Bibliomancy for Beginners Season 4: Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor

Hey there guys! We’re back with another one of our follow up themed episodes for season 4. This is a follow up on our Imbibliomancy episode on Daughter of Smoke and Bone, which we all liked. I was hopeful we would all like this but, as usual, there are some split opinions. MOSTLY FROM TAYLOR BECAUSE HE HAS NO TASTE. Anyways. Here we go!

Advertisements

Worth It Wednesday: “A Daughter of Smoke and Bone” by Laini Taylor

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

dsb_final_6_1Title: A Daughter of Smoke and Bone

Author: Laini Taylor

Goodreads Description: Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Why it’s worth it: I’ll admit that I’ve had a wild relationship with these books, but–at the end of the day–I still think that this series is really worth it. For one, when Imbibliomancy did this (my pick, of course), Taylor and Michaela actually didn’t hate it. In fact, Taylor even liked my idea of reading the second one this summer.

I have a lot of issues with this blurb, because I don’t think that it adequately represents the content of this book. One, Laini Taylor is a beautiful writer who crafts prose on a whole other level that your stereotypical young adult fiction. Two, while this novel involves a star-crossed romance, it’s the kind of romance that understand that there are things more important than their “will they, won’t they” back and forth.

This became popular around the time that angels were all the rage, but this world is so much more than that. It’s one of the more unique angelic-based fantasy systems I’ve ever read. Really, every fantastical creature in this book was interesting and unique to me in a way a lot of fantasy settings aren’t.

This series has some weird ups and downs, with the second one being the strongest. I felt like the third one was a bit too bogged down by new information and characters, but it was still a fitting end to the series that was interesting if nothing else. Still very worth it, I promise!

Read it if you’re looking for: strong female characters, angels, fantasy, strong prose, strong world building, interesting characters, unique setting, romance, magic, action, adventure, humor

Worth It Wednesday: “Angelfire” by Courtney Allison Moulton

Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!

7285498Title: Angelfire

Author: Courtney Allison Moulton

Goodreads Description: First there are nightmares.
Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.

Then come the memories.
When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie’s power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie’s memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.

Now she must hunt.
Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember.

Why it’s worth it: Okay, I know what you’re thinking. That blurb sounds kind of corny. HANG IN THERE WITH ME.

I got into Angelfire kind of on a whim, back when angels were big but I was being seriously bored by a lot of the other stuff out there. I saw the sword on the cover and instantly knew that this was going to be something different, and maybe something closer to what I was looking for. I was right.

Okay, so Angelfire is a bit predictable, especially looking back on it all these years. However, what I also saw as the merits then are still serious merits now. In so many other angel books I was reading, the girl never got to be the hero. She was the human or less-that-the-guy angel who didn’t really get to do anything cool. Ellie isn’t like that at all. SHE is the warrior, and it’s up to HER to save the day. The lore fed into the angels think in a really cool, unexpected way. The books were also REALLY fast paced and action packed. In my review of the second book, Wings of the Wicked, I start off by saying that I had to read that book in one sitting because I couldn’t find a place to put it down!

The romance, while kind of cutesy, also struck me as just … good. I really believed that these guys had a connection across reincarnations and time, and I understood why they struggled because of that. Will and Ellie were partners, not one-over-the-other protectors. Will doesn’t like it when Ellie puts herself in danger, but he lets her do what she needs to because he knows that she’s strong enough to take it. They fight each other, they find each other, and they really love each other. That’s enough for me to be happy.

While I mention in my review of the last book, Shadows in the Silence, that I was a little bit iffy on the ending, the only reason is that it happened too quick. That’s not surprising, however, since these books are SO fast paced. And if that’s my only complaint, it’s still VERY MUCH worth it to read!

Read it if you’re looking for: strong female characters, swoon worthy romance, angels, mythology, action, adventure, fast pace, fantasy

Review: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

3 ½ stars

When Clara Gardner learns she’s part angel, her entire life changes. She now has a purpose, a specific task she was put on this earth to accomplish, except she doesn’t know what it is. Her visions of a raging forest fire and a mysterious boy lead her to a new high school in a new town but provide no clear instruction. As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between the boy in her vision and the boy in her life, between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. . . . When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

As a fan of the Fallen series by Lauren Kate, I was pretty psyched to get a hold of this book. The Fallen books are great, but I was really looking for a fresh take on angels and I got it. The main character, Clara, is a quarter angel who is trying to be a normal teenage girl while also trying to fulfill her purpose from God, which comes to her only as a short vision. Yes, the “normal teenage girl who actual [insert superpower/secret here]” premise has been well tried, but Hand pulls it off quite well.

The problem, however, comes with the middle of the book. The beginning starts off fast and interesting, but the middle kind of sinks. It focuses more on the teenage stuff as we wait with Clara for her purpose to reveal itself and be fulfilled, but the waiting—while realistic—takes far too long. I blew through this book only partially because it was compulsively readable. The other reason was that I kept flipping through pages looking for the next big angelic event, not prom. Clara falling in love for real was cute, but it felt like filler. Once you get towards the end—if you can hold on that long—you are rewarded, as things start happening one after the other in a very exciting way.

Once again, I’m going to harp on the fact that young adult books have this horrible tendency to have their main characters—typically females—fall instantly in love with their guys. Love at first sight is great, but I’ve seen this so many times it makes me groan. I understand that Christian was the guy from her vision and all, but come on. All these female MCs falling head over heels for guys the second they meet is making me lose faith in my own gender. Hand’s insta-love was certainly not the worst I’ve ever seen, and she even tried to balance it out, so I’m being unduly harsh in this particular review, but the constant issue of this is pushing me onto my soapbox. I’m off now.

Despite how unflattering this review sounds, I am genuinely excited to read the next book. I think that now that Hand has things moving, events are really going to start happening. Unearthly was compulsively readable and hard to find a stopping point even at its dullest middle event. The ending was very vague in a way that leaves me conflicted as to whether it is good or bad, but either way it does its job. There were so many loose ends that the next book has the possibility of being jam-packed with excitement. The end of Unearthly gives me faith that Hand can pull that off is she doesn’t feel locked into waiting for Clara’s purpose to show itself in a realistic timeframe. You can be sure you’ll hear how that goes!

(The second book in the Unearthly series, Hallowed, is expected to be released January 17, 2012)