Monday, 11 May 2015


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So, I joined this. Yay.

Author highlight Monday

So, this is a new thing I'm starting. Every Monday I'm going to pick one of my favourite authors and say nice things about them. Except for when I pick an author I hate and rip them to shreds *cue evil laugh*. For today,though, I'm going to pick one of the guys that made me get into reading in the first place, so it feels like it's only right to start of with the one and only Michael Grant.

I know most people rave on about his Animorph series, but what really did it for me was GONE and BZRK. Both of those series made me go from being a light reader to becoming a full-on bookaholic. This is the most wonderfully, fantastically messed up author I know, and I love it. No other YA author can make severed limbs, organs and evil supervillains be so entertaining.

The concept of the stories are refreshing, completely different to anything I'd read until then and, honestly, to anything I've read since, and that is why I've kept this author as one of my all-time favourites. If you enjoy books that aren't afraid to go way past where YA fiction usually goes, this is the author for you. If you want the weirdest, coolest concepts in current YA fiction, pick up one of his books.


Sunday, 10 May 2015

Traveler's Gate Trilogy, Will Wight


These books aren't new, and they're not even not particularly relevant at the moment, but f*ck it. I love them. It's probably the most refreshing series I've read in the last couple of years, completely different from the typical commercial paranormal romance crap the publishers seem to be pumping out to capture more and more readers. It genuinely makes me happy that someone finally decided to go in a different direction and did a bloody good job of it. Well done, Mr. Wight.

Since this is a trilogy, I'm not going to give you a summary like I usually do, and I'll try to avoid any spoilers 'cos I'm a nice guy. Straight up review, how does that sound? Good. Ready? Set? Boom, here goes the review:

The Traveler's Gate Trilogy isn't about the 'chosen one'. It isn't about the dude who is in the prophecy to save the world and get the girl. This is about the other guy. Now, for a moment I ask you to think back to Harry Potter (if you haven't read it, and I mean read, not watched the movies, get out). Imagine the story of Neville Longbottom. He's the guy with good intentions that doesn't really do anything but has good intentions. Now imagine that Neville becomes a badass swordsman with magic powers. If you don't think that's awesome, there's something wrong with you.

Our Neville's name is actually Simon and, in my opinion, he's the best character in the book. The most inherently flawed hero of late, he's useless. But he works hard and doesn't give up, becoming the most insanely cool super hero magic dude of them all (yes, 'super hero magic dude' is a thing). The other characters worthy of mention are Leah, who also shows more and more depth as the story moves along and Alin, who is actually the chosen one. In Alin, we see a realistic chosen one, seeing how big-headed he gets and how he keeps getting smacked down by his failures. The series is realistic (well, as realistic as a fantasy novel can be), not having perfectly heroic characters and showing us the flaws that every human being has. Each character displays cowardice, overconfidence and even downright stupidity at times, which is something I personally love.

The writing was the perfect pace, the humour was there throughout, which was great, because I hate books that take themselves too seriously *cough* Twilight *cough*. The world building was absolutely fantastic, it all ties together beautifully, without any holes in the plot or contradictions. The world Wight has created is, in my opinion, the best since City of Bones, which is saying somthing, since I LOVE that series.

Anyway, I could rant on about how great this series is all day, but I think you sould go and pick it up and read it for yourself. It isn't a huge fanchise and I believe the YA community needs to get their hands on it, so go pick it up and tell your friends, you won't regret it. In fact, I'm so confident that, if you don't like it, you can punch me in the face.

Happy reading,


Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Demon Trapper's Daughter (Forsaken), by Jana Oliver

Hello, blogosphere.

I was desperate to find a new book series to read and found myself on Goodreads, looking at my recommendations. This book instantly caught my eye and I got my hands on it a little later, devouring it in less than 24 hours. It's been a while since I had a good reading session, and it felt good to finally make up for lost time!

I'm very confused about this book due to a lot of reasons, which made this review a little hard to write. I know that people are really intense and open about their love for this, so I have a little disclaimer: IF YOU'RE A FANGIRL/FANBOY (can I say 'fanperson'? Is that a thing?) AND YOU CAN'T TAKE CRITICISM, LEAVE. NOW.

Phew. Now that I've got that out of the way, I can get on with my life. And my review. But before I do, I think you guys should know what it's about... So: Ready? Set? Boom, here goes the synopsis:

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself—and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on...

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father's footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get—even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart—and her life?

I'm not sure what to think about this book. I'm very conflicted, and unsure whether I actually like it or not. It has some very good aspects, I can't deny that, but it has some aspects that really put me off. It isn't a bad read, far from it, but it went from greatly entertaining me to pissing me off in the turn of a page. Instead of just randomly saying stuff like I usually do, I'm going to divide everything into categories: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

The good:

The basic idea and the world presented to us was very refreshing, which is something I sorely needed, finally giving me a break from books centered around horrifically love-sick teens. Instead of that, it actually focuses on the plot (shocker, I know) and makes any romance secondary to the action (cue the gasps). Good job, Jana Oliver. I appreciate that.

I also liked the fact that she put an actual effort into creating the world for her series, giving it some depth and detail, which I loved, especially the hierarchy of the demons (Ones, Threes, Geo-Fiends and so on) and the detailed (but not overly so) explanations of how to trap them, along with the rivalry between the Trappers and the Hunters, which shows some promise for the other books in the series.

Beck. Beck is the best freaking thing in the book, blowing all the other characters out of the water. He's the only one I take seriously because he actually has depth and shows some character development throughout the story. He starts off seeming to be the typical YA fiction badass but, as the story goes on, he becomes so much more. Plus, his sarcastic quips and his banter with Riley is great, bringing some much needed comic relief to the story.

The bad:

The writing is a little too slow for my taste, making the story drag along slightly. I get that sometimes you need to slow things down to create character development and add some detail and stuff, but at some points it just felt like it was fluff to meet her word target. I'm sure this writing style is great for some people, but the lack of action just isn't for me. Sorry, folks.

There was some stuff that just didn't seem coherent, like the fact that Riley could barely make her rent and bills but could afford to spend 12$ a bottle for holy water and spends all day driving around in her car when the author makes a point to repeatedly say how expensive gas is in their city. I know, I'm weirdly sensitive about this stuff, but it irritates me when the author contradicts himself (herself, in this case).

The ugly:

I liked Riley as a character, but I hated her interaction with Beck. Beck's the guy that looked after her when it all hit the fan, but she still manages to be a complete jerk to him because she had a crush on him when she was 15, which just seems childish and idiotic. She's being an idiot to the only guy who as always there for her, which seems... stupid.

Riley and Simon's relationship. Ugh. I can't take that seriously. Simon seems like a really irritating guy, with all his self-righteousness and his weird mood-swings and I just don't understand how Riley puts up with it. It's like: HELLO, BECK'S RIGHT THERE, STOOPID. They fall in love a little too quickly for it to be realistic, but all YA fiction does that, so I can't complain.

Anyway, this is the end of my review, and I'm really awkward with endings. So, um, bye. Peace out.

Happy reading,

- JRD.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

The Larten Crepsley Saga, Darren Shan

Hello, blogosphere.

Now, it's no secret that I'm a die-hard Shanster, and I've loved every book of his I've read, this series being no exception. I was a little concerned about it, because it's a prequel of one of my all-time favourite sagas (the Darren Shan saga), which I grew up with. I can imagine the pressure Mr. Shan was under: if these books weren't as good as the previous (next? Whatever, you know what I mean) one, he'd have a load of disappointed fans and a mailbox full of angry letters. Good thing that it not only lived up to my expectations, but exceeded them.

I could rave about the series for ages, but before I start to bore you with my waffling, I thought maybe you'd like to know a little about what they're about! I'll give you the synopsis of the first book and will avoid any spoilers (I've had to go through this review loads of times to make sure I didn't give anything away). Anyway: Ready? Set? Boom, here goes the synopsis:

When Larten escapes the terrible workhouse in which he toils, he doesn’t know that he is running from an early death… into another kind of transformation. After meeting the mysterious vampire Seba Nile while sheltering for the night in a crypt, Larten finds himself drawn into the shadowy world of the vampire Clan. As he travels and learns, Larten finds himself enjoying the adventure he has always dreamed of, seeing a world beyond any he suspected in his poverty-stricken youth. But Larten begins to discover something else, too. Much like death, becoming a vampire is something you can’t come back from…

If you're expecting Twilight or Dracula, you're going to be sorely disappointed. The vampires in this series and sparkly and tortured, but nor are they sharply-dressed and suave. Much like humans, we find many different types of vampires amongst their ranks: some of them drink heavily, gamble and womanize while others live by strict codes of honour. I greatly appreciated this, because it made the whole thing more believable (you know, apart from the fact that they're vampires) and therefore more enjoyable.

I loved Larten Crepsley long before I read this saga, and I know I'm not the only one. Crepsley has been one of every Shanster's favourite characters due to his complexity, wit and overall mysteriousness. It has been great experience to read this saga a few years after finishing the previous (next? again, you know what I mean) one, answering a lot of questions and rounding off the story of an incredible character.

The novels tell the story of the coming of age of a vampire, with over two hundred years of self-doubt, being confused and occasional aimless wandering until the vampire is finally at ease with himself. Because the time that the novels cover is so large, there are a few jumps, several years at a time, but thankfully they don't detract from the overall storyline. If Shan were to cover everything that happened in Larten's life, it would take a hell of a lot more than four books!

Even though these books come before the Darren Shan Saga, I'd recommend you read them in the order that they were written in, or you'd be depriving yourself of the pleasure of recognizing names in the prequels. It's great, from the reader's point of view, to be able to smile at yourself when you're introduced to characters that you knew from before (or after? This is starting to get really confusing...).  Shan has really hit the nail on the head ith this series, and has satisfied the needs of a fandom that needed one last dose of Crepsley.

The series ended beautifully, in true Shan style, without any of the disappointment that lots of authors create with their way of wrapping up their sagas. A truly heart-wrenching finale that leaves any Shan fan loving the character of Larten Crepsley even more than they already did.  I know I'm gushing but I really loved these books, and I'm looking forward to devouring whatever Darren Shan publishes next! 

If you haven't already: do yourself and read these books. Seriously.


Happy reading,

- JRD.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card

Hello, people of Earh.

So I read 'Ender's Game' recently because of all the hype it's been getting, with the movie coming out and all. See, I like to read the book before I see it's cinematic adaptation, because I watched the movie before reading the book once before and was severely disappointed, not knowing that the book was actually epic (it's Percy Jackson, by the way. I'm looking at YOU, Chris Columbus). I watched that like a year ago, and I'm still pissed off about it.

So, yeah. I read Ender's game. Great read. Seriously good: great storyline, badass characters and fast, action-packed pace. I'm a fan, and I can't wait for the movie to come out (oh, and Harrison Ford is going to be in it, making it even more awesome). So, before I ramble on about the book, I'll let you who haven't read it get an idea about what it's about. Ready? Set? Boom, here goes the synopsis:

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world.

I was pretty hesitant about reading this book for two reasons: first, because it's 25 years old and second, because I'm not that keen on science-fiction. This book may have changed my opinion on the latter, though. Despite being a book about children playing battle up in space, this book has quickly become one of my personal favorites.

Some people are put off because of the age of the characters, but that's irrelevant to the storyline, all that matters is the theme they're being used to convey: what are human beings capable of doing for the "greater good"? The whole story revolves around this theme, with the main character, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin being highly conflicted and constantly waging psychological battles with himself.

The idea was brilliant, I loved it. The whole battle-room atmosphere and the competition between the kids at Battle School is a greatly refreshing idea, making it an exceptional read. I know that there are loads of YA novels set in schools (Variant, Harry Potter, Hex Hall...), but the concept was original enough to make it seem like a completely different way of going about YA fiction. No sappy love story, no paranormal romance, nothing to detract from the action and the break-neck pace of the story. Beautiful.

We find some wonderfully complex characters in the novel, my personal favorite being Peter Wiggin, Ender's slightly sociopathic brother who shows the most character development in the book. I love how he goes from being a power-crazed moron to becoming a halfway decent guy. Well played, Orson Scott Card. Well played.

The only problem I had with this book was the fact that the author is a complete and utter dick. I love his books, and I think he's an amazing author, but his obnoxious rants against homosexuality really put me off him as a person. I know a lot of people boycott his books because of that, but I can't bring myself to, because I just enjoy his books too much. I respect the fact that people do that, but I enjoy his books too much to deprive myself.

 I'll be watching the movie when it comes out, and I think you guys should too (after reading the book, OF COURSE), because I don't think you should miss out on something possibly amazing. Anyway, my recommendation to you guys is to stop what you're doing right now, go and buy the book and read it as quick as you can. Seriously. Do it. Now. I'm watching.

Keep reading, 



Wednesday, 7 August 2013


Hello, blogosphere.

Right. As the (admittedly few) readers of my blog know,  I started a blog about a year ago and started posting reviews.  Unfortunately,  I got lazy and the blog fizzled out, but all that is about to change. I've set all my distractions aside and have decided to finally get serious about the blog. If you're expecting serious critiques about literature,  you're going to be bitterly disappointed,  because this is a space for light-hearted book discussion and for people to share a laugh or two.

So basically,  I wanted to let you guys know that I'm finally getting serious about this, and that I have loads of books that I'd love to review for you guys. Even though I haven't posted in a while, my passion for reading hasn't diminished, which means I've been reading avidly, inhaling tons of books in my hiatus.

Well,  that's pretty much all I have to say for now,  peeps. Stay awesome, guys, and wait for reviews to come!

Keep reading,