Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

2 Stars DNF

night-circus

I will start by acknowledging that this book is universally loved. I haven’t met a single person who didn’t enjoy it… and  I do not understand why.

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I don’t usually review DNF’s, because I don’t think it’s fair to voice an opinion on a title I didn’t actually read. I’m going to this time because I couldn’t finish. Y’all, I have tried four times to read this book and it’s just… dull. The imagery is beautiful and so clearly depicted, that it reminded me of Steinbeck. Even in Canary Row, though, Steinbeck managed to grasp my attention through his detailed characters. That’s exactly what this book felt like, too: a Steinbeck-level writing exercise. Despite the setting of a magical circus, though, Morgenstern fails to elicit an ounce of feeling for any of her seemingly eighty-seven characters. Coupled with the lack of any engaging plot, it just became a chore to read these random artistic journal entries.

I give the author credit for an original storyline. It was compelling and had such promise… until the other eighty-five characters showed up, all equally as flat as the main two and nothing happened. Reading this book was such an effort, that I finally gave up at 42%. If you love imagery just that much, this is the book for you. If you’re excited by the prospect of a magical circus death match, as suggested by the blurb… well, I don’t think that one’s been written yet. If it has, this ain’t it.

Review Word Count: 249

 

 

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Darkfever (Fever series 1), by Karen Marie Moning

3 Stars

darkfever

I’ve been a fan of Karen Marie Moning since I read her Highlander series. It wasn’t an especially deep saga, but it was a great deal of fun and written fairly well, with likable characters. I’ve started Darkfever several times, but so often, when I’m in the mood for a paranormal romance, I expect romance. While the plot of Darkfever is not only engaging, but quite original, Jerricho Barrons comes off as exceptionally abrasive in this first installment. At times, he even seems cruel. Coupled with the Sookie Stackhouse-esque exaggeration of Mac’s southern charm, while I could tell this one would be worth the effort, for the longest time, I just couldn’t put it forth.

I’m glad I finally committed. Jerricho’s edges smoothed out a bit and Mac toughened up a touch, but I mostly just really liked this story. Unlike vampires, werewolves, and witches, the fae haven’t been overdone in books and television, so there’s a lot of room to expand on the lore, and expand Moning does. This is one of those delightful paranormal stories that includes a glossary in the book, because the author has gone so deep in her creation of the world. Sadly, though, world building seemed to make up the majority of this tale. This is not a stand-alone title, rather clearly the set-up for a series and it reads like one. That’s not a bad thing, as long as you’re looking for a commitment to character development and intricate plot details.

Review Word Count: 247

Series Order
1. Darkfever
2. Bloodfever
3. Faefever
4. Dreamfever
5. Shadowfever
6. Iced
7. Burned

Dark Prince (Dark Saga 1), by Christine Feehan

2 Stars

dark prince

I’m not sure what sounds more suffocating: sleeping in the ground or being a Carpathian’s lifemate.

Regardless, the unhealthy relationships depicted were not my reason for giving this a two star review. In fact, I was initially excited by a new series, especially one so long. Each book is told in the vein of J.R. Ward or Kresley Cole with a new couple as the focus and there are twenty-seven of them. Sadly, the first one, at least, was extremely disappointing.

While the plot was engaging enough, with its fairly original take on vampires that are more terrifying than dreamy, this book suffers most profoundly from poor writing. Drink every time someone says “do this thing for me” or Mikhail calls Raven “little one” and you’ll be dead by the midpoint. The redundancy was my biggest issue. Repeatedly, the reader is told that the Carpathians cannot survive eternity without their lifemates, or they’ll turn to darkness. We’re told in exactly the same way, multiple times, in every chapter. When the storyline FINALLY picks up, the repetitiveness STILL causes a significant lag. Furthermore, numerous errors were made in continuity, such as a character going from standing to sitting, to standing again. Ultimately, I was bored and saddened by the fact that this story had real potential and was so poorly executed. I’ll continue reading, under the hopes that the promising plot will thicken and the writing will improve exponentially.

Series Reading Order (sans novellas)
1. Dark Prince
2. Dark Desire
3. Dark Gold
4. Dark Magic
5. Dark Challenge
6. Dark Fire
7. Dark Dream
8. Dark Legend
9. Dark Guardian
10. Dark Symphony
11. Dark Descent
12. Dark Melody
13. Dark Destiny
14. Dark Hunger (manga)
15. Dark Secret
16. Dark Demon
17. Dark Celebration
18. Dark Possession
19. Dark Curse
20. Dark Slayer
21. Dark Peril
22. Dark Predator
23. Dark Storm
24. Dark Lycan
25. Dark Wolf
26. Dark Blood
27. Dark Ghost

Review Word Count: 239

Golden Dynasty (Fantasyland 2), by Kristen Ashley

2 Stars

golden dynasty

I didn’t have as many issues with this book as some, but it wasn’t my favorite. Yeah, it was pretty rapey at times, but this was clearly a shoutout to the Khaleesi and Drogo, so I could adjust to the more… primitive sexuality (yeah, we’ll go with that).

What frustrated me the most, though, was actually the pretend language employed in this story. Several chapters included large blocks of gibberish text that were only explained at the END of the chapter, which was intensely distracting for a Kindle read. Smaller words weren’t always explained at all and I kept having to download the PDF dictionary. It was just unnecessarily difficult to read, for this reason.

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Furthermore, while I could deal with the more brutal sexual themes, this was probably the book where KA is most guilty of victim blaming. After the hero does the most unthinkable and despicable things possible, we get to hear the heroine’s nosy and obnoxious best friend (what’s a KA novel without one of those?) blame HER for “holding a grudge” and causing HIM to abuse his men. That, coupled with all that rape and spousal abuse, was just a bit too much for me.

Series Reading Order
1. Wildest Dreams
2. Golden Dynasty
3. Fantastical
4. Broken Dove

Review Word Count: 200