Tag Archive | action

Review: Eden Conquered by Joelle Charbonneau

Series: Dividing Eden #2

eden conquered -joelle charbonneauThe electrifying conclusion to the Dividing Eden series by the New York Times bestselling author of the Testing trilogy, Joelle Charbonneau..

The Trials of Virtuous Succession have ended. Prince Andreus is king—and Princess Carys is dead.

But even as he’s haunted by what he did to win the throne, Andreus discovers that his dream of ruling only brings new problems. The people love his twin even more in death than they did when she was alive. The Elders treat him as a figurehead. And worst of all, the winds of Eden are faltering.

But despite what everyone believes, Carys is alive. Exiled to the wilderness, Carys struggles to control the powers that have broken free inside her. And as she grows stronger, so does her conviction that she must return to the Palace of Winds, face her twin and root out the treachery that began long before the first Trials started.

The Kingdom of Eden is growing darker with each passing day. Brother and sister, former foes, must decide whether some betrayals cut too deep to be forgiven—and whether one will wear the crown or both will lose everything.


3 Drink Me Potions


**Eden Conquered comes out June 5, 2018**

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for this copy in exchange for an honest review

A princess on the run. Unknown assailants and spies lurking in the shadows of the court. Who to trust? And who will save Eden?

This sequel to Dividing Eden in ways did it justice, but likewise could have been better. Carys is terrified of the power she’s uncovered within her. Andreus wants to prove himself as king, yet there’s a nagging feeling that not all is right within the walls of his kingdom – let alone within his castle.

While the pacing lagged at times, the story alternates between Carys and Andreus for each chapter. Both the twins have no idea who they can fully trust in the aftermath of the Trials they were forced to take. Their storylines tried to develop their individual journey towards placing trust in the right people, and even taking steps to right wrongs that were done by their hand. Carys had escaped with two men with questionable pasts while Andreus almost had no one in the castle that may not have ulterior motives to setting him on the throne. Charbonneau did well in writing their fears, desires and other emotions into their POVs, yet at times this really slowed down the plot.

I can’t say that action wasn’t a pivotal component of the story. An imminent attack on Eden from their rival country was coming, and different groups had different agendas for who should be put on the throne. There was always an underlying sense of urgency – whether in Carys’ return to the castle or Andreus’ ability to outwit his shadowy enemies – but the action only packed the greatest punch in the last 25% or so of the novel.

And oh boy, was that something. Like a wind hurtling full force, all of a sudden a bunch of things were coming into play. Vague predictions/messages from the seers, monsters coming at full force out of the darkness, and the threat of war just amassed on these twins.

Unseen twists caught me by surprise, though I’m not sure in hindsight why I didn’t see that coming. Yet now in hindsight, I can’t help but feel somewhat cheated in the ending to this duology. Don’t get me wrong, it was exciting in a way but it all happened so fast. Each “obstacle” was resolved in a way that didn’t take the time to fully appreciate the climax of the story. Even the twins’ reunion after the rocky way they left each other in book 1 all occurred so fast.

What I will say about the ending that redeemed this entire book for me was that it didn’t wrap itself up in a very nice bow. Not completely at least. It’s not a sad ending, but things are left somewhat open to the happiness and future of the protagonists. And while this entire series, including this sequel, only supplemented the story with romance, I felt it was the perfect amount to support the plot instead of overwhelm it. The highlight was kept on the twins’ character development and unearthing the subterfuge amidst them.

Would I rather the novel was extended a bit more to really flesh out the climax, and maybe added to the plot a bit more? For sure. But as it stands, Eden Conquered managed to deliver an ending that I think was worthwhile in some way still.

Overall Recommendation:
Eden Conquered may not have packed as heavy of a punch as a final installment to this duology, but it made up for its lack of plot and sometimes slow pacing with a beautiful focus on character development. Both Carys and Andreus are flawed protagonists with their own inner demons, or curses, they had to face. With a kingdom depending on them working together instead of against one another, this sequel placed emphasis on all the right aspects that made it a worthy conclusion in the end. A surprise twist here and there, a touch of feels and an ending that was somewhat open to interpretation, I at least leave Eden with a smile on my face.

Advertisements

Review: Lifeblood by Gena Showalter

Series: Everlife #2

9780373212194.inddMy Firstlife is over, but my Everlife is only now beginning.

With her last living breath, Tenley “Ten” Lockwood made her choice and picked her realm in the Everlife. Now, as the war between Troika and Myriad rages, she must face the consequences.

Because Ten possesses a rare supernatural ability to absorb and share light, the Powers That Be have the highest expectations for her future—and the enemy wants her neutralized. Fighting to save her Secondlife, she must learn about her realm from the ground up while launching her first mission: convincing a select group of humans to join her side before they die. No pressure, right?

But Ten’s competition is Killian, the boy she can’t forget—the one who gave up everything for her happiness. He has only one shot at redemption: beating Ten at a game she’s never even played. As their throw-downs heat up, so do their undeniable feelings, and soon, Ten will have to make another choice. Love…or victory.


3 Drink Me Potions


Lifeblood is a middle book that made me wish it was the first book. Filled with better world building – or should I say afterlife building? – and more kickass characters, this sequel was everything I wished book 1 contained.

Ten Lockwood, girl wonder that fits your mold of a special snowflake protagonist who’s invaluable to the central plot of the story, annoyed me less this time around. Which is a gigantic feat to accomplish. Her over-obsession with numbers and counting literally everything around her wasn’t overtly used, although that’s not say that it wasn’t still very much present in her life. However, I could say that she grew drastically as a character since last we saw of her. No longer is the indecisive girl who couldn’t choose between the 2 afterlife realms. This is a young woman with her whole being set on the Troikan values.

To keep this short and sweet, there weren’t many highlights aside from these things. I didn’t mind the info dump that occurred since Ten went to Troika as this was what I had wanted to know from the start . It was imaginative and well-described to the point that I felt I could navigate Troika myself. We get some info about the enemy realm, Myriad, and their history together too, so don’t you go worrying about lack of information there.

Both familiar characters and new ones play bigger roles here. The hot Troikan labourer, Deacon, and possibly your least favourite character, Sloan, are both still kicking, and even fallen characters who succumbed to Second Death aren’t necessarily gone for good (*hint hint*). We finally get a sense of the bigger picture now as Ten prepares to join in on this war between the realms. It’s finally pumping my blood a little at how this whole chaotic thing is gonna end.

I’m guessing Ten’s special powers have something to do with it. There’s minimal information about what exactly she can possibly do, but I suppose that’s why we have a book 3, right?

So world building and some minor character development helped with this rating as it took me forever to finish this book. What I still couldn’t really stand for was the romance . I mean, he’s hot and all and there’s apparently physical chemistry going on there, but for the life of me, I just am feeling nothing when it comes to Killian. He’s too textbook bad boy with a sad past that makes him a papercut-out copy of too many love interests for me to care. If you came here for the romance, I will say there’re plenty of little fun scenes where they do manage to get together, but if you just want everything else aside from it, no worries. You can totally skip those scenes as fast as possible without losing too much relevant information!

While the above states some of the more trivial things that I liked or not-so-much liked about Lifeblood, there was one thing that really got to me. I absolutely adored the underlying message in this book. To love even those that are hard to love or may not really deserve it. To forgive. To never give up on those who can be saved. These themes make this novel more than just your average book and for that I finished it.

Overall Recommendation:
Lifeblood was the kind of sequel that excelled beyond what the first book gave us. With plenty of war action between the realms and yes, even hot little romantic scenes, this book definitely had more of everything I was looking for. Both familiar and new characters will surprise you as the momentum builds for the conclusion. Although I wasn’t considered a fan of this series before, I think Lifeblood may have just convinced me to see it through.

Review: Firstlife by Gena Showalter

Series: Everlife #1

firstlife -gena showalterStep one…you die.

ONE CHOICE. TWO REALMS. NO SECOND CHANCE.

Tenley “Ten” Lockwood is an average seventeen-year-old girl…who has spent the past thirteen months locked inside the Prynne Asylum. The reason? Not her obsession with numbers, but her refusal to let her parents choose where she’ll live — after she dies. There is an eternal truth most of the world has come to accept: Firstlife is merely a dress rehearsal, and real life begins after death.

In the Everlife, two realms are in power: Troika and Myriad, long-time enemies and deadly rivals. Both will do anything to recruit Ten, including sending their top Laborers to lure her to their side. Soon, Ten finds herself on the run, caught in a wild tug-of-war between the two realms that will do anything to win the right to her soul. Who can she trust? And what if the realm she’s drawn to isn’t where the boy she’s falling for lives? She just has to stay alive long enough to make a decision…


2 Drink Me Potions


Firstlife had impressive ambition with its unique focus on the afterlife but all it really left me was a taste of mild interest.

What I do know and love about Gena Showalter is that there are always very intriguing (and hot!) guys in her stories. So it’s no surprise that the story starts off with two really good-looking guys fighting it out for Ten Lockwood.

While grappling and very sarcastic guys are totally my thing, lately it just hasn’t really hit the spot. And if I had to narrow down why this book just wasn’t doing much for me, I can probably point out 3 things.

1- Kieran, the main love interest, did not make me pity him at all. There was no “aww” factor or anything. Yes, his life sucked once. Does that excuse all his previous poor treatment of girls he was assigned to? No. Did I understand his attraction to Ten? Uh, if a girl doesn’t fall for your charm right away, yeah I guess she’s interesting but man, that romance really fell flat to me and I found myself grimacing half the time reading their interactions.

2- While you’d expect plenty of action occurring, it all boils down to one thing: Ten is trying to escape her tormentors and is on the run. Constantly. Because she cannot freaking decide where she wants to be after she dies. Like a pendulum, she swings back and forth constantly. Although from an outside perspective as a reader, it seems kinda obvious where she should go. So the whole point of the story dwindles to waiting for her to FIGURE IT OUT HERSELF.

3- There wasn’t enough storybuilding or character development left in here. The poor romance line took up so much time and space (of course, you gotta give many pages to Kieran’s attempts at sucking Ten in – and then when she does fall for him, many sappy heartsick moments there too). Ten barely changes over time, no matter how many dangerous situations she puts herself (and all the people around her) in. Honestly, I’m not a fan of hers at all.

So was this book redeemable in any way?

Yeah, sure, in some minute ways. That other hot guy fighting with Kieran? Archer Prince. Totally swoony in his own way. No, it was never a love triangle here ’cause he never tried to get Ten in that manner, but he’s the one redeemable character I liked reading about. Sacrificial in all that he did, taking all the crap Ten gave him when she couldn’t decide on anything, humble and all around amazing guy. If there’s a book on him, Gena, I will DEFINITELY buy it.

Honestly, the world building should’ve been prioritized more. I wanted to know more about Troika and Myriad. Their history. How they came to be. How it’s run. Yes, I get that it’s a trilogy but book 1 is there for us to learn the world a bit more. Otherwise the whole gist of this book wasn’t so much about the afterlife and more about Ten on the run while on Earth – which doesn’t really separate out much from the pack of thrillers who do a WAY better job.

I wonder what book 2 will be like.

Overall Recommendation:
Firstlife fell flatter than I had hoped with precious few moments dedicated to character growth and world building. While the focus was heavy on the romantic tensions between Ten and a certain Myriad Laborer trying to get her to his realm, the rest of the story just kinda fell off to the side. Constantly on the run with people attacking them, Ten and her group of friends don’t really have to do anything at the end of the day. This story felt like a filler waiting for Ten’s ultimate decision on her afterlife realm, with the only highlight being her friend Archer and the crumbs of information we get on what the afterlife is like. Will book 2 be any better? Heck, I sure hope so or else I may die of boredom next.