Monday, October 15, 2012

Tour Review: The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiance. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her.

And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Adventure
Source: Thanks to Southern Book Bloggers for letting me be a part of this tour!

I was so excited to read this book because it sounded so original in comparison to a lot of the things I've been reading lately. Not to say that being original automatically makes something better, of course, but I was really eager to get started.

I have to say I wasn't completely sold at the beginning, but the characters really pull this story along and make it into something really special. I loved that Ananna is an independent chick. She's a seriously skilled pirate, and she can push past her fear. I think those are admirable qualities in a female main character. Plus, she has those traits while still maintaining her emotions and the things that make her feminine as well. I think that's a hard balance to strike.

Another thing I really loved about The Assassin's Curse is that Ananna and Naji's relationship is so very subtle. I'm all about a deep, angsty love story, but this book really proves that it's not necessary to still be wrapped up in the interaction between the characters. Ananna builds a wary friendship with Naji after he tries to kill her, and they end up with their futures bound up together. Their journey to break this bond and be rid of each other is the very thing that begins to bring them together.

I think this book sets the stage for a wonderful new series, and I'm really looking forward to the next book.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Review: Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

Publication Date: October 14, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic, Adventure
Source: Thanks so much to Tanglewood Press for making this title available through Netgalley!

First off, what do you think of that cover? Amazing, yes? I like it even more after finishing this book. I almost had a heart attack when I saw this on Netgalley because I loved the first one so much.  The awesome male POV and the way that I really felt the cold and the hunger right along with Alex and Darla carried into this second novel as well.

In Ashfall Alex is finding his way in the new world after the eruption.  He's still figuring things out.  In Ashen Winter they've been living this hard life a bit longer and you can really notice the changes in Alex from one book to the next. 

As would be expected after an apocalyptic event there are groups struggling against each other for survival. Trusting somebody means putting your life in their hands and most of the people Alex runs into aren't the type that you want putting their hands on you.  Most groups and communites of survivors aren't friendly to outsiders, but other gangs of people are just plain criminal, preying off of anybody weaker.  And you better not trust in the Government either because they sure as heck don't have your best interest at heart in this case.

It's these human interactions that cause most of the problems for Alex and Darla as they look for Alex's parents.  Hunger, cold, fatigue.  All a factor, but those play second string to the crazy-ass people dominating  the world.  I would probably end up buried under a pile of snow and dead within days of something like this happening :) Luckily the characters in this book aren't such horrible wimps!

I felt like Alex was really just taking hit after hit in Ashen Winter. Talk about some bad freaking luck. I think it really proved his character and what he's willing to go through for the people he loves.

A ton of great action and tension throughout this one. I love being immersed in this world and was sad to reach the end. The mark of a great book!