Monday, February 1, 2016

Review: Red Queen (Witch World #1)

Jessie discovers that she's stumbled into a world where some people can do the impossible and others may not even be human. For a time she fears she's lost her mind. Are there really witches? Is she one of them?

Red Queen is a new young adult novel in the Witch World series by best-selling author Christopher Pike. There are two worlds: one world is populated by humans, and the other world is populated by witches. One plays the card game Twenty-One, known as Blackjack, the other symbolically plays Twenty-Two, known as Red Queen. Jessie Ralle is introduced to this bifurcated world through her high school graduation road trips. She has only one worry: how to make it through the road trip with her ex, Jimmy Kelter, the guy who broke her heart five months ago when he dumped her for no reason. Once they arrive in Las Vegas, Jessie soon realizes that Jimmy is the least of her problems.

In Las Vegas she meets Russ, a mesmerizing stranger who shows her how to gamble and win big. Russ never seems to lose, which captivates Jessie. Curious, she wants to know the secret his secret, and in response, goes alone with him to his hotel room. Unfortunately, her short encounter with Russ leads her on a bizarre journey that murders her and brings her back to life not only as a witch but as a mother to a nearly perfect witch child coveted by the Lapras, a secret organization of evil witches who want to take over the world. In the human world, she is Jessie; in witch world, she is Jessica. As she adjusts to her new dual life with supernatural witch powers, she plunges into dangerous situations and terrifying messes. Family secrets are also revealed. Her only hope is the Tar, the good witches, who vow to protect her from the Lapras.

Red Queen is a new novel series by Christopher Pike. Initially the novel was difficult to follow because the dual universe aspect surprised me. It can be a confusing ride if readers do not pay close attention to the dual worlds. There is a lot of juxtaposition between the worlds and the powers that connect them: good and evil, pain and pleasure, love and hate. Additionally, the morbid plot, violence, and unsympathetic protagonist may deter some people from finishing the novel. As a result, I believe Red Queen is most appropriate for adults, not young teens.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Witch World series, Black Knight .
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Review: Soundless (2015) by Richelle Mead

In a village without sound...one girl hearse a call to action...and unlocks a power that will save her people.

Soundless , by Richelle Mead, is a young adult paranormal novel that takes place in ancient China. For as long as Fei can remember, no one in her village has been able to hear or speak vocally. Her mountain village is isolated from the outside world because an avalanche blocked the only entry way many years ago. Over time, the people began to lose the ability to hear, forcing them to use sign language to communicate with one another. Their only source to the outside world is the zipline which delivers food to the villagers in exchange for minerals from the mines. When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink. A crisis is brewing, and Fei is forced to act fast.

One night, Fei wakes up to hear a searing noise. She has regained the ability to hear. Sound becomes her weapon. A handsome miner with a revolutionary spirit accompanies her on a journey to the unknown. They don't want their people to suffer starvation and blindness. Therefore, the two embark on a majestic quest from their mountain village to the valley of Beiguo where the startling truth will change their lives forever...

Soundless is Mead's first book that takes place outside of the Western world. With careful detail and precision, Mead introduces her readers to ancient Chinese culture and mythology. I hope that Richelle Mead turns this novel into a series. It has a lot of potential: What happens to Fei once she gains the ability to hear? Will she learn how to speak as well? Will her romantic partner also gain the ability to hear? What about the kingdom that wanted to destroy the village? Does Fei and her friends continue to explore outside the mountain region? I had so many questions when I finished this book. Hopefully, they are answered in a second novel. As for now, Soundless is a stand-alone novel.

In the meantime, stay tuned to another series that Mead is launching in 2016, The Glittering Court. The third novel to the Age of X series is called The Eye of Andromeda, will also be available in 2016. Stay tuned to more updates!

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Wicked Melody Tavern's aStore Launched!

Happy New Year! I have established an online bookstore (via Amazon.com) that lists all the books and anime shows I have read and watched since the beginning of this blog. For books, browse and purchase books by the author's name. The anime show section is under construction but will be updated periodically to include anime shows that I reviewed on this blog.

Click here to access the online store.

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Third Season of Sailor Moon Crystal Officially Confirmed

Sailor Moon fans, rejoice! The third season of the rebooted Sailor Moon Crystal is official. From the Anime News Network:

The final episode of the second Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon Crystal anime season aired on Monday, and the anime's website announced that production on a third season for the Death Busters arc has been green-lit. The new season will assemble all 10 Senshi — specifically, the popular outer Senshi such as Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Saturn will join Sailor Moon, Sailor Chibi Moon, and the others. The new season will adapt the arc from the fifth and sixth volumes of the complete edition of Naoko Takeuchi's original Sailor Moon manga.
The third season will feature all 10 Sailor Senshi, particularly Sailor Uranus, Sailor Neptune, and Sailor Saturn!

Stay tuned for more updates!

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Review: Thirst #3, The Eternal Dawn (2010)

Alisa has spent the past five thousand years as a vampire, living alone and fighting for survival. In her loneliness, Alisa cannot resist bringing Teri--a descendant of her human family--into her life. But Alisa is surrounded by death and destruction, and just by knowing Alisa, Teri's life is at risk...

Thirst No. 3: The Eternal Dawn, by Christopher Pike, is the seventh novel in the Last Vampire series. While all the events in the previous books did indeed happen, there is a twist: Seymonr had connected to Sita' mind during the time of her adventures and experienced everything that happened with her. Her adventures became the basis of Seymour's novels. While his book ending has Sita returning to past as a human, she actually returns to the present as a vampire after defeating Landulf in the sixth novel. Fast forward 15 years later, Seymour finally meets Sita in person.

Sita encounters one of her long-lost human descendants, Teri (Teresa) Raine, a track-and-field college athlete. Sita knows that she should not get close to her Teri because anyone who becomes close ends up dead. However, Sita feels a connection with Teri. Knowing Teri leads to Matt, Teri's boyfriend. Matt is another mystery that Sita cannot figure out. Nonetheless, Sita will do everything she can to help Teri reach her personal and professional goals.

Meanwhile, a covert organization knows about Sita's secret and will stop at nothing to use her powers for their cause. As Sita tries to protect herself and Teri from the dangerous unknown enemy, she discovers a force more powerful and lethal than she has ever seen in her 5,000 years of existence. Furthermore, an ancient race of immortals want to unleash a deadly virus with the potential to wipe out humanity. Sita travels with Matt to Europe to search for clues on the immortals. There is little time to waste. Sita doesn't know who to trust or how to face the challenges ahead of her.

Legendary thriller author Christopher Pike amazingly resurrects the story from where it left off from the original six-novel installment in The Last Vampire series. The renamed "Thirst" series (books 7-9) now includes three new additions: The Eternal Dawn, The Shadow of Death, and the Sacred Veil. Hardcore fans will be ecstatic to learn that Sita (also known as Alisa Perne) lives! Pike cleverly starts the book from the perspective of This time around, Sita faces unimaginable challenges that will test her sanity, endurance, and fears. 15 years from the end of the last book, Sita is alive and well. I find it so amazing how Pike pulls this feat off so smoothly. He kept all the rich elements that made the original installment successful in the 1990s.

Why do I keep reading this series? I love Sita's bravery, ability to act under pressure, and empathy for others. She is not perfect, and she makes tons of mistakes. She knows how to learn from her mistakes. That is what fans love about her. Pike dwells into deep themes like death, love, redemption, faith, and loss/grief, which will resonate well with his fan base, who are now be in their 30s. Pike sends a strong message of love and struggle in his novels. As Sita learns, life is such a precious thing to hold onto and appreciate.

Stay tuned for the next novel in the Thirst series, The Shadow of Death.
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