5+ years ago I read and devoured the Darkest Powers by Kelley Armstrong, a series about teens who discover they have a variety of supernatural abilities and find themselves caught between people who want to manipulate their powers for their own purposes. Not a new concept – but oh was it executed well! I am not the type of reader that usually gobbles up a series in one go… but I got through all 3 books in a week. Afterwards, I was left with that satisfying yet hollow feeling you get when you finish a truly outstanding series and realise there are no more books.
However, I soon discovered there would be a follow-up series, The Darkness Rising, set in the same world but in a different town with different characters. Because I found the first series SO addictive, I decided to wait until all the books were out so I could binge read them, and here we are! Unfortunately, The Darkness Rising Trilogy wasn’t as good as it’s predecessor, so here’s the bullet point, bookish low-down so you can decide for yourself whether this series is for you!
So let’s start with the positives first. This series has some pretty cool things going for it:
Overall Impression: A self-indulgent exploration of the well-known Dracula mystery in which the vampire has become oddly obsessed with hunting librarians.
The Historian has sat on my shelf unread for over seven years. Yeah, that’s pretty shameful! I picked up my battered copy for a whole 20p at a hospital book sale, unable to resist the fancy swirling writing and menacing blood droplets on its cover. Having been struck down with a seriously evil case of tonsillitis this week, and having already binge watched all of the Outlander Season 2 TV series, I decided it was time to pick up this neglected tome of a book and show it some love.
The best way I can sum up this novel is that it was a good, entertaining book…until suddenly it wasn’t.
To you my perceptive reader, I bequeath my history…
Late one night, exploring her father’s library, a young woman finds an ancient book and a cache of yellowing letters addressed ominously to ‘My dear and unfortunate successor.’ Her discovery plunges her into a world she never dreamed of – a labyrinth where the secrets of her father’s past and her mother’s mysterious fate connect to an evil hidden in the depths of history.
Overall Impression: A feminism-focused book featuring heavily on mental health, that shows the importance of learning to accept who you are, faults and all.
As soon as I knew what this novel was about, I had to have it and bought it the first opportunity, and I’m glad I did, because it’s the most realistic YA book about mental health I’ve ever read. Way to go Holly Bourne!!!
Am I normal Yet? follows the story of Evie, who suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder (the more well-known contamination type where people feel the need to over wash/clean for fear objects and dirt will cause harm) and generalised anxiety disorder (which causes disproportionate worry about many everyday situations). Since being sectioned, Evie’s worked hard to get her life under control, she’s going to counseling, she’s on medication, she’s working on goals and concrete steps. But now she’s starting at a new college, she’s desperate and determined to be normal by keeping her mental health problems a secret. Evie wants to do all the normal things teenage do, having friends, going to parties and most importantly, dating and finding a boyfriend. But as she starts to slowly come off her meds, she’s constantly plagued by the fear that her bad thoughts are creeping back in…and the problem is that wherever you go, your problems go with you. Continue reading
Overall Impression: A satisfying end to an overall enjoyable trilogy with memorable characters.
This series kind of reminds me of takeaway pizza.
What, you say? Bear with me.
You know how occasionally, just occasionally, that takeaway pizza yearning kicks in, and you kind of know that it’s not the healthiest thing for you and that there’s much better, more sophisticated food out there? But it just tastes so darn good and so you devour it with great speed, enjoying every bite, but if you eat too much of it you become bloated. So you know that even though you really enjoyed it, you wouldn’t want takeaway pizza every week? Yeah, that sums up The Maze Runner series for me. It’s not the best written story out there or the most complex so you wouldn’t want to read too much of it in one go, but it keeps you turning the pages and you really enjoy it, even if you’re not 100% sure why. The final book in the series, The Death Cure also followed the same pattern for me!
The trials are over. WICKED is planning to restore the survivors’ memories and complete the final cure for the Flare.
But Thomas has already remembered more than they think. And he knows WICKED can’t be trusted.
The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine. Will anyone survive the Death Cure? Continue reading
Dunnnn, dunn, dun dun, dunnnn, dunn, dun, dun, dunn, dunn, dun, dun, dunn, dunn dun dun dunn dunn…
Yeahhh, I’ve pretty much had the Game of Thrones theme tune stuck in my head for the entire time it took me to write this post. I feel like I’m going slightly insane now! So yes, while Becky has been somewhat silent on the blog, in real life she has been busy, shifting through thousands of pages worth of Westeros, where dragons reign and people fight over a really uncomfortable chair. Woohoo! (Weirdos). After watching the season 5 shocker finale on TV, I was a little distraught and desperate for more George R.R. Martin, not to mention ANSWERS. I’ve also recently rewatched the entire show with the boyfriend because I am trying to educate him on all things nerdy (it’s working, slowly). All of this led to me feeling determined to try and catch up with the books in time for the release of season 6 and the next novel,Winds of Winter. So here are my reviews of books 3-5!
Overall Impression: A slow-paced slog about village politics with a killer, heart-wrenching ending.
The Casual Vacancy is a hard book to review, hard because while I was bored for about 80% of it, the story emotionally and politically impacted me more than anything I have read in a long time. The Casual Vacancy tells the story of a small provincial UK village that has an ongoing class battle between the typical country village Pagford and a tacked on much despised council estate full of socially undesirable individuals. When a man on the Parish Council dies unexpectedly, his seat is up for grabs, and the book follows several characters’ fight for the seat which will decide the fate of the town. Continue reading
Well, I have finally done it! I’ve managed to power through the end of the House of Night series and wow, it has been a struggle. When this series begun I really enjoyed it, but the combination of the writing going downhill and being dragged out, plus myself getting older and gaining more knowledge about writing and what makes a good story, on top of the YA genre making serious leaps and bound in the past few years, this series no longer stacks up for me. Still, after so long and committing to reading so many of the books I couldn’t abandon the series halfway and felt compelled to finish it, even though I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. So, here are my thoughts on the final novella and novel!
Overall Impression: A somewhat enjoyable novella that provides some interesting back story into how vampires came to be.
Kalona’s Fall is the final House of Night novella and tells the story of Kalona, who is a fallen immortal tempted by darkness (basically an angel but he is never referred to in this way) that aids Neferet the main antagonist in the House of Night series in her quest to rule over others and gain power.
The writing in this novella is bad – but that is no surprise, because all of the writing in the House of Night novels makes me want to grab a red marker pen and scribble like a mad woman, but in Kalona’s Fall the Casts’ tendency to show rather than tell actually worked in their favour. As the novella focuses on how the Goddess Nyx, Earth, and its creatures came to be, the telling aspect actually gave the story an oddly historical/biblical feel, and at times reminded me of the story of Adam and Eve because of the matter of fact way things came into being despite it seeming incomprehensible. Continue reading