Tuesday, 21 May 2013

{Review} The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite
by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #2
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Pages: 323
Source: borrowed
Stars: 2.5/5

Thirty five girls came to the place to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princessof Illea. America still isn't sure where her heart lies. When she's with Maxon, she's swept up in htheir new and breathless romance, and can't dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over--and time is running out for America to decide. Just when America is sure she's made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she's struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

**NOTE: To view the spoiler, highlight the blank space (I have put the spoiler in white text so that it doesn't appear on my blog unless you highlight it with your mouse)

For some reason, I thought that this series was only going to be two books, but by the ending of this one, I'm almost positive there is going to be a third. And even though I'm going to read it, I don't think I enjoy this series as much as I did after reading the first book. This book was just ok, but I don't have the heart to give it less than 2 stars, even though I'm tempted to. 
I tried to like this book, I really did. I wanted to like this book so much. Pretty cover, dystopian princess story... I came into this book beyond excited. However, I feel that I need to be honest with what I disliked so much about this book.

First, America. Oh my God, I HATED HER. In the first book I tolerated her--I did find her obnoxious and full of herself, and she seemed cold and not easy to connect to. Well, in this book she was much, much worse. As were the other characters. America couldn't make up her mind about literally anything. One day she was parading around with Maxon, trying to make the other Elite jealous, and the next she was making out with Aspen. No just NO.  Maxon was horrid in this book as well. He was romantically conflicted just like America, and he made me so mad when he took Celeste in as his stupid sex buddy and claimed he was in love with Kriss! One bad love triangle is enough, Kiera Cass. I DON'T NEED TWO OR MORE!!! 

In the first book I actually adored Maxon. He seemed really nice and just CUTE and awkward in an adorable way. Some people complained that he seeemed stiff, etc. I have to prove them right, because in this book he was the epitome of stiff. Even though America deserved his rudeness.

The love triangle (s!!) made me so mad, as I said before. In the first book I didn't mind the love triangle at all because it seemed perfect and just the way a love triangle should be written, although obviously the love triangle outline is a complete copy of The Hunger Games, but whatever. I was ok with it. But in this book it just fell apart. America just could not make up her mind. I get that the love triangle is hard to write, but this is NOT the way things work in love! You can't love 2 guys at once like that. It leads me to believe that America didn't actually love either of them, she was just weighing what would be better for her future. And as for her jealousy--get over it, America! You're cheating on Maxon, just like he's "cheating" on you! He's the freaking prince and this is the freaking Selection! Even though I really didn't appreciate what he was doing with Celeste and Kriss behind Americas back, I did think America was overreacting and being a TOTAL HYPOCRITE. 

[[Spoiler]]What happened to Marlee was horrible, just horrible, and I wasn't expecting something so ominous and dark to happen between the pages of a book like this (girly and princessy). ]] This book was actually a lot different from the first book. There was more fear, emotion, and Cass wasn't afraid to venture into the dark side of things. That was actually what I liked about the book. It was more action-packed than its predecessor. And I finished this book in a flash, less than 12 hours. So at least she kept me reading. Even if her writing got 10 times worse than in The Selection.

So even though The Elite was kind of a disappointment, I have to say that Kiera Cass has thought up a pretty interesting dystopian concept, and I'm intrigued by Illea, even if the protagonist is an idiot and I seriously don't like either of the love interests anymore. I hope that if others read this, then they'll enjoy it more than I did. 

Sunday, 19 May 2013

In My Mailbox #12

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren, where we spotlight the books that we have received for review, swapped, or purchased that week. 




Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Legend by Marie Lu: review

by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Release Date: February 2, 2012
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 295
Source: borrowed
Links: Goodreads
Stars: 4/5

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives might not be as malicious as they seem. From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths--until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets. Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills. 

*This review contains spoilers, but I have marked them off with brackets like **[[this]].
After finishing Legend I had no doubt about its amazingness.  However, when I first began the book I was a little bit conflicted. Not only had one of my friends hated it, I had a bit of trouble getting fully enraptured in the story until several pages in. 

This book is about two 15-year-olds. One of them is Day, the world's single most notorious criminal. And the other is June, the only person to ever score a perfect 1500 on the trial, a test that each citizen takes once they reach a certain age. This book shifts perspectives between June and Day, and although I enjoyed both of their POVs, I really liked Day's. All of his feelings were poured from the pages and into my heart. I could feel his pain at certain especially difficult moments in the book. I found it hard to make much of a connection with June unless she was with Day, because otherwise, she was cold and stiff. But when she was with Day, she was just a normal girl and I liked that about her. She wasn't just the Republic's pet. I also liked the fact that the characters were only 15. It made things more realistic and I felt like I could connect to them more, because in a lot of books I read the characters are 16,17, or older. I could connect more to June and Day, even though they still have 2 years on me.

I have to admit that I nearly gave up on this book within a mere 30 pages of it. I guess I went into it with mixed feelings because I've heard lots of hype surrounding it and if there's a lot of hype surrounding a book, I tend to be disappointed. One of my friends loved it, but my other one hated it, and I usually like the same books as the other friend who hated it so I didn't know what to think. But then I hit page 40 or 50 and the story fell in place, giving me a scenario and keeping my fingers unconsciously turning the pages until I finished the book. I've never been so fully engrossed in a book as I was in Legend, and that shows you Marie Lu's undeniable skill for writing. Although I ended up loving this book I still have to admit that the first pages were rough to get through so that is why my rating is a 4 not a 5.

The other complaint I have is that I found this book to be very predictable. I totally guessed who Metias's murderer was right from the start. Also I feel like there should've been more suspects other than Day and **SPOILER ALERT: [[[[Thomas]]]] because it just made things way to easy to figure out who it was. **SPOILER ALERT: [[[[Even though I predicted it was Thomas from the beginning, I wish there could have been a distractor to make me think its someone else. ]]]]

I loved the story so much. It was an interesting twist on a dystopian society, I felt like it was portrayed so realistically. I love dystopian books because they always get the wheels in my brain turning. Legend is no exception. I thought about the world that Marie Lu portrayed so much that my head kinda hurt. (In a good way :P)

This book gave me a lot to think about. It left me yearning for more, of the stories of these two young people, and their fates. I can't wait to see where Marie Lu takes this series in Prodigy, and she definitely provides a thrill ride for her readers.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson: review

Book: Wintergirls
Author: Laurie Halse Anderson
Release Date: March 19, 2009
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 278
Source: Library
Links: Goodreads
Stars: 4/5

"Dead girl walking," the boys say in the halls. "Tell us your secret," the girls whisper, one toilet to another. I am that girl. I am the space between my thighs, daylight shining through. I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame. Lia and Cassie are best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies, competitors in a deadly contest to see who can be the skinniest. But what comes after size zero and size double-zero? When Cassie succumbs to the demons within, Lia feels she is being haunted by her friend's restless spirit. In her most emotionally wrenching, lyrically written book since the multiple award winning Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson explores Lia's descent into the powerful vortex of anorexia, and her painful path toward recovery. 


I loved Anderson's Speak and Chains (although the second book in that series was a bitter disappointment, but that's a whole other rant), so I was interested to see what she would do with the concept of anorexia in Wintergirls. Well, let's just say that Anderson is a pro when handling the tough subjects, and she portrays them in a such a way that it makes it not uncomfortable to read, but interesting.

Lia is 18 years old and been struggling with anorexia for years. At the beginning of the book, she is 99 pounds and 5'5" tall. As her weight slowly lowers to practically less than 90, the reader gets to see her desperation to become as skinny and weightless as she can possibly be. Her best friend, Cassie, was bulimic, and recently died from it. Lia is haunted by this every day, especially since the day Cassie died, she called Lia and Lia didn't pick up.

 As a character, Lia gave a desperate, confused, and lonely vibe. At the end of the book, she really shined and left her past to be her past. The chacacter development was stunning and really luminous.

I have a friend who had problems with anorexia, so I knew a little bit about it, but not enough that I knew absolutely everything. This book helped me gain knowledge on the subject. At school, it's considered cool to pretend you have an eating disorder just so that people will give you compliments, which I really think is disgusting. Eating disorders are horrible, awful things that shouldn't be joked around about. Lia came close to death.

This book not only dealt with anorexia but it also dealt with bulimia. The idea that someone would make herself vomit just to get rid of the food inside her body was terrible and foreign to me. However, it helped me learn more about it and some of the struggles people go through when dealing with bulimia. Although Cassie had a tragic ending, Lia did not and ended the book as a full flower in bloom.

Anderson's writing is poetic and lovely. The sentences flowed together and her style is all-around artistic and unique. The writing was one of my favorite parts, because through the writing, she showed Lia's emotions. The writing was repetitive and choppy when Lia was feeling desperate, hungry, or sick, and beautiful and flowing when she was feeling happy. I loved that about the book.

The one problem I did have with this book was the fact that the middle of it seemed cluttered and the ending seemed rushed. The beginning and ending were good, but the middle seemed to drag a little, and the story didn't really go anywhere for 50 or 60 pages, but that's only a minor complaint.

Wintergirls is definitely not a book for the faint of heart, but I really enjoyed it, and I think I'll read more of Anderson's works since she is a truly talented writer.