This is a dystopia book that reminds me mostly of Maze Runner and Divergent, with perhaps a bit of The Giver thrown in. The plot, however, seems moreThis is a dystopia book that reminds me mostly of Maze Runner and Divergent, with perhaps a bit of The Giver thrown in. The plot, however, seems more original. Charley is a protagonist with his fair share of issues, including a serious issue with anger management and perhaps a touch of the warrior gene. He is something of an avenging angel to the people of the city with an impossibly high aptitude for fighting, hunting, and supposedly a high intelligence (that I really saw no evidence of him using). Despite these capabilities, he is not a bully, but views the system in which he lives as evil. His greatest desire is to take the system - and the one responsible for the murder of his brother - down. He does not care what he has to do to achieve this, even if it means hurting a few people in his way.
The story here is not exclusively told through Charley's eyes, as there are brief scenes/plot points that are revealed through third-person closed/limited through other characters, including an engineer, the city commander, a femme fatal, mafia leader, average citizen, and Charley's best friend. This can be a little frustrating since none of these characters are given as much space as Charley and sometimes they seem to interrupt the flow of the story-telling. It would also be completely possible to tell the story without relying upon changing the narrator so many times. Also, there do seem to be several gaps in Charley's understanding of what is going on around him - he is flabbergasted by the motives of several characters when his high IQ should probably be aiding him in figuring that out.
Several people in this book endure tremendous hardship by losing loved ones, but everyone complies because they believe the system in place is protecting them. This is an interesting social commentary, and there are some religious overtones as well as several characters claim to have a belief in God. This in itself makes the book an interesting read and perfect for social conversation between younger readers. I think that gives the books some value.
I do feel let down by two things: the animal combinations sound very, very cool but I was expecting (because of the cover) some sort of minotaur/animal-human combinations. There were none of those. Also, I really wanted more information about the first female character introduced (through her own third-person narrative) because she seemed interesting and a decent foil of the main protagonist, but her perspective was not at all integral to this plot. Perhaps she will be more important in further books.
All in all, I think this book/series shows promise but it did seem lacking in a few areas in terms of development of main character and justification for the several perspectives given throughout the book. I would read the second book in the series to see if it better tied together the threads left undone in Meritropolis. Also, warning: book ends on a cliffhanger.
For the sensitive reader: There are mentions of deliberate murders, forced abortions, and violence including training fights, hunting sequences, and battles.
I received a free copy of this book from Story Cartel in exchange for my honest review....more
Cassie has been trained by her mother to observe the people around her to determine their background, their personality, and build the perfect profileCassie has been trained by her mother to observe the people around her to determine their background, their personality, and build the perfect profile for a con-artist-styled-psychic to work a crowd. But Cassie's mother met with a bad end and Cassie's skills have done little more than help her get better tips as a diner waitress - until the FBI comes calling.
Criminal Minds meets Nancy Drew in this story of teens with "Natural" abilities that the FBI find quite useful in catching bad guys. There is a statistician (think the crime-solving series NUMBERS), a human lie-detector/deception expert, an adept at reading the emotions of those around him, and a profiler scary-good at getting into the head of serial killers. Cassie fits in as a natural profiler of victims and crime scenes.
While some might believe this stretches the imagination a bit, I don't think so. There have been stories for years about teen computer prodigies being recruited by various government agencies, or having their college paid for with the understanding they will work with the feds later down the road. Why wouldn't there be programs for other specialty areas like profiling?
In this first novel of what promises to be an entertaining series, the focus is on introducing the protagonist to the other cast of characters, with little in the way of overall character development. However, this does not take away from the interest level that each of these troubled/gifted teenagers raise. Each teenager has more going on in their background than they reveal and it will take a few more novels before curiosity about them can be satisfied. That being said, this novel does come to a satisfying conclusion (that I did NOT see coming) which keeps the reader from feeling cheated out of more personal details.
I enjoyed reading this book a great deal - my husband was treated to near-silence when I read, punctuated by an occasional giggle, gasp, and towards the end a "What?!" Then, a few minutes later, "WHAT?!?!" I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Criminal Minds, YA mysteries/crime fiction, and those interested in psychology. The author knows her stuff, by the way, with a background in psychology. I couldn't put this book down until I finished it. Great read!
For the sensitive reader: This book is about teenagers solving violent, troubling crimes and a serial killer. That should be warning enough....more
We borrowed this from the library for my Kindergartener. She loved it so much we read it straight through, then read it again, and then that night wheWe borrowed this from the library for my Kindergartener. She loved it so much we read it straight through, then read it again, and then that night when I went in to check on her one last time I found her holding it close in her sleep. I should also note that we are just now entering the super-hero stage in our family with my 3 year old son, so my little girl has gone from watching Disney movies over and over (Rapunzel is the favorite) to Spider-Man and Captain America. "Why are there no girl Super-Heroes?" she asked. I introduced her to Wonder Woman, White Tiger, Batgirl, Supergirl, etc., and she shrugged. She can't really connect to those super-sexy, all-grown-up, major-attitude types.
I recalled reading about Shannon Hale's new book for younger readers. I liked what she'd done with Princess Academy, so I thought I would give it a go for my girl. I did not anticipate the amount of love this book would receive - she cried when she had to give it back to the library (the request list is still long here). She decorated her pumpkin for a school contest to look just like the Princess in Black.
I surprised my daughter with her own copy this last week, and her eyes just lit up. The book currently lives under her pink pillow. My girl LOVES pink, and princesses, and superheroes. This book is NOT about rejecting princesses, or even rejecting the pinkness of girls. This book is about being a hero and saving the day.
This is Zorro for little girls. Princess Magnolia - pink clad perfection in her castle - The Princess in Black when danger lurks in the kingdom!
Give it a chance. My three year old boy loves this book and we look forward to another, especially if it features the Goat Avenger. :-) And more monsters to fight! My two year old daughter has been running around saying the Princess in Black's signature move: Twinkle, Twinkle, SMASH! It's a book our whole family loves....more
Jules Maroni is a fantastic character, full of sass with a wonderful grip on who she is and what she is capable of accomplishing. She is very well rouJules Maroni is a fantastic character, full of sass with a wonderful grip on who she is and what she is capable of accomplishing. She is very well rounded, far from a Mary Sue. Her ambitions and confidence are refreshing in a world where so many female characters spend the entire book pining for an unreachable (read: perfect) guy or going on and on about how uncertain they are of themselves. Jules is smart, witty, and talented. However, she knows she can always get better at her chosen profession - wire walker! - with practice. She believes in hard work, in family, and in the Circus. Her character development was excellent; Jules went from having no knowledge of her family's background and feeling secure in her bubble to realizing that people simply aren't perfect and not everyone plays by the rules.
The Maroni family is multi-generational, constituting the Grandmother (Nan), a cousin (Sam), parents, and Jules. They travel together, work together, learn together, and watch old movies on TCM and AMC when they want some entertainment. They love old Circus glamor, they each have their talents under the big top, and they are supportive of one another's dreams. Jules does not have absent-minded or stupid parents, she just chooses to keep certain things from them. She does confide a great deal in her grandmother, which I liked.
The love story is well done, and do not be put off by the fact that the male lead's name is Romeo. He goes by Remy. Yes, Jules is short for Julietta. But, aside from the families disliking each other, that's where the Shakespeare references stop. Thank goodness. Remy is an intelligent young man who doesn't care about old family feuds. He care about perfecting his own performance and the near-impossible quadruple trapeze spin. His act involves his brother and sister, and they are also a closely linked family.
Now, I've got a couple of issues with the story. The first is that this story talks about magic - frequently, and it is something that motivates the "bad guy" of the book and part of the grandmother's past. That being said, there is actually very little emphasis on the supernatural and people in the book only half-believe in it. The magic aspects could have been developed a great deal more to increase suspense, or creepiness, or anything. I felt the magic was left to fall flat.
The second issue I have here is how the mystery - the driving plot in this whole story - is ridiculous. The culprit is not truly punished and basically confesses to everything in such a "yeah, I did it and this is why and now you had better succumb to my evil play mwhahahaha" way that it smacked of Scooby Doo. I do not feel that enough hints were trailed along the way, either. The bad guy just came out and admitted everything. The detective work done earlier and throughout the book gave half the story and did not lead to a dramatic confrontation or Jules discovering the culprit. That was something of a let down considering how much of the story depended on the mystery being solved.
All said, I did enjoy this book a great deal and stayed up a few nights to read several chapters. All the information about the circus-life was wonderful, the allusions to old-school glamor and fame was appreciated, and I enjoyed the story enough to recommend it to others.
So, 3.5 stars if I could....
For the Sensitive Reader: There is a female character who is attracted to both boys and girls, though her role is minor and her situation rarely mentioned. Other than that, some teenage kissing and flirting....more
This is so much more than just a clean romance! This is revisiting the Regency in a manner that would please Heyer and Austen fans. For Elise is a mysThis is so much more than just a clean romance! This is revisiting the Regency in a manner that would please Heyer and Austen fans. For Elise is a mystery that is not truly solved until the last few pages - I admit, I could not decide which of two characters was the guilty party.
This is a story of friendship lost through carelessness and then given a second chance - I want to note that many people have complained about how easily Elise misunderstood Miles and ran away from his love and support. I did not find this a difficult thing to swallow for two reasons - historical context and what grief combined with trauma will do to a person. I happen to be personally acquainted with a young woman who experienced physical trauma similar to Elise's and lost someone she cared for at the same time - as Elise lost her father. When people are already in deep mourning they are prone to act in ways that are normally out of character, even lashing out at others in their own pain. I have seen it happen countless times. The young friend I previously mentioned experienced physical trauma at the same time as a loss and did some VERY stupid things while in this emotionally confused state. It happens. I found it to be very accurate when compared to my observations of people in real life.
This is romance of the highest order, built on a foundation of history and trust, pain and mistrust. I am amazed at how well Eden wove her story. I could understand Elise being distrusting, yet yearning with all her heart to be loved and taken care of once more.
I am a huge fan of Eden's books, I admit it, but I have my favorites and not-so-favorites. I think that is the mark of a good writer - not pleasing everyone all of the time, but giving us several flavor varieties to choose from. :-)
For Elise is at times very sad and captures a feeling of loneliness that many of you will recognize, but it is also a tale of hope, of moving past pain and loss to look for happiness again. I cried, but I also laughed out loud. If you have experienced loss and pain, if you have ever felt abandoned by those who should have cared for you, then you will understand Elise. ...more
Verrrrrrrrrry interesting book. I have to say I am glad I'm coming to this one late, since the ending is a HUGE CLIFF-HANGER. I think all readers shouVerrrrrrrrrry interesting book. I have to say I am glad I'm coming to this one late, since the ending is a HUGE CLIFF-HANGER. I think all readers should be warned before they invest themselves in a series that each book ends in the middle of something somewhat exciting/daunting/crazy.
Gier's story is fresh, the plot's beginnings are twisty, mysterious, and solid. Gwyneth Shepherd is one of the most normal girls you will ever meet - except she talks to ghosts and has a weird family. She watches films, knows lots of pop culture, and has spent her life being a very boring person. She is pretty enough to look at, but she hardly credits this as the tall, thin, willowy type are more the thing just now. She has a snarky sense of humor, just enough self-doubt to make her real, and the natural thoughts on time travel that most of us would have. She even sneaks a cell phone back in time to take a few quick pics to show her bestie!
It won't be hard for a reader to connect a few dots, pulling the plot together in their minds, but there is enough left to guess at to make picking up the sequel more likely.
Warning to sensitive readers: there are mentions of death, violence, and self-defence. There may or may not also be some small instances of teenagers engaging in flirtation and kissing.
Overall, an enjoyable YA book that even an adult could find interesting....more
This book was fascinating! Robison Wells is brother to Dan Wells (yes, that Dan Wells) and it is clear that the story-telling talent is had by both. TThis book was fascinating! Robison Wells is brother to Dan Wells (yes, that Dan Wells) and it is clear that the story-telling talent is had by both. The world-crafting of the main location, the slightly sinister Maxfield Academy, is very well done and the system is explained well enough to keep me from saying, "Waaaaaaaaaiiiiiit a minute, watcha tryin' to pull?" Wells is assuming his readership will be curious and intelligent individuals and does not insult that intelligence the way some other YA writers tend to do.
The protagonist, 17 year old Benson, is a product of the foster system. He is without direction, without family, and is sick and tired of being pushed around. He is absolutely believable as a person who has had to look out for himself for so long he sees life through a filter. All Benson wants to do is survive and have some place to belong. He has high hopes of Maxfield Academy being just that place, but within moments of setting foot on the property he realizes he is terribly, terribly wrong. The tension starts building then, though it isn't until about two-thirds of the way in that things get really interesting.
Benson's time in the school, his struggle to connect to others, his basic desire to be a good guy, and his debate on whether or not to assimilate into the weirdness of Maxfield are all believable. As a reader, I appreciated the level of "not-knowing" that we and Benson experienced. We figure things out along with him and not a moment before. There is a hint of teenage romance, but Benson even questions the reality of a relationship in light of all that he learns of Maxfield and all that he has yet to learn. How great could a romance be in a prison-in-all-but-name?
As a warning to more sensitive readers, there are several fights that break out between teenagers, one is especially violent though not overly descriptive, and there are mentions of teens having killed teens previous to the protagonist's arrival. ...more
I just finished reading this amazing book moments ago. I feel that every person who believes themselves to have our country's best interests at heartI just finished reading this amazing book moments ago. I feel that every person who believes themselves to have our country's best interests at heart needs to read this book.
D'Souza, an immigrant to our country, has laid out the plan of the founding fathers, the economic situation we find ourselves in, the politics of the progressives, and presented us with a view of our future.
I strongly believe that D'Souza is a watchman on a tower - he sees what is coming and he is offering us a warning and hope. He believes America is in decline in many respects and offers these last words in his book: Decline is a choice, but so is liberty. Let us resolve as Americans to make liberty our choice.
He makes a strong case both for WHY we are going downhill so fast and HOW we can put on the breaks. He points out the good things America has done and the bad things - in both major political parties. D'Souza also points enthusiastically across the oceans at other countries who are coming up in the world. He does not argue that they need to be brought down, but that America needs to keep pace!
I highly recommend this book. I borrowed it from the library, but will be purchasing a copy to share with friends....more