Review: Daughter of Smoke & Bone (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

Daughter of Smoke and BoneTitle: Daughter of Smoke & Bone
Author: Laini Taylor
Series: (Daughter of Smoke & Bone #1)
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Paranormal/ Fantasy/ Demons
Links:

Blurb:
Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.

In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.

And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war.

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.

When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

My Review:
This is an incredible fantasy book and I bow to Laini Taylor’s impressive imagination. I loved the writing, descriptive without bogging the reader down in too many unnecessary details. The dialogue between Karou and Zuzana was very witty and thoroughly engaging and I got really invested in all the characters (except Kaz and Svetla, uughh, those two so belong together). I did struggle to get into it at the start and I felt it was a little bit slow-paced, to be honest I wasn’t sure if I was really going to like it. But boy did it more than make up for it and I got totally hooked, so much so that I didn’t put it down until I finished it. I loved loved the romance storyline, but then I’m a total sucker for compelling, gushing, swoony romance and I particularly loved how this part of the book was written. I have just downloaded the second book and can’t wait to get stuck in. Highly recommended.

Review: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

ScarletTitle:  Scarlet
Author:  Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Genres: Young Adult Science Fiction Fantasy
Links:

Blurb:

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison–even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner

My Review:

Talk about blowing it out of the water! Wow! What an amazing follow up to Cinder.

I enjoyed this book much more than the first one – the writing was vastly superior and it was action-packed and fast-paced from start to finish. I struggled to put it down.

When we rejoin Cinder she is incarcerated and awaiting her extradition to Luna. With the aid of handsome fellow prisoner, Captain (ahem!) Carswell Thorne, she manages to escape and sets out on the adventure of a lifetime. I really felt for Cinder as she grappled to come to terms with her new elevated status as Princess and Most Wanted Fugitive.

Kai has been left shell-shocked and confused by the revelations about Cinder, and he is also struggling to deal with Queen Levana’s demands and juggle the new world of global politics. His feelings for Cinder are pitted against his loyalty to this people and he really is in a difficult predicament.

Levana is a despicable character – nasty to the core. Ugh. Skin crawling.

I loved the addition of Scarlet and Wolf in this installment. Scarlet is in a tailspin over her grandmother’s sudden disappearance and she ends up joining forces with Wolf to try and locate her before it’s too late. I was initially conflicted over Wolf’s true motivations and I kept changing my mind. This part of the plot was expertly crafted and full of suspense and intrigue. I loved it! The burgeoning romance between Scarlet and Wolf was really sweet.

The only teeny tiny thing I didn’t like was the lack of romance. I kept hoping that Kai and Cinder would be reunited, but it never happened. Usually, I don’t like stories without a strong romance thread, but I’m happy to eat my words in relation to this book.

All in all, an amazing read and I look forward to reading more in the series.

Actual Rating: 4.5 stars

Sidenote: I bought a paperback of Cinder in my local bookstore for €8.40, however, I went to Kindle for Scarlet and was SHOCKED at the price. £9.14 which translates to over €12 for an ebook. That makes no sense at all. Ebooks cost very little to produce when compared with a paperback or hardback. I almost didn’t download it, but I was desperate to know where the story was going so I swallowed the bitter lump in my throat and purchased it. This type of corporate greed makes my blood boil, especially when it’s already a massive bestselling series and the publishers are making a fortune. Half the target market are teenagers so it really sickens me that they are being exploited in this way. Anyway, I just had to get that off my chest. I’m seeing it more and more and it disgusts me. BTW, this is in no way a criticism of Marissa because she has no control over pricing. I just hate blatant corporate greed. (Stepping off my soapbox now)

Review: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

CressTitle: Cress
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Rating: 5 Stars
Genres: Young Adult Science Fiction Fantasy
Links:

Blurb:

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

My Review:

Cresstastic.

Totally amaze-balls. Seriously freaking loved it. Actually, I think I want to marry this book.

Every book in this series gets better and better and I’m salivating at what Marissa has in store for us with the fourth book. Roll on December.

This book was action packed from the first-minute and it never let up the whole way through. I loved the addition of sweet Cress and her crush on Thorne was adorable. Thorne comes into his own in this book and we start to understand who he really is. Thorne tries to convince everyone of his brilliance and he’s full of bravado and swagger. But it’s all a front.

Cress hero-worships him and it’s through this developing relationship that we see Thornes vulnerabilities and self-esteem issues. Cress only wants to see the good in him and this actually forces Thorne to be honest with himself. He doesn’t believe he has any redeemable qualities but through his protective care of Cress, we come to realize that that isn’t the case at all. He is humbled in her presence.

Character development is really strong in this book and Marissa is very talented at creating likable though flawed characters who progress as the plot moves along. I loved all the different perspectives and I never once felt conflicted over the voice – it was always clear who was narrating. (Unlike, say, Allegiant where I often had to check if it was Four or Tris speaking.)

There was a good twist with the doctor that I didn’t see coming. Me likey.

Poor Cinder – she was really struggling with her heir-apparent responsibilities. What an impossible situation for a sixteen-year-old to find herself in.

The last quarter of the book galloped along and I swooned at the ending with Cinder and Kai finally indulging in some lip-locking. About bleeding time!

I stayed up half the night reading it because I literally could not put it down, despite the head nodding and eye flickering.

Totally epic read and I can’t wait for the next book.

Sidenote: I’ve received a recommendation to read Fairest but for some reason there is no Kindle edition on Amazon.co.uk. I went onto Amazon.com to see if I could download it from there – then I saw the price – $9.99 for an e-Novella. You have got to be kidding me. I’m not going to get on the soapbox again but let’s just say that I will not be reading Fairest now. I’m not that desperate to read about Queen Levana that I’d pay that extortionate price.