Book: The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines #3) by Richelle Mead, Penguin Audio, February 12, 2013
Book Info: YA paranormal, Audiobook received for review. Running time: 11 hrs, 53 mins. Read by: Emily Shaffer. Also available in hardcover, 432 pages from Razorbill.
The Indigo Spell audiobook left me feeling all happy and excited. I’ve read a lot of Richelle Mead’s books and it can be a nerve-wracking experience seeing what she puts her characters through. So I braced myself going into this one for a bumpy ride. And don’t get me wrong; there is change in the air in this third installment, with hints at trouble ahead. But there are also light-hearted moments; daring acts of bravery, and a surprising level of hotness in this one that made it really fun. And the ending left me with a smile that makes it hard to move on to another book.
In the third installment of the Bloodlines series, Sydney’s life is at a crossroads. She’s always gone down the straight and narrow path, but now she’s become more questioning of her role as an alchemist. Marcus Finch, the alchemist runaway, gives her another point of view to consider, but is he someone she can trust? Magic also plays an important role for Sydney in matters of life and death. And in the romance department there’s that taboo attraction between her and Adrian to address.
Sydney has become a very endearing character to me. She’s such a different heroine than VA’s Rose, but kick-ass in her own right. I like this new side of her that we meet in The Indigo Spell and seeing her growth as a character overall. Adrian is also rising to the challenge and fast becoming the leading man we always knew he was. Red-hot chemistry between them I tell you!
Richelle Mead sure knows how to weave a story. With such a big cast of characters there is always some drama going on but none of it felt like filler to me. The different plot twists for the Palm Springs crew provide additional insight as well as some comic relief. Mead sets the stage for future story lines and gave me plenty to fret about until the next installment. I just want this Indigo Spell high to last a little while and not think about any consequences yet though.
Other things that are awesome about this book include: cameos from friends old and new, good advice from unlikely sources, arts and crafts with Adrian, magical surprises, nicknames, and dessert.
This is the first time I’ve listened to an audiobook of any of Mead’s books. I have the hardcover on pre-order and am still planning to read that format, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to listen in a little early. Emily Shaffer reads this audiobook and all of the Bloodlines books so far, as well as the last 3 VA books. One thing that’s difficult about listening to an audiobook of a series you know very well in print is that the character voices don’t always line-up with the way you expect them to sound. So at first I was caught off-guard with Sydney’s voice because I had a very different idea of her speaking voice. And is it mentioned in the books that Adrian has a British accent? His accent took me by surprise anyway, and was one of the most distracting parts of the narration for me.
Shaffer reads with intensity and gives it her all with distinct voices for each character. Some of the narration choices took me out of the story at times. But, by about a quarter into the book I got more involved with the plot and the narration didn’t bother me as much. Not sure if Shaffer is the best fit for this series, though since I love the story so much I’m not opposed to giving her another shot with the next book.
Speaking of the next book – how lucky are we that we get TWO Bloodlines books in one year? The next book The Fiery Heart is due out in the fall, and it’s dual POV with Sydney and Adrian. I think this series is really hitting its stride and I can’t wait to see where Mead takes it next. I’m so looking forward to discussing The Indigo Spell more with you, so pick it up on Tuesday and read fast!
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature from The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are listing our favorite kick-ass heroines! Before we get to the list, I want to say that I’m thinking of all of those impacted by Hurricane Sandy. Please be safe.
This list was surprisingly difficult to make, go figure. A few kick-ass heroines quickly came to mind, but I struggled reaching ten this week. We need more kick-ass heroines!
These book heroines kick-ass:
1. Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games series – She’s the first one I thought of and is in a league of her own.
2. Cinder from The Lunar Chronicles series – A cyborg Cinderella, strong and brave.
3. Rose from The Vampire Academy series – Badass may be a better word for Rose, she does what she wants.
4. Tris from the Divergent series – She is the definition of Dauntless.
5. Yelena from The Study series – Strong, intelligent and steadfast.
6. Alexia from The Parasol Protectorate series – Sharp, independent, brave, and unafraid to use her parasol as a weapon.
7. Saba from Blood Red Road – Brave, doesn’t give up, loyal, strong.
8. Celaena from Throne of Glass - Cunning, and a skilled assassin with a quick wit.
9. Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone – She’s a witty art student, but also doesn’t shy away from any dangerous missions.
10. Cat from The Night Huntress series – Snarky vampire slayer who is a force to be reckoned with.
What kick-ass heroines top your list?
Book Info: YA paranormal, Purchased HC from Amazon, 418 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
With the second book in the Bloodlines series, Richelle Mead hits her stride and delivers an addictive read. Though I liked Bloodlines a lot, I thought it lacked a little of Vampire Academy’s charm. But just like the VA series improved as it went along, so does this series. Maybe it’s because this installment seems more fun and well rounded, or Sydney has grown on me more, but all the elements worked this time around.
In The Golden Lily, Sydney is working undercover again to protect Moroi Princess Jill Dragomir at a boarding school in Palm Springs. (Of all the places for a group of vampires to live!) Jill is in danger from those who want to see her sister Queen Lissa de-throned. Alchemist Sydney continues to work with the vampires to provide support on their mission. Adrian, Eddie, Dimitri and Sonya are back too and have their own intriguing side stories.
I found Sydney more endearing this time around, more human I guess. All of her quirks are growing on me. She’s uptight and uncomfortable in social situations, but she does have heart and she’s evolving in her way. I like that she’s starting to question her loyalties a little bit. Overall she’s easier to warm up to in this book. She gets set up on a date with a guy who is perfect for her in every way, studious and serious, likes to wear neutrals, etc. He’s so bland that no one can remember his name, and come to think of it neither can I! (Okay, it’s Brayden) Sydney also has some great bonding scenes with Adrian and her feelings for him are complicated due to her loyalties with the alchemists, but I’m looking forward to seeing how things develop.
There are a few different stories swirling around for Sydney and the vampires. Sydney is still working on learning magic, and there is still the mystery of what makes her special among the alchemists. There are also some humorous scenes where she and Adrian take a self-defense class. I don’t know why that scene made me laugh, but I just love Mead’s sense of humor and how she set up that scene.
The interactions at the boarding school are the only weak links for me. Jill hasn’t made a great impression on me yet. Though she does serve an interesting purpose with her spirit bond to Adrian. Eddie, her guardian, is great, and new character Angeline has potential. There could be some interesting things in store for the next book and I’m keeping an open mind there.
Adrian is still a standout character, and one of the reasons this series works so well. His one-liners are hilarious and he’s so charming but on the other hand he shows a sensitive and protective side as well. You can’t help but hope that things work out for him this time.
I love revisiting the Vampire Academy world through this spinoff, and am pleased with the direction the Bloodlines series is heading. The romance is heating up, and so is the drama. I recommend this series to fans of VA or fans of Mead’s or paranormal books in general. I eagerly await the next book The Indigo Spell, due out in February 2013.
Book: Bloodlines by Richelle Mead, Razorbill, August 23, 2011
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Format/pages: Hardcover 432 pages
Format read/Source: Won a copy of the ARC, finished August 2 2011
Series: Book #1 in the Bloodlines series, a Vampire Academy spin-off
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Teaser chapter: Read the first chapter of Bloodlines here
The new Vampire Academy spin-off kicks off in a promising way with a blend of familiar and new characters and fresh mysteries to solve. Bloodlines has a similar feel and rush to it as Vampire Academy but with a new setting and a new protagonist to get to know. Favorite side characters from Vampire Academy get a chance in the spotlight this time around and we get a better glimpse into the world of the alchemists. The cast of characters blends very well, and the first book in the series sets the stage for another thrilling journey.
Disgraced alchemist Sydney Sage has a lot to prove on her next mission. She has fallen out of the alchemists’ good graces because of her role in hiding the fugitive dhampir Rose Hathaway. She is suspected of getting too friendly with the vampires, so now she has to ace this new job of protecting moroi Jill Mastrano, the half sister of Queen Vasilisa Dragomir, or she faces a dreaded re-education. She is sent to a boarding school in Palm Springs, CA to pose as Jill’s sister and help protect her from the rebels who want her dead so that the Queen will have to rescind her throne. The idea is that vampires would not come looking for Jill in such a sunny climate. Sydney has help on her mission in the form of guardian Eddie and everyone’s favorite Spirit-using moroi Adrian.
It’s hard not to compare the new main character Sydney to that of Vampire Academy heroine Rose. Sydney is more restrained and by the book. She’s intelligent and inquisitive but is still very uncomfortable with magic and being around vampires, which makes this an awkward situation. She is somewhat clueless in matters of the heart and still getting her feet wet in her leadership role. However, she does show potential for growth, and I’m curious to see how things progress with her character in future installments.
The secondary characters from Vampire Academy take on bigger roles in the spin-off. Adrian is back to help protect Jill and try to figure out how to move on with his life. His humor helps to lighten the mood of the story. Eddie is the lead guardian who feels he has something to prove, and Jill is trying to adjust to this new life on the run. I found myself somewhat losing interest with Jill’s issues and found her a bit lackluster. Sydney is a more compelling character overall, though she also has her quirks. It will be interesting to see how the characters evolve over time.
Besides protecting Jill, there are other mysteries occurring in Palm Springs that keep the team plenty busy. Some of the mysteries get resolved, and others will keep you waiting for the next book. The alchemist role is interesting, and we learn more about their tattoos and their purpose. Looking forward to finding out more about the alchemists in future books.
Overall this book is an intriguing beginning to a new series. It was easy to get involved with the story because so many of the characters are familiar, and there are even surprise guest appearances to help the transition along. There is plenty of action and mystery, and the characters show some promising chemistry. There is not much in the way of romance in this book, but judging from the Vampire Academy series it’s only a matter of time. The conclusion of Bloodlines definitely left me wanting more, and I’ll be anxiously awaiting the next installment The Golden Lily due out in May 2012.
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal Graphic Novel
Format/pages: Paperback 144 pages
Format read/Source: Received at SDCC, read July 27 2011
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
After two years on the run, best friends Rose and Lissa are caught and returned to St. Vladimir’s Academy, a private high school for vampires and half-bloods. It’s filled with intrigue, danger – and even romance. Enter their dark, fascinating world through a new series of 144-page full-color graphic novels. The entire first Vampire Academy novel has been adapted for book one by Leigh Dragoon and overseen by Richelle Mead, while the beautiful art of acclaimed British illustrator Emma Vieceli brings the story to life.
Vampire Academy is the latest young adult series to get the graphic novel treatment, as we have seen recently with the Twilight series. As Vampire Academy is a favorite series of mine, I have a picture in my head of what the characters look like and I wondered how the graphic novel would compare. The writing in Vampire Academy is so descriptive and vivid it would seem to lend itself well to this format. This graphic novel is a fast paced and quick read, and surprisingly manages to include the entire story of the first book in its slim volume. Recommended for fans of the series and for those who want a quick visual look at what the series is all about.
I have not read too many graphic novels, but I found the artwork to be striking, and the emotions of the characters came through the pages. It is a treat to revisit a familiar story in this visual format and see scenes from the book come alive in the pages. The characters that most lined up with my expectations are Rose, Christian and Mason. Rose looks physically as I would expect and her tough and feisty yet vulnerable demeanor shines through. Dimitri looks a bit different than I would expect. He is more bulked up than I imagined, but at least he’s wearing his familiar brown duster and reading western novels. Even though the characters did not always line up with my expectations, I enjoyed looking at the scenes in this visual format. It gave me the opportunity to view the book again with fresh eyes.
The adaptation is impressive considering most of the major plot points are included from the original 332 page book. The book moves very swiftly through the story so every scene is important. Due to the book’s length and pacing some of the plot details are not fleshed out, so you may get more out of it if you have read the book first. The graphic novel does do a good job with getting the main points across and with the character traits.
The graphic novel is recommended for young adults due to language and sexual situations, as in the original book. The colorful graphic novel will make a great addition to your Vampire Academy library and give you a new way to look at the story. Graphic novel fans should enjoy reading this to get a taste of the Vampire Academy world before diving into the books.
This book will be released on August 23, the same day as Bloodlines.
The Giveaway has ended and the winner has been notified. Thanks to all who entered!
For more information:
Started out the day in the wee hours of the morning (4:30 AM!) and headed to the long pre-registration line for Comic-Con 2012. I know it seems ridiculous to spend time during Comic-Con to wait hours in line for next year’s event, but this is what we did. A limited number of tickets were available to attendees Thursday-Sunday mornings and these tickets sold out each day. My daughter is actually the one who wanted to make sure we not only secured tickets for next year but preview night tickets as well. Ticket prices actually went up by nearly 70% over last year, but that did not keep the crowds away. On Friday by 5am the line looked to be 1-2k people long and snaked around the boat peninsula. People had camped out starting on Thursday to make sure they would get tickets. By 9am we did end up as one of the 2400 (?) people to score 4day preview night tickets for 2012. Please note that Comic-Con is not sold out for next year, and tickets will be sold online probably in the fall sometime.
After that ordeal my daughter and I headed to the convention center and the first stop was Starbucks for a caffeine fix and a walk around the exhibit hall. Next we headed to the Penguin Teen booth to queue up for the Vampire Academy graphic novel giveaway. My daughter recently read the whole series, and I’m a fan as well so we were eager to check it out.
With the graphic novel secured, we headed to the massively long line for Ballroom 20 to try to catch the True Blood panel at 5:30. We queued up about 4 hours in advance to wait for this panel, which is usually filled to capacity. There were a lot of very popular TV panels scheduled that day for Ballroom 20 including The Walking Dead and Big Bang Theory and people had camped out overnight to secure a spot for the approximately 5000 capacity room. I think all of these shows should be moved to the higher capacity Hall H since thousands were turned away. We got into the room almost 4 hours later and grabbed spots in the very last row. We caught the panel for Eureka in progress, followed by Warehouse 13. The cast of Eureka actually came out to the line to say hello and pose for pictures ahead of time. Both shows air on Syfy and I haven’t seen them before but it seems they have a lot of fans and the concept sounds pretty interesting.
Finally it was time for True Blood and in attendance were Alan Ball, Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Alexander Skarsgard, Kristin Bauer Van Straten, Ryan Kwanten, Nelsan Ellis, Kevin Alejandro, Rutina Wesley and Deborah Ann Woll. They showed a great preview clip of what’s to come for the rest of the season and answered moderator Tim Stack’s and fan questions. We were too far back to see the cast close up but we had a good spot to see them on the screen. I was curious to see what Alan Ball would say to fans curious about the differences in the show vs. the books. He wants to keep the book readers on their toes by changing some things while keeping to the spirit of the books. Also, since the books are Sookie’s story, it is unrealistic to only keep the focus on one character for the TV series. Next season we should expect to see Pam’s story of how she was made a vampire. Looks to be an interesting season so far. Here is a good recap of the panel. After True Blood we were hoping to attend the “What’s Up With Penguin” at 7pm but we were exhausted at this point and headed back to the hotel instead.
My daughter slept in and planned to spend the day with my husband going to panels. First off for my day was the Immortality book panel featuring Rachel Caine, Heather Brewer, Michael Carroll and more talking about our society’s obsession with “youth” and how “immortality” is represented in their books through their paranormal characters. There was an interesting discussion among the panel of why they write about immortality and how the paranormal creatures relate to readers. Such as, if the authors want to write about someone who feels alienated, they insert an actual alien in their novel. Following the panel I met Rachel Caine and Heather Brewer at their signing. I told Rachel Caine that my favorite character of hers is Myrnin, and she told me that a friend suggested Myrnin might be bipolar. She scoffed at that at first, but then realized she was absolutely right! I can see that in his character. I have not read Heather Brewer’s Vladimir Tod series but picked up the first book, which she signed for my daughter.
Following the signing I headed to the Diversity in YA panel moderated my Malinda Lo and featuring Cindy Pon, Kiersten White, Vera Brosgol, Dave Roman and Elizabeth Bunce. There was a good discussion about why they write YA, where we learned that most of all the authors write what they want to read and that happens to be YA. Great discussion in this panel!
Next I picked up the ARC of Name of The Star from Penguin, then dashed over to the Diversity in YA signing where I got books signed by Malinda Lo, Kiersten White, Cindy Pon, and Elizabeth Bunce.
After this I jogged over to Hall H to meet my family for the Snow White and the Huntsman panel, but first I caught most of the Knights of Badassdom panel. I didn’t know anything about KoB but it is about Live Action Role Play (LARP) who role play as medieval fighters and accidentally summon a demon, starring Ryan Kwanten, Peter Dinklage and Summer Glau. It actually sounds pretty original and funny. Next on the lineup was Snow White and the Huntsman, a movie that has not even started shooting yet. The full cast was on hand including Kristen Stewart, Charlize Theron, Chris Hemsworth and Sam Claflin. The director Rupert Sanders showed concept art and talked about his vision for the film, which is a darker and action adventure version of Snow White. The costumes and look so far look intriguing so far.
Two more panels left for the day: The UK Invasion featuring cartoonists from the United Kingdom and the Global Harper Voyager panel which highlighted upcoming releases from Harper in the UF, Paranormal, and YA categories. Author Kim Harrison was also on hand to answer questions and talk about her books.
That concludes another action packed two days at Comic-Con! Just one more day left to recap.
Today’s exciting Comic-Con giveaway is my copy of the Vampire Academy graphic novel & a Bloodlines tote! The giveaway has ended and the winner has been notified. Thanks to everyone who entered!
- Comic-Con 2011: KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM Panel Recap; Director Joe Lynch Premieres the Trailer and First Clip from the Movie [Updated with Trailer] (collider.com)
- True Blood Costars Ryan Kwanten and Alexander Skarsgard Catch Up at Comic-Con (popsugar.com)
- REPORT: The Comic-Con effect. #sdcc and Social Media. (marissagagnier.wordpress.com)
- True Blood: Eric and Sookie Shower! Twin Faeries! And 5 Other Spoilers from Comic-Con (omg.yahoo.com)
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish featuring a new top ten list each week. Everyone can participate- head on over to their blog and sign up.
This week’s topic is Top 10 Favorite Love Stories. In no particular order, here are some of my favorite bookish love stories & couples:
1. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – A sweet and romantic love story set in Paris featuring Etienne and Anna, friends with an attraction, despite a few obstacles to overcome.
3. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – Peeta and Katniss, the star-crossed lovers from District 12, symbols of the rebellion in The Hunger Games.
4. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa – Forbidden love between the Summer and Winter faerie courts as Ash & Meghan try to overcome a war and their families objection in their fight to be a couple.
5. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson – A road trip between strangers blossoms into romance with awesome playlists.
6. Delirium by Lauren Oliver – Alex & Lena have a heart wrenching forbidden romance in a dystopian setting
7. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater – A werewolf/human love story. Sam & Grace are drawn to each other despite their differences.
8. Nevermore by Kelly Creagh – Love that takes place within the world of Edgar Allen Poe stories, featuring Isobel & Varen as the cheerleader and the goth.
9. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – Love against all odds as school, guardian roles, and third parties threaten to keep Dimitri & Rose apart.
10. Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder – Valek saves Yelena from execution and appoints her food taster and they slowly fall for each other.
Runner-ups: Unearthly by Cynthia Hand and Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
I seem to be fond of love stories with a paranormal element. And many of these are tortuous love stories- I guess I’m a glutton for punishment. I do also appreciate classic love stories, and adult contemporary. However, I stuck to YA books for this list.
What are your favorite love stories? Feel free to share your links below.