I don't know how she does it, but Mary Ann Rivers has taken the most unlikable character from Live (the first book in the Burnside Series) and turned...moreI don't know how she does it, but Mary Ann Rivers has taken the most unlikable character from Live (the first book in the Burnside Series) and turned him into someone my heart positively aches for.
This book is one of the most shining illustrations of the notion that what you see isn't always what you get when it comes to fucked up humans.
I’m not sure I’ve ever reviewed a middle grade title on this blog. I’m fairly certain I haven’t, even though I do read them from time to time (can we say hellloooo Percy Jackson?). I picked up books 1 and 2 in the series at BEA last year and they’ve just been languishing on my shelf ever since. When book 3 showed up on Netgalley a few weeks ago, I decided it was definitely past time for me to get started.
I think the reason this one stayed on my shelf for so long was because I was dubious that a book about janitors and demon dirt creatures could possibly be good.
And now I feel like an ass.
It’s certainly not Harry Potter good or Percy Jackson good, but it is a good story. And it’s unique. In an age where every other book is a vampire or witch novel and the rest are plucked out of Greek mythology, it’s a nice change of pace.
It was also really nice to have characters acting their own age. Parents and adults were involved. That almost never happens! I didn’t find myself screaming at Spencer to just go tell someone for goodness sake! I tend to do that a lot in books.
The Grimes, Filth, and Rubbish creatures were disgusting (though the names could use a little more imagination). I’m pretty sure if I ever came face to face with one, I’d lose my lunch.
In the end, I’m glad I read it. Will I read it again? Probably not. But will I recommend it to my co-worker’s kids? Absolutely.(less)
This book had a very very slow start to it. I wasn't sure I was going to finish it, to tell you the truth. It's a very different sort of book than I normally read, and it opened with an information dump to acclimate the reader to the unique world of the story. It was confusing and difficult to follow at times.
And then when I realized how much of the story relied on the fad of parkour, I definitely almost put it down. That trend went viral last year and then died down again. Reading about it now felt a bit dated - especially in a book set in the future. But I pushed through because I've been in a reading rut and I wanted to read something different.
And by the time I got to the end, I was glad I did.
About halfway through the action really ramped up. The pace picked up and it stayed up right until the end. My heart was in my chest while I rooted for Jack to figure out the truth and save his friend - and himself. In the end, most of the questions were tidily answered and everything was wrapped up in a neat little bow. But there were just enough new questions left to segue into the next book in the series (which I will definitely read).(less)
I started this series because my mom kept raving about it. Yep, my mom. And I reservations about it. Especially when the opening scene involved a parental fight where Kylie's mom barbecued her husband's underwear. I thought to myself, Do I really want to read something where the *adults* stoop to this level of immaturity? But I pushed through those pages - pages where Kylie's parents decided she needed to be sent to a camp for troubled teens simply because she was upset about her parents were splitting up - and was quite pleasantly surprised.
In fact, the only parts I truly disliked about this whole series were the parts that included her parents (you do remember my thoughts about parents from my Shades of Earth review, right?).
Once Kylie got to the camp, she discovered that the camp was in fact not for troubled teens, but for supernatural teens. And that she herself is a supernatural. The only problem is that no one can figure out exactly what kind of supernatural she is. In this world, supernaturals can identify one another by looking at each other. But when they look at Kylie, they can't tell. They know she's something - but all Kylie feels like is FREAK (not to mention that she's pretty much in denial about the whole idea in the first place, even though she can see and talk to ghosts).
One of my favorite things about this book is that there is an amazing adult role model. How often do we see this in a YA novel? Holiday, the leader of the camp, takes Kylie under her wing and mentors her. And she's amazing. She wants to act like a parent, but she recognizes that's she not. She allows Kylie to make her own decisions even when she doesn't agree with them. She talks through the pros and cons with her. She holds her hand when she needs it. And she walks away when she needs to. She's hands down my favorite adult in any YA series/novel.
The other supporting characters were also quite fun. Kylie's cabin mates, Della and Miranda (vampire and witch, respectively) were hilarious. They fake.hated each other and their quibbles brought some much needed levity to many situations. Derek and Lucas were the formulaic boys at opposite ends of the spectrum for a love triangle. But I loved them both.
This is a perfect start to a series. The character development is top notch (though the world building could use the teensiest bit of help). I feel completely invested in Kylie and the other characters that I want to continue the journey with them and see what obstacles come next.(less)
Have you ever listened to an audiobook that you thought would never end?
This was one of those.
And to tell you the truth, I don't typically read publisher blurbs. I look at the covers and I do a quick skim of genre to see if it falls into what I typically read - but I like going into books blind. Publisher blurbs often unintentionally give spoilers and I hate spoilers. So I went into this book thinking it was a stand alone novel. The cover doesn't indicate it's the first book of a series. And when I purchased it from Audible, it didn't have that tale tell #1 in the title indicating that there are more to come.
I kept waiting for things to begin to wrap up - but they never did. 12 hours of listening and it ends with a cliff-hanger. And I finally figure out it's a series.
12 hours that should have been 8 or less. Had I actually been reading the book, I'm not sure I would have made it through. Excessive (and meaningless) inner monologues made up quite a lot of the story. And to tell you the truth - I just couldn't quite suspend my disbelief long enough to stay invested in the story. My mind kept popping out of it say Please! or Yeah right, like that would actually happen.
Mila's character is just so... unrealistic. The dichotomy of her very essence just didn't work for me. Part android and part human? An android who actually believed she was human? And then who struggled to reconcile what she believed herself to be with the logic of what she was faced with? It didn't work for me. She was too human. She just happened to have machine parts. I'm pretty sure that's what the author was going for, but in the context of the story it didn't work. It felt forced and out of place.
One character introduced early on - with substantial time spent developing his character and a potential relationship with Mila - was virtually non-existent in the rest of the book, except in Mila's thoughts. It wasn't until the end, when I realized he was to be used to set up the sequel that I realized what he was there for. But it was distracting. I kept asking myself what was the point of Hunter?
Overall, the book was ridiculously long. It could easily have lost 150+ pages without harming the central focus of the story and that probably would have tightened up Mila's character enough that I might have identified with her a little more. As it stands, I don't know if I'll continue with the series or not. It just depends on whether or not there's something else I'd rather read that day.(less)
This was one of the biggest disappointments of the year so far. It tried too hard to be everything for everybody, and as a result the story was all over the place. The primary story seems to be that of Violet searching for her family history, which takes her to Italy. But the title of the novel would have you believe that the side-plot of Violet and Luca would be the primary focus. The two stories battled each other, vying for attention - which means that neither of them truly took precedence over the other.
On top of that, you've got the side stories of the three other girls, the Italian instructor who isn't quite who she seems, and the nasty daughter who calls the girls names and sneers at them.
There's just too much going on. The ending was abrupt and felt like it came out of nowhere. And I was left feeling as if nothing had truly happened. There will be a sequel... but I don't yet know if I'll give it a try.(less)
My only real complaint about this one is that Oberon wasn’t in it quite as much as he was in the first one. And this is also the book that introduces us to Coyote – who I hate with a passion. Not only do I dislike the character himself, I truly dislike hearing him speak in the audiobook – not to mention how Atticus attempts a terrible Southern drawl when he speaks to Coyote. It’s distracting.
The overall story itself is somewhat disjointed. It felt more like several short stories strung together into a book because there was just so much going on – a demon round up, Bacchants, a coven of witches out for blood… and all of those story lines were pretty much independent of one another. I found myself feeling sorry for Atticus because the poor guy never got a break!
Despite the disjointed feeling of the story, I found myself completely enamored (still!) with all of the characters. This definitely remains one of my all time favorite fictional worlds. And Luke Daniels as the narrator continues to bring all of the characters to life. It truly leaves me in awe when a single man can produce so many varied voices of both genders – and you buy every single one of them. That’s talent, right there.(less)
This book is unlike any that I’ve read recently. It’s also pure genius. I used to be quite addicted to an online role-playing game so I understand the draw and the addiction all too well. Poznanski wrote both very convincingly. And the game… well, let’s just say that I would have loved to play a game like Erebos.
Until it started requiring me to do illegal things, of course.
I was hooked from the first chapter. I’m not usually a fan of books with a male main character (yes, I know – I must be quite the sexist!) but I can most definitely make an exception for this book. While it wasn’t written in the first person perspective, the audience only ever knows as much as Nick does. That made for some heart pounding, nail biting situations. I was just as involved in the game – and later, the mystery – as he was. I wanted to win. And then I wanted to know why everything was happening and who was controlling the game.
The answers are surprising. By design, no single clue – or even set of clues – would give any indication of the big picture.
It was fascinating.
I’m not sure if someone who isn’t familiar with these types of games would enjoy it or not – other reviews I’ve read suggest that perhaps not. But if you are, you should absolutely read this.(less)
I haven’t had such a visceral reaction to a book like this in ages. From the beginning, my heart jumped into my throat – and stayed there until the end. Usually I have reactions like that to certain scenes or chapters, but not this time – Beth Revis is one HELL of a writer.
I had to stop and put it down a few times today because certain scenes with Eldest were putting me in a bad mood – you should see some of my tweets from this afternoon!
I think, for me, the best part of the novel is the way it makes you think. I always strive for spoiler-free reviews, so this will be difficult to explain well, but basically Revis asks the questions “Why is this person the way he is, but this other person who has lived in very similar conditions is completely different? and “Are lies necessary for the well-being of the masses?”
It’s a delightfully wonderful moral and ethical dilemma that’s presented in this novel – but I think it’s clear on which side Revis firmly stands. Though it’s possible my opinion there will change once I read the sequel – though I have high hopes for the direction it will go.
I did find myself thinking of the movie Wall-E while reading it, but the only similarities are that the ships in both are full of people who don’t know any other way of life.
Again, I have to say – Beth Revis is one hell of a writer, and I can’t wait to pick up the next in the series.(less)
At first, I was disappointed in this book. It seems as if every dystopian novel has the exact same plot, but eventually this one managed to stand out...moreAt first, I was disappointed in this book. It seems as if every dystopian novel has the exact same plot, but eventually this one managed to stand out on its own. By the end, I was completely emotionally invested - bawling my eyes out while driving to work, no less.
I'm definitely looking forward to the rest of the trilogy to find out if Lena and Alex are united and if they manage to make a difference in the world.(less)
I was a little concerned as I read this because it felt like the same old story getting recycled (Twilight, Vampire Diaries), but I'm glad it ended up...moreI was a little concerned as I read this because it felt like the same old story getting recycled (Twilight, Vampire Diaries), but I'm glad it ended up being a little different. (less)
Rick Riordan has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I believe I like the Kane Chronicles more than I like his Heroes of Olympus/Percy Jackson...moreRick Riordan has quickly become one of my favorite authors. I believe I like the Kane Chronicles more than I like his Heroes of Olympus/Percy Jackson books.(less)