The last several times I was attracted to a beautiful YA cover, the book turned out to be disappointing. This time, however, the book turned out to be...moreThe last several times I was attracted to a beautiful YA cover, the book turned out to be disappointing. This time, however, the book turned out to be a very wonderful read! I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this book and how much I look forward to the next one in this series.
Everneath is about 17 year old Nikki (nicknamed Becks because of her last name), who has reappeared on the Surface of the world again. Where had she been previously? She was in a “cocoon”, trapped in the Everneath (a mythical underworld of some sort) with an Everliving being named Cole, who fed off her emotions for 100 years so that he will continue to remain immortal. She’s finally out of Everneath and back on the Surface, where she finds only 6 months have passed. She only has another 6 months of freedom before the Everneath tunnels will claim her again.
If there’s one thing Nikki wants to do before being taken again, it’s to see her former boyfriend Jack. They had broken up even before she went missing, but she never stopped thinking about him, for a hundred years. As Nikki tries to mend their relationship so that it at least sort of resembles a friendship again, Nikki and Jack find themselves longing for the past and each other. This is made particularly difficult because of Cole, who keeps appearing before Nikki and offering her another choice — choose to be with Cole and they may become rulers of the Everneath. Why Nikki won’t go for this option, besides the fact that she wants to be with Jack, is because she will have to be like Cole and start feeding off other people’s emotions too, an experience that Nikki has done and does not wish on anyone else.
At first, I found it a little difficult to get into the book. I didn’t really understand the world of the Everneath, and the plot seemed to progress rather slowly. It’s not a plot orientated book, it’s definitely a character orientated book. However, I caught on eventually and with the 6 month deadline hovering over Nikki’s head, there was a real sense of urgency to everything the characters did and the choices they made. What I particularly loved was the way the story was presented. It switched back and forth between the past and the present with each chapter, juxtaposing the awkwardness of Nikki and Jack’s present relationship with the sweet, honeymoon-like relationship of their past. It definitely helped me understand the characters more thoroughly and knowing the ins and outs of their relationship put into perspective the danger the Everneath is to the both of them.
Nikki was a great character, I liked how the book kind of showed her return to the Surface like a person who was recovering from a drug addiction. Because that’s what it’s described as in the book — when you are being fed off, it’s like everything in the world is fine again, no need to feel anything, which Nikki sorely wanted because of her break up and the fact her mother died (and then the culprit didn’t even go to jail). It was like she was numb for 100 years and finally was sober and out in the world again. The other two main characters, the boys Cole and Jack, were a tad disappointing in their characterization. They both felt sort of stereotypical, bad boy and perfect boy, but at least they were two people who were distinctly different from one another (unlike some other YA love triangles, where I don’t understand what the girl’s dilemma is because both boys are exactly the same … but that’s another story). And they were both quite likeable, even the naughty one, haha.
I’m really happy that I read this book! I haven’t enjoyed a YA paranormal book in a long time (or so it feels), and I’m glad Everneath lifted me out of that funk. I’m definitely looking forward to the second book, I’m dying to find out what happens after that ending!(less)
Continuing my recent obsession with historical royalty fiction, I just finished reading Rival to the Queen, which is Erickson’s...more2.5 stars (rounded up).
Continuing my recent obsession with historical royalty fiction, I just finished reading Rival to the Queen, which is Erickson’s story about Lettie Knollys, Queen Elizabeth I’s cousin. As I mentioned in a previous review, I really am not very knowledgeable about British or European history of this time period (most of my historical knowledge lies with Ancient Rome) so I didn’t really know who Lettie was or what her rivalry with the Queen was. I read the story not really knowing what was fact or fiction, but tried to just enjoy the ride.
This story details the life of Lettie Knollys, from her time as a girl to when she becomes 96 years old. Lettie falls in love with Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, but knows her feelings cannot be returned, for Queen Elizabeth I, Lettie’s cousin, is quite fond of Robert Dudley and many whisper that he may become King Robert one day. Robert himself is an ambitious man, said to have killed his own wife in order to be with Elizabeth. When Robert’s patience with Elizabeth runs out, he marries Lettie in secret, which infuriates the Queen.
I thought the book started off wonderfully. I was drawn into the story immediately and I like Lettie as the first person narrator, she’s easy to like and isn’t annoying, which is pretty important to me whenever I read first person novels. I thought the characters were well done in that they stayed consistent and were memorable. I have no idea if they are true to their historical counterparts, but the way they were written as characters in a novel were great (though I really ought to read another Queen Elizabeth I novel by someone other than Erickson, since she always portrays this Queen as a bit of a psycho, and I’d like to read another interpretation of her to see if it’s a common thing or what. Not that I mind Queen Elizabeth being a psycho, she’s quite a character haha). I also enjoyed the story as a whole, though not as much as I would have liked.
The actual plot is fine, in my opinion, filled with drama and scandals and gossip. However, the pacing was rather undesirable. It moved at a strange, choppy speed: sometimes fast and sometimes very slow. The way the chapters were divided were sometimes strange as well. For example, (view spoiler)[there was one chapter where Lettie and her brother see a drowning woman. Chapter ends, and the next one that begins was literally one page long and more or less said they saved her and discovered she was Marianna. (hide spoiler)] I don’t understand why those few paragraphs couldn’t have been tacked onto the previous chapter; why did they need to have their own chapter? It was hardly a cliffhanger.
Another part of the novel that had a pretty bad transition from chapter to chapter was when Lettie married Dudley. The story was reaching an intense moment where (view spoiler)[Dudley and the Queen were arguing about why she won’t marry him (hide spoiler)] and all of a sudden, the chapter ends and the next one begins with Lettie saying she married Dudley. What?! I really felt like I was gypped of a scene, like something was missing there. There should have been some sort of Dudley proposal scene, or something where Dudley talks with Lettie after his fight with the Queen. (view spoiler)[It made it look like Dudley said, “Well, fine! If you won’t marry me, I’ll marry Lettie!” and I know there is supposed to be more to it than that. (hide spoiler)] I think that’s a key thing that was missing — the passionate love between Lettie and Dudley. It was just words on paper to me, I couldn’t feel it.
So, I feel this book has equal parts pros and cons. It definitely could be better, but I don’t think it’s as terrible as some other readers say.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I have a weakness for books with beautiful covers, and Fallen has a very beautiful cover indeed. Except I don’t think the story inside the book lives...moreI have a weakness for books with beautiful covers, and Fallen has a very beautiful cover indeed. Except I don’t think the story inside the book lives up to the packaging. I am not even completely sure what I just read. After finishing the book, I am left with way too many questions, and I don’t feel like anything was really resolved … was there even anything to resolve? I got this book because the majority of my Goodreads friends gave it a high rating, but maybe I should have heeded the ratings of my non-friends more seriously. (Sorry, friends …)
If you’ve read Twilight, Hush Hush, Evermore, Elixir, Dead Beautiful, The Mephisto Covenant, (insert another YA paranormal romance here), you’ve read half this book already. Luce has been troubled by the black shadows she sees for years. She has been pretending she’s completely normal for years, until recently at a high school party, she may or may not have accidentally killed her crush in a fire. And we never find out more about that event because the point of all that is to give a reason for Luce to enter Sword & Cross, a reform school.
Right away, Luce spots Daniel Grigori, who is, of course, drop dead gorgeous, has a “muscled torso” (naturally; he wouldn’t be a very good YA paranormal romance male lead without one), and seems a bit tortured. Their relationship feels a lot like Bella and Edward — Luce performs some Insta-Love™. Daniel tries to stay away from Luce at first, and isn’t very nice to her. Daniel saves Luce from a falling statue, like Edward saved Bella from an incoming car. Luce is still attracted to Daniel despite his efforts to tell her to stay away for her own good. Luce decides to go all stalker-like and literally research Daniel by digging through his school files, using the Internet and looking up his ancestors.
Oh, and the entire time, Luce is pursued by another guy, who is equally good looking, called Cam. Cam actually shows interest in Luce, and expresses how fond of her he is and even buys her a necklace. But no, Luce wants the guy who is trying his best to ignore her. Seriously boggles my mind. (And yes, Cam turns out to be the antagonist. Why??)
At no point in the story did I understand why Luce and Daniel love one another. They just do. They’re soulmates. Daniel may have a supernatural, albeit extremely flimsy, reason for loving Luce, but why does Luce love Daniel? He has shown zero interest in her. Oh wait. I remember. He’s gorgeous.
Not only that, but they’re not very interesting characters either. Luce and Daniel both have no personality, really. Daniel spends all his time feeling tortured and thinking, “Oh, Luce!” and Luce spends all her time being obsessive and thinking, “Oh Daniel!” These characters are like straight from the cheesiest romantic soap operas ever.
The plot … what plot? It was quite boring and slow. For 400 pages, I read about Luce admiring Daniel and how gorgeous he looks. I read about her stalking him. She’s annoyingly persistent. And then, finally, near the end, we have the scene that’s supposed to be the climax of the story — Daniel reveals his paranormal side (hint: the title of this book) — and we find out why he has been avoiding her the whole time. This climax was awful because any reader with half a brain could have pieced together the mystery of Daniel ages ago — not only does the title of this book provide a large clue, but the prologue and Daniel’s full name, Daniel Grigori does as well. It was like walking into a surprise party that you already knew about two weeks earlier.
The end of the book also kind of sets up the next book, but nothing is explained. For example, why is Luce so important that people want to kill her? Why is Cam evil? Why are Cam and Daniel fighting over Luce? Why are there so many of these paranormal creatures (I don’t want to spoil it even though it’s ridiculously easy to guess) gathered at Sword & Cross reform school? I know, I know — “It’ll be answered in the next book!” But to me, that is shoddy storytelling. Even if you are writing a series, each individual book must have a sense of resolution. As it is right now, Fallen feels like half a story. I know and understand nothing about its story world.
So, as you might gather by now, I didn’t like this book. It didn’t have much of a story, and mainly consisted of two overly dramatic, lovesick teenagers being obsessed with one another. And not in an entertaining Ron-and-Sammi-trainwreck kind of way.
There are primarily two reasons I picked up this book — one, it’s inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray, which I adore, and...more3.5 stars.
There are primarily two reasons I picked up this book — one, it’s inspired by Oscar Wilde’s The Portrait of Dorian Gray, which I adore, and two, look at that cover! Is that not one of the most beautiful book covers ever? I’m such a sucker for pretty covers …
The story is set in the late 1800′s in New York City. Natalie Stewart is a mute girl, though her lack of voice is strictly a psychological thing: she stopped speaking when her mother died. Anyway, a painting from England has come to grace American shores, and there’s quite a stir about it since it is rumored to be haunted. The painting is a life sized portrait of a dashing young man, Lord Denbury, who died some years ago through tragic circumstances. Natalie becomes enchanted by the painting, and senses there’s something frighteningly realistic about it. Her suspicions come true when she is pulled into the painting and realizes that Lord Denbury is alive and well, but cursed and trapped in his own portrait.
I’m going to get my biggest complaint about the book out of the way first, and that is the fact that it’s written in diary format but does not read like a diary at all. People don’t usually write diaries like narrative stories, especially not personal diaries. The inclusion of overly descriptive scenes, exact dialogue with the he-said, she-said, etc. definitely leans away from diary-writing and more to novel-writing. When people write diaries, I don’t think many of them write out their experiences in novel format, if any. Essentially what Darker Still has done is insert dates every so often to make it seem like a diary, when really it is not.
Other than that though, I did enjoy the book very much. I’m no expert on Victorian literature, so in my inexpert opinion, the story did a fairly good job replicating the style of speech and whatnot, although there were a few points in the writing where I thought the author was trying a little too hard. The story is basically a bit of a mystery novel, with Natalie attempting to figure out how Lord Denbury got into the painting, who did it, and how to get him out; overall, it was a fun, quick read.
I particularly liked Natalie. She’s mute, but rather than being a withdrawn and passive girl, she takes initiative a lot and is eager to communicate with others in any way possible. I could even forgive the fact that she is obsessed with Denbury’s charming good looks — a lot of YA novels tend to have their female leads obsess over the male lead’s muscles and abs, which, incidentally, all male leads possess — because her obsession with his looks actually kind of make sense in this book. The painting of Denbury is supposed to be mesmerising and scarily realistic, so Natalie being unable to take her eyes off of Denbury’s portrait makes sense. When she enters the painting and realizes he’s a real gentleman as well, it kind of seals the deal. No ridiculously lengthy descriptions of muscled chests here, thanks.
Denbury, on the other hand, was quite one-dimensional and personally, I don’t see what the big appeal is about him. At one point, he does something kind of weird. The two of them are on a serious mission to scope out some information and suddenlt, Denbury (view spoiler)[“attacks” Natalie to the ground, kissing her everywhere, trying to unbutton her blouse, and all that. The book literally says he pounced on her! At first I thought he was just possessed (which is quite possible due to the nature of this story), but then Denbury apologizes by basically saying he’s really horny (I’m paraphrasing, of course). Natalie, being a noble Victorian lady, declines his advances, though, bizarrely, Natalie is so starstruck by Denbury that she brushes it all off as nothing! (hide spoiler)] The whole scene just stuck out oddly to me, and seemed like an awkward attempt at creating a modern sexy scene or something, I don’t know. It was weird.
I personally liked the book because I am a fan of Victorian literature and also a fan of Dorian Gray. If you generally dislike reading “old fashioned” books, you might want to skip this one over, I suppose, since it does try to mimic the style of Victorian novels. I think this book was well written as a whole and the story flows smoothly. The characters are a bit hit and miss — I liked Natalie, but Denbury was a bit blah. I’d recommend giving this book a go if you are interested!
(Review originally posted at http://skyink.net).["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I got this book off of NetGalley (many thanks!) quite recently and let it cut in line in my TBR queue because the synopsis sounded pretty in...more1.5 stars.
I got this book off of NetGalley (many thanks!) quite recently and let it cut in line in my TBR queue because the synopsis sounded pretty interesting, and I was in the mood for something contemporary — no fantasy, vampires, fairies and whatnot. Just real people in real situations. But after finishing this book, instead of yearning for more contemporary and like books, I think I’m going to go back to my fantasy, vampires, fairies and whatnot for a while.
The Queens Of All The Earth started off amazingly. I was hooked right away by the rather depressing beginning. Olivia Somerset is suffering from a catatonic episode (a psychological situation when one’s body becomes very rigid and still), while her older sister, Miranda, freaks out. Doesn’t that beginning just make you want to continue reading? It really is one of the best beginnings to a story I’ve read in a while.
Olivia is supposed to be entering her first year of university at Cornell, but her mother pulls some strings and she gets to defer her first year. Miranda takes Olivia to Spain for a vacation, hoping some rest and relaxation will be some good therapy. They stay at a hostel, where they meet a variety of characters, including the ridiculously nice Mr. Brown and his son, Greg, who also seems to be harboring some issues of his own. As they vacation, Olivia tries to break out of her shell while her sister, Miranda, continuously tries to protect Olivia.
Like I said, I did enjoy the (brief) beginning, and I enjoyed the writing style as well. There’s something almost poetic about it, and the way the story was told, there was an element of surrealism felt, which I liked because, well, I like surreal stuff in books.
However, other than that, I found it difficult to really get into the story … because there really wasn’t much of one. I felt like I was reading about someone else’s vacation — all the sights were described (a little too lengthy at times), their interactions with the other hostel members, making plans for what tourist attractions to see … I could not identify a plot. I mean, I guess the fact that Miranda is trying to help Olivia overcome her psychological breakdown is the general plot, but it really didn’t feel like it. It really just felt like I was tagging along as an observer during Olivia and Miranda’s vacation.
I couldn’t connect with the characters. Don’t get me wrong — I actually think the characters were pretty good, but this is supposed to be a book about coming-of-age, about facing our fears, perhaps about the relationship between two sisters while one of them is suffering and I didn’t feel anything for them. No heartfelt moments, nothing. I did, however, really enjoy Mr. Brown’s character. I think it really says something about people when the nicest character in the story gets treated the worst by the rest of the characters, because they believe nobody can possibly be that nice.
This was a very short story, and there’s something kind of cute about it overall. However, it just wasn’t really interesting and didn’t leave any sort of impression on me at all. Honestly, I’m not sure if this book is what I think it is, or if it’s so brilliant that it’s going over my head. Maybe there’s something very metaphorical/abstract going on and I’m just not getting it, who knows. I’m not sure. I didn’t exactly dislike this book, but it’s really not something I would read again.
First, can I just say how beautiful the cover of this book is? Seriously drop dead gorge...more2.5 stars. This review originally posted at http://skyink.net.
First, can I just say how beautiful the cover of this book is? Seriously drop dead gorgeous! Kudos to whoever designed it, he/she did an amazing job.
Can’t really say the actual book stunned me as well as the cover though. Oh, it was an alright, but it really lacked the oomph to make me like it. I almost like it, if that is possible. I want to like it! But I’m teetering on the edge.
The Girl In The Steel Corset takes place in a steampunk’d Victorian era. Finley Jayne, superhuman, female-Jekyll-and-Hyde and then-servant, escapes her abusive master’s home only to get nearly run over by a duke, Griffin King. Griffin rescues her and brings him to her house, where his friends live with him. Griffin and his friends aren’t normal people though. Like Finley, they each have some sort of special ability.
Finley reluctantly gets caught up in Griffin’s hunt for the elusive criminal, The Machinist, who has been powering automatons into attacking humans lately. Along the way she discovers a connection between her own past and Griffin’s, one that ties them to The Machinist.
Soooo … plot sounds fantastic on paper, but the execution was a bit disappointing. The mystery as to who The Machinist is was ridiculously easy to solve. I put two-and-two together very, very early on in the story, so the excitement of that plot point was watered down for me.
Kady Cross really had some great ideas — fantastic ideas! — but it felt like she tried to put too much into one book, and not all of it connected properly. It was really cool to have an X-men-esque group of characters, a sci-fi ore that’s also organic, and it was really cool to have a Jekyll-and-Hyde character; it was cool to have automatons going haywire and even cooler, to have it all in a steampunk setting (I am in love with steampunk, just FYI). But unfortunately, it felt like she had too many ideas and threw them all together too quickly. Very cool ideas and major potential … I just wish it worked out better. And then there was the ending, which was rather anti-climactic considering how quickly they took the villain down.
The characters were really boring, and seemed to carry one personality trait each. Though Finley was on the bland side, she did have some cool aspects to her. Besides her Jekyll-and-Hyde moments, she also knows how to kick some serious butt, and I always appreciate a headstrong heroine — but I do wish she had more depth to her.
Some of the characters had accents which were sometimes there and sometimes not. Emily, for example, is supposed to be Irish, and sometimes her dialogue is written with the accent incorporated, complete with words that an Irish person would say, but sometimes her dialogue was written quite “normally”. (Speaking of Emily, if I read one more description of her “ropey red hair” …)
I’m really glad the relationship between Finley and Griffin happened gradually (I can’t stand insta-love), but I’m not really sure how they came to have feelings with one another. They don’t have any chemistry between them. I didn’t like the love triangle aspect too much either — it seemed like Jack’s entire point of existence in the novel was to be the third point of said triangle. Even crazier, there was a second love triangle amongst the secondary characters (Emily, Jasper and Sam). That felt like a little too much.
I think The Girl In The Steel Corset was a very ambitious story and definitely had potential, but because there were so many great ideas being crammed into one plot, it didn’t have the desired effect. I kind of liked it, but I also kind of didn’t like it. I’m still going to keep an eye out for future books in this series though, because I do love me some steampunk, and I sincerely hope the subsequent books will be improved.(less)
I saw this available on NetGalley and I decided I want to read it — not so much based on the beautiful cover, but because of its incredibly low rating...moreI saw this available on NetGalley and I decided I want to read it — not so much based on the beautiful cover, but because of its incredibly low rating on Goodreads. I was fairly warned that I most likely will not like this book by a number of good friends of mine, but I was 1) curious and 2) believed it couldn’t really be that bad.
Well, I believed wrong.
Tris & Izzie is a modern re-telling of the legend Tristan and Iseult/Isolde/Yseult. I don’t actually know much about the legend; I watched the 2006 movie ages ago and don’t really remember much about it, just a general idea that it is a medieval romance. So I don’t really have the original story in my head to compare this novel to. (I did look up the legend after I finished this book though).
In this book, Izzie is dating the most popular boy in school, Mark. Lately, she doesn’t know why her best friend Branna is acting so weird around her and Mark, so she gets the brilliant idea to feed Branna and some guy (yes, literally, some guy — she doesn’t have anyone in mind yet) a love potion, courtesy of Izzie’s mom, who is a witch. When she tries to feed Branna the love potion, she gives some to Mark’s new friend Tristan. However, when Mark wants to drink some too, Izzie panics and drinks the rest herself, falling desperately in love with Tristan.
Izzie loves Tristan but is conflicted by her relationship with Mark, unsure of what to do. In the meantime, Izzie’s mom reveals that their family is from a place called Curvenal, where her mom did her witchcraft and her father (who is deceased) was a sorcerer. Izzie finds out that she is a sorceress herself, and that there is a great serpent who has been hunting her for the past 11 years. Tristan has been sent to protect Izzie.
There are a number of things that rubbed me the wrong way with this book, but the two biggest things was the execution and Izzie.
The execution — Well, this is supposed to be a modern retelling but it really, really does not feel like one. When I think of a modern retelling of an old story or legend, I imagine that there is no magic. You don’t modernize the story of Sleeping Beauty, but keep the fact that she fell asleep for a 100 years, that there were fairies, that there was a magic spinning wheel, etc. You reinvent all that to fit into the present day. You don’t simply throw the exact same story into a different time period. So, I don’t think this novel was a particularly creative reimagining of Tristan & Iseult (except the latter half of the novel, but by then, I don’t think it was retelling anything anymore).
I was actually very surprised when all the witchcraft and potions was brought up. It was not a smooth introduction at all. I thought I was reading a contemporary, non-fantasy novel and all of a sudden, Izzie and Branna are talking about potions and magic in a high school hallway like it’s completely normal. That wouldn’t have been too bad, but the magic system or world building in this book was poor as well, as if it was not thoroughly thought out. At first you think the magic in this world is witchcraft and potions. Okay. Suddenly we find out Izzie is a sorceress who can wield elemental magic. And then suddenly we find out Tristan is an alchemist. And then we find out about a whole bunch of strange mythical beasts that exist. More and more magical elements were just being thrown together. That was why I was not surprised when Tristan announced he had a flying sword.
The latter half of the novel seemed kind of ridiculous, with the giant and Izzie learning to wield fireballs out of the blue. For someone who only found out she has magic in her blood a few hours ago, she’s skilled enough to duel Albus Dumbledore and possibly win. It just didn’t really fit. I suppose you could say that’s just how the magic works in this world — if you have magic in your blood, you can do anything! But that goes back to my earlier statement that the magic in this novel is not properly thought out.
Izzie — I have never despised a character so much. She is the most selfish, immature, self-centered, idiotic and shallow character I have ever met. For one, she doesn’t realize Branna is in love with her boyfriend Mark when it is blatantly obvious. Then she takes it upon herself to force Branna to fall in love with someone of Izzie’s own choosing, with a love potion, without her consent, because she believes she knows what’s good for her best friend. When Izzie was in the hospital, she bossed Mark around, demanding him to get her a wheelchair and throwing a hissy fit when he didn’t leap to his feet to obey. When Branna was seriously injured, Izzie spent a considerable amount of time admiring Tristan’s athletic form instead of worrying about her friend.
I was so happy with the scene where Mark punched Izzie in the face. She deserved it. It’s unfortunate that she’s apparently made of steel or something because it didn’t seem to have much of an effect on her, not even a bruise.
The other characters weren’t much better. Tristan spoke super formally, which made him sound rather monotone. I thought this was supposed to be a romance, but there is surprisingly very little Tristan in this book. Or maybe it’s just because he doesn’t talk too much. Branna and Mark had one personality trait apiece. Speaking of which, Mark was quite odd because as soon as he found out Izzie didn’t love him anymore, but that Branna has a huge crush on him, he changed his tune quite quickly. Suddenly, instead of proclaiming his love for Izzie, he was swearing his eternal undying love to Branna. No magic (or reasonable transition of feelings) involved.
The biggest dealbreaker was that the writing wasn’t very good. The dialogue especially, felt quite unnatural (and I’m not just talking about Tristan’s robot voice). Some of the things that came out of the characters’ mouths just didn’t feel like something someone would say if they were in that situation.
This book wasn’t boring though, I’ll give you that. It was … interesting. I kept reading mainly because I kept being shocked and/or appalled by the things Izzie does or says (or busy being angry at Izzie), and the way the story developed was just so utterly bizarre that I kept reading.
I saw this book in the bookstores about a year ago, and I knew I had to read it. Ever since watching the animated Anastasia movie as a little kid way...moreI saw this book in the bookstores about a year ago, and I knew I had to read it. Ever since watching the animated Anastasia movie as a little kid way back when, I’ve been a “fan” (if you can call it that) of the tragic Romanov family, and I devoured information about them. I didn’t actually end up reading this book till a year later because I decided to wait for it to come out in paperback instead, which it did about a month ago (at the time of this writing).
This book is narrated in alternating viewpoints by the four daughters of the last tsar of Russia: Olga, Tatiana, Marie and Anastasia. The novel details the last four years of their lives, from when World War I breaks out, to their father abdicating the throne, to being under house arrest and then prisoners of the Russian Revolution. It’s not a diary-format kind of story, but it sort of feels like one.
I think most people already know what ended up happening to the Romanov family during the revolution, so the ending is no surprise at all. Still, it was so sad to read! As the reader, I have accompanied these girls for nearly 400 pages and have become intimately acquainted with these characters. As I neared the end, I kept wishing and wishing history turned out differently for these four girls. The author did a splendid job with the characters and writing out the conditions of their imprisonment. The girls were incredibly loyal to their family and the servants who chose to join them in exile. They were even nice to the guards around their prison of a home. I think that’s what makes their death in this book even more tragic, as they were portrayed as such nice, good girls.
The story is great, the characters are great and I loved how the end of the book included photos of the Romanov family. It kind of made the entire novel even sadder than it already was, to have real faces to attach to the characters in the book, and knowing what a horrible end they faced. One thing that bugged me about this book though was how similar the four girls sounded. I can’t tell you how many times I would be reading and forget who the narrator was because 1) it switched frequently, the chapters being rather short and 2) they narrated pretty much the same way, except for perhaps Anastasia, the most mischievous grand duchess.
Even though this book is considered a YA book, I think adults will enjoy reading this a lot too (I certainly did!) I think this book did a great job painting a portrait of what it was like to live during a revolution and of about the enduring spirit of family and sisterhood. Plus, just knowing that all this happened to real people tugs on the heartstrings too. Just prepared to feel a little sad and depressed when reading this book.(less)
Admittedly, I do not have very high standards for YA paranormal romances. It’s pretty low, actually. I keep reading YA paranormal romances t...more2.5 stars.
Admittedly, I do not have very high standards for YA paranormal romances. It’s pretty low, actually. I keep reading YA paranormal romances though because they’re sort of a guilty pleasure (which is pretty much the same reason why I keep watching Jersey Shore-why-can’t-I-stop-the-madness?!) Hereafter has an intriguing synopsis and comes with many rave reviews, plus a beautiful cover. So I bought myself a copy and eagerly started reading it, hoping that this one will turn out to be a rare gem in the flood of paranormal romances in the YA market.
Hereafter isn’t bad, but it’s not very good either. It starts off interestingly enough. Amelia is a ghost, who’s been dead for several years now, and wanders around aimlessly in the living world, without much memory of her living life. One day, she rescues a boy, Joshua, from drowning in the same river she died years ago. After the rescue, Joshua can see Amelia and … you guessed it — they fall in love. Yes, it happens that quickly. Amelia can’t get over how gorgeous Joshua is (naturally) and Joshua is unfazed by the fact that Amelia is, well, dead.
Since being dead isn’t going to be an issue in their relationship, neither should the evil ghost stalking Amelia to make her his servant … or Joshua’s grandmother who specializes in exorcising ghosts, right?
The majority of the story is quite boring, and the pacing quite slow. There seems to be an attempt at making a mystery out of Amelia’s unknown living life, but the author decided to only flirt with the idea instead of going all the way with it. A good chunk of it is just a lot of Amelia and Joshua moments, which wasn’t interesting to read because Hereafter is another case of YA insta-love.
Amelia must be bi-polar or something. She started off as a rather gloomy character, brooding about her death and her nightmares, but after meeting Joshua, she’d frequently burst into giggles and I can just see the heart-shapes dancing in her eyes whenever she looks at the guy. Joshua was a pretty cookie-cutter male love interest (meaning: perfect with gorgeous abs … why do all high school boys have abs in YA books?!) What’s most bizarre about him is how accepting he is that Amelia is a ghost. And then he invites her to come to school with him. And go home and spend the night with him. All in the span of a couple days.
Then there is their weird connection with one another. He’s the only thing Amelia can touch (probably because he can see her), and when they do, they get these sensations that are perfect descriptions of orgasms. There is a scene where Joshua even moans when they touch. I found that quite … odd, especially considering how when Amelia touches Eli (granted, he is a ghost) she doesn’t feel this way. Neither when she touches Jillian. Just Joshua. How weird. Guess it’s more evidence for their soulmates status.
The story redeemed itself a bit in the last quarter of the book or so — the pace picked up considerably and the story actually got a lot more interesting, though it was still riddled with strange coincidences. For example, that at the most climactic moment, Amelia discovers she actually has super ghost powers and can glow like the sun. W-What?! Where did that come from?
I feel like Hereafter could have been really good if only the kinks were ironed out better. It definitely had potential, but unfortunately fell victim to a whole slew of tired-out YA paranormal romance cliches. As of right now, I am unsure if I will continue to read the rest of the series … but we’ll see what happens …
I received this book free of charge in exchange for a review. It’s the first time I’ve ever read a book by a...moreThis review is cross posted at SkyInk.net:
I received this book free of charge in exchange for a review. It’s the first time I’ve ever read a book by a self-published author and I was actually kind of excited about it. While I admit I didn’t end up exactly gushing over this book after I finished, I feel like I’ve been introduced to a new world of books and I think I might be interested in reading more self-published works in the future.
Misconception centers around the Kelly family: a wife, husband and two boys. The story kicks off quickly and we encounter the main conflict of the book quickly: Pace Kelly is pregnant despite her husband, Jason, having gotten himself a vasectomy three years ago. However, despite the evidence, Pace really didn’t cheat on Jason. Jason finds it very hard to believe Pace though, because after getting his vasectomy checked out, it’s confirmed that there’s nothing wrong and he shouldn’t be producing any babies. The relationship between Pace and Jason steadily spiral into a depressing state, with both sides having serious trust issues.
Pace and Jason’s relationship is the bread and butter of this story, and it’s their drama that kept me turning the pages (figuratively; it was an eBook so I suppose I should say scrolling the pages? Hehe). I personally think it would have been more interesting if the third person narrator was less invasive in the characters’ thoughts, because I think it would have been intriguing if the reader wasn’t sure if Pace actually cheated or not. I think the “mystery” would have been great incentive for readers to glue themselves to the pages … or maybe that’s just me. I enjoyed reading about their drama-filled relationship for the most part, what with the accusations being thrown around, the e-mail snooping and the classic hiring of a private detective to spy on the spouse. I love, love, love drama (probably why I devour Jodi Picoult books like there’s no tomorrow) and I think Misconception pulled it off without being too unbelievable and making eyes roll.
Besides the Kellys, Pace’s parents, Colin and Tori, are also central characters in this book. Colin is a famous senator and Tori is, well, his trophy wife, I suppose you can call her. Tori was my least favourite character however. Not because of her person, but more because of her character. There was something inconsistent in her character, I felt. I think it is especially noticeable when the narrator narrates from Tori’s perspective, then switches and narrates from another character’s perspective but Tori is still in the scene. She felt like two different characters sometimes.
The plot is drama-filled and moves along at a good pace, which I liked. There is one thing about the plot that kind of threw me off a bit though. I could be wrong, but to me, Pace and Jason’s relationship is the main focus of the story. So I was a little thrown off that the climax of the story dealt primarily with Colin and Tori, while Pace and Jason just kind of made up in the background. With that said though, I did actually quite like the ending. I am a little confused as to why the focus was on Pace’s parents instead — but that may be because I misinterpreted Colin and Tori’s importance in the story. Okay, I admit it, I didn’t find them that important. But back on track, I did like the ending. I thought it was fitting and climatic and didn’t have a denouement that overstayed its welcome (which is something that really bothers me in books haha, but I’m glad I didn’t have that issue here).
There are some technical things like typos (rare) and awkward sentences, so I think Misconception could benefit from a thorough editing, but I didn’t want to be all nitty-gritty. Overall, this is an okay book. I feel a bit mixed about it, but it’s really not bad. I think if you like family drama sort of books, you should check it out (the author’s website shows the places where you can purchase it).(less)
Well, colour me surprised. I didn't have my expectations too high for this book initially. I lovedAcross the Universe which was the first book, but my...moreWell, colour me surprised. I didn't have my expectations too high for this book initially. I loved Across the Universe which was the first book, but my experience with the middle book of YA sci-fi/dystopian trilogies wasn't too good (Catching Fire and Insurgent come to mind) even if I loved the first one, so I was wary going into this second one. However, it turns out I loved this book. I think it was even better than the first one!
After the shocking revelation that happened at the end of book one, it turns out not all of Godspeed's secrets are revealed yet. Orion, murderer of several of the cryo-frozen Earth humans, is locked and frozen away in his own cryo-chamber, but is still haunting Amy. He has left a series of clues that will guide Amy to what he calls the "true" secret of Godspeed. However, someone else is sabotaging all the clues, meaning someone already knows the secret and is desperate to keep it that way. In the meantime, Elder is fighting for his right to rule the ship. His leadership is called into question, by his very own best friend, and the entire ship is at the brink of a mutiny. At the same time, he must also figure out how to get Godspeed's engines running again so that they are not stranded in space for all of eternity.
I truly enjoyed this book, but it is not without its flaws, so I will get those out of the way first. I felt a teensy bit miffed, I guess, that the so-called secret revealed at the end of book one was brushed aside with the "real" secret in book two. I felt like it made the ending of book one a little cheap, like it doesn't matter. I also felt that when Amy was hunting down the clues, it sometimes felt like she took a great leap of logic in order to get the next hint, and that kind of bugged me too. Lastly, Amy was kind of annoying near the end of the book. I felt bad for Elder, who had to put up with her while also juggling his responsibilities as the leader.
The plot starts off a bit on the slow side, but quickly builds momentum. I was totally sucked into the mystery and it was driving me crazy with curiosity! I stayed up very late reading this book, I just had to find out what the "true" secret was. After all, the entire ship seemed to be in a pretty hopeless and doomed situation at the end of book one. I knew it had to be a secret that gave the ship hope. I had two theories, and actually one of mine turned out to be correct, although I didn't know the exact details. Even though I had my suspicions on what the secret could possibly be about, I was still in awe when it was all revealed. A Million Suns also has a shocking ending like its predecessor, and I'm so upset that I won't be able to find out what happens until next year, when the third book comes out.
I also want to say it was really great reading about Elder's character and how he develops. He is thrusted into a leadership position before he's completely ready, but does his best in the role. Sometimes he comes across really difficult decisions where there isn't a clear right or wrong answer. He also had to go up against all the people who doubt his abilities. It made me think, "What would I do in this situation?" I don't know what I would do in his position, he comes up against some tough problems. I think Elder's character was the best developed in this book. Amy, on the other hand, was pretty much the same as book one.
I don't really have too much else to say on this book. It was just a really good read, and for the most part, I can just sit and be completely absorbed into the story without a care for anything else. I love it when a book can do that to me! I am definitely looking forward to the third and final book, can't wait to see how it all ends.(less)
I got this book off of NetGalley. At the time, I wasn’t aware that this was written by then-14 year old Mi...moreThis review is cross-posted from SkyInk.net.
I got this book off of NetGalley. At the time, I wasn’t aware that this was written by then-14 year old Miss Kluver. I’ve only read one other book by a teenager, and had a less-than-pleasant experience doing so. So understandably, I was a bit wary diving into Legacy. While I think Legacy also suffers from certain teenage writing patterns, this book is actually quite readable. I think it could have been better, for sure, but overall, it is quite okay.
The story opens with a prologue explaining the two kingdoms that are prominently featured in the story, Cokyri and Hytanica. Sixteen years ago, they were at war, and Cokyri ended up kidnapping forty-nine babies. The Cokyri then returned forty-eight baby corpses. One was missing.
The story then dives into the first person perspective of our main female character, Princess Alera of Hytanica. She’s turning eighteen soon, and her father says she must marry by her birthday. To be precise, there is a very specific person he wants her to marry — Lord Steldor, an arrogant young man. Naturally, Alera is trying to do all she can to get out of this arrangement.
In the meantime, Hytanica captures who they believe to be a Cokyri spy, sixteen year old Narian. However, it is soon revealed that Narian is actually the missing boy from the war years ago. His family takes him back, but Narian seems too Cokyri to live amongst the Hytanican people, a possible security threat to the entire kingdom. Alera, on the other hand, finds Narian’s Cokyri ways interesting and mysterious, and falls in love with him — but there’s no way her father will let her marry a man whose loyalties are so questionable.
So there we have it. It’s a pretty solid plot: nothing terribly original (the scene where Narian takes Alera on a moonlight horseback riding adventure through the silent city totally caused Disney’s Aladdin‘s ‘A Whole New World’ to play in my head) but it’s decent. The ending was interesting because it isn’t a happy ending, which I was surprised about; usually the heroine always gets what they want in the end in YA books. But I was surprised in a good way, not a bad way! However, on that note, the ending didn’t feel very conclusive. A lot of the conflicts in the book are left unresolved or just hanging. I always say this, but I’ll say it again: even if it’s a series, each independent book has to have some sort of resolution!
While I found the plot more or less okay, my biggest problem was the narration. It’s in a first person perspective, and the writing style just didn’t seem to fit with it. Don’t get me wrong, the writing was mostly fine despite being a little too ‘flowery’ at times, and overly descriptive. My issue is that this is supposed to be a first person perspective, yet the writing felt like it was more suited for third person. Alera, our narrator, ended up sounding quite stiff, in my opinion, and as a result, she came off as having no personality of her own. She sounds like a third person narrator. And not just the narration, but the dialogue as well. It didn’t feel natural. You know, I kind of suspect this story might have originally been written in third person. There’s a couple scenes that threw me off as I was reading; for example, there is a scene where it is cold outside and Alera talks about her ears turning pink. As a reader, I was thrusted from watching the story unfold inside Alera’s point of view to suddenly being outside of Alera, in order to see her ears turning pink. There’s some more scenes, but you get the idea. (Though I could be wrong about the third person narration thing, in which case this example would be a blooper, I suppose).
Because everything in the story is written with such formality, including all kinds of dialogue, the characters came off feeling kind of artificial. None of the characters felt particularly ‘real’ to me, although I inexplicably became quite fond of Steldor, for some odd reason. I know it’s weird because you’re not supposed to like him, but I think it’s just because he’s the only character that felt like he had any real sort of personality, even if it’s the cocky arrogant kind. I even started rooting for Steldor and Alera to get together (and (view spoiler)[ was pretty punch pleased with the ending (hide spoiler)]).
With all that said and done though, I do think, for the author’s age at the time she was writing this book, that this is a remarkable feat and I see huge potential. I think with some more practice in writing stories, Miss Kluver will become an amazing story teller. Though I’m feeling kind of lukewarm towards Legacy, I’m still eager to read the next book in the series.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Saw this on PulseIt and decided to give it a whirl. I admit, I was lured by the gorgeous cover. However, Possession is a shining example of the saying...moreSaw this on PulseIt and decided to give it a whirl. I admit, I was lured by the gorgeous cover. However, Possession is a shining example of the saying, "Don't judge a book by its cover."
The plot is the kind where, on paper, it sounds like a great idea, but the actual result fell very flat. It felt like all the ideas were just thrown together. It felt disjointed. I didn't understand many of the terms specific to this book because nothing was explained, nor were there enough hints provided for me to understand it myself.
Somehow the story went from rebellious girl being thrown in prison to running away to some "outside" land to her finding out she can mind control people and technology and that her (view spoiler)[Dad is like a Darth Vader-type character (and by that, I mean, evil and working for the bad guys). (hide spoiler)] And then it turns out a whole bunch of other people have special powers, so now they seem like a band of superheroes ... I don't know. I didn't get it. The story didn't flow properly.
The relationships were horrible as well. Everyone seemed to know everyone one way or another. It was way too coincidental. And the "love" between Vi and Jag felt like it was smashed together with no rhyme or reason. Vi talks about how in love she is with Zenn in the first chapter, and two chapters later, she is head over heels in love with Jag, for no apparent reason. I mean, she got thrown into jail, into the same cell as Jag (which didn't make sense to me because I thought boys and girls have to kept separate in this world?) and within a day she's forgotten about Zenn and is all about Jag. And why? From what I can tell, because he's good looking.
I think this book could have been really good, but the execution was very confusing and the funky coincidences and cheap relationships just made this a book that felt like it didn't have a lot of heart in it.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Imaginary Girls is a kind of story you don’t really encounter too often in YA books. Most people label it as a paranormal or supernatural book, but I...moreImaginary Girls is a kind of story you don’t really encounter too often in YA books. Most people label it as a paranormal or supernatural book, but I think it’s closer to surrealism. Surrealism isn’t something YA authors write about very often so if you exclusively read YA, chances are you haven’t come across this type of story, but I really enjoy surreal stories so it was a pleasant surprise to run into it here. Be warned; surrealism isn’t for everyone. If you’ve never read surrealism, you’ll probably think such stories are just “weird” or “doesn’t make sense.” Some people seem to hate it, some seem to love it. Really depends on your cup of tea.
Imaginary Girls is mainly about two sisters named Ruby and Chloe. Chloe is the younger one, by five years, and the narrator of this story. These two sisters are incredibly close and will literally do anything for one another, though the relationship balance is not equal — Ruby thinks she knows what’s best for Chloe and dictates everything, whereas Chloe is in awe of her sister and will listen to everything Ruby says. The girls live in a small town by a reservoir that is out of bounds, but parties are frequently held there anyway by the teenagers of the town.
The story opens up with one such party, where Ruby brags that her little sister is such a great swimmer, she can swim across the reservoir. Chloe, being obedient, attempts the swim but runs into a floating rowboat with the dead body of a girl named London, a girl she knows from her class. Flash forward, Chloe is living with her dad (the girls have different fathers) away from town, but Ruby forces Chloe to come back and live with her, acting like London never died. When Chloe returns to the small town with Ruby, she finds everything very peculiar. London is, indeed, alive, and what’s more, Ruby has some strange way of making everyone in town do exactly as she says.
I quite enjoyed this book. The writing is really great and the dialogue felt real and not cheesy. As I said, I do like surrealism so I had no problem slipping into the story. Like Chloe, I was tossed into a dream-like world where I wasn’t sure if what was happening was REALLY happening or not. I felt a bit haunted while reading this book. You know something is not quite right, it’s almost like there’s an element of creepiness. I wasn’t sure if there really was some super powers happening here, or ghosts or what, but it was about halfway through the book that I decided that this was a surrealistic story. I guess you can say “magical realism” too, which would be another label if you like labels.
Then there’s Chloe and Ruby’s relationship, which is the big focus in this novel. Ruby is someone the entire town practically worships. She gets her way with everything and all the boys want to date her. Chloe, too, looks up to her sister, obsessed with her as much as Ruby is obsessed with herself, but with her return to town, she senses that it’s strange how everyone just does whatever Ruby says. Ruby’s not exactly a kind person. She’s self-centered to the extreme and acts like the entire world was created for her and her sister. Chloe is the only person Ruby cares about. It’s an interesting relationship where Chloe is the only person who has potential to “control” Ruby, but she doesn’t. Ruby has everyone under her spell. Ironically, because I’m a third party looking into the story from the outside, I didn’t really like Ruby. Brilliantly written characters with great dialogue, but if I met Ruby in real life, I wouldn’t like her one bit, haha. Chloe is a bit of a doormat and doesn’t seem to have much of a personality, which sounds like a bad thing, but works great in this book because she’s always in Ruby’s shadow so it makes perfect sense.
This is a character-driven book so there isn’t a whole lot of plot per se, so some readers may find the book slow moving. But the relationship of Chloe and Ruby, or even just Ruby, is so fascinating to read the pages do seem to fly by. Slowly, you realize Ruby is just a messed up person and super manipulative. Slowly, you realize your narrator isn’t really any better than Ruby, she’s just a less intense version of her. Sometimes I doubted whether Chloe was a reliable narrator or not and it made me question a lot of the events in the book. There are so many times where I thought, “Is this really happening? Or is someone going to wake up and say it was all a dream?”
This is without a doubt a brilliantly written book and if you enjoy surreal fiction, you definitely want to check out Imaginary Girls.(less)
Your first impressions of the book, based on the cover, is probably along the lines of "serious YA paranormal story, likely with a strong romance comp...moreYour first impressions of the book, based on the cover, is probably along the lines of "serious YA paranormal story, likely with a strong romance component." Something like that.
Actually, I find the cover for this book highly misleading. This book is a light hearted, fun paranormal story that doesn't take itself too seriously. The main character also doesn't match the girl on the book cover; the real main character, Evie, is sassy, kicks paranormal creature butts all day and has a wild sense of fashion style. The girl on the cover looks depressed and way too serious.
I found it really relaxing and refreshing to read this paranormal book. Finally, something that isn't full of angst, doesn't involve a cardboard female character and doesn't involve a love triangle.
We have Evie, who is your typical sixteen year old girl. Well, sort of. She's got the personality and she loves clothes, makeup and tween-y TV shows. But she's also unique in that she can see through paranormal creatures' glamours and identify them, an ability that makes her an invaluable member of the International Paranormal Containment Agency. She's basically sort of like a cop. Anyway, I loved Evie, she was funny, and exciting.
And I'm soooo glad that we don't have any forced romances or angsty love triangles. Yes, Evie does start liking a boy in this story, but it is very cute and light hearted. None of this, "I can't live without you!" within a week of knowing one another. It felt natural, like I was reading about a real sixteen year old kid who got a crush on a boy.
The book isn't perfect though. The story is okay, but it's a bit weak. I wasn't really feeling it, and at the moment I don't know if I will read the sequel. I probably will, just not right away. The writing was a bit confusing at times, sometimes felt a bit fan fiction-y and the pacing seemed to alternate between fast and slow.
If you want a quick, fun and easy read, then give this a try. Just don't go in expecting to get blown away by the plot or the writing. I think this is one of those "cup of tea" kind of books, where it may or may not suit your interests/reading style. I, personally, liked it, though I do wish it was, ah, "better".(less)
The plot and the characters were alright by me, but the thing that really ruined the story for me was the world it takes place in ... It doesn't make...moreThe plot and the characters were alright by me, but the thing that really ruined the story for me was the world it takes place in ... It doesn't make sense to me.
And because it didn't make sense to me, I was continuously distracted by the questions I had in my head:
- If all diseases are eradicated, what about the natural humans who didn't have any diseases? They can just keep mating and creating more "natural" humans. Why did they all die out or something? I'm assuming you only need to kill the diseases from people who HAVE them, unless this is some sort of magic bullet inoculation they gave to every single person alive. It never really says in the book.
- Is all this polygamy and kidnapping and shooting girls in vans legal? Is there no government?? How did the USA end up like this anyway? I mean sure it's far in the future, but geez, it's a bit unbelievable that society would head in THAT direction if we all discovered we can't live past age 20/25.
- Why were the girls killed anyway, if procreating is so important these days? Wouldn't you need all the wombs you can get? The human race is dying and you're being picky?
- How come the servants don't have to procreate? Shouldn't everyone, ah, contribute?
- There's a lot of freaking orphans. What's the point of procreating if they just end up abandoned anyway?
The kidnapped life doesn't seem so bad. You get servants. You marry a rich guy. You get whatever you want, massages, books, etc. It's really hard to feel sorry for Rhine, the protagonist. I mean, sure she wants freedom but her life really doesn't seem THAT bad.(less)
I never noticed that the words had a face in the background until just now...more3.5 stars. This review was originally posted on my blog, http://skyink.net.
I never noticed that the words had a face in the background until just now … haha.
This is a book I’ve heard quite a bit about, at least among my book-reading friends. Everyone’s either likes it or REALLY likes it. I’m a bit late to jump on the bandwagon, but better late than never. I fall in to the “like it” camp — it was an enjoyable read and I’d love to continue reading the series.
Delirium is a story that takes place in a future dystopic version of the city of Portland. Love has been identified as a sickness, as a disease, long ago, and people go through a procedure (called the Cure) when they are 18 to “fix” them so they do not feel love. There’s talk about brain cutting, so I imagine it’s some sort of lobotomy.
The protagonist, Lena, is going to be 18 soon, and her Cure date is in roughly 90 days (if I remember correctly) at the start of the story. Lena’s a rather obedient citizen and fully believes in the Cure, because her mother killed herself long ago, destroyed by the delirium — love. Thus, Lena has come to accept that love is a dangerous disease that must be eradicated in order to feel happiness. However, Lena’s beliefs are threatened by her best friend, Hana, who shows great interest in the idea that Invalids (unCured people living in the wilds) may possibly exist, begins listening to illegal music and attending — gasp! — illegal co-ed parties.
Her beliefs are further challenged (and pretty much destroyed) when she meets Alex, a young man posing as a Cured citizen when in reality, he is an Invalid. At first, Lena is simply interested in the idea that Invalids exist, hence her continual contact with Alex, but not much time passes before she realizes she has fallen in love. At first she is scared, thinking she has the disease and is just like her mother now, but slowly, Alex shows her that love is anything but a disease.
There’s one thing I had to kind of “get over” before I could appreciate the story, and that is the idea that people treat love as a disease. I … don’t really understand how an entire society would agree on that. In fact, in this story, people are so afraid of love that they will imprison, beat up or even execute (“death by torture”!!) those who continue exhibiting love. To me, that is TOO BIG of a leap from today’s perspective of love, which is that it is wonderful thing. All that was explained in the book was that scientists one day ‘realized’ love was a disease and later, found a cure. It’s a pretty unconvincing idea, to me. And at times, I wasn’t sure if they removed only the emotion love, or all emotions. Some characters still seemed pretty normal — just loveless — but others, like Lena’s sister Rachel, is described as being in a zombie-like state.
Ironically, it is the idea of love as a disease that had me hooked onto the story as well. I think I had to push the idea of this book being speculative out of my mind (which a lot of dystopian novels traditionally are), and instead look at it a different way, as simply a story with message underneath. There’s many different kind of messages you can take away from the book, but I think overall, it’s about the importance of love, of sacrifice, and of life. I think at one point, Lena wonders what is the point of living if there is no love? Just going through the motions of living without a care for anything? Love as a disease is a really interesting idea, so that is why I ended up liking the story, even though I didn’t particularly buy the whole idea of it (at least, the way it was sold to me by Lena).
The idea was backed up with lots of in-story government paraphernalia, one at the beginning of every chapter. An example they use is the story of Romeo and Juliet as a cautionary tale against love. They also have ‘banned dangerous quotes’ which, to us, talk about how powerful love is, but to them, is about how people crazy people are, if for example, they are willing to die for love. The little snippets at the beginning of each chapter is a very nice touch and really adds to the story world.
I also liked Lena. She starts off as a very obedient citizen, fully believing in love as a sickness. In fact, she’s scared that love is ‘genetic’ and she’ll end up like her mother — crazed by love. However, she has just enough curiosity and daringness to see for herself if it is really all as bad as the government says. I liked reading about her changing attitudes towards love. It’s admirable of her to try to think for herself when the whole world is trying to think for her. With that all being said, Lena can be rather melodramatic at times, and truth be told, she’s not the world’s most interesting narrator.
If you like dystopian novels or YA romances, I think you’ll like Delirium as well.(less)
A lot of people are raving about this book and giving it great reviews. On the flip side, a lot of people are also giving it bad reviews and calling i...moreA lot of people are raving about this book and giving it great reviews. On the flip side, a lot of people are also giving it bad reviews and calling it a total Twilight rip-off. I was curious as to which camp I would fall into, and how big of a rip-off this book could be, so I picked it up when I saw it available at the library. Now that I’ve finished reading it, I can conclude that 1) I side with the readers who feel this book is a big disappointment and 2) it is so, so incredibly obvious that it’s a Twilight rip-off, or at least trying to ride on Twilight’s high. The list of similarities is uncannily long, but I won’t list them all here in this post.
Basically, if you know anything about Twilight, you already know the story behind Hush Hush, just replace vampires with fallen angels. Nora Grey meets mysterious new student Patch in her biology class and is forcefully assigned to be his partner for a biology project. Patch is ridiculously good looking, but has a hard, icy personality. They don’t get along very well and Nora decides she doesn’t like Patch, yet mysteriously feels attracted to him anyway. The more Nora tries to stay away from Patch, the more intrigued she is by him. Meanwhile, at the same time, Nora feels she is being stalked by a man in a black ski mask and believing it may be Patch, she starts trying to dig into his past, but comes up empty handed each time. Only when she sees the scars on Patch’s back, she Googles ‘fallen angels’ and realizes that Patch must be one, and possibly trying to use Nora as a sacrifice so that he may obtain a human body.
What irked me was Patch and Nora’s relationship. Even if I forget the whole idea of it being the same situation as Bella and Edward (Edward wants to kill and drink Bella’s blood for his own benefit; Patch wants to kill and sacrifice Nora for his own benefit), it’s just a really shallow and nonsensical relationship built on intimidation. I did not understand how or why Nora would start falling in love with Patch and vice versa. She is frightened of him and seems to dislike him and after standing a little too close to Patch, she suddenly decides she secretly is lusting after him. It’s so incredibly hyporcritical; there’s several points in the story where Nora believes Patch is a real danger to her life, and at the exact same time, she also believes Patch would never harm her. I don’t understand this at all. She switches back and forth on her stance on Patch every other page, it would seem. Not to mention that it’s so disturbing that her supposed love for him is based on fear; she finds him dangerous and that is attractive to her so she continues to hang around him despite believing he has the power to kill her. So unsettling. Nora is an incredibly weak minded and shallow girl.
Patch is worse, he gives no hints that he likes Nora at all, and suddenly it is revealed near the end that he is in love with her; no explanation why he would choose her. I mean, Nora doesn’t exactly have a stellar personality or drop dead gorgeous looks from what I can tell. I can see no reason why a fallen angel would find her irresistibly alluring. I don’t find him to be a likable character at all. Also, the author’s repeated use of the word ‘smiling’ when describing Patch got on my nerves. He was smiling like he knew a secret. His eyes smiled. I could feel him smiling. You get the idea.
While eerily similar to Twilight’s, I didn’t think the plot was unbearable. The overall plot actually is okay (hence my pity half star below …). What I found silly was the author’s portrayal of teenagers and high school. It’s just so out of touch with what real teenagers or real teachers would behave like. Anyway, it’s pretty obvious that I didn’t really like this book, but I admit I’m kind of curious about the sequel because I want to see if it’s going to continue shadowing Twilight’s plot (and like I said, plot-wise, it isn’t that terrible, it’s really the characters that drag this book down). As far as recommendations go, I don’t recommend reading Hush Hush.