Saturday, March 26, 2016

Book Review: Prince's Gambit (Captive Prince #2) by C.S. Pacat

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Berkeley
404 Pages

The second novel in the critically acclaimed trilogy from global phenomenon C. S. Pacat—with an all-new chapter exclusive to the print edition.

With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master, Prince Laurent, must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.

Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow…

The second in the Captive Prince series delves more into the relationship between Laurent and Damen. Set against the backdrop of war, two unlikely allies form a bond that goes above and beyond master and slave. 
While the first book introduced us to the characters, I felt that in the second we would get more story, more outcome, just basically more plot. And yes, there was progress in the relationship of the two main characters, there was little much else.  Honestly, this book reminded me mostly of the final Harry Potter book. You know, when they're walking through the woods forever and ever and ever and ever and...

So I"m saying basically not a lot happened. Which was surprising considering this book was over 400 pages. A little too long, honestly. A lot of descriptions that really didn't need to be there. Having not read the final book yet, I'm assuming it's just setting up the finale. We have the characters mapped out, the loyalties have been shown, deceptions uncovered, secrets unveiled, and now we get to look forward to the outcome of all of this.  

The character development was the best part of this book. Because it was an army marching across miles and miles of land, there was plenty of time to delve into the personalities of each person. The ice around Laurent faded, Damen stepped up his role as leader, minor characters came to the forefront. Development made up for lack of action and the final page left me excited for the last book because everything is finally coming together. And I believe the confrontation that's to come is going to be an explosion heard throughout the land. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Book Review: Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: February 2, 2016
Publisher: MacMillian
369 Pages

he universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?

With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...


I feel like my love for Marissa Meyer just knows no bounds. She is one author where I could say that I would read literally anything that she writes. I mean, The Lunar Chronicles is on the top of my list of favorite series. And I, like most people, were sad to see it come to an end. Then Stars Above happened.

While most of the stories in Stars Above aren't new, that didn't tame my excitement for the book. In fact, I was super happy to have all of the short stories that take place in the Lunar world all in one book. Plus there were bonus stories that I hadn't read yet, especially one with the hint of a wedding! I could barely contain my excitement (in case you couldn't tell).

In this collection of short stories we see all of our old friends again, and we meet some new ones. Most short stories are just fun scenes that the author thought of and didn't fit in the original story, hence why they release them separately. What Meyer has put together here, with the exception of one of the stories, is tie up lose ends and answer questions that were lingering in everyone's mind after the conclusion of Winter. How did Cress end up in that satellite? How did Wolfe become, well, Wolfe? Who all was in on the hiding of Princess Selene? And what happens after the last book?

As I mentioned, there is one story that doesn't really have any base except that it takes place in the same world. That's The Little Android. While I liked it, it just didn't fit in with the rest of the book. It was the only story that didn't have any of the characters we previously knew and it was hard to get a sense of where it fit in the time table of events. Doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, cause I did, it just didn't really fit for me. 

All in all, super happy to get more of these characters and also get the closure they deserved. I cannot wait to see what Meyer thinks of next. 


Thursday, March 10, 2016

Book Review: Captive Prince (Captive Prince #1) by C.S. Pacat

The blurb as seen on Goodreads:
Release Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Berkeley
270 Pages

From global phenomenon C. S. Pacat comes the first in her critically acclaimed trilogy—with a bonus story.

Damen is a warrior hero to his people, and the rightful heir to the throne of Akielos. But when his half brother seizes power, Damen is captured, stripped of his identity, and sent to serve the prince of an enemy nation as a pleasure slave.

Beautiful, manipulative, and deadly, his new master, Prince Laurent, epitomizes the worst of the court at Vere. But in the lethal political web of the Veretian court, nothing is as it seems, and when Damen finds himself caught up in a play for the throne, he must work together with Laurent to survive and save his country.

For Damen, there is just one rule: never, ever reveal his true identity. Because the one man Damen needs is the one man who has more reason to hate him than anyone else…

I have a tendency to just dive into books without knowing anything about them other than what the cover looks like. The Captive Prince was one of them. Sometimes it's just nice to go into a book with no expectations. Not going to lie, in the beginning I wasn't quite sure if I was going to like it, but I carried on and what I found was an interesting story of deception, rivalries, and survival.

Let's start with why I was hesitant in the beginning. Mostly it had to do with the presentation of information. For a story that takes place in a different world, there needs to be world building and it needs to be done in a way that your readers can grasp. Pacat just kind of threw it all out there. World, people, plot...all of this came within the first chapter without any buildup. Yes, there was a prologue which drew me in. And yes, there was a character log at the beginning, but having to turn to the front and then back to where I was in the book was time consuming and I still couldn't remember who everyone was.

What I liked was the how this wasn't a love story. This is a story about a Prince who wants his kingdom back and the way he has to side with one enemy in order to get it. These were strong, interesting characters and I could never guess where they were going to go next. While I'm not a huge fan of sex slave story lines and public humiliations, the story wasn't weighed down with them and I was able to stay in the story.

This isn't normally the style of book that I read but I liked the complexity of it and how different it was for me. Basically, how do you know you don't like it if you don't try it? And this, I ended up liking. I am invested in Damen and want to know how his story plays out. On to the next one...

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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