Pawn by Aimee Carter | Book Review

Pawn by Aimee Carter | Book ReviewPawn by Aimee Carter
Series: The Blackcoat Rebellion #1
Publisher/Year: Harlequin Teen- November 26, 2013
Genres: YA Dystopian
Format: ARC
Source: For Review
Other Books From Author: The Goddess Test series
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I received this from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This in no way swayed my opinion. Pinky swear!

 

 

 

Kitty Doe lives in a world where a single test determines your rank in life. The lower the rank, the worse the job and life. Kitty receives a III which is not the worst but definitely not a good life and it will send her away from her boyfriend, family and friends. She’s planning on taking matters into her own hands until she’s given an offer — remain a III or take a deal with the most powerful political family and become a VII. The catch? She’ll have to have a surgical procedure, called Masking, that will completely alter her face and she will become Lila Hart — the prime minister’s niece who died, under rather fishy circumstances, and they don’t want the public to know. Kitty will have to become Lila perfectly and learn everything about her to keep up the charade so nobody will suspect that she’s not really Lila. As she learns more about Lila she learns that she wasn’t completely in line with her families political stance and was secretly part of a revolution. Kitty has to figure out whether or not she will go along with the plan she’s been given, and keep her loved ones safe, or go along with the rebellion she really believes in.

I haven’t been reading a ton of dystopian type books recently but I decided I was ready to again so I picked up Pawn by Aimee Carter. I’m happy to report back that it was a pretty strong start to a series — not a favorite by any means but there was definitely something there that absolutely required all my attention and felt like it stood out despite the fact the actual premise didn’t really stand out that much to me and the beginning made me feel like I was right about that. But then surely it developed into one of those twisty, make-your-pulse-race kind of reads with a few shocks along the way.

I thought the world was interesting. You take a test and that determines your class basically and what job you will be given. Unless you are royalty and then you are automatically a VII. Families are only allowed to have a certain amount of children and all the rest go into group homes. People who are born into better situations get better education and in most cases it impacts how you’ll do on the test. You felt that feeling of being STUCK in your situation really easily. I don’t think I was ever super clear on WHY the government was the way it was but I really thought Aimee Carter did a great job creating the political side of things. There was so much corruption and craziness in the political family which made it such a page-turner. Very intense! Seriously, there were crazy things happening — so many attempts on people’s lives, secrets, lies, etc. Definitely the type of read that is the essence of a fast paced read and I felt like I couldn’t figure out who to trust AT ALL.

There was a romance in it and I actually really liked it — they were an established couple so there wasn’t really any sort of drama other than what was happening with Kitty’s test and then the predicament she found herself in. The romance wasn’t the main focus by any means and it just felt natural so I really liked that.

Pawn by Aimee Carter was definitely an exhilarating, twisty read — lots of political craziness, secrets, lies and pulse-pounding action. I liked it, was entertained by it and read it VERY quickly. I can’t explain why I’m not head over heels IN LOVE despite all that but it was a good read and I can’t wait to read book 2 to see where the craziness goes. It stood out enough for me in the genre but I think I needed a little something more for me to be obsessed.

Pawn by Aimee Carter

Let’s Talk: Have you read Pawn? Heard of it/planning to read it? Did you LOVE it? Not like it? Or were you just at a “like” status with it? Did you see ANY of the things coming? Because oh man… me = blindsided most of the time.

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver (NO SPOILERS)

Requiem by Lauren Oliver Book Title/Author: Requiem by Lauren Oliver
Publisher/Year
: HarperTeen March 2013
Genre: Dystopian YA
Series: Yes. It is the last book in the series — Delirium is book 1 and Pandemonium is book 2.
Other Books From Author: Before I Fall, Liesel & Po, The Spindlers

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

Requiem picks up a few days after Pandemonium ends. Alex has joined Lena’s group and things are tense between them and with Julian and Lena struggles with her feelings and the coldness of Alex towards her. The group is in the wilds and trying to figure out where the best place for them to go next as the Wilds become more dangerous. Things are also tense between the resistance and the government and the regulators are stepping up their attempts to silence the Invalids and a fight is brewing. Requiem alternates between Lena and the dangerous Wilds and Hana who is cured, matched up and getting ready for her wedding — to the powerful mayor of Portland.

I’m almost ready to sob as I write this. This is not at all what I wanted for the ending of a beloved series that I’ve raved about. I did not want to write anything less than a glowing review. But alas, Requiem just completely was a let down for me personally. I feel like you are going to either LOVE this one or HATE it. So…let’s get into it.

There were some great things about Requiem. I loved the alternating chapters between Lena and Hana — this contrast between cured and uncured and the life within the walls and the life outside the walls in the Wilds was intriguing and just perfect. It was such a great contrast and I honestly really enjoyed Hana and her perspective and she became my favorite  to follow. The other thing? I was not sold on Julian in Pandemonium but in Requiem I just completely fell in love with him. I did. He grew and adapted to the Wilds and he was just a sweetheart. I loved getting to know him more. And as always, Lauren’s writing is exquisite. She knows how to write it all — tension (Alex and Lena..AHH. That tension was thick), tender moments and HUGE scenes where you can’t turn the page fast enough. I was happy to be back in this fascinating world that Lauren Oliver has created and snuggled in with her beautiful writing.

Let’s talk about the two things that let me down. The second one being the biggest factor.

1) The storyline of Requiem itself: I have to be honest…it took me quite a bit to get into this one. I was bored and almost put it down which was strange because I couldn’t read the first two fast enough. I guess I just expected a bit more action as we are left finishing Pandemonium feeling breathless from the events happening between the resistance and DFA. We could tell it was getting more and more tense and the air was charged with danger. You could tell something big was going to down. For the first half of this book, that feeling was lost on me. Lena and her crew are just moving around trying to find a place to go and, yes, there are THINGS that happen but I never felt that sense of OH MAN SOMETHING IS GOING TO HAPPEN until halfway through or so. The suspense and that constricting feeling in my chest because I know something big was going to happen…just NOT THERE. And Lena. I really loved her through the series but really just was bothered by her in this one. I know LOVE is a crazy thing and it doesn’t always make sense but I just don’t love how she treated Julian. That’s all I’m going to say. And truly, Hana’s chapters were way more interesting to me than what was going on with Lena and company.

2) The ending: I just can’t even process. Let’s just start out with the fact that this book ends with one of the most beautiful paragraphs I have ever read. It was lovely. I just wish I wasn’t so mad so that I could have enjoyed it more. So I’m reading and I’m noticing the thinning of pages in my right hand and thought about where we were in the story and I honestly thought I MUST be missing pages. There is NO WAY that this could wrap up with this many pages left. The ending was rushed for me. It was like FINALLY things are happening but it all went so fast. And then we get to the ending and I’m like ARE YOU SERIOUS? THIS IS HOW IT ENDS? Really?? I’m not one of those  people who needs a happy ending nor needs the author to do EXACTLY what I want…but I needed something from this. There was little resolution, I had so many questions and it was just rushed. I was not satisfied at all for a series I loved with my whole heart and was so invested in. I knew that Lauren would take risks but this is not what I had in mind when I think of what a brilliant writer she is. I mean, yes, there was truth to the ending and you felt a little bit of hope that they will have the chance to choose love in all of its messy glory and that maybe things will change…but just no…I didn’t FEEL anything. I felt gypped and was not feeling fond of Lena at the end.

All in all, Requiem was pretty much a disappointment for me which is sad because I LOVED this series so hard and recommended it so often. It kind of taints the series for me now between the less than exciting plot, how Lena acts in Requiem and a rushed ending that didn’t seem like much of an ending at all for people who devoted so much time to loving this series. I’m not a person who needs a happy and perfect ending or for the author to do what I want but I just expected something more to be honest. If you had lukewarm feelings for this series as it was, I’d say just ask someone what the ending is. If you have loved the series through and through, I say finish it and I will be crossing my fingers you feel more satisfied than I did with this book. I AM DEVASTATED RIGHT NOW. But that last paragraph was BEAUTIFUL. Oh, and Hana pretty much ROCKS my world.

 

Other Series You May LikeUnder the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi (Through the Ever Night – book 2- was AMAZING!), Matched by Ally Condie, Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Eve by Anna Carey

requiem-lauren-oliver

Let’s Talk: Have you read this one?? What did you think or am I just the odd man out who was disappointed?? I am just so, so sad because I expected to be blown away. What did you think of the ending? Did it work for you?

Mini Reviews: Wedding Madness Edition

So I’ve been trying to catch up on my backlog of reviews but I just don’t have motivation AT ALL. So today you are going to get two mini reviews from me from two books I read during wedding planning/on the honeymoon and honestly I feel like I can’t write a whole review at this point so you’ll just get my general thoughts!

 

9593911Pandemonium by Lauren  Oliver: This is the sequel to Delirium and I’m super excited to read Pandemonium, the final book in the trilogy, soon! I mean, you remember how excited I was when it showed up here? I know there was a lot of dissension (mostly Julian related) amongst lovers of this series and this book but I really enjoyed it. It was so much more of a page-turner for me than Delirium was to be honest.   I loved learning more about the  Wilds and what happened to Lena after escaping. Lots of interesting characters were  introduced and I loved them! I really loved the way this one was set up as each chapter switched back and from between right after she escaped to where she was at the present. Lena’s story in the Wilds is definitely a lot more gritty and raw than in Delirium. It was an interesting contrast to me and quite the action packed, emotional one. Oh and Lauren Oliver just LOVES to slay you with her endings apparently as this one left me sputtering and squealing though I think in my head I knew it was coming.

10429092The Girl of Fire & Thorns by Rae Carson: I don’t read a TON of fantasy so I’m very new to the genre for sure but I LOVED this one. I read this while on the honeymoon while sitting poolside and sipping drinks with fancy pancy umbrellas in them. This book definitely made me want to read more fantasy books because I was on the edge of my very slippery-from-tanning-oil pool lounger. There was lots of action and some pretty epic moments of battles and tense scenes. I was a little wary of Elisa at first because she was so whiny and WOE IS ME and never did anything but I grew to love her and cheered for her kickass-ness and growth in many parts of this book! ALSO, loved that there was a love story in this book but that it didn’t take away from the story and wasn’t the center of it. As a child I loved books about princesses and castles and battles and now I’m all OMG OLD JAMIE DOES TOOO! I’m definitely excited to read book 2 soon and will be hoping to read more straight up fantasy novel in the future!

Have you read either of these? Love them? Dislike them? Tell me why!

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

Book Review: Under The Never Sky By Veronica Rossi

Aria and Perry live in two completely different worlds. Aria lives comfortably in Reverie — a very science fiction type city of enormous domes where technology allows you to do anything you want or be anywhere you want within different realms. You could be walking around the ancient streets of Rome or singing at the opera. When news that her mother, a scientist working in a top secret pod, goes missing Aria seeks answers at any cost which leads to Aria getting exiled from her home…into the Wastelands where she meets Perry, a Savage. Their journey for answers and redemption forge together as they realize they need each other to survive and to find the answers to the get them back to the ones they love.

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi is exactly what I needed to read right now! This post-apocalyptic/dystopian novel was fast-paced, highly imaginative and made for one exhilarating ride. I loved that part of this novel was more science fiction-y than most of the dystopian reads I’ve encountered but there was still that wild, badlands feel with the “outside” world where Perry lived that seemed more like a post-apocalyptic world. The world-building was incredible in this book because of this. I was equally interested in both worlds and how they operated, what they looked like and how they became separated in the first place. Veronica Rossi built these worlds so intricately that I couldn’t shake the images that my mind was conjuring up. I am in awe of these worlds she created.

I really LOVED the characters of this novel. I loved seeing Aria come to learn more about herself through this journey. She proved to be so strong but believably so. She was still vulnerable, seemingly weak and scared when she first started it all but I loved watching her power through it all and WANT to learn how to protect herself and learn that she COULD survive in the outside world. I think the thing I loved about her is that she wasn’t some badass, superpower female lead but she was a normal girl who took her horrible circumstances and really became brave and made smart decisions to keep herself fighting. And Perry..he isn’t without flaws but it’s so hard not to like him. And their relationship…PERFECT. I loved how their journey and their inner turmoil helped them to really start to see each other for who they really were rather than the labels they had assigned to each other as “Savage” and “Dweller.” I fully enjoyed watching their relationship and tensed up quite a few times waiting for some sparks. The rooftop scene…YEAH…tension galore.

While I really enjoyed this novel and couldn’t put it down, there were a few things that bothered me about it. I felt really confused at first in the beginning. I felt like I missed a first chapter or something where things were explained about the world. There was just a lot of things thrown  at you all at one time and it really took about 50 pages for me to really get into it. I really had no context for what happened to the worlds that they were like this.

The biggest source of contention, for me, was the Aether storms. They were mentioned so frequently and I didn’t feel like I even understood what the heck they were or how they came to be. The only way I can think to explain it is if you’ve ever seen Lost. The Aether storms to me seemed like the Smoke Monster (not actually that it’s like the Smoke Monster but in how confused it made me). It just always seemed to be in the storyline and you don’t know where it came from or why it’s there but it just keeps showing up and that when it comes around BAD SHIZ HAPPENS. That’s how I felt about the Aether sky and the storms. I just didn’t get them. I hope that we come to understand it in the next book but it honestly did make me really confused that there seemed to be no explanation about them — not even a little. I didn’t need to know everything but I felt I was missing something…

My final thought: If you are seeking a fast paced, exciting YA dystopian/post-apocalyptic from start to finish..Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi definitely a good pick. The world-building was fantastic and I could picture it all. It wasn’t without its flaws..there were a few elements that made it confusing in the beginning and I wished I would understand some things at least a little bit because..well I just felt like I was missing some things. Great characters, accessible writing & lots of action from the get-go! AND HEY..no cliffhanger. I was actually really satisfied with the ending!

Review On A Post-It

* I received this book from the publisher — HarperTeen — in exchange for an honest review. I swear on my bookshelves full of great books that this in NO way shaped my opinions in this review.

Fever by Lauren DeStefano – SPOILER-FREE!

*THIS REVIEW HAS SPOILERS FOR WITHER. You can read my review of Wither here. Also, I have NOT spoiled anything that happens in Fever so you can feel free to read this review without being told what happens! I plan on making a vlog to also review this book FULL of spoilers after the release date. I just have SO much to talk about.

Book/Author: Fever by Lauren DeStefano
To Be Published February 21st by Simon & Schuster
I received Fever for review from the (EVER SO AWESOME) publisher and this did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

Fever by Lauren DeStefano leaves off where Wither ends so thankfully we don’t miss a moment of their story since their escape from the mansion. Naturally Rhine and Gabriel are trying to get far away from the mansions and we know that freedom and finding Rhine’s brother is the end goal. And if you thought that plan sounded just peachy and easy and wonderful now that they’ve escaped…you were way wrong as Rhine and Gabriel encounter some obstacles and people who could prevent them from making it to Manhatten.

Fever did not disappoint…what is the opposite of disappoint? Because that’s what Fever was. It did not suffer any of that 2nd book syndrome nonsense. I felt like Fever was just as strong as Wither..maybe even a little stronger of a story. There is something just truly magical about Lauren DeStefano’s writing, her characters and the world in which they live…a world that I so strongly get a sense of through her perfect descriptions and the way the characters interact with the world. She just doesn’t tell us about what this world is like, we see it through the way the characters move throughout the story in all the various situations they witnessed. I truly felt the despair of a world that doesn’t understand why this genetic mutation is and the effects it has had on their way of life and the sense of fear it has created.

In Wither, we mostly saw the world as it was in Linden’s home which really left quite a mystery as to what life was like outside of it. We got little bits and pieces through memories Rhine had about the way her and her brother needed to protect themselves. The outside world is such a contrast to living inside the mansion. While we know how horrible it was for Rhine, you began to see that maybe freedom doesn’t always make you actually free. It’s just a different kind of cage – one of impending and certain death and being forced to react accordingly to the way the virus has made society tick. Lauren DeStefano did a great job making you feel the contrast between Rhine’s life in the mansion and Rhine’s life after breaking free and makes you unsure of which one actually is better…the same struggle that starts to pulse through Rhine from time to time.

As always, Lauren DeStefano’s writing is breathtaking and mesmerizes you to the point that you are SO sucked into the story that audible gasps and sighs are just something that anyone near you is just going to have to get over. As much tension and suspense as Wither has, Fever has just as much and I’d say it was even heightened. The plot is perfectly paced for me and twists at all the right places with ample surprises and breaks your heart along the way. I was ravenous in every sense of the word and finished this VERY quickly as the story just keeps getting better and better and the level of emotional investment in these characters is tenfold!

Oh and let’s talk about the heart stomping number that Lauren DeStefano renders on my heart. Or we could talk about the end and how I was left with my mouth wide open and reeling from all the action that led up to it. INTENSE! I have given my heart over to these characters. I am so beyond invested now and I think Fever really developed them into even more vivid people and validated many of my thoughts about these characters. Oh and Linden. He is one of the best characters of the series in my opinion and I just loved him so much in this one. I remember going through intense hatred for him in the beginning of Wither, to feeling sorry for him, to actually liking him, and then my heart broke for him when Rhine left…and this book….oh Linden. That’s all I’m going to say.

My Final Thought: Go mark it on your calendar, set an alert on your phone, add it to your Goodreads list, tattoo it on your face, etc. Do whatever you need to do to remember to go out and get this when it comes out on February 21! As a much anticipated sequel, Fever did NOT disappoint me in any way and the wait for the next is going to be agonizing. I think I experienced a full range of emotions and I am currently plotting to kidnap Lauren and will only let her go under the condition that she tells me what happens next. Lauren DeStefano is on auto-buy for sure for her beautiful writing, her ability to tell a story and the way she makes me have strong feelings towards characters. I can’t wait to see the conclusion to this trilogy and see what else DeStefano writes after this!

Review On A Post-It:
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