Size Doesn’t Matter (45): Mini Reviews by a Lazy Blogger

Size Doesn’t Matter (45): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerThe Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Published by Scholastic on September 18, 2012
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Mystery
Pages: 409
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
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Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them--until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.

Rereading The Raven Boys was such a treasure, because, with how layered this series is and how planned, there’s so much to discover that I missed the first time. Actually, I could probably read this a hundred times and find more new stuff each time. Also, Stiefvater’s prose is so delicious that I just want to roll around in a pile of her words.

On the reread, the pace was a bit faster for me, but there’s no doubt that the pace of this series tends to be slow. Then again, I find that’s often true with authors who write such perfect prose, and that’s kind of nice because it gives you time to glory in every sentence.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Size Doesn’t Matter (45): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerOutrun the Moon by Stacey Lee
Published by Putnam Juvenile on May 24, 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
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San Francisco, 1906: Fifteen-year-old Mercy Wong is determined to break from the poverty in Chinatown, and an education at St. Clare’s School for Girls is her best hope. Although St. Clare’s is off-limits to all but the wealthiest white girls, Mercy gains admittance through a mix of cunning and a little bribery, only to discover that getting in was the easiest part. Not to be undone by a bunch of spoiled heiresses, Mercy stands strong—until disaster strikes.

On April 18, an historic earthquake rocks San Francisco, destroying Mercy’s home and school. With martial law in effect, she is forced to wait with her classmates for their families in a temporary park encampment. Mercy can't sit by while they wait for the Army to bring help. Fires might rage, and the city may be in shambles, yet Mercy still has the 'bossy' cheeks that mark her as someone who gets things done. But what can one teenaged girl do to heal so many suffering in her broken city?

I couldn’t get into Lee’s debut, and I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled to really enjoy Outrun the Moon, which subject-matter-wise is more up my alley. Basically, I am forever here for historical fiction that focuses on women who refuse to accept their station, historical fiction that focuses on the people generally ignored by historians.

Outrun the Moon wasn’t quite what I was expecting, having been very taken in by the blurb about how she pretends to be an heiress from China so that she can go to a school that only admits white girls. While that’s true, it doesn’t end up being a huge part of the novel. Outrun the Moon is an interesting novel in that you think the plot is going to be about her being a major success at the school and achieving her dreams, but actually it’s not and it’s kind of plotless. It ends up specifically being about a historical event and about friendships forming between the girls of the school.

Obviously I love the strong female characters in Outrun the Moon, and Mercy is such a great heroine. She’s tough and determined and loves helping people. The characters are good, but I can’t say I was really emotionally invested in this one. Romance was minimal. Though the Brisky scene did make me laugh out loud.

Definitely worth a read if you’re into historical fiction, though maybe not if it’s not usually your thing and you’re just into the fake nobility angle.

Size Doesn’t Matter (45): Mini Reviews by a Lazy BloggerSymbiont by Mira Grant
Series: Parasitology #2
Published by Orbit on November 25, 2014
Genres: Science Fiction, Horror, Thriller
Pages: 516
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
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The SymboGen designed tapeworms were created to relieve humanity of disease and sickness. But the implants in the majority of the world's population began attacking their hosts turning them into a ravenous horde.

Now those who do not appear to be afflicted are being gathered for quarantine as panic spreads, but Sal and her companions must discover how the tapeworms are taking over their hosts, what their eventual goal is, and how they can be stopped.

On the one hand, I really enjoyed Symbiont. On the other, though, it did disappoint me. After loving Parasite on my reread, I find myself back here, once again disappointed in Parasitology. Newsflesh is pure perfection, and this series is not managing to achieve that magic again. Symbiont is clunky and second book syndrome all the way.

For one thing, not much that’s plot essential really happens in Symbiont. The whole book is plotting fail level video game, where Sal is always either on a mission to save someone or being kidnapped and needing to escape. She always has a clear goal to accomplish, but by doing so the larger plot is barely moved forward. Honestly, where Sal is at the end of Parasite is not very far from where she starts out in Chimera. It could have been a couple of chapters rather than a 500 page book.

The other thing that really annoyed me about Symbiont is how much recapping there was. I really didn’t need to bother rereading Parasite, though I’m still glad I did, because she explained absolutely everything you missed. That’s handy if you didn’t just read the first book but annoying as heck if you did. Even worse, there’s a lot of repetition. Both the recapping and new information get told to the reader more than once. For example, Sal’s fear of cars is explained (a miss in the first book) two or three times, rather than just the one time needed for me to know about it.

I mean, I enjoyed it. Grant’s funny in a dark way, and I do care about the characters a lot. The saving grace of this installment was Ronnie. Not so much because I liked his character, as he’s not really a character you’re meant to like. However, Ronnie’s a tapeworm in a female body who believes he’s meant to be in a male body. Grant gets into a lot of gender identity stuff here and I really love her treatment of it.

I’m glad to be reading the Parasitology series, but it pales in comparison to Newsflesh. Also, have you not read Newsflesh? THEN DO IT RIGHT NOW.

One response to “Size Doesn’t Matter (45): Mini Reviews by a Lazy Blogger”

  1. I didn’t read Under a Painted Sky but I am interested in Outrun the Moon! Sounds like a solid hist fic choice.

    And I think I will always discover something new in The Raven Boys. It’s brilliant how she does it. I’d like to roll around in a pile of words too 😉
    Morgan @ Gone with the Words recently posted…Review: My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi MeadowsMy Profile

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