Friday, 22 May 2015

The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

Kestrel is a high ranking general's daughter and lives a luxurious life in the land of Valoria's conquered enemies. She doesn't know what it's like to suffer, to lose a home, friends and family. But Arin does. 

While at the market, Kestrel stumbles upon a slave auction and on a whim buys a slave. The slave, Arin, turns out to be different from the others, more defiant, more intelligent. And Kestrel can't help but fall for his spirit and intelligence (finally someone that will give her a run for her money playing Bite and Sting). But as the story advances, things between Kestrel and Arin get more and more complicated. The first instalment of The Winner's TrilogyThe Winner's Curse, is full of lies, rumours, duels, rebellion, strategy and so much more.

Rate: 4.5 stars

I throughly enjoyed this book. The characters were intelligent and well developed. The story itself was very intriguing, and left me wanting the next instalment. The world was interesting and well put together. And the writing was just beautiful. Here are a few examples:

"Jess had wandered off to look at the wares. Kestrel saw her weaving like a flower-drunk bee through the stall, her pale blond hair almost white in the summer sun."

"Everyone thronged around the pit was looking at her: the general's daughter, a high society bird who flitted from one respectable house to the next."

"Kestrel held the child, her eyes trained on but not really seeing his fine white hair, stirring in the faint wind like dandelion fluff."

If that's not enough for you, read the book! Seriously, pick it up! If you are sick of your typical stubborn, not super bright female leads in the YA genre, this is the book for you. Or if you are just looking for a good, enthralling read, pick it up.


Like I said above the characters were intelligent. And I was so glad about this. I was so tired of unintelligent main characters making idiotic decisions. And boy was I (gladly) surprised when I read this. Not only was Kestrel intelligent, but so was Arin, and I thought that they challenged each other with their intelligence. I thought they complemented each other nicely. Also, Kestrel wasn't a natural born fighter, which was interesting to see (in a good way), because in other novels like this one, the main character is usually good at fighting. Luckily Kestrel's strategic mind made up for her of lack fighting sills, and was able to actually get her out of some tough situations. Oh, and I was also glad that she turned down the option of joining the military because she knew that she could make strategic moves that could ruin people's lives.

Now the world that Kestrel and Arin lived in was interesting. I thought the world building was done well. It was sprinkled into the story and we learned more about the history and customs of Valoria and Herran as the novel progressed. And I actually found myself interested in the customs of the countries and the world that they lived in.

I enjoyed that this book, even though it was described as a romance, it wasn't all about the romance. It was much more than your run-of-the-mill contemporary or romance. We had rebellion, action and dirty secrets. Initially I was not expecting Arin to be involved in the rebellion. Or for him to be undercover to attain information. But as the story progressed, you could see that Arin started to care more about the lives he was effecting with the rebellion (not that the rebellion was necessarily a bad thing).

Speaking of the rebellion, I really did not like, or trust for that matter, Cheat. He just rubbed me the wrong way, and was doing all the wrong things with the rebellion. Sure he had the city under under his control, but that was with the help of Arin. Plus he treated Kestrel horribly. I was glad when Arin finally figured out that he wanted to get rid of Kestrel, and killed him when he found him in Kestrel's room.

At the end of the book, it was hard to tell which side Kestrel was on. She fled the city that the rebels took to warn the emperor, but she made a deal with him to marry his son to stop another war. She still cares for Arin, but seems to be playing for the other side, but Arin doesn't know that. It just keeps getting more and more complicated between these two. It seems like Kestrel doesn't want to betray her country, but she has begun to see what they have done to the Herrani (Arin). So she seems pretty conflicted. 

Anyways, I'm so excited for the next book in this trilogy, and can't wait to see where it goes!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Run by Gabby Tye

Everything, except humans, has gone extinct. All the plants and all the animals. This is thanks to scientists  who got a little carried away, so to speak, with work in the genetic field. No more food is being grown or harvested. Canned food is the only thing left, and even that will run out eventually.

Zee, our fifteen-year-old main character, wakes up in Singapore with no memory. Not knowing anything about herself or the world she lives in, Zee joins a group of kids like her trying to survive. At first they only had to worry about where they could find the next source of food and water, but they have now discovered that adults have changed. Let's just say regular food doesn't satisfy their hunger. So on top of searching for food and water, Zee and the other survivors must fight off these "Eaters". But who long will they be able to survive in this apocalyptic world?

Rate: 3 stars

First off all, I think it is awesome that somebody around my age was able to get a book published! Congrats! Anyways, let's get to the book itself. Overall the book was okay. The concept was interesting, and it was cool that the book took place in Singapore, so I knew roughly where things were. But I found the book rushed and the writing wasn't the greatest. It was also a super quick read (which isn't necessarily a bad thing), I finished it in a single day (that day also being a school day). Oh, and it was yet another book that I read with a cliff-hanger for an ending.


The whole concept of the work in genetics going wrong seemed fairly realistic. In Run our main character had everything about her physical appearance chosen before she was born. That was what seemed really realistic to me, since things like this are already happening. Like if you have a disease that runs in the family, you are now able to correct that (Even though it is pretty interesting and I could go on talking about this subject for a while, I won't since this a book review, not a report on the genetic field).

Anyways, Camp Zero was a topic that was brought up in the book, but wasn't exactly relevant. It was apparently a camp that had resources and only the important adults of society were allowed in. Maybe this will come into play in the next book, that was what I was thinking anyways. 

Now the adults that Zee encountered were cannibals. I was thought that maybe the "Eaters" had a contagious disease that made them like the taste of flesh, and I wondered why nobody thought of that, and why they didn't try to stay to far away from them. But thats's just my theory. The book didn't explain why they were so zombie-ish, but again, hopefully it will be explained in the next books. Although I don't know if I'll actually continue the series, as it is not very high on the list of books I want to read. 

Now that I think about it, a lot of things were not explained in this book. Like how Zee had the power to predict the future/read minds, why she lost her memory, why she was so good at fighting with a staff (and how a staff or something similar was always around when she needed to fight), and why did she get her memory back at the end of the book. 

Speaking of the end of the book I didn't think it was a particularly smart idea for them to lure an Eater into a trap to study it. I mean a ton of things could have gone wrong there. I also found they didn't make the smartest decisions during the book. Zee and Jae left the group in the middle of the night after an Eater attack to go talk to some guy who caused them trouble in the past. Great idea guys.

Okay, so back to the end of the book. The group of kids that Zee was with before the loss of her memory just happened to show up. Then she just happened to get her memory back. And BOOM cliff-hanger. I also sense a love triangle coming on, because we don't have enough of those in YA.

Oh, and I almost forgot to talk about the characters themselves. Zee and Jae we okay, but the rest were poorly developed. I didn't really get a good grasp of the majority of characters, they were poorly written.

Overall this was book was "meh". I'm not really invested in this series, so I don't know if I'll continue.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

***The following synopsis and summary contain spoilers for Steelheart.***

Firefight picks up not too long after Steelheart, a high Epic, was killed at David's hand. Now Newcago is free from Steelheart's wrath. But David isn't completely satisfied. He still has questions about Epics and their powers that have yet to be answered. Plus he is determined to find another Epic, Firefight, who he is certain is different form other Epics.

So when David gets the chance to go to Babylon (a city that was once part of New York), where he might be able to get his answers, and where Firefight is rumoured to be, he's all for it. David and two other Reckoners, Prof and Tia, head off to Babylon in search of the High Epic that rules there. But David's eyes are still peeled for Firefight, and any answers to his questions, even though he's there on the Reckoners' terms, not his own.

Rate: 4 stars

In the second instalment of The Reckoners trilogy, we are introduced to new Reckoners, a new setting and new Epics. The new characters were great, although I would have liked to see more of Cody and Abraham. We also got just as much action as we did in Steelheart. Overall it was a strong second book. And like the last book, it left me wanting the next book. But this time it was due to a cliffhanger-y ending.


As I said above, I liked the new characters that were introduced in this book. We had mysterious Epics like Regalia, Obliteration, Calamity and Dawnslight. They added an intriguing factor to the book since David and the Reckoners were trying to figure out how their powers work, their weakness, and what they were going to do next. It was interesting to find out that the weaknesses of the Epics had something to do with their fears and their pasts. And I wonder how Epics actually became Epics. I know it has something to do with Calamity (I was surprised to find out that Calamity was actually an Epic), but how did Calamity cause superpowers? Hopefully this will be cleared up in the next book.

The other new characters we were introduced to, the Reckoners in Babylon, were not quite as mysterious, but still a great addition to the story. There was Val, who we didn't get to see too much of, and Exel, who was unique, to say the least, as well as Mizzy, my personal favourite new character due to her spunk.

I thought the story really picked up when Megan was thrown into the story for good. She's probably my favourite character, and I was really missing her in the beginning of the story when she was absent (plus I was happy when the ship finally sailed). I really wish that Prof would have brought her back on the team, she gave an insight on Epics that Prof couldn't manage to do. We really got to know more about what the powers the Epics have do to them. Prof always shut away when he used his, and never explained what they were like.

Now speaking of Prof, his powers kind of took over in the end. I thought he might have been more forgiving and understanding when he found out that David and Megan were in touch. I thought he had a better control over them. But I guess not, as he ended up killing Val and Exel. I wasn't super sad about their deaths though, they weren't a super big part of the story, and I never got attached to them.

Anyways, I did enjoy this book and can't wait for the next one, Calamity, when it is released in the spring of 2016. Hopefully all the questions I had about the Epics will be answered. And hopefully we get just as much action as Steelheart and Firefight.

Monday, 4 May 2015

The One by Kiera Cass

***The following synopsis and summary contain spoilers for The Selection and The Elite.***

In the third instalment of The Selection Series, America Singer still finds herself at the castle competing for the crown and Prince Maxon. America is a contender in the Selection, but does she really want a future at the castle? And will she ever have her happily ever after?

Rate: 3.5 stars

This book was just like The Elite, just more of America procrastinating and making bad decisions. The One was also unrealistic, and events happened that didn't even advance the plot. And the Selection finally came to a close. But for some strange reason, I whipped through the book, and still enjoyed it.


America was a very frustrating character at times, and at one point I had to close the book and try and deal with how she was acting and the decisions she made. She was not a very smart character, and was often very emotional. And at one point, she was acting even worse than Celeste. Plus she couldn't make up her mind, and barely kept to her decisions for more than five minutes. 

That aside, let's talk about the rebels. We had the Northerners, who wanted to change IllĂ©a for the good, and then we had the Southerners who were just bad. Throughout the book we found out that random characters like Kriss, Gavril and America's dad were Northerner rebels, which did absolutely nothing to advance the plot. 

Then we had the death of America's dad, which was unfortunate, but I still wasn't terribly sad. I liked the relationship between America and her dad, and I think the death just emphasized their relationship. However, I don't think his death was necessary, because it was already evident that they had a good relationship.

Now, I found the change of Celeste's character completely unrealistic. One day she was the nastiest girl in the Selection, and the next day she was everybody's BFF. In reality, she would not have changed that quickly, it would have been over a longer period of time. And I think the girls still would have held a grudge after all the horrible things Celeste did.

I also found the ending incredibly unrealistic. Maxon completely flipped out when he found out about America and Aspen, even though America and Maxon were all for getting engaged the night before. I found that completely out of character. Then when Maxon got shot, he suddenly realized that he couldn't live without America. Also, how convenient was it that the King,  the Queen, and Anne died, plus the Southerners were over powered by the Northerners. That is not how the real world works, all of your problems do not suddenly disappear.

Anyways, the conclusion was decent. We went from the day of the rebel attack to the wedding day, so we skipped over the aftermath of the battle and the grief, which made for a happy ending. But did anyone else find it weird that Aspen walked America down the aisle?

Overall, the book was oddly enjoyable, despite all the faults. What were your thoughts on this book? Did you enjoy it? Leave your thoughts in the comments down below. Hope you enjoyed the review!