Tag Archives: 4.5 stars

Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

  • TitleThe Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)
  • AuthorAlexandra Bracken
  • SourceReview Copy from Publisher
  • No. of Pages488
  • PublishedDecember 18, 2012 by Disney Hyperion
  • Rating4.5/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Many thanks to Disney Hyperion for the review copy!

I was very, very excited to receive The Darkest Minds due to the great number of rave reviews I’ve seen for this book. In fact, I had really high expectations for this book right from the very first word printed on the page, and I’m glad to say I fell in love with it pretty quickly.

The story started at a quick pace, and I was immediately thrust into Ruby’s (the protagonist) dystopian world, where thousands of kids are classified into five colors–Green, Yellow, Red, Blue, and Orange. These kids were survivors of a mysterious disease that infected only children, and those who lived had special powers of different kinds, thus resulting into the five classifications above. On Ruby’s tenth birthday, her parents were scared enough of her to lock her in the garage and call for the police to pick her up and she got sent to Thurmond, a ‘rehabilitation camp’ for children who had brains wired differently from other people. Six years later, Ruby is still at Thurmond, except she has a secret that she has kept since she set foot in the camp when she was a child, one that could threaten her life and her chances of having a relatively normal life among the other kids and teens. After managing to escape with the help of unlikely people involved in a surprising organization, Ruby somehow gets picked up by a group of three–Suzume, (Zu) Liam, and Chubs–who have a single goal: To look for the Slip Kid, a mysterious character who helps those who have escaped from various rehabilitation camps for children with special abilities.

The plot was a wonderfully imaginative one, filled with roller coaster twists and turns, shocking new characters, and a brilliant new perspective on the government, society, and the special abilities that were dangerous enough to blow everything out of proportion. Furthermore, the way Alexandra Bracken built her dystopian world was, as a matter of fact, extremely interesting since it was laced with mind-blowing revelations and beautiful writing. Also, If I am remembering right, there were no less than four twists in this novel, and since they were all interconnected, the book never failed to surprise me again and again even if I knew that a certain twist or event was going to happen anyway.

The characters, too, were awfully endearing and brave ones, and I liked how Ruby trusted her gut despite being holed up in Thurmond for most of her life. She had quick instincts that either benefited her or made a catastrophe of everything, but she managed to keep the balance and find loyal friends in Chubs, Liam, and Zu, who took her in under their wing. One of my favorite characters is Chubs, actually, because he was a character who evolved so well throughout the novel, and despite his initial pig-headedness, he grew to be a loyal friend you’d love to have on your side. Liam, I thought, was a good love interest for Ruby, though he didn’t affect me in the way Chubs did. He was, however, a brave and selfless character who complemented Ruby perfectly, and he acted as the cutest big brother to Zu as well. Clancy was a surprising character, though, since I never expected him to actually play a part in the book, and I wish things turned out differently for him.

After reading the whole book, though, I had one question that attacked me over and over again despite my efforts to shoo it away: Wasn’t the government afraid the population would die out? Up until now, I still can’t find a plausible reason as to why they would allow such a thing, but we’ll see in the sequels.

Overall, The Darkest Minds was a fantastic read, and throughout the whole book, I felt like Alexandra Bracken was pulling the floor out from under my feet again and again until I was free-falling into the wonders of this beautiful and horrifying world she has managed to create.

 

Review: Firelight by Sophie Jordan

  • TitleFirelight (Firelight #1)
  • AuthorSophie Jordan
  • SourceBought
  • No. of Pages326
  • Rating4.5/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
A hidden truth.
Mortal enemies.
Doomed love.

Marked as special at an early age, Jacinda knows her every move is watched. But she longs for freedom to make her own choices. When she breaks the most sacred tenet among her kind, she nearly pays with her life. Until a beautiful stranger saves her. A stranger who was sent to hunt those like her. For Jacinda is a draki, a descendant of dragons whose greatest defense is her secret ability to shift into human form.

Forced to flee into the mortal world with her family, Jacinda struggles to adapt to her new surroundings. The only bright light is Will. Gorgeous, elusive Will who stirs her inner draki to life. Although she is irresistibly drawn to him, Jacinda knows Will's dark secret: He and his family are hunters. She should avoid him at all costs. But her inner draki is slowly slipping away;if it dies she will be left as a human forever. She'll do anything to prevent that. Even if it means getting closer to her most dangerous enemy.

Mythical powers and breathtaking romance ignite in this story of a girl who defies all expectations and whose love crosses an ancient divide.

I can’t believe that I actually let myself leave Firelight sitting in my TBR pile for four months. I’ve heard great stuff about it last year, but for some reason, I couldn’t bring myself to read it. But I’m so glad that I finally came to my senses and caved, because it is FAN-FREAKING-TASTIC! It’s a great read for paranormal addicts such as myself—I guarantee that you won’t be able to put Firelight down once you start.

Let me list the things that I loved about this book.

First of all, the characters. My personal favorite is actually Jacinda, the protagonist in this novel. Though her rebelliousness is what had gotten her ending up in the mortal world, the reader can see how selfless and kind she really is, though her family and pride (this basically means a large group draki–descendants of the dragons–living together, with a alpha leading it) doesn’t think so. It’s sad, how her family wants nothing but to kill her draki, and her pride wants to use her to produce more fire-breathing draki, because she’s the only one that has that special talent. I like Will as well, who ends up being Jacinda’s love interest. He’s noble, and though he was raised to believe that Jacinda’s kind is evil, Will doesn’t think that it is right. The fact that he spared Jacinda’s life plus his looks was enough to make me swoon.

Lastly, Cassian. Son of the alpha of the pride, and the one who Jacinda was supposed to mate with. I really think that he loves her, but Jacinda just couldn’t see it because she was so set on believing that Cassian was just like his father. And, for some reason, I feel rather drawn to him, and I’m curious to find out more about Cassian in the next installment.

And yes, I love, love, love the plot! I’ve never come across a YA novel with the concept of dragons spun into something as unique as this! I have to applaud Sophie Jordan with the creativity and the complexity of the story, which made it very fascinating and thrilling to read.

The only reason why I gave Firelight a 4.5 was because of the insta-love. Usually I give books containing this a 3.5 or below—I’m definitely not a huge fan, because it is never convincing for me. But with this… I could actually understand why Will and Jacinda were so drawn to each other because of the connection they shared. Jacinda needed Will because it kept her draki alive, and Will was the only who spared her life the night she was hunted down by his family. However, I wish that it still could have been taken a little bit slower, to make it more realistic.

Other than that, Firelight is high on my recommendations list! It’s a must-read for everyone looking for a new and fresh story that hasn’t been told before. The mystery and the intensity that each and every word contains will truly make you feel as though you too, are soaring along Jacinda in her flight through the misty blue skies.

Review: The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

  • TitleThe Unbecoming of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #1)
  • AuthorMichelle Hodkin
  • SourceBought
  • No. of Pages452
  • Rating4.5/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.

It can.

She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.

There is.

She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.

She’s wrong.

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is the kind of book that creeps up slowly and suddenly punches you in the face when you least expect it.

Suspense was the key in this novel, and that element was achieved through the flashbacks that Mara experienced. Little parts of her life were exposed in those dreams of her, thus revealing who Mara really is as well. At the start of the novel, I already suspected Mara was responsible for all the events that she thought were merely ‘coincidences.’ That wasn’t exactly a questionable fact, even if you know absolutely nothing about the novel. The question was, what was she?

I stopped trying to figure this out, though, when Noah, in all his cocky glory, made an appearance. Disheveled, rebellious, and the ultimate bad boy on the outside, Noah is gentle on the inside, and a complete sweetheart. However, I found a few flaws with his character development, especially because he switched personalities and attitudes so much without so much as a good reason. I think the author inserted his nationality being British too so that he would seem more appealing–hey, it sort of worked–but he wasn’t exactly developed in the way that I would like. (Take Etienne from Anna and the French Kiss for example–British through and through) In the end, though, his secret is revealed so I guess I could give him some leeway for being so bipolar.

Mara, however, definitely didn’t have that problem. She was witty, sarcastic, and a lovable character all merged into one. Not only that, but she was badass and just a little bit crazy with her hallucinations and visions that sometimes I, myself couldn’t distinguish reality from fantasy. Her quips with Noah made me laugh and swoon at the same time–she always knew exactly what to say to make me turn the pages at lightning speed.

At the very last page of the book, I still had so many questions left unanswered, especially because of the killer cliffhanger that made me want to tear my hair out. Plus, I never really found out what exactly Mara and Noah were. What are their limits? What exactly can they do? Are there others like them? Plus, will Jamie, the awesome friend Mara had, make another appearance? (He is SO awesome. Though he didn’t exactly play a vital part in the story, I would smile whenever I saw his name on another page)

Fortunately, The Evolution of Mara Dyer is out already (and has been for weeks) so I will get answers. All in all, though, The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is a must-read, for it is unique, refreshing, and totally has that kickass protagonist who can and will stand up for herself. Though too little information was revealed, the plot was wonderful and kept me guessing the whole time.

Review: Mark of Athena by Rick Riordan

  • TitleMark of Athena (Heroes of Olympus #3)
  • AuthorRick Riordan
  • SourceBought
  • No. of Pages586
  • PublishedOctober 02, 2012 by Hyperion Book CH
  • Rating4/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
Annabeth is terrified. Just when she's about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo's fantastical creation doesn't appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.

And that's only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?

Annabeth's biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he's now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader, but never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side.

Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare....

For starters, let me say that I missed Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper and the rest of the characters while I waited for Mark of Athena to be released. And let me tell you that the latest addition to the series did not disappoint.

The novel has several point of views’—Percy, Annabeth, Piper and Leo. It made me extra excited to read the novel—well, because all were my favorite characters. What kept me intrigued and interested in the story the entire time was that each and every person had a different mission. Annabeth had to find the Mark of Athena, Jason and Piper went to find the cornucopia, and Hazel, Frank and Leo had to go and save Nico, to name a few. What was even better was how Rick Riordan managed to balance it all out, so that there wasn’t too much of one, or too little of another. Each character was given equal time in the spotlight, something that I like whenever a book has different POV’s.

The characters definitely evolved, yet managed to maintain their funny, witty personalities that Percy Jackson fans will never forget. Take Leo for example. Though he is more cautious now, he’s still the funny guy who never fails to put a smile on someone face—and built a complicated mechanism at the same time.

I guess since I’m a couple of years older then when I started the series, and more exposed to different writing styles, the novel seemed a tad bit juvenile for me. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the plot thoroughly, and will not hesistate to pick up a copy of House of Hades. I’m sure that if my twelve-year-old self were reading Mark of Athena at the moment, it would be something I would truly love and read over and over again.

 

 

Review: Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

  • TitleThe Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey #2)
  • AuthorJulie Kagawa
  • SourceBought
  • No. of Pages359
  • PublishedAugust 01, 2010 by Harlequin Teen
  • Rating4.5/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.

Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

There was one thing for sure: Once you step into Nevernever, your life will change— forever. For years, Meghan had lived a simple life of a farmer girl in Louisiana with her mother, stepdad and her little brother. It seems like a nice, quiet and normal life, doesn’t it? However, in first novel, when her brother got kidnapped, she realized that there was more than just school, and boys and the mean cheerleaders who occasionally victimized her. She was half-faery, half-mortal. To top it off, Meghan was also the daughter of King Oberon, king of the summer court.

Struggling to adapt to this reality that was only a dream before, trying to be the person everyone envisioned her to be and aching for the boy whom she would give her heart in a second to, there is only so much a person can take.

Now, she’s back in Nevernever, taken as hostage by Queen Mab. But, at the feast after the Scepter of Seasons was transferred from Summer to Winter, there was an attack, and the scepter was stolen by the much-feared Iron Fey. They’re practically immune to attacks, and since they are made of iron, fatal to the other faeries.

Determined that she wasn’t the type of girl to stand back behind the scenes, Meghan decides to prove that she is worthy for her title and go after the precious weapon.

However, she isn’t alone. Accompanying her in her mission to retrieve the scepter, is Prince Ash. Otherwise known as the Winter Prince. A seemingly tough exterior, yet troubled and lost inside. Third in line to the Winter throne, Ash can make any girl—mortal or fey—fifty feet away swoon.

But, Prince Ash held a few secrets of his own, which gave him this sort of mysterious aura throughout the story. This made me anticipate parts wherein Ash would appear— especially when he would be talking to Meghan (Did I mention that not only is he drop-dead gorgeous, but extremely sweet and protective and loyal as well? No? Well, he is. There.)

He’s Meghan’s main love interest, but he refuses to return her feelings  because he was terrified of what the consequences may be, and the harm that can come upon Meghan. This is because since Ash is Winter, and she’s Summer, even smiling at each other was frowned upon by people from both courts.

Of course, in almost every story, the main character has to have a best friend.

You can call him Puck.

Funny, outrageous and every bit like the infamous Puck in the Midsummer’s Dream— because they are both one and the same. Subtlety, (quote unquote from Ash) was never his strong suit. Robin Goodfellow, another name which he is called, always opted to turn people’s wigs into ferrets as a distraction, a far contrast from the Winter Prince, who prefered using glamour and less suspicious means as well. He’s Meghan’s best friend and steadfast as well. Puck never failed to put Meghan first, even though it meant risking his own life. Charged by the Summer King to take care of his daughter, Puck was sent to live in the Mortal world for sixteen years—an very hard thing for the fey to do, because they can only stay a certain time in the mortal world before going crazy. Yet, being a loyal subject of the Summer court did not fail King Oberon for he stayed— not only because he was sworn to duty, but because of his growing love for Meghan.

Oh, and one last little—okay, major—detail. Puck and Prince Ash are enemies. Not the petty, you-knocked-over-my-glass-of-juice-and-didn’t-say-sorry kind or rivalry, but the I’m-gonna-run-a-sword-through-you-the-next-time-we-meet-and-laugh-as-you-bleed sort.

However, though I loved the storyline and the romance between Meghan and Ash, I was wavering on what rating I was going to give Iron Daughter. This little bit of criticism mainly centers on the characters. I do wish that Megan would have spent more time with Ash, at least to get to know him more. Also, I would have wanted to see Meghan stand up for herself and be strong— especially during the time when Ash was treating her horribly in front of the Winter Court— instead of weeping when she was alone. But perhaps there is a reason why Julie Kagawa made her personality this way at this stage of the series—who knows, maybe Meghan will evolve in the third installment.

Overall, the plot itself was amazing. Filled with adventure yet shrouded with mystery at the same time, this is a read that I will recommend to anyone who loves a good YA novel with humor, romance and thrill all expertly woven together.

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

  • TitleAnna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss #1)
  • AuthorStephanie Perkins
  • SourceBought
  • No. of Pages372
  • PublishedDecember 02, 2010 by Dutton
  • Rating4.5/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.

But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?

Before I started reading Anna and the French Kiss, I was in a reading rut. It was so bad that I was practically reading five books at the same time, yet I couldn’t finish even one of them! When I decided to start a new book yet again, (Anna and the French Kiss) I hoped and prayed that I would actually finish this one.

Well, it seemed like I made the right choice.

Just from page one, I was hooked. This light, refreshing read was definitely something I needed, especially since I was sick that day. For hours and hours, I just sat on my bed, hungrily devouring the book and flipping the pages faster than I ever did in a month! I was finally my old self again—and I was glad.

Anna and the French Kiss is a cute novel that speaks of a teenage girl’s somehow clichéd life. Her parents send her off to a boarding school all alone, and she meets a majorly hot (English) guy who sweeps her off her feet just within seconds of seeing each other.

So doesn’t it seem like happily ever after?

The catch is, he has a girlfriend, and Anna—well, she kind of has one back home too. A crush, at least. And to top it all off, her new friend at the boarding school is majorly interested in said English boy, and has been for who knows how long!

Though it lacked a bit in plot-building, this book literally had me on an emotional roller coaster the whole time–giggling and blushing at the sweet scenes and throwing pillows around at the Anna-you-are-so-dense scenes, but mostly I had a huge grin on my face at every page. Anna and the French Kiss was definitely an easy read, one that you can breeze through in a matter of hours without heavy thinking or analyzing. Every part just seemed to fit and every scene transported me back to every teen romance/contemporary novel that I read and loved.

But the best thing I liked about this book were the characters.

Anna was absolutely delightful to have as a first person POV. Her inner voice just spoke to me and I could relate to her completely, even though I have never experienced what she has done. If you have read my other reviews, you would know that I’m not big on character development because my judgment on that all depends on whether or not I sympathized or related to a character or not. I gave Anna a big check on that department because she will definitely be a character who will stick in my mind for a long time. Even in her densest moments, (are all girls in YA books like that or what?) she was an endearing character and still remained a relatable one.

Etienne was the epitome of any real-life guy you could ever want. In the book, he was portrayed as an extremely good-looking guy with an English accent, and the only flaw that was presented (physically, at least) was his shortness in height. (not that it really matters) I took into consideration that little and insignificant flaw because I really appreciated how the author tried her best to make Etienne seem real as a character. Aside from this, however, he is also portrayed as a character who is a little bit afraid of change, as evidenced in the way he acted in the book. He didn’t let this trait ruin his happily-ever-after, though, so bonus points for that, and his mysterious back story that certainly added depth to his character.

All the other characters were nice to read about and I loved the chemistry between the whole gang of friends in Paris. It was your typical high school romance story, only with more drama and a more exotic setting.
Stephanie Perkins presented a seemingly-ordinary story in a much more extraordinary way, with a touch of flair and drama in every page. This book got me out of my month-long reading rut, and is definitely recommended to hopeless romantics out there who love nice, easy reads about relatable characters who will stick with you until after you close the book. Though it was a cliché, it stood out in its own unique way.

Review of Dreamless by Josephine Angelini

  • TitleDreamless (Starcrossed #2)
  • AuthorJosephine Angelini
  • SourceBorrowed
  • No. of Pages487
  • PublishedMay 29, 2012 by HarperTeen
  • Rating4.5/5
  • Check it outGoodreads or Amazon
As the only scion who can descend into the Underworld, Helen Hamilton has been given a nearly impossible task. By night she wanders through Hades, trying to stop the endless cycle of revenge that has cursed her family. By day she struggles to overcome the fatigue that is rapidly eroding her sanity. Without Lucas by her side, Helen is not sure she has the strength to go on.

Just as Helen is pushed to her breaking point, a mysterious new Scion comes to her rescue. Funny and brave, Orion shields her from the dangers of the Underworld. But time is running out--a ruthless foe plots against them, and the Furies' cry for blood is growing louder.

As the ancient Greek world collides with the mortal one, Helen's sheltered life on Nantucket descends into chaos. But the hardest task of all will be forgetting Lucas Delos.

To be blunt, I did not enjoy Starcrossed as much as I first assumed I would. There were huge info drops that led to confusion, and I often found myself getting annoyed with several characters. I finally caved to reading Dreamless because (1) I was rather curious for how the sequel went on, (2) The gorgeous cover and (3) The persistence of my friends. And yes, I’m so glad that I did, and you’ll find out why later on in my review.

First off, we have Helen Hamiltion, also know as the Descender. She’s the main propogantist in this novel. Beautiful, brave and heir of the House of Aphrodite. From the very beginning of the story, Helen was entrusted with a mission—to descend into the Underworld every night in her dreams, something that only a selected number of Scions can do, much less attempt too.

Then we have Lucas Delos, also known as Luke. Handsome, clever and heir of the House of Thebes. He and Helen are in love with each other, however, upon the revelation that they are cousins in Starcrossed, they are forced to keep their relationship a secret. But, Lucas’ father soon realizes what was going on, and tells his son that Luke better end things with her, for what Luke was doing at the moment was just hurting her even more.

Lastly, Orion. Head of the House of Rome, gorgeous, outrageous and a skilled fighter. He has rare abilities that no other Scion has, such as creating powerful earthquakes as well was reaching into another person’s heart- being able to make it fall in love, or break it beyond repair. However, Orion doesn’t abuse his powers. Instead, he uses it for the better and for the benefit for others, which I found quite honorable. His sweet and funny personality caught my eye as well, and he is one of my favorite characters in the story.

The plot was truly well thought out. I never would have thought of it at all! Most of the time, whenever I read books like these, it usually centers on the main character, who had special powers of some sort. But not Dreamless. Josephine Angelini showed us that mortals can play a part as well, and not just be those people on the sidelines, screaming and running around while the propagandist goes off and saves the day. This was a really huge leap from Starcrossed, where at times, I didn’t understand what was happening, and it was centered a lot on Helen and how she feels about Lucas all the time.

The romance was incredibly frustrating, I’ll give you that. But it was something that made the story even more intruiging and captivating than it already was. I was definitely a Team Lucas (Who wouldn’t be?) from the very start, but I found myself wavering between him and the other male propagantist, Orion, as the story progressed. Even up to now, though I’ve decided I favor Lucas, I have a feeling the last book of the trilogy might tip the scales for me again. We’ll just have see what will happen.

I liked how Josephine Angelini made use of subplots- but then in the end, connected them in a way that they formed one, huge intricate plot with tons of twists, turns and surprises. That was something that I enjoyed most, especially how it switches from one character’s point of view to another’s, so that the reader can get a taste of how it feels to be in their position in the story.

A small comment however. At the start of the novel, I wasn’t so interested in Dreamless as I was near the end because there were just paragraphs and paragraphs of explaining why this or that was so. I’m the kind of person who likes to figure out what the cause of one thing was and why this happened. But, I suppose this is also a way that was used so that the reader would be able to understand fully what was happening in the story.

Dreamless is a very interesting and amazing read. Josephine Angelini writes with such grace that leaves the reader breathless and begging for more. I definitely can’t wait for the final book of the trilogy- I’m sure they would be as awesome as the previous ones. Making use of Greek Mythology as well as modern-day Nantucket, Massachusetts, the author has woven an unforgettable tale that I would always treasure.

Review of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard

Review of Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Hardcover, 371 pages
Published on July 24, 2012 (Harper Teen)
Goodreads|Amazon

The year is 1876, and there’s something strange and deadly loose in Philadelphia…

Eleanor Fitt has a lot to worry about. Her brother has gone missing, her family has fallen on hard times, and her mother is determined to marry her off to any rich young man who walks by. But this is nothing compared to what she’s just read in the newspaper—

The Dead are rising in Philadelphia.

And then, in a frightening attack, a zombie delivers a letter to Eleanor…from her brother.

Whoever is controlling the Dead army has taken her brother as well. If Eleanor is going to find him, she’ll have to venture into the lab of the notorious Spirit-Hunters, who protect the city from supernatural forces. But as Eleanor spends more time with the Spirit-Hunters, including their maddeningly stubborn yet handsome inventor, Daniel, the situation becomes dire. And now, not only is her reputation on the line, but her very life may hang in the balance.
~
When I first discovered Something Strange and Deadly through Susan Dennard’s twitter, I was unsure of reading the book. The cover was beautiful, there was no doubt about that, but when I found out that it was a steampunk/zombie novel, I was instantly wary.

Why.

First of all, I had never read a steampunk book (not including The Infernal Devices, because, well, it’s the prequel of The Mortal Instruments, and I couldn’t turn that down!) with a zombie twist thrown into the mix!

But then, I happened to read a scene from SS&D in Susan’s SS&D website a few days short of its release and what can I say? It completely blew me away. The descriptive and magical writing itself already convinced me to read the book, but when I discovered a whole new different world just by reading that scene–well, I was almost sure that I would like, if not love, the book.


The Cover

Gorgeous cover. Even if it IS the cliched girl-posing-with-a-dress cover, it is much, much more than that. I just recently discovered (and by recently, I mean after finishing the book) that when you tilt the book a little bit, there are gears and machinery stuff on the cover. Talk about cool! It definitely introduced the steampunk side of the book just through the cover. Also, the title font is beautiful as well. Call me weird, but I pay special attention to title and chapter fonts, just because they’re pretty. (Delirium by Lauren Oliver has one of the best chapter header fonts, just saying)

The Characters

Eleanor, obviously, is the protagonist in SS&D. I find it very hard to hate the protagonist of any novel, so you’ll rarely see me writing a review which includes something along the lines of “The character was so snobby and stuck-up, way annoying especially since it was written in first person. I wanted to scream at her and slap her hard across the face.”
Nope, so not me. I don’t pay much attention to the ‘realness’ of a character, to be honest. But I’ll say straight up whether or not the protagonist stuck with me and whether I sympathized with him/her.
So for Eleanor, I did sympathize with her character. I appreciated the great lengths she would go to for her brother and her overall tough attitude. Sure, she may seem like a delicate person-complete with her dresses and her lacy parasol, but she has a hard interior underneath. She’s stubborn, persistent, and extremely hard-headed, but endearing at the same time, which I feel is important in a character. You can’t just be the rebel of a story-you need a backstory, the whole reason why you rebel in the first place. And I found that in Eleanor.

Daniel starts off hating Eleanor-which I did not expect at all. He goes out of his way to annoy her at all costs and remind her that she isn’t one of the Spirit-Hunters, that she is just one of those ‘snobby little princesses,’ people who think that they’re better than others. After every page though, I could feel his icy exterior melting little by little as he spent more time with Eleanor and got to know her as a person.

I loved finding more about Daniel along with Eleanor, since it was written in the first person POV, and I loved that he wasn’t simply ‘the character who the protagonist falls in love with,’ which is something I sometimes see in other YA stories. He was his own character, someone who experienced a lot of things before he met Eleanor.

The Plot

The story started out with a zombie attack. I found this to be a good strategy, especially because the readers are immediately exposed to the whole world of mystery that the author has written–without knowing the whole story and all the answers yet, of course. I liked how almost every page had something happening, and how the zombies in this story were different from the usual ones you read in other books.

They weren’t the usual ‘infected’ zombies, rather, they were people who rose from the dead, people who literally left their graves. In this case, a necromancer controlled them so they didn’t exactly have a mind of their own. This little twist interested me, especially because I dove into the story thinking they were the stereotypical zombies of YA fiction. I loved learning more and more about this different kind of zombie as I breezed through the book, and all the other ‘new’ things like the inventions of the Spirit-Hunters.


One little comment, though. I found myself skipping over some paragraphs when Daniel or the other Spirit-Hunters were explaining things to Eleanor. I mean, I did want to know more about what was going on, but I couldn’t bring myself to concentrate on the facts they were saying because I guess it was too wordy for me. But still, I doubled back and read those paragraphs because they were, in fact, relevant to the plot, though I sometimes didn’t get how things worked. Like the goggles, for example. I read the explanation carefully, but I guess the practical side in me couldn’t accept it. I was always trying to pull out scientific facts to try to explain it.


But that wasn’t such a big problem, especially because it was necessary for the author to explain the history behind the things happening, I mean, how are the readers supposed to know?


The writing, though, was exquisite. The description made me feel almost like I was standing in 1876 Philadelphia myself, with a swarm of zombies right at my heels. The ending too, had closure, which was something I wanted, though I have a feeling that a cliffhanger is going to come out in the second book.


Something Strange and Deadly was absolutely magical, unearthing a whole new world of fantasy and steampunk that I never could have imagined. The writing pulls you in the book itself, making you feel as if you are Eleanor Fitt, the unforgettable protagonist of the story.


And don’t forget…
AIM FOR THE KNEES! :)


“Miss Fitt, you know curiosity gets men killed.”
I grinned. “Then I daresay it’s good I’m a woman.” 

This quote made me crack up! =))