Although I'm currently burned on dystopians at the moment, I wanted to read Feuds because it seemed to have a relatively new and original concept. I w...more Although I'm currently burned on dystopians at the moment, I wanted to read Feuds because it seemed to have a relatively new and original concept. I was also attracted to a main character who was passionate about dancing. Feuds wasn't the perfect book, by any means, but I do think this series has a lot of potential.
The world in Feuds was quite intriguing. There were the Priors, who were genetically engineered to be smart and physically strong and the Imps (or Imperfects), who were a lower caste. I thought the idea of exploring genetically engineered human beings was interesting because this could quite well be a possibility some time in the future what with the rapid advancement of science. However, I thought the world building in Feuds was very much skeletal. It was basic, for lack of better words, and I personally wanted to know more about the history and background that Hastings has created. It needed a little more meat to its bones. By the end of the book, I was left with too many unanswered questions. Now, because this is a series, I'm willing to momentarily forget my frustrations towards the paltry foundations of the world building. The plot in Feuds, also, felt like much of an introduction to what's to come next in the book. A deadly virus, Narxis, was spreading rapidly and only the Priors seemed to be afflicted with it and no one knew why. For most of the book, the book was simply building up to the fact that there was a virus spreading that was being hidden by the government, so there wasn't much development. Feuds was also on the short side, which explains this rather lacking plot. I personally thought that a stronger plot and a few more pages would have helped this book excel.
I know it seems like I was more on the disappointed side with Feuds, but that wasn't entirely the case. I actually found myself being unable to put the book down and I attribute that to the characters. Feuds is told in the POV of both Davis and Cole. Davis, especially, I liked. She was a naive character who eventually grew to become a little more stronger over the course of the novel. While I appreciated her growth, her passion for dancing was what really struck me. I've danced for a few years of my life, but I can't say that I was in love with it as most people typically are. I loved how much she loved dancing and her fears of failing that came along with this passion. Cole, on the other hand, I had reservations about. At the start of the book, we get to know that he participates in this underground fights to earn money for his family, but he also made a deal with a corrupt political candidate in order to deceive Davis by beginning a relationship with her, so you can imagine how much I wanted to figuratively strangle Cole. As he opened up to Davis and began to know her better, his heart towards Davis and my feelings towards him softened. The focus in Feuds was on the romance and while the L-word came out a bit too early for my tastes, I thought their relationship was sweet. The secondary characters left much to be desired though and I would have liked to know them on a deeper level.
Despite my issues with Feuds, I found myself enjoying the book and I will most likely be picking up the next book. I'm looking forward to seeing where things go for Cole and Davis and how they will resolve their issues.(less)
This is one of my favorite dystopian/fantasy series. I was at the same time, excited and really nervous about reading this final book in the trilogy....more This is one of my favorite dystopian/fantasy series. I was at the same time, excited and really nervous about reading this final book in the trilogy. Even though this was a satisfying conclusion, I was still sad to have to say goodbye to these characters who have undoubtedly managed to snag a spot in my heart.
After the dramatic and cruel ending of Deception, I needed to be back with these characters. For about 80% of the book, Rachel and Logan were separated. While the die-hard romantic in me was not very pleased by that, I have to admit that these two needed the separation because they needed to grow without the presence of the other. Growing was exactly what both Rachel and Logan did. Rachel will always be one of my favorite heroines. She was bold, fiesty with a dash of vulnerability. She is one of those characters who grew throughout the trilogy, and she developed the most in this book. I was incredibly proud of how much she had come through since the first book. In Deliverance, Rachel also managed to channel her guilt and anger over the multiple deaths in a positive way and to hence, become an even stronger character. She was also a character who was beyond independent and was smart when it came to the decisions she made. Logan too needed to mature more in this book, especially given the circumstances he found himself in and I couldn't help but cheer on him. He has always been a sweet and responsible young man and that hasn't changed one bit. We knew from book one that Logan was very intelligent, but his intelligence and strategic mind really shone through in Deliverance. These were two main characters that you can't help but root for because of their personalities. The Defiance series also has a terrific secondary cast who are as well developed as the primary characters. It's very rare to have the secondary characters play a pivotal role as the main characters as in this series.
The Commander, the main villain, in Deliverance was still his twisted, manipulative self. We get to know more of his back story and while it was heartbreaking, it didn't forgive all his sins and didn't wash out all the blood his hands were soaked in. We also had another character who deceived both Rachel and Logan in the previous book who was even scarier this time around. He was the kind of villain you couldn't help but hate because of how cold-blooded and terrible he was. The villains in Deliverance were truly cruel villains who made my blood boil and my spine tingle in fear. The plot was, as expected, action-packed with lots of shocking revelations being made. I'll admit that it did seem to slow down towards the middle, but I was honestly so invested with these characters that the lagging middle didn't bother me as much. This was a bloody and gruesome finale which ultimately culminated in a climatic battle that was not only emotionally draining, but also satisfying in every way, especially with my OTP being back together. While Rachel and Logan were not physically together for most of the book, there was absolutely no denying the strength of their emotional bond. These two were perfect for each other and what I've always loved about them is how they make each other stronger in multiple different ways.
There is honestly nothing else I can say about this brilliant series other than, read it right away, especially if you're a fan of strong characterizations, swoony romances and solid fantasy world building. The Defiance trilogy is not a trilogy I will hesitate to recommend to readers.(less)
Having loved Nicole Williams, Lost & Found series, I was thrilled to find out that she was writing a new NA contemporary series. My interest pique...more Having loved Nicole Williams, Lost & Found series, I was thrilled to find out that she was writing a new NA contemporary series. My interest piqued further when I realized that Hard Knox would tackle an important issue that is perpetuating on US college campuses, date rape.
I usually have no problem connecting with Nicole Williams' main characters, but the main character in Hard Knox was a little irritating. I had a hard time bonding with her because of her unlikeable personality. She was one of those people who judged others before even having a conversation, just from how she viewed them. She would also be very forthcoming about her judgments and it came across as bitchy instead of honest. Charlie also talked using big words and sentence structures that most people don't talk in and it felt like she was showing people how much smarter and more intelligent she was than them when she was having a conversation. She came across as condescending, obnoxious and a bit of a know-it-all. I'm all for smart main characters, but Charlie was just a little too much for me. I'll admit that she did mature throughout the book, especially as she got to know Knox, learning that having preconceived notions about people from their looks was wrong. Speaking of Knox, he was a character I loved. He had the exterior of a bad boy and he let people believe the rumor that he was a man-whore, when he actually wasn't. I loved getting to know him throughout the book as he proved Charlie wrong. He was a such a sweet-heart and he was also intelligent without being flagrant about it, which made him all the more attractive to me.
While I didn't particularly enjoy Charlie, I did love her slow burn relationship with Knox. They were initially attracted to each other, but their relationship wasn't by any means instant. They slowly got to know each other while the plot developed and it was very sweet. The romance wasn't the focus of the book though. The themes related to date rape drugs were. I'm actually grateful to Nicole Williams for focusing her book on a problem that has relevance on campuses today. She also did it in a realistic way, showing the subtlety that rapists often have in these situations. Additionally, she showed how it's almost always someone you already know who winds up being the rapists and it doesn't matter how careful you are, you're always at risk when roofies are passed around. It was all very educational, according to me. Charlie herself got roofied multiple times during Hard Knox. Thankfully, Knox was almost always around her, so he was there to protect her. The mystery as to who was doing it was actually quite predictable, and I figured it out quite early on, but it didn't really bother me.
I might not have liked Charlie's arrogance in Hard Knox, but I did appreciate the author writing a NA book about a socially relevant subject matter. I reckon if I bonded a bit better with Charlie, I would have rated this a solid 4 stars. I would recommend this book if you're into NA books that actually dig deeper into issues that college students can face.(less)
Storm Siren is one of those books that completely flew under my radar until I came across it on NetGalley. As soon as I read the summary, I knew...more4.5/5
Storm Siren is one of those books that completely flew under my radar until I came across it on NetGalley. As soon as I read the summary, I knew that this was going to be the perfect book for me. Mary Weber, however, exceeded all of my expectations with Storm Siren and it was hard for me to believe that this was only her debut novel.
Storm Siren's strength lies in its protagonist, Nym. Initially, she was presented as this headstrong, snarky and witty girl who seemed like she was afraid of absolutely nothing in her world, but as the layers of the story peeled off, so did, Nym's character. For me, what made Nym a character who was easy to connect with were her fears and strong emotions of guilt. I love strong heroines as much as everyone else, especially in a genre like fantasy, but I'm not a fan of characters who are also completely strong. I like heroines with vulnerabilities and Nym was most definitely one. She was multi-layered and complex, undoubtedly a memorable heroine. Nym's weaknesses stemmed from the impact that her power as a female Elemental has had on innocent people. Nym has had to kill people due to her powers and that has slowly gnawed at her from the inside. You can't help but feel for her and want to hug her, especially when she cuts herself in memory of those she accidentally killed. Her emotions were raw and reached to me and affected me in many ways. Besides Nym, Storm Siren also had an outstanding secondary who all had a pivotal role in Nym's life. Nym made some great friends when she was brought to court. Her budding friendships with Breck and Colin was one of my favorite parts of the book. I was impressed by the author's ability to write a strong platonic relationship between Colin and Nym. I was initially worried that the book would turn into a love triangle, but Colin and Nym were only good friends who respected and loved each other.
Storm Siren also had a lovely romance, that developed in the sidelines. This wasn't one of those books where once the love interest is introduced, everything goes down hill. Nym and Eogan had a sweet romance that grew as the plot moved further without drowning the main story line. Also, kudos to the author for creating an interracial couple. Diversity isn't something you see very often in YA fantasy, so I was immensely pleased to see that Eogan belonging to a different race than Nym. Additionally, Storm Siren had an addictive story line to it. The book opened with a scene of an auction where Nym is being sold and from the very start, you know you're in for a wild ride. This is one of those books where I felt like the story only got better and better as the book progressed. I was so hooked onto the story, it was hard for me to let go of my e-reader. There was non-stop action and a ton of heartbreaking moments that nearly destroyed me. The world building in this novel was also strong. I loved watching the veils of the world building gradually unravel as the plot progressed. I was completely invested in it and I want to know more about the Elementals. Mary Weber is a talented author and one reason why I believe she is talented is that she manages to balance every aspect of her story, from the character development to the world building. She is also incredibly cruel because she ended Storm Siren in a seriously heart crushing cliffhanger that had me gasping out loud.
By the end of this book, I was left salivating for more, not only because of the cliffhanger, but also because I just want to be immersed again in this gorgeous world. With its stunning writing, fantastic characters and solid world building, Storm Siren is a fantasy novel that deserves to be read by every fan of the genre. (less)
I'm not a gamer. I know nothing about gaming apart from the occasional game of Mario Kart or Bejeweled. However, I'm always on the lookou...moreRating: 3.5/5
I'm not a gamer. I know nothing about gaming apart from the occasional game of Mario Kart or Bejeweled. However, I'm always on the lookout for new unique concepts in YA books, so I was quick to request a copy of The Aftermath by Jen Alexander. It was an exciting read with a lot of terrifying concepts, great world building and a decent main character.
I will admit that I had a hard time getting into the book because I was confused as to what was going on. While Claudia was figuring out the reality about her situation, I was lost because some of the jargon. I did eventually ease into the story and as soon as I did, I couldn't stop reading. It's a scary concept, knowing that you're stuck in video game and being forced by your gamer to do things you don't want to. I though Jen Alexander did at explaining the crooks and nooks of the game. It was intriguing finding out how the game came about to be and how it was developed. It's filled with secrets and revelations that are terrifying and the author did a wonderful job capturing the evil of the game. Plot wise, the book was action-packed from start to finish. I personally thought that there were no dull moments, especially with all the secrets being unraveled throughout the book and I found myself being very invested in the book. The book did, however, end with a huge and exciting cliffhanger that will have readers wanting for more. The book left me hanging with a million questions, but I'm certain the answers will be explored in the next books.
What The Aftermath was weak at though, was the character building. While Claudia was a likeable and endearing protagonist, I didn't feel like we got to know her on a deeper and more emotional level. I wanted to see more despair, anger and frustration when she realized that she was merely a puppet stuck in a video game. I guess I needed to see a little more angst, although I did appreciate her strength and resilience throughout the book. Her love interest, Declan, also didn't do much for me. I was sure that he was keeping a lot of secrets from Claudia and I was right. His story was interesting and I'm hoping we get to know more of him in the next book of the series. Additionally, as you can guess, I was rather emotionally distant from the romance. It was very minimal and not really a huge part of the book and I'm not complaining. The few intimate moments they did share were sweet though.
While The Aftermath might not have been the perfect book, it's a series that I believe will only become better with more books. It's not a character-driven book, but it's very plot driven and almost cinematic. I'm looking forward to knowing more about The Aftermath.