Firelight (Firelight #1) by Sophie Jordan

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I enjoyed this book. Its actually a 3 and a half star. Unfortunately, I couldn’t escape reviewing it without mentioning Twilight because it really is, a version of Twilight, albeit being a better one. Since I know that many started reading YA paranormal romance from Twilight, but if you have younger kids in need of something similar read read but you don’t want to traumatize them with that infamous series of bad female character and romanticization of abusive relationship, this is quite a good book to read.

One word : dragon. I adore dragons. My zodiac is an earth dragon. So, what’s better than having a dragon shapeshifter as a main character. Although, I did have a problem pronouncing “Jacinda” in my head since I always end up with “Jacinta” instead. But whatever, dragon shapeshifter or dragon-descent if you want to be political correct with it.

The story is similar to Cynthia Hand’s Unearthly (although I gave up on the second book once the whole Christianity theme began to crop up often) but thankfully devoid of any religious elements. I really like Jacinda. I like the plot too although it is quite the same “special boy meets special girl” scenario but I guess the added twin character gave Jacinda more dimension as a character. I mean, retrospectively, the book is also the story of Tamra’s life reenacted through Jacinda. It is a story of trying to fit in a place where everyone is different. I guess, I can relate to that more as a teenager than I did with Bella in Twilight.

I know that forbidden love have been an overused trope but it kinda suits well with the relationship between Will and Jacinda. I don’t really have a problem with their relationship being rather not straightforward but one thing for sure, Will aren’t a bedroom stalker. Also, I’m not sure there is an actual love triangle.

But as light reading goes. It wasn’t that bad storytelling-wise.

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Scorched (Scorched #1) by Mari Mancusi

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I’ve been worried about this book from the ratings and frankly my worries are unfounded since the story was fantastic. Scorched is a YA Urban Fantasy started with a boy who came from the future to prevent an apocalypse that centered around a girl. Sounded like Terminator right? Only with a smidgen of Reign of Fire. Trinity Foxx, an orphan girl who live with her dinosaur-loving grandfather, who was struggling with the finance of his museum which Trinity took over. Unfortunately, her grandfather managed to procure a rare item with what was left of the billing money Trinity had given from pawning her mother’s ring. It turns out to be a million years old dragon egg which was destined to be with Trinity and was called Emberlyn or Emma. The boy from the future, Connor, pop up to prevent her from bonding with the dragon but failed and apparently the government got wind up with the news of the dragon egg and tried to confiscate it. In the original future timeline, the government stole the dragon from Trinity and began to cultivate clone hybrids in which went rogue and decimate most of the world population. It began when the future Trinity rescued Emma from the facility and began a dragon right group called Dracken. But when Connor came to the past, he use his psychic ability to show Trinity the consequences of her action in the future and convince her that Emma should never hatch. Of course, things doesn’t always go as planned.

Scorched is an easy read much like the Blood Coven series. Although there are some movie and gaming reference littered around the chapters, its not hard to get caught up with the plight of Trinity. The novel play around the idea of the fate of a future rest on the shoulder of one girl and it was portrayed fluently as the journey goes on. I do enjoy the earlier Terminator movies and the story is subtle enough that it doesn’t completely rip off from the first movie. Instead of one Kyle Reese we have TWO Reeses with a deep blood feud in this book which was Connor the Dragon Hunter and the other Caleb the Dragon Rider/Warrior (?). There’s also a Buffy and World of Warcraft reference which was expected coming from the author and as a gamer girl, I already like Trinity by proxy. *high five!* Although I am a bit disappointed with the lack of “come with me if you wanna live” quote but the museum scene would still do.

There are also a balance of dragon action and some human nature which round out the story completely in preparation of the future series. But for a first novel, Scorched is quite a strong novel to start with and as a stand alone. The romance are less prominent although there are enough triangle attraction going on with the characters which doesn’t convoluted to the story and probably will be expanded as time goes on. There were also the mechanics with the time travel paradox and the technologies which are vague around this book which I didn’t expect it to be venture even further with future installments.

I do like it that the complications and details surrounding dragons are explained and taken to consideration. For a dragon-themed novel, it doesn’t held out on the dragon part like Seraphina and Game of Thrones or Eon or The Hobbit did. From the beginning to the end, Scorched is about dragons and it show off the dragons from the beginning to the end. I don’t think I ever enjoyed a YA dragon novel like this one since I’ve been reading up on mostly dragon-themed adult books these days. Now I wished I haven’t finish this book too early because Mari, I really want to see that second book release date and it better to come quick.

Saphirblau (Ruby Red Trilogy #2) by Kerstin Gier

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Luckily the book didn’t suffer from the second book syndrome and despite my misgivings with Rubinrot and the problematic translations editor and lacking in beta readers, I really like Gwendolyn. The storytelling is still a disjointed mess between a romance and a historical fantasy but I do enjoy this book more than the previous one. Because of that, I just skip the problematic paragraphs with weird sentence structure that made my own occasional Malaysianized grammatical lapses more comprehensible than reading parts of this book.

The problem with this kind story was there wasn’t much a chance for the characters to develop overtime because of the differences in timeline in between the modern and the time lapses which made the romance happen in span of several weeks. Plus, because of the genetic defect they had, they either they use chronograph to time travel at specific fixed time or flung uncontrollably into time. So with each time travel, curiously they were all very eventful to fit in one book. Then again, I was hoping for a Doctor Who reference at this point too.

Luckily for this novel, I was taken into the mystery of the twelve circle and the prophecies and the endless foreboding from the occasional psychic aunt and also the persistent “romance between Montrose and de Villiers always end badly” that always put out as a reminder which of course will be continued with the next book. But I did predicted something between Paul and Lucy and their exact relationship with Gwendolyn (Sorry, “Gwyneth” seemed to rhyme with an exaggerated sigh) and the novel does give out obvious clues around so I won’t spoil myself until I get the next instalment.

Unlike the previous book, the writing aren’t as badly juvenile as the previous book and there’s more interesting parts and scenes unlike the quite linear Rubinrot which the movie changed some parts and embellish it even more. Plus, a drunken teenage girl singing Cats was as entertaining as it sounds. I like that there’s some relationship stuff happening between Gwen and Gideon which was put into a cliffhanger at the end. I still think the Lodge folks, the gargoyle and Gideon’s brother probably have some tricks in their sleeves. The predictable parts remain predictable but some of the time travellers secrets are intriguing enough to sustain the interest in the final book.