Friday, 23 March 2012

Exceptional by Jess Petosa (Exceptional #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Romance
My Rating: 2 out of 5


In the future, things are anything but ordinary...

In 2022, the United States commissioned a group of scientists to experiment with genetic mutations. Their goal was to create a serum that would alter the human genetic code, making the subject stronger and faster. They succeeded but their victory was short lived. Not only had they created a super serum, but also an airborne virus. By 2025, seventy-five percent of the world's population had perished. The survivors, well their lives would never be the same.

Ally is an Ordinary; a human immune to the virus. She lives in a settlement outside the City with her mother and twin brother, but lately it doesn't seem to be enough. She is wrestling between being with her family and volunteering to move to the City, where she can work for the Exceptionals.

Luke is an Exceptional; a superior human being. His ancestors were infected with the virus and lived through it, leaving their super human strength and special abilities to him. He has never given much thought to Ordinarys, despite pressure from his father to choose one from the ORC. But all of that changes when he meets Ally...


I liked the idea behind this book. The Exceptionals and the Ordinarys and the world it created. But from the very beginning I could sense something very sinister about it that I didn't like. It was like an itch that wouldn't go away and prevented me from enjoying the experience. And once the forced breeding was introduced my feelings were justified. It bothered me as much as it did in Wither, and even more at times because we were forced to accept Ally's situation. Maybe it has something to do with being a woman, but it really bothered me. And most of the book covered the romance between Ally and Luke, so that didn't help me forget about the forced breeding. And Luke wasn't even particularly interesting either. There wasn't really anything wrong with him (except one thing I will get to later), but there wasn't really anything special about him either. Not even slightly swoon-worthy.

Things started to pick up eventually and steered away from the romance and I was glad, and it was getting interesting, but then it ended. The ending was so sudden. I did not like it at all. Not only because it was sad, but I just hate cliffhanger endings in books. I feel like books should be able to stand alone when they have to. Some loose ends are ok, and expected in a series. But not a full on "To be continue", middle of the action, cliffhanger. To me it feels like a cheap trick to get people to read the next book, because the author knows its not good enough on its own to get people to come back.

And I started to get a little upset with Luke in the end. That is the one issue I have with him. Ally asked him not to lie to her in order to protect her. She would rather have the truth. But in the end, he not only lies, he orchestrates an entire scenario that leads to several deaths in order to force her into making the decision that he thinks is best for her. I don't know if it was supposed to be romantic, that he would go that far to protect her. But I don't think it is. It was extremely controlling. Especially after his friend asked him if he would have gone with her, and Luke replied, "I didn't want to have a chance to find out." What? What is that supposed to mean? He didn't want to have the opportunity to be with the girl he loves? He didn't want the opportunity to protect her properly? 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

The Droughtlanders by Carrie Mac (Triskelia #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Adventure
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Twin brothers Seth and Eli Maddox are Keylanders brought up within the privileged and protected Eastern Key. Keylanders, the boys are told, must keep within their walls to avoid the filth and disease spread by the Droughtlanders - those who struggle to survive on the parched land between the keys. But when Eli sees their brother helping one of the wretched Droughtlanders, a chain of terrible events begins to unravel the life they've all known and will pit brother against brother in a life-or-death struggle between two lands.

This book was really interesting, with a unique feel that I cannot pinpoint as any particular genre. It is definitely a post-apocalyptic dystopian, but leaning more towards post-apocalyptic. It was made clear that it is set in North American after the world was destroyed by severe weather patterns. And I do believe that it was the whole world that was destroyed, not just North America. But it still had a strong fantasy feel to it. There was nothing fantastical about the story, nothing paranormal, magical, or even science fiction besides their weather technology, but it felt very much like a fantasy due to the landscape, the way the people lived, with herbal healers and traveling by horseback. After the the end of civilization the world returned to almost a medieval way of life, which somewhat reminded me of Under the Never Sky.

I found the story really intriguing. It follows 16 year old Eli. He was raised in one of the few walled cities in North America, where people live in privilege with good weather provided by their weather technology, while the rest of the world is kept in drought. His father is a powerful man, second in command of the city, and is known as the Eastern Regent. After Eli blames his father for his mother's mysterious death, Eli runs away and tries to find the fabled rebels known as Triskelia. Eli's brother, Seth, angry at him for abandoning their family, goes after Eli, intending to bring him back home.

Journeying through the droughtlands, the brothers find themselves ending their journey together, both drastically changed. Most of the book is from Eli's POV, but there are many chapters from Seth's POV as well. There is a lot of adventure and survival, betrayal and self discovery, secrets and revelations. 

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Destiny's Fire by Trisha Wolfe (Kythan Guardians #2)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Fantasy/Mythology, Steampunk, Romance
My Rating: 4 out of 5


It's the year 2040, and sixteen-year-old Dez Harkly is one of the last of her kind-part of a nearly extinct race of shape-shifters descended from guardians to the Egyptian pharaohs. Her home and her secret are threatened when the Council lowers the barrier, allowing the enemy race to enter the Shythe haven.As the Narcolym airships approach, Dez and her friends rebel against their Council and secretly train for battle. Not only is Dez wary of war and her growing affection for her best friend Jace, she fears the change her birthday will bring. When Dez's newfound power rockets out of control, it's a Narcolym who could change her fate...if she can trust him.Dez's guarded world crumbles when she discovers why the Narcos have really come to Haven Falls, and she's forced to choose between the race who raised her and the enemy she's feared her whole life.

I really loved this book! The premise was amazing, and the idea of the Kythan and their abilities and their world. And I love private school stories, even though that aspect of the story didn't last long, I enjoyed it. Destiny was an awesome heroine, I really loved her. There were times when I questioned some of her decisions, but she must have been very confused and scared, so I can forgive her, especially since things turned out well in the end.

I love Reese. He was so awesome. Even though Jace was swooning all over Destiny from the beginning, as soon as Reese made an appearance I knew he was the one. And he just got better with each appearance. I couldn't get enough! For those who have read Evernight, Jace reminded me of Balthazar from that series. But Reese is like no other. There were instant sparks! Like when you cant stand someone but are still attracted to them. Sexual tension. But once Dez realized she could trust him things went quickly. She opened up to him instantly and trusted him with everything. They had a lot in common and they could understand each other like no one else. He clearly cared about her so much. And they could not stop kissing!

But there was a time early on when Dez said something that put worry in Reese's eyes. Dez saw it and asked him about it. I could tell he was lying. He was always open and honest with her and she could see that she could trust him and so could we. But I never forgot that one moment and I didn't like it. Reese was so wonderful, I couldn't handle it if it turned out to be too good to be true. For the rest of the book I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop. They ended up having their highs and lows, and during the lows I was so sad and anxious. But the highs made me forget the lows all together. And it had such a great ending that it was all worth it! It was great overall, with the perfect mood and a lot of action and suspense. I highly recommend this book, especially to fans of Half-Blood. I cant wait for the next book in the series!

“You shouldn't come out to play until you have the power to party like a big girl.”

Friday, 16 March 2012

Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman (Noughts & Crosses #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Dystopian, Alternate History, Romance
Publication Date:  January 15th 2001
POV: Alternating - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 2 out of 5


Callum is a naught, a second-class citizen in a society run by the ruling Crosses. Sephy is a Cross, and daughter of the man slated to become prime minister. In their world, white naughts and black Crosses simply don't mix -- and they certainly don't fall in love. But that's exactly what they've done.
When they were younger, they played together. Now Callum and Sephy meet in secret and make excuses. But excuses no longer cut it when Sephy and her mother are nearly caught in a terrorist bombing planned by the Liberation Militia, with which Callum's family is linked. Callum's father is the prime suspect...and Sephy's father will stop at nothing to see him hanged. The blood hunt that ensues will threaten not only Callum and Sephy's love for each other, but their very lives.
What's white is black, what's black is white, and only one thing is clear: Assumptions can be deadly.


This book is set in an alternate reality where blacks enslaved the whites. It never names a city or country, and never gives us a date, but it does tell us that it is set 50 years after the abolishment of slavery. So, considering what things were like for former slaves in our world 50 years after the abolishment of slavery, approximately 1915, this wasn't really a dystopian. There were still extremely unfair punishments for white crimes in the book, but they had health care, and schools. They were much better off than former slaves were in reality.

This book focuses on the lives of Callum and Sephy, short for Persephone. Callum is white and Sephy is black. They are best friends and have known each other all their lives, since Callum's mom was Sephy's nanny. Callum is a year and a half older than Sephy. It starts out when Callum is 15 and Sephy is 13, and Callum's mom was fired 3 years prior. They still meet in secret at least every other day, although Callum's family is beginning to suspect why he is always home late.

The book covers the difficulties of both their lives. Sephy has to deal with her drunk mother, her absentee father, and when he is home, his racist ravings. All while hiding her life with Callum. Callum has to deal with a his mentally challenged sister, the terrorist activities of his father and older brother, the pressure of being one of the first whites to attend a black school, and the strong disapproval of his whole family for his relationship with Sephy.

It isn't until half way through the book that things pick up and cover something besides day to day life. When Callum's home is raided in the middle of the night and his whole family is taken into custody because of his father and brother's suspected terrorist activities. This just puts more stain on Callum's relationship with Sephy, since Callum blames Sephy's people for everything that has happened to his family. Sephy eventually decides she cant deal with life anymore, and goes away to boarding school. By this time Callum is 16 and Sephy is almost 15. When she returns 3 years later, Callum has changed.

Callum and Sephy were the only decent characters, and she could be annoying at times. Although I felt for them both and how unfair their lives were, I was really disappointed in Callum. He was the best character before Sephy left him. I really disapprove of the direction Callum took with his life. I dont understand how he could rationalize what he had done considering his relationship with Sephy, and what almost happened to her at the mall.

Once they are reunited they admit that they love each other, and always have. But from there things went from bad to worst. The ending was tragic in the most Shakespearean way. Sephy was given a choice. A way to save the situation and Callum, but she refused it. I know a lot of people will think she made the right choice for ethical reasons. But I would certainly not have made the same decision she did. It would have been a very easy choice for me, considering what was lost. It was very disappointing. I have never read a more depressing book in my life. But I know there are those that really enjoy emotional books, even if they are sad and that must be the reason for this book's high acclaim. If that sounds like you, you might love this.

“I used to comfort myself with the belief that it was only certain individuals and their peculiar notions that spoilt things for the rest of us. But how many individuals does it take before it's not the individuals who are prejudiced but society itself?”

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Tomorrow Land by Mari Mancusi

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Publication Date: March 8th 2012
POV: Female - Third-person, Past tense
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Can true love survive the end of the world?

Imagine finding your first love, only to be ripped apart by the apocalypse. Peyton Anderson will never forget the day she was forced to make a choice--between her family--and Chris Parker, the boy she'd given her heart. And now, four years later, as she steps from the fallout shelter and into a dead and broken world, he's the only thing on her mind.

All Chris "Chase" Parker wanted was to take Peyton away and keep her safe from harm. But he waited for hours in the rain on judgment day and she never showed--breaking his heart without ever telling him why.

Now the two of them have been thrown together once again, reluctant chaperones of a group of orphan children in a post-apocalyptic world where the dead still walk...and feed. As they begin their pilgrimage to the last human outpost on Earth, can they find a way to let go of old hurts and find the love they lost--all the while attempting to save what's left of the human race?


First of all, I have issues with the format. It starts with 15 year old Peyton in 2030, in a virtual reality simulation with her friends, just hanging out. Then the next chapter skips to 4 years later, in a post-apocalyptic world. Then the next chapter goes back, then forward, then back. We have the 2 separate time periods running simultaneously. Each is narrated by both Peyton and Chris, the boy who has been in love with her since they were 6. The narrations are good, but the timeline was not only confusing and annoying, but it didn't work well for the characters.

When we first skipped to the 4 years later, we have no idea how Peyton got there, what she had been through. It made it harder to connect to the characters. And when Peyton runs into Chris again they clearly have a history, but we have no idea what it is. We really didn't get to know the characters until we knew the whole of their history. I think I would have preferred this book if it had been told in chronological order, even though it would have had two very different halves. It just feels really disjointed as is.

The romance was sweet. Peyton and Chris were almost constantly in each others thoughts, but they had several children and zombies to worry about. I was enjoying the zombie apocalypse. It was my first zombie apocalypse book and the action was fun. They didn't have a lot of time for sweet talk. They also spent way too much time arguing. I really think I enjoyed the 'before' chapters better. Chris hadn't hardened yet and he was utterly adorable. I have always had a soft spot for the sweet and quiet YA boys. His love for Peyton was absolute, unconditional, and all consuming. 

I really enjoyed seeing them fall in love the first time. When Peyton realized just how amazing and sweet this boy was that she had been passing off for 10 years. And I loved their first kiss. There wasn't a lot of physical love going on in this book, not that we were told about anyway, bnd it could have used some more kissing IMO. But there was no shortage of love, especially in the 'later' chapters when neither of them could think of much else. The characters were great, and the romance, story, and action were good.

“Of all the apocalypses in all the world - she had walked into his.”

Monday, 12 March 2012

Wither by Lauren DeStefano (The Chemical Garden #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
My Rating: 3 out of 5


By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can't bring herself to hate him as much as she'd like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband's strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out? Together with one of Linden's servants-Gabriel-Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

There were a lot of little things that brought this down for me, but overall I enjoyed the story and characters. Some of the little things that bothered me were, why kill the girls that weren't chosen? Rhine even says once that Vaughn never wastes anything. If you are so desperate to save the human race, why not leave the girls to reproduce with someone else? And, if you have a whole floor of your house dedicated to your young wives, why oh why would the only servant allowed on that floor be a young man? Asking for trouble. And then, of course, Rhine didn't hate Linden as much as she should have. There were several bad things about his character that we were led to believe but we later find out are not true. I suspected this from the beginning. He seemed far too meek to be responsible for those things. But I would still never ever forget that he impregnated a 13 year old girl. That is unforgivable. I cant believe some people like him more than Gabriel. Linden may be meek and not evil, but he has some serious issues! How could he live like that and think its ok? Having three wives, four in the beginning, sleeping with multiple women yet claiming to love only one. He's twisted in the head.

And the way sex was handle in this book made me extremely uncomfortable. There were no sex scenes in this book, but it was talked about casually, and it was obviously going on all the time. And there is one scene when Rhine walks in on Jenna and Linden and there is a kama sutra on the floor. Awkward! I don't think I would have the instincts to survive in this kind of world. I would be the girl who was crying and banging on the wall and vomiting at the beginning. If I ever made it to the house, which is unlikely, it would have been obvious from the beginning I wasn't there willingly. But how horrifying everything is just makes Rhine all the more impressive for surviving it. But I would not recommend this for younger readers.

I was really impressed with Rhine. Aside from accepting Linden a little too easily, she was very strong and never gave up hope of getting out or finding her brother. She was the strongest of the three wives, the most admirable, and an amazing actress to fool Linden for so long. And I really loved Gabriel. I was disappointed that Linden got so much more focus than Gabriel, but there will be much more Gabriel in the next book which I am looking forward to. The ending was wonderful, and hopeful, and I am very much looking forward to the next book. The Handmaid's Tale comparisons are inevitable. I read The Handmaid's Tale a long time ago in school. They are quite similar and I enjoyed them both.

“You've been captive for so long that you don't even realize you want freedom anymore.”

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Across the Universe #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Romance

My Rating: 1 out of 5


A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.


This book was infuriating! Every chapter, every page, every paragraph just made it all worse and worse. When I thought there could be no more depth to the stupidity, there was!

My number one issue with this book was the poor logic that seemed to abound on the ship, Godspeed. First, it was Eldest, the leader of the ship, and his theories on mono-ethnicity, and how differences bred discord. But the only cause of discord I saw was people like him who made a big deal out of all the differences they saw, instead of trying to understand and accept. And he is a fan of Hitler?! Oh yeah, that's logical, strongly appose discord, yet support the greatest cause of discord in Earth history. Logical. They never address Hitler again, even though the book spoke of Earth's history a few times. And all Eldest's flaws weren't a part of the final confrontation. They seemed to play no part in Amy and Elder's rebellion.

The most common complaint I have heard from others was that this was too slow, and I have to agree. Without giving too much away, the book starts with Amy and her parents being cryogenically frozen, saying goodbye to each other for the next 250 years. Right up to the moment when the tank seals, and I was thinking, this is going to be good. We get to skip all the unimportant stuff, and wake up 250 years in the future. But no, Amy remains semiconscious, and we have to go through 13 chapters of pointless dreams that have nothing to do with anything, before she finally wakes up again. And there are several chapters that contain no dialog at all.

And then there is Amy and Elder themselves. The chapters alternate between the two of them, so we got to know them both equally. But that cannot save the book if the characters suck to begin with. From the moment Amy wakes up, Eldest is upset about the discord she will cause, and she never once tries to argue with him, with all the hundreds of reasons she has every right to be there, and that Eldest should never have taught his crew to hate differences in the first place, knowing perfectly well that there were 100 frozen people at the bottom of the ship that are different from them all. And as she gets to know Elder she tries to show him what people were like on Earth, but it is such a weak attempt I don't know why she even bothers. When people start mating in the streets (which was laughable) she says its unnatural, and Elder is confused but she goes no further to explain. And when Elder recites her an extremely altered version of the Gettysburg Address, she says its wrong, but goes no further to explain the truth about American history. And Elder, he seems to think she is slow or something. Not as slow as everyone else, but he doesn't seem to trust her. The few things she does tell him about Earth, he shakes off and thinks to himself, that she just doesn't understand what it is like to live peacefully. Godspeed is just one small bubble of humans, and Amy came from the origin of humans, where there are billions of them, yet Elder and everyone else treats her as if she knows nothing about it. No one ever takes her seriously. Amy and Elder really don't seem to have a connection at all. And neither seem to react to each other, or to their trials, in any way I would imagine someone reacting. This book is a good example of how the future will never be. No one in this book seemed to behave like a proper human being. The word illogical is the most prominent in my mind when I think of this book.

Elder is basically constantly thinking about how much he wants to jump Amy, but that is purely a physical attraction. He also likes how alive she is compared to the others on the ship, but Amy gives no indication that she has any interest in Elder. Right up until the end, she still doesn't even want to hold his hand. Which reminds me, Amy's old boyfriend Jason. What a jerk. He sounds like a horrible boyfriend and I cant believe Amy is still thinking about him. And I am so disappointed that she slept with him. What a waste. Part of the reason I so love YA romance, not that this had any romance, is I love seeing people discover love and all that entails, together, for the first time. Amy and Elder can't ever have that now, if they ever got that far.

In most dystopians there are a few corrupt individuals at the top. Those underneath either don't know what is really happening, or they serve through fear or bribery. But in this book, there are a few who know the truth of Godspeed, and none of them does anything about it. No one besides Amy and Elder seem to think there is anything wrong with anything. And even then, I have my doubts about Elder. He is far too much like Eldest. No one on the ship seems to have a conscience. When we finally found out what Godspeed's secret was, there were far better ways the problem could have been dealt with, instead of creating all those secrets and discord. And when we found out who the culprit is, his reasons for what he did don't make sense either. I cant think of a single example of good decision making in this book.

This book just makes me so angry. I wanted to shout and throw things. There was absolutely nothing pleasant about the experience. Nothing could make me read the next book. And for those of you who want to read a book that did what Across the Universe failed to do, or even if you loved this and want more dystopians in space, I recommend you read Hope's Daughter.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Legend by Marie Lu (Legend #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Romance
My Rating: 3 out of 5


What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.


This was a unique read for me because of how strong its dystopian focus is. Besides the minor romance, I wouldn't call this any other genre besides dystopian. The main reason that the focus was so strong is probably because of its choice of main characters. A lot of the time, in this type of book, the main character is usually someone insignificant and clueless. Someone who goes about their lives not really thinking about what the government's intentions might be. Not until a significant event opens their eyes.

In Legend, the main characters have been involved with the government (one way or another) for years before the book even starts. June is a soldier. A prodigy with the highest test scores in the Republic. Also the youngest officer, sent on her first mission, to hunt down the terrorist Day, at the age of 15. Day escaped the system when he was 10 and has been terrorizing the Republic ever since. They both already know their fair share of secrets when the book starts. Although, I was uncomfortable with June in the beginning. Its hard to accept a character who can watch a man being tortured without flinching.

I am also a bit uncomfortable with how YA romances are starting to get younger and younger. June and Day are both only 15. A bit weird for me to read about kids in this way. I prefer YA romances to features characters who are at least 17, and better yet are the rare few where they are 18 or 19. Some people seem to think once they hit 18 it becomes an NA, but it certainly doesn't have to. It depends a lot on the writing and its target audience, much more than the characters' ages. In Tiger's Curse the main characters are 18 and 21 and I don't think anyone would argue that its not a YA. And I can read about them making out without feeling pervy.

This book actually had a lot of action, more than books I usually read and it was pretty cool. A movie is already planned for this book and those action scene will play really well on screen. I can't wait to see them. Overall this was great. I love the intense story, but I didn't get drawn to the characters as much as I could have. I am a huge fan of romance, and maybe if the romance had been more of a focus it would have brought the characters to life for me. Tweens or not. Although, maybe the fact they were so young is the reason why I couldn't get as drawn into them as I wanted to.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Unveiled by Trisha Wolfe (Fireblood #0.5)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Romance, Novella
My Rating: 4 out of 5


Amongst the wasteland lies the gleaming city of Karm. A Camelot-esque utopia built from the ashes of a dying world. Seventeen-year-old Fallon is no daughter of Karm.

She's its assassin.

Raised by a secret society of rebels, she's bent on bringing down the King's sham of an existence. But her first mark, one of the King's top knights of the Force, makes her question everything. Even her heart.


In this dystopian novella, rebels are trying to free their world from King Hart. He has forced their world to return to an Arthurian way of life. He believes that technology is to blame for the destruction of the world outside the barrier shield in which they live. Anachronisms are against the law.

I love this concept of a dystopian that feels historical. Mixing two of my favourite genres is wonderful. But this was far too short. Only 40 pages. I thought perhaps it would be spread over several days or weeks. But it all happened in one night. Although I really enjoyed this and the romance was sweet, it had to be rushed. This would have been wonderful if it was lengthened into a full novel or a trilogy. I am very much looking forward to the rest of the series, although it is about different characters.

Burn Bright by Marianne de Pierres (Night Creatures #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Paranormal, Romance
My Rating: 3 out of 5

Retra braves the intense pain of her obedience strip, and stows away to seek her brother Joel, gone two years for Ixion - island of ever-night, ever-youth and never-sleep. Retra is a Seal – sealed minds, sealed community - no craving for parties or pleasure.

What are the Night Creatures Retra can see in the shadows? What happens to those who grow too old for Ixion? Without Joel, is her eternal bond with a Riper guardian enough to save her?

Listen well, baby bats. Burn bright, but do not stray from the paths. Remember, when you live in a place of darkness you also live with creatures of the dark.


This book is trippy! I really don't know what to say about it. Well, I can start with the technical stuff. The writing was really choppy and disjointed. The world building was poorly done. There was so much to take in about Ixion, and it was not laid out for us as well as it could have been. But the idea of Ixion was great. I want to love this book more than I should because of what it could have been. I also found it interesting that at first I thought the world Retra was leaving was the dystopian one.

Retra lived in a walled city where elders decided who you could talk to, what you could listen to or read. The usual. When Retra's older brother Joel ran away to the secluded community, Ixion, her family was punished with whipping, shock treatment, and starvation. Pretty horrendous. So Retra went after him. She ran away to Ixion. It is an island for only the young, in perpetual night where the inhabitants party all the time. But it doesn't take Retra long to realize that Ixion has just as many secrets as the world she left, if not more.

The Guardians of Ixion are mysterious figures, tall and pale. I was trying to figure out what they were for most of the book. Vampires? Demons? But now I think they are a unique creation. They look like corpses and everyone is terrified of them even though they are Guardians, protectors. But Retra cant help but find Lenoir, the leader of the Guardians, beautiful. 

"Retra stood as still as him, transfixed by his manner and look; the lustre of the black hair that framed his pale, flawless face. He was beautiful in a way Retra had never seen before. Unholy. (...) What did she know of men? And yet the drift of his long hair and his worldly sneer made her stomach clench with unwanted emotion."

In the same way that Tris in Divergent was from the quietest and most subservient of factions, Retra is from the most reserved and strict of all communities, yet she has uncommon courage that causes her to defend the weak on more than one occasion. She gets herself into a lot of trouble and Lenoir notices her. Of the thousands of people there, he remembers her, and he ends up saving her life twice. Which is completely unheard of. Guardians are not meant to mingle. Lenoir's intentions are extremely unclear. I dont even know what he is, so his action are hard to interpret. There are two rather hot scenes between Retra and Lenoir, but even then, I am not entirely sure what he was doing. Either way though, it was pretty hot. I wish there had been more between them. Although Lenoir was still kind of strange and suspicious, he has potential as an interesting character and as a love interest. 

It takes a lot more than confusing writing to stop me from reading a series with such a unique world and premise. So I will be reading Angel Arias in the future and hoping to see more of Lenoir.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Post-Apocalyptic, Paranormal, Adventure, Romance
My Rating: 5 out of 5


Since she'd been on the outside, she'd survived an Aether storm, she'd had a knife held to her throat, and she'd seen men murdered.

This was worse.

Exiled from her home, the enclosed city of Reverie, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland--known as The Death Shop--are slim. If the cannibals don't get her, the violent, electrified energy storms will. She's been taught that the very air she breathes can kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He's wild--a savage--and her only hope of staying alive.

A hunter for his tribe in a merciless landscape, Perry views Aria as sheltered and fragile--everything he would expect from a Dweller. But he needs Aria's help too; she alone holds the key to his redemption. Opposites in nearly every way, Aria and Perry must accept each other to survive. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.


This is the best YA book I have read since Divergent. I have heard some people complain about it being slow or confusing, but I think that it depends on the reader. I didn't find it slow or confusing at all. My guess is that they found it slow because of the constant trekking. I have read a lot of high fantasy and a lot of books that are almost entirely walking, building fires, and hunting. I am used to this so I didn't find it slow. Its part of the adventure. And my guess is that they found it confusing because of the amount of technology and virtual reality in the beginning, before Aria left the dome. I have also read a lot of hard sci-fi, so I am used to this. So, if you are expecting this to be a soft YA romance, you should adjust your expectations before reading it.

I don't know if I am the only one, but I find a lot of YA feels amateur. Even though I love YA, and almost every book I read, they don't all have the same level of prose. I tolerate this because I read for characters more than anything. But the writing in this was amazing! And an author's writing abilities don't just make it easier to read, they bring everything to life! This flowed so smoothly and felt so real. I have hardly ever read a YA book with characters that felt so real. There is one point where the hero, Perry, thought to himself about how much Aria had changed, and I realized, wow, she really has! It hadn't even occurred to me that she was practically an entirely different person from who she had been in the beginning, because it had happened so naturally and organically. The same goes for the romance. It wasn't insta-love, and there wasn't a defining moment that you could pinpoint when their relationship or feelings began. It just grew. We could see it right before our eyes, from the beginning right to the end, growing at a steady pace. It was beautiful. And the enhanced senses that some people had brought the whole world brightly to life.

Be warned that this is not like other dystopian or post-apocalyptic books. Its a bit of both, but mostly it is an adventure. There are absolutely no references to our world. There was clearly a devastating event that happened in the past that they call the Unity. But we don't necessarily know that this is even Earth. In that way, it reminds me of Orson Scott Card's Pathfinder. And although there is a fair amount of technology, this feels a lot like a high fantasy, since there is a great lack in technology outside of the domes, and a primitive way of life. This is a very difficult genre to define. And although the main characters are 17 and 18, this doesn't exactly read like a typical YA. It is slightly heavier, story-wise, as well as thematically and in writing style. But the content is entirely suitable for YA readers. Definitely recommended!

“She absorbed the terror and beauty of him and his world. Of every moment over the past days. All of it, filling her up like the first breath she'd ever taken. And never had she loved life more.”

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Enclave by Ann Aguirre (Razorland #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Publication Date: April 11th 2011
POV: Female - First-person, Past tense
My Rating: 3 out of 5

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters - or Freaks - who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight - guided by Fade's long-ago memories - in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs.

Ann Aguirre's thrilling young adult novel is the story of two young people in an apocalyptic world- - facing dangers, and feelings, unlike any they've ever known.


I loved the first half of this, while Deuce lives in underground tunnels in a small community called an Enclave. The Enclave is divided into Hunters, Builders, and Breeders. Deuce is a Hunter. She protects the Enclave against zombie-like creatures that live in the tunnels. Slowly she learns the Enclave leaders are corrupt, and when one of her closest friends is framed for a crime she knows he didn't commit, she confesses to it in order to save him from being banished into the tunnels, where he would surely die, but where she knows how to survive. Her hunting partner goes with her, not wanting to abandon her.

This is where I got excited. I was loving the action and survival of the hunting in the first half of the book, but there were so many unnecessary rules. Deuce's hunting partner, Fade, was not born in the Enclave, and he understood human nature far better than Deuce. It was clear that he liked her, enough to risk his life to go with her, and I was hoping that now he would be able to show her how to care about someone, and that not only Breeders could be together. But it didn't last long. 

Fade managed to kiss her once, but then they pick up two stragglers. Another young man and young woman. Fade starts drawing away and Deuce doesn't understand why. She tries talking to him but he wont open up. So she starts spending more time with Stalker, the young man who has joined them, and Fade starts spending more time with Tegan, the young woman that joined them. Although neither of them ever say so, it is clear they are both insecure and jealous and confused. And they just needed to tell each other how they felt. It was extremely frustrating, especially since I still don't know why Fade refused to open up to Deuce in the first place. It seemed to be more his fault than hers. If only he hadn't drawn away, which started the painful cycle.

It ends before they manage to reconcile which was extremely disappointing, but I will definitely be reading the next book to find out what happens next.

“I never belonged anywhere until I met you.”

Friday, 2 March 2012

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting (The Pledge #1)

Genres: Young Adult, Sci-fi, Dystopian, Paranormal, Romance
My Rating: 3 out of 5


In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she's spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It's there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she's never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can't be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country's only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.


The story was the best part of this book. The dystopian world it created wasn't very believable, and the romance was minor. The evil queen of the society was so over-the-top that it was hard to accept, and all the incredibly harsh rules and punishments seemed to serve no purpose. They were just there to remind us that this was a dystopian story. And the country lacked history. They told us that it was a monarchy going back centuries. At one point there was a rebellion that killed the entire royal family. Until the new government fell and a new royal family was instated. But how did we get to that from our current world? I considered that perhaps it is like a high fantasy, where their world has no relation to ours. But then they say that there is a tradition where parents name their children after fallen cities of the past. And the main character, Charlaina, has friends named Brooklyn and Sydney. So its clearly our world. But what country? How did we become a monarchy? How did females become the dominant gender? Where did the magic come from? Maybe I am being picky but it was just hard to swallow without answers.

I really liked the main characters though. Charlaina and Maximilian, aka Charlie and Max. Charlaina is the familiar formula for YA heroine. A normal girl who finds out she is special and fights for those she loves and handles herself very well. For some reason she reminded me of Tessa from TID, not just because she fits the same formula. There are many more besides Tessa who fit into it. Max was great. They met fairly early on and it was sort of insta-love. It takes a long time for Charlie to trust him though, and she is always trying to push him away, saying she doesn't know him well enough. But from the very beginning, as soon as she met him she couldn't take her eyes of him. And when he isn't around she is constantly thinking about his stormy gray eyes and deep voice. So it may not have been insta-love, but it was insta-something. Max was sweet, always doing things for her. Things that could get one or both of them killed since they are from different classes. He was romantic, but Charlie was resistant.

But in the end they skipped to a few months later, and skipped all the good stuff that I love about YA romance. The first few nervous kisses, how good it feels when they first touch each other. We missed it all and I was very disappointed. There were some great supporting characters too, such as Xander and Angelina. Angelina was adorable. I didn't like Charlie's best friend Brooklyn though. She was so annoying. With or without the lies, she was a bad friend IMO.

But, the story was the best part. Unbelievably evil society aside. The way we slowly learned that Charlie and her sister are different, without any idea why. Then we meet Max and he seems to know something, but we don't know what. It was building tension and I enjoyed it. And we slowly learn more about the country's history and how that is related to Charlie, and more about the queen and her plans for her country. It was well paced. I was surprised by the ending. It was a good ending, but it was an ending I would have expected for a series, not for the first book. I don't know what will happen in the next two books. But since the ending was good enough already, I hope that new dilemmas aren't thrown at Charlie and Max simply to cash in. I hope the story can continue naturally from here. I look forward to the next book, but it won't be too difficult for me to wait till then

"I pledge to keep you safe."
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...