Moth and Spark by Anne Leonard

16239655DNFed 15% into the story.

Reason number one: 
Apart from the prologue and some vague mentions about Dragons and lost magic, there is no magic / fantasy in this story. Instead you are treated to a highly unconvincing historical, pseudo-medieval romance with insta-love and some such. This was really not what I expected or anticipated.

Reason number two: 
The annoying female main character. Tam, wow I hate her. Never thought I would write this ever about anyone but she is so damn perfect, that I had an insta-hate moment there. She is not only “stunning, (…) with the most astonishingly beautiful face he had ever seen”, she is also totally unaware of her attractive looks and an epitome of womanly virtue. Gah!

She was a well-bred and well-educated young woman, even an accomplished one. She spoke three languages besides her own and could draw, sing, play the piano, and do embroidery, all of it inoffensively. She could converse on poetry and morals with equal grace. She had improved her mind by extensive reading. But her education did not end there.
She dressed wounds, mixed medicines, sat by the dying. She helped her father with his experiments and his writings. When he saw something interesting under the glass, it was she who drew the picture for him. She had done other work too, assisting her brother with his accounts, shipping lists.

Of course she can sit so fucking quietly “that a butterfly lighted briefly on the flower in her hair.

Reason number three:
The awful descriptive writing. Never have I ever seen so much info-dumping on the historical facts and semi-poetical, semi-prosaic descriptions.

– There is a whole paragraph dedicated to archaeological findings around the capital only to emphasize Tam’s sentiment of feeling “humbled”.
– There is no escaping the many gowns and fashion accounts or the countless remarks on the countryside, architecture or interior design of the palace.
– There is no difference in the two POVs the story is written in. Tam’s and Corin’s voices are totally alike. Why even bother to write in two POVs when you can’t differentiate between the two characters?
– Last but not least: The many confusing expressions like:”draw, sing, play the piano, and do embroidery, all of it inoffensively” or “She smelled stone and ice”, which I admit could be useful if you’re looking for a cave. The smelling part is really baffling. All in all Tam and her Prince can smell like bloodhounds. A total of 63 times they smell things like damp air, death, water, they can smell if a wind is cold, and they even pick up with their noses on salt in the air. How something can smell salty is beyond me. Things can smell “angular and sharp”? Say what? Apparently even people can be gamey-smelling. Whats wrong with words like rancid or stinky?

So feel free to read it for yourself but be aware that there is not much fantasy!

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The Midnight Witch by Paula Brackston

17910080Not sure if I’ll ever write a full review for this as I did not finish it.

First reason: the writing.
It’s like trying to walk through thick molasses. Especially in the beginning everything is described so fucking detailed I was honestly bored out of my mind. Then the author switches between past and present tense, first and third person narration and different point of views which renders the book into one gigantic annoying read. It’s as if neither author nor editor have proof read it. The use of present tense narration always irritates me.
Also I kind of expected more a historical romance novel set in the early 20th century with some supernatural witchcraft / ghosts elements. But the dialogues, described etiquette and even the names do not contribute much to historical accuracy. It was all so very much uninteresting. I’d rather watch the Titanic sink again and Leonardo di Caprio drowns than finish this book.

Secondly: The romance:
it’s kind of the same as in Titanic. Super beautiful, super rich, super fancy witch with a super fiancé falls in love with an artist from the poor / wrong / non magical / non aristocratic part of the society. Yawn … Have I mentioned Titanic? The movie was awesome in comparison to this. At least Leo drowns and I still cry some tears when the mother tells her two children a story while the ship is running full of cold water.

Third: the magic part
They are all so damn powerful necromancer and then nothing. We are told they are. Actual zombies: none. Ghosts? Nope, none of that either. The whole mystical element is more like the secret meetings of a secret cult where everything is more about power struggle than magic / necromancy.

This book is a waste of time if you ask me. There are better historical novels, there are much better romance novels and there certainly are better fantasy novels out there.

 

Feather Bound by Sarah Raughley

17829175DNFed at 25% skipped over the rest

This book is one if those that pisses me of. It’s so full of stereotypes and dumb thoughts that I seriously wanted to do bodily harm. At least the book is short if nothing else.

First of all there is absolutely no world building: 
Sarah Raughley tries unconvincingly to create an urban fantasy romance novel for young adults. But even though she is one of the first to star bird-shifters the world and plot itself seem to be rather lacking in the originality department.

There are the human swans (squawk, birdchatter) that are being kind of enslaved by society (like Chinese working in clothing or washing) because real humans can steal their feathers? Say what? There is no explanation given what human swans are, how they came to be known to the public, if there are any other supernatural beings in the world or if human swans can actually do something interesting like flying, super singing or have any magical abilities. How can a reader be expected to just accept that squawking shapeshifters have come out of a fairy tale into the modern world without any background information or explanation is beyond me.

Apart from that small negligible fantasy element the world reminded me of bad fan-fiction of the crossfire novels Bared to You: poor little girl (17) who is working her ass of to pay for food and rent because her father is an alcoholic and her older sisters can’t be bothered to contribute meets asshole billionaire (19). Descriptions of wealthy teens, their wealthy parents, their super expensive lifestyle, designer outfits and awesome parties ensues. Of course every other sentence in this book the poor little girl has to remind us of the fact how poor she is and how exorbitantly rich everybody else is. As if the reader could forget for one second that being poor is a shameful thing to be, that others laugh about her because she wears a fake prada bag (a black bag with PRALA gold letters on it) that her clothes come from a second hand shop, that she hasn’t any money for a hair cut.

Of course even her oldest sister who is married to a millionaire can’t spare fucking 100 dollars to buy food for her sister or take her out shopping. Of course her other older sister who works only part time for a call center, spends all her money on expensive clothes instead of helping the family, but manages to eat half of the food alone while watching tv all day. Of course her father is an alcoholic who spends his money on … Alcohol.

If you haven’t noticed until now our poor but special girl is miss fu**ing perfect while everybody else is just well rich, mean, superficial, self centered and so on. She is also quite shy, virginal and has a low self esteem.

Coming to the best part: the romance
Now I had a best friend at the age of 8 just like her. He didn’t die but when my parents moved to another country our friendship ended. I loved him as best friend and all but come on nobody would pine for 9 years after a childhood friend that you knew only for a year or so. Well her childhood best friend who was supposed to be dead (tragic accident in a boat) apparently wasn’t that dead because after nine years he makes an appearance on his adoptive father’s funeral. He wants to take over his corporate business for whatever reasons. In a later date he tells our miss perfect that he lived in France / Paris happily after the faked accident and wants to pick up the friendship where they left of. After some initial struggling which wasn’t convincing because as her sister puts it he now looks handsome AND is also totally rich, she and him start hanging out again. There are all those feelings …. Of course what else?

So no this book didn’t do it for me: no intriguing world-building, a whiney Virgin Mary and a lot of unrealistic, un-likable secondary characters and boring internal monologue on top.