[Review #121] The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass Cover - Review Title: The Elite –
Series: The Selection
Book Two
Author: Kiera Cass
Genre: Dystopia (?), Romance
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

Review

I quite enjoyed The Selection, I thought that it had potential and that The Elite would take that potential and make this series huge. However I was incredibly surprised to find that this book is probably the worst second book in a series that I have ever read. By that I mean: I was able to finish this book because it wasn’t boring per se but I dis-liked this book and the main character so much that I actually think I won’t even bother with the last one.

The Elite was very frustrating. The first things I thought when I finished this book and closed the back cover was “What the hell did I just read? What the hell just happened? What the hell is going on? And why the hell does Maxon like America?!”, seriously. This book confused me. The main perpetrator? The romance.

The romance and the love triangle was so forced it felt like America was two completely different people when she was around Maxon and then around Aspen. Whenever Maxon was in her line of sight she was in love with him but whenever Aspen was in her line of sight she was head over heels for him instead. She kept flicking backwards and forwards between to the two like a boomerang. It was ridiculous! She was ridiculous! They were ridiculous! I’m not sure why either of them are even interested in her, she clearly doesn’t know what she wants or who she wants. It just felt like Cass was trying to make the book interesting by forcing the love triangle. It failed, miserably.

In The Selection I wanted to hear and see more of the rebels. In The Elite we got a bit more but the scenes felt placed, it didn’t seem to flow very well. Although the rebels never felt dangerous, they never felt like they were a real threat. Maxon’s father felt more like a threat.

The Elite lost all of the humour that I loved in The Selection. I found America to be whiny, indecisive, pretty horrible. I simply couldn’t find her funny because I disliked her way too much for how indecisive and selfish she was.

In Summary:
– The Elite was probably the worst second book in a series that I have ever read.
– The love triangle was incredibly forced, dry, boring and just plain horrible. There was no chemistry, America loved whoever was in her line of sight. It was ridiculous.
– The rebel scenes felt like they were placed in the story, the story was very choppy and didn’t flow very well. I didn’t seriously think anyone was in any real danger.
– America was just plain selfish.
– I personally did not like this book. This makes me very sad.

Miss J

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[Review #120] Horde by Ann Aguirre

Horde by Ann Aguirre Cover - Review Title: Horde
Series: Razorland
Book three
Author: Ann Aguirre
Genre: Dystopian, Post Apocalyptic
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

The horde is coming.

Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they’re not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn’t run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade’s love.

Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn’t been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.

This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.

Review

Razorland is hands down one of my most favourite post apocalyptic series.

Horde was a very awesome conclusion to the series, I definitely did not see this outcome coming which made me love this book even more. Enclave and Outpost were pretty awesome and I thought it would be hard to top them, especially because of how Outpost ended. Horde did pretty well though, I loved this final book almost as much.

One thing that I loved about this book, besides the action, characters and story, was the rate at which time flowed. The time span in this book was long which was exciting. I don’t really like it when books are set over a week because I never feel like we really get to completely immerse ourselves into the world. Horde was great with immersion into the world, Aguirre’s world in Razorland was just action packed, different and exciting.

Duece gets stronger in this book, she finally gets to become apart of a resistance without being looked down upon. People respect her and want to follow her, she’s finally listened to by more than her friends. Fade is more of a follower in this book which was understandable, he was more Deuce’s rock and reason to keep trying when things seemed impossible. Striker didn’t have as much page time in this book, I can understand why after everyone’s reaction to him and his crush on Deuce.

The only thing that I didn’t love about this book was that everything was just resolved so easily or the answer was so clear, characters were easily forgiven, circumstances were easily resolved; the fear and the surviving didn’t feel final anymore. The threat and the danger didn’t feel so real in this book, I wasn’t afraid for anyone’s life. However I still thoroughly enjoyed this book and loved the way it turned out. I am very sad that it’s over!

In Summary:
– Horde was a great conclusion to a thrilling trilogy.
– I loved that the book was set over a longer period of time, I’m not a fan of books set over a very short time span.
– Deuce is a very strong character and it was nice getting to see her finally be accepted as that.
– The only thing that brought this book down a peg was the fact that everything seemed to be resolved so easily, the threat and fear was no longer there for me anymore, I didn’t feel the need to be worried about anyone’s fates.

Miss J

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[Review #119] The Host by Stephenie Meyer

The Host by Stephenie Meyer - Cover - Review Title: The Host
Series: The Host
Book one
Author: Stephenie Meyer
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopia
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of human hosts while leaving their bodies intact. Wanderer, the invading “soul” who has been given Melanie’s body, didn’t expect to find its former tenant refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

As Melanie fills Wanderer’s thoughts with visions of Jared, a human who still lives in hiding, Wanderer begins to yearn for a man she’s never met. Reluctant allies, Wanderer and Melanie set off to search for the man they both love.

Review

I have to be honest, when I first read the synopsis for The Host I had no interest in picking it up, but that was years ago when it first came out and everyone was all ‘Twilight sucks, rahhh’. I had forgotten all about this book and Stephenie Meyer until the movie adaptation was made, I ended up really enjoying the movie so I put this book on my To Be Read list. At the time I didn’t think I would ever get to this book because the sheer size of it was intimidating – over 800 pages in paperback form? Way too long for a typical young adult book!

Let me tell you. This book? This book was freaking awesome, I couldn’t put it down! I was addicted the entire time and couldn’t wait to pick it back up. I didn’t feel the length of the book, I didn’t think it was long winded or boring and I didn’t want to put it down. Even though I had seen the movie first and I already knew how the story went, I was still thoroughly entertained. Wanda and Melanie were interesting, the book was completely different to the movie in the respect of how it’s told on paper compared to on screen visually. Wanda and Melanie’s thoughts and struggles are clearer when we get to read them and I found myself getting pulled straight in.

The Host is very character driven which I loved because the character development of Wanda was fantastic. Getting to see how she changed and grew over the course of the book was interesting. I loved how at first Wanda referred to herself and Melanie as separate people but then as she got to know Melanie and understand her, Wanda referred to herself as ‘we’, two people who are one. The Host was also character driven by other characters in the book, Jamie, Jared, Jeb and Ian, each character had a strong voice and presence. I only just noticed that three of the character had names starting with the same letter, usually when that happens I forget who’s who, but in The Host Meyer had written each character in such a way that there was no mistaking who was who. I found myself wanting to see them in the story, I fell in love with the characters and the way they were portrayed.

Wanda and Melanie were easy to distinguish even though they shared the same body, their voices were very different but equally as strong as each other. I found myself sympathizing with Wanda yet wanting Melanie to succeed. Even though I had seen the movie first and knew how it ended I still felt the need to see both of them happy, I wanted to find out how it ended for them in the book. The Character relationships between all characters were so intense and so moving that you just couldn’t help but fall in love with them.

The souls themselves were so very interesting, I loved the mechanics of how they worked and what kind of species they were. I loved that each world they had been to was so vivid and described in such a way that you could imagine it. I really liked that they were aliens that were ‘outside of the box’, they weren’t ‘green men’ or destructive.

The romance in this book was amazingly interesting, it was weird because Wanda loved Jared simply because Melanie loved Jared and Wanda was in her body and remembering her memories. I really liked Ian, I liked that he fell for Wanda for who she was and how she thought, her appearance took no place in that. The tension between the four of them; Wanda, Melanie, Jared and Ian was realistic and appropriate. It was definitely interesting to see.

Stephenie Meyer is actually a pretty good storyteller in my opinion. The Host was very well written, her characters were strong, the world building was amazing, interesting and explained in a way that you didn’t even notice it was being explained, you could just see the world around Wanda and Melanie. I’m now excitedly waiting for her next books to see what she comes out with!

The Host is definitely one of  the best books I have ever read. It was fun, addicting, the characters and the world were highly developed and the idea for the plot, even though not wholly new, it was original in Meyers own voice and through the characters eyes.

In Summary:
– I absolutely loved The Host. I think it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read, the world, the characters, the souls, the plot were just amazing.
– The Host was a lot of fun to read, even though the size of it is intimidating (800+ pages) I never felt the length of the book. I was pulled in and loved every minute of reading it.
– This book is very character driven, Wanda and Melanie have strong voices and even though they share a body they were easy to distinguish because their voices were so different. The secondary characters also had strong voices and a strong presence, they also moved the story.
– The souls themselves were an incredibly interesting species, Meyer did a great job of portraying them and their culture and to show just how different they were.
– The romance in this story was epic, I just loved the whole idea of how Melanie loved Jared with her whole body that it interfered with Wanda’s own feelings for Ian. It was a weird romance that twisted and became confusing for everyone involved but was very deep and moving.
– This book proves just how amazing a writer Stephanie Meyer is. 

Jord

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[Review #118] Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress Cover - Review - Lunar Chronicles Book 3 - Marissa Meyer Title: Cress
Series: The Lunar Chronicles
Book three
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: Science fiction, fairy tale retelling
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has

Review

Oh how I love this series! I absolutely loved Cinder and ScarletCress didn’t disappoint me.

Ever since we first saw Cress in book one I’ve been dying to hear her story, I wanted to know what Meyer had in store for the retelling (Alternate retelling? Based off of? Whatever you would like to call it.) of ‘Rapunzel’. Meyer definitely had everything planned out well and I loved it.

Cress has been locked in her little satellite for years as Queen Levana’s pawn. We learn that Cress rebels in her own secret way, she happens to be very talented at computer hacking. I loved this aspect about Cress, I thought it made her really interesting and intelligent. It stopped her from being ‘that crazy girl that’s lived in a cell for most of her life’. As a character I liked Cress although I did think her whole damsel and distress thing that she had going on was a little annoying, but it wasn’t pushed in our faces and I loved to see how that changed throughout the story.

Cress continues on not long after where Scarlet finished. The story progresses through multiples characters eyes, we even get to see a few chapters through the doctors eyes which I thought was interesting and needed for the storyline. The way the story intertwines with each character and their background is just amazing, maybe a little cliché for some parts but I still enjoyed it.

I loved this book! It was fun and exciting to read and I’m once again dying to read the next book in the series. Winter will be a very interesting conclusion. I just wish it wasn’t so long before it was released!

In Summary:
– I loved that Cress was a realistic character for the things she’s been through, as being locked in a tower for half of your life you can’t quite expect her to be completely normal. Although I was glad she wasn’t certifiably crazy. You could still relate to her.
– I love the way the story intertwines with each character and how they all relate to something or someone in one way or another. It’s cleverly done.
– Cress is just another book that I love in this series and I’m dying for Winter to be released! As always.

 

Miss J

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[Review #117] Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Into the Still Blue Cover - Review Title: Into the Still Blue
Series: Under the Never Sky
Book three
Author: Veronica Rossi
Genre: Dystopian, Adventure, Post Apocalyptic, Fantasy
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do–and they are just as determined to stay together.

Within the confines of a cave they’re using as a makeshift refuge, they struggle to reconcile their people, Dwellers and Outsiders, who are united only in their hatred of their desperate situation. Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. Then Roar arrives in a grief-stricken fury, endangering all with his need for revenge.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble an unlikely team for an impossible rescue mission. Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival–he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

In this final book in her earth-shattering Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close.

Review

Under the Never Sky is one of my favourite book series. I loved Under the Never Sky and Through the Ever Night, I thought they were amazing and I couldn’t put them down. So imagine my surprise when I read Into the Still Blue and found it less than amazing.

Into the Still Blue was a fine conclusion, don’t get me wrong. Yet it was still pretty disappointing and didn’t reach my expectations. Where was all the passion and excitement from the first two books? I feel like it all fizzled out in this book and that made me sad.

I did love how the story finished, I just thought it was pretty anti-climatic considering what it took to get to this point. It felt like everything was made too easy, that the high stakes didn’t matter as much because everyone knew how it would end. Aria’s, Perry’s and Roar’s talents also weren’t used much in this book which was disappointing because their talents were one of the interesting things that I loved about it.

You know what I would be interested in now? Is how the Still Blue works, I would love to see a spin off series set in the ‘Still Blue’, I feel that would be more interesting than how the final conclusion ended.

In Summary:
– I loved the first two books in this series but found Into the Still Blue quite disappointing in comparison.
– I still liked to see how it all came together and ended but I had wanted more, I felt like the passion had fizzled out.
– I will miss this series, I would love to read a spin off series set in the ‘Still Blue’.

Miss J

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[Review #116] Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth Cover - Review Title: Insurgent
Series: Divergent
Book two
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: Dystopian
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

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.

Review

I remember loving the first book in this series; Divergent. So naturally I expected to love Insurgent too, maybe I left it too long to read this book? By the time I picked Insurgent up it had been well over a year since I had read Divergent and I couldn’t really remember the specifics of what had happened (Alarm bells ringing? Story and characters not memorable enough…), so I had to find a site that had summarized the book with all of its main points. Once I had refreshed my memory on the story line, the characters, and events that had taken place I delved into this book.

I was pretty disappointed to be honest. The first half of Insurgent was very slow, it took me two weeks to read it and that’s a long time considering it only took me days to read Divergent. I actually read a couple of books in between reading the first half of this book, that’s how bored I was. I’m actually amazed I didn’t put the book down for good because I have little patience when it comes to forcing myself to read books I’m not enjoying.

The second half of Insurgent however was a lot more exciting, I read the second half in a couple of days so in comparison that’s pretty good. I did like seeing Tris having to deal with consequences of what happened in the first book, it made everything more interesting because she was struggling with something personally besides the bigger picture. In saying that though I still didn’t quite love this book, it picked up and got a lot more interesting but the story didn’t move a lot. Everything happened in the last half and I got confused, I definitely do think that some of that has to do with the writing.

The writing confused me sometimes, I found myself having to go back and re-read a few sentences because they didn’t make sense to me the first time around, some sentences still didn’t make sense to me after re-reading them and I have no idea what Roth was trying to say. I felt like those sentences pulled me out of the story and hindered it for me. I found that the whole book wasn’t that memorable and nor were a lot of the characters. I had a hard time remembering who was who the whole time I was reading, for some reason I just wasn’t very engaged in the book and couldn’t place names to characters when I read them. That made me sad.

A lot seemed to happen at the end of Insurgent but I actually have no idea what the big reveal was at first, I didn’t understand what any of it meant. I’m not sure if this is because of the way it was described, written or perhaps I missed something when I was reading it but it was lost on me. After re-reading it I get it now but I’m still not too sure what was going on.

I’m definitely going to read Allegiant soon for fear that if I don’t I won’t remember anything that happened in either book!

In Summary:
– I loved Divergent but found I really didn’t like Insurgent anywhere near as much.
– The characters and the story weren’t very memorable, I had a hard time remembering who was who and what was going on. This could have been attributed to the writing though as I felt some of it was very clunky and unclear.
– I did enjoy getting to see Tris work through things that troubled her and see her overcome it.
– The beginning of the book was very slow and I found myself pretty bored, everything happened at the end of the book and it seemed to confuse me more than excite me.

Miss J

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Today is my Birthday!

Turning Twenty Four

I turn 24 today. Whoop whoop!

Another year done. I’m looking forward to the year ahead! Travelling, changes and new experiences await. I have no idea where I will end up but hopefully everything will work out in the end.

Bring on 24!

Jord
x

[Review #115] The Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas Cover - Review Title: Throne of Glass
Series: Throne of Glass
Book one
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: Fantasy
Young Adult
Rating: 
[Goodreads | Book Depository]

Summary

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. 

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. 

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. 

Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Review

Throne of Glass was not as good as I had expected it to be. I had pretty high hopes for this one and was thoroughly disappointed. Yet by the end of this book I am now dying to read book two. Let me explain.

The main thing I didn’t like about Throne of Glass was that it felt inconsistent with what I feel like should be fact in the era that this is taking place in. Even if this story is not fact. My suspense of belief could not stretch this far at the beginning of this story.

If you’re a lowly, deadly, well known, feared assassin -even named the best assassin in the country- that is given a chance at life for whatever reason, and you’re going to stay in the kings castle while proving yourself; you most certainly would not at first be trusted to be left alone in a room where you could- if you really, really wanted to, escape. Nor would you be doted on, given expensive dresses, and the use of the royals personal library at the princes request. The prince would not accept such a request, even though you were working for him. For all of that to be possible you would need to gain the royals trust. I did not see Celaena gain the royals trust before any of this happened for her. If she had gone through the process of gaining trust, for a sufficient reason, first then this would have made more sense and been more believable to me.

I really didn’t like that Celaena was treated like a royal guest when they all feared she would assassinate the prince or the king. She had every reason to kill the royal family. Yet she was brought into the castle, treated like a royal guest, flirted with the prince, and allowed entry to the royal library; the one place that only the king or the prince can give permission to enter. Celaena received all of this far too soon and for doing practically nothing.

The beginning of Throne of Glass started off interesting, then it made me sad because I couldn’t believe any of it. Celaena was not acting like the most feared assassin in Adarlan. She was not scary, never felt like a threat and even though she was constantly mentioning ways she could kill someone I did not believe she would kill a man in cold blood. I never once believed that she was the killer her reputation preceded her to be. She felt like she blew a lot of hot air.

As I read on this story grew more interesting and while I still did not like Celeana or her arrogant attitude; I did start to like Chaol. But my favourite character would have to be Nehemia, she was interesting and I found I would keep looking forward to moments where she was involved. She was fiery, fun, real and interesting. Such a nice contrast to the stuck up, arrogant, self-centred Celaena. I just really could not connect with nor like Celaena.

Celaena cared a lot about her looks and what she wore, she cared how beautiful she was and while this isn’t a bad thing it became annoying when she always noticed clothing and wondered how good she looked. Okay so maybe she never wondered how good she looked but that was because she knew she looked good. All the time. It felt like this was thrown in our faces too often.

The romance wasn’t a lot to swoon over either. I was rather annoyed with it as well because I didn’t feel like Celaena actually liked the prince. I never felt like they had a connection or were drawn to each other, there was never any tension between them. It felt more like he was a love sick puppy and she had him wrapped around her finger.

The ending saved this book for me. The ending came out of no where, it was interesting and I felt like everything got a whole lot better. The writing, the plot, the reason Celaena must stay on. It just got good all of a sudden and now I’m dying to read book two.

Overall, the main reason I didn’t like this book was the main character and the way my suspense of belief was not able to stretch. The main reason I am now dying to continue reading this story is because the plot is a good one. There is a lot of potential in where this story could go and I’m now very intrigued in finding out. I just hope Celaena becomes more likeable, grounded and less self centred.

In Summary:
Throne of Glass was not as good as I expected it to be.
– My sense of belief could not stretch to the lengths the author intended it to.
– I really did not like Celaena. She was arrogant, self centred, vain and felt weak as a character. I never once believed she was an assassin, let alone the best assassin in Adarlan. I could believe she was someone that had the skills to fight; but a killer? Not in the slightest. I just could not connect with nor like Celaena.
– I really liked Chaol though. And Nehemia was my favourite character; she was fun, real, fiery and passionate. She actually had a real reason to be where she was.
– The end of the book had me hooked. It suddenly got good. I liked where the plot was going and now I can’t wait to see what happens next.
– Therefore I am willing to continue on with this series.

Miss J

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