Novellas Weekend Part 1! Reviews: The Prince- Kiera Cass and Winter’s Passage- Julie Kagawa

I know it’s not the weekend but as I was trying to rid myself of a headache I decided to relax with some good YA fiction. I am on page 11 of my research paper and working up the energy to push through this sucker so that it’s over by this weekend. Then, I can move on to my other two 15 pg papers. The joy of being a graduate student. Be jealous. NOT. Since these novellas are so short, the normal critique system is not really effective and so I’m going to do something a little different and just write my reactions 🙂 Hopefully you guys will enjoy this.

Firstly, just a friendly reminder that The Elite by Kiera Cass comes out on APRIL 23rd. Here is a Kindle link to pre-order or purchase–>Elite Pre-order. Don’t you love the cover? I don’t know if you’re counting down the date until the release but I feel like I’ve waited forever for this baby.

The-Elite

The Prince (A Selection Novella)- Kiera Cass

the prince

Prince Maxon be still my heart. 

hp swoon

Seriously. There is something unbelievably adorable, sensitive, and endearing about Prince Maxon. This short novella, so so short, after 50 or so pages I wanted so much more. While Prince Maxon may not be as interesting as America, he is complex. Maxon doesn’t know whether his father loves him or is simply picking girls that will be good for the country not necessarily good for his son. When Maxon asks his father what will happen if he doesn’t fall in love with one of the 35 girls, he tells him to pick the least annoying one. For real? Great fatherly advice. Your son is terrified that he will fail the country and that he’s incapable of love because he has never experienced it and those are your words of wisdom? JERK.

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The scene when Maxon first sees America in the moonlight when she runs away to the gardens. I LOVE MAXON’S REACTION! If you want to feel giddy, excited, and really girly, check out this scene.

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I thought of how she acted last night, and realized she was a walking rebellion.

All I knew was, even if she wasn’t mine, I wanted to leave her with a smile. 

For someone who claims to have no experience with love, Maxon hasn’t at this point ever even been kissed, he sure is a romantic. Maxon is charming, for all of his insecurities he really just wants to be a good person, to take pictures, and to fall in love with someone who doesn’t want him for his crown but only for himself.

If you want a glimpse into Maxon’s psyche definitely check this novella out. Here is the Kindle link –>The Prince it’s only $1.99.

Winter’s Passage (The Iron Fey, #1.5)- Julie Kagawa

Winter's Passage

“Okay, why is there a library at the back of a goth bar?” I asked, peering around at the books. “Spell books for the black arts? Recipes for human hors d’oeuvres?”

“I am the wolf at the door, the creature that stalked the girl in the red hood to grandma’s house. I am the wolf who becomes man, and man who is beast inside. My stories outnumber all the tales ever told, and you cannot kill me.”

Winter’s Passage for those few Kagawa fans who haven’t gotten around to reading it yet like myself, is set in the time between when Ash and Meghan embark towards Winter and her actual arrival at Queen Mab’s court. Meghan is being hunted by a deadly predator…you might have guessed it from the cover and the quote, the big bad wolf.

Ash. Oh, sweet, sexy, jaded, fey prince, as usual is a swoon worthy, angry, mood swingy, badass just full of sexual tension, annoyance, and smoldering lines.

The way he protects Meghan, and the scene where he saves her from freezing to death. Sweltering. That’s all I can say about that without giving too many details. For this alone it is definitely worth reading.

As usual the descriptions were all really beautiful 🙂

There were also some really awesome and very creepy things that are so morbidly sick they’re absolutely wonderful. The Dungeon. The crazy lady in the woods with the mutant baby and the way she feeds that baby. If you like scary, horror film type scenes that’s the scene for you.

My reactions to the scary factor ranged from

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You can get Winter’s Passage on kindle right here –>Winter’s Passage it’s only $2.51. If you love Julie Kagawa or just sexy fey in general check it out!

-BB

Novellas Weekend!

Since I’m short on time, and I love blogging, and would feel really weird if I didn’t blog for an entire weekend, I’ve decided to make my reading schedule a little more manageable, and realistic by doing a novella spree.

With that said, here’s what’s in store for this weekend:

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the prince

 

Winter's Passage

 

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How do you guys feel about novellas? Are they what cures your book hangover between the sometimes year of waiting for the next book in the series to come out? Or are they a distraction, a sub for the real thing?

-BB

 

 

 

Review: Arena Two- Morgan Rice and Iron Traitor News

3/5 Stars

Arena Two (The Survival Trilogy, #2)- Morgan Rice

arena 2

The dying are granted the gift to see through all of our lies.

Plot: After escaping the Slaverunners and surviving the horrors of Arena One, Brooke, Ben, Rose, Bree, Logan, and their new one-eyed companion, the dog Penelope, race against time towards the legendary safety of Canada. The premise behind this post apocalyptic dystopian, if you haven’t read Arena One, is that the United States has been destroyed by bombs, nuclear war, and most of the cities have been left in ruin. Those that have survived the explosions and catastrophe have other threats to deal with. Food is scarce, those who got caught in the nuclear blast have become cannibalistic, blood thirsty mutants, and dictators have set up arenas manned by Slaverunners. Slaverunners scour the country searching for survivors to fight in the arena to the death for the amusement of the masses (imagine Gladiator but more primitive). Those not deemed fit to fight in the arena are either forced to mine or are used as sex slaves. No one is safe. The characters live each day as if it could be their last because it most likely will be. With the Slaverunners hot on their trail, they are quickly running out of gas, out of food, and struggle to navigate through the icy treachery of the Hudson. With no other choice, the survivors park the boat and gather supplies in Brooke’s old cottage. Ben, distraught over the death of his little brother, falls asleep on his watch, and they are attacked by mutants. Rose is bitten, and they flee to an island. The weather has turned into a snowy blizzard, realizing that the Slaverunners couldn’t possible track them in this weather they find a cave on the island to wait out the storm. A series of unlucky and terrible situations occur and the group finds themselves short a member, one seriously injured, and are likely to freeze to death. When it seems all hope is lost and they’ll surely die, they hear the sound of a train. With little choice they hop onto the train, weary, but much warmer, and worry about who has the power to run the train. Eventually, they are tossed into Arena Two, which is even more deadly, sadistic, and disturbing than the last one. Brooke’s feelings for Ben and Logan are called into question, and she doesn’t know whether to let her emotions interfere with survival. They must all work together if they want to make it out alive but the general consensus is that they will not die as slaves but on their own terms.

PROS:

  • Brooke is fiercely loyal and compassionate. She has insane battle skills and fights viciously to protect her friends from the enemy. She is also inventive, and finds unique ways to escape dire situations. 
  • Stylistically, the story was written rather simply with repetitive words, was bare, and very often had little description, and more telling than showing. This actually is really effective, and fits the bleakness of the overall tone.
  • The various battle grounds were each interesting and full of surprises.
  • The hopelessness of the situation was sometimes overwhelming but made even the smallest triumphs all the more powerful.

CONS:

  • Arena Two was nowhere near as action packed or as much of an emotional spiral as Arena One. 
  • Sometimes Brooke and Bree’s names are confused, and used interchangeably.
  • Penelope the dog is referred to before her whole naming scene in the book. This was sloppy.

If you liked the Eve trilogy by Anna Carey you might enjoy this.

In other news:

For those of you who follow my blog, you know that my current mission is to read and review all the Iron Fey books by Julie Kagawa. Well the cover for the next book in the Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten series was leaked today for The Iron Traitor. I have included the link here –> The Iron Traitor but be forewarned, the article is slightly spoilery if you haven’t finished the series or started the Call of the Forgotten spin-off.

Here it is: 

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I love this cover, it is exactly how I pictured Keirran, icy, foreboding and yeah, kinda sexy. Those eyes!

-BB

Review: The Iron Daughter- Julie Kagawa

4/5 Stars

The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey, #2)- Julie Kagawa

For my review on the first book in this series click here –> The Iron King

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“You’re kind of blind, you know?” Puck whispered, smiling to soften his words. “I wouldn’t defy Oberon for just anyone. But, for you…” He leaned forward, touching his forehead to mine. “I’d come back from the dead for you.”

Plot: Meghan Chase is a prisoner to the Winter faery queen Mab. After rescuing Ethan from the Iron King, Meghan makes good on her bargain with Ash and returns with him to the Winter palace. Meghan thought that after the time they’d shared risking their lives to defeat the Iron King Machina, that her and Ash would find a way to be together. Apparently, she was the only one on board with that. Ash ridicules and torments Meghan with his cruel indifference, and occasionally, his disgust for her status as half-fey. Meghan is terrified of Mab’s volatile temper, she is not sure what the queen wants with her and understands that she could easily be tortured or worse without any notice. Meghan meets Ash’s brothers Sage and Rowan who are just as attractive and deadly as he is. Rowan corners, and torments Meghan for amusement, feeding her disguised toadstools to squeeze out a confession of love for Ash so that he could use it against him. Ash is Rowan’s greatest rival, and will exploit any weakness to hurt him. Winter is coming and with the change of the season a magical scepter of power is passed from the Summer court to the Winter court. Oberon brings the scepter himself, which is unheard of, and the court reacts with outrage at his threat. Mab takes the scepter, Oberon leaves, Meghan is still trapped, and Ash is as cold as ever (pun intended). Meghan doesn’t know how much more of Ash’s blatant dislike she can take and often bursts into tears, too tired to fight off the weakness. Sage knows how Meghan feels and talks her into meeting with him in the throne room to discuss her infatuation with Ash. Sage, as eldest of the Winter prince’s guards the scepter. While talking to Meghan, Tertius appears with an army of Iron creatures, hunkering for the scepter. Tertius and Sage battle to the death, the prince falls, the scepter is taken, and there is no evidence of the Iron fey’s involvement. Meghan is pegged with the crime, well Oberon and the Summer court are, and Mab, not so much devastated by her son’s loss but by the insult to her court declares war. Meghan and Ash attempt to flee the Winter court but are stopped by Rowan, who threatens to reveal Meghan and Ash’s forbidden love. If revealed, Ash would have to renounce his love and Meghan would most likely be put to death or he would be placed in exile from Nevernever forever. Rowan and Ash battle it out, Meghan and Ash escape and embark on a dangerous journey to retrieve the scepter, save Nevernever from war, and defeat the threat of the new Iron king. Throughout this madness, Meghan’s feelings for Ash become skewed with her budding attraction to Puck, and she finds an unlikely ally in Ironhorse.

PROS: 

  • The love triangle. Ash is constantly pushing Meghan away but the heart wants what it wants, that doesn’t make loving him any easier. Puck has always been there for Meghan with a laugh and a hug to make her feel safe. 
  • The creatures in the winter court are terrifying, wicked, and described beautifully to the minutest detail.
  • Despite the chaos and general sadness that comes from being in a horrible situation with little to no chance of making it out of there alive, the story is surprisingly uplifting and funny. The love and friendship between the characters is pleasant and flawless.
  • The dragon vs. unicorn scene, the whole battle montage between the Winter and Summer fey was brutal, violent, bloody, and exactly the sort of horrendous carnage I’ve come to expect from the fey. EPIC.
  • The characters, even some of the enemies are multilayered and sympathetic. This is especially true of Ironhorse. In the first book, Ironhorse is basically a mechanical piece of machinery with no emotion, here we see him as more than hunk of metal, he’s a determined, devoted character who fights for what he believes in.
  • Once again Grim is the most unsuspecting, yet crazy awesome character. The following pic is generally how I imagine him. 🙂

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CONS: 

  • This has to be one of the most heartbreaking endings ever. The only comparison I can think of that is even close is when Peter Pan decided to grow up. 

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-BB

Review: The Iron King- Julie Kagawa

4.5/5 Stars

The Iron King (Iron Fey, #1)- Julie Kagawa

Before you guys judge, I admit, I am really late on this one. I have wanted to read this series for a really long time. Hot faeries, can a girl get a hell to the yes! But as you know, I have been busy being a student and whatnot and honestly, other books kept coming up and consuming my time. FINALLY sat down and read The Iron King for the first time and I am so jealous of the other readers who have already read the other books in the series. I am so tempted to skip my schedule and plow ahead but alas, if I say I’m gunna do something I will. Unfortunately, book 2 will have to wait. 😦 Here it goes:

iron king

“Ancient, yes,” Robbie said. “Myths, no. The faery lords are immortal. Those who have songs, ballads, and stories written about them never die. Belief, worship, imagination-we were born of the dreams and fears of mortals, and if we are remembered, even in some small way, we will always exist.”

“I guess the sacrifice of my dignity is the only thing that will save us now. The things I do for love. The Fates laugh at my torment.”

Plot: Meghan Chase lives in the boondocks of Louisiana with her mother, half-brother Ethan, and stepfather Luke (a pig farmer! see side note). Far from civilization, coming from the sticks has a stigma about it that marks Meghan as a backwards swamp chick. Luckily, she has her best friend Robbie Goodfell to save her from the horrors of high school cliques and clichés. Meghan is not a girly girl but she fell victim to the charming good looks of the swoon worthy quintessential popular jock. It’s a day before her sweet 16 and she is determined that this would be the day that he would finally notice her beneath the baggy tanks and cargo pants. Upon arrival at the computer lab where she is supposed to tutor said jock, she gushes to him about his athletic ability, and makes a fool of herself. When she does get around to helping him, the computer malfunctions with first the repeated text of the ominous message that someone is watching her and then a joke about the jock checking out other dudes in the locker room, which of course flashes on all the computer screen in the lab. Meghan is mortified and realizes that her social life is over but is more disturbed by the terrifying creature that flashed above the computer. This is not the first time Meghan has seen something out of the ordinary but she brushes these off as stress induced hallucinations. Meanwhile, her brother Ethan keeps talking about scary men in the closet and monsters under the bed. Meghan is chilled by these images and of course, checks it out but sees nothing so she dismisses it as a little boy’s fanciful imagination. A few days later, Ethan is attacked by their previously lovable family dog. Ethan tells Meghan that it was not the dog that attacked him but monsters. Later, Meghan’s mother suffers a slip and fall accident in the kitchen from a spilled bottle of oil. Ethan starts to change, he becomes increasingly violent and intolerable. Meghan is bitten by her brother, Robbie comes to her rescue and he finally reveals the truth. Ethan has been abducted by faeries and replaced with a changeling, Robbie is really Robin Goodfellow or Puck like in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and that she is the daughter of Oberon. With this new reality that she is half fey and royalty at that, Meghan takes on the extremely dangerous task of rescuing her brother and ends up racing against time to destroy an evil that threatens the entire fate of Nevernever (the faerie world).

PROS: 

  • The power of myth and belief, specifically how they have the ability to bring fantasy to real life is a beautifully magical and a heartbreakingly inspiring concept. How technology is portrayed as sinister, dark, and yet alive and even redeemable is some of the most thought-provoking and poignant writing that I have ever encountered. Serious writer’s envy happening right now. Kudos Julie Kagawa. 
  • I am in love with the creativity. The sheer amount of detail and depth to each description is astounding and almost Tolkien like, though not as philosophically lofty. Each of the characters has very distinct psychological components and emotions that are easy to identify with and help the reader feel connected and to even on occasion, root for the seemingly bad guy. For being faeries, the characters have a remarkable amount of humanity.
  • Puck is hilarious, flirty, and an exact incarnation of Robin Goodfellow. Shakespeare would be proud.
  • The evil characters are so viciously scary that at times you will feel trapped, horrified, and never think of faeries the same way again.
  • Ah, the love triangle. Romeo and Juliet all over again. A wonderful continuation of the Shakespeare theme with a magical twist. Meghan’s raw emotion and her compassion are inspiring. Her fight to the death for her convictions, her love for her friends, her family, and the fate of the world, make her self-sacrificing nature not as annoying and foolish as this can sometimes be in other heroines.
  • Every character, even the smallest has depth, personality, and a purpose, there are no superfluous fillers.
  • The adventure and the journey are not at all unlike Frodo’s quest to destroy the ring. Meghan too is on a mission to rid the Nevernever, a world she has come to recognize as home to those she holds dearest, of evil and corruption from the Iron fey.
  • Some scenes are downright creepy in a very good way.
  • The depiction of high school cruelty and ridicule is almost traumatizing in how embarrassingly real it is. You will feel mortified. Be prepared.

CONS:

  • The weird way Meghan’s mother recovers from her “accident” as if it was no big deal is puzzling. 
  • Meghan’s constant place as damsel in distress is a bit much, however, by the end of the book Meghan finally seems to come into her own.

Sidenote: Pig farmers? Is this a new trend? This is the third book I’ve read lately where this has been the occupation of one of the main character’s parents.

If you liked Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test seriesHolly Black’s Modern Faerie Tales or Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, you would absolutely adore this.

-BB