Thursday, February 2, 2017

Bullet Reviews: Vampire Academy, The Magician King, Fool Moon


Round 4 of Bullet reviews features some not-quite-urban-fantasy books. I say not-quite because all three books involve our modern world and some paranormal creatures but none of them quite fit into the stereotypical UF mold. I was initially planning on making this set of reviews the last few books I read in November, but those three books were completely unrelated so I decided to grab a book from December to make the reviews fit better together.

18660669Vampire Academy by Richelle Meade

Genre: contemporary, urban fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars

What I liked:
  • Full disclosure: I only picked this up because it started with a V and I needed to complete my A-Z challenge. That said, I had zero expectations going into this book and I ended up really enjoying it
  • I loved how it focused on friendship. Yes, there were a lot of messy romantic feelings and such but the core of this story is a bond of friendship, and I'm a sucker for stories about amazing friends
  • Lissa and Rose are both such badasses, and in general I loved how this book took a stance against slut-shaming and generally portrayed women as characters with agency and power over their own lives and decisions

What I didn't like:
  • For all her general awesomeness, Rose came off as vain and selfish sometimes. She put ridiculous emphasis on her figure and her clothes and how she enjoyed how people reacted to her, and power to her for being confident and loving her body, but it just got tiresome reading about such superficial things when there were actual life-altering and mysterious things happening
  • I don't know how else to describe this, but the writing of this book just felt kind of young. Like it was purposefully written to cater to slightly-less-than-intelligent teenagers. I get annoyed when YA books/authors feel the need to write "down" to their readers; yes, I'm not a teenager anymore and I'm older than the target audience but even as a teenager I would have been annoyed by how this book assumes the reader can't appreciate subtlety or complexity.
Recommended for... 
people who are looking for a light and fun story about female friendships, vampires, and mysterious happenings at boarding school.

10079321The Magician King by Lev Grossman

Genre: Contemporary, fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

What I liked:
  • I loved that we got to see Julia's story. Julia came to magic the hard way, and she goes through some crazy and intense things to get where she wants to be. Her flashbacks that paralleled the chapters from book 1 were far more compelling to me than Quentin's story in book 1.
  • More magic, more subversion of classic fantasy tropes. The Magician King continues to poke fun at fantasy readers' expectations and our general belief in goodness and heroism and "good will triumph over evil". It's never quite so simple, and things don't always happen the way we want them to.
  • Fillory has a much bigger presence in this book, it was really cool to see more of the Neitherlands and other magical worlds as well.
  • I'm enjoying how the TV show is adapting the first two books by sort of twisting some story threads together and branching other subplots off in new ways
What I didn't like:
  • There was still a point in the middle of this book where it was a little hard for me to focus just because Quentin is so unbearably useless sometimes and I just can't care enough about him to see how things are going for him. It was definitely easier to get through this book than the first one though, the pacing was much better
Recommended for: people who aren't turned off by a less glamorous version of their favorite childhood fantasy stories, anyone looking for subversive humor and very dark truths

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Fool Moon (Dresden Files #2) by Jim Butcher
Genre: urban fantasy, science fiction
Rating: 4/5 stars

What I liked:
  • I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator did a fantastic job with this book. He sounds exactly like the Harry Dresden in my head.
  • This book was absolutely sickening in some parts, and unbelievably adorable in others. I liked how I got to experience a full spectrum of emotions as the story progressed
  • Very cool new revelations about werewolf mythology
  • I enjoy the humor in these books, there are funny moments throughout but it never gets heavy handed
What I didn't like:
  • Harry sighs a lot. Or the narrator sighs a lot. Somehow there was just a lot of sighing in the audibook and I got a little annoyed
  • I don't like how awkward and messy Harry's relationship with Murphy is getting. Harry is constantly trying to take care of the women in his life and be chivalrous, which I found annoying (and so did Murphy). It was like he assumed women can't take care of themselves or don't know what they're doing unless proven otherwise. I also didn't like how Murphy kept assuming the worst in Harry despite their sort-of-friendship, like why does she assume the worst in people constantly? I hope they manage to work things out soon :/
Recommended for... fans of urban fantasy and those not afraid of lots of blood and gore

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