Sunday, March 29, 2015

March Mini-Reviews

Otherwise known as the "do away with the romance" edition. Usually I can be neutral to an unnecessary romantic subplot, but I found several really frustrating this month, apparently.

Stormdancer (The Lotus War, #1)
Title: Stormdancer
Author: Jay Kristoff
Series: The Lotus Wars
Volume: 1
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Out of Ten: 7/10
Review: This was a book where I liked the idea a lot more than I liked the execution. Jay Kristoff sets up a vivid Japan-inspired fantasy-steampunk world, the concept of which I quite enjoyed, and the worldbuilding was fairly strong. For me, the story was somewhat weakened by parts of the plot and characters, which I didn't like nearly so much as I did the world. The romance (if one can call it that) was something that, for me, the story would have been more enjoyable without. Yukiko was a character whom I couldn't always understand, but I admired her growth, and especially that of her bond with Buruu, the thunder tiger. While I overall enjoyed this book, I didn't find myself pulled in, and wasn't completely engaged in the story. At some point, I plan on picking up the sequel, and I would like to see where Yukiko's journey takes her next.

Title: Suspicion
Author: Alexandra Monir
Release Date: December 9, 2014
Out of Ten: 2/10
Review: This book felt like an unedited draft of a book meant to be a modern day, magical homage of Rebecca. The ideas in the story didn't flow, I really disliked the character of Imogen, the romance made me more confused that anything, and the magic system was never explained. Imogen felt more like a collection of worn out character tropes without enough substance to give her believable feelings. The book was much the same as its narrator, with a plot that was more of a concept than a plot and a magic system that was never explained or really defined. I really didn't enjoy the romance, because I have no idea what the characters (who barely felt like characters) liked about each other. Overall, this book really wasn't for me.

Belle Epoque
Title: Belle Epoque
Author: Elizabeth Ross
Release Date: July 11, 2013
Out of Ten: 6/10
Review: I've been playing with reading this book since it came out, which was almost two years ago. I was interested by the concept, but it wasn't ever very high on my to be read list, so I ended up putting it off until now. And, upon reading it, I found that I didn't really have any complex feeling about it. I think part of my issue was that I didn't like or understand Maude. She fell flat for me, as a character. She just didn't engage me, and I wasn't invested in her story. I felt she could have been more defined as a character. There is also a romantic subplot, which the book would have been better without. It felt forced, and Paul was a character that I actively disliked. The better relationship was the friendship between Maude and Isabelle, which I enjoyed, and would have liked to see more of toward the end of the story. Things felt wrapped up a bit too quickly, and I would have liked to see more of Maude's life after the changes that occurred in the last part of the novel. While this book had admirable aspects, overall it wasn't for me.

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