I don't give out five star ratings often, but this book deserves it. Maybe I loved it because it's dystopian (which is close to my heart) or maybe becI don't give out five star ratings often, but this book deserves it. Maybe I loved it because it's dystopian (which is close to my heart) or maybe because it discusses the effect violence has on children (another topic I'm passionate about), but whatever the reason, THE HUNGER GAMES had me hooked from Chapter One.
Katniss Everdeen lives in what used to be Appalachia with her mother and sister. Since her father's death, she's taken over the responsibility of breadwinner for the family, which includes sneaking outside the protective fence of her town, District 12, to hunt wild game in the wilderness. But when her gentle sister Prim is drafted for the nation's annual Hunger Games, a gladiator-esque reality show, Katniss volunteers to take her place and has to leave her home for the capitol.
THE HUNGER GAMES explores tough themes. Because Katniss lives in a poor district, she knows starvation and the struggle for survival. And as a hunter, she has killed. But thrown into the arena, she realizes that killing a human being is nothing like killing an animal. She's determined not to become attached to her fellow contestants, who she will have to kill or watch be killed to return home to Prim, but along the way, she accidentally stumbles upon two friendships that end up being stronger weapons than any manmade instrument.
In the tradition of dystopian literature, Suzanne Collins creates a government and culture much like our own, only skewed so as to make it more extreme. As a society, we rail against the gladiators from ancient times, but Collins paints a picture that is easily imaginable: reality television inflated to a level where it's not hearts that are broken but bodies and lives. The Gamekeepers of the Hunger Games show no mercy, creating the worst possible atmosphere for the players and torturing them with extreme weather, genetically crafted beasts, and a manipulative setting. Because of the subject matter, I wouldn't recommend the book for anyone under the age of fourteen. But if the reader is old enough, I think the book raises a number of thought-provoking questions relating to survival, loyalty, and conformity....more
Okay, this book inspired lots of thoughts from me, many of them conflicting. I don't really know how I feel about it overall. I definitely enjoyed it,Okay, this book inspired lots of thoughts from me, many of them conflicting. I don't really know how I feel about it overall. I definitely enjoyed it, but they're were parts I struggled with. Mostly, I didn't like Tris. She's just not a nice person, so being inside her head all the time was occasionally really wearying. She worries a lot at the beginning about being selfish, and I have to say those worries are pretty realistic - she definitely bordered on selfish frequently. I also found her obsession with bravery tiring; I understood that that was a theme of the book and it also was fostered in her by the Dauntless, but I wished there had been more a focus on being nice, maybe.
Still, I found Tris a dynamic heroine. This was one of those cases where I still enjoyed reading about a character that I didn't find sympathetic, and I think that denotes strong writing.
Four also puzzled me a little, and while he definitely had his swoonworthy moments, I think I wouldn't have liked him half as much if we were reading from his POV. He too isn't very kind, so I can't say I'd want to be friends with either him or Tris in real life. But I totally shipped them. They really are great for each other, flaws and all.
Overall, I think Veronica Roth wrote a great book. It's fast-paced and action-packed, and I liked the originality of it. I also liked that the characters and their ideals are ones not often portrayed in YA. And once you accept the faction system, I found the world building well done. I was really impressed with Roth's ability to write a story I enjoyed when I couldn't find a single thing relatable about the Dauntless or Tris and her friends. Let's be real: if I lived in this world, I would have chosen Amity in a heartbeat, but I think it's a testament to Roth's storytelling that I was still engrossed in the story.
I'm looking forward to reading the rest of this series and seeing where it goes.
Umm also I'm totally up for more swoony scenes with Four, because I gotta admit he really grew on me, and by the end, I had to shelve him in my favorite book boyfriend list....more
This was an interesting read for me. There were bits that I liked a lot, tSimilar Books:The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa, The Hunt by Andrew Fukuda
This was an interesting read for me. There were bits that I liked a lot, then some that didn't really impress me. Maybe I'm sick of vampires. Or dystopians. Or both. But I was a little disappointed with this one.
First things that I did like: the setting and worldbuilding. Honestly, that was my favorite part of the book. I liked the world that the "J.A. London" crafted here, with vampires pretty much ruling the world and humans trying to survive. I also liked that our heroine, Dawn, is the delegate that interacts with the vampires. The interactions between her and Valentine were actually my favorite parts of the story - Valentine was a really interesting character, and I loved that he wanted everyone to dress and act like it was still Victorian times.
In terms of other characters, I wasn't really invested in any of them. They weren't badly written, I just didn't connect with them. I didn't feel like I knew much about Victor, and Dawn was so quiet and level-headed that she didn't that many qualities that made her stand out. Her boyfriend Michael was really the only one that I felt had a clear character motivation, but he was just a supporting character.
The romance was pretty standard. There's no insta-love, though, so that's good. But they fall for each other at a pretty remarkable pace, anyway, especially considering she has a boyfriend. And I never really felt any sparks between them. I didn't feel anything. It all just played out in the book, and I wasn't all that interested in them getting together or not.
Now, the pacing of this book is sorta slow up until like page 200. I was getting bored with the book, ready to start skimming, but then it really picks up. I liked the last 100 or so pages a lot, and they almost made up for the slow beginning. Although I figured one of the big twists at the end, another one surprised me (in a good way). I think it set up really well for a sequel!
Just a warning, though: it's a serious cliffhanger. I mean, like, ending right in the middle of a scene. Now, it's not as bad of a cliffhanger as, say, Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel. But it's still pretty intense.
Overall, this was just an okay book for me. The end made it worth reading, but I'm not dying to read the next one. I think the topic just wasn't for me - I've never been a huge dystopian or vampire fan, so the mixing of the two didn't get me all excited. But people who enjoy either of those genres should like it more than I did!...more
I've been confused about this book since I heard about it pre-publication. Is it fantasy? Is it dystopian? Is it plain 'ole science fiction? The coverI've been confused about this book since I heard about it pre-publication. Is it fantasy? Is it dystopian? Is it plain 'ole science fiction? The cover makes you think epic fantasy, but the blurb made me think maybe steampunk. Come to find out, it's dystopian.
...at least I think it is.
Besides having a slightly misleading cover and blurb, I found the beginning of this book also really confusing. I didn't feel grounded in the world until maybe halfway through, mostly because I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be envisioning our world but post-apocalyptic or a completely different one. I mean, they fight with swords and wear cloaks, but they also have electricity and tracking devices. The MCs' names are Logan and Rachel. WHAT THE HECK IS THIS GENRE?! I'm saying it's dystopian because I can't really think of another way to describe it that fits.
The story itself was a lot different than what I was expecting. I was ready for high action and this epic quest to find Rachel's dad. But the first third of the book takes place inside Baalboden, where basically all that happens is character development - we get to see Rachel and Logan interact, and learn their history. I wasn't actively engaged in the story until Rachel watches someone (who I won't mention because of spoilers) die and then the Claiming ceremony.
One of the big parts of the story is gender roles, and some people might be pissed about me mentioning this, but it sorta reminded me of Islamic culture in places in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan - women aren't allowed to walk around by themselves, and they're supposed to dress modestly or else they're "asking for it." Women aren't respected and are used for basically just having kids. Add burqas and prayers six times a day, and this could be a society living under the Taliban. I'm just saying.
But in this society is Rachel, who has been taught how to take care of herself and be independent by her father Jared. Rachel was an okay character for me. She bordered on what I fondly classify some kickbutt characters as "I-kick-butt-so-I-don't-need-a-real-personality." And I say "bordered" because she had moments where I felt like she was more than just her survival skills, but most of the time, I thought her entire personality and character revolved around her being able to hunt and wield big weapons.
Logan, on the other hand, was more interesting. He has a tumultuous past, he likes to invent things, and he's really smart. I liked how he could assess a situation and come up with possible, and the most probable, scenarios.
I know a lot of people criticized him because of a few comments he makes (like when he tells Rachel that she's lucky he's not wringing her neck when they have an argument and then when he makes a comment that one of the guards would probably rape her if they saw her walking around in tight pants). But as for the latter, he says the guard won't hesitate "to take what he thinks she's freely offering" - Logan isn't saying that he thinks she's offering it, he's saying the guard will think she's offering it. That's really different! As for the former, I'm not gonna lie - I wanted to wring her neck after what she pulled. He's speaking in hyperbole, people. You've done it. I've done it. It's how we talk. Give the kid a break, it wasn't a real threat.
Anyway, I liked Logan a lot and I felt like he had much more personality than Rachel. And while she had a clear motivation, he was more complicated and interesting, and I would have preferred reading the entire book from his POV.
With less action than I thought there would be, I thought Redwine did a good job with the romance. There are a lot of sweet moments between Rachel and Logan, and I think my favorite scene was post-Rachel-freaking-out-over-someone's-death and the Claiming ceremony. Both revolved around how these two interacted, and I enjoyed watching them together.
I was a little torn on my feelings for this book, but I think I liked it enough to read the second one. This isn't my favorite genre and I was frustrated by Rachel a lot of the time for acting so childish, but I have the hope there's potential for book 2, Deception. (Also, these covers are GORGEOUS and deserve to be on my shelf.)
I think people who enjoy dystopians and can forgive a character for having less personality if she can kick someone's butt will like this book more than I did. Still, the writing is solid, and C.J. seems like a really cool person, so I'm saying it's a good debut....more
After the huge scandal surrounding this book after one of my personal favorite reviewers Wendy Darling posted her review her review on Goodreads and iAfter the huge scandal surrounding this book after one of my personal favorite reviewers Wendy Darling posted her review her review on Goodreads and it seemed like all hell broke loose, I wasn't really sure if I wanted to even touch this book with a ten-foot pole. But the author seemed very nice on Twitter and the blurb still sounded awesome and I had an ARC sitting on my shelf sent by the lovely people at Harper Collins, so I finally caved and read it a couple days ago.
And honestly, I kinda liked it.
First and foremost, this book is in no way shape or form ANYTHING like The Hunger Games, so it sort of shocks me that it was marketed as anything similar. I understand maybe that the selection process is somewhat like the reaping, but I don't think so. Even Kiera Cass has said that she doesn't care for the comparison because she thinks it gives people the wrong impression.
This, like many YA dystopians, is primarily a romance, with some dystopian elements thrown in. Think Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, or Matched by Ally Condie. And out of all those, I think I might like this one best because it was really unlike a lot of YA books I've read in that it was sort of sweet, girly, and fun instead of dark, serious, and intense. And let's face it, the only lighter books these days are contemporary, so it was refreshing to read something so different.
Also, I've got to say that I loved Prince Maxon. Again, TOTALLY different than your usual YA boy. For one, he's a legit gentleman. And I don't mean the Edward Cullen type who actually wants to eat you. He's nice, polite, and considerate. He treats all the girls with respect, and he's basically an overall good guy WITHOUT ANGST. I mean, sure, there's enough to give him some character motivation, but he was blessedly straightforward. Also, the guy's never kissed a girl before the book starts. How precious is that?!
Really, this book could be summed up in that word: "cute." It's fluffy and frilly and full of pretty dresses. I don't know, I like that sort of think. Sue me.
But what kept me from enjoying this book more basically comes down to three things:
1. The Writing The writing isn't terrible, but it's definitely not some of the finest I've seen. Not everyone can be Laini Taylor, but I would have preferred a little more strength in Kiera Cass's craft, at least more showing instead of telling. I felt like her style really hindered the plot, and the simplicity of her prose kept the entire book from feeling mature or well-developed.
She even says one time that Aspen was "dressed in white. He looked angelic." I'd rather she described it instead of just telling me.
2. The Love Triangle I'm not all anti-love triangle, honest. Sometimes, I think it really works. But this one just didn't do it for me. I still have no idea why she's interested in Aspen, probably because we start the book in a place where they're already ready to get hitched. I didn't feel a single connection to him, and that left me wondering why America was even remotely into him when Maxon was standing there.
3. America Besides her ridiculous name ("America Singer"), which I can get past, America was just sort of...annoying. She's sassy, but that's not what irked me. I'm just really tired of selfish heroines in YA. They always want what THEY want, they don't want to sacrifice anything for their families, and heaven forbid they have to give up their boy!
And, you know, I get it: teenagers tend to be selfish creatures. (I mean, more so than everyone else.) But CAN SOMEONE JUST ONCE TAKE ONE FOR THE TEAM?! I couldn't stop myself from being really, really irritated that America wouldn't even sign up for the Selection unless her boy toy forced her to. She's so critical of her mother, who is obviously trying exceptionally hard to provide for her family.
It was all cliche and tired, and I find myself losing a lot of respect for the character.
America even says that she's not going to choose Aspen or Maxon; she's going to choose HERSELF. Since when is it okay to put yourself first above everyone else?! How about choosing your FAMILY, the people you care about?
Maybe America will surprise me later on, and she'll actually grow a pair and sacrifice something for somebody else. Because throughout this book, all she's doing is taking and taking some more, then complaining about it.
BUT. This book is still good. The selfish-MC-thing is rampant in YA, definitely not isolated to this book, so I wouldn't let it dissuade you from reading The Selection. I'm looking forward to the next book, especially since this ended in such a cliffhanger. ...more
Some of you may remember that I was just sort of iffy about Shatter Me. The writing was a little too much, and I didn't connect much with JHOLY. CRAP.
Some of you may remember that I was just sort of iffy about Shatter Me. The writing was a little too much, and I didn't connect much with Juliet or Adam. But I loved Warner - he was my favorite character - so I was hoping that this novella would be interesting.
Little did I know that it would totally blow my mind.
My brain. It can't....I just...OMG.
I'm reading along, semi-interested at the beginning, thinking how awesome it is to be reading a Tahereh Mafi book with no slashes through words, and then BAM!
I'm hit by the awesomeness that is Warner's POV. The writing in this novella is strong and emotional and powerful. It felt charged somehow, like every word was important. And there's just this tension in the plot and the writing itself that really impressed me, like whoa.
I basically have no words for how awesome this book is. Words fail me.
Just know that this novella is a MUST READ for anyone who read Shatter Me. I don't even care if you liked the first book. This one is so much better written and more interesting! I want Warner to narrate the entire series. Who cares about Juliet and Adam?! I've never loved a villain so much in my life.
He just...OMG THE FEELS!
I'm pretty sure Warner is going to die before this series is over, and a part of me thinks that's terrible. But you know, a part of me almost thinks that's good. It's what he wants, anyway. Poor guy is so miserable and pathetic and SAD! He needs a hug. Let's all just hug, shall we?
I'm now basically counting down the days until I get an ARC of Unravel Me, not really because I want to be inside Juliet's head anymore, but I MUST know what happens to Warner!
*Also, (view spoiler)[maybe they could kiss again - like in real life and not him dreaming? Without her shooting him? (hide spoiler)] That would be awesome. :)["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
*I apologize in advance for this review, as there is very little of me actually speaking intelligently. But Tahereh Mafi stole all of my articulation*I apologize in advance for this review, as there is very little of me actually speaking intelligently. But Tahereh Mafi stole all of my articulation skills. This book turned me into a babbling fangirl who lost her ability to "can."
I had mixed feelings about Shatter Me when I read it last year - I thought Tahereh Mafi's writing style was both interesting and sort of annoying. I liked Juliette and Adam okay, but I thought Warner was fascinating. Then I read the "Destroy Me" novella and totally fell in love with Warner's character - he's just so complicated and tortured and amazing. So I was really looking forward to Unravel Me, probably more than any other dystopian series I've read.
And I've got to say: I was absolutely, totally, 100% enamored with this book from the first chapter.
As I've said before, I tend to have a hard time describing my feelings for a book I loved, so I'm afraid I'm going to have to resort to "Sherlock" GIFs to help me along here...
When I started the book
When the tension keeps building and BUILDING
When WARNER COMES BACK
OMG CHAPTER SIXTY-TWO
Sometimes, sequels just sort of dive over a cliff, and you wonder how it's the same author, how the story could have possibly tanked that badly. What happened to the plot, the characters you loved? What is this absurd sophomore slump your favorite author has fallen into?
Then, on rare occasions, a sequel goes above and beyond anything you might have expected. It takes the worldbuilding and the characters and the plot that was introduced in book one, throws them all on a spaceship, rockets through the atmosphere, and sends them to the moon. It's just that good.
Unravel Me was the latter.
Where the style was sometimes awkward in Shatter Me, it's matured and developed to a great literary sort of voice. Where the characters had too much angst, now they react with such intensity, you can practically feel their emotions. And where Juliette and Adam's romance fell kind of flat, you have Warner stepping in and becoming ZOMG THE BEST CHARACTER IN THE ENTIRE SERIES.
There are a few book boys in YA that hit my best-ever list. Some of these include Will Herondale from Cassie Clare's The Infernal Devices, Cassel Sharpe from Holly Black's Curse Workers series, and Luca from Lisa T. Bergren's River of Time series. But there is a chance that Warner could surpass them all. Why? Because Tahereh Mafi did what I have been WAITING for an author to do for like, ever.
Which is make our heroine fall in love with the villain.
And yet, Warner really isn't a villain. I love that his character is so ambiguous. I love that he's seriously messed up. And I love that Juliette can't hate him. Honestly, I could go on and on and ON about how much I love him, but really, all you need to know is
I've decided that the last book should be titled Ruin Me because that's what this one did. Seriously. This book goes down with Days of Blood & Starlight as the most intense YA books I've ever read, with some of the most heartbreaking scenes, with some of the best, most well-developed characters that I WANT TO HUG SO BAD I COULD DIE!
Also, did I mention Chapter Sixty-two? I did? Because it's the bestttttttt.
Bottom line: this book is SO good! I think everyone who read Shatter Me and didn't like all the strikethroughs and purple prose will like this one better - a lot of that's been cut out. Also, yes, there's a love triangle. But lawd, it's good. This book basically rips your heart out and throws it onto the ground, then stomps on it really hard.
Sometimes, I feel like the only blogger to like this series. While everyone else was really disappointed in The Selection last year, I actually enjoyeSometimes, I feel like the only blogger to like this series. While everyone else was really disappointed in The Selection last year, I actually enjoyed it - it provided a refreshing lightness to YA dystopians, which I think the subgenre is really lacking.
But what's better is that The Elite is even better!
The only bit of the first book that I just couldn't get into was the beginning. It had a slow start, but once it launched and America was in the palace, I really started liking the book. Thankfully, The Elite jumps right out of the gate and had me pulled in.
There is SO much about this book that reminds me of the TV show "The Bachelor." And maybe some of y'all don't watch that show, but I'll admit it's a bit of a guilty pleasure for me. I can't help wondering if Kiera Cass watched it for research purposes, because essentially every sort of girl drama that goes down in this show happens in this series: backstabbing contestants that sabotage the others, jealousy that runs wild among the Selected, ridiculous "tests" that are supposed to tell the Bachelor which girl to choose, and special connections between the bachelor and particular contestants. I loved ALL the drama!
And while some people have criticized that this book is too simple, I have to admit that that's one of the reasons I like it. The series as a whole has a young feel to it, like it's geared for younger YA - either that or just for girls who like clean, innocent reads. This is exactly the type of book I would have loved as a teen. (There's no way I would have been prepared for a Jen Armentrout read! o_0)
Above all, this book (and the series) is a romance. The relationships between America and Maxon, and America and Aspen play the central role of the plot. And if you know that, are prepared for that, I think you will enjoy the book better. This isn't the life-or-death-edge-of-your-seat read like Divergent, Legend, or Uglies. It's also not the tense, romantic drama like Shatter Me or Delirium. If I had to compare it to any of the other YA dystopians I've read, I'd say it's the most like Matched, by Ally Condie - because of the innocent romance and the overall clean feel of it.
My only criticism would be that America makes some DUMB choices. But then again, didn't we all as teens? And she certainly learns her lesson. I just wish that she had had more faith in Maxon and not done so many rash things. I wanted to shake her a little.
This is a really solid sequel, and I'm looking forward to the final book. Although not much happened plot-wise with this one, Kiera Cass still strung me along on drama and character development alone.
And I'll say it once more: #TeamMaxon!!! :D...more
This book didn't go anywhere that I thought it would, but wow, did I like it! I haven't felt this emotO.M.G.
I can't even.
I've lost the ability to can.
This book didn't go anywhere that I thought it would, but wow, did I like it! I haven't felt this emotionally attached to characters or a story since I read Clockwork Princess. I devoured this book in a day, and now I don't know what to feel because the series is over.
I don't want to say too much, for fear of spoiling something. But if you want to know what I'm feeling, proceed with caution: (view spoiler)[
His character arc through this series was incredible, almost as incredible as Juliette's. I can't believe they ended up together. Like. Wow. I don't think I've read a YA book that surprised me this much in terms of the love triangle. PROPS TO YOU, TAHEREH MAFI!
And Kenji. My beloved Kenji.
He might be even funnier in this one than he has been in the previous two. If that's possible.
Basically, I was a bottle of emotions reading this book. And I exploded during the not one but multiple steamy scenes that I'm still kind of shocked she was allowed to include in a YA book. Like, Warner + Juliette have way more chemistry than Adam + Juliette. That's all I'm saying.
Was there any doubt I was going to love this? I could read Tahereh Mafi's shopping list and enjoy it.
I found this one really interesting, in comparisoWas there any doubt I was going to love this? I could read Tahereh Mafi's shopping list and enjoy it.
I found this one really interesting, in comparison to the Warner POV novella, "Destroy Me." Something I really like that Mafi does is write all the different POVs in such different ways. Juliette's narrative is really flowery and disjointed, with a lack of punctuation sometimes and words sort of thrown together, to reflect her state of mind. "Destroy Me" had a very restrained sort of narrative, implying Warner's personality, which is to keep everything close to the vest and held inside. With "Fracture Me," you also get Adam's personality through the prose, and it almost felt manic to me. He's confused and worried and not really sure what's going on. I was really impressed with how Mafi made him sound distinctive.
Okay, spoiler time: (view spoiler)[ I've read a lot of reviews where people are complaining about Adam being more concerned with his brother than with Juliette, but honestly, I really liked that. I think it's important to his character. James is like his child - he even says that. He would protect that kid at any cost, even if that's Juliette's life. I think that deepen Adam's character and is also true to his mental state at the end of UNRAVEL ME, where he and Juliette aren't really sure where they stand romantically.
But like other people have said, I'm wondering if Mafi is trying to steer us towards a Juliette + Warner ending. If so, I WOULD DIE OF HAPPINESS! Because I'm freaking in love with Aaron Warner Anderson. (hide spoiler)]
Overall, I really loved this. But basically, I now want Ignite Me EVEN MORE! Which I suppose was the point. But seriously. WHERE IS THAT BOOK I NEED IT NOW!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more