What I’ve Been Reading Lately – Mini Book Talks

I read quite a bit in December and have quite the backlog but wanted to at least let you know what I read!

 

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic by Lauren Oliver

About In A Sentence (ish): The two main characters lives intersect as they play, each having their own strong reasons for participating, in their town’s yearly high stakes game called Panic that is judged by two anonymous people and gives dangerous and potentially deadly challenges to complete.

Thoughts: MAN, I love Lauren Oliver. LOVE HER. But this book was not for me at all. It had such a good premise (high stakes game played by high school students!) but the execution lacked for me in many ways. I was bored despite the fact it was high stakes and had mysterious aspects (that I found so predictable). One romances was great and the other was so weird and forced. The characters never felt real to me. I honestly would have quit it pretty early on had it not been a book club book. To be honest, it could be a really cool movie but I just couldn’t get into it in any way. It was a fairly quick read so there was that and probably the only reason I was still reading was to see how one of our main characters would fare and also what kind of seriously crazy challenges the judges would throw out next.

 

Rating:

RATING-Not-a-fan

[Keep Reading]

6 Reasons Why I Freaking Loved The Young Elites by Marie Lu

6 Reasons Why I Freaking Loved The Young Elites by Marie LuThe Young Elites by Marie Lu
Series: The Young Elites #2
Published by Putnam Juvenile on October 7, 2014
Genres: YA Fantasy
Also by this author: Legend, Prodigy, The Rose Society
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads

I received this book for review consideration from the publisher. This in no way swayed my opinion of the book. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

1.  Adelina. THAT GIRL: Adelina is one of the most compelling characters I’ve come across in a long time. If you read the interview with Marie Lu you’ll know that Adelina was originally a side character and was a villain of sorts. When Marie switched her focus to Adelina, The Young Elites really became the origin story of a villain. She’s so intriguing because she does things that you are like WHAT WHAT WHAT NO but also there is whole level of sympathy you have for her. She’s had a rough past where people have been so cruel to her and you GET where that hardness is from. But then you see these moments of greatness and a softer side to her. She’s so compelling and my heart ached for her in all her brokenness but her strength was just so heartstoppingly so — scary almost!

2. The setting is to die for: I LOVED THE SETTING. It’s a fantasy world but you can tell that Marie’s inspirations were Renaissance Venice/Italy. It feels historic but it so wholly a fantasy world. I just couldn’t get enough of it because I could see it so beautifully.

3. The magic: So after this illness ravaged the land, some children had strange markings and such happening and they were labelled as malfettos and were looked at as an abomination. The other thing that some of these children had? These new found, strange powers. They are seen as dangerous and there is a group of them called The Young Elites that everyone is SO afraid of and blame for all these bad things happening which is why queen and king are trying to murder them all. As Adelina comes in contact with The Young Elites I LOVED learning what all their powers were and I loved seeing Adelina develop hers as she is a bit of a loose cannon because she has no idea how to control it and work it.

4. How dark this novel was: In Legend, even though the world was dark in ways, it just doesn’t even come close to the sort of darkness that this story touches. Part of it is, as I said before, Adelina is more of a villain and not as easy to root for as June and Day but there’s just underlying darkness in this world. Sinister characters. The things that these characters have to do to live. The things that they are happening in the leadership. How layered and not black and white the issues of morality are. It was just PERFECT.

5. How Marie was constantly able to surprise me: It takes a lot to surprise me. I’ll be honest. But Marie WENT THERE. Things happened that I never thought in a million years would and certain revelations had me frantically turning the pages. It never once went down the path of predictability for me and THAT my friends is a damn good reading experience that leaves you on the edge of your seat.

6. The exciting possibilities for book 2: HOLY CRAP. It was one of those experiences where I was just bouncing up and down with excitement for how everything is setting up for book 2….and then I realize I HAVE NO BOOK 2. I think book 2 is going to be so exciting with how everything ended and there’s promise of new characters to be excited about from lands we haven’t seen yet. This is going to be a damn good series! I can feel it in my bones.

a6
RATING-beyondloved
factors+ plot, characters, surprises, set up for book 2, writing
NADA

Re-readability: I would probably actually reread this one before book 2.
Would I buy a copy for my collection? I’ll probably wait until book 2 to see if this is a series to invest in but I have good feels about that.

a5fantasy lovers, people who love complex characters who aren’t morally easy to pin down, people who love strong female main characters, people looking for a new series to be addicted to, fans of Marie Lu, people who find villain-y type characters very compelling

a8The Young Elites was everything and MORE than I was hoping for this novel. It was a lightning quick, intense read for me because everyone was so compelling and complex, the plot lingered and surged forward at all the right moments and it absolutely surprised me. It’s dark, unpredictable  and I have a good feeling about where this series is going.

review-on-post-it

The Young Elites Marie Lu review

a8j* Have you read this one? What did you think? Similar or different from me? I would LOVE to hear regardless!
*If you haven’t read it, does this series feel like something you’d be into?
* Did you sympathize with Adelina?

 


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

Prodigy by Marie Lu | Book Review

Prodigy by Marie Lu | Book ReviewProdigy by Marie Lu
Published by Putnam Juvenile on January 2013
Genres: YA Dystopian
Also by this author: Legend, The Young Elites, The Rose Society
Format: ARC
Source: Borrowed
Amazon/Twitter
Goodreads
three-half-stars

 

 

 

 

June and Day have just fled Los Angeles and are still injured and on the run with no plan except finding the Patriots to see if they will help them. Their escape has made June a HUGE traitor and she’s now wanted all over the Republic and the people believe Day is dead. They make it to the Patriots camp and find themselves involved in a HUGE plot to overthrow the Republic.

We decided to read Prodigy by Marie Lu for book club since we all had read Legend and enjoyed it and NONE of us had gotten to Prodigy. Overall, as a second book in the series, this one was really great! It was the same action-packed, cinematic story that made me fall in love with Legend but with even more world-building and some great twists. This time around though I wasn’t as in love with the characters but we’ll get to that in a bit. Overall it was one of those reads that I couldn’t read fast enough and then I got to the end and feel like I got punched in the face. MAJOR CRAZY DEVELOPMENT AT THE END.

As fun as the cat and mouse plot was with Legend, I really actually think I enjoyed the plot of this novel even MORE. It was intense, not just with action that makes your heart race, but the world became more complete. We get to see more of what is going on in other parts of the former US including the Colonies which really was fascinating and crazy (and I hope we see much more with in Champion). The way the plot became more about the political side of things made it extremely interesting as we learn further information about the people in power and what is going on. June and Day are being used to pull off some big moves with the Patriots and it begins to be hard to know who to trust — for June and Day but also for us as a reader. We see both sides, as June and Day become separated for a little bit as part of the plan, and as the reader we know things the other character doesn’t and you sit there biting your nails as the stakes become higher and higher and you don’t know whose judgment is right — June or Day’s!

One of the huge threads obviously is the relationship between June and Day. I like that there is actual THOUGHT about how plausible their relationship could be considering June was partly to blame for what Day has lost and then the obvious very different upbringing. The tension between them was so palpable and I loved that Marie Lu made it feel real and their concerns were not at all silly. HOWEVER, I did not enjoy this love triangle-ish thing. It felt too over the top for me with both of them having confusing feelings for someone else. I get that both people were a contrast of what they’d have with each other but it was a bit too melodramatic for my taste considering all the crazy things that were going on in the story. AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME TO THINK ABOUT MORE THAN ONE ROMANCE WHEN YOU COULD DIE. I had a few eyeroll moments.

Overall, Prodigy by Marie Lu was a darn good sequel that just added more to this world and understanding of ALL the forces at work here in these shambles of the US. I loved where it went plot-wise — it was incredibly exciting, brought some interesting new characters and gave us some HUGE revelations to really propel the story forward and give us a clearer picture than we had in Legend of the inner workings of the government/state of life outside of the Republic. The ending is BRUTAL and completely sucker punched me and I’m DYING to get my hands on Champion.

Prodigy by Marie Lu book review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this series? Heard of it? How did you think Prodigy stacked up to Legend if you’ve read it? What did you think about the love triangle (square? Rectangle?)? DID YOU DIE FROM THE ENDING?

three-half-stars

Legend by Marie Lu

What’s It About: Legend takes place in a future United States which is now called the Republic which is in a perpetual warring civil war with other parts of the nation and plagues run rampant. The story is told through the alternating perspectives of June & Day — two teens who live incredibly different lives. June lives the military life in which she is on the fast track to the Republic’s army due to her perfect scores and her brother’s high rank. Day, coming from the poor sector, is one of the most wanted criminals in the Republic and lives a life in a constant state of running from the Republic and playing tricks on them. When a horrible crime is committed that shakes June’s world, she gets put on point to track down Day who is presumed to be responsible. But what happens when motives may not be what they seem and enemies unknowingly become allies?

Legend by Marie Lu is a smartly written cat and mouse game that is adventure filled and full of surprises as the reader awaits the moment when both Day and June will figure out the true identity of each other. The tension of the relationship leaves you often not being able to breathe because you keep thinking, “IS THIS THE MOMENT? Who’s going to find out first??” It’s beyond gripping. I really enjoyed the characters of Day and June – what’s not to like about a misunderstood rebel who really has a heart of gold or a smartass, daring girl who sleuths around with the big boys to hunt down criminals…like Nancy Drew but with kickass weapons and a defiant attitude? Ok, really, love you Nance but watch your back because June could have the criminal tied up and a full confession before you even find a clue.

I think the biggest problem I had with the book was that sometimes June and Day reminded me TOO much of each other and, despite the alternating perspectives, I would find that their personalities were blending together for me. But mostly I loved them even if they totally don’t seem like they are 15 year olds. But then again, who knows how much you’d have to grow up in a world like THAT. My other gripe would be that I felt like we didn’t get to know much about WHY the world is the way it is..which I know we’ll probably learn more about in the second book but I wanted a LITTLE bit more than we were given.

Final Thought: Legend by Marie Lu is a fabulous addition to the YA dystopian canon and would highly recommend those who have just gotten into The Hunger Games. It’s full of adventure and a few surprises and twists that will leave you reeling not to mention some fabulous romantical tension, shocking betrayal, a messed up government & a future world that makes you thank your lucky stars that you don’t really live in it. It’s a great book for both teen girls and teen boys and I’d highly recommend it to reluctant male teens. I was reading it at the same time as my 13 year old nephew and he devoured it and just couldn’t stop talking about how good it was!

Learn more on Goodreads or Amazon
four-stars
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