YA

Review: Mirage by Kristi Cook

Series: Haven #2

mirage -kristi cook

Danger looms large in the sequel to Haven, whichBooklist called “a blend of the Gemma Doyle trilogy, the Twilight saga, and Lois Duncan’s thrillers.”

Violet McKenna is back for her senior year at Winterhaven and thrilled to be with Aidan after a long summer apart. But while their love for each other is as strong as ever, their troubles are far from over.

News of a rogue vampire on a killing spree sets everyone on edge. While Aidan is determined to stop the killer, Violet is chilled by a horrifying vision she simply must prevent…for if she can’t, two people she loves will meet a violent end.

In the midst of Violet’s fear, a mysterious newcomer enters her life—and he has some vital information not just about her past, but about her future as well. Now everything Violet held as truth is upended, and she is left not knowing whom to trust, if she is in danger, and—worst of all—whether she and Aidan are really meant to be together.


3 Drink Me Potions


A rather quick read, Mirage picked up months after the events of its predecessor, Haven. Things seemed relatively normal in this second installment, which to some people might be a little boring. I will admit that it suffers a bit from second-book syndrome.

A new student has transferred to the prestigious Winterhaven, a private school for the gifted. He joins the gang of friends Violet has made since the previous school year. Aidan is still on his quest for finding a cure for himself. Yada yada yada.

Okay, so it does seem rather mundane when I put it like that, but to be honest, I still enjoyed Mirage. Dr. Byrne has volunteered to coach Violet on her precognition ability, and even to help Aidan in the lab. Things are looking good. However, more disturbing visions of Aidan assault our protagonist, which leaves a lot of questions hanging as to when these would come to pass.

I would say that nothing too too exciting occurs until nearer the end of the story, which really sets the stage for the last book. In the meantime, the only exciting factor is this Vampire Stalker serial “killer” lurking around in New York, leaving its female victims with visible puncture wounds and loss of memory during the actual attack. I was curious about this until it started getting obvious as to who might be the culprit behind it all. From there, other questions do arise and that makes me look forward to the next book as well.

Violet doesn’t really develop in this sequel, not as much as she does in the first book. I felt overall that all the characters landed a bit flat in this book, even the romance. It was as if Cook didn’t really know how much to include in this book while setting the stage for some epic conclusion in the next. And that’s what I’m hoping for – some epic conclusion – ’cause I honestly think more information could have been dropped in Mirage.

The only tidbit we DO get is a little more understanding about Violet’s role as a vampire slayer. There’s not a whole lot that we learn about her, but as the eve of her 18th birthday comes, it begs the question whether or not her feelings towards Aidan will start to change as her powers fully come in. THAT is something I’m looking forward to seeing.

With a cliffhanger ending, readers will be left to wonder whether or not their love really can conquer all odds, and is Violet destined to kill Aidan when her powers fully develop.

Overall Recommendation:
Although it lands heavily into the second-book syndrome category, Mirage was still enjoyable in the sense that it provided a little more information about Violet and her newfound abilities, as well as the ever-present quest Aidan’s embarked on. With new character introductions and changing friendship dynamics in Violet’s group at Winterhaven, this second book really sets the stage for (hopefully!) an epic battle and resolution in the next and final installment of the series. It’s an easy read and worth checking into.

YA

Review: The Ruby Circle by Richelle Mead

Series: Bloodlines #6

the ruby circle -richelle meadTHEY WILL BE TESTED

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets – and human lives.

Their forbidden romance exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s bestselling Bloodlines series.

When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, she and Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world and alter their lives forever.

Don’t miss their unforgettable final chapter…

LOVE WILL CONQUER ALL


4 Drink Me Potions


And thus the Bloodlines series finally concludes, with the final battle rightfully dealing with Jill’s kidnapping, as that was the original fear that had set off this series of events. I find myself a little sad that it’s done. I do hope this won’t be the last time I see these characters. What I love most about this final installment of the series is Richelle Mead’s ability to wrap up ALL, and I do mean ALL, the crazy plot lines that has happened throughout the series. And also seeing most of the recurring characters that I know I at least have grown to enjoy make appearances somewhere at least.

That being said, the biggest problem I had with the book was also because there were so many plot lines to figure out and make satisfying conclusions to them. It felt crowded and a little rushed in some conclusions. I had wanted to read more about one adventure and then it just finishes, with Sydney and Adrian moving on to the next problem that needs to be solved. Nothing lasted very long, and in that way, made each conclusion feel a little less satisfactory. Like it could have been more epic of a battle or whatever, but it never really came to that as nothing was built up to a climax moment for such a strong feeling to occur. It was like, engage with enemy, then in a short while, it was eliminated. Yay. Just not as much excitement as I’d initially hoped for.

The only other thing I wished for was a more satisfactory way for Adrian to deal with his spirit problem. I love that we get to go into his head and see how hard he’s struggling with his want to help while fearing the potential downfall of spirit usage. He’s a delightfully complex character that yearns to help others with all he’s got. However, I suppose that nothing “epic” could be solved for spirit users yet in controlling their horrible side effects. It was just a wish, seeing as this was the last book after all.

Throughout it all, this book still centres all the amazing love between Adrian and Sydney. I love their connection and even when they argue, it shows even more that they can last even through the rough times. They balance each other perfectly, even when they really don’t seem to be. They’re truly the perfect couple I’ve had the pleasure of following in a series in a long time. And that epilogue? Just. Perfect. I couldn’t have wanted a better one.

Although it was a happy ending, the world of the Moroi and Alchemists haven’t much changed in their taboos and such. For that, I do wish there would be more on this world someday as there is still such potential storylines to be explored. I can only cross my fingers and hope with all my might. All in all, it was a satisfactory ending that left a sweet nostalgic taste of the crazy adventures Adrian, Sydney, Jill and the rest of the gang had gone through in the last 6 books.

Overall Recommendation:
I found The Ruby Circle as a wonderfully satisfactory ending to the Bloodlines series. My only problem lies in the fact that although the many plot lines throughout had been solved in some way, it felt kind of crowded in one book. So much went on that it literally felt like Sydney and Adrian were moving off from one problem to the next, or alternating with other problems in between. It never allowed for a lot of time to build up each conclusion to something that could be called epic. However, the rest of the book did justice to all the main characters and I find that I’m going to miss them. Richelle Mead made each memorable and uniquely their own selves. Although a bit sad to see the conclusion to the spin-off series, I have hopes that something new in this world of Moroi, Strigoi and Alchemists will come back one day.

YA

Review: Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead

Series: Bloodlines #5

silver shadows -richelle meadSydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.


4 Drink Me Potions


Continuing with the alternating POVs between Sydney and Adrian like the previous novel, The Fiery Heart, the stakes are raised in this fifth installment, Silver Shadows. Sydney’s been captured and is trapped in re-education, far from the reach of Adrian and his love.

I particularly loved this book because both Adrian and Sydney are doing such different things between them. So I was really impatient to read both their parts to see what they were up to next, whether it be about Sydney’s attempts at escape or Adrian’s attempts to find her while fighting off the temptations of his vices. Both POVs were deliciously exciting and fast-paced, which wasn’t often the case when it came to some of the previous books in the Bloodlines series.

Re-education and its threatening implications were present since book 1, so to finally see it become reality for Sydney was intriguing indeed. To my greater surprise, there was something beyond the humiliation of solitary isolation and confinement. It was like a school, with teachers and other “students” that had to be re-educated. The highs and lows of this school environment felt similarly to any school environment, with antagonism from other students and particularly cruel teachers. And of course, the excitement rises with the dangers of trying to find a route of escape with or without Adrian’s help. But practicing human magic is as great of a transgression as being intimate with a vampire. Uh oh, Sydney.

As for Adrian, I loved his part almost as much as Sydney’s. He loved her, and without her love balancing him, he let spirit control him, falling back into all the old temptations and vices that used to hurt him. I’m glad one of the old vices he didn’t fall back into was girls, as I was terrified that he’d be so out of it or feeling so hopeless he would give up staying true to his one love. However, I should’ve known better than to fear, but it was interesting to see him fall to his very lowest point and then pick himself back up in order to find his beloved.

With lots of action as Adrian and some of our other favourite friends from Palm Springs, like Eddie and Marcus, race to find Sydney’s location, and the crazy antics of Sydney’s as she does her best to hold onto her love for her Moroi and dhampir friends, I must say, Silver Shadows had the best plot line of them all. Plus, a wonderfully cute ending that was as surprising as it was perfect.

Overall Recommendation:
Taking place pretty much from where the previous book stopped, Sydney finds herself trapped in re-education, trying to figure out a way to send Adrian a message to rescue her. Meanwhile, Adrian’s battling his own inner demons as he struggles to hold onto hope in finding his love as time continues to pass without any results. With such an exciting premise, Silver Shadows was a fast-paced and truly enjoyable read that propelled me through its alternating POVs as fast as I could. And to top it all off, Mead added the perfect ending that satisfied both the romantic in me as well as left room for bigger problems to be solved in the last book of the Bloodlines series. This book really surpassed some of its predecessors, and is most definitely recommended.