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Monday, March 18, 2013

Book Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Title: The Darkest Minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Publisher: Hyperion

Publication Date: December, 2012

Hardcover: 496 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the first book in a trilogy.

How I got this book: Bought


Why I chose this book: I really like Bracken’s writing style.  I read her previous novel, Brightly Woven, and really loved it.  The synopsis for this novel sounded pretty good, so I figured I’d give it a chance.

Synopsis:

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp.  Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

Review:

I had a hard time getting into this book at first.  I would pick it up and read a few pages and put it down and do something else.  I’d pick it up again a bit later and read a few more pages, then put it down.  And repeat.  I would say it took me about 100 pages to really get into the thick of things and start flipping through the pages more quickly.

I liked that the plot did have some twists throughout the book that I didn’t see coming.  It really took the overdone dystopian concept, and gave it a little more spice. 

The protagonist herself, Ruby, is really interesting to follow.  She’s got secrets of her own that even the reader has to learn in pieces throughout the book.  She’s strong and we get to the see the endurance she had when she lived in a prison camp. 

Overall, however, I wasn’t really impressed by this book.  It was okay, and if you’re new to the dystopian genre I would say give it a go, but otherwise it was nothing new.  I don’t think I’ll be reading the next installment in the series.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Book Review: The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger

Title: The Catcher in the Rye

Author: J. D. Salinger

Publisher: Back Bay Books

Publication date: January, 2001

Softcover: 288 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone

How I got this book: Bought



Why I chose this book: I’ve heard so many mixed opinions about this book.  It seems like one either loves it, or hates it with a passion.  So I decided that I needed to take a look and make a decision for myself.
 
Synopsis:

The hero-narrator of The Catcher in the Rye is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield.

Through circumstances that tend to preclude adult, secondhand description, he leaves his prep school in Pennsylvania and goes underground in New York City for three days. The boy himself is at once too simple and too complex for us to make any final comment about him or his story. Perhaps the safest thing we can say about Holden is that he was born in the world not just strongly attracted to beauty but, almost, hopelessly impaled on it.

Review:

I have so many mixed feelings on this book.  I don’t hate it. I don’t love it.  After I finished reading it, I had to put the book down and just think about it for a while, what it all meant.  I can honestly say that this book makes you think.  If you read this straightforward, you will just be reading a plot-less story about a spoiled boy who seems to have a problem with everything.

But there is much more to the story if you look.  Holden Caulfield is alone.  He wants to talk to people, but he doesn’t seem to know how.  And when he finally does put himself out there and try, it always seems to come to disastrous conclusions.  So Holden is still alone.  This leads to him staying inside his head almost all of the time.

This story if full of metaphors.  One of my favorites, which isn’t much of a spoiler, is the catcher in the rye.  Holden says he wants to be a catcher in the rye.  He wants to stand on the edge of a field of rye, and when kids who are running around and playing get too close to the edge, he will pull them back and save them.  This could have many meanings, but what I’m taking away is that Holden wants to save children from the hardships of adulthood.  And, moreso, he himself wants to stay away from that edge of adulthood.

So, even after a bit of time since reading this book, I’m still not sure how I feel…

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Book Review: The Indigo Spell by Richelle Mead

Title: The Indigo Spell

Author: Richelle Mead

Publisher: Razorbill

Publication date: February, 2013

Hardcover: 432 pages

Stand Alone or Series: Series–this is the third in a series.

How I got this book: Bought


Why I chose this book: Previously, I read the Vampire Academy series, which I absolutely loved.  I’ve been following closely with this new series by Mead, and so far it has been just as incredible. 

Synopsis:

Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.

In the aftermath of a forbidden moment that rocked Sydney to her core, she finds herself struggling to draw the line between her Alchemist teachings and what her heart is urging her to do. Then she meets alluring, rebellious Marcus Finch–a former Alchemist who escaped against all odds, and is now on the run. Marcus wants to teach Sydney the secrets he claims the Alchemists are hiding from her. But as he pushes her to rebel against the people who raised her, Sydney finds that breaking free is harder than she thought. There is an old and mysterious magic rooted deeply within her. And as she searches for an evil magic user targeting powerful young witches, she realizes that her only hope is to embrace her magical blood–or else she might be next.

Review:

I was really excited when this new installment in the Bloodlines series came out.  I think Richelle Mead is a phenomenal writer, and I’m always excited when she publishes a new novel, whether for the Young Adult Genre or not.  Somehow she’s able to make each novel just as amazing as the last–I can honestly say I’m never disappointed.

This book flowed really well.  Since, for the most part, the Bloodlines series takes place all in generally the same setting, I think it would be really easy for the story to go stagnant.  But Mead is always throwing new things into the game to switch things up.  Even I was getting exasperated by how busy Sydney was.  She was dealing with schoolwork, an evil witch that wanted to suck away her youth and novice powers, the Alchemists constantly on her back, a group of rogues that wanted her attention, and a vampire after her heart.  Clearly enough to drive anyone insane.  However, Mead makes it all mesh really well and doesn’t let the story get out of hand.

One of the my favorite parts of Mead’s writing is her characters; she really knows how to make them jump off the pages and seem so completely real and natural.  Even though some of them are vampires/other non-normal humans.  Even with the introduction of some new characters, no matter how small there part, they seem to have a real depth to them.

I highly recommend this series to anyone.  And if you haven’t already, you should check out some of Mead’s other series, such as the Vampire Academy series.