Tag Archives: female lead

Review: Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

4 1/2 Stars

This book landed on one of my recommendation lists, and I decided to give it a shot.  The plot sounded interesting and I’m a sucker for a good fantasy novel.  I can definitely say I wasn’t disappointed and this is one series I’m looking forward continuing.  Despite its title, The Final Empire is the first book in the Mistborn series.

For a thousand years the world has been ruled by the God-like Lord Ruler.  His dominance has kept the population separated by class.  The noblemen are the ruling class, high in their keeps.  The skaa make up pretty much everyone else.  They are the ones who work the barren land, the mines, the shops.  They are treated worse than animals.  Beaten at a whim.  Killed when they no longer serve a purpose.  They are conditioned from birth that they are lesser beings, they were made to serve.  Rebellions come and go, but no one has been able to throw off the chains and rise up against the Lord Ruler and his Ministry.  But somehow hope survives.

Hope is what brings our heroes together.  They are very unlikely heroes too, they are thieves.  Thieves with a secret.  They have as their leader the Survivor of Hathsin.  Kelsier was once imprisoned by the Lord Ruler deep in the mines of Hathsin, made to crawl daily to harvest the precious metal beneath the craggy ground.  But he escaped and found his former crew and presented them with a nearly impossible job.  Overthrow the Final Empire and dethrone the Lord Ruler and make themselves incredibly rich in the process.  What begins as a heist becomes so much more as they are tested at every turn, always on the bring of being discovered by the Steel Inquisitors where a grisly death will follow soon after.

The true hero of the story is a young thief named Vin.  She was abandoned by the only family she remembers, her brother.  He taught her to never trust anyone.  Everyone always betrays you.  For sixteen years she has lived those words.  Always keeping to the shadows, never trusting, never believing.  She had to rely on herself and this burgeoning power that she’s only beginning to understand.  She seems to have the power to make people do what she wants, but can only do it for a little bit at a time.  During a job for her crew, she comes to the attention of Kelsier and his crew because of her abilities.  She soon finds that she has more power than she ever believed possible.  She is a Mistborn.  A half-breed from the union of a skaa and nobleman.  She has the power of Allomancy, the power to use metals to do amazing feats.  And while there are others who are able to use metals themselves, most can only use one metal.  But Vin is able to use them all and her natural ability sets her above nearly everyone else.

Can this crew of thieves with a conscience really make a difference?  Can they change a thousand years of fear and oppression?  Can you put this book down once you get into it?

I really did enjoy this book.  It did take a bit for me to get into it because the author really just jumps into it and doesn’t start with backstory or being overly descriptive.  You just get thrown right into the story and are left to wonder what are skaa?  Why is the sun red?  Why are there mists that come at night that no one will wander out into?   But you are swept along as the story picks up pace nearly immediately and you are tossed and turned along the way.  There are twists that you don’t expect and outcomes that are surprising.  The characters are strong, interesting and amazing to get to know throughout the book.

If you are a fan of a good fantasy novel with a good plot and amazing characters, pick this one up, you will not be disappointed.

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Filed under Fantasy

Review: Hold Still by Lisa Regan

3 Stars

Jocelyn Rush is a seasoned detective who becomes involved in the investigation into a case where a woman has been attacked, kidnapped, crucified and raped by multiple assailants.  They are easily able to identify two of the men, but a third, has eluded capture because he has worn a mask to protect his identity.  The attacks cause her to have nightmares about suppressed memories she has of her sister’s attack years earlier as a teenager.  An attack that drove her family apart and nearly ended her own life.

The investigation progresses and Jocelyn is loaned out to the SVU squad to help bring down this trio of attackers.  Add in a hunky lead investigator, Caleb, and you have a formula for romance, of course.  The DA on the case happens to be her ex-boyfriend as well.  Talk about a conflict of interest!   But somehow they are all able to get over themselves long enough to investigate the case and bring the identity of the third assailant to light.  You do have to suspend belief during a few (OK more than a few) passages.  Especially when one of the victims is able to locate a piece of information about the case that the entire police department with all of their resources was unable to find and she was able to do it in just a few clicks of the mouse and a Google search.

The characters were somewhat flat and formulaic.  It was hard for me to connect with Jocelyn, she seemed to have an utter disregard for her actual job and seemed like she was going on a crusade and was willing to go outside the law to get what she wanted.  The romance was stilted and completely unnecessary.  I couldn’t connect to that aspect of the book at all.  It just seemed contrived and out of place.  Especially right in the middle of an investigation.  Before or after, okay.  But right in the middle?  I just can’t see that happening and couldn’t stretch my imagination enough to even halfway enjoy it.

The story line was okay.  The plot was actually pretty strong and even though many of the characters fell a bit flat, it was still an entertaining read.  You will figure out the mystery of the third attacker even before Jocelyn does, but the climax is ultimately pretty satisfying.  The story may have a bit of a fairy tale ending, but sometimes you need a story where the good guys actually win for once and everyone comes out ahead.  I would recommend to anyone who wants a quick crime thriller that doesn’t make you think too much.

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Filed under Mystery/Suspense/Thriller