Tag Archives: Fantasy

Grace Reviews: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

 

Grace’s Thoughts

I’m going to be completely honest with you guys: it took me around five months to finish this book. Now, it wasn’t a particularly difficult read and I definitely would not categorize myself as a slow reader, but unfortunately The Night Circus just didn’t draw me in like I hoped it would.

The reason why The Night Circus was such a brutal read for me was because it really is a long 500+ page book of descriptions. Yes, the flowery descriptive writing was incredibly beautiful and enjoyable and gave me a very vivid sense about everything there was about the circus, but there was very little going on beyond all the costumes and circus tents. I was very disappointed that there was so much emphasis on the setting and very little in comparison to the more important plot points like with the competition between Celia and Marco, who have been raised and trained their whole lives to be a victor in a competition that the reader is kept in the dark about for quite some time. Even worse, the competition that the book built up for turned out to be little more than creating different tents and performances and not actual magic dueling. I really wished there was more time spent describing how the competition really worked instead of Celia’s gowns and caramel apples.

There were times where the plot was a little confusing (which might’ve been prevented if I didn’t spread out my reading so much) between the characters and the competition itself. The plot itself continually jumps to different perspectives of different characters at different time periods, which only added to the confusion instead of driving the story forward. As much as I prefer stand alone books to series, it would almost have been better for Erin Morgenstern to have taken the side stories and included them into a companion novel or sequel or something so that the emphasis on the story would have been on Celia and Marco. Speaking of those two, I really hated their relationship; it just felt so forced and mechanical to me and lacked the magic that surrounded them in the competition and circus. The constant jumping around prohibited me from connecting to any of the characters – especially Celia and Marco who are supposed to be main characters – and took away the excitement of certain points because I was either confused as to what the heck was going on or because I just wanted to get through certain parts for the sake of getting closer to finishing the book.

Overall

It’s unfortunate that such a beautifully written book could wind up being so disappointing because The Night Circus really had the potential to be unforgettable. Of course, it was pretty unforgettable for those who really enjoy descriptive writing, but I personally am not patient enough to read several hundred pages before getting to the “meat” of the plot.

2 birds

two-starstwo-stars

Review of Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Poison Study (Study, #1)

Poison Study (Study #1) by Maria V. Snyder

Published: March 1, 2007
Genre: YA Fantasy
Pages: 412
Source: Library

Choose: A quick death…Or slow poison…

About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.

And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.

As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear… (Goodreads)

mythoughts2So this was the book that Vy made me read in December for Epic-Recs (find out more about that here). To be honest, I was not sure what I was going to think about this book because I am definitely not a fantasy girl. However, I’m glad Vy pushed this one on me because I was pleasantly surprised by it!

I have to say that I liked the first part of the book the most. I was hooked from the very beginning, and I was shocked at how much I was actually enjoying a fantasy book. The beginning was just really captivating, and I think it does a fantastic job of introducing you to the characters. There was a lot of good character building for Yelena, the MC. Throughout the book you get continuous glances into her past and what made her how she is now. Pretty much everything she does is influenced by her past with Brazell and Reyad, so it was definitely a plus that the author showed us glimpses of her past so we could understand her better.

The magical element was so-so for me. The concept is unique and the ideas are interesting, but personally I just don’t find magical plots all that captivating (unless it’s Harry Potter, obviously). What I did like was that Yelena is a food-taster and is trained to identify poisons. I don’t know, that just seemed really different and intriguing to me. The whole book was pretty fast paced and for the most part kept my interest, even if I wasn’t fully invested in the plot.

The one thing that I absolutely did not get with this book was the romance. This is a bit of a spoiler, so if you haven’t read the book, just skip over this next bit. Okay, so for some reason I just pictured Valek to be like, 30-35 years old. And Yelena is 17-18, right? It just seemed creepy to me, their relationship. I didn’t feel the connection AT ALL, and although it was pretty obvious from the beginning of the book that they were going to end up together, I kept hoping she would meet someone else. Thankfully the romance isn’t a central plot in the book, but I really did not find it to be realistic or appealing.

As for reading the rest of the series, I’m still unsure. I liked this one enough to consider it, but from reviews that I’ve read, it sounds like the series just goes downhill after Poison Study. Also, I don’t know if I can stand any more of that romance. Overall I’m happy that I read this because it forced me to read something outside my comfort zone, and something that had been on my reading list for a while. I would definitely recommend it if you’re a fantasy fan, because it seems to be one of the staples in the YA-fantasy genre.

 3.5 birds

Mhm. Okay. Flip a coin. Heads – bird wins. Tails – it’s mine.

Review of Behind Green Glass by Amanda Von Hoffmann

Behind Green Glass by Amanda Von Hoffmann

Publisher: Soto Publishing Company
Release Date: May 1st 2010
Pages: 192
Age Group: Young Adult
Behind Green Glass
Behind Green Glass by Amanda Von Hoffmann

Isolde is a shy and artistic sixteen-year-old who moves into a house rumored to be haunted. When she discovers a shard of green glass, a new world opens for her. Through the glass she sees Lyric, who mistakenly believes that he is a ghost, and other ethereally beautiful creatures. As their mystery unfolds, Isolde learns that they are not ghosts, but The Forgotten Ones, fairies cast out of their realm, labeled imperfect for their physical and mental differences. Isolde’s friendship with Lyric and The Forgotten Ones teaches her that sometimes our “imperfections” can also be our greatest strengths. (Goodreads)

 
This is the first book I have ever received for review, so I was very excited to read it. I didn’t really know what I was getting into, just that it was a fantasy novel.
 
I like that the book starts out very simple – 16 year old girl moving from the city to the country. Her mom is anti-social and never leaves her computer. Isolde is alone and shy without her best friend Maria to guide her. Then she finds the green glass, which is really the basis of the story. As she starts to find this world behind the green glass, she starts to lose her shyness and come out of her shell.
 
I really liked the character of Matt. I thought he was an excellent portrayal of a teenage boy. Lyric was a little too… perfect for me. Although he was troubled because of Meredith’s death, he seemed to have no physical flaws, and I had trouble really seeing him as a character. 
 
I thought the other fairies were very good characters, though. They seemed real and although different from common Fairie lore, they were very fairie-ish.
 
This book was very easy to get sucked into. The descriptions of the fairy world were amazing, and I felt like I was with Isolde as she learned to be less shy and make friends of her own.
 
My only downfall about this book was that Isolde seemed to accept the fairies too easily. I thought she would be a little more confused as to why she could see otherworldly beings. But I suppose this is the way of the story, just going with the flow. 
 
Overall it is a fun read with good underlying messages about overcoming fear and breaking out of your shell.
 
4 birds
 
Chloe
Special thanks to Amanda Von Hoffmann for providing this book!!