____________________________________ On Hiatus ___________________________________

Friday, December 31, 2010

Out With a Bang! Reviews

Wow!  This year has gone fast—And this Out With a Bang!  Read-a-Thon seems to be going by even faster!!!!

As the Read-a-Thon is coming to a close, I thought I’d share some reviews of my progress:

I started with Ink Exchange, the second book in Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series.  It was absolutely AMAZING!!!!!  I LOVED it and I couldn’t put it down once I picked it up!!!!!  I made it through most of the night, then picked it up as soon as I woke up.

Book #1
Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr
(#2 in Wicked Lovely series)
Page count:  325

Ink Exchange picks up where Wicked Lovely left off.  Now that Keenan has found his Summer Queen and they have defeated Beira and replaced her with a new Winter Queen, there is finally peace between the Seasonal Courts.  But not everything is so great for the other courts, particularly the Dark Court, which spent years feeding off the discord of Beira’s malevolent reign over the Winter Court.  It’s up to the king of the Dark Court, Irial, to find a way to feed his subjects.  His solution is an Ink Exchange, a tattoo made from his blood and tears, from his symbols, chosen by a mortal.  When Leslie walks into Rabbit’s tattoo shop, she’s looking for something to change her, a way to erase the bad things that have happened in her life and reclaim her body as her own.  When Leslie sees Irial’s symbol, she feels it call to her, and knows she has finally found her tattoo.  But Leslie has no idea what kind of changes her life is about to take.  As the tattoo begins to forge a link between Leslie and Irial, Leslie begins to be intertwined into the world of the Dark Court.  With Leslie, Irial finally has an outlet to feed on the despair and pain of mortals, but with his court so near to starvation, Irial can barely control his hunger.  He is a drug to Leslie, draining her of every painful emotion, and numbing her of feeling, until she barely cares or remembers anything.  In the end, Leslie has to make a choice of whether or not she can stand living without the pain, whether the numbness is worse, and whether or not she’s strong enough to leave Irial.

Melissa Marr really does a fantastic job of creating her fairy worlds, and really making them feel different and foreign.  It keeps surprising me how dark this series feels.  I’ve always had an image of cute Tinkerbelle-type fairies that flit and fly around with sparkles and glitter, and Marr’s world is such a contrast.  Her fey aren’t just humans imbued with magical powers; they have different needs and wants, different natures that make them what they are.  They are misshapen and hedonistic.  Marr really brings them to life as the essence of nature.  Winter is cold.  Summer is playful.  Dark is intoxicating.  At the beginning of Leslie’s and Irial’s relationship, I saw them as very separate; two worlds colliding.  But the more that Leslie interacted with Irial, the better I could imagine how a completely unknown and unseen universe could be interacting within our own world.  The hurt and pain that Leslie suffered aren’t fictional.  The addiction and the numbness that Leslie falls into are all too real in this world.  Her addiction has a name, Irial, but Irial could have just as easily been any other drug.  Ink Exchange was a really amazing book about people’s natures, succumbing and overcoming them, and sometimes just surviving.  I’m definitely adding the rest of this series to my TBR list!!!

Book #2
Wicked by Sara Shepard
Page count:  311

Book #3
Killer by Sara Shepard
(#6 in the Pretty Little Liars series)
Page count:  322

Book #4
Heartless by Sara Shepard
(#7 in the Pretty Little Liars series)
Page count:  66/275

I discovered The Pretty Little Liars series after falling in love with the television series this past summer.  The first three books follow pretty closely with the tv series.  The fourth book finally felt like there was some closure, like the characters and readers finally got some answers.  But with four more books sitting on my shelf, I knew it couldn’t be over.  And I was SO right!!!

The series revolves around four girls who used to be best friends, that is until Allison DiLaurentis disappeared, and Spencer, Aria, Hanna, and Emily all went their separate ways.  Years later, when the girls start getting mysterious text messages from an unknown stalker, they think they might finally be close to finding out what really happened to Ali that night.  But instead of getting closer to the truth, the girls seem to stumble upon more and more secrets.  What was Ali hiding?  Is A really gone?  Is A really back?  What really happened to Ali???

With A threatening and blackmailing each of them, trusting each other may be the only way for the girls to find out what really happened and stop A once and for all.

I just have to say what a master Sara Shepard is as an author.  The books all read so seamlessly together that it’s difficult to pinpoint where one ends and the next begins.  And at the same time, each book is fully able to stand on its own, simultaneously leaving the reader satisfied with the ending, and burning with questions about what will happen next.

In Wicked, Spencer is still reeling from having confessed to plagiarizing her award-winning paper—Her parents won’t talk to her, her teachers are suspicious, and she’s been kicked out of every club and activity she was in.  Spencer also just found out she was disinherited from her grandmother’s will and she might be adopted.  Now that Emily’s family is finally adjusting to her being gay, she might be in love with a boy.  Aria and her mother are finally mending their relationship, but it’s threatened again when her mother’s new boyfriend, Xavier, starts hitting on her.  Hanna’s mother took a job in Singapore, leaving her to live with her father, step-mother-to-be, and a step-sister who can do no wrong.  And on top of all that, Ian Thomas escapes just before he was about to go on trial for Ali’s murder.  Oh, and is A really back, or is it a copycat?

In Killer, Spencer may have found her biological mother, only to be scammed out of her college fund.  Emily finally has a boyfriend, and his mother might be a little unhinged.  Aria is dating Ali’s brother, Jason, but could he have had something to do with Ali’s disappearance?  Hanna is trying to out-maneuver her step-sister, Kate, which includes dating Aria’s younger brother, Mike.  The girls thought they saw Ian’s dead body, but now he’s IMing them—could he still be alive?  Could he be innocent???  Is Ian AWho is A?  Every time the girls seem to get closer to finding out the truth, something gets in their way; will they ever find out what really happened to Ali????

Heartless is just picking up where Killer left off.  The girls think they may have seen Ali—could she really be alive?  And if Ali’s alive, who’s body did they find???

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE this series?!?!!?  I am picking up clues everywhere, but I am absolutely horrible at solving who-dunnits, I suspect everyone; everyone seems to be suspicious and have motives.  And I never believe somebody is dead until there’s a body.  Even after seeing a couple bodies, it’s still hard to tell what’s real and what could have other explanations.  Something that I think is very interesting is how Sara Shepard deals with the theme of “who can you trust.”  As a reader, I instinctively want to trust the main characters, and I want them to trust each other, I want them to go to their parents and to the police for help, but the setting is such a den of secrets that as a reader I don’t even trust the girls, let alone blame them for not trusting anyone.  It’s a game that keeps changing, and I won’t believe it’s the end until I turn the final page.  This is one series that has definitely kept me on my toes!!!!

Total page count:  1024

Not a bad way to end the year!!!!

Special thanks to The Bookish Type and Book-Savvy for hosting the Out With a Bang!  Read-a-thon!!!!  I had lots of fun!!!!

Happy New Year Everyone!!!!!!!



Anonymous said...

Sounds like you had a lot of fun reading. It's an awesome way to bring in the new year. I wasn't too keen on Melissa Marr. But I still haven't tried the other ones but I know you really like them. :)

Heather (Book-Savvy) said...

I've been debating whether to read Ink Exchange for a long time. I had a hard time with the first book, the story was either fall-off-the-couch amazing, or horribly confusing and difficult to follow. I think I'll have to cave and give Marr a second chance now. I'm so glad you participated in the readathon! Happy New Year!

nymfaux said...

I can definitely understand the hesitation--Marr's writing voice and her world are different from anything I've ever read before--Generally, I keep going back to things I know I like, but I keep finding unexpected surprises with her that keep drawing me back--I'd heard some hesitation about the second book from other people who had read her, but I was curious anyway--And I found myself getting into the story and characters of Ink Exchange much quicker than I did the first book.

And I'm glad I joined the readathon, too!!!! I had such a fun time, and it really felt like it gave me a boost for starting 2011 in the right spirit!!!!

Happy New Year!!! :)