lowry_the-giverJonas lives in a world without war, poverty, hunger or violence. Safety is all that he has ever known; but it is also a world without choice. All decisions are made by the Elders. From the names that the children are given, to the clothes that they wear and the careers they take on as adults, every aspect of Jonas’ life is in the hands of more qualified individuals.

When Jonas is skipped at the Ceremony of Twelve – the ceremony where he and his classmates all receive notification of their future careers – he fears the worst. What he gets is beyond anything he could have imagined. He has been chosen to be the next Receiver of Memory – an occupation that means taking all of the experiences off the current Receiver. It means being able to see in colour, being allowed to lie, and being able to experience emotions far deeper than that of anyone else in the community. What it also means is pain, loneliness, and the ability to analyse a community that might not be so perfect after all.

First published in 1993, The Giver is one of the earlier dystopian novels aimed at a younger audience. With a twelve-year-old protagonist and point of view, this is aimed at more of a middle-school age group. The themes, however, will resonate with people of any age.

The world in The Giver is a darkly fascinating and terribly believable one. A world so intent on achieving utopia that it destroys anything or anyone that deviates from the ideals set. Like any truly good dystopia, we see echoes of these sentiments in the real world. The one great lesson in The Giver is to question everything. It’s not a preachy novel, but it shows that utopia has a price – just not necessarily one paid for by the people privileged enough to live there. The importance of empathy and the dangers of being emotionally stunted to the horrors in the world is another thing that is touched on.

There are times when the world’s logistics don’t work. Mathematically, a huge proportion of women would have to be birth mothers if each couple got two children and birth mothers had three children each. It doesn’t seem as though the majority of women are birth mothers though. Aside from this, the ideals of the novel are sound.

The Giver is one of those remarkable books that leave a reader wanting more. It’s not that the book itself is not enough, but that the ideas are complex and need more room to unravel.

 

The Giver – Lois Lowry

Harper Collins (1993)

ISBN: 9780007263516



Meet another one of our wonderful staff members, Krista McKeeth. Krista is a book worm who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah and has her own website over at Cubicleblindness



Belinda_kisses_tnBel:

blake_Girl-of-NightmaresCover

We see Anna reaching back towards us in the black, white, and red picture of a rather daunting backdrop. It reflects the story really well.

Characters

We get to meet one of the major characters from Anna Dressed in Blood, and a new threat comes to the fore.

Favourite

Jestine, mainly because she kicked ass, and kept her word.

Least Favourite

The Order. Sometimes the hive mind isn’t the way to go.

Beginning

Months after the final scene in Anna Dressed in Blood, Cas and his friends are struggling to come to terms with how things played out.

Storyline

Cas makes moves to rectify the problem, and heads to England.

Ending

Nothing is quite what it seems.

Thoughts

I don’t know about the others, but I felt no real sense of dread. No heart stopping urgency. Perhaps this could have been rectified by covering Anna’s point of view for a part of the book.

I did like the male, female relationships and I’m glad Cas’ Mum wasn’t as pointless as some other YA parental units.

I enjoyed the story, and as a sequel it was entertaining.

Quote

“For a professional ghost killer, you sure ask a lot of numb-nut questions.” ~Morfran talking to Cas.

 

Krista McKeeth_2_tnKrista:

Blake_anna dressed in blood

Cover

Very Manga cartoon-like imagery of Anna…in hell?

Characters

Our main character, Cas and his friends Thomas and Carmel are the major roll players in this series. Cas is a ghost hunter who, with his special knife, is able to send the spirits onto other worlds. He has a strict rule of only hunting those ghosts that are dangerous to humans and can cause harm.

Favourite

Tie between Anna and Cas; they both do very selfless acts, admirable.

Least Favourite

Well there is always the villain to hate, but I didn’t really dislike any of the characters in this story.

Beginning

Cas is obsessed with where Anna might have gone since the events in the first book. She has been calling to him.

Storyline

When his schoolwork is done for the year, he convinces Thomas to travel to Ireland, to the group that made the Athame, and ask for their guidance on how to rescue Anna from Hell.

Ending

We see a much more determined Cas in this book than the first. When he really sets his heart on something, he’s a force to be reckoned with.

Thoughts

I like the idea that there are these powerful weapons that are made out of a metal not available on earth. I enjoyed the fact that Cas got to do some overseas travelling in this one. It brought a lot of atmosphere to the novel. There are some dangerous moments, a lot of world building; especially with the group and the history behind the weapons they use to banish the spirits. Plus more blood than we saw in the first book with very humorous dialogue and relationships between the characters.

Quote

“She crossed over death to call me. I crossed through Hell to find her.”

Lisa-Smith_tnLisa:

kendare blakeCover

I’m actually a big fan of the covers in this duology! I think they portray the story inside very well; it’s not too scary or brutal, just a bit creepy like the story.

Characters

Overall, I thought the characters were alright. We don’t meet too many new people, just a few random characters who take smaller roles. I don’t think I want to name the only new main character we are introduced to! Why? Because he makes the story what it is, and I don’t think he is mentioned in the first book; meaning, I don’t want to ruin the surprise for you!

Least Favourite

She wasn’t my least favourite in the first book, but in Girl of Nightmares she is. Carmel was the sweetest girl in Anna Dressed in Blood but completely changed in this second instalment. I loved her so much, so I was a little disappointed to see this kind of change in her. She spent the whole first book wanting to be a part of everything. In the second book, she leaves the two boys in the dust, without truly explaining why. Obviously, she does later in the story, but after she breaks Thomas’s heart.

Favourite

This is a hard one! I have a few favorite characters including Cas, Thomas, and the new character introduced in this book who I cannot name…he’s not from Harry Potter if that’s what you’re thinking! But both of these boys are interesting! Cas with his knife and the ghost killing thing and Thomas with his witch powers!

Beginning

Girl of Nightmares takes place a month or two after Anna Dressed In Blood ends. Anna has gone, Cas can’t help his feelings towards her and misses Anna, and Thomas and Carmel are still working out their entire “relationship”; if you can call it that.

Middle

Cas can’t deny the feelings he has for Anna, and has to get her back from the other side. He seems to see her everywhere he looks, and even starts to think that he might be going crazy. He finally tells Thomas and Carmel about this, and asks them to help bring her back. While they might not believe this is possible, both agree to help Cas in any way.

Ending

Bringing back Anna turned into something WAY bigger than the three could have imagined. It affected the entire witch and ghost hunting community, and it even stretched across the world! Who knew getting back the girl you love could start an entire war?

Overall

Before I started this duology, I was told many times how creepy it was. So when I finally got around to reading Anna Dressed In Blood I was a little disappointed at first. The story wasn’t horrifying or scary. Anna wasn’t as bad as she was made out to be in all of the reviews I’d read, but, nonetheless, I enjoyed the story.

When I started reading Girl of Nightmares, I didn’t read any reviews, and decided to just jump in right after finishing Anna Dressed In Blood. Again, I enjoyed this one as well. The entire story was a crazy roller coaster ride, dragging the group from one place, and one person, to another. I was strapped in and ready for the ride! I do have to say that the ending wasn’t very satisfying, but realistic, which I liked. Obviously, I spent the whole time cheering one the three best friends, and hoped the best for them, but things don’t always end up that way.

If you haven’t picked up these books, I recommend you do. I don’t promise that Anna is absolutely terrifying, but you will experience an entirely new perspective on the paranormal!

Joelene_tnJoelene

blae-ungodlyCover

The cover was what made me buy Anna Dressed in Blood, the first book in this series. I like the second cover even more. With Anna standing on the precipice of Hell, it’s more dynamic and the colour scheme is amazing.

Characters

All of the characters that I loved in Anna Dressed in Blood are back in Girl of Nightmares. They’re still amazing, but what they’ve been through has changed them.

Favourite

Cas maybe? Or Carmel? Possibly Thomas? I don’t know. I love how the characters interact with each other more than loving each of them on their own. They’re such a good team that I couldn’t imagine how things would work without one of them.

Least Favourite

This is even harder. The easy answer would be Colin Burke; not because I hated him, but because he was a bit of a non-entity.

Beginning

Anna has sacrificed herself to save Cas and his friends. He is trying to come to terms with life without her. He might even manage it, if she wasn’t coming back to haunt him at the most inopportune times.

Storyline

When Cas becomes convinced that Anna’s soul is not at peace, but being tormented in some hellish alternate plane, he is determined to find her and bring her back. Not everyone thinks that the dead belong in the world of the living, and there are some who would enforce those convictions to the bitter end.

Ending

Bitter and sweet? At some point when reading about a romance between one person who’s living and one who’s dead, there is the realisation that however this ends, it’s not going to be rainbows and unicorns.

Thoughts

I loved the direction that Blake took Carmel’s and Thomas’s characters. They don’t stagnate and they’re not just silently there to have Cas’s back whenever he needs it. Thomas’s power has grown considerably since the first book, and he has more confidence in it – though he still manages to be awkward around the cooler kids at school. Carmel refuses to compromise her social life to support Cas and Thomas – she’s as independent as she ever was. She’s also more prone to question the things that Thomas will accept.

I wasn’t dissatisfied with the ending, but Anna came into the book far too late and played too small of a role. I liked Jestine, but I would have traded her for Anna in a fraction of a heart-beat.

Quote

There’s smoke, and wind, and screaming, and it’s impossible to tell which side it’s all coming from. I lower my voice. “Anna. What do you want me to do?”

For a second I think she’ll stonewall. She takes quaking, deep breaths and with every exhale bites down on her words. But then she looks at me, straight at me, into my eyes, and I don’t care what she said earlier. She sees me. I know she does.

“Cassio,” she whispers. “Get me out of here.”

 

Discussion Topic:

Question: Would you give up your way of life to fight against demons who cause danger to human lives?

 

 



aveyardThe poverty stricken Reds are commoners, living under the rule of the Silvers, elite warriors with god-like powers. To Mare Barrow, a 17-year-old Red girl from The Stilts, it looks like nothing will ever change.
Mare finds herself working in the Silver Palace, at the center of those she hates the most. She quickly discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy Silver control. But power is a dangerous game. And in this world divided by blood, who will win?

The Silvers hold the highest ranks in society; they are privileged, rich, and beautiful. Mare, however, is a Red; she steals money for her family and they work for the Silvers or are sent to war. Mare has some ideas about how to steal more money to help her family in a desperate time, but these go awry. Instead of being executed or punished, she finds herself in a job at the palace, thanks to a compassionate man she meets on the street. But it turns out that working in the palace isn’t a stroke of good luck after all.

There is a fantastic ensemble of characters in this book, from the cruel and snobbish Silvers, to the bitter and enraged Reds. Nobody is happy in this society where there is constant war and attacks on both groups. There is an added element of technology with most of the Silver King’s guard consisting of sentinels, security, and soldiers. We have the King, the Queen, their two sons, and the rest of the royal court. They are privileged and have been trained by the best. Their powers are strong and used on everybody, and there are not many secrets in the Palace.

Mare is trained for a higher position in the court, which strengthens her powers. She is mostly hated by the royal family, but seems to have found a friend in Maven and a love interest in Cal; both are Princes and both want change. There is as much focus on the characters as there is on the world building. With the addition of technology and powers, the battle and training scenes are fantastical and large, with some taking place in arenas. There are many people that get hurt, die, and there is a constant paranoia that you can never trust anybody.

The narration is all told from one perspective: Mare’s. There are plenty of action scenes and the characters are unrelenting and set in their ways. When there is powerful magic involved, it can be intimidating and challenging. Mare has just discovered her powers and everybody around her has been trained since birth, leaving her reliant on anybody who seems trustworthy. We get a fully rounded world with its history to draw us into the story.

Having recently read the Selection Series by Kierra Cass, and Pawn by Aimee Carter, I often found myself trying to compare the stories. Red Queen stood out among the others due to the greater detail in the world building and the complexity of the unravelling story. There were fun plot twists, along with a couple of shocking ones that have driven me crazy because I want to read more. I was impressed with the way this story was put together and I was flying through the pages of the last third of the novel to see how it ended. It’s a bit sci-fi and a bit fantasy, with battling kingdoms and servant standing against their rulers. Red Queen was an entertaining story that I definitely recommend you read.



cass_the-oneI don’t know about you guys, but I hate reviews that ruin things for me. We bloggers should really diversify into writing reviews, rants, and raves. Reviews can give people an idea of what the story is about, in case they were considering giving it a read. Rants can complain to others who have already read the book about what bothered them. And, finally, raves can fangirl with readers who loved the book just as much as they did.

This is going to be a review/rave of The One. Why? Because I loved this book SO MUCH, but don’t want to give too much away. I want to allow you to have the same experience I did reading The One, instead of stealing that pleasure from you.

I loved The Selection and I loved The Elite, so there was no way I wasn’t going to start reading The One right after I finished the second installment. Nothing and no one could keep me from it!

The One continues on with America and the competition for Maxon’s heart. If you don’t know by now, which I don’t know how you wouldn’t, once the prince comes of age, he hosts the selection. Thirty or so girls from the kingdom in a certain age range are chosen to compete in this selection. From those girls, Maxon chooses his wife.

Sound familiar? Yes, because it was compared to The Bachelor

Even if you don’t like the show (I don’t either), I still recommend picking these books up. They are SO MUCH better! I promise!

Besides having the tough decision of picking his future wife, Maxon also has to learn how to rule his kingdom and lead his army. This is why he hosts the selection. I guess he doesn’t have enough free time to get out. What a shame!

The rebellion is still going on, and it’s getting worse. America is taking any chance she can get to speak to the public and ask them to fight, to protect themselves, and to not give up. America does this against the King’s wishes, knowing it will put a target on her back.

She wants Maxon and the girls to do the same. But the girls think America is out to get them, and Maxon is afraid of what his father might do.

The ending was crazy. It was an emotional roller coaster that I wasn’t prepared for. It was intense and amazing as well. I will tell you that America made her choice between Maxon and Aspen, but I won’t tell you who!

Overall, The One was an amazing end to the ‘trilogy’, and I was sad to see it ‘end’.

Thank you so much for stopping by! Let me know if you’ve read these books!


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