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
I have never read a Scott Westerfeld novel before and with trepidation I began AfterworldsFind this review and others on my blog Tea in the Treetops!
I have never read a Scott Westerfeld novel before and with trepidation I began Afterworlds after reading a number of disappointing reviews from his legion of fans. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m a Westerfeld virgin or if the subject matter of this book was just more to my taste, but either way I simply loved this novel!
The book is actually 2 stories combined in one with chapters alternating between 2 protagonists. The first story line is that of 18 year old Darcy who has just finished high school and scored a 2 book publishing deal after a month of frenzied writing during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Darcy decides to postpone college and try her hand at being a fulltime novelist including relocating to New York and she shortly finds herself immersed into “YA Heaven” which includes meeting and becoming friends with well known YA authors and her sister debut authors.
The second storyline which alternates with Darcy’s is that of her novel’s protagonist Lizzie. Darcy’s novel is called Afterworlds and is a paranormal romance about psychopomps and death gods from Indian scripture. Lizzy’s story starts off with her experiencing the horror of living through a terrorist attack and being the sole survivor. This touch with death has allowed her to tap into the Afterworlds where the dead go and with the help of a fellow psychopomp and a ghost that’s been haunting her mother her entire life she learns to harness her newfound powers.
So first things first, I had to google the word “psychopomp” until I saw that it was indeed a real word a small part of me believed that Mr Westerfeld had made a bet with a friend that he couldn’t find a publisher to publish a book with a ludicrous made up word in it. The whole word is even a long running joke within the novel as Lizzie attempts to find a better name to call her gift by. Thanks to Wikipedia I discovered that indeed psychopomp is actually a word and I could put my mind to rest. No real surprises I guess as to why there isn’t a slew of YA books around based on psychopomps hehehe.
I really enjoyed both sides to this story. I loved Darcy’s journey from high school student to published author. I loved hearing about all the ins and outs of getting a YA novel published and even though I never plan on writing a book I think this storyline should go down well with fellow YA bloggers, many of whom aspire to one day be published authors themselves! A lot of lingo is used that may be a little off putting for readers that are not classified as heavy user/fanatical bibliophiles. There are mentions of tumblr, social media, ARCs and BEA among others and no real explanation to go along with them. This still works as Darcy is also new to it all however I’m not sure if all readers will appreciate it.
Throughout Darcy’s storyline there are numerous mentions about her “killer” opening chapter and I completely concur. The first chapter of Lizzie’s story about the terrorist attack and her crossing over into the Afterworld is just brilliant. I was totally captivated and at first didn’t want to cross back to Darcy I just needed to know more. Part of me wonders if this was originally going to be a book in itself and then the idea of it changed somewhere along the way. Either way it was a stellar opening chapter to any novel!
The book is just so completely enjoyable and filled with little literary nuances and odes, my favourite being a nod to Jane Austen with Darcy and Lizzie as the 2 protagonists. I also found it very unique and utterly different to any other YA book I’ve read, it manages to be completely unprejudiced and unassuming. I found the discussions and thought processes about using religious concepts in a novel fascinating and not one I have previously considered myself. I also enjoyed the way the authors seemed to leech ideas from everyday life in the most unexpected way. Considering this was over 600 pages I thought it would be a hard slog to get through but I devoured it and was left wanting even more. A fantastic novel that I will start to push on every YA reader I know! ...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