There's a lot of hype surrounding this book, and for once it's totally deserved. How often can you really say that?! When I first started reading it, I was pretty convinced that it was going to be a fairly average book. Maybe. Hopefully. I mean, I've read a lot of dystopians and a lot of sci-fi lately. Was this really going to be that different? And after the first chapter, I was less than impressed. It's set underground. On Mars. Great. And everyone is color-coded. AWESOME. Haven't seen that at least 200 times before... Oh. And the main character is already married? AT SEVENTEEN!? Guh. He's some sort of super-skilled digger? What? Is he part mole-man? Are they DANCING as a form of rebellion? What the fuck kind of stupid shit is this?! Yeah. I was not impressed.
Ah, but I was so veryvery wrong. After that initial chapter introducing you to Darrow and his life, this book starts to get really interesting...really fast. Darrow's wife is not content with their life, even though she is very much in love with him. She wants to fight against the Golds that she feels are enslaving her people. Darrow, on the other hand, is not willing to risk their safety (hers in particular) for a dream he doesn't believe in. He may not think that their life is fair, but he believes that he is doing the right thing for future generations by helping to terraform the planet. She, however, sees the potential Darrow has to save the Reds, even when he doesn't see it himself. And she does something unthinkable to help him realize that potential. What she does sets Darrow on an incredible journey to the surface, and into the heart of the enemy. To help realize her dream, he eventually agrees to join the Red's rebellion. He also agrees to allow them to transform him into one of the elite Golds. It's no easy task, since it requires genetic modification, surgery, and lessons in speech and etiquette. After all of this, he must not only gain entrance to their training academy, but come out of it at the head of the class.
Unfortunately, not much is known about what happens to the young Golds who enter the academy, only that it produces the future leaders of their society. The rebels have enough resources to forge his documents, but once inside, Darrow will be on his own. When he enters the academy, he feels nothing but revulsion for these obnoxious children. They are lazy, greedy, pampered, and shallow. He has already seen first hand the extent of the Gold's evil deceptions, and nothing will stand in the way of him bringing them down. His hatred of these elitist teenagers burns white-hot in his chest, and it doesn't matter what he has to do in order to emerge victorious... Except. Oh shit. Not many things are truly black and white...are they?
M'kay. Lots of comparisons to The Hunger Games floating around out there. In my opinion, Red Rising takes The Hunger Games and spanks it's overrated ass. Don't get me wrong, I liked Suzanne Collin's trilogy, and (obviously) so did a lot of other people. But I never quite loved it. Mainly, because Katniss always seemed to be an unwilling participant in the story. She was pushed, pulled, and prodded into everything that she did. And in the end, I felt disappointed that her character never seemed to grow past that. She did what she had to do...and she survived. The End. I wanted to see some sort of spark of life in her, but it seemed (to me) like she was just a depressed puddle of skin, who would occasionally snap out of it and do something extraordinary. Darrow, on the other hand, grew and changed throughout the entire book. He started out as a Katniss-like character, but ended up a different person entirely. His motivations changed, his beliefs changed, and even his view of the world changed. He stopped being a bystander in his life, and the result was spectacular.
I gotta say, the writing in this is nothing short of amazing. It's just...I can't adequately describe how much Brown made me feel for these characters. Really, I was blown away. Especially surprising since this was a debut novel.
If you only read one book this year, it needs to be this one. Seriously.
I recieved this digital arc from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.(less)
Huh. I'm a bit undecided on this one. On one hand, I don't like it when dystopians don't move things along fast enough. On the other hand, I felt like things maybe moved too fast in Aberrant. And by things, I mean Olivia ends up in three separate and (mostly) unique dystopian societies during her journey. The author does a pretty good job giving the reader a decent peek at each society, but there's no thorough world-building...mainly because she doesn't stay in one place long enough to necessitate it. I still don't know if it's a good thing or not. So. Ill try to break it down, and you can decide for yourself...M'kay? There may be some mild spoilers below, but the vast majority of the stuff in my review has already been stated in the blurb.
The first society is the one she was raised in. Everyone in Cabal is well provided for, but all of their decisions are controlled by the government. The marriages are arranged, the jobs are assigned, and children are regulated by a lottery. Olivia is ecstatic when she is chosen to marry her best friend, Joshua. She expects them to live happily ever after, and is shocked when she is arrested on her wedding night. Wait. I forgot something. It's not a regular wedding night, because somehow nobody has sex anymore. She learned about it from outlawed trashy romance novels, and was attempting to put the moves on her fella when the POPO busted in. But they aren't arresting her for that. Evidently, her mom and dad also bumped fuzzies! And even though it is genetically impossible for women to get pregnant anymore, nine months later Olivia was born. She's a medical miracle! Her mother and father managed to pay off some people to pretend that her mother had been artificially impregnated, and somehow the government just now found out. Of course, Olivia doesn't find any of this out until later, and she was unaware of her bizarre birth until the cops show up at her door. On the outside of the city, there's a rebellion going on that (again) Olivia was unaware of. The rebels help her escape to one of their cities, and here's where the second society comes into play. In the rebel city, everyone is allowed to choose what they do and who they marry. Except Olivia. They give her two years to choose anyone besides Joshua to marry. Why not Josh? Well, it would look bad if the government was right about anything. It starts off with a nice suggestion that she spend time with other guys, and ends up with her being locked up in a room when she doesn't listen to their friendly advice. Oh. And she needs to hurry up and have a baby. Because that would make the government look bad, and help their cause. And since she the only woman who might possibly be capable of becoming pregnant naturally, she really doesn't get a choice in the matter. Haven is starting to look just as horrible as her original home by now. In a twist of fate, the army raids the city to find her, and she and Joshua are able to escape in the confusion. They steal a solar-powered jeep, and ride off into the wild together on another epic adventure! When they were back in Haven, Joshua found a map with a hidden city on it. Hoping that it will be better than their last two homes, they decide to try to seek asylum there. Welcome to the third and (maybe) final society. After a rough trip across the Gravelands, they arrive at...the new place. Here they find out that they need to compete in some sort of survival games to determine if they are worthy to be allowed into this secret group. These guys have their own set of rules that the two need to abide by in order to play the game. Oh. And there's another twist that's got a bit of an X-men vibe to it, but I don't want to get too spoilery.
Sound like a fun book? Then go get it!
A digital copy of this book was given to me through NetGalley in return for an honest review. (less)
Carter's Goddess Test series was sort of hit and miss for me, but I found it mostly enjoyable. So when I got the chance to read this one, I wasn't qui...moreCarter's Goddess Test series was sort of hit and miss for me, but I found it mostly enjoyable. So when I got the chance to read this one, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. Beyond the can she switch from mythology to dystopia question, I was also a bit concerned about the fact that I've read far too many dystopian novels lately. It seems like about every third novel I read has a post-apocalyptic theme to it. Then again, nobody's holding a gun to my head, now are they? If I'm getting a tad blown out on them, I should stop picking them up, right? Otherwise, I should stop whining about it. Sorry. I'm having an argument with myself when I should be reviewing this book. *ahem*
At first, I thought Pawn was going to be sort of dry and crunchy. Society has crumbled and been rebuilt...outlandish caste system...lone girl finds herself in trouble with government...RUN! But once I got past the first chapter or so, the twists and turns started popping up! And surprisingly there were quite a few times I did the GASP! thing. I just love it when an author manages to smack me upside the head with something that I really had no idea was coming, and Pawn definitely had several of those moments. Couple that with the sci-fiish body double stuff, and it turned into quite the little thrill ride. I also thought that the caste system was a little more believable than some of the things other authors have come up with. Instead of grouping people on...oh, say personality traits or some such nonsense...you are rated on intelligence, and given your station in life accordingly. If you're super-duper smart you can become a scientist, average brains will score you an office job, and the rest of you dummies will end up sweeping the streets. Supposedly it's a fair system because everyone is given the same education. Just like the education system we have now is fair and equal across the country. Riiiiight. Kitty is a very bright girl, but her score didn't reflect her intelligence level because of her dyslexia. Rather than be carted off to the coal mines (Ok. I'm making that up, but I can't remember what unsavory job she ended up with.) several states away from her true love, she decides to make a run for it. And by make a run for it, I mean she decides to work as a hooker until her childhood sweetheart takes his test. Trust me, it makes more sense in the book. Instead of losing her virginity to the highest bidder, however, she ends up deeply embedded in a massive cover-up instigated by the most powerful man in the country. She wakes up in a strange place only to discover that she's been given an Extreme Makeover. Kind of like the Bionic Man. "We can rebuild her!" Except, unlike Lee Majors, she can't run really fast in slow-motion. I would like to say Thank You to the two people who got that joke!
And that's where the story stops being crunchy, and starts getting twisty. It's good stuff, but I don't wanna be all spoilery.
So. If you haven't been overwhelmed with these kinds of books lately, I think that Pawn will feel fresh and fun. If you (like me) have read a lot of this genre, I still think it's worth checking out. You may not be as wide-eyed and awestruck as those who haven't been over-exposed to dystopian books, but I think the plot will still hold your attention.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC of this book.
Fireblood was interesting in the way it blended fantasy and dystopian together into one big pot. Fantopian? Sorry, just thinking out loud.
At first it seemed like a retelling of the King Arthur story, because it looked like their might be some sort of Arthurian love triangle going on between the characters. And there kinda was. But not really. Besides, since the world itself was created by the king to mirror Avalon, you can't help but look for similarities. I gotta say I thought that rebuilding a society around a medieval fairytale was the weakest part of the plot. Why would anyone think that was a good idea? The ideals of Avalon, yes. But turning your country into a Medieval Times restaurant is just silly. Or at least I thought so.
So Sebastian is the prince, and he needs a bride. Zara is the commoner who was chosen to become the lucky princess. Very Cinderella! Except she doesn't want to marry him. See, the king is an evil man who keeps his subjects in line by holding public executions of all those who are even suspected of rebellion. And Zara is under the assumption that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree...even if the apple is smokin' hot. But it's not like she really has a choice in the matter, and soon enough the guards come to collect the soon-to-be princess and her father. It's a double whammy for Zara because even though they're taking her dad to the castle, it's not like she'll ever see him again. Why? Well, he's showing signs of the disease that everyone in Karm eventually falls prey to. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when you will succumb to the virus. No one lives to a ripe old age anymore, and when you start showing the signs that you have it, the guards cart you off for a quick disposal. The virus is a leftover reminder of the days before King Hart erected the barrier between their kingdom and the rest of the world. Outside of this weird reenactment of Avalon, the world is broken and barren. Cannibals and mutants stalk the borders, and an invisible barrier keeps those inside safe from harm. Fear of what wanders in the wasteland keeps most of the inhabitants of Karm compliant, and the King's guards swiftly and brutally take care of those who might not be as grateful or complacent as the rest. Once she's hauled inside, Zara is effectively a prisoner in the castle while she waits for her impending wedding to the prince to take place. Her first instinct is to run away, but she's not exactly sure how to go about doing that without getting killed. Besides, the prince has assigned his (once upon a time) best friend to be her personal guard. And with Devlan as her constant shadow, there doesn't seem to be any way for her to escape. Pssst. Devlan isn't exactly hard on the eyes...
But is Prince Sebastian really his father's son? Zara thinks she sees chinks in his armor, but can't be sure. But when she stumbles onto a conversation she wasn't supposed to hear, it suddenly becomes even more important for Zara to quickly find out what really lies in Sebastian's heart. The future of Karm, the rebel resistance, and Sebastian's life are all hanging in the balance... *cue dramatic music*
There's some other stuff that I thought was cool, like the fact that they (sort of) had television and other modern conveniences in a medieval setting. Plus, there's a zombieish twist toward the end that kept things interesting. So, even though I couldn't totally buy into the Knights of the Round Table theme, I think a lot of people are going to love this one!
Thanks to NetGalley for a digital copy in return for an honest review.(less)
Not sure this one will be for everyone, but it held my attention well enough to be enjoyable. It has a lot of the same components as several...more3.5 stars
Not sure this one will be for everyone, but it held my attention well enough to be enjoyable. It has a lot of the same components as several of the dystopians I've read lately, but with a few tweaks to keep it from being a carbon copy.
This seems fairly familiar to me... In the United States people are now genetically engineered from birth to be perfect, and anyone who shows any imperfection is called a Deviant. If a child is born with a deviation, it is taken from it's parents and killed. However, occasionally babies slip though the cracks, so everyone is re-tested during adolescence just to make sure. Here's a little tweak to keep things interesting... At some point in the past, the government of the United States totally closed it's borders. Evidently, it was due to some sort of warning from the gods. Almost immediately following the shut-down, a bunch of natural disasters devastated the rest of the world. And this left the good ol' U.S. of A. the last functioning government that had any resources left. This transmission from a higher power is what America is now founded on, and the reason the Department of Evolution is in charge of everyone's lives. The DOE is a quasi-religious group that is a mixture of science, faith, and politics. Goodbye separation of church and state...
The main character, Jess, has a small splotch that has recently appeared on her stomach, which makes her a target for the Devotees. She knows once her birthday rolls around she'll be tested and found out. Devotees are the folks who ferret out the Deviants, by the way. Jess also seems to have an affinity for technology, and is a bit of a small-time hacker. She plans to use her skill to get herself and her BFF into the military early. Hopefully, this should buy her some time to figure out what to do about the mole on her tummy. While she wants to avoid being inspected by the Devotees, her friend Jay wants to join to get away from his mother...who doesn't know he's gay. Surprisingly, it doesn't seem like being gay is considered a deviation, because other than his mamma everyone else seems to know about Jay's sexual preference. Marks on your stomach will get you killed, but the religious fanatics in charge are ok with homosexuality? Suuuure. That sounds reasonable. Jess' mark isn't just sitting there, though. Nope. It's growing in direct correlation to strange adrenaline fueled moments, where it appears (to Jess) that she can slow time down. M'kay. Here's a mild spoiler, but I don't think it will surprise anyone. Even I knew as I was reading it that she wasn't slowing down time. She was just able to move faster than the average bear when she was in a stressful situation. Duh. I'm not sure why the author thought it was a good idea to have Jess thinking she was a Time Lord for a large portion of the book. I'm really freakin' fast! makes more sense than I've slowed down everyone else on earth! Maybe it's just me...but I don't think so.
Anyway, once Jess and Jay get into the army training camp, Jess catches the eye of a young (handsome) sergeant from a Black Ops squad. He seems to be tampering with her test results, but not always in a bad way. In fact, his interference allows her to pass the tests for using a gun. Although, she suspects he also had a hand in one of her other test scores lower. I had some flashbacks to the Divergent series during this part of the book...
I have to say, that the last half of the book goes off in a pretty interesting direction, but I don't want to spoil anything...so I'll shut up.
Like I said, this isn't going to one I would recommend for everyone. Not only is it a dystopian (not everybody's cuppa), but it has a lot of elements that are going to make hard-core fans of this genre compare it to other books they've already read. My personal opinion is that the author was not being a copy-cat. It's just...well, there are only so many ways society can rise and fall, and it's a subject that's been fairly plundered in the past few years. I think it's only natural that some plot points will start to seem a bit repetitive. This may not seem like a glowing review, but I really did have fun reading the book.
Thanks to NetGalley for a digital copy of this book in return for an honest review.(less)
This is a solid 2nd book, and if you enjoyed Partials, you'll like Fragments.
The story picks up pretty much where the last one left off. Kira leaves M...moreThis is a solid 2nd book, and if you enjoyed Partials, you'll like Fragments.
The story picks up pretty much where the last one left off. Kira leaves Marcus behind so that she can find some answers to the can of worms that she opened up in the last book. Of course, she ends up opening up a bigger can of worms in the process.
I still loved both Kira and Sam in this book, but I felt like some of my love for Marcus petered out. He seems awfully eager to throw her under the bus...even if it was to save all of humanity.
You know, I had fun reading this, but I swear I just can't think of anything else to say about it. It's a good dystopian/sci-fi kind of trilogy. So if you happen to be in the market for one, go get it.(less)
Fun fact: This book was originally published in 2008 as an adult novel, under the author's pseudonym Michelle Maddox. When she got the rights back, she turned it into a young adult novel. I'm not sure what the original was like, but this version was a fast-paced thrill ride! It mixed up quite a few cool ideas, and ended up being totally entertaining to read.
First up is the whole idea that these two kids are trapped in a game of survival, which is being televised for the entertainment of a secret group of viewers. So the vast majority of the people in this dystopian society have no idea that anything like this game even exists. Second. you have Kira's psi abilities, which gives the story a paranormal twist. She has the ability to read emotions like guilt or kindness from people. It doesn't seem like they're much to write home about, but as the story progresses she finds them a bit more useful that she originally thought. She also learns that her powers aren't as freakish as she first believed, and there are other children cropping up like her all over the place. Some of them are even living in a domed city, and being trained to hone their skills. Third, you have the the very sci-fi idea that an artificial intelligence has (unbeknownst to humans) started a takeover of our world. Very creepy!
So Rowan took some of my favorite genres, put them in a blender, and poured out a cocktail that was a lot of fun to read. I think I'll name this new genre Parascitopian. Damn, I'm good! It's Running Man, Matrix, and Hunger Games all rolled into one! And really, how can you go wrong with something like that?
The only thing the least bit negative I have to say is that the world-building wasn't spectacular. Don't get me wrong, it was explained well enough so that you understood everything, but I would have loved to have seen the society a little more in-depth. There was plenty of wiggle room left over for this book to have a sequel, though. Perhaps more things will be revealed in a future book? *fingers crossed*
Thanks you to NetGalley for a copy of this book.(less)
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for a copy of this ARC
Based on The Scarlet Pimpernel? Hmmm. That sounded different and interesting. O...more4.5 stars
Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for a copy of this ARC
Based on The Scarlet Pimpernel? Hmmm. That sounded different and interesting. Of course, because I'm a total slacker, I had never actually read Orczy's novel. So. It may be hard to believe, but I decided to bite the proverbial bullet and read...gulp...a classic. Yes ladies and gentlemen, in preparation for this book, I read The Scarlet Pimpernel. I know! I'm impressed with myself, too!
As it turns out, Pimpernel is a pretty easy read, and I'm glad I took the time to get to know the story. It made reading Peterfreund's novel even better, since I could immediately recognize the parts of the plot that she intertwined or tweaked from the original. Was it as good as Baron Orczy's? No. It was even better! And while the original story is more of a swashbuckling story about an incredibly clever married couple who have no idea that they are each hiding secrets from the other one (think: Mr & Mrs. Smith), Across A Star-Swept Sea is a futuristic dystopian that puts a young adult spin on the tale. It also reverses the genders of the main characters, and adds it's own creative take on how the story would play out in the new setting.
I liked the way the author had the love story play out, as well. Justen finds Persis physically attractive, but he just can't stand that she's such a vapidly shallow person. Except, sometimes she seems to him to be a bit...more? On the other hand, Persis is totally attracted to Justen because he's incredibly smart and dedicated to his cause of equality for everyone. Unfortunately, she can't let him know that she's really one of the most intelligent, clever, and honorable people he'll ever meet, because she's not sure whether or not he's a spy for her enemies. It made for a great back-and -forth between the couple as they struggled to decide how much to let the other person know about their secrets.
There was only one complaint I had, and it was totally my fault. I didn't realize that this was the second book written in this world. I know what you're thinking. How many times can this idiot plunge into a book, and not bother to see that it's part of a series?! The answer is fairly simple (like me!). Lots and lots. Example: I just accidentally read the last book in a trilogy yesterday. Please direct all of your complaints about my reviewing skills to Cat. I would have liked to have known more about the disease and the previous characters, but it didn't hamper my enjoyment of the story at all. In fact, all it really made me want to do was go back and read the other book. So I would say it's not strictly necessary to read the first book, because this one comes across as a stand-alone that's just set in the same world. However. For those of you who have already read For Darkness Shows the Stars, you'll be happy to know that towards the end of this book, those characters make an appearance. Don't get excited, 'cause I'm not giving out any spoilers!
The characters are well-written, strong, and smart. There's also no insta-love, no triangle, and no fluttery palpitations for no discernible reason. This one's going into my Highly Recommended pile!
At the start of the book, Aubrey isn't the most sympathetic character. She woke up one day with the ability to turn herself invisible, but she hadn't exactly been using her power to do anything worthwhile. In fact, she ditched her longtime friend Jack, and was using her special ability to steal clothes and other goodies that she normally wouldn't be able to afford. She was also using her power to spy on classmates. The high school's Alpha-Girl found about Aubrey's little secret, and had been using her to keep up with all the gossip in return for making Aubrey popular. Since Aubrey had always been known as trailer-park trash (due largely to her dad's drinking problem), this was a dream come true for her. Or it was until the military showed up at a dance and started throwing all of the kids on a bus. Not to mention that they killed one boy who fought back...after he turned into some sort of mutant monster. Aubrey pulled a disappearing act, assuming that they'd come for her, and hid until they were gone. She reconnected with Jack, but before the two could get away...her father sold her out to the government for beer. Nice! They both end up at a military camp that was designed to sniff out kids with powers. The kids who test negative for mutations get to go home, but no one will tell them what happens to the kids who test positive.
Meanwhile... Alec and Laura have been traveling around (with another teammate) blowing things up. They're part of some mysterious terrorist organization, who's main goal seems to be chaos and destruction. They'd been leaving quite a body count in their wake until one of their missions goes wrong and they got separated. Alec was still on the loose, but Laura got picked up and put into the same camp as Jack and Aubrey. Of course, she decided it was a golden opportunity to infiltrate the enemy, and immediately started worming her way into a power position.
I liked the different POVs you get in this book. I thought it added a little sumpin' sumpin' to the drama of everything to know what was going on in the bad guys' heads. Especially when Laura was working side by side with Jack and Aubrey. Nooooo! She's evil! Don't trust her! Why are you going into the basement with her?! Never. Go. Into. The. Basement.
I've barely skimmed the top of this book's plot, but let's just say that the psycho teen-terrorists aren't Aubrey and Jack's only problem. The military has plans for all of the kids who have powers, and they don't exactly ask nicely for their help. Lots of twists, near-escapes, secrets, and betrayals.
I do wish the terrorist organization and the cause of the virus had been explained a little bit better. I didn't get annoyed by the lack of information while I was reading, though. It was fast-paced enough that I breezed through the story pretty quickly, and only after it was over that I realized I still had questions. Maybe the author is saving those things for the next book?
All in all, I had a lot of fun reading Blackout, and I'd recommend it for YA fans of mutant kids in a slightly dystopian setting.
Thanks to Edelweiss and the publisher for a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.(less)
Believe me, you will have lots of questions when you close the book. If you go into the story knowing this, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I'm s...moreBelieve me, you will have lots of questions when you close the book. If you go into the story knowing this, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I'm still thinking about the story days later, so I think it deserves at least 4 stars. And while it might not be for everyone, I enjoyed it.
The book focuses on Morgan and her journey, rather than on giving you answers about the world she lives in. The world building for the city of Internment felt complete, but the reason for Internment to exist is a total mystery. The people believe that when the earth started going to hell in a hand basket, the gods took a hunk of the planet and flung it into space. So Internment basically floats above the earth like a big rock with no communication from below. There's a force field (that the gods supposedly created) surrounding it, and it keeps anyone from throwing themselves overboard, so to speak. You just kind of bounce right back if you jump. Not many people do this though, because while you do bounce back, you come back fucked up somehow. For example, Morgan's brother tried it, and now he's blind.
The city of Internment actually sounds pretty awesome. I kept thinking I'd found the fatal flaw in their system, only to be slapped upside the head and told that it wasn't. When Morgan mentions that everyone is assigned someone at birth to be their betrothed, I thought that was the problem. Except it wasn't. Everyone seems genuinely in love with their other half. Do the folks in charge of that sort of thing have a special way of knowing who is your perfect match? This is one of the many unanswered questions I mentioned. Then when Morgan talks about how everyone is basically recycled when they can no longer be useful to society, I thought that was when the city would begin to look horribly evil. Ehhhh. Not really. You work (in a job you pick) until you get too old, then you go live in some sort of a retirement home called a dodder house until you're 75, then you get recycled. Yeah, ok. I don't want anyone picking out the date of my death, but at the same time it's not exactly a super-evil time span, you know? You're guaranteed 75 years with the love of your life, doing a job you enjoy, and you get a retirement package to boot! Oh, and there's no crime. But I guess that's the point. Lots of things look good on paper, but the reality isn't quite as awesome.
Everything starts to unravel for Morgan when a girl about her age is found murdered on the train tracks. That sort of thing just doesn't happen, after all. Once she starts to open her eyes and question things, she finds out that not everything is what it seems. Even the people she loves most.
The ending is fairly crazy. I don't want to spoil too much, but I will tell you it involves a giant mechanical bird, a wanted murder, and a crazy-ass princess. And, yes. There's a cliffhanger ending... (less)
A dystopian time-travel story with an autistic girl as the main character? My first thought was, "Wow!",...moreThanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book.
A dystopian time-travel story with an autistic girl as the main character? My first thought was, "Wow!", and my second thought was, "Wonder if the author can pull it off?". Well, she did. Congratulations, Ms. Grimes!
There are a lot of us out there who know and love people on the autism spectrum. It's a mysterious condition that strikes without much rhyme or reason, and can range from debilitating to just a bit quirky. And even if you think you've never met someone with autism, you're probably wrong. Remember the weird kid with no social skills who sat behind you in middle school? Think about the kid you knew that randomly cleared their throat or made humming noises? Maybe they constantly pulled at their clothes and never looked anyone in the eye? Made strange jokes that didn't make sense? Or maybe they just never got the jokes that other people made. You've met someone. At some point. But with autism comes a range of other abilities that can be strikingly brilliant. Photographic memories, musical savants, artistic geniuses, and off the chart intelligence are some of the side-effects of autism. Not always, but sometimes.
In Clover's case, she can recall anything she's ever read. Nice, huh? Wish I could do that. But with the good, comes the bad. She is easily overwhelmed in situations, certain textures bother her (the seam in her socks, tags, etc.), and social situations are hard for her. She's wary of other people because she can't read facial expressions, and she's been burned over and over again by cruel kids who have made her the butt of their jokes. Can you imagine if you couldn't understand when someone was being sarcastic or giving you a backhanded complement? School is hard enough, but not being able to tell a bully from a friend? Nightmare!
In this version of the future, a virus has wiped out the majority of the population. A cure was found, but it needs to be taken daily (or at least every few days?), otherwise the symptoms will reappear. The suppressant was only found after a scientist discovered a portal that allowed him to travel two years into the future. He recovered a vial of the future cure, brought it back, reverse engineered it, and saved the day. Now time-travel is used to find out future problems and prevent them before they happen. In fact, murderers are executed before they have a chance to commit the crime. Hmmm.
Clover was only a week or so old when the cure was found, and her brother, West, was a toddler. Her mother contracted the virus at the hospital, and was dying painfully when her husband overdosed her on pain medication to spare her further suffering. He fully expected both him and his two small children to be dead within days, and was only hoping to survive long enough to care for them so that they wouldn't die alone. In a cruel twist of fate the doctor arrived at his doorstep with the cure moments after he euthanized his wife. He could never forgive himself for her 'murder', and slowly began withdrawing from his children. He eventually left them in the care of a neighbor, and took a job as an executioner.
In the present, Clover is getting ready to enter a prestigious academy because of her off the chart academic scores. West has put everything on hold to take over as Clover's caretaker and ensure that she didn't end up in Foster City. Now that she's finally leaving home, he can get on with his life. Except it doesn't go down that way. Clover has a service dog, Mango, that helps her cope when things get too overwhelming. When she goes to her interview at the academy, however, the headmaster realizes she's autistic, and tells her they don't allow animals. There's no way Clover can function without Mango, and the headmaster knows it. He then sends her to the Time Mariners, where the rather creepy man in charge informs her that she has been 'drafted' into their service. She's given a few strange instructions, and then thrown into the exciting world of time-travel. Ok. It's not really all that exciting. They kind of just go and pick up information packets at drop points...
Everything is going relatively well until she goes on a mission and encounters a young man who breaks the rules. Everyone knows that if they see a Time Mariner, they are supposed to turn away and pretend they aren't there. But not only does this guy approach her, he gives her a piece of paper...and then kisses her! It's the fact that he knows how to kiss her without setting her off that convinces Clover to take his message and hide it. When she returns from the trip, she open the letter and finds an execution order for West, for the murder of the girl he's secretly in love with. She knows West. She knows that he wouldn't kill someone. And there's no way she's going to sit around and wait for him to be arrested. Her only option is to go waaaay outside her comfort zone to save him.
This sets off a chain of events that turns everything they know upside down. It seems their entire society is built on lies...
I have to admit that I was drawn to this book because of the autistic main character. However, it turned out to be a very solid dystopian novel. I also thought the relationship between West and Clover was realistically written. West wasn't happy that he had to stay with Clover instead of do the things he wanted, but he stayed anyway. He's not some kind of a saint, but he loves her. I also thought it was great that Clover had a love interest. Very sweet, and totally appropriate.
While the idea of a world built of secrets and lies is nothing new to the dystopian genre, the characters are interesting enough on their own to keep this story fresh. If you're looking for something different, don't miss out on this book!
This was a weird book. If it's so weird, then why am I giving it three stars? I'm just assuming you're ask...moreThanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book.
This was a weird book. If it's so weird, then why am I giving it three stars? I'm just assuming you're asking that question, by the way. Ok, ok, I'll tell you. Because I can't stop thinking about it, that's why! At first it looks like it's just going to be your regular old dystopian novel about some strange society. And then you start to notice the Star Wars references. Star Wars!? That's right, my friend, Star Wars. As in, the huge blockbuster movie that was so popular, it made it seem as though it was a good idea to wear your hair like two giant cinnamon buns on either side of your head. That Star Wars. I mean, do you see anything in the blurb that screams, "The entire society is based on George Lucas fan fiction!". No. No, you do not. In fairness, I just checked again and this was added to the blurb I recently read on Goodreads: (Please note: this novella contains a few references to the famous sci-fi movie Star Wars which are pivotal to the plot. None of the characters in The Island are in any way related to the characters in the movie. Leia is named after one of the ancient heroes of her culture/religion.) A few references? Ha! As if!
At the age on ten, all children on the island leave home and cut all ties with their parents. They then go to live in a smaller community with other children under the age of eighteen in order to become independent...and find the Force within themselves. Once they get married, they return to the adult community, but they don't really have anything to do with their parents anymore. It's considered a sign of weakness or something. On the other side of a wall live another type of people whom they refer to as Fools, but they don't really know much about them. Well, other than they're foolishly waiting around for someone to save them, hence the name, Fools.
Leia is a young girl named after her ancestor, the famous mighty female twin of Luke. The story starts when she and her twin brother leave home to go live with the other kids. Flash forward a few years and things are falling apart on their Lord of the Flies compound. A ruthless leader has taken over, and Leia discovers that The Book may hold evidence that will make the others revolt against his leadership. Now, this Book is like their Bible, right? It's holy, sacred, infallible, and it holds the history of her people. So when she steals it, it's a pretty big deal. Ok, the entire time I'm reading about this Book, I'm almost embarrassed for this girl. Seriously. These people based their lives on some poorly written Star Wars fanfic. Oh. My. God.
While she's trying to hide the Book (so she can read it's sacred information later), she meets a Fool who is searching for someone who washed up on their side of the shore. Less than witty banter ensues, and he agrees to keep the Book with him until they can meet again. Obviously, this kid is the Love Interest. I didn't feel much in the way of sparks, but it's a novella, so I let it slide. And honestly, any questions I had about their romance was going to take a backseat to the more important questions this book poses. How the hell did some nerd with a lightsaber get his own island?! How did they convince other people to go along with this dumbass idea?! And most importantly, what was the author thinking?! In my mind, I just couldn't see a way for Ms. Minkman to make this work. There was no reason for this crazy society to exist. At all. Ever. Then along came the ending. And you know what? It kind of made sense. Yeah, I know. I'm a surprised as you are. So three big fat stars for pulling off the impossible, Ms. Minkman!
I don't hand out five stars very easily anymore. Years ago, I wasn't as picky, but now it's rare to never that I find a book worthy of the 5 STAR labe...moreI don't hand out five stars very easily anymore. Years ago, I wasn't as picky, but now it's rare to never that I find a book worthy of the 5 STAR label. It's special...like me! Ashen Winter is one of those few books that is so freakin' awesome it actually deserves the whole five. Have you read Ashfall, yet? If not, stop reading this review and go get it. Now. Are you seriously still sitting there? Move your ass! Go, go!
If you're still reading this, I'm going to assume that you've already read Mike Mullin's stunning debut novel. Or possibly you're just being stubborn. At any rate, the first book was so good that I almost didn't want to taint it's goodness with Second Book Syndrome. You know, 1st book rocks, but the 2nd one sucks. We've all been down that disappointing road, right? Fortunately, a friend of mine's kid forced me into action. That's right, a kid made me read it. Here's what happened: A month or so ago my friend's son comes over and asks me, "Miss Anne, have you read anything lately you think I'd like?". I mull it over for a second, and it occurs to me that Ashfall is one of the best books I've read (YA or otherwise) in the past year. So I say, "Logan, go get Ashfall! Now. Move your ass! Go, go!". And then, because he's not my kid, I don't think about it anymore. Fast forward two weeks, and he shows up (uninvited) at my doorstep. Naturally, I assume the little bastard is sniffing around for baked goods, 'cause not only am I kind and caring, but I can rock some chocolate chip cookies. Anne's Free Tip of the Day: Never let the kids in the neighborhood know you can cook. Those little fuckers are harder to get rid of than stray cats. And due to some bleeding-heart liberals, it's apparently illegal to take pot shots at children. Go figure. Then again, if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around... So was he looking for food? Well, yes. But he also told me that he loved Ashfall so much that he already read the second book. Only it sounded like this: OhMyGodMissAnneAshfallwasBEAST!Thesecondoneisevenbetteryougottareadit! Lucky for me, I have kids of my own, so I was able to translate. Also lucky for me, he had it with him, and offered to let me read it. Or maybe I hit him over the head with my cookie tray and snatched the book. Mwahahahahahaha! Sometimes I black out....
Anyway, was he right? Is Ashen Winter even better than Ashfall? Unbelievably, it is! In the first book, a supervolcano in Yellowstone goes ka-boom, and the end results are freezing temperatures, a technological return to the Dark Ages, and (as an added bonus) groups of marauding cannibals. Yes, evidently if when bad people get hungry, they'll eat anyone. It's total chaos, and without any real form of government, it's each man (or woman) for themselves. Alex was just an ordinary teenager until the ash started falling. Now he's a veteran survivor who's only goal is to find his parents. The end of the last book was so bittersweet. He and Darla finally made it to his uncle's house, only to discover that his mom and dad were out there somewhere searching for him. He agreed to stay put and help his uncle in the hopes that his parents would return. Ashen Winter opens with Alex and Darla finding a clue to the whereabouts of his parents. They leave the relative safety of his uncle's farm on a rescue mission, and, of course, things quickly take a turn for the worse. Ok, Darla is undeniably my favorite character. To say the least, she's got mad skills when it comes to surviving an apocalypse. Is there anything this chick can't do? No. No there is not. She's the perfect counterbalance for Alex's soft-hearted nature. And after reading this, I will never underestimate an injured girl with a screwdriver. That's not to say that I don't love Alex. He is such a good guy. A reallyreallyreally good guy. Unfortunately, in this kind of world, you just know his decent nature is going to cost him eventually. And it does. He makes a choice to help some people, and because he does...well, you know what they say about good deeds going unpunished. What happened, you ask? Oh. My. God. Nooooooooooo!MikeMullinyoubetterbekiddingwiththisshit! Suddenly it's a race against time to...
Anyhoo, Ashen Winter is an amazing ride from start to finish. I'm not doing this book justice with my crappy reviewing skills, but you're just going to have to trust me. Also, this is mature YA, so don't go out and get it for your favorite 10 year old nephew. There are lots of adult situations that include off the page rape, and fade to black sex scenes. Oh, and ten dollars says that by the time you get done with these, your new favorite hobby will be planning which annoying neighbor to eat first!
The basis of this world is that we have learned how to genetically alter ourselves. So now everyone has th...moreThanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book.
The basis of this world is that we have learned how to genetically alter ourselves. So now everyone has the potential to be totally hot and live for a couple hundred years, as long as they can afford it.
I would say this was a middle-of-the-road kind of book for me. It was entertaining enough while I was reading it, but I'm not sure I'll continue with the series. I can't really pinpoint why, other than the concept just didn't intrigue me enough....or something. God. I'm a terrible reviewer! Oh well, you get what you pay for, people.
Zoe is a typical spoiled little rich girl. She's not evil, just unaware that other people live in her world, so to speak. Her parents are distant, but she has a close relationship with her brother, Liam. Or she thinks they're close, anyway. One day Liam just disappears, and it seems to Zoe that no one is looking very hard to find him. Distraught, she takes it upon herself to discover just what happened to her brother. She manages to find out that he was working on a secret project with her boyfriend and one other researcher outside the city. Unfortunately, she needs help in order to maneuver safely outside the protected inner city that she and the other GAPs grew up in. She needs a natural to help her, but the only natural she knows is her housekeeper's son, Noah. Not only does he dislike her snooty family, but apparently he's a leader in the anti-GAP movement. The only thing she's got going in her favor is that he needs money to help his family pay bills....and that's one thing she's got plenty of.
What starts out as a business transaction slowly turns into friendship, and then into something more. As they spend time together trying to uncover the truth, it becomes hard to control the way they feel about each other. The sparks begin to fly, and finally they give in and admit their feelings. *sigh* Nothing quite compares to Forbidden Love. Conspiracy theories, death threats, and shocking revelations be damned! Together they decide that nothing is going to come between them.
And then something super-duper shocking comes between them! Gasp! But I'm not going to tell you what it is. Or whether or not they end up together. *shrugs* Hey, I told you I was a crappy reviewer when I started writing this thing.
After thinking about it, I'd say this was a decent book. Not awesome, but certainly not boring. I would definitely read something else by this author again.
This is book two in Kagawa's Blood of Eden series, and I'm happy to say it doesn't suffer from the Second...moreThanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book.
This is book two in Kagawa's Blood of Eden series, and I'm happy to say it doesn't suffer from the Second Book Syndrome. In fact, I think this one was much better than than the first book, The Immortal Rules.
The story is set in a post-apocalyptic world where humans are an endangered species. Vampires rule the large cities, offering protection to the humans in exchange for blood. These are not benevolent vampires. Protection from what, you ask? Why, from the Rabids, of course! In the first book, you learn that humans were almost wiped out by a disease called Red Lung, and in a failed attempt to cure it...dum, dum, dum...zombies were created. Now, if you want to find out how Allie met Kanin, became a vampire, and fell in love with Zeke, you'll just have to suck it up and read the first book.
The Eternity Cure starts off with Allie on her way to rescue her friend and mentor, Kanin. On the way she runs into Jackal, and the two strike up an uneasy alliance in an effort to find their sire. Jackal is snarky, rude, and basically evil. The book wouldn't have been as good without him tagging along, though. Yes, he's awful, but you can't just have a bunch of good guys running around trying to save the world, can you?! Boring! You need to have at least one character that pulls his pants down in the middle of a sappy moment. And Jackal is definitely the guy who lights a fart at a funeral.
Hey, Zeke, remember that time I fed a bunch of your friends to Rabids? Good times, good times. You know how easy it would be for me to chop your head off while you sleep, Allie? Nighty-nite! Sweet dreams! So, yeah. Jackal was definitely my favorite character.
Things really get going when Zeke shows up in Allie's old stomping grounds, the Fringe. There are some tense moments when they first meet, but Zeke is still in love with Allie and wants to find a way to make it work. His only request is that if something happens, she won't Turn him. Reluctantly, she agrees to let him go forever if he's mortally wounded. They're still in pursuit of Kanin and the cure for Rabidism, when a new strain of Red Lung crops up in the Fringe. It's all connected to Sarren, the brilliantly unhinged vampire from the last book. When it's revealed what he's up to, it puts their group of mismatched heroes in a race against time to save everyone and everything they care about. And when it's all over with, nothing will ever be the same.
Oh, and the ending? Oh. My. God. *screaming and sobbing* How could you leave me hanging like that, Kagawa?! Oh, fine. It was brilliant. Brilliant!
So, even if you weren't impressed with the first book, I'd recommend you go ahead and check this one out. I think you'll be surprised.
I didn't think it was awful. Honestly, I've read much worse lately. But. I didn't care about any of the characters, and the plot was iffy. It s...more2.5 stars
I didn't think it was awful. Honestly, I've read much worse lately. But. I didn't care about any of the characters, and the plot was iffy. It starts off looking like a sci-fi/dystopian, and then smacks you uspide the head with dragons, dwarves, and fae. Everything was just kinda all over the place...
Anyway. I'd recommend you check the library to see if they have it before you spend any money on this one.(less)
So we finally managed to engineer super-soldiers...and then they decide to revolt. Go figure. And even though they were winning the war, they decided...moreSo we finally managed to engineer super-soldiers...and then they decide to revolt. Go figure. And even though they were winning the war, they decided to release a virus that wiped out the vast majority of humanity. The humans who were resistant to the RM virus live together now, but their numbers are dwindling. Babies die within a few days of being born, and time is running out to find a cure. Kira is a sixteen year old medic who believes that the cure can be found within the Partials genetic code, and she's determined to find a subject to help her prove her theory. Unfortunately, there is a civil war brewing within her small community, and the government officials are too preoccupied with keeping the peace to listen to her. There's also the small problem of her being too young for anyone to take seriously. Once her best friend becomes pregnant, though, Kira's determination to find a way to save the babies goes into overdrive. With the help of her closest friends she sets out on a dangerous journey that will change everything, especially Kira's understanding of what it means to be human.
I'd seen some bad reviews of this one, but it looked so darn cool that I finally decided to give it a try. I'm glad I did, because it turned out to be a good read. The characters were different than I thought they would be, and I love being surprised by things like that. For example, I thought I knew how the romance would pan out. You know, the old boyfriend turns bad, and the new guy is a dream? Not so much. Kira's childhood sweetheart, Marcus, is really funny and laid-back. And even though I didn't feel a passionate burn coming from those two, it still felt like they needed and respected each other. Also, I'm a sucker for a guy with a sense of humor. Samm is...well, he's interesting too, but I don't want to give anything away. At any rate, the plot doesn't focus on romantic stuff as much as I thought it would. I think it's because Kira is a pretty of a self-contained character who isn't consumed by thoughts of boys. ??? I know, right?! What's wrong with that girl?
I also thought I had the secret twist figured out within the first few chapters. A couple of chapters later, and I just knew I was wrong. Then I was right...then I was wrong again. Every time I thought I knew what was going to happen, something would pop up and poke holes in my theory. Good job, Mr. Wells! You had me going in circles right up till the final GOTCHA moment!
I don't recommend this if you're looking for a romance driven book, but if you've been dying to read a dystopian novel about androids taking over the world, then you may want to check this out.
This was actually a lot easier for me to get into than Divergent. The pace was faster, Tris seemed a bit more realistic, and the plot was more interes...moreThis was actually a lot easier for me to get into than Divergent. The pace was faster, Tris seemed a bit more realistic, and the plot was more interesting.
I don't want to give anything away, but the cliffhanger ending did go a long way to explaining the ridiculous nature of this particular dystopian world.
Free Four is exactly what the blurb describes. It's the 'Knife Throwing' scene from Divergent...only from Four's point of view. It's short (about 40 pa...moreFree Four is exactly what the blurb describes. It's the 'Knife Throwing' scene from Divergent...only from Four's point of view. It's short (about 40 pages), and unless you've read Divergent it probably won't make sense. It not something I'd recommend for someone who wants to get a feel for the original book, either. Again, it's really short.
Recommended for fans of the series who are looking for an extra glimpse into that world. (less)
Immortal Rules was alright. There wasn't anything super-duper about the story that sucked me in, but it wasn't so boring that I wanted to stop flipping...moreImmortal Rules was alright. There wasn't anything super-duper about the story that sucked me in, but it wasn't so boring that I wanted to stop flipping the pages either.
The setting is a post-plague/apocalyptic world. Zombie-like creatures called Rabids are running amok outside the cities, and the cities themselves are run by vampires. The vampires are not benevolent leaders, but evil bloodsuckers who see humans as cattle. In exchange for Registering (which makes you a blood donor), the vampires give the humans food, shelter (within the city), and relative protection against...well, vampires. You aren't required to register, and those who choose not to live on the Fringe. The unregistered must steal and scavenge what little food they can, usually living in groups or gangs for protection.
Allie is one of these fringers. She hates vampires with a passion, and refuses to register. And here's where I had a problem with the book. Why? Why would a kidnot register? Yeah, yeah...she hates vampires because she blames them (rightly) for her mother's death (view spoiler)[ They made her mother donate blood when she was sick, and she never recovered. (hide spoiler)] But what are her options? I'm not sure starving and living in abandoned building is really a good way to thumb your nose at The Man. And even if I can swallow that Allie is willing to live like that, it doesn't explain why the other kids were willing to do it. Especially her cowardly pal that couldn't take care of himself. Can't remember his name...String? Screach? Oh well, not important. The point is, would you choose to eat rotten food and skitter around in the shadows (hoping you don't get raped, murdered by another gang, or eaten by a zombie), or register to donate blood to unlikable vampires. Sorry, but I'd register. So maybe I'm just a weakling, but that part of the story just didn't ring true.
Anyway. She gets chomped on by a pack of rabids (zombies), and a niceish vampire gives her the choice to either continue dying or let him turn her into a vampire. Duh. No choice there! Now she just has to figure out how to live with her choice.
*Insert stuff happening here*
Once she leaves her mentor, she ends up on the road with a bunch of religious fanatics who are looking for Eden. Which turns out to be a vampire-free human haven. Sucks for her, huh? Especially since she sort of falls for one of guys she's traveling with. Oh, and they don't know she's a vampire. Because of their freakish ways, they travel at night...convenient, no?
*Insert more stuff happening*
And the book ends.
It wasn't bad, but it did drag a bit (in my opinion). I'll probably read the next one, but I'm not going out of my way to recommend this to anyone. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)