Review: Ignite Me

ignitemeTitle: Ignite Me

Series: Shatter Me #3

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Read via: Library

With Omega Point destroyed, Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels, her friends, or even Adam are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. The same person who saved her life. He promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world . . . but that’s not all he wants with her.

I’m always very wary when it comes to the last book in a series. Usually, a final book is either awesome or disappointing, and I’m heartbroken to say that, for me, this falls into the latter category. I really wanted to love this book. I think Tahereh Mafi’s writing is absolutely gorgeous, and I immensely enjoyed the first two books (especially, Unravel Me). However, this book just didn’t work for me.

The plot remains interesting, but I also found it underwhelming. This was particularly true of the ending. The majority of this book is building up to this final fight, but then it’s over in just a few pages. There was no real struggle and it was kind of a letdown. There was also little emotional fallout or impact from the major events that occur throughout the book. Obviously, I do not think characters should just be killed off randomly, but I also find it unbelievable that given the stakes so many people lived. Also, it seemed like there were repeated near or fake deaths, but nothing ever actually seemed to stick.

Warner’s storyline was probably the most frustrating part of Ignite Me. My reaction can be summed up by one word – WHY? By the end of Unravel Me I was already starting to sympathize with and like Warner, and I felt like trying to undo all of the bad things he’d done wasn’t necessary. People – right or wrong – can still care about “evil” character and I felt changing him so much just was not needed. Similarly, Adam’s changes didn’t ring true. I was frustrated with him in Unravel Me, and I still felt that his development and actions weren’t believable. He repeatedly behaved irrationally and childishly. I really like the idea of people changing and growing apart, so I found that to ring true, but he doesn’t seem to in any way be the character we met in Shatter Me.

Overall, there were some elements of Ignite Me that I enjoyed, but the character development did not feel natural and I found the climax to be underwhelming. For me, I would still say the series was worth reading for Unravel Me if nothing else. Also, I am still in love with Tahereh Mafi’s beautiful, lyrical writing, so I will be checking out whatever she does next.

Cover: 4
Plot: 2.5
Writing: 3.5
Personally: 3

Overall: 3.2 out of 5

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars

fordarknessshowsthestarsTitle: For Darkness Shows the Stars

Author: Diana Peterfreund

Series: For Darkness Shows the Stars #1

Read via: ARC from somewhere

It’s been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth–an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret–one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.

I adore Jane Austen. I know there are many people who don’t like her novels, but I think she was a brilliant writer. Persuasion definitely ranks as one of my favorite of her books, and I think it can be one of the most heartbreaking. Therefore, I was highly interested in Diana Peterfreund’s reimagination of this classic story. She does an amazing job, and I am now a devoted fan.

Elliot is an impressive character. While she certainly has her faults, she will do anything to protect the people she cares about. She’s intelligent, and she has proven her willingness to sacrifice her own happiness to attempt to better the lives of the people she cares for. Kai is complicated. From the childhood letters between him and Elliot, you know that he is or once was a good guy, but now it’s hard to determine his motives. But the tension between the two of them is impossible to miss, and every glance, every word is like water in the desert. The relationship between Elliot and Kai is paced perfectly, and it always leaves you wanting more. In addition to the fantastic leads, For Darkness Shows the Stars also boasts of a stellar supporting cast. From Kai’s adopted family to Elliot’s biological family, everyone is well-developed with great depth. I especially loved Dee, Ro, and Andromeda, but really everyone was fantastic.

My one fault with this book would be the more dystopian elements. I found the “fall of humanity” aspect to be a bit unrealistic although it was interesting. Otherwise I found this to be a fast-paced, heartbreaking book. It deals wonderfully with different class relations and I loved the character development. Plus, there are so many brilliant subplots that if for some crazy reason you don’t like the main plot, there will be something you’ll enjoy. All of the subplots work together perfectly with the main storyline as well creating a truly wonderful intricate story.

Overall, I fell in love with For Darkness Shows the Stars, and I would highly recommend it especially to fans of Jane Austen. This book has one of the best romances I’ve read in ages along with gorgeous character development and an interesting world. I am very impressed with Diana Peterfreund’s writing, and I cannot wait to read her next book!

Cover: 5
Plot: 3.5
Writing: 4
Personally: 4

Overall: 4.1 out of 5

Review: Prized

Title: Prized

Series: Birthmarked #2

Author: Caragh M. O’Brien

Read via: Library

Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?

Caragh O’Brien’s debut, Birthmarked, was a book that I stumbled across accidentally but thoroughly enjoyed. Gaia’s story fascinated me, and I love the world that she built. However, it took me forever to find the time and opportunity to read Prized. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the follow-up nearly as much as I liked the first book.

Prized began decently, but it quickly went downhill. Gaia drove me insane during this book. The strong, decisive girl who I enjoyed in Birthmarked became a weak, whiny girl. I wanted so badly to admire Gaia, but she repeatedly made ridiculous choices and treated many of the people around her terribly. Then there was the love triangle square, it was rather over-the-top. I understand that girls are in short supply, but having three different men fighting over Gaia was a bit unbelievable, especially considering how she treated them.

The setting of Prized was rather fascinating. The society was very atypical in comparison of many dystopian books, and I enjoyed the change. The world-building was very well done. However, the plot frustrated me. I hated the separation between Gaia and her sister, and I could not understand her passiveness regarding it. Also, I feel as if the motives of many of the characters were not explained well, and, minor quibble, I never believed that the Matrarc was blind. One big issue I had with the book was a choice Gaia makes to help a young girl, Peony. I have tried not to let my personal opinions about the subject to get in the way, but, honestly, it still feels wrong.

Sadly, I was highly disappointed in this sequel. It feels as if the book was written by a different writer. Perhaps Promised is better, but I am not sure if I will take the time to read it. I would recommend Birthmarked, but I cannot recommend this series as a whole. The first book is fascinating, beautiful, and heartbreaking, however, this book lacks the aspects that made the first one grand.

Cover: 3.5
Plot: 3
Writing: 2.5
Personally: 2.5

Overall: 2.8 out of 5

Review: Pandemonium

Title: Pandemonium

Series: Delirium #2

Author: Lauren Oliver

Read via: Purchased

I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
push,
push,
push,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Delirium wowed me, and the ending absolutely broke my heart. To say I was dying to read Pandemonium is the biggest understatement you could make. I mean how long could I wait to figure out if Lena escaped, if Alex was truly dead?! Pandemonium takes its time to answer the questions that were raised in Delirium, but the journey is compelling.

Lena has changed so much from the girl we first met in Delirium. She has become hardened, tougher, and truly a survivor. Much of this is due to Raven. Raven’s introduction into Lena’s life is crucial to Lena’s new way of thinking. Raven is an amazing character. There are so many layers and complications to her character; I absolutely adored the revelations of her history. Of course, I cannot review Pandemonium without also mentioning Julian. I was not sure how to feel about him at first. He irritated me, with his ignorance and acceptance, but slowly I was won over. By the end, I had come to admire him.

Pandemonium is told in two parts. One is Lena’s past, from the moment she left Alex to the present. Then there is the present narrative, which includes Lena’s meeting and getting to know Julian. The split narrative was a perfect way to tell this story, but it was frustrating at times. Ultimately, however, I think it truly added to the story.

Overall, I enjoyed the new developments of Pandemonium, but it truly did not capture me as much as Delirium had. The end, however, was absolutely shocking. I felt it coming, and really I refused to believe in anything less. The love triangle that exists is a good one. Both Julian and Alex have completely entranced me. In the end, I did not love Pandemonium, but I enjoyed it, and I would still highly recommend this series.

Cover: 3.5
Plot: 5
Writing: 4
Personally: 4

Overall: 4.1 out of 5

Review: Insurgent

Title: Insurgent

Series: Divergent #2

Author: Veronica Roth

Read via: Won from YABC

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

I must admit that I remembered very little about Divergent, so when I began reading Insurgent I was a little bit lost. However, as it picked up speed I found myself catching up quickly. Insurgent is just as wild and intense as its predecessor. It picks up just where Divergent left off, and repeatedly flings the story full speed ahead.

Tris remains a kickass heroine, and I admire the incredible drive and sense of determination she possesses. The odds are stacked against her repeatedly, but she refuses to ever back down. Her relationship with Four though, is another story. The two of them experience a lot of difficulties throughout Insurgent. I struggled with this element of the story, because I really just wanted them to be happy for like a minute, but, ultimately, I think the ups and downs of their relationship were truly realistic. When it came down to it, I loved the fact that they were always there for one another despite anything and everything.

Insurgent is absolutely wild. The twists are numerous, and the action just keeps reaching all new levels. When things seem as if they cannot get any worse, they do. After Divergent, it seemed like the characters had faced the worst, but in comparison that was just a taste of what was to come. There was one twist that absolutely shocked me. I never saw it coming, and that is what I loved most about Insurgent.

Overall, Insurgent took the fantastic world and characters established with Divergent, and brought it to a whole new level. I was sucked into this book from beginning to end, which caused a very painful case of sunburn. Warning: do not sit out in the sun reading this book because you will not be able to put it down. I would highly recommend this series to anyone who loves a good dystopian.

Cover: 5
Plot: 4
Writing: 4.5
Personally: 4.5

Overall: 4.5 out of 5

Review: Closed Hearts

Title: Closed Hearts

Series: Mindjack Trilogy #2

Author: Susan

Read via: E-book copy provided by the author.

When you control minds, only your heart can be used against you.
Eight months ago, Kira Moore revealed to the mindreading world that mindjackers like herself were hidden in their midst. Now she wonders if telling the truth was the right choice after all. As wild rumors spread, a powerful anti-jacker politician capitalizes on mindreaders’ fears and strips jackers of their rights. While some jackers flee to Jackertown—a slum rife with jackworkers who trade mind control favors for cash—Kira and her family hide from the readers who fear her and jackers who hate her. But when a jacker Clan member makes Kira’s boyfriend Raf collapse in her arms, Kira is forced to save the people she loves by facing the thing she fears most: FBI agent Kestrel and his experimental torture chamber for jackers.

I was originally hesitant to read the first book in this trilogy, Open Minds, because I had no previous experience with the author or her books. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I found that book to be a very enjoyable read. After finishing Open Minds, I was quite excited when the author requested me to review Closed Hearts as well. I was very curious where the story would go. I am thrilled to say that I absolutely, completely loved this book!

Closed Hearts picks up several months after the first book, and finds Kira and her family in hiding from the backlash of Kira’s actions in Open Minds. I loved the interactions between Kira and her family. The relationship between Kira and her father was especially moving. The bond between the two of them is even stronger than it was before, and her father proves again that he is willing to do anything to save his family. Although, there are definitely a few bumps in the journey. Raf returns as well, which thrilled me. He was one of the highlights of the first book, so having him back made this book even better. Surprisingly, however, my favorite character in Closed Hearts was Julian. While I still love Raf, Julian has completely stolen my heart. He is dedicated, strong, and all around amazing. All of the “mages” were fantastic additions though.

This book was even more exciting than the previous one. It is a fast-paced, thrill ride that is impossible to putdown. Kestrel remains a creepy, scary-good villain, and he definitely raises the bar here. Molloy makes his return too, and some of his actions end up having quite painful results. Which brings me to a MAJOR plot twist, that I want to rave about, but to do so would totally ruin it. It is an amazing, heartbreaking element that adds so much more tension and drama going into the final book of the trilogy.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed reading Closed Hearts. It was a perfect follow-up to Open Minds. It built nicely on the story of that book, but at the same time it was even better. I would highly recommend this series. Fans of Delirium by Lauren Oliver would likely enjoy this series as well, but anyone who loves a well written, unforgettable story should check this out. I will be waiting impatiently to see what will happen to these amazing characters that I have fallen in love with.

Cover: 3.5
Plot: 4
Writing: 4.5
Personally: 4

Overall: 4 out of 5

 

Review: Open Minds

Title: Open Minds

Series: Mindjack #1

Author: Susan Kaye Quinn

Read via: Received in Exchange for Honest Review

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

I did not know much about this when I agreed to read it, but the comments on Goodreads were promising. Plus the summary sounded absolutely unique and very intriguing. I am always up for reading something fresh, since so many storylines feel like they are repeated. I can happily say that this was well worth the chance.

The premise alone stood out as something different. Kira is a zero, which is not only something shameful, but also something lonely and even somewhat dangerous when it comes to survival. She has a wonderful family, and I fell in love with her older brother, even though he does not play a huge role in this book. Then there is Raf, wonderful, amazing Raf! His thoughtful and caring friendship with Kira was so sweet and one of the best elements of the book. Simon on the other hand was…Simon. I have a hard time saying anything about him without giving anything away. He had his good points and his bad points.

This book is so fast paced, so much happens over the course of the book. It begins with home and school, travels to a futuristic prison camps, and returns to the city. I find it hard to believe that so much happens over the course of one book, but it does and it is awesome. The story itself is so different and wonderfully unique. I found the premise to be well put together, and the book itself was hard to put down.

Overall, I was very impressed with this. It was action packed, engaging, and had the perfect touches of romance. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys an exciting, interesting dystopian with a completely unique plot. I am not sure what I can compare this to, because it is so incredibly different. I will just say, check this out, especially if you like a book with a kick-ass heroine and an unstoppable plot.

Cover: 2.5
Plot: 4
Writing: 3.5
Personally: 3.5

Overall: 3.3 out of 5

Review: Open Minds

Title: Open Minds

Series: Mindjack #1

Author: Susan Kaye Quinn

Read via: Received in Exchange for Honest Review

Sixteen-year-old Kira Moore is a zero, someone who can’t read thoughts or be read by others. Zeros are outcasts who can’t be trusted, leaving her no chance with Raf, a regular mindreader and the best friend she secretly loves. When she accidentally controls Raf’s mind and nearly kills him, Kira tries to hide her frightening new ability from her family and an increasingly suspicious Raf. But lies tangle around her, and she’s dragged deep into a hidden world of mindjackers, where having to mind control everyone she loves is just the beginning of the deadly choices before her.

I did not know much about this when I agreed to read it, but the comments on Goodreads were promising. Plus the summary sounded absolutely unique and very intriguing. I am always up for reading something fresh, since so many storylines feel like they are repeated. I can happily say that this was well worth the chance.

The premise alone stood out as something different. Kira is a zero, which is not only something shameful, but also something lonely and even somewhat dangerous when it comes to survival. She has a wonderful family, and I fell in love with her older brother, even though he does not play a huge role in this book. Then there is Raf, wonderful, amazing Raf! His thoughtful and caring friendship with Kira was so sweet and one of the best elements of the book. Simon on the other hand was…Simon. I have a hard time saying anything about him without giving anything away. He had his good points and his bad points.

This book is so fast paced, so much happens over the course of the book. It begins with home and school, travels to a futuristic prison camps, and returns to the city. I find it hard to believe that so much happens over the course of one book, but it does and it is awesome. The story itself is so different and wonderfully unique. I found the premise to be well put together, and the book itself was hard to put down.

Overall, I was very impressed with this. It was action packed, engaging, and had the perfect touches of romance. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys an exciting, interesting dystopian with a completely unique plot. I am not sure what I can compare this to, because it is so incredibly different. I will just say, check this out, especially if you like a book with a kick-ass heroine and an unstoppable plot.

Cover: 2.5
Plot: 4
Writing: 3.5
Personally: 3.5

Overall: 3.3 out of 5

Review: Eve

Title: Eve

Series: Eve Trilogy #1

Author: Anna Carey

Read via: Library

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.
Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust…and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life.

Eve came onto the blogosphere scene with a splash. The time around its release was filled with buzz, so I was curious about this from the beginning. Most of the reviews I read for this were favorable, but it took me some time to actually get my hands on a copy. I found this to be an enjoyable read, but not something that completely blew me away.

Eve annoyed me at the start of the book. She was so naive and irritating. Arden, however, I admired and really sympathized with. Once the two of them teamed up, I began to find the book better than I had begun to expect. The relationship between the two girls was likely the best element of the book. Caleb was also a fairly good character, but I think he lacked depth as a character outside of his relationship with Eve. The group of boys and their interactions with Eve had a lot of similarities to Wendy and the Lost Boys, which I loved. I hated Lief’s character development, it felt like he was needlessly turned into a villain.

The story and setting were interesting, but also rather depressing at times. I found Eve’s importance to be rather unbelievable, and I do not understand why she was chosen. Eve’s choices throughout the book were also very hard for me to accept. I did not like the way she always seemed to be running away. She leaves her friends and basically causes the deaths of three people. Perhaps she didn’t have a choice, but I still find it hard to accept.

Overall, I think that there were elements of this that were enjoyable and the writing does have potential. However, I am not sure that I will be continuing the series. I have not read either, but the plot of this seems similar to Wither by Lauren DeStefano or Bumped by Megan McCafferty. There have been a lot of people who fell in love with this book, but I am not one of them.

Cover: 4
Plot: 3
Writing: 2.5
Personally: 3

Overall: 3.1 out of 5

Review: Under the Never Sky

Title: Under the Never Sky

Series: #1

Author: Veronica Rossi

Read via: Teen Book Scene

Exiled from her comfortable home, Aria knows her chances of surviving in the outer wasteland – called the Death Shop – are slim. Violent energy storms can strike suddenly, and even the very air she breathes might kill her. Then Aria meets an Outsider named Perry. He’s wild, dangerous – a savage. He’s also her only hope.

Because Aria alone holds the key to his redemption, Perry needs her, too. Their unlikely alliance will determine the fate of all who live under the never sky.

From the moment I saw this cover, I knew I wanted to read this book. Then, after I read the summary, I knew I HAD to read this book. When the opportunity arose to read it as part of a blog tour for Teen Book Scene, I was ecstatic! The best thing about this, however, is that it not only lived up to my expectations, but it blew them away.

The first few chapters were interesting, dramatic, and just a tad scary. I felt rather lost because I did not know this world, but I immediately liked Aria. Paisley was an easy character to like as well. I admired Aria’s drive and determination. She was willing to do whatever she had to in order to get what she needed. Then we meet Perry. I was not sure of him at first, but once his relationship with Talon unfolded, I could not help but to love him. The way he cared for and loved Talon was beautiful. At the same time though he has this somewhat reckless, wild streak in him that makes him unpredictable. His relationship with Aria was fantastic! The way it begins is so realistic; I definitely appreciated that. From there it grows so naturally, it is simply lovely.

As I said, in the beginning I was a bit unsure of the book, since I was so confused about the world it exists in. That faded quickly though, and I began to understand and marvel in the very different worlds of Aria and Perry. The story is extremely fast-paced. From the very first pages there is such a sense of danger and urgency, and it just grows from there. There are so many different threads and storylines woven into the pages, but they come together to form such a brilliant, cohesive plot that it never feels like there’s too much.

Overall I absolutely adored this book. I am in awe of the fact that this is the author’s debut, and I will be anxiously awaiting the next book. Fans of The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins or Blood Red Road by Moira Young are likely to enjoy this as well. Well worth the read, this should be at the top of your to-read list for 2012!

Cover: 5
Plot: 3.5
Writing: 4
Personally: 4

Overall: 4.1 out of 5