Who Could That Be at This Hour? (All the Wrong Questions #1) By Lemony Snicket

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Title: Who Could That Be At This Hour?
Series: All The Wrong Questions
Author: Lemony Snicket
Published by: Little Brown
Release date: June 17th 2014
Length: 288 pages
Genre: Middle Grade
Format: Paperback
Why I read it: I read Snicket’s previous Series of Unfortunate Events books, and loved them.
What it’s About: A teen aged Snicket becomes the apprentice of S. Theodora Markson, and the two travel to a small semi abandoned town to steal an object of great value. While in the town of Stain’d by the Sea, Lemony meets a series of…..interesting people and gets swept up in a bigger mystery than he realized.
The Review: This series is supposed to be a prequel to Snicket’s Series of unfortunate events books. And I read somewhere (maybe goodreads, I’m not positive) that as the books progress characters that we met in SOUE will make cameos. That being said, you do not have to have read SOUE in order to read this series. Or at least not this book. It reads like a stand alone series.
What I liked: The silliness was just a fun as it was in SOUE, in fact that was pretty much the only indication that it was even remotely related to SOUE. The wacky characters were funny and irritating at the same time. The setting was just as wacky as the characters and, let’s face it, it wouldn’t be half as entertaining to read if it wasn’t. Also the time period is ambiguous as it is with SOUE, and it has a feel that it could be set anywhere. I like how Snicket never mentions a recognizable landmark like Big Ben or the Statue of Liberty. You as the reader can imagine it taking place in any country you wish. I Also like how it wasn’t like SOUE. In SOUE, you knew that it wasn’t going to end well. Bad things were supposed to happen to the  Baudelaire’s, but in this series, the outcome could be good or bad.
What I didn’t like: Like I said above, some characters were irritating. Like The Mitchum’s. I understand that they were supposed to be the useless police officers, but they really were very useless, and their arguing was just tiresome. And don’t get me started on their kid. he was a nightmare. And Prosper Lost for me just wasn’t a needed character at all. He didn’t add anything to the story, and just seemed like a filler character.  Another thing I didn’t like was that Snicket gives very little background information on himself. I know that it’s supposed to add to the mystery, but when he says things like ” I had an unusual education” I’d like to know more about this education myself.
Would I reread it? Most likely, yes.
Would I purchase it? I did purchase it, and no regrets about it.
Would I recommend it? I would if you loved SOUE. I’d love for my 8 year old nephew to read it, but I think he thinks too literally to get the silliness.
Love it or Leave it? Somewhere in the middle. I’d give it 3 out of 5 stars.

 

The Essence by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Essence
Author: Kimberly Derting
Length: 352 pages
Genre: YA, Dystopia
Format: Hard cover
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it: Checked out of the library at the same time as the first one.

What it’s About: Charlie has been crowned Queen of Ludania, and she is trying to right the wrongs of former Queen Sabara. Unfortunately, Sarbara’s essence is living inside Charlie, trying to undermine her and raising Charlie’s self doubt. Meanwhile Charlie is going on a journey to other kingdoms to reconnect ties that Sarbara has severed. And while she does that, there is a trator in her company and an assassination attempt on her life.

The Good: I love the idea that Sarbara wasn’t so easy to defeat. Not only is she essentially still there, but the damage she caused throughout other kingdoms is a factor in her tyranny as well. I do love the fact that there is no love triangle, and the secret crush on the best friend angle comes from two secondary characters.

The Bad: The predictability. I hated it. Of course there was a traitor, why else would someone know Charlie’s every move on a secret mission? And can we just address the fact that her head of defense is an 18 year old? I’m all for young people making an impression and doing well at their jobs, but when you take someone who is so young, and has no experience leading an army and give them the authority to lead said army, there will be trouble. Especially when said eighteen year old is in the mist of forming a romance with her best friend. Thirdly, the journey to the summit was boring. And why would they choose to stop in a place that everyone, including the queen, has deemed dangerous? I know you’ve got to rest, but I think that if there was already an assassination attempt on the sole ruler of your country, you would refrain from stopping to make camp somewhere that you think is dangerous.

Final Thoughts: Unrealistic book is unrealistic. I kind of can’t wait for the underage ruler/king/queen trope to just go away.

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

Title: The Pledge
Author: Kimberly Derting
Length: 323 pages
Genre: YA; Dystopia
Format: Hardcover
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it: Caught my eye at the Library

What it’s About: Ludania is a country divided by language. No two classes speak the same language except for the common Englaise, and if a member of the higher class speaks to you in their language, you can not look them in the eye. You are not even allowed to understand what they are saying to you. What happens if you do otherwise? You are executed. This is especially hard for Charlaina because she does understand all the other languages around her.

The Good: I really want to say something nice about this book. Especially since I couldn’t find anything nice about the last two books I reviewed. But the truth is, while I finished this book fairly quickly, the only really good thing about it was the packaging. When I saw it at the library, I was pulled in by the cover. Then I read the inside flap, and the story sounded intriguing. Unfortunately Derting’s book quickly escalated into a WTF senario. I think the one redeeming quality of the book was the characters. They were fairly complex. and you wanted to get to know them.

The Bad: As with most Dystopians, there wasn’t a lot of information of HOW the wold came to be what it was in the book. I’d love to read about that. Not info overload, but maybe a little something. Like what happened that the queen is a blood thursty bully? Why has it taken this long to try to fight against her? Why are the classes defined so specifically by language? I for one did not understand why the queen was feared so much. Honestly. I got that she had a decree saying that if you did something she didn’t like, she’d have you hanged, but except for a few times that the gallows were mentioned (in passing), or there was actually a hanging happening, which I’m not even sure there was, or maybe it was also mentioned in passing, I never really got the sense of danger that I think Derting intended. I think (and correct me if I’m wrong) she was going for the “always keep an eye out” vibe that fell just shy of the mark.

Final Thoughts: In all honesty, I remembered liking the book a lot more than I apparently did. It wasn’t until I sat and thought about it to review it that I actually realized that it wasn’t as good as I remembered. I like the premise of the book. It’s simple. Language is as a barrier. That’s not so far of a stretch. It does happen in everyday life. But I think it just wasn’t executed correctly. It was clear that Derting’s queen was going to be a tyrant from the start, but Derting didn’t understand the character herself, which is disappointing and sad.

The One by Kiera Cass

Title: The One
Author: Kiera Cass
Length: 323 Pages
Genre: YA
Format: ePUB
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it: I read the first two. Or maybe I’m just a glutton for punishment.

What it’s About: The continuing saga of America’s tug of war with the hearts and minds of two men, and Maxon’s continuing stupidity. Meanwhile, death and rebels.

The Good: Nope. Sorry. Nothing good found.

The Bad: Is it really possible to hate a main character more as you progress through the books? Yes. Yes it is. As if I needed anything more to make me hate her, America proved to be even more of a let down than before. I had been waiting for her character to develop over the course of the three books, but sadly she was just selfish, immature, idiotic, indecisive, and shallow. I gave her a lot of slack too. I mean she was very upfront about only being at the palace to get money, and Maxon did seem to, if not understand, at least go with it and cater to her (for lack of a better phrase) gold-digging, but by book three I was hoping she would have at least grown a little. The love triangle, while overused in the YA genre, usually serves a purpose, but in this story, I think the purpose was to make America look even worse. In fact, there were a lot of things that didn’t make any sense. Like the rebels. One group who is vicious and kills for power, and the other who…break into the palace and steal books…What? Why? I know knowledge is power, and I know history is important, but why did these people have to steal the books? Why not, I don’t know, appeal to the king (or Queen or even Maxon) to set up a lending system? Or something. As for the world building, well there wasn’t any. Really none. In dystopias it’s understood that the world went to hell. But there is little to explain how it went to hell. But In Cass’s books, there is NOTHING to explain just what happened to make the Caste system. And why couldn’t the country afford to have soldiers? Why not take a bunch of the poorest castes and make them soldiers? Is it a lack of money to pay them? Is it because the king didn’t think to do it? Is there nowhere to build a barracks to house them? Cass, please we, as readers, need these things to be explained!!!!

Final Thoughts: I really just can’t fathom why this was a series. I can’t fathom how it was a series that has 5 (!) novella and two more sequels to come out! I’ll be honest, I am going to read the last two books, but only for two reasons 1. to see how it ends, 2. to see if America becomes the queen Maxon evidentially thinks she deserves to be (doubtful).

The Elite by Kiera Cass

Title: The Elite
Author: Kiera Cass
Length: 336 Pages
Genre: YA
Format: ePUB
Rating: 2/5
Why I read it: Sequel

What it’s About: The continuing story of America’s time at the palace competing to become queen. Only this time around, Guess who shows up at the palace as a royal guard! Yep, Aspen.

The Good: I can’t. There was nothing. It failed.

The Bad: The whole time I was thinking “Please don’t let America be this stupid.” but no, she was. She and Aspen broke up so she could enter into the competition. I get that her feelings for someone she dated and was in love with for two years will not magically go away. I understand that the only initial reason she entered was to get money for her family. I can even applaud her being so up front about it that she told Maxon. But that’s where my understanding ran out. America, sweetie, a little word of advice, if you want to go as far as you can in the competition, don’t plan secret rendevues with your ex. Especially not when you could get thrown out of, if not killed, for NOT BEING A VIRGIN! maxon, I know you “don’t have much experiance with girls” but that it no damn reason for you to let America take advantage of you. You are going to be king one day. It will be your job to take care of your kingdom. Grow up and grow a pair. And while you are at it, try to learn a bit about what the fuck is happening in said kingdom. And you might want to either up the palace security if you are going to announce that there are regular raids on the palace. Just saying.

Final Thoughts: While I was reading this book, I got banned from the living room. I was not allowed to read it anywhere except my office. Not because my husband wanted to be a tyrant or anything, but because I was yelling at the book so much.

Run To You Part 3: Third Charm by Clara Kensie

Title: Run To You Part 3: Third Charm
Author: Clara Kensie
Length: 304
Genre: YA
Format: ePUB
Rating: 4/5
Why I read it: Part of a series

What it’s About: (From Goodreads because I can’t) Betrayed, heartbroken, and determined to save her family, Tessa Carson refuses to give in to Tristan Walker’s pleas for forgiveness. But her own awakening psychic gift won’t let her rest until she uncovers the truth about her family and her past. And Tristan is the only one who can help her sift through the secrets to find the truth hidden in all the lies…

The Good: From the moment the book started, there was a twist. I doubt many people predicted the way the book would go. I like that there was predictability in the first two books, then a big twist saved for the last (so far) installment. There is something to be said for an author who can completely blindside a reader.

The Bad: Tessa. She is a big part of my problem with the series. First she betrays her family, then when she learns the truth about them, something that is earth-shattering, she flip flops between believing the people who told her about her parents and trusting her parents whole-heartedly. She is a disaster. She is not loyal to her family at all. Her brother and sister are missing, and she barely cares enough think about them. I do not like her.

Final Thoughts: While Tessa is deplorable, I for one, can’t wait to read the next three books. Who knows, maybe Tessa will become likable.

Into the Cold Fire by Lynne Ewing

Title: Into the Cold Fire
Author: Lynne Ewing
Length: 264 pages
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Format: Hard cover
Rating: 3/5
Why I read it: Blog Challenge hosted by Read Sleep Repeat
What it’s About: Serena is a Goddess of the moon, and she has the power to read minds. One night when she is on the bech with her brother she witnesses a ritual of the Atrox. She soon leans that she has been chosen to participate in the ritual and join the followers of the Atrox.

The Good: The story itself was compelling, and unlike the first book, Serena wasn’t as wooden and uninteresting as Vanessa was in the first book. I really liked the further decriptions of L.A. and the beach. The story itself was captivating. I almost didn’t want it to end. There were twists that I didn’t see coming and some characters that I really wanted to get to know more about.

The Bad: I still don’t get Ewing’s need to make the girls put on body glitter and make up to feel powerful. I hated how repetitive some parts of the book were, and I could have done without being told what every other person smelled like.

Final Thoughts: This book proved to be better than the first and I’m hoping the series continues to become better. I can’t wait to learn more about the girls and their enemy and see the girl’s powers develop.