Trying to read out of my Paranormal Romance Comfort Zone: The Scorpio Races & Worldshaker

So in my attempt to broaden my reading horizons, this new year,  I decided to read some novels that were not Paranormal romances.  My first attempt at this goal was:

The Scorpio Races

By Maggie Stiefvater

2 ** = Overall not recommended; there were some highlights, but nothing to write home about

I hate to be negative about reviews, this book has had some glowing reviews.  That was a big reason I was willing to give this author, Maggie Stiefvater, another try.  I read her Shiver series and was torn up about the way she ended it.  So with all the glowing reviews, I thought this may be what I needed to step out of my comfort zone.

This is a story that has a really interesting lore about water horses woven into it.  The world is very magical and walks such a fine line between the real and magical world that I was really intrigued.  The draw back was the very dangerous part the water horses play in our characters lives.  We meet Sean Kendrick and Puck Connolly, both who have been touched tragically by these water horses.  Although, the writing style and the magical lore of these horses are really lovely, I was struck by the tragic events that happen and continue happening, in these two young lives.  (I must warn you all, I tend to lean towards happily ever afters or magical worlds.  I do not enjoy real life, tragic or end of the world fiction.  I read for an escape, so I am careful in my book choices.)  The romance in this is very real and sweet, but Ms. Stiefvater did it again, gave me an open ended ending.  Ugh.

Overall, this book was ok, FOR ME.  I am sure others who don’t mind the violence and sadness will love it.  If you like an open ended ending, then you will love this book.  Not sure if I will read any more of this author’s books, unless I  know the ending is a bit more definite.

The next book I attempted after the sad and unsatisfying first attempt was:

Worldshaker

By Richard Harland

2 ** = Overall not recommended; there were some highlights, but nothing to write home about

I thought this would fit more into the adventure books I have read in the past.  All the reviews were throwing around mentions of steampunk and romance.  OH my was this book wrong for me.  Col lives on the upper decks of this Juggernaut, which is a huge ship that even goes over land.  Living on the upper decks signifies his rank in the society of the Worldshaker!  He then, by chance, meets a filthy named Riff, she lives on the very bottom decks.  This chance meeting begins  to unravel all the beliefs he has had about the society he lives in and will soon be Supreme Commander of.

I felt this book to be less about adventure and more of a commentary on classes and the way people view others in society.  The romance was very light and although the world was very rich, it was very sad.  Way too heavy for me to be enjoyable.

So, I am on a break from my goal and have purchased a very satisfying Paranormal romance!  He He!  I will attempt another DEEP book later this month!

Let me know if you have some suggestions!  Remember, I need fiction!  Escape, adventure & maybe a little romance.  Just not Paranormal romance.  🙂

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“The Hunchback Assignments” by Arthur Slade

“The Hunchback Assignments”

By Arthur Slade

4**** = Can recommend; Great; Overall enjoyable

I had two plans for this weekend: read and watch the Broncos vs. Patriots game. Not at the same time of course. I wouldn’t do that.

However, three minutes into the third quarter, this is what happened.

I started to read. The game was just too painful.

I’m not ready to talk about it. Let me just say that TEBOW HAD NO PROTECTION FROM HIS OFFENSIVE LINE! There. I’m feeling better already.

The good news is that I finished my book, and unlike the Broncos defense, it was solid. (I’m done now. Promise.)

I picked up “The Hunchback Assignments” by Arthur Slade randomly last week at the library. I was bored and feeling risky.

The book is loosely, and I mean loosely based on “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” by Victor Hugo. Okay, so I haven’t exactly read Hugo’s classic, but I did read the Wikipedia synopsis, and I have seen the Disney movie. So, I’m basically an expert now.

The book is set in late 1800s England and follows Modo – a shape-shifting hunchback who is raised in seclusion until he’s 14. At that point, Modo enters London and begins investigating several disappearances of prominent members of society.

Slade writes some pretty intriguing characters. I love Modo. My heart breaks for Modo as he tries to accept his deformity and earn the love of the mysterious Mr. Socrates, the man who adopted him as an infant and coldly raised him to be his agent. There also is Octavia Milkweek, another young agent who accompanies Modo on much of his investigation, but is kept from his true identity due to his shape-shifting abilities. I’m sure you can see the potential of a complicated romance brewing.

And then there’s Tharpa and Mrs. Finchley, the only two people who have truly accepted Modo as he is. Oh, and there are some pretty gnarly villains too.

The book is easy to read and moves quickly through the plot. I love that. It doesn’t feel like a single page is wasted.

“The Hunchback Assignments” is only book one of three, and there’s much to be determined in ensuing books. I’m hoping Slade will reveal even more about his mysterious characters, particularly Mr. Socrates and the villains, Miss Hakkandottir and Dr. Hyde who seem to value scientific advancement at the expense of human life.

I’m pretty anxious to pick up book two from the library. I actually was going to get it today after church, but I’m snowed in. And when I say snowed in, I mean there’s maybe an inch of fresh snow on the ground. Welcome to Washington.