Though I devoured The Darkest Minds pretty much instantly, I had trouble enjoying Never Fade as much. It had a lot to do with my high expectations,...more Though I devoured The Darkest Minds pretty much instantly, I had trouble enjoying Never Fade as much. It had a lot to do with my high expectations, the pacing and the ‘all over the place’ plot. While assorted pit-stops and road blocks were charming in The Darkest Minds, I felt that the second book in the series overdid it.
Each time I put the book down it was a little heavier to pick up again.
New characters played a prominent role in Never Fade; most notably Vida and Jude. Despite Alexandra Bracken’s best intentions, I just couldn’t become attached to them the way I did with Liam, Chubs and Zu the first time around. Vida was foul-mouthed and cranky 100% of the time. She was pretty kick-ass, but my respect for her diminished every time she threw out some f-bombs, which was pretty regularly. I have no aversion to swearing or the use of bad language, especially when it can create or enhance a character, but after pretty much nothing in that department with this series so far, I was thrown off every time Vida opened her mouth.
As for Jude, well… he was just annoying. I felt like we were being pushed constantly into falling in love with him like some little lost puppy, and I hate feeling forced to either love or hate a character. I want to be able to experience those feelings for myself, on my own terms. And Nico? He was just ‘meh’. Probably the only new addition to this series that I actually enjoyed a lot was Liam’s brother, Cole. I think he’ll mix things up a bit and make things refreshing.
I really loved how the friendship between Ruby and Chubs was solidified in Never Fade, but unfortunately it seemed that that came with a cost. My love for Ruby and Liam as a couple dwindled and I just could not fathom how they had developed this deep, soul-grinding love for one another. This love seemed to even surpass Ruby’s mind sweeping abilities.
The Darkest Minds left on a cliffhanger, and I didn’t appreciate how easily this cliffhanger was rectified once Ruby and Liam were together. I was hoping that her new handle on her Orange powers would somehow make amends to the situation she’d put herself in at the end of the last book, but no, like everything else that happens to Ruby it seemed to happen out of sheer dumb luck.
I wanted the Ruby of Never Fade to be stronger than the Ruby of The Darkest Minds. Sometimes she got it, but most of the time she didn’t. I felt like she was constantly needing someone to rescue her or help her out despite her regular inner pep talks. And let’s not even mention how over the self-loathing I am when it comes to Ruby’s inner monologue. I really wanted some nice character evolution here. Ruby’s got the talk now, but she hasn’t mastered the walk!
This series has got a nice, masterful villain in Clancy Grey though. I knew he would be back and he didn’t disappoint with his plotting and scheming. Never Fade ended on an interesting note, too. I’m not too sure where things are going to go from here but I am excited to see the story advance and hopefully reach the AMAZING heights I felt it reached in The Darkest Minds. I by no means disliked Never Fade, but I was hoping for so much more.
Though I am in the extreme minority in not enjoying this one as much as the first, I am still in awe of how Alexandra Bracken can weave a story. There is no doubt about her talent as a writer when reading these books and while Never Fade was certainly well-written, I just didn't find the same level of connection I did when reading its predecessor.
I will be continuing this series because I LOVE the world that she’s created. I am still holding out hope for Ruby, too. I want to see a resolution to the horror that is the camps and understand the origins of the disease. I want to see Zu again and find out if Ruby can ever go back to her parents. I want to see Clancy Grey suffer or redeem himself, whichever comes first.
Recommended to: If you loved the first book, you absolutely have to continue with Never Fade. A solid read.(less)
Another brilliant book by Jessica Shirvington - she never fails to impress me with her clean, addictive prose! With a seriously kick-ass leading lad...more Another brilliant book by Jessica Shirvington - she never fails to impress me with her clean, addictive prose! With a seriously kick-ass leading lady at the helm, Disruption promises to be the start of a fantastic series and a worthy addition to the dystopian YA genre!
From the first page, Disruption had me locked in. We're thrown into the action straight away, with little doses of the lore and world around us given here and there. Although I was biting at the bit to find out everything I could immediately, Disruption let me discover it for myself at a nice pace.
I always remark how 'easy to read' Jessica Shirvington's books are. This doesn't mean they're dumbed down by any means, just that every sentence is acutely polished to rid itself of unnecessary garble. I always feel that the reading process is more enjoyable that way, and that I can read a book faster. Disruption gives you a lot of description and dialogue, but not enough to let your brain wander off track.
What I loved most about this book was our main character - Maggie Stevens. While I adored Violet Eden from Jessica's previous series, Maggie just blew me away from the word 'go'. Smart, calculating and brave, Maggie is everything you could ever hope for in a heroine. I doubt Maggie's myriad of escapes within Disruption would have succeeded half as well if anyone less had been in charge.
It was also such a delight reading Maggie's interactions with her 'best friend', Gus. He was a fascinating character, too and a brilliant sidekick. They had such a compelling 'love-hate' relationship, so whenever the two had page-time I was unable to put the book down.
While I loved Maggie and Gus, I couldn't quite get attached to Quentin Mercer. I'm not particularly sure why, but I struggled to see his personality shine through. I loved that he made Maggie question everything she believed in, as well as her goals, but their relationship never really gripped me. I think in this regard, I definitely enjoyed the romance in Jessica Shirvington's 'Violet Eden' series more. I am, however, interested to see where their relationship is headed in the next installment.
Disruption started off so strongly and I was raving about it to anyone who would listen (family, friends, etc.) Although it lost some of its 'pizazz' around the halfway mark, it still continued to entertain me and keep me reading frantically whenever I got a chance. By the end of the book, some of the hunches I had did prove true, but this didn't hinder my enjoyment of the book. I would have loved some bigger twists at the end, but I know with at least another book in the works I'm probably set.
If you're the type of reader that's now sick of dystopian YA after a Divergent binge, still give this one a chance. Jessica Shirvington introduces some unique elements and proves once again she can write a seriously strong female lead. I'll certainly be picking up a copy of the next in the series!
Recommended to: If you're a fan of Jessica Shirvington's 'Violet Eden Chapters', you'll love Disruption. If you haven't read any of her work before, this new dystopian is the perfect excuse.(less)
I didn’t enjoy the final instalment in Kiera Cass’s ‘The Selection’ series, The One. I have never been a ridiculous fan of these bo...more**spoiler alert**
I didn’t enjoy the final instalment in Kiera Cass’s ‘The Selection’ series, The One. I have never been a ridiculous fan of these books, but I have stuck with them in the hopes that it would improve. Three books in, I expected Kiera Cass to amp up her game… but it just never happened. Looking back on all three novels, I just couldn’t see the growth of her characters or relationships.Warning: Spoilers within the full review.
I was fed up and tired of the back-and-forth love story between America and Maxon. Despite three books, I felt that their relationship never really developed beyond the tedious ‘he loves me’ and ‘he loves me not’. Just when I thought the couple was breaking new ground, we were back where we started from.
As for America’s relationship with Aspen, the same old problems presented themselves in The One. Despite Aspen’s eagerness to tell America ‘something’ (I could guess what it was, too) Kiera Cass managed to drag it out right until the end of the book so that the whole Aspen/America dilemma remained a heavy problem in her relationship with Maxon.
Things were shaking up in Illea’, and I felt that it could have played a bigger role in this final book if only Kiera Cass took a step back from recycling the same romance dramas from the first two books. I feel that each book should be a step up from the last in the way of world and character development, and ‘The Selection’ series never did that for me.
We get to see a new side of some of the characters (well, only one really – Celeste) and while this did add a new element to the story, it was too little too late.
As for the numerous roadblocks in America and Maxon’s relationship, they were all bulldozed out of the way right near the end ever-so conveniently. Instead of the duo being able to change their respective situations and grow (Maxon growing a backbone and America being honest) all it took was a group of rebels to fire off a few shots and the couple got their Happily Ever After practically in the next chapter.
The King’s unwarranted aversion to America played a huge role in this series and I would have appreciated this obstacle to be overcome by America herself, or even Maxon. The same goes for change in the world of Illea. It felt like Kiera Cass merely took the easy way out in that regard. And for it all to happen suddenly at the end after a rather slow moving book? It felt jarring and as if it didn’t fit.
I am also confused as to what happened to America’s maid, Anne. It mentions her only briefly and I wasn’t sure if she’d been killed or simply had fled the palace in the midst of the rebel attack. Despite her story having a little bit of build-up in The One, it felt unusual to just have her forgotten. The same goes for the death of Celeste. I didn’t feel that America didn’t feel this loss enough, only mentioning her once before the end. I mean, America saw her killed.
All in all, everything seemed to fall in to place a little too conveniently for my liking and I would have liked the main characters.
Recommended to: If you’ve stuck with ‘The Selection’ series this far, you may as well finish it. I can see how this book would appeal to fans of the America/Maxon relationship, but as I never fully got behind it or any of the characters, it was a disappointment for me.(less)
The Elite was a good continuation of the story we left behind in The Selection. While it didn't bring anything new to the table, it was definitely o...more The Elite was a good continuation of the story we left behind in The Selection. While it didn't bring anything new to the table, it was definitely on par with its predecessor and kept me entertained enough to finish the book - which is always a good thing! I will be reading the next (and final?) installment as I'm genuinely interested in how Keira Cass is going to tie this love triangle up!
The Elite pretty much carries right on from where The Selection ended. Although it took me a little time once again to warm up to the story and it's characters (I couldn't remember which girl in the competition was which) it was a little easier this time around since the pool of possible princesses had considerably thinned since the beginning of the competition.
America's best friend Marlee's story was definitely an interesting addition to Kiera Cass' series. I definitely knew that Marlee wasn't as invested in Maxon as all the other girls seemed to be, and her story cleared a few things up and showed us her true colours. Things certainly got interesting for her, and made her more appealing to me as a character.
America's relationship with Maxon slowly advances and then... declines... AND THEN ADVANCES AGAIN... and then declines. Seriously, I cannot keep up with these two and the longer it goes on the more I'm not feeling their chemistry. I definitely wouldn't pick Maxon for myself, that's a certainty. I feel like he's trying too hard to be the good guy, so it's doubly vicious when he does something douche-baggy like his tryst with Celeste. I really don't know how or why America accepted his excuse so willingly.
That being said, our leading lady America must be the biggest hypocrite EVER. Her relationship with Maxon is rocky, yes, but she has no right to be angry about his dabblings with the other girls when she's sharing sneaky snogs with Aspen in dark rooms! I get that she's trying to figure out her 'feelings' and decide if the palace and Maxon should be her future, but at least be fair about it.
At this point in time I'm hoping that poor Kriss get's what she wants (Maxon) and America ditches Aspen for good, and learns what it's like to be on her own for a while.
The palace politics are intriguing enough to keep me flicking through pages, but really I'm just intrigued to find out just how Kiera Cass is going to end this series. I honestly have NO CLUE at this point who America is going to end up with (if anyone) and that's the kind of love triangle I like. There is no obvious choice for her at the moment (you get the feeling there is, but really, it could change at any moment).
The One doesn't come out until May, 2014, but it's already got a gorgeous cover. This series has a lot of flaws, but it's enjoyable enough to continue and finish the series.
Recommended to: Fans of the first book will be pleased with The Elite.(less)
Though it took a little time to really pick up, Pawn was a surprisingly easy and enjoyable read. More simplistic than it's fellow dystopian shelf-si...more Though it took a little time to really pick up, Pawn was a surprisingly easy and enjoyable read. More simplistic than it's fellow dystopian shelf-sitters, the plot and world of Aimee Carter's new series is quite straightforward and the characters are easy keep track of. I liked this one more than I thought I would!
I hadn’t heard much about this book going in, but I did enjoy Aimee Carter’s debut The Goddess Test and thought I’d try her new dystopian series. As far as premises go, it was pretty ‘eh’ and I wasn’t completely sold on the idea. It didn’t sound too out of the ordinary as far as dystopians go, but when I saw it in the library I wondered what I had to lose.
Pawn wasn’t too exciting to begin with, although we were thrust straight into the world of Kitty Doe and the other ‘Doe’ (second children) kids. Kitty had just come from her ‘test’, something all citizens must take once they reach seventeen. These tests determine what ranking a person has in society. Kitty scored a below average ‘III’, and this influences everything that happens from here on in.
As our main character, Kitty already has an established love interest with fellow Doe, Benjy. For the most part, nothing really struck me about their love story or Benjy himself. I found him to be quite boring. Their love story wasn’t passionate or thrilling, being based on a live shared together since they were kids. I thought of the two as best friends more than anything else. Despite this, Kitty’s love for Benjy remains a strong theme throughout the rest of the book. I just wasn’t into it.
Things start to get interesting once Kitty is ‘masked’ as Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s dead niece. Here we meet Knox, Lila’s betrothed. He was a lot more interesting than Benjy, but there isn’t really a love triangle here despite the mock relationship he and Kitty have to uphold.
The foes in Pawn were creepily good – Daxton, Augusta and to an extent, Celia. The stakes are high in this new world and Kitty has to keep her toes in line AND secretly keep the fire of revolution burning. It’s no easy task for someone who was set to be a sewer cleaner.
This book was enjoyable, but it was simplistic. It was a straightforward dystopian world with elements that were easy to keep track of. There isn’t a huge cast of characters, but somehow I couldn’t get past just ‘liking’ them to ‘loving’ them. I’m not quite sure what was missing, but I am sure it affected my rating. Despite all this, I was able to read Pawn quite quickly.
There are a number of twists that I didn’t see coming with this one, too, which was great. The scene is also set for the second book, Captive and I am interested in seeing how it all plays out. Am I dying for the next instalment? No. But I will pick it up if I happen to come across it.
Recommended to: If you like an easy, straight-forward dystopian read - Pawn is the book for you.(less)