One click of the mouse forever changed the life of Kirra Haywood. She stumbles across a mysterious "Crack the Code!" website and solves the puzzle witOne click of the mouse forever changed the life of Kirra Haywood. She stumbles across a mysterious "Crack the Code!" website and solves the puzzle without a second thought. A week later on her way home from school, she's kidnapped by the people who uploaded the code. Gone without a trace, without a shred of evidence left behind for her family to track her whereabouts. Apparently she's one of the only living people in the world who can decipher the Spencer Code. It's not something you can learn to decrypt, you're either one of the rare individuals who possess this mystifying talent to solve it, or you're not. But why? And how can a 16 year old (even if she is studying maths two years her senior) decipher a code that has baffled the most skilled individuals in the field? And how on earth will she ever escape the cruel, ruthless man who's taken her hostage, when she's become his most valued weapon?
After weeks of imprisonment and torture, Kirra finds she has a new cellmate. Milo Franklyn. I loved the interactions between these two in the beginning. They're not overly friendly toward one another and Milo is so amusingly annoying. Kirra has no real interest in striking a friendship with him, in large part due to events that transpired before he arrived. But Milo is stubbornly persistent and eventually Kirra begins to open up to him. During the months locked away together, a tentative connection grows between the pair. But will they both be to escape alive? And is all as it seems in this scary world they're apart of?
I really felt for Kirra. Her future is totally shattered. The more she learns about the world she's become entangled in, the more she realises she can't ever go back to her family, she can't ever let her guard down or allow people to know who she is because no matter where she goes in the world, the bad guys will be in constant pursuit. Yet despite the unfairness of her situation, I'm excited to see her grow in future books. To learn and train and basically kick some serious ass, because she's already showed she's got it in her. She began to rise up and take control, fight back against those who destroyed her life. And if this is what Rose Foster offered us from her first installment, I'm giddy with excitement to sample the kickass action and twists she'll serve up in the sequel.
Both guys and girls will find themselves completely engrossed in this gripping and action-packed secret world of assassins, extractors, code-breakers and all kinds of criminals.... ah, sorry Desmond, 'criminals' sounds petty, doesn't it? They're Contractors, highly-skilled in their field and 100% certifiably dangerous. The Industry reads like an action-thriller movie, I can already see it making a great film! The secondary characters were all fantastic, but you'll always be second-guessing who to trust. Who is a friend and who is an enemy? I'll just say that I'm particularly fond of those who she does manage to form an alliance with!
The Industry is a highly addictive, witty, edge-of-your-seat thrill-ride that will constantly keep you alert for the next unsuspecting danger or betrayal. Whether it's a gun, a shocking twist or a healthy dose of torture, there is always something awaiting you around the next corner. There's never a dull moment and the action refuses to cease. And when you've finally escaped the fast-paced danger, you'll be bouncing on your heels, eager for another round. The stakes are high and the escapes are narrow. Forget everything about your boring, mundane life - welcome to an exciting, dangerous, pulse-racing world. Welcome to The Industry.
Be sure to check out The Industry's Facebook page where other reviewers will soon be posting their thoughts on this stunning debut novel. Plus it's the place to be for all the latest news and updates in the lead up to release!...more
Cat Patrick throws us into the miracles of Daisy's life right from the beginning of the novel. It's not often the main character dies within the firstCat Patrick throws us into the miracles of Daisy's life right from the beginning of the novel. It's not often the main character dies within the first two pages. Even rarer when she's walking, talking and travelling out of state by the third page. Cheating death is a natural phenomenon to Daisy. She should have died at the age of 5 when she was involved in a tragic accident, but instead she was selected for a secret scientific experiment to test a drug called Revive. Rightfully named, as it brings the gift of life back to it's subject with a well-timed injection. But with each death, she and the agents acting as her parents must relocate, adopting with new identities to avoid awkward questions like, "How the *BEEP* are you alive?!" After her fifth death, Daisy Appleby becomes Daisy West, and while she's accustomed to settling into a new school, she's not familiar with growing emotionally attached to people. But Omaha is home to the McKean siblings, a girl and a boy who are about to unintentionally rumble Daisy's entire world.
Daisy has a very real, girl-next-door kind of vibe. She's an easily likable character, her emotions and sweetness make her relatable, while her unique upbringing give her a compelling aura. In ways, she does take life for granted. Death is not a threat she's really had to fear, with the Revive drug just an injection away from bringing her back. But that all changes the more she becomes invested in her new life. She may have outwitted death all these years, but it strikes back in a way she never expected, forcing Daisy to reassess her own life, the ethics of the Revive drug and especially to question the motives of the man who created it. She shows visible growth as the novel progresses and I really enjoyed watching her change.
While I'm not sure any can live up to the heart-fluttering, sugary sweet romance of Luke and London from Cat's debut novel, Forgotten, Daisy and Matt were an endearing pair. It's nothing mind-blowing, but the blossoms of first love. It begins as an innocent attraction, cute and genuine, but the rosy hue doesn't last forever and their loyalty is tested when an event completely shatters their worlds. Something that could either draw them closer together or be the bridge that painfully separates them forever...
I did go into this book expecting something completely different. The US cover gave me more of a dystopian feel, with the impression that there would be lots of action and intensity. That's likely my own fault for reading too much into it. While I do love the US art, the Australian one (shown above) has a more softer, contemplative, contemporary feel which is a truer representation of the story. So really, that was my only problem: My expectations were different to what the story shaped up to be. And the fact that I couldn't help but compare it to Forgotten, because that was one of my favourite reads last year. And while I did enjoy Revived (obviously!), I had to tell my inner voice to shut the heck up and stop saying, "He's nice, but he's no Luke Henry..." etc.
Once again Cat has pieced together a beautifully written novel. I won't say if she leaves us on a happy or sad note, but I love that her endings feel very realistic and not always what you typically expect from these kind of YA books. Just as she did in Forgotten, Cat is brilliant at surprising you with a well-timed twist that in retrospect, you really should have seen coming, but just didn't see the clues until the very last minute. The second half of the novel picks up the pace as suspicions arise, the mystery deepens and our protagonist is weighed down by an emotional upheaval that inspires some thought-provoking questions. Revived is an engaging read from a wonderfully talented author with a penchant for a unique premise!...more
Mel is adamantly, 150%, she'd-tattoo-it-to-her-forehead-just-to-prove-a-point TEAM HUMAN. So when her best friend suddenly fal3.5 stars.
Mel is adamantly, 150%, she'd-tattoo-it-to-her-forehead-just-to-prove-a-point TEAM HUMAN. So when her best friend suddenly falls for the handsome, but irritating (and ever so boring) new vampire in school, Mel is FAR from happy. Catherine is all aflutter when Francis enters her stratosphere, but what sets this apart from your standard issue insta-love is that you're meant to roll your eyes and slap your forehead in exasperation over how moony-eyed Cathy is. Team Human takes elements we see in popular vampire fiction and shines them in a humourous, entertaining and at times, touching light.
Mel is snarky, combative and can often be downright rude. She doesn't possess much tact and while at times her abrasiveness could be annoying, there's no denying this girl's got fiyah. It's so interesting to read from the best friend's perspective, rather than the girl who's swooning over the brooding new guy. She provided a refreshing perspective and I could totally understand her fierce need to protect her friend. I mean, Cathy had barely known Francis for... TWO WEEKS?! And she was making some preeeettty dumb choices big decisions.
Becoming a vampire is a greatly-coveted honour for many humans, but it's certainly not without it's risks. That's why there are plenty of strict measures in place to make sure the human is absolutely certain of their decision, because if the transition is not successful? BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINNNNNSSSS! More commonly referred to as: zombification. Or death. Or not adapting well to vampirism and going craaaazy. If Francis were the celebrity-immortal promoting Vampirism, I think the number of humans lining up for the change would be greatly reduced.
Francis is annoyingly pompous with zero sense of humour and steadfastly holds onto his 18th century views. He also has a rather pointy stick up his butt. Mel is a bit of an amateur detective and so offers to help her friend, Anna, in finding clues regarding her father's disappearance. But what happens when Mel begins to connect dots between the real reason Francis has enrolled in high school and Anna's mystery? Could she possibly hit the jackpot and not only solve the case for her friend, but treat Cathy to the I-TOLD-YOU-HE'S-A-CREEPY-FREAKISH-VAMPIRE-BEAST victory dance?
Kit was probably my favourite character in the book! His origins were the most intriguing; he grew up entirely amongst vampires, which gave him a tainted view on his human origins. He was so adorably clueless in all things relating to Human Socialisation. There were some moments shared between him and Mel that made me laugh, because his warped view on humanity is primarily thanks to his weird vampire family and some ever so reliable tv soap drama. Kit needed some human-world experience and he got that with Mel. In return, he gave her some food for thought regarding her vampy prejudices. I like how they both enabled one another to see past their preconceptions about humans and vampires and maybe even show Mel (and the reader) that ol' Francis ain't so bad. Maybe.
Theirs was far from the Cathy/Francis romance. They developed a really sweet, endearing bond that hinted at something more and felt far more believable in it's growth.
Team Human cleverly manages to maintain elements of parody throughout the novel, while still firmly carving out it's own unique story with surprising emotional depth. Sure, I wasn't always cracking up laughing at the humour, but that really depends on your own sense of what's funny. I found Team Human a thoroughly enjoyable and fresh vampire-themed novel, perfect if you're looking for something fun, fiesty and engaging to shake up your TBR. The only thing left to ponder now is: Are you Team Human or Team Vampire?...more
I've always been fascinated with astral projection and out-of-body experiences, so to find a YA book which explores both these elements? Brod4.5 stars
I've always been fascinated with astral projection and out-of-body experiences, so to find a YA book which explores both these elements? Brodie EXCITED. And Michelle Harrison did not disappoint in bringing them to life with a creepy bite and a welcome emotional depth. It's easy to sympathise with Elliott. His life has gone on a downward spiral ever since the accident, where death took hold for a good two minutes before paramedics could revive him. Ever since, his sleep has been anything but restful. Out-of-body experiences, terrifying sleep-paralysis and less-than-friendly visions from a ghost who committed suicide in his bathroom... well, you can see why he's a little screwed up. When he takes on a job at Past Lives, a haunted museum/park, in order to find out if he's crazy or actually experiencing these things, Elliott discovers things can actually worse. Spirits scarier than the girl from his bathroom, a gripping mystery that runs deeper than he could imagine and the nail-biting threat of possession. On the flip side, I found his new job inspired him to become more motivated, more alive than he had ever been after the accident, and a budding romance definitely helps balance out the creepy sh!t in your life!
Sleep is our sanctuary; where we can shut off from the stress and worries of our daily life and drift off for a few hours into a peaceful oblivion. But for Elliot, sleep is the most frightening part of his day. Imagine your spirit, your consciousness - whatever you want to call it - your sense of self, being separated from your physical body. You're no longer tangible in the solid, earthy world. You see, but cannot be seen. It's a very unsettling thing, but I find it also has the potential to be liberating and exciting at times. Though what is most spine-chilling is when something... someone... slips into Elliott's body while it's unoccupied. Someone with a purpose, fueled with furious need for it to be carried out. Michelle did an excellent job of making you share in Elliott's feelings of desperation, his terror and utter helplessness the first few times his body was possessed. To watch as someone else controlled your body, but you're unable to do anything about it? It's downright scary. Elliott has to battle for ways to maintain control, yet throughout it all - the possessions, the ghosts haunting his sleep, his exploration of his astral self - it never once felt unrealistic or over-the-top. There was always a very grounded, believable feel to the story.
Elliott has his flaws, but at heart he's a really good guy. He's very determined when he has a goal and whether he acknowledges it or not, he has quite a soft spot. I couldn't help but become emotionally invested as he struggled through everything. He develops a surprising relationship with Ophelia, a girl who also works at Past Lives. It's far from being love-at-first-sight, or even attraction-at-first-sight, and I think that's what made me all the more intrigued. There's a slow build of trust and chemistry between the pair and it was a shock to both of them as they slipped behind one another's protective shields. I like that their relationship was founded on genuine emotion and often disregard for appearance, rather than "omg you're so beautiful, I don't deserve you! angst angst angssssst!"
I didn't find any of the spirits in this book written just to scare the reader. It's true each has a dark and creeping aura clinging to him, but with patience comes understanding and revelations that will both shock and tug at your heartstrings. The mystery itself is brilliantly executed. I managed to pick up on a few vague hints much later in the novel, but the actual reveal? Oh my god. I could not tear my eyes away from the pages. As it all quickly unravelled at the end, so did my mouth. It was shocking, tragic, and downright distressing. I'm still rattled by the turn of events. It's one of those endings that will send shivers up your spine long after you finish.
Brilliant on all accounts, Unrest is sure to unnerve readers enough to sleep with one eye open. Eerily realistic hauntings, emotionally moving history and a mystery to keep you guessing, it all builds up into an incredible, yet devastating finale. Don't think for a moment you'll be able to pull away, because once the restless spirits have a hold over you, they're not too fond of letting go....more
Allie's screwed up for the last time. Her parents are tired of her being expelled from school or arrested by the police. Ever since her brother went mAllie's screwed up for the last time. Her parents are tired of her being expelled from school or arrested by the police. Ever since her brother went missing, she's fallen into a downward spiral. So when her parents ship her off to Cimmeria Academy, a boarding school where only legacy or the best of the best attend, Allie isn't expecting to life to get better. To her surprise, she quickly settles in and makes a few friends. But she soon learns that a darkness lurks in the heart of Cimmeria as secrets, murder and twisting danger erupt. What exactly is the mysterious Night School and what do its members get up to in the dead of the night?
Allie is the kind of heroine you will easily warm to. She's fun, stubborn and pretty level-headed... which given the arrests I mentioned above, you might find hard to believe, but once she settles in to Cimmeria, I really felt like she handled things well. Which is helpful, considering she's about to get tangled up in some heavy stuff. And oh, Carter! I loved him! While at first he was mysterious and standoffish, I so enjoyed seeing his sweet personality shine through more. He compelled me, despite being frustratingly vague with Allie at times. I was desperate to learn more about him and for any scene in which he interacted with her. There was clear sexual tension developing between those two and I loved their arguments, their bickering and banter. I especially loved that even as they sank knee-deep in the danger and tangled web of clues, they could still laugh and have fun. They just bounced off one another so well and I cannot wait to see their romance deepen further!
The secondary characters are all just as gripping. From the smooth, suave Sylvain - who despite his charming first impressions, felt rather sly to me from the beginning - to the bubbly, energetic Jo who's hiding troubling secrets of her own. And I adored Rachel and Lucas! The best thing about them all was no matter how endearing or horrible they may seem, none are black and white. They are all flawed and layered and you have no idea who to really trust, because you're almost certain to get it wrong. Some whose early acts prove they're complete jerks, turn out to have a shred of humanity in them after all. Or else those you think you CAN trust.... well, you see my point? It's so realistic because as humans we're all trustworthy to a point, but sometimes we break that trust or do things that make us seem like jerks. No one person is ALL good or bad and I felt Christi pulled that off brilliantly with her characters.
What I loved most about this book was how unpredictable it was. I had no idea whether there was something paranormal going on or else was it.... SOMETHING?! Not until around 3/4 of the way through did I start unraveling the mystery and even then, I wasn't entirely certain. There's this uneasy feeling you get throughout the whole novel. Much like when you can sense a predator lurking behind you on a dark street, but you can't see them. You've no idea if someone is really there or if it's just your imagination. Night School was exactly like that, your instincts are on high alert, but you can't pinpoint the cause of it.
Christi has weaved together such a compelling novel that will have you guessing the entire way, with characters who will spin you in so many different directions, you'll be breathless and dizzy by the time you finish. In the dark and eerie quiet of the woods, who is friend and who is predator? Follow your instincts, because that's the only help you'll find. Night School is a thrilling start to a series I am so eager to discover more of!...more
Given the trouble Zeraphina and Rodden caused in Lharmell at the end of Blood Song, it's no surprise to say things are changing in Blood Storm. But inGiven the trouble Zeraphina and Rodden caused in Lharmell at the end of Blood Song, it's no surprise to say things are changing in Blood Storm. But in a much subtle, devious, what-is-going-on kind of way. The weather has been far better in Armentia, for starters, and when the weather shifts, dear readers, you ought to be alarmed. Suspicious murders are on the rise, and Rodden's hackles are raised. Determined to find out what the Harmings are up to and who the new Lharmellin leader is, our delightful duo set upon a journey in search for materials fatal to the Lharmellins, so they can arm themselves and strike agai. Preferably before the Lharmellins and Harmings take over. A journey rife with danger, terrible secrets, entertaining banter and an ending that will shock!
Zeraphina is just as stubborn and feisty as ever; a girl who throws the standard notion of "Princess" off a cliff and stands proudly in defiance. She's growing into new abilities, courtesy of her Harming nature, which prove to be an exciting journey for both her and us. She and Rodden are, as always, simultaneously at odds with one another and yet fighting this burning attraction that is so obviously evident! You're growling at them both to give in already. But we're rewarded with something we've been waiting for just as long: answers to 'The Mystery of the Sexy and Infurating Rodden Lothskorn'. Thanks to Zeraphina's unwavering persistence, he reluctantly lets down his barriers to expose the devastating truth of his past. And oh, it will make you ache for him.
But knowing the truth doesn't mean these two are going to jump on the back of a brant and engage in some airborne romping. If anything, this revelation appears to cement the divide between them. Fear not, though, because the easy banter and blistering romantic tension are still ever present. It's just Zeraphina has a greater understanding of The Mystery Formerly Known As Rodden Lothskorn... so she's given reason to play by his annoyingly chaste rules. But how long can they really deny their feelings for one another?
Amidst the life and death of the Lharmell problem, Zeraphina has another shudder-worthy dark cloud hovering over her head.... marriage. Her 17th birthday is nearly upon her and Queen Renata, is adamant that her daughter marry. Oh Renata.... you want to hate her, scream at her in frustration, but there is something I find so delightfully amusing about her scenes. I think it's because Zeraphina does whatever she can to get under Renata's skin and she's not the perfect, obedient daughter. She's that wild child who Renata is desperate to reign in, but despite her efforts, it's clear she never will. This paves the way for some ridiculously entertaining scenes. But Zeraphina's stay in Armentia is not an entirely pleasant read. You know that type of Royal who has you wanting to claw the very skin off their face? Yeah, we meet a man of such breed and I VERY MUCH WANTED TO CLAW THE SKIN OFF HIS FACE.
The ending. Don't even.... I don't want to... just don't ask. I had to reread the last couple of pages as soon as I finished, just to make sure I read it right. WHAT. THE. LHARMELLINS DO YOU THINK YOU'RE PLAYING AT, MISS HART?! You can't DO that and then cackle madly from your throne (likely carved from humans, she's so EVIL) and tell us we have to wait until the next book to see what happens next. YOU HORRID LADY. It's.... definitely a cliffhanger. A cruel, 'WHAT THE EFF?' moment that has you not quite wanting to believe what just happened. And I don't, for your information. I JUST DON'T, OKAY?
Despite the cruelty of the final pages, there's no denying Rhiannon Hart is a brilliant Aussie talent, treating us to a thrilling sequel that oozes with danger, mystery, a feisty, ever complicated romance, and a climax to leave you breathless. You'll be begging for the third installment in the trilogy by the time you reach the acknowledgements page, because... DAMN YOU, RHIANNON!...more
Anna Banks has shown this clumsy, two-legged human that mermaids are COOL. Except when they spear me with their tails for calling them mermaids. ApoloAnna Banks has shown this clumsy, two-legged human that mermaids are COOL. Except when they spear me with their tails for calling them mermaids. Apologies, Syrena. Of Poseidon opens with a manly-chested, melodramatic scene, that sets the tone of the book and instantly gives you a feel for Emma's highly infectious voice. That one day on the beach changed so much for her. Where she lost one important element in her life, she gained another in the form of Galen and his fiery sister, Rayna. Galen is a Syrena and he senses something similar in Emma, he just can't figure out how or why. He's determined to find out, because if she is what who he thinks, she will play a vital role in uniting the kingdoms of Poseidon and Triton. But Galen is not exactly adept in human relations.... that boy does not understand the rules of socialising, despite the fact that he acts as 'human ambassador' for the syrena. It makes it all the more entertaining to read as he makes himself present in Emma's life.
I like that we got to read from Emma and Galen's perspective, both with entirely different attitudes toward life. Their chapters compliment each other and allowed us a more thorough knowledge of their respective worlds. Their banter was a breath of fresh air when compared to those many YA relationships where everyone is so serious and fighting to maintain their tortured, secretly-pooping-my-pants expressions. Galen is not used to a girl who will stand up to him - a Syrena Prince! - of all people, and it both frustrated and deeply intrigued him. The more she pushed, the harder he fell for her. And the more she had to battle her growing attraction to this strange and pretty mereboy...attractive water critter.... sexy syrena. They teased, they argued, they charmed the fins off each other. Most importantly, they challenged one another and that's what made their relationship exciting.
Galen did have me flapping the pages in annoyance a few times, urging him to freaking move it already! Do't just watch, you idiot! (yes, shark scene and girl fight!). But despite my growls of frustration, I could understand his reasons for not intervening. He is not me. He thinks differently. He is different. He's not human, and I had to adjust to a few of their differences. As soon as I did, I found myself falling deeper and deeper into the addictive and undeniably enjoyable novel. It's fun and light, but that doesn't make it vapid. It's a book that knows how to enjoy life, but when the stakes are raised and smiles shift to frowns, you're just as captivated and even more so invested in what happens because you've grown to adore the characters.
Rayna and Toraf are secondary characters, but just as integral to the story. As is there ever complicated and woefully entertaining relationship. Toraf makes it boldly obvious that he's in love with Rayna and his attempts at trying to get on a base warmer than the bottom of the arctic are adorable. Rayna is clearly in denial mode. It's obvious she has feelings for him, but I absolutely understand why she kept pushing him away and goddamn, I would too! Sort of. Maybe. A little. If I could ignore his charming personality. She wants a choice, something syrena women are rarely entitled to and be damned if she's going to let some man take it away from her. I loved her girl power and that soft, kitten centre that pawed behind her walls of fire and steel.
I was fascinated to learn more about the Syrena history, their laws, tradition and hierarchy. Every time we learnt one thing, I was immediately waiting for the next nugget of information to be revealed. Of Poseidon is a grin-worthy, enchanting swim through the deep blue sea. It's cheeky and romantic, while still maintaining an engaging plotline that offers plenty of fodder for fishy drama and exciting revelations. Definitely pop this one on your wishlist! ...more
It's no secret I love Sarah Alderson and her crazy addictive novels, so my expectations were high for Losing Lila... but apparently not high enough, bIt's no secret I love Sarah Alderson and her crazy addictive novels, so my expectations were high for Losing Lila... but apparently not high enough, because this book blew me away far more than I was anticipating! Sarah did not waste any time in delivering adrenaline-pumping chase scenes, run-ins with crime lords and SKINNY DIPPING all within the first 50 pages. Given what happened at the end of Hunting Lila, Alex and Lila are on the run from The Unit. They get involved in some crazy shit. They then meet up with Demos and the team again and get involved in more crazy shit. And so the cycle goes on until you're about to burst from the epicness of it all. Secondary characters like Jack, Suki, Nate and Key shine just as brightly as Lila and Alex. We get to explore their personalities on a far deeper level, I can't explain how much I grew to love them or how often the likes of Suki and Nate had me giggling!
Despite how much I clearly loved this book, there was one major element that I hated and she goes by the name of Lila Loveday. I adored her in Hunting Lila, we shared a similar goal of wishing to attain the gorgeous boy she loved since childhood. But now that she has him, she goads the reader with her ability to admire Wakeman's naked body, glistening with water under the oh-so-flattering-to-his-marine-issued-abs moonlight; or else feeling his hot and steamy breath in her ear. THEN she has the nerve to recount these memories in her mind, thus taunting poor, mind-invading Suki with what Suki can't have. What. A. B*tch. WORST CHARACTER EVER. ZAP HER WITH A PSY GUN! BZZZZ. *zaps her with a psy gun*
Well, alright, maybe that's just my insane jealousy talking. Apart from that small non-issue, I loved Lila so much more this time around. I swear, every single character has been 90% amplified with pure, undiluted AWESOMENESS. Lila really blossoms into one damn badass heroine. She's growing into her abilities and testing her limits with surprising results. She's just as stubborn and independent as ever, and making risky, but admirable sacrifices for the ones she loves. I understood her every decision, her every emotion and not once did she disappoint me. Put simply, this girl ROCKS.
I was aware of every rippled curve in Alex Wakeman's beautiful chest before cracking open this stunning sequel, but clearly this marine is a master at deceit, because either I was hopped up on hormones while reading or Lieutenant Wakeman got a HELL OF A LOT SEXIER. As the ever intelligent (but not the author, they're just so equally awesome they share a name) Sarah pointed out to me while reading, it's likely because he's a more willing participant in the relationship compared to the first book. Which means Alex is doing just as much of the tongue waggling as Lila. Even amongst the non-stop action, there is enough steam rising from the pages to alert your local fire department five blocks away. But unlike your standard air-polluting house fire, this is one steam-fest you're begging to inhale more of.
What I especially loved about Losing Lila is that there is never a lull in the story, it's go go go from beginning to end. There is always a plan in motion or sneaky twist lurking around the corner to constantly keep you wide-eyed and alert. I said it about Hunting Lila, but it bears repeating: this will make an AMAZING movie. The tightly woven plot doesn't even need to be re-written for script, everything leaps off the page in HD visuals, just grab a camera and press shoot. Sarah so effortlessly draws you into Lila's shoes, so you're experiencing every bump, blast and sensual touch along with her.
Losing Lila is EVERYTHING I hope for in a novel: toe-curling romance, high-octane action scenes, shocking twists and laugh-out-loud humour. This is, without question, Sarah Alderson's best work yet. I hope she returns to these characters one day in the future, because I am so not ready to part ways with them. If you've yet to read Hunting Lila, I HIGHLY urge you to run to your nearest bookstore and grab a copy of the sequel. And if you have read it already, regardless of whether you liked it or not, bump Losing Lila to the top of your wishlist because you're in for a delightful surprise. ...more
Tom's never really had the chance to make friends, to live a life of routine or attend a proper school. He and his father are constantly on the move,Tom's never really had the chance to make friends, to live a life of routine or attend a proper school. He and his father are constantly on the move, town after town, feeding his father's gambling addiction. Waiting for that 'big break' that will set them up for good. The break that never comes. But then Tom's incredible gaming talent is noticed by the military, who manage to track him down and offer a once in a life time opportunity. The chance to train at the exclusive Pentagonal Spire to become a future combatant, a soldier in World War Three. A war like none before it, fought by teenagers through virtual-simulation, with real-life effects. Kincaid has clearly put a lot of thought and effort into crafting this world and making it feel 100% completely believable given our current scientific and political status. While it all could be information overload for the reader, she manages to lay it all out for us to easily follow along and become just as swept up in this fascinating way of life as Tom does.
The technology is seriously so freaking COOL. It's been years since I've played a video game, but Insignia? It made me want to find the nearest port, grab a virtual-sword and jump into the fray. VR simulations allow students to plug into a port (through a handy chip implanted in their brains) and literally find themselves in a 3D gaming landscape, all as part of their training for the simulations that actually play a part in the future of our world. Fly a spaceship to Mars? Battle in the Trojan War? Find yourself in a woman's body (er.. avatar) when you're actually a guy in reality? (OH MY GOD I JUST REMEMBERED A SCENE. Pause review while I giggle. Giggle some more. And a little more. Okay, we're good to continue). Psh. Easy as plug-and-play. With such a creative tool in providing a varied landscape, Kincaid never fails to make her action scenes exciting, fresh and exhilarating. And the technology is not just limited to gaming-simulations - the ways in which Kincaid has adapted it into their everyday lives will tickle your awesome-o-meter.
Tom is a brilliant main character. He's not perfect. He's far from being a genius, but he's smart in a different kind of way. Thanks to years spent having to fend for both himself and his father, hustling the unwary out of their money, he's developed a talent in observing. He picks up on things that others don't. Tom knows how to play the game and loves every minute on it, thriving on the action and desire for victory, to be seen, to be known, to be important for once in his life. He can be a sneaky little bastard at times and I love him all the more for it. He has his moments of sweetness, moments of zero-tact and sometimes there's a downright devilish glee in his eyes (Tom + Vik = bad, BUT OH SO GOOD), but his heart is truly in the right place. From the loner kid who considered himself a loser, to a boy who shone in a beautifully rebellious light, Tom has definitely made it onto my Favourite Character List.
Insignia is nothing like Harry Potter in plot, but what it does share is that essence of friendship, wit and sense of growing up. Behind the awesome technology and corrupt politics, this book has spirit, thanks to its outstanding characters. Tom, Vik, Wyatt and Yuri are all so different, a band of misfits who slowly come together to form fiction's newest Awesome Foursome. I LOVE THESE GUYS (and girl) so much. I kid you not, they had me CRYING tears of laughter at times. And the best part was, some of those weren't even intentional on the characters part, they were just total screw up moments that blossomed into some of my most memorable scenes of the book. Tom and Vik are like Harry and Ron 2.0 with a healthy dosage of Weasley twin mischief. If they don't have you cheering, "Doctors of Doom!" by the end of the book, then you have no sense of humour. I am beyond excited to continue reading this series to watch as all their friendships strengthen, alive with insults and banter, arguments, respect and secrets.
There wasn't one thing alone that I made me love this book, it was a multitude of AWESOME, all blended together to form one of my new favourite reads. The action and imagination, war and cleverness, comedy and personality; it will appeal to boys and girls, reluctant readers and those with too many books on their to-be-read pile. It has something to suck everyone in. If you're tired of the same old stories, if you want something new and innovative, a book that POPS out amongst others in it's genre, a book that will make you think as much as it has you snorting laughter, or sitting wide-eyed and attentive, then INSIGNIA is for YOU! And you! And yes, YOU YOU YOU!Go! Order it! Now!...more