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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Hopeless. Completely Hopeless

I. Can't. Stop. Watching. It.

It is just that awesome.

Can't freaking WAIT for December 14, 2012.

Well, I actually have things to say, besides starting 2012 off with my overwhelming fan-girling joy. No, really. I did! Stop looking at me suspiciously!!

You're still looking.


Ahem. Where was I? Oh yes, things I wanted to say. What were they?

Oh yes, reviews! Because I promised. I keep my promises. Because Oi'm a good girl, Oi am!! (Bonus points to anyone who guesses the quote correctly.)

This is a first, two different books by the same author! A new favorite recently discovered by impulse (as usual),Laini Taylor. If you haven't heard of her, go pick up her stuff, because the lady can write. Really, truly write, like, create whole worlds and atmospheres in only a few paragraphs. Both of what she's written have been National Book Award finalists. I've been checking up on her website pretty regularly, so I've been seeing how her process works, and ya know, I like what I see. Quite a bit.

So, first review! Daughter of Smoke and Bone, her first full-length novel, first book of a trilogy. The story takes place in Prague, a welcome and refreshing change from New York, London, or Paris, your typical "cool-character" stomping grounds. Our heroine is Karou, blue-haired, multi-tattooed, multilingual art student, with ninety-three sketchbooks filled with beings she calls chimaera. She's endlessly surprisingly, completely mysterious, and at her core, very lonely. See, the chimaera in her book? They're real. They raised her from infancy. She's sworn never to talk about them to ordinary humans, for obvious reasons. Karou has no idea where she's come  from, who her parents are, and why the chimaera raised her at all. Brimstone, the taciturn, enigmatic leader of the group, refuses to tell her.

The greatest mystery of Karou's life? Brimstone's collection of...teeth. He has contacts over the world, hunters, scientists, human traffickers (urgh), who provide him with this unexpected commodity, human and animal both. What is the collateral?

Brimstone pays them in wishes. 

Got your attention yet?

This book must be savored, slowly, like hot chocolate on a winter's night. Or the best piece of tiramisu you've ever had. You can't just rush into it. It brims over with fairy tales, glitter, wishes, flight, angels and monsters, marionettes, and a surprise ending you will never see coming. Take my word for it. And oh, yeah, the mysterious hot boy who is by now requirement for YA literature? His name's Akiva and I want to marry him now. Not even joking. If I was a totally awesome, blue-haired girl like Karou, I'd be set. 

Second review! Lips Touch: Three Times, which is like a novella, but not quite. There are three separate stories, nothing in common with each other, except for one thing: They each feature a first kiss. The first story, Goblin Fruit, is about Kizzy, who hates her decidedly weird life, her weird family with their crazy superstitions, her still half-grown body that doesn't cooperate with her. Kizzy's a girl who makes me think of me, of all the girls who want. Not for any one thing, mind you, but for everything. To be beautiful, to be desired, loved, thrilling, inscrutable, dangerous and all around amazing. I still am that girl to a certain extent, but I've better channeled it now, into my writing. Kizzy's been warned all her life to beware of the goblins, who will tempt striving young woman with out-of-season fresh fruit and drive a girl out of her mind desire for their unnatural taste. But Kizzy doesn't listen and Jack Husk, the beautiful new boy at school who pays unexpected attention to her, just might be her first kiss...if he's not the death of her first.

The second story, Spicy Little Curses Such as These, takes place in British Raj, where readers get a look into another culture's version of Hell. Estella, called "the old bitch" by her countrymen, is the Ambassador to Hell. She bargains regularly with a demon, trading children's souls for the ones of wicked men and women. But the demon isn't satisfied. To make life harder for Estella, he insists on adding curses to their negotiations.  The worst one is when he curses a newborn baby girl with the most beautiful voice ever to come from human lips. Anyone who hears it will fall down dead on the spot. Anamique, the cursed girl, lives her life in self-imposed silence, until the handsome former soldier (fresh from the horror of World War I) James Dorsey falls in love with her and Anamique returns his love. It's a train wreck waiting to happen, and yet...Anamique, though silent, prevails and overcomes. She's easily the most intriguing character I've run across in a while.

The third and final story, Hatchling, is not be read lightly. It deals with some pretty adult issues, tangled up in a fantasy story with touches from the ancient religion of Zoroastrianism thrown in. Èsme lives a fairy-tale life with her mother, Mab. They know no one, they live alone with each other, and Èsme knows no other life but that. Until one day she wakes up to the howling of wolves...and her left eye suddenly turns ice-blue. Mab panics at the sight of it, and snatches her daughter away, running from the Druj, soulless, immortal shape-shifters. It's not unlike the changeling stories from European folklore, but much darker. Read it with caution, and carefully, or you'll miss key plot points. I missed parts of it myself when I first read it. 

Now, this possibly the longest blog entry I've written yet! If you've come this far, let me congratulate you...and hope you pick up the books I took so much time to review! You won't regret it.

Over & Out, 

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