Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Once Upon a Time IX: Mini Reviews

As May has passed by I figures I will share with you my thoughts on some other books I read for the Once Upon a Time "challenge".

Spell or High Water and An Unwelcome quest by Scott Meyer (Magic 2.0 #2 and #3)
Spell or High Water (Magic 2.0, #2)
Format: Audio

Time: 11h39 and 11h46

Source: Own (Audible)

Narrated by: Luke Daniels

Genre: Fantasy

Publisher: Brilliance Audio

Thoughts: Spell or High Water was a big disappointment; Martin and Phillip are invited to go to Atlantis, where most of the female users of the Shell program have relocated. Martin is excite to see Gwen and I was excited to see more than one female character...which, ok, I did see more female characters, but they were all such a caricature of women. I am afraid that Scott Meyer did a horrendous job with character building on this one. Even Gwen, who I liked on the first book, turns to this "women-are-complicated" cliché. Interestingly the best part of this book was hearing to Jimmy's side of the story (yes he is back, but you knew that) 2/5 for this one.

An Unwelcome Quest: Magic 2.0, Book 3 | [Scott Meyer]Then why did I continue with the story if I disliked the 2nd book so much? Well, I really like Luke Daniels as a narrator and we already had the books, so I figured I will finish the series. The third book was SO much better. Todd, a character referenced a bit on the first book and who takes a bigger role on the second, becomes a main character in this installment. He was banished and we finally learn why (he deserved it that's for sure) but he has manage to regain access to the file and he is determined to get his revenge. He builds a quest game and takes the people who banished him to it, while stripping them of their powers. A lot of gaming references, mostly for MMORPGs, made this part very funny for me. Gwen and Brit are back and this time, they actually participate and bring something to the development and solving of the story! By now, there most of the characters are fully developed and I guess that allows the reader to concentrate solely in the story, which is not bad. It's not great, but it's enjoyable I will give you that. I think I would've stopped the series with this book, but something tells me Meyer intends to give us at least one more book. Can't say I am excited about it, but hey, if they keep Daniels as a narrator I will probably listen to it.

Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia (Caster Chronicles #4)

Beautiful Redemption (Caster Chronicles, #4)Format: eBook

Pages: 456

Source: Own

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers

Thoughts: The last in the Caster Chronicles series. I had postponed finishing it, because to be honest, while I've enjoyed the series as a whole, as I advanced in the story, it has become a bit more and more predictable and having other books to read, well. As you might remember, in the last book Ethan died, or at least that's what it seems. He is trapped between worlds. On one he can finally see his mother again, while in the other there is Lena and everything he left behind. Knowing it wasn't his moment to die, he will have to find a way to get back to the living realm. I liked the depiction of the Otherworld and Xavier was an interesting character. That said, as I mentioned, the story becomes more and more predictable. I gave the book a 3/5 and an overall 3.5/5 for the series.

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (The Grisha #2) 

Siege and Storm (The Grisha, #2)Format: Paperback

Pages: 435

Source: Own

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Publisher: Square Fish

Thoughts: One thing I love about this series is the Russian mythos being used so nicely. While the whole story takes places in a made-up place the influences of Russian culture and folklore are flagrant and that makes for a beautiful world building (at least for my taste). The book retakes with Alina and Mal trying to hide on the other side of the True Sea, but as faith will have it, the Darkling is still alive and has gotten some extra, scary powers. He founds both of them and takes them with him to find yet another amplifier for Alina, this time coming from the Sea Serpent. At the same time, The Sun Summoner has become an even stronger public figure, people referring to her as Sankta Alina. As her power grows so does her despair. With the addition of yet another prominent character, one with a lot of wit and charm (and to be honest with you, much more appeal than the Darkling or Mal, but that's just my opinion) Alina has to not only juggle with the future of the Second Army but also her own.

As with the first book, Bardugo's writing is easy to get into but this time I can tell that the flow is much smoother than with the first. Very good pacing, taking you from action-full battles to the castle intrigues and flowing to the all the "bedside" stories that are unfolding to be deep truths were Alina might find even more power than before. What keeps this story relatively unique is, once again, its use of folklore, and that's exactly what takes me to want to read Ruin and Rising. 4/5

Thorn by Intisar Khanin

ThornFormat: eGalley

Pages: 246

Source: NetGalley

Genre: Fantasy, YA

Publisher: Intisar Khanin

I asked and received this book through NetGalley for free. This review is not sponsored nor influenced in anyway. Thanks to Gallery Books.

Thoughts: The book is a retelling of the Grimm's tale "The Goose Girl". I read the original tale a long time ago when I was a kid, and while you can for sure recognize several elements, Khanin brings enough new things to the story to make it different. Basically a princess (Alyrra then Thorn) has been promised to a prince of another land and in her way there, a servant forces her to change places, making Thorn now a servant. Unlike in the Grimm's story, where this only implied a change of clothes, in this story there is a full change of bodies. Because it is a short story to begin with, it was interesting to see what Khanin did to it, particularly the magic elements and the relationship of Thorn with her family. It was a nice debut novel but I still want to see more of the original work of the author. 3/5.

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