The Cruel Prince

A One Paragraph Book Review

The Cruel Prince

It won’t come as a surprise to any of you who are following along that I don’t like flowery, over descriptive prose. It’s not that I don’t appreciate an author’s careful description of their fantastical world-building, rather that I don’t appreciate superfluous scenes that seem to exist only so said author can spend pages waxing poetic about characters’ ball gowns. Words must have purpose, they can’t just be pretty. Enter Holly Black and The Cruel Prince: this, ladies and gentlemen, is what “lush” and “decadent” writing looks like. TCP is a delicious example of how vibrant description can work to enhance equally delicious characters and riveting plot to create a story that is not only worth reading, but worth savoring.

The Raven Boys

A One Paragraph Book Review

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My husband asked me recently why I don’t review books I actually like and I argued that I have reviewed books I like; I LIKE most of the books I’ve read in the last year, I just don’t LOVE them. The problem is Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys. It’s ruined me for other books which, admittedly, is a little odd considering that I wasn’t all that interested in the overall plot of the book (Finding the burial place of a Welsh king? Meh.). The characters, though. I would happily read an entire book about Ronan folding his laundry. Gansey and Blue and Adam and Ronan are the kind of characters that make you angry with the world for not having seen fit to make them into real people. They are lovely and, for better or worse, I doubt I will ever love another book quite as much as I love this one.

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The Wrath and the Dawn

A One Paragraph Book Review

ThewrathandthedawnI get excited about books, sometimes I get REALLY excited, and Renée Ahdieh’s The Wrath and the Dawn was one of those REALLY exciting books. Until I read it (or really, didn’t read it, I couldn’t finish the whole thing). Maybe it’s my own fault; I came in with high hopes of complex characters and conflicting emotions, as a girl destined to die in the morning, not only survives her death sentence, but falls in love with her would-be executioner. But, I just… sigh. If two people are going to fall in love, and I’m expected to care about it, this affection has to have a basis beyond one of them having “kind, velvet brown eyes of soft, chocolate kindness” or some similar nonsense; if you’re looking for a fun weekend read, I’d skip this one.

 

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Jude the Obscure

*A One Paragraph Book Review

JudetheObscureWhen I outlined the rules for the One Paragraph Book Reviews, I said I would stick to books I’d read within the last year. Unless they were great…or terrible (I’ll let you figure out which side this book falls on). This book was as good as one might expect from a novel that opens with a boy (Jude) being tricked into marrying a pretty country girl when she pretends to be pregnant (because that’s always the best way to start a relationship), and closes with Jude’s (probably) son murdering his half siblings and then killing himself. We’re not even going to mention the weird “not-marriage” of Jude to his second cousin (because five sentences is not NEARLY enough to touch on that subject). If you think that all of this weirdness would result in a halfway interesting plot (or at least the occasional scene), you would be wrong.

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Not Even Bones

*A One Paragraph Book Review

NotEvenBonesRebecca Schaeffer’s 2018 Not Even Bones was a gift from my husband, given after he’d spent several weeks listening to my lamenting that science fiction (paranormal, westerns, steampunk, what have you) and fantasy don’t mix nearly enough. Enter Not Even Bones: billed as Dexter meets This Savage Song, this debut novel is both creepy and weirdly captivating (I never thought of myself as someone who would enjoy reading a book about magical creatures being dissected, but- hey, here we are). While I was fascinated by both the characters and the plot, I did find myself wishing there was a little….more… to the story. But I guess that’s what sequels are for.

 

 

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Satisfying Speculation:The Other Einstein

book-other-einsteinI don’t read historical fiction very often and I picked up Marie Benedict’s 2018 novel, Carnegie’s Maid, on a whim but, after finishing, I began to wonder what else I was missing and immediately added The Other Einstein to my reading list. Einstein is a heartbreaking and infuriating look into what life might have been like for the famed physician’s first wife, and while a considerable amount of speculation went into crafting this perspective (facts about Mileva Marić aren’t exactly plentiful), I walked away feeling utterly outraged on her behalf anyway. If nothing else, Ms. Benedict offers a poignant view into the historical struggles faced by women who dared to deviate from cultural norms and that, in itself, is reason enough to pick it up.

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Submerged in POVs: Into the Drowning Deep

A One Paragraph Book Review*

Mira 34523174Grant’s Into the Drowning Deep was another hugely anticipated novel (at least by me, I mean, how can you go wrong with killer mermaids?). It didn’t, sadly, quite rise to the heights I’d hoped. While the premise is captivating and the entire book is rife with enough scientific facts and jargon to make a skeptic halfway believe these undersea monsters exist somewhere, she fell a bit short in the character development department. Even though (spoiler alert!) most of the characters die, I just didn’t care. If the POV had been limited to one or two or five characters, I might be writing a different review, but it wasn’t. There are painfully few books that can handle the stress of SO MANY POV characters (you all know I mean Six of Crows) and this book isn’t one of them.

 

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