Cover Image: Griffen

Griffen

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Member Reviews

I was interested in this book because I love urban fantasy and I saw that it could be considered new adult. Overall, it was a decent book for the start of a series. It did a good job given the atmosphere of an urban fantasy and having compelling characters.
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** spoiler alert ** Griffen is an new and interesting concept. The whole Universe of the story is very complex and multi-layered that I feel the story could have been much longer to fully explain everything. Griffen is a very straight-forward character with little surprise. The story moves very fast without much explanation or details specifically with regard to Griffen's training (advances from a newborn to a skilled vardger in several pages) and her relationships (gets attached to two characters from first sight). 

Overall, it was very enjoyable and I would be interested to read more in the Universe of Mirror Souls.

ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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Unfortunately, this was not a book that I connected with and had to DNF, however I look forward to trying A.J. Blakemont's books in future.
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*This book was received via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*

I really enjoyed this book. The world building was really good and I enjoyed discovering more about the main character Griffen. The story of Griffen's origins was really interesting as were the abilities she possessed by being a mirror soul. The concept of time travel and Griffen's moral debate about her means of survival were really intriguing however I disliked the ending. Overall, this was a unique and intriguing read full of twists and turns that will leave the reader guessing.
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The book started off rocket-fast, and had me going until about halfway through. From there, it took a sudden left-turn and I had a hard time sticking with it after that. While I do not mind romance, as long as it is story-centric, this one appeared to have been written in as a second thought, a way to get more audience. It was fairly abrupt and sort of felt like hitting a wall where there shouldn’t have been one.

The settings of the story were pretty interesting – it varied from current day to the past, even to worlds that really don’t exist. The descriptions, particularly of those places that were *not* real, were quite well done and definitely evoked the imagery in my imagination.

Overall, it definitely had some things going for it, but it seems to have stalled on the way to the finish line. The storyline was certainly an intriguing one, and a viable one for further stories. However, the romance was bland and sudden and the arc lost its fizz, and for those reasons it would be very difficult for me to recommend.
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This could've been a great read but in the end, it just didn't work for me. 

'Griffen: Shadows of the Mirror Realm' is the story of a newborn mirror soul, Griffen, shaped after a mortal girl called Letitia. Mirror souls are mystical creature, like doppelganger, which are born into our world but also transfer to other realities. Torn between the politics of her world and her need to find a place for herself Griffen is faced with multiple challenges and the question who she can trust. 

The synopsis was awesome and I was really looking forward to reading the book but right from the start there was one major question in my head - would it haven been possible to spot the young adult genre right away? The book was advertised as Fantasy & Science Fiction, New Adult. If you ask me this is a serious case of false advertisement. 
I was constantly confronted with an annoying main character saying in one sentence she doesn't care about her experience but then goes on describing clothes in detail. Not only her clothes but seriously the clothes of everyone around her - and this was not necessary at all for the story to progress. Don't get me started on the important questions she faced (Can a mirror soul wear make up?) or how the author tried to shorten her descriptions (looking like a X-Men uniform).

Besides my problems with the genre I was disappointed with the character development. It might be harsh to say that there was none but let's agree on very little. So, Griffen is new to her world but there's a constant info dump about how things should work (I stopped caring for it to make sense a few chapters unto the book) and of course, she's super special and strong (let's not forget snappy and rude). In fact, stronger than much older mirror souls (a mary sue at it's finest) and just like this she uses new attacks and finds instant fixes for whatever problem she encounters. There are also a lot of other, really handy explanations that progressed the story and probably should make her easier to connect to. I couldn't relate to her at all. 
My biggest problem was the romance in this book. The author spends pages to tell us that we're faced with a brave heroine saving the world but the instant a hot guy comes along she abandons her quest. Although she barely knows him she wants to spend her life with him and make him happy. At this point, I was done with the book. 

Okay, I was not a fan of the main character - I still had hopes for the world building. The idea of mirror souls intrigued me. I wanted to know more about the worlds they live in but was faced with very short descriptions on how things work and longer ones that I couldn't understand. I got the impression that it just wasn't important enough. I asked myself more than once why she can use special powers but none other of her species? There were attempts to explain the political system but for me it wasn't enough to get into the story. There were some great aspects to the other world Griffen visits and I hoped the author would spend more time on them. 

In the end, there were some good aspects to the story but the author, at least in my opinion, focused on the wrong ones. I know there are many excited opinions about the book which makes me believe that I'm just not the right reader. Marketing the book in another way might find more suitable readers - I was disappointed.
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This was an interesting book, it was far different than I thought it would be but it was still a pretty good read.  It was very technical in places, and that was pretty hard to follow.  Otherwise it was an interesting story, with a storyline that is totally unique, that I haven't read before.
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This feels like the start of a series about this group of superbeings who have existed in our world alongside us for millennia. We see this world through the viewpoint of this newly created being, who has the memories and emotions of Letitia – yet needs to kill in order to stay alive. Traumatised and loathing the need to kill in order to keep alive, Griffen attempts to learn more about who she is and what she is capable of, in order to continue to be able to cope with her abilities.

It is a nifty idea – provide someone right at the start of their journey and give the reader a front row seat as she begins to learn more about who she is and what she is capable of. I very much liked the idea of how the mirror world is created and the factions and politics of the power struggles between those factions is by far the strongest part of the book. Blakemont nicely blends parts of our history, such as the Knights Templar being one of the early powerbases of the mirror beings for instance. And there are pleasing echoes of the vampire legends embodied in some of their attributes that I enjoyed.

What hampered my full reading enjoyment was my inability to bond with the main protagonist, Griffen. Perhaps had I known a bit more about Letitia before Griffen’s creation, in order to get a real sense of what she feels she has lost, I would have found her more interesting. It wasn’t until well into the book, I really began to care more about her aims and goals and with many books that would have been a dealbreaker, but I found the alternate world Blakemont has created sufficiently engrossing that I was able to continue enjoying the read. For while I didn’t fully identify with Griffen, neither did I actively dislike her. Overall, this is a pleasing adventure about an interestingly original set of superbeings, whose opposing aims and cultures pulled me into this story.

While I obtained the arc of Griffen from the publisher via NetGalley, this has in no way influenced my unbiased review.
7/10
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Love and hate. Eros and Thanatos. Creation and destruction. Two forces that shape the universe. 


This book wasn't bad at all, but it certainly wasn't perfect either.

The good:
1) Griffen was great. Her badassery, her vulnerability, her humanity and her refusal to give in to her nature and her urges. She was young but mature enough to know when it was best to step back and capitulate.
2) The plot was very original and unique, can't say I've ever read anything like it. The idea of the simulacra, mirror souls, evil doppelgangers created by loneliness, was compelling and interesting. It had incredible potential, and even though it wasn't a winner in terms of execution, it's obvious there was a lot of skill and imagination involved.
3) And speaking of skill... I loved Blakemont's writing. She has a great way with words and a talent to convey moods and feelings.

    Hunger... This is the kind of feeling that drives your mind to the edge of sanity. It rips away the varnish of civilization, leaving your primal instincts bare. It exposes your hidden, animal nature, now free to take hold over you. 


The not so good:
1) This book's biggest issue and what I kept struggling with most was the story's pacing and, thus, the arc of suspense. It was fast-paced alright, but I never felt any real thrill. It was like a never-ending succession of mediocre climaxes instead of a build-up to the one big boom, so I kept waiting and waiting... to no avail. Though I wasn't bored, I never really felt completely immersed in the story and Griffen's struggles.
2) Sometimes, the revelations of what Griffen could do were a little... let's call it clumsy. There would be situations where she was about to be beaten by her adversary, and suddenly she'd be like: "Oh, by the way, I can slow down time!" or "Lucky me, I can make fire using my finger blades!".
Of course it wasn't worded like that, but it felt just a little too convenient for her to remember her gift in exactly the right moment, especially considering she'd never mentioned it before. The author took the easy path just a few times too many to make it convincing.

However, even though I didn't love this book, I can see myself giving the next book a chance.
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I found the concept of "mirror people" interesting. I'm sure this is not the last to be heard from Griffen. A bit slow in places, but overall a good read.
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http://fkrants.blogspot.com/2017/01/the-rest-of-2016-ng-fails.html
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