Thursday, August 29, 2013

Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Pages: 404
Genre: Fantasy, Magic, Mystery, Young Adult
Rating: 4.5/5

After slaving in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, young assassin Celaena Sardothien is offered an opportunity she can’t resist. She will have to fight as the Crown Prince’s champion in a competition to determine who will be the King’s assassin, the person who will handle all of the King’s dirty work. If she wins the competition, and serves as assassin for 4 years, she will be free. If she fails, she will be sent to Endovier – with no hope of living through another year.

She will be competing against thieves, murderers, assassins and warriors from across the country – 24 in all, and only one can win. As she assumes a new identity – a lady in the King’s court – she is practically in a new dimension. But things are not what they seem when a competitor is found dead, his innards ripped from his body. And then another competitor followed days later. Celaena will have to figure out who this murderer is, before she is the next one to go.

Celaena is a very fun character to read about. She is fun, witty, and brave, not to mention extremely talented. Facing a situation she would never have thought possible, she is very entertaining and funny. And this heroine is definitely not too ladylike to engage in activities other women would find improper, like sword-fighting and archery. As the story progresses, Celaena is described as a good friend and companion as well as a witty and interesting competitor. This character definitely shows that all men and women should be put at the same level – no matter what they look like.

I loved the idea of this story. First of all, the whole ‘King & Queen’ is a cool medieval look at things – brilliant, and isn’t being used that often nowadays. Now, the competition? Loved it!! The importance this competition had to Celaena’s life – to live or to die, is a common plot but was expressed in a way that it didn’t seem too cliché.

But my favorite part would be that the author didn’t stick with what would have been a predictable plot line – sticking with the competition. Instead, the author went above and beyond and introduced a whole other problem: a murder mystery!!! I really enjoyed that. Now, there were two things to look forward to – the competition and information about the murders.

The part I would have to say was my least favorite would be the love triangle. It just wasn’t portrayed clearly and just flopped. Also, to me it seemed as if it dictated some of the character’s decisions and they acted a bit odd.

Overall I really enjoyed this book and wholeheartedly recommend it to lovers of young adult magical books. This book is simply amazing. The second book of this series, Crown of Midnight just recently published, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Book Review: Eragon by Christopher Paolini

Title: Eragon
Author: Christopher Paolini
Publisher: Knopf
Genre: Fantasy, Fiction
Pages: 497
Rating: 4.5/5

After a series of squeaks, a small dark head poked out of the hole, followed by a weirdly angled body…
  … Standing in front of him, licking off the membrane that encased it, was a dragon.

In the except above, Eragon, a poor farm boy, finds a stone in the Spine, which is a mountain range located near Eragon‘s house. After days of looking at the stone, Eragon realizes that the stone is actually a dragon egg.

This is the summary of the book: Before Eragon was born, there was a boy named Galbatorix. He becomes a dragon rider, which is somebody who tries to keep peace in the world. After going on many adventures, Galbatorix’s dragon dies, which causes him to go insane. Galbatorix takes over and rules over the lands. He kills people and becomes an enemy of the Varden, an organized group  of people who oppose Galbatorix. He kills or imprisons all of the riders, which causes a great need for new riders. This event leads to Eragon finding a bright, blue stone in the Spine. This stone is not an ordinary stone, it is a dragon egg. When the dragon hatches, it is the start of new riders. As Eragon learns more about the riders, he grows stronger. When Galbatorix hears about the new rider; he quickly tells his soldiers to kill Eragon. The soldiers kill all  of Eragon’s family. After Eragon sees what happened, he sets out to kill Galbatorix. Will Eragon be able to survive the threat of Galbatorix?

I liked Eragon for many reasons. My first reason was because Christopher Paolini really hooked me on with the prologue. It interested me. Second of all, Christopher Paolini added a lot of humor. I thought Saphira, Eragon’s dragon was the funniest. I liked when she was being sarcastic with Eragon. That made me laugh out loud. Last of all, I liked the book because it included pronunciations, a glossary, special scenes that were not mentioned in the book, and a sneak peek of Eldest.  My favorite part of the book was when Eragon was pursuing Galbatorix’s soldiers. It was the best part of the book because it included a lot of action and spying. That seemed cool to me. I can’t wait to read the next book, Eldest!

I recommend that you definitely read this book. I guarantee that you will enjoy it!

Eragon is the first book in the Inheritance series. Not only is Eragon a best selling book, it is a 2006 movie.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Book Review: Outpost by Ann Aguirre

Title: Outpost
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 317
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 5/5

Deuce, along with her friends Fade, Stalker and Tegan have reached Salvation. They are safe. For now, anyways. But things are very different from how they were in the enclave, especially the way she is being treated by others.

Once thought of as an adult in the underground Enclave, here she is considered as  just another kid who needs to grow up. And it isn’t as if she’s going to fit in anytime soon with her unladylike manners. If that isn’t enough, things between her and Fade have changed. He’s more aloof and distant now, and Deuce just doesn’t know what happened between the two of them.

The only thing Deuce can do to make herself feel at home again is to sign up for the summer patrols, to make sure the planters can grow crops without being attacked by the Freaks. But to everyone’s dismay, the Freaks have grown smarter and are changing their ways of life. Their goal of killing humans hasn’t changed though, and Salvation is on the brink of destruction. The town has almost given up hope, but a girl like Deuce may just reverse the tide of hopelessness.

My favorite thing about Deuce is that she isn’t some helpless damsel in distress. Instead, she’s a kick-butt Huntress who isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. She’s strong, courageous, and selfless. Another thing I like about Deuce is that she isn’t one to let men/boys put her down because she’s a girl. She’s got a backbone, something that made it even more interesting to learn about things from her point of view.

I just want to point one thing out. I don’t usually rate books 5 out of 5 stars. And I have never rated both a book and its sequel 5 out of 5 stars. In my mind this book has made history. So just from that, you should be able to tell that this series is simply amazing.

I liked how the book was written. It wasn’t all what was happening right then and there. Instead, there were some flashbacks that helped express the emotions Deuce was feeling. It was an interesting way to convey emotions, one that isn’t seen often.

Now, to the other great thing about this book: the action. This book definitely isn’t one to just put in half of the details and just ignore the rest. No, this book gives all the details:  a 100%. And just from that, you are Deuce. Not that whole, you feel like you’re with Deuce or you feel like Deuce. This is the real thing, and is definitely something that most other books don’t have.

I know a lot of people don’t like having romance in the books they read, especially love triangles. Well, I’m here to tell you that if there is any book you have to read that has romance in it, read this one. The whole book isn’t stuffed with romance, which is a definite plus side, but there are parts that let you know there is a love plot.

Overall, I have to say I loved this book. It left me itching for the next book of this series. Outpost is definitely in my top 5 favorite books. This book is for people who love dystopian, young adult, or romance books. I recommend reading Outpost if you are 12+ years old. Other books in this series includes Enclave and Horde, which is releasing October, 2013.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Book Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Title: Enclave
Author: Ann Aguirre
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pages: 259
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Rating: 5/5

Deuce lives underground, in the enclave  - a community where so few children make it to the age of 15, they are just called a number. It is a world where monsters called Freaks roam the underground tunnels, a place where when a child reaches the age of 15, they must decide if they want to be a Hunter, Breeder or Builder. Deuce always wanted to be a Huntress, and now, she is.

But, being a Huntress isn’t everything Deuce thought it would be. First of all, she’s paired up with a brooding Hunter, a social outcast who lived for years alone in the tunnels where the monsters called Freaks live. And second, she realizes that the people who lead her community might be lying about, well, everything. Deuce has to save her community, but is it too late to try?

I liked learning about the enclave from Deuce’s point of view. She isn’t like the others – hard and cold-hearted. A commendable quality of Deuce’s would be her selflessness: she’s the type of person who will help another, even if it is dangerous to do so. Besides that, Deuce is funny, dangerous and interesting to read about. As she realizes the truth of the twisted world she lives in, this heroine is quick to act and always thinks of others before herself.

To me, this story is definitely unique. Yeah, there are stories of people living underground or secluded from others. And, there are other books that have monstrous creatures that the main characters must fight off. But this one is different, because of how the story progressed.

There was no time to get used to the world in which Deuce lived; instead, the story immediately became action-packed and adventurous, instantly immersing me in the story, something that was a change from a bunch of other books I’ve recently read. But my favorite part would be the action scenes. These parts of the story were poetry. They were beautiful to read and were very entertaining.

And the love triangle was perfect too. Honestly, now days I’ve realized that some books would be absolutely perfect if they didn’t have a love triangle. Perfect. And that’s why this book is so amazing: because the love triangle didn’t make the book drag. In fact, it made the book even more interesting than it would have been without it.

Overall, I have to say I loved this book. Full of spunk, action and lots of danger, this book is definitely one of the all time greats. I definitely recommend this book to people who love dystopian books. Other books in this series include Outpost and the upcoming book Horde which is releasing in October, 2013.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Book Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Title: Insurgent
Author: Veronica Roth
Pages: 496
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Dystopian, Young Adult, Romance, Fantasy
Rating: 3.5/5

Tris Prior lived in a world of five factions: Erudite (the intelligent), Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Amity (the peaceful), and Dauntless (the brave). That world still exists, but is now broken. After the Erudite launched the sudden attack on the Abnegation using the brainwashed Dauntless soldiers, Tris and Tobias, two Divergent (people who know when they are under a simulation, or events that occur in the person’s mind and not in real life), along with the rest of their friends have escaped to find shelter.

Now Dauntless has fallen. Some have followed the Erudite, while others have sought out refuge with the Amity and the Candor. Tris and Tobias have reunited with their friends from their faction, but the Erudite continue to attack to seek out the Divergent that hide amongst their friends and family. After allying themselves with a surprising source, a plan is formed to attack the Erudite. But Tris knows there is something the leader of the Erudite is hiding. With an unlikely source of help, Tris must risk herself to find out what is outside the boundaries of her world.

I honestly can’t say I liked Tris in this book. In Divergent, she seemed kind, helpful, and happy. But in Insurgent, she seemed brash, ignorant, and foolhardy. Her actions were risky and sometimes even pointless, and overall I just couldn’t understand her, much less connect with her. She just seemed to make up her plans on the fly, and basically risked her life at every twist and turn. But that doesn’t mean she wasn’t refreshing to read about, it just means that she wasn’t the same person I enjoyed reading about in Divergent.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It had an interesting plot, captivating characters and an overall gripping conclusion. Who knew that such a big secret had been hidden for so long? Definitely one of the highlights of this book for me.

My favorite part of the story would probably be the relationship between Tris and her friend Christina. This might seem like a small thing, but to me it seemed real and heartfelt, one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much.

My biggest problem with this book would be that most of Tris’s actions were dictated by her relationship with Tobias. I honestly felt that there was no point to that. She’s her own individual person, and yes, she and Tobias are in a relationship, but that doesn’t mean that he has to watch over her ever move! She should be free to do what she feels is right if it benefits the Dauntless.

Overall, I really did like this book. It isn’t as great as Divergent, but is definitely worthy of being its sequel. I recommend this book to people who liked Divergent and enjoy dystopian books. Look out for the third book of this series Allegiant, releasing October 22nd, 2013.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Book Review: Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Pages: 487
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Genre: Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult, Fnatasy
Rating: 5/5

Beatrice Prior knows that on the day of the Choosing Ceremony, when she turns 16, she will have to make a decision that will change her life. Living in a world where there a 5 factions – Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the fearless), Erudite (the smart), Candor (the honest) and Amity (the peaceful) – Beatrice must decide which one she wants to be a part of for the rest of her life. Will she leave her family in Abnegation, or will she forsake her dreams and remain with her parents?






After choosing Dauntless, Beatrice now has a new life, a new name (Tris), a new future. Now all she has to do is pass the Dauntless test that will prove she is meant to be in that faction. But what she is stunned to learn is that only 10 people will make it into Dauntless, and the other 10 will become factionless, a group of people who have no faction and are the lowest of the low.

And if that isn’t enough, it turns out Tris is Divergent. Being Divergent means that she is one of the few who do not fit in any faction, but at the same time, fit in them all. And she’s being hunted down by those who see Divergent people as cowards. Smart, tiny and at an extreme disadvantage, Tris will have to fight for her victory, and explore who she really is if she has any hope of becoming a part of Dauntless.

I really enjoyed reading about Tris. She’s fun, witty, brave and adventurous. Facing the same odds as Tris, a regular person would have given up. But not Tris. A loyal friend and always the odd one out, this heroine has a lot to learn if she has any hope of becoming a part of Dauntless. As she continues her Test, she discovers a new side of herself – and the life she lives. Discovering hamburgers, wearing clothing that aren’t gray and the weird feeling she gets every time she is with her instructor Four, are only a few things that make Tris more than the average protagonist.

Reading Divergent was simply magical. Veronica Roth describes a place full of adventure, action and bravery – a combination that is utterly enticing. The only way to actually describe Divergent is fun. Fun and dangerous. Throughout the story, there is always something big happening. No chapter is boring, and on every single page, sparks are flying.

Usually I might groan at the fact that Divergent is yet another dystopian book. So many have been published recently, and many of them are barely worth reading. To my delight though, this book is absolutely perfect. There is just no better way to write a story like this.

Now, many people are complaining about the fact that Divergent is almost exactly like The Hunger Games. And yes, the first time I saw Divergent, I thought it was just a strange looking copy of The Hunger Games, but man was I wrong. In fact, I have to say that Divergent is better than what people say it was copied from. Why? Because to me, Divergent had a more engaging plot line. It was more fun, it was more dangerous, it had more details. And it was an amazing new idea.

This is a book that I can add to my short list of books to reread – it was just that good. Read Divergent by Veronica Roth, and join Tris as she discovers who and how important she really is. If you like action, a bit of romance, and lots of adventure, Divergent is definitely the book for you. Other books in this series includes Insurgent and the upcoming book Allegiant, publishing October, 2013. 
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