E.J. Mellow

Teoksen Song of the Forever Rains tekijä

8 teosta 629 jäsentä 23 arvostelua

Tietoja tekijästä

Sisältää nimen: E.J. Mellow


Tekijän teokset

Merkitty avainsanalla


Brooklyn, New York, USA



Great YA fantasy, which is a genre I haven't read in some time. Doesn't deviate significantly from the norm, with a plot that's half mystery and half romance, and of course a generous dollop of magic. Has a lot of sweet and funny moments to balance out the darker ones, which I really enjoyed. There were a few small detractions I'll try to explain, but overall an engaging read.

Worldbuilding: 4/5
Very well done visually -- being able to see the various realms and creatures of Aadilor in my mind's eye really helped the world come alive for me. Esrom in particular was one of the most eloquently described and mysterious places in the book. (Hidden underwater kingdom with shifting islands, otherworldly glowing caves and mythological creatures, yes please!) However, as with most fantasy worlds (very few, actually) that manage to captivate me, I found myself wanting to know more. I wanted more history on how Aadilor came to be, what the world was like when the lost gods walked it, why they disappeared, how these lost gifts/magic were inherited, how the Thief King established his kingdom, etc. Heck, I even wanted to know where Kaipo came from, because he was such a beautiful and interesting shapeshifter of a bird, and it seems like there's only one of him. (Plus, he has violet eyes like Achak, which leads me to believe they have similar origins...) I'm hoping more background will be given in the next installments, in any case.

Characters: 4/5
Absolutely loved the sisterly banter between the Mousai - it gave them such vitality to balance out the danger of their powers. Larkyra is an intriguing character in her own right, not just because of her magic and the heavy restraint it requires, but because of her liveliness, intelligence, and ability to adapt. She did have some lapses in parts of the book, particularly when Darius came into the picture more, but I was willing to forgive those for the most part when the pace picked up. I also really liked Darius (outside of the romance arc, but more on that later) because of how big-hearted he is when it comes to his people, putting aside his own pain and suffering to help ease their own. I do wish some of the side characters were covered a little, maybe given their own POV's, particularly Achak, Dolion, Johanna and Zimri. (Achak is mildly OP, with two ancient entities inhabiting a single body that shifts to whichever one is dominant - how could I not want to know more?)

Romance: 3.5/5
Slow-burn moments were great, where I could see Larkyra and Darius starting to learn more about and understand each other. A couple kisses here and there, not bad. But near the end, the romance felt a bit too rushed, since it seemed Darius was still too vulnerable emotionally to make any major jumps in the love life department. I felt like they could've used more time to hash things out, and even if they never officialized their relationship at the end, it would have been more realistic.

For instance, I wasn't expecting a full-blown explicit sequence in the last couple chapters, when everything had been PG up to that point, lol. Since Darius had recently just opened up to Larkyra about his years of suffering and abuse, which left him doubting and hating himself, I didn't think he would be ready for such a move so quickly.

The marriage proposal at the very end seemed sudden as well. They had both started to come to terms with who they were as people, had not had a chance to live with their new identities yet, so I figured a little more time would be needed before they could make a lifelong commitment to each other. Ah, well. If I had read this book a few years earlier, without understanding the nuances of human relationships, I'm sure my teenage girl's heart would have loved it nonetheless.

Pacing / Plot: 3.5/5
The first 75% of the book had me hooked and unable to put it down, but I wish there had been revelations of a different kind in the last 25%. When it came to the mystery behind the duke's drug use and what landed Darius in his sad fate, I was so sure that the clues given pointed in a certain direction... but the book went the opposite way with a rather underwhelming conclusion.

Considering the duke's phorria-induced powers allowed him to control people's minds briefly, I was 100% on board with Larkyra's conclusion that he might have forced Darius's mother to sign her lands to him, and abused Darius because his presence was a reminder of that theft. But Hayzar reveals that he merely hated Darius for taking his mother's attention in the last few moments of her life, and all the suffering he inflicted was an extension of that. It just seemed like a very weak explanation for so much evil to be based on so little -- there had to have been a mean/cruel streak in the duke leading up to that point, but we never saw it based on the limited memories Darius had of his childhood. So that ending had me raising an eyebrow.

Another plot twist I wasn't impressed by was the truth behind Larkyra's birth / her mother's death. We spend the majority of the book believing, as Larkyra does, that her scream at birth was what killed her mother, but that guilt eventually leads her to develop control over her powers and understand her responsibility for them. Then, it's almost as if we're expected to forget all that, when her mother (as a ghost) tells her that wasn't what killed her. And then Larkyra suddenly becomes a happier, more carefree girl in the remaining part of the book. While it was great to see Larkyra freed of her misguided guilt, I felt that she also ended up losing some emotional depth that she had in the beginning, and which was the main reason I loved her as a character. Perhaps there was a better way this could have been done, to the same end that she didn't kill her mother, but as it read to me, with how sudden the revelation was and how completely Larkyra changed, it felt like a bit of a cop-out.

Overall Verdict: 4/5
Though it doesn't break the mold and has a few lapses in plot/pacing, this book still has a lot to offer. It's been a while since I read about a world this vibrant and varied, and I hope it will be expanded further in the next installments, with more emotionally complex characters.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Myridia | 9 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 19, 2024 |
3.5 - The plot in the latter half wasn't bad, and Kattiva ended up becoming an unexpected favorite. I also related to a lot of Arabessa's struggles as the oldest daughter with the heaviest weight on her shoulders. But I didn't care too much for the romance, since the drama felt unnecessary for two people who have supposedly loved each other for decades. There were also a few too many flashbacks, repeated lines, and stilted dialogue sequences with too-formal wording that didn't make much sense. Worldbuilding was once again on the lacking side, with Aadilor only referred to in passing, the Thief Kingdom thinly drawn, and little in the way of new lore (the romance seems to take up more real estate than anything else). Overall, this wasn't a terrible book, but it didn't blow me away either.… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Myridia | 4 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 19, 2024 |
Too many deus ex machina moments, romance felt forced and cringy, and Niya and Alos read more like whiny, stressed teenagers than anything else. Their inner monologues were repetitive and seemed like they were written to take up space, adding no real depth after the 10th "I hate him! Yes I totally do!" and "I know I'm a heartless villain... or am I?" The pirate crew was 2-dimensional and fell into the standard "rogue with a heart of gold" trope right along with Alos, and even the Mousai in general failed to impress me here, as they took a major backseat and more time was spent describing their costumes than the substance of their (supposedly powerful) performances. On at least 2 separate occasions, the "performances" can be summed up as follows: they performed, the cavern was packed with bodies, debauchery was everywhere, everyone was spellbound and started drooling, the end. Unfortunately, that's pretty lazy writing. It's also a bit hard to believe these are the most dangerous sorceresses in all the realm, when one of them walks right into a kidnapping, has a bunch of childish outbursts, and then develops a badly written case of Stockholm syndrome.

Maybe if there were fewer poorly done tropes, I would've liked the story better. These were the ones that stood out the most:
- "Strong" (aka bitchy) female lead - this should be someone the average gal can look up to, not be annoyed by. And if she's so strong, how does she end up in so many situations where someone else has the upper hand? How does she make so many bad decisions?
- Brooding, mysterious, abusive male lead with a supposed ~heart of gold~ - just reinforces unhealthy relationship standards, because no woman should have to do all the hard work (or any at all) to understand and excuse some man's bad behavior. If they aren't on equal footing with each other, they're in for a toxic experience.
- Heck, I didn't even enjoy the enemies to lovers trope, since their personalities were juvenile and incompatible. The story might have read better if the romance was more subtle or nonexistent.
- Checking off the diversity/inclusion boxes - random mentions of women preferring women isn't the same as realistic portrayal.

The only thing I really enjoyed about this book was the imaginative settings (Barter Bay and Esrom were my faves), hence I didn't drop this to 2 stars. But we still don't get much new lore on the world of Aadilor, just a couple magical devices and tricks that conveniently get characters out of scrapes 5 minutes after they're mentioned. I think the author tried too hard for this to be both a character study and romance, and didn't quite do well with either one.
… (lisätietoja)
Merkitty asiattomaksi
Myridia | 5 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jan 19, 2024 |
I enjoyed it for a bit then I couldn't get into it and I'm not about forcing myself to read books I'm avoiding
Merkitty asiattomaksi
StarKnits | 9 muuta kirja-arvostelua | Jul 24, 2023 |

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