Saturday, July 27, 2013

Book Review: The Pirate's Wish

The Pirate's Wish by Cassandra Rose Clarke is the sequel to The Assassin's Curse, reviewed here. In the interest of remaining spoiler free, I'll keep my summary brief. Pirate Ananna and Assassin Naji are bound together by an impossible curse, which can only be broken by completing three impossible tasks. Less a sequel and more the second half of one story too long to be published in its entirety, The Pirate's Wish follows Ananna and Naji on their journey to break the curse, amidst enemies attacking them on all sides. 

The review:

I loved the first book in this duology. I reviewed it, tweeted about it, and recommended it to dozens of reader friends. I'd been eager for the conclusion ever since I put down the ARC. Clarke builds an amazing relationship between Ananna and Naji, and the first half of this sequel didn't disappoint. She sucked me right back in to their subtle affection and bickering while keeping true to the unique voice and style of her writing. 

But the nature of the story was to slowly reveal how these three impossible tasks were in fact possible, and this is where I had issues with the plotting and pacing. The fantasy genre gives a writer endless possibilities of imagining solutions to problems. But just because an event is plausible inside the rules of the fantasy realm, that doesn't always make it acceptable or satisfying to me as a reader. I have a fine line between wow, that was unexpected but cool and whoa, things just got too crazy for me. Without giving anything away, The Pirate's Wish crossed that line.

Even though the conclusion wasn't quite what I'd hoped, I'll always be a sucker for awesome characters and a steamy romance.

4 out of 5 stars.

Music for today: Love is Blindness by Jack White. 

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Book One

I love a great series of books. In a series, you get more time with great main characters.  You can see secondary characters grow. And the author has more time to expand the plot and the action.

But when you read too many series, it's hard to keep up. I fall behind on which ones are out, and lately I'd vowed not to start a new series until I complete one on my list. Which brings me to the subject of today's post. When I read the first book in series, that I didn't realize was a series, I get upset. And when that book just STOPS instead of coming to some kind of conclusion, I get angry enough to not pick up the next one.

(My critique partners are probably snickering right now because of a certain tendency in my own writing. But I'm talking about a different animal here.)

This week I read Dead Ever After by Charlaine Harris, the conclusion to the Sookie Stackhouse series.  It ended just the way I thought it would all along, the way it probably should have three books ago.

Next I read The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson, quite possibly the best second book in a trilogy I've ever read.

And then I read The Lying Game by Sara Shephard.

I'd been meaning to read one of Sara's books since I heard her speak at the SCBWI conference in LA last year. Of course I knew her name; her Pretty Little Liars series is a popular TV show. But I didn't want to start another series, so I picked up The Lying Game at Books a Million. Nowhere on the cover, front or back, or on the interior flap copy, did it mention that this was a series. So I erroneously assumed it wasn't.

I'm not reviewing the book here, which I actually enjoyed, although it does literally stop with no real mysteries solved. (The extra pages that misled me to believe there was more to the story were a teaser chapter from the next book and an interview with Sara. I didn't read them, because I was MAD.) Of course after a little research, I now know the SIXTH book in the series is due out soon.

My issue is not with the book, but with the marketing. I picked this book up the old fashioned way,  at a store. It was on a summer reads table, without any of its series sisters. At my Orlando conference, we talked about how an author should fulfill the contract she has with the reader. But what about the publishers and book sellers? Although I probably should have known better, I felt duped. Like I'd been tricked into starting another series. Not cool, guys. Not cool.

As I'm typing, a big box of books arrived at my doorstep. Two (I hope) stand-alones, the conclusion to another series, and three first books in new series. I know, I know. According to my own rules, I should only be starting two new ones. But at least I know what I'm getting myself into.

How about you guys? Am I the only one who has a problem with the element of a "Book One" surprise?

Music for today: Love is Blindness by Jack White