Mini Reviews #2: Befuddled by Time Travel, Annoyed by Vampires


AKA: Ellie can't get her crap together enough to write full-on reviews for any of these books, so you get shortened versions of a bunch of reviews.

The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Nix has spent her entire life aboard her father’s ship, sailing across the centuries, across the world, across myth and imagination.

As long as her father has a map for it, he can sail to any time, any place, real or imagined: nineteenth-century China, the land from One Thousand and One Nights, a mythic version of Africa. Along the way they have found crewmates and friends, and even a disarming thief who could come to mean much more to Nix.

But the end to it all looms closer every day.

Her father is obsessed with obtaining the one map, 1868 Honolulu, that could take him back to his lost love, Nix’s mother. Even though getting it—and going there—could erase Nix’s very existence.

For the first time, Nix is entering unknown waters.

She could find herself, find her family, find her own fantastical ability, her own epic love.

Or she could disappear.



4/5 pensive Hermiones

Although this book had a slow start, I grew to love it very quickly.

The premise is so unique, and a lot of the key elements - pirates, maps, history - really appeal to me. AND THE CHARACTERS MY HEART. Nix is a great protagonist, and Blake + Kashmir are great side characters. I couldn't decide whom I wanted Nix to end up with, because I fell a little bit in love with both of them.

Although the writing was fast-paced and engaging, there were a few elements I wasn't too fond of. Firstly, the kiss scene between Nix and Kash. Like, the whole book had been so original up until that point - and then this was one of the least original, most stereotypical romance scenes I've read in a while. Beaches + sunsets = bleh. Save me. I also was seriously confused by the whole time-travel bit - Auntie Joss's journey through time confuzzled me way too much, and I definitely felt like it could have been explained better. I still have no idea what happened there, tbh.



My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga 

Sixteen-year-old physics nerd Aysel is obsessed with plotting her own death. With a mother who can barely look at her without wincing, classmates who whisper behind her back, and a father whose violent crime rocked her small town, Aysel is ready to turn her potential energy into nothingness.

There’s only one problem: she’s not sure she has the courage to do it alone. But once she discovers a website with a section called Suicide Partners, Aysel’s convinced she’s found her solution: a teen boy with the username FrozenRobot (aka Roman) who’s haunted by a family tragedy is looking for a partner. 

Even though Aysel and Roman have nothing in common, they slowly start to fill in each other’s broken lives. But as their suicide pact becomes more concrete, Aysel begins to question whether she really wants to go through with it. Ultimately, she must choose between wanting to die or trying to convince Roman to live so they can discover the potential of their energy together. Except that Roman may not be so easy to convince.



3/5 fluffy ponies

I'm not quite sure about my opinion of this book?

On one hand, I've had multiple friends with mental illness recommend it to me as a really good portrayal of mental illness. On the other hand, although it does portray depression itself well, it doesn't seem to accurately show how someone with depression can get better. This story basically just uses the love-cures-mental-illness trope. Yes, there's an acknowledgement that Roman isn't completely fixed by the end and won't be for a long time, but Aysel is almost completely back to normal (and if she isn't, the author gives no indication). I realize that I, an individual who has never experienced severe depression or serious suicidal thoughts, don't have the right to have too much of an opinion about what the "correct" ways to portray mental illness are, and besides which everyone's mental illness is different. Still, this book does seem to be perpetrating harmful stereotypes, even if they appear to make sense in the story.

So I have mixed feelings about this book. But it was well-written, so for that reason I'm giving it a tentative 3/5.


Blood Canticle by Anne Rice


Lestat is back with a vengeance and in thrall to Rowan Mayfair. Both demon and angel, he is drawn to kill but tempted by goodness as he moves among the pantheon of Anne Rice's unforgettable characters. Julien Mayfair, his tormentor; Rowan, witch and neurosurgeon, who attracts spirits to herself, casts spells on others and finds herself dangerously drawn to Lestat; Patsy, country and western singer, who was killed by Quinn Blackwood and dumped in a swamp; Ash Templeton, a 5,000 year old Taltos whose genes live on in the Mayfairs. Now, Lestat fights to save Patsy's ghost from the dark realms of the Earthbound, to uncover the mystery of the Taltos and to decide the fate of Rowan Mayfair. Both of Anne Rice's irresistible realms - the worlds of Blackwood Farm and the Mayfair Witches - collide as Lestat struggles between his lust for blood and the quest for life, between gratification and redemption.









3/5 disdainful Elves


Yes, 3/5 may seem like an okay rating. But compared to the rest of The Vampire Chronicles, this book was a definite disappointment.

TVC is one of my favorite series, and one of the main reasons is Rice's beautiful prose. I fell head over heels in love with these books not because of the characters, plot, or anything else, but because of her stunning writing.

However, due to some fan's complaints that her style was too "old-fashioned", she dramatically changed her writing style for this book. The 200-year-old vampires let go of their beautiful, introspective monologues and embraced modern slang, calling everyone "dude" and "bro" all over the place and speaking at a third-grade reading level. Although it may be natural for them to adapt to the modern century, I wish it had happened more gradually throughout the series, as would realistically make sense. The abrupt way in which it was done left me feeling like the heart and soul of this series had been stripped away - simply to cater to an audience who wanted snippets, headlines, books you can skim, books you don't need an intellect to read. (And as detailed in this post, there were a few more issues I had.)

The characters were also a disappointment - Lestat suffered from the issues above, Mona was portrayed in an offensive and anti-feminist way, Stirling felt like a replacement David, and my smol sweet Quinn had a grand total of two lines.

Out of the ten books I've read so far in the series, there's only one I've liked less. I hope the next one will be better.


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Let's chat! Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? Any disappointments or ones that left you confuzzled? Comment below, and remember that you are all very beautiful pickles. <3

Namarië,
Ellie

10 comments:

  1. the first book sounds so beautiful and magical I must read it. I haven't read any of these books, but I'm definitely going to read at least a couple of them. And I love mini reviews, not much room for spoilers but they give the review writer a break from huge reviews to write quick little review summaries, if that makes sense.

    ~Noor

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    1. YOU MUST.
      IKR?? They're so much less stressful than full-length reviews, and I like reading them more because you can hear about new books!

      - Ellie

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  2. I love your rating system so much! XD Who needs stars when you can have fluffy ponies or disdainful elves?
    The Girl from Everywhere is totally on my TBR list now. Hopefully all the amazing pirate goodness and time travel will help me forgive any stereotypical romance. :D

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    1. Thank you, ahhh! <3
      I hope you enjoy it! I'll be interested to hear your thoughts <3

      - Ellie

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  3. hiii ellie! so sorry that i haven't been around in the blogging world in forever and i'll have to catch up on your posts right now. (i'm gonna try to blog again.. let's see how that goes..)

    as for this post, i do have to agree with you on my heart and other black holes, and as noor said that first book does sound good.

    and the mini booke review summaries are genius :))

    xo
    emily

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    1. Ahhhhh hello!! I've missed you :) I'm glad you're back, though, no matter what capacity it's in!
      Thank you! It's not my idea, but I absolutely love it.

      - Ellie

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  4. I love, love how you rate these in anything other than stars. XD That is the best idea ever! I especially like the fluffy ponies. [Whenever I see a fluffy pony, I think of Agnes's line from Despicable Me.]

    I've always wanted to read The Girl from Everywhere! I'm glad to hear that you liked it, despite the kissing scene (which is usually not the best part of any book anyhow. . .). Ships and pirates and sass are always awesome. :)

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    1. Ahhh, thank you so much XD
      Agreed :)

      - Ellie

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  5. I love these quick reviews! I'd love to try some of them, but I have a little too many to be read right now, lol ♥
    Amy xx

    Little Moon Dragon

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    1. My life exactly XD and thank you!

      - Ellie

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