Books reviews: Red Queen, Thirteen Reasons Why and The One Memory of Flora Banks.

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen #1
Publication: 10th February  2015 by HarperTeen
Genre: YAFantasy.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge –  A book where one of the main characters is royalty.


This is a book that you’ve read before. Many times. It’s just a mash up of lots of popular books. This left it being highly predictable and, for me, disappointing.

There are Reds and Silvers. Silvers have special powers (think X-Men) and therefore rule the Reds and send them off to war at 17 to fight their battles. Throughout the book, the Reds do very little escape their living state.

And then Mare comes along. Like most YA heroines,  she is the reckless Saviour, who is unlike all the others and powers. Again, think any YA heroine, she is also sassy but makes silly choices. When she gets two love interests come along she thinks about them both obsessively. On the bright side, the love triangle isn’t dominating of the book.

I loved Queen Elara. Manipulative, ruthless and malicious, she was something fresh in the book as she provided twists. Although, again, the character was a lot like Cersei from Game of Thrones as she had a fierce love for her children and was ruthless in getting them, and herself, power.

For me, the major saving grace of this book was the ending.

I know lots of people loved this book and they can get over the fact that it’s basically a mash up of other books because they get investing in the characters but for me it was too similar to other books, making it predictable and lacking in originality.

3-stars

Thirteen Reasons Why

Title: Thirteen Reasons Why
Author: Jay Asher
Series: N/A
Publication: 18th October 2007 by Razorbill
Genre: YA

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – An epistolary fiction


Wow.

I read this book just after the TV series had been released on Netflix. I went in knowing nothing other than it was about suicide. I was completely hooked.

This is Hannah’s story, even though she has already killed herself. Before she committed suicide, she recorded 13 cassette tapes which are passed on to 13 people to say how they had an impact her decision to end her life.

I was so captivated by what Hannah was saying. It was just so eerie and powerful. I sped read Clay’s bits, as really he was just a mediator as he listens to the tapes, just so I could listen to what she was saying.

Whether you like the book or not, it still has a powerful message which really makes you think about how our words and actions have an impact on other’s lives.

5-stars

The One Memory of Flora Banks

Title: The One Memory of Flora Banks
Author: Emily Barr
Series: N/A
Publication: 12th January 2017 by Penguin
Genre: YA

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A book written or set in Scandinavia (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland)


This review contains some minor spoilers

I received a few chapters of this book in one of my Illumicrate boxes. Then I started seeing it everywhere. So when it came down to being 99p on kindle, I had to buy it. I’m glad it was only 99p.

Flora has anterograde amnesia. She can’t remember anything day-to-day, and writes things on her arm to help her remember. Then she kisses someone she shouldn’t have and the next day she begins remembering things for the first time since she was ten. Then the boy is gone. She thinks he’s moved to the Arctic…

I haven’t read many books about anterograde amnesia but all the ones I have read have the same “twist” that someone is not telling them something. So when the twist came up, it wasn’t a surprise, it was a groan that emerged from me.

This whole book just screamed unbelievable to me. Not only the twist but her making her way to Norway on her own without raising any suspicion.

The one thing I did like is that the synopsis suggested that her amnesia could be cured by the kiss, but luckily (for the plot) it wasn’t.

2-stars


Have you read, or are you going to read, any of these books? What did you think?

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Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices, #1)

Title: Lady Midnight
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices #1
Publication: 8th March 2016 by Margaret K. McElderry Books.
Genre: YA, Fantasy.

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge – A books from the Goodreads Choice Awards 2016.

Synopsis (Goodreads)

In a kingdom by the sea…

In a secret world where half-angel warriors are sworn to fight demons, parabatai is a sacred word.

A parabatai is your partner in battle. A parabatai is your best friend. Parabatai can be everything to each other—but they can never fall in love.

Emma Carstairs is a warrior, a Shadowhunter, and the best in her generation. She lives for battle. Shoulder to shoulder with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, she patrols the streets of Los Angeles, where vampires party on the Sunset Strip, and faeries—the most powerful of supernatural creatures—teeter on the edge of open war with Shadowhunters. When the bodies of humans and faeries turn up murdered in the same way Emma’s parents were when she was a child, an uneasy alliance is formed. This is Emma’s chance for revenge—and Julian’s chance to get back his brother Mark, who is being held prisoner by the faerie Courts. All Emma, Mark, and Julian have to do is solve the murders within two weeks…and before the murderer targets them.

Their search takes Emma from sea caves full of sorcery to a dark lottery where death is dispensed. And each clue she unravels uncovers more secrets. What has Julian been hiding from her all these years? Why does Shadowhunter Law forbid parabatai to fall in love? Who really killed her parents—and can she bear to know the truth?

The darkly magical world of Shadowhunters has captured the imaginations of millions of readers across the globe. Join the adventure in Lady Midnight, the long-awaited first volume of a new trilogy from Cassandra Clare.

My Thoughts

I told my self I wouldn’t do this. I told myself I wouldn’t read another Cassandra Clare book. I told myself I wouldn’t put myself through the disappointment. Then I ending up buying it. I told myself I wouldn’t read it. I told myself it could just sit on my shelf to complete my collection. Then I read it.

I don’t know why I did it. I dislike Cassandra Clare. She blatantly takes things from other people’s books and says they’re inspiration (see my review on The Iron Trial). She is a fan pleaser, and I freaking hate that. Her fan pleasing completely destroys what was good about the books (See review of TMI).

Firstly, this is meant to be a stand alone series. But if you haven’t read any of her other books, don’t read this first. It completely ruins the endings of TID and TMI. I would say all of her books, but I don’t know about The Bane Chronicles, so I would say go ahead and read that before you read this one too.

This book is a whopping 698 pages long. And what happens in those 698 pages? Bugger all. This book is about 400 pages too long. Stuff happens in the first 150 pages and in the pages 450ish -550ish and that’s it. The rest of it is just filler. There’s lots of talking and lots of focus on different characters.

The problem was, there were so many different characters that I didn’t really get attached to any of them. Emma was basically a gender-bend version of Jace, who was sarcastic and made lots of stupid decision like going off without telling her Parabati. She’s confident and a strong female protagonist but I didn’t overly like her. Julian like a mixture of Simon and Clary; family focused, fiercely loyal and with an artistic flare. Marc was a bit more interesting, having returned from the faeries, it was interesting to see his conflict between where his loyalties lied. My favourite character was Cristina because she felt different and there was a bit of mystery there.

What really wound me up about this book was the cameos. Now I know lots of readers would love this but it really got on my nerves. Was there really any need for them to appear? Did they really add anything to the plot other than a constant reminder that they’re there?

One of my saving graces of this book was Emma’s decision at the end. I know what lots of fans reaction will be, and I bet Cassandra will rectify that in later books, but that peaked my interest a bit.

Will I read book 2? I say no. I want to say no. I bet I’ll end up reading it.

My Rating

2-stars

On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher

On the Other Side

Title: On the Other Side
Author: Carrie Hope Fletcher
Series: N/A
Publication: July 14th 2016 by Little Brown and Company
Genre: Fiction, Romance, magical realism

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge– A dual-timeline novel

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Evie Snow is eighty-two when she quietly passes away in her sleep, surrounded by her children and grandchildren. It’s the way most people wish to leave the world but when Evie reaches the door of her own private heaven, she finds that she’s become her twenty-seven-year-old self and the door won’t open.

Evie’s soul must be light enough to pass through so she needs to get rid of whatever is making her soul heavy. For Evie, this means unburdening herself of the three secrets that have weighed her down for over fifty years, so she must find a way to reveal them before it’s too late. As Evie begins the journey of a lifetime, she learns more about life and love than she ever thought possible, and somehow , some way, she may also find her way back to her long lost love . . .

On the Other Side will transport you to a world that is impossible to forget. Powerful, magical and utterly romantic, this is a love story like no other from everyone’s favourite ‘big sister’, Carrie Hope Fletcher.

My Thoughts

I picked this book up for the beautiful cover and because the premises intrigued me.

I knew the author was a youtuber, and that this is her first novel, so I didn’t go in with overly high expectations. I came out thinking that the whole thing was just a bit sillyI just had so many issues with the book, some of which probably wouldn’t bother other people but just really got on my nerves.

Firstly, those ridiculous names. Evie Snow, Vincent Winter, Colin Autumn, August Summers, Sonny Shine and Clementine Frost. It felt like a a teen who had read how some great authors use names to suggest their character and foreshadowing and had no sense of how to do with subtly.  The characters themselves felt quite two dimensional. Based on the world I don’t understand why she decided to cave to her parent’s demand to support her brother if he was disinherited. They’re both adults living in a seemingly accepting society with jobs, which Evie easily got. Also, why keep with the choice for so long if it is clearly what none of you want? It was partly hard to understand the characters choices because there was no timeline to link it to.

The magical realism was also problematic for me. Firstly, I actually rolled my eyes at “Little Bird”, the white bird they wrote love notes on until it was so full it was a “black” bird. Especially how this bird lived almost fifty years because of their love.

The dove’s wings had become almost entirely black, so he’d started carrying their messages on his back and his chest, but he welcomed them with open wings. No one wanted their love to work more than he did. Their messages of love and kindness gave him strength and a purpose.

The tree was bizarre and although was explained I don’t really feel it fitted in with the book. If you’ve read it, you know what I mean. If you haven’t, just wait for that delight… I just personally feel the whole magical realism should have been removed.

Vincent was described as being bi-sexual and her brother as being gay. Although I liked this as it was inclusive and wasn’t too predominant, I was also annoyed because I had this bugging feeling that the author only added it because she knew her audience would love it. Vincent being bi-sexual also added literally nothing to the plot.

I just didn’t love this book.

My Rating

2-stars

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)

Title: Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #1
Publication: 2nd December 2010 by Dutton Juvenile
Genre: YA, Fiction.

Around the Year in 52 Book Challenge – A book with along title (5+ words)

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris–until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all…including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

My Thoughts

Anna has been ‘abandoned’ by her parents in an American boarding school for rich, gorgeous American teens in Paris. L’horreur! It gets worse! There’s a hot, mopey guy back home who she’s in love with but he prefers her friend and the other guy who she’s in love with in Paris has a girlfriend. Oh non! What an awful life with such huge problems.

I enjoyed Anna and Etienne going around Paris, as it reminded my of my time there, but that was about it.

With a title containing French Kiss I expected kissing and romance. What I was given was a lot of self pity, pining and then some cheating.

I think I’m getting too old for this…

My Rating

2star

The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle

accident season.jpg

Title: The Accident Season
Author: Moira Fowley-Doyle
Series: N/A
Publication:  18th August 2015 by Corgi Children’s
Genre: YA Fiction.

52 Book Challenge category –  A book by an author you haven’t read before

Synopsis (Goodreads)

It’s the accident season, the same time every year. Bones break, skin tears, bruises bloom.

The accident season has been part of seventeen-year-old Cara’s life for as long as she can remember. Towards the end of October, foreshadowed by the deaths of many relatives before them, Cara’s family becomes inexplicably accident-prone. They banish knives to locked drawers, cover sharp table edges with padding, switch off electrical items – but injuries follow wherever they go, and the accident season becomes an ever-growing obsession and fear.

But why are they so cursed? And how can they break free?

My Thoughts

I finished this book late at night. I’m not sure if it was my tiredness or the abstract prose but I’m not really sure how this book ended.

The story is about a girl called Cara and her family. In October, her family begin to wrap themselves up in extra clothing to protect themselves as they become more accident prone – the time they call the accident season. The book begins with Cara noticing a childhood friend, who she rarely speaks to any more – Elsie – appearing in all her pictures. Sometimes it’s her hair, others her elbow but she appears in every photo.

The book is full of a lot of strange bits, often seemingly random, about witches and mermaids. The first 3/4 of the book was quite slow, obviously building up to some twist. I almost put the book down within the first half as I found the plot to be going no where. So when I finally read the last quarter, I was confused with the explanation of the accidents and Elsie, among other things.

Due to the revelations and twists at the end of the book, it’s really hard to delve into character’s and why I liked/disliked them. I found Bea’s personality off putting. She’s a tarot  reader and has the a flare for creating strange tales. I found her tales unusual, out of place and in a few instances went on for a while. On the other hand, I really liked Alice and found her realistic.

As my first read of 2017 it was a very unusual and strange book.

My Rating

2star

Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything

Title: Everything, Everything
Author: 
Nicola Yoon
Series: N/A
Publication:
1st September 2015 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Genre: YA

Synopsis (Goodreads)

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

My Thoughts

I originally picked this book up because it was the book sent in the previous Illumicrate box, so I thought it must be good!

This is one of those books that’s just okay, then it has a massive twist at the end. And it just left me feeling so cross and cheated.

Everything, Everything is a story about Madeline, a girl who has the rare condition SCID, meaning that due to her hypersensitivity, if she were ever to go outside of her house into the unfiltered air, something, anything, could trigger symptomatic attacks that could potentially kill her. For the past seventeen years, she has been in the house with her nurse and mum looking after her, whilst she does her school work through skype sessions. When Olly moves in next door, her daily consistencies change.

To sum this book up briefly:

  • Instalove
  • An illness that you don’t really learn much about
  • A plot twist that is unrealistic and left me feeling cheated and annoyed, not shocked or happy.

By halfway through the book I was bored. I pushed myself to finish it because it’s not that long and because I’d heard of the hype so thought it had to get better. I liked Madeline and Olly, especially the IM and little messages but I just wasn’t feeling it. The whole story didn’t sit right. Then we got to the plot twist and I turned from bored to cross. It explained why the story didn’t feel right but it felt like an easy cop out to let love triumph.

When will I learn and stop picking up over hyped book…?

My Rating

2star

Pretty Little Liars #1 by Sara Shepard

Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars, #1)

Title: Pretty Little Liars
Author: Sara Shepard
Series: Pretty Little Liars #1
Publication: October 1st 2006 by Harper Collins Publishers.
Genre: YA, Drama, Mystery, Romance.

Synopsis (Goodreads)

Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back? A strong launch for a suspenseful series.

My Thoughts

I’ve seen the first five series of the TV show Pretty Little Liars, so I knew the rough plot, but I hadn’t gotten around to reading the books.

I think it’s always a bit of a gamble reading a book that has been made into a TV series or film, especially if you have seen it. I finished this book wishing I had read it before the show. The book isn’t very long so it is essentially just the fist episode of the TV series, which left me very disappointed. However, I imagine (or hope) that if I read the rest of the series there would be more differences with characters and plot twists.

From just this book, the characters in the book and the show are very close although I feel the TV show characters are a bit kinder. The book focuses on five best friends – Emily, Aria, Hanna, Spencer and Alison. During a sleepover in seventh grade, something happens and Alison walks out the door and disappears. Fast forward a few years later and the girls are no longer friends not talking since Alison’s disappearance. Until they start getting messages from an anonymous sender called -A who knows secrets that they’ve only told one person. Alison. Aria is doing some extra credit with her English teacher, Spencer is getting too close to her sister’s boyfriend, Hanna is going too far with her vanity and shopping addiction and Emily is testing the boundaries of her new friendship with Maya.

If it is anything like the TV series it is going to be an addiction. As there are 16 books in total, I probably wouldn’t go out and buy the rest of the series unless it’s on offer on my kindle or I find it in the library.

My rating

2star

King Breaker by Rowena Cory Daniells

King Breaker (King Rolen's Kin #4)

Title: King Breaker

Author: Rowena Cory Daniells

Genre: High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Political Fantasy.

Published: 13th September 2013 by Solaris

Book 4 in King Rolen’s Kin series.

Synopsis (Goodreads)

The conclusion to the hugely popular King Rolen’s Kin series!

The story of Byron, Fyn and Piro picks up immediately where the cliff-hanging ending of The Usurper let off! When Cobalt stole the Rolencian throne, Byren, Fyn and Piro were lucky to escape with their lives, now they’ve rallied and set out to avenge their parents’ murder.
Byren is driven to defeat Cobalt and reclaim the crown, but at what cost? Fyn has sworn to serve Byren’s interests but his loyalty is tested when he realises he loves Byren’s betrothed. And Piro never wanted to win a throne, now she holds the fate of a people in her hands.

Alex’s Thoughts

It’s sad that I’ve had to rate this book so low. I thoroughly enjoyed The King’s Bastard, which was one of the first modern high fantasy books I read, having previously encountered some Tolkien and Pratchett. The Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin was my first real experience of political fantasy, which gripped me from the start. What I’m trying to say is that the first book is very good. The Uncrowned King and The Usurper were good too. This makes the problems that King Breaker has even more painful.

The fundamental problem is that this book should not exist. As with the Inheritance Cycle, the tale was initially intended to be a trilogy, yet, as fans of the series will know, book three did not resolve all the key plot points. This leads to the book becoming bloated with unnecessary bits to try and justify its existence, like multiple films based on a single book. What we seem to have is another case of a fantasy tale getting bigger than its author. When this happens, there is always at least one book that stands out as sub-par (every series has its Feast For Crows or Order of the Phoenix). It just turns out that the weak point in this series is its finale. The main problem is that there are a bunch of storylines that meander about with no urgency and then all sort of crash at the end, leaving a partially resolved plot, but then none of the characters really get what they want. Whether Rowena Cory Daniells is trying to set up a sequel series or not is unclear; the ending rushes to fix everything, but then everything is still a bit messy by the final chapter. As the seventy-two chapters may warn the reader (in comparison to the thirty-one chapters of Book One), the plot often crawls at a snail’s pace, that snail being a particularly unfit one that has to take a rest every once in a while, then wakes up and forgets where he’s going, starts crawling in a completely different direction before remembering where he’s meant to be going.

To explain further, we enter spoiler territory for the first three books, and possibly some for this one too.

The start of the book sees our hero Byren trying to set himself up as king of Rolencia and Merofynia, the two adjoined countries that make up ninety per centof the known world (I know, what could possibly go wrong for him?). These two nations are divided by the Snow Bridge, an impassable… bridge of snow. Except when people just cross it. But if everyone did that, we’d miss the rollicking ride of the first third of the book, where most of our heroes are on boats waiting to go places. That’s Byren, Piro and Fyn for the most part of the start of it. Byren leaves his Merofynian fiancée without at first marrying her immediately, because that would have cemented their alliance. Instead, his watertight plan is to leave his younger brother Fyn, who has spent most of his life in an abbey with zero per cent government experience. This masterstroke is made even better by the fact Fyn is madly in love with Isolt, the princess-turned-queen of Merofynia. To his credit, Fyn does the best he can. His character is one of the more compelling and its only when his storyline becomes repetitive that I started to lose interest. He is crushing spar warlords (spars being the pointy-out bits of land encircling Rolencia and Merofynia) which is fun to see, until they liberate an estate from the spar warriors then leave, only for the same spar to attack the same estate two chapters afterwards. But at least he isn’t on a boat. Piro and Byren both faff about on boats to places, then do some stuff in those places, then turn around and go right back to Merofynia. Byren doesn’t seem to evolve much as a character, he’s just after the Rolencian throne to get revenge against Cobalt, a descendant from a royal bastard who claimed the throne through treachery. Cobalt doesn’t really play much of a role, and considering he was virtually supplanted as the main villain by Palatyne in Book Three, the reader doesn’t have many reasons to root against him. His methods to gain power were treacherous, but that’s royal politics. Byren doesn’t have anything that blatantly makes him the better choice for king. Does he think he will be a good king? Irrelevant. How does he plan to govern Rolencia and Merofynia? Doesn’t matter. With all this in mind, he is hard to root for. His siblings are more compelling, as Fyn is toiling with forbidden passion and Piro is trying to dodge being married off as a piece in someone else’s game. She heads towards the Ostron Isle, before becoming entangled with a whole other mess which goes on for a bit. Her companion Lord Dunstany is a bloke everyone seems to repsect enormously, but does not seem to do much to justify his huge reputation. The Ostron plot reads like a crossover into Assassin’s Creed, as Dunstany and co. have to convince “Lady Death” (no, not Thanos’s wannabe girlfriend) to call off her coraxes trying to wipe out our plucky Rolencian heroes. The coraxes in this book are awesome though. Cobalt’s bodyguard corax is a beast when he’s unleashed, but again, these guys don’t appear enough.

Speaking of Cobalt’s corax, that leads us to Florin’s storyline in Rolencia. This starts the most promising out of all the plots, before she winds up back with all the others and becomes superfluous to requirements. She likes Byren and Byren likes her but remember Orrade likes Byren too but Byren’s not gay but Orrade is and anyway Byren is betrothed to Isolt but Fin likes Islot…. And breathe. Florin’s initial potential is exciting, as she’s a badass with  nothing to lose, but before she even realises she’s a typical damsel in distress, helpless until the chiselled, broad-shouldered protagonist swings in at the last second. The Orrade-Byren dynamic seems to be thin as well. Byren’s drive to be king robs him of all other personality, to the point where it would be unsurprising if halfway through it was revealed he was a cardboard cut-out that Orrade had been carrying about with him.

There’s also a guy called Garzik who was thought dead in Book One, is Orrade’s brother, the main character of a short story set around this bigger one and does nothing to influence the plot. His inclusion feels like Rowena Cory Daniells is building towards a new series and is introducing him now (like that Emma girl in Caasandra Clare’s City of Heavenly Fire). He’s with the Utlanders and basically they’re big, hairy, thieving murderers but some still have hearts of gold. Or maybe slightly softer steel than the other ones do.

All this wasted potential and meandering plots leave the story lacking. Its most criminal offence is to build up towards something happening with one character and then jumping to another character arriving after all the action. This happens once in particular and leaves the reader feeling cheated, like you waited for ages for something that you then never got (remember when we were all ready to see the Mandarin in Iron Man 3?). Add to this that every character has some sort of Affinity power (magic) that gets them out of any mess they’re in. If Fyn and Isolt are in a pickle they can use their tag team of a wyvern and a foenix to unalive any problems they have. Byren can summon magical creautres (Affintiy beasts) and Orrade can get special visions. The Affinity was interesting at first, being an original interpretation of magic, and it being a part of magical creatures gave it an interesting nuance to it. The main issue is that Byren’s dad wasn’t a fan of it, so those with Affinity could not rule. As he and his all his closest relatives and friends have it, his claim to the throne is questionable.

Overall, I am sad to say that the finale to this series just did not deliver. Epic battles were avoided or skipped over, people were going back and forth with no clear direction and despite some promise, and ultimately the hurried conclusion does not justify the slow build-up. Two stars.

Alex’s Rating

2star

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)

My Rating: 2/5

Book 2 of the Divergent Series.

An e-book was provided by NetGallery in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis (Goodreads)

One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.

My Thoughts

This book had classical second book syndrome. It most certainly is a filler and is building up to the third book. Unfortunately, it was huge and very slow to get going.

I enjoyed Divergent (review here), which was essentially a long initiation process, but I liked the obstacles along the way and that the romance, although predictable, wasn’t overly forced.

Insurgent picks up directly from where Divergent leaves off, which could be very frustrating for people who haven’t read the first one in a while. While Divergent was very strong in it’s plot, it knew exactly where it was going, Insurgent was a bit all over the place. The main points were that society collapses, Tris deals with the consequences of her actions, an alliance is forged, a broken alliance, an alliance, a broken alliance…  I just found it really hard to get through, it wasn’t as gripping as Divergent, and I had to put it down a few times.

Whilst I liked Tris and Four in Divergent, I almost loathed them both in Insurgent. They felt like completely different characters. Tris made stupid, reckless and short sighted decisions that seemed out of character. Although events before would change her choices slightly, her whole character changed seemed very sudden and out of the blue. While before, Four  was sweet and a little mysterious, now he seemed aggressive and always shouting at Tris and picking fights. Both kept secrets from each other and picking fights which was just frustrating and eliminated all romance that was in the first book. They seemed a team in the first book and weren’t even close in this one.

There were quite a few deaths within this book. Which was in a way good because they weren’t predictable. However, I found myself feeling no emotional loss when they died. This worries me.

I found this book disappointing in comparison to Divergent, but I am praying that the third installment is much better.

This Raging Light by Estelle Laure

This Raging Light

My rating : 2/5

Synopsis (Goodreads)

How is it that you suddenly notice a person? How is it that one day Digby was my best friend’s admittedly cute twin brother, and then the next he stole air, gave jitters, twisted my insides up?

Lucille has bigger problems than falling for her best friend’s unavailable brother. Her mom has gone, leaving her to look after her sister, Wren. With bills mounting up and appearances to keep, Lucille is raging against her life but holding it together – just.

A stunning debut to devour in one sitting, Laure captures completely the agony and ecstasy of first love.

My Thoughts

I wasn’t overly impressed with this book. I went in thinking it was going to amazing and was left disappointed and confused.

Seventeen-year old Lucille is the daughter of the man who snapped and attacked her mother, before leaving. Now, her mother has left too, leaving her to look after her little sister Wren. You straight away begin to sympathise fore Lucille and her situation. She is strong and adaptable, she cares for her sister and does everything she can to stop her sister being taken by social services.

That part was brilliant and heartbreaking. If it was solely about that, it would be a solid 4 if not 5 star. However, then we get the romance side, and that’s where it starts getting weird. We had a romance that started off with a requited childhood crush, of her best friend’s twin brother, that turns into something more. The relationship was strange, and whenever Digby appeared the language got really weird.

“Your yard looks nice,” he says. “So they tell me,” I say. Touch me. Kiss me. I’m yours. I know he won’t, though. He would not cheat. I like his shoes. Vans. His long feet.

His hand is still resting on my foot. I am a giant foot, his hand a magical giant hand.

My eyes are open and staring at his closed lids, and then they snap open and we are so close that he is a blurry Cyclops. I am sucked into his single eye.

I want to pull my skin off my body so I can crawl into in without the eyeholes and disappear into myself, never to emerge again.

These were just some of the strange quotes that I found throughout the book. There were others. Lots more.

In addition to the strange romance and weird language, about 200 pages in, it gets even more “dramatic”. Girlfriends become confrontational (I’m not surprised!) and friends become distant and moody for no reasons and people get put into coma’s.

I really wouldn’t recommend this book other than for you to look out for any more weird quotes.