I don't see the direct comparison to The Hunger Games as some other reviewers stated. Yes, the genre is the same, but the concepts are immensely diffe...moreI don't see the direct comparison to The Hunger Games as some other reviewers stated. Yes, the genre is the same, but the concepts are immensely different. In The Hunger Games, the characters are subject to a digitally manipulated environment, but in the Glitch series, the digital manipulation happens in their own bodies. I loved this book! I hadn't had the privilege of reading the first in the series, unfortunately, but there wasn't any need. Most of the background and characters were fleshed out very well so that reading the first book was not necessary.
I was a little disappointed that Adrien and Zoe didn't keep their heated relationship at the same pace as in some places of the book as Adrien was either physically not present or thinking about other things, but I understand the need for it. I like the concept of chips being implanted in the human subject and giving them extraordinary powers as it makes you think about the current technology out there today and its ramifications should it continue on the same path. I'd almost wished that Taylor had made it to the end of the book because she wasn't as bad as you thought she was; which made her disappearance all the more sad.
Overall, the story is fairly fast-paced (with a few slower parts that were necessary) with an entertaining, dystopian plot that isn't overly technical or bogged down with the sci-fi elements. It is about survival and doing anything it takes to ensure that everyone can go on living normal lives. It's about saving those that have literally had their voices stolen by those they trusted. It's a bit of Enders Game mixed with Hunger Games, though the story certainly shines on its own with original concepts and compelling characters.
I received this book from a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed above are my own and I was not monetarily compensated for penning this review.(less)
This book was excellent. I was disappointed in the fact that the relationship between Selene and Juba wasn't more fiery and was equally disappointed i...moreThis book was excellent. I was disappointed in the fact that the relationship between Selene and Juba wasn't more fiery and was equally disappointed in how Selene easily submitted to Augustus. That, however, isn't worth docking stars as it is Ms. Dray's story to tell. I lot of this story focused on the political veracity of Rome and its conquered states, of which I wasn't particularly enraptured. I did enjoy the little details of Selene's love for her daughter and her country, even though she was not in Egypt. Though Selene is a grown woman in this book, she goes through enormous changes in maturity. She starts off whining about Egypt still and longing to be in Alexandria, but by the end of the book she begins to see that she is loved where she is in Mauritania. I also loved that Helios was brought back into the story as I adore his character. I just have to ignore the fact that he is Selene's twin. That has a bit of a creep factor for me!
Honestly, I'm not sure why this book took me so long to complete as I'm normally a fast reader, but I think a lot of the political pomps seemed to get in my way of enjoying the more frivolous adventures. This is just my reading style as I am more into the fantasy concept than the "historical fiction" stylings. I would definitely recommend this book to those looking for a historical fiction novel with a bit of magic and fantasy rather than the other way around. You'll certainly enjoy this book either way.
I received this book from Goodreads in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated monetarily to penn my review and all opinions expressed are my own. (less)
I will start by saying that you know this book already. You know the heroine that starts off meek and grows into a self-reliant badass. You may even k...moreI will start by saying that you know this book already. You know the heroine that starts off meek and grows into a self-reliant badass. You may even know the love triangle between the two main male characters. You know, the boys-not-yet-men where one is sweet and safe while the other seems sweet, but has secrets (AKA the "Bad Boy"). The magic doesn't happen in a retelling of roles that have been reappearing in books such as The Hunger Games, Twilight, Divergent, Uglies and many other current YA novels. Honestly, there's even a bit of The Handmaid's Tale in this story; which adds a bit to the creep factor.
No, all the magic happens in the way Ms. Dalton expertly weaves her own story through these clichéd characters and makes it personal. It makes those of us who are fans of the books I mentioned excited for meaningful characters that you truly care about. What good is a story when you have no one in them that you can care about? I nearly cried at the cruelty of some of the people in this book!
If you are Blemished, you honestly have such a stack against you already just for being born. You cannot attend school to learn typical school topics if you are a girl. You just learn "tools of the trade" so that you can become SERVANTS to those who are not Blemished, or GEMs. If you are a Blemished boy, you learn to labor and do not get to go to school. The girls also get mandatory hysterectomies at sixteen because the Blemished cannot "mate." And, yes, it is referenced as "mating" because no one dares thinks of The Blemished as human. Imagine a world where you can create your own genetically perfect child. It sounds like a great and interesting idea, until this book delves into the consequences of messing with Mother Nature and/or God's plan.
Oh, yes, and let's not forget (without giving any spoilers) that some of our main characters have supernatural powers that take a back burner to the main plot. Has genetic mutation allowed those of The Blemished make a stand against the "perfect" humans, or is it because of these "freakish" powers that they started banning the Blemished from procreating? It makes me really want to start right in to the next book to search for answers.
I enjoyed this book so much. It captured all that I loved from my favorite YA novels and added new elements to make the story truly unique. You will not regret reading this book; not one little bit.
I received this book from a LibraryThing member giveaway directly from the author in return for a fair and honest review. The opinions expressed above are my own, and I was not monetarily compensated for penning this review.(less)
Mr. Blaney has a real knack for spinning a story. Evan Burl starts off as a seemingly normal boy who was sent to live with his uncle, Mazol, and cousi...moreMr. Blaney has a real knack for spinning a story. Evan Burl starts off as a seemingly normal boy who was sent to live with his uncle, Mazol, and cousin, Pike. He's told that he can never leave the castle grounds because he would die, but he doesn't really have a strong desire to do so anyway. Every year a child drops magically from the sky in a chest and becomes part of the family. At the beginning, we don't know who or what these children are, but they grow up "normally" in the castle, tasked with various chores. They are called The Falling.
After an event happens with Pike, the children are not as happy as they once were because Mazol works them tirelessly. No one eats very well and hatred grows for Mazol. When Evan discovers a hidden book in his uncle's room, and Henri (one of The Falling that Evan is closest to) starts asking him odd questions about sapience (magic), we find that Evan has a year before he turns into a monster. The book counts down the days that Evan has until his fate is sealed, and it is up to him and his "sisters" to discover a way to be saved.
When reality starts to spiral out of control for Evan, and two powerful men vie for control of the boy, things get very twisted and confused. Just when you believe that someone has betrayal in their heart, the story twists again to reveal that they really didn't have anything to do with Evan's predicament. The book was an absolute page-turner for me because the "reality" of the book seemed to change on a whim. It left me feeling like I had no idea what was going on. Thankfully, though the book was not completed at the time of reading it, most of the confusion dissipated by the end of the novel when loose ends were tied up.
The reason for four stars out of five is that the book was, again, not completed at the time I read it, leaving typos and a few characters lacking the development and backstory that I'm used to. I'm sure that Terrilium, Mazol and Cevo will be hashed out in further books, but for being so prominent in the story, I really didn't know their motives. Cevo was the "fleshiest" of these three characters, but I didn't really feel that I knew him. Also, I really didn't understand the point of Anastasia's character. She was a nasty little girl that didn't seem to have a real purpose in the storyline. I felt like kicking her!
If you are looking for a good book to read, then I definitely recommend Evan Burl and The Falling. The story will leave you turning the pages frantically while trying to figure out just what the heck is going on and who did what to whom. Eventually, though, it does fall into place.
I received an advanced reader copy in e-book form directly from the author and everything written above is of my own opinion. I was not monetarily compensated for penning this review and hope that the provided text is helpful for those looking at this title.(less)
This book, unfortunately, took me forever to read; despite it not being particularly long. While the writer took great care in describing all the even...moreThis book, unfortunately, took me forever to read; despite it not being particularly long. While the writer took great care in describing all the events of this book in great detail, I found that the plot drove me absolutely insane. It seemed that there was no actual climax of the story unless you count the part in the very beginning of the book when the wall appears. After that, it is pretty much downhill and very droll.
I wanted to like this book, I really did. The idea of being isolated and having things happen around you that shouldn't (the appearance of the wall, animals becoming pregnant, etc.), you never find out the why, what or who of the story. Who is the woman? Who started this? What really happened to the world? What happens to the unnamed woman? I don't know. Let's talk about milking the cow instead.
This book truly deserves (based upon plot alone) one star. I've only given it more because it really is beautifully written. I just have no idea what the point of this book is. Survival? Instinct? Maybe. It just seemed like, even if she never had to do these things before, she knew exactly what to do and how to do it. If a cow appeared in my yard, I would have no idea how to milk it. If I had to hunt deer, I wouldn't know how to shoot the gun. Granted, the book goes into detail about her knowing a bit about hunting but also said that she never really participated before the wall came.
I suppose I expected something vastly different from what I got. In most post apocalyptic novels, you usually get some action. Sometimes you even get answers about what is going on. I never expected to get gardening and farming tips from an aging woman who seems to not even care that her whole world disappeared; she just accepts it and moves on.
It's a frustrating book in that you expect _something_ to happen. Nothing ever does. You keep reading, hoping that someone, somewhere will find this woman or that she will escape. They don't. I would never recommend this to anyone. Again, I tried to like it, but I just cannot. I also wish I saw what others saw when they gave the book four or more stars. I do not. The writer has a wonderful way of describing the atmosphere, but I find that she cannot write a coherent story. Perhaps it is just me.
I received this book from LibraryThing.com in exchange for my fair and unbiased review. All opinions expressed in this review are solely my own, and I was not compensated monetarily to penn this review.(less)
George R.R. Martin, wow...what a creative wind bag you are! I absolutely adored these books, but you killed off nearly EVERYONE! It's brilliant. I don...moreGeorge R.R. Martin, wow...what a creative wind bag you are! I absolutely adored these books, but you killed off nearly EVERYONE! It's brilliant. I don't even know where to begin. Basically, these books start off telling you which way the wind blows, how everyone looks, how everyone is related to everyone else, yadda yadda. Truthfully, I have to say that I put down the book (in my case, I bought the four-book e-book pack, so...one book) and could not continue for months because I was so frustrated! Everything from landscapes to personalities were brilliantly described and made the world come to life. Unfortunately, every character I truly fell in love with got killed, or died or maimed. Thankfully, some of the rotten ones did, too. Before getting to the rotten, terrible people getting killed, though, all of the innocent, lovable characters disappeared one by one.
This truly is a game of thrones. Not one character is inherently good, and most are not inherently bad, save for Joffrey. I wanted to just throttle him. I wish he'd been brought back to life and killed 1,000 times! I don't think I've ever had such hatred for a fictional character.
There is enough "mysticality" presented in the novels to keep your interest, but it is not overly done. There's a spell here, a glimpse of mystery there and different races mentioned throughout. The feudal concept is certainly not a new one, but Mr. Martin has created the feudal environment without going over-the-top medieval or emphasizing quests for a "magical this or that." Many novels in the fantasy genre drag on about quests, but these books tell an actual story; no, wait, MANY stories that tie in with one another.
I believe that there were plenty of details that could have been left out, but when the book was finished, I was actually glad that there had been so much detail to take in. There were a lot of item details that seemed to have no purpose until you got to parts later in the book. I honestly wish I'd had the physical copies for this reason because it is so much easier to flip through paper than to scroll endlessly through 4,000 pages! In fact, the ebook format that I bought was so terrible that it didn't even have a way to scan the books individually or to pick a page. Every slight movement of my finger on the scroll bar took me forward or backward nearly 100 pages.
If you find yourself picking up these books and wanting to stop after 100-200 pages, just keep going through. It's so worth it! Since the series is not complete, though, the ending (fourth physical book) leaves you hanging. Thankfully, the fifth book is out now, though not as excellently wrought as these four.
I really enjoyed reading this book! At first, I was a bit trepidatious about the Egyptian theme as it's not a genre that I've ever really explored. I...moreI really enjoyed reading this book! At first, I was a bit trepidatious about the Egyptian theme as it's not a genre that I've ever really explored. I really shouldn't have been worried! This novel is more of a fill-in-the-blank historical fiction. With everything that we know about Egypt, Ms. Dray fills in the numerous holes with a charming (and deceitful, lying, loving, whimsical, etc.) tale about the daughter and sons of Cleopatra (Selene, Helios and Philedelphus) from the time before their capture by Octavius (the Roman) and beyond.
I guess the best part about this novel is that I actually got to learn a bit of history along with the fictional in-betweens. For every historical fact that may only say "they were captured and taken in as wards by Octavian" and move on to another tidbit from there, Ms. Dray has woven her own tale about what happened while they were in captivity. There are many magical aspects of the story as well, filling the spaces that history books leave blank.
I loved that Selene was depicted as a caring and loving person with a bit of fire. She is outwardly submissive, but truly a spitfire in her heart. Helios seems quite the opposite with his open defiance. They both, however, are fervent Egyptians that only want the best for their people and try in the best ways they can to get back home. Honestly, it probably took a bit of magic to get me to enjoy this story as I was only mildly interested at first. The author certainly knows how to tell a story in ways that make you want to continue reading on. Her characters really come to life.(less)
I had the pleasure of meeting Ms. McMurry yesterday during a book signing and picked up a book to peruse. Generally being the type to avoid any type o...moreI had the pleasure of meeting Ms. McMurry yesterday during a book signing and picked up a book to peruse. Generally being the type to avoid any type of self-help novel and instead rushing to the newest YA fantasy, I was a bit cautious while engaging (disengaging?) in a bit of chit-chat and flipping through the book's pages. In that short minute or two, I was able to read a page or two about common faux paus in the work place that I may have been remotely aware of but of which I hadn't paid particular attention. I decided to buy this and give the ideas inside a shot. The book certainly held my interest as I read and touched on a few of my personal pet peeves (the limp fish handshake, for example).
If you decide to purchase this book, it will be well worth your couple of hours. Despite it being a rather small book with a larger font than I am used to, there is a lot of information packed into a very small piece of real estate. Ms. McMurry is a well educated woman who knows EXACTLY what she wants, how to get it and how to share the information with the world.(less)
Tangled is full of intrigue. Mo, our heroine, is always in a crisis that she seemingly creates for herself. She is being chased by those in her world...moreTangled is full of intrigue. Mo, our heroine, is always in a crisis that she seemingly creates for herself. She is being chased by those in her world as well as by those in the world of the Arcs, the magic is killing her because of her apparent inability to mend the broken lines and she doubts herself endlessly. Mo cannot sort through her problems without first starting another and she's involved with a man that she cannot - no, wait - should not be with. This is only the beginning! Poor Mo is left to sort through her increasingly complicated life with only a few people that are willing to help hold her above water. However hair brained Mo seems, she manages to make the right decisions to get her goals accomplished. No longer a victim of obliging to everyone else's will, she is a strong-willed individual that let's nothing get in the way of what she wants.
There are so many obstacles placed before her, but Mo is determined to take everything in in her own stride. Each new task is presented with urgency by those wishing her to succumb to the instructions given, but Mo is absolutely headstrong and only does what she feels is most important at the time. Her friend, Lena, is a constant companion throughout the story and she leaves me wondering what secrets she has of her own! The Kowalski girl is an annoyance until about the middle of her role, when Mo realizes that she is more valuable than she seems. We still do not know by the end of the story if the Kowalski girl is friend or foe, but she does offer a glimpse at Mo's family's true nature that cannot be ignored. Luc is still a factor in the story, but not as strong as in the first book. He truly loves Mo, but she is hurt by his arrogance. Colin, of course, is still Colin, which definitely seems to intrigue Mo as she struggles to come to grips with his past. When Mo learns of her father returning from prison, her emotional state fluctuates and causes her physical symptoms from the magic to get seemingly worse.
I enjoyed reading this book, but it did frustrate me! How one person could go through so much without snapping is beyond my understanding. I cannot wait until the completion of this series as it was so entertaining to read. The story has just enough magic and just enough reality to keep you grounded. This particular part of the series seemed to be more well written than the first, but not so much as to jump outside of the realm of what is common for this genre. It is refreshing to have a novelist "grow up" with the characters, whether or not it is intentional. It reminds me of the writing style changes that we see in the Harry Potter books from J.K. Rowling. She started with the writing style of an immature eleven-year-old to a much more wizened character at the end. This is exactly how Ms. O'Rourke progresses, but from the mind of an immature and selfish teenager to a less immature young adult that knows how to get what she wants and needs. Well done.
I received this book in a giveaway provided by Goodreads.com. I was not paid or obligated to submit a review and did so only based on my personal experiences with this book. (less)
This book was great! Sure, the plot is predictable in places, it's a light read, the scenario is unlikely (nerdy girl gets two hot guys??), but I find...moreThis book was great! Sure, the plot is predictable in places, it's a light read, the scenario is unlikely (nerdy girl gets two hot guys??), but I find it so refreshing to have these things once in awhile. The purpose of a fantasy book is to be fun and extreme. I like the concept! Why not make it grandiose? Kudos to the author for taking the road less followed. I love to read about the not-so-likely heroes and heroines because it brings the impossible down a notch or two. Maura is a good girl who follows the rules, but she snaps when her best friend dies and begins to take control of her own destiny. She makes some terrible choices, but she learns throughout the story that, while it's nice to have a normal life full of normal things and normal decisions, sometimes going out of the way to make her own choice has its rewards. Unfortunately, she realizes the consequences of her hasty and selfish decisions a little too late.
I think that we all do this, to some extent, right? The best part of the book is that Maura does realize at the end what it is she has to do to repair a bit of what she caused. She turns from a selfish little girl who only wants what SHE wants into a young lady who does something for the better good. If you want a quick but engaging story, then I recommend this book wholeheartedly. If you're looking for something complex with overly detailed (and unnecessary) characters, well, look further. This is not one of those books, and it is the perfect type of novel for me! Remember that this is a young adult novel. Vapidity and simple themes always run rampant in this genre. That's why I go for them; my life is way too complicated to read a book that requires flipping back and forth because you haven't picked up the book in a day or two.(less)
This short little tale was absolutely amusing and perfect for young readers. It is a great size to read for bedtime stories, isn't frightening and ent...moreThis short little tale was absolutely amusing and perfect for young readers. It is a great size to read for bedtime stories, isn't frightening and entertaining to even adults! Scout is a friendly little dog that has many neighborhood friends with different personalities. It is a cute story about doggie perception that few ever think about, such as thinking that a microchip may be a bit crunchy. Too funny! The story is short and sweet with a cliff-hanger ending leading to the introduction of the next book in the series.
Within the story itself, you meet a large variety of characters, from cats that live with cat ladies (who, according to Scout, do not count!), to wharf rats, a boa constrictor and a chatty, fat possum who wants nothing more than to eat his way through the tale. Let's not forget the dogs! Ms. Lucas introduces a variety of breeds (including, naturally, Boston Terriers and Springer Spaniels) with funny little personalities. Each dog is described in both appearance and personality, making you feel as if these were your own neighbor's dogs - including the annoying yappy dogs and the dog that always roams the streets without a leash or owner. Scout is cunning and uses everything he's got in his little Spaniel body to find his two friends when they go missing.
Children (and adults!) will not get bored with overly descriptive and pointless paragraphs, but instead will look forward to "just enough detail" at "just the right time." This is perfect for children that read at the first to fourth-grade level (depending on the individual child) because it introduces vocabulary that one may not be familiar with (e.g. Claustrophobic), and gives the definition shortly afterward. It's important to have a couple of the "larger" words defined within the story so that children do not have to stop and grab a dictionary at every page turn. Perfect execution!
This book is definitely worth reading to your children (or having them read by themselves if they are old enough). Very cute! I cannot wait until I read the rest of the series to my children. They loved the idea of the snarky little squirrel that taunted Scout.
I received this book in a giveaway provided by Goodreads.com. I was not paid or obligated to submit a review and did so only based on my personal experiences with this book.
This book was put down the first time I attempted to read it. It was long and drawn out with too much detail about little things that didn't seem to m...moreThis book was put down the first time I attempted to read it. It was long and drawn out with too much detail about little things that didn't seem to matter. I'm very glad that I decided to give the book another go! I read this in roughly three days and enjoyed all of the deception, beheadings and prophesying. At some points, however, I was disappointed to leave one character's viewpoint to jump to another. I just find that some of the characters are more compelling than others. Sansa is so superficial in the beginning that Arya's constant jabs at Sansa are very much welcomed. By the end of the book, however, Sansa turns so sad that you can't help but wish that she stays strong. The same can be said of Tyrion. You can't help but dislike him in the beginning, but then you are left, also, feeling sorry for the little imp...who really has done nothing wrong but tell it like it is. And, Joffrey? Well, I just want to kill that idiot. There are too many characters to list, of course, but these are my favorites and/or most despised.
Honestly, if you find yourself putting this book down for boorish detail, give it a try again. The detail makes sense and ties in at the end. I cannot wait until I get further in the second book.(less)