Thursday, January 24, 2013

Mini Reviews # 3

Today's Mini Reviews post is dedicated to three sequels, which are all the second book in a trilogy. These books are VANISH by Sophie Jordan, the second book in the FIRELIGHT series and the draki saga around Jacinda and Will. Then there is HALLOWED by Cynthia Hand, who wrote the UNEARTHLY series. And we've got WOLFSBANE, a NIGHTSHADE novel by Andrea Cremer. You see, this post is full of paranormal creatures: drakis, humans with a dragon-like appearance, angels and shapeshifters or wolves.

Vanish (Firelight #2) by Sophie Jordan

Jacinda fell in love with the human Will and disclosed her biggest secret - of being a draki - in the first FIRELIGHT book. It didn't end well and Jacinda and her family had to return to the pride they had once escaped. Now, the second part of her story offers a deeper insight into the tribe culture of the draki pride. We see how the system of power and social acceptance in the group work as a mechanism of control, even over Jacinda's personal life. Her people - who would do everything to stay hidden in the mountains and protect their group - put high pressure on Jacinda's relationship with Will and try to keep the young lovers apart.
While being back in the pride, she has to adept to her old life again and try to mend all the broken bonds of friendship and family she had left behind. We learn more about several pride members like Cassian's cousin Corbin and his sister Miram, who didn’t exactly make an impression on me with their friendliness. Tamra, Jacinda’s sister plays and important role, too.
Some sequences felt rather sluggish, whereas scenes featuring Will managed to at least satisfy me in some way. He is definitely my favourite character in VANISH, because he is most likely and convinces with his steady character and strong believes.
It were Jacinda's feelings and struggles that didn't quite convince me though. In FIRELIGHT I’d felt more connected to her as our protagonist. In VANISH she’s got to choose between Will and Cassian and between staying in the pride or escaping to the human world. 

3/5 *** VANISH - Kisses here, struggles there and only slightly convincing. 

Most of the story is set in the boundaries of the pride and constantly circles around Jacinda’s previous decision so that VANISH felt kind monotonous after a few chapters. The writing was good, but the story didn’t completely suck me in.

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: September 6th 2011 
Length: 294 pages
Keywords: YA, draki, romance, action, tribe culture, hunters, love triangle  
Source: Netgalley

Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand

In UNEARTHLY Clara  found out about her heritage as an angel, how to use her newfound powers and the influence being an angel on her family and personal life.Where UNEARTHLY was delightfully funny, this second book in the series begins with a pensive and depressing undertone right from the start. Only a few pages into the story and tears started escaping my eyes. Clara kept having visions about a funeral with one significant character missing among the attendants. She desperately tries to find out whose death she's indirectly foreseeing and these uneasy feelings are easly spreading to the reader. Problems start piling up and misery and trouble are bound to occur.
There is also a black wing - the name doesn't suggest anything positive, does it? - waiting for Clara and her family. Clara has to figure out her destiny, while not imperiling her loved ones. 
In this part of the story we and Clara learn more about the nature of angels, prophecies and customs which make up an interesting and informative part of the novel. Be prepared for a lot of heavenly power! We follow Clara's family and friends, but are also introduced to old friends and important persons of the past who come back to be a part of the Gardener family’s life again.
Team Christian or Team Tucker? That’s the essential romantic debate in HALLOWED. Although Clara loves Tucker, her connection to Christian is as strong as never before. I cheered for Tucker all the time and he fought for Clara, but there is only so much he can take. I looove Tucker! He is no angel, but no less heavenly! 

4/5 **** HALLOWED- The heavely torn sequel to UNEARTHLY, with a major romantic choice and a great loss that has to be endured!

HALLOWED is a sequel that doesn’t disappoint. From page one moving and so sad. I didn’t want it to end, even though I knew what was coming and inevitable. This series is one of my favourite angel book series. The overall writing is casual and filled with all kinds of natural emotions that show even angels aren’t free from worldly and human concerns.

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: January 17th 2012
Length: 403 pages
Keywords: YA, angels, romance, action, loss, love triangle  
Source: Netgalley

Wolfsbane (Nightshade #2) by Andrea Cremer

What an unbearable ending Andrea Cremer left us with NIGHTSHADE! Calla has been taken by the enemies and the last thing that's on her mind before she blacks out, is finding her way back to her pack and her love Shay.
In this sequel, Calla wakes in a whole new setting, which she and I needed quite some time to adjust to. She isn't in good old Vail - with her pack - anymore, but with the Searchers, her supposed enemies. 
I’m very thankful that Andrea Cremer included flashbacks to past events. They were very much needed to refresh my memory. Andrea's writing is just as brilliant as in her debut novel.
There is a lot to learn about the Nightshade universe, Keepers, Searchers and Guardians. So many facts that made the first half of WOLFSBANE rather slow to read. But it was followed by a bombastic second half.
It felt right that Calla wasn't alone with the Searchers. Giving her Shay as companion was a nice way to cultivate their relationship and add further experiences and trials. Ren was a constant, too…at missing, unfortunately. I am Team Ren supporter and felt sorry for the way his part of the story played out.
 WOLFSBANE was a novel that worked for me, relationship-wise. Andrea Cremer put together couples that I really cared about. 
 There’s much talking in WOLFSBANE, about the Keepers, Searchers, Guardians, their secrets, magic and different worlds. The new charaters are ace. My favourites were Adne and Connor, who were just so entertaining.  
Then there’s still Shay’s secret to unravel, just like many other incidents of the past. But what is the Scion supposed to do and which role does Calla play in all of it?

4,5/5 ****/* WOLFSBANE - Impulsive and explosive, just like protagonist Calla! 

Two emotional universes, the best couples ever and a kick-ass finale. This novel often felt like the last in a series. I can’t believe the grand finale is still coming in BLOODROSE. I loved how Andrea Cremer pictured Calla’s human and wolfish emotions and reactions, which were really enjoyable thanks to the dual perspectives. 

Publisher: Philomel
Publishing Date: July 26th 2011
Length: 390 pages
Keywords: YA, romance, fantasy, action, wolves, shape shifting, love triangle  
Source: Bought

1 comment:

  1. Great reviews! I enjoyed Hallowed and Wolfsbane too, but I haven't read Vanish yet. I've actually been a little reluctant to pick it up because of the love triangle, though I did like the first book pretty well.