Category Archives: Book Reviews
It is NaNoWriMo time again! I have done NaNoWriMo for six years now. I have only “won” twice but every time it has helped me get significant work done for my manuscript.
This year I think I may have a better chance because the work event I am in charge of will be done on November 1st so my time will be more free than normal. I also have a friend who has been helping me stay on track.
I saw this tag created by Sophie ‘s Corner and thought it was a fun way to set up the coming month. This is a book I have been working on for a while but I have been doing a lot of preliminary work so hoping this November will help me get some real words on a page that I can use later.
- Thank the awesome blogger who tagged you!
- Link back to the creator of this tag, Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner. (I want to hear about your NaNo novels!!)
- Feel free to use the NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag graphics!
- Answer the questions.
- Tag some friends who are also doing NaNo this year.
- And have fun!
One – Tell about your NaNoWriMo project this year. Give a blurb.
A world where you can remove your Heart in order to ease your pain. Dampen your emotions to help yourself heal or move forward. Also a world where the rich and powerful can pay to obtain the power to control others with just their Voice.
Four individuals who are out to get back control of their lives. They unearth a conspiracy, one that shows just how little control everyone has. Can they stop those who want to take control from everyone, save themselves and get the lives they want back? Or will they have to make a choice, the greater good over control of their own lives?
Two – What is the genre?
I believe it would be fantasy with science fiction elements. It is set in our modern world with a few minor changes. The Voice control and removal of Heart isn’t that scientific but it is also not magical. Always been hard for me to classify what my writing falls under!
Three- Describe your main character in three words.
I actually have four main characters, so I’ll do all four.
Nathan – nonchalant, extrovert, determined
Star- Abrupt, talkative, caring
Kylie – introvert, timid, strong
Tristian- Determined, Angry, quirky
Four- Without spoilers describe your main villain in three words.
My villain is more a grouping of people but I would say arrogant, selfish, power-hungry.
Five – What is your goal? (traditional 50k, 20k, 5k or…100k?)
I am going with the traditntal 50k but I will be happy with at least 25K this time around.
Six – Is this your first draft? Second? or Third?
This is technically the first full draft to the novel. I have done some work before through short stories and a few scenes, but this will be the first time at trying to do a full draft.
Seven- Are you starting a new project or continuing an existing one?
As I stated I have done preliminary work before and have done a lot of outlining. I think I am in a good place to really get some true work done on the book.
Eight- What is your favorite time to write in the day?
I generally write after work, so the evenings. I can’t do the mornings. I don’t think well in the mornings. I like to read while eating breakfast instead. I get tired from work but I do try most days.
Nine – Where are you going to write?
I will write most of the time in dining room or office upstairs.
Ten – Computer or Paper?
I ALWAYS handwrite everything first. I can’t think while typing. I can edit while I type things up but I can’t get the initial words down. They always come out sounding disjoined and weird.
Eleven- NaNoWriMo is a huge commitment, how are you going to make time to write?
For me it will be just about pushing through after work and doing extra work on the weekends when I can. I also plan on telling my friend what I and doing so hopefully he’ll check in. For me it is more about getting significant work done instead of “winning.” If I don’t get the full word count done at least I will have some serious words to start with.
Twelve- Are you going to participate in in local or online NaNoWriMo events?
I probably won’t make it to any local events just because I get busy. I do want to try to participate in some of the “all-day” write ins that happen online. They tend to happen when I am busy but if I am free I’d like to give it a shot.
Thirteen – Do you write from beginning to end or skip around?
I traditionally have done beginning to end but I have found with this book that isn’t working. I am starting to skip around, write scenes as they come up and see where they take the characters. I figure I can piece it all together later like a puzzle.
Fourteen – Planner or Pantser (plantser)?
I traditionally have been a pantser but this book won’t allow that. I have an outline that is on my sloper ceiling in my office that has been very handy so far!
Fifteen- What will be your go to NaNoWriMo snack?
Depends on the day. I snack on cookies and chips a lot. I also love ice cream.
Sixteen – Choice of caffeine or no caffeine?
No caffeine. I never liked coffee or tea and I try to limit pop. I drink milk at home.
Seventeen- Any rewards for milestone achievements? Finishing NaNoWriMo?
I like to buy my self snack as I go, like cake and cupcakes.
Eighteen- Share a tip for other NaNo-ers!
The whole idea behind NaNoWriMo is that you get words out onto the page. Don’t get more than 5k done? That’s great. That is 5K more than you had before. The words on the page is what matters. You can’t share your story with the world if it is stuck in your head. Don’t worry about the word count, just concentrate on telling the story you want to tell.
Nineteen- How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo?
I am excited to get real work done. I am curious to see if I can use this time to work out some knots that have crept up in my story and see where it all goes!
Twenty – Share an aesthetic for your project
I am going to skip this one just because I am not good at the aesthetic idea. I may revise it later after I completed draft to know what would work. I will say it is going to be more an internal journey for my characters then anything else.
Simon Snow is the chosen one but he can’t manage his magic. He barely can cast a spell. He isn’t doing well in school. He hates his roommate and is sure that roommate is a vampire.
Baz is a vampire and trying to hide who he is from his roommate. There is also the fact that he is in love with his roommate.
There is a threat following them around and they have to figure out what is going on before their whole world comes crumbling down.
I think this book was just plain fun. Once you realize not to take it seriously you are able to enjoy it for what it is; a parody of the chosen one trope. I laughed. It was lighthearted and and easy read.
I never felt bogged down or even nervous or scared. It isn’t a book where you worry about the lives of anyone. It isn’t something you wonder what is going to happen next or worry that the whole world is going to break down around the reader or the characters. It is a fun adventure.
I also like the way Simon and Baz’s relationship was handled. When Simon realizes he is attracted to Baz he doesn’t run and hide. There is no crisis of identity. He almost put it to the side. He doesn’t know how to name it but he knows he is attracted to Baz.
I thought the idea of not knowing how to label it but not being afraid of these new feelings was well handled. I am someone who thinks labels make life so much more complicated. You get stuck thinking you have to fall into all the definitions of those labels instead of just enjoying the attraction you have to someone else. I liked that they didn’t fight the relationship in that sense.
I think one of the things that would be really helpful for this book is to know it is supposed to be a parody or that it is based off a fan fiction from another one of her books. I have not read Rowel’s others books but I did know this was based off a fan fiction world.
Knowing this was not supposed to be serious helped me enjoy it. At the end she mentions what the inspiration was for the story. I think moving that to the beginning would be very helpful. If I was someone who didn’t know that it was supposed to be a tongue in cheek idea I would have found it too silly and weird. I don’t know if I would have even finished reading it because I would have thought it felt like fan fiction.
I did not connect with Agatha’s character. She was Simon’s girlfriend but that is all I really remember about her. She didn’t strike me as anyone who changed throughout the story. She was there to have someone else to talk to and someone to fight them on their plans.
I think her character could have been combined with Penny’s and we wouldn’t have lost anything significant in the story.
I did give this book 4 stars because it was fun and the love story was sweet. I think making sure everyone knows it is supposed to read like fan fiction and helping Agatha’s character become more robust would have made it a five star.
Achilles is a legendary hero. Patroculus is a prince who is a disgrace to his family. After one accident leave Patroculus an outcast he is forced to find his way in a new world. Achilles is looking to make his name known and for someone to understand him. Together they begin an epic love story that can only end in tragedy.
“He said what he meant; he was puzzled if you did not. Some people might mistaken this for simplicity. But is it not a sort of genius to cut always to the heart?”Pg. 44
I read Circe by Madeline Miller a few years ago and adored it. I loved the way she brought a little known myth to life. I loved the way I was captured by this story. I knew that I had to eventually read Song of Achilles as well.
I think the first thing that impressed me is that I was so enthralled by the story even though I knew how it ended. While I am not as versed in the Troy story and Achilles as I am in other mythology stories, I did know the way this story went. I am not someone who enjoys knowing the ending of a book while I am reading. I like the surprise and the suspense. I like not knowing if someone is going to make it or not.
The reason I liked this book so much was the way Miller was able to give so much life to both Achilles and Patroculus. Both of them were deep and well rounded characters. I felt connected to both of them right away. Patroculus was lost and looking for purpose. Achilles was looking to matter and for someone to care enough about him to help him. I loved the way they played off one another.
I also liked that they were distinctly different characters. I was afraid at first that Patrolculus was going to be forced to be a solider even though that was not his skill set. I was afraid I was going to read about a reluctant solider and constant battles where he was trying to hide and survive. Instead we see them find their distinct paths and find a way to be themselves while also being with each other.
The love story was done really well. I thought the way they connected and fell in love with each other was great. I liked that it wasn’t instant. It was an understanding and a friendship that became more. I also liked that there was no long discussion trying to determine what they were to one another, if they should be together or not. They realized they loved each other and life went on. I loved that.
I also found it interesting that Miller didn’t use the normal aspects of Achille’s story. There was no River Styx and invincibility. He was strong and a half-god but the rest made him more human. I liked playing with the myth. My favorite mythology stories play with the myths and make them new and fresh and I though that was done really well in this book.
“This is what all mortals ask first, in disbelief, shock, fear. Is there no exception for me?”pg. 166
I think the middle got a little dragged down. Once they get to Troy there were 10 years to play with and not much happens. You know they have to build up to the end but there is a lot of back and forth that gets a little tiresome.
I also was a little thrown off by Achilles attitude to a certain incident in the second half of the book. He was always a bit pompous but I felt like he acted too bratty during that portion. I felt like he fell into this type of person he was supposed to be instead do the person he truly was. I did like that Patroculus pointed it out and showed the reader that Achilles was acting out of character
“Whichever you choose, you are wrong.”pg. 299
There was nothing that truly threw me out of the book and put me in a spot where I hated what was happening. I didn’t get lost in the story at all, didn’t think anyone was way out of character. I read through the story quite quickly and highly enjoyed it.
I gave this book five stars because in the end I loved the story, the characters and the love story. It just all worked so well and gave me new appreciation for a story I know.
“What is admired in one generation is abhorred in another.”pg. 363
Nadya has spent her whole life being told she is the savior her people needs. She is the only one able to speak with all the gods. She is going to be the one to bring back the gods to the heathens and save her people from the war. What happens when she is cut off from her gods and begins to learn the truth about who they are and what they truly want? Can she change her destiny?
Malachiasz is considered a monster. He has a dark past, one he can’t escape. Can he find a way to live his life while also protecting the new people he has come to love and care about?
Serafin is a prince who is out to prove his family wrong. He has been shipped off to the front lines of the war his whole life. Now he has to take a stand and make a name for himself. Can he find himself and save his kingdom at the same time?
“We’re all monsters, Nadya,” […] “Some of us just hide it better than others.”Mal achiasz, page, 233
This was a book I got in an Owlcrate subscription box. I don’t know if I would have picked it up on my own but I did find myself intrigued by it. I loved the idea of the gods and this new mythology. Mythology is something that has always interested me. The way that people used stories and gods to help make sense of the world is one of those things that I adore.
I also love reading books where whole new gods and mythologies are created. I thought this one did a great job at putting us in this world and helping us to understand the gods and who they were. You got a good sense of how they behaved, what they wanted and who they favored. They didn’t feel jumbled around around or too confusing. The few sentences we got in the beginning of some of the chapters were enough to give me a clear idea of who we were talking about.
I liked that this book felt like there was a lot of potential to this story. This one did a lot of the set up a first book needs to do and it did it well. It left me wondering about what could happen next and where the story is going. I liked the hints at the creation of the gods and what that could mean. I will probably read the next book for that aspect alone; I really want to know the origins of these gods and what that means for the characters.
I also thought it interesting how Nadya’s crisis of faith was handled. She is someone who grew up being told her gods were the only beings that mattered and the only ones who could help her. She defined herself by them. Then she is thrown into a new world where she is cut off from them and begins learning new things that plant doubts in her mind. It was interesting to see her start to think for herself and begin to consider the idea that what she has been fed and told her whole life may not be true.
“It’s what we tie to the word ‘god,’ I think that bothers me. This idea that these beings are so much more than we could ever be so they deserve our worship.”Malachiasz, page 172
I was not thrilled with any of the characters. None of them stood out to me as ones that I could latch on to. They all had good elements but none felt fully developed and fledged out.
Nadya’s story centered around her trying to find herself and I liked that to a point. I felt though too often she fell back on her old thinking and was constantly going back and forth. I wanted her to be a bit stronger.
I think Malachiasz’s character was the one that felt like he had the most potential to me. He is one that we are supposed to see as the villain. We are supposed to fear him. But we quickly see his soft and good side. That whole storyline moves well until the end. The decision he makes at the end completely flips his whole character development on its head. I felt disappointed by his choice and I am hoping there is more to it in the next book.
“Where would she be when the agony of losing everything finally caught up with her; would she be in a place where she could handle it?”Nadya, page 83
I have said this before and I will continue to say it until it becomes something YA books truly consider; not every friendship has to lead to a romance!
I love a good romance. I am all for characters finding that one person who understands them and helps them grow. I adore a sweet couple and one that I can relate to. What I don’t like is two people who are afraid of each other, hate each other, despise each other one minute then have one small moment and are suddenly falling all over one another.
That is not how love or attraction works! You don’t despise someone, and then they touch your arm and you get tingly and throw everything out the window. You might begin to see a different side of them and that can be a slow burn that takes time. There is nothing wrong with a romance that gradually develops as a character learns who the other one truly is. I love that storyline, but that takes time and effort. That needs to be done slowly.
This book went one minute of Nadya being terrified of a certain character and considering him a monster to feeling like she has to kiss him. How is that possible? I could not figure out how one moment changed it all and enough to create this desire that trumped everything else in her life. That just did not sit well with me.
“I’m the first person who refuse to fail.”Page 314
I ended up giving this book three stars, mostly because of the potential I saw in it. I have a feeling the plot can go in a very interesting direction. I probably will read the sequel but I really hope the characters get better in the next one.
Kin is a time traveling time cop. He is tasked with keeping the time line intact but a malfunction stands him in the past. Eighteen years later he has a wife and daughter and his future catches up with him. He his torn away from his life and forced to return to his old life.
He finds out that his departure caused issues for his daughter. In an effort to help her he put a target on her back. Now he must go where and whenever to save her.
“I need more time.”Kin, pg, 78
I was impressed with the way that time travel was done in this book. Sometimes time travel becomes one of those concepts that you have to have a science degree to understand. I love time travel but if I can’t follow how it works I get bogged down and taken out of the story.
I felt like this book did a good job of explaining the idea and how it worked in this world. While there was science that I can’t verify or full understand I felt like I knew enough to follow what was going on. I understood why the decisions were made that were made. I got the consequences of the actions made. It all flowed nicely.
I also liked how the future was presented. I felt like it fit in well with our time period. While you have flying cars and museums with fried food you also have standard jobs and homes. It wasn’t made to seem like the whole world changed in a century. Sometimes I feel like the “future” becomes this huge monster that you can’t even relate to in this books. In this one it kept us grounded.
“Impossible tasks don’t have happy endings, just burdens.”Markus, pg. 195
I had a bit of an issue with the way actions or behaviors was talked about in this book. While I am not someone who thinks show don’t tell is the bible for writing stories I felt like this one did a lot more telling the showing. There are ways to make sure the reader understands that a certain action is a nervous tick without having to be told it is.
It then becomes a recurring thing. If we are told once that a certain hand movement is a result of nerves, all of a sudden we are remind of that over and over again. It becomes something that bogs down the story. It would have worked fine to just tell us what they were doing and let us as a reader figure out what it means.
“My life is different now. It’s the same, yet different.”Penny, pg. 286
My biggest issue with this book were the characters. I am a character reader. I need to be attached to someone, if not multiple people. I have occasionally found a book where the plot is so fascinating that it makes up for the characters being lackluster. Unfortunately the book was not one of those.
I found that by the end that I did not have any attachment to anyone. I didn’t care if Kin lived or died. I didn’t care what happened to Miranda. I sat with the book for a while trying to determine why I didn’t care and I think it was because there was no true depth to them. They were all very surface level.
Kin almost loses his daughter and I never felt like he was too scared. I didn’t feel any desperation from him. I also didn’t feel any real love between him and Penny. They were all just there. They moved through the plot doing what they had to do but never did I feel like they left an impression on the story.
I think a few more intimate moments with them might have made me feel more connected. I needed them to have a true and unique voice and in the end they all sounded the same. If I can’t pull out their speech and actions from each other I feel like they are all the same person.
I have this book two stars. Without being attached to any characters the book left little to no impression on me. I walked away without wanting to know more or even thinking about the characters.
Adian wakes up each day in a different body. He is charged with one task, find out who killed Eveyln Hardcastle. The issue is that he doesn’t remember much when he wakes up and his hosts aren’t the most savory of people. The mystery begins to unravel and he realizes this is more than a simple murder case. What if the answer to this mystery destroys more lives then is saves?
“Live doesn’t always leave you a choice in how you live it.”Page 120
“Every life has such weight. I don’t know how anybody carries even one.”Page 396
I picked up this book merely for the summary. I had not heard of it or seen it anywhere until I found it in the bookstore. I then began seeing it more places later on. I liked the idea of him switching bodies, that is what drew me into the story.
I am not the biggest mystery fan. I like them but they have to have more to them then just being about a murder and putting the pieces together. I watch a lot of shows like Bones and Criminal Minds and I think that makes it hard for me to read these book because I can predict them too easily. I like when I don’t know what is coming and have to put the pieces together.
The mystery of this book was fantastic. It was so intricate that you really need to pay attention as you read or else you will miss pieces. It was well- laid out. Sometimes these kind of stories will be hard to follow or else the clues are super obvious. Or you get that moment where all the information is dumped onto you in one minute. This spread it all out well, the pieces fell naturally into place and weren’t forced.
I thought too the vast difference in the hosts was extremely interesting. They were all very specific people and you realize quickly that everyone is showing one face to the people in the house and hiding secrets of their own. It becomes one of those stories where it is not as much about the murder but all the issues being hidden by everyone else. I also like that everyone’s tales intertwined with each other. There was no line left hanging.
The ending of his book and the twist is what made this book for me. I had an idea there was something more coming but not to the extent of what was revealed. It reminded me of the “White Bear” episode in “Black Mirror.” (Which is one of my favorite Black Mirror episodes). It threw the whole thing to a whole new level. The ending made you question everything and I found myself thinking about it days after I closed the book.
“…what use is rearranging the furniture if you burn the house down doing it?”page 150
I think the only part that tripped me up a little was keeping the characters straight at times. As I stated above they all have their own stories and their own pieces to the puzzle and I found myself a little lost at times. I was trying to remember what one person did and who they were related to. I think maybe even including a form the reader can fill out and track the information would have been fun and helpful.
“These masks we wear betray us. They reveal us.”Page. 277
There was nothing in this book that was not acceptable to me. I thought the mystery tied up well. The overall story tied up well. The characters were engaging. The setting was fun, if not a little generic. It was a fun read.
I gave this story four stars. I loved the way it was written, it was a well woven mystery and I was enthralled with the whole story. Just a few more ways to keep things straight would have made it a five star read.
(I am going to review both books since I finished them while I was on my hiatus and the way I think about them is as one entity. It is just easier to review them at the same time instead of trying to piece out what happened in which book).
“The books we love, they love us back. And jut as we mark our places in the pages, those pages leave their marks on us. I can see it in you as I see it in me. You’re a daughter of words. A girl with a story to tell.”Nevernight, pg. 243
Mia is our for revenge. Her father was killed. Her mother and brother imprisoned. She was supposed to die but escaped. Now she has a list of people that need to die. The only way she knows how to get her true revenge is by joining an elite group of assassins. But the test to get in is brutal. Even after she makes it the world is not as simple as she would like to think. Is revenge necessary and needed and who are her real enemies?
“Never flinch.” A cold whisper in her ear. “Never fear. And never, ever forget.”Nevernight, pg. 16
This is again one of those book series that I have seen around but never pariticualy felt drawn to. I liked the premise but it didn’t stand out as anything too unique. Plus I thought it was more YA assassin and I thought it might be a little watered down.
Boy was I wrong on all accounts. First of all this is NOT YA. The author frequently says this and I have no idea how anyone who has read it can mistake it for YA. I know the protagonist is a teenager but damn this is beyond what you find in YA novels. I mean it opens with Mia literally losing her virginity and killing someone. This is how this series starts and the tone is set from that page onwards. (The way the same language is used to describe both scenes is poetry in action and I was blown away by that bit of storytelling).
Mia is my new favorite person. I adore her because she is one of those characters that is so dark and deep that you realize you will never truly understand her. You watch her struggle with her plans, her past and her present. She is constantly wondering if she is making the right choice while also taking lives in the process. While she questions the world around her, she is also not one to lay down at someone’s feet and let them control her.
Mia has complete control of her life and I admire that. Even with everything against her she finds a way to hold onto herself. She doesn’t forget who she is truly on the inside. She could become this full on killer or this wrecked soul instead she finds a way to be both.
Another thing I loved about this series is that it is unapologetically dark. People die, a lot. People are killed in brutal ways. People betray others and don’t care. People look out for themselves and themselves only. There is no sugar coating the darkness. There is no sidestepping around the issues trying to find the moral way of looking at things. Sometimes the world is dark and sometimes it is brutally dark. I like that Kristoff doesn’t sanitize it. You worry about the character because you know that they might not die but they will not come out of this series whole.
I also liked the way all the characters develop throughout the story. This story doesn’t have any shallow characters. There is no one who is just there to talk or be part of a backstory. Everyone has depth. Everyone has meaning. I feel like they are all alive and I worry about all of them. I want my favorites to make it but I know that won’t happen. In the end I want them to have a full and true story and I feel like that that is what we will get from this series.
“If you can’t hurt the ones who hurt you, sometimes hurting anyone will do.”Nevernight, pg. 210
This is purely because of my personal preference and has nothing to do with the actual writing or story itself. I got a little bored in the middle of Godsgave because of the amount of battle sequences and fighting sequences.
The whole premise of that book is that Mia is part of this fighting ring in order to get close to one of those she wants to kill. To get to the end point she has to go through a number of fights and training. I am not someone who enjoys reading about battles, fighting or training to fight. I find the descriptions boring. I find it hard to focus on those moments.
The scenes were all well written and conveyed the story well. I just didn’t connect with those moments as much. Though I will say that the connection between the characters throughout this time was great. I found new favorites and feared for them during the fights.
“But there is beauty in knowing all things end, Mia. The brightest flames burn out the fastest. But in them, there is warmth that can last a lifetime.”Godsgrave, pg. 134
There was nothing that stood out and threw me out of the book. I was able to predict many of the coming deaths. There is a lot of the – here is a character we are growing attached to, and now they are dead. Or the look, they got what they want or will get it and now they are dead. But that is not unsurprising in a book like this. You have to do that many times in order drive home what is at stake for everyone in the story.
I gave Nevernight five stars and Godsgrave four stars. As I stated above for Godsgrave I knocked off a star just because of my issue with the huge focus on fights. But as a whole I would defiantly give this series five stars so far. I can’t wait for DarkDawn in September. (I even preordered it and I never do that!)
“Thats the power of words: twenty-six letters can paint a whole universe.”Godsgrave, pg. 265
I need to go through this list and determine what I really want to read. I have quite a few on my physical shelf that I am making my way. I like doing these because it reminds me of older books that I’d really like to read.
It works like this:
- Go to your goodreads to-read shelf.
- Order on ascending date added.
- Take the first 5 (or 10 or 15 or 20, if you’re feeling adventurous) books
- Read the synopses of the books
- Decide: keep it or should it go?
- Keep track of where you left off so you can pick up there next time
Current TBR Shelf – 269
Collide – Melissa J. Crispin – I like the idea of a fighting to save earth and an afterlife but the characterization of the main woman being “selfish” makes me back away. I can’t stand whiny characters who think they know everything.
The Great Forgetting – James Renner – While I love the question at the end of the summary, is it better to forget or face your mistakes? The summary seems too much like running around trying to survive and I am just not quite in the mood for that story at this moment in time.
The Man of Primrose Lane – James Renner – I think I added some of these book because their setting is in my state. This one is just a murder mystery and not one that really interests me.
The Trouble with Being God – William f. Aicher – Again there was a time I would have enjoyed this story. Another murder mystery but nothing that pulls me in.
The Rules of Ever After – Killian B .Brewer – I love the idea of messing with fairytales and traditional ever-after tropes. This sounds like fun.
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World – Vicki Myron, Bret Witter – It’s about a library cat! I mean how can you not want to read this! I adore animals, especially dogs and cats. (My own cat is currently curled up on my lap as I type this). I have to read this and just bask in the happiness of it.
Pivot Point – Kasie West – I like the idea of having to chose between two realities. While this seems to surround a love story primarily it still holds interest for me. I will have to give it a shot one day.
Enchanted – Alethea Kontis – I can’t figure out why I would add this one. It sounds super generic. Kissing a frog, becomes a prince and now she has to fall in love with him. Nothing screams original or new.
The Lie Tree- Frances Hardinge – The Lie Tree idea is what is appealing to me. I am not sure I’ll get to this one anytime soon but I think I might give it shot sooner or later
Are Prisons Obsolete? – Angela Y Davis – While this sounds interesting. I think it is more something I would watch a documentary about then read.
This is probably one of the more accomplished versions that I have done of these posts. The trick will be to see how many I add before the next one.
Water has been scarce for a while in California. Precautions have been put into place, fines for watering your lawn, pools outlawed and a number of other things; but it is not enough. When the pipes go dry, the world gets a glimpse at true human nature. Alyssa’s parents go missing. She and her brother go looking for them but can they survive this new world?
“…if there’s one thing I know about the news, it’s that it decides for most people – including the federal government – what is and what isn’t important.Alyssa, pg. 23
I am always up for a good dystopian story. I don’t know why but the idea of watching the way humanity reacts and behaves when the rules are gone is fascinating to me. I love human psychology. As a species we think we have everything in order. We think that because we are on top of the food chain that we can manage anything that comes at us. But within days of a crisis we see the real side of human nature. In the end we see that we are all animals and our primary instinct is to survive. Humans are just like animals, we want our species to make it to the next year and we will do whatever is necessary to make that happen.
I enjoyed this premise. I have read a number of dystopian novels and seen a number of shows but I haven’t see one that surrounds running out of water. Usually water is part of the survival series but it is never the thing that is missing. (Note: My timing of reading this book was very ironic because we have had rain every other day for about 2 months now where I live).
I thought the details about how this crisis would take place was well done. I found myself feeling the desperation and the thirst the characters felt. I am not an expert on what happens when you are dying of thirst but I felt like the progression of everything made sense and worked.
(Spoilers for the end, skip to the next “What I thought was okay” section if you want to avoid ending spoilers).
The end of this book was my favorite part. In these dystopian novels it is always about how the world finds itself broken and about the rebuilding process. They tend to end with the characters beginning to find a new normal. The world they knew is gone and not coming back. The government is gone, law and order idea is gone and they are literally starting by farming and beginning life again.
This book was different. It actually ended with the Tap Out being solved and civilization being restored. People are back to living in their homes, normal way of life is back. Things go back to the way we know them. School is back in session and law and order is the same as we have always known it.
There is hope here. Hope that even after a disaster like this one there is the possibility that we can have our lives back. We don’t have to see the end of all humanity in an event like this one. I liked that because it was nice to see that the world doesn’t always have to implode after something like a water shortage.
There is also commentary on the way people live their lives now. They have to live with the decisions they made to survive. They have to confront the darker sides of themselves and now live in civilization with a that knowledge.
“The question is, can you forgive them for being human anyway?”Kelton, pg. 150
I have to say that much of this book as predictable. I think that is mostly because I have read so many of these stories. There is a formula to this whole idea. The crisis happens, people begin to break down and then things enter into chaos. Our characters then have to fight to survive that chaos and this new version of humanity.
I felt like I knew where this was going the whole time. I wasn’t surprised by anything but the ending. There were some interesting twists, such as having Kelton be from a doomsday prepper family but there wasn’t too much more. I wasn’t captured by the story as much as I wanted to be.
“Sometimes it’s the monsters who survive.”Alyssa, pg. 351
I did not connect to any of the characters as much as I would have liked to. Alyssa was alright but I didn’t find myself loving her. Kelton teetered on the edge of interesting. He was supposed to be this tough guy who is broken down and rebuilt but there was just something missing from him. I didn’t love him or hate him. I just was indifferent to him.
I think all the characters would have been more interesting if we had gotten a deeper look at their changing personalities. We start to see them decide to do things in order to survive. But we never dive deep into that thought process or have time where they are contemplating what they are doing. In the end we see people reflecting on their choices but I wanted to see our core group be truly affected by having to do what they did to survive. Instead it gets a bit glossed over instead.
I gave this book 3 stars. While I enjoyed it I think I would have been more captured by it if the characters had more depth to them.
Everworld is a disaster. Senna has brought in her minions and is intent on destroying everything in order to get the power she wants. Christopher, April, Jalil and David have a decision to make. Save this world or return to their own?
(Spoiler warning for the end of the series)
I am going to do the last three books in this series in one review. I finished this a little while ago while I was on hiatus. I remember really liking the end when I read it years ago but this read through I found myself disappointed.
I find it really interesting how you change the way you see things as you grow older. As a teenager I appreciated the story, I loved the characters and their voices because they matched mine. I also thought the way the story ended was perfect.
Now as a 30 year old woman who has studied writing and is working on her own novel I find the ending of this series very all over the place. There was so much that happened in the last few books.
The whole Sennities storyline felt thrown in. found myself super interested in that storyline. I wanted to see more about how they took over. I wanted to see them adjust and the world adjust around them. I wanted to see how they make people change in this world.
One of the big points of this series is that Everworld is unchanging. They are stuck in the myths and beliefs they were given when they were created. They can’t change who they are because there are no people left to worship and change them.
Instead that whole story Sennanite story was left hanging. We have no idea how that plays out. We don’t know what happens to them. We don’t get any conclusion to that story other then they are running around shooting people.
Then there is the whole story of Ka Anor. The whole series is about all the gods trying to find a way to save themselves from this alien god. I swear I remember them finding a true solution to that problem. I swear I remember reading them going into a final battle while a solid plan. Instead we got nothing of that sort.
Again we are left with nothing. We have no idea how that is going to fix itself. We don’t know if they will win or lose. We don’t know the history of Ka Anor and why he just showed up in this world. His whole character is a vague shape that is just hovering around in the background. I found myself wanting so much more from that fight and storyline. I wanted to see at least that solved but we got nothing.
The only real satisfying end we got was from our four characters. Though I say satisfying loosely. I like the way they ended but I also think the decision they made could have been pulled out through the last few books instead of just the last one.
The four main characters choose to stay in Everworld. They realize that their lives are destined for that world instead of our own. You can’t go back after all they have seen and done. The issue is that in about 200 pages they make this huge decision. April goes back and forth trying to decide but her ultimate decision is made in a snap of a finger. I wanted to see her fight harder, wanted to see this decision truly be difficult for her.
In the end this series fell flat at the end. There was so much more that could have been done. I still like the series. I still love the idea of a world putting all these myths together like a quilt. I love the characters. I still think they feel real and true. I just wish Applegate hadn’t given up at the end.