Saturday, January 12, 2013

Reviews: 'Envy'

It's been a while since I've done one of these, but I FINALLY got to read Envy over Christmas break and I love it, so of course I have to talk about it. It's the second in The Fury Trilogy, by Elizabeth Miles. It is also the second in a very short list of books that, after finishing, I have immediately flipped to the beginning to read again. Oddly, they both begin with E. Hmm...

UK cover of Envy
In five words:

Love triangle. I know what you're thinking. "A love triangle in a young adult paranormal book??? NO WAY!" but hang on a sec. For the first time in my reading experience, the Em-JD-Crow business is not a major plot point. A teenage character not utterly consumed by her love life??? What??? Also, she's not with either guy. Em loves JD, who wants nothing to do with her, and meanwhile Crow likes her but she wants nothing to do with him. One, he's an ass. Two, she's actually mature enough to tell the difference between attraction and love.

Guys, I think we have a winner.

Darkening: The most interesting thing about the love triangle is that you're not sure if Em is supposed to be with JD. He and Crow are the typical good boy and bad boy -- but Em is not the typical good girl. She might've tried to be that in Fury, but she always had that dark side. Her dark side really comes out in Envy. While she loves JD, it would be really really bad for him if they ended up together. Not least because, you know, she's cursed by the Furies.

And oh wait -- do we have a female protagonist who matures and changes and shows some actual development beyond her interest in boys??? Yep. I didn't feel that bad for Em until towards the end of Fury because she was a little shallow. I really sympathize with her in Envy.

Greekout: This ain't your mama's Percy Jackson. Can I just rant about how much I hate the watering-down of mythological creatures and stories? Vampires don't fucking sparkle. They suck blood and dream-rape sleeping women. Greek demi-gods don't go to summer camp. For crying out loud. Those stories are fun, but it makes me die a little inside for the source material.  

The Fury Trilogy nails the irrational rage and evil of the Furies. It's also divided into three acts, and the series is a trilogy -- just like Greek drama!!! Squeeeee!!!! And the only extant Greek tragedy trilogy we have, The Oresteia, is about the destructive cycle of hate and revenge and Furies!!! YAY! I'm totally Greeking out over here!

Horror: And on that note, Envy isn't paranormal. It's horror. I wouldn't say Envy kept me awake at night or made me scream, but it crossed that borderline. The question separating paranormal and horror is: "Would it be kinda cool if it existed in real life?" If yes, it's paranormal. If it's a resounding "Oh HELL no," it's horror. The Fury Trilogy falls into the second category.
US cover of Envy

Tragedy: I know I said I'd only do five, but I had to include a sixth because yikes. Maybe I read this too soon after the Connecticut school shooting, but this book hit me hard in a way I didn't think it would. It's surprisingly relevant. Skylar McVoy's plotline reminds me of a more interesting girl version of A Separate Peace.* It was very sad. This girl has no personality of her own. All she knows how to do is imitate out of envy. I was torn between wanting to hug her, and wanting to shake some sense into her before the Furies could do it more painfully.

And geez, the ending.

5/5 stars -- loved it!

I didn't review Fury here, but here's a book trailer in case you're interested:

*Accurately titled by as, I Hate You. I Love You. No Homo.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Some Practical Resolutions

When I was younger, I used to make all these lofty moral New Year's resolutions. Follow the Ten Commandments.* Be nicer to my brother. Smile at strangers. Don't swear...well, not as much.

This year, I realized -- I'm supposed to do all of that stuff anyway. 

Isn't it a cop-out to say, "This year I'm going to donate to charity, follow the Ten Commandments, be nice to my brother, and clean up my language" when I'm supposed to be doing that every year, all year, anyway? I mean, that's the kind of moral/philosophical/spiritual stuff that you're supposed to work on throughout your entire life as a Christian. Have I been letting myself get away with making vague, cop-out resolutions instead of resolving to do something definite, definable, and practical?

OK, now I'm having a moral crisis. Deep breaths. I mean, what's a New Year's resolution really good for, anyway? Unless I write them down, I've usually forgotten mine by February or March.

Maybe the reason for that is because they're usually so vague. Not challenging, difficult, or memorable in the slightest...

This year, I'm going to...

Let my hair grow out. I have a blond, spiky pixie cut, my go-to hairstyle for whenever I get too bored or frustrated to care for longer hair. I'll grow it out during 2013. In December, if it's long enough, I'll donate it to Locks of Love.

Pester my best friend about her smoking. She keeps saying she'll quit, and keeps urging me to help her quit, but I haven't been terribly helpful in that regard so far.

Edit my book. Wait -- does that mean I finished it??? Yes. Actually, that means that I finally realized that I have two books inside of what I was trying to turn into one huge giant book. I should be overjoyed, right? Nope. I don't feel happy about this. Not. At. All. It messes up all my evil plans!!! But, as Kate Arms-Roberts says wonderfully, you have to learn to accept what is, even if you have to relinquish control.

Not take cello lessons during spring semester. This, frankly, is terrifying. I mean, I'm a cellist. The cello has literally been half my life, ever since I was eleven. So I know it's serious when I take a semester off. I've been having some mysterious medical issues, time issues, more difficult classes, and a billion outside of class requirements. I don't have time to practice anymore. I don't have the energy to practice anymore. And without that time and energy to put into practicing, I feel like I'm wasting my teacher's time. Luckily, my teacher took a semester off from lessons in her junior year, so at least she has been understanding.

Five is my lucky number, so lastly -- I resolve to re-read The Lord of the Rings. I normally do it at least once a year, as I have ever since I read them in sixth grade. I didn't re-read it this year. And 2012 sucked. It had its good moments but frankly, it was a horrible year for me. This probably has absolutely nothing to do with LOTR, but I don't want to risk losing the mojo.

*"Thou shalt not kill" is just soooooo hard to follow sometimes, you know?

Review: Style by Chelsea Cameron

A book I read was good, and I want to share it with you all via a review! :) I'm reading more of Chelsea Cameron's stuff, and this...