Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: The Archived

SynopsisImagine a place where the dead rest on shelves like books. Each body has a story to tell, a life seen in pictures that only Librarians can read. The dead are called Histories, and the vast realm in which they rest is the Archive.

Da first brought Mackenzie Bishop here four years ago, when she was twelve years old, frightened but determined to prove herself. Now Da is dead, and Mac has grown into what he once was, a ruthless Keeper, tasked with stopping often-violent Histories from waking up and getting out. Because of her job, she lies to the people she loves, and she knows fear for what it is: a useful tool for staying alive.
Being a Keeper isn't just dangerous-it's a constant reminder of those Mac has lost. Da's death was hard enough, but now her little brother is gone too. Mac starts to wonder about the boundary between living and dying, sleeping and waking. In the Archive, the dead must never be disturbed. And yet, someone is deliberately altering Histories, erasing essential chapters. Unless Mac can piece together what remains, the Archive itself might crumble and fall.

My Review: I was intrigued when I first read the synopsis of this book.  It sounded pretty bad ass.  The whole concept is just cool to think about.  And I was definitely not disappointed.

Mac is a Keeper, has been since she was twelve and her Da (grandfather) passed on the duty to her.  She lives a life full of lies.  Her mother and father have no idea what she does, and it makes their already strained relationship after the death of her little brother even harder.  Her parents have uprooted their lives, moving to a new town and into an old hotel turned apartment building.  Although her scenery has changed, Mac still has the Archive and the Narrows, where she patrols for Histories who have woken up.  But the apartment comes with a few surprises of it's own.  Mac discovers that her room was witness to a grisly murder, a murder that seemingly has no record.  As Mac dives deeper into the murder, she dives deeper into the Archive and the secrets hidden there.

I loved absolutely everything about this book. The whole entire concept was brilliant.  I loved the idea of the Archive and how it serves like a type of afterlife.  The whole world was just brilliantly designed. Even though it was like a hidden world within our own, it meshed really well with reality.  The whole system was pretty easy to figure out and it's easy to follow.  The Narrows were creepy and reminded me of a labyrinth with endless doors.  Almost like a Department of Mysteries type thing.  You never know what will behind a door. The concept of the Histories was also really cool.  I loved the idea that when a person dies their collective consciousness is stored and kept for records.  Very interesting concept.

I absolutely loved all of the characters as well.  Mac was just brilliant.  She was tough and smart, and yet she's still trying to cope with the death of her brother.  She's vulnerable but hates to show that vulnerability.  She is the most skilled liar I have ever encountered in an MC.  She's like a pro.  Granted being a skilled liar is kind of a requirement for being a Keeper, but it's kind of sad that she's been living a lie since she was 12.  She lives a lonely life.

All that changes when she meets Wesley. He's a bit eccentric with his black nail polish and guyliner, and he sounds like pounding rock music to Mac's touch, but he's just what Mac needs.  He's funny and upbeat and best of all, he's a Keeper just like Mac.  For the first time in her life, she doesn't need to hide who she is.  She can be honest with Wes unlike anyone else in her life.  I really loved Wes.  He was witty and a bit over confident, but he was just fantastic to read.  He was a fun character and you can tell he really cares about Mac and her well being.  There's really nothing between them YET, and I stress the yet because I am definitely hoping there WILL be something because I liked Wes a lot and those two go together like peanut butter and jelly.

I also really liked Roland.  He's one of the Librarians in the Archive.  He was just really easy going guy who could with a flip of a switch turn bad ass and put down an unruly History without a sweat.  Plus he had red chucks.  ^.^ It made him awesome in my books, cuz that speaks volumes to his personality.  He helps Mac with her investigation and bends a few rules himself to try and get to the bottom of what is happening.

What I really appreciated was that I couldn't guess the outcome of this novel.  I kept guessing and theorizing but while I guessed a few things right, I never got the whole twist.  It was just brilliantly written and was so fun to read.  I devoured the thing in two sittings.  It was so well planned and had a brilliant twist that I never saw coming.  The pacing was perfect, it didn't feel rushed and while I was dying for more it was a good ending point.  I don't have a single criticism of this book.  One of the best books I've read in a while.  A really excellent read, highly recommend.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Review: Touch of Death

Synopsis: Jodi Marshall isn’t sure how she went from normal teenager to walking disaster. One minute she’s in her junior year of high school, spending time with her amazing boyfriend and her best friend. The next she’s being stalked by some guy no one seems to know.

After the stranger, Alex, reveals himself, Jodi learns he’s not a normal teenager and neither is she. With a kiss that kills and a touch that brings the dead back to life, Jodi discovers she’s part of a branch of necromancers born under the 13th sign of the zodiac, Ophiuchus. A branch of necromancers that are descendents of Medusa. A branch of necromancers with poisoned blood writhing in their veins.

Jodi’s deadly to the living and even more deadly to the deceased. She has to leave her old, normal life behind before she hurts the people she loves. As if that isn’t difficult enough, Jodi discovers she’s the chosen one who has to save the rest of her kind from perishing at the hands of Hades. If she can’t figure out how to control her power, history will repeat itself, and her race will become extinct.

My Review: So before I signed up to review this, I was a bit hesitant   But I thought, hey I'll give it a shot, it could be really good.  Well it's safe to say that I was correct in my initial estimate.  It wasn't terrible, but it was far from a home run.  

I feel like my biggest issue with this book was that the synopsis just gives so much away.  There was no suspense or anticipation for trying to figure out just what Jodi was.  You literally know EXACTLY what she is, so all the little cues for hinting at her true nature are glaringly obvious and in your face and it just annoyed me.  I just prefer a bit more subtlety in regards to when a character has a hidden identity/past. I honestly think that  if this one little thing was changed about this book I would have liked it a lot more.  The lack of suspense and tension was just killing me to be honest.  

Jodi as an MC was pretty decent.  Little things bothered me about her, but overall I enjoyed her as a narrator.  The fact that she jumped pretty quickly from two guys over VERY inappropriate circumstances just really annoyed me.  Like seriously, it had been a day, now she's into another guy?! But I won't spoiler anything, so that's all I'll say on the matter.  Jodi had a  lot of traits that I admired, so overall I enjoyed her.  

As far as the plotting of this, it kind of fell flat for me.  It could have worked if the book was twice as long as it currently is.  Then the pacing would have been acceptable.  As it was, the plot just moved way too fast and had so little development that it just didn't work flow wise.  And as far as conflict goes, it kind of fell flat too.  It just lacked motive. They were evil for evil's sake and were terrible people just to be terrible people. I just can't accept that.  Villains have MOTIVE. Otherwise the whole Medusa thing and being able to raise the dead was kind of cool.  Historically wise, there actually is a 13th constellation so I like how the author pulled from that and the other mythology was  pretty cool.  Heaven knows I adore Greek Mythology so I really enjoyed that.  

Overall, it was decent.  It was just one of those mid-range books that I can't really say "don't read" or "definitely read it" so I don't know.  I feel meh about it.  I might read the sequel.