January 20, 2017

Resistance by Jaye L. Knight (and some squealing over Jace)

When a cunning emperor threatens the lives of any who refuse to worship his false gods, a half-blood haunted by his bloodstained past and a young woman with a perfect memory must overcome their own fears and conflicts with society as they become part of the resistance. (Coming May 20, 2014) (Clean #NewAdult / #Christian #Fantasy) www.ilyonchronicles.com:
As aforementioned in my previous post of "mini book reviews" I just read Resistance by Jaye L. Knight and....and...

*deep breath*

I may as well warn you right off that this review will be incoherent and rambly and full of CAPS and gifs.
Unless I can restrain myself.

Which I doubt.


It all started when I was compiling a list on Amazon of all the books I'd like for Christmas and/or to buy with Christmas money afterwards. I added a few books published by Christian indie authors and fellow bloggers, and Resistance was one that happened to catch my eye and interest. It had so many good reviews, and I like medieval-styled fantasy fiction and so I added it to the list in hopes of getting it someday.

Fast forward to January, where I sat in front of my laptop, studying my Amazon wishlist, Christmas money tightly clenched in one fist as I agonized over which books to spend my precious money on.

(Note to readers, that paragraph was slightly embellished. My money was neither clenched in my fist nor anywhere near me, it was probably sitting in my wallet where money belongs, unless you have the prestige of owning your own bank account. Don't let money lie around, kids, it's not a good habit to get into. One day that money will go towards electricity bills and clothing for your children, not frivolous things like books for yourself. Indeed, what a wasteful spendthrift I must be!)
me, throwing my money away on books
(Another note. The use of the adjective "precious" in conjunction with the noun "money" must not be misunderstood. While the opportunity to trade green paper for books is indeed a luxury, I would not have you think money or the things it buys is truly precious in the grand scheme of things. The truly precious things in this world are God and our family and friends. Not money. Indeed, we must be careful never to let the love of money govern our lives. Hebrews 13:5)

(Third note. It is indeed difficult to choose which books to order and which to leave homeless on an Amazon bookshelf. After all, we want to adopt all the books, right?)

Now. Where was I?

Oh yes. Long story short, I chose Resistance as one of my Christmas books and now here I am, very happy for that chance decision, for its become one of my favorites and now I may review it all for you. :)

Let us begin with my favorite part of this story, one of the characters. A main character in fact. A main character whom I want to hug and comfort and tell him how amazing he is because he's just a poor little cinnamon roll cupcake muffin (yes, that's a thing) (I'll make it a thing) .....who thinks he has no soul.
That's right, Allan, what rubbish. Of course he has a soul. <3


There's a living, breathing, human man behind the weapon and machine they've forced him to be.:
This is not Jace. This is Bucky Barnes. But, I picture Jace slightly like a younger, thinner, more softened Bucky Barnes, thus the Bucky Barnes photo.
I can't tell you how much I adore and pity and admire Jace, the half-blooded orphan forced to fight as a gladiator since a young age and—and— *bursts into tears because of all the angst and heartache Jace goes through* (Which also means putting me through the angst and heartache as well.)

Jace is kind-hearted. He has a great capacity for love, except that no one gives him a chance. His life has been nothing but awful from day one (until Rayad rescues him) and yet does he let that make him into the cruel monster people think he is?
No sir.
You see, Jace is a half-blood. He's half human and half ryrik, a species of bloodthirsty killers whom everyone hates and fears. Because of this, Jace has to go through life being shunned and mistreated, and he protects himself by putting up barriers to his heart.
Then Rayad comes along. A kind, compassionate follower of Elôm, the one true God. He sees Jace being mistreated and buys him from his cruel master, in order to set him free and give him the chance to lead a normal, happy life.

Jace learns to trust Rayad. And Kalli and Aldor, friends of Rayad who take them in. They're all one big happy family till That Nameless Event Happens. Jace's heart breaks, my heart breaks, and Jace and Rayad have to be on the run again, till they find shelter in a secret camp for followers of Elôm.

Jace is the best. THE best. End of story. If you have anything bad to say about Jace, well....
Just don't.

PS. He also has a pet black wolf named Tyra. Need I say more?
Jace's pet wolf Tyra. http://www.ilyonchronicles.com/:

Rayad is definitely one of my favorite characters as well. He's kind, sensible, protective of Jace, and just an all around awesome and amazing kind of guy. The kind of man you'd WANT to adopt you if you were an orphan and everyone hated you.

Then there's Kryin. Kyrin is....hmm. I'm not sure how to describe her, except that I really love her. She's sweet....but she's also brave. She's relatable....and yet she combats struggles I can only imagine facing. You know what's probably the most inspiring part of her character? Her faith in Elôm. This girl faces torture, execution, separation from her family, separation from the brother she's had as her best friend for almost all her life, and she stills stays strong in her faith. Sure, she doubts and she wavers and she cries like we all do in tough times, but at the end of the day she trusts Elôm above all else, and lets His love and strength see her through. I don't know what could be more inspiring than that.
Inspiration for Kyrin the night of the dinner. www.ilyonchronicles.com:

She's also compassionate. When bullies tease Meredith (for the record, this is how I see Meredith) Kyrin stands up for her. And when Kyrin meets Jace and sees how the others treat him, she aspires to become his friend. She stands out in the rain, every day, early in the morning, just to go hunting with him. To show him she doesn't see him as a monster; to show him she wants to be his friend.

Yeah, I'm fine. I'll be okay.
*wipes away happy tears*

Speaking of Robin and Marian, according to the author's Pinterest board, she cast Robin and Marian as the characters of Trask and Anne AND THAT MADE ME SO HAPPY, OKAY?
Thank you, Jaye L. Knight, for creating a wonderful story with Jace as the hero and Robin and Marian as a couple.

Trask is the son of a baron who allows a hidden camp on his land (serious Robin Hood vibes, yet?) for all the followers of Elôm under persecution from the Emperor to hide. Lady Anne is the love of his love, the rock to his roll, the peanut butter to his jelly, the Marian to his Robin. (heh) She aids him in his work with the camp, and becomes one of Kryin's first friends after her escape from the emperor.
Oh yes, the emperor. :P
I see Emperor Daican as an old Christian Bale (well, old compared to his role in Newsies or Little Women). Can't you see it? With his beard and evil grin and emperor's crown?

Image result for emperor's new groove gif
He's a cunning king, a serpent in disguise really. When Kyin first began her work for him, she finds herself unexpectedly liking him. He was everything she didn't expect him to be, from his warm smile to his welcoming attitude. 
But eventually the truth wins out. Daican will stop at nothing to control all of Ilyon, and erase any followers of Elôm.
Ilyon's two moons, Aertus and Vilai, worshipped as gods. www.ilyonchronicles.com:

I have to pause a moment to talk about how the Gospel is presented in these books. It's a little allegorical, but I'm not sure I'd call it an allegory. But the message is clear, and the persecution felt by these believers in King Elôm strongly echoes Biblical history, especially the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. While there's no fiery furnace in this story, the characters face the same choice—worship the emperor's false gods or die. Of course,  Elôm's followers refuse, knowing they can bow to one one except the one true God.
Basically, I love the way this book contains a true Christian message, and clearly points to the real God of our real world, Jehovah Himself, all while staying within the confines of a fantasy world, with no reference to our own universe.

Back to the characters. Kaden, Kyrin's brother is such fun. Being super close to my brother myself (though we aren't twins like Kyrin and Kaden :P) I enjoyed seeing  a healthy brother-and-sister relationship in literature. Kyrin and Kaden rely on each other, protect each other, and are basically each other's best friend. It's not something you see often in literature, but I love it when it does appear. :) 
(Maybe this is the reason the heroine in my novel has five brothers? *cough*)
Kaden loves dragons. This makes me love Kaden even more and it makes me SUPER excited for the next book in the series because I THINK it will have dragons in it.

*tries to regulate breathing*

I don't really have room to talk about all the other wonderful characters....Sam, Tane, Lenae, Trev, Warin......the list goes on. But, rest assured, they're all superb. Especially Jace. Because I had to mention him again. :P

*Major Spoilers Ahead*
(And yet why do I even bother warning you? Everyone always tells me they read my spoilers anyways. :P You naughty readers.)

Okay. One thing about the ending that made me really happy??

Nobody died. 
(At least, nobody I cared about, heh.)
Why is this such a notable thing? BECAUSE I WAS REALLY AFRAID. People kept getting captured and scheduled for execution and I was like....

And then....things happened and I was able to breathe again. 

Can we talk about Jace's Heroic Moment when Trask is about to be executed and then later when Holden was in trouble and just...

*End Spoilers*
(You all read it anyways, didn't you? :P)

Finally, the moment came when I had to close the book. It was over. But oohhhhhh, what a wonderful ending and WHAT EXCITEMENT I HAVE--A NEW SERIES TO LOOK FORWARD TO.

I was on a book high for the rest of the morning I finished this book. It just made me so happy!! But, slowly that subsided into a bit of a book hangover and I couldn't find interest in any other book for a day or so. -sigh- 

more or less....

If I had to find anything bad to say about this book, it would only be that I found the writing a little too bare and stilted at times. There's not a whole lot of description, but then I suppose that suits the style of this book, with its suspenseful and adventurous pace. 
And I didn't care for some of the words chosen for the characters at times. Exclamations like "wow" or "oh, man!" just didn't seem to fit, being that Ilyon is, in my understanding, a medieval-inspired fantasy world. But, that's just me. :P I suppose some people might not mind a little modern edge.

If any part of this review makes you think you'd like this book, please read it. You won't regret it. 
(At least, I hope not.) 

That's all, my friends! Thank you for reading (or skimming, I won't judge) another one of my extremely long reviews. 

Have you read Resistance?
If so, what are your thoughts?
(If you don't like Jace just please don't comment. It may ruin our friendship.)

PS. I have eighty-one followers. EIGHTY-ONE PEOPLE LIKE MY BLOG. I feel incredibly flattered and happy, indeed. Thank you all for your continued support and love and comments, because each and every one brightens my day. You all are the best. :D
PPS. If you're a silent blog follower and never comment, please don't hesitate to do so. I'd love to make your acquaintance and personally thank you. <3

January 16, 2017

Mini Book Reviews~Two

Well, I've been shamefully absent.

But here I am again, bringing back a post concept I used two summers ago. I love books, and book reviews are such fun to write, but I have neither the time nor energy to write full posts on each book I love, much less all the ones I read. But, I want to share some of my newly discovered favorites with you all, and praise the highly honored favorites to the skies. And fangirl over a few. I'm afraid I won't be able to leave this post without the Caps lock. Bear with me. :)

The False Prince by Jennifer A. Nielsen
The Ascendance Trilogy is a new favorite, although I admit I didn't fall in love with The False Prince. The falling-in-love part happened with the next book, The Runaway King. But this first book is still utterly fantastic and fun. Sage is the BEST. His sassy and witty remarks never fail to make me smile or laugh, and I love reading books that make me laugh. The plot is ingenious and that plot twist...oooOOooh. Read this book. Then you'll see what I mean. :P

The Runaway King
THIS BOOK I LOVE. Ahem. Right away, I could tell this would be more exciting than The False Prince...not to mention, I already knew and loved the characters so everything was off to a great start. And then Fink appeared on the page, and Sage's sass is even better, and he goes to the pirates and...and...

I officially want to adopt Fink. He is the funniest, most pathetically adorable boy and HE IS MINE. 
AND WHEN HE FAKE-CRIES. Mah goodness, this boy. <3

Not to mention, this book contains so much suspense and adventure. SO MUCH. And crazy things like Sage climbing a cliff with a broken leg. 
 AND IMOGEN AND SAGE. I love them so much. 
(Also, the planting-the-flowers idea was one of my favorite things.)

The Shadow Throne 
W o w. This conclusion was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. Especially the last few pages. And the battle scenes were a LITTLE draggy, but all in all I loved it.
Although, I wished Fink was in it more. :P
(I admit, I looked ahead when That Unspeakable Thing happened. I had to know whether it was true.)
(No regret. The scene in the dungeon made up for it. <3)
(PS. I guessed Tobias and you-know-who would fall in love. I was right!!)

A Year with C. S. Lewis by C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors and this year-length book with daily selections from his nonfiction works was greatly encouraging and inspiring. Snippets from Mere Christianity and The Weight of Glory especially tugged at my heart, and I hope to read those volumes soon.

Blue Ice and Amber by Èowyn Peterson
You probably recognize this author's name. ;) This short story is the creation of my dear friend and fellow blogger, Èowyn, who blogs over at Captured by the Word. I finally got around to reading this story recently and I was blown away. The writing is deliciously vivid, putting words to images and allowing you to see and feel and touch the setting through the eyes of the heroine, Lily. And then there's the viking warrior, Jarl Hubba, with his blue eyes and blonde hair and god-like appearance. 
To say this story is thrilling is to say the very least. And that's all I'll say, for you must read it yourself.  I will definitely be reading this again someday. :)

Resistance BY Jaye L. Knight
I admittedly just finished it this morning (after staying up till nearly midnight to keep reading because *spoilers* JACE AND KYRIN WERE BECOMING FRIENDS. MY HEART. *end spoilers*)...and am thus still suffering from a book high--which is much more enjoyable than a book hangover, if you're wondering.

And my small cupcake muffin.


Maybe I'll write a full review for this one. ;)

Beauty by Robin McKinley
This book was utterly beautiful, in its words and style and....everything! I loved how Beauty's sisters were not greedy and cruel, as the original tale has them. Instead, everything about Beauty's family life was sweet and touching. Everyone was so closely-knit and supportive. It was a refreshing thing in a fairy tale, where usually the heroine's family are either horrid or apathetic. :P
Descriptions of the Beast's castle were glorious and detailed and beautiful. And the Beast himself...mmm. :) He was both frightening and mysterious, but oh so gentle and pitiable. Reading this book felt so cozy and yet magical, just as a fairy tale should. I loved it and can't wait to read it again.

Kitty Carter, Canteen Girl by Ruby Lorraine Radford
I have mixed feelings about this book. On one hand, it's adorable and lighthearted, despite the mystery that our heroine becomes entangled in, Nancy Drew style. On the other hand, I've gotten so used to reading books with more deeply fleshed out characters and plots that the simple, happy characters of this novel fell a little flat. Not to mention, the progranda-ish optimism about the war effort is a little heavy handed. ;) Not that I'm putting down patriotism and helping out with the war effort, but the true horrid nature of war didn't seem to touch these characters. They seemed almost too happy about it. :P
But it was still sweet and entertaining. I'd probably read it again. 
(Also, how is it the heroines in books like these always gain a boyfriend within minutes of the story's opening who becomes their nice, cheerful best friend and confidante and helps them solve the mystery and ends by practically proposing marriage? Despite knowing each other for a like a week. These books make it look too easy. :P)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I finally read the most popular Christmas classic!! I was greatly surprised by the humor to be found in it. It was a light, fun, and easy read, compared with some most of Dickens' works, although I admit my interest dragged about 3/4 of the way through. Nevertheless, I stuck with it, and am glad to have done so. :)


Boston Jane by Jennifer L. Holm
These two were re-reads, but I had to include them because they're just so delightful and fun. Jehu and Jane never get old. I love them so much. <3
And though I handled reading The Claim much better this time around, it usually frustrates me to no end because of all the horrible characters who mess things up for Jane and the other nice people in Shoalwater Bay. I just want to pack William and Sally up and set them adrift in the Pacific. :P 
Don't worry, I'll give them supplies. They can make it to some to deserted island and make each other miserable.

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell
After it sat on my shelf for months, I finally picked up North and South and was able to relive one of my favorite miniseries through its original telling. Ahh, this book was lovely. I really can't decide whether I like the book or miniseries better, but there were definitely things I preferred in one and things I preferred in the other. One thing that definitely made the book stand out against the miniseries, however, is Margaret's strong faith in God. Her strength of character is so much apparent in the book, and the trials she goes through are much more clear. She is a heavily burdened character. Both her parents rely on her, and she has no one to share her cares, making the absence of Frederick from her life much more painful. But through it all Margaret remains steadfast. Reading of her struggles and optimism greatly encouraged me in some trials in my own life. One quote especially stood out to me while reading:
"Come! poor little heart! be cheery and brave."
Such a simple statement, and yet so often I need to tell just the same thing to my own heart, which whimpers and withers into sorrow and fear far to often. ;) And when I let my heart rest on Jesus, cheeriness and bravery are completely attainable things. I pray I learn how to do so more and more.

Also, I need to mention that Mr. Thornton is thrillingly just like Richard Armitage's portrayal (perhaps we should say Richard Armitage's portrayal is perfect compared to the book, but shh. I knew Mr. Thornton-Armitage before I knew Mr. Thornton of the book. :P) in the miniseries. And any part where Elizabeth Gaskell described his thoughts and feelings......ahhhhh. I melted. POOR MR. THORNTON. If you pity him in the movie, read the book. You'll pity him even more so. 

Have you read these books?
 If so, what are your thoughts?
Have my reviews convinced you to read any of them? ;)