Cassia lives in a perfect Society. Her government makes sure that life is lived optimally, pre-planning everything from birth to death so that everyonCassia lives in a perfect Society. Her government makes sure that life is lived optimally, pre-planning everything from birth to death so that everyone can have the best life that they can have. Cassia is seventeen and everything is about to change for her. She is being matched to her optimal spouse, she is about to be assigned to her career, and her grandfather is turning eighty and going to die. The happiest night of her life is when the cracks start to show. She is matched to her best friend Xander, but later a different face, an acquaintance named Ky, is shown as her true match. Her grandfather shows her banned poems before his death, poems that make her wish that she could create instead of organize. Cassia's life is crumbling as she has to decide whether freedom of choice is worth the safety of everyone she loves. Her family is being watched, the Society seems to be pushing measures of equality further than are comfortable, and as Cassia starts to fall in love there are whispers of dissent.
When I started reading this I was strongly reminded of The Giver by Lois Lowry: sorting children into proscribed paths, pills to keep the masses calm, and how the the need for choice and independence of mind will eventually buck under a dictatorial government. Unfortunately the similarities ended there. There were good points, I enjoyed Cassia's interactions with her family and the burgeoning realization that she needed more out of life than what she was receiving. But I felt that the romance side was rather weak, which unfortunate as this is essentially a romance in the trappings of a Utopian dystopia.
Cassia is supposed to be in a love-triangle between Xander and Ky, but it was difficult to feel any tension when Xander isn't present for most of the book. Xander is made to be so perfect and good that it makes me question how Cassia can fall in love with anyone else? That and the mystery of Ky wasn't really intriguing enough to keep my attention, in fact I might even go as far as to call him boring. Who wants a perfect non-love interest and a boring love-interest? This wasn't helped that the pacing of the book was also extremely slow for the first three-quarters, I ended up skimming through a good portion of it. But it was almost made kind of worth it the last couple of chapters. Almost. Let's hope that the sequel will ratchet up the action, a lot, and Ms. Condie will make Ky actually worth caring about. I don't know, maybe I'm being too critical. I did read this one after Clockwork Angel so maybe I was just so blinded by that book's awesomeness that I wasn't ready for something else. I'm sure that there'll be some crowd of girls between the ages of 13-16 that will enjoy this book and relate to the oppression that they 'suffer' with their parents with the governmental oppression that Cassia experiences. ...more
Tessa Gray is sixteen and heading to Victorian England to meet her brother after the death of her aunt and guardian. Once she arrives, she is kidnappe Tessa Gray is sixteen and heading to Victorian England to meet her brother after the death of her aunt and guardian. Once she arrives, she is kidnapped from the docks, the life of her beloved brother is threatened, and Tessa is tortured until she can control a power she never knew she had: the ability to transform into another person and retain their thoughts and emotions. She soon learns that her abilities are to be harnessed by the evil Magister and it is only by marrying him that she can save her brother. At her darkest hour she is rescued and introduced to the world of demons, angels, Downworlders and Shadowhunters. It is in the safety of the Institute that Tessa tries to understand this new culture with the help of dark Will, gentle Jem, self-absorbed Jessamine, motherly Charlotte, and absent-minded Henry; but is distracted by anxiety for her brother and the growing attraction she has for Jem and Will. Unfortunately her own emotions and confusion must be put aside as the Magister sets a trap and all that Tessa holds dear is put at risk.
I LOVED THIS BOOK. I'm not sure how else to put it. Cassandra Clare has written a previous series, The Mortal Instruments which is equally awesome and therefore I was so excited to not only get the ARC of Cockwork Angel but also get it earlier than most at the ALA conference. One part that just made me laugh (I promise this isn't a spoiler) is the fact that Tessa is supremely naive and basis much of her street knowledge on the novels that she's read and enjoyed. Cassandra Clare has a gift of being able to develop characters and emotions, but also maintain underlying plot tension throughout the book. There is never a dull moment, never a page that you don't feel bad about scanning, never a angst-ridden dialogue that you won't go back and reread. Most excellent. I had high hopes for this book and they were all exceeded, I can't wait until the sequel Clockwork Prince comes out. Sidenote: while this is in the same universe as her previous series, this is a standalone and can be read before or after The Mortal Instruments; Clockwork Angel comes out Aug. 31st. If you haven't read The Mortal Instruments series yet I would strongly recommend it just because it is also fantastic. ...more
Thirteen year old Tanya has grown up being able to see faeries. She is able to pass off their tricks as clumsiness, practical jokes, and bad luck, unt Thirteen year old Tanya has grown up being able to see faeries. She is able to pass off their tricks as clumsiness, practical jokes, and bad luck, until her mother fed up with her misbehavior sends her to her grandmother's estate. That's right; not a house, cabin, shack, or apartment, but the large estate and manor that Tanya and her mother usually vacation at for a week during the summer. To say that Tanya and her grandmother have a disconnected relationship is an understatement, and the prospect of living with a woman who views with seeming disgust for unnumbered days is not a prospect that Tanya looks forward to. This is especially clear to Tanya as the faeries are become more malicious, the disappearance of a girl fifty years ago is related to her own family, and the only person to help her is weirdo Fabian the caretaker's son.
I have to admit that I don't know what expectations I had before I started reading this book, but I know that I had some. Perhaps I expected more action, greater intrigue, more sinister villains, or perhaps a faster plot pace; in the end it didn't really matter because none of these things happened. I didn't dislike this book, but I didn't enjoy it either. There were parts that were pretty exceptional, i.e. the description of the rather mundane faeries and the history of her family, but generally I felt that the story was a bit flat. The plotline a bit disjointed, and the pacing slow. I'm sure that they're setting up for a sequel, considering the fact that it's called 13 Treasures and they kind of explain what the thirteen treasure but they really hold no relevance to this story, and I would probably check it out to see if they could rectify the mistakes in this book.
I feel like the book had potential and after having read it I still feel like the book has potential. Unfortunately I don't want to feel that way after finishing a book, I want to see the book fully realized and be able to walk away with a strong opinion about it. 13 Treasures made me feel like I was still holding my breath in anticipation of the plunge that never happened. ...more
So I figured I'd get on the bandwagon and see what the deal was about the Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Interesting artwork and plot linSo I figured I'd get on the bandwagon and see what the deal was about the Scott Pilgrim series by Bryan Lee O'Malley. Interesting artwork and plot line. It's set in Toronto which is fantastic, and it has an original main character. Scott Pilgrim is 23, unemployed, getting over a horrible breakup by dating a high school-er, lives off his friend's generosity, and is in a terrible band. Things start looking up when he meets Ramona Flowers, who he must fight for the honor of dating. Which he does, surrounded by crazy friends and a sarcastic sister.
I read the entire thing in half an hour. It was weird. I can see why it's popular, why it would make an awesome movie, but kind of a lame graphic novel. No lie. I think it's mostly because the "original main character" turned out to be kind of a loser: no job, no money, and technically cheating on his 17 year old girlfriend with Ramona Flowers who he's fighting the evil exes for. Oh did I mention that Scott has amazing fighting abilities? Which is his only redeeming quality, that he can fight. Perhaps I need to be sixteen and a boy to really appreciate this one. Or maybe I need to read more of the series to appreciate. But really I'd rather not....more
This is the second in a series, the first being Once Dead, Twice Shy, and it's not a series you want to come in in the middle of. There's a lot of bacThis is the second in a series, the first being Once Dead, Twice Shy, and it's not a series you want to come in in the middle of. There's a lot of back story, and Harrison doesn't spend a lot of time rehashing what happened in the previous book. If you didn't read it, it's going to be really confusing and you'll probably spend about half of Early to Death, Early to Rise trying to figure out who everyone is and what's going on and why Madison is dead, but doesn't seem dead, and so on.
I enjoyed this, and I think it would be a good series to suggest to kids who like supernatural lite - vampire romances, angel romances, etc. It's not really a romance (yet, there are suggestions), but it has a similar feel. Kids just like you but with angels! Or vampires, whatever. I liked Madison's voice, her worry and frustration rang true. The character of Ace threw me a little bit. I understand why it didn't explain in depth, but his anger was so intense and I just didn't understand where it was coming from. Man, he was a lousy person. Harrison certainly did a good job creating a character that we would feel no sympathy for and make it easier to understand the dark reaper's point of view.
While many kids might not go this deep into it, I really liked what Harrison was doing with looking at choice and fate. When you start reading the book, it seems clear that dark reapers are bad, and light reapers are good. It's all there in their title! But dark reapers aren't actually evil, per se, they're trying to save a person's soul before they can destroy it by doing something evil. The light reapers protect the person's body by giving them a guardian angel and the right to make their choice (even if it harms other people), but then the person is protected in all the bad choices they might make. How important is free will? What if other people die because of the choices one person makes? Should that person be allowed to make those choices, or should they be stopped? There are some really interesting ideas going on in these books, I hope they get to be explored more at the same time Madison is running around looking for her body and trying to get people to make good decisions.
However, bad title. Really, really bad. The first one was bad too. Let's try for a well titled book for the third, shall we? Carry on. ...more
You know that house down your street that everyone always knows about, refers to as "that house," and is just generally creepy? Olive has just moved iYou know that house down your street that everyone always knows about, refers to as "that house," and is just generally creepy? Olive has just moved into that house. Her brilliant (read dippy) mathematician parents are delighted with the architecture and the lighting of the library; Olive on the other hand is fascinated with the old clothes, glass medicine bottles, and the paintings - especially the paintings. She soon discovers that she can go into the paintings and interact with the subjects, but there's something menacing watching her. With all the information gleaned from a small scarecrow boy, a lovely young woman, and three talking cats, Olive doesn't know who she can trust or what the truth is. What she does know is that there's something coming after her, someone who doesn't welcome Olive and her parents into the house.
I really enjoyed this book. As I was reading, I kept comparing the atmosphere that West created with Neil Gaiman's Coraline. The book grabbed my attention and kept it, just when I thought the plot was going to fall into some overly done trope it took a bit of a turn and renewed my interest. That isn't to say that there weren't a few obvious plot twists, but given the overall awesomeness of the book it's easily forgiven. Needless to say, it took me about two hours to plow through the 235 pages of fast-paced adventure.
This book is coming out June 30th (though on West's website it lists the release date as June 15th), it's a series and I hope that the second follows quickly on the heels of this exciting first book. ...more
Not going to lie. I didn’t finish it. I didn’t have to though. I flipped around enough to confirm what I knew was going to happen happened. But reallyNot going to lie. I didn’t finish it. I didn’t have to though. I flipped around enough to confirm what I knew was going to happen happened. But really, should I expect more from a book based on a character from a sticker that promotes a skateboarding clothing line? I don’t think I should.
Ready? I’m going to spoil the book for you. If you don’t want it spoiled, stop reading now. I’m about to give it away. This is your last chance! ::SPOILER:: It turns out Emily didn’t duplicate herself at all! She split herself! So each part got some parts of her personality! One half of her is super evil and trying to destroy the world and kill the other half of her, which is not evil but just loves her cats and pranking and skateboarding! Now the not evil Emily has to figure out what zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Oh, I’m sorry. I drifted off. That’s enough for the spoiler. ::END OF SPOILER:: Right. So. Not Evil Emily was super dumb. How did she not figure this out? Maybe the Evil Emily got all the brains in the split. I don’t know. There’s nothing really redeeming about this book, aside from the fact that if you have reluctant readers who are familiar with the character, they might be into this ...more
So…I don’t know what to tell you. The book flap describes this book as a “gothic tour de force,” but this is not a Gothic horror book. Gothic horror iSo…I don’t know what to tell you. The book flap describes this book as a “gothic tour de force,” but this is not a Gothic horror book. Gothic horror is like Dracula. Everything is done in the shadows, there’s no real blood and gore. This was full out, detailed, blood and gore. For example, after the monster has attacked and killed a family of six, we get a detailed description of the scene, down to the scooped out brains and flesh and bone scattered around the room.
I do not like horror. So I did not enjoy this book. I was too grossed out the whole time. Because of this, I don’t feel like I can accurately judge whether this was a good book or not. I just don’t know. I did like what Yancey was doing with the “when does a man become a monster?” psychological aspect.
What I am sure of is that my theory that the committee in charge of the Printz Awards this year was trying to be hip and edgy is holding true. I will continue to make my way through the Printz winners I haven't read (and had never heard of until they won).
In conclusion. Ew. If you don’t like horror, DON’T READ THIS BOOK. If you do like horror, well, have I ever got a book for you!...more