Waiting on Wednesday #9

Waiting on Wednesday is a feature hosted by Breaking the Spine.

Title: Darkness Before Dawn

Author: J. A. London

Expected Release: May 29, 2012

Summary from Goodreads: This electrifying new trilogy blends the best of paranormal and dystopian storytelling in a world where the war is over. And the vampires won.
Humans huddle in their walled cities, supplying blood in exchange for safety. But not even that is guaranteed. Dawn has lost her entire family and now reluctantly serves as the delegate to Lord Valentine, the most powerful vampire for miles. It isn’t until she meets Victor, Valentine’s son, that she realizes not all vampires are monsters….
Darkness Before Dawn is a fresh new story with captivating characters, unexpected plot twists, a fascinating setting, and a compelling voice. Written under the name J. A. London by a talented mother-son team, the trilogy is perfect for fans of True Blood and the House of Night and Morganville Vampires series.

Why I’m Waiting: Because I’m a sucker for vampires. (Yes, the pun was intended. Shush, my sense of humor is SPECTACULAR.) Also, dystopian. Through them together and what do you get? Hopefully something amazing, like Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules, which I loved. I am CAUTIOUSLY excited about this book, because they can be so hit and miss with me, but it really does sound interesting. Plus, a mother-son writing team? I’m just curious to see if that works at all, story aside. 😛 (Although, about the cover, could they have made it look anything more like the Fallen series? Whether you like the Fallen series or not, I prefer uniqueness in a cover…)

Don’t forget to check out my Two Year Blogoversary Giveaway!

Advertisements

Review: Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Allison Moulton

4 1/2 stars

“Life as the Preliator is harder than Ellie ever imagined.

“Balancing real life with the responsibility of being Heaven’s warrior is a challenge for Ellie. Her relationship with Will has become all business, though they both long for each other. And now that the secret of who is really is has come out, so have Hell’s strongest reapers. Grown bold and more vicious, the demonic threaten her in the light of day and stalk her in the night.

“She’s been warned.

“Cadan, a demonic reaper, comes to her with information about Bastian’s new plan to destroy Ellie’s soul and use an ancient relic to wake all the souls of the damned and unleash them upon humanity. As she fights to stay ahead of Bastian’s schemes, the revelations about those closest to her awaken a dark power within Ellie that threatens to destroy everything–including herself.

“She’ll be betrayed.

“Treachery comes even from those whom she loves, and Ellie is broken by the deaths of those who stood beside her in this Heavenly war. Still, she must find a way to save the world, herself, and her love for Will. If she fails, there will be Hell to pay.”

Where do I start? WHERE do I start? Guys: THIS BOOK. This book kept me up until ONE THIRTY in the morning after a long night of work.  It NEVER STOPPED moving. I finally finished it, put it down, and tossed around for a while because I needed to breathe. Not kidding.

When the first book in this series came out, I was instantly hooked. I loved the world, I loved the characters and I loved Ellie. Finally, HERE is a girl who can take care of herself and make quips while being pummeled to death. Angelfire was fast paced, funny and included a guy that I actually crushed on because he wasn’t another one of those Edward types. (Ew)

Wings of the Wicked is a lot like the first book, except it’s darker, somehow even MORE fast paced and–hold your hearts, Will fans–a heck of a lot sexier. Don’t worry: Will and Ellie can’t even stay apart correctly, and once they get together SOMEONE GET A FIRE EXTINGUISHER. (Nono, nothing like a romance book or anything. The book is firmly PG-13.) Yet they also continue to be adorable around that. Go figure. Nice one, Moulton. 😀

You also learn a LOT more of about the world of angels, who Ellie really is–and when I say a lot, I mean it. Sometimes it felt like Nathaniel was facilitating an info dump, but I ate it all up. And then there still managed to be MORE questions that were opened up. I was so totally sucked into this world that I was literally wailing “No EXPLAIN IT!”

The main thing that I keep coming back to with this book is the pace. You read it, and you feel like the Roadrunner. You just CAN’T stop. If you could, I’d be a little more rested than I am right now. 😛 Ellie literally never catches a break; when she gets a chance to breath, you can’t even breathe with her because you know the next big thing is right around the corner of the next page and you are always right–and somehow it’s ALWAYS worse than you imagined. The book reads like a rapid fire shotgun. Just the way I like it.

Ahem. Now, I guess I ought to get technical instead of gushy to try to retain some semblance of credence. Alright. There WERE a few things that caught me as off. The first had to do with the pacing: with so many things happening, of course you’re in danger of not letting Ellie properly deal with what’s happening to her. The biggest events were dealt with beautifully, but sometimes it felt like she didn’t have reactions to some of the smaller things because she just didn’t have the time. The second thing: the relationship with Cadan. The whole thing just felt off to me, and got worse by the page. For one, he seemed to only show up when Ellie needed something explained to her, which just made him feel like a foil. Plus, the whole why-he-loves-her thing? That seemed…off. Perhaps it’s going to get expanded in the next book; I hope so. The third thing: what Bastian is to both Cadan and Will. I’m sorry, but if you ask me that just seemed like a whole plot event meant to facilitate a love triangle and WHY MOULTON WHY. I enjoyed that she tried to have Ellie shut Cadan down right away, but it still doesn’t sit right with me.

Still, overall, this book is AMAZING. I picked up Angelfire on a whim when it first came out and I am SO GLAD. I did. I’ve heard this book recommended for fans of Lauren Kate’s Fallen series and the Unearthly books by Cynthia Hand (both of which I’ve reviewed on my blog, go check out My Reviews!) but I disagree. The only thing that they have in common is angels. Ellie is more like Buffy Summers: kick butt, sarcastic and can totally take care of herself. So what are you waiting for? GO READ THEM.

The third and final book in the Angelfire series, Hymn to the Fallen, is slated for a 2013 release.

 

March 8, 2012 EDIT

Because Courtney Allison Moulton is awesome, she not only read this review but ALSO took time to chat with me on Twitter (@CAMoulton)about how there is NOT going to be a love triangle in Hymn to the Fallen. So you may ax that entire freakout from my initial review, color me curious about how this Will/Cadan thing is going to go and then please allow me to go off and happy dance. It was silly of me to think these books could be less than the awesomest thing on the planet.

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)