Tag «Science Fiction»

Series Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

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

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booksynopsis

Synopsis for The Program (from Goodreads):
In Sloane’s world, true feelings are forbidden, teen suicide is an epidemic, and the only solution is The Program.

Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.

Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.

breakdown

Series: The Program
Author: Suzanne Young
# of Books: 4 (The Remedy, The Epidemic, The Program, The Treatment)

There is also a novella after The Treatment called The Recovery

Book Order: Chronological & Connected

The Remedy & The Epidemic are paired; The Program and The Treatment are paired

Complete?: No, The Epidemic will be published April 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Romance
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: April 2013 – ongoing
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

NOTE: I have not read The Remedy.  See why not below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

Suzanne Young’s A Need So Beautiful was one of the first books I put on my TBR once I started keeping an actual list. I have yet to read it. Shocking, I know 😉

What drew me to The Program was the cover. The bright yellow in a very white clinical setting? Call me intrigued. And when I read the synopsis? Even more intrigued. So I put my name on the holds list, eagerly awaiting there arrival

The Remedy + The Epidemic vs The Program + The Treatment

I just want to set the record straight about these books. This series contains 4 books, but they are two dual sets. The RemedyThe Epidemic are one duology focusing on one set of characters and The Program & The Treatment follow a different set. All take place within the same world. The Remedy is listed as a prequel to The Program as its events precede the events in The Program; it was published a few years after The Program.

I chose to read The Program & The Treatment first. I have also decided to further break up my headings into subheadings to review keep each duology separate.

The Concept:

The Program & The TREATMENT

The idea that there is a massive epidemic of young people committing suicide is a rather morbid basis for a book albeit unique. It is a tough topic to handle but one I think Young does well (though I wish there was a little blurb at the end about suicide prevention/information). It doesn’t glorify it and I think it shows the impact suicide can have on someone’s family and friends really well. It helps shed light on an issue we often shy away from in society.

The Plot:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

The plot for The Program is extremely slow! Nothing really happens until the halfway point and even then, it’s a slow incline. The first half really establishes the world and the relationships Sloane has. I personally could of had half the number of pages and still had the main idea. I found it to be dull and because it deals with such a depressing topic, it isn’t a very uplifting read, making it hard to get through at times.

Once we actually get to the nitty-gritty of the epidemic, that’s when things get interesting and The Treatment keeps the pace going…for all of 10 pages. WOW, I didn’t think things could get duller but they did! This book was a lot of waiting around and romantic pining. WAYYY too much focus on the romance! I did appreciate the science fiction elements when they were there but, I wanted more. I wanted so much more that I almost quit reading just before the halfway point. But the need for answers (ie why the epidemic? why the program?) had me reluctantly pressing forward.

The Characters:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

Sloane was incredibly dull to me. I didn’t love her, but I didn’t hate her either–which is not good. Indifference is the death to any character and poor Sloane just never managed to get me on her side. While I understand her difficult situation and why she isn’t the first person jumping at the opportunity to save the world (I actually found that lack of motivation oddly refreshing), I just really wanted her to DO SOMETHING! Something other than pining for James or the other person in her unnecessary love triangle.

I didn’t really connect with any of the characters and that made reading this not as enjoyable as I had hoped.

The Romance:

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

I don’t really enjoy stories where the romance is already established. I like watching couples fall in love as I read and with Sloane and James, they have already been a couple for a while. Don’t get me wrong, they are cute and I like them together. But they are that nauseatingly cute couple that get too sugary sweet as you read. So by the time I got to The Treatment, I was a little over them as a couple. Oh, and it didn’t help that there are love triangles abound with them as well. It’s not a good thing when the romantic relationships can’t even save the dull plot.

My Expectations for the Rest of the Series:

I’m really, really undecided about reading The Remedy. I’m really intrigued by the premise and I want to give these new characters a shot. But at this moment, I’m holding off on picking it up.

THE PROGRAM & THE TREATMENT

Series Rating: 2.5/5

The Remedy TBD | The Epidemic TBP | The Program 3/5 | The Treatment 2/5

overall

The Treatment was a huge disappointment. I wanted a science fiction YA with a dash of romance; but instead, we get a YA romance with a dash of science fiction. In the end, The Program wasn’t for me!

Read if You Like: dystopian worlds, lots of romance, books about mental illness
Avoid if You: want more action

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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: Americosis by Haydn Wilks

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

Americosis

booksynopsis

Synopsis for Americosis (from Goodreads):
A naked man arrives in New Mexico claiming to have traveled through time.
He says that he’s America’s savior.

A bizarre sexually-transmitted infection in New York takes control of people’s bodies and burns them out in an incessant drive to infect others.

And a Presidential candidate is conversing with angels.
His aides think he’s crazy.
The electorate might not agree with them.

It could all be madness. It might be the apocalypse.

Americosis.

An epic genre-bending mash-up of sci-fi, horror, thriller & dark comedy.

breakdown

Series: Americosis
Author: Haydn Wilks
# of Books: 4 (Americosis VOL 1, TBD)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Adult, Science Fiction, Apocalypse
Heat Rating: Had sexual content
Point of View: Third Person, Multiple
Publication Date: July 9, 2015
Source & Format: Provided by Publisher–eBook  Thank you Dead Bird Press!

disclaimer

thoughts

Disclaimer: I stopped reading this series after Americosis. Find out why below…

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I was contacted by the publisher to see if I was interested in reading this short novella that serves as an introduction to Haydn Wilks new “darkly comic sci-fi series”. While I don’t normally read science-fiction focused work, especially in the Adult category of reading, the cover and synopsis intrigued me. I also like the idea that it was a dark comedy…I enjoy cynical humour and it isn’t something that is really prevalent in literature–or at least in the genres I normally read.

What I Liked:

–The Satire–

I had to double check the difference between a satire and a parody to make sure I was labelling this book correctly. It’s hard to say since it is just a novella but I would lean more towards the satire side of things.

I could definitely see the connections between our world and the fictional world in the novella. The attitudes of society and the characters, although cynical, are just expansions upon what is happening right now with popular culture. I liked that bite of realism and it did make me chuckle at times.

–The Length–

I thought this book was the right amount of length for what it is trying to do, which is setting up for the rest of the series. It gives you enough detail without being overwhelming and leaves enough unresolved that your interest is peaked for the next instalment.

What I Didn’t Like:

–The Flow–

I had a hard time keeping things straight as I was reading this. Like a review on Goodreads suggested,  read this in a single shot to make sure you don’t get lost. I read this in two sittings, only a couple of hours apart and I had to go back a few pages to make sure I was on the right track during that second session.

This story jumps around a lot between characters and places; and at one point so did the narration POV. It could have just been the format I was reading it in (sometimes page breaks etc are lost in eBook formatting) but that really confused me. I did some backtracking when that happened but that didn’t always work for me.

Will I Continue with this series?:

Unfortunately, this book just wasn’t for me. It left me more confused than anything. Even though I do appreciate the concept and enjoyed the cynical view of society, the story just didn’t keep my attention.

My Rating: 2/5

overall

Definitely not my cup of tea. But I do think science fiction fans who enjoy satires will eat this book right up! It’s a cool premise (really cool cover), it just fails to capture my attention in a way that makes me want to continue reading personally.

Read if You Like: Adult science fiction, satires, sci-fi horror
Avoid if You: don’t like Adult science fiction, abstract books

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Series Review: Alienated by Melissa Landers

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 Alienated (from Goodreads):
Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

breakdown

Series: Alienated
Author: Melissa Landers
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)

There is a FREE bridging e-novella #1.5: Until Midnight

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, Aliens, Humour
Heat Rating: Warm
Point of View: Third Person, Alternating
Publication Date: February 2014 – August 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–Hardcopy; Audiobook (United)

thoughts

I’m not sure how I stumbled upon this series; I think I was doing my 6 degrees of book recommendations on Goodreads–you know, where you look up one book and in the corner you see this other cover that captures your attention and so on and so forth… Regardless, I found this book and saw that my local library had copies so I said why not? The only YA alien romance novel/series that I have read to date is Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Lux Series which I enjoyed quite a bit. So when she says “with the right mix of sizzling romance, action, and suspense, ALIENATED is easily my favorite alien book to date” well, I was going to pay attention and pick it up–so mission accomplished marketing department 😉

Truth be told, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I started to read Alienated. I suppose I expected the cliches of an antagonistic love affair and high school drama–and that is there for sure but it also had a splash of humour which was what I loved the most!

I loved Aelyx’s cynical attitude about things and how he would describe everyday Earth things as if they were the craziest thing he had ever seen. Cara was also really funny and sensible–which I find rare in a YA heroine these days. Together they had a really great connection and their banter back and forth was a lot of fun to read!

And while there was some high school drama, it balanced well with the romance and the larger-scheme plot lines that were happening. Like Armentrout said in her review, it really was the perfect mix of everything you like in a YA novel which makes it such a treat to read!

I read the novella, Until Midnight, right before Invaded. It definitely isn’t necessary but it bridges the physical time gap between the two books. Plus, it’s a FREE eBook so really it’s almost silly not to read the 5 chapters of the short story!

Invaded took me longer to get into. I think part of the reason is the circumstances of the plot (which is hard to elaborate on when you write spoiler-free reviews!) but suffice it to say, given the situations Aelyx and Cara find themselves in, I expected it to begin on the slower side of things. So while I appreciated the character development in the first half of the book, I enjoyed the faster pace of the last half a lot more.

This series is listed as completed–Landers is writing a new book for 2016–but she said on her website page that more books are contingent upon book sales of Invaded. While I am completely satisfied with the way things ended, I would be open to reading more books in this series–or at the very least a follow-up novella.

updates

–January 3, 2019– Book #3: United

I was really excited to return to the world of Alienated but I ended up slightly disappointed in this instalment. I like a lot of things happening in my novels at once but the plot here was almost too overwhelming to fully enjoy. I missed the banter between our two leads the most. I felt like we just rehashed the same things between them over and over without any concrete resolution. It has been a long time since I read the previous novels so perhaps I wasn’t a up-to-date with the world as I should have been…but I did find the recaps we got were sufficient in the book though.

Finally, I wasn’t a fan of the audiobook production. She was a very stiff narrator: which works for the L’eihr dialogue but not very well for a 3rd person POV of both humans and L’eihr.

My Rating: 4/5

Alienated 4/5 | Invaded 4/5 | United 3/5

overall

This series was a fun, light-hearted read that I found to be refreshing! While it won’t be gracing the top of any of my favourites list, I enjoyed reading it a lot. It was a great blend of everything I like in a YA romance read: great chemistry, funny leads and interesting plot situations.

Read if You Like: hate-to-love romances, aliens, humour
Avoid if You: dislike “forbidden” romances, are expecting a true Science Fiction focus, dislike “fluffier” YA

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Series Review: Firebird by Claudia Gray

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

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray | Firebird Trilogy

booksynopsis

Synopsis for A Thousand Pieces (from Goodreads):
Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Must Read Author
Series: Firebird Trilogy
Author: Claudia Gray
# of Books: 3 (Full Reading Order Here)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Alternate Dimensions, Fantasy, Romance
Heat Rating: Warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Dates: November 2014 – November 2016
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook; Audiobook (Million)

thoughts

**This post was originally posted as a Fresh Friday review of the first book of the series. It has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

My Expectations / Why I Picked It Up:

I’ve read two other Claudia Gray series and have enjoyed both very much. I love her writing style, her plot twists and how she creates her worlds. She made me enjoy a witch-based Young Adult series (Spellcaster Trilogy) so that means I’m willing to give anything she writes a shot. So when I saw the premise for this series, I was SUPER excited. It sounded like it was going to be what I thought Alternity by Mari Mancusi was going to be mixed with the Ruby Red Trilogy by Kerstin Gier so I was sold.

The Concept / The World:

This book was a lot of fun to read and it quickly had me hooked (which was good because I had to return it to the library the next day!). I was worried that the alternate dimensions aspect would be confusing but it was explained perfectly at the start of the novel, making the rest of the novel easy to follow.

The Plot:

Like in most of Gray’s books, there are little twists and turns along the way that keep the plot moving and unpredictable. Part of the charm of a book like this is the mystery aspect that you put together as you read and while I definitely had a good inkling of how things were all connected, I really didn’t know if I was right or not given the little surprises here and there. I liked that it kept my full attention and the last half of the book is really non-stop which was great. I never felt like plot dragged and it easily could have if Marguerite and Theo spent too long in a certain dimension but it was executed perfectly.

The Romance:

Even the love triangle was well done–rare words from me indeed. I think it helps that the focus of this book isn’t really the romance aspect–rather Marguerite spends her time trying to figure out what exactly is at play and I liked that a lot. There was enough romantic moments to keep the romance reader in me satisfied but it really was the plot of this book that I loved so much.

updates

–December 19, 2015– Book 2: Ten Thousand Skies Above You

I was really curious to see what was going to happen next given the ending of the last novel. The plot for this one was interesting for sure and I really like the direction it is going. However, I did feel it lull a bit in the middle. I found Marguerite annoyed me a little in her outlook on things and that frustrated me. At the same time, I can appreciate the situation she is in and I liked how she grew from what happens. I was worried that that love triangle would escalate into a situation that I wouldn’t like but, again, I think it worked for the story and it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

I really like the way the story progressed though. I thought I have everything figured out but those twists again kept me on my toes. Can’t wait to see how this all wraps up!

–January 7, 2019– Book 3: A Million Worlds With You

This was a great finale! I really felt like things were brought back full circle in terms of the themes and topics this series has addressed. I got a little lost in the plot (it felt a little roundabout at times) but it was always moving and I really loved that.

Plus the audio was exactly what I imagined it to be considering I read the previous books instead of listening to them.

Series Rating: 4.5/5

A Thousand Pieces of You 5/5 | Ten Thousand Skies Above You 4/5 | A Million Worlds With You 4/5

overall

I feel like it has been a long time since I read a good YA novel and this novel helped fill in that void. Everything is just well executed and it was so refreshing to read about Alternate Dimensions. I loved how it built and that there were constantly little plot twists along the way. If you plan to read it, make sure you set aside a lot of time because you won’t likely be putting it down anytime soon!

Read if You Like: world-building, alternate dimensions
Avoid if You: dislike parallel universes, don’t want as much romance

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Movie Mondays: I am Number Four

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: I am Number Four by Pittacus Lore | Movie: I am Number Four (2011)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

Series: Lorien Legacies or I am Number Four Series
Author: Pittacus Lore (Fun Fact: This is actually the name of a character in the book!)
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Action, Aliens, Romance
Point of View: First Person (this book is just one character’s POV, the rest of the series has multiple)

Thoughts:

When I am Number Four was about to hit theatres, I decided to read the book before I went to see it (I don’t like having my books spoiled). But I wasn’t able to finish the book before my library loan was due and thus, I never got to see it in theatres. However, I did eventually finish the book.

My feelings on I am Number Four are mixed. Since reading the other books in the series, this one is a definite oddball in terms of its delivery and plot line. As I said in my review of the series, I am Number Four follows the typical Young Adult Science Fiction plot line formula: main hero is in hiding, discovers his special powers, falls in love with a human girl and has to save the world. It wasn’t anything overly new to me and that made it a tad boring to read. John/Four isn’t my favourite character in the series and because this first book focuses solely on him, it gets a little tiring putting up with his teenaged angst all the time.

So I could understand why people would drop the whole series based on their experience reading this book. It’s really a shame the rest of the series truly blows this book out of the water in terms of everything. It has better characters, more plots, great twists and reveals as well as a lot more action and suspense.

But the fact of the matter is, you have to read this book to get on with the rest of the series so if you want to read this series, you have to just tough it out a bit.

Conclusion:

Don’t judge the series by I am Number Four. I like to think of I am Number Four as one big prequel novella for the rest of the series. Those who love science fiction and stories with lots of kickass action, you will enjoy the rest of the faster paced books in the series! So while it is important to read I am Number Four, don’t let it dissuade you from reading The Power of Six. But if you don’t enjoy The Power of Six, then you won’t like the rest of the series because that is what the rest of the series is like.

Rating: 3/5 for I am Number Four, but 4.5/5 for the series as a whole
Series Review: Full series review here!

Similar Reads: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout (Lux Series #1)

The Movie:

I finally managed to watch this movie a little more than 3 years after its theatrical release when I was traveling home from school this fall.

While it has been 3 years since I read the book, I knew that they had made dramatic changes to the plot despite not remembering every little detail of the book. I’m not one of those book fans who can’t fathom why book-to-movie adaptions make plot changes–because I completely understand why–so it didn’t necessarily bother me that they changed the main events of the book a bit. With the exception of one MAJOR plot aspect, what they did in the movie got across what the book was trying to achieve.

However, what I don’t appreciate is the little details they forgot to mention. Like the importance of the “kill order” and all the fine print associated with it. Or what John’s powers actually do. I just felt like the key aspects of the book, which make the series so much fun to read and add so much depth to it, weren’t utilized as much as they should be. It just felt like the writers went “meh” that shit isn’t important–WHEN IT IS!

Though I think it is important to note that the second novel in the series, The Power of Six, hadn’t been published when the movie was released. Maybe not completely know what happens in the sequel attributed to some of the dismal plot changes but at the same time, I’m sure they must have consulted with the author so really, I don’t see any legitimate excuse for why things were done as they were.

In terms of casting, I think it was very well done. I have a little bit of a crush on Alex Pettyfer so I have a little bit of a biased when it comes to him. However, he played John very well–I disliked watching that character as much as I disliked reading about him so I consider that a win 😛 All joking aside, he does angsty well (which is why he was my ideal pick for Jace Wayland in the City of Bones movie adaption even though he turned the role down) but he can also pull off the action scenes well so I think he was cast very well. I loved Teresa Palmer as Six and I loved Callan McAuliffe as Sam (both Six and Sam are two of my favourite characters in the series) as well as Timothy Olyphant as Henry, though I wish that role was expanded upon more.

Overall, the movie was ok. Nothing really wowed me about it but I enjoyed watching these characters come to life on the big (well, my tablet) screen. While plans for the sequel were shelved after the disappointing box office reception of this movie, there may be hope yet for a sequel. Apparently, the director of the movie still gets asked if a sequel will be arriving and I think the fact that the books continue to sell well gives the impression that a sequel might not be a complete waste of money. I personally think this would be an option worth exploring because the rest of the series is on a whole other level than the inaugural book and would be much more appealing to audiences.

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

In this case, the winner is the BOOK. While it isn’t my favourite book in the series, I did enjoy the more complex plot we get in the novel. The movie took out too much of what makes this whole series so interesting to read and it missed the mark with me.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for I am Number Four (from Goodreads):
In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now. The Nine had to separate and go into hiding.

The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

I AM NUMBER FOUR is the thrilling launch of a series about an exceptional group of teens as they struggle to outrun their past, discover their future—and live a normal life on Earth.

Trailer:

Movie Mondays: The Maze Runner

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: The Maze Runner by James Dashner | Movie: The Maze Runner (2014)

Which did I read/see first? the BOOK

Book Cover | Movie Poster

The Book:

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Biggest Disappointments 2014
Series: The Maze Runner Trilogy
Author: James Dashner
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Suspense, Apocalyptic, Mystery
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

I didn’t totally love The Maze Runner when I read it. I think I made the mistake of watching the movie trailer before I read the novel and let the trailer create my expectations for the novel.

I was expecting a fast-paced adventure novel with lots of twists and turns (and I don’t just mean turns of maze itself) and high doses of suspense. Instead, I got a dry, overly descriptive novel that took a very long time to get exciting.

Part of the problem is the third person narration–it’s just so impersonal for a story that is supposed to be suspenseful. I wasn’t able to connect with the characters like I wanted and that made it hard to read it.

There also wasn’t a lot of action either until the very end of the novel–and that’s when the plot gets a lot more interesting as well.

Conclusion:

This is one of those “cool concept–poor execution” novels. Read it if you enjoy longer Young Adult reads that slowly build up to the climax.

Rating: 3/5
Series Review: Full series review here!

The Movie:

Despite not having an overly good experience reading the novels—I was SUPER excited to watch the movie! Part of the reason is my massive crush on Dylan O’Brien (who plays the lead Thomas) but part of the reason is that when I was reading the book, I could definitely see it as a movie. James Dashner is very descriptive so I had a very clear picture of the setting in my mind when I was reading and if you got rid of the overly descriptive parts and just took out the highlights, it would have everything that a good movie needs.

I have to say, this was a great adaption–my crushes on the respective actors aside. I really loved the direction they took this movie in terms of what they cut and kept.

First, the cast was great! And I’m not saying that in a biased way 😉 They really did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life and I definitely connected more with these characters in film than novel form. O’Brien was exactly what I pictured Thomas to act like–fantastic job!

The set was also really, really well done. Not hard when the movie is adapted from a book as descriptive as The Maze Runner but still important nonetheless.

As for the story–this was exactly what I expected The Maze Runner to be: fast-paced and suspenseful! Even knowing what was going to happen, I still had goosebumps anytime a griever appeared on screen or they entered the maze. The main plot points are pretty much the same from what I remember but only a few minor changes are made. I think it’s a good thing that they changed what they did. There is just one thing that they reveal that seems a little premature to me but I think for the sake of the general audience (who has probably never read the book) it needed to be done.

I’m SO happy that this adaptation was successful at the box office–because a sequel deserves to be made. The Scorch Trials was my favourite book of the trilogy and I can’t wait to see it brought to life. I also won’t lie: I want more of Dylan O’Brien in my life 🙂

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

In this case, the winner is the MOVIE…hands down. It was everything I wanted the novel to be and was very well done. Fans I think will be happy with the result. I encourage those who didn’t like the book to actually watch the movie at some point because I have a feeling you too will also really enjoy it!

Do you agree? Leave a comment below!

Synopsis for The Maze Runner (from Goodreads):
“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.”

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.

Trailer:

Series Review: IFICS by Julia Crane

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

Freak Fractured

Series: IFICS Series
Author: Julia Crane
# of Books: 3 (Freak of Nature, Fractured Innocence, Fatal Abduction)
Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: No, Fatal Abduction is to be published
Genre: Young Adult/New Adult, Science Fiction, Romance, Action
Heat Rating: really warm (for a young adult novel)
Point of View: Third Person

Thoughts:

PLEASE NOTE: This review is a part of review blitz for the IFICS series put on by Julia Crane’s publicist. I was contacted by her assistant publicist to do a review on the first two books of the series.

My previous exposure to Julia Crane’s work was with the Keegan Chronicles and that wasn’t a totally positive experience. The writing was choppy and the story just didn’t grab my attention the way I was hoping. But I am all for second chances and when I read the synopsis for Freak of Nature, I knew this book was more my tastes.

The writing in Freak of Nature is much smoother than it was in Coexist. It was easy to follow and more importantly flowed smoothly. While third person narration is not my favourite POV form, it works well for this series. I think it would be hard to read the series as a first person POV from Kaitlyn given that she doesn’t fully think like a human. Plus, it added to the story to get a feel for what was happening around Kaitlyn when she wasn’t there. This was especially important in Fractured Innocence–and one of my favourite parts of the book.

Freak of Nature was interesting, just slow to me. It seemed like an extended novella of sorts because it really set the stage for the world the series is set in. The plot was very singular in its delivery: there really isn’t much going on other than Kaitlyn learning the truth about her human past.

While reading Freak of Nature, I kept drawing parallels to Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza. Both are extremely similar novels but I found that Freak of Nature focuses more on the romantic side of things and more on Kaitlyn’s relationships with other people while Mila 2.0 focuses more on the action and what it means to be human. Two completely different takes on a similar Science Fiction element.

To me, Freak of Nature seemed to be struggling with identifying itself as a Young Adult read or a New Adult read. At first I labelled it as a Young Adult read but it was a much more mature Young Adult read in terms of sexual content. With Fractured Innocence, it was more obvious to me that it was more a New Adult read; it deals with some heavy content that not everyone will be comfortable reading.

Fractured Innocence touches on a subject that not a lot of Young Adult/New Adult books do. I enjoyed reading that aspect of the book because I think it is a subject people need to be more aware of. I felt like it was handled in an extremely mature and realistic way which I always appreciate. Though, as I said before, it might make some people uncomfortable reading it because it is a hard thing to stomach.

I was hoping Fractured Innocence was going to be faster paced and more action focused: it wasn’t. At the halfway point they were still sitting around doing nothing and the characters even complain about it in the book. When we do get the action, it lasts for 2-3 chapters and the remainder of the book it coming to terms with everything that happened, which isn’t that much. It kept my attention though because of the added POV and the anticipation that something was going to happen; but nothing ever really did. I was alos expecting more character development but it didn’t seem to happen either.

I’m undecided about whether or not I will be reading Fatal Abduction. It sounds like it will be more exciting and reviews I have seen have all been very positive so maybe one day in the future I will pick it up.

Conclusion:

This series reminds me a lot of the CW TV show Nikita (one of my all time favourite shows) just with a teen aged cyborg as the lead instead. However, it’s slower paced and not as action focused as I personally like when reading this type of genre. Nothing really blew my socks off but for those who like singular plot lines or want to dabble in Young Adult Science Fiction, this might be a series that is worth your time.

Rating: 2.5/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: Probably to a younger friend who wanted a taste of SciFi.

Similar Reads: Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza (Mila 2.0 Trilogy)

Synopsis for Freak of Nature (from Goodreads):
Donate Body to Science. Check.
When seventeen-year-old Kaitlyn checked the box, she never suspected she’d have her life–and her body–stolen from her. She awakens one day in a secret laboratory to discover that her body is now half-robot and is forced to hide her own secret: that she still has human emotions and a human mind. If the scientists who made her find out, they’ll erase what remains of who she was.

 

Freak

FIND IT ON GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/FONGR

FIND IT ON AMAZON: http://bit.ly/FONAMAZON

FIND IT ON BARNES AND NOBLE: http://bit.ly/FONBNB

Fractured

FIND IT ON GOODREADS: http://bit.ly/FrInGR

FIND IT ON AMAZON: http://bit.ly/FIAmazon

FIND IT AT BARNES AND NOBLE: http://bit.ly/FrInBN

~*~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~*~

Julia crane is the author of the Keegan’s Chronicles, IFICS. She has a bachelors degree in criminal justice. Julia has believed in magical creatures since the day her grandmother first told her an Irish tale. Growing up her mother greatly encouraged reading and using your imagination.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/juliacraneauthor

WEBSITE: www.juliacrane.com

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/JuliaCrane2

Series Review: Legend by Marie Lu

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 Legend (from Goodreads):

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’s 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.

breakdown

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Favourite Series 2014, Favourite Couple 2014, To-Watch Author
Series: Legend, Legend Trilogy
Author: Marie Lu
# of Books: 4 (Full Series Reading Order)

There are some novellas.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Adventure, Mystery, Romance, Science Fiction, Political
Heat Rating: cool
Point of View: First Person, Alternating
Publication Dates: November 2011 – October 2019
Source & Format: Public Library–eBook

thoughts

**This post has now been updated to include the newest publications in the series.**

My Expectations/Why I Picked it Up:

I’ve wanted to read Legend since it first came out in 2011 but I could never get my hands on a copy from the library. I also let it slip to the back of my mind and read other, more “popular” dystopian novels. But after reading the first novel, Legend, I’m upset with myself that I waited this long!

Review of Legend (#1):

Legend was everything I love in a novel. It has strong lead characters (especially a strong female heroine), suspense, mystery, a dash of romance and action. I was sucked into the book the moment I started it and couldn’t put it down. Like most dystopian novels, it has many layers to it. You have the overall political issues, the class divisions and then the main plot for the individual novel. There were some great twists and turns along the way and I found that the suspense never died.

What I also loved was that this book wasn’t like other dystopian books out there. Yes, it had similar elements but I found the story to be very refreshing. It is definitely on the darker side in the sense that it isn’t afraid to talk about death or feature killing. It might make some readers uncomfortable but I thought it really added to the story.

June was great on her own as was Day but I loved the chemistry they had together. They weren’t immature despite being only 15 years old and they didn’t grate on my nerves like some teen leads can. I felt like I was reading about 17 year olds and I almost wish that they were older just for the sake of what they have to go through but it really isn’t a big deal. June does do a few things that irk me a little later on but overall I really do like her character.

Review of Prodigy (#2):

Prodigy never slumped in its delivery. It was fast-paced from start to finish and I loved the character development we get along the way. It’s one of the best middle books of a trilogy that I have read. I find a lot of novels in a trilogy, especially a dystopian series, really struggle with the sequel book. But this one was strong throughout and I loved every minute of it!

Review of Champion (#3):

Champion started slow (compared to the rest of the series) but picked up quickly. The last third was super intense and I couldn’t get enough of it. Dystopian authors take note, this is how you write the conclusion to your trilogy: it was perfection. It had action, character development, a dash of realism (which I really, really appreciated) and a thorough wrap-up. Just well done.

When to Read #0.5 Life Before Legend:

Just a quick note on Life Before Legend. The title is slightly confusing in the sense that it gives the impression that you should read it before you read Legend. DON’T! It really won’t mean anything to you until you read Legend and have met the characters. And it’ll have some spoilers.

Life Before Legend isn’t anything spectacular. To be honest, I mostly skimmed through it. It’s a cute little extra that fans will enjoy but it’s nothing to worry about as it really doesn’t add anything to the story. I recommend you read it after book 2, Prodigy, just because one story refers to a particular scene in Prodigy so it will have more relevance than if you read it after the finished series.

updates

–November 18, 2019– Book #4: Rebel

I was both nervous and super excited when this book was announced. While I wouldn’t say I LOVED the ending of Champion, I respected it. But that didn’t mean I wouldn’t read any future novels set in this world.

What an amazing way to return and wrap up an amazing series. Honestly, it’s been years since I finished Champion but I felt like it had been days.

Everything you want and need is here. Powerful character moments; a strong plot.

And I have to say that I love the idea that the solutions to problems aren’t always so clear and that the world is ever changing. Perfection.

Series Rating: 5/5

Legend 5/5 | Prodigy 5/5 | Champion 5/5 | Rebel 5/5

overall

I devoured these novels! I would sit down and find that an hour had past and I had made significant progress reading. I highly recommend you read them as close together as possible because you will need to know what happens next. Marie Lu has become an author I plan to read a lot more from. If you loved Divergent and want a book with a similar vibe, this is the series you need to read. If you like action, a splash of romance and suspense in your young adult novels, pick this series up!

Read if You Like: dystopian, fast paced novels, rebellion
Avoid if You: dislike science fiction

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Series Review: The Maze Runner by James Dashner

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

SERIESous’ Top Book Series: Biggest Disappointments 2014
Series: The Maze Runner Trilogy
Author: James Dashner
# of Books: 3 (The Maze Runner, The Scorch Trials, The Death Cure)

There is a prequel novel called The Kill Order and novella that is listed between books 2 and 3 called Thomas’s First Memory of the Flare.

Book Order: Chronological
Complete?: Yes
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction, Suspense, Apocalyptic, Mystery
Heat Rating: cold
Point of View: Third Person
Movie Review: Catch my thoughts on the movie here!

Thoughts:

I had heard about the Maze Runner series before I heard about the plans for the movie and had put it on my to-read list. But with the movie approaching, I decided to read it before the movie was released in September.

The first book in the series, The Maze Runner, was very slow and dry. I was expecting the action to happen right away and I found that the plot really didn’t pick up until the last third of the book–which is quite far into the novel as it is a longer novel. I just felt like the little pieces of the mystery took too long to be revealed; because once more pieces were revealed, it got really interesting. But until you know more it is quite dull. Part of the issue is that it is very descriptive–which isn’t bad because I have a good idea of what the world looks like–when it doesn’t really need to be.

I could see why a lot of people didn’t enjoy the novel as it isn’t as intense or action packed as, say, the Hunger Games were. I think the movie will do well though because they will speed through the exposition quicker and focus more on the few action scenes we do get in the first half of the book and expand upon them.

Up until the halfway point or so of The Maze Runner I wasn’t entirely sure if I would be reading the second novel, The Scorch Trials. I didn’t want to have to put myself through another round of dry, overly descriptive chapters.But when everything is finally revealed, I really got into the story and was excited to read book 2.

The Scorch Trials does what I wish The Maze Runner did, and that’s hitting the ground and running (no pun intended). There isn’t an inflated exposition to sift your way through. Instead we dive right into the next scene and watch the mystery unravel around us. I did find that some chapters were slower than others but overall, The Scorch Trials is a vast improvement over its predecessor and I understand why people love these/this books/series because it is quite the ride when it wants to be. It makes the task of reading The Maze Runner almost worth it.

Unfortunately though, The Death Cure, the third and final book of the series, drops the ball. It was more “death” than “cure”. Like the inaugural book of the series, it was super slow. It got to a point where I was just skimming the text because I really didn’t need to read every detail to get an idea of what was happening–because there wasn’t really anything happening! That was why it was more like “death” because it was a chore to read it–though the last 40 pages really picked up. However, I missed the “cure” part. I really didn’t feel like any of my questions about the entire series were answered and the ending leaves a little to be desired. As a concluding book in a series, it was a fail.

I’m undecided about reading the prequel novel (it is a full fledged novel, not a novella), The Kill Order. It is very important that you don’t read this novel until after you read the trilogy because it will have spoilers about the world that is unveiled as you progress through the trilogy. However, the characters in the Maze Runner do not appear in the Kill Order (from what I understand). I might read it in the future, but after finishing the Death Cure, I need a bit of a break from this series.

Conclusion:

A cool concept for a series but not the best execution. It’s a slower series that does have its higher points but overall drags out throughout the novels and the entire series. I was very disappointed but I am looking forward to the movie–I think if it is executed well, it will be what I expected the series to be. If you like slower, longer stories told from the third person, this is a young adult series for you!

Rating: 3/5
Would I Recommend this Series to a Friend: No – unless I know that they love overly descriptive books. I would actually recommend that they watch the movie instead…find out why here!

Similar Reads: Across the Universe by Beth Revis (Across the Universe Trilogy #1) and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games Trilogy #1)

Synopsis for The Maze Runner (from Goodreads):
“If you ain’t scared, you ain’t human.”

When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers–boys whose memories are also gone.

Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out–and no one’s ever made it through alive.

Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying.