I would really, really, really like to love the Razorland series. Read the first book, Enclave. Read the review of the last book, Horde. Read this in...moreI would really, really, really like to love the Razorland series. Read the first book, Enclave. Read the review of the last book, Horde. Read this in between, and I can pretty much expect the final installment would be just as humdrum as the first two.
See, I love sci-fi and dystopian novels, but only few (IMHO) of them writers got it right. One of them is Wool Omnibus (Silo, #1) - I mean, Hugh Howey's a genius! Then, if you ask about speculative fic genre, then I wouldn't mind calling Twilight (the first and third books, only) as better than this book. Heck, I'm falling in love with Under the Never Sky series. Plus, it's not helping me one bit reading this at the same time I was finishing this great New Adult novel: Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl. Outpost fell flat instantly.
Often, when reading speculative YA genres, I'm amazed that: 1) Parental control simply does not exist - most teen fighters think like adults (don't even try to compare these titles with Lord of the Flies - just dont!) From 3 out of 4 YA speculative genres I've read, the 14-16 year-olds protagonists would get their act together before they hit 17. Writers would like readers to call this as: coming-of-age. If you're normal adults, you can now arch your good eyebrows and thought: not on your life, you're not. Adults used to be teenagers. Why then only in YA worlds would most teen heroines able to control their surging hormones and stop short of 'breeding,' as Deuce likes to say. 2) In not so distant future, after the world as we know it rots out, surviving people still get to speak American English. (This is why I love Across the Universe - bunch of ethnic background thrown into one spaceship!) 3) Only teen-heroines get to fall in love - adults who survive the apocalypse either become soldiers or protecting/supervising parents. 4) All heroines has the uncanny ability to fight zombies, or whatever come their way, and get to ride into the sunset in the end (except Tris in Allegiant, ha!) 5) Most (I said: MOST) trilogies start off promising, then falter, and go up in flames.
Let's recap Outpost (spoiler alert): 1) Deuce learned how to behave as a girl in a village (the 'Outpost') that resembled Little House on the Prairie (the movie version!) 2) She had two guy friends wanting to be her man a la Edward and Jacob; she picked Edward, er.. I meant Fade. 3) The cool almighty Fade of Enclave was snatched by the zombies, and she begged Jacob, er.. Stalker, to help her rescue Fade. 4) Fade's rescued, but they learned there's a much bigger picture: the zombies are getting smarter and their numbers are too few, so Deuce and the gang had to go ask for help from another Outpost. 5) Along the way, the readers would be entertained by never-ending Fade-Deuce-Stalker love triangle. Thank goodness, with fierce determination, Fade & Deuce refrained from hooking up! And now to the final installment..
See, I really want to like this book - I still give this a 3-star, but the lovey-dovey scenes actually got in the way of real action. I'm not much of a writer, but I honestly think this book packs as much action as Twilight does (if you know what I meant!) About time that female writers flex some muscle and learn how to write a proper action scene - male authors usually (USUALLY!) got it right, especially the Hell's Cross series - now that's jam-packed action from start to finish!
What I actually love about the series is the world underneath (Enclave) and above (Gotham). Once you spend a lot of time in Salvation (that's the outpost's name, mind you) you can't keep wandering if Ann had watched too much Walking Dead on TV!
I bought the book 2 days ago, and finished it right after finishing Veronica Rossi's sequel to Under the Never Sky series. It can be unsettling, switc...moreI bought the book 2 days ago, and finished it right after finishing Veronica Rossi's sequel to Under the Never Sky series. It can be unsettling, switching from one world to another. I don't know how those sci-fi fans can keep up with their reading. If I have to make a comparison, Aria and Perry's tale is more exciting - a perfect mix of romance and culture clash - and fast-paced. Under the Never Sky's intended to end like the Hunger Games, going down in all the glory only Hollywood can bestow upon, but A Million Suns would do good as a miniseries - think of Star Trek Generation with Wil Wheaton (when he was still a teenager, of course!) as Elder. Thing is, can't hardly find anyone who looks like Wil in this post-Gossip Girl era...
What I love about the ATU world is how the author think up all the scenarios that may happen in a clustered atmosphere. There are also some human interest dilemmas that have to be addressed, as it would affect the survivability of people aboard the spaceship Godspeed.
I can't wait for the conclusion of ATU, and I wish they make this into a miniseries!(less)
I love the first book, and I still think the first is the best of the series, still.. I admire the author for the delicate intricacies she has added t...moreI love the first book, and I still think the first is the best of the series, still.. I admire the author for the delicate intricacies she has added to Dicey's family life with her grandmother. I love the sad ending, and learn that in life, just like in Dicey's, we have to learn to let go of the people of the past, as well as reach out to others in present. Lovely story for all ages :)(less)
Almost 4*, really... And this reminds me of Wool, only for the YA kind. After thousands of page plowing through the dystopian YA books, finally I came...moreAlmost 4*, really... And this reminds me of Wool, only for the YA kind. After thousands of page plowing through the dystopian YA books, finally I came across this. The suspense built up around every chapter is unnerving, though there are times I just skip some pages because I couldn't stand the slow narration. I don't have time for teen angst, thank you very much!
Can't wait for the sequel to come to my Kinokuniya!(less)
The first 25 pages are bearable, the next hundred are frustrating and unbelievably confusing (second-rate research at best?), and the last 15 pages.....moreThe first 25 pages are bearable, the next hundred are frustrating and unbelievably confusing (second-rate research at best?), and the last 15 pages.. finally, spark of hope, only to be dashed to pieces with such an ending.. Yes, it's for the Divergent hardcore fans, and yes I can't wait for the third installment, just for the sake of CLOSURE!!!
The story picks up from the day Tris left in a train with Tobias (Four) and her brother along with some rebel including Tobias' infamous father, to Amityville (yeah, wouldn't it be hilarious if it is titled just that!).
They are finally forced to leave the Amity headquarter back toward the city, back to the home of the Dauntless. They try to seek refuge from the factionless, who readers would eventually learn have their own agenda.
The start of the problem in the plot is that everyone seems to have an agenda of their own, even Caleb, Tris' brother who left Erudite and go with Tris but return to Erudite headquarter.
All these plots are not tied up neatly, and the characters seems all flawed - the author can't decided whether Divergent should be another faction on its own as readers would pick up these strong holier-than-thou attitudes of Tris and confused why she just can't make up her mind, and all her clumsiness, not her strength, save her for another day! Tris turns from this brave heroine into a damsel-in-distress second-coming of Bella Swan? Ewwww...!!!
Another note: even in a not-so-near distant dystopian future, people would still tend to preserve what we now know as the Four Temperaments, namely: sanguine (pleasure-seeking and sociable), choleric (ambitious and leader-like), melancholic (introverted and thoughtful), and phlegmatic (relaxed and quiet), as a mix.
My guidance counselor likes to call me as a 300% Melancholic, but I still act like a choleric from time-to-time in front of my students, and my Phlegmatic side helps me to procrastinate all the time. We are all born Divergent, and no amount of dystopian novels would change that!
The only good thing that made me add another star is the action-packed storyline, and the fact that the author is not afraid of letting some of the good guys died as collateral damage. If only she can make other things believable..
I wanna give this a full 4 starts but the writing has been weak and had a few holes needed to be patched up. Otherwise, I truly enjoyed the a...more3.5 stars
I wanna give this a full 4 starts but the writing has been weak and had a few holes needed to be patched up. Otherwise, I truly enjoyed the adventure of Deuce, a girl who were born in an underground enclave and casted out topside with a boy called Fade. Topside happens to be the ruins of New York. Ms. Aguirre cleverly uses George MacDonald's "Day Boy and Night Girl" as some kind of a guide for the readers. Toward the end we readers learned that the book was used to introduce them to the new people welcoming them to the new enclave.
This book can be slow at first, but I have high hopes that the sequel would be better. The apocalyptic background serves very well and somehow reminds me of "The Walking Dead" series. Just like other YA science fiction, the heroine is paired up with a handsome hero and they travel the world together fending for themselves. However, they finally managed to be saved by an adult (anyone over 25 is considered an adult in YA world, natch!) who took them to their outpost. And that's how the first installment ends :)
What drew me to the book was the cover - the reprinted edition with 4 kids against a blue sky background is somewhat a throwback to the years gone by....moreWhat drew me to the book was the cover - the reprinted edition with 4 kids against a blue sky background is somewhat a throwback to the years gone by. What is more, even when it has been such a slow read, I enjoyed and savored every bit of it.
I fell in love with Dicey's character; here's a twelve-year-old who's old enough to take care of 3 little children when the adults who were her blood relatives could not.
Dicey Tillerman and her three siblings, James, Maybeth and Sammy, were abandoned in a mall parking lot in Bridgeport by their mother.
Their adventure started from there, with what little money and a bag of grocery left, they started off to look for Cousin Eunice, her mother's only known relative.
They started on foot - just imagine having three small little children walking along a highway! - and managed to survive by fishing and helping out, and sometimes going hungry for the night. They encountered a few people who help them out; two college students even let them into their dorm and drove them to Cousin Eunice. However, their cousin turned out to be an older woman who were too needy. Thus they escaped to search for their long-lost grandmother after learning that her mother's mother is still alive in Crisfield.
This book is quite a reading, and I suspect with all those dystopian YA novels out there, not a lot of teenagers would want to spend the time knowing the Tillermans. This is more like the Little House on the Prairie books, but for much older teenagers. Actually, adults would enjoy this book better - even those who grew up reading Harry Potter.
If you just browse the pages, you would attempt to drop the book, however, I think those who love road trips would actually appreciate this adventure story weaved by Ms. Voigt. You can almost smell the water when she's describing the little town of Crisfield. If I were to live in Connecticut I'd try to do a road trip based on this book :)(less)
This is it! Move over, Blood Red Road, I'm rooting for this one. Let's see if the movie will be much much much better than the book. Wait, please don'...moreThis is it! Move over, Blood Red Road, I'm rooting for this one. Let's see if the movie will be much much much better than the book. Wait, please don't make this into movie, I'd hate to see Aria and Perry through the Hollywood glass!(less)
Summary After being sold to a cruel couple in NYC, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Book Cover: Beau...moreSummary After being sold to a cruel couple in NYC, a slave named Isabel spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War (1775-1783). Book Cover: Beautiful! Typset: Yes, I did judge the book by its cover, unfortunately. And I just can't go on without mentioning the typesetting. The text is set in Regula. I searched the online font foundry and found one source in myfonts.com, with the following description: "Regula is a Baroque alphabet taken over from a historical model including the latter’s inaccuracies and uneven letter edges. It reminds one of the character of letterpress. It is named after the secular monastic order Regula Pragensis." The story: The smart protagonist, Isabel, is sold to the Locktons and has to serve as a slave for Elihu and Anne Lockton, Loyalists (sympathizers of the British king). They have a beautiful house that would later serve as sanctuary for British officers after the British troop forced out the Patriots out of the city. Ms. Anderson tried to depict slave's harsh life and did not try to water it down. Isabel's little sister, who easily drew the pity of Mrs. Lockton, was found to be an epileptic and after a seizure episode got kicked out of the house by her missus. Isabel was devastated and from then on determined herself to run away from the New York Colony in search of her sister. From the time she stepped into the New York Harbor, however, she crossed path with Curzon, another slave to Capt. Bellingham, a Patriot, and who had tried to recruit her to spy on her Tory master. Isabel's adventure continues with 'Forge' after she released Curzon, at the time being kept as POW after the British recaptured New York City. What I think: I gave this book a full 5-star treatment because of Ms. Anderson's faithful depiction of life during 1776, right down to the sort of English language use during the time. Isabel's also very spirited at such a young age, refusing to be pitied by other adults who tried to help her. I love how she can voice her fear without losing her determination to overcome tragedy. Her character would set up a good example to younger readers on how to be brave. Who should read this: Young readers, historical buffs, Hunger Games fans who have never encountered slavery outside the 12 Districts of Panem..:) Tidbits on Revolutionary War in NY Colony: Read this link - Patriots and Loyalists of NY(less)
So, the second installment of Hunger Games went for an encore - Katniss is invited (by force) to the 75th Games, or as they call it: the Quarter Quell...moreSo, the second installment of Hunger Games went for an encore - Katniss is invited (by force) to the 75th Games, or as they call it: the Quarter Quell (happens every 25 years). This time around, the male and female former victors reaped from each of the 12 districts of Panem would fight to the death, and there wouldn't be two victors allowed anymore. The best part of the book's actually the Games itself - right after it started your adrenaline shot up and you, just like most of the Capitol's audience, would start rooting for your favorite victor.
The genius that is Collins would be the vivid description of Panem, including its characters. The Games environment reminds me of The Truman Show (and the survival part, The Running Man.) I love the invention of jabberjays, mockingjays, Avoxes, morphlings (still wonder what this really is), and taking it from the previous book - the trackerjackers. I also love the way she names the characters: Katniss, Peeta, Cinna, Plutarch Heavensbee, even Beetee and Finnick. Unfortunately, the only humdrum character in this book would be, drumroll please, Gale (is he taken from the Captain of The Sound of Music?)! Evidently, even as fans have started another version of Team Edward on Peeta, Gale would make Team Jacob fell asleep halfway through the first three chapters.
The huntress, Katniss, is not your average heroine - it's such a breath of fresh air that she should fall in love with Peeta, who bakes and paints. Though she can put on a dress, she'd rather set traps and hunts for games - she actually hates being waxed, stripped off her body hair! Instead of becoming a damsel in distress, she acts her own mind, and very protective of her family. She doesn't fall for Finnick Odair, a strong character that should make Gale cowers. Interestingly, Finnick is also human, and I'll just let you decide from reading this book.
Is the 2nd book better than the first one? Not really, but the ending makes me want to vomit - how long should I wait for the final installment? Maybe a trackerjacker should sting me in the heart. The waiting just felt that bad!(less)