**spoiler alert** Mara fought for the New Bloods but became what Queen Elara wanted: a monster in the end. Is it possible to balance power, justice, a**spoiler alert** Mara fought for the New Bloods but became what Queen Elara wanted: a monster in the end. Is it possible to balance power, justice, and a mission? Is it possible to be a leader, friend, and lover?
I have mixed feelings about the ending. Is there any redemption available? Is there a way to have a better outcome? Will Mara just be another tool for King Maven?
I am curious about book three, but I am not ready to dive back into this world. ...more
I enjoyed The Testing. It reminded me very much of the The Hunger Games. I did not have the emotional investment I had with The Hunger Games, and it wI enjoyed The Testing. It reminded me very much of the The Hunger Games. I did not have the emotional investment I had with The Hunger Games, and it was not written as beautifully. However, I enjoyed the story.
Future leaders are picked to take part in the testing. Those that pass the tests then go on to the university. Fortunately or not candidates do not remember what happened during the tests; their memories are erased. Personally I would want to know what happens during the test; this would help me evaluate futures alliances and enemies.
I am interested to see where Charbonneau will take the series....more
At the very least I am stunned. It ended the only way it could end, and I am not sure how I feel about it. Once I digest, reread it, or both I will poAt the very least I am stunned. It ended the only way it could end, and I am not sure how I feel about it. Once I digest, reread it, or both I will post a review. ...more
The lesson that resonated with me the most is me that leaders sometimes have to choose between two awful choices with no correct choices or alternativThe lesson that resonated with me the most is me that leaders sometimes have to choose between two awful choices with no correct choices or alternatives. Ness has convinced me that even the most evil leaders have at least one redeeming quality or action. This is a tough truth considering some of the characters he brought into our lives through the Chaos Walking series....more
What can I say about this book? It is awesome! Aliens have come to our world, invaded our lives, and are trying to extinguish us. If you like Falling Skies, you will love this book!
Cassie is a strong female character. It is not hard to root for her. She is trying to survive the invasion and find her brother. Both admirable goals. She has moments of doubt, but she succeeds more than I would have in an apocalypse.
Evan is a mystery. He is both a good guy and a bad guy. Like Cassie I have my doubts about him, but I cannot place my finger on what is off about him. In the end he redeems himself beyond doubt, and I love that about his character.
Zombie is a mess. It is inspiring to see him leave his old life behind and embrace his new life. He is a great example of how to overcome hardship. His real identity is both shocking and expected.
I love the following quotes, because they are so poignant:
“One day I was outside,” he says, “hanging up some sheets to dry on the clothesline, and this weird feeling came over me. Like something had popped me in the chest. I mean, it was totally physical, not mental, not a little voice inside my head telling me…telling me that Lauren was gone. It felt like someone had punched me hard. And I knew. So I dropped the sheet and hauled ass to her house…” (Yancey, p. 271).
“I’ve decided to trust him, but like somebody once said, you can’t force yourself to trust. So you put all your doubts in a little box and bury it deep and then try to forget where you buried it. My problem is that buried box is like a scab I can’t stop picking at” (Yancey, p. 340).
“There's an old saying about truth setting you free. Don't buy it. Sometimes the truth slams the cell door shut and throws a thousand bolts.”
I think the picture Yancey paints is pretty accurate. I am little nervous for the sequel, but I cannot wait to see where the story goes next. Who will survive?
**spoiler alert** I enjoyed learning about Tobias' choosing ceremony. It is interesting that as Marcus sought to control his son, his control is ultim**spoiler alert** I enjoyed learning about Tobias' choosing ceremony. It is interesting that as Marcus sought to control his son, his control is ultimately what gave Tobias the strength to escape his tormentor.
The point of view was more believable that "Free Four," but I do not like the weak Tobias. I like the strong Tobias. I think this short story was worth $0.99, but not $1.99. I hope the next three stories will better and longer....more
Overall I liked the story, and Dalton wrapped up the lose ends. The ending is a little sappy, but the reader has a solid conclusion. The reader also kOverall I liked the story, and Dalton wrapped up the lose ends. The ending is a little sappy, but the reader has a solid conclusion. The reader also knows the characters will continue to live on.
Of the whole series I believe The Blemished is the best. In The Unleashed I found the drama and conflict/resolution cycle frustrating and predictable. (I am the last person to pick up on clues; I would make a terrible detective.)
What I liked most about the series is Dalton got me thinking. 1) While we do not always understand people, especially our parents, for the most part I believe that parents love their children. As humans we are flawed, and the expression of love is also flawed. Hold onto the good and the love we have for one another. 2) An equal society could never exist. Many have tried, and many have failed. Take Animal Farm for example. 3) Someone or group will always want and take power. Many will not be the best leaders. 4) As part of the power struggle, those in power have to assert it over other people. I do not understand this. It may be because in my heart I believe all people have the potential to be good. 5) The Unleashed is a tale of rebellion and taking back the power. What will it take for me to begin to stand up for injustice?
Love those around. Fight for injustice. Long live freedom!
Many thanks to Sarah Dalton for an Advanced Reader's Copy....more
I am glad Dalton chose to explore Elena’s character more. I wanted to know what happened to her after The Blemished, and I received more insight intoI am glad Dalton chose to explore Elena’s character more. I wanted to know what happened to her after The Blemished, and I received more insight into her character.
Dalton did a good job of expanding Elena’s character. It is interesting to see Elena live for the GEM society and sympathize with the Blemished. Her encounter with Mina changed her to see that all people are people. One “race” or “species” is not superior.
I disliked that there were a few cheesy and predictable parts. I like that Elena’s confrontation with tragedy will make her stronger. Elena’s final choice will change the future for everyone.
I cannot wait to see what role she plays in The Unleashed! ...more
Rossi is a very talented third person point of view writer. One reason I enjoy Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night is they are both written in third person. I empathized with the characters and felt like I knew them.
Roar and Liv is written from Roar’s point of view. I like and admired him in Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night. In Roar and Liv I found him whiney and annoying. The first person point of view was not successful for Roar’s voice, because I did not believe the story came from him.
I had also hoped to see more of Liv. I feel like she got short-sided in the series. She was more appealing in both books than in this short story.
On the positive side I like that I got more background information on the Tides. It helped fill in some gaps in her novels.
This is not a must-read for Under the Never Sky fans. Borrow it from a friend if you want to understand the Tides more. ...more
I was very excited that I only had to wait six months to read the sequel! The Vanished picks us right where The Blemished leaves off. The heart-pounding action of book one greets you as you begin book two. Mina, Daniel, and Angela have been saved from Murder-Troll, but will they reach the compound? Dalton teases the reader for a couple of chapters. Once they reach the compound one might think all is good.
Most people might relax once they reach safety but not Mina Hart. Though she finds a new home with the Clans, she still craves excitement. She finds it with the Clans and on a scavenging trip.
Dalton creates a realistic character whom I loved and hated. Mina struggles with her feelings for Daniel, becoming her own person, and knowing when to use her powers. She is selfish and selfless. She leaves on a scavenging trip without notice to her family, but she protects her family and friends fiercely. She is a contradiction, but she struggles like many people do.
The Compound reminds me of the Rising in Matched. Everyone thinks the Compound will be perfect, but it too has its own quirky things like the Children of the People and the bad guys! No place on earth will ever be perfect…sigh.
Dalton leaves a trail of bread crumbs and foreshadows the villains’ evil actions. If you are good at solving mysteries, you will enjoyed The Vanished. If you are clueless like me, enjoy the surprise.
The Vanished felt a little rushed, but Dalton likes to pack in the action. (The Blemished is full of action.) The scavenging trip and the resolution seemed a bit rushed to me.
I found the ending satisfying until the last paragraph. The cliff hanger leaves you wanting more! Where will Mina Hart go next?
Many thanks to Sarah Dalton for providing me with an ARC to review. If you cannot wait for book number three, do not worry. She is publishing two new stories in a spin-off series. ...more
What I found most fascinating about Shades of Earth was the scientific element. Will we be able to clone humans in the future? Do they have a soul? W What I found most fascinating about Shades of Earth was the scientific element. Will we be able to clone humans in the future? Do they have a soul? Will they be different from the “original”? Would we even know? When does it become playing God? Does a drug like Phydus exist? Can/Should we just drug people up? Can we turn people into robots? There are plenty of substances people use to numb themselves. Do we ever numb ourselves beyond responsibility? What gets left undone because of substance abuse?
I really enjoy books that grab me from the start: “Once, my mum told me a story about a princess and it began with her stuck in a castle. My story begins with my head stuck in the toilet.” Needless to say I wanted to know why this story started with a girl’s head in the toilet.
Our protagonist Mina Hart is a “normal” person with genetic defect(s) somewhere in her family making her “blemished.” This might be ok if people weren’t genetically engineered. In Dalton’s society GEMs, those that are genetically engineered, have the upper-hand.
Though Dalton combines many of my favorite dystopian books and movies into one, it does not seem cliché. The Blemished has elements of oppression, rebellion, loyalty, friendship, betrayal, and survival. What make is it unique is the strong female protagonist who owns her choices.
What I loved: • The way Dalton drew me into the story with the opening line. • The fast-paced nature of the novel. I barely had time to breathe while reading. Danger and poor choices seem to lurk around the next page. • Mina o Though she is frustrating at times, I enjoyed her growth and ownership of her choices. o A dystopian novel does not seem to be complete without a love triangle. Mina’s choice surprised me. Read to see who she chooses. • Mrs. Murgatroyd aka Murder-Troll o She is revolting to look at: “The collagen in her lips made her mouth baggy and shiny, like slugs inside loose skin.” Ew! She’s not hard to hate, but Dalton gives you glimpses of her true nature which made me question my hate. • Choice Ownership o It is refreshing to see Mina own her choices no matter how disastrous the consequences. • The Ending o Dalton ties up most of the loose ends. I know this is the first book in a series, but I am satisfied with the ending. Check out The Blemished by Sarah Dalton if you are looking for a fast-paced dystopian adventure! Many thanks to Sarah for an ARC! ...more
Reached is the conclusion of the Matched series. Overall I was satisfied with it, because it concluded the series very nicely.
I have struggled with writing my review. I feel like I can sum up the series in two sentences, and I owe to you dear Reader to write more. In the midst of fitful sleep I realized why I like not love this series. I do not feel deeply connected to the characters. I do not dream about them or wonder what they would do. I do not have series ending grief/depression like I did with The Hunger Games or Harry Potter. I am done.
Before I am completely done, let me tell you what I liked. I liked how Cassia, Ky, and Xander’s stories were concluded. The love triangle is resolved. I liked getting more of Xander’s story. After Crossed I really wanted to hear more of his story. As I read I had hoped the Rising would be better. It is slightly, but overall the Society and the Rising are similar.
Condie leaves the story on a positive note. Loose ends are tied up. The characters are ready to start a new journey. Like them I am ready for a new adventure. ...more
I reread "Free Four" in anticipation for Allegiant. I appreciated seeing the scene from Four's point of view, but I was not totally convinced that itI reread "Free Four" in anticipation for Allegiant. I appreciated seeing the scene from Four's point of view, but I was not totally convinced that it was really Four.
I read "Free Four" before when it was free, and this edition is not worth the $0.99 cents....more
Perry and Aria had to go their separate ways in Under the Never Sky. For both of them it was a coming of age story. Both have a better idea of who they are. Their maturity continues in Through the Ever Night. Who knew being thrown out of their homes would be for the turning point for each?
Oftentimes I am frustrated when authors write in multiple perspectives. I am not convinced the narrator changed. Rossi uses third-person point of view very well. Though the story alternates between Perry and Aria’s point of view, I am never confused or annoyed at the prose. Instead I have to keep reading.
I liked the character development of both Perry and Aria. Perry struggles to rule as the new Blood Lord. As he makes unwise choices, the characters and I cringe. It is satisfying to see him struggle and then come out triumphant.
Though Aria is younger than Perry and newer to the “outside,” she is a more mature character. She sees the bigger picture and is a good match for Perry despite what the tribe may think. Perry saved Aria in Under the Never Sky, but she saves him in Through the Ever Night. In the end they prove to be a good match, both committed to one another.
The journey is not over yet. It will continue, and I desire more! Right now! Can Perry and Aria save the tribe before the aether destroys everything? Will their love survive this time? Can I survive the wait until next year for the conclusion? ...more
I enjoyed Incarnate, because I wanted Ana to succeed. No one wanted to help, love, or friend her, because she was new. No one thought she was worthy of anything.
I also enjoyed it, because after I finished reading sections the story would stay with me. Is reincarnation possible? Do soul mates exist? How would I live my life differently? How real is faith? Can you believe because you have been told to?
All the souls in Incarnate are 5000 years old, and they are continually reincarnated. They come back in different bodies, but their souls remain the same. Ana, the protagonist, is a new soul. No one knows if she will be reincarnated when she dies.
In essence this society, Range, is immortal. They do not fear dying, because they will come back. I am not sure what I would do if I was immortal. Would I live right every time, or would I allow myself the freedom to explore new things and make mistakes? What would most people choose? I think it would be awesome to master so many trades, but I think I would grow weary continually living without a purpose.
Their god, Janan, says he created them for a purpose and that he will protect them. However, Janan is a very silent god. He does not seem to communicate or act. Most people do not believe in him. It is hard to blame them, because Range has to protect itself from dragons, centaurs, and other mysterious, dangerous creatures. Janan built the city, Heart, where the people of Range live. Its walls and buildings protect them from the previous mentioned dangers.
Meadows makes an interesting commentary on religion and faith. Only a few believe. Janan has provided shelter and protection but does not communicate otherwise. He seems to be a god who demands worship but does not interact with his people. Is religion only for those who need it? What kind of god is he? What happens if you do not worship god? What if you desire more?
Like many of the Range inhabitants, I want more. “I know Whom I have believèd.” I know who my God is, what He is capable of doing, and that He lives. I understand the lack of faith in Janan. On the other hand I also understand faith is a gift. Without faith one does not believe, and that is a gift of God.
Overall, I enjoyed this read. Meadows thoughts on immortality and faith are different but thought provoking. The romance was believable, because it was not Insta!Love. (Yes, I just said I enjoyed the romance.) I enjoyed Ana’s journey, and I look forward to what is next.
I loved the concept of this book. I wanted to read about a girl who could not touch others, whose touch could kill others, and I did. However, it was not what I expected.
Firstly I must admit that I am addicted to reading stories about kick-ass heroines. (Katniss and Tris rule!) Mafi did a good job of showing how Juliette was brow-beaten and isolated for her curse/gift. She was ostracized by society and disowned by her family. The story starts off with Juliette imprisoned for eight to nine months; she has lost all hope. The setting was clearly established. I was hoping as the book progressed that Juliette would gain self-confidence. Instead I found her whiny and annoying. I continued to have hope that she would change in book two as the first two chapters were included in my copy. Wrong! Instead she perpetuated a negative self-image of herself. This time the judgment was all a result of her own isolation.
As romance is typical of the YA genre, I do not mind a little romance. However, it has to be believable. In The Hunger Games Katniss and Peeta knew each other from childhood. Maybe they even liked one another. Maybe in a different time they would have eventually started a romance. However, circumstances threw them together. In the end their relationship and love for one another was believable. *SPOILER ALERT* In Shatter Me Juliette and Adam have also known each other from childhood and never talked. It is unfathomable to me that Adam would go on a crusade to find Juliette after she has been taken away after she killed a child. However, there is still good in this world, so it is feasible. What is not feasible is their immediate love for one another and their proclamations that they have loved each other forever.
Lastly the thing that made this book difficult to read was the format it was written in. I understand authors have artistic license. I get it, and I do that in my poetry. However, as an English major and English teacher, I believe in the importance of complete sentences. Mafi used punctuation lightly. To express Juliette’s anxiety she would repeat phrases or words in a sentence. To show Juliette’s conflict she crossed out thoughts. It is a useful tactic, but it was used too often. As an artist I appreciate figurative language. Mafi went overboard, and the comparisons were odd. Juliette described Adam’s lips as two soft pillows. That does not show desire, and she desired him. Lastly Mafi does not follow the numbers rule. Never start a sentence with a number in number format, and spell out one – nine. Ah!
Mafi can write. While she may want fans to love Juliette and Adam, I hated them. As I was reading I was very frustrated with this book. In fact I dragged my family into the story. On the other hand I liked James and Kenji. She successfully captured their characters in very few words. I wanted to see more of them. I even enjoyed the short snippet of Warner’s log. Had it only been $.99 I would have purchased it. ...more
As a child I would spend a lot of my time with my neighbors doing really cool family-like-type things. One of those activities was creating Pysanky eggs. It is a cooler way to color Easter eggs than the traditional dying. It is a tedious process of applying color and wax to create designs and artwork. The final step is poking a small hole to release the egg innards and sealing it up with an ornament hanger. Once you are done you have a beautiful, delicate masterpiece.
The Pledge reminds me of Pysanky eggs. It is obvious that Derting took great care to construct her novel and the world it exists in. Her world consists of female tyrants, and she plays around with the strong/weak female stereotype. It leaves you wondering who is in control: the female or her circumstances.
I am not sure if a love triangle romance is a requirement for dystopian novels with female protagonists, but The Pledge did not leave it out. There are times when I suspended disbelief. Many more times than I am willing to admit. Heck, I spent three days reading it. Will they get together? Can they make it work? Will true love triumph over evil? Of course you’ll have to read to figure out which characters I am talking about.
There is something else I must remind you about Pysanky eggs. They are very fragile and should be handled with care. If someone had carelessly dropped my egg, no matter how flawed, when I was a kid, I would have been crushed. For me it would have been worse than dropping the last piece of Grandma’s precious china. It would have been the end of the world!
Derting did this with The Pledge. In an effort to tie up all the loose ends to have a happy ending, she did just that. The first book in a series should have a resolution but not a conclusion. She left one loose thread, but it is not enough to convince me to read book two. She took my egg and did the Mexican hat dance on it twice.
However, we do have options. 1) We can try to glue our Pysanky egg back together. 2) Fan fiction people can reconstruct the ending. 3) Walk away…far, far away....more
As our world becomes more technologically advanced, more dystopian novels are published. I like dystopian novels, because they focus on what is importAs our world becomes more technologically advanced, more dystopian novels are published. I like dystopian novels, because they focus on what is important: survival and relationships. Under the Never Sky is no different.
The story takes place in a world where being outside is dangerous and deadly. The sky is filled with aether, which strikes and wreaks havoc at will. As a result society split into two groups: those living in indestructible pods above and below ground and those living out in the dangerous landscape.
Perry and Aria’s worlds are very different. Perry is a “Savage,” and his world is all about survival. Every action is meant to help one another survive. Aria is a “Mole,” and her world is full of virtual video games, fun, and relaxation. The story begins when their worlds collide. For those action lovers Under the Never Sky is for you. Immediately the story starts with nonstop action and soon survival is questioned. The action never stops. Rossi fills in the gaps about her created world as the story progress; there is never an information dump.
My favorite part of the book is the main characters: Perry and Aria; they kept me reading. Their stories are told in alternating points of view. As they get to know each other, we get to know them. I kept reading to know what happened. Will they survive? Will they complete their mission? Can they save the current world?
What would happen to us as a society and individuals if our technology suddenly failed or were yanked away? Perhaps mass chaos would erupt. It almost makes me want to become a doomsday prepper…almost. My husband thinks we should become doomsday prepper stocking up on frozen carrots. I think carrots would serve us well in a Zombie Apocalypse. Make sure to read Under the Never Sky to find out if they survive and the status of their mission. ...more