Cuddlebuggery Book Blog > Reviews

Afterworlds

“Everyone was talking about their own work as well, and about the superpowers of their agents, the bloody-mindedness of copy editors, and the perfidies of marketing departments. Darcy was swimming in a sea of publication, and all she wanted to do was drown.”

I’ve long felt that writing is – and always has been – my strength. It’s something that I have always enjoyed doing, and the feedback that it has received over the years has me believing that it’s a skill that I’m at least somewhat competent at. Yet I’ve never had much of an urge to try my hand at storytelling. Essays and reviews are all very well and good, but the thought of attempting a novel’s worth of fiction has never much appealed to me. Perhaps I simply don’t have the patience or work ethic. Perhaps I’m afraid of inadvertently telling a really, really crummy story. Whatever the reason, the concept of writing a book just hasn’t been an interest of mine.

The Zoo Box

The Zoo Box by Ariel Cohn and Aron Nels Steinke is one that tries to marry old classics such as Jumanji (if one can consider it a classic) and Where the Wild Things Are and does not quite succeed. When Erika and Patrick’s parents go out for the night, they leave Erika in charge of her younger brother. She takes Patrick up the attic where they find animal suits and put them on. They also find a box from which, impossibly, animals emerge. The animals, reminiscent of Orwell’s Animal Farm reverse the circumstances and put unsuspecting humans in cages while they go around, popcorn in hand, observing the humans.

I am not a fan of this art style and this affected my reading experience substantially. I found the art to be unsophisticated, especially since I had just finished Hatke’s book intended for the same audience. I found the writing to be overly simplistic and lacking the dips and leaps that usually characterize the language used in a picturebook.

Messenger of Fear

“He is not indifferent, that’s the thing. His too-near voice that seems always to be whispering in my ear is held to a standard of cool detachment, but his eyes and his mouth and his forehead and the way he swallows all speak of reflected pain.”


The opening installment to Michael Grant’s new series seems largely a routine affair. As the introductory piece to a larger work, Messenger of Fear is rather simplistic in both its construction and its establishing of an overarching mythos and cast of characters. It’s all mostly predictable (particularly the big “twist” near the end, which one will likely figure out very early on), following as it does the well-worn formula that so many YA authors have taken to since the meteoric rise of the paranormal romance genre.

This particular incarnation centers on Mara, who awakens in a sort of limbo with no clear memory of who she is or how she came to be in this new dimension.

A Shade of Vampire

I went into this book like a person between jobs, bored of their last venture and not yet ready to dive into anything too serious. I knew exactly what I was getting myself into and my expectations were appropriately set for mindless entertainment. I know this may seem like a strange thing for some people and I’m sure many would wonder why I decided to read a book I was sure to dislike. The simple explanation would lie somewhere between “Because I felt like it” and “Because I paid for it.” But for those of you who aren’t as easily pacified, I’ll say this: Reading books like this is like inviting your friends over for a night of popcorn, ice cream and really, really terrible horror movies. It takes itself so seriously, that you can’t take it seriously. And instead of scaring you, the intentional outcome, it has the reverse effect, providing you and your friends endless fodder for punch lines to new jokes and puns equally as terrible as its source material.

Heir of Fire

Want to get a taste of an upcoming title without a full review or spoilers? We’re here to do that for you! It’s not a real review, and there are definitely no spoilers – just a bunch of reasons to read or not read or pass on this title.


Reasons to read:

1. Awesome new characters:

So. Many. New. Characters. While that might be overwhelming at times, I really liked what all of them had to offer. My love might be exclusive to a particular new character but we won’t talk about this now. *evil laugh*

2. Dorian

You know the thing with Dorian? The thing we found out in Crown of Midnight? Well, that thing makes him extra awesome and unpredictable in this novel. I love how much his character has developed and how his story keeps taking unexpected turns. If you’re indifferent about Dorian, I know what you’re thinking as you read this: what about Chaol?

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