One word: WOW!!!!! It lived up to all my expectations and then some. Richelle Mead is freaking fantastic. Rose Hathaway is freaking fantastic. And I a...moreOne word: WOW!!!!! It lived up to all my expectations and then some. Richelle Mead is freaking fantastic. Rose Hathaway is freaking fantastic. And I am over-the-moon happy with Last Sacrifice and so very sad to say goodbye to the world through Rose's POV. I laughed, I gasped, my heart rejoiced, my heart ached - ahh! Cannot think clearly. Need to re-read. Brilliant finish to an amazing series!(less)
I'd been lusting over this books for months, not only because of the stunning cover art but I'd read it was a cross between The Hunger Games and Twili...moreI'd been lusting over this books for months, not only because of the stunning cover art but I'd read it was a cross between The Hunger Games and Twilight. I absolutely love The Hunger Games... so a YA dystopian + love triangle? Oh I'm so there. So when I was lucky enough to receive an early copy, you could say I was a little happy!
Did it live up to the hype? You bet it did! I loved Matched! If comparing it to the God of dystopians, The Hunger Games, it's a lot more subtle - as in, don't expect the same brutal violence. But it's message is just as powerful. Cassia lives in the 'perfect' society. They decide when you die, when you can have kids, who you love, IF you can love, what you eat, how much you eat, what you dress in, what music you're allowed to listen to.... yes, they're power-hungry jerks who believe they've created this Utopian society for mankind. Cassia believes this too, at first. She's grown up never questioning the way things are run, obeying the Officials will as every other sheep in the flock - until her Matching Banquet.
The Society has deemed Cassia and her best friend, Xander, a perfect 'Match'. But mere hours later, she discovers she has a second Match - another boy's data linked to hers. An error in a perfect system. A boy who was never supposed to be Matched. From that moment on, life as Cassia knows it will never be the same.
Enter Ky - who pushes her, makes her question, gives her the courage and strength to THINK for herself, CHOOSE the course of her own life. The relationship that forms between him and Cassia is subtle, powerful and really makes you appreciate the beauty of words - the WRITTEN word. The ability to form words with your own hands and tell your story. As we and Cassia learn more about Ky and his past, your heart breaks for him and by the end of the book, you want to reach through and strangle a few of those Officials.
Ally Condie's writing is simple and beautiful. She's created a disturbing society that makes you breathe a sigh of relief at the freedom we have in our own world. It's impossible not to become trapped in the stiffing cage of this book, desperately clinging to the next page and the one after, in hopes that Cassia and everyone she cares about will find a way to somehow break free from this deceptively perfect way of life and finally start LIVING. But of course, this is the first book in a trilogy. We never get what we want until the final book :) (less)
You've seen the buzz surrounding this novel. You've witnessed the countless number of readers fall victim to amor deliria nervosa - the disease of lov...moreYou've seen the buzz surrounding this novel. You've witnessed the countless number of readers fall victim to amor deliria nervosa - the disease of love - after reading this. They caught the deliria for Delirium and let me tell you, there is NOTHING diseased or vile or dirty about loving this book.
I don't even know where to begin. Do I start with the engaging writing? The beautiful characters? The breathtaking story that opens it's buds and blossoms into a devastatingly beautiful flower? I guess I'll start with: OMG YOU HAVE TO READ THIS BOOK!!!!
In a world where love is a disease, every person is given the 'cure' on their 18th birthday. Every adult is much happier with the cure. Love is a sickness, it's dirty, it's unnatural, it's extraordinary dangerous. Lena Haloway is counting down the days until her procedure. No more pain. She'll finally be free. She'll be paired with the best possible partner for a harmonious marriage. Have kids. Live a peaceful, structured, normal life.
And then she meets Alex.
Alex shatters every lie the government has told. Love is not the enemy. The relationship between Lena and Alex is nothing short of beautiful. I can't tell you how many times I smiled! I loved everything about this boy right down to his ink stained shoelaces and how he awakens Lena. She didn't even realise how bleak and dead a world without love was before he stole into her heart and now that she's been infected, she sees the the amazing colourful landscape around her and the one beautiful portrait before her eyes whose heart beats in tune with hers - Alex.
The intensity and flawed perfection of these characters and their relationship, you don't doubt for a second that their growing love is pure and untainted and real. To be infected is not a curse, it's a blessing. Love is the very reason to live! Lena starts out as a model citizen, she fully believes that the cure is essential. She obeys the rules and believes in the system and the crap the cureds sprout. She doesn't want to end up like her mother - who Lena does love, but is afraid of becoming infected as she was. Of being driven to crazy extremes in the name of love.
Lena lives with her Aunt Carol and Uncle William and her two cousins, Jenny and Gracie. Basically there are four characters in total I love in this novel. Lena. Alex. Hana. Gracie. That's it. Lena, our wonderful heroine who makes an amazing transformation from good girl who obeys and is too afraid to ever breaks the rules to a defiant rebel in the name of love. Alex, the boy who makes my heart flutter with his courage and honesty and smile and poetry reading and... oh sigh. Hana, Lena's best friend who isn't so much the 'do-gooder' - she wants to live, to listen to music, meet boys, stay out late. Have freedom. She's fun and insanely loyal. And Gracie, who utters not a word. Only to Lena. But she has that spark in her, so much potential, so much life.
It's not just the relationship between Lena and Alex that shines in this novel, but the friendship Lena shares with Hana. They have a deep bond and if they really allowed themselves to think about it and utter those words, love is what is there. Yet it would all be gone once they're both cured. Because the cureds don't love. They don't hold affection. They're indifferent. Memories gone. Laughter, smiles, moments shared together - the past will mean nothing. What a heartbreaking loss, of course not felt after the procedure, but to lose something so precious... how could anyone want that?
Ohmygosh. The ending. She left me crying my eyes out in Before I Fall and had I not been constantly interrupted while finishing this book, I've no doubt the tears would have freely flown. As it was, I did get emotional. I can't believe she left it like that and I can't believe we have to wait until next year for the sequel. I guess that right there is one of the dangers of love. It wraps it's tendrils around your heart until you're so far fallen that no other book can possibly live up to this one and then those tendrils grows thorns. And they puncture, puncture, puncture until you're making a bloody mess on the new carpet and bam. Gone. Disappeared. And your poor heart is left with only the shadow of an embrace and oh such sadness. That's what she did. Made me love the book, broke my heart and then nothing. No more pages, it's over. But oh it was still so good!
What truly makes this novel is the way Lauren Oliver uses her words - she strokes each word so delicately across the canvas and follows it by another stroke, then another, and another and in the end she creates a piece of art so compelling and full of emotion - it's the sky and the ocean and the stars and the air and everything that makes life so special wrapped up in 440 pages.
If you haven't read this book, drop whatever you're doing and run to the nearest bookstore. I don't care if they're closed - smash a window. I don't care if they're out of stock - threaten to tear apart every other book in the store until they have a new shipment in. Just get your hands on a copy NOW.
And if you plan on kidnapping Lauren Oliver and holding her captive while you extract her brain to sit in glass display cabinet for you to admire it's sheer perfection - back off, I already called dibs!!
Delirium stomped all over those measly 5 stars and danced on their grave while flapping it's pretty blue cover and shouting to the heavens 'I AM TOO AWESOME FOR A MERE 5 STAR RATING. I'M A GOD!" It might be my blog, but I'm too weak to argue with such a bold statement.(less)
I have written this review so many times because I've needed to reign myself in due to writing so much or giving away too much of the plot. There is s...moreI have written this review so many times because I've needed to reign myself in due to writing so much or giving away too much of the plot. There is so much I want to talk about and applaud Lauren on!
I was captivated from the very first page. Lauren DeStefano's writing is simply put, beautifully deceptive. She writes with such lyrical prose yet the ideas and actions behind her words are deeply disturbing. In the world 16 year old Rhine lives in every female die at the age of 20, males at 25. Thanks to scientific advances, a perfect generation free of illness was born. But their children and grand-children suffered the fate of a guaranteed early grave. While many have been working a cure, there is none yet, the virus always takes hold and always wins out. I recently turned 20, so in Wither I'd be dead or drawing my last breath already. It's scary to think about.
Rhine is a great character. She has been kidnapped from the only person left in her life - her twin brother, no less - basically sent to a slaughterhouse where only the best three are chosen for the honour of marriage and the rest disposed of. But as so many would do in that situation, she doesn't kick and scream or plead for escape, she doesn't fruitlessly try to run away the minute she's there. No, she is strong, brave, determined and above all else - smart. The minute she's aware of her surroundings, she's already formulating her way of escape, how she will behave in order to win her new husbands favour. Winning his favour may result in him taking her outside the mansion - freedom. Freedom means a chance to escape.
The characters in Wither are what made this book so extraordinary. Linden, Rhine's new husband will mess with your emotions. The more you learn about him, you see is actually a nice guy. His actions scream wrong wrong wrong - disturbingly wrong, yet he is so genuine in his emotions and affections. He is vulnerable, naive, he does not know any better. You grow to pity him and maybe even like him in a way, but what he's played a part in, particularly with the youngest of the sister-wives, Cecily... man, it messes with your head
Each character has a story to their name that adds depth to their persona. Cecily in particular, I had to remind myself often that she is only 13 years old because there were times when her demanding, pushy attitude and horribly joyous affection for her new life peeved me off, but then you remind yourself of her age, her naivety and her circumstances prior to coming and it makes sense. But again, the readers poor emotions are pulled taunt and twisted into a complex mess of love, hate, disgust, humour, affection and shock - Lauren DeStefano is the master at character development.
I enjoyed reading the bond that developed between the sister-wives. The relationship between Rhine and Cecily was different to Rhine and Jenna (the oldest of the wives). Rhine was more closer to Jenna, who had a better understanding of the situation they were in. She was a true friend, a true sister and I quite liked her.
Another character I liked was Gabriel. A tentative relationship blossomed between this servant boy and the prisoner wife, Rhine. I loved the subtle affection (June Beans!) and the sweet, honest way it developed. It was nice to see something so honest and real, yet even that gets marred by the the world they're in and must be kept hidden.
The dystopian world Lauren has brought to life is horrifying. It's not loud - it doesn't need flashy action sequences, rebellions, and big adventures that make so many dystopian novels shine. She crafts Wither in a quiet way. It's a thought-provoking novel that will leave an imprint in your mind for days, even weeks after finishing. I'm still thinking about it. It could survive as a stand-alone novel, but I'm pleased to know we have two more coming. There are things I'm interested in seeing in the sequel and characters and relationships I want to explore more.
I cannot say enough about the skill Lauren has weaved throughout Wither. Yet another outstanding YA novel to add to your shelves! 2011 is rockin' the debut books.(less)
Honestly, I don't know where to begin. I am speechless. And trust me when I say, that doesn't happen very often.
Divergent is officially one of the bes...moreHonestly, I don't know where to begin. I am speechless. And trust me when I say, that doesn't happen very often.
Divergent is officially one of the best books I have ever had the fortune of reading. IT IS SO FREAKING GOOD!!!! I can understand why there are a lot of comparisons with The Hunger Games in many reviews for this book. If you've read The Hunger Games, you'll know that it's a mind-blowing dystopian trilogy. And I can say the EXACT same thing for Divergent! A thoughtful, compelling, edge-of-your-seat, gasp-worthy dystopian novel that every single person will be talking about this year.
Beatrice Prior is 16 years old and about to take her aptitude test. With her result, she will then decide which faction she will spend the rest of her life in. Her world is divided into five factions: Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), Dauntless (the brave), Erudite (the intelligent) and Candor (the honest). There is also another, one few know about and far too dangerous to even contemplate: Divergent.
It's hard for me to write this review without giving away which faction she chooses, because it's basically the setting for near on the entire novel. But I really don't want to ruin the experience for you. Beatrice makes her choice, which is not the same faction as her family. She's then thrust into a whole new world with vastly different rules to her old one and a completely different way of living. She adopts the nickname "Tris" and launches head first into this shocking new way of life.
Her new faction - wow. The atmosphere is incredible, it's crazy, it's confronting and so very addictive. These traits the factions are moulded around, they're things we see in our every day lives. We value them, we strive to become more honest or brave or kind. But when you make a person construct their entire life around one particular value and not allow a healthy balance, these values can turn deadly. Intelligence can be an extraordinarily dangerous weapon when used the wrong way, selflessness leaves no room for self-preservation, bravery can become skewed and toes the line of cruelty and sadism.
Tris quickly learns to toughen up physically, if you don't learn how to throw a punch you're a goner. Veronica Roth doesn't shy away from violence or death or moral and ethical issues - she brings them right to the forefront. As Tris was completing some tasks during her initiation into her new faction, I totally shared in that exhilaration along with her. The fear, the thrills, the hatred, the appreciation. We see the good parts of her faction and the way the members can draw together, but other times you see the startling evidence of what corrupt leaders can result in.
FOUR!!! Have I mentioned four is now my favourite number? He has totally made the list as one of my favourite fictional guys. The relationship that develops between Tris and Four is so brilliant. It's real and honest and filled with so much respect. They are both incredibly well suited for one another. They know when lend a hand to support the other and when to back off. They're strong characters and they understand that about the other. They don't treat the other like fragile little flowers, they recognise strength. I just loved the way they work.
For those of you who have read the book, you'll know what I'm talking about here - I loved the chapter where Four takes Tris into his simulation. He allows her to see that part of himself, his fears, where he is most vulnerable and the way she handles it is amazing. It just showed how well they work together, the way she guided him and stood up for him. They're not afraid to lean on the other for help. Man, I could gush all day! Four! Four! Four! Tris! Tris! Tris! Four-Triss.... Fortress.... this powerhouse duo is exactly like a fortress. Strong, protective. I am so clever.
There is not a single thing I dislike about this novel. Veronica holds no punches - I cannot tell you how many times my jaw dropped. Especially during the last 60 or so pages, I could not turn the pages fast enough, my heart was pounding, I was so nervous with anticipation to see what would happen next. OMG damn the ending was spectacular. When all hell breaks loose, for lack of better words, it's just bam-bam-bam, so fast-paced and holding no mercy. You better keep up, because if you fall behind, you stay behind.
I am blow away by Divergent and fail to understand how this is only Veronica's first novel. This is surely the work of a much older, much more seasoned writer! Roth, I freaking love you. This review does not even begin to show your book the love it deserves. I can't wait to see what she has planned next for us!
I really need to reconsider my 5 star rating. Because this is the second book to have made those 5 stars void. Divergent is too good for a rating. It's too good to be held in sweaty, human palms. Please wear gloves when turning the pages, else it'll be tainted. I know a lot of people say this about books, but mark my words when I say THIS IS THE NEXT BIG THING!!(less)
It's the year 2195 and after more than a century of disaster and war, new Territories have formed within what was once known as the United States. Tho...moreIt's the year 2195 and after more than a century of disaster and war, new Territories have formed within what was once known as the United States. Those to the north adopted the etiquette and style of the Victorian age, but with incredibly advanced technology. While those to the south chose to live a simpler life not thoroughly overpowered by technology and certainly not adhering to Victorian standards. Extremists of the south - Punks - are at war with New Victoria. But are the government telling the whole truth about why? Or is there a hidden reason fueling the unrest between these two sides?
After an attack by a group of horrifying, decaying monsters who have no qualms about taking a bite or twenty from a human, sixteen year old Nora Dearly is rescued (although she certainly puts up an good fight herself) by a masked team who she soon learns are also of the decaying variety... but much friendlier. Zombies. But not quite as you know them. The mythology of Lia Habel's breed is fascinating and the methods in which the 'good' kind routinely live by in order for their brains, vocal cords and limbs to remain functioning is so interesting to learn!
Although there are five different narrations (which may sound overwhelming, but trust me, each story is remarkably compelling), Nora and Bram are our two main leads and love interests, although their relationship is far from instantaneous. It takes Nora a while to even face Bram in person, let alone be three feet within range of him. Theirs is such a sweet attraction that is so genuinely believable, you'll be anticipating every scene shared together. Nora is far from your average New Victorian girl. Oh she can courtesy with the best of them, but she has a morbid fascination with watching holo documentaries on Punk wars, revelling in their primal rage, she finds the art of war absolutely thrilling. She's a delightfully outspoken, stubborn, fiery young girl. There's a spark within her that you can't help but admire and grow to love the moment you're introduced to her.
Captain Abraham Griswold - Bram - is the perfect male lead. He's an impossibly sweet, strong, optimistic gentleman. I adored his narration and the fact that he didn't use his zombie condition to brood over what a terrible monster he is who doesn't deserve to be loved. Something we see common in paranormal males these days, the: "I'm dangerous, stay away from me! But I love you. And your tasty, tasty neck. Oh, see how thin my control is! I'm a monster!" kind. Bram is resilient and accepting of his condition. He takes joy in life and the time he has left to live it. Heck, the boy even goes into a righteous tirade when he's called a freak!
This futuristic world Lia has so expertly imagined and utterly engrossing. Made even more so by an amazing cast of characters, both living and non-living, who had me laughing out loud too many times from their witty banter or inner dialogue. Lia balances the light and dark of the novel perfectly. Dearly Departed is an outstanding debut with a touch of hilarity, a few severed limbs, an impossibly sweet love and all round thrilling story set in one of the most imaginative world's I've read in a while. Forget vampires. Renfield Merriweather the Third shall be pleased to learn that zombies are the next big thing.(less)
You know those books that make you lose all sense of reality and you literally fall into the pages? And you feel such a huge disappointment when the s...moreYou know those books that make you lose all sense of reality and you literally fall into the pages? And you feel such a huge disappointment when the story comes to an end because you don't want to resurface? Waterfall is exactly that. It is such a thoroughly engaging read! I loved everything about it - the 14th century setting, the characters, the plot, even the language. I caught myself slipping their dialect into my own thoughts so many times.
Sisters, Gabriella and Lia Betarrini find themselves being transported through time after finding handprints that match their exact own in an ancient tomb. But when Gabi jerks her hand away, Lia is nowhere to be find and Gabriella finds herself in the middle of a deadly battle between knights. Dressed in skinny jeans and tank top emerging from a tomb directly into a bloody warfare between opposing sides - not exactly ideal. Thanks to her archaeological parents, Gabriella is well versed in the Italian language, fencing and has some knowledge on their history. Which are all incredibly vital to her from the moment she is found. Thankfully it's the good guys who offer her shelter and safety, but Gabi's journey is only just beginning.
Desperate and determined to find her sister, Gabriella has to try fit into the Forelli's way of life. And pretend she's been living that way for the past 17 years rather than in a world of internet, hair conditioner and girls showing skin. While she does manage quite an admirable attempt at fitting in, it doesn't take long for her to become quite an oddity among the others. A girl who likes to wear down her hair, hates riding side-saddle, can wield a sword and isn't afraid to scale down a brick wall in order to escape into the night and find her sister. Not exactly your standard fare for 14th century prim and proper ladies. So it's not surprising that the men have taken an interest in her. Particularly Marcello Forelli - m'lord, what wonderful men we have in this era! Yes, I say men. These knights are FAR from boys.
The romance that develops between Marcello and Gabriella is fantastic and very believable. He is betrothed to another woman and the marriage will form a vital alliance. It may prove dangerous if something comes between their union.... say a time-travelling girl who just happens to be taken by the hottie just as much as he is her. Despite the consequences a relationship between them would cause, you're totally cheering them on to come together!
I also need to mention Luca, Marcello's cousin and most trusted - he is such a charmer! He's flirtatious, friendly, badass with a sword (and might I add, his fists) and such a genuine kind of guy. They all were - they're men who burst into battle with the intention of defeating the opposing side no matter what it takes, because really, it's either fight or die. But on the flip side of their manly badassness, they're such genuine, honest, loyal, sweet gentleman. A girl can't help but grow smitten with these men. Marcello, Luca and Fortino are more than welcome to develop their own love square with me in the centre. Everything about them and the book makes you want to do some time-travelling of your own.
Throughout the book you're swept away in the politics, the mystery, the romance and the complicated drama's and dangerous everyday living. Knights brandishing swords, arrows, daggers and axes - not something you want to get mixed up in! But oh, does Gabriella get mixed up in it. She is such an awesome heroine.That girl knows how to kick some serious butt, but at the same time she is just as vulnerable as she is headstrong. She's so easy to relate to - determined, stubborn, not to mention insanely worried about her sister, but just like everyone, the girl makes mistakes and stupid decisions in the heat of the moment. Which result in her ending up in some sticky situations.
Waterfall offers so much - such a rich, fascinating landscape with characters who breath life from the very pages. Lisa balances the historical and modern vibe perfectly - the whole world around Gabriella is hundreds of years in the past, yet she adds her own modern touch. This book did not fill my appetite. Instead, it made me hungrier and left my imagination gnawing for more the minute I turned the last page! I cannot wait to get my hands on the sequel and dive head-first back into this world, I'm so intrigued to see what happens next for these characters!
I've no doubt this is going to become one of my favourite series! Bring on Cascade :D(less)