(Ya Review) Their Fractured Light by Kaufman & Spooner (No Spoilers)

Screen Shot 2015-09-14 at 1.23.30 PMTheir Fractured Light
Authors: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Released: December 1, 2016
Publisher:Disney-Hyperion
Genre: YA Science Fiction/Romance
Rating: 5/5 stars +++
Why’d I read it?:
I have been looking forward to this book since I read the first one in the series earlier in the year. This book is the 3rd and final installment in the Starbound Trilogy.

 


Synopsis: Please note the synopsis includes minor spoilers for the first two books in the series!

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now-infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness LaRoux Industries’ corruption. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were the only survivors of the Icarus shipwreck, forced to live a double life after their rescue.
Now, at the center of the galaxy on Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players in the fight against LRI.
Gideon Marchant is an underworld hacker known as the Knave of Hearts, ready to climb and abseil his way past the best security measures on the planet to expose LRI’s atrocities. Sofia Quinn, charming con artist, can work her way into any stronghold without missing a beat. When a foiled attempt to infiltrate LRI Headquarters forces them into a fragile alliance, it’s impossible to know who’s playing whom–and whether they can ever learn to trust each other.
With their lives, loves, and loyalties at stake, only by joining forces with the Icarus survivors and Avon’s protectors do they stand a chance of taking down the most powerful corporation in the galaxy—before LRI’s secrets destroy them all.
The New York Times best-selling Starbound trilogy comes to a close with this dazzling final installment about the power of courage and hope in humanity’s darkest hour.

My Thoughts:

Their Fractured Light is a thrilling and lovable conclusion to a one of a kind, and totally “out of this world” trilogy!

Love it, love it, love it, love it. Looooovvvee it!

Ok, now that I’ve gotten the fangirling out of my system I can move to the actual review. First it must be said that I absolutely adored the first book in the series, These Broken Stars. Everything from the cover down to the last word of that book just thrilled me (see my review here). I also thoroughly enjoyed the second book, This Shattered World. So I have been highly looking forward to this book’s release. In fact I even went so far as to beg the Disney-Hyperion marketing rep to please please please send me an ARC, which is when they sadly had to inform me that they were not sending out ARCs of this book at all. And so I waited. And waited. And on its release day I bought the book.

I was not disappointed. 

This was a book worth waiting for. This series has something special that I don’t often find in YA books. It just has that special combination of factors that perfectly make an excellent, epic, and really beautiful story. One of the things I love about this trilogy is that each book features a different set of main characters (one girl, one boy). While each book is, in a way, a standalone sci-fi romance, when read together they read like an epic, high-stakes, interstellar mystery. I just love the originality of the storytelling. Additionally the authors have a phenomenal way of playing with gender norms so that each set of characters feels completely unique and fully developed. All six of our heroes and heroines are their own individual character.

Their Fractured Light is the conclusion of the trilogy and it is SO GOOD! I’ve found a lot of YA trilogies either lose their steam, or the story has gotten completely off track by the 3rd book. But this book is almost as good as the first one in the series (nothing could beat These Broken Stars, in my mind). The characters are different than what we’ve seen so far, and I love how their first meeting starts out with plenty of action and plot twists right out of the gate. I wasn’t sure I was in the mood to read when I started the book, but after about 3 paragraphs I was utterly hooked. Plenty of romance, drama, action, twists (a lot of them!), and sci-fi adventures await you in this book. And we also get to spend more time with Tarver, Lilac, Lee, and Flynn.

This book is one of the best trilogy conclusions I’ve read. It delivers both a wonderful standalone story (Sofie and Gideons), and a thrilling series finale! It fully delivers on plot twists, both fun and heart-wrenching, and skillfully brings us to an emotional and yet satisfying end. Things didn’t end quite the way I expected, and yet the authors managed to convince me it was the perfect way to end. Wow can these authors tell a story! I cannot gush enough about how beautiful, captivating, and thrilling these books are. I urge you to try them if you haven’t yet!


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it? 
The previous books in the series are These Broken StarsThis Shattered World

If this is your kind of story, I’d personally recommend:

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About the Authors: Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner are the authors of the Starbound Series. Their style is a bit unique, because the books are told from the dual perspectives of both main characters. Amie writes all the chapters that are narrated by one character, while Meagan writes all the chapters narrated by the other character. Both authors have books they write individually as well.

 

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Delirium

Oliver, Lauren. Delirium. New York: Harper, 2011. Print. ISBN-13: 9780061726828 Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $5.72. Kindle $4.99.

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Synopsis:

It’s the future and love (and other strong emotions) have been deemed a “disease.” And they have a cure. Everyone gets “cured” when they are 18. Lena is just a couple months away and she cannot wait. She watched love destroy her family, and she doesn’t want anything to do with it. But then she meets Alex. He has no interest in being “cured” and he might just show Lena that theres more to life (and love) than she ever thought possible.


Themes include: Love, fear, deceit, grief, betrayal, friendship, identity, coming of age.


My Thoughts: Delirium has that Dystopian setting that many of us are loving. I had a hard time getting over the idea that “love is a disease” and that futuristic society would eradicate it. Perhaps if it had been all emotions, not just love, I would have found it more believable. However, once I put that aside I did indeed enjoy this book as well as its sequel Pandemonium. Lena is a relatable character, she’s trying to do what she thinks is right but finding it increasingly difficult as she learns more about Alex, and the other invalids (people who have not been “cured”). The romance is sweet and heartbreaking and the story is heavily influenced by Romeo and Juliet. Who doesn’t like seeing if two star-crossed lovers can overcome circumstances to find a happily-ever-after?


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the Delirium Trilogy is Pandemonium


Extras:

  • Locate Delirium at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • Learn more about the Delirium world on its Wiki
  • If you liked Delirium, you might find something else you like on Goodreads.com

About the Author: Lauren Oliver is the author of the Delirium trilogy, as well as other YA books.


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
LaurenOliverUK. “Delirium by Lauren Oliver *Interactive Trailer*.” Online video clip. YouTube.com. 7 July 2011. Web. 25 July 2015.

(YA Review) The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

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The 5th Wave (Book 1)
Author: Rick Yancey
Published: May 7, 2014
Genre: YA science fiction/dystopian
Rating: 5 stars (aka I loved it!)
Why’d I read it?:
I love sci-fi and this one is getting phenomenal reviews. Plus a film version comes out in January 2016 and the preview looks awesome (trailer below)
Yancey, Rick. The 5th Wave. G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers. 2013. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0399162411.
Formats available: paperback, ebook, hardcover Paperback $6.99. Kindle $9.99


Synopsis: (from amazon)
The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.

After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother–or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.


My Thoughts:

A chilling look at the human psyche’s capacity to endure. This book was intense. Creepy and suspenseful, this is a dark view of an alien invasion that strikes every fear we harbor from our childhoods. Yancey crafts a richly told tale with wonderfully developed characters, with the bulk of the story told from the alternating viewpoints of two teens who survived the first four waves, and whose journeys take them in different directions that eventually circle back to an inevitable conclusion. Phew this book was a heavy read.

The author pulls no punches with the horror he inflicts on the human population and doesn’t shy away from graphic and detailed enumerations of the effects of each wave of the invasion. The earth’s population is stripped down as surely as our main character’s humanity is stripped down with each trial they overcome, lending to a recurring theme that has the reader constantly redefining exactly what it means to be human? When billions are dead and you can’t trust anyone, how do you survive? More importantly, how do you stay sane and human? The Others don’t only take your life, now they are trying to take your humanity as well. This book is an action packed and psychological thriller that hooks you from the very first chapter. Theres plenty of action, suspense, and even a little romance. There are several twists throughout to keep you guessing, and though I found many of them to be quite predictable, it did not take away from the story for me and I still found myself shocked and surprised frequently. This one will have you on the edge of your seat and keeping your nightlight on at bedtime!

Please note that the synopsis makes it seem like this story is told entirely from Cassie’s point of view, but actually it is dual perspectives between Cassie and another young adult who survives the first four waves and goes an entirely different direction than Cassie to do so. There are also a couple of other snippets from one or two other peoples perspective. This is a form of writing that I really enjoy because it gives us a broader insight into the world.


Extras:

  • The 5th Wave has its own website at http://www.the5thwaveiscoming.com. There are tons of goodies and extra info to be found there.
  • Here you can find information from IMDB on the movie coming out in January 2016.

Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
You might also enjoy:

(YA Review) The Selection – Kiera Cass

The Selection (trilogy) by Kiera Cass

Cass, Kiera. The Selection. , 2013. Print. : 9780062059949. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, e-book, and audiobook. Paperback $5.17. Kindle $4.99


Screen Shot 2015-07-31 at 2.41.55 PMSynopsis:

What’s your number?

In the future everyone is assigned a number, a level in the social and political hierarchy. You are live and die with the number your parents were, unless you can marry or buy your way up. Anything less than a 3 means a difficult, often dangerous, life. A 1 means you are royalty. America is a 5. And she’s secretly in love with a 6. But if she married down, her family might not be able to make it financially. Then comes the moment where America is invited to be a contestant in The Selection, where she will compete to win the heart of the prince. Being a contestant means a paycheck for as long as she lasts. So America applies. She didn’t expect to be chosen to compete. She didn’t expect to have feelings for the Prince. Which number, which life, and which love will America choose?


Booktalk: 


Themes include: Love, duty, sacrifice, love-triangle, financial struggles, reality shows, injustice, bias, caste systems. 


My Thoughts: This is one that I have a hard time reviewing. One the one hand, I was not thrilled with the stories and felt they lacked a distinct…something. On the other hand, I did binge read all three because I had to know how it ended. So despite not loving the stories, they were gripping enough that I had to finish them. So I would say The Selection series is enjoyable and entertaining, but does not compare in depth of character, world-building, or follow through to something like The Hunger Games. The premise is quite interesting, with the multitude of Reality Television today, and shows like The Bachelor, the concept is one we are familiar with. Being set in the future and among royalty gives it a modern and unique Cinderella-esque twist. Each of the characters were likeable enough, the settings were interesting, and the stories are great for a light, easy read. But I feel that the author missed a great many opportunities to give these books the true Dystopian depth they had the potential for. The society described is actually a pretty cool concept, but once America gets to the palace, the political and social implications of the outside world quickly fall away. Although the King is set up as a tyrant figure, we never really get to see him in action, or the devastation he causes close up. It appears that the author briefly dipped her toes into the concept of political tyranny, and the potential for social revolution, but quickly found the temperature not to her liking. It definitely feels as though she had intended to go deeper into this world, but in the end decided to pull back and give us a shallow Cinderella story. America herself comes across as silly, fickle, and immature. She too never seems to live up to her potential. However, not all novels need to go quite as deep as The Hunger Games, so I would not write The Selection off entirely. Its a great choice for a light, love-triangle based Cinderella story. It’s popularity demands that this series has a place in most libraries and many young adults will enjoy these reads.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next books in the trilogy are The Elite, and The One. A fourth book, The Heir, takes place 20 years after the trilogy.

If you liked these ones, I’d also recommend:

  • Matched by Ally Condie (dystopian, love triangle, light read)
  • Pawn by Aimee Carter (dystopian, society divided into numbered caste system)
  • Whither by Lauren DeStefano (dystopian, love triangle, ‘prince’ character versus ‘commoner’ character)

Extras:

  • Warner Bros has optioned the rights to bring The Selection to the big screen!
  • Locate the Selection series at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • Learn more about the world and characters on The Selection Wiki
  • Toucan has a great interview with Kiera Cass. **Beware of Spoilers for books 2, and 3**

About the Author:  Kiera Cass is the author of The Selection Series, including several Selection Novellas.


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.

Pawn by Aimee Carter

Pawn by Aimee Carter

Carter, Aimee. Pawn. Don Mills, Ont: Harlequin Teen, 2013. Print. Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $9.99. Kindle $4.99.

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Synopsis:

If you could trade everything you’ve ever known and loved for a better place in society, would you? After Kitty gets a measly 3 on her placement test, guaranteeing her a miserable, difficult, and dangerous life, she is offered this choice. She can take a dead girl’s place as a 7. All she needs to do is say goodbye to the world she’s known and the people she loves. Kitty makes the deal, only to find out it comes with serious strings attached. Now she’s thrown into an even more dangerous life than being a 3 would have been. Her new “family” is secretive, conniving, and murderous. And they expect her to stop the rebellion that her predecessor started.

Kitt is about to find herself no more than a pawn in their games.


Booktalk: 


Themes include: Betrayal, lies, privilege, consequences, choice, love, and sacrifice.


My Thoughts: Pawn has many similarities to the popular The Selection series by Kiera Cass, with the dystopian society with a numbered caste system. It also features something of a love triangle dynamic, when Kitty escapes life as a 3, leaving her boyfriend behind, and meets a new boy in her new life as a 7. There is also a Hunger Games feel to the story as Kitty is pressured into being a Pawn for those around her. The story never quite lives up to its potential, lacking the kind of emotional intensity and immediacy that other popular dystopian tales have managed, and while Kitty is a character we can all root for, the secondary characters never seem to be fully realized. There is plenty of intrigue and plot twists to keep the reader guessing at what will happen next, and with a few big shockers along the way, though, that many fans of the Dystopian genre will eagerly dive into the next installment in this series.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the The Blackcoat Rebellion is Captive.


Extras:


About the Author: Aimee Carter is the author of The Blackcoat Rebellion, as well as other books.


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com.
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Harlequinn Books. “Pawn by Aimee Carter (Book Trailer).” Online video clip. YouTube.com. 25 Nov 2013. Web. 01 Aug 2015.

(YA Review) Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Screen Shot 2015-09-28 at 6.24.15 PM Darkness Shows the Stars
Author: Diana Peterfreund
Published:
June 12, 2012
Genre:
YA science fiction/dystopian
Rating:
4.5
Why’d I read it?:
Partly because of the cover, and partly because of the dystopian-ness of the plot!

Peterfreund, Diana. For Darkness Shows the Stars. New York: Balzer + Bray, 2012. Print. ISBN-13: 9780062006141 Formats available: paperback, ebook, hardcover. Paperback $9.99. Kindle $7.99


Synopsis:
It’s been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family’s estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot’s estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth—an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret—one that could change their society . . . or bring it to its knees. And again, she’s faced with a choice: cling to what she’s been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she’s ever loved, even if she’s lost him forever.

Inspired by Jane Austen’s persuasion, For Darkness Shows the Stars is a breathtaking romance about opening your mind to the future and your heart to the one person you know can break it.


My Thoughts:
The whole premise of how mankind got itself into this dystopian situation was quite interesting and there was a lot of political and bias issues explored throughout, which I really enjoyed. I like when a dystopian book includes that social commentary aspect, rather than just taking the world for granted or it being sort of generic. It was also an interesting take to have the people of the future shunning technology and science in favor of a “luddite” life, so that technology and science and innovation and invention are seen as evil and dangerous. The book includes a good amount of secrecy and suspense, the world-building unfolds slowly so you do not get that “information dump” at the beginning. A lot of things are fully explained until further into the book.

The characters are pretty well developed, though I was sad we didn’t get to see into Kai’s head the entire time, I really do prefer when books give us multiple perspectives. Still the worldbuilding was well done and the pacing was pretty good. I was on the edge of my seat wondering how it was going to go down, but I have to admit that I was hoping for more relationship development. We are given these tantalizing hints of the relationship these two had when they were younger and then they’ve spent the last several years a apart. Now that they are together again Kai spends most of his time avoiding or being cold to Elliot. Id have liked to have seen into his head during this time to see more what he was feeling and thinking.

We do get to see some of the letters they wrote to each other from when they were young and the letters give us a good insight into some of the politics of the world and also in this way we get a bit of Kai’s perspective, but it was enough to make me really want to see more of his perspective. Elliot is a pretty strong character and I like how she has been managing her estate behind the scenes for years, doing her best to care for her people despite her father and older sisters interference and cruelty and neglect and bias. I also liked seeing her shaken up after meeting new people when she has had her beliefs and moral standing ground shaken up, its fun to see her have to reevaluate everything shes been taught throughout her life. I have to say that while I liked and enjoyed this book, I absolutely adored the sequel, which follows two different characters within this world. In that book we get multiple perspectives and the romance has more of a part in the book though again theres more time on longing and fighting their feelings than in persuing them. If you are only going to read one of them, I’d recommend going with the second book, Across a Star-Swept Sea.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the series is Across a Star-Swept Sea (and its even better than the first!)

You might also enjoy:


About the Author: 

Diana Peterfreund can be found online on her website.

(ARC Review) Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Kaufman, Amie, and Jay Kristoff. Illuminae. , 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-0553499117.
Formats available: hardcover, paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $10.44. Kindle $9.92.

Synopsis:
A dossier of classified documents is compiled after an Intergalactic disaster occurs, where one small and distant planet is attacked. The story of the attack, the survivors, an evolving artificial intelligence “being,” and especially young adults Kady and Ezra is told through this compilation of instant messages, emails, online journals, interview and surveillance transcripts, memos, medical and military logs, and so much more.

When Kady broke up with Ezra this morning, they thought the day couldn’t get any worse. But that was before their planet was viciously invaded and attacked by BeiTech Industries. Kady and Ezra are rescued, but by separate ships, with Kady on the science vessel Hypatia, and Ezra on the United Terran Authority’s battlecarrier Alexander. The Alexander escorts Hypatia and freighter Copernicus towards safety, and as their “jump” capabilities are not working, this journey takes months while the invading company’s Lincoln pursues them. Meanwhile the ships’ AI is malfunctioning in interesting but terrifying ways. As Ezra and many other civilians are conscripted into the Alexander’s military ranks, Kady escapes conscription by purposely failing the aptitude tests, hiding her ace hacking skills. As Ezra trains to learn to become a fighter pilot, Kady focuses on hacking through the ships’ information in pursuit of the truth of the situation, which the captains are keeping secret. As she discovers more and more alarming and shocking information, and as a a mutating virus sweeps through the ships, Kady and Ezra need to overcome their differences, and their distance from one another (emotional and physical) to work together to solve the problems plaguing the ships, all before the Lincoln catches up with them.

My Thoughts:

First let me just say “WOW!” That is the first reaction I had to this book, about 2 pages into it. This sentiment continued to bounce around my head throughout the entire reading of this behemoth, creatively told story. Also let me say for the record that I do NOT recommend reading this in e-book format, as its visual story-telling medium is not best suited for digital reading. I will be purchasing the hardcover version so I can re-read it and experience it the way its meant to be experienced.

So, now that I’ve expressed the WOW-ness of this book, let me get more specific. This is not an easy, light, “just to help me fall asleep” kind of book. Rather it is more like a devastating, cataclysmic, life-altering, “call into work sick tomorrow because you stayed up all night reading” kind of book. My favorite kind.

The Point of View: The story is told from an interesting and unconventional (i.e. AMAZING) point of view. Rather than the traditional 1st, or 3rd person point of view, we experience this story as if someone plopped a large brown folder full of confidential documents on your desk. We are essentially reading a report on the initial attack, and the events that followed, through a set of compiled documents including: instant messages, emails, online journals, interview and surveillance transcripts, memos, medical and military logs, photographs, and so much more. This is a completely unique method of story telling which I have never experienced before. Authors Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff have just torn open a whole new vista of opportunity for sci-fi/speculative fiction story-telling. They have turned this genre on its head.

The Characters: The story has a huge cast of characters who we are introduced to through their personal and professional correspondences, but focuses mostly on three main characters. Kady is a young woman who excels at hacking, sarcasm, and is not in touch with her romantic side. Ezra is a sweet, funny, sentimental romantic. And the third character is AIDEN, an evolving artificial intelligence “being.” AIDEN reads quite a bit like Spock, which is very enjoyable to me. The incredible thing about this book is that even with such a huge cast of characters, Kaufman and Kristoff manage to give each one a distinct personality and voice, most impressively of which is AIDEN. Additionally they shy away from traditional gender roles, which means some female characters are often tough as nails leaders, and some male characters can be more intuitive or sensitive. This is something I’ve noticed in Kaufman’s other series with co-author Meagan Spooner (These Broken Stars) and which is an excellent addition to the sci-fi genre. So don’t expect all of the captains to be big, domineering men!

Illuminae is science fiction (or speculative fiction) at its very best. There is plenty of technology drama, intrigue, mystery, suspense, action, plot twists, and even romance (impressive given the main characters are not physically on the same ship). It has computer hacking and biological warfare. It has goose-bump inducing creepiness, gasp-out-loud twists, “edge of your seat” suspense and quite a lot of humor. This is by far the most artistically and unconventionally written story I’ve personally ever read, and I couldn’t have loved it more. This is a great choice for anyone who is a fan of science fiction and space opera, as well as those who simply enjoy a spectacular story. Though marketed as Young Adult, this novel easily crosses the genre and will be enjoyed by those of all genders and ages. Don’t miss this one, because it’s almost certainly going to be “the next big thing.”


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it? 

Unfortunately this book is so unlike anything else I’ve ever read that I don’t currently have recommendations for you. If you have any, I’d love to hear them!


Extras:

  • Illuminaefiles.com is the website dedicated to this series, it has a lot of fun extras, including an intro video that is an interview of Ezra, one of the main characters, character bios, and descriptions of the ships.
  • Entertainment Weekly has a sneak peak for Illuminae, including excerpts and a brief interview with the authors.
  • Kirkus wrote an excellent review for Illuminae.
  • See my review of Amie Kaufman’s other sci-fi novel, These Broken Stars

About the Authors:


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.

(Review-YA) Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Cole, Kresley. Poison Princess. , 2012. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1481426664. Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $4.99. Kindle $4.99

Info 684 Genre: Genre Pick #7 – Sci-Fi/Fantasy

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Synopsis:

So the apocalypse has happened. Evie really should have seen it coming. Actually she did see it coming, she just didn’t know the hallucinations were premonitions. She just thought she was crazy. Now society has fallen into chaos and lawlessness, and she, a used-to-be wealthy southern belle needs to learn how to survive. There’s also zombie-things. She’ll need to team up with bad-boy “from the wrong side of town” Jack, and a couple of other people she meets along the way. She’s on a quest now, because her hallucinations haven’t stopped, and worse things than even the apocalypse are coming.


Booktalk: 


Themes include: survival, apocalypse, loss, sanity, supernatural, romance, friendship.


My Thoughts: Kresley Cole is one of my all time favorite authors, I read her adult series Immortals After Dark so I was excited to try her YA series as well. One of the greatest strengths this one has its unique plot and characters. The main character is a southern belle, and her counterpart is a Cajun bad-boy. Personally I haven’t ever read a book that includes aspects of the Cajun culture, so I loved that part. The plot itself is really different from anything else I’ve read, and I enjoyed that we get to see the characters before, during, and after the apocalypse happens. This one has plenty of suspense and action, and I’d recommend it for slightly more mature YA readers because of the steaminess of the romance and the darker themes of mass destruction. The rest of the series (there are currently two more out, with more to come) includes a growing array of supporting characters, many of whom are great fun. Each character is based on one of the Major Arcana from Tarot cards, so we get people like The Hermit, The Empresss, Death, The Lovers, etc. Additionally I should note that there is quite a bit of “horror” in these books, with some truly terrifying and disturbing moments, such as a serial killer, cannibalism, and torture. I love them though, and am eagerly awaiting the next book!


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it?
The next book in the The Arcana Chronicles is Endless Knight


Extras:

  • Locate Poison Princess at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • Kresley includes plenty of fun stuff & extras about The Arcana Chronicles on her site.
  • Learn more about the Arcana Chronicles world on it’s Wiki
  • As of July 2015, the rights to this series have been optioned to make a movie. Check with Kresley for more info as it comes available.
  • Interview with Kresley talking about her inspiration for Poison Princess

About the Author: Kresley Cole is a NY Times Bestselling author of both an adult, and young adult series. Her YA series is called The Arcana Chronicles.


What are other teens saying about their reading & social media habits?

“I am a huge lover and reader of the Fantasy genre. Most of the books I read are of that genre. However I do like to read my fair share of sci-fi and contemporaries that focus around things such as diversity and mental illness.
I use Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Goodreads. My favourite for bookish related things is definitely Goodreads, Instagram and Twitter. Twitter is amazing for chatting directly with other bloggers and connecting with authors about their books” – Josie, 12th grade


Citation & Credits
Book cover image: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.
Simon & Schuster. “Kresley Cole Reveals Inspiration for Poison Princess.” Online Video clip. YouTube.com. 25 July 2012. Web. 26 July 2015.

(ARC Review) Darken the Stars by Amy Bartol

Darken the Stars by Amy Bartol (ARC Review)

Bartol, Amy A. Under Different Stars. 2015. Print. ISBN-13: 978-1503947429. Formats available: paperback, ebook, audiobook. Paperback $10.17. Kindle $4.99. Released September 8, 2015.

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Synopsis & Review:

“I’m his enemy, I’m his possession, I’m his lifeline to the future, I’m his slave, I’m his confidante, I’m his pupil “ (location2116)

Kricket is the sacrifice everyone else is willing to make. And she’s never been so alone.

Torn away from all she knows once again, and betrayed by those who should love and protect her, Kricket is still willing to make sacrifices for other’s lives and happiness. To a point. This time she’s been sacrificed to Kyon, and Alameeda, who crave her for her powers. Forced to live in Alameeda with Kyon, Kricket learns more about her new world than she’d ever dreamed possible. As her powers in foresight grow, she is frequently able to ‘escape’ and keep tabs on what her friends and former lover are up to. She sees them pulled into the rebellion that sacrificed her, and she learns of how terribly she’s been betrayed her whole life. During her imprisonment she also grows to see that Kyon is so much more than she had thought. He’s better than she thought…. And worse. Kyon is a monster whose own secrets and pain runs deep. And even though he is a monster, she senses a kindred spirit. Because Kricket has darkness inside her too. Everywhere she turns Kricket finds those who want to kill her, or cage her, and her heart has only ever yearned for freedom to fly her own course. As the war mounts, and enemies collide, Kricket will make her final gambit to sieze the life she’s always dreamed of.

Let me first just warn you that Darken the Stars is indeed the final installment of the The Kricket Series. I did not know this before reading it and so wasn’t able to properly prepare myself for the series to conclude. As far as the writing goes, this was the strongest and most focused of the three books in the trilogy. One of this series’ greatest strengths is its intricate and in-depth detailing of the world and all of the advanced technology the world has. Amy Bartol meticulously paints Ethar and its inhabitants so that the reader feels she is walking the very streets of Alameeda, alongside Kricket. Another great strength is Kricket herself. Kricket is one of my favorite characters to read because she doesn’t quite fit the typical YA heroine mold we are seeing so often in books right now. Kricket is tough, intelligent, flawed, tenacious, and likable. She is also funny and adaptable, a real survivor. She goes through so many conflicts, betrayals, and upheavals throughout the series, while never loosing her way or her light. She is a heroine we can root for. Although her experiences change her in some ways because she is inherently adapatable, she never loses the core spirit that made us like her in Under Different Stars. The first half of Darken the Stars took off in a quite unexpected start, but by the halfway point I could see why it had to happen that way. The second half of the story was full of constant hairpin turns, unexpected choices, and great characters. Darken the Stars brings The Kricket Series to a thrilling, heartwrenching, and shocking (but ultimately satisfying and honest) conclusion. It pulls no punches, yet leaves us with beautiful hope.

This series starts out with a young adult vibe in Under Different Stars, but takes a turn into a more adult, or new adult, direction starting with Sea of Stars. Therefore I’d recommend this series for adults or mature teens.

“I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review”


Booktalk: 


Themes include: magic, family, friendship, belonging, politics, war, and love, sacrifice.


Liked it? Loved it? Gotta have more of it? 

The first two books in the The Kricket Series are Under Different Stars (book 1), and A Sea of Stars (book 2).

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Extras:

  • Locate Darken the Stars at your local library through Worldcat.org
  • If you liked The Kricket Series, check out Goodreads.com for other recommendations!

About the Author: Amy Bartol is the author of The Premonition Series and The Kricket Series


Citation & Credits
Book cover images: Courtesy of Amazon.com
Book Talk: Kelsey Bogan. 2015. All rights reserved.