Quick Review: Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson

dark breaks the dawn *** This review may contain Spoilers ***

I confess, I’m not all that familiar with the store of Swan Lake so I can’t say if this is a good retelling or not.  What I can say it was just meh.  I wanted really into it but I also wasn’t bored with it either.  Evelayn is the crown Princess of the light side of the Kingdom.  Long time ago, a curse fell on the  Kingdom years ago and took away their immortality and separated them into two Kingdoms of Light and Dark.  For centuries the two sides lived in peace and keeping balance of the magic until 10 years before when the King of the Dark magic started a war to grasp both sides.  Evelayn is thrust into the conflict when her Mother is killed by the King making her Queen.  Now Evelayn is a fine character.  She’s smart and brave and willing to do anything for country.  She does what she needs to be done.  She’s a fast learner.  She is just coming into her powers and is able to master all of them except for the power to transform into her Swan. Only those with royal blood can transfigure.  Her love interest is Tanvir is kind of bland.  Several times there are hints of him not being worthy, that he has a secret, or that there is something is past that could come back to haunt him.  I was starting to think that he was a spy for the Dark Kingdom and he was forced to be a spy to save his sister who isn’t dead just being held captive by the King.  That would have made him more interesting at least but no.  The Dark Prince, Lorcan is far more interesting to me then either Evelayn and Tanvir and I sort of started rooting for him.  I know he’s technically the real big bad of the story but I was left for interested in what he was going to do then the others.  I also felt how Evelayn reacted at the end was a little out of character.  She never sought out violence before.  She had to do what she had to do for the safety of her Kingdom and keeping balance so for her to threaten the Dark Queen like she did seemed a strange move.  True she is young and obviously scared and desperate but this wasn’t the first time she felt that way and handled things better.  So yeah, it was meh but I’m going to read the second book because I do want to see what Lorcan does next.

Quick Review: Seeker by Veronica Rossi

seeker This was a fun book to read if a little uneven.  The sequel to  Riders, Seekers picks up a week after the first book ended.  Daryn has returned from Georgia after watching Marcus, Jode and Gideon reunite but too scared to face them.  She’s still blaming herself for abandoning Bas to the other realm with Samrael, the leader of the Kindred.  Gideon is still conflicted because he’s mad at Daryn for her role in Bas’ situation plus losing his hand but he’s also madly in love with her.  The trials of teenage love.  It’s been eight months and time is running out get Bas back so Daryn, Gideon and the other Riders of the Apocalypse must reunite to go into the Rift, face their demons and save Bas.  Now I say it was fun because mixed with all the teenage angst were some funny moments.  I truly appreciate Gideon’s snarkiness and sarcasm.  A little uneven because it didn’t feel the momentum of the first part of the book didn’t stay to the last part.  The book spends half of the book trying to find Bas and then we find him and find out that he was just the bait.  Samrael was only using him to get Daryn and the real conflict begins.  I sort felt that all the trials that happened before were kinda meaningless now.  It seemed like a long way to go to get to the payoff and we did it wasn’t as satisfying and felt rushed.  I wish we had spent less time on the Bas search and more on the Samrael/Daryn debate of forgiveness and who deserves it.  Other then that, it was a good book.

Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Narrator Reading Challenge UPDATE

diverse-narrators-diverse-stacks

We are now halfway through June so I can accurately say we are halfway through the year.  It’s time to check in and see how we are doing with our reading challenges.  This year we decided to split up our Diverse Stacks, Diverse Lives Reading challenge into two different.  One for authors and one for narrators.  I’m doing the Narrators and I have to say, I’m doing pretty well.  Now, I think there may be a few arguments over some of my books but who doesn’t love a good debate?  Going off my list of the books I’ve read, I discovered that there were a few things we should have discussed before setting the challenge out.  For instance, can you use the same book for different categories if they have more then one Narrator?  I’m going to go with yes because you are getting different perspectives from different characters.  So  here we go.

  1.  Book with a Queer Narrator: The Dark Prophecy by Rick Riordan.  Narrator: Apollo.  Ok, so this maybe a stretch because as Kate asked me Can we apply modern categories of sexuality to ancient Gods?  Well I don’t know, but in The Dark Prophecy, Apollo is currently exiled to Earth as a mortal and while being on Earth has shown equal interest in both Men and Women.  So, in the context of the book, I’m counting it.
  2. Book with a African American Narrator: March Vols. 1-3 by Congressman John Lewis. Narrator: John Lewis
  3. Book with characters from various socio-economic backgrounds Silver Stars by Michael Grant.  Narrators: Frangie, Rainey and Rio
  4. Books with Asian American Narrator: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han and The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon. Narrators: Lara Jean and Daniel.  I decided to count both since they are both Asian Americans but they have very different perspectives on growing up in America.  Lara Jean is definitely your more typical middle class teenage girl who grew up in the suburbs.  She’s also mixed because of her Dad is white so she straddles both sides.  Daniel grew up in New York City and is the son of two immigrant parents. (I thought about using Natasha from The Sun is also a Star as my African American Narrator but technically speaking she’s not American as her family was living in the US illegally)
  5. Book with a Narrator who has survived abuse: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas. Narrator : Feyre.  I really could have picked any character in this book but since it’s all from Feyre’s point of view she gets the top billing.
  6. A Book with a Mexican Narrator: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare. Narrator: Cristina.  I admit I maybe stretching it a little thin with this one.  Cristina is one of six narrators in Lord of Shadows and not one of the two main characters but she is an important to the story as a whole so for now I’m counting it but it might change before the year is out.
  7. A Book with a Muslim Narrator: Ms. Marvel Vols. 2-4 by G. Willow Wilson. Narrator: Kamala
  8. A Book with a Jewish Narrator: Silver Stars by Michael Grant. Narrator: Rainey I know that I have already used Silver Stars before but Rainey is a fascinating character.  I love reading her.
  9. A Book with an atheist Narrator: Believe Me by Eddie Izzard. Narrator: Eddie Izzard.  He doesn’t go too much into his atheism but he does make it very clear he doesn’t believe in any god.

9 out of 15 is pretty good.  Even if you take out the few iffy ones, I’m still over halfway done with my challenge.  How are you doing?

Quick Review: Believe Me by Eddie Izzard

eddie Phew!  I did it. I only had about 48 hours to read my DRC and I just barely made it under the deadline.  It helped that those last two days fell on my days off from work.  I’m very glad that I got a chance to read it.  Believe Me was a touching and honest memoir of man who struggled by persevered not just in his career but in his life.  Eddie Izzard is mostly known for his stand up but he is also an actor and transgender.  He talks openly about his sexuality and trying to identify who he is when there really wasn’t a word for it, the loss of his mother when he was six and breaking into the entertainment industry when you have no idea on how to find the door.  He goes step by step throughout his life that lead him to where he is now and those who are familiar with his stand up will notice how many of his chapters are written like his shows.  With a topic and then a short digression into a topic that’s related but not really related before coming back to the original thread.  It’s filled with humor and grief.  Hard times but good times too.  He didn’t have an easy road but it wasn’t all tragedy either.  He owns up to his privilege of growing up in a middle class household.  How the hard work of his father not only inspired him but allowed him to be able to follow his dreams and when he wasn’t able to pay the bills, his father was there to support him.  He talks about the fear of coming out and knowing that it could be the end of his career but how he had to do it.  I don’t think I have ever read a more clear and detailed experience of someone’s coming out.  I think most people see it as it as a one time thing. You Say I’m Gay! and that’s it but really it’s like multiple coming outs.  Once to themselves, then close friends and family and then coworkers and so forth.  To my LGBTQ+ friends, I hope that I have been supportive you and know that I believe that you are all brave for being you.  It’s also a good demonstration that if want something you have to be willing to work for it.  Eddie’s path to success had a lot of failures and a lot of unexpected detours but he used everyone of them to learn and grow and kept at it.  He’s still looking for new challenges like performing his stand up in different languages to connect more with people from different cultures.  Fans of Eddie will love it but I think people looking for inspiration will get a lot out of it too.

Review: Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare

lord of shadows

**This Review May contain some Spoilers**

I read a lot of fantasy novels and lately many of them have been relevant to what’s currently going on in our world.  I would say that some of it is a reaction to today’s political and cultural climate but books and art have a history of being predictive.  The Handmaid’s Tale was written over two decades ago and is just if not more relevant today then it was then.  Cassandra Clare’s The Dark Artifices might be her most political and timely series out of all her Shadowhunter series but it was years in the making first set in motion 10 years ago with the release of City of Bones.  One of the main threats in Lord of Shadows comes from within the Clave itself.  At the end of the The Mortal Instruments Series City of Heavenly Fire, the Clave started the Cold Peace.  A harsh punishment against Fairies for their involvement in the Dark War.  This has lead to anti-downworlder’s sentiment to spread among Shadowhunters.  Once again proving that people, even supernatural people do not learn from their own history.  Less then five years ago, they defeated Valentine, who’s group wanted to bring back the “golden age” of shadowhunters by ridden the world of downworlders and now the Cohort, a group of Shadowhunters are asking for downworlders to be registered and put into camps.  They movements should be marked and controlled.  Does that sound kinda familiar? It shouldn’t surprise any of you that the downworlders, particularly fairies are not happy and plan in invasion.  While all of this is happening, the Blackthorns and Emma are dealing with their own issues.  With each new book, they get more and more complicated with so many story lines that Clare is almost at George R.R. Martin level but not as many deaths.  I’m not sure all are necessary but it does make for interesting reading.  That being said to me the most interesting character is Julian.  Here’s a guy who at seventeen runs the LA institute. He takes care of his younger siblings and is utterly ruthless.  He will do anything for his family and his Parabati, Emma.  Who he is also madly in love with as she is with him but that’s forbidden and for good reason.  Parabati bond is pretty strong and only enhances strong romantic love to the point it drive them crazy.  Yikes.  As for the ending, I knew the character was going to die as soon as she admitted she was going to be friends with another character.  It sounds silly but the way it was written it sounded so final as her arc was over at that moment.  I was sorry to see that character go but boy there will be hell to pay now.  Too bad we have to wait 2 years to find out what happens next.

Mom and I went to BookCon and it was a lot of Fun!

Our Mom is visiting me in Brooklyn this weekend.  When she comes I always look for things that we haven’t done before so when I finally realized that BookCon was going to be at the Javits Center while she was going to be here we decided to go.  Both of our parents inspired our love for reading.  Mom has already 81 books in 2017.  Putting my 25 books to shame.  She’s never been to anything like this before and my only convention experience was at BookRiot Live.  Which was tiny compared to this.  The Javits Center is huge.  Not surprising since this is also the home to New York Comic Con.  We decided first to explore the vendors as we got our bearings.  Pretty much every major publisher was there with a mini store and most a signing area.  Now there were signing areas that you had to sign up for ahead of time and then smaller ones that you had to line up for.  It was kind of confusing what was what.  Also, we seemed to always miss all the free giveaways the publishers were handing out but that’s ok.  I’ll live.  After we had a quick bite to eat we headed to hear Rainbow Rowell talk.  I’ve read all of her books but Mom hasn’t.  Before the talk began, Mom asked if any of her books would make her cry and I was like yes but I’ll lend her Attachments because of all Rainbow’s books that seems to have the less tears.  I think.  She was just a delightful as I imagined her to be but the one comment that stuck me was talking about Eleanor and Park and sad it is that having a fat female protagonist was somehow revolutionary.  We all know someone who is overweight.  We have seen them in relationships, married and have kids so why wouldn’t they have their own love stories?  After Rainbow, we went back to the vendor floor.  We each bought a few books, tote bags and shirts before heading down to hear Jeffery Tambor.  The Arrested Development star has a new memoir coming out and after seeing him I want to read it.  He was funny, smart and completely honest.  We then went to our final panel of the day with Maggie Stiefvater, Kami Garcia, Laini Taylor and Marissa Meyer about Magic and World Building moderated by Daniel Jose Older.  I adore all these authors books (Mr. Older’s book are on my to read list) so it was interesting to hear how they all go about crafting their stories.  The most interesting part was talking about you are always building a world no matter if you are making a world from scratch or drawing from the real world.  I’ve never thought of that.  Maggie said that authors talk about how if they were to assign each of them to write about this room they would all write it differently because they are writing from their perspective their view and how that is reality but not completely real.  It was an interesting talk.  It was then that we decided to leave as it was a full day of books and fun.  I’m glad we did it because it was something new and different.  My one complaint was that it would have been better if they had clearer signage of where things were because it was kind of hard to figure out where things were.  We had to wander around to find things. Either then that it was a fun day.

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