My rating: 5 of 5 stars I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or t...moreMy rating: 5 of 5 stars I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
“Pandora [...] was a really amazing woman. All the gods had blessed her and given her gifts. That’s what her name means – ‘the girl with all the gifts’. So she was clever, and brave, and beautiful, and funny, and everything else you’d want to be. But she just had the one tiny fault, which was that she was very – and I mean very curious.”
Melanie is a curious little girl, much like Pandora was. She loves school, loves learning but loves her teacher Miss Justineau even more. She’s never seen the outside world, only her cell, the corridor, the shower room and the classroom which is located on an army base. Melanie is an incredibly intelligent little girl, capable of extremely high level classes for someone her age. Other than being near genius, she’s just a normal little girl, until she catches the scent of human flesh.
‘…the Breakdown, when the world filled with monsters who looked like people you knew and loved, and every living soul went scrambling and skittering for cover like mice when the cat wakes up...’
The normal hungries that roam the earth are your classic type zombie: they’re mindless and single-minded when it comes to obtaining their next meal. Melanie and her classmates are high-functioning zombies or “hungries” that are capable of speech and emotions, things the normal hungries are incapable of. These children have been captured for the sole purpose of experimentation, in hopes that they are the key to a possible cure for this terrible disease that has consumed the world.
There are many interesting aspects to this novel that I wouldn’t normally expect to find in a normal zombie-type book. First and foremost is the cognitive abilities of these children despite their undead status. It was an interesting aspect and leads to the next aspect: the ethics behind the experimenting on these coherent children even if it’s done for the good of the human race. The doctor conducting the experiments, Doctor Caldwell, has completely disconnected herself from the belief that what she is doing is wrong and successfully convinces you as a reader in the chapters told from her POV that it’s for the greater good. Switching to the chapters told from the POV of Miss Justineau offers you the opposite stance as she’s become attached to not only Melanie but the whole of her students even though she fully understands exactly what they are and the danger they represent. The perplexity of the situation their forced into isn’t simple nor straightforward.
The other aspect to this novel that is the main driving force is the relationship that develops between Melanie and Miss Justineau. Melanie has suffered through a life of solitary and Miss Justineau’s teachings are the shining beacon of hope that she always has to look forward to. In turn, Miss Justineau develops an affection for Melanie despite her best intentions to remain distant. The relationship was surprisingly heartfelt and touching.
Setting all the unexpected aspects aside, my favorite aspect of zombie novels is always the why and seeing what route each author takes. Zombie novels have become quite common these days and thus requires them to have an original aspect that hasn’t been done before. The Girl With All the Gifts does just that. The individuals in this novel are infected with Ophiocordyceps, a genus of fungi that actually exists in our world today but grows only on insects. I can’t express enough what a superb job M.R. Carey does at explaining the details of this fungus and how it came to be possible for it to infect humans. He goes into incredible detail yet explains it in such a skillful way as to avoid leaving us non-scientists completely clueless.
While The Girl With All the Gifts had many incredible facets to it, the ending was the most memorable. Shocking and unexpected yet such a fitting ending to this amazing story. Engaging, shocking and thrilling, The Girl With All the Gifts is one incredible read that thankfully manages to live up to all the hype.(less)
My rating: 2 of 5 stars I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or t...moreMy rating: 2 of 5 stars I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Good grief, what happened to this series? Upon finishing Blood Red Road my response was something along the lines of “OMG ALL THE STARS. YOU GET ALL THE STARS YOU AMAZING BOOK.” There may have also been some arm flailing. And then came the interminable wait for the next installment, Rebel Heart, but as soon as it had released I begin hearing the most disappointing things about it, most especially those dreaded words: “Middle Book Syndrome.” I decided I’m going to binge read the last two when the last one comes out so that I don’t have to deal with that disappointment. Well, let me tell you what. Binge reading (or listening if you want to be specific) Rebel Heart and Raging Star back to back is not the way to go because it was 22 hours of mind-numbingly boring storytelling. For a series to have such an amazing start, it’s really disappointing for the rest of the story to have caused nothing short of narcolepsy.
Me. While Reading.
Blood Red Road was constant intensity and that action was sorely lacking in the final two installments. What happened to girl cage-fighting or the hellwurms or Saba just being a total badass? None of these things happened following book one. The plot ended up shifting focus to lesser important (or interesting) aspects of this world with more focus on the drama and I disliked it greatly. Saba’s character transformation in Rebel Heart continued into Raging Star and we have our ongoing soap opera episode between her and Jack and DeMalo, oh and I suppose Tommo can be included too.
Raging Star is a slow meandering end to the trilogy with a sudden burst of activity at the very end that felt disjointed and unexpected. The action came far too late for me to be emotionally invested in anything that happened at that point. Very disappointing end to a series that started off with major potential.(less)
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the...moreMy rating: 4.5 of 5 stars I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
When four planes crash on separate continents with a child being the sole survivor in each crash except one, the day becomes known as Black Thursday and the survivors become known as The Three. A woman named Pamela May Donald survives long enough to record a message on her cell phone, a warning that many go on to believe is a message straight from God.
“They’re here. [...] The boy watch the boy watch the death people oh Lordy there’s so many… They’re coming for me now. We’re all going soon. All of us.”
Conspiracy theorists believe the children have been abducted by aliens or are possessed by the devil but the religious zealots are convinced that these children are representative of the four horseman of the apocalypse and that there is a fourth child that did survive and must be found. When these children are returned to their relatives, they indicate an unsettling change in these children but wouldn’t that be something one would expect after being the sole survivor of a horrific plane crash? The real question here is: Are they right to be worried about what’s going on with these children and their mental state or is it all just a product of the conspiracy theorists and their stories taking root in everyone’s minds?
The Three is actually written as a non-fiction book entitled “Black Thursday: From Crash to Conspiracy” which is written by the fictional character Elspeth Martins. For those of you who have read World War Z by Max Brooks, The Three is written in a similar manner by using witness testimonies but also chat room transcripts, news articles and blog posts. The chapters bounce back and forth between various individuals associated with the survivors and tells the story of life following the crash, with constant foreboding of a bleak future for all involved. Normally, I would find this writing style and constant switch back and forth between various individuals to be jarring but each and every witness accounting was incredibly interesting and I was completely engaged, eager for the next detail of these peoples lives.
The Three is a compelling and well-written novel that showcases a unique style of writing that was completely absorbing. It unfortunately suffers greatly from an ambiguous ending. An ambiguous ending filled with so many unknown factors can leave the reader with an uneasiness that warrants contemplation well after the book is finished, and while The Three has in fact kept me contemplating, I don’t feel the author gave enough answers to formulate my own opinion of what was truly going on. I don’t expect (or desire) that a story have a perfectly wrapped up with a bow on top sort of ending but turning that final page and having more answers than questions should be a given. Regardless, I still thoroughly enjoyed this mesmerizing novel and eagerly await more from this author.(less)
You've been warned. Sorry. I simply had too much to say.
Yes, I ended this with a smile on my face. But for all the wrong reason...moreMy rating: 1 of 5 stars
You've been warned. Sorry. I simply had too much to say.
Yes, I ended this with a smile on my face. But for all the wrong reasons. I was smiling because I would no longer have to subject myself to reading more of these books in hopes that they’ll finally start being worth the time and in hopes it’ll start giving me the answers I’ve yearned for. The end did not give me all of those answers but whatever, I’m done with it.
Let’s talk about Adam. I touched on this in my review of Fracture Me but I’m feeling the need to discuss it further because I clearly missed the part where Adam got hit in the head with a semi and all his brain pieces got jiggled around causing him to transform into a completely different person. That happened, right? Because that’s the only excuse I’m willing to accept. I can’t for one second buy that this has been Adam’s ‘true self’ this whole series because he did a complete 180 from anything I’ve come to expect from him. Ohhhhhh… maybe he was abducted by aliens? I might be willing to accept that too. But seriously, he’s supposed to care about Juliette. I could understand some animosity between the two since they did break up but he still claims to care about her. Something tells me you’re confused.
“[...] Adam-I’m not stupid-” “Are you sure?” “What?” I can’t believe he just insulted me. “I asked you if you were sure,” he snaps. “Because you’re acting pretty damn stupid right now [...]“
“No-you don’t understand anything,” he snaps. “You don’t understand me, you don’t understand yourself and you don’t understand that you’re acting like a stupid child [...]“
“I was happier,” Adam says, “when I thought she was dead.” [...] He finally looks at me. “Thinking you were dead,” he says to me, “was so much better. It hurt so much less than this.”
You get the picture. What made it even worse was there were people standing around while all this is going on. Listening to him verbally abuse her again and again. Kenji KIND OF sticks up for her but for the most part they let him rant and rave and treat her like she’s a piece of trash. Hello? You just going to let that happen? I kept reading in hopes that either someone (or Juliette) would finally stand up to the prick and say:
Now onto Warner. Let’s talk about the fact that every time he called Juliette ‘love’ he only succeeded in making himself sound like a pretentious blowhard. I mean seriously, unless you’re British I don’t think you can really get away with calling anyone ‘love’ and since there was no reference to his British-ness then pretentious blowhard it is. Warner becomes Mr. Perfect in Ignite Me because the love triangle problem needed to be solved suddenly every issue is revealed to have been one giant misunderstanding this entire time!
“…do not presume to understand my actions. [...] Because if you do, I can assure you you’ll only be met with disappointment. And if you insist on continuing to make assumptions about my character, I’ll advise you only this: assume you will always be wrong.”
Yes, so basically he was maintaining pretenses this entire time. Naturally. But it was pretty ridiculous that he managed to be as shocked as he was that Juliette thought so little of him. Because really what did he expect? Oh, he just shot his soldier in the head. It was seemingly done for no legit reason. Oh, he just almost made me kill a baby. No explanation given. She was really supposed to surmise that it was all a simulation? Add to that there were so many other things that Warner did do wrong yet because all of his larger misdeeds were explained and forgiven everything else was brushed under the rug? No bueno.
And as a side note, how come we’re ignoring the fact that the only reason he even knows Juliette is because he stole her extremely personal diary? It’s not like they spent quality time together having conversations and getting to know one another. He literally knows nothing about this girl that he claims to love other than what was written in the pages of her diary. And what a terrible invasion of privacy! Even when she tries to take it back from him he claims he’s not done reading and promptly takes it from her again.
I’ve never been Team Adam or Team Warner because I don’t do teams, sorry. But I didn’t expect Adam to start acting completely out of character for no legitimate reason and I didn’t expect a nice, neat resolution to redeem Warner for all his wrong doing. It just felt like a quick resolution and was the ultimate of cop-outs.
Fairly exciting stuff finally starts happening in the last like, 75 pages. They’re going to battle and Juliette is acting like a total badass and I’m loving it. I understand Juliette needed to develop in order to become this newly empowered individual but the last 75 pages of the last book in the trilogy?? Too. Freaking. Late. And that’s what upset me the most and what caused my rock bottom rating: those final pages afforded me a glimpse of what could have been. It was exciting and thrilling with characters I really enjoyed. It made me dislike the other 1,000 or so pages of this series even more than I already did. It could have been an awesome ending to a trilogy and while it was admittedly the best part of the entire series for me, it was still incredibly rushed. If the ending wasn’t quite so rush, if Adam’s character hadn’t been completely razed, if there was more focus on the craziness of the world and not the craziness of Juliette’s ridiculous love-life this could have been an impressive series. If, if, if. I know. But those last pages did showcase the potential that Mafi has and regardless of my opinion of this book or the overall series as a whole I would not be against giving her future novels a shot. I can only hope and pray that the exciting bits happen much, much sooner.(less)
I usually skip on writing reviews for short stories because I tend to think of them as nothing more than filler to tide us readers over till the next...moreI usually skip on writing reviews for short stories because I tend to think of them as nothing more than filler to tide us readers over till the next installment. But I’m making an exception. Because this short story pissed me off.
Fracture Me is told from the POV of Adam and tells his part of the story that we don’t see at the end of Unravel Me. Adam is still upset about losing Juliette, he’s concerned about what happened to Kenji and he’s worried about leaving his little brother James. All understandable things to be concerned about.
My issue with this short story is it presented Adam in a completely different light than what we’ve come to expect. Adam was crazy with feelings for Juliette. Remember?
"It’s been me and you against the world forever,” he says.”It’s always been that way. It’s my fault I took so long to do something about it."
There’s even the tagline on the cover! “I WILL NOT LOSE HER.” But in Fracture Me, he’s completely changed his tune. And he’s become a bit of a dick. The scene where Adam, Juliette and Kenji are on the battlefield is when his supposed true colors towards Juliette show.
‘The smart thing to do would be to hide her somewhere. Keep her safe. Out of danger. A weak link can bring everything down with it, and I don’t think this is the time to be taking chances.’
‘Kenji and Castle are always blowing smoke up her ass when they shouldn’t, and honestly? It’s dangerous. It’s not good to make her think she can do this kind of thing when really, it’ll probably get her killed.’
And this is where I get pissed because this is not how his character has been written in the previous two novels and is not what I think anyone would have expected from him at this point. Sure, I get it, this is the first we’re truly seeing things from his POV so there’s always the possibility that we read him wrong. But that’s not it. The issue here is, it all feels like one giant cop-out to solidify the ongoing issue the love triangle caused because clearly she’s gotta pick one. So let’s solve that by turning one of the guys into a total prick who thinks so highly of Juliette. Problem solved. We now have a clear winner.
‘I don’t understand what’s happening or why he seems so uncertain about me and us and him and me and he and I and all of those...moreMy rating: 2 of 5 stars
‘I don’t understand what’s happening or why he seems so uncertain about me and us and him and me and he and I and all of those pronouns put together.’
What. The. Fuck. Just stop talking.
Yeah, I don’t understand why I’m still reading this series either. I’m clearly the black sheep. Baa.
Unravel Me picks up where Shatter Me left off with Juliette trying desperately to get along with the rebel resistance that saved her life. Despite being surrounded by people just like her, she’s never felt like more of an outcast. Her powers are far more dangerous than any of the others and it’s easy for them to fear the unknown. Adam is also acting differently towards her and Juliette fears that the tests he’s been undergoing to determine why he’s able to touch her means their relationship will never be the same.
So my biggest issue with this book is lack of overall development in each and every part of this story. The storyline itself, the characters, etc. Nothing made progress. I think Juliette actually did some backtracking back to the weakling she was when she was alone in her cell. Not having the connection with Adam caused her to become this whiny, sniveling character that drove me absolutely batty. She spent a tremendous amount of time keeping secrets from everyone that obviously would have helped the situation the resistance found themselves in. It was ridiculous.
The love triangle continued, of course, and that was of course the sole focus of Unravel Me even when there were far greater concerns that could have been delved into. I’m sure if you’re into a more romance focused story then this will be your thing but if you’re going to slap a dystopian genre tag on a book I’m going to expect some detailed exploration into the world-building. The drama and angst was great and Juliette was so beyond ridiculous that she stopped caring completely for her future because she was determined to ‘live in the moment’.
‘His right hand slides up my spine and tugs on the zipper holding my suit together until its halfway down my back and I don’t care. I have 17 years to make up for and I want to feel everything. I’m not interested in waiting around and risking the who-knows and the what-ifs and the huge regrets.’
hahaha Just remember to wear a condom!
So by this point I’m obviously in for the long haul so I will be picking up Ignite Me. I don’t have much hope for Juliette making a noble sacrifice and putting her out of my misery but I do retain hope that the dystopian society will be explored in more detail considering this is the final installment. My hopes are not high though.(less)
I enjoyed this one a lot better than Shatter Me, mostly because of the lack of excessively pretty writing, but this doesn't add too much to the series...moreI enjoyed this one a lot better than Shatter Me, mostly because of the lack of excessively pretty writing, but this doesn't add too much to the series as a whole and was more filler than anything. Still gives me hope for the rest of the series though. (less)
I received this book free from Library Thing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review...moreI received this book free from Library Thing in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
‘...there are not jostling anxious crowds outside, no frightened people rushing and pushing past each other in the streets. No klaxon howl of car alarms, no distant gunfire. The people are hidden now, those that remain, hidden under blankets or in basements, encased in their dread.’
With mere weeks left before the impending asteroid makes impact with the earth, Detective Henry Palace is on a last minute mission to get to his sister Nico before it’s too late. Nico is convinced that the group she’s joined up with is going to be able to save the world with the help of a nuclear scientist by the name of Hans-Michael Parry but Palace is convinced that it’s nothing but a farce. One way or another, he intends to do anything and everything he can to ensure his sisters safety and solve his final case for the brief time that he may or may not have left.
‘They say that just before impact the sky will brighten ferociously, like the sun has burst from its own skin, and then we will feel it, even on the far of the earth we will feel it, the whole world will quaver from the blow.’
The journey to find his sister is a difficult one. The few clues he has takes him and his dog Houdini from New Hampshire to Ohio and upon reaching the abandoned police station in the small town of Rotary, the evidence he sees leaves the outlook bleak. His determination to find his sister despite the knowledge that in a few days it will no longer matter is heartrending but his resolve is truly admirable. Society is crumbling around him and the world is literally about to come to an end yet Detective Henry Palace is doing whatever he can to maintain his morality even in the face of mortality. World of Trouble is an engaging end to a thrilling trilogy that you will want to race through to determine the fate of the earth and its inhabitants. I’ve never been so pleased with a not so happy ending.(less)