March 10, 2013

REVIEW: Study Series (1-3) by Maria V. Snyder.

This review is a whole series review, and while I will talk about what I liked about all the books, there will only be a teaser for the first book, so that it doesn't ruin the series for you. There are also links to the Goodreads pages of each title, please don't click on them if you haven't read the prior book, as it will equate to massive spoilers!

Choose: A quick death or slow poison ...
On the eve of her execution for murder, Yelena Zaltana is offered an incredible reprieve - on the condition that she becomes the food taster for the military leader of Ixia, Commander Ambrose.

Avoiding poison is the least of her troubles, however ... General Brazell, father of the man she killed, has vowed bloody revenge; she's beginning to have feelings for her captor, Valek; and someone is plotting the downfall of the current regime.

In a desperate race against time, Yelena must learn to control the growing magical talent withinn her and master the demons of her past. The Commander's life, the future of Ixia and all those she loves depend on it ...

Advice to future readers; these books are addictive. 
As soon as I started to read Poison Study, I couldn't put it down! I was sucked into the world that Snyder has created with an incredible ease, and was constantly called by the lure of reading what was coming next. The two elements that made these novels so enjoyable were the characters and the plot. 
 The series is filled with strong protagonists, and antagonists, and I found myself liking and hating all those who I was positioned to. They are well characterised, and Snyder maintains a level of originality while still using the often used roles, giving them a personal originality that helps you relate to them. I was reading SF REVIEWS.NET's review of Poison Study, and something said stuck out to me about Yelena Zaltana, the protagonist:  
"At no time does Snyder fall into the trap of turning her into some superhero"
 While Yelena is certainly 'above average', her actions, motivations and speech never makes you feel as if she couldn't be real. What makes the Study series so rich is the plethora of lovable, and hate-able, characters that populate the encapsulating world. Even if you are not into fantasy, I would recommend that you read this series for it's characters alone.

My other main love of this novel is the story - it is extremely engrossing, and manages to take you on a path that you can't guess. Not bragging, but I usually guess the twists and turns of plots (probably because I have read a lot of books/ seen a lot of movies!) which usually leaves me feeling a bit cold. NOT Poison Study! I was so engrossed in the plot that Snyder has weaved, and didn't find myself predicting the barrage of twists and turns that it takes. Throughout the whole series, I never found myself bored, and was always keen to keep reading, just to find out what would happen next. 

I also think it is important to note that I didn't think that the Study series fell into any cliched traps with characters or plot, which is why I love this series so much!  My only problem is that there are only 3 novels.

I think you would enjoy this if you are a girl, 14+, regardless of what genres you prefer, the Study series caters for all. 

March 01, 2013

Sounds Good To Me

The long weekend has officially started. Event though I already have great plans - including Fire Study by Maria V. Snyder - I wish that some of these books were on my shelf!

Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff 
The city of Ludlow is gripped by the hottest July on record. The asphalt is melting, the birds are dying, petty crime is on the rise, and someone in Hannah Wagnor’s peaceful suburban community is killing girls.

For Hannah, the summer is a complicated one. Her best friend Lillian died six months ago, and Hannah just wants her life to go back to normal. But how can things be normal when Lillian’s ghost is haunting her bedroom, pushing her to investigate the mysterious string of murders? Hannah’s just trying to understand why her friend self-destructed, and where she fits now that Lillian isn’t there to save her a place among the social elite. And she must stop thinking about Finny Boone, the big, enigmatic delinquent whose main hobbies seem to include petty larceny and surprising acts of kindness.

With the entire city in a panic, Hannah soon finds herself drawn into a world of ghost girls and horrifying secrets. She realizes that only by confronting the Valentine Killer will she be able move on with her life—and it’s up to her to put together the pieces before he strikes again.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer
 Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Hysteria by Megan Miranda

Mallory killed her boyfriend, Brian. She can't remember the details of that night but everyone knows it was self-defense, so she isn't charged. But Mallory still feels Brian's presence in her life. Is it all in her head? Or is it something more? In desperate need of a fresh start, Mallory is sent to Monroe, a fancy prep school where no one knows her . . . or anything about her past.But the feeling follows her, as do her secrets. Then, one of her new classmates turns up dead. As suspicion falls on Mallory, she must find a way to remember the details of both deadly nights so she can prove her innocence-to herself and others. 

  Mind Games by Kiersten White

Fia was born with flawless instincts. Her first impulse, her gut feeling, is always exactly right. Her sister, Annie, is blind to the world around her—except when her mind is gripped by strange visions of the future.

Trapped in a school that uses girls with extraordinary powers as tools for corporate espionage, Annie and Fia are forced to choose over and over between using their abilities in twisted, unthinkable ways…or risking each other’s lives by refusing to obey.

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