So I was super surprised at how much I loved this book. I was also mildly surprised that this was the second in a series, mostly because I never feltSo I was super surprised at how much I loved this book. I was also mildly surprised that this was the second in a series, mostly because I never felt lost with the character's back stories I should have known before reading this. Which really goes to show how amazingly Bracken seamlessly wove her first and second installments together.
Ruby's transformation from fearing her ability to being forced to use it to survive was a very palpable struggle. This book really sucked me in, but didn't have such a hold on me that I couldn't relax and enjoy it. Ruby's new responsibilities and coming to love those under her in the League against her will was poignant and just so real.
There was so much action and so many twists, most of which I never saw coming. The book never lulled and never lost its constant momentum which I was only too happy to be swept away by. I loved it so much I'm going to be reading the first book of the series and buying this book when it comes out!
The only real problem I had with it is that one of the new character curses like a sailor literally every bit of dialogue. It was good character building, until it was just too much and I got tired of the f bomb being dropped like it was a space filler. I think I would have liked this book better had there been a bit more discretion with that character. However, overall I really did enjoy myself and devoured this book!
I received a free ebook copy from NetGalley. I am not receiving any recompense besides the free text....more
A dystopian-esque novel set in a futuristic South America where cultures have melded together and the blame of wars past is given to the men of the woA dystopian-esque novel set in a futuristic South America where cultures have melded together and the blame of wars past is given to the men of the world. Therefore to prevent any further disasters, a queen is elected by a “king” who is elected solely to be murdered right after he chooses the next reigning queen. This seemingly barbaric act is to ensure that the king, in the last minutes of life, will choose in an unhindered way with death quickly approaching.
And honestly? I didn’t particularly like it. It took most of the novel for me to pinpoint exactly what I disliked about this book and I finally pinpointed it: the world building. I think this whole novel would have been so much better if the author had taken more time with the world building of the novel. I was confused most of the time with the politics that fueled this world, but decided that was probably not the important bits of the book and mostly ignored the fact I didn’t follow. It was an unfortunate discovery that the politics were the core of the book where I thought the odd chemistry of Enki and June was the crux of it all.
From then on out I was vastly lost trying to get a grasp on the politics that now seemed to dictate what the characters did and said. It was a bit like the book switched languages on me and I couldn’t keep up. Mix in the oddly used homosexual relationships (I am unsure whether they were used misleadingly as shock value or some weak attempt at romance, both of which failed miserably) and I felt everything in this book was half-heartedly used to make a point I never was privy to.
All in all I think some things were done well, such as Enki’s tragic character. However, I was so lost the entire time while trying to understand the plot that any really great things were glossed over by an overwhelming frustration. Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review and only received a free review copy from NetGalley as recompence in a Kindle format. ...more
The average of all the individual stars was 3.6, but I rounded up.
Just a small disclaimer, I have nothing against gay/lesbian/bi/etc. couples, I am crThe average of all the individual stars was 3.6, but I rounded up.
Just a small disclaimer, I have nothing against gay/lesbian/bi/etc. couples, I am critiquing the writing only.
This book had the "brave" and some of the "new", but love was lacking in some of the stories. Please be aware that five of these stories do have gay/lesbian/bi themes so if you don't like it, skip those stories. They will be noted in the individual reviews below.
HIDDEN RIBBON by John Shirley 4.5 stars- Good world building, a fast paced story, and a sweet romance. Classic dystopian world with a sealed bubble that only the elite can live and thrive in and the rest of the contaminated world for the rest of them. Girl gets invited in, boy loves her and can't go, and conflict ensues.
THE SALT SEA AND THE SKY by Elizabeth Bear 2.5 stars- Two girls, in a world where women are only allowed to procreate with a man or run away. The main character only has her heart set on running away and seemingly is indifferent to Shaun, the love of her life. Shaun proclaims her love to Billie several more times, but the characters were flat and the situation was further exacerbated by cliched lesbian stereotypes. The story just didn't have a very strong foundation.
IN THE CLEARING by Kiera Cass 4.5 stars- A great dystopian society coupled with a group that has essentially "defected" made for a great short story. This rogue group have made themselves 'Borrowers' of a sort by taking essentials from the proper society. This story could definitely become a novel, even if the idea was already written in UNDER THE NEVER SKY. Great character building in such a small allotment of pages.
OTHERWISE by Nisi Shawl 3.5 stars- Gritty and rough, two lesbians (one bi) plan an escape to a safe compound to find Aim's boyfriend. Oh, and they randomly pick up a kid. Being dropped in mid-story doesn't help matters and it kept me confused until the end. However, there are no lesbian stereotypes and the "in your face" characters were endearing. As far as dystopians go, there's no clear reason why the world fell apart and in this case a reason would really help the story.
NOW PURPLE WITH LOVE'S WOUND- Carrie Vaughn 3.5 stars- A very dull and overused storyline, this story is not distinctly dystopian. A middle class girl is chosen to be the wife of the Warlord's son. The question is, was she made to love him by serum or has she always loved him? The son's a wimp, lamenting about how he loves her but can't trust her love is real. The girl, meanwhile, dangerously explores ways to prove her love, yadda yadda. Dull, cliched, and had me rooting for no one's happiness.
BERSERKER EYES by Maria V. Snyder 5 stars- I have always loved Maria V. Snyder's stories, and this one is no exception. We're thrown right in the thick of things and the story unfolds with the perfect amount of information given at just the right times. There's great world building in such a short span of "time" and beautifully polished characters. The characters are deliciously dark and brooding and the story is constructed wonderfully.
AROSE FROM POETRY by Steve Berman 2 stars- Another unfortunate gay couple built of stereotypes. The story started out promising with a strong lead named Tetch, but it was negated completely by weak and wimpy Allard who is young, privileged, and pretty and that's pretty much it. Very short and not very sweet, the kiss at the end is overshadowed by the very unbelieveable "whoah, even though I'm a teen, I have all of a sudden realized I'm gay RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT and this has never occurred to me before!" Come on, please.
RED by Amanda Downum 4.5 stars- A lesbian couple comprised of one human and one zombie. I sense a new and promising story! There's fantastic world building and characterization with a few major stereotypical relationships thrown in. I actually enjoyed this spin.
FOUNDLINGS by Diana Peterfreund 4 stars- Twin sisters, one pregnant and one not. Mix in a hot young male agent and a freaky government spy program for young unwed teens, and this could go several directions. Good characterization and decent, plausible actions made for a good read.
SEEKERS IN THE CITY by Jeanne DuPrau 4 stars- Two pre-teens catch a glimpse of one another and make it their mission to find each other once more. Sweet, but a little juvenile and pointless lacking a moving plot like her previous novel (which I loved) THE CITY OF EMBER.
THE UP by Nina Kiriki Hoffman 4 stars- A civilization living underground can't sustain their lifestyle and must leave their settlement to go above ground to survive is a bit of a worn plot, but this story has some unique sparks to it. The fact that there is communication between other settlements is new, as is the knowledge of the above world. There are careful inbreeding rules enforced that made the plot a bit more realistic (honestly, you'd think that most dystopian writers don't think through their worlds). This story is mostly a compilation of previously used ideas, but it was a good read nonetheless.
THE DREAM EATER by Carrie Ryan 4.5 stars- Dark and confusing, the main male character is in love with the Cruce, a girl chosen to come every night and take any memories associated with pain or shame from the entire settlement. She's disgusting and horrible, yet every night the male lead remembers he loved this girl before she became the Cruce, just for a moment before it's taken from him. Good, but confusing.
357 by Jesse Karp 4 stars- Brilliant world building but super confusing, the protagonist falls in love with a girl who may or may not exist and goes in search of her in the building where each floor is inaccessible from the rest. There are 357 known floors and secrets abound.
ERIC AND PAN by William Sleator 2.5 stars- One of the lamest stories in this entire anthology. This story is also about two gay boys who sneak around and see each other secretly. That's it. No clear worldly civilization distress, just two flat characters making gaga eyes at each other. Disappointing.
THE EMPTY POCKET by Seth Cadin 2 stars- I honestly could not make heads or tails out of this story. I just know it involves minds, computers, and deserts. I couldn't even find the love or the bravery....more
Cinder was what I expected and what I wasn't expecting. I expected a parallel to the Cinderella tale (which, obviously, is what the book is built uponCinder was what I expected and what I wasn't expecting. I expected a parallel to the Cinderella tale (which, obviously, is what the book is built upon) but I wasn't expecting such liberties to be taken with the story. They were well plotted liberties, even if the main basis of the story was so dreadfully predictable. The whole "The princess has been missing" bit brought to Cinder's attention about twenty-five pages in was just screaming "THIS IS WHAT THIS PLOT IS ABOUT. PLEASE TAKE NOTE." However, I found I didn't overly mind the predictability part simply because of the inventive spices added to a common fairy tale.
Enter the existence of cyborgs, mutant humans living on the moon, and a very strange plague. Being a pre-med student with a focus in diseases, I naturally found many flaws in this sickness. For it to be the basis of unrest it needed to be a little less mysterious than it was. The science mentioned was mediocre at best, but this is a work of fantasy and not exclusively a science fiction novel. Meyer wasn't so ignorant as to build weak plot threads, so this wasn't much of an issue. I personally appreciated the mechanics of the cyborg people, which was a little more solid than the plague itself.
I literally tore through this book in a day. I do not recommend doing that, as this book mimics the "middle book of a trilogy" syndrome. Simply put, you get a lot of information but nothing substantial to feel like you were granted anything in the story. Yes, it was good with fairly solid characters (most of them tolerable to possibly engaging) but in the end you really get nothing. Nothing from the main points of the story line was accomplished. I kind of felt cheated because I read through four hundred or so pages and wasn't even tossed a bone for my efforts. If the book had ended in a better cliff hanger, one where I could enjoy what had just happened and reflect on it until the next book up heaves my satisfaction, I think I would have felt better about it. It was almost like Meyer wanted to give us more story and sacrificed a good place to "end" the first installment. It was like drinking watery tea versus a shot of caffeine; yes the tea will last you longer but the caffeine will give you the immediate satisfaction.
I did think the book had a well rounded build, hence the five stars, but I just felt like I was lead asunder. I will read the next book, but I doubt I will keep this series in the long run unless I can glean more satisfaction from the characters or the plot. I'd pick it up at the library first to make sure you like what you read before you fork over money for the hardback....more
First off, I hate the cover. Hate it. It has nothing to do with the actual content of the book and though it does catch your attention, it has no meanFirst off, I hate the cover. Hate it. It has nothing to do with the actual content of the book and though it does catch your attention, it has no meaning. Second, I received this book through Random Buzzers to promote and review. I am not being paid except for the free copy I received.
I really liked this book. It's 4.5 stars for me, but rounded down to four simply because I didn't find it as amazing as some of my "most favorite read again and again" books. An average of one book out of every seven I await publication actually are as good as I think they will be. This book was delightfully so. I received it on Friday and tore through it. I would have read it in one sitting, but I had things I had to do over the weekend.
A lot of reviews are going around saying that they liked the idea but hated the execution and so on. I like to read a book at face value. I never expect anything to happen and let myself enjoy the ride. I think this contributed very highly to my perception of the story itself. There were good twists, a thrilling mystery, and enough action for me to have a hard time finding a stopping place to pause reading.
Callie was highly likable. I didn't adore her, but then do you adore every person you meet? She had pros and cons with more of an emphasis on the pros. Thinking back on my initial impression at the very beginning of the book (street rat, starving, wanting to protect her brother) to her becoming a "donor" she's very different. There's a bit of a void in the character development, but I think that is fairly consistent with the aspects of "donating" your body. Unfortunately, aside from the fellow "renters" Callie interacts with, little character development happens with the initial street rat possible love boy who takes care of her little brother alongside her. I do understand why her little brother and Michael would be lesser characters, but they felt a bit like a block of granite with half a face chiseled out. I hope they'll play a bigger role in the next book, ENDERS, whenever that comes out.
The execution of the plot idea was, in my opinion, handled very well. It was plausible (I hate those dystopians that are very vague about what happened to the population on Earth and why because the foundation crumbles under scrutiny) and was actually a piece of the story itself, not as a result of or in addition to. There were many roads this book could have traveled with many plot threads left hanging, but I felt a sense of satisfaction when I came to the end of the book that only comes from that creative balance of closure and no closure. Am I dying to get a hold of the next book right this moment? No, not really. But I do anticipate its publication and will read it when it comes out.
If you enjoy dystopians that aren't bogged down with too much emotional distraughtness or complicated jargon that flow fairly consistently, I think you ought to take this book for a spin. You might not be disappointed....more