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Review: Siege and Storm

siegeTitle: Siege and Storm
Series: The Grisha (#2)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Pages: 432

First Line: “The boy and the girl had once dreamed of ships, long ago, before they’d ever seen the true sea.”

“Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.” – from Goodreads

My thoughts: I’m feeling really “meh” about this whole series actually. It makes it kind of hard to review. I don’t really care about it. I still don’t really like Alina, and I don’t really care what happens to her. I was happy that there didn’t seem to be a whole lot of “triangle” to the love triangle at the end of the first book (sort of)… but then OH A NEW MAN. He must be pretty and nice and perfect for her. BAM ANOTHER LOVE TRIANGLE. And honestly, it’s been a little while since I finished this, and most of what I remember is the love triangles and there might be a fragment of action holding on to a memory spot in my brain. Anyway, it’s not that it was terrible, but I just feel like it has the potential to be so much BETTER. I mean, she’s the f-ing SUN SUMMONER. DO SOMETHING AWESOME! I’m still going to continue to read the series when the next book comes out, but I expect more, Bardugo. More action, less angsty romance.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Subject: 3/5
Originality:3/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

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Review: Quarantine: The Loners

quarantineTitle: Quarantine: The Loners
Series: Quarantine (#1)
Author: Lex Thomas
Release Date: July 10, 2012
Pages: 416

First Line: “Someone must have bitten off her nose.”

“It was just another ordinary day at McKinley High—until a massive explosion devastated the school. When loner David Thorpe tried to help his English teacher to safety, the teacher convulsed and died right in front of him. And that was just the beginning.

A year later, McKinley has descended into chaos. All the students are infected with a virus that makes them deadly to adults. The school is under military quarantine. The teachers are gone. Violent gangs have formed based on high school social cliques. Without a gang, you’re as good as dead. And David has no gang. It’s just him and his little brother, Will, against the whole school.” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: I honestly got about half way through this book before I actually started to like it or care in any way about any of the characters. But I finally did find a small liking for some of them, and the action was enough to keep me going until I got there. For some reason, when I started this book I thought it was zombie book. I don’t know where I got that from, but I didn’t read the summary when I started, so it took me a while to realize the kids weren’t going to turn into zombies, hehehe. But overall, it was definitely a fun book, and a little different take on a virus the whole teen survival theme. I suppose I can be convinced to read the next one.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 3/5
Originality:3/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Review: Shadow and Bone

shadowTitle: Shadow and Bone
Series: The Grisha (#1)
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: June 5, 2012
Pages: 356

First Line: “The servants called them malenchki, little ghosts, because they were the smallest and the youngest, and becuase they haunted the Duke’s house like giggling phantoms, darting in and out of rooms, hiding in cupboards to eavesdrop, sneaking into the kitchen to steal the last of the summer peaches.”

“The Shadow Fold, a swathe of impenetrable darkness, crawling with monsters that feast on human flesh, is slowly destroying the once-great nation of Ravka.

Alina, a pale, lonely orphan, discovers a unique power that thrusts her into the lavish world of the kingdom’s magical elite—the Grisha. Could she be the key to unravelling the dark fabric of the Shadow Fold and setting Ravka free?

The Darkling, a creature of seductive charm and terrifying power, leader of the Grisha. If Alina is to fulfill her destiny, she must discover how to unlock her gift and face up to her dangerous attraction to him.

But what of Mal, Alina’s childhood best friend? As Alina contemplates her dazzling new future, why can’t she ever quite forget him?” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: Sometimes after reading adult fantasy, YA fantasy is a little too… I don’t know… simple, for me. But I still did like this one, although sometimes Alina got a little bit on my nerves. I think Ms. Bardugo did put a little too much emphasis on physical beauty, although maybe that’s some kind of theme I didn’t really pick up on. I tire of love triangles, although at least this one wasn’t that hard to decide on in the end! I don’t think that’s a spoiler… Anyway, aside from all of that, I did enjoy the book. There were enough twists and turns to keep me into it, and I’ll definitely pick up the next one.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Review: The 5th Wave

5thTitle: The 5th Wave
Series: The Fifth Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Pages: 457

First Line: “There will be no awakening.”

“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: I’ve read a lot of post-apocalyptic stuff recently, but this one was my favorite in a while. I really liked Cassie a lot, and that can be hard to find in YA post-apocalyptic/dystopian novels. The leading ladies are often one-dimensional and honestly can get kind of annoying. But not Cassie. She felt genuine, and she made me laugh even in her darkest hours. The storyline was actually interesting too, aliens being for some reason often overlooked in plausible apocalypse stories. And these aliens are particularly interesting to me, but I don’t want to give too much away. I just hope next book can live up to the standards set by this one!

My Ratings:
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4.5/5
Subject: 4/5
Originality: 3/5
Kept me interested: 4/5
Overall rating: 4/5

Review: City of Lost Souls

lost soulsTitle: City of Lost Souls
Series: The Mortal Instruments (#5)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Pages: 535

First line: “Simon stood and stared numbly at the front door of his house.”

“What price is too high to pay, even for love? When Jace and Clary meet again, Clary is horrified to discover that the demon Lilith’s magic has bound her beloved Jace together with her evil brother Sebastian, and that Jace has become a servant of evil. The Clave is out to destroy Sebastian, but there is no way to harm one boy without destroying the other. As Alec, Magnus, Simon, and Isabelle wheedle and bargain with Seelies, demons, and the merciless Iron Sisters to try to save Jace, Clary plays a dangerous game of her own. The price of losing is not just her own life, but Jace’s soul. She’s willing to do anything for Jace, but can she still trust him? Or is he truly lost?” – from goodreads.com

My thoughts: I didn’t really connect with the fourth book in this series, but I will say that I felt this one was an improvement. I still hate that Clary and Jace can’t just EVER have a normal relationship, but at least there seemed to be more going on in this book than in the last one aside from that. Sebastian made an interesting character, and I was interested in Simon again. I didn’t really like the conflict between Magnus and Alec, but I guess there has to be more drama than I find necessary. Anyway, as I said, I think this book was a lot better than the previous one, and I will be willing to read the next one when it comes out.

My ratings:
Writing: 2.5/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 3/5
Originality: 3/5
Kept me interested: 3/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Review: Eleanor and Park

15745753Title: Eleanor and Park
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Release Date: February 26, 2013
Pages: 325

First Line: “XTC was no good for drowning out the morons at the back of the bus.”

Bono met his wife in high school, Park says.
So did Jerry Lee Lewis, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be, she says, we’re 16.
What about Romeo and Juliet?
Shallow, confused, then dead.

I love you, Park says.
Wherefore art thou, Eleanor answers.
I’m not kidding, he says.
You should be.

Set over the course of one school year in 1986, this is the story of two star-crossed misfits—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try. When Eleanor meets Park, you’ll remember your own first love—and just how hard it pulled you under.” – from macmillan

My Thoughts: I love Eleanor and I love Park. I love Eleanor and Park. I read this book pretty much in one day. The dialogue was perfect, and the characters were sweet. Eleanor and Park’s families and home lives are vastly different. I loved reading about Park’s family, while Eleanor’s always made me uncomfortable. Her self-esteem issues were not all unique, but all very real, understandable, and in no way taking away from the story. I loved that they weren’t necessarily friendly at first. I feel like I got to see their chemistry unfold, and I enjoyed every second of that. My only real issue was the ending of this book. Not that I hated it completely, but I wanted more from it I guess. Or maybe I just didn’t want it to end.

My Ratings:
Writing: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Subject: 4/5
Originality: 4/5
Kept me interested: 5/5
Overall rating: 4.5/5

Review: City of Ashes

city of ashes cassandra clareTitle: City of Ashes
Series: The Mortal Instruments (#2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Release Date: March 25, 2008
Pages: 453

First Line: “The formidable glass-and-steel structure rose from its position on Front Street like a glittering needle threading the sky.”

“Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what’s normal when you’re a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who’s becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn’t ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary’s only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father.” – from the book cover

My Thoughts: I’m so conflicted about this series! One minute I feel lost in the story, and am enjoying it, and the next I’m annoyed, either at the writing, the characters or the story in general. But at the same time, as much as the characters can get on my nerves, I still care about them.

~~SPOILER SPACE~~

I get that Clary and Jace are highly likely to end up not being siblings eventually, but all their can’t-help-it passionate make out sessions still creep me out a little. I noticed a lot of people seem to hate Jace, but for some reason he appeals to me. I couldn’t tell you why exactly.

Also, I do dig Simon as a vampire. I think that will make his character a lot more interesting. I wish something would make Clary a little more bad ass. I mean, she’s all powerful with a stele now I guess, but also still mostly a wuss, not that that’s entirely  her fault. I just want her to learn how to kick some ass, like Isabelle with her whip. I love the whip. The whip is my favorite. 🙂

My Ratings:
Writing: 2.5/5
Characters: 3/5
Subject: 2/5
Originality: 2/5
Kept me interested: 3/5Overall Rating: 3/5

Review: Requiem

requiemTitle: Requiem
Series: Delirium (#3)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Release Date: March 5, 2013
Pages: 391

First Line: “I’ve Started dreaming of Portland again.”

“Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.” – from goodreads.com

My Thoughts: I have put off writing this review because I’m not sure what I want to say. While Lauren Oliver’s writing is still lovely, I felt like the story didn’t actually take me anywhere. I appreciated Hana’s point of view and hearing about her transformation, but I found myself mostly frustrated with Lena and Alex, and in the end I couldn’t bring myself to care about her relationship with him or Julian. Instead I wanted to hear more about the resistance, maybe learn even more about the side characters, but that didn’t happen. And I’ll try not to write any spoilers, but the ending… I mean really, the ending. I realize it’s meant to be open for interpretation (I guess), but after the pointlessness of the whole book, I didn’t want to interpret it. I didn’t care anymore. There are ways to leave a book open-ended, but still give them some kind of ending, but this book just kind of abruptly stopped. And the climax was so anticlimactic. I’m pretty sure I just stared at the book when I was done, thinking “what just happened?” I really enjoyed Pandemonium, but I felt let down by this one, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

My Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Subject: 2/5
Originality: 2/5
Kept me interested: 2/5
Overall Rating: 2/5

Review: Reached

Reached_final-cover-image  Title: Reached
Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched (#3)
Publisher: Penguin
Released: 11/13/2012
Pages: 512
First Line: “Every morning, the sun comes up and turns the earth red, and I think: This could be the day when everything changes.”

Reached is the third book in the Matched series. In this book, Cassia, Ky and Xander are all playing different roles in The Rising, waiting for them to come in and take over the Society. The Plague is their cue. At first, everything seems to be going as planned, but then the Plague starts to mutate, and even The Rising starts to run out of answers. Cassia, Ky and Xander are then asked to play key roles in the discovery of a cure.

My Thoughts: To be honest, I’m not even sure why I decided to read this one. I like Matched okay, but I was not at all a fan of Crossed. While the story in Reached was at least a little less disappointing than Crossed, I still found myself not really caring what happened to the characters, and mostly just waiting for it to be over. I think there is a lot that could have been taken out. In fact, I think Crossed and Reached could have been combined into one book. It seemed like not a lot really happened. The love triangle wasn’t really working for me in the last two books either. Maybe because I didn’t particularly like any of them all that much, so I didn’t understand why they loved each other so much. After the first book being pretty much all romance, there wasn’t much in this book at all.

Ratings:
Writing: 3/5
Characters: 2/5
Plot: 2/5
Originality: 3/5
Kept me Interested: 2/5
Overall Rating: 2/5