I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Memory Key by Liana Liu
Published by HarperTeen on March 3rd 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Sci-Fi
Source: the Publisher
In a five-minutes-into-the-future world, a bereaved daughter must choose between losing memories of her mother to the haze of time and the reality-distorting, visceral pain of complete, perfect recall.
Lora Mint is determined not to forget.
Though her mother’s been dead for five years, Lora struggles to remember every detail about her—most importantly, the specific events that occurred the night she sped off in her car, never to return.
But in a world ravaged by Vergets disease, a viral form of Alzheimer’s, that isn’t easy. Usually Lora is aided by her memory key, a standard-issue chip embedded in her brain that preserves memories just the way a human brain would. Then a minor accident damages Lora’s key, and her memories go haywire. Suddenly Lora remembers a moment from the night of her mother’s disappearance that indicates her death was no accident. Can she trust these formerly forgotten memories? Or is her ability to remember every painful part of her past driving her slowly mad—burying the truth forever?
Lora’s longing for her lost mother and journey to patch up her broken memories is filled with authentic and poignant emotion. Her race to uncover the truth is a twisty ride. In the end, Liana Liu’s story will spark topical conversations about memory and privacy in a world that is reliant on increasingly invasive forms of technology
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. When I got this book in the mail I was really excited. The concept seemed great. Using a disease that many people are affected by nowadays and exploring solutions that might be possible in the future. But unfortunately, that’s also where my excitement ended.
The concept that seemed most interesting to me, the whole memory part, fell short. I feel like the main-focus should’ve been on that, but instead the story seemed to focus on the MC’s ‘boy-troubles’ and the problems she had with her BFF. Where’s the information about the Memory chips? How do they work? Why did Lora’s chip fell short after she fell? This story could’ve used so much more depth and building.
I couldn’t care much about the characters. Wendy, Lora’s best friend, came across as shallow and just plain annoying at times. I didn’t really enjoy their conversations; the only thing they discussed were boys, and who Lora was supposed to date. It was just plain frustrating at times. Lora, I don’t even know what to say about her. She was odd, and I couldn’t connect with her at all. The switches between present and past were confusing, just as her behaviour towards her ‘friends’. At some point I didn’t even understand why she was friends with Wendy. And then Raul… he seemed to be in the story solely for plot purposes. It didn’t feel like there were relationships between people, there was no depth. They characters just seemed to be there, and they felt empty.
I don’t really know why I kept reading. Perhaps I had hopes that the book would pick up after a while, but it really didn’t and I struggled to get through the story. It’s just such a shame, because I feel like this book could’ve been so much more. I think it’s safe to say that this book really wasn’t my cup of tea…
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen Trilogy #1
Published by Orion on February 10th 2015
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy & Magic
The poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers.
To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the centre of
those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control.
But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?
Red Queen was a good read. It was a good read, but if I’m being really honest I’d say that I expected it to be better in advance. I guess that’s just the problems with hypes. I was already anticipating this book, but with the hype surrounding it, maybe my expectations were a bit too high going in. However, it was definitely enjoyable! And a great start to a very promising series!
The beginning fell a bit flat for me. It was good, but it wasn’t original. I felt like it was the beginning to a story that I’d already read before. Lot’s of dystopian aspects that have been used many times before. At times it felt a bit Hunger Games-ish or the Selection-ish. Which was a pity. The thing is, I’d expected the entire book to BLOW me away. So when it started off a bit ‘meh’ I was really disappointed. It was when I got deeper into the world of the Silvers View Spoiler » after Mare finds out that she has magic « Hide Spoiler the story became everything I wanted it to be.
I soaked up everything about the Red and Silver society: the different kinds of magic, the life at court, as well as the political aspect within the story. It was interesting and original and I was completely sucked into the story.
I liked the characters. I liked how strong Mare was, and even though she found herself in a horrible situation, she kept going. She had to pretend to be somebody she was not, but keeps true to herself at the same time. She wasn’t willing to let go of who she really was and where she came from. and that made for a really strong character. The other characters were really well crafted as well.
The romance was carefully constructed. This kind of romance could have easily become cliché, but thank god that didn’t happen. View Spoiler » I was right though about which one of the princes she should’ve gone for. There was this little voice in the back of my head telling me not to trust Maven, and I WAS SO RIGHT! « Hide Spoiler
I must say that one of the strongest features of Red Queen were thee enthralling plot twists and turns. Throughout the story it is repeated several times that “anyone can betray anyone” and that couldn’t be more true. Whenever I got to a point where I thought I knew how the story was going to unfold I was thrown for another loop left thinking that I was wrong. And that ending! It was mind-numbing. So good!
Red Queen and I got off to a rocky start, but I am so glad that it turned around. Aside from the beginning, this book was mostly what I hoped it would be. The political tension, magic powers, good characters, and a GREAT PLOT! It was a good and solid start to a very promising series, and I can’t wait to see where the story will go next.
The One by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #3
Published by Harper Collins Children's Books on June 5th 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Love & Romance
THE SELECTION changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. Now, only one will claim Prince Maxon’s heart…
It’s swoon meets the Hunger Games in the final instalment of THE SELECTION trilogy!
For the four girls who remain at the palace, the friendships they’ve formed, rivalries they’ve struggled with and dangers they’ve faced have bound them to each other for the rest of their lives.
Now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.
America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realises just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.
The breathtaking finale to THE SELECTION trilogy will make you swoon!
After the Elite I couldn’t wait to read the One, then somehow after a long year of waiting, the book arrived on my doorstep and remained unread for almost two whole months! Which -if I do say so myself- is unacceptable. I think the hype surrounding the book scared me off. I avoided spoilers (which meant avoiding Twitter and Facebook for a while) and ended up not reading the book myself, until now.
The story flowed perfectly. Questions that I carried with me since the first book finally got answered. It was fast-paced, action filled, swoon worthy, and at times heart wrenching.
I don’t think I can say much about the characters that I haven’t said before already. America Singer is still the stubborn, feisty, and brave girl we met in the first book. But this book gave a new meaning to the word fierce. She was fierce, stands up for herself, and finally figures out what she wants. Maxon is still the guy that manages to makes me swoon whenever he made and appearance in the book (which was a lot!). And he as well grows more throughout the book. They were a bit frustrating at times though… View Spoiler »They both refuse to admit their feelings to each other, which led to some annoyance and frustration. I frequently wanted to yell at them to pull themselves together and just be honest with each other for a change. « Hide Spoiler but I guess I can deal with that, after all, we’re all human and nobody’s perfect.
The one thing that I loved above all about the characters was the depth added to the other girls competing in the Selection. The remaining girls become closer, they bond, and become friends, which makes that we get to know more about them. The scenes involving all the girls together were so much fun to read and probably (alongside some scenes between Maxon and America) some of my favourite in the book.
Those last chapters were killing, absolutely killing, and it made me love the book even more. I don’t know how I expected the book to end, but of all the endings I’d imagined, this one never crossed my mind. I won’t spoil the ending for you, so if you want to know what I’m talking about, get yourself a copy and find out! It was every bit the conclusion to this series that I could’ve hoped for! Questions were answered, the characters were as good (if not better) than before, and the romance was adorable and as swoon-worthy as ever. Loved it!
I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.After the End by Amy Plum
Series: After the End #1
Published by HarperCollins on May 6th 2014
Source: the Publisher
While I was incredibly excited to read After the End I’m sad to tell you that it wasn’t entirely my cup of tea. The story had an incredible exciting premise, with some unique twists along the way, but sadly, it didn’t really live up to my expectations.
I was compelled at first! I loved the beginning of the book. You read all about how Juneau and her clan live as ‘survivors’ after WWIII. I enjoyed learning about the life they’d built for themselves and the ‘survivor lifestyle’ was really compelling and intriguing. Even though it only lasted a few pages. The added magical aspect, the Yara and how Juneau uses it to her advantage to escape, was quite fascinating as well.
While the rest of the book was okay and enjoyable, there were quite some things that bugged me. For starters: It just doesn’t seem plausible for a girl raised to believe that World War III left the world ravaged by nuclear radiation adapted so fast to modern day life. I don’t like to say that it’s unrealistic, because it’s called fiction for a reason and anything is possible in books, but her entire life she has believed that they were a ‘small’ group of survivors to escape ‘WWIII’ and somehow she adapts surprisingly fast to the use of electronics and driving a car. In my opinion that’s just not realistic…
I wasn’t too fond of the romance either. While Juneau is strong (no doubt about that, she does everything within her power in order to save her people) she fell for Miles’s really fast. Even though he acted like a spoiled rich kid every step of the way. I’ll give him some credit, because he did change later on and became way more likable, but still. Juneau tells herself plenty of times that she doesn’t have the time for a teenage boy, but she falls for him anyway. It was a bit frustrating. Both Juneau and Miles are okay characters though. I didn’t really connect with them, but they were pretty fun to read about after all.
Like I said before, this book was really an ‘okay’ read. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t really good either. I’m sad there wasn’t more focus on the magical aspect of the story, it felt like that part didn’t really get to shine in the book. The story was a bit slow and sometimes predictable, if it wasn’t for that ending I don’t think I would want to read the sequel. As it is… the ending was absolutely killer, and now I need to know what happens, so I probably will anyway.
Ruins by Dan Wells
Series: Partials Sequence #3
Published by Balzer & Bray on March 11th 2014
Kira, Samm, and Marcus fight to prevent a final war between Partials and humans in the gripping final installment in the Partials Sequence, a series that combines the thrilling action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Blade Runner and The Stand.
There is no avoiding it—the war to decide the fate of both humans and Partials is at hand. Both sides hold in their possession a weapon that could destroy the other, and Kira Walker has precious little time to prevent that from happening. She has one chance to save both species and the world with them, but it will only come at great personal cost.
Ruins was a great read, no scratch that, it was awesome and I just fell in love with Dan Well’s style all over again. I love the humour laced within the dialogue and the depth within every single part of the story. His books, the Partials Sequence, signify everything I love about reading and about dystopia.
When Fragments ended, I was left with tons of questions, and if I’m honest, I didn’t really have any idea where the story was going. Ruins carried some pretty major twists! Some of which I saw coming, and others I didn’t see coming at all. As my questions got answered one at a time, I was on the edge of my seat down to the very last chapters.
While the focus is still mostly on Kira, the major different with Ruins and the other books in this series is that it is told from lots of perspectives. The perspective is switched a lot, it switches to include all the different groups and physical locations. At some point the narrative is passed on to a different person almost every chapter. This normally doesn’t do much for me, besides confuse me. But it was such a big part of the story because communication was all about impossible, so the shifting perspective was the ultimate way to know what was going on with everybody. It adds to the complete chaos and the suspense of the world Dan Wells created, as well does it give us a better insight to the secondary characters and how much they’ve developed.
The depth I mentioned above is linked to the need to survive. What is justified when you’re trying to stay alive? What is allowed when you’re desperately trying to survive? How does it effect humanity and morality? In Ruins the people have been in survival mode for so long that instinct rules out mostly everything. Shoot first, ask questions later so to speak. When our characters try to change this, and try to make people stop and listen to each other, they are met with resistance all the way. I don’t know if I am explaining this the right way, but the depth is just out of this world, and one of the things that Dan Wells nails every single time!
The romance that presented itself in Fragments is still subtle. Actually, it’s barely there. Which is absolutely perfect for a story like this, it just works. There’s so much adventure, action, and survival that there’s rarely time for romance. But when it makes an appearance, I appreciated every moment of tenderness. Perfect!
Kira is still Kira. Badass, smart, and though she is faced with some doubts about who she is and what her place is supposed to be in this world, she still knows how to kick some serious butt! One of my favourite main characters for sure.
This book, or really this series, is intense. Which is what’s so great about it. It is in my top 10 books of all times, and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly suggest you pick up Partials! I promise you you’re in for a great ride (and you can read all three books in order without any time waiting for it to release a year later!).