Monday 8 April 2013

Bite Size Books (1): Shatter Me, Graceling and Lament

Welcome to a new feature that will pop up every now and then on So Many Books, So Little Time as a way to make sure I feature everything I read without stacking reviews up weeks ahead as my reading increases in speed again. I hope you like it and let me know what you think in the comments!

Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi

Pages: 338
Publisher: Harper Teen
Release Date: 2nd April 2012
Edition: US paperback, gift

Juliette’s touch is fatal and The Reestablishment plans to use her as a weapon. Juliette has her own idea. Using her new-found strength and freedom, she plans a future with a boy who understands her and fights back against the society that imprisoned her.

From the very first page, Tahereh Mafi’s prose blew me away. It’s sharp, choppy and lyrical all at once and it makes me want to cry with jealousy. She effortlessly gets across Juliette’s emotions and thoughts in a tangible way and the darkest and most intimate ones are scratched out. I loved how these petered out as she came in to her own and began to assume her independence again. Shatter Me is pure poetry.

I had heard that there was an excellent love triangle in this trilogy and it’s about time I encountered one of them so I was excited. Throughout reading it and now afterwards, I don’t get why everybody loves Warner – he’s a jerk! He borders on being an evil psychopath and I really hated him; Adam all the way for me. The scenes between him and Juliette were scorching. Their relationship led to an ending that I was definitely not expecting, in a good way, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out in Unravel Me.

Graceling – Kristin Cashore

Pages: 370
Publisher: Gollancz
Release Date: 3rd September 2009
Edition: UK paperback, gift

In the Seven Kingdoms, some people are born with an exceptional skill that is both feared and exploited: a Grace. Katsa has the grace of killing.

The right hand of King Randa, Katsa carries out the dirty jobs and deals with those who’ve rubbed the King up the wrong way. One a rogue rescue mission for the father of the King of Leinid, the mysteries surrounding the kidnapping allows Katsa a way out and introduces her to a Graced prince with fighting skills to match her own.

This is hands down one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. Why did you guys not make me read it when I first got it – three years ago! It completely blew me away. The writing, the world, the characters, everything. I fell in love with Po alongside Katsa, cheered on Bitterblue as she grew in to a queen and I supported Katsa’s every movement. I feel in love with this slowly, but it’s one that’s going to last.

With so much awesome I was surprised to come away with a particularly strong impression of one of the themes of the novel: feminism. And let me tell you, it was so refreshing! Right from the outset I was entranced by this girl who refused to get married and be owned by another person. Even after falling in love she kept to her beliefs and reached a compromise that made both of them happy. Katsa is a strong, independent and powerful woman who excels in traits that are typically male and she knows how to look after herself and everyone she loves. But one of the strongest aspects f the feminist thread was her determination that as the weakest and most vulnerable, women should be taught how to protect themselves. It’s so obvious and yet virtually unheard of.

This is a seriously stunning book and I can’t recommend it enough.

Lament – Maggie Steifavter

Pages: 325
Publisher: Flux
Release Date: 8th October 2008
Edition: US signed paperback, purchased

Sixteen-year-old Deirdre Monoghan is a music prodigy. She’s also a cloverhand: she can see faeries. A gorgeous and mysterious boy catches Deirdre’s eye and he’s soon revealed as a galloglass – a soulless faerie assassin. There is also an equally enigmatic faeries soldier named Aodhan stalking Deirdre. They are sworn enemies, both on a mission from the Faeries Queen to kill Deirdre before her music captures the Fae’s attention and threatens the Queen’s reign. Deirdre and her best friend, James, have found themselves in the midst of a centuries-old faerie war.

Maggie’s debut has been sitting on my shelf for years. Seriously, since about 2010. It’s disgraceful, I know. As lots of you will know, I’m a massive fan of Maggie Stiefvater and I devour each new release as it arrives so I have no idea why I left it so long. But in all honesty, after reading it I don’t think I really missed out on much. It lacked the sparkle of The Wolves of Mercy Falls trilogy and The Scorpio Races to me. It was missing what makes a novel a Maggie Stiefvater novel.

I didn't fall head over heels with the writing, the setting or the characters in Lament. I enjoyed the musical aspect to it but I expected it to expand in to all aspects of the novel and it didn’t, though I did enjoy it’s connection to the fantastic mythology – I was a little disappointed. I also wasn’t a fan of Dee, Luke, Delia or Dee’s mum, but James. Oh, I did love James. I’ll have to read Ballad just to find out how he fares as he was the only character I really cared about.

I’m very glad I read this after falling in love with Maggie Steifavter’s novels and not before.



  1. All three are really popular and well-loved books but I haven't read any of them! I should probably start though, because now I know that they're really good reads. Thanks for the reviews :)

    - Ellie at The Selkie Reads Stories

  2. Wow, I like this Sophie! Very nice mini reviews :)

  3. Oh wait till you read Unravel Me. I hope you are veneered in Warner's direction. Also, do read Warner's novella Destroy Me. Really cool mini-reviews.

  4. I haven't read any of them, but I've heard nothing but good things about Graceling! The cover you have is so much more beautiful than the one I've seen, though. :)

  5. Great reviews, this is a great idea Sophie :)

  6. You MUST read Unravel Me. The love for Warner makes so much more sense after that book. It was a little too angsty at times, and a bit overlong, but it makes you impatient for the final book.

  7. I love mini-reviews! They're so helpful to churn out a bunch of reviews at a time and I just like reading them as well. It's nice to have short, to the point reviews every once in awhile.

    I didn't really love Shatter Me. I felt a bit distant to everything going and to the characters. I am SURPRISED at the love triangle angle. Really?!


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