It's just a mini review today as I promised Angelya we would do a proper review/discussion...moreFind 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! (less)
I find after getting involved with reviewing and Goodreads, inundated with books I’m d...moreThis 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! (less)
Michael Glass didn't scream. Instead, he made a terrible keening noise in the back of his throat, arched his back, and began to flail violently inside his zipped-up sleeping bag. Fabric shredded under vampire strength, and insulation bulged out of the tears as he fought his way free, but even once it was off him he just kept… flailing."
Not even 5 pages in, and my heart was already hinting at the intense beating my emotions were going to get while reading Black Dawn. In the world of Morganville, Texas, Black Dawn is the twelfth book in Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires series.
I am a relatively new fan of Rachel Caine, having only powered through the entire Morganville Vampire series in the first week of June 2011 (and then eagerly anticipating the release of the then soon-to-be-released Bite Club!) New fan or not, the universe Rachel Caine has created continues to make the reader invest in the wellbeing of its characters.
Black Dawn does not begin quietly. In fact there are very few moments in the story where you are not fearing for one or more of the characters lives.
Claire Danvers describes the situation in Morganville best in the opening chapter:
"There were things out there in the world, things that vampires feared, and now those things were here. She was only seconds out of a very light, fitful sleep, but she knew that the nightmares had followed her effortlessly right into the real world. The draug. They weren't vampires; they were something else, something that moved through water, formed out of it, dragged vampires down to a slow and awful death."
Last Breath left us with the draug having infiltrated Morganville, feeding off the vampires and bringing a new fear to the towns inhabitants. Black Dawn continues right where Last Breath left us; in the middle of the pain and confusion that yes, the vampires in the Morganville Vampires universe do have a reason to fear for their continued existence. Claire, Shane Collins, Michael Glass and Eve Rosser are once again uncomfortably allied with Oliver, Myrnin and the other vampires to destroy the draug and try to save Amelie's life.
I could not choose just one hero from this book - Claire, Eve, Michael, Shane and a few surprise characters all brought their best baddassness to the fight. The dialogue between characters, particularly Shane and Michael, and of course Myrnin, had me laughing aloud (which may have gotten me a few looks on the train). It felt familiar to read their comfortable banter, and it was an enjoyable respite from the more intense situations dominating the storyline. While the main premise of Black Dawn follows the fight to survive the draug infestation, Rachel Caine absolutely delivers on the relationships between Eve and Michael, and Shane and Claire - and the complications that Myrnin presents.
As with Last Breath, we not only follow the story through the eyes of Claire, but other central characters Shane, Michael and Eve take us through their story fighting the draug, the political unbalance and the betrayals that will leave you on the last page anticipating the next adventure in Bitter Blood (Book 13 of Morganville Vampires)!
Thank you Netgalley and Penguin Australia for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Black Dawn is released tomorrow, the 1st May 2012.(less)
While I’m not the biggest fan of the vampire genre I was intrigued by the premise of The Immortal Rules. Vampires, Zombies all bundled in with a dystopian setting was enough to pique my interest and I’m so glad I read it – Julie Kagawa it turns out is a fantastic writer! Set approximately 60 years into the future, civilisation has collapsed, rabids (aka zombies) roam freely infecting and killing people while vampires now run the worlds cities taking blood donations from the city’s human dwellers in exchange for food and protection. In one of these vampire cities you meet Allison a human who detests vampires with a passion and would prefer to live near starvation, scavenging and stealing to survive rather then become a vampire “pet” or donate her blood. Through misfortune Allison ends up attacked and near death when offered a choice: die, become what she hates, a vampire.
What I love about this book is that you follow Allison on parallel journeys. The book is very much a traditional physical journey where she leaves the city she grows up in and meets up with human travellers who are looking for a fabled human city called Eden. Along with this physical journey the reader is also taken on an incredibly difficult emotional journey where Allison has to make some difficult choices and question the very essence of her beliefs. I love books that make you think, books with substance that really makes you ponder the characters handling of specific situations and this novel keeps you on the edge of your seat really blurring the line between good and evil.
The future Kagawa paints is bleak and incredibly well thought out. The first quarter of this novel sets the reader up with a solid understanding of how the world is now run; a group of vampire cities with human subjugates and rabids roaming free turning anyone in the wild into rabid fodder. You get a good insight into vampire politics, and while this isn’t particularly important for this novel I imagine this foundation will serve its purpose in future Blood of Eden books. Along with an understanding of the vampire cities you also get to spend time in “the wild”, life outside the city in a world fraught with danger and infectious creatures. Overall the world building is complex and vivid, it really enriches the readers experience as you follow Allison’s path.
The characters and their development also get a big tick from me. Allison is kick ass which isn’t too surprising considering the life she grew up with, survival of the fittest definitely rules the fringe of New Covington. She’s shows a lot of inner strength when faced with moral dilemmas and handles them incredibly well but not without subtlety showing you how much inner turmoil some of her choices has given her. Even though she is a monster you just can’t help rooting for her and her own moral code speaks for itself – vampire or not this girl has heart.
The romance between Zeke and Allison is built up at a steady pace and you really connect with them. There is no love at first sight rubbish in this book, instead it’s gradually built upon and by the time obstacles come between them you really want it to work out because the love seems so authentic and deserved. Zeke is a lovely character and a breath of fresh air from all the alpha male types that plague young adult novels. While I’m sure he won’t do it for everyone, his confidence and ability to trust and help everyone he meets in such a harsh environment just makes me want to give him a great big cuddle!
The end of the novel is fantastic and the entire story is wrapped up neatly leaving just enough openings to make the reader desperate to get their hands on the sequel. Overall this book really reminded me a lot of The Study series by Maria V Snyder. While it’s classified as Young Adult it in many ways seemed more like an adult novel and I think for this reason it will be a hit with both the YA and Sci-Fi/Fantasy crowd. If you swore never to pick up a vampire book again, this book is worth breaking that promise over. One of the best Young Adult books I’ve read for awhile and I think it’s worth being added to anyone’s to-read list!
Thank you Netgalley and HarlequinTEEN for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. The Immortal Rules is being released on the 24th April 2012.(less)
"She had been innocent once, a little girl playing with feathers on the floor of a devil’s lair. She wasn’t innocent now, but she didn’t know what to do about it. This was her life: magic and shame and secrets and teeth and a deep, nagging hollow at the center of herself where something was most certainly missing."
"Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well."
Wow, what a commanding start to a novel. That opening sentence hooked me in, it set the bar high and boy does Laini Taylor deliver! Daughter of Smoke and Bone tears down the common formula for paranormal romance and sets a new standard. Based in Prague you meet Karou the azure haired girl an aloof art student by day and mysterious errand girl for the chimaera named Brimstone by night. While she is human, Karou was raised by Brimstone and some of his colleagues in his workshop hidden “elsewhere” accessible only through portals disguised as doorways. Brimstone tells her nothing, everything is a secret and Karou is raised a lonely girl who feels separate from humanity and with no clue as to how she ended up under Brimstone’s care. All this changes when by complete chance she encounters Akiva on one of her mysterious errands and her world starts to come apart.
The world building in this book is phenomenal. I’ve never been to Prague but I desperately want to go after reading countless descriptions of city scenery this being one such example:
"The streets of Prague were a fantasia scarcely touched by the twenty-first century—or the twentieth or nineteenth, for that matter. It was a city of alchemists and dreamers, its medieval cobbles once trod by golems, mystics, invading armies. Tall houses glowed goldenrod and carmine and eggshell blue, embellished with Rococo plasterwork and capped in roofs of uniform red. Baroque cupolas were the soft green of antique copper, and Gothic steeples stood ready to impale fallen angels. The wind carried the memory of magic, revolution, violins, and the cobbled lanes meandered like creeks. Thugs wore Motzart wigs and pushed chamber music on street corners, and marionettes hung in windows, making the whole city seem like a theater with unseen puppeteers crouched behind velvet."
Along with the beautiful descriptions of Earth, Taylor introduces Eretz a world filled with Angels and Demons and torn viciously apart by war. You can visualise this alien land so well through the story and even though the book is laden with descriptions and explanations it at no point takes away from character development.
I loved the character of Karou. She was smart, clever, witty with just a hint of sorrow. You got a real sense of her inner strength even though she is fairly reserved – definitely not a flashy heroine! I was a bit worried by Akiva initally - I thought he was going to be a little too heartless and cold to me. There is nothing I like less than a girl who fawns herself over a complete asshole. Thankfully he wasn’t like this at all and as the story progresses you really appreciate how he is actually flexible and willing to grow.
The relationship that develops between Akiva and Karou could have so easily crossed the line into creepy and unrealistic but instead its authentic and innocent. You find yourself wanting it to work out for them against all the odds. Taylor shifts this story between both their perspectives and it really helps strengthen the realism in their growing love for one another. It’s hard to go into their relationship without giving too much of the story away but you do believe that these two are destined to be together and to do great things for the fate of 2 races and 2 worlds.
I also loved the fact that there is no clear cut good and evil in this book and that war isn’t anything to be glamorized instead its something that literally consumes both sides and everyone loses out:
"Have you ever asked yourself, do monsters make war, or does war make monsters?
While this sounds like a standard Young Adult romance it truly isn’t. The story changes about half way through when Karou learns the answers to just a few of Brimstone’s secrets and it almost feels like you are reading a different novel. This is not a story of happily ever afters even if it started with a fairytale beginning. This is a story that sends you on a whirlwind of all sorts of emotions, from grief, love, shock, betrayal and tragedy. It leaves you out of breath at the end and in complete awe. I was unable to contemplate starting another book for a good week, it took me that long to digest it.
I find myself recommending this book to everyone I know. While the story resolves itself and leaves the reader feeling complete, the ending is still a cliffhanger and I can’t wait for 2nd novel – Days of Blood and Starlight to be released in late 2012. I read this book in January 2012 and I won’t be surprised if in December this year I still list this as one of the best books I read in 2012. This book deserved its 5/5 stars and then some.(less)
I wasn’t expecting much from this book other than a gorgeous cover after all the argy bargy and drama between book bloggers, the author and the publicist. I decided to give it a go anyway and to be honest I’m really glad I did! While this isn’t the most deep and meaninful book it was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it thoroughly in the same guilty fashion that I enjoy eating ice cream while watching The Biggest Loser. You know your not really meant to be liking it but you can’t help but secretly love every moment of it!
Set in Illea which replaced the USA after a large and brutal war in the not too distant future, this book is about a 16 year old girl called America. America is selected as one of 35 girls to compete for the love and marriage of Illea’s crown prince in a large marketing reality tv type affair to give the people of Illea some live entertainment and distraction not unlike the ancient Romans did with the Colleseum. While most girls are honoured to be selected from their region to compete, America isn’t. America is already in love with a boy called Aspen and is not remotely interested in marrying the prince however accepts her selection because her family needs the financial aid and publicity it affords them.
While this is a Dystopian it’s the lightest one I’ve read yet and I hope that the sequel gives a bit more background information into this world. You are introduced in this novel to the caste system of Illea – the royal family being of Caste 1 and lowly servants being caste 6. America is a singer and is of Caste 5 still considered incredibly low on the totem pole and her family while gifted in the arts find it very hard to make ends meet between work. There is also information woven into the story as to how Illea is formed after effectively World War 3, however not much information is given about the rebels that pop up throughout the story – I’m assuming to keep everything dangerous and mysterious.
America is not a particularly easy character to like. She is pretty self centred and to be frank if I had been the prince I would have gotten rid of her at the very beginning - she is really quite mean to him and he just takes beating after beating by her. The prince is pretty wishy washy and really needs a bit more of a backbone. There were some glimmers of true leadership from him throughout the book and I sincerely hope we see more in the sequel otherwise this guy is going to end up being the most whipped King you could come across! The whole interaction between the different ladies competing was actually really well done even though there is the cliche mean girl who is kept in though absolutely no one likes her except apparently the prince. It really reminds me a bit of Gossip Girl meets The Bachelor and it doesn’t surprise me that this book has been picked up for a TV series.
Overall while the writing was a bit clunky at times and the main character was a bitch, this book was still pretty addictive and I enjoyed reading it immensely. If your looking for a light hearted read between episodes of Gossip Girl or Revenge I think this book would be for you!
Thank you Edelweiss and HarperTEEN for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. The Selection was released on 24th April 2012 so check out the links below to purchase it now!(less)
This series is really a lot of fun and the third installment of the Lorien Legacies is filled with action and character development. In The Rise of Nine the book is written from the perspectives of Four, Six and Seven giving you a really well rounded view of the Garde and their journey to meet up with one another. By the end of this book we’ve met everyone except for Number 5 and these guys are ready to kick some Mogadorian butt and get back to the planet Lorien. The plot doesn’t really move forward in this novel it’s more a rallying book with the story centering around the Garde centralising ready to take on the Mogadorian leader who has now landed on earth. Six, Seven and Ten are on a mission to find Number Eight while Number Four and Nine have just escaped from the Mogadorian base and are recovering trying to work out how to rescue Sam and meet up with Number Six.
Like the first two novels in this series the writing is really nothing spectacular, it’s very generic first person filled with a lot of action. This isn’t a book you read for the prose it’s definitely more a fast easy read that takes you on an exciting adventure. The character of Four is less frustrating in this novel, he’s still moping about Sarah and Sam but I think being around the gung ho Number Nine makes him less whingey and definitely makes his story more entertaining then it was in book 2.
Six is her usual kick ass rash self coming to everyones rescue, she’s definitely shaping into the leader of this group which is interesting because they keep making hints and references to Number Four being the reincarnation of Pittacus Lore who was head elder on planet Lorien.
Number Seven really grew in this story taking charge of her legacies and coming to terms with the world outside the convent she’s lived in her entire life until this point. She has some truly brave and selfless moments where she manages to save the lives of her fellow garde at different moments of this book really proving her strenth and core role in this group.
Number Eight is introduced and hes an interesting character, a bit egocentric for my liking but he did mellow as the book went on and I’ll be interested in seeing more of him in subsequent novels.
There is hints of romance throughout this book though nothing really definite comes about. The whole Sarah, Six and Four triangle is referenced a few times and there is some definite flirting between number Seven and Eight leading me to believe that this relationship is definitely on the cards. Sarah makes a reappearance later on in this book and you do get more information about her major betrayal at the end of book 2 so it’s good to see how this plot furthers the story and her relationship with Number Four.
I felt that the major showdown at the end of this novel was a little sudden. I really didn’t expect this to happen until the last book of the series and obviously while everything didn’t wrap up in book 3 I really did feel like it was a bit rushed. What happened to the Garde meeting up and training together before taking on the Mogadorians and their leader? The whole encounter just made me feel like this was a rash bunch of teenagers and really I’m surprised that no one died.
While there are some plot holes and the writing is a little basic, this is a fast fun read that I think anyone who likes a bit of Sci-Fi action can enjoy. I read the book in a few hours and even though it’s definitely not one of the best reads I’ve had this year, I will definitely be continuing on with the series.
Thank you Netgalley and Penguin Australia for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. The Rise of Nine is released today, the 22nd August 2012.(less)
This was a wonderful trilogy and I am both happy and sad to see it come to a close. Happy because the series was resolved well with all the loose ends tied up but sad because it means that there is no room for any additional stories around this world and the awesome characters in it! This book really was a rollercoaster, in fact the entire series was so if you haven’t read them I urge you to go pick up Unearthly (book #1) ASAP!
The story starts with Clara, Angela and Christian off to Stanford and I really loved seeing Clara grow into the college lifestyle and discover what she wants to do with her life outside of the whole angel purpose. The book really balances life and relationships well focusing on Clara’s purpose and visions but also adding layers to the relationships she has both with Angela and of course her 2 male love interests Christian and Tucker.
I was incredibly worried going into this book how I was going to feel at the end as I love both Tucker and Christian and I knew I was going to be sad either way as someone was going to be left alone. And while the book was completely tied up with no plot holes I have to admit that I wasn’t 100% happy with how the romantic triangle finished up it just seemed a little too perfect and sudden. Then again I think if the series had finished with her and the alternate gentleman I probably wouldn’t be happy either – Hand just simply created 2 guys that were just too special to be left jilted :)
The writing was wonderful, the romance and some of the lines were just so quote worthy it was hard just choosing one for the top of this review. I spent a good portion of this book sighing and I did my fair share of crying at the end. I loved that she put in a beautiful scene with Clara’s mother – she really does the mother/daughter relationship well and I wish more Young Adult books would incorporate the parents a little bit more – they really don’t have to be absent or completely clueless of their children! I also loved seeing Clara be a bit free and less bogged down in portions of this book like when she takes Christian out to simply fly for the pure thrill and exhileration of flying.
The Angel books I’ve read this year have just been simply phenomenal with both the Violet Eden Chapters and Unearthly series being completely unputdownable I sincerely hope that the rest of the year continues to bring on such great reads!(less)
"You couldn't hide from bad things and pretend they didn't exist–that left you with a dream world, and dream worlds eventually crumbled. You had to face the truth. And then decide what you wanted."
I've always loved fairytales. I remember in high school reading Beauty by Sheri S Tepper and absolutely loving the way it mixed traditional fairytales with a good dose of science fiction. As soon as I read the premise for Kill Me Softly I knew I had to get my hands on it and see if it could live up to my expectations and be the young adult version of its adult sibling. The story centres around Mirabelle a 15 year old orphan who has lived her entire life with 2 very loving but strict godparents. Shortly before her 16th birthday Mirabelle decides to defy their number 1 rule and return to the place of her birth to search for her parents graves in order to get some closure.
The town of Beau Rivage where Mira was born is not your ordinary town. This is a town that blends modern day diners and casinos with fairytale mansions and fates. Being born in Beau Rivage means you could end up being the handsome prince destined to rescue your very own princess, or you could end up cursed and a villain, perhaps abuse your beautiful stepsister, or eat a young girls grandmother. Happily ever afters in this town normally come at a price and Mira soon discovers that fate pulled her home for a reason just in time for her 16th birthday, an auspicious and often scary time for the teens of Beau Rivage.
While this book had some flaws overall I really enjoyed reading it. It's a fun read and you can't help but try and guess which character comes our of which fairytale. I really enjoyed that these weren't the disney versions of fairytales and insted err towards the Brothers Grimm versions being fairly morbid and nearly always gruesome. Happily ever after also has some fairly strange outcomes, like the prince who found his snow white princess yet upon waking her was no longer felt the attraction because she was too chirpy and bright. Being so in love with the handsome prince who rescued her, this version of snow white instead chose to drug herself so she walks through life in a almost catatonic state just so they can stay together.
The character of Mira was probably one of the weaker parts of this story, yes she's 15 so I understand that some level of self absorption is to be expected but seriously this girl could be downright dumb. She ignores all advice given to her for the most frivilous of reasons and does stupid things anyway. I found her whole infatuation with Felix completely unnatural and unrealistic. Yes I understand he is meant to draw and attract girls to him, but Blue has the same curse and she wasn't the least bit tempted by him. She also spent the middle of this novel being a world class bitch to people who had been nothing but nice to her as far as I could see. She didn't really do anything redeemable until the end of the novel and I still had a few issues with that, overall I just didn't connect with her and at times simply wanted to slap silly.
The love triangle, or is it a love square, was quite pitiful. I understand that it needed to be there to further the plot but considering she was deeply in love with Felix she seemed to forget about him a lot and would just turn up in the early hours of the morning ready to crash and only at that point remember to spend time with him. Blue who she apparently "hates" however she spends her entire days with and her relationship with Freddie is pretty awkward, I would have loved to have seen that fleshed out a bit more.
Now that I got those issues off my chest I can move on to what worked. The secondary characters were wonderful - I loved their little group, Rafe and his bad attitude, Viv and her complicated and creepy relationship with Henley, Layla and her gambling addict of a father I really could go on. Even though they didn't get much of a look in I was greatly entertained by the Knight brothers - Wills and Caspian provided such good comic relief. The scene where they go with Caspian to the beach so he can attempt to drown himself to find his mermaid was fantastic and hearing Wills talk about his hopes that his Cinderella can at least read and write gave me a giggle.
All the different storyline threads come together brilliantly and I couldn't put the book down I was dying to find out how it all ended. I can't say too much about the finale without spoiling it but I will be interested to see if this does stay a stand alone novel or if a sequel does eventuate. While Mirabelle's story wraps up fairly well, there were so many other entertaining characters that a spin off story centering around a different fairytale could easily work.
Overall I found this book very satisfying and think anyone with a penchant for fairytales would enjoy this. I can't wait for Channel 7 Australia to start airing Once Upon A Time now!
Thank you Netgalley and Edgemont USA for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Kill Me Softly is being released on the 10th April 2012.(less)
Hmmmm I don’t quite know where to start with this review. There were parts durin...moreThis 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. (less)
This story is told from both the perspectives of Ebony, a violet eyed teenager who until recently was home schooled and has never left the valley her parents farm is located on, and Jordon, a tough kid in foster care who has had one too many things go wrong in his young life. When these two meet for the first time there is an instant connection that changes both of their worlds as you discover about Ebony's past and her bond with Jordon.
I have never read this author before though she has a big fan base so I was really looking forward to giving this book a go. Hidden is marketed as a YA novel though I was quite puzzled by this at the beginning as it read more like a middle grade book to me, and what put me off completely was that the characters would use phrases that are definitely more adult like such as "wondering which girl he would be leaving the club with tonight". I felt that this was quite a contradiction and not a particularly good one, especially if young teens are going to pick this book up. As the story warms up, probably about a third of the way through, it definitely hits its stride and gets both interesting and settles into a more YA writing style.
Ebony was a frustrating character, she starts off quite interesting, there is something different about her and she knows that she hears better than your average person and has above average strength and speed. Her parents are quite closed off and wont tell her and for some reason she doesn't push them about it for years. When you find out about her back story you would expect her to become even more interesting and want to learn more about her past however instead she becomes a stubborn mule who is completely unhelpful and provides 90% of the conflict and barriers in the story. Definitely an unenjoyable heroine for the most part.
Jordon was more interesting however I'm not really sure where his storyline will take him for the remainder of the book series and I hope that they go into more details about the guardian/angel relationship as this seemed to be such a pivotal point in the book yet it was completely glossed over and barely mentioned again. There is some interesting back story about Jordon and his previous foster home experience that I found quite interesting and I'm not entirely sure what Adam Skinner's role is going to be for future books but I fully expect it to be fleshed out in the sequel.
I did really enjoy Thane and the angels this was the highlight of the novel and I'm glad that this is really the heart of the overall story. I quite liked Prince Luca as a baddy and Thane was wonderfully patient with both Ebony and Jordon. I'm looking forward to finding out more about Thane's destiny and the angel homeworld Avena! While I'm not the biggest fan of insta love I think the storyline does compensate in this case for Thane and Ebony and I am looking forward to some nice romance in the future books.
Overall this was a fast and fairly enjoyable read and though the book did have some flaws I would definitely pick up book 2 to find out what happens next. In saying that this definitely was not in the same league as the Unearthly trilogy by Cynthia Hand or The Violet Eden Chapters by Jessica Shirvington - both of which are completely brilliant angel series that I try to convince all friends to read.
Thank you Netgalley and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc (UK & ANZ) for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Hidden has just been released on the 1st March 2013 and can be purchased via the links below. (less)
"I don’t want romance and stolen kisses and sweetness and hand holding. I want something so big it’s like two planets colliding, with an aftershock that I feel for the rest of my life."
Where to start with this book. This is not a run of the mill Young Adult novel and this is definitely not a stock standard paranormal. What this novel is, is hard to put down, it was eerie and suspenseful and showed the world from a completely different perspective.
The story centres around Abbie a lonely 17 year old who looks at everything from an artists view. She is romantically obsessed with he step cousin Kane who lives in the downstairs part of their house and until recently barely noticed her existence. When Kane arrives back from a surfing trip Abbie notices that while everything appears normal on the surface with Kane, something is just not right - there are shadows, there is blurred perceptions and a menancing feeling that just doesn't seem to go away.
I was worried going into this novel that this book would be wrought with Australian slang and cliches and was so relieved to instead discover a beachside town that could have been almost anywhere. While there was some references to Australian surf culture it in no way deterred from the story but instead enriched it showing a side to Australian life. I loved how connected this book was to the ocean and infact all the locations were well written and so very sensory I could almost feel I was there too.
Abbie was a fascinating character and her journey of self discovery was absolutely riveting. I loved the self portraits she took throughout the novel giving you clear glimpses of her personal growth and feelings it was such a different way of communicating with readers and I loved the impact it gave to the story. The back story of Abbie's family history was subtletly woven into the main storyline really letting you empathise for this young woman who just seemed so very isolated from the get go.
The horror element to the book was incredibly exciting and I spent 3/4 of the novel wondering if it was actually happening or if it was all in Abbie's head - all those internal musings and hints of otherworldliness just left you never really sure. The conversations Abbie has with her babysitting charge Joey and her imaginary friend Pinty were deliciously creepy and I'm still concerned for that poor 3 year old and what is clearly haunting her! Eagar also doesn't shy away from some truly violent horror scenes towards the end, I'm still reeling and horrified about the poor dog. I won't say more for fear of spoilers but I will say animal lovers beware some things in this novel are definitely what I would label as disturbing.
This novel definitely surprised me I was not expecting to enjoy it as much as I did and I can't wait to pick up Kirsty Eagar's other novels now.
Thank you Netgalley and Penguin Australia for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Night Beach is released today, the 26th April 2012.(less)
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. (less)
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! (less)
I signed up for the book tour shortly after reading the phenomenal Young Adult novel, Night Beach by Kirsty Eagar which had a similar premise and I was really in the mood for supernatural thrillers. After getting the excerpt and tour information I started to worry, how on earth was I going to be able to give this book a chance without continually comparing the 2? Thankfully it became pretty clear within a couple of chapters that while the 2 sounded alike, where one was full of symbolism and quite disturbing, Firefly Beach on the otherhand was more lighthearted and fun not really alike at all.
Firefly beach is about the emotional journey Beth LaMonte, our heroine takes after going through personal loss and a relationship breakdown. Determined to rediscover herself and start living life again, she moves to a small coastal community to fulfill her youthful dream of becoming an artist and immediately on arrival is rewarded with some artistic success and inspiration. Along with her professional successes, Beth, with the help of a supernatural ball of light ie. the “firefly”, discovers a diary of a young woman who disappeared some 30 odd years ago. Caught up in the story of this young girl, she sets out to uncover what happened to her and discovers there is much more than originally meets the eye.
The first half of this book is fairly slow paced, filled with a lot of character development and introducing you to the coastal community. I found myself quite impatient at times and felt that the writing could be a little clunky – there was simply too much commentary about what Beth was doing at that particular point of time. I am a big believer that sometimes its the things that are left unsaid that makes a big impact, and hearing about her eating lunch, having a shower, making the bed whatever mundane activity it happened to be just really could have been edited out.
The character of Beth was quite frustrating to me as well. I understand that she endured quite a few emotional hardships but her reaction to things such as the firefly and some of the events that occur just didn’t sit well to me. In fact I think this poor girl could have done with some serious therapy, would have done her a world of good. She does grow throughout the novel and by the end of the book while I still couldn’t really relate to her, I did feel she was a stronger person and definitely more likeable to read about. I quite enjoyed the secondary characters of Rod and Kenny both of whom also conquer their own personal demons in the story and I really empathised with both of them. I was hoping there would be perhaps more backstory into Kenny and his relationship with his mother but can understand that it wasn’t really of value to the plot, just something that interested me.
The second half of this novel really picked up pace and from about 60% through the ebook on I found it very difficult to put down. Infact towards the end I turned to the clock and realised it was 1am, then found myself unable to sleep as I couldn’t stop thinking about some of the developments and plot twists that had come to light! Some of the plot twists relating to Katherine, the diary’s owner, I found quite heartbreaking most likely due to being a mother myself. I think also the fact that there were so many forks in Katherine’s road that if each decision had just gone a little bit differently things could have worked out so much better. I found this so sad and just wished that things could have worked out differently for her!
Overall I really did enjoy this book, and I think that anyone looking for a fast summer read with a mystery element will thoroughly enjoy this book!(less)
"And I'm falling in love with you," he whispers. "But I would throw you in the water and watch crocodiles tear you to bits, if I thought that doing so would accomplish my goals. Do. Not. Trust. Anyone. Especially me."
The premise of this book really drew me in. It sounded like Moulin Rouge mixed into a scary dystopian world complete with a couple of sexy romantic interests - who couldn't be intrigued by that? After I first picked up this book I simply devoured it, it was so good if a little different to my original expectations. The story is based on an Edgar Allan Poe classic by the same title and while I haven't read it to see how it lives up to the original, the story definitely has a very dark gothic vibe which rings true of what Poe I have read. Araby, the central character of this novel starts of numb and disconnect buried in guilt and grief and this story really is about her discovering herself and opening her eyes to what is really happening in the world around her.
The world itself is both gorgeous and terrifying. You have the beautiful masks, aristocratic ladies with carriages and luxury apartment towers on one hand. You also have the corpses on the street, corpse collector’s, scary bats and crocodiles plus the plague infected on the other. Mixing these together is captivating and gives you a completely encompassing city background. There is an undercurrent of fear throughout the entire book - fear of disease, angry mobs, rebels, the evil prince it doesn't matter if you are rich or poor in this world, there is little happiness to hold onto for anyone.
Araby is a wonderful main character. She experienced so much in her past and this is conveyed really well throughout the novel so you connect and empathise with her as the story progresses. She starts off so numb and dead inside, choosing to forget the horrors in the world with sleeping potions, illicit drugs and roaming the debauchery club even though she doesn't actually partake in any real debauchery! Upon the disappearance of her best friend she meets the first of her 2 love interests, Will who works at the club and is just a downright lovely guy. She discovers Will is the sole provider of his 2 young siblings and will do absolutely anything to keep them safe.
Her other love interest Elliot is a very interesting character and you aren't ever 100% sure if he really is a nice guy or if he is going to turn out to be a bad egg after all. It turns out both of these guys do some shitty things and are deeply flawed yet the writing and character development is so well done that you really understand their actions and can't stop rooting for them anyway. Often in YA love triangles its really obvious which guy the girl is going to choose right from the get go but in this book your left with things not being clear cut. You simply don't really know by the end if Araby would choose Will or if she would choose Elliot. Perhaps she'll choose neither, I'm just not sure.
Araby's family is also quite important to the story. What's on the surface seems quite simple however through the story you are given titbits of information that when you piece things all together you can see that this family has gone through a lot of tragedy and there is actually a lot of love there even if it is covered by loss and grief of Araby's twin brother.
While this book is slow paced and there is a lot of subtext, you never feel bored while reading it. The book is wrapped up nicely though there are so many reveals and shocks towards the end that I simply can't wait to read the sequel which must be ages away argh! I can imagine that some people would not enjoy this, those that like a lot of speed and action would probably not like mulling over minute details and information that is interwoven into the story to provide the rich experience that is Masque of the Red Death. But if you’re looking for a story that really makes you think and one that doesn't shy away from death and betrayal I strongly recommend picking up this story ASAP!
Thank you Edelweiss and Harper Collins for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Masque of the Red Death was just recently released on the 24th April 2012 so go pick up a copy today!(less)
I loved the sound of this book from the synopsis, it was historical and it was also a fantasy book with dragons and beautiful gothic castles! While I did enjoy reading this book the entire time I just felt that something was missing, I wondered if this was a spin off of another book series or set in the same world as another book series at least. I wasn't surprised to discover that Shana Abe, while this is her first foray into Young Adult literature has quite a bit of experience writing adult romances and I guessed right, there is another adult series set loosely within the same universe.
The writing in this novel is beautiful though I felt that it left the main characters at times coming off as distant. Lora while sweet I never really felt sorry for her even though it would be tough living in a boarding school surrounded by wealthy girls. She was an interesting character however and I am interested in finding out more about her powers linking music with precious gems I found that really different and fascinating!
The two boys which make up your typical YA love triangle are both interesting though I do this this triangle is quite off kilter especially with how the book turns out. I'll be interested to see how Abe pulls off the romance angle in book 2. Jesse is all sweetest and light and theirs truly is a star crossed lovers romance. On the other hand there is Armand who is arrogant, rich and has an intense heat within him. Normally I'm more drawn to the arrogant alpha types in romances but I really loved Jesse and I think that his talents are fascinating and such a beautiful compliment to Lora.
The actual storyline is a little slow and if I think back, not that much actually happens. Abe is definitely playing to her strengths and this is foremost a romance with a smidgen of supernatural added in for good measure. If you are looking for a story that is romantic with some strong character building then I think you would enjoy The Sweetest Dark.
Thank you Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. The Sweetest Dark is released on the 2nd April 2013 and can be purchased via the links below. (less)
I have to admit I was incredibly interested by this book the moment I read the synopsis. When I started the book I did so with some trepidation, I was really excited to read this it sounded like a book made specifically for me in terms of the genres and premise and like anything you build up often you find that you finally get to it and are severely let down. Hurray! Stitch was not one of these dissapointments I can safely say that especially about 60% through I was seriously going "OMG WTF I so did not expect that!"
Stitch starts out like a nice light fluffly paranormal - a young college girl haunted by the loss of her parents encounters a ghost and thinks she is falling in love. Sounds sweet and in all honesty I would have still probably enjoyed the story if it had stayed on that vein of thought. Somewhere shortly after the middle of this book however there are a number of bombshells that seemingly come out of nowhere and no longer are you in the middle of a paranormal romance, you are instead transported into a sinister post apocalyptic dystopian. This world of college classes and sorority friends? Not quite what they seem and I started to question where on earth is this book taking me next.
The story centers around our protagonist Alessa who picks herself up a year after her parents died in a car crash and goes to college. While at college she meets her best friend Jamie a fellow sorority sister and starts encountering the ghost of a young man. With Jamie's help she is on a mission to discover what happened to this man and find out why he is haunting her. Alessa is a very sweet young girl who has a real streak of inner strength which shows throughout the story by the way she handles the obstacles thrown at her. I really related to the way she coped with things, especially some of the big curveballs thrown in the middle of the book, I can't stand it when a heroine seems to barely bat an eyelid at a major gamechanger. There is strength and then there is the unrealistic, Alessa came across as strong, relatable and real and I really liked her.
Isaac was a lovely male lead and I can't wait to find out more about him in the next installment of this trilogy. He was smart but not an alpha male and there was no insta-love between himself and Alessa which was nice. As much as I was glad that this was a relationship that built slowly I did feel that the whole sparks flying/electricity and chemistry aspect of love was perhaps missing or maybe lacking is a better way of putting it. I'm hoping that we get more of that in book 2 as the scene is definitely set at the end of this book for a lot more alone time between this couple.
The premise of the world Durante has built was very interesting and while it incorporated many aspects that have shown in other post-apocalyptic novels none have woven so many different threads and ideas into one story in such a unique way. While you do get an insight into the new world order in Stitch, you are really left at the end of the book with more questions and desperate for more pages to magically appear. I'll venture a guess that the next book will fit much more squarely into the Dystopian genre as we uncover more behind the safe haven of Paragon and the process of Stitching.
Overall this was an easy book to like and read, and my biggest critique of the story would be that there was at times too much telling and not enough showing. That being said, this book has a lot of heart and I was really impressed with the overall editing and proofing quality especially as this is a self published novel. This really was a wonderful strong debut novel and I can't wait to read the next installment!(less)
"After years of pretending at emotions, he'd grown to appreciate their mystery, their chaos and randomness. Sometimes they were predictable, one-dimensional, almost stupid - other times they were so confounding, complex, and exquisite that he was convinced humans really were as special as they thought themselves to be."
The White Oak is a dark and interesting tale that takes well known greek myths mixes it with Alice in Wonderland and produces an inventive and unique fantasy that is guaranteed to hook in the reader. The story starts off fast and without any build up you are taken straight into a climactic scene of Cora being buried in a sinkhole desperate and frantic before arriving in Asphodel (also known as purgatory) alive and disoriented. The novel then takes on you Cora's journey as she tries to escape the underworld with her life intact as no one knows what would happen to her soul if she really died while already in the land of the dead.
This is an action packed book and reminded me a little bit of early 90s adventure games (think Kings Quest). Each chapter introduces you to a new problem or adventure so to speak which keeps the plot moving at a good rate and also helps you visualise what the character of Cora is going through.
The biggest weakness with this novel is that there didn't seem to be enough time to really build and explore the characters. There is a tiny amount of backstory of Cora & Lucas's abusive father and mother who dissappeared, but considering what a traumatic childhood they had, both of them seemed incredibly well adjusted and I never once actually felt real empathy or sadness for what they had experienced in life. Cora was so bland for a main character, nothing seemed to really phase her and I just found her plain boring if slightly weird considering she sews seeds into dresses for no apparent reason.
The secondary characters were much more interesting and I really hope in the future novels we get to find out more about them. Minotaur as a computer program, how novel and fascinating! I love how he would change personas depending on the situation. Sybil was also very interesting and I loved the concept of everyone having their own book of life that all made up the entire story of the world - past, present and future. I'm also interested to find out more about the hatred between Minos and Sybil and how this is going to play into the over arching story.
The finale takes place in a courtroom discussing the possibility of Cora's execution (Alice in Wonderland anyone?) and then just as things start to get interesting the book ends. This is a pet hate of mine - regardless of whether a book is part of a series or a stand alone there needs to be some resolution to the story. Ending it the same way you would end a chapter is just completely exasperating!
Even though the book had its faults I still enjoyed the adventure and would pick up the sequel. Just don't go into this novel expecting anything profound, it really is more suited as a fun summer read albeit a dark one!
Thank you Netgalley and Story Machine Studio for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. The White Oak is being released today, the 9th April 2012.(less)
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 lov...moreI 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! (less)
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. (less)
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. (less)
Kyle took a deep breath, like he had picked up on the question I hadn't asked. That was one of the differences between him and Jason: Kyle always gave just as much weight and consideration to the things I didn't say as to the things I did.
When I first saw Hemlock on the list of 2012 Debut Authors I instantly fell in love with the cover. I then saw it was about werewolves and hesitated as this isn’t really a topic that greatly interests me. The cover love won out and I selected it as one of the 12 debut author novels I would read for the 2012 challenge, and how glad am I!
Set in the small town of Hemlock just 5 months after the death of her best friend, Mackenzie is still grieving and feeling haunted by Amy’s vicious death by a white werewolf. When the Trackers – an extreme anti werewolf task force come to town by police invitation Mac soon gets caught up in a web of intimidation, lies and politics. Between working out who Amy’s killer is, trying to keep Amy’s boyfriend and her friend Jason from self destruction and struggling with her feelings for Kyle her best friend, this book is jam packed with action, suspense and relationships.
This was a wonderful mystery/thriller that had a dose of paranormal mixed in to create a fantastic book concoction! The whole premise that the government had to admit that werewolves existed as the spread of LS (Lupine Syndrome) was just too much to keep under wraps, and the idea that anyone infected is sent away to special camps felt realistic and I wanted to find out more. Add in the Trackers a group of fanatical werewolf haters who are well known to go outside the boundaries of the law to destroy those hiding their infection and you have a world fraught with change and fear. The town of Hemlock gave the appearance of a small sleepy American town which was given the spotlight after a rash of werewolf attacks, the last of which happened to Amy, Mackenzie’s best friend.
I really loved the main character Mackenzie. She had so much heart, even after having such a rough start in life. You find out that Mackenzie has witnessed and experienced some pretty gruesome things in her past, especially relating to the Trackers and I love that this book doesn’t shy away from the brutal reality of things. She has a great sense of loyalty to her friends and to Tess her guardian which is displayed through virtually all her actions within this book.
I really enjoyed the love triangle in this novel. Both the boys sound a bit boring at first glance – Jason, the bad boy and Kyle the perfect best friend. When you get below the surface both of them are wonderfully crafted, flawed but beautiful individuals. I especially loved the character of Jason, he’s so clearly messed up and just needs someone to help him make it all better. I love how he grows and develops through the story and the inner strength he shows towards the end when all his beliefs are turned upside down.
The actual plot in this story is also fantastic and I could barely put this book down I was really keen to find out what would happen next. I did have a pretty good idea where things would eventuate by about two thirds through but that didn’t lessen my enjoyment of the story. I’m also looking forward to finding out more about the underground werewolf community in the sequel. I strongly urge you to consider picking this book up if you like a good paranormal mystery!
Thank you Edelweiss and Harper Collins for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Hemlock is released today the 8th May 2012.(less)
I was so excited to start reading Dreamless, I loved Starcrossed when I read it last year and thought it was very unique the way it revamped Helen, the Trojan Wars and the face that launched 1000 ships. Starcrossed was very much about the romance between Lucas and Helen and explaining the world that Angelini created. Dreamless is a very different book, it’s about Helen finding her inner strength and very much delving into the characters and fleshing them out to provide a much richer reading experience.
In this novel Helen is struggling with her quest to free the Scions from the Furies. Much of the book is about her journeying into the Underworld trying to work out how to find the Furies and reunite the Houses. Helen and Lucas have also discovered their relationship as cousins and this has driven a large wedge between them which is further strained by the introduction of a new character – Orion who can journey and assist Helen with her mission.
This book started out a little slowly for my tastes, I’m not sure if it was just because there was such a long time between me reading the first book and this sequel but it took me quite a while to get into things and remember what was happening. I would have appreciated a little bit more of a reintroduction to the overarching plot just to get me back into the swing of things. Once I started remembering the characters and getting involved in Helen’s quest I truly enjoyed this story it was fast, fun and action filled.
Helen was done brilliantly in this book – I had found her to be quite weak in Starcrossed and I loved the self exploration and growth that she goes through in this novel even though it nearly kills her. By the end of the book she is fast becoming the kick ass heroine that this series deserves and I can’t wait to see how she tackles the challenges set before her in book 3!
I used to hate love triangles but I have read quite a few really good ones this year that the whole love triangle thing is really doing it for me. The introduction of Orion really irritated me at first but he was such a likeable guy that I couldn’t help but really love him by the end of this book. Lucas on the other hand I wasn’t quite so impressed with. I thought his melodramatic and public break up with Helen was poorly handled and then lets be frank he stalked her invisibly throughout half the book. Not on man, not on! His handling of Orion however when they meet was very gentlemanly so he got a bit of reprieve from me there.
The plot wrap up in this novel is sensational – I wolfed the ending up in no time and am now desperate for book 3! It managed to provide some key plot resolution making you feel that you had actually finished the book but left enough shock and cliff hangers that you can’t wait to read the next installment. Very neatly handled by Angelini and a far cry better than many YA books out on the market! I think anyone who enjoys greek mythology should consider this series, it’s a very unique angle and a lot of fun.
Thank you Edelweiss and HarperTEEN for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Dreamless was released on 29th May 2012.(less)
I’ve read a lot of Dystopians but Eden’s Root has to be one of the hardest I’ve read to date purely because of how very gritty and real this book is. Unlike many Dystopians where you get a vague idea that at some point in the past something went horribly wrong leading to a completely different way of life and governing body, in Eden’s Root you are there from the beginning experiencing with the characters in a breaking and changing world. The main character Fi by the tender age of 14 has already experienced some traumatizing life events including the death of her brother and father to cancers and also the knowledge that her mother is soon to join them. The rise of cancers is attributed to all the modifications science has done over the decades to our food sources leading to the eventual loss of all new planatation in 2033 when Fi must help her family find the Eden complex in order to survive. I have personally seen both my own mother and my father in law sucumb to cancer way before there time and this book hits frightenly close to home.
The actual world building was very well done, you really felt you were there and part of the chaos after the government involved the military and started to ration the food. The only problem I had was that the actual story was just too long and could have done with some editing, especially in the early parts with Fi’s preparation and training. This is a long book and it took me quite a while to get through the first third of the novel and I think this is one of the story’s biggest faults.
The characters are beautifully done. Fi is a great heroine even if she is only 13 at the start of the novel. While at first I found it a bit hard to believe that she was incharge of her “family” including the adults after awhile I really did accept it, at the end of the day some people really are born leaders and Fi is one of these. Now she really grows in this story partly because of her training and partly because of the changing world around her forcing her to tackle some real moral issues. While I could imagine that some people would be irritated with her thoughts and reactions to events I thought that they rang quite true because at the end of the day regardless of how the world changes having to be involved in death, rape, pillage and all those other awful chaos activities would not be easy.
Sean irritated me a little bit, he was a bit too passive agressive for my tastes but I really liked the character of Asher. Some reviews I’ve read has put both these guys in a love triangle with Fi but I never really saw any romantic connection between her and Sean. But then Asher carries a sword around and is totally awesome so perhaps I was a little judgemental :) The family itself was nicely done if a little bit too lucky when it came to adding new members that just magically had skills the group could use. I also wonder if it was realistic how well their rules and meetings would actually work in this situation – I think I would find it very hard to always take direction from a teenager personally and I’m not entirely sure if there wouldn’t be more tension in reality.
Overall even though it took me awhile to get into this story I really loved it and I think that anyone who enjoys Dystopians/Post Apocalyptic stories should add this to their to-read list – it’s a fascinating read!(less)
I had high hopes for this novel, it was Young Adult, it had time travel and Shakespeare all things that make up a “me” kind of book. Unfortunately my high hopes were dashed and fairly early on I might add - this book was unfortunately a very light read, without much substance and the actual plot I found very difficult to swallow.
Miranda is kidnapped from the present day by a time traveller called Stephen Langford so that she can travel back in time to the 1500s and seduce Shakespeare in order to keep him from becoming a priest, forever altering the world as we know it. Without more than a minute of protest she goes off in time and agrees to sleep with Shakespeare by posing as Stephens’s sister and before you know it she's a co-conspirator of this crazy plot. Miranda is chosen by Stephen for this task as she is well versed in Shakespeare’s works and for this reason will fit into life during the 16th century without any problems.
This entire summary really displays how weak the storyline of Kissing Shakespeare is, and in fact reading back over it has me rolling my eyes all over again. How or why anyone could be friendly with someone who had taken them against their will is beyond me, and I absolutely hate virginal female leads who are willing to "give it up" for the most ridiculous and flimsy reasons. Your either open to sex and sexual encounters or you’re not, one minute Miranda was all for it, the next she wasn't because she wasn't a "slut" that type of melodrama really gets on my nerves. I also felt that any modern day teenager would severely struggle with the etiquette and lifestyles of someone in the 1500s let alone be expected to impersonate someone.
The characters really let this story down in general. Stephen wasn't particularly likeable though he was clearly meant to be a wonderful considerate man. Miranda while sweet was a little stupid at times which I found quite irritating and Shakespeare himself was written as a bit of a womaniser and flirt. The entire time Miranda was trying to seduce him I couldn't quite work out why Stephen thought that this would be the best option. To me it was fairly clear that Shakespeare really needed some good friends who he could be honest with about his writing passion and thoughts about priesthood. I actually thought that this seemed a much more rational approach and could have easily turned into a romantic liaison if that’s what the author wanted and it would have seemed much more believable to the reader.
What this book did well was that it moved quickly and was well written making this very easy to read and overall enjoyable if you were willing to overlook the actual main plot. The descriptions of the English countryside and life of the 16th century was nicely handled, I really liked hearing about it without there being too much descriptiveness unnecessarily bulking out the story. I was a bit surprised by the ending - I really had thought things were going to be different and was surprised that Stephen didn't explain that he had seen Miranda as some brilliant Shakespearean actor in her future leading him to choose her. I will be interested to see if this stays as a stand alone or if the author decides to write sequels either with Mirander or Stephen as the main character.
While this book wasn't by any means a favourite of mine I still did enjoy the reading experience for the most part. I think that if you are after a fairly fast easy to read YA novel and you like time travel or historical romances this is worth picking up.
Thank you Netgalley and Random House Children's Books for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Kissing Shakespeare is released on 14th August 2012 and can be purchased via the links below.(less)
This review will be fairly short as 3 weeks of reading this book and only getting 36% of the way through on my third attempt at starting it, I decided to add this book to my DNF pile.
I have never read any other Lili St Crow books so I’m not sure if it’s just her style of writing but I found it very hard to get into and the actual writing seemed quite complicated and heavy – it wasn’t an easy book to read. The fact that I was over a third of the way through quite a short book yet nothing had actually happened was very disappointing. While there was some world building and it was quite an involved world that did seem very interesting, there were just tid bits of information on the hierarchical society and the paranormal aspects, nothing really solid was given. I felt like it was all tease and not a lot of substance.
I couldn’t engage with the character of Camille at all and found her quite 2 dimensional. I got over very quickly that every page focused on the fact that she had a stutter, I understand it was a big part of her life, holding her back, but it got very annoying. I am assuming her two best friends are also fairy tale characters – Ruby and Ellie though I have no idea who they are from the descriptions given though Ellie’s evil step mother was mentioned a lot so I was wondering if it was perhaps Cinderella.
I also didn’t like that a third of the way through the book there was absolutely no resemblance to Snow White the fairy tale except for one nightmare she had, nothing remotely hinted of a retelling at all.
My Goodreads friends list shows that I am definitely in the minority feeling this way about Nameless, many reviewers seemed to enjoy this book and as I said in the introduction I did only make it just over a third of the way through. I’m sure the book picked up later on I just don’t feel I should have to spend that much time getting into a YA book especially when I have a million other ones that I’m dying to read!
Thank you Netgalley and Penguin Books Australia for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Nameless was released on the 28th March 2013 and can be purchased via the links below.(less)
"I became the very air; I was full of stars. I was the soaring spaces between the spires of the cathedral, the solemn breath of chimneys, a whispered prayer upon the winter wind. I was silence,and I was music, one clear transcendent chord rising toward Heaven. I believed, then, that I would have risen bodily into the sky but for the anchor of his hand in my hair and his round soft perfect mouth."
Seraphina is a young musician who lives wedged between two races who are in an uneasy alliance that could be destroyed at any moment. On one side there is the race of dragons – cold analytical beings that prior to the alliance saw humans the same way humans see ants, something to spare less than a passing glance. Then there are humans who fear and hate dragons wishing they would disappear completely their disgust and loathing of these creatures is so high. Her mother a dragon managed to break free of the standard unemotional detachment her race naturally has and fall in love with a human giving life to a baby. This child is Seraphina, a new hybrid – part human, part dragon and she guards this secret with her life for fear of violent persecution should she be discovered.
This book did so many things right. The world of Goredd is meticulously rich and complex giving you a really fundamental understanding of this world both from the human and dragon perspective. The writing was simply beautiful and this book is filled with little nuggets of simply beautiful prose:
"Sometimes the truth has difficulty breaching the city walls of our beliefs. A lie, dressed in the correct livery, passes through more easily."
What really impressed upon me the most was the undercurrent of fear that ran through the whole novel. Seraphina herself feels such fear about being found out and this is really driven home countless times over in small encounters with the general public and with her inner monologue. For all this fear, Seraphina is a wonderful character who would be enjoyed by a wide audience – she most definitely is not written to please a female market. Aside from one moment where she stupidly follows someone to a deserted place, she at no other point did anything that made me want to strangle her or roll my eyes in disbelief which was very refreshing.
The secondary characters were also well done really propping up the personality of Seraphina as well as coming into their own. Kiggs was a nice male lead though romance is very much on the backburner in this book and I’m very interested to see how things play out there. Seraphina’s uncle Orma was just a beautifully complicated character. A dragon who has feelings and is constantly struggling to reconcile these two sides of his personality he is simply wonderful to read about and I loved the interaction and clear devotion held between himself and Seraphina. The other interesting and very unique characters were Seraphina’s garden of Grotesques who all had their own distinct personality which comes to light as the novel progresses.
While this book appears to tick all the right boxes unfortunately I had to mark it down for a couple of things. While I loved the world and the characters I really didn’t feel that I could connect with this novel completely, it just seemed a bit too distant and there wasn’t enough that made me feel that I could understand what the character was going through. I also felt that this book wasn’t paced as well as it could have been. The beginning was slow going and at times felt a bit too complicated with not enough reward. I’m very glad I persevered however as I did think this was a superb novel and the ending was fantastic.
I have read quite a few stunning Young Adult fantasy novels this year and Seraphina is definitely another one to add to the recommend list. I’m really looking forward to book 2 as I’m sure that Hartman will have worked out the pacing on her sophomore novel and I can’t wait to see what happens next!
Thank you Netgalley and Random House Children’s Books for providing me with a copy of this novel for review. Seraphina is out now and can be purchased via the links below.(less)
I know he is wrapping my name inside of him, folding it in the blanket of his heart. I know this because I used to do the same thing with his name when I was in the Feed.
This was a great follow up sequel by Brodi Ashton! It had been a little over a year since I first read Everneath and I only had a vague recollection of what happened. Thankfully Ashton masterfully gave you all the background information from Everneath in the first few chapters of Everbound - you never sat there wondering what on earth was going on, and instead just felt like you were slipping back into a favourite pair of shoes.
The story continues directly from where Everneath leaves off and this book is quite action packed, definitely different from book 1 and I really did like it. While I missed having more Jack time as I loved the relationship between Nikki and Jack, you still get beautiful flashbacks into their relationship and find out how they fell in love and got together.
What this book does give you is heaps of background and world building of the Everneath which mythology fans will love. The majority of the book is set down there as Nikki and Cole try to free Jack from the Feed and you are introduced to some interesting Everliving characters along the way. Cole starts to grow on you as the story progresses and you actually start to realise that he really does care deeply for Nikki. While I thought this book would set up an epic love triangle the way Hallowed pulled off, I don't think you can call this threesome a love triangle by any definition. It is just so clear that Nikki and Jack are soul mates and that is never going to change.
Just as I thought things had wrapped up quite neatly and I had a clear idea of where this finale was taking us BAM we are left with an epic cliffhanger that I just did not see coming. Now I am hanging for book 3 and can't believe I'll have to wait another 12 months give or take :((less)
The Murder Complex is set in the future like most dystopians and boy is this one...moreThis 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. (less)