The Devil of Nanking~ Book Review

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Haunting. Terrifying. Beautifully strange and amazing. Mo Hayder has become my new favorite author. The Devil of Nanking is electrifying from start to finish. From the very first page the gore never stops. This book made me feel like I needed a nice hot shower. In a good way. The narration was disturbingly delicious, the plot never waned, and I loved how morally ambiguous the characters are.

No one in this book is a good person necessarily and I loved this the most. Every character, even the unimportant ones, have interesting layers to their personality and why they do the things that they do.

Grey, one of the protagonists is noticeably off her rocker and I cannot stress how much I love reading about warped characters. Especially from their perspective. I enjoyed Lolita for the same reason.

Chongming, survivor of the Nanking massacre and the catalyst for this story is also very interesting. I can’t talk too much about his character without spoiling the plot. Actually, it’s pretty hard to give this book a review without dropping a spoiler. Which I won’t do so I will say this. If you’re into Gillian Flynn and Haruki Murakami then this is right up your alley.

TLDR; It’s bloody, strange, and eerie. The Devil of Nanking is an experience. It’s beyond the realm of simple story telling.

goodreads: frootbatte

twitter: caligulazhorse

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Why The Coldest Girl In Coldtown sucks and what is exactly happening to the paranormal YA genre…..?

Wow and I thought I would never encounter another book that would fill me with so much rage. I allowed myself to gorge on this stupid shit show. It wasn’t the writing. The writing was fine. A bit awkward at times but it sufficed which is why I didn’t give this book one star.

Holly Black, I’ve heard, is supposedly fantastic. So I stepped outside of the norm and allowed myself to read this YA. The Coldest Girl in Coldtown lacks so much spirit and sincerity. Depth and heart are clearly missing from every facet. It makes the gorgeous prose meaningless. The words in this book are simply words. This book had to have simply been a shot at the money making machine that is paranormal YA. I love vampires. I truly do but I think pop culture and how our society interprets their myth has destroyed the magic. Vampires just aren’t cool anymore.

MAYBE had I read this when I was fourteen I might feel differently (doubt it). Tana lacked so much tone. Gavriel was dull. Aidan was a try hard bad boy. The only good thing I loved about this book was Valentina. I loved the inclusivity of a transwoman.

There were times when I thought it would get better but nothing interesting happens up till page 300. The way Black writes gore and violence is superb and I would love to have that translated into an adult book. Paranormal YA in general is so lacking. It’s almost as if the writers are purposely dumbing down their writing.

Let me tell you future paranormal YA writers and published writers that wish to explore the realm; you don’t have to water down the story. Your plot can be complex and meaningful. Teenagers want to read things that challenge them. Or if you’re really out of touch with the demographic, then don’t bother at all. Paranormal YA deserves just as much hard work as any adult fantasy genre.

It’s a shame to me that writers don’t feel like they have to try hard and be thoughtful when putting together a YA paranormal story. I’m not saying Black didn’t try. She probably tried her damned hardest. I wouldn’t know because I haven’t read anything else by her. I intend to and maybe I can return to this post later and give a better review on what went wrong with this book. I think publishing companies should be held accountable too. Stop allowing paranormal YA to become over saturated with sub par work.

Contemporary YA is amazing so why shouldn’t fantasy/paranormal? Do better YA writers…..

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown could’ve really gone there. It could’ve really been smart but it was just a meshed version of True Blood and Interview With a Vampire squished up into a convoluted mess. This could’ve been really original and of its own. 2/5 stars.

I read The Diabolic before this but I don’t plan on reading anymore niche YA for a long time.

TLDR; If Twilight was your jam, then this might be up your alley. While it isn’t the most original book, I see how it could be entertaining for someone who seeks it’s genre. The gore is a bit shocking for YA, but I enjoyed that aspect of it. The vampires in this book do actually do vampire things and that’s always enjoyable.

goodreads: @frootbatte

The Night Circus (A beautiful snooze fest) A Review

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The Night Circus, like The Bees, was more of an experience than pure entertainment. The writing is lyrical but sometimes kind of awkward, the shifting perspectives doesn’t really give the reader a chance to become attached to any of the characters, but I was pleased.

When I first started the book, I was a little anxious. This book is incredibly slow and I get that all of the world building was necessary. Every chapter was contingent upon another so I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this book was blah blah blah and dull. Every detail is intentional and perhaps, had I been looking for that type of story, this book would’ve worked out better for me. It was hard to rate this book because it was good, but it took way too long to get to the meat of it all. I struggled between three or four stars, but I went ahead and gave it 4.5/5.

This book is beautifully campy. The romance doesn’t really happen until like 250 pages in which I think worked. Marco and Celia don’t have insta-love but the gaps in time made it come off that way. I don’t think the reader got enough insight into why Marco and Celia love each other outside of their bond. Which is a forced connection.

My biggest problem with the book is the confusing magic system and the overall dramatic idea of the ‘duel’ between Celia and Marco. Erin Morgenstern does a good job at with-holding information because a lot of stuff that happens is downright convoluted. And I think that was an intentional decision she made. To keep the story just as vague and mysterious as the circus itself. That could just be me excusing very vague writing and bad storytelling, but I will give Morgenstern the benefit of the doubt.

I gave the book 4.5 because it is her debut novel and I would like to read future published works by her. The overall story was very imaginative and different from anything I’ve ever read. Next to Laline Paull’s The Bees.

TLDR; This book is worth it if you’re into a prose and complex detail. Also if you simply enjoy books about circuses. When the romance does develop its amazingly well done, if you ignore how Marco treats Isobel (but that’s a spoiler I won’t get into).

I can’t give a full review without spoilers so check this book out for yourself! I encourage.

Goodreads: @frootbatte