[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.

[DNF Review] The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

The 5th Wave
(The 5th Wave #1)
Author: Rick Yancey
Publisher: Putnam Juvenile
Publication Date: May 7th, 2013
Pages: 457 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – Post-apocalyptic

The Passage meets Ender’s Game in an epic new series from award-winning author Rick Yancey.
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

 

Review

Prior the publication date last year, I kept seeing positive reviews for The 5th Wave and alien apocalypse!! Who am I not to feel excited for this one? Plus, the blurb makes it sound so badass and amazing and I was like OHMYGOD GIMME THIS RIGHT NOW. And then I read it.

And behold, my hopes and dreams:

Picture doesn’t belong to me!

Crushed to pieces.

From the top of a skyscraper plunged straight into the bottom of Tartarus.

I had been warned that the beginning is slow but I didn’t know that it is THAT SLOW. I mean, I was halfway through the book yet nothing significant has happened besides flashbacks and POV switches. Right now I can’t even recall what happen in those 240 pages I read. I was like, COME ON SOMETHING IS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN -_- Frankly, I was frustrated. Especially there is this POV in which there is no dialogue AT ALL, only huge chunks of paragraphs to add the boredom.

So when I hit the middle of the book, I decided to put it off and read other books that appealed more to me. But I hadn’t given up on it yet because many people have said that the second half is better. Skip a few months later, I wanted to continue it again but BOOM. I picked up where I left and I remember NOTHING. Like, NOTHING other than the protagonist’s name. *shame* I was too lazy to start over again so yeah, finally DNF’ed it. I am the black sheep again.

DNF

[Review] Defiance by C.J. Redwine

Defiance
(The Courier’s Daughter #1)
Author: C.J. Redwine
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication Date: August 28th, 2012
Pages: 403 (Paperback)
Genre: YA – Dystopia, (slight) Fantasy, Post-apocalyptic

Rachel Adams has a secret. While the other girls in Baalboden sew dresses and obey their male Protectors, Rachel knows how to survive in the wilderness and deftly wield a sword. When her father, Jared, fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city’s brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector, her father’s apprentice, Logan – the same boy Rachel declared her love for two years ago, and the same one who handed her heart right back to her. Left with nothing but a fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to find him herself. But what awaits her in the Wasteland could destroy her.

Logan McEntire is many things. Orphan. Outcast. Inventor. As apprentice to the city’s top courier, Logan is focused on learning his trade so he can escape the tyranny of Baalboden. But his plan never included being responsible for his mentor’s daughter. Logan is determined to protect her but soon realizes he has more at stake than disappointing Jared.

As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

Cover impression:

It does look gorgeous and I’m a sucker for gorgeous covers – that what made me buy this book in the first place. I guess we all judge a book by its cover at some point, don’t we? 😉

Review: 

When every girl in Baalboden needs a male Protector and doesn’t know how to fight, Rachel has been taught by her father how to use weapons, how to defend herself and how to survive in the wilds. Needless to say, she’s a very kickass and headstrong heroine. Throughout the book she faces a lot of terrible things and that makes her break down and lose control sometimes. I think it makes her character more real, but to be honest I found it a bit…scary…when she goes outrageous. Logan is unlike any male character I’ve ever encountered in YA books so far. He’s an inventor which means he’s a super smart and a tech-head, not those typical hot bad boys. Despite his geeky side, he’s also a tactician and strong fighter. He thinks before he acts and he always tries to keep his promises, no matter how bad the condition he gets stuck in. (Off Topic: I don’t how anyone picture Logan, but I kept getting a younger Chris Pine while I was reading this!)

However, things don’t always go as planned and C.J. Redwine is definitely not afraid to add twists and turns in the story. The pacing is a bit slow for my taste but I had no trouble enjoying this book because there are no dull/filler moments and I loved reading about Logan and Rachel’s journey. Defiance and its characters are so well-written that I didn’t want to stop and I stayed until midnight to read this book. The romance is really good too and more importantly, it doesn’t take over the main plot. Some people might consider it as insta-love but to me, it’s definitely not cause Rachel and Logan technically have known each other since they were kids.

Defiance switches POV between Rachel and Logan. Worst case scenario (lol, Logan’s style! xD) is the voices get meshed up together and you have no idea who is who. Although you can tell the narrator by the name written on the chapter beginnings, I didn’t need them to identify the narrator because Rachel and Logan have distinct voices. Logan is the more calculating and analytical one in my opinion. Rachel’s emotion is also written fantastically and speaking of the writing, I think C.J. Redwine has done a great job! It wasn’t hard for me to picture the actions and the setting.

Although I had no trouble imagining the setting, I did get confused a few times and I felt the worldbuilding was not solid enough. I mean, this book has dystopian elements (Baalboden is surrounded by Wall which separates the city from the Wasteland; the leader of the city is a very evil and dictating; rebellion is mentioned a couple of times) but it also contains post-apocalyptic survival and there’s a hint of fantasy (dragon-like creature called the Cursed One which lurks in the Wasteland). And this book seems to be in a medieval era but it has technology at the same time. However, the worldbuilding is actually very unique and interesting. Too bad there’s a lack of explanation or backstory in this book. Then again, worldbuilding usually doesn’t bother me. Maybe we’ll get more in book two Deception?

This is probably one of the longest reviews I’ve ever written so far. Defiance is truly a fantastic read with its genre blending, strong main characters and plenty of actions including twists and turns. I gotta say that I’m so glad to judge a book by its cover this time! If I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have read this lol xD

Rating:

4.5 Cakes!

[Review] Blood Red Road by Moira Young

Blood Red Road
(Dust Lands #1)
Author: Moira Young
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 459 (Hardcover)
Genre: YA – Adventure, Post-apocalyptic
Summary

Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That’s fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives, along with four cloaked horsemen, Saba’s world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on an epic quest to get him back.

Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she’s a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Blood Red Road has a searing pace, a poetically minimal writing style, violent action, and an epic love story. Moira Young is one of the most promising and startling new voices in teen fiction.


Review
Moira Young has succeeded creating a rough world and in that world, not all people know how to write so the language is unique. Blood Red Road might look like a draft of a book and that writing style really annoyed me in the beginning. My thoughts still wandered a lot as I read it. It was easy to believe that the world is rough, but hard for me to connect with the characters, especially with Saba. I also spotted that the unique writing style is a bit inconsistent. Not many, though. Here’s the example:

“They are afraid of me.” – Saba (page 158)
“The other girls’re afeared of you.” – Helen (page 159)
“That’s who  you gotta be afraid of.” – Helen (page 164)

My main problem with this book is Saba. I like strong heroines, but Saba just seem too… bad. I was really frustrated with her because she’s too mean to her little sister, too stubborn and basically too unlikable for me. Aside from those negative traits, I thought she had a determination and always set her eyes on her goal. But apparently, when she’s so close to reaching her goal, she becomes doubtful and I was like: What?? That was the only thing that’s on your mind for the entire book! And now you decide to hesitate?

And there’s Jack, oh Jack, it’s so good to have you here. Jack literally knocks her sense all the time when Saba does something wrong or inappropriate. The side characters are generally okay, but I also got annoyed with Emmi because she’s too stubborn and clumsy. I know that she’s only nine years old but can’t she be a little careful?? I guess Emmi inherits her stubbornness from Saba ._.

Probably the best thing in this book is the tension. The writing did bug me a lot, but whenever there’s a fighting scene or at the climax of the book, the writing did a good job of creating tension.

If you’re looking for a book with amazing and likable main character, I will not recommend this book but I definitely won’t stop you from reading it. If you’re looking for a uniquely-written book with exciting tension, maybe you’ll like Blood Red Road

Rating: 
3 Chocolate Cakes!

[Review] Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Publisher: Square Fish (Feiwel and Friends)
Pages: 288 (Paperback)

Blurb
WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first Deuce thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

Review
Oh where do I begin?? I know that this book seems like a rip-off from other dystopia books and I admit that there are a few similar things. However, Enclave is the first dystopia that I truly enjoyed after Divergent! The worldbuilding, though I seriously don’t want to live in a tunnel, fascinated me a lot and it felt so real. Apparently, the author did a lot of researches to write this book and I appreciate that. The plot is fast-paced to my liking, there’s not a single time I was bored of reading it!

Deuce is a likable protagonist who’s tough yet soft at the same time. Every action she makes intrigued me and she always tries to be strong, even when things are difficult. She’s willing to sacrifice and endure the pain for her friends. Fade is a mysterious bad boy type (but not too bad) with difficult past. Okay, so maybe not all of you liked him, but to me, he’s very interesting and strong. Not too forget, he cares a lot about his friends.

The romance is not so prominent in this book, but there is definitely something blooming here. Enclave is written in Deuce’s POV. I enjoyed the writing very much and the actions are well-depicted. I also loved when Deuce is being curious about new objects or words she spots and I thought Ann Aguirre gave the right amount of descriptions.

Fast-paced and action-packed plot combined with strong characters and a hint of romance, Enclave was an amazing book that left me wanting to read Outpost really soon!!

Quotes

“My body was a machine, plain and simple. I worked it to stay strong; I fed it to keep it running.” – page 39

“A Huntress didn’t crack under pressure. She might bend, but she could handle anything.” – page 67

“He touched my cheek very lightly. “I have your back. I didn’t mean only when it’s easy. All the time.” – page 76

“There were different kinds of strength. I knew that now. It didn’t always come from a knife or a willingness to fight. Sometimes it came from endurance, where the well ran deep and quiet. Sometimes it came from compassion and forgiveness.” – page 244

Rating: 

5 Chocolate Cakes!