Friday, February 14, 2014

MISTBORN Review - Brandon Sanderson

Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 542
ISBN#: 9780765311788
My Recommended Age Group: Young Adult to Adult
Released: April 1, 2010
Other work
Our Rating:

From Goodreads:

A thousand years ago evil came to the land. A dark lord rules through the aristocratic families and ordinary folk labor as slaves in volcanic ash fields. A troublemaker arrives. A rumored revolt depends on an untrustworthy criminal and a young girl who must master Allomancy, metal magic.

My thoughts:

I can't even remember when I actually finished MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE.  I know it was a while ago though.  Typically I enjoy a good epic fantasy but seeing as how they're epic and all, it usually takes me a while to read them.  I believe that I first "read" this via Audible and then later via a kindle edition.  The Audible completion was most likely during 2012 and the Kindle edition was probably a few months ago.  Why is a review just now coming?  Well, to be honest, I had a hard time going back and thinking about this story until I knew all the answers.  In a nutshell that means that I waited until I finished the trilogy.

Oh MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE - what can I say about you?  You've been a friend and constant companion for so long that it's hard to look at you objectively anymore.  I've listened to you multiple times, introduced you to family and friends, reread you in "print" form and still I couldn't solve all of your mysteries.

MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE isn't like your typical fantasy books.  There are multiple plot lines, many characters, and a near infinite web of paths that your mind can go down as you experience this story.  This is not a new book so in some ways it almost feels silly to review it, but I've always used this as my own personal space to voice my opinions and generally share my thoughts.  My thoughts on MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE?  What a fantastic story!

Unlike some epics, I did not get lost, necessarily, in the story.  I may not have found all the answers I was searching for, but then again, that's why this is the first in a trilogy.  What I mean is that I found the plot lines and the character shifts very easy to follow and not jarring at all.  Sometimes epics try to fit so much in that it becomes difficult for the reader to really get engrossed in the story and feel like they are a part of the hero's or heroine's journey.  MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE was carefully crafted in such a way to really pull the reader in and allow them to become grounded in the story regardless of the fact that locations, people, and the world would occasionally change just below their feet.

I won't spend too much time here giving you a summary of the book seeing as how you can find that above.  What I will tell you are my favorite aspects of the book and we'll start that with Vin and Kelsier.

Vin is not a butt-kicking heroine.  In fact, for most of the first book, we spend our time learning who she is as well as gaining bits and pieces of knowledge about her history.  As we learn about Vin, we learn about the fantastic world that Sanderson has developed.  This gains depth through the additional use of Kelsier and his mastery of the elements that makes Sanderson's world unique.  I suppose that brings us to my other favorite aspect of MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE - the world-buildling.

Any fans of Sanderson already know that he can develop a unique and complex world full of endless possibilities.  He certainly accomplished that within the pages of MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE.  What was special for me; however; were that most of the elements of his world felt completely new to me.  He really developed some great concepts and ran with them.

If you haven't read MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE, I suggest giving it a shot.  My guess is that, like me, you'll wait all of an hour after finishing it before picking up the second in the trilogy, The Well of Ascension.

Have you read MISTBORN: THE FINAL EMPIRE?  What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT Review - Veronica Rossi

Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 341
ISBN#: 9780062072061
My Recommended Age Group: Young Adult to Adult
Released: January 8, 2013
Other work: Under the Never Sky, Through the Ever Night, Into the Still Blue, Roar and Liv, Brooke
Our Rating:

Goodreads Summary

My thoughts:

Immediately upon finishing Under the Never Sky, I logged on to Amazon and purchased THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT.  I wasn't keen on spending the money right then, but my need to know what happened next in this story caused only about a fraction of a second in hesitation.  So it was that about five minutes after the first in the trilogy, I found myself engrossed in THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT, the second in the trilogy.

THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT felt more like Perry's store this go around.  Aria was still front and center, but this time I felt like we really got to dive into Perry's world and see how the Outsiders deal with the increasingly dire Aether storms.  Attempting to help the Tides while maintaining his relationships with those around him may prove to be more than Perry can accomplish.  A major aspect of THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT that kept me hooked was reading on to find out how he would make the major conflicting aspects of his life work together before they destroyed him.

As Perry navigates his place in the Tides and attempts to make sense of what his happening in the world around him, Aria must come to terms with her own new role in this life.  She's not a scared young girl, but she is still fairly new to the Outside.  Luckily, we become introduced to a great new character in the series that adds another layer of depth to the story.  Aria's new missing and this new character kept me hooked in the story when we had to step away from Perry and his journey with the Tides.

Overall, I probably fell more love with THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT than I did with Under the Never Sky.  For me, that's how a trilogy should be.  I want to love the next book more than the first and Rossi accomplished this wonderfully here.  Each new step through these books adds depth, builds up the world, and brings us further along on our journey with great characters.  The conflicts within THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT reached new heights and as we would expect, there are more of them.

In total, THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT took me about four hours to complete.  Of course I immediately went online and purchased the third book in the trilogy, but alas, life called (i.e. children got bored) so I haven't made it more than a few chapters in yet.

Have you read THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT?  What were your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

UNDER THE NEVER SKY Review - Veronica Rossi

UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 374 - Kindle Edition
ISBN#: 9780062072030
My Recommended Age Group: Young Adult to Adult
Released: January 3, 2012
Other work: Through the Ever Night, Into the Still Blue, Roar and Liv, Brooke
Our Rating:

From Goodreads:

Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.

As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.

They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY

The first book in a captivating trilogy, Veronica Rossi’s enthralling debut sweeps you into an unforgettable adventure.

My thoughts:

After a bit of a hiatus from Young Adult (curse you Brandon Sanderson), I delved back in to one of my favorite genres through UNDER THE NEVER SKY by Veronica Rossi.  I had purchased this book quite a while ago and had it sitting in my Kindle App since then.  I'd come across it, think to read it, and eventually move on to something else.  I'm not sure why it took me so long to get started.  Perhaps it's because I hadn't heard much about it - I don't know.  Anyway, to make a long story short, I began reading this book on Friday evening and by Sunday night I had started the last book in the trilogy.

Summary: Awesome book.

Long version:  UNDER THE NEVER SKY was a great mix of dystopia, fantasy elements, and action that had me hooked from the first paragraph.  Rossi did a great job really diving into the action and allowing the story to explain the elements of her world as it went along.  Although fast-paced, there were a few slower moments in the book.  They were long enough to catch your breath and then there you were, a reader thrown into a scary but awesome world fighting for survival along with Aria.

Let's talk about Aria for a moment.  I love her.  Like seriously - I love Aria.  She is a great heroine.  Although not the typical butt-kicking heroine that I'm usually drawn to, Aria has her own inner strength that makes her a fun character that is a pleasure to journey with.  Her interactions with Peregrine, or Perry, add that extra element of depth to her story so that I never really felt bored with her.  Each page brought something new in her past and present.  Her relationship with Perry helped of course, but I won't go too much in detail there so as to avoid giving anything away.

Probably my favorite aspect of UNDER THE NEVER SKY was the world that Rossi developed and the dystopia surrounding it.  I've read many stories where a people are split in two and over time those halves develop separately.  Rossi took it a step further and really allowed us to explore those differences.  She did so in such a way that made the situation and the environment feel very realistic.  It was easy to see how a world like hers could happen and that made the story that much more realistic and addicting.

UNDER THE NEVER SKY took me a total of about five hours to read over the course of two days.  That was while my husband built our floor downstairs and I bribed my children to play on their own and semi-quietly by promising treats later in the day.  Yep, I was that mom; however, in the case of this book, I totally don't mind.

Have you read UNDER THE NEVER SKY?  Leave your thoughts below.  If you haven't, I suggest giving it a try.  This was a great read and I'm glad that I finally gave it a chance.