Book Review: The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Mead


ruby circleBook Review:
 The Ruby Circle (Bloodlines #6) by Richelle Mead
Release Date: 2/10/15
Publisher: Razorbill
Source: Purchased
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The epic conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series is finally here…

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

After their secret romance is exposed, Sydney and Adrian find themselves facing the wrath of both the Alchemists and the Moroi in this electrifying conclusion to Richelle Mead’s New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series. When the life of someone they both love is put on the line, Sydney risks everything to hunt down a deadly former nemesis. Meanwhile, Adrian becomes enmeshed in a puzzle that could hold the key to a shocking secret about spirit magic, a secret that could shake the entire Moroi world.

Review:
If you recall, last year, I finally succumbed to peer pressure and binge-read the Vampire Academy series. But not ready to give up that world, I moved on to binge read The Bloodlines series. What I’m saying here is that these books are bingeable, I guess, and I was pretty psyched for a new one to come my way.

Quick note: The Ruby Circle is the 6th in a series, so this review contains definite spoilers for books 1-5. If you’re not cool with that, well… I’d turn back if I were you!

id turn back

There were many questions for Richelle Mead to answer in The Ruby Circle. Would the center hold? Would we ever find out who Dimka’s padre is? Could two crazy kids who just happen to also be a vampire and a witch née Alchemist make a marriage work? Where the eff is Jill and why is vampire government as slow-moving to change as our actual government?

Right, so yes, a little recap: Adrian (aforementioned vampire) and Sydney (aforementioned witch née Alchemist) are in lurrrrve, and have consummated said lurrrrve but this is… not exactly agreeable to the Alchemist society that raised her. So, naturally, said society tries to “reeducate” in a pretty chilling facility. She’s rescued and Adrian decides that the best way to protect her is…

Mawwiage

And just when they think they have everything worked out, the universe– or someone, anyway– throws them a curveball. Jill, the Moroi vampire princess and person who, because of a stupid law, needs to be in working order for the current Moroi queen to keep her throne, is kidnapped.

The bulk of the storyline in The Ruby Circle deals with the mystery of Jill. She’s their friend and they’re going to find her. I enjoyed everyone getting to be a little smart and bad-ass in this rescue mission and the solving of this mystery, including our old favorite bad-asses, Rose and Dimitri. I also quite enjoyed a couple of ~revelations about them.

But another common theme: Sydrian and their relationship. Their fears over whether or not they can work long-term, when often it seems like the universe conspires against them, or, in Adrian’s case, with his Spirit abilities, it sometimes seems like they work against themselves. But while they worry about how to manage that obstacle, it was refreshing that neither of them doubted the love at the root of the ‘ship.

One thing I have noticed before about Richelle Mead’s writing and something that I quite admire: she doesn’t mess around on plot. Every now and then it almost seemed like the plot of The Ruby Circle could become a little meandering and it’s as though Mead  went “well, that won’t do” and mixed it up, making for a plot that keeps moving. Often, these plot moves and changes in direction are done simply. Sometimes, it was just this side of too easy, but as a reader, Mead has me trusting enough to take the ride and willfully suspend my skepticism.

Okay, and now we talk a major spoiler, SO:

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

To sum up: I enjoyed the Ruby Circle, but it’s not my favorite in the series. Still, I definitely hope to see more of this world and get further glimpses of the characters I have come to love.

The center held, and the circle closed. But only for now, I hope.

 

Musical Match-up #1: The Last Five Years

musical match-up

Welcome to what I hope will become a semi-regular feature here on The Bevy Bibliotheque! In Musical Match-up posts, we’ll pair musicals with books!

Today’s choice:

the last five years why we broke up

 

The Last Five Years and Why We Broke Up

About The Last Five Years: A struggling actress and her novelist boyfriend recount the rise and fall of their 5 year love affair.

About Why We Broke Up: Min Green and Ed Slaterton are breaking up, so Min is writing Ed a letter and giving him a box. Inside the box is why they broke up. Two bottle caps, a movie ticket, a folded note, a box of matches, a protractor, books, a toy truck, a pair of ugly earrings, a comb from a motel room, and every other item collected over the course of a giddy, intimate, heartbreaking relationship. Item after item is illustrated and accounted for, and then the box, like a girlfriend, will be dumped. [Goodreads]

The common thread: Both are stories that the viewer/reader knows at the outset to be doomed. The musical and book both take us back through the relationship until we reach that boiling point: the end.

Top Ten Tuesday: Eleventy-thousand books from my childhood

ttt

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, in which we create top ten lists that involve books.

Today, we’re talking about books from our childhoods that we’d like to revisit, and because I am apparently a cheater, I picked mostly series and, therefore, well over ten.

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowlingharry potter picmonkey

2. Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce

3. Immortals series by Tamora Pierce

alanna and daine

4. Circle of Magic series by Tamora Pierce

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5. Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene

nancy drew 26. Grimm’s Fairy Tales

grimms 2

7. Five Little Peppers & How They Grew by Margaret Sidney

fivelittlepeppers2

8. The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner

boxcar

9. The Baby-sitters Club series by Ann M. Martin (with a particular emphasis on the mysteries and super mysteries)

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10. The Stinky Cheese Man by Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith (I still think this is the most hilarious children’s book in like… ever)

stinky cheese man

And for an 11th entry, and a bonus! Books from my childhood that I will never read again: pretty much anything by R.L. Stine.

…I was am a ‘fraidy cat, okay?

Audiobook Review: Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch

red seasBook Review: Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch (Gentleman Bastards #2)
Release Date: 6/20/2007
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Source: Library
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After a brutal battle with the underworld that nearly destroyed him, Locke and his trusted sidekick, Jean, fled the island city of their birth and landed on the exotic shores of Tal Verrar to nurse their wounds. But even at this westernmost edge of civilization, they can’t rest for long — and are soon back to what they do best: stealing from the undeserving rich and pocketing the proceeds for themselves.

This time, however, they have targeted the grandest prize of all: the Sinspire, the most exclusive and heavily guarded gambling house in the world. Its nine floors attract the wealthiest clientele — and to rise to the top, one must impress with good credit, amusing behavior… and excruciatingly impeccable play. For there is one cardinal rule, enforced by Requin, the house’s cold-blooded master: it is death to cheat at any game at the Sinspire.

Brazenly undeterred, Locke and Jean have orchestrated an elaborate plan to lie, trick, and swindle their way up the nine floors… straight to Requin’s teeming vault. Under the cloak of false identities, they meticulously make their climb — until they are closer to the spoils than ever.

But someone in Tal Verrar has uncovered the duo’s secret. Someone from their past who has every intention of making the impudent criminals pay for their sins. Now it will take every ounce of cunning to save their mercenary souls. And even that may not be enough…

Review:
MAN.

You guys, Scott Lynch can write a fantasy book, let me tell you. Not only is his world-building ACES and unique, keeping his Gentleman Bastards series standing well apart from the rest, but Red Seas Under Red Skies has more than world-building to recommend it.

Friendship!- The bromance between Jean and Locke could bring a tear to your eye.

The WIT- Ahhhh, this dialogue. It goes from caustic sarcasm to smooth plays on words and back again. Amazing.

Plotting- Dude. DUDE. The plotting in this series is so intricate that it’s like a finely stitched tapestry. The heists within heists and plots within plots make my mind boggle and I have to bow to Scott Lynch’s abilities.

AWESOME LADIES- This was sort of my chief quibble with The Lies of Locke Lamora- not enough ladies by half. In fact, I seem to remember only one, and then she– ahem. Spoiler. But yeah, no ladies. But in Red Seas Under Red Skies, a couple of kick-ass women (and lady PIRATES, no less, btw) take center stage and they made me all flaily and just. God damn, this book, you guys.

The narration- I do not have time to compose an ode to Michael Page’s narration, but rest assured that if I did, I would. This is not just narrating, but skilled voice-acting. The story comes alive by an extra degree with Page’s portrayal of the characters.

Who needs pirates like Jack Sparrow when there’s Zamira Drakasha? And who needs heists like Oceans 11 when there’s Locke freaking Lamora?

And May the Odds Be Ever in Peggy’s Favor (Agent Carter recap 1×07: “SNAFU”)

agentcarter

Back to back Agent Carter posts on the blog! So yeah… this penultimate episode gave me crazy anxiety and for more than half the episode I was just cursing the dudes from the SSR for continuing to believe that Peggy was evil and working for the enemy. Of course, Peggy was able to SHUT THEM DOWN in this episode when they finally come to their senses, but it was still ultra frustrating because how could anyone think anything less of her??? IDK.

1×07: SNAFU

Anyway, this week’s episode sees Peggy interrogated by Agents Sousa, Thompson a.k.a. CMM, and Dooley. They each attempt to take their own approach to getting some answers out of her, but obviously they all fail because SHE IS TELLING THE TRUTH. I suppose they can’t be blamed for not trusting her as they know close to nothing about Leviathan–they don’t even realize that the psychologist they saved in Russia is actually AN EVIL MASTERMIND with the ability to control your mind and actions. I must say that I think I was the most disappointed with Sousa. I mean, I’m not surprised at Dooley or CMM; the latter may be more understanding due to past ~moments they shared while overseas, but they’ve always been tough on her. Sousa? *Harry Potter voice* HE WAS HER FRIEND! C’MON, you obviously don’t know her that well if you really think she’s the bad girl.

Speaking of bad girls, Dottie continues to roam freely around the city, purchasing newborn baby items for unknown reasons. Nothing to be worried about there…

With Peggy trapped in the SSR HQ, Jarvis comes to the rescue with a signed confession from Howard Stark…except it’s a fake because along with cooking, cleaning, and chauffeuring skills, Jarvis is also an excellent forger. All seems well until Peggy decides to reveal that the confession isn’t real and Stark has actually been unreachable. She ends up actually confessing everything that went down and her involvement with the retrieval of Stark’s inventions. Eventually, they believe her. Unfortunately, it’s a liiiiiittle too late because Dr. Evil Russian Psychologist has used his mind control powers on Agent Dooley. Dr. E-R-P escapes with Item 17 of Stark’s inventions, and Dottie pulls a Jarvis and picks her accomplice up for a quick getaway.

Included in this episode are also the following: Jarvis charming the “phone operator ladies” with a ridiculous, but adorable smile; Peggy and Jarvis working together to knock down a mirror while handcuffed to the table, Peggy’s epic speech about how she was able to get away with her secret missions because she’s invisible to everyone, Dooley’s sacrifice via running into the window while wearing an explosive vest (R.I.P. Agent Dooley, you were kind of annoying, but still… You were just trying to do your job.), Dottie escaping down a stairwell using some hardcore stair/wall kicks/narrow-spaced Parkour; a bunch of civilians going absolutely BATSH*T VIOLENT IN THE MOVIE THEATRE.

Ah yes, so what IS Item 17, you ask? Ummm, well it’s not exactly clear. At first it seems to be some sort of poisonous gas, but then the people in the theatre its released in don’t choke to death. Instead, it sets off some sort of trigger that turns everyone into bloodthirsty District 2 tributes and the theatre into a Hunger Games arena. An usher opens the door to reveal everyone has been massacred… BY EACH OTHER. No victor here, but let’s just hope that Peggy and the team can win the final round. And I say the final round because there is only ONE EPISODE LEFT!

(Cross-posted to Up and Comers)