Monday, June 27, 2011

Awakened | by: P.C. Cast + Kristin Cast

*Since this is the eighth book in the House of Night series, I cannot garuntee that there will be absolutely no spoilers. The more of the previous books you've read, the less spoilers you will encounter.

Just two years ago I fell in love with this mother/daughter duo's House of Night book series, and it's amazing to see how this story grows and evolves so much.

Zoey and Stark remain within the Isle of Skye, recovering from their life-altering journey which we read all about in the previous novel, Burned. But will they ever really get a break? Chaos still rages at Tulsa's House of Night, especially since Neferet has returned. She seeks to destroy Zoey, and Zoey's friends at the House of Night are not the least bit fooled otherwise.

Told through multiple narrations, different stories and different sides are seen clearly, helping us to truly understand what's going on. Espeically with Rephaim and Stevie Rae. Can Stevie Rae convince Rephaim to leave the side of Darkness for the Light? And besides, Stevie Rae doesn't want to lie to her friends as she hides her secret anymore.

I. Love. This. Series! (Thank you, Grandma, for buying me the first four books for Christmas!) I have nothing bad to say about Awakened because it was so awesome!

Throughout my Burned review I mentioned that I'm so amazed by how this series has evolved so much. Honestly, I think it has a lot to do with the multiple narrations. Now, we get to hear the antagonists' point of view and what they go through (like what Kalona truly thinks of Neferet), as well as other protagonists like Stevie Rae. Speaking of Stevie Rae, I remain utterly captivated by her story and how it is completely intertwined with Rephaim. The situation may be kind of messy, but still, sort of beautiful. I loved every aspect of Awakened, but their story made me the most nervous.

Also, Zoey has grown a lot since the first book. Zoey tries so hard to be a great High Priestess and has emerged as a strong leader. It drives me absolutely crazy that Neferet is such an idiot and tries to make her look bad.

Out of all the House of Night novels, Awakened is the most moving. I teared up about five times while reading this, and almost cried. Everyone goes through a lot or has been through a lot, and their Goddess of Night, Nyx, is always enforcing the most important law of life, that love is always the best choice. "Always love." I seem to like Nyx more and more nowadays. Keeps me close to my own religion.

Of course, there's plenty going on for the duration of the entire novel. I can promise that you won't get bored and find yourself unable to put the book down. The twists at the end actually left me gasping, and the cliffhanger really isn't helping my House of Night Anxiety right now. Well, I guess it's some degree of a satisfying cliffhanger, if there's ever such a thing. I guess it could be worse. Anyway, I'm so excited for Destined. I look at P.C. Cast's blog often, and I can assure you she's working very hard on it.

Awakened is a wonderful installment, and I didn't expect it to be this good since the previous novel was so wonderful. It's an action packed novel that'll touch your heart.

"Always love."

5/5 Stars

Cast, P.C. and Cast, Kristin. Awakened
New York: St. Martin's Press

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Torment | by: Lauren Kate

Torment is the second installment in Lauren Kate's Fallen series, and I must say, it took me way too long to finally go buy this book.

Luce's boyfriend, Daniel, is a fallen angel, so things are never simple. Just as she left Sword and Cross, a jail-like reform school, she must go to Shoreline (a school where she's the only one who's fully human) until she's safe from the Outcasts. Of course she's saddened that she cannot be with Daniel yet after she's finally found him in this lifetime, but he's not telling her everything about thier past, nor their future. While at Shoreline, Luce makes a few friends as she tries to find out what she can, between learning about their past lives together as well as the shadows she's been seeing her whole life.

I really enjoyed the first novel in the series, Fallen, and Torment is just as good! (And I'm not just referring to their gorgeous covers!) All of the characters really hold their own throughout the novel, for Lauren Kate distinguished them quite well. Any time I laughed during this rather dark book was because of a character's interesting idiosycrasies. So as far as character development goes, it's one of the strengths of Torment, and Lauren Kate's writing is still as appealing as ever.

However, when I first began reading this book, my expectations were on the lower side. Not only because sequals have a tendancy to disappoint, but because of the lack of information which lasted throughout all of Fallen and the very beginning of Torment. Luce was pretty much clueless, and so was I. But, that's one of the great things about this novel. In the end, we find out so much about the shadows she's seen and the gravity of the situation, which is also easier to understand. We still don't know everything at the end of the book, but I know I feel much better in that department.

Luce, the main character, became much more three dimensional to me. She questioned her relationship with Daniel as well as her relationship with her new friend, Miles. I didn't agree with her right off the bat because I trusted Daniel as a character, but it wasn't long until I understood her reasonable (yet conflicting) perspective. I remained as unsure as she was; she realized that Daniel didn't tell her everything and that she may just be going through motions. Still, once in a while the romance of this novel felt corny, mainly because of Daniel's gushy dialogue, which surprised me since he was such a jerk in the last book. But, this didn't last, and I only felt this way a few other times while reading.

There's more action in Torment than in Fallen, and this definately made me happy since it's one of the best elements of the series in general. Fights between the angels, demons, and Outcasts were so epic and unique to me, and I commend Lauren Kate for that. Angels have always captivated me, and I find Nephilim, demons, and Outcasts to be quite interesting subjects, so it's natural that I love hearing about them in this novel.

Fans of the first will not be disappointed. Torment will entertain readers with its dark romantic theme and leave everyone wanting more after its remarkable cliff-hanger of an ending.

4/5 Stars

Kate, Lauren. Torment
New York: Delacorte Press