Friday, March 24, 2017

Me on Strange the Dreamer


Title: Strange the Dreamer
Author: Laini Taylor
Release Date: March 28, 2017
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Hachette Book Group imprint)

The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around— and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he's been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance to lose his dream forever. What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving? The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo's dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Strange the Dreamer is haunting, lingering. Lyrical and impossible. The journey of a lifetime for a dreamer such as Lazlo Strange, one he yearned for but never thought it would come true. Until it did.

Lazlo is lost and alone. Abandoned as an infant, raised in an abbey and a library, all he ever had was what he could dream. Something more than his life as an orphan. Something like his true name. But no one was there to tell it to him. And so he dreamed and he wondered, he wrote book after book of possibilities after reading book after book on the lost city called Weep. He knew something was there, something that stirred him up inside. but how would he ever find the chance to leave the library and find out the truth? He's curious and passionate, questioning, a definite romantic, but it leaves him blind. Who is Lazlo Strange?

The city called Weep is a curious place. Covered in shadow and secret, in theft, in missing memories and haunted dreams. What is the truth behind what happened two hundred years ago when the city went quiet? Or what happened fifteen years ago when a name was ripped from everyone's minds? This is a city of ghosts, ghosts of loved ones and ghosts of love. Of gods, their desires, and what grows from them.

Reading this was like watching someone put a puzzle together. Seeing the pieces laid out, separate and unconnected. Lazlo, Thyon Nero, the Godslayer. The city called Weep. The blue-skinned goddess. Seeing the pieces come together, reveal the secrets and the truths lost and forgotten. While reading this I couldn't shake these overwhelming feelings. Sorrow and despair. Fear. A deep-seated craving for the truth, for a place to be. At the beginning I didn't know what would happen, and now at the end I can't wait to wonder what will happen next. I'm certain that fans of Laini Taylor's previous books will devour this.

(I received an advance copy of this title to review from Hachette Book Group Canada.)

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Me on Waiting on Wednesday (323)

Waiting on Wednesday is a bunch of weekly fun hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. :)

Title: The Carnelian Crow
Author: Colleen Gleason
Release Date: July 11, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books

From Goodreads:

Ever since the debacle of the Chess Queen Enigma, Mina Holmes and Evaline Stoker have laid low, trying to settle back into their quiet lives as young ladies of London. But the Holmesian deductive abilities won't remain dormant for long, and when Mina receives a strange package from a winged, midnight visitor, she is catapulted into a new, dangerous adventure: the search for The Carnelian Crow.

Meanwhile, Evaline has received some very disturbing news--news that will change her life forever. Along with that unpleasant knowledge is the strange disappearance of her nemesis, the disreputable pickpocket Pix.

When it becomes clear the arch-villainess the Ankh has made her next move, it will take all of Mina's Holmesian ingenuity and Evaline's courage and determination to stop the criminal from executing her boldest and most dangerous plan yet!

Yesssss. This series is a curious one, a combination of mystery and steampunk and intelligent young women and bizarre magic. It's a series that I enjoy in a not-taking-it-too-seriously way, and I'm rather curious to see what is coming next for Mina and Evaline.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Me on Wires and Nerve

Title: Wires and Nerve
Author: Marissa Meyer
Artist: Doug Holgate
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan imprint)

In her first graphic novel, bestselling author Marissa Meyer extends the world of the Lunar Chronicles with a brand-new, action-packed story about Iko, the android with a heart of (mechanized) gold. When rogue packs of wolf-hybrid soldiers threaten the tenuous peace alliance between Earth and Luna, Iko takes it upon herself to hunt down the soldiers' leader. She is soon working with a handsome royal guard who forces her to question everything she knows about love, loyalty, and her own humanity. With appearances by Cinder and the rest of the Rampion crew, this is a must-have for fans of the bestselling series.

Wires and Nerve is an exciting new installation to a well-established series. As a graphic novel, readers now get the chance to see the futuristic landscape of Earth and Luna, and they get to follow a beloved side character on her own mission.

Iko is back! In the Lunar Chronicles, Iko was an exciting side character. Funny and loyal, intelligent and supportive. Quirky. Seeing Iko as the main character here is exciting. She's an android currently inhabiting the body of an escort-droid and she's ready to help out her best friend Cinder in any way she can. And that currently means hunting down some rogue lunar soldiers. Physically she's strong, mentally she's... an android. Personally? She's not like other androids. She's determined to help Cinder, to do whatever she can in order to lessen the burdens on Cinder's shoulders. She can take a few punches or knife wounds. But she's not invincible. She's also a little bitter. After all, she helped Cinder and the others so much when it came to stopping Levana's evil plans, but because she's an android her name was barely mentioned. Iko's sure she can handle this job from Cinder, this tracking down of lunar soldiers, even if a certain royal guard has his reservations.

The artwork is a good mixture of epic science fiction backgrounds and expressive characters. Knowing the series, I was excited to see what the characters would look like, like Cinder's robotic hand and Wolf's lupine modifications, like Captain Carswell Thorne's charming smile. And I was excited to see how this futuristic Earth and kingdom on the moon would look, the technology and the spaceships. The different uniforms, Scarlett's farm in France. And the moments where it's just Iko thinking to herself. The things she looks at, the ways she reacts.

I like the premise of this book, that after the revolution on the moon, after Cinder and her friends fighting back against the tyranny and despair that radiated from Levana, there's still battles to be fought. All those still loyal to Levana, mutated lunar soldiers and secret operatives, are still fighting. Fighting for their place, for their revenge. Just because a tyrant is overthrown doesn't mean everyone's opinions instantly change. As much as the Lunar Chronicles has a happy ending, it's great to see that everything wasn't suddenly made perfect. There are still things to do, dangers to watch out for and enemies to fight. Fans of the series will definitely enjoy this new installation, enjoy seeing the adventures and the struggles continue. And the banter between Iko and Kinney.

(I borrowed a copy of this book from the library.)

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Me on This Week's Book Week (250)

This Week's Book Week is rather similar to Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga's Reviews only with far more rambling and a less witty title. ;)

No books this week! And not much to ramble about this week. Maybe next time! :)

Reviews going up this week will feature Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer and Doug Holgate (Tuesday) and Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor (Friday). :)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Me on Hunted

Title: Hunted
Author: Meagan Spooner
Release Date: March 14, 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen (HarperCollins imprint)

Beauty knows the Beast's forest in her bones—and in her blood. Though she grew up with the city's highest aristocrats, far from her father's old lodge, she knows that the forest holds secrets and that her father is the only hunter who's ever come close to discovering them. So when her father loses his fortune and moves Yeva and her sisters back to the outskirts of town, Yeva is secretly relieved. Out in the wilderness, there's no pressure to make idle chatter with vapid baronessas... or to submit to marrying a wealthy gentleman. But Yeva's father's misfortune may have cost him his mind, and when he goes missing in the woods, Yeva sets her sights on one prey: the creature he'd been obsessively tracking just before his disappearance. Deaf to her sisters' protests, Yeva hunts this strange Beast back into his own territory—a cursed valley, a ruined castle, and a world of creatures that Yeva's only heard about in fairy tales. A world that can bring her ruin or salvation. Who will survive: the Beauty, or the Beast?

Hunted is haunting and mysterious, layered with complications. With magic, with desire. With dreams and impossibility. But who is the hunter and who is the hunted?

Yeva is grasping, yearning for something. Something more than her life as the pretty daughter. Something that resembles the childhood she had in the forest with her father who taught her to hunt. A life with no pressure, no town gossip or persuasion to get married and have children. She finds that peace in the forest. But she's not the only hunter in the trees, scaring up rabbits and deer. Something stalks the forest, searching for a hunter.

Something that races through this book is the idea of freedom, the strong need for it. That desire, to be free of restrictions and rules and obligations, strikes at the heart of so many. For Yeva, it's the desire to live her own life, to return to the days and the place where life was simple, when she could be in the forest and be herself. Listening to the world around her. Hunting with her father and their dogs. She wants something intangible, something different than the quiet lives with loving husbands that her sisters would prefer (which she doesn't begrudge them for, above all else she would want her sisters happy). And she feels that she will find it out in the snowy woods.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. Knowing that a book is a fairy tale retelling, knowing where the plot will go, it can get predictable, but this felt fresh and intriguing. The weaving in of different tales and magic, Yeva's own stories and searching, the struggle and combat that was far more internal then external. The romance where both parties respected each other, flaws and complications and all. I imagine fairy tale retelling fans will greatly enjoy this, as will fans of the author's previous books.

(I downloaded an e-galley of this title to review from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.)