Book reviews of Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway, Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor, and This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Emmy and Oliver by Robin Benway || 3.5/5
Emmy’s best friend, Oliver, reappears after being kidnapped by his father ten years ago. Emmy hopes to pick up their relationship right where it left off. Are they destined to be together? Or has fate irreparably driven them apart?
Emmy just wants to be in charge of her own life.
She wants to stay out late, surf her favorite beach—go anywhere without her parents’ relentless worrying. But Emmy’s parents can’t seem to let her grow up—not since the day Oliver disappeared.
Oliver needs a moment to figure out his heart.
He’d thought, all these years, that his dad was the good guy. He never knew that it was his father who kidnapped him and kept him on the run. Discovering it, and finding himself returned to his old hometown, all at once, has his heart racing and his thoughts swirling.
Emmy and Oliver were going to be best friends forever, or maybe even more, before their futures were ripped apart. In Emmy’s soul, despite the space and time between them, their connection has never been severed. But is their story still written in the stars? Or are their hearts like the pieces of two different puzzles—impossible to fit together?
Readers who love Sarah Dessen will tear through these pages with hearts in throats as Emmy and Oliver struggle to face the messy, confusing consequences of Oliver’s father’s crime. Full of romance, coming-of-age emotion, and heartache, these two equally compelling characters create an unforgettable story.
I previously read Far From the Tree, Benway’s other book, and I LOVED it. While Emmy and Oliver was an enjoyable read, it didn’t hold the same appeal. The plot was slow and heavily romance-based. I loved the premise, but much of the plot revolved around Emmy and Oliver falling in love.
The characters were well-developed (even the minor characters). Benway created quirky and lovable minor characters and I love them (especially Drew). Bonus: There are parents who are involved in their children’s lives! A rare spectacle in YA fiction. My favorite part of this book was Benway’s writing, which is simple, yet beautiful and very addicting. I read this book in one (very long) sitting. (But, to be fair, I probably wouldn’t have if I had anything else to do. It wasn’t that gripping.)
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor || 3.5/5
Around the world, black hand prints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grows dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherworldly war.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When beautiful, haunted Akiva fixes fiery eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?
While this was an enjoyable read with wonderful world-building, it was heavily romance-based. Much of the story involved the characters being stupidly in love and it was plain icky (sorry, but it’s true). Much of the time while reading this book was spent mentally yelling at the main character to stop swooning over the idiot and GET ACTUAL STUFF DONE. Another thing that annoyed me was how spectacularly beautiful the main character, Karou, and her love interest are and how many times this was reiterated. It’s a waste of words. We get it. You’re prettier than the average human bean. While the plot and characters were annoying for romance-y reasons, the writing and world-building were beautiful. The writing style was whimsical and had a magical feel. I fell in love with it. The world-building was unique and incredibly detailed. Overall, I recommend this book if you don’t mind all the sickly romantic junk.
Read 7/2/18 – 7/6/18
This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp || 2.5/5
10:00 a.m. The principal of Opportunity High School finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.
10:02 a.m. The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.
10:03 a.m. The auditorium doors won’t open.
10:05 a.m. Someone starts shooting.
Told from four different perspectives over the span of fifty-four harrowing minutes, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.
This was a kinda enjoyable read in the way that some songs have awful lyrics but have catchy, but bad, melodies and you kinda like them. But not really. The book is creepy, and not in a good way. In a “What have you done?!” sort of way.
I really liked the way the plot was done and how you only got bits and pieces of the story at a time. I liked the way it all weaved together at the end.
But. I didn’t like the ending. It was abrupt.
The multiple point-of-views weren’t done well. There was no difference in voice between the four main characters and I kept having to check to see whose POV I was reading from. I also didn’t get particularly attached to the characters, which resulted in a lack of suspense because I didn’t really care what happened to them. I didn’t like the writing style. It was bland and wasn’t unique. The book also failed at show-not-tell and it didn’t manage to create much suspense in general. This book wasn’t horrible, but I didn’t like it.
I probably wouldn’t have finished it if I had anything better to do.
Read 7/6/18 – 7/8/18
Currently Reading: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
- Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger (reread)
- Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab
- Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
- When Did You See Her Last? by Lemony Snicket
- Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
- The Traitor’s Game by Jennifer A. Nielsen
- Batman: Nightwalker by Marie Lu
- Ace of Shades by Amanda Foody
- Vicious by V.E. Schwab