Category Archives: Fantasy

Allegiant – Raving Review! (YA)

***SPOILER ALERT***

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This wasn’t what I expected. The way the second book, Insurgent, ended, I expected a crusade at the very least. But, it seemed to be lack luster, anti-climactic, though it picked up much later. More than half of the book is suffering. Not the suffering you do when you’re fighting for a cause, but the silent suffering that hurts inside. I understand, though, because of where Roth took the story. It was a very elaborate government cover-up that must have taken time to think of, but after all the build up… i think I just expected more.

Now here’s the coup de gras! I repeat, spoiler alert. Right after Tris and Tobias fix their relationship, maybe two chapters later, and they are thinking of their future, she dies! The main character dies. I debated writing this because I didn’t want to ruin the story for anyone, but I had to review it. I feel silly admitting this, but I actually hurt for fictional characters. I cried. I could feel the pain. I tend to get very immersed into the books I read, putting my self into the stories and comparing their relationships with my own. But, this story was written in first person, which further puts the reader into the role of the main character. I invested a lot into this series. I loved the characters… and many of them died. I, personally, read to escape reality so I tend to like a happy ending, or at least one where the main character doesn’t die or get permanently damaged. I thought, after Mockingjay, that I would be prepared this time. I knew it would be sad, but I had no clue it would be this bad. The worst part is I saw no reason for it. With Mockingjay, I at least saw the point. In this book, however, things would have ended up exactly the same if she had lived. She could have even almost died. I get it. She was supposed to sacrifice for love. It’s central to the story, but everything that happened after that moment would have been the same if she only almost died. She still would have been a martyr. Even Harry Potter lived. He actually died and came back! His world was maybe worse or equal to Tris’s, but he lived!

I was so angry and so hurt. But, as time goes by, my feelings mellow. It’s not the end of the world, I just really loved the series. I still do, but this book is not my favorite at all.

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Divergent – Review (YA)

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The summary on the jacket:

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

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are – and where exactly a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.”

If you had to decide which quality would contribute most to saving the world, could you choose just one?

Divergent is amazing! It had a slowish start, but it was always interesting. I was glued to the pages in no time. I couldn’t put it down. And I don’t mean that figuratively. I literally brought it with me everywhere and couldn’t put it down. It was fast paced, evocative, and compelling. I loved the strong heroine and watching her come into her own.  I loved the decision making through out the book and learning about her faction after the Choosing Ceremony. Of course, to drive home the fact that it is an oppressing society, some people had to die. I hate when people I like die in books. But, it wasn’t nearly as bad as Mockingjay (in the Hunger Games series). Some people say that this is like The Hunger Games. I don’t think it is. Sure, there are a few similarities, but the story and the style is very different.

This story has a lot to do with over coming fear, which really hits home for me, and with finding out who you really are. It also has to do with finding out your definition of right and wrong. I love the imagery the author made as well as the imaginative things she made seem realistic. I also, really love the character of Tobias and his relationship with Tris.

I can’t believe that the author wrote this when she wasn’t much older than I was, that this is her first novel, and that she did the same things I do now (write stories instead of dong homework). That’s my dream. To write and publish at least one really good book.

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Mockingjay – Review (YA)

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I know I’ve been posting a lot about The Hunger Games lately, but once I started revisiting it for the review, I couldn’t stop. And, honestly, can you blame me? It’s a riveting book, even the second time around. I wont say it’s the best book in the whole entire world, but it’s a very good book in it’s own right. The story seems original. Even if it draws from real life and past stories, it twists into it’s own, completely new tale. Suzanne Collins comes up with so many things to capture a whole new world and culture. It is impressive.

Mockingjay, the third and final book in her series, takes place after she is rescued from the Quarter Quell. But, Peeta could not be rescued along with her. She lives with the guilt and devastation of losing him, as well as the grief over losing her home town and most of the people who had lived there. Suzanne does an amazing job of capturing the devastation and loss of such monumental things as well as illustrating the horrors of war, which Katniss soon becomes immersed in. She also highlights just how cruel human kind can be. It is a sad book, but for some reason, it doesn’t seem to drag you into the depths of depression. There is triumph, hope, love, and so much more strewn through out the misery. I usually don’t read sad books, especially ones that could make me cry, but I have made this book my exception. I do not like what they did to some of the characters, but I can see how it would be necessary. I have to admit, though, that the first time I read  this I threw it at the wall when I was finished. I was so immersed into Katniss’s head, so wrapped in her guilt, and so angry that characters I had loved died. It still leaves a bitter taste in my mouth and an ache in my heart, even though they are all fictional characters. Yet, I still LOVE this series. That is just how powerful it is. I would have liked if the ending had highlighted the positives a bit more, though.

There are positives, however: fighting to save a world from corruption and injustice, the ever expanding depth of Katniss’s love for Peeta, rebirth from the ashes…

I know that Katniss has some love for Gale and maybe once upon a time it would have grown to be something substantial, but her love for him is something completely different from what she shares with Peeta. Gale is more a friend, someone she loves, but isn’t in love with. In Catching Fire, however, it says that Katniss even notices she feels things she’s never felt for Peeta, like unsatisfiable desire and heat. She doesn’t want to be with out him. In the third book, she finally realizes how much he really means to her, while also, sadly, realizing how different her and Gale really are. In the end, I try to remember that salvaging the love between her and Peeta is a powerful thing and it should overshadow the darker aspects of the story.

Overall, it as an evocative, powerful, and great story, as well as series. Definitely, worth a read. Can’t wait to see what they do with the 2nd and 3rd movies.

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Catching Fire – Review (YA)

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I just read this for the second time and I was still caught up in it. I could really feel Katniss’s pain. I could feel everyone’s pain for that matter. But, I was so in tune with Katniss. I really got into her head. When she was confused and frustrated, so was I. I think this book was even more gory than the first and definitely had more anguish. But, the way it was written the gore wasn’t nauseating. It was essential to the story, but not the main part. The story was sad, but captivating. The innovation of the arena, though horrible, was quite amazing. I don’t know how Suzanne thought of it. And the best part, and maybe the saddest, was watching Katniss’s love for Peeta develop. It was sad because Gale is always in the back of your mind as well as in hers, but what she felt for him did not compare to her feelings for Peeta, even if she didn’t realize how deep they went. And it is sad because the way it ends. I wont say toomuch, but it’s a cliff hanger at the end. I can’t wait for the movie.

Even though I hate sad books it is definitely worth a read.

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Hush, Hush – Review (YA)

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“Romance was not part of Nora Grey’s plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgement.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is  way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.”

I wasn’t too fond of this story. I can see how someone may like it, but it’s definitely not my favorite. It is complicated and dark. It also has a lot of death and weird love triangles in it. It just wasn’t satisfying to me. I’d have to say I don’t recommend this.

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Midnight Sun – Review

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There is no summary for this because it was never made into an entire book. Stephenie Meyer said her manuscript was leaked and she would finish it at a later date (that was in 2008). But, she posted the what she had written so far on her website in a pdf and that is what I will review.

I really like this version of the story. Reading it from Edward’s point of view is very interesting. One reason why is because I have read the original so it’s interesting to see his point of view. But, it’s more than that. His story, the evolution of his love for Bella, seems much more interesting. Plus he has the view point and behind the scenes life of a vampire. Twilight has it’s great points and Bella’s love story is nice in itself, but Edwards seems to have another layer of depth. He didn’t want to love her. His story is more intense and the progression of his love for her is, well, for lack of a different word, interesting. He isn’t just bumbling through school, confused. Things don’t just happen to him. He has important decisions to make. I suppose, though, that Bella did, too. But, for some reason it seems different. Maybe I’m biased, though.

I have to say, though, that this is worth a read.

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Nightshade – Review (YA)

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Here’s the summary on the back:

“She risked her life to save his, believing she’d never see him again. But he has returned, challenging her destiny as Alpha wolf, leaving her doubting her past and fearing her future.”

Written by Andrea Cremer.

I cannot tell you how much I love this book. The plot has so much depth and so many twists. I love the characters, the dynamics, the pack/ friendships. I love the idea, too. I don’t know why so many books have to have a love triangle (maybe it just happens that way) but this one sort of does, too. However, I didn’t find as much of a problem with this one as I usually do. And it’s not exactly the main focus. Sure love is important in this story… but it’s also about finding yourself. It’s about triumph.

I am going to re-read it so I can say more of what it’s about, as I read this a while ago and forgot a few things. I want you to be well informed 🙂

But, I definitely say it’s worth a read. I couldn’t stop reading it and finished the series in no time.

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Beastly – Review (YA)

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Here is the summary on the back:

“I am a beast. A beast. Not quite a wolf or bear, gorilla or dog, but horrible new creature who walks upright – a creature with fangs and claws and hair springing from every pore. I am a monster. You think I’m talking fairy tales? No way. The place is New York City. The time is now. It’s no deformity, no disease. And I’ll stay this way forever – ruined – unless I can break the spell. Yes, the spell, the one the witch in my English class cast on me. Why did she turn me into a beast who hides by day and prowls the night? I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you how I used to be Kyle Kingsbury, the guy you wished you were, with money, perfect looks, and the perfect life.  And then, I’ll tell you how I became perfectly… beastly.”

I love this book. It may not be the most involved story ever, but I do love the story. It’s a great take on an old tale: the beauty and the beast. It’s set in modern day New York City. A very popular, rich, and handsome high school guy pisses off the wrong witch. He gets turned into a beast and has to learn his lesson or will remain that way forever. As a vain young man, this lesson is hard to learn. It gets to the core of things, to the core of love. It highlights, honesty and kindness. There are many nuances that intrigued me. It was a pleasure to read.

I’d say it’s worth a read.

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Twilight – Review (YA)

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Here’s the summary on the back:

About three things I was absolutely positive. First, Edward was a vampire. Second, there was a part of him – and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be – that thirsted for my blood.And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

I’m not really sure what to say. On one hand I love this series (though this isn’t my favorite book in it) and on the other hand I don’t love it. There is a lot of controversy with this book.

When I first heard about the book I did not want to read it. I tend to hesitate when it comes to overly hyped up books and things that become mainstream, but when I finally did read it I loved it. I loved the new take on vampires (I love original vampire myths, too, but not as much as some people who strictly adhere to that lore). I liked that there was finally a book where vampires could go out in the sun and not kill people. I loved the corny romance and identified with the ordinary teen who gets the great guy. I could feel the intense emotion.

I have read it several times since then, however, and I can see the other side of the spectrum, now. For those who don’t like corny love stories, this is not the book for you. For those who love old vampire lore and hate new, sparkly takes on it, this is not for you. It does have some great extras like Native American culture and myths, shape shifting wolves, and vampire fights, but those things are not the main focus. The focus is Edward and Bella’s relationship. After a few reads, that gets boring. And the book does move slowly.  I also can agree that the characters are whiny once in a while and definitely moody.

Since she draws out the details and development, Stephenie Meyer does a good job of establishing the characters, place, vampire culture, wolf culture, and story, though. There are some really great parts to this story. I will always love Twilight as a whole, even if there are some things I do not like individually.  But, i definitely go drawn into the story and the good parts are worth reading.

So, is it worth a read over all? That depends on you. If you hate new takes on old myths, then no. If you hate teen love stories, then no. But if you don’t mind a corny teen love story then yes. Not every book can be perfect, but over all I like this series.

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The Hunger Games – review (YA)

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Since the second Hunger Games movie is coming out, I figured it would be a good time to review The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.

Here is the summary on the back:

Winning means fame and fortune. Losing means certain death. The Hunger Games have begun…

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.

Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

I have to say, I was reluctant to read it at first. I usually am reluctant to read hyped up books. But, once I started reading I got hooked. It’s a face paced, action packed book, but it also describes scenes intriguingly well. I also have to admit, the present tense in first person took me a bit to get used to, but that’s really a personal preference and it faded to the background once I got into the story.

Katniss, though gruff at times, is a lovable character. I love her because she is a strong independent character, but I’ve always loved the strong heroine types. I find, though, that even her more subtle attributes and her flaws make her lovable. I quickly became involved in a lot of the characters, actually. I’m also not one for love triangles usually, It seems most books have them, though. But, I wouldn’t really call this a love triangle, or at least it didn’t get that far in my opinion.

This book, as well as the series, can get quite intense. I hadn’t read a book like it before. Not only is Katniss dealing with teenage things and family problems, but she is dealing with a brutal game to the death. It is amazing to follow her journey and read what decisions she makes.

On top of this brutal game she’s in and the brutal society that created it, there are undertones of so many different types of love. The love she has for her sister, for example, is one of the most profound connections in the book. It is beautiful.

There’s really something for everyone. There’s a little romance, a little drama, a lot of action, and a lot of depth. In my opinion it’s worth a read.

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