Tag «folklore»

Single Sundays: Soundless by Richelle Mead

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Soundless (from Goodreads):
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever…

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: Fav Author
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Mythology
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: November 10, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Even if Richelle Mead wasn’t one of my favourite authors ever, the cover of this book alone would beg me to pick it up!

Soundless was one of my most anticipated reads of 2015 simply because it is Richelle Mead’s newest YA novel–and a standalone one at that! I’m used to Mead’s paranormal series–both adult and YA–so I was very, very curious to see what she would do with a standalone novel. I also love mythology/folklore based stories so this seemed like a no-brainer to pickup.

The Concept / The World:

What I love about Richelle Mead’s ability to build worlds is that they are complex (meaning they have layers) but they are easy to understand and get acquainted with. It doesn’t take copious amounts of pages to understand what the setting is; but at the same time I never feel like the world is under developed.

The idea that this village has no hearing is really intriguing–and is very well done. You can tell she has done her research on the matter. It was very easy to visualize every aspect of this book as I was reading.

As for the folklore, it really doesn’t come into play until later on in the story so don’t expect it to be there as soon as you start.

The Plot:

I don’t know why I was expecting a faster paced book before I picked this up as this story reads very much like an adventure story; and that is because it is. I usually find adventure based stories to be a little dull and I did feel that with this one at times. However, Mead does a great job of ending her chapters in places that make you want to continue. So in that respect, I did find it to be suspenseful at times. I also liked its unpredictability as it kept me on the edge of my toes; wanting to see what was going to happen next.

BUT, I still feel like the plot is really simple. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I think it is just your personal preference. I like a lot of things happening in my stories and the straight-forward plot made it a little boring for me to read. And to be honest, I don’t know what else you could do with the story she wanted to tell to make it a bit more exciting.

So I’m a bit mixed on my feelings for the plot: I think the simple plot works for the story but I can’t help but want the more complex plotlines I’ve come to expect from Mead’s series.

The Characters:

What I like about Fei compared to Mead’s other heroines that I have read is that she doesn’t seem like a carbon copy of them (mainly Rose or Sydney). While she is a rule follower, I didn’t feel like I was reading Sydney reincarnated as a Chinese artist who lives on a mountain. All the characters are their own selves and that made it enjoyable to read but at the same time, they weren’t anything you haven’t encountered before. 

Fei is a tad on the dull side but I liked her spirit. I didn’t hate her but I didn’t love her either.

The Romance:

This is the only place where I find the synopsis is a bit misleading. “Unlikely romance” implies that it comes out of nowhere but when I was only a chapter in, the “unlikely romance” becomes very obvious. So in that respect, I was a little disappointed because it wasn’t what I was expecting. It really is just a small background subplot and nothing really develops from it.

My Rating: 3/5

overall

This one is really hard to review because I such mixed feelings. I really wanted to be blown away by this novel but it fell a little short in that regard. It’s beautifully written–no question–but I just wanted more from it. More action, more drama and more romance. I think if I read a review prior to this, I would have had the right mindset and have enjoyed it a lot more. Simply put: it’s a straightforward tale with a little Chinese folklore thrown in about a girl who uncovers the simple truth about her village.

Read if You Like: slower books, adventure books, simple plots
Avoid if You: want more action, want more drama

similarreads

  • Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (The Lotux War Series #1)
  • Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Allison Goodman (Eon Series #1)

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Series Review: Age of Legends by Kelley Armstrong

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

Age of Legends Series

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Canadian Author, Sad to See Go 2016
Series: Age of Legends Trilogy
Author: Kelley Armstrong
# of Books: 3 (Sea of Shadows, Empire of Night, Forests of Ruin)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure, Suspense, Romance, Magic
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating

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.**

If you ever read the biography bit on Kelley Armstrong, you will see that she “lives in rural Ontario”. I am from that same part of Ontario (just a town over) so I always make an effort to read her works. I’ve loved her other two teen series, The Darkest Powers and the Darkness Rising, so I  was excited to see where this series was going to go–and where it does is nowhere near her previous works.

When I was reading Sea of Shadows I kept thinking about the Red Riding Hood (2011) movie with Amanda Seyfried. The world that the book is set in reminded me so much about that world in the movie: a dark, fantasy-creature-driven place. It really has no other connections to the movie in anyway except maybe the really good twist at the end.

I haven’t read anything like Sea of Shadows in a really long time (maybe ever). Perhaps it’s because I read a lot of dystopian and New Adult reads and not a lot of high fantasy novels; but I really enjoy fantasy novels and I think this book helped me remember that.

However, I didn’t love the book; and I would say that until the last 5 chapters or so I was going to give this book a flat 3. The book kind of goes through high and low points. Some parts where really interesting, but then things would get a little slow. Part of the reason was that the POV would switch to the other sister right when something exciting was happening and wouldn’t go back until 3-5 chapters later. And when you did finally get back there, the scene you expect to unfold is neatly summarized into two sentences (very disappointing). The other problem is what the reader expects to read about after they have read the synopsis for the book. The girls spend more time in the village than they do on the journey to find each other. So if you are expecting a mostly adventure novel in that sense you will be disappointed.

You will also be disappointed if you are expecting a great love story. Romance is really not the focus of this book at all. Instead the focus is on the girls becoming confident in their own individual abilities and trying to figure out what the hell happened to their village. I personally didn’t have a problem with the leads as they are what I expected when I read that there were two twin girls (one is super confident, the other is not, etc). But, I do think some people might find them a tad dull in that respect (though I have to say they really grow throughout the novel as characters).

The way it ends has really captured my attention and I’m looking forward to what is in-store next for the twins.

updates

–July 4, 2015– Book 2: Empire of Night

WOW! This book was amazing! Even if I wasn’t in a reading slump, I would have been addicted to this story! And unlike when I read the first novel, I’ve been devouring high fantasy novels so this one had some stiff standards to uphold. Everything is turned up in this sequel: the romance, the action, the politics, the suspense. Even the writing sequence improved. Every time you get a cliffhanger when the POV changes, it picks up right back where you left it–and thank goodness for that! This book truly blew me away and is exactly what I expect in a Kelley Armstrong novel!

I simply cannot wait to see what happens in the grand finale because it is going to be epic!

–June 17, 2016– Book 3: Forest of Ruin

This finale was one of my most anticipated reads of 2016 and it did NOT disappoint!

I was hooked from the start right through to the end. Everything that had been amped up from the previous novel kept pace and continued to blow me away. From the lore to the politics to the action to the romance–it’s all on point here and fans of the series will love this grande finale. It was a wild ride thanks to all the plot developments and their awesome twists. I loved the unpredictability this novel had and it made it that much more enjoyable to me.

It was just a fantastic way to end this series and made me SO GLAD that I didn’t drop it after the slower start that was Sea of Shadows 🙂

 

My Rating: 5/5

Sea of Shadows 4/5 | Empire of Night 5/5 | Forest of Ruin 5/5

overall

If you want a high fantasy novel that focuses more on the supernatural/paranormal aspects of fantasy, this is a great series! For fans of Armstrong’s other works (Adult or Young Adult) this is completely different though it definite has all the same writing touches you expect. But don’t let the slower pace of the first novel deter you from picking up the sequel: because the follow-up truly takes things to the next level!

Read if You Like: world-building, supernatural/paranormal fantasy
Avoid if You: dislike slower starts, want more romance

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Synopsis for Sea of Shadows (from Goodreads):
In the Forest of the Dead, where the empire’s worst criminals are exiled, twin sisters Moria and Ashyn are charged with a dangerous task. For they are the Keeper and the Seeker, and each year they must quiet the enraged souls of the damned.

Only this year, the souls will not be quieted.

Ambushed and separated by an ancient evil, the sisters’ journey to find each other sends them far from the only home they’ve ever known. Accompanied by a stubborn imperial guard and a dashing condemned thief, the girls cross a once-empty wasteland, now filled with reawakened monsters of legend, as they travel to warn the emperor. But a terrible secret awaits them at court—one that will alter the balance of their world forever.

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