Eon: A Book Review

“You are wrong when you say there is no power in being a woman. When I think of my mother and the women in my tribe, and the hidden women in the harem, I know there are many types of power in this world…I found power in accepting the truth of who I am. It may not be a truth that others can accept, but I cannot live any other way. How would it be to live a lie every minute of your life? I don’t think I could do it.”

Book: Eon (Eon#1)

Author: Alison Goodman

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Eon, #1)

Blurb:

Also Known As: Two Pearls of Wisdom, Eon: Rise of the Dragoneye, and Eon (All the same book just published with different publishers)

Swordplay, dragon magic–and a hero with a desperate secret

Twelve-year-old Eon has been in training for years. His intensive study of Dragon Magic, based on East Asian astrology, involves two kinds of skills: sword-work and magical aptitude. He and his master hope that he will be chosen as a Dragoneye–an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune.

But Eon has a dangerous secret. He is actually Eona, a sixteen-year-old girl who has been masquerading as a boy for the chance to become a Dragoneye. Females are forbidden to use Dragon Magic; if anyone discovers she has been hiding in plain sight, her death is assured.

When Eon’s secret threatens to come to light, she and her allies are plunged into grave danger and a deadly struggle for the Imperial throne. Eon must find the strength and inner power to battle those who want to take her magic…and her life.

My thoughts:

So you’ve been going through Grishaverse withdrawal? Trust me, we all have. Been looking for a good book that’s like it- but not plagiarism? Eon is a great series for you. Best way I can describe it is the love child of Mulan and Shadow and Bone -but on steroids.

This book touches upon (and hits them spot on) adult topics that the Disney movie would have never covered (like transgenders, eunuchs and rape). Eon borrows heavily from Japanese and Chinese cultures (with a good dash of fantasy thrown in)- giving special importance to ancestors and dragons. Much like Mulan, it’s highly feministic, questioning traditional gender roles in society as well as stereotypes. This book is totally a ‘hear me roar!’ kind of book, celebrating traditions, ethnicity and women!

At the same time, it is action-packed, action-jammed. You will be unable to put this book down because so much happens. Sword fights, intrigue, careful stealing, etc. Full of two-faced courtiers, the politics in this book will grab you by the throat and the breath-taking descriptions of the magic will hit you in the heart. You will probably lay down on the floor, gasping for breath- and you will love every second of it.

This book is absolutely flawless- from the color and vividness of the world Ms. Goodman built to the backstories and multiple facets of the characters she dreamt up. There are marvellous friendships that spring forward in this book, and the romance is a slow to build but scorching fire.

The villain will be totally despicable <spoiler> although wait and see til the next book </spoiler> and the characters will be cowardly and selfish at times but beautiful and honorable at the peak.

“Even a cornered rabbit will fight with teeth and claws.”

You will love these characters. You will weep for them.

I’m going to keep this short and sort of vague. This book is best enjoyed without spoilers. You will thank me for this later.

Just know that when you finally flip to the last page you will slam the book in disappointment and collapse on the floor. But you won’t stay there long- you’ll run to get the sequel to this book (Eona) so that you can begin the process of falling in love and breaking your heart all over again.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Quotables:

‘Are you frightened now?’
I nodded, shame flushing my skin.
‘Is it going to stop you?’
‘No.’
‘That is the courage of a warrior.”

“There was a saying that a man’s true character was revealed in defeat. I thought it was also revealed in victory.”

The Fixer: A Book Review

“I have a passing fondness for explosions.”

Book: The Fixer
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Fixer

Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick has spent her entire life on her grandfather’s ranch. But when her estranged sister Ivy uproots her to D.C., Tess is thrown into a world that revolves around politics and power. She also starts at Hardwicke Academy, the D.C. school for the children of the rich and powerful, where she unwittingly becomes a fixer for the high school set, fixing teens’ problems the way her sister fixes their parents’ problems.

And when a conspiracy surfaces that involves the family member of one of Tess’s classmates, love triangles and unbelievable family secrets come to light and life gets even more interesting—and complicated—for Tess.

My thoughts:

This book is freaking fantastic. It’s the first mystery/thriller that I’ve enjoyed in a long time. This is three hundred and eighty-four pages of rebellion, sarcastic witticisms, determined girl heroines (who are more spice than sugar), well-rounded side characters, untraditional but caring families and an intense mystery.

There’s no way to make this clearer: I love Tess. Tough, determined, sarcastic, brave and protective- how could I not?

“There are a lot of ways to castrate a bull,” I said, my words deliberate and slow. “You can band the balls off, so they shrivel up and die. Or you can take a knife, and slide it just so.” I demonstrated with my free hand. “I grew up on a ranch. I know a lot about castrating bulls.”

I loved reading from her point of view. She was mature and passionate, but simultaneously relatable. She made you feel for her.

This is not a book where adults play no role (thus avoiding one of the major YA tropes)

Her ‘sister’, Ivy (I’ll leave you wondering why I’ve used single quotes) is an impressive woman with the power to get things done. She is so put-together, mysterious and effective. She’s a more badass version of Tess; it’s easy to believe they’re related. But at the same time, she brings different things to the table (not better, not worse- just different). To be honest, she sort of scares me, but mostly I am impressed as hell by her. I think I have a new role-model.

Adam, family friend and captain of defense, is pure awesome. There’s not really any romance in this book but, I ship Adam and Ivy together <spoiler> which is kind of weird since she was once in love with his brother </spoiler>.  I dunno, they just work. Brodie, Ivy’s chauffeur and bodyguard, is hilarious and makes surprising introspective comments. Potential love triangle here. I like him and all, but I like Adam better. (It’s cute that I think I get an opinion).

The teens are as cool as hell. I need to poach some of Ms. Barne’s magic. How else would she get the intricacies of getting such an eclectic bunch of kids to mesh so well?

Vivie is that friend that you always wanted to have. She’s plain nice, but she’s deceptively strong and brave too. She’s supportive, willing to lend you an ear or discuss something trivial to get your mind off things. And Tess is more than willing to return the favor. One of the best friendships I have seen in YA.

Asher is adorable. He’s a trouble-maker but he’s so much fun, charming and up for anything. I loved reading about him- especially when he was interacting with his twin (a college obsessed twin with a surprising skill with computers who loves her brother deep down) or with a person is a position of authority. I really hope there’s no love triangle with him, Tessa, and Henry because I would hate to see this bromance destroyed.

It’s your favorite person.”
“No. You’re not.”
“I won’t embarrass you by proving I am.”

Henry is intense, a bit bull-headed and charming in his own right. Again, I like him- but I like Asher more.

As for the plot itself, it is amazing. Priding itself on its’ political intrigue, it’s full of twists you’ll never see coming. YA needs more books like this!
Unfortunately, I had to pause in the middle of the book because the screen got really blurry. Okay, fine-I’ll admit it: this book wrung out a few tears from me.

I am unabashedly desperate to read the next book (too bad it doesn’t come out until 2016). There’s no other way to say this: this book was perfect.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Other Books Like This: Trust Me, I’m Lying, We All Fall Down (Embassy Row #1)

The Madman’s Daughter: A Book Review

Book: The Madman’s Daughter

Author: Megan Shephard

The Madman's Daughter (The Madman's Daughter, #1)


Blurb:

Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumors about her father’s gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true.

Accompanied by her father’s handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father’s madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island’s inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father’s dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it’s too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father’s genius—and madness—in her own blood.

Inspired by H. G. Wells’s classic The Island of Dr. Moreau, The Madman’s Daughter is a dark and breathless Gothic thriller about the secrets we’ll do anything to know and the truths we’ll go to any lengths to protect.

My thoughts:

The Madman’s daughter fits firmly into the Victorian Gothic thriller category. I haven’t read Frankenstein, but I have a feeling I know what inspired this book. There’s an authentic, creepy, mad-scientist feel to the book. The setting of the book- a strange  island contributes largely to it as well as the inhabitants of the island- one very insane but brilliant scientist and a group of deformed villagers who chant a set of commandments given to them by the aforementioned scientist.

The book doesn’t immediately begin on an island. Instead, we’re shown the miserable circumstances that have been thrust upon Juliet, the protagonist of the book. Her unhappy circumstances have made her bitter, cynical and not at all squeamish but she still won’t tolerate vivisection- that’s the live dissection of living animals. I think I really started to admire her when she cut off the head of a rabbit. That may sound horrendous to you, but trust me, it was a compassionate and brave thing to do. Throughout the book, she proves her compassion and bravery by standing up to her father repeatedly (when no else seems willing to). At the same time she’s not afraid of getting her hands dirty.
However, she tends to be a little judgemental ( I guess that fits in with the time period). That got onto my nerves a little bit, along with her constant reference to God (I’m openly agnostic.)

Her father was an amazingly written character. I’ve heard he’s borrowed from a H G Wells book but Megan Shephard does a good job portraying him. He’s a brilliant scientist but…well let’s say that if his morals were fairly standard in scientists back then, I can see why those from the Victorian era didn’t trust them. At all. Chauvinistic, deluded and almost sociopathic- It was hard to see what Juliet ever saw in him. But that was the point.

The weakest part of the book was the romance.  It was a poorly executed love triangle in which the two candidates for Juliet’s heart – Montgomery and Edward – were presented as complete opposites: the gentlemen vs the bad boy. <sarcastically> Original isn’t it?
I could have dealt with the trope if the characters were interesting enough but they were actually remarkably similar. The things they said…their main objectives- well, they weren’t too different. I guess Juliet thought they were pretty interchangeable too. Juliet’s mind jumped frequently from one to the other and back again. One minute she was thinking about Montgomery’s musculature and the next she had moved onto Edward’s charisma. Sometimes in sentences following each other!

If the romance was the worst part, than the best part was the action. Like I’ve previously mentioned, none of the characters were afraid to get their hands bloody- both figuratively and literally. The book was full of twists I so did not see coming. I think I spent a good quarter of the book gasping and shaking my head at the fact that I didn’t see what was going on.

The ending is not a Happy Ever After (thank god, I am so done with them). But like the other twists and turns in the book, I so did not see that coming. I’ll give you a huge hint: One of the love interests are insane.

The book deals with themes that are pretty relevant today: How love can be blind to insanity, humanity, the morality of science and genetic modifications. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone over the age of 13. Especially, if you don’t mind love triangles too much but if you love gothic, terrifying,  steam-punkish books.


My Ratings:

Cover: 3/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Romance: 1/5
Action: 5/5
Ending: 5/5
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Would I read another Megan Shephard book: Probably, but she’s not on my automatic to-read list yet.
Books like this: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge


We Were Liars: A Book Review

Book: We Were Liars
Author/Authoress: E. Lockhart

We Were Liars

Cover:4/5

I thought the cover was pretty good. All that sunshine, swimming and water suggest a cutesy, light-hearted and fun summer read but the subtle shadows and the smudgy letters make sure we don’t misjudge the book by it’s cover. Also, the way that the whole cover is lightly blurry is pretty cool. Personally, I thought it was a representation of the narrator’s state of mind- confused and unable to remember the whole truth.

Plot: 3/5

Blurb:
A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart.
Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE

My thoughts: So to keep the suspense alive, we’re not supposed to tell you anything about the plot. Too bad. This time I’m not going to follow the rules. It’s ridiculous to expect us to know whether we want to read a book or not without a decent blurb. And a few words strung together haphazardly does not a blurb make.

There’s actually not much to the plot. Basically, Cadence Sinclair is wealthy. She is loved (maybe because of the previous statement). She is one of the Sinclairs, a good-looking “old-money Democrat” family. They have names like Liberty, Taft, and Tipper (oh the heights of pretentiousness that can be reached are high indeed).They go to Ivy League schools. They have trust funds. They have sired a generation of children, the leader of which is Cadence. Cadence and her crew call themselves “The Liars.” The Liars are composed of her cousins Mirren, Johnny, and the outcast Indian love interest, Gat. All of them the same age.Every summer, the liars go to a private island where they spend their holidays in beach houses specifically built for their mothers. Every year, they spend their days playing in the sand, swimming in the sea and generally being lazy and having a good time. Until the summer when they’re all 15. That year, something horrible happens. Something which Cadence has no memory of but makes her sick anyways. She theorizes she was a victim of something so awful, her mind blocked it all out to protect itself. But Cadence is desperate to remember what happened that fateful summer. This book shows two summers in parallel. One happening in the present and the other in the form of flashbacks.

Characters:2/5

I had little to no patience for the characters. They were such cliché’s based solely on stereotypes. There was nothing original or interesting about them. Let’s start with the MC

Cadence Sinclair is a snobbish little hypocrite. From the very beginning, I was certain I would never see eye-to-eye with her. I was not proven wrong. There are precious few  characters that can get away with calling their Mom ‘mummy’ without me losing any respect I could have had for them. Kids under the age of 10, people pretending to be snobby heiresses, snobby heiresses who exist for comedic purposes only and people from the Victorian era. Cadence falls into none of these categories. She actually is a snobby heiress. The type who speaks flippantly of Tiffany crystals, silverware, Mercedes cars and Harvard. The type who’s just rich enough (or going to be rich enough) to get away with not knowing the ‘help’s’ names and caring more about yellow labs than people. After the ‘accident’, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for her. Not only is it partially her own fault but she stops functioning like a normal human being after it. Her grades drop, she stops taking interest in any activity, she sends pathetic e-mails to her cousins asking about Gat and then sends even more pathetic e-mails to them pretending she doesn’t care. She falls into bouts of self-pity where she moans about her migraines (which apparently could end the world) and the fact that she had to go to Europe the previous summer instead of being allowed to go to the beach house. And rich enough for her to be hypocritical about her wealth, criticising her mother for depending on it, and giving away all her worldly possessions ‘to be charitable’ and ‘do some good in the world’.*Facepalm*

Despite the fact that Mirren and Johnny form one whole half of the ‘Liars’, they’re given disproportionately little screen-time (what do you call it in a book?). Apparently Mirren is candy-sweet and a bit of a romantic. Johnny is archetypical annoying male cousin, sometimes prone to annoyingness. Each of them appeared in what, four scenes each? Not nearly enough for the ‘supposed’ main characters.

Gat Patel was somewhat annoying. But at the same time, he was the character that seemed the most…real. He kind of reminded me of Gus from The Fault in Our Stars. He is self-aware. Too self-aware in a hopelessly pretentious way that some people think teenagers are like (and maybe we are…just a little). But he still feels authentic and less contrived than the other characters. I liked him. He is accepted into The Liars, but he’s not altogether accepted in the family. Because of his skin color, because of his lack of family money, he feels left out.

The Grandfather was another interesting character. Proud, manipulative and a bit bigoted. But no one dared to ever tell him that because he was in charge of all the money. He used to pit all of his daughters against each other, to make them prove that they deserved the inheritance and that they could make good use of it. He was a really twisted character but at times he could be a loving and fun grandfather, spontaneously taking his grandchildren on outings and tossing money everywhere. Did anyone else automatically think of King Lear?
The liars theorize that he became twisted after losing his wife and his manipulative behaviour was a cry for help, for his family to actually start acting like a family. For once (the first and last time ever) I agree with the liars.

Romance: N/A

Writing:1/5

More than anything else, it was the writing which killed this story. The whole book is in the point of view of the MC who had the incredibly infuriating tendency to write in disjointed prose with an overuse of commas and repetition of words. The sentences are fragmented and the main character is forever using long, running metaphors to describe everything.

And then I completely loathed (no, it’s not too strong of a word) the way she over dramatized everything. Take a look at this:

Then he pulled out a handgun and shot me in the chest. I was standing on the lawn and I fell. The bullet hole opened wide and my heart rolled out of my rib cage and down into a flower bed. Blood gushed rhythmically from my open wound,
then from my eyes,
my ears,
my mouth.

It took me forever to realize that she didn’t meant if literally; only figuratively and that her Dad didn’t really shoot her. But seriously, what else was I supposed to think?

Ending:3/5

Don’t read this unless you want spoilers. <spoiler> At the end, Cadence tells us about their plan for the fire. We’ve been told throughout the book that Cadence and Gat, at least, are very bright kids. I thought burning the house was a clever and beautiful twist, until Cadence said that they would light it from the inside. I repeat- from the inside. Who (especially supposedly ‘brilliant’ kids) would be stupid enough to light a mansion on the fire from the freaking INSIDE? And then they’re surprised that people died? People this stupid simply do not exist.

I think the whole ghost/ the MC went crazy thing was pretty good. Obviously, I knew that something was up throughout most of the book: (When the Liars hung back from welcoming Cadence on the docks, how they were always in Cuddlemere despite the fact it was ‘haunted’, how they never went anywhere and there was no interaction between them and anyone other than Cadence, etc.) but I was never able to actually put my finger on it. However, a lot of people said they saw the twist coming from a mile away. </spoiler over>

Plotholes:2/5

Gleck! That was the sound of me choking. This book is full of plotholes. The most obvious being the ending, but there was other, smaller stuff that really bugged me. The only reason this book got more than a one was because there wouldn’t have been much of a story without some of the obvious pitfalls.

Overall Rating: 2/5

Considering the fact this was supposed to be the ‘It’ contemporary book this year, I was pretty disappointed. But I never was a big E. Lockhart fan anyways, so I guess it’s all okay. If you’re able to get past the choppy and annoying writing style and the even more annoying main character, this book is actually a real page-turner. Full of suspense with a not-too-shabby plot and a decent (if slightly stupid) ending. Unfortunately, I could not and neither could most people. I would not recommend this book to anyone unless they would like to read it to make some sort of point (which type of point that would be, I have no idea).