Thursday, December 22, 2011


 Stars: 3/5
 Format: Hardback 
 Read: December 22, 2011

The good parts: The premise of this book is good. It was creative and executed fairly well. The world and problems of this story were well thought out and consistent. The main character was someone that most teens could identify with. I didn't feel like reading this series was a waste of my time. But there were enough bits about this book that rubbed me wrong for me to ever really like it more than a fleeting nod to the author's writing style.

So with (some) relief, I finished this book in time for Christmas. I am so happy I didn't buy this for myself. It's a very disjointed story and I felt a little dragged by my lapels down a maze of confusion not unlike the feeling I had when reading the last Hunger Games installment. The characters never did develop very much at all. I'd venture to say that all the "development" happened in THE MAZE RUNNER. And people are dying, living, getting shot at, running, escaping mostly, with a dash of mystery (that was more like flat soda compared to the earlier books in this trilogy) that instead of urging me onward, pushed me to care less and less.

The book was a good conclusion to the series, but I never was crazy about THE MAZE RUNNER to begin with. I think it ended up with me praying the story would take off and waiting with bated breath, lightheaded oxygen deprivation, and finally gasping to relieve my aching brain when nothing ever happened. It was like THE MAZE RUNNER was the grand finale that appeared before its time; after that, nothing really crescendoed at all. Sure, I sometimes have very high standards and I am aware of that, but I also try my very hardest to find pieces of books to like when the story falls flat. I could not feasibly find anything I even half way liked about this series.
Yes, this is considered a "young adult" (ages 12+) book, but it is also true that I can name more several young adult books that surpass this series without even trying. And the "made up" curse words were just like saying "what the fudge?" when everyone disregards the editing and reads what was meant. They just really bothered me. Lots of teens curse, I am highly aware of that (my mom is a teacher after all) but come on, the world doesn't need more incentive and encouraging on the matter.

So all in all, if you loved THE MAZE RUNNER and got through THE SCORCH TRIALS, read this and you might actually enjoy this. I will edit this review with what my younger brother thinks as well (he's 15) once he's done (and it might be a long while, so get comfy!).

Monday, December 19, 2011


 Stars: 4/5
 Format: Hardback 
 Read: December 15, 2011
So this book started fairly slowly, and continued at a fairly slow pace. The world description, character description, and plot threads were beautifully done, but I felt like I was being dragged by my shirt slowly down dusty alleyways that had no foreseeable ending. There's Kaoru's world that slowly becomes not-Kaoru's world and then the story leaves you as confused as Kaoru. Most of the time, I felt like I was sitting there in a math class that has no patterns to even try and follow and it was highly frustrating.
Now those who love epic fantasy books that have a lot of world building and confusion up until the end, some satisfaction, and then way more confusion will love this book. I have to admit, I liked the characters enough that the pace wasn't an issue for me (most of the time), and I liked Akiva the more I got to know him.

I have mixed feelings about this book, and right now I'm a little emotionally wrung out to figure out exactly why I liked this book, I'll try to go with stating facts.

1. Angel and chimera lore was very well researched. I felt that there was no inconsistencies and we were given enough information just to wonder and marvel at these different races.
2. Wishes were involved. The fact and fiction of magic was fascinating and logical if not a little sad.
3. The humanity of the non-humans. This was interesting to me, because I always like to explore what defines humans as humans versus other creatures. I think that what we've termed as "humanity" is not exclusive to humans at all, but more of a universal rightness that exists in all creatures. This book is a fabulous example of that.

I hope that is more descriptive than the rambling words my brain produced.

 Stars: 4.5/5
 Format: Hardback 
 Read: December 18, 2011

This middle-grade read was given to me by my mom as a senior in college gift. The writing is geared towards middle grade, so no lavish descriptions or large words, but it is just as lyrical as some young adult books. Throughout this book, I was reminded of The Thief Lord with the whimsical characters and action.

This book is more of a suspense book. Nothing huge, but each chapter alternates between the three main characters and the chapters more often than not end in cliffhangers. I had to resist the impulse to flip ahead and see what happened. It was sweet and innocent, with some violence and a little technical jargon with the clockwork pieces, but it was also mysterious and fascinating. The hotel, for example, holds many secrets with boarded up rooms and odd guests. I love exploring old houses, so I was very excited when I came upon the old hotel. However, since it is geared toward middle-grade readers, there were plot strings that were never resolved. It felt a little like there was only one purpose of this book, and the plot threads that were on the side were largely ignored once they had played their parts. This didn't detract from the book, but just indicated it was not like a young adult book I'm used to reading.
Light-hearted and fun, it was long for a lower level book but definitely an easy read for a day or so. I would recommend it as a breath of fresh air for your brain. It was a very nice break from dismal and gritty novels I've been reading.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review: LEGEND

Stars: 5/5
Format: Hardback First Edition
Read: December 1, 2011

So I have been anticipating this book ever since I stumbled upon it earlier this year on goodreads. Fascinating synopsis (if a little vague) and dystopian. I'm all for it. But the real question was, would it stand up to the hype and the platform I had unconsciously placed it on during the many month wait for its release date? Let me tell you, it was on a very high platform. Somehow, Lu surpassed this insanely large and glittering platform.
This isn't a life changing novel like, say, The Hunger Games or The Book Thief. Yet it is like a cool glass of semi-sweet lemonade on a hot Georgia day. Corny, but true. This book took every dystopian novel written between The Hunger Games and now and found the tiny path less traveled and blew through it. Somehow, Lu avoided the overused stereotypes that have developed within the past five years or so and crafted something beautiful and frank and real.

Although this book has a strong female lead, it also has an equal and opposite strong male lead, where neither overshadows the other. The characters equally balanced each other out, like they were a natural part of the world and not a fantastical story made from some ideas scribbled on a paper. It just felt effortless and right. I liked Day AND June equally for different reasons. This is a rarity, because I have never encountered a shared situation where I liked both of the main characters independently AND together. That I understood them, and didn't root against either's point of view. I was simply content to lose myself in the story.

I made myself savor this book (savoring, for me, is three days instead of one) because I knew I wouldn't find another voice like Lu's for a while and I wanted to bask in the glow of a beautifully crafted book. And by book, I mean the plot, characters, twists, world-building, you name it. Of course, I'm not saying it's perfect and amazing and you'll adore it no matter who you are. There will be critics I am sure, but what I am saying is that whatever flaws there were, were so small that I (being the picky reader I am) don't remember anything bad about this book.
Marie Lu has found a die hard fan simply because of one book that I happened to anticipate, decide to pre-order without looking for prior reviews, gamble with my hard earned college student salary for a book that I had no guarantees on, and tear through it like a chocolate addict. Quite simply, I will buy whatever she writes from now on, no questions asked (and that is high praise from a college student).