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 Reavers of the Blood Sea is part of the Dragonlance novels and deals primarily with the events of the Chaos War, but through the eyes of the minotaur race, a type of creature Knaak continues to return to again and again. The story follows a minotaur named Aryx, a decedent of the famous Kaz (you'll recognize him if you've read Huma or either Land of the Minotaurs or Kaz the Mintoaur), who is thrust with the task by Sargonnas himself to unite his people and the Knights of Takhisis to face the creatures of Chaos in spite of their differences.
Aryx is a very interesting character in that he is a very reluctant hero. He isn't the self-sacrificing hero that Huma was, nor is he the honorable Kaz we love, but is the underdog who doesn't like the responsibilities he's faced with, and is just simply an average guy. His obvious dislike towards the role he's expected to perform, however, makes him very likable and very real. You can't help but feel for the guy in spite of his whining sometimes, and all and all he's a very well developed protagonist. The other characters are equally fleshed out, and I enjoyed the lot of them wholeheartedly. The relationship between Aryx and his brother was especially heartwarming, and surprisingly for Knaax the romance in this novel actually felt real for the most part in contrast to previous underdeveloped ones in other books.
The plot is well constructed and there's plenty of action to keep you interested and guessing what's going to happen next. I don't know how well the story fits in with the rest of the Chaos War stuff, (as I haven't read them), but from my own opinion and guesswork I don't imagine it gives too much away or muddles the original storyline. The ending was probably the most negative aspect of the entire novel as it leaves on a sort of cliffhanger in the middle of war, and thus persuading you to read the next books set during the war.
All in all, this was a very well done novel for both Dragonlance and Knaax. It brought a little more attention to the minotaur race, an aspect we rarely see in the original Dragonlance stuff, as well as renewed my faith in Knaax's work (I was severely disappointed with his Night of Blood trilogy) or at least his older stuff anyway. 4/5





2011 Reading Challenge





2011 Reading Challenge



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Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce-Review

 Wild Magic is the first novel in the Immortal series, the second series set in Tamora Pierce's Tortall. Following our young heroine, Daine, a girl with extraordinary powers and connection with animals, we are introduced to a slightly different Tortall: one overrun by mystical monsters. Wild Magic is really the introduction to the appearance of both mystical monsters such as dragons, etc... but also a intro to the variety of gods that will start to appear more frequently within the world itself. As we follow Daine, we watch her grow, learn to control her powers, and find out who she really is.
Daine's series has never been one of my favorites in the Tortall universe. I do love the story, and I really do like the last two novels in the series especially, but I've never really cared for Daine. It might be because she's more like me than Alanna was, but her shy, unsure of herself attitude gets under my skin every once in a while. In spite of this, though, Daine is a great protagonist and does show a lot of character development. If you have read the Alanna series, it is a good idea to read the Immortals as well, though be warned you won't be dealing with awesome, tough Alanna, but a shyer, quieter equivalent. Comparatively Alanna is easily an Elizabeth Bennet, while Daine could be considered a Fanny Price. If you did like Alanna's story though, do read Daine's. The writing, the world, and the plot are all great even if, like me, you don't always care about the protagonist. 4/5





2011 Reading Challenge





2011 Reading Challenge



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Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce-Review

 Lioness Rampant is the fourth and final novel of the Song of the Lioness Quartet, and is my favorite one of the series. Most of the novel deals with Alanna's quest to retrieve a powerful object to help her kingdom, and the big, fun events we've been waiting for.
Lioness Rampant is easily my favorite of the four as it brings together everything you've been seeing since the first novel. Character development, hatred, doubts, and love all come to a head in this beautiful end to the series. I can't say much without too much spoilage, but know for sure this is still awesome! 5/5
I tend to notice something in my reviews of a series. They get shorter as the series progresses. Most of the time I think it's because I've already said most of what I like in the series in like the first one or two, oh and I can't talk plot because of spoilers. 





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 The Woman Who Rides Like a Man is the third Song of the Lioness novel and deals primarily with Alanna's acceptance of her Gift (a factor of herself she has always been afraid of), and her relationship with Jonathan, as well as his growing power as a prince.
The Woman Who Rides Like a Man has always been one of my favorite Alanna books. Alanna has now grown, and faces challenges that can't be overcome with bashing a sword at someone alone. She must learn to accept and use parts of herself she wasn't able to before, and well as deal with her identity as a female knight instead of pretending to be a male one. This is also one of the calmer novels in the quartet as most of it is character development, and set-up, lovely wonderfully done set-up for the last and best novel in this series. Nevertheless the writing, the characters, everything is awesome. 5/5





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2011 Reading Challenge



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Time of the Twins Graphic Novel-Review

 The graphic novel adaptation of the original Time of the Twins dragonlance novel was both accurate and well done. Focusing mostly on the important events, the graphic novel captures most of the essence of the original (though there is a significant lack of a certain cupcake scene :)) and leaves you with breathtaking art to compensate for the rest. I'm not always a fan of graphic novel adaptations, but I really enjoyed the effort put in this one and loved the artstyle. If you have read the original novel, do check out this lovely adaptation of Raistlin, Caramon, Crys, and Tas's crazy adventures through time. :D 4/5
Please see my Goodreads page for my original review of the actual story. I think it's pretty short, but I remember really enjoying the book, especially in comparison to the original Dragonlance trilogy. There's much more character development, and just cooler stuff happens :P Like time travel! Godhood! Yay!





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 In the Hand of the Goddess is the second book in Tamora Pierce's Song of the Lioness Quartet, and follows Alanna's journey from squire to her initiation as a knight. While the book does seem to end one of the big plots, those that have read the series before will see the fun, little set-up Pierce is playing around with in this novel.
So In the Hand of the Goddess is really just a continuation of the first novel in this series, and really is just showing us Alanna's journey in getting her shield, a bit of romance, and an interesting climatic event at the end WHICH I WILL NOT SPOIL that really are just there to push on onwards to the next book, where STUFF GETS REAL! In spite of that, I do love this little wonder. Yes, it's fast-paced, events swoop by way too quickly (a problem within this series, though one I think from the fact that when the author wrote it, 200 pages were like the max for YA novels), but it's damn freaking good. The character development is still there, the events are still beautiful written, and it's very addicting. 5/5
I know this isn't much of a review, but it's the second in a series and I love it. You couldn't expect me not to go all fangirl on it, now could you?





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2011 Reading Challenge



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 The Demon Trapper's Daughter is an interesting and original paranormal YA novel set in Atlanta, USA. The world has been overrun by demons and necromancers, and trappers, humans working to trap demons to make a living, are the main focus of the story. The novel revolves around this girl Riley who, you guessed it, is the daughter of a very famous trapper, Paul Blackthorne. As Riley attempts to follow in her father's footsteps, conspiracy and mysteries start to appear surrounding Riley and the demons as Riley struggles to keep her friends and herself alive.
The Demon Trapper's Daughter was a very original and intriguing novel. The concept of demons taking over, and the adaptations humans are forced to make to survive was probably my favorite part of the book. I loved the idea of a Supernatural (TV Show)-esque world where hunter and trappers have their own community and rules, and the changes demons have made to the 21st century. To me it was not only brilliant, but very real. That being said, however, I felt there was a supreme lack of explanation in how all of this happened. Yes, the book does hint at certain things, and infodumps are not exactly the easiest things to write or read, but I really would've have loved to read about the whys, hows, and whens about how the world got to that point. I'm a stickler for wanting to know ALL the answers, and not knowing them in this one really bugged me. That being said, it's certainly possible they could be answered in later books. Hm.
One of the things I liked and disliked about this book was the characters themselves. I liked Riley for the most part, but got annoyed at her enough to make me feel mixed about her character. Other than Beck, maybe, I didn't really care for any of the others, and felt most of them were pretty stereotypical. Hot, mysterious boy, innocent, loving boy, friend who gets offended way too quickly, dick master, father who wasn't there and kept secrets...you get the idea. The problem with these characters is that they get predictable, and I don't like predictability.
In terms of writing and pacing, I felt it was for the most part decent, but I did put the book down several times because it got too boring, and had to force myself to push past those parts. Not a good sign. There's good action within the novel, don't get me wrong, and I felt the author did do a good job writing those scenes, but the majority of it is just okay. I saw enough things coming to figure out a good chunk of the plot, and there's enough cliched plot devices here for me to figure out the next few books too.
All in all, while The Demon Trapper's Daughter was entertaining and kept me reading for the most part, it lacked certain elements that me like it beyond the 'okay' mark. 2/5





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2011 Reading Challenge



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 Alanna: The First Adventure is the first book in Tamora Pierce's well-known Song of the Lioness series, as well as being the first series set in her land of Tortall. The story starts out with Alanna, a very strong-willed girl who decides that she's going to be a knight, and switches places with her twin brother, Thom, to be sent to the capital, while he's sent to learn magic. Hiding her true identity, and pretending to be a boy, Alanna: The First Adventure follows Alanna's journey from page to squire all the while defeating bullies, saving her friends, and learning to accept and love herself.
This is like the 5th or 6th time I've read the Alanna series, and honestly, this series just gets better and better the more I read it. The action, the character development, and Alanna herself are all marvelous to read about. I love all the action, and since I've read all of the books, I love the set-up Pierce is doing. I really can't say much more than that without spoiling things, but I love this book, I love this series, and I love Tamora Pierce's writing. The only negative thing I can say is that I wish they were longer....:P 5/5





2011 Reading Challenge





2011 Reading Challenge



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Outside In by Maria V Snyder-Review

 Outside In is the sequel to Maria V. Snyder's first YA novel Inside Out, as well as (sadly) being the end of this short-lived series. :( The sequel picks up a few months after the events at the end of the first one, and our favorite gal Trella is back dealing with more action, conspiracy, and the biggest problem in her life: trust. In this trilling sequel, Trella will have figure out the secrets behind Inside, unite her people, and save them all from the greatest danger of all: Outside.
I tend to devour Maria V. Snyder's books, and Outside In was no exception. The pacing, the description, the action, everything, as always, was very well done and utterly engrossing. The conflict between the characters was very well done, and I loved the way the author was able to keep you guessing and wondering the motivations behind everyone. Beautiful, wonderful suspense!
Trella as a character really grew and I was really happy with the focus Snyder was able to put on her development while still keeping the suspense, in the 200-300 pages she had to work with. I really enjoyed her relationship with Riley as well as the Doctor, and I felt their development was really fleshed out in this novel.
The only thing I really didn't like about this novel was the fact that's way way too short, and thus events happen and develop much too quickly. If only Snyder could have had another 100-200 pages to really flesh the story out that much more, then I think it would've been perfect. All in all, however, it was fabulous and a great ending to the 'duet.' 4/5





2011 Reading Challenge





2011 Reading Challenge



Kereesa has


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Out of the Dark by David Weber-Review

 A thank you to the Goodreads First Reads program as well as the author himself for letting me win a copy of this book.
***A fair warning, this might be a bit more of a rant than a review, but I'll try to keep it spoiler free, and not completely bad-mouth the entire thing.***
Out of the Dark is a scifi, nearly apocalyptic tale of the struggle between humans in 2018 against their alien oppressors, the Shongairi who plan to use the human race as slaves for their empire. Their colonizing efforts, however, run into a bit of trouble when they realize the human race has superior military technology than they do, and are effectively kicking their butts. The story follows several characters, all of whom are either in various national militias or have an amazing amount of access to intense weaponry, as they fight back, and usually win against their alien invaders.
For 300 appx. pages that's what this book was about.
For 300 appx. pages I was totally interested and riveted by the events going on. The plotline was steady, building, and never too unbelievable, the characters were interesting, well-developed, and never too confusing for me to forget them, the writing was clear, not too detailed or boring in describing weaponry, and engaging.
For 300 appx. pages this book was an easy 4/5, and was going to have a special spot on my shelf.
For 300 appx. pages I liked this book, and was ready to recommend it to people.
But. (and this where you could be spoilt-so please read with caution)
The author dug himself into a hole. He created a situation that couldn't be solved by humans, and thus needed something/someone to save Earth from utter annihilation. He needed a deus ex machina that would not only save his story, but yet still be utterly believable.
He then did the one thing you never do, unless you're Akira Toriyama, with scifi and fantasy. He put them together.
Yes, the humans were saved by the aliens through the aid of a fantastical element. Namely: Vampires. And not just any vampires, Count Dracula was in it. As the deus ex machina hero. Yes, there was some, very vague set-up throughout the piece, and it's certainly possible that you could believe this very obvious attempt to solve everything without trying to think up another way or you know change the story, but the important point here is that I didn't believe it. I couldn't believe it, and it absolutely ruined the book for me.
From a 4/5, this book went to 1/5. In the words of my Creative Writing Professor, it destroyed "the contract between writer and reader." After finishing this I was ready to give it 1/5, but because I really did enjoy the first 300 pages of this novel I'm giving it 2/5.
And yes, if you're asking, I ranted about this thing for almost a week straight. I think that's why my review is much nicer than it could've been.





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2011 Reading Challenge



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