Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Review: Spells by Aprilynne Pike

Genre: Urban Fantasy | Faeries

I think I enjoyed Spells more than Wings. Laurel seemed to mature and get over herself. Her struggles in her classes in Avalon were more realistic. I enjoyed learning about the different traditions and social expectations that the faerie uphold. 

What I loved most was the undeniable chemistry between Laurel and Tamani. The "love" between Laurel and David just can't compare. I'm shipping for Tamani all the way. 

Pike has a beautiful writing style and her descriptions of Avalon are spectacular. New characters were introduced, but the mystery stayed throughout the book. There was plenty on conflict and just enough action to keep the plot interesting. 

The only reason Spells doesn't get five stars is because there was a little too much of the "We know you know absolutely nothing about our culture, but we expect you to abide by and suddenly know all the rules. Oh, and hurry it up." That was my only complaint. Other than that, Spells is a gem.

Rating: 4 out of 5 owls


Monday, April 8, 2013

Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Genre: Dystopian | Teen Romance


In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue--Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is--she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are--and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Oh my goodness, why did it take me so long to read this book?! Apparently I've been really into science fiction sub-genres lately. Maybe I just have a thing for reading about dystopian societies. Whatever the case, I couldn't put Divergent down. I was thrilled with Tris as the heroine. She was grew to become strong, yet she was always very aware of her weaknesses. It was her determination and perseverance that made her endearing. I also appreciated that she didn't rush into a relationship and she didn't fall in love quickly. For a fictional relationship, Tris and Four fell in love in a more realistic way. They have made my favorite couples list.

The structure of the government and factions is still a little foggy to me, but I expect I will understand more once I read Insurgence. The only complaint I have is the timing of the event that I can't name because it would be a total spoiler. There were some timing issues that made the climax seem a little rushed.

Despite that, the descriptions of the simulations were beautifully horrific. Divergent is full of surprises that will keep you on your toes. I felt the full spectrum of emotions while reading it and the characters made their way into my heart with ease. I can't wait to read Insurgence.

Rating: 5 out of 5


This is a fan-made trailer for a movie, but it works for the book as well.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Review: Life As We Knew It by Susan Pfeffer

Genre: Dystopian | Sci-Fi


Miranda's disbelief turns to fear in a split second when an asteroid knocks the moon closer to the earth. How should her family prepare for the future when worldwide tsunamis wipe out the coasts, earthquakes rock the continents, and volcanic ash blocks out the sun? As summer turns to Arctic winter, Miranda, her two brothers, and their mother retreat to the unexpected safe haven of their sun-room, where they subsist on stockpiled food and limited water in the warmth of a wood-burning stove. In her journal, Miranda records the events of each desperate day, while she and her family struggle to hold on to their most priceless resource--hope. 

I LOVED this novel.

As the protagonist of the novel, Miranda grew slowly and realistically as the conditions of the world around her changed and she had to take on the responsibility of taking care of her family.

This novel will shock and scare you. It will make you take a step back and evaluate yourself. Are you prepared to face such a disaster as the conditions of the earth changing so much that there is no more electricity, more more food, and contaminated water? Disease spreads like the infamous Spanish Flu in history books and gang violence increases. Would you be able to keep your wits about you and survive? Would you want to live in a world where everything you have ever known is gone?

This novel, written in heart wrenching journal entries, will force you to consider the worst and reflect on your own strengths and weaknesses. For those who don't like feeling depressed while reading a book, there's a ending full of hope. There is a little bit of love, but I expect more in the sequels.

Read it. It's amazing.

Rating: 5 out of 5


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: The Game by Monica Hughes

Genre: Dystopian | Sci-Fi


The Game is just the beginning...

It's the year 2154. Lisse and her friends have been deemed unemployable in the eyes of society. now they must scavenge the disintegrating city for food and shelter, just to make ends meet. 

But their dismal existence starts to look up when Lisse and her friends are invited to participate in The Game, an experience highly regarded in their society. The Game is a virtual reality experience where they are challenged to survive, But as they spend more time in The Game, the line between reality and fantasy starts to blur. What started as a simple exercise becomes a test of endurance, trust, and their will to live. 

The first time I tried to read this book I only got about a quarter of the way through. Every so often I would try to pick it up again, only to lose interest. On my way down to Florida recently, I decided to give it another chance. I started over and read it straight through.

I was delightfully surprised. While it wasn't as good as I had hoped it would be, The Game has a very interesting concept in terms of choosing people to start a new life on another planet. I know that is a huge spoiler, but this is a science fiction novel so be prepared.

The novel starts off with an overload of characters being thrown at the reader, and the plot is slow for several chapters. Call me crazy, but I tend to like books that have a swift moving plot. However, once Lisse (the protagonist) and her friends learn of the game, the plot picks up speed and gets interesting. The novel reminds me of Lowry's The Giver, but with less sophistication.

What I liked about The Game is the realistic way in which everyone acts and handles each other. Though the conversations are rather simple, Hughes emphasizes the difficulty the teens have at adapting to an environment completely different from everything they have known. Hughes did a wonderful job at creating the environments in the game. The problems within the government and society are realistic and we get enough of a glimpse to stay intrigued.

Overall, the third time around I enjoyed The Game. I would suggest it to Science Fiction lovers. At least give it a chance.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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