Blogtober Book Review: Wilder Girls by Rory Power

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GoodReads Summary:
It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.
It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.
But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.
Wilder GirlsReview:
Wilder Girls is what the people of Twitter chose for me to read for Friday the 13th. It was not as spooky as I might have wanted, but it certainly was horrifying. All of the effects of the Tox were gross and creepy, the body modifications (for lack of a better word) were equally interesting and disgusting.
Hetty was a character that’s hard to explain. She has her people, Reese and Byatt. The three stick together, right up until Hetty gets chosen to be one of the Boat Girls and things start to change. She learns secrets she never wanted to know and it mostly just goes downhill from there.
Byatt was mysterious. I wanted to know more about her. I wanted her history and her feelings before she goes missing. She was intriguing, probably because we didn’t get to learn all that much about her.
Then there’s Reese. Also mysterious, but in a much more intimidating way. We learn a bit more about her than the other characters because she’s actually from the island. She’s queer and struggles a bit with what seems to be jealousy of Hetty’s relationship with Byatt. I liked seeing Hetty and Reese’s relationship expand after Byatt went missing.
Overall, I would have liked a little bit more character development. I wanted to know more about these girls. I just all around wanted more. I wanted to know what happened to them in the end, what happened to the rest of the girls on the island, how did the Navy know that quarantine was broken, I was just left with so many questions. If you’re looking for a horror story, that’s light on the horror (except for the horrifying things the Tox does to these girls) this is the story for you.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Thousandth​ Floor by Katharine McGee

Summary:
New York City as you’ve never seen it before. A thousand-story tower stretching into the sky. A glittering vision of the future, where anything is possible—if you want it enough.
Welcome to Manhattan, 2118.
A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.
Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.
Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.
Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?
Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.
And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.
Debut author Katharine McGee has created a breathtakingly original series filled with high-tech luxury and futuristic glamour, where the impossible feels just within reach. But in this world, the higher you go, the farther there is to fall….
The Thousandth FloorReview:
I was really excited by the premise of this story. Gossip Girl but in the future? Sign me up. Sadly, all we got was the bitchiness of rich girls, a little bit of racism, and not nearly enough of the few things I did like.
The world-building was not great. I wanted more of it. We got to see a little bit of the layout of the Tower, but I wanted more. I wanted to know why they created the Tower, why and how technology developed. Just more.
The characters were also not great. Only one had some great promise and she was killed off. I don’t want to go into too much detail because I just don’t care enough to go into all the things I liked or didn’t. The majority of them were shallow and cared entirely too much the number of the floor they lived on. They all cared too much what everyone else thought. They all flaunt their drinking, partying, and drug use too much. None of their friendships were even halfway real. There was also a pretty uncomfortable relationship between a girl and her adopted brother. I get that they’re not related by blood, but a sibling is a sibling.
There was a fairly diverse cast of characters, but the wealthy ones were white and the poor ones were not. And the one not white wealthy character was addicted to drugs.
This was just all around not well executed. I wanted so many things from this story but I didn’t really get any of them. I have heard the next one is better, but I’m not sure I care enough to continue the story.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Summary:
Set in a dangerous near future world, The Book of M tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love. It is a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.
One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, it comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.
Ory and his wife Max have escaped the Forgetting so far by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until one day Max’s shadow disappears too.
Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to Ory, Max runs away. But Ory refuses to give up the time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, he follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.
As they journey, each searches for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.
The Book of MReview:
The Book of M was the book club pick for myself and a few local friends in the month of May. This month was my turn to pick a book and we decided on this one. I’d seen friends really like this book and I usually completely love dystopian/fantasy stories but this one was not my favorite. It’s disappointing because I thought this had potential to become a new favorite.
While I liked the story well enough, I have some issues. The first issue was the fact that there didn’t seem to be any rules or limitations to this magic aside from the magical acts costing memories. I didn’t like this. Magic needs limitations and in this book that did not happen it was wild and confusing and I didn’t like it. Part of this is because I wanted there to be a scientific explanation.
I also had an issue with the fact that the first half of the book felt SO. LONG. but then the second half felt really rushed. The pacing was just off. I was interested in the first half but I think there were better things that could have been more explained and other things that could have been less explained. There were character deaths that we only got brief overviews of rather than any actual explanations about what happened and that really bugged me.
Overall, I really wanted to love this book but I just didn’t. I wanted it to be different from what I got. I shouldn’t have gone into this book with expectations which is what I did. It was an alright book but I didn’t love it like I wanted to. But don’t let this make you not read it because two of the other girls in book club loved it!

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

Summary:
While most of the world has drowned beneath the sudden rising waters of a climate apocalypse, Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation) has been reborn. The gods and heroes of legend walk the land, but so do monsters.
Maggie Hoskie is a Dinétah monster hunter, a supernaturally gifted killer. When a small-town needs help finding a missing girl, Maggie is their last—and best—hope. But what Maggie uncovers about the monster is much larger and more terrifying than anything she could imagine.
Maggie reluctantly enlists the aid of Kai Arviso, an unconventional medicine man, and together they travel to the rez to unravel clues from ancient legends, trade favors with tricksters, and battle dark witchcraft in a patchwork world of deteriorating technology.
As Maggie discovers the truth behind the disappearances, she will have to confront her past—if she wants to survive.
Welcome to the Sixth World.
Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1)Review:
While I am a lover of dystopian books, I don’t think this is one I would have picked up had it not been for the BookTube SFF Awards. This is one of the nominees for the debut novel category and I’m interested to see which book wins.
Part of me is still a little unsure about my feelings for this book. I think I want to like it more than I did. It was a fun and fast paced book but there’s just a few things that I don’t know that I liked.
The characters were interesting enough but I honestly don’t feel like they were developed enough. I don’t feel like I know them like I want to. We get their back stories and they ‘why’ of what they are doing but I feel like somethings missing. I just don’t feel all that invested in them except for maybe the main character a little. I think my feelings with the main character is more that I want her to get her revenge.
The best thing about this story was the world building. Roanhorse has created an incredible interesting and unique world. I was fascinated by the mythology and all of the different Native American inspired tidbits. I loved everything about it. But again, I don’t feel like I got enough. I want to know more. I’m sure we will get more in the second book, but I want it now.
Overall, I liked this book but I wanted more from it. There isn’t anything specific I would say I didn’t like. I just feel like it could have been longer with more character development and more world building. I think I will be continuing the series to see what happens next.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Pacifica by Kristen Simmons

Summary:
Blue skies. Green grass. Clear ocean water.
An island paradise like the ones that existed before the Melt.
A lucky five hundred lottery winners will be the first to go, the first to leave their polluted, dilapidated homes behind and start a new life. It sounds perfect. Like a dream.
The only problem? Marin Carey spent her childhood on those seas and knows there’s no island paradise out there. She’s corsario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him, and she knows a con when she sees one. So where are the first five hundred really going?
PacificaReview:
This is the second book by Kristen Simmons that I have tried because she is going to be at an event I am also going to be at. Sadly, I am once again disappointed. I liked Pacifica more than her other novel, but I don’t think I’ll be trying any other books by her.
I have the same issues with this story that I did with ARTICLE 5. The setting was incredible. A dystopian California full of political drama and ruined by natural disasters along with other human causes. The world was interesting and chaotic and filled with all the things I like (read: pirates, futuristic messed up America, hate to love).
Despite the potential this story had with the setting, I just didn’t care about the characters. They were alright. They weren’t anything special. The typical misunderstood poor girl and privileged boy from the nice side of town. One teaches the other how messed up the world really is and all the things that the rich people are doing wrong. I just didn’t care about any of it. I really wish I did because it could have been a story I really like but I just wasn’t invested in these characters.
I wish I had liked this story more, but I didn’t. It had all of the elements of a story I would like, but the characters just fell flat for me.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

War Storm by Victoria Aveyard

Summary:
Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all… starting with the crown on Maven’s head.
But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolishing everything—and everyone—in his path.
War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?
In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power… for all will be tested, but not all will survive.
War Storm (Red Queen, #4)Review:
I wanted to like this finale more than I did. As with most books, there were things I liked and things I didn’t. I think I’m going to organize this review like I have with a few other series conclusions in the past because there’s just too much going on for me to talk about it in my traditional format.

Things I liked-

The changing perspectives was probably my favorite thing about this book. It was done in the previous book too (see my review for King’s Cage). I really felt like we got to see into the heads of the rest of the characters that play a part in this story. I started to really feel for certain characters (read: Evangeline) instead of hating them like I did in previous books. Seeing things from her point of view, what her thoughts and opinions were rather than just the face she puts on for the world was really interesting and was the best part of this book. The same goes for Iris. I liked seeing her plans and thoughts. The way that her country works and what her values and ideals were.

I liked seeing the different parts of the world. We get to see the Lakelands and more of Montfort. I enjoyed exploring more of the world. Along with this, we’re learning more about the Newbloods and how the world is changing.

Finally, I liked the action. The fighting was exciting and fun. I thought the battles they chose and the places they strike were good choices. I was convinced that Aveyard was going to kill a certain character, but she didn’t thankfully.

Things I didn’t like-

The ending. I wanted more. This was not very satisfying to me.

Mare and Cal. I remember being pretty broken up with their drama in the last book, but reading this one and the choices they both make just annoyed me. I wanted them to just get over it all. I didn’t care if they ended up together or not. I didn’t care about them in general.

Which leads me to the rest of the characters. For a book so thick, there was so much focus on characters I didn’t care about. In the first few books, we’re learning all about these Newbloods. Rescuing them and training them, but then we just get two or three sentences here and there about them and no further development. I really didn’t appreciate that.

Overall-

I’m happy for the series to finally be over and to see it concluded (though I am excited for the novella collection coming out in May.) I found myself really struggling to pick this book up and actually want to read it. I think maybe pushing myself to finish it despite these feelings made me enjoy it less but I didn’t want to keep waiting and then forget everything from the first three books. I’m glad I read the series because I did enjoy it, but I’m equally glad for it to be over.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

 

Article 5 by Kristen Simmons

GoodReads Summary:
New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C., have been abandoned.
The Bill of Rights has been revoked, and replaced with the Moral Statutes.
There are no more police—instead, there are soldiers. There are no more fines for bad behavior—instead, there are arrests, trials, and maybe worse. People who get arrested usually don’t come back.
Seventeen-year-old Ember Miller is old enough to remember that things weren’t always this way. Living with her rebellious single mother, it’s hard for her to forget that people weren’t always arrested for reading the wrong books or staying out after dark. It’s hard to forget that life in the United States used to be different.
Ember has perfected the art of keeping a low profile. She knows how to get the things she needs, like food stamps and hand-me-down clothes, and how to pass the random home inspections by the military. Her life is as close to peaceful as circumstances allow.
That is, until her mother is arrested for noncompliance with Article 5 of the Moral Statutes. And one of the arresting officers is none other than Chase Jennings—the only boy Ember has ever loved.
Article 5 (Article 5, #1)Review:
I’m going to keep this review short and sweet because I do not have the best feelings about this book. I am meeting this author at the end of the month so when I saw the audiobook, I thought I would give it a listen to see if I was interested in buying a copy and getting it signed. I am not in fact interested in that.
The only thing I liked about this story was the world. I thought the dystopian setting was really unique and interesting. I really enjoyed the Hunger Games esq idea of a totalitarian government.
I didn’t like the characters. Ember was immature and annoying. For a girl that lives in this wild setting, she really has absolutely no idea what the hell is going on. Then there’s Chase. He’s the typical brooding guy that keeps secrets because it’s “what’s best” for Ember.
The whole plot of this book was finding Ember’s mother and rescuing her. Which we find out is pointless in the last 25% of the story and I almost just stopped listening there, but I had such a short amount of time left I just powered through.
I will not be continuing this series sadly, but I am giving this author another try with a different book. I own a copy of a different book written by Kristen Simmons that I will be reading before I meet her. So hopefully I like the characters better in this other book.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Song Rising by Samantha Shannon

Summary:
Following a bloody battle against foes on every side, Paige Mahoney has risen to the dangerous position of Underqueen, ruling over London’s criminal population.
But having turned her back on Jaxon Hall and with vengeful enemies still at large, the task of stabilizing the fractured underworld has never seemed so challenging.
Little does Paige know that her reign may be cut short by the introduction of Senshield, a deadly technology that spells doom for the clairvoyant community and the world as they know it…
The Song Rising (The Bone Season, #3)Review:
The third book in The Bone Season series. I think I should have read this a bit sooner after finishing the second because of all the terminology. I was a smidge confused for the first few chapters because I didn’t remember what everything was. Despite that, I really enjoyed this book. I cannot wait to see where this series will go next. I’m going to say now, if you haven’t read any of the books in this series, you shouldn’t continue reading this. This is the third book in the series so, if you haven’t read books ONE and TWO, please leave and I’ll see you after you enjoy those wonderful stories.
So, in this book we follow Paige after she’s kicked ass and taken names and made herself Underqueen of the Mime Order. I loved Paige in this book because she’s fierce and full of fire. She hates being pushed around and skirts the rules and restrictions at every turn. She’s passionate and determined, she’s smart and loyal. She does what she needs to in order to protect her people. I gained so much respect for her in this book because she never once puts herself ahead of anyone. Even though she’s the leader and she could just send people to accomplish things, she insists on doing the dangerous things herself. She will not put her people at risk. I think this is so admirable. She really proves over and over the lengths she’s willing to go for the people she leads.
There’s so much going on politically in this story. There are so many pieces in play at this point that it’s hard to even explain so I’m not going to. The politics were interesting and complex and had me completely involved in the story. I felt for these people we saw suffering. I wanted to help them just as much as Paige did. I think this world is so incredibly well-built and I loved seeing more of it. We did a fair bit of traveling to places outside of London and I thought it was so interesting to see how other places had been affected.
Finally, the Warden. The slowest slow burn I’ve ever seen. I can’t even handle it. I just want them to get together already. I’m a suck for forbidden romance. I’m really intrigued to see where this relationship is going to go and how things will end up. They are already irrevocably connected and I love it. I loved their few moments where they allowed themselves to show their feelings, but I wanted more. I want them to be together forever already. I don’t want slow burn anymore.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. The politics are getting serious. Paige is proving what kind of leader she is. Things are really getting thrilling. With that ending I’m dying to know where the next book is going to go. I hate that I have to wait until next year to find out.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

Summary:
A father and his son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don’t know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that. stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of scavenged food-and each other.
The Road is the profoundly moving story of a journey. It boldly imagines a future in which no hope remains, but in which the father and his son “each the other’s world entire,” are sustained by love. Awesome in the totality of its vision, The Road is an unflinching meditation on the worst and the best that we are capable of: ultimate destructiveness, desperate tenacity, and the tenderness that keeps two people alive in the face of total desolation.
The RoadReview:
I read this for my Popular and Contemporary Fiction course at school. I read it years ago when I was in high school and I remember totally loving it. But I didn’t love it this time. I didn’t enjoy the rule breaking the author does. He doesn’t use quotations of any sort. He does mostly telling and little showing. I think he pushed the limits and it worked for many people.
It was certainly a compelling story. Post-apocalyptic America due to some sort of world ending event that is never specified, is interesting for sure. All of the different kinds of people that come out in this sort of scenario. The man and the boy encounter all sorts, good and bad.
Overall, I thought this story was interesting and fast paced. Every page was filled with urgency to find out the fate of the man and the boy. There was so much symbolism and underlying messages within the story. I actually have to write a paper on this book and The Hunger Games based on the theme of survival, hope in the face of hopeless situations, and the power of family bonds. I definitely think this is an interesting read with many important themes within.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Blogmas Book Review – Dry by Neal Shusterman & Jarrod Shusterman

Summary:
Everyone’s going to remember where they were when the taps went dry.
The drought-or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it-has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s life has become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.
Until the taps run dry.
Suddenly Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a war zone of desperation; neighbors and families turning against one another in the hunt for water. When her parents don’t return, and she and her brother are threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.
Critically acclaimed author Neal Shusterman teams up with Jarrod Shusterman in this story of survival, when the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions.
Review:
Dry was one of my most anticipated released of this year. I’m a sucker for any sort of dystopian. I’m also a sucker for books that take place in settings I’m familiar with. I lived in San Diego for a few years where the reality of the drought is slowly creeping up on people and its all too real. I also was so easily able to picture this story happening because I was familiar with the area the story happens in. I love stories like this, or ones with vague-ish settings so I can fill in the blanks with places I know.

“People can be monsters. Whether it’s just their actions, or whether it’s who they really are, it doesn’t matter. The result is the same.”

This story is told through a few different perspectives. I really enjoyed this because we got to see into the minds of all the players in our story. So we got to see what was going through their heads before/during/after some of the seriously crazy things that happened. We also occasionally had some updates from around the city from helicopter pilots, power plant employees, other minor characters we meet in the story, truck drivers transporting water, and various news outlets. All of these various snippets ended up being tied into other important parts of the story and I liked how creatively this was done.

“But there’s that moment when you realize they’re not superheroes, or villains. They’re painfully, unforgivably human. The question is, can you forgive them for being human anyway?

I liked Alyssa, the first character we meet. She’s just trying to protect her little brother. Even though she mostly has no idea what’s going on, she quickly realizes that things are just going to get worse and worse. She tries to stay positive for Garrett (her brother) even when things were pretty much consistently falling apart and I liked that about her. Being able to put on a brave face for her brother though she knew nothing good was coming is admirable. Her little brother Garrett was a little trouble maker. He kept disappearing which sometimes complicated things and sometimes ended up helping things. I liked him because he made me relate to Alyssa more. (I have two little brothers and a little sister. They’re all older than Garrett, though I’d want to protect them no matter their age.)

“Why don’t they do something about it instead if spending time blaming people?”

Kelton, the neighbor, was a character that grew on me. I feel like he had the most development. He went from putting up a front, acting like he was a big bad tough guy that knew everything to a kid that has seen some real bad shit and might actually be that tough guy. I felt really bad for Kelton. He got the shittiest end of the stick in this story. Though his family was the most prepared for the Tap-Out, the worst befalls them.

“Tomorrow is going to have to take care of itself for a while,” Alyssa says. Then she adds, “Yesterday, too.”

Jaqui was our designated bad girl. Independent, sassy, reckless, and a little wild. I think I wanted to like her more than I did, until the end. She didn’t want to get attached to anyone at any point. But in the end, UGH. I can’t even talk about it. She redeemed herself and that’s all I’m going to say.

“Wasn’t it Jacqui who told us the human body is sixty percent water? Well, now I know what the rest is. The rest is dust, the rest is ash, it’s sorrow and it’s grief…But above all that, in spite of all that, binding us together…is hope. And joy. And a wellspring of all the things that still might be.”

Henry is trash. 100% nothing but trash. Every time I started to like him, he would screw things up again. He was self serving and screwed up a really good thing. He could have been part of the squad, but instead messed shit up over and over again.

“The worst part of doing something inexcusable is that you can never take it back. It’s like breaking a glass. It can’t unbreak. The best you can do is sweep it up, and hope you don’t step on the slivers you left behind.”

Overall, Dry was one of my most anticipated released of the year and it absolutely did not disappoint me. I love a good dystopian and this was exactly that. Set in the distant-ish future, but realistic to really bring some fears to the surface. It’s a story about how quickly people can and will shed their humanity in the face of disaster. A story that touches on fears that are all too real. This is an incredible story that is so much more than it seems. Written by a father/son duo, the Shusterman’s have outdone themselves with this, one of my new favorites without a doubt.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

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The Silver Queen by Josie Jaffrey

Summary: The last city on Earth is contaminated. Now blood is the only thing that can wash it clean.

Julia is trapped inside the Blue as the Nobles fight over the few humans who are still alive. When the dust settles and she finds herself shackled to a new master, she knows she must escape or die.

Meanwhile, Cam has gathered a handful of comrades and is on his way into the Red to rescue his queen. But not all of his friends can be trusted, and not all of them will make it back alive.

The Silver Queen is the second book in Josie Jaffrey’s Sovereign trilogy, set in a dystopian Europe where vampiric Nobles control the last remnants of the human race.

Review: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.
This is the second book in the Sovereign series. You can read my review of the first book here.
So I just reread my review of the first book to remind myself of which points I’ve already spoken about so I don’t repeat myself too much but I’ve just confused myself more. My feelings about the second book are practically opposite of what they were from the first; at least as far as the characters are concerned.
Originally I felt more connected with Cam and Felix’s relationship than I did Julia and Lucas’s. However, after the second book that’s been reversed for me. Maybe it’s because I started liking Felix less and less the more I read but I no longer support their relationship.
My favorite part of Julia and Lucas’s relationship is that, after he abandoned her in the Blue, she still loves him but no longer trusts him the same way. She’s learned to be independent and even after they’re reunited she questions their relationship. Not just because of the way he left her but because she realizes they’re different people now.
That being said, the romances are still my least favorite part of these books. They feel a little forced to me and I would’ve liked the story more if they weren’t part of it at all.
I like Julia even more now than I did after the first book. Things have changed. She’s had to learn things about herself and the world the hard way, make tough choices, fend for herself. I really admire the strength of her character after everything she’s been through.
Cam is still one of my favorites (except where Felix is concerned). Even after all this time he still tries to believe the best in people. He’s a soldier but doesn’t really want to be and I think those two aspects of his personality were blended really well. I can’t wait to see how the events of this book affect him in the next one.
Another problem I had was the maturity of the characters. Julia, Claudia, Lucas being immature sometimes I can understand. They’re young and emotional, it makes sense. Cameron and the other immortals being immature though? Many of these characters are close to a thousand years old. I could forgive it once or twice, especially where love is involved because people do stupid things when they’re in love and I don’t believe that gets better with age. That wasn’t the case here though. The immortals made the same kinds of decisions that the teenagers did and that didn’t seem realistic to me at all. It felt like some of their actions were forced to steer the plot in a certain direction and not because it was natural for that particular character.
My absolute favorite part of the book was the world-building. It really feels like a dystopian world. Travel takes weeks or even months because the closest thing to vehicles they have are horses and there aren’t many of them. There is no communication over distances because there’s no internet or mail system and they can’t train birds to send messages because animals have contaminated blood.
Even the different cures and contaminations were well thought out and interesting. (I won’t go into too much detail about that though to avoid spoilers.) I think Jaffrey did an amazing job on the world-building aspect of it and kept really great continuity throughout.
I only wish I could have seen some of what’s happening in other parts of the world. We really only get glimpses into a handful of settlements in what seems to be Europe. I’d love to know what’s happening in America and Africa and to find out how different places might be handling this new world. I can’t really be mad about it though because it would ruin that communication continuity I was just talking about.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I had a few problems with the characters but the plot and world-building more than made up for it. I’d recommend it to anyone who likes YA, dystopian, and paranormal. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

The Gilded King by Josie Jaffrey

Summary: In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.

Review: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review. I’m so glad she reached out to us about it; this book (and the prequel series Solis Invicti) hadn’t been on my radar yet and I’m so excited about them.
The Gilded King is the first book in Jaffrey’s Sovereign series. One thought I had throughout this book was that I really wished I’d read the Solis Invicti series first. The Sovereign series is meant to be standalone but I had so many questions about the history of this world and the way everything worked. Usually I like when world-building is added gradually to a story. I hate when a book starts with a giant chunk to explain the basics of that world to you. It’s frequently tedious and boring. With this book though, those details were added too slowly; I didn’t understand important details about this world until very late in the book. This just left me feeling confused for a lot of it and I kept going back and rereading sections to try to understand.
That being said, once I understood the world better I really enjoyed how unique it was. We’ve all seen enough dystopians that start with terrible plagues and vaccines that have unforeseen consequences but I thought the twist with the paranormal added a lot to it. The fact that the cure for the humans made their blood poisonous to vampires was something I wouldn’t have expected.
Another thing I thought was unique (at least from books I’ve read personally) was that humans have essentially become a slave race in certain parts of the world. There are still human settlements but in places where the Nobles (also called the Silver, depending on who’s talking) live, humans are treated like dirt. They’re called Servants but they have no rights. They’re not paid for their services and they have no choice in what they do. When Julia’s sent to serve Lucas, she’s going so he can drink her blood and she’s not allowed to say no. If they do, they’re exiled from the city which, as far as they know, is a death sentence.
I liked Julia for the most part. She was tough and intelligent. I liked that she questioned what the Nobles told the humans. One of the biggest problems for the humans living in the Blue was that the only information they’ve been given for centuries has been what the Nobles wanted them to think. Julia doesn’t always ask the right questions but at least she keeps asking them. The only thing I didn’t like about Julia was her behavior where Lucas was involved.
Lucas was a good character. He’s sweet, considerate, and tries to be true to himself even if it goes against the way Nobles are supposed to act. I was mildly annoyed that Julia happens to meet the only Noble who’s kind to humans; it’s a trope I’m a little sick of. When you have an entire race of people it’s not logical to think only one of them is morally good.
My main problem with Julia and Lucas though is their romance. First of all, it happens too quickly. Julia’s terrified of Nobles but is instantly attracted to Lucas and vice versa. Their relationship makes the mistake so common in YA, in that it progresses at an unrealistic rate. I also felt that I was being told-not-shown, if that makes sense. For most of the book, the romances (I’ll talk about Cameron and Felix later) felt very forced. I was not emotionally invested in these relationships.
Cameron was a really interesting character. He’s a member of the Solis Invicti, basically the guards of the Blue. For centuries he’s been exploring the Red (anything outside the Blue) looking for the lost queen, his friend Emmy. I found myself sympathizing with him quite a bit. No matter how long it’s been, he never gives up on Emmy or stops looking for her even when everyone else has. I’ve seen other reviews from people saying they were bored during Cameron’s parts but I didn’t have that problem at all. He was my favorite character so far.
I liked Felix for the most part. Seeing the difference between humans of the Blue and humans of the Red was really interesting. His attitude is bitter and resigned because he understands more about this world than others, like Julia. I particularly enjoyed seeing the contrast between them. He was also so mysterious that I just wanted to know more. His relationship with Cameron was also more believable, at least after the beginning. There was a sudden twist at the end about Felix (no spoilers, I swear) that I was extremely frustrated about. It just seemed so unnecessary.
Now to the part I loved: the plot. It was surprisingly intricate for the genre. There were times when I brushed something off as irrelevant or unimportant then it would suddenly tie into something later. It was also really cool watching Julia and Cameron’s opposite journeys. They never meet in this book and a lot of what happens to one sort of parallels the other but they almost always have one-half of certain information and the other has the rest. By the end I was screaming “If they could just have a conversation then everything would be okay”. It was infuriating but in a good way. I always like when I know more than the characters do. The ending also left me with so many questions half answered. It feels like this first book was just an opening for the second; it set the scene for all the craziness that’s going to happen next.
I wasn’t sure how much I liked this book and I definitely had some problems with it, but the ending made me really excited for the rest of the series. I think I’ll read the Solis Invicti series before the next book comes out and hopefully that will solve some of my confusion.
I’d recommend this book to anyone who likes YA, paranormal, or dystopian, though if you’re a reader who doesn’t like being left with tons of questions, this might not be the book for you. Thanks for reading!
-Antonia

Allegiant – Veronica Roth

Summary:
The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered-fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world pass the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.
But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature-and of herself-while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.
Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Review:
I just finished Allegiant and I’m still wiping the tears off my face. I can’t believe some of the things that happened. I really enjoyed watching these characters grow up and change as their lives changed. I really really liked Allegiant, but I’d have to say that Divergent is still my favorite. But there were so many things I liked about this book. One thing that made it a different experience was that it was told from both Tris’s and Four’s perspective. This was something I really liked because we could see more into Four’s head and know him better. Something else I made note of in the story that I liked was that even though Four and Tris are in a serious relationship, the things that go on between them are always kept appropriate for the younger readers. I thought that was nice. Allegiant was full of action and surprises and suspense. There were so many twists and turns, things I didn’t see coming. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time. I loved almost every page. I definitely think one of the twists could have been avoided and things written differently. But I’m not Veronica Roth, and she must have written it this way for a reason. Another thing I really liked about Allegiant was that it had so many good quotes. This is definitely going to be a series I read again and highlight next time.
Now, to the characters. Christina plays a bigger part in this book than she did in the two previous. I really enjoyed reading about so much of her. She’s spunky and funny and similar to a couple of my friends actually. She supports Tris so much in this book. The two had their ups and downs and worked through them. Christina becomes Tris’s go to person, after Four of course. Next is Peter. He doesn’t play a huge part in this story. But we still get to see him grow into an even more terrible person. He only does whats best for him. But at the end of the book I kind of seriously admire him. He knows that he’s an awful person, and makes the executive decision to do something about it. He gives himself a chance to start over. and I thought that was deserving of my respect.
I loved Caleb in the first book and hated him in the second. In Allegiant he tried to make things better. He put forth the effort. Not a lot of effort, but it was there. And in the end I forgave him just like Tris did. Caleb did quite a few stupid things, that he eventually came to deeply regret. Things that he was willing to give his life to make up for. At the end of Allegiant, I don’t hate Caleb, but I’m also not his biggest fan.
Four is the love of my life. But not really, because he and Tris are too perfect for each other for anyone to mess with that. In Allegiant, we get to read part of the book from Four’s perspective, which I loved because we got to know how he thinks and way more about him. He does something kind of dumb in the beginning of the book that Tris ends up forgiving him for. Four has a really hard time excepting his flaws and insecurities which is the only thing I don’t like about him. He’s way too hard on himself, mostly for things that he has no control over. Tris makes Four a better person, as well as the other way around. I love the relationship between these two so much. One thing I love is that unlike most other couples they actually talk to each other. They fix their problems. They get to the root of whats going wrong and make it better. And they survive as a couple because of this. They are just perfect for each other.
And now, we talk about Tris. Tris has gone through so much in these three books. She’s dealt with way more than any normal person could handle. She’s so strong. And I loved reading about her growing into a better person. She has a lot of people do many different tests on her. And she’s genuinely interested in learning about herself, which I think is awesome. She tries her best to understand herself as well as others. Tris really becomes the best possible version of herself, she’s very selfless. She puts herself in hard situations in place of people that really don’t deserve it. She knows exactly what she needs to change to become the person she aspires to be which is something not many people can do. “Then I thought of how strong I have become, how secure I feel with the person I am now, and how all along the way he has told me that I am brave, I am respected, I am loved and worth loving.”
I had a really hard time putting this book down once I picked it up. I bought it after dinner last night, read about a third of it before I fell asleep. Then I had to work this morning, and all I talked about all day long was how badly I just wanted to read my book. Allegiant was a thrilling, suspenseful, heartbreaking end to a very well loved trilogy. There were thing’s I never expected to happen and things that made me cry like a baby. As a whole, I really enjoyed reading Allegiant and being part of this story. Although I don’t agree with all of the writing choices made, I think it was a good end to the trilogy and I look forward to whatever else Veronica Roth writes.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.

Insurgent – Veronica Roth

Summary:
One choice can transform you-or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves-and herself-while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.
Tris’s initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable-and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.
New York Times bestselling author Veronica Roth’s much-anticipated second book of the dystopian Divergent series is another intoxicating thrill ride of a story, rich with hallmark twists, heartbreaks, romance, and powerful insights about human nature.

Review:
I love Veronica Roth so much for writing these books and giving me the opportunity to read them. So far I haven’t been even a little disappointed with what I’ve read. Insurgent, the second book in the trilogy, was a fast paced read filled with excitement and I loved every page. It started pretty much right where Divergent left off, which I loved. Series that skip months at a time between books kind of get on my nerves. I like knowing everything, so don’t skip anything! I explained all about how the government works in my review of the first book, so if you don’t understand, read that review first. I’m really glad these are longer books because I just can’t get enough. Every page has something exciting or important to the story which helped keep me interested throughout the whole book. One thing I really liked about Insurgent was the descriptions Roth gave us. You can picture everything perfectly. It was just worded really well, there wasn’t an overwhelming amount of detail or too little amount. This book has a sense of urgency to it. Which made me want to read it faster and just figure out what happens! I’m usually not terribly good at guessing what’s going to happen next, but with Insurgent I figured out what the big secret was about halfway through the book. There were a few other things that I guessed right, which made me feel clever. If you read my review of Divergent, you’ll know about my unhealthy love for this set of fictional characters. That didn’t change with the second book, I actually think I love them more, so lets talk about them!
Again, I’m going to save the best for last, so I’ll start with Tris’s fellow initiates. Christina and Tris have issues for most of the book, but Christina comes around eventually and becomes Tris’s partner in crime. Uriah and Marlene become closer and spend more time with Tris in the second book. They help her and become one of her supports. I love them both. Last is Peter and Drew (Molly isn’t around). Drew’s part isn’t huge. He mostly has funny eye patches and is a bad guy that does normal bad guy things. Peter, however, is someone I still haven’t quite figured out. He ends up helping quite a bit in a few different situations. But in others he’s the bad guy again and hurts Tris and her friends. I’m curious to see where his character will go in the next book.
I mentioned Caleb, Beatrice’s brother, in my review of the first book. But I don’t have anything to say about him that wouldn’t be a huge spoiler. I just can’t even with him right now.
Next comes Four. He’s definitely grown a lot in the second book. He also definitely still has issues. But he’s not the moody mysterious hot guy anymore. All the chaos has done him well. He’s grown up that bit more that he needed. Four and Tris fight a fair bit during Insurgent. Four usually picks fights with her. Sometimes with very damn good reason, and sometimes with misguided ideas, but never to hurt her. He’s always looking out for her with everything he does. She is his main concern at all times. Although, he lets some of his trust issues come between them and things are rocky for a bit. They make it through when he comes to his senses. When they’re not fighting Four just has so much faith in Tris, he supports her completely and totally, when she’s not endangering herself. I want a love like theirs. At one point Tris thinks, “I am his, and he is mine, and it has been that way all along.” I want someone to feel like this about me.
Now, the best for last, Tris. She has grown up so much in this book. At the beginning she was getting herself into situations she couldn’t handle sometimes just for the hell of it, but mostly because she feels responsible. Tris feels that she’s very important, which she is to an extent. But some of the things she does are super unnecessary. She is determined and persistent, sometimes selfless, and always brave. Tris is an awesome main character and I can’t wait to see where she goes next.
Overall, I loved this book. In case you didn’t catch that already. I definitely liked Divergent better, although I’m hoping Allegiant is my favorite. Insurgent was filled with action and suspense, romance and friendship, and just all around craziness. I loved every page. I hope you will too.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.

Divergent – Veronica Roth

Summary:
In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-old’s must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, Tris also learns that her secret might help her save the ones she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Review:
When I sat down to write this review I thought, hmm…how to start? This is what I came up with.
Divergent: 1) differing; deviating
2) (of a mathematical expression) having no finite limits
The definition of the title of this book is extremely relevant to every word of this book. The characters, the plot, the vocabulary. They all differ from what’s defined as normal. Sure, some parts aren’t so different, but as a whole Divergent by Veronica Roth was exactly what it’s title defined. I loved almost everything about this book. The characters were phenomenal and I love them, with that unhealthy, the don’t actually exist , I’ll pine for them forever kind of love. The story line is dystopian, the world’s already ended, and we have a new, better functioning system in place. But we all know those don’t usually last. The way this system works is a fair bit different than most of the others I’ve read. It’s a solid plan, as long as every member of each faction believes and acts how their faction is supposed to. Which, again, never lasts. There’s always that one that’s greedy and wants to change things. Divergent has chaos, romance, upheaval, and an almost happy ending. I’m just really glad there wasn’t a huge heartbreaking cliff hangar. Roth makes it obvious she wrote somethings a certain way for a reason. It’s written very well; It doesn’t jump from here to there and back again. It was pretty fast paced, with the occasional slow part. Although there wasn’t a cliff hangar, there were quite a few surprises. I’d start to guess at things, be wrong, start to accept that I was wrong, then BAM the truth comes out and I was right the whole time. Divergent was a very well written faced paced thrill ride that I hope every book is when I open to the first page, and I loved every minute of it.
Usually I start with the man character, but I don’t think I will in this case. Saving the best for last and all that. So, Caleb Prior, Beatrice’s older brother, caught me by surprise quite a few times. I originally thought he was the golden child that followed all the rules and would do exactly as expected. He didn’t. Every time I thought he’d do one thing, he’d do the opposite. We see Caleb mostly in the beginning and then the end of Divergent, and I hope we see more of him in the next book.
I’m going to mention Tris’ fellow initiatives as a whole because some of them don’t deserve their own paragraphs and some wouldn’t be able to make a whole paragraph. First there’s Christina and Will, who are some of Tris’ few friends on this adventure. They’re supportive and there for her when she needs them. They don’t exclude her and her through almost everything she goes through. Then there’s Uriah and Marlene. Uriah makes friends with Tris and introduces her to Marlene. The two aren’t a huge shoulder to lean on, but they’re familiar faces. They defend her and look out for her when they can. Last are Peter, Molly, and Drew. They’re assholes and I hate them. They pick on Tris relentlessly. They even try to kill her once or twice. They’re bullies and they don’t deserve the kindness Tris shows them.
Which brings me to Tris herself, which I lied about her being last. There’s one more after her, but I did say I was saving the best for last. Tris is your typical girl that makes crazy choices, and you’re always rooting for her. She’s bold, and brave, and seriously smart. She knows exactly how to act in every situation to tip it in her advantage. I liked being able to follow this story from her perspective. Watching how she thinks about all the choices she had to make. I think Tris was my favorite because she stands up for what she believes in and works her way to the top.
Now, saving the best for last I introduce Four. Yes, he’s actually called Four. He has another name, but I can’t mention it because you have to be as mind blown as I was. I adore Four; he’s hot, obviously, H[e’s really up and down the entire book. Four and Tris end up involved at one point and I just love them together. But he’s kind of moody. He tries to do the right thing all the time. But seems to get himself in bad situations a fair amount. I just love him so much, so you should too.
I bought the second book in the trilogy earlier today, Insurgent, and I can’t wait to start it. Divergent was such a good book. I think it could have just ended there. I mean, there would be alot that just went unanswered. I’m just so glad there’s two more books. Divergent was wonderfully written. Suspense, excitement, chaos, romance, adventure on every page. I loved every minute of it. So you should go to you local book store or library or wherever you go to get books and get this book and love it as much as I do.

Keep on reading lovelys, Amanda.