In a world run by Spinsters who maintain the very fabric of society, every girl dreams of being one. Every girl except Adelice. She knows that they ar...moreIn a world run by Spinsters who maintain the very fabric of society, every girl dreams of being one. Every girl except Adelice. She knows that they are not what they seem. Her world falls apart when she realizes that she cannot escape her fate with them. This book will fly by you with a fiery heroine and a seriously jawdropping world.
Right away, I knew that the plot and worldbuilding were the center of this book and the characters came second. However, as I read on, I was pleasantly surprised by the quiet complexity of the supporting characters. Adelice meets two guys, Jost, the quiet worker in the walls of the Spinsters, and Erik, the manipulative assistant of a powerful Spinster. Yes, you guessed it, there is a love triangle. I wasn’t in love with the romantic aspect of this book, but I was glad to discover there was something more to these two characters.
What did grip me in this book was the society itself and Adelice’s scheming to escape them. This society is downright appalling in a really good way. To keep the peace, they go to extreme measures rivaling the monstrosity of the society in The Giver. I was bowled over by Gennifer Albin’s worldbuilding. I wish I had thought of this world myself!
Based on the worldbuilding alone, this book is the best dystopian release of 2012. Not everyone will fall in love with it, but I think those who do will fall hard. I am so eagerly waiting the second book. The ending of Crewel took my breath away and I have to know what happens next! I recommend this book if you are obsessed with the worldbuilding in dystopian books and often find yourself underwhelmed with it. Go read this book!(less)
With The Selection, I'm not even sure where to begin! It was a seriously delicious surprise topped with girly sprinkles. Yep, that must be the only wa...moreWith The Selection, I'm not even sure where to begin! It was a seriously delicious surprise topped with girly sprinkles. Yep, that must be the only way to describe it. I was instantly drawn to this book. Just look at that cover! It makes me regret not holding out for the physical book, but I couldn't pass up having a dystopian, girly, and The Bachelor-esque novel as quick as possible. The paperback is going to be released in the UK June 7 this year, but I apparently could not wait that long.
The main character, America Singer, is not high up on the caste system. Her family and caste are resigned to the artisan life of supplying society with art and music, but there's one thing her family doesn't know- she's in love with someone even lower down the caste system! When Aspen, the passionate first love of America, pushes her into participating in the Selection to win over the heir to the throne's heart, he breaks hers in the process. America is whisked off to the castle to wear fabulous dresses and endure the drama of living amongst 34 other girls competing for Prince Maxon. The drama of the girls does not disappoint, but it's the underlying drama from the rest of the kingdom that brings deeper turmoil to the castle. It's something that I hope is built upon in future books.
The plot itself is very satisfying and makes me ache for the second book. The characters, specifically America, were quite fickle at times, and frustratingly so. In fairness, if America was certain of her feelings there would not need to be further novels in this series. The two love interests could not be more different from each other. The story was written in such a way that I simply cannot chose who I want America to end up with! What was deeply lacking for me, in my opinion, was the world building. I wanted to be immersed in this future North American monarchy and learn more about the caste system. Perhaps there is more to learn in the following books, but I was deeply disappointed. There was the capacity for it to become more on par with the world building in say The Hunger Games, as there are provinces and revolts, but it simply did not go there. It didn't even try. I even wanted a bit more of The Bachelor out of this book. They described the country as rooting for certain girls in the Selection, but to be honest, I quickly forgot that it was televised since it is seldom mentioned that there are cameras present.
For what The Selection is, it's an extremely guilty pleasure. I gobbled up a good quarter of this book just making sure it had downloaded to my e-reader properly. I recommend this book to someone looking for a large serving of a girly read with very small side of dystopia! It'd be perfect for anyone hesitant to read dystopia in the past.
I've had some pretty lame experiences with angel books, though lately my feelings have changed! Embrace is an original...moreAs seen on Paperback Fantasies.
I've had some pretty lame experiences with angel books, though lately my feelings have changed! Embrace is an original take on the world of angels and humans with a decently fresh heroine. As I was reading it, I completely forgot that this was a debut novel. That's a really good sign in my book. Or in Jessica Shirvington's book.
The story itself was pretty good. Violet is thrown into the world of the Grigori and hunted by exiled angels. The mythology and background information was extremely interesting. I was constantly wanting to know more and it kept me turning the pages. I've always been fascinated by angels and heaven and their darker counterparts. This book doesn't disappoint in that department. I felt Violet's frustration of having her world change around her and being told she's special for a Grigori and not getting any answers. I want answers!
The characters were where it became mediocre to me. Not that they were badly written, it's just that I thought they were really predictable. Violet is a very resolute and strong character, it just annoyed me that she thought she could go to a night club without running into trouble when she knew she was being followed and she had been warned. Goodness. Now for the love interests, Lincoln and Phoenix. Lincoln was written as nearly perfect, so he never did any wrong except in Violet's eyes. Phoenix was just really creepy. He's manipulative and obsessed with Violet. Because of this, I couldn't get myself to care about him- I just wanted him to go away.
Embrace isn't perfect, but it was a seriously interesting page turner so I gave it four stars. Overall, I think it is a really great debut for a lot of readers. Read it if you've been spurned by angel fiction before or read it if you're really into mythology and angel hierarchy. I'll read the next instalment, as Embrace left me with so many questions.(less)
I picked up A Witch in Winter not expecting much from it and merely hoping for a mildly entertaining read on the bus. W...moreAs seen on Paperback Fantasies.
I picked up A Witch in Winter not expecting much from it and merely hoping for a mildly entertaining read on the bus. What I got once I started reading it was something else! This book was simply great. A seriously fast paced plot with a magical air about it. Another expectation blown!
Winter is a very eerie and damp sort of village that Ruth Warburton does a fantastic job of describing. The main character, Anna, is the clash having come to Winter straight from London when her dad moves her out there. If I hadn't been living in the UK for 18 months now, I think I'd have a bit of trouble understanding a lot of the British terms, especially in Anna's school setting. From an American perspective where the UK is something of a novelty, this book won't disappoint! You just might need to look up what an aga is.
The world building is formed around the town and a traditional witch-world of covens and spells. It's the right amount of keeping up with paranormal traditions while adding in some originality. I adored the house Anna's dad bought. It's creepy and old with a lot of mystery about it. Overall, Ruth Warburton blended in her world building seamlessly into the plot without making the whole book about it. Sometimes it's hard to find a book that does that.
The way Ruth Warburton wrote the characters was one of the main reasons I enjoyed this book. From the start when Anna cast a spell on Seth, you could watch the transformation of their relationship from beginning to end. From farcical love spell to a sincerely sweet romance. Seth was one of the sweetest and self-sacrificing love interests I've had the pleasure to read and Anna really grew on me.
I didn't find the book perfect. There were some flaws I found in the antagonists (mainly I just didn't find them all that threatening and a little hokey), but it was an extremely enjoyable read and I will definitely pick up the second book, A Witch in Love when it comes out this summer. Tehre are still plenty of questions to be answered, chiefly what kind of powers Anna has and if her mother had anything to do with the witch world. I'd highly recommend this book to anyone who likes the traditional grimoire-coven witch world.(less)
I was so glad to receive a review copy from NetGalley for this book. Dragons and traditional fantasy was just what I wanted! How wrong I was in thinki...moreI was so glad to receive a review copy from NetGalley for this book. Dragons and traditional fantasy was just what I wanted! How wrong I was in thinking it would just be a typical fantasy book with dragons. This book is so much more! The world of dragons created by Rachel Hartman is pure magic. It's the brilliant world that caught me off guard. Dragons are forced into their human forms to comply with a treaty created between humans and dragons with a few interesting side effects. Dragons are cool, calculated, and virtually emotionless beings whom humans are extremely wary of. It's because of this high tension relationship between dragons and humans that makes Seraphina's secret dangerous. She has dragon blood that gives her near magic abilities of music and visions.
At first, Seraphina's visions did confuse me. She often visited her 'garden' in her head to tend to her visions and check on their subjects. This was probably the only confusing part of this book that wasn't solved for me until halfway through the book. Seraphina herself had me rooting for her from the first page. She's snarky and independent and had me behind her the whole way. Throughout the book the reader has the happy opportunity to discover more things about Seraphina and the effects of her dragon heritage, as she is no cookie-cutter heroine we know everything about in the first ten pages. I love how the characters were written. Along with Seraphina, even the supporting characters, especially Orma and Prince Lucien, are much more complicated than they first appear. There is a touch of romance, but the book nowhere near centres on it, but rather the relationships Seraphina build with the key players in the plot.
Rachel Hartman has a serious knack for world building. I really enjoyed her descriptive writing and the medieval setting, but what really gripped me was the unique world of dragons. I have read another book where dragons take human form, but they did not have such a rich history or relationship with humans as Rachel Hartman's dragons. I fear that this book may be passed by by many readers, but if you enjoy fantastic world building, dragons, and gorgeous writing then look no further!(less)
This science fiction and dystopian premise got my attention pretty quickly and I knew I had to read it, the pretty cover aside. The premise of people...moreThis science fiction and dystopian premise got my attention pretty quickly and I knew I had to read it, the pretty cover aside. The premise of people having software and programming to control them just seems perfectly creepy and intriguing. If some of the faults are overlooked, the world building is executed with some satisfaction and acceptable writing, but the characters seemed a tad hallow.
I wasn't disappointed with the world building per se, I just saw quite a few things that needed a firmer place. One of the interesting things that go along with glitchers (those who aren't controlled by the system) are there special powers. I wish this was explored more and that the protagonist knew what she was doing with them for most of the book, rather than coming on at the most convenient moment ever in the climax.
Zoe as a protagonist didn't work for me as the story moved on. I felt that she relied on the two main males in the story to progress the plot, as they always reported back to her the goings-on and she rarely took matters into her own hands. While not every story has to have a bad-ass heroine, I feel that protagonists should move the plot along rather than sit on the sidelines. That being said, I will note that there actually was quite a bit of action in the book, it just was brought to Zoe rather than her seeking it out.
Protagonists aside, Glitch turned out to be an okay read, but I didn't get into it like I wanted to. I wish I had more to say about the writing, but it wasn't anything remarkably good or bad. I'd recommend it to readers who would like to dabble in Science Fiction, but perhaps not for dedicated readers of the genre who would drive themselves mad with some of the holes in the world. This book is meant to be the first in a trilogy and I'm undecided whether I'll continue the series.(less)
I didn't know much about this book before I picked it up, other than it was a witchy historical fiction novel, but I st...moreAs seen on Paperback Fantasies.
I didn't know much about this book before I picked it up, other than it was a witchy historical fiction novel, but I still had high hopes for it because of the great reviews I read. After having read it, I wish I'd had more things to say about this book. The setting is a very alternate turn of the 19th century New England. I didn't dislike the setting, in fact, I feel as though it was one of the book's redeeming qualities to have such an original historical setting. It wasn't just historical fiction with witches, this New England had a completely different history and political set up. When it came to the beginning of this book, that's where my praise sort of stops.
The first half of the book I was not that engaged in it. All I read was "blah blah blah the Brotherhood is bad". Not a whole lot happened until Cate learned about the prophecy. Then it got interesting. After I read about why the Cahil sisters were in danger I couldn't put the book down! The world of secrets and witches finally comes to life. I think it was very clear by the end of the novel that this is just a foundation book. This book laid out the history and world of witches, while the other books in the series will hold all the action (I hope).
I really liked the characters and character building. I felt as though the relationships between the three girls were very believable and an accurate glimpse at siblinghood. The only character I got annoyed with was Cate. I don't know how to describe her other than by calling her a party-pooper. She's probably the most uptight character I've read in a really long time, though necessarily so. She has to be the responsible one, since no other witch appears to be. The only time she lets her hair down is around Finn. Oh, Finn! I was incredibly excited to see such a nerdy and adorable guy be a love interest in a book. He just really did it for me! Finn and Cate's forbidden fling was the best part of reading through Cate's point of view. They're probably my new favourite fictional couple in a long time.
I didn't give this book four stars because of the beginning. In my opinion, it was slow and took too long for anything much to happen. I did, however, enjoy the rest of the book immensely so I'm giving it three stars. I wish it was more. I'd say read this book if you like corsets and magic. You won't be disappointed if you don't want much more out of this book!(less)
There are so many dystopian books out there for Young Adult readers, and some of them leave me feeling empty. Sometimes...moreAs seen on Paperback Fantasies.
There are so many dystopian books out there for Young Adult readers, and some of them leave me feeling empty. Sometimes the point of dystopian books are for the author to showcase their world building skills. I always enjoy a book more when there's a healthy dose of world building. Starters doesn't disappoint with that. Since reading Divergent, I've been on the hunt for a good world building book and I think I've found it in this debut author novel. While the world building of Starters isn't perfect (I'll get to that in a second), I'm simply happy to see it at all. It really isn't done halfway.
I've read quite a few reviews for this book, and many people have a lot of gripes with the world building. I didn't see needing to know why the Spore Wars happened in the first place as being an issue. The book was written from the perspective of someone who would have been a preteen when the war broke out, so of course she wouldn't know the details. The only beef I have, like a lot of people, were the ages chosen for the spore vaccine. To combat the spore attacks, only the vulnerable populations were able to get vaccinated. For this society, that meant under 20 and over 60. But in a world where people can live up to 200 I'd think that 60 would be the new 30. The age choices didn't make sense to me. Mini-rant over.
That being said, let's get onto the good stuff. I couldn't keep myself away from this book! Even at work, I was itching for my lunch break to read it. It's a total page turner. Price fills the book with mystery, suspense, and some pretty darn good action. I think I'd recommend this book to fans of Stephenie Meyer's The Host. It's got the same amount of world building and suspense. And people inhabiting someone else's body. I can't wait to read the second and final instalment, Enders. It's expected to be out in December this year. Eight months!(less)
This book had one of the best premises I'd seen in a really long time. Fortunately, my expectations were not just met,...moreAs seen on Paperback Fantasies.
This book had one of the best premises I'd seen in a really long time. Fortunately, my expectations were not just met, but completely blown away! First of all, and this is just my opinion, but I don't see this book as dystopian. I know other reviewers have called it that, but to me it's just a bit like post-apocalyptic science fiction since I didn't see the Dwellers as having the ultimate rule of the land. Yes, there is a difference between science fiction and dystopian!
The plot was fantastic. It moved at a perfect pace and I was really happy with the subplots. The clash of the two worlds was done in a simply superb way. Both the Dwellers and the Outsiders had their shortfalls, but I could see why each group of people lived the way they did. They're simply adaptations for survival from the Aether storms. Talking about Aether storms, they were actually a tad frightening and became a legitimate roadblock when one was needed in the plot. I was surprised to see some fantasy in this book as well. The Outsiders have some hidden talents sprinkled amongst their ranks. At first I thought super senses were a little hokey, especially the ability Perry has. Super Scent (of all the possible senses) just seemed a little lame at first, but I was definitely proven wrong.
The characters were just awesome. I loved Aria's endearing ignorance and Perry's frustrations. They were both quite complex and carried out their clearcut motivations through the entire novel without wavering. Well done there, Veronica. Not once did I think someone did something out of character. The book alternates between the two main characters' point of view and for once, I don't have a single gripe about that. That usually irritates me, but I thought it was very well executed. Also, the supporting characters were very entertaining, especially Roar, whom I grew a soft spot for. Well, to sum it up, the characters were very strong and I think one of the best parts about this novel.
I can't believe I'm saying this, but the romance was just so right. I could see the evolution of Aria and Perry's love for each other right before my eyes. I was practically cheering when I realised that this wouldn't be a novel where the characters decide (for reasons unknown to the reader) that they have a thing for each other and I just couldn't be more glad. The romance between them was slow and sweet which I find to be a rarity in this YA genre. It definitely makes it all the more believable.
Overall, this novel is just a stunner in my book. I can't wait to get my hands on more writing from Veronica Rossi. This is her first book! I can't believe it. I whole heartedly recommend this book to anyone trying apprehensive about sinking their teeth into some science fiction, as it does have a hearty amount of romance and fantasy as well.(less)
I was expecting something different from this book. I didn't have a problem with it being told from Matthew's perspecti...moreAs seen on Paperback Fantasies.
I was expecting something different from this book. I didn't have a problem with it being told from Matthew's perspective, I think I had an issue with the style and dialogue of this book. I also had a bit of an issue with how this book connected to the summary. The characters weren't doing much running from the whitecoats, they all had a history of run-ins with them that led to each and every one's mental break. Yes, everyone except perhaps the main character is a little bit wonky and much of the book is dedicated to their biographies since Matthew is a Teller (which I still don't quite get). It just wasn't what I was expecting.
First of all, let it be known that I cannot ignore Leah Bobet's beautiful writing. She is indeed a very talented writer. I just had a problem with the narrator's words. Since it's told through his perspective and he doesn't speak English as properly as I'd hoped, it can get very frustrating. Lots of double negatives and weird slang.
Halfway through this book I felt like giving up. I seriously did not understand what's going on (I still don't think I understand the antagonist or the 'shadows'). All I'd gotten out of it was that Matthew was obsessed with a girl with some serious baggage and who kept running away from everything. I never came to terms with his weird love and responsibility for her. I did, however, finish because I began to understand what was actually going on! Many people came to terms with their mental issues and regained Safe.
I won't go into it much more. This book simply wasn't for me. It wasn't really what I was expecting from the cover or summary at all.(less)
The beginning of this book was rather confusing to me, and to be honest, I didn't enjoy it so much. I didn't understand...moreAs seen on Paperback Fantasies.
The beginning of this book was rather confusing to me, and to be honest, I didn't enjoy it so much. I didn't understand why Sam would just take Ana in for weeks without question. I kept wondering what was in it for him because in the beginning Ana had some real self-worth problems and was rather doom and gloom. He quickly becomes rather possessive over her because she's something new and interesting. For some reason, I couldn't help thinking that he acted rather like Edward Cullen. He even wrote her own song for her on the piano.
Halfway through the book, after Ana accepts herself, the book actually gets interesting! I'm still rather dubious about Sam and his motivation for falling head over heels so quickly for her, but I start to accept that they have a relationship. Things get exciting once it becomes clear that Ana is in danger, as many people think she is an omen of the end of reincarnation. We learn quite a bit more and the ending had me turning the pages enraptured. There were dragon attacks! That was so awesome!
Jodi Meadows isn't a perfect writer. Some of the plot had technical issues for me, but I have to give her credit for being so original! Also, that girl used tons of words that I had assumed were quite advanced for Young Adult books and she made the descriptions in her book so intelligent rather than average. Kudos for that.
It's really up in the air whether I'll read more of the series, though it does somehow leave me wanting more. How does a book that I feel so hot and cold over do that to me? Overall, if you like the twilight-esque romance (or obsession) that seems to develop rather too quickly, this book is for you! Also, I can't ignore the fact that if someone finds the premise of souls reincarnating fascinating then this book will actually be as interesting as it promises. It will be.(less)
I honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into when I borrowed this audiobook from the library. I'd read some good reviews and knew it was a dy...moreI honestly didn't know what I was getting myself into when I borrowed this audiobook from the library. I'd read some good reviews and knew it was a dystopian book, but I had no idea how amazing this book actually is! The book summary doesn't really do the book enough justice.
I personally enjoyed having the story alternate between the views of June and Day. They are both rather similar characters set in completely different situations, and that stark contrast between privileged prodigy and wanted criminal (Robin Hood style) really added something to this story. I liked reading all sides of the spectrum. The only trouble is that sometimes, they are so similar they can be indistinguishable (this is not a problem with the audiobook as there are alternating male and female narrators). I really enjoyed it when they were together and it's when they start really working together toward a common goal that the book becomes seriously action packed.
The plot, while quicker in the end, is actually comparatively quick throughout the book. There isn't a shortness of action with illegal street fights and mastermind crimes just like in the action movies. The world building itself brings the edge of action to the book. The dystopian society, The Republic, is at war with the other half of the former United States. It's this constant strain of war that had led to this incredibly detailed militaristic country of which June was raised around and Day was raised against. I hope we learn more in the books to come.
Overall, this book was action-packed, fast, and pretty heart-felt at times. I'd recommend it to a reader interested in militaristic dystopian societies and a lot of book action. I enjoyed it, and if you don't mind multiple narrators, you will too!
*Audio Review*: I thought the two narrators, one male, one female, was really helpful (though, to be honest there isn't any other way). It was read at a good pace and I liked the female voice. The male voice was a little boring to me.