Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Finishing School, Book 1

Synopsis: Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is the bane of her mother’s existence. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper etiquette at tea–and god forbid anyone see her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. She enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But little do Sophronia or her mother know that this is a school where ingenious young girls learn to finish, all right–but it’s a different kind of finishing. Mademoiselle Geraldine’s certainly trains young ladies in the finer arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but also in the other kinds of finishing: the fine arts of death, diversion, deceit, espionage, and the modern weaponries. Sophronia and her friends are going to have a rousing first year at school.

Review: I have not completely finished the original series but when I saw that the author had planned new novels in the same world, I was immediately intrigued. In addition, after trying steampunk adult, we are here with steampunk young adult books. I must say that in the end even though I might have preferred the first series, I still had a good time with this first volume.

We discover Sophronia, a girl who behaves differently from a lady to the chagrin of her mother. In fact she loves to climb, explore, study or understand the mechanisms of all things. To change this, her mother decides to send her to Miss Geraldine’s finishing school for the development of qualities for young ladies. You can imagine that the girl is far from happy. But on the way, accompanied by her guardian but also of a girl joining the institute: Dimiti, as well as her brother, Sophronia will have to put her talents to work to save them from attacks and to manage to go where they’re waited. But this event will make her understand that her companion hides many secrets, including an object that everyone seems to want and our heroine is determined to find it to give it back to the rightful owner. She also discovers very quickly that she thought that this school destined to help her becoming a lady is much more than that, and she will learn a lot of things she does not suspect. She might also enjoy these studies more than she originally thought. I must also say that people who move around her are all amazing.

The story was pretty cool, even if perhaps something was missing for me. I took great pleasure in finding names that we knew from the original series such as Lefoux or Maccon for example. The world is as always very interesting and it was nice to find this idea of ​​steampunk mixed with creatures of all kinds. Sophronia is a girl who has a heart of gold but who is always the first to break the rules. This is how she will meet many characters who help her throughout the story. As I said, different personalities are found here, tomboys, inventors, clumsy ladys, all together for some pretty adventures. The plot was also pretty cute, even if not very complicated and I’m curious enough to see what the author reserves her readers for the future.

I liked the first book and I look forward to see what will happen. However, I think I may finish the first series before returning to it.

3-5

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Etiquette & Espionnage de Gail Carriger

Le Pensionnat de Mlle Geraldine, Tome 1

Résumé : C’est une chose que d’apprendre à faire une révérence comme il faut.
C’en est une autre que d’apprendre à la faire en lançant un couteau

Angleterre, début du XIXe siècle. Sophronia, 14 ans, est un défi permanent pour sa pauvre mère : elle préfère démonter les horloges et grimper aux arbres qu’apprendre les bonnes manières ! Mme Temminnick désespère que sa fille devienne jamais une parfaite lady, aussi inscrit-elle Sophronia au Pensionnat de Mlle Géraldine pour le perfectionnement des jeunes dames de qualité.

Mais Sophronia comprend très vite que cette école n’est peut-être pas exactement ce que sa mère avait en tête. Certes, les jeunes filles y apprennent l’art de la danse, celui de se vêtir et l’étiquette ; mais elles apprennent aussi à donner la mort, l’art de la diversion, et l’espionnage – le tout de la manière la plus civilisée possible, bien sûr.

Cette première année au pensionnat s’annonce tout simplement passionnante.

Avis : Je n’ai pas encore fini complètement la série originale mais quand j’ai vu que l’auteure avait prévu de nouveaux romans se passant dans le même monde j’ai tout de suite été intriguée. De plus, après avoir essayé le stempunk adult, nous voilà avec du steampunk young adult. Je dois dire au final que même si j’ai peut-être préféré la première série, j’ai tout de même passé un bon moment avec ce premier tome.

On découvre Sophronia, une jeune fille qui se comporte différemment d’une lady au grand dam de sa mère. En effet elle adore escalader, explorer, étudier ou encore comprendre les mécanismes de toutes choses. Pour changer cela, sa mère décide de l’envoyer au Pensionnat de Mlle Géraldine pour le perfectionnement des jeunes dames de qualité. Vous vous doutez que la jeune fille en est loin d’être heureuse. Mais sur le chemin, accompagnée de leur gardienne mais aussi d’une jeune fille rejoignant l’institut : Dimiti, ainsi que de son frère, Sophronia va devoir mettre ses talents à l’œuvre pour les sauver d’une attaque et arriver à bon port sans encombrement. Mais cet événement lui fera comprendre que son accompagnatrice cache bien des secrets, notamment un objet que tout le monde semble désirer et que notre héroïne est bien décidée à retrouver pour le rendre à qui de droit. Elle découvrira aussi très vite que ce pensionnat qu’elle pensait être fait pour l’aider à devenir une lady est bien plus que ça, et qu’elle va apprendre un grand nombre de choses qu’elle ne suspectait pas. Il se pourrait aussi qu’elle apprécie ces études bien plus qu’elle ne le pensait au départ. Il faut dire aussi que les personnes qui évoluent autour d’elle ont toutes des caractères piquants qu’on ne peut qu’apprécier.

L’histoire était assez sympa, même si il manquait peut-être quelque chose pour moi. J’ai pris beaucoup de plaisir à retrouver des noms que nous connaissions de la série originale comme Lefoux ou Maccon par exemple. Le monde est comme toujours très intéressant et c’était agréable de retrouver cette idée de steampunk mélangé aux créatures de toutes sortes. Sophronia est une jeune fille qui a un cœur en or mais qui est toujours la première à vouloir transgresser les règles. C’est de cette manière qu’elle va rencontrer de nombreux protagonistes qui l’aideront tout au long de l’histoire. Comme je le disais, diverses personnalités sont retrouvées ici, des garçons manqués, des inventeurs, des maladroites, des ladys, tous ensembles pour de jolies aventures. L’intrigue d’ailleurs était assez mignonne, même si pas très compliquée et je suis assez curieuse de voir ce que l’auteure réserve à ses lecteurs pour la suite.

J’ai bien aimé ce premier tome et j’attends de voir ce que la suite nous présentera. Cependant, je pense que je finirai peut-être la première série avant de repartir sur celle-ci.

3-5

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The Wurms of Blearmouth by Steven Erikson

A Malazan Tale of Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, Book 5

Synopsis: Tyranny comes in many guises, and tyrants will thrive in palaces and one room hovels, in back alleys and playgrounds. Tyrants abound on the verges of civilization, where disorder frays the rule of civil conduct, and all propriety surrenders to brutal imposition. Millions are made to kneel and yet more millions die horrible deaths in a welter of suffering and misery.

But we’ll leave all that behind as we plunge into escapist fantasy of the most irrelevant kind, and in the ragged wake of the tale told in Lees of Laughter’s End, our most civil adventurers, Bauchelain and Korbal Broach, along with their suitably phlegmatic manservant, Emancipor Reese, make gentle landing upon a peaceful beach, beneath a quaint village above the strand and lying at the foot of a majestic castle, and therein make acquaintance with the soft-hearted and generous folk of Spendrugle, which lies at the mouth of the Blear River and falls under the benign rule of the Lord of Wurms in his lovely keep.

Make welcome, then, to Spendrugle’s memorable residents, including the man who should have stayed dead, the woman whose prayers should never have been answered, the tax collector everyone ignores, the ex-husband town militiaman who never married, the beachcomber who lives in his own beard, and the now singular lizard cat who used to be plural, and the girl who likes to pee in your lap. And of course, hovering over all, the denizen of the castle keep, Lord –

Ah, but there lies this tale, and so endeth this blurb, with one last observation: when tyrants collide, they have dinner.

And a good time is had by all.

Review: I do confess that I have never read an Erikson book, but I always wanted to try one. As he is such a big name in fantasy. Now, well I did not exactly start at the beginning. And I have no idea what Bachelain and Korbal have been up to before, but that does not matter. I never felt lost while reading. I just walked into an adventure that began and ended in this novella.

How to even explain this? It’s like Pratchett meets Gormenghast meets something very dark (I have not read those Grim authors yet so I can’t compare). There is dark dry humour, people have silly names and no one is nice. No one. Trust me, they all have their faults. I kept imagining this village as dark, muddy and dirty. Like it was always raining and the sun never shone.

There is a big cast of characters for such a short story. Bauchelain, Korbal and their servant arrive after they have been shipwrecked. And then a lot of others follow them for different reasons (money and more.) And then there is the village and the keep of course. I liked the village, as much as you can like people like that. We have the tax collector, the cat who hates the tax collector, the old guy who lives at the beach and sends travelers to their doom. The woman who owns the brothel, her daughter who wants to become a whore, the constable who sends strangers to the keep to die, the man who is dead but not dead, and of course the Lord of the Keep who is quite the tyrant.

They are all insane, murderous, lecherous killers. But I laughed. There was this one scene with the woman who owns the brothels and trust me, you have not seen that before. Weirdly fun.

This was a fun and rather strange novella. It’s a village that you do not want to venture to, and characters you do not want to meet. So luckily I can read about them and experience them that way instead. And as I have not read Erikson before I have no idea if the rest of his novels are like this. But from what I have seen he might keep this dark humor to B and Korbal’s tales. They are perfect for it.

And I still want to try that first Malazan book to see what this series and world is all about. It was certainly not your average kind of fantasy. But if you like your humour dark and your fantasy world grim then this is for you.

And this is where Melliane usually have her ratings on her blog, but I just can’t do ratings. What is good for me in a rating means it’s awful for someone else. I can not get my head around ratings. So I leave you with my review instead ;)

 

Blodeuedd

http://books-forlife.blogspot.fi/

The Stolen by Bishop O’Connell

An American Faerie Tale, Book 1

Synopsis: Tonight, for the first time in over a century, a mortal child will be kidnapped by faeries.

When her daughter Fiona is snatched from her bed, Caitlin’s entire world crumbles. Once certain that faeries were only a fantasy, Caitlin must now accept that these supernatural creatures do exist—and that they have traded in their ancient swords and horses for modern guns and sports cars. Hopelessly outmatched, she accepts help from a trio of unlikely heroes: Eddy, a psychiatrist and novice wizard; Brendan, an outcast Fian warrior; and Dante, a Magister of the fae’s Rogue Court. Moving from the busy streets of Boston’s suburbs to the shadowy land of Tír na nÓg, Caitlin and her allies will risk everything to save Fiona. But can this disparate quartet conquer their own inner demons and outwit the dark faeries before it’s too late?

Review: I have a real weakness for Faes and when I saw this novel, especially the synopsis, I knew it would be perfect for me. And I must say that I had a great time with it and I am now very curious to read more. Bishop O’Connell presents us a rich and interesting world that we take pleasure to discover.

When Caitlin returns home after a party, she is attacked by a gang of some very strange young persons. Narrowly saved by a stranger who kills without flinching one of the attackers, she returns home to discover these persons trying to kidnap her daughter Fiona. Yes you can imagine that this will completely disrupt the life of the young woman who is determined to get her daughter back at all costs! But it seems that she won’t be alone in this adventure when her best friend, Edward is also involved in the adventure by revealing that he is a wizard. Caitlin is not enough already destabilized that she must now manage a whole new world she did not know about and when the stranger named Brendan decides that it is his mission to save Fiona, the young woman will be forced to trust him, and his friend Dante. But these two characters are not ordinary, oh no, because they are part of Faeries people and it seems that the girl is in this other world and it seems that she could be more important than expected.

While we follow Edward and Dante in some chapters and their quest in our world, we also follow the adventures of Brendan and Caitlin in Faerie, and no matter which side we are, I can tell you that the history is moving a lot! Indeed, the first two are trying to find out who the wizard who is helping to neutralize them is, but this wizard is well protected and determined to make them pay for this affront. On the other hand, we also follow, as I told it, Brendan and Caitlin in that other rally intriguing world. The two will have to work together to try to find the girl. Yet many obstacles will come in their way through and it will not be easy to achieve their goals. However, we meet many characters from different species and it’s true that I’m really curious to learn more about them. Oh yes because we meet Puck, but also kings and queens, and many other players fun to explore.

In terms of the plot I admit that I quickly realized where the author was going to lead us, so even if some of the revelations of the main frame didn’t surprise me, I found that everything was really well done and I didn’t have any problems with that. We anyway have some nice surprises and I am very curious to know what will happen later because the story is just beginning. I had a lot of questions about the possible couple Edward / Caitlin and Brendan / Caitlin and I confess that if the second appeared to me quite clearly, I have some trouble with the first. But in any case I think I’ll see how it will end exactly to see how they will evolve the one with the other. I really hope that we’ll see very quickly all the characters that I really appreciated here. It was a very good first novel and I am looking forward to read more! A great surprise for me!

4

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The Stolen de Bishop O’Connell (VO)

An American Faerie Tale, Tome 1

Résumé (traduction personnelle) : Ce soir, pour la première fois en plus d’un siècle, un enfant mortel sera enlevé par les faeries.

Lorsque sa fille, Fiona, est arrachée de son lit, le monde de Caitlin s’écroule. Pensant que les faeries n’étaient qu’un fantasme, Caitlin doit maintenant accepter que ces créatures surnaturelles existent et qu’ils ont échangé leurs épées et chevaux anciens pour des armes modernes et des voitures de sport. Désespérément surpassée, elle accepte l’aide d’un trio de héros improbables: Eddy, un psychiatre et assistant novice; Brendan, un guerrier paria Fian; et Dante, un Magister de la Cour Rogue. Passant des rues animées de la banlieue de Boston à la terre d’ombre de Tír na nÓg, Caitlin et ses alliés vont tout risquer pour sauver Fiona. Mais ce quatuor disparate peut-il conquérir leurs propres démons intérieurs et déjouer les fées sombres avant qu’il ne soit trop tard ?

Avis : J’ai un gros faible pour les Faes et quand j’ai vu ce roman, et surtout le résumé, j’ai su qu’il était fait pour moi. Et je dois dire que j’ai passé un très bon moment et je suis maintenant très curieuse de pouvoir lire la suite. Bishop O’connell nous présente un monde riche et intéressant que l’on prend plaisir à découvrir.

Quand Caitlin rentre chez elle après une soirée, elle se fait attaquer par une bande de jeunes gens très étranges. Sauvée de justesse par un inconnu qui tue sans sourciller un des attaquants, elle rentre chez elle pour les découvrir dans sa maison en train de kidnapper sa petite fille Fiona. Oui vous vous doutez que tout cela va complètement bouleverser la vie de la jeune femme qui est bien décidée à récupérer sa fille coûte que coûte ! Mais il semble qu’elle ne soit pas seule dans cette aventure quand son meilleur ami, Edward s’engage aussi dans l’aventure en lui révélant qu’il est un sorcier. Caitlin n’est déjà pas assez déstabilisée qu’elle doit maintenant gérer un tout nouveau monde qu’elle ne connaissait pas et quand l’inconnu nommé Brendan décide qu’il est de sa mission de sauver Fiona, la jeune femme va être obligée de lui faire confiance, ainsi qu’à son ami Dante. Mais ces deux personnages ne sont pas ordinaires, oh non, parce qu’ils font partie du peuple Faeries et il semblerait que la jeune fille se trouve dans cet autre monde et qu’elle soit bien plus importante que prévu.

Alors que nous suivons Edward et Dante dans certains chapitres et leur quête dans notre monde, nous suivons aussi les aventures de Brendan et Caitlin en Faerie, et peu importe le côté duquel nous nous trouvons, je peux vous dire que l’histoire déménage ! En effet, les deux premiers essaient de découvrir qui est le sorcier qui aide les faes afin de le neutraliser, mais ce sorcier est bien protégé et bien décidé à les faire payer pour cet affront. D’un autre côté, nous suivons aussi comme je le disais Brendan et Caitlin dans cet autre monde si intrigant. Les deux vont devoir s’associer pour essayer de trouver la jeune fille. Pourtant un grand nombre d’obstacles vont venir se mettre au travers de leur chemin et ce ne sera pas simple d’atteindre leurs objectifs. Nous rencontrons cependant de la sorte de nombreux personnages provenant de cours différentes et c’est vrai que je suis vraiment curieuse d’en apprendre plus à ce sujet. Oh oui parce que nous avons Puck, mais aussi des rois et des reines, et bien d’autres protagonistes que l’on prend plaisir à découvrir.

Pour ce qui est de l’intrigue j’avoue que j’ai compris assez vite où l’auteur voulait en venir, donc même si certaines révélations de la trame principale n’en étaient pas vraiment, j’ai trouvé que le tout était très bien amené et cela ne pose en aucun cas problèmes. Nous avons de toute façon aussi de jolies surprises et je suis très curieuse de savoir ce qu’il se passera par la suite car l’histoire ne fait que commencer. Je me suis beaucoup posée de questions au sujet du possible couple Edward/Caitlin et Brendan/Caitlin et j’avoue que si le deuxième apparaissait pour moi assez clairement, j’ai un peu plus de mal avec le premier. Mais dans tous les cas je pense qu’il faudra voir la suite pour voir exactement ce que cela va donner. J’espère vraiment en tout cas que nous reverrons très vite tous les personnages que j’ai beaucoup appréciés. C’était un très bon premier roman et je suis impatiente d’en lire plus ! Une très bonne surprise pour moi !

4

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Stacking the Shelves #102

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 Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews

 

Premonitions – Jamie Schultz

TWO MILLION DOLLARS…

It’s the kind of score Karyn Ames has always dreamed of—enough to set her crew up pretty well and, more important, enough to keep her safely stocked on a very rare, very expensive black market drug. Without it, Karyn hallucinates slices of the future until they totally overwhelm her, leaving her unable to distinguish the present from the mess of certainties and possibilities yet to come.

The client behind the heist is Enoch Sobell, a notorious crime lord with a reputation for being ruthless and exacting—and a purported practitioner of dark magic. Sobell is almost certainly condemned to Hell for a magically extended lifetime full of shady dealings. Once you’re in business with him, there’s no backing out.

Karyn and her associates are used to the supernatural and the occult, but their target is more than just the usual family heirloom or cursed necklace. It’s a piece of something larger. Something sinister.

 

mellianefini

Karyn’s crew, and even Sobell himself, are about to find out just how powerful it is… and how powerful it may yet become.

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Divergent, Book 3

Synopsis: The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Review: The final installment in the Divergent trilogy, needless to say that I expected it as the messiah. Divergent is one of my favorite sagas. I loved the first two books (Divergent and Insurgent) and I was really excited and eager to finally read this book 3 – the book of revelations – and to find out the ending of this story. Unfortunately, for my part, this book has not kept its promises. Or maybe I expected too much of this book. I do not know… but the fact is that I was disappointed. Like many people, the ending of Insurgent left me with a lot of questions. I wanted to find out more about those who created the system of factions as well as the mission of all the Divergent. I wanted to find out what was outside the fence!

In the end I don’t know what to think. But what I’m sure is that among the three volumes, Allegiant is the one I liked least. I must say that I didn’t expect such an ending! Am I satisfied by such a conclusion? No, not really. The author’s choice concerning the fate of her characters somewhat disturbed me. I don’t know if Roth’s purpose was to be original by concluding her story that way but one thing is certain, this read won’t leave you indifferent. Whatever you like or dislike Allegiant, the Divergent series is a must read. Despite this unsatisfying ending, Divergent remains one of the best dystopian series I’ve read so far. I didn’t really expect a happy ending but I was far from suspecting that the trilogy would end this way. And if the word « sacrifice » seems to be the key word throughout the novel, for my part, I regret I didn’t prepare myself to endure this.

But it’s not only the ending that disappointed me in this book. Other points were also quite annoying. In this novel, Veronica Roth chooses to alternate Tris and Tobias’s POV, something she has not done in the previous books but when we finish the novel, we understand why the author chose this mode of narration. I have nothing against having Tobias’s perspective as bonus here. However I must say that sometimes it was hard to determine who was who. Indeed, the author uses the same tone for both characters so that sometimes we have the impression to deal with the same person. Even if it is specified in the beginning of each chapter who is the narrator, it’s quite disconcerting.

Another disturbing point: the wacky revelations made throughout the novel that keep coming one after the other, chapter by chapter, to the point that I found it boring, without mentioning the lack of action. It was very hard for our heroes to deal with these revelations. They find out that everything they have experienced so far – that their whole life – was a lie. From the beginning they were observed by other people so in the end, they are just the result of an extensive scientific experiment whose sole purpose is to save humanity from its own destruction. Well… why not? I don’t mind. However what upset me the most here was the entire “genetic manipulation” thing. These explanations were too far-fetched to be credible.

Then there are the characters. If we compare with the previous books, we can find inconsistencies in the attitude of some characters. For example, I didn’t understand Evelyn’s attitude at the end of the book and even less Marcus’s attitude (who just disappeared, almost forgotten by the author) given the portrait the author did of them in the previous books. Their reaction was rather illogical and in the end all the conflicts were resolved too easily. Even Tobias disappointed me in this book! Faced with a new environment, he seemed hopeless. He was so strong and brave in the first two books… He was used to be suspicious too. But in Allegiant he became weak, credulous and worse, he made a terrible mistake. Only the heroin Tris was true to form.

Finally, to come back to the famous ending, I don’t question Tris’s choice. I think that she just could not stand there and do nothing. That is not like her so I found her reaction normal and predictable. It was even beautiful and touching. However I regret the fact that nothing has been done in advance to prevent that. I mean a better solution, a plan that would have saved everyone. It’s sad to come to such extremes.

To conclude it was a very disappointing book compared to Divergent and Insurgent. It’s really unfortunate. However the Divergent series remains a good dystopian story, probably one of the best although I have very mixed feelings regarding this final book.

2-5mon pseudo