I am so glad that I took the precaution of checking out A Dance With Dragons from my library in anticipation of finishing
Ready to Dance With Dragons!
I am so glad that I took the precaution of checking out A Dance With Dragons from my library in anticipation of finishing A Feast For Crows and also bringing ADWD with me today. I will be starting that book during my lunch break and can hardly wait. This won't be a full review, but I will just note that it was interesting to be inside the head of characters we've only previously seen filtered through other characters' perspectives. I am thinking particularly of Cersei and Brienne.
(view spoiler)[It was fascinating to realize how many of her actions were governed by a desire to thwart the prophesy that the Maegie foretold in Cersei's childhood visit to her tent. As she was taking steps to incriminate Margaery, I couldn't help thinking that this would be one of those classic instances where somebody's steps to thwart a prophecy actually caused it to be fulfilled. And it looks as though I'm right (though that story was still unresolved by the end of the book). I'll be very curious to see the next developments in ADWD. (hide spoiler)]
I was so excited to finally get my hands on this final installment of the Slated trilogy. I can't even express how frustrating it was to know that UKI was so excited to finally get my hands on this final installment of the Slated trilogy. I can't even express how frustrating it was to know that UK readers had this book in their possession so far ahead of the US.
Before she was Slated, Kyla Davis was known as Lucy Connor. After her abduction at age ten by the AGT (Antigovernment Terrorists), but before being Slated, she was known as Rain. As Shattered opens, she is being given another new identity and cover story. She is to be known as Riley Kain, an eighteen-year old who is to live in a group home for under-21 young women, Waterfall House for Girls, while enrolled in CAS (Cumbrian Apprenticeship Scheme).* The director of the home is Stella Connor, the mother Lucy/Rain/Kyla/Riley does not remember from her life to age ten.
While living at the home, our heroine begins to regain more of her lost memories, and before long she pieces together evidence suggesting that her past is even more complicated than she had ever suspected, and that the situations she has faced were orchestrated on levels she never would have imagined possible. Along the way, she discovers that the government enforcers known as Lorders have been committing atrocities that they would never want the public to know about. Can she make evidence of those atrocities known? With the stakes become ever higher, Kyla struggles to become part of the solution that could end the current government's reign of terror.
This final installment in the trilogy wrapped up the story in a way I found satisfying. Although there was a somewhat idealistic about face at a very high level of government, Terry took pains to avoid wrapping things up too neatly. There are messy loose ends, and some painful losses, as there should be, but also a sense of triumph. And as I suggested in my title for this post, I am sad to say goodbye to these characters and this world.
*It's kind of a fun coincidence that I recently posted on the issue of [premature] adulthood in YA dystopian novels. Teri Terry did exactly what I suggested a YA dystopian author should do: create a world where official adulthood is delayed rather than pushed ever earlier. In the Slatedverse, young adults under 21 must live in group homes....more
I finished this during a ten-mile run. I was just finishing mile six when the recording ended. WHAT?!?!?! Fortunately, I had back-up entertainment, asI finished this during a ten-mile run. I was just finishing mile six when the recording ended. WHAT?!?!?! Fortunately, I had back-up entertainment, as I'd brought the earpiece to my phone, allowing me to use the phone's radio.
Alternate Title: Stalled I am a sucker for "read now" books from NetGalley. I grabbed Divided (the second book in this trilogy) when I glanced at theAlternate Title: Stalled I am a sucker for "read now" books from NetGalley. I grabbed Divided (the second book in this trilogy) when I glanced at the description that recommended the series to Divergent fans. Then I downloaded Dualed from my library's e-collection so I could get caught up. I think maybe they should have said "recommended to Divergent fans who thought Divergent's world was too plausible."
In Dualed, the first-person, present-tense POV character is West Grayer, a 15-year-old girl who lives in Kersh, a fenced-in city in a future Pacific Northwest. Prospective parents cannot have children the old-fashioned way anymore, because sci-fi reasons, so when they decide to have them, they need to go the Board, which appears to be in charge of pretty much everything in Kersh. Each couple's DNA is mixed with another couple's DNA, and each mother then is impregnated with an identical-twin embryo derived from that mix. These biological twins, raised in different families, are one another's "alt." Sometime between age ten and just shy of twenty, each alt-pair is "activated": given 30 days to face off, so that one of the alts kills the other. The surviving alt is then considered "complete." The rationale for this system is supposed to be that each "complete" is the stronger, more "worthy" of the two, so that Kersh's population is best suited to warfare should those outside of the Kersh walls should ever stir up trouble.
Still with me? This world... Can you imagine anyone agreeing to any of this? "Hello, happy future parents! Your lovely child probably has a roughly 50-50 chance at being killed before age 20! By an identical twin! What could be the downside of THAT?!?!" So think about this... Throughout the city, anyone can get caught in the crossfire of a completion. And people just casually sit by while these kills go on around them.
Naturally, there are also ways to game the system, such as paying a "striker" to kill one's alt. Besides having the option of paying for a striker, wealthier families can afford more and better training for their children.
West becomes an active relatively early in the narrative, and then spends the bulk of her story stalling. Even though her whole philosophy when advising anyone else who becomes an active is to not wait, but go in for a completion as early as possible, before the alt has a chance to form a plan.
Since this is the first book in a trilogy, I didn't have a whole lot of suspense over whether West or her alt would finally (finally!) be the one to prevail. But I spent much of the reading wishing she'd just get on with it. And frankly, the narrative didn't give me all that much reason to favor West over her alt. Mostly, I kept coming back to how messed up their world is. Oh. And in case you might be thinking how cool it would be if a couple of alts decided to buck the system and NOT kill each other? That would fail because if they are both alive at the conclusion of their 30 days, they BOTH die.
There is a love interest, of course, but West's sudden emotions about him felt unearned. It was as if he walked onto stage holding a sign saying, "I'm the love interest," and from then on, he just was.
One positive thing I will note is that the book does come to its own conclusion. It does wrap up the major plotline that it sets up, instead of stopping in the middle of its climax and asking readers to pick up book two to find out how that unravels. I mention that because I've had just that happen in other trilogies recently, and I wasn't happy about it. So this book at least does not do that. There is obviously room for the story to continue, and maybe in Divided, the characters will start working on making their society more plausible....more
It's never "question" in New World; just "ask" or "askin'."
Anyway, I just finished this, but I am thinking I wilWhy did they lose the word "question"?
It's never "question" in New World; just "ask" or "askin'."
Anyway, I just finished this, but I am thinking I will hold off on reviewing until I've read the third book, and then I'll write up my thoughts on the entire trilogy. Luckily, I have the next installment with me. [rubs hands together and looks mischievous]...more
"You" are a Golden "You" are Layla Golden. "I" am her little sister Nell. "We" are 17 months apart in age and live in San Francisco, where "we" shuttl"You" are a Golden "You" are Layla Golden. "I" am her little sister Nell. "We" are 17 months apart in age and live in San Francisco, where "we" shuttle between our divorced parents and attend City Day School.
Sound crazy? The first-person narrator is 15-year-old Nell Golden, who recounts her story while addressing her sister Layla as "you," thereby placing the reader in the "Layla" role. I found this a little off-putting at times, especially when "I" was being told things that "I" would undoubtedly already know. I found myself making notes of "As you know, Bob" on some of the text. Then there was even an actual "As you know," to which I simply added a note of "Bob."
Layla has a big secret. Nell feels obligated to keep it, because she and Layla have always been close. She doesn't want to betray her.
And cliffhanger. Don't get me wrong. I enjoyed this enough that I want to read the next installment(s). BUT. I am going to have to take a break from trilogies one of these days. Why do I keep doing this to myself? And I let NetGalley feed my habit, too! I've just downloaded what is book two in a series, and I've obtained book one from my library's e-collection so I can get caught up. And then there is that trilogy I'm listening to in audio form. Too many!
I received this book as a free, uncorrected galley from NetGalley. This does not prevent me from writing an honest review....more
This book came to me as a free, uncorrected proof from NetGalley. This does not hinder my ability to provide anSteeping in the World of Mortal Danger
This book came to me as a free, uncorrected proof from NetGalley. This does not hinder my ability to provide an honest review.
I finished this book last night, just before going to sleep. I definitely was not ready to let go of this book's world, and I am anxious to read the next installment. I wish I could get my hands on it right now!
Edith Kramer, a junior at an exclusive Boston prep school, the Blackbriar Academy, is on the verge of suicide, after extreme bullying from the "Teflon crew"--the powerful, popular clique in her grade at school--pushes her to her limit. She is on a bridge, right on the verge of jumping, when a handsome, mysterious stranger places his hand on her shoulder to stop her. He convinces her to accompany him to a diner, where he makes her an offer: she can have three favors, of any kind. The first must be fulfilled within one year, while she has five years to select the other two. Once she has cashed in her three favors, she in turn will be asked to perform three requests, all of which will be in her power to complete. If this strikes you as awfully close to various wish-granting stories that always go awry, you are not alone. Edie (as she prefers to be called) thinks the same thing, citing Stephen King's "The Monkey's Paw," and is very careful about seeking assurances about the nature of the favor-granting.
I don't want to say too much, because I'd hate to spoil too many of the surprises that this book holds. Yes, there is an element of "be careful what you wish for," as well as the downside of revenge fantasies. This book deftly blends sci-fi, fantasy, mythology, romance (though I'm not usually a fan of that!), and human psychology. As the first installment of a trilogy, it does leave much of the story yet to be told, but it also has its own satisfying plot resolutions (though not neatly wrapped, by any means, because trilogy).
So who would I recommend this to? Are you a fan of Buffy? Supernatural? Grimm? Once Upon a Time? If you answered "yes" to any of these, I think you'd enjoy Mortal Danger....more
A Qualified Three Stars I received this book free from NetGalley as an uncorrected advance copy. This does not impede my ability to provide an honestA Qualified Three Stars I received this book free from NetGalley as an uncorrected advance copy. This does not impede my ability to provide an honest review.
I'm not exactly sure what made me curious enough to obtain this book from NetGalley, as I had read The Clique as part of a group read/dare and despised it. There is just so much wrong with that book, and it makes me queasy to think that it has fans who emulate its shallow protagonists. I guess the upside of my previous experience is that I went into this read with low expectations. I was pleasantly surprised that I found this to be a fun, albeit fluffy read, though I will issue a caveat that I allude to in my title for this review. I almost knocked this book down to two stars for the ending--or lack thereof. Not only does this book end in "cliffhanger" fashion, but it really just stops, with nothing resolved, right at the climax of the story. The only reason I decided not to take off a star is that I really did feel compelled to keep reading until I reached that not-end, and now I am curious to see what happens next.
So, here is the premise: Noble High is a top-ranked public school in northern New Jersey, known as "the Harvard of High Schools." Families move into Noble, NJ for the school alone. Students at the school feel a tremendous amount of pressure to "achieve or leave." Every year, five freshmen are chosen by popular vote as the "Phoenix Five," a prestigious award given for being the most outstanding students in their class, commemorated in the yearbook, The Phoenix. The following fall, September 2012, students return to school to discover that someone has stolen, reproduced, and bound the private journals of these five students and left a copy propped up against the locker of every student in the school. The journals had been an English-class assignment and were kept locked up in the teachers lounge. One of the Phoenix Five has broken in and stolen the journals, hoping to discover whether these fellow students are truly outstanding. The motive for "exposing them" is that the perpetrator is tired of feeling the need to present a facade of perfection and hopes everyone can get "real."
That explanation appears in the introduction, and what follows are entries from the journals of these five students, three girls and two boys in the freshman class of the 2011-2012 academic year. I'm happy to report that I didn't hate any of them, though early on I had some concerns about Sheridan Spencer, who identified herself as a Clique fan who thought it was a good idea to channel Massie Block from that series. When she asked herself "What would Massie do?" I highlighted that text and wrote this as a note (in my Kindle): "She would leave this book because I hate her." But then thankgodfully, Harrison has the "Massie Block" strategy fail, with a glorious reaction from Octavia, the recipient of Sheridan's "Massie" style repartee. "Silly Sheridan, cliques are for kids" and "This girl beside me thinks she's Massie Block and I told her she should try to be herself instead. Or at least pick someone more current to copy."
There are a couple of my writing peeves in this book. One is the YA trend of describing the skin color of persons of color in terms of food, e.g. "caramel" and "butterscotch." As for the latter, I don't think this person is meant to be yellow-gold, which is what I picture when I see the word "butterscotch." As an aside, I will mention that the NanoWriMo book I started and abandoned this past November is a YA dystopian parody where the whitefolk also are described this way, as in "skin the color of coconut milk." Heh heh. The other peeve is when a character blushes and describes what color her face turns. Unless there is a mirror in the room, you don't know what color your face is turning. Maybe your face feels hot, and you can speculate that your face has probably turned some variation of red or another color close to that one the color chart, but you don't know this. Many authors do this (::cough::StephenieMeyer::cough::E.L.James::cough::) and I hate it every time.
So I will finish with this: I am curious to see what happens next. I'll happily accept if NetGalley wishes to send me that book as an ARC, too. If not, I'll watch for it in my library....more