Revis_Across the universe kissingBel:

Cover

Male and female faces in shadow against a white backdrop sat above a beautiful star-scape, all done in pinks purples and oranges. Quite pleasing to the eye, and speaks volumes about the contents of the story.

Characters

There is a complicated mix of characters and each of them carries their own.

Favourite

Amy, though she spends some time feeling sorry for herself she eventually gets her butt kicking self into gear and makes it work.

Least Favourite

Eldest. Creepy character.

Beginning

Amy and her parents are preparing to be put into stasis for a rather long flight across the universe.

Storyline

Amy is woken up fifty years prematurely and the situation on Godspeed is odd to say the very least.

Ending

There is more to be read in the follow up books A Million Suns and Shades of Earth so to spoil the ending wouldn’t be nice.

Thoughts

I didn’t reread Across the Universe as I’d already reviewed it in August 2012, but this is what I said back then…

The pacing of the novel was well-crafted, with much of the mystery remaining out of reach until effectively unravelled; also, as this is the first instalment in a series, there was the sense of ‘to be continued’ but never the infuriatingly feeling of details being purposefully omitted.

Beth Revis also does atmosphere superbly, and this is evident from the novel’s opening chapter, in which Amy is cryogenically frozen. She narrates each stomach-churning detail as it happens. Never before have I felt so incredibly claustrophobic while reading!!”

Quote

“More than the sound of my own beating heart, I miss the sound of a ticking clock.” Amy about the passing of time.

beth-revisKrista:

Cover

The US hardcover has an interchangeable dust jacket. One side is a brightly coloured universe with blues and pinks, but if you flip the cover over it’s a blueprint of the ship in which you can see the different levels and areas that are explored in the book. I prefer to keep the blueprint as the outer cover on my book.

Characters

The story is told from different perspectives: Amy, as she explores the ship after she wakes up, and Elder, as he does his duties. We travel through the ship and more characters are introduced, some playing larger roles than others.

Favourite

Harley: The friendship that develops between Amy and Harley and Amy and Elder are strong and come from more than simple convenience. 

Least Favourite

Eldest: I have to agree with Bel here. C.R.E.E.P.Y.

Beginning

The prologue is detailed in describing the emotional and physical process of being put into stasis. I think it was a brilliant way to start the book and grab the reader’s attention.

Storyline

Amy is awoken from her stasis many years earlier than was originally planned. She is alone, scared, and misses her parents. What she finds aboard Godspeed is not what she expected. I loved the detail and world-building that the author puts into the history of the ship while she has been asleep.

Ending

As the first book in the novel, the story builds up at the ending with surprises that continue on through the other books in the series. 

Thoughts

For me this felt more dystopian than sci-fi. I loved all the twists the story took. This book got me thinking about individuality and the concept of leadership. The love story is more than just attraction; it’s companionship and trust. And I love the fact that Amy pushes Elder to trust his instincts and fight for what he believes to be right. It’s not a story about a girl that pushes a guy to see things her way, it’s about a girl that encourages a leader to become what he was always meant to be and to think for himself.

Quote

“We’re the ones who aren’t normal. People are supposed to be like that: obedient, calm, working together. It’s us—who can’t focus, who can’t work together, who can’t do the Feeder or Shipper jobs—we’re the ones who aren’t normal. We’re the ones who have to take the mental meds just so we don’t go loons.”

Revis_millionLisa:

Cover

I absolutely love the original cover so when it went through a change, AFTER I purchased the first two instalments in this trilogy, my heart broke… into like a MILLION ZILLION pieces. I guess I just like the dorky romantic covers instead of the newer metallic ones.

Characters

I couldn’t get enough! I LOVED Amy and I LOVED Elder! They were so different, came from completely opposite worlds, but were just perfect for one another.

Favorite

If you couldn’t guess it, my ultimate favorite characters are Amy and Elder… duh! Amy was down to earth and unlike a lot of characters in the YA genre and didn’t just shrug when something crazy happened to them. Amy spent the entire book mourning the “loss” of her parents and never seeing them again – like any REAL person.

I like that she had feelings and was frustrated, and that she expressed that through the story. She needed time to absorb everything that was happening to her and going on around her, before she could move forward and decide what she was going to do next.

Elder, the soon to be new Eldest on Godspeed was dealing with his own issues. Not only are the humans from Earth being defrosted by someone, and left to die, but also he has the responsibility of becoming the leader of this massive ship on his shoulders.

He’s kind, sweet and really adores Amy!

Least Favorite

I don’t think I have a least favorite character. I mean there was a EVIL villain…but he was a good evil villain… if you know what I mean.

Beginning

Amy’s parents are asked to board Godspeed and travel three hundred years to discover a new planet for human habitation. Amy has a difficult decision to make: stay on Earth and say goodbye to her parents forever, or be frozen for three hundred years and leave behind everything she’s ever known. Is she willing to leave behind her home, and the boy she loves, to be woken up three hundred years later on a new planet?

Middle

Having unfrozen fifty years early, Amy is devastated when she is informed that she will most likely never see her parents again, or at least not until she is much, much older than them. Eldest and the doctor tell her that there is no way they can refreeze her, because there’s a HUGE risk she will never wake up again.

Now Amy is stuck on this ship with people who aren’t acting normal, who seem to be in a haze during “mating season”, and where the “crazy” people aren’t ALL that crazy. Things on Godspeed aren’t normal.

Elder is not only trying to keep up with his learning, and responsibilities, but is now also trying to comfort Amy and keep the ship under control.

And when frozen are being found open and left to thaw, Elder and Amy have to figure out who is doing this and how they even know that they existed! When one is found dead, and another is found half thawed, the pair knows they have to do something.

End

Broke my heart, put it back together again, and had my emotions all over the place! Across the Universe had me questioning every character, and everything they said and did. I would never have expected the ending, and who it was that was defrosting the frozens! SUCH a good twist!!

Overall Thoughts

I LOVE this trilogy! I have already read the second book, and really enjoyed it! I can’t wait to read the third one, to see how things end for Amy and Elder!

 

Hardcover, 398 pages

Published January 11th 2011 by Razorbill

original title

Across the Universe

ISBN

1595143971 (ISBN13: 9781595143976)



Friesen_AquiferOnly he can bring what they need to survive.

In the year 2250, water is scarce, and those who control it control everything. Sixteen-year-old Luca has struggled with this truth, and what it means, his entire life. As the son of the Deliverer, he will one day have to descend to the underground Aquifer each year and negotiate with the reportedly ratlike miners who harvest the world’s fresh water. But he has learned the true control rests with the Council aboveground, a group that has people following without hesitation, and which has forbidden all emotion in the name of keeping the peace. This Council has broken his father’s spirit, while also forcing Luca to hide every feeling that rules his heart.

But when Luca’s father goes missing, everything shifts. Luca is forced underground, and discovers secrets and mysteries that cause him to questions who he is and the world he serves. Together with his friends and a very alluring girl, Luca seeks to free his people and the Rats from the Council’s control. But Luca’s mission is not without struggle and loss, as his desire to uncover the truth could have greater consequences than he ever imagined.

The Aquifer is deep below the ground and controlled by the Rats: people who, years ago, decided to leave and maintain the drinkable water for those above. Without water, everybody will die. A yearly contract is maintained between the Rats and those above by the Deliverer. He is the only one who knows how to find those below and only the apprentice, usually a descendant of the deliverer, has the information handed down to them.

We are introduced to the story just as the Deliverer, Luca’s father, is about to make his yearly trek. But times are hard and the rulers are becoming greedy and ruthless in their pursuit of power. When Luca’s father goes missing, it is Luca who must make the dangerous trip by himself if he wants to save everyone.

Aquifer is set in a futuristic Australia: a world in which emotions have been abolished and the fewer ‘wrinkles’ you cause the council, the better off you’ll be. As Luca’s life suddenly changes, his emotions are running high and becoming harder to maintain. He has to grow up fast, and that means learning new things—secret things. Suddenly no one is who they seem to be.

The story is a non-stop adventure that takes us through the school system, the history museum, and the aquifer itself. For me, the saddest part of the story was the people who become ‘undone’. Those who cause too many wrinkles are cast away—undone. It’s gruesome and sad, but something that Luca and his father have to deal with on a daily basis.

Aquifer was a fast-paced and thought-provoking read and I recommend it to those who enjoy dystopian stories. It was a nice change to read about a young boy finding love for the first time, and the friendships he gains throughout the book with both the old and the young. Despite his age, Luca stands out as the strongest character in the book.



Belinda_kisses_tnBel:

 

Marillier_ShadowfellCover

I believe I borrowed the first edition Aussie cover from the Library. It is a charmingly illustrated image of a waif-like girl beside a fire in a deep dark green forest. The title is embossed and Juliet’s name really pops in the bright red used on both the cover and the spine.

Characters

In this high fantasy setting there is no room for the weak of mind or the weak of will. Kind hearts are a plenty, though trying to figure out whose heart is true, is tricky.

Favourite

Mara. Mainly because she is making do in a horrible situation and loves her family anyway.

Least Favourite

King Keldec… though we haven’t technically met him. What a poop head.

Beginning

Neryn is put up as a prize and is lost in a gambling and drinking binge her father goes on.

Storyline

She is aiming to head to a place called Shadowfell, where people with unexplainable gifts are free to be themselves without fear of judgement by King Keldec’s cronies.

Ending

There is a book 2… and to be quite frank I want it in my hands right now!

Thoughts

It took me longer than it should have to finish Shadowfell, though I think it had more to do with life getting in the way than any disinterest on my part. I found grabbing a page or two on the bus in the morning was enough to get me through to lunch. I could spend all day in the world Juliet Marillier has created for Neryn. It is enchanting to say the very least.

Quote

‘I’m fond o’ banes’ the brollachan commented, noticing me looking.

‘I see that.’ My voice was unsteady

‘Ye thinkin’ I might eat ye up for supper?’

‘That did cross my mind, yes. I seem to remember that, in the tales, brollachans sometimes do that.’

‘Ye canna see yersel’, wee one. There’s hardly a scrap o’ meat on ye. Nae worth the trouble.

~ Conversation between Neryn and the brollachan

 

Krista McKeeth_2_tnKrista

 

 

Marillier_ShadowfellCover

The US cover does represent the book, with the girl wrapped in the brown cloak in the forest. But I prefer the Australian cover with the young girl sitting by the fire in the forest.

 Characters

We follow Neryn throughout the story, but several characters come into play, both human and animal, as she travels across the land to get to a safe place away from the King’s men.

Favourite

The Good Folk. I really loved the idea behind them and the imagination that went into describing who they were. Since there was such a huge variety of them, it was very open to the imagination as to what features and abilities they had.

Least Favourite

Even though he didn’t actually show his face in this book, the King, and what he was doing to the people of this land, really did upset me. He is definitely somebody that you want to see taken down from power and taught a lesson by the end of the series.

Beginning

The story starts off with a bit of action, as Neryn and her father are running for their lives, and eventually ending with Neryn being left on her own to make her way to the only place she knows of that is safe from the King’s men - Shadowfell. She is alone, and walking by foot and it’s several days/weeks travelling to get there.

Storyline

When King Keldec calls for all magical people to be brought to him, Neryn and her father go on the run. She soon finds herself on her own and with the help of her gift, Neryn must traverse the land to reach a safe haven.

Ending

Pretty powerful. I wasn’t expecting to be as moved as I was when the book came to a close. There were so many emotions built up during the story that the ending has an impact, really driving the urge to get the next book pronto.

Thoughts

Neryn was often “stuck” during her travels and that lead to a lot of down time. But it seems that the times that adventure was happening were really pumped up and so thought provoking that I had to stop and consider the story before I could move on. The ending really made the difference for me. I found that I was more invested in the characters than I realized. The story has stayed with me for days now, in a very good way, and won’t leave my mind.

Quote

“I understand that it’s hard for you to trust. Your not alone in that” -Flint

 

MARILLIERLisa-Smith_tnLisa:

 

 

Cover

At first, after ordering this book online and getting to see it first hand, I wasn’t too excited about it. There just isn’t anything special about the cover, and there is no real meaning to it. There are no elements of the story in this cover. The one thing I do like about it, is that the background is a forest scene, but that’s about it.

A little disappointed, since I LOVED the story so much.

Characters

Really enjoyed them! I thought they had real emotions, and thoughts. They weren’t overly dramatic, and didn’t move or do anything too fast, without thinking about it. They weren’t superficial.

Favorite

I absolutely loved each and every one of the characters in Shadowfell. Neryn was going through so much; the death of her mother and grandmother, the murder of her brother, and the fact that her alcoholic father gambled her off to a stranger. She was smart and made decisions in a calm and realistic way.

Flint wasn’t just battling as a man of the king, and a rebel, but also within himself. He has had to do unimaginable things for both the abusive king, and for the rebels going against the king. He was very torn.

While the fairy folk weren’t mentioned too often throughout the story, I liked the idea of them. They’re much smaller than humans, they hide and blend into their background, and they stay as far away as possible from cold iron. I hope we get to learn and see more of the fairy folk in the books to come.

Least Favorite

NONE!! Not a single one!

Beginning

The first chapter had me sucked in! Within the just the first three pages, my eyeballs were glued to the book and there was no way I was going to put it down.

In only the first chapter, the reader learns of Neryn’s past and current situation. She’s been travelling, and hiding with her dad, barely surviving. He heads into a bar to gamble and try to get enough money to be able to afford a barn and a pile of hay to sleep on. He gets drunk and decides to put up Neryn for the win.

Middle

This part was a bit slower than the first chapters, simply because the author needed to build up the world. I still really enjoyed it and liked learning about the fairy folk as well as Neryn’s past struggles.

Ending

LOVED IT! It’s so intense, and beautiful. But the battle’s not over yet… there is still so much to do!

Overall Thoughts

I couldn’t get enough, and that’s why I plan on picking up the second and third books, Raven Flight and The Caller, soon! If you love fantasy and get the chance to pick up this book, I completely recommend it.

http://www.julietmarillier.com/  

Paperback, Australian edition, 349 pages

Published: July 1st 2012 by Pan Macmillan Australia (first published January 1st 2012)

original title: Shadowfell

ISBN

1742611346 (ISBN13: 9781742611341)



Parker_Gated

A fast-paced, nerve-fraying contemporary thriller that questions loyalties and twists truths.

Appearances can be deceiving.

In the Community, life seems perfect. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Pioneer invited Lyla’s family to join his group and escape the evil in the world. They were happy to be chosen, happy to move away from New York and start over in such an idyllic gated community. Now seventeen, Lyla knows that Pioneer is more than just their charismatic leader, he is their prophet . . . but his visions have grown dark.

Lyla is a loyal member of the Community, but a chance encounter with an outsider boy has her questioning Pioneer, the Community—everything. And if there’s one thing not allowed in the Community, it’s doubt. Her family and friends are certain in their belief. Lyla wishes she could feel the same. As Pioneer begins to manipulate his flock toward disaster, the question remains: Will Lyla follow them over the edge?

From the outside looking in, it’s hard to understand why anyone would join a cult. But Gated tells the story of the Community from the inside looking out, and from behind the gates things are not quite so simple. Amy Christine Parker’s beautiful writing creates a chilling, utterly unique YA story. Perfect for fans of creepy thrillers and contemporary fiction alike.

Hardcover, 352 pages

Published August 6th 2013 by Random House Books for Young Readers

Living behind the gates is not so bad for most of the community. They know what’s expected of them and the adults in particular like the safety that the walls provide. Then the prophet—or Pioneer—tells them that the world is ending and soon it will be their turn to fight for survival. The adults know how bad it is on the outside and only want to provide safety for themselves and their families. Lyla knows that her mother feels safe there; she loves her parents and believes they would do the right thing. But when Lyla is asked to do things she is uncomfortable with, she begins to question the community.

Lyla’s first sign of defiance is in shooting class. They are taught to prepare for the end of the world by learning how to guard their community. Lyla doesn’t disagree with the shooting lessons in principle and she always hits her mark, yet her idea of aiming to maim instead of kill pushes Pioneer’s buttons. She seems to always be pushing Pioneer to his limits and forcing him to take extreme measures to make sure his Flock stays in line.

While Lyla is on guard duty, they receive visitors from town and she’s asked to give a young teen boy a tour. His questions spark ideas in her head and she begins to question things around her and analyse the decisions Pioneer makes.

This story has a relentless build-up of tension and paranoia. Although the whole story is told from Lyla’s perspective, we get to see all sides of the situation. We see the town’s perspective of the community through the teenage boy, and Pioneer’s and most of the adult’s perspectives through his rules and interactions with Lyla.

What I loved about this story, and why I recommend it to others, is the connection I felt to Lyla and her situation. Most people do not have firsthand experiences with cults, and this puts us right in the middle of what appears to be a happy, tight-knit community. But when Pioneer is pushed too far, there are consequences. The writing pulls you into the story, and the great setting and perfect placing of events builds the tension and fear for how this story might end. It transports you into another world and way of seeing different communities. The tension grows and intensifies right up to the last page.

 

 



stevens_bound‘No good deed ever goes unpunished, Mellea…’

Mellea Wendorn hasn’t exactly had a normal life. Misfortune seems to follow her, and her family, wherever she goes.  However, when Mellea stops to assist a mysterious young man suddenly her prior hardships seem trivial. His name is Leo. He is a Successor, a child of the Guardians of Selestia. He is royalty.  He is handsome.  And he wants Mellea completely to himself.

Unable to escape the Guardian’s laws, Mellea must learn the ways of the royals. She is convinced her life can’t get much worse. But when a timeworn Guardian enemy arises from the shadows, Mellea must make a choice that will change her destiny forever.

Mellea is not rich and she has to work hard to help her parents make ends meet. One day, after leaving her job, she sees a man being chased and shot at. When he’s hit, he falls from his flying board and Mellea cannot help but stop to see if he is ok. It turns out that he is a pompous and rude Guardian who tells her that she is to be his wife. Not only is Mellea shocked, but also trapped. She is going against her father’s wishes by having any contact with the Guardians.

While Mellea is kept at the Guardian Tower, she meets others and begins to form friendships. The family is in turmoil as the political leaders see an uprising of Mech attacks and life outside their house as dangerous. The Mechs are people who’ve had body parts replaced with robotic/android parts to become partially mechanical and use their extra strength to try to bring down the Guardians. Now that Mellea is to be wed to the family, she also has to learn how to fight and protect herself from attack.

The writing style is non-stop action and movement. There is very little downtime and the characters are funny and fit into the story well. It has both science fiction and magic, as well as love, lives, and secrets.

I recommend this to readers who enjoy a feisty female lead, a little romance, and political uprisings. Fans of the Elite Series by Kiera Cass would enjoy this book. My favourite part of the story was the hot and cold relationship between Mellea and Leo, as well as Mellea and her parents. It was an enjoyable and fun read and I really loved it. 

Paperback, First Edition, 360 pages

Published January 21st 2014

ISBN13 9780992407407

 

MDP adds:
You can read more of M. J. Steven’s work on this blog in her cosplay article.


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