I had an extremely tough time reviewing this book. The problem is that I absolutely loved the book, but had a couple problems with it that caused me to rate it down. I’m probably going to be lynched by the Mara-verse out there for stating this, but my biggest problem with the second chapter of the Mara Dyer series? Two words. Noah. Shaw. Yep. You read that right.
I enjoy a hot blooded and sexy man just as much as the next. But my problem here is that Noah is just too … stifling. I get it. He’s terrified for his girlfriend and for the madness that is after her. And it makes sense. Let’s see. Mara is being stalked by her ex-boyfriend. You know. The one she is convinced that she killed in the building collapse that took place prior to the events in the first book. She ends up in an institution several times in this book and her family is convinced that she’s trying to harm herself, so they have her on a sort of house arrest. Whew! That’s a lot to grasp! I can completely understand why Noah would want to keep an eye on the girl he loves. But instead of being protective, he basically becomes a guard dog. One that Mara was only too happy to drop everything for and have sit by her side. Which brings me to problem number two. Mara.
Part of the reason I LOVED The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer was because of Mara herself. She was extremely strong-willed. Crazy things were happening all around her and yet she wasn’t falling apart. She was kicking ass and trying to discover the answers. And there were shades of that kick butt Mara in Evolution, but they were few and far between.
Evolution is fast-paced and is actually quite a fast read, which is a bit shocking considering the 544 pages in the novel. There’s lots of action, and I do mean lots. Evolution is definitely more plot heavy than Unbecoming was and that definitely made me happy. I would just like to have seen a little less focus on how much Mara wanted to jump Noah and a little more focus on trying to figure out what was with the flashbacks in the unknown time. But overall, I truly enjoyed this book. I will say that the cliffhanger made me want to throw the book. Even with what I said in the very beginning of this review all I have to say about the cliffhanger is “HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO US MICHELLE?!” Although I have a feeling that all is not as it seems.
One thing I do have to praise Hodkin for is the delicious creep factor of both books. It is fantastic and I cannot get enough of it. Unbecoming was delightfully eerie and Evolution did not disappoint. from crows falling out of the sky to loads of dead fish to creepy handmade dolls (why, oh why, are dolls so damn creepy?!), I found the imagery perfectly dark and spooky. I just wish Noah and Mara hadn’t been so Twilight-y (for lack of a better word) in this latest installment.
But all-in-all, Evolution was a hit and I CANNOT wait for October to bring us the release of The Retribution of Mara Dyer. We better get all the answers to our questions, Ms. Hodkin! ;) Oh, and one last thing. How utterly gorgeous is this cover?! All three books in the series have eye-catching, stunningly beautiful covers. In this case, it’s perfectly okay to judge a book by it’s cover....more
first book I read by Courtney Summers was ‘Some Girls Are’ and I immediately loved both, her style of writing as well as the characters that she created. I devoured the book and read it in under a day. It was the same with the rest of her books. So when I first heard about ‘This Is Not A Test’ I was extremely excited to get my hands on it, but when I found out that the plot had to do with zombies… I was sold and it immediately went on my “MUST HAVE IMMEDIATELY” list.
However, it must be said that ‘This Is Not A Test’ is not your typical zombie story. There is very little blood, gore or brain matter as is usually found in a zombie novel. Instead of placing her survivors directly in harms way by making them fight for their lives in open spaces, Summers took a non-traditional approach and sent them into hiding in their old high school. Safer, perhaps. But certainly not safe, especially with tempers on the rise, several teenagers playing the blame game and an unsecure entrance in their fortress.
If you’ve never read a Courtney Summers book, then let me explain something. Her protagonists have all been fairly damaged, almost broken heroines. But they are heroines. Do not mistake damaged for weak. Each of the girls have been strong in their own ways. And Sloane is no exception. She’s spent most of her life talking her father’s abuse and now she’s been abandoned by the one person who understood exactly what she was going through, her older sister, Lily. Sloane wants nothing more than to stop living. And the day she chooses to attempt to do so, happens to be the same day that the world falls victim to a Zombiepocalypse.
Sloane’s pain is real. Each page of this novel drips with her pain. Her emotions are confused, and she is completely on edge. But even though the entire world has gone insane with an infection that creates these zombies and even though she’s angry at the sister who swore she’d always protect her, you can tell that Sloane, while not happy by a long short, finally feels as though she can breathe while the survivors are barricaded in that school. For once, she’s not worried that something she says, might end up with a black eye. Or broken ribs.
One of the things I loved about this novel is that it feels real. Real emotions from characters that come across as real. If you think about, you know someone just like each of them. Another thing I loved about this novel was watching Sloane get stronger with each chapter. My only complaint (and it’s really not even a complaint) is that I guessed the ending early on and that it was rather anti-climatic. I highly recommend this novel. I couldn’t put it down and anyone who says it’s just another zombie book, was definitely not reading the same book I was....more
I cannot tell a lie. The cover is what drew me in first. It’s not the most colorful cover. Or even the most beautiful, but it certainly stands out and it caught my eye immediately. I hungrily read the synopsis and as soon as I did, I was so intrigued that I knew I had to buy it as soon as it released. I mean, zombies? A post-apocalyptic world? A romance of unusual proportions? And zombies?! Wait, did I already say? Oops. Yes, I was all over this book. With all the books that I read last year, Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion was my absolute favorite read of 2011.
Warm Bodies is definitely a unique creation. While romance stories are a dime a dozen, how many of them feature a somewhat freshly turned zombie as their romantic lead? Not many, that’s for sure. Post-apocalyptic or dystopian novels are hugely popular and zombies seem to be in rather large demand nowadays. But a Twilight-esque novel featuring zombies, this is not. Marion’s debut work is thought-provoking, filled with striking and memorable quotes as well as several very humorous moments, and features one of the most unique, and surprising, romantic leads that I’ve ever read about.
R was a refreshing change from your typical, plasticine, Harlequin-esque Lotharios. And not just because he’s a brain-munching zombie. While outwardly he may be monosyllabic, his mind is filled with witty ruminations, lyrical descriptions and flowing verse. He dislikes his need for human brains, his want to kill, but accepts it as his nature. R is so genuine and likeable that it is hard to fault him for his killings when it’s what must be done for survival. R knows that he is different from his zombie brethren. While the rest of the zombie clan is content to wander aimlessly for hours, grunting and drooling, R listens to records, saves relics from his human life and sits in cars trying to remember how to drive.
It is when R kills, and eats the brains of, a human named Perry that he starts to actually relive parts of Perry’s life in his own mind and first sees a glimpse of Julie, the dead boy’s girlfriend. When R actually meets her in person, she is about to be killed and eaten by his fellow zombies, and for reasons that R does not understand, he saves Julie’s life and hides her in the airport that he calls home.
The relationship between R and Julie isn’t the steamy, torrid affair that most romances are made out to be. Julie is at first appalled by what R is and R is mostly intrigued by this girl that represents the life he once knew. The two form a timid friendship that slowly blossoms into a deep and heartfelt connection as they fight against both, a terrifying, rotting army of cruel skeletons and what is left of the military hellbent on destroying all zombies.
Warm Bodies is not simply a story of the bleak future of the world to come. It’s a story of tentative love and of having hope during a time when it seems like there is none to be had. I highly recommend this book to everyone. It’s a quick read and one that will stay with you for quite some time afterwards. Warm Bodies will make you appreciate what you have in the world and will make you think and even laugh. Yes, there are descriptions of blood, gore and brain-eating but quite honestly, if you have watched a bloody horror film, you’ll be able to handle the “gore” in this book....more