Fiction Reviews, Non-Fiction Reviews, Reviews, Series Reviews, Updates, Young Adult books, Young Adult Reveiws

Update: What I Read in January…

jan2015reads

I created a list earlier this month to give readers some idea of what I was going to read this month. All that list did was to prove that I have no self control over my reading habits. Strike-through titles are ones I read this month and are linked to the review, if you’re interested. Below are other books I read and review, for those that missed them. I’m going to do better to read what I say I’m going to read in February, I promise!

January To Read List: 

Other books that I read and reviewed (instead of reading what was on my list):

I also read Seeker by Arwen Elys Dayton and K-9 by Rohan Gavin. Those reviews will be up later this month.

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Fiction Reviews, Reviews, Series Reviews, Young Adult books, Young Adult Reveiws

Review: “Dark Triumph” by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin, bk2)

3 stars of 5 ★★★☆☆

I don’t know, I just wasn’t blow away by this one. Even though Goodreads praised it to be better than Grave Mercy, it didn’t live up to the hype for me. Here’s the summary, via Goodreads:

When Sybella arrived at the doorstep of St Mortain half mad with grief and despair the convent were only too happy to offer her refuge – but at a price. The sisters of this convent serve Death, and with Sybella naturally skilled in both the arts of death and seduction, she could become one of their most dangerous weapons.

But her assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to the life that nearly drove her mad. Her father’s rage and brutality are terrifying, and her brother’s love is equally monstrous. But when Sybella discovers an unexpected ally she discovers that a daughter of Death may find something other than vengeance to live for…

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Dark Triumph. I liked Sybella and Beast, I liked the overall plot, but the whole D’Albert thing, I don’t know. It felt like it was an easy way to get things moving and the abuse/rape/monstrous Lord-thing felt so generalized. I’m not going to delve into all of D’Albert’s horribleness, largely because it’s problematic, and because I would end up giving too much of the story away.

I will say this, though. LaFevers should have foreshadowed D’Albert’s behavior a little more in Grave Mercy and less people should have been surprised when Sybella describes life in his household, even if they still denied it being true (because people(men) really do discredit rape victims stories all the time so that would ring true). How reasonable is it that one almost rape in GM (not to discredit that horribleness. Any rape is horrible) accounts for how horrible D’Albert and his entire army/staff turns out to be in DT? We should all have seen it coming, or at least had it hinted at a little more. Readers should have learned that Sybella was in his household and gasped, gone ‘Nonononono!” and then when they find out that she’s his daughter and has been forced by the Convent to return, felt rage. None of these thoughts came to me while reading, though. There was a point were he’s described as beating a puppy, and I just though, of course he did. He is evil personified. There is literally nothing good about him. He poops evil spirits, drinks failed dreams and ambitions for breakfast. He is one-dimensional evil. And that’s not as terrifying as say, someone who rapes and kills at will, but is fiercely protective of his oldest son, favorite dog, mother, whatever. Evil characters need to be balanced with something that’s on the other side of monstrous, something that shows they are scared, hurt, whatever. That makes them so much scarier to me. I mean, Voldemort had Nagini, and his caring for that horrible snake was scary because it showed that he still had something human in him, even though he was a monster! It’s the human in the monster that scares us.

Anyway, enough of my tirade. I liked the book regardless of all that above. Give it a try if you liked the first one.

There’s one other book to this series. I’ll be reading it soon. Click the picture below for more information.

Fiction Reviews, Reviews, Series Reviews, Young Adult books, Young Adult Reveiws

Review: “Grave Mercy” by Robin LaFevers (His Fair Assassin, bk1)

4 Stars ★★★★☆

I really, really, liked this one. It’s got old pagan gods, pretty dresses, history, and a convent of specially trained girls that will f*ck you up, if their god so desires.

How much more do you need? A summary? Okay

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?

Yeah, there’s romance, but you just have to deal with that if it’s not your thing. She fights the notion, so at least it’s not that love at first sight bull. What I loved was the historical background, because as much as I love history and as much as I had studied it, I knew very little about the country and later duchy of Brittany, where the novel takes place.Of course not all the events in the novel took place, including the major story-line, but Anne and other characters and the events that surround them happened, and I find that fascinating.

This is part of the His Fair Assassin series, with Dark Triumph and Mortal Heart the next two books. Each book follows a character seen in Grave Mercy, and from what I’ve heard, they are better than the first book. Am I going to bother with them? Hell to the yes.