I read "Hotblood" for an R2R event that's going on in one of the Goodreads groups where I'm currently a member. The synopsis grabbed me right away, and I knew I'd enjoy the novel, so I volunteered to review it. I'm happy to say that I wasn't wrong.
I was captivated straight from the beginning, as the author introduced me to her original urban fantasy world. It was a place called Sanders, though I don't remember where exactly that was supposed to be. Somewhere in North America.
We learn that there arefour special races – the Wilds, Hotbloods, Cools and Hollows – that mingle among the ordinary humans. Each race has their own abilities like nature control(Wilds), great fighting(Hotbloods), mind control(Cools) and whatever else the exterminated Hollows race was capable of.
Also, each race is divided in houses, each with its influences, inner dealings and such.
The first event we witness right after we plunge into the story, and it is kind of the main thing that spins the novel from then on, is the funeral of Devlin Sanders, a Wilds/Cools hybrid, who also happens to be a Son of the House of Slide – the most feared, capable and wealthy Wilds house.
It is at this funeral that our male protagonist, a boy who is to be called Lewis, meets the hybrid boy's sister, Dariana. She's a pale, lifeless thing, beautiful, delicate and... soulless. It is the last one on that list that sparks up Lewis's interest, because usually one could last a couple of days without a soul, but this girl had lived like this for ten years.
Supported by her brother, Dariana had contained enough live force to continue to exist, but she's more like a zombie than a living, breathing person.
Worn down by curiosity (and perhaps something else), Lewis is incapable to restrain himself from figuring out what's going on in the mysterious House of Slide. In an attempt to untangle a ten year old knot, he finds himself drawn toward Dariana and the mystery of her life. Little does he know that the first kiss they share would be the one thing that would turn his world around.
Because as it happens, Dariana is not who she appears to be. She's not only a Wilds/Cools hybrid like her brother. She also carries Nether blood in her veins. And since the Nether (those who created the four races) are capable of manipulating souls, she is too.
In a whirlwind of emotions, along with the timely intervention of a Nether creature, Dariana and Lewis end up with each other's souls.
From then on, they come out as completely different people. The Hotblood soul that now occupies Dari's body makes her violent, incapable of self-control and completely unbalanced. She has to spend some time with her father in order to learn who and what she is, and also – how to not be a zombie anymore.
However, it is when she goes back to her home in Sanders that events really start unfolding. She meets Lewis again, and slowly falls for him. She feels an inescapable pull toward him even when she finds out what he is, and pushes him away. When Dari realizes her mistake it's way too late, and by the time she goes on to search for Lewis, she only falls into a trap – a grand plan that consists of eliminating the House of Slide.
This novel is a mad pool of near death experiences, deaths, sacrifices, lots of bloodshed and violence. But it also contains a lot of love, mystery and compassion.
The only thing I didn't like about it were the many questions that were never answered. Like what happened to the Nether creature? Why were the demons chasing Dari? Who was Valerie exactly? How did Grim find Satan's coat? Did the four races live in secrecy to the outside world? And so on.
Even so, my evaluation is 4 stars.
"Blood Warrior" is the first installment of the Alexa Montgomery series by author H.D. Gordon. It is a debut, indie novel, and as such it isn't perfectly written. However, I heard many positive reviews in one of my Goodreads groups, and so when it was given for an R2R, I thought I'd check it out.
Here are my thoughts:
This is a paranormal/urban fantasy novel, directed at the young adult audience. It talks about werewolves, vampires and warriors - who are a mixed gene pool from all non-human races.
Alexa Montgomery is a seventeen year old girl, who lives in an ordinary American city, goes to an ordinary High School and lives with a... not so ordinary mother and sister. For years Alexa hates her mother, because the woman is abusive. Or so does Alexa think. But in fact, the extensive training that always leaves her with black eyes and painful rib cage are Alexa's preparation for her life ahead.
Which life isn't going to be easy, or full with cuddly little bunnies, and she understands this way too early. When the blood thirsty Lamia (a kind of vampire) attack Alexa's house, she kills two of them in a mad state of rage that burns inside her. But more keep coming, and the odds are not in favor of Alexa, her sister Nelly and their mother. Seeing that it's impossible for all three of them to get out of this alive, Alexa's mother makes the girls leave her behind.
After a wild game of hide and seek with the Lamia, and a visit to an old friend of her mother's, Alexa, Nelly and Jackson (a werewolf boy, who's the only friend of Alexa) end up in the city Two Rivers. It is like a heaven - it's bright, and posh, and gorgeous. It is a city of the non-human races. But it is also a city of many secrets, which are up to Alexa to figure out.
To be honest, I liked the plot. It wasn't the usual vampire/werewolf kind of story - there was a certain dose of originality, and it made me read on. There was also mysterious magic, secrets and romance that had me hooked.
But I can't say that I loved it. Or that I was crazy about it. Mostly because it felt really dry at parts. Gordon was talking of feelings, the action, Alexa's thoughts, but I don't want to be told, I want to be shown. I want to be drawn into the story along with the characters, to experience what they experience. And I don't.
The descriptions of Alexa's inner "monster" are inadequate and incomplete, and I was left to wonder what that character was experiencing exactly. Yeah, I'm told that she's in rage and can't control her anger, but ... it simply wasn't enough for me. I want to feel her insides burning, I want to hear her muscles straining with the desire to control herself and her inability to do so.
Also, I know that this isn't a particularly romance oriented novel, but there are some moments when romantic feelings are described, and they sound like something so casual, I couldn't help but wonder if I was actually reading a hot scene or a cooking manual. There was some kissing between Alexa and Jackson (after they hooked up), but it was on the cheek, on the forehead.. when it was on the lips it honestly felt like nothing. I've never read a novel where all the romance consists of: "I kissed him on the lips. It was sweet." or "He pulled me in for a hug and kissed my forehead." It sounds so absolutely devoid of emotion. At least I didn't feel anything. Because seriously, if you're leaving your boyfriend to go on a mission, would you just kiss him like he was your brother? I know I wouldn't. I'd hold onto him, and suck the love out of him to keep me going.
No such luck here.
And the love triangle isn't what it should be either. Kayden was the person who was destined to be with Alexa, because together they balance each other, and make each other's rage subside. But they're so blind to see beyond their noses, that neither notices that they have fallen in love. Alexa is too stubborn to let Kayden close to herself, and this kind of ruins it all. There were moments when I waited in anticipation for a hot scene between the two. It felt natural somehow, but the most I got was hugging. Hugging!!!!!
I wanted to love the characters. I really really tried to, but it just didn't come to me.
Last, but not least, there were the grammar problems. Lots of mistakes, repetitions and pointless observations. In the beginning there was a certain black bird that Alexa had to kill to save it from suffering. This bird was mentioned like twenty times in the first five chapters, and that made me think it was something important that I had to keep in mind. Guess what - it wasn't. The bird subject was dropped.
Then there was too much overthinking, too much overreaction, that seems so very unnatural. Something else that bothered me were repetitions of the sort: "My sister saw the hesitation in my eyes, and knew instantly that I was keeping something from her. "I see in your eyes that you're keeping something from me." She said (...)" Why describe it in the narration, when the character's going to say it anyway? And this happened a lot. It really irritated me.
I understand where the problem is however. It's in the fact that there was no revision or editing of the manuscript. It sounded unprofessional and unpolished, like a rough draft.
Still though, I give it three stars, because if it's edited well, it could be a really great read. I think that it even has the potential to reach four stars. Sadly though, not at the moment.
Only one quote came to my attention:
"Just before we were led through the gates, he pulled me to a stop and looked me up and down. I felt heat flood my cheeks.
"If you take a picture, it'll last longer," I whispered."
Guardians of the Cross (Warrior, #2)
on Feb. 19, 2012
I was supposed to read this book for a review, but after reading book one, I decided against it. It just wasn't my type of story.
I received this book to review from a Goodreads group as part of the R2R event. It was a really nice, fast, light read. After the serious mysteries I'd been plunging into the past couple of weeks, "My Enchanted Life" proved to be the distraction my brains needed.
It was intriguing though I can't say it swept me off my feet. I enjoyed it though, so it earned its 3 stars with no question.
There were problems with it however. For example, there was so much telling rather than showing, that I caught myself rolling my eyes on a number of occasions. Conversations were retold instead of written out as they should've been. Many descriptions were cliched rather than thought out exclusively. It was a nice imaginary world, but there was nothing original about it.
Also, the main character, Emma, was constantly talking to herself in what were supposed to be witty little remarks. Yet, instead of sounding witty, they were rather dull.
What annoyed me the most was that every other chapter someone would say something, Emma would look at them wide-eyed and they'll ask her "What? Nobody told you?" Seriously, by the second time I read that, I was already in the know that she had no idea what was happening and the repetition was getting old.
The falling in love was awfully quick and not exactly to my taste.
There was hardly any intrigue, but I guess that made it so light in the first place.
My favorite character was the dragon Cussard. He was funny and friendly and can I say pretty?
I recommend this book to anyone who wants to breeze through something to clear their mind of any difficult/heavy novels.
When I was given this book to review, I was more than a little skeptical about it. Not because of what I'd heard of it, because most reviews have been positive. It's rather because book 1, Blood Warrior, hadn't really made such a good impression on me.
But I can say that Half Black Soul was nothing like Blood Warrior. And by this I mean that the writing style had improved, the grammatical mistakes were mostly fixed and the story was actually making a great deal of sense.
**What I didn't like:**
True, there are some misspellings, some minor substitutions like 'too' for 'to' and 'passed' for 'past' (as in 'moved passed me'), but that can't really be too bothersome.
What really annoyed me were the overused italics. There wasn't a paragraph where at least one word would be italicized, sometimes two or tree words, and it just totally overdid it.
Also, one other thing that kind of bothered me was that sometimes the voices didn't sound realistic. Kayden for instance seemed so stiff and out of his skin that I wanted to strangle him. And sometimes Nelly's thoughts and conclusions sounded too childish.
Lastly, since this is a YA book, I felt that Alexa's language should've been a little toned down.
**What I liked:**
In this book we can finally hear Nelly's voice, and at one point Kayden's as well. It was nice to get to know Nelly for who she really was. In book 1 we only knew Alexa and how she saw the world. So Half Black Soul kind of broadened our scope of things.
Blood Warrior left us with Alexa leaving Two Rivers in order to find her mother. She had rejected Kayden's help, but I knew in my mind that he won't stop at anything and sooner or later would find her. I was not disappointed. And I give credit to the author for having Kayden appear at the perfect moment. The timing was just first class.
I loved the development of the romantic relationship by the Warrior and the Libra. It was about time that those two figured out how they felt about each other. And the guilt that Alexa felt for cheating on Jackson really annoyed me. I mean, yeah he was her boyfriend, but she never really hold any passionate feelings for him. So, with gorgeous Kayden by her side, why think of Jackson at all?
Besides I never got a good vibe off Jackson. I just didn't like the dude, especially when he sounded like a control freak or something.
The restaurant scene was really cheesy in the "Twilight" kind of way. I mean, everything about it felt like it came straight out of "Twilight" and just landed on this book's pages. I kind of laughed when I read it.
I loved how Nelly's searching abilities seemed to stretch almost indefinitely. She kind of grew up in this book from the frail child she was to a mentally strong person. The control she could exercise on people was totally amazing.
What really got me interested was the ending. I had never anticipated that wicked twist of events, but hey, it's the cliff hanger that makes you buy the next book, right?