Its been a while since I enjoyed a middle grade book as much as I enjoyed King of the Mutants. It was fun, witty, and all sorts of crazy. The book isIts been a while since I enjoyed a middle grade book as much as I enjoyed King of the Mutants. It was fun, witty, and all sorts of crazy. The book is told in Maverick Murphy's point of view. All his life, Mav had been treated as a freak because of his gator-like appearance and because he's just a minor act in the circus, he doesn't have much of a home in Grumbling's Travelling Circus and Sideshow. Desperate to know more about his past, Mav took his chance when he stumbles upon a runaway orphan named Freddie. Together, the two boys motorbike to New Orleans and New York, fighting for answers and a place to call home.
I really loved reading through Mav's thoughts. Gator Boy is one witty kid who never misses a punch line. He had me sold- reading the book was like listening to a thirteen year-old boy telling a story over a campfire. I could practically hear Mav's determination whispering through the chapters. I also really really loved Freddie. He was the voice of reason in the book, the normalness that I clung to whenever things started to get super wierd, but he wasn't annoying at all. He makes a few mistakes here and there but I can't help but love the guy.
Mav and Freddie took me on quite an adventure- clown chases, narrow escapes, hoodoo, evil scientists, and *gasp* wearing high heels! It isn't just all fun and games though, the book also tackles with issues of finding yourself and what it means to be a family. Mav shows us that thee's more to someone than what's on the outside. King of the Mutants is a fun, adventure-filled read with a hero that anyone can relate to and look up to. ...more
Ever since she was a kid, Skylar gets feelings or sensations of wrongness from the most normal things. When she freaks out about a bomb that no one saEver since she was a kid, Skylar gets feelings or sensations of wrongness from the most normal things. When she freaks out about a bomb that no one saw and disappeared as quickly as it appeared, she feels like she has completely lost her grip on reality. And then she meets Win, a mysterious boy who somehow knows about the bomb that came and somehow understands her 'panic attacks' completely. After being chased by a group of otherworldly-looking humans carrying weapons Sky had never seen before, Win admits that he is a time-travelling alien rebel hell-bent on stopping scientists from his planet who are experimenting on earth.
Win tells Sky that the sensations of wrongness that she gets are the effects of shifts in the time rift caused by time travellers and takes her back in time to different countries in search of missing pieces left behind by their rebel group's MIA leader- pieces to a device that will stop the aliens from messing with earth's timelines.
Earth & Sky primarily caught my attention because of its Doctor Who vibes. Time traveller picks up a female companion to help him save earth? Sounds like a fun read, right? Unfortunately, the book wasn't as exciting as I expected. Yes, the plot was pretty interesting but I think that the whole concept of a species from another world manipulating Earth just wasn't explained clearly enough. It just didn't sell for me because of that and I found myself stumbling over sentences and getting confused a lot. The world-building was just too weak to hold a massive plot like that.
Sky was a pretty boring protagonist and Win didn't really stand out much for me. I didn't feel a connection with them at all. They went through this cycle of travelling to a timeline, getting chased, finding the piece they need, getting chased again, and returning to Sky's timeline to rest. It got pretty repetitive after a while because there weren't any wow moments that heightened my excitement. I did really enjoy the first part of the book because it started so high, but it just didn't go anywhere after that. Earth & Sky had the makings of a great read, but I think that it just tried to accomplish too much that it fell short in the end....more
If anyone would ask me what I thought of Marie Lu's sexy new book The Young Elites, i'd reply with five words: dark fantasy at it's finest. I absoluteIf anyone would ask me what I thought of Marie Lu's sexy new book The Young Elites, i'd reply with five words: dark fantasy at it's finest. I absolutely could not put this book down! It was like X-Men meets Game of Thrones meets Throne of Glass meets Cruel Beauty meets.. arrghh nevermind. Why don't I just give you five reasons why The Young Elites deserves that five-word praise? Here we go..
1. The Malfettos. A decade ago, a deadly illness called the Blood Fever swept through the nation, killing thousands of people. The few who survived the fever, mostly children, were left with strange scars that marked them as outcasts and bad luck to society. However, some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.
In an X-Men kind of universe, the Malfettos would be the mutants. Shunned by society and deemed as "bad luck" as an excuse to hide the king's negligence in ruling his kingdom, innocent malfettos have been killed left and right. That doesn't make them weaklings though- most of the Young Elites are pretty kick-ass! What I loved about the malfettos is that their origin was never fully explained and there's still so much secrecy surrounding the Young Elites.
2. Adelina Amouteru. Adelina -freakin- Amouteru. Don't let her regal name fool you because this girl has gone through hell and back, losing her mother to the Blood Fever and having to spend her whole life answering to her abusive and sadistic father's beck and call. Because of her harsh experiences, there is a great darkness inside Adelina that threatens to consume her and will not hesitate to kill. Adelina isn't the typical heroine protagonist- she's clearly drawn to evil and darkness, and her heart calls out for vengeance no matter what the means, but there's this tiny spark in her that tries to control the darkness. She's pretty bad-ass if I do say so myself.
“I am Adelina Amouteru. I belong to no one. On this night, I swear to you that I will rise above everything you’ve ever taught me. I will become a force that this world has never known. I will come into such power that none will dare hurt me again.”
3. The Dagger Society. When the Inquisition held Adelina at the stake for the murder of her father, a group of Young Elites whisked in and saved her. Basically the X-Men of their world, The Dagger Society dedicate their lives to reinstating the rights of the malfettos and overthrowing the king and queen. Led by a sword-fighting fire wielder named Enzo Valenciano, the group sees murder as a means to an end and will kill anyone who gets in their way. I loved reading about them and their different abilities- there's Ezio with his ability to control fire, a male courtesan who can sense the abilities of other malfettos, a windwalker who can control air, a girl who can steal the will of any animal, a boy who can bend any object to his will, and one of the greatest fighters the world has ever seen.
Adelina trains to become on of the Daggers and this opens up whole different worlds for her, and in turn for us. Through the society, I was whisked to a world with flying manta rays in the sky, a beautiful pleasure court, underground tunnels, and devious plots.
4. The plot and world-building. Marie Lu packed everything into this book: darkness, family, magic, powers, action-packed swordfights, sexy romance, deception, betrayal; most of the plot is centered around political intrigue packed with a lot of players. I never knew what was going to happen next and I couldn't stop turning the pages. She weaved a whole new seamless world to perfectly back all of it up, too. I learned something new about their world as the story progresses, and it opens up a lot of roads leading to places outside Adelina's kingdom- places I can't wait to read more of.
5. The epilogue. THAT EPILOGUE. THAT SNEAKY SNEAKY CLIFF HANGER EPILOGUE. I can't say much without spoiling, but it's definitely a massive game-changer! A few hints? Princess. Different Kingdom. Prince. Underworld. Confused? I am too! And I need book two right this instant!
So yup, those are the five things that instantly made me Marie Lu's slave. Anything for book two. ANYTHING. Kidding aside, or not-so-kidding aside, The Young Elites isn't perfect, but it's a definite must-read for people looking for a dark fantasy with political intrigue and a fast paced adrenaline-filled plot....more
Ashes to Ashes is a whole lot heavier than it's predecessors. For starts, there's a lot of blood and violence- mostly coming from Mary's hand. The booAshes to Ashes is a whole lot heavier than it's predecessors. For starts, there's a lot of blood and violence- mostly coming from Mary's hand. The book has this really creepy vibe to it especially during the chapters told in Mary's point of view. Almost like looking at everything from a psychopath's point of view. However, Mary is not a psychopath. She's a girl who's out for cold revenge, but she is also just a girl. A lost and confused girl who got hurt way too many times, in effect clouding her judgement. Throw in Kat and Lillia who are still both struggling to cope with the regret and guilt clouding their entire beings and you're in for one hell of an emotional ride.
I really liked that about Ashes to Ashes. Like its characters, the story is incredibly vulnerable and real- almost like it had it's own heartbeat. Reading it was like having an omnipotent force whispering to me to turn page after page and neglect the rest of my life entirely. I was hooked. The suspense was addictive and it will loop you in a daze and won't let go until you reach the end of the line. Unfortunately though, I thought the journey there was a whole lot more exciting than the ending.
I also think that Kat didn't get to shine. The storyline mainly rotated around Lillia, Reeve, and Mary and left Kat hanging around as a character who only showed up when her role was needed- and she wasn't needed that often. I would have liked a little more balance in the role hierarchy, I guess. Regardless, Ashes to Ashes is an explosive read with an addictive plot and strength in it's main characters who are bursting with life. I just think that the ending left a little more to be desired....more
I always assumed that The Walled City was a dystopian novel, so as I read each page I was surprised to discover that the book isn't set in a distant fI always assumed that The Walled City was a dystopian novel, so as I read each page I was surprised to discover that the book isn't set in a distant future or in a different world- it is set in our world, in our timeline. However, it felt like an entirely different world. It was incredibly dark and dangerous, and I could feel the tension in every scene. In a district filled with cheaters, gangs, prostitutes, and drug dealers, you wager your life every day.
The Walled City is a riveting novel written in three different perspectives- Dai's, a drug trafficker with a dark past and a dangerous secret; Jin's, a girl who spent years pretending to be a boy to survive the City and to look for her missing sister; and Mei Yee's, a prostitute with a silent desire to escape and find a better life outside and see the sea. Three different people from different walks of life in the City, three different lives that ended up finding each other and working together to destroy the King Pin's gang from the inside and escape the City forever.
I loved Dai, Jin, and Mei Yee equally. At first glance, they seemed like people who gave up and succumbed to the City's powers, but they actually had this fire within them- this quiet determination that pushed them every step of the way. Learning about their pasts, my heart broke and cheered for them even more. My heart raced along with theirs at every danger that they faced and believe me when I say that it was like they were cats that have nine lives considering all of the near-death circumstances that they got into. Reading this book was like asking for a heart attack!
The book had echoes of a reality that we refuse to accept. There are places out there just like the Walled City, like the Kowloon Walled City that the book is based on. Ryan Graudin managed to create a carbon-copy vision of those places and projected it into the book. It was absolutely masterful and terrifying. His writing kind of reminded me of Haruki Murakami's- tasteful, smart, fluid, and realistic with a drop of magic. It keeps you guessing and leads you on a spiral of fictional reality that will shake your core. Words cannot express the experience The Walled City gave me, you'll have to read the book yourself. But be careful! In the Walled City, there is no escape....more
Romeo and Juliet. Sound familiar? Star-crossed lovers forced to be apart because of a lifelong feud between theOriginally posted on The Reading Slump
Romeo and Juliet. Sound familiar? Star-crossed lovers forced to be apart because of a lifelong feud between the Montagues and the Capulets. Jemma and Ryder live a completely asymmetrical life. Born in the same year to families who have been friends since World War II, Jemma and Ryder are forced to always be together. Their mothers practically planned their wedding as soon as they were born. Perfectly Convenient right? Wrong. They wanted nothing to do with each other.
Jemma and Ryder are characters that are difficult to like. Both of them are infuriatingly self-centered and stubborn. It seemed like their life goal was to get rid of and deny any inchling of feelings that they had for each other. It was always a matter of pride. But unlike what the blurb suggests it was clear from the very first chapter that they didn't hate each other, not really, and the undeniable chemistry between the two of them reappears when a massive storm strikes Magnolia Branch and they have no one to turn to but each other.
Magnolia was a cute book filled with adorable romance and pent up emotions. Kristi Cook really knows how to cook up scenes just bursting with sparks and chemistry- the banter between Jemma and Ryder had me hooked! The book, however, also found its faults in its strengths. The two main characters only ever came alive when they were with each other and just fell flat when faced with the other aspects of the story. It was a shame because Magnolia really set its foundation on its themes of family but both Jemma and Ryder lacked the solid characterization that would have made the whole set-up flawless.
Everything was evenly paced, easing the readers into each new scene at just the right moment. Aside from the lack of strength on Jemma and Ryder's characterization, I felt no bumps in the road. The book felt more like a short story, if anything. Fluffy and sweet, Magnolia is the perfect book for readers looking for a light story filled with romance and steamy banter....more