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Friday, August 2, 2013

Mist, Froi of the Exiles, and Snow Crash Mini-Reviews

Mist (Mist #1) by Susan Krinard
Centuries ago, all was lost in the Last Battle when the Norse gods and goddesses went to war. The elves, the giants, and the gods and goddesses themselves were all destroyed, leaving the Valkyrie Mist one of the only survivors.

Or so she thought.

When a snowy winter descends upon modern-day San Francisco in June, Mist’s quiet existence starts to feel all too familiar. In quick succession, Mist is attacked by a frost giant in a public park and runs into an elf disguised as a homeless person on the streets…and then the man Mist believed was her mortal boyfriend reveals himself to be the trickster god, Loki, alive and well after all these years.

Loki has big plans for the modern world, and he’s been hanging around Mist for access to a staff that once belonged to the great god Odin. Mist is certain of one thing: Loki must be stopped if there is to be any hope for Earth. But the fight is even bigger than she knows….  Because Loki wasn’t the only god to survive.

Released: July 16th 2013         Pages: 384
Publisher: Tor Books              Source: Goodreads First Reads giveaway

I won this as an ARC through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway.  I'll admit that what drew me to it was, predictably, Loki.  And Norse mythology in general. 

Mist, the main character, has what I like to call the "surface strong female character" condition.  On the surface, she's what you'd label as a "strong female character".  She can fend for herself and she beats up a bunch of male characters throughout the story.  She's not like Bella Swan.  And yet, there isn't much to her, beyond the fact that she's not a damsel in distress.  There's the action, the fighting, but there's not much depth to her.  That disappointed me.

I was also a little disappointed with the plot.  I was hoping it would be big and grand and epic, but it didn't give me that we've-got-to-save-the-world feeling.  I never got the sense that the world was in danger.  Even thought it was trying to be big, it wasn't. 

Honestly, my favorite part was the prologue.  (I don't know if I've ever said that before.  Ever.)  The WWII Valkyrie action was exciting and intriguing.  I would've gladly read an entire book about Valkyries fighting Nazis, and I would've probably preferred it over the modern storyline.

Similar Books: It involves Norse mythology in a modern setting like Loki's Wolves, had a strong urban fantasy feeling like Voices of Dragons, and reminded me of The Raven Boys.
Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles #2) by Melina Marchetta

Blood sings to blood, Froi . . .
Those born last will make the first . . .
For Charyn will be barren no more.

Three years after the curse on Lumatere was lifted, Froi has found his home... Or so he believes...

Fiercely loyal to the Queen and Finnikin, Froi has been trained roughly and lovingly by the Guard sworn to protect the royal family, and has learned to control his quick temper. But when he is sent on a secretive mission to the kingdom of Charyn, nothing could have prepared him for what he finds. Here he encounters a damaged people who are not who they seem, and must unravel both the dark bonds of kinship and the mysteries of a half-mad Princess.

And in this barren and mysterious place, he will discover that there is a song sleeping in his blood, and though Froi would rather not, the time has come to listen.

Released: March 13th 2012        Pages: 593
Publisher: Candlewick              Source: Library

I first read this book's predecessor, Finnikin of the Rock, in 2009.  I have no idea why I waited so long to read Froi of the Exiles.  I can't believe I kept putting this off!

Froi of the Exiles is just as good as Finnkin, if not better.  It's dark and intense in the best way possible, but with moments of light and hope shining through.  It involves a romance that isn't love at first sight.  It develops slowly, cautiously, in a way that makes you love it all the more.

Melina Marchetta, will you tell me your secrets?  I love how she creates characters.  They're all so flawed, so complex.  And yet I love them.  They have the same intensity and dynamics and real people.  I loved Froi, and Quintana, and all the rest. 

This book had a few major secrets to reveal, and they genuinely caught me off guard.  I was kept up late into the night, wanting to know what would happen next.  I'm so incredibly in love with this book right now and I probably should stop myself from ranting about it, since this is a "mini-review".  Five big, wonderful stars for Froi.
Similar Books: It's a dark, intense high fantasy with incredibly complex characters like Falling Kingdoms, The Demon King, and even A Game of Thrones.  It would also appeal to fans of fantasies such as The Girl of Fire and Thorns, In the Hall of the Dragon King, or The Poison Throne.
 Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
In reality, Hiro Protagonist delivers pizza for Uncle Enzo’s CosoNostra Pizza Inc., but in the Metaverse he’s a warrior prince. Plunging headlong into the enigma of a new computer virus that’s striking down hackers everywhere, he races along the neon-lit streets on a search-and-destroy mission for the shadowy virtual villain threatening to bring about infocalypse. Snow Crash is a mind-altering romp through a future America so bizarre, so outrageous…you’ll recognize it immediately.

Released: May 1st 1992       Pages: 470
Publisher:  Bantam Books  Source: Library

Let me sum up my entire reading experience in this one GIF:
At first, I read that the main character is named Hiro Protagonist.  Half of me is going "I see what you did there", and the other half is rolling my eyes.  And that's basically what I felt about the entire book.  Some of it was kind of funny, kind of clever.  The rest of it was weird, baffling, and disjointed.  It had some convoluted and sketchy religious messages, and I can't decide what to think about any of it. 

Snow Crash had all the ingredients to be a cool technological thriller, but I was bored through much of it.  The worldbuilding was cool, but I couldn't connect to the characters, and the actual goal of the plot was difficult to identify.

I still can't decide how I feel about it.  It's odd, it's quirky, and it has its good moments.  Ultimately, though, there isn't enough I liked about it to give it more than three stars.

Similar Books: It has high-tech cyberpunk elements and involves virtual realities like Ready Player One or even Epic, and it kind of reminds me of Incarceron for some reason.

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