Wow! I may have liked this even more than Graceling, and I definitely liked it more than Fire- and I loved the first two books to pieces. (Literally....moreWow! I may have liked this even more than Graceling, and I definitely liked it more than Fire- and I loved the first two books to pieces. (Literally. My copy of Graceling is falling apart.)
The story follows Bitterblue into the edge of adulthood. It's perhaps her most politically complicated tale, and I like that we got to know more about the shadowy "Council," which I never felt got much explanation. Still not a very clear picture, but more than we've gotten before.
We get to see the evolution of Bitterblue from a protected woman-child into a formidable young woman and queen. There are lots of familiar characters playing major roles, and even an appearance from some of the cast of Fire. The romance was almost a side note, which was oddly kind of refreshing. YA is just chock full of romance, to the point that it feels kind of obligatory, and it was nice not to see a woman lose her head over someone, although there is romance in the book, and a hint at some more in the future.
There are lots of mysteries dealing with the past and the present, as Leck's legacy is obviously still hanging over everything and everyone. Bitterblue has to figure out a way to help her people heal, and to figure out who is behind some nasty goings-on in Bitterblue City. She also has to learn to assert herself more with her advisers, her seem hell-bent on protecting her- she's just unclear from what. The accounts of her sneaking out of the castle, and her life as nameless thief, are great. Cashore does a great job describing the city in every detail- from the castle down to the meanest pub.
All in all, I'd give it more than five stars if I could.(less)
This isn't a bad little book, per se. I put it down because it really just wasn't my cup of tea. It seemed like it was written for a much younger audi...moreThis isn't a bad little book, per se. I put it down because it really just wasn't my cup of tea. It seemed like it was written for a much younger audience- middle grade or younger- although there was something very eerie about it, that might scare some very young readers. Recommended for fans of fairy tales, or very simple but haunting tales told in first person. I'm thinking "The Silver Kiss" by Annette Curtis Klause. (less)
Holy gods. Where has this book been all my life? I've been going through something of an alien "thing" lately, and have discovered all kinds of nifty...moreHoly gods. Where has this book been all my life? I've been going through something of an alien "thing" lately, and have discovered all kinds of nifty little subgenres. While the occasional alien romance is nice, I was just completely pulled in by this Walking Dead style apocalypse, where you're not even sure who the enemy is anymore. You just know it's not you. You hope.
The 5th Wave is good, solid, dense writing. The pacing is great, with lots of action punctuated by surprising moments of vulnerability and tenderness. The best, though? The characters. Yancey does an amazing job crafting complex, emotional characters with deep back stories and internal struggles. The supporting characters are great as well- they have depth and contribute to the story. So yes, another book that kept me up all night. And when I finally fell asleep, I did it with the lights on.
I'd describe this more as Jane Austen meets Blade Runner. I'm over half way through, and the part of me that's a sucker for the Austen-esque is purrin...moreI'd describe this more as Jane Austen meets Blade Runner. I'm over half way through, and the part of me that's a sucker for the Austen-esque is purring. But the pastoral prettiness jars too much with the social message the book's trying to impart. I know that's kind of the point- high society exploits and feeds on the lower classes- but that's hardly an original plot. I mean, just turn on the news- the 99% and all that. And at over half way through, I kind of feel like I'm being hit over the head with a hammer: "Gentry=parasites. Lower classes= victims." Okay, yes. I got that, like, fifty pages ago. BUT. I am not all the way through yet, and perhaps things will pick up. Austen's Mansfield Park certainly did.(less)
One of the few series I'm into lately. And honestly, I can't really explain what draws me to these books. They're kind of trippy, for lack of a better...moreOne of the few series I'm into lately. And honestly, I can't really explain what draws me to these books. They're kind of trippy, for lack of a better word. Lots of people love them- I think I read the first one because of one of Claire LeGrand's best-of lists- but the writing is kind of dense, and has a meandering quality to it. But the characters are solid, and the emotions? Wow. So they're books with a lot of depth and a deeply imagined political plot. It's kind of like reading a really exciting, really vivid game of chess. And Quintana, whom we meet in Book 2, is one of the most unique characters I've ever read. Just really great. I didn't exactly like her at first, but she's just such a great creation, wholly original, and by the end, someone I fell in love with. Start with Finnikin, and then treat the last two as their own series, because they switch POVs and even settings radically.(less)
This book scared me so badly I had trouble sleeping. And it's not supposed to be scary- at least, not in the "I'm too scared to get up and turn off th...moreThis book scared me so badly I had trouble sleeping. And it's not supposed to be scary- at least, not in the "I'm too scared to get up and turn off the bathroom light that's shining in my eyes and keeping me from sleeping" kind of way. But that's what it did to me. But I love it anyway- maybe even because of how terrifying the villain is. It's a portrait of New York in the 1920s, complete with believable flapper slang that didn't feel the least bit cheesy. And really, what kind of feat is that? Working "on the trolley" into dialogue in a non-cringe-worthy way? But this book goes there, with a huge cast of characters and an insanely detailed old New York. It's like a work of historical non-fiction for people who hate historical non-fiction.(less)
This is one of the only YA Contemporaries I've read lately. I try not to read in genres that I'm writing- and I'm working on an NA Contemporary of my...moreThis is one of the only YA Contemporaries I've read lately. I try not to read in genres that I'm writing- and I'm working on an NA Contemporary of my own. But this book made so many lists and sounded so intriguing I picked it up anyway. And it's luminous. Set in the mid-80s, I found so much to relate to. I was a kid then, light years away from any kind of romance, but most of us can relate to this depiction of desperate, I-can't-breathe-because-I-love-you-so-much first-love. The main characters seemed more "real" than the average YA love-angsty hero/ine; he's half Korean and sometimes wears eyeliner, and she's a plus-sized red head who takes rummage-sale chic to weird new levels. Plus there's mixed tapes. And I really miss those.(less)
I'd read Victoria's Near Witch and was kind of meh about it, but this was the first "grown up" book she'd attempted, and it deals with superheroes. So...moreI'd read Victoria's Near Witch and was kind of meh about it, but this was the first "grown up" book she'd attempted, and it deals with superheroes. Sort of. So I thought, why the hell not? What I love about this book is the light touch she takes when writing about superpowers. You don't even have to suspend disbelief. Much. Her "extra-ordinaries" could even be explained with science. I found this a welcome change from an all-too-often heavy-handed approach to superpowers, where everyone's from a different planet, or somehow survived a nuclear bomb dropping right on top of their head, or worst of all, having no explanation at all for their amazing powers. But the best thing about this book? Watching a close friendship implode under the pressures that so often get glossed over. You know, the friend you love but secretly envy because she can eat french fries by the pound and never gains weight? Or the way you see your friend kind of glare-staring at the flowers your amazing husband bought you *again*? On a Tuesday? For no reason at all? Yep, those kinds of fissures lurking underneath even the healthiest relationships become glaring deadly chasms when extra-ordinary abilities become involved. And then things turn deadly. In a really amazing way.(less)
This book caught my eye several months ago, and I thought, how will I survive until its release? Well, only another month to go... and then I was luck...moreThis book caught my eye several months ago, and I thought, how will I survive until its release? Well, only another month to go... and then I was lucky enough to get my greedy little fingers on an ARC. (I've had good ARC karma this month... no idea why...2014 is being good to me!)
First, let me say that I am really into aliens lately. Although I still love paranormal, I need a break from "creatures" type romance, and this seemed a good fit. Although it has some things in common with JA's Lux series, steaminess is not it. There is some romance, but Landers keeps it pretty light, so I'd say this is suitable for younger teens. It also lacks the gore and horror of alien apocalypse novels. I loved The 5th Wave, but this is a much more light-hearted approach to aliens, which frankly, I found quite refreshing. I managed to read it all in one night, and yeah, I was kind of dragging the next day, but totally worth it. Landers' writing is sophisticated without being condescending, and her plotting and pacing are spot-on. I do think she could have done a little more with character development, *especially* with the supporting cast, but the two principles held my interest well enough.
I really loved two things about this series: the strong-willed heroine, and the- dare I say- "believable" way in which Landers constructs the L'eihr. No bug eyed monsters here. The L'eihr are almost completely genetically similar to us- they're just way more technologically advanced. But they've pretty much bred all emotion out of themselves. This makes Aelyx, the L'ehir exchange student- a great fit for Cara, his human host. Opposites attract, right? And in this case, learn from each other. Cara pulled me in from page one. She's everything I look for in YA fiction- funny, smart, dedicated, strong-willed and loyal. I *love* the way she excels in debate. It's a pretty unique subject for a YA heroine, and it comes in handy later when Cara meets the L'ehir high command.
All in all, you really can't go wrong with Alienated. It's not one of those books that's going to change my world view or anything, but then, if you read for the occasional escape, like me, then you won't be disappointed. And I'll definitely be on the look out for other books by this author. (less)
Overall, a solid contemporary YA/NA romance. However, animal lovers should be warned: SPOILER!!! There is a gruesome, I would argue even gratuitous, s...moreOverall, a solid contemporary YA/NA romance. However, animal lovers should be warned: SPOILER!!! There is a gruesome, I would argue even gratuitous, scene of animal mutilation and gruesome death. This kind of thing always bothers me, way more than when it happens to humans because I am an animal lover and they can't defend themselves. But it wasn't enough to keep me from finishing, and once I got past it, I enjoyed the book.(less)
I really loved this book, and am looking forward to the whole series. The world Chambers creates is so vibrant and nuanced. It's every bit as complex...moreI really loved this book, and am looking forward to the whole series. The world Chambers creates is so vibrant and nuanced. It's every bit as complex and fun as the Harry Potter universe, except no one has to go to class, and is free to pursue whatever appeals to them. Definitely appealed to the free spirit in me! Particular favorites were her kitten/duck hybrids, and Sawyer, one of Nora's best friends. It's lighter than some of Chamber's usual fare, so it's appropriate for all ages, but it draws on a complex mythology that Chambers twists and claims as totally her own, which is a refreshing change from some of the run of the mill gods and goddesses stories out there now. (less)