This is Philippa and Angelya’s joint audio review for Eleanor Herman’s new YA historical book, Legacy of Kings. The review is an extract from episode 33 of Tea in the Treetops Podcast, originally recorded on September 25, 2015.
You might also like to read the prequel to Legacy of Kings, a novella titled Voice of Gods. It’s currently available on Amazon for free.
Legacy of Kings has been optioned by Warner Bros Studios to be produced by Simon Helberg.
Mentioned Lion of Macedon by David Gemmell
Quotes from the review:
A: A bit Game-of-Thrones-y…
P: Also a bit Hunger-Games-esque. It’s worth getting through the first bits (that are similar to Hunger Games).
A: There are a lot of different points of view, and not all of them meet each other.
P: I didn’t really care what happened to the characters.
A: But I loved the Queen. She was the perfect villain!
P: I feel like I’ve given this a bad rap but I really did enjoy reading it.
I was so excited to find a copy of this book in the mail! I loved the Percy Jackson series and the idea of another Rick Riordan series featuring NorseI was so excited to find a copy of this book in the mail! I loved the Percy Jackson series and the idea of another Rick Riordan series featuring Norse mythology? Yes Please! Though this book was a hefty 550 odd pages it was a fast paced enjoyable page turner and I enjoyed every minute of it.
The story starts on the eve of his 16th birthday with troubled teenager Magnus Chase living on the streets surviving day by day since his mother’s death two years earlier. When another homeless friend warns him that two people are handing out flyers looking for him, Magnus soon finds himself caught up in the middle of part family legend and part drama as his rich and suspicious uncle tells him a story about Boston but not as we know it.
In a few short hours Magnus discovers his father isn’t what he thought he was and he finds himself facing down an evil fire lord who is determined to destroy Earth and the other 8 worlds of Norse lore. In an act of bravery and perhaps stupidity Magnus sacrifices himself in order to save the other people trapped on the bridge during the show down and he finds himself dead.
This is just the beginning of an epic story where Magnus is brought to be a warrior of Valhalla, a hotel for the dead heroes waiting for Ragnarok (the final battle in Norse mythology). Soon he finds himself alongside his recently outcast Valkyrie, Samirah as well as his dwarf and elf protectors on a quest to delay the final battle and find the legendary Sword of Summer.
Like previous Rick Riordan books this novel is a great combination of mythology, adventure and quirky humour. I love his spin on hotel Valhalla and the personalities of each of the gods was sheer comical genius. Thor and his TV show obsession, Freya and her love of shiny things – these were just a couple of examples, it was pure entertainment to read.
The four main characters were all enjoyable and complemented each other well. There is no romance in this story and it was refreshing to be completely honest – it certainly didn’t detract at all from the story and instead let you focus on the journey this odd group was on.
In some ways this story was too similar or perhaps familiar is a better word, to the Percy Jackson series. It’s been a long time since I’ve read them but I felt a strong sense of deja vu with parallels on the short time frame to stop the end of the world, the sudden discovery that they lost days of time and now have even less time to complete their quest as just a couple of examples on how the plotting was remarkably alike.
That being said it was still a unique protagonist and it brought with it new mythology and this definitely was enough to feel it worth a read even if you have read his previous works. The other good thing is that while there are some insider jokes and cameos from his Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series this is a completely new book and it can be read on its own.
If you’re wanting to get into a Rick Riordan book and see what the fuss is about this is a great way to start. ...more
A simple refreshing contemporary novel that takes part at sea and on the coastal shores of Hobart Australia. This story sets itself apart and also addA simple refreshing contemporary novel that takes part at sea and on the coastal shores of Hobart Australia. This story sets itself apart and also adds itself to a great list of diverse YA novels coming out recently by introducing the reader to the concept of life without hearing and the use of sign language in the central plot and romance between our main characters Will and Summer.
The story is a clean and refreshingly simple one told from alternating chapters between our protagonists Will and Summer and the two strike up an unlikely online friendship over a mutual interest in Jessica Watson and her solo sailing voyage at only 16 years of age. Summer lives in Will’s old town – Kettering and feeling homesick after being away sailing with his dad for the past year, Will is excited to chat online with another teen who recently moved to his old home. Summer has never been sailing and is fascinated with the concept hoping someday she will have the opportunity to learn.
When Will’s dad gets a great job opportunity back near Kettering the two move back to Tasmania. Will and Summer’s new blossoming friendship meets its first hurdle when Will soon realises that Summer is deaf and has never mentioned it to him during all their correspondence. Feeling hurt and betrayed it takes awhile before they get past things and Will starts to understand that communication with someone who doesn’t hear is still possible and if anything much easier that he realised.
As their friendship grows he undertakes an AUSLAN course to learn sign language as his interest is piqued and the friendship slowly blurs the lines into romance as they spend more and more time with each other.
The characters are interesting though I found Will to be possibly a bit unrealistic – he was certainly very different and much more mature than any 15 year old boy I met when I was in high school. His best friend was much more in line with my memories of boys in high school in any case, perhaps I just didn’t meet the rights ones :)
The story culminates with the kids sailing around a nearby island without adult supervision and while there is a few bits added in to make things a bit more dramatic overall everything runs quite smoothly. In some ways you want more action but in others I like that this is a bit more realistic to normal life making this a really relatable book for teens.
The one thing that I really found frustrating was that there was no quotation marks when the characters were talking which is found slowed me down as it sometimes made it difficult to realise that someone was talking not just thinking something. Perhaps I’m just picky :)
Aside from this small grammatical/aesthetic issue I enjoyed this fresh simple love story and think this one will be make a great summer read! ...more
I’ve been struggling a little bit with middle grade reads of late and this one was no exception. While it took me quite awhile to get into the story aI’ve been struggling a little bit with middle grade reads of late and this one was no exception. While it took me quite awhile to get into the story after getting through a hefty chunk of the book I was quite intrigued to see how this one went and finished it off quite quickly.
After a quick prologue in Orkney to set the scene of what is to come, you are introduced to our main character Sam;- a typical 12 year old boy battling some anger issues, or so he thinks. The first quarter of the book introduces the reader to Sam’s current life and friends and then very quickly turns things upside down as he soon realises that things aren’t quite what they seem. Sam along with his two best friends are soon embroiled in the battles of another realm – Orkney where Sam holds the key to breaking a age old curse and saving not only Orkney, but Earth and the other Norse realms as well.
If you are a fan of fantasy this book is a bit like a comfy and familiar pair of pyjamas. While the story and world is new many of the ideas and the novel outline is quite comparable to other well known middle grade favourites such as Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. While I wouldn’t put this book quite in the same league – it definitely felt a bit clunky and it didn’t grab me in quite the same way, I think it will still be a hit with the tween and teen readers looking for a good fantasy/adventure series.
The journey Sam takes is an interesting one and while he doesn’t really change or grow in the novel he does learn some important things about himself and is put into some interesting predicaments. Torn between his two bloodlines – his mother was a witch while is father is a son of Odin, you expect him to make some pretty life changing choices. These sadly seem to be glossed over or not quite so anguish driven as they possibly could be which is this books biggest let down. I also felt that the story was very black and white with the witches being “bad” and the people of Orkney and Odin being “good” however I really feel in these children’s and young adult novels that its the shades of grey and the realisation that life isn’t quite so simple that makes things interesting.
I was incredibly frustrated with how little people trusted Sam in the novels. They had vast expectations of him dropping everything about his life and fixing the curse however I didn’t feel that he was treated well in the slightest. It made it very hard to cheer him on in his journey because part of me simply couldn’t care if everyone on the planet dropped dead the rudeness and lack of understanding was inexcusable. His band of friends were great and I also would have liked to see them developed as individual characters in a bit more detail, you go a couple of chapters from their perspectives but not enough to really bring them to life.
The ending of the novel was incredibly well done and the battle scene was very descriptive but not overstated making it enjoyable. I also liked the way the story played out with how to break the curse and the inclusion of the Norse Gods in assisting at the final battle. A fun read and I think a real winner for the fantasy fans here! ...more
This novel is set in historical, 19th century America and delves into the fine lines between what is normal versus what makes one insane. Set in a timThis novel is set in historical, 19th century America and delves into the fine lines between what is normal versus what makes one insane. Set in a time where it takes very little to judge one mad, this book provides an enjoyable "whodunit" premise while making a subtler argument that social construct and empathy can sometimes be the only thing standing between an individual and a verdict of insanity.
Our main character Grace starts off in a very dark place. Imprisoned in an asylum in Boston, pregnant and mute due to the traumatic stress of actions that have occurred in her life, this novel makes one very glad to be living in the 21st century. Due to mishandling and rape triggers at the hands of the asylum director, things manage to get even worse for Grace when she finds herself “thrown away” into the cellars of the madhouse. This is where patients are sent away and forgotten about – the ones that dry up funding and need radical lobotomising in order to become suitable for the upstairs wards.
Things soon look up for Grace when she is befriended by Falsteed, a Dr in his own right who was locked up for reasons the reader will discover are most definitely bad, though is completely sane on all other levels and the sole reason Grace lives through the horrors of her first nights underground. Falsteed enlists the help of a visiting surgeon – Thornhollow who agrees to help rescue her in exchange for her services as his apprentice.
Thornhollow and Grace move into a new style “ethical” asylum where the staff treat the patients humanely and as the people they are. Here Grace is befriended by two girls and for the first time in her life starts to know happiness. As Thornhollow’s apprentice she is quickly embroiled in the study of criminology and the two of them become involved in a serial killer case.
This was a neat little historical thriller and while it suffered a bit with plot pacing problems, I overall really enjoyed the writing and our protagonist – Grace. My problem with this novel is that it had the potential to really get into the dark side of mental illness and social conformity however it seemed to just lightly skim the surface of these fascinating and explorative topics. I also felt the ended was taken possibly too far with the court case and could have very simply ended before it, things all seemed just a little too spelled out for my taste.
Overall this is a fun little murder mystery that I did enjoy and providing you aren't looking for something deep and thought provoking I think this one is worth picking up....more
This is my first book by Patrick Ness and it was seriously so good I have to prioritise reading some of his other works now! Its a hard book to classiThis is my first book by Patrick Ness and it was seriously so good I have to prioritise reading some of his other works now! Its a hard book to classify as its really a contemporary novel but has a definite vein of paranormal running through it with much talk of “the chosen one” and other paranormal scenarios.
The book centres around a group of totally normal teenagers who are hanging out for graduation. The protagonist Mikey worries a lot, and is from a family with a lot of societal issues including a sister who previously suffered from anorexia and his dad is still suffering from a large problem with alcoholism. While Mike has his own battle with OCD and anxiety to contend with, things aren’t looking too badly for him as he has a solid best friend, is in love with the figurative girl next door, Henna who he’s never had enough guts to ask out and also has two totally awesome sisters whom is he very close to.
While this group of kids are trying to get through the final remaining weeks of school and graduation, there is a second story that is fleshed out at the beginning of each chapter and alluded to within the main story. This is the story of the “indie” kids. Its the story that would normally be the story arc of your YA book while characters like Mikey get a bare mention or are edited out entirely as irrelevant to the plot. This story is about immortals taking over their little USA town and contains death, betrayal, great love, and major paranormal battles. In this novel however its confined to probably a few pages at most and only really gets a mention when it affects our main characters who constantly wonder if they are going to get to graduate before the school is blown up again, or which indie kid is going to go missing next.
In all honesty not much actually happens in this book, but I don’t really see that as a bad thing, its heavy in all the right ways on the dialogue meaning you get great character insight to this coming of age story. The main thing the book does focus on are family and friendship.
There is a lot of family drama for Mikey to sort out and his family are all central characters to the book. Mel is his older sister who nearly died from an eating disorder a couple of years prior meaning she now is finishing school in the same year as Mikey. These two are incredibly close and there is an undercurrent of worry and sadness that they are both off to colleges on other sides of the country after they graduate. His younger sister Meredith is upheld by the family as the only one not to be a total screw up and is a bit of a child prodigy. All 3 siblings are very close with both Mel and Mikey being very protective over her and taking her out for dinner and to her millions of additional afterschool activities. Their parents are definitely considered disappointments to them. Their mother is running for senate and is seen as very tough and uninterested in anything that isn’t in her best interests and their father is an alcoholic who can barely keep it together for important events and photo ops.
Friendships are also important and a large element of this novel. Mikey’s best friend Jared could have been an indie kid but is so desperate to be normal he does everything he can to keep away from it all. Jared is so grounding to Mikey and is a large help with his anxiety and OCD. This friendship has been through a lot and always held together though Mikey has constant anxiety over how much he needs Jared while not feeling like Jared gets anything from him in this relationship. Continuing on the great levels of diversity in this novel, Jared is also gay and this is central to the story though these two are not in a relationship. Mikey is also totally in love with his friend Henna and spends large portions of the book trying to get up the courage to take things to the next level. Its complicated and messy and this romance is really real and sweet.
It was such an easy read and even though not a lot happened to these totally average everyday kids I wanted to know more about them and was really sad when the story ended. I also loved how they did flow through and alter the course of the indie kid/immortal drama weaving the two stories together at the end. I simply loved this story, it was unique, diverse and beautifully written. Considering how dialogue focused it was I have high hopes its picked up and turned into a film – I would love to see it on screen.
A big two thumbs up and 5 stars from me – I’m off to find a copy of More Than This now!
Also last sidenote, make sure you read the acknowledgements I loved finding out about how some of the characters got named, and his friend’s business cards gave me a giggle! ...more
I will admit about 20% through this book I nearly put it down as a DNF, even though it had a beautiful cover and the synopsis had me intrigued I was fI will admit about 20% through this book I nearly put it down as a DNF, even though it had a beautiful cover and the synopsis had me intrigued I was finding it very difficult to get into. Thankfully I kept going because I then finished the remaining 80% in one sitting and this ended up being a very nifty gothic middle grade novel that I’m sure I would have lapped up in my primary school years.
Set in the past on the mysterious and technologically advanced Biltmore Estate you are introduced to protagonist, Serafina – a half wild child who is up most of the night catching rats, living undetected in the boiler room of the great house with her father, a servant of the family.
One night while hunting down some pesky rats, Serafina gets more than she bargains for when she witnesses a most chilling scene involving a gentrified man complete with top hat and gloves stealing the very soul and life force of one the young girls visiting the estate with her parents. After nearly being caught herself, Serafina is soon mixed up in the mystery and hunt to find the mysterious man and his cloak before anyone else is harmed.
This is a pretty dark book and I am incredibly glad that I didn’t read this one to my four year old – it had me pretty spooked in parts and I don’t think I was quite ready to introduce my young child to the horror genre just yet! I think the reason I found this a little difficult to get into at first is the horrible conditions and background of young Serafina. While it does fit with the era and the story, it is still somewhat hard to read about a young child living in virtual poverty and being kept from all human contact except for her father. There is back story given as to why the father does it – Serafina isn’t quite all human (not a spoiler I promise!) and while through the protagonists eyes you understand she can’t quite see what’s different about her , she knows, and so you the reader knows that you can tell by simply looking at her that something is just not quite right about her.
The story picked up for me as she tentatively befriends the young master of the house, Braeden, nephew to the Lord and Lady of Biltmore Estate. Braeden like Serafina isn’t quite like most people and their blossoming friendship in amongst the action and thrills is a sweet and innocent chord of the story, and for me perhaps the shining light of this tale. The story is also very much a coming of age book with Serafina leaving the confines of the estate basement and trying to uncover her past and her heritage. Like all great coming of age novels there is a lot of emphasis on the understanding of good and evil and that what you see on the outside in no way determines the real moral fibre of a person:
She was beginning to see how difficult it was to determine who was good and who was bad, who she could trust and who she had to watch out for. Every person was a hero in his own mind, fighting for what he thought was right, or just fighting to survive another day, but no one thought they were evil.
The actual plot has 2 mysteries for the reader to uncover – one of which I found was fairly easy to guess and the other took me much by surprise. The main mystery of who the man with the black cloak is and how to stop him is quite a terrifying read and it very cleverly intertwines with the other more subtle mystery of who Serafina’s parents are and how she is different. Both stories weave together quite cleverly at the end and the reader is left most satisfied with a neat tie up and lots of good warm fuzzy feelings.
If your looking for a great novel for your primary age children with good levels of terror and thrills I think this one is a sure winner – I’m definitely glad I stuck with it! ...more
This was one of those books that I thought sounded interesting and then threw me for six when I realised was an enjoyable thrilling ride I was on. ItsThis was one of those books that I thought sounded interesting and then threw me for six when I realised was an enjoyable thrilling ride I was on. Its a quick 200 page eBook but due to the enjoyable nature and fluid writing I finished it fast – I started it while cooking dinner and didn’t put it down until I finished it at 1am in the morning.
This book is about parallel worlds – or a multiverse as there are actually 12 in total and the story centres around the character of Estele and the corridor that opened between Earth and Second Earth. There are evil conspiracies, genetic modifications and a romance thrown into the mix making this one highly addictive read.
The story starts 17 years after the corridor opened between Earth and Second Earth. The result of the corridor opening was absolutely devastating to Second Earth leaving it and its people in abject poverty and relying on Earth for supplies and assistance. Our protagonist Estele is the only daughter of the man in charge of the Corridor facility – an acclaimed scientist and politician responsible for the communication and scientific experimentation relating to the corridor portal. The story opens with Estele pondering her bright future while looking at the corridor when a random strange pulse happens causing much chaos. This pulse causes Estele to discover she has the unique ability to create her own corridors to other parallel worlds.
Fast forward 12 months and her father has stepped down and is now the laughing stock of the scientific community on Earth and Stel is keeping her portal making ability a secret, knowing it could cause her a multitude of problems. With the unlikely help of an escapee “mod” (a human with genetic modifications making them superior to normal humans), Estele has to uncover more about what happened with the pulse and what dark and destructive plots the new leader of Earths corridor is planning that could result in the destruction of Earth.
The main part of this story is really an adventure with Stel learning what she can about the corridor and the different parallel Earths. Along the way she meets a boy called Cohl who she develops a love hate friendship turn romance with and with his help they get to the bottom of some seriously sinister plans as well as learn more about her unique abilities. The romance between Cohl and Stel is definitely there simmering away but it takes the back seat in this book with the investigation into the worlds and government plots taking centre stage.
The great thing about this book is that it doesn’t get too caught up in the technical aspects of parallel worlds or the multiverse. While some of the explanations are perhaps stretching the imagination a bit, it isn’t enough to detract from the story meaning you don’t feel any disconnection from the journey Stel takes. There are also a couple of major plot reveals that totally change your perception on things towards the end which are fantastic and I think will be developed even further in the second instalment of this series.
While this book wasn’t perfect there was so much fun and enthusiasm in this story that I really feel anyone who is slightly interested in science fiction or parallel worlds will get a lot of enjoyment out of it. I certainly loved it and looking forward to book 2! ...more
If you'd like to hear an interview with Paula Weston where we talk about the Rephaim series and other YA Angels series, check out Episode 28 of Tea inIf you'd like to hear an interview with Paula Weston where we talk about the Rephaim series and other YA Angels series, check out Episode 28 of Tea in the Treetops Podcast!
Review: This much-anticipated finale to the Rephaim series is an excellent conclusion, tying together all the ends and bringing the epic battle that I had hoped for. S
Since it has been a year since I read Shimmer, I re-read the whole series before starting Burn and I was so glad I did. The whole story only takes place over a period of ten days, so to read it all back-to-back is really the ideal way to experience it!
So what is it that makes this series one of my favourites of the last few years? Well it's not just the characters, although I do love them all to bits, especially Gaby and Rafa <3 It's also not the break-neck pacing or kick-arse fighting, although I have enjoyed that and it's kept me reading way past my bed time all over again.
I think the thing I love the most about the series is the Queensland setting and accessible characters. They talk like me, and they live in a place I recognise and know intimately, even if Pandanus Beach isn't a real place.
Long story short, if you're looking for a series with fast pacing, brilliant action and awesome relationships between all characters, look no further....more
I was super excited to get this book, I haven’t seen the TV show but keep waiting for it toFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
I was super excited to get this book, I haven’t seen the TV show but keep waiting for it to start showing here in Australia on free to air TV (apparently channel GO acquired the rights). So I started to read this with great anticipation and I think I must have built it up too much… it was a flop.
I think the main issue I had with the book is that I really felt it was being written with the specific aim to be turned into a TV show. I have no idea if this is actually the case but I could imagine that this book would adapt really well. There are 4 main characters and a number of secondary characters in the story which I believe is the main reason I found it an unenjoyable book. We got the same small window of time from multiple viewpoints and I just felt that it didn’t manage to hold my interest and it only got really exciting at the very end.
The characters have been set up well however that is really all the book was able to do given the large number of protagonists, you got the foundation of some slightly cliché people but that was it. I didn’t have a favourite and I wasn’t at any point desperate to find out what was going on for any of them. In the world of passionate YA fandom I think this is a little bit sad and as mentioned before the characters do seem a bit cookie cutter/cliché.
Glass: rich girl and star crossed lover in love with a poor boy
Wells: the son of a powerful and disliked leader
Clarke: the goodie two shoes who has been wrongfully incarcerated
Bellamy: the bad boy who actually is really a good guy
Ok so now I’ve got the bothersome bits of my chest , I’ll get to what I liked which was the fabulous premise of this novel! In the past something bad happened on Earth and the world went apocalyptic with a scant 2000ish humans escaping to space where they live on 3 (I think?) spaceships that have been bridged together. Things are tough and getting tougher out in space and the smallest infraction can lead to the death penalty, or in the case of minors a jail sentence until you turn 18 and you crimes re-evaluated. 100 of these minors are sent down to Earth on a mission to see if humans are now able to survive on the surface of the planet. Its a great idea it’s like a mix between Lord of the Flies and Wall-e very interesting and such great potential I’m not surprised it was picked up for television.
I’m not sure whether or not I’m going to give the sequel a go I’m really tossing it up at this stage. Perhaps I’ll try season one of the show and then make up my mind. Don’t let my thoughts deter you though, if your looking for a short post apocalyptic novel and are more into the story than the characters you will probably really enjoy this. ...more
I’ve not read anything else by Alexandra Adornetto but considering she’s 21 and this is herFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
I’ve not read anything else by Alexandra Adornetto but considering she’s 21 and this is her 7th published novel I was willing to give it a shot. Besides it’s been awhile since I’ve read a good creepy ghost story so I was excited to sink my teeth into this one.
The story starts off at the funeral of Chloe’s mother who died quite unexpectedly and has left her family reeling immersed in grief. Chloe our protagonist, has always had the “gift” of sight – she can see ghosts though until the day of the funeral she had managed to keep in control of things and ghosts left her alone. With her dad deeply affected with the loss of his wife and not quite keeping things afloat, Chloe’s grandmother decides it would be best for everyone if the kids come and live with her in England for the remainder of the school term.
As soon as Chloe sees her grandmothers house, Grange Hall which doubles as a Bed and Breakfast, she knows there are otherworldly things afoot. On her first day exploring she meets the enigmatic ghost of Alex Reade who she is instantly attracted to, and with his help along with that of some eccentric ghost hunters who are holidaying at the estate Chloe sets out to uncover the mysterious past of the property and help lay to rest these troubled spirits.
I enjoyed this book though it did have a few issues that really bugged me. The major issue that I’m going to address front and centre is the large case of insta love between Chloe and Alex. This is one annoying romance and it also didn’t have any real chemistry. These two irritated each other throughout most of the book however we are meant to buy into an epic love that crosses the boundaries of life and death? No thanks I’m not buying.
The third equation in this little romance is the very sweet and very alive Joe who looks after the horses at Grange Hall. Joe is simply lovely yet even though he is right there under her nose Chloe seems completely clueless that she could totally have the guy because instead she is googly eyed over a ghost that very much has his own problems and romantic entanglements.
Chloe herself was pretty shallow and every time you felt she might have a bit of integrity she gives you an insight into her best friends from the US who are portrayed as fairly stupid, incredibly loose sexually and more interested in daddy buying them the latest “it” handbag compared to trying to excel at school. Her besties sounded horrible and in all honesty it didn’t match up with Chloe’s internal voice at all it was quite jarring and instead made you think less of her especially when she was chucking a hissy fit about a ghost, or about having to be in England in the first place.
What this book did well was build a great atmosphere with a mixture of creepy flashbacks to the past, scary interactions with the vengeful ghost Isobel and a slow unravelling of the background of what happened at Grange Hall 157 years earlier.
The climax when you discover what happened was unexpected and it threw me for six. It was pretty horrifying and while it was a bit hard to read I really feel it was a very authentic background that could indeed cause a person to turn into a twisted evil ghost who can’t let go of the past. I also got a real shock of anticipation with the last shock twist that came in the very final paragraphs of this book hooking you in for the sequel. I have no idea how the author plans of pulling it off but I for one can’t wait to find out! ...more
This series has to be one of the most underrated YA trilogies I can think of. I picked up AFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
This series has to be one of the most underrated YA trilogies I can think of. I picked up Awaken on a whim when going through my dystopian phase back in 2011 and simply adored it. I felt that it was such a believable scenario considering how humanity is with its addiction to screen time and the fear mongering seen in all avenues of media. I simply loved Awaken and I also loved it’s sequel – Middle Ground. I loved it so much in fact, that 17 week pregnant me decided to name my then unborn daughter Madeleine as the name really grew on me while I was reading it.
Fast forward 2 years and I find myself with a 15 month old Maddie of my own and a copy of the final book in this series, Still Point. It had been so long I wasn’t sure how to really get started on it, I barely remembered what had happened at the end of book 2 and I was both excited and worried about how I would connect with the last instalment of this story. Reflecting back now that I’ve finished reading it, I think going in with a break was probably a good thing and I quite enjoyed the ending, though I imagine there will be many who will come away from this book feeling deflated or unimpressed with how things wrap up.
The final book takes place with Maddie back at home trying to reconnect with her father and assist Justin and the Digital School Drop Outs from the inside. Not a lot actually happens action wise throughout this story it predominantly focuses on character development and plot conclusion. Maddie is defiant and strong as ever and romance takes a definite back stage to her emotional journey and relationship with her family. Justin is thought about a lot however isn’t around for much of the story and we are introduced to a new character, Jax who agrees to assist Maddie with her plans to publicise the harmful side effects of Digital School.
Being the final book in a trilogy its very hard to write a review without giving away too much of the story so my apologies if this review doesn’t cover things in too much detail, there is so much I want to say but you will have to read it yourself to find out what happens at the end. I will say that there are a lot of revelations for Maddie and much of what you thought is turned on its head in terms of character motives. The ending with the voting of whether Digital School should remain the only choice available to students, was well done and I was hooked on this book from beginning to end.
This book is just such a great story for today’s western civilisation. The questions surrounding quality of life when digital use is constantly on the increase, addiction to screens and its susceptibility with young children are just a couple that would make this series a great platform for classroom and family discussions. A great novel and series in general – it should definitely be added to every ones to read list immediately! ...more
When I first saw the cover of Dollhouse on Netgalley I was instantly attracted to it - it wFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
When I first saw the cover of Dollhouse on Netgalley I was instantly attracted to it - it was so different to many YA covers out there. I then realised that the book was by an Australian author and my mind was made up I wanted to read this book! I started reading this book with no expectations, I knew nothing about the story though I had gathered it was going to have a gothic horror vibe to it. I wasn't disappointed, while the book had some issues it definitely carried off the mysterious spooky vibe brilliantly.
The story centres around main character Cassie who along some of her classmates get caught up in the mystery of the Australian bush where many girls have disappeared over time. Cassie's best friend Aisha goes missing right under their noses while hiking and taking photo's for a school project. Aisha's boyfriend (and Cassie's crush), Ethan gets blamed for her disappearance, so Cassie, Ethan along with Lacey decide to investigate a creepy mansion they discovered near where she disappeared. Things start to go downhill for them when they discover a hidden entrance filled with carousels and end up caught in a mysterious web of disturbing secrets when they find what lies beneath the mansion.
It's really hard to write this review without giving away too much of the story. As I mentioned before the author pulls off the gothic horror theme beautifully, unfortunately though the actual plot was at times overly complicated and pacing a bit all over the place. This coupled with some poor character development is why I've chosen to only give the book 2.5 star rating.
The pacing of the book was what I had the biggest issue with. It started out well and I couldn't put it down, then there was a large part in the middle of the book that just really dragged and I found a lot of the story to be a bit repetitive and mundane. I also felt that there were some very large climatic things that were just brushed over towards the end in a rush while other parts that weren't particularly interesting or important seemed to get a lot more attention.
The characters weren't particularly likeable and also quite two dimensional - they all annoyed me at times though Cassie particularly did things often that just irritated me beyond belief. There is no real romance in this book, while Cassie and Ethan clearly like each other she falls for him before the story starts and the chemistry isn't particularly great though it probably doesn't help that Ethan is dating someone else for the majority of the book.
A lot of very interesting lore is dished out towards the end of the story and I really enjoyed this and want to find out more, the author also ended the book on a major cliffhanger so I think I will be picking up the remainder of the series just to get answers for all the questions marks I now have. I have high hopes that this book was setting the stage for some great things. ...more
Summary: An enjoyable story development book. We didn’t enjoy it as much as the first two, but felt it was an important book for character development for all characters involved, and especially Celaena. A little slow through a lot of the story but with a brilliant ending. Bring on book four!
I am so glad I picked up Chasing Stars I really enjoyed this one! The first book was a bitFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
I am so glad I picked up Chasing Stars I really enjoyed this one! The first book was a bit average, there was instalove and it was very much a younger teen novel, I also felt that the ending was rushed and it was a bit unsatisfactory. While book 2 suffered from some of the same issues, I really loved the ending of this sequel - I was completely surprised by it and call me sappy but I truly felt it came together beautifully, so it got a big thumbs up from me.
The story continues where After Eden finished and there is a little bit of overlap where it repeats the ending from a different characters point of view so there is no need to go back and refresh your memory of what happened at the end of book 1. Ryan makes an unauthorised jump back in time to stop Eden being killed for knowing too much about the future and being “cleaned up”. The two of them make plans to disappear completely so they can live out the remainder of their lives in peace. Unfortunately things come apart when another traveller from the future comes hunting for Ryan and upon catching them takes both Ryan and Eden back to the future so Ryan can be trialled for illegally traveling back in time and risking the timeline.
The majority of this book is from Eden’s perspective as Ryan is in a holding cell awaiting trial. Eden on the other hand has to come to terms with how different things are in the future and with the help of Ryan’s best friend Pegasus, she makes some friends and comes up with a plan to ensure her and Ryan will get to at least spend the future together.
I think Pegasus is meant to be a bit of a love interest perhaps for Eden in this story, but it is all a little bit awkward because Ryan is still not only in the picture but Eden is constantly thinking about him. I also wasn’t really sure if Pegasus was into her or not. I think it was most likely written in just to provide a bit of tension between the characters and it unfortunately didn’t flow very smoothly.
I had a few issues with the future the main one being that the men in charge of time travel, while not in charge of the government and seemingly separate from the government actually have full judicial control and yet also run penal colonies… does this not seem like a glaring conflict of interest?! I also cannot believe that their is no repeal system and that only 1 person gets to decide both a persons guilt/innocence and also their sentence, I can’t understand why a panel of them wouldn’t be selected for these matters. In any case aside from the judicial system bothering me and the craziness of the media I really enjoyed a glimpse into the future.
Other things I had issue with was that Eden never checked to see what had happened to Connor in this timeline and while she looked up Miranda she never bothered seeking out her relatives. I think this was a little sad and I would have loved a bit more closure on this front.
Aside with the few things I took issue with I found this book a really fun fast read. I was also super impressed with the ending and felt that this book wrapped up the duology beautifully leaving me smiling and feeling complete. ...more
In a fairy tale world, the Princess Aislynn is determined to stay on “The Path”, meet her prince charming and get her ever after. Instead things go veIn a fairy tale world, the Princess Aislynn is determined to stay on “The Path”, meet her prince charming and get her ever after. Instead things go very wrong and she finds herself redirected into the order of the fairy godmothers. Here in the service of another princess she starts questioning the very beliefs that have been ingrained in her from birth and sets out on her own path.
This book was a bit baffling to me. I quite enjoyed reading it and I finished it within a couple of days, though it pains me to admit I was left feeling somewhat confused and perplexed. I’m not sure if I missed something vital but I got to the end of this book knowing about as much of this world as I did going into it, or in other words – nothing!
This was an interesting and complicated world. Magic is something that presents in all women though its seen as a heinous act that must be controlled and never used. Illicit use of magic or the inability to smother it leads to “redirection” where a young lady is ripped from her current life and placed into a new role. Overnight a princess can be made a fairy godmother or worse can “stray” to the wicked queen in the midlands for her magic wielding army. To keep a princess on the straight and narrow is the guiding principles of “The Path” which will lead her to her happily ever after. Each princess gets an advisor who assists her introduction into society, and a fairy godmother to act as both a guide and a reminder of what happens if they fail to keep their magical curse under wraps. Add into this a hierarchy of different princess tiers which are displayed publicly by the colours of their clothes and you get a very rich and detailed story, its just a pity the plot was in a state of disarray.
Aislynn seems to be different from the other princesses. To begin with she has no friends, all the other princesses don’t like her though there is no real reason given as to why, she certainly seems to exemplify the personality of a “proper” princess. While the fairy godmothers are cold and distant hand maidens to the princesses, ready to spy and dob in the slightest magical indiscretion to the school headmistress, Aislynn’s fairy godmother Tahlia isn’t like this at all, she is warm and protective. Aislynn herself stays loyal and warm when she becomes a fairy godmother so I’m not quite sure why there aren’t more nice fairy godmothers out there. Instead Aislynn appears to keep her “loving heart” and makes some new friends both among the servants and with her charge, the princess Monarch as she tries to navigate her new life while processing what went wrong in her old role.
The plot of this story didn’t really live up to my expectations and its a real pity. I have so many questions, in fact I don’t think there was a single aspect of the story that wrapped up by the end or was explained sufficiently!
I want to know more about Tahlia the fairy godmother, who is she and where did she go mysteriously?
What is the go with the mirror and why is it important?
What is the go with the advisors and the head mistresses? Are they all in on some huge plot or are there just some that are questionable?
Everett and Westerley are these guys prince charming’s or losers deeply involved in political manoeuvring?
The wicked queen, how does she fit in and is she really all that evil?
Why does everyone keep fleeing the West they don’t appear to be coming anywhere better in my opinion!
What’s the go with the wolf?
Can someone explain the importance and relevance of bread baking please?
I have even more questions than this but I think you get the idea. There is apparently a series of books that are all based in this world and I really hope that the sequel follows on from this one though that isn’t something I’m certain of based on the media information from Greenwillow/Harper Collins:
"STRAY is the first in a collection of intertwined stories, all set in a world where magic is a curse that only women bear and society is dictated by a strict doctrine called The Path. A cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and Wicked, with a dash of Grimm and Disney thrown in."
This makes me think that these books will be more like The Lunar Chronicles with a different protagonist in each novel and the stories interconnecting for an overarching climax at the end of the series. I’m not sure, I hope not as there was so much left undone and I did really enjoy the characters and the world and want to get some resolutions to my questions.
I would still recommend this book to those avid fairy tale lovers, though I’m worried that with a year or possibly more left until a sequel is released that this book will be bumped to the end of my lengthy TBR pile with more plot driven series holding my attention. Definitely very divided on this one! ...more
This was my first foray into reading Anne Carey, I never read the Eve trilogy and this synoFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
This was my first foray into reading Anne Carey, I never read the Eve trilogy and this synopsis intrigued me with its mystery/thriller elements.
Blackbird is one of those stories which has you as confused as the main character for the entirety of the story and its a breath of fresh air. You never feel that Sunny, our protagonist is being stupid or making the wrong choice as if you were in her shoes, you would probably make the same choices or perhaps worse ones. I thoroughly enjoyed the venture into the unknown for the 250ish pages it was incredibly addicting.
The story starts with a girl waking up on train tracks with no memory of who she is or how she came to be there. She has a backpack with some essentials and information explicitly telling her not to involve the police, and she discovers very quickly that there are people intent on killing her. Sunny is not the type to be a sitting duck – I think if I was in her position I would have taken my chances and gone to the police station a gibbering mess. Sunny however has a strength about her and real survival instincts.
The story is told in 2nd person which I didn’t mind however it can give you the feeling that your characters are devoid of personality. It took me awhile to warm up to Sunny but I did really admire her and I was cheering her on more and more as the story went and the mystery started to unravel.
I did start to have a pretty good guess as to what was happening by about half way and I was correct though there were still many things that I wasn’t expecting and one massive cliff-hanger at the end that surprised me completely. This book is well written, fast paced and full of suspense. I can’t wait to read the sequel and get answers to all my questions, this was a great novel. ...more
I was very excited to read Elusion. Apart from a beautiful cover it sounded a bit like a YA version of Tad William’s Otherland series and I simply lovI was very excited to read Elusion. Apart from a beautiful cover it sounded a bit like a YA version of Tad William’s Otherland series and I simply love this idea of entering into Virtual Reality that is so advanced you feel like you are quite literally in another world. Other than it’s unique and exciting concept, Elusion just didn’t really work for me.
The story centres around our protagonist Reagan who is very much in mourning after the death of her father – the creator of Elusion. Her best friend Patrick is the lead designer after her father dies on the Elusion project and the book starts with the media announcement that Elusion is being rolled out as a product across the country after a successful 3 state trial launch. From then on Regan starts trying to solve the mystery of Elusion which has some loud opponents questioning it’s very safety, and the mystery of her father’s death. With the help of a new guy at school Josh, Regan is determined to get behind the firewall and get the answers she’s desperate for.
I’m not really sure where to begin with my problems with this book so I’m just going to vent it all out. Firstly Regan, gah!!! She really annoyed me! At the beginning of this book you got a lot of inner dialogue about how close she is with her best friend Patrick. Patrick basically grew up with her and was like a son to her dad who mentored him and brought him into the Elusion project. For basically no reason at all, she goes from being devoted and loyal to him to getting more and more suspicious, yet in the same breath decides she should trust a total stranger with a questionable past with all of her secrets. This aspect of the book probably got to me the most, poor Patrick was so vilified and yet he never really did anything to deserve it in my humble opinion and to make matters worse he even stayed loyal to Regan through all of it.
Regan also starts distrusting her mother who is seriously not coping with the death of her father, yet her dad who clearly had a lot of secrets and was keeping things from her she never once seemed to question. I was completely dumfounded by the relationships in this book it just seemed totally wrong.
Josh was a very useless two dimensional character and I couldn’t really see the point in his being in the story at all other than to provide a love triangle and it wasn’t even a good love triangle :( The whole romance aspect of this book just didn’t click with me either. It was quite clichéd and I didn’t feel any chemistry between Regan and Josh or Regan and Patrick for that matter.
The world was interesting and bleak though there was lots of references to oxygen masks, something called florapetro and acid rain though no background was given to how the world got that way or what this florapetro actually is? I’m assuming that pollution got so bad that this is it for the world of the future hence the need for Elusion which provides everyone with Escapes back to how the world once was. They also had super long work days 12 hours on, 12 hours off and school kids are doing that too which I totally don’t understand either considering since many young kids can barely handle the 9-3 school day let alone double that!
The last part of the novel that I just couldn’t suspend belief over was that Regan’s dad built a firewall into the Elusion system. Now a firewall is a fairly common thing in internet security terms, what got to me is that this firewall is actually a real, physical wall in the Elusion escapes and apparently if you can find the wall you can get past it with absolutely no technical skills whatsoever. Now I never studied IT but I did work for Internet Service Providers and web hosting companies for over a decade and I quite simply found this concept completely ridiculous. If I’m honest I found the idea childish and it was a real disappointment for a number of reasons which I wont mention here as I don’t want to provide any spoilers.
I’m giving this book 2.5 stars as I loved the concept and it was a fast read. I also really enjoyed reading about the Virtual Reality and the Elusion escapes if only the rest of the story was actually plausible. It also ended on a cliff-hanger and I probably will pick up the next book simply because I want to know what happens next so I guess even with all the problems I did get suckered in! ...more
It's just a mini review today as I promised Angelya we would do a proper review/discussionFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
It's just a mini review today as I promised Angelya we would do a proper review/discussion of this one in our podcast next week as she's still reading it.
Anyone who listens to our podcast will most likely know that ever since attending PTA Live Brisbane earlier in the year I have been intrigued by this book, it ticked a lot of boxes for me. I had given up on having a shot at a review copy originally as I didn't see it appear on Netgalley but then to my delight about a week ago it appeared, I was approved and I started reading it pretty much straight away!
I'm happy to say that this one gets a big thumbs up from me, I really enjoyed it though I am hoping there is the possibility of a sequel as I had so many questions at the end that I want to know the answers to! So without going into too much detail I will give a quick rundown on what I really loved.
The Characters - I loved that this was told from a multitude of perspectives and they all wove together really well. Veronica was my favourite storyline but I also quite enjoyed the storyline of Bastian too though I wasn't sure at the end if he was a bit empty headed and selfish or had the potential of a noble alpha male type.
The Setting - I knew virtually nothing about Carnevale or historical Venice though it was very clear to me that this book had been thoroughly researched - there were lots of little details given that gave the story a richness of culture which I loved.
Book Layout - I loved that this book almost felt like a Shakespeare comedy. At about 60% through there is a scene where Bastion has this grand idea that is just so complex and ridiculous yet also highly inventive and entertaining that I could almost imagine it being on a stage.
What drove me mad? Argh the questions! I firstly can't tell if this has been set up to possibly have a sequel or not, it finishes like a stand alone novel but there were so many unanswered storylines. I must know what happens between Veronica and Luca! The story of Orelia's parents - I want more details I felt we only just skimmed the surface of the mystery. Angelique... does she eventually find true love? and the aftermath of Claudia and her brother Marco, I want to know more. I really hope there is a sequel to come I lost a lot of much needed sleep in the wee hours of the morning wondering about these things!
Anyone looking for something a little bit different to your standard love triangle YA book should definitely give this one a go and make sure you listen in to our podcast next week for a further discussion! ...more
I really had fun with this one! I’m not sure if it was because it reminded me so much of the TV show Charmed and I had fond nostalgia throughout my reI really had fun with this one! I’m not sure if it was because it reminded me so much of the TV show Charmed and I had fond nostalgia throughout my reading experience, or if it was just the right mix of action, wit and mystery – either way I was hooked and read the entire thing over a couple of days.
The story centres around Josephine Hemlock a 17 year old girl who is also a witch. She lives with her grandmother in a small town hiding from the curse that has killed her mother and so many other witches in a particularly gruesome and horrible manner. After a strange man arrives at Josephine’s doorstep looking for her mother one day, Josephine soon gets swept up in the mystery surrounding her mothers murder and with the help of her 2 bff’s she’s determined to get to the bottom of things and protect herself and her nan from the curse forever.
I’m going to start by saying that there is nothing really unique or new about this story. Everything has been done before and perhaps at times it was a little cliché of the genre. While this will no doubt annoy some, I found it warm and comforting and the familiarity allowed me to just enjoy the characters and the dialogue. The characters were all fun and there was a lot of witty conversations between them all. I enjoyed Josephine she was a spunky sweet heroine and while Winn was a bit flat as a love interest they still had a good spark between them. The extra layer included between Josephine and her father was also a great side story that helped round out the central plot and mystery.
The heart of this story was the relationship between the main characters they really showed a strength of loyalty and commitment to family. You really got the message that they stick by one another and not just those related by blood but in this story the saying that friends are the family you choose for yourself definitely rings true.
I think this book makes a great summer read especially as its as stand alone so there is no commitment here with sequels and years of waiting for the remainder of the story. Providing you don’t expect intricate story lines and plot twists I think you’ll get a lot of enjoyment out of it. ...more
I find after getting involved with reviewing and Goodreads, inundated with books I’m dThis review also features on my review site Tea in the Treetops
I find after getting involved with reviewing and Goodreads, inundated with books I’m desperate to read, fantastic books for the most part as I’ve gotten better at reading between the lines of book blurbs and other reviews at sifting out books I will generally like. What all these wonderful books and large to read piles mean its hat I have very little patience for books that I’m not enjoying. Unfortunately Side Effects May Vary is one of those books and after wasting a week procrastinating on and off reading this one and only getting to the half way mark, I’ve decided not to finish reading it.
My big issue with this book was how remarkably negative the entire reading experience was. The topic was negative, the characters were all negative, nothing good seemed to happen, even Alice going into remission managed to be an unfulfilling downer of an experience. This brings me to the character of Alice she was a horrible person, even for a “mean girl” she blew me away with how knowingly manipulative she was, how she willing to use people and then cast them aside, it was incredibly painful to read and I seriously did not care what happened to her in the end at the point when I decided to stop.
The actual writing of this book was well done and it flowed well, I actually liked the alternating chapters between Alice and Harvey as well as the then and now aspect which gave the book a patchwork narration style that added to the build up. It is a pity that the actual content just didn’t do it for me as I think Julie Murphy definitely has some talent and I will be interested in reading future books of hers which hopefully have a story that is less of a Debbie downer.
I’m sure this book will appeal to many people but for me I just think life is too short and there are just too many good books to waste time on something that I’m not enjoying! ...more
Hmmmm I don’t quite know where to start with this review. There were parts durinThis review can also be found on my review blog - Tea in the Treetops.
Hmmmm I don’t quite know where to start with this review. There were parts during this book that I was eye rolling in disbelief and then there were parts where I couldn’t put the book down. My rating for this one changed continuously while reading it and even now I keep hovering over what to rate the book.
The book starts by introducing you to a small Alaskan community who are a group of survivors from WWIII. This group lives in harmony with the land and can connect to Yara which allows them access to limited magic-like abilities. Things aren’t actually what they appear to be and Juneau, the main character ends up on a mission to find her clan after they vanish while she is hunting one day with the unlikely help of Miles a self absorbed rich kid. Juneau has to come to terms with the fact that there was no WWIII and everything she has known was a lie while she and Miles are hunted across the US searching for her family.
The book is narrated in alternating chapters between Juneau and Miles and this works quite well however I found Miles to be an incredibly annoying character which made those chapters a little bit difficult to get through at times. Miles…. I just didn’t get him. I couldn’t work out his motivation and while the plot gave him one it didn’t ring very true. For someone who seemed very lazy he made a huge effort to randomly go looking for a girl he only had a vague description of simply because of some overheard conversations at his dad’s office door?? Hmmm…. He also thought she was crazy for the majority of the book yet this didn’t fit with his actions for the majority of the story.
Juneau thankfully was interesting and very resourceful which I enjoyed reading about and while at times she seemed to pick up skills a little too easily (um driving a car after just from watching someone… hello?) I could let that go to the wayside as it still fit with her personality. I also really enjoyed her growth through the book as she adapted to her new surroundings and learnt more about her innate magical ability.
The relationship chemistry between these two was just plain bad and except for when the author actually wrote about the tingles they got from one another you would be forgiven for completely missing that Miles is Juneau’s love interest, in fact I actually thought that this book was going to be devoid of any romantic relationship for either character until about 70% into the plot.
Now there were a lot of big question marks for me that kept jarring me out of this novel and into reality. I am someone who is fairly relaxed about plot holes and the like if the story is good so this isn’t an experience I’m very used to and I didn’t like it one bit. I think the first thing I struggled with is that the likelihood that they weren’t close enough to a commercial plane traffic path seems unrealistic surely they noticed things in the sky especially seeing they had encyclopaedia’s and she knew what a helicopter was. I just really find it hard to believe that anyone who was only 3 days away on foot from a city could actually have lived for their entire life without noticing anything at all.
Most of the book is spent with Juneau avoiding Whit, her mentor who is also apart from their group and appears to be one of the baddy in this story. Considering she realises fairly quickly that all the adults have been deceiving them and Whit appears to be the lead instigator I just can’t imagine why she wouldn’t have a million questions for him and continued to run from him when she could have sent messages to him for an explanation or arranged a meeting. She is so determined to find her clan yet so willing to throw him to the wolves I just don’t get that.
I loved the part of the story where she is learning about her connection with the Yara and the backstory about her clan and why they separated was interesting though I had a fairly good guess at what at least part of the reasoning was right from the beginning. To be fair, perhaps I cottoned on quickly because I’ve read some other YA dystopia’s recently which had very similar back stories. The plot pace was fast especially for the last 30% of the book and I was really enjoying things and getting caught up in the read, when bam the book ended without any real wrap up and a huge cliff hanger. If there is one thing I despise it’s books that don’t tie up properly and finish as a book should, this whole finishing a chapter and deciding that’s the end of book 1 is just pure laziness on the authors part as far as I’m concerned!
When I first finished this book I gave it a 2. After sleeping on it I revised it to a 2.5 because as much as that ending annoyed me if I’m completely honest with myself I’ll be desperately waiting for the next instalment to find out what happened so I’ve added an extra half star for keeping me hooked for book 2. Well played Ms Plum indeed....more
The Murder Complex is set in the future like most dystopians and boy is this oneThis review can also be found on my review blog - Tea in the Treetops.
The Murder Complex is set in the future like most dystopians and boy is this one creepy screwed up world! In fact I don’t think a world has disturbed me quite so much since reading Neal Shusterman’s Unwind and that is saying something. This story is centred around 2 characters – Meadow and Zephyr and each chapter is told from alternate points of view.
Meadow lives with her family on a house boat and has been trained from a young age to survive and to kill. The story starts on the eve of her 16th birthday. In this society your 16th birthday is your chance to catch a train to a testing centre for initiation and if you come out of the centre alive you leave with a job. Meadows older brother Koi made it home but didn’t get a job, with him mysteriously saying he just “couldn’t go through with it”. From this point on things just get more and more gruesome, I found it a depressing world to read about with dead bodies everywhere, dark hours where people are slaughtered and no one seems to do anything about it. The very idea that 16 year olds have to kill in order to have a job and these kids don’t seem to flinch about it I found quite depressing.
The other main character Zephyr is a ward of the state, meaning his parents are dead and he’s effectively an orphan. These guys are considered pretty much the lowest on the society totem pole and it’s their job to clean up dead bodies all day. Yes that’s right, children have the role in this world to clean up the dead…. Zephyr has dreams about a silver haired girl (surprise surprise it’s Meadow) and fate has them come together shortly after Meadow starts working in the rations department. After a series of events including Meadow discovering Zephyr is considered ultra important by the government, Zephyr trying to kill Meadow without any recollection of the event, and Meadows family disappearing, the 2 of them get together to try and solve the mystery of what is going on.
I think one of my biggest problems with this book is that I can’t imagine the sequence of events that lead up to this type of world actually happening. Or perhaps I should say I can’t imagine enough people in power allowing it to get this way. I also really struggled immensely with the storyline of Meadow’s mother. Her whole character simply doesn’t add up in my book and after the big reveals towards the end instead of me getting really involved in the climax I was just thinking “are you for real??!”.
Meadows father I would also summarise as just a tad bit on the crazy side, and my guess is that Ms Cummings does not have children because I can’t imagine anyone other than sociopaths really being that involved and at the same time that cold to their children.
The last thing I took issue with is that I guessed where things were going well before the end and it seemed so similar to a whole slate of YA novels, which was a bit disappointing to me. The world while original had a “very same, old same old” climax and I think anyone that reads a fair bit of dystopia will be in the same boat where you can see how things are going to wrap up a mile off. The blood and gore in this book was also just a little too overdone leaving me pretty certain I won’t be picking up book two. ...more
"She thought all you needed to do – all any of them needed – was to get out. But maybeThis review also appears on my review blog Tea in the Treetops.
"She thought all you needed to do – all any of them needed – was to get out. But maybe you carried your demons with you everywhere, the way you carried your shadow."
This was such an enjoyable and engrossing contemporary novel. I absolutely loved the Delirium series and while Panic is a completely different setting, the writing is fantastic and Lauren Oliver fans should expect to get hooked in.
Set in the small town of Carp the story centres around graduated high school students who each year can participate in an underground game called Panic. Panic is dangerous, the stakes are high but the pay off for the person who wins is huge – approximately $65 000. The town of Carp is poor, filled with low income earners, ignorance and poverty, each year the winner of Panic has a chance to end the cycle of dysfunction and start afresh which is why even though its illegal and people have actually died playing, the lure of the game continues for the next group of school leavers.
The 2 main characters are Heather and Dodge who both desperately want to win. Heather needs the money and Dodge wants revenge. The story is told from both viewpoints with alternating chapters told from each characters perspective adding elements to the story and weaving in motives and backstories effortlessly. The 2 secondary characters are also equally engaging and while you don’t get the story from their perspective you still feel you know them and their roles in the over arching story.
For all that this is a fantastical made up situation I felt that the premise really rang true. I could imagine this happening in a middle of nowhere deadbeat town and ending up on the news one day after a tragedy occurred. The issues dealt with in the story are real and some are incredibly confronting including one of the challenges which involved playing Russian roulette with a loaded gun. While it seems extreme, Oliver manages to make this very plausible and relevant to today’s teens.
This was a wonderful stand alone contemporary novel and I enjoyed how by the end of the story you didn’t know who you wanted to actually win Panic. It was a nail biting, read in one sitting book for me and I loved every minute of it! ...more
Like the first book in this series, The Sweetest Dark, I found this novel intriguing but where book 1 fell a bit flat for me, The Deepest Night was inLike the first book in this series, The Sweetest Dark, I found this novel intriguing but where book 1 fell a bit flat for me, The Deepest Night was interesting and engaging.
The Deepest Night starts off after Jesse’s death and Lora is mourning and at a loss where she can live after boarding school finishes and closes for the year. Meanwhile Armand is taking control of his father’s estate by opening a convalescing hospital for the war effort and coming to terms with his newfound drakon powers.
While the first book seemed like a typical high school girl drama in a historical setting this book is more action packed and WWI takes a front and centre role in the story. Lora and Armand are off on a dangerous mission across enemy battle lines to rescue another drakon that Lora has sensed with her expanding powers. This mission pushes them to the limit and we get some real action as things unfold over enemy lines.
I love that we find out more about the drakon, both their past and more about their powers. It’s great to see both Lora and Armand grown into their drakon powers and Armand really takes me by surprise in this book showing he is a true contender to be Lora’s lover and partner. I would have liked to find out more about the stars and Jesse but unfortunately while there was a couple of chapters from Jesse’s POV we didn’t find out much more on how they fit with the drakon and human existence.
Overall I found this a very enjoyable easy read. There is a really interesting surprise twist involving Armand’s older brother Aubrey which has me asking many questions and the pace and fluidity of Abe’s prose is again very beautiful. Looking forward to the conclusion of this series with book 3! ...more
I was a bit apprehensive about reading this originally as I had rThis book was originally reviewed at Tea, Daydreams & Fairytales on 8th May 2013.
I was a bit apprehensive about reading this originally as I had read lots of negative reviews comparing this to both Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. As I actually like both of these authors and the aforementioned books, I figured that chances are I would probably enjoy this one as well! And I did, while it wasn’t earth shattering and it did read like a mix of other Young Adult books on the market it was still fast paced, entertaining and just plain fun.
The main character Amelie is a demon hunter and mischief maker at her school. The book starts off explaining that a number of faculty members had died at the hands of a Greymason which is just the first of many introductions into the creatures and mythology of this paranormal world. On the first day of a new school year Amelie meets a young new instructor who she has instant chemistry with, and together through a series of unfortunate events the 2 of them discover they are at the centre of a prophecy that will have major repercussions on this world.
I quite liked Amelie as a main character, she was tough but fun and full of self confidence. For all her boundary testing at school she actually loves the idea of being a guardian and it is clear quite early on that she is stronger than she realises. Through finding out her back story and family past you are also introduced into the world of bonding and what happens when a bonding is rejected and let me tell you, if I was 17 and told I was going to be matched to another student for the rest of my life by the powers that be, I would be much more freaked out than these guys were!
The love interest Jackson was hot! I really enjoyed him and while this was an instant love type deal the chemistry between the 2 was really well handled it didn’t come across badly like many insta-love couples do. He definitely started out in the treat her mean, keep her keen camp but I think it was pretty obvious to the reader that there was an underlying reason for that and as the story progresses you find out more about why he keeps Amelie at arms length through most of the book.
The pacing of this book was definitely fast and action packed. I enjoyed this as it meant that I read the book quickly over a couple of days. In saying this however there were parts where the plot felt a little jarring and it probably would have come off more polished with more build up. I found the actually start of the book a bit of a shock as it almost felt like you had missed the introductory chapters and just fallen into the story part way through and the pace seriously just doesn’t stop until the book finishes.
Overall I think this book has probably copped a bit more flak than it deserved and if you are wanting something easy and fast paced to read that is similar to books such as Vampire Academy, City of Bones or the Mythos Academy series then you’ll probably enjoy this one too.
Thank you Netgalley and Entangled Publishing for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Prophecy Girl was released on the 28th March 2013. ...more
Parallel lives/universes seem to be an “it” thing in 2013 with at least 3 YA releases coming to mind and I for one am not the least bit disappointed because I LOVE the concept of alternative realities and fringe sciences.
Parallel definitely didn’t disappoint either I absolutely loved it and read it over a weekend, it was a really enjoyable book. Just imagine how confused and freaked out you would be if one day you were disappointed with the way life was turning out stuck in Hollywood shooting a movie, then the next day you woke up in a Yale dorm room with absolutely no idea how you could have possibly got there. This is just the start of the slippery slope for Abby our main character who soon discovers that just the simplest of decisions can have major repercussions in the future.
As the concept of the parallel universes and Abby remembering them is fairly complex there is a lot of science and theoretical conversations in this book between Abby, her best friend Caitlin and her academically gifted but kooky and discredited high school science teacher, and I believe these were really well handled. While at times you had to read a couple of pages carefully to fully grasp the concept, overall it was done slowly over the course of the book meaning that you weren’t overwhelmed and you really got a good chance to understand why everything was happening especially as you were being given live examples continuously too!
The characters themselves were fun Abby made some stupid decisions at times but these were all decisions I could imagine anyone possibly making in those situations and the great thing about this book is that you get to see how some poor choices can really alter your future. Abby overall was quite likeable and I enjoyed seeing her in different situations, my only complaint is that she seemed a little too perfect. For a girl who thinks she is nothing special she managed to act in Hollywood, be a brilliant marathon runner, get into an Ivy League school without really wanting to go and also row competitively that’s a lot of very varied talents. Her 2 besties Caitlin and Tyler were great as well and I really enjoyed the dynamics and blossoming love between them. Caitlin was just a great character - I loved her and was devastated at one point when a major rift grows between Abby and Caitlin I actually think I got a bit teary!
Sadly what was perhaps lacking in this novel was the relationships. Both Abby’s have a love interest and both were a little ho hum and though Josh definitely grew on me by the end as his story developed. Michael unfortunately just felt flat and I think possibly needed some more air time to make the reader connect with him. I’m going to leave it at that as it’s really hard to go into the relationships at all without spoiling some of the wonderful OMG moments at the end and trust me there are some great moments especially at the culmination where Abby has an epiphany which makes her realise it doesn’t matter what choices she makes some things are destiny.
“Do you believe in soulmates?” “Ask me tomorrow,” he says.
The last part that I think is really worth mentioning is how beautiful the descriptions of Yale are. I’m not from the US and I don’t really get this whole Ivy League college experience or anything but the descriptions and small tit bits of information given about Yale and North Haven gave me a definite yearning to visit, it truly sounds beautiful, homely - like putting on a nice pair of comfy socks on a cold winters day.
Overall I found this to simply be a great book and providing your willing to read some heavier information dense parts on time travel and parallel universes I believe readers will enjoy it thoroughly!
Thank you Edelweiss and HarperTEEN for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Parallel is released on the 14th May 2013. ...more