Thursday, 29 September 2011

Room - Emma Donoghue (2010)

Mac lent this book to me saying it was the best book she read all year, and I have to admit I was disappointed. It's a book that made me really paranoid about being kidnapped off the street and really made me think about the world differently, so if you enjoy books that make you think, I strongly recommend this book.

I think the writing style of this book was really interesting as it is from the perspective of a five year old boy, so he capitalizes inanimate objects as he thinks they are real living things. The plot was a really good idea as well, I actually found it quite disturbing, especially the idea of a five year old with waist long hair breastfeeding, that is an image you will find hard to get rid of. This book had good writing and a good plot, it just didn't grab my attention that much.

For plot summary, see Mac's previous blog.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

You Against Me - Jenny Downham (2010)

This book was lent to me by Mac and I can believe that she gave Before I Die (also by Jenny Downham) 4 stars, and this book only 3. I liked this book so much more than Before I Die and found the storyline a lot more intriguing.

This book was an easy read and was very hard to put down once I got into it. I found the storyline interesting and the decision that Ellie had to face very thought-provoking. The best character, in my opinion, was Ellie, she had such a conflicting decision to make and I found it easy to like her personality. To top off the thought-provoking storyline and likeable characters it had a happy ending, which always earns points in my book.

For plot summary, see Mac's previous blog.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Divergent - Veronica Roth (2011)

This book was lent to me by Mac soon after she read it and the only reason that has been keeping me from reading this for so long is that she needed it back for her assignment. I hate her for keeping it from me for so long. The movie rights were optioned before the book was even released and I really hope they do the story justice.

I loved this book, I found the world interesting and the story refreshingly different from most dystopian novels I've read. I really loved the character Four, he was very gentle, humble and kind, yet brave and courageous at the same time, I really want him to be real just so I could marry him myself. I also found it fun to imagine which faction I would choose if I was in this situation and it was surprisingly hard to choose.

Tris lives in a world where the population is split into five factions each of which honour a different value and strive to achieve it. There is: Candor, which values honesty, Amity, which values peace, Erudite, which values knowledge, Abnegation, which values selflessness, and Dauntless, which values bravery. When Tris takes her aptitude test to see which faction she would do best in, she learns that she is a divergent someone that belongs in many factions, not just one. Tris then betrays her family, who are Abnegation, and moves to Dauntless, in which she makes many new friends and falls in love with Four, a training leader who also moved into Dauntless from Abnegation, a rare occurence. The night after initiation all the Dauntless members, who had been injected with a serum that can control their behaviour, form an army to destroy Abnegation as they are being controlled by an Erudite leader who wants to be in power. However, as Tris is a divergent, she is not controlled by the serum, neither is Four as he is also a Divergent, so Jeanine, the Erudite leader gives Four a serum she was developing that will work on Divergents. Tris' mum and dad then sacrifice themselves for her to get to the control room to stop the serum affecting people, however first she must pass Four, who was guarding the control room. She manages to do this without killing him and together they stop the serum and take the data that contained the serum's control code.

Shift - Em Bailey (2011)

I bought this because I read some rave review and it was like ten bucks. Mistake. I liked the cover and the premise was kinda intriguing. But seriously, shapeshifters? The supernatural thing is getting old, and if you're going to use it, it has to be done well. The Australian author has previously written children's books and this is her first YA novel, and it is clear through the simple vocabulary and structure. I felt that all the parts of the book that could have been good, were way too obvious to provide a good twist. Perhaps her branching out into YA fiction was a bit premature and her command of sublety needs improvement.

I don't like this book. It's not meaty enough and when I read the last page all I felt was disappointment. Olive is on some sort of medication, but is never explained what and why (though I'm thinking some sort of TCA.) I was happy to read the "..well-written, tightly plotted thriller.." but that sure was an empty promise. Twilight packed more of a punch. I looked for some other reviews who voice the same negative opinion as me, but I couldn't find any, but that's not persuading me to change my stance.

Olive used to be popular, until she tried to kill herself. Now she has one friend Ami. But it turns out that Ami is actually imaginary. Katie, her old friend is the stereotypical Mean Girls-esque bitch. Then this new girl, Miranda shows up. Olive finds her mirrored eyes and shrunken appearance unsettling, and befitting of the computer age (and just like Twilight) she Googles her apprehensions. Lo and behold, Miranda is a shapeshifter who feeds off people like a parasite. She feeds off Katie, she becomes Katie and this leads to Katie's death. Lachlan, the new guy, is showing interest in Olive, but Olive just backs away. Olive is also obsessed with this band Luxe and Miranda uses that as her opening. She plans to use the lead singer Dallas, who she assumes Olive is in love with to make her jealous and open her up for a parasitic feast. Fatal flaw = Olive loves his music, not him. So Miranda's attempts are fruitless. Turns out, Lachie is Dallas' younger brother. Miranda starts to latch on, but she doesn't assume full power, due to the fatal little flaw. Miranda has a party and Dallas passes out. Miranda's lack of care shocks Olive out of her little trance. Miranda then tries to drown Olive, but Olive pulls her under. Then Lachie comes to the rescue and they be the bigger people and save Miranda.

Friday, 16 September 2011

The Power of Six - Pittacus Lore (2011)

I was so excited for this book because I read I Am Number Four like six months before it was a movie and could not wait for this book. It was absolutely worth the wait.

I think I liked this book even more than the first book in the Lorien Legacies series and if they keep getting better I cannot wait for the next book, which hasn't even been confirmed yet. My favourite part in this book was learning more about Six and her seeing her character develop into more than just a warrior.

This book switches between the perspectives of John, who is with Six and Sam, and Marina, number seven. Marina has been living in a convent with her cepan, Adelina since they first arrived on earth because Adelina has started to believe in the nun's ways, this has left Marina to develop her legacies and look for the other Garde by herself. John, Sam and Six have a bit of a love triangle going as they are on the run, however when they learn that Sam's dad was a human that helped the Garde escape and was a Lorien ally that left a tracker to find their ship in his lair, they have to stop running and return to Paradise. They get the tracker, however John's chest gets stolen in the process and then he goes to see Sarah, who has been working with the police and has turned him in. Six breaks him and Sam out of jail and then they split up, with Six going to Spain to save Marina who is being attacked by Mogadorians, and Sam and John going to the mogadorians headquarters to get the chest. Six helps defeat the mogadorians with Marina and Ella, the tenth Garde who was sent on the second ship from Lorien and who has been with Marina for a while. John and Sam save the chests and find Nine captured in the cells, Sam then gets trapped in the cells while looking through them to find his father and John and Nine are blocked out of the headquarters by a forcefield as Setrakus Ra, the mogadorian leader, returns to join the fight.

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Room - Emma Donoghue (2010)

For starters, the honest-to-God reason I bought this was because the author has the same first name as me. I was in a rush and it seemed like a better reason than a superior cover design. This book was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize which is a pretty huge deal. It's written through the perspective of a five-year-old boy. It is brilliantly written and a compelling story that I read the whole thing in one sitting.

I love this book. It's the best book I've read all year. You'd think that the child narrating would get really tedious, but all it does is pull you into the story even further.

Room is the story of five-year-old Jack who has spent his life living in Room. All he knows is what is inside it. Ma starts telling him of the outside world and tells him they have to escape. Ma was kidnapped at 19 and has been kept in Room ever since. She gets Jack to play dead inside Rug, and when 'Old Nick' takes him in his ute, he jumps out at the first opportunity. He gets to the police eventually and frees Ma. The pair are free, but the world is very overwhelming for Jack. He has to learn to wear shoes, to sleep by himself and be weaned. His mother tries to commit suicide and then his Grandma takes him in while she is recovering. Jack begins to learn to interact his life like a normal child and is later reunited with his mother.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Bloodlines - Richelle Mead (2011)

My cousin lent this book to me because she lent me the Vampire Academy series which I enjoyed. This is a spin off from that series, but it's written in the same type of style and fans will enjoy it.

I definitely enjoyed this book, I really liked the original series, and this book is written in the same way as the old series except revolving around Sydney and Jill. Richelle follows the same kind of plot structure she always does with lots of enjoyable dialogue until the last hundred pages when all the action happens. I really enjoyed how much Adrian was in the book considering how loveable his character is.

Sydney has been assigned to protect Jill from moroi assassins who wish to kill her so Lissa can no longer be queen. Jill has been sent to a college in Palm Springs with Sydney, Eddie, Adrian, to whom she is now spirit bound, and Keith, Sydney's boss who is an extreme dickhead in my opinion. Sydney eventually becomes fond of all her new vampire and dhampir friends and they help her discover that Keith has been selling vampire blood and saliva for his own personal gain. Sydney is then attacked by Lee, who was a moroi whom Jill had fallen for, he had previously been strigoi but had been restored by a spirit user and was now trying to become strigoi again. Adrian then comes to help Sydney, and eventually Eddie and Jill turn up to save the day, but not before they discover that Lee cannot become strigoi again and he dies trying to be turned by two other strigoi who he had called. Sydney is then assigned to stay on in Palm Springs in Keith's place and to head up a task force discovering about spirit's affect on strigoi, there is a little spark of romance between her and Adrian right before the end of the book, however Sydney is disheartened when her task force arrives and Dimitri is part of it.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Delirium - Lauren Oliver (2011)

I wanted to read this book when Mac bought it for a friend of ours for her birthday in February, she said she would lend it to me when she finished it however she still hasn't. So I borrowed it from another friend of mine on the recommendation that I would really like it, I did like it, but it's not as good as others in its genre.

I did like this book, I found it very similar to Matched by Ally Condie with the opressive society that chooses your husband or wife for you. I found that the character that never talked, Gracie, was my favourite. She was very interesting and helped keep Lena's home life interesting.

This book is set in a future where love is a disease which you are cured against at 18. Lena was looking forward to her procedure until she met Alex. Alex is an "invalid" someone who lives past the border of the city and in the wilds, he managed to get a fake id number and was allowed to live in society. Lena falls in love with Alex and she decides to leave before her procedure with him and go the the wilds. The Regulators catch them, lock Lena up, and move her procedure foward, however with the help of her best friend Hana and her cousin Gracie, Lena escapes her bounds and Alex comes for her. A chase ensues which ends in Lena crossing into the wilds and Alex being shot helping her escape. A really depressing ending, especially considering how much more I liked Alex than Lena.

The Lottery - Shirley Jackson (1948)

Doing my English assignment on Divergent/dystopian fiction I came across a famous American example of a early dystopian short story. I read it, and I loved it. I can't say much else without spoiling the story. But if you read it, push through and read until the end - it's definitely worth it.

Here's a link so you can read it online:

Here are some links for more background on the story (they have spoilers!):

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Specials - Scott Westerfeld (2006)

This book is the third in the Uglies series and was a reread for me because of my english oral.

This book is a lot more action packed than previous books in the series and still has the excellent writing style and interesting characters of the previous books. The best part of this book was the reappearance of David, who was scarcely in Pretties and I had forgotten how much I liked him.

In this book Tally Youngblood is now a special special, a cutter, led by Shay and devoted to taking down the Smoke. Tally wants Zane to become a special, however Shay says that he needs to do something to prove he can be special so they decide to help him escape to the smoke so Dr Cable will make him special. To help him escape Tally and Shay steal a tool from the armoury and accidentally destroy it in the process. Zane escapes with a bunch of crims and Tally and Shay follow them, however Shay decides to go ahead leaving only Tally following the crims and Zane. When they arrive at the Smoke they learn that the smokies have joined with another city, Diego, which allows free thinking and has no specials and have already passed out hundreds of thousands of pills to many cities. Dr Cable then attacks Diego thinking it was them that destroyed the armoury and Zane dies in the process, Tally then returns to her city to tell Dr Cable the truth about the armoury, however before she leaves David gives her a cure for being special injection that she can take when she wants. Tally then talks to Dr Cable and learns that she knew it was Tally and Shay that destroyed the armoury and had spun it this way so no one would stop her attack on Diego, Tally then uses the cure on Dr Cable so she doesn't stop any of the progress and decisions that the cities make on their own. Tally is locked up downstairs and hears all the news that the cities are allowing free thinking, but are starting despecialization to make sure there are no superhuman specials left to hurt people, when Tally is taken for her operation Dr Cable helps her escape and tells her there needs to be at least one special left. Tally then escapes into the wild with David and tells people that they are the new special circumstances and will protect the land and forests when people start to destroy the land.

What Happened to Goodbye - Sarah Dessen (2011)

I loved Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, so I figured picking up her latest novel would be a good decision. Dessen always uses a female protagonist who has some sort of past issue/s they need to overcome. Also she gets characters from other novels to make cameos, which I really like. Her plotlines may not be super exciting but the characters always stick with you.

I liked this, maybe try some of her older stuff to get a feel for the way she writes before tackling this one.

Mclean is named after a famous basketball coach who coached that her dad loves. Well, he used to love until his wife shacked up with the new coach. Since Mclean's parents divorce, and Mclean moves around with her dad, who works to resurrect dying restuarants, every six months. Each move she invents a new version of herself. Eliza, Lizbet, Beth and now Liz. When she gets to her newest move, she decides to be Liz, but that plan fails when she blurts out her real name to her neighbour, Dave. Her mother is the bane of her existence, always trying to talk to her or to get her to come over for visits. Mclean makes some new friends and begins to fall for Dave. She then finds out that her dad is up for a new assignment - in Hawaii. She goes to see her friends, who she finds looking her up online with her email and finding five versions of her and they confront her. She runs out. She stays with her mum and then runs away again and calls Dave crying. Her parents turn up and they all resolve her problems. She is to move back with her mum while her dad goes to Hawaii. She faces her friends who are sad to have her leaving, but then when it is time for her to leave, her mum can't go through with it and Mclean stays with her friends, to graduate in a place she finally calls home.

Pretties - Scott Westerfeld (2005)

The sequel to Uglies, this book is also a reread for me for my english assignment and I still am enjoying it, for the second time.

This book is very different to Uglies with a lot less about The Smoke in the storyline. However it does introduce Zane, a character who is very loveable and interesting to read about.

Tally Youngblood is now a pretty, best friends with Shay and about to be voted in to her new clique, the crims. When a party with her new friends gets crashed by Croy, who tells Tally the whereabouts of the cure, Zane wants to help Tally find and test the cure together. When they get the pills, they take one each, which has a crippling affect on Zane, Tally and Zane must then get the tracking bracelets off so they can escape to the Smoke. Tally gets sidetracked on her way to the smoke, getting trapped in an experiment full of pre-rusties that live like barbarians and discovering more about how the specials manipulate people. When Tally arrives at the smoke she learns that the pills had to be taken together, one breaks down the leisions in the brain and one stops the process so the brain isn't severly damaged. Zane took the one that breaks down the brain, however without the other pill it didn't stop giving him brain damage, Tally's pill didn't help her at all, meaning that she was never cured and changed her brain herself. A tracker soon goes off that was placed in Zane's tooth, Tally stays with him even when David asks her to leave with the smokies and when the specials arrive Shay is leading them and captures Tally, telling her that she will make her special.