Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Power is a dangerous game

In January I wrote a Top Ten Tuesday post in which I listed Red Queen as a book I really wanted to read. I have finally gotten around to it and I am so glad I did. We delve back into that familiar Dystopian genre with Aveyard. However, for me the fantasy element to this story really makes it stand out from the crowd.

Your blood matters more than gold in this story. It is your blood that determines your status. If you have red blood you are there to serve, oppressed and controlled by the incredibly powerful silvers. The silvers are superhuman they can manipulate metal, fire, water and some can even control your mind. This is how it has always been and yet Mare exits. Mare has red blood and a jaw-dropping ability that no silver has ever matched.

The discovery of Mare changes everything, she is a secret to be kept but used. They dress her up in silks and paint her up to hide her heritage using her as a pawn in a very twisted game. The trouble for them is that she is playing one too. You go from one extreme to another with this story. There are characters to love and to loathe. Ones that make your blood boil and the next moment melt your heart. You feel Mare's dilemmas her desperation for change and for understanding and the book carries you effortless into the story.

At first I was actually apprehensive to read this book. This was because it was described as quite the mash up of different Dystopian sagas. Even on the front cover it says it is a combination of dystopian heavy weights Divergent, Hunger Games, The Selection and Graceling. I have read all of these books and it does always make me slightly nervous when a series is compared to books that are so familiar. If I was to compare it I would say it felt more like the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J Maas. It has that same gritty weight to it. The characters are fantastically developed and Mare's although a tad too trusting has a fiery and feisty spirit that is very engaging.

As with many recent young adult series at the moment I was nervous that the love interest element of the plot would overshadow the better elements of the story . Thankfully it doesn't. It is relevant but not the main gist. Yes there is a love triangle but it is not everything, it does not drown out the amazing and cleverly written web that Aveyard weaves.

A must read for those who love a fantasy story and want more from a dystopian series then a save the world love story. I loved it so much I read Glass Sword immediately after.

I gave into the hype and the hype was right. Fantastic 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Crown by Kiera Cass

The Crown (The Selection, #5)

35 suitors entered the selection who will win her heart?

Having read all four of the The Selection series I knew I needed to finish off what Cass had started in so naturally I chose to read The Crown.

I pre-ordered the copy for the school library so managed to get it on the publication date. Sadly I have mixed feelings about this story. Although enjoyable to be back with the characters I just don't get a strong likeable feeling for Eadlyn. In The Heir I felt that this was on purpose but I assumed that in The Crown that Eadlyn would be mellowed and seem kinder.  Unlike her mother (America) before her Eadlyn does not have the same presence or heart and comes across like a brat a lot of the time.

In the original Selection series there is a lot of unrest and the difficulties with the caste system and problems are really tangible. You feel the tension throughout the books. However, even though there is supposed to be unrest again but it doesn't sizzle off the page in quite the same way. I think this makes it difficult to understand the reasons Eadlyn makes her decision so fast as the importance was not conveyed well enough.

In The Heir I wanted to know who she would choose but I felt her choices made no sense in The Crown and went against what it initially seemed she wanted. The romance just didn't feel real to me and it felt a little contrived and cliched.

For me Cass wasted her long standing characters. America, Maxon, Aspen and Marlee as they do not feature enough and this was really noticeable. I always acknowledge that when a series is for young adults that it might feel juvenile when I read it. I did not feel this with the first 3 of these books but this one in-particular just felt aimed for much younger audiences then before.

Not for me - good for those who want to finish the story arc

Friday, 17 June 2016

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

The greatest risk is not taking one.

I feel a bit stuck with how to review this one. I clearly enjoyed it as I sped my way through it, reading it in one day. However, the ending felt too predictable to me and I was a tad disappointed with it.

Yet, the story and it's characters hooked me. Madeline is 17 going 18 and is sick. She has a disorder that means she can not go outside as something might kill her. It's a very rare illness and she has to cope with living a very sheltered life. Her only company is her mum and her nurse Carla. To have any visitors they have to be decontaminated just to ensure that nothing is let in that could harm her.

Trouble is Madeline starts to want. She starts to want more then the restrictions her disease imposes on her. She begins to feel trapped by the airlock, the tests and the monotony. Naturally this is all because of a boy: Olly. Olly moves in next door and he is the predictably good looking, funny and clever boy next door. He moves in and takes over Madeline's heart.

It all moves very quickly. The chapters are short and to the point creating a very I'll just read one more page feeling. Madeline is a witty girl who despite her difficulties in life seems to be quite normal. I do find this a little hard to believe, I really feel if you had literally never been outside in your life you might be a little less well adjusted then Madeline appears.

For me the story is all a little too neat a little too perfect. I wish Yoon had done a little more with Olly's domestic abuse background and with Madeline's mother. I wanted more from those grittier aspects of the story. Although Madeleine falling in love is the key part of the story I wanted more then that. I was really rooting for a bit more development of the subplots.

On the whole it does grip you and for fans of books such as Before I die, If I stay, Fault in Our Stars and Wonder this will be right up their street.

I was hooked. Well written. 

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

The House on Hummingbird Island by Sam Angus

The House on Hummingbird Island

There are monkeys in the parlour, turtles in the bathtub and secrets behind every door...

The House on Hummingbird Island, Bathsheba is reminiscent of Daphne Du Maurier’s Manderley, full of mysteries waiting to be discovered.

Idie Grace is suddenly removed from the life that she has always known and plunged into a whole new world due to an unexpected inheritance. She must become the lady of the house and learn to navigate as a young girl in an adult’s world. Away from governesses and father figures for the first time Idie can now dictate her own life and surrounds herself with a menagerie of animals, turning Bathsheba into her own paradise. However, there is more to her heritage then she has been told and she must deal with the consequences of uncovering the truth.

This is no animal story as I was initially led to believe from the believe. I enjoyed it so much that I think I will be reading more by Sam Angus in the future!

She draws you into a story that touches on the role of women, race and war. Intriguing and beautifully written with mesmerising imagery and unique lovable characters. It is thought-provoking, moving and will wrap itself around your heart.

Poetically written - well worth reading and released tomorrow.