I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
In the After by Demitria Lunetta is a young adult post-apocalyptic debut that features one heck of a plot twist and is surprisingly original. With realistic characters, deadly mysteries, and horrific situations, In the After is an explosive ride waiting to be experienced by any reader who wants a creepy, adventurous, and kick-ass story about a girl in a world that is nearly dead and gone.
First off, I'm going to mention Lunetta's use of tense, which I loved. The present tense combined with first person is such a powerful, albeit difficult to write, narrative that I rarely find it in young adult literature. I don't know why, but when I see it in a book, I tend to expect more from the book (since the author has already met my expectation stylistically). I find that Lunetta's novel benefits from this style of writing, especially since there are flashbacks and it helps us separate, as the protagonist, Amy, suggests, "Before and After."
Amy is a force. She is loyal, strong, intelligent, witty, and very protective of what she believes needs protection. I enjoyed her consistency in her actions towards her survival and her love towards "Baby". Her curiosity, and inability to settle for the norm in New Hope's world, marks her as the rebellious protagonist we expect to see in powerful stories such as this. There is no second-guessing, there are no moments full of filler to make the story longer--Amy knows what she wants, she understands that there are secrets, and she knows that at some point, things are going to go beyond her control.
The pacing is a little slower at the beginning, but Lunetta's writing still hooks you in. You want to know why Amy's world is the way it is, what "They" are, and you want to know if Amy will survive another day. The complex world that Amy and Baby live in, with their own language and quiet way of moving, makes the story all that much more interesting.
In the After is also a cautionary tale. Can things be too good to be true? How far can war take us? What will we do to survive? Is humanity more valuable than our own need to survive, or should we put the needs of hundreds, if not thousands, aside for the sake of attaining power?
The romance in In the After is as fleeting as the safety that Amy experiences in New Hope. It is there, but we know that the most important story is what Amy does to survive. Amy's growth as a character is determined by how she reacts to the new world around her and the decisions she makes, despite all the warnings.
The world that Lunetta weaves is disturbing. You know those creepy movies where there are blood splatters on the ground, yet there are either very small bits of a body left, or there isn't a body at all? Lunetta gives you that in her debut, which I found to be powerful. Instead of telling you the horrors that Amy experiences while scavenging, she hints at the brutality and nightmare that once took place in certain areas, as well as the decay of human society in grocery stores, nature's ability to reclaim roads and human inventions, and the dead streets littered with bloody cars.
I recommend In the After to readers who want a creepy adventure set in a post-apocalyptic world full of monsters. If you want a creative and unique portrayal of the end of humanity, then give Lunetta's debut a chance--you won't regret it.(less)
I received a copy from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Wasteland by Susan Kim and Laurence Klavan is a post-apocalyptic young adult novel that features children living adult roles in a makeshift community in the middle of the desert. Though a slow starter, Wasteland does become captivating once the various pivotal characters are introduced.
Esther, the protagonist, lives in a slightly disturbing world where children "partner" up and attempt to have children, while trying to survive the dangerous world. Though the portrayal of children acting as adults is interesting, the biggest success of this concept comes from Kim and Klavans' ability to still portray the innocence and naiveté of the children, despite their deadly surroundings.
The premise of Wasteland is actually pretty cool. The idea of a society run by children and the exploitation of power in a world that appears to lack any power whatsoever is intriguing. It was exciting finding out secrets and what some of the characters' lives were like before the events in Wasteland take place.
Wasteland is written in third person and the narrator is omniscient. At first I wasn't sure how I would like reading the novel from such a wide perspective. For example, if something neat was happening, I usually had to wait while the narration flipped back to another character before I could find out what happened next with the previous character. Sure, this writing style creates anticipation, but it just mainly annoys me. I will admit, however, that I did get accustomed to the narrative and even grew to like it by the conclusion of Wasteland.
Esther grows as a character rather quickly. While what she experiences warrants an extensive amount of character growth, the change is abrupt. I prefer when a character slowly comes to terms with what s/he needs to learn in order to better him/herself, since it allows me to connect with the character and his/her internal struggle.
My greatest issue with Wasteland is the pacing: it was much too quickly delivered. This plays with more than just Esther's character growth, but the plot in itself. The story feels rushed, as if the authors want to reach the conclusion, or the better parts of the novel quickly. There is one particular instance where Esther and her love interest profess their love for each other--yet they barely know one another, and one is supposedly still grieving the loss of a loved one. The rushed pace made me question the authenticity of what should be beautiful moments between two characters.
I will, however, praise Wasteland for its surprises. Several revelations occur during the story and most came as surprises. Whereas similar novels tend to make what's coming next obvious, Wasteland keeps its reader in the dark.
I recommend Wasteland to readers of post-apocalyptic novels and semi-dystopic worlds governed by children.(less)
When I jumped into Evan Fuller's Mutt I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. I have read...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
When I jumped into Evan Fuller's Mutt I wasn't sure what I was getting myself into. I have read independent authors' novels before that have left me confused, angry, and even tired, so I won't lie, I was a bit weary. But Fuller's debut into the world of writing is an exciting and fluently written story that delves into the politics of humanity if the world were to experience catastrophic events (I'd like to even say that the points raised in the novel can be used to compare the different powers that countries in the present global economy hold).
The cover is intriguing and it forces the reader to look for any hints of what is offered within the pages. The magic can be seen in the wisps of smoke coming off Green, the central magical character in the novel, and the rough life of the Wastelands can be noted in the wear and tear of his clothing. The colour of the background might indicate the "wasteful" atmosphere that the characters explore.
The following synopsis is from smashwords:
"Centuries after most of humanity died out, a new civilization is slowly constructed upon the remnants of the old.
Emery, a young man living in the walled city of Rittenhouse, has taken it upon himself to rescue "mutts," as the citizens of Rittenhouse call the impoverished masses outside. When Timothy, a boy afflicted with a fatal illness, seeks Emery's help, the two embark on a deadly errand to secure the medicine Timothy needs. This mission takes them from the safety of Rittenhouse into the wasteland outside it, where ancient superstitions are reborn and humanity struggles to survive amidst the ruins of a fallen American metropolis."
To be honest, I have become a fan of Fuller's writing and only really had two complaints while reading the novel.
1. Editing. Though not to such an extent that it distracted me from the story, the editing could have been a bit more thorough. Some of the errors include: a few missing quotation marks, extra words, oddly phrased sentences, and missing words. The problems with editing weren't so huge that it completely killed the novel because the writing was still beautiful. Don't let this deter you though: a) because I am a stickler for these things in novels, and b) the story is brilliant and thought-provoking.
2. There is one moment where a professor is called out of a classroom and I never get to find out what happened... I would love to see an answer in the sequel!
1. Fuller's writing is effortless. When I first began reading Mutt, I found myself lost in the world of Rittenhouse and the Wastelands (which immediately brought my thoughts to T.S. Eliot, but I digress). The writing is fast-paced and this is mainly why I finished so quickly!
2. There is a scene that terrified the hell out of me. Why is this a positive? Because I rarely find novels that legitimately have sections that scare me to the point were I feel uncomfortable. For example, there's a point where Emery, the protagonist, is attacked and his thoughts become erratic. How does Fuller present the mental change of his character? By writing one long run-on sentence, which is an excellent technique when done purposefully with the intention of disturbing the reader and making him/her wonder why the author has written such a sentence.
3. The emotions that the characters experience are well written and I found myself empathizing with them. Let me tell you, some moments in this book will break your heart, while others will make you just as angry as the characters themselves.
4. The characters all varied for me. Lydia was a bit of a nag, but I understand why. (view spoiler)[That wholeromance in the novel was a bit unexpected, but I hope that it is explored further in the next novel since it left me feeling a bit confused. (hide spoiler)] The people in and from the Wastelands had a great dialect, which Fuller continuously used. He varied it slightly as the social status of the characters either rose or fell. Emery is of a higher class, so his dialogue was rich and intelligent.
5. The description of things that survived after the extinction of the world as we know it and how the world rebuilt itself is brilliant. It was fascinating to see how things would be in such a world and how our actions now would be viewed later.
Mutt is a great debut novel and I urge you to read it if you enjoy dystopian novels that not only explore magic, but also the political issues behind the changes that the world undergoes when it is trying to fix itself.["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)
I think it’s only fair to begin this review by stating that Megan Crewe’s novel was not at all what I was anticipating. I honestly don’t know what I e...moreI think it’s only fair to begin this review by stating that Megan Crewe’s novel was not at all what I was anticipating. I honestly don’t know what I expected, but it wasn’t really what Crewe offered. I blame this on the fact that I didn’t properly read the synopsis (and I caution all of you to read future synopses thoroughly so that a novel isn’t a complete and utter surprise to you).
The Way We Fall is the first installment in the Fallen World series by Megan Crewe. The story follows Kaelyn, a teenager living on an island that is quarantined during a virus outbreak. As she watches the people she loves get sick in front of her, she must figure out a way to protect those she loves and avoid those who have let the fear of sickness reign their actions, whether they be inhumane or not. All the while, Kaelyn is writing down her experiences in a journal that she hopes to give to her ex-best-friend when the horrors of the island end.
(view spoiler)[ this is not a zombie tale, but simply, a story of people getting sick… and rambling… and then hallucinating… before dying. (hide spoiler)]
Though Crewe’s novel wasn’t what I expected, it wasn’t all that bad. The story line was thought out and I liked to see that the protagonist was bi-racial.
Read the rest of my review on my blog: Book Addict 24-7["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
I read All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin a while ago, but I've been putting off thi...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I read All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin a while ago, but I've been putting off this review because of all the things that bugged me. There are a few redeeming qualities about Zevin's novel, that's why I'm not giving it one star. I'm not even going to write my own summary for this one, I'll just copy and paste the one from Goodreads.
"In 2083, chocolate and coffee are illegal, paper is hard to find, water is carefully rationed, and New York City is rife with crime and poverty. And yet, for Anya Balanchine, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the city's most notorious (and dead) crime boss, life is fairly routine. It consists of going to school, taking care of her siblings and her dying grandmother, trying to avoid falling in love with the new assistant D.A.'s son, and avoiding her loser ex-boyfriend. That is until her ex is accidently poisoned by the chocolate her family manufactures and the police think she's to blame. Suddenly, Anya finds herself thrust unwillingly into the spotlight--at school, in the news, and most importantly, within her mafia family."
Zevin had such a cool premise for her story. Her novel could have easily been one of my favourites this year, but she wasted it by including pointless tangents, way too many religious references (hey, I believe in god and all, but I don't advocate books that keep reminding the reader of what a "good catholic" girl is), and disconnected emotions.
1. As I've already mentioned, the religious commentary. There were moments where Anya would simply start talking about what made her a good catholic girl and how she should behave. I'm okay with characters commenting on their religious beliefs because it helps the reader construct the characters in his/her mind, but I don't like it when authors drill their ideas into the reader through their words in a book.
2. The chapter titles drove me crazy. I understand the whole hinting-at-what's-going-to-happen thing, but Zevin full on tells the reader what's going to happen. For example: "VIII. i am sent to liberty; am also tattooed!" Ugh, please.
3. The dialogue drove me insane. Especially after the second half of the novel (where the storyline goes down the hole). Zevin adopts the tactic of telling the reader things, rather than showing him/her what's happening. Here's an example: "I told him I'd rather not," (Zevin 292). I know some of you might not find this a problem, but insert the above example into various points in the novel where dialogue can easily be used to "show" rather than "tell" what the protagonist is thinking.
4. I really, really disliked Anya. Her attitude and her actions drove me insane. It was like looking into the mind of a child or a naive woman. I understand why she did some of the things that she did, but her mentality was just annoying to watch unfold.
5. The novel had so much potential! I was so engrossed in the story for the first half that I could barely put the book down, but then Zevin kills it. She stuffs the plot with needless tangents like Anya's messy romantic life, which by the way, takes up a good chunk of the second half of the novel, completely overriding the idea of mob life and the illegalities of chocolate.
I'm basing these on the first half of the novel.
1. This was an intriguing story that had me wanting to know what would happen next.
2. The writing was fluid, even with the religious doctrine.
3. The story showed potential, until (view spoiler)[Anyawas released from prison (hide spoiler)]. If Zevin had worked on this part of the novel more, then she would of had a kick-ass novel, but instead it was like the story flew out of her hands and took a life of its own, and not in a good way.
Just writing this review tired me out, imagine how I felt after reading the novel.
I feel like I should begin this review by stating that the reason why I read The Selection by K...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
I feel like I should begin this review by stating that the reason why I read The Selection by Kiera Cass was mainly because of the front cover. Of course, after reading the synopsis I just fell more in love with the idea of reading this Young Adult novel. I decided to read this novel despite some negative comments going around about the author's bad behavior towards a reviewer, because I care more about the book than the author's actions.
Cass's story has its own unique fun to it. I devoured this novel because it was a light, sometimes funny, and super romantic read. It did have some issues, but not enough to repel me.
"For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself- and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."
1. How cheesy is it to give your protagonist the name "America" simply to make a point of her fighting spirit? I am a huge fan of using the protagonist's name to send a message to the reader, but being so obvious is kind of irksome.
2. While a lot of the characters in Cass's novel added mystery and fun to the storyline, America's mother was a bit on the undecided side. By this I mean that one moment she was all, "You are my daughter, so I will guilt trip you into a potential marriage that will make you miserable just so we have a better life", and the next she was "I understand your pain sweetie, but we love you and want you to be happy." I want to say she felt a bit bipolar, but I don't want to offend anyone.
3. Ugh, why must protagonists be portrayed as weak women pining for men who act like complete assholes? I acknowledge that it is unrealistic to make a character completely emotionless when she and the one she loves stop being together, but when a breakup happens because the guy is too chicken-shit (excuse my language) to fight for the girl he so obviously loves, I get annoyed that the protagonist yearns for him even more. Really. Oh and by the way, the whole scene (view spoiler)[ with her and him after she is in the castle is ridiculous. Girls reading books like these need strong protagonists to look up to, not women who immediately revert back to the I-love-you stage (hide spoiler)] in an already broken (and previously unhealthy) relationship.
1. I loved the storyline of America being taken to a palace to possibly meet her prince charming (pun intended). Though a bit slow at first, the story quickly gets interesting and I'm a sucker for romance. Which this has a lot of. Cass's novel was a bit predictable, but it didn't stop it from being a fun ride.
2. I was never a huge fan of The Bachelor, but even though this book is like a novelization of a season from the once popular show, it was neat seeing everything happen from the perspective of a contestant, rather than from the cliched viewpoint of the prince.
3. The ending was expected, I mean, the prince had like a gazillion girls left to pick from and under the pressing conditions (which I will not reveal) it is understandable what he had to do. I just wish Cass would have gone a little longer before concluding, but then that means that her ending was enough for me to want to read the next installment.
4. I liked the mystery that some of the characters in the novel offer, made me incredibly curious!
5. The cover was eye-candy. I have to add this to the list because it is what attracted me in the first place.
I eagerly await the next installment in the series!["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)
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson is the first book in the Maximum Ride series. Patterson...moreThis review first appeared on my blog: Book Addict 24-7
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson is the first book in the Maximum Ride series. Patterson weaves an adventurous story that shows the dark curiosity of humanity, while still celebrating the hope and determination of those affected by the hands of experimenters.
I was surprised to find how young the characters of Patterson’s book are, especially with how they are portrayed. Of course, if someone experienced half of what these kids did they too would be extremely mature. The story was a fast ride (as the name so coyly suggests) of adventure, after adventure. I have a suggestion however, if you purchase the paperback edition (the one that I’ve posted above) then don’t read the synopsis on the back. I don’t know how it is for hardcover editions, but the paperback has a list of everything that’s going to happen in the book. EVERYTHING. So, unless you enjoy having the element of surprise taken from you, then I suggest you skipping that part.
Maximum Ride is a girl with wings. She is a genetically engineered child who can fly and she’s not alone. She and her small family of other younger children have been living in hiding since escaping from the “school”; a lab that held them prisoners. When the Erasers, another experiment, find their oasis, Max and her family must flee and protect those they love. From the moment that these monsters find them, everything changes and Max is forced to guide the group through obstacles, upon obstacles to find someone she holds dear.
Somehow Patterson manages to make this seemingly quick-paced story feel like two novels, since once one objective is accomplished he immediately jumps into another scenario. This didn’t bug me much, it just confused me because it moved beyond what was originally expected when I read the synopsis (not the spoiler filled one). Oh, by the way, the Goodreads synopsis? Yeah, riddled with spoilers too.
1. I think one of the most interesting and unnecessary aspect of this novel is the way that Patterson utilizes chapters. I kid you not, one page is apparently worthy of its own chapter to Patterson. I know that in some novels this is a powerful and gripping stylistic way of increasing the tension of a climax, but this technique is used throughout the whole novel. Patterson’s choice to include a ridiculous number of chapters wasn’t such a nuisance that I absolute had to put the book down. What did bug me is that so many of these chapters could have been made into longer chapters. I found that such short chapters tended to take me out of the mood that the story was creating because all I could think was, “Really? A new chapter... to follow the same idea?” It’s like talking to a friend and s/he suddenly stopping to close a door in your face before continuing to talk to you through an opened window beside the door... about the same thing. The only novels where I’ve found this tactic of short chapters useful are usually thrillers that explore perspectives of different characters (for example, Jonathan Maberry does this with Dead of Night) in each chapter.
2. I wasn’t a huge fan of the narrative voice changes. Patterson kept jumping from first person to third person in between chapters. This made the novel feel disjointed. Though it offered an almost omniscient point of view of the story, it would have worked better if either Max’s point of view was the prominent voice, or if the whole book was written in third person.
1. I loved Maximum Ride. She’s gutsy, mature, and caring towards her awkward family. Patterson hit the jackpot by naming the series after such a strong female protagonist. Sure, there’s a hint of the romance to come later on in the series, but for most of the novel it is all about Max trying to figure out who she is and why she was created. It was a nice change from the female protagonist who is barely in power, but manages to be the protagonist because: a) her voice is the storyteller and b) the fictional world revolves around her (and there’s a man conveniently waiting to save her).
2. I liked that even with such young characters, The Angel Experiment manages to have a mature, but fun feel to it. Anyone can read this book. Trust me, the adventure is worth it.
3. Despite its serious nature, Patterson somehow includes humorous moments that work to establish that though these kids are having a rough time, they are still kids who try to make the best out of a bad situation. Some lines were so ridiculous that all I could do was laugh. For example: “‘Tarzan!’ she yelled. Whatever that was supposed to mean” (Patterson 106).
4. The writing style was colloquial. I absolutely loved the way that Max spoke to me when I began reading the novel. I felt intrigued and was pulled instantly into her world. Here’s a blurb from the back of my edition: “Do not put this book down. I’m dead serious. Your life could depend on it. I’m risking everything by telling you--but you need to know” (Patterson).
I liked Patterson’s addition to the world of young adult fiction. It was a fun, light, and quick read that promises adventure, powerful characters, and kids who fight the ever-present threat of adults.(less)