Let's just say that I rarely rate books 5.00 stars. It is a huge accomplishment.
Where to begin? I'll start with a miniature anecdote.
Some time ago I bought a tube of bright, electric, cobalt blue mascara. I wanted something different and fun. Well, recently I've taken to wearing it and have observed that it is very noticeable. I get compliments and comments on it all the time. It seems impossible for people not to say something or, at the very least, do a double take.
Anyway, there is a point to this story. This book is like that. It's impossible not to notice it. It's practically screaming, "I'M RIGHT HERE, EVERYONE!!! SEE ME SEE ME SEE ME!!!!" And it's beautiful and different and very, very wonderful.
Cas is a wonderful narrator whose voice I loved from the very beginning. He's intriguing and haunting and downright sexy. He's also beautifully developed BUT the author does not spend pages and pages going over the way he looks. In fact, I'm not entirely sure we are subjected to the way he looks at all. Thank you, Ms. Blake, for not obsessing over the way our hero looks. There are ideas, certainly, but I can picture him in my head quite clearly.
He kind of reminds me of my boyfriend, actually. Not the killing-ghosts part, but the dedication part. Okaaay, they are dedicated for different reasons, but that is beside the point. Dedication is sexy in a man.
ANYWAY. It's not often I get to read a very good book from a male P.O.V., and I'm happy to say that Cas did not disappoint me in the least. He was a wonderful hero whom I immediately fell in love with and I enjoy reading about him immensely.
I adore Anna. She seems so haunted and even though she doesn't remember her past at first, clearly trapped inside it. She has so much history and so much emotions that she managed more than once to drive me to tears. Anna is no puffball (oh my God, I used the word puffball) and she is most definitely not TSTL. I loved that she was strong.
Anna is such an interesting character and I wished we'd gotten to see her more even though we saw her so much. She has such an air of mystery surrounding her and I'd love to go even deeper into her character.
THE OTHER SECONDARY CHARACTERS
Carmel and Thomas were wonderful secondary characters who were not underdeveloped and served nice places in the story. They each are beautifully characterized and described. I feel like I know them very well, as I should. Morfran is a magnificent character as well. Will, Chase, and Mike serve also move the story along nicely as well, though that is their only purpose, really. Each character is very well-written. Anyway. I probably can't really say much else here without starting to blab spoilers so… moving on.
Oh my, my, my. This plot is so beautiful and original that I almost don't know what to say. I most certainly do not want to give anything away because I would hate to ruin this book for anyone. It's perfect. Intriguing and mysterious and just the right amount of vague, it blends into the story and fits beautifully. The plot is so original that it never gets boring, and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The setting and the details are intricate. Every detail was perfect, from the Victorian house to the elaborate but nicely slowly moving descriptions of magic. Magic, also, was not overused or clichéd. I'm afraid to say more, so.
(Someone pointed out to me that I forgot to write this section. I actually totally meant to leave it out. *LIE*)
Anyway, the romance was beautiful. It was not developed too quickly and it had real substance. It wasn't shoved in my face. It was subtle but it was most definitely there. Cas and Anna make a sweet, if tragic, pair, and I will be looking forward to how this plays out later on.
Ahhh!! I love Ms. Blake's writing. It's lovely and detailed and not insipid or vapid at all. It definitely contributes to the beauty of the story, and, as aforementioned, I adore Cas' voice. It is realistic and intelligent and rings true. The writing is never boring, but brings to life the characters and plot and setting of the book and makes them real and visible.
Beautifully written ending with an awful cliffhanger. Awful because the next book does not arrive until early next August. The ending was relevant and didn't feel thrown in but seemed well-thought-out. It didn't feel overused but original. It was definitely a ver good way to end the book and I'm not sure it could have been better.
I will absolutely be reading the sequel as soon as I can possibly get my hands on it. This book left me aching for Girl of Nightmares.
In RAPTURE, the highly anticipated fourth and final novel in the FALLEN series, Luce and Daniel are together . . . but for how long? Can history be rewritten? Or are some punishments eternal?
PREORDER: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com
Amelia—still caught between life and death—must fight for every moment of her relationship with the human boy Joshua. They can hardly even kiss without Amelia accidentally dematerializing. Looking for answers, they go to visit some of Joshua’s Seer relatives in New Orleans. But even in a city so famously steeped in the supernatural, Amelia ends up with more questions than answers…and becomes increasingly convinced that she and Joshua can never have a future together.Wandering through the French Quarter, Amelia meets other in-between ghosts, and begins to seriously consider joining them. And then she meets Gabrielle. Somehow, against impossible odds, Gaby has found a way to live a sort of half-life...a half-life for which Amelia would pay any price. Torn between two worlds, Amelia must choose carefully, before the evil spirits of the netherworld choose for her.
PREORDER: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com
Elise is a normal seventeen-year-old girl until the day she wakes up in a desert park, with no idea who she is.
After that episode, her life takes a bizarre turn. She’s experiencing unexpected flashes of insight into people’s lives—people she’s never met before. Strangers frighten her with warnings about the approaching Shadows. And although Elise has never had a boyfriend, she suddenly finds herself torn between two handsome but very different young men: Abe, the charming bad boy whose affect on her both seduces and frightens her, and the mysterious Harlin, who’s new to town but with whom Elise feels an urgent, elemental connection—almost as if they are soul mates.
Now Elise begins to question everything about her life. Why do these guys both want her so desperately? What are the Shadows? Why does the name Charlotte inspire a terrifying familiarity? And who is Elise, really?
PREORDER: Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble.com
This was my first read from this author but it certainly will not be my last. The beautiful love story is romantic and everything about the book is absolutely lovely. I burned through it so quickly and I simply could not get enough. Every page left me yearning for more. This gorgeous retelling of Beauty and the Beast is marvelous.
Annabel is a beautiful and complex character and I loved her from the start. And I'm not just being biased because of the whole name thing. ;) She usually makes good decisions and always seems to try to truly make the right choice, taking herself into consideration without being completely selfish. It's a trait that seems so rare in YA heroines these days and I loved seeing it here. Annabel is strong and independent and shows over and over again that she doesn't need anyone else's opinion to survive on her own. Annabel is also so brave. I admired that in her, as well as her strong faith, which is another thing sorely lacking in YA reading these days. Annabel is an incredible exemplar of female strength and I loved that both about her and about this book as a whole.
THE LOVE INTEREST
Ranulf is a haunting and gorgeous character who immediately intrigued me. As the book progressed, I got to know him better and better, as opposed to hearing about the same traits over and over again or nothing at all. He continually develops throughout the novel. He has a little bit of darkness to him but buried underneath his outward appearance lies a sweet man. He has much more substance than many YA male leads. I thought he was a very well-written character. He blossoms beautifully throughout the novel. Ranulf is definitely one of the better characters in this book.
Ah, the plot of this novel was pretty and fairly original considering that it was a retelling. First and foremost it was a love story, but it also has themes of independence and a lot of faith. There's a lot of content in the Bible readings that take place throughout the novel. Annabel's plight also serves as an entertaining plot line for the romance to write itself on. There's no really dull points and it moves at a nice pace, not too slowly but not too quickly.
Annabel's and Ranulf's romance is sweet and believable. It is a tad underdeveloped, but overall I really liked it and felt it was much nicer done. And there's definitely no insta-love. No love triangle either, which was quite refreshing. The romance isn't gross and it's not too insubstantial. It's beautiful. It takes time to develop and doesn't factor in for a little while, so it doesn't dominate the entire book, even though most readers will realize he is the love interest.
I don't want to spoil anything, but I will say that I really liked it. It was fascinating and fantastically written.
Dickerson's writing is artful and eloquent without being ostentatious. It's pretty and not over simplistic. She writes with a practiced hand and it is clear that she is a professional writer. It does not come across as amateurish. The writing was probably one of my favorite aspects of this novel and made it very enjoyable.
It was a beautifully written story with strong characters and a sweet romance. I genuinely enjoyed reading it and will be picking up more novels by this author in the future.
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