Review: Imposters (Imposters #1) by Scott Westerfeld

Title: Imposters
Author:  Scott Westerfeld
Publisher/Year:  Scholastic 9/11/18
Length:   289 Pages
Series:  Imposters #1

Overview

Deception. Risk. Betrayal. Redemption. Master storyteller Scott Westerfeld is at the top of his game, and back to his most famous realm. A New York Times bestseller.

Frey and Rafi are inseparable . . . two edges of the same knife. But only one of them is ever seen in public.

Frey is Rafi’s twin sister-and her body double. Their powerful father has many enemies, and the world has grown dangerous as the old order falls apart. So while Rafi was raised to be the perfect daughter, Frey has been taught to kill. Her only purpose is to protect her sister, to sacrifice herself for Rafi if she must. 

When her father sends Frey in Rafi’s place as collateral in a precarious deal, she becomes the perfect impostor. But Col, the son of a rival leader, is getting close enough to spot the killer inside her . . . . 

My Thoughts

Seeing the cover of this story brings me back to a great time when I read the series that preceded this one – The Uglies. That story was ahead of it’s time with all the body mods that were possible, the reason for it, the throwback to Rusties society (which is really our time), and now we’re sort of back in it again.

Tally Youngblood was the main character in that series -a girl who did everything that she could to change how people thought about themselves and the world. She started a rebellion, and now we’re back in a time when people are primed for another rebellion, and could use her reappearance but when that doesn’t seem likely, they use her spirit.

As the summary says, Rafia and Frey are twins, half an hour apart, but worlds apart in reality. Rafia is the favorite, the one who’s meant to be the ruler and Frey is the bodyguard and the throw away. Of course though, if we haven’t learned anything in reading these types of stories – it’s always the Throw Away that has the most potential. And that’s where this story takes us.

Frey is traded to a neighboring ruling family as collateral so their father can get a hold of metal which he so desperately wants. The intention is that Frey will impersonate Rafia while she’s there so that he can get what he wants and if something goes wrong, well, then he’s only lost the spare. not the heir.

Giving Frey this kind of freedom, even though she’s essentially a prisoner, well, it’s opening her world up more than anyone could have hoped. She befriends the eldest son to the ruling family and building more than just a close friendship with him. But if Rafia isn’t what she seems, then what’s to say that Col is what he seems?

From the beginning, we’re pulled into this story from an emotional string, and then we’re kept engaged with the hope that these teens can make the world a better place. Our main characters know that how their parents rule and have raised them isn’t necessarily the best way and when they come to terms that they can be powerful as well, in a positive way, then the story explodes.

In addition to Frey and Rafia, and Col even, we have a few additional characters that truly lend good shape to the story. There’s Zura who’s a Special (if you read the other series, you would know that Specials have been modified to be military grade – stronger, faster, smarter etc). She’s proven to be incredibly helpful and perhaps one of the last remaining Victorian House Guard Specials to survive. There’s also Teo who is Col’s younger brother and a boy who’s got an interesting role in the story that we don’t fully know yet. He’s at a private boarding school in Europe when all hell breaks loose and then he goes missing and we can’t wait to see how that plays out. There’s also Col’s friend Yandre who seems to have family connections to the Rebels and we can only guess that the Rebels will be necessary (and perhaps will spawn a pop up by Tally).

What our author does well yet again is paint a picture on how societies truly divided themselves once the Rusties went away and new tech became the norm. People became far more reliant on newer and better technology to make things not only beautiful, but automated and controlled by AI etc. When that happens, as we saw in the Uglies series, people become far too reliant on things outside of themselves and society crumbles.

We go on a roller coaster with this story. Feeling heartbroken for the sisters when they are torn apart, feeling hope for Frey because she gets a chance to be someone else, and then dealing with angst and anxiety when a war breaks out and friends and loved ones are killed or torn apart. We’re left in a very precarious place at the end of this story – where one sister is forced to make a decision that can truly ruin the other one, where enemies are capturing people left and right and people are still missing. there’s almost no closure at the end of this first installment to this spin off series and that’s something that i both love and hate because i need to know more – NOW. So, on that note, i’m going to stalk Mr Westerfeld’s page to find out when the 2nd book is coming out and i’ll be back later! Enjoy!

Review: Dry by Neal Shusterman

Title: Dry
Author:  Neal Shusterman
Publisher/Year:  Simon & Shuster Publishing 11/23/18
Length:   400 Pages

Overview

When the California drought escalates to catastrophic proportions, one teen is forced to make life and death decisions for her family in this harrowing story of survival from New York Times bestselling author Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman.

The drought—or the Tap-Out, as everyone calls it—has been going on for a while now. Everyone’s lives have become an endless list of don’ts: don’t water the lawn, don’t fill up your pool, don’t take long showers.

Until the taps run dry.

Suddenly, Alyssa’s quiet suburban street spirals into a warzone of desperation; neighbors and families turned against each other on the hunt for water. And when her parents don’t return and her life—and the life of her brother—is threatened, Alyssa has to make impossible choices if she’s going to survive.

My Thoughts

I needed a change of pace for a bit and we all know that i’m a huge fan of dystopia, post-apocolyptic etc. so this fell right into my sweet spot. For those of you who follow what i’m reading on Goodreads, you’ll see that this has taken me FAR too long to read and that’s not a result of the book itself, but just that i haven’t been able to focus. This week though, i turned the corner and really invested my time in reading this story and i’m happy that i did.

It’s interesting how reading stories like this hit so close to home, especially since in this case especially it’s based on a scenario that’s so real and quite likely to happen if we don’t do something about consumption management now.

We find ourselves in Southern California, where the water/drought situation is so bad that neighboring states are now closing off waterways to Cali because those states are desperate as well. No one truly knows what the impact of all this will be but we quickly learn that water really is the one thing that keeps people sane and alive and without it, it’s an eat or be eaten mentality for society.

The nice way that this story is written is that we have chapters that alternate through our character’s POVs. not just two main characters, but essentially everyone that we meet. I personally enjoyed this because this is a situation that impacts different people in unique ways and seeing how it can either tear people apart or bring them together based on what they are living and feeling brings much more depth to the story.

Add to that, a variety of adjacent scenes that are happening throughout the similar surrounding areas for people who aren’t connected to our mains, and we get a really detailed and complex picture of what’s going on.

I really enjoyed how our main characters are all teens and maybe younger than teens, and even though they are faced with a situation that typically forces them to grow up quickly, they still remain acting as ‘kids’. We see some take leader roles etc, but they still act, talk and seem like kids and that’s refreshing. There are a few who take on personas that are not themselves and that comes to bite them in the end, but i think that it’s all realistic and natural.

There’s a great flow to this story – we see the initial shock and disbelief to what’s happening in the state, even though everyone knew that water was running scarce and that rationing wasn’t working. I feel like if/when this happens in reality, the exact same reactions will happen and things will sadly play out in a similar way. No one believes that things like this will happen to them, and no one prepares. (except for that one weird family down the street).

There are moments when we have hope – knowing that there is someone with survival skills around, knowing that there’s a Plan B to keep us moving towards. then there are moments of dispair when parents go missing, when the adults rebel and when they take for granted the fact that kids are more innocent and can just get things done. There’s the arc of fear and desperation when disease becomes widespread, when government doesn’t help, when hope is lost because a series of events happen to throw them off course.

The roller coaster in this story is wild and i think that if you take the time to enjoy this story – you’ll agree with that notion. I don’t know that i loved the way that this story ended – i think that it did part of the plot justice but then it did a bit of a disservice when the closure in some places seemed too easy. That’s just me though – i’m cynical and jaded and sometimes wish that things couldn’t all be wrapped in a pretty bow.

On that note – i really enjoyed this book and i’m glad that i finally just put my head down to finish it. well worth it. Enjoy!

Review: War Storm (Red Queen #4) by Victoria Aveyard

Title: War Storm
Author:  Victoria Aveyard
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collins Publishing 5/15/18
Length:   546 Pages
Series:  Red Queen #4

Overview

VICTORY COMES AT A PRICE.

Mare Barrow learned this all too well when Cal’s betrayal nearly destroyed her. Now determined to protect her heart—and secure freedom for Reds and newbloods like her—Mare resolves to overthrow the kingdom of Norta once and for all . . . starting with the crown on Maven’s head.

But no battle is won alone, and before the Reds may rise as one, Mare must side with the boy who broke her heart in order to defeat the boy who almost broke her. Cal’s powerful Silver allies, alongside Mare and the Scarlet Guard, prove a formidable force. But Maven is driven by an obsession so deep, he will stop at nothing to have Mare as his own again, even if it means demolish everything—and everyone—in his path.

War is coming, and all Mare has fought for hangs in the balance. Will victory be enough to topple the Silver kingdoms? Or will the little lightning girl be forever silenced?

In the epic conclusion to Victoria Aveyard’s stunning series, Mare must embrace her fate and summon all her power . . . for all will be tested, but not all will survive.

My Thoughts

I started this book when it first came out in May and for some reason i was stuck in the first 50 pages….having the hardest time ever getting into it.  I think that part of it was due to it being so long since the previous installment came out and partly because to be honest, the first few chapters were slow moving.  I’m not one to ever let a book beat me though, so for the last few days, i’ve hunkered down and read it.  Let’s just say that by page 100, i was sucked back into this book like i have been with all the others and i’m both really happy with how it turned out and really upset.

We pick back up into this story at a time where Mare is still living the same predicament as always, loving Cal but not being able to be with him, having this interesting love hate thing with Maven, and really just wanting to find a way for everyone to live together happily.  It’s a pipe dream and there’s too much at stake for everyone if that happens.

what i’ve come to really enjoy about this series, and this final installment especially is the fact that it’s the women, the Queens who are truly powerful here.  i’m not going to get on a soapbox and start talking about how women should have more power, but Iris (Maven’s wife), Eve (Cal’s betrothed), Anabel (Cal’s grandmother), Mare, Farley…the list goes on and on…well, they are the one who call the shots – they manipulate, sure, but they are decisive and emotional and powerful and it’s amazing.

There are so many social causes here in this story too – it’s not just about growing into your role in life, creating the world in what you want it to be, realizing that you perhaps see things differently than your parents (which is the theme of all of these types of books when we see our main characters taking their own stance in life).  But in this story, we see counties dividing, fighting and looking to conquer one another for no reason aside from the feeling that they need to.  When in reality, they are all after a similar cause – to have something for their family to be proud of, to have equality, to have a better quality of life.  to love and cherish whomever you want.  family or friends or otherwise.  Yet, it takes 4 books, 500 pages a piece for these characters to come to that conclusion.

It’s sad though, there are so many characters that we continued to invest ourselves in throughout this series, and sadly many of them do not make it to the end.  Brothers die, friends are killed, people are manipulated to their own demise, and what should be a happy ending isn’t.  Even where the epilogue leaves us isn’t a happy ending.  it’s a statement – sure.  one that is meant to take you in one direction or another, but it’s not the ending that i know that i wanted and i’m sure that a lot of others wanted as well.

Questions becomes, does love conquer all?  is love strong enough?  is hope for change real and is there a way to change what was once destroyed?  i guess you have to read to find out and then maybe someone can let me know what they think too.  Now i’m off to find something else to read – and maybe cross my fingers that Ms Aveyard will write another novella in this series so that we can get more!  Enjoy!

Review: Iron Gold ( Red Rising #4) by Pierce Brown

Title: Iron Gold
Author: Pierce Brown
Publisher/Year:  Random House Publishing 1/16/18
Length:   617 Pages
Series:  Red Rising #4

Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • In the epic next chapter of the Red Rising Saga, the #1 bestselling author of Morning Star pushes the boundaries of one of the boldest series in fiction.

They call him father, liberator, warlord, Slave King, Reaper. But he feels a boy as he falls toward the war-torn planet, his armor red, his army vast, his heart heavy. It is the tenth year of war and the thirty-third of his life.

A decade ago Darrow was the hero of the revolution he believed would break the chains of the Society. But the Rising has shattered everything: Instead of peace and freedom, it has brought endless war. Now he must risk all he has fought for on one last desperate mission. Darrow still believes he can save everyone, but can he save himself?

And throughout the worlds, other destinies entwine with Darrow’s to change his fate forever:

A young Red girl flees tragedy in her refugee camp, and achieves for herself a new life she could never have imagined.

An ex-soldier broken by grief is forced to steal the most valuable thing in the galaxy—or pay with his life.

And Lysander au Lune, the heir in exile to the Sovereign, wanders the stars with his mentor, Cassius, haunted by the loss of the world that Darrow transformed, and dreaming of what will rise from its ashes.

Red Rising was the story of the end of one universe. Iron Gold is the story of the creation of a new one. Witness the beginning of a stunning new saga of tragedy and triumph from masterly New York Times bestselling author Pierce Brown.

My Thoughts 

I was the biggest fan of the original Trilogy – i couldn’t get enough of the tales of Darrow and the Howlers, the twist with Virginia and the life that they all lived once being selected for training and then trying to save civilization from  a war that no one really knew who was behind it nor the breadth or depth of it.

So when we learned that Mr Brown, our author wrote a 4th book for the story – 10+ years in the future, i was beyond excited.  I couldnt wait to see what the story would be now that we would get to see who’s still alive, what alliances are in place, and who would be fighting for which side.  What we get is that, but we also get a really weird story with so many new characters that i’m not sure that we ever learn how they are intertwined.  I”m confused.  that’s about all i can say.

We all know that it never takes me this long to read a book, even one that’s 600+ pages, so that should give you a sense of what i think.  i’m on the fence.  We come back into a world where Darrow is the still the Reaper, respected  by some, hated by many.  We see that his wife  Virginia has assumed the position of Sovereign which should be a good thing since we saw a lot of maturation from her in the original series.  But being married to Darrow puts her in a rough position where she’s either destined to be doomed, or destined to  be revered or a bit of both. then there’s Sevro and Victra in the mix as well as many others, so we are grounded in the familiar and introduced to the new.

we are given a series of alternating chapters here, many new characters that are of an age where they were too young to truly know what was going on during the other war, but have strong opinions now that they have grown up in what the world has become.

We have Ephraim and Volga who are mains in a sense, they drive the progress of one of the story lines – Ephraim being an art broker by trade, but a thief for all intents and purposes.  and where his story takes us is on a path first to earn a lot of money, and then being recruited  by the Syndicate to steal back something very  valuable, which turns out to be someone(s).  Volga is his ‘friend’ – a term i use looslely since Ephraim is a tough friend to have, yet as an Obsidian, she ties herself tight to those that she’s close to, and it proves to be a good and bad thing for him.

The other story line that we focus a lot on is that of Lysander, the grandson of Aja, the prior Sovereign who was murdered and Cassius – one of the most important mains of the first 3 books.  They are comarades of sorts but not quite friends.  They have a bond that we can only hope ultimately takes them to fight for the proper side, but in this series it’s impossible to know what’s good or not .

So you can see, there’s a bit of historical and heritage in the series that keeps us familiar with what we read all those years ago, but there’s so much new, so much that’s not truly grounded to give us a sound foundation that takes the story on a new and confusing path.

I’m still scratching my head here, but i’m glad that i read it and we all know that i’m going to read the next installment whenever it comes out because i don’t let books beat me, and i have faith that we’ll get closure to this series that’s deserved.  so enjoy – and let me know what you all think.  i wonder if you guys think differently than i do.

Review: Warcross (Warcross #1) by Marie Lu

Title: Warcross
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Group 9/12/17
Length:   305 Pages
Series:  Warcross #1

Overview

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

My Thoughts

I don’t know how our author does it – yet another amazingly different series – with a basis in something htat doesn’t even resemble the other series.  It’s such a great next step.

The world that we’re in now is one in the future where virtual reality is a way to escape life and it’s a necessary thing for Emi who’s now 18, alone in the world (her father died and her mother left years ago) and she’s in so much debt that she doesn’t know what’s going to happen next.  As a bounty hunter, that’s her way to make some money since she can’t quite get a job after a hacking situation that got her arrested years ago.  That same hacking is what’s about to save her life.

Warcross is the biggest thing in the world – a game that you can go pro playing and there’s a world championship each year where you can see the best of the best play in a team situation.  Emi hacks into the game just to get a high value power-up that she can sell on the black market and ends up hacking into the game itself – causing all sorts of problems.  In doing that, her life changes forever.

Her identity which she had worked so hard to keep secret is revealed to the whole world, she’s not in the press, and she gets a call from Hideo Tanaka – the creator of the game  – which she fears means her life is over.  Quite the opposite.

Hideo is an interesting character – 18, has demons and ghosts of his own, but the most successful man in the world through the development of his neurlink glasses which allow players to play the game and even see the entire world in VR.  Its intense to think about actually.  He brings Emi to Tokoyo becuase he needs her help and her ability to hack into the game shows that maybe she’s the one who can do it.

There’s someone called ‘Zero’ who’s been hacking into the game and collecting data, and Hideo needs to stop him since he doesn’t know what the end game is.  He hires Emi as a hacking bounty hunter of sorts (along with some others) who he will put into the tournament in the hopes that they can figure out who Zero is.

Through the tournament, we get to meet a lot of characters that make the story so much better.  Emi is put on the Pheonix’s – a team made up of 3 experienced players and 2 wild cards – herself and DJ Ren.  (a well known DJ).  We start to see how close the friendships are with the players and how that really keeps things going.  especially with the competitive nature of all the other teams.

Where this story goes is an interesting journey.  We don’t know who to trust – and we don’t know who’s on what side.  The friendships that grow are great and the secrets that live within Emi tear them apart.  We see an interesting romance begin and it’s something that you really root for since it humanizes a few people, but of course there’s a lot at stake for that relationship to continue.

When we learn the identity of Zero (through a glitch) (mind you i kind of figured this one out earlier on).  we see that what we thought we knew of the hack is something completely different.  The world at the end of the book is nothing like it was when we started and it’s now up to a few to change the course of actions already set in motion in the hopes of saving everyone on the world.

I’m so bummed that book 2 isn’t out already because this was really amazing to read – especially from Marie Lu – but i’ll be patient.  Enjoy!

Review: Dividing Eden (Dividing Eden #1) by Joelle Charbonneau

Title: Dividing Eden
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 6/7/17
Length:   284 Pages
Series:  Dividing Eden #1

Overview

Twins Carys and Andreus were never destined to rule Eden. With their older brother next in line to inherit the throne, the future of the kingdom was secure.

But appearances—and rivals—can be deceiving. When Eden’s king and crown prince are killed by assassins, Eden desperately needs a monarch, but the line of succession is no longer clear. With a ruling council scheming to gain power, Carys and Andreus are faced with only one option—to take part in a Trial of Succession that will determine which one of them is worthy of ruling the kingdom.

As sister and brother, Carys and Andreus have always kept each other safe—from their secrets, from the court, and from the monsters lurking in the mountains beyond the kingdom’s wall. But the Trial of Succession will test the bonds of trust and family.

With their country and their hearts divided, Carys and Andreus will discover exactly what each will do to win the crown. How long before suspicion takes hold and the thirst for power leads to the ultimate betrayal?

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed The Testing so i was excited to see that there was a new series – and what we get here is that it’s nothing at all like the prior series and that is interesting to me.  The only similarity is that there’s a trial to name one of the twins ruler, but that’s about it.

So the story takes us on a path of a set of twins, who are best friends at the beginning, always looking out for one another especially since Dreus has a health situation that if found out, would be a problem, so Carys has spent her entire life protecting him.

When the time comes to pit them against one another, they take it in stride, knowing that they want the same outcome, yet when other people get in their ear, we see that it’s going to all go pear shaped.

There are a few nice twists in the story that keep us really engaged.  When they are born, the Seer sees that one of the twins has a ‘curse’ and that’s something that’s going to bring down the palace.  It’s noted that Dreus is really sick, and that identifies him as the one with the curse – or does it.  Then there’s the mystery of a new seer who comes to Eden, with a background unknown, and who’s engaged to the crown prince but who really has a tie elsewhere.

Add to that a Lord Garret who has family who wants him in power and a Trade Master named Errick who shows up- and we don’t now who’s the enemy or the ally and what’s going to happen.

We see the twins go through trials, trying to survive but Dreus gets his opinion clouded by so many others that ultimately he turns on Carys.  It’s what we see her come to do throughout the story that makes you wonder what’s really going on and what the end result will be.

We’re left at a point in the story when there’s one who’s crowned and one who’s died and there are still so many people out there who have their own motives that we’re still left with too much uncertainty.  I can’t wait to see what happens since i think that things are just starting to get interesting.

Review: Kings Cage (The Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard

no-brainer

Title: King’s Cage
Author: Victoria Aveyard
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins Publishing 2/7/17
Length:   430 Pages
Series:  Red Queen #3

Overview
In this breathless third installment to Victoria Aveyard’s bestselling Red Queen series, allegiances are tested on every side. And when the lightning girl’s spark is gone, who will light the way for the rebellion?

Mare Barrow is a prisoner, powerless without her lightning, tormented by her lethal mistakes. She lives at the mercy of a boy she once loved, a boy made of lies and betrayal. Now a king, Maven Calore continues weaving his dead mother’s web in an attempt to maintain control over his country—and his prisoner.

As Mare bears the weight of Silent Stone in the palace, her once-ragtag band of newbloods and Reds continues organizing, training, and expanding. They prepare for war, no longer able to linger in the shadows. And Cal, the exiled prince with his own claim on Mare’s heart, will stop at nothing to bring her back.

When blood turns on blood, and ability on ability, there may be no one left to put out the fire—leaving Norta as Mare knows it to burn all the way down.

My Thoughts

i LOVE LOVE LOVE this series.  I don’t know about anyone else, but there’s something so powerful in this book that it is a tough call between Red Rising and this one!  What we have here is the continuation of a story that you really have no idea where it’s going to end.  We’ve been on the journey of Mare having to fake being a silver because of an ability that she just happened to have, and then being the betrothed to Maven, the 2nd son of the king.  Then that all goes to crap when the first son has his mind controlled and he kills the king, and then flees for his safety.  We then saw Mare do the same essentially, with the help of the Scarlet Guard.

Then, the story took us through book 2 where they were discovering the newbloods – essentially what Mare is – one with red blood but stronger powers than silvers.  We learned that Shade (Mare’s brother was alive), we saw Mare sort of fall in love with the first son Cal, and we see that Maven has taken on the role of king and has a bone to pick because he actually has these emotional feelings for Mare.

When Maven gets too close during the 2nd book, and Shade is killed, Mare trades herself for the safety of everyone and that’s where we begin this third installment.  She’s Maven’s captive, and she’s having her powers stripped from her by Arvens, ones who have power to silence other’s powers.  We see that Maven has some strange pull to Mare even though he’s not betrothed to Evangeline (ironically the girl who was linked with Cal before), and we see that it’s because he’s got some tie to her, he can’t kill her.

The gist of this third book is that we see a huge bunch of plot twists.  There are questions on whether Mare will ever get free, and what role Maven will play.  We also see the other side of things with the Scarlet Guard and their hope for more equality and a way to overthrow Maven’s reign.

There’s so much going on here.  We see Farley pregnant, we see Mare make a decision about love (one which i wasn’t necessarily buying earlier in the series) and we see not only a lot of death but a lot of mistrust. A new kingdom is formed with the help of someone totally unexpected, and we see that there’s still so much that’s unsettled that there’s really no way to know if Maven will win.

Maven has been married to the daughter of the kind of the Lakelands in the hopes that he can gain their army and power, while also ending part of what’s caused the war – the division of Reds and Silvers.  He doesn’t know what he’s getting into and that’s to the benefit of everyone else i think.

I thought this was a trilogy so i was expecting resolution but thankfully the story continues since there’s SO much that’s left unsaid.  Where’s Maven, what’s next for Mare, what about Cal?  is Monfort really the holy grail of safety and peace and living together?  What’s Evangeline’s next move and what’s the motive with Anabel.  So you can see why it was so great – Ms Aveyard gave us so much to enjoy reading but so much more to question and wonder about.  I’m bummed i have to wait ages for book 4, but at least the story goes on!!!

Review: Carve the Mark (Carve the Mark #1) by Veronica Roth

no-brainer

Title: Carve the Mark
Author: Veronica Roth
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 1/17/17
Length:   390 Pages
Series:  Carve the Mark #1

Overview

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

My Thoughts

For those of you who really liked the Divergent series, and more for the writing than the story, than you’ll love this next new series by Ms Roth.  what we have here is another Dystopia, but a story that takes us to another Galaxy to a time when things are completely different than what we’re envisioning.

As the summary tells us, we’re following the story of two main characters, Cyra and Akos who find their lives to be intertwined because of what the current has given them in terms of powers/abilities as well as where their futures seem to lead them.  See they all live in an era where there are oracles who are able to see things of the future and they are able to know who is ‘fated’ meaning who’s got a future being laid out before them.  These are usually kept secret, however when they are revealed, one family has to go into hiding and another is split up.  With those that are split taken into the the Shotet empire because of what their futures hold.

Akos is our leading guy – a boy who has an ability to take away currentgifts, and that’s especially helpful as the sister of the Shotet ruler has this power that causes pain to others however it also causes herself intense amounts of pain.

Cyra has her own issues – knowing that she’s caused the death of her mother and that all she wants is to be something other than what she is and where she is.  Being around Akos gives her the chance to be a bit more normal and of course in a book with teens, you know that it’s going to lead to some level of romance.

The story here is one of a leader trying to get ultimate power because he doesn’t like the fate that he’s been given.  Ryz – Cyra’s brother is trying to be the eternal power, trying to get his nation recognized among the Assembly which is the governing body of all planets in their galaxy however the means that he uses to go about it are quite brutal and not appreciated.

It’s a journey of cyra and Akos trying to do what’s right for them, and trying to find a way to live their lives as they want.  Akos has the motivation of trying to save his brother who was kidnapped by Ryz, however Ryz has used his currentgift to affect his brother’s mind meaning that even if he gets his brother back, who knows what we will have.

Cyra is also just trying to be herself.  She learns more about the renegades and Exiles that are feared and hated by the Shotet and we see that she’s converting what she’s been taught into action for the future.

When it’s discovered that the land that Akos is from has discovered a Chancellor who turns out to be someone that we’ve met before, we know that the story is going to get far more complex.  That same chancellor has their heart broken and destroyed, potentially at the hand of another character that we love, that we see that there’s no option than to feel her wrath as she takes her position as a leader and takes them all to the Assembly.

We’re left wondering what’s going to happen next since Cyra learns of a secret about who she is which is somewhat unexpected, and then there’s the question of who Akos truly is since he’s not what he seems.  There’s also the question about who will live and who will die, and what’s ahead for them once they reach the Assembly.

All in all, a very interesting and quite different story from Ms Roth – not at all what i was expecting from what i’ve read of hers before.  If you’re a fan of Red Rising, i think that you’ll enjoy this one.  On that note – enjoy and have a good night!

Review: Scions of Sacrifice (The Scion Chronicles #4) by Eric Kent Edstrom

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Title: Scions of Sacrifice
Author: Eric Kent Edstrom
Publisher/Year: Undermountain Books LLC 12/8/16
Length:   366 Pages
Series:  The Scion Chronicles #4

Overview

Threats old and new converge upon the Scions as they make their last stand against the forces of evil.

Scions of Sacrifice sprints head-long to an explosive climax guaranteed to leave you breathless. In this jaw-dropping conclusion of The Scion Chronicles series, Jacey races to rescue Livy from Dr. Carlhagen while enemies surround her, determined to kill her.

But when a trusted ally reveals a secret at the heart of who Jacey truly is, she gathers her allies in a desperate final battle for freedom.

My Thoughts

This series really is something else – i’m incredibly happy that i came across it.  What we have here in this final installment to the series is a continuation of the multiple story lines all weaving together and apart, all with the same end goal it seems.

In this fourth book, we have the Dr on his island with the Senator – all trying to further his end game of getting control of Jacey and also managing to get all the power in the world as he tries to put a positive spin on the Scion program and the fact that essentially carbos are illegal.  While at times things seem to be going in his favor, in fact the tides are turning since the senator has come to her sense and the Dr’s AI has gone rogue – taking matters into his own hands.

There’s also the parallel story of Jacey and her quest to save Livy.  We know that she’s on the island with the Dr and Jacey now has to figure out how to get to the island and to get Livy back.  Where we go with her though is an interesting story.  Dante becomes an ally (or does he) as does a pop star names Meow Meow and with this aspect, we learn that things are not always as they seem.  It’s because of Meow Meow’s real past that things are able to take form through this story since she has contacts and experiences and knowledge that manage to keep them on the run and get them to a turning point in the story.

The third parallel story is that of the Scions on the boat.  They are trying to get to the island that Mr Justin had set up while he was going to play the poor Dr and it’s on the boat that we actually see transformation happen with the Scions.  Summer,  a character in the first book that we felt was nothing but a twittering teenage girl with a crush has continued to evolve into a necessary leader – one who has more skill than anyone else.  We also see that the other Scions are maturing into their own people – taking on roles and responsibilities that would make anyone proud. The quick thinking that they have to employ is impressive as they try to figure out next steps for everyone in the game.

The last bit of the story lies with Belle and Vaughn – whom are now both on servers and trying to help the Scions.  Where the relationship started because Belle’s in love with him has become something greater.  She sees her deficiencies because of what he’s able to do that she feels she can’t and that actually turns Belle into a character that you want to like even more – one who has the potential to save Jacey while she’s on the run and then to be selfless enough to give up herself to let Vaughn get the power he needs to save everyone else.

We see this story take us from the Carribbean to Puerto Rico to Chicago to the barren refugee camps and then back to the island of St Lazurus.  We see military come and go, we see politicals trying to exert their power and we see a lot of the parentage of the Scions – even those who didn’t know that they were being used to create Scions.

I think it’s a fair assumption to say that lots of our friends will die in the quest to overpower the Dr and i don’t think that it’s really anyone’s guess as to who will remain.  It’s a roller coaster and there are alliances and bonds that are created amidst all the death and sadness that at least gives this story a good bit of closure.  We’re left with a sense of hope since there’s a plan that’s put into action, but of course there’s always the question of whether there will be success since there’s a lot left unanswered.

All in all, i think that this was a really unique and interesting journey that we went on and i think that it’s a series that you should all try to tack down.  It makes you wonder what the future of our world will be like since it all seems to have stemmed from an asteroid hitting the earth, setting things into motion that caused all sorts of destruction and corruption. Anyhow, enough deep thinking for me – i hope you guys check this series out and have a great day!

Review: Sister of Shadows (The Scion Chronicles #3) by Eric Kent Edstrom

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Title: Sister of Shadows
Author: Eric Kent Edstrom
Publisher/Year: Undermountain Books LLC 12/8/16
Length:   379 Pages
Series:  The Scion Chronicles #3

Overview

Evil lurks among the Scions, waiting its moment to strike!

Sister of Shadows is the third book in The Scion Chronicles.

When a daring escape costs a beloved Scion’s life, Jacey races alone into the outside world for help . . . and comes face to face with ghosts from her past. As suspicion casts its shadow, Jacey’s friends become foes and old enemies become her only allies.
My Thoughts

This story really couldn’t get much crazier, yet some how it does.  I have to give great kudos to the author because what we have here in this 3rd installment are three different parts of the story told from different vantage points, as they are running parallel to one another.  I have no idea how he was able to keep track of all of it together, but it was nicely done.

The point that we’re at in the story is that the knowledge of what the Scions are intended for is finally getting through to the Scions, and that means that there’s not only unrest, but a lot of confusion as to who to trust and what that means for their futures.  The three storylines are as follows:

The Scions, Jacey and Dr Carlhagen

Where they split from the main story and then go on their paths is a bit into this third book.  Now that we have started to uncover exactly what the plan was that Dr Carlhagen has for the Scions, the need to take control is what they feel is most urgent.  Jacey and Humphrey some how manage to grow up quite fast and take on the leader roles, where Humphrey tries to convince everyone on the outside world that he’s Dr Carlhagen still and for the most part he’s successful.  It’s when one of the more power Progenitors comes (a Senator) early to transfer because of a terminal illness that gives her bout 4 weeks to live, that their world gets completely flipped upside down.

Not only have we lost Vaughn (Dr Carlhagen took that body), but we now are in the midst of losing Summer who’s the Progenitos Scion.  Summer however is only 14 and too early to transfer, and the Scions aren’t going to let her go without a fight.  The journey here is one where we see her and the others grown up incredibly fast, and we see how far the elder Scions can push the limits to save their friends.

Then there’s the story line with the Dr and the Senator.  They have an interwoven past and that means that they are bound by personal ties as well as their own business needs since we see that they were using each other to gain power and money – and build a second Scion school.  That’s where the Dr’s story takes him – on how he can manage to get off St Vitus, away from the school to get his new school set up and then to get the Scions to that new school.  All while some how using leverage over the Senator and the Scions (Jacey primarily since we know that he holds a torch and a grudge against her still)

Then there’s Jacey – we know that she’s our masterful leading lady, and she’s thrown herself into some interesting situations.  She manages to hide Summer, figure out a plan to get the Scions to safety and then when the tables turn on her again, she manages to somehow get off the island trying to find help from the other Progenitors, hoping that maybe they would be on her side.

So as you can imagine, there are three story strings going on here, where we are wondering how and when they will intercept.  What we know is that Mr Justin the butler truly isn’t what he seems, he’s had this other plot the entire time to get back at the Dr, and he’s given the opportunity of a lifetime.  He transfers into a Scion, and no one knows which one, which adds another layer of complexity to the story.  You don’t know when he’s going to strike and make things that much worse.

There’s a lot of military in this book – they are called in by the Senator, by the Dr, by everyone basically since the scions need to be kept a secret.  Jacey is going rogue in her attempt to figure out a way to keep her friends safe and get back one that was kidnapped.  There’s also a lot of death, losing some of our favorite characters when things go from bad to worse.  The world is an interesting place and we are only starting to understand what the initial motivation was that caused Dr Carlhagen to truly develop his God complex.

There are so many questions that have to be answered in the 4th book.  When and where are they all going to reunite and who’s going to survive?  The romance that we saw budding between Humphrey and Jacey – is that going to be something real? (personally, there was a comment in the story where Humphrey said that he loved her his whole life and that seemed random to me since i thought he hated her), and then there’s the triangle that now includes Wanda and Humphrey.  So all in all, there’s so much at stake here.  Is the world really as bad off as it sounds and will the Scions be able to help make things better or is all doomed anyway?  So on that note, i’m off to read the next book and see how it all ends up.  Have a great day!