#aww2017 “I’m always watching around corners. I just keep watching for something special.” // Review of “A Tangle of Gold” by Jaclyn Moriarty

Title: A Tangle of Gold(Colours  of Madeleine #2)
Author: Jaclyn Moriarty
Genre: YA/urban fantasy
Date Read: 11/03/2017 – 14/03/2017
Rating: ★★

Review:

Agggh, writing this review is causing me a lot of angst. Over the few days between finishing the book and beginning this review, I have tried to work out what to rate it. When I first rated it on GoodReads, I gave it four stars, stating in the text of the review that it was 3.5 but I was going to round it up because I loved the first two books so much. But then I thought about it and decided it was really only a three-star read for me, because while it had a few good moments, I didn’t love it as much as the other two. The next morning I was still thinking about what had bothered me overall, and realised there was really only one moment that I really loved, and I wasn’t entirely sure that it outweighed the stuff that frustrated me. So here we are, with a 2.5 star rating for the final book, after two solid four-star reads.

Yikes, that was a rambling paragraph.

Anyway.

In my review of book two of this series, I said that one thing I appreciated was the fact that it didn’t give more of the same, but instead built on the first book and took all the concepts further. The same could be said of this book, except that it didn’t have the same effect this time.

One of the issues (probably the main issue) was that Kiera, a secondary character in the second book, became a principle character in this one and I Did. Not. Like. Her. She looked down her nose at everybody, including my favourite characters, and even when she sort of addressed this, I didn’t feel like she stopped, just that she managed to hide her snobbery a bit better. I started flipping forward to see how many more chapters I would have to read from her point-of-view before we returned to Madeleine or Elliot.

Speaking of Elliot, I didn’t like his character arc either. He made a lot of decisions that didn’t make a lot of sense to me. He was using huge leaps of logic to come to the conclusions he based his decisions on, and he always seemed smarter than that.

I can’t say too much about Madeleine without delving into huge spoiler territory, but I will say that the large twist regarding her and her mother that took place was a big enough game changer that it changed the way the story worked, and it just wasn’t the story/premise/situation I fell in love with after that (having said that, the twist itself was the aforementioned one moment I really loved). Elliot and Madeleine had no way of corresponding like they always used to, and that was one of my favourite aspects of the series.

Plot-wise, everything also got quite convoluted. The theories behind the cracks between Cello and the World got very confusing and then there were secret organisations that kind of came out of nowhere playing their parts, and everything go tied up a bit too nicely at the end. I closed the book feeling unsatisfied, and there is little worse than that, particularly when it’s the conclusion of a series that started out so well.


(This review is part of the Australian Women Writers Challenge 2017. Click here for more information).

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#WWW and #WIPpet Wednesday – 15 March, 2017

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Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday! This is a weekly blog hop hosted by yours truly. If you’re a writer, you are very welcome to join us by posting an excerpt from your WIP that somehow relates to the date. You can click the blue guy on the right of this blog to be taken to the link up.

I was away over part of last week and briefly returned to With Memories and Magic but my main project at the moment is still my Wizard of Oz contemporary retelling. Today I’m sharing 15 lines for the 15th day of the month. Dora is chatting to one of her housemates, Sam Crowe, who if you couldn’t tell from the name, is the Scarecrow character. He’s only just started college and he’s already flunking out.

“I barely passed this paper,” he said. “If I don’t pick up my grades soon, I’m going to flunk this class.”

“What’s the class?”

“Twentieth century American literature.”

Dora stopped leaning on the door frame and took a seat on the couch next to him. “I did a few literature courses while I was getting my drama degree,” she said. “I did pretty well. Maybe I could take a look at it for you. I might be able to give you some advice.”

Sam didn’t look too thrilled at the suggestion, but he shrugged and handed the paper to Dora anyway. The topic of the paper was broad, asking for a discussion of themes in Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath. As Dora glanced over it, she began to see a few reasons for Sam’s lower marks. He didn’t really focus on a particular topic; instead he jumped from idea to idea. His examples were vague, too. She had a feeling he had only read parts of the book and was trying to shoehorn in the quotes he was familiar with, even if they didn’t quite fit the point he was trying to make.

“Listen, I’m not trying to be rude,” Dora said, “but did you actually read the book?”

“Yes,” Sam replied, too quickly. Dora just raised her eyebrows at him and he looked away, shrugging again. “Maybe half of it. I used CliffsNotes for the rest.”

Dora bit her lip, trying not to laugh. “Sam, do you really think CliffsNotes is going to get you through college?”

And now it’s time for WWW Wednesday! This blog hop is hosted by Sam over at A World Of Words. Link up with us by commenting on Sam’s post for this week, and just answer the three questions.

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So I had the majority of this post ready for last week, then I shut down my computer and went away for three days without finishing it and posting it, so here we are! As a result, and the fact that I had lots of reading time while I was away, this is sligthly longer than usual.

What have you recently finished reading?

These aren’t in order of when I read them, rather I’ve grouped like books together.


I have finished the entire Colours of Madeleine series by Jaclyn Moriarty, comprising of A Corner of White (which I listened to on audio and the narrators were completely awesome), the Cracks in the Kingdom and A Tangle of Gold (I read these two in paperback). The first two I absolutely loved, but I was let down by the third one sadly. My reviews of A Corner of White and Cracks in the Kingdom are here and here respectively. A Tangle of Gold’s review goes up on Friday.

On a related note, I was thinking about starting a “this series started so well, what happened?” shelf on GoodReads because this happens to me an awful lot! Or maybe I need to swear off series and concentrate on standalone books.

untoldcoverI also finished Untold, the second book in the Lynburn Legacy series by Sarah Rees Brennan. The character arcs and the writing were really well done but the plot itself was a bit light on the ground. Review here.

I also finally got back to the Lemony Snicket books and read The Wide Window and The Miserable Mill, books three and four of A Series of Unfortuate Events. I haven’t been reviewing these because they work to a particular formula and I don’t think I would have enough to say about each of them individually, but they are rather addictive! Though I seem to be liking the odd-numbered books better than the even-numbered ones, so that’s a thing.

And last but not least, I’m going to put this here because I’m going to finish this tonight, So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson on audio. This is an interesting book exploring the issue of public shaming in the age of the Internet, and how a person can have the virtual screaming hoards pile onto them and they can lose their jobs, etc, over one badly worded tweet. It’s fascinating stuff, though I think some of the things he talks about are a bit tangential, or at least the way he structures the book makes them seem that way.

I also posted my review of The Fearless Travelers’ Guide to Wicked Places by Peter Begler since my last post.

What are you currently reading?

After weeks of having this book as the answer to What do you think you’ll read next, I am finally actually reading Adverbs by Daniel Handler. It’s essentially a short story anthology, but the stories are all set in the same universe, and the main characters in some stories show up later in smaller roles in others. It’s interesting, but the writing style is a bit pretentious, but then I guess even his Lemony Snicket books are a bit pretentious.

 

What do you think you’ll read next?

So I thought my March TBR had gone right out the window, but I’m actually not doing too terribly with it, despite getting distracted by Jaclyn Moriarty. A Conjuring Of Light by V. E. Schwab is still waiting for me on Kindle, so that will probably be next. After that, I’m looking forward to returning to my Beat the Backlist and Australian Women Writers Challenge items for a while.

What are you reading this week? 🙂

~ Emily