waiting on wednesday (32)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event courtesy of Breaking the Spine
that showcases much anticipated upcoming releases.

from goodreads: 05/01/2012
In this exhilarating companion to Printz Award winner and National Book Award finalist Ship Breaker, Paolo Bacigalupi brilliantly captures a dark future America that has devolved into unending civil wars, driven by demagogues who recruit children to become soulless killing machines. Two refugees of these wars, Mahlia and Mouse, are known as "war maggots": survivors who have barely managed to escape the unspeakable violence plaguing the war-torn lands of the Drowned Cities. But their fragile safety is threatened when they discover a wounded half-man--a bioengineered war beast named Tool, who is hunted by a vengeful band of soldiers. When tragedy strikes, Mahlia is faced with an impossible decision: risk everything to save the boy who once saved her, or flee to her own safety.

Drawing upon the brutal truths of current events, The Drowned Cities is a powerful story of loyalty, survival, and heart-pounding adventure.

I absolutely loved Ship Breaker, so when I found out there would be a continuation of the story, let's just say there was much rejoicing. (Tool!) Everything about the previous book was amazing - Bacigalupi is a superb storyteller, using words that hit just the right buttons. If you have not read it yet, really, you should. May will be a glooorious book month!

review: truth by julia karr

Author: Julia Karr
Publication Date: 01/19/2012
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 299
Source: ARC

Nina Oberon’s life has changed enormously in the last few months. When her mother was killed, Nina discovered the truth about her father, the leader of the Resistance. And now she sports the same Governing Council–ordered tattoo of XVI on her wrist that all sixteen-year-old girls have. The one that announces to the world that she is easy prey to predators. But Nina won’t be anyone’s stereotype. And when she joins an organization of girls working within the Resistance, she knows that they can put an end to one of the most terrifying secret programs the GC has ever conceived. Because the truth always comes out...and the consequences can be deadly.
While sixteen is usually a big age for girls, in Nina's society it holds an even larger connotation: she now sports an XVI tattoo that announces her age to the world. This tattoo leaves her vulnerable to sexual attacks with little legal recourse as girls in her world are raised by society to dress and act provocatively which creates a chicken and the egg scenario - are girls raised this way to act as an excuse for these deviant attacks or do they happen because of it? At sixteen girls are also eligible to be contracted for FeLs (Female Liasion Specialists), something Nina's mother told her is nothing but a glamorous cover up for institutionalised prostitution. The daughter of the infamous leader of the Resistance, Nina chooses herself to join and finds that participating is far different than the mere idea of it.

I was hesitant coming into this one as I wasn't completely sold by XVI, however it wasn't until Truth that the idea of it hit me, and it's a nasty one. The entire society can be seen as a hyper-sexed area where girls are encouraged to dress and act to encourage male attention. Everything about it from the beginnings of the tattoo to the creation of FeLs is an excuse for the prostitution ring the government runs. These girls are raised wanting to participate in FeLs, not knowing that it's definitely not for off-world diplomatic training. The government itself creates these embedded gender stereotypes perhaps as an excuse to wave away any inevitable blame. This, of course, is theoretical but the groundwork is there in the books and it's scary. So, if you weren't quite convinced by XVI, give Truth a try because the ideas definitely mesh together in a much more coherent manner - not to mention it's very hard to put down!

Nina grew on me - and into herself - in this one. As someone who's lived so long without: without status, without money, and especially without a stable familial structure, she's become sensitive to the stark differences between what someone can do when you have these things and what those who don't have it are seen as. Because of this she's a stronger person who is less afraid to stand up for herself in fear of whatever the consequences may be. She protects herself and those closest to her, but not in a brash manner that is off-putting. I should mention that there is something of a love triangle in the story, but in my opinion it's almost a welcome one. Nina brings up some issues on the basis of gender equality and what women are and are not capable of which is somewhat of an issue with one of guys involved, who may or may not believe that women are not as capable as men in some regards. This could just be slanted from her POV, but it's something that I'm interested in seeing how it plays out.

Truth is a thrilling hook to a fascinating series. It's addicting and full of small mysteries here and here that add up as pieces to the larger puzzle. Before it even ended I was left wanting to know what might happen with the characters in book three. Aside from being a fast read, Truth is a book that deals with important themes in a manner that's easy to digest. I'm glad I continued after XVI and will definitely be waiting for the third installment!

follow friday (28)

Q: Go count the number of unread books on your shelf. How many are there?

I apologise guys, I'm not going to count the number of books unread tonight. I have a headache and, seriously, thinking about my TBR pile, in which I include everything unread on my shelf plus the dream books I want to read in my head, will only lead me nervous stomach butterflies. (And not of the kind that happen when Cricket talks to Lola, no sir.)

There are a lot. 1/2 of my shelf, perhaps. But now that I'm  better trying to actively manage my review books (on my calendar) it helps with me knowing just how many I'm taking in so that I can intersperse them with books from my shelf. If I remember in the morning I'll take a picture of my shelf, which is slightly terrifying. I have a gazillion books that I received as gifts and others I ordered with gift cards with B&N's 50% off coupon and I have no idea where they're going to go. I'll worry about that when they come in. You can never have too many books. :)

What about you guys? Does the thought of all those unread books make you happy, slightly stressed, or both?

waiting on wednesday (31)

"Waiting on" Wednesday is a weekly event courtesy of Breaking the Spine
that showcases much anticipated upcoming releases.

goodreads 05/01/2012:
Life can change in an instant, and no one understands that better than Aura. It’s been almost a year since her boyfriend tragically died. She’s finally letting go of Logan’s violet-hued ghost, but not her search to uncover the truth about her past.As the first in a generation that can see ghosts, Aura is convinced that she has a connection to the Shift. She’s trusted Zachary, ever patient and ever by her side, with all that she knows. But when the government threatens his life in an attempt to learn Aura’s secrets, she will stop at nothing to protect herself and the one she loves...even if that means betraying her own heart.

Guys, I really enjoy the premise of this series even though I'm not much of a Logan fan, though I understand his part in the plot. I like the what-if of these books, and I think it efficiently captures a scenario that could be plausible if the given situation happened. I'm hoping though that it's not allll action and that they don't reunite two pages from the end - not going to lie, sometimes I just like a smidgen of happiness in my endings, and these two together are adorable.

I'm also hoping that the spine of this book won't throw it off too much with the other two on my shelf. What is everyone else looking forward to? 2012 is shaping up to be a great book year!

review: legend by marie lu

Author: Marie Lu
Publication Date: 11/29/2011
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 305
Source: Purchased

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias' death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.
The Republic can be separated into the have and have-nots. June Iparis falls into the former category, a daughter of wealthy parents, graduate of the top schools, and also, unfortunately full of unknowing discrimination that comes with never having experienced the other side. Day is the latter: unprivileged, undereducated, and fighting for survival. The death of June's brother Metias lets them meet, but their intelligence keeps them there in a struggle for understanding.

Ah, this book made me happy. It's what I would qualify as a proper dystopia. The Republic is a terrible entity wrapped up in fervent societal nationalism. Each home has a portrait of the Elector. Every time the anthem plays, you salute and recite with conviction. There is a clear separation between the state supporters and everyone else, and those whose support are unabashedly favored. One teeny issue that I have with a lot of dystopia is that I need to know how things came about, and this was addressed in bites and pieces with hints left that more information would be brought forth as the series progresses. (Just a little more background information in Legend, however, would have made this book really shine.)

Amidst a bleak background the characters were engaging. What I enjoyed the most about them is their growth. This would have been a much different book if June and Day never progressed and stayed firm in their beliefs. It would have been a book that I don't want to read. Marie Lu peppered in bread crumbs throughout the story that I found myself flipping back to in understanding as things moved forward. A lot of this was especially visible through Metias who managed to grow as a character even after his death. (For those that find that a nervous idea, don't worry, it's written well.)

There is one sort-of issue that I had, however. The first is June and Day's age. I know the reason that they both have to be so young is that it's easier for her to an impressive prodigy if she's younger, but there were times that I had to remind myself that June is 15 and not 18+. It's difficult for me to reconcile the idea of a 15 year-old thinking like she does on a consistent basis - June's narrative seemed more mature than her age. I'm not sure what part of that is due to her intelligence and what part is due to having grown up in such a strict environment. On the other hand Day, perhaps because I found him slightly more relatable, seemed more age-appropriate, although he had his moments.

There is something in Legend for everyone: a smart and strong heroine, lip-biting action sequences, and a well-written story that will leave you part-ruminating, part wishing you could turn the page for just a little bit more.


I am presently on hiatus into the foreseeable future. You can find me on twitter, tumblr, or my writing website, wooordsea.com

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