[ARC Review] Waterfell by Amalie Howard

Guys I just created a tumblr! Well, I actually already had one but I deleted it because I didn’t like my old account. Anyways, you can follow me here. I will mostly reblog PJO/HoO and TID stuff 😛 ***BEWARE OF HOH OR TID SPOILERS THOUGH!!!***

 

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Waterfell

(The Aquarathi #1)
Author: Amalie Howard
Publisher: Harlequin TEEN
Publication Date: October 29th, 2013
Pages: 360
Genre: YA – Fantasy, Science Fiction, Romance
THE GIRL WHO WOULD BE QUEEN
Nerissa Marin hides among teens in her human form, waiting for the day she can claim her birthright—the undersea kingdom stolen from her the day her father was murdered. Blending in is her best weapon—until her father’s betrayer confronts Nerissa and challenges her to a battle to the death on Nerissa’s upcoming birthday—the day she comes of age.
Amid danger and the heartbreak of her missing mother, falling for a human boy is the last thing Nerissa should do. But Lo Seavon breaches her defenses and somehow becomes the only person she can count on to help her desperate search for her mother, a prisoner of Nerissa’s mortal enemy. Is Lo the linchpin that might win Nerissa back her crown? Or will this mortal boy become the weakness that destroys her?
 
 
Thank you Harlequin TEEN and Netgalley for the review copy! This doesn’t affect my review or opinions at all.

Review

BEFORE READING:
Oh yay, it’s a book about mermaids! I love those creatures <3

AFTER READING:
I expected mermaids, yet what I got were… Bleh, and the romance turned me off.

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I must admit that I was particularly interested in this book because of mermaids and it’s been such a long time since I read a good mermaid book. Well, Waterfell definitely didn’t fall to that category in my opinion.

So I actually liked the sci-fi element, it was slightly interesting and would have been easier to understand if it hadn’t been too info-dumpy. I mean, I get that it will sound more logical if there are scientific explanations behind all that but to be honest, I felt really confused reading THAT part. I don’t understand why the heroine explains how this “mermaid” works complicatedly…

Talking about the heroine, I didn’t like her at all. She is too selfish and too dramatic. Also, she keeps going back and forth in the beginning about the love interest. One second, she cannot stand the love interest, the next second he is giving her butterflies and then she’s annoyed with him again. Yes, she is really inconsistent. The transition between her feelings/emotions was not smooth enough, I think. In one page she is annoyed, in the next page she feels guilty and then she feels like a coward. Nerissa didn’t sound realistic or likable at all. It seems like she has serious stomach and emotion-control issues. I also didn’t like the way she treats her best friend. So Nerissa breaks down and her best friend – Jenna – is visiting to cheer her up or something but you know what Nerissa does? She bluntly tells Jenna to go away. I get that she’s angry but no need to act so harsh to your best friend who literally keeps your biggest secrets.

In addition, the plot was predictable, starting from the drop-dead gorgeous love interest, typical guy best friend and the infamous love triangle. Honestly, there’s supposed to be this big twist at the end of the book but alas, it didn’t catch me by surprise at all since I had already seen it coming miles away. This book was just too obvious.

Another point I’d like to make is how weird and unusual their names are. If they want to go in disguise in the human world, why stick to your strange original names like Echlios, Soren and Speio. Plus, the love interest’s full name is TOO obvious.

Overall, Waterfell was a disappointment. I thought it would be a cool and light mermaid book. Instead, there were info-dumpy worldbuilding, unlikable characters, predictable plotline and bad romance. The only characters I truly liked in this book are Jenna and Sawyer – but even those two aren’t enough to redeem this book.

[ARC Review] Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Antigoddess
(Goddess War #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication Date: September 10th, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 333 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – Fantasy (Greek Mythology)

The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake.
Old Gods never die…
Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.
Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.
These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.
Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.
Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.
The Goddess War is about to begin.


 
Thank you Tor Teen for sending me this review copy. It doesn’t affect my opinions or review in any ways.

Review

I’d like to start off by saying how much I LOVE Greek mythology and Antigoddess truly gratify my dire need of a good Greek mythology and oh boy let me tell you what a fantastic book it was!

“Everything born must die, Athena.”

I was hooked from the first page, and I am not lying. The book begins with Athena and Hermes searching for Demeter to ask why they’re dying. While I highly enjoyed reading Athena’s POV, I have to be honest that Cassandra’s POV wasn’t really interesting in the beginning. Nothing particularly happens in her POV and it was as if I was kept waiting and waiting for something that wasn’t going to happen at all. The POVs switch between Athena and Cassandra one after another and the book became much MUCH more fascinating once they have met up at some point.

“Haven’t I lived long enough? Shouldn’t a goddess have the grace to accept this?”

Athena’s character surprised me a bit. I thought she was going to be this level-headed and wise girl the whole time – she’s a goddess after all – but it’s nice to see her breaks down and acts out of her character a few times due to her desperation. Considering the fact that she’s going to lose her eternal life, it makes her more…realistic and human. But, Athena sticks to her main goal, not letting personal issues get in the way of how she handles the situation and that’s what I liked best about her. I noticed that Hermes is sorta overshadowed by Athena in the first half, however, Blake gave him his own spotlight and I really love how every character in this book has their roles. Hermes proves to be a reliable and serious yet laid-back at times, and Cassandra manages to overcome her fear to do what’s important the most in the end.

Despite the fact that some of my questions are still unanswered, the world-building in this book was well-written and not info-dumpy at all. The plot got more and more excited, the action intensified in the second half and I LOVE every battle scene in this book! I won’t go in-depth with the plot cause I don’t wanna ruin everyone’s experience though. In addition, reading Antigoddess made me feel really nostalgic about PJO and HoO… It made me want to re-read those series all over again <3 But still, the author managed to add her own twists to the mythology – which makes it more fascinating and unique.

Romance isn’t the main focus in this book (thank goodness).There are two couples in this book, though. I had difficulty buying Cassandra and Aidan’s romance since the relationship seemed to be…underdeveloped. On the other hand, the other couple had me swooning and the tension built up throughout the book. I thought this romance was kinda intriguing cause Athena is a virgin goddess but anyways I’m looking forward for future development!

I extremely enjoyed reading this book. Antigoddess lived up to my expectations and I was thrilled once I was done reading it – the giddy feelings you got when you just read an awesome book. Filled with Greek mythology goodness, I highly recommend this book for those who loved Rick Riordan’s work.

[Review] Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Shadow and Bone
(The Grisha #1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
First Published: May 17th, 2012 by Henry Holt BYR
Pages: 372 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Adventure, Fantasy

Alina Starkov doesn’t expect much from life. Orphaned by the Border Wars, she is sure of only one thing: her best friend, Mal–and her inconvenient crush on him. Until the day their army regiment enters the Fold, a swath of unnatural darkness crawling with monsters. When their convoy is attacked and Mal is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power not even she knew existed.
Ripped from everything she knows, Alina is taken to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling. With Alina’s extraordinary power in his arsenal, he believes they can finally destory the Fold. Now Alina must find a way to master her untamed gift and somehow fit into her new life without Mal by her side. But nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. As the threat to the kingdom mounts and her dangerous attraction to the Darkling grows, Alina will uncover a secret that could tear her heart–and her country–in two.

Review

Even before reading Shadow and Bone, I was already sure that I would like this book. Fantasy is one genre that rarely disappoints me and this one does sound totally epic. The fact that two of my favorite authors (Rick Riordan and Veronica Roth) blurbed this book made me super excited and nervous at the same time! Despite my high expectations and many raving reviews I have seen on various blogs, Shadow and Bone was definitely not a disappointment!

Leigh Bardugo has created a world so beautiful and mesmerizing that I can’t help to be fascinated the whole time. I think the Russian culture goes really well with the atmosphere of this book – dark and chilling. Well, the terms/places may be hard to pronounce (I seriously have no idea how to say those words! Kribirsk, Balakirev, etc… I just pronounce them like how an Indonesian would lol) but it was easy to keep up with all of them and it didn’t take much time until I was fully engulfed in the story.

The plot was extremely well done, not a single time I felt bored and the writing successfully painted the scenes in my head. Alina isn’t the most kick-ass heroine, but she is definitely a very reliable narrator. I thought she would be this typical YA girl who is plain, unloved, and ends up being the savior but unexpectedly, I was able to connect with her fear and insecurities, and one thing that impressed me was her great and perfectly-paced character development – it isn’t a sudden change, rather a step-by-step transformation. I also liked how dark and mysterious and unpredictable the Darkling is, I couldn’t guess his true intentions! I think he’s my favorite character from the book. The twists… the revelations… I adore this book! I can’t believe I started it soooo late! Shadow and Bone was truly a promising start of a series. I am very curious how things will turn out in the second book!

Plus, when I opened this book for the first time, there was a beautiful map:

Despite having a few cliches, my overall experience was not ruined. Shadow and Bone really stands out above other typical YA books. With its uniqueness, it crosses the borders of genres and creates an exquisite read that will satisfy any readers who are craving for exotic fantasy and adventure story.

[Review] Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Princess
(The Infernal Devices #3)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: March 19th, 2013
Pages: 568 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.
Tessa Gray should be happy — aren’t all brides happy? Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of London Institute. A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa’s heart, will do anything to save her.

Review

Oh, where should I begin?? I was speechless when I finished this book. There was a happy feeling – satisfaction – when I closed it, but there was also sadness and frustration cause it finally ended. Clockwork Princess was the best of the series in my opinion. The pacing isn’t slow and I found myself enjoying this book as a whole – probably too much that although I was so curious about the ending, I did not want this book to end.

“The world is a wheel,” he said. “When we rise or fall, we do it together.”

The main reason I enjoyed this book is mostly because I grew so attached with the characters. I loved Jem. I loved Will. Their brotherly affection nearly KILLED me because even though they are caught in a love triangle with Tessa, that doesn’t change how much they love each other. Their relationship had me in tears a few times (well, that’s saying something cause I almost never cry when I read and I didn’t expect two boys who care so much about each other would make me cry.)

“I am grieved for your pain,” he said. “But I am glad that you love her.”

I think that’s what makes the love triangle even more painful and nearly unbearable – in a good way, of course! And speaking of the romance, I really really liked how the book ends and how Clare concludes the love triangle. I might be in the minority here, but I loved the boys so much that whenever Jem is with Tessa, I felt really bad for Will and whenever Will is with Tessa, I felt really bad for Jem. Maybe it was a tad too HEA, but it was truly satisfying and frustrating too at the same time (cause the book ends and there are no more pages after that).

The book starts well, the middle was really heartbreaking and I was touched the most in this part (mostly because of Jem). There were so many actions and although my friend annoyingly spoiled something for me, there were twists that still caught me off guard! I loved, not just the main characters, but also the secondary characters like Charlotte and Henry, Sophie, the Lightwood brothers and Cecily. And even Bridget, who admittedly sounds so gloomy, could make me laugh thanks to her depressing songs.

The other romances between the side characters are also sweet! Cecily and Gabriel, Gideon and Sophie, and Charlotte and Henry… oh my god they are FREAKING ADORABLE! And like I said before, I grew so attached to all of them. The POV shifts A LOT from Tessa to Will, Charlotte, Gabriel and Cecily, etc. Those shifts don’t seem random anymore. I was, in fact, waiting for the shifts and whenever it was Tessa’s turn and there hadn’t been any POV shifts for a long time, I was like, “When is Will’s turn? Or Charlotte’s and Gabriel’s?” Not that I dislike Tessa or anything, but those POVs provide an insight of those characters’ minds and we get to know what happen to the others.

I probably spent too much time talking about the characters but, really, I LOVED them so much I just couldn’t help it. Clare successfully stirred my emotions and tore my heart for the whole time and yet as I read the ending (including the epilogue) it was as if my heart was sewed again. But there will always be scars left and believe me, I think this series had been a pleasurable experience overall.

If you haven’t read this series yet, WHAT THE HECK ARE YOU WAITING FOR??!

Rating

5 Cakes!

[Review] Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Clockwork Prince 
(The Infernal Devices #2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: May 1st, 2012
Pages: 496 (UK Paperback)
Genre: YA – Fantasy, Historical, Paranormal

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, while her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will — the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers to who she is and what she was born to do? As their search for the truth leads the three friends into peril, Tessa’s heart is increasingly torn, especially when one of their own betrays them…

Review

I didn’t know where to begin when I first started writing this review… My thoughts were all over the place and I thought I temporarily lost my ability to form coherent paragraphs so I was about to write this review in bullet points instead. Luckily, I already recover from THAT ending and thank God I already have a copy of Clockwork Princess. *phew*

After my incident with Linked, I admit Clare’s ability to add the right amount of description at the right time without being too distracting and unnecessary is great. I mean, a well-written book doesn’t mean it has flowery descriptions and needless words or sentences. I think Clare knows when to elaborate and when not to.

As expected, this book is told from third person POV. The first book primarily focuses on Tessa with a few switches to other characters. In Clockwork Prince, however, the POV switches more — to Tessa, Will, Magnus, Sophie and Charlotte. While the switches seem random occasionally, they do give us more understanding of what happens to the other characters.

Although the pacing isn’t as slow as the first book, I still got bored a few times when I reached middle of the book. The pace does pick up later and I found the second half much more interesting and unputdownable. I stayed up till midnight to finish this book, mind you!!

And as usual, secrets are revealed one by one, bits by bits. The plot intensifies with betrayal(s), family issues, new discoveries, and we are introduced to a few new characters. The mystery isn’t unraveled in this book yet, but we are starting to see the direction it will go in the third book. There are new clues and shocking discoveries, but I’m sure Clare will piece them together in the third book with an epic (and possibly painful as I was told) conclusion.

Okay now let’s talk about the characters, shall we? Finally we get to know Will’s past, making him a more understandable character. It was so sad and oh my gosh when he finds out the truth it was even more painful. His relationship with Magnus develops and his brotherly affection toward Jem is still as sweet as ever. I know most ladies will easily fall for bad boys with tragic past and sarcastic humors (in this case Will). Wait, don’t get me wrong – I liked his character and Jem’s too!

Now speaking of Jem Jem Jem JEM JEEEEMMMM (oh I’m sorry for losing control xD) we always knew him as a patient and considerate and kind character despite his weaknesses. But in this installment, Clare adds another layer to his angelic personality, something un-Jem-like.

Oh my gosh and the romance. Tessa finds herself drawn to Jem even more and things start to go swoony and steamy and then there’s her relationship with Will whom she can’t avoid any longer and oh my gosh oh god asdfghjkl I can’t even. I’m rooting for Jem but I felt really REALLY sad for Will too… Holy crap, and when Will finds out the truth… it was so so SAD! 🙁

On a side note,  I found it hilarious and somewhat ironic that there’s a werewolf named Woolsey Scott. Yes, a werewolf named Woolsey Scott. (Wool=sheep; just ignore my unusual sense of humor xD)

Overall, Clockwork Prince was a fantastic sequel, it was slightly better than its predecessor. The only good thing about my tardiness of starting this series is I could dive into Clockwork Princess immediately!

Rating

4.5 Cakes!