[Review] The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection
(The Selection #1)
Author: Kiera Cass
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: April 24th, 2012
Pages: 327 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Dystopia, Romance

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself- and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.
BEFORE READING: Omg I’m gonna hate it for sure. BUT I’M CURIOUSSSSS ;_;

AFTER READING: Okay that was fun. Surprisingly >w<

Despite the negative feedback I’ve been hearing, The Selection turned out to be an enjoyable read with its own flaws.

I can see why some people hate this book and I couldn’t help but to agree on some points. The main character annoyed me sometimes because she seems too perfect. There is no actual plot in the middle part of the book. Weak world-building and it is quite info-dumpy when the characters are explaining rules or something like that.

Nevertheless, I (surprisingly) was able to ignore some issues while reading. The Selection is just light and very entertaining despite the lack of things happening in the book – I was really enjoying it. I guess it was fun to read and made me laugh on certain parts.

I love Maxon!! He’s awkward and stiff and basically unlike any other love interests with their bad boy and love-expert persona. I liked the way his and America (still can’t get over how ridiculous her first name is :/) starts out as friendship and later blooms into something more. It was admittedly predictable though. May, the maids and some of the girls are pretty likable too.

However, there are also characters that got on my nerves like Aspen (seriously this guy pissed me off), Celeste (pure evil) and America herself (she’s mostly tolerable for me but other time she’s downright irritating). I mean, once she calls Maxon on a specific purpose but when he’s already there she is like “you’re busy just go back to work” *facepalms*

The thing that also irked me is the ridiculous names. I mean, some are normal but wtf there are names like America, Tiny, Tuesday?? Aren’t there gazillion of names that makes more sense than THESE? *headdesk*

Overall, I didn’t hate The Selection as much as I initially thought. The ending felt rushed, but it was very entertaining and fluffy. If you’re looking for a mindless past-time read, then this is the book. But if you feel like the issues I mentioned above will bug you endlessly, then I wouldn’t recommend it to you.

[ARC: In Bullet Points] The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

The Almost Girl
Author: Amalie Howard
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Publication Date: January 7th, 2014
Pages: 416 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Science Fiction, Dystopia

Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. But coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for softness, no room for emotion, no room for mistakes. A Legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes, a parallel universe to Earth. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.
Thrown out of her comfort zone but with the mindset of a soldier, Riven has to learn how to be a girl in a realm that is the opposite of what she knows. Riven isn’t prepared for the beauty of a world that is unlike her own in so many ways. Nor is she prepared to feel something more than indifference for the very target she seeks. Caden is nothing like Cale, but he makes something in her come alive, igniting a spark deep down that goes against every cell in her body. For the first time in her life, Riven isn’t sure about her purpose, about her calling. Torn between duty and desire, she must decide whether Caden is simply a target or whether he is something more.
Faced with hideous reanimated Vector soldiers from her own world with agendas of their own, as well as an unexpected reunion with a sister who despises her, it is a race against time to bring Caden back to Neospes. But things aren’t always as they seem, and Riven will have to search for truth. Family betrayals and royal coups are only the tip of the iceberg. Will Riven be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?
Thank you Strange Chemistry and Netgalley for the review copy! This doesn’t affect my opinions or review at all.

 

In bullet points…

What I liked:

  • The main character. Being an ex-general, Riven is a very cold and brutal character. She doesn’t let her walls down most of the time. What I’d like to appreciate is the consistency of her character. When you have this tough kind of protagonist, usually she will transform right away into the typical kind of teenage girl. However, Riven still shows a considerable effort to focus on the task at hands instead of melting to goo every time the love interest appears. She does eventually give in to hormones, but luckily the couple isn’t too lovey-dovey.
  • The plot isn’t as predictable as Howard’s other work called Waterfell. Although the beginning didn’t immediately grab my attention, I managed to gradually enjoy it.
  • I think the ending emphasizes how responsible Riven is compared to the other female protagonists once they have got together with their love interests. (For those who have read it will understand what I’m talking about lol.)
  • I really liked how tense and action-packed the book was. There were plenty of gory and excited battle scenes plus some unexpected twists.

What I didn’t like:

  • I found the romance pops out of the blue at first because the two barely interact with each other yet the guy seems to be in love with her after only meeting her for a few times.
  • The love interest is pretty bland and it seems like he’s too perfect.
  • There is a very confusing explanation near the ending and I failed to understand that even though I read it for a few times.
  • Please do not make out when you’re in a dangerous place and need to escape quickly. Duh.

Conclusion:
Despite having some flaws I couldn’t ignore, The Almost Girl was better than Waterfell in many areas. Overall, I thought the book was decent and enjoyable, but I would still recommend it to anyone who’s looking for a tense and action-packed science fiction.

 

[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! 😀

[Review] Reboot by Amy Tintera

Reboot
(Reboot #1)
Author: Amy Tintera
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: May 7th, 2013
Pages: 365 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Dystopia, Romance

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.

Review

OHMYGOODNESS I CAN’T BELIEVE I FINISHED THIS CRAP! *happy dance* It’s definitely a miracle I didn’t DNF it, considering how annoyed I was with so many things. Even “annoyed” doesn’t really covered my negative feeling. Reboot gets a solid one star from me.

Reboot was entirely a flat-fest. It has flat writing, flat protagonist and flat love interest. Thus, the romance also fell flat in my opinion. I know I’m overusing the word flat but really, there’s no better word to describe my feelings toward this book.

The longer you reboot, the stronger you’ll become, the less human you’ll be. Our heroine, Wren, died when she was twelve and 178 minutes later, she rebooted (aka “rose from the death”), making her currently the strongest Reboot. Now seventeen, Wren spends her time training newbies, but her latest newbie Callum (which she picked by herself, by the way) is the worst she has ever seen. Callum is only a 22, no matter how much training Wren gives him and no matter how much improvement he has made, he’s still way below Reboot standards. When told to eliminate him, Wren refuses and they both escape with the help of an officer.

Okay I’m done giving brief summary over here. Wren is my biggest problem. Technically, the longer you reboot, the less human you’ll be so Wren is supposed to be emotionless as hell. She said that there was no human left in her, that she didn’t cry and she also didn’t date. But there’s this new guy, Callum, she’s his trainer because he begged her to try training lower numbers so they could have a better survival rate – and that means him. Her relationship with him in the first 130 pages was like a teacher and a student (skip some moments in which Callum tried to “flirt” with Wren and Wren “feeling” something about Callum). Then right on chapter 14, they were supposed to be training, but you know what they’re doing?? Dancing. Yeah, right. Awesome. And a few pages later, there’s this paragraph:

“I was overwhelmed by the urge to grab both fists, yank them behind his back, and kiss him. I had never kissed anyone, but I swear I could feel his lips against mine everytime I looked at them.” – page 141

(Source) The first time I ever use a GIF in my review…

Just whaaaattt?? And no, not only that. She also wants to “lace her fingers through his” and “pull him closer to her”. Usually, I don’t mind these lines/actions in other YA books but in this case? Wren is supposed to be badass, calm, stoic, and EMOTIONLESS – keep that in mind, how come a single practically human guy makes her more hormonal? That’s if she still has hormones too. (She actually still has plenty of them, does she?)

I also have lots of issues with the love interest, Callum. He’s such a softie that he refuses to hit or kill someone. His character is very boring and lack-of-depth – as flat as an ironing board LITERALLY. I was so tired of his cheesy speeches I could have ripped the pages but then I quickly realized that I spent money on this crap so I better take good care of it. Even if it’s a horrible book.

Now, if two irritating characters get together, what would happen to the romance? If you guess an absolutely horrible romance (or any negative adjectives, actually) then congratulations! You are correct! Here, let me give you a cookie as a token of reading my ranting so far! *hands out virtual cookies*

I have one word, three syllables: INSTA-LOVE.

So one moment they just met, chapters later Wren disobeyed an order to eliminate Callum so they both escaped. Not long after that they kissed. And then a few pages and some paragraphs later they kissed again. There was A LOT of kissing and when I say A LOT, I am not kidding, guys. I counted there were TWENTY-FIVE kisses from middle of the book until the last page. It’s so sickening to read them act all lovey-dovey to one another AS IF THERE’S NOTHING WRONG WITH THE WORLD. This is too fluffy to be a dystopian novel. Ugh, if in the first book there are around 25 kisses, I can’t imagine how many kisses will be in the second book. 50? 100? I don’t know and I don’t intend to find out. Let’s just say that I won’t be continuing the series.

“[…] He grinned as he unhooked my helmet and kissed my cheek. “I’m driving here,” I said with a laugh as he kissed me again. […] I grinned as he kissed me again.” – page 359

No, I’m serious. Those three kisses happen in one page, in less than four paragraphs. It’s not a heavy make-out scene but still?? There were much more important things to do.

And not just the romance and characters, the plot didn’t really make sense either. Well, it did make sense in the beginning but as we got to the middle of the book, things started to drag and there were so many unimportant scenes in my opinion. The plot was predictable and full of cheesy twists. Sometimes the pacing was slow, yet all of a sudden it became fast and then back to slow again. One thing that I found to be outright silly is when [Highlight for SPOILER: Wren wanted to break into a high-security building, her allies said that it would be nearly impossible to get out once you were inside due to the tight security, and there were also cameras and so and so. BUT Wren managed to do all that easily that her allies sound like they were exaggerating before.] Well, not that I was expecting more dangers cause in my opinion, they got away quite easily from the previous obstacles. Or the writing made it sound too easy. Speaking of the writing, it’s so boring and flat and more like… lack of descriptions.

Oh, and the ending was really anticlimactic.

Reboot was a very disappointing dystopia, but it actually has an interesting concept. Alas, it’s completely wasted in a 365-page of boredom, fluffiness and inconsistencies.

Rating

1 Cake

[DNF] Linked by Imogen Howson

I read this book on PulseIt.

Linked

(Linked #1)
Author: Imogen Howson
Publisher: Simon & Schuster BfYR
Publication Date: June 11th, 2013
Pages: 368 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – Dystopia, Sci-Fi

Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere. Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed. Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world. Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.


Review:

This is my second DNF this year and I tell you what – it was really bad. I really want to finish this book, just to see perhaps the last third of the book is at least good enough. Well, as you can see, my original plan failed and I DNFed it when I was 59% of the book.
I don’t know how to put this to words but basically, Linked was soooooo boring that I had no link or connection or whatsoever with any of the characters (see what I did there?) Elissa and Lin – they’re really dull and unlikable. Their chemistry or relationship (or whatever it is) came out as fake to me and I wouldn’t care if they died. Elissa seemed too perfect… too kind? Or too innocent? I hated her.

“Stop it! I can’t – if you don’t see how awful it is to put all those people in danger and not even think about it, not even care, I can’t talk to you. I don’t know what to do with you.”

 – Elissa to Lin

Is it just me or that line does sound cheesy/insincere/fake?

And there’s Lin. This girl has been through a lot so she was quite tolerable at first, but gradually I started to dislike her too. She has this “superpower” called electro kinesis. And she forgets about it when she needs it the most. Wonderful! *That’s sarcasm, obviously* She gets really selfish in the middle of the book and that annoyed the hell out of me. (15 or 16 people are in danger because of YOU, girl. Thank God she finally listens later.) She rarely listens or obeys the order – wait, Elissa doesn’t listen in the beginning either. Elissa is also inconsistent because she wants Lin to stop “killing people” (translation: stop using her electro kinesis, I guess?) but then a few pages later she wants Lin to use her power to get them out of the bad situation?? That happens a few times.

The other characters, like Cadan (I’m sure he’s the love interest) was pretty dull too but he was still tolerable. He’s Captain Jim Kirk from Star Trek wannabe. GAHHH, to put it in short sentence: I didn’t care about the characters. Couldn’t connect with them at all. I rarely hate characters so much but this book… It made me want to scream every existing and made-up swear word at the characters!!

I’m sorry guys if this review is very confusing and doesn’t make any sense because this book was a mess in my opinion.

The worldbuilding is very confusing and there were chunks of paragraphs of info dump about the history of Sekoia – don’t know how it’s spelled correctly but it’s the place where Elissa lives. Don’t ask me anything about worldbuilding cause I understood NOTHING. The pacing is unbelievably slow for a book which is about running away from the government.

All these issues probably come from the writing. I guess it’s meant to be like beautiful prose but it came across as boring and repetitive and too distracting? There are A LOT of paragraphs without any dialogues at all. I got tired of reading it that I skipped a few sentences/paragraphs and I DID NOT MISS ANYTHING IMPORTANT. If you like this quote then you’ll probably enjoy the book more than I did:

“She landed on her side, with a jolt that knocked the breath out of her, and before she could even gasp, before she could even register that she’d landed on the roof, that she was okay, she hadn’t missed it and gone plummeting through miles of empty air – before she could even register the clang that meant Lin must have landed as well – she was sliding. Down and down over cold smooth metal, no handholds, no friction, completely out of control, down and down and around and around, the sky and the sun and the silver flashes of steel spiraling with her, faster and faster, around and around and down and down. Every moment she expected to go flying off the edge, flung out into the empty air.”

 — Elissa after she falls off a roof or something (I already forgot about it.) 

Can anyone explain what the hell is happening??
Linked failed to impress me in any freaking area I couldn’t help but to DNF it. I didn’t connect with the dull characters, I didn’t like the dull writing, confusing worldbuilding and slow pacing. I did not enjoy this book. 59% — that’s all my brain could take. I was in the verge of punching my laptop screen and I couldn’t torture myself any longer. This book didn’t work for me.

Rating:
1 Cake (DNF)