Review: We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

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Title: We Were Liars
Author: E. Lockhart
Series: N/A
Pages: 240 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Press; First Edition edition (May 13, 2014)
Rating: 4.25 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

 

GoodReads Synopsis

A beautiful and distinguished family.
A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.

The novel, We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart describes the summers of Cadence Sinclair Eastman at a secluded family island.

Warning: Review contains spoiler!

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Review: Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare

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Title: Lady Midnight
Author: Cassandra Clare
Series: The Dark Artifices | Book 1
Pages: 720 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1 edition (March 8, 2016)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

 

GoodReads Synopsis

The Shadowhunters of Los Angeles star in the first novel in Cassandra Clare’s newest series, The Dark Artifices, a sequel to the internationally bestselling Mortal Instruments series. Lady Midnight is a Shadowhunters novel.

It’s been five years since the events of City of Heavenly Fire that brought the Shadowhunters to the brink of oblivion. Emma Carstairs is no longer a child in mourning, but a young woman bent on discovering what killed her parents and avenging her losses.

Together with her parabatai Julian Blackthorn, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, from the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica. If only her heart didn’t lead her in treacherous directions…

Making things even more complicated, Julian’s brother Mark—who was captured by the faeries five years ago—has been returned as a bargaining chip. The faeries are desperate to find out who is murdering their kind—and they need the Shadowhunters’ help to do it. But time works differently in faerie, so Mark has barely aged and doesn’t recognize his family. Can he ever truly return to them? Will the faeries really allow it?

Glitz, glamours, and Shadowhunters abound in this heartrending opening to Cassandra Clare’s Dark Artifices series.

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Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles | Book 1
Pages: 448 pages
Publisher: Square Fish; 2nd edition (January 8, 2013)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The novel, Cinder, by Marissa Meyer tells the story of Cinder, a cyborg in New Beijing with a mysterious past as her life becomes entangled in an impending war between the Earth unions and the Lunars.

GoodReads Synopsis

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

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Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

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Title: A Thousand Pieces of You
Author: Claudia Gray
Series: Firebird trilogy | Book 1
Pages: 384 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen; Reprint edition (November 3, 2015)
Rating: 4.5 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

 

Book 1 of the Firebird trilogy, A Thousand Pieces of You, by Claudia Gray describes sixteen-year-old Marguerite Caine’s quest for vengeance to kill Paul Markov, her parents’ (two famous scientists) prodigy and lab assistant, after the theft of the Firebird: a device which allows users to leap between different dimensions (realms of different outcomes and possibilities).

GoodReads Synopsis

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their groundbreaking achievements. Their most astonishing invention, called the Firebird, allows users to jump into multiple universes—and promises to revolutionize science forever. But then Marguerite’s father is murdered, and the killer—her parent’s handsome, enigmatic assistant Paul— escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. So she races after Paul through different universes, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul’s guilt—as well as her own heart. And soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is far more sinister than she expected.

Lately, A Thousand Pieces of You is the second book I’ve read with multi-dimensional travel, but I think it is the first book I have ever read that completely delves into what multi-dimensional travel would really look like. In this book, people travel to different dimensions by using the Firebird to transfer their consciousness into a dimension that had another version of them. While in that dimension, they would inhabit and control the body of their other dimensional self.

In different universes, especially the “Russiaverse” (where Marguerite is a grand duchess), this makes for “moral” conflicts, especially when Marguerite makes some big decisions for her other self while she is inside her body. This added an element of character vs. self and made the plot more interesting as Marguerite also grappled with external conflict as she hunted down her father’s suspected killer and the thief of the official Firebird prototype through the dimensions.

Another story aspect I liked were the plot twists. As Margeruite learns more about multi-dimensional travel, she discovers a secret about her travel companion. When the main character discovers not once, but twice, that two things she thought were true weren’t, it makes for some very suspenseful moments.

Like in The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey, the author starts the book in the thick of things (Margeruite chasing her father’s killer through the dimensions) and then jumps back in Margeruite’s memory throughout the chapters to give the reader background information on events. I’m not a big fan of this, but it did not make me want to stop reading.

However, Claudia Gray did do an excellent job of developing the characters. Chapter by chapter she reveals a new layer of the characters, which makes them more believable. It also altered my opinion of them for better or for worse.

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Review: Truthwitch by Susan Dennard

Title: Truthwitch
Author: Susan Dennard
Series: The Witchlands | Book 1
Pages: 416 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen (January 5, 2016)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The novel, Truthwitch, by Susan Dennard describes a richly imagined world of witchery.

Hot headed and impulsive domna Safiya (Safi) fon Hasstrel is a Truthwitch and heiress to the Hasstrel lands. Although witchery is prevalent in the Truthlands, Safi must keep her witchery a secret lest she become a political pawn with her ability to discern truth from lie. Despite being a domna, Safi is far from proper and regards her title as a restraint to her freedom.

Isuelt Midenzi, a Threadwitch is scorned by many because of her Nomatsi heritage. After leaving the Midenzi settlement, she and Safi cross paths and become Threadsisters: a bond developed through a shared life-or-death experience.

But with the end of the treaty that keeps the several empires of the Witchlands from fighting approaching, Safi and Iseult’s peaceful lives will dissipate as they are both forced to run to stop Safi from becoming a political pawn.

With the help of Safi’s uncle’s arrangements, Safi and Iseult manage to make a wild escape and ride a ship to Nubrevna captined by Prince Merik, a Windwitch. However with secret political deals and a vengeful Bloodwitch on their trail, their fight for freedom to live their own lives will not end when they reach Nubrevna.

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Review: Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

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Title: Snow Like Ashes
Author: Sara Raasch
Series: Snow Like Ashes series | Book 1
Pages: 448 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray; Reprint edition (September 15, 2015)
Rating: 2 stars (Leave It!-Choose It!)

The novel, Snow Like Ashes, by Sara Raasch describes protagonist Meira and the other Winterian refugee’s journey to retrieve their fallen kingdom’s locket.

GoodReads Synopsis

A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

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Review: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave by Rick YanceyTitleThe 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Series: The 5th Wave trilogy | Book 1
Pages: 512 pages
Publisher: Speak; Reissue edition (February 10, 2015)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

 

The dystopia The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey describes a post-apocalyptic world decimated by four alien-sent “waves” of terror.

GoodReads Synopsis

“After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.”

A flawless read of rich writing: it was not too descriptive and it flowed very nicely. The excellent writing was definitely a very strong part of the book. Normally I prefer books that don’t use too many complicated metaphors, but The 5th Wave broke the norm. Throughout the novel, Yancey used metaphors through the characters as they tried to cope with their difficult reality.

Throughout the book, I was kind of comparing The 5th Wave to James Dashner’s The Maze Runner. Both had good writing and strong plot development, but I think The 5th Wave won in terms of character likability. The 5th Wave is definitely a very re-readable book because it shocks you just enough to keep you reading, but at the same time spends time developing the characters, so you actually enjoy reading it again. On a side note, the book was told from the first-perspective and the literary conflicts were: character vs. character, character vs. supernatural, and character vs. self.

The characters were layered and complex, despite the rotating first-person POV. There were also more amazing female characters, much more than The Maze Runner and far more likable: Cassie and Ringer. Of the two, however, I found Ringer to be the more intruiging character. I thought that her bearing was more unique than other female characters’ who I’ve encountered before in literature. And Teacup: a bellicose seven-year-old drafted in an army of adolescent soldiers. She was definitely an interesting character. In a way, she kind of reminded me of a younger version of Johanna Mason from The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

I did not find the two main male characters: Evan Walker and Zombie (Ben Parish) were not nearly as compelling as Cassie and Ringer. I found Evan’s intentions as an “alien” and infatuation with Cassie slightly confusing, but this part makes more sense in the next book. Zombie was definitely brave because he took care of Cassie’s brother, but at times it seemed like the reality of the apocalypse had not quite fully sunk in.

I would’ve preferred there to be less swearing, but I suppose, because the narrators were teenagers there would be. I’d recommend this book to fans of YA dystopia and books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, Divergent by Veronica Roth, and The Maze Runner by James Dashner.

What are your thoughts on The 5th Wave? Have you seen the recent film adaptation? What are your thoughts on it? 🙂

Review: Origin by Jessica Khoury

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TitleOrigin
Author: Jessica Khoury
Series: N/A
Pages: 432 pages
Publisher: Razorbill; Reprint edition (September 17, 2013)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The novel, Origin by Jessica Khoury, draws you into the world of Little Cam.

Little Cam (short for Little Cambridge) is a secretive research center in the Amazon Rainforest. The scientists of Little Cam’s goal: to create a race of immortal humans. Their first success is Pia, an immortal girl with flawless memory and impenetrable skin.

One day, Pia’s Uncle Paolo says, Pia will take over as head of the Immortis Team. But to do this, Pia must succeed in a series of calculating tests: the Wickham Tests. In one of the tests, Pia must watch a bird get electrocuted over and over. She begins to secretly question the scientists’ means. However, Uncle Paolo insists, “the end always justifies the mean.”

All her life, Pia has stayed within the gates of Little Cam. The gates and fence are charged with electricity and almost always closed. After her seventeenth birthday party, Pia discovers a gap in the fence. With her pet jaguar, Alai, she ventures into the forest. In the jungle, Pia discovers a world she never dreamed of.

But as Pia becomes attached to the world beyond Little Cam, she finds herself in a dilemma. Eventually, she must make a choice between freedom and a dream of creating immortals. As Pia learns more and more about Little Cam’s hidden secrets, she learns about herself and most importantly, what the Little Cam scientists did to make her. Whose dreams is she choosing?

I really, really enjoyed this book. It kept me reading non-stop from page one. Also, the development of Pia’s character is well done. By the end of the book Pia had evolved completely and both grown and matured as a character. Furthermore, the author had two very important themes in her novel. The first was that end does not always justify the mean. Find out whose dream you are living for, the second theme, was subtle compared to the first one. I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys science-fiction books on immortality and scientists who cross the boundary between inhumanity and ambitions.

Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions on this book in the comments section. Are there any similar books you would recommend?

Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

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TitleSix of Crows
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows Series | Book 1
Pages: 480
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) (September 29, 2015)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

The Grisha novel, Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardguo describes criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker’s perilous quest for wealth.

When Kaz Brekker, deadly criminal prodigy with a mysterious past in the city of Ketterdam is offered a chance to earn gold–a dangerous offer which might get him killed–he accepts. If he can break into the notorious Ice Court of Fjerda and retrieve a hostage harboring secret knowledge that could destroy the world, he will be showered with wealth.

In his quest for wealth, Kaz assembles a cunning group of six dangerous outcasts: Inej, Jesper, Nina, Matthias, and Wylan.

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Review: Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas

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Title: Queen of Shadows
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Series: Throne of Glass Series | Book 4
Pages: 656
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens (September 1, 2015)
Rating: 5 stars (Read It!)

The fourth Throne of Glass novel, Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas continues Celaena Sardothien’s journey as Aelin Galathynius, the heir of Terrasen.

SPOILER ALERT – PROCEED WITH CAUTION IF YOU’VE NOT READ: The Assassin’s BladeThrone of GlassCrown of Midnight, or Heir of Fire.

Celaena Sardothien has returned to Erilea for many things. But she has come changed. In Wendlyn, Celaena let go of the fears of her past that constantly haunted her and embraced her identity as Aelin Galathynius: heir of Terrasen. She wants to, needs to, rescue her fallen kingdom, save her cousin, and save Dorian.

But first she must face her former master, Arobbyn Hamel, king of the Assassins. When he rescued Aelin as a child, he also unknowingly took the third wyrdkey from her. Aelin must take back the wyrdkey to save Erilea, but dealing with the cunning Arobbyn will be far from easy.

Following his sacrifice so that Chaol might escape, Dorian is fighting an internal battle with an ancient evil locked within him with a wyrdstone collar.

After being named Wing Leader, Manon and her Thirteen have been sent to Morath to work with the disagreeable Duke Perrington. But the duke is keeping secrets and something sinister is going on inside the mountain and Manon is determined to find out what it is.

Negotiating with Arobbyn Hamel for support and the wyrdkey will be far from simple for Aelin. If she is to succeed in her plan though, she’ll have to accomplish many other things before she’s done, if she ever will be.

Can Aelin save the people she loves while playing a dangerous game of power?

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