Review: Invincible-C.A. Gray

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***I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author

cooltext1544204149 copyPeter Stewart is a dead ringer for the legendary King Arthur, and because of that, everyone in Carlion believes that he is the Child of the Prophecy, destined to destroy the Shadow Lord. But Peter doesn’t want to be a hero; all he wants to be is left alone.

Lily Portman also fits the prophecy. Having spent her entire life as an orphan and a misfit, Lily would love nothing more than to be the Child of the Prophecy, so she envies Peter… but she’s also developing a crush on him. And it seems to her that he couldn’t care less.

Isdemus and the Watchers believe that it is only a matter of time before Peter’s twin brother Kane betrays them all and frees the Shadow Lord. The winner of the war to come depends on who has the legendary Philosopher’s Stone—the only problem is, it has been lost since the days of Arthur.

With the help of a skeptical anthropologist, the Watchers attempt to decode the ancient treasure maps that lead them to the heart of Egypt and the dawn of time. Meanwhile, Lily and Peter discover that Peter holds the real key to the mystery… but will they be too late?

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4/5 Stars

PROS:

  • Like the first book, Intangible, Gray does an impeccable jobs of integrating multiple cultures and belief systems so that they seem a natural component of the Arthurian stories. Everything is interconnected and multilayered. It’s amazing how well everything fits together. 
  • The shifting between Kane/the Shadow Lord’s perspective and Peter’s added a personal dimension to the characters that made it much easier to identify with them and sympathize on a purely emotional level.
  • Kane is such a complex and broken character. In some respects he’s incredibly strong, a fierce warrior with a take charge attitude and tons of bravery. On the other, he’s burdened by a past that haunts him, a raw, heavy feeling of rejection, and the destruction of his dreams of being the child of the prophecy. Seeing Kane trapped and manipulated, unable to control his actions after making a terrible choice was devastating. His character is wonderfully complicated and full of powerful emotions. The Kane of the first book is transformed and warms his way into your heart. While he doesn’t have many redeeming qualities, all that he’s suffered, and really getting a grip on how he makes his decisions grants a psychological understanding previously absent. Kane is helpless but he fights harder than he ever has to do what is right. It’s a massive change in character and his growth is astounding.
  • Eustace is hilarious. He’s like that obnoxious little brother than is always getting in trouble and his mischief is off the charts. At the same time, Eustace is smart and such an asset to the team.
  • I loved the idea of Clarion, the school is so much better than a normal high school and I really appreciated the scenes moving through the human body as a blood cell or flying as a bird (like in the original stories). The detail was amazing. Every toss and turn, the exhilaration and the terror combined into a stupendous rush.
  • When Sargon and Peter meet. The tension could be cut with a knife. The hatred and evil in one being is sinister and vile, his disregard for human life is terrifying. He’ll stop at nothing to achieve world domination. The final battle scene was up in the air. The uncertainty was intense. The clash of elemental magic, the penumbra’s talons and blood lust, and the strain on their bodies even as a team was made of nail-biting anxiety.
  • Although Intangible is a YA book, the sections with the adults were just as interesting and were a story in itself that I would love to read. The relationship between Peter’s dad and the lives of the Watchers, there’s a lot of mystery and unanswered questions. They’re intriguing, unique characters that when looked at individually are as compelling as the whole Watcher group.
  • Lily is quirky but in this book she has a softer, more insecure side that makes her more relatable. The girl is going through a life changing moment and she can’t always be strong. It’s great to read a girl who is unafraid to admit when she’s scared or feeling sad. 
  • The chemistry between Lily and Peter is awkward and ever-changing. It’s at that weird liminal stage, when they’re trying to decide between friendship and something more. 

CONS:

  • The connection between the Arthurian legends, physics, astrology, and symbology were further expanded upon in this sequel but the Egyptian sect of Watchers was added in causing the knowledge gained through the first book to become even more fuzzy and convoluted. The Egyptian beliefs and mythology were not as clearly defined as I would have like and I really just yearned for the characters to spell it out in simpler terms. 
  • Peter is consumed by angst and feeling sorry for himself. He’s reckless and stubborn, not unlike Harry Potter in the Order of the Phoenix. His selfishness and whiny got a little annoying after a while and made him far less likable than in the 1st book.

For my review of the first book in the series, Intangible, click here –> Intangible Review

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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Pleasant reading,

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Review: Intangible-C.A. Gray

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*** I received this book as a gift in exchange for an honest review via C.A. Gray

Intangible (Piercing the Veil, #1)

cooltext1544204149 copyPeter Stewart grew up on a unique version of the Arthurian legends taught him by his father, a harebrained quantum physicist who asserts that anything is possible. But Peter disbelieves anything which cannot be scientifically explained, despite a nagging sense that there is more to the world than meets the eye.

Lily Portman is an orphan with a secret: she can see creatures that are invisible to everyone else. These creatures control every human being she has ever met to varying degrees… until she meets Peter and his father.

When a mysterious stranger stages an accident which nearly costs Peter and Lily their lives, suddenly Lily learns that she is not crazy after all, and Peter discovers the truth of his father’s stories… including the existence of Arthur’s ancient nemesis, one who calls himself the Shadow Lord, and a prophecy with implications so profound that it will alter not only the course of their lives, but potentially the fate of the world.

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5/5 Stars

About 1/3 of the way through this book, my mind was blown. Not only is this book one of the best I’ve read in years but I’m absolutely astounded that more people don’t know about this series. In a world of paranormal, dystopian, and the influx of contemporary in YA, it’s possible that this got lost in the shuffle because there’s no shortage of mythology or fairy tales in current YA. I’ve always loved Arthurian Legends, for as a long as I can remember, T.H. White’s The Once and Future King was one of the only books I reread over and over and that really stuck with me. Then, of course, I moved on to the Mists of Avalon, Meg Cabot’s Avalon High series, and anything else I could get my hands on. I have always felt a sort of kinship with Morgan and  despised Guenevere. I hadn’t realized just how much I yearned for a new series that did these legends justice until I became immersed in this book. If you’re fans of Arthurian Legends in general, Harry Potter, or really an epic storytelling, check this out, you will not be disappointed. 

PROS: 

  • Intangible combines the brains of the pragmatist with the heart of the daydreamer. The juxtaposition of the “real” world of hard facts soaked in physics and proved with the scientific method and the mythical, magical world of Clarion, where Arthurian Legends are a legitimate history and every individual has an elemental power challenges the reader to question what the naked eye can’t see and to believe in something intangible. 
  • The layering in this story is extremely impressive and I can’t help but admire C.A. Gray for the connections made. Everything flows seamlessly together and is interconnected. Between the zodiac, the actual science, the legends, and symbolism, your mind becomes a war zone. Everything fits so well that it’s almost like this mythology becomes a reality and it’s hard to find cracks to refute something so solid. This is some of the most beautifully intricate plotting I’ve seen-think Tolkien, George R.R. Martin, R.A. Salvatore’s Cleric Quintet, Nix’s Abhorsen series, or Diana Wayne Jones’ Chronicles of Chrestomanci
  • The Arthurian Legends are told in a revamped, fresh way while maintaining the overall whimsical and majestic integrity of the original. Not much varies from the earliest texts, some elements are expanded on or enhanced but seem like that could be the missing link or a lost aspect of the original. One or two plot points were different than what I expected but they added complexity and drama to the legends and make a lot of sense in retrospect.
  • Penumbra. These are like shadowy, leech-like creatures that link to the human body and sometimes fuse making the person a puppet to what the creature desires. They’re wicked cool and terrifying at the same time. Each one is unique and reflects the overall personality of the individual. There are gorgeous sirens, beastly ogres, and menacing ravens. It’s awesome, quirky, and a little reminiscent of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials. 
  • Lily’s past is tragic and full of devastating heartache but she is fierce. She’s blunt, honest, a bit weird and sometimes overly emotional but Lily is the best friend anyone can ask for. She’s unafraid to take risks, badass at kendo, and pieces clues together incredibly quickly. 
  • There is one surprise after the other, it’s so calculated yet feels exhilarating with every new twist and turn.
  • All of the secondary characters are vibrant, full of fun little personality traits, and are totally memorable. You’ll definitely have tons of new favorites.
  • Avalon, the connection to the penumbra, the castle in the sky. Everything is enchanting, creative, and full of the epic good vs. evil thirst for a happy ending.
  • Peter is an unlikely hero. He’s nerdy, lonely, and way too smart for his own good. Constantly being bullied and ignored, Peter acts out, crafting ingenious scientific experiments that get him into tons of trouble. Peter is just trying to find his place in the world and as he is swept up into the prophecy and legends, it’s overwhelming. Peter is real, he reacts like any young person would do but he works alongside his fear to fight the darkness and evil that threatens his new world.
  • There’s something vicious yet immensely sad about Kane. He has a dual nature that makes you want to love him as much as you want to punch him in the face. He’s reckless, dangerous, and yeah, envious but he’s also an emotionally wounded young boy. He’s pretty malicious but he’s funny and always up to something.

CONS:

  • Peter’s scientific ramblings were a learning experience for those of us who are not into science or zoned out their physics classes, and while I did learn quite a bit, sometimes it was a little much. Peter’s obsessed and it made him seem frightfully boring at times. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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