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, Once and For All, Warcross
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

 

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff| Book Review

Picture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff| Book ReviewPicture Me Gone by Meg Rosoff
Published by Putnam Juvenile on October 2013
Genres: Contemporary YA, YA Mystery
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!

three-stars

 

 

 

book synopsis “Mila has an exceptional talent for reading a room—sensing hidden facts and unspoken emotions from clues that others overlook. So when her father’s best friend, Matthew, goes missing from his upstate New York home, Mila and her beloved father travel from London to find him. She collects information about Matthew from his belongings, from his wife and baby, from the dog he left behind and from the ghosts of his past—slowly piecing together the story everyone else has missed. But just when she’s closest to solving the mystery, a shocking betrayal calls into question her trust in the one person she thought she could read best. ”

good books to readI liked Picture Me Gone when I read it but unfortunately I felt like I had nothing to really say about it and found that after I had read 2 books or so I kind of forgot about it altogether? It felt special when I read it but overall it just didn’t linger and was kind of forgettable which was interesting considering, while I was reading it, it stood out to me because it felt pretty unique.

Picture Me Gone was a quiet, thought-provoking type of novel. I thought it was going to be more of mystery than it really was and that aspect really was sort of underwhelming but I was okay with that because of Mila’s narrative and all the things she was observing and learning along the way. As Mila journeys with her dad to find his best friend, who has disappeared and left behind a wife and a child, she observes some of the details that could help her solve the mystery that others may have missed. It was a pretty slow going novel, especially because I thought it was going to be MORE of a mystery than it was, but I didn’t mind being in Mila’s brain and listen to her very thoughtful observations about Matthew’s potential motives, her theories and just about all the parties involved. I rather liked watching everything unfold from her perspective.

I really liked her Mila’s POV. She’s 12 but very wise beyond her years and mature. I think, in some ways, I kept forgetting that she was 12 because her thought seemed quite a bit older and that was a bit problematic because it wasn’t convincing as a reader that she was actually 12 but I enjoyed her nonetheless. She’s precocious and observant and in some ways her narrative reminded me a little of The Curious Incident of Dog In The Night Time. She was just different and I liked it. So much wisdom came from her watching the mystery of her dad’s friend slowly become solved but there was also this sense of her eyes being open to the complexities of adulthood and I think she really sees adults, even parents, in a different light as this trip progresses.

I really, really enjoyed the writing — it was beautiful and always seemed to contain some nugget of truth. It was a bit confusing at first, though, with the dialogue because there are no quotation marks so it took some time to get used to but other than that the writing was a really big standout for me with this one.

“I wonder at what point a child becomes a person. Does it happen all at once, or slowly, in stages? Is there an age, a week, a moment, at which all the secrets of the universe are revealed and adulthood descends on a cloud from heaven, altering the brain forever? Will the child-me slink off one day, never to return?”

book reviewsI really felt like Picture Me Gone was a unique read when I read it but honestly when I put some distance between it it became kind of forgettable which was sad. I don’t want to take that away from how much I liked it when I was reading it but I feel like that’s relevant to my overall, longstanding feelings of it. I loved the writing and how unique it was because I do love a bit of a slow, thoughtful read that makes me think and leaves me with so many quotes I dogeared. I really did love Mila’s POV but there is no way she felt 12 to me — or else I just don’t know any 12 years quite like her — but she brought something fresh to my reading experience. ALSO, the summary makes this seem more of a mystery, and while there’s this underlying “what happened to Mathew?” it’s not really a mystery.

short book reviewpicture-me-gone-meg-rosoff

 

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one? Heard of it? If you’ve read it, what did you think?


The Perpetual Page-Turner

 

three-stars

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, Once and For All, Warcross
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

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey | Book Review

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey reviewBook Title/Author: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Publisher/Year
: Putnam Juvenile – May 7th 2013
Genre: YA Science Fiction — Post Apocalyptic
Series: Yes, it’s book 1.
Other Books From Author: The Monstrumologist, The Extraordinary Adventures of Alfred Kropp

Amazon| Goodreads | Twitter |

I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Cassie finds herself alone on the cusp of the 5th Wave of the alien apocalypse. The first waves were devastating by taking out the power, plaguing people with a terrible illness, and taking out entire parts of the US by floods. Her family is gone. She survives and trusts nobody because of the 4th Wave and the Silencers who look just like humans— until she meets a man Evan who takes her in and may be her only chance for survival and finding her brother.

I honestly was not sure about this book prior to picking it up. I had never read about ALIENS before but I’ve been apparently expanding my reading tastes lately (I mean, really, would have never thought I’d read about cyborgs and love it). I am always interested in apocalypse type novels so I was like alien apocalypse? LET’S DO THIS. I was scared about the hype and also intrigued (I mean, $750,000 marketing campaign??) but I really had no expectations for it so it really worked in my favor.

So, The 5th Wave was quite awesome. Really awesome, in fact. I won’t go and say it’s an all time favorite book but I REALLY enjoyed it & it’s up there pretty high for me this year! It was one of the most action-packed, exhilarating books I’ve read in while that left me on the edge of my seat and dying for the sequel. One of those reads where you sit down to read for an hour and suddenly you find it dark out and you are in a completely different position than you remember being hours later because you are THAT absorbed by it. Seriously, when did I move??

I really enjoyed the balance of the present action with the back story of the prior Waves and I was so intrigued by each wave and could just see it all happening in a very cinematic way — the fear of these approaching aliens and the electricity being cut off to the burying of your loved ones after watching a nasty disease take hold of them. I really love minimalistic, survival type books (and tv shows — Walking Dead, Revolution) so this really appealed to me as we watch the humans living like this and, by contrast, made me so intrigued by the high tech nature of these aliens. They definitely weren’t your E.T.-esque aliens but rather cunningly smart and way more advanced aliens. They made us look like chumps in this book. I felt like I was accusing everyone in this book of secretly being an alien.

The action scenes in this book were AWESOME. I could envision them and sometimes I had to remind myself that I was in fact NOT running from the aliens while carrying a big gun. The 5th Wave brought those quality blockbuster-like, heart-pounding moments where things were blowing up and shit was going down and I was jumping up and down in my seat saying, “RUN! RUN! RUN!” I even think my non-reader of a husband was at least a little intrigued at what I was reading and I KNOW if this was a movie he’d think it was pretty kickass. Because it was. The 5th Wave also ruined my recently polished nails with all the nail-biting I was doing as twists and turns surfaced — I totally predicted some things correctly but Yancey pulled out his magic bag of tricks and surprised me with other things.

Beyond the thrilling nature of this book and the intriguing alien-filled apocalyptic world, I really did feel like I got to know the main characters well and I could feel their dilemmas in this new world and their want to survive. The struggle between maintaining that mortality in a world that is so very different was palpable and I could feel that war waging within them when it came to make decisions for survival that crossed their previous moral boundaries. I really UNDERSTOOD Cassie the most in this aspect and I found her to be very strong. We see how she adapted but we still know that her heart isn’t as hardened as could happen in this situation. My heart felt like it was shredding just having to watch Cassie experience trying to keep that morality that made her human but also fighting like hell to survive.

There were things that kept it from reaching my ALL TIME FAVES status. I don’t want to go into too much detail but I really didn’t like a  romance presented during this book. It could have been more interesting maybe as a friendship and I kind of saw it coming. At times,  I cut it slack because I thought,  “WELL, if I’d been on my own for a while I might crave another human intensely.” But it kind of distracted me and I thought for as smart as she was she let her guard down so easily there. The other thing I had a hard time with was sometimes I could not figure out how much time had elapsed and sometimes couldn’t figure out if it was months that had gone by between certain things or days. I also found there to be some coincidences — especially that, when all these people have died and scattered, she meets up with a CERTAIN person. But the romantic in me was also happy about this because HEY IT’S THE END OF THE WORLD! SECOND CHANCES YAY!

The 5th Wave was overall an awesome book and a fabulous start to a series I cannot wait to really get into. I never would have thought an alien apocalyptic story would garner such love from me  but this was not only a thrilling and all-consuming reading experience but I loved how it really explored morality and the courage to survive amidst a collapsing world shown through characters I grew to love and understand. And it was well written to boot! This will be one I will be buying for  both my nephews AND my niece and recommending to people who would probably never pick this up on their own. Hell, it would be one book I might make the husband read. I have no doubt this is going to be the next big series that my friends outside of the bookish world will be reading when it catches on. I’ve already put it on their radars for sure!

 

 Recommends To People Who Like: Survival stories, science fiction, apocalypse stories with science fiction elements, The Walking Dead, aliens, action-packed books that don’t skimp also on good writing, strong characters

the-5th-wave-review

 

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one??  Heard of it?  If you’ve read it, did you enjoy it? Was it worth all the hype?

 

 

 

 

four-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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