15 July 2015

Review: Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Pages: 328
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 5.5/10

Summary (thanks, Goodreads):

Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

... Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough...Eleanor.

Park... He knows she'll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There's a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises...Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

My Thoughts:
Maybe it was that my expectations were irrational. Maybe the reviews & ratings of this book heightened my expectations. Maybe because I loved Fangirl so much I was sure Rainbow Rowell could not write a sucky book. Well, whatever the case may be, this book sucked.
Okay, no. I guess it didn't suck as blatantly as I say it. I admit to enjoying it, as it did have some "aw out loud" moments that I live for. It was just... not as great as I was expecting. No, not great at all, despite the expectations.

Despite me reeming out this book, there were some things I liked and appreciated. I liked how Eleanor wasn't a typical thin, aesthetically pleasing girl normally found in YA (don't even get me started on that subject), and how they both found love despite insecurities. I also appreciated how Rowell exemplified the beauty in atypical "beautiful" girls, as well as her ignoring gender roles through both protagonists, and because of all these reasons, their characters work well together.

BUT... of course there's a but... I had so many problems with this book I was literally screaming. I had to call my friend to vent about it. Firstly, I've never really wished for the death of a main character(s), ever. Until this book. Sorry.
This book was a bad modern day representation of Romeo and Juliet, a play which I hate, and the irony that Eleanor also stated she hated Romeo and Juliet's story just to star in one herself was predictable and corny. Despite Park's initial hatred toward the new girl, it was instalove. I hate instalove. It's unrealistic and pathetic.
It's clear Eleanor and Park are different from everyone else, straying from the norm, and I get and like that, but it seemed that Rowell was trying way too hard to make them extremely diverse, so much so that it got predictable and eyeroll-worthy. It bugged me that they were co-dependent, so much so that they stopped talking to their friends to be with each other. The fact that they needed each other to breathe was a little much and just reiterated their Shakespearean bullshit. The entire story was about how much they loved each other with some family crap mixed into it, which I could relate to, especially on Eleanor's part, and I hated her lack of emotional depth through the situation. She didn't go into details about her home life when she narrated, and maybe that was the point, but I feel that the situation could have been extended more. Her relationships with everyone else besides Park were shallow. Some of the things Park said to her and did that made her rightfully mad was a load of shit and I would have drop kicked that kid asap. I didn't find the ending realistic and I was utterly enraged with the ending. I hated it. I almost threw my book out the f*cking window.

Final Thoughts:
this book was so much less than I was expecting. I see the appeal and why people like it, but I couldn't do it.

Additional Thoughts:
ALSO, "Nobody thinks Asians guys are hot"...? shut up I can give you a lengthy list of Asian guys I find attractive

3 July 2015

Review: Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Reviewer: Kayla
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Pages: 412
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 8/10

Summary (thanks, Goodreads):

In the three kingdoms of Mytica, magic has long been forgotten. And while hard-won peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest now simmers below the surface.

As the rulers of each kingdom grapple for power, the lives of their subjects are brutally transformed... and four key players, royals and rebels alike, find their fates forever intertwined. Cleo, Jonas, Lucia, and Magnus are caught in a dizzying world of treacherous betrayals, shocking murders, secret alliances, and even unforeseen love.

The only outcome that's certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?

It's the eve of war.... Choose your side.

Princess: Raised in pampered luxury, Cleo must now embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of magic long thought extinct.

Rebel: Jonas, enraged at injustice, lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country cruelly impoverished. To his shock, he finds himself the leader of a people's revolution centuries in the making.

Sorceress: Lucia, adopted at birth into the royal family, discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield.

Heir: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, firstborn son Magnus begins to realise that the heart can be more lethal than the sword....

My Thoughts:
spoilers but i have taken the time to forewarn you. you're welcome

OH MY GOD. That was intense, crazy, and so much more action-packed than I had anticipated. This story was a fantastic fantasy novel and a terrific beginning to a series! Despite my problems with it, I loved this world! I loved the concept and the storyline and the plot and everything from beginning to end was so gripping! The world building was incredible, and that's what most of the novel was, world building. I do presume that it is a set up for the rest of the books, but I just wished we could have gotten more of a history as to why the once peaceful and prosper land divided into three that hated each other. So many questions at the beginning of the novel, now answered, but now there's even MORE questions! The story was gripping and wonderful and intense.
I did have some problems with it that I couldn't get past, and that's mainly due to the characters and the decisions they made. I think if I had liked the characters more, if they didn’t always get on my nerves, I would have rated this book higher. I consistently went back and forth to liking and then hating each of the characters. It's clear Cleo is starting to grow into herself, but her whiny and immature demeanour at the beginning-middle part of the book got on my nerves. I thought it was ridiculous that she had stolen the affections of three different men and they were all willing to do anything for her. Not only that, but she seemed so useless. She constantly relied on the men to save her as she completely lived up to her helpless princess title. As well, **spoiler**her relationship with Theon had no development. Suddenly they loved each other and it seemed to have come out of nowhere. **end of spoiler** What I did enjoy about her, though, was that she would not let anyone, no matter whom they were, speak to her as if being a woman was something to take advantage of. She had no problem standing up for herself as a princess and a woman verbally, and I truly admired her for this strength.
Jonas also irked me. He was so thirsty for blood and revenge and he was blinded by rage. He knew his actions were wrong, but his cowardice forced him to ignore the doubts he had. He lost sight of himself, and I just became so frustrated with him. Same with Magnus. He knew the kind of king his father was, and to play on the side he knew he was wrong just to comply really bugged me. I just kept wanting to scream at them that there was a much simpler way to solve their problems and that is with WORDS. **SPOILER** HOW IS TAKING AN ENTIRE PROSPEROUS LAND BY FORCE GOING TO SOLVE ANYTHING? YOU'RE BOWING DOWN TO THE KING OF F*CKING BLOOD. WHAT PART OF YOU THINKS THAT STARTING A WAR IS GOING TO END IN HAPPINESS? IN PEACE? NEVER SOLVE A PROBLEM WITH VIOLENCE OR ELSE THIS HAPPENS YOU IMBECILES. **END OF SPOILER**. Sorry, rant over. This is why you don't let men make decisions like this.

Final Thoughts:

This book has everything. Magic, witches, royalty, love, loss, destruction, UTTER CHAOS... it's really good. I can't wait to continue this series!
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