Friday, March 30, 2018

RESTORE ME by Tahereh Mafi

The girl with the power to kill with a single touch now has the world in the palm of her hand.

Juliette and Warner’s story continues in the electrifying fourth installment of Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me series.

Juliette Ferrars thought she’d won. She took over Sector 45, was named the new Supreme Commander of North America, and now has Warner by her side. But when tragedy strikes, she must confront the darkness that dwells both around and inside her.

Who will she become in the face of adversity? Will she be able to control the power she wields, and use it for good?

This surprise return to the Shatter Me world was welcome, anticipated, and hesitant on my part. I LOVED Shatter Me (book 1), thoroughly enjoyed Unravel Me (book 2) . . . and was utterly disappointed by Ignite Me (the supposed final book in the trilogy. 
Restore Me left me with a combination of all of the above. 

What initially pulled me in the series was the gorgeous prose that brought me directly inside Juliette's tortured mind, harsh, brutally honest, and so different from any other novel I'd read. It was present entirely throughout the first book in the series; it was slightly diminished in the second; by the third, it seemed not to exist at all. Once again, Restore Me lacked the beautiful writing I learned to associate with Tahereh Mafi's style. There were brief glimpses of it within excerpts from Juliette's journal from her asylum days -- but nothing in the main bulk of the story. My theory is that Mafi is attempting to distinguish between Juliette's past and present, to show how much she's grown, how she's not nearly as broken as she once was. The result is a prose that is decidedly generic. That, coupled with an overabundance of "tell" rather than "show" made this one a bit hard to get through. 

I do not and will not ever understand the appeal of Warner as a main love interest. He's transitioned from being the antagonist to the can-do-no-wrong winner of Juliette's heart, a change I'm not entirely opposed to in stories -- if done well. Here, it's not, not at all. And as Restore Me is narrated half by Warner himself, my attention was automatically unenthusiastic. His actions in the past have been forgiven by Juliette, but not forgotten by this particular reader and I simply can't justify his drastic turn from enemy to lover. 

I don't know what this book accomplished. At 448 pages, you would assume a decent amount of action would have occurred. You would be wrong. Restore Me felt like a set-up of things to come, and a rough one at that. The majority of the novel was spent inside Juliette and Warner's minds as they struggled to communicate with each other and dwelt on the futility of their feelings for each other and alternated between longing for each other and sleeping with each other and basically nothing progressed at all. Except for the final scene, the clear climax of the novel, coming out of nowhere, with no explanation, and happening far too suddenly for the rational mind to comprehend. It feels as though an editor was missing. Or, better yet, a logical brain to dictate that the story was finished at the end of the original planned trilogy.

Overall, not a brilliant read. I know I come across as highly jaded against this project but let it be noted that I WILL be finishing this series because I have high hopes for improvement and I'm a sucker who can't bera to let things go uncompleted. Shatter Me was an absolutely beautiful book; Tahereh Mafi is a talented writer who I simply want to believe in again.

2/5 stars

Monday, September 3, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: The Casual Vacancy

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly feature started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's where we can gossip about yet-to-be-released books that we're looking forward to.

The Casual Vacancy

 When Barry Fairweather dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.
Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty fa├žade is a town at war.
Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils…Pagford is not what it first seems.
And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

Do I even have to say anything about why I want this book NOW? It's J.K. Rowling for crying out loud! I've read the entire Harry Potter series upwards of a dozen times, so you could say I'm a big fan of hers. I don't care what the book is about, though you have to admit it sounds awesome, I'll read anything she writes. So here's looking forward to September 27th!

**The Casual Vacancy  releases on September 27th, 2012 by Little, Brown and Company.

SOUL THIEF by Jana Oliver

 Soul Thief (The Demon Trappers #2)Riley Blackthorne is beginning to learn that there are worse things than death by demon. And love is just one of them… 
Seventeen-year-old Riley has about had it up to here. After the devastating battle at the Tabernacle, trappers are dead and injured, her boyfriend Simon is gravely injured, and now her beloved late father’s been illegally poached from his grave by a very powerful necromancer. As if that’s not enough, there's Ori, one sizzling hot freelance demon hunter who’s made himself Riley’s unofficial body guard, and Beck, a super over-protective “friend” who acts more like a grouchy granddad.  With all the hassles, Riley’s almost ready to leave Atlanta altogether.

But as Atlanta’s demon count increases, the Vatican finally sends its own Demon Hunters to take care of the city’s “little” problem, and pandemonium breaks loose. Only Riley knows that she might be the center of Hell’s attention: an extremely powerful Grade 5 demon is stalking her, and her luck can't last forever…

Book 2 of The Demon Trappers series is just as intriguing as the first, The Demon Trapper's Daughter, but with a few key differences. First of all, Simon, Riley's new boyfriend, is a completely different person than he used to be. The sacrifice Riley made to save his life is lost on him, and he turns on her with everything he has, all in the name of God. As a reader, I was thrown by his actions, his character entirely recognizable, but as a writer, I understand that his decisions were a natural consequence of the recent tragedies he's been through. Overall, Simon's transformation was unexpected and, to be truthful, sucky, yet comprehensible in terms of the novel's plot. 

The second major difference was Ori's enlarged role in the story. Instead of being the bad boy lurking in the background, this bad boy is always lingering just out of sight. Riley's shock over Simon's betrayal sends her right into Ori's arms, something that doesn't mind anyone but Beck, an old family friend who isn't old at all. The switch of romantic interests was pretty quick, maybe a little too quick for my liking, but again, it fit the story.

Personally, I'm rooting for Beck with everything I've got, but he's certainly got his work cut out for him. Even with Riley being remarkably bright for a seventeen-year-old, she can be extremely dense at times, not registering even the most obvious signs of his affection for her. 

The action, namely demon-slaying and ass-kicking, in Soul Thief was perfect. Surprise attacks popping up when least expected and most of the time when least needed added a level of excitement to the entire read. Riley's turmoil of emotions brought a level of honesty to the book that is definitely needed when urban fantasy is involved. I loved reading about her friendship with Ayden, her witchy helper and the sister-sister dynamic that was really present in that relationship.

To sum up, little things bothered me, but not enough to distract me from thoroughly enjoying the story. A quick thrill of a read, I highly recommend it to anyone who is interested in urban fantasy. If you don't like reading about demons, this probably isn't the book for you. Can't wait to get my hands on book 3, Forgiven!

 4.5/5 stars 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Merry Day After Christmas! PLUS 2012 Debut Author Challenge

So, blog posts have been completely nonexistent these past few months. Junior has been INSANE and I sincerely apologize for the lack of reviews, or even book news. I plan on doing better this coming year. I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and has a wonderful New Year in a week. Since I've managed to squeeze in a few books in midst of all the madness of the holiday season, I encourage you to check out my Goodreads account (the link is on my sidebar) to see how I rated the books I've read during my blogging absence. I plan on participating in the 2012 Debut Author Challenge (hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren), so here's the list of books I hope to read this coming year:

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Above by Leah Bobet
Fracture by Megan Miranda
The Selection by Kiera Cass
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Tempest by Julie Cross
Slide by Jill Hathaway
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
A Breathe of Eyre by Eva Marie Mont
Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock
Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen
Cybernetic by Laura Riken
Harbinger by Sara Wilson Etienne
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
The Alchemy of Forever by Avery Williams
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller

Like last year, I have a lot more than twelve books on my list. We'll see how many I can get to!