I’m bringing nothing new to the table in writing this review, because everything I could possibly say about this book and more has already been said,...moreI’m bringing nothing new to the table in writing this review, because everything I could possibly say about this book and more has already been said, but it’s worth a try from me.
I don’t want to write this review. I simply want to scream, “I love this book!” off a rooftop (or, you know, write it in my review space) and hope it encourages you to pick it up and hopefully love it as well. But I don’t know… I feel like I need to write a review for this book, but I know it will never come close to portraying how thoroughly amazing this book is, so please, just bear with me if you’re reading this review.
This is Not a Test was one of my most highly anticipated reads of the year, and when glowing reviews from friends of my had started to roll in, my anticipation for this book only grew. Sadly, This is Not a Test was removed from NetGalley shortly before I started using NetGalley, so I was forced to wait a few months to read This is Not a Test. When it finally appeared on my Kindle the day of its release, I was extremely anxious to read it, but also nervous, not wanting my months of waiting and anticipation to only lead to disappointment. I can say—and very happily, might I add—that it did not.
I really, really love this book. I finished it not very long ago, and I had to pry myself from the seat in which I was sitting when I finished this book to write my review. As I turned the last page in This is Not a Test, I wasn’t sure whether I should sigh, or cry my eyes out. Ultimately, I ended up doing both.
This is Not a Test is the story of six teenagers, finding refuge in their high school in the outbreak of a zombie apocalypse. Having been beaten by her father and abandoned by her sister, Sloane—the main character—no longer feels the need or want to continue living. As friendships—and hatred—are formed among the six refugees, how far will one go to ensure their fellow refugees are safe?
It takes a very skilled author to have a reader go through and experience the grief and sorrow their characters are going through, and Courtney Summers does just that. All of the characters are real, they’re flawed, they’re emotional, and you’re praying they’re all just going to make it out of the apocalypse alive along with them. Summers has created such amazing and believable characters that you’ll find yourself caring very much for each and every one of them, even the ones you don’t want to care much for. She’s able to make you cry for a character you never really liked; make you cry for everything the characters have gone through, and Courtney Summers' talent as an author is immeasurable in that skill, and many others. This was my first book by Courtney Summers, but I can assure you that it won't be my last.
This is Not a Test is a book I will be thinking about long after I turn the last page, and it will likely be the same for you as well. I can only hope that everyone I recommend this book to feels the same way I do about it, if not more, because This is Not a Test is amazing, heartfelt, and special, and it’s so much more than just another zombie book.
(UPDATE: It's been months since I've finished it, yet I still get emotional just by thinking of this book.)(less)
This review contains spoilers for the Iron Fey series. You've been warned.
It's no secret that I absolutely love Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey, and it remai...moreThis review contains spoilers for the Iron Fey series. You've been warned.
It's no secret that I absolutely love Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey, and it remains as one of my favorite YA series of all time. However, despite my love for the Iron Fey series, I went into The Lost Prince with slight trepidation for two reasons: reason one being that spin-offs rarely work out well for me, and, at its worst, only end up tarnishing my views of the original series, and reason two being that it's gotten reviews from fans of the Iron Fey series who have been underwhelmed with this addition. It's instances like this that make me wonder if I had a different copy of a book than everyone else, because while most people who've read this so far were disappointed in it when comparing it to the Iron Fey, I absolutely loved this book, and had all my expectations surpassed.
The Lost Prince takes place about thirteen years after the events of The Iron Knight, and revolves around seventeen-year-old Ethan Chase. Ever since Ethan was stolen from his home in order for his older sister, Meghan, now the Iron Queen, to travel to the Nevernever to rescue him, Ethan has been keeping a close eye on his surroundings, as he is permanently able to see the Fey disguised as humans, a gift he does not want. Having to constantly move schools, he is yet again the new student, with the reputation as the rebel who burnt down his old school, and rumors follow him around the school. However, as he's at the new school, he quickly befriends Todd, a phouka, and Kenzie, a teenage girl. But soon Todd is kidnapped by a new species of fey known as The Forgotten, and, in an escape from The Forgotten, Ethan and Kenzie travel to the Nevernever and attempt to save Todd.
After reading both the entire Iron Fey series, and The Immortal Rules, I really should stop being surprised by Kagawa's immense talent as a writer. Each time I open a book of hers, I'm instantly drawn in, captivated by the lifelike characters, the intricate world-building, and the sheer brilliance of everything. In The Lost Prince, Kagawa has made the character of Ethan a jerk, and while characters who are jerks normally annoy me a lot in YA, I wasn't annoyed in the least with Ethan's characterization. Perhaps it's because typically in YA, it's the love interest that's the jerk, and not the protagonist, so we're not given an insight into what they think and why they're a jerk, but in The Lost Prince, we are provided with that. Ethan doesn't want to act like a jerk, but he's afraid to get close to anyone, and in doing so put them in harm's way, so instead he acts like a jerk in hopes to turn people off of wanting to be his friend. For me, this just made it easier for me to sympathize with him, and as Kenzie was able to break through his tough guy facade, Ethan grew to be a character I loved.
And as for Kenzie, I've seen reviews that label her as annoying, bossy, et cetera, and while I completely see why readers would come to that conclusion about Kenzie, I didn't think that of her at all. I thought she was a sweet and loving character, and I loved seeing her transforming Ethan from this broody character into his real self as the novel progressed. (view spoiler)[And the twist at the end of the book where she confesses that she has leukemia just tore me apart. I don't know if Kagawa will take the easy route and use magic, or a sacrifice, to make Kenzie live, or if she just goes down the path few authors would (but I think Kagawa would) and kill her off, but either way, I know I will cry in the next installments of The Call of the Forgotten. I just know it. (hide spoiler)]
As well as Ethan and Kenzie, another character we're introduced to is Keirran, or, as you may know him, Meghan and Ash's son. I'm not too sure of my feelings for Keirran, and although he did at times resemble a less witty version of Puck, I never felt the same feelings for him that I had for Ethan and Kenzie. However, I didn't dislike him, so I'm not going to take away any stars for his character. He was just less than what I hoped the child of Meghan and Ash would be.
Despite my small qualms in Keirran's character, every other thing in The Lost Prince I loved. I don't know whether it was the mystery, the writing, the breathtaking world-building, some appearances from old yet beloved faces, or the new faces, that I loved most, but as a whole, The Lost Prince exceeded all of my expectations, and managed to leave me speechless - something I should now expect when reading anything written by Julie Kagawa.
An ARC of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Honestly, I am shocked by the large number of glowing reviews Defiance has gotten thus far. Once again, it looks like I'm the black sheep, here to rei...moreHonestly, I am shocked by the large number of glowing reviews Defiance has gotten thus far. Once again, it looks like I'm the black sheep, here to reign my terror on fangirls and fanboys all over Goodreads, and give my honest opinion on what I thought of the overrated mess known as Defiance.
In the city of Baalboden, Jared Adams is declared dead by the ruthless Commander, and Jared's daughter, Rachel, friend, Oliver, and apprentice, Logan, are gathered to the hearing of his will. In Jared's will, he left Logan to be Rachel's Protector, acting as a bodyguard for Rachel and never letting her out of his sight. However, Rachel and Logan don't believe that Jared is actually dead, and escape the walls of Baalboden to look for him.
I really don't know where to start in this review. I might as well say that the plot itself was decent for the most part, when it wasn't taken over by sappy, melodramatic drivel. (I told you this wasn't going to be a happy review!) But honestly, it's hard for me to enjoy a fantasy novel to begin with, and if the world building in that fantasy novel is not up to par to what I think it should be, then I most certainly won't enjoy the book very much. And in Defiance's case, the world-building is almost nonexistent. In fact, the world building is so poor, we're never actually given a time period in which this book takes place. And, if I were to take a guess as to which time period Defiance takes place - you know what, actually, I wouldn't be able to take a guess. The actions and misogyny in Defiance clearly hint towards an early time period, but the dialogue between characters, and even the character's names, certainly do not. I mean, Logan? Rachel?
And speaking of Logan and Rachel... well, let's just say I've got lots to say about them. Let's just start with Rachel, and get her over with. Rachel made a complete 180º turn in character, seemingly from one chapter to the next. Needless to say, this change in character was not a very good one. Right in chapter one, we're provided with very clear indications that Rachel has a strong hatred towards Logan, ever since she confessed her love (hmph) to him two years ago, and he rejected her. Then, after Logan was appointed as her Protector, basically made her move out of the comfort of her own house and into the discomfort of his, and just was an all around asshole towards her (but more on that soon. Trust me.), she decided that she's, once again, in love with him. I can't. I just can't. And while Rachel at times is a strong and self-reliant character, the sappy mess of a romance between her and Logan take over, and almost all of my respect for her as a badass killing machine is gone, just like that.
Then there's the love interest, Logan. *rubs hands together* Oh, boy... Let me say it right now: I hated this boy with a burning passion. He was a controlling, inconsiderate and at times abusive asshole. But, so you can see some of the reasons while I wanted to desperately to strangle Logan, here are some of the things he's said to Rachel, done to Rachel, and thought about Rachel, throughout Defiance (or at least throughout the first half, because after that point I just didn't care anymore and started skimming.):
[...] and then I'm going to lock her in my loft for as long as it takes.
This was the first red flag this book gave me that I wouldn't end up liking Logan. He said he's going to lock her in his freaking attic for "as long as it takes", for goodness' sake!
[...] she just dropped her skirt to the ground and started up the ladder in a pair of skintight pants. Fury overtakes my panic and fuels me. If a guard see her dressed like that, he won't hesitate to take what she's freely offering.
Whoa, whoa, whoa. Excuse me? "He won't hesitate to take what she's freely offering"? So now if a girl dresses "racily" (if you could call skintight pants racy), she's offering to get raped? I'm sorry, but are you fucking kidding me? This is the point where my feelings toward Logan turned into extreme dislike. The next thing he does/says is what makes me hate him with the burning passion of a thousand suns (just a little sample of some of the melodramatic writing in this book.)
"You're hurting me," she says as she matches my pace through the torch-lit streets. "You're lucky," I say. "That you're hurting my arm?" Her voice is full of its usual sass, but I hear unsteadiness beneath it."No. You're lucky I'm not wringing your neck."
Once again, excuse me? This book was lucky I was reading it on my Kindle, because if I had a paperback copy, that would have been the point where I would have,
a) thrown it out the nearest window and into the street, hopefully to get run over by a car or two; b) shred to a million tiny little pieces and use it for litter in a gerbil cage; c) ripped it to shreds by hand, and release those shreds into the wind in a My Sister's Keeper fashion
Damn you, Kindle! Damn you for getting in my way of fury! Okay, there's still more examples I have to show of why I hated Logan (and why you should, too).
"Feel better?" Rachel asks, and I punch the wall again just to keep from letting my anger loose on her. Not that she doesn't deserve some of it.
I don't think I need to explain my feelings of this statement, and how wrong it is, do I? I'm not done with reasons why I hated Logan, but seriously, read the above things he's said to Rachel, done to Rachel, and thought about Rachel. This is the love interest we're supposed to swoon over. This is the love interest that many readers love, and have swooned over. This is the love interest that is praised by readers. Why?!
[After Logan said something barely understandable] Maybe I should enunciate clearly, then she'll understand.
Or - and this is just another possibility - maybe you could be less of a condescending asshole and try say and what she clearly didn't understand in a different light, and not ridicule her for not understanding you.
"I'm leaving you with Oliver for the day, Rachel. We have nothing more to discuss."
"I [Rachel] am an equal part in this whole thing, and I want to help you find supplies." "Well, you can't." [Logan says]
So now you're acting like her father and controlling what she can and cannot do? You can't act this and then declare your love for her moments afterward. No, scratch that - you can't act like this at all.
Hopefully now you understand the basis behind my extreme hatred towards Logan, because he truly is an awful character, and an even more awful love interest. And the sad part is, Rachel eats all of this up. He commands her, she does what he says. He abuses her both physically and verbally, she takes it. He's a complete and total asshole to her, and yet she "can't bear to live without him." Ugh. Gag me with a rusty spoon.
And maybe, somewhere, there's a mediocre plot behind my blinding hatred for Logan and the melodramatic everything that takes over Defiance. Clearly there's something redeemable about Defiance, given all the glowing reviews for it. I, unfortunately, did not happen to find that.(less)
In the world of What’s Left of Me, children are born with two souls. One of those souls is dominant, and the other is recessive. Within a few years of...moreIn the world of What’s Left of Me, children are born with two souls. One of those souls is dominant, and the other is recessive. Within a few years of the child’s life, the recessive soul will fade away (settle) leaving behind the dominant soul. But what happens when you don’t settle, and are known as a Hybrid? Addie and Eva are faced with that problem, being fifteen and having not settled yet. In a world where being a Hybrid is considered dangerous and a threat, Addie and Eva have to keep the fact that they have not yet settled a secret. But, as obstacles get in their way, can they?
What’s Left of Me was amazing, and I absolutely loved it, but still, I’m torn on whether to give it five stars, or four stars. I want to give it five stars because the pace was crisp; the plot is brilliant and original beyond belief, and the concept that the story is told from the recessive soul, Eva, was a great twist on the common narrator. Everything was refreshing, fun, and there was never a dull or boring moment when reading What’s Left of Me, but it just missed… something.
In What’s Left of Me, we’re told right off the bat that Hybrids are dangerous, and if you have suspicions that someone might be a Hybrid, report them immediately, for they are a threat to everyone. But, we’re never actually given a reason as to why Hybrids are so dangerous, and whenever the book said how dangerous Hybrids were, I just thought, “Why?” I suppose maybe they aren’t dangerous and it’s all a prejudice thing, and that's why there never was an explanation? Again, I’m not too sure, but I hope everything is cleared up in book two. As well as that little world-building flaw, there was a flaw in the writing for me that, while little at first, grew to be an annoyance the more I read the book.
Zhang’s prose is beautiful, and, like the plot, the writing is crisp and it makes for fast reading (although it took me a staggering eight days to finish this), but, unfortunately, Zhang uses an overwhelming amount of repetition when writing. At first, this was something I was able to look over easily, but, like I said, as I read more and more, and the use of repetition became more and more frequent, I became annoyed, but not overly so that I was unable to enjoy the book. And lastly in the things that make me conflicted on whether I should be giving What’s Left of Me four or five stars was that the ending felt too anticlimactic given all the buildup for it throughout the novel, and it was a bit too neat for my likings.
Now onto less ranty things about What’s Left of Me’s rare flaws, and much more praising on everything else that’s in What’s Left of Me, because everything else was amazing.
Right from the start (actually, right when I finished the prologue), I knew that I was going to cry at least once when reading this book (I cried three times). Eva’s voice and experiences (or lack of) were heartbreaking, as was reading about her longing to talk, to move her fingers even—all of the things we normally take for granted—but she was physically unable to do. And, although for most of the book she couldn’t even move her fingers, she was still stronger than half of the heroines in YA literature, and that’s saying something.
Another thing to absolutely love about What’s Left of Me is that all of the characters are flawed and believable, as are all of their relationships, especially the sisterly relationship between Eva and Addie, which was portrayed expertly. And, while there is some romance in What’s Left of Me, it takes up a very minor part in the actual story, and you might even forget there was a romance to begin with (like me).
Overall, despite the problems I had when reading What’s Left of Me (and, when next to the things I didn’t have a problem with, they seem very minor) I absolutely loved this book, and recommend it to anyone looking for an original and refreshing new YA novel.
*After I finished writing this review, I've decided that I’m giving What's Left of Me 4.5 stars.*
You know, for a "ghost" story, this has a pretty massive lack of ghosts in it. I made it up to 41% in The Unquiet, and I had absolutely no interest...moreDNF
You know, for a "ghost" story, this has a pretty massive lack of ghosts in it. I made it up to 41% in The Unquiet, and I had absolutely no interest in reading any more of it. Basically, it's just a high-school drama. That's it. There's barely anything paranormal, other than the fact that there's a "haunted" tunnel in the school. I thought The Unquiet was really boring, and not only was it boring, but the characters were cliche and I just really didn't like any of them.
Every single character in this book is a stock YA character, and the relationship is an extremely typical relationship in YA:
There's the male love interest who is utterly gorgeous and popular, and every girl wants to be with him. Inexplicably, he likes the extremely dull and uninteresting main character. Then there's the main character, Corinne (Rinn) Jacobs, who, like I just said, is extremely dull and uninteresting. The only non-stock character thing about her is that she's bipolar. That's it. Of course, she's popular in an instant and is hanging out with the cool kids on her first day, and all the popular girls want to be with her. Which brings me to my next character: one of the popular girls. I couldn't bother to remember her name, so I'll just call her "the bitchy one".
Ugh. I hated her. Damn. This was a massive reason why I didn't even feel bad for DNFing this book. I get it, some girls are mean, and maybe it was Garsee's intention to make the readers hate The Bitchy One, but this was just crossing the line. If you want to really portray how mean a character is, fine, okay. But just don't have her make fun of a girl in their grade's weight constantly. The Bitchy One constantly called her an orca, snorted like a pig at her, took a handful of candy corn and started throwing it at her, and I just couldn't read the book any longer because every page The Bitchy One showed up on I was hoping she'd get stabbed. Die, bitch! Die! Then she and her fellow cheerleader friends find out the girl is claustrophobic and they lock her in the "haunted" tunnel and lean against the door so that she couldn't get out. I mean, really? I couldn't read about it, because I honestly thought it was heartbreaking.
Overall, I suppose I see the appeal for The Unquiet, and maybe it does get a bit more paranormal later on in the book, but from what I've read, I can say that The Unquiet is boring with extremely unlikable characters.
*sigh* If only this book were are beautiful on the inside as it is the outside. (less)
I have one question: is this a historical romance that relies heavily on the romance, or does it actually stick to the plot and have some romance alon...moreI have one question: is this a historical romance that relies heavily on the romance, or does it actually stick to the plot and have some romance alongside the plot? If it's the latter, I will read this. If not, it's a deal breaker. (less)
Undecided on my rating. 4 stars? 5 stars? 4.5 stars? I DON'T KNOW. Review to come. Maybe. Probably not. Yeah, probably not.
Edit: You know what. 5 stars. Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant. Everyone needs to read this book. Why hasn't everyone read this book?
Edit x2: I think I'll be doing everyone a favor by not writing a review for this. Or should I say a "proper" review. But, since I most likely will not even attempt writing a review for this (for your benefit), I want to say this: if you aren't a huge fan of this book throughout the first half and want to DNF, don't. I almost DNFed this, not because it was a bad book, but because it wasn't for me. I was ready to give this a 3.5 star rating, albeit a DNF one, and go on my merry way. But I didn't. And I am so, so happy that I didn't. The ending of Lucid made me realize how intensely brilliant the entire novel was. It made me cry. It made me confused. Then it made me cry some more. Then it had me realizing how much I really do love this book. So that's my advice to you: if you're reading Lucid, and, while you think it's a good book, but it's not a you book, and you want to set it aside - don't. It may just prove you wrong, and show you that it is a 'you' book. Just like it did to me.
And if I'm wrong and you still don't like this by the end you can just throw stuff at me.
Last edit I swear: You know when you love something so much all you want to do is scream? Yeah, that's me.
Hah. My poor dogs are so fucking scared right now.
Okay I lied: Oh yeah, as well as the urge to scream at something (hubby's asleep *scoffs* so, sorry dogs, I'm screaming at you by default), I can only think in expletives. And speak in expletives. Again, sorry dogs. (less)
"Look in the skies above you," he said. "With each passing day, we are under ever more surveillance for no better reason than that men live in fear a...more"Look in the skies above you," he said. "With each passing day, we are under ever more surveillance for no better reason than that men live in fear and suspicions of each other. Our technology outstrips our ability to reason or even to care. Walk the shortest distance beyond the better areas of this city and you will find degradation and suffering that defy description. The inhumanity of man is also part of being human."
So rarely does a paranormal novel such as Incarnation come along and effect me so emotionally, and the amount of heart this novel had beneath its vampiric elements really came as a shock to me, albeit in the best way possible. Incarnation is the black sheep among the current trend of vampire novels hitting the shelves, in that it's original, doesn't recycle other novels of the genre's storylines, and that it's actually good.
Lucy Weston finds herself buried deep underground, with a stake in her chest, and almost no memory of how she in the ground, how she got a stake in her chest, or, more importantly, who put the stake in her chest. Digging out of her own grave, Lucy finds herself in Victorian London, while the classic novel, Dracula, is newly published. Having nothing better to do, Lucy decides to read Dracula, only to find that the entire novel is just a rehashed version of her death. On a mission to find the author of Dracula, Bram Stoker, and the being who turned her from the young human she once was to the monster she currently is, Lucy soon finds herself deeper in the world of the supernatural than she ever intended to be.
I don't know if I could possibly put my feelings for Incarnation into words. Normally, novels set in the past don't interest me very much, Victorian time periods being one of those time periods that don't normally work for me, but Incarnation is having me rethink my stance on novels set in Victorian times. The world we're introduced to in Incarnation, while a bit light on the steampunk, is stunning and richly detailed, and the world-building we're provided with is entrancing and beautiful. Cornwall's prose, while at times a bit full of info-dumps, is completely and utterly breathtaking, and I highlighted many passages while reading the novel just because they were so gorgeously written.
The characters in Incarnation are incredibly well-written and well developed, and the plot is extremely original and captivating, with a few twists and turns along the way. You won't find any of the common tropes you would find in most vampire novels when reading Incarnation, and that, among other things, is what will make Incarnation stand out in the midst of vampire novels. As well as that, the romance in Incarnation is well developed, and, for once, does not overshadow the plot, but instead takes a backseat to it.
And I notice this review barely brushes upon the aspects of Incarnation, but that's because I truly am at a loss for words with this novel. Upon first look, Incarnation might seem like just another vampire novel, but, through deeper introspection, it is truly about a young woman struggling to find her true self in an instance where such a thing seems impossible, and for that, I love it. If you have any doubts when it comes to reading Incarnation, borrow it from a friend, or from the library. It may just surprise you, just like it surprised me.
Yet as I drifted deeper into sleep, ravens cawed and wolves howled, vampires showed their fangs and humans bared their throats to be bled while off in the distance great engines roared and steam shot into the sky where soot fell as tears, baptizing the new age.(less)
"Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells 'em off for a coupla stones."
Actual Rating...more"Naughty John, Naughty John, does his work with his apron on. Cuts your throat and takes your bones, sells 'em off for a coupla stones."
Actual Rating: 4.5 stars
My initial rating given to The Diviners was a full, glowing five stars, five stars being the knee-jerk rating I give to books I love. However, sometimes, when writing a review for the books I give five stars (or really any other rating), I realize that there were some certain things in the book I'm reviewing that would result in me taking away stars from my initial rating. Of course, there are some instances where I fully acknowledge the faults a book has, but give it five stars nonetheless, the most recent case being with Ultraviolet. But then, of course, there are some instances where, even if I love a book to bits, I fully acknowledge its faults and just can't give it the full five stars. This is the case with The Diviners.
As a disciplinary act, young and rebellious Evangeline - or, as she is more commonly called, Evie - O'Neill is sent from Ohio to New York City by order of her parents, to live with her uncle, Will Fitzgerald, curator of The Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult - or, as that is more commonly called, The Museum of the Creepy Crawlies. However, unbeknownst to her parents, Evie is incredibly anxious to escape from the clutches of her parents and those in her hometown who judge her to the buzzing New York City, where people are bound to accept her rebellion and promiscuity. And maybe, while she's there, go to a speakeasy or three. But Evie also has a secret: a special ability that may just come in handy as she is thrown into the crazy world of The City That Never Sleeps, as well as a creepy and ritualistic string of murders.
Going into The Diviners, I wasn't entirely sure what I would get considering the murder mystery, only provided with the knowledge that the murderer ended up creeping out quite a few friends of mine. Me, however, being the 'nothing can scare me!' person that I proclaim myself to be, didn't expect much from the murderer, and was at least hoping to find an entertaining plot behind the murders and murderer that were clearly not going to scare me. Y'know, 'cause I'm tough like that.
I stand corrected.
I'm going to play the 'I didn't know it would be like that' excuse as the reason why the murderer creeped me out so much (because I need to save my image, don't I?), and then I'm going to pretend this never happened and go on with saying a fictional murderer never scared me. (I got'sta save my face, people!)
So, yeah. Watch out for Naughty John.
He's climbin' in yo windows, he's snatchin' yo people up.
Now, if you're like me, and before even picking up The Diviners, you were intimidated by its daunting length (because, seriously people, this book is a weapon), then fear no more. Once you get past the first hundred or so pages, which is mostly exposition (but it's in no way boring to read or a slog to go through), you will find yourself turning pages faster than you'd think you could turn pages. The only reason it took me a whole week to finish The Diviners is because I've been extremely busy (explanation for my absence on Goodreads and my lack of content on the blog lately).
Another thing, aside from its length, that intimidated me about The Diviners was its multiple narratives. If you've read any of my reviews for books with multiple narratives, you'll know that they rarely work out for me in the end. I like to think it's because the author generally isn't skilled enough to write multiple narratives, while making the narratives distinguishable, and not just because I'm an overall 'impossible to please' reader (though this book is pretty much a testament to that being false, no?). Ultimately, my intimidation concerning the multiple narratives in The Diviners was to no avail, because the multiple narratives were expertly handled. I was able to easily distinguish the narratives from each other, and I can say that each narrative had its own little thing that made reading it never be a chore, unlike some other novels with multiple narratives. *eyes Defiance*
The characters in The Diviners, especially Evie, are incredibly well fleshed-out and are met with an immense amount of character development throughout the novel, and the relationships between Evie and her friends, and Evie and her love interest, were also expertly handled. And, while we're on the topic of Evie's relationship with her love interest, I just want to point out to all you young-adult writers out there: this is how you write a realistic relationship. I want the main relationship in The Diviners to be taken as an example for young adult authors everywhere. This relationship is well-developed, believable, and there is not an 'I love you' in sight.
However, through all of this gushing, there is a fault to be found in The Diviners that, unfortunately, was enough for me to lower my rating by half a star. That fault being that the last fifty pages (give or take) were so rushed, and that I really wished Bray would have taken her time with the conclusion. I mean, she wrote a nearly six-hundred page book, I think she'd be forgiven for writing a more thorough conclusion (one that doesn't leave me confused, maybe?). I realize that there are upcoming additions to come following The Diviners, but honestly, I think this could have easily been wrapped up in one book, while leaving readers satisfied, as opposed to stretching it out in a series, and leaving readers unsatisfied with the ending of this.
But, despite the rushed and confusing final fifty pages of The Diviners, I really did love the five-hundred or so pages prior, which, when putting into perspective, really is something, isn't it? I only hope that Bray is able to maintain the quality of The Diviners throughout the series, without going into overkill, because The Diviners was an incredibly fun, creepy, and thrilling read, and I'm eager to read more.(less)
I don't think I could possibly put into words how much I was looking forward to Red Rain when I had heard that it would be an adult horror novel writt...moreI don't think I could possibly put into words how much I was looking forward to Red Rain when I had heard that it would be an adult horror novel written by none other than RL Stine, and, as well as that, I don't think I could possibly put into words how excited I when I was given an ARC of Red Rain. With all of that being said, I also don't think I could put into words how thoroughly disappointed I am with this book in the long run.
Lea Sutter is a travel blogger, and, for one of her travel expeditions, she decides to go to an island off the coast of South Carolina. Unfortunately, as she arrives at the small island, she is greeted by creepy rituals, and a life-threatening hurricane. Inspecting the rubble which the hurricane resulted in, Lea finds two young boys, now homeless, and without a family. Lea eventually decides to adopt those two boys on a whim, and then takes them back to her home in Sag Harbor, Long Island, where things go awry.
Or, simply put, Red Rain is a shitty rehash of the movie Orphan. With twins. And a hurricane.
I am not amused.
There are so many problems I have with the bitter disappointment that is Red Rain, most of which seem to begin with "lack of...", such as the
Lack of logic
If Lea is really such an amazingly proclaimed travel blogger, one would think she would do some research into where she's traveling next, no? Of that research, some information would include that, for some reason, a disastrous hurricane ravages the small island every thirty-five years, and, coincidentally, that the hurricane is going to hit the same day Lea arrives at the island. But of course, that would mean Lea would have some common sense, which, if you read this book, you'll soon find out that she clearly does not have. As well as the large lack of logic in Red Rain, we're also provided with a
Lack of originality
Come on, how often has the 'creepy children (or, if you want to make it even more of a shitty B-horror movie, creepy twins) do creepy things creepily while being creeps because they're creepy, watch out' trope been used? Whoever says that Red Rain is original is either a) lying, or b) lying. There's no escaping it. And, adding to the things that make up a good novel of which Red Rain lacks is a
Lack of good writing
You know what? Screw a lack of good writing. I would have taken decent writing, as opposed to the shit excuse for writing we were provided with in Red Rain. Honestly, if you handed me this book, telling me to read a few pages, while giving me absolutely no background information as to who the author is, I would have taken a guess that this book is written by an extremely inexperienced high-school student. Yes, you read that correctly. An extremely inexperienced high school student. I would have never guessed that this book was written by a very experienced writer of over twenty years. This is not a good thing. But wait, there's more! (You read that in Billy Mays' voice, didn't you?)
Lack of scary elements
Red Rain is not scary. At all. It's more laughable than scary, actually. If it weren't for the swearing or the sex scenes, I would've sworn this book was a young-adult novel, or even less than that, being a new edition to the Goosebumps series. A series for children. Young. Children. If I mistake your adult horror novel for being a new edition in your children's series, something is very, very wrong. One more 'lack' coming your way!
Lack of anything good
No, seriously. I'm struggling to find positives when it comes to Red Rain, and, honestly, I really don't think there are any positives to be found in this book. Unless, of course, you enjoy reading extremely cliche and predictable adult horror novels that could easily be mistaken for a children's novel if it weren't for sex scenes and swearing. So... if that applies to you, then... have fun with this book? However, if those characteristics in a novel don't apply to your likings, and you want to read this because you, too, were a childhood fan of the Goosebumps series, then run. Run far, far away. Because, truth be told, the only thing scary about Red Rain is its quality.
(Warning: Possible spoilers, but really nothing you won't find in the synopsis)
Actual Rating: 2.5 stars
On my one and only status update for this book...more(Warning: Possible spoilers, but really nothing you won't find in the synopsis)
Actual Rating: 2.5 stars
On my one and only status update for this book, a brief discussion was held on how there are so many books in the YA genre recently that have an immense amount of potential, but, unfortunately, that potential is never met. And while unmet potential sadly is very common in YA, I went in to this book with very high expectations, sure that I would absolutely love it, only to be disappointed in the long run. Considering how much I was looking forward to this book, it pains me to say that Through to You has yet another case of unmet potential.
In Through to You, Hainsworth has come up with an original and intriguing concept of a high schooler named Camden Pike whose girlfriend recently died in a car crash due to his fault, and one day, he finds a transparent girl calling his name. This girl is eventually revealed to be Nina Larson, and she comes from a different dimension than Camden, and accidentally stumbled through a portal and into his dimension. Nina's dimension, as Camden finds out, is one where everything is opposite than his, and his girlfriend is alive. Anxious to see his girlfriend again, Camden travels to Nina's dimension, only to find out things are not as they seem.
Through to You is an extremely slow moving book, and in fact, the actual plot only kicks in barely before the fifty percent mark. That being said, most of the first half of Through to You is comprised of Camden being incredibly moody, Camden blaming himself for the death of his girlfriend, and Camden's incredibly boring and melodramatic inner-monologue. And all of this remains true even in the second half of the novel, but at least then we had some sort of plot going on, however poorly executed that plot may have been.
At first, I was able to look over Camden's moodiness and his melodrama, and I found it to be believable (for the most part) considering all that was going on in his life*, however, teen angst is not something I enjoy reading, so that was clearly a very large misstep in the novel for me. And, while we're still on the topic of Camden, were we supposed to like him? Because I just... didn't... It was just so hard to empathize with a character I found to be so unlikable and downtrodden and just plain boring. I notice that I might get a few comments on this review saying, "But his girlfriend just died! He has every right to be that way!", and I agree with you, but you come back to me after you read this book and tell me if you think that makes for an enjoyable novel. I've said it before in this review, and I'll say it again: Camden is how he is throughout Through to You for reasons I completely understand, but teen angst, melodrama, self-blaming and moodiness is not enjoyable to me.
And I realize I'm jumping around a lot in my review of this, but I'm lazy right now and can't think of a good way to transition from why I didn't like Camden to why I thought the plot was a huge case of unmet potential, so consider this as the transition. Now, how was the potential this book had not met? I'll get to that soon, but first I have to say that the synopsis provided by Goodreads (and me) are spoiler city for the first half of Through to You. Like I had mentioned earlier in this review, the actual plot kicks in close to the fifty percent mark, so as we're just waiting and waiting for a plot to actually kick in, we're given pages after pages of Camden moping and playing the 'woe is me!' card instead, only to get frustrated even further when the plot kicks in. Why, you might ask? Because we already know the truth about everything, and have to read chapter after chapter of Camden coming up with stupid theories about what's really going on, only for him to actually find out the truth much, much later. One of my biggest pet peeves when I'm reading is if I know something (or somethings, in this case) before the main character does. I hate it. And in Through to You, Camden just makes a complete idiot of himself by coming up with really wrong theories as to what is happening, but we already know what's happening because the synopsis already told us!** But I still haven't gotten to why Through to You has such an immense amount of potential but very little of that potential is actually met. Well, for starters, the plot is just confusing and doesn't make any sense at many times, Camden still is an annoying protagonist to read about, but now we have a few more equally as annoying and unlikable characters, though not to the extent of Camden, and the plot completely takes a backseat to the romance. In case you were wondering, that, too, is high up on my list of pet peeves when reading, and I cannot stand it. I read a book for its plot, not its romance. If I were to read a book solely for its romance, I would read a romance, not a romance disguised as an exciting YA novel. And while the last ten percent or so is interesting, and there is a surprising twist that I didn't see coming, that still does not make up for the uninteresting ninety percent prior to that.
After all of this, you're probably wondering why I ended up giving Through to You two and a half stars as opposed to just one. And my answer to that is that there were some parts of this book I genuinely enjoyed, it's well written, and I save one star ratings for books that make me want to gouge my eyes out with a spork (you're very welcome for that mental image), and this book, luckily, didn't make me feel that urge. However, that doesn't defeat the fact that Through to You was a huge disappointment, and that I found it to be boring, full of angst, melodrama, and, ultimately forgettable.
* I felt like Hainsworth just thought up a bunch of different ways to make her character's life a living hell, and made them all happen to Camden. His girlfriend died, his parents got a divorce, his dad abandoned him and stole from him and his mother, he severely hurt his knee and is unable to play football, therefore having to retire from his position as a quarterback for his school's team, and everyone hates him because it's his fault his girlfriend died, all within the time span of a few months? It's like Hainsworth was trying so hard for readers to empathize with Camden by making his life absolutely horrible that his life lost its believability along the way.
** Someone seriously needs to fire the person who wrote that synopsis. (less)