Book Review: Dark Disciple

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This review contains minor spoilers

When I saw a book that was mostly centered around Asajj Ventress, I was super excited. And yet, I couldn’t help but be a little worried as well, since so far, most of the book int he new canon series have disappointed me. I wanted to read it right away, however, at that time, I hadn’t see all of The Clone Wars series, and since this story arc was intended as part of that series, I knew I had to delay reading this book until I had watched the series. So it wasn’t until the beginning of this year that I finally got around to reading this one.

It took me a chapter or two to get into this book, but after that, I really started to enjoy it. That being said, there were also some issues I found along the way. But let’s talk about the positives first. Asajj was one of my favorite characters in The Clone Wars, and it was so good to get more of her story. I felt like she was left out a bit too much and thus I was always wanting more episodes with her. This book was a great way to put her into the spotlight, giving us more about her past as well as filling in her story after she left Dooku.

The story had good flow to it. Keeping action coming at regular intervals to keep things hopping but not overwhelming the plot.

The romance aspect of this book was interesting, but I feel like it was added in just because it could be. Sure, Vos is a very atypical Jedi and doesn’t always follow the rules, but falling in love with Ventress didn’t feel necessary to me. Despite this, I did enjoy seeing their relationship develop along the way.

Now, let’s talk about what I didn’t like.

First off, Ventress has hair. This may not seem like a big deal to some people, but it was to me. As soon as I read that little bit, I was immediately annoyed. In fact, I put the book down and hurried over to Wookieepedia to look up the Rattataki race. Listed right there on the page, it stated that one of the distinguishing features of this species was a bald head. So how and why does Asajj have hair in this book? My guess is that they were trying to give her a more feminine and softer looking character, but I just couldn’t accept that she had hair.

Secondly, the Jedi council would never put forth the idea to assassinate someone, even Dooku, let alone agree to it. Sure, some Jedi aren’t sticklers for the rules, but no way Yoda would agree to such a thing. I don’t care how desperate they were to end the clone wars, it just wouldn’t fly.

Ignoring these issues, I still greatly enjoyed the book. The new canon series has been extremely iffy with me, so it’s nice to find a book in it that I actually liked. I would certainly recommend watching The Clone Wars series before reading this book, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

Book Review: Cinder

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

For a few years now, I had been avoiding reading Cinder. It was all over every blog I went to, and it seemed to always get rave reviews, and so I avoided it like the plague. I figured, that from my experience, most YA books that get nothing but great reviews are generally a disappointment when I do read them, so I figured the best thing to do was to just not read this book. Then, one day I spotted this one for five dollars at the bookstore, and decided to get it, figuring that if it was bad, at least it didn’t cost me much to buy it. I would have never guessed in that moment, that I would enjoy this book as much as I did.

I went into this book blind. Only knowing it was a retelling of Cinderella and that the main character was a cyborg. Other than that, I couldn’t have told you anything about the book. I think that not reading the blurb on the back was a good decision.

I have to say, that reading that first page, especially with that whole wrenching the foot off scene, instantly sucked me in. I mean, come on, what a unique and fantastic way to start a story. I felt like only one of two things would happen after that. The story would either continue to hold my attention right to the very end, or it would sudden crash and I would loose interest. I’m happy to report that it kept my attention.

Everything about this novel captivated me. I loved the characters, the world, the sci-fi elements. While it is considered a retelling of Cinderella, I found that that element of the story was very small, which I feel actually made the overall book better. I admit that I was worried the focus would be too centered upon trying to tell the story with a sci-fi flair to it, but that was not the case. The basic elements were there, and yes the story did revolve around them somewhat, but there was so much more to it as well.

I feel like I can’t probably describe everything I loved about this book. It’s a book that is too good for words, I suppose. Really my only regret is that I didn’t read it sooner, so that I could sing it’s praises along with everyone else that read it as soon as it was released. And yet, at the same time, I’m glad that I waited because I do not need to wait a year for the next book to come out, I can immediately start the next book and read the whole series back to back if I so choose.

If you haven’t read this book, I would high recommend doing so. There is something very special to be found within it’s pages and I am looking forward to continuing on with this series and seeing just where the story goes.

Book Review: Illidan

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Even though I haven’t played World of Warcraft since 2013, I still like to keep up with the overall story of the game through the books. So when the Illidan book was released, I had to buy it. But, I was also kind of confused about the book, I mean, didn’t his story already get told through the Burning Crusade expansion? Was he not defeated there? Am I missing something from my lack of in game knowledge? The answer to those questions was a resounding yes.

For a decent chunk of it, this book felt like it should have been released during or shortly after the Burning Crusade expansion. It seemed to overall retell a lot of the story there. The whole, released for ten thousand years in prison, him going to the Outland, his taking over of the Black Temple. I didn’t feel like I was getting anything new. Eventually, things seemed to change direction and give me new bits of information, but at the same time, they felt disjointed and strange.

The story follows four main characters, Illidan (duh), Maiev, Akama and Vandel. Three of these were already known to me, from playing the game, but Vandel was new. I found that Maiev was a fairly flat character. She lived for a single purpose, which is somewhat understandable, but that blinded her to other things and made her character not very appealing. I had hoped she would grow throughout the book, but in the end, she was that same tunnel vision driven person. Akama was an interesting creature. I don’t really recall much about his from the game, but he certainly had a big role in the story. His real purpose was hidden until the right time within the book, unlike other characters, whose purpose for being was revealed right from the beginning. Illidan was…well he was Illidan. I don’t know what I can say about him. Vandel felt…unnecessary at times. It’s like they needed another character to be like Illidan, but not quite Illidan and he fulfilled that role. I didn’t really feel like he reached his full potential and that there is more to his story beyond this book – and that’s probably the case in the game.

The major thing I didn’t like about the book was the authors writing. At times, it felt like he was trying too hard to describe things uniquely. I’m all for giving a story a solid descriptive base, but he was overdoing it. None to mention, there was a lot of repetitive descriptions. For example, at one point it is said that they defeated “…the tiniest fraction of the tiniest fraction” of the Burning Legion. Well, isn’t the tiniest fraction about as tiny as you can get? Maybe I’m nitpicking here, but that just stuck out to me as being overly descriptive.

Also, having the book span six years probably didn’t help the flow. One chapter it’s four years before the end and then the next it’s a mere five months. You’re telling me nothing of significance happened in nearly four years? That seems off to me.

There were a couple of inconsistencies as well. At one point Illidan swipes his arms across a map, knocking the markers that were on it away, and yet a page and a half later, one of his minions looks at the map, observing those markers as if they were still where they once were.

For me, I thought the book was alright, but was clearly geared towards people who still played the game. I didn’t quite understand the full differences between the Illidan story of Burning Crusade and this Illidan story that leads into the Legion expansion. There were a lot of things that felt the same, and that’s probably why I kept thinking that this book was written ten years too late. And yet, those new portions of the story seemed to be in stark contrast to what I already knew. I feel like if I still played the game, and had a full knowledge of all of the current lore, that this book would have been more enjoyable. Overall, it was okay and I am glad that I read it. I just hope any future books written are a bit more non-player friendly.

Book Review: The Titan’s Curse

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Review contains minor spoilers – but come on, this book is 10 years old so it shouldn’t be that much of a spoiler.

Oh this book. I started it with excitement, and then part way through, hit a major reading slump. When I picked it up weeks later, I was eager to finish it and yet I didn’t want to. I couldn’t be certain if it was the after affects of the reading slump or the fact that I just hadn’t really loved the first hundred pages. Maybe this book had succumbed to the dreaded mid-series slump that I find in many series, when they start strong, slack in the middle and then either pick up again at the end or struggle to bring things to a close cleanly.

I didn’t hate this book, but I didn’t love it either. There was something in this book that just didn’t seem to jive. I don’t know what it was. I will say, that I was glad to see that there was a greater presence of Gods and Goddesses in this book, something I was craving in the previous two novels. Having Artemis in this one was great, and I really liked the way she was portrayed. It made total sense in a way, even if at times it was a little weird.

I think the biggest disappointment for me, revolved around Zoe. I loved this character and yet, we lose her as quickly as she comes into the story. I understand why it happened, and it made sense in the end, but damnit, I was more Zoe and I know that won’t happen.

Even though this book didn’t feel as amazing as the previous ones, I am still looking forward to reading the rest of the series. If you haven’t read this series yet, now may be the time to do so.

Book Review: Violet Grenade

My rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Oh this book. I don’t even know what to say.

Initially, I was fairly excited about this book. It sounded so intriguing when it was first introduced by the author months ago. Then I was lucky enough to get an early copy to review.

When I started reading this book, I was sucked into it pretty quickly. I didn’t want to put it down, and I wanted to know all that would happen. I read most, if not all of it, in one sitting. There were times when it felt repetitive, mostly involving things in the house, but otherwise, I still enjoyed it. I didn’t really fully understand Domino’s character at times, but I figured it would all make sense the further into the story I got.

Then I got to the end of the book and…hell, I don’t know what happened, but almost as soon as I finished the book, all the details of the books faded from my memory. I couldn’t remember most of it and honestly couldn’t tell you why I liked the book so much while I was reading it. I can’t explain it. I still don’t understand it myself, even a month later. I guess it’s just one of those books that doesn’t stick with the reader.

That’s it. Can’t really talk more about it since I honestly don’t remember the details of the book. If you haven’t read it and are curious about the story, go ahead and read it. You might like it, you might now, but you’ll never know until you read it.

Monday Progress Report

Reviews Posted Last Week:
Bird & Squirrel by James Burks

What I did Last Week

Read

It wasn’t the best week for reading. I ended up adding two books to the dreaded DNF pile. I tried to finish Lord of The Flies, but I just couldn’t be bothered with the second half of the book, which is disappointing because that was the one book that stuck with me from high school. Then, I started The Devil Wears Prada, made it about half way and had no desire to keep going.

Watched

I didn’t watch much last week. I watched three or four episodes of The Golden Girls. As far as movies go, I ended up watching Ocean Waves, which was alright, but not as good as I was hoping for.

Life

I played far too much World of Warcraft last week. Honestly, beyond that I did pretty much nothing because almost all of my waking hours were spent playing the game.

What I Plan To Do This Week

Reading

I started Cress on the weekend. I am a little but further than quarter of the way through it and enjoying it quite a bit so far. My plan is to focus on finishing this one over this week.

 

 

 

Watching

I don’t have any plans to watch anything specific this week. I will likely watch more of The Golden Girls and hopefully get around to watching some things on the PVR so I can delete them.

Life

The boy starts soccer this week, so my week will be full of games. On top of that, hubby is away hiking, returning at the end of the week, just in time for my parents to arrive for a week long visit. So, I will be once again cleaning the house unnecessarily just to make the visitors happy and give the illusion of a perfect life and home. Of course, I will also be playing World of Warcraft.

Book Series Review: Bird & Squirrel

                                                                        

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Back in January, my son got Bird & Squirrel On The Edge from one of his friends on his birthday. My son is not a reader, so seeing the excitement over the book told me this was something special. Then the fact that he read this book as soon as we got home from the party, instead of playing with the toys he got, I knew this was a great book. That same day we went online and ordered the other three books. A week later, we had the full series and my son eagerly started reading them as soon as he got home from school. Then as soon as he was down he brought them to me and asked if I wanted to read them. Seeing how much he loved these books, I knew I had to, plus I was curious about the books.

I read all four in one sitting. They were fast, fun reads. I can certainly see why my son enjoyed them so much. I have to say that between the friend heavy story line and the artwork, this was a wonderful collection of books. I won’t go into too much detail, but I will say that I think these are excellent books for kids, that show the value of friendship and the joys of adventuring with that friend, even if it is very unexpected.

Like my son, I do hope that there are more books coming out in this series, because it would be great to continue to see the friendship of Bird and Squirrel evolve with each book.