Dystopian novels disappoint me the most out of any other sub-genre.Arclight has to be one of my most anticipated books of 2013 and I was not disappoin...moreDystopian novels disappoint me the most out of any other sub-genre. Arclight has to be one of my most anticipated books of 2013 and I was not disappointed. Despite the fairly predictable plot twist, Arclight does offer strong writing and imaginative creatures: The Fade. Which basically means this review will be a lovefest of all things Fade.
The strongest point in Arclight is without a doubt Josin's writing style and her beautiful descriptions. Every scene was so visual in my head and this was so important because by only reading the blurb, it's hard to understand what the book is really about. The world is so different and it's covered in darkness. Josin slowly reveals to the reader how things came about while still maintaining some sort of ambiguity. I really think that is where a lot of dystopian novels fail to grab me. Some don't seem to let the reader know anything about their world. It's just usually a "My world is terrible, people die. Deal with it." kind of thing. But not in Arclight. The reader finds out more as Marina does and that part was not predictable.
You may have heard that there is a love triangle and that is true, but it's not a bad one. There are two guys who are vying for Marina's affection, Tobin who I wasn't really sold on and the other is... "Honey Bunches". That is what I will call him because he was filled to the brim with sweetness! Both guys do have their faults. Tobin carries a chip about on his shoulder and blames Marina for something that happened in the past. And on the other hand, "Honey Bunches" is the jealous type, but I honestly can't blame him for his anger (you'll have to read the book to see what I mean).
And then you have the Fade themselves which was nothing short of brilliant. I absolutely love them and it's what really sold me on this novel. They are so different and fascinating. I especially love the way they communicated and their ability to say so little, but their words packed so much punch. It was the way they viewed the world and each other and the way their names transcended human language that made me truly believe Josin did an AMAZING job developing them. And OMGosh, I just want to tell everyone about my favorite part, but spoilers! I will say it was right before the ending when secrets are being revealed and Marina has this moment of clarity. She looks at "Honey Bunches" and ahhhhh!!! My feels and that scene made sweet, sweet lovin'.
Now that isn't to say that Arclight was perfect. It's one of those books that dives into the whole "I'm the new girl in this strange world and I don't know who I am". I really love those books for the mystery and for finding out the story behind the main character's memory loss. The problem is when you already see it coming and that anticipation that should have been building for a good period of the novel is all for nothing. However, even though this was Arclight's biggest problem, it didn't really bother me that much and gave me similar feelings to how I felt about the plot twist in Cinder. By the time the Big Reveal came around, I was already so invested in the story and the characters.
But strangely, there was a good that came out of the predictability. I was very surprised about all the characters' reactions to the twist, especially Marina's. She chooses one guy over another and I did not approve. All throughout the novel, and particularly the second half, I was shipping Marina and Honey Bunches hard. Like, there was no doubt in my mind that Marina would end up with the guy I was rooting for. And yet, she didn't and I was so unhappy. I felt all my feels melting faster than the Wicked Witch of the West. Thankfully, I did discover the other day that there is a sequel, Meridian, and I honestly couldn't be happier because knowing this completely changes my original thoughts on the ending. All is not lost and dammit, THIS SHIP SHALL SAIL ON. *pumps fist* Plus, I need to read more about the Fade. Overall, I *really* enjoyed this book and I can't wait to find out more about the characters.
"I believe that anyone who reads the novel will understand its strong stance against racism." -Victoria Fyot (Judging A Book By Its Cover Gives Birth To Racism)
Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but you failed. Badly. To say Revealing Eden is offensive is such a massive understatement. I couldn't even stomach more that a few pages at a time. It was like taking a spork to your eye, but then it breaks leaving you with only the handle to carry out your dark deed. Even with the obvious racism aside, the Revealing Eden is simply not good. From the dialogue to the characters to the plot, it was very badly written. A tragic mess.
There are a few things you should know before reading this review:
1. I am an African-American. 2. I went into this book knowing I would probably dislike it. Why? -Because I'm obviously masochistic. -Because I'm taking one for the team. You're welcome. -Because Foyt made a statement that not many African-Americans had read her book. Here I am and yes, we still exist. 3. I will most likely address a few statements made by Foyt about her novel as it pertains to Revealing Eden. 4. Oh, and this review is kinda long. Sorry about that. LOADS to cover. >.<
Apparently, according to Victoria Foyt the population of white people have plummeted due to an increase in sun radiation, leaving black people in charge. My first issue was with the lack of science in that premise. (And no. Throwing out random scientific names of insects, animals and plants does not signify that you've done your homework.) If the sun's radiation was *that* bad, being black won't do you that much good. What's even more odd is that for majority of the novel, Eden is hanging out outside in the sun without her coating (more on that later).I kept waiting for her to complain about how hot it was or that her skin felt burnt, but it never happened. Her father is working in a lab attempting to genetically alter people so that they have animal traits and no one has created a better sunblock or, I don't know, CURED CANCER?! Where is the logic in that?
Whites in this novel are considered a burden to society since they have such a low rate of survival. If one does not have a mate by age 18, they are to be sentenced to death. There seems to be an obvious solution to this hypothetical problem: breed out the weaker genetics. But instead white people are oppressed just for the sake of oppression. And even though Eden knows she has had two mating offers, she refuses to accept either one, choosing to wait for her "Dark Prince" in hopes that he will pick up her mating option. Her reasoning?
"Because I don't want my child to be all Pearl. I'd rather be dead than mate with one of my kind."
*sigh* I can't believe I have to break this down, but if a black person and a white person have a baby, that doesn't automatically guarantee a dark-skinned baby. In fact, some may have very fair complexion. Funny thing the way genetics works. But what did I expect? Almost all the dark-skinned people in Revealing Eden were black as night. The one person who is mentioned with brown skin is assumed to be mixed. *Shaking my head* It was then I should have realized that logic was not going to be Revealing Eden's strong point.
In order for Eden to fit in, she walks around with a coating of "Midnight Luster" on her skin and hair. She talks about dying her hair black and I couldn't figure out why she was doing that. Doesn't Foyt know that black peoples' hair is not actually black? Is that a common misconception even today? It's weird because it's something I've never thought of before. Sure, there are some whose hair is black, but it's not very common at all. It was the little things like that were I noticed a trend beginning: Foyt did absolutely no research on African-Americans or any other race for that matter. It is very evident by her constant reliance on black stereotypes applied even to white characters.
*Warning: Many quote-inducing headdesking ahead.
Applying black stereotypes to a white female to generate sympathy for the main character:
"White people were lazy good-for-nothings with weak genetics."
A black woman's figure categorizing her status in society:
"Voluptuous, with raisin-colored skin, everything about Ashina screamed ruling class."
"On the main stage a band of Coals performed in whiteface."
Oh and I can't forget about the constant theme running rampant that black people are out to get the white people. As if black people, that are now in charge, have nothing else better to do with their time than antagonize others. White women everywhere are doing the "White Woman's Workout." >_>
Every black person in the world is out to get white people:
"She suspected that each and every Coal passerby wanted to hurt her..."
It's always black people:
"All of a sudden, she heard two men behind her. Coals, she figured by their careless, drunken laughter."
Songs about black men raping a white girl:
Little Pearly whirly, lost inside the mines; tossed from Coal to Coal, in fear, she whines, "I'm sorry, Mother, he said he only wanted to see my white skin shine."
Even more rape comparisons:
She felt more violated than if she'd been raped.
Go on and scream. Let it out.
And on and on it goes. But then it gets worse when because there doesn't seem to be any indication that slavery or the Civil Rights Movement ever happened. How was she being oppressed? Well as far as I can tell, white people were well-fed, had their own places, had jobs etc. The biggest thing against them was the mating age, having to wear their "coating" (I'm not sure if that was a law or anything) and getting rude remarks from black people. On a few occasions Eden even wishes the world could go back to a time where white people were free to go outside with their white skin without being persecuted. She frequently says that a black person couldn't possibly understand what it was like to be in her shoes. *slow blink*
"Someday, when you're locked up in a cage, Bramford, maybe you'll understand what it feels like to be an outcast."
If only Bramford knew what it was like to be an outcast.
Maybe now he would know how it felt to be judged by your appearance.
What did Bramford know about disappointment?
Yeah, that's not offensive at all. Not one bit. #sarcasm
And then there is the issue of the FFP A.K.A. the Federation of Free People, "a militant organization of Coals that vowed to rid the planet of Pearls." Pause. *deep breaths* How am I supposed to take that? The Federation of FREE People? Get me off this planet. I'm just going to leave that alone before I start seeing blood-red. Too late, I just saw red. Excuse me.
Okay, sorry about that. That was a tad awkward.
I also want to address the titles given to the races.
Latino- Tiger Eyes
Are you kidding me? Coals? As in black as coals? Pearls? As in precious pieces of jewelry? Cotton? As in what my ancestors were forced to pick in the fields? Do I even need to explain how offensive that is? And Foyt's response to the backlash of these titles?
"Why are whites called Pearls, while blacks are called Coals? Imagine a gritty, post-apocalyptic world where all that matters is survival. What good will a pearl do you when luxury items have no use? Coal has energy, fire, and real value. It is durable and strong, not easily crushed like a pearl. Pearl is a pejorative term here. Coals are admired. Coals oppress Pearls because they fear that those with light skin will add to a population unable to survive “The Heat,” and drain meager resources."
No, no, no, no. NO! You do not give a title that has been used as a racial slur to a people who have been oppressed. You do not do that. And if you think any of that is okay, something is deeply wrong with you. By no stretch of the imagination can "Pearl" be considered a racial slur. Unless, along with common sense, this society has happened to lose every dictionary in existance. In which case, I shall provide the definition.
pearl1 [purl] noun 1. a smooth, rounded bead formed within the shells of certain mollusks and composed of the mineral aragonite or calcite in a matrix, deposited in concentric layers as a protective coating around an irritating foreign object: valued as a gem when lustrous and finely colored. Compare cultured pearl. 2. something resembling this, as various synthetic substances for use in costume jewelry. 3. something similar in form, luster, etc., as a dewdrop or a capsule of medicine. 4. something precious or choice; the finest example of anything: pearls of wisdom. 5. a very pale gray approaching white but commonly with a bluish tinge.
Yup, that is just the title I would give to a group that is being oppressed. Tell them they're worthless while giving them a name that literally means precious. Moreover, if "Coal" supposed to be a positive title, highlighting their strengths, then why is "Cotton" considered derogatory? By definition cotton is a very useful resource. It's strong, durable, able to withstand cold and hot temperatures. So what's the deal here?
Only Cottons, the derogatory word for albinos, were lower, and they were extinct.
I don't think for a second Fyot didn't know what she was doing when she wrote that because in the beginning of the novel she calls "Coal" a racial slur herself.
Before she knew it, she blurted out an incendiary racial slur. "Gets your hands off of me, you damn Coal!"
First of all, I'm surprised she was still alive after saying that to someone of the elite class. Surely if Pearls are so worthless and oppressed, there would be severe consequences for an action like that? Second, Foyt is again baking her cake and trying to stuff her face with it too. Which one is it? It's either a positive term or a racial slur. It cannot be both. I'll tell you what I think. I think Foyt was just trying to smooth things over with her choice of words. And failed, I might add, because my bullshit meter is about to explode.
In the second half of the novel I had no idea what was going on half the time. The scenes were very jumbled with no clear direction of where the plot was headed. World building left way too many holes in the story. Because surely there are more races on Earth that just the ones listed in Revealing Eden. Character interactions were much of the same confusion. But I think that it mostly had to do with the fact that Eden was a fucking idiot. Her stupidity burned. For real.
From this day forward I can never say Bella Swan was the worst. Eden is the worst protagonist I have ever read. Not only does she completely miss the point over and over again, regardless of how many times it is spelled out, but she is extremely selfish and all around unlikable. There is a scene in the novel where Eden happens across an anaconda and I felt myself rooting for the snake. Sadly, he didn't win. *weeps*
One thing that was clear was how Eden suddenly became attracted to Bramford after he became half beast. One minute she is talking about how sexy he is and the next she is calling him names, even after he saves her life several times. (Bold is mine.)
That dumb beast had been gone since yesterday afternoon.
And why had she thought the dress would please such an insensitive brute?
"Is this where you lock up your victims? You're an animal, Bramford."
The selfish beast simply dropped the subject and ignored her.
Also she likes to ride him like an animal:
She sunk her fingers into his long silky hair, like reins on a horse. As if she controlled the beast. Eden knew it wasn't true, but she enjoyed the illusion just the same.
What. The. Hell. A black man is turned into an animal and you have your white protagonist daydreaming about riding him like a frickin' pony? I just... can't.
When I finally finished reading Revealing Eden I had to ask myself what kind of person would think any of this would be remotely okay? Foyt says:
"So yes, this book is meant to provoke the white community that has never experienced racism or been oppressed because they have been in the majority in this country."
I take issue with the white community only able to be provoked by featuring a white girl who is oppressed by black people using the very same stereotypes we fight against everyday. So, yes. I taking extreme offense to that. If Foyt is indeed "color blind" as she claims then making readers connect with a black character shouldn't be a problem for her. But instead she chose to "turn racism on its head" and say, "Black folk, I know you guys have dealt with some really rough shit in the past, but what if it happened to white people?" No, just no. The African-American community exists *because* of the oppression. It is our history, our roots. It is the one thing that must be left alone. You can't just take that away from us and apply it yourselves and make us look like the bad guys in your novel! This is one of the few times where I had to sit back and wonder who could possibly enjoy this book.
"And if you ask if all these reviewers are white then consider that you have a racist point of view."
Oh, really? Racist point of view? Racism isn't dead. It's something that many of us has to face everyday. As a people, it is ingrained in our society that our features are less desirable than that of whites. There are somethings some people will never understand. They have never had to walk in the shoes of another race and therefore they have limited understanding on what it means to be a Person of Color. When you get followed around in a clothing store because of your skin color, when you can't go into the 7-11 with your hoodie on, when a job tells you your natural hair is "unprofessional," when your 4-year-old daughter asks you why her hair doesn't "go down like a princess" as if hers could never be considered as such, when you see celebrities of your race white washed in ad campaigns, when your male relatives are arrested for looking suspicious, when you see your grandparents cry after Obama was elected because they thought they would never live to see the day where a black man held office, when you know there are some parts of the country where you are just not welcome because of your skin color, or when you walk down the aisle of your local book store and all you see on the book covers are white people, with a small section devoted to African-Americans, you realize you are living in a white world. Racist point of view? Wherever would one have gotten that?
I think this goes without saying: NO STARS FOR YOU!
You didn't think I'd just leave it on that unhappy note did you? Pfft, as if!
Ay yo, if black people truly ruled da world we damn sure wouldn't be toting 'round some whack name like "Coals." Naw, we'd go for something MUCH more gangsta like, ChocolateThundas. Then we'd go n' elect Snoop Dogg as our president and Dave Chappelle as our VP, ya feel meh? We'd give women back control of their bodies. We'd legalize MJ and the national anthem would be "Young, Wild and Free." We'd move the capital to the ATL, where we like to "throw dem bones." Grillz would be covered by dental insurance. Free health care to all citizens. Oppress white people? Naw, we ain't got time fo' dat shit, man! We'd be too busy spending our reparation money from da Gov'ment, giving back to the economy.
Chicken spots n' drive through liquor stores would be on every corner. You welcome! (So what, we get drunk...). 12pm would be a mandatory nation wide nap time, which no one would pay any attention to. Fuck the system! (So what, we don't sleep...). Though dey should 'cause "The Itis" is a very serious condition affecting 1 out of 2 black folk e'rywhere. And finally, random flash mob dances would be to songs like "Lean Wit It, Rock Wit It" and "We Fly High" (We just havin' fun and we don't care who sees...).
We stay fly. No lie. You know dis...
Book was provided by publisher/author via NetGalley for an honest review.
Without a doubt Crewel is the most creative novel I've read so far this year. When I first read the blurb I thought, "A dystopian society where people...more Without a doubt Crewel is the most creative novel I've read so far this year. When I first read the blurb I thought, "A dystopian society where people are weaving time?! YES! Gimme! Tell me more!" The dystopian genre has really taken off lately and sometimes it can be hard to find a novel that separates itself from the pack. Crewel does just that and does it well. It completely stands out with its complex concept, feisty heroine and a plot that kept me guessing over and over. Whoa. Can I pull out the winning gif?
The beginning of Crewel reminded me a lot of Matched by Ally Condie. Now before you start cringing and exiting out of this browsing window, let me assure you that it's not what you think. The set up is only similar because both societies involved tight monitoring of its citizens. This means they are given a small pool of marriage options, limitations on the amount of children they can have, restricted access to other parts of the society, jobs chosen for them, etc. That's where our similarities end and where the awesome begins.
Adelice, our main character, has the ability to weave time on an actual loom. It is a highly coveted ability in her society because it pretty much guarantees a woman a higher social status and a comfortable lifestyle without needing a husband. I'll admit I was worried about how Albin would pull off a society that was generally misogynistic. There are really only two outcomes for that: fail really hard or win. Even though woman were considered second-rate in this world (needing a husband, only having secretarial type jobs, no real positions of power, can't travel without a man, etc.) and were held to unfair higher standards than their male counter parts (Spinters had to remain "pure", women were expected to always appear a certain way in public: Make-up, dressed up and heels, act like a "lady") I never felt that this was ever accepted by the main character or by other secondary characters. And while I contemplated how I could ever survive in a society that forced me to wear heels ALL THE TIME (I freakin' live in my Converses, dude), I realized that these ideals were being challenged especially through Adelice's character. She was a strong, formidable heroine who did not back down or allow anyone to push her around. She took action at her own personal risk. She was bold, gutsy and witty. I was like, "YES! You tell that man, girl. Give 'em a piece of your mind!"
As for Arras, this is yet again another book that makes talking about the world building difficult, mostly due to how Albin tells the story. She doesn't lay out the world building in the beginning over the first few chapters like most dystopians. In fact, for the first half of the book I still had quite a few questions on how the society in Crewel actually functioned. But the reader is given pieces bit by bit. As I learned more about the world, the plot continued to open up along the way. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about that style because I like my world building straight up, but it grew on me and by the end of the book I had an appreciation for how it was told.
One thing I have to mention was the plot twist. This is again why I'm reminded of Matched because they were forced to either marry or stay single. Anyone see a problem with that? I almost thought Albin was going to go down that same tired road Condie did with an unrealistic world. But then Albin threw in that plot twist when I was least expecting it. She must have known I was questioning the validity of a society that didn't even mention gay people. Then BAM! The plot twist came out of nowhere and backhanded me. All I could do is sit back, ice my face and nod my head in silent approval.
Oh, Albin, I totes see what you did there.
"But, Steph!" you say. "Why aren't you giving Crewel 5 stars? This book sounds amazeballs!" Why, yes it was amazing, but I still had a few questions (if the neighborhoods are segregated by gender of the children, what happens if a couple has a boy and a girl?) not to mention I didn't fall in love with the *gasp* triangle of love. That really doesn't shock me because I'm usually not a fan of love triangles in the first place. I could probably count on one hand how many I actually did like. Crewel's love triangle didn't bother me to the point of "headdesk-ation", but I did feel that the relationships were underdeveloped and generally unnecessary. To me it felt like you could easily take out the romance of at least one beau (preferably Jost) and the story wouldn't suffer one bit. But the story is not yet over. Who knows what could happen!
Overall, I really like Crewel and think dystopian fans who are looking for something completely different, will eat this up. I don't usually say this that often, but Crewel is definitely a debut that lives up to the hype and will have readers hungering for more. I know I am.
ARC was provided by the publisher for review. Thank you, Macmillan!
The first thing that came to my mind after finishing Stormdancer was the very eloquent: WHOA! The second more composed chain of thought was something...more The first thing that came to my mind after finishing Stormdancer was the very eloquent: WHOA! The second more composed chain of thought was something along the lines of: Why yes, that *was* just as badass as its cover suggested. Stormdancer had it all for me. Richly crafted world building, carefully placed humor, realistic characters, unpredictable storyline... I mean, I could go on and on here! This book was freakin' awesome! I went into Stormdancer expecting to fall in love with it because it has such an awesome premise. Which is saying something because I'm not a huge fan of Steampunk. *Cue the mock horror and shock* But you know what? I loved this book. Prepare yourselves, friends... for a glowing review.
Right off the bat the reader is immersed into Shima's culture with no hand holding from Kristoff whatsoever. The beginning is intelligently planned and doesn't insult the reader with countless explanations of terms, locations and titles. That's what a glossary is for. Thankfully, Stormdancer has one, which I found myself visiting often at first. However, those visits tapered off as I became more familiar with the story. It's almost like watching your favorite anime with subtitles. In the beginning you're doing a lot of reading, but halfway through you find yourself catching on, getting lost in the story, following along easier without the need of your training wheels. Good stuff, people. Good stuff.
The plot rocked my socks. It all revolves around a flower called "blood lotus" that fuels their machinery and the population's drug addiction to it. The Shogun believes he is destined to be a legendary Stormdancer, riding the back of a Thunder Tiger, leading his army to victory against an enemy he plans to enslave for further production of the plant that's choking the life from his country. Throw in Samurai with clockwork armory, a telepathic griffin and chainsaw katanas and you, my friend, have got yourself a damn good time.
The characterizations are phenomenal. I absolutely loved Yukiko. She's incredibly smart, fierce and independent. And her voice felt very real to me as a female. The best part of Stormdancer hands down was Buruu the griffin. HILARIOUS! When he and Yukiko first meet up he affectionately refers to her as "insect" and "monkey." Did I mention this dude speaks in ALL CAPS ALL THE TIME? (He sounds like Zordon from the Power Rangers in my head. But with attitude.) I found myself laughing every time they interacted. His development was also an interesting one because he starts off with a simpler mind, thinking short choppy violent thoughts, with no understanding of sarcasm, only blood. But as the novel progresses you can see his sentence structure improving and his thoughts becoming more humane (darn!). It was all a very smooth transition until I couldn't see the final Buruu any other way.
What's that you say? You find it impossible that I can find no fault with Stormdancer? Well, that's not entirely true. But keep in mind this is coming from someone who doesn't read a lot of High Fantasy or Steampunk. Basically, ignore me. Lol. If there was one thing that bothered me, it was the beginning. It felt a little slow for me with the myriads of description after description. When my best friend asked me in the beginning what I thought of Stormdancer I told her it was kinda like when Rowling went nuts on describing the Weasley house. And her reply was, "Yes! I love tons of descriptions." And that's when I realized I was obviously the weirdo in this case. For once. Don't worry, I'll be back to being the "kool" one soon enough.
So why did I give it 5 stars? Why not 4? Truthfully, for about half the book I thought, "Okay, 4 stars for sure." But then Buruu and Yukiko brought the THUNDA with that fight screen against the Oni... and I was like whoa, dude! Oh, and when the minor character, Michi, started going into splits, cutting dudes to shreds!! OMG, it was like a serious Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon badass scene on steroids. And then with the plot twists! *takes deep breath* Sorry, I-I-I couldn't contain the fangirling. But it was awesome!
And that ending?! Wow. So much win and I never saw it coming! And damn you Kristoff for making me shed a tear! Who knew my cold, dead heart was capable of such emotions? But you know what they say, "The lotus must bloom." Heh. I am very thankful that salt wasn't poured into the wound with a cliffhanger, but I feel like a desperate lotus addict looking for book two to magically appear on my bookshelf. *weeps* It's not there! So I'll just be over here rocking back and forth waiting for my bookish fix.
ARC was provided by the publisher. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. Doubt me not, friends. These are my honest thoughts. Kristoff happened to write a book and I happened to love it.
If there is anything good coming from the newer crops of dystopian fiction these days it's one thing: Evil, ravenous vampires are back. With books lik...more If there is anything good coming from the newer crops of dystopian fiction these days it's one thing: Evil, ravenous vampires are back. With books like The Immortal Rules and now The Hunt, YA thiller fans are sure to be pleased by this turn of events. I know I am. Unfortunately, The Hunt failed to WOW me on that factor alone.
In a nutshell, The Hunt is like an inverted Immortal Rules with a Hunger Games-esque twist. Instead of our young, male protagonist, Gene, being the only vampire among humans, he is one of the only humans living in the lion's den. In order to pull this off he must shave off all his body hair, clip his nails, polish his fake fangs, and bathe rigorously every single day. In addition to the intense grooming, he must suppress his basic human mannerisms such as laughing, sweating, singing, flinching, clearing his throat, ect. when in contact with "people." All of this is done because Gene lives in a world where he is considered a "heper," barely a step above a farm animal. In order to survive he has to hide who he truly is or risk being eaten. So when he is chosen for the Heper Hunt (think Hunger Games arena), you can only imagine his uneasiness. "Awkward" is an understatement.
The Hunt has a lot of potential because regardless of how I feel about it I can't deny that it's creative. It features an entirely different spin on vampires that both intrigued me and weirded me out. It's also very readable and easily holds a reader's attention. I also felt myself enjoying Fukuda's prose as well, especially when Gene thought of his past memories of his family. That's the main reason why I ended up giving the book two stars instead of one. But like I said earlier, that alone won't win anyone points with me.
*sigh* I feel like a broken record saying this, but if we are going to write a dystopian novel, please supply some background info. I don't need to know everything under the sun, but I'd at least like to know how your world ended up in its current cesspit state. Is that too much to ask? How did the vampires come to take over the world (literally)? Where did they come from? They managed to eat almost ALL the humans? Why did Gene even bother to try to blend in with vampire society? Why not run away? Have vampires taken over the entire world or did only the U.S. go to hell? Again. Is the rest of the world still partying like it's 1999? Why does Gene know so little about his world? Did the humans - excuse me, hepers - not pass any knowledge of their histories down to their children? So many question, with too few no answers.
I think I hated almost all the characters in The Hunt, but Gene? He takes the number one spot on this here shit list. My biggest issue of the book resides with him because he was an idiot. A very selfish idiot. At the Heper Institute (where the hunters stayed and "trained" for the Heper Hunt) he begins to go thirsty since vampires don't need water, but there was a lake right in front of him the entire time. He talks about it and never thinks to go drink from it when the vampires are sleeping during the day. *facepalm* The plot twist - if you can even call it that - was so easy to guess, but guess who was incredibly shocked? Ding, ding, ding! Gene. And no, this was not a case in dramatic irony because everything that was revealed to the reader, Gene already knew. Hell, he's the one who narrates the story!
But that's not even the half of that. I could deal with a slow main character, but what I couldn't deal with was his "I'm better than these dirty hepers!" attitude. When Gene first arrives to the Heper institute and finds out the heper can talk, read, write, comprehend things, he is blown away. Shocked! This does not compute. I just wanted to yell at him, "YOU ARE A HEPER! If you can bloody do it, uh duh, so can they, genius." But it gets worse. Gene knows the hepers will be hunted, but they don't. Does he tell them? Attempt to help his people? NO. He just goes on business as usual, thinking that once the hepers are sent out to their deaths he can sneak away. That made me so angry. These are your people - perhaps the last humans alive - and you are going to sit and let them be eaten without doing anything about it? No, instead, you drink their water, eat their food and work their deaths into your escape plan. (view spoiler)[Even by the end when Sissy ("Head Heper in Charge") tells him, "We don't abandon our own" all he is thinking about is Ashley June. Not one single shred of remorse for his original plan to lead them to their deaths. Unbelievable. (hide spoiler)] Cast him out of the human race. He is not one of us.
I mean, what did he expect he would do after the Heper Hunt? Go on living in his fake life where he could die at any moment? Who would want that kind of life? That makes not sense. If the world happens to end with vampires devouring humans and I'm left with an idiot like Gene, I'm tripping him as I run from the vamps. And don't get me started on Ashley June. She was just as bad as Gene and can die in a fire for all I care.
The Hunt reminds me a lot of another book I've read called Glimmerglass. Not because they are similar in plot or anything, but because the reader must abandon a certain amount of logic and "just go with it." If anyone is familiar with me, they will know that it takes a lot for a book to convince me to "just go with it."
A list of things Fukuda expected me to buy:
-Vampires only eat bloody meat and can't stomach other foods except for ice cream. Wait, what?
-Gene never got sick from eating raw bloody meat.
-Gene has learned to suppress basic human instincts like smiling, laughing, coughing, squinting, flinching? How the hell is that possible? So what happens when Gene gets sick? He stays home? And what would be his excuse for not being in school? The vampires don't appear to fall ill in this world.
-Sex by armpits? I'm sorry, that one, while creative, was a little too hard to swallow. Or were they making out?
Before she could regain her footing, I shoved my elbow into the socket of her armpit. The way I had read about in books, seen in movies. I had her. Her body tensed in anticipation as my elbow locked into her armpit. And just like that, her body lost all tension and softened. I swiveled my elbow in long, luxurious circles, and her body moved in rhythm. Salivary wetness slivered between and around her snarling teeth. I concentrated hard after that, keeping up with appearances, making sure that the snarls came out in the right fevered pitch, that my body oscillated with enough passion and frenzy.
-Vampires couldn't tell Gene was a heper just because he shaved all his body hair off. Really? He still had hair on his head. Does that somehow smell different than facial, leg and arm hair? If they could smell the hepers in the dome even when they weren't sweaty, then they should have been able to always smell Gene is school.
It left me dangling of the edge of a cliff with three words. *tries to repress a very human sigh* *doesn't work* *LE SIGH*
I'm sure there are a lot of people who will love The Hunt. It's different, interesting, creative and action packed. And while it didn't really work out for me here, I'm tempted to check out book two to see where the story goes. But as I say in the rest of my two star reviews, the next book can hang out on my "You're on Probation" shelf.
ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. Thank you!
More reviews and other fantastical things at my blog Cuddlebuggery Book Blog.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Well, well, well. Here I am yet again eating my words. A year ago, when I read Legend, I complained about the world building....more Actual rating: 4.5 stars
Well, well, well. Here I am yet again eating my words. A year ago, when I read Legend, I complained about the world building. Mind you, I did think it was a fast-paced, exciting read, but it felt incomplete as a dystopian novel because I couldn't fully visualize how the society fit into the world as a whole. By the end, I was left with so many questions about how everything functioned. I felt like Marie Lu was purposefully keeping secrets from me just to string me along to book two. Well, I supposed it did work and to my immense delight, it was well worth the wait. And I loved it.
Instantly, I noticed a change from Legend to Prodigy. The biggest being the change in my opinion over the two main characters June and Day. Originally, June and I didn't mesh well, but in Prodigy that situation was flipped. It was Day that was the new thorn in my side for the majority of the book. From the beginning, June warns Day of the Patriots and their leader, Razor, but Day, blinded by his hatred of the Republic for destroying his family, fails to heed her warning. A part of this is due to doubt of June's loyalty being placed in his head from other Patriots and his best friend, Tess, who is not ashamed to show her dislike for June. And just when I thought I had it up to *here* with him, he wised up and took action. The "old" Day that warmed my heart in Legend was back.
June, on the other hand, I liked very much. I thought her character growth was a vast improvement from Legend because she's clearly learned from past actions. In Prodigy, she is more aware of the corruption in the Republic and is therefore able to pinpoint wary situations. Yet, the thing she struggles with the most in this sequel are her feelings for Day and how their relationship could possibly work out given their backgrounds. Can they remain together even with the knowledge that June's actions in Legend resulted in the murdering of his family? Are they simply too different for it to work being from opposite economic classes? And then there's Anden, the new Elector Primo, whose interest in June was shown in Legend and apparently still holding firm. Wouldn't it just be easier to be with someone like him? That's the predicament June finds herself in. And while it may sound rather angsty the way I've described it, I never felt it was overdone to the point of instant "headdesk-ation."
Another improvement was the world building. And with that, I'm now wondering if I'm often too hard on first books in dystopians. I'm noticing a trend with world building becoming more pronounced in the second books in series when I usually prefer some sort of set-up to the story. (Perhaps this is just my high-fantasy mind kicking into gear.) But everything came together nicely here. We found out how the country was split into two separate ones. We find out how the outside world views the Republic. We find out what's going on in the Colonies (though, I would have loved to hear more about them). Sure, I would have loved to know a little of this during Legend, but I have to say, I've enjoyed the ride thus far.
Finally, there's the ending, which I will warn other readers, does end in a rather disturbing cliffhanger. *sniff* In my Legend review, I complained about the illusion of Day and June's invincibility. N-n-not so in Prodigy. *hiccup*
Okay, okay. I admit it. I was a teensy bit emotional. But only for, like, five seconds (plus an hour or two...maybe...). And now I'm secretly cursing myself for ever complaining in the first place. Why? WHY?! WHY?! OH, GOD. WHY, DO AUTHORS KEEP DESTROYING MY FEELINGS?! First, I was in a bit of shock. Marie Lu wouldn't do that to me. I mean, she had built up the anticipation perfectly throughout the entire novel. I thought ALL THE THINGS were going to be okie-dokie.
*We interrupt your regularly scheduled review for a moment of angst*
/end *moment of angst*
(Er... Sorry, that was weird.)
So then when I finished the book and was LEFT ON THE BLOODY CLIFF, I was like, "Marie... no.... you, evil genius... no..." So basically, Marie Lu has me hook, line and sinker. I'm completely enthralled in this series and I can't wait to see what happens next.