Book Review: Ignite Me – Tahereh Mafi

Author:  Tahereh Mafi

Genre: Young Adult – Romance, Dystopian, Fantasy
Series:  Shatter Me – Book 3
Synopsis (from Goodreads):   Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she’ll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew – about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam – was wrong.

Review:  I’ve been meaning to write this review for a while now.  I probably finished the book a month ago, and you know…life.  Anyhow, first off, let me just say I really do love this series.  I’m about ready to go ahead reread all three again, just for the fun of it.  The story, and the characters were just so good.  I loved the premise; I mean dystopian meets X-Men, who wouldn’t?  I found myself drawn to read Ignite Me in a way that I haven’t really been experiencing as of late.  You know how it is…you put down the book because it’s been at least an hour, and you have kids and a husband to pay a little attention too, but twenty minutes later you find yourself right back in the same spot with the book again.  It consumed me more than I consumed it.
So yes, I loved Ignite Me.  Just loved it.  I love Tahereh Mafi’s writing style, and the characters she created.  I love the world – well, that’s relative; I love reading about the world, I wouldn’t want to live there though.  I especially loved learning a bit more about Warner, or Aaron rather.  It felt so indulgent to get so much background on him after the first 2.5 books, but I soaked it all in.  I loved that there was some emotional rollercoastering going on as well.  There were parts where I, myself, felt near to tears.  That’s good.  I like that.  As long as the main character didn’t die.  Then I don’t like that!  😉
There were, however, parts that I didn’t love so much.  It was more an aftertaste than anything.  Like when you start to drink something and it’s so wonderful that you finish it in that first taste, but then after you’ve sat there for a bit you discover that it wasn’t quite as good as you thought it was?  Hmm…that sounds a little harsh.  Let me elaborate….but first a warning, if you haven’t read this book and don’t wish to know details about it…stop here.
 ********************************************************************************************************************
So typically I’m all for the first guy that is presented as the love interest in a triangle such as this.  Perhaps it is because it is the first person that the author makes me fall in love with, and I hate the idea of this conflict of emotions.  However, after their encounter in Unravel Me, I knew Warner was the guy.  There was just something about him in that book, not to mention Destory Me,  that makes you just want him to win.  And then you start reading Ignite Me, and it is just reaffirmed over and over again.  Tahereh Mafi is an expert at writing these wonderfully delightful and passionate kissing scenes, and these tense moments between boy and girl that make your knees weak and your heart thump.  I’m sure this is a large part of her appeal as an author…(plus the superhumans!).  But then there is Adam.  Adam who was so wonderful in Shatter Me, and patient and loving.  And that shower scene!!!  He loved Juliette, that is so hard to forget.  When you start to read Ignite Me this is what you remember; the Adam who loves Juliette.  But what you get is a very angry, unrelenting, careless person.  I kept waiting on some kind of reconciliation (not for he and Juliette to get back together, but an acknowledgement of their behavior and the love that they did share).  I waited on him to be reasonable.  I waiting on his own happy ending. Something!  And you get tastes of things.  Maybe a new love interest?  (But no details.)  A fresh start with his new family?  (But no details.)  I felt so, incomplete without the second half of this book (at least I felt like he was the second half of this book from Shatter Me getting some kind of closure too.  It sort of drove me a bit crazy.
The other thing that kind of got to me was the ending.  Here we’ve worked up to this battle.  It’s been 2 (and then some) books now, and the struggle has been long and harsh.  So the time for the final battle has arrived, and not only does everything go almost exactly as planned, but Juliette walks in and although she does get lost on the ship, and has to battle with an unknown secret weapon, she easily takes everyone down and it’s done.  I was sort of waiting on the other shoe to drop.  Surely something is going to happen…nope.  Warner comes climbing up out of a pit, and they all live happily ever after.  The end. 
In short;  I think, maybe perhaps…the third book was rushed. 
Would I recommend this series?  Yes. I loved it.  For your teenager?  Eh, probably I don’t know.  The scenes are right on the edge.  And there is some sexual content….think Twilight, they work right up until that moment and…fade out, next scene.  So, that part of it is all implied.  But it’s still a mature book.

Book Review: Unravel Me – Tahereh Mafi

Author Site: Tahereh Mafi
 Form:  eBook, Nook
 Genre: Young Adult – Dystopia, Romance, Fiction

Synopsis (from Goodreads):   
tick
tick
tick
tick
tick
it’s almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.

My Review:  I just finished reading this book literally 5 minutes ago, and I can tell you that I have a myriad of emotions to go along with it.  I devoured this book.  I can’t believe I held off as long as I did to read it, except I was hoping it would end up on the libraries downloadables (since Shatter Me and Destroy Me are both there).  So while waiting, I re-read Shatter Me, then read Destroy Me, waited another week and finally bought Unravel Me.

So one, teenage angst + mentally unstable = a little bit much for me.  Adam was WAY over the top with his feelings, but it seems to be the theme of these books.  Everyone FEELS every little word, emotion, thought as if they were taking some kind of “feelings steroid.”   It makes for good reading though, I suppose.  I mean, if my husband would confess to the type of love as Adam…and Warren apparently have…well, geez, I’d be a puddle of goo on the floor too.

So, here we go with the love triangle, which I think is horribly unfair.  Tahereh Mafi sort of has me going for the underdog in this one, which is unusual for me.  I’m usually pretty straightforward.  However, the unfair part is this; you CANNOT have your characters say things like “I’ve loved you forever,” and “I’ve always loved you,” and have these heart wrenching encounters, and then turn around and have mixed feelings.  (Well, I guess you can, I mean..here it is.  She did it.  It’s definitely possible.)  But you all get what I’m saying, right?  I just..I can’t…I can’t wrap my mind around it.  I guess I like the big red bow.  And I’ve already admitted to a desperate hate for love triangles.  NEW THEME AUTHORS…PLEASE RELEASE US FROM THIS STUPIDITY!  🙂

Why am I being so mean to this book?  I love it.  I already said I devoured it.  Every word.  Okay…one more complaint.  I really hope Juliette does not go back to wishy-washy in book three.  This back and forth is giving me mental whip-lash.  Do you want to fight, are you strong, or do you want to cower in a corner and cry and feel guilty about every little last thing in your life.  Again…teenage angst.  Arg!

Okay, so despite the angst, and the back and forth, and the triangle….I have to say, I think I just must love Tahereh Mafi’s writing.  It seems like too much, but I find myself wanting more.  I find myself just wanting to eat it up or finding a spot to hide and just live there.  That doesn’t happen very often.  Another bonus for me, I think the last book that made me flush was Clockwork Prince – and it’s been over a year since that came out (even though I’ve read it 5 times – the first time is always the best).  The book just barely stayed on this side of decent…but again, I was gobbling up ever last drop!

Thank you, Ms Mafi, for your words and your story!  Despite my complaints, you still earn the full 5 stars, I mean…really.  I imagine I’ll be re-reading these again before book 3 is released.

Partials – Dan Wells

Title: Partials

Author: Dan Wells
Rating: 5 stars
Genre:  YA Fantasy
Form:  ebook
Synopsis:
Humanity is all but extinguished after a war with partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the world’s population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island. The threat of the partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to the disease in over a decade. Humanity’s time is running out.
When sixteen-year-old Kira learns of her best friend’s pregnancy, she’s determined to find a solution. Then one rash decision forces Kira to flee her community with the unlikeliest of allies. As she tries desperately to save what is left of her race, she discovers that the survival of both humans and partials rests in her attempts to answer questions of the war’s origin that she never knew to ask.
Combining the fast-paced action of
 The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Battlestar Galactica, Partials is a pulse-pounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our sense of humanity is both our greatest liability, and our only hope for survival
Review:
I’ve been reading a lot of dystopian future books lately: Hunger Games, Matched series, Divergent series, Under the Never Sky, and Eve to name a few. Partials is more post apocalyptic dystopian. It’s only been 11 years since a war and a plague has destroyed almost all of humanity. The first thing I liked about this book is the lack of the love triangle. There’s a little romance but the main character, Kira, is already established in who she likes. (I think who she likes will change in the second book, but I will say no more, spoiler).

A similarity this book shares with the other ones I mentioned is it’s about Kira discovering who she is. She’s a very headstrong character who does not let go of her beliefs, similar to Katniss. I like the relationships Kira has with her friends. Everything is very realistic. Her relationship with her boyfriend is not perfect and it wasn’t love at first sight. The situations the characters kept getting thrown into kept making me forget they were 16-19 years old. Kira is 17 and a nurse’s intern. She did salvage runs and already knew how to use a gun as well as any soldier.

The book was a little slow at first but towards the middle it starts to pick up. There’s quite a bit of action and political intrigue. Of course in all dystopian future novels the government has something to hide. What Kira finds out though, I’m not sure even the government is aware of it. The ending was slightly predictable, but not completely. There were enough twists that made me go, what?

I definitely can’t wait for the second book and Mr. Wells was kind enough to give us a novella in the fall to make the wait bearable. The novella is called Isolation and is more about the time before and during the war. The next book in the series is called Fragments.


Review by: Stephany

The Selection – Kiera Cass

GENRE:  Young Adult – Fiction, Dystopian, Romance
FORM: Audiobook

SERIES:  The Selection Series

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads):  For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself- and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

REVIEW:   The Selection ended up being a surprisingly good novel. I’m not really sure what I was expecting, except a beauty contest for a prince. Really, the story started out sounding a little bit like the biblical story of Esther, but that is when you are expecting a snobbish, arrogant prince; but once you get to know the characters, particularly America and Prince Maxon, the story itself really starts to take shape. From the beginning it is very obvious that there is going to be a love triangle – but because of the way this story plays out, it’s easier to accept than what happens in most of the Young Adult novels I read; where girl is totally in love with Boy A, then something happens and she falls on Boy B. For this story, one boy sacrifices his love because it’s what he feels is best for her. The way it’s laid out, you can see where it seems like he’s making the right decision, even when your head is screaming, “nooo!”

There were no great feats of action, or major events in The Selection – in that way the book might actually seem a little bit dull. There were a few attacks by rebel camps, but since the action was outside and America was inside, you didn’t actually get to “see” it. The main plot of the story was pretty much about the selection process, what the girls were doing to impress the prince, and what events, interviews and dresses might end up on TV., etc. Even America, and her internal struggles didn’t even seem all that captivating on their own – it was the typical struggle between boys, and her true feelings, and doing what is right. This book is not really a “new” concept.

The characters are what makes this story. Each of the girls in the selection have their own personalities, and in the end, with a few exceptions, you actually like all of them. America is a very strong character. She’s got a good foothold on reality, and doesn’t run around doing a bunch of reckless things that aggregate you to pieces. She wants to do what is right, and that war between what is right and what she wants isn’t as petty as it has seemed in other books. I think Kiera Cass has created a very strong leader in America, she’s able to think on her feet and make good decisions. Not to mention her mild sarcasm, and obvious way with knowing how to say just the right thing. Prince Maxon is very sweet in his innocence. He made me smile more than once, and truly is the perfect mix of regal, and royal, as well as typical self-conscious teenage boy. Then there is Aspen, the boy that ranks below America on the cast system, but whom she has been secretly dating for two years. He is another very strong character, with morals and doubts of his own. Honestly, in this love triangle, there doesn’t seem to be a “best choice.” Both boys are equally appealing and very strong characters. I know my favorite, and I know who I think America may end up with, but really the book could take many directions, and I’m looking forward to seeing which way it actually goes.

Insurgent – Veronica Roth

GENRE:  Young Adult – Fiction, Dystopian, Romance
FORM: Audiobook
SERIES: Divergent

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads):  One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

REVIEW:  
Oh the dreaded Book 2, how I hate thee! Let me count the ways:

1. You are the book in between, neither the beginning – where you are meeting new friends and enemies and being introduced to a new world. Nor the end – where the conclusion of a story is met, all issues are resolved, and everything is happy in the world….or it is not.

2. You are the book in which is most always the biggest cliff hanger – the book where you realize that you are invested way more than you want to be and instead of thinking, “hey, the next book in xxx series is coming out, you are constantly thinking…I CANNOT WAIT, I CANNOT WAIT, I CANNOT WAIT.

3. I think authors do this to torture us.

Okay, so it’s not all that bad…oh wait, scratch that. IT is. I actually have anxiety about reading the 2nd book of series (and 3rd if there happens to be 4 books instead of 3). I don’t like being held on the pin of a needle, and since you never know what’s going to happen at the end of the 2nd books – it just sort of becomes a love/dread relationship.

BUT…..Insurgent was not all that bad. I think one of the things I like most about the Divergent series is that Veronica Roth does not leave you foaming at the mouth for her next book, however #2 above does still apply because….you are invested. You must know what happens next. Insurgent does not leave you at the cusp of death or at a moment where you realize you accidentally stabbed the one you love most in the world in the chest (YES, I read a series where the 2nd to last book ended exactly this way). Thank you, Veronica! I appreciate not wanting to throw your book across the room in frustration. Especially since it was an audiobook located on my iPhone – that would have ended up to be a VERY expensive toss!

This time around Tris and Tobias gave me a lot of ups and downs that just weren’t there in Divergent. In Divergent they are at the cusp of attraction and new love, but in Insurgent their relationship has a bit more dynamic. There are many decisions and evaluations that must take place between the two of them. I think there were points when I felt that they were both unfair to each other, but I guess relationships do work that way, we overestimate our other half and expect them to be something a little bigger than they actually are. Another shout out to Veronica here – unless she does something really crazy in book 3, there IS NO LOVE TRIANGLE!!!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you! A way overdone story line, and it’s about time someone takes the initiative to do something about it! (or NOT do something, as the case may be.)

The action in this book was EXCELLENT! At times it did feel a tinsy bit reminiscent of Mockingjay, but regardless the action scenes kept you invested for sure! And of course there is the big secret of the book. I will say that I was expecting that to be something a little different than what it was, but I’m very curious to find out what they are going to do with the new information gained.

This next paragraph is going to be a bit spoilery so if you haven’t read the book, and are like me and don’t want to know anything about it – stop reading now.

The one scene I did not like, and did not really see the point in, is the one where Tobias takes off his belt and beats his father. It seemed kind of random, and really, really far out there. There were so many ways he could have proven he wasn’t a coward, but to beat him out of nowhere like that, unprovoked, was really weird and it just didn’t sit well with me.

Okay, so let’s go Book 3. 1 year countdown…are we ready?

Shatter Me – Tahereh Mafi

GENRE: Young Adult – Fantasy/Romance/Dystopian
FORM: AudioBook
NARRATOR: Kate Simses
SERIES: Shatter Me

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads): 

Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war– and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

REVIEW:  I found Shatter Me one day just looking for something to put on my iPhone to listen to while I worked. I had never really heard much about it and really didn’t even know what it was about. When you start off at an insane asylum, and the main character is teetering on the edge of sanity, even though she was placed in there because of a disease rather than actual insanity, you are left wondering what is going to happen.

Juliette has a problem. She cannot touch anyone without sucking their life from them. It’s a disease, it’s an ability, it’s a curse, it’s a gift. The entire book is written from Juliette’s perspective. I listened via audio, but I think that it was actually suppose to be a journal of her experience. The audio had a lot of slashing sounds that I am assuming was suppose to be her marking what her thought was out and replacing it. Anyhow, it’s obvious from the moment that she gets a cellmate, a male cellmate where the direction of the romance portion of this story is moving. It only later becomes clear that the two had known each other previously. Juliet had gone to school with Adam, from 2nd grade all the way up until Jr High, and she remembered him to be the only person who didn’t look at her like she was a monster, who actually stuck up for her even though they had never spoken. But something has brought him to this place with her…

Shatter Me
is a very dramatic book. From the beginning, when it’s a little hard to follow Juliette’s thoughts and actions until the very end when she’s much more stable and sure of herself. The romance between her and Adam is obvious, frequent, passionate and…frequent. I actually enjoyed the journaled-like writing, although via audio sometimes I had a hard time distinguishing between something Juliette said and something she just thought. The book is dystopian, collapse of the world due to global warming and many other world-malfunctions. There is a strong armed leader – an extremely stereotypical villain – Warner. He was so much the power hungry, masochist. He was written almost sexy in a way that was kind of disgusting, and I’m really, really hoping that it doesn’t go a whole lot further in that direction between he and Juliette .

From beginning to end – and I have read this in several reviews since I listened to the book – Juliette is a constant reminder of X-Men’s Rogue…this is fine, since she was always my favorite character. The story is basic, and fun and really just entertaining. If you like lots of kissing, then you’re in for a bonus as well!

BOOK REVIEW: Pandemonium – Lauren Oliver

GENRE: Young Adult – Dystopian, Romance
FORM: Audiobook
SERIES: Delirium

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads): 

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite.

REVIEW:  How did I feel about this book..hmmm, how do I feel? Do you want me to be completely and 100% honest? Of course you do, right? Okay, PLEASE stick with me, because it’s not going to be how it sounds….

I am actually angry right now. I had a hard time sleeping last night. I was unsettled, and a bit mad at Lauren Oliver. I’m positive that was expected result though. Why do I feel this way you ask. Well, see, that is what is making this review difficult to write. I can’t say. If I did it would be a rather large spoiler. But let’s me just go on the record as saying….WHY????

Okay, I’m going to attempt something a little more review like, and less rant. Sound good? Pandemonium is a melancholy book. Sadness creeps from the pages and into your system. Lauren Oliver writes with enough emotion and imagery that it’s just poetic enough to give you a good idea of how Lena feels, but not so much that the details begin to bore you. The book is set up so that it flips between “Then” (being the Lena’s time spent in the wild with her new family) and “Now” (being back in society as part of the uprising or rebellion or whatever). Lena is still getting over her loss with Alex, which is where a good portion of her sadness comes from, but she has also had an extremely difficult year. Learning to live in the wild’s is no picnic. Neither is being constantly undercover. On her first true mission, Lena finds herself taken hostage, or kidnapped, along with Julian – the head of Teenagers who are for the cure (I quite honestly cannot remember the name of the organization. I listened to this via audio…I apologize for my lack of detail here!) So basically two teenagers who are on opposite sides of the fence politically are thrown together and are forced to help each other survive.

There were points (mostly in the beginning) where the book was a tiny bit slow in the moving forward progress. I even remarked to a friend, “I’m hoping for a bit of action here soon.” Well, be careful what you wish for, because action does come, in abundance. The book keeps you wrapped in and hanging on in anticipation for what happens next. I love that. There were a few tidbits along the way that I didn’t love so much though. The first being the obvious rant above….what happened was what I was expecting around every corner, and just when I thought we were safe…anyway. Another was some of the a little more than convenient solutions to problems. IE: in one scene there is a lock on a door that requires a punched in password. Julian suggests that at home for their keypad they have hints around that indicate the number. One…this is absurd. Two, it seems a little bit convenient that what works at home also works in the place where they are being held captive. This makes a reappearance later when Lena is actually breaking into Julian’s home – the “clues” were so weird random that it sort of came off as stupid in my opinion. Another annoyance is one of my pet peeves in many books I read. It’s the very obvious foreshadowing that takes place in the shape of the main characters intuition…I get so frustrated because 1. It’s extremely common; (Something in me was saying this wasn’t right …but I did it anyway). Can’t we have a character who listens to his/her instincts for once? Or maybe cut down on some of this blatant foreshadowing a bit? Just a suggestion.

So yes, this book is good. Yes, it drove me nuts. Yes…we have just begun another year of waiting…

BOOK REVIEW: A Million Suns – Beth Revis

GENRE: Young Adult
FORM: eBook
SERIES: Across the Universe

SYNOPSIS: A few months have passed since the people of Godspeed were awakened from their drug-hazed stupor. Some are very happy with the new way of living, others long for the stupor, and others feel that it is time the ship was lead by someone new. Discord begins among the people. Elder has decided it is time to figure out what is wrong with the ship, and get the whole mission back on track for landing on Sol Earth, but what he discovers is that Eldest wasn’t keeping just one secret from the people of Godspeed, but layers upon layers of secrets.

REVIEW: The concept of this book, traveling through space on a ship that supplies all your needs, to a new planet – one that is not destroyed by our constant sucking of its resources. Fun idea. I enjoyed Across the Universe quite a bit. A Million Suns picks up a couple of months after Across the Universe, and things are chaos from the beginning. The book starts out with more secrets revealed, and more and more and more just pile on throughout the entire book.

The story line is the biggest “catch all” about the book. The first few chapters were written rather soap opera like, reveal some huge piece of information and then “commercial break” over to the other narrative – leaving us having to read through to find out what happens next. Very clever! I loved the scavenger hunt, and the discovery of all the…secrets of the ship. I enjoyed the mystery too, trying to figure out who on the ship could be trusted, and who was causing all of the discourse. On that note though, I felt like Luther was a little too conveniently dealt with. He was a lurking danger that never really came to fruition, in my opinion.

My biggest disappointments of the book were in the characters. Both Elder and Amy have not fulfilled any of my expectations. While there should be discourse and chaos, I was expecting a leader. While Elder did have potential, he really just didn’t take the initiative. He let (bad) things get done in his name, with a little bit of protesting, but not near enough. More than anything, it seemed like he complained about all the things he was doing, and sulked about everything that wasn’t being done – hello, it’s called delegation. The only thing he really “let go” of as a leader was the creation of a police force. When he discovered people weren’t working, he didn’t do anything to rally them up – he just let the rebellion build. When he found out the Doc was handing out patches left and right, he just shrugs his shoulders and walks away. He knocks people out of their stupor (which agreeably, they shouldn’t have been in, in the first place) but he does nothing to maintain status quo. Of course they are not going to wake up from being controlled and manipulated and be willing to just keep on doing what they were doing as if they were still under mind control – that is obvious! Amy, on the other hand, was no help at all. I liked her in Across the Universe, but here she has turned into a whiney baby. I think in almost every single scene in which she and Elder were together she got upset and threw a temper tantrum, and quite honestly refused to listen to reason. I was done with her about half way through.

So my hope for the future (book)? That they grow up! Both Amy and Elder need to realize that their decisions effect everybody, not just themselves. It’s not about wants, it’s about what is best.

BOOK REVIEW: Crossed – Ally Condie

GENRE:  Young Adult – Romance, Dystopian
FORM:  Audiobook
NARRATOR(s):   Kate Simses, Jack Riccobono
SERIES:  Matched – Book 2

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads.com):  

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

REVIEW:  I have been looking forward to this book for, well about a year now. I wasn’t sure how much I was going to like Matched when I first found out what it was about, but it didn’t take me long to really get into it. Cassia and Ky’s secret relationship was made so very precious due to the danger they were constantly in. This was the first dystopian novel that I have read where you get a very clear picture of the government involvement. I, of course, had read The Hunger Games, but I felt like it was more of an outside view of government. In Matched, Cassia was fully involved with “The Society” before she started questioning what was happening around her. Crossed took this information to the next level and then you get a much bigger view of “The Rising.” I found it interesting how all of the characters in this book speculate on who “the Pilot” is, and what “The Rising” means, each having a different view, different feelings and different expectations.

I have enjoyed finding out more about “The Rising.” I can understand Cassia’s mental dilemma, in many times she is full on for a rebellion against “The Society,” yet time and time again she refers back to her life in “The Society” where everything was laid out and decided for her. The lack of confusion and chaos – sometimes it’s like she has gotten caught up with the ease of such a lifestyle that she forgets that the point is that she is an individual with thoughts and the ability to make decisions, yet once she really thinks about it she desires to have that choice and will fight to get it. I think that this would be true for many people today.  There are certainly people out there who would be perfectly happy if their entire lives were laid out before them, and no decision would ever have to be made on their own, while other people would be bursting out of the seams to get out of that box, to do something different, crazy, or creative.  I think Cassia actually does fall in them middle of those two scenarios, but she also knows what is right.

The more I read them the more I am not a fan of love triangles. I hate that in my mind I have made a decision, and about 90% of the time my decision is how the story concludes, but I have to sit through the wishy/washyness of going between boys. I understand Xander has always been Cassia’s best friend from youth, but I don’t still don’t like the longing references back to him. He isn’t giving up, and there is a part of her that doesn’t give up on him either. It cannot be both ways, and Cassia, and every other girl in every other book, needs to stop playing with the emotions of these boys. Especially with this series, isn’t there enough action and emotion, danger and storyline to feed these books without throwing in the love triangle??

It is refreshing how innocent the relationship between Cassia and Ky has played out on the pages. Yes, they kiss a lot, and have their tender moments, but sex is not the only thing on their minds – which has been a consistent theme in many of the books I’ve read recently. It makes them come off as innocent and sweet, and leaves you wanting just a touch more.

So I have a few questions, which is natural for being in the middle of a series; but I am wondering if “The Rising” isn’t a bit like “The Society” in some of the important ways. Order is needed everywhere, but I’m afraid that they are going to end up having a big ugly center. Hopefully I’m wrong since all of the characters we love are wrapped up in the middle of it all. I’m also curious about this invisible enemy they seem to talk about, but who also seem to be completely separate from both “The Society,” and “The Rising.”  My theory:  the enemy is a made up force created by “The Society” in order to justify their murder of everyone that is not like them.

I love foreshadowing, and I’m hopeful on the Indy/Xander possibility. I do feel bad for Xander, he does seem to have been dealt a bad hand in all of this, so to see him come to some kind of happiness would be wonderful. But more than that, I really, really, really hope that Cassia stops with the back and forth – and falls in love with one guy – who better be Ky!

In conclusion – I really enjoyed Crossed.  I was a little bit afraid, after reading a few other reviews who felt like it was just a filler book with nothing important, but I’m thankful they were wrong.  So much important information has been included in this book.  It just didn’t have so much of the relationship aspects of the book that I think people so often are looking for.  That isn’t the point of the book!

BOOK REVIEW: Eve – Anna Carey

GENRE: Young Adult – Dystopian
FORM: Audiobook
NARRATOR: Tavia Gilbert
SERIES:  Eve – Book 1

SYNOPSIS (from Goodreads.com):

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.

Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust…and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

REVIEW: I listened to this audiobook in one day, so it feels like this book just flew by. It’s not just that it was short, but there was so much action and suspense that I was constantly on the edge of my seat waiting to find out what happened next. There were times when I was surprised by the violence, or maybe it was just the imagery…either way, I’m used to the suspense, I’m not so used to such graphic results. This is not a bad thing, mind you, it just took me by surprise.

After I finished Eve, I went back and read a few other reviews on what people thought of it. While the board was pretty divided between, “excellent” and “not for me” I was surprised by some of the reasons why. One in particular stuck out to me, as it claimed that the book was filled with blatant sexism. While I sort of can understand where this reviewer may have drawn those conclusions from, and by all means everyone is entitled to an opinion so I’m not trying to stir the pot or say that this person is wrong, but I do want to mention why I thought that this dystopian novel was pretty right on.

Think about our world right now. There are people who are just good people. They want to do good, help others, and just live their life the best they can. But then there are other people who view every new thing, every little action as an opportunity to get something out of it. For example; spam mail, people who want to get your password from you, people who try and con you out of money by posing as a relative who is stuck in a foreign country with no money, people who want to “give you” a million dollars because they are going to die and have no money, people who want to buy their car and then have you ship it to them in Argentina or where ever. These types of people are out to make a quick (and sometimes rather large) buck. They take advantage of the wonderful technology, the wireless transactions, the world wide access to other people and spin it around into something mean and hateful. So the fact that in this book, a setting where a large majority of the earth’s population has been wiped out by a virus and the people are left thinking, “what now?” there is for sure going to be those people who are going to take advantage of the situation for their own good. The hot commodity in this book…females. Why? Well to repopulate of course. One man can impregnate multiple women – so that makes the females more important. So yes, there are going to be people who are going to hunt girls down and sell them to the highest bidder – even if it is not to the established government based program. It is just how people (bad people, yes) are. The female shortage will also take its toll on otherwise “good” guys as well, because really – people want what they can’t have. So again, I’m not surprised that the men in this story behaved the way that they did. Does it make their behavior right, of course not. But I do think it’s fairly realistic perspective. What I think may have been the real problem with the story is, there were so few “good guys.”

I enjoyed Eve. She was so trusting and secure in her life – the life she thought she had, until she sought the truth out for herself. Even outside the walls of her school, Eve struggled between what she was taught, and what she was learning to be true; and having trouble figuring out what could be trusted. She was extremely innocent. Even after being chased, kidnapped, and attacked; it seemed like she still felt like she had no real concept of how much danger she really was in. She was a strong character regardless – and still fought for her life in the end.

I liked the strong backbone of Caleb, and the reluctant friend in Arden. I believe (or maybe it’s just hope) that in the future books we will see all three come together in to fairly strong bond. Eve is not my absolute favorite Dystopian of the year, but I did enjoy it quite a bit, and do look forward to finding out what happens next.