Profile for C. Manning > Reviews

Personal Profile

Content by C. Manning
Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,768
Helpful Votes: 220

Learn more about Your Profile.

Reviews Written by
C. Manning (London, UK)
(REAL NAME)   

Show:  
Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20
pixel
Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice (book 6)
Vampire Academy: Last Sacrifice (book 6)
by Richelle Mead
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Vampire Academy closes its doors, 24 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The moroi Queen is dead, found murdered in her bed with Rose Hathaway's stake embedded in her chest. Caught in a desperate race to clear her name, Rose and her friends find themselves forced to play detective and solve the case for themselves. Political machinations and motives abound but can they find the killer before Rose loses her life? And what will her friends be forced to do in her defense?

This is the sixth and final book in the Vampire Academy series (after Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss, Blood Promise and Spirit Bound). This is a series you really need to read in order so I'd definitely recommend starting with book 1 (as well as not reading any further as I may spoil all the previous books).

This is a pretty awesome end to the series. The storyline is well plotted and action packed, leading the characters off on two interlinked quests - proving Rose's innocence and finding Lissa's sister - whilst some stay behind at court to buy them time. There are a lot of twists and turns, although I figured out some in advance, and lots of plot lines from earlier books are brought forward and concluded.

However some storylines were left unconcluded which I have mixed feelings over. On one hand Adrian, Sydney and Jill are all set to feature in the spin-off series which starts with Bloodlines so I'd expect their storylines to continue, but I've heard no mention of Eddie continuing. If he doesn't I'll be really disappointed as he gave up a lot to help Rose and there's not really been any mention of his future.

Rose has to fight to prove her innocence, whilst also being protected by her friends and family which she is resistant to as they are putting themselves at risk. It also forces her to work with Dimitri and leaves her battling her feelings for him while trying to honour her relationship with Adrian. She's grown a lot since the series started and I felt for her as she struggles to clear her name.

Lissa has also grown a lot since the beginning of the series and in order to buy Rose time she has entered the race to be named the new Moroi Queen. This not only gives a view into the monarchy tests which I found fascinating, but also brings the vampire politics storylines to the forefront and seeks conclusion to them. I loved how her relationship with Christian has helped bring out the best in her and their scenes together were incredibly sweet.

All in all this was a good end to a fun series and I'm looking forward to the spin-off.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Enjoyment: 9/10
Cover: 8/10

Overall: 44/50


Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5)
Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Book 5)
by Richelle Mead
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Powers of the spirits, 24 Jan 2013
Rose has been outrunning death since she swore to protect her best friend Lissa and has now returned to St. Vladimir's after failing in her quest in Russia. Refocused on placing Lissa first no matter what, Rose is now distracted by taunts from her former love as he hunts her down. Dimitri wants Rose to join him or die, but when the possibility of a cure arises Rose is soon questioning what cost she is willing to pay.

This is the fifth book in the Vampire Academy series (after Vampire Academy, Frostbite, Shadow Kiss and Blood Promise) which is a series I really recommend reading in order. After the twist at the end of the previous book, I jumped straight into this to see what would happen next. The storyline is well written and cleverly plotted, building the tension to a dramatic ending although at times this did feel like it was setting up the finale of the series rather than being a story in it's own right. Several storylines are left unconcluded which is disappointing, particularly in Eddie's case.

The book starts off at St. Vladimir's as Rose completes her final trials in her guardianship training, and then moves to the Court which gives a nice change of pace. Vampire politics take an even larger role as defense tactics are argued, including moroi learning to fight and dhampir rights being questioned. I was unexpectedly fascinated by this, particularly when arguments were made to force all dhampirs to serve as guardians regardless of their choices and even their age.

Rose and Lissa have been reunited but their bond has been tested by their time apart, most easily shown by Lissa's new habit of keeping secrets from Rose which is a total reversal from their roles at the start of the series. Together they are trying to find a way to save Dimitri and Rose is soon put in the position of having to decide what she is willing to risk losing in order to save him.

This is lower on romance than the previous installments which is a shame given that Rose has agreed to give a relationship with Adrian a go. Adrian is one of my favourite characters and I was hoping for more scenes between them rather than their romance taking a backseat to Rose and Dimitri's past. Rose puts their budding romance at risk as she takes more and more extreme action in hopes of finding a cure.

All in all, this was a fun read and I'm looking forward to Last Sacrifice.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 9/10
Enjoyment: 9/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 43/50


Vampire Academy: Blood Promise (book 4)
Vampire Academy: Blood Promise (book 4)
by Richelle Mead
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

4.0 out of 5 stars Friends divided, 24 Jan 2013
St Vladimir's has been attacked and as a result Rose has lost everything she holds dear. She had to choose between Lissa and Dimitri and has now journeyed to Russia to fulfil a promise to Dimitri. As Rose travels she doesn't realise the horrors and revelations in store for her, nor does she realise just how much danger she has left Lissa in and it quickly becomes clear that the risks are greater than ever before.

This is the fourth book in the Vampire Academy series (after Vampire Academy, Frostbite and Shadow Kiss) and if you're new to the series I'd recommend going back and starting with the first book. This review is also likely to contain spoilers for the earlier books.

I was really looking forward to this installment after the dramatic end of the previous book, but I have to say I ended up a little disappointed. The book has a dark and at times dismal feel and is much heavier in subject matter than the previous installments. The storyline is divided between Rose's quest to find Dimitri in Russia and Lissa's school life at St. Vladimir's which means there are two entirely distinct plots at the same time. The plots are well written and both build to dramatic endings, although I felt Rose's dragged at times.

Rose has travelled to Russia in search of Dimitri, essentially in order to kill him. Along the way she is introduced to Sidney and the existence of Alchemists who have existed for hundreds of years to protect humans from vampires (both moroi and strigoi) and their dhampir guardians. Syndey took a lot of getting used to as she is pretty bigoted against non-humans at the start, although I gradually warmed to her and ended up liking her a lot by the end of the book. Rose also meets Dimitri's family and experiences what life is like for dhampir's who choose not to become guardians.

Rose also learns more about spirit users and being shadow kissed and her reunion with Dimitri is dramatic. At times it felt like Rose stayed too long in certain situations and that is where the storyline felt dragged. One thing I loved that I didn't expect to was little flashbacks to Rose and Dimitri at happier times as these helped lighten the overall darkness of the storyline.

Meanwhile back at St. Vladimir's Lissa has befriended new girl Avery on the prompting of the Queen. It's interesting to see her reactions to political manipulation, and also how Lissa chooses to act when Rose isn't around. It quickly becomes clear that rather than being a bad influence, Rose was the only thing helping Lissa make good choices and before long her relationship with Christian is on the rocks and Lissa is putting herself in real danger.

All in all this was an interesting read and I'm looking forward to Spirit Bound.

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 8/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 42/50


Vampire Academy: Shadow Kiss (book 3)
Vampire Academy: Shadow Kiss (book 3)
by Richelle Mead
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars When the shadows take control, 23 Jan 2013
Rose Hathaway knows the romance between her and her tutor is forbidden, and worse that it places her best friend Lissa at risk. As Rose enters the final stage of her guardian training she is surprised to find it more challenging than expected, and more surprised to realise moroi students seem to be appearing bruised and battered with no explanation. But forces beyond Rose's control are building at could put everyone she loves at risk.

This is the third book in the Vampire Academy series (after Vampire Academy and Frostbite) which follows the moroi (vampire) and dhampir (half-vampire) students at St. Vladimir's academy. I recommend reading in order as each builds on the books before. The storyline was interesting and well-paced and builds to a dramatic no-holds barred showdown that is action-packed and full of brilliantly choreographed fight sequences.

Rose's shadow-kissed nature takes a larger role in this installment as she begins seeing ghosts and for the first time I found myself feeling sympathetic towards her. I was disappointed because I was able to figure a lot of the shadow-kissed storyline out in advance and had that been the only plotline my rating would have been much lower. Rose's relationship with Dimitri also adds more pressure to her situation.

Vampire politics continues to feature heavily in the books as the characters visit the Court and meet with the Queen. Manipulations start to occur and Lissa grows as a character when she manages to avoid being manipulated while expressing her own opinions in a very astute way. It seems that she's really growing into her role as the last Dragomir and her self-confidence gradually grows as she realises that.

Despite the visit to Court, the majority of the action takes place at St. Vladimir's where Rose stumbles a selection of bruised students who all "fell" and Adrian has taken up residence to work with Lissa on their spirit magic. The dhampir guardian students are finally taking their field experience, each guarding a moroi from staged attacks by the instructors. The guardian training has always been one of my favourite parts of the story so it's great to see it take a greater role.

All in all, this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Blood Promise.

Plot: 8/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 45/50


Vampire Academy: Frostbite (book 2)
Vampire Academy: Frostbite (book 2)
by Richelle Mead
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

5.0 out of 5 stars Snowbound vampires, 20 Jan 2013
When a massive vampire attack decimates a Moroi family, St. Vladimir's Academy is placed on high alert. With large numbers of the deadly Strigoi in the area it is decided that the winter trip to snowy Idaho is now mandatory. Even the glittering landscape and decadent ski lodge aren't enough to help with Rose Hathaway's relationship issues, leaving her stuck between an impossible relationship and a recently confessed crush. But real danger still lurks and will change their lives forever.

This is the second book in the Vampire Academy series (after Vampire Academy) which is a series I really recommend reading in order. I enjoyed this more than the first book in the series as the first book issues (like the flashbacks) are gone and a quick introductory prologue means that this leaps straight into the storyline. The book is action packed and well written, building tension to the shocking finale. I ended up glued to the page throughout and I loved that the action moved away from St. Vladimir's to a new snowy location as it changed things up.

Rose didn't irritate me as much in this installment. She still isn't my favourite character but she seemed less mean to people outside her immediate circle. Her mother Janine appears and their relationship also goes a long way to explaining why Rose acts as she does. Lissa and Christian are still awesome and I love that their relationship is bringing out the best in each of them. Dimitri is trying to be all official and teacher-like which means the potential romance with Rose is off, which again contrasts well with the happy state of Lissa and Christian's relationship.

Adrian Ivashkov is fast becoming my favourite character in the whole series. I love his snark and how he relates to Rose and the other main characters. By introducing him, the ideas behind spirit magic can be further developed which is awesome. Another new character that I really like is Christian's aunt Tasha who seems like a great person and again widens the world as the book takes a somewhat political stance when the argument of whether Moroi should learn to defend themselves or continue to rely on their guardians arises.

All in all, this was a great read and I'm looking forward to Shadow Kiss.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 9/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 45/50


Vampire Academy (book 1)
Vampire Academy (book 1)
by Richelle Mead
Edition: Paperback
Price: 5.59

4.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Vampire Academy, 20 Jan 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Vampire Lissa Dragomir is the last surviving member of her family. Rose Hathaway is sworn to protect her, and because of that Rose and Lissa fled St. Vladimir's academy and have been on the run for nearly two years. But when they are dragged back, Rose and Lissa must attempt to fit in and follow the rules...even if the threat that made them run still lingers.

This is the first in the much loved Vampire Academy series and I found it to be a great read, although it isn't without faults. On the plus side the storyline is well paced and has a new take on vampires which is well explored. Dividing vampires into good (the Moroi) and bad (the Strigoi) is something I've seen done before, but the author blended magic and politics with the vampires which makes this stand out. I also loved how the training of the guardians was shown as it isn't really something I've seen before.

One thing I disliked was that the story relies heavily on flashbacks to tell the story of why Rose and Lissa left St. Vladimir's in the first place, but these flashbacks feel a lot like info-dumping at times and are intrusive to the storyline. They pull you away from the current world and it's more than a little annoying at times. I'm hoping this is just part of the standard first book issues though and won't continue.

In terms of the characters, even after finishing, I'm still not sure what I think of Rose. I prefer to like the lead characters, even if they are flawed, but Rose was very bitchy at times and I found myself disliking her. There were a few instances where she did to someone else what they'd done to her and was apparently unaware that they would then go through what she had. That said I admired how in-your-face she could be and the confidence she was always able to project. Lissa on the other hand I liked from the beginning and only grew to like her more as the storyline progressed as she is a genuinely nice person.

Having two lead characters also means that there are two romantic storylines which contrast really well. Rose is attracted to her mentor Dimitri who is a real sweetheart, while Lissa is drawn to outcast Christian. Both are choosing 'unsuitable' partners but Lissa ends up following her heart rather than peer pressure which is great to see in a young adult book.

All in all, this was a good read and I'm looking forward to Frostbite.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 8/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 8/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 42/50


Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter Novels)
Archangel's Consort (Guild Hunter Novels)
by Nalini Singh
Edition: Mass Market Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars Time to meet the in-laws, 13 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
When a vampire attacks a girls' school in a fit of viscious madness, it is only the first in a string of violent events. Vampire after vampire is consumed by rampant bloodlust and Raphael is struggling to control them when he himself begins to show signs of uncontrollable rage. But when a massive storm threatens the New York the pattern behind the events becomes clear. An ancient is awakening and she seeks to reclaim her son. Caliane has returned...

This is the third book in the Guild Hunter series (after Angels' Blood and Archangel's Kiss) and is probably my favourite in the series so far. The storyline is densely plotted and packed with twists and turns, and the threat of an Ancient awakening is threaded through the book adding a vein of tension that enhances the plot. The suspense woven into the storylines is one of the things that I love most about this series, and this installment takes it to the next level.

After watching Elena's growth after the past few books, I was looking forward to seeing what was next for her and this takes things back to her family. It allows us to understand more about how her family functions and what role she was in. There is also a few surprises hidden in Elena's past and the flashbacks give her character even more depth. Her romance with Raphael is still going strong although at times I felt it drew attention away from the action.

The presence of Raphael's mother Caliane also means that flashbacks are again used to help develop their relationship by giving a window into their past. The flashbacks are always in italics and fit well within the story. Raphael is also dealing with the echoes of Lijuan's ascension and the changes that has made to the balance of power between the Cadre of ruling Archangels.

Once again the supporting characters shine through, particularly Dmitri who has been running things in New York while Elena recovered from her transformation. His book is up next and I'm eager to find out more about him. Bluebell also returns and there are some truly heartwrenching scenes with him that really made me feel for him.

All in all this was a great read and I'm really looking forward to Archangel's Blade.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 10/10
Cover: 10/10

Overall: 49/50


Mockingjay (part III of The Hunger Games Trilogy): 3/3
Mockingjay (part III of The Hunger Games Trilogy): 3/3
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing end, 13 Dec 2012
Katniss Everdeen has managed to survive two rounds in the Hunger Games but she still isn't safe. A rebellion is unfolding and it seems everyone contributed to the plans apart from Katniss herself. District 13 is alive and they need Katniss's help in their rebellion against the Capitol. Katniss must become their Mockingjay no matter what the cost.

This is the third book in the Hunger Games series (after The Hunger Games and Catching Fire) and one I was really looking forward to after the dramatic end to the previous book. Unfortunately this failed to live up to my expectations and I was left feeling very disappointed. Parts of the storyline didn't work for me and while the tension did build towards the end, I was beyond disappointed in that.

The rebellion has been something that has interested me for a while so to see that in action was brilliant. The idea of dressing Katniss up was a clever way of playing on the Capitol's concepts and reclaiming the spectacle usually reserved for the Hunger Games. That said Katniss struggles to be more than a pawn in their plots and it was disappointing to see her exchange one manipulative group for another.

The love triangle was a problem for me again, even when Peeta isn't there. There were moments where I genuinelyy felt for Katniss but again she seems incapable of deciding what she wants. Gale is caught up with the rebellion and Peeta is caught with the Capitol so it is almost like the triangle is a way of showing the larger rebellion on a small scale. This is never really shown well which is even more disappointing to me as a reader.

The ending is the part of the book that I was most disappointed in. It is hard to discuss without spoilers but suffice to say I was horrified by the deaths of certain characters and even more so by the conclusion of the love triangle. Katniss entirely fails to make a decision at all and instead just goes along with what everyone else decides. Never before have I seen a love triangle concluded by what is geographically convenient and I truly hope never to see it again.

All in all this was an okay read and I'd recommend it if you are a fan of the series.

Plot: 7/10
Characters: 7/10
Ending: 6/10
Enjoyment: 6/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 33/50


Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Book 2)
Catching Fire (Hunger Games, Book 2)
by Suzanne Collins
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.85

4.0 out of 5 stars Return to Panem, 13 Dec 2012
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have survived the Hunger Games. Unfortunately for them, their survival comes at a cost as their actions in the Games have triggered a rebellion against the Capitol. Now Peeta and Katniss must play an even more deadly game as the nation watches on. With higher stakes than ever a single wrong move could lead to unimaginable consequences.

This is the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy (after The Hunger Games) and one I approached with a little trepidation. While I liked the Hunger Games I did feel it had been overhyped so I wasn't sure how I'd feel about this, but I actually enjoyed this a little more than the first. The rebellion and pressure from the Capitol create a sense of tension from the first page and I found myself drawn in to what would happen next.

The storyline is cleverly plotted, managing to show how a government can manipulate individuals by making broader changes that affect the people around her. President Snow is incredibly creepy (his breath smells like blood!) and yet he never acts against Katniss directly as it is easier to control the people around her. Some of the twists and turns were surprising, but one major twist was easy to predict from the political machinations at the start.

Katniss and Peeta are recovering from the Hunger Games, part of which entails moving into the luxury winners village on the edge of District 12. But their return shows them things didn't remain the same while they were away, and they are forced to continue their "relationship". Katniss's best friend Gale has become more than that to her and he has looked after her mother and Prim while she was away. I was impressed that Katniss's mother is finally acting like a parent upon her return.

This is the book where the love triangle of Katniss, Peeta and Gale really gets started and for me it is one of my least favourite parts of the book. While Katniss kicks butt and looks after her family, she struggles with any romantic connection and spends most of the book floundering around while Peeta and Gale try to support her. Love triangles are predominant in YA fiction these days and unfortunately this is one of the ones that detracts from the storyline.

The supporting characters have always shined brighter for me in this series than the leads, so I was glad to see the majority of them return. We get to see how Prim is doing, and the winners tour means that Cinna, Effie and Haymitch all have key roles to play. I was thrilled to see Cinna get more development and a storyline of his own as he has always been a stand out character to me.

All in all this was a good read and I'm looking forward to Mockingjay.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 8/10
Cover: 7/10

Overall: 44/50


The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet)
The Raven Boys (Raven Boys Quartet)
by Maggie Stiefvater
Edition: Paperback
Price: 3.86

5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome to Henrietta, 13 Dec 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Even if Blue hadn't been told that her true love would die if she kissed him, she would still stay away from the boys from Aglionby school. Known as the Raven Boys, the students there are generally privileged and trouble. But this year things will change for Blue as she is drawn into the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys. This is the year she discovers magic truly exists. And this is the year she will find her true love.

This is the first book in the new Raven Cycle series and one I was eager to start as Maggie Stiefvater is one of my all time favourite authors. I love the beautiful lyrical nature of her writing style and so I knew I would enjoy this book when I picked it up. The writing here has a deliciously gothic feel and the reader is thrown right in at the deep end as Blue spends St. Mark's Eve in a graveyard collecting the names of those who are to die in the coming year.

It did take me a while to get into the storyline as a large cast of characters are introduced fairly quickly. Blue's family consists of her mother Maura and aunt Neeve as well as Orla, Calla and Persephone, while the Raven Boys consist of Gansey, Adam, Ronan and Noah. That said the concept of the book pulled me through and once I was hooked I stayed glued to the page throughout. This is the first in a series so setting up the cast is to be expected.

The basic premise of the story is that Blue will kill her true love if she kisses him, but The Raven Boys soon shows there is a lot more happening in the small town of Henrietta. Gansey is on a quest to find a lost king and soon we are drawn into a world of ley lines and magic. The storyline is brilliantly crafted with tension that builds gradually throughout leading to some shocking twists and turns. Being told from different perspectives, including that of a past seeker really adds depth to the storyline.

Blue is a great lead character, although it took me a while to get used to her name. She is the only normal one in her family and she prides her self on her independence and self-reliance. The last thing she wants is to get involved with a Raven Boy and the last thing the Raven Boys want is to get involved with a family as strange as hers. Gansey is desperately seeking the lost Glendower and each of the Raven Boys accompany him for different reasons, but it is Adam's desperate quest to escape his family and stand alone that really caught my attention.

The romance has an interesting twist to it as Blue first falls for Adam, although it quickly becomes clear that Gansey is the true love she is destined to kiss and kill. This isn't a love triangle though as Blue likes Adam and is horrified by the possibility that Gansey is in her future.

All in all this was a great read and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.

Plot: 9/10
Characters: 10/10
Ending: 10/10
Enjoyment: 9/10
Cover: 10/10

Overall: 48/50


Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11-20