Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Review: 'Til the World Ends

'Til The World Ends (Blood of Eden #0.5)Authors: Julie Kagawa, Ann Aguirre, Karen Duvall
Release date: January 29th 2013
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Paperback, 368 pages
Buy: The Book Depository

Dawn of Eden by Julie Kagawa 

In my review of The Immortal Rules, I complained rather loudly about the lack of backstory and the incomplete worldbuilding. With Dawn of Eden, Kagawa elegantly took care of that little problem and gave us a story that is informative (a foundation for this series, I’d say), at times terrifying, but also very human and warm.

Although it describes the apocalypse, Dawn of Eden has a strong underlying message of hope that cannot be ignored. Some of the horrors portrayed are difficult to stomach, and I don’t say this lightly. I’ve read my fair share of horror, but a scene or two in Dawn of Eden made me uncomfortable at the very least. On the other hand, love can be born in such awful circumstances, and that’s what Kagawa decided to show us.

I find it most interesting that this story puts Kanin front and center, even though he appears very briefly. I feel it’s reasonable to assume that he’ll be the one to find some solution in the future. Since he’s my favorite character, I’m very much looking forward to seeing more of him.

Thistle & Thorne by Ann Aguirre 

It took no more than a few seconds for me to find myself completely immersed in this world. It’s amazing how Aguirre establishes her worldbuilding and her heroine’s voice in no more than two pages (and sometimes in a single sentece). Her world solidifies around you so quickly that you become captivated before you fully realize what’s going on. I’ve experienced this so many times now, but I never get tired of it.

Thistle and Thorne is begging to be a full-length novel. Now that I’ve caught a glimpse of this world, and especially the characters, there’s nothing I’d love more than to see it turned into a series. I’m quite willing to beg and bribe, if necessary.

The ending was perfect – it was both entirely satisfying and open enough to leave me hopeful and excited about things to come. The world Aguirre created has an enormous potential and I’m confident she’ll make the best of it. She always does.

Sun Storm by Karen Duvall 

Sun Storm is a well-written and well-paced story, although it certainly isn’t without issues, especially in the romance department. I’m not a fan of couples that are drawn together by some supernatural force or that are get together in a situation where they have no other options because I feel it makes their love both unconvincing and less valuable. Some authors find a way to make it work regardless (Tahereh Mafi is an excellent example), but Karen Duvall is not among them, at least not in this case. Sarah and Ian were drawn together by their abilities, they complemented each other perfectly. That left me wondering about the nature of their (rather sudden) attraction for each other. As hard as I tried, I just didn’t believe their feelings were genuine.

Sun Storm may be the weakest link in this anthology, but it’s still a decent enough tale. The worldbuilding alone is interesting and thought-provoking enough to make this story well worth your time.


  1. "Some of the horrors portrayed are difficult to stomach, and I don’t say this lightly." - Now, I'm really curious to see how the apocalypse in this world Kagawa created happened. And Kanin is my favorite in this series too. Definitely looking forward to more of him. :)

    Thistle and Thorn sounds fantastic. I can see how a good characterization and intact worldbuilding can make you really enjoy a story. I'm glad this one has both.

    I don't have that much problems when couples are drawn together by supernatural forces as long as it is written convincingly and not too conveniently. I'm sorry you find Sarah and Ian's attraction not that genuine but I'm glad that the overall tale is still a decent read.

    Fantastic reviews, Maja! :)

  2. I hadn't heard of this book but after good experiences more or less with anthologies in the past year, I'm willing to give them a try. This book especially intrigues me because I haven't yet decided how I feel about some of these authors. But what you said about Julie and Ann's stories is really piquing my interest! I love stories with great world-building or the ability to make you want the author to flesh it out into a full-length novel.

  3. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed these stories! Of course, they're by fantastic authors so, really, I shouldn't have been, but you never know when it comes to short stories. The ones by Julie and Ann were by far my favorite but I liked the rest, too.

  4. I don't very much indulge myself into short stories often. Mostly Novella's at the moment! But I do agree on the backstory of Eden in The Immortal Rules. I've just finished it, I really enjoyed it but there wasn't very much description of the contextual elements of the novel. (Wow, sorry for the large words, that's what my English does to me when I just come out of them! :)) Great reviews, I may need to take a look at this book! :)

  5. "Thistle and Thorne is begging to be a full-length novel. Now that I’ve caught a glimpse of this world, and especially the characters, there’s nothing I’d love more than to see it turned into a series. I’m quite willing to beg and bribe, if necessary."

    Sign me up for the begging and bribing Maja! I'm so in. As soon as I finished that story, I sprinted to my computer and started chanting "please be a series, please be a series" as I frantically searched her website for news on it. I didn't find any though. *sobs* Still, I'm holding out hope that she'll circle back to these two in the future!

  6. never heard of this one myself but it sounds like Ann Aguirre did a great job on worldbuilding, anytime that happens you cannot help but crave for more!

  7. Kanin has quickly become one of my favourite characters too, have you read The Eternity Cure yet? You will definitely fall in love with him even more in that book! From your mini-review of Thistle & Thorne I think I would end up enjoying this too! Especially if it left you wanting a full length novel from it! Lovely reviews Maja! :)

  8. I really need to read more by Ann Aguirre, don't I? Your never-ending praise of her has me incredibly curious! Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed Kagawa's novella. I find that her writing/plots somehow never work for me and while The Immortal Rules wasn't bad - and I have an ARC of The Eternity Cure - I'm not interested in continuing the series. Maybe I should try the e-novella before making up my mind? Hmm... Wonderful reviews, Maja! :D

  9. I love that you rated these stories individually instead of together because anthologies are so hard to rate as a whole because there is almost always one that stands out and one that isn't so great.

    I think I need to pick this up before I start the Kagawa series. I didn't realize it had so much background info in it.

  10. I was tempted to pick this one up but didn't because I thought they were novellas that went along with already established series? I wasn't aware that these were stand-alones, that makes me want to pick it up for sure now. Lovely review, I love how each story is given their own rating. Rating anthologies as a whole seems so difficult. :) Great review, Maja!

  11. Two out of three isn't too bad! I want to read more short stories...but some of them really do make me want it to be turned into a full length. I hope you get yours from Ann, though!


  12. I saw this one at the store the other day, and I wish I had picked it up! It was definitely on my TBR list because of the authors, but now that I've read a bit more about each of the stories I want to read it even more.

  13. Well, Maja, I have read the first book in Julie Kagawa's The Iron Fey series and it was amazing. So I am pretty sure her Down of Eden will be great, too
    Thistle and Thorn looks interesting! Might give the author a try
    I hate unconvincing relationships, too
    Your reader

  14. I'm with you on this one. Ann Aguirre's story just rocked and SO needs to become a full length novel. I was suprised by Kagawa's story as it read more adult than YA. Still was good. I did have problems with the world in Duvall's world. I could buy the mystical stuff, but not the way they lived under conditions (especially the infirm). Still, I agree, was decent. :)

  15. I need to pick this up, if only for no other reason than to read Thistle and Thorn and join in your series begging and bribing. :-) I've seen a few other reviewers profess their love for this story, and I know they wish it would continue too.
    I'm also intrigued to read Dawn of Eden. I loved Kanin in the Immortal Rules, and I'll take whatever narrative scraps I can get about him. Honestly, I'll probably buy this book for these two stories and skip Sun Storm. It doesn't sound like it's for me. Thanks for reviewing these individually, you did a lovely job!

  16. :) Kanin is an AMAZING character! I'm glad the novella shares about hope.

    Wow, thats incredible that Ann can portray a full-thrown character in just two pages. Wow, will check out her work. Nice that her novella felt complete and could have more happen, hopefully she continues!

    Well, not every book can have a good romance. Glad the plot was good.

    Terrific reviews Maja!

  17. I have read several reviews of this one and everyone is in agreement that Ann's story is just fantastic, Kagawa's is solid but the last one totally falters. I really want to read Kagawa and Ann's stories. I must get my hands on this!

  18. This was a really good anthology and all of the stories were solid, I really like the darkness Kagawa brought to her tale, and it really gave me a sense of the world from Immortal Rules.

  19. This sounds like such an interesting book of stories, particularly the Dawn of Eden. I'm a big horror fan, so I'm really eager to see what horrors are hard to stomach. Great post!

  20. I have this one!!! I need to get to it. I'm hoping soon. :) Thank you!! Such a winner!

  21. YAY! I'm really glad you enjoyed this anthology so much :) I'm a HUGE fan of Julie Kagawa, so I definitely need to pick this one up soon, especially considering the worldbuilding in it! Ann's also sounds extremely amazing!

    Great reviews!

  22. I just heard about this book today! I can't believe there was an Immortal Rules story that I didn't know about. I definitely have to check this book out, though I've yet to read anything by Ann or Karen. I'm glad you liked each of these stories, though I can definitely see you liked Ann's story the best (which I definitely expected from you, Maja, haha!). Fabulous reviews! :)

  23. I need to read this! I got it off of Netgalley (I think I'm in the doghouse over there, I'm so behind!) and I can't wait to pick it up. I really want to try Ann Aguirre's short story, even more so with your 5 stars. I enjoyed Immortal Rules so I'm looking forward to a backstory. Great reviews Maja! :)

  24. Okay, I wasn't sure if Julie's was the same world, so that's good to know. Safeway actually has this book and I keep getting tempted to grab it (it's not real often the grocery store has a book I actually really want). And I'm all about Anne Aguirre as well. Glad this was a winner!

  25. Dawn of Eden was awesome. I loved the background story and how we get to see Kanin. Thistle & Thorne wasn't my cup of tea and I loved the unique promise from Sun storm, but the executing wasn't fantastic.

    Great review! :)

  26. This is the first I've heard of this! I'm really glad you liked it, but anthologies really aren't my thing - I've no idea why! Great review! :)

  27. Kanin is one of my favourite characters, too, and he's probably the main reason why I want to read Kagawa's short, despite the brief appearance. Sun Storm isn't appealing to me quite as much, though that's probably because I rarely pick up novellas or short stories from authors whose books I haven't tried before.

    Great reviews, Maja! :)

  28. I wanted to read this just for the Julie Kagawa short story. It is great that there is a lot of backstory on how the world came to be. I think Kanin will be the one to find a cure.


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