To be completely honest I'm surprised that this series finale didn't disappoint me. Not in the slightes...more[Review to be posted on my blog tomorrow.]
To be completely honest I'm surprised that this series finale didn't disappoint me. Not in the slightest. I remember that Delirium was the very first book that I read for review through Netgalley. It proposed an original and somewhat fluffy dystopian concept, but more importantly it was written by Lauren Oliver -- I had just recently read her debut novel Before I Fall, which I was highly impressed with, both for its story progression and writing style. Even now, three years after I've read my first Oliver book her writing and talent continues to amaze me. I'm not going to say this book was perfect but it was a constant rollercoaster ride, entertaining; full of twists and turns that seems to come with the dystopian genre; it tied up the series well, and it was full of emotion and yet more lovely quotes.
Requiem is told in two perspectives: Lena and her best friend Hana who she had left behind in Portland. I haven't read any of the short stories so perhaps my viewpoint isn't entirely informed, but I loved that Oliver chose to include Hana's point of view as we don't know what had happened to her after Lena escaped. The writing style is uniformly good. I adore the way Oliver writes. At times it was a bit hard to differentiate the two voices since I found them to be a little bit similar, but I don't really have any complaints.
The story progressed at a satisfyingly constant and steady pace. There was a good balance between moments of emotion and reflection, and action. I'm actually surprised by how satisfied I am by the way Oliver ends the series. It's not completely closed-off, there is definitely potential for a follow-up, but I actually prefer a tiny bit of ambiguity (though everything is answered, it just feels like there could be more). There wasn't really any point in the book where I felt bored or overwhelmed with too much dialogue or explanation or description. I felt that it was all very well balanced.
Character-wise, I still like Lena, and I liked getting to know Hana all over again. The way that Oliver intertwines their stories (which is expected, considering the dual perspective) is clever, poignant and drives home the difference between Society and the Wilds, how a little time away can change people and split people apart. Lena is even more headstrong in this book; but despite that she is still a young girl in love, torn between a great man and her first love who introduced her to this new life. Hana has been cured and is promised to the mayor's son; she is perfectly content with his position until she discovers something about her fiance... I can't wait to read her short story. I find her to be an interesting character and I want to know more about what happened to her after Lena escaped. The exploration and development of their friendship is so bittersweet and deeply resonates in me personally. I think anyone can relate to that horrible drifting apart from a friend that you once loved so much.
Alex... Julian... I never really jumped aboard a ship, I guess, until Oliver chose for me. They both have their moments, with Lena. Alex was the Invalid who brought her to this world, who introduced her to life outside of Zombieland. I still remember every moment they've shared, and I think their development was more dramatic, therefore making it more favourable and memorable in my heart. Julian was this big, prominent political figure back in Zombieland; Lena saved his life and brought him to the Wilds. She taught him what it was to love, to feel supported and safe and wreckless, fearless, free. While love triangles don't always sit right with me I wasn't too bothered with this one. Couldn't really tell you the reason why, though.
As for the other characters, such as Raven and Tack, Hunter and Bram, Coral, Pippa... Lena's mum... all fairly memorable and likeable. Even Coral, who I disliked for the majority of the story, grew on me. Lauren Oliver has this way of tapping into the core of the human spirit and imbued each of them with something real. I'm not very good at visually representing characters, so I guess they're vaguely drawn in my mind, but I think that they will stick with me for a while yet.
It's possible that Requiem is my favourite in the trilogy, though I found the whole series to be thrilling and wholly enjoyable. Lauren Oliver can do no wrong in my eyes. This one is definitely on my to-reread list, and I can't wait to read Panic as well as The Spindlers (which managed to escape me upon its release), as well as many more of her works to come in the future. The concept of this imagined dystopian world--what if love were a disease?--may seem a bit arbitrary, elementary, ridiculous. However, Oliver touches on important and relevant themes, such as sacrifice, love, the price of power and control, the importance of choice, humanity, life, death.(less)
I started reading this book via Netgalley, but I don't want to read this one on a computer screen. (I should just stop requesting on Netgalley until I...moreI started reading this book via Netgalley, but I don't want to read this one on a computer screen. (I should just stop requesting on Netgalley until I get some sort of e-reader because reading on the computer is just too much.) It's over 400 pages, so I'll grab a copy of the book and read it in my own time. :)(less)
I don't even know what I think of the way this series ended. I don't even know how to talk about this book without spoilers...
I have NEVER read a book or seen/followed a story where THAT happened. Like, that's one of the biggest taboos in storytelling, right? Who does that? Veronica Roth, why????? I can't even rant because I know I'm going to get all spoilery...
So I'll talk about something else then.
* Tobias addresses his parental issues and finally comes to terms with it all = good, I thought a few moments with Evelyn at the end were a bit contrived and forced, but heartfelt and nice all the same.
* Grief is a major theme in this book. I expected to feel a whole lot more emotional considering how much it is addressed and really pressed forth. But. If you look back, a lot of people did die... and it's kind of like, only now in Allegiant do you really find out what they died for.
* The strain in Caleb and Tris's relationship I thought was very well portrayed/represented. Looking at it this angle I kind of understand and appreciate the angle that Veronica Roth took, but still... just... pfft.
* I like that the end of this book kind of works as a bookend, the end reflects the beginning (of the series).
* I like the breakdown of the factions... that each faction has their good and bad points.
* The dual perspectives = both a good and bad thing. I liked that we were offered both points of view on the new community, the world, etc, etc. and it does reflect how their relationship develops. But. Their voices were almost identical (in my opinion).
* Pacing was pretty good
* Writing style + prose = on par with the other books... some really nice quotes here and there, but otherwise straight-forward prose
No rating yet as I have absolutely no idea how to rate this book. My feelings are still all over the place.
2.5/5? Somewhere from 2-3/5... I was just disappointed.(less)
Was definitely expecting something illustrated, considering the cover treatment of PLAIN KATE. It could be worse. I kind of like that it seems to fit...moreWas definitely expecting something illustrated, considering the cover treatment of PLAIN KATE. It could be worse. I kind of like that it seems to fit the description of the book and includes one aspect of the story (knotting). There's an unsuspecting creepiness of the cover. It's so subtle you could miss those arms that seem to be creeping their way to the girl. And the blue draws the eyes in towards the girl. Whenever I see something like I think of Charmed. Honestly, no idea.
But Plain Kate/Wood Angel was such an astonishingly good book that I just would NOT be able to miss this release. (Though the absence of Taggle will be sorely missed in Bow's upcoming book.)(less)
Anyone else feel like the ending was way too quick? Despite that, I LOVED this book. I got more out of it than I honestly thought I would.
JUST ONE DAY is a story about getting lost and then being found. It's about bravery and discovering help in the most unlikely places. It's about change, about definitions on life and its various aspects; there is something deeply romantic about the way this book was written. Not just that at its core it's a story about love. It just whisked me away such that I became as invested in the WHERE we were as well as the WHAT was going on.
[NOTE: I bought this book, so I don't feel as obligated to go all out with a review, but in some cases, if the book left enough of an impression on me I will make the effort. So I'll eventually finish this review. :P]
+ The way the book is split up, and also Forman's decision to have one book in Ally's perspective and the next in Willem's. This time that was actually picked up first go.
+ The places!
+ The Shakespeare! I was surprised by how big a part him and his work played in this book. I didn't read any summaries before reading. All I knew was something about just one day... so yeah. Kind of cool how Shakespeare kind of pops his head in every step of the way.
+ An epic (+...) journey of self-discovery and (redemption?) I like that Forman made a point of it, that Allyson isn't just doing this to find the guy. She's also trying to find the girl she was on that day, and also who she is and what she's going to do in the future and all that stuff... blah.
+ The characters! AAHHHHHHH!!! Ally meets lots of people, and yet somehow a good chunk of them had a level of depth to them. Some we didn't get to know too well (like her roommates). I liked Dee and Wren and the teacher and also to an extent Celine.
~ The formatting (?). I'm not sure if it was just the edition that I bought but there are so many typos! And grammatical errors that seem to have only have been made because a word was ommitted, or something was added in when it shouldn't have been. Eg. "Blah blah," __ said." The actual writing style was fine. Those slip-ups were just jarring.
~ That ending. Of course, it's only the middle, ain't it?
Compared to ~ Wanderlove (Kirsten Hubbard), Anna and the French Kiss (Stephanie Perkins) & If I Stay/Where She Went (also by Gayle Forman)(less)
I like the continuity of it (window shot) from the first book but that is NOT Willem. I'm pretty sure he's blonde... Hard to tell if the same mo...moreCover!
I like the continuity of it (window shot) from the first book but that is NOT Willem. I'm pretty sure he's blonde... Hard to tell if the same model for Allyson was used. I'm sure it is though. Eh. I kind of just wanted to see Willem on it but it makes more sense to see the both of them together like that.
'Just One Year' follows on from 'Just One Day' and is written in the POV of Willem.
I liked the continuing themes of losing & finding oneself, adventure and discovery. Willem tended to be a bit of a pain at times, but it was never unbearable for me. His indecision and longing for something that he can't quite comprehend was both somehow realistic and frustrating. I like how many of the events that occurred in 'Just One Day' make a reappearance in this sequel; it's nice to know how much that one day mattered to Willem, even if he's not 100% sure what it all means to him for a majority of the story.
What really brought this book down for me was the ending. Without going into any detail it just felt rushed, forced and completely out of the blue. There was no build-up to it, no tension, no real reasoning behind WHY things ended up the way they did. (view spoiler)[They don't explain how Lulu/Alyson made her way to Willem, and WHY, why after all this time? And where is the message, the lesson, the reward for coming to this conclusion? I actually felt a bit cheated. This ending just felt a bit cop-out-y to me, like yeah, we DESERVE a happy ending, but there are missing pieces that make the ending feel incomplete. (hide spoiler)]
Characters were okay. None of them stood out or spoke out to me, so I couldn't feel a deeper connection to the story. However, characters that I favoured include Max and Yael and (can't remember his name, but the kid who picks him up in India). Maybe a few others... but the point is I just didn't care about a vast majority of the people that Willem meets.
On one hand, I'm glad that Forman had written a sequel to 'Just One Day'. I'm not completely satisfied with the results, but it was nice to get some closure and also see from Willem's point of view and get inside his head. I'm still a huge fan of Forman and can't wait to read what she's going to write next.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Edit: Wait. What? What?! WHAT?!!??!?! Do you mean to tell me this is going to be the final...more#1 (draft "review" written below)
Woop woop! Must have! :D
Edit: Wait. What? What?! WHAT?!!??!?! Do you mean to tell me this is going to be the final cover? What the hell! This seriously looks like an ARC cover. Just, why? Why ruin a good thing? Seriously, I'm starting to just not consider even buying this book now. I'll just check it out at the library, because this? Does not deserve to go on my shelves. :P
Maybe if the PB is any better, but I'm still hugely disappointed by this. These publishers just keep on making really dumb marketing mistakes - STOP CHANGING COVER STYLES HALF-WAY THROUGH A SERIES!
It just doesn't match! I'll admit that the cover isn't even THAT bad. It just does not match. It does not match it does not match it does not match.
...Who am I kidding? I'm still going to buy this book. How can I not? This is one of my favourite series, despite the fact that I am not a sci-fi fan, Beth Revis never ceases to amaze me with every single reveal. We should all cross our fingers that Razorbill releases a special edition (like with Delirium) so that people can have the complete set.
#3 [DRAFT "REVIEW" -- WRITTEN AFTER READING SHADES OF EARTH
All I want to do right now is tell you how wonderful this book is, how it was everything I wanted--needed--and more. All I want to do is tell you everything about it, but that it's infinitely better for all of us that I say nothing specific at all. I hate to give hype to books (though I do it more than I feel I should) but seriously, give in to the hype! My eyes are dead tired now, firstly because I've been reading this book on and on for the past 28~ hours (I'm a hell of a slow reader, especially since I have to take breaks regularly) and because I've teared up massively. I can't recall the last time I cried in a book so damn much!
If you loved Across the Universe and A Million Suns... or even if you thought they were okay or just pretty good... Shades of Earth just blew all that away. They're off over at Centuri-Earth right now--that's how far this book has blasted them away. SO GOOD! My mind is still reeling. I'm just gobsmacked by the genius mastermind crazy pair of glasses behind this series. Thank you a million times over, Beth. 2013 is a year of finishing trilogies, for me at least. Next up is the Divergent trilogy, and Requiem and Promised and...
All I'm going to say about the actual book is that half the people aboard Godspeed make it to Centuri Earth. Danger ensues.
(view spoiler)[I'm not 100% sure about that ending, that last chapter. I was hoping for it SO badly but it felt somehow cop-out-y. Cheap. I'll have to go back and see if it explains everything. I find it funny that although Elder seemed so bent-out to die that he even somehow found a way to mess THAT up. Oh, that Elder. :P Even so, I would have feared for Amy's sanity had the emergency shuttle contained Elder's body in it, somehow. I'm expecting Beth to give us some sort of epilogue-y type of e-book novella thingy. Bleh. It's 2.30 am. I can't be expected to write in proper English... (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Well doesn't this strike a familiarity cord? Sounds kind of cool. Not liking the love triangle aspect, but every once in a while an author is able to...moreWell doesn't this strike a familiarity cord? Sounds kind of cool. Not liking the love triangle aspect, but every once in a while an author is able to pull it off. We'll see...(less)
Avry sacrificed her life when she decided to heal Prince Ryne. She shouldn't be alive, but she is. Everyone thinks she's dead, and her surprise appearance at the oncoming war could ensure victory against Tohon's army. Avry joins the army in disguise to train the ally soldiers to silently move through the forest. Meanwhile Kerrick is on a certain mission and comes face to face with his worst nightmares...
Scent of Magic is the sequel to Touch of Power and as far as sequels go it does fairly well. The main element that I found so great in Touch of Power (the camaraderie of that tight-knit group) was sorely lacking in Scent of Magic. However, Snyder really went all out-- really, none of these characters that you've grown to love are safe. Tohon's army is growing stronger and larger and war is looming closer.
Avry remains an amazing protagonist, strong and determined even in the face of grief, adversity and confusion. She never gives up. During her time with the army, she re-unites with her sister who is less-than thrilled to see her and yet we eventually see the hardness in her crack just a little bit. I liked that Snyder gave more focus on her sister and what she's had to go through. Avry feels such a sense of duty to keep what little family she has left safe and this is part of what drives her to keep fighting.
"You're not going to give up, are you?" "No. Because the old Noelle isn't dead. Far from it. She's hiding inside and I plan to coax her out." "Don't bother." She stabbed her blade into my stomach. Caught off guard, I stumbled back. ..."How about now? Give up?" Despite the burning pain eating through my guts, I met her gaze. "No." (159)
Avry and Kerrick separate. Part of the push that kept me reading was the ongoing question of Will they ever reunite? Both Avry and Kerrick face extreme dangers, and nothing is certain. Their relationship is so very sweet and I've rooted for them from the beginning, right from the moment when Kerrick and the gang save Avry from her execution. I just feel like their chemistry and banter have been spot-on from the get-go. The idea that either one won't make it kept me on the alert. Scent of Magic is split up into two perspectives (Avry, Kerrick), which I liked very much as it provided a fuller experience than if we just had one perspective and the other character absent for the majority of the book.
The writing is as you can expect from Snyder: descriptive, atmospheric and always with a mix of steady pacing and action-packed sequences. The realms are on the brink of war, so of course there is a lot of war-related discussion, strategising and planning. I will admit these parts threw me off. The sheer amount of it can throw you for a loop if you're not concentrating. Despite that, the fast-paced parts were impeccably written and the dialogue between familiar characters and new characters is consistent and unique.
Scent of Magic is a heavy sequel, laden with separations and reunions, joy and fear and heartache. Snyder kept me on my toes the whole time- I could not have guessed how things would turn out! Strength and courage reign in this second installment of the Healer trilogy. The characters are simply unforgettable. This book ended on a cliffhanger and so I impatiently await the arrival of the final book in this series with wary anticipation.
"'I'm dead,' I said to Kerrick. He kept his flat expression, and I knew I'd get more co-operation from the cave's stone walls. Too bad for him that I didn't need his approval. But it would be nice if we worked out an agreement at least."
p. 200 ('We're lovers.')
p. 330 (Blech face)
Review copy was provided to me by Harlequin Teen Australia. Scent of Magic released in January 2013.(less)