Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Moving to a New Blog

Hi everyone! It both excites and sorta saddens me to say that as of today I will no longer be posting on Oktopus Ink.

I've had a lot of great memories with this blog, but for several reasons (some of which will be revealed in time) I've decided to start fresh and move to a new book blog. From now on I'll be posting over at A SPOONFUL OF WORDS on Wordpress.

Thank you all so much for following me these last few years. I can't even begin to express how much fun it's been reading your comments and discussing books with you. Not to be dramatic or anything, but I can honestly say that I would not be the person I am today without this site. :)

Thanks again, and I hope to see some of you over on the new blog! (To visit/follow, click the above link)

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Poison by Bridget Zinn

PoisonTitle: Poison 
Author: Bridget Zinn
Series: -
Published: March 13th, 2013
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 288 (hardcover)
I checked this book out from my local library. 

Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.

But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.

Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?

Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon. -Goodreads

Quirky. That's the first word that comes to mind when I think about Poison. That and then humorous. Which would make it quirkorous? Humorky? Seriously, there needs to be a new word invented specifically for this book. Don't believe me? Check out the dust jacket--it's a good indication of the kind of tone you're going to get when you pick up Bridget Zinn's book:

(I mean, come on. The book has a magic pig in it. If that doesn't scream fun to you then consider rethinking your definition of fun.)
With that said, if you're looking for a lighthearted, quick-paced stand alone high fantasy novel, then look no further than Poison. Right from page one the novel has you moving at a quick clip with a cast of characters that's easy to grow attached to. Kyra especially. As far as YA protagonists go, she's remarkably unique. I can't say I've read many novels where the main character was a potions master, yet alone one with a no-nonsense pragmatic attitude, seriously questionable motives, and a dry sense of humor that makes her endearing even in the darkest of moments. (Which in itself is a delightful taste of ironic, considering how the book revolves around the fact that she tried to murder her best friend. Um.) Also, romance! While, yes, romance isn't unique to these sorts of adventures, the love story in Poison was sweet, almost like a Disney movie. Nothing too hot and heavy, just enough to satisfy the romantic in every reader's heart. 

However, don't mistake lighthearted with predictable. While it might be easy to at first glance throw Poison into the simple-minded, fairy tale-inspired category, Poison doesn't hold back, throwing plot twists frequently throughout the adventure. And sure, while some of them are predictable, I was surprised more often then not. Thanks to the strength of Zinn's writing voice and vision, all those itty bitty teeny tiny curious hints dropped throughout Kyra's adventure (and trust me, there are a lot) are wrapped up towards the end in a very satisfying way. 

The only issue I had with the book wasn't even an issue, more like a wish; sometimes the plot moved a little too fast, skimming over details or scenes I wish would have had a little more meat on them. I'm a sucker for good world building, and Poison is the kind of story where things are explained on an "it's here, so you need to know" basis. Which, if I'm honest, really is well done (so well done that you don't really notice until you stop to think about all the things you don't know) but still didn't stop me from looking for more. Unfortunately, just after I finished reading the book I learned that the author passed away in 2011 from cancer. While I might not get the chance to explore more of Zinn's work, I'm very glad that Disney Hyperion went ahead and published Poison. This really is a must-read for those looking to collect another title to add under their high fantasy belt, one that's full of humor and heart. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Cress by Marissa Meyer

13206828Title: Cress
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #3
Published: February 4th, 2014
Publisher: Feiwell and Friends (Macmillan)
Pages: 550 (hardcover)
I purchased this book.

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army. 

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she's just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice. 

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and CInder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has. -Cress, dust jacket


Honestly, I'm not quite sure where to begin. Even though I haven't written reviews for Cinder or Scarlet (it's been a while since I've written reviews for anything, actually), The Lunar Chronicles has been one of my favorite series for the last two years. Regardless of the fact that the books are based off of classic fairy tales, the story as a group is wholeheartedly unique, flawlessly blending science fiction, fantasy, adventure with a cast of characters you can't help but to love. There's absolutely nothing else like it on the shelves right now, a feat that should be applauded considering how market trends in YA fiction tend to fluctuate. 

Cress, the third book in the series, continues the adventure right where Scarlet left off. With war on Earth's doorstep, Cinder and the gang attempt to rescue Cress, a shell trapped in a satellite circling far above the Earth. I'm always impressed with an author who is able to continuously expand their cast of characters while keeping their voices and personalities unique, and this is one of Meyer's strongest skills as a writer. Up until this point everyone introduced on this adventure has brought something new to the table, and Cress is no exception. Understandably naive and adorably obsessed with fantasy (a not so spoilery-spoiler: when she gets nervous, she convinces herself that she's an actress, playing a character who has the skills she needs to get through whatever stressful situation she's in), her skill with computers make the next leg of Cinder's mission possible and balance the variety of skills already highlighted in our heroes' story. And speaking of story...

As far as story goes Cress is sort of like the calm before the storm--except Cress is anything but calm. It moves along at the kind of pace we've come to expect from the previous two books, with things going from bad to worse to worse x2 before all is well again. (Er, or at least as well as you can expect things to be when there's an evil alien queen trying to take over your planet.) However, the novel is also different than its predecessors in the sense that it's darker. For the first time we get to actively see how malicious and cruel Queen Levana is in a scene that literally made me wince to read it. I WAS NOT EMOTIONALLY PREPARED. To say the stakes were raised is the understatement of the galaxy. 

With that said, for those of you waiting read Cress for fear of a nasty cliffhanger, put your mind at ease. Cress leaves us at a reasonable spot, a place in the story that feels natural and completely prepares you for what has to come in Winter. And I for one can't wait. Brace yourselves for the "Winter is Coming" jokes, people! Seriously though, even though I'm sick of the snow, Winter can't come fast enough. (Ba-bum-pish.)