Review: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

 

Title: The Young Elites
Author: Marie Lu
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
My Rating: 
 4 stars
Goodreads rating: 3.96

 Summary (Goodreads): 

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.


Cover: 2/5

The cover isn’t the best compared to many others I have seen. I could of easily passed this book on the shelf but I recognised the name of the author and picked it up.

 


Review:

I really enjoyed reading this book, though the start was a bit slow and flat for me it really picked up towards the end part of the book. The plot twists in this book are superb and really kept me reading on until the end. I was a little upset with myself with finishing because it was so fast and sudden and I just wanted The Rose Society in my hands straight away.

Plot: The plot was totally unique to me and I liked how there weren’t any YAY moments if you know what I mean. There was always a sense of darkness surrounding the plot which was deliciously intriguing. The multiple POVs were not annoying because the chapters were quick and rather interesting. A shoutout to Teren! I wanted more chapters for him please! The fast paced plot, after the slow and flat start, was a dream to read because Marie Lu’s writing is a dream to read simply! Nothing felt jarring and no event seemed unnecessary.

Characters:

Adelina was such a cool character to read! By the end of the book I felt so strange towards her and then I realised it was because I am not used to reading from an anti-hero’s perspective! I didn’t know if I should of been routing for her or wishing death upon her! It was a pretyty new, but good thing to feel. Not the standard I like her or I dislike her. Though from time to time I found her annoying, Adelina a character you really do route for. All of dark stuff she has experienced has consumed her and interesting to see a character embrace that and not want to completely suppress it at the end of the novel. Also her power is awesome- nuff said.

Um can I talk about Teren…because I LOVED HIS CHARACTER! What a beautifully written person. So twisted and dark and sympathy attracting. His story was a very compelling read and even writing about it makes me want to know what the hell happens to him in The Rose Society. All of the characters in this book are dark- but Teren is so wicked.

I guess I have to talk about Enzo. I felt a weak connection to this character. Though towards the end of the book I started warming up to him, the connection to the character was still feeble. It’s probably because he never really developed from a cold, stony faced prince for me. That doesn’t mean that I wasn’t sad when that thing happens to him.

What I liked:

  • Plot
  • Majority of the characters
  • The fast pace (excluding the beginning)
  • *Casually puts Teren on the list.

What I disliked:

  • The beginning
  • The little we know about some of the side characters

Verdict: I feel like you have to be in the mood to read a book like this, but when you are in the mood for a dark, angsty book pick up this one- it was amazing!

I’ll write soon!

-Astra

(P.S. I knew I should of pre-ordered The Rose Society! Now amazon doesn’t have it in stock!)

Review: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief
Author: Markus Zusak
Genres: Historical Fiction
My Rating: 
5 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.35

Summary (Goodreads):

It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery. . . .

Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.


This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.

Cover:

I love how the cover is so simply yet so symbolic. It seems like Liesel had been dancing with Death all through her life, so this is very fitting.   

 
Review: 

Wow. Just honestly wow. I will have to say more for this to be a valuable review, but wow. This book is absolutely stunning. Half of this review is going to be spoiler free, while the other half is going to be full of them because I have so much to say. When I was only a measley 70-100 pages in, people were already telling me that I am going to love this book, or that it is a brilliant book or that it is the best book they have read. Well, I did love this book and it was (as I said before) stunning and it is definietly up there with some of the best books I have read.

During those 70 pages I don’t really feel connected to the characters but fast forward 300 pages and I was ugly crying over a sentence.

Writing: I had to make this catergory just for the Book Thief because how it is beautifully written impacts how you read and feel the book so much. If you have saw the blurb for this book, you would know that it is narrated by Death. Death is a very straight talking, cynical and curious narrator I have to tell you. But he is brilliant at story telling. Even though when I started reading this book I thought the writing was absolutely weird, choppy at some points,  you DO get used to it and I found Death quite comforting in a twisted way. And obviously this is a very unique way to write a novel.

Plot: As I think I have said before, I don’t really read Historical Fiction books set in world war two just because I find them too depressing to read, but though the book had a blanket of depressive tones, the blanket never suffocating. Though some chapters were heavier than other, it was still light- if that makes sense. I loved following Liesel’s story because while she was still a child, she wasn’t blinding naive , she had an air of wit to her which helped me follow on a story of a girl much younger than me.

Themes: There is no hope in this book. And when there IS hope in this book, it disappears in an instant thanks to our very own narrator. I would say the over arching theme to this story is words and how powerful they are. Words, spoken, written or read it doesn’t matter, in this book literally determines if a character survives or not, or if they a have a good three months or a crap three months. By the last 150 pages of this book, I really started to understand that, maybe because Death kept on reminding me.

Characters: 

Liesel is a joy to read about. She is smart, passionate, rebellious and she loves books! Her character is really intriguing because she is only 10 when this novel starts and you read her growing up until she is a teen. Liesel becomes this confident, well put together girl and all you have to do is read some of the earlier chapters about her and then read the lasts chapters of the book to see that. Character development executed finely. She is funny as well! I found myself laughing at her lines of speech sometimes. I think the words, saumensch and saukerl will be permenanatly stuck in my vocab.

Max is a wonderfully deep character as well. I really liked how we are introduced to him as well, just a small, unassuming chapters in the book, and he blossoms into this beautiful character. His fighting spirit defines him a lot and it is because of that fighting spirit which makes his core strong even though he is crumbling on the outside. His generally, sweet and kind character really left me wanting to read more about how he copped during the later struggles he faced.

Hans must be one of the best father characters written. His character oozes warmth like hot chocolate. He is written so smoothly and real, he has flaws which pushed him into some deep trouble I’m telling you that, but he is just a man. I could almost here is accordian playing or smell the cigarette smoke when he was smoking. Hans is a character that every body should try to be like.

What I liked:

-Writing

-Plot

-Characters

-Pace

What I disliked:

-The epilogue could of been explained and described a bit better

Verdict:

What are you waiting for? You will love this book, I garantee (and hope!). Adults and children alike should experience the great writing of  Mark Zusak.


SPOILER ZONE- cross at your own risk!

Firstly.

What the hell? Everyone dying on Himmel Road except for Liesel! I was crying my eyes out. I am so not use to reading books where the happy ending really isn’t that happy at all.

Even before that. DEATH IS SUCH A SAUKERL! He was basically spolling the book which made me so apprehensious and always on edge. And Rudy…I was crying my eyes out every time Death was like ‘he will never get that kiss’ or ‘it’s a shame he only has three months’. ARE YOU KIDDING ME DEATH! Are you seriously telling me that Rudy is dying in three chapters! Not on. That’s when I started disliking death a little. Who am I kidding, a lot actually.

And please you guys need to tell me what you think of this ending. Even though this book was a definite 5 stars, the ending was slightly odd. I wish the epilogue was longer- I would love to know if Liesel became a writer, or if Max started fighting again.

I still can’t believe Rudy is dead and that her didn’t get his kiss…seriously bombs suck.

Okay I think I might cry again, so I am going to finish off this post.

I would love to hear you thoughts on this amazing book, so comment below.

I’ll write soon.

-Astra

Review: Town Of Evening Calm, Country Of Cherry Blossoms by Fumiyo Kouno

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Title: Town Of Evening Calm, Country Of Cherry Blossoms
Author: Fumiyo Kouno
Genres: Sequential Art (Manga), Historical Fiction
My Rating: 
3.75- 4 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.01

Summary (Goodreads):

What impact did World War II and the dropping of the atomic bomb have on the common people of Japan? Through the eyes of an average woman living in 1955, Japanese artist Fumiyo Kouno answers these questions. This award-winning manga appears in an English translation for the first time. Fumiyo Kouno’s light, free style of drawing evokes a tender reflection of this difficult period in Hiroshima’s postwar past. As the characters continue with everyday life, the shadow of the war and the atomic bombing linger ghostlike in the background. Kouno’s beautiful storytelling touches the reader’s heart but is never overly sentimental. A widely embraced best seller in Japan, where the work was also controversial, Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms is the winner of several prestigious awards including Grand Prize at the 8th Japan Media Arts Festival (2004), New Life Award at the 9th Osamu Tezuka Cultural Prizes (2005). Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms is made up of interconnected short stories; the first is a love story entitled Town of Evening Calm; followed by the two-part story Country of Cherry Blossoms.


Cover: 3/5

A cute, simple cover which is very misleading for the plot. I like how the girl is so carefree even though she is having so many heavy thoughts and feelings during the manga.

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Review: It had been months- no that’s too generous- years since I read manga and even on the Wednesday afternoon I did borrow this book from the library I didn’t have manga on my mind when I wanted to pick up some graphic novels. But this book stood out to my on the bookshelves, I didn’t know if it was the long title (I am a P!ATD fan after all, I’m drawn to long titles) or the simply yet pretty artwork on the cover.

Whatever it was, I am very happy I picked up this Manga.

Plot: The whole theme of the manga was centered around people trying to live after the atomic bomb on Hiroshima during the tail end of the second world war. The manga is split up into two stories, Town of evening calm and Country of cherry blossoms and only has 104 pages! So you can tell it was a rather quick read.  The first story (TOEC) was very very good. It follows Minami Hirano, a young woman who lives with her mother, a clerk in an office who has depressing flashbacks to when the atomic bomb hit Hiroshima. There is also a sweet side plot as well with her love interest, Yutaka- a collegue. Altogether the plot for Minami’s story is really tragic and eye-opening as well. It was beautifully written- or well drawn.

The second story (COCB), centers around Nanami Ishikawa, who is Minami’s brother’s daughter, and who the ripples of the atomic bomb still affect generations of the same family. Now this plot did seem a bit  unclear. This is probably because they flashed forward a bit, and then flashed back and flashed back and there were other sub plots that confused me further after that. I did like the second story, lets be clear, but it wasn’t as clear as the other one.

Characters: Minami is just a normal woman in the story and I think that works in its favour. This book is suppose to show what it is like for normal woman after the atomic bomb. I felt so sorry for her because of the suvivors guilt she was carrying. She was written really nicely and real, so she was enjoyable to read, despite the whole saddening undertones.

Nanami on the other hand felt like a naive teenage, which helped demonstrate how even after a small space of time the next generation start to forget about the horrors of the generation before them. She seemed like just the microphone for the story and not really anyone important, to be honest.

What I liked:

-The drawings were marvelous

-How such a heavy topic was weaved into an enjoyable story

-The great storytelling in the first story

What I disliked:

-How unclear the second story was

-That it was so short! I wanted more!

Verdict: I seriously enjoyed learning about these two women’s stories as it is a really important thing to still talk about. I do recommend this manga to anyone who is interested in this subject matter or curious about how people were affected after the bomb because even though this is fictional it oozes reality.

-Astra

Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
My Rating: 4.5 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.18

Summary (Goodreads): Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan…

But for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.
Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words… And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Continue reading

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Title: Red Queen
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
My Rating: 4-4.5 stars
Goodreads rating: 4.12

My Summary: The world is divided by the colour of a person’s blood. Red meaning you are a simple commoner expected by go to war by the age of eighteen, if they are not in work and if you do return from war you are still oppressed by the Silvers. The Silvers are the nobles, the ladies, the lords and many even hold strong magical powers which they demonstrate on a frequent. The country is, if not unfair, stable…until Mare Barrow comes.

She is an anomaly- a Red, but with Silver like powers. After showing off her extraordinary powers in front of the Silver royal family and their company they decide to take her in and doll her up as a lost Silver Princess.

Mare takes this opportunity to assist a Red Revolution within the castle wars, but what she doesn’t know is that she has stumbled into a game of power and betrayal- one that might end in death.


Cover- 5/5 

Absolutely stunning!



Review: I loved this book so much, I still gush about it even though it has been a month since I read the book. After a slow paced 60 pages at the start of the book, the rest of the novel sparks up and you are thrown headfirst into this messy, futuristic, but dystopian world.

When people say that this is a mash up of best selling YA novels, they weren’t kidding. I have draw a lot of comparison from the Hunger Games trilogy.

Firstly, and the most obvious, is the rebellion.

Secondly, the protagonist becoming a provider for the family.

Thirdly, the capital (or the Royal Family in this case) trying to control the protagonist.

Fourthly, a love triangle and so many more. But the thing is that these comparisons don’t bother me, but I didn’t like the book because it was a walking talking Hunger Games, but because I still found the plot unique.

The main character, Mare, is a spunky, stubborn seventeen year old, who thinks she knows everything, but in reality is rather naive. I had no problems with Mare, she she wasn’t a star shinning protagonist, but she wasn’t annoying either. But I loved one character in particular more. Maven, one of the Princes of Norta. Where do I begin with Maven? I just adore his character so much and as Mare says ‘he is good with words’. I am keeping this a spoiler free review, but damn I just love him more towards the end. Cal (the CROWN prince of Norta) on the other hand….lets just say that his character went kind of down hill three quarters in the book. Though there wasn’t tons of character development for the characters in the Red Queen (which consequently knocked this book down slightly), I ‘knew’ them well enough I feel towards the end of the book.

Another little niggle I had with this book is that the magic seemed endless. There were no limits on the Silvers powers it seemed and it didn’t really make sense for why there seemed to be so many problems within the kingdom. I also had a problem with Kilorn, I didn’t know why he was there to be honest. Just a Gale 2.0 in my opinion. Hopefully he gets some character development in the next book.

Verdict: I feel in love with this book as soon as the action started to kick in! Victoria’s writing and story just sent me on a thrilling adventure I did not want to end.

-Astra

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