Fresh off her heart breaking escape from Lena's love lobotomizing society, she discovers the freedoms of the Wilds. And all the chores that come with...moreFresh off her heart breaking escape from Lena's love lobotomizing society, she discovers the freedoms of the Wilds. And all the chores that come with them. Turns out she was pretty pampered in the enclosed cured community. Life on the outside is hard, hard work, little food, and lots of casualties.
But as the resistance is rising, the cured have renewed their efforts in eliminating the invalids, forcing Lena and her new friends to re-assimilate into the Manhattan colony. Lena soon finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy and finding love in the most unlikely places.
Lauren Oliver's Pandemonium is an eloquently written mess of thoughts and details strung together to form a coherent character and world in a very unique way. I think the sequel exceeds Delirium in story and structure. I always felt the eradication of love as a main motivator a little flimsy, and it was the linchpin that held everything together in the first book. In Pandemonium the story focuses less on the cure, in favor of a more active plot line. Plus Oliver needed less time working on world building and character establishment so she could focus on a more complex plot without sacrificing the romance and lyrical flow of her writing fans of the series love. Some of the pacing in the beginning was slow, but it gained momentum as Lena grew stronger. A few lingering questions were answered, but with them came more inquiries that are sure to bring readers back for the next installment.
Sarah Drew's performance of Pandemonium was good. Her portrayal of Lena was nice, maybe a bit dramatic at times, but she really knows how to capture the angst of teenage melodrama. I think her choices in voicing Julian was better than how she speaks for Alex, but overall she does a fine job with the series.(less)
Nick Gautier is walking the fine line between good and evil. With both sides conspiring to win his soul. This is Ambrose's last shot at changing his f...moreNick Gautier is walking the fine line between good and evil. With both sides conspiring to win his soul. This is Ambrose's last shot at changing his fate, and not all of Nick's friends are really his allies. Of course frenemies aren't so bad when you own father's out to kill you, demons are trying to enslave you, and your mom seems hellbent on ruining your love life and street cred with awful shirts and infinite groundings.
When trouble comes to his school in the form of cyber bullying, Nick makes it his new mission to find out who's behind it and stop them. But Gautier is going to have to be careful, making the wrong choice could cost him his life, his soul, or the people he loves.
Sherrilyn Kenyon is not only taking on the plight of good and evil to save or destroy the world, she's also tackling current trends in bullying, and the always popular parent/teen topics of sex, drugs, and drinking. Basically Nick might be too much of a saint for his age, with a mother who really doesn't deserve him.
This book spent a lot of time trying to lay out and redefine Nick's relationship with his mom. I found this dynamic as frustrating as Nick would, only I didn't love her in the end, no matter how much Kenyon tried to redeem her. His relationships with Caleb and Kody on the other hand were refreshing in between the verbal or physical bashing Nick took in this one.
Infamous started off great and ended with a bang. It wasn't as exciting to me as the past installments, but that was mainly because the author spent a lot of time laying the ground work for the series. The series is starting to take shape, but the main story plot seemed loosely threaded throughout the book to string together the bullying aspect. It was so strongly intertwined with the other story lines I felt it got lost at times, which I found made the plot hard to follow in the middle of the book, before things came together in the end.
Holter Graham did another amazing job narrating this series. Sometimes I feel like male readers don't do enough to emphasize female characters, but Graham never fails to create wonderful voices for each distinct character. He reads so clearly, recreating Kenyon's words with his accents, pronunciations, and diction which are always spot on. The Chronicle's of Nick really highlights Graham's strength, in matching a voice with the character's personality. Some narrators just change the tone of their voice, but Graham uses a mixture of vocal nuances, accents, and acting to deliver an auditory mirage of characters. Holter Graham is a big part of why I enjoy this series as much as I do.(less)
Always being the one to make the hard choices leaves it's toll. Normally getting between a rock and a hard place is a pretty comfortable position for...moreAlways being the one to make the hard choices leaves it's toll. Normally getting between a rock and a hard place is a pretty comfortable position for Gin, unfortunately getting caught up in a widow's web not only threatens lives but her love as well. And the toll between the lesser of two evils could cost Gin couples counseling or her relationship Owen.
Even after a vacation Gin is finding herself running a little ragged. It seems like every two bit lowlife trying to make a name for themselves are constantly bombarding her oinking oasis of The Pork Pit. Yet even as the criminal underbelly of Ashland is vying to establish a hierarchy through the destruction of the Spider, Gin can't begin to imagine that her toughest opponent would be one aiming at her heart.
I am really glad to see this series has been extended and at just the perfect time. Jennifer Estep has really come into her own. Gone are the long clunky recaps that hindered the flow of installments past. Any background was new and important, filler free. Estep expertly weaves the past and present to create a streamlined plot.
Estep has done a pretty thorough job building Gin's character and powers. In Widow's Web she pushing her heroine's weakness by going straight for Gin's heart, because it's all about Owen. I love that we get to know more about the mysterious Grayson and the dreamy love interest is showing a few cracks in his perfection. While he's still Blanco's ideal man, it adds a new depth and realness to his character. Plus it shows Estep isn't afraid to step outside of Gin and put just as much focus on another character. While Gin has made leaps and strides in the relationship box, it's still her most difficult character aspect. I like that the author is working on all the heroine's flaws for a more balanced Gin. Of course being well fleshed out has downside, readers aren't going to get any fun insight to some great new facet of Gin's powers, but we do get to meet and get to know some new characters as Gin continues to collecting a few new friends along the way.
This is the first time I've opted for an audiobook in this series. Lauren Fortgang's country accent didn't really appeal to me and was a little distracting at first but grew on me as the story went on. Fortgang had a wide range of accents, voices, and good acting abilities. She made it easy to follow the story and get invested into it. Estep is lucky to have landed such a wonderful narrator for her series.
Widow's Web is another amazing installment from Jennifer Estep. Filled with heartbreaking choices, action, interesting characters, and a great plot that will leave you needing the next installment. (less)