A Million Suns

After enjoying Across the Universe so much, I was very excited to read the sequel, A Million Suns, by Beth Revis. And again, the cover was gorgeous.

The story basically picks up where Across the Universe left off. Again, the chapters alternated between being narrated by Amy and Elder, which was nice because the reader could see their different perspectives. Elder is faced with the challenge of leading the ship without using drugs to control people, discovering that it’s very difficult to lead people who have ideas of their own and have realized that they can do whatever they want. It causes no end of trouble for him. Amy also has some problems of her own. She misses her parents, who are still frozen, and regarded as a freak by nearly everyone onboard Godspeed, doesn’t see how she can bear to live the rest of her life trapped between its walls. And Elder is the only one on board who is her own age, who doesn’t see her as a freak. But just because he is the only option, does it mean that she should choose to love him? Or would she love him if he were one choice out of many?

Also, Orion, the one who attempted to murder the frozens, has been frozen himself, but somehow, he has managed to leave clues behind for Amy, essentially a scavenger hunt, in order for her to discover the truth. Orion apparently believed that there was a choice to be made, and Amy, as the only one onboard who has both lived in the starship as well as on a planet, is the only one that really has the necessary information and experience to make it.

Full of small, and a large, mystery, A Million Suns, was definitely an entertaining read. I didn’t find myself very emotionally involved with the characters as I have in other books, but maybe that’s because the story had lots of action and was centered around the mystery instead of the love story. Really, things aboard Godspeed were much to hectic for there to be much time for Elder and Amy to have very much of a love story. Hopefully, that will change in the third book, which is due out next year. But based on how this book ended, and the events that promise to unfold, I don’t see how book three will be any less action packed.

 

Acheron

A friend gave me a copy of Acheron, by Sherrilyn Kenyon, a few months ago, insisting that I read it. I’d heard good things  about this author, mainly from the person who gave me the book, but still had a few qualms about reading it. Mainly, that it was a book that was listed as being in the middle of a series. And who wants to start a series in the middle? I was told that the book could stand alone, and really, it could be viewed as the first book in a way, too, so I got over my indecision and finally read it. It was amazing.

This book is a part of the Dark-Hunter series, and even though I don’t exactly know all that this title entails, it is about the leader, Acheron, and his beginnings. Essentially, the book is two stories in one.

The first part tells of how Acheron was a god born in human form about 11,000 years ago. Inspiring the fear and hate of his human family, except his sister Ryssa, he was sent to his uncle’s estate in Atlantis, where he was used as a sex slave and abused in every way imaginable. Finally, he is “rescued” from this prison, exchanging it for another. The only real love he knows is that of his sister, and it is not enough. A goddess, Artemis, notices him, and “befriends” him. However, their friendship doesn’t last long, deteriorating into the master-slave relationship that is really all Acheron has ever known. Even after he discovers that he is a god, with powers of his own, Artemis won’t openly claim him, still treating him as a whore, not allowing him to escape his past.

The second part of the story takes place mainly in present day New Orleans. Here, Acheron, or Ash as he now goes by, is shown to be the leader of the Dark Hunters. There is a scientist, Dr. Soteria Kafieri, known as Tory, who is on the verge of discovering Atlantis. She has found some artifacts, one of which is one of Ryssa’s journals. Knowing that the contents of his sister’s journals would expose him and bring to light all he has tried to keep hidden in the past, Ash publicly humiliates her and belittles her discovery and theories. A turn of events quickly reunite the two, and Tory and Ash fall in love. But loving a god, with a jealous goddess mistress, doesn’t come without risk and strife. But ultimately, their love prevails, and Tory acquires more-than-human powers herself. 

After reading Acheron, I’m definitely interested in reading the rest of the Dark-Hunter (and Dream-Hunter) series. But this time, I think I’ll start with book number one…

Immortal Beloved

Immortal Beloved, by Cate Tiernan is the first novel in a trilogy. It is (of course) another YA paranormal fantasy series.

Nastasya, or Nasty, is 449 years old, one of the immortals. In an effort to distance herself from the emotional pain of her past, she doesn’t let anyone get too close. She’s constructed a hard shell around herself, and she’s been living the party girl lifestyle for the past hundred years. Part of being an immortal is possessing magick. One of her partying friends using that magick in front of Nastasya for something terrible and she finally has a wake-up call. She doesn’t want to be dark anymore.

She has a memory of another immortal, River, from 80 years ago, who offered to help her. Not knowing what else to do, Nasty seeks her out. It turns out that River runs a sort of rehab facility for wayward immortals. There, she meets the stunningly gorgeous Reyn, (pronounced like “rain”), and feels oddly connected to him in some way. As the teachers at River’s Edge help Nasty to learn about herself and her magick, memories of her past sneak back into her mind, forcing her to evaluate where and who she has been, and who she now is. She slowly uncovers more about her legacy and past lives, including many terrible times she has gone through. Strangely enough, she sees Reyn’s face in one of her horrible memories. Nasty has finally found a place where she wants to belong, but is unsure if she can get past the strange and terrible way that she and Reyn are linked together. She is also unsure if she will be able to stay away from him.

I definitely enjoyed this book more than the last one I read, and I liked how the author left quite a few unanswered questions and mysteries that make me want to keep reading Nasty’s story. I enjoyed the magick elements, but they were not overpowering. I did have a bit of trouble getting through the first couple chapters. I didn’t like Nasty’s character at all, until she finally made a decision to try to be better than what she had been. The main complaint I have is that while Nasty is supposed to be hundreds of years old, she still spoke like a teenager. “Like, I looked at him, and like, thought….” It was a bit off-putting. Still, I’m eager for the next book, (to be released January 2012) to see what happens next, and whether Nasty continues in her new course of life.

Fins Are Forever

Fins Are Forever, by Tera Lynn Childs, picks up where Forgive My Fins left off.

Lily and Quince are in love, but are no longer bonded. This means that Quince doesn’t have the ability to “aquarespire,” meaning that he can’t even go home with Lily for a weekend visit. And with her eighteenth birthday quickly approaching, an unbonded Lily must give up her rights to the throne. But choosing a land life with Quince is her best option, (she loves him), so she’s willing to make the sacrifice.

Lily is thrown for a bit of a loop when Dosinia, (Doe), her bratty younger cousin, shows up on her doorstep. She’s been exiled from the sea and has been sent to Lily, her rehabilitation being Lily’s last required duty as a Thalassinian princess. Apparently, what she has done is so bad that she won’t even tell Lily what it is, only that she hates all humans. Trying to make the best of things, and wanting to show Doe that humans are not monsters that deserve her hatred, Lily (and Aunt Rachel), get Doe enrolled in high school. After only a day out of the water, Doe is fitting in better than Lily ever has, and gains the attention of Brody, Lily’s ex-crush.

While Lily knows that Doe is a selfish brat, she knows she isn’t stupid. So it comes as a complete shock to find that Doe has done the unthinkable and kissed Brody, ensuring the bond. But Doe can’t return to the ocean; the king has stripped her of her transfiguration abilities when she was exiled. So it’s up to Lily to take Brody to Thalassinia to ask her father to grant a separation. Only things don’t go quite as planned. Lily is the one who is temporarily granted the power to conduct a separation, and makes the hard decision to allow Doe and Brody to remain bonded in an attempt to make Doe appreciate, (and even love?), humanity.

But Doe isn’t the only problem facing Lily. She thought she had already made the choice between love and duty, but a friend from the past, and current ocean conditions have her questioning her choices again. Being with Quince means giving up the throne, and the chance to help her kingdom as its ruler. But being the queen others want her to be, the kind that she is beginning to believe she can be, means giving up Quince.

Still an easy, light read like Forgive My Fins, but with a bit more depth. This book actually contained a subplot and shows both Lily and Dosinia maturing and making some difficult and serious decisions. Of course I wanted a specific type of happily-ever-after, but the author had other plans. Still a happily-ever-after ending, but one that took into consideration the responsibilities of Lily and her duty to her kingdom. And also an ending that could be a definite end to the series, or could allow a continuation of the story.

Forgive My Fins

I’d read about the book Forgive My Fins, by Tera Lynn Childs in the past and thought it sounded like a cute story. I finally got around to reading it and discovered what a unique and fun read it was.

Lily, short for Waterlily, Sanderson is a half-mermaid princess of the underwater kingdom of Thalassinia. But for the past three years, she has been living on land with her Aunt Rachel, trying to get in touch with her human side. And also for these three years, she’s been in love with Brody, a gorgeous champion swimmer attending the local high school. The only downer is that her next door neighbor, Quince Fletcher, seems like he lives to annoy her or make her life miserable.

When a mistake at the dance ends up with Lily accidentally bonded to Quince, she is forced let him in on her secret, as he’s beginning the change to a merman. And she has to take him home to her kingdom so that her daddy the king can undo the mistake with a separation. And then she can get back to Brody, the one she should have kissed and bonded with. However, the king doesn’t take bonding lightly and forces Lily and Quince to give it some time before he will grant the separation.

Of course, within a few chapters, it was easy to tell where the story was going. But I still enjoyed every minute of it. And Thalassinia was just as magical as any fantasy world should be. The plot did seem quite simple. It was all about breaking the bond with Quince, just to have the chance to win Brody. It was a fun, quick read though, and I would recommend it to fans of the YA genre. It was even appropriate for a bit younger readers as well. I’ll definitely be reading the second book, Fins Are Forever, just to see what comes next for Lily and Quince.

The Wise Man’s Fear

The eagerly anticipated second book of the Kingkiller Chronicles was released on March 1st. The Wise Man’s Fear, by fantasy superstar Patrick Rothfuss was just as amazing as his first book, The Name of the Wind.

I do have to admit that, like the nerd I am, I re-read the first book (again) so that I might be able to get the full flavor and savor the entire story. Immediately, I was immersed in Kvothe’s story. The second book picks up immediately where the first book left off. It is morning in the Waystone Inn, and Kvothe sits down to continue telling his story to Chronicler and Bast.

The story begins back at the University, but shortly after beginning, Kvothe is forced to leave. He travels a bit, hoping to find a patron, but what he hopes for is not exactly what he finds. He is later sent on a mission, and we are introduced to an Adem mercenary, one of the companions on this mission. Due to meeting this man, Kvothe travels with him back to his home and hopes to learn the ways of the Adem. He is seen as a barbarian, and many do not want their secrets and ways to be known to one such as him. Kvothe’s travels also take him into the Fae Realm, lured there by a Fae that no man has ever before escaped. Of course, he continues his search for information about the Chandrian throughout the book as well.

In The Wise Man’s Fear, Kvothe truly becomes a man. The character development was amazing, with not a single word being wasted. All of Pat’s writing contributed to the development of the different cultures, the relationships, and the events that shaped the man Kvothe is becoming. Mystery, intrigue, murder attempts, love, conspiracy….all the elements of a fantastic story are present.

This is definitely the best book I have read in a long time. Pat recently made a statment about Brandon Sanderson’s latest book,The Way of Kings. I think it can definitely be used to describe The Wise Man’s Fear as well. “I loved this book. What else is there to say?”

Avielle of Rhia

Avielle of Rhia, by Dia Calhoun, is another coming of age story. Avielle is a princess, although as one of the younger children, it is extremely unlikely she will ever inherit the throne. Avielle is a Dredonian Rhian, meaning that one of her ancestors was from Dredonia. Many Rhians are Dredonian Rhians, and they all have one characteristic of Dredonians, whether it be pointed ears or the scalloped ridge on their foreheads. Then there are those called silverskins, who look completely Dredonian. Avielle is a silverskin.

Avielle has lived all her life in the shadow of her evil great great grandmother, Queen Dolvoka, who was Dredonian. The people of Rhia, and even her family, despise or fear Avielle because they believe that Dolvoka’s evil has also passed to her along with her appearance. This is also what Avielle fears most. Dolvoka’s memory is still feared, and she is referred to as the “Cursed One.” Before she died, she cast a spell on Rhia, causing all the birds to die. Any birds that enter the country grow weak and eventually die as well.

Rhians are preparing for war, as Dredonia’s Brethren of the Black Cloaks make harsh demands for slaves and mines of Rhia to be turned over to them. Avielle leaves the High Hall one night to seek out a woman who was kind to her, to ask her about her weaving skills. While in Gamalda’s shop, a Whirlwind sent by the evil Brethren hits the High Hall, killing Avielle’s entire family. Convinced that the people of Rhia would never accept her as their queen, Avielle stays with Gamalda in hiding, as her new apprentice.

Now that the Royal Family is (presumed) dead, the High Council has taken over. There is actually talk of sending the people of Rhia to Dredonia as slaves! Avielle at last has made friends and is beginning to accept all parts of herself, Dredonian and magic alike. In order to save her country, her friends, and even herself, she must make a difficult decision. And maybe with that decision, she can drive away evil and bring the birds home to Rhia.

I found this book in the “teen fiction” section of my local library. While I did enjoy the story, it seemed to progress a bit slowly for me. Avielle took way too long to learn her lesson. She also seemed a bit selfish, but I guess that was part of the coming of age story. During much of the book, I was reminded of the stories/cards that go something like this: “See Dick run. See Jane eat. See Spot sit.” Not to say that the author’s writing was bad, because it definitely wasn’t. Anyway…I think that this book would be better suited to much younger teens, maybe even around the 11 to 14-year-old range.

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