Book: The Elite
Author: Kiera Cass
Recommend: If you are a fan of angst, this one is for you – if not, run far and fast!
I hoped. I really did. I was all ready for something somewhat simple. I hoped actually that it wouldn’t turn into this big huge fight over the prince but I knew that it would have to be that. I mean why else would you write a book like this honestly? This one feels much more like a reality TV show and less like a classic story except for a scene stolen from Anna and the King (or The King and I – whichever you prefer). I get all the conflict. I really do but I was hoping that I wouldn’t have to go through all that angst. I really wanted something simple and sweet instead of catty, conflicted and confusing.
Honestly at this point in the story, one of the main players is feeling completely unnecessary. I really wish this character would just disappear, even though I know he or she won’t because they are too central to the plot. While I really enjoyed this one, there were some times through the book that it almost went flying across the room.
The big negative for me was the change in the prince. Yes, I get that we are seeing past his veneer in some ways but I feel like it could have been handled in a much more graceful manner. He does redeem himself throughout the book but there are also points where America’s conflict feels somewhat forced. I also think the story could have gone on just fine without a couple of scenes that made me want to hurl a little.
I would say the biggest strength of this series is the complex storyline that they author is able to balance while still focusing on the small group of main players. I am rather annoyed with the second book but in a way that will make me rush to get the third installment, The One, in my hands as soon as I can. I’ll be hunting down this one as soon as possible.
Buy it new 🙂
Book: The Always War
Author: Margaret Peterson Haddix
Recommend: Eh. It was alright and not a long-term commitment…
I found the concept interesting even though I think I’ve read everything dystopian that is possible lately. I am addicted, hoping to find something outstanding. This wasn’t it. Now mind you, this wasn’t bad. It was fast, interesting and had decent characters but it just lacked that pizzazz to make it really good. I wouldn’t be upset if I had bought this but I don’t think I’ll be purchasing this one anytime soon. If there was another book, I would read it but it would be another library pick up.
The basic idea is a war that seems to have gone on for forever. No one can remember a time before the war and it seems that there will be no time after it. When a war hero runs away and finds out that things are not what they seem, how will the world handle a sudden change in reality?
Basically Ender’s Game meets every other dystopian novel ever written. It made me want to pull out my Orson Scott Card again 🙂
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Author: Marie Lu
Recommend: A strong start to what could be a great series 🙂
I’ve seen this one a few times. I’ve almost bought it twice. Honestly, the cover just didn’t do it for me and that was the deciding factor in previous attempts. Sad but true. Then I heard that the author got the idea while reading Les Miserables. She was contemplating the relationship between Jean Valjean and Jauvert when she wondered what a more modern version might look like. If I had to pick one book to be my favorite, Les Miserables is it, so when I heard that the idea came from it, I requested the book immediately. I’m so glad I did and wished that I hadn’t been turned off by artwork. When they say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, that is very true in this case.
Day is the most hunted criminal in the republic. A rebel who begins by wanting to protect his family has never killed, until the death of June’s brother. June is the brilliant military prodigy, left alone in the world when Day murders her brother. She graduates early and is immediately placed on Day’s cause, chasing him down through the streets of Los Angeles. When June stumbles into the truth, nothing will be the same again.
Okay the parallels to Les Miserables are definitely there, but not so much that they would seem obvious to most readers. Day of course, is Jean Valjean, June is our Jauvert with a feminine twist. While the surface of the story is different the characters are still motivated by the same things. Day is almost the perfect Valjean. He protects his family by becoming a criminal, saves a little girl’s life, he is poor and has a reduced level of citizenship because of it, he saves the life of his hunter, and is given a punishment far too harsh for his crimes. June is mostly like Jauvert but there are a few twists simply because she is female. This has created some of the most complex YA characters I have ever read.
I do actually have one negative for this book. While I love the fact that it is written in dual first person, I don’t like that the author/publisher/editor or whoever decided to print everything Day has to say in gold. It made half the book a real strain on my eyes. I think that when I add this to my collection, I’ll be getting the eBook so I won’t have to fight that.
I can’t wait to read the next book in the series, Prodigy, which hits shelves in January of 2013. I could just gush for ages on this one, but instead I’ll say, go get the book already!\
Need more than one copy!!