Oh, TOM RAINES – what have you done to me? You make me crazy – between acting like the immature 15 that you are and coming to realizations that I wish you had come to way earlier – I still find myself absolutely loving you.
I loved Vortex just as much as I loved Insignia. All of the things that I enjoyed in Insignia were in Vortex – moments of hilarity (I lost count of how many times I laughed out loud), action action action! (the Simulations!), and cut-throat politicking (BUT FOR REAL). Each of the characters grow in their own way and some of them will surprise you with what they do – my jaw dropped a few times from the “WHAT?!”.
There came a point in the book, about half way, when I could definitely see a place where it would have been an okay place to stop but I’m so glad that there was more! I love that these books are 400+ pages – it really gives me a chance to dig in and spend time with the characters.
My favorite thing about this serious is how it explores friendships – all kinds of friendships. The friendship between Wyatt and Tom (girl and boy), Vik and Tom (boy and boy), Yuri and the group (an “outsider”), Medusa and Tom (opposing sides of the war and opposite sides of the world, AND they’ve never met in real life). How do “prioritize your friends, which ones would you try to save, and how far would you be willing to go? Would you commit treason? Would you betray them to make life better for yourself? And if you were the one betrayed, would you ever forgive them?
It has been a little over a year since I read Insignia and I couldn’t remember everything that happened in the first book but Vortex does a good job of hitting key points from Insignia in a way that doesn’t feel awkward. I wish I had re-read Insignia before starting Vortex but it didn’t spoil anything for me. If you’re looking for a series for a boy to get in to, this is the one. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!
Ps – I listened to this one on audiobook – and let me tell you – the voice actor was fantastic. I could distinguish characters’ voices (not just Vik and Yuri) but Wyatt, and Tom, and Blackburn – everyone had a distinct sound. He really brought the book to life for me and it was wonderful to listen to.
Dorothy Must Die took one of my all time favorite movies (and books!) and literally slapped me in the face with an alternate ending/universe. To think that Dorothy is evil – mind = blown. And it was so much fun for me as a reader to see the same world of Oz with a new perspective. It’s like discovering a favorite book (Oz and the Emerald City) for the first time, all over again – no easy task. So bravo to Ms. Paige for being able to do that!
Despite the love I had in rediscovering Oz, the plot was a tad bit too slow for my liking – lots of side quests and extra characters that I found myself getting bored with. The audiobook is 14.5 hours long, so maybe that had something to do with the plot feeling slow.
Overall, I really liked this book and it kept me engaged in the parts that I didn’t find boring (as opposed to just lulling). I think it goes to show that with the right execution and good writing, even a 14.5 hour long audiobook AND a retelling of one of your favorites, can become a favorite too.
PS – I cannot wait for the sequel!
I’m not quite sure how I feel about Death Sworn. I enjoyed it (kind of) – and the mystery around the murders kept me guessing, though admittedly, I’m never very good at figuring out the whodunit type of stuff (some people are really good at it!). Overall, this book just felt kind of “meh”. I didn’t dislike it nor did I find myself nitpicking, but I wasn’t gushing over it either.
I guess that, for me, there wasn’t enough world building. The reader learns that sorcerers can wield their power/magic to do spells, but there wasn’t any detail about the spells themselves. Only that a fire spell was cast or a water spell was cast – no actual incantation mentioned – and that made it feel less real.
Also, the entire book takes place in one setting – underground with assassins. There’s no change of scenery and I think I got bored by the end of the book. Plus the love interest just didn’t feel right to me – it felt too forced.
Fans of fantasy lite a la Throne of Glass might enjoy this if they’re okay without a love triangle and a little less action.
Let the Sky Fall was easily one of my favorite reads from last year and so I was so excited for the next installment – although it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be, I loved it! I had forgotten how funny Vane was and how sassy Audra was and it felt good to be back with them. Seriously, I can’t count the number of times that I laughed out loud while listening to this book (thankfully in the comfort of my own home so there weren’t people staring at me like I was crazy).
I did feel like more emphasis was put on Audra’s story than Vane’s and I was totally okay with that. We got to see Vane more in Let the Sky Fall and I thought it was nice that the spotlight was put on Audra – it helped me to understand her better.
This series is so unique and fun and I definitely recommend it to fans of Graceling by Kristin Cashore.
I can definitely see the comparison that some people might make to The Fault in Our Stars but really – I have to say that the two books actually make me feel two completely different types of feelings. Side Effects May Vary felt..raw to me – real in the realist sense. High school – full of mean people and teenage life in general – can suck. Add in cancer, some other real life situations, and one of those complicated best friend relationships. You can see why Alice is spiraling out of control (and trust me, she is).
This book is gritty – it’s ugly-pretty. Half of the time I was so mad at teenagers being teenagers and the other half I was just plain disappointed in the decisions that they were making. The only other book that has recently made me feel that way is The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp. It’s like I wanted to shake these characters and ask them why they were doing what they were doing and how could they be so blind?
Side Effects May Vary made me feel passion for life and living, and sadness for those living it in such a self-destructive way. This book is heart-wrenching but not in the way most people think of the word. I recommend picking it up when you’re in the mood for something a little bit heavier.
Rebel Heart is just as good as Blood Red Road, albeit in a completely different way. Our focus has shifted from this tunnel-vision mission of saving Lugh. It’s like – what happens after we’ve “saved the world”? Where do we go? What do we do? And where the hell is Jack?
Instead of the well-known “middle book lull”, this book brought the “action” in an almost subtle way. There was so much mystery that it didn’t feel like much action was occurring, when it all actuality..ka-boom.
Some readers may not like some things that happened but oh how I LOVED it. Characters are annoying, yes. They do annoying, STUPID, things. I feel almost masochistic – I loved being hurt like this. I loved the characters making the worst kinds of mistakes. Moira Young, bring on the pain. I’m ready for the final installment, Raging Star, which is set to be released on May 13th, 2014.
This book was crazy. I mean, legitimately C-R-A-Z-Y. Could I get behind the premise (kids in a tournament of who is the most insane/willing to do INSANE stuff)? YES. However..
I just didn’t have the suspension of disbelief to enjoy this book. Maybe I’m looking at it from my Mid-20′s-”I remember when NSYNC was cool”-I’m old- glasses. But the fact of the matter is that there is absolutely no way that these kids would have been able to get away with some of the stuff they pulled. It just wasn’t believable – too much was coincidental and I knew how this book was going to end at the 40% mark. And I love Lauren Olivier’s writing but this one had too many immature metaphors for my liking.
Maybe I’m too old to enjoy this type of young Young Adult? Have you read this book? Did you like it?
Scarlet is one of those books, that for me, needs to be listened to on audiobook – the improper grammar was so distracting that I just couldn’t see it, read it, and have it not be like a flashing red stoplight in my face. Just like with Blood Red Road, if this is too much of a distraction for you, try the audiobook. Once you get past the grammar, the story itself of Scarlet is a very good one. I really enjoyed hearing about Scarlet’s dangerous missions to break people out of prison and it was actually fun to read a retelling of a story that I know so well but with some new characters that I couldn’t quite remember (BUT LOVED). Yes, it was a little slow in the beginning but once it got going, it really got going.
I did think Scarlet (the character), at times, was a little annoying with her independent ways but this book is definitely one of my favorites reads for this year. I think fans of retellings will especially enjoy it.
For the most part, I tend to listen to the recommendations of my friends – even when the books don’t sound particularly interesting. I’m not a big fan of the “classics” (maybe because I haven’t read that many of them?), but decided to give this book a chance because I usually like historical fictions and science fiction as well. And while this book was definitely different and I liked the premise, I didn’t feel like the story was that compelling. I mean, NOTHING happened so I got kind of bored – maybe I needed more of a plot-driven book, but the book was painfully slow.
Even with its slowness and lack of action, there are tons of morsels to take with you after you’ve finished reading.
Scientific progressiveness – in that time period, yes – but also think about science today and how much “innovation” there is. One man’s innovation is another man’s idea of unethical. Just google “vivisection”.
Men, beasts, civility, and savageness – and how all of these can be interwoven and are not always as they seem. How community plays into all of this.
Tons of biblical references. Juliet’s father playing God with creating these “beasts”. Laws and divine law. The idea that humans are by nature corrupt.
Like I said, lots of goodies to think about – but I just didn’t think that this book had the oompf it needed to capture the young adult audience’s attention. With that said, I did read the second book in the series, Her Dark Curiosity, which I found much better than this one.
At first glance, I must admit that this book didn’t jump out at me. A pretty cover and a unique premise just weren’t enough. Add in the lengthy list of awards that were racked up – 2013 William C. Morris YA Debut Award, Cybil Award for Teen Fantasy and Science Fiction, Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of the Year – just to name a few. You’d think I would be ready to tear into this one – but it still wasn’t enough to pique my interest.
Until I was in the mood for DRAGONS. I wanted a good dragon story and, boy, did I get what I wanted.
Seraphina starts out rather slow and I did feel a little like I’d been thrown into the deep-end without any proper explanation of what was what or who was who, but this is just one of those books that immerses you into its world within 50 pages and then you forget how or where it even began. The writing is absolutely stunning – rich descriptions of music and dragons – with politics, philosophy, and religion thrown into the mix to make the reader think.
Questions that I thought to myself while reading this book: What does it feel like to feel? What do I feel like when I’m sad? What about when I’m happy? Could I choose between my family and the one I love? How do people bring peace to times of war? Could (or rather, would) I be willing to put peace and my country in a place of higher priority than my own heart?
This series has the potential to be multiple books – and I would gladly read them all! And there is a sequel, Shadow Scale, but the release date is set for MARCH 2015 (insert sobbing here).
Overall, a magnificent debut that I can’t believe I didn’t read sooner. And the narrator - oh my goodness - she was absolutely wonderful with her accents and her pacing. Loved it.
First let’s talk about this “New Adult” thing – basically it’s marketed toward an in between Young Adult and Adult age group. College age and sometimes post-college age. So, the reader are suppose to get main characters that are a little bit more mature in their decisions and life choices. Except, from reading this book I didn’t get the impression that Bliss Edwards was anything other than a 16 year old encased in a 21 year old’s body. It’s not her naivety so much as her immaturity and total sheltered life that have me asking how anyone thought this was a realistic 21 year old? I mean, seriously.
I had a lot of issues with this book – mainly that the reader was suppose to be okay with this whole professor/student thing. If he were a grad student acting as a Teaching Assistant to her class, well that I can go with. In my mind Garrick was probably 27-28? Like, what a perv. Plus he’s her teacher – favoritism, anyone? Totally un-ethical.
I guess I picked up this book with something totally different in mind and that’s why I just wasn’t happy with it. That being said, I listened to this one rather quickly and only now looking back on it do I realize that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I though I was while I was listening to it. (Do you ever have books like that? – you think “Wow! I really like this!” while reading it and then you finish and think it over and it’s like BAM – I did *not* like this book as much as I thought I did.)
Anyway, another audiobook, another good voice actor, but unfortunately this book just wasn’t my cup of tea. The most likable character gets a book of their own in the next installment of the series but I just don’t like the world enough to pick it up.
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