Blameless – A Spoiler Free Review

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Alexia Tarabotti / Lady Maccon by ~thor1971 on dA

Book: Blameless

Author: Gail Carriger

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Supernatural

Rating: 3.5/5

As promised, this is the last of the reviews on the Parasol Protectorate for a while, which all in all, I’m pretty happy about as this last installment was not nearly as stellar as the rest.

I found Blameless to be full of a lot of politics and dialogue and not a lot of action. As you all have probably gathered at this point, I’m not a fan of that in my novels. I’ve been told that I wouldn’t enjoy the Game of Thrones novels for this reason and many of times I’ve stopped reading a book right in the middle because of it.

I understood the necessity for a large majority of it, but none-the-less it was presented to me in such a way that I often found myself bored with what I was reading. Thus, I didn’t move through the pages very quickly. Everything I was reading I felt like I’d already read or known before via the series, even if it was new for the protagonist. I also found myself being frustrated by the end of the novel and pretty put off by the way that it sets up that you HAVE to read the next novel in the series to get anything really from Blameless at all. That, in my opinion, is never a good move. I never want to feel forced to read the next novel, instead I want to choose to read it on my own because the previous one is so stellar. Maybe after my small reading break from the Protectorate’s I’ll be able to fall back in love with them, but for now they will sit on my bedside table.

Blameless did tie-up a few loss ends from the previous novel, but it also opened many new ones. Blameless also introduced us to some of the other countries in Europe during this alternative time-period. I felt that that helped with the world-building quite a bit. We learned more about Alexia’s father, Floote, and of course Madame Lefoux, although I still feel like Madame Lefoux is shrouded in mystery. Carriger delivered an installment that I found fairly flavorless, but necessary none-the-less. Hopefully the next novel won’t be quite so dry.

As always all opinions and views noted above are my own. If you’re thinking about buying the book then check out other reviews.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

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Soulless Volume Two – A Spoiler Free Review

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Parasol Protactorate by *poisonmilow on dA.

Book: Soulless vol. Two

Author: Gail Carriger

Artist: REM

Age Group: Older Teen

Genre: Graphic Novel, Action, Adventure, Romance, Supernatural

Rating: 4/5

I’m back with another review of Soulless, the graphic novel version, which is hand-in-hand with Changeless, which I just posted a review about. Keeping in mind all my points from my Changeless review, I wanted to state that I loved the REM’s interpretation of Madame Lefoux and Lady Kingair. I felt that they were both extremely fitting for their images. Also, the heartbreaking scene at the end of the novel was, heartbreaking, yet again, in the graphic novel. REM has a strong hold over use of emotions and expressions.

Things I wasn’t super fond of in this, was some of the cutting out of certain scenes. I do realize that they are trying to fit each novel into a single graphic novel, but I did find myself missing some selective scenes and extra bits of information that the novel supplied us.

Her depiction of scene, the castle in the Scotts and the dirigible were fun and authentic to both era and the novel’s descriptions.

Once again a fun and stunning installment of Soulless.

I also wanted to share with you guys this little article I ran across. Gail Carriger went ahead and told people who she thought, as actors and actresses, her characters were modeled after. This influenced not only the picture at the top, but also the graphic novel version. So check it out if you’re interested.

As always all opinions and views noted above are my own. If you’re thinking about buying the book then check out other reviews.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

Ps. I plan to finish up Blameless and review it, but then I’ll try to break and review something else for a bit before going back to not overload you guys too much.

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Changeless – A Spoiler Free Review

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A piece showing how they make the front covers. Featured on Orbit’s books.

Book: Changeless

Author: Gail Carriger

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Supernatural

Rating: 4.5/5

“Oh dear, has something untoward ensued? Everyone is gesticulating.”

Why yes indeed it has! We have been introduced to… The Scotts! In this installment of the  parasol protectorate comes a new mystery, a cast of fanatical new characters, and traveling by dirigible.

Following quickly on the tail of Soulless, Changeless starts several days (to weeks) after the wedding when life in the Maccon household is getting into full swing. The troops have returned from fighting in the East, many of which are werewolves returned to the English pack, a new plague has fallen upon the city, and Lady Maccon has been instructed to visit a brand-new hat shop.

As mentioned above, the book is full of new mysteries to be solved — new friends and allies made thus. A cast of wonderful new characters including a lady inventor and some wonderfully hilarious Scottish werewolves and their Lady. As well as Lady Maccon’s first ever trip by dirigible.

Although this story is stand alone, it is also the beginning of a bigger plot and arch set up for the rest of the series. It leaves loose ties at the end of the novel for us to wonder what comes next.

Overall I enjoyed this continuation of Alexia’s story and can not wait to sink my teeth into the next novel, of which I have already begun.

As always all opinions and views noted above are my own. If you’re thinking about buying the book then check out other reviews.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

Soulless Volume One – A Spoiler Free Review

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Soulless front cover published by Yen Press and art by REM.

Book: Soulless

Author: Gail Carriger

Artist: REM

Age Group: Older Teen

Genre: Graphic Novel, Action, Adventure, Romance, Supernatural

Rating: 5/5

Having returned from the beach for a small vacation with the family I have three reviews to grace you all with over the next three days! The first being Soulless Volume One. I’ll then switch off and review Changeless and then will switch back to Soulless Volume Two. Now, onto the review!

As I was reading Soulless (the novel) I sent off a message to one of my favorite artists, Cassandra Jean, informing her that her art style matched the scenes and characters I imagined in Carriger’s Soulless. She messaged me back, via tumblr, to inform me that a good friend of hers in fact does do the art, and that would be REM. I’m astounded by REM’s adaption for the series. The expressions and portrayals of the characters are humorous and hit close to home with my own personal images. I enjoyed seeing the characters playing out their scenes extremely well portrayed upon the pages of this graphic novel.

Not only did I find the characters well portrayed, but the era based clothing and backgrounds was well researched and fitting. (I even added Alexia’s rose dress to my “wanting to cosplay” list — although I can’t seem to find a good reference for it. If you guys have one let me know!) Her portrayal of the romance is subtle and sexy, but not too over the top to push the graphic novel to mature. I also wish to note that REM’s style of wolves is easy on the eyes and matches her humanoid style quite nicely.

I borrowed the first two volumes from the library, but I plan to purchase them both next time I’m in Powell’s. I applaud Yen Press for their lovely choice in artists to portray this fabulous series which I highly recommend to steampunk fans, supernatural fans, and of course graphic novel lovers of high wit and stunning artwork.

Finally, attached at the end of this review is a little bit of preview from the first volume to give you guys a taste for more!

As always all opinions and views noted above are my own. If you’re thinking about buying the book then check out other reviews.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

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Soulless – A Spoiler Free Review

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Alexia Tarabotti and Connal Maccon by Ulalah on dA.

Book: Soulless

Author: Gail Carriger

Age Group: Adult

Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Supernatural

Rating: 5/5

Shall I begin to talk about this book? Well let me say I love, love, LOVED it! It was fantastic and what an amazing read after the Rising. If I had to tag line it (which I did in fact for my local libraries summer reviews) I would say: “A fun and delightful read of a woman with astounding manners and a great sense of the sensible.” A bit silly, believe me I know, but I feel like it describes it quite well. Only topped by two other taglines, number one being this: “Soulless is a character-driven romp with great worldbuilding and delicious rapier wit that recalls Austen and P.G. Wodehouse.” Number two being the tagline on the front of the book: “A novel of vampires, werewolves, and parasols” which is the one that got me at the book store. I’ve asked myself a dozen times which it has taken me so long to find this delightful novel seeing my love of steampunk, supernatural, romance, and woman with wit! Well, none-the-less, the series now lies upon my bed side table where I am eating them up like tea cakes!

The first installment of this series is Soulless which follows the main female lead, Alexia Tarabotti, on her adventures in high London society as a spinster. She has some interesting acquaintances including two werewolves and a rove vampire friend. Alexia always has her handy dandy parasol at the ready for any unfortunate accidents, which as a supernatural herself, seem to be drawn to her on a regular basis. The language of the novel is playful and full of wit and english language, that which derives from England. It often reminded me of that Southern Woman lines meme that have been running rapid recently.

This story has a fun plot that is constantly being pushed forward full of mystery, suspense, adventure, and romance. The romance is a large part of this novel, as much as any other part, and would not be what it was without it. The romance aspect, is also which pushes this novel from upper young adult to that of adult, so be a bit weary of that.

The characters are multi-dimensional and no two are the same. Carriger also takes a great interest in describing era based clothing, class system, vehicles, and cutting edge science of the time. Carriger carries on a great storyline, alternative history that makes sense and is backed by a large amount of research, as well as believable characters. Honestly, I would love to live in this world that Carriger has created. All in all a great book that I highly recommend!

As always all opinions and views noted above are my own. If you’re thinking about buying the book then check out other reviews.

Thank you for taking the time to read this,

~ Yoku

Ps. Enjoy some other images that didn’t make the cut this time around.

 

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Pss. Also, I’m aware there is a manga of this series and I have it on hold at the library already. I can’t wait to check it out! (Literally of course.)

The Rising – A Spoiler Free Review

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Image by LissethKay on dA.

First off let me take a moment of this review to explain my disappearance. Life has been biting me in the butt and stealing my inspiration to do anything creative, including writing book reviews. But, that has not stopped me from reading, as much as you guys as my followers may question otherwise. This is the first of three posts that will be coming in the next three days to try and make up for my lapse. First a book review on The Rising by Kelley Armstrong, followed by my favorite cake recipe, and finally my review on Soulless by Gail Carriger so keep your eyes out for these. Now onto the review!

Book: the Rising

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Age Group: Teen

Genre: Action, Adventure, Romance, Fantasy

Rating: 2.5/5

First off go ahead and gasp at the low rating, only rivaled by Fallen in my review spectrum. Especially, if you read my review on the previous book in this series, the Calling. It is pretty hard for me to reason with myself to give a book a low rating like this, but sometimes books just fall below my expectations, and in this case it was quite far below.

I love the Calling and the Gathering, the two previous novels in this series, and was stoked for the Rising. I even got my hands on an uncorrected proof of the novel, the version right before the published one. I began reading it, enjoying the action and picking up easily where the last book had left off, and then it all began to slow down. Mountains of dialogue, political schemes, characters not acting as they had in previous novels, and the slowed down pace of this book quickly began to wear on me. Maya Delaney, previously such a strong character, had suddenly become very weak in my eyes and for some reason. A previously action ridden book had slowed down to allow large amounts of dialogue to take the place of action, and even when action was introduced in the novel, it was at a much slower drawn out pace. I didn’t feel like I was running, I felt like I was doing a fast walk. It felt like I was reading a book written by a completely different author. I also felt, at times, that important sections were just skimmed over. Maybe the deadline that the author was put to was too short to get in all that needed to be said. Or maybe there was just not enough time to sit and wonder if a particular scene had been thoroughly divulged given the situation.

The saving grace of this novel, for me, was the crossover with Armstrong’s first series, the Darkest Power’s trilogy, and the characters there being thrown in. I’d always felt that there were more “diverse” characters in her first series, but that Armstrong hadn’t been able to take full advantage of them yet as that was her first published series. The Darkness Rising series had, until this point, been written better than her first series, although the characters didn’t have nearly the number of dimensions.

Armstrong continued with interesting themes of history and the supernatural. At times, I felt that she was going out on a little bit of a limb as I tried to do research on some of the supernatural types she introduced and often got very conflicting opinions, but interesting none-the-less.

Another saving grace of the book was helping solidify the romantic interests introduced throughout. I know I’m a sucker for these sorts of things, but honestly it helps me feel complete on at least one level, even if all the other levels of the book don’t pan out. Paired with this was the answers to many mysteries that the series introduces earlier, including Serena’s death paired with confrontations of the characters. In this way, the book felt real.

Overall I’m still feeling disappointed about the book, after two weeks, and am on a limb about recommending the series to others for fear of their eminent disappointment.

As always I have just one opinion and there are many more out there for you to check out before deciding whether or not to purchase the book.

Thank you for taking the time to check out this review,

~ Yoku

the Calling – A Spoiler Free Review

ImageImage of Maya Delaney by mangalover-96 on dA (check her out!)

Book: the Calling

Author: Kelley Armstrong

Age Group: Teen

Genre: Action, Adventure, Supernatural

Rating: 4/5

If I had to choose one and only one word to describe this novel, it would be survival. This being the second book in the Darkness Rising trilogy, that makes one question what I would categorize the first book to be. Background. The first book gave us the basis we needed to run up the climbing action that Armstrong provides us with this second book. We struggle with the characters, ask the questions they’re wondering, and spectate about the information that as readers, we know, but that the characters do not. Armstrong strings together a thrilling tale of teenagers struggling to survive in the wilderness of Vancouver Island fearing not only the wilderness they are in, but also the people who are chasing after them.

Armstrong’s take on the supernatural intrigued me with her first series, the Darkest Powers which followed a Necromancer as the main character, an unusual supernatural to say the least. Her honesty and development with the characters led me to pick up her second series, Darkness Rising, and she has yet to disappoint me with that decision. My biggest thing about her first series is that all three books read as a single book would. The first book provides the background and presentation of the problem; the second climbing action; the third climax, falling action, and conclusion. All this in my mind makes a well rounded novel, but for some reason Armstrong chooses to spread them out. Her second series is the same so far. Although, as a reader I imagine this is more of a personal choice between her and her editor.

Both of her series follow a female lead as coming-of-age novels and both have multiple potential romantic interests involved. Both also deal heavily with ethical and moral issues of how society treats mental illness, genetic research experiments, and what happens when people involved in an experiment are not told. As a student studying the sciences myself, this intrigued me as it’s subtle, but present in both her series.

If you’re looking for a thrilling novel following a strong female lead that dips into the unusual sides of the supernatural I highly recommend checking this series out. I’ll be picking up the third and final book once the price falls a bit, but I’ll keep reading and reviewing as always. Once again, I have one opinion, but there are many others out there so be sure to check them out.

Thank you for taking the time to check out this review,

~ Yoku