Colorless by Rita Stradling

51dctryq5al-_sy346_Rating: 2.5 stars

Annabelle’s parents died. Then something bizarre happened. All of the color seeped out of her body, and she became invisible. Everyone she had ever known instantly forgot her. She wandered around unsure of what to do. Eventually there was one person who could see her. Magicians began snooping around. They couldn’t see Annabelle but somehow they knew she existed.

The idea for this was good. The story itself was not. It took me quite a few days to get through this, which if you know me is not common. I was bored once the magicians started stalking Annabelle. There was obviously a lot going on in the world with gods, magicians and iconoclasts. None of it was explained well. Annabelle was an iconoclast, but WTH does that mean? What did the magicians really do other than hunt down anyone that was a threat? The gods didn’t come into it until the end. Basically the world building sucked.

I couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Annabelle was a stuck up bitch. She’d act down to Earth at times. Then she’d let loose and show her superiority because she was of a higher social class than the people she was interacting with. I sympathized with her at first. As the book went on I wished she would get over herself. She wasn’t horribly snobby but just enough to annoy me. Dylan the guy who could see her was alright. He was nice and helpful but not terribly interesting. The other main character was Annabelle’s cousin Anthony. Why the hell was he in the book? The story could have been altered slightly and would have been the same without him. At the very least he could have been in the story but didn’t deserve many chapters from his POV.

So I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t waste your time on this one.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

28145767-_uy200_Rating: 4.5 stars

Series: Strange the Dreamer #1

Absolutely beautiful! The writing is captivating. The story slowly builds. I admit it took me awhile to get into it, but I was hooked once I got a third of the way in. The world and more specifically the city of Weep is truly unique. It’s a living legend, a place so far off the beaten path that most people no longer believe it was ever real. Lazlo did. He always believed.

I fell in love with the characters! Lazlo and Sarai are the same yet not. They both possess an astonishing level of compassion for others. Neither of them see the world in black and white but in various shades of gray. Lazlo amazed me with his selflessness. He expected nothing from the world. He was happy with what he was given no matter how small. Nonetheless he was a dreamer with high hopes for fantastical things. He didn’t aspire to be great or do things to make a name for himself. Everything was done simply because it was the right thing to do.

Sarai broke my heart. For many reasons, she believed she was a monster, but at the same time, she knew monsters didn’t have to do monstrous things. Sarai knew from experience what it felt like to be an outcast, to be viewed as evil just for existing. Nothing she did mattered because of what she was.

“She saw only what humans would see. Not a girl or a woman or someone in between. They wouldn’t see her loneliness or fear or courage, let alone her humanity. They would see only obscenity. Calamity.”

Her power allowed her to get into the minds of anyone in the city giving her a diverse perspective no one else could possibly have. The more she learned about the people who hated her the more she empathized with them because they suffered just like she did. And that is the core of this story: hatred and how it changes people, even good people.

“Good people do all the things bad people do, Lazlo. It’s just that when they do them, they call it justice.”

The story has many layers but not a lot of action. It’s about the characters and what caused them to be the people they are and how all of them developed their extreme positions. Many of the gods secrets remained hidden at the end, all of which I’m sure will be revealed in the next one. The end was devastating. It ripped out my heart and stomped on it. However it didn’t leave me without hope, but I was not expecting things to do down like that.

The Heartstone Thief by Pippa DaCosta

32cc464f6ff9393819fdfb30b0b65b13Rating: 3.5 stars

Most people believed magic was nothing but a fairy tale. Those who used it were killed. Curtis Vance wanted to forget about magic and those who control it. After meeting a sorceress with some special skills, he was forced to face his past. She convinced him to help her find something rare. He didn’t help her out of the goodness of his heart; he was a thief after all.

The world building was great! There was a constant stream of new things to learn about it. I didn’t want to put it down because I wanted to find out more. It was action packed with one crazy thing happening after another. The characters were deceptive, so it hard to gauge who Vance could trust.

The reason I didn’t rate this book higher was because of the characters. Vance and the sorceress were the main ones. I liked Vance. He was intelligent and could manipulate others to save his own ass. It was kinda hard to believe the guy had lived so long because he couldn’t do shit to save himself when physical skills were required. The sorceress was fascinating because I never knew what her ultimate goal was. She did enough good things that I wanted to trust her, but she had too many secrets. My biggest issue with her was her lack of personality.

The plot was entertaining, and I liked the direction the story went in at the end. It’s unfortunate this is a standalone. The plot was wrapped up, but it’s a shame to develop such an interesting world and only get one story about it.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Rating: 4 stars

Series: Caraval #1

I was hesitant to read this because it’s YA and has tons of rave reviews. Usually that’s a recipe for disaster, but this was good, damn good. I read the whole thing in one sitting. The best thing about it is that it’s YA that doesn’t feel like YA. The characters were mature. I easily could have thought they were in their twenties. In fact Scarlett was cautious, almost too cautious for her own good. She was the antithesis of a TSTL heroine.

Caraval was a magical game only held once a year in a different location each time. Scarlett dreamed of going to the mysterious games for her whole life. The opportunity to go finally came, and it didn’t turn out like she expected. The rules of the game were vague. She didn’t know who to trust or what was real. It was far more dangerous than expected.

I loved the characters! Scarlett did what she thought was best even when it wasn’t what she wanted. That’s admirable in its own way. She always analyzed the best way to handle a situation. Doesn’t mean she always made the best decision though. The main side character was Julian. I didn’t know what to make of him until the very end. He went from scoundrel to kinda sweet, but what was real?

The ending was one hell of a surprise. Didn’t see it coming at all. There was a lot more going on than I would have guessed. I can’t wait for the next one because I’m dying to know more. The ending wasn’t really a cliffhanger. The main story was wrapped up, but some things were left open ended.

Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

24763621Rating: 3 stars

It was really good at first. Then it fizzled out about half way through. In the beginning, there was some goblin lore, and it all seemed like it was building up to something fascinating. About halfway through it became a straight up romance. All of the other storylines were dropped. The goblin lore no longer mattered. Some things seemed completely pointless in hindsight such as Hans being the story at all.

The writing was beautiful, but it wasn’t enough to make up for the lack of other things. There weren’t enough details about the world and the goblins. Some things were alluded to but never followed up on. The pacing was too slow. The book really could have been shorter. So much page time was spent on Liesl’s obsession with music. I did not give a shit. It was boring as hell to read about.

Liesl was admirable in her desire to put others needs before her own. It was cool that she wasn’t a great beauty although several characters mentioned that she was, but the emphasis was on her plainness. Putting herself in great danger wasn’t something she generally did, but she had a habit of not thinking things through, which got on my nerves at times.

The goblin king was the best part of the book, but even he wasn’t too interesting by the end. His misery and history were not explored enough. At first he was mysterious, charming, and manipulative. By the end he was just a sad guy.

The ending was unconventional, but it wasn’t satisfying either. It was one of those weird things where it was sad and happy at the same time. It didn’t feel complete. There were still things I wanted to know. This ending would be okay if it were the first in a series, but I believe this is a standalone. Then again even if this were a series, I didn’t like this enough to want to read the next one.

Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey

25670396Rating: 2 stars

Jacqueline Carey’s books are hit or miss with me, and this one was definitely a miss. In some ways this reminded me of the things I hated about Kushiel’s Dart except this wasn’t as bad. The plots were completely different, but both books had a drab tone and dull, lifeless characters. The pacing was agonizingly slow. It took forever for the story to advance, and the end was anti-climatic. Since I have not read The Tempest, I had no idea how this would end. Knowing this was a retelling of Shakespeare’s work, I had expected the ending to be tragic or slightly more dramatic. The ending wasn’t a happy one, but maybe I wasn’t more affected because I didn’t care enough about the characters to feel their pain.

The book is told in two parts. In the first part Miranda is six and Caliban is several years older. The weird thing about her POV was that her inner thoughts sounded more like a mature adult in her thirties than a young child. It was really hard to believe she was a kid. She and Caliban grew close as children. Flash forward seven or so years to the second part, and their friendship had blossomed into love. The time jump made it feel like I missed out on something essential in the development of their relationship. This was not a romance, but their relationship was central to the plot. It was essential to grasp what they were feeling for the ending to have an impact.

Caliban was my favorite character. He stood up for what he believed in. Miranda was so disgustingly pathetic. Knowing right from wrong rarely caused her to act on it. All her father had to do was chastise her and she quickly cowed. She was practically blind to her father’s cruel and selfish ways, always determined to see the best in him. She seemed quite content to be ignorant. Her father openly admitted to keeping many things from her, and it was rarely questioned. Her father was evil. Absolutely nothing about him was good. The only other character Ariel wasn’t interesting. Knowing something of his background might have helped to make him more appealing.

The world building in regards to the magic needed more attention. Obviously Prospero was capable of magic, but were there limits to his abilities? Where did his power come from? Some stuff didn’t make sense. How come Miranda and Caliban each had a parent capable of powerful magic but neither of them had any? The story made sense, but considering the amount of time spent on a painstakingly slow plot, some of that time could have been invested in character development and further exploration of magic.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.