Tag «Top book series»

Series Review: Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #3
Series: Beautiful Creatures or Caster Chronicles
Author: Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
# of Books: 4 (Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, Beautiful Chaos, Beautiful Redemption)

There is a novella that takes place between books 2 & 3 called Dream Dark. There are also background story novellas that are to be read AFTER the series: The Mortal Heart.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Magic, Witches, Romance, Paranormal, Gothic, Southern
Heat Rating: cool
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movie here!

Thoughts:

This is one of my favourite series, which surprises even me when you look that the other series in my top 5–but of course there is an excellent reason why the Caster Chronicles is in my Top 3 Favourite Book Series of all time.

I am not a huge fan of witch-paranormal reads. They tend to bore me and the subject of “magic” and how it is often used bothers me. But with this series I never had that problem. Garcia and Stohl weave a rich and addicting story of magic, family and fate which makes each book impossible to put down. I liked the powers that are revealed and used throughout the series as they logistically make sense and it is easy to understand where, when and how they can and cannot be used.

Another thing is the pacing of the books. The story takes place in the South (and I have to say Garcia and Stohl have captured the South perfectly!) so understandably everything moves a little slower. Normally, this would bother me but I found with Beautiful Creatures (which is definitely the slowest book of the 4) I liked the pacing as it really built up the suspense for the climax and the big reveal. The rest of the series still has the Southern feel to it all, but the pacing is a little faster as more of the plot is revealed.

I also adored the characters of the series. Ethan and Lena were incredibly mature for high school students and I was never annoyed with them. They thought everything through and acted accordingly which I really enjoyed. The rest of the cast, like Link, Ridley and Amma–just to name a few–were absolutely fantastic and I was just as interested in their stories as I was with the main plot.

The series overall has a great plot. Each book builds upon each other as you learn about the various families’ pasts, the Caster World and the characters themselves. One thing I really liked was the fact that there are little clues or hints about what is going to happen along the way so everything connects. But I never found the books to be predictable which was great.

Beautiful Darkness does a great job of not falling into the trap of most sequels despite the fact that it contains many elements that most sequel books have. The plot in book 2 is just as strong, if not stronger, than Beautiful Creatures and I enjoyed book 2 a lot more than the first book.

I have to make a special mention of Beautiful Chaos. This is by far my favourite book of the series because as you read this book you discover how much you love the characters. Perhaps this is a spoiler warning but I balled my eyes out for this book–and I mean full out sobbing, tears running down my cheeks for an hour as I read it. I have only had that happen when reading one other book since (that book, for the curious, is Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare of the Infernal Devices Trilogy, #3) but all I can say is I am glad my roommates weren’t home to witness my midnight cry-fest 😉

Beautiful Redemption took me a while to get into. I think part of it was my hesitation to actually finish the series. I have followed it since its start so it was hard to say goodbye to some of my favourite book characters. But the last 150 pages really pick up. I recall being slightly disappointed with the ending (not enough closure for my liking) but overall, it was a great ending to a fantastic series.

UPDATED (May 17/15): I randomly stumbled upon The Mortal Heart on my library’s website and HAD to read it. When this revelation of the past was revealed in the original series, I was floored. It was unexpected and I wanted to know more and this novella is the answer to that. I wish it was a full length novel because it would be such a great story, but in the end this was the perfect length and answered nearly all (what can I say? I’m greedy) my questions. It reminded me how much I love this series and all its layers and I can’t wait to read the other two novellas I think they have planned!

Conclusion:

As I said before, one of the best book series I have ever read. If you are looking for a series that is rich in Southern culture, pick this one up. It is unlike any of the other “magic” series out there and has a deep gothic feel that very few books do nowadays and great lead and supporting characters.

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: Nevermore by Kelly Creagh (Nevermore Trilogy, #1)

Synopsis for Beautiful Creatures (from Goodreads):
Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she’s struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town’s oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Spin-off Saturdays: The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare

Spin-off Saturdays: On Saturdays, I will review a series that is a spin-off series. It is recommended that you read the original series first in order to get the most out of the spin-off series. Here is this week’s offering:

Infernal Devices Trilogy is a spin-off of the Mortal Instruments

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #4
Series: Infernal Devices Trilogy
Author: Cassandra Clare
# of Books:3 (Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince, Clockwork Princess )

This is a PREQUEL to the Mortal Instruments Series. It takes place approx. 1 century before the events of the Mortal Instruments Series

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Victorian, Action, Demon Hunters, Magic

Thoughts:

I recommend that you read this series after you have read the first 3 books of the Mortal Instrument Series (City of Bones, City of Ashes, City of Glass) just so you can recognize last names easily which is what I did (it was also because this book was released AFTER the first 3 had been published of the Mortal Instruments). But by no means do you have to follow this! It would probably be better to read this trilogy first but I find there are things hinted to in the later (books 3+) Mortal Instruments series that connect to the Infernal Devices that might not make sense if you read this series first.

I am a huge steampunk fan. It is definitely one of my favourite genres so this book was a win-win for me: a prequel to one of my all-time favourite series and it takes place in a steampunk world! This is probably why I enjoy this series more than the Mortal Instruments.

One reason I like this series so much is because it is so different from The Mortal Instruments. It’s not just a carbon copy, following similar plots and characters. The whole world Clare creates is different from Mortal Instruments and as such we don’t just see the battles between otherworld creatures and the like. It focuses more on magic and automations instead. It is a unique series on its own but still maintains connections to the follow-up series that fans of the series will appreciate. That being said, you can definitely expect some twists and turns along the way!

Another reason I like this series more is the characters. Like I said in my Mortal Instruments review, the characters make this series for me. However, unlike the Mortal Instruments, I really like Tessa as the heroine. She isn’t annoying to me and while I hate love triangles, I totally get her dilemma between Jem (James) and Will. It should be noted that the love triangle really only begins to make prominence in book 2, The Clockwork Prince though it begins to build in book 1, The Clockwork Angel. I also like all the secondary characters like Charlotte and Sophie as well and I devour their POV sections whenever they appear in the books.

UPDATED: I just finished Clockwork Princess last night and WOW. What a read! It was so hard to put the book down during the last 200 or so pages–despite the fact that I was dead tired I pushed on to finish the series.

I always get worried with prequel series–especially when I have read the sequel series first–because I don’t like predictable books. I like being surprised and I am glad to say that was the case here. While I suspected some things to happen I really had no idea how this book was going to end–and that made it all that more fantastic. It was a beautiful, albeit heartbreaking way, to end the series. I can only really recalling sobbing (shedding a few tears is nothing–so I am talking actual pain-in-the-throat-can’t-catch-my-breath tears here) for one other book (Beautiful Chaos, Beautiful Creatures Series #3) and I definitely did that here. I literally felt every emotion reading this last book and while it is hard to pick a favourite book, I think this last one would be it.

One thing that I love about Clare’s writing is how she ends her series. While the main climax ends (ie whatever they are fighting for), there are always a few additional chapters to tie up the lose ends in her characters’ lives (ie. romances, the Institute, etc.) and as a reader who loves these characters (and has invested a good portion of the last few years to them), I really love this. She doesn’t just give us one chapter to tie up the plot and thrust us into an epilogue. She gives us a solid few chapters of character progression and then an epilogue. The ending to this series was so satisfactory that I feel using the word “satisfactory” is an insult. It was a fantastic ending and readers who fell in love with this series will not be disappointed!

Conclusion:

An awesome steampunk read that really shows how the world Jace and Clary find themselves in centuries later is created. Fans of the Mortal Instrument Series will like this prequel and for those new to the series, this is a great way to get a feel for the world in the Mortal Instruments! A Must Read!

Rating: 5/5 (If I could rate this higher, I totally would)

Similar Reads: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Mortal Instruments Series) and The Girl in the Steel Corset by Kady Cross (Steampunk Chronicles, #1)

WARNING: IF YOU HAVE not FINISHED (original series) SERIES THE FOLLOWING SYNOPSIS may have SPOILERS!

Synopsis for Clockwork Angel (from Goodreads):
Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm’s length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

Series Review: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

     

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: #1
Series: Vampire Academy
Author: Richelle Mead
# of Books: 6 (Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise, Spirit Bound, Last Sacrifice)

There is a spin-off series, called Bloodlines.

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Vampire, Romance
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movie here!

Thoughts:

As you can see, this is one of my favourite book series that I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It has everything I look for in a book, strong female lead; romance; action; superb plots with twists and great secondary characters. I devoured the first four books over my March Break and then counted the days until the next one came out.

I recommended this series to my roommate and after reading Vampire Academy (Book 1) she wasn’t sure what the big deal was. I thought it was great when I read it (and then reread it…twice) and I couldn’t understand why she felt like that. But then I thought about it and came to this conclusion: the first book was great but comparing it to the rest of the series, it doesn’t have that much action, romance or anything that makes the series as awesome as it is. But you get a taste of the characters and the world Mead creates (which is unlike any other vampire book out there so don’t discount it because of your Twilight thoughts/experiences!) and you want to see where it goes.

I am happy to say, that after the 2nd book (Frostbite) my roommate got it and was hooked into the series. Frostbite is actually my favourite book of the series. I’m not too sure why, but I think it is because it’s the point where the series begins it overarching plot that continues over the rest of the series. It also introduces Adrian who is one of my favourite characters.

Rose is such a strong character and so is Lissa. I actually thought Lissa was the main character after I read the plot summary but I am glad Rose is the POV because she is such a fascinating character. Lissa is still a vital character in the series and we do get to see her develop throughout the books.

I also love the other characters in the series which makes the spin-off series (Bloodlines) even better because Richelle Mead takes fan-favourite characters and gives them their own stories in this new series. The Bloodlines plot is completely separate from this series so don’t feel like the Vampire Academy Series doesn’t get concluded–because it does and does so in a great and satisfying way!

Conclusion:

Vampire Academy was the first book series that I can remember crying, laughing and shrieking in delight about. It is refreshing in a world of vampire series, beautifully written and has characters that you can’t get enough of. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys action and romance series. (I also recommend that you get you hands on as many of these books as possible when you read because you will want them right away!)

Rating: 5/5

Similar Reads: Half-Blood by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Covenant Series) and Bloodlines by Richelle Mead (Bloodlines Series, a spin-off of Vampire Academy).

Synopsis for Vampire Academy (from Goodreads):
St. Vladimir’s Academy isn’t just any boarding school—it’s a hidden place where vampires are educated in the ways of magic and half-human teens train to protect them. Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir, a bodyguard for her best friend Lissa, a Moroi Vampire Princess. They’ve been on the run, but now they’re being dragged back to St. Vladimir’s—the very place where they’re most in danger…

Rose and Lissa become enmeshed in forbidden romance, the Academy’s ruthless social scene, and unspeakable nighttime rituals. But they must be careful lest the Strigoi—the world’s fiercest and most dangerous vampires—make Lissa one of them forever.