Thanks to Netgalley for an advanced reader copy of this book
Upon learning that the Ash Princess was going to be another "Underdog Heroine Out to Save Her Impoverished And Abused People," I was, quite honestly, bored. Soooo many of those already out there. So we really need another? Certainly NOT! However, this particular heroine just doesn't come off like the others. Perhaps it is her unique status as the "Ash Princess" or maybe her surroundings or back story, or maybe the writing was just so good that I can overlook any tropes that might appear. Whatever it is, Theo just isn't like other YA book heroines. She does some things that I don't really agree with, but she does them for the right reasons and that has to count for something right? Right.
My boy, Blaise. Where do I begin? He is the stuff Book Boyfriends are made of. He held back a the right times and made himself vulnerable at the right times. And you just know there is some crazy power that he keeps at bay, but I have no doubt if Theo needed him, all bets would be off. I enjoyed this character.
The third corner of our triangle. Honestly, I pity him more than anyone else in the story, which is saying quite a bit, because there are a number of people in this story that deserve pity. He's just ordered around or tricked or used by just about everyone. He feels guilty for what he does but by the time he stands up to his father, it's too late on every side, so e threw himself into the line of fire for nothing. Pressure from everyone. No one to trust. Sadly, no one who truly cares for him...and acknowledges it. Just plain sad.
Okay, let's take a moment to discuss the real hero of this book. The biggest play in the story and arguably the most risky, and it was a thirteen year old girl. If there were more girls like Elpis in this story, there would be a pretty formidable army of teenage girls-- and really, who wants to fight an army of teenage girls.
You know, normally I just want the good guys to win. This time, I wanted the bad guys to lose. Like lose big. I wanted him ripped apart. But waiting for it- actually I think that'll make it even better. And I really want Soren to be the one who does it. I know that Theo wants it, but Soren just seems more satisfying to me.
She's kind of that spoiled best friend that you can't help liking even though their entitlement is obnoxious. Even so, until the end, I really did like her. And in the end, I still understood her. One of the great things about these characters, for the most part, even when you don't like what they're doing, you can understand why they're doing it.
There were really no big surprises with the plot as far as the MC's goals and where she wanted to end up. Even not knowing how it ended, I wasn't like, "Wow, where did that come from?" Tension continued to build through the story, however, and there was never a part that was lackluster, though that also meant that no parts really shined for me, which is fine, because that just means the whole story was pretty solid. There really wasn't anything spectacularly new. A tyrant took over a smaller country and made them slaves while his own people obeyed him out of fear. The execution of the writing made it special however, which we will get to in minute.
Solid A+ for World Building. I'm not sure of the time period, however, the place was very well-written and never did I feel I wasn't actually there. I can imagine the dungeons and the Was as the Prinze and Theo sailed under the stars. The mines, though we never actually visit them, so dark and dank that anyone would go crazy down there. The throne room, commanding and intimidating and cold.
If I were to describe the writing in this book with one word, it would be: lush. There was no choppiness. Nothing was rushed or slow. The pace, as mentioned, was steady and engaging. Characters were fleshed out and we saw angles of everyone mentioned. Even the Kaiser had a backstory. Where I expected action scenes to be hurried, they were fully described without being drawn out.
Recommended to: fantasy fans, romance fans, Maggie Steifvater and Sarah J. Maas fans
The first half of this book whizzed by! I love it. So many twists with relationships and I have so many conflicting feelings about characters- The prinze, Cress, even Thora/Theo. She has gotten herself into such a complicated web and I love the tension.
Plan to devour the rest of this tonight!
So far...a 5 star book!
So I took a few days to write this review just to think about the book.
This book was weird. While reading it, I really cared about Sam and Grace. I wanted them to be happy. Thinking back on it, I find that I just don't care as much. That's odd for me. Normally, once I latch onto a character, I love them for life. I can't even really say what I liked about them while reading it. Neither one seemed all that special. I mean, sure, Sam is a werewolf, but who isn't in YA these days? It's different that they only change when it's cold. And I did feel bad for him and his messed up childhood with what his parents did to him. But that's it. Now. But while reading Shiver, I thought he was just awesome. I'm not going to act like I wasn't relieved when he was human at the end though.
This started pretty slowly for me. Some people enjoy that easy going start. I'm not one of those people. Overall, the action in this book was lacking. The end was decent however. I never would have guessed that by getting them sick, they could be cured. Well, not for Jack, but... Whatever. He was a jerk anyway. Aside from the romance, there didn't seem to be much of anything. Which for a romance is fine, but I expected more. I don't even know why. All I have ever heard about this book is that it is a good romance. I just think werewolves, so there must be something more to it. Not really.
Meh. Nothing special. Could have been my hometown. Which is fine.
This is why Shiver is getting four stars from me. Because despite everything complaint I just had, the writing drew me in. I wanted to read me. Some parts were downright lyrical, folks. If you want romance and pretty writing, this is the book for you. If you need some action to go along with it, pass this one up.
Meh. This was okay. I thought the story had a great premise.
I really loved the idea of Beau Rivage. But I think there was so much more that Cross could have done to give it more personality. I mean, she had this FAIRY TALE TOWN for goodness' sake. Liven it up. Instead the kids spent their time at concerts and beaches and getting drunk at parties. Seriously? Couldn't they do something more fairytale-ish? What? Was Cross trying to show the readers that the story characters are just like regular teens? Then there is no point. I just wish there could have been more. Except for the candy cottage, there wasn't much to say that it was very different than any other town.
There is a slew of characters here, and some I like more than others. Obviously. But it is more because of how they are written than because of the characters themselves. Take Viv for instance. There is so much more that could have been done with 'Snow White'. Like, I don't know. Make her actually like SNOW WHITE instead of some spoiled brat. Or make Freddie more three dimensional instead of a doormat who just wants to be a hero. Give these characters some depth.
This is new for me. I usually don't focus on them as much, but since this book was nothing but relationships, here we are.
Blue/Mira- They're both dumb. Blue was wasting his time, pining over a girl in love with his brother. Honestly, if it took her that long to figure Felix out, she deserved to have the life sucked out of her.
Felix/Mira- What an idiot! All the signs were there. I get that he could 'charm' her, but she even considered the truth and still rejected it. I wanted there to be a spin so badly. Like maybe Felix saving Mira from Blue, but no. Predictable.
Freddie/Mira- Basically everyone and Mira. I mean, come on. He was like a wet, sad puppy. And even worse, that's all he was meant to be. I really wanted some closure for him. Like for him to get with a fairy or something. Just so he isn't the nice loser at the end.
Viv/Henley- What kind of messed up relationship is this? Basically, he is destined to simultaneously love and hate her. She teases and drags him around. It was just annoying.
Layla/Rafe- Honestly, I think this had the potential to be the most interesting relationship in the story, but they nearly completely ignored it. Barely gets a mention. Of course, Beauty and the Beast was always one of my favs, so I'm biased.
So predictable. The only surprise would have been Mira finding her parents. Otherwise, you knew who the bad guy was. You knew what he was going to do. You knew who was going to save her. I kept hoping that something would pop up and surprise me, but no.
I really really liked the idea of this book, which is how it earned the three stars. But the execution left something to be desired.