I knew something about this book before I cracked open the pages, even though I was reading an ARC. That's the kind of buzz this book has been gettingI knew something about this book before I cracked open the pages, even though I was reading an ARC. That's the kind of buzz this book has been getting. Honestly, I would have read this book for the cover alone. God, that is some gorgeous cover art. And I was prepared to hate this book. I thought it was going to be a book with a pretty cover, titillating premise (OMGzzz polygamy!), but with no substance. Overall, Wither exceed my expectations.
Let's start out with the bad things.
The world building. I am not the first person to point out how much this sucked. Dystopia's are so successful and interesting, because they set up the possibility of maybe. In a good dystopia, we are able to see some aspects of our society magnified and twisted in a way that terrifies us and makes us question the world we live in. There really is no basis for polygamy or child brides that is present in our society. I'm not going to say that it doesn't happen, because we've all seen the Lifetime specials and newsreports. But one reason why polygamy and child brides are so interesting is because, in Western Society, they are considered obsolete and taboo. I feel like the premise was just designed to intrigue readers, and if the story, with the prose and the characters, were under different circumstances, this book would have garnered five stars from me
Don't get me started on the science of this book. It is nothing but pseudo-science, and curious and careful readers will get pissed off at the impossibility of it all. Supposedly, this book takes seventy years in the future (or sixty, or something like that). Scientists have issued a "cure" for cancer to all individuals (Which is highly unlikely. Some people refuse the flu vaccine, what basis do they have to receive a barely test cure?), but with disastrous results. The first generation grew up fine and hardy, but their children, and their grandchildren, are dying off after adolescents, girls at twenty, boys at 25 from some mysterious infection. There is absolutely no basis in science for a disease that kills off people so suddenly, or so without a cause. Even for the most fatal of hereditary diseases, the victims are usually given decades of wiggle room. It just doesn't make sense, especially that women die younger than men. Statistically-speaking, men die from more diseases than women do, and generally have a lower life expectancy. Clearly everything is a plot device, which does not make for good world building.
Also supposedly, the whole word except for the smallest bit of North America has been killed off in some cataclysmic war, in the process melting all the ice caps and sinking all the continents. Yet, North America appears to be functioning just fine, albeit with better technology than nowadays........I really hope people understand how IMPOSSIBLE this is. Common sense demands it. For the sake of DeStefano's intelligence, I really hope this turns out to be a rouse. Kind of like how Linden is shielded from the world outside of his estate, I hope Rhine has been shielded from the rest of the world entirely.
And one more random nitpicky comment......why would the snatchers (is that what they are called? I forget...) wear uniforms? Wouldn't it make more sense for them to wear street clothing? That is like a serial killer walking around with a bloody knife and a t-shirt that says "I KILL YOUR CHILDREN".
Now unto the good things. Obviously, from my rating, the good things win out. If the good things weren't as good, I would have absolutely detested this book.
The prose......oh, it was lovely. Beautiful, and delicate, it grabbed me from the first page. I was expecting some serviceable, generic words-on-a-page, but instead there was just pleasantness. DeStefano has a way of making the most desperate situations hopeful, and Rhine's emotions bled off the page. I strongly recommend listening to wistful instrumental music while reading this book. It's reaaaaaally nice.
I cared for all the characters, even the ones I was initially supposed to hate. DeStefano made me feel for the characters before I even realized what she was doing. The oblivious, charming Linden, the overeager, selfish Cecily, and the exotic, melancholy Jenna......the only character I really didn't care about was Gabriel, the love interest for Rhine. He wasn't really established enough yet, something I am looking forward to in future books. He wasn't a bad character, and Rhine and he were at least friends initially, and not the "I shall die without you"-type couples that so often populate today's YA novels.
I expected to feel nothing for this book, but instead I felt my heart breaking and my lips smiling.
Yes, the book has copious faults, but please try to look past them. For me, the writing and character building triumph over the sucktastic world building. Wither is a prime example of a fine young talent trying too hard to make her book marketable.
Alas, I am eagerly waiting for the next book. ...more
17 yr old Maddie lives in the year 2060, where everything, from dating, schooling, and going to the movies, is done online. Ever since her disastrous17 yr old Maddie lives in the year 2060, where everything, from dating, schooling, and going to the movies, is done online. Ever since her disastrous rebellion two years before nearly caused her and her father to go to jail, Maddie has lived compliantly with this life, never complaining or yearning for actual physical contact. One day Maddie meets a boy online in school chatroom, and he invites her to actual go to a real tutor session. Maddie agrees and that is how Justin enters her life. Justin is wild and unpredictable, being here for one minute and leaving the next. He hates everything about society nowadays, and embraces actual social interactions. Justin shows Maddie that the best things in life aren't behind the computer screen. Maddie can feel herself falling in love with Justin, even though her father, the founder of Digital School, forbids it. Maddie is torn between doing what is right for her family, and doing what might be right for the world.
This was a good piece of YA dystopian fiction. The world-building was excellent, probably because it is not too hard to imagine a world like Maddie's, seeing as society seems to be heading there anyways. I know I am lazy. I know I depend too much on my cell phone and my laptop. I know that's bad for me. But unfortunately, one of things I disliked about this book is it preachiness. I felt I was getting beamed on the head with my Mac. COMPUTERS BAD. PHYSICAL EXPERIENCES GOOD. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it. At least I've seen fire and live music and I have real trees unlike Maddie SO THERE. It's kind of ironic though, because I was reading this book online.....
Maddie was a good narrator. She actually had some hutzpah and wasn't some passive, dependent troll. She actually proved she was intelligent instead of just reading Wuthering Heights for the four billionth time, like that means anything. I liked Maddie. Justin.....eh. Yeah, he was hot, I guess, but most of the preachiness came from him. If he goes on a rant one more time....I also didn't like that he had "I will be aloof to the woman I love because I am not good enough for her" syndrome. Dude, come one. Have some respect. I don't like it when protag love interests think that they know what is better for the protagonist more than the protagonist does.
I really liked the first half of the book, but something threw me off about the second half. It's like someone poured cold water on the book and yelled WAAAIIITTT. I think the sexual tension between Maddie and Justin was drawn out too long. Every time they walked away kiss-less from each other, I let out a frustrated sigh. The second half of the book was mostly on Justin/Maddie romance, and that was Maddie pining for Justin most of the time. The final action scene also felt really contrived.
And guess what! There was a character named Clare that I didn't hate! I'm improving!
Overall, a decent YA dystopian fiction. I wanna know what happens next realz bad.
I started this book the day the world ended. No, not in a literal 2012-tsunami-earthquake kinda way, but in a my-cell-phone-and-laptop-just-so-happeneI started this book the day the world ended. No, not in a literal 2012-tsunami-earthquake kinda way, but in a my-cell-phone-and-laptop-just-so-happened-to-break-on-the-same-day kinda way. And when you are a 17 year old girl, that is really, really bad. So while I was rolling around on the ground suffering from texting withdrawl, a thought occurred to me: Go read a book, you idjit! So I did. And in no time at all, I forgot the outside world existed.
To say I loved this book would be a severe understatement. So here is a list of adjectives I feel are adequate descriptions: (courtesy of Dictionary.com and my own unique vocabulary):
Awesome, addicting, seductive, intense, articulate, lush, fantasmic, suspenseful, beautiful, poetic, dark, amazing, unique, mysterious, romantic, excellent, gorgeous, wistful, eerie, superb, breathtaking, magnificent, wonderful, fascinating, Gothic, OMG, astounding, perfect, sublime, tender, painful, and last but not least, Jesus.
So, in short, it was damn good.
I just loved everything about it. The luscious writing, painfully real characters, intriguing premise and hushed tone. Everything, especially the ending, was just perfect. As soon as I was finished with it, I wanted to start it all over again (and I very nearly did).
Initially, I thought this book would scare the crap out of me, with the creepy cover and all. I read Laura Whitcomb's book The Fetch first, and I loved it, even though this novel is more universally loved. So perhaps I was biased going into it. But I'm positive I would have loved it no matter the scenario.
As for the SEQUEL *OMG SQUEAAAALLL*, I don't think it's really needed, but hey, I'll devour it anyway. I'm a little worried it won't be as good as Certain Slant. seeing as most unplanned sequels aren't, but even if its half as good, I'll still love it. ...more
I have determined that I will never love Gayle Forman as much as everyone else does. While I appreciated both If I Stay and Where She Went, I never haI have determined that I will never love Gayle Forman as much as everyone else does. While I appreciated both If I Stay and Where She Went, I never had anything but lukewarm excitement about either of them.
Forman does not tug on my heartstrings, she has never invoked the slightest of tears. This may be because I have never liked her characters. I do not like Mia. I do not like Adam. Adam is pretty much as emo as you can get. Yes, I get it. He's been through pain. If this novel were about something else, and the pain was just one aspect on the book, perhaps I could sympathize. But it was entirely about Adam wallowing and that wasn't entertaining to me. I had the same problem with If I Stay. It just wasn't entertaining to me.
There are a million reviews out there singing this novel's praises, for I am severely in the minority. Really, this review (however imprecise and concise it may be), is nothing more than my informal opinion of it. Do I think this is a bad book? No, I think it has substance and the prose is poetic. But did I enjoy this book? Not really. It couldn't engage me and I will most likely forget about it in a matter of weeks.
Go ahead, love Adam. I won't be joining you. ...more
I have to get something off my chest. *takes deep breath* I bought this book for it's cover. I didn't even read the description first.
This book takesI have to get something off my chest. *takes deep breath* I bought this book for it's cover. I didn't even read the description first.
This book takes place entirely in an enchanted theater ran by The Book. The Book is what bounds the Players to the roles they were born to play, and it domineers over the magical scene changes. 17 yr old Bertie is not a Player nor a crew member, but has called the Theater her home for the past 10 years, not knowing where she came from. Bertie and her companions, the four mischievous fairies from A Midsummer Night's Dream and Nate, a minor pirate from The Little Mermaid, have been known to get into trouble. After a particularly bad incident, it looks like Bertie's time in the Theater has finally come to pass. But Bertie has one final chance to prove that she can contribute: become a Director and sell out a performance. Of course, not everything goes smoothly as the Players become more and more unsettled with their given roles.
Bertie, while kind of immature for a 17 year old, is strong and funny in her own right. How can you expect a girl who grows up with the most dramatic characters ever to grace the stage not to be colorful? And I love her choice of hair color. The fairies that follow Bertie around and join her in her antics are some of the funnest and funniest characters I have ever experienced. I want one for myself. I'll just have to remember to hide my Twinkies. Nate is a little dry, but sweet enough. I just hope Mantchev fleshes him out more. Ariel's name bothers me. I think of a red-haired mermaid. This made things difficult for me when the romantic tension was being built.
The setting was easily the best part of the book, even though some times I had no idea what was going on. It's not a point of pride for me, but sometimes I couldn't follow the action. It seemed to jump from one point to the other without much of a bridge in between.
I liked the book. Not as much as I could have, but I'm definitely glad that lush cover pulled me in. And the cover also helped in my visualization of Bertie and the fairies. Alexa, I agree with you. This book would be awesome as a animated film by Mr. Miyazaki.
I will read the sequel when I have the chance. I'm looking forward to being drawn into such an imaginative world again. ...more
Lia and Alice Milthorpe are twin sisters that just became orphans. Their father has died a mysterious death, just as their mother did many years earliLia and Alice Milthorpe are twin sisters that just became orphans. Their father has died a mysterious death, just as their mother did many years earlier. Following this tragic incident, Lia finds a tattoo-like mark on her wrist, her first clue that she is entangled in a mysterious prophecy that has a history of turning sisters against each other. Lia finds herself doubting whom to trust and what her role in the events shall be.
You know that quote "the opposite of love is not hate; it's indifference"? Well, that's how I feel about this book. I just didn't care about it at all. The book wasn't bad. When a book is bad, it works up negative feelings for me, and I end up with a ranting review of several pages. This book, however, was "meh" to the extreme.
Everything was dry, lifeless as a limp noodle. I could tell it wanted to be a gothic, A Great and Terrible Beauty-like tale, but it wasn't. Not in the least. There was no drama or tone or action. Lia had no personality and her narrtive consisted of telling rather than showing. All the characters did was sit and talk, walk and talk, ride horses and talk.
Alice was supposed to be a big bad sister that Lia was once close to, but I didn't get that impression. Alice and Lia were already distant by the beginning of the book, and perhaps if Zink had started out with them close, that would have created more tension.
There is also a love interest that doesn't even deserve mentioning.
And the Prophecy was all too easy to figure out. I was ages ahead of the characters and felt like a girlfriend tapping her foot, waiting for her boyfriend to catch up with her at the mall. There were several "surprises", but I wasn't particularly surprised.
I rarely don't finish a book. I believe in giving a book a chance. Well, I got to page 250 of this novel, and I couldn't care less about the ending. Huh. You know a book is flat when I say "couldn't care less". I hate that expression. There was this girl in middle school who said that about everything and I just wanted to punch her in the face. Anyway......
This book is a definite miss for me, which is kind of disappointing. The premise seemed intriguing, but as I didn't even finish the book, I doubt I will be reading the sequel. I am still astounded as to how people gave this book such good reviews. How did I miss that spark? Alas, my favorite thing about this book remains the cover. ...more
Four or five? FOUR OR FIVE? FOUR OR FIVE? Let's see how I'm feeling by the end of the review.
Okay, this book kinda takes place where the last one lefFour or five? FOUR OR FIVE? FOUR OR FIVE? Let's see how I'm feeling by the end of the review.
Okay, this book kinda takes place where the last one left off. Give or take twenty to thirty years. Instead of the lovely Mary, the narrator this time is Mary's daughter, Gabry. Now, I understand most of you are like "OMG, who's the father?" I know I was. But I can't say for threat of being flagged as a spoiler.
Anyway, Gabry has a very different upbringing from her mother. She lives in a lighthouse on the outskirts of a little town called Vista. She has a best friend and a crush on her best friend's brother. But most of all, she grows up safe and secure, without all that moaning in the background. But then, of course, it all goes wrong......dun dun DUN. Gabry and her friends take a little midnight hike over the Barrier and zombie hell breaks loose. The night ends with death, betrayals, and with half of her generation gone or imprisoned, life will never be the same for poor, sweet Gabry.
I have to say, this was a hell of a sequel. I thought it was actually much better than The Forest of Hands and Teeth aaaaaand all my questions were answered (well, about 88%). There were even some guest appearances and moments when I felt smarter than the narrator because I knew what something was and she didn't. What more can I gall ask for?
The writing was very much the same. It was beautiful in places, mostly sad, but hope shined through. I managed to read this in a period of 24 hours, which is no small feat when you have school and homework and yada yada yada. My point is that it's compelling and unputdownable (which is officially a word).
The world that Ryan sets up is just incredible, honestly. I find it completely convincing. It's mysterious and dark and scary. Just normal life with fewer good parts....and it has zombies.
I found Gabry more likable than her predecessor, but I don't feel fair comparing the two because they have totally different personalities.
Once again, the weakest part for me was the love triangle. I'm sick of those things. I always choose the wrong guy, then have a grudge against the author for having different taste in men. But this time I think I routing for the right guy.....I think. I have to wait and see if he dies first. Even though Gabry bounced back and forth between the two contestants, she never seemed ho-ish. Just confused.
But once again I could never tell if the couple was kissing. Does that make me weird, or does anyone else have that problem with these books? I don't know, there would be pages of getting close and comfy with one of her man-friends then they would get pissed or something, storm off, and Gabry would try to relive their "almost-kiss". And I would be like "Man, I though for SURE they were lipsmacking that time!"
Overall, I really liked this book. And if you want this book to be a stand-alone, go ahead. This book could do well without it's predecessor, although it's cliffhanger ending may be too much for someone with poor will power (aka me). I recommend this book to everyone, except those who like fairy-tale endings, "perfect" narrators, or can't handle flesh-eating corpses.
I've been wanting to read this book since it first came out, but was good and waited until it came out in the cheaper paperback.
If I Stay is about 17I've been wanting to read this book since it first came out, but was good and waited until it came out in the cheaper paperback.
If I Stay is about 17 yr old Mia, a talented celloist, who is in a coma following a car accident that kills her entire family. While in this coma she must make the ultimate decision: stay alive with grief and an uncertain future or join her parents and brother in death
I have to say this book isn't at all what I expected, and because of that, I may be a little disappointed. It was a surprisingly simple story. There was nothing supernatural about it and all the conflict was an internal struggle. It went back and forth between Mia's stay in the hospital, and her memories which only seemed to complicate her decision.
Truthfully, I didn't find it all that entertaining. Good thing it read very quickly, or else I probably wouldn't have finished it. For some reason, it never absorbed me. Perhaps it was the meandering pace. Even the question of Mia's choice couldn't make me feel interested.
Mia's memories served the purpose to give some background to Mia and help flesh out the story. I kind of felt that they were repetitive. They didn't show anything that couldn't be guessed atfrom the first chapter. Mia's loves her little brother. Mia loves her "hip" parents. Mia loves her punk boyfriend. Mia loves music. That's about it.
I guessed I just missed out on the genius of it all. I'm hearing that it was "beautiful" and "beautifully written", and while I admit that it had more substance than most YA literature, I still wasn't feeling it. A blurb on the front cover said it "will appeal to fans of Stephenie Meyer's Twilight", and I don't see that at all. I didn't like Twilight, but these books are nothing alike. On top of it all, I hear Summit bought the movie rights to this book. Did I miss something?...more
I was really excited to read this book when it first came out. But being short on money (like always), I had to wait an entire year for it to come outI was really excited to read this book when it first came out. But being short on money (like always), I had to wait an entire year for it to come out in paperback. You should have seen my face when I spotted it's cover at Borders. It immediately went to the enormous pile I was lugging around (sadly, I had to put half the books back, because it would be called stealing otherwise).
This book is told from the perspective of Mary, a young woman growing up in a small, isolated village surrounded by a fence that keeps the unrelenting zombies out. But they are not called zombies in this book (in fact the word zombie never mentioned), but rather the Unconsecrated. Trust me, they are true zombies. They eat flesh and babies and everything. Anyway, Mary grows up believing that her village, run by the dubious Sisterhood that claims that their little pocket of humanity amidst the formidible forest is the last of mankind. Mary, of course, questions this and is not content with her future as a member of the Sisterhood or married to man she doesn't love. Instead, she dreams of the ocean and the other stories her mother used to tell her of generations long gone.
From the first chapter, Mary's life is turned upside down. Her father walks among the dead, and her mother goes to join him. She is turned away by her brother and is sent to live in the Cathedral with the Sisterhood, which has well-kept secrets in every room.
This book is very well-written. Fluid and suspenseful, I had a hard time putting it down. While it did have some zombie-slaying action, it wasn't the focus of the book. Instead what kept me going was the sense of mystery and doom. Nothing good ever happens to Mary and the questions just kept coming with little-to-none answers. Mary was an unreliable narrator and a little crazy. All what the reader sees is first filtered through her eyes. She selfishly clung on to her dream of the ocean and refused to settle for anything less, even when it cost her the people she cared about. But hey, she is still one of the few chracters alive at the end, and the only one with a chance at a life, so she must have been doing something right. The rest of the characters wouldv'e gotten eaten long ago if Mary wasn't there to drive them.
This book is severely creepy, what with zombies relentlessly moaning in the background. I got skeeved out in a couple scenes (zombie baby). Like I said earlier, nothing good really happens at all. This book isn't for the faint at heart as it can be somewhat depressing. But I still found it intelligent and refreshing. It's so nice to read a young adult novel without a saintly narrator and a perfectly happy ending.
My least favorite part of it though was the love triangle? rectangle? I don't know what to call it. But the gist of it is Mary is in love with Travis. Travis is in love with Mary, but is engaged to Mary's best friend, Cass. Cass is in love with Harry, but Harry is engaged to Mary. Harry likes Mary, but I wouldn't call it love. I think he just wants a wife. Oh, and Travis and Harry are brothers. It's just a mess of duty and love. No one wants to marry who they are supposed to, but feel like they have a duty to do so. So, its complicated without ever being really interesting. I never really saw what was so great about Travis. Mary nursed him and her previous crush on him turned into full out love (or so she says). This might sound weird, but I could never tell when they were kissing or not. The scenes between them were written oddly, and I kept thinking they were kissing, but later on in the page I was proved wrong. Their lips were just really close together and they were almost kissing. My bad.
Anyway, despite some personal preferences and little annoyances, this book was really good. Not for everyone, but I recommend everyone try it. I'm sooo looking forward to The Dead-Tossed Waves, where some questions might finally be answered. ...more
This book is no fairytale and there is no prince coming to save this princess. This novel is very, very well written....sometimes brutal, sometimes beThis book is no fairytale and there is no prince coming to save this princess. This novel is very, very well written....sometimes brutal, sometimes beautiful. This novel made me scream in frustation at the heroine's silence, and the characters came and went, never to be seen or heard from again. Nothing is sugar-coated, and even though it is never happy, it is never completely desolate either. This resonant novel of survival in the face of brutality is a must-read. ...more
Yes, this book is very Twilight-esque. Patch and Nora are even biology partners. My teenage girl self loved this book. The more logical part didn't liYes, this book is very Twilight-esque. Patch and Nora are even biology partners. My teenage girl self loved this book. The more logical part didn't like it. For one, some parts just seemed completely unrealistic. Like when Vee calls in a bomb threat? I don't know about that. Two years ago there was a bomb threat at my school, and everybody was freaking out, with police cars and everything. The day the bomb was supposed to go off, some parents even kept their kids home. Obviously, nothing happened, but the on-campus pay phones were disconnected as a result. Other things were just too coincedental and were obvious plot devices. I loved the characters, but didn't believe in the romance between Nora and Patch. For her it was just lust, and other than that, no real romance. I also think Fitzpatrick got to the supernatural stuff a little to late in the book. Fitzpatrick was also given the chance to make some kick-butt scenes, but seemed to shy away from the hard fantasy-battle stuff. Yes, it was very entertaining, but that's all it was. It does have potential, though. ...more