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DNF Series Review: Reign of Shadows by Sophie Jordan

DNF December Review Blitz — Day 6: I’m sharing my thoughts on some book series that I have marked as incomplete as I have never finished the first novel in the series. Find out why these weren’t for me:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Reign of Shadows (from Goodreads):

Seventeen years ago, an eclipse cloaked the kingdom of Relhok in perpetual darkness. In the chaos, an evil chancellor murdered the king and queen and seized their throne. Luna, Relhok’s lost princess, has been hiding in a tower ever since. Luna’s survival depends on the world believing she is dead.

But that doesn’t stop Luna from wanting more. When she meets Fowler, a mysterious archer braving the woods outside her tower, Luna is drawn to him despite the risk. When the tower is attacked, Luna and Fowler escape together. But this world of darkness is more treacherous than Luna ever realized.

With every threat stacked against them, Luna and Fowler find solace in each other. But with secrets still unspoken between them, falling in love might be their most dangerous journey yet.

breakdown

Series: Reign of Shadows
Author: Sophie Jordan
# of Books: 2 (Reign of Shadows, Rise of Fire)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fairy Tale Retelling, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: unsure
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: February 2016 – 2017
Source & Format: Public Library–Audiobook

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading Reign of Shadows (Book 1) at 14% (Around Chapter 5). Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I’ll be frank: I’m not the biggest Sophie Jordan fan. I’ve read 3 very different series by her (Firelight, Ivy Chronicles and The Uninvited) and haven’t been overly impressed. I had actually reached the conclusion that I probably wouldn’t pick up any more books by her and move on.

So why on earth did I pick this up? Well, at first it was definitely cover lust. The colours just drew me in. But I also read a lot of reviews and my interest was ignited. While the reviews were mixed, one consistent theme is that this story varied greatly from her previous works and that the writing was of a different caliber. So I was more than willing to give it a shot.

What I Liked:

–The Perpetual Darkness–

I actually didn’t get far enough into this story to learn what the cause of this was or even what it truly was but I got the gist of it from reading the various reviews on Goodreads. While I don’t know if you would classify it as a spoiler I think it is so no mention here. If it was mentioned in the chapters I read, I definitely missed it (and that wouldn’t be the first time I’ve done that with an audiobook!).

What I Didn’t Like:

–Luna’s Innocence–

I totally get why Luna is a naive as she is, I just couldn’t handle it. She’s got a fighter’s spirit but her inability to get the logic of certain situations wasn’t flying for me.

–Fowler’s Angst–

Talk about brooding! Usually I have a soft spot for the badass-jerk but Fowler was not working for me. I think I listened to about 2 chapters of his angry narration before I realized this wasn’t going to work for me.

–The Insta-Love–

When Luna started to describe this “unknown connection” to Fowler, that sealed the deal for me. I get that there is more at play here but I just wasn’t in the mood for this sure to be quick romance.

Will I Finish It?

Nope. This wasn’t working for me and I have no interest to see what happens next.

My Audiobook Experience:

Perhaps it wasn’t fair of me to pick this up as an audiobook but I thought the change in format would give me a fresh experience. But I thought a 2+ hour car ride would get me to pay attention…yeah, so not the case. I found myself zoning out more often than not but I think that has to do more with the content than the narration.

Series Rating: DNF

overall

Look elsewhere for a review because other’s seem to really enjoy this!

Read if You Like: fairy tale retellings
Avoid if You: dislike insta-love
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Have you read this? Should I return to this series? Leave a comment!

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Series Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

Series: Firelight Trilogy
Author: Sophie Jordan
# of Books: 3 (Firelight, Vanish, Hidden)

There is a spin-off novella that takes place after Hidden called Breathless

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Heat Rating: getting warm
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

It took me a really long time to finish the series. I actually contemplated not reading the last book (Hidden) when I had it in my hands (for the 5th time it seemed) but when I saw the size of it, I knew I could read it in 2 hours and 2 hours to finish a series I invested double the time into was “worth” it. And to an extent it was–but it is important to start this review from the start.

I started this series right when Firelight came out. This means I was still a teenager and my threshold level for idiotic heroines was a lot higher than it is now. If I were to read Firelight now, I probably would enact my 50-page rule and drop this series all because of Jacinda.

Jacinda is a very hard character to like. She’s vain, selfish, hypocritical and simply annoying. Perhaps the most redeeming quality to her is that she cares for her family–occasionally. I just did not like her and that really throws me off a series–especially when it’s that character telling the story from a first person POV so you have to spend time in their head.

But because I was younger when I read Firelight, I actually didn’t mind it. Part of the reason is the overall concept of the book. If you ignore the love-struck whinny heroine, the premise of the book is really neat. It isn’t everyday that a novel targeted for girls features dragons and as much as I dislike Jacinda, I liked that she was the paranormal creature for once and not her love interest. I don’t particularly like werewolf books so it was a nice change to read about dragons–and Ms. Jordan does this part of the book very well. So while the plot is nothing overtly original, when you strip it down to the basic premise the world it takes place in was interesting for me and that is what held my attention.

Just a note on Ms. Jordan’s writing: when you read her young adult novels it’s obvious that she writes adult romance novels. Her style reminds me a lot of Jennifer L. Armentrout’s (who also writes YA and adult romance novels) in that the romance details are a little more “spicy” than the typical YA novel. This doesn’t mean there are extensive love scenes but there is a lot more talk of sex and more heated kissing descriptions than the average YA novel.

Book 2, Vanish, is where I really started to dislike this series. I honestly couldn’t tell you what happened in this book–it came back to me a bit when I read the description of Hidden and a little more as I was reading Hidden (Jordan does a good job of refreshing details in the sequels). But I spent the vast majority of the book being mad at Jacinda because, low and behold, we get the another Book 2 Curse: the love triangle “climax” plot. UGH. And this love triangle is just as bad as Twilight‘s. Jacinda also suffers from Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome with both boys and to be honest I’m not sure why. Her “interaction” with Will in the first book isn’t enough to fall in love with him (in my opinion) and I’m not sure why she likes him (or him her) to be honest. I think it has something to do with biology (if you do read these books, you can probably see what I am talking about) and nothing else. They have nothing in common and because of that I just didn’t see the connection. So, I think it is obvious that I am team Cassian and I’ve been team Cassian since the get-go. I see them together more so than her and Will for a few reasons but I think it simply comes down to the fact that they are better suited for each other. The love triangle in this series is the prime example of why I can’t stand them in novels and it’s right beside Twilight for worst love triangle ever…but I digress.

I know you are probably thinking: this book probably has a lot of action considering Jacinda is a dragon and Will’s family hunts them. Well, that is a wrong assumption though I totally had the same thought. While there is some exciting “events” this isn’t an action series by any means. There is a lot more action in Hidden than the other 2 novels–which made it more enjoyable to read–but don’t think there are going to be some epic battles. The action is quite tame and isn’t a huge part of the plot lines.

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As I said, Hidden was a lot faster paced (might have been because I was skimming it as well…) but I still found it frustrating to read because Jacinda was in full hypocrite, I-love-him-but-I-love-him-too mode. I have to write about a spoiler here because it’s bursting to come out of me: ( you can’t feel guilty about nearly killing a man who was about to kill you and then feel no guilt–and SAY SO–when a guy who tormented you dies by the hand of someone else because he was attacking that someone. WTF!? Do you hear yourself when you think these ridiculous thoughts in your head! ) There was one really good twist near the end that I didn’t see coming but it’s not enough for me to sing this series’ praises anytime soon. Also, I just need to say this: it was weird reading about Jacinda making out with boys in her dragon form. I’m assuming the picture I have of dragons in my head does NOT match what they look like in the books (or I just missed a descriptive line about what form she was in) but it just gave me the creeps…bleh!

When I was reading reviews of Vanish in an attempt of trying to remember what happened in it, I read a review where the reader suggested that the story should have been told by Tamara because she was a lot more interesting. Listening to Tamara complain in Firelight would have frustrated me to no end; but I really did enjoy her character more in Vanish and Hidden than I did Jacinda’s. So I would have liked more from her and I actually was hoping Breathless, the novella that takes place after Hidden would be about her but it isn’t. It’s actually about Az, Jacinda’s friend who I couldn’t care less for. I’ll read it if we get it at the library but I’m not going to go out of my way.

Conclusion:

I think if I was 16 again, I would enjoy this series. That isn’t to knock or insult 16 year olds everywhere–it’s just that my reading tastes have changed immensely in the years since. I don’t care for love triangles; I can’t stand whinny teenage heroines and I like my novels to have a lot more substantial drama and action. Older YA fans probably won’t enjoy this series as much but if you want to read a mild, quick trilogy series that is also written well than it might be worth a shot.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Nightshade by Andrea Cremer (Nightshade Series #1)

Synopsis for Firelight (from Goodreads):
A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki, a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will’s dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away;if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She’ll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

Series Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Uninvited by Sophie Jordan | Uninvited Series

 

Series: Uninvited
Author: Sophie Jordan
# of Books: 2 (Uninvited, Unleashed)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Dystopian
Heat Rating: luke warm
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

I’ve read a few books by Sophie Jordan in the past (Firelight Series and Foreplay) but I haven’t totally loved her work. I often find it dull and not as action packed as I anticipated; so I was hoping Uninvited would change that.

The concept of the book is really cool and I love her author’s note at the end of the book. The message Ms. Jordan is trying to convey is a good one and I really respect that. And with the way it is written, it’s easy to see how our world could become the book’s one day. (I study some molecular diagnostics like genetics testing so I really do see how this could all happen). I especially like the little info blurbs we get before each chapter–it reminded me of Lauren Oliver’s Delirium which had a similar idea before each chapter. It helps add context to the story without adding additional, dry dialogue to the characters.

This book was a little slower and doesn’t have a lot of action to it, though it picks up near the end. I think the paced worked well in hindsight but I felt like parts dragged on a bit. There isn’t a huge focus on the romance of the novel which I think it probably for the best but I would have liked some more sexual tension between the two of them.

Unlike previous Sophie Jordan novels, I didn’t totally hate Davy as a lead. She grew on me a bit as the story progressed because she becomes a stronger character as the story goes on. She definitely isn’t my favourite character ever but I didn’t mind her and I can justify her angst based on her situation.

I’m glad this series is only two books long because I don’t know how it could drag on for three books. I’m looking forward to seeing how this story concludes in the next book but I’m not going to count down the days in excitement.

UPDATED (April 18/15): Unleashed was a huge disappointment! Given the ending of Uninvited, I was expecting a faster paced novel with more action and the emergence of Davy as a heroine with a mission. Yeah…that never happened. Actually, nothing really happened in this book! It was a lot of Davy sitting around moaning about how she missed her “normal” life. She did absolutely nothing to resolve the world she lives in which was super disappointing. I guess I can appreciate the idea that it takes more than just on person to elicit change (not everyone can be Tris Prior and I get that) but at least with those novels something happens! Honestly, NOTHING HAPPENED IN THIS NOVEL! Throw in a too-fast and out of nowhere romance, a silly love triangle and you have the boring novel that is Uninvited. Very disappointed.

Conclusion:

People who enjoy slower, not high action science fiction novels will like this one. Fans of Sophie Jordan’s work and the Delirium series will also enjoy this. But if you want a faster plot, I would read Divergent. A good read that isn’t a waste of time for those who like Young Adult Science Fiction. Uninvited it worth a read but Unleashed was a huge let down.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads:

Synopsis for Uninvited (from Goodreads):
When Davy Hamilton’s tests come back positive for Homicidal Tendency Syndrome (HTS)-aka the kill gene-she loses everything. Her boyfriend ditches her, her parents are scared of her, and she can forget about her bright future at Juilliard. Davy doesn’t feel any different, but genes don’t lie. One day she will kill someone.

Only Sean, a fellow HTS carrier, can relate to her new life. Davy wants to trust him; maybe he’s not as dangerous as he seems. Or maybe Davy is just as deadly.

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Series Review: The Ivy Chronicles by Sophie Jordan

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

Foreplay by Sophie Jordan | The Ivy Chronicles


Other books in the series:

Series: The Ivy Chronicles
Author: Sophie Jordan
# of Books: 3 (Foreplay, Teased, Wild)

There is a short story about Hunter from Foreplay in the Fifty First Times: A New Adult Anthology

Book Order: Connected
Complete?: Yes
Genre: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary, Drama
Heat Rating: getting hot
Point of View: First Person, Single

Thoughts:

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

My exposure to Ms. Jordan’s work before Foreplay has been her Young Adult series, Firelight which I have mixed feelings about but I always knew she wrote romance novels first and foremost so I decided to give this one a shot.

I enjoyed it, but simply put, I have read better New Adult reads in recent times. I just felt like something was missing from this book and that disappointed me slightly because I felt like it started off strong. But by the halfway point, I was getting a little bored with it.

I think part of the problem was Pepper. I just didn’t like her all that much. It’s not because I found her to be annoying–I just found her to be boring. Which is a shame because she could have been a very interesting character given the stuff we learn about her later in the book. Reese was the same for me too. He just seemed very generic but I did find him swoon-worthy at times.

I’m not sure how I feel about the love triangle either. Usually, they irritate me to no end but this one didn’t bother me that much. I’m not sure if it is because I always knew how it was going to end or if I just was indifferent to Pepper–I think it’s the latter though.

As I said, I had a pretty solid idea about how this book was going to end going into it so nothing really surprised me as I read it. Though I will give credit to two particular “twists”/events that got me to perk up in my seat as I read them–they made things a little more exciting but not enough for me to proclaim that I loved this book.

Although Goodreads lists only two books in the series, the description of the series gives me the impression that there will be a total of 3 books. Despite this lackluster start, I plan on reading Tease because I really liked Emerson’s character and I think there is a lot of potential with her book.

UPDATED (November 22/14): I finally got my hands on Tease (just in time for Wild to come out so maybe there was a method to by madness!) and finished it in a little over a day. I suppose that I like Tease more than I liked Foreplay, but again, there was just that something missing for me. I think the main thing was I just didn’t see the initial connection between Emerson and her lead. Yes, I saw why they worked well together later in the book but it just seemed so abrupt that I never fully comprehended it. Like the previous book, there were a few interesting plot twists that stopped it from being overly predictable and it is written well. It just didn’t wow me.

I’m still hoping Wild will be the standout book in the series for me. It looks like it will have an aspect to it that most New Adult reads don’t have so I’m curious to see where that will go.

UPDATED (December 3/14): I managed to get a copy of Wild and read it very quickly (they are rather short, easy books to read when all is said and done)–though using it to procrastinate from studying might have driven me to read it as quickly as I did 😛 Wild is probably my favourite of the series but it still didn’t overly impress me. The first half was great and I could see the connection between the two leads forming and loved watching all that sexual tension unfold. But then, it just fell apart for me like Foreplay did and just like the inaugural book in the series I slightly blame the heroine for this because I just didn’t get that connection to her. I think if these books had the male POV it would add that depth to the books that was missing and would take them from “ok” to “really good” because everything is all there, it just needs to be brought up a level.

Conclusion:

All and all, this book (and series) was alright. When I finished it, I gave it a 4/5 but when I thought about it more, it’s more of a 3.5 that’s closer to a 3. It wasn’t anything overly exciting (drama wise) but I enjoyed reading it. I think it’s a great book to read if you are looking at getting into the New Adult genre, but I think those who have read a good number of New Adult reads will find this a little dull. Though, it should be said that the writing caliber of this book is SIGNIFICANTLY better than a lot of New Adult reads out there.

Rating: 3/5

Similar Reads: Charade by Nyrae Dawn (Games #1); Wait for You by J. Lynn (Wait for You Series #1); Keep Me by Faith Andrews (Grayson Siblings #1)  and Saved by Kelly Elliot (Wanted Series #2)

Synopsis for Foreplay (from Goodreads):
Before she goes after the life she’s always wanted, she’s about to find the one she needs.

Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.

Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…