Incredibly interesting, fast-paced, and original--at least when concerning the plot and elements of the plot--and with allurin...moreActual Rating: 3.5 stars
Incredibly interesting, fast-paced, and original--at least when concerning the plot and elements of the plot--and with alluring relationship dynamics and compelling action sequences, Amy Tintera's debut novel, Reboot, is one to undoubtedly remain standing amongst other well-written debuts releasing this year. Whether or not Reboot will completely stand out amongst those debuts or outshine them altogether is somewhat equivocal, given the fact that there are some aspects of Reboot--most notably the romance--that have been done better in young adult and are a bit too similar to a vast majority of young adult novels on the market, but as a whole, I feel that the quick and ultimately captivating way in which Reboot is written will appeal to readers looking for a fun and fast read bearing a semblance of depth--something unfortunately uncommon in many young adult novels I describe as 'fun' lately.
I'll get right to it--Reboot's biggest fault, in my opinion, was the romance, and the large role it took concerning the progression of the plot, and really just the large role it took in general. Using romance as a driving point for character development and plot progression is not something I dislike--in fact it may be one of my favorite ways of developing characters and plots.
If done well, that is. In the very first pages of Reboot, we're thrown into an action sequence between Wren, a Reboot, and one of her targets. From then on, we're told, and shown, having the novel told from her point of view, that she is cold and ruthless and tough, and for that duration, I loved Wren's character. But soon after she is introduced to the love interest, Callum--who, keep in mind, I think is both a fantastic character and love interest--all those adjectives I've used to describe Wren gradually became less and less extreme.
On one hand, I found the character development of Wren from the beginning of the novel to the end to be overall impressive, with her gaining shreds of her humanity since meeting Callum, but on the other hand, I found her character development to be implausible at best, and maybe even a bit lazy. Let's say that point A in Wren's character development is in the beginning chapters--where she is, as I've described her before in this review, cold, ruthless, and tough--and that point B in Wren's character development is in the chapters after she's met Callum, and also just chapters after point A--where she is significantly less cold, ruthless, and tough, but more importantly, helplessly lovesick.
If the development of Wren's character from the person--or Reboot--she was in the opening chapters (point A) to the person (again, or Reboot) she was just mere chapters later (point B) was more of a gradual development, then it'd likely be something I'd be spending my time praising right now, but due to rapid and implausible way in which Wren's character was developed from a bad person to a better person, my enjoyment in the story notably decreased, considering the fact that the romance between Wren and Callum was the driving point for most of the happenings in the novel, and despite how much I enjoyed their chemistry and Callum himself, I just couldn't buy their relationship because it happened so spontaneously, and almost without reason.
However, with that issue, and also one concerning info-dumping with the world-building in the early chapters aside, I found Reboot to be a thoroughly fun, entertaining, and worthwhile read. As I've mentioned before in this review, the action sequences are spectacular and plenty, the pacing is practically flawless, and the perspective on humanity presented to us is surprisingly powerful. As well as that, despite my rant above concerning the development of Wren's character, I did like her character very much, and I liked Callum's character even more. It's certainly not without its faults, but in the end, Reboot was an incredibly fun read, and I am eager to read more of the Reboot trilogy. (less)
Actual rating is 4.5 stars -- This review is SPOILER-FREE for both Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm.
What is it about Leigh Bardugo's novels that m...moreActual rating is 4.5 stars -- This review is SPOILER-FREE for both Shadow and Bone and Siege and Storm.
What is it about Leigh Bardugo's novels that makes writing reviews for them absolutely and frustratingly impossible? I read Shadow and Bone as an ARC last year and absolutely loved it, yet after rewriting and rewriting my review for it over and over again, I ultimately decided to throw in the towel and give up attempting to review it. I know that for some, if not most reviewers, writing reviews for books you love is a very difficult process, and it's generally quite difficult for me as well, but I can honestly say that I've never been so unable to write a review for a novel until I'd been faced with the task of writing a review for both of Leigh Bardugo's novels.
Which brings be back to my initial question--what is it about her novels that make writing reviews for them so impossible? I'm rarely stunned by a novel so much that it leaves me completely and utterly speechless when it comes time to write my review, and even when I am so stunned by a novel, I am usually able to gush incoherently (and endlessly), but as I'm writing this review (or at least attempting to write it), days after finishing Siege and Storm, I'm at an absolute loss for words, once again.
There aren't many ways to put into words what it's truly like to read and experience Leigh Bardugo's novels--there will be the moments when you gasp, as well as the moments when you blush, and of course the moments when you feel like your heart has been stomped on, but all of those experiences are honestly only something a reader can go through themselves, and I myself have never really been the best at putting to words my raw feelings for book; I've really always been the type of reviewer to mark down a book's accolades, or lack thereof, and base my judgment from there.
But then I'm also speechless when I'm faced with marking down Siege and Storm's accolades, as that, too, is honestly just something that must be experienced on your own. Leigh Bardugo's writing style is absolutely gorgeous, her attention to detail is great, yet not overly so, her characters are radiantly formed and developed, and the same goes for the absolutely mesmerizing world in which this trilogy takes place.
Nearly everything pertaining to Siege and Storm is something to praise, and while praise is something I am generally able to mark down and articulate easily, yet again, there is just something about Leigh Bardugo's novels that makes it near impossible to do so. I love the characters--especially Sturmhond, he's mine and I'll fight you for him--and I love the stunning world Bardugo has created--evil albeit painfully charming villains, beautiful mythical creatures, and all. The pacing may be a little off at times, but in the end, the brief blunder in pacing towards the middle of the novel is practically infinitesimal when compared to the sheer brilliance that runs rampant throughout the entirety of the novel, scattered throughout the lines of the pages. This trilogy won't be something that everyone will adore as much as me, but, bringing it back to why Bardugo's novels are so impossible to write reviews for, it's just something you'll have to experience for yourself to truly understand, for the experience you'll have reading these novels is something very few words, much less mine, will ever be able to express.
Useful tip for when you reach the life-shattering ending of Siege and Storm:
This review contains spoilers for Under the Never Sky.
Recently--and far too often, if you ask me--in young adult trilogies, second installments have...moreThis review contains spoilers for Under the Never Sky.
Recently--and far too often, if you ask me--in young adult trilogies, second installments have been widely known to be practically a resting point for both the author, and the characters and the plot. Instead of what should be an intense ride setting up for the final installment, the second installment in a trilogy is, more often than not, a complete and utter bore ending with a bang to lure readers who were less than impressed with the second installment to come back and read the third.
Clearly, Veronica Rossi did not receive the memo that apparently this is how second installments are treated nowadays, which is evident by the sheer awesomeness that is Through the Ever Night. Through the Ever Night takes place few months after the ending of Under the Never Sky; Perry is now the Blood Lord of the Tides, and is reunited with Aria after being departed for months. While Perry is dealing with his newfound duties and stresses that come with being the Blood Lord, Aria is still determined to find Perry's nephew, Talon, and bring him back to the Tides, all while having to worry about the monstrous Aether storms taunting her, Perry, and everyone else, above.
Through the Ever Night was everything that Under the Never Sky was times ten--it was fast-paced, thrilling, full of action, full of character and relationship development, full of heartbreak, and full of Aether (lots and lots of Aether!). Every single thing that made Under the Never Sky amazing was in Through the Ever Sky, and somehow, Rossi managed to make those aspects even more amazing, adding more and more depth to them.
One of my favorite things about the Under the Never Sky trilogy so far is the relationships and character dynamics that Veronica Rossi so masterly develops throughout the course of the novels. Aria has grown so much as a character since Under the Never Sky--both emotionally and physically--and the same goes for Perry, Roar, and a few other familiar faces. As well as the huge amount of character growth in the series thus far, the relationships and romance are absolutely brilliant. The romance between Perry and Aria will most likely end up being one of my favorites in young adult by the end of the trilogy, and the thing I have to say I love most about the romance in this trilogy is that, while it is certainly an important factor, it never overshadows other factors such as the plot--which appears to be another case of Rossi not receiving a memo most authors, unfortunately, have. The relationship between Aria and Roar, too, is absolutely one to praise, and is definitely one of my favorite relationships of the year, bearing one of the most interesting and heartwarming dynamics I've ever had the pleasure to read, and that's not just because I love Roar with a passion. The friendship these two characters have with each other, and the fact that you can just feel how much they care about each other seeping through the pages is certainly something special, as is the fact that you know their relationship will not ever cross into romantic territory--proving once again that Rossi must have missed a memo most authors have received, proving that some friends can remain just that--friends--and amazing ones at that.
With all this glowing praise, I can say with complete and utter certainty that fans of Under the Never Sky will have just an amazing of a time with Through the Ever Night as I had, and I can even say that those who weren't fans of Under the Never Sky will most likely be impressed with Through the Ever Night. Through the Ever Night is hands down one of the most outstanding sequels I've ever had the pleasure to read, and I thoroughly look forward to what Rossi has in store for us readers with Into the Still Blue, but at the same time I'm a bit scared, and not because I'm afraid it won't be good---actually I'm absolutely positive it will be spectacular--but because it is clear through this installment that Rossi isn't afraid to put her characters through hell, and I don't even want to begin to fathom the amount tissue boxes I will inevitably go through while reading the conclusion to this stunning trilogy. Just don't hurt Roar and we'll be all good, okay? (less)
This review may contain possible spoilers for Ultraviolet
If you were to ask me right now what word I think best describes Quicksilver, while trying to...moreThis review may contain possible spoilers for Ultraviolet
If you were to ask me right now what word I think best describes Quicksilver, while trying to refrain from using the inevitable words such as 'amazing', 'mind-blowing', or even the simple (but very accurate) 'OMG', the word I would choose would be 'intense'.
And quite honestly, the fact that Quicksilver is as intense as it is is quite a feat given that there is not much action throughout most of the novel and not many fight scenes. But I think the fact that there aren't many fight scenes or much action throughout Quicksilver is refreshing, and, like I mentioned earlier, quite a feat given how intense it is. One of the best things about Quicksilver is that its intensity doesn't rely on action or fight scenes like most novels do. The intensity of Quicksilver relies on, for example, something as simple and innocuous as a telephone ringing on the wall. Such suspense is brought into play with that loud, monotonous ringing of the telephone, and with it I just couldn't help but bite my nails and panic, wondering if the person on the other side of the phone is an antagonist calling to send a warning to Tori and her family, or just the next door neighbor calling Tori to welcome her and her family to the neighborhood. That type of suspense and intensity is used so often in Quicksilver, and I can say with complete and utter certainty that it kept me on the edge of my seat more than any fight scene I've read in any novel this year.
The events of Quicksilver take place months after the events of Ultraviolet; Alison is left learning how to cope with everything that happened over the past few months, unsure of what the truth is, and Tori is beginning to pack up her and her family’s belongings in preparation to escape her old life. However, with a determined cop, a few curious doctors, a relay that may or may not engage at any minute, an old enemy on her trail, and an old ally as well, Tori soon finds that escaping her old life is going to be more difficult than she thought. And this time she may bring more people other than herself down with her.
If you, too, are a fan of Ultraviolet and was left hanging by its ending that may or may not have torn your heart to shreds (it totally tore mine, not sure about you), and are expecting a continuation of Alison and Farraday's relationship and lives in Quicksilver, you will be surprised. Confession time: I added Quicksilver because I loved Ultraviolet, and I neglected to read its synopsis (this seems to be a recurring problem with me: if your book has a pretty cover or it's a sequel to a book I liked, on the TBR list it goes), so when I cracked open the (virtual) pages of Quicksilver, I was surprised to find that it was a continuation of Tori's story. At first, I was a bit worried that I might not like Tori's character as much as I liked Alison's, or that the plot wouldn't do it for me, but soon all of my worrying turned into complete adoration for the intricate and incredibly well developed story in Quicksilver and the spectacular character and relationship development.
With mesmerizing writing, genius plot twists, some reunions that are guaranteed to make you squeal, and a finale that will undoubtedly blow your mind, Quicksilver is a stunning sequel to an absolutely stunning novel. While Ultraviolet and Quicksilver are the only two works of RJ Anderson that I've read so far, I think it's pretty safe to say that I'm a big fan of hers. I mean, what's not to be a fan of when she writes books like this?
Ha! I CAN write a review for an RJ Anderson novel that doesn't include a squirrel-licking gif! Take THAT, world!
----------- Pre-review -----------
I... I just... that was... wow. I can't think coherently right now (it's like Ultraviolet all over again!), so, until I am able to think coherently and write a semi-coherent review, here are some tweets I made that sum up my feelings for Quicksilver pretty well:
I don't think of myself as the type of reader and reviewer who gives every book they love the full, five stars. There are some, if not most books I gi...moreI don't think of myself as the type of reader and reviewer who gives every book they love the full, five stars. There are some, if not most books I give four stars to that I say I love, and most if not all of the books I give 4.5 stars to are ones I say I love. But I tend to save five stars for books that are practically flawless to me; for books that, no matter how many minutes, hours, days, etc., I spend trying to find something that I didn't like about it, I still come up with nothing.
Pivot Point is absolutely one of those books.
I am trying (and struggling, might I add) to remember the last time a book left me feeling so consistently giddy as Pivot Point. Those going into Pivot Point looking for a serious, intense read will either be bitterly disappointed or extremely surprised - whether you're surprised in a good way or bad way is up to your tastes and what you're expecting Pivot Point to be. Pivot Point is an incredibly light, sweet, and at times heart-warming and funny read that deals with some pretty common - and at times heavy - topics such as divorce, moving, and trust, and each and every one of those topics and more are executed with a clear expert hand.
As well as that, Pivot Point is also much more of a character and relationship driven novel than anything else. In most cases, I am not a fan of when the romance takes a larger place than the plot, and the plot is almost hidden in the romance's shadow, and while that may have been the case in Pivot Point at times, I didn't take issue with it in the least because the romance complements the progression of the plot, and the plot itself, tremendously.
In Pivot Point, teenager Addie Coleman has the special ability to look into the future when given a choice between two outcomes, and is able to see which future is better suited to her depending on what choice she makes. This ability comes in handy when she is told that her parents are getting divorced, and that her father is moving out of the Compound in which she and everyone else with supernatural mind abilities like her live, and is moving into the Norm world - specifically Dallas, Texas. Faced with the choice of whether to stay with her mother in the Compound or go with her father to the Norm world, Addie searches each reality's future, but soon realizes that deciding which path to take will be more complicated than she had originally planned.
The basic concept for Pivot Point is one of the most original and well executed concepts I've ever come across in young adult. Instead of the usual supernatural beings we normally come across in young adult - vampires, werewolves, witches, etc. - the supernatural beings in Pivot Point are entirely original and fun. There are those who can persuade others, those who can erase some portions of others' memories, those who can detect lies, those who can move objects with their minds, those who can manipulate mass, those who can manipulate mood, and of course, those who can see into the future when given two choices. Each ability and how it is used is a fresh and fun take on supernatural abilities, handled in an equally as fun and fresh way.
And I realize I'm jumping around a bit in this review, but the characters in Pivot Point were so remarkably developed, and the same goes for the romances. Addie herself was an extremely likable character, and I absolutely loved her wittiness and I found reading from her perspective to be so refreshing. The same goes for her best friend, Laila, and one of her love interests, Trevor. Trevor is easily one of the most likable male love interests I've come across in young adult to date, and is right up there with Tucker from the Unearthly trilogy.
If you're still with me after this one long hodgepodge of a review, then I think you've got a good grasp on how much I truly adore this special little novel. Full of fun at every page, high levels of swoon, with an amazing and incredibly well-paced romance and an intriguing and creepy mystery leading to an intense, shocking, and ultimately bittersweet - yet entirely heartbreaking - ending, Pivot Point is certainly not a novel to be missed come February. I only wish that one of the characters in this book could erase my memory of reading this so I can start it - and fall in love with it - all over again.(less)
A few months ago I had attempted to read my copy of Paranormalcy, which had been collecting dust on my bookshelf for quite a few months. In the mood f...moreA few months ago I had attempted to read my copy of Paranormalcy, which had been collecting dust on my bookshelf for quite a few months. In the mood for a light, funny read, Paranormalcy sounded like it'd be perfect, and, even better, it came highly recommended to me by multiple trusted friends of mine.
I think I may have lasted about one hundred pages before I threw in the towel and abandoned the book. From what I had read, Paranormalcy was pretty much the book I was looking for to a T, conceptually - it was light, slightly funny (though I have the sense of humor that will inevitably have me burning in hell, so it wasn't exactly my taste of humor), and interesting enough. But the two things that kept me from having any desire to continue reading Paranormalcy was the extremely amateur and juvenile writing and poor characterization.
However, when I heard that White had a new novel released in 2013 that was apparently much darker than Paranormalcy, I was pretty excited, figuring that, over the three years since Paranormalcy was published, White would have a much stronger writing style and characterization skills than in her debut.
I am proven wrong. I think it's safe to say that, over time, authors grow more and more stronger writing style wise, but I think that, over time, White's writing style may have regressed in quality. In Paranormalcy, as much as the writing was excruciatingly difficult for me to plow through, what with the bleeping censoring and overall feeling that it was written by a teenager, it fit well with the fluffy and lightness that ran rampant throughout the novel. Mind Games, however, is much darker when compared to Paranormalcy, and yet the juvenile and immature writing is still there, and it is even more glaring in here than ever because it feels off with the general plot.
Mind Games is told from the point of views of two sisters - Annie and Fia. One of the things I was most looking forward to in Mind Games was the "strong and unbreakable sisterly bond" between Annie and Fia, but the most background we got on their relationship is that Annie will do anything for Fia, and Fia will do anything for Annie. But the thing is we're told that they will do anything for each other, yet we get too few actual examples that their relationship never lived up to the promise of a strong and unbreakable sisterly bond.
And as for the characterization of Annie and Fia, it's pretty much the same exact thing; all we really know about either of them is that they have a strong love for each other, and even with that we're strictly told that and not shown it. Kiersten White could have gone so far with the concept of having a main character who is blind and is only capable of seeing in the future, yet all of the potential with the character of Annie falls flat on its face. And the character of Fia is no better, if not much, much worse. Throughout the entirety of Mind Games, Fia was met with little to no character growth whatsoever - she starts out as a whiny, selfish, and thoroughly unintelligent character, and ends up as a whiny, selfish, and thoroughly unintelligent character. As well as that, it's hard to take a character who is an assassin seriously when she decides not to kill a target because he saved a puppy. And also, don't be fooled by the promise of assassins or the UK edition's name, Sister Assassins; this book is about assassins in the same way that Avatar is about blue people who have sex with their ponytails - the general concept is in there, somewhere, but it sure as hell isn't the main focus.
And, back to the writing, I understand what White was trying to do with Fia's perspective by making the chapters told by her point of view disjointed and incoherent (and that's pretty much what the entire novel is like, too) to emphasize her mental stability - or lack thereof, but it really added nothing to the story and only detracted from my enjoyment, and the repetition was incredibly irritating.
Told in mostly scattered, unnecessary and confusing flashbacks, Mind Games is a book that clearly began with good intentions but ultimately only ended up being a failure of good intentions, and the sad part is that it could have ended up as a truly great book, if placed in the hands of a more capable author. The plot is strong, and at times entertaining, but as a whole the disjointedness of everything made Mind Games much more of a miss than a hit. Those who are fans of White's Paranormalcy trilogy may find themselves enjoying Mind Games more than I enjoyed it as they are clearly fans of the author's writing style, but at the same time they might find themselves completely and utterly disappointed considering the fact that, in scope, Mind Games is a much darker (well, as dark as a book chocked full of Justin Bieber references can be) read than Paranormalcy. And while I did really like the ending, and more importantly was completely surprised by the direction it took and appreciated the overall ballsiness White had to write the final two chapters, I highly doubt I'll be back to read more of the Mind Games trilogy, or really any of Kiersten White's books, for that matter.(less)
Writing this review is extremely difficult for me, not only because I absolutely loved Taken, and writing reviews for books I...moreActual rating: 4.5 stars
Writing this review is extremely difficult for me, not only because I absolutely loved Taken, and writing reviews for books I love is usually a difficult process for me (if you haven't noticed, I'm not the most eloquent reviewer. I use gifs and tend to swear. Often.), because I always feel like I am not doing the book I'm reviewing justice with my words, and other times, I'm just at a loss for said words.
Though with Taken, that is not entirely why writing this review is so difficult for me. Yes, while I don't feel I can do this book justice with just my review and I am at a loss for words concerning how awesome Taken was, this review is mostly difficult for me to write because there is so much I want to say but I don't want to spoil anything.
I've been looking forward to reading Taken ever since I saw its absolutely stunning cover, and have been looking forward to it even more after reading the mysterious and intriguing synopsis. From that point on, Taken has been one of my most highly anticipated reads of 2013. However, despite my immense anticipation for Taken, I was really worried about the concept of men just vanishing as they turn eighteen. More often than not in YA, and really any other book that I've read lately, authors have come up with an amazing and seemingly impossible central concept, but when it's time for the authors to explain how that concept works, they give a mediocre at best explanation that makes little to no sense.
I am happy to say that Taken is most definitely an exception. The mystery behind the Heists in Taken is so richly developed, unpredictable, original, and is just so much fun to read and uncover as the novel progresses, and it actually makes sense and is given a logical reasoning. Along the way, there are tons of twists - some I saw coming, some I did not - and each twist adds another layer of depth to the plot and the mystery of the Heist. Along with the mystery of the Heist, we are provided with an extremely fast-paced an interesting plot, filled to the brim with, like I mentioned earlier, brilliant and original plot twists that make you question everything you already know. There was a time early in the novel, around the 25% mark, where I questioned where the story could possibly go since it was moving so quickly, but all my doubts were soon proven to no avail as Bowman throws more and more plot twists at us, most - if not all - of which are tied up by the end in an entirely satisfying manner that still leaves the reader wanting more.
As well as the brilliant mystery and plot, the world-building in Taken, while something I was a bit unsure of at first, grew to be something I was soon praising in its sheer originality and awesomeness. Erin Bowman has such a skill in creating a thoroughly interesting world seeping with detail, while giving little explanations of how her world came to be scattered throughout the entirety of Taken, without it ever feeling like she's cheating the reader by keeping things from them.
Another thing I was worried about in Taken was whether or not the male POV that the novel is told in would be realistic, as I read a book told by a male POV that was horrible just prior to Taken. My worries concerning this, too, were soon proven to be to no avail. The character of Gray is believable as a male teenager, and is an overall likable character. He is at times impulsive and a bit selfish, but to me it only added to the believability of his character and his actions. I also loved the secondary characters in Taken, and am (for the most part) satisfied with the romance in it. Usually I am all against love triangles, but Erin Bowman managed to make it work by making the romances in the love triangle interesting, well-developed, and not predictable.
With genius plotting, awesome world-building, quite a few surprises, incredible writing, and a great deal of character and relationship development, I am thrilled to say that, after all my months of pining and offering to sell my soul for a copy, Taken most definitely did not disappoint. I absolutely can't wait to see where the story goes in the second installment, and I also can't wait to see how the love triangle plays out. (view spoiler)[TEAM BREE! (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
(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)
"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)
"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)
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'm trying so desperately to find something even slightly redeemable about husband-and-wife team Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant's return to you...moreI'm trying so desperately to find something even slightly redeemable about husband-and-wife team Katherine Applegate and Michael Grant's return to young adult, Eve and Adam, but, as I was trying to think up some positive qualities that this book holds, I only ended up with the pathetic, "Well, it was a quick read...", and the equally as pathetic, "I guess it was original..." Clearly those two accolades - the only ones I can provide at the time, mind you - aren't the most enthusiastic, but this book wasn't mind-numbingly horrible. I just expected so much more from it, putting into consideration that the Animorphs series was my first foray into young adult as a teenager, and I really did love it. Unfortunately, my expectations got the best of me, and I ended up being utterly disappointed by Eve and Adam, but even if I didn't have such high expectations prior to reading this, I just doubt that I'd had have a different opinion of this book.
In a present day San Francisco, Evening Spiker, sole daughter of the incredibly wealthy and powerful businesswoman and geneticist Terra Spiker, is suddenly in a car accident in which she loses a leg, and severely injures an arm. Immediately rushed to the hospital, Evening is taken care of in no time, and she is healing at the same rate. As she is going through the quick healing process, Evening befriends a boy named Solo, who knows more about Evening, and Spiker Biotech, than he's willing to admit. As well as the mysterious Solo, Evening's mother, in order to keep her occupied during her recovery, gives Evening the task of creating the perfect boy. However, as this perfect boy, eventually named Adam, is brought to life, we have to suffer through three identical narratives secrets unknown to Evening are unraveled.
The premise for Eve and Adam is incredibly intriguing, and it's also very original. The book itself, however, is not. What could have been an extremely entertaining book - one that makes you stop and say, "Wow. This book had a lot of thought put into it." - only ended up being bogged down by horrendous little tropes we see too often in young adult. Love triangle? Check. Insta-love? Check. Stereotypical promiscuous best friend in which the main character lives her sexual life through? Check. The love interests saying their 'I love you''s after having a few conversations? Check. With all of those tropes, and quite a few more, making their appearances in Eve and Adam, this book turns into a book with a whole lot of promise, to a book where all that promise is thrown in the garbage to make way for romance. Yet another young adult trope to add to Eve and Adam's lengthy list.
From the start, we're introduced to Evening Spiker, or as she is more commonly referenced in the book, Eve. What can I say about Eve... Well, she is... a character... Yeah. She's a character. Congratulations, Eve; that's all I can muster up about you. As well as Eve, we're introduced to Solo, who, when combined with Eve, is given about as much character development as a wooden plank. Maybe the wooden plank was given a little more character development. Going in to this book, I was not aware that there would be multiple narratives, and, had I known, I probably would have steered clear of this book and run far, far away. Few authors are actually able to pull off multiple narratives, and I hate to say that Applegate and Grant certainly aren't one of those few authors. But, to add to that fact that both Eve and Solo's narratives were practically interchangeable, Applegate and Grant had to add a third narrative - one that is equally as interchangeable as the other two. Note to authors: when it comes to multiple narratives? Just ... don't...
To add to the tropes that ruined a could-be good story, and the three identical narratives, it really doesn't help that the writing is painfully amateur, and that there are some extremely unnecessary subplots, that, in my opinion, were only really added to make the book longer (come on, was the Aislin and Maddox sublot really necessary? Really?).
Ultimately, Eve and Adam is a disappointment in every sense of the word, and is only really getting two stars from me because it had its few, yet funny, one-liners, and it was a quick read, and never actually painful to get through, like that of many books I've given one star this year. Don't take that as praise, though, because that's really the most amount of positives I can muster when it comes to this book. The author himself (Michael Grant) said in a comment, "This is Katherine and me having fun, not trying to be heavy or deep.", and while I think it's great that they had fun writing this, I don't think it's great that I did not have much fun reading this. And, to conclude Grant's comment, and my review, this is what was said, "EVE AND ADAM is just light, sexy, silly fun." My thoughts on that?
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.*