Thursday, 27 March 2014

Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott

Book Summary : Does life go on when your heart is broken?

Since her mother’s sudden death, Emma has existed in a fog of grief, unable to let go, unable to move forward--because her mother is, in a way, still there. She’s being kept alive on machines for the sake of the baby growing inside her.

Estranged from her stepfather and letting go of things that no longer seem important--grades, crushes, college plans--Emma has only her best friend to remind her to breathe. Until she meets a boy with a bad reputation who sparks something in her--Caleb Harrison, whose anger and loss might just match Emma’s own. Feeling her own heart beat again wakes Emma from the grief that has grayed her existence. Is there hope for life after death—and maybe, for love?

Heartbeat is Elizabeth Scott’s heartbreaking, heartwarming and heart-healing new novel about the ties that bind--and the ties that free.

My Rating : 3.5 of 5 stars

My Thoughts : “When someone you love...when they die, you want it undone. You'd do anything to have them back, and it's easy to believe that if only this had happened or that had happened, everything would be fine. And that's what makes you angry. What makes you hate. You don't want to believe that sometimes bad things happen just because they do.”

Heartbeat was, in my opinion, one of those stories that dramatized a set of complex characters, while the execution was rather simple. The author, Elizabeth Scott, is always best known for dealing with highly sensitive issues in a respectful and deft manner. Her famous novella Living Dead Girl was an upsetting and unsettling book, with such a visceral literary fashion that had chilled me to my bones. But, unlike the author’s previous issue novels, this particular title didn't gratify me to that level. It has severely failed to snag my attention to what promised to be a compelling plot.

Emma’s mother is lying brain-dead in hospital and being kept alive by life support machines to ensure her unborn baby’s survival. A lordly decision made by Emma’s step-father Dan. But to Emma, as she watches life moves on without her mother, her forlornness grows into anger. She thinks her stepdad had betrayed her. He doesn't love her mom but the baby growing inside her.This whole ambiance, both inside and outside, is cumulatively affecting her studies. Her life was on a tough act to be followed.

Emma, for the most part, was not a good protagonist. She is hard to connect with. I truly understand that, with her pain, her frustration, her anger, Emma was supposed to be an exceptional character—a flawed one. Her story was touching, but I would've loved it even more if it were not for her coarseness that put me off. Her rough and edgy behaviors, her tendency to blame Dan even for what he wasn't responsible, often felt wrong. I wanted her to grow, to act mature, and to think past her irrationality. Pardon me if I’m being insensitive to her conditions, but her attitude was what provoked me into belittling her decisions.

However, I loved her relationship with Caleb, because even though she constantly professed that Caleb was a bad boy, that she should stay away from him; but the situations made Caleb her staunch companion throughout her grieving period, helping her to get through it, making the romance real and believable to me.

Overall, Heartbeat is a story of acceptance and shows the growth of a character through many perilous stages of life in a short period. Every pages, every line, every word is weaved with undiluted emotions. It doesn't have neat plots parameters, nor does it have the most perfect characters. And despite my commentary on Emma’s condition, I hope many readers will find the book worth reading.

View all my reviews

Friday, 14 March 2014

The Falconer by Elizabeth May

Book Summary : Edinburgh, Scotland, 1844

Lady Aileana Kameron, the only daughter of the Marquess of Douglas, was destined for a life carefully planned around Edinburgh’s social events – right up until a faery killed her mother.

Now it’s the 1844 winter season and Aileana slaughters faeries in secret, in between the endless round of parties, tea and balls. Armed with modified percussion pistols and explosives, she sheds her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting. She’s determined to track down the faery who murdered her mother, and to destroy any who prey on humans in the city’s many dark alleyways.

But the balance between high society and her private war is a delicate one, and as the fae infiltrate the ballroom and Aileana’s father returns home, she has decisions to make. How much is she willing to lose – and just how far will Aileana go for revenge?

My Rating : 4 of 5 stars

My Thoughts : I have heard many of my friends drawing comparisons of this book to the Faefever series, but I won't go into that as I haven’t yet read the later (don’t kill me, please). My judgment is solely based on what I liked and what I didn't in The Falconer.

The author, Elizabeth May knows how to weave charming and damaged individuals, a thrilling action-packed fantasy wherein they play deadly games to peruse their quarries.

Set in alternate Edinburgh where humans and faeries coexist, the story itself was somehow intriguing. Lady Aileana Kameron, the daughter of a Scottish Marquess was destined for a good life with parties, teas and balls, until one day her mother was murdered by a faery and making Aileana a subject to many gossips rumors on her involvement in the murder.

Now fueled with rage, Aileana formed an unlikely alliance with Kiaran, a faery, motivated towards killing his own people. Armed with modified pistols and explosives, she peeled off her aristocratic facade every night to go hunting.

As a wrecked character, Aileana was portrayed quite well. Although how from being a happy and upbeat girly girl who, after witnessing her mother’s murder transmuted into a cold-hearted warrior and now was committed to a quest for vengeance was not shown. It was rather told away. Again apart from the feelings of anger, frustration, and helplessness, she seemed to lack some basic emotions such as sorrow and grief. I understand that the author intended to portray her as a strong character (And she did well), but weakness is also the unavoidable trait of human behavior. Showing vulnerability doesn't make someone whinny, rather helps in a better correlation to character. As the story unfolds, we came to know more about her legacy and lineage, that she is a decedent of a line of female warriors known as Falconers, gifted with sighting no mundane has, destined to kill the faeries.

As of Kiaran, he was what I call hawt—a faery, a deadly one at that, cold and entirely mysterious. There weren't too many details about his past, or his history with Aileana. In the beginning their relationship was strictly mentor-protegee, which all of a sudden, if I should add, changed into a much more intense one—the one we call love and thus, it felt forced.

And there enters Gavin—the third point of hinted love-triangle, brother of Aileana’s best friend. Speaking of love triangle, I don’t mind one, unless it is entirely revolved around choosing the best suitor instead of the plot. Thankfully such didn't happen in this book. *Sigh of relief.* However Gavin was born into nobility and contrary to Kiaran he was shown more gentle, the kind of a guy your mom would want you to pick.

As the book was focused mainly on action sequences, I must say they were drawn well. They were graphic and I loved them. I loved seeing Aileana kick some asses. I loved her way of using her inventions into killing faeries. The inclusions of Steampunk aspects were also quite useful.

As a whole, The Falconer was enjoying. A fast-paced light reading that will leave you gripping the edge of your seat.

View all my reviews