Lately I have started way too many audio books and not been able to finish any of them. This one however hooked me right away and didn't let go.
The voice of the main character, Saba, is fresh and unique. The language is minimalistic, at times broken, and seems to be taken right out of the wild west. Though from the hints dropped by the author it seems the story is set in the future after civilization as we know it is no more. This is the first book in a series and while the main storyline wraps up nicely, I was still left with many lingering questions I'm hoping will be answered in forthcoming installments.
One of my favorite things about this novel was how the author made me care about the characters. They were fleshed out, completely three dimensional and utterly human. You see rather than being told how Saba and other character grow throughout the hardships they face. As an animal lover, I also loved the bond between Saba and her crow Nero.
The book is action packed and I didn't find any spots where the story really dragged. I really liked the immediacy created by the first person, present tense narration. I felt like I was right there with the characters experiencing everything they did.
Now for the romance. The romance was sweet and totally appropriate for teens. I can see how the author plans to build on the relationships developed in the first book and I'm hoping she delves deeper into other characters...like the mysterious Demalo. Jack, the love interest in the book challenges Saba and it's nice to see her fight against her feelings and finally, finally give into them. Overall this was an exceptional debut novel. It was unique, surprising, and a whole lot of fun! The narration was spot on as well and I'm hoping they stick with Ms. Lind for upcoming books in this series.
When I first started listening to this book it reminded me of a late 90's early 2000 teen TV show about a group of alien teenagers. The very premise, a girl who gets fatally wounded and then is miraculously healed by a boy who is obsessed with her, is exactly what happened in the very first episode of this TV show. The story took a different turn however, which I'm glad of, but then started to remind me of another TV show, Fringe. I don't want to say too much and give it away, but if you've seen Fringe and listen to this book you will totally see the connection.
I liked the book, don't get me wrong. It kept my interest and there were a few twists and turns that kept me guessing...for a little while anyway.
The main character, Janelle, is smart, strong, and very persistent. Ben, the boy who saves her, is also an ok character. I didn't love him and I didn't find myself overly rooting for their relationship. It was just kind of sweet and a little bland. The relationship that is. I really liked Alex, Janelle's best friend. He was also super smart and witty. A very good sidekick. Everything seemed to flow pretty well and the prose was very readable. The structure of the book was a major redeeming quality. Short chapters and the ever present countdown helped to add urgency to the storyline.
The narrator was pretty good. My only complaint is that I wished she would have deviated the voices a little more. All the male characters pretty much sounded alike. Not a huge deal, mind you. She did a great job with emotions and never became overly dramatic.
Some of the things in the book that bothered me... Well, the first was some of the logic in the book. I really had to suspend belief for some parts. LIke how Janelle seemed to have such easy access to her father's files and his laptop. Her dad is an FBI agent, well no he's the head of a division of the FBI is San Diego to be exact, and it seems to me like it should not have been so easy for her to sneak a peek at his files or get onto his computer and email. HIs partner also seemed to allow her so much free reign into the investigation that it was a little more than unbelievable. And how is it that pretty much all of the central teenage characters in the book are so smart? Seventeen year olds that seem to have such a good grasp on quantum physics...ok? Anyway, the second thing that didn't bother me so much but might offend other people was the language. The F bomb is dropped several times and in general there is lots of cussing. So be warned. The third thing is that toward the last half of the book it felt like it began to lag a little. It was like fifty pages could have been cut out in order to move things along more quickly. Or maybe I was just anxious to see if my theory about the countdown was right?
The ending has me conflicted. In one way I thought, wow that is a brave way to end a book. Spoiler...the author kills off three of the semi-important characters in the story. One early on and two more at the end of the book. But the ending also made me angry, and not just because it was a cliffhanger. But because it was really sad and left me feeling like after what happened maybe I don't want to read the sequel, which there will inevitably be.
Bottom line: This is a decent read. I enjoyed it and I kept listening, which says a lot because I've been known to give up after only getting a few chapters in to certain books. While the plot lines were borrowed from other sources, the writer still made them her own. The writing style was definitely readable and flowed reasonably well. The cussing was a little overboard and the romance was a of the insta-love variety and I didn't find myself really caring about it one way or another. If you like sci-fi/mysteries give this one a try but prepare yourself for a cliffhanger and lots of suspension of belief.
Action. Adventure. Romance.
For me the sign of a good book is when I'm compelled to READ the sequel if it's not available on audible. Wanting to find out what happens next to the characters was what mainly had me dying to read more. The character building is superb which sometimes gets neglected in sci-fi/fantasy books. Princess Adele is a strong, independent and quite deadly heroine as opposed to some of the frail little waifs that have appeared in other vampire fiction. The Greyfriar was a superb hero, definitely far from perfect, but striving to make a difference in a war torn world.
The world building was good as well though I still have lots of questions that will hopefully be answered in future installments in this series. I felt totally immersed in the world and could picture the places and the events as they took place.
There was a twist, which I won't mention here, that I absolutely loved. The aftermath was handled perfectly. Each of the affected characters dealt with the repercussions of this revelation in a realistic way. Loved, loved, loved it.
I also loved the vampires. They definitely do not sparkle. The mythology of their race was fascinating and seemed almost believable, at least more believable than that in recent vampire books I've read. These vampires were downright scary, ruthless, but at the same time fighting to survive, much like the humans in the book.
This brings me to the next thing I liked about the book. Seeing the perspectives of both the humans and the vampires and the driving force behind each of their actions really helped the world and the novel to be more believable.
He is amazing. I'm a fan of Buffy and have always loved Mr. Marsters but I have to say I was shockingly impressed with how well he handled the various voices, both male and female, and those from various parts of the world. I actually found myself forgetting that a man was narrating for Princess Adele. He gave her such a unique voice. He was never overly dramatic, but always pitch perfect in his inflection and portrayal of emotions.
Please get the sequel on Audible as fast as possible. Though I'm tearing through the print version, it's not nearly as satisfying as listening to James Marsters portray these characters.
Give this book a chance. It's a welcome new twist on vampire lore with characters that will stick with you long after you're done listening.
Sarah Drew as always was amazing. I can't imagine anyone else narrating Lauren Oliver's books. She really breathes life into the characters and forces you to experience all the emotions on the page. Ms. Oliver's writing was again incredibly beautiful and poetic and her character development never lacked even though this installment was so much more action packed than Delerium.
Some mild spoilers...What I enjoyed most about this story was watching Lena change and adapt to her new life in the wilds. She's gone from a naive and scared girl to a fierce and brave woman over the course of these two novels. I also enjoyed...I can't believe I'm saying this, the drama created by the new boy in her life. I wanted to hate him, when I saw this was the direction the story was going in, but found it was surprisingly hard to do.
Yes. She is one of my top five favorite narrators and again she was spot on and helped me to experience this book in a way I don't think reading it alone would have.
Honestly, there were too many to mention. I think my favorite part of any Lauren Oliver book are her descriptions and poetic prose.
A great sequel to the first novel which was one of my favorite books of 2011. I am eagerly anticipating the next installment. If you haven't read Delerium, I highly reccomend you do so and stat. Then follow up with Pandemonium and be yearning for the next one.
This was by far one of the best books I've listened to. First off, let me say that the narrator was amazing. She seemed to perfectly capture the characters and make you genuinely feel for even the seemingly most unredeemable of them. The prose was at times compelling and at other times shocking and heartbreaking. A truly amazing book and a good reality check for everyone, not just the "mean girls." I typically only listen to audiobooks during my commute but I found myself being so absorbed in the story and desperate to find out what happens in the the end that I ended up listening long into the night. Be warned, this book will make you think, make you smile, laugh and especially cry. I am really looking forward to future projects from this author as well as the narrator.
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