Another in the plethora of dystopian YA fiction that is to be found, Matched is actually quite good and different from The Hunger Games and Divergent. It's less death-defying, which is the huge difference. There's no violence.
But there is a controlling Society who manages every single part of a person's life, down to the person whom they are to marry. And this is where this particular dystopian story differs.
This story is told well. Some of the prose is quite lovely. The characters are full people. And as a first in a trilogy, it's a good start. I'm intrigued enough to want to read the second book, Crossed.
The narrator is very good, with the perfect youthful voice for the first person narration.
Part of why I enjoy the Bess Crawford mysteries is that for me she has an actual voice - Rosalyn Landor.
These fun books are not great literature, but they are a nice way to pass your reading/listening time. And the mysteries are intriguing enough to keep my interest.
I liked The Passage (book 1) enough to move on to The Twelve (book 2). This is not my normal genre, but the story and characters were written well enough to keep me in it. The Twelve is a gory book - if you don't like horror, then do not read this. I listened to the audiobook and some of the scenes had me cringing as I drove to and from work.
Now I guess I'm with the rest of the fans who are waiting for book 3 to come out.
4 stars for audiobook narrator Scott Brick. The book itself would get 4 stars, but it was a bit to gory for me, so I dropped it by a star. That said the story is solid and moved well in this middle book - 4 stars for the story itself.
Eve (book 1) was pretty good. Once (book 2) was OK. Rise (book 3) was an utter disappointment.
The Eve trilogy had potential to be much more than it was. That the last book was so bad really taints the whole story for me.
I don't recommend it. Don't waste your credit.
I wish we could do half stars. It's really a 3.5 star overall rating on The Passage for me. I loved the first third or so. Then came the change up, which threw me. Then I got sucked into what felt like a new story. It did eventually all come together - the circle closed. And set up book 2. I still don't know if I'm aggravated by that or happy.
I can't even begin to explain this book without spoiling it completely. But it is quite gory horror through most of the latter 2/3. And I'll leave it at that.
Also, my new vocab word is "subsumed." Cronin used it a lot. I need to use it soon.
As for Scott Brick, this is only the second book I've listened to that he narrated. I'm not the huge fan like some others, but he is very good. It took a while for me to get used to his sing-song-y style. His pacing is great, though, and he knows how to build tension.
The other two narrators, Adenrele Ojo and Abby Craden, were my favorites, though. The addition of those diary interludes not only gave us a sense for those female characters but also moved the story along well. Cronin gets high marks from me on that method of his storytelling.
If you ask me, the Delirium series by Lauren Oliver is better than The Hunger Games series. Don't get me wrong, I love The Hunger Games. But I think that the Delirium series is deeper. I think that Oliver writes better characters. Even the secondary characters are richer, more real, living. There's plenty of action, conflict, peril, but there's feeling and growth and purpose, too.
Requiem is a solid conclusion to Lena's story, her journey. It picks up where Pandemonium left off and keeps on moving. What I appreciate is that it constantly moves forward - the resistance and the relationships all progress to the great denouement.
I listened to the audio book, which was read with such greatness by Sarah Drew. If you like to listen to audio books, you can't get a better narration. Drew is a perfect YA narrator.
One thing - there is profanity in this one, more than in the previous two books.
After finishing Eve a few days ago, I find that I'm still ambivalent about it. I found the premise interesting and the writing was good. But I found the implementation of the plot lacked a bit. It's nothing specific that I can put my finger on - just that some of the ideas didn't hold up well.
That said, the narrator was excellent. I think if I had read the dead tree version that my review would not have gotten to 3 stars. Tavia Gilbert's superb narration elevated the story for me.
I do plan to listen to the sequel, mostly out of curiosity to what happens with the characters.
I finished listening to the audiobook this morning and I know that this book is one that will resonate with me for a long, long time.
The quick synopsis is that Sam Kingston is a high school mean girl who dies and then experiences her own version of Groundhog Day for a week.
I must preface my review by saying that the emotions that bubbled up as I read Before I Fall ran the gamut from remembered pain, conviction, frustration, compassion, regret, anger, and elation. I hated high school for so many reasons, including dealing with the silly cliques as portrayed in this story.
Oliver remembers high school too well. Even as one who attended high school 25-30 years ago, the same issues remain for poor, poor adolescents. And even adults, really. We all carry hidden pain and insecurities, right? It just seems that they are magnified when you're a teenager. What Oliver has done with this book is to allow us, through Sam, to experience a sort of theraputic reminiscence of those terrible years. You will come away from it thinking of the people you knew from those days - the mean girls and the rest, too.
I won't mention any specifics from the book, because I prefer not to read or write spoiler filled reviews. From the first words, so perfectly narrated by Sarah Drew (who, as my sister said, completely nails teen girl voice), this book hooked me in. I was disturbed throughout most of the book, but in a good way. And the journey that Sam takes in her repetition of the day she died is a wonder.
I love Lauren Oliver's writing style. She writes beautiful prose, with real characters, and realistic dialogue. She is a master. That Before I Fall is her first book is testament to her skill.
I highly recommend Before I Fall, especially for fans of young adult fiction. It does contain adult language, drug/alcohol use, sexual discussion - pretty much what happens on a daily basis with most teenagers. But I think it's a valuable read.
If you're already a fan of Vince Flynn and Mitch Rapp, then The Last Man will not disappoint. I enjoyed it a lot, as I always do.
This is one of those books that causes one to ponder for a while when the reading is completed. It's hard to write a review fairly without completely spoiling it for those who haven't read it yet. I'm sort of at a loss how to explain my feelings about it.
What I can say is that it is very well written. It is a tightly crafted mystery story with characters who are deeply flawed, both sympathetic and loathsome at times. Mostly loathsome.
A friend said she hated the ending and I can totally understand why. I'm rather torn about it, too. But I can also understand why people love it, although love may be too strong a term. Maybe appreciate it is better. I think that's where I am - I appreciate why it ended that way. I don't necessarily like it, but it works.
My initial thought was that I hated the book, but with further thought I realized it wasn't the story I hated. I hated the people. But I think we're meant to. They are not likable characters. Not at all.
So do I recommend it? Yes, because it is a very well written story. The only warning I give is for the adult language. It is rather crude and graphic throughout, which I didn't like.
As to the two narrators, both are very good. I think that Julia Whelan was exceptional, but Kirby Heyborne was very good as well.
Lauren Oliver is a great writer, with lovely prose. She has created characters that are real, full, believable. Her dystopian world is stark, violent, disturbing. It's a world where emotion is disease and anathema, but the removal of such leaves people with no capacity for care or compassion, much less the deeper emotions.
In Pandemonium, Lena struggles to cope with her new life in the Wilds, with the rebels, fighting to survive. It is clearly a middle book, the story moving to a climax that can only be resolved in the as yet published Requiem.
It isn't as good as Delirium, but I still enjoyed the book. The narrator is excellent.
Now I'm with the others waiting for book 3.
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