This book is AMAZING! I wish that it would've been around when I was a teenager so I would've had a strong female character to admire. Katniss Everdee...moreThis book is AMAZING! I wish that it would've been around when I was a teenager so I would've had a strong female character to admire. Katniss Everdeen is probably one of my favorite Young Adult literary characters now. Suzanne Collins made such a great contribution to the genre with the Hunger Games novels and I can't wait to see what she comes up with next!(less)
I did not intend to read this book right now. My TBR pile is huge, but somehow it sneaked into my hands. In the wee hours of the morning, I was on Twi...moreI did not intend to read this book right now. My TBR pile is huge, but somehow it sneaked into my hands. In the wee hours of the morning, I was on Twitter and was watching #YAKills and this book came up. I had it on my Nook, so I decided to check it out in order to follow the conversation. One hundred pages into the book, I realized that I was somewhat committed. I finished it 14 hours after starting it, despite working and chasing my spawn. Don't let the 4 stars fool you - it was a fantastic read, but I don't give 5 stars lightly.
Tally Youngblood is a young teenager who believes herself to be horrendously ugly. She is a prankster and looks forward to becoming a Pretty in order to be with her best friend Peris again. While counting down the final weeks until her cosmetic surgery that is required of all sixteen year olds, she meets Shay, another Ugly. Unlike Tally, Shay does not want to be Pretty. She wants to escape. Through Shay, Tally meets David. Then her world turns upside-down.
I couldn't put the book down, but I didn't really like the characters very much. I don't think I was supposed to like them. None of his characters are perfect, and Tally is sometimes downright distasteful. This book is one of those that skips over character development in order to move the plot along, which I can appreciate. However, each argument, betrayal, kiss, and sacrifice are essential contributions to the story. Nothing is done in this book without a reason and the finished product is a deliciously rich tale of teen rebellion. Westerfeld doesn't drag out events that could turn into quagmires and handles social issues quite nicely.
This book is great for older teens (and teens who will never grow old) who enjoy the post-apocalyptic and/or sci-fi/fantasy genres. Although I have books lined up, I have already started book 2, Pretties, to find out what happens next.(less)
This sequel to Uglies that goes on to examine current teen issues of starvation and cutting to heighten awareness in a world which they feel they have...moreThis sequel to Uglies that goes on to examine current teen issues of starvation and cutting to heighten awareness in a world which they feel they have no control over their own lives. It, too, is placed in a post-apocalyptic society in order to examine the practice from a different standpoint.
In Pretties, Tally Youngblood has sacrificed herself to become Pretty in order to find out if Maddy's cure will work. Since she has forgotten (or, perhaps, forgotten to care) about David, she falls in love with a fellow Pretty, Zane.
Westerfeld's story unfolds further in this book. The ties of love and friendship are strained even more, and the results of betrayal begin to catch up with his heroine.(less)
My discovery and devouring of Matched by Ally Condie was a happy accident. I was looking for a new audiobook on my library’s Overdrive account, and th...moreMy discovery and devouring of Matched by Ally Condie was a happy accident. I was looking for a new audiobook on my library’s Overdrive account, and this was checked out due to a smartphone glitch. I listened to it regardless, and was stunned by how quickly I fell in love with Cassia Reyes.
Cassia is not the typical dystopian heroine, but neither is Matched the typical dystopian young adult novel. In fact, I would rather classify it as “utopian”, but there aren’t enough of them to justify a new tag. But I digress. Cassia lives a perfect life, in a perfect Society, and just found out that her future husband will be someone that she already loves. However, something goes just a little wrong, and Cassia is suddenly facing something that she’s never faced before – choices.
I’ve seen reviewers give this book a lower rating because they said that it doesn’t have the strong feminine character or action that other dystopian novels, such as The Hunger Games, possess. I think it is an unfair analysis of the book because it’s not about the same thing. This book is not about fighting an violent and oppressive (on the surface) government; it is about a young girl who chooses to question everything she loves and holds dear after a series of very small things start to change her. Cassia Reyes is no Katniss Everdeen, but she has her own quiet strength that makes her ask questions when no one else does or will and give up the perfect life in the hopes of one day being able to choose something for herself. She is not fighting for her life, instead fighting for being able to choose what she wants it to be.
This is a great book for young teens to read because it demands that they ask themselves what is worth being safe and happy. I enjoyed it thoroughly, and I can’t wait to read Crossed.(less)
In Under the Never Sky, Veronica Rossi builds a thrilling and terrifying dystopian world in which she sets a story of two teenagers who are thrown tog...moreIn Under the Never Sky, Veronica Rossi builds a thrilling and terrifying dystopian world in which she sets a story of two teenagers who are thrown together after each loses what is held most dear. It is action-packed and will leave you breathless from the start.
The two unlikely teens are Aria, a Dweller who is framed and exiled to the Death Shop for a terrible crime while trying to reach her mother, and Perry, an Outsider with special talents who is searching for his kidnapped nephew while feeling the call of leadership. Circumstances force them to work together to accomplish their goals, which fate has woven together. The metamorphosis of their disgust and mistrust to love is a beautiful thing to watch unfold. The amazing and dangerous future that Rossi sets this in is so vivid and skillfully written that it makes the story that much more believable, despite being science fiction.
I usually avoid books that I know to be a romance unless it comes to me highly recommended, but I read Under the Never Sky without seeing what other reviewers were saying. I delved into the story with an open mind and found one of the most beautiful young adult romances that I have ever read. This book is sure to be a classic, and I cannot wait to read and experience it again.(less)
I've been wanting to read Wither for a long time, and it did not disappoint. Lauren DeStefano pulled me into Rhine's world where humanity is quickly d...moreI've been wanting to read Wither for a long time, and it did not disappoint. Lauren DeStefano pulled me into Rhine's world where humanity is quickly dying off, and left me with dozens of questions. I want to know what is lies and what is truth, concerning what Rhine has been told her entire life. I want to know the significance of her eyes. I want to know what happens to Linden, the man who she is forced to marry against her will. I want to know what happened to the rest of the world. I cannot wait to read Fever to see which, if any, of my questions are answered.
Crossed by Ally Condie is the highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestseller, Matched. In it, Cassia Reyes searches for her lost love in the dystopian, post-apocalyptic future United States. It is told from the alternating viewpoints of Cassia and Ky Markham. (You should probably stop reading right here unless you don't mind getting some Matched spoilers.)
Cassia walked away from the society's plans for her in order to search for Ky, who was taken to the Outer Provinces due to a decision she made. She goes to work camps and slaves away alongside Aberrations on her various assignments, hoping for any chance to find Ky. Ky himself is on a decoy farm in the Outer Provinces. He fights to stay alive though each march, air attack, and supply shortage so he can find a way to return to Cassia.
Ally Condie missed out on her sophomore slump with this novel. If anything, it was better than Matched. Cassia is no longer the indecisive, naive little girl that she was in the first book. She knows exactly what she wants, and she will stop at nothing to find the one she loves. The only hesitation she has is brought on by her memories with Xander. Ky loses some of his mystery (finally!) because having his point of view gives more insight into who he is as a character.
Although there was minimal action or major events in Crossed, the addition of more characters and secrets kept the story gripping and suspenseful. I was constantly wondering why each character wanted to find the Rising and if they were, perhaps, a Society agent. It is also revealed that Xander Carrow, Cassia's "match", has been holding some secrets of his own up his sleeve. I did not get nearly enough of him, but the next book in the trilogy, Reached, has been set up perfectly.
Overall, Crossed was a good book with rich characters, fascinating history of that future society, and enough mystery to keep me on board. I have become a much bigger fan of Ally Condie and cannot wait to find out how everything will play out in Reached.
*This is one of my reviews that have somehow slipped through the cracks and never got posted. Recently written reviews will still be done in the new style. This book was acquired from the local public library.(less)
Masque of the Red Death is Bethany Griffin's Gothic horror novel based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story, The Masque of the Red Death. It is classifi...moreMasque of the Red Death is Bethany Griffin's Gothic horror novel based on Edgar Allan Poe's short story, The Masque of the Red Death. It is classified as Young Adult.
Araby Worth's world has crumbled around her - literally. Not only has she and her family lost her twin brother, Finn, to the Weeping Sickness contagion three years previous to the events in the novel, but the disease is still running rampant in the city. Corpse collectors walk the streets every morning for the infected dead, and those who can afford it wear their masks constantly. Prince Prospero rules over the city with an iron fist, with whispers of revolution blowing through the streets. People are disappearing, churches are burning, and some even say that the world is ending.
I found Griffin's Masque of the Red Death to be a grotesquely beautiful reimagining of Poe's original work. It lost none of the aristocratic fallacy or nail-biting suspense that oozed from Poe's terrifying horror story. If nothing else, Griffin expanded upon it, giving depth to the faceless dancers at the original, damned masque. As its own body of work, Masque of the Red Death picked up some entirely new themes. The main one that stood out to me was the twin theme. One entity represented light and the other darkness, one embodied joy and the other melancholy, and so on. With the opposing twins, there can only be one, and a choice must be made (or made for you). This most certainly applied to Miss Araby Worth on many levels.
There were some romantic elements and a bit of a love triangle in the story, but it was all so overshadowed by the decaying city that it was not obnoxious or overwhelming. The romance was never unbelievable (if that is possible in a dystopian, apocalyptic novel), and Griffin does not use it as a crutch. Both boys have many strengths, and Araby herself is such a bewitching character that it makes it plausible for both boys to fall in love with her. However, should Araby choose not to stick with Elliot, he is welcome in my home at any time.
Masque of the Red Death will suck you in, hold you, and dump you breathlessly back into reality, leaving your yelling "Wait! What the Hell is this?!" at it like a mad woman once you finish. Or maybe that's just me. But I don't think so.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book for free from the publisher and Goodreads in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome.(less)
Marissa Meyer’s debut, Cinder, is not your typical young adult novel. Yes, it is science fiction. Yes, it is based on a fairy tale. Yes, it is dystopi...moreMarissa Meyer’s debut, Cinder, is not your typical young adult novel. Yes, it is science fiction. Yes, it is based on a fairy tale. Yes, it is dystopian. It is indeed typical to see all of those genres hitting libraries and bookshelves lately. What is not typical is for the mash-up of all three genres to work well together – and it does.
The heroine, Cinder, is a cyborg who is just trying to make a living in post-apocalyptic New Beijing. Cyborgs are second-class citizens that have no rights and live at the mercy of their owners/guardians. She is owned by and lives with her adoptive mother and two “stepsisters” (only one of them being nasty), doing all of their work. The difference from the original story is that instead of doing actual household chores, she is one of the country’s best android mechanics and all of her income supports her family. Cinder is able to mask her cyborg nature from common knowledge by wearing gloves on her refurbished hands and covering her other metal parts, but things complicate when Prince Kaito comes to her booth in need of her service and develops an interest in her.
There are quite a few similarities between Cinder and the versions of the Cinderella fairy tale with which most people are familiar. However, do not expect it to be a mirror image (no mirrors at all if Queen Levana can help it!) of the original tale. There are quite a few interesting variances, not least a plague sweeping through the kingdom, and the happily ever after you’re looking for may not be waiting for you at the end. There are three more projected books in Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles, so it may be quite some time before things head down the path to happiness for Cinder.
I’ve been lucky to read quite a few amazing books lately, but this is the first one that I stayed up all night to read and put down all of my other books for (I usually read 2-3 at a time) since The Hunger Games. It was funny, enchanting, and magical. Scarlet – book two in the Lunar Chronicles – cannot come quickly enough.
*To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome. (less)
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi is probably one of the most beautifully written books that I have ever read. I also almost gave up on it completely after about 10% of it. Kate Simses, the narrator, was definitely Shatter Me's saving grace.
Since I listened to the audiobook, I think it changed the reading experience. (I cannot tell you if it was for better or worse.) For one, I missed out on the scratching out of phrases except for the brief ripping sounds in the audiobook. Honestly, I thought it was skipping at first. It was more annoying than effective. As for the flowery descriptiveness, I would have probably skimmed through most of that. Mafi used strings of similes and metaphors to say the simplest things. It was the most lovely overkill that I've ever experienced. It was torturous to sit through, being as it was used mostly to illustrate the hormonal explosions happening with Juliette. I have read borderline erotica that did not have heroines so needy and starved for human touch as that girl. Granted, she had spent nearly a year in solitary confinement at an insane asylum. That lusty desperation overshadowed the majority of the novel. Juliette was either pining over Adam, the boy thrown in the cell with her at the start of the novel, or waxing poetic about Warner, the twisted leader of the sector. I know that she hated Warner, but she infused much of that hatred with flowery descriptions of his hotness. Say what you will about me, but I will forever refer to this novel as The Passionate, Desperate Ramblings of a Lonely, Horny Teenager from this day forth.
As for the characters themselves, I did not find myself really liking, hating, or even feeling sympathetic to any of them. Juliette was a very weak person who let herself be defeated by her circumstances young girl who has gone through a lot. She wallowed, nay luxuriated, in self-hatred because of her ability and did not really think of herself as a worthwhile human being deserving to be treated as one until Adam began showing affection toward her. That pissed me off that she required a male for her own happiness made me very sad. As for Adam, he mislead her from the start, and I kept waiting for him to pull a trick out of his hat. That is not a good way to start a romance. Warner is a twisted, mean bastard, but he never tried to be anything but that. Juliette always knew where she stood with him and what he was capable of, whether she liked it or not. James was probably the only character I came remotely close to liking, but he did not come along until much later in the book. Unfortunately, he is very much a secondary character, and I don't see him progressing into much more than a cute kid on the sidelines.
The setting of the novel itself was interesting, but not enough to really redeem the book. The world was changed, causing death of animals, plants, and nearly humanity. A group called the Reestablishment took over the government and was trying to save what it could of the people around the world. The Passionate, Desperate Ramblings of a Lonely, Horny Teenager... Err... I mean Shatter Me is a dystopian, so the Reestablishment was, of course, portrayed as EeeeVille. Realistically, when times are tough, people get hard. Look at the Middle Ages. The whole concept was interesting, but nothing new. The setting was also used to get a bit preachy about environmentalism.
It would be unfair of me to at least not mention that the book picked up at the end, but it was too little too late. Juliette does put a damper on those raging hormones and becomes a tad bit more interesting, but it's in the last chapters. There is finally talk of the powers Juliette and others have developed, but it's really nothing new. *coughs* X-Men *coughs* I have hopes that she'll stay remotely interesting in the later books in the series, but I don't know if Ill stick with it to see.
The Passionate, Desperate Ramblings of a Lonely, Horny TeenagerShatter Me is a beautifully written hot mess young adult novel that I bet teenagers are loving everywhere. I even have adult readers that I'm looking forward to giving the book to at the library because I know they'll love it. However, The Passionate, Desperate Ramblings of a Lonely, Horny TeenagerShatter Me is most assuredly not for me.
Dearly, Departed is the exciting and thrilling debut novel of Lia Habel. It is a delightful mashing of Young Adult, dystopian, science fiction, parano...moreDearly, Departed is the exciting and thrilling debut novel of Lia Habel. It is a delightful mashing of Young Adult, dystopian, science fiction, paranormal romance, zombie, Victorian, and steampunk, despite being set in the year 2195. It has a lot going on, but still manages to pull off being, by far, one of my favorite reads for 2011.
Love conquers all, so they say. But can Cupid’s arrow pierce the hearts of the living and the dead—or rather, the undead? Can a proper young Victorian lady find true love in the arms of a dashing zombie?
Although this book is advertised as being a romance novel, it was much more than that to me. Sure, there was a love story, but there was so much action and adventure going on around the blossoming romance between protagonist Nora Dearly and the dashing undead, Abraham Griswold. There are also several other characters who provide their points of view – in addition to the two lovers – to the story: Nora’s best friend, Pamela Roe; her father, Victor Dearly; and our villain, Wolfe. Once again, there was a lot going on in the book, but it was never tedious or confusing and allowed the story’s flow to stay interesting.
I was on a cruise when I read the book. Instead of playing in the pool on deck or hanging out in the bar, I was sucked into the lives of the characters. Lia Habel’s descriptive writing made me feel as if I was in Central/South America in the fantastic world that she had created, instead of being on my rocking ship. I could not step away from the story, because I needed to know what would happen on the next page. Chapters were not always a good stopping point since the POV changed so often, and I had to find out what had occurred since I left a character two or three chapters previously.
I loved the book, and it is definitely going to be one of my “Librarian Recommendations” to my young adults and adults who are young at heart. (less)
In Pure, Julianna Baggott creates a post-apocalyptic world where the various survivors of the Detonations...moreReview originally posted at Krazy Book Lady.
In Pure, Julianna Baggott creates a post-apocalyptic world where the various survivors of the Detonations are pushed together in this dystopian thriller. There are two factions of survivors – the Pures, who were in a radiation-resistant Dome when the Detonations struck; and the Wretches, the poor souls who were unfortunate enough to be in the unprotected outside.
The story itself focuses on two very different individuals – Pressia Belze and Partridge Willux. Pressia lives in the remains of a city outside of the Dome and is nearing her sixteenth birthday. She and her grandfather are plotting a way to hide her from the OSR, the outside militia government that takes away surviving children once they turn sixteen, never to be seen or heard from again. Inside the Dome, Partridge lives a privileged life as the son of one of the most important men in the protected environment. Despite his advantaged status, he finds himself asking questions about why he made it into the Dome and what really happened to his mother who died in the Detonations.
I am not going to comment too much on the plot. There are so many twists and turns, that I could easily give something away without meaning to do it. All of that aside, this is an exquisitely written story about survival and relationships in a very ugly, filthy, and violent world. Unlike more popular post-apocalyptic young adult novels, this one is far more believable for me. I do not believe something could change the entire structure of humanity without changing the people and their environment. It is probable and, to be honest, terrifying. The former English major in me immediately wanted to dissect this story into all of its glorious pieces.
The secondary characters were one of my favorite aspects of the story, and it would not have been as successful without them. The Mothers are one example. Their mere existence in the story is important because of what they represent in that horrible world. One of my favorite lines in the story concerns them. “And some have no children, and, next to all of the others, they seem stripped, pared down, as if whittled to some smaller version of themselves.” (Chapter 32 – Uncorrected ARC) Pure is a novel of so much loss, and that line speaks volumes in itself. It made me ask myself if that description could also be applied to the Pures. Near the end of the story, there is a Special Forces soldier who tells one of the main characters, “I was. And now I am not.” That is something that each character in the entire book can say.
It was a slow start for me, but I ended up loving this book. It is gritty, graphic, and horrifying throughout, but one of the most beautiful reads that I have had the pleasure of experiencing.
A copy was provided by the publisher for review through NetGalley.(less)
The Selection is the Big Six debut of young adult author, Kiera Cass. In a national lottery to choose...moreReview originally posted on Bibliophilia, Please.
The Selection is the Big Six debut of young adult author, Kiera Cass. In a national lottery to choose the next queen of Illea in a post-apocalyptic United States, teenaged America Singer is chosen as one of the 35 contenders for Prince Maxon's heart and the crown.
One of the things I loved best about The Selection was the Writing. It is the literary equivalent of cotton candy - delicious, sweet, and gone in no time. (Cotton candy is NOT a bad thing in Kayla Land.) It is written in such a way that it is accessible to pre-teens all the way to older adults. Dystopias and post-apocalyptic books have saturated the YA [non]genre, so it is difficult to stand apart. However, Kiera Cass accomplished this by writing a clean book with characters who weren't that bad (except for jerk-face Aspen). I do have to say that I don't consider the book to be a truly dystopian novel because the government is not horribly corrupt from what I've seen so far, and the girls chosen in the lottery don't have to stay. Yes, the caste system sucked, too, but it's something American teens can relate to in the present economic situation. Not many people move out of their social class despite the (now lessening) opportunities to do so. I won't go too far into that because it would take away from the essence of the book. (I don't believe it was written to be much of a political statement.) We can discuss this in the comments if you like.
I've been including characters in the writing portion, and I'll continue that for now. America is probably one of my favorite heroines in 2012. She was easy to relate to, and I never found myself questioning any decisions she made, except a really stupid one at the end of the novel. (I still want to shake her.) On the other hand, the love of her life, Aspen, really pissed me off almost immediately. He made the decision for her to put her name in the lottery, and he was so crappy to her for being chosen. In my opinion, he's just as bad as Vampire Bill (who I would gladly stake). The other person in the "love triangle", Prince Maxon, is an A-plus sort of fellow, and he definitely left me feeling cougarish. *growls* 5/5 Stars
The World-Weaving really worked for me. The futuristic society was more believable than that in other books *cough*Divergent*cough*, and I really didn't challenge the way Cass built the world too much. I would like to know more about the rebellion, but I'm sure more will come along later in the trilogy. 4.5/5 Stars
The Pacing of the novel was perfect - as I touched upon in the Writing portion. I read the book in less than twenty-four hours, as have my library patrons to whom I've recommended this book. If you like princesses, frillery, and just a twinge of suspense and romance, you will be able to breeze through this book. 5/5 Stars
I suppose it goes without saying that my Attention Span was completely in tune with the the novel through its entirety. I found myself so deeply absorbed in America's time at the castle that I did not ever want to come back to reality. I could have read this book in just a few hours if not for work, a five year old, and other annoying responsibilities. ;-) 5/5 Stars
The Extra Magic of The Selection was how easy it was to read, in addition to what the book was not. It has been compared to The Bachelor and The Hunger Games. I found it to be neither as it lacked the darkness, ugliness, and horrible, wretched women (like in The Bachelor). Sure, there was a mean girl, but she wasn't nearly as disgusting as many women on the reality show. It was a good clean story and exactly what I needed when I read it. 5/5 Stars
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a signed ARC of The Selection via a giveaway from the author. It has in no way affected the outcome of the review. All opinions expressed are mine and mine alone. The copy of the book I reviewed was a finished copy checked out from the local library.(less)
I, like many other Marissa Meyer fans, have waited longingly for over a year to read Scarlet. I did not even request an ARC of the novel because it came out a day before my birthday, and it made the perfect gift. (There is no denying that the temptation to get my hands on an ARC was strong.) When the book came in the mail, I petted it - LITERALLY petted it! It has ridden in my purse for a week, just so I can snatch moments to devour the pages. It was a whirlwind romance. Sadly though, it did not sweep me off my feet. I'm so sorry, Scarlet - it's not you, it's me.
No, I mean it, it really must be me. Scarlet had all of the fantastic qualities that Cinder had: strong heroine; Iko; fantastic mix of sci-fi and fairy tale (Meyer is beyond genius in her execution of this); Iko; deliciously evil villainess; Iko (you see where I'm going with this). Little Red Riding Hood is even one of my favorite fairy tales! Scarlet and Wolf had all of the makings of interesting literary characters, but I found myself resenting the time given to their story. The banter between Cinder, Captain Thorne, and Iko (and all combinations thereof) was delightful. Maybe it was just me wanting more of Cinder and her story that disrupted my enjoyment of the novel. Scarlet wasn't a bad character - she was just as strong and determined as Cinder. I just had trouble connecting with her after I spent so long waiting to rejoin Cinder on her journey. I can say that Wolf is far too broken of a bad boy for my taste, and maybe it was the mom in me that wanted to smack Scarlet for taking him along.
All griping aside, Meyer's world-weaving is genius. The most fun part of reading Meyer's works are figuring out where her storytelling intersects with the original fairy tales. I started reading the novel asking myself questions like, "Does Wolf want to eat grandmother?" and "Where is the huntsman?" I did not find all of my answers, but I can tell you without giving anything away that Little Red Riding Hood lives on grandmother's farm, and the Big Bad Wolf is a street-fighter with a Big Bad Secret that could potentially affect the entire world. Grandmother is also in possession of some secrets of her own, which wove the story in Scarlet well into The Lunar Chronicles. I loved being introduced to more of this futuristic Earth, and I honestly cannot wait to read Winter, which is supposed to be set on the moon.
The fact that Scarlet did not completely work for me makes me no less a fan of The Lunar Chronicles, and I can still happily say it is the one of the most imaginative series currently being published. I'm dying to give Marissa Meyer another chance to make me swoon with Cress. Scarlet is an important building block for the series as a whole, and I will definitely reread it at a later date to see if my bad-naturedness truly played a part in my feelings about this book. I encourage you to check out these two blogs that gave Scarlet very high ratings: A Reader of Fictions and The Starry-Eyed Review.
Me: Well, well, well, you FINALLY read Stormdancer.
Myself: You knew that I would! I just had to get around to it.
Me: Oh, please, you're the biggest procrastinator ever!
Myself: Whatever, I read the book, marveled at the epic world-building, basked in my crush on Yukiko, and cried like a bitch at the end.
Me: I hate that you use such a cliche word like "epic" to describe the novel. Why not use the less tired word "magnificent"? I mean, this man created this whole other world (yet similar to ours) that is undergoing the effects of horrible pollution and heinous government that we can all likely look forward to if we don't straighten up.
Myself: I'm going to stop you before you go too far on that. You know we get tired if we start thinking too hard about such things as environmentalism in fantasy and science fiction. And then you'll start making Dune references, and people will get bored...
Me: Okay, I'll leave Dune out of it, but the perfect balance of politics, environmentalism, and writing is pretty damn close to Frank Herbert. We'll see how the world history does in the next books.
Myself: *rolls eyes* No one reads Dune anymore. Can we please talk about the state of things in Shima and Yukiko?
Me: I tell you what, I wouldn't be booking any vacations there. It's a scary thought that the primary fuel source can also be used as a drug, and 99% of the population is addicted to it. Think of the situation that we'd be in if we could smoke gasoline.
Myself: Well, there are people who huff it, but thankfully folks tend to outgrow that after they turn twelve.
Me: Don't bring your pets with you to Shima, either.
Myself: Can we talk about Yukiko now, please?
Me: Buruu was cooler.
Myself: I liked Yukiko, and he wouldn't have been what he was without her. She had this feisty, rebellious personality, and she did not take shit off of anyone.
Me: She was harsh and close-minded. If you had even the smallest fault, she wrote you off and was cold.
Myself: Yes, but she was loyal to her loved ones and friends. She was also very trusting once she let a person in.
Me: She also let her panties be her guide in the middle of a revolution like the silly teenage girl that she was.
Myself: Please, that was barely referred to, and you should be the last person making disparaging remarks about where panties have been followed.
Me: Buruu felt the same as I did. Go to page 216:
Yukiko could barely hear his voice over the sound of her heart pounding in her chest. RAIJIN, TAKE ME NOW. She shot Buruu a withering glance as he rolled over on his back and pawed at the sky. HAVE MERCY ON ME, FATHER. TAKE MY WINGS. CHAIN ME TO STINKING EARTH. BUT THIS TORTURE I CANNOT ENDURE.
Myself: That took up maybe 1/90th of the story.
Me: No, Buruu being awesome took up all of the story.
Myself: Pssh, you loved Yukiko, too.
Me: I loved what she did in one of the last fight scenes.
Myself: *sniggers* I figured that you would like that.
Me: She and I are of one brain when it comes to that. Do you remember what I did to —
Myself: I have a little bit of a crush on Kin.
Me: You would. Sprinkle a little nerd powder on the man, and your heart is pounding like Yukiko's.
Me: I wonder if the title of book two is prophetic at all...
Myself: Can we just talk about the fight scenes in the book?
Me: What?! Everything was vital to the story, and it wasn't overdone. It was just beautiful destruction that gave Yukiko the opportunity to grow. You're just saying I'm impossible because you sobbed in the break room at work as you finished the book.
Myself: You cried, too! We're the same person, genius.
Me: Yes, but you're the crazy one.
Myself: I'm not the one that started talking to Myself. *smirks*
Black City is the young adult, debut novel of author Elizabeth Richards. It is set in the United Sentry States after a terrible war that has ended with humans and Darklings divided into separate sections of Black City and the USS. Humans have won the war, and Darklings are shut up in ghettos, where they are supposedly only separated but treated well. The story focuses on Natalie Buchanan, the daughter of the Emissary (one of nine government officials, only under the country's ruler), and Ash Fisher, the last twin-blood (half Darkling, half human) left in Black City. The story is told in chapters alternating between Ash and Natalie's first-person points of view.
The Writing of Black City really did not work for me. The characters and plot points were underdeveloped and the plot focused more on the romance going on with everyone in the book than any sort of story line. The book opens with the protagonists breaking the rules in two different ways that intersect, ending with one threatening to kill the other (not kidding). Only hormones and "electricity" take it further than that. I understand that romance novels are extremely popular (and that it is not my favorite genre), but I have read romance-driven stories that are much better executed. Christine Feehan has a similar sort of insta-love between her characters (Life Mates) in her Dark Series, but it's way more sexual than Black City (and the execution did not work for me AT ALL until later in the series).
That being said, Black City is not a book without merit. I think the interactions between the characters will appeal to teen readers because it focuses on the issues they face every day: disagreements with friends over who they are dating, fighting with parents, coming to terms with their parents being adults with their own lives who make choices that are not centered on their children, and finding their places within society and how the choices they make may affect that standing. I am older than the targeted audience, so that may be why the writing did not appeal to me. 1/5 Stars
While the Writing was not for me, the World-Weaving is what kept me with the book. Black City has an interesting paranormal creature - the Darkling - that certainly piqued my interest. (And the Bastet is pretty darn intriguing, too.) There are several species (for lack of a better term) of Darklings, and if I ever read the next book, it will be to learn about them alone. It was completely believable that humans would treat these creatures as inferior, even though they had human characteristics and could have viable offspring with them. We as a species tend to put down anyone who looks, thinks, or acts differently than we do, and there is plenty of history to back that up. Going from this, I would have liked to know more about the war (I never really understood who was fighting), and I never picked up whether this world was alternate to our own or set in our future. 3/5 Stars
The Pace and Attention Span was greatly affected by the fact that I read this book as a part of an ARC tour. I've never not finished a book from one of these, and I wasn't going to start on this one (no matter the occasional temptation). The Pace was decent enough, I suppose. There really was never a lag in the action or romance - just a lack of attachment from me. It wasn't boring or bad. It never gripped my attention either, because I either knew where it was going (I did miss one plot point) or I didn't care about the angst-fest going on with the characters. Keep in mind - just because I didn't like it does not mean that teens won't eat it up. (I think they will.) 2/5 Stars
You can say what you want about me, but the Extra Magic in this novel was the sheer fact that the Darklings kept me with Black City through its duration. Hooray for Darklings! 2/5 Stars
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received the book from Debut Author Challenge ARC Tours in exchange for an honest review. The advance copy was likely provided to the tour by the publisher or author, which has in no way affected the outcome of my review. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.(less)
Starters by Lissa Price is her debut novel that is set in a post-apocalyptic future of the United Sta...moreReview originally posted at Bibliophilia, Please
Starters by Lissa Price is her debut novel that is set in a post-apocalyptic future of the United States. Everyone between the ages of 20 and 60 had died in the Spore Wars three years prior to the events in this science fiction novel. It is the first in a projected two-part young adult series.
Callie Woodland is an unclaimed "Starter" who is responsible for her seven year old brother, Tyler. Their parents are dead, and they have no other family to claim them. As a result, they are forced to squat in abandoned buildings and live on the run, along with former neighborhood friend, Michael. In order to support her brother, she decides to rent her body out to "Enders" via secret company, Prime Destinations, since any other work is illegal for individuals under the age of 19. Callie sees this as a great deal, until something goes wrong in the process.
I found Starters to be a very imaginative and well-written example of the sci-fi genre. As a young adult book, it is one of the best I have encountered. The dystopian US was both realistic and frightening - frightening mostly because it was so realistic. The premise was very plausible, and the explanations used in the world-building were very strong. As with other YA dystopians, I did not found myself asking, "How could this happen?" The characters in Starterss were the meat and bones of the novel and played their parts well in the progression of the story. Callie was a sympathetic character, and I was rooting for her to be successful from the first sentence. The secondary characters win the prize for the book because they were all such beautiful shades of gray. I was guessing who the "bad guys" were and never had it correctly figured out.
The one problem that I had with Starters was the pacing. While most of the story flowed along nicely, there were several parts that felt a bit rushed. Some scenes had things fall into place too easily, and I would have liked to know more of the motives driving a few of the characters. Overall, however, the novel was a fantastic debut. The story sucked me in and held me until the very end. It is a brilliant addition to the young adult subset of the science fiction genre (or vice versa). I cannot wait for Enders and future projects from Lissa Price.
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. It has in no way affected the outcome.(less)
Breathe is a young adult dystopian novel by Sarah Crossan that is set in a future where oxygen, as well as the domes that saved humanity, are all owned by a corporation called Breathe. Trees are gone and the oceans have died, leaving an environment outside of the "pods" that only has oxygen levels of about six percent. The interactions and relationships between three teenagers in this bleak future are the focus of the novel: Alina, the rebel; Bea, the auxiliary; and Quinn, the Premium. Each chapter is based on one of their points of view.
The Writing of Breathe had a smooth flow to it, and I could have easily finished this novel in one sitting had I the time. Even though it was told from each of the main characters' points of view, it was never difficult to follow or understand. There were no confusing themes (conserve nature and social disparity are simple enough) or plot points, and it was basically a novel about three young people learning about themselves, each other, and the world in which they lived. There was a bit of a love triangle, but I hesitate to call it that because I never for a moment thought it would go a way other than what it did. The characters did not change too much over the course of the book, except that Bea became slightly annoying. (I loved her in the beginning.) Yes, their relationships changed, but I can't say that any of the three really grew in my opinion. So to wrap up the writing, Breathe did not have too much in the way of plot twists or character development, but it was still an enjoyable read. 3/5 Stars
Despite the fact that I felt a sense of déjà vu throughout most of the novel, the World-Weaving was solid. The idea of humanity surviving the apocalypse under a dome has been done many times before, but Crossan made this story her own. In Breathe, she created an Earth that has an atmospheric oxygen level of about six percent. The reason for this is presented in a way that is plausible enough, as well as the corporation who rose to meet the needs of humanity - Breathe. The way life in the pod/dome/whatever is structured based on wealth lends even more to the feasibility of this futuristic society. However, I could not help but keep thinking of Pure by Julianna Baggott the entire time I was reading it. They are not entirely the same premise-wise, but I just kept hoping that maybe Breathe would be as successful with the world outside of the dome. It did not fail, but I expected more of the novel. 3.5/5 Stars
I could sing glorious ballads about the Pacing of Breathe if I was a singer of glorious ballads. The story never dragged, and I zipped right through the novel. Sometimes journey novels are prone to hang-ups, but this one never did. Was it because of the alternating POV? Maybe, but I'm not complaining. I will happily thrust this into the hands of reluctant readers and people just starting to cross over into YA. 4.5/5 Stars
I won't deny that there was a lot of Extra Magic in Breathe. I was immediately sucked into the book and never lost interest in it, despite mentally comparing it to other books that I have read. Sure, there have been others that have been done better and some worse. (It also reminded me of Divergent by Veronica Roth, and I liked Breathe LOADS better!) All of the characters were enjoyable to read, and Bea was my favorite up until the climax of the story. Quinn is a believable love interest that I do not have to worry about beating his girlfriend, and Alina is a broken lady rebel who still manages to be relatable. (They just don't change much.) So what exactly is that Extra Magic? *shrugs* It doesn't matter. I just liked the book. 4/5 Stars
To satisfy FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that I received a digital copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. The outcome of the review has not been affected by this. All opinions expressed are rambling, honest, and completely my own.(less)