dystopian, Horror, young adult, Zombie

Book Review: The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

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Title: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Author: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Length: 322 Pages, Ebook
Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Dystopian, Zombies
Rating: 3.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
In Mary’s world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?

Review:
So this is the first zombie book I’ve read and honestly I didn’t know it was about Zombies when I picked it up from the library. I just thought it was a weird fantasy/dystopian and it looked really interesting. I was definitely surprised and I can’t tell whether it was a good or bad surprise.

I appreciated Mary as a character. I both like and dislike her. It was interesting to watch her point of view but she’s definitely an unreliable narrator. I don’t often read books with an unreliable narrator but it was interesting and I finished the book the same day I started it.

My thoughts on this book are a little muddled. I have nothing to compare it since I don’t read the genre often. Some of the characters fell really flat and some were just plot devices. I feel like you don’t really get to understand any of the characters including Mary. You’re in her head but it feels really distanced.

The plot itself was interesting but also, there was no real climax. It felt fast paced but there wasn’t really a climax or a resolution. I think I’m going to read the sequel only to see where this story is going. I’m curious about how Ryan is going to continue the story and whether Mary will continue to be unreliable.

My review is all over the place but long story short. I think I liked it but I’m not 100% on that. I both liked and disliked Mary and I think the story/characters could have been fleshed out more.

dystopian, young adult

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Length: 576, Paperback
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian
Rating: 5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
One choice can transform you. Beatrice Prior’s society is divided into five factions—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). Beatrice must choose between staying with her Abnegation family and transferring factions. Her choice will shock her community and herself. But the newly christened Tris also has a secret, one she’s determined to keep hidden, because in this world, what makes you different makes you dangerous.

Review:
This is the kind of book that reminds me why I loved YA dystopian so much in high school. I enjoyed every second of reading it which is why I finished it in two days. It was paced perfectly, the romance was kind of insta love but not cheesy and it took second place to the plot, and Tris is as badass as I could want in a female heroine while still remaining original.

I truly loved how fast paced this plot was. I needed a book like this to pull me from the reading slump I was sinking into for sure. It kept me interested and I didn’t want to put it down. There were no slow points (for me) and it reminded me why dystopian is such a great genre.

The characters were also felt very real. Tris was flawed and it showed on almost every page and I love that. She was badass but she could be hot blooded and she had a hard time not standing up for herself and doing what she wanted even if that could put her in danger. I enjoyed every second of her narration.

Four did fall a little flat at times but I enjoyed that he wasn’t a big focus for the book even if there was instalove there. It worked for me. I can enjoy instalove if it’s not the main focus of the book and here the plot was definitely more important than the romance.

The side characters all felt very fleshed out as well. I understood their reasons for acting out of character and they responded and acted like real people. Which is to say, they didn’t have 4 characteristics in total. They seemed completely fleshed out.

If it’s not obvious by the amazing rating, I really enjoyed this book. I understand why it was hyped and I’m glad I went into with my expectations a little lower because the hype has fled from it. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed it as much but I thoroughly loved this!

dystopian, romance, young adult

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Title: Delirium
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher: HarperCollins
Length: 401, Kindle edition
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Rating: 2.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:
In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn’t about to make the same mistakes.
But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government’s radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

Review:
I did not love this book. I thought and hoped I would. The first 100 or so pages flew by but after that point it go so incredibly slow that I was legitimately falling asleep at some parts. The book could have been about 150 pages shorter and I would have liked it better. I felt like absolutely nothing happened for at least 150 pages. I understand the need of some of it but for the most part it was just plain boring.

I didn’t hate Lena. I think she was a little indecisive and a tad bit annoying but I enjoyed that she tried thinking for herself and not taking everything at face value. However, I do think that she fell a little flat as a character. I also HATED that she only changed because of a boy. Hana, her best friend for years, had no part in the change and she almost stopped being friends with Hana when Hana did try to change her. I just I hate when a guy is the only reason a girl develops. It’s just not right and it shows girls they should be dependent on boys and I’m not about that life.

Speaking of Lena’s best friend, Hana is the only character in the book I absolutely loved. She understands her limits, is an amazing friend, and is trying to fight the system but knows that she really can’t. I just really enjoy her all around.

Alex was kind of eh for me. His lines were cheesy, and he also fell flat for me. Considering he was the main reason for Lena’s change, I would have hoped he’d be a bit more 3 dimensional.

I might read the next book in the series if I find it really cheap on kindle or see it in the library but I have no desire to go out of my way to read what happens next even though it did leave off on a pretty solid cliffhanger. I think this is another dystopian book that kind of coasted on the dystopian craze that was going on when it was published.

dystopian, young adult

Book Review: Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

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Title: Never Fade
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Length: 544, Paperback
Genre: Young adult, dystopian
Rating: 3.5 Folded Pages

See my review of the 1st novel in the series, The Darkest Minds, here.

Blurb:
Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children-and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts-has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future-and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam-and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart-she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

Review:
This book took me an absurdly long time to finish. If you keep up with my WWW Wednesday’s at all you’ll know it was on hold for about three weeks. I guess I wasn’t in the mood for it during those weeks because once I decided to seriously pick it up again, I finished it in one sitting.

The first 250 pages were almost mind numbingly boring. I understand why they had to be there. They connected the first book to the second book perfectly. But man was it hard to read. However, the last 300 pages or so FLEW by. I would give this book 2 folded pages based on the first half and 4.5 based on the second. I settled on the 3.5 which I think is a just review.

I don’t want to give much away but I think what I hated the most about the first half of the book was how much Ruby had changed compared to the first without any awareness. I now know that there was a novella that bridged the first book to the second but I don’t think that was wise. I’m not inclined to buy or read novellas often and it made the beginning of Never Fade seem abrupt.

Still once the action picked up and things were better explained I ended up really enjoying it. I probably won’t read In the After Light until it releases in paperback and maybe that will give me enough distance to want to pick the story back up.

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.

dystopian, young adult

Book Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

The darkest minds by Alexandra Bracken

Title: The Darkest Minds
Author: Alexandra Bracken
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Length: 488, Paperback
Genre: Young Adult Dystopian
Rating: 4.5 Folded Pages

Blurb:

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.

Review:

I feel a little late to party with the darkest minds since it’s been floating around booktube and other young adult book reviewers for quite a while, but I’m so glad I picked it up! I couldn’t put it down reading it in a total of 3 days. With this being finals week and my job making me work more hours than usual because it’s a busy time, I’d say this is pretty fantastic for an almost 500 page book.

The thing I loved the most about this book was that instead of one big overarching plot with subplots within, it was more like smaller plots that folded seamlessly together. Normally, this would bother me, but Bracken does such a wonderful job keeping the pace up without forcing a “main goal” for the ragtag group of kids.I also loved Bracken’s writing. It is to the point and easy to read while still maintaining depth and allowing the characters to grow with the passing of time.

I did find myself annoyed with the main character, Ruby, which is one of the main reasons I can’t give this book a full five stars. I’m just not a fan of the whole “I absolutely have to hide who I really am” mindset that seems to be a trend in dystopian novels. Still, as frustrating as it was, Ruby is a very dynamic character that you can watch change with each page almost.

No spoilers, but I will say the ending made me cry. I tried so hard not to but I couldn’t help it. I always end up really liking it when a book can give me enough emotion to manifest physically whether it be tears or legitimately laughing out loud and I found I did both with The Darkest Minds.

I say this is one of my favorite YA dystopians, which is hard for me considering out many books are in the genre at the moment. The Uglies series will always hold the number one spot in my heart for that slot but I think The Darkest Minds series might be pulling a close second. We’ll definitely see once I get my hands on the next installment!