The Nature of Gods by D. J. Torres – Review

Cover

4 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wow, I feel like somehow I found the book that reminds me most of the Percy Jackson series. It highly resembles it while remaining unique–most definitely a rare find!

What I found that I liked most about this book is that it is particularly humorous–which I almost never see in fantasy books. To name one example, in the beginning of the book it is said that there are many unnatural earthquakes occurring. Here’s what the main character, Olivia, says about it: “‘Scientifically impossible,’ according to the experts, yet the quakes kept happening with no explanations. No legitimate explanations anyway. The Democrats and Republicans kept blaming each other and other countries as if earthquakes were a political matter they voted upon.” I found this last part particularly funny because–not to get extremely political on my reviews–but as a person who is one of these parties, I can’t help agreeing that it’s very true of both parties. If there were multiple earthquakes occurring on our land, we would most definitely find both parties blaming one another. In fact, many people have blamed past presidents or each other’s parties for things either party obviously had nothing to do with: the Super Bowl, actors’ actions, etc. So I just ended up finding it humorous that the author was bold enough to capture this so well in all its sheer honesty.

There’s also much more to this story besides the snippets of humor scattered about in the story. The story kept faithfully to its set pace, which I find truly admirable. I rarely encounter an author who can keep up with a set pace. Most authors I’ve read from tend to switch pace in certain parts of a story, yet this author kept up her pace so dutifully well that it astonishes me. Of course there were “skips” in time (i.e. “a few weeks passed”, “a few months passed”), but I felt that the author managed to make these skips occur without harming the pace of the book. Instead, these skips set up the stage for the story. The even pacing also helped me (the reader) to understand more about Olivia, how she feels about the changes in her world, and how the world is reacting to the appearance of statues popping out from the ground. And I feel that this made the story all the more believable and enjoyable.

However, something I found myself neutral about was how the story just promptly jumps into the fact that Olivia’s world is already unnatural and out-of-the-ordinary. The reason I hold a neutral position here is because I see how this can hold both its positives and its negatives: on the pro side, it makes the story unique and doesn’t dilly-dally–it simply gets to the point; on the con side, readers won’t know how Olivia’s life was like before these unnatural phenomena occurred–was it very different for her before? So in this part of the story’s structure, I’m still a bit conflicted. I’ll let you decide for yourself.

One thing I didn’t particularly like about this book was that for a period of time I was unsure exactly what audience was supposed to be reading this. Yes, I know that young people will be reading this–but was it for children in middle-school or in high school? I felt unsure of this while reading this book because the writing felt as if it were composed for, say, 6th to 9th graders. The chapter names felt like ones I would read out of a middle school book, the way Olivia is bullied and responds to the bullies feels like scenes I would read out of a middle school book, Olivia acts like someone in middle school,… and so this had me a bit confused. The author clarified this after I had developed these questions and told me that it is geared towards 12-15 year old readers. However, I still have the feeling that it’s more for middle-school readers and, at the bare minimum, those who have just begun high school.

Overall, though, I want to say that I want a sequel, a prequel, and I want to see this hit the big screens. I’d really, really like that. If a movie company requests to turn this into a movie, I’d definitely want to go to the premiere!

If you are interested in purchasing this book, go to the Amazon webpage or the Barnes and Noble webpage to purchase. You can watch the YouTube Trailer here and visit D.J. Torres on her website. This book is scheduled for release on April 4, 2017. If you would like to read my last review, check it out here. Thanks for reading!

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Bound by Blood and Sand by Becky Allen – Review

4 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I very much enjoyed this book. Truly.

First off, I would like to give a brief intro so you generally understand what I am saying throughout this book review:

 

Highest: The “Master”.

Avowed: Those sworn to serve the Highest. (Definitely above the Closest

Closest: The slaves who are cursed.

 

Now we can proceed with this review now that we have this information:

It included fantasy, yet in such a way as to be realistic. Most books I have read (when it comes to addressing the issue this one did of speaking about the issue of slavery and the separation between two distinct groups) place the person who keeps slaves as one who instantly, magically changes upon meeting a slave and just magically believes in “freedom for slaves”. Which, from what I have seen, studied, and read, rarely happens. This book was unique. It actually was realistic. It made Elan (the son of the Highest [who kept Closest himself]) stick to his beliefs that keeping Closest as slaves was necessary. What makes him change is witnessing a loved one hurt a Closest–way later in the story. That is realistic. That kept the story an authentic one filled with fantasy elements while staying humanThat is a rarity, and for that, I highly recommend this book!

The writing felt as if you had sand shifting beneath your chin, flowing about you as if magically suspended in air. The occasional feelings of water dripping down also entered into the equation, making the story far more beautiful in its own unique way.

But, of course, I did catch one error I felt threw me off. It may not throw any one of you readers off, but I feel it is important to mention here and now: Almost everything to remember is thrown from the very beginning and then, after the first ten pages of the story, the remaining information is scattered about throughout the story. I, personally, prefer when a story scatters this information slowly throughout the tale, letting it magically weave itself in. I feel that the story plot and/or the connection with the characters becomes more of the focus when the necessary information is scattered about and is brought up slowly throughout the story. Whereas in this one, all of the details–Highest, Closest, the Curse, what the Closest are permitted to do and what they cannot–were thrown in at the beginning, leading me to feel that these details were more important than connecting with each of the characters. It took me over two-thirds of the way through the book in order to begin connecting with the characters.

Of course, I know some readers who prefer this type of writing, so if you are one of them, feel free to pick up this book!

On a last note, I would like to add a WARNING that this book does contain scenes of violence (physical abuse, sexual assault, rape), though the rape scenes are mostly described as the aftermath of the event(s) or as one who has dissociated from what is happening. They are skillfully written so that there is no graphic detail about it, but you know what is going on. Just a fair warning to all readers who are considering this book!

If you are interested in purchasing this book, go to the Amazon webpage or the Barnes and Noble webpage to purchase. If not, feel free to check out the book from your local library. If you would like to read my last review, check it out here. Thanks for reading!

★★★★

Ruined by Amy Tintera – Review

3 STARS ⭐⭐⭐ 

This book was well-written! The dialogue was well-placed, the epic sword fights between characters played out well, and the unique personalities made this story very interesting.

But there did seem to be a few setbacks to this–for me, personally. The story itself didn’t seem to have as much of a set plot like I wanted it to have. Sure, Em intended to take over the castle. But it seems like she doesn’t know how to even do that until once she has killed Princess Mary and has already settled within the castle for a while. Sure, someone could say that, “It’s because she needed to figure out what it was like inside the castle”, yet I feel like there should’ve been at least somewhat of a set plan. She’s not making Plans A, B, and C until about halfway through the book. It felt like time that Em and her fellow characters wasted.

Also, Em and Cas… I felt that the characters somehow can’t be distinguished into their own individual, separate characters. One example: Far into the story, Cas is out of the castle and wandering about and, somehow, he and Em are going the same way and cross paths? I personally felt that they “somehow” ended up crossing paths with one another, and the story’s plans for this meeting wasn’t strategic enough or self-explanatory. It made me feel like Cas and Em aren’t exactly characters you can tell apart once they’re in the same room. Somehow they “think” alike even though they have had very different lives, experiences, and–therefore–extremely different personalities.

However, despite all of this, I actually did enjoy this book. When Em is alone, we see a girl who has gone through a lot of terrible experiences and has developed a cold heart as a result. When she was alone, by herself, her personality felt believable. When she and Cas are together… it felt like something went wrong with their personalities because they seemed to drastically change their personalities in front of each other. Either that, or it’s true love messing with Em’s and Cas’s minds.

In addition to this, I also enjoyed the fact that the story’s climax begins just two-thirds into the story, because many stories tend to put the climax within the last 10-50 pages of the book. I actually enjoy that the author made her own story unique by starting it two-thirds of the way so that the pressure builds up more. Very impressive!

As a conclusion, I’d like to add that I did, in fact, enjoy this book (despite the few setbacks) and I hope to read the sequel to this book as soon as it is released.

If you are interested in purchasing this book, go to the Amazon webpage or the Barnes and Noble webpage to purchase. If not, feel free to check out the book from your local library. Thanks for reading!

★★★