Book 2 in the Ashes series Either I've forgotten how gory the first book is, or this book is even more gory. It is definitely very tragic, extremely blBook 2 in the Ashes series Either I've forgotten how gory the first book is, or this book is even more gory. It is definitely very tragic, extremely bloodthirsty and harsh. Prior warning- characters will get murdered and tortured in the most horrific ways.
Alex has to be one of the toughest heroines I have ever known. She has some serious survival skills, and an unwavering determination to overcome any obstacle, whether enemy, illness or injury.
This is quite a traumatic story. Nevertheless I loved this book, and I just love this series. These character's hardships and struggle to survive, to bond together and strive to find each other again in a world gone to hell made such a compelling and emotional read for me.
Most of this book is told from different perspectives, as different characters travel their own journeys toward each other again. There are so many layers to the book, and so many turns in the story, that you never know where it's going to take you next, and it has such a compelling cast of characters that you really root for.
After THAT shocking cliffhanger ending in Ashes I was dying to get ahold of this next book, and it didn't disappoint- I was gripped. But there is another shocking and dramatic cliff-hanger, and it's a long wait to book 3!
I know now that Ilsa Bick's books are real character driven page-turners, and this author is an auto-buy for me. ...more
There has been a deluge of dystopian YA fiction lately, and although I still LOVE it and want to read more- sometimes these worlds and stories all staThere has been a deluge of dystopian YA fiction lately, and although I still LOVE it and want to read more- sometimes these worlds and stories all start to blend together in my head. However, Crewel is a completely unique take on a fantasy futuristic world, and so different from anything else, that it really stands out.
It is based on the idea that the world around the characters is woven and created by a group of women called Spinsters, who have developed the unique power of "weaving" the world around them. Everything can be controlled on the looms from the amount of rainfall, to the growth of trees and plants, and if an area shows signs of rebellion- it can be destroyed with one rip.
For the first quarter of the book or so I was a bit confused and baffled as I struggled to get my head around the concepts in the book. The world building was sometimes a little bit complex and you need to be paying attention to understand it, but that complexity and depth of description also meant that it felt very impressive and very convincing. The whole atmosphere of the book begins to feel more dangerous and menacing as we begin to discover more about the Spinsters and their power along with main character Adelice.
Adelice has been raised in a quiet and inconspicuous sector of Arras, living a poor but happy life with her parents and her sister. Her mother had been aware of Adelice's power from an early age, and had been trying to teach Adelice to conceal it, so that when it came time to be tested- she wouldn't have to join the Spinsters. But Adelice's power is exceptionally strong, and she finds that she can weave time and matter easily- even without the loom.
I really enjoyed discovering this exceptional world along with Adelice, as she gets deeper and deeper into the heart of the power of this corrupt and dangerous world, and learns more about the truth of the Spinsters. She is a very determined and head-strong girl, and not afraid to stand up to her superior Maela when she sees something she thinks is wrong, although she is sometimes a little naive because of her sheltered upbringing.
Some of the characters seem pretty evil- the kind of bad guys who believe that they are doing what is right and good, but there is a brilliant cast of a range of different characters. One of my favourite characters is gruff servant Jost and his story, and the friendship and attraction that gradually develops between him and Adelice.
This story is imaginative and thrilling. There are subplots of love and betrayal, and I liked that you could never guess which direction the story was going to take next. Beautifully written, multi-layered and completely surprising- a must read for fans of sci-fi or dystopia.
-------------------------------------------------------- More of my reviews can be found on my blog- Always Lost in Stories
I really enjoyed The Selection for it's fun and originality. It's like a futuristic Cinderella with elements of reality television.
It is set in a socI really enjoyed The Selection for it's fun and originality. It's like a futuristic Cinderella with elements of reality television.
It is set in a society where your place in life is determined by your social status or caste. Everyone is a number based on rank, and this restricts who can marry, and what kinds of jobs you can do. The Selection, to choose a new queen, could only occur once a generation. The royal prince will choose a bride from out of the general population, so for many girls it is the only chance they have to leave the caste they were born into. America is probably the only eligible girl who doesn't want to picked for the selection, but is coerced into it by her ambitious mother. When she accidentally finds herself one of the shortlisted girls sent to live at the palace, she decides to come clean to the Prince- admit that she's there by mistake, and offers to be an ally- giving him the inside scoop on the other girls, and spying on the gossip. America is really only there to make the best of the situation she is in, the break from her hard-working normal life, and to enjoy the good food, but her attitude and honesty is so refreshing to the prince, that he comes to really enjoy her easy company and to value her friendship.
This book has (rather unfairly) been compared to The Hunger Games. While there are a few similarities in some ways, It isn't a thing like this book really.
Similarities to The Hunger Games The dystopian setting. The fact that the main character comes from a poor background and already has a secret boyfriend back home. The fact that the whole thing is televised to a nation that is impoverished. That people are actually numbered by class. The dressing up in new elegant dresses, the interviews. The need to "put on a show". The elimination of characters one by one- there can only be one winner. The main character is acting a greater degree of romance than she feels to help her survive the contest. She is still unsure of her true feelings.
I don't know at the moment if I am Team Aspen because they have such a history together, and a real sense of belonging together- or if I am Team Maxon because I loved his genuine down-to-earth personality. He has a real ease and friendliness with everybody, and a real determination to do the right thing and to be the best that he can be. He is a real gentleman and so sweet. America is a great character who is stubborn and determined to do things her own way- even if she's breaking the rules. She is very clever, manipulating her mother, but also earns the respect of the girls at the palace by her brilliant playing of music. She earns the respect of the maids in the palace by treating them like valued human beings, and she earns Maxim's respect with her honest and un-fake character. Ultimately, I really feel for America and the choice that she has to make. I enjoyed the harsh world of the book, with a hint of a war outside, and a rebellion- but especially America's new life within the palace, learning new rules and codes of conduct. She finds that even with rich food, and luxurious surroundings they are in constant danger of attack, and life in the palace is not an easy life. She starts to appreciate exactly what Maxim has to deal with on a daily basis. I also really liked the relationship between the girls. Some of them form a real bond, and feel that they will be sisters forever no matter what happens, but there is also some bitchiness and back-stabbing between the girls. Some of the girls also seem more interested in winning the crown than in winning Prince Maxon. This was such a sweet, but emotional read. I loved it, but I have taken off a star because of the incredibly unsatisfying unresolved ending. This was very frustrating to me, but the bulk of the book moved at a good pace, and kept me desperate to read more to see what would happen next. I especially liked the development of America's friendship with Maxon, born out of unusual circumstances, and America's stubborn character. ...more
In the first book in the series I actually loved how closed off the action of this book is. Set in frightening dysBook 2 in the Chemical Garden series
In the first book in the series I actually loved how closed off the action of this book is. Set in frightening dystopian world, the focus was all on this clutch of characters trapped together in a large luxurious house.
Fever shows us a much wider picture of the society, and the extent of the despair of the outside world, as Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the house and try to make their way back to New York to hunt for Rhine's brother. Because we gradually get to find out more about this dystopian society as part of such an exciting adventure along with Rhine and Gabriel, as they see it, I actually ended up loving this book just as much as the first, but for totally different reasons.
The world outside the mansion is dangerous and hard and the people are bleak and deceitful. The first hint of civilisation they stumble across is a carnival rife with prostitutes and drugs. Unlike in book 1 which was very enclosed within the house, we see a much wider segment of society, and see news speeches that hint at darker times still to come.
The story is dangerous, harsh and moves at quite a fast pace, but they never lose the sense that they are racing against time (their own short body clocks), or that they are still being pursued by Linden's sinister father. It is a very disturbing and dramatic book, but I love the emotions that power it, and cheering on the strong-willed characters as they struggle to survive.
It is also a very clever book, with some unexpected revelations, and twists that you would never predict. I love the descriptive, lyrical prose that felt almost dreamlike (nightmarish?). It flows very easily as well, making it a real page turner, and really gripping you in this story, feeling the anxiety, confusion and fear right along with these characters.
Fever is your typical middle book in the series- advancing the story along without resolving anything, but I love this series and am looking forward to reading book 3. ...more
The idea behind this story is so creepy. I don't know if anyone is familiar with the Joss Whedon TV show Doll House- but it was a lot like that. ThereThe idea behind this story is so creepy. I don't know if anyone is familiar with the Joss Whedon TV show Doll House- but it was a lot like that. There is a secret facility where the very rich can pay to be transported into a young beautiful body via a computer link, a chair, and a bunch of wires hooked to your brain! The elderly population use this technology to "rent" the body of a desperate young person, so that they can party, and feel young again, while the teenager's mind waits in a comatose state, until the contract time is up. This is a post-apocalyptic novel, as most of the population have been wiped out by a virus, the only survivors being those who were immunised in time- the elderly (Enders) and the children (Starters). Now talk about your generation gap- neither generation understands the other, and Enders and Starters both resent the other. Only those children lucky enough to have an older relative to support them get any help at all. There is a strong attitude of "those no-good kids" and "those selfish greedy Enders". Callie and her little brother, and their friend Michael, are living in a squat with nothing, and risk being mugged if they go outside. In a fit of desperation when they get evicted from their only home, Callie agrees to undergo the proceedure, as it will earn her and her brother enough money to live on for a good while. But she is in for a shock, as Callie wakes up in her body weeks before she is supposed to with a gun in her possession, and a suspicion that her renter might be an assassin using her body to commit murder! She has to struggle to pretend to be her renter as she tries to figure out what is going on. This is a harsh world, with extremes of rich and poor, but a corrupt power system that is having an effect on the families of both the rich and the poor. I loved that there was always something happening, always some new twist that threw everything else into a new perspective. Starters is shocking, creepy, and even though it's a fururistic sci-fi, the world building is amazing. This book was so gripping- an exciting emotional thriller from start to finish- I loved it.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the review copy....more