Category Archives: Amulet Books

Book Review: A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

Amulet Books
Published May 9th 2017
497 Pages

In the underground city of Caverna the world’s most skilled craftsmen toil in the darkness to create delicacies beyond compare. They create wines that can remove memories, cheeses that can make you hallucinate and perfumes that convince you to trust the wearer even as they slit your throat. The people of Caverna are more ordinary, but for one thing: their faces are as blank as untouched snow. Expressions must be learned. Only the famous Facesmiths can teach a person to show (or fake) joy, despair or fear — at a price.

Into this dark and distrustful world comes Neverfell, a little girl with no memory of her past and a face so terrifying to those around her that she must wear a mask at all times. For Neverfell’s emotions are as obvious on her face as those of the most skilled Facesmiths, though entirely genuine. And that makes her very dangerous indeed…- Goodreads

This book took some time to get through. There is a lot of moving parts and a lot of things going on. Let’s start with Neverfell.

I had to keep remembering how young and inexperienced she was to interactions with people, her emotions and thoughts. She does a lot of outbursts without thinking and after going through a few chapters, you’re like ‘Girl, have some restraint.’ She is pure in the world because she doesn’t know the evil it holds or when a person is using her. Despite some of her annoying tendencies, she really was a breathe of fresh air.

In regards to the plot, this story is different. The idea of people living underground and having this developed civilization may seem familiar but once you get into it, the creativity level sky rockets. You really appreciate the world, the author was able to build because it is really like no other.

Things become complicated when it talks about facial expressions and the purity of emotions and allowing yourself to feel and display your emotion. What is complicated about this is the line is blurred between real and unnatural. There are some parts of the book that you think “hold on wait is this a person who had their expressions created or what” I love the complexity of this novel but at times it required a going back to.

The book is long and its bit winded as there is so much details and things that you need to know in order for you to not be lost in the next chapter. I overall thought the story was alright. But it got knocked up a point because the creativity is astounding and I appreciate and love that.

Neverfell is pure and does show growth towards the end of the book. I wished the author would have provide more of an ending as opposed to a another voice giving a recap to what happened next.

Overall,

2.5 Pickles

Book Review: House of Ash by Hope Cook

Amulet Books
TBP Sept. 26th 2017
320

After hearing voices among an eerie copse of trees in the woods, seventeen-year-old Curtis must confront his worst fear: that he has inherited his father’s mental illness. A desperate search for answers leads him to discover Gravenhearst, a labyrinth mansion that burned down in 1894. When he locks eyes with a steely Victorian girl in a forgotten mirror, he’s sure she’s one of the fire’s victims. If he can unravel the mystery, he can save his sanity . . . and possibly the girl who haunts his dreams.

But more than 100 years in the past, the girl in the mirror is fighting her own battles. When her mother disappears and her sinister stepfather reveals his true intentions, Mila and her sister fight to escape Gravenhearst and unravel the house’s secrets—before it devours them both.- Goodreads

If you ever read Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake then that is what you mind is going to gravitate to. The story is similar to the whole boy falls in love with a person from the past who is dead. That is where the similarities end between the two books because for the most part this was a very straight forward story. This is not to say it wasn’t a good read, it was just very linear.

Curtis is going through a really hard time taking care of his father, who has a mental health illness and his younger sister, who is a bit of a brat. I appreciate the author speaking bringing attention to mental health illness in the book but there was a bunch of things lacking with it.

It isn’t really discussed as into what he is actually dealing with. All that is known is that hospitals are no, his father needs to be a schedule and he can become violent. Yes, you find out what happened for this illness to occur but I guess wanted it to tie into what Curtis discovers about himself and his bloodline. I liked the fact that it was in the story and it showed how teenagers deal with a sick family member and the responsibility of it. It made Curtis complex that is for sure.

In regards to his sister, she is un-loyal, she expects her brother to understand and try to get to know her but she does not do the same at all. She doesn’t give as much as Curtis does and she depends on him to fix things and then gets mad. I didn’t like her at all and she should have been a stronger character and way more supportive of her brother.

Beyond the characters the overall story was alright. As I previously mentioned it is really straight-forward and not a whole lot happens in both the present and the past. When things pick up, you get pulled into the story but it didn’t deliver like felt it could of.

Overall, this wasn’t a bad read and I do recommend it because it has some good writing and it makes me want to read more of this author.

3 Pickles. 

Book Review: The Graces by Laure Eve

Amulet Books To Be Published Sept. 6, 2016 352 Pages
Amulet Books
To Be Published Sept. 6, 2016
352 Pages

The Graces are famous and River wants to be a part of them. After moving to the small town with her mother, River wants to start over and feel wanted. She will do anything to be around the Graces but are they everything the rumors say they are?

I didn’t expect much from this book. I didn’t because those first chapters didn’t catch me. But I kept reading and I got hooked.

River didn’t catch me. I felt that she was dull and when everything was said and done, she was still dull to me. What got me was the Graces and their mystery and how amazingly the story was written; that was what my attention was on. They were perfect characters that I am not even sure if I hate them.

There was a lot of moving parts within this story with slight predictability. River was predictable and I believe this was intended because there were hints about her outcome all over the book from the very beginning. I am not totally upset about this. I’m not because the pace of the novel was on point. The need to know what happens next was predominant and the mystery of these Graces was so enticing that once I got over the hump of the first few chapters, I couldn’t stop reading it.

I would have liked more of a backstory for the Graces. Maybe some family history and more parent interaction? I wouldn’t mind the book being longer if that was added. I also do not agree with the ending. In my eyes, why would there be a book two? What else can be done other than River doing her thing. The ending reminded me of how much River is a high school student/brat because what I think she is going to do is unnecessary. She is just angry things didn’t turn in her favor. I can’t blame her but still….

Overall, I am happy with this read.

4 Pickles

Impatiently Waiting For: Iron Cast by Destiny Soria

Amulet Books To Be Published Oct 11, 2016 384 Pages
Amulet Books
To Be Published Oct 11, 2016
384 Pages

It’s Boston, 1919, and the Cast Iron club is packed. On stage, hemopaths—whose “afflicted” blood gives them the ability to create illusions through art—captivate their audience. Corinne and Ada have been best friends ever since infamous gangster Johnny Dervish recruited them into his circle.

By night they perform for Johnny’s crowds, and by day they con Boston’s elite. When a job goes wrong and Ada is imprisoned, they realize how precarious their position is.

After she escapes, two of the Cast Iron’s hires are shot, and Johnny disappears. With the law closing in, Corinne and Ada are forced to hunt for answers, even as betrayal faces them at every turn.- Goodreads

NetGalley Review: The Haters by Jesse Andrews

Amulet Books To Be Published April 2016
Amulet Books
To Be Published April 2016

Wes and his best friend Corey thought jazz camp would be the ultimate experience. But no. . , it turned out to be a lame waste of time and a sausage fest.

But that is until they hear a unusual sound coming from a girl named Ash. The duo instantly becomes a trio and for a while jazz camp is what Wes and Corey hoped it would be.

But Ash decides that jazz camp isn’t enough and decides they need to hit the road. Wes and Corey do not think twice before jumping into her SUV and embarking on “The Haters Summer of Hate Tour.”

I requested this because it was Jesse Andrews. I mean I haven’t read “Earl, Me and the Dying Girl” mainly because I don’t know if I should read the book and then see the movie or watch the movie and then read the book. But none the less, I picked up this book and for so much hype over the author, this was a disappointing and rather annoying read.

Andrews writing comes off like the Uncle that is trying to stay current; the Uncle that is trying to stay cool. It was too obvious in this book and he was trying way too hard. Granted this book is about Andrews own experiences in jazz camp, so it may have had happened exactly like this. But the way that the book is written it was reaching. I say this as an adult that reads a lot of YA books.

Oddly enough though I liked Corey. I believe I liked him much more than Wes because of his blunt no-nonsense attitude. Corey just didn’t care to waste time; if he wasn’t okay with something or someone than it would be known. I guess I respected him more for that. But I kind of got the feeling that Corey was written not exactly to balance out Wes’s personality but to also show a lack of class.

As much as I liked Corey he got annoying very fast just as much as Wes did. Ash wasn’t the best character either. I didn’t feel as if any of the character were actually themselves at any point. It felt like they were all posers and yes, I am aware this is a coming of age novel but I am really just pointing this out as I have this feeling throughout the entire book.

I did enjoy the flow of the novel, despite the huge issues I had. Ultimately I expected something so much greater from the author that almost everyone has been talking about.

1 Pickle