Saturday, January 3, 2015

[Review] Reaper by L.S. Murphy

Reaper


Authors: L.S. Murphy
Release date: October 14, 2014
Pages: 212
Reasons why I picked it up: summary
Genre: paranormal, YA
 
Summary:  
There's no way sixteen year old Quincy Amarante will become the fifth grim reaper. None. Not over her shiny blue Mustang. Her Jimmy Choos. Or her dead body.
She’s supposed to enjoy her sophomore year, not learn about some freaky future Destiny says she has no choice but to fulfill.
It doesn’t take long for Quincy to realize the only way out of the game is to play along especially since Death can find her anyway, anywhere, anytime. And does.
Like when she’s reassuring her friends she wants nothing to do with former best friend Ben Moorland, who’s returned from god-knows-where, and fails. Miserably.
Instead of maintaining her coveted popularity status, Quincy’s goes down like the Titanic.
Maybe ... just maybe ... that’s okay.
It seems, perhaps, becoming a grim reaper isn’t just about the dead but more about a much needed shift in Quincy’s priorities—from who she thinks she wants to be to who she really is.
 



My Review

If you thought there couldn't possibly be a main character more annoying than the one from the House of Night series, you're in for a surprise.

Quincy Amarante gives Zoey Redbird a run for her money.

This book is short but boy, does it feel like it never ends. Mostly because I wanted to strangle the MC, but also, for the most part, there was not much going on about the premise, just the freaking usual school drama.

Throughout the story, except for the last 3 chapters (which the other half star is for), Quincy is judgemental, self-absorbed, shallow and has a holier-than-thou attitude.

Here's the main reasons why I wanted to throw this book out the window:

 

1. She comments on other people's looks and social status like it's the most important thing in the world (even if it's not all in the dialogue, it's in the narrative)

[...] and last year for prom when I was the only freshman who was asked. Jordan’s never been.

I toss a smug smile over my shoulder at her. She’s not much to worry about, anyway. Her thick thighs would turn any guy off, and I seriously doubt she’s got a man.

I hurry to the closet to plan my outfit and grab a new off-white sweater DeeDee will turn green over. She can never pull the color off. I add my favorite tight jeans to prove I’m in shape for the stupid basketball game. My body is so much better than DeeDee’s, and it’s time she remembers that.

“Only nerds are manager, Jor. I won’t be a manager, and I won’t be on the team as some backup. I earned my spot.”
[...]
I’ve offended her beyond what a bestie is allowed. Especially since she serves as both the backup and the manager, but I don’t care at the moment.


 

2. She can draw some really idiotic conclusions

If you stuff your face in alcohol after your grandpa's funeral, in front of your boyfriend, and want to have sex with him in the attic, your conclusion after he pushes you away is "he doesn't want me" and then get furious and go all like "OMG I can't believe you don't know why I'm mad at you"?!?

God, WTF is your problem, Quincy? O_O


3. Eating disorder

Can you stop commenting on your eating salads and low-fat yogurt, and being afraid of eating an omelette, burger, fries, or whatever? I seriously doubt what you ate on your birthday day will make you be "on the verge of bursting out of your clothes", and therefore needing to rattle on about all the exercising you did to compensate the "food binge".


4. The becoming a reaper part (which should be, I don't know, the backbone of the story) barely takes some pages of the book, when it's Quincy freaking out about it and being in denial, and Destiny and Forsyth freezing time and taking her to death scenes, which doesn't really do much to teach her, IMO, save when it's her own Grandpa (yet, it's only on the last four chapters that she shows a tiny bit of character growth).

 

5. Oh yeah, and the inane sentences throw around every now and then...

...which I didn't bother to write all down, but there are more, and here's the one that made me sputter:

I’m a hollow shell -- empty inside.

Hmmm really? That needed an explanation? *eyeroll*


6. Ben was the only likeable character, and still he was a little bit of over-glorified by Quincy.




There, I know that's not much of a review, but I actually just wanted to vent. Anyway, I don't recommend this book at all, it was not cute, not funny and not intriguing; it was just about a selfish teenager destined-to-become-a-reaper bitching about how unfair her easy life is.

 

[Review] The Ringmaster's Gambit by Yannis Karatsioris


The Ringmaster's Gambit

Series: The Game #2
Authors: Yannis Karatsioris
Release date: September 4, 2013
Pages: 310
Reasons why I picked it up: ARC
Genre: urban fantasy, adventure

Summary: 
 Jaelle the Fortuneteller and Emilian the Ringmaster are the ones guarding the circus from anyone who's not being nice. The Bringers of Death want to kill. The Magi want to know. The Upyri want to kill and then know. They all suspect I'm in there, hiding, scheming, mocking them. They are coming for the book, for the ones who sleep; they are coming for me. Let's see what happens..



My Review

First off, I want to express my huge thanks to the author, who provided me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Ringmaster’s Gambit is the second book in The Game series, and, at first, you may think it’s not the sequel to The Book of the Forsaken, where we were first introduced to the three puppets – Robert, Daniel and Igor. It presents new characters and a change of scenery: Emilian’s circus and Forsaken races under its protection, while roaming Vienna in search for the Moon’s favorite – a person they’ll need for the coming fourth Game. Meanwhile, Mr. Crow and Mr. Scales, two Bringers of Death, try to get to the elusive Mr. Emerald, the third – or rather, the first – of their kind. And there's also the Magi, who have their own dark agenda.

The main characters, this time, would be Emilian, Jaelle, the Bringers of Death, and, of course, the storyteller himself. The three main characters from the first book do appear later on, although they don't play an active role like they did before – still, we get to understand the reason why they have those powers even though they’re not Forsaken themselves. A thing I missed is the storyteller’s sarcasm, which was subdued – he admits that himself and explains the reason for the change of tone.

To sum up, this sequel shows the reasons behind most of things left unanswered in the first book, giving us more glimpses into the big and carefully woven picture. This is something I’m particularly fond of: whereas most books have it all laid so crystal clear that I can guess what's going on and how the story's going to end about halfway through, The Game series is different, with layers of intertwined mysterious reasons and intents.

I liked the suspense and found I was racing against myself, trying to unravel the plot before the ending, and was finally pleasantly surprised to see the pieces clicking together after the clues delivered throughout the book, along with a peek into the other characters' schemes. If anything, that makes me more curious to read the rest of the series, for it’s an intriguing, unique and, more importantly, a greatly enjoyable read.


[Review] Redeemed by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Redeemed

Series: House of Night #12
Authors: P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Release date: October 14, 2014
Pages: 320
Reasons why I picked it up: part of a series
Genre: paranormal, YA


Summary:  
In the final electrifying novel in the HoN series, Neferet has finally made herself known to mortals. A Dark Goddess is loose on Tulsa and the world. No single vampyre is strong enough to vanquish her - unless that creature has the power to summon the elements as well as the ability to wield Old Magick. Only Zoey Redbird is heir to such power...but because of the consequences of using Old Magick, she is unable to help. Find out who will win and who will lose in this epic battle of Light versus Darkness.



My Review

I didn't write a full-blown review, especially because there were a lot of them on Goodreads that already tell us about the general "plot" and spoilers.

But for those who want to laugh at some ridicule quotes, though, here you go:


"FAVORITE" QUOTES! WITH GIFs!

I couldn’t remember if Oklahoma was a death penalty state. Like I’d actually paid attention in history class while Coach Fitz played movie after movie?
~Zoey


Yeah, because knowing a bit about the state where you were born in is for nerds! YOLO!

“I’d been a self-absorbed bitch.”
~ Zoey

Well, FINALLY!!! Acceptance is the first step and all that...


“[...]You don’t hear names like that anymore, and it is such a shame. Where have all the Elinors and Elizabeths, Gertrudes, Gladyses, and Phyllises gone?”
~ Neferet
 

What a happy coincidence that the P in P.C. Cast stands for Phyllis, huh?


Goddess! He’s not even human! I felt the shock of it, and the memory of what he looked like when he morphed into the bull creature played through my mind.
~ Zoey

What a genius you are, Zoey!

“Only you can help yourself. Grow up, young Priestess. Show all of us why Nyx has chosen to gift you so greatly,” Sgiach said. 

Zoey? Growing up?


“I’ve never heard of this, but maybe if a cat’s vampyre goes bad, it, well, commits suicide or something. He might be up there because Neferet is batshit crazy and he can’t deal with it.”
~ Zoey

 

Yes, and it'll even say, "Goodbye, cruel world"...



I could even begin to recover from that horrid statement, Thanatos added, “I have only known one other fledgling who was as gifted as you are, Zoey Redbird. Her name was Neferet.”
 

Ok, Zoey, this is your cue to freak out!
 


“A teenager?” Marx’s voice grumbled from behind us. “Why would the power to balance good and evil be given to a teenager?”
I frowned at him.
“I have been wondering that for months,” Kalona said.


Me too! For years, actually...


“Ah, hell,” I said. I sighed and took a big gulp of my brown pop. It was going to be a long night.
~ Zoey

For some reason, this scene makes me think "it's like she's supposedly downing a glass of whiskey, but this is a YA book, so 'brown pop' it is."

(Also, why the hell the HoN books are littered with pop culture and brand references, but Zoey never says Coke or Pepsi or Dr Pepper? Mother/daughter disagreement or product placement problem?)

 
THE END. REALLY.

AdiĆ³s, House of Night!
 

AFTERWARD...

No wait, WHAT?! LIES!!! You're freaking kidding me, right?

*a few pages later* OMG, FINALLY! It's finally over!


 
And my conclusion after I read the House of Night series' conclusion is: the whole series is, like Zoey would put it, a "GIHUGIC" waste of time.

But, the good news is, IT'S FINALLY OVER!

Now excuse me while I mentally celebrate with some Sofia sparkling wine (and not Aphrodite's "Sophia champagne" -- is that a Chinese knock-off?).



Sunday, March 2, 2014

[Review] Anthology Immortal by P.C. Cast (ed)

Immortal: Love Stories With Bite

Authors: Cynthia Leitich Smith, Kristin Cast, Rachel Caine, Tanith Lee, Richelle Mead, Nancy Holder, Rache Vincent, Claudia Gray
Editor: P.C. Cast
Release date: October 6, 2009
Pages: 264
Reason why I picked it up: genre
Genre: paranormal, YA


Summary:  

WHEN YOU'RE IMMORTAL TRUE LOVE REALLY IS FOREVER

Rachel Caine revisits the setting of her Morganville Vampire series, where the vampires are in charge and love is a risky endeavor, even when it comes to your own family

Tantalize author Cynthia Leitich Smith gives us a love triangle between a vampire, a ghost, and a human girl, in which none of them are who or what they seem

Claudia Gray takes us into the world of her Evernight series, in which a pre-civil War courtesan-to-be is courted by a pale, fair-haired man whose attentions are too dangerous to spurn-in more ways than one

Vampire Academy author Richelle Mead brings us the tale of a young vampire on the run from the rest of her kind, and the human boy who provides the gateaway car-as well as a reason to keep running

Wicked series writer Nancy Holder immerses us in a post-apocalyptic New York where two best friends are forced to make a choice that may kill them both

Rachel Vincent explores a new corner of her Soul Screamers universe with the story of a leanan sidhe capable of inspiring the musician she loves to new creative heights-or draining him, and his talent, dry

Master fantasist Tanith Lee shows us what happens when a bright young woman with some supernatural savvy encounters a misguided (but gorgeous) young vampire

And Kristin Cast, co-author of the House of Night series, introduces us to a new kind of vampire: one with the roots in Greek mythology, and the power to alter space and times to save the girl he's meant to love



My Review

I'll review each short story separately, with its own rating, and give an average rating for the whole anthology, which is the sum of all ratings, divided by the number of short stories featured.


Haunted Love by Cynthia Leitich Smith - 3 stars 
Didn't see that coming, but I knew there was something off about the new girl. The main character was a bit cheesy what with the I-can-catch-the-girl-before-she-falls-even-though-she's-so-far-away super speed thingy, plus the fact there were moments he was like "OMG flesh, blood yummm OMG I can be so dangerous near her". Definitely, Cody looked like Edward Cullen. I didn't understand very well how Cody was turned -- I mean, it's not thoroughly explained. Looks like just drank the "power elixir" he ordered from someone who was selling it in the internet and... bam! he's a vampire. So, not the best of explanations. But the story was entertaining, nevertheless, just as the ending was sort of cute, sort of creepy.


Amber Smoke by Kristin Cast - 2 stars 
For those who didn't know who threw that sticky, thick veneer of teenage drama all over the young characters in the House of Night series, after this short story you won't have a doubt. (Yeah, I know, it was already said in the Casts' blog or whatever it was Kristin, but anyway...) 
The main character, Jenna, is just as annoying as Zoey and her gang can be, perhaps even worse. All those "suuuper cute" comments and "OMG he's so hot I can't even form a coherent thought" thoughts just serve to show how immature the supposedly "powerful" and "goddess-chosen" characters can be after she goes through their personalities to make them look like 'real' teenagers. Please, don't insult us. Not all teens are these brain-dead, walking stereotypes you see in movies like Mean Girls. The concept for vampirism here is different, but very, I don't know, incomplete? It just didn't make sense. Seriously, more explaining, people! This is not a teaser for a new series, so please elaborate and tie the knots in the right place when you write a short story, so it's more reasonable, ok?


Dead Man Stalking by Rachel Caine - 2.5 stars 
I'm not sure what to say about this one, and I can't compare it against the full series, since I never got to read it. And I keep postponing reading the series because when I started paying attention to this author, the series had already 7 books out, and it kept getting sequels... and now it's so damned long. I guess it stopped at book #15, now. Hopefully I'll read it soon and see for myself if so many books were necessary to tell a story. So, about the short story: basically, there's this guy Shane and he's kidnapped by a zombie. But he lives in a world (or maybe it's just a city?) where the bloodsucking kind of undead is normal, but the walking rotting corpse kind is not. Then he discovers his father is behind it all and that he's sort of a vampire-hunter wannabe daddy. A bit of a feeble story: there's not much of a plot, action or a climax (it's a very fast one at that anyway). I liked the short story "Automatic" better than this (even though it didn't have much of a plot either). I like the author's writing style though: it's easy to read, but I wish it had more substance.


Table Manners by Tanith Lee - 2.5 stars 
The writing was so choppy in the beginning, it was almost painful to read. I was expecting this to be another rip-off of Twilight mixed with some elements from Dracula. Instead, we find that vampires aren't the monsters or the lascivious creatures everyone believes -- beautiful, angsty, lustful, arrogant and with just a few weaknesses to keep them from taking over the world -- NO! They're some sort of, er... superhumans? Explained by the MC as beings who evolved whereas the poor humans didn't. Damn, this almost sounds like Darwin's theory about humans and apes. lol But seriously, the concept was very different, indeed. In this story, vampires are vampires just because they have a special gene they inherit. And the cherry on the cake is: none of those weaknesses and myths are true! It's all in the vampire's head: the need for blood, not being able to stand sunlight, blah blah blah. They're not immortal either. They just don't age after some time (something around their twenties, it seems), plus no need to eat food, and no reproducing by the biting-and-giving-blood method, just the... you know... the traditional way. The story is a lot more about explaining vampires than having an actual plot, and even though there's no instalove here, the romance still came off as too forced or rushed.


Blue Moon by Richelle Mead - 5 stars 
This has got to be the best story in this train wreck of an anthology. That's why I love so much Richelle Mead's works -- no matter how different from what you'd expect from a story, her books are written in such a way you can actually believe and connect with the characters, like it's all possible and real. Although this one is not such an original idea (as far as I know, there's some books out there that are similar), Blue Moon, still has what I want from a story: an actual plot, action (preferably some ass-kicking), relatable characters and a little bit of romance. The world is the dystopian kind, but ruled by vampires, and Lucy Wade, "daughter of one of the most powerful vamps in town", finds herself in the middle of a prophecy, meaning she now has to choose between killing or being killed. I wish this was turned into a full book -- it's certainly interesting enough to have its plot extended -- although I don't believe that's going to happen since the author already has a bestselling series about vampires.


Changed by Nancy Holder - 1 star 
This is probably one of the most bizarre short stories in this book. Jilly and Eli are best friends, and she loves him, even though, after their being girlfriend and boyfriend for some time (eighth grade?), a new boy, Sean, starts going to their school, and Eli finds out he's gay and starts dating Sean. Anyway, that's not the point -- or at least shouldn't be, because it seems it's all the MC can talk about, all the time. SO, about the vampires: this doesn't even resemble a vampire story, sorry. It's all about a dramatic invasion, end-of-the-world style, in NY. Yeah, how fun. Problem is, the vampires act like zombies. They're thought of as smart and fast, and are dominating the city, burning down or exploding houses, killing people for fun and turning the chosen humans into one of them. There's no comunication, cell phones, internet, nothing works anymore. But what's the vamps' purpose? Why don't they subjugate humans and create an empire or something? Nope, all they can seem to do is go on on a killing spree, and miraculously leave Jilly alone, while other people are cowering and hiding and killing each other over food. There's simply no meaning in this, and it just looked like all that stuff was written simply to show how Sean was evil, Eli was blind and Jilly was a twit. *eyeroll*


Binge by Rachel Vincent - 4 stars 

"It's not even about vampires, so what is this doing here?" This was one of the thoughts that popped in my mind when I was halfway through the story. The main characters here are a siren, Andi, and a leanan sidhe, Mallory, and are best friends. In a way, I understand the similarities between what a vamp's feeding and what they need to do to survive. Still, I can't help thinking this belong in some other anthology, not one that features vamps. Yet, apart from this detail, I quite enjoyed the story, in fact. In order to Andi not to die from "hunger", she has to choose between either feeding from a human's energy all at once (consequently killing him or her) ever few years, or taking a bit from large crowds and feeding on a regular basis. Mallory, on the other side, is a "muse" who can give "genius" to someone and live from this mutual exchange of energy gifts or something. Both Andi and Mallory help the other not to step out of line and end up killing someone. The ending was very heart-wrenching, and I kept wishing some sort of miracle would happen and things would change.


Free by Claudia Gray - 4 stars 
This story is set in the world of the Evernight series, but far back in the time when Patrice Deveraux was still a teenage and human, and her mother was looking for a white man to marry Patrice to, even though she loved the blacksmith, Amos. She was one of the characters I actually liked (differently from the MC of the actual series and Patrice's roommate, the too-stupid-to-live Bianca). It's nice to read the story of a strong character for a change. Patrice's got a backbone, and is one of the most fierce heroines in this anthology. The ending was bittersweet: the sad events that led to her being turned mixed with her finally getting her real freedom.









Saturday, October 19, 2013

[Review] Revealed by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

Revealed

Series: House of Night #11
Authors: P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
Release date: October 15, 2013
Pages: 352
Reasons why I picked it up: part of a series
Genre: paranormal, YA


Summary:  
Drastically altered after her fall at the end of Hidden, Neferet is now more dangerous than ever—and her quest for vengeance will wreak havoc on humans, as well as Zoey and her friends. Chaos is loosed in Tulsa and the House of Night is blamed. 
Can Zoey stop Neferet in time to keep her anger from escalating to full-on war? Or will someone else have to step in to take the fall?



My Review

I'm not sure if I should even bother writing a review for this, since I'll probably end up just ranting, but I guess I could say a little something about what happened in this eleventh installment. Just a heads-up: there are <b>unmarked spoilers</b> of the previous books ahead, so if you haven't read books 1-10, I wouldn't recommend reading the rest of my review (or reading those books, for that matter).


My thoughts about the House of Night series

You see, I used to like this series. I thought the first books (up till book 4) were pretty much good and original. 

On the fifth installment, Hunted, there was the introduction of Kalona and the whole A-ya stuff, if I'm not wrong, and then the downfall started, IMO. 

If my memory doesn't fail me, that's when Stark shows up, too, to be added to the ever-growing list of Zoey's boyfriends. Also, by the end of book #6, Heath dies, making Zoey's soul shatters or whatnot. Boy, was I pissed because of that cliffhanger.

With the 7th book, we were finally introduced to the third person POV of other characters (YESSSS!!! FINALLY!! Z's first person POV can be incredibly annoying), because Zoey's on the Otherworld and so we get to glimpse at the other characters' lives while she's not around them. Yet, to me, Burned was worse than the other books -- can't remember why, just that I disliked it more than its prequels.

I barely remember book #8, Awakened, although I think it has something to do with the whole Kalona-Neferet-White Bull blah blah blah and Zoey and Stark's fight and make-up sex sessions. I think that's when Nyx also kind of forgives Rephaim and he's transformed into a normal boy by night and a raven by day.

So, book 9, Destined. I once thought that was going to be the final book (yeah, I wish), but I was oh so, so wrong. Again, pretty much of what we had seen in the eighth book.

The tenth book, Hidden: starts with Lenobia's story (not so bad, BTW), and then we have the fire, blah blah, Nicole shows she's changed sides, Neferet tries to convince the White Bull to kill Zoey (can't she go and take a gun or something? Seriously, why rely solely on "magick"? *eyeroll*), Erin is a back-stabbing bitch (lol), Neferent kidnaps Grandma Redbird, Dragon dies, Aurox or whoever kinda throws Neferet from her penthouse... just to have Neferet not dying. Because the villain can't die just yet, right? [insert more eyerolling here]. The end... for now (yeah, I did notice that, unfortunately).

One thing that's really crazy is, I don't think the plot even gets to happen during a week -- each book as of lately barely covers a 3-day span, it seems. Not to mention they have about 300 pages each full of: I) bickering, II) inane dialogues, III) planning-but-not-really-doing, IV) crying and pity party, V) non-swear words used by Zoey (seriously, she acts like a ho but doesn't cuss? WTF?) VI) and a lot of pop references thrown in, for good measure. The real action or mildly interesting scenes? About only 10% of the book.


My thoughts about Revealed

(Contains unmarked spoilers)

Well, the eleventh book is pretty much just another filler for the series, yet I found myself liking it a tiny bit better than the others, for a change. 

The reason is probably because there seemed to be more third person POVs than Zoey's POV. Plus I actually giggled/snorted at some remarks and scenes (Aprodite's and Aurox/Heath's). 

We also get to see a bit of Neferet's backstory -- although I'm guessing it was already told in her novella, which I haven't read. 

I just don't understand what the hell Aphrodite was thinking by keeping her vision from Zoey. She kept putting off, saying it wasn't the right time to tell her yet. Uh, so why would you get that vision, darling? Just for the sake of having your pretty baby-blue eyes bleed? *eyeroll*

And jeeesh, what Z did is really f*cked up, and as it was stressed several times during the book, that sort of anger was SO NOT like her. And yet blaming the Seer Stone (for the record: she didn't, someone else did but can't remember who) is too lame. I thought the blue ball of fire/energy/whatever wasn't really necessary, either, but I understand it has something to do with the "Old Magick from the Skye Island" stuff and will hopefully be better explained in the last book.

Another thing I was wondering is, how did the police know what happened was supernatural? I mean, it was raining, a lightning struck the trees, so they could say it was just Mother Nature's doing. It just doesn't make sense to me. Now I wonder how they're going to get Z out of prison. I think it will have something to do with a lot of pity party with her snot crying before they smuggle her out, or I don't know, go back in time, and change the story? LMAO I wouldn't doubt anything at this point.

And about time something was done about Dallas. Now why's Neferet still so hard to kill? I just hope she dies already (she's not the only one I wish that for, though >:D) -- please don't make this a Disney ending with all the bad guys turning good and everyone hugging in the end, ok?

So I was right, I ended up ranting. Big surprise in here. 







Wednesday, October 16, 2013

[Review] Cursed by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Cursed

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Release date: September 18, 2012
Pages: 304
Reasons why I picked it up: genre, summary
Genre: paranormal, YA


Summary:  
Dying sucks
...and high school senior Ember McWilliams knows firsthand. 

After a fatal car accident, her gifted little sister brought her back. Now anything Ember touches dies. And that, well, really blows.

Ember operates on a no-touch policy with all living things--including boys. When Hayden Cromwell shows up, quoting Oscar Wilde and claiming her curse is a gift, she thinks he's a crazed cutie. But when he tells her he can help control it, she's more than interested. There's just one catch: Ember has to trust Hayden's adopted father, a man she's sure has sinister reasons for collecting children whose abilities even weird her out. However, she's willing to do anything to hold her sister's hand again. And hell, she'd also like to be able to kiss Hayden. Who wouldn't?

But when Ember learns the accident that turned her into a freak may not've been an accident at all, she's not sure who to trust. Someone wanted her dead, and the closer she gets to the truth, the closer she is to losing not only her heart, but her life.

For real this time.


My review:

Note: This review was originally published on GoodReads in September 2012.

First book I ever read by this author. I really liked her writing style and the paranormalcy of the story, and thus I really enjoyed it. 

Yet I had issues with a few particular aspects, especially the main character, Ember. She managed to get under my skin a lot of times, what with her stupid behavior. Sometimes I felt like slapping her, how could she not see some obvious stuff? 

Anyway, this isn't a rant review (as there were things I really loved), so I'm gonna try and keep it short. 

I guess what bothered me most are two things: that some points could have been better explained; and that about one third into the book, I already knew who the "big villain" was. The first probably because I'm used to reading series, so there is ground for intricate plots and better explained motivations. I'm guessing the second is due to my being a bit paranoid? Not sure, but for some reason, I got the villain-disguised-as-good-person vibe from the moment I read about Ember's encounter with that individual. So yeah, that kinda spoiled it to me, as I really like a surprise in the end.

To sum up: although I felt irritated at the protagonist for my own reasons and the big revelation in the end wasn't hot news for me, I loved the supernatural stuff and the writing. Armentrout did a great job at giving a different twist to supernatural powers, describing surroundings, emotions, etc and weaving all that with the plot neatly. I could relate to a lot of the characters' emotions, and understand most of their actions and overall behavior. It was pleasant to see Ember growing on me a bit, towards the end (I liked to read about her evolving her habilities.)

I guess that's it: the book wasn't epic but was a nice read nonetheless.