Book Review: Broken Prince

review-cover-broken princeTitle: Broken Prince [The Royals 2]

Author: Erin Watt

Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary

Rating: 3 Stars (2.5)

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Description/Synopsis:

Reed Royal has it all—looks, status, money. The girls at his elite prep school line up to date him, the guys want to be him, but Reed never gave a damn about anyone but his family until Ella Harper walked into his life.

What started off as burning resentment and the need to make his father’s new ward suffer turned into something else entirely—keep Ella close. Keep Ella safe. But when one foolish mistake drives her out of Reed’s arms and brings chaos to the Royal household, Reed’s entire world begins to fall apart around him.

Ella doesn’t want him anymore. She says they’ll only destroy each other.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Much like the first book in the series, Broken Prince by Erin Watt left me feeling conflicted. Again, the technical aspects of the book were pretty spot-on. I didn’t run into a lot of grammatical errors, typos, or formatting issues. The narrative was clean and easy to read, and it was simple to get sucked into the story because of it—but the plotline and the characters were painful to experience. The romance between Ella and Reed felt so wrong because of the way they’d treated each other throughout the first book. Their relationship was unbelievably unhealthy.

On some levels, this book was possibly worse than the first. Not a lot happened other than pure fluff drama that’s so ridiculously overblown that I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. The content was far from being YA appropriate, and the characters left me disgusted… and yet I kept reading. I guess I love drama.

I want to like this series because I’m being entertained, but the entertainment value is like watching a reality show about the Trumps: it’s gross and cringy, and completely unrelatable—but you watch it anyway just to see what’ll happen. Overall, I’m not impressed with this series thus far, and I certainly wouldn’t recommend it to a teen, but if you enjoy this kind of social abuse, drugs, sex, and scandal, you might find this entertaining.

Book Review: Clockwork Prince [Infernal Devices 2]

 

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Title: Clockwork Prince [The Infernal Devices 2]

Author: Cassandra Clare

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical, Romance, Steampunk

Rating: 5 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when it becomes clear that the mysterious Magister will stop at nothing to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.


With the help of the handsome, tortured Will and the devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal and fueled by revenge. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa is drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa answers about who she really is? As their search leads to deadly peril, Tessa learns that secrets and lies can corrupt even the purest heart.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I have fallen in love with this series. I genuinely liked The Mortal Instruments series by Ms. Clare, but it was only when I started the Infernal Devices series that I truly began to appreciate Ms. Clare’s ability to write convincing fiction.

In the Mortal Instruments series I was endlessly frustrated by the manufactured love triangle between Clary, Jace, and Simon. That may have something to do with my great dislike of Simon, but nonetheless, a love triangle is only convincing if all the parties involved are equally favored by the reader. In this series, that is clearly evident.

For once, I am torn. I really like Tessa as a heroine, and equally, I am drawn towards both Jem and Will. I honestly can’t tell you which one I favor more. They’re both such tragic characters, and both so good and loving in their own way that I can’t help but feel saddened by the situation Tessa has found herself in. On the one hand I think Will has much more passion than Jem, and despite his brooding, sometimes cruel personality, I do like him. I can understand that his standoffishness is a mechanism to keep people at arm’s length. Equally, Jem is a truly caring, kind boy who unfortunately, has a short lifespan ahead of him. Both are so desperately in love with Tessa, and unfortunately, Tessa loves them both as well (even if she’s not always willing to admit it). I have an inkling that perhaps Tessa is meant to be with Will in the end (and we’ll see if I’m correct) but the thought of her leaving Jem makes my heart break for them. I am so glad I am not in her shoes.

This second installment of the Infernal Devices trilogy was every bit as good as the first book. It’s been awhile since I’ve come across a group of characters that are so easily likeable and tragic–and none of them have come across as ridiculously over dramatic, two dimensional, or annoying. Though there are some characters I maybe don’t feel as close to (What’s the new cook’s name? I honestly can’t remember – though I love her tawdry murder-filled songs!), I can’t pick out a single character that really got under my skin as with Ms. Clare’s other series.

The characters are so full of depth and true human emotion, I find it hard not to fall head-first into the world building of this story. Maybe it’s the romance of the Victorian era, the stunning characters or the thrilling plot, but I can’t seem to put this series down.

This is a short review because I honestly don’t have anything negative to say about this book. I’d happily recommend it to anyone, and I’ll definitely be reading it again and again!

Book Review: Before Midnight

 

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Title: Before Midnight [Blood Prince 1]

Author: Jennifer Blackstream

Genre: Paranormal, Fantasy, Romance

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Loupe always dreamed of getting married. She yearned for a caring husband who would take her away from her servant-like existence at home with her stepmother and two stepsisters, a man who would love her forever. Those dreams ended the day she was bitten by a werewolf. Now she’s a mindless beast on the night of the full moon—a condition that forever prevents her from sharing a marriage bed. Not even the attentions of a handsome and endearingly strong prince can convince her that the life she wants is still possible.

Etienne is a prince in need of a werewolf. A werewolf himself from birth, Etienne and his family have protected their kingdom with tooth and claw—literally—for thousands of years. Unfortunately, the spell of a well-meaning witch is slowly turning him human. Only the bite of a cursed werewolf, one who was not born with the beast inside, can save him from becoming human. He has no time for anything that will not lead him to a cure for the cure. Not even the beautiful maiden whose gentle nature soothes his soul can take his mind from his goal.

Love cares little for the best laid plans or the impossible. A grand ball. The stroke of twelve. A magic “slipper.” All kinds of things can happen when you don’t leave the ball…Before Midnight.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

Wow, what to say about this book. Like most books that I read, I skipped over the synopsis. Call me lazy, or forgetful, but I usually like to jump into books not knowing a lot about them. I usually read the title and the genre, but other than that, I leave it up to fate. I like to jump into things not knowing where they’re going. Sometimes I end up pleasantly surprised, and sometimes I end up going “oh… that’s what this is…” Unfortunately, this was a bit of the latter.

At it’s heart, Before Midnight is a retelling of the Cinderella story. That isn’t bad in and of itself—I think given some care, retellings can be almost better than the original story as long as the author puts some effort into really expanding upon the core idea. This story wasn’t like that. Yes, there were a few things changed—for instance: the prince is a lycanthrope… in fact, the entire royal family is. Also, the Cinderella of this story, Loupe, is a loup garou (bitten werewolf vs. born a werewolf like the prince). That certainly promises to make the story a bit of a different telling – and it did… to an extent.

The main problem I had with the story itself is that it was predictable. It didn’t take more than the first three chapters to realize that this story was a retelling – and hence, I already knew the ending. There weren’t any plot twists or turns to surprise me, and I instantly knew everything was going to turn out all right. That’s how fairytales end. To be honest, it would have been nice to see this end tragically, or at the very least have a bit more tension built in. There were some instances that I thought were going to lead to conflict (Like Loupe and her family being poachers and skinning wolves left and right) that quickly fizzled out and in the end, didn’t make much of a difference.  The evil characters were Evil with a capital E, and the good characters were Good with a capital G. There was no gray area.

The narrative itself jumped around a little bit. Going into the story, my first impression of the narrative is that it was slow and dry. The Introduction was verbose and filled with needless detail about each character it introduced and every movement they took. It dragged. Then in the middle of the story, once it got into the romance between Prince Etienne and Loupe, the language turned very… blunt and modern. I wasn’t sure what time period the story was set in (and I wasn’t given a lot of clues) but it seemed odd to have the prince say things like “tell me you jest” and then in the same chapter have him drop the F-bomb.

Not only did the narrative move around a lot, but so did the mythology; including things such as the world-tree, but also the fey, vampires, werewolves (two types, from two different mythologies), demons, angels, dryads and berserkers… It’s not bad to have a mixed mythology like this – in fact, usually it’s quite entertaining, but again, it made it hard to figure out where this story fell in it’s world building. I think I would have preferred a more stringent set of rules to adhere to. It would have at least been nice to know what part of the world the story was taking place in, or the time period—neither of which I was privy to.

The characters themselves weren’t bad. I liked Etienne (even if he was a bit moronic by his lack of realizing Loupe was a loup garou…), and Loupe was… pleasant despite her weak character. I only wish the author hadn’t softened the blow of Loupe’s big kick-ass moment by basically telling us what was going to happen with a short backstory about an ancestor. It really stole her thunder. My biggest complaint about any of the characters was Loupe’s name. Why on earth would an author name the main character after her own species..? A species, I might add, that the prince spends the entirety of the book looking for? It was so obvious that I literally face palmed. It made the prince seem stupid, and it made me angry, because I felt as if, as a reader, I was being treated as moronic as well.

In the end, I felt as if the reader was being treated like a child for most of the story. The impacts were softened for me, the tension was pushed aside, the events were obvious before hand…honestly, it was a bit frustrating. So why did I give it three stars? Because despite all of this, the book wasn’t bad. It was a quick afternoon read, I was entertained, and the writing itself was clear and grammatically correct (minus one missing word I found). I liked it. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrendous either. It was, and I hesitate to say this, cute. Would I recommend it to a friend? Yes, if they’re a fan of werewolves and the story of Cinderella. I don’t think I’d push it on to any hardcore paranormal romance readers though. It certainly wasn’t genre breaking or fascinating, but it was okay.