If I had to choose one word to describe WILDEFIRE, it would have to be...unpredictable. I whipped through the pages, just waiting to see what new turn...moreIf I had to choose one word to describe WILDEFIRE, it would have to be...unpredictable. I whipped through the pages, just waiting to see what new turns the story would take. It begins with action and ends with--well, I won't tell you. But suffice it to say you won't see it coming. Somewhere in the middle, I shouted, "OMG, WTF, Karsten!" I think my heart actually started racing. There was this...running...and there were just these...things--creepy, eerie take-you-by-surprise-add-a-whole-new-dimension-to-the-story things. There comes a point when you realize there's so much more to this world than you envisioned. The story just sort of grows and widens and sucks you in deeper and deeper.
It's also just really fun. Ash has some mega skills. A can-do, take-action sort of girl, she's no damsel in distress, no matter who's harassing her (or trying to kill her). But there's another layer to Ash, which adds to her complexity; she's a fighter, but not out of choice. She doesn't hesitate to protect herself, but she doesn't particularly like it. It's this inner turmoil that sets her apart from her equally strong sister--and makes her so appealing as a character. Her distaste for violence and a natural aversion to using her abilities to their greatest extent drives a good portion of her actions and decisions.
There's a hot romance, too, which adds to that feeling of un-put-downableness. But the romance is not the main element of the story--it elevates the tension and adds yet another layer of complexity to the plot and to Ash as a character. Which, if you didn't catch it from the summary, is already fairly complex by virtue of the fact that Ash is actually a goddess. And not just any goddess. I won't go into any specifics as it would ruin it for you, but what Knight does with the gods in this world is truly unique. Truly...unpredictable.
The writing itself will pull you in, too--clever turns of phrase and indefatigable humor. Ash has this incredible, dry sense of humor, whether she's speaking or thinking. It's subtle and by no means makes this a comedy, but it will have you cracking up. Ash is refreshingly blunt, but also witty. It's a perfect combination--a voice that can hold its own in a kickass urban fantasy. WILDEFIRE is a wild ride: funny, original and jam-packed with excitement.(less)
As much as I wanted to read this book, I’ll admit that a small part of me was a little nervous to do so because I don’t do well with scary stuff. And...moreAs much as I wanted to read this book, I’ll admit that a small part of me was a little nervous to do so because I don’t do well with scary stuff. And something about a girl who can sense the echoes the dead leave behind was just a hair terrifying to me. But it turns out my fears were unnecessary. While it was gripping and suspenseful, it didn’t have the fear factor of something like Psycho or Silence of the Lambs (thank heavens). Yes, there’s some serial killer action in this, but Derting handles it all so smoothly and excludes the grittiest of grit that you might typically see in serial killer thrillers. So for those of worried that you (or your teens) might have nightmares for life, you can stop worrying. It's not that kind of book. You’ll be flipping the pages with lightning speed, though. The intensity of the mystery and suspense made this an incredibly fast read for me. I read it in one day.
There’s just nothing like a good thriller to keep you on your toes, right? I mean, seriously…a girl who can sense deadness and killerhood ? Brilliant premise. But, eh hmm, did I mention the bangin’ sexy romance in THE BODY FINDER? That will always suck me in.
I’ll just be honest: I want my own Jay Heaton (except one who is perhaps of legal age, and in a parallel universe where I’m not already married). He’s like Prince Charming with a wicked grin and a killer way with his hands. It’s not R-rated, but Derting will have you using your imagination in R-rated ways. Ooooo la la.
But that’s all I’m going to say about that. Just know that it’s an enjoyable read. And even if you manage to figure out the off-the-hook un-figure-out-able plot twists, you’ll fall in love with Jay and Violet.(less)
That cover is stunning, isn’t it? I about died when I first got this ARC. I’d been chomping at the bit to read it. So, yeah, I might have entered into...moreThat cover is stunning, isn’t it? I about died when I first got this ARC. I’d been chomping at the bit to read it. So, yeah, I might have entered into this book with a touch of pre-love, but you know, it was tempered by certain misgivings. I thought, ehhhhh, what if it’s too much like The Giver? Or like any other book about a utopian society that is secretly one big fat dystopia?
Well, you know what? It is that. And yet, it’s so not just that (and it’s not at all like Lowry’s The Giver). Ultimately, Matched is a love story. And a passionate one at that—without any sex, even (or a single curse word). Who knew it was possible? It’s also a story about choices, and the lack thereof. Condie brilliantly links Cassia’s sexual maturation and her growing awareness of her love for Ky, someone other than her Match, with the shedding of her ignorance (and subsequent loss of innocence) of the truth behind her society. Indeed, it’s difficult to even pinpoint which revelation leads to the other, or if perhaps they are not merely happening simultaneously or even despite the other. But it doesn’t really matter. Its complexity just adds to its beauty. Even the love triangle is far more complicated than what is typically found in YA, because you will love Xander just as much as Ky. I know it seems like Condie is merely messing with your emotions, but really, who wants a love triangle where it’s easy to choose? It’s genius. I loved that it wasn’t obvious who Cassia should be with or who she would end up with.
Gawd, I could not put this book down. And by the time I was finished, I was emotionally spent and yet, I felt oddly ebullient. I beg you to run out and buy a copy as soon as it comes out. Good grief, even the language and voice in which the story is told is absolutely breathtaking. Several times I simply had to set the book against my chest and sigh at the poetry.(less)
I've read a number of great reviews of POSSESSION, so it's tough to find something new to say about it. But I'll give it a shot.
First of all, you've p...moreI've read a number of great reviews of POSSESSION, so it's tough to find something new to say about it. But I'll give it a shot.
First of all, you've probably already heard about the characters. If you follow Elana Johnson's blog at all, you may have already guessed that this is something that would come easily to her. To be sure, the characters in POSSESSION just pop. You can't help but immediately feel connected to them--Vi especially. She's got a rock solid voice (much like Johnson on her blog). Snarky. Funny. Vulnerable. Emotional. Vi feels things really hard. Way deep down inside, quick to piss off, quick to delight. She's naturally cynical, but hopeful, and has this flair for drama that will make you groan and laugh all at the same time. She's adorable, this kid. And as strong as she is, as brave and tough, she's got such a softness to her that makes you want to reach out and pull her into your arms. This is a kid desperate for affection and terrified of abandonment, especially the more deeply she falls in love.
And for good reason. When we come into the story as readers, so much has already happened. Vi has a boatload of history that has painted her into a corner, forcing her hand, whether she realizes it or not. But the backstory is weaved in smoothly, almost effortlessly. Without much effort, we learn who she is, and the past that haunts her and makes her cling to the few connections she has in present day. In this way, Johnson takes a futuristic world and makes it feel relevant to today, because this is something most of us can understand.
And I must say, the world itself is pretty dang cool. It's not all thrown at you at once, either. It's a world that sort of unfolds, layer by layer, treating us to something new page after page. All the technology is imaginative and totally COOL. It makes you want to experience those things, too.
Johnson's world is unique, but not only because of it's dystopian/SF elements. It's especially distinctive because of the supernatural elements that she pulls into the story. This, of course, isn't even alluded to in the summary, so I won't say much more about it. Suffice it to say, I found it crooked-smile endearing.
POSSESSION overall is a fast-paced read, filled with action, humor, and a romance that first knocks at your chest and then pries it open. (less)
The coolest thing about this book was that while you never forget that the characters are rats, you actually sort of do. See, I have never liked rats....moreThe coolest thing about this book was that while you never forget that the characters are rats, you actually sort of do. See, I have never liked rats. Something about the tail, I think. And maybe the plague. But while I was reading NIGHTSHADE CITY, I found myself wanting to hold one in my hand and pet its cute little tail, and maybe ask it over for dinner so I could give him a tiny plate with a tiny wedge of cheese and maybe a tiny tankard filled with a tiny amount of ale. It would be great fun to have an intelligent conversation with a rat that had a tiny little knife tucked into his tiny little belt.
See, this is how incredible Wagner’s rats are. They feel so real to me, so human. Just…smaller…and ratty. But I don’t lump them all together in my mind. Each of the rats has very distinct personalities and markings so that you quickly come to understand who each of the characters are without having to have them named—this in itself makes them seem more human and relatable. And so, too, does the story itself humanize the rats, as the story deals with some very common, but significant human themes and topics: good versus evil, love, friendship, family, honor, revenge, greed, suffering, and freedom.
And what a remarkable story, too. Fast paced and compelling. I was so caught up in it, flying through the pages, needing to know what was happening next. This is what I mean when I say that you sort of forget they’re just rats—because you think of them in sympathetic terms. You want the hero to triumph and the villain to get what’s coming to him. And when you read about some misfortune that has befallen one of them (such as a human rat trap), you feel so awful—and kind of guilty by association. You can’t help but invest your emotions in it, to root for the poor, downtrodden rats being sorely abused by the oppressive regime ruling their city. Your heart might even go out to the lowly earth worm, which is so mistreated.
All around, it’s just a great tale filled with tense moments, touching scenes, and some heart-thumping action. And did I mention there were some gruesome events in this? Totally creeptastic and awesome—just a few scenes where you sort of go, ewwww, but you lean in and read just a hair faster anyway (kind of like when Peter Pettigrew slices his own hand in HP?), but it’s not scary, just *whoa!*. And that ending? WOW. Wagner is so tricksy. Trust me, the kids will love this, but I think if you like a heartwarming, heroic tale, you’ll enjoy it as well. (less)