If I had to pick one word to describe this book, it would be 'boring'. So boring. I cannot believe I made it to the end.
(view spoiler)[- The writingIf I had to pick one word to describe this book, it would be 'boring'. So boring. I cannot believe I made it to the end.
(view spoiler)[- The writing is quite solid. The world building isn't bad, but a little thin.
- Kestral needs a good, hard kick.
- Jess was generic best friend, Ronan was generic good-guy love interest who will be inevitably ditched for the unexpected emo loner. I thought Irex was going to be way more of a threat. Benix could have been replaced with a lamp.
- There were really no stakes. Like, I have no idea why the Lady Faris's babydaddy thing was such a big deal. A lot of things were established that had no payoff, whatsoever.
- Slavery is bad. Please, please stop trying to convince me in YA books that there is any kind of redemption for people who buy slaves. Or trying to justify it.
- Would have had far more respect for the book if they'd killed off Ronan and Jess. Just FYI.
- The political discourse was excruciating, since there were no stakes. No risk.
- Cheat was a disappointment. He ended up a parody of himself, sadly, when he had a lot of potential early on in the book.
- WHY WHY WHY is a seventeen year old the spokesperson for a nation? General father or not, not enough world building established this as slightly believable, just convenient to the plot. (hide spoiler)]
Solid writing, just not enough plot - I'm predicting that it's been spread out to create a trilogy, when only two books were truly necessary. Doubt I'll be continuing this series, simply because I don't care what happens to anyone in the book.
Except the horse. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
Probably the least objectionable of the books focusing around this concept. Kind of beige and bland but not hideously frustrating or terrible. Irked tProbably the least objectionable of the books focusing around this concept. Kind of beige and bland but not hideously frustrating or terrible. Irked that its a series, honestly. I'm not invested enough to be waiting with bated breath for the sequel in November. ...more
No, seriously. There's a YA trend at the moment to turn everything into a series - which is fine, if the sto Why why WHY does this have to be a series?
No, seriously. There's a YA trend at the moment to turn everything into a series - which is fine, if the story can sustain it. Unfortunately, it results in a lot of books having very little plot because the story is being stretched out. The most successful series have individual stories that fit into a larger world. No, really. It should be three books: four plots - the plot of each book, plus the larger series arc (a la Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, the Lunar Chronicles.)
The Jewel, of course, suffers violently from a case of one plot: three books. And that plot? Very much ripped off from the likes of The Handmaiden, The Selection and the whole genre of whiny pseudo-fantasy YA.
Let's play Everything that is Wrong with This Book.
(view spoiler)[- The Augeries (spelling?) have not been explained in any way. The surrogates just have random super magical powers. Magical powers that want to kill them. Lovely. I suspect these will be Very Important when the inevitable rebellion occurs. There’s always an inevitable rebellion with a Generic White Teenage Female Victim at the center.
- The characters. Dahlia and Lily were completely interchangable. I hope Amy Ewing has a plan for Lily, because Dahlia was a wasted character, and it would have been far more effective to create one character for them. Raven is a standard-issue spunky best friend who falls victim to a horrible fate. No refunds. Lucien's characterisation seems GoT influenced and inconsistent.
I did think the twist with Garnet being in on the rebellion was clever. Didn't see it coming.
A lot of characters seem to have little point beyond piles upon piles of exposition - like the dinner parties.
Violet was generic and uninspired. I admit, I thought her actually ending up pregnant would have added some much-needed tension and liven up proceedings a bit.
Ash irritated the shit out of me. Oh noes, here is my utterly tragic existence as a selfless, brooding teenage boy. I am so attracted to Violet it makes me angry. Ugh. MY KINGDOM FOR a fantasy series about a girl who doesn't fall in love. No love story at all.
- The world building was terrible. Diamantes as currency? Yuck. I rolled my eyes when I saw that. Seriously? Marks, units, points, beads = all better options! Hell, make up a word! Diamantes make me think of cheap dress beading. And the prices for these girls were ridiculous to the point we really haven’t been given a sense of economy in this universe. What does an apple cost? A dress? A house. The royalty, too, seems extreme. How is this massive ruling class supported? How is this world not massively inbred? (hide spoiler)]
Utterly forgettable and generic. ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I started this book at midnight and didn't sleep until I'd finished it. Again, Anya and Win are a dreadful and totally uninspired romance but there isI started this book at midnight and didn't sleep until I'd finished it. Again, Anya and Win are a dreadful and totally uninspired romance but there is so much to this. There is character development throughout, especially for supporting characters, there are a few surprises and I learnt something (did you know that cacao is good for your eyes?! I'm clearly not eating enough chocolate!)
What lets it down is that it feels a little crammed - another sixty pages would have helped. My copy made scene and time jumps nearly impossible to determine, and Win could enter a blandness competition against Edward Cullen and that husband-guy from the Chemical Garden series, and it would never, ever end.
I admit, I was frustrated with Scarlet's(view spoiler)[ dismissal of Gable's attempted date-rape of her best friend (hide spoiler)] but then, it felt realistic. People do that all the time. I felt Scarlet got the raw end of the best-friend deal, hitting all the typical tropes (view spoiler)[the outcast boyfriend, the pregnancy, the teen marriage (hide spoiler)] which was disappointing.
Overall, though, I am desperate to get my paws on the final book!["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
An intriguing and attention grabbing story let down by one thing - another insipid, irritating YA romance. I love so many things about this book and sAn intriguing and attention grabbing story let down by one thing - another insipid, irritating YA romance. I love so many things about this book and series, but the romance between Anya and Win lets it down so much.
Overall, though, a layered and intriguing story with decent world building that had me reaching for the sequel at midnight - sleep be damned! - if you can stomach Win and Anya's scenes together....more
This book has a great blurb. It sounded intriguing and original, and I genuinely hoped it would be.
It wasn't. We had the bland love interest, the geneThis book has a great blurb. It sounded intriguing and original, and I genuinely hoped it would be.
It wasn't. We had the bland love interest, the genetically engineered super heroine, a classic and obscure love reference (really, Shakespeare?), the loveable nerd, the Evil Guy... there is nothing new in this series. Jessica Brody's writing is fairly solid, but there isn't a strong enough plot nor characters to sustain this book.
I honestly don't think I'll continue with this series. It does absolutely nothing for me....more
No. Just no. I wish with all my might that authors would stop trying to emulate other, more popular series. There is no formula for a perfect, rave-reNo. Just no. I wish with all my might that authors would stop trying to emulate other, more popular series. There is no formula for a perfect, rave-review book. Don't truncate your work because it doesn't fit into a mold.
Let's start with the cover. The cover of the first book almost worked - I could see the idea that was being attempted, and the photograph was interesting, but it didn't quite make it. The second book was forgettable, but this... this looks like a high schooler with no photoshop experience made it in two hours. The colour is too strong a shade, the photo is poorly manipulated and the pose itself is just bleh. Just sloppy, sloppy work.
And now, onto the actual book...
(view spoiler)[Well, it was massively disappointing, hugely monotonous. It was several hundred pages of not really much happening. Rhine sees brother on TV, Linden finds her sanctuary in estranged eccentric family member, Rhine craps around at Uncle's house, runs off to find brother, finds brother, makes several uncomfortable discoveries. So many things with the potential for drama and strong feelings happen, but there was no impact for me.
- Linden, throughout the entire trilogy, was so dull that I forget his name repeatedly. He is just flat, bland, with no strong feelings about anything. His death was almost a relief, since he added nothing; he needed to be written so that he had become devoted to Cecily in Rhine's absence, that he had moved on more than he was.
- Cecily was the redeeming character. She was strong and funny and she deserved more as a character; to be less afraid and more bad-ass. I appreciated that she was the one to kill Vaughn, but she needed to be more stoic in that aspect, to really complete her evolution, I think.
- Vaughn. Ugh, it was his name that was less than memorable (pro-tip, if I had to google the character's name a day after reading the book, it's not a good thing.) I find that Evil for the Greater Good is overdone in the dystopian genre, and Vaughn is no exception. Nothing about Vaughn surprised me.
- Rhine. Oh Rhine. I didn't hate you. But I just didn't care. Your 'connection' with Gabriel, leaving Cecily and Linden and going off with Rowan, your relationship with Rowan - bland city. Rowan was a total douchebag, who had so little respect for his sister, who really didn't give a shit about his sister, or care about her experiences.
Overall, most of the characters in this book didn't make meaningful connections to each other - they felt forced and stilted. Things that should have been explored - the fact that Rhine and Rowan were experiments first, the isolation of mainland USA, Reed, Vaughn's experiments - were brushed aside for things like Rose's origins (I literally could not care less about Rose; I did not find her story interesting, romantic or important; much like the entire carnival sub-plot) and Reed's plane.
And the bit that ticked me off the most? That the Chemical Gardens weren't explored. It was a compelling term, the reason I started reading more than anything else. And in the end, it turned out to just be an interesting phrase and very little more. So frustrating.
Overall, a forgettable series and a forgettable, dull finale that ultimately had some interesting ideas that were never explored.
This was a well written book, and I genuinely like Ruby.
My big problem with this genre is that the formula is so over done - desperate teenagers seekThis was a well written book, and I genuinely like Ruby.
My big problem with this genre is that the formula is so over done - desperate teenagers seek sanctuary, turns out that sanctuary isn't so crash hot or as safe as they hoped. Some sort of Golden Boy - who is obsessed with the MC - turns out to be freakin' insane. And this story will be apart of a trilogy.
It tends to lead to some monotonous reading.
But I like the premise and I'll probably keep following this series. ...more
I was looking forward to this series, and I really enjoyed the first book.
(view spoiler)[Elysia is, to me, reasonably likable. Her innocence is balanI was looking forward to this series, and I really enjoyed the first book.
(view spoiler)[Elysia is, to me, reasonably likable. Her innocence is balanced and understandable.
I think it would have been more interesting to keep Ivan alive for future books - as someone obsessed with destroying clones, after Elysia stabbed him. However, the pregnancy at the end of the book could put the Brannons on the war path.
Zhara's return was a curious twist, since the love triangle - Alexander - Elysia - Tahir is now a square, unless Alexander dismisses Elysia straight away. I'm also curious to see if Zhara takes Elysia to her father.
The fact that the doctor was a clone of herself caught me unaware; I thought that was pretty cool.
The world building wasn't bad, a little vague, but that's typical in futuristic dystopia. Better than many other stories. The story telling was solid, some of the characters needed more substance (Xanthe, Liesel, Tahir and his parents, Dementia) but as this is a series, I'll wait and see what happens. I'm also curious to see what happens with Astrid. I think she's going to be a key player. (hide spoiler)] Looking forward to the rest of the series XD ["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more
I was disappointed in this book. It wasn't what I thought it was going to be at all, but what we did get kind of fell flat. (view spoiler)[ - The worldI was disappointed in this book. It wasn't what I thought it was going to be at all, but what we did get kind of fell flat. (view spoiler)[ - The world building was strange and insubstantial, especially outside of Elysium. Video games and hunting for dinner? It felt like it was trying to mesh post-apocolyptic ideas with modern day, and through in some sort of survivalist stuff that didn't really piece together properly.
- The characters fell flat, sadly. Mother was just plain old Insane Villian; I thought Father was dead because he only showed up a handful of times; a totally redundant character. Evie's backstory was disappointing. An Enforcer? I would have preferred that she was a Surface Dweller that Mother decided to keep, or the daughter of a previous ruler that Mother had killed to take her place. Being an Enforcer just gives Evie Mary-Sue like skills. Gavin was kind of meh. He didn't really inspire any sort of reaction - except disdain, because we had another case of insta-love. Timothy's death occured too soon, we hadn't had a chance to care about him or Evie. Macie and Nick were redundant, as well. I feel that their roles could have been cut out entirely and we wouldn't have missed them.
- I think the characters behaved a lot older; Evie should have been 17, I think.
- The plot. I can deal with a skimpy plot if we're world building, but we got niether in this. The entire plot was 'we have to get Gavin out before he is killed, oh but wait the society I was raised in is creepy and the woman who raised me is batshit insane so I better go with you, oops I have super secret soldier training.' We were thrown into 'protect and get Gavin out' before we had really invested in the characters. And I'm sorry, but the Incredibly Helpful and Revealing Magically Appearing Journal plot device is dead. Over. It's too convenient.
- The Defectives ripping into people like animals; the blood bath. I know I've read this plot device multiple times and unfortunately, it loses its impact the bloodied it gets.
- The cover and title. Renegade seemed like an odd title for this story - I would have gone with 'The Daughter of the People' or just 'Elysium'. The cover agitated me because it depicts Evie in a long, modest dress but the story talks about how short Evie's skirts are.
- Things I did like? I thought the Enforcers, trained as little girls, was potentially a cool idea. The idea of the DNA being stored for Mother to recreate her little world intrigued me - how many times has she brought people she wanted back to life? (hide spoiler)]
Overall, kind of bland and forgettable. As far memory issues go, I far and away preferred 'The Long, Long Sleep'.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>...more