It's been really hard to write this review because every time I try to collect my thoughts all that comes to mind is: OMG THIS BOOK WAS FREAKEN AWESOM...moreIt's been really hard to write this review because every time I try to collect my thoughts all that comes to mind is: OMG THIS BOOK WAS FREAKEN AWESOME AND EVERYONE IN THE WORLD SHOULD READ IT!
I could just leave it at that but I expect you all want a little more :)
For me, Human .4 was like an ultimate 'what if' sci-fi adventure. (view spoiler)[ What if humans are only important and useful as massive electronic data processers? What if our brains function at a capacity, not set by biology or evolution but by design? Someone else's design. What if we could and have all been upgraded, countless times and what if some people just don't make the cut - forever lost and forgotten as obsolete hardware? (hide spoiler)]
Mike Lancaster has asked and answered all of these questions and together they make for a truly enjoyable, exciting and not a little terrifying read.
Final verdict: A fantastic debut! Can't wait to see what else Mike has in store for us. Defiantly an author to keep your eye on.
If you're a fan of science fiction, if you're a fan of technology and implausible, but none the less, awesome scenarios then you'll love Human .4.
A quick, short read that contains everything I love about science fiction writing. The unknown, the impossible and most importantly, the unavoidable 'what if'. Just what if it were all true…
Dystopian stories are all over the place these days. I for one couldn't be happier. As far as dystopian tales go, Awaken was a pretty good one but at...moreDystopian stories are all over the place these days. I for one couldn't be happier. As far as dystopian tales go, Awaken was a pretty good one but at the same time, I had a few issues with it's world.
The youth of Awaken don't attend brick and mortar schools. Everything has done digital. And it's not just the kids, daily day to day life has progressed to the point where less and less people interact with each other face to face. It's actually a pretty believable future. Digital is cheaper and in the case of Awaken, it could be safer.
The issues I had with Awaken have to do with the rules that govern it's society. All schools are digital and most communication is done over computers. Our protagonist Maddie is under a sort of house arrest. She caused some trouble for her father who is the head of the very powerful company that started Digital School. So, there is a second layer of isolation for her. She doesn't have face to face friends and she doesn't get outside much but it seems like she could if she wanted to? It wasn't really clear and in fact she does spend a large amount of time outside her house with really little to no consequences so I was confused.
In one of these out of the house experiences, Maddie meets this guy Justin, who's only interest in her is her connections. Her father is powerful and Maddie could be helpful to Justin's cause. What is his cause? Well, at times if felt like borderline terrorism. His people are fighting Digital School - they feel it's dangerous for people to have no real interaction with each other. They rescue people who have broken the law and 'save them' and help them get off the grid so to speak and live a real life.
Ok..but...well...the problem, for me, was that this digital world didn't actually feel very dangerous. People still could, and did meet in person. There are coffee shops and live music and Maddie herself plays soccer and there is no government saying you can't do that or we'll arrest you. A lot of people don't want to interact face to face and in this society they really don't have to. If very much felt like a choice. Maddie hasn't really had much exposure to 'real' life but she's a special case. Most people it seemed had a choice.
So Digital School is bad and I never really found out why exactly. But people are fighting against it. And Maddie could be the key to it all if she betrays her father again and helps destroy all that is digital but I was never really sure what it was that she could do other then steal from her father. And really, couldn't anyone figure out how to do that? And Justin, this guy, who only wants her for what she could do for his 'cause'? Of course they fall for each other but for me, It was way to unrealistic to be enjoyable.
Final verdict: As dystopian stories go, I would not rank Awaken among the top. As romance stories go, Awaken is way down on the list of my favorites - or rather, it doesn’t really make the list. Another take on the 'what if's' of our present society but without the believability or the actual danger everyone seems so afraid of. I would be hard pressed to recommend Awaken to fans of dystopian YA but as always, I encourage you to make your own decision. (less)
Not really sure how I feel about this one. I can't say that I really liked it but I didn't think it was a horrible book. If I had to sum it up in one...moreNot really sure how I feel about this one. I can't say that I really liked it but I didn't think it was a horrible book. If I had to sum it up in one word it would be 'unrealistic'. Well, duh, you might be saying. It's a dystopian novel, isn't there suppose to be some level of implausibility? Maybe, but with Water Wars, it wasn't the dystopian aspects that I took issue with.
Take away the fact that humans have abused the planet to such an extent that there is almost no fresh drinking water left. There were wars and there are new countries and territories and everything just plain sucks for just about everyone. But then we have Vera. She starts telling us a story - a story of how things were before. But her story? Doesn't make any sense at all to me. Her and her brother Will meet a kid and then he disappears and they figure out where he is - only they don't - they just go wondering around and then they just happen to be kidnapped, only they weren't because their kidnappers are nice and without really spending any time together, they form some type of bond with their leader. And then, they just happen to find themselves in the middle of an attack, and they are kidnapped again but these guys really are bad guys.
It continues this way for the entire book. They get hurt, they find people, they lose people, they just happen to run into the only people who could possibly help them at exactly the right moments. They travel 1000 of miles in a few days, following nothing, finding everything and make it back home for dinner - and oh yeah - they save the world too.
I didn't buy it. I wanted to. I wanted to believe Vera and Will's story but it just didn't add up to much of anything. They were too lucky, and they really didn’t do anything but in the end all is well. I was confused.
Final verdict: I liked the premise. I liked the dystopian feel . I liked the fact that the people where dying for water. It's plausible. We are abusing the earth. We are wasting what we should be preserving. But, if we were ever to actually find our selves in the situations Vera and Will did? Our story should not play out as theirs did. I know I keep saying this but it just didn’t make sense to me. Maybe I just didn't get it.
I urge you to give it a go for yourselves. The flaws I found are really just my opinions. Where I see unrealistic situations, you might see exciting adventures. Where I struggling to make a connection to Vera, Will or any of the other characters I felt were just throw into the mix without real cohesion, you might see a spirited group of strong individuals, fighting together for what they believe in.
If you do, I would love to hear about it.
I'm filing Water Wars in the, not for me but I can see how others might love it, file. (What, you don't have one of those? :)
I was: very, very happy I read it, even though contemporary tales usually aren't my thing.
My thoughts: One of the first things that struck me about Au...moreI was: very, very happy I read it, even though contemporary tales usually aren't my thing.
My thoughts: One of the first things that struck me about Audition is the fact that it is written in verse. One of the second things that struck me was the fact that, even if pages 3 - 458 were written in braille, I would have found a way to finish it. That's all it took - about 2 pages in and I knew I wouldn't be putting this book down any time soon.
I should probably stop saying that contemporary fiction really isn't my thing because time and time again, I have found myself really enjoying a non paranormal young adult book. Maybe my view of contemporary stories has been skewed by adult literature. Nay sayers be damned, I have yet to find a purely contemporary 'adult' book that I've liked more then the handful of YA contemps that I've read.
But I digress.
Audition is the story of a young girl trying to find her place in the world. She believes that studying ballet and moving away from everything she has ever known is the right thing to do. We, as readers find out that she is right but she is also very wrong. Audition is a journey with a lot of possible destinations. Not knowing now Sara's journey was going to end really brought life into the story for me.
Have to say, as much as I did enjoy the story. I wasn't too keen on some of the characters. Most notably Remington. I don't think I ever liked him. His relationship with Sara always felt a little wrong. Maybe it was the age difference, maybe it was because it was suppose to feel wrong. I'm not sure but, overall, he really didn’t' do anything for me.
Sara on the other hand was a character I felt fully attached to. Her world and her dreams are so removed from anything I have ever even thought about doing in my life but somehow I still felt a very strong connection to her. I cared about her as a person so that pretty much equals a really great read.
Final verdict: A book I might not have picked up on my own. I will forever be grateful to Stasia for offering me a copy because now, not only do I have a fantastic new author on my radar, I have the satisfaction of carrying Sara's story around with me for quite some time. (less)
First off - have to get it out of the way -- "Holy Cliff Hanger Batman!"
The story was pretty much over and there was some wrapping up to do, which I l...moreFirst off - have to get it out of the way -- "Holy Cliff Hanger Batman!"
The story was pretty much over and there was some wrapping up to do, which I liked, and then….wham! Seriously?! What the hell was that!?
With all the things that bug me in YA lit (love triangles and vampires that sparkle instead of kill to name a few) you would think I would also hate cliff hangers, right? They are kind of mean. Like the author is dangling book 2 in front of your face going "Oh, you want to know what happens next? Sucks to be you!" But no, I don't hate them. I personally think they are inspiring. Cliff hangers fully root a book into my brain. It stays with me. It lingers and when book 2 does come around, I am so ready! Even if I wasn't already really enjoying Wildefire by the end, those last couple of sentences did me in!
Aside from really digging the suspenseful ending, I absolutely loved Ashline. She is strong and she is determined and she never backs down - no nonsense and tough as nails. Characters like her really appeal to me. I felt invested in her story and I was routing for her. I love when this happens.
I also really loved Ash and her sister's back story as there is so much more there to explore. Also, I'm hoping we find out more about the other gods and goddesses. There is a lot going on and I'm not sure who to believe yet. The mystery of it all really moved the story along.
Final verdict: With Wildefire, there wasn't one main thing that I loved about it. Rather, it was all the little pieces individually. If you were to take out any one element and drop it in another book it would still work for me. Ashline, I loved. The setting was believable and easy to envision. The supporting cast were original and pretty kick ass in their own respects. And the myth and mystery? Spot on. Love it.
The elements you'll find in Widlefire aren't ones you typically find in young adult novels these days and that, in my opinion, is a very good thing. It's more mythology then paranormal. More mystery then adventure. Wildefire has a lot more...well...just more. Every page was a pleasure to read and seriously, that cliff hanger was just...arg!
I highly recommend this one and I'm dying to get my hands on book 2!(less)
A short and sweet coming of age story with some pretty cool paranormal elements. I very much enjoyed this book. Told as a series of journal entries, a...moreA short and sweet coming of age story with some pretty cool paranormal elements. I very much enjoyed this book. Told as a series of journal entries, as a reader, we are treated to a few different characters and their POVs. I really liked this aspect of the book as It helped me feel connected to each character in a different way. Each journal entry was so personal - the core of each character was right there - I felt drawn into the story very quickly and even with it's short length, the power and strength of story was very well played out.
My favorite aspect of Griffin Rising is it's characters. In the world Griffin finds himself in, his life very easily could have turned out very different. I loved his interactions with Basil and it was uplifting to see how much they loved and took care of each other. Perhaps a little confusing when a new character, Katie, was added into the mix but it passed quickly as I got used to her voice and looked forward to seeing her take on Griffin, Basil and their strange life.
A quick read with lots of background details that kept me interested and a strong cast of characters that gave the story depth. A book I really think younger male readers would really enjoy.
I'm keeping my eye on Darby and I would definitely read more of her books in the future. (less)
I thought XVI was a dystopian novel and while I know some have described it as such, I an rather inclined to call it science fiction. Nina's world isn...moreI thought XVI was a dystopian novel and while I know some have described it as such, I an rather inclined to call it science fiction. Nina's world isn't anything like I could imagine our future becoming. Underage woman are treated as second class citizens, the government has complete control over everything and society is ruled by a strict class system. Perfect elements for a dystopian tale you might say but what was missing, for me at least, was the catalyst. There was some talk about the troubles of the past but it was hard for me to imagine people really changing so drastically from today.
As for characters. I can't say I really felt a strong connection to anyone in particular. I liked them all but sometimes they felt a little shallow. I understood why they did what they did but sometimes I was frustrated by their actions. Nina's sister in particular was a bit annoying. She's almost 12 and in a society where 16 year olds are labeled "sex-teens" she seemed very immature and naive about life. In fact, before her age was stated, I pegged her at around 6 or 7.
Even with all that said, I did very much enjoy XVI. The story is very original and I'm hoping Julie will continue to write because, as a debut, XVI has left me wondering what else is lurking around her imagination :)
Final verdict: A young adult book like none I've ever read before. If you're looking for something new with a dystopian (or in my opinion, science fiction) feel to it, I think you will really like XVI.
Nina's world is a place of extremes where the government has an outrageous amount of control over it's citizens. In contrast to this is the overwhelming sense of love and devotion that not only Nina's family showed her but also her friends. I really liked that and I really enjoyed Nina's story. Not sure if XVI is part of a series but if it is, I'll be sure to pick up the next installment.
Angelfire was one of those books that literally didn't leave my hands until I was finished reading it. I was captivated by the story from the very beg...moreAngelfire was one of those books that literally didn't leave my hands until I was finished reading it. I was captivated by the story from the very beginning and it just got better and better the more I read.
I'm a sucker for angel stories. Always have been so I was pretty sure I was going to like Angelfire. What I wasn't expecting was the complexity of the story. Ellie's life, or I really should say, lives, lead to so much back story. So many layers to uncover and I loved how Ellie was as unaware of her past as I was. I loved the discovery of it all. Knowing there was so much more going on. It really was fascinating.
Now, I have to say, I don't often swoon over a male character in a YA book but Will? Oh my! He could protect me any day! And! It rarely happens that I find no fault in the romance aspect of a YA book but Angelfire was pretty spot on perfect to me!
Final verdict: A refreshing YA paranormal read. Having read an e-galley, I'm very much looking forward buying a shiny copy for my shelves.
So so glad this one's the first in a trilogy! I don't think I'll ever get tired of reading about Ellie and Will. Individually, they are both strong, powerful characters. Together? They are fierce! Angelfire is a book I can see myself reading for a second time. Not many books fall into that category :)
I highly recommend Angelfire to fans of YA paranormal stories. I think you'll be captivated as much as I was.
My thoughts: A zombie story unlike any other. A dystopian, steampunk world where the walking dead are just as likely to save your life as they are to e...moreMy thoughts: A zombie story unlike any other. A dystopian, steampunk world where the walking dead are just as likely to save your life as they are to eat you. I was captivated from page one and found it extremely heard to put this book down for even a minute. The futuristic Victorian setting, the unconventional romance, the secrets and mystery - I loved it all!
Dearly, Departed takes place in the year 2195 in New Victoria, somewhere in the southern hemisphere. Society is both high tech and rooted in the past. Young girls like Nora are expected to listen, smile and find a suitable husband that will do her family proud. Nora has other ideas. Especially after she discovers 'The Laz' - a deadly virus that has the nasty habit of bringing people back from the dead.
I really loved the zombies in this story. They are both typical and wholly original. When you die from The Laz you either return as a mindless drone attacking everything living in site, or...you don't. Some zombies are actually (almost) fully functioning people. Their nature and their upkeep was fascinating. So very different from other zombies books I have read.
Final verdict: There was so much of this book to love but I think my favorite part was it's characters. They hold secrets and they surprised me a couple of times and I could relate to them. Love when that happens!
There's a little something for a lot of different people here. The dystopian environment could stand on it's own, the steampunk aspect was just fun and really worked with the story and the zombies top everything off perfectly!
For fans of YA that are looking for something a bit different, a bit odd. Dearly, Departed was an excellent read for me and I absolutely can't wait for book 2!(less)
One of the things I loved best about Fury was the way in which the paranormal elements of the story were introduced. As a reader, I knew what was goin...moreOne of the things I loved best about Fury was the way in which the paranormal elements of the story were introduced. As a reader, I knew what was going on but the characters I was reading about didn't. I could scream at them all I wanted to 'not open that door' or to not 'run up those stairs' but in true horror movie fashion, they never listened. They were in the dark and even though their sleepy little Maine town was neck deep in some pretty freaky paranormal trouble, they never saw it coming.
The characters in Fury were interesting. Em is a pretty average high school girl - complete with flaws that most people, regardless of age, possess. We don't see much of Gabby, Em's best friend, even though she plays a huge part in what happens to Em. And the parts I did see of her, I didn't like much. It was hard to envision her and Em being as close as they say they are. But I could understand why they were friends. How they played off of each other and when it came down to it, they were there for each other. Zach is an ass and it got to me how neither Em or Gabby can see this about him. I also had some issues with what exactly happens (and doesn't happen) to him...but you'll have to read Fury for yourself to know what I'm talking about :)
There are a lot of other characters involved in the complex story behind the strangeness going on. I loved how every character has a purpose. Everyone was important and people were connected in ways that you didn't always see coming.
The entire concept of Fury was new and intriguing to me and once I really got into the story, I found it a hard book to put down. There were a bunch of unanswered questions for me and I'm really interested to find out what happens next.(less)
My thoughts: From the moment ARCs starting falling into eager reader's hands I have heard nothing but good things about Divergent. Lots of fangirl exci...moreMy thoughts: From the moment ARCs starting falling into eager reader's hands I have heard nothing but good things about Divergent. Lots of fangirl excitement, lots of people lost for words at how very excellent they thought this book was. The hype was (and still is) HUGE!
And you're wondering…..was it warranted? I say - "Oh hell yeah!"
I love this book. I love it for it's characters, for it's dystopian world, for it's emotion - both of love and of hate. Best of all, I love it for it's simplicity. Dystopian tales run the risk of being too messy. Too many factors at play at once with too many possibilities. Not so with Divergent. It's dystopian playground is clean and believable. The world is different from ours today but it's still very much our world. This makes the actions of each character vivid and real.
And the characters! I really did fall in love with every one of them. Very believable and very enjoyable to read. Especially Tris. She is just a strong person, both emotionally and, she discovers, physically as well.
Again though, it was the dystopian world that Veronica created that kept my attention. It's a little strange and pretty harsh but it makes sense. The rules that govern society are logical and the characters actions fit exactly into the molds they should fit into.
That's not to say there weren't any surprises because there were but they were very welcomed and enjoyable to read!
Final verdict: Divergent is a book that stays with you for a while after you turn that last page. I find myself wondering just what faction I would choose!
I'm very excited there will be more book in this series because I feel very invested in Tris's story and even though a lot of things were worked through in Divergent, there is the potential for a lot more to be told.
I highly recommend this book to fans of dystopian YA stories - I don't think you'll be disappointed. (less)