Tag Archives: Phoenix

Is it Bad that I liked Allegiant?

 

What would you rate this book?

This book gets 3.5 stars about everywhere you look. To me that indicates a bad rating. I don’t know about you, I don’t typically buy something on amazon with 3.5 stars. I understand why some people hated how this book ended. I mean HATED it, some of those reviews come off livid, even offended at how the author could write what she wrote.

I wasn’t offended, nor did I hate, the acts of the story that ruined it for others. Tris’s big ending was very appropriate for her head strong, ill advised decision making character. I don’t want to spoil it if you have not read it (but we can certainly talk about it in the comments!)

SOOOOOO is it weird that I enjoyed it? Yeah the story has some holes, characters just don’t think things through, I can get past that. Some reviewers said tone and having 2 narrators was an issue, and a means to an end; reviews said the characters sounded exactly the same, but I don’t agree…… well let me add that I listened to the whole series on CD, and I think this might help attribute to why I enjoyed the book so much.  A male narrator was added for Four in addition to the Tris narrator. Both narrator really capture the voice of their perspective characters very well.

I particularly love how Roth writes scenes. She has this knack for using smell to perfectly set a scene. Smell is such an underused sense in writing, and when it is used it is not often used well. I marvel at her ability to tap into this unused literary sense so keenly.

 

 

 

 

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Hybrid

Here, Learn some more about this book:

The 1-line Review:

Great characters and plot within an exciting story, but with some structural issues.

The longer review:

I really like the story, characters, and the new take on well used fantasy roles, but give the book a tough critique when it comes to structure.

Hybrid is the debut novel from author Venus Morales. Its a fresh take on fantasy with a uniquely  diverse array of characters; Greek Gods, Vampires, Demons, Angels, and a new take on phoenixes attribute to a cast of characters I have never seen together. I really enjoyed the authors portrayal of the Greek Gods, Ares and Hera. Greek Gods have been dominated by Rick Riordan fiction (some of my favorite books), and Morales created Godly characters I didn’t expect.

Ultimately, Hybrid is a love story and concentrates on Ari, the main character, and her relationship struggles with others and within herself.  Ari, is a kick butt, do-what-I-want-when-I-want-t0 loner type. She kills demons to let off steam and has no problem doing it with her god-vampire-phoenix ancestry. She has  an inner evil alter ego, Rheain, who is in a constant fight for control of Ari. The back and forth relationship between the two of them was my favorite in story relationship. They can’t live with each other, but can’t live without, and at times they get the best of each other.

There is a love triangle relationship that Ari has to come to terms with through the novel. I don’t want to give more away here, you’ll have to read to see who wins in this Edward vs. Jacob relationship struggle.

I think the middle of the book was the strongest. And there is an excellent story arc where Ari has to fight for the right to remain phoenix royalty while fighting her own demons. I think this middle piece had the chops to be it’s own story.

Bottom Line:

I think this is a strong showing from a new author, and believe the next book in the series will be an even stronger sequel.

….Where the book lost a stars:

This is the hard part, I liked the book plot and story line over all, but felt it had structure weaknesses.

While the story content had a YA feel, I think the writing and verbiage fit better into the juvenile fiction genre. (The book is definitely not meant for the juvenile age range though.)

The books starts with a blunt and unnecessary  prologue. It gave way too much detail away. The prologue could have been left out entirely and the reader would have been able to discover all that info naturally.

While the middle of the book was very strong over all. The beginning happened suuuuuper quick and i felt the ending was rushed.

Alaris- he was supposed to be supreme evil, but I never got more that a bad boy from the wrong side of town vibe from him. His evilness really didn’t develop enough.

I think Alaris was introduced (very quickly) and the main antagonist in the first few pages. Through the middle of the story he all but disappeared.  The middle story are I referred  to as strong is the fight for Ari’s nobility. It felt like a really good story within a story. During it I kept wondering if the Alaris thing was going to resolve at the end. The ending came back to Alaris, but ended very quickly.

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Interview with Donna Cook

Gift of the Phoenix

I recently had the privilege of reading and reviewing Gift of the Phoenix by Donna Cook. Gift of the Phoenix is a new YA Epic Fanasy and was Kindle Book of The Year semifinalist for 2013.  I was lucky enough to have the chance to do an interview with Donna and ask her a few Question about her and Gift of the Phoenix.

Head over to Donna’s Blog to see what she is working on now. And be sure to pick up read her new novel Gift of the Phoenix at Amazon. Cook has written one prequel novella titled Nashua’s Chronicles, and an upcoming sequel to Gift of the Phoenix is in the works.

What made you start writing?

When I first learned how to read, I remember my mother explaining where books come from. I was so young, I guess I thought books came into existence all by themselves. She told me the author is the person who makes up the story. My eyes grew wide and I thought, I want to do THAT. She may as well have told me how to cast spells, it seemed such a magical revelation. I still feel such joyous playfulness when I create stories. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do.

What books are you reading now, or what type of books do you typically read?

I read all across the board, but contemporary fiction is the bulk of it. I’m also fond of a good classic, quality young adult, and the occasional fantasy. Right now I’m reading A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving. Other recent reads: The Rosie Project, by Simsion Graeme; Incantation, by Alice Hoffman; Little Bee, by Chris Cleave; The End of Your Life Book Club, by Will Schwalbe; and Her Fearful Symmetry, by Audrey Niffenegger. Fantasy books I frequently recommend: The Name of the Wind, by Patrick Rothfuss and The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner.

Do you have a schedule/system/routine for your writing?

I wish I were better about this. My husband and I have six kids between us, five still at home. There are days when I can put in a few hours and days when there’s not a minute to spare and I collapse into bed exhausted. When the kids are grown, I hope to have a better schedule. Until then I do what I can and try to enjoy them while I still have them.

Who edited your book, how did you find/choose them?

Displaying Donna Cook author Gift of the Phoenix.jpg

Donna Cook- Author of Gift of the Phoenix

If there is something you know now, that you wish you knew when you started writing, what would it be?

Well, I started quite young so there were all kinds of things I didn’t know. I wish I’d really understood how much time and practice it takes to develop the advanced writing skills required to create a solid novel. I would have been easier on myself and not so discouraged by false starts. I think this is why I love to encourage young aspiring writers. Go forth and be fearless!

What genre do you consider Gift of the Phoenix? Do you plan to focus your writing career mostly in this genre?

Gift of the Phoenix is an epic fantasy adventure. There will be at least one follow-up novel, plus I have another stand-alone fantasy in the works. I’m sure I’ll get back to my literary roots and write a contemporary fiction novel, but I don’t know when that will be. I’ve learned the hard way that the Muse is in charge of things like that.

(After the GofP sequel) do you have plans for another novel or series?

Answered above, but I hope to write until the day I die. I’ll write as many novels as fate allows.

What types of inspiration help you to create the characters and magic in Gift of the Phoenix?

Sometimes I know exactly where I got an idea, but other ideas seem to spring into existence from nothing at all. Music often inspires me. Loreena McKennitt’s The Mask and the Mirror album is a favored way to get my creative mojo going. The theme song from Forrest Gump inspired the horse race between Marcellus and Janus. I also love looking at old maps and fantastical illustrations of faeries or mythical creatures. I don’t directly use what I’m looking at, but it gets my mind working. When I first had the idea to write a book about a Phoenix, I made a list of my favorite things and brainstormed ways to work them into the story. Only a small percentage of those ideas stuck, but it was a fun exercise. My love of lighthouses led to the creation of the Rock of Light.

When writing Gift of the Phoenix, did you start writing from the beginning, end, or somewhere in the middle of the book?

With most of my projects, Gift of the Phoenix included, I use a plain spiral notebook to brainstorm ideas for plot, scenes, and characters. I work randomly, so by the time I’m done the notebook is an unorganized mess. The book is pretty well set in my mind though. I figure anything I forget wasn’t good enough to keep anyway. Once I start writing the draft, I work from beginning to end.

What is your favorite scene from of Gift of the Phoenix?

Oooh, that’s a tough one. I have so many! Corren going through the Labyrinth. Nicolai tending to King Clement. Marcellus and Corren in the Haven of Kings. Just about any scene with Janus. 🙂

Who was the first character from the Gift of the Phoenix cast that you created?

The Three were created as one, inspired by my three boys, who were quite small at the time. One day I told my oldest son a story about three boys who go off on an adventure, each with their own magical stone. I wasn’t crazy about the story itself, but I loved the idea of three protagonists, and the three stones. Corren, Marcellus, and Nicolai formed organically, with personalities very different from my sons.

Can you tell us anything about the coming sequel?

Hmmm…. I tend to be quite tight-lipped about these things. Especially since I so enjoy weaving a mystery, which you saw in Gift of the Phoenix.  I can tell you the sequel picks up right where Gift of the Phoenix left off. When Corren divides the egg of ash into seven parts, ceremonially placing each branch’s ash into their respective orbs, the Heads of the branches retrieve their ash from the altar. Only one orb will not lift off the stone. It’s up to Corren to figure out why. The answer entwines the fate of the Three with… well, that’s all I’m going to say. Sorry!

I want to thank Donna Cook again for taking the time to answer a few questions for me! This is the first interview I have been able to do for my blog. I look forward to the next in the series. If you would like to see my review of Gift of the Phoenix check it out here:

Gift of the Phoenix by Donna Cook – Review

Be sure to come back for another review and interview of Donna Cooks next novel, as well as other YA fantasy interviews and review.

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