Thursday, March 15, 2012

Epic Reading List Take Two Updated: Darkness Falls

The Epicness of the Reading List Updated 3/15

1. Mockingjay -Suzanne Collins
2. First Test -Tamora Pierce
3. Darkness Falls -Cate Tiernan
4. Page -Tamora Pierce
5. Where Things Come Back -John Corey Whaley
6. Squire -Tamora Pierce
7. Beautiful Darkness -Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
8. Lady Knight -Tamora Pierce
9. Cinder -Marissa Meyer
10. Trickster's Choice -Tamora Pierce
11. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith
12. Trickster's Queen -Tamora Pierce
13. Halfway to the Grave -Jeanine Frost
14. Tortall and Other Lands -Tamora Pierce
15. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer -Michelle Hodkin

So we keep moving along.

I was so excited about Darkness Falls and totally pissed when they pushed the release date back. Since I didn't get it until after my list started I made myself wait. I was a bit grumpy about it but I did it anyway.

I'm a little torn on it. I love Cate Tiernan. Sweep and Balefire are beautiful series. Immortal Beloved is different. Good. A really great idea. It's witty and wonderful. But something about Darkness Falls didn't strike me as quite right.

Nastasya is a great character. She's so witty and funny. It's the snark. I'm a total sucker for snark. I like that she cries at totally appropriate moments. She's not crying all the time and she hates that she's doing it but there it is.

My issue with her is that I can never get a good grip on her age. I understand the trickiness of writing someone who's both seventeen and 459 and that worked for me in Immortal Beloved. Perhaps this is showing her shedding the jaded notions she had in the first book but if that's the case it came off a little abrupt. There are times when she's talking and she feels so old and other that I can't even believe she's seventeen. It's a hard balance but somewhere between books one and two it started to tip. It became distracting.

Character wise the rest were brilliant. Reyn is totally swoon-worthy. He's not overly gentle but Nastasya doesn't need gentle. She needs that force that Reyn has. It's a strength. There's a couple of wonderful moments between he and Nastasya at the end where she calls him home that are beautiful and somehow heartbreaking.

River is that aunt you want to have. She's firm but compassionate and is only going to baby you the barest amount that you need. She could have been a pale, over used character. The patient savior with the tortured past. But she escapes that somehow. A lot of it are the little moments like her high-fiving Nastasya for not killing Incy and cheerfully telling Nastasya she's collecting eggs.

And Incy. Oh, Incy is wondrous. Nastasya has these awful dreams of him and you know he's dark. You're so certain but somehow when he finds her in the woods you're just as seduced by him as she is. You want him to rescue her from all of the awfulness. Despite your best judgement you trust him. And of course he becomes delightfully sinister. It's not just a switch flipping, which is the best part. He's goes through these mood swings like withdrawal symptoms. He's such a well written, well crafted character.

The collection of events leading to Nastasya's departure from River's is believable. They all seem logical and believable. The one exception being Old Mac's sudden zombie state. Everything else came across naturally. She was having a rough go of it. But that was the hint that it wasn't right. The dreams were obviously a sign and Incy's magical appearance but the Old Mac zombification was a bit over the top.

Toward the end, I also felt like we were beating one of the dead horses Nastasya had failed to save. Yes, she was looking back on her life and seeing how awful she'd been. The flashback scenes were awesome. But we didn't just get flashbacks. She just kept listing things off and and repeated how terrible Incy was and how dark she used to be and how much better she was now. We got it. It made her revelations of what lessons she'd learned overbearing. There were two great moments where she says she could never forgive River for opening her eyes to how awful she'd been. Those are great but their choked down by repetitious revelations and examples.

No matter what it sounds like I am excited for the last book, Eternally Yours. River keeps talking about how much worse the others were. I want to hear about them. We got a few stories in this one but I want the rest! Plus, the mention of a Master in Darkness Falls widened the scope and I'm excited to see that. If Cate Tiernan excels at two things it's amazingly complicated relationships with devastating guys and awesome climax scenes. I get the feeling Eternally Yours will be quite a climax to the series.

Immortal Beloved is a great but complicated series and as good as it is it just doesn't quite live up to Sweep or Balefire. Darkness Falls is a good book and a quick read. If you're a Cate Tiernan fan or a snark fan or an interestingly developed world fan it's definitely worth a read.

Overall Rating: Epic.

Last note: I'm thinking of revising the rating list...again. I love three and even numbers to six seemed like a good idea but I was never totally happy with it and now I don't like that I don't have a rating in the middle. I'll work on it.

Next up: More Keladry goodness, Tamora Pierce's Page.


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