Thursday, January 02, 2014

The Apprentices (2013)

The Apprentices. Maile Meloy. Illustrated by Ian Schoenherr. 2013. Penguin. 432 pages. [Source: Review Copy]

I still have mixed feelings on both books in this series. (The first book is The Apothecary). On the one hand, there are lovely little historical details in both books that make me want to love these books. (The books are set in the 1950s. The first book was mainly set in England. The second book is set in America and Asia. Multiple locations in Asia.) On the other hand, there is a fantasy element to be dealt with. A fantasy based on science, chemistry, and transformation. Main characters take potions to transform into birds in both books. Main characters take potions to be invisible, etc. In this one, there is a potion or recipe for long-distance telepathy. I found this strange to say the least. One can experience the world through-the-eyes-of-another. I had a hard time comprehending how this works, why this works; it was convenient to the story obviously. But my main issue was how romance factored into it. It just didn't work for me. For example, why does the hero send someone across the ocean to "protect" the heroine from a rival love-interest (a classmate, a waiter). It is like he's refusing to see the actual real threat right in front of his eyes; the truth is that she is in danger, in a dangerous position because she's blinded from real threats as well. But no one is really able to do anything right then and there to take her from the situation because the whole plot depends on her being the bait.

© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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