[Review] Crossed by Ally Condie

Publisher: Speak
Pages: 367 (Hardcover)

Summary

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.


Review

Matched was a decent book for me, so I didn’t expect much from Crossed, aside that I hoped I didn’t completely waste my time on this book. I was about to rate this book two stars – due to things I will mention below – but near the end it gets really enjoyable and I actually liked the last 100 pages.

Crossed begins with a slow pace to my liking. I remember that I was constantly yawning for the first few chapters because nothing actually happens. The first half of the book felt like a drag for me and I was really bored and didn’t enjoy it. And the writing. I like beautiful writings but this one is too poetic, I think. It was hard to enjoy the first half of the book, particularly with the poetic writing. I love books with switched POVs but this time, it just didn’t work for me. Ky and Cassia’s voice sound almost the same and I got confused almost all of the time after they’re reunited. I had to flip back to the first page of the chapter just to know who’s narrating the chapter over and over.

Hmm, I’m not a huge fan of the silly kind of romance; that is once after the MC confess her/his love for the love interest in book one, they spend the entire book two making out and saying “I love you” nearly every page. Uh, no. Just no. I prefer them having a fight, because relationship isn’t always perfect in real life. (It’s not like I hate happy romance. I think I was sick of their kissing and hugging and I-love-you-s already ._.) Well, that happens for a while right after Cassie reunites with Ky. They literally kiss and confess their love nearly every time they have the chance to and I think those words will lose their meaning if oversaid. I don’t hate people who say they love someone lots of time, but I just don’t like unnecessary said things. I know it sounds creepy, but I was actually waiting for their fight, which does happen later in the book. Well, this “silly romance” problem was nothing compared to the love triangle (or maybe a love square??) and the insta-love. How can you love someone if you have only seen his/her picture? No offense, I’m just a quite realistic person 😛

But, BUT, right after something actually happens, I was enjoying Crossed more than I did. The second-half was much better, I thought. And I was quite glad that I managed to put up with the first-half. The writing didn’t really bug me anymore and I was definitely paying attention for the last 100 pages – which I didn’t really do before. I can’t believe it took 200+ freaking pages for something to happen. The pace increases to my taste and yeah, I admit that I ended up enjoying this book anyway despite all those negative things I mention.

Well, there are some things that I didn’t enjoy due to personal taste, but I might have loved Crossed more if there hadn’t been an insta-love inserted and, not to forget, a possible love square.

Rating:
3 Chocolate Cakes!

[Review] Sing for Me by Penelope Reece

Blurb
CHLOE HASKELL, a university student and runaway diva, is determined to never sing again. After escaping a life in the spot light, she wants only to have a normal life. But when an old flame comes to town, Chloe must decide if she’s willing to forget the past in order to fall in love with the man who broke her heart.

RHYS RYTHER, a Broadway composer, has been hired as a substitute professor at the university. There, he’s surprised to learn that his ex girlfriend, the girl he left without an explanation, is a student at the same university. What’s even more surprising is that he still has feelings her.

When Chloe unintentionally gets cast in the school’s production of The Phantom of the Opera, unexplained events start to happen. She sees shadows everywhere. A ghost haunts her dreams. And someone is watching her. But is it all in her mind or has a dead man come back to claim her?

As Chloe and Rhys get closer, he learns that she’s been keeping a secret. It’s a secret so dark that could very well tear them apart. And when the impossible happens, can Rhys overcome Chloe’s dark past in order to save her from an even darker future?

Review

His hand was like silk caressing her cheek. “But we must finish the show.” 

“The show is done. Now sing. Sing for me.”


When I first read the blurb, I was hoping for something dark, suspenseful, musical-themed read. Honestly, I was disappointed with the first few chapters – They are slow to the point I felt almost nothing happened. However, I began to enjoy it as the story progresses and I thought the rest of the book was good. 


I liked most of the characters. Although Chloe just seems too melancholic and too annoying sometimes – I know that she’s been through a lot but I still can’t erase the fact that she’s annoying – somehow I ended up liking her. (Or at least that was what happened to me.) While Rhys, I already liked him from the first time he appears and personally I thought Chloe’s life sounds more interesting with his presence. The romance is predictable, though. But don’t worry! There are twists in this book that will keep you paying attention.

What I like the most from this book is the story line. Yeah, it does have a slow start and sometimes it’s overly-described or too boring, but I absolutely loved how Penelope Reece reveals the secrets one by one. Once the tension increases, I was totally hooked with this book! What I hated from this book is probably just the antagonist. I can’t believe he can do such evil thing…  Anyway, Sing for Me is a dark retelling of Phantom of The Opera, a unique read for those who are looking for something different.

Rating: 
3 Chocolate Cakes!

(I was given a free copy by the author in exchange for a review)


[Review] The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal

Publisher: EgmontUSA

Pages: 319 (Hardcover)

Summary
Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia’s led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it’s revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she’s ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins – long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control – she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor’s history, forever.

A dazzling first novel, The False Princess is an engrossing fantasy full of mystery, action, and romance.


Review

Let me tell you what makes The False Princess great. 

Number one, it’s the concept – a mixture of both fairy tale and historical fiction. The book is about Nalia who is told that she is actually not a princess. She’s a decoy to protect the real princess. Nalia’s original name is revealed to be Sinda. She’s kicked out of the castle on the same day the real princess comes back, goes to live with her bitter, scornful, newfound aunt and lives a simple life full of hard work. On the bright side, there she discovers that she has magic. Then she goes to Vivaskari – I think it’s a big city near the castle. I don’t really understand – to train her magic and BOOM. More dark secrets are revealed. Journey awaits her. You can say that Sinda’s is the kingdom last hope against evil.

As for number two is the plot. It’s fast-paced, full of mysteries and secrets secrets secrets. Number three, the romance is nicely done. I thought there was a love triangle between Sinda, Kiernan and Tyr, but I was wrong. I loved how Sinda reacts after she knows the truth behind Tyr’s kindness.

There are also things that I didn’t like in The False Princess. The main character, though mostly likeable, she could be annoying too. Sometimes she is too selfish and self-centered that she doesn’t care for the other’s safety. She actually has a point for doing that but I just didn’t think it’s the right action. While for Kiernan, I liked the way he becomes Sinda’s pillar of support even though they occasionally fights. And while reading this, somehow I got confused and had to re-read a few pages just to get a better grasp of the story.

Lately, I’ve been reading more English books and I usually don’t mind reading translation books. Probably the reason behind my confusion is because I read the book in Indonesian translation. Well, maybe I already got accustomed to reading English. Since I read the translation, there’s no way I could comment the author’s writing properly.

Overall, The False Princess is a good read with fairy-tale-ish and historical-fiction-ish elements. If you’re a fan of YA historical fiction, then maybe you’ll like it better than I did.


Rating:
3 Chocolate Cakes!