Tag «Post Apocalyptic»

Fresh Fridays: Unknown (#1) by Wendy Higgins

Fresh Fridays: On Friday, I review a brand new series (ie. only has one book released so far) to see if the series is worth keeping up with. Here is this week’s offering:

Unknown Series

Other books in the series:
book3

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Unknown (from Goodreads):
Amber Tate believes the worst thing she’ll suffer in life is dealing with the unrequited love she feels for her brother’s best friend, Rylen Fite. She also believes war is something unfortunate that happens places far, far away from her rural Nevada town. She’s wrong on both counts.

When an unknown organization meticulously bombs major cities in the United States and across the globe, a trickle-down effect spreads to remaining towns at an alarming speed—everything from food and water sources to technology and communications are compromised. Without leadership, the nation is split between paralysis and panic, but Amber isn’t one to hide or watch helplessly. She’s determined to put her nursing skills to use, despite the danger, even if it means working alongside the man she can never have.

In this first installment of NY Times bestselling author, Wendy Higgins’s debut New Adult series, a frighteningly realistic apocalyptic America is brought to life, entwined with searing romantic tension that will leave you eager for more.

breakdown

Series: Unknown
Author: Wendy Higgins
# of Books: 3+ (Unknown, Unrest, Undone)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No Unrest, will be published February 2017
Genre: New Adult, Non-Contemporary, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 2016 – ongoing
Source & Format: Read It and Review It–eARC  |  Thank you Wendy Higgins!

disclaimer

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

The Sweet Trilogy is one of my all time favourite fallen angel series. I loved the dark and dangerous world Higgins created. Although it was labeled as a YA series, it definitely had a more mature vibe to it that I adored. So I was pretty excited to see she was taking on the New Adult genre with this particular piece.

What I Liked:

–The Mystery–

Ok, I have no idea what the hell is happening here and I LOVE IT!

This is the good kind of WTF: the type that keeps you in the dark until that moment of the big reveal–but you still know what is actually happening to the characters around you. Meaning this novel isn’t confusing to read, it just leaves you waiting in anticipation for the “unknown”. Fantastic.

–Amber’s Family–

Because the first half of the book really focuses on establishing Amber and her family’s lives, you really, really get invested into these characters. I loved their family dynamic and their relationships.

–The Romance–

There is just the right amount of romance here in this book. But what I really liked was the suspense it brought. You know, a lot of the time the “forbidden” relationships between a girl and her brother’s BFF are terribly predictable. It’s obvious that they’ve secretly loved each other for years yada yada. Not so much the case here. So I really enjoyed watching everything unfold for this aspect.

What I Didn’t Like:

–Slower Pacing–

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think I just had my own preconceived notions about what the actual plot of the story was going to be. I thought the aftermath of the bombings was going to be the main focus of the novel–and that isn’t totally the case. The bombings don’t happen until the 50% mark.

Instead this book takes its time by setting up Amber’s life and relationships–not the action packed novel I expected. However, as you can see from above, I rather enjoyed that part of the novel in the end. The pacing is still great and never lags so I wasn’t bored by this shift; I just wasn’t expecting it. I liked how invested I became in the characters and truthfully, I probably wouldn’t have been if we had just jumped right into the action.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

When we finally get to the action, this book was addicting to read. I have so many unanswered questions and theories that I can’t wait to uncover in the sequel. Is it here yet?

concSLOW

My Rating: 4/5

Unknown 4/5 | Unrest TBP | Undone TBP

overall

This is another solid series by Wendy Higgins. The characters are fantastic, the romance is there in just the right amount and the suspense is awesome.

Read if You Like: slower stories, world-building, post-apocalypse
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

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Series Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Darkest Minds (from Goodreads):
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

breakdown

Series: The Darkest Minds Trilogy
Author: Alexandra Bracken
# of Books: 3 (The Darkest Minds, Never Fade, In the Afterlight)

There are 3 novellas. See their reading order here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Post Apocalyptic, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: December 2012 – October 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was lucky enough to get my wish granted to read Bracken’s Passenger before its release and really enjoyed it. While it had its longer moments, I really loved how Bracken built her world and was curious to see what else she had written. Turns out, The Darkest Minds is a big hit among my fellow bloggers and so I was more than curious to pick it up. It was also one of my “Weekly” series to read for my personal 365 Days of YA Challenge and so I did just that during my “Reading Week” (study break) in February (well, at least I attempted to. More on that later).

I don’t really enjoy witch-magic based stories but this seemed to be more of a Darkest Powers type of magic and I was cool with that. Other than that, I really wasn’t sure what else to expect from this series and so I went in hoping to be impressed.

The Concept / The World:

The world of The Darkest Minds seems like a hybrid of many other books that I’ve read before (you can check them out below in my Similar Reads section) but still had its own unique vibe. I didn’t feel like I was reading a knock-off of another novel nor a regurgitation, making it enjoyable to read. It reminded me a lot of the Red Queen in that sense–just a mash-up of the best tropes of its genre.

I also like that the premise is easy to follow. I’m of the philosophy less is more and that fits this series perfectly. I’m not a fan of “magic” based stories but the powers here have a great set-up that makes sense to me.

The Plot:

It took me a long time to get into The Darkest Minds. While I liked that it was building, it definitely hit a plateau for the vast majority of the book that had me wondering “when is this going to get exciting?”. The answer is the last 100 pages. Once you reach the climax of the series, things get pretty great and it makes all those previous pages worth it.

I expected Never Fade to keep this momentum going but that wasn’t necessarily the case. Never Fade, like its predecessor had a strong finish but it was an uphill struggle to get there. I found it to be a little dry at times despite the fact that the plot kept moving. It’s a solid sequel–just don’t expect it to hit the ground running from the get-go.

It was the same situation with the finale, In the Afterlight, but worse. This book seemed to reset everything back to an exposition like level and slowly made an upwards climb to the exciting parts. But by then, it was too late for me. I honestly skimmed this last book just because I didn’t want to leave this series open-ended. I contemplated DNFing it probably once a day for the nearly 2 weeks it took me to read.

I had planned to read this series in 1 week–it took me 1 month to read everything. Sure, it doesn’t help that they are longer than your average book but I just found them all to be so slow and overly descriptive that I didn’t get into them as much as I had hoped. It was like a flashback to the torture that was reading the Maze Runner Trilogy. I would find my mind drifting because nothing was happening and inevitably bored.

The Characters:

I’ll admit, I wasn’t really won over by Ruby. She’s a bit of a dud but understandably so. I mean, she has been in a rigid camp for the last 5 years, negating any chance for fun or a personality. What I really liked was her character development. While the plot might not have been super exciting in The Darkest Minds, Ruby’s character was constantly evolving giving some purpose to the story. I also like that she isn’t perfect–that she makes stupid mistakes–but that she learns from them. It’s a trend that continues throughout the series. She does get a good case of Lead Heroine Sacrifice Syndrome in In the Afterlight and that got to be annoying; but at the same time, I was in such a sour mood reading that last book that I think it altered my perception slightly.

For me, I always connect more to the side characters. I definitely have a few faves in this bunch and I think if you can’t connect/like Ruby, you’ll find someone else to root for somewhere along the way.

The Romance:

The romance was really sweet and was there enough to add to the story, but never took away from it. Which is important I think. I never felt smothered by the romance and its devices where always there to move the story forward. But I could have taken or left it.

Novellas:

There are a total of 3 novellas: In Time, Sparks Fly and Beyond the Night  .

In Time bridges the story arcs of The Darkest Minds and Never Fade though it focuses on characters elsewhere in the world. It gets alluded to a lot more In the Afterlight I found so it might be worthwhile to read. Sparks Fly is kind-of a separate short story that takes place in the world. It’s with a character you’ve met before but it isn’t necessary to read. Beyond the Night is the follow-up to Sparks Fly and is an epilogue of sorts to the series.

Series Rating: 3/5

The Darkest Minds 3.5/5 | [In Time 3/5] | Never Fade 3/5 | [Beyond the Night 3/5]  | In the Afterlight 2/5 | [Sparks Fly 3/5]

overall

Maybe the hype-monster killed this one for me but I think I would have had the same results regardless. This series just had too much description and not a whole lot of action so I found it hard to get into it. While I like the premise, I struggled to get into the plot and enjoy the characters. It needed that little bit more for me.

Read if You Like: post apocalyptic world, teens with powers
Avoid if You: dislike slower starts, want more romance

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Single Sundays: Rook by Sharon Cameron

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Rook (from Goodreads):
History has a way of repeating itself. In the Sunken City that was once Paris, all who oppose the new revolution are being put to the blade. Except for those who disappear from their prison cells, a red-tipped rook feather left in their place. Is the mysterious Red Rook a savior of the innocent or a criminal?

Meanwhile, across the sea in the Commonwealth, Sophia Bellamy’s arranged marriage to the wealthy René Hasard is the last chance to save her family from ruin. But when the search for the Red Rook comes straight to her doorstep, Sophia discovers that her fiancé is not all he seems. Which is only fair, because neither is she.

As the Red Rook grows bolder and the stakes grow higher, Sophia and René find themselves locked in a tantalizing game of cat and mouse.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Picks: 2015 YA Fav, New Author to Watch
Author: Sharon Cameron
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense, Post Apocalyptic, Romance, Adventure, Politics
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: April 28, 2015
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I can’t remember where I first stumbled upon this book. It was either on NetGalley or through someones blog; but what got me to add this to my TBR and get really excited was the synopsis. I mean the cover is gorgeous but a “game of cat and mouse”…that it right up my alley and I couldn’t wait to dive in.

The Concept / The World:

I am a HUGE steampunk fan, so to read a book where machines are taboo was really quite the change for me. Especially when everything about this world is so steampunk-esque in terms of politics and society. But I loved how this world came to be–and the scary thing is I could see it happening with today’s society! Our dependency on technology definitely has its strengths and weakness and I liked that this book explored that concept.

The Writing:

I added this subheading because I feel like this is people’s biggest complaint about the book–and I totally get why!

Third person narratives are always hard to get into; especially if you primarily read first person POVs like I do. I find the more familiar you are with an author and their style, the easier it is to read subsequent novels by them. But this is my first Sharon Cameron book, though it won’t be my last!

The narration in this book is not as forthcoming or honest as one would expect; but it has to be. It is a suspense novel so scenes are going to be left vague or a character will be referred to in generic terms until it is beneficial for the reader to know their exact identity. You also get multiple POVs to keep the plot moving and evolving. It makes for a frustrating read from the readers perspective but I always felt like the big reveal was worth it.

Now, that doesn’t mean I didn’t have to reread lines to make sure I was fully understanding what was happening…because I did. But eventually I got used to the flow of the book and I really enjoyed the narration by the end of it.

The Plot:

As I said, there is a lot going on at times. Which is great for a reader like me who loves layers to their novels. You have the game between Rene and Sophia; Sophia and the debt collectors; the Red Rook and LeBlanc; LeBlanc and Rene; the Upper and Lower parts of the city…I think you get the point. There are a lot of players in this game and they definitely keep things interestingAnd the great thing is that I never felt overwhelmed by it all!

I was sucked into the plot pretty quickly. I feel like it builds really well and has a great balance between all the different elements. Things were always changing and it kept me on my toes, trying to figure out what was going to happen next. This book felt really long when I first started but I pretty much read it in a day as the pages just flew by.

The Characters:

This book probably has some of the most intelligent characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading. I expected LeBlanc (the “villain”) to be a bumbling fool easily outwitted by the Red Rook but he was so on point it was almost scary! A worth adversary who definitely kept me on my toes whenever he figured something out. Of course these characters all have their flaws but their wit and tenacity really captured my attention.

Also, I just have to add this quote because I absolutely adore it:

The idea that women are not fit for certain tasks is based on cultural expectations, not the science of fact. It is an old-fashioned belief coming from the less civilized centuries after the Great Death, and has nothing to do with medicine. Any man of science knows that.

I just loved the strength of the female characters in this novel! Sophia was amazing as a heroine! She is everything I adore in my leading ladies and exactly what I had hoped for. René was a perfect opponent for Sophia and I loved their interactions together. He was a solid character in his own right and kept my attention throughout. The rest were just fun and balanced the leads and the story extremely well.

The Romance:

I really, really liked that the romance didn’t overshadow this book. It shone when it needed to but stayed dormant when it didn’t. There is a love triangle but it actually contributes to the plot in an obvious and beneficial way.

My Rating: 5/5

overall

This book just hit all the right points for me! It was fun, twisty and full of action and mind games! I was really hooked into this only a few chapters in! I think the writing will turn some people off, but once you get used to it, it moves at a great pace!

Read if You Like: strong heroines, suspense, post apocolyptic worlds
Avoid if You: want more romance, don’t like third person POVs

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Series Review: The Arcana Chronicles by Kresley Cole

Series Review: Is this series worth your time? Does it get better as the novels progress? Or does it get worse? Find out below:

book4 book5 book6

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Poison Princess (from Goodreads):
She could save the world—or destroy it.

Sixteen-year-old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side.

breakdown

Series: Arcana Chronicles
Author: Kresley Cole
# of Books: 6 (Full Reading Order)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, The Dark Calling will be published in Spring 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic, Romance, Supernatural, Urban Fantasy
Heat Rating: really warm *spicy YA*
Point of View: First Person, Single
Source & Format: public library–hardcopies & eBook

thoughts

My Expectations:

In the same vein of bestselling adult romance author Gena Showalter writing a Young Adult Series (White Rabbit Chronicles), Kresley Cole has done the same thing with the Arcana Chronicles. And like Showalter, I had never read a book by Cole until I picked up this YA series.

The Concept:

I wanted to read Poison Princess because the premise really interested me. It sounded like it was going to be like the White Rabbit Chronicles meets The Scorch Trials–two of my favourite apocalyptic themed books–but with a Tarot Card theme (instead of zombies or science fiction) so I just had to read it! Once I started reading it though it also reminded me of a lot of other novels. Not in the sense that it is a carbon copy of these other books but that it incorporates elements that I have come across in other series. For example: Evie’s character reminds me a lot of Isobel from Nevermore; and the post-apocalyptic world and book delivery reminds me of The Blood of Eden Trilogy. (Endless Knight also had some Cruel Beauty vibes coming from it as well).

But the whole tarot card aspect is definitely a unique feature of this story and its best feature for sure.

The Plot:

Unfortunately, Poison Princess (to me) falls prey to the same issue The Eternity Cure (Blood of Eden #2) did: it’s boring until the very end. I didn’t mind the beginning so much (before the apocalypse) because it had some character development, but there is a solid 100 pages where nothing of importance happens. I’m not lying. I honestly don’t think anything happened to progress the plot forward other than days passing. The last 50 pages definitely improve with the addition of a few new characters and the actual progression of the supernatural plotline.

I could probably rant for a few days on why I didn’t like Poison Princess, but I’ll just keep it short here:

  • The supernatural elements really don’t come into play near the very end which sucks! I feel like Poison Princess simply served as a really long prequel novella because it didn’t do much to set up the Arcana Game in the slightest, rather it just introduced you to Evie and her life before the apocalypse.
  • The romance just fizzled for me! I really didn’t see the connection besides the physical lust. Jackson isn’t anything to write home about in my books so I was disappointed in that aspect as well.
  • Evie is just plain annoying! She is not the kick-ass heroine I wanted. She is a petty, immature girl who isn’t all that bright either. I get that she is 16 and all, but the world is ending! Being thankful that you don’t have to shave your legs because you had laser hair removal isn’t something I would worry about in an apocalypse! I really didn’t connect with her whatsoever and all I really wanted to do was slap some sense into her as I turned the pages!

Part of the problem is that I built up what the plot of this book was going to be in my head before I ever read it. I really thought the focus was going to be more on Evie finding other Arcana characters in this new world. Not her wandering boringly towards one destination for 200 pages.

Turns out that Endless Knight is the book that I thought I was getting with Poison Princess. This book managed to keep my attention the entire time and actually had some plot development to it. Evie was still annoying to me, but I felt like she had some great character development so she went from “extremely annoying” to “annoying”–which is quite the leap. I also liked the romance a touch more as well–I think this is the rare case where a love triangle actually helps the story progress. But what I really think helped with this book was the addition of more characters that I found to be much more interesting to me. Reading Endless Knight made me happy I continued on with the series despite the painful drag that was Poison Princess.

Dead of Winter is probably my favourite of the 3. I quickly motored through it because the plot is fast, the action is high and–dare I say it–I actually started to like Evie as a character. I know! CrAzY! Well, it’s partly true: I liked Evie the “let’s-get-down-to-fighting” Evie, not the “I-can’t-decide-between-the-two” Evie. Evie has a true case of Bella-Swan-I-can’t-live-without-him syndrome when it comes to “dealing” with her love triangle. Man-oh-man, I don’t know why she struggles so much with just saying the full truth to these boys who constantly fawn over her! It would solve a lot of problems other than assuming shit all the time! I also don’t know why there were 50 pages dedicated to each boy giving his case for why she should pick her–let’s just get on with the story please!

The Romance:

Speaking of the romance, I think I have to mention that it borders more on the “older” scale of young adult reads. If you are someone who doesn’t like sex being mentioned in their YA reads or having it described in more detail (I’m not talking full blown erotica, merely descriptions of how the body is reacting, etc) you might not like this series. The sexual situations aren’t really a huge focus of the books but it is definitely present. (For those who have read the White Rabbit Chronicles, the sex scenes here are the same as in it)

updates

–July 11, 2017– Book #4: Arcana Rising

This started very slowly for me and while it did pick up, I feel like it was just coasting along to get to the end. Bigger things are definitely in store for this series but this book was nothing more than a (necessary) bridge in the middle.

concSLOW

My Rating: 3.5/5

Poison Princess 2.5/5  |  Endless Knight 3.5/5  |  Dead of Winter 4/5  |  Arcana Rising 3.5/5 |  The Dark Calling TBR

overall

Poison Princess lived up to its name in my opinion: it truly poisoned my views for the other books because I really struggled to read it. The series definitely gets better as you go, especially when the Arcana aspect of the plot actually comes into fruition and more characters are introduced. But the love triangle and heroine are often hard to swallow, even in the later books. It’s definitely a series that you have to invest into to enjoy

Read if You Like: slow building stories, post-apocalyptic worlds, fights to the death
Avoid if You Dislike: petty heroines, love triangles (extreme), slow starts

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Movie Mondays: Divergent

Movie Mondays: On Mondays, I will review a book series or novel that has been made into a movie. I will then answer the question that everyone asks: which is better, the movie or the book? Here is this week’s offering:

Book: Divergent by Veronica Roth | Movie: Divergent (2014)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Divergent
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Romance, Action
Point of View: First Person

Thoughts:

I read Divergent right as it was becoming big. I had read the Hunger Games and was enjoying the dystopian trend that seemed to follow after it so this seemed like an obvious choice to read.

I think a lot of people expect this book to be a rip-off of the Hunger Games but it’s important to know that it isn’t. Sure, there are some similarities but you find similarities in all Dystopian fiction–it’s what defines the genre. They both share corrupt governments (what dystopian book doesn’t?) and have strong female leads who don’t mind kicking some ass when push comes to shove. But I think that is where the similarities end and each book has a completely different feel to it as each book has a different message.

As a first book, I really enjoyed Divergent. While it started slow and I wasn’t totally in love with Tris initially, this book really picks up fast and Tris really grew on me. I would consider her one of my favourite heroines in dystopian young adult fiction.

I also loved the sexual tension between Tris and Four. I especially like that their relationship doesn’t take the main focus–so it makes those little moments between them that much more awesome.

Conclusion:

Overall, it’s a great start to a great series. It has a lot going on so once it gets going, it never really stops. Dystopian fans will really enjoy this one!

Rating: 4/5
Series Review: Full series review here!–Coming Soon

Similar Reads: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games Trilogy #1); Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky Trilogy #1) and Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy #1)

The Movie:

I’ve been anticipating this movie for a really long time so I had to go and see it opening weekend. And I have to say, the wait was worth it!

I will be the first to admit that I don’t remember all the little details of Divergent (though I am currently reading Allegiant so I had a pretty good refresher prior *no pun on Tris name intended*) but I do remember the main points of the novel. My friend, who recently read the book and saw it with me, said that they didn’t change things all that much and it was pretty true to the story. There was just one scene that I definitely know wasn’t in the books but knowing what I know about the story in the next two books, I think it was a smart decision on the screenwriters parts.

Casting is always a big deal for me (and I’m sure most other book fans) and I really liked the casting in this movie–though not always. I remember watching Shailene Woodley in The Secret Life of the American Teenager and anyone who has watched the show know that it is the ultimate guilty pleasure TV show with mediocre acting–but to be fair to the actors on the show, I think it is the writing. So I was a little worried when she was cast but since then she has done a lot of other acting projects since and I don’t mind her acting. After watching the movie, I think she was a great choice–as was the rest of the cast. I felt like they captured the characters extremely well so I really felt like the book was coming to life in front of me.

The movie really reflected the slower pace of the book but once it got going, it never really stopped. It went by super fast and I really enjoyed it overall and I think other fans of the book will too.

So, which is better: the book or the movie?

In this case, the winner is TIE. I really enjoyed the movie but I really do love the novel. I think the movie does a great job of capturing the book and fans will enjoy it so I can’t knock it down!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for Divergent (from Goodreads):
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Trailer:

Series Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Dystopian Series
Series: Divergent Trilogy
Author: Veronica Roth
# of Books: 3 (Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant)

There are a bunch of short stories told from Tobias’ perspective. See the list here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic, Science Fiction, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movie here!

Thoughts:

After reading The Hunger Games, I discovered my love of dystopian fiction and like most people who enjoy a book, I look for similar books to read next. Divergent was one that was constantly recommended and it sounded really interesting so I picked it up. This was just when it started to get a lot of hype and I didn’t know anyone else who had read it, but it quickly became popular and after reading it, I understood why.

While Divergent starts fairly slow, it really picks up and keeps going for the duration of the book. I also slowly grew to like Tris. She wasn’t the best heroine I had ever read initially but watching her and reading her thoughts about things really made me love her. She is a very strong character and after reading the series, I would say she is one of my favourite characters in young adult fiction.

I also like how the romance is handled in this series. Like The Hunger Games, but without the love triangle (BONUS!), it’s subtle and slowly builds. So this isn’t a series you read solely for the romance–if you want a dystopian series that focuses mostly on the romance read Lauren Oliver’s Delirium –but the relationship Tris develops is very important later on in the series and takes a bit more of a central focus. I loved the tension between her and Four in Divergent and I have to say they are easily one of my favourite literary couples.

To be honest, I don’t remember a lot of what happened in Insurgent –just the ending because it was fantastic! While it was a lot slower to me, I love what happens and what is revealed as you read so I didn’t find it particularly dull–it just lacks the action and fighting you get accustomed to in Divergent.

It took me a long time to get my hands on Allegiant and then actually get a chance to sit down and read it. I was eagerly anticipating where this series would go and I have to say it blew my mind where it went! I have to give Veronica Roth a lot of credit because she did a great job creating this world the books take place in and I totally saw all the dots connect as I read the last novel. Again, this book is a lot slower action-wise than Divergent as most of the plot development comes from talking and revealing the mystery of the world. I think this may disappoint a few people who enjoy this series for the action–but those who like the politics and the mystery of the world will like this book a lot.

When I look at Goodreads, I see that the rating for this book is a lot lower than the previous books in the series and after reading it, I totally know why. Roth took a lot of risks writing this book and taking it in the more Science Fiction direction that she did and I personally think they paid off. I can appreciate what she did even if the book fan in me doesn’t particularly enjoy it. I think that is why a lot of people rate Allegiant lower than the rest because they don’t like the direction it takes and the movement away from dystopian to science fiction. But after reading it, I am totally satisfied with how it ended and content with it.

I’ve never read the short stories about Tobias and I will eventually get around to reading them but not at this particular moment in time.

Conclusion:

This series constantly surprised me and in that great way I love as a book reader. When you read as much as I do, you get bored with the same cut and paste storylines that seem to appear when Young Adult trends start. But every once in a while, you find a book that is a result of that trend that stands out from the rest and for the Dystopian Trend: Divergent is that series for me (though I still love The Hunger Games). I recommend this series to practically anyone who enjoyed The Hunger Games and they have all enjoyed it as well.

Rating: 4.5/5

Similar Reads: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games Trilogy #1); Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky Trilogy #1); Matched by Ally Condie (Matched Trilogy #1) and Delirium by Lauren Oliver (Delirium Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for Divergent (from Goodreads):
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, 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 alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating 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 unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Series Review: The Blood of Eden by Julie Kagawa

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Authors
Series: The Blood of Eden Trilogy, The Immortal Rules Trilogy
Author: Julie Kagawa
# of Books: 3 (The Immortal Rules, The Eternity Cure, The Forever Song)

There are some novellas and short stories. See here.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Post Apocalyptic, Vampires, Science Fiction, Adventure, Action, Romance
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: April 2012 – April 2014
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook & Hardcover

thoughts

I absolutely LOVED the Iron Fey Series (not sure why I haven’t reviewed it yet! The HORROR!) so when that series ended and this series was announced, I made sure my name was on the waiting list for the Immortal Rules.

This series is completely different from the Iron Fey Series–which has its pros and cons. Pro: because it shows off Ms. Kagawa’s great writing skills and her ability to create two drastically different worlds. Con: it isn’t light-hearted like the Iron Fey Series so it can get a little depressing to read.

The “depressing” feeling is important to highlight I think because not everyone enjoys reading about Post-Apocalyptic worlds. I also want to stress that not all Post-Apocalyptic novels are dystopian–there is a difference: so don’t assume that this is a dystopian novel  because it really isn’t (there are some “dystopian” elements but they play a very minor role in the novels).

I know that a lot of people are going to read the synopsis and go, “ugh, vampires” but I want to assure people that these vampires aren’t “anti-vampires” — meaning they kill people and drink human blood. There’s lots of action and bad guys so don’t think this is some light-hearted romantic read because the story is very, very dark.

What I love about Ms. Kagawa’s writing is that she is able to blend multiple genres together in her writing. You’ll see in the stats above that I listed a crap-load of genres that these books touch upon. Basically, these books have a little bit of everything in them and that makes the reading experience unique. I wish the romance was built up a little more (so don’t read this is you want a book solely focused on romance) but when we do get those snippets, I enjoy them immensely.

However, I did struggle to get through these books at times, especially the Eternity Cure. One reason is Allison. She isn’t my favourite character ever and I just don’t like her as much as I could. I’m not sure what it is, I think I just find her depressing at times because of all the stuff she has gone through. Though to be fair, Meagan Chase (Iron Fey) is a hard act to follow so that might be why.

Another reason I struggled through these books is all the detail–HOLY SHIT is it descriptive! I understand why because the science fiction elements require explanation and details but I will admit to skimming most of the Eternity Cure at times because there was just so much detail!

Both The Immortal Rules and The Eternity Cure start slow but they slowly build as you read and have great plot twists near the end that make things more interesting. I’m excited to see what happens in the Forever Song.

updates

–September 29, 2016– Book #3: The Forever Song

DNF’d at 40% — Start of Chapter 9

It’s been two years since I read The Eternity Cure and all I can remember is not enjoying it all that much. I think it’s safe to say that I was kinda dreading picking this book up. I was apprehensive and worried I wouldn’t be able to finish it but I did want to see how this series wrapped up and so I took a chance.

Alas, my fears were realized. I ended up DNFing this book because of sheer boredom.

The exorbitant amount of detail really turned me off. I felt like I was reading 10 pages for one scene of tiny movement. It was exhausting. I was at the point I was skimming the pages just to get the gist of what is happening. And that was my plan to finish the book; but even watching the World Cup of Hockey at the same time couldn’t keep me motivated to skim this. I peeked at the ending and can happily call this series finished.

Series Rating: 3.5/5

The Immortal Rules 4/5 | The Eternity Cure 3.5/5 | The Forever Song DNF

overall

While this is not my favourite series ever, I give props to Ms. Kagawa for creating such an awesome world. The world itself is what captures my attention the most when I read these books. Fans of the Iron Fey Series will probably be disappointed because there really isn’t much in common between these books besides the author. However, readers who like darker Science Fiction reads with vampires will enjoy this series.

Read if You Like: slow stories, vampires, post-apocalypse
Avoid if You: want more romance, dislike violence

similarreads

  • Black City by Elizabeth Richards (Black City Series #1)
  • Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London (Darkness Before Dawn Trilogy #1)
  • Poison Princess by Kresley Cole (Arcana Chronicles #1)

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Synopsis for The Immortal Rules (from Goodreads):
To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for… again.

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Series Review: Defiance Trilogy by C. J. Redwine

Series: Defiance or Courier’s Daughter Trilogy
Author: C. J. Redwine
# of Books: 3 (Defiance, Deception, Deliverance)

There is a prequel novella called Outcast

Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Action, Adventure, Dystopian
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternates

Thoughts:

I went into Defiance thinking it was going to be more of a romance novel set in a dystopian-like world. Why I thought that I’m not too sure because the synopsis sure doesn’t give me that impression when I read it again. Regardless, this series is more of an action series set in a post-apocalyptic world that has a dash of romance.

It was great to read a book about a strong heroine. While Rachel probably follows every stereotype of the typical rebellious girl, I liked her a lot. She was smart and determined and doesn’t mope around after Logan. Simply put her maturity about everything is what I really like about her. Although she did begin to irritate me at the start of Deception I can forgive her based on the events of the previous book and she does improve drastically by the end of the novel.

Logan is also a great character! He’s a great match for Rachel and I think if the plot was solely focused on Logan I would enjoy this book just as much. The fact that we get duel POVs from both these strong characters is fantastic.

As I said before, the romance between these two really takes a back seat. It’s all about uncovering the truth about the Cursed Ones and what happened to Rachel’s father. Defiance features some great twists but Deception takes the cake with great plot twists abounds. Both books start rather slow in my opinion, but all it takes is one good twist and the ball starts rolling in both. While I could guess what would be happening in each book, I felt like I was always surprised and didn’t find them to be overly predictable. I would say that Ms Redwine isn’t afraid to take her characters to places that other authors would shy away from and I really appreciate that in these two books.

updates

–October 23, 2014– Book 3: Deliverance

Unfortunately though, Deliverance was a bit of a let down for me. Given how book 2 ended, I thought the action would be right there from the start of book 3 but it wasn’t. Again, it was a super slow start and I found myself skimming over the many scene descriptions and inner monologues of the characters because it was just too much. Similar to the other two books, the action picks up in the last quarter of the book but I just expected a faster paced novel given that it was the final book of the series. Regardless, it was a solid finale for the series and fans will be happy with how it all goes down.

I don’t have any interest in reading the prequel novella, Outcast, because I feel like I have a pretty good grip on the characters that it focuses on. Though my recommendation based on reading the synopsis is that you should read it after Defiance just because the main focus of Outcast‘s plot will give away some spoilers about a certain plot aspect in Defiance.

Series Rating: 4/5

Defiance 4/5 | Deception 4/5 | Deliverance 3/5

overall

If you are looking for a book that features two strong and mature young adult leads, this is a great series to check out. The books have lots of twists, a dash of romance and some great action. While a little slow at the start, each book really start to pick up after a few chapters to make it worth your time.

Read if You Like: slower starts, strong characters
Avoid if You: dislike slow stories, want more romance

similarreads

  • Starling by Lesley Livingston (Starling Trilogy #1)
  • Black City by Elizabeth Richards (Black City Series #1)

Synopsis for Defiance (from Goodreads):
While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice.

When Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city’s brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father’s apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

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