Thursday, January 26

Amie Irene Winters - Strange Luck & The Nightmare Birds


"Our memories are all that we have in life. We are our memories. They are everything!"


Hidden deep in the forest, beneath mounds of forgotten memories, lies the secret world of the Nameless - a magical realm as beautiful as it is dangerous.

Daisy Darling used to think of Sea Salt, the small mountain town she has always called home, as a boring place where nothing ever happened.Then she met a peculiar wanderer who reveals a mysterious world hidden beneath the town all along. A world where mind-bending, magical, life-altering phenomena happen. A world harboring a dark secret under its snow-capped mountains, aquamarine waters, and perfumed jungles. A world built using stolen memories.

Now that Daisy's eyes have been opened to the truth about the Nameless, there's no turning back. Driven to save the other Collectives, Daisy is pulled deeper into the world's tangled lies, finding herself ensnared in a dangerous network of tunnels and time-altering portals. Somehow Daisy must discover the strength to win back her freedom before the Nameless claims her forever.




                                                          

Only those who possess wild eyes, an impulsive heart, and a wandering spirit hunt for the Theater of Secrets—and once they witness the darkest of magic, they don’t return. 



It promises to change your life forever—but is the mysterious Theater of Secrets legend or something more? Tasked to answer that very question, Daisy Darling sets out to uncover the truth and is thrown headlong into a life where inexplicably strange and dark things happen nightly. A life of deception and uncertainty. A life in the spotlight as the theater’s ringleader. 



As Daisy assumes her new role, she not only discovers a surprising connection between herself and the previous ringleader, but also the haunting truth behind the theater’s limitless power. Determined to expose the theater and foil its wicked plan, Daisy must first embrace her heritage before she can defeat the dark forces at play.



                                                          



BOOK 1: STRANGE LUCK


"Memories are all we have in life, and finding the perfect memory—whether it’s really yours or not—is the greatest challenge and reward of all time. Imagine having the best memory in the history of the world that you could relive in your mind over and over again."


WHAT WORKED FOR ME:

  • I felt like the world was one of the most interesting ones I’d ever read about – super-unique and magical and crazy. At first I wasn’t a 100% feeling it, because the whole Utopia thing was just a tad bit ridiculous, BUT THEN THE PLOT TWIST... now that was all kinds of fucked up and twisted...just the way I like it, basically.
  • Speaking of the world, the magical items were wonderful - I've read a fair share of Fantasy novels, but never one with so many creative and intriguing things. 
  • Daisy's stubbornness was everything. It's honestly so rare when authors dare to gift their characters with the kind of stubbornness - or, really, any kind of trait that can be both positive and negative - that will make the readers scream: GIRL, SEE WHAT'S RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU. But they should, because it's incredibly realistic. Being stubborn is a quality many of us possess, and I, for one, have tons of times believed firmly that I was completely right, just so I could later realize how very wrong I was. Daisy's disbelief about everything paranormal symbolized this perfectly.
  • The atmosphere was mesmerizing - it kept changing with every new setting, with every new secret and twist revealed, and I was completely in love with it. 

WHAT DIDN'T WORK FOR ME:

  • The characters - maybe with the exception of Daisy - could have used more development. While Daisy realized and reconsidered many, many things throughout her journey, Roger or Daisy's father didn't develop one bit.
  • Unfortunately, this led to relationships that didn't feel meaningful and deep, which was a huge disappointment considering how much potential there was in both the father-daughter relationship, and Daisy and Roger's romantic relationship. The latter could have been a nice, slow-burn, friends-to-lovers romance, but alas, it felt very rushed
  • I wasn't really in love with the writing style – there was nothing "wrong" with it (not anything that I could pinpoint, anyhow), but it doesn’t work for me. I constantly found myself losing attention/focus, and had to stop reading quite a few times.
  • The ending didn't explain everything quite clearly. There's one particular part of the story that still has me a bit confused, and I'm not even sure why it was added in the first place, especially without proper explanation.

Overall, I was satisfied with Strange Luck. Sure, it had some faults, but it was unique and creative - a good start to a new Fantasy series, one that made me excited for the sequel. 

The story idea: 4/5
The realization of the story: 3/3
The characters: 3/3
The cover: 3/3
Enjoy factor: 3/3

FINAL RATING:
  

                                                          

BOOK 2: THE NIGHTMARE BIRDS

"By the candle’s feeble light I saw dozens of corpses hanging from the jagged ceiling, strung up by their necks with ropes, cloth, and belts. They swung around me like meat hanging at a deli. It was then that I realized that the large objects I had been bumping into were dead bodies."


WHAT WORKED FOR ME: 

  • The Nightmare Birds was darker and more mysterious than Strange Luck was, and that added a plus to the world that the previous novel lacked. From the very first page I was immersed in the story, and kept on reading until the very last page in once seat. 
  • The new characters were all super-intriguing, which was a pleasant surprise after Strange Luck. While only one or two of them turned out to be important, I still didn't have a problem telling them apart, like it sometimes happens when there are 5+ supporting characters introduced at once. 
  • The atmosphere was absolutely kickass - I mean, how could it not be when the setting was a secret, magical theater (which is more like a circus, but they call it theater to sound fancier) where all kinds of scary and cult-like stuff happens? GIMMIE.

WHAT DIDN'T WORK FOR ME:

  • The pacing was perfect up until the last 'big scene' that was a tad bit too rushed for my taste. See, I'm not particularly a big fan of long-ass fight scenes and whatnot, but here I'd have preferred that one particular scene to be so.
  • I missed Roger in this one! Sure, he wasn't a perfectly made character, but I was really looking forward to seeing more of him and Daisy together.

Overall, I can only say: kudos to Amie Irene Winters, because literally every problem I had with the first book either improved tremendously or was completely solved in the sequel. The writing was more vivid and colorful, Daisy was stronger and more badass than ever before, the supporting cast had plenty of great character arcs, and the setting was wonderfully painted. 

The story idea: 5/5
The realization of the story: 4/5
The characters: 4/5
The cover: 4/5
Enjoy factor: 4/5


FINAL RATING: 
   

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