Review: The City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare

The City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) By Cassandra Clare

Genre: YA Ficiton, Fantasy, Romance

img_0006 When fifteen year old Clary Fray heads out for an evening with her best friend, Simon, she doesn’t think that particular evening will end up any different than the average night out. She would never expect that her night would include witnessing a murder…a murder committed by people that only Clary seems to be able to see. Within a short 24 hour period, Clary’s entire life is flipped upside down as she learns that there is a whole other world besides the one we see and experience every day. A world with demons, vampires, werewolves, angels, and fairies. A world with Shadowhunters… a secret tribe of warriors committed to keeping the world safe. These Shadowhunters roam the streets in secret, protecting the rest of the human race from the demons and “down worlders” that intend to cause harm.

After Clary’s mother mysteriously disappears, she is thrust into this secret world full of dangerous demons and all kinds of creatures that she thought only existed in nightmares and fairy tales. Even though Clary is confused about who or what these Shadowhunters are….they are equally confused about Clary (she isn’t supposed to be able to see them at all) but she must learn trust them in order to get her mother back.

I was pleasantly surprised by this book! YA Fiction isn’t usually a genre I gravitate towards, even though there are some YA books and series that I have loved over the years. I started reading the book and ended up finishing it by listening to the audio book on loan from my library…and I think I really preferred listening to this one. The City of Bones is a great fantasy story to listen to while doing mindless chores. It’s not really the kind of book that contains some deep and profound message and I wouldn’t call the writing lyrical or anything all that special. BUT…the story is unique, interesting, full of action and quite entertaining. Most of the characters are interesting and well written. The Mortal Instruments is definitely a series I will be continuing (I’m actually almost finished with the second audio book now) and it fits the bill for a fun and entertaining fantasy series if that is what you are in the mood for. The story has villains, heroes, monsters, family secrets, twists and turns as well as a little bit of romance and relationship issues (although nothing too heavy for a young pre-teen to handle). If you are a fan of other YA fantasy series along the line of; The Hunger Games, Twilight, etc…you’ll likely enjoy this series. I know I am!

I am intending to finish out the rest of the series but I think instead of individually reviewing each other book in the series…I’ll wait until I finish and review them all together in one post.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

The City of Bones (Mortal Instruments #1) – Amazon

**Also…stay tuned for my “Favorite Books of 2016” post coming up tomorrow! I still have two more book reviews to write up to be fully caught up, but those will be a few more days. **

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

img_5221 “The Monster showed up after midnight. As they do. “

Thirteen year old Connor is having a recurring nightmare that leaves him waking up in a cold sweat and panting. But the monster who begins to show up after midnight is not the one from his nightmares…this one is something different. Something older, more ancient, and much more powerful.

Present day England….Connor is the sole child to a single mother who is fighting a losing battle with cancer. At the beginning of the story, Connor seems to be in denial about the seriousness and gravity of his mother’s health. His mother’s sickness isn’t Connors only struggle though….he’s also dealing with feeling ignored by both his peers as well as his father, a man who ran off to America with his new wife and young baby.

Then, suddenly a monster begins to visit Connor shortly after midnight to tell him stories. This monster both scares and intrigues Connor as it seems, at times, to take over Connor’s thoughts and actions. The monster appears because Connor has unknowingly called for him….and it will be up to Connor, himself, to figure out what the monster wants from him.

“You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”

I was pleasantly surprised by this book….and the more I sit and reflect about it, the more I find I enjoyed it. I’m not really sure what I was expecting….because, technically I think this is meant for a younger audience (maybe around the age of the main character….13 or so). However, it’s written in a way that both young and old alike will enjoy this story and get something wonderful from it. A Monster Calls is a very sad and emotional story about love, loss and grief. Connor, at the age of 13, must learn to accept and deal with the fact that sometimes life isn’t fair and that sometimes we don’t get a happy ending.

“Your mind will believe comforting lies while also knowing the painful truths that make those lies necessary. And your mind will punish you for believing both.”

A Monster Calls is beautifully written with fantastic imagery and emotion all wrapped up into a smaller package. At just over 200 pages, it’s a short and quick read that grabs you right from the beginning. This emotional roller coaster of a book is one I highly recommend for readers both young (12+) and old alike. The style of this book reminds me very much of the writing style of Neil Gaiman…which is maybe another reason of why I enjoyed it so much.

A Monster Calls will also be a feature length film adaptation releasing in the US  on December 23, 2016! Liam Neeson plays the voice of the Monster and I’m thinking the casting director couldn’t have picked a better voice….super excited to see this one!

*** Even though Patrick Ness is the author of the book, he explains near the end that the idea for the story was actually one by Siobhan Dowd. She came up with the idea of the story as she was losing her own battle with breast cancer.

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

A Monster Calls – Amazon

Review: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Genre: Fantasy/Science Fiction

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Golden Son is the second book of the Red Rising Trilogy. This review is going to be rather short, sweet, and to the point because I already wrote out a full review of Red Rising HERE. So…if you have not yet read the first book in this trilogy, STOP HERE and do not continue onto this review as it may contain spoilers of the first book.

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OK…..so for those of you who have read Red Rising, but for some reason haven’t yet continued on with the trilogy…you definitely need to! I do wish I wouldn’t have waited so long in between books…because 5 months worth of time and reading other books left me feeling a tad lost at the beginning of Golden Son. Pierce Brown does do a fantastic job of sort of reviewing (without it being redundant) and reminding the reader what went on in the first book, so that helped. But it did take me until page 70 or so to really feel like, “ok, ok…I remember this now”. Again…this is totally my fault for waiting so long and in no way a reflection of the book itself. I just wanted to mention it just incase anyone else is in my shoes of having read the Red Rising a while ago…give it time….it comes back to you.

Golden Son is practically all non-stop action! There was not one point in this book where I was bored or hoping for it to be over. The science-fiction part is a tad stronger in this book than the first, so some of those parts had me feeling a little overwhelmed as Sci-Fi isn’t my usual genre of choice. At the start of the novel, we find Darrow in the heart of Golden society, still working to bring the ruling class to it’s knees from within. Non stop action, betrayals, twists & turns throughout…all with even more world building and plot development made me enjoy this second book even more than the first. It’s a definite recommend from me!

My rating 4.5/5 Stars

Review: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

img_4274 Richard Mayhew is a business man living an average existence in London when suddenly, one random act of kindness catapults him into a world he never knew existed….London Below. One minute Richard and his fiancé are on their way to a dinner meeting and the next, he’s helping a very injured and bleeding woman. Much to his fiancé’s chagrin, Richard decides to bring the woman, Door, to his apartment while he figures out the best way to help her. Shortly after, Richard is visited by two very strange and dangerous men who are looking for the mysterious woman and who seem to be quite certain that she’s in Richard’s apartment.

When Door realizes that these men know where she is, she has no choice but to accept Richard’s help in getting her to safety. Even though Richard doesn’t realize it at the time, him helping Door sets forth a series of events that will change the world as he knows it forever. Richard must make his way through the secret and underground world of London Below…where he will join a city of monsters and saints, murderers and helpers, knights in armor and pale girls in black velvet. This London is the city of people who live in the shadows.

“Young man,” he said, “understand this: there are two Londons. There’s London Above – that’s where you lived – and then there’s London Below – the Underside – inhabited by the people who fell through the cracks in the world. Now you’re one of them. Good night.”

This book is just too much fun! I am a relatively newer fan of Neil Gaiman so this is only my third novel of his…but it’s likely my favorite so far. Neverwhere is sort of like a modern day, more adult version of Alice in Wonderland….and it’s just so incredibly imaginative, creative and entertaining. The cast of characters is nothing short of amazing….they are all so unique and so well written, you can’t help but have multiple favorites. I actually purposely read this book at a bit of a slower pace, alternating between it another book…just so I could remain in this world a bit longer. I didn’t want it to end, but when it finally HAD to come to a close, the story left me feeling so glad that I got to be a part of the world and the characters in it. The fantasy genre as a whole is not one that I read often, but I do love Neil Gaiman and will definitely be reading more of his work.

Even if you don’t find yourself usually gravitating to the fantasy genre (I am a newer found fan of it, myself), I think this is one you can still appreciate. Gaiman books are like adult fairy tales and they are always a fun, wild ride.

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Review: The Stand by Stephen King

The Stand by Stephen King

img_4040  *PHEW* That was one beast of a book! I know I’ve said it before…but I am a HUGE Stephen King fan. I haven’t read anywhere near all of his work, but I’ve read quite a bit (somethings more than once). The Stand is one of his novels that I’ve been putting off for years…. at least 20, I assume. I can remember being about 15 years old and reading The Shining  for the very first time and falling instantly and madly in love with it (I still am) and then my mother told me that I definitely need to read The Stand. For whatever reason, I never did. And then last year, I completed the PopSugar Reading Challenge and one of the prompts was “A Book Your Mother Loves”…low and behold if The Stand wasn’t one of the three titles that she gave me. Again….I skipped over it, I think largely due to it’s length (I was nearing the end of the challenge and just wanted to be done with it and quickly). Now, finally….20 years after it was first suggested to me, I can say that I have read (and loved) Stephen King’s The Stand.

In the middle of a June night in 1990 …a man named Charlie Campion, a now deserter of the US Army, grabs his wife and young child and flees the Army base minutes before a crucial lockdown occurs. They don’t know where they are going and they don’t really have a plan…all they know is they need to get AWAY. The panicked family makes it to a small Midwest town where Campion crashes the vehicle into a set of gas station pumps. When the station attendant, along with a few customers, run to the aid of the people in the vehicle…all they find are three bloated and infected bodies in the front seat of the car. An ambulance is called and soon after the CDC is brought in… but it’s too late. The infection, quickly referred to as Captain Trips, is so contagious and easily spread…that before anyone can even understand what is happening, 99% of the world population is dead.

And this is where the modern world ends and the new world begins: A world in which the 1% of the population who survived and are immune to Captain Trips have to choose sides – or are chosen for a side. The good of the remaining world are following a frail 108 year old woman named Mother Abigail…all with the hopes of saving what is left of the human race. The others have pledged allegiance to the epitome of evil and destruction…a lethal man with a terrifying smile and unspeakable powers, Randall Flagg. When the end of the world comes down to an epic battle of Good vs Evil, who will stand victorious in the end. Does human nature change without the presence of modern day society?

“Show me a man or a woman alone and I’ll show you a saint. Give me two and they’ll fall in love. Give me three and they’ll invent the charming thing we call ‘society’. Give me four and they’ll build a pyramid. Give me five and they’ll make one an outcast. Give me six and they’ll reinvent prejudice. Give me seven and in seven years they’ll reinvent warfare. Man may have been made in the image of God, but human society was made in the image of His opposite number, and is always trying to get back home.”

Wow….powerful, right?!? When I read the above passage, I was immediately blown away. I sat and reread it at least two more times and actually dog-eared the page (something I almost never do) so I could find it again easily. This books touches on so many topics ranging from; good vs evil, to religious mania, to human nature, to the constraints of modern day society, to responsibility, to love and hate….it’s just an incredibly epic story woven with some of the BEST characters I’ve ever read about. Nick Andros, Stu Redmand and Tom Cullen were just three of my many favorites from this book. There are so many fantastic  personalities and story lines in The Stand…even some of the more minor characters get such an in-depth look into their lives and personalities that you cannot help but be drawn right in.

Saying that Stephen King is one masterful storyteller with one hell of an imagination isn’t anything new or unique….but it’s still the truth. This is not a short, quick read….at over 1100 pages, it won’t be something you pick up on a whim, but if you do decide to dive in, I can almost guarantee you will not be disappointed. I am a very quick reader and often stay up way too late getting just a few more pages in and this still took me just shy of 13 days to read. But it was one enjoyable and wild ride each step of the way. If you are a Stephen King fan and, like me, just haven’t picked this one up yet….get on it! If you are someone who would normally shy away from King’s normal Horror genre, I think you’ll like this one.

My Review: 5/5 Stars

***If you do decide to read this masterpiece, I definitely suggest you pick up the newer 1990 Complete & Uncut version. The Stand was originally published in 1978 at a fraction of what the original manuscript entailed. King had originally written over 1200 pages and the publisher, Doubleday, literally could not print a novel that long. As King explained to Time in 2009, “Doubleday had a physically limiting factor in those days because they used a glue binding instead of a cloth binding, and the way it was explained to me was that they had so much thickness they could do before the glue just fell apart”. Not to mention, Doubleday was also concerned with the ability to sell a book of that size for the going cost of hardcovers at the time and still turn a profit. So, the original 1200 page manuscript was slashed to an 823 page revision and was an immediate Hardcover Best Seller. Those cut pages didn’t say lost and in 1990, King was convinced to restore the story to a much closer version of it’s original intended length as well as update some more modern cultural references. The story and characters are the same as the original 1978 version, just with the added depth that Kind had always intended.

Reread: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

img_3395 The first time I read this book was, I think, about 3-4 years ago. Even though it was a challenge at first and I had a hard time initially keeping the many characters straight, it quickly became something I loved and has since found it’s place in my top list of favorite books.

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die.”

As of right now, there are 5 published books in the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series…with a supposed 2 more to completion. I decided to reread this series once I realized that GRRM wasn’t going to have the sixth installment out anytime soon. I’m so glad that I made that decision….reading this book the second time was just as enjoyable (maybe even more so) than the first. Since I already am familiar with the characters, houses, alliances, etc….I was able to focus more on the beauty that is GRRM’s storytelling. Certain small details that may have previously seemed insignificant were more obvious and amazing this time around.

One thing that I was surprised at the second time through, was my emotional reaction to certain characters or scenes. For example….Ned’s beheading….because I obviously knew it was coming, I assumed reading it again wouldn’t effect me as much. But I was wrong…I felt myself feeling just as sad and devastated as I was the first time through. To me…that just shows how brilliant GRRM’s writing is…..he can make you feel like you are actually THERE watching this all unfold. The length and detail that is put into each of the characters makes them so authentic and real, I almost have to remind myself that they are fictional characters.

Speaking of characters….My absolute favorite character in this entire series was and is still….Tyrion Lannister. He’s written so so well and the chapters told in his perspective are some of my favorite to read. The very first time we hear him speak in the book is likely the time that I fell in love with him (speaking to Jon Snow during King Robert’s visit to Winterfell):

“‘Let me give you some counsel, bastard’, Lannister said. ‘Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armor yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you.'” 

I love the fact that he’s brutally honest with others as well as himself. Even though he has always defended his family (particularly his brother, Jamie), one thing I love about him is his ability to treat others with respect and dignity. Likely because he knows first hand how it feels to be treated as someone others loathe or cringe to look at. Even though most of the Seven Kingdoms, including the Starks, distrust and despise the Lannisters (rightfully so)…Tyrion, despite knowing this, still decides to help Bran by designing a saddle he’ll be able to ride on after being paralyzed by a fall. Again….even though he strongly suspects his siblings of having something to do with that “fall”, he never rats them out….but he still decides to help Bran in the only way he really can.

“I have a tender spot in my heart for cripples and bastards and broken things.”  

Another of my favorite characters is Cersei Lannister. I know what you are thinking ….But, but…she’s awful and evil and manipulative. YES!!! She is all of those things as well as cunning, protective, deliberately mean….and just so damn well written! As the series continues, I cannot help but sympathize just a little bit with where she’s coming from. Women in Westeros aren’t exactly treated as equals…even high born women. Cersei doesn’t fight against this… she harnesses her cunning and manipulative nature and uses it in her favor. Even if you can’t be convinced to enjoy her character for what she is…you can’t deny she’s so incredibly well written.

Arya Stark and Jon Snow are two more of my favorites not only in this book, but the entire series. I feel like they are both quietly strong and are characters that others routinely underestimate.

As for characters I don’t like….there aren’t many, but Sansa Stark is one. She’s a character that, while written well, I just find annoying and whiny. It actually takes me up until the last two books to feel anything other than irritation for her character. Catelyn Stark isn’t a character I particularly enjoy in this first book…the was she treats Jon Snow infuriates me. But she is a character I grow to appreciate as the series continues. Then there’s Jamie Lannister, the Kingslayer. He may very well be the character that changes the most in this entire series. So far, in book one, he’s definitely not likable. He’s smug, selfish, impulsive, cocky and just overall a big jerk…especially in book one. But (without spoiling anything for those who haven’t watched the entire show ore read beyond book one), he does a complete character overhaul, he begins to question everything he’s ever known about his family and his life….and actually becomes and honorable, good person who you find yourself cheering for! And once again…thanks to GRRM and his fantastic writing and character development…none of it feels fake or forced. It seems to happen so gradually and naturally that you almost forget what a jerk he was in the beginning of the series.

*Phew* Ok, I need to just stop. Because, honestly, I could talk about this book series all day if I’m not careful. I’m hoping some of you decided to read this book (or re-read) with me in May, and if you did…I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions. If not….what are you waiting for?!?!? I kid, I kid (sort of)…I know these books likely won’t be for everyone. For one, they are LOOOONG and tedious to get though. The writing is so detailed and, as mentioned before, there are just so many characters that it’s not a book you can just breeze right through. Even my second time around, it took me 13 days to read. Some of the reason was the fact that my personal schedule is very busy right now, but mostly they are just books that take time to read, dissect and digest completely.

I’ll definitely be starting the second book, A Clash of Kings at some point in the month of June and I hope those of you reading along will continue to join me!

“A mind needs a book like a sword needs a whetstone, if it is to keep it’s edge.” – Tyrion Lannister.

My Rating: 5/5 stars (as if there was any doubt)

Review: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) By Marissa Meyer

img_3001 Scarlet is the second installment of The Lunar Chronicles Series.  If you haven’t read the first installment, Cinder, you definitely need to start there. My review can be found HERE.

In the start of this book, we meet Scarlet… an 18 year old young woman who is distraught over her missing grandmother and the police’s disinterest in her disappearance. Once Scarlet decides to go off on her own to find her, she meets a man named Wolf who, at first, seems mysterious and maybe even a little bit dangerous. But he agrees to help Scarlet as he thinks he may know who took her grandmother and even where she may be. Scarlet is understandably weary of Wolf and she’s not quite sure if he can be trusted or if he is leading her right to danger.

We also get a follow up of Cinder’s situation since her capture at the end of the first book. The two character’s paths cross and intertwine to create one cohesive story that very much continues the original storyline started in Cinder. I was actually worried that this second book wouldn’t give us enough follow up story to Cinder or that it would be more of a almost stand alone….but it’s not. Scarlet is definitely a true sequel and…while me meet new characters and get new story lines…the original storyline following Cinder and her path is continued seamlessly.

As with Cinder, I absolutely loved Scarlet…. and think I actually liked this second book a tad more than I liked the first.  I’d actually love to say more about specific characters and story lines in the book, but I honestly don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who is considering reading this series. If you love Fairy Tale retellings (this is a spin on Little Red Riding Hood), with a little sci-fi twist thrown in….definitely check this series out! There’s just something like a good YA fantasy series that never fails to give you some fun entertainment. The Lunar Chronicles are a well written, fun, engaging and entertaining story line that I highly recommend.

My Rating: 5/5 fun & entertaining stars

Review: The Ocean at the End of the Lane By Neil Gaiman

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

img_2903 If I didn’t already love Neil Gaiman and his beautiful writing after reading American Gods, this book would have solidified his genius for me.

A middle aged man returns to his home town to attend a funeral. While he has an hour to kill, he decides to visit his now demolished childhood home site and while there, he remembers an old farmhouse at the end of the road. For reasons he can’t quite comprehend, he is compelled to go to that old dilapidated farmhouse and sit at bench facing a pond. As he sits, suddenly a flood of previously forgotten memories from 40 years back comes washing over him. He is immediately  brought back to the year he was seven and remembers his old childhood friend,  Lettie Hempstock, her mother, and her grandmother and the amazing, unbelievable and scary experience that sealed their fate together for a lifetime.

Forty years earlier, a stranger committed suicide in a stollen vehicle at the edge of the farm at the end of the road. His actions set forth a series of actions incomprehensible to a seven year old boy….too scary, too unlivable and too magical for him to fully grasp. All the while, this seven year old boy is immersed into a dangerous and scary world he had no idea even existed…with only his friend, Lettie, and her family and their promise to protect him.

This book is amazing. I know I’ve already said it…but Gaiman’s writing is so beautiful and  genius. He writes in a way that perfectly immerses you into the story, actually seeing what he is describing without using overly long and fluffy descriptions. I don’t know how he does what he does, but I’m a huge fan and will definitely be reading the rest of his work.

“Monsters come in all shapes and sizes, Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren’t.”

The Ocean at the End of the Lane is hard for me to describe or to categorize. It’s definitely a fantasy, adult type fairy tale with an awesome magical realism like nothing I’ve ever read before. On Goodreads, one of the categories it is listed under is “horror” and yeah…I can see that. While the book isn’t overly scary, it’s definitely creepy in parts…especially when I was reading it huddled in my bed in a dark room. But it’s not gory or the kind of creepy that will give you nightmares, so no worries if you usually shy away from books like that.

After finishing this book, I feel like it’s the perfect metaphor for childhood; It’s short, fleeting, enjoyable, magical, scary, confusing and it’s all over before you know it. I found this story utterly enjoyable and completely fascinating. It’s a definite recommend from me. The Ocean at the End of the Lane is a quick read (only 178 pages) that deals with dreams, reality, forgotten things and the effect of memory on reality.

Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences.”

My Rating: 4.5 stars

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

img_2861  I’ll start this review by saying Red Rising is one heck of a wild ride! If you enjoy Dystopian novels with a fun fantasy/sci-fi twist, this one is for you.

Darrow is a Red….the lowest caste in a color coded society in the far future. Reds are the workhorses of society who believe they are working to make the surface of Mars inhabitable for future generations. They spend their very short lives sacrificing and working hard all the while believing they are making a better life for their children. Darrow’s job is to be a Helldiver and he operates a very large and complicated drill meant to mine Helium3  from miles deep under the surface of Mars. At sixteen years old, he is married to the love of his life, EO. One of the many things that I enjoyed about this story was that the romance between Darrow and EO wasn’t your typical dystopian teenage angsty type of love. Their relationship felt so real, authentic and genuine. The overwhelming love and admiration Darrow feels for his wife is so obvious and apparent.

All their lives, the Reds are taught to believe that they are both inherently different and less than other colors. Especially the Golds, who are the top caste and the governing force of society. What happens when Darrow finds out that everything he’s ever known his entire life is a lie? Mars already is inhabited….in fact, it’s a bustling, thriving and successful society and has been for a very long time. All the while, the Golds are content to let the Reds remain living and working underground solely to provide for them….basically keeping them as slaves. Soon after realizing this, Darrow is introduced to an underground group of rebels who wants nothing more than to stop the Golds and their selfish abuse of power. And they decide that Darrow is their man…the one who will infiltrate the Gold caste and take it down from within. Unfortunately for Darrow, he has absolutely no idea what it is he’s about to get himself into.

I know what you are thinking….not another Dystopian fantasy novel. But….wait! This is so much better and quite a bit different than most other Dystopian novels. Red Risisng is like The Hunger Games’ older, deeper, wiser, yet slightly more disturbed brother….with a little influence from his friend, The Game of Thrones. There is some fantastic world building in this novel which is one of the things I love about a good fantasy story….jumping out of everyday life, into a completely different world. This book definitely gives you that.

The cast of characters are also fantastic. Not a single one of the many people in this story are one dimensional or flat. Brown makes you feel for each and every one…weather those feelings are; sympathy, love, hate, anger or frustration…each character becomes so real. There are also some very epic and intense battle scenes that will make The Hunger Games feel like child’s play. Added to that are some fantastic strategy, betrayals and twists all throughout the story.

Red Rising is the first in a three book series that is a good mix of; dystopia, sci-fi and epic war/battle fantasy all rolled into one. This first installment is so good and finishing it has me very excited to move onto the second book, The Golden Son.

If this genre is something you normally like, definitely read this one!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

Review: American Gods by Neil Gaiman

American Gods by Neil Gaiman

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After serving a three year prison term, Shadow is eager for the day he will be released. He spends his last days as an inmate eager to get back to his life, his job and most of all, his wife, Laura. However…days before he is set to be released, Shadow is notified that his wife and his best friend are both killed in a car accident. Shadow suddenly finds himself with nothing….no job (his best friend was to be his employer), no future, no plan and no wife.

On the airplane ride home, Shadow meets Mr. Wednesday…a strange and mysterious man who seems to know an awful lot about Shadow and his life. Eventually, Shadow accepts a job as Wednesday’s body guard and errand boy and soon discovers just how both strange and dangerous that job will become.

“You work for me. You protect me. You help me. You transport me from place to place. You investigate, from time to time – go places and ask questions for me. You run errands. In an emergency, but only in an emergency, you will hurt people who need to be hurt. In the unlikely event of my death, you will hold my vigil.”

Shadow isn’t quite sure what Wednesday needs him for and what he’s supposed to do, but along the way he finds that things aren’t always what they seem. Dreams, legends, myths and gods are at the brink of a major war and Shadow will soon find out just how much he is involved and how those beings still effect life as we know it.

This book was recommended to me by my friend, Laura, and it took me a little bit to decide to finally pick it up…but I’m glad that I did! This is a very unique and awesome story. First and foremost…Neil Gaiman is a fantastic writer. His ability to build a world with his words that make you feel as if you are in the thick of the action, watching everything happen around you is astounding. It’s a strange story that has a lot of smaller sub-stories that do converge in the end…but it can be quite confusing at first. For the first 100 pages or so, I wasn’t sure I was actually comprehending what was supposed to be happening, but I read multiple reviews that suggested to keep with it and so I did.

This is a fantasy novel that focuses around old school myths, legends, beliefs and gods. The pace of the action changes throughout the book and there were a few points where I felt the story took a major slow turn, but then there were points in the book where I didn’t want to put it down. American Gods is a book that I will be very selective about who I recommend it to. I can see where it would definitely not work for some readers. The beauty in this work, for me, centers around Gaiman’s fantastic writing and world building as well as the uniqueness of the storyline & characters. There are times in the book where it seems like nothing is happening and it’s LONG (I still feel like it could have done just as well with about 100 less pages)… so if you shy away from dream-like fantasy stories and you need a definite gripping plot line, this might now work for you. BUT….if you enjoy mythology, fantasy story lines, and beautifully descriptive writing….check this one out!

I’m a new fan of Neil Gaiman after reading American Gods and I will, for sure, be getting other books of his soon!

My Rating: 4/5 Stars