An advance reader copy was provided by Hachette Australia Books for review.
Actual rating 3.5 stars.
Imagine the X-Men as the lords and ladies in the psAn advance reader copy was provided by Hachette Australia Books for review.
Actual rating 3.5 stars.
Imagine the X-Men as the lords and ladies in the pseudo-medieval period set in a dystopian future.
Sounds like something you never knew you wanted to read about but now that you know, you want it more than Nutella? Yup, that was me before I received a copy of this book. Sadly, it just didn't deliver.
In this dystopian world, the society is divided into two castes, the silvers (people with superpowers) and the oppressed reds (regular people). The book centres around Mare, a red who suddenly discovers that she has a unique superpower and how she is made into a pawn in a dangerous ploy for the throne.
I think my biggest issue with the book is the characters. In a moral sense, I think none of the characters deserves any respects which makes it's hard to pick a side. Understandably, living in a dystopia society like depicted in the story means it's difficult to cling to your moral values because you got to do what you have to do to survive, right? But most of the time, the characters, especially Mare has the option that offers less damage but she chose the less wise, morally-corrupted choice nonetheless. Morally-vague characters are something that I usually enjoy in literature - time and time again I found myself rooting for the antagonists because they are so entertaining. However in Red Queen, the characters make wrong decisions due to their cowardliness and lack of purpose, hence the book felt flat and lost its appeal on me midway through. For a book with just 320 pages, it felt like it has more than 500 pages in my head.
Luckily I pulled through because that ending worth every second I sat there with my tablet, trying to pry my eyes open and keep reading for the first 80% of the book. I suspected the big twist from miles away but as a plot hole so by the time the true villain was revealed to me, I was pretty shocked nonetheless. And have I mentioned how much I loved the ending? The final showdown has the right amount of action, tension and complexity. Will sell kidneys for the sequel!
Another aspect that was done quite well was the action and the battle scene. Some of the superpowers seem weak in comparison to the others but the author managed to show that when these superpowers are handled well, they can be deadlier than the obvious strong ones. But I need MOAR! There is simply not enough action to keep this book from being a snoozefest.
Overall, a pretty solid debut by Victoria Aveyard although I couldn't see myself wanting to pre-order the physical copy of this book anytime soon. :/...more
If you're wondering what's up with the angst, it's because I had to read 218 out of 257 pages to know the big secret! I h
Okay! I feel much better now!
If you're wondering what's up with the angst, it's because I had to read 218 out of 257 pages to know the big secret! I had my suspicion of who (or what) Jade really is but nothing was certain until that very end of the book. Cruel. Very cruel to let the readers hanging like that. It was more cruel than a cliffhanger ending because Jade's identity is the essence of the story itself.
Anyway, Ashes and Ice is a nice effort from a debut author, Rochelle Maya Callen. The concept was intriguing - the battle between one's good side and bad side is right up my alley. The prose was mesmerizing too, for example;
"I hunch forward, leaning my head on my palm. I think of spit up blood, black suit, roses, eulogies and wet pillows. I think of lonely guitars, quiet houses, pointing fingers and scraped foreheads."
BUT sadly, it was obvious that this is a self-pubbed book. Something needs to be done to the flow of this book. I'm a big fan of short novels so this is rare, but I thought some of the chapters need to be expanded in order for the plot to make sense. The settings and the scenes were rapidly changing so three to four pages to describe and explain an important scene isn't going to cut it. Some of the sub-plotlines also disappeared completely by half of the book. For instance; how Jade really fits in the school, is she coping well with the homeworks, quizzes and exams (yes, contrary to popular belief, I do think these teenage paranormal creatures still need to keep up with their educations!). Also, it's odd how the law enforcers didn't find any clues or suspects when the homicide cases was rising.
The characters were okay, I guess. I could connect with Jade very well at the beginning until she starts to feel something for the ultimate asshat, which is Dominic. More about Dominic later. Connor is new for a male protag although his insecurities made him sound feminine at times.
Dominic. As the supposedly irresistible, magnetic guy, I only found him as repulsive. I know Jade meant to have this attraction to him because of her nature, but I still feel like uh, Jade, he might sound very evil, but he is nowhere near that definition of sexy evil. More like a scumbag.
Overall, Ashes and Ice is a nice book. I read it in a single sitting and didn't regret it (which is something the author should be proud of, trust me) but there are still a lot of rooms for improvement....more
Oh yeah, if you have (or more likely haven't noticed), I haven't been lurking around on GR for months. That's because I had to concentrate on my assigOh yeah, if you have (or more likely haven't noticed), I haven't been lurking around on GR for months. That's because I had to concentrate on my assignment, otherwise I won't ever finish it.
Can I just rate this 2-star because I can't really remember how the book went? I knew I should've write a review right away but I felt really unenthusiastic when I finished it! It's like 'meh, what do I want to share about this book anyway?' The cover, the synopsis...I swear I felt like 'yeah, you can feed me Vegemite every day, as long I got to read this'. Uh, what an utter disappointment. I was not disappointed because it was terrible, I was disappointed because it was not awesome. I felt like 'what can't we copyright this premise or idea until someone can execute it very well'.
Yeah, I felt a lot of things about this book...
...but vaguely remembered anything that happened in the book.
It's been more than 48 hours since I finished withThis review is also available on my blog, Qwerty
Actual rating: 0 star
What the .... did I just read.
It's been more than 48 hours since I finished with Ever, but I'm still contemplating what is the best way to write the review. One thing for sure, this is definitely the worst book I've ever read (worse than Fallen, who would've thought so!).
Urghhh...although I can write a very 'colourful' negative review, it doesn't mean that I like to write such review. More so now, when I myself directly involved in the creative process of publishing books as a beta reader. I hate it even more to write a negative review for a debut novel. But this, this is just intolerable.
Dear Curiosity Quills Press, I had a 'pleasure' of reading Wilde's Fire halfway and a pleasure of reading and occasionally skimming Fade and Ever. While I'm very grateful for your generosity for offering me to review those ARCs, here are a few things that I want you to take note because I do notice some 'unhealthy' patterns emerging in your books;
1. I think we had enough with Mary Sue heroines. It doesn't hurt to feature strong, independent female protagonists with more brain cells.
2. Stupid, and I mean stupid love triangle. Love triangle doesn't equal to 'it's okay for the girl to date/flirt/make out with two boys in such a short time frame.
3. Mysterious males with 'paranormal, mythical' true identity as the love interest.
4. Insta love/obsession/soul mate or whatever you feel like naming it.
5. Gross make out scenes EVERYWHERE in the book. I feel like stepping on land mines the whole time. I was just trying to get into the story and here we go again 'His lips covered mine' bullshit. Trust me, readers are not that stupid anymore to buy a book just to read the steamy, hot make out scenes because hey, there are a lot of post-Fifty Shades erotica books in the market! And trust me, the make out scenes in Fade and Ever are gross because the characters hardly know each other/they were best friends before! Real relationship needs development, people!
6. You are in dire need for unique, attractive book title. How do you know if that book title is not a good idea? Search that title on Goodreads and your book isn't among the top five hits.
7. On the plus side (hey, finally!) the cover for your books are quite decent. Keep up!
Okay, back to Ever. This is my pre-morning book (I like to wake up around 3-4 am to read. Pre-morning inspired by Sheldon Cooper's pre-evening definition because when I say early morning, people imagine 7-8 am), not my plane book, or my between classes book, or my 'I can't sleep so I'm reading' book. Which meant to say that this book had my full attention. I even read this during my stay in Port Agusta (such a lovely place!) which meant to say that I was in peaceful mood without any assignments plaguing my mind. And what did I get? An awful, awful experience. I even decided to get back to sleep because of the horror! And ended up having nightmares. And I had to try so hard not to let it ruin my mood the whole day for the sake of my travel buddies. True story bro.
Usually I do agree that reviews/ratings are subjective and whenever I hate a book, I would still recommend my other Goodreads friends to read that particular book just to know other people's point of view. But I don't dare to do that for Ever case because I don't want anyone else to undergo the emotional trauma that I had.
Okay, just to prove that I'm not exaggerating, I beg the author/the readers to read my summary of Ever. Granted, summarizing can take things out of context but I just don't care anymore at this point.
Frankie, Ever best friend had passed away for two years but strangely he (or his apparition) still lingers in Ever's house. Neither Ever nor Frankie know why Frankie's soul couldn't move on. Ever claimed Frankie is the first and the only guy she ever love in her lifetime. Ever's choice of best friend is interesting because Jessie changes boyfriend as often as I have to mow my damn lawn and she only wears pink. Not that I have a problem with that but wait until I describe Jessie's behaviour.
Ever (I don't know..complains? rants? mentions?) that she will never have an embarrassing make-out story-let alone sex because apparently she has given Frankie her heart all those years ago.
Enters Toby, the new guy on the block who moves into Frankie's old house. Ever's first thought '"Toby," I whispered. Yes. I liked the way that sounded, almost as much as I liked the way he looked. Wow."
Note that this quote came only a few pages after Ever said Frankie possessed her heart for years. Yawn.
(And I think Elenoar is a nice name. Why Ever thought it's an embarrassing name? Can someone bother to tell me why?)
That night, Ever went for a movie with Jessie. But she couldn't concentrate to the movie. Why you asked me? Because her attention, 'unfortunately' was on the hot guy next door! Even more imaginative than usual, her mind started making up all sorts of different things about him, and Ever found herself creating and playing out scenarios in my head about how the two of us would meet and what would come next.
Next page, Ever thought 'I didn't know why, but I found myself really wanting to touch him'
Toby came to approach her, asked her out, but she refused because she said she has a boyfriend.
Ever saw Frankie looked broken after her little conversation with Toby and she wondered why?
That night, Ever had a nightmare and she was calling Frankie's name. Of course, Frankie appeared on her bedroom but then he saw Ever was only in her underwear. "I watched his gaze slowly travel over me. He seemed captivated by my lack of clothing, and took his sweet time before meeting my gaze."
Oh, now the ghost is getting horny too.
The next morning, despite the rejection, Toby gave Ever her favourite flower, anemones. Of course Ever went nuts wondering 'How do he knows my favourite flower' and all that. Then, Ever thought 'only crazy person would allow herself to continue obsessing over someone long after he'd died. Sane people focus on things they actually can attain, like relationships with living people. Like Toby'
Note that this happened only the morning after Ever thought 'Was I imagining the heated look in his (Frankie's eyes because I wanted to see it there so badly?"
Back to Jessie, the first thing she asked regarding Ever's new neighbour was did Toby ask Ever out. Eheh. We could all use a friend like that, do we?
And here's Jessie's word of wisdom '...we are seventeen years old. We are supposed to be dating and having fun. Susan says - in one of the only bits of advice I'll even bother with - that we should be dating multiple guys at a time! Multiple."
Yay, and then we could all have multiple STDs. Hooray!
After numerous useless references to colour pink and legging, Ever encountered Toby again. And she wondered what brand of shampoo he used. Because Jessie with all her intelligence managed to set Ever on a 'date' with Toby in the name of 'showing him around', Ever stuck with Toby that very night. Toby even added that hopefully Ever's 'boyfriend'' won't mind.
A few blushes, tongue-tied moments with several thoughts back to Frankie, the date is over. The next morning, Ever was woken up by Frankie (Believe me, Frankie serves nothing except for Ever's personal alarm clock at this point) and Ever thought she wished she could hold Frankie and Frankie felt the same way too.
Moving on, someone knocked the door and Ever opened it. And it was Toby. What did Ever thought? 'I found myself blushing at the thought of what he might sleep in. Flannel pajama bottoms...boxers...nothing at all.'
Wow, Frankie just got totally friend-zoned by the horny Ever.
And oh, I forgot to mention that Toby came to invite Ever for their second date. At this point, I don't know what happened to the 'fake boyfriend' story anymore. Of course, Ever had her first kiss in only her second date. How romantic.
Next, Ever parents get all worked up by the fact that her seventeen years old daughter is dating a twenty-two years old guy. Hmm..I don't know. I thought this is normal? Except if that 22-years old guy is Ever's teacher?
After throwing a tantrum, Ever went back to her room to reply Jessie's 'OMG, EVER!' e-mail. Frankie appeared and asked where she'd been and she lied to Frankie. And I didn't understand why the lie is needed when Ever thought there's no hope between her and Frankie. Frankie sensed her lie and Ever got so defensive, it chased Frankie away. Of course, Frankie came back to comfort the crying Ever who at this very moment thought 'Frankie is her entire world'.
And I didn't really understand what happened next, between the pink toenails and Jessie's scream 'Toby!!! I won't let some guy ruins my vacation with my best friend!!!" And I thought Jessie was the one who set Ever up with Toby in the first place!
Next, Frankie was trying to talk Ever into not going out with Toby for 'a reason he couldn't tell' (of course) and Ever replied 'Get out of my way and stay out of my life. I can see whomever I choose.'
Remember last night when Ever thought Frankie is her entire world?
And I also didn't understand what happened next, between Frankie trying to calm the crying Ever again because Toby hasn't call her but Toby appeared next carrying Ever favorite flower and kissing her senseless.
Of course Toby didn't explain where he'd gone and of course Ever forgive him. A few small talks later, they kissed again. And kissed again. And kissed again.
But brace yourself because the next morning Ever admitted that she was simultaneously feeling that same strong pull toward Toby and Frankie. That Frankie whom she yelled at the day before.
And that very same day, Ever went out with Toby again. Seeing Ever, Toby kissed her again. Toby brought Ever's parents in his ride, quickly earning extra points for himself. Next, Ever and Toby started their real date on a ship. Next, they made out. At home, Frankie got upset because Ever went out with Toby.
Next, on that night, Ever had a nightmare. Her mom had to calm her down by rocking her in that way she always did when she was a little girl.
Okay, that basically what happened for the first 100 pages.
Next 100 pages.
Jessie's drama llama with her mom's boyfriend...Frankie told Ever not to go on a date with Toby again...she didn't listen because she wanted to be happy, she wanted to have a boyfriend (apparently happy and having a boyfriend is interchangeable in Ever's dictionary)...Jessie's family drama llama again...Ever and Jessie talk about Jessie's new boyfriend, Greg...Ever overheard Toby's confrontation with his 'dad'...Ever and Jessie's double date with Toby and Greg...Ever found out that Toby's ex is a psycho...Jessie's PDA with Greg...Ever and Toby kissed again once they got in the car...
Oh finally some plot!
Ever's dad got killed in a car accident!
Cue the tiny violin sound because our Ever is broken and depressed. Cue the heroic sound because of course, Toby came to the rescue. Ever cried and cried and got aroused. Aha! She even thought she didn't want to be responsible, she wanted to go all the way with Toby! She even thought she loves him! Honey, everyone loves their boyfriend when they get horny.
But Ever ruined that moment because she broke down and cried again! Classy. Toby accidentally spoke too much and now Ever demanded some answers. When he couldn't provide those, he dumped Ever! Minutes after they almost went all the way.
Ever punched Toby. He left, and of course, Frankie was there to comfort Ever.
Four miserable weeks, Ever longed for Toby. In the meantime, Ever's mom couldn't function anymore. To cheer Ever up, Jessie invited her to a party and introduced her to Scottie. And they made out too the very same night. Being Ever, of course she thought Toby was a better kisser.
To add to the awesomeness of the plot, Ever caught Toby making out with his ex, Ariadne. But suddenly, Toby got up and spoke for Ever when Scott asking Ever if she's okay. Ariadne introduced herself and of course Ever felt a pang of jealousy.
But oh! Later that night Toby came to apologize and guess what, they made out again! And hey, what do we have here. Ever's mom knocking on her door when they just about to do it.
And then Frankie and Ever fight again. And then Ever realized that she'd always loved Frankie.
The next morning, Ever went to Toby's house and caught him just wearing a towel. And guess what? Of course they made out again. Ever and Ariadne had a fight...Toby and Ever kissed...Jessie threw a surprise party for Ever's birthday...Toby and Ever kissed in Haunted Mansion...Ariadne showed up in Ever's house
...bringing her own surprise gift, Frankie in flesh not in a ghost form.
Finally, we got a plot development.
No, no, don't celebrate yet because what comes next was Ariadne kissed Frankie and Ever fainted at the sight.
When Ever woke up, Toby came clear that he was a soul collector (well, this is apparently the big secret), and Ariadne too. In fact, Ariadne brought Frankie back alive to trade him for Toby. Funny thing was, this meant that Frankie's soul belongs to Ariadne now. Ever got so mad, she threw up, she shooed Toby away.
As you may expect, Frankie came to console her and they relive they long lost love by having intercourse.
Note that this happened a few hours after Ever was Toby's girlfriend.
Well, I couldn't bother summarizing what happened afterwards until the end of the book because I'm very stressed out right now. I feel like puking and I'm losing my appetite. Summarizing Ever is like reliving my nightmare, so that's it. I got to stop now because it has taken toll on me....more
Actual rating: 0.5 star (Well, it's slightly better than Ever)
Disclaimer: Lisbeth didn't exactly recomThis review is also available on my blog, Qwerty
Actual rating: 0.5 star (Well, it's slightly better than Ever)
Disclaimer: Lisbeth didn't exactly recommend this book. I did this to myself after seeing her giving Fade 0 goddamn star. Haha.
The Lord has given me strength to stomach this book, so here is what I came up with:
When I first saw the book blurb '....She’s forced to leave her old life behind and move in with her father (heard that before)...unable to communicate with the feral wolf caged inside him (yup, definitely about werewolves or shapeshifter, nothing new)...Norse prophesy-
Do you think what I think?
Yup, apparently I wanted to read this book because of Loki. Well, not entirely...because I wanted to see myself what's all the fuss about the horribleness of this book. LOL. I couldn't agree more with the other reviewers, but for the sake of entertainment, I shall review this with character interview style!
Me: *Clears throat* Hi Arionna! 'Nice' to have you here with us. So, let's get straight to business. During your mom funeral, you saw a wolf. And what did you feel at that moment?
Arionna: I wondered if he'd lost a loved one too. Do animals feel loss like us? Do they grieve, too? I hoped not.
Me: *Eye-twitch* So instead of running away from the scene and warning everyone else about the presence of the wolf, you wondered...did he (oh, you know its gender too)...ermm..lost a loved one too? How...considerate. Okay, moving on. When you first laid your eyes on Dace, you felt...
Arionna: Oh, I felt like I knew him. I felt...peaceful. As if looking at this beautiful boy washed away everything that happened since Mom died. I felt right in the way I never had before, not only unburdened and aware, but complete. Like gaping hole inside me had fillied with him. I think Dace felt the same way.
Me: *Snorts* I mean, sure! Your mom would feel so proud to see that you were moving on because...you met, ermm no, saw a random guy from a distance. And I believe Dace said he was not used to seeing beautiful girls standing on crumbling walls every day when he first met you?
Arionna: Yeah, he'd call me beautiful. *blushes*
Me: .......Uh, right. And then he held you gaze, an absolutely predatory gleam in his eyes. Nothing human reflected in that look, but something complete male did. His desire brushed across your thoughts like a caress. He wanted you, wanted to claim you. You was a virgin, but you wanted him to claim you?
Arionna: *Nods sheepishly* Me: Tell me, girl. Which part of the word 'rape' that you don't understand? Anywaaaaaaaaaay, how do you view yourself?
Arionna: I'm just a girl. Just a sad, messed up girl. Nothing special about me at all.
Me: *Blink blink* Uhuhjustanothermarysue.
Arionna: What did you say?
Me: Nothing. How did you meet Dace for the next time?
Arionna: Call it instinct or whatever, but I knew he'd snow sooner or later when I went jogging in that area. Around forty-five minutes later, he showed up.
Me: Ermm..so, you just waited randomly for a random guy for 45 minutes in a random area. And when he did show up, you didn't want to talk, you wasn't ready to face him. You felt like you might start crying if you opened your mouth. You didn't let him touch you and you were half afraid the scene from Thursday would repeat if he touched you. Hmm.
Me: Then, Dace said you two are probably soul mates? In your second meeting?
Arionna: Aha, yes.
Me: And then a few minutes later, you guys were kissing each other senseless? And you even hoped that he takes away your virginity against a tree?
Arionna: Yes. Whoaa...why you get so uptight?
Me: Me? Uptight? Eh, of course not. *wipes sweat on forehead* Okay, so you met a girl, a friend of Dace and what did she think about you and Dace?
Arionna: Chelle thinks maybe I'll be good for him.
Me: (Weird town, everybody thinks Arionna and Dace are soul mates. Really? How sweet!) And I also noticed you have a tendency to pass out or cry whenever you think the situation got better of you.
Arionna: Well, I couldn't help it.
Me: (Damsel in distress level 9000) Okay, tell me something. When Dace told you about what he really is, how did you feel?
Arionna: I thought I'm like him, I thought I'm not me.
Me: Instead of having a hard time believing Dace, you thought you're like him? You're just- Wow! I'm speechless. And you are really an incredible young woman, you know that, Miss Arionna? Because your heart felt like cracking open when you heard the death of Dani, the girl you barely knew.
Me: Yes, you're so incredible, Dace like to call you love? Like, I never heard of any of my friend's boyfriends calling their girlfriend love. The only person who uses that term of endearment is that lady from the post office. She even called me cupcake once. I wonder why Dace doesn't call you that. Huh.
Me: And suddenly halfway throughout the story, everybody isn't really a human? Yay! Now, we have a love child of Fallen and Shiver.
Arionna: Yup, that's the idea! And here's my favourite quote from the book, '...well, had the wolf not be so eager, I wasn't sure I'd still be a virgin.'
Arionna: And Dace replied 'telepathically' of course. 'Do you honesltly think I'd take your virginity on a picnic table?'
Me: What r u're doing?
Arionna: And I asked 'Why not?'
Arionna: It's better than the back of a car.
Me: STAHP! (And punches are flying)
Me: Okay, kids. I think we're done here. Kthxbai.
Did I care about the mythology? No. I was too distracted with the level of intelligence shown by the characters. But I think that's the only thing that worth the 0.5 star because everything else is just wrong on so many levels.
Bonus time: I think my tablet got so petrified with my decision to read this book despite all the warnings. I brought it on board during my Dolphin Explorer cruise, or Dolphin Fin Explorer cruise as I'd call it (I only saw the fin of the dolphin, that's why. But what do I expect with a $8 cruise! Pffttt), and somehow I accidentally left it (I think my tablet just got scared too much until it decided to be left). And my tablet did have valid reasons to be scared....more
Oh dear. This is one tough review to write. For start, I sort of accidentallyThis review is also available on my blog, Qwerty
Actual rating: 2.5 stars
Oh dear. This is one tough review to write. For start, I sort of accidentally requested to be a part of the blog tour because as always, I'm drawn to eye-catching book covers. I wasn't aware that Whisper's Edge is the second book of the series because I trusted Goodreads with my dear life (you know, GR usually put the book number in the bracket after the book title which is there now but not before). Anyway, I was indeed supplied with the first book but I chose to read the sampler from Amazon and a few reviews instead because of the time constraint. The first few chapters of Book 1 were okay, I guess. It convinced me enough to proceed with Book 2.
I had a very mixed feeling about this book. Hmm...how do I say this. Of course, it's unfair not to like a book because I don't understand what was going on in the first place. But here's the thing, if I really like the other aspects of the book i.e. the writing, the characters development, the conflicts, I would go back to Book 1 and look up all those new terms and characters background because I have it at my disposal. The problem is, I didn't care enough to do that.
I read Young Adult books to...uhmm...avoid reading about sex scenes. While there was no sex happened in this book, the innuendos and the foreplay kind of bothered me. I understand that Drake and Kelsie don't even know, how..ermm...babies are made, so sleeping and showering together should be practical things to do and completely 'harmless' for them but I found these scenes a bit too abundant. It was borderline fanservice. Kelsie and Drake should compete who got naked more often.
The characters are certainly not plain. In fact, I find them pulsating with good energy and life which is something refreshing in books with post-apocalyptic setting. They have attitudes and the dialogues were believable and casual with some swearing at times if you don't mind. The problem is I do mind and it's not the book's problem, it's my problem.
Uh, I think I lost track of what I want to say.
I don't know...I have a tendency to like well-mannered characters, that's all. But trust me, the characters, even the secondary ones are well-developed. The main proof is that the characters in the Guild interact like they are indeed in a community. I particularly like Samantha, she stood out as the ghost with an attitude. The rest...hmm...I'm fairly indifferent to them.
In my opinion, the biggest weakness of this book is the plot. The subplots could have be told more neatly and I was hoping that the main plot would carry more substance than 'Drake and Kelsie finally realize their feelings towards each other'. I know some readers might disagree with me because their mutual affection is not as simple as the way I put it but seriously, the whole story revolves around the tug war between Drake and Kelsie. Otherwise Kelsie's mad dash out will not lead to revelation of her true form (view spoiler)[after she died (hide spoiler)] and Drake's feeling of rejection will not somewhat lead to (view spoiler)[his involvement with Meghan. (hide spoiler)]
The main conflict in this book is just not sufficiently big enough. Like, the whole book could be condensed into an episode of a TV series instead of a sequel to a movie saga. Judging from the cliffhanger ending, I have no doubt that Book 3 will be big. But it doesn't mean that Book 2 should function only as a bridger. It should have its own moment of glory and sadly, I don't think it achieved that. Will I read Book 3? I don't think I would. This series does offer a wonderful world for us to explore but I struggle to adapt with the characters and the writing....more
Disclaimer: This review is originally written as a beta review and I have modified it as I read the fiThis review is also available on my blog, Qwerty
Disclaimer: This review is originally written as a beta review and I have modified it as I read the final version. But since I read the ARC with a speed of Usain Bolt, I might have missed a few changes here and there.
Another disclaimer: Spoilers are everywhere since, like I said before, this review was intended as a beta review.
Well, here comes one more disclaimer: Following the rules of math, the actual rating is 16-stars because the beta version is twice better than The Moon Dwellers and the final version is twice better than the beta version. :)
So...everybody's familiar with KFC's "Original Recipe" of 11 secret herbs and spices? Now, I think David Estes has found 11 secrets to write a smashing Young Adult hit. 1. Double POV 2. Dystopian setting 3. Admirable bromance 4. Sweet and innocent young love 5. Mr Nice guy hero 6. Kick-ass heroine 7. Charming secondary characters 8. Witty and humorous lines 9. Fast-paced and action-pack story 10. Heart-wrenching flashbacks and background stories 11. Narration in present tense
Wow, Mr David Estes, just wow! I couldn't believe how much you have grown as an author in just a few short months. If I don't give this book the five stars it deserves, then I'm just a mean, sadistic, I-like-to-watch-the-world-burns reviewer.
My comments (not necessarily in chronological order of this book);
(view spoiler)[1. We get to learn more about what had happened right before and right after Year Zero, how the technology was build to sustain life underground.
2. When Tawni tells her story of how she had been bullied in school because of her parents. This is genius because, one, it emphasizes the realistic impact of her parents' doing in her life (or so it seems like), how while she used to live in wealth, she had been treated badly in her school days. Second, it highlights the strength of Cole and Tawni's friendship.
3. Ben's words, "You're thinking about this all wrong. You're an idea, Tristan. The idea that someone from the Sun Realm could be on the side of the people in the Lower Realms; the idea that someone from within the highest government ranks is helping the Moon and Star Realms; the idea that injustice will not go unpunished. If we can get the moon dwellers to believe in that idea, maybe, just maybe, we can unite the people". Well, it gave me goosebumps. Definitely one of the best quotes in the book.
4. The (still) awkward metaphor. "If we were sandwich, the shooter would be the meat in the middle, or the cheese perhaps. I'm the top layer of bread and her friends are the bottom crust". Okay, maybe the author intended the line to be humorous in nature but for me, it was just tad strange?
5. Hallucination within hallucination, I'd been fooled by it like Adele. Very, very clever writing and imaginary here.
6. "Something about how you want to kiss her and hug her and marry her" "Dork." "Butt monkey." I can't stop myself from laughing. "Butt monkey? Really, Roc?" "I never said I was mature" Roc!!!!! <3
*Pushes Tawni out of the way* You're belong with meeeeeeeeeee!!!
7. I still can't understand how Maia is among of the Resistance council members given her young age. I'm eager to learn more about her.
8. "The General is her. The General is my mom" Opps, I think I might have dropped my jaw on the floor. Well played, David, well played.
9. Anna's diary and Mep's background story deserve short novellas. They were mentioned at the right time and very heart-breaking. I wished to read more about them.
10. "I'm confused-so freaking confused that if my mom suddenly turned into a dog and started licking my face it would make just as much sense." Can't.stop.laughing.
11. Roc's drawing. Briefly mentioned, yet a very heart-wrenching moment.
12. It's good to FINALLY find an Asian in YA books despite Han's brief cameo. Novels with dystopian, post-appocalyptic, world-has-coming-to-the-end setting, yet everyone who survived are white and American are just too many, not realistic and don't forget subtly offensive.
13. "Roc's looking at me strangely, like I'm a weird new animal species who's just demonstrated a bizzare mating ritual." Can't.stop.laughing.again.
14. While the revelation of Trevor and Brody true identity had taken me by surprise, I wanted to know more about where does Trevor's undivided loyalty to Anna had come from. Why he chose to obey Anna who is a moon dweller rather than the other generals who are from The Star Realm like Trevor himself?
15. "...but violence just keeps finding me, time and time again. I'm a magnet for it." Sure, Adele is devastated but I think we all had enough with self-blaming heroines in YA. Adele is better than that.
16. "So Brody saved them from Brody? Are there two Brodys? Wait...what?" Can't.stop.laughing.#3.
17. Well, the part where Roc decided to tell Elsey about his real father seems unnecessary and out of place.
18. The last flashback where Adele's family is back in Subchapter 14 made me lose my dignity by shedding a few tears.
19. WHAT IS IT THAT TRISTAN WANTS TO TELL ADELE RIGHT FROM THE FIRST BOOK? This drives me innnnnnnnnnssssssaaaaaaaaaaannnneeeee!!!! Why would you be this cruel, Mr David Estes? Sob2. Just tell me that Tristan is indeed a woman so that I can put a stop to this agony! (hide spoiler)]
Overall, this still earns the top spot for the best dystopia I've read this year. Granted, this book doesn't have sophisticated word building that usually makes reviewers have this knee-jerk reaction to give such books a 5-stars rating. But The Star Dwellers simply serves its purpose you see...to actually entertain readers while delivering good life lessons at the same time .["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"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
The pre-review I love so much is in the spoiler tag at the bottom of this review.
Easy 5-stars, folks..This review is also available on my blog, Qwerty
The pre-review I love so much is in the spoiler tag at the bottom of this review.
Easy 5-stars, folks...easy 5-stars. This book is literally a drug.
For start, I read Dies Irae and Lacrimosa, two of Christine's other works and did like them. But I felt that sometimes the narration was too grandiose. But that kind of narration on Transcend...
...fits perfectly. Probably because I'd say that this is more of a historical fiction than a young adult.
Okay, come on...I always love retellings. I always love psychotic serial killers who don't know they're insane dynamic, flawed main characters. So when I first heard that Transcend is inspired by Gerald Butler
err...I mean, Phantom of The Opera, I was psyched! And the cover is the best one among Christine's books so far, but I just wish it had better title font :(
Things I like;
1. Every chapter starts with an except from a famous book or poem. I find this very effective in setting the tone of that particular chapter.
2. Plotwise..it..err...takes you round and round in the circle. The keyword here is 'delusions'. So, don't expect a fast-paced or bone-chilling thiller! :) But I really like it, plotwise! I like being in Ien's head! :D
3. It's rare for me to like and enjoy a story that doesn't have many dialogues but Transcend did it for me.
Wow! The character building is remarkable. The depth of his emotions is portrayed in such a way that I think only a psychologist could! Haha. Other characters are very secondary and I think it's a wise decision because Ien needs that focus, that attention, otherwise, I don't think I could be as attached to him as I am right now.
5. My favourite quotes? Lemme see, it's from..uh...page 1 to page 451. That's all.
6. The ending. (view spoiler)[I never thought it's remotely possible to write a happy ending for Ien's story but Christine did that!
Wait! Probably only one. I'm still confused with the switch from first person narration to the third person narration, I think I need to re-read this in order to undertand the significance.
(view spoiler)[OMG!!! I WON THE TRANSCEND BOOKISH SWAG! I never won any book giveaways before!!
It isn't the main prize but still....
Oh Christine, I feel so indebted to you, I promise I'll read Lacrimosa next...
...assuming I can survive this heart-stopping news!
I've read Lacrimosa, and it was Azryel's wings! AWESOME!
And I survived the heart-stopping news :) (hide spoiler)]["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"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
First, I would like to offer a shitload of virtual NuteThis review is also available on my blog, Qwerty
Easily, the BEST BOOK of 2012 I've read so far.
First, I would like to offer a shitload of virtual Nutella for mah girls, Ebony and Lisbeth as a sign of gratitute. Without their gushing reviews, I wouldn't go about requesting this from Netgalley.
I think I may have found my favourite book of 2012 so far.
No, I'm not kitten you.
My favourite shelf had been so loneleyh! SO LONELEYH! No books, and I mean no books had ever made it into that list after Daughter of Smoke and Bone earlier this year. Some made it close, but this book just went cruuuuuuuuising into my favourite shelf.
Like a boss.
This is the book which I need it in physical form no matter what. This is the book which worth a place next to my Lord of the Rings trilogy on my shelf. This is the book which needs to be read slowly because you don't want it to end. This is the book which I'll re-read over and over again in my lifetime until the cover eventually falls off. This is the book I want to marry. I don't care if I die alone with 72 cats. This is the book which left me lost for words. I have nothing bad to say about it! Now, how the hell I'm going to write a review if I like everything about this book?
I know, I know...shame on me for never running out of ideas on how to condemn a book but not to praise it.
I mean, I expect nothing less from an author with mitochondrial as her twitter username.
This is a usual story of how a girl meets a boy, well, except that the girl is Ananna, a pirate and the boy is Naji, a blood magician/assassin who is assigned to kill Ananna. Ananna is hunted by the groom's family when she decided to escape the wedding day. During the confrontation between Naji and Ananna, Ananna accidentally saved Naji's life which resulting in an impossible curse inflicted onto Naji. Consequently, Naji is bound to be with Ananna all the time to protect her, otherwise he will experience great physical pain. Together they cross the desert, the ocean and a magical island on a mission to break the curse.
Hurm, that's why I hate summarizing. The story ended up sounding so dry.
It was hard to get into at first for me. First, because it's from Ananna POV and she got all these pirates vibes going on in her speech and monologues. Second, I couldn't grasp the reality of her relationship with her parents that made her decided, it's okay to leave them to escape the arranged marriage.
Ananna or as I'd like to call her
How do I describe this young lady... I adore her so much, I wish to breed her, I wish for all the versions of myself in parallel universe to be like her. She is err...Anannananana batman. Unique. Fearless but not reckless. Ambitious but practical. Eager to learn. She does all those pirate stuff, cursing, shoplifting, pickpocketing but she possesses an admirable ability for compassion and loyalty. She could just leave Naji to die in the desert but she sticks with him anyway, through thick and thin.
Most importantly, she is so much fun to read, to learn about.
I was building up to my best one, about a whore and a court magician, and I knew it'd get a laugh of Naji for sure.
I like 'em well enough, even though they teased me and tried to embarrasses me with crude stories and the like. Course, I had a few stories up my sleeve that made them blush.
He was curled up on the net and didn't move. "E'mko and his twelve dancing seahorses, you better not be dead."
A million possibilities raced through my head. Maybe he'd turned into moonlight after all, and I was next. Maybe he'd turned into a fern and I was ripping him into shreads in my fear.
WANTED: OVARIES DONOR.
Damn, I lost my ovaries to Logan from Defiance two days ago but right now I'm in dire need to have them back so that I can explode them all over again. For Naji.
Not much has been revealed about Naji's background up until this book but I think I've learned enough about him to decide that he is indeed swoonworthy. Naji doesn't talk a lot, hides many things, a bit sarcastic, rarely smiles let alone laughs but he is not a douche, not even close. Instead, he is sort of ermm...socially awkward no matter you believe it or not. He is...well, Naji, a very special character and perfect for Anannananana batman.
"You really don't have to stay-it's-well, I'm doing something very rare, full ack'mora-I wouldn't expect-" He straighened up, ran one hand through his tangled-up hair. "Though I ask that you stay in the hotel. My-oath-I'm not sure what would happen to me if you got caught up in danger while I'm away."
*sigh* Well, I ran out of things to say, so to whom I recommend this book to? I want to say everyone but I don't think this book will appeal to everyone. Not that I care, hah! I'd love this anyway if the whole world hates it. Suffice to say that if you're looking for romance and cookie-cutter male and female protagonists, you wouldn't get any because this is one of those books where the characters started off as friends, taking their time to know each other first. A relationship built on trust not lust.
So...Book2, The Pirate's Wish
**The ARC was provided by Strange Chemistry in exchange for an honest review....more
This e-ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and Curiosity Quills Press.
I don’t mind lesser known books,This review is also available on my blog, Qwerty
This e-ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and Curiosity Quills Press.
I don’t mind lesser known books, I never mind lesser known books. In fact, by going hipster I discovered Soul Seeker and The Curse Girl :3 So, when this title was up on NetGalley, I was like
Nice cover, interesting blurb. I mean, we’re talking about portal here, Bring it on!
Sadly, my patience grew paper thin and eventually it vanished.
Usually when I did not finish a book, I’ll mindlessly give it 1 star, end of story. But I think this book deserves another star because I given up on it because it was just plain and boring, not like I hated it so much, I felt like I want to drag the author to the parallel universe and demand that she/he returns my lost time, trying to read whatever crap this author had put together.
Overall, this book sounded very armature-ish. The writing was really choppy and stiff at start but fortunately, it got better afterwards but not enough to pull me into the story.
I wished the author can come up with better materials next time because I seriously, seriously had several moments of déjà vu.
1. The main female protagonist, Katriona accidently/forcefully enters a new magical world. The Iron King anyone? To add to the shame, I found out that the humans in this book did call Arland and his people as elves.
2. Katriona is the key to defeat the Darkness, the evil force based on an ancient prophecy. Reminding me a lot of The Fallen Star.
3. Katriona dreamt of Arland even before she actually meet him. Sounded like Beautiful Darkness. =_=”
The characters! Urghh...
I think my favourite was actually the potato. [image error]
Yup, seriously. Arland as the supposedly hot, smoldering love interest was stiff as cardboard. Brad? Oh, gosh! I’m sorry but this dude is one pathetic friend-zone guy. Whenever he uses line like ‘I’ve always love you and continue to until I die’ I was like, who says things like that anymore? Maybe your grandpa to your grandma (which is really sweet) but for a teenage boy? I don’t think so.
Moving on to Kate. I don’t care if she says she shared bed with her sister, Brit and Brad before, but for her to invite Arland to her bed and went to the washroom together was just inappropriate. So, she knew him very well in her dreams but she just met Arland for a few days at that time in real life! If the author thought about fanservice, I suggest she read Kuroshitsuji, this manga would make the idea of having a demonic butler as the love interest to a 13-years old boy seems viable.
Kate dreamed a tragic dream, she woke up, she cried. Kate tried a spell, nothing happened, she gave up. Kate tried to open the portal back, she failed, she got depressed. I mean, there were like few pages dedicated just to convey how helpless and defeated she felt.
Luckily, whenever she got emo, she managed to rationalize herself again. But realizing this happened cyclically, I had to given up on this book. I don’t think I can handle anymore of her break downs for no valid reasons....more
This e-ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and NLA Digital Liaison Platform LLC.
This was how the storyThis review is also available on my blog, Qwerty
This e-ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and NLA Digital Liaison Platform LLC.
This was how the story went for me;
Yup, the first 1/3 of the book was quite annoying but unexpectedly, the story picked up its pace after that and I was quite entertained by the progression. But then, it ended worse than it started. For the last hundred pages, I actually didn't care anymore whether the two protagonists, Chase and Peyton would survived the zombie apocalypse.
Truth be told, I'm currently majoring in Microbiology and I was fairly impressed by the author's knowledge about the possible properties of epidemic plaque. The zombies in this book were depicted as having originally caused by mutated HIV vaccine and the trigger was the infectious super-Flu. Factually, HIV does mutate at a high frequency and flu is indeed very infectious without prior immunity. So, kudos to the author for getting her facts right :)
Okay, here comes the actual review.
I must say that the cover literally represents the story itself in one glance. Here we got our Razor Girl, Peyton Anderson with super-enhanced cybernetics courtesy of her father. She was on a mission to search for his dad after four years being trapped in her basement. Again, due to her father orders. After her mom decided to commit suicide, she went for her journey but unexpectedly, she encountered her ex-boyfriend, Chase and the story built up from there.
It was kind of confusing because we got two parallel stories set at different time, one in the past, once in the present narrated in alternating chapters and this trend actually persisted until the end of the book! I swallowed my pride to say this (because I don't really like Everneath), but Everneath is a prime example of how a book with parallel stories should be written. It's interesting to have a flashback going on but it should only lasted for about half of the book, then the two stories should converge, otherwise we got two disjointed plotlines which actually left me detached with what's going on in the present because the knowledge I need i.e. what happened in the past was told right at the end of the book!
I had several rolling eyes moments at the start of the book when the author started to refer to popular culture (hate to use the word culture here) such as Twilight, the Kardashians and the Knight of the Living Dead etc. Dear author, I'm sorry but I didn't find those as cool. And seriously, there's no need to name every high tech device with the 'i' at the front, e.g. iComm. cough *apple* cough. Seriously, the author could be more creative than that. The author also depicted the old Chase/Chris obsession over Peyton as quite sexual in my opinion. Some reviewers think that this Chris guy is cute or whatever, but I think he was just plain creepy stalkerish type of guy. So, when towards the end, Chase and Peyton did declare their love, I found it hard to appreciate the love as well...love and not lust.
Moving on to the middle part of the book, I actually thought I was lucky I didn't drop this book quarter-way because this part was quite well-written. Peyton and Chase became increasingly likable and inspiring characters and (view spoiler)[Chase battle over drugs (hide spoiler)] was very convincing and very likely considering the world that they lived in. Sadly, there were some minor illogical stuff happened such as when (view spoiler)[Chase single-handedly able to lift his brother's body because I believe corpse is heavier than a living human being by default, plus we were told that Tank was a large man. And the whole Tank ghost inspiring Chase to be a better man was not cool, I'm sorry. (hide spoiler)]
Now, let's talk about the last 1/3 of the story. (view spoiler)[I honestly don't understand how a bunch of school kids lead by Trey/Tank could organize a pilgrim to the mountains. Then when Chase got bitten (hide spoiler)], it was the whole Edward-in-New-Moon thing all over again. You guessed it right.
HE FREAKING TRIED TO DISTANT HIMSELF FROM PEYTON WITHOUT RATIONAL EXPLANATION.
Okay, minor yay throughout this last 1/3 of the book was I applaud the way the author justified Peyton's decision to go through the cybernetics implantation procedure. It was believable.
There was also one major inconsistency, (view spoiler)[Peyton had a lesson never to trust stranger after what happened to Chase because of Luke but she didn't really give a second thought before following this David to his underground hive. (hide spoiler)]Seriously?
Okay, here what really turned me off. (view spoiler)[Chase tried to commit suicide! What a weakling. Gosh, and it was after they found this people in hive which has sufficient human resources to improve Peyton's condition. Couldn't he think that if Peyton gets better, he might stand a chance of getting a cure once they found Peyton's dad? (hide spoiler)]
Laughable. Totally laughable.
So, the verdict. Would I still recommend this? Hmm...maybe not. Sorry!["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"]>...more
This e-ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and Cedar Fort Publishing.
I hate bashing a book by a debutThis review is also available on my blog, Qwerty
This e-ARC was provided to me by NetGalley and Cedar Fort Publishing.
I hate bashing a book by a debut author, but dear Heather Ostler, my feeling after I finished your book is identical to the feeling I got after I had been Rickrolled.
Oh, that famous ankle-dancing simply melts my heart
Like, if I were to pull a prank on an innocent victim, I'd tell that person to read this book because;
This fast-paced action-adventure story is packed with humor, romance, and enough twists and turns to keep you guessing to the very last page. Get lost in a world of hidden royalty, shifting alliances, and dangerous vendettas, but don’t ever forget: nothing is what it seems.
Remember that? It's from the blurb. And I got almost nothing of those.
I'VE BEEN TROLLED BY THE BLURB!!!
It was bit unfortunate because I read this right after I finished with Daughter of Bone and Smoke, so it was like one of those moments when you just ate a banquet from a top restaurant, you come home and someone offers you a plate or yesterday's microwaved lasagne.
To add salt to the wound, I was forced to read this on my laptop, in pdf format because somehow I couldn't copy it into my tablet (and I don't have a kindle account to ask for the kindle format).
I had several moments where I was so tempted to pile this in my DNF shelf but unlike Wilde's Fire, I kept telling myself to move on because for the first 280 pages out of 330, there was technically nothing going on! How am I supposed to write a review if I had nothing to review on?
This is so frustrating because look at the cover! It is beyond gorgeous!!!
*Tries to calm herself by singing soft kitty*
I'm sorry to say but the opening can't get anymore cliche than that. Set in a US high school, Julia and Sierra are two besties. One day, a new boy, Caleb enrol in the school and he seems to know a lot about Julia and Julia is instantaneously drawn to him.
Usually I'd be grateful when I know that (view spoiler)[the mysterious guy like Caleb is not the protag, Julia's love interest. That's new! But no, her romance with Terrence was all over the place and more like a customary jock-cheerleader relationship than an actual love. (hide spoiler)]
The story did pick up afterwards. The home raid and the escape whereby Caleb saved Julia's life was surprisingly well-written. Now that I thought about it, it seems like someone else was writing those parts.
What happens next reminded me a lot of Hex Hall...
...and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secret.
Tom Riddle Julia is a descendent of Salazar Slytherin Siron, therefore she's the only one who can open the chamber portal...
Sophie Julia's grandmother mother tries to kill her...
The idea of a school for wizards shapeshifters and water people (yes, that phase is used by the book), the invisibility cloak rock, the bitter Prof Snape Mr Knightley yada yada.
No, simply no.
It's puzzling me that this is a stand-alone book because lots of background information was thrown in the book, some of them are not relevant at all and at the end, (view spoiler)[Alexis escaped and the government still remained corrupted. And the lie detector ring! I thought it'll come into use somehow! (hide spoiler)].
And last time I checked, this book is tagged as Young Adult not Juvenile or Middle Grade but the writing is very basic and simple. And if I have a middle-grader sister, I would still ask her to avoid this book because I hardly found any inspiring characters or valuable lessons out of it.
God...what's with the teenage angst and deserting your friend because he didn't tell you he has a girlfriend?
And these dialogues...
I imagined them coming out of this girl
Yup, the infamous annoying facebook girl
So...I should expect that this book has many twists and turns?
The only twist I got was at the end, and it wasn't even remotely surprising because I long had expected it to be an inside-job.
Sorry, but I'm off to grab an aspirin.["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"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
An ARC of this book was sent to me from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.
Meet the characters:
See the cThis review is also available on my blog, Qwerty
An ARC of this book was sent to me from HarperCollins through Edelweiss.
Meet the characters:
See the cover? That's freaking Rachel Adams. With her fiery red hair, skin-tight pants and billowing cloak.
Behind her is not a weird looking kitchen, but the Wasteland, infested with wingless dragon-like creature known as The Cursed One.
If you fall for this book for its cover, I can say that you'll get what you bargained for because not only the cover fits the story perfectly...
...Rachel, beyond the cover is one helluva character.
If you liked Katsa from Graceling, you might adore Rachel as well. I did fancy her most of the time especially when she had the gut to tell Logan about her feelings for him when she was just 15 years old. Well, majority of YA heroines' logic dictates that when a girl likes a guy, do nothing about it and expect him to magically know and make the first move.
Anyhow, I actually disliked Rachel's attitudes after Logan gently rejected her. 'Not that I care about his this and his that'. Of course everyone hates rejection but I would like her more if she handled herself with more grace and less ego around Logan.
As much as everything about Rachel's skill and exterior from swinging her Switch and knives to leaping from trees to trees exudes badassery, I did yearn for more dynamic inner personalities. I don't want her to be an exact replica of Katniss from The Hunger Games or Penryn from Angelfall, but she would have saved herself from a lot of troubles if she could use more of thinking with a clear mind than with a fueled rage.
Logan. Or as I would call him Logan and his ribcage (I'll explain later). One of the quotes from his POV;
"My body doesn't agree with my theory, so I force myself to recite the Periodic Table to give myself something productive to focus on."
Periodic Table, you say? I think you might have just unleashed my inner nerdiness.
Damn you, Logan! Damn you and all your techs!
Oh yeah, somehow Logan managed to spend half of his POVs, describing his ribcage.
"...as one guard's booted foot slams into my ribcage and sends me sprawling."
"...keep from pressing my lungs against my ribcage with too much force..."
"I'd laugh if it wouldn't hurt my ribcage."
"...send sharp jabs of agony into my ribcage..."
"I rewrap my ribcage and stuff additional supplies in my pack."
"...down the tree starts a fire in my ribcage."
"...of something other than the fire in my ribcage and my fear for Rachel."
"Every leap strains my ribcage."
"...but the pain and weakness in my ribcage would've made that too time intensive."
"Pain explodes through my ribcage on impact..."
"We dive for the ground, and my ribcage screams at me as searing heat rolls over..."
Look, it's okay for the author to keep track of the character's injury. Nothing worse than watching an action flick with the hero magically recovers from a bullet wound on the shoulder and suddenly able to lift 100 kilos of weight and slam it down onto the villain.
But, I would appreciate if the author would've done it more subtly. I almost wished Logan would talk about his testicles instead.
Other than that, Logan is probably one of the best-written male protagonists I came across so far in my short life as an avid YAs reader. He treats Rachel with respect and trust. He is resourceful and not easily overcomes by emotions.
However, at certain points, I did question his plans because it seemed like eventhough he always assess a situation carefully, noting the best case scenario and the worst case scenario, at the end, there were just too many plans that backfired. Sure, Rachel is to be blamed for some of them but somehow I missed the part where the antagonist, the Commander found out about his plans and intercepted them. By what means when Logan claimed he had attended to all the loose ends.
I think the real culprit here was the writing itself. C.J. Redwine successfully offers multiple heart-wrenching moments and adrenaline-inducing confrontations but the built ups were almost always not-smoothly written.
This problem gets more serious towards the end where I had several 'huh?' moments. I really wished the ending was more tight and believable. It was as if the author got tired halfway through the book and suddenly received a divine idea of how she should end this book. And wrote the gap between these two parts a month later where she barely remembered how did she wrote the earlier parts anyway.
So yeah, some of the prose were indeed beautiful...
"My eyes scape over canvas tents anchored to the ground with iron pegs, linger in the shadows between the rough-hewn stalls, and finally catch a diamond-bright shard of sunlight kissing the silver of a sword"
...but the writing was simply inconsistent throughout the book.
Okay, now to the biggest confusion. Is this truly a dystopian? I could somewhat shelve this under steampunk or high-fantasy and it would still make sense. Of course we have cutting edge technology like the tracking device but what actually happened to all the firearms and artillery after the Cursed Ones are unleashed? The creature just incinerate everything on its path, but what does it eat anyway? How did it live underground all these time before it was unleashed?
"As a last-ditch effort, the government on our continent sent all they had left-a team of young, inexperienced soldiers and a handful of geologist-down into the bowels of the earth to seal our beast back into its lair. The team, lead by Commander Chase failed, and when the surviving members returned to the surface, the was no government. No law and order. Nothing but panic, fire and one surviving monster systematically killing the survivors"
Well, that's it? It sounds too convenient for my liking. Of course, there are more than meets the eyes but I would like to know more about the other continents and did they do anything to help.
Finally, I did expect more fluid dialogues between the characters. With Rachel and Logan love-hate relationship, there were many rooms for great comebacks but sadly, the author did not see to that. Otherwise, it will certainly add colours to their characters.
Nevertheless, the author excelled in providing in depth descriptions especially when it revolves around the weapon used and the ongoing duels.
"The Switch is one of Logan's more useful inventions. It looks like a solid wooden walking staff, but one end is weighted enough to crush a man's skull, and the other conceals a spring=loaded double-edged blade. Iy takes hours of work before I can balance the heavier end, swing it like a mallet and knock Bob, our practice dummy."
While none of the characters except Logan made it to my list of favourite characters of all times, (view spoiler)[I felt for every causality; Logan's mom, Oliver, Jared, and Melkin. It's depressing that it felt like Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows and Mockingjay all over again because I do feel some of the deaths are unnecessary (hide spoiler)]["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"]>["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"]>...more