dystopian, science fiction, scifi, young adult

Book Review: Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Title: Unwind
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Length: 352, Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Science Fiction
Rating: 4.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
In America after the Second Civil War, the Pro-Choice and Pro-Life armies came to an agreement: The Bill of Life states that human life may not be touched from the moment of conception until a child reaches the age of thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, a parent may choose to retroactively get rid of a child through a process called “unwinding.” Unwinding ensures that the child’s life doesn’t “technically” end by transplanting all the organs in the child’s body to various recipients. Now a common and accepted practice in society, troublesome or unwanted teens are able to easily be unwound.

With breathtaking suspense, this book follows three teens who all become runaway Unwinds: Connor, a rebel whose parents have ordered his unwinding; Risa, a ward of the state who is to be unwound due to cost-cutting; and Lev, his parents’ tenth child whose unwinding has been planned since birth as a religious tithing. As their paths intersect and lives hang in the balance, Shusterman examines complex moral issues that will keep readers turning the pages until the very end.

Review:
I decided to reread Unwind because I just recently found out that Neal Shusterman had continued the stories by turning it into a dystology. I remember absolutely loving the series but the only thing I could remember distinctly about it was miniscule detail about the ending. I absolutely loved my reread.

The characters, Connor, Risa, Roland, Lev, and all the side characters were absolutely amazing. For a book with so many points of view, all the characters have phenomenal character growth. Connor learns how to handle himself and becomes more than his label and Risa overcomes her own fears.

The plot itself was just as amazing as I remember as well. It’s such a unique thought but so relevant to today. There are so many themes that could be applied to today. I would name some but I don’t want to spoil anything.

The only complaint I have, and the reason I can’t give this novel 5 folded pages, is that the story did get a little slow here and there. Nothing too bad, but I think for a novel like this it shouldn’t be fast paced and intense the entire time and it just wasn’t.

Overall, I’m super happy I reread this novel and I hope that the rest of the series is just as good.

graphic novel, historical fiction

Graphic Novel Review: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff

Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant by Tony Cliff

Title: Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant
Author: Tony Cliff
Publisher: First Second
Length: 176 Pages, Paperback
Genre: Graphic Novel, Historical fiction
Rating: 4 folded pages

Blurb:
Lovable ne’er-do-well Delilah Dirk is an Indiana Jones for the 19th century. She has traveled to Japan, Indonesia, France, and even the New World. Using the skills she’s picked up on the way, Delilah’s adventures continue as she plots to rob a rich and corrupt Sultan in Constantinople. With the aid of her flying boat and her newfound friend, Selim, she evades the Sultan’s guards, leaves angry pirates in the dust, and fights her way through the countryside. For Delilah, one adventure leads to the next in this thrilling and funny installment in her exciting life.
A little bit Tintin, a little bit Indiana Jones, Tony Cliff’s Delilah Dirk and the Turkish Lieutenant is a great pick for any reader looking for a smart and foolhardy heroine…and globetrotting adventures.

Review:Inside art the graphic novel
I picked up this graphic novel solely because I LOVED the artwork on the cover and let me tell you the rest of the art in the book did not disappoint. There were so many scenes that were absolutely striking. Cliff’s attention to detail and color in this graphic novel is stunning. I felt I could pretty much ignore everything else because his artwork was pretty but I didn’t really have to. I took a picture of one of my favorite scenes to show you because I didn’t think the book cover did Tony Cliff’s art style enough justice.

The story, although nothing extremely complex or fancy, was cute and heart-warming. Selim learns about himself and what he wants through his friendship with Delilah. It was a quick read (I think it took me maybe an hour) and it was super adorable. I loved watching their odd friendship blossom on page and in the artwork.

I can’t wait to pick up the other novels in this series. I want to see more of Delilah and Selim and their friendship. Cliff builds their characters so perfectly with only the use of dialogue and pictures and yet I still feel like I got to know both of them quite well. I’m definitely going to be on the look out for more works from Tony Cliff and I’m super excited to continue this reading about Delilah Dirk.

Fantasy, young adult

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Length: 432, Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 4.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:

In a land without magic, where the king rules with an iron hand, an assassin is summoned to the castle. She comes not to kill the king, but to win her freedom. If she defeats twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition, she is released from prison to serve as the king’s champion. Her name is Celaena Sardothien.
The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. But something evil dwells in the castle of glass–and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival, and a desperate quest to root out the evil before it destroys her world.

Review:

I absolutely adored this book. So much so that I couldn’t put it down. I finished it in less than 24 hours of starting it. Maas as said that Throne of Glass is loosely based on Cinderella but I had gone into this expecting a fairytale retelling more or less. To clear things up, it is VERY loosely based on Cinderella and I am A-Okay with this.

Celaena is a wonderfully 3D character. She has badass moments but she also is quick to anger and can’t keep her cool. She’s not perfect and I absolutely love that about her. Too often heroines have no flaws aside from being too pretty or too badass and I’m glad to have a character that is badass but also still a young female who has normal emotions and thoughts. As a side note, Maas even makes sure to mention Celaena getting her period and how it affects her which is an absolute first for me in any novel I’ve read and absolutely amazing.

I enjoyed the side characters as well. Chaol (which will forever be pronounced Cha-ol for me and not Kay-all as the pronunciation guide suggests) had an understandable standpoint even if he did seem a bit unfair. Dorian although the epitome of the “I’m nice despite my parentage” troupe still has other aspects that make his character believable like his arrogance.

The one thing that makes me give this 4.5 instead of 5 stars is that sometimes I had a hard time believing Celaena was really an assassin. I understand that she had been locked away basically dying for a year and that she is still a young girl. But some parts I found myself absolutely flabbergasted she couldn’t recognize or react as someone who has been a trained assassin for 10 years.

I absolutely adored this book while reading and I’m super excited to get to the next one. I’m glad the hype around this book didn’t disappoint me!

Uncategorized

No Reviews this week

Hey guys! I just wanted to pop in and say I won’t be posting any reviews this week. I just started a new job today and I want to take some time to get used to it. Plus I’m absolutely exhausted. So hopefully by next week working won’t exhaust me so much! Sorry about that and it will be back to the regular Monday/Thursday posts next week! Thanks for understanding. 😀

Fairytale Retelling, Fantasy, young adult

Book Review: Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Ice by Sarah Beth Durst

Title: Ice
Author: Sarah Beth Durst
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Length: 308, Hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale retelling
Rating: 3 Folded Pages

Blurb:
When Cassie was little she thought her mother had been taken prisoner by trolls because of a deal she’d made with the Polar Bear King. Just a fairy tale to soothe a child whose mother had died. But on her eighteenth birthday, the “fairy tale” comes true when the Polar Bear King comes to take Cassie for his bride. Realizing she has the power to save her mother, Cassie makes her own deal with the bear and finds herself on a journey against time, traveling across the brutal Arctic to the land east of the sun and west of the moon. It is a journey that will teach Cassie the true meaning of love and family—and what it means to become an adult.

Review:
Ice is a retelling of the Norwegian fairytale “East of the Sun West of the Moon.” It is a similar story to Beauty and the Beast and I do love a good fairytale retelling. This book just felt “eh” overall. I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either.

Cassie is a headstrong girl who doesn’t give up but also doesn’t feel real. I’m not quite sure she has a personality other than an immature 18 year old (who definitely reads like she is 12) who has a lot of perseverance. Cassie is also the only character I really had a chance to get to know. I felt like Bear and her family were just after thoughts.

That being said, the last 50 or so pages flew by and I really enjoyed that. The world building in the novel is pretty great. I was never left with questions about how the world within the novel worked. I definitely enjoyed that aspect.

I can also appreciate that this book is relatively short. Most fairytale retellings can end up being monstrous because the author tries to incorporate too many details from the original. Durst gives us just enough to remember the old while still giving us something fresh.

In the end, I give this 3 folded pages. I liked some aspects of it but it could have definitely been better in my opinion. I think Durst may have focused a little too much on the plot and not enough on the characters.

unpopular opinion

Unpopular Opinion: Broken In Books [2]

unpop opinion 2Percy Jackson and the Olympian Series

There is nothing better than buying a brand new book. The pages are perfect, the spine is absolutely pristine, and we can’t forget that new book smell. When it’s in this condition, it’s like the book is waiting in anticipation to be picked up and read. I can’t deny loving to buy new books. I love everything about a new book. However, I don’t exactly want my books to stay that way.

Most people try to keep their books in this pristine condition and more power to them if that’s what they want. But I enjoy a truly battered book. All of my favorite books have the spines broken bringing up those familiar white lines. They have folded pages and corners of spots that I want to keep coming back to. They already have that old book smell you get with library books over 15 years old but my book is only about 7. Books that have been broken in feel like old friends when I pick them up. They are familiar in my hands and they bring me back to the joy (or sorrow, or wonderment) I felt when first picking up the book.

UO2 03

A new book is full of anticipation. Will it be good? Will I like the characters? Will I enjoy this author’s writing style? But a beaten in, old book holds a story you know you love. You can find details you don’t remember, or maybe you’re like me and you tend to skip ahead when the suspense is too much so you’ve missed entire pages.

If my book is pristine on my shelf that means I didn’t love it enough to reread it. It means I don’t keep coming back to that book and I think nothing is sadder than a forgotten book still pristine on my shelf. Sometimes I just haven’t had time yet, or the book is new because my old one fell apart so much that I was no longer able to read it (IE my brand new Harry Potter collection). And sometimes I got the book from the library and just recently picked it up for my own collection. Either way, the books I own will all eventually have broken spines and folded pages and I couldn’t be happier about it.

Fantasy, young adult

Book Review: Half Bad by Sally Green

Half Bad by Sally Green

Title: Half Bad
Author: Sally Green
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Length: 394, hardback
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 4 folded pages

Blurb:
Wanted by no one.
Hunted by everyone.

Sixteen-year-old Nathan lives in a cage: beaten, shackled, trained to kill. In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most terrifying and violent witch, Marcus. Nathan’s only hope for survival is to escape his captors, track down Marcus, and receive the three gifts that will bring him into his own magical powers—before it’s too late. But how can Nathan find his father when his every action is monitored, when there is no one safe to trust, not even family, not even the girl he loves?

Half Bad is an international sensation and the start of a brilliant trilogy: a gripping tale of alienation and the indomitable will to survive.

Review:

For future reference, I absolutely hate the second person as a point of view while reading stories. It just feels extremely awkward and immediately puts me off. Which is why I wasn’t necessarily loving the beginning of Half Bad. The first part, which is immediately like 20 pages tops, was in second person. It just immediately put a bad taste in my mouth about this novel.

Luckily, by about 40 pages in I had gotten over my initial dislike of the book. After those first 40 pages, I couldn’t put the book down. Half Bad is definitely unique. The chapters vary in length and it deals with abuse, bullying, and overcoming it. The main character is also illiterate. He can’t read very well, but he’s still smart and I think we need more books like that.

I was able to understand those first 20 pages after learning about Nathan and I’m glad I didn’t decide to put the book aside when I was thinking about it. Everything is seen through his eyes so it can be hard to get a feel for other characters but I think it actually added to the story in this case. Because Nathan didn’t get a lot of the characters either.

Half Bad is nothing like I thought it would be but definitely what I needed. I’m not sure how else to describe it. I think it’s a book everyone should at least try to read. Needless to say, this book really surprised me and in a good way. I can’t wait to get my hands on the second novel, Half Wild, to see where Sally Green takes us next.

contemporary, young adult

Book Review: Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen

Title: Lock & Key
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Speak
Length: 422, paperback
Genre: Young adult, contemporary
Rating: 4.5 folded pages

Blurb:
Unlock your heart and the rest will follow.

Ruby is used to taking care of herself.

But now that she’s living with her sister, she’s got her own room, she’s going to a good school, and her future looks bright.

Plus there’s the adorable boy next door.

Can Ruby learn to open her heart and let him in?

Review:
There is something about a Sarah Dessen novel that is indescribably relatable. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had similar experiences to the main character or side characters. Whenever I open a Sarah Dessen novel, I know I’m in for a story that I will in some way relate to and it is no different when rereading Lock and Key.

At first I was worried, I haven’t read a Dessen novel in years and I decided randomly to start rereading her books because I remember absolutely loving them. I’m happy that I wasn’t disappointed. Lock and Key was almost just as good as I remembered.

Ruby feels completely real. She’s flawed and makes mistakes and is so very human. I love that most about Dessen’s writing. All her characters are unmistakably human. Even the side characters like Nate, Cora, Jamie, and Olivia all had very real personalities that were believable. Every character came alive on the page. None of them felt flat. A problem I’ve been having with recent novels I’ve been reading.

I also love that as a contemporary novel the romance is believable but also not the central focus. More and more the romance is the sole point. The boy saves the girl from herself or her past or who she’s pretending to be but Nate isn’t the biggest factor in Ruby’s story and I absolutely love it.

The only real issue I had is that some of the sentences were very awkward. I found myself rereading certain lines or paragraphs because they were oddly worded. Here and there sentences felt like a word was missing so I understood what was being said but it was obvious something was amiss.

Aside from this small factor, I absolutely enjoyed reading this novel again. So much so that I read it in one sitting. Not an easy feat for a 422 page novel. Still I flew through it like it was my first time reading it and I’m so glad I picked it up again.