See this review and more bookish things on my blog!
I got halfway through this book, decided to DNF it, wrote a DNF review, picked it back up a few daySee this review and more bookish things on my blog!
I got halfway through this book, decided to DNF it, wrote a DNF review, picked it back up a few days later, and finished it.
Was giving this book a second chance worth it? Honestly, I’m not sure.
I liked My Soul to Take, and there was no reason why I shouldn’t have liked The Stars Never Rise. A post-apocalyptic world where, after an attack by the demons, a controlling ecclesiastical government was implemented? Teenage exorcists? It sounded so cool, and really unique.
The potential of this world is this novel’s strongest point. Everything else failed to make that leap from “all right” to “really good.”
Let’s talk about characters first. I liked them, but I couldn’t connect with them. While I commend Nina for doing what she needs to in order to get by, she felt mechanical to me. Likewise, her younger sister, Mellie, had potential, but she was often portrayed as sensitive and more loving, and I was getting vibes that, because of this, Mellie is supposed to be portrayed as a better person than her sister. And that rubbed me the wrong way.
We’ve seen that trope before, and I really don’t like it, because it’s not realistic. I have a younger sister, and, though she’s sensitivie, she’s definitely the tougher one out of the two of us. She would be Nina in this situation, not I.
But, like I’ve said, we’ve seen this before. An older sister filling in the parent role for herself and her sensitive, innocent younger sister, but is struggling to get by? An absentee parent? The older sister who must go to great lengths to keep her younger sister safe from the government after she gets in trouble/breaks the law/is selected for something? The older sister who discovers a secret, special, deadly ability that is so dangerous, suddenly she’s wanted by the government and goes into hiding with others like her?
The Hunger Games (at least, where family dynamics are concerned). Red Queen. The Young Elites. Angelfall. You guys, I’m tired of this trope. Authors, please stop writing it. Let the younger sibling be the one who does the work, for once, like Feyre from A Court of Thorns and Roses. Make them boys instead of girls. Or both, maybe. Just stop using this trope. I’ve seen it way too often.
In regards to the other characters, there were too many, and none of them were developed well enough to stand out except for Flynn. However, his…circumstance…made it very difficult for me to visualize him as a character, and this same circumstance also made me uncomfortable regarding his situation with Nina.
Don’t get me wrong; this is not a bad book by any means. All in all, this is actually a very okay one. It’s fun and different and thrilling, and, in terms of post-apocalyptic books, this brings something a little new to the table. But my inability to connect with the characters and my dislike of the sisters trope prevented me from enjoying this novel as much as my peers....more
**spoiler alert** See this review and more bookish things on my blog!
NOTE: THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW. DON'T READ IT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO**spoiler alert** See this review and more bookish things on my blog!
NOTE: THERE ARE MAJOR SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW. DON'T READ IT IF YOU DON'T WANT TO KNOW THE ENDING.
Dystopian finales (heck, trilogies in general) almost always disappoint me, and, unfortunately, that world "almost" is for another review (of a book which just happens to be both).
When I read Legend, I was a little confused as to where all the hype was coming from. In my opinion, the book had potential, but, as far as YA dystopians go, stuck to the formula and was not anything spectacular. Yet it was this spark of potential that prompted me to read Prodigy.
I did, and was pleasantly surprised. Where Legend followed the beaten path, Prodigy blazed its own, a route full of surprises and tropes flipped upside down. Not only was it remarkable for the series; it was remarkable for its genre.
So, needless to say, I came into Champion with somewhat high expectations. Everything was going great, but I was worried about the emotionally crippling ending other readers warned me about, as they had not explained what that ending was, and I had avoided spoilers. Then the ending happened, and I was left frustrated and upset, wondering why I wasted my time on this series in the first place only to be stabbed in the heart like that.
On another note: Ms. Lu, you are evil. I like you, but I didn't like that.
I'm going to separate this review into two categories: what I liked, and what I didn't like. Let's get to it.
What I liked
The Plot There is always something happening in this book, whether it's a high-speed chase, a gunfight, or an emotional breakdown, which makes Champion quite the thrill ride. This, in turn, keeps you glued to the pages and makes for a quick read; I finished the book in only a few days, and never felt it was lagging. The characters are doing things that actually matter to the big picture, and that was nice to see.
The Characters Marie Lu has been consistent with her characters throughout this trilogy. She's let them grow organically, and she's allowed them to face challenges without cushioning them from the impact. This results in characters I can both sympathize with and root for, which, for me, is key in a book.
I also love Lu's emphasis on family in this book. Day's always trying to take care of his younger brother, Eden, and both he and June are still processing the grief that comes with losing family members. As I said in my review of the first book, not only is that realistic, but it really makes you feel for the characters. I was glad this continued into the end of the series.
What I didn't like
The Romance I don't mind romance in my books. I don't mind two characters being in love (unless it's Twilight and the romance makes you want to rip the book to shreds because both characters are whiny and clingy and have no identity outside of each other and NOTHING ELSE HAPPENS in the book, but that's for another time). June and Day's relationship is something beautiful and strong and fierce, and it was a joy to read about.
However, I have a complaint, with begins with a question.
(view spoiler)[ Okay, how old were they in this book? Sixteen? (I know they're both the same age, it's just a matter of figuring out what that is.) Because, in this book, they sleep together, and knowing how young they are really bothered me. I understand that this might have been the natural progression for their relationship to take and that it's just a story, but I felt that, by including this in the book, Ms. Lu is condoning this behavior for teenagers. You really love him/her? Okay, go ahead and sleep with them! Never mind that you two haven't really known each other very long and both of you are sixteen years old.
Keep in mind that I say this as a teenager, and as someone who is in contact with many, many other teens via high school. I was sixteen or so when I read this series, and, when I thought about myself or any of my contemporaries making those kind of decisions, I felt sick. Kids our age, even if they're more mature than most, aren't mature enough for that kind of commitment. (I speak from experience when I say this, both personally and from watching what's gone on with others.) I'm just saying: this is not good advice to give to teens that young, IMO, and, as teens are the main audience for this series, I just feel it's not a good message to send. (hide spoiler)]
MAJOR, MAJOR SPOILERS: The Ending (view spoiler)[Did Day really have to lose his memory? I know some sort of brain injury was inevitable in this case, but I feel like the series as a whole really didn't need that whole "Day's gonna die" subplot. It felt manufactured solely for the sake of more drama.
Again, I applaud Ms. Lu for following the story and "going there," but that whole "I loved you, but now I don't remember you" trope has been done to death, and its inclusion in this book really dampened my appreciation for the series as a whole. I thought it was better than that. (hide spoiler)]
Conclusion Though I was disappointed by this conclusion for the reasons listed above, I will say that Ms. Lu is definitely a skilled writer whose work I'd like to read more of. Though I really didn't enjoyThe Young Elites, I am planning on checking out future books of hers, which hopefully will be less disappointing....more
See my review for Legendhere, and check out this review on my blog! Normally, I notice this pattern with dystopian trilogies. If you've read enough oSee my review for Legendhere, and check out this review on my blog! Normally, I notice this pattern with dystopian trilogies. If you've read enough of them, I'm sure you've noticed the pattern, too.
In book one, the hero/heroine lives a bleak, normal, miserable life in their world until he/she discovers a horrifying secret about their totalitarian government/society, which causes them to rethink everything they've known about the world around them and rebel.
In book two, they join the resistance, usually becoming its new face, and inspire the citizens of that society to revolt against their government in the name of freedom. Usually, the second book is a hit or a miss, mainly because there is little to no diversion from this formula. There's almost always a love interest involved, who also serves as a convenient ransom for the government to use against the character should things go wrong, too.
I figured this book would be no different. But that's where I was wrong.
Because, in all truth, Prodigy really surprised me. It took the storyline everyone reading YA dystopian fiction is familiar with by now and tied that storyline into a bunch of complicated knots. Untangling everything was fascinating.
I'll separate this review into the same categories as I did with Legend, just for continuity's sake. So, here we go. :D
The World-building While I felt Legend's world-building was its biggest flaw and I still would have liked more explanation about how this society functions and how it came to be, I felt we saw a different side of the Republic in this book. In this book, there is no "good" or "bad" side, and it's very interesting to watch the characters come to terms with that, even as they bind themselves to one side or another with their promises.
Elector Anden, in particular, was a highlight of this book for me, not necessarily because of his character, but because he's so different from all the other government leaders in various dystopian books. Not only was he kind, but he's also not selfish and power-hungry, a welcome deviation from a path that's been beaten to death by villains like President Snow from The Hunger Games and Jeanine Matthews from Divergent. He wants the best for his country and his people, and seeing him try to achieve that in the midst of the Republic's unrest was fascinating. It added a lot more depth to his character.
(view spoiler)[Also, I loved how the Patriots turn out to be sponsored by the Republic itself, and how just because the Patriots are fighting for change in the Republic doesn't automatically make them the good guys. That was genius. It added a lot more depth and realism to the Republic as a whole, in my opinion. (hide spoiler)]
The Characters June and Day both really grew in this book. Both of them--especially Day--are still scarred by their government, and seeing them process that trauma instead of it being glossed was both believable and all the more a reason I was rooting for them. It was amazing to see them grow from extraordinary teens into leaders interested in the good and safety of themselves and their people. They still read like older teens than they're supposed to be (I think they're both sixteen here), but this didn't bother me as much as it did in the first book.
On another note, there were still a few instances where they were eerily on the same page and things were a little too convenient, but, again, this didn't detract from my enjoyment of the book as much as it did in the first one.
The Romance June and Day's relationship takes on a different dimension in this book, which was really cool to see. They're great separately, but they really kick butt when they're together. I loved how their devotion to each other never detracted from their development as separate characters. Instead, it enhanced each one's personality. Their age and the time span of their relationship was still an issue for me here, but not as much as in Legend.
(view spoiler)[Also, two love triangles? Whoa. Normally, that would make me seethe, but here, it wasn't too much of an issue, maybe because I felt it didn't overpower the rest of the book. (hide spoiler)]
So, all in all, a definite improvement on the first and a great addition to the trilogy. (Probably my favorite book in it, actually.) ...more
I'll start this off with a bad pun by saying that, as far as dystopian novels go, this book was definitely a legend amongRead this review on my blog!
I'll start this off with a bad pun by saying that, as far as dystopian novels go, this book was definitely a legend among my friends and the reviewers I follow on Goodreads. Out of all the dystopian books on the market, a considerable amount of people hailed this novel as different and brilliant take on the whole "totalitarian government" scenario.
So, when I finally found it at my library (which usually has sequels to books I want to read and not the actual books themselves), I knew I needed to check it and three other books out, even though I'm still working my way through Dracula. Sorry, Bram Stoker.
I finished Legend in two days, and I'm a little confused about the hype. While I liked the book overall, I didn't feel it was anything special when compared to the other books in its genre--which is a shame, because it had the potential to be something newer and more exciting than what it actually was. Allow me to explain.
Perhaps it's because I'm slogging through edits on my own manuscript and my inner editor is on the prowl, but I think I was a more critical reader than normal while reading this book. There were a few things, in particular, which bothered me:
The World-building This was the area that I felt needed the most work. While it was intriguing to explore Lu's Republic with June and Day, I found myself asking two questions: Why? How? There are "plagues" in Los Angeles and the city in half submerged in water. How did that happen? How did the plagues get there, and where did they originate? Why are Trials so important, and how did they come into existence? How did society morph from that of the United States, a nation which strongly emphasizes freedom, liberty, and choice, into a restrictive government run by the military? What is military school like? What caused the financial gap between the richer and poorer sectors, and what caused the sectors to form, anyway?
These are just some of the questions I had while reading. Ms. Lu's idea of placing Los Angeles under the rule of a military nation was intriguing, I found myself wanting to know more about the world and its government, and feeling that knowing more about the Republic would make it a more memorable fictional society. What makes dystopian novels impactful and frightening is that the societies they portray could easily exist in real life, if certain aspects of real-life society were taken to extremes.
However, I didn't find that was the case here; I wasn't able to draw parallels to issues in modern society while reading about the Republic and its dysfunctional, paranoid state. As a result, I wasn't able to see the transition from modern US government to the controlling, militarized Republic, and, instead of it feeling believable, I actually had to suspend disbelief in order to enjoy the book.
The Characters Overall, I enjoyed reading about June and Day and their adventures. Both had dilemmas I could sympathize with and goals I could root for. I felt the way each grieved over the loss of loved ones was believable and something rarely seen in YA literature, especially in this genre. Day's goals and weaknesses were consistent throughout the story, which in turn helped to create a consistent character. I also liked his use of slang; it gave him a unique personality and helped me differentiate between narrators (as if the change in font weren't obvious enough).
On that note, June and Day always read like two separate characters to me, even though there were some instances where they seemed to be rather unrealistically on the same (metaphorical) page, or thinking/discovering the same things around the same time as the other person did. This made the plot seem a little too convenient at times, and I believe miscommunication on their parts would have added both to the plot and to the development of their separate characters.
But here's what really bugged me: I just can't see June and Day as being fifteen. They read like sixteen- or seventeen-year-olds. I don't know anyone who could possibly be as talented or intelligence as they are at their age, which was another instance of suspension of disbelief for me. This led right into...
The Romance I thought June and Day made a good couple, but I also thought it was highly unrealistic that two fifteen-year-olds could be in such a committed, deeply-trusting relationship at their age, especially after knowing each other for only a month. Again, most fifteen-year-olds I know aren't mature--or selfless--enough to make the kinds of decisions and sacrifices they made for each other. It felt a little like insta-love, which made it somewhat difficult for me to buy into the romance initially.
Overall, I liked this book, even though I had some issues with it. While it wasn't perfect, it was a quick (and somewhat addicting read). If you're more comfortable with suspending your disbelief than I am, consider checking this one out. A fun, fast dystopian read, if not a bit underdeveloped.
Four is, hands-down, my favorite chSee this review and more bookish things on my blog!
This book. This book, this book, this book.
Ah, I love this book.
Four is, hands-down, my favorite character in the Divergent series. He’s brooding and mysterious and tough, but he’s also sensitive and well-rounded and real. He has such an interesting backstory and such an intriguing reason for being why he is the way he is, and I’ve always wanted more.
In that regard, Four delivers.
Here, Four is more than a Dauntless instructor or the son of Marcus Eaton. He’s more than Tris’s love interest. This collection of short stories emphasizes some crucial moments in his life: moments with his father, moments in the Dauntless training compound, moments with Tris. Collectively, Four is an excellent summation of Tobias Eaton as a character.
One thing that bothered me about the first two books in the original series was Tris’s narration; it always seemed too dry to me. But, from Four’s perspective, Roth’s writing really shines. Everything flows and fits together so well, a beautifully-sculpted body of text. I couldn’t put this book down, but I was also dreading the end.
If you enjoy Four as a character in the Divergent series, read this novella. Please. I highly doubt you’ll regret it. It’s a gripping collection of short stories, but this novella is more than that. Four is an excellent window into a compelling character....more
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I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Trilogies almost always disappoint me. Whether it's a cSee this review and more bookish things on my blog!
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Trilogies almost always disappoint me. Whether it's a confusing plot twist, an unnecessary character death, or character regression, I always find the finale of a trilogy the most underwhelming.
Unfortunately, this series is no exception.
The first book was great. It wasn't a literary masterpiece, but it took an interesting premise and build a unique world around that. Add in some intriguing characters, and there was a lot of potential for the series. But this potential wasn't realized in this book, and it's a shame.
The Characters This was probably my biggest issue in the book. Allie withered in this book, starting out as a strong character trying to figure out who she is and how to save it, and ending as a whiny mess of a vampire teenage girl. It was really frustrating to see. There were multiple points in this novel where she knowingly abandoned her common sense in favor of her emotions, and that made it very hard for me to tolerate and understand her actions.
We're in her head all the time, which means things get intense fast, and it would have been nice if there were more light moments to balance things out. Unfortunately, since Zeke was turned into a vampire by Sarren at the end of the last book, he's just as moody and mopey as Allie is. The rest of the characters pretty much take the back seat in favor of these two, which means there's pretty much no escape from the drama or the angst. Jackal was still funny, but I wish we had more of him; he was the only voice of reason besides Kanin.
The Plot I had a little bit of trouble following the plot this time around. (view spoiler)[ So, Sarren unleashed a virus nobody is immune to so the world could have a clean slate? But, if nobody is immune to it, wouldn't that mean he would die, too? How would everyone dying help anyone? (hide spoiler)] I know he's supposed to be insane, but, for the supposed evil mastermind he is, you'd think he'd think this plan through just a little so he can see how nonsensical it is.
Also, there was too much angst for my taste. (view spoiler)[ Allie goes after Zeke knowing he wants to kill her because he's under Sarren's control, and possibly sacrifices the success of their mission in doing so? Not a smart decision, in my opinion, especially when THE FATE OF THE ENTIRE WORLD DEPENDS ON THEM GETTING THE ANTIDOTE BEFORE SARREN DOES. I mean, really, Allie? If you're racing against Sarren already, just head for the antidote, and Zeke will meet you there. Then you can yo-yo back and forth between "he's dangerous; I should get the heck away from him" and "Zeke! Wait! I know there's still good in you because I love you!"
(That would have been a way smarter decision, I think. It would have saved us pages upon pages of Zeke capitulating between "I'm a monster and there's no hope for me; I hate myself and am a broken boy who can't love Allie anymore" and "MUST KILL ALLIE.")
And of course they still make it in time! Conveniences like that took away from the overall quality of the book. (hide spoiler)]
One last thing: I didn't understand the ending. (view spoiler)[ So, Allie becomes a master vampire because of how "good" she is? Wouldn't it make more sense for a master vampire to be created based on who's "next in line," sire-wise? I felt it was just another convenience so that she had the antidote all of the sudden. While the idea of the antidote being found in a master vampire's blood was a really cool twist with some good foreshadowing, Allie's "promotion" to that rank, of sorts, cheapened the novelty of the twist. It kind of felt like a cop-out. (hide spoiler)]
The Romance If you're looking for one that's not sappy, don't read this book. The angst and drama levels are cranked up to a full 10, and it bleeds into the rest of the book, which really dampened my enjoyment of it. Sorry, but reading about Zeke moping and pushing Allie away and then Allie feeling guilt over what happened to him was not enjoyable for me. Not when it was a constant cycle, at least. Which is a shame, really, because the two of them made a great couple in The Immortal Rules.
Overall: still action-packed, still gritty and gory, but the angst, the decline of the quality of these characters, and several major illogical decisions these characters made make this book my least favorite of the series. :(...more
Actual rating: 3.5 stars. See this review and other bookish things on my blog!
It's been such a long time since I read this book that I probably won'tActual rating: 3.5 stars. See this review and other bookish things on my blog!
It's been such a long time since I read this book that I probably won't be able to give you such a detailed review for it as I could have given if I'd reviewed this sooner after I read it. But I promise I will try.
While The Eternity Cure is definitely not a static sequel (no "Middle Book Syndrome" here!), I do not feel it lived up to its predecessor. The plot was always progressing, but I felt that some of the characters weren't, and the romance took a wrong turn down Cheesy Street somewhere. While we received more of an explanation about some things, I felt several of the things that showed potential in The Immortal Rules didn't live up to said potential: the characters and the romance, mainly. I'll be focusing more on those here than the other components I focused on in my review of The Immortal Rules , just so you know.
The Characters Allie was a character I felt I could root for in the first book. There, we saw her transformation into a vampire and her struggle to figure out what that meant for her in regards to morals and human life. Here, she's continuing to do that, and it's interesting to see her try to balance her human side with her vampire side and try to prevent one from eclipsing the other completely. I also admired how she was determined to save Kanin, her creator, even though she didn't owe him that and she went through a lot of trouble to try and find him.
Kanin gets developed more in this book, which was really cool to see. We witness him at some of his very lowest points--struggling with guilt, grief, and his bloodthirsty vampire nature--and he's a more nuanced, more vivid character for it. He's probably one of my favorite characters in this series, and my heart ached for him and his struggle.
In order to find Kanin, Allie also teams up with her sire-brother, Jackal, whom we met in the first book. In The Eternity Cure, we get to see more of what makes him tick and how he deals with life as a vampire. He brought some much-needed comic relief to the book, and made me laugh out loud several times. I always enjoyed reading his banter with Allie, especially when Kanin was around.
Zeke pops up in this book, too, but instead of growing as a character, I think he remained pretty stagnant and one-note. This was an issue for me in the last book, too, but I said in my review of Book One that having a nicer, gentler character helped even things out a little bit. And it did, but, when all of the other characters were being developed and he was not, it was easier to noticed how underdeveloped he was. He got moody several times, too, which seemed really immature and added some unnecessary drama to the novel. It's a shame, too, because I think he would have been my favorite character otherwise.
The Plot As I said earlier, this is not a book where nothing happens. Allie's journey to find Kanin is both eventful and exhilarating. Kagawa takes us deeper into her world via encounters with mole men, vampire hierarchs, and other dangers. And their encounters with vampires who have caught the new strain of Red Lung? Terrifying and gross. (I loved it. :D ) There is hardly ever a dull moment. This world is cutthroat and dangerous, and Kagawa further cements this fact in this novel.
That being said, there were a few predictable moments (view spoiler)[ like Zeke being the leader of the underground group and Stick being the vampire prince's aide (hide spoiler)]. But there were other moments that made me go "WHAT?!" (view spoiler)[ like that ending with Zeke. GAH. (hide spoiler)] But other than that teeny tiny complaint, I was almost always on the edge of my seat as Allie and company were kicking butt.
The Romance This is where things started to go downhill for me. In Immortal Rules, I said I thought Allie and Zeke made a good couple, with a good balance of gentle and tough, vampire and human, dark and light. Here, though, they started to get a little angsty, and Allie created a lot of drama over yo-yoing between wanting to be with him but not wanting to hurt him. I understand the situation was kind of impossible--How can a human and a vampire ever be together without the former being hurt?--but I felt they could have done something more useful than freak out.
And Zeke to me was just really corny in this novel. He had lines like
"Only death will take me away from you, vampire girl. ... And even then, I'll watch over you from wherever I end up.
as well as
"You have my promise, vampire girl. I don’t intend to give up. I’ll fight beside you for as long as I can."
I mean, maybe those quotes actually aren't so cheesy, but...vampire girl? Really? That's the best you could do? To me, that nickname takes words that could have had weight and just melts them into cheese. And when that's the dynamic between the heroine and her love interest and most of their interactions happen this way, it starts to feel fake and not too genuine.
Also, one last note: While I'm not totally opposed to swearing in a book, I don't like a lot of it, and the characters' liberal use of it here made me really uncomfortable--enough to warrant a lower rating. So, know that's one of the factors that resulted in this book having a lower rating than it's predecessor.
Overall: still action-packed, still gritty and gripping, but the romance is lacking and a little bland, and the quality of the book suffers as a result....more
It's funny, because I'm trying to conjure up memories of this book so, after all this time, I can write a review on why I didn't like it.
Only, for thIt's funny, because I'm trying to conjure up memories of this book so, after all this time, I can write a review on why I didn't like it.
Only, for the life of me, I can't remember a darn thing.
Wait. I think I have something.
The plot was nonexistent. Someone needs to tell Mrs. Condie that daydreaming about your significant other while writing poems in your head doesn't count as a plot. Because, other than that, nothing important really happens in this book. Heck, I can't even remember if they found the Resistance or not. I couldn't really care less at this point.
The characters were one-note and horribly bland. We learn a little more about Ky and his past, but not enough to make him a more nuanced character. Cassia had no real motives for finding Ky and the Resistance, other than the fact that she supposedly "loved" Ky. But, honestly, they really didn't have much chemistry together. All they did was swap poetry, which was okay, but nothing special.
Also, Ky and Cassia sounded like exactly the same person, which became a problem as I got further into the book. I had to keep going back to the beginning of the chapter to figure out who was talking, which made things a lot more confusing than they needed to be.
Based on all this, it probably sounds like I hated this book, which isn't true. I didn't necessarily hate it, but I did get pretty frustrated with it. The lack of stakes and anything significant actually happening made me really bored. Nothing was really explained all that much, either, which left me with way more questions than answers.
All in all, reading this book was like eating cheap cotton candy. You know it's pure fluff, but you at least expect it to taste sweet. Instead, it tastes a lot more like plastic. Not sure if I'll read the last book in the series. Maybe if I spot it at the library and there's absolutely nothing else there worth reading (which is highly unlikely), I'll give Reached a go. ...more
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I've said before that, in general, the third book a trilogy is almost always guaranteed to disappoSee this review and more bookish things on my blog!
I've said before that, in general, the third book a trilogy is almost always guaranteed to disappoint me. I don't really know why, but it's a really bad curse, because it always soils my opinion of the series overall, especially if the first two books were good.
And this might be the most disappointing trilogy finale I've read in a while. So disappointing that, though I read this book sometime last year, I'm only just rating it now, because I didn't have the heart to rate it earlier.
The first two books in this series were fantastic. They were new, but fun, featuring a protagonist who was strong and feminine, determined and vulnerable. And that's something we see so little of in YA paranormal literature. (Also, the romance gave me all the feels, and wasn't abusive or misogynistic in any way, which, unfortunately, is also a trend in YA paranormal.) So, of course, I was expecting something fantastic.
But this book took some of the things that made it stellar, and unraveled them.
Let's start with Penryn's character. Remember how I've said in previous reviews that, while she had her girly moments (which are totally normal and, um, part of being a girl) she never let them distract her from her goals?
Well, here, she's a pile of mush. Everything is Raffe, Raffe, Raffe. And while I like Raffe, Penryn's never been the time of girl to moon over him so constantly. So why did that change? It makes her look wimpy and overly emotional, and it really hurt my respect for her legitimacy both as a character in general and as a "strong" female character. This was probably my least favorite aspect of the book.
Another thing I didn't like was the ending. From the beginning, this series has told us that angel-human romances are forbidden, that Raffe will have to return to Heaven eventually, and that what they have won't last because of this. So, of course, I was terrified about what would happen in End of Days, because what went down here would permanently affect or maybe even end their relationship. Oh, yeah, and determine the fate of mankind. (You can tell what my priorities are, can't you?)
But I felt the ending was a big cop-out. It was too convenient. Certain plot threads just…vanished all of the sudden when the main conflict was resolved, which made the whole thing feel anticlimactic and contrived. (I'm trying to say as little as I can here so I don't accidentally spoil someone.)
And that's disappointing, because this series started out with such a bang, such a win, and now it's concluded with a bit of a whimper.
I honestly wish I wasn't saying that. It makes me feel hollow inside. Because, while I still love the first two books, I can no longer say I love this series as a whole.
Some might see three stars as "it was okay." But, keep in mind that, due to the quality of this book's predecessors, for me, these three stars actually mean something other than "just okay." They mean "disappointing."...more
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After looking at reviews, I was nervous that I wouldn't like World After. I had finally picked upSee this review and more bookish things on my blog!
After looking at reviews, I was nervous that I wouldn't like World After. I had finally picked up its predecessor, Angelfall, and loved it more than I had expected to. It was just the right mix of action and character development, in my opinion. Finally, an author had given us a teenage girl who could kick butt--because she had trained toward it, not only because she was skilled at it--but also could be a, you guessed it, teenage girl.
However, Penryn never moped long enough to let her focus waver from saving her sister or protecting her family (view spoiler)[, and she didn't turn into a pile of mush when it came to Raffe (hide spoiler)]. These were things I appreciated, because it meant I could relate to a main character who was willing and able to get things done.
But, anyway, on to World After. I'll just paste in the Goodreads synopsis:
When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.
Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.
Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?
One of the reasons why I was worried I wouldn't like this is because the premise sounds almost exactly like Angelfall's, and I knew I didn't want to read a repeat of the previous book's events. But, from what I gathered, the main reason why other people didn't like this book has to do with the fact that there's less action in it.
In terms of fistfights and things exploding, yes, there is less going on, but that doesn't mean that the tension lets up. Instead of repeating Angelfall's events, Ee builds on them, delving deeper into what, exactly, the angels were up to. That clever lady created enough suspense to keep me flipping pages faster than a chef at IHOP flips pancakes. And, just like I love pancakes, I loved this book.
You know, for all his twisted ways, Mr. Royalton was right about one thing: pancakes ARE love.
In World After, Penryn tries not only to help find her sister, but to help save the other humans. To do this, she has to find out exactly what the other angels are up to, which means going to the New Aerie and facing those bug monsters again. Let's just say that she handled the situation way better than I would have, especially in the insect department. *shivers* Penryn is forced to make difficult decisions and sacrifices not only to survive, but to protect everyone she loves. She makes some mistakes along the way, but, all in all, she has a good on her shoulders, a character trait that seems to be a rare find in today's YA literature.
I would say this whole book is, actually. It's not every day you find a book that contains angels, demons, headstrong females, mutant children, good writing, and really creepy bug men.
And I love it.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads, and I'm so grateful that I did. This book is one of my favorites, and now I get to have it readily available on my shelf. ^-^ ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Actual rating is closer to 4.5 stars. Check out this review on my blog!
I found this book in hardback at the used book store, and bought it because itActual rating is closer to 4.5 stars. Check out this review on my blog!
I found this book in hardback at the used book store, and bought it because it was in near perfect condition. Judging by the reviews of my Goodreads friends, I figured it'd be an opportunity for me to do some research while simultaneously having fun.
They were right. This was a heck of a ride.
The Worldbuilding Originally, I was a little wary of the idea of vampires in a post-apocalyptic setting. In my mind, the two don't really mix. However, I couldn't have been more wrong about this. Julie Kagawa blends both these elements beautifully, creating a world that's original, exotic, and really, quite terrifying.
The world Allison Sekemoto lives in dreary and cutthroat. It's not a place where making friends is recommended; you'd lose them to death far too often. The world has been ravaged after a devastating virus outbreak called Red Lung, and the vampires have taken control of almost any cities left standing. With multiple threats to the human species (vampires, rabids, mole men), the safest option is to stay within the walls that keep rabids and mole men out, and become a blood donor for the vampires, who offer protection and food in exchange for human blood. Those who do not become donors are left to forage for themselves, and, if caught, hanged for disobeying the law.
I felt the worldbuilding here was a good balance of "showing versus telling": You learn about its construct through Allison telling you directly, but also by reading and discovering for yourself. I also felt Kagawa never shied away when it came to depicting vampires as they were always meant to be shown: as cruel, bloody, heartless creatures. Her vampire "rules" were consistent with most of traditional vampire lore, and remained consistent throughout the book.
Also the descriptions of the rabids were chilling; I got scared every time Allie and her group encountered one (or several). This created a tense atmosphere that had me on the seat of my pants throughout most of the book.
The Characters Allison "Allie" Sekemoto, our main character, is one of these humans who refuses to become a "bloodbag" for the vampires. She lives under the radar with a group of other humans who forage for food. I found Allie to be resourceful, competent, strong, and fiercely independent. By no means was she a wimp. I appreciated being able to root for a character who did what was necessary to survive without becoming a blubbering mess in the process.
I also really liked Kanin, even though he was shrouded is mystery for most of the book. I loved how, though he was strict with her, you could tell he genuinely cared about her and her safety. His teaching sessions with Allie were always fun to read.
Zeke was a sweet character, if a little bland. Despite whatever development his character might have lacked, it was refreshing to have a character who was soft and gentle in this book's brutal, merciless world. It made for a nice contrast.
The Plot Here's where things got really fun. >:)
Sometimes, foraging for food this leads Allie and her group outside the city walls and into rabid territory. When Allie finds a large stash of food, she alerts her group to it, but they end up being ambushed by rabids on the way back into the city, and most of the group is killed. Allie herself is fatally mauled by the rabids, but, before she dies, a vampire named Kanin finds her and offers her a choice: die and become a rabid, or become a vampire with his help. She chooses the latter and begins training under Kanin, but when they get separated, Allie falls in with a human group looking for Eden, a fabled town where humans can live without fear of vampires or rabids. On the journey, Allie begins to befriend some of the people in the group, and even fall in love with one of them. But for how long can she keep her identity a secret? And is there any way for her to be both human and vampire, or has the monster inside her already won?
In Allie's world, there is always a threat of some sort present, especially if you've chosen to fly under the radar and not donate blood to the vampires. It makes for a tense read; my jaw was always tight whenever Allie (and anyone with her) ran into rabids.
As she and her group of humans travel to Eden, they encounter a lot of hardship in various forms, and it really made me sympathize with and root for them. Can't blame them for wanting to be safe, right?
It was also interesting to see Allie's struggle to retain her humanity and not let her vampire side get the best of her. We see her grapple with her unquenchable bloodlust and try to resist feeding on the people in her group, even if she's starving. It made me cheer for her even more.
In regards to the technicalities of the plot, I felt it was the perfect mix of action and "rest" scenes, you could say. Either way, it was compelling and fun. The ending left a wide grin on my face; it sort of reminded me of the ending of an Indiana Jones movie: a good resolution, but also a little open-ended.
The Romance Call me a softie, but I think Allie and Zeke make a really cute couple. In my opinion, they balance each other out pretty well. He offers her the humanity she's so desperately trying to hold on to, while her toughness and grit saves his butt quite a few times. It was intriguing to see their relationship blossom, and I can't wait to see where the next book will take it.
On the note of "saving butts": I appreciated how there was no "damsel in distress" in this book regarding their relationship; Allie and Zeke saved each other throughout the story solely because they cared for each other, not because one was trying to assert dominance over the other. It wasn't ever a power play, which was refreshing.)
So, overall, a fun, gritty, action-packed book you should check out if the idea if the phrase "vampire apocalypse" appeals to you. Definitely recommended!...more
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Though this book hasn’t been as popular as its fellow novels in the post-apocalyptic genre, I’ve heSee this review and more bookish things on my blog!
Though this book hasn’t been as popular as its fellow novels in the post-apocalyptic genre, I’ve heard many of my trusted reviewer friends praise its vivid world-building, something many said fellow novels seem to lack.
Most of these reviewers gave this book four or five stars, and I hoped I would be able to, as well. But, unfortunately, I can’t.
Because, though my friends were right about the world-building, I fail to see anything else remarkable about this novel.
It’s not that Ship Breaker isn’t original or unique. It is. But it’s not memorable in that its characters never felt real, the plot only really appeared at the last third of the book, and the writing was fine, but nothing commendable.
I really wish I would have liked it more. The world Bacigalupi paints here is so real and easy to immerse yourself in. He creates a very tangible world and atmosphere in this novel, and this is, in my opinion, the strongest point of this novel. It was fascinating, and I wanted more of it.
However, I found myself wanting more of everything else, too, in that the other aspects of this novel–characters, plot, and the like–were lacking for me. If you’d like a novel that’ll show you some great world-building (and, authors, how to world-build correctly), pick this up, but don’t expect much else from it. Won’t be continuing the series....more
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Actual rating: 4.5 stars.
I will be honest with you: I did not expect to enjoy this book nearly as mSee this review and more bookish things on my blog!
Actual rating: 4.5 stars.
I will be honest with you: I did not expect to enjoy this book nearly as much as I did.
I’m not a horror novel junkie, but I do like zombies (even though reading zombie books makes me low-key scared of the dark). I don’t enjoy being scared while reading, but there’s something about zombie novels that makes being scared fun. So I enjoy them, but I can’t read too many of them, or I’ll start to get paranoid.
A fellow reader recommended this series, and, when I saw the first book at the library, I picked it up, hoping it would be good.
And it was more than good. That first sentence is probably my favorite first sentence ever. (And no, I won’t tell you what it is; read the book and find out for yourselves. ...more
This was a great follow-up to Westerfeld's Uglies. The plot rushed through this book at breakneck speed, except with a few new twists,Wow. Just…wow.
This was a great follow-up to Westerfeld's Uglies. The plot rushed through this book at breakneck speed, except with a few new twists, mainly...
New characters (of course)!
To all of you lovely new side characters:
I mean, in a love triangle, I'm usually devoted to one side, and I will not change. Ever. But Mr. Westerfeld made Zane sweet, cute, and understanding--just a nice guy. And, honestly, if Tally were to end up with him (view spoiler)[even though it's super obvious that she doesn't (hide spoiler)], I would be satisfied. It's so nice when I can like both love interests instead of drool over one and shun the other.
However, I'm still Team David. Not completely hardcore, but still. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I found out through the author's blog that this book is available for free on iBooks. Then I read an excerpt, and it was p
Probably closer to 2.5 stars
I found out through the author's blog that this book is available for free on iBooks. Then I read an excerpt, and it was pretty good, enough to convince me to download the whole thing.
Let's go through the positive first:
The zombies were incredibly frightening, so kudos to Hocking for that. Just about every time I heard a movement in the house while I was reading this book, I flinched.
Okay, so Remy was just a telescope lens. She had no personality whatsoever. But, for the first time in ages, I really didn't care. The amount of action in the plot made this read an addicting. Also, I came to care for several of the secondary characters, which made me read on.
On that note, the relationship between Remy and her brother Max seemed very real. Even though I couldn't really detect Remy's personality in this, I could feel the love that she had for him—enough to go to desperate measures.
Also, the whole pet lion thing was cool, and the cult idea was somewhat intriguing, if not a little creepy.
Unfortunately, I had a few problems with this book. Enough to make me change from three stars to around 2.5.
1. The language - I'm not a sissy, but after a while, enough is enough, and soon the swearing made me uncomfortable.
2. There is a scene in this book (view spoiler)[that contains some pretty mature content that I wasn't necessarily prepared for (hide spoiler)]—actually, several—that could have been cut out, as they served no purpose to the main plot of the story (at least, as far as I can see).
So, those are my issues with this book. Take note of them a little bit before you decide to read Hollowland. But, then again, you may not find fault with some of the things I did, so I'll let you decide whether or not this would be an enjoyable read for you.
EDIT 6/26/15: I'm strongly considering rereading this one to see if I want to keep it/read the sequel. Hopefully I'll be able to start on that soon.
AEDIT 6/26/15: I'm strongly considering rereading this one to see if I want to keep it/read the sequel. Hopefully I'll be able to start on that soon.
About 3.5 stars.
I feel a bit conflicted.
As soon as I saw the cover, title, and premise for this book, I nearly fainted. The picture on the front was beautiful and the title plucked on my heart strings. The premise, while not completely original (this book is a retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion), had me hooked.
So, the day after FDStS came out, I rushed right over to B&N to buy it, and started reading right away.
On the one hand, the world Peterfruend has concocted is quite intriguing: a mixture of the typical Jane Austen setting with a post-apocalyptic, sci-fi twist. However, I would have like to learn more about the way things run in it, as I felt that the actual cause of the apocalypse and the dynamics in its aftermath were a bit rushed and glossed over.
But, again, I read more for characters than for a book's setting and plot, and, fortunately, I started to care for the central characters almost as soon as I learned their backstories—especially Elliot's. Peterfruend succeeded in making me feel a plethora of emotions (view spoiler)[ angry, upset, frustrated, and sympathetic (hide spoiler)] towards Kai(view spoiler)[, so much so that I wasn't sure I would be able to forgive him fully by the end of the book (hide spoiler)]. This, to me, made me feel a bit conflicted about the romance and whether or not to root for Kai and Elliot as a couple.
Yet, the way some of the people in this story were treated pained me, and made me want to do something about what I thought were grave injustices towards several of the characters.
The romance was different from most of the YA books I've read in that it was slow. Like, L.A. traffic slow. (I lived in L.A. for eight years; trust me, that's slow.). (But, hey, this is a Jane Austen retelling, so I don't think it would have been possible to write it any differently without receiving additional criticism from Austen lovers. Since I've not read anything by Jane Austen yet, this is probably more of a nitpick of mine than anything else.). Yet this book helped me remember that love takes its time, and that, sometimes in life, I need slow.
(Speaking of dragging, I really could have finished this book sooner. It may have done a number on how much I was invested the story and the characters.)
So, while I cared for most of the characters and wanted to root for them, I was also hindered from doing so because of their actions, which frustrated me. I also felt as though the world-building and setting was a little sketchy, which made me unsure on whether or not I was sold on the setting itself.
For the most part, I felt as though my immediate expectations were met somewhat, but I also felt as though other aspects of the book were lacking. I might need to reread this book again, though, just to be sure of the rating I gave it. ...more
Disclaimer: I wrote this review a loooong time ago, so know that my reviews have definitely becomeSee this review and more bookish things on my blog!
Disclaimer: I wrote this review a loooong time ago, so know that my reviews have definitely become more thorough and more mature. Sorry in advance. (Also I'm challenging myself to use every picture in this review from Frasier. Because I can, and I love that show to bits.)
Let's start with the positives:
-I loved the way Four and Tris interacted with each other. Personally, I think they are very well matched, even if their relationship in this book was pumped with more angst (but I’m in the minority when I say I didn’t think it was an overload of angst). Their relationship remains one of my favorite aspects of this series, because, while it’s so intense, it’s also very real, and it really resonates with me. Fourtris will always be one of my OTPs.
-Speaking of which, I enjoyed how Roth focused more on the toll this “war” is taking on Tris’s relationships. This book offers a more introspective outlook on war, trauma, and loss, and what it can do to people, and Roth depicts Tris’s grief very well here, in my opinion. Though processing grief and trauma is something humans do all the time, this process is rarely seen in YA fantasy/sci-fi/futuristic literature (at least, out of what I’ve read), and it’s very refreshing to see a character face such hard circumstances and struggle to cope with the aftermath of those circumstances. It’s very human, and I liked seeing the emotionality of it all, the raw vulnerability. (There are a lot of emotions in this book [a lot], so, if that’s something you find annoying in your YA dystopians, tread lightly here.) Seeing Tris struggle with her guilt and her loss and her sense of duty really impacted my view of her as a character, giving her scars and forcing her to try and heal from them. In my mind, the flaws shown here made her a lot more human, and that was cool to see.
-I like how we see Four and Tris are try to find healing in each other here. It seems very realistic to me, and not too extreme. I find it nice that they are able to rely on each other without becoming codependent.
PLEASE, NO. THE HALO MEMORIES ARE COMING BACK, AND THEY'RE NOT PRETTY.
-Roth can write. I mean it. Her books have this addicting quality that makes you stay up until one or two in the morning just to finish them. You just get so caught up in the story, and it just...it just makes you...
I'm at a loss for words here.
On to the mehs:
-Once again, I’m disconnected from the characters. It’s frustrating, too, because Tris isn’t my favorite, and yet I’m stuck in her head throughout the whole book. (This is just a matter of personal opinion, though. Tris’s character has bothered me since Divergent, but there’s a [probable] chance you’ll like her more than I did.) She has her melodramatic moments, but most of them are related to processing the loss of her family and some of her friends, so I’ll give her a pass. And, while her grief made her a more tangible character, I still didn’t connect with her as much as I wanted to (and, believe me, I really wanted to). I felt she was more of a lens and a mouthpiece than a person.
-Okay, okay, I’ll admit it: the only character I didn’t have issues with was Four/Tobias. I loved seeing him confronting his past and growing more as a character. He’s so interesting and so vivid, and I love reading about him. (Not ashamed to admit it. But I will admit that I was so used to him being called “Four” that, when Tris started referring to him as “Tobias,” I had trouble picturing him. That really frustrated me.)
That's right, Frasier. Go on and let it out.
(^That one is from Cheers, by the way, but Frasier was a Cheers spin-off, so I think I'm safe.)
-There were SO. MANY. NEW. CHARACTERS. And that's not always a problem, if you know how to manage them appropriately. ((I swear, there were, like, 15 side characters. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's a pretty correct estimation.) Unfortunately, there were so many side characters that I became confused; more than once, I mistook Shauna for Marlene or Lynn, or Lynn for Christina. And it was frustrating, since it meant I had to reread whole scenes over again just because I didn't understand them.
-Though there was a plot, things seemed slow during the middle of the book. We get a lot of character development, and things are happening, but the general pace of the book slowed down to the point where it felt like the plot was almost meandering. This book could definitely have gotten where it was going a little faster.
-Also, that major plot twist on the last two (or so) pages?
I called it about forty percent into the book. Yeah, that's not good, since I usually don't make predictions, and, if I do, they aren't right most of the time.
But, despite these things, I still really enjoyed Insurgent overall (as I've said in previous reviews, a total guilty-pleasure read). It has action and punch and pain, after that bang of an ending, I'm looking forward to seeing where Allegiant takes us next....more
I am crushed. And so disappointed in Suzanne Collins.
The Hunger Games was original, addictive, humorous, fun, with believable charac**spoiler alert**
I am crushed. And so disappointed in Suzanne Collins.
The Hunger Games was original, addictive, humorous, fun, with believable characters and bittersweet situations.
But this, this...
What IS this?
In the first book, Katniss was a strong, hardy heroine (although I'll admit, she WAS pretty emotionally retarded.) But, in Mockingjay, she's whiny, reluctant, even more messed up, on drugs, on the sidelines, in despair and...weak. She's lost whatever admiring traits she had (and, in my opinion, she didn't have many from the get-go). Instead of kicking butt, she's lying in a hospital bed. Instead of being her neutral self, she's depressed and despairing about everything.
This made the book a really frustrating read for me. I mean, come on, she's spending at least a fifth of the book wondering about Peeta's fate (okay; I was, too) after how mean she was to him when he did what any man SHOULD do and laid down his life for her.
Which brings me to the main reason that I hate this book. Peeta. WHAT THE HECK, SUZANNE COLLINS?!? I collapsed into tears when I learned that he had been (view spoiler)[hijacked (hide spoiler)]. I'd been worried about Peeta ever since the end of Catching Fire. So this did not help me. Peeta was always my favorite character. He brought the emotion that Katniss never had. I mean, sure, humans do make mistakes, but they're not just merciless, heartless, ruthless (<---see how much this book was lacking?) animals, either. They have souls. I felt that Peeta was the only character who had this, so having him not remember Katniss was a total heartbreak to me.
Another character I loved was Finnick. I knew I liked him from the moment Katniss met him in Catching Fire. And the scene with the underwear was HILARIOUS.(view spoiler)[So, of course, you cannot belief how sad I was when he got killed off for no reason. I mean, really? What was that? (hide spoiler)]
Ugh; forgive me, I'm just SO UPSET.
Okay, one more thing: the ending. Sure, I was happy that she [Katniss] ended up with (view spoiler)[Peeta (hide spoiler)], but it felt so rushed and unrealistic. We waited (hey; I did) for over 1,000 pages for this moment and what do I we get? A flurry of insipid emotions (who am I kidding? This is The Hunger Games.).
Well, I'm going to stop here. I have so many other reasons why this book sucks, but I'm going to end my rant now so you won't be reading this for as long as I waited for news on Peeta, because all the pages of this trilogy cannot describe my disappointment with this book.
You know what? I'll just go get hijacked and trick myself into thinking that I liked this book.