Allie has been a bit of a troublemaker since her brother Christopher ran away. Now she has been arrested for the third time this year and her parents...moreAllie has been a bit of a troublemaker since her brother Christopher ran away. Now she has been arrested for the third time this year and her parents have had enough. They ship her off to board at Cimmeria Academy for the summer term where she has no access to phones, stereos, computers, or the outside world at all. The rules are incredibly strict and then there is also the Night School classes that other students are not allowed to know about or watch. When Allie is attacked one night, it begins a string of events leading to a death during a dance and secrets around every bend. When it seems like everyone is lying, she must find out who she can trust, and quickly, before the danger catches up with her.
I want to say first, that this book is incorrectly shelved on Goodreads. Its listed under Paranormal and Vampires, and there are, regretfully, neither within it's pages. Seeing those shelves and then reading the summary, especially the part about the Night School had me super excited thinking that the story was going to be similar to Vampire Knight. As I met the characters (Especially Sylvain) I got more and more hopeful so part of my disappointment may be based directly on the book being mishelved.
The characters were fine. There are a few side characters that you feel might have more importance but end up fading away into the background. Others are kept so mysterious that it makes them poorly characterized. Allie drove me a bit batty. She starts out so troubled and sarcastic and then she flipflops as soon as she is in the academy and is suddenly a good student. Her panic attacks are random and some of them quite uncalled for. Its like the author has no knowledge of such things but wanted to make her more broken and added them in anyway. Having Carter tell her about his old attacks was just pointless. It was a "too little, too late" characterization. Then, Allie's lack of thinking about her family and old friends was misplaced and random. Its almost like the author went through and thought "Oh! I havent had her think about her parents in a while *adds in passing*. Oh! This person needs a bit more characterization *adds randomly*".
The story focuses too much on the love triangle. The anger/hatred/jealousy between Sylvain and Carter is too unexplained. There wasnt enough tension in the triangle and so the whole thing falls apart. You start out adoring Sylvain and then he becomes a wanker and you just fall into Carter the same way Allie does. Its like, why even have bothered with the triangle at all? Then, as things go by and Sylvain apologizes for being a wanker, Allie just ups and forgives him without worry. She still trusts him and its misplaced.
Because of the love triangle being so forefront, the story itself lags. The climax happens incredibly late and its horribly anticlimatic even then. You can tell that this was meant to be a series. The author wanted to make you asks tons of questions and give you few answers but in the end she makes you ask your tons of questions and gives you no answers. Nothing is cleared up or properly resolved. Everything is just swept under the run until company leaves, obviously to be tackled in the next book, which is always a poor idea. If you wait to tackle all the questions in the next installment you end up forgetting things or dragging on the story and annoying your readers.
Regardless of all the bad, I still enjoyed it. It was an enjoyable read with a frustrating ending is all. I think if the next installment were already out then I would have much warmer feelings for this novel.(less)
Just before the start of her junior year, Janelle is hit by a truck and dies. When a booy she has never spoken to comes to focus infront of her eyes s...moreJust before the start of her junior year, Janelle is hit by a truck and dies. When a booy she has never spoken to comes to focus infront of her eyes she knows without a doubt that the loner Ben Michaels has somehow brought her back to life. Now her FBI father is trying to find anything he can about the John Doe who hit her with his truck, as it seems he appeared out of thin air. There is a clock counting down to something. When someone close to Janelle is killed, and she takes over her father's case it becomes apparent that the clock is counting down to the end of the world, and Janelle is in way over her head. She needs to learn what Ben Michaels did to her, and what he knows, and try not to fall in love with him in the process.
This book caught me off gaurd. Ive gotten to the point where I dont trust the labels people on goodreads gives to a book, so the sci-fi aspect kind of snuck up on me. The alternate universes thing was what got me, but I didnt have a problem with it.
I really enjoyed the characters. There were times that things seemed a little out-landish, but it was a sci-fi novel so I just went with it. I enjoyed everyone really. I thought Nick was sort of a pointless character, but I suppose he was needed so there would be a reason for Janelle to have to walk in front of the truck that hit her. I really loved Ben. It makes me sad that he never was brave enough to make a move on her before.
The story was nice to follow and didnt go too fast or slow for me really. There was a lot of science talk in there that I didnt want to be friends with, but it wasnt enough to be really offputting. The romance between Janelle and Ben was frustrating, but it made it a little more heartbreaking at the end. Even then though, the end felt numb to me. Just, how things worked out, they were fine in the moment, but once I stopped to collect my thoughts I realized how anti-climatic and robotic it was.
Even with its flaws, I still enjoyed the whole thing and am anxious for the next novel.(less)
For four months, Janelle has been trying to rebuild her life from the horrible catastrophes around the world, t...moreRead this and other reviews at my blog.
For four months, Janelle has been trying to rebuild her life from the horrible catastrophes around the world, the loss of her father and best friend, and Ben Michaels left. He promised to return to her, and now time is passing and she is wishing and wishing it would happen soon. People in her world are coming up missing, and when Taylor Barclay shows up, she knows that the cases are more than she expected. Someone is running a human-trafficking ring and Ben is the IA's top suspect. Can her and Barclay join forces and prove Ben's innocence, or will Ben and everyone he loves be executed? When the evidence piles up, she begins to wonder if she really knew Ben like she thought.
First things first, I highly recommend that you go read the novella Undone before you read this. It will help you out quite a bit in the way of not spending most of this novel hating Ben Michaels with a passion.
The great thing about these books, is really the writing style. They are written based on time stamps instead of real chapters, which is rather cool honestly, but it's the tone of things that makes them amazing. The tone of Unraveling was more upbeat. It was a fun story that quickly changed as the plot thickened and the suspense increased. Unbreakable didn't have that upbeat mood. It was dark from the start. If you weren't really paying attention and appreciating things, you would almost think that it was boring to read. But the tone that is set is amazing when you really look at it. It's a dark story and the tone of the novel really reinforces that.
The characters are changed. The world basically fell apart. They have all had to grow and mature faster than they should have. They are all still the characters that we know and love. I think the best part of this novel for me though, was Taylor Barclay. You want to hate him because of what you know of him in Unraveling, but I just couldn't. The more of him I saw, the more I liked, until I reached the point where I kept hoping for some romance between him and Janelle. I adore Barclay now.
The plot was very dark and wonderfully told. Pieces were perfectly woven together so that you had trouble predicting things. The character interactions and conflicts were perfectly timed and never took over the plot unless they were meant to.
If you are just reading through and not the type of person who really gets into a novel, you aren't going to like this. If you are the type who analyses things and commits to a novel until the last page, you will appreciate the nuances and writing style the whole way through. This series seems like it will only keep getting darker, and that might not be for everyone. I, however, will be reading the next installment as soon as possible upon release. (less)
Review copy was provided by the author for an honest review. Review originally posted at arielavalon.com
Rain Ramey has spent her life thinking she was...moreReview copy was provided by the author for an honest review. Review originally posted at arielavalon.com
Rain Ramey has spent her life thinking she was one person, just to learn she was kidnapped shortly after birth and belonged in a whole different world. Desperate to know why she was kidnapped, firmly believing that the Ramey's weren't bad people, Rain jumps into an investigation to learn more. Enlisting the help of the handsome and brooding River Scott, they begin to uncover a few truths and see there are more lies under the surface.
The very beginning of the story was hard to get into. The first few pages begin slowly, agonizingly slow. Once Rain makes it to Sloane Academy, it begins to pick up, but not a whole bunch. Her time in school starts off with her crossing the resident mean girl. Once the plot really begins to pick up though, this book becomes something you cannot put down. On the brightside, it's short. On the downside, it's short! The writing is really nice. There is a general flow about things that I found comforting as I read. There were little cliffhangers at the end of a lot of the chapters and some scenes that worked, but got a bit annoying after a while. It almost made the book feel like it was a read meant for a younger audience than it is.
The characters are nice and engaging, though some are predictable. Tom? Totally predictable. Owen, I think he is going to be predictable also, but that will need to be seen in a different part of the series. Rain was a nice heroine. I really did like her. She tried to adjust to things and she didn't come across as very whiny. I would have liked to see her make up her mind about her love interest a little bit. River I adored from the beginning. I love everything about his character.
This was a wonderful beginning to what looks like will round out to be a fabulous series. Highly recommended.(less)
This review was originally posted at arielavalon.com
Rain is firm in her belief that River did not kill Lauren like everyone says. She is determined to...moreThis review was originally posted at arielavalon.com
Rain is firm in her belief that River did not kill Lauren like everyone says. She is determined to find a way to prove his innocence. She just isn't expecting to become a suspect herself, or to find out that her world is about to become even more drama-filled.
This book was amazing. The same quirks as the first one were still present, the little cliffhangers in various chapters and scene ends, but the story is fast-paced and keeps you hanging on for dear life. The twists and turns are amazing and well thought out. Some things you see coming, but a lot of it is just tossed at you out of nowhere. The Von Sheltons have so many skeletons in their closet.
Other than a severe lack of River and the awful cliffhanger at the ending, this book was fantastic. It hooks you in and keeps you there. Great continuation to this series.(less)
Rain has figured out who really killed Laurel, but this is only the beginning. She very quickly finds that...moreReview originally posted at arielavalon.com
Rain has figured out who really killed Laurel, but this is only the beginning. She very quickly finds that the Von Shelton's own her, and when they want secrets to hide, they stay hidden. Rain has a plan, she will see to it that River will not ever see trial, no matter what.
I cannot tell a lie. I thought this series was a trilogy and now I am horribly disappointed because I blew through this book in the small span of a morning and now I get to play the waiting game. Sure, the cliffhanger was missing this time around, but there are still so many twists, so many secrets, and so many confrontations that have yet to be seen.
The first two books were full of twists and turns, but they had nothing on this book. The characters are still their same fabulous selves. There was a lot more River in this book, love that. Sawyer is so many different kinds of messed up. He's one of those characters that I want to like, but I hate him too, so I am left feeling horribly sorry for him. He is just so unbalanced.
This series is strong, mysterious, and addicting. Go read it!(less)
The time has come. After sitting patiently in her jail cell for months, Rain's trial is about to begin. After m...moreRead this and other reviews at my blog.
The time has come. After sitting patiently in her jail cell for months, Rain's trial is about to begin. After months of plotting and planning, she can finally gain her freedom. Or can she? Surrounded by all the lies, she is left wondering if Asher will really try to get her off, or if she is walking right into his clutches once again. But Rain has her own plan, and if she gets her way, her life will finally be hers to control.
This book was perfect. I was so nervous for Rain. I was a little afraid of who was going to get happy endings, and how things were going to pan out in the end. The writing lovingly holds your hand and leads you through the story.
The characters were all the same as they have been. A few bonds are formed, a few bridges burned, but things all play out for the best with the friendships. I was very pleased at how things ended with everyone. Hard to say much on them because of a spoiler risk, but things are good. I am pleased.
When you begin reading, you are filled with so many questions. You are anxious and just burning for answers. Varden tosses you a curve ball right from the start by making things almost boring. This is not a bad thing. You start off seeing some of the day to day life that Rain spends in her cell. It calms you. Your questions go to the backburner. You are certain they will be answered, but you have to learn patience. This book was all about Rain showing that she herself had learned patience, so teaching it to the reader is brilliant. Then the trial begins. I cannot lie, the trial is dull! The court proceedings are written brilliantly. The courtroom is stuffy, dull, drab, and very true to life. It was all captured so fantastically. It is really a brilliant writing technique. It slowly builds up, you almost feel like you are right there in that boring courtroom along with everyone. When the Defense begins their case, you can tell the climax is coming.
Then you get another curve ball. You learn about two things that had happened in the shadows, and things fall into place as the world tumbles down for some and rights itself for others. I remember my jaw dropping and a smirk taking over my face. It was brilliant. I wish there was a better word to describe it, but there really isn't. Then you get to see the aftermath as everyone puts their lives into the new shells that are created for them.
(view spoiler)[Rain obviously gets off. I mean, it's her story, she can't go off to jail. You get to see her as she continues the friendships that matter, as she returns to school, as she deals with the grandmother she hadn't met before, and as her and River figure out their relationship. (hide spoiler)] It was really wonderful to watch it all.
Judgment was a fantastic ending to an amazing series. Loose ends were tied up, lives were changed, and justice was served. I am so happy to have been exposed to this series. Highly recommended to all. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Undone is a novella to help give you more insight into the series, namely, into Ben. Undone is composed of thre...moreRead this and other reviews at my blog.
Undone is a novella to help give you more insight into the series, namely, into Ben. Undone is composed of three parts. The first part focuses on Ben's life before Unraveling, showing a bit of his family life and setting up his unquestioning devotion to his friends. I knew that his devotion to his friends was important, but you really don't understand fully how strong that bond is, or why until you really get to see things here.
The second section is, by far, the shortest. It shows some of the scenes from Unraveling from Ben's point of view. These are scenes that he finds to be important to him, things he will always remember. It helps to show some of the tension that Reid and Eli has when it came to Janelle. You could put the pieces together on your own, but this really helps to lay them out for you and set you up for things.
The third, and final, part is the longest and most in depth. This section talks about Ben's life after Unraveling, when he returns home. It quickly becomes apparent to Eli and him that they don't belong in their world anymore. Just as they are making plans to return to Janelle's world, something happens to change their plans.
This novella was actually really somber and heartwrenching. You are left feeling so sorry for Ben. I found it to be a great refresher to set me up to read Unbreakable, but it also leaves you desperate for the next installment. Surely Ben won't be left in such a state. Certainly things will change and a happy ending can be found.
I really find this novella to be an essential read for the series. It gives you such an understanding about Ben and his friends that it will only help you to like them more. Unraveling being told from Janelle's point of view made it harder to like Ben and his friends, and this fills that gap in the character display. You really would be best to read it after Unraveling though. I read a few reviews of people saying they read it first. It isn't listed as #1.5 for nothing. You will spoil yourself horribly if you read it before Unraveling. (less)