Thursday, April 30, 2015

Shadow's Claim (The Dacians #1, IAD #13) by Kresley Cole


Review:


Shadow's Claim  - Kresley ColeNote: The book reviewed contains themes only appropriate for those over the age of 18.

So, this book was one of the two I got for my birthday, and, darn, this was a great birthday present. Even if it took me 2 months to get to it.

All the things I loved about it:
  • the main paring, of course, and the fact that for a change, they didn't get to the sex part until late into the story
  • many of the side characters; the phantom/sylph is one of my new favourites, together with Morgana, the Queen of the Sorceri (and I really wouldn't mind if Cole decides to dedicate any or both of these their own book(s))
  • appearances of some already familiar characters, including Lothaire, who isn't as mad as he appears to be, right ;)
  • learning more about the Dacians and the Sorceri, as well as getting to know a new setting in IAD universe, Abbadon
  • yet again, the way the story was connected to the past instalments and the allusions and set-up for the future ones
  • and lastly, the manner Bettina's anxiety was presented, which I could relate to very much, and I loved that Kresley incorporated such an everyday human thing many people have to live with into the story.

There was hardly anything I didn't like. I only took away half a star for slightly exaggerated sex parts, although this goes with the genre, and classic miscommunication issues causing relationship troubles, which is also typical of the genre. But since neither of those affected my overall enjoyment of the book, I can easily let them pass.

All in all, Shadow's Claim is yet another fantastic story of Cole's and I can never recommend it and the entire IAD series enough to those of you who happen to like paranormal romance.

Originally posted on Booklikes.

Friday, April 17, 2015

The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult


Review:

The Tenth Circle - Jodi Picoult
In The Tenth Circle, Jodi Picoult deals with another universally topical issue - rape, focusing the story around 14-year-old Trixie Stone, whom her ex-boyfriend rapes at a party, and the Stones' struggle with the aftermath of it.

Now, the book starts a little on the slow side, which prompted me to do what I do very rarely: I skipped a few chapters and read a little ahead, and what I read made me so angry I almost didn't finish the book.

SPOILER ahead. At some point it seems as if Trixie lied about being raped and it made me furious that Picoult would perpetuate such an awful stereotype: that women lie about it out of spite or vengeance of shame of whatever, because this is the very thing why rape survivors are afraid of coming forward and reporting it and why, even when they do, so few rapist are actually convicted and/or spend time in jail. END of SPOILER.

However, I refused to believe Picoult would go for such a low move, so I went back and read the whole thing and I am glad I did, for The Tenth Circle offers a great insight into working of rape culture we live with, where rape survivors' every word and action get questioned while the perpetrators are protected by the innocent-until-proved-guilty principle.

In Trixie's case, the matter of consent is especially glaring, since she was raped while intoxicated and drugged, and it speaks volumes about male entitlement that her rapist and the majority of people who witnessed her behaviour prior to rape, never realise that impaired judgement means inability to give consent. Disgustingly, they argue just the opposite: that due to her impaired judgement she was unable to refuse consent. And that sort of attitude is very much prevalent in the world, which is truly horrifying.

Along Trixie's struggle with what happened, we also follow her father, a comic book artist, who is making every effort to help and protect her, while plagued by the memories of his origins, both beautifully interwoven with the making of his newest project, and her mother, a university professor, facing the repercussions of her infidelity and revealing the caused that led to it, mixed with her reflections upon Dante's Inferno.

Thus, The Tenth Circle tells a compelling and emotional story that gives the reader plenty of food for thought.

Cross-posted from BookLikes.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Battle of the Queens (Plantagenet Saga, #5) by Jean Plaidy


Review:


The Battle of the Queens (Plantagenet Saga, #5)In The Battle of the Queens Plaidy offers yet another great insight into the turning of the wheels of that era, the eternal struggle between England and France, with the Church as an ever-present puppet master.

The two protagonists in the title, whom the book centres on, are Isabella, mother of Henry III of England, and Blanche, mother of Luis IX of France. The two women who despised each other, couldn't be more different: Isabella hot-tempered, promiscuous, self-centred and Blanche pious, level-headed, thoughtful of others.

Alongside the lives of the great historical personages, Plaidy includes those of seemingly lesser importance, who had nonetheless a great impact on history, or even those who had none, but give her story colour and beat, from the siblings of Henry III to nursemaids. And at that she doesn't forget Eleanor of Aquitaine in the last years of her life, who remained a powerful historical player till her very end. 
Thus, the one thing that always frustrates me in historical fiction, women being looked upon as nothing more than political bargaining chips, is upturned on its head in Plaidy's books. For, despite being reduced to objects for political games of men, women were most often the ones who actively decided the fate of nations and affected the world history at large.

Isabella and Blanche were definitely one of those proverbial women behind successful men, the women who made their names, or – in Isabella's case – sometimes ruined them.

Cross-posted from BookLikes.
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