Review: Dead of Winter

Review: Dead of WinterDead of Winter (The Arcana Chronicles, #3) by Kresley Cole
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on January 6th 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 303
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION:  My favorite of the series and it made me accept a well written love triangle as much as I dislike them. A perfect blend of emotion, drama and action, this book grabbed me and never let go.

THE STORY:  This book begins right after the events of ENDLESS KNIGHT.  Evie, one of the powerful Arcana is involved a game to the death with the other Arcana characters.  Now seventeen, Evie lives in a post-apocalyptic world without plants and only a few animals. The world is lawless and filled with danger and death.  Evie is on her way to rescue her mortal lover Jack while being emotionally torn between Jack and the Arcana Death himself.  Now Evie has to confront the devious Lovers to save Jack.

OPINION:  I really dislike love triangles. The fact that Cole made me believe and enjoy this one is a testament to how good this book is. (I have no idea how this is going to work out in the end).

A book about love and hate and the mistakes we make in the past coming back to haunt us. I found this book the most complex and sophisticated of the series.  Evie is torn between two men. I absolutely loved the interaction between the three characters as they traveled and worked together.  Evie’s choice is not obvious and I like the ambiguity as to which choice is the best.

The characters of this series are growing and changing and the relationships are complex and dangerous and the motivations of these people are not clear.  I am impressed by how deep and complex the mythology is in this series.  I hope that Cole has a great resolution because this series is raising my expectations with every book.

This book is not a traditional romance but very enjoyable nonetheless.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book ends on a cliffhanger.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  DEAD OF WINTER is the third book in the Arcana Chronicles. This series should be read in order.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 5 stars.

five-stars

Review: Endless Knight

Review: Endless KnightEndless Knight (The Arcana Chronicles, #2) by Kresley Cole
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 320
Goodreads
four-stars

FINAL DECISION:  This book introduces the love triangle of the series, and I hate love triangles.  At the same time, the story is getting more complex and the motivations of the characters more murky.

THE STORY:  Evie has come into her powers as the Empress — who controls plants and uses poison as one of her weapons. She and the other Arcana characters are engaged in a battle to the death for immortality.  Evie is determined to thwart the game by forming alliances and then not killing her allies.  But before she can do that she must destroy Death who is after her.  When Evie and Death meet, Evie discovers that Death might be more complicated and attractive than she expected.

OPINION:  This book is about the murky and often hidden motivations of characters.  Things are not simple in this world and Evie is learning that things are not black and white for any of the characters.  Friends betray and enemies have justifications. Evie herself realizes that her own history is far more complicated than she imagined.

This book also introduces the love triangle between Evie, Jack and Death. It is a testament to the book that it is difficult to choose between Jack and Death both for the reader and Evie.  Death is a significant character in this book as some of his history and motivations are exposed.

I felt that the characters are developing well.  I don’t want to give away too much of the plot but things get more complicated and Evie has more allies, more enemies and more complications in her life.

There is significant action in this book and more Arcana characters meet their ends.  I believe this book was more consistent in its flow, and the reason I gave it a 4 is because I really dislike love triangles. Your mileage may vary.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book ends on a cliffhanger.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ENDLESS KNIGHT is the second book in the Arcana Chronicles series.  It should be read after the first book in order to understand whati s going on.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars

Review: Poison Princess

Review: Poison PrincessPoison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1) by Kresley Cole
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on August 19th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 369
Goodreads
four-stars

“The beginning is nigh….”

FINAL DECISION: The book has a great prologue, then a little bit of a slow part while the story begins to spin out, but the ending is fantastic.

THE STORY: Sixteen year old Evie Greene seems to have a charmed life. She’s popular, has a handsome and nice boyfriend and is smart.  But she has been having frightening nightmares and has so many delusions that her mother had her committed to a mental institution. She meets Jackson Deveaux, a Cajun boy from the wrong side of town and the two argue and strike sparks off of one another.  When it becomes obvious the Evie is not having delusions but rather visions. When the world is hit with an apocalypse, Evie and Jack must find out the meaning of Evie’s visions.

OPINION:  This is not my normal reading material.  Although there are romantic elements, there is not a straightforward romance in this book. There is no resolution, no HEA — at least not in this book.  But I am always looking for good books regardless of format or genre.

This book begins with a rocking suspense angle.  I was dragged immediately into the drama of the story.  Then the story goes back to the time before the apocalyptic Flash that begins the Arcana battle.  I thought the worldbuilding and concept was amazing.  I haven’t read a similar concept so I was captivated and my brain was engaged in trying to sort out the players. The agendas and motivations of the various characters remain opaque throughout this book.

I liked Evie as a character.  She discovers that she is one of the Arcana which are depicted on the Tarot cards. She is naive, immature and spoiled as the book begins, but her experiences begin to change her.  By the time the book ends, she has had an epiphany that makes me want to jump into the next book of the series.  I liked how Evie develops.  I like that she doesn’t start out as a 16 year old with a 30 year old’s mind. I believed her development.

Jack, the romantic interest as this book begins, is cocky and annoying and oh so attractive to Evie. A definite bad boy who has secrets of his own, he and Evie spend much of the book arguing and fighting with one another.  As two very different young people in a horrendous situation and forced together, they are merely developing their working relationship.  He is funny and annoying and I ended up liking him very much as well.

Once the prologue of the book ends, the book is a little slow for a while as the past is recalled and then the terms for this new world are defined and new characters are introduced. Then the book really takes off in action. The final third of the book was just extraordinary and the ending made me want to immediately turn to the next book in the series.  I’d give 4 stars for the beginning, a 3 for the middle and 5 stars for the end. I’ve averaged all that to give the book 4 stars.

This book is not complete in itself as it is clearly intended to be only the beginning of a long journey.

WORTH MENTIONING: This is a young adult novel, but it has plenty to interest adults and in fact, I think it skews toward older teens rather than younger based on content.

CONNECTED BOOKS: POISON PRINCESS is the first book in the Arcana Chronicles.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

four-stars