Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. The costs of his efforts are steep, but nothing can prepare him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is none other than Raisa ana”‘Marianna, heir to the Queendom of the Fells. Han is hurt and betrayed. He knows he has no future with a blueblood. And, as far as he’s concerned, the princess’s family killed his own mother and sister. But if Han is to fulfill his end of an old bargain, he must do everything in his power to see Raisa crowned queen.
Meanwhile, some people will stop at nothing to prevent Raisa from ascending. With each attempt on her life, she wonders how long it will be before her enemies succeed. Her heart tells her that the thief-turned-wizard Han Alister can be trusted. She wants to believe it–he’s saved her life more than once. But with danger coming at her from every direction, Raisa can only rely on her wits and her iron-hard will to survive–and even that might not be enough.
The Gray Wolf Throne is an epic tale of fierce loyalty, unbearable sacrifice, and the heartless hand of fate.
The Exiled Queen left off with Raisa being kidnapped and Han Alister leaving school to go find her. Bear with me, I have not read the second installment in about a year, and I’m a little rusty. The Gray Wolf Throne starts off with us finding out that Raisa got away from her captors, but she’s in a bit of a predicament. Everyone seems to want to kill her. Lord Bayar, the High Wizard, and the man who has sucked her mother, The Queen, under his spell is sending everyone within his power after her, even the Queen’s own guard. With her own people after the Princess Heir, Raisa must learn to fight for herself and depend on others to keep her from harms way.
Han Alister is completely smitten with the girl known as Rebecca Morley. Little does he know that Rebecca is actually the Princess Heir, Raisa ana’Marianna. He has made it his mission to leave school and hunt her down. But seeing as it appears as if Rebecca has been taken from the school against her will, he fears that he may be too late to rescue her.
On a blind turn of events, Han and Raisa eventually reunite, only to discover that her right to the throne is fading away. Now Raisa must fight for her control and ownership of the crown. And who better to be at her side than Han Alister?
Cinda Williams Chima has one of the most beautiful, interesting and creative writing styles that I have ever seen. I fell in love with her writing in her Heir Series, and I’ve embraced the magic once again in her Seven Realms Series. The world that Chima creates is so heartfelt, so well thought of that she floors me everytime I read something written by her. It is obvious that Chima dedicates herself to her writing.
I have met people who have started reading the first book in the series, The Demon King, and have put it down because they were bored. And I always say the exact same thing. Stick. With. The. Book. The Demon King starts off very slowly, and it does not pick up until half way through the book. I was bored out of my mind the first of half of The Demon King, but when it started to pick up, I couldn’t tear my eyes off the page.
The Exiled Queen was full of action from page one, and it is by far my favorite book in the series. I was devastated when that book was over. I just wanted more Raisa and Han. And, of course, Micah and Fiona, because I have some sick love for the both of them.
Like The Demon King, The Gray Wolf Throne starts off very slowly. So slowly, that I almost put the book down for awhile. As it was, it took me over a week to even finish it. Unlike The Demon King, The Gray Wolf Throne did not hit its peak and pick up. There was a spot around page 100 that the book switched from boring to interesting, but it never switched from interesting to fascinating. A large chunk of the book is dedicated to everyones travels, which can get very boring. I wanted to read less about everyone riding on horses to get to their destinations and more about the magic and wonder that surrounds The Seven Realms.
One of my biggest complaints, and one I’ve had since book one is that the chapters are way too long. The chapters are about 20-30 pages without any breaks. There are absolutely no stopping points in the chapters, so if you don’t finish a chapter you’re going to be left very upset for not finishing the scene you’re on. I know that this is probably a silly complaint to have about a book, but I rely on my stopping points, and I am not pleasant to be around if I have to stop in the middle of a sentence.
I honestly felt that this book was lacking so much in order for Chima to prepare for the last book. There is a lot of detail and questions that needed to be released in order for the last book to finish up well. And while I have not read the last book, I am anticipating it to be off the charts amazing due to the boringness that I had to suffer in The Gray Wolf Throne.
What was interesting to me was the development of the characters. For starters, I grew to love Han even more than I already did. By the end of the book he is a mature man who is willing to do anything to defend the throne, whereas he used to hate queens and everything they stood for. On the other hand, I disliked Raisa’s character throughout most of this book. I found her whiney and hardheaded, and I just wanted to smack some sense into her. I also didn’t like the fact that Raisa had to make a decision about who she was going to marry. Now, this complaint doesn’t really relate to the book, because I know that that’s how things worked in the past. But I just want to say that I am going to be VERY upset if Han and Raisa are not allowed to be together in the final book.
It is really hard for me to give this book 3-stars because the layout and detail were so amazing. I was in love with the pictures that Cinda Williams Chima placed in my head, and I just wanted to dive head first into the world that she created. But I was bored throughout most of this book, and detail doesn’t matter much if I can’t connect with the story. I am hoping beyond hope that the last book is amazing. The Heir series was genius, and I fell in love with the previous books in this series. But I didn’t feel the love for this book.
Publisher: Hyperion Books
Publication Date: August 30th, 2011
Teaser Quote: “The bluejacket girlie rode like a clan warrior, but there was no way she’d escape. It was a private life-and-death contest that had nothing to do with him.
He told himself he should ride on, grateful that the chase would keep them occupied while he took a different path.
But what had he told Rebecca when she’d asked what he meant to do when he returned to the Fells?
‘I’m tired of people in power picking on the weak. I’m going to help them.”
Around the world, black hand prints 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 grows 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?
Karou has always been…different. And not just because of her aquamarine hair. All her life, the only family she’s known are chimaera, creatures made up of multiple animal and human parts; by human definition: monsters. But Karou doesn’t see them as monsters; she loves these creatures, Issa with her serpent body and the huge, hulking Brimstone. Karou fills her days with art school and running errands for Brimstone, often dangerous errands wherein she procures…teeth. She doesn’t know what the teeth are for (animal and human), but she does as Brimstone wishes.That is, until angels make their way to Karou’s world and incinerate the portals Karou uses to reach her family. One particular angel, Akiva, is confused by Karou and sets out to kill her for aiding his sworn enemy, but when the two finally face off, he finds he can’t do it. There’s something familiar about Karou, a feeling he can’t quite shake. Through Akiva, Karou learns of a centuries-old war between angels and chimaera that she now finds herself in the middle of. Choosing a side should be easy, until Karou learns Brimstone’s been hiding secrets from her, secrets about who she really is.
I can’t believe it took me this long to pick up Daughter of Smoke and Bone. And yet, crazily enough, I wish I’d waited even longer because now I’m obsessed and the third book in the series isn’t due until next year. I cannot handle that much suspense. But, in case you haven’t already guessed, I’m in love with this book and these characters. Going into the first chapter, I had no expectations. The synopsis isn’t very telling, but the cover was cool and I’d heard plenty of positive reviews. I just didn’t know what kind of world or plot to expect.
Straight up originality it what I received. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is unlike any other book I’ve read in years. Laini Taylor’s take on angels is fresh and invigorating. I don’t think I’ve read about chimaera…ever. These new plot points and ideas immediately captured my interest so that there was no chance of putting down the book once I started. But then there are the politics behind the war between the two races. I’m a sucker for well-laid-out war books. I like having both sides presented to me equally, their flaws and strong points presented for the reader to choose. There’s no black and white here, only gray, which makes the book and Karou’s particular situation endlessly fascinating. I love the way Taylor offers up both sides sympathetically so that we fully understand why Karou’s choice is so hard. Plus, Taylor’s super specific details ensure the reality of this world and highlights the sad truths of war.
Karou is an amazing protagonist. One of the first things I fell in love with was her honesty. Whenever she’s questioned about the unreal aspects of her life, she tells the truth with a quick smirk. When a waitress asks her how she managed to fly, Karou answers, “I really was flying,” with her trademark smirk. As soon as I read about this, I wondered why more characters in YA haven’t caught onto this trend. Think about it: so many shady things happen in YA fiction; vampires are secretive about their desire for blood; werewolves hide their transformation or their wolf-like characteristics; telekinetic characters blame a falling lamp on the wind. And in all these books, it’s so very obvious that these characters are hiding ENORMOUS SECRETS and yet no one ever calls them out. Our protagonists think to themselves, “Huh. That’s weird. There’s something off about him but he’s sooo dreamy,” while we’re yelling at our books, “How stupid can you be?” So, I guess, I appreciate that not only is Karou not stupid, but neither are the people in her world. When something weird happens, people point it out. And when Karou can’t easily cover up an unexplainable phenomenon, she doesn’t. Simple. Believable. Refreshing.
But Karou is awesome for a host of other reasons. She can defend herself. She’s snarky and witty. She’s suspicious (a trait sorely lacking in many YA females). She acts out like any teenager, makes mistakes, but is loyal to her family and friends and never stops trying to help others. And Taylor doesn’t just give us Karou; she also gives us Karou’s best friend, Zuzana, an insanely likable and tough friend. Zuze is not sidekick and she’s definitely not afraid to call Karou on her bullshit. She’s a force to be reckoned with and a person Karou absolutely needs in her life, as well as a person we need for comedic quips and jabs. Karou couldn’t get any luckier than having Zuze for a best friend, and I came to love her just as much as Karou and, later, to appreciate Zuze’s budding relationship with Mik. It’s easy to see that the two deserve each other and that Karou deserves a positive relationship role-model.
Speaking of relationships, Akiva is as smoldering a love interest as any. At first, there’s a slight fear of insta-love, but the further into the book you get, the more you come to trust Laini Taylor and realize she would never make that mistake. As I held out for the end and the answers I knew she would provide, I wasn’t disappointed. Well, I mean, I was, because the ending is absurdly heart-wrenching, but I was happy to see the relationship fully developed and in such an interesting style. Speaking of which, Taylor’s writing style is remarkable; her prose is beautiful, succinct, and poetic. She describes her fascinating settings in intricate details, yet cuts to the point of her plots, allowing her a smooth read that’ll sate any book-lover’s desires. Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a must-read for fantasy and paranormal lovers. I admit, it does get a little graphic in its violence at parts, but all the devastation is realistic and necessary to the story’s development. The characters, settings, and conflicts are rich and captivating. This is a book I plan to read again and again.
Publication Date: September 2011
Publisher: Little, Brown & Company
Teaser: “She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil’s lair. She wasn’t innocent now, but she didn’t know what to do about it. This was her life: magic and shame and secrets and teeth and a deep, nagging hollow at the center of herself where something was most certainly missing.“
In New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine’s “thrilling”* Revivalist series, Bryn Davis finds out that making a living can be rough if you’re already dead…
After dying and being revived with the experimental drug Returne, Bryn Davis is theoretically free to live her unlife—with regular doses to keep her going. But Bryn knows that the government has every intention of keeping a tight lid on Pharmadene’s life-altering discovery, no matter the cost. Thankfully, some things have changed for the better; her job at the rechristened Davis Funeral Home is keeping her busy and her fragile romance with Patrick McCallister is blossoming—thanks in part to their combined efforts in forming a support group for Returne addicts. But when some of the group members suddenly disappear, Bryn wonders if the government is methodically removing a threat to their security, or if some unknown enemy has decided to run the zombies into the ground…
I was a big fan of the first book in this series, Working Stiff, so I was really excited to read this book. Unfortunately, I don’t have much good to say about it. It was really boring throughout the entire thing, I didn’t feel any connection to the characters, and I was quite frankly grossed out.
The main character, Bryn, grated on my nerves from the very first page. I didn’t overly love her in Working Stiff, but I never exactly disliked or even hated her. I couldn’t stand her in this book! She was annoying and whiney, and I just could have done without her. I also didn’t fall in love with the romance between Bryn and Patrick, which is really interesting since I loved them in the first book. I don’t know if it’s because I couldn’t stand her or just because of the writing style, but I was really let down.
If you are really grossed by gore and blood and all that nasty stuff, then this is not the book for you. Don’t get me wrong, I like The Walking Dead and a little bit of action and nastiness in my books, but this was just disgusting. I’m sorry, but I don’t want to read about someone’s eyes getting scooped out (yes, that really does happen.) It was nasty on a whole different level, and I was not okay with it. I feel the need to wash my eyes out right about now.
The ending of this book was so awful and so disgusting that I skimmed that last chapter. I don’t even know how the ending went down because I was SO grossed out! Nasty! I don’t want to ruin the ending for all of you guys and girls who are going to read the book, but it gets GROSS! I’m talking dead people, zombie chompers, eyeball scoopers, decaying bodies, chewing on arms GROSS. I will not be continuing this series because I don’t even want to see where else Rachel Caine can take this crazy storyline. Yuck!