In the future love is a disease and everyone over eighteen is inoculated for it. This means that interactions between people aren’t overly intimate, tIn the future love is a disease and everyone over eighteen is inoculated for it. This means that interactions between people aren’t overly intimate, there are patrols that are alert for anyone dancing around, playing music loudly, or generally displaying any passion for anything at all. Delirium uses this interesting concept to tell the heartwarming story of Lena, who lives by her society’s warped rules until an encounter with the mysterious Alex, coupled with her best friend Hana’s strange behaviour, makes her question everything she’s ever believed in.
I like Delirium - I like with the characters and think it is a well paced, enjoyable read. The romance between Lena and Alex is sweet, with her learning to trust him slowly. I also really like Hana, who is spunky and funny and, most importantly, has a life that doesn’t revolve around Lena. I wish there had been more exploration of Hana’s journey and that Lena hadn’t lost touch with her for such a large chunk of the book.
The only issue I have with it is a small one - Lena agrees to meet Alex at an isolated beach after curfew, all alone, after a lifetime of being taught (and believing) that boys and girls need to be segregated for their own safety. It doesn’t make sense for her to meet him so willingly (just because he’s so hot and she can’t resist) - especially since some time later it doesn’t even occur to her that the illegal concert she attends with Hana would be co-ed until she arrives. I would have much preferred Lena’s awakening to the injustices of her world to have occurred with Hana as the catalyst, rather than Alex, but maybe this is me trying to instil some independence into YA heroines.
A cool dystopian story that I regret allowing to gather dust on my shelves, Delirium will be enjoyed by those who like young adult novels. I am glad I let this book alone until I had its sequel, Pandemonium, in my hands though - I’m reading it right now and I love it. The final book in the trilogy, Requiem, will be released in 2013, but there is a novella out that tells Hana’s story more clearly.
Isn't that cover gorgeous? I'm very grateful that Hachette gave me this copy, and the matching edition of the sequel, Through the Ever Night. I hope tIsn't that cover gorgeous? I'm very grateful that Hachette gave me this copy, and the matching edition of the sequel, Through the Ever Night. I hope the Australian edition of Into the Still Blue matches these :D
Onto what's inside the cover! Under the Never Sky is a fascinating mix of post-apocalyptic, science fiction and fantasy. Post-apocalyptic: Some mysterious event has driven a people inside habitats called Pods. Those inside the Pods live sheltered 'perfect' lives inside pseudo reality environments called Realms. They hang out, eat, sleep, and even have relationships inside the Realms, where you get any experience you want, without pesky negatives like fear and pain. Science Fiction: Access to the Realms is given through Smart-Eyes, cool bio-technology based coverings that go over one eye and allow users to access the Realms and be in the real world at the same time. Fantasy: The Outsiders have evolved and gained super-senses - some can hear really well, while others can see or scent better than every one else. These powers seem to have something to do with the mysterious Aether exists in the sky, and the destructive Aether storms that plague everyone.
Although the world building is awesome, I would have preferred to find out a little more about how it all came to be. It's unclear what kind of event made people retreat into the Pods, why some people got access to them and others didn't, why the Outsiders don't just break into the Pods and take the resources. The last is especially perplexing because it's well established that the Pods are neither as safe nor secure as those living inside them would like to think. I would also like to know what those Aether storms are.
Rossi has crafted intelligent, believable characters in Perry and Aria. I really liked both of them and wouldn't dare to pick a favourite. I love how nice Perry is - I love a YA hero who isn't a jerk to everyone he meets because he has a 'tough exterior'. He has issues with Aria, and understandably dislikes her in the beginning, but he's always helping and taking of her because he's basically an awesome guy! Aria is spunky and determined, and I really like how she grew into herself over the novel. She didn't complain (too much) about how different life is on the Outside, and I understood all of her fears and misgivings.
My favourite part is that the pair didn't instantly fall in love and spend the whole book playing cat and mouse. Their feelings grow slowly, naturally, and when they both finally admitted them, they didn't dance around the physical aspect either. Refreshing! I think their relationship is strong, and I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops in future books.
I really enjoyed Under the Never Sky, I think it's a clever book that will be enjoyed by readers who appreciate intelligent, witty characters and a captivating plot line. It's even more impressive considering this is Veronica Rossi's début novel, and I am excited to start the sequel soon.
I read this book last year, and having found it to be a wonderful example of gripping Epic Fantasy, this re-read allowed me to delve into the deeper nI read this book last year, and having found it to be a wonderful example of gripping Epic Fantasy, this re-read allowed me to delve into the deeper nuances of the story and pick out all sorts of details I had missed on my first, heart stopping read. Vengeance is a thought-provoking book, and in the usual Irvine style, left me desperate for more!
As I have to expect in an Irvine book, world building is immaculate in this book: everything has a purpose, a role, and it’s all vividly realised through the prose. The history is rich and complex, and the races of the Cythonians and Hightspallers are wonderfully delineated in terms of customs and speech. It did take me a while to place the Pale and the Herovians within this world, but I got there! One of the things that grabbed me about the book is that the first part – 193 pages – occurs over just a few days hours. It’s insane! I kept waiting for the characters to catch a break, and they never did! Vengeance is difficult to put down, and even when you’re away from it you’re always thinking about it!
The characters in the book carry a special place in my heart – Irvine has written about developed characters with clear conflicts and motivations that I found easy to empathise with. However, I still think that Tali could have been a little more complex: she’s your typical underdog for a lot of the book but does have shining moments where she steps out of that role. My favourite character is Tobry – there’s just something about him that draws me, plus his sense of humour provides a welcome reprieve from the darkness offered in the story.
Reading the story for the second time around, I was struck by the desperation of Lyf to return his people to their former glory. Previously I had just read him as a power-hungry bad guy – but this time around I saw other depths to his character and I’m really looking forward getting to know more about him as the series continues. Credit has to be given to Irvine for writing Lyf so that, even as I am hating him for threatening Tali and Rix’s lives, I am sympathising with him for the horrible things that have been done to him and his people.
Having read and loved Ian Irvine’s The Three Worlds books, I was nervous that I wouldn’t like this new series because, honestly, how could it get much better? Although Ian Irvine has written a completely different type of book in Vengeance, his trademarks of amazing world building and characterisation are still in evidence. It will be enjoyed by both fans of his earlier works, and those new to his work, and I highly recommend it!
Pure is such a well imagined novel that I found myself thoroughly disturbed at the Apocalypse it describes, and yet I couldRead the full review here.
Pure is such a well imagined novel that I found myself thoroughly disturbed at the Apocalypse it describes, and yet I could see similar events unfolding in the near future. The world building in the novel is flawless - everything makes a quirky kind of sense, and there are no gaping plot holes that I became aware of. The story flowed seamlessly and I found it hard to put the book down. I devoured the book in a matter of hours.
The thing that I loved most about Pure is the realisation of a post-Apocalyptic world. Those who were stuck outside during the thermo-muclear detonations have been fused on a molecular level with whatever they were close to: buildings, jewellery, glass, toys, and for mothers, their infants. Their DNA has mutated to adapt to this. It’s horrifying. Those inside the Dome were safe, but have their own problems to deal with. Any sign of sickness results in prolonged isolation, people take pills for nutrients and sustenance rather than eat food, and are forced to undergo chemical treatments for ‘enhancement’ as teenagers.
The characters in this book are as varied and vivid as the horrors within it. Pressia is a strong-willed, like-able character, who never steps down from her fate and confronts the dangers in her life head on. I found it easy to read the chapters from her point of view and enjoyed her insights into the other characters. The chapters narrated by Partridge were very different to those belonging to Pressia; he was just as determined as her, but lacked real-world experience. However, his bravery was always obvious to me.
This is a book I will recommend to anyone - it’s wonderful in its depth and the subject matter will interest most readers. Julianna Baggott is certainly a talented author, and I look forward to reading more of her works, especially the rest of the Pure trilogy. ...more
The very first page of Pandemonium hooked me, and I didn’t put it down again until I had finished reading. In this book Lauren Oliver’s writing is tigThe very first page of Pandemonium hooked me, and I didn’t put it down again until I had finished reading. In this book Lauren Oliver’s writing is tight, to the point, and strangely compelling. It’s really hard to tell yourself you will stop reading after this chapter, this page, and before you know it you’re reading the last page with bated breath. Reading Pandemonium is an emotion ride: it’s full of the anger, determination, ferocity and grief that Lena feels, so different from the naivety and romance of Delirium.
Lena surprised me in this book. In Delirium she behaved erratically, placed too much trust in Alex from the offset and was constantly worrying about her deteriorating relationship with Hana. In Pandemonium Lena is grieving. For the life, the friends, and the boy she left behind. The book is written in a THEN and NOW format, with the chapters alternating between THEN (right after Delirium ended) and NOW (about six months down the track). The format brings out Lena’s character: we can see how strong she is now and see her journey to become that way as well.
I loved this book (even with that cliffhanger that will ensure that I pine for Requiem for ages before I get my hands on it), and recommend the Delirium trilogy for everyone who likes a dystopian young adult novel.
Prior to reading this book I had resigned myself to never having the opportunity to read YA Fantasy of the likes of Trudi Canavan’s The Black MagicianPrior to reading this book I had resigned myself to never having the opportunity to read YA Fantasy of the likes of Trudi Canavan’s The Black Magician Trilogy. A lot of the Fantasy that’s marketed as YA these days tends towards paranormal romance, and I had come to terms with getting my high fantasy kicks elsewhere. Shadow and Bone opened up a whole new world for me and proved that YA Fantasy does exist, and it’s great! This book combines masterful world building with likeable characters and a plot rich in intrigue and betrayal.
I have a hate-love relationship with Alina – I hated her in the beginning for her foolhardy naivety (seriously, the childhood she led made me expect a harder, meaner character), but then loved her by the end (she develops into a thoughtful caring person with a lot of inner strength). Alina’s character brings out the YA aspect of the novel: her development is a driving element in the plot and ultimately brings about the kick-ass conclusion of the story.
One of the things I find YA misses most is quality world development, but the intriguing world of Ravka suffers no such problems. The world, its magic system and the chilling Shadow Fold are all hooks that drag you into the story, and before you know it, you are completely immersed in it. The writing is mesmerising, vividly bringing this exotic world to life as you read. Leigh Bardugo certainly knows how to engage her readers through her writing!
Shadow and Bone is easily described: a brilliantly crafted YA fantasy. I strongly urge readers to give this book a chance, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
It's taken me over a year, but I've finished Words of Radiance!! I'm so excited because this book is seriously AMAZING, SanderPerfect book is perfect.
It's taken me over a year, but I've finished Words of Radiance!! I'm so excited because this book is seriously AMAZING, Sanderson's best work yet!
Now, you might be wondering that if it's so good then why did it take me so long to read it? Well, because it was so good! First, I went back and re-read The Way of Kings, which took a some time, and then I started on Words of Radiance. I loved it so much that I decided I would read a few chapters every weekend so that I could savour the amazing prose and world-building. I think I was trying to prolong my experience with this book so that I didn't have to wait so long for the third book.
The Way of Kings was Kaladin's book and Words of Radiance is Shallan's. That doesn't mean Kal doesn't make an appearance - he has lots of point of view chapters and it was wonderful watching him grow into his powers and face some of his demons. However, it's Shallan Devar that really shines in this book. As she discovers the extent of her powers and makes the dangerous journey towards the Shattered Plains, she uncovers secrets that could change the world. The very first meeting between Shallan and Kaladin is hilarious. Shallan has a very mysterious past, and readers slowly uncover it through a series of flashbacks.
I think the part of the book that will stay with me for a long time is a chapter that switches rapidly between Kal and Shallan as they use their powers and simultaneously, but in very different ways, discover secrets that have been hidden from them. It's a powerful sequence that showcases the very best of Sanderson's writing.
Words of Radiance has point of view chapters from Dalinar and Adolin as well, and sprinkled between them are the ever-so-intriguing interludes, which take us inside the mind of the mysterious Shin Truthless and (excitingly) Eshonai, the Parshendi Shard-bearer. I have always loved the clever techniques that Sanderson employs to show us what is happening all around this amazing world he has created, and the interludes are my favourite.
The magic system is primarily based on a white glowing substance called Stormlight because it's generated in the ferocious storms that plague the planet, which certain gifted people can inhale and then use to change the world around them. The powers they have resemble those that the order of the Knights Radiant, an order of powerful knights from times long forgotten of whom very little information remains. The world expands gloriously in Words of Radiance, with the characters not only exploring the limits of their powers, but also uncovering the secrets of the past. We learn more about the Knights Radiant, their swords and their powers, and about the Voidbringers and the Desolations. But we haven't uncovered everything yet, and more mysteries have been introduced (which is unsurprising, since we're only a fifth of the way through the series).
Sanderson has also put a lot of thought into the cultural and religious differences between the different regions of Roshar. One of the more interesting things about this world is that men are exclusively expected to take part in warfare and farming and women are allowed to become scholars and historians. The art of writing is restricted to women, and so the women are archaeologists, engineers and researchers. There's a flippant line from one of the male characters that basically points out that it must have been a woman who wrote down the Alethi edicts and that she ensured that men do all the dangerous jobs while women get to live in relative safety, which I found interesting. However, the interludes take us to other lands where the rules are completely different, including a place where all citizens can write essays to become the leader and a council chooses the best candidate.
Words of Radiance is absolutely breathtaking, and fantasy fans are missing out if they're not already reading The Stormlight Archive. I love this story-world and its characters, and am excited because there are eight more books to come! I can't wait to see what Sanderson dishes up next!...more
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.
This is a wonderful book that I will never forget reading. The story is mesmeOnce upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love. It did not end well.
This is a wonderful book that I will never forget reading. The story is mesmerising, and Taylor has created a beautiful world to set it in. One of my favourite things is the sense of place, the author brings her world to life so vividly it’s difficult not to get sucked in and feel as though you are experiencing it for yourself. I loved everything about this book, the characters, the setting, Taylor’s prowess at storytelling.
Karou is an extraordinary girl and I loved reading about her. She has a dark life, and doesn’t have many close friends, but she is strong, brave and stubborn. I liked her for her wilfulness - even int he depth of despair she didn’t sit around and bemoan her fate, she was always fighting to make things better. I liked Avika as well (“Oh, Hell. Must. Mate. Immediately.” - Zuzana), especially his devotion to Karou, but I wish the reader got to know him better. Hopefully the sequel will reveal more about him.
The other characters in the book are great, each with their own purpose and none pigeon holed into stereotypical roles. I think I enjoyed scenes with Zuzana the best, she is an admirable best friend with wonderful quirks of her own. I hope she features more in the following books as well. Brimstone is also exceedingly intriguing, but I haven’t been able to figure out whether I like him or not.
I picked up this book on a whim and am very glad that I did. It deserves all the praise it gets and more, and if there is one book you do not want to miss, this is it. So go on, grab yourself a copy of Daughter of Smoke and Bone and revel in its brilliance.
As usual I am impressed by Trudi’s characters. The protagonist, Tessia, is funny, intelligent and strong - she holds her own in the male-dominated worAs usual I am impressed by Trudi’s characters. The protagonist, Tessia, is funny, intelligent and strong - she holds her own in the male-dominated world of the magicians as apprentice to Lord Dakon. It was great to read a female protagonist who didn’t swoon over every boy she met as well! Her resemblance to Sonea (the protagonist in the Black Magician Trilogy), however, is striking. Both are natural magicians who specialise in healing and both come from humble backgrounds and have to struggle to gain acceptance by others. I think it would have been nice to read a different type of character.
Jayan, Dakon’s other apprentice, annoyed me at first because of his close-minded nature and his reluctance to accept Tessia, but he slowly grew on me until he was my favourite supporting character. The most memorable character, in my mind, is the Sachakan slave Hanara, who goes through extreme situations and has the most tragic storyline of all.
In many ways this book is predictable - we know what is going to happen because it’s a prequel to the Black Magician Trilogy so the overall plot comes as no surprise. One of the main attractions of the book is to see the birth and development of the ideas that shape the world of the Black Magician Trilogy. While it is also interesting to read about the Sachakan side of the war and get a sense of their politics and world view through the eyes of Stara, a Sachakan woman, I feel this aspect is somewhat under-developed and random. I believe the Sachakan viewpoint is a set up for the events in The Traitor Spy trilogy, which is set after the Black Magician Trilogy but in this book it feels out of place.
The Magician’s Apprentice is a great prequel to the Black Magician Trilogy that expands on events that are hinted in it. A must read for those who have read and enjoyed the Black Magician Trilogy.
I was wary about Defiance. My initial excitement about YA Fantasy emerging as a trend in publishing was slowly being quashed by the less than ste4.5/5
I was wary about Defiance. My initial excitement about YA Fantasy emerging as a trend in publishing was slowly being quashed by the less than stellar examples I’d picked up to read in the last months. But Defiance breaks those moulds and proves it is possible for YA Fantasy to be as deep, sweeping and epic as Epic or High Fantasy written for adults.
The story is told in dual perspectives, with each chapter being narrated in first person by either Rachel or Logan. Both have unique voices, and even without each chapter telling me who is narrating on the first line, I would have been able to easily pick out Logan’s chapters from Rachel’s. Both are strong willed, with motivations that are easy to emphasise with, and Redwine’s choice in telling it from both points of view means we don’t have that angsty quality that usually marks YA, where readers are always wondering at the motivations behind the inexplicable things other characters do.
I liked the world of Defiance – I initially thought it was going to be a straight up, medieval inspired Fantasy, but it’s actually set a dystopian future of our world and there’s no magic involved! Arthur C. Clarke’s postulation that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic certainly holds true in this futuristic world – the technology is awesome! What makes Rachel remarkable is that women in this world are afforded the same rights as … women today in some Middle Eastern countries. While boys are taught to read, do arithmetic and trained in battle, women learn to sew, cook, obey men and act meekly around them. A woman can’t go outside without her Protector – the male citizen who is basically in charge of her. I don’t mind world, exactly, because it’s different and intriguing, but the reasons for female oppression are never explained. How did society regress back to Biblical times in this aspect? Are women so heavily ‘protected’, for example, because birth rates are too low in this future? The lack of explanation is the only thing I can really fault in the book.
While I loved the two protagonists of the story, the secondary characters deserve a mention because some of them are extremely memorable. The ruler of Baalboden, the city-state Logan and Rachel live in, is Commander Jason Chase, who takes terrifying to whole new lengths! In contrast, the steadfast and caring Oliver, who sees Rachel and Logan as grandchildren, is heart warming and wonderful. The Tree-People siblings who Rachel meets on her travels are refusing to read: Quinn with his stoic determination and his sister Willow with her loud mouthed opinions. The only downside is Quinn’s apparent interest in Rachel, I really hope there isn’t a love triangle in the future books.
Defiance is a wonderful read featuring two awesome protagonists and a cool world that I would love to learn more about. If you, like me, are interested in YA Fantasy then I strongly recommend this book to you! Fans of both high and epic fantasy, and YA will enjoy this book, and I am looking forward to continuing Rachel and Logan’s story in future books.
Weeks’ writing has certainly evolved in the time between Way of Shadows and this, his latest masterpiece. The Blinding Knife is an example of epic fanWeeks’ writing has certainly evolved in the time between Way of Shadows and this, his latest masterpiece. The Blinding Knife is an example of epic fantasy at its very best – nuanced, perfectly paced and thematically brilliant. Weeks takes the world he expertly set up in The Black Prism and continues to explore it – building up the geography, history and mythology in wonderful ways.
The book follows our old favourites and while some might anticipate some confusion at the multiple points of view, but I found the writing to be clear and well thought-out. The use of short chapters ensured I was never away from anyone for too long. Kip is put through into training to join the Blackguard – the order of the land’s most talented and deadly warriors charged with protecting the Prism and the White with their lives. Karris and Gavin race around the world, taking care of thousands of refugees, trying to prevent wars and fighting colour wights, while grave secrets lie between them. The enemy point of view is cleverly told through Liv, who has joined the Colour Prince in his war against the Chromatorium and fears for her father’s life. Her side is especially interesting because she has been lied to her whole life and while it’s obvious that her former allies aren’t as pure as they like to believe, it’s also difficult to tell how sincere her new ones are.
About half way through the novel, after I’d been adequately reacquainted with the characters and the world and was beginning to get comfortable, there are a series of bombshells and wholly unexpected events that left me reeling, and reminded me strongly to never underestimate a brilliant author such as Weeks. These events precipitate disasters left, right, and centre, and I realised I wasn’t putting the book down until I turned the last page! Everything is brilliantly paced, wild battles are beautifully choreographed and interleaved between heart-warming moments of honesty and trust between key characters.
The growth of the characters is one of the best aspects of this book – while the previous book focussed heavily on the deep scars and secrets that mark them – legacies of the war Gavin and his brother Dazen waged on one another sixteen years ago to become the Prism, this book goes a long way to heal them. Secrets are revealed, deep hurts are healing and the characters that survive the experience emerge with fresh hope. Kip discovers a sense of self-worth with the Blackguard and finds friends who respect him as he is, Karris works through some of her many and varied hurts and comes out stronger for it, and Gavin embraces some hard truths, shares some of his burdens and regains a modicum of his trust in others.
I loved The Blinding Knife – it’s an amazing sequel that surpassed my expectations and has left me desperate for the next instalment, The Blood Mirror. Brent Weeks is a Master of Fantasy, wholly deserving of the title, and fans of the genre should be desperate to get their hands on his books.
This stunning sequel surpassed all my expectations and left me in awe of Irvine’s writing and world building skills. As usual, the build up is paced sThis stunning sequel surpassed all my expectations and left me in awe of Irvine’s writing and world building skills. As usual, the build up is paced slowly, but the climax speeds along, ending with a cliffhanger that will distress all readers!
The rebellion that the Hightspallers stage after their the enormous defeats at the hands of the Cythonians in Vengeance forms the major plot line for this book. The world building is amazing – the cultures, values, and traditions of both peoples are well realised and I enjoyed the story expanding to show us more of the world. Garramide, in particular, is an amazing place and vividly portrayed, and it’s importance to both sides ensures us that we will be returning there in the next book. Another setting I love is Tirnan Twil – a tower set on a cliff accessible only by five narrow arched bridges. I have always loved the amazing settings that Irvine creates in his worlds and was not disappointed in the least in Rebellion.
The other plot elements are no less interesting: Lyf’s continuing struggles with gaining access to his lost king-magery, Tali’s determination to free all the slaves in Crython, the difficulties Rixion faces in regaining his honour and will to live. I’m still invested in Lyf and sympathise with him, even though he’s the enemy (or is he?). While the plot elements are woven in skilfully amongst the action and intrigue, I feel the novel is needlessly long. Irvine is never one to use one word when ten will suffice, but I found myself taking a lot of breaks while reading Rebellion because the action unfolded a tad too slowly for my liking. This is the only real negative point I have to make about it.
The main characters continue to grow and learn throughout the novel, and I was impressed with Rixion in particular. The death of his parents and the ruination of his House really matured him up, and although he still made mistakes, it’s obvious how much he has changed from the moment he arrives at Garramide. Although his trusting nature gets him into trouble a few times, I hope that the war and its consequences don’t rob him of his goodness. Tali also grew admirably, discovering her strengths and finding courage inside herself to do what needs to be done. Rebellion also introduces us to a host of new characters, my favourite of which has to be the mysterious Holm. He is written as the archetypal old-guy-who-knows-everything and rather conveniently meets Tali just as she needs guidance with her magic, but he proves to be an intriguing character none-the-less.
Rebellion is a great book that builds upon the foundations that Vengeance laid out beautifully, and I recommend the series for fans of Irvine’s works and those who enjoy epic fantasy. One of the greatest things about all of Irvine’s works is that they stay away from the overused ‘swords and sorcery’ tropes. I am looking forward to reading the conclusion to this series, Justice, next year.
Sequels are hard to review - they're a bit hit-or-miss and these days more and more suffer from second book syndrome: they act like a filler book to tSequels are hard to review - they're a bit hit-or-miss and these days more and more suffer from second book syndrome: they act like a filler book to tide you over until the real action begins again in the concluding book.
I'm very happy to say that Through the Ever Night doesn't have any of these problems. Authors take note: this is how you write a sequel! The book is an all-round hit - just as riveting and action-filled as the first book, and it sets readers up for what is bound to be a thrilling climax in the final book of the series, Into the Still Blue.
My one complaint about Under the Never Sky was that the cataclysmic event that forced people into the Pods, and left others to eke out a living in the harsh environment outside, was never explained. This is quickly and efficiently taken care of in Through the Ever Night, with the author briefly recounting the massive solar flare that wreaked havoc on Earth's atmosphere and now causes the brutal magnetic storms that plague our characters. I wonder why this was never mentioned in the first book, it seems the solar flare should have naturally come up whenever Aria was thinking about how her life inside the Pods differed from that of the 'Savages' outside.
Perry and Aria are breathtakingly realistic characters, and they continue to pull at the heart-strings in this book. The secondary cast, including Roar, Reef, Molly and Bear, add dimension and warmth to the story, and I love that Rossi handled the loyalty of the Six and the mistrust of the rest of the tribe so well. I couldn't really blame any of the characters for feeling what they did, but it frustrated me that they didn't trust Perry as their leader. On the other hand, their blind hatred of Aria disappointed me, and it doesn't seem like this issue is going away any time soon.
I also liked the tension Rossi created between Perry, Live, Aria and Roar. It was predictable, and a little cruel, but I think anyone in Perry's position would have been susceptible to doubt, and I hope it all gets worked out in the next book.
Finally meeting Liv, Perry's sister, was one of my favourite things about Through the Ever Night. I felt like I should know her already, after all the stories Perry and Roar tell of her, but she's even more impressive in person. I think it would have been very easy for the author to ask readers to hate Liv because of the decisions she made, but her situation is impossible and my heart was breaking for her.
Through the Ever Night is a captivating sequel: populated with amazing characters and full of twists and turns that will keep you reading way past your bedtime! Veronica Rossi has quickly become one of my favourite YA authors, and I encourage readers to pick up this brilliant series.
Fact: Pure was one of the best books I read last year. Fact: Pure has amazing world-building and character development, you won't read anything else qFact: Pure was one of the best books I read last year. Fact: Pure has amazing world-building and character development, you won't read anything else quite like it. Fact: Fuse is much, much better than Pure: it's mindblowing-ly awesome.
You probably want to pick up Fuse right after reading Pure, or re-read Pure if you haven't immersed yourself in the world for a while. I struggled a little in the beginning because it took me a few chapters to re-acquaint myself with everyone, where they were, what they were doing. Baggott does a wonderful job of orienting her readers into her sequel, but I feel that I would have benefitted from a re-read of Pure.
The action starts from the get-go: a wretch has been made Pure by the Dome, and a second message is distributed amongst those outside - a terrifying message giving hope even while it strikes fear into the hearts of the innocent. What follows is an adventure told in four view-points (Pressia, Partridge, El Capitan and Lyda), merged together beautifully to create a riveting narrative. Fuse is as well executed and written as Pure, and it was a pleasure to sink into this familiar, albeit, grotesque and sometimes horrifying, world again.
Top notch world-building is one of the amazing aspects of Pure, made even more so because it was a début. Fuse has more of this: the characters venture outside the well-known area around the Dome and into new territory, and we are introduced (briefly, tantalizingly) to new groups of survivors. Readers are also shown the inner working of the Dome, with Partridge playing a much less passive role than he had in Pure. We are reminded, and it's somewhat jarring, of how he previously skated by, content in the knowledge and power he has as the son of the Dome's Leader. I think Baggott has cleverly shown that it's not only those on the Outside that have to fight for survival: those inside the Dome are beset by different, but no less deadly, dangers.
I had a more difficult time with the characters in this book that I had with Pure - the bravery, tenacity and determination I saw in them before has somewhat diminished, replaced with concerns about their love lives, their lovesickness. I'm not saying I don't want romance in the books, in fact, I think the romances are realistic and cute. But my personal feeling is that the characters were sometimes concerned about their relationships with they should have been worrying about - I don't know - surviving? Pressia and Bradwell, in particular, have stilted, terribly awkward interactions for the first half, maybe three-quarters of the book; they tip-toe around one another, one of them is always unconscious, and it gets tedious.
If you enjoyed Pure, if you liked the gritty world building and well-developed characters, then you will love Fuse. Fans of other adult Dystopian and Post Apocalyptic novels, like those of Justin Cronin, will enjoy this hard-hitting series. I can't wait for the next book!!
The bittersweet conclusion to the Pure trilogy by Julianna Baggott, Burn pushes our beloved cast of characters to their absolute limit. At times heartThe bittersweet conclusion to the Pure trilogy by Julianna Baggott, Burn pushes our beloved cast of characters to their absolute limit. At times heartwarming and others heartbreaking, this book will pull at your heartstrings.
We left Pressia, Bradwell, El Capitan and Helmund in a mysterious compound in Fuse, and in Burn we take up with them immediately, learning secrets that will change the world forever. Meanwhile, Partridge takes over the Dome after his father's death, but he soon finds that his dreams won't become realities as easily as he'd hoped, and he finds opposition and betrayal everywhere he turns.
All the characters stay true to themselves - Pressia's optimism and valour, Bradwell's anguish and strength, El Capitan's guilt and loyalty, Partridge's goodness and naivety, Lyda's desperation and courage. They've always been brilliantly crafted and genuine characters, and I think their fates play out to their inevitable conclusions in this book.
In particular, Partridge and El Capitan struck a chord with me. Partridge is quite idealistic and he thinks he's going to quickly change things for the people inside the Dome since he's been outside and seen what it's like. Although I understand his impulse, it was frustrating to see how everything he did just made it worse.
El Capitan and Helmund, brothers who are fused together, are the most arresting characters in the series, and although Baggott had great interactions between them in the last book, she surpasses herself in Burn. Helmund can only repeat what his brother says to get his thoughts across, and you'd think this would limit him, but he's one of the most expressive characters in the cast. El Capitan carries a lot of guilt inside him, and it was good to see him work through some of it with his brother.
To go hand-in-hand with the wonderful characters is the "grotesquely beautiful and beautifully grotesque" world. A world where nuclear detonations have destroyed most forms of life, and irrevocably changed what's survived. People live on untouched inside the Dome, believing they were chosen by God to survive the disaster unblemished, while outside the Dome the wretched, who were unprotected at the time of the detonation and fused to whatever they were near, eke out a living amongst the destruction. Once more it is almost jarring to realise that everything inside the Dome isn't perfect, and that the society is held together by a few lies.
The narrative explores exactly how the detonations came about and what Willux's plans were for the Dome before he died, all of which speak to the meticulous planning that has gone into these books. I think some people will be disappointed with the climax - either because of what happens or how it's left a little open-ended, but I liked it because this is, after all, a post apocalyptic story and I think it's a little silly to expect a rosy conclusion all nicely tied up with a bow.
I think Burn is an amazing conclusion to what has been a mind-blowing series. The grim world is perfectly balanced with the hope of rebirth and renewal. With the way this book ends, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a sequel trilogy or similar - I think there's a lot of material in the secondary characters, especially the next generation!