Countdown immediately caught my attention due to it’s similarities to Hun...moreThis review also appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Countdown immediately caught my attention due to it’s similarities to Hunger Games, where subscribers tune in to watch a cruel reality TV show involving deaths on screen. However, it wasn’t just a direct copy – it took the main idea and changed it into something new and exciting.
Instead of being forced to kill each other in an arena, Countdown is a show where two criminals must compete in a series of trials in order to gain their freedom, which for Kira, is a one way ticket to a perfect life in the colonies. Kira and Rogan are held prisoner to the implants in their head, which will administer a deathly shock if they venture too far from each other or do not comply with the show’s direction. The only thing that gives them any hope of escaping is Kira’s psi abilities, where she can read people’s innermost feelings and even thoughts.
When we first meet Rogan, we are led to believe that he is a murderer and that Kira is stuck with him throughout the course of the show. As the two work together, they learn each others secrets and get to know each other intimately. Perhaps because of their forced circumstance, an obvious romance develops, which I enjoyed as it developed over the course of the novel. There are some predictable plot devices which will occur now and again throughout the novel, such as saying it was Rogan responsible for the deaths of Kira’s family,
“I feel a sense of loss if I’m not working against a countdown. Sue me.” – Kira.
Kira is a great character who is determined to win the show and her psi ability and being a master pickpocket on the streets helps her out immensely. She’s smart, savvy and can handle her own two feet even without Rogan. I liked how she trusted her intuition (which also could have been her psi abilities) which was mostly spot on when it came to people. Rogan was your typical reformed bad boy who is now trying to prove himself. I took a while to warm up to him, knowing about his dark past, but all his actions were honest and he only proved to be an asset as he kept on saving Kira.
Outside of the Countdown show, there is barely any world building going on and a lot of questions will go unanswered about how the show came to be and why the subscribers would agree to these implants in their head. We’re simply told that a plague happens that took out most of the humans, and the perfect place where there is peace and no murder, killing or crime is The Colony. This makes it difficult to connect with and would be frustrating if you thought about it too much.
Perhaps the coolest part of Countdown for me was how it explored artificial intelligence. The geek in me loved reading about how the A.I. was used in the book, especially when they started talking about how deeply ingrained it was into Countdown. The other unique part of the book were the psi abilities, which unfortunately led to a few more questions that were sadly unanswered, like how its integrated into the world.
Overall, I enjoyed Countdown with the fast-paced action and unique mesh of a cruel reality TV show with psi and A.I. As long as you don’t mind the absent world building, there are some great characters developed over the course of the novel and struggling against their seemingly impossible circumstances. It’s great how it’s a standalone too, so everything is wrapped up nicely in the end.
Thank you Harlequin Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review!(less)
Pawn caught me off guard with the sheer amount of corruption,...moreThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Actual Rating: 4.5
Pawn caught me off guard with the sheer amount of corruption, backstabbing, and manipulation there was. The book was like a chess game, where Kitty is wedged between two powerful people with opposing agendas. They think she’s just a pawn in their twisted game, but she ends up besting them all. And I loved every minute of it.
At first glance, Pawn sounds like your average dystopian, where it uses an aptitude test to determine what people become in life. Those assigned a ranking of III or below are doomed to a life of poverty and prostitution, while those with a VI or higher are given fame, fortune or a high ranking official status. But it’s so much more, as Kitty becomes Masked as the daughter of the most powerful family in the country, and that’s where the story really takes off.
Before today, I had never questioned the ranking system. It was there to give us what we deserved so we could make the most of our natural abilities. - Kitty
Instead of having the ruling family as a simple entity, Pawn places Kitty at the heart of the action. She becomes a part of the most powerful family in the country, with their fame, fortune, and power…and lies, backstabbing, secret agendas and assassinations for the sake of power. I was wowed by the sheer amount of manipulation, with the prime minister Daxton and grandmother Augusta wanting to use Kitty for their own agenda, while Lila’s mother Celia pushing her for revenge. It was fascinating watching Kitty maneuver through the dangerous waters, never letting anyone push her around, even with her life in constant danger.
Having Kitty ranked as a III simply because she ran out of time wasn’t really believable, as she demonstrates her strength, courage, and intelligence throughout the book. In only eleven days, she picks up Lila’s accent and behaviour and is ready to assume her life. Despite this gripe, Kitty was an easy character to get behind, with her rebellious streak standing up to those who are trying to push her around, and making sure her boyfriend was always protected.
It was refreshing to have the romance as a secondary focus in Pawn, letting the action and story take center stage instead. Kitty and Benjy’s relationship started before the story begins, that way there’s no need to develop it further without making it into an insta-love affair. Their romance is sweet and strong and even though Benjy is pretty much your cookie cutter protective boyfriend, it was great without the relationship drama. There’s no love triangle either which is a bonus – retaining your focus on the constant entropy that is Pawn.
They had taken away my face and a name, but I’d thought there was no way they could take away who I really was - Kitty
Where there’s conspiracies and a rebellion brewing in the background, there’ll be shocking revelations, deaths, and secrets revealed. Aimee Carter doesn’t hold back on this one, as the constant twists and turns are filled throughout the book. Like a Chess game, you don’t know what the author’s next move would be and the direction of Pawn was completely unpredictable.
Pawn is one of the most exciting and refreshing dystopians I’ve read this year. Although the world building is limited, it’s the intrigue behind the twisted family agendas and Kitty’s stubborn streak that kept me reading. Without the frustrating YA elements, it was even better and I can’t wait for Captive to come out.
Thank you to Harlequin Australia for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review.(less)
In her debut, Samantha Shannon blew me away with the highly imaginative setting of The Bone Season, where clairvoyants are hidden away within the city...moreIn her debut, Samantha Shannon blew me away with the highly imaginative setting of The Bone Season, where clairvoyants are hidden away within the city of Scion London and the alien race of the Rephaim holds the government in its evil clutches.
In the riveting world of The Bone Season, there are seven classes of clairvoyants, from necromancers to seers to dreamwalkers and mediums who will immediately be captured by the government should they hint at their magical powers. Paige Mahoney, employed by the Seven Seals in Scion’s criminal underworld, has a unique power of being a dreamwalker. She can leave her body and invade other people’s dreamscapes – where people’s memories are stored – possess them and cause massive spiritual damage to the victim.
The Bone Season is one to watch with its richly detailed, fantastical world of clairvoyants and Rephaims. I highly recommend it to readers who are looking for a unique read that blends magic, dystopia and fantasy. I’m really glad to hear that there are seven more after this because no doubt it will be amazing!
I loved the Legend series and was eagerly awaiting Ch...moreThis 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.(less)
Lacking the revolutionary struggles of the constrained society in Divergent, and the badassery and depth of character development of June in Legend, I...moreLacking 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.(less)
I've never read a dystopian like The Man Who Watched the World End, one that is...moreThis review appears on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
I've never read a dystopian like The Man Who Watched the World End, one that is set after the post apocalyptic events have occurred and not amidst the action. There are no other living humans in sight, aside from the narrator and his brother, and they are both old men nearing the end of their lives. In his somber, quiet and watchful existence, this man writes journal entries every day about living out the rest of his life.
The concept behind the end of the world is a new one, explored in great detail throughout the man's accounts of the past (we never learn his name). The Great De-Evolution is the event where humans have devolved, and all newborn babies were born as comatose 'blocks', without the ability to think, move or speak. The gestation rate for these babies became to climb and soon, all babies that were born became blocks. Humans began to slowly fade out, as these new blocks could not attend school, couldn't reproduce, or even think for themselves.
The narrator's only company is his brother Andrew, a few years his junior who is a block. Every day, he speaks to his brother as if he was a walking, talking human being, and acts as his care taker. In his heartfelt and touching journal entries, he reminisces about how his parents ushered him to treat Andrew with love and respect as an equal, even though Andrew isn't like him. Even in his old age, you can see the love that this old man has for Andrew, and how appreciative he is of his brother keeping him company until the end.
Despite the narrator's fixation to his house, never really going anywhere else, the book holds your interest with his stories about the end of the world. The world building is in-depth and extensive, as he covers everything from the last cricket game, prejudice against those who gave birth, blocks being maltreated and the declining importance of higher education and even religion. Other countries dealt with the de-evolution in differing ways, although the outcome was the same. This is the end of the world as we know it, with scientists failing to figure out a way to create test tube babies that were healthy and 'normal' humans dying out.
All types of food could be created out of a magical food processor that makes food out of nothing, which was a bit of a convenient way to cover that issue. The aging man doesn't need to hunt, cook or capture anything so he stays in his house and watches DVDs with Andrew. Not to mention the dangers of going outside - since humans devolved from being the dominant species, all types of animals went to fend for themselves in the wild, with some more successful than others. Animals post a constant threat to the man which is why he chooses to be holed up instead of leaving the town of Camelot and joining a colony further south.
While the concept of The Man Who Watched the World End was definitely interesting and covered in depth, there isn't much to be achieved by an old man that refuses to leave his house or look for other chances of survival. He often regrets that he didn't leave and join a colony sooner when he still had his health, and also thinks about his neighbours leaving him alone without saying goodbye. There's quite a lot of repetition throughout the book about this, and about his block brother not being able to do anything - after the 30th time of explaining why his block brother couldn't' react, couldn't move a muscle, couldn't think and speak, I thought the book could have benefited from a bit of editing.
Despite these minor issues, I quite enjoyed this book as a unique, well thought-out dystopian that is so different than any other I've read. It's more about a heart felt story about mortality, regrets and the deep bond of family love. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a different dystopian with excellent world building in the place of action.
I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review.(less)
Reminiscent of the TV show Alias and the movie SALT, ACID is a futurist...moreThis review has been posted on Happy Indulgence. Check it out for more reviews!
Reminiscent of the TV show Alias and the movie SALT, ACID is a futuristic dystopian featuring a kickass main character assuming multiple identities throughout the novel, with nonstop action, romance and constant twists and turns.
Jenna Strong is serving a life sentence in prison for killing her parents. Despite being the only female, she can take on even the most hardened criminals with a flick of her wrist. One day, her trusted confidante Dr Fisher helps her escape prison - while getting murdered by the ACID police in the process - who pin it all on Jenna. With the best surgeons at work, Jenna is given a new face and a new identity to start a new life...as Mia Richardson.
As a hardened criminal, privileged citizen, fugitive, extremist and saviour, Jenna assumes multiple identities throughout the novel which shows different sides to her. She undergoes major character development as she learns more about the world controlled by ACID. When she meets Max, someone who she rescues and feels obligated to accompany, Jenna's demeanour softens and her caring side comes out. The romance slowly develops over the course of the novel and Max's trust in Jenna furthers her character development, and it never detracts from the story.
Set in futuristic International Republic of Britain, the world of ACID is fleshed out elegantly in detail. ACID is the police force that controls every from the news, information, transport, and even who people partner with (Life Partners) and when they can have children. We learn more about the world through snippets from the news and letters scattered throughout the book, and the world building flowed naturally throughout the story.
While most of the book was captivating, I found it lost momentum later on. A major plot twist happens where the reader knows what is going on miles ahead of the character itself, so when she realises we're already disengaged. While the ending wrapped up everything nicely, it just seemed a little too convenient as a solution to the constrained society.
I love how this book is a standalone novel, and there's no dragging out loose ends for the sake of being a series. The epilogue gives us the perfect amount of closure, while still planting a seed to let us speculate on what happens next. Overall, ACID is a solid debut that explores some new concepts. I would recommend it to lovers of dystopian everywhere and can't wait to read more from Emma Pass.
I received a review copy of ACID as a Readplus reviewer, in exchange for an honest review.(less)
Our favourite katana wielding vampire, Allison Sekemoto is back in the follow up to the Immortal Rules. Since the events of the last...moreActual rating: 4.5
Our favourite katana wielding vampire, Allison Sekemoto is back in the follow up to the Immortal Rules. Since the events of the last book, Allison has had disturbing visions of her sire in pain, being tortured by the psychotic vampire Sarren. She follows the blood call but instead of finding Kanin, she encounters her ex raider vampire brother, Jackal. Withstanding threats of her wellbeing and realising their common goal, the two reluctantly set out to find Kanin and discover that Allison's home town has been plagued by the Red Lung virus.
Without giving too much away, the plot advances quickly from a simple goal, to encountering some interesting allies and foes, to looking for a cure for the Red Lung virus and finding Kanin. There are many twists, turns, and surprises, and you're in for a treat as you read this for the first time.
The Eternity Cure features complex character development and we see Allison's relationship fleshed out between her brother, her sire, and other people in her life. Vampires can choose their own destiny in the world that Kagawa has created, ranging from the evil (Sarren) to the threatening (Jackal) to the ones trying to hang onto their humanity (Allison). It's the dialogue and the character building that makes this vampire/dystopian title a standout from other series, as it doesn't resort to stereotypical characters.
I really enjoyed Jackal as Allison's brother and ex raider, he constantly threatens Allison and everyone else around him yet his actions show that he is willing to help and actually cares. He's cunning and unpredictable, which makes him a great character to read about.
From Kanin's morality and drive to rid the world of the virus to Sarren's evil twisted ways, there really is more to vampirism that what meets the eye. Allison is a shining example of this, she clings on to her humanity for the sake of being good, and feeds on humans who have done wrong in an attempt to be noble. Because of Kanin's teachings, she's turned out to be an honourable vampire as she protected the humans, taking them to Eden in the last book and now looking for the virus and versing Sarren. She's a vampire heroine with a sense of morality in a dystopian world.
With a cliffhanger ending and a burst of emotions, I can't wait until the next book in this vampire/dystopian series. The romance is nicely paced, the action is gory and horrific, and the vampire sense of morality heart-wrenching.
I would like to thank Netgalley and Harlequin Enterprises Australia for this ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. The Eternity Cure will be released in Australia on May 1, 2013.
Finishing Prodigy gave me goosebumps. I mean after building up the emot...moreThis review appears on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Finishing Prodigy gave me goosebumps. I mean after building up the emotions throughout two books, this major cliffhanger happens? No, this can’t be the end.
That just shows you how attached I got to both June and Day. These two are amazing characters that the whole series underpins itself on, and boy, are they fascinating to read about. June is the perfect military agent who lets instinct, military ability and keen sense of observation guide her. She’s cold, calculating, and forever observing. The only one to make her relax is Day, who could win the hearts of the people from his personality alone. He’s often constantly putting other people’s needs before his, and unlike June, lets his emotions cloud his vision. It’s refreshing to read about a guy that actually has emotions other than being a bad boy, and I really enjoy the contrast between them.
In Prodigy, June and Day are public figures that have the most influence over the people and are recruited by Patriot rebels to overthrow the Republic and assassinate the new Elector Primo. June is sent to charm and mislead the new young Elector, and Day will join the Patriot’s forces on the front line. As the young lovers are forced apart, other admirers attempt to convince them about the fate of their relationship (who needs a triangle when you can have a square)? After all, Day has been brought up in the slums and he’s been stricken by poverty all of his life, and June has been brought up as a preened prodigy with a life of aristocracy and refinement. Can these two work out based on their differences?
Prodigy brings forth a complexity between characters that many other novels fail to address. It’s not just “no matter what, love will bring us together”. It’s more about what’s best for the each of them and how to utilise their skills and status the best.
The heart of the novel contains nonstop action and a high intensity covering the revolution between soldiers and rebels. As June and Day individually uncover the truth behind the Republic, we learn how the Republic came to be, the richness of the Patriots and the tightly controlled Colonies of America. The author truly excels at creating a thrilling story heavy on military antics, manipulation, politics and espionage
The writing encapsulates a certain beauty, gripping your emotions and painting a vivid picture about the life in the Republic. Overall, the strength of the characters and the world building that makes Prodigy an excellent sequel to the ground-breaking dystopian of Legend.
I received a review copy of this book courtesy of Readplus in exchange for review.(less)
This review has been posted on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews, and a free copy of Fire Country until 15 September 2013!
Fire C...moreThis review has been posted on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews, and a free copy of Fire Country until 15 September 2013!
Fire Country swept me away with the strength of the main character, Siena, the imaginative dystopian setting based on different tribes, and the language and slang used within the book to demonstrate the cult-like, tribal setting of the Heaters of Fire Country.
Siena is a 15 year old girl who has been brought up within the strict laws of Fire Country by her dad, one of the ruling Greystones. When she turns 16, she will take part in the momentous event called The Calling, where she is matched with a partner to bear his children. At the ages of 19 and 22, she will have another child, while her partner takes on more wives, her call sisters. There’s no choosing who your partner will be or being with the one you love. That is the law.
Siena is a strong, brave character who is just beginning to question her rights and the treatment of women in her village. Through Siena’s beliefs, teachings, and brave nature, David Estes does a great job in showing how the laws of Fire Country affect Siena and her friends. With her Calling just around the corner, she undergoes discord in her life with an unusual tomboy hinting at choice and independence, and her father’s treatment of her best friend Circ who cares for her deeply.
Her father Roan, is a great villain who rules with an iron fist. Not only does he beat Siena, send her to Confinement (or jail), and match her up with the most disgusting guy around, he sets up rulings that are harmful to the villagers and that only benefits himself.
The vivid, dystopian world that David has created is compelling and unique. I’ve never read anything like Fire Country, and I love how the slang and language used within the book is easy to pick up without actually saying what these words are. The language really captures the heart of being in hot, heated Fire Country, with its deserts and cactus, with words such as blazin’, wooloo, and scorch. What the scorch do these words mean? You’ll just have to read to find out why I’m so wooloo about this story.
Fire Country also features the greatest inanimate character I’ve ever encountered - Perry the prickler! Perry speaks to Siena when she has no one else by her side and she’s personified him throughout the book. “I wonder how Perry looks now, whether he’s changed. Probably not – in my memory he’ll always be the brittle-brown wisecracker I know”.
I loved the strong character development with how Siena grew as a person. She starts off young, innocent and law abiding but slowly begins to question the world around her. She’s been bullied by her peers who call her scrawny, bony and unattractive, but as she develops throughout the course of the novel with some positive influences, this negative self talk dissipates.
David’s writing has gone from strength to strength since his previous series, the Moon Dwellers. It brings forth vivid imagery of this tribal village and the laws they must abide by in emotions, world building, and strong characters. Many authors focus heavily on either one of these elements. David excels in all three.
If you love dystopians with strong character development and amazing world building, definitely pick up Fire Country. The unusual world and language takes a bit of getting used to but in no time, you’ll be drawn into a deep and vivid story.
I received a review copy of this book from David and the Never Too Old For Y.A. & N.A. Books group, in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much!(less)
Aria Rose is the daughter of one of the ruling families in Mystic City engaged to Thomas, the son of the rival ruling family. With an upcoming electio...moreAria Rose is the daughter of one of the ruling families in Mystic City engaged to Thomas, the son of the rival ruling family. With an upcoming election, their marriage is the perfect way to unite the humans against mystics, humans with magical powers who are drained of their powers. The only problem with the engagement, is that Aria has overdosed on Sic, a mystic-infused drug causing her to forget her entire relationship with Thomas.
As Aria pieces her memory together, she meets Hunter, a handsome rebel mystic who she’s instantly attracted to. She uncovers a political battle between her family and the mystics, and finds that everything may not be as it seems as her family will do anything to win the election.
I quite enjoyed the lies and the deception within Mystic City, and it was interesting following Aria’s story as she unveiled her memories. You find that her memory loss is very targeted towards her relationship with Thomas, and the real secrets behind her Sic overdose are really easy to spot from a mile away. There were enough elements of the story to keep me going however, such as her star-crossed romance with Hunter and the rebel mystics. The mystics were very Xmen-like, with each having their different powers.
April Tate is a survivor amongst the post-apocalyptic worl...moreThis review has also been posted on my Happy Indulgence Blog. Check it out for more reviews!
April Tate is a survivor amongst the post-apocalyptic world with a single goal that keeps her breathing – to find her brother and mother. A viral epidemic has sweeped the nations and turned the population into feral, mindless vampires who are solely out for feeding on humans. The feral vampires are very zombie-like in their demeanour, in fact throughout the first half of the novel I had a hard time differentiating them from actual zombies, except for the fact that they are repelled by sunlight.
Reign of Blood is pretty much I Am Legend in the first half of the book. April is a kick-ass, badass lone survivor who decapitates vampires with her machete. I absolutely loved the action and the tense, heart-pounding action here. Like the movie, the author creates a sense of building tension and horror that the zombies/vampires could jump out at you at any time, and that totally resonates with me.
The plot thickens as April discovers a new breed of vampire hybrids who are very human-like in their behaviour and are not affected by bloodlust, like the ferals. She discovers that everything she knew is not as it seems.
While I did love the premise of Reign of Blood, it was the insta-love later that made me grumble. It’s a pet peeve of mine, where there’s absolutely no build up or relationship building whatsoever. Luckily, it wasn’t enough of a focus to detract from the story.
Reign of Blood is not the most original story out there and it doesn’t try and be too complicated. It’s pretty much a survival horror with a twist on the zombie/vampire genre. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend that you read it if you love the sound of it!
I received a review copy from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you so much for this opportunity, I look forward to reading your other work Alexia!(less)
Before I begin, thanks to the ARR program, I received a free copy of the Moon Dwellers from the author in exchange for an honest rev...moreActual Rating: 4.5
Before I begin, thanks to the ARR program, I received a free copy of the Moon Dwellers from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you for David for choosing me as a reviewer.
Adele is a strong, capable fighter who is stuck in a juvenile prison called The Pen. We meet her when she gets picked on by another inmate, someone who's bigger and stronger than her. With her unexpected fighting skills however, she bested the inmate and catches the attention of three different people - two other inmates called Tawni and Cole, and Tristan, the prince of the Sun Realm.
Then begins the journey where Adele learns to trust her new inmate friends, who escape the prison together on a mission. The story is told from two perspectives, that of Adele and Tristan. From the first sight, they both feel some unexplainable chemistry and Tristan sets out to find this girl, unbeknownst to him that she's on a mission that will take her straight into the warzone.
It took me a while to get through The Moon Dwellers. I'm not quite sure what it was, perhaps the characters were undergoing such a journey that I felt like I had to let parts of it sink in before moving on to the next scene. There's just such a build up of each character and the brief parts of world-building that there was quite a lot to take in. However, once I was well and truly through the book (about 60% of the way through) the action-packed scenes and the climax of the book really takes off and I was captured until the end.
The dystopia setting of the Tri-Realms (The Sun Dwellers, Moon Dwellers, and Star Dwellers) felt a lot like the Hunger Games. Each realm is based on a class based system where the Sun is the richest, most powerful realm (ie. The Capitol) and the Moon Realm & Star Realm felt like different sectors from the Hunger Games, with the Star Realm being the poorest one. As with any political struggle, the Tri-Realms break into a war and our main characters are in the middle of it. This definitely felt like the 2nd and 3rd book of the Hunger Games series.
Usually the whole insta-love thing would bother me as it seems to be a main theme in a lot of YA books, but here it didn't. The book focuses on the situation and character development so much that the whole love thing seemed to be secondary to it's focus. When it's worked in with so much forethought, coming to a mind-blowing explosion at the end, that's when it's actually done well.
David Estes is skilled at conveying emotions and insights unique to each character, that by the end I found myself emotionally vested in the characters that he has created. Adele has an inner strength about her that allows her to take care of others, such as the fragile but caring Tawni, and the haunted by his past Cole. Tristan's struggle against his father and single focus in finding the girl he's so enamored with was a welcome break from Adele's painstaking emotional and physical journey.
I really enjoyed The Moon Dwellers and am clamouring for the sequel.
This review has been cross-posted on my Happy Indulgence blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Amor deliria nervosa, aka love, is a disease in the world...moreThis review has been cross-posted on my Happy Indulgence blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Amor deliria nervosa, aka love, is a disease in the world of Portland, where Lena resides. After being infected with the disease and successfully making it out of the city with Alex, the guy who 'saved' her, the novel follows her path of survival, falling in love again, and desperation.
Pandemonium was a better read than Delirium, which I criticised for its repetitiveness and predictability, although I enjoyed the story. The sequel is told in interchanging perspectives between then, when she first escaped after Alex's capture, and now, several months into the future where she apparently seems to have undergone the procedure to be cured and encounters a poster boy for righteousness called Julian. This formula definitely captures and holds your attention, and mesh together to flesh out the story between old and new characters.
Compared to Delirium, it is also much darker and grittier as we see the hardship she has to go through to survive out in the Wilds. She has to hunt for food, goes through poverty, and struggles against the Government and an impending war.
Although Pandemonium also suffers from a bit of predictability (especially after not knowing what happened to Alex), there are some beautifully written passages within the novel. The text interweaves action with poetic descriptions:
But the morning does come. It finds its way in through the cracks in the plywood, the fissures in the roof: a murky grayness, a slight ebbing of the dark.
I struggled with relating to Julian, he's been sheltered against women all of his life for the fear of contracting deliria nervosa, and he was just a bit beta male for my tastes. Bring on Alex again I say, even though that was some time ago.
Just as how Delirium ended, Pandemonium ends on a (predictable) cliffhanger, and we're left again to wait until the sequel comes out. I'm excited about the release and look forward to reading it.(less)
Insurgent is an engaging sequel to Divergent, where the society is divided into several factions. It follows where the other book left off, so a recap...moreInsurgent is an engaging sequel to Divergent, where the society is divided into several factions. It follows where the other book left off, so a recap was necessary if you haven't read the book in a while.
Tris and Tobias are on a train following the aftermath of the end of Divergent. The Erudite have broken out into a war on the Abnegation and it's up to the Dauntless loyals to stop them from controlling every faction. They meet up with friends and foes along the way, and it turns into an all-out political war between the rest of the factions.
As with any great debut, I find many of us had high expectations when it came to Insurgent. While I enjoyed the book, I think it tried too hard to be like Hunger Games 2 & 3, setting up a political backlash for an undoubtedly explosive finale. While Divergent had an extremely tight knit plot, as it focused on Tris and her initiation into the Dauntless, halfway through this one I still wasn't sure where the plot was going.
There was a large focus on the secondary characters (view spoiler)[even though most of the ones from the first book were killed off (hide spoiler)] and I had a hard time recalling who many of them were, especially since they did not receive a big focus from the first one. In this one, Tris also struggles with the guilt and mourning left from the aftermath of the first book, and it affects her relationship with Four. She's definitely not in a happy place, and it's apparent throughout this book.
However, Insurgent definitely brings about some deeper insights, as did Divergent. It flirts with the possibility of living without factions, and as Tris herself thought "How will we know what to do without factions?" The glimpses of the world built within Insurgent appear here and there, and by the end of the book, we're left with a lot of questions.
What each faction values also appears to be their Achilles heel; while the Dauntless may be brave they are also brawn without brains, while the Amity are peaceful they do nothing to prevent the war when it starts breaking out, and while the Erudite are smart they do not have the ability to act without thinking.
My feelings are that Insurgent was great for showing more about the fascinating world that Roth has created, and setting up the last in the trilogy, but it is not as well-focused as Divergent. I found it enjoyable, and no doubt look forward to the concluding book.
This review also appears on my Happy Indulgence blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Allison Sekemoto is a girl surviving on the Fringe, the borders of...moreThis review also appears on my Happy Indulgence blog. Check it out for more reviews!
Allison Sekemoto is a girl surviving on the Fringe, the borders of a vampire city left to fend for herself and her group. As an 'unregistered' human, her source of food is from raiding houses which have been abandoned after the vampires overtook the city 20 years ago. The Fringe is a desolute place ruled by vampires and rabids, who pose a threat to anyone within their vicinity at any time. As a result, Allie is tough, driven, independent and badass. She knows how to take care of herself and frequently takes others under her wing. (minor spoilers ahead)
Pretty soon, the inevitable happens and her group eventually gets captured by a rabid. An ancient vampire, Kanin, offers her the only way out of death - to turn her into a vampire. Throughout the novel, she struggles against her thirst for blood and quest for humanity.
The start of Immortal Rules was really slow. It covers Allison's life before, during, and after turning into a vampire. This does add a lot of background to her character and the desperate life of survival in the Fringe, however I think it could have been condensed a bit seeing as the main part of the story starts after she becomes a vampire and meets a group of humans. Things really start to speed up when she meets Ezekiel (Zeke), a handsome leader of a group of survivor humans, as Allie needs to cover her true nature as a vampire.
I really adored the group of survivors, especially Zeke. The world in Blood of Eden is really dystopian and desolute, with the people living day by day. The survivors are on a quest to find Eden, and for the first time in Allie's life, she's finally found hope for these people. Even though it's too late for her (as she's become the undead), she would stop at nothing to help these survivors reach Eden.
Zeke is a shining white beacon in the darkness. The Fringe, vampire city, and survival is just depressing. His fierce, loyal, and caring attitude is an inspiration to those around him, including Allison. She secretly thinks he's too good for the world that he lives in, and it's easy to see why.
Allie is such a refreshing strong female lead in contrast to all those weak female protagonists that always need saving. Her strength, ability to protect others around her, vampire skills and her skill with the samurai sword is just amazing. Even though she's now a vampire, her constant struggle to protect the humans around her yet needing to feed on them shows her strength and perseverance.
If you're looking for a vampire/dystopian novel out there with a strong female lead, Immortal Rules is definitely up your alley. Despite a slow beginning, I think it's a journey worth taking. It's unique enough as yet another vampire story. Just watch out for the massive cliffhanger at the end!(less)
As everyone else had said, it's a fantastic ending for an incredible series. This series has gripped me from start to finish, getting better with ever...moreAs everyone else had said, it's a fantastic ending for an incredible series. This series has gripped me from start to finish, getting better with every volume. Juliette is one of the most well-rounded characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading about. Everything about this book has been well-crafted with a clear conclusion in mind. I could go on raving about this book, but I suggest you go and pick up these right now :)
Wool 4 ramps up the action and delves deeper into the mystery of the silos. You follow the literal footsteps of Juliet as she discovers the shocking h...moreWool 4 ramps up the action and delves deeper into the mystery of the silos. You follow the literal footsteps of Juliet as she discovers the shocking harsh reality breaking everything she ever learnt about her own world.
It's evident the author has a grand plan for the whole series to finish and I can't wait to find out what happens in the concluding book, Wool 5.
Amazing, freaking amazing. Now that all that world building is out of the way, the author can focus on the plot. And what a plot it is, there's myster...moreAmazing, freaking amazing. Now that all that world building is out of the way, the author can focus on the plot. And what a plot it is, there's mystery brewing in the silos, suspicion of a greater force at work causing a line of deaths that constantly keep happening..
Great commendations for Hugh Howey's work, a short, concise, lyrical masterpiece. Even the most mundane parts of everyday life is painted beautifully, placing you right there in the desolate life of being trapped in a silo. Each of these novellas have so far has featured a different protagonist, their internal dialogue ringing true and tying you deep into their character.
A minor warning for those who pick this one up - you'll want to have the rest close at hand because this one ends with a whopping cliffhanger. First thing I did was jump onto Amazon and purchase the next one.
If you're a fan of sci-fi, dystopia, or just excellent self-published works, Wool is definitely for you.
Excellently written and paints a vivid picture about the bleak life of being trapped in a silo. The character portrayal is spot on, giving you just en...moreExcellently written and paints a vivid picture about the bleak life of being trapped in a silo. The character portrayal is spot on, giving you just enough insight into their life and their thoughts, feelings, wishes while still moving the plot forward.
I'm enjoying these short stories; they are concise and a quick read and the impact of these stories packs a punch. While the first book was more of an introductory glimpse into the world of Wool, more experimental than anything, this one really focuses on the world building.
A word of warning though, investing some time into Wool is a depressing journey. The books are sad and desolate, invoking a strong feeling of loss. There's a lyrical quality about these books which has become slightly addictive.
A quick read, which I finished in 2 sittings. The author has spent some time establishing the bleak world where the protaganist Holston is stuck in a...moreA quick read, which I finished in 2 sittings. The author has spent some time establishing the bleak world where the protaganist Holston is stuck in a silo. At only 35 pages, the novella was a bit too short for me to garner what my thoughts were on it but I definitely was intrigued when I got to the end. Will read the next 2 to gain a better understanding of the world and the story. It's set in a dystopian world and breaks the conventions of "everything may not be what it seems".