Random Musings by Frodosco

Posts tagged “Holly Black

Mini Review Monday: The Iron Trial

MiniReviewMonday

The Iron Trial by Holly Black & Cassandra Clare

Summary From GoodreadsThe Iron Trial

From NEW YORK TIMES bestselling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare comes a riveting new series that defies what you think you know about the world of magic.

From two bestselling superstars, a dazzling and magical middle-grade collaboration centering on the students of the Magisterium, an academy for those with a propensity toward magic. In this first book, a new student comes to the Magisterium against his will — is it because he is destined to be a powerful magician, or is the truth more twisted than that?

It’s a journey that will thrill you, surprise you, and make you wonder about the clear-cut distinction usually made between good and evil.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I received a copy of The Iron Trial via NetGalley, which I was thrilled about because I love Holly Black’s work, had never had the pleasure of reading Cassandra Clare’s, and needed some more MG in my life. The Iron Trial was a highly enjoyable fantasy MG read, filled with magic of all kinds, not just of the elements on which it is focused. There is also the magic of the bonds you make, the wonder of a new world, and the thrill of facing your biggest fears and conquering them.

With the book being by Black and Clare, it is no surprise that the writing style was fantastic, and that I easily read The Iron Trial in one sitting. The pacing is excellent, the world has been fleshed out really nicely, and the Magisterium is a fascinating place to explore. Plus, how can anyone resist elemental powers and all of the cool ways you can use them? I know I couldn’t!

The cast of characters is one of the biggest highlight of the book. Black and Clare really took their time in developing each one, not giving away too much about any one character early on, including the MC. Call (short for Callum) is not your typical main character, being more moody and reserved than a standard hero, and the way his mind works is something quite fresh and interesting, though difficult to describe. Without giving too much away, he does open up after a while, which isn’t too surprising given that the supporting cast is stellar. I can’t wait to see how they develop going forward!

Comparisons to Harry Potter have been made, and while I can see how that might be, I would argue that The Iron Trial is darker in its undertones, and with significantly better (and more interesting) twists. Also, the Magisterium is nothing like Hogwarts, of that I can assure you! If I had to give any criticism to the book it would be that (even for 12yr olds) the characters are a tad slow on the uptake for certain things, and seem a little to clueless at times, but that’s a small issue. If you are looking for a MG fantasy story in the vein of Harry Potter, but with a unique personality and tone, then I’d recommend giving this one a try. Thanks as always for reading.

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Mini Review Monday: The Poison Eaters by Holly Black

MiniReviewMonday

The Poison Eaters

Summary From Goodreads

Pick your poison: Vampires, devils, werewolves, faeries, or . . . ? Find them all here in Holly Black’s amazing first collection.

In her debut collection, New York Times best-selling author Holly Black returns to the world of Tithe in two darkly exquisite new tales. Then Black takes readers on a tour of a faerie market and introduces a girl poisonous to the touch and another who challenges the devil to a competitive eating match. Some of these stories have been published in anthologies such as 21 Proms, The Faery Reel, and The Restless Dead, and many have been reprinted in many “Best of” anthologies.

The Poison Eaters is Holly Black’s much-anticipated first collection, and her ability to stare into the void—and to find humanity and humor there—will speak to young adult and adult readers alike.

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

I have enjoyed Holly Black’s work in the past, most notably Doll Bones which I read last year and loved, so I was pretty excited to see what creepy things were in store in this collection. The Poison Eaters left me feeling one of the worst emotions that I could have toward a book, I was apathetic.

Some of the stories were pretty enjoyable, with a bit of a creepy/dark feel to them, and Black’s signature writing style which I do enjoy. However, too many of them felt like the skeletons of stories, a bit of bare bones that needed more flesh to them, more depth. Others were dragged on to long, to the point where any shock factor was either forgotten if it was in the beginning, or seemingly devoid of point if it was at the end.

As harsh as that last bit sounds, the stories were fine, they just weren’t up to the standard I was accustomed to with her writing. I wanted more of the haunting elements and less of the tedious filler that I found. I enjoyed enough of the stories (around 40-50%) to give it a positive rating, but I can’t recommend it. Hopefully the next book by her that I read will be at the level of Doll Bones. Thanks as always for reading! ^.^

Goodreads 2014 Reading Challenge #77/365; Mount TBR Challenge #56/200; 2014 TBR Pile #56/50

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Mini Review Monday: Doll Bones by Holly Black

MiniReviewMonday

 

Doll Bones

Summary From Goodreads

Zach, Poppy and Alice have been friends for ever. They love playing with their action figure toys, imagining a magical world of adventure and heroism. But disaster strikes when, without warning, Zach’s father throws out all his toys, declaring he’s too old for them. Zach is furious, confused and embarrassed, deciding that the only way to cope is to stop playing . . . and stop being friends with Poppy and Alice. But one night the girls pay Zach a visit, and tell him about a series of mysterious occurrences. Poppy swears that she is now being haunted by a china doll – who claims that it is made from the ground-up bones of a murdered girl. They must return the doll to where the girl lived, and bury it. Otherwise the three children will be cursed for eternity . . .

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It’s time for another edition of Frodo’s Hobbit Sized Reviews on Mini Review Monday! Short and sweet just like 2nd breakfast!

Doll Bones is a book I read during the Fraterfest readathon in October, and it is the book that surprised me the most this year. I don’t read a lot of middle grade books, so I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy this one, but I figured I would give it a shot. I’m so glad I did because this book was wonderful! It was sweet, a bit creepy, lovable, charming, and all around a great story.

I fell in love with the trio of friends, adored how the romantic feelings (that they didn’t even realize were such a thing) were handled, and by the end I was just as exhausted and drained (in a good way) as they were from their journey. This was my first experience with Holly Black, but after reading Doll Bones I know I’ll be back for more. The imagery was fantastic, the struggles the characters went through with this doll felt so real, and just…everything. Great MG read, highly recommend it, and it was such a nice change of pace from my usual YA/Adult mix. Thanks as always for reading and come back tomorrow for my Top Ten Tuesday about my favorite new-to-me authors of 2013! ^.^

Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #165/200

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Fraterfest Wrap Up

Fraterfest

Fraterfest Wrap Up

Fraterfest Read-A-Thon is a fun way for bloggers to attack their TBR piles, specifically the books that contain “things that go bump in the night” (think vampires, zombies, werewolves, shapeshifters, ghosts, etc.) and is hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Hey everybody! I hope you enjoyed Fraterfest as much as I did and that all of your reading goals were met, surpassed, or destroyed by all of the reading you got done! ^.^ I had a lot of fun reading some twisted books, one with some naughty vampires, and even a MG! I managed to finish a total of six books despite having two days of not reading and they are:

Cursed by Jeremy C. Shipp

Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Asylum by Madeleine Roux

Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Doll Bones by Holly Black

Club Midnight by Leigh Wilder

One of the best things about the readathon was that I enjoyed all of the books I read, which might be more luck than anything. My favorite read was Doll Bones by Holly Black, a middle grade read, and something that is normally not in my range of go-to books. Reviews for all of these will be posted in the coming weeks. I didn’t participate in any of the challenges and I missed the Twitter chat due to homework, but overall I had a lot of fun and a book/day is pretty good.

How did your Fraterfest go? Did you meet the goals you set? If you didn’t are you satisfied with how much you did manage to read? Let me know, and thanks as always for reading! ^.^