Lured in by a cool concept of a kill gene running through the general populatiThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Lured in by a cool concept of a kill gene running through the general population, I thought Uninvited would be an interesting societal exploration of identified potential killers. Unfortunately, all I got was a lot of whine and self pity from the main character Davy. Bella Swan and Nora Jones has nothing on this girl, as I trudged through pages and pages of complaining and prejudging.
I just can’t believe this girl. The very second she is identified with the kill gene, she decides to lump herself in as a loser and stares at her fellow HTS carriers with judgey eyes. The ones who are violent and unfriendly are either thickset, have bulging eyes or bulbous noses. Why does everything bad have to be linked to an unattractive appearance? Think she’s got it pretty bad because she’s now a labelled killer? I’ve read plenty of starving heroines from dystopians who had more self worth than this one, and they’re the ones who really have something to complain about.
I could go on about Davy’s boyfriend Zac and supposed best friend Tori, and how they dumped her as soon as they heard the news, and how everyone and even her family boxes her away. Despite knowing Davy for most of her life, everyone suddenly treats her differently and are even afraid of her, condemning her to prison by their judgemental selves. But because Davy embodies the whole concept of judging someone she doesn’t know, and spouting self pity, I’m not going to complain about how others treat her. She creates her own problem and I’m not biting.
The book does pick up towards the very end, when Davy gets selected for special training which allows her to interact with more carriers who have the gene. I liked reading how those selected would be used by the government to execute orders, it was definitely disturbing and a violation of human rights. This part of the book was rushed really quickly though, right before the ending in an attempt to create a semblance of a conclusion. I wish there was more of a build up or something because the ending was unsatisfying.
It’s not all bad though, there was a lack of romance for most of the book. While there are some mushy scenes from the very first page, this ends quickly as Davy gets diagnosed. She does have this attraction to a HTS carrier, Sean, who wears a mark of violence, but there really isn’t too much of it until the very last pages.
Uninvited contains an interesting exploration into prejudice and societal pressures against people who commit violence, even though they aren’t proven killers. The moral of the story, is to break free of the mould that society places on yourself and have the confidence to be yourself. It’s just a shame about the amount of whining and Davy’s character really made the book hard to bear at times. She was the one dishing out the most judgement, which covered the true message of the book in that sense.
I received a review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review....more
I actually liked The Jewel at the start, until it devolved into a YA romance dThis review appears on Happy Indulgence - check it out for more reviews!
I actually liked The Jewel at the start, until it devolved into a YA romance disaster.
The setting and concept was actually pretty interesting, with a weird and chilling concept about lowerclass women with powers who become breeders for the royalty of the Jewel. This distinct violation of women's rights is completely wrong, but these women have to do it because their families are barely scraping by. They are pretty much torn away from their homes when they start having their period, and taught how to command their powers (or augurs), then auctioned off to the royalty where they get bought, then forced to become a surrogate for a baby and treated like a doll with no name.
With her beautiful violet eyes, doll face, cello playing and "the best augur powers in the last 15 years", Violet is just so special and privileged, yet she gets her basic human rights ripped away as she cannot escape from the Duchess, who puts a collar and chain on her anywhere they go in public. She has no say in what she wears, what she does and is pretty much forced to make a baby. It's all pretty disturbing if you tell me, and the fact that Violet was whining half the time didn't help either. In comparison with the rest of the Marsh (or poor people) she's so much better off living in extravagance, yet treated as a slave. I disliked this whole 'special snowflake' thing about her beauty, talent, intelligence all raved about throughout and in comparison with the Duchesses's niece who is ugly, desperate and god forbid, has a pimple. Oh the horrors, imagine being compared to her.
The Jewel's surrounds are absolutely lush and extravagant, with servants, ladies in waiting (who can strangely be men), endless dresses and jewellery and ballrooms. A half attempt at world building is made here and there, with the Duchesses racing to get a child and marry them off to get the most power. We're being spoonfed tidbits of information throughout, but we never really get any meaty answers which makes it frustrating. Why do the people of the Marsh have powers? Why are the ladies of the Jewel not able to produce healthy babies? How did this world become this way? You'd never know.
You see, the writing in The Jewel is actually pretty decent and kept me entertained for the most part. There were glimpses of where the plot could go, like Lucien saying he will help Violet escape, and it never arises until the very end. About halfway through, the plot reaches a standstill, fails to answer any questions, and then inserts a perfect guy who can relate to Violet's situation as a subservient slave, and makes them fall in love. After a few passing glances and one talk they are ready to give their hearts to each other and my eyes rolled out of my head.
My feelings on the Jewel are pretty much this: "too little, too late". At this point of the YA dystopian lifecycle, we've pretty much read it all, and they can all be compared to front runners such as The Hunger Games. Insert some flimsy world building and an insta-love romance and you'll be turning readers off left right and center, which is sadly what The Jewel did. It wasn't a bad read, it just didn't fully explore the full potential of the story and didn't stand out too much.
Thank you to Walker Books Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review....more
Pandora Jones Deception felt like a completely different story to Admission. InThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Pandora Jones Deception felt like a completely different story to Admission. In Admission, we received many different flashbacks, training and action for the students and Pan’s mysterious powers, but this one was pretty much an escape story.
There’s still a mysterious, sinister atmosphere in Deception, as Pan starts to put together things that are happening in the school. Unfortunately much of this didn’t really glean new information, until the very last pages. I did enjoy the psychological thriller aspects in the first book, but it felt like there was very little of that here. Instead, the focal point of the book is Pan and her previous bully Jen, forming an alliance, learning to trust each other and ultimately relying on each other to escape. I feel like the book skipped a beat, as Jen was a strong tormentor in the first book and I didn’t really understand why she would suddenly want to help Pan.
The main thing that prevented me from really enjoying Deception however, is that Pan is still a weak character that needs help. She undergoes a fair amount of exercise and training to get stronger, but in the end Jen is the one that really pulls her through. A bully and a weak girl with strong intuition – they aren’t exactly riveting characters, and I found myself bored at times and craved more development or complexity. The book also doesn’t explain Pan’s powers of intuition at all, and I continued to be frustrated at the lack of answers and development.
Pandora Jones Deception focused mainly on figuring out the mystery as revealed in the first book and an escape from their captors. While the suspense is still here, I wanted more reveals and character development for Pan. It does have a pretty shocking ending though, so I’ll probably read the final book.
I received a review copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. ...more
While The Last Girl explored some interesting concepts of a wThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Actual Rating: 2.5
While The Last Girl explored some interesting concepts of a world connected, The Last Shot ended up being an uninspired and stock standard sequel. Most of the story involves the psychopath Jack and Danby wanting to kill him and then attempting to escape him with some other survivors.
Jack is your typical dictator who is evil and has extreme influence through his insane charisma and leadership. Being a previous stoner and someone who wasn’t very respectable, I had no idea what the appeal was for Danby. Witnessing him raise people and manipulate him to do his own deeds was scary. Like a hive mind, he uses all of his minions into gaining knowledge, eating and even sleeping for him.
There wasn’t much to the story, I felt like it dragged through most of the 400 page story and ended up skimming the bulk of the book. There’s moments where the survivors who are hunted by Jack, try and escape him by travelling through Sydney’s rural areas. This mostly involved escaping, sneaking around, locating weapons, pillaging houses and finally locating military weapons, which is something that has been done before. Besides the emotional scenes where they have to put Danby’s brother Ethan under, to make sure that Jack doesn’t find them through Ethan’s mind, the bulk of the book involved a lot of padding and could have been condensed into a more succinct read.
Using medical explanations for the people who didn’t get affected by the Snap was an interesting concept, especially when it’s set in a relatively present day world. I hope more of this is explored in the last book, especially when it comes to Jack being able to awaken people into a daze that he can control.
Overall, I think The Last Shot was lack lustre and suffered from middle book syndrome. I do hope the final book in the trilogy is more exciting.
Thank you to Allen & Unwin Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review....more
There are two things which The Murder Complex reminds me of: the Reboot dThis review appears on Happy Indulgence Books. Check it out for more reviews!
There are two things which The Murder Complex reminds me of: the Reboot duology and a B grade futuristic cyber punk movie. It's not the first time cybernetic humans have been involved in a heavy romance where the plot revolves around saving them, which was reminiscent of Reboot by Amy Tintera. The B grade movie part comes from the cool, futuristic setting with many different concepts, but it's certainly not blockbuster because none of them are fully explored.
Sometimes we have to give up little pieces of our humanity so that we can keep on living.
The book is set in a complex, futuristic world filled where overpopulation is controlled by giving candidates jobs after they murder their match at the Initiative Center. From the beginning, the world building feels terribly familiar as Meadow is matched against another Initiative at the testing center, her test is inconclusive and she is trying to protect her younger sister Peri. All of these details, down to the train running through the city makes me think Hunger Games and Divergent, which didn't give me the best impression at the start.
Delving deeper into the book will yield some truly confusing world building that is never really explained. From the population adhering to Commandments, to areas with capitol letters such as the Ward Reserve and the Catalogue Dome, and a whole heap of other terminology like creds, wards and the Dark Time, everything is thrown around willy nilly without an explanation of what it all means. Check out this sentence for example:
"People die. Kids become Wards, and the world's a big pile of skitz, but so what? There's nothing you can do about it."
Say what? Trying to follow all of it was a frustrating and unnecessary experience.
Like many dystopians, The Murder Complex uses romance as it's focal point, completely disregarding the confusing mess of the world it built. Instead of the characters at least getting to know each other, Zephyr conveniently dreams of a "moonlit girl with silvery blonde hair" which is of course, Meadow. As soon as he sees Meadow, he's infatuated with her and the L word is dropped way too soon. Which results in a romance that feels forced, and even when Zephyr tries to kill her as a result of the Murder Complex (another concept which isn't really explained until half the book is over), Meadow doesn't stay away.
This has set the precedent then, as Zephyr intentionally smashes her head with a metal pipe as a method of saving her. And then they proceed to kiss passionately. The first time, he had the excuse of not being in control of his own body, but the second was all him. I probably don't need to say it but this is just so wrong in so many ways. I don't condone violence against women and no amount of justifying could make that okay.
"My entire life, I have been taught that darkness is death. Darkness is horror, and blood, and now, darkness is when my mother sets her monsters loose."
The Murder Complex holds no bars when it comes to the bloody violence in the book with both Zephyr and Meadow creating lots of dead bodies, torturing, jaw snapping and killing. I can understand why Zephyr is overpowered because he's a killing machine, but having Meadow being relatively untouchable because of her father's training just makes things unrealistic.
With a confusing futuristic sci-fi dystopian setting and a forced, insta-love romance, The Murder Complex couldn't redeem itself for me even with it's interesting kill switch concept. This book was bloody, violent and incredibly frustrating to read, hence my comparison to the B grade movie. It will take a lot these days for a dystopian to wow me, and The Murder Complex wasn't unique enough to capture and hold my attention. There's also a frustrating cliffhanger into the next book which I'm not reading.
I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All quotes have been taken from the ARC which may have changed at the time of publishing....more
Lacking the revolutionary struggles of the constrained society in Divergent, and the badassery and depth of character development of June in Legend, ILacking the revolutionary struggles of the constrained society in Divergent, and the badassery and depth of character development of June in Legend, I found Reboot by Amy Tintera to be lackluster in comparison. It's already been optioned for a movie by Fox and is receiving rave reviews everywhere, but unfortunately, I couldn't see the appeal.
The concept of Rebooted humans who wake up minutes after their death stronger, faster, and with healing abilities, is appealing and unique. Those who wake up sooner after their death are more attuned to their human emotions than those who woke up later. Wren, who woke up 178 minutes after her death, is the perfect soldier. She takes on board a new student, Callum (or number 22) who is closer to human than most. He's weak, emotional, and is going to be a problem...at least when it comes to HARC, who trains the Reboots to extract or assassinate humans.
Click here for the full review on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
I received a copy of Reboot from the publisher via Readplus, in exchange for an honest review....more
Disappointing, compared to Matched. Suffered the "middle of the trilogy" blues where nothing significant happens, merely setting you up for the finaleDisappointing, compared to Matched. Suffered the "middle of the trilogy" blues where nothing significant happens, merely setting you up for the finale. It failed to grab me after halfway through the book, when I realised nothing was really happening (and was probably not going to happen) until the last book.
Halfway through reading, I realised how bleak and depressing the whole dystopian theme is, even more so when the only thing to anchor you is another person. I'm not sure whether it has something to do with the writing or whether nothing really happens.
Also for some reason, Ally Condie has decided to add a dual narrator to the book, alternating between Ky and Cassia. What is the purpose of that? If it wasn't for the certain characters that were around them, I couldn't tell the difference between them to be honest. Several times I had to flick back to check who I was reading about.
To be honest, it felt like the whole "Pilot" thing was introduced as a means into making this into a trilogy. There was no hint or mention about this in the first book. Also there was supposed to be a "secret" about both Xander and Ky, but when you find out what it is, it was quite whoop-de-doo.
Let's just hope the end of the trilogy redeems it, because it started off with a bang and it's already starting to simmer.
I loved the Legend series and was eagerly awaiting ChThis review has been posted on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Actual Rating: 3.5
I loved the Legend series and was eagerly awaiting Champion as the conclusion to the series, after all the major plot points in Prodigy. While it was a beautiful ending to the series, I just found the rest of the book to be political ridden and kind of boring.
While Legend was filled with heart stopping action and world building, Prodigy with excellent character development between the two kick ass leads, Champion was mainly about politics and wrapping things up. The Republic is finally at war with the Colonies and both June and Day use their high ranking positions to protect the country and the people they love, but what I really wanted to see was more action, more kick ass fighting scenes, more June and Day. Instead, what I got were political developments and outside world building that I didn’t really care about at this late stage of the series.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that an author can take a dystopian outside of the immediate country and show us the world at large. We were taken to Antarctica, which was humorously set out like a MMORPG with points assigned to every action, and a map at the start of the book shows us America split up into the Republic and the Colonies. Champion was about the good of the country while the first two books were more intimate, with June and Day were focusing on their people and the Republic.
June as the Princeps-Elect, while seemingly perfect at the time, was a poor fit at best as she spent the bulk of Champion hidden away in Senate chambers and meeting with government officials when she could be kicking ass in the front lines. As she follows in the footsteps of the new young Elector Anden, we’re as bored as she is as she comes to the conclusion that politics is not for her.
I hate Senate meetings. I hate them with a passion – nothing but a sea of bickering politicians and talking heads, talking talking talking all the time when I could instead be out in the streets, giving a mind and body a healthy workout. - June
Day is struck down by illness but spends the bulk of his time protecting his brother and trying to contain he deadly plague that has broken out in The Republic. He spends a lot of time thinking about June, pouring his heart and soul out to her. These two are the perfect couple, with Day as the emotional solider led by his heart and instinct and June as your constantly aware, analysing and calculating high ranking official. I wanted more romance between them, instead of other people getting in the way *cough Anden* in the love square (yep, that’s a double love triangle).
Despite my relative apathy with the rest of the book, the ending is one that is wrought with emotion where I found myself getting teary. Lu gave us exactly what us readers were looking for, and what June and Day deserve, with an epilogue to tie it all up. It gave us something crucial that many dystopian endings do not – an element of hope, that things would work out for the better. While Legend and Prodigy left us breathless, Champion ties up the loose ends, with Tess maturing throughout the journey, June figuring out her feelings for Anden and Day dealing with his sickness.
“You drive me insane, June…You’re the scariest, most clever, bravest person I know, and sometimes I can’t catch my breath because I’m trying so hard to keep up.” – Day.
It’s with a heavy heart that we say goodbye to June and Day, but I’m kind of glad that’s where they ended up. The Legend trilogy is a series I’d recommend to everyone, for it’s amazing kickass couple, heart stopping action and military focus. I’m not sure where else Champion could have went, but that ending was perfect.
Thank you to Penguin Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review....more
As I was warned, After The End isn’t a dystopian but instead, a contemporary/dThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
As I was warned, After The End isn’t a dystopian but instead, a contemporary/dystopian blend. It features an interesting outlook from a girl who thinks that World War III has happened and that her clan are the only survivors, but finds out she was lied to all along.
Juneau has lived in the Alaskan wilderness all of her life, and when her clan goes missing, she stumbles upon civilization in her search. I could not imagine how incredibly unsettling and traumatic this would be, and Juneau gets accustomed to the new world and technology a bit too quickly and easily. For someone who was brought up in the wilderness, without anyone to teach her what things are, she gets used to the idea of iPhones a bit too easily and doesn’t display signs of trauma or shock. Searching for Sky was a reverse dystopian who did this aspect really well, which influenced my thoughts here.
Sorry I tried to impress my dad by finding her. Sorry I’ve been making fun of a brainwashed girl for a delusion she can’t help. Sorry I egged her on just to make my point.
The other lead character in the book was Miles, whose character I just wasn’t convinced on. I just didn’t know what his intention was; he tracks down Juneau to bring her back to his dad’s organisation, but then he camps out in the woods with her and decides to drive her around. He just thinks Juneau is this weird girl and doesn’t believe everything she says, yet somehow he still ends up having feelings for her. I felt the relationship was quite forced and wasn’t convinced at all, given how close-minded Miles was.
I did like the paranormal aspects in the novel though. Juneau has a star on her right pupil and has powers from ‘connecting to the Yara’, a spiritual guide. She can see through people’s eyes in a fire, morph her appearance, even use people as oracles to guide her way. You’ll wonder why she has these powers to begin with, but surprisingly the ending actually gave a valid explanation for everything. I was actually pretty impressed, given my earlier skepticism. It ends on a pretty annoying cliffhanger though.
Although After The End had quite a few illogical and unconvincing parts, and a character I was slightly offended at, it still managed to provide an interesting story with an unusual girl. It really made me think how I would react if I was in that situation and what I would do when I found myself alone from everything I ever knew. An interesting concept, as long as you don’t pick it up expecting a dystopian.
I received this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All quotes have been taken from the ARC which may have changed at the time of publishing. ...more
See while Stephanie Meyer has really capitilised on her Twilight series, she really does such as a writer. You gotta give her points for thinking up uSee while Stephanie Meyer has really capitilised on her Twilight series, she really does such as a writer. You gotta give her points for thinking up unique, fascinating worlds in her head but when it comes out in her writing it just doesn't work. If you read this book because you read Twilight, this is nothing like that. The start and the end were good but I was so disappointed to find that 80% of the book happens underground. How boring! A better writer could create intrigue and better character development but sorry to say I didn't really care about the characters as all. Sadly, I stuck to my "stick to the book until the end and rate it then" but this is one of the cases that I regretted. Let's give up while we are ahead - I'm not going to continue reading any of her books, including the sequel to The Host. Also it is nothing like Twilight which could only be a good thing but surprisingly not....more
I have one problem with Red Queen: it was SO boring! I was literally sitting hThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
I have one problem with Red Queen: it was SO boring! I was literally sitting here, waiting for something to actually happen other than Mare's romantic escapades with the Princes. But it was just disappointment for me.
The concept of the book was interesting, with people who bleed red or silver blood. Because of evolution, those who bleed silver can command superpowers. Mare is a red born and bred, but when she discovers her lightning powers in the royal court, she gets betrothed to the Prince so they can keep her under close watch. Which begs the question: Why didn't they just kill Mare? While reading the book, it seemed like this would have been the most convenient solution, instead of training her to become more powerful and opening themselves to a threat. Especially after I learnt they were killing off others in the background.
This was only one of my unanswered questions, which began to pile up while reading the book. How did the silvers get their powers? How did the world come to be? If Mare was suspicious, why is she being kept there? Why is Mare trusting Maven? How was the Scarlet Guard formed? There were so many plot holes, sacrificing world building and explanations in exchange for Mare's developing feelings for the two princes.
Silvers being the elite class and all of them being evil and corrupt, and Reds being honest, hardworking people was such an overused trope in fantasy novels. There was a lot of commentary about the classes and the injustice of it all, but I wanted to lot more basis for the revolution other than the Silvers oppressing the reds. After all, the world in a dystopian novel is the reason why we're attracted to reading it in the first place, and if it's not developed properly then I can't enjoy the story.
You may have guessed that most of the plot focuses on the romance. I felt no chemistry between her and the young prince Maven, even as they developed a trusting friendship. Cal, the crown prince was a much more interesting character, who would go behind the back of his fiancee to kiss Mare. I just didn't like any of the love interests because they just felt so dull and boring.
Mare was also a typical dystopian heroine which the entire red society is pinning on for hope of revolution. She learns her powers quickly through training, is so beautiful and attractive that no less than three guys like her (the third being a Gale like friend at home) and is the key to a revolution. Mare and the rest of the other characters just felt so bland that I couldn't really get into the book.
Superpowers are always good, and Mare's lightning powers and the brothers' fire was fascinating. I liked the blend of powers, fantasy and dystopian genres, although I wish they were developed a little more. I also really enjoyed the twist at the end and the last part of the book presented for the action that I'd been waiting for alll book. These last few chapters may have saved the book for me, but it was too little too late.
Red Queen borrowed heavily from other popular dystopian reads, like Hunger Games (revolution and figurehead), Red Rising (colour coded class based system) and Divergent (Mare's blend of powers). Most of the book was dry and boring and I couldn't connect to the romance, characters or the world, especially due to the underdeveloped world. You might like it if you're looking for more of the same, but after reading the fantastic Golden Son, this was just so bland in comparison.
This wasn't a bad read, I was just disappointed because my expectations were sky high.
Thank you to Hachette Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review...more