The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

I’ve been told to read this by a number of people but I’ve been putting it off for ages, mostly because I read Stiefvater’s Shiver and absolutely loathed it. This, on the other hand, was fab, I adored it. I devoured it in a day or two and I”m now onto the sequel—it’s a series of four—which is, so far, just as wonderful as the first.

It’s about a girl called Blue Sargent and it’s set in a small town…Blue’s family are all psychics, with Blue herself as the only exception: instead, she sort of amplifies their powers. She’s fairly likeable, as main characters go, even though her name is a little weird. She’s been told that if she kisses her true love, he’ll die—so as a result, she’s decided she won’t kiss anyone, just in case. (To make things a little more interesting, she’s also told that this will be the year she meets said true love.) I loved the writing—it was almost lyrical, the flow was gorgeous. I also adored the characters—I know a bunch of people thought they were too weird etc., but I loved them.
The plot, sadly, unfolded at a snail’s pace. The book and the sheer sort of magic of the prose were enough to keep me reading quite happily, but it sort of felt like it was all setting the scene up for the next books in the series—there wasn’t actually much going on, just lots of character development and tons of filler. I still adored the book, though, and would definitely recommend it.

 

Author Maggie Stiefvater official web site

The Raven Boys official web site

The Raven Boys – Animated look trailer by Maggie Stiefvater

Review of The Raven Boys by The Guardian

WIKIA site of The Raven Boys

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Half Bad by Sally Green

I’m in two minds about this one.

On the one hand, the book was good enough to keep me reading until the end and it made me want to go out and buy the sequel, and it’s been a while since that happened. On the other hand…it’s been called the next Harry Potter, and I’ve got to say I disagree. Strongly.

It was compelling but not quite that good.

It’s about a sixteen-year-old boy called Nathan, and it’s a modern-witch story, and it was actually fairly interesting. I was cautious after hearing my friend say, “It’s not Half Bad, it’s all bad,” but it turned out to be okay.

Bad jokes aside…Nathan is basically half-white witch, half-black witch in a story world where white witches are good and black witches are evil. Nathan’s dad is basically the black witch, like, a crazy mass-murderer who incidentally went on to become my favorite character in the story, and Nathan’s being raised by his grandmother and living with his half-siblings. The first two-thirds of the book are quite boring: Nathan being a kid, Nathan being in a cage, Nathan with Annalise, his bland, goody-white-witch, intelligent-and-blonde love interest. Oh, how I loathed her and her lack of actual personality.

The last third was a lot better. There was Gabriel, my second favorite character – he’s literally just the greatest, I loved him. The whole Mercury plot line could have been a little stronger, since I felt Nathan had to chase about a billion more people than necessary to find her and her actual character turned out to be flat and anticlimactic.

It was in the present tense, mostly first person: I liked that about it, though I know lots of people don’t. A little bit was in second person…this has the potential to be a disaster if it’s not written properly, but I think it was done okay. Not spectacularly but not a train wreck.

I think that actually sums up the whole book, honestly: not spectacular, not a train wreck. Could be better, could be worse. It seemed to be aimed at like 12/13-year-olds – my mom actually bought it for my little brother to read – but I was fine reading it; and it was overall a pretty okay read. I read the sequel and I think the slight dull tone to this book is worth it, since the sequel is a dramatic improvement!

 

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Solitaire by Alice Oseman

My name is Tori Spring. I like to sleep and I like to blog. Last year – before all that stuff with Charlie and before I had to face the harsh realities of A-Levels and university applications and the fact that one day I really will have to start talking to people – I had friends. Things were very different, I guess, but that’s all over now.

Now there’s Solitaire. And Michael Holden.

I don’t know what Solitaire are trying to do, and I don’t care about Michael Holden. I really don’t.

This was quite irritating. The plot revolves around a cynical, somewhat annoying girl named Tori who seems to have a thing for complaining about every. single. thing.

It drove me mad, and I’m also an annoying teenager with a thing for complaining. (Just ask my parents.) She was whiny and pessimistic and it made me want to throw the book (or possibly Tori herself) across the room, ruining any potential it might have had plot-wise.

Speaking of the plot…it was a little all-over-the-place. The whole idea of Solitaire could have been quite interesting, but it wasn’t. It was dull. The book’s saving grace was Michael Holden – I loved him, he was fab – but the rest of it was quite sad: it could have been pretty good, actually, but it was   spoilt by irritating writing and killing plot points before they got interesting. I kept reading until the end, which I guess is positive, mostly because I was hoping that something interesting would happen; it didn’t. I quite liked the ending, though, it was wrapped up quite nicely.

Overall –  not my favorite book in the world, though it could have been a lot worse. If you’re hopelessly bored, go on and read it. It was very clearly aimed at teenagers, though for me, at least, it was very annoying to read.

 

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