Friday, May 30, 2014

Review: Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan

Untold by Sarah Rees Brennan
Series: The Lynburn Legacy, #2
Published: September 24, 2013
Publisher: Random House
Pages: 367

It's time to choose sides.... 

On the surface, Sorry-in-the-Vale is a sleepy English town. But Kami Glass knows the truth. Sorry-in-the-Vale is full of magic. In the old days, the Lynburn family ruled with fear, terrifying the people into submission in order to kill for blood and power. Now the Lynburns are back, and Rob Lynburn is gathering sorcerers so that the town can return to the old ways.

But Rob and his followers aren’t the only sorcerers in town. A decision must be made: pay the blood sacrifice, or fight. For Kami, this means more than just choosing between good and evil. With her link to Jared Lynburn severed, she’s now free to love anyone she chooses. But who should that be?

A darkly humorous take on Gothic romance, Sarah Rees Brennan's Lynburn Legacy weaves together the tale of a heroine desperate to protect those she loves, two boys hoping to be saved, and the magical forces that will shape their destiny.
So I should say a few things. Firstly, and least importantly, I really miss the old cover scheme. Second, I do not remember for the life of me why I gave this book 3 stars back in October when I rated it on Goodreads.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey

Phoenix and Ashes by Mercedes Lackey
Series: Elemental Masters, #4
Published: October 4, 2004
Publisher: DAW Books
Pages: 480

In this dark and atmospheric rendition of the Cinderella fairy tale, an intelligent young Englishwoman is made into a virtual slave by her evil stepmother. Her only hope of rescue comes in the shape of a scarred World War I pilot of noble blood, whose own powers over the elements are about to be needed more than ever.

"A dark tale full of the pain and devastation of war...and a couple of wounded protagonists worth routing for." —Locus
I'm glad to say this is still my favorite of the Elemental Masters books. The first time I read it (must've been five years ago), I remember immediately reading it again because I loved it so much.

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Series: Fire and Thorns, #1
Published: September 1, 2011
Publisher: Greenwillow Books
Pages: 423

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.
 I actually reviewed the second book in this series first. Mostly because I did not reread this first book for the second book (which I normally do), and this book came out well before I started this blog. So sorry for going out of order, but I did reread this book when the final book came out, so you do get a review!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Review: The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey

The Gates of Sleep by Mercedes Lackey
Series: Elemental Masters, #3
Published: January 1, 2002
Publisher: DAW Books
Pages: 389
For seventeen years, Marina Roeswood had lived in an old, rambling farmhouse in rural Cornwall in the care of close friends of her wealthy, aristocratic parents. As the ward of bohemian artists in Victorian England, she had grown to be a free thinker in an environment of fertile creativity and cultural sophistication. But the real core of her education was far outside societal norms. For she and her foster parents were Elemental Master of magic, and learning to control her growing powers was Marina's primary focus.

But though Marina's life seemed idyllic, her existence was riddled with mysteries. Why, for example, had she never seen her parents, or been to Oakhurst, her family's ancestral manor? And why hadn't her real parents, also Elemental Masters, trained her themselves? That there was a secret about all this she had known from the time she had begun to question the world around her. Yet try as she might, she could get no clues out of her guardians.

But sudden death and upheaval will change Marina's life as she know it. Will she be able face the danger that's been following her since birth?
Confession time - that last paragraph of the synopsis is my own. The actual last paragraph on the back of my book is way too spoilery.

I first read this book in my middle school years - and I distinctly remember thinking it wasn't nearly as good as The Serpent's Shadow. Upon rereading it, I was inclined to change my opinion. Until I reached the end of the book.

Review: The Oresteia by Aeschylus

The Oresteia by Aeschylus
Translated by: Hugh Lloyd-Jones
Published: August 1, 1993
Publisher: Public Domain
Pages: 288

The most famous series of ancient Greek plays, and the only surviving trilogy, is the Oresteia of Aeschylus, consisting of AgamemnonChoephoroe, andEumenides. These three plays recount the murder of Agamemnon by his queen Clytemnestra on his return from Troy with the captive Trojan princess Cassandra; the murder in turn of Clytemnestra by their son Orestes; and Orestes' subsequent pursuit by the Avenging Furies (Eumenides) and eventual absolution.

Hugh Lloyd-Jones's informative notes elucidate the text, and introductions to each play set the trilogy against the background of Greek religion as a whole and Greek tragedy in particular, providing a balanced assessment of Aeschylus's dramatic art.
 Greek plays are far superior to Greek philosophy.

Okay, maybe that's not true, Greek philosophy is pretty dang cool (if barely relatable) once you understand it. But the issue is it takes a lot to understand Greek philosophy, whereas the plays are straight forward and easy to read in comparison.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Review: The Complete Poems of Sappho

The Complete Poems of Sappho by Sappho
Translator: Willis Barnstone
Series: None
Published: 2006
Publisher: Shambhala
Pages: 224

Sappho’s thrilling lyric verse has been unremittingly popular for more than 2,600 years—certainly a record for poetry of any kind—and love for her art only increases as time goes on. Though her extant work consists only of a collection of fragments and a handful of complete poems, her mystique endures to be discovered anew by each generation, and to inspire new efforts at bringing the spirit of her Greek words faithfully into English. 
Our of all the Ancient Greek texts I read for my class, this was my favorite. It's astonishing to think that Sappho lived during the seventh century B.C. because her writings are so prevalent to modern day life.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Review: Richard III by William Shakespeare

Richard III by William Shakespeare
Series: War of the Roses
Published: 1597
Publisher: Public Domain
Pages: 145

The dramatic concluding months of The Wars of the Roses provide the setting for Shakespeare’s incomparable saga of power and intrigue. 

This timeless tragedy follows the bloody path of the "rudely stamped" Richard, Duke of Gloucester, who uses his murderous guile to achieve the throne of England.
Unfortunately, this was literally the largest/shortest synopsis I could find. Most books that publish Shakespeare plays simply list the benefits of their commentary and introductions on the back now, instead of actually describing the play (probably because it's Shakespeare).

Richard III is actually the conclusion of the War of the Roses histories. It follows Richard, Duke of Gloucester, a cripple who ruthlessly fights his way to the throne. This is after Edward IV took it from Henry VI. Arguably, it is the only overthrow of power from within a house, since all other change in successions had been between Lancaster, York, and Richard II.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Review: Boundless by Cynthia Hand

Boundless by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly, #3
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published:January 22, 2013
Pages: 434

The past few years held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner ever could have anticipated. Yet through the dizzying high of falling in love for the first time and the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, one thing that remained constant was the knowledge that she was never meant to have a normal life. Now, as the battle against the Black Wings and their minions looms on the horizon, Clara is finally ready to fulfill her destiny. But it won't come without sacrifices and betrayal.
I received an ARC from the author in a giveaway (because Cynthia Hand is awesome and puts books lying around to good use). This in no way affects the content of my review.

To all who doubted the ability of this book to end in a satisfying way - be gone naysayers!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Review: Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Series: Unearthly, #2
Publisher: HarperTeen
Published: December 26, 2012
Pages: 403

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn't prepared for the choice she had to make that day. Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.
Cynthia Hand is a very special person. She's awesome, and she actually knows how to write. No guys, I mean she know how to write outside of YA and studies this stuff for years, so she's legit. And it shows in this book - the dreaded middle child that's actually as good as the first.

I'm Back!

School has been crazy, but I'm finally done! School allows for barely any free time I've discovered, so if I want to read, it's been at the sacrifice of writing reviews (because I actually do spend time on these guys), but I'm going to attempt to do the miraculous and write all the reviews of what I've read (about 54 books). We'll see how it goes. Between this and watching Hannibal and Supernatural, it should be a very good summer.
Talk to you all soon!