Thursday, December 18, 2014

Cress by Marissa Meyer

(5/5 stars)

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.

I'm incapable of making coherent thoughts right now, I loved this book that much. It definitely pulled me out of this weird book slump I was in. Wow, I love books, I love this book, I love this series!

What I liked: Cress. Cress is a great character. She's like the Rapunzel version of Felicity Smoak. Genius hacker, unapologetic fangirl. She's the perfect amount of adorable, socially awkward, character development-filled person (oh, um, Lunar). Her relationship with Thorne is perfect, OTP for life, and she brings out a whole new side of him that we only saw glimpses of before. The story is full of heart-stopping action scenes and tender moments of love and loss, it has everything I could ever ask for. Also, Levana is scary evil and one of the best villains by far. As always, our favorite cast of characters were back and I loved seeing them all work together in the end. All of my favorites in one place! Thank you! And we got to see a little bit of Princess Winter and I'm crazy excited for that book because she seems like all kinds of insane greatness. Lastly, I've said this before but it's important to repeat: This dystopian isn't just set in one place. The whole world is involved in this crappy situation. The setting is constantly changing and bringing its own conflicts into the central plot and that's brilliant writing right there. 

What I didn't like: I needed more Scarlett. I needed more of the book in her POV, but for reasons (I enjoy being cryptic), that wasn't possible. So I'm going to pout for a second and then get over it. And demand more of her in Winter. Plus, I don't want to wait a whole year for that book, waiting is a special kind of torture itself. 

So if you haven't read this series yet, how have you gone this far in life? Seriously, it's great, the whole thing is great. It constantly reminds me just how amazingly written books can be. Team KaiWolfThorne for life!


P.S. Sorry guys, but I'm not planning on posting a review or entry next Thursday (aka Christmas). I plan on spending the day relaxing with my family and *hopefully* reading new books. I hope you all have a lovely holiday season, no matter what you celebrate, and it's full of happiness, love, and books!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

(3/5 stars)

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings… 

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

I'm kind of all over the place with this book, my opinion is completely split. So for the sake of defining my opinion, I'll have to say that I'm pretty neutral when it comes to Afterworlds. I didn't like it but I didn't dislike it. 

What I liked: Without a doubt, this is one of the most interesting and original ideas for a novel. It's a book within a book (which is why it's so incredibly long at 600 pages) and it's always clear which storyline is which. Round of applause for that. I was fascinated by Lizzie's story, and it got my attention right away. It's a cool concept--psychopomps--and you don't see a lot of that in fiction. The world building in that specific story was way cool. Darcy's story had my attention because it's a subject that fascinates me: the publishing industry in NYC. Basically, that's my dream. So I loved all the parts that were set in New York and it was an accurate glimpse into the industry which I appreciated.

What I didn't like: I'm all for long books. They're my favorite. But this one dragged. It was almost a bit painful. Though, I'm pretty sure the reason it felt so slow was because of the two different story lines that were going on and how they never crossed or anything to keep your attention. I found myself getting really into Lizzie's story, but then it would switch to Darcy's pov and that annoyed me. There were just a lot of parts that made it hard to get through and it lost my interest quite a bit. 

So I don't know if I would really recommend it, only because I can't device for myself how I feel about it. There were parts that I loved and that were cool to me, but then all that would change with the next chapter. 


Thursday, December 4, 2014

Tsarina by J. Nelle Patrick

(4/5 stars)

Natalya knows a secret.
A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia's Winter Palace.
It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics.
A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov.
Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life.
But it's not in the right hands.

Anyone who knows me, knows how obsessed I am with the Romanovs. It's borderline unhealthy. But completely acceptable because it's such a fascinating subject. So this book, though it took some liberties (mainly changing Alexei's age and giving him a love interest) had me hooked from the beginning.

What I liked: As far as historical fiction goes, this is pretty historically accurate based on the skeleton alone. I believed the facts and that made the fiction story within the world seem so real and interesting. I loved Alexei and Natalya, even though they were only physically together for the first three or so chapters. Their relationship felt so real and loving, and it made me sad for the real Alexei who never got the change for anything like that. Okay, so now to the actual make up of the book. Natalya is great. She's awesome. She's a true Russian in all senses of the word--so incredibly patriotic, loyal, and fearless and I could really respect her as a character. Leo is pretty great too, he's a good antithesis to Natalya. The scenery and culture was vivid and true to the time. I'll say it again, the research that was done on this novel was extraordinary. Throughout the whole book, I felt like I was there with the characters. I was as scared for the tsar and his family as Natalya was. I loved Russia like Leo. You really felt like you were in the story.

What I didn't like: Honestly, I feel like nothing really happened. Mostly, because I think our antagonist was a bit weak and not very threatening. Our main characters just seemed to bounce from one location to the next without anything major happening. I also think that everything could have been avoided if Natalya had used her head and kept the Constellation Egg a secret in the first place. I'm not a super big fan of plot lines that run based on miscommunication or the stupidity of a character. Lastly, I had a lot of problem with Natalya and Leo's sudden romantic relationship. Maybe it has something to do with my bias, but I never felt like they really connected emotionally. Sure, I can see them being acquaintances or even friends but they want two completely different things. Major different things. The opposite of what the other wants. It doesn't make sense. Also, I never felt any romantic tension between the two of them.

I still enjoyed this book a lot. It was fascinating and I loved the background and lifestyle that Natalya led. I also saw some character development in her that I appreciated, though she kept her passion for her country the whole time which I loved. If you enjoy historical fiction, I definitely recommend this one.