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: 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

alicemarvels.com

alicemarvels.com

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: Chained by Susanne Valenti

www. susannevalenti.com

www. susannevalenti.com

Title: Chained
Author: Susanne Valenti
Series: Cage of Lies Saga | Book 1
Pages: 313
Publisher: Susanne Valenti; 1 edition (October 1, 2015)
Rating: 4 stars (Read It!-Choose It!)

 

The dystopia novel, Chained, by Susanne Valenti, describes a world where fear of Contamination keeps people inside of walled cities through the perspective of Maya Summers.

Like the rest of humanity, Maya lives behind the Wall in the Guardian protected city. But she is also an orphan. She has been for awhile ever since her parents died in a fatal lab accident.

Invited to join a scientific expedition outside the Wall by her best friend, Maya’s life is turned upside down. One simple mistake sentences her and her best friend, Taylor, to a brief SubWar sentence for endangering the population.

Although Maya and Taylor are only supposed to carry messages and not engage in combat, circumstances force them to fight for their very lives. One event leads to another and soon Maya finds herself outside of the SubWar boundaries with Taylor and a mysterious stranger who rescues them along with Laurie.

Now that they’ve left, there’s no going back to the city petrified of the Contamination, which lies outside of the wall, unless, of course, they want to serve a life sentence in SubWar. And Maya will soon discover a terrifying, but releasing truth about the walled city and herself.

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Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

The dystopian novel, Uglies by Scott Westerfield, describes a haunting dystopia where surgical beauty hides government’s dark secrets.

In fifteen-year-old Tally Youngblood’s world, there are three types of people: Uglies, Pretties, and Specials. Until Tally turns sixteen, she will be an Ugly. Sixteen is the age when Uglies undergo the surgery that turns them into stunning Pretties.

One night Tally sneaks into a New Prettyville party to see an old friend, Peris, whose already a Pretty, as an Ugly prank. While she’s escaping, however, she encounters something. Thinking that she’s been caught by a middle Pretty warden, Tally reveals herself.

It turns out that the other person hiding on the river that borders Ugly and Pretty towns, is an Ugly like herself. The other Ugly introduces herself as Shay. The two girls bond and become friends despite their differences.

Unlike Tally, Shay does not care to become Pretty. During hoverboard trips, Shay reveals that she is going to run away to an undercover rebel group–The Smoke–in the wilderness. Shay wants to escape the shallow mindedness of Prettiness.

When Shay runs away, Dr. Cable, a cunning doctor from Special Circumstances (the government) makes a deal with Tally. Follow Shay with a tracker and betray the Smoke or never become Pretty.

Facing a crushing dilemma, Tally at last decides to travel alone to the Smoke. She amazingly completes the journey alone and arrives at the Smoke. But the Smoke wasn’t what Tally expected and Tally begins to admire the people of the Smoke. As Tally begins to fall into the routine of the Smoke, she forgets Dr. Cable’s deal and the tracker.

Eventually Tally must make a choice. Wills she help Dr. Cable stamp out the Smoke or will she become an insurgent? When Tally casts her tracker pendant into the fire, she declares her allegiance to the Smoke. But will her choice harm or help the Smoke?

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dystopias with hidden themes and questions about  society’s obsession with external looks. The protagonist, Tally Youngblood, was beautifully developed and was well-flawed so she could mature throughout the novel. The writing was also good and the story moved at a good rate and made me want to read the second book: Pretties.

Rating: Read It!

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

en.wikipedia.org

en.wikipedia.org

 

Review: Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

The novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell sweeps you into the world of Oceania, Airstrip One.

In Air Strip One, there are two parties: the Inner Party (the ruling party) and the Outer Party (the working party.) People in both Parties work in one of the four ministries: the Ministry of Love, the Ministry of Truth, the Ministry of Plenty, and the Ministry of Peace. Ironically each ministry concerns itself with affairs opposing their name.  For instance, the Ministry of Love deals in killing and torture.

Within the Inner Party is Air Strip One’s leader who is called “Big Brother.” Big Brother, who the Air Strip One citizens treat like a god, controls and watches everything. Through the Thought Police, Big Brother knows of every rebellious scheme against the country. Alone time is discouraged and a country belief is that “everyone belongs to everyone.”

In the Ministry of Truth, works a young man called Winston Smith. Although Winston feels like he does’t fit into the Party community, he never crosses a line. That is until he meets a woman called Julia. Julia is a woman who convincingly plays the role of a devoted Party member, but who actually despises the Party. As Winston and Julia bond and sneak away for longer periods of times, both unwittingly forget the forbidden nature of what they’re doing. And at the end of the book, the reader will discover just how far Air Strip One will go to break an individual’s will.

I enjoyed this book because of George Orwell’s vivid description of his prediction of life in 1984. The characters were also very compelling, along with the suspenseful action and disturbing thought of what a world would look like with no privacy, individualization, and free thought.

However, I thought the pace of the book took awhile to pick up. I would recommend Nineteen Eighty-Four to anyone who enjoys reading about haunting, dystopian worlds with disturbing thoughts about the future or enjoyed reading Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. I would not recommend this book to someone who dislikes dystopian books, sad endings, and complicated worlds.

Rating: Read It! Choose It!

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

Favorite Fiction Books of All Time

This is a list of my favorite fiction book books of all time, they are not in order of preference.

  1. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  2. Divergent by Veronica Roth
  3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
  4. The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
  5. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  6. Origin by Jessica Khoury
  7. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  8. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
  9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  10. The Maze Runner by James Dashner