The Host; Wake; Shiver; City of Fallen Angels; Halo

About three and a half weeks ago I posted my last book update. I’ve finished four more books since then: two in print format, and two on audiobook. I’ve also started and abandoned one more. I’m halfway through a sixth, but it’ll have to wait till the next update.

The Host – Stephenie Meyer – 5 stars

I went into this book with tempered expectations. Hence the audiobook format, which I primarily use to listen to books that I’m only so-so about reading, thus saving my limited print-book-reading time for the ones that I’m really keen to read. I’d read Twilight a couple of years ago, and while I enjoyed it well enough to finish the book, I didn’t bother going out to pick up any of the sequels, nor watching any of the movies. I liked the concept of this book, though, so I thought I’d give it a try.

And I was totally wowed. Clearly Meyer has grown as a writer since Twilight; either that, or she’s better suited for aliens than vampires. The plot of the book is entirely character-driven, rather than action driven. The first-person protagonist is the alien, which would not be an easy thing to pull off considering that her species are the “bad guys”, but you quickly become sympathetic to her. So much so that I cried for the climax. Tears nearly always automatically equals five stars, because it means I really got drawn in to the story and empathized with the characters, and was moved by the events at the end. This book has moved in to my list of top-ten all-time favourites. I’d just borrowed it from the library, but I’m going to have to buy myself a copy.

WWW: Wake – Robert J. Sawyer – 4 stars

I listened to Sawyer’s FlashForward a while ago and liked it well enough so thought I’d try this one when I noticed it available at the library. Sawyer writes sci-fi, but it’s very near-future sci-fi, the sort that could reasonably happen a decade or two down the road. Far distant sci-fi doesn’t usually bother with explaining the mechanisms of things, probably because the author doesn’t know how it’d work, but since Sawyer’s stories are firmly based in the real world he ends up taking a fair bit of time to lay out the background of what’s happening. This results in some rather info-dumpy sections, usually in the form of dialogue. Outside of those, though, the stories are quite good and pretty interesting. I’ll probably pick up the sequel to this one on audiobook if I see it in, but doubt I’d bother with print.

Shiver – Maggie Stiefvater – 4 stars

I had originally been planning to get this on audiobook but saw it on my library’s print shelves one visit and picked it up. I enjoyed it, but found the pacing a little on the slow side. It’s a werewolf story, but Stiefvater’s take on the werewolf theme is unique, and a nice change from the full-moon half-beast transformations typically associated with the creatures. I’ll probably pick up the sequel, but on audiobook.

City of Fallen Angels – Cassandra Clare – 4 stars

Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunter books are probably my favourite current/recent series right now. Clare knows how to pace a book well and just how to craft the writing to keep you turning pages long past when you should’ve put the book down. I devoured all of the earlier books in the series, with City of Glass probably being the one I liked best. So I was really looking forward to reading this one.

I have to admit, I was a little disappointed, at least to begin with. The narrative arc that spanned the first three books was wrapped up at the end of City of Glass, and this book starts a new arc that springs off the last one. By the end of City of Fallen Angels I was caught up in the story again and eager to read more, but the book got off to a rather slow start. I was well over 100 pages into the book before I started feeling any really strong tension that would compel me to keep reading. I’ll definitely be looking forward to the next book in the series, but, at least at this point, I think the first three were a better set.

Halo – Alexandra Adornetto – 3 stars

I actually didn’t finish this one. I got it for audiobook, rather than print. The audiobook was 15 sections long, and I got halfway through part 6 before finally giving up on it. There wasn’t enough tension to keep me wanting to know what happened next, and I was only so-so about the characters. I felt rather confused about what the angels’ purpose for being in the town was, which made it hard for me to sympathize with the repeated emphasis that the protagonist was going to get in trouble for interacting with mortals and jeopardizing their mission. Also, I am non-religious, but generally pretty open to religious themes (love the movie Dogma, for instance) as long as I don’t feel like I’m being covertly preached to – and I felt this book was pushing that limit. I might return to this at some point… or I might not.


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