The Summer Prince is a tale of love, sacrifice, and art. It is beautifully stunning and highly original. And I am in awe.
The story takes place in a futuristic Brazil in a city ruled by women, ordained by men who are elected by the people and then sacrificed in the moment that they choose the new queen. The main character of this book is June, a student whose goal in life is to become a famous artist. Throughout the story, June and her best friend Gil become entangled in "The Summer King's" life, both falling in love with him in their own way. While June conspires with Enki to make her best art project yet (and win the queen's award), Gil has a more personal relationship with him. In the end, both try to save Enki from the sacrifice in their own way.
What stands out about this story to me is how the author has seemingly created a whole new culture to learn about and has placed characters there in these crazy situations which seemed so life-like to me. And also, how she made me really care about all the characters, not just June, Enki, and Gil, but even the secondary characters, even the characters we are supposed to hate.
Not only does the author do these things, but she has incorporated so many things I love into this world. Cities run almost like miniture kingdoms, crazy cool technology that makes you think about the way things are headed in this world, art, music, and even a touch of Candomble, which is a religion that really fascinates me.
I know this story wont be for everyone, but if you want to read some really great young adult science fiction that makes you think and throws in some fascinating characters, world-building, and beautiful prose, this book might be for you. It is not the kind of story you fly through in a day. It took me a few weeks to get through, but I'm so glad I did because it was one of the best books I've read this year.
Most of the dystopian books I've read are set somewhere in the United States, so it was nice to finally read one which takes place in another part of...moreMost of the dystopian books I've read are set somewhere in the United States, so it was nice to finally read one which takes place in another part of the world. The Blemished, set in a town near London, is all about the scary world clones might create for us.
Yes, clones! Sometime in the future the world figures out how to make the perfect human clones. The clones stage a coup on the British government and are now in control. The world is obsessed with beauty and here's the thing - since the clones are the most beautiful people now they think they should be in charge, declaring natural borns genetically imperfect and therefore immoral.
Sarah Dalton does an amazing job at making this premise work. I mean, just think about it. The book could have turned out so cliche or cheesy, but it's not at all. The world building and descriptions were so vivid I felt like I was really there with Mina, watching her struggle in the fight against the GEMs (the clones).
The characters were all so fun to root for (or against). I especially hated Mrs Murgatroyd, one of Mina's teachers at school and I loved all the girls in Mina's class, especially her very best friend. Even some of the GEMs are worth rooting for too. This world is more complex than it seems!
There's a paranormal mystery to the story too. Mina has telekinetic powers and David has visions. We don't know where these things came from but we do get little clues here and there. The both of them combined certainly make for awesome action scenes, and one very compulsive and naughty moment!
I took my time reading the book in between others but was surprised to find myself looking for moments where I could get back to it. I'm very much looking forward to the next book. The Blemished was both fun and made me think about how much we value beauty. Where is all this emphasis on beauty leading us to?
Welcome to Freedom. In Surrender, Elana Johnson's second book of the Possession trilogy, we are treated to a new set of characters and a new place. Wh...moreWelcome to Freedom. In Surrender, Elana Johnson's second book of the Possession trilogy, we are treated to a new set of characters and a new place. Where Jag and Vi came from the Goodgrounds and Badlands, this time around the characters live in the city of Freedom. Those who've read Possession might remember learning about Freedom and well, just how deceiving this name is for the city. If anything, people are even more controlled here.
Freedom is also the place filled with people who have special talents and training schools for those who will serve the city, becoming rulers over people to make it "safer". This is where we meet Raine and Gunner. Raine has the ability to "drain", touching people and in the process seeing their deepest desires. Gunner has voice talent. He can speak and make people do or believe what he wants. As the two find out, just because they have special talents doesn't make them any more free than the normal people Thinkers reside over. Raine's dad is the director of the city and wants to use both of them to get what he wants.
I enjoyed this story, even more than the first. Raine and Gunner were awesome. Gunner was my favourite character and I thought the most interesting. I said that in Possession Vi and Jag's love for each other came too quickly for me. In this one Raine and Gunner fall in love quickly as well. But there was one huge difference that made that more realistic for me and that is backstory between the two. It's not a love at first sight scenario and I really appreciated that.
Also, Vi, Zenn, and Jag are back! We get to know much more about Zenn and we find out what happened to Vi. It was nice to see something from Zenn's side. He was such a complex character in Possession but I felt not enough scenes with him in it to really figure him out. I really enjoyed his friendship with Gunner and seeing which side he was really on this time around. There wasn't very much of Jag, but hopefully he'll be back and up to more in the next book.
This installment of the series opened up a whole new world. I wonder what the author will show us next. I'm looking forward to seeing if and how the characters crash the system in the next book. I feel also that the author has grown a lot in her craft between book one and two. My only problem was I felt the timeline was a bit disjointed in places and they kept revealing things about people's abilities. Since every one of the characters had different abilities this got a little confusing for me. A solid book, otherwise, and I'm glad I had the chance to read it since it is my favourite of the series so far.