I read some YA and NA this month and I gave them pretty similar ratings so I thought I’d share them with you =)
It Ends With Us
Sassy, strong, stereotypical NA heroine, Lily Bloom meets arrogant and unoriginal NA hero, Ryle Kincaid who just so happens to not do relationships!! Who would have thought?? Oh woe is me.
But they hit it off and start to date but things go awry and Lily finds that her past has become her present (I’m being vague on purpose).
There are also flashbacks from Lily’s past in the form of letters talking about her first love, Atlas Corrigan (a much better name than Ryle imo) and living with an abusive father.
Colleen Hoover mentions that this book is a very personal book for her, that she wanted to tell the story of her mom and answer the question, why do victims of abuse stay with their abusers? And I feel bad for not loving a book that an author has such personal ties to. But that’s the thing: I felt like the characters were just devices to make a point about abuse but not to exist as characters for themselves. And while she does a somewhat decent job of portraying this horrible cycle of abuse, it doesn’t discount the fact that a lot of its power was taken away by its excessive melodrama (some of the predictable and over the top plot points made me roll my eyes), gag worthy monologues and dialogue
“You were standing there like an angel backlit by the light of heaven”
and the stereotypical NA characters. There are some decent scenes (even though one of the scenes was actually taken from Hoover’s mother’s personal life) but not enough for me to continue reading anymore of Hoover’s work. Sorry not sorry but kind of sorry.
Kate Thompson wants to get revenge for the people that have killed her father. To catch them, she travels with a pair of brothers (don’t worry, no love triangle) and a Native ally (stereotypically portrayed as the stoic and spiritual Native American). Little does she know that her father has been hiding secrets from her her entire life and getting revenge is more important than ever.
Vengeance Road is a fun Western adventure that explores revenge and letting go of one’s past. Our main characters are determined, flawed, and easily relatable. This is one of those YA books where the main characters are traveling for most of the book so if you’re not into that, this book’s not for you but it was never tedious because I think Bowman did a wonderful job describing the rough and tumble of the Wild West. Bowman really tries to keep to the Western dialect throughout the story so props to that as well. Add in a couple of flashbacks, a couple of cool action scenes, several plot twists, and a spot of romance and I was basically hooked.
And I Darken
And I Darken is a alternative historical fiction centering around Vlad the Impaler except retold as if he were a girl named Lada Dragwlya. Lada is a violent, smart and merciless person. She has a complicated relationship with her brother Radu, her tenderhearted brother.
Radu and Lada are sent to the Ottoman capital where they meet Mehmed, future sultan of the empire but Lada is biding her time until she can return back to Wallachia to claim her birthright.
Ok, I have no idea how to express my feelings on this one. To sum it up, I felt it was..ok..which is odd because if it had continued to be like it was for the first 20 percent of the book, it would have easily been a 5 star book. I love how consistent Kiersten White portrayed Lada, she was brutal and remorseless, and the reader can actually see it. It was something I wish Throne of Glass had done but didn’t. However, after that, I thought the middle 70 percent was kind of a disaster. The fascinating relationship between Lada and her brother Radu took a backseat and I was left with their constant thoughts about Mehmed and I’m wondering, what is so special about this guy? Kiersten did not spend nearly enough time developing Mehmed for me to understand why Lada and Radu felt so deeply about him. Also, I never felt a sense of urgency or conflict for these characters. Problems were solved without any real buildup, the choices the characters made were suppose to feel important but just didn’t, and the plot was basically nonexistent until the last third of the book. I don’t know why this book was marketed as a fantasy book, it’s not. It’s not an action-packed book and is heavy on the political intrigue. In fact, it reads a lot like a coming of age story. A lot of the book is focused on Lada from her young childhood to early teens and her journey to learning what it means to be a woman and Radu who feels a lot of resentment towards Lada for being so unforgiving towards him but eventually finds his place in the world. I also wished Kiersten White trusted her characters enough to let their actions speak for themselves instead of saying they’re doing this because they’re feeling this way or vice versa. The writing was so generic but I did enjoy the worldbuilding enough to learn more about the Ottoman Empire so I guess that’s something.
Let me know if you’ve read any of these books and what you thought of them. Maybe it’ll help me with some of my more conflicting thoughts. =)