Thursday, October 23, 2014

Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber

I was so glad to finish this book. Between its ridiculous insta-love, and shallow, pointless characters, I found myself skimming through the second half of this book. Having read and loved Vampire Kisses by Ellen Schreiber when I was younger, I really wanted to like this book. And in some ways, I did. However, there were many blatantly awful aspects to it that really had me just wanting to be done with it.

The best thing about this book was the writing. It has the perfect amount of description, and really sets the mood for each different scene. Starting this book was like snuggling up in a cozy blanket and drinking tea. But as I read on, its problems really took a toll on me, making me want to just throw the book at the wall.

It was obvious from the beginning of the book, who the werewolf was going to be- (it’s Brandon). Along with that, many aspects of the book are also extremely predictable. This is aside from the fact that the psychic character, Dr. Meadows, practically reveals the whole plot from the beginning.

There is an extreme lack of character building. The majority of characters, including the main character, were really shallow and kind of stupid. Celeste has absolutely no backbone or sense of self respect. She even refers to herself as one of those people who won’t do something for fear of hurting someone else’s ego or social standing. She never even stands up to her snobby friends or stupid ex-boyfriend, to defend herself or her relationship with Brandon. She is quick to blame herself, and claims she wants to help Brandon, but only seems to focus on what she did wrong. In the story, they come nowhere near ‘curing’ him, and her search for help is pathetic.

The only character I actually saw potential for, was Brandon. He seemed the most normal and real character in the story. Also, admittedly, the main character had potential. If she had perhaps stood up for Brandon near the end and told Nash to lay off, I would have appreciated her more. Instead, she barely mentions that he’s not as bad as her friends expect. Mr. Worthington, the old man Celeste visits sometimes, was probably the best character in the whole book.

Nash is just a dick. Yeah, I’m actually saying that in a review. He is clearly a terrible boyfriend, who doesn’t give Celeste any attention, UNTIL she stops caring about him. And then he does a really stupid thing, that ends up being a major part of the plot, to try to win her back.

Though the lack of character development was very frustrating, the biggest flaw to this book was its insta-love. I have never seen a ‘love’ form so quickly in a book before. Celeste sees Brandon one day at school, later he somehow miraculously saves her from wolves, and boom- she’s in love with him. It’s not just a crush, or lust, she is obsessively in love with him, and even admits that!  They have one encounter after he saves her, and they both are 100% head over heals in love with each other. While Celeste at least explains why she loves him- (his outdoorsy-ness), Brandon literally has no reason to love her back.

I am so done with this book. I feel bad to have to give it such a terrible review because I really liked Ellen’s books when I was younger. And also, as I said, the actual writing is actually quite good. Perhaps this book would be better for a younger person, like a middle schooler. However, I still think calling what Celeste and Brandon have ‘love’ is not at all accurate and a bad example for kids to read. I don’t know how this continues as a series, but I will not be reading the rest to find out.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

I was hesitant at first to pick up the second book in the Divergent trilogy, after the first book proved to be unspectacular, unlike it was hyped to be. However, my interest in the dystopian world made me want to hang in with this series a bit longer. And to my pleasant surprise, Insurgent was well worth the read. It filled in most of the holes that the first book left, and ended up being a lot better than Divergent.

The writing, though still somewhat mediocre, did seem a bit better than the first book. Perhaps this is due to the immense character growth and story progression, or simply Roth’s improved writing skills from one book to the next. Regardless, there weren’t quite as many repeated words in small amounts of space as the first book.

The book starts directly where the last one left off, something I really enjoy in a series. The great thing also about Divergent’s end and Insurgent’s beginning, is the slight pause in the plot, that allows the reader to see not only how the world has changed, but also how the main character, Tris, has changed. The character development in this book was absolutely the best part about it. Tris becomes independent, headstrong and selfless, more sure of herself than in Divergent. Her true self is revealed as she matures and grows with the situations she is put in.

The romance between Tris and Four becomes a lot more real in this book. The emotions and struggles are so natural, and you can truly see how their personalities come together, despite clashing. However, the kissing toward the beginning seems a bit excessive.

I was very happy to learn more about the factions and the world in general. The world-building was much better in this book. We learn about every faction, as well as the factionless. In learning about the society they live in, we are also shown its flaws. None of the factions are perfect, or what they seem. Through this, we realize that people are much more complex than they seem to be. People are so vastly different, even people within the same faction. This book makes you question people’s morals and ways of life, as well as their character.

Tris’s emotion and thoughts were very relatable, in my opinion. She thought in a much more straightforward way than in the first book, making her choices seem rational and right. Because of the strong emotions and great character development, this book was much, much better than the first book in the series. With a shocking and thought-changing ending, I am more than excited to pick up the third and final book in the trilogy.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Goddess of the Night by Lynne Ewing


I first started reading this series back in middle school and was completely engulfed in the witchy world of the characters. I was lucky enough to find books 1-9 at Goodwill several months ago, and now I’ve decided to reread them to see how I like them now.

The first book of the Daughters of the Moon series was a really fun and quick read. I read it mostly at night, which emphasized the slight creepiness of when Vanessa, the main character, was being followed. The writing was pretty juvenile, including a lot of short, simple sentences. However, when there was description, it was more enjoyable, especially when the girl’s powers were being explained.

The overall storyline was extremely predictable. It is easy to see from the beginning who the bad guy is going to be. The characters were definitely underdeveloped. Vanessa, despite being popular and cool, is a regular, boring girl, with no back story and hardly any personality. The others, though they had a bit more personality, still did not seem very believable. Each character just seemed to be contained of a different cliche high school group.

The way the characters meet was unrealistic. Vanessa acts like Serena is her friend almost instantly, when all she did was go over her house for a psychic reading. They become friends without ever really being friends. Also, the relationship between Vanessa and Michael is very forced. Despite Vanessa telling the reader that she has always liked Michael and that they apparently had something going before the start of the book, it still seemed to develop unnaturally, and there is no concrete reason given as to why Vanessa even likes Michael. Also I like how the character of Stanton developed throughout the story, even though he rarely appeared.

So there were a lot of things wrong with this book, but fortunately, those faults didn’t stop me from liking it. I am a sucker for girls with magic powers, and the lore behind them, especially moon driven powers. Though it is only touched upon in this book, through the character Maggie, I love the Greek mythology aspect of their magic, as well.

I also really liked how Vanessa didn’t take any sexist shit. That’s something I did not notice the first time reading this, but finding them this second time made me appreciate this book even more.

There was definitely a bit of nostalgia going on for me while I was reading this book, which is perhaps why I liked it more than I should have. Regardless, if you are willing to overlook this book’s flaws, it’s worth a read. I definitely recommend it for a younger audience, like middle schoolers. With it’s subtle basis in Greek mythology, and slight feminist undertone, I think this is a great book for young girls. I will be continuing the series, and I’m excited to see if there is any character development.