Sunday, 28 December 2014

Days of Blood and Starlight - Laini Taylor (2012)

4 stars

I bought this book at the same time as I bought Daughter of Smoke and Bone (which I didn't post about because I was on a cruise when I read it) and although this has a lot more detail about the chimaera and Eretz, I still enjoyed the first book more.

Although a lot happened in this book, I felt like a lot of it was internal and nobody really did anything until the last moment. The first books constant mystery, although I had kind of half worked it out, kept me intrigued the entire time whereas the constant twists in this book were often predictable and the only one that really had me keep reading until I found it out was Brimstone's. I sorely missed Brimstone's prescence in this novel, and I found the consistent mention of the book's main theme; hope, kept having me expecting him to come around the corner at any moment and I was often disappointed. I enjoyed all the introduction of new characters though and I loved reading from Zuzana's perspective in this book. My favourite character in this book was Zuzana, I found her hilarious, her chapters were always my favourite and her arrival as the Kasbah made Karou's storyline so much more interesting. I would recommend this series to anyone who like YA fantasy.

The book starts with Akiva returning to Liraz and Hazael and telling them that Karou is dead and explaining everything that had happened between them over the years. Attacks on angel camps begin and many of the chimaera slaves are set free with a message of hope being spread to them by chimaera that no angels can seem to witness in action. It is discovered that Karou is still alive and has taken Brimstone's old postition as resurrectionist once she was found by Thiago, who made her give all of their soldiers new gruesome bodies to be able to kill angels easily with. Akiva and his siblings start showing mercy to chimaera and hatch a plan to kill their father, Joram, the emperor, while Karou is living constantly under Thiago's watch as he turns all the chimaera against her. When Akiva and his siblings kill Joram, Jael immediately kills the next heir so he can be Emperor and invade the earthly realm, killing Hazael in the process. When Karou resurrects Issa she learns that many of the chimaera souls are trapped in a make do thurible tomb under Lorramendi and when she confronts Thiago with this information in front of the army he immediately gets them back on his side and plans revenge. He lures Karou down to the pit and tries to rape her but she stabs him in the neck and kills him, Ziri then decides to go into Thiago's body so they can maintain control of the chimaera without anyone punishing them for killing him. Akiva and Liraz come to Karou to try to get her to resurrect Hazael, but they did not capture his soul and there is nothing she can do to help them. They go to seal the portals between the worlds so that Jael can't invade Earth but they are too late so the misbegotten and the chimaera form an army together to stop him.

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

The Storyteller - Jodi Picoult (2013)

4.5 stars

Mac leant this book to me probably about a year ago because we love Jodi Picoult and she told me this one was a really good one, my only regret is that it took me so long to actually read it.

This book is told from four different perspectives, although Josef's is only once or twice and Minka's is a whole section on it's own, it's mostly from the perspective of Sage. Although I enjoyed this book, I found it kind of hard to keep reading in the first part, but once I got to the second part which was Minka's story I was hooked and I finished it in a day. I found this book really upsetting because Minka's story was so heartbreaking and I know that Jodi Picoult always researches the topics in her books really well before writing them so last night I just cried about how much people suck for like half an hour after I finished her story. I think it is super impressive that she could write a story within a story, because at the start of every chapter is a passage from the story that Minka wrote through her childhood. My favourite character was Leo, although I thought Minka was incredible, Leo brought a cute romantic feel to such a dark story and especially through the last part of the story he was constantly making me laugh. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes Jodi Picoult books and won't be upset by a holocaust based story.

For a plot summary see Mac's previous review.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Where Rainbows End - Cecelia Ahern (2004)

4 stars

After seeing the trailer for this movie, I thought that I would enjoy the book and as excited as I was before I'd read it, now I'm double that excitement level for the movie.

This book is told through letters and messages like emails and instant messages, which makes the timeline of this book very confusing and annoying. The book ranges from when Rosie and Alex are 7 to when they're 50, but I'd say that probably 450 pages of this 550 page book is in their mid-twenties to mid-thirties. I found this book really hard to put down, I don't know whether it was because it was told through letters, or because I was just that invested in Rosie's life, but I read it in 2 days and I'm so interested to see what they cut out in the movie because it had a lot of plot. My favourite character in this book was probably Ruby, but Rosie makes a close second, they were both hilarious and had me constantly laughing. Without their humour and love for each other I don't think this book would hold up because you would realize how frustrating it is that her and Alex just aren't together. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes romance, especially if you like a lot of build up.

Rosie and Alex are best friends living in Dublin, when they're 17 Alex's father gets a promotion and moves his family to Boston. The next year Alex is supposed to come back to Dublin to take Rosie to her debs (I think it's some sort of graduation dance) before she moves over to Boston to go to Boston college but there's a mix up with his flight and he can't make it, Rosie has to go with Brian the Whine, a hated classmate of theirs, and she ends up drinking a lot so she can stand him and winds up pregnant. She raises Katie, her daughter, in her parents house for the first few years and then gets a job in the same building as Ruby, all the while keeping in touch with Alex who is Katie's godfather. Alex marries his college sweetheart Sally, who absolutely hates Rosie and vice versa and Rosie starts dating an older man named Greg who Alex hates. Sally and Alex have a son, Josh and then get divorced while Rosie gets a receptionist job at a hotel and takes Greg back after he cheats on her. Alex comes to stay and leaves Rosie a letter explaining his love for her, but Greg finds it and hides it from her. Rosie finds out that Greg continued to cheat on her even after she took him back and leaves him, planning to head to Boston to stay with Alex, who is excited so he can profess his love for her, but Brian the Whine, who left town when Rosie was pregnant sends her a letter asking to be part of Katie's life and she decides she has to give him a chance for Katie's sake so she stays in Dublin. Alex starts dating Bethany, his high school sweetheart again, who Rosie has always hated and when he marries her because she's pregnant, even though he told Rosie that he didn't love her, he and Rosie get in a fight and they don't talk for a year. Rosie does night school to get her hotel management degree even though it takes her a year longer than planned because her dad dies the night before her final exams. Her mother dies three years later and Greg sends her the letter Alex left her all those years ago, she doesn't do anything because he's married, but because Katie is living in Ibiza DJing she moves into her mum's house and turns it into her own B & B. Years later when she's 50 and Alex has divorced Bethany, they're both IMing Katie because she ran into her childhood best friend Toby and thinks she loves him because she had the "silence" that her mum always told her about (which was a silence she experienced with Alex before she kissed him before his first wedding) and when Alex realizes she felt the silence too he sends her a letter professing his love for her (again). The book ends with a few pages from third person omniscient perspective telling how Rosie had kept all the letters and emails from the few years and had read over them that night waiting for Alex to arrive, she walks downstairs and falls but he catches her and smiles.

Monday, 27 October 2014

We Were Liars - E. Lockhart (2014)

5 stars

I bought this book because I kept seeing everyone rave about it, but I still had no idea what it was about when I bought it but I was definitely happy with my decision.

Although the whole "this book is so great but I shouldn't tell you anything about it" strategy worked on me, I don't think it's the smartest thing in the world because unless you spend your whole life on the internet like me I don't think many people would see it in a bookstore and pick it up. This book is told from the perspective of Cadence, and I kind of enjoy all her fairytales and exaggerated metaphors, and I love the short chapters, if you could even call them that. This book combined all my favourite aspects; summer holidays, good friendships, romance and a bit of mystery, I thought it was a good length too, because any longer with her not being able to remember what happened and I would've gotten really frustrated. My favourite characters in this book are Johnny and Gat, Johnny because he was hilarious and brought some much needed humour to the book, and Gat because I fell in love with him along with Cadence. I would recommend this book to people who like drama and romance, but also like a mystery.

Cadence is the eldest grandchild of Harris Sinclair, a rich and prestigious man who owns his own island that she and her cousins go to every summer. She and her two other cousins around her age, Johnny and Mirren, along with Johnny's stepfather's nephew Gat, become the best of friends and have a great time together every summer, calling themselves the liars. As Cadence gets older she starts to love Gat and during summer fifteen they declare their love for each other even though Cadence's grandfather doesn't approve. During summer fifteen Cadence has an accident she can't remember along with most of that summer, and when she returns to the island two summers later she has to piece together her memory to work out what happened. She eventually remembers that her mother and her two sisters were fighting over their inheritances and their granfather was manipulating and threatening them all over it so much that summer that the liars decided to do something about it. Cadence remembers that she convinced them all to burn down the grandfather's house on the island while everyone else was out except they didn't plan it that well and Cadence lit her floor too early and Johnny, Mirren and Gat all died.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

The Revenge of Seven - Pittacus Lore (2014)

4 stars

I bought this book as soon as it came out because I think this series is so much fun to read, except I found this book took a lot longer to read than any of the others.

This book is told from three different perspectives like the past couple books in the series, and this time it's the perspectives of John, Six and Ella. I've always liked Six's perspective and they're all obviously going to have John's perspective, but I didn't really like Ella's that much, I understand why it needed her perspective as she was separated from the rest of the group and she got a lot of the mogadorian backstory explained, but I think Nine or Marina would be a lot more enjoyable. I think the reason that I took a lot longer to read this book than the previous ones in the series is because it had a lot of build up for the next book, which I think is going to be the last book in the series so the first half, which was good, just didn't grab me like the second half and like the previous few books have. I thought the coolest part of this book was the introduction of the sanctuary, I love how the series keeps introducing new places and people that are all equally important and I thought that the sanctuary was one of the most interesting parts of the book. If I had to pick a favourite character in this book it would be Nine, but I don't think any of the characters had enough time for me to get a proper idea of who was my favourite, I just picked Nine because he always brings some hilarity to every moment. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes fun sci fi series.

The book starts with the Garde in three different groups, Marina, Nine and Six are in the swamp after their battle in the last book, Ella is on a Mogadorian ship with Setrakus Ra, and John is with Sam, Malcolm, Adam and Sarah running from Mogadorians. Adam soon convinces John and the others to make an attack on his father's neighbourhood where a lot of the high ranking mogadorians live and have their base of operations. Adam ends up killing his father to save John's life and then they use the mogadorians computer system to contact Six, Nine and Marina, who have stolen a mogadorian jet, to direct them to the house they're now staying in. They then learn that when the Loric were visiting earth they created a sanctuary that only Loric could enter and where they can recreate Lorien if they use the gems and things from their chests. Six, Marina and Adam head to the sanctuary and Nine, John and Sam head to New York to try to stop the politicians that are in cahoots with Setrakus Ra. John and Nine convince Bud Sanderson to turn against Setrakus and when he and all the mogadorians invade, pretty much minutes later, it doesn't go peacefully like he planned and Ella gets Nine to destroy his staff which was the source of his shape changing ability. Ella then learns that even though Setrakus joined them so whatever hurts him actually happens to her, it doesn't work if she is the one who hurts him. Six, Marina and Adam commit all their stones and pendants to the earth at the sanctuary and then the spirit of Lorien speaks through Eight's body and tells them now he's reawakened there's nothing else he can do and then Eight is briefly back in his body, he comforts Marina and they kiss before he disintegrates. The book ends with John fighting a Piken in New York, and then when he's about to be crushed, Sam using telekinesis to stop it.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Is It Just Me? - Miranda Hart (2012)

2.5 stars

I love the show Miranda so I bought this because the blurb was funny and I wanted to see how she wrote, after reading this though I think I'm not an autobiography sort of person.

This book was funny, but she did this weird thing where she would have conversations with her eighteen year old self which I didn't really enjoy and every time I started really enjoying the book it would happen again and I would stop reading for a few days. Also I'm pretty sure that if you didn't watch her show you would be a bit confused by her writing style because she writes as if she's talking right to you and when you read it in her voice it can be pretty hilarious, but I'm not sure that it would be as funny if you didn't already know of her. I'd recommend this book if you just want something light and funny to read, especially if you like Miranda.

She writes eighteen chapters about different topics, they are; the introductory one, music, hobbies, office life, technology, beauty, bodies, exercise, diets, health, holidays, christmas, who's top dog?, mothers and children, dating, weddings, culture and dreams.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Where She Went - Gayle Forman (2011)

3.5 stars

I ordered this book as soon as I'd finished If I Stay and found out it had a sequel, and this book is just as good as the first one and was really enjoyable.

I read the majority of this book in one sitting, just like If I Stay, because the author writes such emotional journeys that I feel like I'm going on them too and I don't want to stop in the middle of it. I actually think I found this book sadder than If I Stay which is really surprising considering it was about a girl deciding whether or not to die and be with the rest of her family. This book is told from Adam's perspective, not Mia's, which I really liked. It was a nice change to hear his experiences during the events of the first book and also to see how much it affected him. Also I think Adam's feelings gave some really good insight into people with anxiety, I know in his case it was clearly made worse by all his fame and success but the basic feelings he still had were the same as anyone with anxiety can feel. My favourite character in this book was Liz, I know she was barely in it but I just really like the idea of her character always keeping an eye on Adam and when she saw Mia again her reaction was so wonderful. I would recommend these books to anyone who likes romance and emotional journeys.

It's been three and a half years since the accident and three years since Mia went to Julliard and just stopped talking to Adam altogether. His band Shooting Star became a huge success after their album Collateral Damage, that Adam wrote all about Mia leaving him, became a huge hit. He's leaving for their next tour in a day and his manager told him to take that day by himself to calm down before tour. He sees a poster for a big recital Mia is giving that night and he manages to get a ticket, it's the first time he's been able to have anything to do with her since she left and after the concert she requests to see him. They spend the night going to all her favourite places in New York because she too is leaving for a tour in the next few days, and she ends up telling him that she stopped calling because she was so mad at him for making her stay. She leaves and he's on his way home when she comes back and explains that she started remembering what happened when she was in her coma, Adam breaks down with the weight of all he's been feeling for three years and then they go back to her house and sleep on her couch. When they wake up and Adam goes to leave she shows him a room where she's kept all the articles about him and his bands album, and reveals that she bought his old guitar that was auctioned off for charity. She tells him she eventually worked through her anger, and realized it never was for him, it was just easiest to blame him as the cause of it. They reunite and make arrangements to see each other on their tours, at the end of which Adam will leave his band. The book ends with an article three years later about Adam's release of a solo album that is apparently a work of genius and it mentions how his romantic interest Mia must be a good muse for him.

Saturday, 9 August 2014

The One - Kiera Cass (2014)

5 stars

I don't know whether I really enjoyed this book this much or because I read it in four hours I can't really remember any of the bad parts, but this book was definitely my favourite of the series.

This book had everything I ever wanted from America, she started actually telling people her ideas, which most of the time were pretty good, she worked out her feelings and expressed them (even if it was at the end), and she helped organise a rebellion. Reading this book it was like there never was a love triangle, there was no America being a wuss and not saying anything to Aspen and letting him pursue her, there was no angst over who she should be with, it was just pretty much a love story between her and Maxon, which I have no problem with. Also I feel like this book is probably the only one in the series that passes the Bechdel test, I loved that Celeste got some reasoning for her behaviour and that she and the other girls all became quite good friends, not even needing to talk about Maxon (for once). My favourite character in this book was probably Celeste, everyone else had a point in this book where they made me really dislike them, and ironically Celeste was probably the only one who didn't do that, I wasn't expecting the depth that she got in this book but I am really grateful for it. I would definitely recommend finishing this series, even if, like me, you didn't enjoy The Elite that much.

America and Maxon are summoned by the Northern rebels in the middle of the night because they want to show their support of Maxon and tell him they'll help fight against the Southern rebels if he gives them a sign that he's willing to change and get rid of the castes once he's in power. She and Georgia, one of the northern rebels become fast friends and Maxon has an ally in August, the other rebel who came. The Southern rebels start increasing their attacks to try to force them to stop the Selection, so America and Maxon get Aspen help them sneak out and meet with August and Georgia in the middle of the night. They learn that they need weapons if they are to go against the Southern rebels, so America invites both Georgia and Nicoletta, the princess of Italy, to one of the events the elite have to participate in and gets Italy to fund the Northern rebels weapons so they can help prevent the attacks. Maxon shows America his room, at this point both know they love the other, but neither is willing to admit it unless the other does first, and they are about to have sex when a guard shows up looking for America because her dad has died. America returns home for the funeral and learns that her dad was a member of the northern rebels and the way you identify them is by the star of david they display, usually as part of their wardrobe. She returns to the palace and finds all the girls from the selection are back because Maxon has narrowed it down Kriss and America and is announcing his engagement the next day. She goes to her room and Maxon comes to visit to give her an envelope full of letters he wrote while she was away and to tell her that she's the one he's picking. They spend the night together and when Aspen walks in on them in the morning Maxon goes to leave and while America is assuring Aspen that they didn't have sex Maxon comes back and sees them together. Although America assures him that she loves him and she and Aspen are just friends, Maxon rejects her and tells her she'll leave tomorrow. The next day at the engagement announcement, the Southern rebels suddenly attack having been scattered throughout the castle, when one comes to shoot Maxon, he instead decides to make him suffer and shoot America, Maxon jumps in front of her and takes the bullet. Aspen kills the shooter and Maxon tells him to take America to safety before helping him. When America is let out of her safe room after the battle she learns Maxon is alive and is King because his mother and father were both killed and when she goes to his room he shows her the documents he's making that will get rid of caste eight by absorbing it into caste seven, he then needs to work on it more but he will slowly get rid of the caste system. He proposes to her and she says yes. The book ends with America walking down the aisle at her wedding to Maxon and him saying "hello my dear" and she replies with "oh don't start" (and then I cried).

Friday, 8 August 2014

Resist - Sarah Crossan (2013)

3 stars

I really enjoyed Breathe and when I found this book I thought it would be interesting to see how all that got set up in the last book would be resolved in only one more.

My main problem with this book is that it all was too perfect, everything happened really quickly and always at coincidental times, anytime the group separated, they were immediately found by one of the other friends, and to avoid any consequences the head of the army had conveniently changed his mind and decided to help them. This book is told from four perspectives, the same three as the last book plus Ronan Knavery, Cain Knavery's son. I also find it really hard to understand how Vanya ran her base with so many oxygen tanks, but didn't have any trees or sources of oxygen like Petra did. My favourite character was probably Bea, she was so strong through everything she did and my favourite part of the whole book was when Jude said that "Bea Whitcraft turns boys into men". I would recommend this series to people who like dystopian novels and like the premise of having to pay for air.

Jazz is severely injured after the destruction of the Grove so Quinn has to leave her and Bea in a train station with many portable air recyclers that were left behind by drifters so they can stay put and be safe while he goes to get help from Sequoia. On the way there he meets Abel and Jo, who had previously left there and are headed back because Jo is heavily pregnant. Alina and Silas are already there and they learn that Vanya, the lady who runs the Sequoia rebellion is crazy, grows no trees and forces the people living there to breed as the thinks children raised in this environment can be immune to the low oxygen levels. When Quinn gets to Sequoia, Vanya refuses to send help for Bea and Jazz until she learns that it is Jazz, her child, that is injured. Ronan had been sent out by Jude to go find Quinn but instead he found Bea and Jazz, he radioed Jude and got him to take Jazz back to the pod so she could get medical assistance. When Quinn comes to find Bea and Jazz he talks to Bea and she tells him that she and Ronan have made a plan to get Jude to recruit and train auxilaries that are part of the resistance as part of the army so they can turn on the pod when they are ready. Quinn tells Bea to go back with Ronan and he will go back to Sequoia and tell Alina and get her to come back with him. Once Bea and Ronan are back at the pod, Quinn and Alin start they're escape with all of their other allies at Sequoia and on their way they learn that Vanya plans on destroying the recycling plants at the pod so they kill everyone inside. Chaos break out in the pod when Vanya's army attacks and the rebels aren't as prepared as they thought they'd be, Alina, Quinn and Silas saw Vanya's people headed to the pod so they ran there to make sure they could help fight. When there is one recycling plant left, Alina takes the bomb that Vanya has set in it and runs it out of the pod and dies. The rebels eventually subdue Vanya and her people and have one recycling plant left standing. The book ends a few weeks or months later, it's not really clear, where Bea, Quinn, Maude and Ronan are building a settlement a few hundred metres or so away from the pod with a giant nursery that Abel is constantly tending to.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Landline - Rainbow Rowell (2014)

2.5 stars

After loving all of Rainbow's previous books I was super excited to read this, however I ended up being pretty disappointed with it.

The writing was hilarious and fun, like all of Rainbow's other books, and I enjoyed all the characters with the exception of Neal but I didn't mind because I understood why Georgie loved him. I think my main problem with this book was that the premise was a magic phone, that had no explanation and wasn't mentioned to any other characters or utilised to it's full potential in the story. Also part of the reason I probably didn't like this book as much as I thought I would is that nothing really happened. In the first chapter Georgie makes a tough decision to stay at home while her husband and kids leave for Christmas at his parents and then quickly afterwards anyone who reads this can see that Georgie is unhappy with what she chose and should just go and be with them, but instead we read about her getting more and more miserable over six days and only talking to her husband in the past through the magic phone. It was also very hard to be invested in what Georgie was going to decide (it was basically going to be will she let her marriage slip away or will she fight for it from the first page) when even though their love story was adorable, I didn't really care because I didn't really like Neal that much. My favourite couple of chapters in this book were the chapters at the end where she actually interacted with other people, in one of them helping deliver puppies with her sister, who she just found out was gay, and the chapter where the adorable couple from the airport give her a lift, who I found out after I had already read this were Cath and Levi from Fangirl and who are ENGAGED. My favourite character in this book was Heather, which is really the only option with pessimistic Neal, depressed Georgie and clearly pining Seth, Heather was a ray of beautiful sunshine in a sea of characters who were all at their grumpiest. I would recommend reading this if you're a fan of Rainbow, because after seeing some other reviews it seems I am just an anomaly in the Rainbow fan club.

The book starts with Georgie telling her husband Neal that she can't go to Omaha with him and their kids for Christmas because the show she has been working on her whole life might be getting picked up but they need four episodes written in a little over a week so she has to stay at home and write them. Neal tells her it's fine, that they'll all go without her and even though Georgie knows he's upset with her she lets him. That night she uses the landline in her mum's house to call Neal's house and realizes that she's talking to past Neal from fourteen years ago, the only other time they spent apart, at the end of which Neal showed up on her door and proposed to her. The more she realizes about this "magic fucking phone" the more she can't focus on her writing and the more she delves into a depression about her relationship. Eventually she realizes that everything she is saying to Neal in the past has already happened, and these conversations are what drives him to go and propose to her. She also eventually realizes that she has to go be with Neal and she goes straight to the airport to go to Omaha. With a little help from Levi and Cath she makes it to Neal's parents house and tells him that she'll try harder from this point onwards.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Clockwork Princess - Cassandra Clare (2013)

4.5 stars

I read this book in two days and I really enjoyed it, I thought it was a really good end to the series and was probably my favourite in the series along with Clockwork Prince.

It is told from varying narrators like the previous books in the series, but this one probably has the least narration from Tessa out of the three which I like because just like The Mortal Instruments I start to care just as much about the side characters as much as the main ones. My biggest problem with this book was that the first third was really great and fun, the last third was really emotional and concluding, but the middle third was really boring and I found it really tedious to get through. My cousin, who had read these before me, said that she disliked this book because the end was really weird, and because this book ties in with City of Heavenly Fire a large plot point at the end goes unexplained and I can totally understand how having read this without reading City of Heavenly Fire first could turn you off the ending. The thing that was most annoying to me about this book was that the friendship between Sophie and Tessa had become like my favourite thing and all I wanted was for Sophie to tell Tessa she was engaged, but I was deprived of that beautiful moment for like no reason, the book was long enough, a few more pages couldn't have hurt. I would recommend this series to fans of the YA paranormal genre, but I'm pretty sure if you like this genre you've probably already read it.

The book starts with Gabriel Lightwood coming to the Institute to tell them that his father's demon pox has turned him into a demon, a giant worm to be specific, and he's tearing people apart at their house. Everyone goes to fight him together and after they kill him they return to the house with Gabriel, who was blackmailed by the Consul to spy on Charlotte and send him some evidence that she is unfit to run the institute. Jessamine is being returned to the institute from the silent city but when the silent brothers bring her, Mrs Black and an army of automatons also come in the gates and they kill Jessamine and take Tessa. Jem collapses after the battle and when Will goes to give him more yin fen he realizes there is next to none left because Jem needed more and more to keep his strength up recently, and Mortmain has bought up all the supplies so they can't buy any more. Will then works out where Mortmain is, and he wants to go rescue Tessa but he feels he can't leave Jem. Magnus convinces him that it is what Jem would want even though he doesn't know of Will's feelings for her and Jem wakes up and hears them. He talks to Will about loving Tessa and doesn't hate him for it, he insists he goes to rescue her and they say their goodbyes. Will then travels to his family's old house in Wales where Mortmain is keeping Tessa, on his journey there he feels through his parabatai mark that Jem has died but he continues on. When he finds Tessa, trapped in a cave, she has already been forced to change into Mortmain's father and give him the spell that binds demons and automatons so they can think on their own. The only way to defeat the automatons now is to kill Mortmain. Will and Tessa have sex, and when Magnus finds them the next morning because he helped Henry perfect the portal and they all travelled through it together he helps them get ready for the battle. The consul has a grudge against Charlotte because she's a woman and would not send any other Shadowhunters to her aid but three Silent Brothers are fighting with them when Tessa and Will arrive and they see that one of the brothers is Jem. Tessa is then taken by Mortmain, but before he can take her away she changes into the angel Ithuriel, who's spirit was trapped inside her necklace protecting her for her whole life, and kills him. Jem then tells says his final goodbyes to Tessa and Will and gives them his blessing to be together, Charlotte becomes Consul and says that Will will take over running the institute, Magnus takes Church with him to New York, Sophie ascends and becomes a Shhadowhunter and is engaged to Gideon, and Gabriel and Cecily start dating. The epilogue takes place in 2008 for Tessa and Jem's yearly meeting and after Tessa explains of her years of happy marriage to Will, Jem arrives, but not as a Silent Brother anymore, he has been returned to the normal Jem he was, but not sick anymore and he and Tessa kiss.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Clockwork Prince - Cassandra Clare (2011)

4.5 stars

I started this book straight after finishing Clockwork Angel and I just enjoyed it so much more than the last book and am now really interested to know how it ends (even though I kind of already know because of City of Heavenly Fire).

This book definitely focuses less on the plot of the series, defeating Mortmain, and more on the characters, especially Tessa, Jem and Will. I was surprised that I enjoyed all the character development and didn't mind the plot being a kind of a minor thing in this book, and although the love triangle is getting frustrating it's still being done very well and instead of being annoyed by the fact that it's a love triangle, I just feel really bad for Tessa and the situation she's in. I really enjoy Tessa and her narration, which I think is why a lot of people like this series better than the Mortal Instruments series because in that Clary is the narrator for the majority of the story and she can get so frustrating, but Tessa is really logical and she constantly either makes good decisions or has good reasons for her decisions, unlike Clary, and also she's just a really lovely and interesting character who I want to know more about. My favourite characters in this book were Sophie and Henry. Henry continued to be a very gentle character and in this book his love for Charlotte made me like him even more, and even though he must be around Charlotte's age, 23, I always think of him as like a middle aged kind of man because he's such a stabilising father figure to everyone. Sophie really surprised me with how much she was in this book and how important she became, but I really enjoyed learning more about her and I really just like her character and her appearances always make me happy. I would definitely recommend reading this, even if you didn't like the first book in the series because it is so different from it in many ways.

The book starts two weeks after the end of the last book at a Consul meeting where Benedict Lightwood challenges Charlotte for the leadership of the London Institute and the Consul then tells her she has two weeks to either find Mortmain or have strong evidence pointing to where he is or Benedict can run the Institute. Will tells Magnus that when he was twelve he opened a pyxis that his dad had kept from his shadowhunting days and the demon that emerged told him he'd put a curse on him where everyone that loves him would die, starting with his older sister who was helping him fight the demon off. His sister died that night and that's why he left his family and went to the Institute and that's why he's mean to everyone but Jem, who is already dying so he doesn't feel as bad getting close to him. He wants Magnus to find and summon the demon so he can get him to lift the curse so he can be with Tessa. They soon learn that Jessamine is seeing Nate and Sophie knocks her out when she was leaving for a party at the Lightwood's to meet him so Tessa changes into her and goes in her place. Once there she learns that Jessamine had been spying on them and reporting everything to Nate, who was telling the Magister everything, and that Benedict Lightwood was also working for the Magister. Will runs off after the demon who cursed him when he sees him at the party and then Tessa returns to the Institute and tells Charlotte what she learned, Charlotte then questions Jessamine with the mortal sword and then when they see Mortmain has placed blocks in her mind from telling them anything about him, she sends her to the City of Bones with the silent brothers. They get Jessamine to give them one of her and Nate's meeting places and Tessa changes into her again to go meet him but he already knows it's her and has an automaton nearby to take her. Will and Jem fight it off, but Tessa then changes into Nate and orders it to only listen to her and to pick up Nate, then she throws an invention Henry gave them to blow it up on it and Will dives on her and covers her with his body and gets impaled by shards of metal from the explosion. Nate then dies and Tessa faints after realizing she was also hurt in the explosion. Will gets a note from Magnus so he goes to see him and when they summon the demon, they learn that there was no curse on Will, the reason his sister died was because the demon got her with his stinger. The next morning Jem comes into Tessa's room and proposes to her and she accepts. Sophie tells them that she's been seeing Gideon Lightwood and that he knows what Mortmain has over his father, he has demon pox and Mortmain promises a cure. They learn that Lightwood's wife committed suicide because she had caught demon pox from her husband and they use that to blackmail him into giving up his challenge on the institute. Will tells Tessa of the fake curse and goes to kiss her, but she tells him of her engagement to Jem and when he tells her to break it off she realizes she can never do that, Jem thought he would die without love and even if he forgave her, she would ruin the bond between him and Will. The book ends with Will's younger sister Cecily coming to the institute to be trained as a shadowhunter.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare (2010)

3.5 stars

I hadn't read this book earlier because my friend told me that it was just like The Mortal Intstruments but in a different setting, but after finishing City of Heavenly Fire and then reading lots of positive reviews about it I decided to finally read it.

I enjoyed this book, but didn't think it was significantly better than any of the books in The Mortal Instruments series which is how I've often heard this series referred to. I did enjoy it though, and if this book was just setting up the other two books in the series then I'm sure they'll be really good. I can see the similarities to The Mortal Instruments in that the basic starting plot is sort of the same, as a girl who doesn't know of her unique power in the shadowhunter world is found by shadowhunters and introduced to the institute where two teenage boys that are parabatai and one guarded female teenager live with two parents, but asides from that general setup it is a very different story. One thing I hope that continues with the other books is how the love triangle is playing out. I strongly dislike love triangles for the sake of love triangles but I appreciate that the one in this book seems important to the story, not just to have something for fans to fight about, and that it is done in a way that doesn't make me feel like I'm reading a love triangle until I reflect back on it. I thought that knowing the ending of this book from reading City of Heavenly Fire it would mean that I wouldn't enjoy the series, but I find it really interesting that so far it hasn't really bothered me and although it reveals who Tessa ends up with, and the outcome of Will, Tessa and Jem there are still a lot of plot points in the series that I don't know the outcome of. My favourite character in this book is Henry, he reminded me of Arthur Weasley which is probably why I like him so much, but he was also a really welcome change to all the other shadowhunters that are in this book and The Mortal Instruments series because he's so gentle.

Tessa Gray moves to London after her Aunt dies to live with her brother Nate but once there she is immediately taken captive by two warlocks known as the dark sisters, who teach her how to use her ability - to change into another person and access their thoughts - that she never knew she had. After six weeks she is rescued by Will Herondale and a few other shadowhunters from the London Institute. She agrees to tell them what she knows about what the dark sisters were doing if they agree to help find her brother who was taken by them. They soon learn that "The Magister" who the dark sisters answer to and who wanted to marry Tessa is DeQuincey, a vampire that is at the head of the Pandemonium Club, a club for downworlders and mundanes that hate Nephilim. For the Clave to act against him, they must witness him actually breaking the accords, so Tessa changes into Camille and she and Will go and see DeQuincey harming a mundane at one of his parties and the mundane turns out to be Nate. Nate then tells them that DeQuincey is binding the demon energies to his clockwork soldiers tonight, and when he gives them the address, the Clave rush off to battle him but leave Jem and Will behind as they are too young. Mortmain, Nate's former employer and the one that supplied the clockwork parts to DeQuincey, shows up at the Institute and tells Jem and Will that the dark sisters are at another address to DeQuincey doing the necessary spells to bind the demon energies so they leave to go kill them. The clockwork soldiers then break into the Institute and Nate turns against Tessa and tells her that Mortmain is the real Magister and he serves him. When Mortmain captures Jessamine and Sophie he tells Tessa that if she doesn't come with him he will kill them so she turns her knife on herself and tells him that she will kill herself if he doesn't answer her questions. He ignores her and she stabs herself, but when Will returns and finds Mortmain over her body covered in blood Mortmain disappears using a ring like the one Sebastian uses in The Mortal Instruments. When Will goes to cradle Tessa she is alive and tells him that just when she went to stab herself she changed into a girl the dark sisters made her change into who died of a gunshot wound and bled whenever she changed into her. Tessa then decides to stay at the Institute and help them, and Will goes to Magnus asking him for help with something unknown.

Friday, 20 June 2014

If I Stay - Gayle Forman (2009)

3.5 stars

I saw a lot of people freaking out when the trailer for this movie was released and when I saw it on sale I bought it, but I think my expectations were way too high.

This was a pretty quick read, I read it in a couple hours but I just kept expecting something really amazing to happen because of all the things I've seen about it and although it was a good book, it wasn't as phenomenal as I expected. I am really interested to see how they make it into a movie because it's told mostly through flashbacks as Mia lies in critical condition and thinks back on her life. This book is really good in the way it makes you think about death without actually being that sad, I mean it is sad, and I definitely cried numerous times, but I wouldn't really call it a depressing book. I know it isn't the point, but it also kind of makes me think that because I don't have a boyfriend if my whole family died in a car crash and I was on the verge of death this book kind of says that I wouldn't have anything to live for. I'm very excited to read the sequel though, because I really wanted to see Mia's reactions to everyone and the immediate ramifications she had to deal with, and I know that isn't what the sequel is about but it gets even better ratings than this book so I'm excited to see where it goes. My favourite character in this book was Nurse Ramirez, her attitude was really wonderful and I think she really helped move Mia's journey along. I would recommend this book to any people who like books with an emotional journey.

Mia and her family decide to go for a drive on a light snow day but a truck crashes into their car and Mia is the only survivor but is in a critical state. She is like a ghost in that she can see everything that's happening to her but she can't communicate with anyone. She remembers parts of her life through flashbacks that are relevant at the time, most prominent is her relationship with her boyfriend Adam. Her whole extended family, all her family friends, her best friend and Adam all come to the hospital and try to get her to wake up. She is ready to give in to death when Adam brings an ipod with Yo-Yo Ma loaded on it and puts it on her ears and she wakes up and squeezes his hand.

Cress - Marissa Meyer (2014)

4.5 stars

I started reading this as soon as I finished Scarlet and I'm really upset that I didn't hear of this series later so I wouldn't have to wait so long for Winter to come out.

The only reason I gave this book 4.5 stars and not 5 is because of the lack of Scarlet and Wolf in this book. They were so good in the last book and Scarlet is so far my favourite of the four protagonists and although I understand why there was little of them because she was setting up for the next book, I was still a little disappointed. This book is also told from varying perspectives like the last two books, but this time the main perspectives are Cinder and Cress because Scarlet is taken away pretty early on, but once again there are lots of random chapters from other characters like Kai, Dr Erland, Thorne and occasionally Sybil. This book has a lot less parallels to Rapunzel, the princess Cress is based upon, than Scarlet did to Little Red Riding Hood and Cinder did to Cinderella, which is understandable because the series is having to move on to focus on the overall plotline of stopping Levana, but the few that are in there, while not as clever as the ones in Scarlet, are pretty cool. I really love that there are no love triangles in this book, it makes me so happy that a fantasy book based on fairy tales, so there's a lot of romance, can be excellent and not have a single love triangle. It has four different main female characters and not a single one is conflicted and angsty about which man they love! They all know who they like, they think about it for varying amounts of time depending on the character, and that's it! I really want this series to become hugely popular with a movie adaptation so other authors can take note of this fact. It's possible to have a female teenager (or four) to fall in love with one person and one person only, while also focusing on the bigger plotline and ordeals they have to go through. This book is really just a giant setup for the next and last book in the series Winter, which doesn't come out till November 2015, because although it is the longest so far it doesn't really cover much time or have any giant plot surprises. They accomplish what they set out to do in the end of Scarlet and just build up for all that will unfold in the next book, including introducing the last princess, Winter, who seems like she'll be really interesting to read the perspective of considering she's going loopy. My favourite character in this book was Dr Erland, I thought it was really clever how he was connected to everyone in one way or another and I loved his little speech of rebellion to Levana in his last chapters. I would strongly recommend this book to any fantasy/dystopian fans that also, like me, have a soft spot for or enjoy fairytales.

Cinder, Scarlet and the rest of the crew contact Cress and she gets them to come get her so she can join them and help in their rebellion against Levana. Just before they come to get her Sybil comes to check on her and learns of her contact with them, when Thorne arrives she ties him and Cress up and then gets her pilot Jacin to fly them to the Rampion in the podship and sets Cress's satellite to plummet to Earth and kill her and Thorne. Once on the Rampion, Wolf wounds Sybil and Cinder shuts them off from the ship after a fight but then realizes that Sybil tricked her into thinking her guard Jacin was Scarlet, so Cinder has him and Sybil takes Scarlet to Luna. Jacin says he's loyal tohis princess so Cinder trusts him and gets him to fly them to Africa so they can meet up with Dr Erland and he can fix Wolf and help them. Thorne manages to free Cress in time for her to set a parachute to go off and save them from crashing, but he bumps his head in the process and when they land he realizes he's blind. He cuts of all Cress's hair because they were tangled together in it and they then have to walk through the Sahara desert and try to make it to civilisation. They encounter a group of travellers who help them make it to the next town, but they then take Cress because they realize she's a shell and they take her to sell to Dr Erland, who is trying to discover a cure for mutated Leutemosis that affects Lunars. Thorne follows after her and manages to pick up an escort droid on the way for Iko to have. They then break into the palace on wedding day and Cinder kidnaps Kai and Dr Erland manages to create a serum that will fix Thorne's eyesight before trapping himself in quarantine because he sees he has the plague. When the others come to take them to the Rampion Dr Erland explains why he's not going, apologizes to Cinder and Wolf (who he helped create) and then explained to Cress that he was her father and if he knew she was alive he never would've stopped searching for her. When they arrive at the ship Sybil and her guards are already there and Thorne kisses Cress after promising her in the desert that he wouldn't let her die without being kissed but then Cinder manages to break into Sybil's mind and torture her into insanity. All but Jacin and Dr Erland then make it onto the ship and Levana is so furious that her wedding was so close she declares war on Earth. Scarlet is forced to chop off her own pinky after not being able to answer any of Levana's questions about Cinder, but then before any other harm can come to her, Winter asks to keep her and she tells her that they're going to be friends. Kai wakes up on the ship and after Cinder explains everything to him, including her being Princess Selene, he kisses her and agrees to go to Luna with them.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Scarlet - Marissa Meyer (2013)

4.5 stars

Although I liked Cinder I didn't really understand the love for this series until I read this book. I've already started Cress and if the series keeps progressing like this I'll be so excited for Winter.

I was so excited for Cinder to rock out on her own without Kai, and when she found Thorne I was initially disappointed, until I fell in love with their rapport and bickering. Scarlet is a wonderful character, and the little red riding hood references are so good in her storyline that I'm constantly smiling whenever they happen. I really like that this story is told from different perspectives all the time, it's most often Scarlet and Cinder, but it's really cool that if there needs to be a chapter from Kai's or Thorne's perspective Marissa just throws it in. My favourite characters were Iko and Wolf. Iko is just a really good comedic character that lightens up the tense situations and is a good way of humanizing the androids in the story. Wolf is one of the great fictional loves of my life (yes I have a list) and although he was rocky in patches, my faith was rewarded in the end. I also like a good double agent where it's hard to learn where their loyalties lie for a while. If you were kind of unsure about the series after reading the first book I would definitely recommend reading this book before giving up entirely on the series.

Scarlet's grandmother goes missing and when she learns she was taken by a street gang, she enlists one of it's wayward members, Wolf, to help her find her. Cinder escapes from prison with Thorne, a military cadet who stole a ship and many valuables before being caught. Cinder and Thorne become allies and they fly his ship to go find Michelle Benoit, Scarlet's grandmother, because she was the one who had Cinder before she has her memories with the Linh family. Scarlet and Wolf start to develop feelings for each other and he tries to get her not to confront the pack that's taken her grandmother but when she does he turns on her and hands her over because it was his mission. Cinder and Thorne find Michelle Benoit's farm empty with Michelle's ID chip left on the table and they go to find Scarlet. Wolf gives Scarlet an ID chip so she can escape and then he goes and attacks the city because the pack is actually an army of medically enhanced lunar operatives working for the Queen, all controlled by different thaurmaturges. Scarlet escapes and finds her grandmother, who tells her to find Princess Selene, her name is Linh Cinder and to help her overthrow the Lunar Queen. Wolf's brother Ran then comes in and kills Michelle and is about to kill Scarlet when Wolf comes and kills Ran. Cinder and Thorne then help kill Wolf's thaurmaturge and take Wolf and Scarlet onto their ship to start a battle plan against Queen Levana.

Champion - Marie Lu (2013)

4 stars

I ordered this book as soon as I finished Legend and although that book is still my favourite in the series I think this book was a good end to the trilogy.

This book is told in the same way as the past two with alternating chapters from June and Day except for at the very end where there's two June chapters in a row, but one is kind of an epilogue. I really loved the Metias memories in this book, and the scene where Thomas relives his murder was one of my favourite parts of the book. How she ended things with June and Day really annoyed me, it would've been fine if she had done it and left maybe a few weeks or so in between, but ten years? I found myself thinking of the scene in Gilmore Girls where Lorelai says she doesn't want to find true love when she's old, she wants a middle, and I want a middle for June and Day. I loved how Tess was back to her normal self in this book, in Prodigy she turned into a crazy jealous bitch, but in this book she returned to her normal kind self and I found myself loving the friendship between her and June. My favourite character in this book was Eden, I loved how he became the only thing that mattered to both June and Day, but also how he only wanted everyone to be safe and happy and I thought he was a really nice change from the intensity of June, Day and Anden. I would recommend this book to any dystopian fans.

This book picks up eight months after the end of the last book where Day is living in Los Angeles and June is in Denver with Anden training to be Princeps-Elect. June calls Day to get him to come to Denver where Anden asks him if they can test on Eden because a plague is being spread through the colonies and they are threatening war if the Republic doesn't give them the cure. Day refuses to let them test on Eden,the colonies start war on them without any warning and June finds out that Day is dying. The colonies take Denver and the people are only just evacuated in time because Commander Jameson is helping the colonies and feeding them inside information. June and Day have sex, which is always a bad sign, and then Day and the patriots help take down the colonies before he collapses from being shot by Jameson. June then fights with Jameson before getting some of the soldiers to shoot her. Day gets his operation and when June goes in to see him he doesn't remember her because due to the surgery he can't remember the last year. June decides to give him the gift of not having to love the person that destroyed his life and walks away. Ten years later with the Republic running smoothly they run into each other on the street and they introduce themselves to each other after Day realizes that she's been missing from his life.

Monday, 2 June 2014

City of Heavenly Fire - Cassandra Clare (2014)

4.5 stars

I loved this entire series and I was pretty excited to see how everything would end in this book, I was very happy with the end to this series.

Everyone knew this book would end with Jace and Clary together and with everyone happy in some way or another and despite the fact that I knew it was all going to be okay, I loved this book. It didn't beat City of Glass, which was the original final book and my favourite book in the series, but it did a good job of surprising me while wrapping up everyone's stories.The thing that annoyed me most about this book was how much it discussed the prequels, The Infernal Devices, although I haven't read them, I have wanted to and now I kind of know how they're going to end. I know it was probably really cool for people who had read the prequels to see how the characters ended up and how everything tied together, but it just annoyed me that now if I read them I won't really be surprised by anything that happens, and I think there could've been a way for her to do that without giving as much away as she did. I was really sad when I finished this book and for a while I couldn't work out why, because although it did make me cry near the end, the epilogue gave it a happy ending, but then I realized that I just really loved this series and it's characters that always had me laughing (I mean "salt my game and I'll stake you"? Iconic.) and I was just sad to know they wouldn't have any more stories. My favourite character in this book was Simon, I love every character, which can be seen in all my previous reviews of the other books, but I feel Simon really goes under everyone's radar and Cassandra Clare brought that to my attention loud and clear with this book. His love and compassion for everyone, his scene in the cave with Alec, his hilarious banter with Jace and his sacrifice in the end just showed how well rounded a person he is and made me realize how much I enjoyed his character's constant presence. I also really liked Emma and I'm going to read the Dark Artifices just to see what happens to her. I would recommend this series to anyone who likes young adult paranormal fiction.

Also if you live in Australia (or I hear also UK) you get a comic strip from the prequels and a cool poster included at the end of the book.

The book starts with Sebastian's attack on the Los Angeles Institute where Emma Carstairs, her best friend Julian and his younger siblings escape to Alicante from, but not before Sebastian turns all the others in the institute into endarkened ones. All the shadowhunters must then travel to Alicante so they can decide on what they are going to do against Sebastian and his growing army. Before all the Shadowhunters evacuate Sebastian tries to attack the London institute but is stopped by a force that many people didn't know about (and I assume it's a ghost or something from the prequels) and don't quite understand, so wanting to win a battle he burns down the Praetor Lupus headquarters and kills all the wolves in it. He then stabs Jordan in front of Maia and tells her to deliver his message of join with him or die to all the other downworlders and just before leaving says to her "your boyfriend's dead, by the way" and she's left clutching Jordan's dead body. Sebastian launches an attack at the Adamant Citadel and the Clave fall into his tricks despite Jace and Clary's warning that he no doubt has more soldiers than what they can see laying in wait so they run through the portal before the Clave can stop them and when Sebastian stabs Jace, the heavenly fire in him injures Sebastian and he and his army retreat. Brother Zachariah then tries to help heal Jace but the heavenly fire that is out of control in him latches onto Brother Zachariah and turns him back to his original shadowhunter state (another character from the prequels). The next night the downworlder representatives and Jocelyn are invitied to a dinner in the faerie court, but they are taken hostage because the faeries have allied with Sebastian. That night Sebastian comes to Clary's room as he knows she'll be alone and holds her in place with a spell while he tries to convince her to come rule with him, after she refuses he tries to force himself upon her similar to the last book but then Jace comes in and stops him. The next day, with the help of Emma, they realize that the reason no one can find Sebastian or his prisoners is that they're in Edom, the demon realm of hell, which can only be accessed through faerie court so Jace, Clary, Alec, Isabelle and Simon portal there together. They quickly realize that the faeries have betrayed them and Alec, mad that they've taken Magnus, shoots Meliorn in the heart before they get the Queen to show them the way to Edom. Once there they quickly take refuge in a cave for the night and realize that this world is a mirror to theirs except in this world the shadowhunters were defeated and demons scorched the earth. The next day Jace ventures out and encounters the ghost of the Iron Sister he killed when Sebastian was controlling him and she goads him to lose control of the heavenly fire and he blazes up the entire desert. Clary uses a fireproof rune to approach him and they control the fire in a way they won't tell the others. That night with the heveanly fire under control Jace and Clary sneak away from the others and (finally) have sex, which really prompts me to ask, why when they were going on a mission to kill Sebastian did Jace think to pack condoms? The next day when they reach Sebastian's headquarters, they split up and while Izzy, Alec and Simon find the prisoners Clary agrees to be Sebastian's queen if he seals off this world from theirs, saving everyone in it. He starts the process and it forces everyone into the room they are in and they see Clary on the throne and think she's betrayed them, until he asks her to kiss him to show that she's loyal and she stabs him with her blade that she had used the first rune she ever envisioned to trap the heavenly fire inside. While dying, the evil is removed from Sebastian and Jonathon tells them he was sorry and to throw the infernal cup in his runes to destroy the endarkened ones, which they do. They then must call upon Magnus' father Asmodeus to send them back to their world, but as he as a demon he won't do it for free and requests Magnus' immortality, which will kill him because his age will catch up with him. As Magnus is trying to convince them it's the only way, Simon offers himself up and Asmodeus takes him, but also takes all his memories of the Shadow world so he won't remember any of them. The epilogue is set six months later at Jocelyn and Luke's wedding where Alec's father finally tells him he is a good man and he and Magnus decide to stay together no matter what, Clary and Jace discuss their future wedding, Maia and Bat rekindle their old flame and Magnus manages to restore some of Simon's memories and he and Isabelle discuss him becoming a Shadowhunter.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Prodigy - Marie Lu (2013)

3.5 stars

After loving Legend I immediately ordered this and Champion, the next in the series, but I think it's really hard to enjoy a sequel when the first book was so good.

I know sequels in trilogies are hard because you're over the initial plot of the first book and you have to set up the final book, and this book dealt with that really well, I just found this book a lot less enjoyable than the first for some reason that I can't quite work out. This book is narrated in the same way as the first, with alternating chapters from June and Day, which I actually find more intersting when they're together and experiencing the same things opposed to when they're apart, which for this book is about half of it. I really like how they discover in this book that there is no perfect utopia that they can have if they let one side win over the other, they have to change their republic to make it a place of hope and safety to live in a place like that. It's a really nice change from the books that have the protagonist rebel against one government so another can take it's place, or books where they take down both the rebel governement and the existing governement and just expect everything to work out fine. Day has a line at one point which is "I don't wamt to see the Republic collapse. I want to see it change." which made me realize how much I liked them doing that rather than starting a war. My favourite character in this book is June, I want to be her. She learnt from her mistakes of letting Jameson manipulate her in the last book and she is now the smartest, boldest warrior, who is flustered around boys and her wit around Day, even when she's collapsed with fever is one of the best things in this book. I would recommend this series to fans of dystopian novels.

June and Day have made their way to Vegas to try to contact the patriots to get them to help with Day's injured leg, make sure Tess is okay and then help them to get Eden. Once they are taken in by them they tell them that they will get Eden free if they help assassinate the new Elector which they agree to do. The head of the patriots, Razor, is a commander in the army and tells June that she has to turn herself in and then get an audience with the Elector to tell him that she learnt of a patriot attempt on his life, that will be a lie that is played out by the patriots to get him to trust her, they will then get Day to kill him and braodcast it when he changes route. June manages to get a meeting with Anden and convince him of the fake attack on his life, except he tells her of his plans to free Day's brother to try to make an alliance with Day so the republic will trust him and the changes he wants to make like getting rid of the trials. June signals Day on the cams that the patriots have recording her that something is up with the assassination and when the time comes they stop the assassination and escape into the colonies. Once there they learn that their society is just as bad as the republic in some ways and that Razor was a double agent recruited by the government to assassinate the Elector and blame it on the patriots. Kaede then steals one of the colonies jets and flies Day and June into Denver but gets killed in the process. Day then publicly announces his support for Anden and is then reunited with Eden. However after Day is treated for his injuries the doctors tell him that the testing they did on him after he failed the trials should've killed him and now he is dying. Anden offers June the highest position in government that isn't Elector and she tells Day she won't do it because they'll have no time together and he breaks up with her and tells her to do it, but doesn't tell her about his diagnosis.

Monday, 19 May 2014

The Scorch Trials - James Dashner (2010)

2.5 stars

I read The Maze Runner last year and although I didn't really enjoy it that much, the end left a lot of cliffhangers and after seeing the trailer for the upcoming movie I was reinvested in the storyline and decided to read this, but I was once again disappointed.

This book was really similar to the first book, plot-wise because they had to go through insanely dangerous situations they knew nothing about, but also the way it was written because although I was interested there was nothing driving me to read it for the majority of the book, until the last fifty or so pages when it got really intense and then ended on another cliffhanger. Although I like some mystery in a story, this series is a bit ridiculous with it, I hate not knowing what all the patterns are for, I hate not knowing if WICKED is actually good and if the next book (the last one in the series) doesn't answer all the questions that this book and the previous one posed I will really regret reading this series because at the moment that's all that's keeping me involved. I don't really like any of the characters so I'm not invested in what happens to any of them, especially in this book because I don't really like Thomas or Teresa and all the other Gladers aren't really mentioned or important in this book so it's hard to even distinguish between them like I could in the last book. I think if you read the first one and just wanted to know why everything was happening you could probably jst skip this book and go to the last one, but if you enjoyed the first book you'll definitely enjoy this one.

This book picks up right after the end of the last book and during the night when they are sleeping Teresa is taken away and replaced with a boy, Aris, and they learn that he was part of the other group which had a different glade and maze and was full of girls and one boy. The next day a man shows up and tells them that the next day they will have to walk through a flat trans and they will then have to travel 100 miles north in two weeks and they will reach a safe haven where they will be given a cure to the flare, the disease which they all have (along with the rest of the world). Once they travel through the falt trans they are in some underground tunnels that contain killing metal blobs that kill two of them before they get out into the Scorch. It is a giant desert where the sun is so blinding and hot they need to be covered at all times in daylight. After a day or two they reach a town that is probably the halfway point, it is full of Cranks, people who have th flare, and two of them help the Gladers get through the town if they can have the cure as well. Thomas gets shot as they're moving through the town and that day a hovercraft from WICKED comes in and doctors perform surgery on him and give him antibiotics to make sure he does not die from an unplanned variable. Once they are almost at the safe haven point, the group of girls ambush them and take Thomas because Teresa wants to kill him. Once he is tied up by the girls, Thomas talks to them and they all decide that Teresa is hell bent on killing him for no reason at all so they let him free and they travel to the safe haven together. Teresa then takes Thomas away from the other girls and tells him that her and Aris are in love and Thomas was going to be their sacrifice. Thomas fights them off but they trap him in a small hole for a night. The next day Teresa lets him out and says that WICKED told them they had to do that to make him feel betrayed, if she didn't do it they would kill him and she accepted that she would rather lose what they could've had than lose him altogether. They eventually reach the safe haven point where both groups have arrived with a few hours to go. About an hour before the allocated time, a group of new creepy creatures erupts out of the ground and they have to fight them off during a massive lightning storm before another hovercraft comes to collect them. Once on the ship all of them fall asleep and Thomas awakes in a separate room to the others and Teresa tells him that they said he had already succumbed to the flare and he had to be taken away. The epilogue is another letter from the director of WICKED saying that the second trials went well and they'll see what happens when they all get their memories back.

Friday, 25 April 2014

The Elite - Kiera Cass (2013)

2.5 stars

I bought this book as soon as I'd finished The Selection because it was so fun and enjoyable, this book definitely did not bring the same level of fun.

At the end of the first book America basically said she wasn't going to bother thinking about whether she preferred Aspen or Maxon and try to work out who she was by herself which I thought was pretty smart considering the last three years of her life had been shaped around them, but five pages into this book and it seems she's just forgotten that decision entirely. As much as I want her to start a revolution with her maids and her father and be Queen by herself, it's so obvious that America will end up with Maxon that the majority of this book in which he does something she doesn't like and then she is too afraid to ask him about it and runs to Aspen, who it becomes very clear that she has gotten over and thinks of as a close friend, is so unnecessary. Also if you hadn't picked up on the fact that you were supposed to dislike Aspen in the first book it becomes very clear that's the author's intention when he tells America she wouldn't be a good princess and trying to force her to love him. If it weren't for the Marlee plot, America and Kriss' reception, and the last thirty or so pages when she finally sets both boys straight on her feelings and stands up to the King I would've given up on this book. I had hoped the love triangle wouldn't be prominent like in the first book and we could see America using her position to make some badass changes to society but that is not the case and the one time America manages to stand up for her beliefs on television it is only because she thinks she's leaving anyway. My favourite character in this book is America's father, he's so lovely and obviously is aware of the problems with the government and is trying to learn what he can while still wanting only the best for America, his letters and scenes in this novel really lighten it and make it so much more enjoyable to read. I'll read the last book because I'm a sucker for happy endings and it looks like this triangle has finally been demolished, also if there's hope of more Marlee then I'm in. Only read this book if you enjoyed the first one and want to know what happens next.

Although America is conflicted about Aspen and Maxon, she continues spending the majority of Maxon's free time with him and when they learn about halloween, which was abolished years ago, he decides to resurrect it and throw a halloween ball with all the elite and their families. Before the ball America basically tells Maxon that she chooses him and he then asks her father for permission to propose to her. The morning after the halloween party however, they are brought to a public stage where Marlee and a guard who were caught having sex (which is illegal before marriage in this society) are being sentenced to a life as eights and have to be caned 15 times each. America goes crazy and tries to get Maxon to stop it while trying to charge the stage. She is taken away and restrained in her room and when Maxon comes to see her and to tell her he got her as light a punishment as he could she still doesn't understand how he could do that and if she ever married him how she could do the same thing. There's a number of raids and galas and Maxon starts to have feelings for Kriss so America's really crushed and leans on Aspen. The girls then have to make a presentation for a philanthropy project they would install if they became Queen and a few days before the broadcast on which they will present their ideas, America is going to find Maxon to see if he had read Gregory Ilea's diaries because he was basically an evil tyrant who stole the country. She finds Maxon making out with Celeste and then they have a giant fight where she basically asks to leave and he says he won't let her. She then decides to do her broadcast on abolishing the caste system and after they are off the air the King basically wants to kill her and tells Maxon he has to send her home. Later she is heading to the gardens when she runs into a clearly pained Maxon and before they can say much there is another rebel attack and because of his injuries a guard puts him and America in one of the small sealed safe rooms that are all over the castle and usually used by servants. Once in the closet, for lack of a better word, Maxon gets America to dress his wounds, which were obviously inflicted by his father, and that weren't the first of this kind he'd experienced. He and America finally talk over their problems and explain everything and then spend most of the night kissing and talking until she falls asleep. Just before she is about to leave the next day Maxon tells her that he convinced his father to let her stay as long as she keeps her behaviour in check, he also says that although he loves her, he cannot trust her and she has to earn that back. She decides she is going to fight for Maxon now, and then runs into the King who tells her everything he hates about her and that he's going to stop her from winning.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Legend - Marie Lu (2011)

4.5 stars

I saw this book and though I'd check it out considering it has really good reviews, then I see it's based partly on Les Mis and I'm gone, there was no way I was not buying this book and of course I loved it.

Marie Lu has said that she wanted to recreate the conflict between Valjean and Javert in a teenage setting, and as soon as I read that I had no idea why anyone hadn't done it before, it was such a interesting and complex conflict that this reworking of it was equally as interesting and complex to read about. This book alternates chapters told from June and Day's perspective and I really enjoyed both of them a narrators and as the book moves along and there are more parallels between them it's really fun switching between them. Although I love a good villian, I found that Commander Jameson and Thomas were so ruthless and uncaring that they were way more scary than loathesome and I think I'll just be relieved rather than satisfied when they get their justice. The only real problem I had with this book was that I found the conspiracy, for lack of a better word, pretty predictable and June's refusal to acknowledge it until she thought Metias also thought it was true was a bit frustrating. My favourite character in this book was probably Day, if June wasn't so ignorant for part of the book it would've been her, but Day was kind throughout the whole novel and even after June betrayed him he never truly hated her which I really liked. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes dystopian fiction and to any teenagers that want to read a good rivalry/military vs. civilian type story.

June is a prodigy, the only person to have ever scored 1500, full marks, on her trial and at fifteen she has almost graduated to be a soldier. Day is an outlaw who makes trouble for the government and who was supposed to die five years ago when he "failed" his trial. When one of Day's brothers gets the plague he breaks into a hospital to try to steal a cure and when he's leaving, after learning they had no cures left, he throws a knife at Metias, June's brother, to get away. June is told by Thomas, her brother's friend and fellow soldier that Metias is dead and when she goes to see the body Commander Jameson says she'll speed up her graduating process and she can join her unit and start tracking Day, who supposedly was the one who killed her brother. June goes undercover on the streets and soon accidently starts travelling around with Day and his friend Tess, her and Day have mutual respect and attraction for each other but after they share a kiss June realizes who he is and turns in him and his family. He is then sentenced to death and June learns that all he told her about the "labor camps" where people who fail their trial are sent is true through her brother Metias leaving her a hidden message. She also works out that Day didn't kill him when he threw the knife at him, Thomas killed him later on Commander Jameson's orders because he knew that Metias was planning to rebel after learning all this information about the government. June then plans to help Day and his brother John escape, but when the Commander moves his execution up by a day she can't execute her original plan. Instead, when it's time for his execution she frees John and gets him to hide in an airvent until she comes back past with Day, before she can free Day Thomas tells her she's under investigation and he takes her down to the weapons lab where she'd stolen an electro-bomb, which disables all guns for two minutes, from but before he can do anything to her, Kaede sets off the electro-bomb and she runs to get Day. She and John are carrying him out but they don't have enough time before the guns reactivate to get to the door so John grabs the blindfold that was on Day and runs back towards the execution block to give them time. The patriots are waiting for them outside and they take them to the outskirts of town and leave them there and when Day wakes he learns that they executed his brother in front of the crowd and called it him for the public's sake. He and June then plan to go check on Tess before returning to save his other brother, Eden.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Cinder - Marissa Meyer (2012)

3.5 stars

I bought this book based off the same tumblr post that had recommended The Selection and The Giver to me, and once again it did not disappoint me.

I didn't realize until I was a page into it that this book is based on Cinderella, and after further research I learned that the other three books in the quartet will be based on Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel and Snow White. It also set in the future where the Earth is going through difficult times against Lunars - people who live on the moon - due to their Queen wanting to manipulate and conquer the Earth. This book is told from varying perspectives based on who is central to the plot at that point, so about halfway through it is pretty much just alternating chapters of Cinder and Kai, but earlier on it is mainly Cinder and I think there was one or two from Dr Erland in there. I actually really enjoyed that because I got all the information straight away and it wasn't as confusing as switching perspectives can sometimes be. My favourite character was probably Iko, I thought she was really funny and I imagined her like Eve from Wall-E which was so cute when she did some things. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fairytales and novels set in the future.

Cinder is a cyborg mechanic in New Beijing who has to work for her stepmother who never lets her keep any of the money she makes and always has more to demand of her. When Prince Kai comes to her shop to get her to fix his android they become fast friends and when she goes home and tells her stepsister, Peony, who is the only person in the family who she actually likes, and who likes her, she immediately insists she go with her on her trip to the junkyard to hear the details. Once there Peony contracts the leutemosis plague, a terrible fast-acting disease that means the person is taken immediately to quarrantine before they die within the next few days. Once Cinder returns home her stepmother Adri blames her for Peony's illness and gives her up to the draft, which is where one cyborg each day is recruited to test new leutemosis cures on. Once inside the palace medicinal ward Cinder becomes friends with Dr Erland who tells her she is immune to leutemosis, Prince Kai then runs into them and asks Cinder to come to the upcoming ball with him, she refuses because he doesn't know she's a cyborg but he says the offer's open is she canges her mind. The next day the Emperor, Kai's father, dies of leutemosis and when Cinder returns to the doctor's office she learns that she is a Lunar, a person born on the moon and can manipulate people into seeing her however she wants and doing things she wants them to do. Lunars with that ability were killed off by Queen Levana, the Lunar Queen, as she knows they are a threat to her power because they will realize she is holding her people's loyalty through manipulation. When Cinder fixes Kai's android she learns that someone had put a communication chip in it and had learned all the information that Kai had learned about the real heir to the Lunar throne who was previously thought to be dead. On the night of the ball Cinder makes contact with the person who had the communication chip and it turns out to be Cress (who the third book will be about) a girl who was forced into hacking the palace by her stepmother, the Queen's right hand woman, and she tells her that even if Kai marries Queen Levana she'll still wage war on Earth to get support of another planet. Cinder then goes to the ball to tell Kai the Queen's plans but once there he finds out she's a cyborg and a Lunar after she has a head to head with Queen Levana. She is then placed into custody until Levana can take her back to Luna but while she is in her cell Dr Erland comes to her and tells her that she is the lost princess and that she should escape before Queen Levana takes her and come meet him in Africa where they can work together to dethrone her.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Selection - Kiera Cass (2012)

4 stars

This book was recommended to me on goodreads and I wasn't sure about it but then I saw it again in a tumblr post of different books people would enjoy if they enjoyed certain other books or certain plot devices and I decided to get it and I'm really happy I did.

The concept of this book is kind of just like reality TV on steroids, and just like reality television it sucked me in and I had to know what America did next. I don't like love triangles and I was unaware there would be one in this book, but despite the fact that there was a love triangle, and it's pretty much going to be the main storyline of future books, it didn't really come through too strongly or even much at all in the majority of this book which was wonderful. I like knowing that a book that's main storyline is a love triangle can kind of turn it into a less important side note and I hope that it will continue that way through the next books with all the other secrets and drama it set up in this book. The thing that irritated me most about this book was that Aspen is given no good traits or real reason for why America loves him, and by extension why I should too, whereas Maxon is constantly being a good person and saying loveable things. Doing that so all the readers will want her to pick Maxon is fine, but it just makes it really unrealistic and it's ridiculous that someone as awesome as America would even love Aspen in the first place. My favourite character in this book was America, I love a good female heroine but the best thing about America is that she doesn't do big grand ridiculous acts of courage all the time, she's just a really nice person, who doesn't care about castes and wants everyone to be safe and happy, no matter their birth or circumstance. I would recommend this to people who like love stories, and fans of The Hunger Games who liked the love triangle in it.

America Singer is a Five, in a country where castes are now ranked like numbers with royalty as Ones and criminals as Eights, she's in of the poorest castes that make their meager living as artists. When she recieves a letter in the mail that she can apply for the Selection, a competition where a girl from each of the 35 districts is drawn at random to go live at the palace to compete with each other for the Prince's heart, her mother insists she put her name in so they might get an elevated status and some more money to live on. America doesn't want to enter as she has a secret boyfriend, Aspen, who is a Six but who she loves and wants to marry, but he also insists that she enter because she's worth it. On the day of her entry she runs into Aspen's mum who tells her she thinks he's going to propose to a girl because he's been saving all his money, America is so happy that she looks wonderful for her entry photo. The next night when she goes to meet Aspen she cooks him a wonderful meal and his pride is so wounded because she thinks he needs the food that he breaks up with her, then her name is called from her district to go into the Selection. Once there she quickly strikes up a friendship with Prince Maxon and she tells him the whole story of her and Aspen, as well as informing him of how people in the lower castes live which he uses to change policy, and he tells her the details of the constant rebel attacks and seiges and she tries to help him with them. Just as she's starting to believe she could fall in love with Maxon, Aspen appears as a royal guard and tells her he made a mistake in breaking up with her. There is a particularly severe and scary seige on the castle and Maxon then lowers the pool of girls down to 6 so as to not have as many of them in danger, America is one of them and when he explains why he kept each girl, due to her status, relations or popularity with the crowds, he says he didn't have a strategic reason for keeping her. When Aspen comes to her room that night she tells him that he can't kiss her and that she's going to work out what she wants, Aspen then says (of course) that he's not giving up this time.