The Curse Mark: Chapter Six



Boys, idiots, Cara thought as she shoved her way through the crowd.  Though Cara hardly spared a thought for who she passed by or whether they were even boys to begin with, they could have been men! But well, like Cara cared.  Uncouthness was uncouthness, and what she had seen was enough to categorise and file away.

Sighing heavily, she had no idea where to go now.  She had completely failed in her attempt to tempt Adrienne Cynzia into telling her about Lennox Vanderwerken.

Making her way to the best hotel in the city (it was so much classier to call it a town, though it looked more liked the city she had grown up in over two hundred years ago, and not at all like a city that existed in the present day), Cara charmed her way into a very last minute, upper class hotel room.   With a flick of her hair, and a flash of a smile, Cara was booked in and at a fine price too.  Even if she earned enough and had enough savings for several times over, there was no need for her to waste it on accommodation, was there?  But then, her own place would be nice.  And if she was truly honest with herself, she technically did not have that much in savings, not with her frivolous attitude to life.

As she took the keycard from the receptionist, the woman said, “I love your outfit.”

Blinking, Cara smiled, “thank you, perfect isn’t it?” She said twirling around once elegantly, showing off the Victorian era dress.   Although Cara’s head was tilted to the side looking down at her dress, she was not actually doing that.  It was just anyone who was within her vicinity who was affected by her illusion who saw what she wanted them to see, including the fact that she currently looked ten years older, slightly taller, and was twirling around.  In reality, she was merely standing there, smiling with the keycard in her hand ready to leave.

Waiting out the receptionist’s awe, Cara politely took the compliments and said, “custom made,” when the woman asked where Cara had gotten such a dress.  She had had it for years, along with a closet full of similar dresses in different shades.

“It’s amazing,” said the woman in awe.

“Yes, it is,” she said with a hint of impatience in her voice that did not match the friendly smile on her face.

Cara watched carefully, noting the way the receptionist’s smile dimmed a bit when she sensed the impatience, perhaps even heard it, but didn’t see any evidence of impatience on Cara’s face.  This made Cara highly amused.  She enjoyed watching the confusion in the receptionist’s eyes, and were it not because she had other, better things to do, Cara wouldn’t have mind messing with the receptionist’s mind a little bit more for the fun of it.

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Talon. Julie Kagawa.


Talon by Julie Kagawa
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
**Choice Read 1st Quarter Reads (Fantasy) 2015 for the Quarterly Book Club

So this is the third series I’ll have read from Julie Kagawa. Sure, I wasn’t that overly ecstatic about her Fey series, and while I liked her vampire series well enough, there were, like always things that I disliked. As for Talon, I’m finding myself in a half half place. I’ll actually give this a rating of 3.5 because while I did enjoy it, Ember was a character I could dislike as much as like. She was very unpredictable, even if her plot and character development in the book was very predictable.

I suppose it’s difficult to really judge this book with a fresh memory of another series by the same author. It makes it harder to be impressed. Reading her vampire series did catch my attention and perhaps like the genre a little more. Or maybe it was just what’s-his-name who was just such a great anti-hero character that I really had to read more about him. But for Talon, I can’t decide how I feel about it. I mean, it wasn’t crap, by all means it wasn’t. But Talon, to me, resonated a very ‘Blood of Eden’ vibe, just different character, setting and genre as well as supernatural species. Between the both, there are similarities, main girl is a supernatural creature who has to hide her true nature and meets a guy who she falls in love with and then eventually the secret is revealed explosively and then the story ends with them helping each other before parting.

In saying that, both this series and her previous one are very different. There were just some things that seemed too familiar, asides from the cheesy cutesy moments.

SO the pros…
>> Ember Hill has a very distinctive name, which I swear makes her seem more like a dragon than anything, same with her brother Dante. ‘Ember’? But still, it’s not a bad name for an MC. Character-wise, I liked her. I might have liked her more because of the alternating POVs. Without them, it would have probably been hard for me to like her because she had a personality that is so unpredicatable, she could have seemed too perfect. I didn’t really like her personal journey in this book. It was more about Garret than anything, but I guess I liked that between her and her brother, she was the naive one. Characters who know too much, sometimes find it difficult to not sound ridiculous to me.

>> Dante you rat. At the end, even though it was predictable, I feel sorry for your sister, but well, guess I’m curious about you and your character in the next book. I want to see what kind of person Dante is, other than the sketch of him that we were given in Talon, because I feel like he has the potential to be a very interesting character.

>> Garret for now, I have nothing to say about you. So far you are like the classic brooding heroic type of guy with steely grey eyes and muscles to envy. Nice as you might seem, you remind me all too much of how two-dimensional you can be if that little description I just gave is all that I can remember of you. But no, Garret is a St. George soldier, a human who is the enemy of the dragons of Talon, and therefore Ember’s natural enemy, and trained to kill dragons. He meets Ember while looking for a sleeper dragon, dragons that are assimilated into society such as Ember and Dante, and falls in love with her. That’s pretty much all I can say about him. I’m just waiting for him to inflate into a 3D guy now….because although he has a personality, hates and likes, I don’t know, I just don’t feel his character much. Maybe this is because of the alternating POV style Kagawa has adopted for Talon.

>> Riley the rogue whose POV was added later on in the story. I don’t like him, hot as he sounds. I feel like there was too much, ‘Ember must come with us’, ‘We won’t leave without her’, and ‘I can feel he belongs to me’ kind of crap. I don’t like him. Not because he’ll probably serve as the third party to a potential love triangle (though I get the feeling there won’t be one), but because I just don’t like his over confident, cocky ass.

And now, with that aside…the plot of Talon was simple and straightforward enough, but nothing really to fangirl over. While this was a very interesting read, it was also not as interesting as other things I’ve read. And reading this after Clariel, you can definitely see the difference of strengths between two different and experienced authors. In this case, if I had to pick between the two, I would probably pick Clariel over Talon, because while yes Talon suits what I”m looking for now–something contemporary (reallyyyyy craving it)–I feel I was more engaged with Garth Nix’s story than with Julie Kagawa’s.

In light of this… I’ve read quite a few dragon books, and this one does hold it’s own against other great stories I’ve read. However, I guess it lacks and which I hope to see it pick up in the next couple of novels, which it might, since that was the case with the previous Kagawa series, is the plot. Something epic would be nice, something that escalates and escalates and than explodes in bright heart wrenching explosive pieces that also melds your heart back into one whole piece and back into your chest. This is something I feel Kagawa lacks, even though she is good, somewhat, in building a relationship between two people. Well. I do intend to read Rogue next, sometime soon. Not sure when though!

View all my reviews

Other Worthy Reviews:

~> The Day Hagrid Hired a Sub: Talon by Julie Kagawa// @ Howdy YAL

~> ‘Talon’ by Julie Kagawa// @Emdoesbookreviews

Random Music Moment #143

This song is my random music moment because of its title.

I can always do with something about ‘Dreams’.  Plus, I like what I hear, and its Bastile featuring Gabrielle Aplin

I Am Not; I Am.

I am not

An intellect

A writer

A dreamer

An optimist

A thinker

An artist

A poser

A lover

A doer

A reader

A sleeper

But I love

To think of the things

That ought to be deeply thought

And express them in a way

I can do as freely as I choose

And long for a time when I can

Act in a way to save the world

And smile and say ‘it’s okay,

The world will be fine’

But it is a thought,

That might be thought

That needs to be painted

To screened on a sheet

To be dreamt of,

In future tense,

To be displayed in all

It’s wonderful glory,

It is love

At its highest,

A thing that ought to be done

A fairytale dream to be lived,

In the dark recesses of the night time,

I guess I am,

An intellect

A writer

A dreamer

An optimist

A thinker

An artist

A poser

A lover

A doer

A reader

A sleeper

Someone so ordinarily special.

A Thousand Things to Say #2

A Thousand Things to Say #2 — Have a dream, even if it’s impossible, doesn’t mean you can’t have something a little impossible that you want to make possible.

Life is unpredictable.

I know as one gets older, chasing a dream becomes more and more like a dream and no longer a reality, especially when reality sinks in and we’re forced to make choices about our future.  Plans are made, decisions are decided, and careers are begun, leaving behind the dreams that as children we had held onto so tightly.  These days, as I wait, stuck in an in between place, I wonder about my future.  I feel uneasy because I know the older I get, and the more steps I take towards a path aimed at providing income only and most likely no joy at all (I’m aware how narrow minded this sounds but I’m also aware that I’m a person who wants to be happy with her choice and will strive harder to find a happy place rather than settle with what I get), I move further and further away from my dream.

However, I always want to follow my dreams.  It seems as I get older, my dreams grow in numbers. And while I have two main dreams I want to make reality, I know neither will be easy.  Because life is unpredictable after all.  As I kid, I had plenty of dreams, but you know, with life, half of them dropped away because they were just fanciful things that were said one day, but truthfully I, as a person, did not feel much of a desire to follow them.  However, throughout my life, I’ve always had one main goal–rather this goal was born, left to rot, then years later picked up again and since, been cherished.

To me, I find it impossible to conceptualise (and I am highly aware that perhaps for some, having a dream and following it might not be the first priority) a person without a dream.  When I asked my ex what his dream was, he didn’t have one other than the usual ‘to be rich’.  To me, in him, I saw someone who wasn’t reaching for a higher goal, wasn’t striving to be more than the average person, didn’t really have a future goal.  And while at the time, I was understanding and didn’t say much of it, in hindsight I know my own thoughts about his answer were unfair.  Everyone’s dream is a different size.  Not everyone will put chasing a dream first on their list. I know that.  I don’t always remember it.  But I do know it.

And it’s perfectly fine.  But still, I think it’s good to have some sort of goal to chase after.  Otherwise life will become just one long monotonous journey with little to look forward too.  Or perhaps, I am just overthinking all of this, and being too pretentious for my own good.

Still, I can’t help it.  I have had teachers in high school and tutors/Lecturers in university telling me, and saying that everyone should have a dream, something big to look forward to.  Some have already achieved their dream, while others are still striving.  For me, I could never articulate my dream aloud–I felt, and still feel if I say it aloud too often, it my just faded away and streak away from my outstretched fingers–and so often if this question came up in class, I would answer vaguely.  In truth, that always irritated me, and even though I have told myself to say it aloud and not be afraid.

I am still afraid.

A perfectly human thing to think and feel.  Because it’s not called a dream for no reason.  We have dreams in our sleep, and are aspirations of our ideals and desires.  There is no guarantee that our dreams can be reached.  Just like you’re always bound to wake up from your dream and return to reality.  Making a dream reality requires a lot of work, a lot of confidence in self, and I think, most importantly, the belief in yourself that you can surpass all your own fears and procrastinations to achieve that dream.  Life is unpredictable. But if you know yourself, then it might just be possible to chase that little dream however big or small.

Hopefully you’re chasing/still chasing your dream too?

The Curse Mark: Chapter Five



Memories were such fickle things.  Kenichi watched as Mio’s fingers twitched.  With her eyes closed, Kenichi knew she wasn’t just staring into some daydream with that usual dreamy look of hers.  It was because she was working.  The only time Mio was ever serious was when she was focusing on retrieving or erasing a particular memory.  Such as this very moment.  Leaning back against the cushy back of the booth, Kenichi’s violet eyes flickered between his imouto and her client.

The Fae Prince was not one of Mio’s usual customers.  He fell into the rare category; a kind of man who requested the removal of his own memories as opposed to someone else’s.

Selfish or selfless?  Kenichi considered the Prince.  He knew the man was a prince; the fool’s wings were poking out from underneath his polo shirt.  Kenichi had noticed.  Fae ranks were recognisable based on the colour and transparency of their wings.  Although Kenichi would not be what one would call an ‘expert’ on the Fae, but he was knowledgeable from his past experiences, most of them were unpleasant.   He could thank his imouto for that.

Kenichi couldn’t remember a day when he was not assisting his imouto and not running into trouble of some kind.  His eyes glanced once around the diner.  There were plenty to amuse the eye if one was interested in the colourful crowd that populated Riverton.  But they were not his concern.  Turning his gaze back to Mio, he watched her open her eyes and pull her hands away from the fae’s temples.

“It is done,” she murmured, her violet eyes, several shades paler than Kenichi’s, blinked slowly and de-hazed.  Very soon, Mio would revert back to her usual oblivious self and no doubt she would indeed seem like someone incapable of removing memories with absolute precision.  “Your request has been fulfilled, once you pay me, I shall remove all trace of this meeting as well.”

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