Title: The Shattered Mountain Author: Rae Carson Publisher/Year: Harper Collins 3/26/13 Length: 85 Pages Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns #0.6
A short digital-only novella set in the world of The Girl of Fire and Thorns. While Princess Elisa was being forced across the desert by a band of rebel kidnappers, her future handmaiden, Mara, was fighting for survival as enemy sorcerers decimated the countryside. This is Mara’s story.
Mara has long since been a key character in the entire series and it’s her turn to have a novella – to give us a sense of where her story began and how strong she truly is. We knew her story before this novella – about how she and a boy named Julio had fallen in love and how she had plans to leave her village to be with him, but of course that all goes awry when the Inviernos come and attack her village. So this is the story of her escape with a group of children and how they find the rebells, Elisa and get on the road to recovery.
It’s a nice novella since we get to see that Mara is strong in her own right – she’s smart and positive and motivating, yet she’s human and scared and doubts herself at every turn. She’s got a skillset that proves itself to be incredibly helpful in this story and rolls over into how she aids Elisa throughout the trilogy.
There’s not much more depth to this though – as expected in an 80 page book, but at least you start to see how strong and tough she is which helps her weather what comes for her in the trilogy. Enjoy!
Title: The Shadow Cats Author: Rae Carson Publisher/Year: harper Collins 7/17/12 Length: 73 Pages Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns #0.5
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. And it was not Alodia.
Alodia is the crown princess of the realm. The sister who knows how to rule, the one who is constantly reminded that she has not been marked for a grand destiny. But Alodia has plans, and she will be the greatest queen her people have ever known. So she travels—with her hopeless, naive, chosen sister—to a distant part of their land, to begin to secure her supporters. This region needs its princesses, for it is plagued with a curse; the crops don’t grow, spring doesn’t arrive, and a fierce jaguar stalks in the shadows, leaving behind only empty homes splashed with blood. If Alodia can save them, no one will be able to deny her strength and her sovereignty.
But what she discovers could change the fate of her kingdom, if not the entire world. And it will most certainly change her opinion of her younger sister.
Well, too bad i didn’t realize that this was a prequel before i read the series although i’m not sure that it matters much to be honest. What we have here is a quick novella giving us a glimpse into how it was determined that Elisa should marry Alejandro. From the first book in the series we learned that Alodio the elder sister was the one destined for greatness in terms of politics in the royal family. She’s beautiful and has been taught to run the kingdom from a young age, and that’s part of the plan that leads us into this novella.
Alodia has the best of intentions, trying to right some of the things that her father has done in neglecting the outer territories and she’s setting out to make things right and forming allies. Elisa accompanies her and of course we get the sense that there’s not much that impresses Alodia about her sister. What’s nice here is that we start to see the personality come out a bit in Elisa and we see that she’s strong and intelligent and once given a moment to prove that she’s got logical thoughts, ideas of grandeur are in her future.
This is both a set up for what we see in book one but also a hint at more than what we’ve really seen in the bigger series about Alodia’s motivations and what is really going on in her head. She’s given more of a human side in this book and i think that we needed to see the sensitive side of her to really understand why she’s so cold and tough throughout the trilogy. enjoy!
Title: The Bitter Kingdom Author: Rae Carson Publisher/Year: harper Collins 8/26/14 Length: 448 Pages Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns #3
In the deeply satisfying conclusion to the bestselling Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, seventeen-year-old sorcerer-queen Elisa travels into the unknown realm of the enemy to win back her true love, save her country, and uncover the final secrets of her destiny.
Elisa is a fugitive in her own country. Her enemies have stolen the man she loves in order to lure her to the gate of darkness. As she and her daring companions take one last quest into unknown enemy territory to save Hector, Elisa will face hardships she’s never imagined. And she will discover secrets about herself and her world that could change the course of history. She must rise up as champion—a champion to those who have hated her most. Riveting, surprising, and achingly romantic, Rae Carson has spun a bold and powerful conclusion to her extraordinary trilogy.
This finale of the trilogy gives us the story in 4 parts – each of them showing us a different stage in the end game here of freedom and happiness. Elisa has the world on her shoulders – she’s got no choice but to try to find the answers to everyone’s questions – what she’s supposed to accomplish, how to make her land safe, how to be with the people she loves and how to secure a future for the world. So much for a seventeen year old girl to accomplish right?
Throughout this 4 part journey we are taken across a variety of lands, learning to trust people that she’s not 100% sold on, and showing others that they have to question what they have known all their lives if they want to take risks and be successful.
What our author does a great job of here is weaving in existing characters to the plot while introducing new ones that really make a strong impact in unexpected ways. Elisa finds herself being forced into considering marriage for the best intentions of Joya D’Arena yet she doesn’t really want that and everyone that comes to her has their own motivation. She’s got her eye on someone else yet she’s afraid to admit it. Then there’s the fact that she’s still being undermined at every turn from all of the people who were in place before Alejandro died. They feel entitled and will be treasonous if it means that they get more power.
That leads to the journey that we go on with them. Elisa sets plans in motions, trying to learn more about her power in the Godstone, trying to find the zafira which powers all the animagi with their stones, and i think that what we learn here is that when you rely on something so much, you forget that you really are powerful in yourself.
The remaining sections in this story takes us across lands where treaties are formed amongst Elisa’s sister Alodia and Cosme – they prove to be more valuable yet potentially less trusting than we thought. The Inviernos have more secrets than we knew about – and their heritage starts to play an even bigger role in this story. We learn to rely on one of their own for both knowledge and help – friendship and trust.
So all in all, where we are left at the end of this final installment is a place where we have hope – yet we are mourning because some of the most important and key places throughout the series are no longer with us. While Elisa was successful in some of her endeavors, she has found herself quite unsuccessful in others and in a place where she never expected herself to be. What the future holds is a big question that we’ll never get answered. Enjoy!
Title: The Crown of Fire and Embers Author: Rae Carson Publisher/Year: harper Collins 8/27/13 Length: 297 Pages Series: The Girl of Fire and Thorns #2
The second book in Rae Carson’s award-winning The Girl of Fire and Thorns fantasy trilogy, perfect for fans of Game of Thrones and Kristin Cashore. Tamora Pierce called the first book, The Girl of Fire and Thorns, “A unique and engrossing read!” A seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.
In The Girl of Fire and Thorns, Elisa won the war. She saved her kingdom. But no one prepared her for how hard it is to recover from a battle, or to rule a people who still don’t trust her. She’s still fighting—against assassination attempts and more—and her enemies lie both outside her court and within it. So Elisa will cross the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. With her go a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with.
While this series reminds me of several others that i’ve read, I’m still enjoying it quite a bit. We have the continuation of Elisa’s journey – of the life that she’s found herself living now – where she’s the Queen and bearer of the Godstone, and the only one who can hope to make right all the troubles in the world. Lots for a seventeen year old girl to be responsible for right? Add in deceit, romance and lost friendships and you have quite the story.
We left off book one where Elisa was now that Queen of Joya D’Arena, her husband Alejandro was killed by the Animagi and she’s left to sort out what that means for herself and for the kingdom. Elisa’s proven herself to be quite strong and capable so that’s where she’s starting things off. She’s being led by those who think that they have more power than her though in the kingdom and that means that she has to prove herself worthy, while also trying to defend her people from the Inviernos – a people who were likely the first on the earth and have been trying to take back power and land.
This is an exhausting journey that we’re on, and we see the reappearances of several of the main characters from book one. Cosme is now a Queen as you’ll recall from the first book, and she sends a delegation to Elisa and we see that they become incredibly valuable, especially when Elisa’s life is in danger time after time. We also see Belen the traitor come back into the mix and his story gets more complicated each day. We still don;t know if he can be trusted and that’s a big piece of this story.
The other plot lines are even better. There’s a romance and a true love blooming for Elisa with someone who she’s not quite sure returns those feelings, and the same person that is perhaps being linked to her sister now in the hopes of another strong political bond.
If that weren’t enough, our author throws in another story line where we are learning more and more about teachings that were banned that may hold the secret to a lot of what everyone’s been fighting for. So that means that Elisa and her crew are off on a search for a mythical land and power source in the hopes that they will come out on top.
Where we are left a t the end of this second book is a place where the friends are all split again – some by their own means and some were kidnapped. We don’t know where things will end up, who’s going to be a true ally and who’s going to prove to be working for their own motivations. We just know that Elisa must succeed or there will be nothing left for anyone to fight for. So that means…..we have to move onto book 3 and see what comes of it all. enjoy!
Title: The Girl of Fire and Thorns Author: Rae Carson Publisher/Year: HarperCollins 8/21/12 Length: 320 Pages Series: Girl of Fire and Torns #1
The first book in the acclaimed and award-winning New York Times bestselling trilogy. The Girl of Fire and Thorns is a remarkable novel full of adventure, sorcery, heartbreak, and power.
Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. Elisa is the chosen one. But she is also the younger of two princesses. The one who has never done anything remarkable, and can’t see how she ever will. Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs her to be the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.
And he’s not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies, seething with dark magic, are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.
Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young. Most of the chosen do.
Well, the summary above sort of gives you a sense of what this story is about, but really doesn’t give you at all the full picture of the journey that we’re about to embark on. Yes Elisa is the second sister, the one who’s not beautiful in a standard sense (she’s fuller figured) and her older sister is the one being groomed to be queen, but Elisa is the bearer of the Godstone for the century and we get to see what that means for her since there are prophesies about what the bearer is supposed to do. No one has truly seen the greatness completed aside from a few great tasks, so Elisa feels like she’s unworthy all around. When she’s married off to the king of the largest domain, her sister gives her some great advice to act as the queen that she can be and everyone will follow.
So what we get is a coming of age story here of Elisa and what it means for Elisa to see her true potential both in herself and as someone who can lead others. She’s hoping for a friendship with her new husband but he decides to keep her a secret to his people while also keeping his mistress, and that doesn’t bode well for a healthy relationship. it’s only when Elisa is kidnapped after some discover that she’s got the Godstone that the story truly takes shape.
Elisa finds herself with a clan of travelers led by the ‘maid’ Cosme – and while trying to survive the desert with them, she not only sheds weight and becomes the lean beautiful one, she learns about herself in ways that she never knew, and that means that her future is completely open.
She’s poised to be great in the face of war, if only she understood what her future was supposed to be. She’s devout, studying the writings of the past over and over again, and even gets her hands on some that her country has kept a secret from her which truly guides her down her path to success. It’s nice to see that she’s open to putting the puzzle together of what she should be able to do, and realizes at the same time that she can’t do it alone.
Of course as we have come to expect in these types of books, there is war – there are people who use magic and those who use fire and weapons to overpower nations who have what they want. we see that alliances were formed out of the wrong intentions and when we find out who’s lied to whom, it makes us really second guess who we can trust in this story.
The question that we have throughout this first installment is whether Elisa is strong enough and cunning enough to help save her ‘husband’s’ country – and if she even wants to. She’s made sound and strong friendships with those who may not be on his side and she has started to realize that maybe there’s love elsewhere that she should be focused on.
All in all a great start to this series – i’m not entirely sure where it can go though given that we got a lot of closure in this first book, but i think that i’m going to continue on and see what comes next. Enjoy!
Title: The Glass Spare Author: Lauren DeStefano Publisher/Year: HarperCollins 10/24/17 Length: 416 Pages Series: The Glass Spare #1
The first in a new fantasy duology, The Glass Spare is a gorgeously told tale of love, loss, and deadly power from Lauren DeStefano, the bestselling author of the Chemical Garden series. Perfect for fans of Shannon Hale and Renee Ahdieh.
Wilhelmina Heidle, the fourth child and only daughter of the king of the world’s wealthiest nation, has grown up in the shadows. Kept hidden from the world in order to serve as a spy for her father—whose obsession with building his empire is causing a war—Wil wants nothing more than to explore the world beyond her kingdom, if only her father would give her the chance.
Until one night Wil is attacked, and she discovers a dangerous secret. Her touch turns people into gemstone. At first Wil is horrified—but as she tests its limits, she’s drawn more and more to the strange and volatile ability. When it leads to tragedy, though, Wil is forced to face the destructive power within her and finally leave her home to seek the truth and a cure.
But finding the key to her redemption puts her in the path of a cursed prince who has his own ideas for what to do with Wil’s power.
With a world on the brink of war and a power of ultimate destruction, can Wil find a way to help the kingdom that’s turned its back on her, or will she betray her past and her family forever?
I’ve been on the hunt yet again for something new to read and here we’ve hit directly upon that. The Glass Spare is the introduction to a new series where we are in a world where kingdoms want more power and control and there are loyalties at stake, and families that are being torn apart. And what would a book be without curses and ‘gifts’ and the like – right?
We meet our leading character Wil – a princess in Northern Arrod, the ‘most powerful’ kingdom in the area, and she like 2 of her brothers are considered to be spares. that means the one that’s not due to be the heir is the spare – the extra. Because of that, Wil is able to have more freedom from the rule of her father, and add to that, she’s got no resemblance to any one in her family, she’s able to move about as she likes and be a spy or unnoticed.
The interesting thing here is that Wil was born with a unique mark over her heart – thought to be a curse but no one really knows what that will mean in the future. What we see throughout this first book though is how that curse manifests itself and how that affects all those around her – and it doesn’t have the best outcome for everyone involved. Wil’s close relationship with her brothers bring her both more knowledge about what it is that she’s become as well as more pain because of the implications of what she can do.
Outside of Norhtern Arrod there is a whole world with technology, strife, struggles etc. and that’s where our story really starts to take shape. After a catastrophe hits Wil, she’s banished from her home, from her family and she ends up on the run to learn more and find a marveler who may be able to cure her. That’s where her path crosses with Loom and Zay – 2 wanderers who have stories that are much more than what they seem at first.
Loom turns out to be the banished son of the king of Southern Isles and that’s a kingdom that Wil’s father wants badly. So this means that Wil has an opportunity to be a spy, learn more and hopefully solidify a relationship. What ends up happening instead is that Wil starts to develop a truly strong relationship with Loom and Zay, begin to see that there’s so much more to the situation than ever thought before, and find a way to make her curse and a curse put on another main character even worse.
That’s where we are left off at the end of this book – there’s a month to gather information to break a curse or someone dies. Wil is left to make a choice that will hurt the heart both figuratively and in reality of everyone, and i think that it’s an interesting place to go. Can’t wait to see what happens in book 2 since we know that the kingdom of Northern Arrod is a mess with all that’s fallen on the royal family. I hope you guys pick it up! enjoy!
Title: One Dark Throne Author: Kendare Blake Publisher/Year: HarperCollings 9/19/17 Length: 464 Pages Series: Three Dark Crowns #2
The battle for the crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?
With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.
In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.
This is an interesting series – there are so many ways that the story could go and i think that the path that this one has taken is one that’s dynamic and exciting. Where we left off in book 1 we knew that there were battles to be fought, resulting in the death of 2 of the queens. Only one could survive. Well, this second installment gives us the journey that they go on now that they are actively pursuing the end goal. At the direction of those around them.
Katherine, Arsinoe and Mirabella are all such different girls – which is expected yet unexpected knowing that they are triplets. We start to learn more about what goes on in their lives and the alliances that they are making with the suitors and others who are around them, all in the hopes of gaining affection if they are to survive. There’s so much cunning and back stabbing (figuratively and literally) in this book between them that it’s a wonder that any are left standing at all.
The nice thing that our author does is that she makes the secondary characters incredibly important to the story. Each sister has a band of friends and family surrounding her that really make the story progress – showing us how each girl goes from innocent to someone who knows who they are internally and wants to make sure the world knows it as well.
There’s also the fact that we learn that some of the gifts that we thought were the ones assigned at birth really aren’t the true ones – and i feel like that makes it that much more compelling. Mira is the same, but seeing how weak or missing both Katherine and Arsinoe’s gifts were, it’s no surprise that there’s a bit more to the story – yet we don’t truly find out the full back story or what gifts should have manifested in both.
Katherine is a mystery now to this day – she was thrown into the Breccia and she comes back as the undead queen – and yet we’re still not sure what that means. Arsinoe resorts to low magic to make anything happen around her and that has it’s consequences.
We are left at the end of this story with deaths, a divide among those who remain alive, and a divide from the island hopefully back to the mainland. There’s really no sense what this all means for the future – and i think that’s the allure. We’re left on such a cliff here that i can’t even speculate what’s going to happen. We know that happy endings are impossible in this world and i think that we’re just hoping for something that makes the island less of a war zone. So on that note, i see there’s a prequel coming out and then the third installment at some point so i’ll have to be patient. Enjoy!
Title: Three Dark Crowns Author: Kendare Blake Publisher/Year: HarperCollings 9/20/16 Length: 307 Pages Series: Three Dark Crowns #1
Fans of acclaimed author Kendare Blake’s Anna Dressed in Blood will devour Three Dark Crowns, a dark and inventive fantasy about three sisters who must fight to the death to become queen. And don’t miss the highly anticipated sequel, One Dark Throne!
In every generation on the island of Fennbirn, a set of triplets is born: three queens, all equal heirs to the crown and each possessor of a coveted magic. Mirabella is a fierce elemental, able to spark hungry flames or vicious storms at the snap of her fingers. Katharine is a poisoner, one who can ingest the deadliest poisons without so much as a stomachache. Arsinoe, a naturalist, is said to have the ability to bloom the reddest rose and control the fiercest of lions.
But becoming the Queen Crowned isn’t solely a matter of royal birth. Each sister has to fight for it. And it’s not just a game of win or lose…it’s life or death. The night the sisters turn sixteen, the battle begins.
The last queen standing gets the crown.
I needed something new to read and this was a series that i’ve seen pop up in my feed a bunch but i’ve never gotten around to it. glad that i did. what we have here is the introduction to an interesting story about a world where those who live on an island have powers or ‘gifts’ and those who are on the mainland do not. each generation of Queens born is a generation of triplets, each of whom is supposed to have a gift, and only the strongest will survive to become the reigning queen of their generation. She must kill her sisters.
So this is the story that we go through on a journey with the triplets, Arsinoe, Katherine and Mirabella. It’s an interesting world that they live in. the girls are separated from one another when they are very young, taken to the town where their gift reigns so that they can grown and hone their powers. The way that this story is written is in alternating chapters between the sisters so that we can both get to know them a bit more and see what struggles they are going through since it’s clear that they are much more similar than they knew.
Katherine is supposed to have the gift of poisoning, and what that means, i’m not entirely sure. She’s quite skilled at creating and crafting poisons, but she’s supposed to be able to withstand all forms of poison and that doesn’t seem to be the case with her. she’s training her body to cope with it but everyone around her wonders if she’s truly giftless.
Arsinoe is supposed to have the gift of being a naturalist- which means that she’s connected to all living things, plants and animals. The thing here is that she’s supposed to have a familiar – an animal that is linked to her soul and she doesn’t – she’s not even able to make a simple bud bloom to life. So there’s yet another question on whether she’s truly gotten a gift or not.
Then there’s Mirabella – the one that throws a wrench in everything. She’s the most beautiful and enchanting by far, and she demonstrated her skills at being an elemental from day one – she’s one of the most powerful that they’ve seen and this makes everyone nervous and afraid since the triplets know that she will be the one to reign.
If that were the core to the story – then there’s so much more that’s going to come out. What we see throughout is how others play a role in their lives. There are priestesses who have their own agendas, families who want power, and girls who just want friends and romance. While we think the story line is simple, really just a fight to prove gifts and stay alive, what we see in the last third is a total change in what the point and direction of the story will be. I think that it’s no surprise to see what happens, but i also think that we’re setting up for a really great book 2 since the world as we knew it has turned upside down. I can’t wait to see what comes next and i’m going to track down that next book ASAP. Enjoy!
Title: Fallen Heir Author: Erin Watt Publisher/Year: Pear Tree 8/13/17 Length: 338 Pages Series: The Royals #4
These Royals will ruin you.
Easton Royal has it all: looks, money, intelligence. His goal in life is to have as much fun as possible. He never thinks about the consequences because he doesn’t have to.
Until Hartley Wright appears, shaking up his easy life. She’s the one girl who’s said no, despite being attracted to him. Easton can’t figure her out and that makes her all the more irresistible.
Hartley doesn’t want him. She says he needs to grow up.
She might be right.
Rivals. Rules. Regrets. For the first time in Easton’s life, wearing a Royal crown isn’t enough. He’s about to learn that the higher you start, the harder you fall.
I had forgotten about this series – and i don’t know how that happen aside from having read a ton of stuff in between. The Royal family has had quite an interested year with the discovery of Ella and what her real father did to the Royals. So we’ve gotten through a few bits of the family and now it’s time to see how things go for Easton – the middle child and the one who’s most like his deceased mother with her addiction issues as well as just having no real direction.
He’s not really challenged by anything at school anymore until Hartley comes into his view and well things get turned upside down. She’s a girl who’s from a very well off family yet she’s living on her own – banished and she’s got secrets. This story really is one of seeing how she comes out the other side from her demons and watching as Easton matures to be a friend and not just a flirt.
The story here is interesting since we only get hints for the bulk of it on what troubles Hartley and once they open up to each other, we see that it’s far worse than anyone knew. When Easton tries to help, he makes it worse which leaves us at a really bad cliff hanger at the end.
Ms Watt gives us another really sweet YA story here – all about how you have to grow as a person, and build a foundation on trust and friendship before you can be more – and how if you have that strong base – when people threaten you, together you can be stronger. We remember from the other stories that the girls at their school Astor are cutthroat. They are only out to better their stature and that’s no rarity in this story either. Hartley/Easton and even Ella are up against someone who’s out for blood and hopefully together they will come out on top. Hopefully when the ending says that we get another book in 2018 that it means early 2018 since i’d rather not wait a year for another installment. Enjoy!
Title: Warcross Author: Marie Lu Publisher/Year: Penguin Group 9/12/17 Length: 305 Pages Series: Warcross #1
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.
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!