One-Star Reviews: Summer 2017

by Amy Tintera, Cassandra Clare, Elissa Sussman, Kim Liggett
Published by HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Tom Doherty Associates Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy, Horror, Paranormal, Romance

I usually skip one-star reviews but have decided to a lot a little round up space for the books I read that don’t end up as enjoyable.

One-Star Reviews: Summer 2017The Last Harvest by Kim Liggett
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 352
Published by Tom Doherty Associates on January 10th 2017
Genres: Horror, Young Adult

Kim Liggett draws on her childhood during the Satanic Panic for a chilling tale of magic in The Last Harvest.

"I plead the blood."

Those were the last words seventeen-year-old golden boy quarterback Clay Tate heard rattling from his dad's throat when he discovered him dying on the barn floor of the Neely cattle ranch, clutching a crucifix to his chest.

Now, on the first anniversary of the Midland, Oklahoma, slaughter, the whole town's looking at Clay like he might be next to go over the edge. Clay wants to forget the past, but the sons and daughters of the Preservation Society—a group of prominent farmers his dad accused of devil worship—won't leave him alone. Including Ali, his longtime crush, who suddenly wants to reignite their romance after a year of silence, and hated rival Tyler Neely, who's behaving like they're old friends.

Even as Clay tries to reassure himself, creepy glances turn to sinister stares and strange coincidences build to gruesome rituals—but when he can never prove that any of it happened, Clay worries he might be following his dad down the path to insanity...or that something far more terrifying lies in wait around the corner.

I enjoyed Liggett’s Blood and Salt (and I’m looking forward to Heart of Ash) but this fell really flat for me. The beginning was very strong, but in Liggett’s attempt to mislead the reader and keep things “mysterious” she really lost me. The plot went around in circles and then ended. It also never reaches that full blown horror feel.

One-Star Reviews: Summer 2017Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 720
Series: The Dark Artifices #1
Published by Simon and Schuster on March 8th 2016
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

Sigh. Not sure why I listened to my friend on this recommendation, swearing up and down that Clare has gotten better at everything I hated about the Mortal Instruments series. I will say that Infernal Devices is probably my favorite series of hers. Lady Midnight is just BORING. I breezed through this in a night – nothing about the forbidden love or storyline was engaging. The story and characters felt so repeated.

One-Star Reviews: Summer 2017Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 720
Series: The Dark Artifices #2
Published by Simon and Schuster on May 23rd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Paranormal

Sunny Los Angeles can be a dark place indeed in Cassandra Clare’s Lord of Shadows, the sequel to the #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling Lady Midnight. Lord of Shadows is a Shadowhunters novel.

Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she’d be at peace. But she is anything but calm. Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again?

And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters’ demands. Caught between the demands of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear—before it’s too late.

I had a copy of this also from said friend and again it’s the same recycled story. Lord of Shadows lacked the sophistication that Clare managed to capture in the Infernal Devices. She had way too many plot lines and seemed to focus on developing a complexity that she couldn’t match in pace or style for this sequel. If I end up reading anything else in this drawn out series I will be surprised in myself.

One-Star Reviews: Summer 2017Burn by Elissa Sussman
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 272
Series: Four Sisters #2
Published by HarperCollins on January 19th 2016
Genres: Fairy Tales & Folklore, Fantasy

Burn is the thrilling companion to Elissa Sussman’s masterful and original fairy tale, Stray. This engaging and imaginative continuation of the original fairy tale begun in Stray will appeal to readers of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale and fans of the musicals Wicked and Into the Woods.

After helping to rescue Princess Aislynn, Elanor has finally rejoined the rebel camp she calls home. Stolen from her parents at a young age and forced into service by the Wicked Queen, Elanor now wants nothing more than to see the queen removed from power. But Elanor has secrets, mistakes she’s spent years trying to forget, and the closer the rebels get to the throne, the harder it is for Elanor to keep her past hidden away. Booklist said of Stray, “Sussman delightfully mixes dystopian tension with retold fairy tales, and the result is something wholly original.” Includes a map.

I read Stray a few years ago and have little to no memory of liking it. I was half way through this when I finally looked back into my GoodReads lists and realized it had managed to rate a measly two stars. The story was very boring and typical of the YA genre nowadays. Josetta was disappointing. The writing was also lacking.

One-Star Reviews: Summer 2017Avenged by Amy Tintera
Amazon|The Book Depository
Pages: 416
Series: Ruined #2
Published by HarperCollins on May 2nd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance

With the romance of The Selection and the epic stakes of Red Queen, Amy Tintera’s New York Times-bestselling Ruined trilogy continues with the thrilling young adult fantasy Avenged.

Emelina Flores has come home to Ruina. After rescuing her sister, Olivia, from imprisonment in rival kingdom Lera, Em and Olivia together vow to rebuild Ruina to its former glory.

But their fight has only begun. Olivia is determined to destroy everyone who acts against Ruina. Em isn’t as sure. Ever since Em posed as Prince Casimir’s betrothed in Lera, she’s started to see another side to this war. And now that Cas has taken the throne, Em believes a truce is within reach. But Olivia suspects that Em’s romantic feelings for Cas are just coloring her judgement.

Em is determined to bring peace to her home. But when winning the war could mean betraying her family, Em faces an impossible choice between loyalty and love. Em must stay one step ahead of her enemies—and her blood—before she’s the next victim in this battle for sovereignty.

Avenged was super disappointing. But I already knew I wasn’t going to love it going on (I gave Ruined two stars, so really why did I even bother reading this?). This series reminds me of just so many YA dark fantasy books that are being released now.

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