Because of a thousand-year-old alliance between humans and pegasi, Princess Sylviianel is ceremonially bound to Ebon, her own pegasus, on her twelfth birthday. The two species coexist peacefully, despite the language barriers separating them. Humans and pegasi both rely on specially-trained Speaker magicians as the only means of real communication.
But it's different for Sylvi and Ebon. They can understand each other. They quickly grow close-so close that their bond becomes a threat to the status quo-and possibly to the future safety of their two nations.
Beth says 5 Stars…
I’ve been a huge fan of Robin McKinley’s books for years now, and this was no exception. She has a habit of writing stand-alone novels, so imagine my absolute shock when I reached the final page of this book… and it cut of in the middle of the action. I honestly had no idea this would be a series; nothing gives any indication of another book on the way except for McKinley’s website, which I immediately scoured for information. I know that quite a few people won’t agree with me because this book moves slowly where plot is concerned. The story focuses more on the development of characters and relationships than obvious action. There is some in there, but it doesn’t command the focus of the book. However, I still read this in one afternoon/evening in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. The sheer atmospheric beauty of the prose entranced me and kept me wanting more. So much of current fantasy relies on a constantly fast paced plot to entertain readers and often the writing suffers. I felt transported into the lives of Sylvi and Ebon; the world they lived in was stunningly crafted. The pegasi didn’t fit my expectations in the most wonderful of ways, and allowed me to release my preconceptions of the species that I’d received from other mythologies. It gives in depth views of two completely different cultures and captures the feeling of “otherness” which is rarely done successfully. The pegasi are so different from humans (those in the book as well) that I found it easy to sympathize with Sylvi because I felt the same way through the pages.
The characters manage to be themselves in a breathtaking manner. I never had a moment where I couldn’t understand why a character did something; I couldn’t image them any other way. The friendship between Sylvi and Ebon grew in a genuine way, changing just enough based on their circumstances but never losing its essence of care for one another. Sylvi delighted me as she grew into her role (which I’ll just say has the potential to make the second book fascinating), with her unintentional grace and ever present intelligence making her even more brilliant as a heroine. Ebon as a pegasus is obviously not the typical leading male of a fantasy novel, but that endeared him even more to me. His personality shined through the cross species differences, keeping him both relatable and foreign. Other characters do take part in the book, but it belongs so thoroughly to these two that nobody else particularly merits mentioning.
I’m rather surprised that the book is geared for children age 12… it lacks the action most of them probably crave. I would say that mature readers who want something mellow and lyrically written should pick this up. Pegasus strikes me as another one of McKinley’s grown up fairytales that rely on her gorgeous prose and immerse readers in a whole new world. If you’re looking for a thrill ride this isn’t for you, but it’s a stunning novel with a sequel I can’t wait to read.
Book from Library
(I know this is an older cover, but it's the one I first picked up and read - for nostalgia's sake!)
For many years Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the random power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who won't stay dead. But now her father, the Mage Abhorsen, is missing, and to find him Sabriel must cross back into that treacherous world - and face the power of her own extraordinary destiny. from garthnix.co.uk
Beth says 5 Stars...
This book is perhaps the best example I have of an oldie, but a goodie... I can't believe I haven't reviewed it before! I remember the first time I read it that my mother came into my room at midnight to take it away from me since I wouldn't go to sleep until I finished it; that's how good it is. The setting feels like a real world, not just something created on a page. Nix manages to capture the pain and fragmentation of a nation in turmoil as if it existed alongside us. More than that, the plot just plain sucks you in. It goes back to having a fascinating story unlike anything else the readers have seen. The novel falls into some delightfully dark places without becoming terrifying. This I think, really shows in the representations of Death and how it can be conquered by the bells, but eventually must be surrendered to. I also have to mention the magic in the book because I adore the way it takes shape. The combination of the old, traditional mark system with the completely new mythology of the different bloodlines and the charter stones still makes this one of my all time favorite representations of magic.
Then we get to the characters, each of which finds a facet of awesome somehow. The most basic way to describe Sabriel is that she kicks ass. Not that she prefers fisticuffs, but her determination and ability to accomplish tasks no matter what makes her fabulous. I really connected with her because of her imperfections; she does get panicked and make wrong decisions. However, despite it all she has an ability to set herself aside and work things out for the good of everyone. Then we come to Touchstone, who half the time makes me want to hug him and the other time smack him. I think he becomes endearing once his relationship with Sabriel grows (although even at the beginning he's awkward in a cute way), and when you learn how much love and compassion he has for everyone. I'm going to leave off with perhaps my favorite character... Mogget. The sarcasm that drips off his every word makes me smile. He acts as a sort of acerbic reality check for Sabriel, which makes so much sense with the talking cat persona, and teaches her how to survive in the Old Kingdom. At least, when he's not trying to con her into taking off his collar or just flat out attempting to kill her.
This book is nothing new, but still absolutely amazing. If you love YA fantasy and haven't read it yet do so now. Sometimes I'm in the mood for the latest thing, but this is one I've read over and over again. Even though what I got from it at 12 is different from what I learned at 20, the story still haunts and captivates me after all of this time. This should be a classic example of how to create an intense and magical experience that you have to come back for again and again.
All Beatrice Shakespeare Smith has ever wanted is a true family of her own. And she’s close to reuniting her parents when her father disappears. Now Bertie must deal with a vengeful sea goddess and a mysterious queen as she tries to keep her family – and the Theatre Illuminata – from crumbling. To complicate it all, Bertie is torn between her two loves, Ariel and Nate.
Beth says 5 Stars…
First and foremost, I LOVE THIS SERIES. Sorry, but I had to get that out there. It really is one of the most fun and quirky set of books published for young adults recently. The wit and heart (along with the originality) that drew me to Eyes Like Stars remained a constant force, making me chuckle and cry alternatively. This closing act definitely brought it home in more ways than one, with things both predicted and out of left field in the best possible way. I loved that the Theater itself returned to prominence as it feels like an anchor to the books. I actually read this one on a plane, which I think truly testifies to how good the novel is. I completely forgot where I actually was and instead found myself transported to Bertie’s magical world. The plot utterly pulled me in and kept me entertained. I finished it in one sitting, that’s how much I enjoyed it! I will say that this definitely doesn’t stand alone and really relies on the other novels in the series. I personally think that’s a good thing because it made me become invested in the story. I honestly cared what about happened to the characters and how the novel ended.
Oh the characters… all I can say is that parting is such sweet sorrow as far as they’re concerned. Bertie still had her spunk, but showed immense vulnerability in this book. However, her fragility fell on the side of endearing because she became broken, easy as it may have been. Even through all of the tests, trials, and pie, she never completely lost herself and managed to discover her identity without whining about it. The fairies continually delighted me with their antics and loving devotion to Bertie and cakes, cupcakes, puddings… where was I? The interplay between them kept me in stitches without seeming forced. Then we come to the wonderful strapping gentlemen, who spiced up the book. They serve to highlight each other’s strengths and weaknesses as well as Bertie’s. Dependable Nate and tempestuous Ariel both ended up in the best places they could have, which made saying goodbye a touch more bearable.
I’m going to continue recommending this series of books to people looking for something a little different. They’re wonderful, magical, comedic, tragic, and really everything a set of novels should be. If you haven’t read these books you really must, because they’re simply fantastic. I give Lisa Machev a standing ovation for daring to create a wonderful series in the face of Twilight and for bringing these characters to life. As sad as I am to see the curtain close on this cast, I know that they’ve provided me with enough fun and laughter to last through many re-readings.
Not his saunter down the beach toward her. Not his unbelievable pick up line. Not the instant, undeniable connection. And not his wings.
So long happily-ever-after.
Now trapped between life and death, cursed to spread chaos with her every touch, Eden could be the key in the eternal struggle between heaven and hell. All because she gave her heart to one of the Fallen, an angel cast out of heaven.
She may lose everything she ever had. She may be betrayed by those she loves most. But Eden will not be a pawn in anyone else's game. Her heart is her own.
And that's only the beginning of the end.
Beth says 2.5 Stars…
I just couldn’t get into this one. I’d read raves about it and was super excited since it seemed different enough to hold my interest. The premise did hold true to the promise of something a bit off the beaten path, but it never managed to capture my attention. I didn’t find the actual plot highly compelling or particularly well-paced. The book could have used some trimming as far as length, as I found large portions that didn’t move anything forward. It’s not like there was a desperate need for a few more pages because the book’s fairly substantial (over 400 pages). I also believe that the way Clifford disseminated information to readers could use some work. It took me forever to gain my bearings at the beginning of the novel, which then allowed me to get confused later on. I found that quite a few of the details were either unnecessary or never became fully explained. The plot never formed into a cohesive whole that I could lose myself in.
Honestly, the biggest problem I had was with the characters. First of all, I really didn’t like Eden. I know I’ve mentioned my hatred of angst before, which put me at odds with Eden from the beginning of the book. I found the way she handled her relationships with everyone, not just romantic partners, and her trust issues grating. I found the idea of a gay angel delightful and will say that I’m very glad that was a fixture in the story. The other rather large bone I have to pick with the story is the language used. In the dialogue the characters swore… a lot. I’m not morally opposed to cursing in the slightest, but what I do find terrible is using foul language just to do so. It didn’t feel organic to the characters and instead seemed contrived. It was almost as if it were there simply to be there or for shock value. I feel like that cheapens the writing and characters.
I really think this book belongs in the skip-worthy pile. I know that some people adore it, and I can’t argue with them. I just think that the plot lacked anything to compel me, which disappointed the promise shown in the original idea. The gratuitous swearing and less than amazing characters did the book no favors either. All in all, this isn’t a series I’ll be following and I don’t suggest it for you either.
Vi knows the Rule: Girls don’t walk with boys, and they never even think about kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn…and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi’s future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.
But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they’re set on convincing Vi to become one of them….starting by brainwashed Zenn. Vi can’t leave Zenn in the Thinkers’ hands, but she’s wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous: everything Zenn’s not. Vi can’t quite trust Jag and can’t quite resist him, but she also can’t give up on Zenn.
This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.
Beth says 4 Stars…
This is another entry into the realm of dystopian fiction, and one that’s more successful than most. The concept seemed somewhat interesting, despite how similar the description sounded to some other recent novels. By the end of the book, however, the initial little blurb proved itself to be less than completely accurate in terms of the tone and content of the novel. The set up for the world has a very incomplete introduction that does improve with time. I thought the plot was interesting enough and it kept me engaged long enough to have things make some sort of sense. Initially the world confused me, with large amounts of information missing. It didn’t make sense well into the book and I just didn’t gain clarity until the end of the novel. I will say that the plot moved at an absolutely breakneck pace, which sucked me in entirely. It also wasn’t predictable although it of course had some familiar elements that I’ll get to later. I never would have predicted the ending, and I found that highly refreshing.
The main thing about Vi that bothered me centered on her romantic relationships. Personality wise Vi didn’t bother me terribly much; in fact I found her internal conflict between her societal conditioning and her own desires fascinating. What really frustrated me was that she immediately became obsessed with a guy. It really got to the point of intense love within an incredibly short amount of time. It’s an example of something that bothers me in YA currently, which is that the female characters become highly wrapped up in a man and lose their identity in the process. Not only that, but they come to the conclusion quite rashly. Literally, within a few weeks in the time of the novel they manage to fall deeply in love and lose all sense of what they need themselves. This book in particular got me because of how Vi changed her romantic loyalties early on, going for the mysterious newcomer while throwing the guy she’d been with for a while under the bus. I did like the interplay between the characters and how you could never really tell where people had their loyalties.
Despite some major flaws, this novel proved to be an interesting debut and start to a series. The end really threw me for a loop in the best possible way and sets up the potential for later books beautifully. I have higher expectations for the forthcoming novels in the series because now I understand the world and the premise significantly better. Instead of being more than a touch confused, in the next book I can focus more on the ethical issues that I’m certain will continue to be raised. I’m optimistic about this one and can’t wait to see where Johnson takes it!
There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face when she and Elias left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the horde as they found their way to the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.
Annah's world stopped that day and she's been waiting for him to come home ever since. Without him, her life doesn't feel much different from that of the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Then she meets Catcher and everything feels alive again.
Except, Catcher has his own secrets—dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah's longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it's up to Annah—can she continue to live in a world drenched in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return's destruction?
Beth says 4.5 Stars…
I love this series. I remember when I somewhat skeptically grabbed the first novel, only to get swept up in the story and world. What I really enjoy is how this series keeps it fresh by changing the central character. It shows different facets of how the crisis affected the world. Instead of just seeing one person’s journey you get glimpses inside the lives of several people who have all seem different sides of the catastrophe. The plot in this one didn’t center on any sort of epic journey, differing from the previous two novels in that respect. I feel that the lack of movement made the story even more intense. Instead of giving the release of constant motion to the readers, the lack of forward progression kept me on the edge of my seat. I also found it interesting to finally get a look at the mythical city, which of course had more than a few issues. It somehow managed to not be as bright and shiny as initially thought in previous books.
The one problem I had with the book was how long it took me to connect with Annah. I didn’t find her very likeable in the beginning, and had issues with the barriers she placed around her emotions. However, she opened up after a bit and that allowed me to connect with her. Her emotional problems became fascinating and my respect for her grew as she worked through her issues. You really can take part in her inner journey, which in a way takes the place of a physical trek. I also thought it was great that we could still see what happened to some of the characters we’ve grown to know and love. It allowed for a more satisfying end to their stories. I found the relationships between all of the characters complex, but the one between Annah and Gabry fascinated me the most. As an only child, the interactions between twins are incredibly foreign and interesting.
This series manages to constantly subvert expectations. It’s not just about zombies; it really focuses on what happens when the known world crumbles. The strength and struggles of the remaining humans take center stage, set against the backdrop of a world in chaos. This isn’t really like anything else on the shelves and something you should be reading. If you’ve enjoyed the rest of the series grab this book and if you haven’t read any of the novels, pick them up. They’re worth it.
Not your everyday coming-of-age novel This story was supposed to be about Evie how she hasn't made a friend in years, how she tends to stretch the truth (especially about her so-called relationship with college drop-out Jonah Luks), and how she finally comes into her own once she learns to just be herself but it isn't. Because when her classmate Elizabeth "Zabet" McCabe's murdered body is found in the woods, everything changes and Evie's life is never the same again. From goodreads.com
Beth says 3 Stars…
This novel didn’t sit well with me. Initially I thought it would be a murder mystery filled with intensity and plot twists, but it wasn’t. It ended up as a coming of age type-story, which contrasted oddly with the supposed mystery. Honestly, because I expected something more based on the murder so the plot disappointed me. I also am not the biggest fan of coming of age type novels, so that worked against this book in my eyes as well. I didn’t find the plot particularly compelling or that original. It didn’t pull me in… I could definitely put it down. There weren’t really any shocking twists in the story line, but it seemed convoluted at times and didn’t always make sense to me. I will say that I found the prose enchanting. I really liked the way Williams wrote for some reason, and that’s what really kept me interested in the book.
As far as characters go, I didn’t connect well with Evie. Her compulsive lying and constant fantasies grated on my nerves. Although I did understand that she used them to escape from her reality, it made her seem very weak and I frankly had trouble understanding her. She did grow some, which I appreciated, but she started out in a place where growth was a necessity to accomplish anything. I will say that I thought Zabet was very interesting and I only wish that she had been alive to actually contribute and have interactions with the other characters. Her memory remained one of the most fascinating points of the book, and the survivor’s guilt suffered by everyone else provided more insights into their minds than anything else. Hadley had so many more layers that she interested me more than Evie. Despite the fact that she could be a terrible person more than occasionally, her ups and downs absolutely fascinated me.
I’m still not sure what entirely to say about this book. I came into it with completely unrealistic and mistaken expectations, which hurt the novel in my eyes. If you’re looking for something mysterious this isn’t it at all, despite what the set up leads you to believe. This is for people who absolutely love realistic fiction and can’t get enough of coming of age stories. It wasn’t that bad, but it certainly wasn’t very good. If this isn’t your normal cup of tea then it’s one to skip over.
Here is our rating system: One Star - Use as doorstop Two Stars - Bearable while on pain medication Three Stars - Read once, do not repeat Four Stars - Definitely keep it on your shelf Five Stars - Use as altar
So we've decided to join the challenge! This is just a preliminary list, and is definitely subject to change (we'll be doing a lot of adding as books begin to be released in order to get to the 12 we need!). Also, this is no order whatsoever. (if the book is in a color, it means one of us has read it!)
1. The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal
2. Human.4 by Mike Lancaster
3. Like Madarin by Kirsten Hubbard
4. The Emerald Atlas by John Stevens
5. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
6. Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
7. Hourglass by Myra McEntire
8. Never Sit Down in a Hoopskirt and Other Things I Learned in Southern Belle Hell by Crickett Rumley
9. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
10. Entwined by Heather Dixon
11. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
12. Possession by Elana Johnson
Fantasy Reading Challenge
1. Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl 2. The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal 3. Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin 4. Sapphique by Catherine Fisher 5. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins 6. Glimmerglass by Jenna Black 7. Tortall and Other Lands by Tamora Pierce 8. Entice by Carrie Jones 9. Hourglass by Myra McEntire 10. Wither by Lauren DeStefano 11. Darkest Mercy by Melissa Marr 12. Shadowspell by Jenna Black 13. Matched by Ally Condie 14. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Claire 15. Entwined by Heather Dixon 16. The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney 17. Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst 18. The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan 19. Possession by Elana Johnson 20. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford 21. So Silver Bright by Lisa Manchev
Welcome to "in BetweeN the pages." This is a little project that we've started and we hope that it will allow us to engage in some lovely book talk. Here's a little about us-
Beth~ I have a feeling that I may have a problem. I adore books. I read whenever I can, and most of the time feel that reading a good book would be a much better use of my time than working on my massive load of homework. I'm a freshman at Davidson College, a school where teachers try to kill us while still being supportive. I'm a chemistry major and absolutely love it, even at random hours of the night. When I'm not working or reading I play tennis and am involved in my school's theater program. I work in my school's chemistry department, am a Girl Scout Gold Award recipient, and a National Merit Finalist. Hopefully you will enjoy what I say... but I tend to ramble.
Nathan~ For me, reading is the ultimate escape. A good book is so much better than any therapist can ever be. I am, what many might call, a book addict. It may be wrong, but it feels so right to blow off my homework and sit curled up with a novel. It's the ultimate relaxation. Books have gotten me through school and all the drama that accompanies it. I am a senior in high school, SGA co-President, Newspaper Editor, and Science Olympiad Manager so I often have stress which books can wipe away. I'm a freshman at Duke University, so I don't get much time to fun reading. I hope that my humble opinions can help you as you continue your literary adventure.