While I didn't feel Insurgent lived up to the first book in the series, there was a lot that I liked here, and overall, it was still a really good boo...moreWhile I didn't feel Insurgent lived up to the first book in the series, there was a lot that I liked here, and overall, it was still a really good book.
For one, the body count is high. I enjoyed that characters from the first book were just as in peril as brand new characters clearly added as cannon fodder. Also, I liked the storyline because it furthered the concept of the first book that despite the general idea of splitting the population into factions based on five main personality traits, each person is layered, and so are their desires and goals. There were many points where you won't be entirely sure where certain characters' loyalties lie. And despite the fact that I knew where the overall story was going (view spoiler)[they are being isolated in a city and there's a lot more world outside that they've been cut off from (hide spoiler)], I was happy about the twist end.
What I did not like was how the romance between Tris and Four — which I enjoyed in the first book — became torturous. For two people who claim to love one another so much, they really don't trust one another at all, which just led to a lot of cyclical conversations and accusations. Also, I felt Tris had a major case of stupidity this book. She just made one stupid decision after another all while suffering from PTSD and getting mired in guilt and depression.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
And All the Stars is more than just a sort of post-apocalyptic story about teenagers surviving and being really smart and resourceful and amazing, in...moreAnd All the Stars is more than just a sort of post-apocalyptic story about teenagers surviving and being really smart and resourceful and amazing, in the aftermath of an alien occupation of earth. The story is about classes and social work and an individual being more than the generalization of his or her society.
This book was a really great read. I loved having the characters realistically discuss what to do next, seeing the occupation and changes to society take place over time. I always find it frustrating when a novel or a movie establishes some event is taking place (alien invasion, virus release, zombies, etc.) and then jumps ahead some how (character gets injured, usually) without showing the transition. And All the Stars is all about the transition.
But just as much as the actual story, I loved how diverse the characters were. There's a straight boy who doesn't confirm to hetero norms and has a gay best friend who he's super close to and he doesn't mind when people assume they might be a couple. There are people of other religions, people from multiple ethnicities. And even one male who dresses feminine with makeup and traditionally female clothes despite definitely identifying as male.
My only complaint has to do with the end: (view spoiler)[the big final battle is skipped over ala The Hunger Games where Katniss would always wake up later to someone explaining how things finished. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
At the tender age of eight, Rose Edelstein discovers that the taste of food has changed for her. Instead of tasting the final product, she tastes what...moreAt the tender age of eight, Rose Edelstein discovers that the taste of food has changed for her. Instead of tasting the final product, she tastes what went into the food, the emotions of the person who made it. She finds herself overwhelmed by her mother's sadness and depression during home cooked meals and as she grows up she struggles to find food that she can actually eat and she also finds herself unable to connect with people.
Once Rose reaches high school and she experiments with her food-tasting abilities the book begins to really get interesting. Because in addition to understanding more and learning to live with her odd ability, Rose realizes there is something going on with her brother that she doesn't entirely understand. It's very interesting the way the book contrasts Rose's experience with her ability and growing up and trying to find a way to continue living in society with her brother's increasing withdrawal from everyone he knows.
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake felt muted for the most part, possibly because Rose spends so much time trying to keep distance from others, or can't seem to understand or figure out the best way to interact with people.
Although there was a lot about this book that I didn't really care for, it's the contrast between Rose and her brother, their relationship and the different choices they make that really grabbed me and will stick with me long after I've read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake.(less)
I know a lot of people are probably sick to death of angels (the new vampires and werewolves). But the angels in Angelfall are not the angels of Unear...moreI know a lot of people are probably sick to death of angels (the new vampires and werewolves). But the angels in Angelfall are not the angels of Unearthly (which I loved). They aren't normal people or kind to humans or guardian angels or anything like that. These are biblical angels. These are Old Testament/Torah, wrath of god, angels that destroyed cities like Sodom and Gomorrah. Susan Ee has legit angel and bible lore (I'm not religious, but I did go to Catholic school) and I was absolutely giddy about that. (Nephilim are referenced correctly! Gabriel is the messenger of God and brings about the beginning of the apocalypse! Uriel has ties to hell!)
The book takes place after cities of the U.S. have already been destroyed when angels came down to Earth to wreak fire and brimstone. In life after modern amenities are gone, people keep one eye on the skies to hide from angels, gangs roam the streets and Penryn (your typical tough female lead, like The Hunger Games' Katniss, Graceling's Katsa or Hollowmen's Remy) watches as her little sister is grabbed by an angel who flies away with her. And the only chance she has of getting Paige back is the injured, wingless angel she finds on the street. Raffe is willing to bring Penryn to the angels only because she has his wings and it's his hope that they can be reattached.
I love lawless end-of-the-world-type societies, so Angelfall hit the mark for me. I like books that are light on the romance, but hint that there is actual build up of a relationship. I just really liked this book. I love underground rebellions (like Neville Longbottom and Dumbledore's Army in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows).
And I absolutely loved that Penryn's mother is legitimately crazy. She's schizophrenic, sees things, does things that only make sense to her but seem to have no rational reasoning and is just damn fascinating to read about. A woman like that would normally be in the care of professionals. Instead, given the end of the world and everything, she's free to roam the streets and right now the real world looks as horrifying and scary as what she's always pictured in her head. And she is actually more dangerous than most people because of how unpredictable and out of touch with reality she is.
I think the only reason Angelfall didn't get 5 stars from me was because the story is the classic "younger sibling was taken by supernatural creatures and I have to get him/her back with the help of one of these supernatural creatures that I don't trust all that much" (although the end is different (view spoiler)[ when you consider the fact that Paige has been turned into a little monster! I can't wait to see how that plays out (hide spoiler)]). Lastly, it's written in first person POV, and I'm honestly getting so sick of that. There's something about first person POV that I never really liked and the more YA novels I read that are written like that, the less patience I have for it.
Overall, this was an amazing book, a fascinating read and has planted the seeds for a really great series.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
For me, Interworld is to Neil Gaiman's body of work what Cars is to Pixar's body of work. Perhaps it's a pretty decent book, but I have such high hope...moreFor me, Interworld is to Neil Gaiman's body of work what Cars is to Pixar's body of work. Perhaps it's a pretty decent book, but I have such high hopes for anything Gaiman that I read, that this was a huge disappointment.
While the idea for Interworld is interesting, I think it suffers because it was written for younger readers and so Gaiman's writing is stifled. This world (or worlds, I suppose) could have been really deeply explored and the story expanded. As it is now, Interworld feels rushed and unfinished.
And the way it's told is a letdown. I felt like Joey was telling me the story after the fact. I didn't ever feel like I was being swept up in the storytelling.(less)