Taken (Taken 1) by Erin Bowman
Brief Summary: Gray has grown up in a world with no men. Every time a boy turns eighteen, he disappears, never to be seen again. After Gray’s brother disappears, Gray accidentally stumbles upon a secret which unravels his entire world. Desperate for answers, Gray decides to go where no one has gone and lived: over the wall of the city.
Taken is a fast paced, action driven novel. The story is told through the eyes of Gray a seventeen year old boy whose brother is about to be taken from him. When he uncovers a secret, Gray’s life becomes even more uneasy because everything he knows may potentially be a lie. Every time Gray finds an answer to his question, ten more pop-up. Twists and turns appear at every turn, and I actually can’t say much about the plot without ruining it. But let’s just the say the world is a little bigger and much scarier than Gray could have imagined and the secrets that he will uncover will threaten his entire world.
But the characters are well developed, though I sometimes found Gray a bit hard to like. That’s the thing though, I don’t think Gray is supposed to be completely likable. The supporting characters are just as great. I liked how assertive both romantic interests were and how it wasn’t just shallow attraction.
If you’re looking for a Hunger Games like dystopia, this book is definitely for you. It’s dark, twisted, and makes you thankful for the world you live in now.
More in-depth SPOILERY REVIEW UNDER THE CUT
The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy 2) by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Brief Summary: King Joren has been ruling for sometime, but nothing is easy or peaceful about his role as king. Most of his council is against him, and they hold his past over his head to keep him in line and from doing anything useful. With a threat of pirates and a neighboring kingdom threatening war, Joren doesn’t think he can keep his crown much longer. So, Joren comes up with a plan to keep his crown and save his kingdom. His plan is to runaway.
This is the second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy, the first one was The False Prince, to read my review for it click Here.
SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FALSE PRINCE
Possible Spoilers if you haven’t read The Runaway King.
This was a wonderful sequel to The False Prince and a great second novel in a trilogy. It managed to escape the Middle Book Death and applaud it for it. All the characters were well developted, the plot was fast paced and exciting, and the book is well worth the read.
Ruby Red (Edelstein Trilogie 1) by Kerstin Gier
Brief Summary: Gwyneth Shepherd comes from a family of time travelers, it’s in their genes, literally. But it’s usually only one person in the family and that person was Charlotte, her cousin. Since birth Charlotte had been taught the secrets of time-travel and trained in what to do when she does. No one else is allowed to know the secrets. Except they were wrong and when Gwen suddenly time-travels she is very unprepared.
Rubinrot was written by Kerstin Gier and translated by Anthea Bell from German.
Possible Spoilers Ahead
This is one of my favorite books so far this year. I read it in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down. The plot is fast paced and the translation reads smoothly and marvelously. I really wish I could read in German, just to read the original novel.
Gwen is a great heroine, spunky, dorky, adaptive and doesn’t take crap from handsome boys named Gidion. She is of course, freaked out at first, after all, all her life it was her cousin Charlotte who was trained for this. Time travel is not an easy thing, there are dangers of catching diseases, being accused of being a witch, or a spy. But Gwen tries her best to learn on the fly since there’s work to be done for the secretive time travel society.
The Time Traveling society isn’t without it’s secrets, conspiracies and dangers. The more Gwen finds out, the more confusing it gets about who you can trust and who you can’t. Especially Gidion, who goes from being super nice to suddenly being a grade-A assbutt. Gidion is a time-travel from another family. He’s been in the business for a couple years so he knows much more than Gwen, and he doesn’t forget to remind her about it. Potential romance abounds!
If you like historical, humorous, time-traveling, well written novels Ruby Red is definitely a novel to read.
PS: Be careful going into the tag “Ruby Red” it’s full of porn, search “Rubinrot” instead.
The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds 1) by Alexandra Bracken
Brief Summary: Adolescent kids across the United States start dying or developing strange superpowers. The government panics and starts rounding them up and putting them into concentration camps for “rehabilitation”. They are classified by their danger level, but Ruby manages to manipulate her way into a milder set. When she finally escapes, she meets up with a couple of cool people, but she’s afraid of getting close to them because she doesn’t want to hurt them. They try to find a place where they can at least survive, if not live in peace, all while being hunted like rabid dogs.
Possible Spoilers Ahead
This book is really something. It’s a dystopia that really stands on it’s own and isn’t a rehash of the Hunger Games or Divergent, it’s better than both of them put together. It’s a lot more like the Hunger Games, which is great, because if I read another dystopia where the girl’s main concern is who she gonna be paired with, so help me.
The Darkest Minds both terrified and amazed me. It terrified me that the reaction of the government didn’t seem like a stretch. What would happen to our country if our children suddenly developed strange superpowers that ranged from being able to move objects to mind-control. Some of these kids are still fairly normal, others use their power to get what they want. But the government doesn’t even try to see if they can use these powers for good, it’s like the whole country freaks out. Some parents try to protect their kids, others send them away. You know, it’s a grim reflection on this world’s society.
I had a hard time liking Ruby because at first she was such a passive character. But we see a lot of character development and growth through the book, until Ruby stands and fights not just for other people, but for herself as well. Liam, the romantic interest, is a total sweetheart. He’s loyal, caring, and strong. The other supporting characters were great as well, contributing to the story.
As for the villain, well, I had a suspicion about him from the start. He just seemed a little perfect and gave me the creeps. It also just didn’t make sense how such a big settlement didn’t noticed or manage to be found out for so long.
The ending broke my heart. It honestly did. Can I please have the second one now?
Anyway, I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a good dystopia.
Alexandra has a tumblr : Here
The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom
Brief Summary: Two people with different lives want two different things with time; one wants more of it, the other wishes it would end. The man who invented time has to decide how to help these two people and return to what he lost himself.
Trigger Warning for the Book: attempted suicide.
Possible Spoilers Ahead
This was a really quick read, which isn’t surprising if you’d read anything by Mitch Albom before. He has a very light style that is easy to read.
The story is split into three different narrations: one is by Sarah, a teenage girl who is desperately in love with a boy who wants nothing to do with her. I was very upset with Albom at first for writing such a stereotypical teenager, but then I realized that Sarah represents just about everyone who has ever fallen in love with the wrong person. So, I will physically fight you if you don’t like Sarah or dare to call her names. We get glimpses of what Sarah’s mother is thinking to complete the picture, a single mother struggling to understand her daughter. Reminded me a lot of the relationship I have with my Mom and it made me feel bad.
The second story is that of Victor, a rags to riches sort of man, who got everything out of life and more by working hard and earning everything he has. But now time is running out and he’s willing to do just about anything to prolong his life, including cryogenically freezing himself. Victor was actually a bit hard to like, because damn it man, you’ve lived your life, let go. But he’s a perfect portrayal of greed and putting money and success in front of everything, including loved ones.
What ties those two together is Dor the man who invented time keeping. He was punished or rewarded, the book claims either or, to watch humanity as they complain about time. Until finally he is given a chance to redeem himself and return to when he came, that’s right, when not where.
The book is great overall, even if it reads a bit like a Hallmark movie, but if you love sentimental stuff or if you’re looking for a really quick and easy read, this book is for you.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Brief Summary: Charlie is a smart, shy and an emotionally sensitive guy. It’s his first year of High School and on the advice of an English teacher, Charlie decides to be more outgoing and participate more in life. He makes friends with a couple of other misfits and they show him how to have fun in life by introducing him to love, smoking and drinking. He also cries a lot. A lot.
Trigger Warnings for the book: sexual abuse, rape, molestation.
Possible Spoilers Ahead
I’m going to say right away that I don’t think I really understood this book or it’s point and that this makes me incredibly sad. I didn’t have any expectations for it other than that I wanted to like it. Don’t get me wrong, I still liked it, but I still didn’t think it was particularly amazing either.
This book is written from a perspective an emotionally unstable and sensitive fifteen year old boy. He comes off as being incredibly sheltered and very innocent simply because he doesn’t know anything about things you’d expect any fifteen year old guy to know, especially about masturbation and sex. He often doesn’t know how to handle emotional situations or what to do in most social situations. Sometimes this was endearing, other times it was incredibly contrite.
Since this is an epistolary novel, written from Charlie to an unnamed friend, we only get his perspective on things. He is incredibly honest and again, a lot of the times, he has a very naive and somewhat innocent take on social interactions and things. He gets drunk, he gets high, he enjoys things as they come without really questioning it. Then he cries. A lot.
A lot of the times you begin to wonder if Charlie is special, not just because of how he deals with things, but because of the way he’s treated too. He’s handled with care. Charlie’s close and extended family is a bit messed up, so the end wasn’t really a surprise.
But I found it hard to connect to anyone in this book; not to supporting characters because we don’t really get to know them that well. Things Charlie does and says are mostly summarized, so we get sketches of people, not full drawings of them. And I couldn’t connect with Charlie because I don’t really know what it’s like to experience anything that he has. I don’t really want to. His crying also gets a bit irritating.
So, take this review with a grain of salt. I liked the story, but I didn’t find it anything special because I couldn’t connect with it. But if you do connect with Charlie, then you will definitely like the book.
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Brief Summary: A slow invasion by non-violent, parasitic aliens has brought an end to the human world. They’ve taken over our bodies and erased our minds. But Mel refuses to let go and with her memories convinces her alien to fall in love with everything Mel held dear, to leave her kind, in search of the humans. Too bad the humans aren’t so welcoming.
Okay, I feel like I need a disclaimer. I didn’t like this book even when I was a fan of Twilight and Ms. Meyer. And yes, I still don’t like it, even though I re-read it with a open mind, hoping that against all odds, maybe I missed something the first time.
The story is actually really interesting, but it’s poorly executed. The world as we know it is over. We have been invaded by parasitic, but peaceful, aliens, who invaded us so slowly, that we didn’t even notice until it was too late. They don’t want to kill us or hurt us, they simply want to use our bodies to live on our planets. Most humans have been converted. Few have survived, living in hiding.
The story was not written well. For one, the book is much too long, it’s 600 pages! At least a third of it should have been cut. While Meyer does use the extra pages to develop the story, the world, and the characters more fully, it’s just really boring a lot of the time.
The characters are problematic. No, all of the characters are contradictory. The aliens for example are a bit of a paradox: they are peaceful and non-violent, but they have no problem taking over other worlds and killing unwilling hosts. I suppose they are only peaceful amongst each other. The main heroine is Wanda a parasitic alien, and Mel, who is the human/host for Wanda. So Wanda is inside Mel’s body. Mel however, has a will strong enough to survive not only a suicidal fall, but Wanda’s invasion. They are both pathetic characters. Wanda is a punching bag for people who hate the aliens, most of the time, unable to defend herself, but at the same time she is also unwilling to defend herself. So, she constantly needs to be defended and saved. Mel turns from a kick-ass survivor to a clingy girlfriend, to the point where she doesn’t care that her boyfriend is hitting her as long as she’s with him. The love interests: both controlling, dominating, verging on abusive. Jared is Mel’s boyfriend, who hits Wanda several times because he hates aliens. Except he doesn’t seem to care that it’s Mel’s body he’s hitting. Ian is a guy who nearly kills Wanda for being alien as well, by choking her, but he sees the light and falls in love with her anyway. He’s so great, because he falls in love with her mind, and not her body (//sarcasm//). Except in the end they go hunting for a body that Wanda can use as a host, so that she can be with Ian. Yes, they go looking a for a body they can use…
In fact both Wanda and Mel are seen as possessions. Ian can’t have Wanda because she’s in Mel’s body, because Mel is Jared’s. They actually fight over her and who she belongs to and who decides what to do with her. It’s disgusting.
So, while the story is interesting, it’s poorly written and problematic to a point of being unbearable a lot of the time.
I can’t wait to see the movie, because I can see the aliens are fighting and using weapons, which they refuse to do in the book. They must have changed so much to make it not boring.
Across the Universe (Across the Universe 1) by Beth Revis
Brief Summary: Amy and her parents get selected, thanks to her parents being important, to be cryogenically frozen and be the lucky few to be shipped off to New Earth. They’re supposed to stay asleep for a couple hundred years, but Amy wakes up early. Someone on board the ship, fromthe people actually living on the ship, is trying to kill the frozen folks. Amy and Elder must figure out who’s killing the frozen ones before any more of them die.
TW for the book: graphic attempted rape
You know, this book isn’t without it’s problems, but I found that I liked it overall, enough to continue reading the series. And it wasn’t because I found Revis’ signature inside the book, no not at all, though it did make my day.
This is a dystopia in space, written before the Hunger Games craze, so it doesn’t just have all the same elements with a plot rehashed. Actually, this is exactly what I wanted after finishing Delirium, a world after a rebellion, the healing, not just war and strife. The world that Amy wakes up in is terrifying. A huge ship is still tiny when you remember just how big our Earth is, and let me tell you, if it wasn’t snowing outside, I would have run out to kiss the ground. I mean, people have just recently started to realize that we take our Earth for granted. It is our home and we’ve basically been chipping away at the foundation, and only recently realized it was going to cost us big time. Well, the plot of this book is like one of the outcomes.
The thing that made me dislike the book is the attempted rape scene, rather not the scene itself, but how the entire situation is handled. Read what bothered me under the cut.
If you read the book, message me, I want talk about it.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Brief Summary: A contest between two old friends binds two children together, and pits them against each other in magical game of creating the best circus performance or spectacle. There are no rules other than don’t interfere and most importantly, don’t fall in love with your opponent. Which is of course, how every great love story begins.
POSSIBLE MILD SPOILERS AHEAD
It may take more than one reading to wrap my head around The Night Circus. It is a brilliant novel, but it’s tough to follow at times. The time progression doesn’t follow a linear time stream, the story might jump three years ahead of where it’s been, and in the next chapter go back and fill the gap of those three years. It was a bit frustrating, and perhaps if I wasn’t reading the e-version, I’d been able to flip back and forth and follow better. But you know what? It didn’t really matter. Maybe that’s the Whovian in me, but I was mostly fine with the wibbly-wobly timeline.
The story was also told from multiple POVs, sometimes it was the two main characters told in third-person omniscient, others it was other minor characters, and sometimes it was you. That’s right, readers get to have their own POV’s. That’s what made this story so great. Morgenstern is a master at describing things in a very beautiful manner.
“The towering tents are striped in white and black, no golds and crimsons to be seen. No color at all, save for the neighboring trees and the grass of the surrounding fields. Black-and-white stripes on grey sky; countless tents of varying shapes and sizes, with an elaborate wrought-iron fence encasing them in a colorless world. Even what little ground is visible from outside is black or white, painted or powdered, or treated with some other circus trick.”
The descriptions made everything in the circus very real and tangible. Sometimes it would feel as you really are inside the circus, walking around the tents, with the smell of popcorn and caramel wafting in the air.
I felt the relationship, or at least the beginning of the relationship between Marco and Celia was a bit contrived. They just kind of… happen. Hey, I’m actually in love with you. And from then on it’s this beautiful love story. That’s what frustrated me about the story the most and why I gave it only 4.5 stars.
The ending of the novel was quite clever. Everything falls into place and there is hope for the future. So, I would definitely recommend this to anyone who wishes for an imaginative, magical world.
Requiem (Delirium 3) by Lauren Oliver
Lena is now part of the Resistance. They wander about trying to figure out how to keep fighting, trying to survive, and fighting back. She’s caught between two men, feeling guilty for one and leading on the other. We also get to to find out what happens to Hanna, who’s been cured, and is about to get married to an asshole.
Please Do Not Read This Review if You Haven’t Read Delirium or Pandemonium.
This is the third and final installment to Lauren Oliver’s Delirium Trilogy. The book was well written, was very engaging, and there was lots going on to keep the reader entertained, the ending felt unresolved and left a lot of questions unanswered.
The book is split into two narratives, that of Hanna and Lena. This keeps the suspense going for the entire book, and the story never goes dry because we get a change in story and voice.
I enjoyed the entire novel overall, but I do wish the end was less open ended. If you are a big fan of the trilogy, you may be a bit disappointed. I went in with low expectations because I read a couple of negative reviews, so I was okay.
MAJOR SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT ON.