Friday, January 31, 2014

Booktalk: Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead

I've just emerged from the silent, eyes-closed-as-I-replay-the-book phase, before which I went through a pure OHMYGOD-kinda hyperventilation attack! I mean, I mean! Shadow Kiss is the third, and so far my most favorite book in the Vampire Academy series! Is this series awesome or WHAT???? I just don't know how to write a review for this one, so I'll just go along with my fanatic feelings! 
Richelle Mead

Book Title: Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy # 3)
Author: Richelle Mead
Pages: 442
Find it at: Flipkart  
Published: 2008 by Penguin 
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Vampires!!!
My Rating: 5/5!! *_*

Blurb from Goodreads!
It's springtime at St. Vladimir's Academy, and Rose Hathaway is this close to graduation. Since making her first Strigoi kills, Rose hasn't been feeling quite right. She's having dark thoughts, behaving erratically, and worst of all... might be seeing ghosts.

As Rose questions her sanity, new complications arise. Lissa has begun experimenting with her magic once more, their enemy Victor Dashkov might be set free, and Rose's forbidden relationship with Dimitri is starting to heat up again. But when a deadly threat no one saw coming changes their entire world, Rose must put her own life on the line - and choose between the two people she loves most.

My Thoughts!
I picked up Shadow Kiss soon after Frostbitesince I had liked it quite well. Did I have any idea this one would do to me what it did? Not a clue. I mean, I was enjoying the story so far, but with this book in, it's become much more than that. Rose is my new favorite, not just another character I admire. Her world is so close to my own! Her problems, seemingly in a parallel universe, coinciding with mine. Her fears, my fears. But it's not just this relation aspect. I love this story for everything that's in it! I'm a sickler for action, and it's got loads of well placed, well written and extremely well plotted action! It's a beautiful book, narrating the story of a world of vampires, but going much deeper than just blood lust!

Writing style? Easy to follow, well written, very well plotted. It's not exactly a maze, but twists come in just when you didn't expect anything, and you can't really predict what'll happen next, unless you've been a spoilsport and read up spoilers on the net (which, I absolutely refused to do!). Although I've been saying the pacing's slow, considering how it's been a few months described in three books so far, but it's just no problem, I realized later. There's so much going on in a short span of time, that the details are more important than going on quickly to the next step. 

I think the biggest reason I adore this book is that there's so much of emotion! It's not a sickly emo kind of thing, it's just that you don't just see action. There's detail to life, a turmoil of sorts described, to which readers would be able to easily relate. Rose's life was always about keeping them first. She's been living for the Moroi. When will she do something for herself? Is that even possible? We've seen Rose Hathaway, badass novice guardian go through so much, including equally badass Strigoi killings, along with seeing her live her life like a big sacrifice. Have the recent events challenged that? Certainly. Not that Rose is too keen to go off "living her own life". Lissa is who she wants to protect. She wants to be a guardian. She's awesome! But life was never how you thought it was. You feelings can be strong, and events can change you. 

The relationship between Rose and Dimitri was just heart-achingly beautiful! It's just so painful reading about such forbidden love, but I respect them both for how they take care of it all. As far as characters go, even Adrian seemed likeable by the end of the book. He didn't seem that bad even in the beginning, but still. He was more of a misunderstood guy who acted obnoxious, but is one with some sense. 

I really don't know how I should express my feelings for this story development here. Heart-breaking? Yes. Mind-boggling? Yes. Oh-God-please-don't-let-that-happen!? Yes. "I love Rose and Dimitri!!!!"? Yes. "I wish I had Lissa's power and patience!"? Yes. "What is going on with Rose!! Ghosts? :O " ?? YES! *tears streaming down* reading the ending of the book? Super duper yes. 

I don't know if it's just me, but this book goes way deeper than what it seems. I already have misgivings about the movie, it just seems to over-glamorized! This story's way beyond all that! Recommended for: everyone who enjoys Young Adult, Adult fantasy fiction.

Quotes, quotes!
"Some people read books for fun," he observed. 
"I don't think reading this cowboy stuff is really saving the world like I do."
"Like any book, it's an escape."

Life and death were so unpredictable. So close to each other. We existed moment to moment, never knowing who would be the next to leave this world.

'She was right about how easily things change. We try to do what's right, or rather, what others say is right. But sometimes, when that goes against who we are....... we have to choose.' <-- this one is my favorite! *_*

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Classic Talk # 4: Jane Eyre

Charlotte Bronte
(such a pretty picture *_*)
Book title: Jane Eyre
Published: 1847
Get it at: Flipkart / Amazon

Plot Summary (Goodreads)
Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. 

She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman's passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed. 

With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte's innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

Jane Eyre and I
Sometimes, I think we develop a relationship with stories and certain books in some way or the other, not really related to the actual story. You may have a book that was your first ever solo-read, the one your school best friend gifted, the one you got from the book fair the first time you visited. One you remember reading way before your classmates, and other kinds of attachments. There was a time in school when I loved classics, not really knowing what classics are. Considering how I had enjoyed Charles Dickens way back in school more than I enjoy it now, I also think the best experiences are derived when you read a book at a certain time. Maybe when you have an interest at the same level, or maybe depending upon age. 

When my dad took me to Old Delhi for the first time, I was just ending middle school. He wanted me to see the big Nayi Sadak market, full of books, mostly academic. More than that, he simply wanted me to get a feel of the old-style Delhi, crowded and filled with narrow lanes, so different from the relatively open area where most Delhi-ites usually live. He particularly was excited about a lane he believed was the narrowest. It was so narrow that he said only one person can pass through at a time, and there was no chance of two people coming in from opposite ends and making it the other way at the same time. I saw for myself that it was true, as the lane narrowed down even more towards the end.

We walked through it, one behind the other, and came out to find a tiny stall filled with second-hand books. Some books were put upon a manji  (portable cot) and some more spread on a newspaper on the ground. Instinctively, I picked up a small book from the ground, with the binding peeling off and found the first page partly stuck to the old binding. But I had to have one book. That's how I was. It was pretty old, and very cheap. We bought that book and went back through the narrowest lane, with me feeling exhilarated with this adventure. The book I got that day was an abridged copy of Jane Eyre. 

The Book
I remember feeling so into the story when I read it for the first time, feeling sorry and kinda depressed by the events in Lowood school, and feeling weirded out by how Mr. Rochester and Thornfield hall was. I re-read that book two-three times more, each time feeling more and more connected to the story, understanding things better as my own maturity level grew. Earlier this January, I picked it up again when I could not decide on a title from the unread books, and all those feelings came rushing back after years, and I felt more excited and happy to see I remembered the events as they really happened, still feeling close to Helen, Jane's friend, however a short appearance she might have. I think I liked the book so much more because it has a happy ending, things getting into place.

Jane's a strong character and I love that about her. Plus, this time that I read the book (considering I'm more understanding about people), I saw how scary it must have been for her as a child to live in Reed's house and getting bullied by those kids. Then living in Lowood and losing a friend to illness. Finally arriving in Thornfield and feeling at home. It's something to think about, how difficult it must be for her to finally find people who could care for her? How hard it must have been to accept love, and contempt at the same time. How relieving it must be to know that you were cared for. It's not that tragic a story, but I find it painfully beautiful, just because I myself cannot imagine living in such conflicting environments.

Since I've read the abridged version, I don't want to comment on the characterization and writing style, although Jane as a character seemed to be someone you would want to comfort, and encourage her all the way through. She's not stupid, and knows how to take care of herself. She's got emotions and a good presence of mind. Mr. Rochester is kind, yet mysterious. The way the story ends, it seems to bridge in all the gaps and filling in the missing pieces. I liked it because it showed a woman's happiness in a life thus so far lived with disappointments and anxiety. It's an interesting book to read, and I am sure that the next time I re-read it, it'll be awesome still. :)

Have you read this book? What do you think of it? :)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Booktalk: Frostbite by Richelle Mead

Richelle Mead
Book title: Frostbite (Vampire Academy # 2)
Author: Richelle Mead
Pages: 327
Published: 2008 by Penguin
My Rating: 5/5!
Price: Rs. 399 

(I'd suggest you get a boxed set of this series)

The second book of the Vampire Academy series, Frostbite takes us deeper into the dark, mysterious world of vampires with clans, classes, powers, fighting, magic and love. I took a long time to pick this one up after I finished with the first book less than a year ago. Time constraint, not that I didn't like the book. I loved it, rather. And Frostbite was every ounce as (and more) exciting than how I wished it would be.

Goodreads Blurb!
Rose loves Dimitri, Dimitri might love Tasha, and Mason would die to be with Rose... 

It’s winter break at St. Vladimir’s, but Rose is feeling anything but festive. A massive Strigoi attack has put the school on high alert, and now the Academy’s crawling with Guardians—including Rose’s hard-hitting mother, Janine Hathaway. And if hand-to-hand combat with her mom wasn’t bad enough, Rose’s tutor Dimitri has his eye on someone else, her friend Mason’s got a huge crush on her, and Rose keeps getting stuck in Lissa’s head while she’s making out with her boyfriend, Christian! The Strigoi are closing in, and the Academy’s not taking any risks... This year, St. Vlad’s annual holiday ski trip is mandatory. 

But the glittering winter landscape and the posh Idaho resort only create the illusion of safety. When three friends run away in an offensive move against the deadly Strigoi, Rose must join forces with Christian to rescue them. But heroism rarely comes without a price...

My Thoughts!
We get further into the story at St. Vladimir's. Rose Hathaway-the protagonist, novice guardian for Lissa Dragomir, the last remaining royal in the Dragomir family, is having serious relationship troubles. She cannot get Dimitri out of her head, and Mason's interested in her. Then there's Tasha Ozera, a royal Moroi and aunt to Christian, Lissa's boyfriend, who seems interested in Dimitri. It seems like the story's revolving around this theme, but thankfully, these relationship troubles are not directly at the center of attention. Strigoi (the 'bad' vampires) are growing and things are changing. There is evidence of them being organized and planning killings, something which was unheard of before. And the Moroi, especially the royals, are in danger.

I found the story slightly tiring and not-so-impressive in the beginning, and the writing style preposterous, but that was because it has been narrated from Rose's POV, a dhampir girl who's the perfect definition of 'badass'. She's so not someone I would call ideal as a person, but you'll love her nevertheless. I love this thing about well-written stories and completely defined characters. You love them even if they are going against your beliefs and doing things you'd have thought should be banned! But she is someone who isn't afraid, holds strong opinions and is not scared of voicing them, is determined enough to put up with a lot of practice (apart from Dimitri being there, that is), and capable enough to be able to save all those she loves and cares for, brave enough to do what is her duty. 

If reading the book was an experience, I'd say it was because of the book being written from Rose's POV. No other character could have managed to narrate a story about vampires that seems more about high school, but isn't, that seems like a love-twist story but is cleverly written to make you believe it is much more than that. I enjoyed reading this book! A lot! Although once again, I found Lissa's role quite behind herself, but that might just be because one, I'm comparing it to how it was in the previous book and two, she is a princess. It shouldn't surprise me to see she's being treated as one, right? Even with the inactivity, she seems lovable, once again thanks to Rose's POV, who makes everyone she loves look ideal.

Adrian, a new character seemed more like a nuisance than someone intriguing, and his actual role in the story is yet to be seen in the other books. I hope he doesn't disappoint, considering how he's a first-look-negative-influence kind of a person. And finally, Dimitri! Although he seems annoying sometimes, considering how secretive he gets, he is still a hot guardian who just seems, well, hot. And it's about his whole demeanor that makes him appealing. Apart from the action towards the end of the book that made me forget the tiny flaws and give the book a rating of 5/5, it was Dimitri's act in the end! I don't want to include spoilers so I'm staying out of describing it in detail, but it made me go, "Really? I thought he wouldn't! Well, yay!" :P

“You can't force love, I realized. It's there or it isn't. If it's not there, you've got to be able to admit it. If it is there, you've got to do whatever it takes to protect the ones you love.” 

“There's nothing worse than waiting and not knowing what'll happen to you. Your own imagination can be crueler than any captor.” 

“What matters is that someone—that you—know me that well. When a person can see into your soul, it's hard. It forces you to be open. Vulnerable. It's much easier being with someone who's just more of a casual friend.”

“In the real world, you can make your own miracles.” 


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