Book review: “Libriomancer” by Jim Hines (spoilers ahoy!)

It’s not often that a book makes me laugh out loud, but there’s something about Jim C. Hines’ Libriomancer that got me from the beginning. The official description:

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror, he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic.

At its heart, Libriomancer is a love letter to every bookworm who ever imagined reaching into their favorite book and becoming part of the story. It’s funny, sad, and exciting all at once.

My overall rating: 4.5/5 stars.


Continue reading “Book review: “Libriomancer” by Jim Hines (spoilers ahoy!)”

And the winner of “The Rise of Nine” book giveaway is…


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congratulations to Kyle Magistrado! Whoohoo! I hope you’ll give The Rise of Nine a good home. Will be sending you an email by later today or tomorrow asking for your mailing address so that I can send the book to you.

Thank you so much to everyone who joined my first ever book giveaway! I hope you had fun joining. I also hope you found something of value in my blog. To make sure you don’t miss out on my future posts, subscribe to receive email updates by entering your email address in the sidebar widget –>

Macy’s “The Rise of Nine” book giveaway!

Win this book!

A milestone in my blogging history: my first-ever blog giveaway! (I’m thinking of it as a pre-birthday event.) Up for grabs is a copy of The Rise of Nine by Pittacus Lore (my book review is here).

The mechanics are pretty straightforward. Please submit your entries via the Rafflecopter widget below (I love this widget!). You earn one raffle entry for each completed task. Tasks are to:

  • Leave a comment answering this question: If you were a member of the Garde, what legacy would you want to have and why?
  • Follow me on Twitter: @theislandergirl
  • Tweet about the giveaway: First ever blog giveaway from @theislandergirl: a copy of “The Rise of Nine” by Pittacus Lore!

You can start submitting entries today (August 27) until 1:01 pm of September 1. Good luck and have fun!

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Book review: “The Rise of Nine” by Pittacus Lore

The Rise of Nine is the third book in the Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore (the pseudonym of authors Jobie Hughes and James Frey, although only James Frey finished this book). At the end of The Power of Six, Four and Nine escaped from the Mogadorian base but had to leave Sam behind, while Six met up with Seven (Marina), Ten (Ella), Hector (Marina’s friend), and Crayton (Ella’s unofficial Cepan) in Spain. Hector dies during the escape attempt. The Rise of Nine features Six and her group traveling to India to find Number Eight, while Four and Nine travel to Nine’s base in Chicago to regroup and set a course of action.

In general, The Rise of Nine is so much better compared to The Power of Six (thank goodness!). The plot moves faster and more interesting (yay conspiracies!) and the increased focus on the other Garde.

The plot finally picks up. In one book, we get government conspiracies, intercontinental travel using Loric relics, a prophecy that may or may not come true, and a big showdown with Setrákus Ra, the big bad Mogadorian. Hurrah! The faster pace means lots and lots of expository dialogue but I’m willing to forgive just to get the plot moving. The conspiracies were an interesting revelation, one that I hope will be explored more in the next books. I also appreciated the further evidence of the Loric visiting Earth even before the destruction of Lorien.

Another thing I appreciated was the increased prominence of the other Garde in the narrative. The Rise of Nine is told from the point of view of Four, Six, and Seven. It was difficult at times to separate the different voices – it doesn’t help that the sections aren’t labeled with the narrator’s name and the fonts used for the different sections are practically the same – but you get used to it. The three voices made Rise more tolerable to me because it features more Seven in general (she’s turning out to be my favorite), more Six being a badass and less hung up on Four, and less Four whining about Sarah.

What I didn’t like:

  • Four is still whining about Sarah. Sarah is never going away, is she?
  • Seven is suddenly obsessed with how cute Eight is. I’m giving her a a pass though because she’s a teenage girl who was raised in a convent and was confronted with her first cute guy.
  • The general telling and not showing. I forgave this but it needs to be mentioned again.

The verdict: 3/5 stars. It’s on the same level as I am Number Four and definitely better than The Power of Six (which I disliked so much I didn’t bother to write a review). It’s a fun read that’s best enjoyed when you just want to rest your brain.

As an early birthday event of sorts, I decided to host a giveaway for a copy of The Rise of Nine. Join here!

Book review: “The Enchantress” by Michael Scott

After five years in the making, we finally have “The Enchantress”, the final book in Michael Scott‘s series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel.

The official book description:

The two that are one must become the one that is all. One to save the world, one to destroy it.

San Francisco:
Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel have one day left to live, and one job left to do. They must defend San Francisco. The monsters gathered on Alcatraz Island have been released and are heading toward the city. If they are not stopped, they will destroy everyone and everything in their path.

But even with the help of two of the greatest warriors from history and myth, will the Sorceress and the legendary Alchemyst be able to defend the city? Or is it the beginning of the end of the human race?

Danu Talis:
Sophie and Josh Newman traveled ten thousand years into the past to Danu Talis when they followed Dr. John Dee and Virginia Dare. And it’s on this legendary island that the battle for the world begins and ends.

Scathach, Prometheus, Palamedes, Shakespeare, Saint-Germain, and Joan of Arc are also on the island. And no one is sure what—or who—the twins will be fighting for.

Today the battle for Danu Talis will be won or lost.
But will the twins of legend stand together?
Or will they stand apart—
one to save the world and one to destroy it?

“The Enchantress” took me a while to finish compared to the other books because 1) I had to stop and start because of work, and 2) it felt longer and emotionally heavier compared to the others. My somewhat disjointed thoughts on the book:

  • The whole book felt like one extended battle scene. We have old!Prometheus, old!Tsagaglalal, and Niten on the Golden Gate Bridge;  the Flamels, Billy the Kid, Machiavelli, Black Hawk, Odin, Hel, and Mars in Alcatraz; and Scáthach, Joan, Saint-Germain,  Palamedes, Shakespeare, young!Prometheus, young!Tsagaglalal, Virginia Dare, John Dee, Sophie, and Josh in Danu Talis. There’s little room to breathe as the battles rage on.
  • Because the battles rage on and on and on, there’s little further character development. How the characters are at the end of “The Warlock” are basically how they are in “The Enchantress”.
  • Virginia Dare’s bigger role was a nice touch. I would have loved to learn more about who her Elder master was and why she killed him but with an ensemble cast this huge, I’m not surprised that it was never explained.
  • The big reveal about Sophie and Josh’s origins wasn’t just big – it was mind-bending. Seriously. I hate that there was no fanfare – Isis and Osiris just come out and say it – for something this huge. But I suppose in the greater scheme of the story, their origins weren’t that important.
  • I salute Michael Scott’s expertise in mythology and folklore. He managed to wrangle these disparate characters from all over the world and weave them together into an engaging story.
  • That said, maybe he shouldn’t have included so many characters. Sure, they all get their moments but I would have loved more real development as the story progressed. Out of the huge ensemble, my favorite has got to be Machiavelli.
  • Another thing Michael Scott wrangles well is time travel. Done haphazardly, time travel is an awful, awful plot device. But in this case, he plots everything to perfection. I love it! The twist with Josh is especially cool.

All in all, it was a good book and a fitting conclusion to the series. Here’s hoping that Michael Scott will release more short stories (and compile them!) to fill in the (kinda big) gaps in the story. I totally enjoyed “Billy the Kid and the Vampyres of Vegas”.

Overall rating: 4/5 stars.

And I’m finally done! Whoohoo! Now that that’s over, any recommendations for what young adult book I should read (and review) next?

Book review: “Leviathan” by Scott Westerfeld

Here I am again, starting another YA series. Because of the paranormal romance craze started by Twilight, it’s been a bit difficult finding new YA books that don’t feature vampires, werewolves, angels, devils, and the like. I have nothing against the genre per se – it’s just not my cup of tea. Good thing I stumbled upon Scott Westerfeld‘s Leviathan series in Fully Booked Greenbelt when I was looking for a Christmas gift for my brother.

Leviathan is set in AU steampunk World War I Europe, where Allied nations are “Darwinists” with fabricated (genetically engineered) beasts (or “fabs”), while the Central Powers are “Clankers” with their mechanical creations. The Germans want to start a war against the Darwinists, so they murder the pacifist Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary and his wife Sophie and place the blame on a Serbian nationalist. The novel opens with Prince Aleksandar, son of the archduke, woken up in the middle of the night to be smuggled out of the castle by soldiers loyal to his father. The other protagonist is Deryn Sharp, a Scottish girl who wants to become an airman in the Royal Air Navy. Unfortunately, women aren’t allowed to join the military. The solution? Disguise herself as a boy, of course! (My eyes may or may not have rolled at this part of the blurb.)

What do I love about the book?

  1. The characters. Both Alek and Deryn (AKA “Dylan”) are both fleshed out. Alek initially comes off as a spoiled brat but that’s mostly because he was raised in a barking* castle. Beneath the bravado is someone who lost everything he knew in one night and suddenly has to figure out what he’s supposed to do next. Deryn is a tomboy trying to recapture what she lost when her father died in a hot air balloon accident. She is not weak and knows her own mind. Fate throws them together and they learn to grow together.
  2. The AU world-building. Knowing that the book takes place in World War I Europe gives the reader a general feel for the setting, but it’s Westerfeld’s descriptions and Keith Thompson‘s illustrations that bring it to life.
  3. The plot. It has the right mix of action, political intrigue, and – dare I say it? – romance.

What needed work?

  1. The pacing. The set-up – Alek’s escape from Austria, Deryn training on the Leviathan, the Leviathan bringing Dr. Nora Barlow – took too long. I know the long buildup helped with the great world-building I just praised, but it really did take too long. You have to plow through 50-60% of the book before finally seeing Alek and Deryn meet. Because of this, Leviathan felt like one very long set-up for Behemoth (the next book in the series) instead of a book on its own.

Final score: 4 out of 5 stars


*One advantage of an AU setting is being able to swear all you like because your invented/repurposed “swear words” don’t count. In this case, “barking” roughly translates to “freaking”, as in “freaking castle”. Other words to look out for are “clart” and “bum rag”. LOL