February 14, 2014

YALSA Quick Picks

Picture via tumblr

Be sure to check out YALSA's list of 2014 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers.
Here are some of my choices, what do you think? 

Enclave by Ann Aguirre
The Naturals by Jenniger Lynn Barnes
The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Eat, Brains, Love by Jeff Hart
Sick by Tom Leveen
Mind Games by Kiersten White
Reboot by Amy Tintera
The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Proxy by Alex London

REVIEW: Reboot by Amy Tintera

I tore voraciously through Reboot, the debut novel of Amy Tintera, and would highly recommend it to fans of dystopian fiction, sci-fi, or even if you are just looking for something different.

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation).

Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. 

Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.
The perfect soldier is done taking orders.

Reboot works on a zombie-like premise; a virus causes you to come back to 'life'- less human, and more robotic,  than before - if you have contracted it before you die. I appreciated this concept, as I have not come across a zombie-robot-mercenary premise before, and this was executed very well. 

As is expected from any novel, there were expected characters, and plot structures, i.e. the way the romance progressed, and the perfect soldier starting to question their orders. However, this did not make Reboot predictable or uninteresting. Tintera has managed to make them fresh and interesting, in a way that immediately captures, and keeps your interest, as well as being exciting, and amusing. 

On the topic of the romance between Callum and Wren, to avoid spoilers I will keep it short. I didn't think that it was the most prevalent part of the novel. While the unconventional romance does function as the love interest portion of the novel, I also liked that it facilitated Wren's rediscovery of her humanity. It made it more believable, rather than this mindless soldier suddenly questioning the system for no apparent reason. 

The world that Tintera has created piqued my interest, and I am keen to learn more about the characters,  HARC, and the Republic of Texas in the next novel, Rebel, which comes out May 13. 

February 07, 2014

Vampire Academy Trailer

I had a serious fangirl moment yesterday. Upon the realisation that I hadn't seen the new trailers for the upcoming adaption of Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy novels, I immediately headed to Youtube.

When I saw the first trailers in the early stages of the movie production, I was a little unsure of my opinion as I thought that they seemed a bit disconnected, especially for people who have not read the books.

However, I have found that the new trailers explain it quite well, and I think that they make it more accessible to people who aren't fans of the book.

Well, all in all, I am excited about the upcoming film, although Dimitri Belikov is does not look how I expected. I don't know what I expected though.

I admit, I was tickled by the "look alive" comment from the gym teacher! I think that this series, both in writing, and from what I can gather, the film too, both have a sense of humour, making the whole affair a bit seriocomic. 

There are so many YA novels becoming movies at the moment, it's nuts! I will write more about them in the upcoming week. 

What do you think? 

February 05, 2014

REVIEW: Legacy by Cayla Kluver

The Debut book of author Cayla Kluver, Legacy is a richly drawn medieval fantasy, which you will like if you enjoyed books such as Poison Study by Maria V Snyder, or Graceling by Kristin Cashore. 

In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father's choice of suitor fills her with despair. When the palace guard captures an intruder -- a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom's greatest enemy -- Alera is alarmed…and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.

In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won't be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom.

The first thing that struck me about Legacy was the great cover (pictured above). I absolutely love it, and think that it does justice to the mood of the book. The introduction also intrigued me as to what was going to happen, with a strong opening sequence and mood that is inviting, and compelling. 

This review will take a different course than that of my average review, as I believe it to be necessary. I have read many reviews of Legacy, many positive, but also many which raise a few aspects of the novel that were commonly seen as disagreeable. I generally found that these aspects (protagonist, pace, plot [accidental alliteration!]) were what I loved about it so much, and this has not changed after finishing it, neither has it altered upon reflection.

The plot of Legacy was definitely something that struck me as different to many novels, as the action seems to be more of a backdrop for a social dissection of sorts, rather than the 'main event'. I must stress that this doesn't mean that the story was uneventful, much the opposite in fact. Due to the first person point of view however, there was much analysis of characters' actions and motivations, as well as a general commentary on the action taking place. For me it seemed that Kluver had created a world, let the characters play, and then stepped back and given a commentary of what was happening  from the point of view of someone who holds the beliefs, values, and attitudes (although sometimes different to the dominant) of the society which had been created. 

I MUST address the protagonist, Princess Alera of Hytanica, the narrator of this novel. While I have read many reviews in which people were frustrated by her recurrent lack of inaction, and seeming weakness, I have to disagree for the most part. I loved the character Alera, and found her a very agreeable protagonist who I did come to love. On the other hand, I was sometimes irked by Alera's lack of action. However, it is worthy to note,  that upon the assumption that this is a medieval fantasy [which I did get the impression it was], and considering the social structure of the patriarchal Hytanica, in this situation, women did not really have an active role in decision making - especially in politics. This is hard to comprehend from my point of view, given the modern franchises that I possesses, but nevertheless, I did not find that this tainted the novel in any way for me, as I found it true to itself.

The pace of the novel is reflected in the size of the novel. Being a 496 page paperback novel, Legacy was definitely a large read. The main 'action' itself could have filled a novel half the size, but it was the little, ritual things that the reader has insight into, that makes it a slower pace. It has the same amount of action as any other novel, but it was the space in between that was full of commentary from Alera's part that made it more spaced out. Also, the action did not move as fast when it happened because of the rich descriptive style of the prose. Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the novel, as I felt that it changed the story from a typical romance/ medieval fantasy story of warring kingdoms to something altogether more enjoyable. 

At the beginning of this review, I likened Legacy to Graceling, and Poison Study; the likeness being in the female protagonist and narrator, fantasy world, and a similar mood. While Graceling and Poison Study show many similarities in their headstrong protagonists and fantasy plot, I chose to add Legacy to this list because I feel that it portrays the same essence as the other novels. I had the same feeling while reading all three, and I truly believe that if you are a 14+ female, then you would enjoy this novel, as well as the others mentioned. 

Let me know what you think of the review, the book, and if there are any other books that are similar. 
I'd love to hear from you!

February 01, 2014

Pulp! The Classics

I just bought a copy of Tess of the D'Urbervilles… not a very tame edition keep in mind! I love it! 
It's like Thomas Hardy x Mills and Boon

Aren't these editions by Pulp! The Classics absolutely fabulous?!?

The words are just as funny as the covers…

Plus, I swear that Ryan Gosling is on the Dorian Grey cover - which I pretty much think is confirmed by the Hey Girl. Oh, if you haven't heard, find out here. And then I went to Pulp! The Classics' shop and read this comment from the cover designer:

Illustrator David Mann comments on this cover:
This cover features a genuine attempt to make an accurate likeness of currently favoured Adonis / prince of the screens – Ryan Gosling, a specific choice of my handlers at Pulp! The Classics.

You can see more here if you're interested. I know that I am.

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