With all of the YA dystopians on the market, I had to pick up Divergent because of the hype. Tons of bloggers I know love it, teens at my library haveWith all of the YA dystopians on the market, I had to pick up Divergent because of the hype. Tons of bloggers I know love it, teens at my library have been reading, and my co-workers enjoyed it. Unfortunately, I didn’t think Divergent was original or well written enough to be a true standout in the market.
After finishing Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, I am very hesitant to read anything else she writes. Wither started this series off with aAfter finishing Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, I am very hesitant to read anything else she writes. Wither started this series off with a bang, Sever was okay, and Fever was entirely subpar. Fever doesn’t do enough in terms of plot, characters, or world-building, and is a disappointing conclusion to its trilogy.
I went into Shatter Me feeling uncertain about my expectations. I knew the premise, and had read about 20 pages of the book at one point before, so II went into Shatter Me feeling uncertain about my expectations. I knew the premise, and had read about 20 pages of the book at one point before, so I had an idea of what the writing would be like. However, everyone I knew seemed to either love or hate this book—and a lot of those reviews came from people I’m trusted. I wound up really enjoying the story and writing in Shatter Me.
I fell in love with Wither by Lauren DeStefano when it first came out, much like any other bloggers. Once I heard ARCs of Fever were available, I mad I fell in love with Wither by Lauren DeStefano when it first came out, much like any other bloggers. Once I heard ARCs of Fever were available, I made an effort to search one out. Fever is different from Wither in a lot of ways, and although I enjoyed reading it, DeStefano’s sophomore novel left me wondering if the Chemical Garden Trilogy has a strong enough premise to stand out amidst a sea of dystopian novels written for teens.
Wither is the story of a girl whose existence has been broken living in a beautiful but dangerous place whereas Fever is the story of a girl trying to start anew in a world that is falling apart. The segment of DeStefano’s world that we see in Fever is colder, darker, and more brutal than what we saw in Wither, and so are the images that DeStefano paints. Instead of hearing about Rhine’s eye make-up, we read about the flawed world around her. While I don’t think DeStefano’s writing actually went downhill, sometimes it felt that way because of the change in imagery.
The plot of this book is bizarrely paced, and I don’t think it quite worked. DeStefano threw in a big twist towards the end and while it fitted with the story, I got a sense of déjà vu as I read. I could see why she chose it, but when I think about it in comparison to other dystopian books, I’m a little underwhelmed. If dystopian novels start to feel like other books in their genre, then I don’t think they set out what they intend to do, because the reader loses some of the shock value and horror.
Fever has left me feeling uncertain. While there were interesting plot points, it left me feeling unsure about whether or not the core premise of this series is original enough to make DeStefano’s books stand out. Sever is a book that I eager to pick up, but it will take some major twists or impeccable world-building to convince me that DeStefano can write exceptional dystopian novels....more
I was really looking forward to The Darkest Minds because I enjoy dystopians and was a big fan of Bracken’s Brightly Woven. I had especially loved BraI was really looking forward to The Darkest Minds because I enjoy dystopians and was a big fan of Bracken’s Brightly Woven. I had especially loved Bracken’s prose and worldbuliding, and since both of those had a place in The Darkest Minds, I figured it would be fantastic. Unfortunately, this one got off to a rough start, and I didn’t start to really enjoy it again until the very end.
Oh, Patrick Ness. Dang. I had not read any of your books when I met you in October of 2010, but I’ve since remedied that. Three times now you’ve left Oh, Patrick Ness. Dang. I had not read any of your books when I met you in October of 2010, but I’ve since remedied that. Three times now you’ve left me feeling as though my heart has been unceremoniously ripped out of my chest. Then again, you’ve also rocked my world and left me craving more. I may not have loved The Ask and the Answer quite as much as The Knife of Never Letting Go, but once again you had me turning pages late into the night and feeling gutted.
The Ask and the Answer picks up right where the first installment of the Chaos Walking trilogy left off, which is good, because anything less may have turned me into a screaming banshee. Todd and Viola’s circumstances have changed dramatically, and the narration shifts a bit as well. Instead of hearing just from Todd, parts of The Ask and the Answer are told from Viola’s perspective. While her voice didn’t engross me quite as much as Todd’s, it was still amazing. Another thing that made this book a little bit harder? The gaping Manchee shaped hole. That is one literary canine I cannot think about without my heart aching.
Ness packs The Ask and the Answer with shock factor. I gasped at the plot twists and cried about some of the atrocities I read about. Todd and Viola also both spent a good chunk of this novel in some kind of moral dilemma, which enriched the characters themselves as well as their stories.
Another thick, whirlwind of a novel, The Ask and the Answer is an engrossing read. Even though I had some minor issues with this one, I want more. I want to know how this brilliant story ends. Suffice it to say, I hope to pick up my copy of Monsters of Men sooner rather than later....more
The moment I saw Wither’s beautiful cover and read its intriguing summary, I knew I had to get my hands on this book, so I was thrilled when an ARC arThe moment I saw Wither’s beautiful cover and read its intriguing summary, I knew I had to get my hands on this book, so I was thrilled when an ARC arrived at my doorstep in December from Shelf Awareness.
Even though I barely put down Wither as I was reading it, I wouldn’t exactly say that the plot of this novel is fast-paced. However, between the world-building and DeStefano’s writing, every page is filled with intrigue and emotion. Wither is not only one of the best dystopian books out there, but is also one of the most beautifully written. Beauty and horror are perfectly juxtaposed on every page of this novel, leaving the reader in awe of Linden’s mansion and terrified by the secrets it holds. This combination kept me up at night turning the pages, and I wasn’t happy to put Wither down until I had learned everything I could about the world DeStefano has created.
When it comes to characterization, DeStefano is brilliant. I loved Rhine’s strength, dedication and insatiable curiosity. Several other characters, such as Linden and Cecily, appeared completely black and white at first, but quickly proved to be much more layered and complex. I liked Gabriel, but I also wanted to see more of him in the story, and can’t wait to see where his character goes in future installments of the story.
Wither has gotten a lot of rave reviews from bloggers, and it deserves every single one of them. This book absorbed me, yet still left me with so many questions, wanting to know more about this world. Whatever the sequel to this book is called, whenever it comes out, I will be purchasing a copy the day it becomes available. This dystopian debut is a must read....more
I wasn’t really sure what to expect out of Lauren Oliver’s Delirium. I adored her debut novel Before I Fall, but had also read mixed reviews of DeliriI wasn’t really sure what to expect out of Lauren Oliver’s Delirium. I adored her debut novel Before I Fall, but had also read mixed reviews of Delirium. With dystopia being a hot genre right now, Delirium was entering a market where it’s tough to stand out among competitors. Although the romance had me turning pages right until the very end, the world building left something to be desired.
I was a little dubious when I heard the idea that Lena lives in a world where love is disease. Oliver did a great job of explaining what the world was like before and after love was classified as disease. However, I never felt that I got an idea of how or why the transition to the dystopian society happened. There was also a disconnect in Oliver’s explanation of the dangers of deliria. I understood why it could be so dangerous to the individual, but never felt like Oliver never showed me why the illness of separate individuals is bad for society as a whole.
Having read Oliver’s work previously, I hoped that if nothing else, the writing would be amazing. There were a few strikingly beautiful passages, but a lot of the writing just felt flat. I also wasn’t fanatical about how she developed the character of Alex, the love interest, because it took me about three quarters of the novel to figure out why he was special.
The plot of this novel had something of a weak start, but got progressively better. At first it seemed as though every time something went awry for Lena, another event would happen that would conveniently keep hear from getting into any real trouble. Towards the end of the novel, though, I got a much better sense of the dangers of her relationship with Alex. Oliver’s ending to Delirium was so abrupt that it felt contrived and as thought it was there to manipulate my emotions, instead of feeling like a natural ending to the story.
In the market of dystopian novels, Delirium struggles to stand out from its competitors. Oliver has crafted a compelling love story, but I felt that she focused on it so heavily that world building was neglected. Her characters and broad ideas were at least interesting enough that I will likely pick up the sequel in hopes of liking it better....more
I have to admit that when I first started Grace, I didn’t think I would be too fond of it. While I found the setting to be very original, I was frustrI have to admit that when I first started Grace, I didn’t think I would be too fond of it. While I found the setting to be very original, I was frustrated because the novel begins with my primarily descriptive passages, and I felt like Scott was throwing a dystopian world at me without explaining its backstory as much as I would like. I also felt that the writing, though “spare” as the description said, erred dangerously close to the melodramatic and choppy side. Thankfully, as I continued to read, I found myself pleasantly surprised.
It was easy for me to feel sympathetic towards Grace, considering what she had to go though. Her narration created a world that was a horrifying mixture of barren and lifeless or excessively sterile to the point where I refused to pick this book up right before bed for fear of nightmares. Yet as sad as her story was, I felt that I finally connected with her when she thought more in depth about her surroundings and the people around her.
For me, the strongest part of this novel was, without a doubt, the last 50 pages. I loved the way the story ended both in terms of plot and the emotional tone. Scott’s final message is one which I believe any reader can relate to: it’s a message for anyone who has ever sought to live life more fully, or lived in a violent time.
Considering how grim certain parts of this book are, I certainly don’t think this book is a good choice for readers who are uncomfortable with violence. Given its length and the way its told, I’m not sure if I’d call it your typical dystopian novel. I do, however, believe that Scott’s final message will stick with readers long after they’ve read the book....more
I had pretty high expectations going into Matched, because the premise sounded too intriguing not to be awesome. When it comes to YA dystopian novels,I had pretty high expectations going into Matched, because the premise sounded too intriguing not to be awesome. When it comes to YA dystopian novels, the bar has been set quite high for Condie, considering how successful The Hunger Games trilogy has been, not to mention the fact that Lauren Oliver’s sophomore novel, Delirium, is so highly anticipated. I certainly had a few problems with Matched, but overall it’s a book that has stayed with me and already has me anticipating the sequel.
After reading the first few chapters, my first thought was that Condie’s writing is magical. She does a truly fantastic job of world-building. I will admit that the feeling of her writing being awesome and exceptional did not stick with me throughout the entire novel, but I never thought it was bad. Condie does a great job of writing realistic, likeable characters. At first, I wasn’t a huge fan of Cassia, but she quickly grew on me. I loved Xander because of his loyalty to Cassia. As for Ky, I had moments where I wasn’t fully sold on the romance, but that could change over the next few books.
There were lots of awesome plot twists which kept me guessing throughout the story. The ending was a little too-anticlimactic for my tastes, and I would’ve liked a bit more info throughout the story. Right now, when I look at the position that Condie left her characters in, I’m honestly not sure how they are going to get out. However, she also left a pretty big unsolved mystery hanging in the story, and I have a feeling that I will be blown away by however Condie solves it, so I’m ultimately not too concerned about whether or not I’ll enjoy the next few books in the series.
When I first read an ARC of Matched I struggled a lot with the ending, but two months later I’m editing my review and realizing that Cassia and her story have really stuck with me. Matched is an original novel with a fresh premise. I would recommend this novel to anyone who’s looking for a new, unique dystopian series. I can’t wait to see where Condie takes us next....more
If I had to give Mockingjay an award, I would call it The Delivery Award, because that is precisely what this book does. While I’m no expert on the suIf I had to give Mockingjay an award, I would call it The Delivery Award, because that is precisely what this book does. While I’m no expert on the subject, I’m ninety percent certain that Mockingjay is one of the most anticipated young adult novels of 2010. Friends, I have not been disappointed. Collins is a prolific writer, and while this trilogy has come to a close, I don’t think it will go forgotten and unread anytime soon.
I remember reading Catching Fire and being amazed by how carefully it was plotted out, and how Collins seemed to weave every detail together. In this respect, Mockingjay blew me out of the water. Rest assured that Mockingjay is not an easy book to read. I left feeling that Collins had not only done an excellent job of researching the topics she writes about, but did a fantastic job of applying them to her characters and the nation they live in. There were several points where I felt goosebumps or froze in my set as the action on the page unfolded before me and as I turned the final pages, Collins had tears formulating in my eyes. While there is a lot of action, this is also a very psychological, intense and honest story. This aspect reminded me of nothing I’d read before, and I applaud Collins for dealing with it so frankly.
I’ll be the first to admit that when it comes to teams, I’m not a particularly reliable person to have around, because I am incredibly indecisive. Collins had me waffling throughout the entire novel, not entirely sure which side to be on. I was constantly asking myself that the same questions as the characters, which I loved doing. Yet by the end, she had me convinced that the outcome was perfect and what I wanted for the characters, not to mention back on my original team.
Collins kept me glued to the story while still providing the closure I sought as a reader. Reading this novel has been an emotional roller coaster, and the characters feel as alive as ever to me. I know, having already heard that some people have been let down, that not every reader will agree with Collins’s choices as much as I did. Mockingjay is a book that will leave me thinking for a considerable amount of time to come, and I look forward to seeing the discussions it brings about. ...more
Is it August 24th yet? What about now? Now? Allison wrote that she can imagine Suzanne Collins sitting at her computer and laughing as she reads all oIs it August 24th yet? What about now? Now? Allison wrote that she can imagine Suzanne Collins sitting at her computer and laughing as she reads all of the reviews of this book, I can agree. I want to know what happens! If you haven't already read The Hunger Games, be thankful that your wait is not too long. For those who read The Hunger Games and Catching Fire long ago, I pity you and am sorry for whining, but am now one of your anticipatory ranks.
With that rant out of the way, I have to say that Catching Fire did not disappoint. After some careful thought, I'd definitely say I liked it as much of The Hunger Games, but the two books are quite different, so it's somewhat challenging to compare them. I think it was a little easier to put this down, but not by much. The settings in the two books are a little different. Catching Fire begins in District 12, and the story stays there longer than it did at the beginning of The Hunger Games, so while there is still action and plot, I find it's a bit slower than the action in the arena that readers saw during The Hunger Games. I will say that I think Collins did a nice job of tying up some of the loose ends from The Hunger Games, while still leaving her readers with plenty more to think about.
I'd say I had two favorite aspects of this book: learning more of the back stories of different characters and learning more about the different districts of Panem. I also loved how I felt that the characters were being tested even more and really contemplating what they were doing, especially Katniss. And I loved how action packed the end of the book was--not what I saw coming!
Of course, I feel that I must mention the love triangle. I love that Peeta brings out a passionate and empowered side of Katniss, but part of me is also very attracted to Gale. Perhaps I'll just swoop in and take Gale for myself. I'll have to think this one over.
To be honest, I don't really have any complaints about this book, except for the cliffhanger, but I'll only have to wait exactly three months from today to find out about that, and I have plenty to read in between. I'm really glad I've decided to read this series, and like many of you, eagerly anticipate Mockingjay!...more
Until I read The Knife of Never Letting Go, it felt like every other blogger had read Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy. I even met Ness in the fall of 201Until I read The Knife of Never Letting Go, it felt like every other blogger had read Ness’s Chaos Walking trilogy. I even met Ness in the fall of 2011 before reading the books and got the whole trilogy in hardcover signed. Even though several people told me how good Ness’s debut novel is, no one truly impressed upon me how awesomely fast-paced or gut-wrenching The Knife of Never Letting Go would be.
Even though Todd and Manchee’s story is immediately engrossing, I wasn’t immediately drawn in by the writing. Todd is only a semi-literate character, so the text is filled with deliberate misspellings, and some pages are filled with Noise, which is the thoughts of everyone around Todd. Once I trained myself to read Todd’s narrative as though it were spelled correctly while keeping his literacy level in mind, I was set.
The premise of Ness’s world is totally ingenious. Once you learn that everyone around Todd can hear his every thought, including the people who are chasing him, how could anyone not want more? I also latched on to Todd and Manchee quickly. Todd is obviously a good person and Manchee is the type of dog anyone would love to have. If you have read this story and know how much I love dogs, I’m sure you can guess how Manchee’s story made me feel.
The story of Todd and Manchee gripped me right away and didn’t let go until I was done. I cringed at the gruesome descriptions, cried, gasped, and was ultimately blown away. If you’ve already read The Hunger Games and are looking for another great dystopian novel, you must read The Knife of Never Letting Go. ...more
After reading a couple of raving five star reviews of this over the summer, I knew I wanted to check it out for myself. Once I finished some major schAfter reading a couple of raving five star reviews of this over the summer, I knew I wanted to check it out for myself. Once I finished some major schoolwork I decided to buy this and sit down and read it, since the final book of the trilogy comes out in August. If you haven't heard of The Hunger Games or heard it raved about but generally consider yourself up-to-date on news regarding books, then I'm sorry, but I don't know what rock you have been living under and you should really go track it down at your preferred bookstore or library. Seriously, don't even bother finishing my review, just go. I don't consider myself a huge fan of dystopian literature, but for me, this book had it all. This is one of my favorite reads of 2010 thus far.
The premise of this story is definitely disturbing, and one which had me intrigued right away. I didn't realize how sucked into the story I would get. As the the book went on it became harder and harder to tear myself away. Collins knows to write and develop plot, leaving the reader wanting more at the end of every chapter. Furthermore, her prose is tight and concise yet still descriptive, and definitely something by which I was very impressed. I'm really glad I have Catching Fire right on hand, because I want to find out what happens ASAP.
I loved Collins's character development. I was intrigued and wanted to know more about each character, but was still left constantly wondering who I should and shouldn't trust. She definitely had me choking up over some characters while feeling much less sympathetic towards others. I will admit that at first I wondered how realistic Katniss really was, because she seemed so adept at hunting and defending herself in the arena. However, when I really thought about it, it made sense. What other choice has she had all her life to become a skilled hunter? I liked that Katniss was humbled and expressed some awareness of her strengths and weaknesses in comparison to the other tributes. Her emotions felt real and honest to me, especially as I can't imagine having to be in her position and make some of the choices she does. Of course, in talking about characters, I can't neglect to mention Peeta and the love triangle. The romance had me bursting out laughing at points and going "Awww!" in others. It took me until near the end of the novel to trust Peeta, and I wonder how he will transform and grow in the coming books. I also noticed that Collins characterized Gale largely through Katniss's opinions of him, and I look forward to seeing more of him. I have to say that while maybe I should be better at this by now, but I'm honestly not sure who Katniss will ultimately choose, and I look forward to finding out.
The dystopian elements of this novel absolutely blew me away. Not only did I find it very original, but I also thought it was woven excellently into the story. That may sound kind of irrelevant coming from someone who hasn't read much dystopian, but I think for me the mixture of brutality and emotion is what did it. I think Collins drew some interesting comparisons to our own society and that these are excellent concepts to have readers contemplating. The back of my book jacket mentions that this is a book which "explore[s:] the effects of war and violence on those coming of age" and I think that this is a timeless concept to contemplate. I've thought about sharing a quote here, but ultimately, I want you to read it for yourself.
I did not expect to love this book as much as I did, or to have such a hard time putting it down, yet both of these things happened. If you haven't already, be sure to read it, but be sure to clear your schedule in advance. I don't think you'll be sorry....more