Posts Tagged ‘feels’

Girl of Nightmares – Kendare Blake

Girl of Nightmares (Anna, #2)There are MEGA spoilers to both books. I wish there was a way for me to keep this spoiler free but it’s not possible. It’s really not possible. LEAVE! GO READ IT! I BEG YOU TO READ IT PLEASE READ IT!

A while ago, I posted this rant about what I hate in a lot of YA Fiction, though honestly it was mostly about the Paranormal Romance section of YA fiction, where I can barely ever find a book without these problems.

But I have found it.

I have found the paranormal romance which I absolutely adore and love and makes me want to cry because it’s over and why would you do this to me Kendare Blake how did you make me have so many feelings over paranormal romance, the one section of YA fiction that consistently continues to disappoint me and I can’t get over how much I love this series.

So a few months ago, I did a review of Anna Dressed in Blood, and while I was gushing (and having withdrawal from FMA:B, which I then got Yanni addicted to, and now she sings the theme tune to torment me because somehow she has gotten over the ending and yet it still haunts me to the brink of wanting to curl up in a ball and die because it’s over), it was the first book in a duology, and I was being pretty brief, as I have learned that the first book can go very downhill very easily. A lot of the first book was set up, so it was hard to review without knowing if all these questions would be resolved and if these characters would develop further.

So this review is going to be me just constantly ecstatic over why this is the best paranormal romance I’ve read and why you should all go and read it and why I spent about ten minutes rocking back and forth on the floor, staring into nothing, trying to get over the fact that I was never going to read about Cas’ pure sass again.

Plot

For those of you who are still here even though you haven’t read either of these books, then here’s a quick summary. Cas (the most awesome protagonist to exist in paranormal romance) falls in love with a murderous ghost (the most awesome love interest to exist in paranormal romance), and then loads of stuff goes down and it’s really awesome.

NOW PLEASE LEAVE BEFORE I RUIN THIS BOOK FOR YOU PLEASE JUST GO AND READ AND EXCERPT AND IF YOU LIKE IT THEN BUY IT OR BORROW IT OR SOMETHING I DON’T WANT TO RUIN AN AMAZING SERIES FOR YOU.

For all of you still left, hi, I’m guessing you’ve read Girl of Nightmares (OR GET OUT AND GO READ IT PLEASE I’M BEGGING YOU NOT TO READ ON WITH THIS REVIEW), so you don’t need a plot summary, but there are probably a few left who still haven’t read it (PLEASE READ IT), so let’s give a summary anyway.

Cas is having nightmares and visions of Anna, and what looks like her committing suicide and getting tortured over and over again, and then goes to try to save her from it.

Cons

I would like to say the ending but I can’t because the ending was amazing even if it broke my heart.

And I may have teared up because I love these characters so damn much and Cas why do you have to go and be so noble and awesome but of course you would because you’re Cas Lowood and damnit. (on a side note, apparently it’s spelled dammit, but I really hate that spelling, so I’m going to ignore it.)

Oh yeah!

Did it remind anyone else of Doctor Who? Like the suicide forest scene was kind of like the weeping angels, and the bit with Anna at the end reminded me of when Ten leaves Rose but there’s like other Ten in Journey’s End (I can’t remember which episode it is), but whatever, it might just be me watching too much Doctor Who.

Pros

I am saving characters for last, because that is a mega big gush over how much I loved them, so instead I’m going to try and cover all the ways bad books fail and how Girl of Nightmares prevails to kick their asses.

1. Likeable Main Character

I’m not going to go into this, since this is an entire list on it’s own, but Cas is pure sass. My favourite thing about the Anna series is that we get to spend all this time in Cas’ head, listening to his dry, funny comments about the stupid people around him and yet does not come off as obnoxious or annoying. But more on that later.

And he’s not a creepy abusive stalker, so that’s always a plus in YA fiction.

2. Likeable Love Interest

Anna, unlike most seemingly bad but actually nice and reformable paranormal love interests, is actually both terrifying and loveable. First, she kills. She’s not all talk and no action, she actually rips people apart and has a basement full of dead bodies of her victims. She’s gruesome with blood coming all off her and it’s bloody creepy, seriously, it’s gross and haunting and vivid. She’s pretty, but Cas isn’t in love with her just because he’s lusting after her  body, he actually loves her. You can tell how much he loves her, because even when she’s in her creepy goddess mode with black veins and bloody eyes, he still loves her (that and how can you not be truly in love with someone if you do THAT at the end).

3. The Romance

You actually root for Cas. It’s genuinely sweet and funny yet not perfect (come on, first she tries to murder him and then she’s also dead and he accuses her of murdering a jogger), but it’s also pretty interesting to see whether Cas loves her because she’s her, or because he’s got this weird fascination with ghosts, and she’s like the epitome of weird ghost stuff. He even says how boring living people are, this boy who’s entire life has basically been bombarded with ghost hunting and ghost killing and this gruesome interest in ghosts.

Also, come on, I don’t know how you can argue that their romance is not adorable. When Cas finds Anna, it’s not mushy or overbearing or whatever, it’s just adorable. They don’t have delusions that this love will defeat anything and is stronger than anything in the world and no one is as in love as they are (cough twilight cough), AND THEN THE END AND I CAN’T EVEN TALK ABOUT IT WITHOUT FEELING PHYSICAL PAIN.

And it’s not driven by lust, it’s not insta-love (I think it was more a fascination for Cas that became love once he got to know her, it started with his fascination because he’s so in love with his ghost hunting life. At least that’s what I think it is), and Cas acts how an actual teenage guy would act if he was in love (at least I’m presuming, I don’t know, guys of the world please tell me if I’m wrong).

4. The  Scary Stuff is Actually Freaking Creepy

Oh my god. Some of this stuff is freaking messed up. Cas’ constant nightmares of Anna commiting “suicide” over and over again and when she had half a face and she was bleeding and cuts were appearing on her arms… that’s real creepy stuff.

5. The Writing Style

Not only is it perfectly suited to Cas’ voice, but it’s this perfect mixture of dry humour and gruesome images that are described gorgeously. For example:

  • “His skin is black as a struck match, cracked and oozing liquid metal heat, like he’s covered by a cooling layer of lava. The eyes stand out bright white. I can’t make out from this distance if they have corneas. God I hope they have corneas. I hate that creepy weird-eye sh*t.” (censored because we need to be at least slightly PG)

Also, Kendare Blake does not shy away from swearing (like we try to), because that’s realistic. We’re inside a seventeen year old boy’s head, I really doubt he doesn’t swear inside his head or out loud. But she doesn’t overuse it like a trope that’s trying to make Cas sound young, he uses it when average people would actually swear. AND he makes pop culture references, which add to his believability as a character (unlike some authors who you can tragically tell can remember what it’s like to be a teenager, but like twenty years ago so everything comes off as so damn dated)

6. The Covers

Unrelated, but oh my god the covers are gorgeous, I mean just look at them:

They are absolutely gorgeous. They never have to make second editions of this series ever, because these covers are absolutely perfect. The writing and the imagery and the colour scheme and the girl and the continuity, it’s all just perfect perfect perfect perfect perfect. And guess what, it actually relates to the content of the book. It’s not a girl holding a flower and a strawberry and looking longingly out to the reader, then actually about freaking badass fairy-zombie detectives (NB, this book does not exist, if it does then I MUST READ IT).

7. The Ending

God freaking damn the ending was simultaneously the best and the worst ending.

The best, because it was a damn good ending and the best scenario that could have come out of their situation. If Anna stayed, then she would just watch Cas grow old and die and their relationship would never last. The only other way would be for Cas to die and join Anna, and as much as he loves her, he’s not going to sacrifice everything he has for her because he actually (GASP) has common sense!

8. The Minor Characters

It is rare to have minor characters that are actually likeable and are there with their own story instead of just as a plot device.

Truth be told the books could have been told from Carmel, Thomas or Anna’s point of view (though they would not be nearly as good without Cas’ sass), because they each have their own opinion and own thing going on at that point. And, get this, they’re all likeable.

Even though Carmel deserts Cas and Thomas, you understand why. She never asked for a life in ghost hunting, she’s not suddenly going to give up her perfect grades and her set out future and stable career just to chase down adventure, she’s had her own life planned out and she actually has a choice of leaving it. She’s being selfish, sure, but she’s allowed to be selfish. No one in real life is completely selfless, because being that selfless is dangerous, because throwing your life away for someone else is unfair to you. Carmel is believable and likeable (and damn awesome in the end against the stupid Order of the Black Dagger). And she’s also not a stereotype (Marcie Miller you could have been this, look at what potential you had), she’s the most popular girl in school and she’s beautiful and blonde, but she’s also a badass and extremely smart and not a sandwich (which is my word for a different word that I’m not allowed to say on this blog).

And do I need to even cover Thomas? He’s awesome. He’s a nerd and awkward and still badass and awesome.

Even Jestine (who nearly became the third point of the love triangle from when I first met her, but then transitioned into something way more awesome instead) was a great character. She’s basically a girl version of Cas, except in a very different situation, and you see Cas’ rivalry and distrust of her and you don’t like her because of it, but at the same time you can see the exact same events panning out if Cas and Jestine swapped places, Cas would act exactly as Jestine does, and that’s what makes it really interesting. That and this constant paranoia I had over Jestine whether she was good or bad, whether she was going to back stab them or save them.

9. Parent(s)

Cas’ mum is actually nice.

I know, it shocked me too.

Most parents in these books are either dead or always absent leaving the house conveniently free for lots of making out sessions. But Cas’ mum is actually relevant, and though she doesn’t want Cas to do all this stuff, you understand why, I mean he’s her teenage son. She’s lost her husband to the same ghost that her own son wants to up against, but at the same time she knows that he needs to do this. She’s also funny and embarrassing and a badass. It’s nice to see a parent who isn’t this bland plank of wood that most of them are in YA Fiction.

10. Plot

There is a plot in the books. A plot exists. It’s not this random, thrown together thing just to add to the tension in the make out sessions, and the guy isn’t all seemingly heroic and saves the girl whenever she’s in danger (Anna kicks Cas’ ass easily), it’s both sad and intriguing and interesting and not overshadowed by the romance. Round of a freaking applause.

Theseus Cassio Lowood

He is officially one of my favourite characters to exist in YA Fiction.

I don’t have a list of favourite characters in YA Fiction, (I started to list some of my favourite characters, but I just can’t because the list is way too long and then I have about 10 from skulduggery pleasant and the book thief and it just gets too damn long, and then obviously Hayden and Leo and Todd and Viola and Zin and Tyson and no, stop, I can’t do this, it’s going to take forever), but Cas would definitely be somewhere on it if it existed.

If I could think of anyway to describe him, it would be like the best possible cross of Leo Valdez and Jace. Like he is a bit of a smartass, really kickass, angsty at times and arrogant at other times, but he’s also awkward and feels like the third wheel and is likeable and smart. The funny thing is, usually my favourite characters are the secondary ones (with a few exceptions) but it might be because Cas really isn’t the protagonist of this story, it’s Anna. The whole story is Anna’s story, it starts with her curse, and ends with her freedom. It’s all about  Anna, the entire plot, Cas is just a part of it (a pivotal point, but still a point), so maybe that’s why I love him so much. But without further ado:

Reasons why Theseus Cassio Lowood Is The Best Male Lead in Paranormal Romance

1. Even though he’s a self-admitted smartass, he doesn’t come off as obnoxious (at least, not unbelievably so).

2. He’s arrogant, and he has a right to be. He’s a freaking teenage ghost hunter. And he’s stubborn yet determined, which can sometimes make him irrational, but altogether the fact that he actually has faults make him a great character. LISTEN. CHARACTERS NEED FAULTS, AUTHORS. READ THIS BOOK AND LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES.

3. He’s not selfish. He loves Anna enough to let her go (even though I wish he was selfish BECAUSE WHY CAS WHY JUST BECAUSE ANNA’S HAPPY DOESN’T MEAN YOU’LL BE FINE AS WELL DAMN YOU FOR BEING SO DAMN NOBLE), because we see that even though he can be annoying and arrogant and cold on the outside, he’s really got this heart of gold on the inside. He’s willing to let her go and he can actually live without he, unlike some people. He’s not some crazed suicidal teenager just because his love is gone, he accepts it and he tries to move on, even though he loves her, because the thought of her being happy is all that he needs (Read New Moon if you don’t understand what I’m talking about. Bella and Edward are insane and way too suicidal over people they’ve only known a few months).

4. He’s not this over-angsty guy, and doesn’t just sit around all depressed about his dad dying. He has his moments, but those moments are believable and do not take up entire chapters of him just sitting around moping about how hard his life is. Instead, he deals with it by throwing himself into ghost hunting, not realising that he’s only doing so because he’s trying to fill this gap his dad made, by trying to live up to what he thinks he should be. And he angsts over something legitimate, come on, his dad got eaten by a freaking ghost.

5. He is not a creep. Thank you, YA Fiction gods, for giving me a character that’s not a goddamn creep, he isn’t a stalker or a weirdo (you know, apart from trying to murder his would-be girlfriend), he’s just a normal guy with a not so normal hobby.

6. He doesn’t over romanticise stuff, which is such a nice relief. His love for Anna does not make him this crazed-obsessed guy. He even hates how much he loves her, because he realises how soft he’s becoming and how it’s getting in the way of his ghost hunting.

7. He is a sarcastic, witty person who makes pop culture references. How can you not love him? He compares Anna to Neo from the Matrix, he’s compared to the ghostbusters and Buffy and he thinks superheroes are ridiculous in their spandex.

8. He somehow still remains the underdog, which makes me root for him. In the first book, we see that Cas is pretty awesome, he’s pretty exceptional, whereas in this book, we see more and more that he’s completely out of his depth. Everyone thinks he’s crazy for trying to go to hell just to save his girlfriend, and we see Jestine show him up more than once. He’s the third wheel, he’s not trusted by his friends, he’s seeing visions of his girlfriend murdering herself, he’s an outcast at school who doesn’t give a damn what other people think, he has no idea what to do, and we want him to win against all odds. Which just makes the ending make me want to cry more.

9. He’s smart and has common sense. We’re not told he’s smart, we just know he is because he acts smart. Unlike characters we are constantly told are smart with perfect grades and ivy-league schools but have no working brain cells, Cas actually thinks things through instead of jumping to idiotic conclusions (cough Nora cough).

10. His sass is like the best thing in the entire world. I don’t know if sass is even the right word to describe it but I don’t care because The Sass of Cas just sounds way too good. His inner commentary is what makes the book, which is why I’m kind of worried about the movie, since we’re not going to be inside Cas’ awesome head and that’s what made me love it so much. I want to see a sass-off between Cas, Jace and Valkyrie. Someone please write a fanfic and make it happen (the only reason I don’t include Skulduggery Pleasant is because come on, we know he’s like the king of sass in YA/Children’s Fiction).

11. It’s the most damn heartwarming thing that Cas finally finds friends. We see that even though he loves this lifestyle, it can be damn lonely, and you can kind of tell that Thomas and Carmel might be the first real friends he’s ever had, the first genuine friends that he can trust, because he’s let himself become cut off from the world, and he’s finally finding a place where he fits in.

Quotes

  • “Every time I question him about the feasibility, he smiles at me like he’s Yoda and I’m just a dumbass without the Force.”
  • “I don’t care what your name is,” she hisses. “And I don’t care who you are. If you don’t get him some help, I will burn your f*cking place down.”
  • “All this faux flattery. It’s not enough to make me forget he’s a dick. Admittedly, though, he’s sort of a charismatic dick.”
  • “He almost killed my friends. F*ck that guy.”
  • “Chef?” Carmel exclaims. “I could give a sh*t about a chef. I’m going to find the most expensive thing in that kitchen, eat one bite, and throw the rest on the floor. Then I’m going to break some plates.”
  • “Jestine and I lock eyes. She’s going to look away first. Even if my eyeballs have to completely dry out.”
  • “You’d better eat that,” she says.
    “I’m taking it easy on my stomach,” I protest. “Come on. It just had a knife in it.”
  • “I want to cross my arms and say things like, “Don’t come back if you’re not going to stay!” and “If you think that nothing’s changed, you’re wrong.” But she probably heard all this stuff from Thomas already. I wasn’t the boyfriend. I don’t know why I feel like I should get the chance to yell at her too.
    Jesus. I have become the thing they call the third wheel.”
  • “Without a word, we start to walk together down the long hall. I’m so pent up and irritated with this place; I want to kick down the closed doors and break up a prayer circle, maybe juggle the athame with a couple of candles just to see the horrified looks on their faces and hear their screams of “Sacrilege!”

Damnit I need to stop adding quotes before this gets out of hand. It’s just a really damn quotable book. I could give you a hundred more, (better yet just make you read the entire thing if you’ve stayed this long and still haven’t read it), but let’s just add one more so my heart can shatter:

  • “What?” she asks, but I don’t answer. Instead I kiss her, one time, and try to tell her in that single gesture everything that she’ll forget as soon as she turns away. I tell her I love her. I tell her I’ll miss her. And then I let her go.”

And with that, I can feel something inside of me crying.

Overall

It was pretty obvious from the beginning, wasn’t it? 5 shuriken stars. Please read this. Not only one of my favourite book covers to exist, but one of my favourite YA books to exist. It blows away all other Paranormal Romances. It is a completely brilliant series and I love it so much but at the same time please, Kendare Blake, please. Please write something else about Cas. I beg of you. Maybe a third book in the series would not make sense, but a short story or a spin-off or something, anything, would be amazing.

I beg of you.

Or an alternate ending so Anna comes back to life and her and Cas get married and have kids and everything’s happy again because there are tears in my soul. There are entire rivers of them running through my heart. Freaking hell, I did not realise this ending would traumatise me so much but it did, guys, it really did.

Prodigy – Marie Lu

Yanni, stop reading this.

STOP.

STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOPPPPPPP.

Hopefully she’s gone now and we won’t ruin the book for her.

Oh come on. Let’s be honest. This is Yanni. No warning labels will be able to deter her. Speaking of warning labels….

WARNING.

This review is  full of me dealing with the emotional state the ending of Prodigy has left me in. Especially near the end of this. Blame Marie Lu and her evil genius writing skills. If you want a coherent, structured review with no rambling and no raw pain, then just leave. Save yourself from the horrors that lie ahead.

Anyway…

Prodigy is the sequel to the amazing amazing amazing Legend, where lots of stuff happens (seriously, I can’t be more specific. Yanni’s reading this, I know, and I can’t let her ruin it for herself).

Summary

If you haven’t read Legend, the quick answer to this is to go and read Legend, because you’re not going to understand what’s going on otherwise. Seriously, you won’t regret it.

For those of you who have stayed (and Yanni, who’s probably fruitlessly searching for spoilers which I WILL NOT GIVE TO HER NO WAY), here’s a summary.

The Elector Primo has died, and Anden, his son, has been chosen to be the new Elector. June and Day are hired by the Patriots to assassinate him. That’s really all I can share.

Cons

(Side note: If you think there are a lot of cons comparatively compared to other books with similar ratings as this one, it’s mainly because I’m grasping around trying to find bad things to say, so this isn’t completely a shower of praise and emotions. Also, most of these things are personal annoyances rather than actual problems.)

Love Triangles and Bermudalees

Bermudalee – Definition: A Love Triangle that is one sided. Named after the romance of Todd and Viola, from the Chaos Walking Trilogy, in which Lee wants to be with Viola, but she does not reciprocate those feelings, and eventually she ends up with Todd.

No, this is not an actual thing. I just made it up because it sounded cool in my head. (Because it’s BermudaLEE. Get it? Right, sorry, I should try not to make jokes. I just really love bad puns and funny words.)

What was the point of this again… oh right!

Prodigy has a LOT of love triangles.

For most people this would be fine, good even. But my personal growing dislike over love triangles in YA Fiction has caused me to put it in the cons.

Not that the love triangles weren’t done well, because they were. It’s just that in general, I can’t stand them. I can stand Bermudalees, for example the obvious one involving Pascao. (Though I don’t know if attraction to Day counts as a Bermudalee any more, since everyone who likes guys will instantly fall for Day. He’s like a freaking enormous magnet for romantic attraction.) However, my dislike of Love Triangles – and Love Squares, which did also feature – made me very conflicted about it. I dislike them so much that I’d just rather the third point would die, even if I like them as a character.

Now, I’m not going to name some points of the Love Triangle, in case Yanni hasn’t already pried this out of me, but believe me, they are more like Bermudalees. It’s obvious who will end up together in the end. (Or at least it was, until Marie Lu dropped the bombshell of an ending on us and left me and my emotions dead on the floor.)

Tess

Great writing, great character development by Marie Lu, and it really did make an interesting dilemma in the plotline.

However.

Tess was like one of my favourite characters, (which makes her fate make sense, since most of my other favourite characters in Legend end up dead or kidnapped), and then Prodigy happened.

Seriously, Tess, you just had to make it so complicated. You just had to ruin Day’s resolve and fill him with doubt. You just had to insult my number one favourite character (if you haven’t guessed it, it’s June) multiple times and then be adorable and lovely the next instance, so that even I was conflicted about whether I liked you or not.

Seriously, great writing, because I ended up getting so attached to the situation, and only really good books can do that. Tess, why do you have to be so infuriating?

Pandemonium

This is not a criticism. This is merely speculation. I am not saying that Marie Lu copied Suzanne Collins and Lauren Oliver, or vice versa. Complete and total speculation.

I read Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver not so long ago, and this may just be my weird brain picking up connections, but I couldn’t help but see lots of similarities between Pandemonium, Mockingjay and Prodigy. (Which is funny, because Pandemonium and Mockingjay combined kind of sounds like Prodigy… If you try really hard and delude yourself because actually no, it doesn’t sound like that at all).

(Another side note: I’m using a lot of brackets in this review; far more than I would usually use. I think by obsessive reading of this book has made me start talking like June.)

In Mockingjay, (SPOILERS IF YOU HAVEN’T READ IT) Katniss is tasked with aiding the rebellion and assassinating President Snow, but finds herself feeling more like a pawn for district 13, and not trusting their motives. She ends up murdering Coin instead, and President Snow gets trampled by protestors or the crowd or something. Seriously, it’s been a long time since I read Mockingjay.

In Pandemonium, (MORE SPOILERS) Lena goes undercover from the Wilds, and ends up being kidnapped with Julian, the son of the mayor or president or something important. While undercover, she falls in love with him, and finds out this other thing about the savages that I can’t say because it’s a massive spoiler for Prodigy. And then her previous boyfriend that she believed to be dead, walks in on her and Julian making out (which just screams awkward).

So yeah. Let me put it this way. Day is kind of like Katniss; June is kind of like Lena. Not in terms of personality (god no, their personalities are so different), but in terms of situation. I can’t even give a comparison because that has way too many spoilers in it. Just believe me, the similarities are there if you look for them.

Seriously, I might need to rewrite this after Yanni reads Prodigy. I hate trying to keep stuff spoiler free when I just want to scream OH MY GOD THE BIT WITH THE THING AND THE STUFF WASN’T IT AMAZING.

Holy Freaking Waffles this review is getting long. As long as it doesn’t surpass the hush, hush word count, then I’m sure we’ll be fine.

God, I need to learn how to stop rambling.

Stop it, Weishi. (That’s me, by the way. I’m not talking to some random stranger in my head.) Get back to the point.

Pros

Let’s cover the basics, before we start going into lots of rambling details.

Plot – Awesome. At first I thought it was predictable, but it turned into much more than what I expected.

Characters – Heartbreakingly awesome. A lot of development happens in Prodigy, and we really see the good and ugly sides of these characters.

Writing Style – Awesome and completely fitting for the characters.

Conclusion – Awesome.

Day & June

I feel like they deserve they’re own section, because I love those guys so much.

Prodigy is told from two alternating POVs, Day and June, so we really get a good look at these characters. I always thought it was very interesting to see the similarities in their points of view – how it is very matter of fact, intelligent and observant – but also the large differences.

Day’s POV always consists of more slang and emotion than June’s, which is usually very blunt and factual (with brackets around details of her observations, whether it’s the time down to the second, or the exact height and weight of something from a glance). The writing is not very flowery or descriptive, but it’s not plain, either. Understandable, considering their characters. Day and June are two teenagers that have had to grow up extremely fast, and are a lot more mature than their years. They have been through horrible situations, and treated more like adults than children. They witness horrible deaths of the people close to them, and constantly have to be checking if they can trust anyone, or it might get them killed.

It makes sense that their narrations are going to be very realistic, analytical, and very blunt. They’re not going to have the flowing, descriptive, idealistic nature that’s present in Pandemonium or Matched – stories about the beauty of poetry, art and love being oppressed by an overbearing government, and our narrators struggling to bring it back. While I love this descriptive writing style, it just wouldn’t work in the Legend trilogy, with two characters who are completely the opposite of these idealistic dreamers. Many times, I forgot that Day and June were just kids, and found myself imagining them as in their twenties, because of the maturity that they were forced to develop, and the sheer lack of naivety and false hope in their voices, that they probably grew out of a long time ago.

June is my favourite character, for the reason that she is complete bad ass. She begins as cold, ruthless and a seemingly unstoppable military prodigy. A lot of these seemingly badass girls in YA Fiction usually have some sort of deep, emotional side buried under these false layers, and turn out to be more of an object of pity than action hero. June is not like that. You can’t exploit her, even with her deepest weaknesses. You punch her, and she’ll probably slice that arm off. She’s far from perfect, but her flaws (mainly of being very awkward and very disconnected from her emotions as well as her inability to show weakness) don’t change the fact that she’s a bloody ninja. You see her battling with her faults in Prodigy, and trying to face her insecurities, but never letting go of her badassery.

Day, in Prodigy, is driven by his emotions. He’s still haunted by the memory of his mother, his brother, his father, and that it was the Republic who caused his pain. He battles with trying to discern June from the Republic soldier she used to be. His own insecurities come out very severely in this book, and you see that Day (the seemingly unstoppable, infallible criminal) is making mistakes, because he can’t think logically. His commitment and unending loyalty to his family becomes the reason for a lot of his mistakes. (That, and his terrible timing with words.)

The End (also known as reader torture)

Oh. My. God.

It happened again.

It bloody happened again.

This is Skulduggery Pleasant all over again.

Throughout my reading of Prodigy, I kept feeling that this felt more like a final book, than a middle book. Everything was going to end up seemingly resolved and happy, which doesn’t usually happen in middle books. There’s usually some ongoing trouble that will finally be concluded in the third book, as the second book is usually set up for it. But no – Prodigy resolved it’s conflict about 90% in (I say it in a percentage, because I was reading it on my kindle, so I have no clue how many pages in it was). This did nothing but instil dread in me, as there were still three chapters for everything to go wrong.

And boy, did it go wrong.

In my head, there are three (maybe four, if you include Thomas and Metias) major events or revelations that happen during Prodigy, that made me actually gape in surprise. I don’t gasp and cover my mouth that much during books, unless I’m seriously hooked. The first was shocking, though slightly predictable. The second had me in complete surprise and horror. But the third… Those last three chapters…

Let me put it this way, I might later go climb into my bed and sob over the last chapter of Prodigy.

I did not realise my attachment to these characters was so strong.

Near the end of the book, there is a massive fight that happens (verbal, not action and explosions and stuff), that put me through being so angry and so upset at the same time. I thought that would be the worst of it.

Not even close.

The last chapter makes me want to curl up and delude myself that it didn’t happen.

And the worst part?

I’m not sure if it will get resolved. As much as I want to believe that good will come out of it, I know how cruel Marie Lu can be. The second horrific plot twist goes like this. Marie Lu hands me a character, makes me slowly admire and love her, gives her a completely epic scene, and shows me how invincible and indestructible this character is that I may have to bump off June to give her this top spot.  A few paragraphs later, she’s murdered this character she’s made me love.

Writers are cruel.

There is some part of me that believes the ending can be saved in the next book, and that everything will be good and happy again, but another part that’s telling me that something even worse will happen, and I will have to curl up and cry.

One Last Thing

I don’t know how to function any more.

I don’t know what to do without the next book.

A year. An entire year.

How.

Why.

What.

Is.

Life.

Help me. Dear god, how am I going to go through with life when THOSE LAST CHAPTERS HAVE HAPPENED.

MARIE LU YOU HAVE TO WRITE THE NEXT BOOK NOW BECAUSE I MIGHT DIE IF I DON’T GET IT I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS YOU CAN’T JUST LEAVE ME IN THIS STATE FOR A YEAR PLEASE.

PLEASE.

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE.

Quotes

I don’t think I have enough sanity left to find quotes at the moment.

Can I just go and cry my poor, broken heart out?

I’ll update this later, but right now, I’m too emotional to go back and find quotes. Just looking at that chapter will remind me of my pain.

Here, you can have my broken wailing instead.

  • “WHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY”
  • “THIS CAN’T BE THE END YOU CAN’T JUST END IT LIKE THAT NO NOT FAIR NO MARIE LU YOU CRUEL PERSON YOU CRUEL PERSON BUT I CAN’T HATE YOU BECAUSE YOU SEEM LIKE A VERY NICE PERSON AND I CAN’T EVEN TELL ANYONE ABOUT MY EMOTIONAL TURMOIL GOD YANNI READ FASTER”
  • “NO YANNI I WILL NOT GIVE YOU SPOILERS NO MATTER HOW MUCH YOU BEG ME I WANT TO WATCH YOU GET YOUR HEART RIPPED OUT AND THEN I WILL CRY WITH YOU BECAUSE OH GOD THE PAIN”
  • “IF YOU DON’T FIND THE END AS HORRIFIC AS I DID I DON’T UNDERSTAND YOU I DON’T KNOW HOW TO HOLD ONTO ALL THESE EMOTIONS HELP ME THEY’RE SO HEAVY AND SAD AND FILLING ME UP AND LEAKING OUT OF ME AND SOON I’M GOING TO BURST INTO A PUDDLE OF TEARS AND MUSHY FEELINGS THAT I CAN’T CONTROL”
  • “HOW DO YOU EXPECT ME TO HOMEWORK AT A TIME LIKE THIS HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO DO ANYTHING WHILE I’M DEAD INSIDE”

Holy Waffles, this review is massive. I will cut this down when I can process logical thoughts once again in my brain.

Overall

I want to give this zero shuriken stars for ripping my heart out, then expecting me to wait a year so I can wallow in my misery and seriously question building a time machine to read the next book as soon as possible.

But I can’t do that. I love this book and hate it for turning me into a mushy pile of feelings.

5 shuriken stars. It might have started out as 4, but it rose to that rating by the end. The ending deserves nothing more than 5 for being able to get that response out of me. Anything that can make me this invested and on the verge of toppling into a complete emotional breakdown is worth something grand.

Now excuse me while I go rock in a corner and sob my heart out.