Author: Ann Aguirre
Publication Date: 04/21/2011
Publisher: Feiwel and Friends (Macmillan)
As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.
Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.
As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.
Note: Because this has been commented upon a few times... the ending is not a cliffhanger. It just sort of stops at a part where I would expect to turn the page for more story.
This week I made up for not buying any books and as such I'm going to put myself on a book-buying ban until I purchase A Dance With Dragons in July. You know, unless a big library sale or the like pops up and then I give in completely.
This book is something everyone should read. Full stop.
three. the most brilliantly funny
six. fave rainy day comfort read
seven. best tense, adrenaline-fueled, unputdownable award
eight. the beautiful prose award
nine. most atmospheric and vivid setting
ten. i-so-want-to-go-there award
This is difficult. I'd love to go to the Dauntless enclave, but I'd also like to visit the beaches of California like in Moonglass. Can I cheat? I want to go to them all.
eleven. most original and imaginative
If I could, I would also give this one 'completely amazing premise', but I'm going to try and branch out for another one. Suffice to say, I really loved this book. I need a hard copy.
twelve. best under-appreciated, hidden gem book
thirteen. i-had-no-idea-i-would-love this-so award
fourteen. most haunting story
sixteen. series that i'm loving
seventeen. most memorable voice award
eighteen. completely awesome premise award
nineteen. would make the best movie
twenty. want to re-read already
I do. I still haven't reviewed it. I think I'll reread it later in the year and then put up a review. But I love, love, love this book.
I wish I had more time to spend with this, but as I'm rushing out the door for work I'm going to say Charles Perrault's La Belle au bois dormant, better known as Sleeping Beauty. I love the original French version and the English translations as well as the Disney version that's more or less based on Tchaikovsky - but who doesn't love Tchaikovsky? There's another one that is escaping the name of me that I've translated before myself but I forget the name of it. I'll have to think on it!
As for books and the fae can I say Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series and the play it was based on, A Midsummer Night's Dream - which I love seeing performed in Central Park on occasion during the summer!
Author: Cayla Kluver
Publication Date: 06/28/2011
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Across the land of Hytanica, under the shadow of the crimson moon, infant boys continued to vanish. Not until the blood had faded from the sky did the disappearances stop and the bodies of the murdered infants were found outside the gates of the city, a final word from the greatest enemy Hytanica had ever known. For the next sixteen years, peace reigned, but one mystery remained unsolved. The Cokyrians had abducted forty-nine newborns, but returned only forty-eight bodies.
Now, as seventeen-year-old Princess Alera of Hytanica is besieged from all sides by suitors vying for the Throne, a teenage Cokyrian boy, Narian, is encountered within the walls of her Kingdom, a boy who will show Alera a world where women serve a purpose and not just a husband. As Narian helps Alera find her voice, she struggles against an arranged marriage that will shatter the life she has scarcely begun to live. And when Narian's shocking past is uncovered, and war with Cokyri looms once more, he must fight to defy a fate ordained at his birth. (goodreads)
I didn't know what to expect of this book coming in. I love a good fantasy, and despite the almost romance novel cover I was intrigued by the possibilities. Legacy tells the story of the Hytanican princess, Alera, who is on the cusp of her 18th birthday. This wouldn't be a big deal except for the fact that in her society a princess who turns 18 must choose her suitor, who will succeed her father and rule as king. Alera's father already has someone in mind - Steldor, son of the Captain of the Guard - and somewhat fiesty Alera takes offense to this and acts out in small ways to keep him at bay. And this might sound like a somewhat pleasant story until we introduce Alera's personal bodyguard of sixteen years, London. London and Alera are rather close, and one day while in the gardens they are met by an unknown woman that ends up being a Cokyrian. When she escapes, panic ensues, suspicion sets in and unchains a series of events that unfold the rest of the story.
One of my favorite things about this book was the richness of the secondary characters. Alera's sister, Miranna, is fun and playful, yet is a grounding force for her sister when she steps out of line or needs to be told the truth from different eyes. The best characters for me were within the king's Elite Guard and comprised of London, Halias (Miranna's personal guard), and Destari: these guys were not only unwaveringly loyal but also knew when to step back and not take things too seriously and had their own distinct personalities and quirks. I wouldn't want to have any of them angry at me - but I would go to dinner with London.
That said, there was more about it that didn't work for me than that did. The biggest thing is the role that women play, or rather, don't play. One of the big differences between Hytanican and Cokyrian societies is that the former is patriarchal and the latter matriarchal. While I don't advocate either gender disparity, as the books are primarily told from the viewpoint of Hytanica what we see is a lot of women relegated to incredibly stereotypical tasks: an education in etiquette, dancing, speech, and event planning. Females do not learn history, politics, or advanced languages. I tried to set this aside again and again but there were passages that brought it up so forcefully that made it difficult, such as this one:
"He also feels, like most men, that a father should not trust to a daughter's judgement on a decision as important as the selection of her husband." (quote is from an uncorrected copy and may change in the finished version.)Steldor, the man who the king wants Alera to marry, is not a very likable individual. He boasts, struts, and all other manner of verbs that act but do not inspire. Alera is very much opposed to marrying him but ends up not having much of a choice in the matter which was distressing to read as things progressed. I admit he does get better, but in almost a way that's too forced to believe. The other thing that was distracting were the words themselves. The writing was bogged down in descriptive detail that in between whatever the characters may have been saying we got a run-down of what they were wearing, the room they were in, and where that building was in respect to the rest of their realm. I appreciate world-building, and I love to know detail when it's something that enhances what someone is saying or if it hints at things to come but not repeatedly as it ends up being distracting.
While looking into the book, I found that Cayla was 14 when the book was first written. I'm curious to see how her writing has progressed since then and how her editors will treat the second book in the series in comparison to the first as the story is there, it's just the rest that needs polishing. For that reason I'm going to continue the series when the next book, Allegiance, is released.
This ARC was received from Harlequin Teen via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
I'll admit, I don't like circuses in the traditional sense, but as soon as I saw this cover and read the synopsis I was hooked. A circus that's only open at night called The Circus of Dreams - it was immediate love. I already want to know more about the colors, the cover, the characters. And the UK version of the cover, while not quite as gorgeous is still beautiful. The line about prose is also very intriguing for me as I love an author that can work details with words like a loom. This is a release that I am very much looking forward to.
This is probably the first week in awhile that I haven't bought any books, although I almost did the other day and I certainly will this week. (I just started the Vampire Academy series a day or so ago and I'm already on book 3 and completely addicted. I need the rest of them! And I love Dimitri.) I'm still catching up from books I got a few weeks ago and from holds that have arrived at the library. Here goes!
I'm also going to toss in a mention of Ray Bradbury's short story take on the original poem There Will Come Soft Rains; when we first read this in English I would go back and read it over and over again when the rest of the class was reading other stories aloud. (Don't worry, I always caught up.) If you haven't read it, it's an insanely quick read but for me it's unforgettable. You can read it here.
He was wrong.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible.
Publication Date: 11/06/2007
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
"Connor stands there for the longest time, until the motion sensor light goes out. Being alone had not been part of the plan, but he realises it should have been. From the moment his parents signed those papers, Connor was alone. (10)"
How I missed this I'm not sure, but when I read the synopsis for Unwind I somehow entirely missed the definition of what it was to be unwound and it was something of a horrific discovery as I read more and more, putting the pieces together. The book, divided into seven parts, begins with a part called "Triplicate" named in reference to the fact that in order to have a child unwound, a parent must sign carbon-copy paperwork - and the subtle reference to carbon being duplicated and split is a clever one - with the white copy of the paper work going to the government, the yellow copy with the child, and the pink stays with the parents. The first heading also refers to the introduction of the three main characters and their stories. First is Connor, a so-called normal child raised in the average family setting with his parents and younger brother except for the fact that Connor has some behavioral issues. Next is Lev whose very religious family has decided that Lev would literally be a tithe for the family to the world, and the Lev we first meet is perfectly fine with this not knowing any other life. Last is Risa, a girl raised in a State Home whose gift of playing the piano was not enough to save her a bed in the orphanage and to clear space will be unwound.
Connor starts things into motion when he finds three tickets for a vacation. Curious as to why only three, he soon finds his unwind paperwork and decides to make a run for it. The turn of events end up with his meeting Lev and Risa somewhat unwillingly but the three of them share a bond as only Unwind can. I won't say too much about their journey but, like I mentioned earlier, without knowing what it really meant to be unwound, reading this book really was like putting together the pieces of the puzzle I didn't want to know the picture to. The people they meet along the way change their perception of what is is to be an Unwind, how they see themselves, and develop a keen sense of (and distaste for) how easy it is to throw someone way - and not just Unwinds, either - no matter who they are to you. Their only goal is to make it until eighteen, to live.
It is difficult to put into words just how awesome (in the most literal sense) I thought this book was. I won't lie, this is a difficult book to read, but I would implore anyone that if you haven't read this book that you should at least consider it. Everything about it was so well thought out from the references to actual events under the part headers which tie into what is happening within that section of the book to the realism of it all - despite that current science isn't up to par for this, thankfully, there wasn't a moment where something stood out to me because it was implausible. I loved these characters not because they were on their death beds but because they had real, human reactions to the situation and their journey was courageous and heartbreaking.
As a forewarning - there is one scene that is probably the most graphic thing that I've ever read, not because of blood and gore but simply due to the absence of words and things left implied that go straight to your imagination. Even still, I haven't added a book to my favorites in a long time, but Unwind was an immediate add.
When Kate Mercier's parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life--and memories--behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.
Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate's guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he's a revenant. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.
When I saw this book was set in Paris I was immediately intrigued. Paris is such a historically rich location and I was curious to see how it as a backdrop would be used in the story. One of my favorite aspects of the book, probably because it's something I love to do, is Kate exploring her arrondissement by visiting cafés to find the perfect one for her. And when she does she sits in the corner with a good book and a cup of coffee and contentedly reads the hours away. You can tell Amy is intimately familiar with France by her subtle use of the language and references to places that fleshed out the reader's idea of Paris turning it into a realistic setting rather than an overly-described Google search.
The one issue I had with it was the way that Kate and Vincent started their friendship. It would make sense that they first saw each other at the café as that's where Kate spent the majority of her time, but the subsequent meetings were bizarre and would have freaked me out if I were Kate - you can't get out of being creepy by telling a girl she's cute.
"And the girl I've seen you around the neighborhood with would be your..."Aside from the origins of their attraction I never felt that Kate was drawing away from everyone else due to her relationship with Vincent. In fact, she often spent time with Vincent's housemates and became good friends with them - and I loved them, too! Jules in particular was my favorite housemate with his flirtatious jokes yet when someone needed him he was right there. Kate's family was fun to visit and although we didn't see enough of them as I would have liked, the reasons for Kate not being home were entirely reasonable. (Going out after being depressed and staying in her room in a funk was a good sign for her them.) When Kate was at home it was easy to get a feel for just how close she and her sister, Georgia, were with her grandparents.
"Sister," I said slowly. "Have you been spying on me?"
"Two cute girls move to the area - what am I supposed to do?" (p 37)
I don't want to give too much away by talking about what a revenant is - although if you know French you probably have an idea - or where they came from, but the idea of them was something pretty original as far as paranormal themes are concerned and played a large part in why the book was so intriguing for me. By the end of the book I was rooting for Vincent, Kate and all of her new friends. This is a book that is perfectly fine to read as a stand-alone, but there will be more coming. Hats off to Amy Plum for a great debut.
I haven't gotten too many new books lately as I'm still a week or so behind in catching up with everything I have, although I do have some holds waiting at the library.
These guys were on sale at Amazon and I think I got them all for about $10 with free shipping courtesy of another trial of Amazon Prime.