Thursday, November 28, 2013

Scorch by Gina Damico

Summary from Goodreads:
Sixteen-year-old Lex Bartleby is a teenage grim reaper with the bizarre ability to damn souls. That makes her pretty scary, even to fellow Grims. But after inadvertently transferring her ability to Zara, a murderous outlaw, Lex is a pariah in Croak, the little town she calls home.

To escape the townspeople’s wrath, she and her friends embark on a wild road trip to DeMyse. Though this sparkling desert oasis is full of luxuries and amusements, it feels like a prison to Lex. Her best chance at escape would be to stop Zara once and for all—but how can she do that from DeMyse, where the Grims seem mysteriously oblivious to Zara’s killing spree?
I absolutely loved Croak by Gina Damico, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this sequel. Apparently I’m a little late with the times though because I think book 3 has been out for a while, and I will now need to get my hands on that one too. I remember loving the humor, the quirkiness, and the unique writing style, which put it to say, is quite unique with paranormal YA.
And thank goodness, all the quirky charm remained in this sequel. Since it had been so long since I read the first one, it took me a little while to get back into the story and remember all the details of how the first book finished. It might have been a good idea for me to have picked up book 1 for a little bit of re-reading first. But when the story did finally all come back to me, I felt so dumb for having forgotten such colossal things (like the death of a certain family member!)
Any way, I think I actually liked book 2 more. It had a lot more action, mystery, and struggles for the main characters. I loved the first book, but as is the case with a lot of first books, so much of it was the introduction to this strange world. Now that the readers know things about the world, a lot more of this book 2 was about the plot than the first one was. However, the world-building never ceases. There’s new towns, new lore about scythes and grim abilities, and then of course there are all the bad places we didn’t get to see in the first book (like the dungeons and grim versions of nightclubs).
There’s new characters who I grew to love just as much as the old ones. Everyone in this book is flawed somehow and this makes them that much more believable. The sarcasm is at an all time high. But, also this book was a lot darker than the first. There’s more death and murder. But there’s also explosions, power struggles, torture, and sacrifice. I think what I loved the most about this book was that despite how dark things got, the characters stayed true to themselves, and the humor never disappeared.
More comes into play with family and relationships. And I like that the main character in this series is just as much into thinking about things like sex as the guy is. And I like that their relationship is awkward and real, and not completely romanticized like it easily could have been. I found all the grim relationships and friendships to be so interesting, and I can’t wait to read more about them in the next book.
The one thing that I didn’t like was the book’s jumpiness. Sometimes, there’d be these colossal 180 scene changes mid-chapter with no indication that anything changes, and I’d be confused and have to go back and re-read, thinking I skipped pages. This was annoying in all the cases where fun things were skipped for other scenes with completely different characters (sometimes a day later). I just wanted to see everything. No skipping please.
It is just so nice to get a different kind of supernatural story that doesn’t succumb to a million YA supernatural clich├ęs. The humor and the flawed characters give this book a nice edge too. There’s some confusing scene jumping, but the awesome plot line and crazy suspense more than makes up for it. I give this a 10/10.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (72)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead (7/29/14): 
Description on Goodreads:
In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.

Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.

For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .

Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.
Why I’m Waiting:
So, I kind of broke one of my rules and read the summary just now for this book, while I’m still in the middle of the book before (which just came out)…Oh well. This sounds awesome. And the description didn’t really give too much away, or at least too much from what I already know reading the prior one. I love pretty much anything this author has her name on. Her books are filled with action, romance, mystery, and supernatural elements. I love how strong her main characters are. And I particularly love how intelligent Sydney is. The one thing that doesn’t ever make sense to me are the terrible covers. Like does anyone in the world find them appealing? Regardless, I will read, review, purchase, and probably love all of this author’s stuff no matter how tacky the covers look. Seriously, this would be one case where I’d support a mid series redesign.
What are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Catherine by April Lindner

Summary (from Goodreads):
Catherine is tired of struggling musicians befriending her just so they can get a gig at her Dad’s famous Manhattan club, The Underground. Then she meets mysterious Hence, an unbelievably passionate and talented musician on the brink of success. As their relationship grows, both are swept away in a fiery romance. But when their love is tested by a cruel whim of fate, will pride keep them apart?

Chelsea has always believed that her mom died of a sudden illness, until she finds a letter her dad has kept from her for years—a letter from her mom, Catherine, who didn’t die: She disappeared. Driven by unanswered questions, Chelsea sets out to look for her—starting with the return address on the letter: The Underground.

Told in two voices, twenty years apart, Catherine interweaves a timeless forbidden romance with a compelling modern mystery.
It has been a very long time since I have read Wuthering Heights. There are certain parts of the book that a girl can never forget though. There’s the dark/romantic Heathcliff, there’s the cruel brother, and of course there’s the intensely gothic backdrop of the moors. I wasn’t 100% sure how I was going to like a NYC modern-day telling of the classic. However, I loved Lindner’s other retelling of Jane, so I had somewhat high hopes.
It was so easy to see Heathcliff as a brooding rockstar. And while at first the replacement of Wuthering Heights with a club in NYC wasn’t ideal for me, I eventually got into the flow of things. It makes sense that so many guys would try to get an in with Catherine’s father. And it would make sense that Catherine’s father would hire aspiring musicians. I hated Catherine’s brother possibly even more in this retelling than in the original. I almost can’t even understand how he can be related to the free-spirited Catherine.
But beyond the classic versus modern comparisons, that I can probably keep making for hours, were the added bonuses of the story. I loved the duel perspectives of Catherine in the past, and her daughter in the present. Chelsea never held my interest quite like Catherine did, though who could? I wanted to know Chelsea more. I get that she didn’t know what she wanted to do with her life. And I get that she wanted to learn what truly happened to her disappearing mother. But, what else is there to her? I felt like her character just didn’t have the depth I was looking for. What was she interested in? Who was she without this mystery?
 I did find the mystery very compelling. It’s kind of like Lindner turned Wuthering Heights into an urban fiction murder mystery YA novel. And while I knew (from reading the classic)-SPOILER OF THE CALSSIC- that there was no possible way for Chelsea’s mom to be alive, I did need to know what happened to her just as badly as Chelsea did. I just didn’t have as much optimism or hope. And while the classic lead me to know some of the finer details of the mystery, there were also so many changes to the plot with this telling, that I wasn’t 100% sure on how exactly everything would end up going down. This bonus mystery made the whole story/clue solving that much more interesting. And wow, this book had a seriously interesting conclusion (as did the classic).
Overall, it was fun revisiting old characters. The setting was fabulous. All of the concert scenes and band rehearsals were described so well that I felt like I was there. There’s this overwhelming love of writing and poetry throughout the book that was pretty awesome too. The mystery was compelling, even to a lover of the original plot. The romance was sizzling. I wish I got to know Chelsea a little bit better. Though, I definitely felt like I knew the other characters rather well. I give this a 9/10. I highly recommend it to Bronte fans.

Monday, November 25, 2013

A Good Week in Books (62)

I had a light, but great book week this week! I purchased two books that I’ve been anxiously anticipating. One is the next installment by my favorite YA vampire writer. And the other is the conclusion to a dystopia series I know and love (and please let it be a good ending…)

The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead
Champion by Marie Lu
How was your book week?

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (71)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on After the End by Amy Plum (5/6/14): 
Description (from Goodreads):
World War III has left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation. A lucky few escaped to the Alaskan wilderness. They've survived for the last thirty years by living off the land, being one with nature, and hiding from whoever else might still be out there.

At least, this is what Juneau has been told her entire life.

When Juneau returns from a hunting trip to discover that everyone in her clan has vanished, she sets off to find them. Leaving the boundaries of their land for the very first time, she learns something horrifying: There never was a war. Cities were never destroyed. The world is intact. Everything was a lie.

Now Juneau is adrift in a modern-day world she never knew existed. But while she's trying to find a way to rescue her friends and family, someone else is looking for her. Someone who knows the extraordinary truth about the secrets of her past.
Why I’m Waiting:
So the cover is a bit of a snooze, but this story sounds so good! I love these “my whole life was a lie” stories. And this lie just seems so major and crazy. I can’t wait to see what this main character’s story is. The mystery already has me excited (before even starting it).

What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, November 17, 2013

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

Summary (from Goodreads):
It's a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.
So, I’ve been in a bit of a reading rut lately. I’m not sure if this is because I’ve decided to re-watch all of Gilmore Girls or because I just haven’t been in love with any books recently. This book more than got me out of my rut. This was so much more than I was expecting! The cover (which is beyond gorgeous by the way) and the publisher completely made this sound like a good old fashioned YA romance novel. And it ended up being so much more than that. It was kind of like a mixture of a Titanic type love story, with the show Survivor, the book Hatchet, and Ender’s Game. Interesting mixture, I know.
I loved the points of view shifts between the love interests. For starters, the guy was actually believable! He thought about things besides holding hands and touching the small of the girl’s back (though this does happen because what YA romance wouldn’t mention this very important body part?) And his relationship with his family was super interesting and I even kind of wanted to know more about his poet mother. Then there were the interviews between each point of view shift.
At first these interviews upset me because they clearly tell the readers that eventually the couple gets off the planet. It’s about Tarver being interrogated and it doesn’t sound like things will end well for the couple. But by the third or fourth interview segment, I came to love them. Tarver is such a rebel in them and it’s so fun to see him lying and telling off who’s asking questions. I liked Lilac a lot too. And normally I’m not a fan of the spoiled, rich girl character, but it becomes clear from the beginning that Lilac is much more than her stereotype. She’s a girl who feels guilty for what happened with a past boyfriend, a girl who knows more about spaceships than most boys, and a girl strong enough to trek around foreign territory in broken heels without complaining.
I’m such a sucker for a good survival story. I was a huge fan of Hatchet and The Hunger Games and I was so happy to have another book to add to my survivalist list. And it was more than cool that it was on another planet. There’s something really terrifying about people trying to survive an unknown landscape in another world. Especially when some weird alien/supernatural type stuff gets thrown in (along with a giant, wild, man-eating cat creature).
This book has it all: romance, mystery, survival, suspense, one giant spaceship crash, and lots and lots of those perfect “when are they just going to kiss” moments. The romance is slow to build, very slow. The two become friends first and this is yet another thing this book had going for it.
The end felt just a tad bit rushed. I was a little confused on a certain plot twist that I can’t talk about without spoiling some serious stuff, so I’ll shut up about it. But overall, this was one fantastic book that I didn’t want to finish. I kind of prolonged my reading because it was so good, I didn’t want it to be over. I can’t wait to read the companion novels these authors have planned. It gets a 10/10 and I highly recommend this one.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (70)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on Enders by Lissa Price (1/7/14):

Description on Goodreads:
With the Prime Destinations body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn't want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save Callie's life - but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena's memories, too ...and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body? This is the thrilling sequel to "Starters".
Why I’m Waiting:
I had so much fun reading Starters. I loved the kind of Doll House-esque plotline. The idea of a world where wealthy senior citizens can take over young people’s bodies is just kind of terrifying. My eyes were glued to that story. Unfortunately, the publisher never does seem able to get a good cover working for these books. The first cover was terrible and reminiscent of a middle grade/Goosebump type book. And this second cover looks like it’s on drugs. I will not let the weird covers stop me from enjoying the story. It’s just kind of a shame to think about all the young people who wont get to see how awesome this story is because they won’t want to pick up such a badly covered book. Oh well. Also, why is it taking so long to come out? I read book one like two years ago (probably as an ARC but still). Come on 2014!
What are you waiting on this week?

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris.

In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures.

And Grayson has gone missing.

No one seems to know of his whereabouts but Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant at their new home.

Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead—she can feel it deep in her soul—but she knows he’s in grave danger. It will be up to her and Gabby to navigate the twisted path to Grayson, a path that will lead Ingrid on a discovery of dark secrets and otherworldly truths. And she’ll learn that once they are uncovered, they can never again be buried.
One of the things that appealed to me the most about this book, right away, (besides the pretty cover and the gargoyle storyline) were the reviews I’ve read for it that mentioned the superior writing. Okay, I’m lying. It was mostly the gargoyle storyline. I know the cartoon has been mentioned in other reviews for this book already, but come on. Gargoyles was one epic cartoon back in the day.

I kind of feel like the only reviewer not to be impressed with the writing. I do like a good gothic romance. I also love that it took place in Paris. The setting was phenomenal. I really felt like I was there. However, I felt like the author might have been trying too hard. It was a few too many metaphors and similes for my taste. I get that Morgan was trying to sound like a writer of the time period she was writing. But, I seriously think all of the metaphors took away from the period setting for me. They kind of distracted me and kept pulling me out of an otherwise addictive book. And maybe I wouldn’t have hated the metaphors quite so much if there weren’t so many about the color of Luc’s eyes. By the fourth mention of Luc’s eyes, I considered putting the book down.
However, I’m glad I didn’t. The metaphors dwindle a little bit by the end of the book. The last quarter of the book is one action sequence after another, and there frankly wasn’t enough time to talk about eye color. And I’m not saying that the whole book needed to have more action either. I kind of liked the build up. I loved getting to see Paris and slowly learning about the gargoyles, the angels, and the demons that run amuck in it. I’m glad I got to fully immerse myself in this world before too much murder came into play.
And there was plenty of murder, blood, violence, and suspense. Also, Ingrid had a supernatural power at her fingertips, so to speak. This certainly made her a more interesting character. At first, I wasn’t too impressed with her. She was kind of the boring, but pretty sister. But as the book goes, I loved seeing how strong she was, how brave.
I thoroughly loved her sister, Gabby, from the beginning. She was like Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, though maybe not quite as romantic. And Gabby, despite not having any powers or super twin connections to her missing brother, was always willing to fight for what she wanted. And then there’s dreamy Luc. He’s a character to swoon over, surely. I love his story. Though, what he shares with Ingrid is a bit instant for my liking.
Page Morgan is definitely a reader of Austen. The family workings are very Austen-like. And the relationship between the sisters really did add to the historical feel. The book ended with a bit of a romantic cliffhanger. And I still have some unanswered questions about Ingrid and her twin. I will definitely be continuing with the series. The characters were fun. The setting was beautiful. The story was intriguing. I’m just hoping for more answers, less metaphors, and more genuine connections between love interests (that’s not instant or based on purely physical attraction…and smell). This gets an 8/10.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Taming of the Tights by Louise Rennison

Gadzooks! It's another term at Dother Hall for Tallulah and her mates. But can they keep their minds on the arts with all those boys about...After the thing-that-will-never-be-mentioned last term, Tallulah is keen to put all thoughts of Cain behind her. But that seems like that the last thing he wants. Their performing arts college may have been saved by Honey's mystery benefactor, but for how long is anyone's guess. So will Tallulah finally get to wear those golden slippers of applause or will Dr Lightowler swoop down on her glory days? And with Seth and Flossie forever snogging, Vaisey and Jack loved-up and Phil and Jo fondly biffing each other can Tallulah resist the call of her wild boy? Don your craziest tights and Irish dance your way to some surprising and hilariously unexpected answers...
I have been reading Louise Rennison’s books since I was 14. I remember picking up the first book in the confessions of Georgia Nicolson series, hoping it would be a sort of YA version of Bridget Jones, and it was exactly what I wanted. The plot is rather typical (aka: no surprises) in all of her books. But what makes each of these books worth not just reading, but owning, is the humor. These are books I’m slightly embarrassed to read out in public because they always make me laugh out loud.
In fact, I was just finishing this book in a Dunkin Donuts (grabbing the necessary caffeine before a meeting), debating if I should take it out and read because I knew I’d embarrass myself. I of course took it out. And I of course started cracking up. The popular Dunkin Donuts, mostly populated by the retired community of Cape Cod probably all thought I was drunk…in the middle of the day.
Any way, the book takes place after a holiday, with the tree sisters returning to their arts academy and to a semester of The Taming of the Shrew themed assignments. Somehow this theme has lead to owl raps, acting as horses, and all sorts of other mayhem. I absolutely love every scene that takes place in the decaying school. There’s drum workshops without any drums. There’s a school janitor who invites the girls to terrible concerts of a band he’s in. There’s parties in the woods. There’s school pranks, lots of flirting with the boy’s academy next door, and so much humor!
I can literally read any of Rennison’s books in under 2 hours. You cannot put them down. I think it’s fantastic that this author can appeal to me just as much now, as an adult, as they did for me 13 years ago as a child. Her sense of humor is timeless. Her characters go above and beyond in their believability. All of the girls are at least slightly superficial. All of them think about boys in a believable way. And Rennison nails the whole teen girl/self conscious thing in the bag. The characters actually act like teenagers more than they do as adults –something a little bit rare in YA lately.
I also believe in her boy characters. They are just as funny. And while not all of them are as redeemable to me as others, I like that Rennison’s girls seem able to learn from them. I love that Georgia plays the role of mentor to Tallulah, but never take center stage in this series. I also love that Rennison seems to be a believer in dating! Not all girls have to find their one true soul mate right away. Sometimes a girl has to kiss a few frogs first.
I kind of wish some of Rennison’s characters had better relationships with their parents. I get that kids have to be away from the parental figures for things to happen story-wise. But, can someone have good (non-crazy) parents? I do love Tallulah’s aunt and uncle, but they are pretty crazy with their scavenging.
This series is actually getting better as it goes. Tallulah is becoming more and more confident, loveable, and compassionate. I will continue to read these books, buy these books, and recommend them. It gets a 10/10 from me.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (69)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine that allows bloggers to share which books we are most anticipating.
This week I am waiting on The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski (3/4/14):
Description on Goodreads:
In the tradition of Kristin Cashore and Cassandra Clare comes this brilliant, unputdownable, star-crossed romance about the curse of winning.

Seventeen-year-old Kestrel is an aristocratic citizen of Valoria, a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers. Here, a girl like Kestrel has two choices: join the military or get married. Despite her skills in military strategy, Kestrel’s real passion is music. Which is why she feels compelled to buy Arin, a slave with a talent for singing, at auction. It’s not long before she finds herself falling in love with Arin, and he seems to feel the same for her. But Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for Arin is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a new world, The Winner’s Curse is a story of wicked rumors, dirty secrets, and games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
Why I’m Waiting:
So, how gorgeous is this cover? I can’t stop looking at the pretty dress. I really can’t. The book is already being compared to Cashore and Clare, and well, wow. Also, the story sounds super interesting. So, I’m not going to lie; it’s the cover that drew me in. However, I have a feeling the story will win me over too.
What are you waiting on this week?

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

Summary (from Goodreads):
Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?
So, The Darkest Minds was in my top ten list of 2012. It shocked me, moved me, and kept me reading way late into the night. I had high expectations going into this sequel. That, and well, Ruby had a thing or two to answer for and I absolutely needed to see if the memory swiping thing lasted.
Any way, I was not disappointed. Like the first book, this story was not an easy one to swallow. Thankfully, all the child concentration camp scenes were done. However, we are still left with child soldiers of sorts, plenty of super kid animosity, organizations out to blow up all of the surviving children, and powerful children themselves who have no knowledge on how to master their abilities or even how to use them for good.
Things start right in the middle of the action, with Ruby on a secret agent type mission with a new crew of powerful kids/allies. And it’s clear from the beginning that the adults on her mission hate her and her fellow super kids. Actually some of the adults are working on secretly killing the kids on the missions. And the missions are put forth by the Children’s League (a league that supposedly rescues kids from the camps), but as we all know from book 1, also doesn’t rescue a lot of kids from the camps. And well, Liam hated them.
Ruby doesn’t know where Liam is; she thinks she saved his life by sacrificing her own for the league. But she soon realizes, that she might have messed up his life even more. She’s friends with Liam’s brother, who’s a bit of a hothead. And while I grew to love her new team of powerful child misfits, I really missed her old team. Some of the old team (including Liam!) make a comeback, but some friends aren’t in this book at all –please let them be in book 3…
Ruby has a lot of inner conundrums to figure out. For starters, is finding information about the child-killing disease worth seeing her ex (who’s memories she’s swiped)? Also, how can she explain herself to her old friends when they all hate the League? And what should she really do with the information on the flash drive when she finds it? And above all, is there anything or anyone more important to her than her ultimate goal of destroying all the camps?
Of course on top of all the mental dilemmas, there’s the physical ones: sickness, torture, gun shots, escaping, bombs going off, reunions with old enemies, cold, starvation, and a whole world out to get you for the blood money.  There’s a little bit of romance. There’s a lot of action. And more than enough tough decisions. Ruby still kind of hates herself, and sees herself as a ticking time bomb, which makes learning to control her powers that much harder.
Bracken is excellent with her characters, her action sequences, her fast pacing, and her ideas. I’ve never quite read anything like this. This book pulled at my heart, kept me up late reading, and had my attention focused until the very last page. It didn’t have the same amount of disgusted shock as book 1, but I was blown away by how it kept me interested any way. I highly recommend both books to reluctant readers, to dystopia fans, to suspense/action fans, and to anyone looking for a great YA story. I give it a 10/10.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Allegiant by Veronica Roth

Summary from Goodreads:
One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.
I loved this book! I’m going to work super hard to not spoil important things. I also worked hard to not read any reviews for this book until after I finished it. The only thing I heard about the book was that some people were not happy with the end. And hopefully this isn’t spoiling it for others who have avoided reviews. But seriously, not everyone can be happy when a series comes to a conclusion. And I respect authors who write what they need to write, knowing they can’t please everyone.
That said, this book was a whirlwind of revolutions, knowledge, and courage. Part of me had no idea what to expect with the world outside Chicago, and there is something incredible about not knowing what to expect in a YA novel. Part of me kept thinking zombies might come in…Weird, I know. And just so you know, there were no zombies. I’m just weird and used to certain plot devices. And I guess Roth not only knows these plot devices, but also knows how to twist, bend, and surprisingly defy them.
There were a lot of revolutions in this book! Seriously, I think there were like 3-4 revolutions. There was a lot of war and suffering (but what book in this series didn’t include these things?). There were some sizzling romantic moments. And then there were some classic, “how far are you willing to go to save the most people” dystopian moments. This book had a lot of science in it too.
One of my only qualms with the series before was its lack of believability. My favorite thing about dystopias is how plausible they tend to be. Like, I can see the world turning as bad as it was in the Hunger Games and I can kind of see society taking the shape of the world in The Giver. But, I never really believed that a world divided by these factions, by people’s personality traits could ever seriously exist. Like what would ever make society turn that direction? I couldn’t think of a thing that would.
And then finally, Roth explains how this could happen. And I am so grateful. I feel like my only problem with the series was addressed, answered, and karate kicked out of the building. Yay for final installment explanations! We learn a lot more about Tris’ family. We learn about the outside. We learn about how the factions react to learning that there is an outside!
I just had a conversation with a friend of mine (I’m talking about you, Emma!) about the series as a whole, and how we think this book kind of blew the whole series out of the ballpark. Insurgent for me (and Emma) was a little bit of a let down. We talked about how the series could have happened with two books (this one and the first one) and maybe we could have had a few chapters either in Divergent or Allegiant about Four’s parents and about the other factions. And the series would have been just as strong, if not stronger. Though, book 2 had one crazy ending I wouldn’t want to miss out on.
I don’t want to talk too much about the story cause it is full of surprises that I don’t want to ruin for you. But, just know that questions are answered, people get closure, other people get blown up, there’s an insane amount of revolutions, there’s power struggles, broken factions, and a ton of action in general. And I seriously can’t see the series ending in any other way. Thank you, Veronica Roth, for writing these insanely addicting books that I know I will re-read and pass on to other people over time. This so gets a 10/10.