Posts Tagged ‘awesome’

More than this- Patrick Ness

Well… It’s a book by Patrick Ness, what else is there to say? 🙂

More Than ThisSummary
The main character Seth, dies and somehow comes back to life, but in a totally different place- in fact the worst place for him on earth. The first part of the book is him alone somehow learning to live alone and struggle with what place it actually is- hell?, the afterworld? Etc…. Then he hears a noise, the noise of a car, in a seemless empty place, and while running towards it he kinda gets half kidnapped for his own safety. He then makes some new friends and together they begin to piece together where they are. We also get his backstory of when he was alive, and how he died in the book.

Cons

Comparison to his other books
The Knife of Never Letting Go is my favourite book of all time and all books, and even after reading this book I’m still happy to say that. The problem is that after Patrick Ness has written such an awesome series, it really does set the bar up high for his other books. While I’m happy to say that this book met “the bar” what is hard to say is that it is better than the Chaos Walking trilogy. So, this isn’t really a con, but more of a comment that I didn’t think it was as good as Chaos Walking, but to be honest I didn’t quite want it to be either because I didn’t want something to replace Manchee, Todd, Viola, Davy, and all the other deep and wonderful characters of Chaos Walking.

Pros

It was terrifying
It took me a while to read- much longer than it should have been because after reading some of it I had to stop because I was scaring myself loads. The thing is the book isn’t even that scary, it was more the way it was written and how it made me think about how I would cope if I was in a world with no one else around.

What if I’m living in a dream world
Because I would never know unless I die in a particular way, and what if its like inception, where both worlds die and it ends up being a dream world within a dream world.

The connections to Chaos Walking
It’s easy to tell that they are by the same author. I loved how in More that this there were talks about being a “man” just like how Todd was always looking to his birthday because it marks the day he officially becomes a man.

Tackling modern day issues
It seemed to have a hint of almost everything; global warming, murder, rape (hinted at but never really said), abuse, sexuality. But it still held itself together, unlike other books which have thrown all sorts of issues into it to try to make it seem less empty.

All the other obvious points
Writing Style
Character Development
Characters

Favourite Quotes

  • “You said we all want there to be more than this! Well, there’s always more than this. There’s always something you don’t know”
  • “Real life is only ever just real life. Messy. What it means depends on how you look at it. The only thing you’ve got to do is find a way to live there”
  • “Go in swinging”
  • “We have to lie to ourselves to live. Otherwise, we’d go crazy”
  • “A book… it’s a world all on its own too. A world made of words, where you live for a while”

Overall
Well, as I said before its a Patrick Ness book, and therefore without any hesitation I give it 5 stars.

Blankets – Craig Thompson

To be honest, I don’t really want to tell you much about Blankets. I want you to go in and discover for yourself how great it is.

However, this is a review. So I can’t just go and send you off on blind faith.

So.

Here we go.

Plot Summary

It’s an autobiographical (or at least semi-autobiographical) account of Craig, and his relationship with romance and God and his family. It’s about obsession; and duty; and the loss of innocence. It’s about self-discovery and self-destruction. It’s about Craig growing up learning what type of person he wants to become.

Cons

I did not realise this was adult fiction.

I went into this thinking it was a light, happy read with a bit of angst thrown in.

Oops.

(The lesson here is check the age rating before you start reading, because I did not mentally prepare myself for some of the scenes. I guess it’s better that way. More of the intended effect. But it definitely taught me not to read Blankets in crowded public spaces.)

Pros

I don’t want to give too much away, and I don’t exactly know where to begin, so these will be short.

The artwork was completely beautiful. I loved how expressionistic it was, portraying Craig’s feelings through a sort of visual metaphor (there’s probably an actual term for that, but I don’t read a lot of graphic novels so I have no clue).

The way the bible verses or teachings were interposed with Craig’s life, for example in the first chapter with the cubby hole. That was like super cool. Everything about the way the story was structured and the drawings were positioned was mega cool. I don’t know how it compares to other graphic novels because I don’t read very many, but I’m sure it’s good.

I don’t feel like I can exactly comment on the plot or the characters, since it’s (semi?) autobiographical, but I will say that it kept me reading and engaged and putting off work that I really should have been doing.

The theme of the dangers of obsession was extremely interesting, but I won’t get too far into that, because I won’t be able to explore it half as well as Blankets did, so you should just read it. I know, the book is massive, but it won’t take that long.

Because the book isn’t really a comment on religion. Sure, we see how Craig deals with it, but it never preaches to you. It shows you one example of Craig’s intense relationships, and lets you do whatever you want with that information. And that’s the beautiful subtlety of the book. It lets you decide what you take from it.

Basically, everything was beautiful and evocative and made you think without shoving opinions down your throat. It was gorgeous and you should read it.

Overall

You should read it.

It might make you cry.

It might make you sit back and re-evaluate your life.

Yeah, I think so.

5 shuriken stars.

(though yes it has some adult content and if graphic nudity/all kinds of violence/naughty words/sex isn’t your kind of thing, then maybe take a second before you pick it up. But the rest of you. Go out and read it. Go.)

2014

I suppose you could call this a yearly reference list. Books that we’re interested in that are scheduled to come out in 2014. This list will probably be altered and changed throughout the year as we add new books or cross off old ones that we’ll never get round to. So here’s what we’re excited for so far:

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Hollow City – Ransom Riggs (14th January)

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Cress – Marissa Meyer (4th February)

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Exposure – Kathy Reichs (1st March)

Half Bad (Half Life, #1)

Half Bad – Sally Green (3rd March)

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Ruins – Dan Wells (11th March)

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Isla and the Happily Ever After – Stephanie Perkins (13th March)

The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender – Leslye Walton (25th March)

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Dreams of Gods & Monsters – Laini Taylor (8th April)

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Raging Star – Moira Young (13th May)

City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)

City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare (27th May)

The Murder Complex (The Murder Complex, #1)

The Murder Complex – Lindsay Cummings (10th June)

Untitled (Skulduggery Pleasant, #9)

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light – Derek Landy (28th August)

Aristeia/Mortal Gods – Kendare Blake (1st September)

HOF US

Heir of Fire – Sarah J Maas (2nd September)

Blue Lily, Lily Blue – Maggie Stiefvater (4th September – UK)

The Infinite Sea (The Fifth Wave #2)

The Infinite Sea – Rick Yancey (16th September)

Echoes of Us (The Hybrid Chronicles #3)

Echoes of Us – Kat Zhang (16th September)

The Iron Trial (Magisterium, #1)

The Iron Trial – Cassandra Clare & Holly Black (2nd October)

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The Blood of Olympus – Rick Riordan (7th October)

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The Young Elites – Marie Lu (7th October)

Undivided (Unwind, #4)

Undivided – Neal Shusterman (14th October)

Partials- Dan Wells

Partials (Partials, #1)

Summary

It’s a post apocalypse world and the rest of humanity has ended up on this island while the rest of the world is overwhelmed with Partials- robots who were genetically engineered to help end this war a while ago- and they look exactly like humans and from what we know they don’t age. And the rest of humanity is doomed because there is this illness called RM that causes babies to die.

So we follow the main character called Kira who decides that she needs to capture a Partial to cure RM ans save her best friend, Madison’s,  child. So then she goes to the mainland captures a Partial, goes back, escapes with the partial, goes back to the mainland, is the experiment, then finds the cure and goes back to her home and saves her best friends baby daughter.

Cons

Slow Beginning
I found it hard to get into partly because the entire first part of the book is what it says on the blurb and I kinda wanted the proper plot to actually get started.

Couldn’t get into it
Usually when I get a book out from the library I finish it before I had to renew it, but this time it took me 3 renews to finally finish it! By the time I was properly into it I think I must have been at least 2/3 through with it- mainly to do with the awesome plot twist!

Possible Love Triangle
There wasn’t one in this book, but I wasn’t sure which other section to display my concerns… At the end of the book Kira decides to go off with Samm (the partial)

Pros

Romance
As I said before there was a love triangle, but the good thing about it was that it didn’t overwhelm the book. It didn’t become one of those books that was so heavily focused on the romance that the plot suddenly dissipates and dies. It was good how Kira kept to her boyfriend even though she was travelling with others for weeks. But

Plot Twist
Unlike many recent “plot twists” that I have read lately, this plot twist was actually half good! It was something that I would have never expected and to be honest it will probably be the reason why I will read the next book. The only sorta flaw I have about it is that I don’t understand how it works because it completely goes against the information that we know, However I like this because it will hopefully mean an interesting plot and character development in the next book.

Characters
Not all the “good characters” were “good”. And when I say that, I don’t mean there was a traitor among them. I just mean that Haru who is Madison’s husband, is a complete idiot. It just gives some diversity to the book which makes it pretty awesome.

Favourite Quotes

  • “Well, thanks for not shooting anyone, I guess”, said Marcus. “My contribution was to somehow refrain from peeing myself. You can thank me later”
  • “I’ve never been this wet in my life, ” said Kira. “Even immersed in a bathtub I swear I was dryer than I am now. ”
    “Look on the bright side, ” said Marcus.
    Kira waited.
    “This is the point at which you would traditionally suggest a bright side. ”
    “I’ve never been a real traditional guy,” said Marcus. “Besides, I’m not saying I know a bright side, I just think this would be a great time to look at one.”
  • “If you can’t know the truth, said Isolde, live the most awesome lie you can think off”
  • “I need a sample of your blood,’ said Kira.
    Marcus raised an eyebrow. ‘I didn’t know we’d reached that stage of our relationship”
  • “Was that the girl who went to Manhattan with you?” Asked Marcus. “I think we owe her a cookie” “I think we owe her a whole damn bakery” said Xochi”

Overall
This book wasn’t as good as I had hoped it would be just because usually I have high expectations. As to recommending it- if you feel like you could cope with my list of cons as well as others that you will probably discover, then read it. Overall though, I would give 3 shuriken stars: the “average” rating of dystopian books that I have been reading lately.

The Assassin and the… – Sarah J Maas (Throne of Glass short stories)

Because I’m lazy, I’m going to do all four prequel short stories in one quick post!

So these short stories are in the world of Throne of Glass, which is the first book in a series, and I personally really enjoyed reading that book!

Summary (I’m just going to do it book by book, and because they’re short stories I’m not going to actively try to avoid spoilers- just warning!)

The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (Throne of Glass, #0.1)The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
Celeana and her rival Sam went to negotiate a deal with the Pirate Lord as compensation for him killing some of their assassins (I think). But then she realizes that the compensation is actually in slaves, everything changes (without trying to sound cliché). She then does everything to try to free them with the help of Sam. (note. If you have read Throne of Glass before at this point she isn’t in love with Sam. In fact she hates him. Him on the other hand…). And so it ends with them freeing the slaves and killing the pirate lord and then going back to Arobynn, who is going to be very very angry at having lost so much money.

The Assassin and the DesertThe Assassin and the Desert (Throne of Glass, #0.2)
After going back to Arobynn having freed the slaves with Sam she is sent to the Desert to train as a punishment for a month. At the desert she is trying to get a letter of approval from the head guy to prove that she didn’t just run off. While there she makes friends with this girl called Ansel who then in turn betrays her and the locals- she comes with them with an army because the guy with the army promised her an army to regain her homeland. But while this was all happening Celeana was also having flashbacks of what happened when she got back. Once she got back from the Pirate Lord Arobynn was very angry and therefore beat her up in front of Sam, and throughout the whole short story she was trying to remember what she heard him saying while Arobynn was beating her up. In the end it was “I will kill you”, showing that he suddenly is on her side rather than the guy who basically acted  as a very bad father towards them.

The Assassin and the Underworld (Throne of Glass, #0.3)The Assassin and the Underworld
To try to make up beating her up Arobynn lets her have a mission to kill someone who is supposedly with the slave trade. But Shock. Horror. He isn’t. He was actually against the slave trade and was trying to work a path of safe houses and a route for escaped slaves. So in this book Celeana actually becomes the villain. This book also progresses her relationship with Sam as they were on the mission together.

The Assassin and the EmpireThe Assassin and the Empire (Throne of Glass, #0.4)
This was probably my favourite out of the short stories. Celeana and Sam have broken away from Arobynn because he is just evil, but he doesn’t want them to leave. So they struck a deal with him saying that if he allowed them to leave they would pay him a great sum of money. But the slight problem is, they are unable to get that sort of money, until this assassination comes up which involves killing their old clan’s rival; a seemly impossible task which many have attempted and failed. Sam eventually after much persuasion goes alone to deliver the final blow, but he then goes missing for a night and doesn’t return on time. The morning after Arobynn turns up uninvited at their apartment and delivers the note that Sam is dead. Celeana obviously angry goes to seek revenge and tries to kill all of the people who lead to the death of Sam. But it turns out to be a trap and she then gets captured. The book then ends with Arobynn standing and looking over her prison cart as it drove away, and being questioned by someone why he did it. His reply was “Because I don’t like sharing my belongings”

Cons

The length of the titles
It just take me so much effort to type out but at the same time I’m too lazy to copy and paste letters and words.

Celaena
For some reason, I’m not sure what, she just seems different in these short stories than in the actual book. I can’t quite place my finger on what it is. Maybe I just imagined it.

Pros

Backstory vs Present
I liked how in these books it kinda explained the personality of Celaena and why she is like that. For example when she goes “I will not be afraid”  because it was what Sam used to do and why she won’t trust any girls because of Ansel (sexist. I know.)

Backstory
I always feel that once you know someone’s backstory you end up knowing them better and I did feel this was true for Celeana. It made us understand her more and why she is so icy and steely.

Arobynn
He was a good hero/ villain. Even at the end he was still a “hero”ish in Celeana’s eyes. Even in Throne of Glass she was refusing to admit to herself that Arobynn was the one who sold her out even though there was no other good suspect. I just kinda liked/ hated their relationship.

Favourite Quotes

  • “She lifted her chin. “I’ve been shouting for you.”
    Sam shrugged, sauntering over to her. “I figured you could wait a few minutes, given that I saved the day and all.” His brows rose high on his ash-covered face.
    “Some hero.” She gestured to the ruin of the tower around them. “I’ve never seen such sloppy work”
  • “Well she’d kill him if he was dead”
  • “Words could be just as deadly as steel.”
  • “If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything. Some people learn to embrace it—to love it. Some endure it through drowning it in sorrow, or by making themselves forget. Others turn it into anger. But Ansel let her pain become hate, and let it consume her until she became something else entirely—a person I don’t think she ever wished to be”
  • “When we die,” she said, “I don’t think the gods will even know what to do with us.”
  • “Now that Sam was dead, there wasn’t anything left outside of the dungeons worth fighting for, anyway. Not when Adarlan’s Assassin was crumbling apart, and her world with her”

Overall
So yeah. These stories were good. I personally read these after Throne of Glass but I don’t think it really matters. It might be better to read before just so you know all the characters and stuff, but then reading it after would intensify the mystery of who sold her out and who is Sam, but I’ve basically just gone and told you the plot anyway so too late now 😉
I would probably still give these 5 shuriken stars overall as a short story series, but I felt that some of them were clearly much better than others.

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater

Sometimes, books in a series can be very hard to review, as you never know what the author is planning next.

Maybe a character is left under-developed in this first book. But perhaps the author is only doing this to prepare ourselves for terrific, mind-blowing development in the next book. Or maybe the character is just going to die off screen and no one will surely give a crap.

So I’ll do my best, however this review is subject to change as we shall see in the future where Maggie Stiefvater takes these characters. Because, oh, it has such brilliant potential. And I would hate for a potentially awesome series to fall flat on its face.

Summary

So there’s a girl called Blue who is from a family of psychics, however is not psychic herself. When she kisses her true love, he’ll die – which is, you know, great. And then she finds this guy called Gansey who is meant to die within the next year, and he’s either her true love, or she’s going to kill him. Most likely both. Gansey’s obsessed with finding the “ley line” which is this cool supernatural thingy, so he, Blue, and his friends go and search for it. And also try not to die.

Cons

First Book

This is more of a Con to reviewing this particular book than a Con for the book.

Nothing much happens in this book, as a lot of it is just setting up for the bigger story as a whole, so it means that sometimes it can read slowly. This is made up for hugely with the amazing bromance and gorgeous writing style and awesome characters and so on. But nothing much happening means that it’s hard to tell if the story will speed up and become more interesting, or if it will stay at this slow walking pace.

Blue’s Friendship

Usually this wouldn’t be a problem in books, however because this book did almost everything so impeccably well, I’m being especially harsh on it.

I was hoping for a different scenario in which Blue’s friendship happens. I was wishing for more tension when Adam invited Blue over into the helicopter, however it was very easy and very fast. Her integration  into such a tightly knit group was slightly strange to me, however it’s most likely because of their shared interest in the supernatural, and will probably be played on more in the later books, and it didn’t bother me as if this happened in most books, I would barely notice it.

Pros

Bromance

It’s the most obvious, because it’s the most brilliant.

Friendships are easy to write. Close friendships aren’t too hard either. However, making them believable is the hard part, especially a friendship as close as this one.

You know when you meet a group of friends, so incredibly and obviously close that you feel completely out of the loop, not because they’re excluding you, just because they are so freakishly in tune with each other? They share similar humour, manners of speaking and general interests. And of course, they each are different individuals, but you cannot deny those very prominent similarities that just develop after spending way too much time with each other.

Maggie Stiefvater portrayed that beautifully, while also having each character very distinct and different from one another. How? I have no idea. A lot of times while reading this book, I would pause and reread a few pages, just trying to digest how she was so brilliant at writing these characters and their relationships. I wanted to do a critical study of The Raven Boys and see how she made the descriptions so gorgeously vivid, and the characters so fleshed out.

The friendships have both tension and disagreements yet also intense care and fondness, and are brilliant portrayals (in the opinion of a girl who’s, obviously, never been to an exclusively male fancy private school) of high school students. She writes them with maturity, yet also a recklessness and naivety that comes with it.

Characters

I love all the characters. I am not going to go into all the reasons why I love the characters, because I’m lazy and this review would get far too long, but let me promise you that all these characters are very individual, fitting to their situations and ages, all hold prominence in the story, and are all important to the plot. With a possible exception to Persephone and Calla, who’s backstorys and intents have not been revealed to the fullest (though they probably will soon. I’m so freaking curious about Persephone), every character has this brilliant past that contributes to the story, and without them, the book would probably be very different. And they were likeable! Hooray!

Out of all the characters, I would say that Blue is the least developed (which is still extremely developed, however the standard of this book is just very high), however I have high hopes for her in the next books.

Writing Style

I’m pretty sure this book earns an entire star just for the absolutely amazingly fantabulous writing style.

Even if this book had been very bland in description, I still would have given it a high mark for the dialogue and characters alone, but add in the writing style of awesomeness and BAM, you have a great book. Just… the atmosphere and the word choice and the brilliance of it all is just… I want to read more Maggie Stiefvater books. I want to read them and let her magic with words soak into me like osmosis.

Romance

The romance between Blue and Gansey did not go the route I expected it to take (and by that I mean there wasn’t any romance between them). Our lovely author could have taken it the very obvious route, but instead, we have Adam pining after Blue. Hopefully, if this turns into a messy love triangle, it will be a good love triangle that’s necessary to the plot. And the romance between Adam and Blue was believable! Yes, YA fiction! You have done it! A romance that does not make me want to throw up!

Quotes

  • “How do you feel about helicopters?”
    There was a long pause. “How do you mean? Ethically?”
    “As a mode of transportation.”
    “Faster than camels, but less sustainable.”
  • “He strode over to the ruined church. This, Blue had discovered, was how Gansey got places – striding. Walking was for ordinary people.”
  • “You are being self-pitying.”
    “I’m nearly done. You don’t have much more of this to bear.”
    “I like you better this way.”
    “Crushed and broken,” Gansey said. “Just the way women like ’em.”
  • “Aglionby Academy was the number one reason Blue had developed her two rules: One, stay away from boys because they were trouble. And two, stay away from Aglionby boys, because they were bastards.”
  • “In the end, he was nobody to Adam, he was nobody to Ronan. Adam spit his words back at him and Ronan squandered however many second chances he gave him. Gansey was just a guy with a lot of stuff and a hole inside him that chewed away more of his heart every year.”
  • “Maura had decided sometime before Blue’s birth that it was barbaric to order children about, and so Blue had grown up surrounded by imperative question marks.”

Overall

I want to give this 5 stars very badly, but I’m going to withhold them for the very fact that it could go either way. This book does not scream to me immediate perfection, but I love it, all the same. And I am absolutely getting my hands on the sequel when it comes out. 4 3/4 shuriken stars. READ IT! Or don’t, if it doesn’t seem like your type of book, because it won’t be everyone’s.

This book has been a saviour throughout wading through bad books, trying to not wonder if I’ve just used up all the good books, and that all books I stumble upon will be inherently bad. It’s given me a new source of hope that there are brilliant YA fiction books with good character development, solid plot, interesting characters, good writing and originality still out there, waiting to be read.

The Kill Order – James Dashner

The Kill Order (Maze Runner, #0.5)To be honest I was a little disappointed by the ending of the Death Cure partly due to the fact that Thomas’ best friend/ worst enemy, died and the evil annoying Brenda survived. So naturally, I was hoping that this book would explain the relationship between the two. It didn’t happen. But nonetheless it was a good book!

Summary
Spoilers to follow- but obvious spoilers.

Unlike what I thought it didn’t follow the story of Thomas and Teresa in their early years (ish.- it involves one of them for half the book). It  is set 13 years before the day that Thomas goes into the Glade and follows the story of Mark and Trina.

Wow. A lot of the main characters have T names!

So back to the story.

Trina and Mark are experiencing the world during/ after the sun flares. At first they are surviving just great! Then comes the evil people who shoot darts at people turning them dead or into what we call cranks now. So then Mark and Trina’s little gang run and get into all sorts of mess, and along the way pick up a kid who is immune (not telling who! :P) and then as you can expect they all die since we haven’t heard about them at all from the other books…

Cons
The Deaths
They were a little hurried. If I had just read them I may not have understood, but because my brother had read it before me, I knew what happened so yeah. I just thought it was a little hurried.

Pros
The last page
It included an awesome part at the back by James Dashner saying what his “Top ten things he’d want during the apocalypse”. It has The Kill Order. James Dashnerinspired me to make my own- to come probably!

Background of the background
In the book there is the background story of Mark and Trina and how they survived the apocalypse while it happened, and in the present they were coping with death and destruction. I’ve always wanted to use that in a sentence. Death and Destruction.

Action packed
As my brother put it. It was full of action as the title suggests and fast paced.

Madness
Losing your mind is scary, terrifying maybe and definitely hard to write, since people who go crazy, tend not to get better. But James Dashner did it perfectly. Each time something snapped within Mark’s head it was described so well and awesome and amazing and sad and depressing.

Character relationships
Dee Dee and Trina especially. It was adorable. Another character relationship which was adorable; Trina and Mark. They were so cute together! But I did want to know properly how they got together, because to me (I may have misread part or skipped out some by accident) at one point it was like they were just friends and then they were making out. But they were so cute!! And it tore me apart half way when Trina didn’t remember him ;(

Favorite Quotes

  • “Let’s get this started, people. It won’t be long before we all lose our minds”
  • “What would I do without you? I’d die of stress and depression before nature killed me”
  • “Mark thought that was all barking up the wrong tree. “Or they ran away from the fire. Not every person on earth is as wacky-brained as you, good sir. Most people see a huge roaring inferno coming at them? They decide to cut and run. Just saying”
  • “Though he’d never know for sure what had happened to them, his mind was super talented at imagining the absolute worst.”

Overall
Although this book wasn’t what I was really hoping for in terms of the plot, it still was amazing but depressing at the same time. 5 shuriken stars just like the other books in the series.