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


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

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: Daughter of Nothing (The Scion Chronicles #1) by Eric Kent Edstrom


Title: Daughter of Nothing
Author: Eric Kent Edstrom
Publisher/Year: Undermountain Books LLC 9/10/13
Length:   284 Pages
Series:  The Scion Chronicles #1


While the powerful seek immortality, the Scions struggle for survival.

Few people know that the Scion School exists. Tucked away on a private Caribbean island, the school hosts thirty-six exceptionally gifted students. They train every day to prepare themselves for an immense responsibility, to lead humankind back from the brink of extinction.

At least, that’s what they’ve been told.

Only one student—a seventeen year old named Jacey—suspects the truth. Driven by her undying loyalty to her friends, Jacey races to untangle the truth of who the Scions are . . . and what the headmaster truly means when he says they are bound for a great destiny.

My Thoughts

I’m a fan of dystopia and felt that i kind of needed to have something in the YA genre to start off my year.  I came across this series randomly and i think that there’s something interesting here.

Like the summary says, we find ourselves on an island where there’s nothing more than a school – made up of in essence a lower and an upper school – the upper made up of found ‘Nines’ 2 sets of girls and 2 boys.  Really what these are, are sets of 4 per age group where they are called Scions – and are trained in specific skills, be it math, science,  martial arts etc.  Each has been given a specific set of skills to learn and the AI on the campus won’t allow them to deviate.

When ‘Birthday’ comes around, we see that things are about to change.  Jacey our leading lady and her friend Vaughn go off to listen in on what happens to ‘Graduates’ since this class is the first.  Mind you, all 18 years of their lives, they have been taught that the world outside of the island is a wasteland.  There’s nothing left out there, and the Scions are being trained for greatness – to be the next leaders and to bring the world into it’s future.  So when the two of them listen in on a radio and realize that things aren’t what they seem, life as they knew it would never be the same.

From that moment on, we see the true colors of things come out.  Someone reports that Jacey and Vaughn were together, yet Vaughn is the only one who’s punished.  Instead, Jacey finds that Dr Carlhagen, the man behind it all has taken a liking to her and lavishes her with things, and refuses to punish her.  She tests those boundaries all while trying to find out the truth of things, now that Vaughn’s punishment has left him dying and she’s now paired up with Humphrey whom detests her.

The main bit of this story is really the same that we see in a lot of dystopia.  The younger generation has only been taught one POV on the world, and have been forced to believe it.  All it takes is for one person to question what’s real and what’s not for things to Unravel.  While Jacey isn’t everyone’s favorite since she’s blamed for a lot of what’s happening, she’s strong enough (or hopefully she is) to help guide people to see the light.

The light of course is that once you graduate, a transfer is done. See, the Scions are actually Clones, and their ‘proginators’ or ‘sponsors’ are wealthy folks (as it costs over $100MM to participate) who want to stay young forever.  So upon graduation, the elders transfer their minds into the bodies of the Scions and go on living life in a slightly altered way.  Of course though, Dr Carlhagen has his own motives, as he’s selfish and power hungry, and he not only wants to be young again, he wants Jacey – the clone of the love that he lost at the hands of another man, and decides to make that happen.

Where the story goes once bits on information come to light is interesting.  You can’t really figure out who’s to be trusted and who’s against them at moments, and i think that’s part of the charm.  You’re tricked into believing things that may be false, and the question is what will that cost?  who’s life will be lost.

So at the very end, we find ourselves in a place of uncertainty.  Mr Justin (Dr Carlhagen’s butler) sheds light on a few things that makes where Jacey wants to take things completely impossible.  So it’s up to her and everyone who knows to figure out how to change the world or at least the process at the campus on their own.  And for that, we can only wish them the best.  It’s an interesting idea, and i’m going to track down the next in the series since i’m intrigued.  Happy 2017 all!!

Review: Replica (Replica #1) by Lauren Oliver


Title: Replica
Author: Lauren Oliver
Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 10/4/16
Length:   544 Pages
Series:  Replica #1


Two girls, two stories, one epic novel.

From Lauren Oliver, New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy, comes an epic, masterful novel that explores issues of individuality, identity, and humanity. Replica contains two narratives in one: Lyra’s story and Gemma’s story. The stories can be read separately, one after the other, or in alternating chapters. The two distinct parts of this astonishing novel combine to produce an unforgettable journey.

Lyra’s story begins in the Haven Institute, a building tucked away on a private island off the coast of Florida that from a distance looks serene and even beautiful. But up close the locked doors, military guards, and biohazard suits tell a different story. In truth, Haven is a clandestine research facility where thousands of replicas, or human models, are born, raised, and observed. When a surprise attack is launched on Haven, two of its young experimental subjects—Lyra, or 24, and the boy known only as 72—manage to escape.

Gemma has been in and out of hospitals for as long as she can remember. A lonely teen, her life is circumscribed by home, school, and her best friend, April. But after she is nearly abducted by a stranger claiming to know her, Gemma starts to investigate her family’s past and discovers her father’s mysterious connection to the secretive Haven research facility. Hungry for answers, she travels to Florida, only to stumble upon two replicas and a completely new set of questions.

While the stories of Lyra and Gemma mirror each other, each contains breathtaking revelations critically important to the other story. Using hotlinks in this electronic edition, readers can decide how they would like to read the book, as with the print version. They can read the story of Gemma or Lyra straight through first, followed by the other girl’s story, or they can move between chapters in Lyra’s and Gemma’s sections. No matter how it is read, Replica is an ambitious, thought-provoking masterwork.

My Thoughts

Well, let’s just say that our author is quite creative and has this ability to write a story that’s quite interesting.  She’s done it again here like she has with Delirium in the past, however this time there are a lot of contemporary references that make it just about realistic enough that we can all believe that it’s present day.  While we’ve become accustomed at this point to read dystopian stories with alternating chapters in various character’s POVs, Ms Oliver has taken things one step further in this one where we have the option to either read the chapters in alternating patterns so that we can see what’s going in at the same point in time for both Lyra and Gemma, or we can read their entire stories as one thread per character.  I chose to alternate them since i felt like there were going to be bits that intertwined as the story got more complex and i think that was the right way to go.

We find ourselves in what could be characterized as present day – there’s nothing that makes you think otherwise so we’ll go with that.  We meet Lyra who’s a replica on Spruce Island, at a place called Haven where replicas are made as a means for some type of research – which we don’t quite know what that is just yet.  Her life has been planned out since she was birthed, doing whatever it is that her crop and herd are supposed to do at Haven just to survive.  We come to know that replicas know what they are – that there’s no secret there, and that sometimes they get sick and things go wrong and they die.  she’s seen that happen time and time again.  It’s when she comes in contact with a few nurses or doctors that treat her like she’s more than just a manufactured product that she starts to wonder what else is possible for her – and that’s a wonder that’s very dangerous.  A male replica tries to escape and the entire island goes on lockdown since Hvaen is a secret that can’t get out.

Then on the other side there’s Gemma – she’s an interesting chick.  She’s your typical teen with overprotective parents, a bit of her own self issues (she’s a bit heavy) and she’s grown up with a lot of illness etc to get through.  Her father interestingly was the founder of a phrama company that was somehow linked to this Haven place that she learns about, and you know what happens next.  When a teen who’s been kept under lock and key finds a whiff of something interesting, things get turned upside down.

So this story, both actually take us on a journey for both girls where they try to uncover the truth about what’s going on while also trying to come into their own and survive.  Thier paths cross early on when Gemma stumbles upon Lyra and another replica that looks exactly like Gemma (just the skin and bones version).  To see how these two girls from very different background figure out how to trust one another and how to work to get not just off the island but to somewhere safe is a great coming of age story.

Throughout this introduction to the series, we’re giving teases and hints of what prompted the creation of Haven and what their original motivation was.  Gemma keeps getting these flashback type memories of her father being with all these powerful influential people when his company was thriving, and then he was in a long drawn out court case right around the time that Haven was created.  So there’s a lot that’s being kept hidden and a lot that no one wants to ever come out – so it’ll be interesting to see not only how much Gemma is able to uncover through the help of Jake and the replicas, but what her parents will share.

On the flip side, we have the bits of what Lyra knows of her existence, and why she was created.  She has paired up with a male replica when leaving the island, and we see how they are slowly becoming ‘human’ in the sense of trying to develop their own memories and emotions and figure out life.  That’s something that i think that all teens go through, so to see how being stunted based on what you have always that you were makes this even sweeter.

Where we are left at the end of this first installment is a place of wonder.  We know that there are a lot of people hunting for these four and they won’t give up until they are found and probably killed since there are intensely important secrets that have to be kept that way.  There was also mention in one of the chapters that Haven isn’t the only camp like it, so i wonder what that will mean for the coming installments since i think they hinted at Texas being another.  Will see see Gemma’s father get involved or has he always been involved?  his traveling all over the place makes you wonder right?  I think that it’ll also be interesting to see how the replicas acclimate to being ‘human’ and how the humans acclimate to being replicas.  Definitely a lot to think about but i can’t wait to see where this story goes.  Have a great rest of the day all!

Review: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by Aimee Carter


Title: Pawn
Author: Aimee Carter
Publisher/Year:  Harlequin 11/24/15
Length:   304 Pages
Series:  The Blackcoat Rebellion #1


A single test determined her entire future…until she was given a way out

Kitty Doe had one chance to prove she could be worthwhile to society. Instead, she walked out of her ranking test as a complete failure, with a permanent “III” tattooed on the back of her neck. At seventeen, she’s facing a lifetime of cleaning sewers…and being separated from Benjy, the boy she’s loved for as long as she can remember.

So when Kitty is offered a chance to escape her fate, it seems like an easy choice. If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family—a VII—she will be famous. And for the first time, she will matter.

There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed…and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only just beginning to understand.

My Thoughts

Well, we have a coming of age dystopia kind of like Breathe (with the age related testing for success and determination of your cast) and a trilogy that i can’t remember the name of when there were clones created so that the government could make sure that the ‘right’ people were in power at all times.

Regardless, we have a sweet story at the onset, and one of really wondering what the end game is and who’s to be trusted.

Kitty is our main character that we meet on the day that her fate has been sealed.  she scored a 3 ranking on her test meaning that her life was about to get really tough.  she’s quite smart but can’t read and that’s why she got the three.  her boyfriend Benjy though is destined for greatness and there lies the issue since their rankings will keep them apart. Its through interesting circumstances that Kitty’s fate changes.  Because of her eye color, she’s purchased and taken to the home of the prime minister and life as she knows it has changed since she’s drugged on her way there and wakes up in another body.

Here is where the story takes a nice turn.  The Hart family is the central power in the nation and because of how they control things through rankings and such, they instill fear and order.  We learn throughout the story though that of course there are rebels who are fighting against the Harts, and want to see more equality.  We also get to see the dynamic of a very messed up family.

Back to Kitty though – she’s woken up to find herself in Lila’s body (niece of the PM) of sorts -she’s been ‘Masked’ which means that she’s now taken on every aspect of lila’s life, her body, voice, mannerisms etc.  Where we go from here is seeing how quickly Kitty can make everyone believe that she’s Lila as her life depends on it and the lives of anyone around her.

If that weren’t enough, we find out that Lila’s been killed by her uncle for voicing her own opinions on what the nation should be like – and the question is does she truly believe that and who’s put those thoughts in her mind.  Then there’s Celia – her mother – who we’re very interested in getting to know.  Throughout the story she continues to be an enigma and i don’t know which side she’s playing for aside from the fact that she hates her brother Daxton and wants him dead as she has been told that he killed Lila.

There’s also Daxton, the PM who is a tough one.  He has no sense of right or wrong and only wants things his way.  He’s led by the rule of his mother Augusta who is the matriarch and the one who pulls all the strings here.  It’s nice that because of circumstances that we get to learn where she came from, but it’s not a justification of anything in terms of what she’s become – and that’s a shame.

So the story that we’re taken through is one of trying to understand if there’s validity in how the government is ruled now, or if the rebellion is working for something better.  Then there’s the question of who’s really working for which side and what’s the benefit there.  Alliances are made and you still never quite know who’s the good guy.  We find out that Kitty isn’t the only one who’s been masked and the return of the original in some cases come back to make us realize that the story is that much deeper.

As is typical in all dystopia, we’re really not left off with any real direction yet, just the knowledge that there’s so much more going on that even we know and we’re not yet sure who’s in control.  I think that’s where we’re going to go in Captive – to see that Kitty/Lila, Benjy, Knox and everyone else on that level are working for something that they believe in with a cost that they don’t yet know.  All in all, quite nice and i hope you guys take a read!

Review: Undivided (Unwind Dystology #4) by Neal Shusterman


Title: UnDivided
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher/Year:  Simon & Schuster 11/1/0/15
Length:   389 Pages
Series:  Unwind Dystology #4


Teens control the fate of America in the fourth and final book in the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman that Horn Book Magazine calls “ambitious, insightful, and devastating—a fitting conclusion to a provocative series.”

Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future.

But more trouble is brewing. Starkey’s group of storked teens is growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they’ll burn the harvest camps to the ground and put every adult in them before a firing squad—which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future.

My Thoughts

We’ve been with this series for some time now, with so much going on with each of the characters, that personally i was interested most in seeing how everything was going to end, and how they were potentially going to intertwine.  What we get is a really nicely done ending and conclusion of this saga that leaves no question as to who’s alive and not, who’s seeing success and who’s together with their fated person.

As you recall from the past several books, we get each chapter in another person’s POV and that continues here.  What it gives us is an opportunity to think about what’s going to happen next to our favorites since EVERYONE is tied to one another.  It’s amazing to be frank.

We see Connor and Risa having found Sonia and trying to figure out what the secret technology was that her husband created, and how they can bring it to the world to hopefully end unwinding.  We see that Grace is still the idiot savante and continues to give us some of the most amazing ideas when no one else thinks clearly.  Then there’s Cam, the other part of the love triangle, who’s been taken back into the hands of PC, and his mind has been altered so that he can’t think of Risa at all.

Lev continues to baffle me.  One never knows exactly what his story is going to be, but i think that where we see it go is a place that makes everyone proud.  he’s trying to do right by the boy that befriended him on the Rez, all the while trying to forward Connor’s goal.

Starkey – well what to say about him.  he’s the one that continues to gain power, but what he’s not smart enough to know or think about is who is behind this power that’s being given to him and what’s the true end game.

Throughout this story, we have a lot of people playing sides, and wondering if they are truly playing the side that they are on.  I think that’s one of the interesting bits of this – because we see that allegiances are made out of necessity but where they evolve to from there becomes the true hook to the story.

What’s hard for me to digest here is what the government and PC are doing – they are putting all this advertising or propaganda out there to the public to get them to buy into the tech that they have for unwinding.  All of course to help their bottom line, but if you think about how easily it seems that they’re able to convince the public that it’s what they want – that makes you wonder for our own society if things like that are really likely to happen, and i think that it’s probably a big yes.  sad right?

There’s a nice lesson here in this story – trust, friendship and love.  Where we see success come through at all is when the right people create bonds of trust and friendship and work together to make change.  They’ve said over and over that one person or one thing cannot overcome what’s going on, but instead if they work together for progress, then things will happen.  That’s the sentiment that we carry through this book, and for those who are able to actually buy into that, well, those are the ones that we remember when it all ends.

All in all a really great series, and i’m glad that i found it.  I feel like our author – Mr Shustermann had a really great task ahead of him with this story, but the way that it was organized and the flow of it all really kept things incredibly interesting and now i need to find something else to fill this gap that i have now that i’m done.  Enjoy the rest of your weekend everyone!


Review: UnSouled (Unwind Dystology #3) by Neal Shusterman


Title: UnSouled
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher/Year:  Simon & Schuster 10/14/14
Length:   401Pages
Series:  Unwind Dystology #3


Teens fight for their humanity in this thrilling third book in the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman.

Connor and Lev are on the run after the destruction of the Graveyard, the last safe haven for AWOL Unwinds. But for the first time, they’re not just running away from something. This time, they’re running towards answers, in the form of a woman Proactive Citizenry has tried to erase from history itself. If they can find her, and learn why the shadowy figures behind unwinding are so afraid of her, they may discover the key to ending the unwinding process forever.

Cam, the rewound boy, is plotting to take down the organization that created him. He knows that if he can bring Proactive Citizenry to its knees, it will show Risa how he truly feels about her. And without Risa, Cam is having trouble remembering what it feels like to be human.

With the Juvenile Authority and vindictive parts pirates hunting them, their paths will converge explosively—and everyone will be changed.

My Thoughts

The saga continues and it’s a wonder how our author was able to come up with the complexities that we’re facing.  If you’ll remember at the end of the last installment, Connor had made a discovery that there was far more to the initial story than anyone knew, and he was going to get to the bottom of it.   that’s basically where we are taken through this 3rd book – figuring out how to get to the core of the technology and then figuring out what to do from there.

Like the previous book, we are taken through chapters by various characters – understanding what they are going through at any given point in time, while also getting the backstory and flashback from the Rheinschilds – the creators of the tech for both unwinding and something that was earth changing post that bit which never came to fruition.

The Graveyard has been compromised even more so than anyone thought possible, and what was thought to be an opportunity to make a planned departure turns into a blood bath and a flight.  Starkey takes control over things, and you know that’s going to end poorly given that he has a very different view on what it is to be a hero.  He likes death and destruction, and be warned that there is plenty of that to come after him.

We get to see how Cam grows and develops now that he’s being thrust into the public eye as not just an example of what the tech can do, but as an example by Proactive Citizenry of what THEY can do.  Along with that, he gets his wish for Risa to be beside him, which as you can imagine comes with a lot of stress given that she’s forced into a situation that she’s not happy with and that she despises.  Where she goes from there will be a place that only time will tell.

Then there’s Lev – he’s alive – barely, and is in the care of his brother since he’s on house arrest.  That’s too easy though, and others come after him, some bad and some good – and his life then becomes a roller coaster – getting reunited with old friends, some of whom are still on his side and some of whom would rather he be dead.  He’s put in a position to lead a ‘cult’ of sorts, and when that doesn’t sit well with him, you can only imagine the shenanigans that ensue afterwards.

All in all, there’s a LOT going on. the realization that Proactive Citizenry is behind everything comes as a shock.  Then there’s the issue of what are they doing next now that Cam has been deemed a success and what will that mean for the future of mankind.

Cam, Connor, Lev and Risa are all on the run again trying to figure out how to make the world ‘whole’ again – and then there’s the wild card of Grace that’s been thrown into the mix.  She’s typically counted out since she’s deemed to be a bit stunted in the intelligence area, but she’s proven to be quite strategic and i think that she’s going to be a key in the next installment.

I guess the questions that we have remaining are who’s going to stay alive, and what is going to happen with all the technology tied to Unwinding and what ever it was that Sonia and her husband had worked on.  I think that it’ll be really interesting to see what comes of it all since it means a very different future for all teens.  Then there’s also the question of the love triangle that’s out there so i hope that we get a resolution of sorts when Connor/Cam/Risa deal sort itself out.  On that note – have a good day all and i’ll be back!

Review: Unwholly (Unwind Trilogy #2) by Neal Shusterman


Title: Unwholly
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher/Year:  Simon & Schuster 10/15/13
Length:   406 Pages
Series:  Unwind Trilogy #2


Rife with action and suspense, this riveting companion to the perennially popular Unwindchallenges assumptions about where life begins and ends—and what it means to live.

Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of troublesome teens while simltaneously providing much-needed organs for transplanting might be convenient, but its morality has finally been brought into question. However, unwinding has become big business, and there are powerful political and corporate interests that want to see it not only continue, but also expand to the unwinding of prisoners and the impoverished.

Cam is made entirely out of the parts of other unwinds; he is a teen who does not technically exist. A futuristic Frankenstein, Cam struggles to find identity and meaning and wonders if a rewound being can have a soul. And when the actions of a sadistic bounty hunter cause Cam’s fate to become inextricably bound with the fates of Connor, Risa, and Lev, he’ll have to question humanity itself.

My Thoughts

This is an interesting series – where you’re not quite sure where you going to find another twist and turn to get through.  What’s really interesting about this series is that there’s so much alluding to history here, that it takes us back to fully get a documentation of how things came to pass which makes it seem so much more real.  That’s something that we do’t often get in stories like this.

Throughout this 2nd installment, we are being told the story through a different vantage point in each chapter.  We get a new character telling us about what’s going on in their lives at that moment and it weaves into a much more complex story.

Connor and Risa are at the Graveyard – trying to make things continue as they are, but when newcomers come to the group, the dynamic gets tense.  On top of that, there are things that Connor learns along the way to make him question why they are able to be there without being bothered, yet why they aren’t getting the help that they were promised.  Risa on the other hand has learned to cope with being in a wheelchair but what she hasn’t been able to cope with is that connor doesn’t seem to have the time for her anymore.

Then there’s Lev – he’s definitely an interesting fellow – the journey that he’s been on and where he finds himself in this installment is no different in the interesting factor.  He is shuffled from locale to locale, revered and then hated – so you kind of have to feel bad for the guy, especially when you remember that he’s 14 years old.

Then there’s the introduction of Cam – a boy made entirely of unwinds – with all the best parts of the best candidates, and it’s really interesting to see what that makes him into and what the world’s reaction is of him.  it’s not good – know that.

As i said, each chapter is from the view point of someone else, so there are quite a few people that i haven’t mentioned.  They are the ones that bring even more uncertainty to everyone that we know, and even those that we’re not sure of yet.

Where we net out at the end of this 2nd full book is that they are looking for a specific man, one who’s identity seems to have been wiped out, but one who clearly had a huge hand in the world that they live in.  With that, Connor and Lev set out to really find out what happened and where things went wrong in the hopes of getting society back to where it should be – happy and safe for everyone.  So….onto the finale!

Review: Unwind (Unwind Dystology #1) by Neal Shusterman


Title: Unwind
Author: Neal Shusterman
Publisher/Year:  Simon and Schuster 6/9/09
Length:   343 Pages
Series:  Unwind Dystology #1


The first twisted and futuristic novel in the perennially popular New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman.

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

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

My Thoughts

I didn’t necessarily know what to expect from this story but i think that it takes us on an interesting journey.  Like the summary says, we’re in a time where society has to instill all these rules on value of life and how to manage for over population, need for transplants, and a way to maintain order.  The solution that they’ve created is a process known as Unwinding where a child’s body is dismantled bit by bit so that every part is then used to help someone else.

We follow the journey here with Connor, Risa and Lev (among others) as they find themselves being Unwound for various reasons.  At times they become allies, other times they are enemies, and it’s a question of survival and finding out how to outlive and outsmart folks until they turn 18 and can no longer be Unwound.

Connor has been sent to his demise because his parents don’t know how to handle him as he’s a bit rough around the edges.  on top of that, his family has been storked 2x, meaning that someone’s left a baby on their doorstep twice so they have their hands full.  Risa is a ward of the state as she doesn’t know who her parents are and when you get to a certain age as a ward, if you’re deemed to be ‘average’ then you’re sent to be Unwound as they don’t have room and resources to maintain quality of life for anyone who’s not excellent.  Then there’s Lev – who comes from a family of money and religion.  They have a believe that they are to offer up a child as a tithe in a means to show their gratitude towards God.  this is the role that Lev plays as he buys into that since birth.

Where things change is when Connor runs way, Risa escapes and Lev gets kidnapped.  The journey from there is one of survival, trust, and understanding what the right side of the fight is.

Relationships are developed, romances bloom and allies are formed and broken.  It’s through a series of events that we get to see a final resting place of sorts, where things are not at all what they seem.  Connor gets esteem and respect (or fear) from all of the other unwinds that they come across.  Risa finds her spot in medical care and Lev is a wild card.  Where they go from the Graveyard and beyond is what makes this story interesting since you don’t quite know what’s going to happen next and who will survive.  We see a lot of death, we see the process of being unwound and i have to say that my stomach was turned a bit.

Where we are left in this story is a place that’s quite pivotal.  Great change seems to be coming for these folks and for society, but i’m not quite sure in what form.  There’s a lot of unknowns here and i think that’s what makes this interesting.

The one thing that trips me up with this series is that it’s an angle that’s a bit different.  which i like but i think that there’s a bit of lack in depth to the foundation to truly get to the crux of it.  I feel like we got the backstory quickly of what got to the societal situation that they are in, but i’m not sure that i understand it to really understand what’s right or wrong.  In any event, the good thing here is that i have the rest of the series in my library so i’ll quickly be able to determine what’s good and not.  Enjoy!

Review: Planetfall (Planetfall #1) by Emma Newman


Title: Planetfall
Author: Emma Newman
Publisher/Year:  Penguin Groou 11/3/15
Length:   268 Pages
Series:  Planetfall #1


Renata Ghali believed in Lee Suh-Mi’s vision of a world far beyond Earth, calling to humanity. A planet promising to reveal the truth about our place in the cosmos, untainted by overpopulation, pollution, and war. Ren believed in that vision enough to give up everything to follow Suh-Mi into the unknown.

More than twenty-two years have passed since Ren and the rest of the faithful braved the starry abyss and established a colony at the base of an enigmatic alien structure where Suh-Mi has since resided, alone. All that time, Ren has worked hard as the colony’s 3-D printer engineer, creating the tools necessary for human survival in an alien environment, and harboring a devastating secret.

Ren continues to perpetuate the lie forming the foundation of the colony for the good of her fellow colonists, despite the personal cost. Then a stranger appears, far too young to have been part of the first planetfall, a man who bears a remarkable resemblance to Suh-Mi.

The truth Ren has concealed since planetfall can no longer be hidden. And its revelation might tear the colony apart…

My Thoughts

I’m still not sure what to make of this story – but it’s interesting to say the least.  it takes the technology that we’re developing now, and overlays an interesting story on spirituality and trust.

True to what the summary says, we meet Ren who’s out lead.  she’s a gifted engineer in present day, and quite intelligent and gifted in the past.  Her path crosses Suh’s when they are in university and are looking at the same apartment.  From what i’ve gathered from the hints that we’ve been given, there was definitely an element of romance here with them  – and that’s what probably led Ren to blindly trust in what Suh told her.  Aside from the fact that Suh was able to convince everyone that she has seen god’s city as a result of a coma that she was in after eating a plan seed.

So the journey that we go on in this story is in the future – where they have colonized this planet that Suh had led them to, as a result of eating this seed, and how their lives are forever changed.  There were strict rules and regulations put into place because there was a lie or lies being perpetuated – and we get to see what those were over time.  There were teasers of murders, or killing of folks from the first planetfall, there’s the question of where Suh truly is, and who is really right in all this.

When Sung-Soo shows up – the grandson of Suh, we get to really see that things aren’t what they seem.  He tells us who he is and that he’s the last survivor – as his settlement all was killed in a flood.  Mind you the fact that he’s around is a question mark as there was an assumption that the 2 missing pods were dead.

Sung pushes Ren far outside of her comfort zone, and what we see is that all hell will break loose because of it.  the way that this story is wrapped up (or not) is kind of what i was coming to expect.  We see there’s so much more to that planet and it’s inhabitants than anyone knows – and i wonder what will come of it.

Not my usual form of dystopia – but not at all bad.  have a great day all!

Review: Breathe (Breathe #1) by Sarah Crossan


Title: Breathe
Author: Sarah Crossan
Publisher/Year:  Harper Collings 9/10/13
Length:   264Pages
Series:  Breathe #1


The world has no air.

Ever since the Switch, when the oxygen levels plummeted and most of humanity died, the survivors have been protected in a glass dome full of manufactured air. If you want to live, you pay to breathe. But what if you can’t pay? And what if you think everything could be different? Alina’s a revolutionary who believes the Resistance can save the environment, can break free, and she’s on her first mission. Quinn’s a Premium who’s never had to worry about having enough air. His best friend, Bea, is an Auxiliary who’s never worried about anything but having enough air. When all three cross paths and walk into the Outlands with two days’ worth of oxygen in their tanks, everything they believe will be shattered.

My Thoughts

I love when i get to read a dystopian story that makes you think about how we’re living life today.  The main premise here is about how deforestation cuts back on the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere making it hard to breathe.  Without trees, there’s toxic runoff into the oceans so there’s no way for that to add O into the air – so….people begin to die off.  It’s an organization called Breathe that comes up with a solution by creating PODs where people are forced to live in these big glass domes (assuming you can afford to get into one when The Switch happened, and within the Pod – life has been managed into a caste system and everything’s regulated by Breathe.

In reading enough of these stories, you know that if there’s one central power that’s controlling things, then it means that the world is not always what it seems and that people are not given all the information, resulting in fear and people conforming.

Thankfully as we always see – it’s the younger generation that takes a stand.  We get this story through a few different POVs.  Alina who is part of the resistence with a boy named Abel who she’s crushing on.  We meet them when they are gathering clippings of plants and trees to bring back to the resistence.  then there’s Bea and Quinn – bea who is an auxillary (lower caste) and Quinn who is a premium.  they are best of friends, but bea harbors this crush on him.

IT’s not until Quinn meets Alina that paths start to cross, and circumstances that make them cross paths again that takes them to places they never thought.

Quinn planned a camping trip for Bea outside of the pod, and they prepared by getting all the gear that would be necessary to survive outside where there’s no oxygen, and it’s freezing.  When Alina is forced to go on the run, plans change.  they help her cross the border, share resources and end up through a series of events, all going to the Resistence headquarters – the Grove where their eyes are being opened up.

Breathe led people to believe that there’s no way for the earth to repair itself, no way for trees to grow back, yet that’s EXACTLY what the resistence is doing.  they are growing plants and trees and have trained themselves to be able to live and breathe outside where the oxygen levels are so low.

This of course is where things get interesting since you never know who you can trust – you learn that people that you thought were part of the resistance aren’t, people you thought were dead aren’t, and then when all is destroyed – it’s time to make a new plan.

So all in all, a nice approach to dystopia – i do love when we see that civilization is forced to live in a dome for one reason or another and i think that in this case, it’s something that’s kind of fresh and new.  They could do me a solid by going into more depth on what it was called The Switch, but i guess beggars can’t be choosers.  anyhow – have a great day all!