Saturday, May 26, 2012

My Ramblings on Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

By: Charlaine Harris
Release Date: May 1, 2012
Author Website

With Felipe de Castro, the Vampire King of Louisiana (and Arkansas and Nevada), in town, it’s the worst possible time for a body to show up in Eric Northman’s front yard—especially the body of a woman whose blood he just drank.

Now, it’s up to Sookie and Bill, the official Area Five investigator, to solve the murder. Sookie thinks that, at least this time, the dead girl’s fate has nothing to do with her. But she is wrong. She has an enemy, one far more devious than she would ever suspect, who’s out to make Sookie’s world come crashing down.

My Ramblings:
I can not even begin to express how much I love the Sookie Stackhouse books. It's one of the few series that I can read over and over again. However this book was just okay for me. I hate to admit it, but I think I might agree that it's time for Sookie's story to come to a close, which it will after the next book. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy this book, I did, but I felt like it was just more of the same. 

Sookie and Eric are in love but having trouble due to the whole betrothal to the Queen issue that Appius left them with.  I missed the way their relationship used to be- they were either fighting with witty remarks and double entendres or making up in spectacular fashion. Their relationship in this book seemed a little too mundane.

The other thing that bothered me a little was how dense Sookie seemed in this book. I know that she has never been the smartest person in the room, but to me she has always had a level of street smarts that kept her alive even in the most impossible situations. In this book there were several points where Sookie was puzzling  over what something means (Who could have let that girl in for Eric to feed on? What did Eric mean by that? Who is the bad guy? etc.) when the answer is so obvious the reader. I wanted to yell the answers at her just so we could move on. 

However, the second half of the book, when everything really started coming together really worked for me. We were back to the action, to people fighting for their lives or each other and having to make tough decisions. This is where the book really shines, in fact it's where the entire series shines. With books like this I don't really want the reality of what a normal relationship looks like, or the normal working of a bar, what I want, and what I fell in love with, was the absurdity of  these books. 

So was it a great book? Not really. I do suspect that when the final book comes out next year and I have the ability to read the entire series through that this book will fit seamlessly in with the one before it and the new one. So it's definitely worth picking up and reading, if only to get a chance to visit with these characters again!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

My Ramblings on City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

City of Lost Souls
By: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Author Website

The demon Lilith has been destroyed and Jace has been freed from her captivity. But when the Shadowhunters arrive to rescue him, they find only blood and broken glass. Not only is the boy Clary loves missing–but so is the boy she hates, Sebastian, the son of her father Valentine: a son determined to succeed where their father failed, and bring the Shadowhunters to their knees.

No magic the Clave can summon can locate either boy, but Jace cannot stay away—not from Clary. When they meet again Clary discovers the horror Lilith’s dying magic has wrought—Jace is no longer the boy she loved. He and Sebastian are now bound to each other, and Jace has become what he most feared: a true servant of Valentine’s evil. The Clave is determined to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. Will the Shadowhunters hesitate to kill one of their own?

Only a small band of Clary and Jace’s friends and family believe that Jace can still be saved — and that the fate of the Shadowhunters’ future may hinge on that salvation. They must defy the Clave and strike out on their own. Alec, Magnus, Simon and Isabelle must work together to save Jace: bargaining with the sinister Faerie Queen, contemplating deals with demons, and turning at last to the Iron Sisters, the reclusive and merciless weapons makers for the Shadowhunters, who tell them that no weapon on this earth can sever the bond between Sebastian and Jace. Their only chance of cutting Jace free is to challenge Heaven and Hell — a risk that could claim any, or all, of their lives.

And they must do it without Clary. For Clary has gone into the heart of darkness, to play a dangerous game utterly alone. The price of losing the game is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she even still trust him? Or is he truly lost? What price is too high to pay, even for love?

Darkness threatens to claim the Shadowhunters in the harrowing fifth book of the Mortal Instruments series.

My Ramblings:
**FYI: There will be spoilers, so read at your own risk**
This is a hard one for me. I love this series and I love the characters, but I'm not sure I loved this book. I liked it, and there were parts that I loved, but as a whole, when I finished this book I wasn't as excited as I remember being when I finished the last one. After a few days of thinking about it I think I've figured out why I wasn't as excited about this book and it comes down to one thing: Clary and Jace. 

At this point, after 4 books, I pretty much had a feeling like they were going to get together, they would get their HEA, it would just be a matter of how and when. I loved the twist in the last book of him getting snatched away at the last minute, but that was resolved a little too quickly for me in CoLS. We knew pretty early on where he was and what was going on, we even knew rather early what Clary's plan was for getting Jace back. Then it was just a waiting game to see how it all panned out. Since they were kept apart at the end of the last installment, I was pretty sure that they would be together by the end of this one. I wasn't on the edge of my seat, I wasn't reading each paging with anticipation in regards to how this would end up. In short I wasn't interested in Jace and Clary the way I had been. Their story for me was done, even if I didn't know exactly how they would get there. 

That said I loved everything else. I was so invested in the other couples that I couldn't wait to read more. I really liked seeing Jordan and Maia come back together and heal from the pain they had caused... and frankly, Cassie wrote them some great, hot scenes together! It was refreshing to see Isabelle let go a bit and realize that she does need people and letting Simon in doesn't mean she's weak. Watching Simon figure it all out was fun as well- he's loved Clary so long and in this book you see that really manifested as a friendship again, without the love interest part creeping in again, which really frees him up to get involved with Isabelle. 

My favorite relationship has got to be Magnus and Alec. This is the couple that I could read about all day. Their relationship is so complicated and it's almost difficult to watch them struggle to figure it out. Alec especially is hard to watch. He clearly loves Magnus, but he's struggling with all those things that come with being in your first real relationship, especially when the person you love has been in love before. The insecurity that Alec feels is compounded by having Camille whispering in his ear about Magnus' past and the possibility for Alec and Magnus to stay together forever. You get a sense that Alec is getting played by Camille and you see the train wreck coming, but you know he can't stop himself. It's sad and heartbreaking, for Alec, Magnus and the reader and it left me wanting more. This is the couple I want to read more about. This is the story I want told. I would love for Clary and Jace to come into the next story as the power couple instead of the struggling relationship and instead to watch Magnus and Alec work to find their way back to each other. 

In other words- this was a great book. It wasn't my favorite of the series, but it was a solid story and good addition to the series. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Ramblings on The Ice Dragon by George RR Martin

The Ice Dragon
By: George RR Martin
Release Date: 10-3-2006
Author Website

The ice dragon was a creature of legend and fear, for no man had ever tamed one. When it flew overhead, it left in its wake desolate cold and frozen land. But Adara was not afraid. For Adara was a winter child, born during the worst freeze that anyone, even the Old Ones, could remember. 

Adara could not remember the first time she had seen the ice dragon. It seemed that it had always been in her life, glimpsed from afar as she played in the frigid snow long after the other children had fled the cold. In her fourth year she touched it, and in her fifth year she rode upon its broad, chilled back for the first time. Then, in her seventh year, on a calm summer day, fiery dragons from the North swooped down upon the peaceful farm that was Adara's home. And only a winter child--and the ice dragon who loved her--could save her world from utter destruction. 

The Ice Dragon marks the highly anticipated children's book debut of George R.R. Martin, the award-winning author of the New York Times best-selling series A Song of Ice and Fire and is set in the same world. Illustrated with lush, exquisitely detailed pencil drawings by acclaimed artist Yvonne Gilbert, The Ice Dragon is an unforgettable tale of courage, love, and sacrifice by one of the most honored fantasists of all time.

My Ramblings:
This was a really cute book... which is something I never thought I would say about a book by Martin. For the last year I've been slowly working my way through his Song of Ice and Fire series, and enjoying the HBO series that is based on it, Game of Thrones. These books are thrilling, hefty and occasionally so vivid that it's hard to read. Cute is a term that has never come up. So when I saw this book on the shelf of the Elementary Library I'm working at I was a bit taken aback. George RR Martin for the 3-5 set? 

It was good. At just 107 pages it's a quick read and a great introduction to fantasy for younger readers. The plot is simple and straightforward. A young girl, Adara, feels like she's never fit in. She's a child of the winter and snow and she enjoys the colder months much more then her family. She also has the ability to ride the Ice Dragon, something no one has ever really dreamed of. When war comes to her village, sweeping down from the north, Adara takes her chance, first to escape and then to be the hero and come to the rescue of the family she never really fit into. 

It's no Game of Thrones, but it's a fun read that packs in quite a bit of fantasy and adventure!