Thursday, 28 February 2013

Firelight - Book Review

Sophie Jordan
 YA Fantasy

With her rare ability to breathe fire, Jacinda is special even among the drake – the descendants of dragons with the power to shift into human form.
But when Jacinda’s rebelliousness forces her family to flee to the human world, her draki spirit starts to fade. If it is lost, she will remain forever, as a human. The only thing that revives it is gorgeous, elusive Will… whose family hunts her kind.
Jacinda can’t resist getting closer to him. Even if it means risking the draki’s most closely-guarded secret – and her life…

This is book is very original. I really liked the idea of the ‘Draki’ who are descendants of dragons, gifted with the ability to take on human form. And while I thought the story did get off to a slow start, it is ultimately very enjoyable.
The main character, Jacinda, is a rare fire breathing Draki who is considered the princess of her pride. However when she breaks the prides rules by venturing out in daylight, she comes close to death when she fly’s directly into the hands of the hunters. Yet when one of the hunters spares her life, Jacinda escapes only to face the wrath of her tribe.
When they decide to clip her wings and keep her grounded for life, Jacinda’s mother helps her escape, but their separation from the pride comes with a cost. Coming to live in a desert town, Jacinda knows it is the one place where the other Draki will not look for her. Simply because the dry desert heat is the one thing that can kill off the Draki’s soul and force them to remain human forever. And such is to be Jacinda’s fate. But when she once again encounters the hunter who saved her, she discovers that something about this boy stirs the draki within her, keeping its spark alive. But the question remains, will he save her once again? Or end her existence forever…
I quite liked the writing style in this book. Sophie Jordan writes some beautiful descriptions and the prose flowed really well. Jacinda is an interesting main character, if a bit of an indecisive one, and you really did feel for when her draki began to suffocate and wither within the dry, human world.
As for the other characters, Will, the hunter made for a sweet love interest and although he and Jacinda had great chemistry, I can’t say that there was anything particularly memorable or captivating about him. Sadly – he just didn’t do it for me. However while I found Jacinda’s twin sister very annoying, I still liked the way she was portrayed.  Having been born human she had lived her life in Jacinda’s shadow and I liked that she was finally finding her own identity – even though it meant Jacinda losing hers.
Yet my main gripe with this book is that it ended on a cliff hanger and left many questions unanswered. Too much was left unresolved and I found that very frustrating as a reader. Yet please don’t let that put you off as overall I did enjoy this book and am interested to see where it’s sequel, Vanish, will lead.  So all in, a fair start to a promising new series :) 3 stars!

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Friday, 22 February 2013

The Daughter of Smoke and Bone - Book Review

Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Book Review
Laini Taylor
YA Fantasy
Around the world, black handprints 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 grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly 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 one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored 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?
Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a brilliant read and one I would recommend to all! The writing is beautiful, the story is captivating and its characters are vibrant and all too lifelike. This is truly a book that will stay with you for many years to come. Taking the reader on a fantastical journey through a realm torn by war, yet filled with magic, it is a captivating read full of treachery and forbidden love.
Within its pages, this book manages to weave together elements and beings from all walks of life. With characters of fallen angels, chimera and a lone wish monger who exchanges wishes for teeth, The Daughter of Smoke and Bone has no shortage of mysteries and intrigues. With the story set against the backdrop of Prague, the mix of fantasy and reality soon draw the reader into a world of art, friendship and long forgotten myths. I found it almost impossible to put this book down.
The story begins with Karou, a feisty, blue haired, teenage art student who is much more than she appears. Never knowing her parents, she was raised behind closed doors by creatures known as Chimera. A mix of beast and human, they are seen as monsters from every eye but hers, yet they are the kindest beings she knows. However when Brimstone, her foster father/employer, sets her on another mission to collect him teeth with which to make wishes, things suddenly turn horribly and irreversibly wrong.
When the doors to her odd, but much loved ‘family’ of chimera are destroyed, leaving Karou stranded, she finds herself drawn into an age long war between the Chimera and the Angels. Beautiful and formidable, they are everything the Chimera aren’t and Karou instantly despises them. Setting out on a journey, she plans to rescue her ‘family’ before they can be destroyed but first, Karou must learn about her own part in this war. Both the one she must play in the future… and most importantly, the part she played in the past…
It’s been a while since I read a book so gripping, but this one had me enthralled till the very end. Not only is the story unique, but each character broadens the books dimension and Laini Taylor has a great eye for detail. Her descriptions are vivid and colourful and her imagination is beyond scope. For example, there are many brilliant words in this book, but my favourite verse is without doubt this one:
‘I don’t know many rules to live by,’ he’d said. ‘But here’s one. It’s simple. Don’t put anything unnecessary into yourself. No poisons or chemicals, no fumes or smoke or alcohol, no sharp objects, no inessential needles – drug or tattoo – and… no inessential penises either.’
I have recommended my friends read this book just for those few lines alone! And you have to admit – it really is fabulous advice! My only criticism is that it was a cliff hanger ending which I always hate, although the book certainly left me thirsting for more. So overall a brilliant read with a great storyline, amazing characters and the most vibrantly written prose I’ve ever seen. 4 ½ stars!
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