Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

 Book: Pandemonium
 Series: Delirium #1
I'm pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.

Female authors are just variant. They think differently. On another level. Look at some my favorite author names EVER: J.K. Rowling, Cassandra Clare, Suzanne Collins, etc..
Lauren Oliver is NO exception. She's officially topped my list of favorite authors. And no, I am not being sexist. There are many male authors who have breathtaking books, but books by female authors have a different touch. Their minds go on a completely different path that men can never go there. Don't get me wrong, men go different places. EPIC places, but right now, I'm just sucked into the women's imagination. I don't think this spell will leave me anytime soon.

Let me start talking this review by saying that this book feels ABSOLUTELY different from Delirium in many ways.

First of all, the setting was completely different.

This time, Lena is in the Wilds. She's living elsewhere, with a completely new life. She's in what we call "nature". She's facing problems from the freezing weather. I really loved how in this book, we got to see different types of conflicts; not only problems caused by the "perfect" society.

Second of all, the writing style stood out.

In Pandemonium, Lauren Oliver has entirely changed her writing style. She divides her chapters in a "Now" and "Then" format. Each chapter shifts accordingly. "Then" is where Delirium ended, and "Now" is a certain time in the future. This technique was pretty confusing for me in the beginning to figure out what was really going on. However, that's nothing to be worried about. Everything is perfectly explained.
Oh, and be prepared for a KILLER cliffhanger. I was annoyed because of the ONE-WORD sentence at the last page, which was the HUGEST cliffhanger, so I knew about the OMG moment. But, it doesn't matter, I was still looking forward to how the cliffhanger would come up in the story.

Thirdly, it was wonderful to get to see new characters.

I think it was well-thought out that there were bunch of new characters. New life=new characters.
Some characters bugged me. Some, I fell in love with. This made it all so realistic. The relationship between the characters were so real as if the scene were happening right in front of you.
Notable characters: Blue and Raven.

I was generally on a roller coaster while I was reading this book. I read this book in 24 hours (maybe less). I couldn't put it down. I carried it with me everywhere I went. Yes Lauren Oliver, you managed to get me break records. I haven't ever read a book that fast.

That's everything positive I have to say.

However, there were a few extra things I was expecting, but I never found them in the story.
  1. A chapter where the time shift wraps up. Where we see what happened "Then" that "Now" is going on. Maybe we will find some of that in Requiem.
  2. Characters from Delirium had no appearance in this book. I kept thinking, perhaps Hana will suddenly appear somewhere in this story. But no, there never was an appearance. Again, maybe, and most probably, we will get to see the characters in Requiem.

These are very minor issues, and they did not affect my reading experience. I loved this book TOO MUCH.

Memorable quote from Pandemonium: "That is what hatred is. It will feed you and at the same time turn you to rot. It is hard and deep and angular, a system of blockades. It is everything and total. Hatred is a high tower. In the Wilds, I start to build, and to climb."

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Book Review: Delirium by Lauren Oliver

THEY SAY that the cure for Love
will make me happy and safe
And I've always believe them.
Until now.

Now everything has changed.
Now, I'd rather be infected
with love for the tiniest
sliver of a second than
live a hundred years
smothered by a lie.

Ever since this book was published in early 2012, before they changed the cover of this book (originally the picture on the top right) I've always been a fan of how this book sounded. The book was really popular, it was the book of the month in my local bookshop the month it was published in 2011. Unfortunately, I never got the chance to pick it up. Until recently, Lauren Oliver approved to send me this and Pandemonium for review. (THANK YOU Lauren! It was very awesome of you!).

I'm really glas I read this book because I highly enjoyed it.

This book is another dystopian. You know me and dystopians. I'm in love with them. I love this book as well, which is ironic really, because this book talks about a society where love is a disease. It is like cancer, like flu. Like any other sickness. It has symptoms, and it has a cure. This disease is called amor deliria nervosa. Now, I'm not really sure what this exactly means, but the two words I can guess are delirium and nervousness. That's an epic disease name, by the way.

This book had too many great things about it, and I'm gonna discuss them below.

1-Writing Style: I think one of the best elements of this book was the writing style. It was poetic and lyrical. A sentence that could be written in a really simple way is written in a really beautiful complex way in this book. Lauren Oliver absolutely is a fabulous writer. In addition to that, trust me, by the end of a book, she will leave you wanting more. Oh boy, she, and Cassandra Clare are the QUEENS of cliffhangers. I'd also like to add that I really admired how each chapter started with a quote either from an outside source, or excerpts written by Lauren Oliver herself from what is supposed to be quotes from The Book of Shhh, which is sort of this society's holy book.

2-Plot: I have to admit, this is one of the most original YA (young adult) books ever written. Yes, there are familiar elements. Yes, there is the hot guy the girls swoon over, but it was really one of a kind. You don't see a book everyday that is both dystopian and really original at the same time.

3-Characters: Our main character is Lena short for Magdalena. She was quite well-developed. I wouldn't say Lena was my favorite character, because Hana was. Hana was rebellious. She thought outside the box. I was very pleased with her character and deeply admired her. As for Alex, Lena's love interest, I thought he was good as well. He was romantic and everything. Well, he was brave and sacrificing too.

Delirium is full of exciting and positive material, but it has a slight problem that bugged me:

Pacing: In my opinion, this book was very slow paced. It started off pretty exciting, but in the middle it felt a tiny bit like nothing was going on. I think this, though, wasn't a big problem. Afterall, everybody learns from their mistakes, and Lauren Oliver is one.

Pandemonium, the second book in this trilogy, is another exciting read. Lauren Oliver certainly is an astounding author who improves her book quality.

Memorable quote from Delirium: "Love: a single word, a wispy thing, a word no bigger or longer than an edge. That's what it is: an edge; a razor. It draws up through the center of your life, cutting everything in two. Before and after. The rest of the world falls away on either side. Before and after-and during, a moment no bigger or longer than an edge."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Book Review:Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: Jem, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa.

As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.

 In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa's powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister's war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, though her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will; the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?
As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.

Look at those covers. They are BREATHTAKINGLY BEAUTIFUL.  Clockwork Angel features Will, and Clockwork Prince features Jem.

I'm gonna review these two books together. First I'm going to talk about this series in general, then I'm going to talk in details about each book.

The Infernal Devices series. That title is just powerful for some reason. It just gets to me. I don't know why. I think it's a very creative title. So this series is the prequel series to The Mortal Instrument series. Everything going on here is before Clary and Jace's story.
The titles of the books, even more haunting. Clockwork Angel and Clockwork Prince. Those titles alone make you start wondering what the books will be about.

I cherished the setting in this book. Its set in the early 1800s, I don't remember the actual date, but it was mentioned in the book. The setting was a great escape from books set in everyday life era. Cassandra Clare managed to vividly describe the culture and everyday activities of that time. You can't help yourself, you fall in love with the women's fluffy dresses, the men's hats. You fall in love with the places, the carriages, EVERYTHING.

The writing style is breathtaking as always. These are the fifth and sixth books of Cassandra Clare I'm reading. So yes, I know a good writing style of hers when I see it.

The characters. AHHHHHHHHHH the characters. I was extremely attached to the characters. Each and every one of them. Especially the main three: Tessa, Will, and Jem. Yes, some characters will drive you crazy.  You will hate them. But they are supremely developed. You care for them. If they are sad, you are said. If they are happy, you want to laugh for them.

1-Tessa: Tessa is our protagonist. She is on a mission to find her missing brother. I personally liked Tessa. She had very ladylike qualities and was a thoughtful character.

2-Jem: Jem. Jem. Jem. The boy with white hair. The gentleman. Jem was amazing. He's how every man should be. He is kind. He is brave. He respects ladies.

3-Will: Will is the rude bad boy. The one we see a lot in lots of young adult books. The boy that girls suddenly fall for.

I think that some of the other notable characters are: Henry, Charlotte, and Magnus.

What I liked about this series is that I got to see the back stories of certain characters that appeared in The Mortal Instruments.

I think one of the best things Cassandra Clare did, was intoducing us to the Shadowhunter world again. It was really great experiencing how the main character gets introduced. So, if you want to start reading a Cassandra Clare book, it doesn't matter if you start with this series or The Mortal Instruments. Do not hesitate buying this just because you haven't read The Mortal Instruments. 

Clockwork Angel:

At first, it took me time to get into the setting of this book. It was weird. Not only the setting, but I don't know, it just felt like WEIRD WEIRD. If you feel this way, DO NOT put this book down. As I progressed, it got better and better. I reached a point where I thought, this SERIOUSLY cannot get any better, but it did. There were moments I was literally jaw-dropped. You have to learn one thing about Cassandra Clare's books. You don't know who will survive and who will not.

Clockwork Prince:

This is the best Cassandra Clare book published so far. EVER. I was sucked in right through the first page. I was addicted to the third person narration (I usually prefer third person). I loved the reference to classics in this book. I love how Tessa loves books. Will as well. Reminds me a lot of myself. The book is huge, but I couldn't feel it at all. I kept turning pages. Adrenaline was rushing through me. I was way too excited. Reminded me of the days I was reading Harry Potter. Near the end of the book I felt SOOOOOO shocked. I couldn't believe what was happening. My words cannot describe how great this book was. The ending killed me. It was a cliffhanger.

Clockowrk Princess comes out in March next year. I am waiting eagerly.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

Book: Legend
Series: Legend #1
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 may 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 a 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.
Another dystopian. AHHHHHH. The new trend. I must say, I'm in LOVE with dystopians. SO good. Yes, they are getting similar. I might get sick of this soon, but while it lasts, I am devouring dystopians and being addicted.

Let's get on with this review:

First of all, I adore the cover for this, but I don't understand why the girl looks Asian. I mean, she isn't described so in the book. Maybe it is the fact that the author, Marie Lu, is originally Chinese? Could it be?

Let's talk in details:


1-June: I loved June. She was an amazing female protagonist. She was smart, witty, and skillful. She wasn't all powerful, nor was she all weak. She wasn't the typical female dystopian character.

2-Day: Best way to describe Day is: BADASS. Yes, he was so freaking awesome. That's one helluva boy character. Women authors, learn from Miss Marie Lu. I'm not saying you're characters are bad, but they can be much better.

The plot was mind-blowing. Yes, the world is a bit cliché. We've all seen people controlled by the government, but this book was just different. I loved it so much. I was on fire. Was reading so fast. It was full of twists and turns. I cared about the characters too much I wanted to know what will happen to them, so flipping the pages was on for hours, mainly because of the magnificent writing style.


There wasn't much I disliked about this book.

1-In the beginning of the book, everything was going on way too fast. It was like BAM BAM BAM BAM and I was like NOOOOOOOO that's too early to happen.

2-Hormones: You don't even know her name and you're kissing her? Seriously? Why is it in most YA books whenever a guy/girl meet, they suddenly have the urge to kiss each other. SHEESH. I know you're teens, but no teen has this strong of an urge.

Overall, I deeply enjoyed this book. It was a thrilling book. I was riding a roller coaster reading this book.

I cannot wait to read book 2.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Book Review: BZRK by Michael Grant

Book: BZRK
Series: BZRK #1

A global war is racing. You can't see it, but it's happening all around you.

Inside YOU.

Down in the meat.

Welcome to the nano-the microscopic matrix where invisible armies will determine the future of mankind. Here, the ultimate battle is for sanity. Losing is not an option when a world of madness is at stake.

 You have to know that I am a HUGE Michael Grant fan. I love the Gone books.

First of all, look at this magnificent cover. It is very mysterious and fits perfectly with the story. I think it's ever designed in a better way than the Gone books(UK versions).

So I instantly picked this book up as soon as I found it in the bookstore. Because I love the Gone books, I had very high expectations for this book. Did it disappoint? Or did it exceed all my expectations? Read on to figure out.

I think the plot of this book was great. It was perfectly thought out. It wasn't at all like I thought it would be. It was much more complex. Much more unique. The story is about a world where there are nanobots and automatons. The concept of this story will blow your mind away. It actually took me a while to understand what exactly was going on. I don't know, maybe it was me, but I had to read many reviews and ask my friend who had read the book before many questions to understand the concept. At first, I couldn't get through the book, but once I found everything out, I was completely suck into the story.

The book was full of action. It had brutal scenes at certain instants (you would know what I mean if you've read any Michael Grant book).
I love the futuristic setting of this book.

What I really loved this book is that there's no protagonist or antagonist. Everyone has their own view and they think that they're doing the right thing. You, the reader, are on both sides. You can't really choose sides when it comes to the two opposing groups.

Some notable things in this book were the creatures Michael Grant brought to life. They were GENIUS. I don't know where he got his ideas, but they were pure AWESOMENESS.

All in all, this book was breathtaking. Yes, I did struggle at first, but I ended up LOVING it. With pain comes prosperity.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Book Review: Wither by Lauren Destefano

Book: Wither
Series: The Chemical Garden #1
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

Before I rated this book, I wasn't sure how many stars I'd give it. I was thinking: this book deserves a 3 stars, then after some time, I was like NO! 3 is too low, needs an extra star. Finally, when I finished reading this book, I knew I had to give it 5 stars. Wanna know why? Continue reading to find out.

I'd heard NOTHING but amazing things about this book before I got a copy myself. So when I finally decided to buy a copy, I thought, let's see what this is all about. I must say. I did NOT regret it at all. In fact, I'm more than happy I got the chance read this book.

Besides, it is not everyday you stay up till 3:40 AM to finish a book. Yes, I did. I have no idea how, because I was REALLY sleepy that night.

Look at that cover. It is BEAUTIFUL! It is VERY attractive. The designers did a breathtaking job designing this cover. It perfectly fits the atmosphere of the story.

Anyways let's talk more in depth about this book.

The Story:
Wither is a dystopian book. It did not exactly feel dystopian to me, but more of sci-fi mixed with dystopian. It is about a society where girls/women are taken to the sort of prince to save the human race. They do this because women die the age of 20 and men the age of 25.
I found this concept very disgusting and horrifying. Yet it seemed to real and reminded me of real-world issues.

The Writing Style:
Lauren Destefano is one of the young authors out there. There are many new authors debuting these days, and lots of them manage to win my interest. Lauren Destefano is one of them. You certainly sense talent in the words. The way she writes is exceptionally impressive.
However, at some points, I felt nothing was going on and I felt repetition. I felt Rhine, the narrator, was emphasizing on things we already know as we progress.

The Characters:
1-Rhine: When I first read her name, I started thinking. What is that supposed to even mean? Where did it originate from? Thankfully, Destefano explained. That really pleased me. I have to say. I liked Rhine. I usually don't like characters who are confused, who don't know what they wanna do, who suddenly get side-tracked. Rhine was different. I think she was a very well-developed character and a strong protagonist.

2-Jenna: Jenna. She's my favorite character in this book. You could just feel her pain, her suffering. She wasn't the enthusiastic. She was - I don't know how to describe her really. You have to read about her for yourself.

3-Cecily: Cecily was great. I loved the fact that Destefano brought Cecily to life. She showed child innocence through Cecily. I really admired how there were different wives,each having a different age and different way of thinking.

4-Linden: The husband. I think Linden was a GREAT character. He was a gentleman. He understood the feelings of his wives and tried to please them, just like every man should be. Linden himself was a victim like the wives, so he isn't the villain.

5-Gabriel: I didn't really like Gabriel much. He bugged me. I was sad by how things turned up with Gabriel.

The Plot:
I think Lauren Destefano masters creating a neat well-organized plot full of twists and turns. The world was great. I loved the descriptions and setting.

In my opinion, Lauren Destefano debuts with a strong fine book. It will keep readers captivated and engaged, and most importantly GLUED to the book. I cannot wait to read Fever, the second book in the series.

Book Review: The Ring of Wind by Chris Bradford

Book: The Ring of Wind
Series: Young Samurai #7


Ambushed by the Shogun’s samurai, Jack and his friends have only one hope of escape – the Seto sea. But with ferocious storms, man-eating sharks and ninja pirates at every turn, their chosen route is fraught with danger.

A treacherous crew only adds to their problems as they flee south from a ruthless samurai sea lord. Unless Jack can harness the Ring of Wind, he and his friends are destined for a watery grave…

Before I start reviewing this book, I have something to say:

This is a middle-grade book series, but I LOVE them so much even though I am sixteen. This series is a great example that reading doesn't need a specific audience. Yes I agree, children should be careful reading an adult book. For the other way around,though, you are never too old to read a children's book.

Now let us start the review:

The Ring of Wind is the seventh book in the Young Samurai series. This series has greatly evolved since the first three books. If you have followed the series, you can understand what I mean. It's not about Samurai only anymore, but ninjas, and more importantly in this book, PIRATES!
This book is another thrilling adventure. Jack and his friends want to escape being caught, so they use a ship and try to escape. As usual, conflicts get in the way.

I really liked this chapter in the series. It is one of my top 3 books in this series. It was different in a very awesome action-packed way. Chris, I really can understand and feel the effort you've put through writing this series. It is evident through every page. I have to say a HUGE thank you to Chris Bradford for adding the Japanese terms to the series. You can feel the Japanese culture come to life.

This book had lots of twists and turns,VERY unexpected and IMPOSSIBLE things happened. I was like: WHHHHAAATTTTT?? HOW??? HOW COULD THAT BE?? But then, everything is possible with a few explanations.

As usual, there were new characters in this book. There were new friends, new foes. But there's something new about this. This time we had women characters. YES! It was pretty epic and a nice change.
From Jack, Miyuki, Saburo, and Yori we learn the power and importance of frienship. YES, that is a very important thing you learn in life.

By now, I have only one thing to say. I am very attached to this series and the characters. I cannot wait to read the final book
The Ring of Sky, which comes out this August. It is finally the end. Will Jack make it back home? Will he stay in Japan?

I will look forward to new books by Chris Bradford after the end of the Young Samurai series.

That is all. If you have read the previous books, continue the series. If not, start with The Way of the Warrior.