Cuddlebuggery Book Blog > Fantasy
When I first picked this book up from BEA, I wasn’t very interested because I saw the word “witches” and thought, “NOPE, NOPE, NOPE.” Even in my review policy it states that I don’t review books about witches. Why? Well, because of Harry Potter. I didn’t want to sit and compare the two and I had a feeling that I would. What made matters worse was the fact that ended up being toted as The Next Big Thing from The Hunger Games to, you guessed it, Harry Potter. So it’s a good thing this book was nothing like Harry Potter.
Upon finishing Half Bad my first thought was, “HOLY SHIT!”, so I went to Goodreads to see what everyone else thought. It’s interesting to see how split most people are on this book, and it’s not hard to understand why. The enjoyment of Half Bad is going to largely depend on your ability to adapt to the writing style.
Death Sworn, what the hell happened?
I’m sorry, that’s harsh. You weren’t the worst and at a few points I really did almost enjoy myself, but the fact remains, you put me to sleep. Four times. Once would have been highly unusual behavior for me, but four? Something’s wrong.
Here’s the thing Death Sworn, looking back I can see you had a plot arc but while I was reading it felt like things were just happening. I didn’t buy the villain in the slightest, the romance seemed abrupt and jerky (did the characters even like each other before declaring the other irresistible and making out?), the twists and turns came out of no where in a way that was more wtf than clever, the MC whined ALL. THE. TIME. and the cult of kamikaze children aspect unnerved me (but less creepy plot element and more in a I do not understand why this is happening, but I know I don’t like it).
If there is but one thing that I truly adore about Stephen King’s work, it is his penchant for crafting consistently interesting short stories. Granted, the quality of his storytelling tends to vary quite broadly from one tableau to the next, and his tone can vary so dramatically that it is oftentimes difficult to maintain a stable understanding and mindset towards what he is trying to accomplish in the space of some dozen pages at a time. Still, his entries are always, if nothing else, entertaining, with at least one wonderfully weird, wonderfully unsettling idea or detail to make the brief journey in one way or another worthwhile.
I bring this up because Joe Hill strikes me as being much the same sort of writer as his father. In fact, I could easily see 20th Century Ghosts as being a work stemmed from the elder King’s pen, so similar is Hill’s wordplay and imagination.
Ignoring the love triangle advertised in the blurb (first mistake: never ignore a blatantly touted love triangle), Defy should have been a good book. In theory it has some great stuff going for it (adventure! badass girl warrior! gender-bending! sorcery!) but in actuality, all of these things fell apart or flat out failed to show up in the first place.
Come along gentle readers as I break down the good, the bad and the OH MY GOD I WILL SLAUGHTER SOMEONE AND THEN BURN THEIR VILLAGE TO THE GROUND- I mean, ugly.
I…I finished it? I can’t really count that as a point in the book’s favor because it’s not like I continued due to any positive feelings, it was more the horrified fascination brought on by something spectacularly awful.
This book was a rousing game of Pick A Trope. Tropes themselves aren’t inherently bad, it’s how they’re used that makes the difference and in Defy’s case they were used in the most clumsily over the top way possible.
Beauty and the Beast retellings evoke a sort of Pavlovian response in me. I hear of them, I read them. Totally basic response to stimuli. This sometimes works out really well and sometimes not so well.
Cruel Beauty is one of the times it worked out really, really well.
What a unique story this is. Seriously I didn’t think I could be surprised by a Beauty and the Beast anymore. I kind of liked the comforting sameness of them all, like a worn in hoodie you snuggle up in when you feel crappy. This book is not like that in the slightest. It’s a tough book to review. It holds you at arm’s length for a good chunk until you suddenly realize that you’re into it and now that you think of it, you’ve been into it for awhile and you’re not entirely sure when that happened.
This book is not going to be for everyone, pretty much every character is an asshole.