Pitched as The Passage meets Ender's Game, The 5th Wave is already creating a lot of hype. I am not a sucker for hype, guys, especially in a genre tha...morePitched as The Passage meets Ender's Game, The 5th Wave is already creating a lot of hype. I am not a sucker for hype, guys, especially in a genre that has, at times, been over-saturated. I didn't read much about The 5th Wave before beginning it, and I liked it that way.
The first thing that captured me about it was Cassie's authentic teen voice. Compelling, genuine and refreshing. More so the tone and opening chapters of the book reminded me of Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden (my fave YA series of all time, MY GOSH, I love it so). By chapter four I was seriously (suddenly) excited.
I love the feeling of realising you are reading (what is bound to be) a favourite new book. The premise sucked me in, the characters were relate-able and the plot moved along so expertly: revealing new information at crucial moments, bursts of action perfectly balanced with introspection and flashbacks and just when the book felt like it couldn't get more awesome BAM along came some swoon* (nicely done).
I charged through this book. It felt fully realised and intricately plotted. There's four POVs (although two of those are just a smidgen). What I really loved about this book (and look forward to exploring as the series continues) is all the shades of grey. Who can you really trust? Even when you decide who you are going to trust, have you made the right decision? Who is the enemy? What is the future?
I loved the creativity in this fallen earth. The waves and the terror and the survival of a remnant.
Also: the prose. I can't quote from the e-galley but I highlighted some lush and gorgeously worded lines. It helped seal the deal the for me.
Yes, I think this deserves the hype. So many people are going to love this book. I'm excited for such a high quality YA post-apocalyptic to recommend to fans of The Hunger Games and Tomorrow When the War Began.
*as for the swoon, MY GOSH. It's not all mushy and dramatic. It's more achey with it's quietness and the sense of whether or not they can trust one another. Still, he's a babe and the romantic tension is just fab and I can't wait for more. (less)
The imagination and scope of Under the Never Sky is immense. Rossi’s debut is no small undertaking. It involves incredible world-building, weaving tog...moreThe imagination and scope of Under the Never Sky is immense. Rossi’s debut is no small undertaking. It involves incredible world-building, weaving together two worlds (one super-tech-y and sci-fi, the other like an ancient/primitive civilisation but even within that there were hierarchies (blood lords), traditions, and sci-fi/paranormal elements (whew!). Add to this, the alternating of two POVs, and you have a vast, complex and unique YA novel.
Under the Never Sky is often bandied about as a YA dystopian. It is not a dystopian, IMO. It is futuristic with sci-fi elements, most surely post-apocalyptic (but an apocalypse is never referred to in detail). Despite all the techno gadgetry, it read, to me, a little like a fantasy: two unlikely companions teamed up to help each other fulfill their personal missions. There’s a lot of travel and exploration and dangers along the way. They meet different characters, all crafted with their unique, lively personalities, and stay in different places: in caves, in fortified cities, trees, and in places with earthly relics of a time long past, etc.
The world-building is nicely done in snatches, lots of specific lingo to grab a hold of. I felt the more interesting parts of the world Rossi has created were often sidelined by the plot always moving forward. (I would get intrigued by a concept/idea/revelation and then BAM, next scene, moving right along...)
The prose is more descriptive than lyrical. Action sequences abound, and are well articulated yet I felt no emotion/adrenalin on behalf of the characters when they were fighting for their lives.
On one hand, I am quite in awe of the fabulous premise and diverse world Rossi created. On the other, I mostly don’t care. I think this is just a case of this book is just not my thing. The only things I can critique are all pertinent to my personal reading taste. For whatever reason, I was not grabbed by this book, yet I loyally trudged my way through it, admiring it in places, yet never bonding to it.
Before I close, I have to comment on the (romantic)relationship between Perry and Aria: it didn’t work for me. For the first half of the novel, they have an antagonistic/indifferent vibe, yet even in that there was no tension, no anticipation, no undercurrent of sexytimes to come. They were just...there. Then, like the flip of a switch, at the magical 50% mark, she noticed his smile, he couldn’t stop waxing poetic about her violet smell and BAM = love. I felt like there was no groundwork for their attraction and friendship, despite not really beginning it until halfway through the book. Baffled.
My two star rating is purely indicative of my personal enjoyment (I always rate based on how I feel about a book, not so much on the objective merit of the book). I’ll happily endorse the book as a creative and original YA read to those people who are intrigued by the premise.(less)
Angel Arias starts right after where Burn Bright left off ~ and it begins with the same dynamic energy that Burn Bright burned with ;) But where Burn...moreAngel Arias starts right after where Burn Bright left off ~ and it begins with the same dynamic energy that Burn Bright burned with ;) But where Burn Bright was mysterious, the world and plot swirling around the reader, Angel Arias has a different tone. It has an urgency and plenty of action, but this time Naif (Retra) is much more sure of herself.
The plot in Angel Arias is ambitious, secrets are revealed, unveiling more mysteries which showcase extraordinary world building: the world Marianne has created is intricate yet accessible. It's a daring kind of read, and just as original in flavour as the first book in the series. The scope of the book is fantastic (from time with the pirates, and seeing more islands), and I think the plot is best explored with no idea where it is heading (no spoilers here).
Aussie author Marianne de Pierres has a talent for throwing her readers alongside her characters in such a way that you are kept on your toes: the action is blended beautifully with plot twists and developments, the reader discovers things alongside the protagonist. There is foreshadowing, creating tension and atmosphere, but not clue-ing the reader in enough to make the plot predictable. It was the opposite. I was constantly on edge, even questioning the loyalties of certain characters, friends who suddenly seem like foe and enemies who have shades of goodness shining through.
I loved the larger scope of the book and yet somehow I missed that gothick-y vibe of Ixion (I am nostalgic by nature, haha). I cannot compare reading the first book in the series to read Angel Arias. I think I was so startled in my love of Burn Bright , like the first taste of chocolate, it was addictive, startling and delectable. Angel Arias did not stun me in the same way despite still being driven by that intoxicating vibe that made it impossible to put down.
It is not the kind of book I am normally drawn to (action, worlds, secrets ~ I am more often drawn to books that are less plot-driven, more character-driven) so perhaps I did not enjoy this as much as I *should* have. I think my enjoyment is more indicative of my tastes as a reader than the quality of this book. This is a book to enthral and ignite imaginations. Despite my wishing for more depth in the characters (with personal motivations, relationships) it is obvious the author cares for her characters (yet also has no qualms about putting them in harms way).
A small teaser: I was (incredibly, delightfully) pleased when the story suddenly swivelled, giving readers a taste of Lenoir's POV! A real surprise, it widened the scope of the story, and also, Lenoir is one enigmatic guy, so it was enlightening being inside his head).(less)
In a YA market fast becoming saturated in dystopia's BURN BRIGHT shines out in the crowd. It's a dystopian tale with splashes of sci-fi. It i...more4.5 stars
In a YA market fast becoming saturated in dystopia's BURN BRIGHT shines out in the crowd. It's a dystopian tale with splashes of sci-fi. It is, in fact, so vibrant and unique and convincing that it makes me feel embarrassed for other recent (often flailing romantic) YA dystopia's. It is fantastically original, creepy, riveting and atmospheric. I can honestly say BURN BRIGHT is unlike any book I have ever read = complete WOW experience.
de Pierres makes it easy to sink into a complex world: her prose is lush and rich, evoking vibrant imagery. She doesn't patronise her readers with an overabundance of explanations or bore us with oodles of backstory: she just throws us into the story along with Retra. Not everything instantly makes sense or is explained away and I think this is a strength ~ it truly made me feel as if I was submerged 100% into the story along with Retra.
I went into it not knowing much apart from the blurb and had no idea what to expect. It's hard to give you a feel of this evocative book in such a short review so rather than run down a synopsis I prefer just to share how brilliant I thought it was and give a little teaser:
There's pirates and gangs and secret passages and pills and dark creatures.
There's parties and a hot musician and mysterious creepy happenings.
There's a world bigger than Ixion, which skitters on the horizon, with even bigger dystopia themes.
It's ominous and daring and spectacular.
LOVED the climax where some of the islands secrets are revealed ~ while leaving me craving more.
I LOVED THIS: It's dark and wild, unpredictable and somehow enchanting. I found it unputdownable, sensory rich and utterly absorbing. It had been a while since I have been so pulled into someone else's story. I loved being in Retra's world and can't wait to return with the sequel.
Recommended: I very nearly missed out on reading this by thinking it wasn't a "me book." I thought it may be too paranormal-ish, too hedonistic (LOL) or too fantastical ~ GUYS ~ I know it may not be raved about by everyone but if you're in a reading slump or looking for a completely addictive absorbing experience I absolutely recommend Burn Bright. It's truly original and you can completely tell the author loves her world and characters. Brilliant stuff ~ it's in my top ten reads so far this year.
Listen well, baby bats. Burn bright, but do not stray from the paths. Remember, when you live in a place of darkness you also live with creatures of the dark.
First and foremost: I had an awesome time reading Legend. Which is, after all, why I love to read (to bask in the awesomeness). It was unputdownable (...moreFirst and foremost: I had an awesome time reading Legend. Which is, after all, why I love to read (to bask in the awesomeness). It was unputdownable (I felt increasing anticipation throughout), immensely enjoyable, completely absorbing and just plain GOOD.
I loved the blend of action with the dystopian society. I appreciated how there were dark and sinister things being hinted at, yet it was never melodramatic or crazily climatic.
I did not anticipate how much I would care for the characters. The dual POV was perfectly balanced and I never confused the voices. While I can appreciate fab plots, tension and twists, it is the characters that always resonate beyond the book for me, and I fell in love with June and Day*. I liked them separately, and also loved watching the tension between them ~ and for those who like to swoon, there's some swooning as well <3
NOW FOR EVEN MORE AWESOME: Did you know that Legend is loosely based on Les Miserables? Like a post-apocalyptic YA version. You can find snatches of themes running through the novel, subtly done. Of course, Day is like the notorious criminal Jean Valjean, and June is a female version of Javert... (anyone here a fan of Les Mis? Such a brilliant story)
While the world building wasn't nonsensical/ridiculous (like some other YA dystopias I have attempted) I did feel rather vague on a lot of the political history, which was pertinent to the present plot. Yet that didn't detract from me having a fab time with this.
Also, some of the way in which clues/mysteries are revealed > LOL. Always in movies and books are answers so perfectly coded and easily deduced (if it was left to me, I never would have found and interpreted the obscure/absurd clues on which crucial plot points relied on).
I have already happily, enthusiastically been shoving my copy of Legend into the hands of family members (teens and adults) for a guaranteed good read. I am not sure my review is shining enough for this book, which I so loved and crazily, completely recommend for fans of YA fiction, especially for all the dystopian nuts out there.
* Day was my fave. The little Robin Hood ninja genius that he is. (less)
I was really excited for this Aussie dystopia. That cover (!) The comparison to John Marsden's 'Tomorrow Series' (My fave series of all time) (!) and...moreI was really excited for this Aussie dystopia. That cover (!) The comparison to John Marsden's 'Tomorrow Series' (My fave series of all time) (!) and just general Aussie YA coolness (!) ;)
Also, 'Days Like This' was a grand finalist in the Amazon breakthrough novel competition (a really tough competition) ~ so my congrats on that.
Unfortunately, this is not the book for me.
I'm abandoning it 100 pages in. I haven't read enough of the plot to say whether it gets really, suddenly good or not. (some reviews have mentioned the last third is great).
Basically, I haven't been able to connect to the characters enough to care about them or the situation they find themselves in. Ergo, I am disinterested.
The writing is strangely wooden and I feel distanced from the story ~ rather than feeling like I am alongside the characters experiencing it with them.
For me, the third person narration is lacking in personality ~(or at least it hasn't shown up yet).
I think it will appeal to readers who enjoy plot-driven stories. Maybe also fans of mystery. I also think, from what I have read, it is more on the MG side of YA.
*weirdly, I have felt very formal while writing this abandonment explanation. I even used the word 'ergo' (!) LOL. (less)
blurb: The City is divided. The bridges gated. In Southside, the hostiles live in squalor and desperation, waiting for a chance to overr...more[image error]
blurb: The City is divided. The bridges gated. In Southside, the hostiles live in squalor and desperation, waiting for a chance to overrun the residents of Cityside.
Nik is still in high school but destined for a great career with the Internal Security and Intelligence Services, the brains behind the war. But when ISIS comes recruiting, everyone is shocked when he isn’t chosen. There must be an explanation, but no one will talk about it. Then the school is bombed and the hostiles take the bridges. Buildings are burning, kids are dead, and the hostiles have kidnapped Sol. Now ISIS is hunting for Nik.
But Nik is on the run, with Sol’s sister Fyffe and ISIS hot on their trail. They cross the bridge in search of Sol, and Nik finds answers to questions he’d never dared to ask.
The Bridge is a gritty adventure set in a future world where fear of outsiders pervades everything. A heart-stopping novel about friendship, identity and courage from an exciting new voice in young-adult fiction. (from publishers site)
As I Wake is rather unlike any book I have ever read. The cover matches the contents brilliantly, it’s smokey and mysterious, gorgeous and a little bi...moreAs I Wake is rather unlike any book I have ever read. The cover matches the contents brilliantly, it’s smokey and mysterious, gorgeous and a little bit eerie and, like the girl on the front, I felt head-achey trying to get my mind around it.
I really do love Elizabeth Scott. Every book she writes, she surprises me: she does have a signature writing style but sometimes it is funny, cute or quirky, other times heartfelt and other times barren yet full of depth. As I Wake is written in a sparse style of prose, so the reader is instantly dropped into the plot with no preamble or reasoning.
It opens with a girl in a world she does not remember, having headaches and memories of another world, another life. Nothing makes sense to Ava, and Scott puts her readers firmly in Ava’s shoes: I felt like the plot was swirling around me and it was hard to grasp all the pieces ~ just like Ava was struggling to make sense of it. Plot-wise, you have to discover for yourself but it is a little bit The Adoration of Jenna Fox, parallel universe-y, dystopia, soft sci-fi elements, a dash of contemporary high school and there’s a love story in there too :)
The whole thing has an incredibly eerie undertone. At times I felt uneasy, hopeless. Yet there were brief moments of beauty and compassion among the sadness and confusion.
Like the writing, the world building is sparse. It is very much about one girl in this one crossroads moment of her life. The world(s) are not explained, details are sketchy ~ what it strong is the mystery, the emotions, the sensations of it all. It was hard for me to picture everything, but I still felt pulled into the story.
This book may frustrate many readers. But I am firmly an Elizabeth Scott fangirl. I just love her stuff. Anyone else may not have been able to pull this off in so few words, with only splashes of detail and barely-there explanations for plot twists and turns. But I thought it was gorgeous and compelling and I honestly felt swirly while reading it, and it has a strange lingering effect now. It is odd, that’s for sure, but it worked for me :)
Conclusion: this is rather like a book you read while having a dream, all swirly and out of reach. It was a dream-like reading experience. Regarding the love story, it is more surreal and fairytale-vibe than true, but I easily slipped into it, I think it matched the whole thing superbly (and I always fall for Scott's boys. She has a swoony gift).
I don’t know if this is the book for you *shrugs* but maybe my review has evoked a little of how this book felt for me. I am going with 3.5 stars and rounding up to 4 b/c it's Elizabeth Scott (and I can be biased like that) (less)
I've only ever heard good (and positively raving you-must-read-this-book) reports about Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It so I was pumped to fin...moreI've only ever heard good (and positively raving you-must-read-this-book) reports about Susan Beth Pfeffer's Life As We Knew It so I was pumped to finally have a copy to read. And you probably can't tell in the picture here, but the cover is textured, so you can feel the craters on the moon (like braille) -- so it feels cool too :)
The story of the-beginning-of-what-could-be-the-end-of-the-world is told by sixteen-year-old Miranda in diary format. Her voice is compelling in a way that makes you feel like you really are reading a teenage girls diary. It's a book you sink into - it doesn't open with a bang, and even when catastrophic events start occurring, it isn't overly dramatic. The story moves effortlessly from event to event - a snowball effect that seamlessly shows the deterioration of civilisation as we know it.
It's startlingly real and once I was into it, I didn't want to put it down.
I love all the characters - Miranda's family are all fully fleshed out and flawed in the best of ways. I love how Miranda and her mum fight a lot but also love each other fiercely. There's a chocolate chip scene with Miranda and her mum that I read wide-eyed, it really highlighted all the pressure that they were under.
The only part that niggled at me was the way Miranda's friend, Megan (a Christian), was portrayed. Megan and her minister were fanatical and extremist and made me cringe (and want to punch them in the head, in a friendly-Christian-kinda-way). I guess there's always going to be nutters out there... :)
Famine and earthquakes and tsunamis and floods and death and may sound like a depressing read, but ultimately, it really made me crazily grateful for the life I live now. It showed me the small things that we all take for granted. And how courageous humans can be when survival is constantly threatened.
I am a major fan of all things convenience and leisure :) - forever grateful to be born in Australia and not a developing nation. So, if a mega meteorite ever hits the moon in my lifetime, I hope I would be as awesome as Miranda. I'd kinda like to go wild chucking things with feverish abandon in my trolley at the supermarket*...but pretty much everything else would suck.
Life As We Knew It will definitely appeal to boys as well as girls and I give it a G rating for content (possibly PG for mature themes) - also suitable for Middle Grade readers, but adults will love it as well... like me :)
Oh, and they ate a lot of cans of tuna**. Not my idea of a good time.
*I guess there's nothing stopping me from indulging in a frenzied moment in the supermarket right now? **Was tuna even intended for human consumption?(less)