Book review Monday

The Eternal Ones, by Kristen Miller

Book description: Haven Moore has always lived in the tiny town of Snope City, Tennessee. But for as long as she can remember, Haven has experienced visions of a past life as a girl named Constance, whose love for a boy called Ethan ended in a fiery tragedy.

One day, the sight of notorious playboy Iain Morrow on television brings Haven to her knees. Haven flees to New York City to find Iain and there, she is swept up in an epic love affair that feels both deeply fated and terribly dangerous. Is Iain her beloved Ethan? Or is her her murderer in a past life? Haven asks the members of the powerful and mysterious Ouroboros Society to help her unlock the mysteries of reincarnation and discover the secrets hidden in her past lives, and loves, before all is lost and the cycle begins again. But what is the Ouroboros Society? And how can Haven know who to trust?

My review: Really great start, really weak finish. I was so interested in Haven at the beginning, her life in stifling religious Tennessee, her friendship with gorgeous Beau, their business they have making prom dresses for all the preening southern beauty queens. I thought it was a very cool place to start. And I was into the whole reincarnation thing, and Haven getting the guts to travel to New York City to solve the mystery of her past life.

And that’s where things went wrong with me. Firstly, I have huge issues with her insanely good looking, rich boyfriend from a former life. When he spots her, he doesn’t approach her, or send a message to her to come find him. No, he sends a bodyguard to bodily grab her and take her to some skeezy room to meet her. That’s assault and kidnapping. Not hot. I am over any and all of these supposed “romances” where the male heartthrob is little more than a stalker and a bully (ahem, Twilight, I’m looking at you.) It is not romantic. I’m afraid for a generation of young girls who get all fluttery about their abusive boyfriends.

Moving on, I also think that not enough was done to establish WHY Haven and Iain were in love. They were in love because they used to be in love. But … why? Their relationship was so empty, with Iain constantly lying to her, that I was totally put off. And Haven just couldn’t control her feelings towards him, ugh. It bothered me a lot.

Also, this question of why so many gorgeous powerful men were into her. Haven, I thought, was pretty cool, for a teenager. But, I mean, she’s seventeen years old. Unless these men are crazily emotionally stunted, they would not really be into that. I get that she’s supposed to have the soul of some amazing seamstress from back in the Roman times, but she looks and acts like a teenager. Lets get over this.

So I ended the book with disappointment. Sigh.

 

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore

Book description: Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…

My review: What an amazing, kick-ass character Cashore has created in Katsa! I adored this book. It reminded me a lot of my favourite childhood books (Song of the Lioness series), but a bit more grown up. And Katsa was incredible. If I were little, I would totally want her powers. Hell, I still do know.

I enjoyed her relationship with Po, especially the subtle gender switch that Cashore put in there. Katsa was the powerful one, while Po, still powerful, was more sensitive and compassionate. Their strengths played off of each other and they had a fantastic, honest relationship and romance, that was so much more romantic in that Katsa could kick his butt if she wanted to. (Okay, maybe that doesn’t exactly spell romance for anyone, but it’s better than abusive, controlling boyfriends, that’s for sure). I loved the vibrant world Cashore created. And this book had a good and proper ending, but I am so looking forward to the next book in the series – I hope it’s a series. GoodReads seemed to imply that it’s a series – it’s been a long time since I’ve felt that way about a book. Five stars for this one.

 

Transmetropolitan, by Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson

Book description: After years of selfimposed exile from a civilization rife with degradation and indecency, cynical journalist Spider Jerusalem is forced to return to a job he hates and a city he loathes. Working as an investigative reporter for the newspaper The Word, Spider attacks the injustices of his surreal 23rd century surroundings.

In this first volume, Spider ventures into the dangerous Angels 8 district, home of the Transients — humans who have decided to become aliens through cosmetic surgery. But Spider’s interview with the Transients’ leader gets him a scoop he didn’t bargain for. And don’t miss Spider’s first confrontation with the President of the United States . . . in a men’s room.

My review: This graphic novel came to me by way of my sister, and at first I was not into it at all. Transmetropolitan‘s version of our future is harsh, and sinister, and cynical, and not really that far from reality as we know it now. I ended up reading the first two books, and got into it. Ellis has a fantastic imagination, his world is scary, but the books are also really entertaining, particularly because Spider Jerusalem is such a neurotic, sarcastic, violent jackass of a character, you can’t help but ending up liking him. Sort of. Some of the time.

I think I could only read these in very small doses, but I appreciated what Ellis created here.

 

Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt

Book description: Doomed to – or blessed with – eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

My review: There’s something rather magical about this book, isn’t there? After all the insane cynicism of Transmetropolitan, I needed a feel-good read that took me back to a little childhood innocence. Tuck Everlasting had been a favourite of mine and I’d been wanting to reread it as an adult, so now felt like the perfect time.

And it was just as I remembered it. It is a children’s book, so it really was just a pleasant afternoon reading about innocent Winnie and her grand adventures with the Tuck family. It made me a little bit want to be a kid again, and a little bit can’t wait to share this one with kids of my own. Love, love, love.

Word of the day:

Expunge: to strike or blot out; erase; obliterate; to efface; wipe out or destroy

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