Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Review: Gambit

Title: Gambit
Author: C. L. Denault
Series: The Prodigy Chronicles
Volume: 1
Genre: Post-apocalyptic

A Quick Introduction: In a world where power is in your genes, Willow Kent has always expected to hide her ability for fear of being taken from her family to one of the Core cities. Then, just as she is coming into her power, revelations about her parentage turn her world upside-down. Suddenly she finds herself adrift in an unfamiliar city, with a family she's never known, with a new destiny and set of expectations upon her.

Out of Ten: 3/10

Review at a Glance: This fairly formulaic post-apocalyptic novel had a rather disturbing romance which destroyed any enjoyment I might have had.

Review: I've discovered the number one way to take a "well it was okay..." rating down to a "please let's never do that again" rating for me! The secret ingredient is to at a disturbingly unbalanced relationship! Especially when you season it with actual physical violence! Yep!

Okay, I'll stop with the sarcastic exclamations now. Basically, this book started off fine. A bit formulaic, but fine. I can do formulaic! I've been known to actually enjoy formulaic if I'm in the mood and the writing's good. The book opens with Willow on the verge of developing her gift (which come in around sixteen). Though the novel says that there is a scientific reason for all the gifts, it is, for all intents and purpose, essentially magical in nature.Willow was a fairly typical heroine, but none the less one that I was getting comfortable reading. She's quick-tempered, confident, and has ambitions far beyond working the tavern run by her family.

The setting was fairly typical of this sort of post-apocalyptic novel- the privileged living in glittering cities, the ungifted generally living in poverty outside. I am curious about how the wars that led to this world happened... were they civil wars between prodigies and normal humans?

So writing was fine, the story was fine, I was just beginning to enjoy myself, when it happen. It being the relationship which I was trying through shear force of will to ignore the signs of until I could not deny that it was happening anymore. And then my enjoyment rapidly decline until the point I was considering just not finishing the book. Because this relationship handled a power-imbalance between two characters very poorly, and basically romanticized a pretty worrying dynamic.

Overall, this book really wasn't for me. Relationship dynamics are something that can really make or break a book for me... and this one fell on the "break" side of that line rather spectacularly.

Ten Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven't Talked About Enough

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

Ugh, that moment when you realise that you've got two TTTs in a row on your blog because school related chaos has consumed all of your energy and possibly also your grey matter.

1. The entire Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer: I read most of these before I got into book blogging! One of the first posts on this blog is a review of the last book. My reviewing style has changed so much since then! (For one thing... no spoilers anymore! Weirdly one of the most popular posts on this blog remains an old review of a Maximum Ride book. But I digress.)

2. The Matt Cruse/ Airborn trilogy by Kenneth Oppel: I talk about this one a lot, but if you haven't read it yet, I clearly haven't talked about it enough! Also it has gorgeous tenth anniversary covers (ten years, has it really been that long?) so that's a bonus.

3. The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott. This series has a massive cast of characters, and I just had so much fun meeting them all! P.S. It's a six book YA series without a romantic subplot, which was refreshing. Plus, again, the covers are just beautiful. Look at them! They're better in reality, though, the title and border are raised and metallic.

4. Darklife and Riptide by Kat Falls: I kind of wish this was more than just a duology! It takes place in a world where a lot of coast has been flooded by rising sea levels, and humans have formed colonies beneath the waves. It was a lot of fun to read.

5. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater: I feel like I don't shout my love for these books from the rooftops nearly enough here! (Really, I don't talk about Maggie Stiefvater's books in general enough here. Maybe I'll do a series review for The Raven Cycle once The Raven King comes out?)

6. The Lynburn Legacy by Sarah Rees Brennan: I've been going through a bit of a phase right now (possibly related to the fact that a new SRB book is coming out soon) of great affection for this trilogy.

7. All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill: I'm not sure if I'm in the minority for feeling this way, but I was actually really glad to discover this was a standalone. Time travel novels are something I often really enjoy and this one was AMAZING. I'm definitely re-reading it this year!

8.The Wondrous Strange trilogy by Lesley Livingston: Mostly I somehow feel like I haven't mentioned this one? Wondrous Strange was one of the first YA books I every picked up, and it remains kind of special to me. I also still really enjoy the way the fae are in this trilogy... there's something very vivid about them. Also the "you have a horse in your bathtub?" scene still makes me laugh every time.

9. Princess of Glass by Jessica Day George: One of my favourite Cinderella retellings purely because of the monster making the glass slippers. It's one of those books I fall back into rereading when nothing else is catching my interest.

10. The Leviathan trilogy by Scott Westerfeld: I've had mixed feelings about Westerfeld's work, but this trilogy was really fun to read. (Steampunk in the best way!)

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Ten Books On My Spring TBR

Top Ten Tuesdays is a weekly feature created at The Broke and The Bookish.

1. The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins: I kind of like how that atmosphere of this books sounds, if that makes any sense.

2. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig: I will get to this one eventually. I wanted to space out my time travel reads a bit, since I read Passenger earlier this year.

3. A Tyranny of Petticoats edited by Jessica Spotswood: I haven't been in a short story mood recently, but I'm definitely looking forward to reading this collection when I am.

4. The Forbidden Orchid by Sarah Biggs Waller: I was really, really anticipating the release of this one, but then somehow didn't pick it up. I'm still looking forward to reading it, though, I really enjoyed A Mad, Wicked Folly

5. The Shadow Queen by C. J. Readwine: I was so-so about Defiance when I read it, but this is a fantasy novel, and it sounds fun.

6. The Winner's Kiss by Marie Rutkoski: After The Winner's Crime ended on that cliffhanger, I'm more than ready to see how the story ends.

7. Tell the Wind and Fire by Sarah Rees Brennan: I've actually had an eARC of this for a while, but I've been determinedly not reading it until the last week of March.

8. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater: Comes out on May 1 in Canada, continuing the trend of mysteriously delayed Raven Cycle releases.

9. The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi: Definitely one of my most anticipated debuts for the year!

10. Love, Lies and Spies by Cindy Anstey: Not usually my thing, except that it contains a LADY SCIENTIST which is totally my thing.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Blogademics: Social Interaction and Why I Didn't Comment Back

One of the best things about blogging for me is getting to talk to people about books. I'm pretty sure my family and friends in the non-internet world are relieved that I've got some other outlet for my book obsession, really. It just isn't their thing (at least, not to the extent that it is mine).

That said, I don't have boundless social energy, either online or off. Talking to people online generally saps less of my energy than full-blown meetings with actual physical people in the actual physical world, but... I can only socialise so much in a day before I need to curl up with a book and recharge. I am, overall, not a people person. I can be terribly picky about whom I enjoy spending time with- it isn't really something that I can help.

One of my things for blogging is that I pretty much always reply to comments I get on this blog. This blog is small enough that I can generally stay on top of comments pretty easily, and I really love hearing what other book nerds think! I will just about always reply to you on this blog. BUT. There is one thing you can do that will completely turn me off of visiting your blog.

That thing is linked to why I started blogging about books to begin with- which is to talk about books. That thing is that you have to seem genuinely engaged in what I've posted about. Seriously, if you aren't interested in what I'm posting, then you really don't need to comment. I won't say I can always tell when someone is just commenting so that I'll visit their blog, but at least be subtle about it!

I'm not even saying don't link yourself. If you've got a post you're really proud of, or that you think I'll love based on what you've seen of me, including a link in your comment! That doesn't bother me in the slightest (I actually kind of really like it).

What I'm saying at least pretend that you've read the blog post you're commenting on. I don't like feeling like someone is commenting on my blog solely so that I will visit theirs, At least mention something about the content of the blog post where you're leaving your comment. I talk about things that interest me on this blog. You talk about things that interest you on your blog. If the things that interest me don't interest you, chances are that I'm not going to be interested in your blog either, and then neither of us get anything positive out of the exchange.

Because I am a person with such low social energy, I'm more likely to visit and interact with the blog of someone whose comment on my blog has caught my interest for some reason than someone who has left a generic comment. (Tip: My interest is not that hard to catch. Squirrels and sparrows and once paint drying have managed to catch my interest in the past.)

Basically, I love hearing from people, but I really love hearing from people who value hearing from me the same way.