Book Review – Birthmarked by Caragh M. O’Brien

My Review:

Birthmarked was a fascinating story! The premise was so unique and different from any book I’ve read. It was really refreshing!

In the distant future there are two different societies. Inside the wall (The Enclave) and outside the wall (Everyone else).

We meet our protagonist, Gaia. A young girl learning to become a midwife and following in her mother’s footsteps. When she is faced with her first delivery she is unsure. But everything goes smoothly. Then, when it’s time to take the baby she is even more unsure. She is required, by the Enclave, to deliver the first three babies born at the start of each month to the Enclave.

As she brings the babies to the Enclave she hesitates each time. She doesn’t understand why they have to give up their babies. Though she knows the babies will have a rich life full of every opportunity that outside the wall will never have, it’s hard to accept since the birth parents mourn the loss of their children.

Then, one night, her parents are arrested and taken to jail in the Enclave. Gaia does all in her power to rescue per parents and gets arrested herself. During the process she meets Captain Grey. A stoic young man who appears heartless and cruel in Gaia’s eyes. However, Captain Grey turns out to be the most surprising ally during Gaia’s time in the Enclave.

As I mentioned before the story line was unique and interesting. I was so intrigued by the story and what would happen next I read this in one sitting.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good dystopian story. And I am rushing out to read the second installment.

4.5 out of 5 stars.

Book Review – Cinder by Marissa Meyer

From Goodreads.com:

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.

My Review:

Cinder is another book labeled as ‘dystopian’. However, I didn’t quite see the dystopian side to story. I would have labeled this more of a sci-fy genre.

This futuristic story is filled with cyborgs, androids and hover crafts, yet many people still hold on to ancient traditions and ideologies.

After the end of World War IV, the world has come together in peace and harmony. All the nations of the world have formed one alliance for their people. One of freedom. However, there is an evolved humanoid faction that lives on the moon, the Lunars. Their viscous queen uses mental powers to get people to see what she wants them to see and do her bidding. There are some Lunars that are not susceptible to the mental manipulation. These are called Shells and they are considered abominations. The Queen kills them when she finds them. This caused many Lunars to steal away their children to earth undetected in order to save their lives.

There is also a virus that is ravaging the human race. Turns out the only cure comes from the Lunars. The Lunars are also the species that brought the virus to humans. The queen of the Lunars is making demands of the Emperor of the Eastern Commonwealth (also known as China), however, the Emporer does not want to bend to her will. But that may cost the lives of all Earthens.

In our novel we meet Cinder. A cyborg. Considered a second class citizen, cyborgs are not treated equally among the human population. Cinder doesn’t remember becoming a cyborg at the age of eleven and she is forced to live with her adoptive family as their servant.

True to the Cinderella theme she meets the prince of her nation and through a turn of interesting events he invites her to the ball. She hides the fact that she is cyborg and tries in vain to not return the Prince’s advances.

The story is well written and easy to follow. The characters were interesting, quirky, terrifying, however, not always believable. The story line was predictable, but I think that is because everyone knows how Cinderella goes.

The ending left me with wanting more, and that’s a good thing.

I give Cinder 4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review – Shatter Me by by Tahereh Mafi

From the publisher:

“You can’t touch me,” I whisper.

I’m lying, is what I don’t tell him.

He can touch me, is what I’ll never tell him.

But things happen when people touch me.

Strange things.

Bad things.

No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal, but The Reestablishment has plans for her. Plans to use her as a weapon.

But Juliette has plans of her own.

After a lifetime without freedom, she’s finally discovering a strength to fight back for the very first time—and to find a future with the one boy she thought she’d lost forever.

My Review:

Shatter Me is probably one of the best books I’ve read so far in 2012.

The writing is so beautiful, so poetic! I could hardly but the book down.

The characters were very interesting. Juliette is so endearing. I just wanted to hug her! What a tough life she had lived. Abandoned by everyone and locked away in a tiny cell! But she didn’t let anger rule her. All she ever wanted was for someone to love her and touch her and tell her she wasn’t a monster.

Adam is powerful and strong. Ready for anything. Yet gentle and patient where Juliette is concerned. Adam wants the world to be a better place and he’s willing to fight to make it happen, as long as Juliette is by his side.

Warner, the son of the man in charge of the Reestablishment, is vile and ruthless. He only wants to use Juliette’s power to make himself more powerful. He cares about no one but himself and will do whatever it takes to be in control.

The premise of the book was so incredible. Most dystopian novels I read already take place when the new government has established itself. Usually several decades afterwards. This book takes place while the new government is trying to rule the world. It is so fascinating!

When Juliette is told that she better covet her notebook because some day writing may be illegal. Or when they discuss that the new government wants to do away with all languages and make one world wide language. It’s very thought provoking.

I know from my own stand point if anything like this were to happen to my country, I would fight. Tooth and nail I would fight for my civil freedoms.

This book left me wanting more! The ending was so abrupt I about cried.

I gave this a whopping 5 out of 5 stars!

Book Review – Fury by Elizabeth Miles

From Goodreads.com:

Sometimes sorry isn’t enough….

It’s winter break in Ascension, Maine. The snow is falling and everything looks pristine and peaceful. But not all is as it seems…

Between cozy traditions and parties with her friends, Emily loves the holidays. And this year’s even better–the guy she’s been into for months is finally noticing her. But Em knows if she starts things with him, there’s no turning back. Because his girlfriend is Em’s best friend.

On the other side of town, Chase is having problems of his own. The stress of his home life is starting to take its toll, and his social life is unraveling. But that’s nothing compared to what’s really haunting him. Chase has done something cruel…something the perfect guy he pretends to be would never do. And it’s only a matter of time before he’s exposed.

In Ascension, mistakes can be deadly. And three girls—three beautiful, mysterious girls—are here to choose who will pay.

Em and Chase have been chosen.

~~~~

My Review:

Fury left me speechless, and not in a good way. I suppose for a young adult novel this would suit a teenager perfectly. But as an adult who loves young adult novels, this book was as boring as Twilight. I kept asking myself, what is the point of this book?

The endless teenage drama, teenage angst, teenage life was boring from page one to page 330. The whole point of the book was to introduce these Furies? Well, my god, they didn’t seem to be the whole point of the book if you actually read it.

It seemed the point of the book was how clique filled high school is and how privileged children behave at parties and how they are quick to judge those not like them. Yeah, typical stuff. I felt like I was reading Pretty in Pink. JD being Ducky and Emily is Andie. However, in this version, Andie (Emily) is part of the ‘in’ crowd.

The Furies were only a side plot. There to entice you every once and a while, but seriously, not enough to make this a paranormal book. There was barely one chapter about who they really were. Just a few pages about it. What am I supposed to do with that, do my own research?

And Emily blindly follows them even though she has no clue about them.

::::Spoiler here::::

Why did she take those ‘seeds’? It was idiotic! In my opinion the author should have made her choose to not take the seeds and let JD die. It would have ended a miserable book.

1 out of 5 stars.

Book Review – Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Overview From the Author’s website:

Rhine and Gabriel have escaped the mansion, but they’re still in danger. Outside, they find a world even more disquieting than the one they left behind. Determined to get to Manhattan and to find Rhine’s twin brother Rowan, the two press forward, amidst threats of being captured again . . . or worse.

The road they are on is long and perilous-and in a world where young women only live to age 20 and men die at age 25, time is precious. In this sequel to Lauren DeStefano’s harrowing Wither, Rhine must decide if freedom is worth the price-now that she has more to lose than ever.

My Review:

Fever is the second in the Chemical Garden series. It continues with Gabriel and Rhine running from Housemaster Vaughn and his viscous medical experiments.

Rhine is determined to make her way back to Manhattan and find her brother, Rowan. Along the way they encounter several insane ‘first gens’ that seem to want nothing but to take what they can from a young girl.

Along the way Rhine learns the truths behind Vaughn’s experiments and to what extent he will go to get what he wants.
What I liked about this book:

The writing style was exactly like Wither. I had no problem falling right into the feel of the second book of this trilogy.

Rhine and Gabriel’s relationship is so touching. They love each other, but cautiously. I just want them to embrace their emotions instead of keeping each other at arms reach. The way Gabriel feels about Rhine is so innocent and loving. But Rhine feels she’s protecting Gabriel by not being honest with him. I kept saying in my head, “Just tell him how you feel!!” but Rhine wouldn’t listen to me.

Some of the people they met along their journey to Manhattan were interesting. From the down right lunatic to motherly. The journey reminded me a lot of Amanda Hocking’s Hollowland, just without the zombies.

What I didn’t like:

Like the first book, Fever did not have a lot of action in it. So if you were looking for a fast paced book, this is not it. However, it will keep your interest to finish it to the end and want more!

Over all I liked the book and will anxiously await the arrive of the third installment of The Chemical Garden trilogy. Well done, Ms. DeStefano!!

4 out of 5 stars.

Book Review – Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Overview (From Barnes and Noble)

Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns . . .

Astrid Llewelyn has always scoffed at her eccentric mother’s stories about killer unicorns. But when one attacks her boyfriend—ruining any chance of him taking her to prom—Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient Cloisters the hunters have used for centuries. However, all is not what it seems at the Cloisters. Outside, unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from bone-covered walls that vibrate with terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to her growing attraction to a handsome art student . . . an attraction that could jeopardize everything.

My Review:

Rampant is about a teen girl, Astrid, whose mother believes unicorns existed. But these weren’t your common fairytale unicorns with rainbows and happiness. The unicorns of the past were man-eating venomous monsters with fangs. And, according to Astrid’s mother, were hunted down by a faction of virginal girls. One of which, Clothilde, was Astrid’s direct ancestor.

Therefore, Astrid’s mother believed her daughter to be destined for greatness. But Astrid would just like to avoid becoming a social pariah after she saves her boyfriend from a unicorn attack and he tells the whole school what a freak she is.

So unicorns do exist! And now Astrid must travel to Italy to learn how to hunt and kill unicorns.

My 14 year old daughter bought this book when Borders was going out of business. I never even read the synopsis of the book. However, when she started reading it she realized there was content in the book I wouldn’t agree with her reading. So she shelved it.

Along I come looking for something new to read and I picked it up. By the 6th chapter I didn’t think I was going to make it through the whole book. The whole premise was absolutely ridiculous to me. Seriously? Poisonous unicorns with fangs?

I complained about it to my daughter. I complained about it on Goodreads. I complained about it to my husband. But last night I read it. I was up until 2 a.m. and I read the book.

What I liked about it: It was in Italy.

What I didn’t like: Venomous unicorns with fangs. I don’t think I can say anymore than that.

Oh wait, yes I can! Her mother!! Astrid’s mother was the most callous zealot I have ever read about! She cared nothing except bloodlines and her daughter’s destiny, even if it meant hurting other people. I was so angered by the lunacy of Lilith (Astrid’s mother) that I nearly stopped reading the book.

The dialog and vocabulary. I’m sorry, but what 16 year old says “From whence she came.”? Unless you are reciting a play, no 16 year old I have ever met uses words like this. In fact, there were several instances where the character was completely unbelievable. Had Astrid been about 25-30 years old, yes, I’d believe it. But not a 16 year old.

I just had such a hard time taking this book seriously. Nothing about it was remarkable, even the concept of venomous unicorns was humdrum.

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

Book Review – Enclave by Ann Aguirre

I finished this book last night. Many times when I read a book and I know there is a sequel I gauge how much I liked the book based on my desire to read the next in the series. I can’t say that I’m waiting on edge for the sequel of this book. However, I will read it when it comes out.

Enclave is about life in the future. Another post-apocalyptic saga about a girl trying to survive. Deuce is a young girl trying to prove herself in her enclave as a fighter and hunter. The enclave is all that she’s known. Born and raised in a small group of underground dwellers, full of rules that she was indoctrinated in from birth.

The Enclave is broken up into three groups. Hunters; in charge of protecting the Enclave and procuring food. Builders; makers of all things needed for the enclave, beds, bags, clothing, etc. Breeders; well, as the name implies, they were given the task of continuing the human race and raising the young.

When children are born they are not given names. The reason is the high infant mortality rate.  So, children were named Boy and Girl with a respective number. When they reach a certain age they have a Naming Ceremony. During this time they are given their name and assigned to their group.  Our main character started out as Girl15 and received the name Deuce during her naming ceremony.

However, due to a string of strange occurrences, Deuce starts to question the leadership of her Enclave. When protecting a close from from a wrongful accusation, Deuce was cast out of the Enclave. Exiled to the ‘topside’. Her hunting partner, Fade, was also exiled along with her.

What I liked about the book:

The research the author did to write this book is impressive. It is obvious she consulted many different sources to get an idea of what our environment may be like after the fall of the civilization. The idea of living underground is not far fetched, in my opinion.

The writing was very good. I did not find any instances that bugged me. Things like repetition or ill-used large words.

I also liked how Deuce was conflicted when her beliefs were questioned. All she had known was what the Enclave had taught her. However, Fade introduces her to a completely different way of thinking and living. She struggles with what she was taught was the right way, and what may actually be the right way.

The different types of social structures that were introduced in the book were fascinating. The Enclaves, who live by strict rules. The Burrowers; a peaceful people who have evolved to handle underground living. The Freaks; a humanoid race that may have been the result of an infectious disease, they are cannibalistic and hungry for live meat. The gangs; groups of young boys that roam ‘topside’ and have an anarchistic ideology.

What I disliked about the book:

It seems that all young adult novels these days insist on love triangles. I don’t understand this trend. Enclave is another victim of this sub-plot, and it would have been near perfect without it.

I feel like the book moved very fast. Maybe a bit too fast. I understand the need for them to run and keep moving, but I wanted to know more about the gangs, more about the Burrowers, more about the Freaks.

Perhaps the author wanted to keep some of it back to make way for the next book in the series. I hope so, because this book left me with a lot of unanswered questions.

I gave this book 4 out of 5 stars.

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