Tuesday, 10 December 2013

My take on: FALLING KINGDOMS by Morgan Rhodes



What I hate more than a weak heroine is a weak heroine written or presented as a strong one.

And both the female characters in this book fell in just that category.

Falling Kingdoms is like Strange Angels. There are several flaws but something about the book makes you overlook them and I did just that. Despite the annoyances the broken writing and underdeveloped characters created I liked the book for about 90% of it. But after that things just went w-r-o-n-g

This book has been called the Game of Thrones for teens but I have neither read nor seen the TV show so I cannot address the issue any further but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to deduce that the plot of this book is overused and unoriginal. But somehow Morghan Rhodes makes it work, the story was fast-paced and easy to grasp, doesn’t not require your brain much. 

But that’s the problem.

See, I love high-fantasy, it is my favourite genre and I like it even more when it is very precisely detailed. I don’t mind if things get complicated but as long as I get a feel and taste of the world I’m reading, I love it. But the world in this book is well-built, no complains there but it came as too …easy and uncomplicated. This happens, that happens and done. It doesn’t leave you with anything to ponder upon, to think about or get excited about, the story just keeps moving forward in a flow.

Despite all that this book was going for a 3 stars for me until the final battle scene. Boy, I hate it when wars are not accurately described in the story. Wars are huge, they are the deal maker or breaker of a book and I expect it to be written like one but no, here the final battle scene was done with in a shoddy way in just 2 pages. Just 2 pages.
Call me creepy but I like to read about bloodshed and killings because that’s what makes a bloody war! But the final showdown in this book was very poorly written and I cannot overlook that no matter how hard I try. It was the lowest point of this book, in my opinion.

Another bothersome issue – this book didn’t have enough magic and I not only mean that metaphorically. One of the elements of a fantasy book is to have a supernatural angle in the story. Sure, there were the tales of the Kindred, witches and sorceress in this story but it wasn’t enough. I can count on my right hand and tell you the number of instances where magic was mentioned.

Lastly, I will elaborate on the subject I raised in the beginning. Both female characters of this book, Cleo and Lucia were galling in their own ways. Cleo was described as a girl who did what she wanted with a very sharp tongue. 

I’m sorry, I beg to differ.

Cleo looked like a stupid, spoilt royal brat who worked with no brains in every situation she went into. The first scene, at the wine seller? She could have stopped the murder of Tomas (and in turn this whole book) with just a flick of her wrist but no, she was too busy thinking about herself. Every decision she made caused me to irk, and every comeback that came out of her mouth made me roll my eyes. Cleo was nowhere near a strong protagonist, she was just a dumb 16-year old who pissed off everyone she met. 
And Lucia, what a speshul snowflake she was. She cared about everyyyyone, she thought abouteveryyyy person on this earth, you know your usual goody two-shoes heroine. Seriously, enough of it already.

Finally, I’d recommend this to a lot of people, actually because I know they’d enjoy it. It’s *maybe* my fault for being too particular about a few things when it comes to fantasy. After this, I have decided I am never going to read any young-adult high fantasy because if it’s YA then it has to have romance and pardon me but I don’t like conventionally developed love story in a fantasy book. Either it has an epic love story or it doesn’t, unlike Falling Kingdoms which had two very unconvincing, bland love tales. 

2 stars for the good beginning which was promising enough to make me not leave this book unfinished. I might even read the sequel...sometime.

Also find this review on BookLikes and on GoodReads.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Mini review: GONE, BABY, GONE by Dennis Lehane

First time. It’s the first time a thriller has made me cry.

I mean, you don’t shed tears while reading these books, you read one then you read another one. But not this one. No, this one is going to haunt me for a long time, like all Dennis Lehane books do. I still think about Mystic River and feel a chill run down my spine.

Gone, Baby, Gone dealt with some very sensitive issues wrapped in a blanket of controversial subjects. Kidnapping is a topic that is bound to make you emotionally invested but in no book I’ve ever read, it was done with such explicitness. All the gory details were mentioned for which I took about 5 to 10 seconds to digest and move forward. This book repeatedly tests the grey area of what’s legal and what’s moral, what you are supposed to do and what you should do.

It is a well-plotted mystery with various number of plot twists that leads up to a galvanizing climax but the other part of the story comes back to stare at your face again and again. What is right and what is wrong and who gets to decide that, who is the better judge of all things good or bad in this world.

Extremely thought provoking, emotionally stimulating with all the characteristics of a good thriller, this book deserves 5 stars without putting any thought.

In the end, I hope the incidents mentioned here were all fictitious, please do not tell me that this happens in real life to little kids but that is the whole point of this book. Still, I pray that no one goes through this trauma in their lives, it is unfair and no one deserves this.


Recommended to all.
Now I’m off to watch the movie, which I’ve heard it’s as good as the book and order some more books by Lehane.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Mini-review: SAVING FRANCESCA by Melina Marchetta


Also find this review on BookLikes and on on GoodReads.




FAITH IN HUMANITY RESTORED. 

I had honestly not expected this book to be so amazing. I am so surprised to know that yes, there are still some authors who are capable of writing about real things. 

This book dealt with all possible adolescent and family problems and I could relate to Francesca on many levels. I am a lot like her in some ways, sometimes I’d be the most outspoken bitch you've ever seen, other times I’d be the most modest and shy person on the planet. I don’t have family and love-life problems that she had, except that, we were quite similar.

I don’t have much to say about Saving Francesca other than authors should write these kind of books more often, the books nowadays in market are nothing but filled with teenage girls’ boyfriend issues and everything else is side-lined. The characters in this book were real , they had some flaws, they all had some good qualities at the same time. For instance, Will Trombal was not pictured as the hottest jock of the school; he was just a normal-looking guy with issues of his own which he fought hard to work out. This tells you perfect boyfriend does not always mean Edward Cullen.

Reading this book was a great experience, I am sure I will read all books by Melina Marchetta someday. I will always remember Saving Francesca as a bittersweet tale which had its moments, a lot of them, in fact.


First read and reviewed on GoodReads on April 6, 2013.