Apparently someone is telling Kimberly Derting that she can't top the last two novels in this series and she took it as a challenge. It's rare to find...moreApparently someone is telling Kimberly Derting that she can't top the last two novels in this series and she took it as a challenge. It's rare to find books that continually get better. But Ms. Derting needs to stop since I already gave The Body Finder a 5 so I'm not really sure where I can go from there. But I guess if she's testing my rating system, it might as well be stuck on the top instead of the bottom. The Last Echo takes everything you love about this series and amplifies it.
I like Violet so much because she's just a regular girl. Sure, she can find bodies but she isn't a super hero. I thnik this novel, out of all of them, really shows this. Working with the team, Violet is stretching her time thin. The late nights, the stressful cases and new friendships on top of school, a boyfriend, older friends and parents is really wearing on Violet. Not to mention, poor Violet has two enemies to deal with this time and is tested in everyway. I liked that she didn't magically know how to defend herself. She definitely has some skills and uses those to the best of her advantage but she hasn't morphed into a black belt between books. For me, this really stressed her normalness despite her ability.
I thought I was going to really hate the love triangle that was being introduced in book 2. I've always thought that Jay and Violet are one of the best and most real YA couples I've seen so far. They fight in a healthy way, they make up, they respect each other and you can generally see how much they care for each other. So introducing someone else that is going to threaten this relationship just wasn't okay for me. But in The Last Echo, we got to know Rafe as Violet did. And this ended up being a good thing. As I've said before, good love triangles will represent two paths a character can take and apparently Ms. Derting knows this as well. Rafe understands her on an entirely different level, one that Jay will never be able to. But Jay has Violet's past and knows her in a way Rafe never will. I think getting to know Rafe and his story better really enriched my view and I really enjoyed this aspect which is a testament to his charcter considering I'm head over heels for Jay. I hope Rafe will find happiness...just not with Violet. And though I could tell that Derting tried to squeeze as much Jay time in there as she could, I wish Jay could have played as big a part as he usually does.
I read a few reviews of Desires of Dead that had a problem with the plot and the killer. If this is something holding back from The Last Echo, rest assured you have nothing to fear. Echo introduces one of the creepiest killers yet. I felt like Derting went to a really dark place to find this new killer and she understood him. The killer named The Girlfriend Collector had deeply rooted motivations for what he did and every time one of his chapters came up I was both terrified and excited. The first hundred pages were a little slow for me but once I hit a certain point, things start speeding along and I found I couldn't set this novel down.
As with all the books in this series, The Last Echo was addictive. Violet and Jay are unforgettable and the mystery will have you gripping your sheets until your knuckles turn white. It seems odd to write that once again Ms. Derting has outdone herself but seeing as it is once again the truth, I need to say it. The Last Echo is another step up for this series which has already become one of my favorites.(less)
Defiance is a fast paced, dual point of view read that will keep the reader on the edge until the last page. The two main characters have a chemistry...moreDefiance is a fast paced, dual point of view read that will keep the reader on the edge until the last page. The two main characters have a chemistry that is electric and with a cast of supporting characters to fall in love with or love to hate, it makes for one heck of a captivating YA fantasy.
My favorite thing about this novel is most definitely the two main characters. I immediately identified with Rachel's sorrow over her missing father and found her spirit refreshing, especially since she lives in a world where she isn't suppose to have any. It's nice to find a female character who didn't feel like a tomboy but who I also felt could take care of herself in tough situations. She felt capable without having to always be so tough that she comes across as unlikable. I really appreciated that about her and though her refusal to listen to Logan or confide him at times made me anger, the author did an excellent job of giving them a past that would make it hard for Rachel to trust him.
Logan felt even more interesting to me than Rachel. While I loved Rachel for being sort of a normal girl with a spirit, I thought that the way Logan thought was so different. My thought process is much more like Rachel so seeing how Logan saw the world--all moving parts and how things work and fit together--made a very interesting read for me. He always surprised me with the things he did. When he would lose his cool, I would be as surprised as Rachel even though I was just in his head and knew he would because he is often so good at keeping himself calm. His tinkering and his way of thinking to solve problems truly impressed me and always kept the read fresh and interesting.
Another thing I love about this book is hat I kept guessing where it was going to go and being completely wrong. When I started reading it, I thought "okay, Rachel, Oliver and Logan are going to take a long journey and find Rachel's dad". Then something happened to prevent this. I kept correcting the scenario in my mind but I kept getting it wrong. That made the plot feel exciting. There was always one more twist right around the corner that I couldn't predict.
I also loved all the side characters. There aren't many characters I take an instant liking to without rolling my eyes because the author tries so hard to make me like them. But I loved Oliver the way Rachel did from the second he appeared on the page. I believed in their bond and trusted him. The author is particularly adept at making the reader remember that these characters had pasts and lives before we were dropped down in the story and I felt their history in this novel. I also loved to hate the Commander and I have a feeling there is a lot more than meets the eye to that man. I'll be interested to see him again for sure.
While the setting didn't exactly feel fantastical, I liked how it felt different than a lot of the other stuff I've read. For me, it was more the creatures and people roaming this land than the settings themselves. It was the rules Rachel's society set out, the tricks of the trade her father left her with and The Cursed One that breathed life into the trees and rocks and quaint medieval town that Rachel and Logan are from. For me, this really worked and it made Logan's little cabin and her father's stop house interesting. The writing was also quite beautiful. I kept finding spots to mark, little phrases that were so insightful and clear action scenes that I wanted to mark up my copy.
My favorite thing about this book though was Rachel and Logan's relationship. At the heart, that is what this book was about. I loved that they had a really complicated past that came into play from the beginning. It explained to me why they couldn't trust each other. I love that they found each other slowly like grasping out blindly in the dark. They each had to change in order to finally fit together and when they did it was absolutely electric.
Falling in love with Defiance isn't like Rachel and Logan's relationship. It's like the pacing--fast and effortless. Through an unique society, riveting characters and a place that felt full of history before you ever opened the book, Defiance is a stand out in the YA fantasy genre. It definitely ranks as one of my favorite reads this year. Give it a try and watch as it, like Rachel, defies all your expectations.(less)
Brimming with action, personality and a fun twist on Greek mythology, Sweet Venom is an absolute must read this year. With three distinct voices, plen...moreBrimming with action, personality and a fun twist on Greek mythology, Sweet Venom is an absolute must read this year. With three distinct voices, plenty of places to cheer, an amazing setting and plenty of butt kicking, it really will knock you off your butt with its charm.
What I admire most about this novel (and I love it so much that it's really hard to choose just one thing) is that there are three different protagonist that tell the story and they each sound different. It would have been really easy to make the triplets similar to each other. Maybe even a little be suspected. But Gretchen, Grace and Greer are all completely different people raised in different backgrounds and their voices set them apart. The moment I hopped into Grace's perspective, I could sense the type of girl she was-- a little nerdy, timid and meek but hopeful with a good head on her shoulders. Her voice just sounded that way. And Gretchen, the butt kicking, tough as nails, combat boot wearing loner? Well, let's just say I knew she wore combat boots before it was over revealed. Even Greer sounded snobby in her dialog and actions. I loved how different these girls were because the author recognized they had different upbringings and didn't shy away from that because it would be easy. They felt like three whole, real people who just happened to be sisters and monster hunters. I was immersed and invested in each girl and enjoyed all of their narratives.
The world that the girl's lived in also felt real to me. I liked that it blended the gorgeous setting of San Fransisco with the world of mythological monsters. For those of us who don't live there, we got to enjoy it's wonder through the eyes of Grace who'd just moved there and experience the normalcy of the beautiful bay, the trolley cars and the Chinatown district. Then through Gretchen (and Grace and later Greer) we got to see the gritty underground of the city and the mythological monsters that roam around the city. Also, I liked the "rules" of Gretchen's world and how they all start to bend. I wasn't so sure on the black and white monsters are all bad sort of thing she was going with so I'm glad it's starting to be questioned.
The plot seemed to lag just a teeny tiny bit near the middle but I was so in love with these girl's by that point that I was willing to go with it. The ending slams hard, leaving the reader with a giant cliffhanger. Many more questions were presented than answered and I'll be pining for the next installment to find out where it's going.
Another thing that really blew me away was how Ms. Childs managed to spin up a whole new take on Greek mythology. I know we've seen it a lot lately but what I found so interesting was that she's already done it once with her Oh. My. Gods. series and yet, we have this fresh gritty new take here. I'm pretty unfamiliar with the Medusa myth besides the fact that she turned people to stone by looking at them and had snakes for hair. But Ms. Childs was able to take the mythology and run with it, crafting these sisters with unique abilities and one heck of a mess to figure out.
Sweet Venom held me from beginning to end and had me clamoring for more even though I knew I was turning the last page. This fresh spin on mythology with a gritty world and three wonderfully diverse and equally interesting three sisters is definitely one to look for. Sweet Venom is a knock out and how sweet it is!(less)
Picking up right were Firelight left off, Vanish is a must read full of surprises and passion, all the things that made the first installment so wonde...morePicking up right were Firelight left off, Vanish is a must read full of surprises and passion, all the things that made the first installment so wonderful! Vanish delves deeper into Jacinda's past and what it means to be adraki introducing us to a foreign life, new characters and letting us fall in love with some of the old ones. As with the first, Vanish still glows with that same simplicity as the first making it an addictive read.
Jacinda's journey just gets harder in Vanish. I felt like her grief of leaving and the way she was received back into the pride felt very realistic to me. I can feel her loneliness and my heart went out to her. Even when she was doing things I didn't quite agree with, I understood her reasoning and because of that, I was able to forgive some of the mistakes she makes. I did want her to be a little bit fiercer. Because she's this great fire breather, I wanted her to embrace this role and fight back when she was in draki form. I felt like she gave up a little bit and I wanted her to push back, especially since she's had such a rough time.
I really liked some of the minor character's roles in this second novel. Tamra's journey was interesting and I loved watching her re-adjust to her new role in the pride. Her fierceness was a nice change. Will was as steady and devoted as ever but his story doesn't change as much in this story. Cassian , on the other hand, grows leaps and bounds. After Jacinda strips away some of her preconceived notions and starts to look into Cassian more, his motivations and feelings are revealed. He really made a strong comeback for himself in this novel and I loved every moment of it. While I agree with Jacinda's path, I think Cassian definitely has a role to play and I can't wait to see where he's going.
Vanish is drenched in that beautiful simplicity that the first novel shines in. The plot is straight forward (with some twists) and isn't bogged down with too many strenuous details. The writing is clear and beautiful and Jacinda's voice reads naturally. Vanish answers some of the questions posed in Firelight about draki and the pride. I was especially interested in their lifestyle and how they live and my curiosity was more than satiated.
Bottom line, if you loved Firelight, you'll love Vanish. It's got that same passion even though Will and Jacinda are apart plus it answers a load of questions from the first novel. Action-packed, intense and fun, Vanish is one hot read that you don't want to miss!(less)
Brimming with intense passion, all the glamor of the lavish first class and hardships of the third class in early 1900's, Mr Gray weaves an unforgetta...moreBrimming with intense passion, all the glamor of the lavish first class and hardships of the third class in early 1900's, Mr Gray weaves an unforgettable romance aboard one of America's most infamous tragedies. Fateful has a little something for everyone with werewolves and beautiful dresses and passion and danger around every corridor. Tess and Alec and all their friends and enemies are incredible to watch but it's with bated breath that the reader turns the page, waiting for the moment April 15, 1912 shows up on the page and puts every life at stake.
I think Tess was the perfect character to follow through Titanic's tragic maiden voyage. Because of her lower class, I felt like her voice was much easier to relate to being a modern reader. I find that sometimes with historic novels the voice feels a little too formal for me and I don't feel as connected to the characters but Tess's voice was easy to connect with partly because of her experiences and station in life and partly thanks to the skill of the writer. I liked that Tess wanted to fight. She didn't just talk about it, she did when it was necessary. When she finally realized she was worth it, she dove in, risks be damned and I found that refreshing, especially given the fact that she's used to being trampled on. Tess was also intelligent enough to know when to keep her mouth shut and I appreciated that ability as much as the first. She didn't needlessly put herself in danger if she could help it and didn't withhold information from those who could help her solve her problems.
Tess and Alec's chemistry was electric. I appreciated the divide in class because it was a non-issue for Alec and his family. If that had been the main thing keeping them apart then it would have felt like a re-used trick but the fact that the one from a lower station had qualms about being seen in public and class wasn't a big factor for the other half, really made this stand out for me. I lied Alec as a character for his passion. It little sizzled out of his wild eyes and bohemian hair. The family Tess worked for also helped shaped the novel. It was great to see where Tess was raised and why she believes the things she does. I loved the dynamic of Lisle's and their servants. The characters of third class were just as endearing. It made knowing what was going to happen-- and knowing not everyone could make it out alive-- all the more painful.
Speaking of painful, I've got to commend Ms. Gray on her descriptions of when the Titanic actually went down. It left a pit in my stomach for the next fews days the way she described the screams and how horrific it was when they all stopped. I can't imagine living through something like that and through Ms. Gray's words the reader really gets a picture of how terrible it would be. The writing was wonderful and easy to read especially with such a gripping plot. You could really see how much time was spent in research by how visual the novel was. Now, I must admit that I was picturing James Cameron's rendition in my head (I even placed Rose and Jack on the boat at the different times in the novel because I really am that much of a NERD) but the customs and societal norms felt very real as well.
The horrifying occurrence of the ship sinking coupled with the intrigue of Alec's condition and the werewolves that are hunting him really made for a gripping fast paced read. These characters and their circumstances will certainly stay with me. I'd originally given this book a 4 because it didn't have that quality to make me think long after it was over but then over the next few days my mind would wander back to this particular story. If that isn't 5 material, I'm not sure why I'm doing ratings.With high stakes and gripping characters and writing, Fateful is triumph with the stuff to stay with the reader long after the story is over (dare I say that it stays in the heart and will go on and on?).(less)
Expertly blending elements of sci-fi, fantasy and dystopian into one, Under the Never Sky is a richly crafted debut with something incredible to disco...moreExpertly blending elements of sci-fi, fantasy and dystopian into one, Under the Never Sky is a richly crafted debut with something incredible to discover on every page. Humming with excitement, Under the Never Sky is filled with vibrant and well developed characters. The pair of main characters make the reader want to find out what's going to happen to them and the setting feels like a world unfolding with each page.
Following both Perry and Aria in third person, the reader gets both perspectives of two distinctly different races. Aria comes from the world underneath a dome where technology is used as the only escape and everything is orderly and docile. All the air is regulated, the food carefully enhanced and the only entertainment is the simulated pleasures of the Realms. Scientist and engineers have nipped and tucked the world into all the "best" parts so that there is no pain or sickness or unpleasant things. Because of this easy life, Aria isn't equipped with the knowledge on how to protect herself or survive in the world outside the dome called "the Death Shop" by her people. Though she lacks basic survival skills, it is easy to like Aria because she questions her surroundings and instead of moping around when her life spins out of control, she fights back with everything she has.
In sharp contrast with her society is the one Peregrine comes from. Taking half the chapters, Perry is skilled in surviving outside with the aether storms, cannibals and small amounts of food. He knows how to hunt and how to protect himself. And unlike the race that retreated, the Outsiders have adepted with the aether which (though it still plagues them) have enhanced their Senses to incredible lengths. Perry's particular abilities are incredibly fascinating to read about and I really enjoyed learning how Perry's world mixed old customs with new ones.
But the best part by far about following both of these characters around is watching them both start to change. It isn't just Aria that shifts as she stays on the outside but Perry changes a bit too. They start out on opposite sides of the spectrum and through spending time with each other, they both drift into the middle, learning useful things about each society through each other. Watching these two characters slowly learn to trust each other and realize that something more is blossoming underneath their original need for each other is satisfying and slow like all good things. I cared for these characters and their journey.
The secondary characters helped to make the world richer with their presence. Perry's bond with Talon is adorable, Aria's need to find and make ammends with her mother is heartbreaking and Roar's charisma really helped to brighten the novel when it started to seem too bleak. Even Cinder's strange presence is welcome. I also really liked the character's brief stay in Delphi because it helped show that though the world is rough, there are bright patches in it.
Even the world itself seemed like a living, breathing thing. It is in this new place that the author created that I see traces of fantasy in this novel. From the aether clouding the sky and raining down with its vicious storms to the cannibalistic Crovens to the Blood Lords and Sense, everything felt familiar but distant too. The world wasn't so far-fetched that I couldn't picture it but it was different enough to feel wild and exciting. I liked seeing how people survived in this darker place and how being in The Death Shop changed Aria.
With everything else going on, the plot was actually pretty straight forward. I liked that the characters had time to explore this strange world (and each other) and weren't tied down by some ticking clock. Yet, there was enough tension that putting down Under the Never Sky proved difficult. Ms. Rossi's writing is easy to follow. I did notice a few bumps here and there (mostly just dialog jumping around) which might be straighten out in the final draft. Also, I did have some trouble getting into the story at the beginning because of the third person narrative but that's because I'm used to first. I actually prefer first and usually find it hard to get into the third person narrative mindset. Once my brain switched though, I barely noticed it and I liked have the freedom of following both Aria and Perry.
Under the Never Sky promises so much with its pretty package and it delivers everything and more. A vivid and well developed world offer the perfect backdrop for characters the reader will want to get to know. That Under the Never Sky is first in a series is all the better for me. A debut that's impossible to put down, Under the Never Sky should be filed under "never to be missed" right next to your favorites shelf so you won't have to move it far when you are finished.(less)
I had a lot of expectations when I picked up this book because the story of Peter Pan is one tale that I keep close to my heart. But this novel blew e...moreI had a lot of expectations when I picked up this book because the story of Peter Pan is one tale that I keep close to my heart. But this novel blew every single one of them out of the water in the best possible way. Bittersweet and wild, Tiger Lily has everything in a story that will make it stick to your heart like drying mud.
Being a huge fan of the Peter Pan fairytale, I wasn't sure how a Tiger Lily and Peter Pan love story was going to work. I mean, it's always been Peter and Wendy. They're perfect for each other. Now, I've always liked Tiger Lily but not as a love interest for Peter. What Anderson did was completely recreate Tiger Lily into this complex girl that you can't help but love. Tiger Lily's cold exterior is formed from years of teasing and a quiet but unyielding persistence to get through it. As her legend in the little Indian community grows, so does her solitude and her restless feet. At first, I wasn't sure it was possible to like such a cold and calculating character. Tiger Lily cared deeply for certain people though she would never admit to anyone--including herself. But as she ventures out more and lets her curious feet explore, you start to see cracks in that venire. And because she is so calm and strong, it feels special. You feel special for starting to see how deeply she cares, how trapped she is in her body and routines and before you know it, you care so much for the girl with the raven feathers in her hair that you ache when she aches.
But Anderson doesn't stop with just recreating Tiger Lily. She breathes new life into every well known character. You know Captain Hook? The guy who is scared of crocs and seems completely okay with his hook of a hand? Yeah, not in this version. He's an extremely intelligent man when he's sober and a roaring angry and paranoid guy when he's drunk. The Lost Boys as a group of cuddling little kids who are just looking for a mom? Well yeah, sort of. But they are also known to be the most vicious and terrifying people on the island of Neverland. Whether this is just a rumor will be up to you to discover. And then there is the man himself, Peter Pan. As Tiger Lily grew close to him, I held my breath because I felt like I was standing next to a legend. How Anderson was able to create and animate such a complex character who is simultaneously so full of life and completely empty at the same time will never cease to amaze me. The care with which the author took to make all of these well known characters seem just enough like their legendary counterparts while making them something completely new is one of the best parts about this novel.
Going beyond the recreation of beloved characters, the author is also able to explain away all the problems that go along with putting a fictional land where people don't grow old in the real world. People just don't grow old on Neverland and the Englanders that come to the island just have an "aging disease". I liked thinking of this story in two ways--part old world exploration story and part magic fairytale. It sounds odd but the two blend almost effortlessly.
I think the blending of these two works so well because of the prose. The story is told with the storybook-esque narrative. We are told things are going to happen before they do but by the time the events fold out, it still comes as a surprise. The simple narrative combined with beautiful prose and a sort of jovial "I-told-you-so" that one finds in fairytales makes Tiger Lily unique onto it's own and so very special. I was all ready to dive into Tiger Lily's consciousness so it was a complete surprise when Tink ended up taking the story over. I liked that we got to see her feelings and thoughts about what was going on and she was the perfect narrator since she couldn't speak to the other characters and interfere with how the story was going to play out. We saw how all sides were crashing into the conclusion and how it all would end but we could do nothing (besides the odd bite and ear pull) to stop it.
Tiger Lily is as bittersweet for me as the tale of Peter and Wendy. Their love is doomed from the beginning yet you still see them running in head first though you know what's coming. Watching Tiger Lily grow, come to terms with what love means (not just with Peter but with the other members of her tribe too) and having her heart broken will tear you up in the best way possible. This story grips onto those things you loved as a child, those ideas that you still hold sacred today and shreds them so it can makes something all new. I have a hard time finding words for how much this book affected me. All I can say is it's getting a special place in my bookshelf just like it carved a special place in my heart.(less)
Slide into the mystery indeed. I've spent the past few weeks talking up this book because I was lucky enough to beta for it. I could have written a re...moreSlide into the mystery indeed. I've spent the past few weeks talking up this book because I was lucky enough to beta for it. I could have written a review on what I read before but I would have missed a lot about this book. Vee is one of those unforgetable characters with her bravery and kind heart, the relationship between Vee and her sister is moving and the mystery element will have you racing through the pages.
I liked Vee from the second she started talking. Her point of view felt different to me and I appreciated it. Though she's in an odd situation, I felt like she respected not only what she could do but that she respected the person she slide into as well. She knew that what she was seeing were the parts of life meant to be secret and didn't try to use those secrets to her advantage. I love that she has pink hair but I love even more is that she has a reason for having pink hair. Nothing about Vee felt forced or improvised. She is fiercely loyal to the ones she loves and will do anything for them. Plus, she isn't scared to put herself in danger if it will help. Her fearlessness is endearing and her in struggle figuring out how to put her family back together after her mother's death truly make Vee and unforgetable character.
Speaking of Vee's loyalness, one of the best parts of this story was the realistic portrayal of Vee's family. She and her sister didn't always get along but when her sister needed her, Vee dropped everything to be there. Even though times were rough for them, it truly made the novel special to see how they bonded together and struggled to get through their struggles. Vee's Dad was equally complex and the author did an amazing job portraying him. I could really see how much he wanted to be there for his daughters but he just didn't know how. Watching them all learn to become a family again was awesome!
If the tender family moments aren't your thing, then the mystery will be. The author does an awesome job painting everyone as a suspect. Just when you think someone is cleared, more evidence is thrown their way to cast them in an entirely new bad light. I'm not sure I'd have guessed this time around who was doing the killing and I liked it. The ending brought the story to a statisfying close and I was happy to see Vee gain control over her ability to slide so she can learn to cope with it in the future.
Hathaway's writing didn't feel green. Vee's voice flowed smoothly and confidently through the pages and it felt like each new sentence brought something unique to make her whole. I think my experience reading this was amplified because I was reading for all the differences from the first draft I read. I have to say, I couldn't be more statisfied with the way things went, the changes and the final outcome (and also that one of my favorite lines made it into the book--I'll mark it in favorite lines).
If you're into deeply statsifying mysteries with unique and fearless leads then Slide is for you. If you like contemporaries, I think you could get into this one too because Slide balances something a little supernatural with the realistic world perfectly. Basically, if you like to read, I suggest Slide to you. I really don't think it's going to disappoint!(less)
Cold Kiss is a poignant story of first love and loss. Featuring a realistic and likable main character, a strong first person voice, and a slow buildi...moreCold Kiss is a poignant story of first love and loss. Featuring a realistic and likable main character, a strong first person voice, and a slow building romantic relationship that is the perfect recipe to cure the insta-love blues, Cold Kiss is an amazingly touching story that I recommend for everyone.
Wren's loss saturates every page of the novel. The reader can feel her fear and sorrow and desperation and because of this vivid feeling of loss, it's easy to see why she raised her dead boyfriend from the grave. What I loved about this book was how unique Wren's point of view was. She was smart and biting, her dialog and thoughts were clever. Though she was so closed off from the world, her simultaneous sarcasm and need to fix her relationship with her friends really helped to show how much she was missing being among the living. It was interesting to contrast how different she was when she was with Danny. I enjoyed Wren's journey back into the world of the living. My only quibble is that she refused to accept help until the almost the ending and I wish she'd have been a little more open to being helped since she was stuck in a situation that she didn't know how to get out of.
The author was especially skilled in recreating perfect moments for Wren and Danny. Though Danny was dead for most of the novel, the reader got a sense of the person Wren was mourning and in those glimpses, it was easier to see how their future would have gone. From his secrets smiles to the feel of his warm hands on her back, the author was incredible at building a relationship that was already gone. This was perfect to contrast with what Wren was left with after she rose him from the dead--that is, the shell of the boy she used to love. The memories of Danny where chopped up and spread through out the book so they hit the reader as fresh and hard as they hit Wren, adding to that sense of desperate melancholy she felt. Seeing how Danny and Wren were together also justifies why Wren brought him back and validates her reasoning, no matter how rash it seemed.
Gabriel is Wren's answer to how to go on, there to melt her cold heart. What I really enjoyed was watching them begin something and that their world's didn't revolve around each other instantly. Sure, they both seemed fond of each other at first but Wren is worried about other things. I liked that Gabriel tagged along, forcing her to notice him until she started to trust him. Their relationship came together naturally and didn't feel rushed which was nice, especially since you could tell this didn't happen with Danny and wouldn't make sense if she just threw all that out the window for a new guy.
The powers Wren's entire family had were another unique part. Though it was somewhat undefined, it was also as familiar to the reader as it was to Wren. Her mother's reluctance to talk about their "gifts" also added to the intrigue and I was happy to see how must Wren's family cared for her.
Cold Kiss combines a bittersweet romance and the paranormal power to possibly change the ending, into a heartfelt journey through one girl's grief. The blending of the past and the dismal present worked perfectly to portray what was and Gabriel's presence glimmered of hope for the future. Cold Kiss is addicting from the beginning to the end; a breathe of fresh air in the genre with a ton of heart.(less)
Deadly Cool is an addictive who-dun-it! I loved the mystery and the simplicity of a good old non-supernatural killer plot coupled with an amazing set...moreDeadly Cool is an addictive who-dun-it! I loved the mystery and the simplicity of a good old non-supernatural killer plot coupled with an amazing set of characters. Hartley (what an amazing name!) is a great voice whose inquistive nature and upbeat personality make for an awesome read. I also fell in love with her friends and found myself sucked into the story, trying to guess right along with Hartley who was behind all of the killings going on at her school.
You don't meet a girl like Hartley very much. A lot of heroines are a bit more brooding but you won't find much of that in Hartley. Sure, she's a girl scorned but she's determined to prove her ex-boyfriend's innocence because she knows he might be a jerk but he's no killer .I loved how upbeat Hartley was. You could see how frustrated she felt being the center of attention when all she really wanted to be doing was getting her hands deep and dirty into the mystery. Plus, her voice was a pleasure to read. A little sarcastic and a lot of inquistive, she's the perfect gal to lead the story.
But Hartley wouldn't be complete with her best friend. Those two were partner's in crime and they had each other's back. I tend to miss the great best friends in fiction and Sam was definitely a girl to fill that gap. No matter what kind of trouble Hartley was in, Sam was always right behind her to help her get out. I'm not sure if Sam could be a better friend because she wasn't in a paranormal story and didn't have to be left in the dark but I loved Sam and Hartley's relationship. The sexy all black boy next door to Hartley's boyfriend is also great. Full of sarcasm and completely endearing, Chase was a very fun distraction. I love that he gives Hartley room to explore on her own but is also willing to back her up even when she doesn't know she needs it.
The plot is full of fun twists and turns. Halliday gives the characters one lead and then twists it into something completley different. I'm usually pretty good at catching on and it took me a while to figure out the killer. Even though I did manage to figure it out a little before it was announced, I had no clue why they were hurting people. Hartley's snappy POV definitely helped when one trail lead to a dead end and her positive attitude made it an easy read.
Though the killer was fun, I'm not sure I bought the motivations which is partly why this one isn't a five. Another reason is because it isn't likely to leave a lasting impression. I love these characters though I'll definitely be looking forward to the next one!
As it turns out Deadly Cool is aptly named. Filled with great characters, an awesome lead and twisiting plot, Deadly Cool is a killer debut. You'll love every nail biting, who-dun-it second of it! If not, I'm sure the killer has some ipod head phones for you to borrow.(less)
There are a handful of books that leave me speechless after I take in the last sentence. There are even fewer that leave me so shocked that it takes m...moreThere are a handful of books that leave me speechless after I take in the last sentence. There are even fewer that leave me so shocked that it takes me hours to gather all the pieces and make sense of them. Fewer still that make me want to flip to the first page and start reading again. Insurgent manages all of these things with an effortless grace. Every spine-tingling word will leave you breathless, clawing at the pages to get to an ending that will change everything you thought you knew about the world of Divergent.
Having to deal with the consequences of the last novel, Tris is in a pretty desperate place at the beginning of Insurgent. But the thing about Tris is, she allows herself to fall apart and hastily puts herself back together so that she can perform the task at hand. Her hurting is so acute throughout Insurgent that it's a wonder she can even continue walking but when the time comes, Tris has this wonderful ability to fall back into the facts of the situation and survive. I like that the things Tris did in the first book affect her and change her. In some ways, they cripple her and she must learn to adapt in order to survive. For me, it was nice to see her tear down her rough and tough personality (which I really like in it's own right) and see her be venerable. She has this rare ability to be both at the same time and it's one of the things I love most about her. I truly thought that after the horrific events of book one, that there wouldn't be anywhere left to push Tris but Roth finds away to test her even harder in Insurgent. Faced with situations where she is forced to choose between bad and worse, Tris learns more about who she is and what she can do and she isn't always pleased with the results.
Her counterpart Four also comes back better than ever. Struggling through demons of his own, he has a lot that he must overcome so that he and Tris can be together. If their relationship was like fire in Divergent, it's like trying to mix oil and water in this one. When they are good, it's so good it feels like a dream--and there are plenty of these moments to keep us satisfied. But for a lot of the book, they are at odds because they each have different things they need to learn in order to reach the same level again. I appreciated that through everything they respected each other. Four still tested Tris and forced her to be the best she can be, even if it was pushing them further apart to do it. Likewise, Tris brought out a better, calmer Four who valued both of their lives even when Tris didn't. These two are complete equals and it is in their mutual respect for each other that their passion grows like wildfire. I love that they both love each other so much that they are willing to do the right thing in order to keep each other safe. Oh, and there are also some very hot make out scenes and some really sweet ones too so you have to love that!
I was also happy that a lot of other characters got more screen time this time around. While I felt like I knew the Dauntless Initiates by name in the last novel, I feel like I know what they are made of in this one. All of the characters step up to play a larger role which makes Insurgent seem bigger. Though I missed that sense of reckless adventure that the first novel had, Insurgent replaced it with an hectic race to see where everything was going. Divergent felt like it was going along and immersing the reader in this new world but Insurgent felt like it was a speeding train racing towards an enormous wall in the distance.
Getting to experience all of the Factions was interesting too and really provided the reader with the sense that nothing is safe. I think that I felt a sense of security in the Dauntless headquarters, maybe because the Dauntless are like the army in that world, but once Tris and Four are on the run, there is no safe place. Amity leaves it's doors wide open to both sides and can become a battleground if any members of the two sides are present, Candor is a little more exclusive but has absolutely no percautions and Abnegation is a ghost town after so many were killed. I kept thinking that once Tris and Four reached a certain destination that they'd be safe but they never had any luck.
Before I started reading, I was worried. Even though I'd heard that Insurgent was good, I still fretted that it wouldn't be as good as Divergent. But what I found was that every word in Insurgent felt like a gift. Sometimes when you are reading something, you just know how special it is. You look up at the outside world and know that you are changed and feel bad for the people that are missing out. I felt this with Divergent and could barely stand how good it was with Insurgent. It's so rare that an author that had such success with a debut can come back and do it again with a second. Ms. Roth managed to make it better. She managed to pull out all the things that make us human, that rip our hearts in two and that are responsible for mending it and blanket that into every scene. Even if I knew what was coming, I couldn't tell you how it was going to happen until I was reading it and even then, it blew my mind. The ending changed everything you thought you knew about the world and succeeded at just making the scope bigger for the third book.
Insurgent is perfect. Combining everything that made Divergent brilliant and amping it up, it makes 525 pages seem like it isn't enough. I'm not sure if I'm ever going to get enough Tris and Four. One thing I am sure of though is that this series is a must read. In fact, clear your schedule, call out of work, stay in bed and get ready to be shocked, wowed and utterly changed by the ending. I said in my last review that I am Roth's fan for life. I guess she just felt like proving me right. (less)