Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

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Even though I really liked this book (4/5 stars), I’m going to go ahead and air on the side of harsh in this review because this is one of those books that is really popular that no one who knows anything about writing ever reviews. Like most other teen fiction books, it gets a lot of hype for a reason that no one can place their finger on.

What I really enjoyed about this book was the characters. Usually, in teen fiction it’s the characters that suck. What I appreciated was the backstory, leading up to present lives that made sense. It also wasn’t excessive; in fact, no backstory was shared unless it was neccesary. I also liked that there weren’t too many characters to keep track of. Warning: the first chapter is a bunch of nonsense and totally threw me off.

I liked the pace of the plot, it made sense and was easy to follow; it also strung me along on the edge of my seat, wanting to know more answers, even from the beginning. Very clever story telling.

Leigh Bardugo is VERY skilled at knowing her audience. No matter how many times you argue with me on this point, this book was written for teen girls. Yes, I know it’s about a dirty gang and 4/6 characters are young men. But that’s the draw, you see. If you wish to differ, change the characters to 6/6 as boys. Then you’ll see what I mean. With Bardugo’s audience in mind, she skillfully draws in the teens….and drives away everyone else. So I’m both congratulating and wagging my finger at this author, because when you write for teens you can get away with a lot that you normally can’t because your readers still eat it up. How can you argue with that?

One of the biggest things that bothered me was some of the decisions that the characters made. Even though Kaz was supposed to be like a genius, he agrees with some really weird stuff. Like almost total nonsense that form gigantic holes in the plot.  I peer down into the void and wonder what could have filled it. And then it hits me: nothing could have filled it, that’s why it’s there. So it’s the authors fault for not editing out scenes that don’t make sense, and she hopes you will overlook the holes so she can fulfill your need for those all-important awkard moments of romantic tension.

Example (and yes, I made this up so I don’t spoil the book):

Kaz: “Alright, let’s leave Matthias and Inej to guard this door.”

Inej: “Wait, you can’t leave me here! I’m the only person who knows that the blue lock picks fit into the pink doors!”

Kaz: “Fine, we’ll leave Nina here with Matthias so they can solve the problems of the universe together.”

Yep. Something like that actually happened. The author resorts to weird cliches, like comparing Nina’s eyes with green fire. HOLY COW! GREEN FIRE!? Does that mean something? Should I be afraid? Last time I checked, fire wasn’t green. Actual description lost, and I don’t think Bardugo meant that her eyes have gone up in acidic flame.

And another thing: somewhere in the middle of the heist, the author got so caught up with the action of it, she forgot what they were actually stealing. I actually got confused as to whether they were still trying to get in, or trying to get out.

This book is definitely for 13+ because of content. Sometimes pretty gruesome, a decent amount of moderate swearing. One of the main characters comes from being a slave in a brothel and suffers a lot of mental trauma. Not really any particular circumstances are given, but there are a number of references throughout the book that can’t really just be glossed over.

The Water Seeker, by Kimberly Willis Holt

Born with a gift that he tries to hide, Amos struggles through life with the knowledge of his water-seeking ability. His Pa was a “dowser” as well, but he thought it was a curse, tying him to his work instead of the mountains where his true calling lay as a trapper. So Amos stuffs his skill way down, trying to forget so he can be like other boys.

Except, how can he? The water both calls to and terrifies him. How can you live a life that you yourself have torn in two?

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This book had a crazy amount of potential. Seriously. But living up to the expectation of the description is easier said than done.

The one thing I could tell about this book: the author was in love with it. She was in love with her characters so much, she couldn’t drop any ideas that came into her head. What I mean to say is this: there was too much that happened in that story. The overall plot could have been summed into maybe half as long as the book actually was. In essence, she didn’t want it to end, and she couldn’t let anything go. If I was the editor, I would have ripped out whole chunks and then flung it back at her.

Typically, the reason a book is long is because one of two things needs to happen: a. lots of plot! Or b., serious character development. In this book, I felt like it was neither; it was just filled with lots of….stuff. You could say it was plot, but instead it was just hopping from one random Western-type story to the next. His childhood takes forever to come to an end by the time they hit the Oregon trail. At that point, he should have developed lots and lots of character, but instead he is a sort of vague and generic boy.

I think the idea of a character needs to be explored by the author. It felt like she thought that character meant all this stuff that was on the outside of the character, instead of digging to the heart of the issue. Amos could have struggled with extreme loneliness, depression, abandonment, trust issues and fear of a whole slough of things. Instead the author decided to give him talents and outward random oddities like birds following him and natural artistic ability. Those things do not set Amos up for a triumphant ending by wrapping up his internal struggle full circle. It sets up the ending to be evident and clear from the beginning, thus being less climactic and meaningful.

I would have preferred to see this book structured out a little more thoughtfully, and given a major edit before publishing.

A side note: kudos to Will Patton the narrator! Switching from a Southern accent to British with ease is no small feat. We really enjoyed his voices and creative voices.

UPDATE: This post was mostly finished before I finished the book, but the ending was so badly wrapped up and killed any tension that might have been building by pulling a “Ten Years Later”….. This was going to get a 3/5, but now it is 2/5. It was so bad we were all laughing as the narrator goes into the credits.

Overall Rating: 2/5

Violence: 3/10

Language: 2/10

Inappropriateness/Romance: 3/10

Audience: ??? The beginning was awfully rough for a children’s book. Maybe 12 and up?

The Many Lives of John Stone, by Linda Buckley-Archer

Stella Park (Spark for short) has found summer work cataloging historical archives in John Stone’s remote and beautiful house in Suffolk, England. She wasn’t quite sure what to expect, and her uncertainty about living at Stowney House only increases upon arriving: what kind of people live in the twenty-first century without using electricity, telephones, or even a washing machine? Additionally, the notebooks she’s organizing span centuries—they begin in the court of Louis XIV in Versailles—but are written in the same hand. Something strange is going on for sure, and Spark’s questions are piling up. Who exactly is John Stone? What connection does he have to these notebooks? And more importantly, why did he hire her in the first place?

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I picked up this book on the “new Teen release” shelf, mostly being intrigued by the cover. Well, and the description, which turned out to be a little misleading. I actually thought the book was going to be super cool and built up this whole plot line before reading it. Now that I know that that is not what the book is about, I can use it myself if I ever wanted to. Yay! Except, I didn’t pick up the book so I could evolve my own plot, I wanted the book to be about what I thought it would be about. And it wasn’t.

It felt like the book lacked substance. Spark was about the most boring person in the world, and had no motives, interest, or any other part in the story except to being an outside person trying to understand the inside lives of a group of people who seem to be stuck in the past.

The premise of this book was good. There was a lot of potential to being a mystery story, except the author blotted out all the mystery by telling you everything at the beginning. Snore. Honestly, I actually didn’t finish the book. I got about halfway through, and then flipped to the end to see what happened in the ending. Why was I not surprised? A plot twist should be, well, a twist, not something you saw coming fifty miles away.

The writing was also severely choppy; it felt like the author’s first novel. In the first paragraph about Spark, she is saying goodbye to her mummy; the second paragraph she is sitting on a train thinking insignificant thoughts; the third paragraph she is in New York City and seeing her brother; the fourth paragraph she loves New York and thinking more insignificant thoughts. A lot of stuff was soooo dry; if I had been the editor I would have thrown it back at the writers face with big “X” marks over chunks of the first few chapters.

My sister and I have this character test. If you took anyone else in the whole world and gave them the same set of choices, would they have done the same exact things? 1. If you answered that there were no questions asked in the whole story, then you have got a lot of plot and ideas but way not enough character development; those types of stories are ones where the character is swept into the action without any choice. 2. If the story presented complex questions but the character has an interesting backstory that conflicts or decides which they answer, then the story has a crazy amount of promise, but at that point authors often lack plot. 3. And then there are stories which often have a little bit of both, but the questions asked are sort of one-track, like yes or no, but even though this sounds a bit shallow it is these stories which often have the best balance of plot and character.

The Many Lives of John Stone perfectly describes the first example: Spark isn’t really asked any questions at all and is sort of just there as a narrator, BUT in order for this story to have worked, it would have needed a huge amount of both mystery and action. There wasn’t enough of either for the story to be a favorite.

The Hunger Games gives one good example of the 2nd type of story; while I don’t particularly find Katniss to be a complex character (most life and death questions are simple in this case), she does make one choice at the end of the first book that is a little more complex. During most of the story, she is given yes or no questions, such as, “would you give up your life to save your sister”; while this may seem like a hard question to ask, it still is a yes or no answer. However, at the end of the Hunger Games, when Katniss and Peeta are the last two contenders and are told they must kill each other, Katniss makes a more complex choice. The basic question to most people would be, “do I kill Peeta or not?” But Katniss chooses to look at the basic question in a deeper way and finds a solution that requires backstory and a small amount of emotional understanding for the reader.

Harry Potter, in general, is a mixture of the first and third example. Most of the time, he isn’t give any questions but is thrown into a situation without a choice, or is given simple, easy questions. Example: He lives with his hated Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia, who mistreat him horribly. When a giant of a man shows up on your doorstep telling you you are a wizard and asks if you want to learn more about magic at a magical school, what would you say? This is one of those wishy-washy questions; anyone in his position probably would have said yes considering his terrible relatives, but a lot would have said yes even without them. However, because there is a huge amount of plot and mystery the readers can more easily forgive Harry’s depth of character and still love the book to pieces.

All that being said (and sorry for the sidetrack, but I find it really interesting), there were a couple really bright spots in the book. The other characters were brilliant and awesome, just not the main character. It felt like a lot of the plot was driven by the other characters reaction to the main character instead of other way around. You might like this book if you enjoy the idea of time travel or immortality type stories.

Overall Rating: 2.5/5

Violence: 3/10

Language: 3/10

Inappropriateness/Romance: 3/10

Audience: Ages 12 and up

The Maze Runner, by James Dashner

Thomas knows nothing of where he came from, nor anything of his past, except his own name. When he wakes up, he finds himself in a large group of boys also with forgotten memories, surrounded by a maze that literally comes to life at night.

Living an existence counting on routine, Thomas must help the boys survive and come up with a solution to help them escape. But as memories begin to come back, is returning to the world they thought they left behind worth the huge amount of sacrifice it will take?

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Did I like this story? Hmmm…maybe. I liked the premise of the plot, but as a trilogy, no. I also had a couple of complaints that a lot of other people on Goodreads have.

It was fairly suspenceful, and the pacing was okay, but there were way too many little things that bugged me. By the time Thomas arrives, some of the boys have already explored and know every inch of the maze. This draws away from the mysteriousness from what could have been closer to a horror book. I won’t give more away, but what the maze holds was figured out much too quickly.

Apart from the plot, which was okay, everyone seems to agree that the characters weren’t interesting at all. Thomas has this amazing ability to ‘just know’ stuff, because of some connection he has to the maze, but it doesn’t play out well at all. The side characters were boring; it reminded me of several other movies in which there are a group of kids who all are cliched in some way. The leader. The kid who should be leader. The genius. The girl. The fat kid. The bully. All are accounted for, in a way that I don’t appreciate. The girl was especially irritating, because of her non-purposeness. And just by throwing her into the mix, you can imagine all the drama.

The way they talk, with plenty of made-up words, just comes across as stupid, and feels choppy. It takes a while to get used to, but it didn’t serve in any way to set any kind of stage as to where, or who, they are. Usually, changing up dialogue helps give you the idea who is talking, but in this case I couldn’t tell the difference between one person and another because they all talk the same way.

Even though I would have preferred something a little less pre-explored for the maze, I appreciated the suspence. I was surprised by quite a few readers who both thought it was very suspenceful, and some found it boring. I didn’t think it was boring, and I was kept fairly engrossed evenly throughout the book. I also thought that, even though we don’t have answers as to the why of the whole thing, I just felt like it was irrelevent to what the author originally intended the story to be.

In other words, I am not clamoring for the next book, which other reviews have told me stinks. The plot potential was fantastic, but frankly I’m tired of all the popular dystopian books, and adults who throw kids into freaky alternate realities. If you like the Hunger Games, or Divergent, then this might be the book for you.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5 (half point knocked off for character unoriginality, another half for boring dialogue (which would have improved the story 100%), and one last half point for not figuring out a way to wrap up the series into one slightly longer book, which is only my personal opinion)

Violence: 5/10 ( the monsters in the maze are scary enough, and there’s enough gore to make you wince, and also a mental disorder which occurs that is a little disturbing)

Language: 3/10 (mostly made up swear words)

Inappropriateness/Romance: 2/10 (surprisingly)

Audience: Ages 14 and up, or younger if they have already read the Hunger Games

Seraphina, by Rachel Hartman

Ever since dragons and the humans of Goredd made a peace treaty, the dragons work hard to become like the humans, including taking on human shape. Although not the same as a human, still with dragon instincts and motives, it has worked. For the most part. Up until now. Everything begins to fall apart as the annual treaty celebration approaches. When a member of the royal family dies under suspicious circumstances, the dragons are the first to be assumed as the culprit. Who, and why, are undetermined.

Seraphina, a girl who is unusually musically talented, is mysteriously drawn into the investigation by an unknown connection to the suspect. Caught in the middle as the go-between, confusion reigns as she struggles with her own emotions and trying to keep the truth about who she really is from the people she loves most.

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This book is very well-written; the inner tension and turmoil is perfect, and just enough questions to keep you guessing throughout the whole book. It was paced fairly well, especially for a long book. One thing I wasn’t sure about was some of the fantasy words; I listened to the audio, but the unfamiliar spelling way of wording things made this a good audio choice. I didn’t have to pronounce those strange words myself.

The characters were fantastic! Especially Seraphina, in all her crankiness, was fresh and different, although if I knew her in person she would not come across as so. The supporting characters were fairly good as well, but Seraphina stands out as one of the strongest protagonists I’ve ever read about.

It also was not as clean as I would prefer; there is an awkward topic, which I cannot mention without spoiling it, that makes this an inappropriate choice for elementary-age kids. Nothing happens in it that I would not recommend it to a teen. For a little more info, I’ll include a spoiler (this is a major spoiler) if you’re really worried about the content (highlight the bottom section).

Overall Rating: 4/5

Violence: 3/10 (can’t remember, I think there may have been a stabbing, but it wasn’t memorable)

Language: 3/10 (some, nothing really bad)

Inappropriateness/Romance: 4/10 (mostly awkward topics, but nothing inappropriate ever actually happens.)

Audience: Ages 12 and up

Because dragons have a human form, it is possible for dragons and humans to have children. This is a big part of the book, and is talked about quite a lot. It comes across as awkward, mainly because dragons are NOT humans, and is disgusting to the other characters. Nothing ever happens that would give me pause to not recommend it to a teen, but the topic was a large enough part of the story that I thought it inappropriate for anyone under 12.

Harry Potter #3: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter is lucky to reach the age of thirteen, since he has already survived the attacks of the feared Dark Lord on more than one occasion. But his hopes for a quiet term concentrating on Quidditch are dashed when a maniacal mass-murderer escapes from Azkaban, pursued by the dark guards who can’t seem to know the difference between a prisoner and an innocent student. It’s assumed that Hogwarts is the safest place for Harry to be, but is Harry really safe anywhere? And is it a coincidence that a black dog has popped up, following him as an omen of death?

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This particular book is a little disconnected from the other books, just because Voldemort isn’t really a part of the story. It also happens to be my favorite, and apparently everyone else’s, in the series 🙂

Between the 1st two books and this book is a vast difference in how scary it is. While in the first two, the only scary thing was a walk in the woods at night, and a descent into the Chamber of Secrets with a giant snake, this book is very dark, even without Voldemort.

The guards who come to Hogwarts to ensure the murderer doesn’t come onto the school grounds are the creepiest part about the story. They aren’t really human, and without giving anything away, their dark intentions may freak out some more sensitive kids. Other scary creatures come into the story as well. If your kids finished the first two books with no trouble, don’t assume the third book may be fine for them as well.

I loved how the story was a little off-beat from the others in plot. While the other six books are part of the bigger picture with Voldemort, this book sort of breaks up the rest and allows for a more complicated plot unto itself. The whole mystery within this story keeps you hanging on the edge of your seat, and you won’t be able to put it down. I read it on a road trip…..read it all, the whole nine hours, and then most of the 4th one on the way back.

Somehow, Rowling manages to keep it mostly light-hearted. From flunking divination class and making up faux-predictions of Ron’s future, to wandering around the castle at night, to Uncle Vernon’s meltdown when he gets a call from Ron, the book is not entirely serious, just like the other books.

Overall Rating: 5/5

Violence: 5/10

Language: 2/10

Inappropriateness/Romance: 1/10

Audience: Varies through personal taste; I would have said 12 and up, but so many kids much younger than that have read it that my opinion doesn’t matter.

Book of a Thousand Days, by Shannon Hale

Dashti, a lowly mucker maid, finds herself the lifetime companion of the Lady Saren when she is locked up in a tower for seven years with her mistress. A tower with no windows, doors, or any way to let light in. The darkness takes its toll on them as they wait out the long sentence. Dashti is constantly wondering if, had her mistress Lady Saren decided to marry the Lord Khasar, where would they be? Is the darkness worth it?

Of course, there is more to it than that. Dashti is left to her own devices when she finds that her mistress does not even want to leave. Being bound by an oath to serve and obey her lady, Dashti strives to carry out Saren’s orders while fighting with her conscience and her heart.

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I picked up this book at the library, intrigued by the title. I thought it was…interesting. I can’t decide whether to label it historical fiction or romance. It was sort of a little of both, but not enough on either side to categorize it. The reason it isn’t historical fiction is Hale tried to set it in Mongolia, but in fictional places and no dates are mentioned. That was probably one of the weirder aspects of the story I wasn’t expecting was the ‘Asiatic flare’.

There is one note I would like to make on why I rated the romance section the way I did….there were two seperate parts in which a person was naked. It was more symbollic of submission than anything but *ahem*….it was still there. Nothing descriptive.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

Violence: 3/10

Language: 0/10

Romance: 4/10

Audience: Ages 12 and up

Mara, Daughter of the Nile, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Mara, an intelligent but ill-used slave in ancient Egypt, is swept from everything she knows when she is bought and threatened by two different men who have noticed her wits and wishes to use them to his advantage. The work is easy, and the rewards are great. If she is caught by either working for the other, she will be killed. In essence, gambling with her intelligence to free herself, or disobey and die; no other option is given her.

Doing spy work for both sides by disguising herself as the translator for the fiancee of the Pharoah’s brother proves to be more dangerous than she ever bargained for. To keep both men satisfied, she must use every ounce of brilliance to save her life. She also never bargained, or expected in any way, to fall in love with one of her masters. When both masters discover her duplicity, the fate of Egypt ultimately rests on who her loyalties are, and if she chooses to gamble with her life one last time.

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This book is really intriguing, and a bit of a nail-biter. I just reread it, the first time being when I was about 14. It was better the first time because I obviously didn’t know what was going to happen.

Being much more critical now than I used to be, it was still enjoyable. There aren’t any major problems I had with it. Just a side note, if you hate romance, this book is not for you. The romance is fairly  important to the plot.

The one weak part in the book was probably the dialogue. McGraw was trying really hard to capture how long ago this was in their speech, but it may have been overdone. Using thee, thou, and thine made it feel too abrupt. She also added in exclamations such as ‘son of Osiris!’ or ‘I swear on my ka!’, which didn’t bother me, but every single person seemed to not be able to remember her name. To add in another strange factor, Mara had blue eyes. Everyone commented on them, and everyone called her whatever came to their mind. ‘Lotus-eyed maid’, ‘face-of-the-lily’, you get the idea. Not exactly the appearance of one who is trying to be inconspicuous.

I’ve read several other books by McGraw, and my sister and I always agree that the author, in every single book, makes it drag a little in the middle. There was a little of that in this book, but for me the overall plot of double-spy was intriguing enough to keep me reading. Honestly, I don’t know why that double-spy idea isn’t more popular in books or movies; everyone is intrigued with futuristic plots that are almost all the same.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5

Violence: 3/10 (one man was killed, several are whipped, but nothing gory. There was a creepy part in which they break into a tomb that is a bit intense)

Language: 0/10

Inappropriateness/Romance: 3/10 (several kisses and some flirting)

Audience: Ages 10 and up

The Giver, by Lois Lowry

Jonas lives in a perfect world. Literally. The way everything works has been done that way for as long as anyone can remember, back and back and back. Nothing is out of place; everyone knows where they belong, and where everyone else belongs. Words like Love, Bravery, and Starving are a fantasy.

Life is just as it always has been for Jonas. Until he is given the job of Receiver. Receiving memories from the Giver from before the community was formed, Jonas slowly learns about life as it used to be. The pain, sadness, and joy all mixed up from before anyone can remember eventually leads to the awful truth about the community he lives in.

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From what I have heard from everyone else who has read it, they either loved, or were seriously disturbed. I totally understand that; I just finished it the second time around. I was severely disturbed the first time around, but I still loved it.

I would definitely describe it as a disturbing book. Yet, even in the hateful community they ‘live’ in, their world actually is an echo of where we may be headed. While most dystopian books don’t seem at all like a realistic future (think Hunger Games and Divergent), this one is startlingly close to where America may be headed. Perhaps more magnified in the book, but still a good glimpse at where we DON’T want to be.

Other’s may disagree with me, but for me this was a bit of a wake up to reality. I seriously encourage parents to read this before you hand it to your elementary-aged children; it may be a bit over their heads, or too disturbing for the more mature younger kids.

Overall Rating: 4/5

Violence: 3/10 (mostly some of the memories he receives)

Language: 0/10

Innappropriateness/Romance: 1/10

Audience: Ages 12 and up

If anyone would like to comment on how the movie compares with the book, please do so!

 

The Scorpio Races, by Maggie Stiefvater

Every year, dozens of aspiring winners of the Scorpio races wait for their mounts to wash up from the beach. The water horses, or cappaill uisce, are not just ordinary horses, despite the fact that they come from the sea. The carnivorous creatures are always hungry, and their would-be riders are kept on their toes as they try to tame the wild horses that crave the taste of flesh and the sea. The dangerous beasts are more brute than horse; many riders are killed each year. By teeth, or by the water, it makes no difference to the untamable horses.

Told from two different characters, returning champion Sean Kenndrick and rookie (and the only female) Puck Connolly, battle the sea, their own horses, other rider’s horses and the other riders, are each motivated to win. But so is everyone else. Both with everything to work for, and everything to lose. But only one person can win the Scorpio Races.

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I’m having a hard time summarizing what I thought of this book. I am very torn. Parts of it were stunning and moving, and parts of it weren’t written very well.

The water horses were the best part of the story. What bothers me most about the story is that I didn’t think of it first! Their vicious nature is easy to imagine the way it is described, but the pull of them and Sean’s connection with them is also understandable as well.

The main character, Puck, is not very compelling. I suppose her intentions are all right, but seriously, she could have thought of something else to make money, right? This seems like the writers flaw; she really, really wanted to write about a girl, and couldn’t just drop it.

It bothers me that no one argued Puck’s point about not riding a water horse. I hope that isn’t a spoiler, but it actually makes me angry. The riders are supposed to ride water horses, that is part of the race. And she doesn’t; her horse is an ordinary island pony. Her own tension and suspense could have doubled and made the book more interesting.

Her emotions were constantly explained, which kind of bothered me as well. And they changed often; she is irratable in one paragraph, and then guilty the next. I suppose that is fine, but I don’t like how she had to be explained. It isn’t very believable when she has to tell you what she is feeling; it doesn’t make you feel like you are inside her head.

Now Sean on the other hand….wow. He has to be one of the deepest and best character’s I’ve ever read about. He is so mysterious, the mystery about him and the magic he works on the water horses is never explained. That might have bugged me, but that is what keeps it mysterious. He is so much more interesting than Puck, and what he does, and what he understands, and the way he understands it really makes him unforgettable. His passion for the water, and the monsters it spits up, and his relationship with his own water horse who sometimes really just wants to eat him is incredible.

Each chapter switches back and forth between Sean and Puck (which is really annoying, because I really just wanted to hear about one or the other), but the chapters in which Sean narrates are the best. The writing just seems better.

And the romance was annoying. Although, if I were Puck, I would have fallen for Sean. What’s not to like? So I guess it makes enough sense.

The ending was only okay. It was a bit too happily-ever-after for me, although it was sweet. Several things weren’t wrapped up, but I guess I can forgive the writer. You don’t need to like horses to like this book.

Overall: 4/5

Violence: 6/10 (I mean, they are flesh-eating water horses with teeth like knives. Some descriptions of the wounds and deaths are gross)

Language: 5/10 (Mild to medium bad words throughout, and quite a few crude comments)

Innapropriateness/Romance: 4/10 (The actual romance wasn’t too innapropriate, but the crude comments also falls under this section)

Audience: Ages 12 and up