Friday, August 29, 2014

Storm Siren by Mary Weber

Title: Storm Siren (Storm Siren #1) 
Author: Mary Weber
Date Published: August 19th 2014 
Publisher: Thomas Nelson 

Rating: 4 out of 5 

*ARC provided by NetGalley*

Goodreads Blurb:
“I raise my chin as the buyers stare. Yes. Look. You don’t want me. Because, eventually, accidentally, I will destroy you."

In a world at war, a slave girl’s lethal curse could become one kingdom’s weapon of salvation. If the curse—and the girl—can be controlled.

So when I first read the blurb on Goodreads, I was expecting a heroine similar to Celaena Sardothien (from Throne of Glass). But I wrong, and not regrettably so. I was pleasantly surprised with this book after I got over my disappointment. The MC, Nym, is an Elemental who has the power to control, wrong word, summon lightning. She struggles to rein in her emotions and often her rage unleashes storms that always end in death and destruction. She accumulates guilt and that causes her to hate her ability and herself. Nym was definitely not self-assured and at times seemed weak and fearful. But her caustic humour, sarcasm definitely wins some points and her need for redemption is admirable. 

When she is bought by a madwoman at a slave auction after unleashing her "thunder", Nym is given the option of either being executed as punishment for the deaths she's caused. Or a chance to seek redemption by fighting for the kingdom Faelen. When she "chooses" to help, the madwoman aka King's war adviser aka Adora hands her over to her Elemental trainer, Eogan, and the training begins. 

Along with Colin, another Elemental with the power of Earth, Nym learns to control her ability and they both prepare to take on invading forces. After a test on the mountains, Nym explodes with righteous anger at being manipulated and being used as a weapon and causes an avalanche that nearly destroys a nearby village. After another bout of self doubt, Nym lets the curse control her and refuses to use her ability to kill anyone. 

But Eogan complicates everything with secrets of both his and Nym's pasts and then the King of Faelen is betrayed and the legendary, accursed Draewulf attacks. 

I like the history and the world building was adequate but what needed the most improvement was the explanations and background of the characters- I felt as if there was a slight case of info-dumping. 

Personally, the last couple of chapters were the most suspenseful and tense moments of the whole book. And that ending. That Ending. The Ending. Like I totally thought it would be a happy ending but who was I kidding? Definitely myself- that ending was so brilliantly unexpected and so artfully done. I mean, it wasn't a great ending in and of itself but how the author springs it on you the very last minute/paragraph was what made me decide I really liked this book. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson

Title: The Kiss of Deception (The Remnant Chronicles #1) 
Author: Mary E. Pearson
Publication Date: July 8th, 2014
Publisher: Henry Holt 

Rating: 5 out of 5

Goodreads Blurb:

A princess must find her place in a reborn world.
She flees on her wedding day.
She steals ancient documents from the Chancellor's secret collection.
She is pursued by bounty hunters sent by her own father.
She is Princess Lia, seventeen, First Daughter of the House of Morrighan.
The Kingdom of Morrighan is steeped in tradition and the stories of a bygone world, but some traditions Lia can't abide. Like having to marry someone she's never met to secure a political alliance.
Fed up and ready for a new life, Lia flees to a distant village on the morning of her wedding. She settles in among the common folk, intrigued when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. Deceptions swirl and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—secrets that may unravel her world—even as she feels herself falling in love. 

Although the story isn't particularly different from the usual YA reads, I loved the author's style and the world building and characters, which all added up to equal one of the most delightful reads this year.

I usually enjoy books told from different perspectives, and The Kiss of Deception was no exception- although I had a hard time figuring out which alias belonged to which character, I loooved the different POVs.  

I really liked Princess Lia's character and her spirit but it was very similar to all the other YA heroines nowadays. Both Kaden and Rafe aka he assassin and the prince were interesting additions and I loved the prince but I felt like strangling the imbecilic assassin during the second half of the book. He needs to figure out his priorities. 
Pauline, the best friend, was truly loyal and should have had a larger role in this book. SPOILERS. Walther, Lia's brother, was a supremely supportive and awesome brother and I felt really awful when he died.  

The kingdoms- Vendan, Dalbreck and Morrighan- are already suffering from shaky relations with with each other and Lia's escape from her marriage to the Prince of Dalbreck sparks even more conflict. The savages (Vendans) believe that Lia was able to escape because of her strong powers as the First Daughter so they send the assassin to kill her. But predictably, nothing goes as planned (antithesis? :D) and both the prince and assassin fall in love with the princess.

To those who hate love triangles, it wasn't much of a triangle- it was pretty obvious the prince was the One. Regardless, I personally felt that this book didn't emphasize much on the romance but rather Lia's refusal to be "a soldier in her father's army" and her burning desire to decide her own destiny. But alas destiny is hard to control and an ancient prophecy threatens to take over Lia's life.

The book ended with a slight cliff hanger but throughout, it was peppered with questions that I can't wait to see answered in the next book, The Heart of Betrayal.