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 is...moreI 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"]>(less)
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 s...moreAn 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.(less)
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 gene...moreThis 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.(less)
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-re...moreNo. 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 seek...moreThis 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. (less)
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 balan...moreI 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"]>(less)
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 world...moreI 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"]>(less)
This book was amazingly monotonous. I almost gave up. The world is bizarre and illogical, things aren't explained, the things that are explained are d...moreThis book was amazingly monotonous. I almost gave up. The world is bizarre and illogical, things aren't explained, the things that are explained are done some in detail and confusion with a flashback.
Scenes switched with no indictation, but that might have just been the ebook, as the formatting was terrible.
Monotonous and meh are my thoughts on this. Quite easily forgetable and I'd never read it again.(less)
You know what is really sad? When I tried to recall what happened in the first two books, I couldn't remember which plot points belonged to Matched an...moreYou know what is really sad? When I tried to recall what happened in the first two books, I couldn't remember which plot points belonged to Matched and which plot points belonged to Delirium. When did teen characters become so generic?
This trilogy reads like Condie was attempting to write a dystopian love story. And then read the Hunger Games and got the bright idea to add a statement about the human condition and the value of our thoughts and memories.
This is totally different to what Matched is, but they all suffer from the same things. Poor world building, bland characterisation and utter boredom for the reader. A lot of nothing truly happened. The Pilot's identity was revealed and predictable.
This series is uneven and utterly forgettable. I am curious to see how this would have changed had Xander and Cassia actually been married during Matched, but this is definitely a story that only needed two books to be told.(less)
Crossed was like watching someone drive their scooter into a wall at 5km an hour. You want to hang around to see the action, but it's just taking so l...moreCrossed was like watching someone drive their scooter into a wall at 5km an hour. You want to hang around to see the action, but it's just taking so long. Like Matched, Crossed suffers from very little happening. And so much damn poetry. By the end, you just don't care about any of the characters.
And, in my opinion, two characters that appear in this installment bear similarities to two Hunger Games characters.
Matched was monotonous, Crossed was one of the dullest things I've read in awhile and as much as I hope, I doubt the third installment can turn the damage around. (less)
**spoiler alert** 'The Bachelor' meets 'The Hunger Games' is a surprisingly apt description for The Selection, but I think it's more akin to 'Wither'...more**spoiler alert** 'The Bachelor' meets 'The Hunger Games' is a surprisingly apt description for The Selection, but I think it's more akin to 'Wither' meets 'The Hunger Games' meets 'The Bachelor'. I borrowed this book from a friend who was fairly neutral about it.
I won't go into the similarities between The Selection and the Hunger Games, since other reviewers have.
What is up with the trend of giving YA protagonists special snowflake names? America, really? Aspen? Amberly? Maxon? Really? What on earth is wrong with Meredith, Amber, Max? I get that names evolve through the ages, but I would pay for a protagonist with a totally ordinary name.
Another thing is, singers. When did singing because such a desirable skill for characters, let alone include their magical melodic ability in their name (America Singer and, from Underneath the Never Sky, Aria). My ideal character is one who has a common name and can't sing a note.
I found Aspen so bland and dull. There was nothing there. He was a blank slate of dedication to his family and selfless love towards America. And how sexist was he with the rant on him providing for America? You'd think in a society that was so rigid in its requirements would have put the squash on sexism.
I really didn't get the social structure. How did America's lower-middle caste family get into the arts, which have been a past time for the wealthy throughout history.
Prince Maxon was another blank slate. We honestly needed to learn more about all the characters. So much of this book was full of froth. It really felt like this book was padded out to stretch it into a trilogy.
I thought Aspen's appearance as a guard was predictable and the minute it was mentioned in passing, I called that happening. I didn't see the point of three maids - only Anne and Lucy really played a role. Lucy's story was overwrought and could have been shrunk to 'was attacked during a raid on the palace but she tries to remain strong since her father, who works in the stables, is so proud she became a maid'.
America's family also seems overdone - were a younger brother and sister both required, or could they have been combined to a single character (I also question the naming pattern of the siblings - the twins had ultra modern names, then America, then May which is reasonably old fashioned and if I remember correct the youngest brother had a common name with strange spelling. There was no pattern to the naming.)
The writing style is very simple and easy to read, and has some turns of phrase such as 'whisper-yelled' that should have been caught and changed during editting.
The last chapter, roughly, feels like the author got bored or too close to the deadline and just wanted to get it done now. The first book in a trilogy should leave you with burning questions about what happens next, but in a way that ties the story of that book up at the same time. Sadly, this book never achieved either of these goals.
Overall, this book is frothy and utterly harmless, but insubstantial. Cass' writing style needs building up, and the combination of a conquered America with a random monarchy that believes a lottery is the most practical way to find a bride for their prince is bewildering, for lack of a better word. If I see the sequel at the library, I'd borrow it, but I highly doubt I'd ever seek this book or the sequels out.(less)
The Australian paperback cover got me. The girl on the cover was gorgeous and it caught my eye.
My first zombie book, and whilst I fear the genre is n...moreThe Australian paperback cover got me. The girl on the cover was gorgeous and it caught my eye.
My first zombie book, and whilst I fear the genre is not for me, the first half of this book had me transfixed, honestly - especially the fact Alex had a brain tumor. But the second half lost me, to the point where I got maybe two chapters into Alex's time at Rule, and skipped to the last chapter simply because I wanted to see if we returned to Ellie or Tom. Sadly, we didn't.
The twist at the end was expected, and I was surprised that June being Chris' grandmother was a shock to Alex, since I worked it out pretty much instantly.
Perhaps the part at Rule would have been more likeable if Alex had developed her sixth sense slowly, and the cause of the Change had been more clearly spelt out. I really did feel like someone had handed me the first half of one book stapled to the second half of an other book.
I'll give Ilsa Bick's other books ago, but I'm afraid I can't see myself continuing with the Ashes trilogy(less)
The set up is curious - the phrase 'never-sky' is fantastic, especially combined with the image of the sky on the...moreThis was a very, very strange book.
The set up is curious - the phrase 'never-sky' is fantastic, especially combined with the image of the sky on the cover, but what the never-sky actually is, is never explained in this book.
More ridiculously named characters (a singing character named Aria? Paisley? Really?) and a romance that felt rather forced. I fear, with the developments towards the end, that Aria is set up to be the superest specialest snowflake we've seen lately. There were a serious amount of disposable characters, so that it got to the point where I didn't really care about any of the characters.
I will say that the blood tribes intrigued me, and the action scenes were well constructed.
This is one of those first books in a series that may improve once we recieve the second book in the series. Set up, especially for something as drastically dystopian/futuristic as this, can often drag a book down, and I few that this book never found a balance between giving the reader enough information and creating mystery.
A very strange read that was rather unsatisfying, but I have hopes that the next book in the series will be a stronger read. (less)