The Knife of Never Letting Go | Patrick Ness

The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) by Patrick Ness published 24 July 2014

Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him — something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent creature: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.

How was it?

I know he’s young but boy Todd is winy. He’s so annoying that I often rolled my eyes. Talk about being thick. I tried to be understanding because of his circumstances and I was waiting for him to grow and learn as he experienced more, newer things but he stayed the same. He actively did everything he could not to soak up the new knowledge. It was baffling.

He started by presenting himself as an outsider in his own village, he wasn’t like the other men from there. He even had the men who raised him tell him not to trust the other villagers. Yet he ignored anything that didn’t align with what the people he didn’t trust and was told not to trust, taught him.  WTF? Besides not once I felt like his inner monologue was close to what, I or anyone would feel and/or think in his situation. If I don’t like and/or trust the people from my village, and the few I trust, my parents, tell me that the villagers are f’d up, I am not going to immediately dismiss any new information about my village like Todd did. I’d be cautious but not dismissive.

There’s also a thing the author does that I couldn’t understand. So anyone who knows anything about the past is just not giving that information to Todd. Sometimes it makes sense because they could have been overheard or he didn’t want to hear it, but sometimes they just weren’t telling Todd when they could have – otherwise there wouldn’t be much of a story.
So we have one character, Todd, who buries his head in the sand; and a bunch of secondary characters who don’t teach him when they can. However he still gets new informations that he ignores. I don’t always need someone to root for but at least give me someone consistent, someone to understand.

The story also gets bleaker with every chapter, it’s drama after drama. Drama for the sake of drama. By the time part 5 arrived I was completely out of it. Exhausted, disconnected, and zombie reading* this thing, not even sure that I wanted to finish it or read the next book. The worst thing is that 512 pages is not that much of an undertaking for me.

In the end Chaos Walking book 1 feels like a stretched out novella. Fillers in the form of ramblings, well noise, and “secrets” made to look like a well thought out plot. The bones are alright but the meat is rotten. It also reminded me of a Jack Nicholson anecdote Elija Wood talk about in the Graham Norton Show, with Nicholson telling him that Lord of Rings had too many endings. This books feels very much the same. Many times I thought this book was coming to a close only to see another chapter or part pop up. It felt long. This might not happen with a paperback, since you’d be able to tell how many pages are left, but with an ebook or audiobook it might.

So I ended up putting this book down for months knowing that I had less than 20% but I couldn’t bring myself to pick it back up. I might, I just doubt it.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

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February readings | Shifters, Magic, and Mysteries

Title: Red Notice
Series: Tom Buckingham #1
Author: Andy McNab
Genre(s): Mystery, Action, Thriller, Military Fiction
Page count: 416 pages
Published: 5 November 2012

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Shadow and Bone
Series: Shadow and Bone #1
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Genre(s): High Fantasy, Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance
Page count: 358 pages
Published: 5 June 2012

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Face Offs & Cheap Shots
Series: CU Hockey #2
Author:Eden Finley, Saxon James
Genre(s): Contemporary, Sports, Romance, MM
Page count: 302 pages (ebook)
Published: 5 October 2020

My review |
Book | Audiobook

Title: Jon’s Spooky Corpse Conundrum
Series: Jon’s Mysteries case 3
Author: A.J. Sherwood
Genre(s): Paranormal, MM Romance, Mystery
Page count: 207 pages
Published: 2 August 2019

My review (soon) | Book | Audiobook

Title: The Capital
Series: The Knight and The Necromancer #1
Author: A.H. Lee
Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical, Romance, LGBT
Page count: 222 pages (ebook)
Published: 23 March 2020

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Captivate Mate
Series: Mismatched Mates #2
Author: Eliot Grayson
Genre(s): Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Romance, LGBT
Page count: 207 pages (ebook)
Published: 15 August 2020

My review (soon) |
Book | Audiobook

Title: The Border
Series: The Knight and The Necromancer #2
Author: A.H. Lee
Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical, Romance, LGBT
Page count: 228 pages (ebook)
Published: 23rd March 2020

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: The Sea
Series: The Knight and The Necromancer #3
Author: A.H. Lee
Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical, Romance, LGBT
Page count: 180 pages (ebook)
Published: 23 March 2020

My review | Book | Audiobook

Title: Putting the Romance in Necromancy
Series: The Knight and The Necromancer #0.5
Author: A.H. Lee
Genre(s): Fantasy, Historical, Romance, LGBT
Page count: 17 pages (ebook)
Published: 23rd March 2020

My review | Book | Audiobook

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The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes | Suzanne Collins

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (The Hunger Games #0) by Suzanne Collins published 19 May 2020

It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the 10th annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to out charm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute.

The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined – every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute… and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes. 

How was it?

I’m probably not the only who’ll say this but The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes is not what I wanted and didn’t become the book I needed. I wanted a book about the 50th Hunger Games, a younger Hamish and what happened after he won.

Collins played up the nostalgia with familiar last names and places of the Hunger Games series. Whether you’ve revisited the books or the movies in anticipation of this book the reminders will gets your mind working. Making connections and assumptions based on those names and the tidbits of new information given by this book.

Maybe the most interesting aspect of this book, it’s about the makings of a reality TV show. Reminiscent of the television show Unreal, it explores the behind the scenes of the version of The Hunger Games as we know it but also the making of one Coriolanus Snow.

Having the story told from Snow’s perspective is an interesting point of view. I remember “The Hunger Games” book, and the commentaries Katniss made about the Capitol, its inhabitants, and the games. Here, the commentaries are more subtle, more gruesome in so many ways. Panem’s blatant disregard for the tributes, which is reminds me of – and is probably inspired by – our own history. The human zoos – with veterinarians and everything – were a thing. In this book they don’t use the word slaves but it’s clear that the tributes and the Districts in general are treated and considered as such.

It becomes a story about the haves and have-nots, the 1% against the 99%, and having the story coming from someone who’s actively wants/needs this game to happen is quite fascinating. It allows you to see how in denial young Snow can be, how he justifies what’s happening around. Collins doesn’t make him – at least I never saw him that way – likable. I did not feel for him and/or hope that he would be better. I just observe how he slithered his way through life.

The Ballad of Songbird and Snakes answers questions you didn’t think to ask, it manages to have many twist and turns, and like the other books in the series it’s a bit of veiled commentary on our society. It was also fun to spot each of the series titles seamlessly worked into the story.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

You can get the book here

Shattered | Kevin Hearne

Shattered (Iron Druid Chronicles #7) by Kevin Hearne published 17 June 2014

Atticus’s apprentice Granuaile is at last a full Druid herself. What’s more, Atticus has defrosted an archdruid long ago frozen in time, a father figure (of sorts) who now goes by the modern equivalent of his old Irish name: Owen Kennedy.

And Owen has some catching up to do.

Atticus takes pleasure in the role reversal, as the student is now the teacher. Between busting Atticus’s chops and trying to fathom a cell phone, Owen must also learn English. For Atticus, the jury’s still out on whether the wily old coot will be an asset in the epic battle with Norse god Loki—or merely a pain in the arse.

But Atticus isn’t the only one with daddy issues. Granuaile faces a great challenge: to exorcise a sorcerer’s spirit that is possessing her father in India. Even with the help of the witch Laksha, Granuaile may be facing a crushing defeat.

As the trio of Druids deals with pestilence-spreading demons, bacon-loving yeti, fierce flying foxes, and frenzied Fae, they’re hoping that this time, three’s a charm.

How was it? This book is full of surprises, twists, and thought provoking plots.

The changes of P.O.V. was jarring at first, because the characters had their own thing going which made the whole book feel out of focus at first. However in the end, it made the story a lot more interesting. It took alliances we took for granted in a grey area of uncertainty and made a looming threat look more dangerous than it had.

I’d say it’s centered around Granuaile, since her storyline seems to be the one following / tieing up with Trapped and Hunted the most while also pushing the story forward.

Arc Druid Owen Kennedy is brash, funny, and full of surprises. Him adjusting to modern life was fun but seemed unnecessary until he talked about his past – hint hint – it made him more interesting, and more of a wild card.

As for the Iron Druid, Shattered might be the book in which he disappointed me the most. Just when you think that Atticus has learn his lesson and his using is accumulated knowledge wisely, he does something to create more grief for himself and the people associating with him.

Shattered was fun, frustrating and entertaining.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You can check out the book and audiobook here

Hunted | Kevin Hearne

Hunted (The Iron Druids Chronicles #6) by Kevin Hearne published 25 June 2013

For a two-thousand-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan is a pretty fast runner. Good thing, because he’s being chased by not one but two goddesses of the hunt—Artemis and Diana—for messing with one of their own. Dodging their slings and arrows, Atticus, Granuaile, and his wolfhound Oberon are making a mad dash across modern-day Europe to seek help from a friend of the Tuatha Dé Danann. His usual magical option of shifting planes is blocked, so instead of playing hide-and-seek, the game plan is . . . run like hell.
 
Crashing the pantheon marathon is the Norse god Loki. Killing Atticus is the only loose end he needs to tie up before unleashing Ragnarok—AKA the Apocalypse. Atticus and Granuaile have to outfox the Olympians and contain the god of mischief if they want to go on living—and still have a world to live in.

How was it? The weird thing about Hunted is that, in my mind it makes one big book with Trapped. I seem incapable of disassociating the two. They truly read like two halves of one book. It’s the title, Hunted, that helps me find my place in the overall story arc.

This book starts off sad, gets funny, then sad again. It’s fast-paced for most of it but then it slows to a crawl. The thrilling action-adventure ride that it is will make you renew your vows to the series. At times, the excitement is constant, and the comedy and heart-wrenching moments are sprinkled throughout. There are very cleverly dropped seeds that are used here. A kernel of a story, a foreshadowed plot point, whatever you want to call it’s . I’m thinking of one in particular that was planted so long – or many books – ago that you might have forgotten about it or not noticed it but once you make that connection it’s impressive.

There’s another impressive feat done here by Hearne, besides ramping up the danger, he made a newer character – I’m trying my best to stay vague – more palatable, likable, even badass.

Like I said, Trapped and Hunted feel like one long book. I didn’t realize that I had started another book – since I dove right into this one. So when I said that I might revisit book 5 I actually mean both stories.

P.S.: I’m so proud of myself I didn’t spent the whole thing gushing about the dog. I’m not really a dog person what is happening to me?

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You can check out or get the book here: US | EU

Trapped | Kevin Hearne

Trapped (The Iron Druid Chronicles #5) by Kevin Hearne published 27 November 2012

After twelve years of secret training, Atticus O’Sullivan is finally ready to bind his apprentice, Granuaile, to the earth and double the number of Druids in the world. But on the eve of the ritual, the world that thought he was dead abruptly discovers that he’s still alive, and they would much rather he return to the grave.
Having no other choice, Atticus, his trusted Irish wolfhound, Oberon, and Granuaile travel to the base of Mount Olympus, where the Roman god Bacchus is anxious to take his sworn revenge—but he’ll have to get in line behind an ancient vampire, a band of dark elves, and an old god of mischief, who all seem to have KILL THE DRUID at the top of their to-do lists.

How was it? Contrary to Tricked, who was kind of – much needed – swerve from the “main story-line” Trapped is that breath of fresh air The Iron Druid Chronicles needed. In this book we are smartly lead to the a place that would revives some old story-lines. It’s a whirlwind but one hell of an entertaining one. It’s face-paced with exciting passages, some serious action that is thrilling. There are frustrating moments a few that would make you think “Jeez let a beech get bound.” Or funny exchanges like “Poochism” and many others. Oberon is in top form in this one, he’s seriously the heart of this book series, it doesn’t work as well without him.

Trapped has depth, a great dose of culture, amazing geeky references, action and fun. It might be the one book that I might return to revisit in its entirety.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

You can check out or get the book here: US | EU