Monday, December 31, 2007

Here we are. Another year over sigh and a whole list of books to be released in 2008. So if you weren’t looking forward to this year, don’t despair. For there will be novels to brighten your dark days. I have been compiling. It’s a short list, but is still happy-making (credit to Mr. Westerfeld). Expect much more from Maelstrom in the months too come as the year turns. New graphics, more hits * calls out to all those who haven’t read this blog yet *, reviews, interviews (that’s right), and multiposts of great joy and joyness. We might even have a poll or two * wink wink *. So make sure you’re coming back, because Medeia and I certainly will be. Mosey on over to Aella’s blog for a list. So here’s to books and blogs and book-blogs and also to all those who engage in them. We wish everyone a Happy New Year (unless you happen to be Chinese and we can’t do that... yet.)

Giddy for 2008,

Aella Siofra

Friday, December 28, 2007

Jacob or Edward?

So, I recently completed my Twilight collection and I want to know... Jacob or Edward? (The poll is on my personal blog)

I tried to make this post as non-spoilerful as possible (though if you haven't read these books, go do it NOW)

After the poll closes, I'll tell you who gets my vote

Feel free to fight over the two in the comment section,

From the shadows,

~Medeia Senka~

I know, I know. You can hardly escape from my tidal wave of reviewing. So here’s another. Winter vacation is a splendid time to be reading. Although not better than most times right?

There is a certain joy to absorbing 1 good, 1-halfly great, and 1 great book in the course of two days. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen was my halfly great endeavor. And that’s saying a bit as it is quite outside the things I usually read. But. I think the plot speaks for itself.

Elizabeth Holland is the perfect bargaining chip. She belongs to one of Manhattan’s most revered high society families and is the well mannered, elegant opposite of her younger sister Diana. Her best friend and greatest rival is the equally chic Penelope Hayes. But she is not perfect as the newspapers project her. For Elizabeth Holland has a secret that could ruin her family, already struggling in silence to make up financial losses from the girls father’s death. She has fallen for the coachman (ironically enough the fixation of her servant girl’s affections) *gasp*.

On the outside, playboy Henry Schoonmaker finally meets the end of the road as to very public shenanigans. He must marry or be cast into the street. But in 1899, good marriages are created and love is a helpful aside. Henry finds himself promised to Elizabeth, but completely fallen for 16-year-old Diana, while avoiding the infatuated and venomous Penelope. While their feelings rise, Manhattan can only see the promise of the greatest marriage of the century in Elizabeth and Henry. But beneath the surface Penelope is scheming. And the passions come to height in the cataclysmic death of New York’s most favored daughter.

This story may sound like the twenty billion or so adult romance novels, but its not. The characters are deliciously multi-layered (however much that makes them sound like cakes). Even the pristine Elizabeth has a triple face. Every note and word is carefully crafted to incite and suggest. The writing is very elegant and easily shifts from a high-money ball to the darkest slum of turn-of-the-century New York. And a wonderful extra element is the absolute brilliance of the cover. Look closer at the girl's face. She carries the very air of cunning.

The Luxe, for descending into random scenes of kissing, does not quite gain its ideal 6 rating. But in the name of deceit and ferocious backstabbing, is the recipient of 5.7 out of 7.

Dancing a foxtrot (or whatever it was they danced),

A ella Siofra

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Warrior Heir

I hug myself for doing so well with posting. Maybe too well *ponders*. But the point is that I have written another review. And this book was better even than the last one I read!

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Chima begins with a young boy swearing vengeance as marauding wizards burn down his home and his sister is taken captive. 100 years pass and a child is born a wizard. But after a risky surgery to save his precious life he is given the stone (a magical article that gives people their magicality) of a warrior. This crosses all boundaries of the five guilds (enchanters, sorcerers, wizards, warriors, and soothsayers) and provides new life to a war between the guilds that had begun during the War of Roses.

16 years later, Jack Swift does not take his medicine. And odd things begin to happen. A strange burst of energy temporarily paralyzes a bully on his soccer team and the aunt he sees only occasionally appears. When Jack goes on a short trip with his aunt and friends to study his family’s genealogy they are attacked by a man with blue fire at his hands. His arrival unlocks a flood of family secrets. Jack is a warrior, one of a dying breed and his beautiful aunt an enchantress. Wizards have put themselves above the other guilds and several factions are on the hunt for Jack so he can serve as entertainment in the evil gladiator-like “Game” that has existed for centuries.

At the same time Jack must push away an old girlfriend in hopes of wooing a certain Ellen from homeroom and learn how to handle a mystic sword known as Shadowslayer without decapitating himself.

The Warrior Heir is fast paced and creative. Chima manages to provide an entire world of background and then weave it into the familiarity of present day earth. Her characters are easy to relate to and I almost found myself falling for Jack. Plus the plot twists abound! Ah, such is a good book. I bequeath upon this book a 6 out of a 7 and command ye all to go and read it. There’s even a sequel *skips giddily about with great abandon* called the Wizard Heir.

Reading the sequel,

Aella Siofra

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Shadow Thieves

A review! A review! After many posts of a non-review persuasion I am finally seating myself to do some real live type-it-up critiquing.
There has been a rash of Greek mythology publications lately, probably spurred by the Percy Jackson series *cheers from a far-off crowd of adoring Percy fans*. The Shadow Thieves intrigued me though. Being the first novel of the Cronus Chronicles it outlines the eruption of an exhaustion plague, an exiled half-blooded shade, and the descent of Hades from cool, furiously flaming overlord to wimpy, not deserving immortality, love-sick businessman.

Our story begins with a frustrated female lead named Charlotte, whose own endearing cynicality redeems her. She is an underachiever, a brilliant liar, and appears unphased by the news that her cousin Zee will be coming from England to live with her family. But when the boy in question arrives he drags a mysterious illness with him which soon infects Charlotte's school and everyone she holds dear. Meanwhile, in the Underworld, Hades has banished a rabble rouser by the name of Philonecron, who goes by even the more ominous title of Phil.

Once exiled to the barren plains of the creatively named land of Exile, Phil (diabolically) begins to raise an army of shadow children to overtake the Underworld knowing fully that it is only by the blood of Zee, Charlotte's cousin, that the shades can be commanded. Sapping the boy's strength whilst Zee is unaware, Phil begins the chain of events that leads to a secret mall passageway, harpies, and a frustrated Charon (ferry guy for the River Styx).

I was, admittedly, confused by the writing style, which is a rather unique form of narration involving "audience" participation. But the humor proved humorous and did not fall flat (nothing like a bad joke to ruin your afternoon). The characters develop spines through the course of events and you find yourself actually liking them despite first impressions. Unfortunately, it rides its humorous tone for far too long and takes up half of its precious pages with background information. All the same, the second half of the book is the novel equivalent of forgiveness.
The verdict is in and I rate this as a strong 5 out of our up to 7 scale.

Dreaming about slaying harpies,
Aella Siofra

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

We've Been Posted...

I have finally found it in me to not run about joyously with great abandon. Thus I can sit and post. It is with great glee that I proclaim that the 3 Evil Cousins, celebrities of book-blog-dom have mentioned, nae, recommended us, on their blog. So go and read their amazingness and then come back and read ours.

With heel-clicking mood set in place (not so much Medeia),
Aella Siofra

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Changes, changes, and some more changes...

At this time of site reconstruction, there are some things that stay the same. A sensation of normality, if you will, on a spinning globe. These things that remain the same are books. And how good some of them are. So in the spirit of a coming New Year I am compiling a list of books with amazing peoples that undergo great changes, like a website, but not.

Crown Duel by Sherwood Smith
  • If Mel had never changed her mind about the Marquis what would have happened? I shudder to think.
Peter and the the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
  • Without a little faith, trust, and pixie/star dust millions of children would never have thought happy thoughts and jumped off their bedposts in hopes of flying.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • After Dustfinger recovered from his wussiness he returned to help. Hold breath and sigh contentedly.
The Circle of Magic Series by Tamora Pierce
  • Tris had been giving off some negative vibes, but her transformation by friendship made her much more likeable. Shiny eyed moment.
Pendragon Series by DJ MacHale
  • Loor- awesome Amazonian princess, Courtney- suburbia volleyball queen, lets weigh them against Bobby's affections and...does this need any more explanation.
So I feel very empowered and trusting in the power of change, if a little melodramatic. Enjoy our new uber complexities.
*Aella Siofra*


I hate change...but in this case, since I was added to the site...obviously change can be a very good thing...for you...aren't you lucky.