Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

"Waiting on Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

My first WoW is...

Allegiance by Cayla Kluver

Only I saw Narian for who he truly was: a young man with courage and an independent mind, and made to pay for what was outside his control. He couldn't help his past any more than he could help the way those intense, deep-blue eyes pierced me and held me captive. 

An eighteen-year-old queen in love with the enemy as their countries pass the point of no return... 

Bound to a man she cannot love, Queen Alera of Hytanica must forget Narian, the young man who holds her heart. For Narian is destined to conquer Hytanica at the behest of his master, the powerful magic-user known as the Overlord. Alera doesn't truly believe Narian will fight against Hytanica-until Cokyrian troops attack with Narian commanding the charge. 

Faced with the greatest betrayal a heart can know, Alera must set aside personal feelings and lead her kingdom through its darkest time. And when all hope, will and courage seem lost, she must find strength and remember that even the blackest night must have a dawn....

I loved the first book in the series. I can't wait until this one comes out in February! 

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Mephisto Covenant

Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger—Sasha is Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx’s biggest threat.

A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant—God’s promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he’s finally found the girl he’s been searching for: Sasha.

With the threat of Eryx looming, Jax has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?
(from Goodreads)

So this book went like this: first 100 pages sucked, the middle part was pretty good, and the ending was only slightly short of a letdown. This book is a prime example of how important beginnings are: I was about to give up on the book forever after page 100. But because I usually make myself read until the end of books, I decided to keep going.  And this isn't going to be one of those 'and I'm so happy I did!' kind of situations, but it did improve my opinions of this book and the author quite a bit.

I was first drawn to this book by the pretty cover and the summary. A paranormal guy actually having to win the girl instead of having her instantly drooling over him? Sign me up! It didn't quite go like that, though. As I said in my post on Insta-Love! yesterday, Sasha and Jax were already going at it by page 75.  I'm not really going to say more on the subject of that; it would just be another long  rant. 

There was a pretty heavy religious aspect to the mythology of this book. I didn't really mind it; it reminded me a lot of the book Halo by Alexandra Adornetto. Sasha appeared pretty religious; she can recite Bible verses and thinks that the boy she was destined for would be 'Russian Orthodox, Episcopalian, maybe even Jewish'. I also didn't have a problem with that except for the fact that Jax is a son of Hell. If she were religious, wouldn't she be totally freaked out by someone who's destined for Hell? 

Besides that, I had two main problems: Jax and Sasha's cousins/aunt/uncle. Her extended family was pretty much a bunch of flat characters. All Chris ever did was play video games, Melanie screamed, raged, and threw hissy fits, Tim ate and watched football, and Brett was, well, Brett. 

And Jax was a total stalker. I don't care if he's a son of Hell and his emotions are 'hard to contain.' He's not getting any brownie points (in fact, he lost some) when he and Sasha went shopping together, and he turned invisible and went into her dressing room. And I get it that you think that Sasha's meant to be with you forever and ever, but she gets a voice, too.

Now? What did I like about this book? The mythology was original. Sasha was a narrator that didn't manage to make me hate her by the end of the book. She was extremely loyal to someone who I thought didn't deserve the loyalty. The plot, minus the romantic beginning, moved extremely well and extremely fast. 

If this book had a completely different beginning, this probably would have been four stars.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011


(Notes: This post is a lot like my anti-love triangles post. This isn't my review of The Mephisto Covenant; I haven't even finished the book yet. I used it for most of the examples because it's the worst case of Insta-Love! I've ever read.)

So I'm about halfway through The Mephisto Covenant, and something in it really, really bothers me in more than any other book I've read. The Insta-Love. >.<

It's not that love at first sight bothers me. It doesn't. It really doesn't. Being a writer myself, I understand that the characters don't have all the time in the world, and that the romantic parts are some of the best and most fun to write. The characters just have to find something attractive in each other besides looks. They have to be more connected then just through looks. And I'm sorry to say that most YA books today don't have this.

My main problem is that the romance today, especially the Insta-Love! kind is mostly told and shown through make-out sessions and fits of passion. There's no depth to them. None at all. And that comes from two things: the actual romance being flat, or the romantic interest.

When the romantic interest is flat in Insta-Love!, it's usually because we as the readers have barely seen the romantic interest. In The Mephisto Covenant, even though Jax is one of the narrators, he's barely anything beyond being obsessed with Sasha. In Darker Still, Denby is about as flat a character of major importance could get.

I also think that one of the things that really bothers me is when the romance takes place too early in the book. In The Mephisto Covenant, it starts on page 75. (Yes, I checked.) With the Infernal Devices and Daughter of Smoke and Bone, two of my favorite books, it's only about a week after the couple meets, but about half the book has gone by. In reality it isn't a long time, but since half the book and half the action has gone by, it seems longer. Plus, in paranormal romances, after about half the book they've usually been through a lot together; they have something that connects them. They have something that makes their romance deeper.

Like I said with love triangles: I don't despise Insta-Love! Not at all. But there just has to be a reason beyond looks. Most aren't well done at all, so that's why I dislike them.