[Review] The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules
(Blood of Eden #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Publication: April 24th, 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Page count: 443
Genre: YA – Dystopia, Post-Apocalyptic, Paranormal
To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.
Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for…again.
Enter Julie Kagawa’s dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins.

Review

Upon starting this book, I was hooked. Like, eyes-glued-to-the-pages and unable-to-stop kinds of hooked. The narration is undeniably the main reason why it was so easy for me to devour this book. It is descriptive without being excessive, words effortlessly flowing from one page to another so I was able to visualize each scenes well.

Allie is one hell of a protagonist. She is smart, snarky and tough with her katana-wielding and combat skills. She also isn’t quick to judge and that’s the trait I most appreciated about her. Regarding the situation, when she is cornered or shunned due to her status as a vampire, she puts herself in other people’s shoes and understands the reason behind their action. She knows better because she used to be one of them, but I loved it that she doesn’t try to blame the others for what happened to her.

“I was a vampire. Nothing could change that. But I didn’t have to be a monster.”

Also, I was glad with Allie’s decision in the end. Not because I wasn’t particularly invested in Zeke or his group (which I honestly wasn’t…) or because I liked Kanin better (I admit I did, though) but rather because Allie shows her ability to draw the line between romance and responsibility.

Unfortunately, much to my disappointment, the pace got a tad too slow for my taste in the middle of the book where is mainly about Allie’s interaction with Jeb’s group. I can see how those people affect Allie and allow her character to develop more but I can’t help but to feel that the side characters are outshined by the protagonist. However, the epic action scenes near the end makes up for it and left me curious about what would Allie do in the next installment.

Strong, consistent protagonist? Checked.

Realistically broken worldbuilding? Checked.

Impeccable writing? Checked.

I’ve made a mistake by delaying reading this book but I’m truly glad I picked it up. The Immortal Rules was one of the few remarkable books – which did live up to the hype – I have read in 2014.

[Mini Reviews] The House of Hades & Allegiant

I have been putting off writing reviews for these books because 1)I didn’t have time 2)I was too lazy 3)I was pretty much speechless and I had no idea how to write more coherent reviews. My feels were all over the place >_< Now that I’ve calmed down… here they are!

The House of Hades
(Heroes of Olympus #4)
by Rick Riordan
MG – Fantasy, Greek Mythology

House of Hades…boy you are definitely not a disappointment. This is, people, what I call a perfect balance between plot progression and character development. *HUGS BOOK*

Let me just go straight to the point. Compared to the previous installment, House of Hades has the most character development. It was, in fact, the book with the best character development I have ever read. I am not exaggerating but when you do read the book, you can’t help but to notice the changes that are happening to the characters.

Percy, the boy we have known as the loyal and kind type, seems to gain some darker sides. Piper has learned to kick some serious ass. Annabeth is showing some vulnerable sides and Jason is starting to discover himself – his identity. Hazel has a pretty important role in this one and Frank has matured SO MUCH! There are also Nico and Leo but I AIN’T TELLING ABOUT THEM ASDFGJKL:GFSDFGH AND >_< The main characters are all three-dimensional and each stands out in their own way. The spotlight isn’t focused to only certain character but everyone has the same chance to be the hero.

Additionally, there were moments that made me laugh, moments that made me relieved because the characters are okay, moments that made me terrified and worrying about the characters’ safety, moments that made me almost shed tears and obviously moments that made me swoon! SO. MANY. FEELS. I feel like I am not doing this book’s justice through this review but I just wanna say:

If you haven’t started this series…I URGE YOU TO DO SO <3

***
(Divergent #3)
by Veronica Roth
YA – Dystopia
A few days right after the release date, there were so many backlashes toward the book the average rating for Allegiant was actually around 2 stars and that made me so nervous and hesitant to read the book. And later I accidentally saw spoilers about the controversial ending and I was sure that it was the cause of the low rating. However, I am so glad that I decided to dive into this book with an open mind and you know what? I love the ending. I love the relationship between Four and Tris.
To be honest, I wasn’t impressed at first. The beginning was okay but I was having a hard time getting into this book. But when I picked it up again, the monotonous writing didn’t bug me anymore and I just went with the flow. Sure, the revelation of the worldbuilding was confusing as hell but what I loved the most in Allegiant is how Tris’s character has matured so much since Insurgent.

The second half of the book was very thought-provoking and it gave me a lot of things to ponder on. Each chapter builds up into the painfully magnificent ending. It was truly the most powerful ending I have ever read and it shows just how much Tris has grown since the first book. I don’t think there’s a better conclusion other than THAT and I genuinely respect Veronica Roth, for being such a Dauntless since there aren’t many authors who are willing to go to that direction.

***SPOILER AHEAD***

Although the ending had been spoiled to me, it didn’t take away my enjoyment or reduce the pain at all. I really liked how Tris and Tobias eventually trust each other and oh my god when Tris says, “I didn’t want to leave him,” or something like that I was like ASDFGFDSDGFKD T_T  

And Tris’s last moment with Caleb was sooo touching my face my eyes they were like a freaking waterfall — it was totally impossible to hide the tears from my mom. And then post-Tris Tobias is trying to live without her and until the last page of the book I couldn’t stop crying literally *sniffles* 

I first cried when Uriah is announced unrecoverable. It was another pool of tears when they unplug him.

***END OF SPOILER***

Overall, Allegiant left me thinking a lot, about the meaning of sacrifice, forgiveness and moving on. I know this book has its own flaws but considering what an emotion explosion the last 100 pages was, it will definitely be very memorable for me.

***
Oh man, I just realized that my mini reviews are actually quite long .__. Blahh I am too lazy to write separate reviews so anyway, I hope you don’t mind! 😀

[ARC Review] The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals
(The Naturals #1)
Author: Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication Date: November 5th, 2013
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – Crime/Mystery, Paranormal

Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.
What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.
Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.
Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

 

Thank you Netgalley and Disney Hyperion for the review copy! This doesn’t affect my opinions or review in any ways. 

 

Review

After seeing a negative review for it, I was a bit hesitant, but luckily I decided to try it with an open mind and I ended up falling in love completely with this book. The Naturals was definitely one of the best mystery books I’ve ever read!

“We saw things that other people didn’t – things that people our age should never have to see.”

The first few chapters were hard to get into. Since the main character is a Natural profiler (which basically means she can figure out what kind of person someone is by paying attention to their his/her behaviors ), there are lots of detailed descriptions and the character’s thoughts about other people’s behaviors and personalities. Although a bit tedious and rather confusing at first, when I hit page 50 something, The Naturals became much more thrilling and heart-pounding. Gathering clues through their observations, solving a tough serial murder, I couldn’t put The Naturals down once I was completely engrossed with the story! The mystery was unpredictable and the plot was sooooo addictive, full of twists! THIS is how you write an awesome mystery book!

Even if I didn’t connect with the main character, I loved reading the story from her POV. Cassie has motivation and determination to uncover her mother’s mysterious death. She didn’t come across as whiny for me, not even once. On top of the likable protagonist, The Naturals also has awesome side characters like Michael, Lia, Dean and Sloane. I loved reading their interactions – they’re different from one another but these people can work together when needed! Sloane is my favorite! Her awkwardness…I could understand that haha!

The only thing that disappointed me is the love triangle. Although the romance isn’t dominant, the love triangle just seems too out-of-the-blue for me and I personally think this book would be even EVEN better without it! Not that the romance was horrible – it wasn’t bad but it wasn’t mind-blowing either. It just sounded odd to me to have a love triangle in a mystery book. However, I do really appreciate the lack of romance in this book. It isn’t dominating the main plot and occupying the MC’s thoughts the whole time. This subtle kind of romance (except the love triangle) suits the tone of the book well.

The Naturals is the kind of book that isn’t easy to figure out and will keep you awake until you reach the last page. With the lack of romance, cool concept plus unpredictable and highly addictive plot, The Naturals was a gripping mystery book that kept me turning the pages. It’s so sad that the next book won’t be out till next year! :’(

Note: The quote is taken from eARC edition so no guarantee that it won’t be altered or removed from the finished copy.

[ARC Review] Antigoddess by Kendare Blake

Antigoddess
(Goddess War #1)
Author: Kendare Blake
Publication Date: September 10th, 2013
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 333 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – Fantasy (Greek Mythology)

The Goddess War begins in Antigoddess, the first installment of the new series by acclaimed author of Anna Dressed in Blood, Kendare Blake.
Old Gods never die…
Or so Athena thought. But then the feathers started sprouting beneath her skin, invading her lungs like a strange cancer, and Hermes showed up with a fever eating away his flesh. So much for living a quiet eternity in perpetual health.
Desperately seeking the cause of their slow, miserable deaths, Athena and Hermes travel the world, gathering allies and discovering enemies both new and old. Their search leads them to Cassandra—an ordinary girl who was once an extraordinary prophetess, protected and loved by a god.
These days, Cassandra doesn’t involve herself in the business of gods—in fact, she doesn’t even know they exist. But she could be the key in a war that is only just beginning.
Because Hera, the queen of the gods, has aligned herself with other of the ancient Olympians, who are killing off rivals in an attempt to prolong their own lives. But these anti-gods have become corrupted in their desperation to survive, horrific caricatures of their former glory. Athena will need every advantage she can get, because immortals don’t just flicker out.
Every one of them dies in their own way. Some choke on feathers. Others become monsters. All of them rage against their last breath.
The Goddess War is about to begin.


 
Thank you Tor Teen for sending me this review copy. It doesn’t affect my opinions or review in any ways.

Review

I’d like to start off by saying how much I LOVE Greek mythology and Antigoddess truly gratify my dire need of a good Greek mythology and oh boy let me tell you what a fantastic book it was!

“Everything born must die, Athena.”

I was hooked from the first page, and I am not lying. The book begins with Athena and Hermes searching for Demeter to ask why they’re dying. While I highly enjoyed reading Athena’s POV, I have to be honest that Cassandra’s POV wasn’t really interesting in the beginning. Nothing particularly happens in her POV and it was as if I was kept waiting and waiting for something that wasn’t going to happen at all. The POVs switch between Athena and Cassandra one after another and the book became much MUCH more fascinating once they have met up at some point.

“Haven’t I lived long enough? Shouldn’t a goddess have the grace to accept this?”

Athena’s character surprised me a bit. I thought she was going to be this level-headed and wise girl the whole time – she’s a goddess after all – but it’s nice to see her breaks down and acts out of her character a few times due to her desperation. Considering the fact that she’s going to lose her eternal life, it makes her more…realistic and human. But, Athena sticks to her main goal, not letting personal issues get in the way of how she handles the situation and that’s what I liked best about her. I noticed that Hermes is sorta overshadowed by Athena in the first half, however, Blake gave him his own spotlight and I really love how every character in this book has their roles. Hermes proves to be a reliable and serious yet laid-back at times, and Cassandra manages to overcome her fear to do what’s important the most in the end.

Despite the fact that some of my questions are still unanswered, the world-building in this book was well-written and not info-dumpy at all. The plot got more and more excited, the action intensified in the second half and I LOVE every battle scene in this book! I won’t go in-depth with the plot cause I don’t wanna ruin everyone’s experience though. In addition, reading Antigoddess made me feel really nostalgic about PJO and HoO… It made me want to re-read those series all over again <3 But still, the author managed to add her own twists to the mythology – which makes it more fascinating and unique.

Romance isn’t the main focus in this book (thank goodness).There are two couples in this book, though. I had difficulty buying Cassandra and Aidan’s romance since the relationship seemed to be…underdeveloped. On the other hand, the other couple had me swooning and the tension built up throughout the book. I thought this romance was kinda intriguing cause Athena is a virgin goddess but anyways I’m looking forward for future development!

I extremely enjoyed reading this book. Antigoddess lived up to my expectations and I was thrilled once I was done reading it – the giddy feelings you got when you just read an awesome book. Filled with Greek mythology goodness, I highly recommend this book for those who loved Rick Riordan’s work.

[Review] The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy
Publication Date: January 2nd, 2012
Pages: 236 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Contemporary
Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?
Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan’s life. Having missed her flight, she’s stuck at JFK airport and late to her father’s second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley’s never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport’s cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he’s British, and he’s sitting in her row.
A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?
Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver’s story will make you believe that true love finds you when you’re least expecting it.

Review

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight was a really sweet and lovely story about how fate can bring two people together in the most unexpected (and might be unfortunate) event. (That’s such a long title I’m gonna refer it as TSPOLAFS from now.)


Hadley’s parents are divorced and she lives with her mother while her father moves to England. Now seventeen years old, Hadley is invited to her father’s second wedding in London and if it hadn’t been her mother who forced her to go, she wouldn’t have left at all. However, Hadley misses her first flight and she gets stuck in the airport for a few hours until her next flight. Seems like fate is messing up with her…no? But there’s always a bright side in every unfortunate event, isn’t it? There she meets a boy who also happens to sit in the same row as she’s in the plane.

I admit that the title screams insta-love and there were few unrealistic coincidences but I wasn’t annoyed at all. In fact, I don’t think the romance in the book is insta-love. Jennifer E. Smith wove the story nicely and subtly that it actually felt like they had known each other for longer than mere 24 hours.

I really enjoyed this book and it did satisfy my contemporary needs. This book doesn’t only touch the subject of romantic love, but there’s also a second theme that I didn’t expect before: love between parents and children. There was so much more in this book than romance, there were also forgiveness and second chances. And I just have to give applause to the author for Hadley’s subtle change. The book isn’t thick – I devoured it quickly and what a satisfying experience it was. It made me smile and want to hug the book for how sweet it is.

TSPOLAFS consists of some flashbacks and I don’t really like too many flashbacks but the author gave the right amount of past and present and they didn’t really bore me as they did while I was reading The 5th Wave.

TSPOLAFS was a light read with serious undertones – I couldn’t help but to shed a tear once. I have no other words but one: SWEET.