose, the final installment in Andrea Cremer’s Nightshade trilogy, to discover the sacrifices that must be made in war and in love.

Like so many before it, I don’t think this post has done justice to the breathtaking story that is Bloodrose.  It was a fantastic book, and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading.  (I almost called in sick to work yesterday so that I could finish the book.  I didn’t, but I did rush home after school and immediately began reading.)  There was a surprising amount of humor in this book when you consider that it’s a tragic love story set in the midst of a supernatural war.  I was also gripped by the love triangle in Bloodrose (and the other two books in this series).  I felt torn right along with Calla, and, for a large portion of this book, I wasn’t sure if I wanted her to end up with Shay or Ren.  (She had some steamy scenes with both of them.  So steamy that I would recommend this book for ages 16 and up.)  In the end, though, I was very satisfied with how the Nightshade trilogy concluded.  I mourned the loss of a couple of characters while I celebrated the demise of others.  I felt like everything happened as it should, and, at least for a while, the world of the Guardians and Searchers is at peace.  A great end to a great series.

But wait…there’s more!  There’s currently a Nightshade novella, Treachery, available through Barnes & Noble and Amazon, which tells Ansel’s story.  (You might recall that he is Calla’s little brother.)  There will also be a prequel to the Nightshade trilogy, Rift, which should be out on August 7th of this year.  For more information about these extras and the entire Nightshade series, visit http://www.nightshadebook.com/.  Enjoy!

Published in: on January 10, 2012 at 11:22 am  Leave a Comment  
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Goliath

Danger, danger!  If you haven’t already read Leviathan and Behemoth, the first two books in this amazing series, retreat now before proceeding with this post on the final installment in the Leviathan trilogy, Goliath.  You must read the first two books to understand what’s happening in this final book.  Read on at your own risk!

Early this year, I began reading an amazing series that would introduce me to an alternate history of World War One–a world filled with fabricated beasts and technologies as dangerous as they are awe-inspiring.  This series began with Leviathan, a phenomenal book that made be seek out more steampunk fiction.  I continued this series with Behemoth, a book that, in my opinion, was even better than its predecessor.  It was action-packed, tense, and, again, presented an alternate view of history had certain beasts and machines been present.  Well, today I finally finished the highly anticipated third and final book in this series, Goliath.  This book was–at least to this reader–the best book of the Leviathan trilogy (and one of the best books I’ve read this year).  I am sad that this journey is over, but I am very satisfied with how it ended.  I hope you will be, too.

Goliath opens with Alek and Deryn once again aboard the Leviathan.  Deryn is still keeping her true identity a secret, and Alek is lamenting his uselessness aboard the airbeast.  Both of them, however, are about to have their worlds shaken once again.  When the Leviathan is ordered to Siberia to pick up a mysterious package and a maniacal scientist, secrets begin to unravel.  Who is this madman the Leviathan has rescued, and what is his endgame?

While Deryn works with Dr. Barlow to uncover what the scientist–one Nikola Tesla–is really up to, Alek is confronted with the alarming truth about his best friend.  The boy he believed to be Dylan Sharp is actually a girl named Deryn.  She’s been masquerading as a male soldier the entire time they’ve known each other.  He’s trusted her with all of his secrets, and she’s been lying to him this whole time.  How can he trust her now?  Can their friendship recover from this?  If it can, will things be different between Alek and Deryn now that the truth is out?

Life is tense onboard the Leviathan.  With a mad scientist, a prince, a girl masquerading as a boy, reporters, and various beasties on board, how could it not be?  Well, thanks to Mr. Tesla, things are about to get even more tense.  His invention, a machine called Goliath, may have the power to end this war for good.  It is up to the crew of the Leviathan to get Tesla to New York for a demonstration of this weapon’s capabilities.  This journey takes them through Russia, Japan, Mexico, and across the expanse of the United States–a neutral power in this global war.  The airbeast encounters danger at every turn.  What dangers will it encounter once it arrives in New York, and will they be enough to bring the U.S. into this war?  Or will Tesla’s weapon stop the tide of war in its tracks?

As the Leviathan gets closer to completing its mission, Alek and Deryn are forced to face the truth of their new relationship.  But how can they possibly be together when war is tearing them apart?  Can they find a way to end this war and preserve their young love in the process?  Or will the machinations of a madman end everything for good?  Read Goliath, the trilling conclusion to the Leviathan trilogy, to learn how two young people can change the world around them.

As is often the case when I read a book as awesome as this one, this post doesn’t even come close to depicting how amazing Goliath–and the whole Leviathan series–is.  Words fail me, and that is saying something for someone as verbose as I am.  I adore this series, and I think Goliath is the best of the trilogy.  I am totally satisfied with the ending.  It tied things up nicely, but it still left room for readers to use their imaginations in determining how the future plays out for Alek and Deryn. 

As with Leviathan and Behemoth, there is an afterword that gives information about the true events that were the basis for Goliath.  It is amazing to me that Nikola Tesla was actually working on a Goliath-like machine before he ran out of money.  Just imagine what the world would be like now if he had succeeded.

If you haven’t read this series yet, what are you waiting for?  It’s wonderful, and I think readers from upper elementary grades through adulthood will find something to enjoy.  If you’d like more information on the world of Leviathan and author Scott Westerfeld, visit http://scottwesterfeld.com/.  As for me, I will now mourn the end of this series, and move on to my next book.  Happy reading.

Published in: on October 23, 2011 at 12:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Behemoth

Warning!!  Read Leviathan before continuing with this post.  Behemoth is the second book in this amazing series.

As you’ve mostly likely determined, I just finished reading Behemoth, the second book in Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan trilogy.  If you follow this blog at all, you know that I loved Leviathan.  It was weird, and it combined historical fiction (which I typically don’t prefer) with science fiction, creating an alternate World War One.  Behemoth picks up where Leviathan ended, and I think this second installment is more action-packed and anxiety-inducing that the first book.  I really enjoyed it, and I can’t wait to see where the third book, Goliath, will take us.

Alek and Dylan have grown closer during their time on the Leviathan, but the two friends are still harboring some big secrets.  Alek has told no one that he is the true heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, and Dylan–or should I say Deryn–is hiding the fact that she is a girl.  Those secrets, although important, might just be taking a back seat to the war around them.  The Leviathan is headed for the seemingly neutral city of Constantinople (Istanbul), but it soon becomes clear that they are not the only visitors to this all-important city.

After a rough encounter with some German warships, the Leviathan and crew enter Constantinople only to discover that the Germans, or Clankers, have arrived ahead of them.   The Clankers have essentially taken over the city, making it into a hub of Clanker engineering and weaponry.  Neither Alek nor Deryn were prepared for what they were sailing into, but circumstances caused them to face the coming conflict head-on…

Alek, after learning that he will soon be considered a prisoner-of-war aboard the Leviathan, escapes the air beast into the streets of Constantinople.  There he faces his own enemies and makes the acquaintances of certain people who would fight the German encroachment in their fair city.

Deryn, still hiding her true identity, is given an important mission that will make possible the arrival of the British Empire’s most fearsome weapon, the behemoth.  When complications arise, Deryn is forced to seek help from Alek and his new comrades.  But can she, or Alek, trust these revolutionaries?  And what will they do when it becomes clear that the Clankers have a powerful weapon that can stop the Leviathan, and any other beast accompanying it, in its tracks?  Are they strong enough to fight the Clanker powers?  Only time will tell.  But can Alek and Deryn possibly keep their secrets when a war keeps bringing them closer together, or will these secrets only serve to drive them apart?  Read Behemoth to find out how Alek and Deryn fare in a war neither of them truly understand.

Like I said, I really enjoyed this book (maybe even more than I liked Leviathan), and I think any fans of action, danger, and suspense will find something to love in Behemoth.  I’m really intrigued by the relationship between Alek and Deryn and where it could possibly lead in the future.  I also appreciate the illustrations by Keith Thompson.  Like those in Leviathan, these pictures help me to visualize the various beasts and contraptions in this alternate world.  There is also an extremely helpful afterword at the end of the book which explains how the events in Behemoth were similar to or different than the actuality of World War One.

I look forward to finishing this trilogy in October with the third and final book, Goliath.  If Behemoth is any indication, we can expect a lot of action and conflict in this book (with hopefully a bit of resolution).  If you’d like more information about this series or any other by Scott Westerfeld, visit http://scottwesterfeld.com/.

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