Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor | Book Rant

Book: Muse of Nightmares

Author: Laini Taylor

Release Date: Oct. 2, 2018

Synopsis

In the wake of tragedy, neither Lazlo nor Sarai are who they were before. One a god, the other a ghost, they struggle to grasp the new boundaries of their selves as dark-minded Minya holds them hostage, intent on vengeance against Weep.
Lazlo faces an unthinkable choice—save the woman he loves, or everyone else?—while Sarai feels more helpless than ever. But is she? Sometimes, only the direst need can teach us our own depths, and Sarai, the muse of nightmares, has not yet discovered what she’s capable of.
As humans and godspawn reel in the aftermath of the citadel’s near fall, a new foe shatters their fragile hopes, and the mysteries of the Mesarthim are resurrected: Where did the gods come from, and why? What was done with thousands of children born in the citadel nursery? And most important of all, as forgotten doors are opened and new worlds revealed: Must heroes always slay monsters, or is it possible to save them instead?
Love and hate, revenge and redemption, destruction and salvation all clash in this gorgeous sequel to the New York Timesbestseller, Strange the Dreamer.
 

Format: Audiobook

Narrator: Steve West

Length: ~16 hours

Listening speed: 1.5x

Rating: (★★★):

Review

(TL;DR: Unpopular opinion, I think it was messy fan-service that I was extremely disappointed by)

If you follow me on Goodreads or Instagram, you’ll know just how much of a struggle reading this book was. I started it first thing on Monday and it just could not make it through. That never happens to me. This is going to be all unpopular opinions so please take all of the following criticisms with a grain of salt. I wanted to like this and I’m glad you did/will if you’ve read it. But here are my issues:

It started off really rough. The first chapter introduced all new characters, and it’s unclear from the beginning when it’s supposed to have taken place. So from the start, I couldn’t really jump right back into the story from the cliffhanger like I wanted to. Wehn we finally got back to Lazlo and company, the narrative/perspectives seemed to have changed style from the first book/I just don’t remember it clearly enough. With everyone talking in the same scenes, it was really jarring when the perspectives would change. You’d be in Lazlo’s head but then all of a sudden you’d be hearing about Minya’s motivations, then in Sirai’s. It was a lot of messy back and forth rather than neat sections focused on one person. This didn’t really continue for the rest of the book, but it’s what made the beginning so slow because I had to keep restarting to keep the story straight.

Now I don’t want to give spoilers for any of rest, so I’ll talk more broadly. My main problem is this felt like poorly done fan service. Laini Taylor knew everyone was expecting a lot out of this sequel. We needed backstory, we need resolution, we needed more Lazlo-Sirai personal time. We got all that, and it was too much. This felt like 3 books shoved into one. The backstory takes over the plot and expands the world in a way that doesn’t fit the book.

We could’ve had a quieter, more streamlined plot that dealt with characters we already knew and really examined everyone’s motivations rather than introducing all these new plot lines/crazy explanations/weird tonal shifts/and obvious set up for followup books. The development we got of Minya’s morally-gray character was excellent, so why in the world did we need an extra enemy to deal with?

I’ve seen rave reviews saying “Forget all your expectations, because this book will deliver all of that and so much more.” But to me, that feels, lazy (?) in a way? If your readers couldn’t have possibly known what would be in the second book, that doesn’t mean it was an excellent twist. It means you were missing the foundations and foreshadowing you needed in the first book.

Dry by Neal & Jarrod Shusterman | Book Review

Book: Dry

Author: Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman

Release Date: Oct. 2, 2018

Synopsis

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.
Until the taps run dry.
Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbours and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.
 

Format: Physical Advanced Reader Copy (found at library sale, not given to me by the publisher)

Length: 389 pages

Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)

Review

img_1446Dry is an apocalyptic-esque thriller, multiple perspective story on the desperation that follows when Southern California runs dry. It starts from people stealing cases on water from each other at CostCo and quickly devolves into doing absolutely whatever it takes to survive.

All of the main characters are teenagers, which means there was a good chunk of the middle where I had to stop reading, turn to my S.O. and say “THESE KIDS ARE SO DUMB!” or “Listen to the 10-year-old! Your plan is stupid.” But hey, I’ve watched a lot of disaster movies so I’m pretty judgy.

This is also my first Neal Shusterman book, so I’m not sure if this is just his style or not, but there were a lot of heavy-handed metaphorical or “deep thought” statements that you’d typically see at the end of an important passage or at the end of books, but that were just thrown around every page or so. I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the “momentous” moments these 16-year-old kids were internal monologuing about. (Oh god the more I type, the more I want to lower the rating).

One more gripe. This book had real stakes and bad things happen. But I couldn’t help but feel at the end that none of their decisions actually mattered? Like if they had decided to stay versus go or this way or that, it seems like the ending would’ve been the same. The main characters didn’t bring about the end of the book, so the deus ex machina element to this made the ending a bit of a let down for me.

Ok, so let’s say it’s a 3.5 star that I’m rounding up. If you like Neal Shusterman’s style, you’ll likely enjoy this more than me. I’m still going to give Scythe a chance to see if I like his dystopians more.

Magic 2.0 Series Review (so far) | Sunday in Review

Synopsis: Magic 2.0 is a comic science-fiction/fantasy series of books written by Scott Meyer. The series so far consists of five novels, the first being Off To Be the Wizard. The series follows Martin Banks, a programmer from 2012, who uses a computer file that allows him to alter reality to time travel to medieval England where he joins a community of other computer programmers posing as wizards.

My history with this series goes back to hearing Book Roast talk about reading the first book nearly a year ago. At the time I searched my libraries and none of them had a copy, so it stayed on my Goodreads To-Read shelf, perhaps to be forgotten. But I finally got my chance when I saw Scribd had the first 3 books on audio, which I read in August, and I got the latest two books on Audible, which I finished up this weekend.

Continue reading “Magic 2.0 Series Review (so far) | Sunday in Review”

Review of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer

Thomas Schell (sr.) tattooed Yes and No on his hands after he lost his words.
Thomas Schell (sr.) tattooed Yes and No on his hands after he lost his words.

If you, like me, saw the movie adaptation of ” Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close,” you are under the impression that a son who lost his father in 9/11 is the whole story. Reading the book, I realized that’s only half of it — literally.

On its surface, the book is about Oskar Schell and his attempt to cope with losing his father in 9/11. His father had always played games with him and made him investigate everything. So when Oskar finds an envelope with the name “Black” written on it and a key inside, he thinks it’s his father’s last great mystery. Continue reading “Review of “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” by Jonathan Safran Foer”