Because I am incredibly lazy and the worst procrastinator in the history of everything, this review has taken months for me to actually write. On the bright side, this is my second review today! I'm working on it, I'm catching up…but anyway. Circle of Fire was fantastic finish to Michelle Zink's Prophecy of the Sisters series. I loved every intense and soft moment of it. I reread it often, especially my favorite parts.
Lia is such a fantastic heroine. I adore her very much. She makes hard decisions and handles them very well. She also knows her priorities and chooses her battles. Lia knows the difference between things that are worth it and things that aren't. I love her for being strong in the face of difficult things. She isn't perfect, but she's realistic and human.
THE LOVE INTEREST
Sorry. It's just that, oh, well, Dimitri is so hot. Ridiculously, insanely hot. He also has some of the sweetest and most romantic lines I've ever read. I love him for always being supportive but never condescending, strong but never pushy. He always seems to know just the thing to do. He's wonderful for Lia, too. Reading about Dimitri just makes my heart ridiculously happy. Dimitri is one of the most amazing male leads I've ever had the good fortune to read about. Everything about him is marvelous and, furthermore, scorchingly hot.
Overall, we don't see as much of Alice as we do in previous books, and she is much less the focus of this book. What we do see of her, however, is shockingly revealing. We learn so much more about her, and why her heart is the way it is. We also learn she is indeed capable of love. Alice becomes a much deeper character in this book, becoming far more than just the villain.
THE OTHER SECONDARY CHARACTERS
There are so many other fantastic secondary characters, but none of them really exist enough in the book to say much more than a few lines about them, so to save everyone's time I won't mention them here. I will say only that all the secondary characters were fantastically developed and I loved each and every one of them. Each character offered something slightly different in a beautiful and marvelous way.
The plot of Circle of Fire was full of intrigue and anticipation. Every moment felt like something new was being discovered. There was an exciting race for time involved, a shocking and untraditional betrayal, and heart-pounding romance.
The plot was exciting and had a lot of great substance to it. There were some things that were completely unexpected, and some things also that weren't. There was real surprise involved with some things, but I loved being surprised. It was a fantastic plot line, basically.
The plot was very thick and actually required me to do a lot of thinking. I couldn't just read simply through. There were real issues involved, and I really had to think about some things that were mentioned.
LIA AND DIMITRI
I love, love, love Lia and Dimitri's romance so much. It is absolutely beautiful and smooth. It is also one of the sweetest romances I've ever seen. Dimitri is such a steady and wonderful guy, and he really is always there for her. He's definitely good for her, and it's easy to see that from the way they speak. Their romance is also explored much more in this novel than in Guardian of the Gate, and I loved that. Reading about their romance is enough to make any girl squeal with absolute delight. They're one of my favorite pairings, ever. Period.
There are actually quite a number of secondary pairings, although some are more implied than explicitly stated. Still, I love this fact. Thinking about all the cute little couples puts a smile on my face. Sure, it's a little bit fairy-tale-like perfect, but hey, it's a book. If you take a closer look, the romances are also all different--sometimes by just a little, sometimes by a lot.
Michelle has some of the most beautiful writing I have ever come across. It is gorgeous and flawless and absolutely lovely. Lia's voice is so desperate and real, and it really contributes to making her a much more genuine character. She speaks from her time period and sounds just the way I imagine her. The description is absolute beautiful and isn't overkill at all. It has also much improved from Prophecy of the Sisters, when it was already very, very good.
This was the absolutely perfect ending to the trilogy. I smiled and I cried. I felt all at once both happy and sad. The ending wasn't annoyingly coincidentally perfect, and everything was exactly as it should have been. The focus at the end of the story is perfect, too. Lia finishes by first continuing to close the rest of the story for the reader, showing how everything will be afterward and how she will spend the rest of her life before ending with a few very deep, gorgeous, and contemplative thoughts.
I adored this series, and will soon be reading the recently released A Temptation of Angels eagerly. Michelle Zink has herself a crazy fan who will probably follow her wherever she takes me. This tries as a whole was fantastic and could not have been better.
I loved Unearthly. It was, easily, one of the best books I have ever read. But if I loved Unearthly, I LOVED LOVED LOVED Hallowed. I actually finished it in one day, not at like three in the morning, because I literally DID NOT PUT IT DOWN. Ever. Until I finished it. And I enjoyed every single second I was reading it, whether I was laughing or crying or something in between.
(Also, my boyfriend read this book and he totally loved it, even though he would never admit it. But he definitely did.)
Clara remains one of my favorite heroines to date. I love her so much. She's strong and human and isn't afraid to make the hard decisions. I love the way she's always ready for anything, whether she herself knows it or not. She's a fantastic girl who actually does things. I grew to love Clara more in this book even more than I did in Unearthly, and I loved her quite an awful lot then.
THE LOVE INTERESTS
I'm sorry, darlings, and I love you all, but I have to say that I'm totally Team Christian here. I think in this book it's pretty much impossible not to fall in love with him--he's so sweet, and so perfect, and so always there. I love the way we get to know him so much better in this book. Christian fascinates and intrigues me, and he has a story to tell too. Most assuredly one of my favorite characters, and I'm really looking forward to him in book three.
Well, it isn't that I don't love Tucker, because I do. I completely love Tucker. I just love Christian more. Tucker is very sweet in this book, although I'll admit at times he got on my nerves and I kind of wished I could slap him. But those moments were rare and don't detract from my overall feelings for him. He's a solid character, but unfortunately I felt I didn't see as much as him as I might have wanted to.
THE (REALLY HOT) BROTHER
I've said it before and I'll say it again: I love Jeffrey. I think he's my favorite character in this series, much as I love Clara, Christian, and Tucker. He has a mystery surrounding him that's incredibly intriguing and I always find myself wanting to know more about him. Can we have a novella or something told from his point of view, please? I really want to know more about him, and the place he was standing at at the end of Hallowed left me breathless. I want to know more, and I want to know more now.
I liked Clara's and Jeffrey's mother infinitely better in this book, although I still felt that she tried to hold too much information back from them when they really should have known. But overall, I was impressed with the way she was portrayed in this book.
Samjeeza is back to play the bad-guy role in Hallowed, yet he never feels overused or outworn. He's a fantastic villain who goes far deeper than what he seems to be on the surface, not a boring and flat two-dimensional character. He also seems to have a story untold, a story I'd love to hear.
Oh, how I loved the plot of this book. It was fantastic and magnificent.
Romance. Danger. Testing.
Cliché-sounding, I know, but totally true in a non-cliché way.
Every moment something was happening. Something emotional, something intense, something magical and completely new. There was so much anticipation in the book I literally suffered breathing struggles in some places.
Some of the events shocked me, some pleased me, some made me squeal out loud and bounce up and down with extreme excitement.
We also discover some new things in this book about angels and Nephilim. A few of these revelations completely shocked me, but some of them I could sort of see coming a little. We learn something in particular that I suspected from the beginning, but then I was thrown into even more surprise but yet another similar but also different revelation. I can't stay one step ahead all of the time, and yes, I like it that way. I enjoy being surprised.
But every single moment had one thing in common: I loved them all. Even if there were a few moments I maybe didn't like as much, which is completely possible, I don't actually remember them, which goes to show that they were unimportant anyway.
The plot was excellent and kept me on an insane emotional roller coaster. I was literally a wreck by the end of this book, but in a good way. I loved all of the emotional moments, even the ones dealing with generally unpleasant topics. Everything about the plot was beautiful.
CLARA AND CHRISTIAN
It is no secret that I love Clara and Christian together. I think that they are a beautiful couple. The way their romance is developed in this book is also so smooth and lovely--it fits together like the pieces of a puzzle and is just perfect. It doesn't feel forced or fake, but completely natural in every way. It develops slowly but sweetly, growing in potency as time went by. It was absolutely convincing, and I adored it completely.
CLARA AND TUCKER
I also love Clara and Tucker together, because I can. I simply don't love them together as much as I love Clara and Christian. Still, this was a beautiful romance also. They had disagreements but got over them, and they weren't so sickly perfect that it got old too fast. Their relationship really developed in this book as opposed to Unearthly, and it was very nice to see that. I love the way they are together and how much they genuinely care for and love each other.
Hand's writing continues to blow me away. Clara's voice was lovely in Unearthly, but it really matures and further improves in Hallowed. The description is beautiful and lush but still sounds conversational enough and not overly forced or stiff. I love the way Clara sounds like an ordinary teenage girl and not some sixty-year-old woman trapped in a young girl's body. The writing is flawless and I am left with no complaints, just a jaw dropped in admiration and amazement and shock.
Wow. That was a mean way to end the book, but only because now I have to wait for months before I get to find out what happens next! I felt breathless by the time Hallowed was finished. The ending was absolutely perfect, though, all mean cliffhangers aside. I wouldn't have changed a thing about it. It was the absolute best ending possible. I could only guess about half of it, but the parts I could guess I was supposed to, and the rest of it was the surprise I had been eagerly awaiting.
I'll be reading Untitled, of course! That's not even a question! Of course I'm reading it. I can't wait to see the title and the cover. I'm sure it will be as amazing as both Unearthly and Hallowed. Of this I have no doubt. I am insanely eager for the next book and am practically already counting the days. Oh, Unearthly book the third, please arrive sooner!
(On a side note, I think this may be the longest review I've ever written, which of necessity says a little something about the amazingness of this book.)
Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer, Reading Away the Days, and Reading a Little Bit of Everything.
Time for yet another giveaway hop, because I clearly have a giveaway fetish. Not that that's a bad thing, especially for you.
This time, however, I'm going to spotlight a charity first.
Smile Train is a charity that I, or rather, my boyfriend, makes a large donation to each year. (I would, but my income is basically his, so technically I'm donating too.) Anyway, the point is, I came across this charity when I was maybe nine years old and it left its mark on me. Ever since, I've become almost obsessed with it, recruiting donators and more. So of course, it is my chosen charity to spotlight.
(And to avoid plagiarism accusations, I readily admit that the following quotes were taking directly from Smile Train's website.)
THE PROBLEM: Every year more than 165,000 children are born with clefts: most can't afford surgery. Clefts are a major problem in developing countries where there are millions of children who are suffering with unprepared clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly, aren't allowed to attend school or hold a job. Being born with a cleft in a developing country is truly a curse. Every baby born in Uganda with a cleft is given the name Ajok which means literally, "cursed by God." Some newborns are killed or abandoned right after birth. The good news is that every single child with a cleft can be helped with surgery that costs as little as $250. It's a true medical miracle that gives a child back their life.
THE SOLUTION: Give a child back their future with surgery that costs as little as $250. Provide free cleft lip and palate surgery for hundreds of thousands of children around the world. That's what we do. We empower local doctors in developing countries by providing free surgical education. Smile Train can give a child a second life with survey that costs as little as $250.
- 725000+ free cleft surgeries have transformed poor childrens' lives in the past 12 years
- 39000+ free virtual DVDs distributed to medical professionals
- 320+ surgeries a day; every 5 minutes a life is changed thanks to donors like you
- 24% average yearly program growth
- 58 number staff members
- 84 number of countries in which Smile Train has helped children
- 1000+ free medical articles & publications we make available
- 1100+ number of Smile Train partner hospitals
- 1400+ number of Smile Train medical conferences
- 2200+ number of partner surgeons
- 120000+ total number of free cleft surgeries we will provide this year
- 2.4 million free "Smile Pinki" DVDs provided (order your own "Smile Pinki" DVD for FREE here)
- 30 million households which have received useful information on cleft lip & palate
PRAISE FOR SMILE TRAIN:
- "Excellent safety and quality record."
- "…One of the most productive charities—dollar for deed—in the world." New York Times
- "Largest cleft charity in the world, helping more children with cleft lips and palates than any other organization."
- You must be at least thirteen years of age. If under eighteen years old, please have a parent's/guardian's permission before entering.
- This giveaway is open internationally, because who cares about shipping when there are children who don't even have proper lips out there? (Dropping a not-so-subtle hint to donate…that's the last one, though. I promise.)
Just your average boy-meets-girl, girl-kills-people story...
Cas Lowood has inherited an unusual vocation: He kills the dead.
So did his father before him, until his gruesome murder by a ghost he sought to kill. Now, armed with his father’s mysterious and deadly athame, Cas travels the country with his kitchen-witch mother and their spirit-sniffing cat. Together they follow legends and local lore, trying to keep up with the murderous dead—keeping pesky things like the future and friends at bay.
When they arrive in a new town in search of a ghost the locals call Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas doesn’t expect anything outside of the ordinary: move, hunt, kill. What he finds instead is a girl entangled in curses and rage, a ghost like he’s never faced before. She still wears the dress she wore on the day of her brutal murder in 1958: once white, but now stained red and dripping blood. Since her death, Anna has killed any and every person who has dared to step into the deserted Victorian she used to call home.
And she, for whatever reason, spares his life.
Read my review of Anna Dressed in Blood here.
In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.
Psst…as a reward for you actually reading to the very end of this post and an apology for the negativeness of yesterday, I'm doing a little bit of a bonus giveaway with no strings attached. All you have to do is send me an email with your name and I'll enter you in a giveaway to win all three books of the books listed here. This giveaway is lasting only a limited time. At the end of April 1st, 2012 PST, this giveaway will close and I will contact the winner, giving he or she 48 to respond to me at which point I will choose another winner. Please follow my giveaway guidelines.
Fans of Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver and Becca Fitzpatrick'sHush will relish this intense paranormal love story featuring Romeo and Juliet, literary history's most tragic couple, who meet again, not as true lovers, but truly as enemies.
The most tragic love story in history . . .
Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.
"These violent delights have violent ends
And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,
Which as they kiss consume."
—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
Read my review of Juliet Immortal here.
But Naomi picked heads.
After her remarkable debut, Gabrielle Zevin has crafted an imaginative second novel all about love and second chances
- You must be at least 13 years of age. If under 18 years, please have a parent's/guardian's permission before entering.
- This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. (Is your country on the list? Click here to find out.)
Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.
Ismae's most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.
But obviously, this is not the only reason I'm posting. I took some time and interviewed Eric, the author of this fantastic book. He's brilliant, did you know? I had a wonderful time hearing what he had to say and I'm sure that you will too!
Also, I'm giving away a copy of Zombie Love: The Outbreak because I know that there are many of you out there who would enjoy reading it very much. So read the interview and enjoy, then enter to win.
- I’m sure you get this question all the time, but I have to ask. What is it that inspired you to write a book?
- When you first began to write, what was your biggest fear concerning writing?
- Tell us about the process involved in book publishing.
- When did you know you wanted to write books and what convinced you of it?
- Was The Outbreak your first idea for a novel, or were there others that came before? If so, what were they?
- I imagine you are working on future installments in the Zombie Love series. How is that going? Any spoilers for us?
- Does music inspire you when you write? What do you listen to when you write and why?
- What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
- Do we get to learn more soon about how the zombies were created?
- Anything you can tell us about the new character you introduced at the end of The Outbreak?
- Do you consider Daniel similar to yourself? If so, how? Is he based on someone else?
- Was it difficult to write mostly the point of view of a female character, Summer?
- The villains in your novel are mysterious. Will we ever get a deeper view into their world?
- The Outbreak involved drama regarding coming-of-age confusion and death. Did you feel it was a risk to write about such deep subjects in an otherwise humorous novel?
- Totally random, but just one last question: do you prefer the word sparkle or glitter? In all honesty.
SO. Tell me that wasn't fantastic.
(And that last question? Talk about good taste!)
And now for the giveaway! It will close on April 13, 2012 at 12:00 P.M. PST. I will choose the winner with a random number generator and contact them via email. I will give them 48 hours to respond, and after 48 hours a new winner will be chosen. I will choose a winner every 48 hours until I receive a response.
Just a few guidelines:
- You must be at least 13 years old. If you're under 18, please have a parent's/guardian's permission before entering.
- This giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY as long as The Book Depository ships to your country. (Is your country on the list? Click here to find out.)
Want me to be a part of your blog tour? Contact me and let me know.
Want to swap blog rolls? Fill out a form and let me know!
- ► 2013 (150)
- Circle of Fire: REVIEW
- Hallowed: REVIEW
- Charity Hopping Around the World
- The Best Covers and Books in the World (So Far)
- Tricky Little Covers
- Masque of the Red Death: FEATURE and GIVEAWAY
- Covermance! (9)
- Author INTERVIEW and GIVEAWAY: Eric J. Sobolik
- The Hunger Games: THE MOVIE!!
- Zombie Love: The Outbreak: REVIEW
- Spring Cleaning Giveaway Hop!
- Lucky Leprechaun Giveaway Hop!
- Covermance: Double Trouble! (8)
- Transcend Time Title Hunt: TITLE REVEAL!!
- ▼ March (14)
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In accordance with the FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, I am required to state that no payments are received in return for reviews, promotions and endorsements. All books are received at no cost from publishers or purchased by myself. I receive no monetary compensations for anything that appears on Sparkles and Lightning.