To say that I started this book on the wrong footing would be an understatement.
1) For some peculiar reason (curiosity?), I decided to read the status updates of this review before I started. Very bad idea. -.- 2) I've also always been under the assumption that City of Glass would be the end of The Mortal Instruments, but well, you know, I guess not... 3) I read the last TMI book in 8th grade, which wasn't that long ago. It is, however, long enough for me to have read a ton of other books and realize that maybe this series wasn't that amazing after all.
My experience in a nutshell: It felt like Ms. Clare was grasping at straws in this book. I liked the first 3 books well enough, but City of Fallen Angels had a messy plot and a too convenient resolution. I will be gritting my teeth and finishing the entire series (which has now been extended to 6 books) since I always feel inclined to finish series that I've gotten into... Overall, enjoyable read.
There is a horse-drawn carriage rolling through a scenic meadow. The sun is shining; there ar...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
There is a horse-drawn carriage rolling through a scenic meadow. The sun is shining; there are delightful fragrances in the air. The only catch is the you are the sweaty and straining horse, and the carriage you were pulling happened to be occupied by three rather large sombrero-wearing rainbow-colored elephants.
I admit, the sombreros and colors were unnecessary, but you have a vivid mental image now, yes...?
OK, so you're struggling to haul three elephants behind you. But you keep going, because there might just be something satisfying greeting you at the end of the path. maybe some water, a nice cool shade, or a huge pile of oats and other delectable munchies. Instead, what greets you is the edge of a cliff. Apparently, the scenic route has suddenly decided to stop existing. Poof. Gone, just like that.
Thus was my experience while flipping through the pages of Pegasus. Robin McKinley is undeniably one of the best fantasy world-builders I have ever had the honor to read; but the pacing -- it was horrendously slow. I could not read more than two chapters without feeling the urge to bang my head against something hard.* This had to be stomached in small doses, which is why it took me a staggering total of 15 days to read. I had to stop periodically and read other, more frivolous books before plunging back into the story of a princess and her pegasus. This book is truly a test of patience.
Pegasus does redeem itself and earn an extra star for its setting and background history, and the writing style fits nicely with the type of story it is describing. The novel would be a great source for artists trying to paint a fantasy scene. But for readers who are looking for a plot? Not so much...
The ending makes the sequel (exp. publication date: 2012) almost mandatory. There was a slight build-up, and then the book just ended. The expression on my face would probably have scared a few children if I were reading this in public.
Tidbit of random: I want to taste some fwhfwhfwha, too.
*We were working on a rather annoying Chem lab when my dear friend -- always oh so helpful -- offered to print out the picture at the very top of the review for me. Seriously, what have I done to deserve such amazing friends like this? Sarcasm is the spice of life.
Animals are showing up dead in the woods with their throats ripped out and the rest of t...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Animals are showing up dead in the woods with their throats ripped out and the rest of their bodies untouched, and the residents of the little town of Mystic Falls are freaking out as they attribute the attacks to demonic activity. Through all this mayhem, there is Stefan, who's led a relatively simple life; until now, that is. The boy suddenly finds himself faced with an unexpected arranged marriage and an equally unexpected visitor -- alluring and orphaned Katherine Pierce. Needless to say, it is attraction at first sight, and when Stefan's brother Damon returns from the army and appears to be quite taken with the young Katherine as well, trouble begins to brew. Two brothers and a girl: there has to be a winner, and there has to be a loser.
Based off of the hit CW TV show Vampire Diaries, Origins describes Stefan, Damon, and Katherine’s mysterious back-story. There are countless differences between this book -- co-written by the two TV show producers instead of L.J. Smith -- and the original Vampire Diaries series. While both are enjoyable, I found Origins to be slightly superior plot-wise, and L.J. Smith’s original story to be better written and characterized.
One little quirk: we never really discover who the villain is because of the abrupt ending. A nice conclusion or revelation of some sort would have been cleaned the plot up nicely. Overall, the book was still appealing -- the latter half especially, as the story finally picks up pace.
Origins would be a great read for all die-hard fans of the Vampire Diaries series and TV show, as it presents an alternative view of the Vampire Diaries world and sheds light on the murkiness of Stefan and Damon’s past.
As an angel-blood, Clara has a purpose in life—the sole reason she exists on earth in th...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
As an angel-blood, Clara has a purpose in life—the sole reason she exists on earth in the first place. With nothing to guide her but visions of a boy in a forest fire and the annoyingly confusing comments her angel mother tells her, Clara and her family move from sunny California to snowy Wyoming in an attempt to complete her purpose. It is there that Clara comes face to face with Christian, the boy in her dreams, and delves into the complicated world of high school love and Nephilim war. As circumstances become even more perplexing, Tucker appears in Clara’s life. Fun, normal, dimpled Tucker. Clara is the one who must make the decision, for who else can do so for her?
Cynthia Hand’s debut, Unearthly, was gorgeously written. She managed to depict an authentic teen voice without going overboard with the standard ALL CAPS to express emotion and the internet slang (ie. OMG, LOL, WTF) that has infused itself into the world of teenagers. To say that I flipped open this book with skepticism would be an understatement, since I’ve had almost traumatic experiences with YA angel books before. Surprisingly, Unearthly proved to be different from the rest. Unlike the clichés that are prevalent in other angel books—the dark and brooding fallen angel who falls in love with a human girl—this book delivers a unique twist that left me flipping the pages one after another deep into the night.
Of course, we also encounter the infamous love triangle here, but the author handled it well, and I thank her for not following the conventional route most other YA books do. There is actually a development in the boy and girl’s relationship—a concept often lacking in YA fiction. Instead of love at first sight, a steady build-up of attraction occurs that seems real instead of crafted. I especially adore the ending, oh how I grinned like a maniac at the book in my hands when Clara finally makes up her mind.
This is the beginning of a great series, and I will definitely be on the look-out for future works by Cynthia Hand.
A shy girl living a seemingly normal life? Check. A hot and mysterious guy appearing out...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
A shy girl living a seemingly normal life? Check. A hot and mysterious guy appearing out of nowhere? Check. Instant, unexplainable, and inevitable attraction blossoming as the two gaze at each other fatefully through a pane of glass? Check.
Haden/Mr. Dangerous-and-Brooding: Stay away from me, lamb.* I’m dangerous. Theia/Ms. Radiant-Sunshine: But I don’t want to. I think I’m in love with you! Check.
Does this sound just a teensy bit familiar yet…? Ugh, the first two-thirds of the book was a complete rehash of Twilight, albeit a better-written one. A solid 2 stars -- not horrible, and yet not horribly original. I had to roll my eyes a few times here and there. A couple of facepalms appeared, too.
What bumped the rating up to 2.5 stars was the last third of Falling Under. Told in the perspective of Haden instead of Theia, this portion of the book, titled Up is Down, is infinitely more interesting plot-wise and such a joy to read after the coughTwilightcough review we got before. If only the entire book was like the last part. Alas, it was not to be.
Overall, this book is worth it if you’re willing to wade through some clichés and overdone plot lines first. Falling Under’s invigorating ending certainly left me in need of the sequel.
*Seriously? Haden has to refer to Theia as his lamb, too? Please… -.-
In a gorgeous retelling of the Norse fairytale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, we follow...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
In a gorgeous retelling of the Norse fairytale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, we follow the little unnamed pika, or “the lass,” as she grows up in a tiny village forever plagued by harsh and never-ending winters. Life is simple, and the only worry the lass has to deal with is the possibility of being stolen by the troll-folk, who are known to be particularly fond of nameless children. But then an isbjorn appears in her life. The ice bear demands for the lass to accompany him to a palace and stay for a year in exchange for fame and wealth for her poor family. So, with her wolf Rollo and her brother’s snow-white parka with the mysterious markings, the lass leaves on the journey that would change her life forever. DUN-DUN-DUUUUN~
I know, so dramatic… I give you permission to roll your eyes.
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow is written in marvelous prose and is filled with the lilting rhythm that poetry and music both possess. That is why this book and the story within its pages read like a beautiful song.
Speaking of beautiful things, this is a beautiful sculpture of the lass and the isbjorn by Forest Rogers. Isn’t it beautiful? How many times did I use the word beautiful in the past few sentences? Don't answer that.
I must confess: I have never even heard of the fairy tale the novel is based on before reading the book. Originally, I thought it was solely a retelling of Beauty and the Beast and had shamelessly declared to my Kindle, “Haha sucka, I’ve got you all figured out.” (I talk to my books/Kindle. I’m sure you do, too. Don’t deny it…)
Of course, the universe just loves to prove me wrong, and lo and behold, Jessica Day George threw a curve ball and turned the story into Beauty and the Beast and the Troll with Abnormally Long Noses and Breasts. Appealing title, huh? Well, it was still a brilliant story.
Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow was a lyrical read, with wonderful characters and lovely storytelling. My only complaint is the slow beginning, which subtracted from the overall appeal of the novel. It is never a good sign to feel like you have to force yourself through a book, even if it is only a tiny portion.
Maybe I'll go read East of the Sun, West of the Moon one of these days.
Even though I am fairly new to the adult PNR/urban-fantasy genre, I have read my fair share of vampire novels. Blood Song turned out to be an enjoyable read with a unique twist on traditional vampirism. The protagonist Celia is the usual kick-ass 20-/30-something heroine with multiple guys pursuing her as Celia herself remains clueless to the attention. In this reality, however, the entire world knows of the existence of preternatural beings. Some humans have even uncovered their own hidden powers.
The first half of the book was slightly hard to get through, and the plot felt almost random at times. There were some characters who felt kind of... unnecessary, I suppose. The ending is not overly cliffhanger-ish, but does connect to the second book, Siren Song, which I will read one of these days...
This is the story of a boy and a girl, a brother and a sister, who woke up every morning...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
This is the story of a boy and a girl, a brother and a sister, who woke up every morning to neglect and were shoved the responsibilities of parenthood. This is the story of their love.
Despite the controversial subject that Forbidden explores, I found myself rooting for Locchan and Maya as they struggled with the reality of society's view on their relationship. Yes, I did feel twinges of disgust -- perhaps I'm not as open-minded as I thought I was, although I guess this situation isn't really about open-mindedness at all. But the way Suzuma described the two, through changing perspectives of first person, immerses the reader completely and justifies the main characters' actions somehow.
Although why. Just why oh why oh why, Ms. Suzuma. Why did you... Couldn't you have somehow...
Forbidden is going to leave you feeling kind of hollow inside.
It is not often that books induce episodes of hysterical fits and render me speechless at the end. I will have to congratulate Patrick Ness on achieving that. This trilogy has been one helluva ride, and I enjoyed every single moment of it.
AJSLKDFMVILJMOIJAISODNF (Please wait as my brain restarts)
The world that Ness created is real, the character's emotions are raw. Yes, the entire book is one big war and one big attempt at peace. One would think that a war dragged out across 600+ pages would be overkill, but Ness managed to make every single page of this book worthwhile.
I have to admit -- I did cry at the end. Quite surprising actually, since this is not a particularly tear-jerker type book. You could say that the ending was so overwhelming it elicited tears. Just go read the dang book and find out yourself.
Across the Universe was certainly an unique read, and I, being one of those guilty people who...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Across the Universe was certainly an unique read, and I, being one of those guilty people who often judge books by their covers, started reading with a sky-high stack of expectations. These obviously stemmed not just from the gorgeous cover, but also from the praises YA bloggers were singing to the heavens about the book.
I liked it, but the feeling was laced with disappointment. I had to constantly stifle the urge to yell insults at Elder throughout, since he acted like an idiot most of the time. I do get that he was raised that way and is still in the process of escaping from Eldest's clutches, but couldn't Elder have, oh I dunno, grown a spine faster? Since he is one of the central characters. It seemed as if Amy was the one doing all the work while Elder drifted along and just happened to appear at crucial moments and learn important pieces of information to contribute.
The descriptions of The Season was, like others before me have mentioned, quite disturbing. They were repeated, too, as if to remind the reader that, hey look, there's another couple going at it over there, you know, in case you forgot. It succeeded in increasing the believability of the novel, but was it really necessary? In a YA novel, too.
And alas, the ending, or lack of. The climax of the novel seemed to be nonexistent. I was excitedly flipping the pages, wondering what sort of argument or revelation was going to occur and end the novel with a bang. Well, the bang never came. There was no real resolution, either, which bothered me to no end. I guess I prefer stories that are tied up with nice little polka-dotted bows.
The world Beth Revis created was likable, and the sci-fi elements were nicely done, but the plot just fell flat for me. I would still recommend the book, though.
I was hurriedly walking out of the school library at the conclusion of a particularly boring...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
I was hurriedly walking out of the school library at the conclusion of a particularly boring lecture on how to research online -- sheesh, we're sophomores; how do you think we survived school without knowing how to conduct research? -- when I happened to see this book propped up on a shelf. I glanced at it, continued striding past, and suddenly changed my mind 3 seconds later and screeched to a halt. My unfortunate friend proceeded to bang into me and almost fell over. Sorry, El... By the time she looked up, I was over at the shelf with the copy of Brightly Woven in my hands. I whipped out my handy-dandy school ID with the unflattering picture, handed it all to the mean librarian, and off I went.
Brightly Woven turned out to be way more addicting than I expected and kept me from being the studious person I normally pride myself to be at least most of the time. I was instantly drawn into Alexandra Bracken's world -- filled with magicians and dusty little towns and cloaks that could whisk you off to mysterious places and boys filled with sadness, in need of rescuing from themselves and their past. There is something simply enchanting about fantasy novels and their ability to pull you into an alternate world, the way they offer escape from daily life.
Sydelle and North are both characters you would want to glomp (definition). The pair is adorable in their own way and are made interesting by each of their worries and trials. Their interactions were extremely heart-warming, and the build-up of attraction is nice and gradual. It felt utterly natural.
Simple, sweet, and slightly predictable, Brightly Woven is the type of book that you will close with a wide smile plastered on your face and fuzzy feelings in your tummy. Please pardon the cheesiness of that last sentence...
This is quite possible my favorite PNR series, although truthfully, that isn't saying much, since I haven't read that many... Blood Bound is action-packed from beginning to end, and the interactions between Mercy and Adam/Sam/Stefan are just too adorable. I think this series would make a great TV show, actually. Much more so than the Sookie series. Will read the rest of the Mercy series sometime in the near future!
The past year has been beyond life-altering for Meghan Chase. Suddenly thrust into the world...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
The past year has been beyond life-altering for Meghan Chase. Suddenly thrust into the world of Faerie and the rivalries between the Seelie and Unseelie Courts, Meghan realizes her importance in this beautiful yet cruel world, a world that has silently existed alongside hers ever since she was born. To complicate matters further, the Seelie and Unseelie have become threatened by a new kind of Faerie—the Iron Fey, brought to life by the ever-increasing reliance humans have of technology. Meghan, with the aid of the Unseelie prince Ash and childhood friend, the Faerie Puck, has already defeated the first Iron King and successfully retrieved a stolen scepter in time to stop a Faerie war. Meghan thought she was never going back, especially since she and Ash had been banished from the Faerie world together—a punishment for their forbidden love. But the rise of a second Iron King changes all that, and Meghan finds herself once again in the complicated world of Faerie, on a quest to save the entire Faerie race.
This third installment of Julie Kagawa’s The Iron Fey series does not disappoint and continues the momentum of the two previous novels. There were barely any dull moments, and the trio is always on the move. I did find the apparent helplessness of Meghan a bit annoying at times—every time they meet an enemy, it was Ash and Puck protecting her while she screamed or fainted—but the girl did mature emotionally throughout the book. I adore the twist at the ending and applaud Meghan for her courage and sense of responsibility. This trilogy-turned-saga will end with The Iron Knight, told from Ash’s perspective. I simply cannot wait to get my hands on the next book and would recommend this series to fans of fantasy and faerie novels.
It’s possible that I harbor a sort of morbid curiosity toward angst of any kind, given t...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
It’s possible that I harbor a sort of morbid curiosity toward angst of any kind, given the surprising amount of love I felt for this novel. Because I am not kidding when I say that the entire book is one humongous angst-fest. There’s Adam’s heartache and Mia’s barely hidden heartache and just pain and this awful sense of detachment from every other person around them.
And I loved every single page of it.
If Adam had been a stereotypical male from the YA genre, we would doubtlessly have been treated to paragraph upon paragraph of whining and pining after Mia. Oh, I miss the way her hair smells, the feel of her skin on mine, her beautiful lips like bright red cherries blah blah blah… But Adam is stronger and just plain better than that, even if he himself doesn’t think so. Yes, he wrote emo songs to vent his frustration at Mia’s departure. Yes, he was basically kind of catatonic for a year afterward. But he did something about his pain. He made it a sort of productive pain, if that makes any sense. Adam did not sit around and stare into space; he became a national rock sensation instead.
I confess, I had originally put off reading Where She Went because If I Stay wasn’t phenomenal for me. Perhaps I was put off by the feeling of stasis -- the total lack of overall change -- that pervades the first novel. Well, Where She Went manages to retain the emotional rollercoaster from If I Stay and adds a lot more movement and development to the characters since Mia is, you know, no longer in a coma.
Sigh... An author’s ability to turn something simple into something so engaging and extraordinary: this is why I read.
Book Source: ARC from Penguin Young Readers Group via NetGalley(less)
Life has finally settled down after the violence and uncertainty of the Force of Sheep rebell...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Life has finally settled down after the violence and uncertainty of the Force of Sheep rebellion. Trella, the famous Queen of the Pipes, now knows her place in this new version of Inside, and it is definitely not as the leader of 22,509 people. After endorsing a Committee of nine uppers, nine scrubs, and an extra member to prevent voting ties, Trella intends to fade away into obscurity and distance herself from the agenda and messy politics of Inside -- tedious tasks such as organizing work schedules and deal with the enemies and traitors of the rebellion.
Trella soon discovers that it is actually quite difficult to disentangle from this sticky web. Peace has not yet been achieved. Complaints of the people precede deadly bomb attacks that are, in actuality, distractions and/or clues in disguise. So Trella returns to her pipes, and the sneaking around begins yet again. There are consequences for every action, though. So be careful before you decide to stick your nose where you don’t belong.
Maria V. Snyder once again pens a story filled with action and suspense. It is quite an accomplishment, being able to master two different genres of writing -- the Middle Age fantasy setting like her debut, Poison Study, and the futuristic science fiction like Outside In. There are lush details (ie. believable techie gadgets and slang common in sci-fi novels), and since the world-building has been pretty much completed in the first book, Inside Out, the reader is plunged straight into Trella’s post-rebellion life.
At first, I had my doubts, as the story seemed complete with the conclusion of Inside Out, but Snyder seamlessly introduces new elements into the plot, weaving them in one delicate thread at a time. The surprising plot twists that occur throughout are also another one of Snyder’s fortes and greatly increase the unputdownable quality of the novel. Every once in a while I would utter a string of unintelligent sounds as another complication is revealed. Feelings of delight, incredulity, and outrage were frequent.
Snyder is a great writer who knows exactly what to do to grab the reader’s attention. I am looking forward to the next installment of the story of Trella and Riley and, of course, Sheepy the stuffed animal.
Book Source: ARC from Harlequin via NetGalley(less)
Holy. Frickadoodles. (No, I don't say words like this regularly. They are reserved for specia...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Holy. Frickadoodles. (No, I don't say words like this regularly. They are reserved for special situations such as these...) This was one of the creepiest books I've ever read. A worn out doll with bright green eyes, a seemingly innocent little girl, and an antisocial pink-haired teenager together weave an intricate story about a malicious ghost hungering for revenge.
The plot is fast-paced, with little details that ultimately help unravel the mystery scattered randomly throughout. As major revelations occurred, I would go back and try to find the clues that answer the questions. Sometimes this helped, but oftentimes, it appeared to complicate the plot further. The author also did a wonderful job with characterization. Pink-haired Alexis has just the right amount of sarcasm to seem like a strong girl without being overly annoying. Her younger sister Kasey was marvelous, too, as both her needy and resentful sides were portrayed realistically. It takes talent to craft a 12-year-old with the level of terrifying grace that Kasey possesses.
Bad Girls Don't Die is an addicting paranormal novel that will leave readers anxiously waiting for the sequel.
Tidbit of random: I swear, this song was running through my mind as I read the last few chapters...
Everything, everything is blurry to Alex. The events of the night before has become nothing b...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Everything, everything is blurry to Alex. The events of the night before has become nothing but a huge pounding headache and random flashes of disjointed memories. She remembers talking to Martin, then to Carter. Then there is Carter's room, and the entire scene blanks out...
As rumors of that night spreads thoughout the prestigious Themis Academy -- fueled and distorted by Carter himself -- Alex is determined to get her old life back as the quiet piano genius. She enlists the help of the Mockingbirds: a student-run organization that acts as the enforcer of unspoken rules in a school where the administrators turn a blind eye on student issues, afraid that publicity of the flaws in their system would damage the school's reputation. Remember, don't underestimate the Mockingbirds. They have their ways. So Carter dear, you'd better watch out.
Daisy Whitney's novel explores the consequences of date rape in a high school that appears pristine on the surface. I found the author's integration of concepts from Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird to be fresh, new, and incredibly sneaky. Almost all of the Mockingbird's procedures and symbols are analogous to various elements of TKAM, like Boo's gifts to the Finch children or details of Tom Robinson's court trial.
Onto the musical aspect: mentions of Beethoven and Lizst and the like. These presented another facet of the novel that seemed to be irrelevant, but ultimately was not. Even Beethoven's famous Ninth Symphony can be symbolic to a story like this.
There was one part that made me laugh hysterically for a while. Then again, it might have just been due to the fact that I was reading at a time that should be reserved for sleep... Alex and Martin, an apparently cute science nerd (where can I find one of these, huh?), were discussing their ideas for the spring project. This assignment is similar to a senior paper, although these two aren't seniors, and it's not a paper. Anyways, Martin decides to do his project on barn owls, and when asked why, he replies: "I was driving this summer and I drove past this injured owl on the side of the road. I was about to call the Humane Society, but then he just died, so I took him home and I dissected him."
The Mockingbirds is a unique contemporary novel that turned out to be more than I expected. I did not realize there was going to be a sequel, which definitely piques my interest.
Tidbit of random: I wish my school was cool enough to have the Mockingbirds' system.
The creepy-looking cover of this novel proudly boasts the words: Romeo and Juliet meet the li...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
The creepy-looking cover of this novel proudly boasts the words: Romeo and Juliet meet the living dead in The Cellar.
Ughhh… (The above was an exclamation of annoyance, not an attempt to copy the moans of the undead.)
I shall preface this review by saying that yes, I am a huge zombie fan. Zombies are quite possibly the most genius fantastical creatures ever thought up by the human imagination. And despite my grumbling, I really did enjoy Romeo and Juliet. With this uncanny combination of interests, The Cellar must surely be the perfect book for me, right?
Imagine this. You have a dash of zombies are friends with hyenas and a pinch of oh look the lovey-dovey teenagers are off being idiotic again. Stir in the characters’ basically nonexistent personalities, and you’ve got an awkward mix of brown goo that looks and smells suspiciously like a paper copy of Twilight in liquefied form.
Is the plot at least slightly interesting? Well...
First, Boy meets Girl. Both fall in love. But wait, Boy is dangerous, and everyone tells Girl to be careful. Hey, Girl doesn’t care, because love overcomes all obstacles. Yay. And then tons of people die.
Hopefully further elaboration is not needed.
Although The Cellar does not suit my tastes, YA PNR lovers will adore the abundance of true love floating around in this novel. Those particular scenes actually succeeded in making me snort out loud. Twice. I sounded like an irritated bull, and I think I felt rather like one, too.
Book Source: ARC from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley(less)
Rhine lives in a world seemingly devoid of hope -- men now die at the age of twenty-five and...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Rhine lives in a world seemingly devoid of hope -- men now die at the age of twenty-five and females at a meager twenty. When she is kidnapped and sold into a marriage like countless others, Rhine is determined to revolt against the bonds that secure her to this new husband and somehow reunite with the twin brother who was torn away from her. Even in a world like this, opinions and relationships shift and change. But escape -- escape is always on her mind.
I devoured and simply adored this new YA dystopian novel. There were moments when I found myself engrossed, grasping the little paperback and yelling No at the words squiggling across the pages as the story unfolded around me. The plot is captivating and the writing artfully done. The characters are authentic and contain a certain depth that made me love the book just that much more, as I could relate to the pain they experience throughout the book. There is a slight The Hunger Games feel to the it, which I do not object to at all. This is definitely one of the best books I’ve read in 2010, and I cannot wait for the next installment of this trilogy.
Seventeen-year-old Lena lives in a world where love, or amor deliria nervosa, is nothing but...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Seventeen-year-old Lena lives in a world where love, or amor deliria nervosa, is nothing but a disease deemed to be fatal by the government. The only way for society to flourish as it should is through complete eradication of love, and that is where the cure comes in. All inhabitants of the United States of America living within the heavily militarized border are required to have the procedure on their 18th birthday. This cure takes away all the intense feelings of love won and love lost, of fixation and obsession, and of euphoria and despair. Lena, of course, simply cannot wait for her procedure. She has always been different, set apart by her infamous and long-deceased parents who just so happened to be branded with the most shameful labels society has to offer: one is a sympathizer; the other took her own life. Lena just wants all this pain and worry to disappear, but then Alex comes into her life -- Alex, who bears the scar of the procedure on his skin. This means he is completely safe to interact with, right? Right…?
In my opinion, Lauren Oliver’s second novel, Delirium, was not in the same caliber as her debut, Before I Fall. Although Oliver’s fluid writing style is still there, peppered with beautiful similes that make her books such a joy to read, the setting and plot of Delirium just doesn’t have the originality of her first book. Thirty pages in, my mind was flashing warning signals, and the existing similarities between Delirium and Scott Westerfield’s Uglies series began popping up. For some reason, I felt like Lena was, for a lack of a better word, somewhat of a bimbo. She is passive and hesitant, and her doubt about herself and the world around her can be quite annoying sometimes. I understand that most books are centered on characters that aren’t special in the conventional sense but end up maturing and discovering the rebel within themselves as the book progresses. It felt like Oliver was aiming for this growth, but Lena fell short. She does indeed become more confident by the end, but the transformation process was lacking.
The other thing about Delirium is the speed of its plot development. The first half of the book was a chore to get through -- almost nothing occurred. Total stasis, almost perpetual boredom. The addictive quality of a novel is a big factor for the reader’s enjoyment, and the crawling pace of this book was the biggest turn-off for me.
With all that being said, Delirium does have its lovely parts. Each chapter is preceded by a short passage taken from various pieces of literature that exists in the Delirium world. They give insight into the novel and are all gorgeously crafted by Oliver. The ending was quite an intense ride as well. It definitely leaves the reader wanting of the second installment of the Delirium trilogy. Overall, an applaudable addition to the YA dystopian genre.
Tidbit of random: Ash over at Smash Attack Reads! casted Diego Boneta as Alex. Having watched Diego as Alex (oh the irony…) on the TV show Pretty Little Liars, I totally agree. He’s a decent actor and is incredibly cute.
The story follows three troubled teens -- Lily, Noah, and Simon -- through their tumultuous s...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
The story follows three troubled teens -- Lily, Noah, and Simon -- through their tumultuous sophomore years, as family and peer pressure, both good and bad, overwhelm the confused trio. Relationships change as the three seek to find out who they truly are.
When I saw the title of this book, the math nerd inside me couldn't resist, and I just had to read it. Although the author's application of the concept of the "absolute value" was very fitting to the plot at hand, I thought it could be developed and integrated more into the story. That said, the three main characters contained a lot of depth, and their struggles and voices seemed authentic. The different POV's provided enough insight into each character without being too direct. Overall, an angsty, but enjoyable book.
June 2, 2011 Ugh, no. Did I really give this a 3.5 back in November? How naive I was...
November 5, 2010 Heaven and Hell are both vying for the same thing -- Frannie Cavanaugh, the one girl that can tip the scales and change the world forever. Luc is sent from Hell's Acquisitions, and Gabe is dispatched from Heaven. Their tasks are simple: to tag Frannie's soul for their own side before the other succeeds. A love triangle forms as the two boys gradually begin to understand the girl they were ordered to retrieve. But this girl has secrets of her own.
Told from the points of view of Frannie and Luc, this novel was an undeniably addicting read. This human and demon had completely different voices, and the author executed that well with the implementation of the two first person perspectives. The writing itself, while not exactly the most eloquent, was effective and managed to convey the meaning well. Although the relationship between Frannie and Luc could have used a bit more development to raise the authenticity level, it was acceptable. This applies to the interactions between Frannie and Gabe, too.
Fans of the Twilight saga would definitely enjoy this book, as I did notice a few similarities between the two character-wise. Overall, a solid debut by Lisa Desrochers.
But it’s a good kind of tired. Like after you run a marathon. Or after you finally finish taking all your finals. You’re exhausted but content and your heart is just a teensy bit heavy.
Saving June details Harper’s life after her older sister June commits suicide. Unable to bear it all anymore -- the hurt, her mother’s tears, the unfamiliar pats on the back by random strangers -- Harper escapes to California with her best friend Laney, her sister’s apparent acquaintance Jake, and June’s urn. California was June’s dream, and fulfilling it for her seems like the only way Harper can come to terms with what happened. But a place is just a place. Mostly. And the journey there is only a road trip. Sort of.
Man, I cannot stop myself from pausing every once in a while, picking up Saving June again, and re-reading some of the standout passages. I’ll probably be willing to shout the title of this book from the rooftops, and it’s coming out in paperback. Seriously? Saving June deserves a hardcover edition and a few weeks in a comfy spot on the NYT Best Sellers List.
Why all the enthusiasm? Our protagonist Harper has backbone and doesn’t take crap from anyone. Puke on her, and she’ll puke on you. Jake is a sweetheart with a music obsession and a spiny exterior. Laney is fun and flirty and fiery and I’m running out of adjectives that start with “f” to describe her. This is what all fictional characters should strive to become. They should have a life and a heart and a soul and a personality. Physical attraction isn’t a bad trait, either.
Really, this book was about healing and maturity and dealing with death. I feel like reading it has made me a different person (that’s what all great novels should do, in my opinion). But it also made me chuckle and sigh. And this weight on my chest just won’t disappear.
I recommend Saving June to anyone looking for truly beautiful YA contemporary fiction. I was actually going to host a giveaway for my ARC but changed my mind after finishing the book. I love it too much; I’m not giving it away.
Having read a bit of Alyson Noel’s paranormal series The Immortals before, I started Radiance...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Having read a bit of Alyson Noel’s paranormal series The Immortals before, I started Radiance with expectations. The beautiful pastel blue cover and the rolling field of blue flowers were undoubtedly attracting factors. However, Radiance proved to be less gorgeous than its cover -- far less. After the first few pages, it became just another one of those mediocre what-life-is-like-after-you-die YA stories. For me, this type of plot is either a hit or a miss. Radiance was a miss.
A round of applause goes to the protagonist, Riley Bloom, for securing a spot on my characters-I-would-like-to-maim list. Seriously, has there ever been a more annoying 12-year-old girl in the history of YA lit? Since the story is in first person, the reader gets treated to 24/7 updates on Riley’s feelings as she complains and worries and complains and worries some more. The puppy love set up in here was also totally unnecessary. If the romance doesn’t aid the plot or spice it up for the reader, why bother putting it there? The entire book read like a novella, with barely any build-up of tension and a climax that was not climatic at all.
There was one line in Radiance that really got me, and not exactly in a positive way, either. So Riley, who just so happens to be complaining about the lack of fashion sense of a particular guy, remarks: “Just close your eyes and ask -- What would Joe Jonas wear?
OK, mentioning the Jonas Brothers (who I just so happen to dislike immensely) is called failure. Failure failure failure… Alyson Noel also mentions good ol’ Robert Pattinson, to which I responded with headKindle -- banging my head frustratingly on my Kindle to relieve stress.
I always prefer to end reviews on a positive note, so here it is: Radiance used the word “discombobulated” twice. I think this is the first time I’ve seen that delightful word in a published book!
Will I be picking up the sequel Shimmer? No. But I do feel that this book was geared toward younger teens. Maybe kids below the age of 13 would gobble this stuff up like pie...
It's a good thing I’d already downloaded Shadowfever before I started Dreamfever, since I’m pretty sure I would have chucked my precious Kindle across the room and then proceeded to repeatedly bang my head against a hard surface otherwise. I was totally expecting the “big revelation” since book 3, though. BOOYA.
Admission: I’m addicted to Barrons. If the guy doesn’t show up every once in a while, I use the “search” option to try to find the next page he appears in... That is the extent of my addiction.
I am a sucker for HEA, and I have to admit, Ms. Moning is going to have to do a lot of plot twisting to get Shadowfever to end like that. The reviews for book 5 I’ve glanced over all seem pretty optimistic, though. So. Here. I. Go...
Are you kidding me? What kind of ending is that? /seeths silently in a corner/ This series just keeps getting more and more addicting, if that's even possible. Amazing characters and over-arching plot-line. Unputdownable in a stay-up-late-and-read-until-you-can-barely-keep-your-eyes-open sort of way. I'm very glad that the entire series had already finished publication before I started book 1. Waiting for the next book of anything is possibly the most agonizing feeling ever (I learned that the hard way through The Hunger Games trilogy). Going to have to read Dreamfever really soon.
We are introduced to the quaint town of Near and its inhabitants -- both human and witch...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
We are introduced to the quaint town of Near and its inhabitants -- both human and witch -- through a graceful, lilting writing style accompanied by the soft blow of the Near moor wind through our hair (or if your hair quantity is similar to Voldemort’s: across your scalp). Life is the definition of stasis, for there are no strangers in the town of Near. But then Lexi glimpses a boy who blurs on the edges and fades like the wind, and the children of the town start disappearing out of their beds each night. Now, the hunt is on for the mysterious stranger, for the missing children, and for peace at last in the town of Near.
The Near Witch is a gorgeous novel with a slightly rustic feel that reminds me of the magic that is Hale’s Princess Academy. What a breath of fresh air, so completely different from the love + paranormal creature formula most authors are using these days. And really, why would someone pay to read a glamorized regurgitation of the same ol’ star-crossed love story?
My special thanks to Ms. Schwab for giving our heroine Lexi a brain bigger and wiser than her heart (not that her heart is lacking any essential ingredients, mind you). Headstrong and willing to take the initiative, Lexi is the one moving the story forward instead of being dragged by it from behind. Our mystery boy, too, is more than just a pair of dark, pretty eyes; he is the tangled result of grief and regret and unchangeable history. What a helpless -- but hopeful -- pair they make.
The only thing keeping the novel from being a 5-star is the plot’s overall simplicity. Most will find that not to be problematic; I’m simply very picky about the books I shelve as incomprehensibly awesome. But hey, a 4.5 rating is as close to that as you can get.
Ms. Schwab has penned a shining gem of a debut, and I am waiting with bated breath for her next novel, The Archived.
Book Source: ARC from Disney-Hyperion via NetGalley(less)
This novel is the winner of my created-just-for-the-occasion 2011 WTF award. This WTF has a p...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
This novel is the winner of my created-just-for-the-occasion 2011 WTF award. This WTF has a positive connotation, and I like how it shaped -- more like attacked and mauled -- the ending. I can even say that I saw the WTF coming due to obscure foreshadowing, but the surprise was still WTF-worthy. Thus was the extent of the WTF-ness of Ultraviolet.
WTF (saying it again just for good measure).
Ultraviolet must take responsibility for the more pronounced eye bags currently adorning my face. I was not able to succumb to dreamland while there were still portions of this book I hadn’t read. Who needs coffee? Just grab Ultraviolet and watch your sleepiness evaporate. Gift a copy to your worst enemy and watch them show up to school/work the next day yawning and drowsy and possibly unable to function.
Alison, our wonderfully psychotic-seeming protagonist, manages to experience indignation at the way others are treating her. She fights the system whole-heartedly as a result. This earns Alison a hearty clap on the back and makes her deserving of the lovely beau that comes along later. You can pretty much guess who said beau is the moment they meet, although the semi-discovery is part of book’s charm. The pair’s relationship is almost entirely angst-free, too -- a nice change of scenery from other infamous angst-centric couples.
Curiously, I felt like most of the novel had no plot. No, that would be inaccurate. Most of the novel simply had very little plot advancement -- like a snail gliding across a hard-to-maneuver surface, while the WTF ending is a mad sprint to the finish line. Even more curious is the fact that I experienced no boredom at all, even during the slow parts. The entertaining side-characters and the little story progression that occurred were satisfying and addictive enough for yours truly.
Vastly different from most YA in plot and notably, WTF level, Ultraviolet is a great mystery sci-fi novel. Especially for those who can taste the chocolate of a lover’s voice. Or hear the melody sung by the choir of twinkling stars in the night sky.
Like a certain someone we know.
Book Source: ARC from Lerner Publishing Group via NetGalley(less)
Kylie’s life is breaking down around her: her parents consider divorce, her boyfriend dumps h...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
Kylie’s life is breaking down around her: her parents consider divorce, her boyfriend dumps her and immediately starts going out with another girl, and a stalker has been introduced into her life. It isn’t until Kylie gets caught at a party -- with under-aged drinking and drugs galore -- that her life gets turned completely upside down. Her Ice Queen mom decides to send her to Shadow Falls Camp, a psychologist-recommended institution for troubled teens. And soon, Kylie discovers herself stranded in the midst of brainwave-reading paranormal creatures that couldn’t and shouldn’t exist. Confused but feeling an undeniably weird sense of belonging, Kylie begins to realize just how special she really is. Kylie’s stalker also starts to make sense -- a startling relief after all the anxiety. But then trouble invades the camp, and the paranormals are pointing fingers at each other. Beware, happy little campers, someone has an agenda of their own, and they are quite the determined bunch.
C.C. Hunter’s debut, Born at Midnight, was attention-grabbing and hard to put down. However, the plot started out incredibly slowly. It is slightly understandable, as the author has to first describe the characters and the setting of this new series. But the predicament, which should be central to every novel, was brief and felt like an after-thought. Imagine this: pages after pages of descriptions and little action, a few chapters devoted to the build-up of tension, the short resolution, and then the end of the novel, which ends up feeling like accidentally running smack into a brick wall and maybe losing a few teeth in the process.
And onto the apparently mandatory element of a YA PNR book: the love triangle. The one that exists in this book felt pretty much superfluous. There was no reason for its creation in the first place, and Kylie’s indecision and fluctuating feelings becomes a bore to read about after a while. Girl, it is not right to be lusting after three guys (her ex-boyfriend included) at once, especially if you alternate between thinking about kissing one boy to thinking about the hotness of another a second later.
Born at Midnight is a nice read, not entirely original, but interesting nonetheless. The second installment of the series, Awake at Dawn, will be released in October 2011.
You know those books that aren’t written, structured, or characterized that well, but you sti...moreThis review may also be found on A Thousand Little Pages.
You know those books that aren’t written, structured, or characterized that well, but you still manage to like it despite all its flaws? Guilty pleasures, basically. Bumped was a guilty pleasure for me. While the background of the novel is certainly dissimilar to the ones in any other book I've ever read, it failed to woo me once I got past the novelty of the shiny new dystopian world. With our media’s shifting attitude from condemnation to almost glorification of teen pregnancy, the world setup does take a provocative and challenging stance on the matter. But, again, Ms. McCafferty didn’t make the most of it. There was so much potential, but the story didn’t leave me with a profound sense of anything, a feeling I expect to get from great dystopians, or any novel, really.
The characters, too, were kind of generic, although they managed to do a few things that I wasn’t expecting at all. It’s not that they were stereotypical, they just weren’t special. At least there was no love triangle, and none of them spent time blatantly lusting after each other, something that would be normal given the society they live in.
Now onto a little gripe about character names. Let’s take, for example, Johndoe the ultimate sperm bank. Every time Johndoe is mentioned I would involuntarily picture Bambi running through the woods with his rabbit friends or something. And as you might have guessed, I found it difficult to reconcile a bouncing doe with the sex god image Johndoe is supposed to have.
I am going to read the sequel, Thumped, simply because I adored Ms. McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series and, despite all my complaints, I liked Bumped. Yes, I am proud to say I did.
Book Source: ARC from HarperCollins via NetGalley(less)