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Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) – Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) – Victoria AveyardTitle: Red Queen (Red Queen Trilogy #1) by Victoria Aveyard
Publishing Info: February 10, 2015 by HarperCollins
Source: ALAMW15, Audiobook borrowed from library
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: August 14, 2015
Related Posts: Cruel Crown (Red Queen #0.1 - #0.2

The 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?

bookreview1

RED QUEEN was a hard book for me to start. At first I was wary of the dystopian feel, then I was afraid of the hype, and then I was afraid of all of the comparisons that popped up as people were reading. The reviews were mixed and my expectations were sort of all over the place… But when I saw that my library had a copy of the audiobook, I thought it would be a great time to start the book and find out for myself!

I can’t sugar coat it… the comparison thing was sort of an issue for me too. RED QUEEN sort of felt like a cookie-cutter dystopian with some fantasy elements and I could not stop the comparisons from popping into my head as I was reading. The Hunger Games feel was very prevalent along with Throne of Glass with a little Divergent and Shadow and Bone. I do read so much and have read so many dystopians that it’s not uncommon to be reminded of another book but RED QUEEN felt too similar at times to the point where I could pick out specific settings, scenes, and characters from other books. Now I am not at ALL saying that Victoria Aveyard is ripping any other series off. I think RED QUEEN really fit into that dystopian mold and sometimes that mold is hard to break. For me, RED QUEEN just didn’t quite break out of that formula.

I wonder if the fact that is was so similar to these other popular series may have boosted its success with the general population. It’s easily pitchable as that true comparison to The Hunger Games and Divergent and Throne of Glass and readers who are looking for books just like their favorite series will find that comfort within the pages of RED QUEEN.  I know when I first finished The Hunger Games, I really was looking for a book very similar to it and I enjoyed so many other dystopians that I picked up afterwards. I appreciated the differences but I kept on hunting for that one book or series just like it so seeing a similarity in RED QUEEN, I think, makes it easy for fans of big blockbuster series really able to identify with this new series while still enjoying a new world and concept and then they’re also able to pass it along to their friends with the same idea in mind.

That being said, I actually really did enjoy RED QUEEN from start to finish. I was always engaged, the action and plot were always moving, and I really got to know the characters. Granted, I saw other characters in them and maybe that’s why I felt like I could know them more intimately — I had met someone just like them before — but really, the novel was entertaining from start to finish and I always felt curious, involved, and excited. I think Victoria Aveyard’s writing was really accessible for readers of many audiences and I can see why it’s gotten so much buzz. She really did put together an interesting and action-filled novel.

I didn’t have issues with the romance but it was kind of all over the place for me. Not always in a bad way… but it’s sort of triangle-y… but not really, but it is, but it’s not? (HA have fun with that description if you haven’t read the book yet. If you have, you may understand.) I was never quite sure which side I was “supposed” to be on and actually now that I’m finished, I really still not sure. The only issue that I really had was that towards the end, it seemed like Mare had an extreme reaction to one guy and then totally kind of forgot about it once things started changing. I understand that the situation changed and she was seeing someone in a different light but her feelings were strong and I think it’s hard to switch to the opposite spectrum after that. Even if it is a realistic reaction, it was hard for me as a reader to forget.

Because of the constant reminders of other series, I was ready for a vanilla ending or something that I saw coming but I was actually pleasantly surprised at how the book wrapped up! The ending actually really did take me by surprise and I was kind of hooked for the last 20% or so. I honestly wasn’t sure how it was going to end and what that ending would mean for these characters. Some things that happened I really did see coming but there’s a sort of major conclusion that happens that I was like, “HUH. Okay then! This is what I needed out of this book.” Of course by that time I was ready to for a different ending so it did boost my feelings towards the book but it was almost too little too late to really hook me or wow me.

Long story ermmm, even longer, I did enjoy RED QUEEN from start to finish. I had issues with how cookie-cutter it seemed but the writing really was engaging and the story kept me interested the whole time. The elements I had issues with weren’t anything more specific than the ghosts of YA books past (no issues with world-building or characters which THOSE are the things that really tend to leave me with a sour taste in my mouth) so I guess I leave this book with more of a positive feeling! I was honestly iffy if I was going to read the rest of the series when I was halfway through but knowing the ending, I do want to see where it goes. I’m also interested to see if this starts to break the mold a bit more in book two. Clearly Victoria Aveyard has plans and I found myself curious to see where those plans lead! I’m definitely interested in more of this story but I’m not sure it’ll be an urgent read for me.

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

I actually really enjoyed this audiobook! The book was narrated by Amanda Dolan and this is the first book I’ve listened to of hers but I hope it’s not the last! I really enjoyed her narration and thought she did a great job of portraying each character not only in different voices but also different personalities. I had no issues with the phrasing of things as I sometimes do and I really enjoyed her overall performance. I think she was an excellent choice for this book with Mare as the main character! She really did a great job with her especially.

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

red queen gr updates

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Mare // Character Obsessions: Family, stealing, self-preservation.
I really liked Mare! She reminded me of some of my favorite strong heroines (Katniss, Celaena, Alina) and she had that same sort of attitude that all of those girls did too. Sometimes it’s too much for me to watch a scared or weak heroine so I’m always drawn to the strong, sassy ones!
Cal // Character Obsessions: Duty, strength, family.
I was really all over the place about Cal… but I guess so was Mare! It was so hard to pin him down and figure out what he was really all about… But I ended up liking him a lot throughout the book! There were some pieces of him that ended up being a little rougher and Mare was very turned off by some things but I kind of liked that the book didn’t shy away from the fact that not everyone is all good.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Dystopian. I started my YA reading habits with almost all dystopian and I sort of burned myself out on the genre so I’m really glad that RED QUEEN made it exciting again!
Left Me Wanting More: Originality. I just can’t get over how much of other books I saw in RED QUEEN. That did instantly give it a defined feel and I felt like I knew the characters well already but I couldn’t shake it and sometimes it got on my nerves. I don’t think it was intentional on Aveyard’s part but I think it just fit really well with what I expect from a dystopian novel. I am excited to see where the second book goes though.

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I actually really enjoyed RED QUEEN. I didn’t fall in love with it like some did but I was wholly entertained from start to finish.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE RED QUEEN

(Click the cover to see my review!)

CATCHING FIRE     THRONE OF GLASS

Firefight (The Reckoners #2) – Brandon Sanderson

Firefight (The Reckoners #2) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Firefight (The Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: January 6, 2015 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audible
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Superheroes, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 8, 2015
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

    They told David it was impossible--that even the Reckoners had never killed a High Epic. Yet, Steelheart--invincible, immortal, unconquerable--is dead. And he died by David's hand.
Eliminating Steelheart was supposed to make life more simple. Instead, it only made David realize he has questions. Big ones. And there's no one in Newcago who can give him the answers he needs.
Babylon Restored, the old borough of Manhattan, has possibilities, though. Ruled by the mysterious High Epic, Regalia, David is sure Babylon Restored will lead him to what he needs to find. And while entering another city oppressed by a High Epic despot is a gamble, David's willing to risk it. Because killing Steelheart left a hole in David's heart. A hole where his thirst for vengeance once lived. Somehow, he filled that hole with another Epic--Firefight. And he's willing to go on a quest darker, and more dangerous even, than the fight against Steelheart to find her, and to get his answers.

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** This is a spoiler-free review for FIREFIGHT but there WILL be spoilers for book one, STEELHEART, if you have not read it. Readers be warned! **

Well, Brandon Sanderson, you did it again. I start a series, I binge read everything. Except unlike when I started Mistborn, I have no where else to go from here. FIREFIGHT just came out January… and I think I’ll be waiting another YEAR for CALAMITY (but then again, I guess I can always read more Sanderson books in between that time, right? RIGHT). Anyway — my point is that I just ended up loving these books so much that once I started, I couldn’t stop!!

FIREFIGHT was a special kind of book to me because so many big bullet points about it about it SHOULD have made it fall into the “second book in a series syndrome” category but it definitely did NOT. AND I REJOICED! This really made the book even more magical. I realized it while I was reading but once I finished, it dawned on me that not only was this book great in general, but Brandon Sanderson managed to turn things that I usually don’t get along with into things that I ended up loving and appreciating. I guess it really, truly does depend on the book and how it’s put together!

But that realization aside, FIREFIGHT was already awesome. The action and intensity definitely increased a notch but the same characters and overall goals were there. FIREFIGHT actually takes place halfway across the country from STEELHEART and that actually didn’t bother me like it usually does. The plot felt gracefully carried over and ultimately connected so the change in scenery was actually welcome and interesting instead of foreign. It opened up a new part of this altered world to me and I loved discovering it alongside David. (He’s also a great tour guide to follow!) Even though Steelheart has been eliminated, there are always more Epics to stop so the action definitely doesn’t stop with Steelheart’s defeat. In fact, things continue to escalate and as the characters come to know more about each Epic as well as their abilities, the plot continues to thicken!

We meet a new cast of characters to accompany some familiar faces like David and Prof. I usually have a hard time getting to know a bunch of new characters later in a series simply because I’ve become attached to the original ones, but I actually really liked the newbies too! I don’t think I connected to them AS much but I always felt like their presence was vital to the story and it was interesting to see a different string of Reckoners!

In true Sanderson form, of course there are some GREAT SURPRISES. They kill me but oh, how I love them. As you can see from my status updates below, some of them really caught me off guard and some of them absolutely terrified me but all of that really just enhanced my reading experience. Once again, I was afraid of ugly sobbing in my car as I listened to the audiobook, but that’s just a sign of a really great connection to the book so I always take that as a win! I really become attached to these characters and after I finished the book, I was already missing this crew and that feeling I had as I was reading.

FIREFIGHT just continued another great series from Brandon Sanderson and I will constantly be awaiting his next book so I can quickly gobble it up and then feel full and hollow all at once! I’m so glad to have started this series and I’ll be anxiously awaiting CALAMITY to see what in the world will possibly happen next!

(And yes, Megan is noticeably absent from my review. I had to go find out what happened to her, where she went, and what everything means for her and David in this book so you will too! Trust me — it’s all worth it.)

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

Thank you again to Audible for hooking me up with this audiobook to review! As always, MacLeod Andrews is flawless. I just LOVE his narration and GOSH, these books. I mean, between Sanderson and his narration, I just FEEL all the feels, you know? These aren’t even crying books but somehow I sobbed at both. A huge bravo and I highly recommend his narrations!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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David // Character Obsessions: Megan, heroism, answers, teamwork, improvising.
I still love David. He just feels like such a REAL person. Maybe he reminds me of someone I know? But there’s just something about him that makes him so charismatic. He really just leaps off the page and I totally have a soft spot for him!
Epics // Character Obsessions: Power, domination, control.
WELL. There were some new characters in this book, but I’d rather talk about the Epics for a minute. The reader really gets to peel another layer back in the history and functionality of the Epics and it is just SO interesting. I love seeing even further into what makes them tick and I can’t wait to see what other kind of information pops up in the next book!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Book two, apparently! I can really think of soooo many times that book two has been my least favorite in a series and somehow FIREFIGHT just totally blew me away. This is what a second book SHOULD feel like!
Left Me Wanting More: Original team. I actually wasn’t missing them as much as I normally would but I really did miss the other pieces of the original team that didn’t travel with David and Prof. Wondering if there will be a big reunion in the last book? I’m hoping everything comes back together because I grew to love them and want to see them back in the action!

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

Ahhhh I am so in love with this series. Something about it is just so refreshing and addicting. I’m already anxious for more and this book only just came out!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE FIREFIGHT

(Click the cover to see my review!)

VICIOUS   READY PLAYER ONE

Mitosis (The Reckoners #1.5) – Brandon Sanderson

Mitosis (The Reckoners #1.5) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Mitosis (The Reckoners #1.5) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: December 3, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Audible
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Superheroes, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 29, 2015
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

    From "New York Times" bestselling author Brandon Sanderson's action-packed novel "Steelheart" comes "Mitosis," a short story set in the world of The Reckoners series, exclusively available in the digital format.
Steelheart may be dead, but Epics still plague Newcago and David and the Reckoners have vowed to fight back.
Catch all the action before "Firefight," the exciting sequel to "Steelheart," hits shelves in January 2015

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MITOSIS was a really fun short story! I know not everyone is a fan of novellas and for STEELHEART fans who are in the same boat, you don’t NEED to read it but you may WANT to read it! Firstly because it’s Sanderson and it’s just plain fun, but also because the novella does set up a few points for FIREFIGHT.

MITOSIS is a quick in-between story to bridge the gap between STEELHEART and FIREFIGHT and the focus is more on David and less on the Reckoners as a team. They’re still working together but not all of the characters appear on scene, so to speak. It’s a quick hunt to take down another Epic and this one happens to be important for FIREFIGHT because he brings up a few good ideas and points when the characters start to theorize some more. Obviously I won’t go into the details, but this is also one of the many reasons why I’m encouraging you to read the novella! I think the information comes in handy and I think it’s easier to read in MITOSIS first!

Other than that, the formula sort of follows suit from STEELHEART — David is nerdy and funny (sorry, David. You are a nerd), Epics are still terrorizing, the Reckoners are awesome. I don’t want to say TOO much more about it because the novella isn’t incredibly long but I had so much fun listening to it and it made me even more exited for FIREFIGHT — so much that I had to start it right away! (Seems to be a trend with me and Sanderson books.)

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE MITOSIS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

VICIOUS   READY PLAYER ONE

Steelheart (The Reckoners #1) – Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart (The Reckoners #1) – Brandon SandersonTitle: Steelheart (The Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Publishing Info: September 24, 2013 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: Gift
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Superheroes, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 29, 2015
Related Posts: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1), The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2), The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3), The Alloy of Law (Mistborn #4), Legion (Legion #1) & Legion: Skin Deep (Legion #2), , The Emperor's Soul, The Eleventh Metal (Mistborn #0.5), , Firstborn, Shadows of Self (Mistborn #5), The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn #6), Calamity (The Reckoners #3), , Perfect State, Mistborn: Secret History (Mistborn #3.5), Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell, Elantris, The Rithmatist (Rithmatist #1), Warbreaker (Warbreaker #1), The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1), Snapshot, Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2), Edgedancer (The Stormlight Archive #2.5), Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archive #3)

    Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics. But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.
Nobody fights the Epics...nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.
And David wants in. He wants Steelheart - the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning - and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

bookreview1

I became a BIG Brandon Sanderson fan this past year… and luckily for me, after I binge-read the Mistborn series, there were still plenty of books for me to catch up on! Naturally, being a mostly YA reader and with the release of the second book in Sanderson’s Reckoners series FIREFIGHT, STEELHEART was high on my radar! When Audible contacted me to see if I was interested in the audio, it was the final gentle push to start this series immediately — and I was more than happy to!

STEELHEART was excellent. So far from Sanderson I’ve read high fantasy, fantasy meets steampunk meets Western, and mystery meets psychological so I was already fairly convinced that Sanderson can dabble in anything he wants to and I will straight-up love it. From the synopsis I gathered that STEELHEART was more superheroes meets dystopian and that was fairly spot on. It’s definitely more of a superhero/science fiction feel in somewhat dystopian society and I really just gobbled it up!.

The characters, as always, are excellent. Each character has SUCH personality and they really just leap off the page (or in my case, make themselves individual while I listen to the audiobook). David is an excellent main character and he’s just so relatable. He’s got it out for Steelheart ever since a life-altering event when he was a kid and ten years later, all of his well-laid plans are finally starting to come together when he comes across the Reckoners — a group of individuals who hunt down Epics. I loved David so much because HE’S not the superhero. He’s an average kid who had some stuff happen in his life and he does what he has to in order to get by. He’s clever, crafty, detail-oriented, and also your average guy/teenager who wants to be the badass who gets to hunt Epics and do some cool movie-type stunts (but in real life). He works hard for what he wants but he’s also very passionate too (which also tends to get in his way).

The other characters are great too. It’s another fantastic ensemble and a really great range of people and personalities. They don’t always all get along perfectly, but they come together to form a really cohesive team. I LOVED the banter between Megan and David (bring on the banter!!!!) and he really took it so well. David always cracked me up and even when he was having a hard time with things, he was a really easy-going person and took everything in stride.

The overall concept was really interesting as well! I love how the Epics were superhero-types but… they weren’t the good guys! And the limitations and structure of their abilities was so well-crafted and cleverly explored as the plot progressed. I really liked how STEELHEART was a sort of mash-up of so many elements that just clicked. A bit dystopian from the current state of the US after the Epic takeover and tyranny, a bit fantasy from the Epic powers BUT more science-fiction based on how they came about (that we know of so far) and of course overall action and adventure with a little bit of romance.

STEELHEART was so excellent. I laughed, I gasped, I even ugly cried, you guys. Who expected that? (But it IS Sanderson and sometimes he just hits you where you least expect it.) I loved the feel, I loved the plot, I loved the characters and of course, I will be coming back for more!

AUDIOBOOK IMPRESSIONS

A big thank you to Audible for approaching me to try the audio version of STEELHEART! I actually didn’t even check out who the narrator was before I started (oops, that’s not always a good move) but I was in good hands with MacLeod Andrews! I was so excited to find out he was the narrator for STEELHEART because I had previously listened to Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown and just loved his narration on that. His voicing of the characters was fantastic — each very unique and always so genuine. I fell right into the book and could really just picture in my head almost like I was watching a movie. If you’re looking for a good audiobook, this is one I highly recommend!

view_from_goodreads1

“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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David // Character Obsessions: Steelheart, the Reckoners, revenge, looking cooool.
David was the best. He was kind, funny, determined, smart and he had just SUCH a big personality! He was hilarious and definitely the kind of guy that I always root for! Just loved him.
Megan // Character Obsessions: Teamwork, plans, action.
Megan was my other favorite — and naturally, since she was pretty much the other main character. She dished everything back to David and he handled with ease… but I also wanted to break that steely exterior (no pun indended) SO BADLY. By the end of this book, I was totally shipping them. HARD.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Superheroes! Well, they were called Epics, but the concept is more or less the same. I don’t think I’ve read a superhero book before!!!
Left Me Wanting More: Answers! Not like there weren’t enough, but I love how Sanderson sets up SERIES with series-long questions and discoveries… too bad I’m impatient and want them all nowwwww.

Addiction Rating
Buy it!

I am even more so a Sanderson fan now but if you haven’t read his adult books yet, you should start off with this YA series! It was SO much fun and incredibly interesting. It really had it all for me!

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE STEELHEART

(Click the cover to see my review!)

VICIOUS               READY PLAYER ONE

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles # 3.5) – Marissa Meyer

Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles # 3.5) – Marissa MeyerTitle: Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles #3.5) by Marissa Meyer
Publishing Info: January 27, 2015 by Macmillan
Genres: Dystopian, Fantasy, Retelling, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: January 29, 2015
Related Posts: Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2), , Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5), The Queen's Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5), Carswell's Guide to Being Lucky (Lunar Chronicles #3.1), Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1), Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2), Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3), Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4), Stars Above (A Lunar Chronicles Collection), Heartless, Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerve #1), Renegades (Renegades #1)

    In this stunning bridge book between Cress and Winter in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles, Queen Levana’s story is finally told.
Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?
Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.
Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series
.

bookreview1

Ahhh, FAIREST. Just what I needed tie me over until WINTER hits the shelves in November this year! I don’t always read ALL of the novellas that are published, but of course I was going to read a Lunar Chronicles novella and was especially excited to find out more about Queen Levana! She’s pretty terrifying in the books so I was especially anxious to see her history and how she ended up the way she is now.

The first thing I can say about FAIREST? Yeah. Levana is certainly crazy… BUT she didn’t have it easy either. I’m not saying that excuses the way she acts, but she’s had some majorly catastrophic and scarring events (oops, no pun intended but there you have it) happen to her and it seriously messed her up. Things also went down at a young age too so these traumatic events really affected Levana long before she was even close to being in a position of power, or even wanting that position. I definitely still fear her but it also made me pity her. Sometimes these kind of novellas sort of justify who someone is in the present story line and while I don’t think Levana is justified in her actions, I do think I understand her a lot more!

Another thing I really loved was seeing all of the other characters in Levana’s story and exactly how she’s tied to them all. It was really interested to see some of the title characters pop up, along with their friends and family and I got little chills and thrills seeing their names there! I think the most interesting for me was actually Channary. I may need to re-read everything again ASAP (kidding, that’s already in the works so I KNOW I will) but for some reason I don’t remember mention of how horrible she was! She was a terrible older sister to Levana and I really wonder how Levana would have ended up if it weren’t for Channary. I’m going to have to hunt down mentions of her in my re-reads!

FAIREST is very much Levana’s story so it’s not a major point in the series as far as plot goes, but I do still think it’s an important story for fans of the series to read. We learn a lot about the Lunar Queen and there’s also a LOT of Winter’s history in here which I was very excited to see since I don’t really know that much about her yet. There were still a few surprises though and it just goes to show you that there’s always more to learn about everyone!

I had such a blast reading FAIREST and that both filled the void and made me even more hungry for more of this series! I loved falling back into this world for a short time to keep my heart whole before WINTER probably chews it up and spits it out in November. In a good way! I CAN’T WAIT!

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Levana // Character Obsessions: Appearances, acceptance, love, glamor.
I just loved learning more about Levana. It’s very, very interesting to see where she came from. I love that you can see the very — well, maybe not VALID but certainly obvious — reasons why she is the way she is in the current timeline of this series. Her life has truly been nothing but a constant series of ups and downs and she’s always had to prove herself, even to her family. The whole romance was really interesting and I was actually kind of surprised at how much love meant to her. I guess it makes sense!
Channary // Character Obsessions: Fame, fortune, frivolity, fun.
Did I TOTALLY not remember what Channary was like or was that not explained as much throughout the course of the series? We all think Levana is terrible but Channary surely didn’t make things easy for her. I can’t believe everything that went down between these two sisters! She was no peach herself. (And clearly I needed to re-read everything ASAP.)

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Kept Me Hooked On: Backstories. YAYYYY a full-length novella giving us backstory! GAH. I love it. Hmmm I guess for those who don’t read novellas, I don’t know if it’s “necessary” for the series but it has a lot of really, really handy information and background for Levana, Winter, and even Cinder.
Left Me Wanting More: Plot development. Okay, I know that wasn’t the point of FAIREST, but can you blame me? AMAZING things happen in Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress so I am just spoiled! But I guess you can’t push a plot forward when the book doesn’t even take place in the same time, huh? ;D

Addiction Rating
Read it!

If you’re a fan of the series, it’s a must, in my opinion! I think the knowledge we gain is fantastic and I just loved slipping back into this world before re-reading all the books (before Winter)!

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BOOKS LIKE FAIREST

(Click the cover to see my review!)

SHADOW AND BONE               THRONE OF GLASS

If You Liked… Divergent

8 BOOKS TO READ IF YOU LIKED DIVERGENT

One of my favorite parts about being a book blogger is sharing the books that I love with others. I absolutely love sharing my favorite reads and recommending them to others who are looking to fall in love with a new book! With all of these amazing YA adaptations coming out recently, I know a lot of people are looking for more books similar to the movies that have hit the silver screen, so for all those looking for books similar to your blockbuster favorites, I’ve got some recommendations lined up for you!

It’s no doubt that Veronica Roth’s debut novel (and series) DIVERGENT has exploded over the last few years. I absolutely LOVE seeing not only YA novels but any books gain extreme popularity because they start to grab the attention of occasional or non-readers and for some, that starts a craving for more and more books like the one they just read. For me, it was The Hunger Games and that really set off my craving for dystopians which led me to just more books in general.

So in this post, I wanted to share my personal picks for books like DIVERGENT. I feel like I see some recommendations that are just thrown together because of genre, and yes — there are plenty of dystopian recommendations here — but I also picked the books I thought had similar themes as well as similar feels. Without further ado, here are my picks for eight books to read after DIVERGENT!


books like divergent


IF YOU LIKED DIVERGENT…

Try… THE 5TH WAVE by Rick Yancey.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

Like DIVERGENT, The 5th Wave is already on its way to becoming a major motion picture. When the book first came out, I wasn’t totally sold on the idea of an alien invasion. I’m not usually one for alien themes but with so many great reviews, I picked up and inhaled it in one day. The action is fantastic, characters are great, and I think fans of Tris will really love Cassie! There’s action, romance, and a plot to save the world.

Try… THE DARKEST MINDS by Alexandra Bracken.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

Things explode in THE DARKEST MINDS when children at 10 years old either develop special abilities… or die. A strange disease sweeps the nation leaving kids dead or left with incredible powers that they can’t control. THE DARKEST MINDS has a bit more of a paranormal aspect with the special abilities thing, but it’s set in a sort of post-apocalyptic world and Ruby and her new group of friends have to try to figure out not only how to survive but also thwart the authorities. All three books in this trilogy are now out and this is one I want to finish this year too!

Try… REBOOT by Amy Tintera.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

I really loved REBOOT when I read it. It’s a sort of zombie story without it really being about zombies. Wren is a “reboot” — After 178 minutes of being dead, she came back to life. She’s not as emotional and seems less human than the reboots who have been dead for longer and come back but emotion isn’t very necessary when your job is to train other reboots… until she starts to fall in love. REBOOT has romance, action, and is set in a dystopian Texas. I thought it was a great balance of everything! It’s a two book series too so it’s one you can finish quickly!

Try… INSIGNIA by S.J. Kincaid.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

INSIGNIA is also a trilogy but it’s a bit different than the ones I’ve listed so far — the main character is male and also a bit younger at fourteen, but the book doesn’t feel juvenile. The earth is in the middle of WWIII when Tom Raines, a fourteen-year-old with incredible video gaming skills, is recruited by the army to control drones. It’s definitely not the same exact concept as DIVERGENT but I think fans will enjoy it! It has a similar feel to me and it’s something that will be easy to sort of compare but won’t feel exactly the same. I had so much fun reading the first book! Another series I want to finish soon.

Try… SHADOW AND BONE by Leigh Bardugo.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

SHADOW AND BONE is actually fantasy, not dystopian, but I also think it’s great for DIVERGENT fans! The lead female Alina feels she’s completely ordinary and then it turns out that she’s actually incredibly important with incredible abilities. If you’re not a fantasy fan (yet), I strongly recommend starting with SHADOW AND BONE! It was one of my first fantasy series and I ended up really loving it to the point where this trilogy has become one of my all-time favorites. There’s plenty of action, adventure, romance, villains, and magical powers to go around!

Try… PAWN by Aimee Carter.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon

Another dystopian novel is PAWN by Aimee Carter. This one has a similar feel to DIVERGENT’s factions with its sort caste system determined with a number ranking. Usually people test into their rankings and don’t get to change at all but Kitty is offered an unusual opportunity to live a glamorous life, but she has to give up everything of her own life.  It’s a very interesting situation and I really enjoyed PAWN a lot! It was definitely twisty and kept me hooked.

Try… LEGEND by Marie Lu.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
I’ll admit it… I actually liked LEGEND more than DIVERGENT! I was totally wowed by this new dystopian series (well, it’s not new anymore. All three books are out now!) with alternating point of views between the two main characters, Day and June. They’re pretty much polar opposites with June scoring the highest ever on a series of tests called The Trial and Day has the lowest score ever. Worlds collide when Day and June have their first encounter under terrible circumstances and the book escalates from there. I just absolutely loved it!

Try… THE PROGRAM by Suzanne Young.
Review // Goodreads // Amazon
I have to say, I was very pleasantly surprised by THE PROGRAM! This dystopian world is much different than DIVERGENT but I think the general concept will really resonate with DIVERGENT fans! Sloane lives in a world where suicide is an epidemic so Sloane makes the decision to hide the fact that her feelings are there. She doesn’t want to through “the program” and come back emotionless and wiped of all intense memories. It was such an interesting concept and I really connected a lot with this book and its characters!


I hope this list helped you pick out a few new reads! I don’t take my recommendations lightly so I really hope these recommendations strike a chord with DIVERGENT fans! If you’ve read any of these already, what do you think? What other books would you recommend?

Looking for more recommendations? Check out my previous list of recs below!

 

The Vault of Dreamers (The Vault of Dreamers #1) – Caragh M. O’Brien

The Vault of Dreamers (The Vault of Dreamers #1) – Caragh M. O’BrienTitle: The Vault of Dreamers by Caragh M. O'Brien
Publishing Info: September 16, 2014 by Macmillan
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: June 22, 2014

    The Forge School is the most prestigious arts school in the country. The secret to its success: every moment of the students' lives is televised as part of the insanely popular Forge Show, and the students' schedule includes twelve hours of induced sleep meant to enhance creativity. But when first year student Rosie Sinclair skips her sleeping pill, she discovers there is something off about Forge. In fact, she suspects that there are sinister things going on deep below the reaches of the cameras in the school. What's worse is, she starts to notice that the edges of her consciousness do not feel quite right. And soon, she unearths the ghastly secret that the Forge School is hiding—and what it truly means to dream there.

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I have a bit of an obsession with books about dreams. I feel like there’s really so much you can do with the concept and it’s so interesting to see how authors play with the idea of dreaming and how it plays into people’s everyday lives, so needless to say, I had some high expectations for THE VAULT OF DREAMERS!

I was interested to see where this book would go and when I started, I still wasn’t 100% sure what the whole thing was about since I’m a notorious synopsis avoider to really allow myself to experience the most amount of surprises and twists possible. This really didn’t affect my interpretation of the book in this case (sometimes I think books are about something completely different), but considering the fact that the book is called THE VAULT OF DREAMERS, I was really hoping the dreaming aspect would play a much bigger part in the book.

I felt like there was a lot of set up in the beginning in and in the middle which I was fine with… But I would have much preferred the plot to develop much quicker. The book is over four hundred pages long so to go for so long just anticipating what exactly the “vault of dreamers” really is and what that means, it just felt like a little too long to wait. From the synopsis, we already know that main character Rosie will already be a part of The Forge Show, an insanely popular reality TV show. I actually did like the aspects of what we see of The Forge Show and how it’s run but at the same time, I kept wanting to know more about the dreaming aspect so while I wasn’t not enjoying what I was reading, I was still waiting for something more to happen.

Once I finally did start to get answers… well, they weren’t exactly what I was hoping for. The ending didn’t quite go as I had hoped and it wasn’t wholly unsatisfying but it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I think part of it was that I really didn’t fall in love with Rosie. I liked her character and her personality all right but risk-taking somehow didn’t seem like her style and somehow I felt like her personality clashed with how pushy and adventurous her actions were. I just felt like there was something missing to really make her feel real and so the ending just felt a little forced to me. It was also a bit confusing.

I only found out that the books is a series after I finished it (when I had started, there was no info on Goodreads or Amazon about this being the first of a series) so review pending, I had to go out and look (confirmed on Caragh’s website) that it is in fact the first of a series. I have to say that the ending was a bit confusing, knowing it was a series or not. It definitely felt like the story was incomplete but even as the ending of the first book in a series, something just felt like it was missing. I actually re-read the last bit and was still a bit confused so I’m a little undecided right now whether to invest my time in the second book and see where the story goes or wait until other reviews are out and gauge what the general reactions are. Either way, I do have quite a bit of time to decide!

I think maybe I got myself a little too excited for THE VAULT OF DREAMERS but anticipation and hype isn’t really to blame. I didn’t dislike Rosie but she wasn’t exactly a stand out protagonist for me. I liked quite a few of the other characters but no one else really quite stood out for me either. I usually enjoy a lot of world building in fantasies right in the beginning of the book, but when it comes to science-fiction, I’m more itching for plot and twists. There was a lot of info in the beginning of the book but not exactly what I was hoping for.

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“The View from Goodreads” is a featured section in my reviews that I decided to incorporate! I tend to update my Goodreads status a LOT when I read — reactions, feelings, notes — so I thought it would be fun to share the sort of “reading process”! All status updates are spoiler-free (no specific plot points will be revealed) but will contain reactions to certain pages and/or characters!

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Yep, that’s right. I read it in one day! 

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Rosie // Character Obsessions: Film-making, The Forge School, a better life, solving mysteries. 
I liked Rosie… But I didn’t love her. As stated before, something just felt like it was missing from her character. Her actions didn’t seem to quite align with the rest of her character. I didn’t feel like her reactions were alway genuine. I’m not doubting that they were but they didn’t feel like it.
Linus // Character Obsessions: Working, life, responsibility.
I liked Linus a lot in the beginning! But then I felt like his character didn’t really get that developed. I think a lot of things were told to readers about how characters were, what their background was… But I didn’t feel a lot of getting their stories through the actions and through their reactions. I also expected more from him as a solid love interest. Instead I just found myself never really trusting him.

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Kept Me Hooked On: Reality TV show plots. I don’t usually enjoy books about reality TV. I’m not sure why… I think it feels too melodramatic? But with a science-fiction/dystopian twist, it had a much more Big Brother feel and instead felt much creepier!
Left Me Wanting More: Development. On everything really. Characters, plot, details… The book was long and I finished it quickly… I was clearly interested enough but I think I just kept waiting for things that just never panned out.

Addiction Rating
Try it

THE VAULT OF DREAMERS was interesting, but it wasn’t one that wowed me. Maybe I was expecting too much but can you really blame a person for wanting a book to be fantastic and hoping it will? I wasn’t 100% on board so while I think it could be a really good read for some, I’m still waiting to see if I want to pick up book two.

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BOOKS LIKE THE VAULT OF DREAMERS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

       False Memory   Unremembered

Starters (Starters #1) – Lissa Price

Starters (Starters #1) – Lissa PriceTitle: Starters (Starters #1) by Lissa Price
Publishing Info: March 13, 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Genres: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: February 22, 2014

    Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie's only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.
    He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie's head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator's grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations' plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined...

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I had been meaning to read STARTERS for a really long time and then finally decided to dig in just recently! After a dystopian overload (self-induced. I was obsessed for a looong time), I took an unofficial break and started to come back to some of the dystopian books I had been putting off. I’m glad I got back around to STARTERS because it was actually quite different from what I had expected!

To be honest, STARTERS was kind of back and forth, up and down for me. I was really impressed with the beginning — the writing, the plot, the characters — all things I was really enjoying! Then about halfway through, the little things started to get on my nerves. I think it’s just a personal preference, but I’m starting to really tire of the younger sibling that the older sibling needs to save, and I really don’t like younger siblings under the age of 11 or 12. It seems arbitrary, but I think it really brings the tone of the book down and I don’t like listening to characters lying to one another to “protect” each other and this happens a LOT with younger siblings. I also don’t like the voice it brings to the book because the very young children always seem so unintelligent. I mean, it’s hard to gauge what a seven or eight-year-old really knows and can handle but I feel like it’s a lot more than you’d anticipate. Extreme naïveté tends to get on my nerves and I just don’t like how childish a lot of the young children in YA books are portrayed.

Anyway! That pet peeve aside, there was another part where I felt like the book strayed just a bit and I wasn’t sure where it was going, but STARTERS started to pick back up for me a little after halfway. The action picked up and plot started to come back together. One that I really didn’t anticipated were the little (or BIG) surprises! For whatever reason, I just didn’t expect them so I was happy to see Lissa Price throw in a few curveballs! There was one hunch I had since the beginning that I thought wasn’t going to touched upon BUT it showed up at the VERY VERY END. Neither confirmed nor denied, but let the door open and that left me excited for the second book, as well as a few other twists towards the end.

The romance in this book was interesting as well. Personally, I was a Michael fan. I love the best friend and protector so right from the start, I was hoping for a romance between the two of them. What I got was sort of a love triangle but really not because Michael and Callie were separated almost the entire book. I didn’t entirely mind, though I was wondering how things would wrap up and let’s just say… you won’t believe it.

I’m not 100% sold on the plausibility factor of the book, but it definitely makes for a creepy, futuristic topic and brings a lot of questions of morality and rights into play. At times, I would have liked for a few more reveals and others, I would have appreciated less detail. Either way, it was really enjoyable and I’ll probably be searching out the sequel to see what happens next!

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Callie // Character Obsessions: Tyler, money, surviving, Prime Destinations.
I actually got along quite well with Callie. She was tough and willing to take action but at the same time, had a soft side, especially for her friends and family. Then again, what heroine doesn’t, really? Anyway… I did like her attitude and determination and she wasn’t stubborn like I feared!
The Old Man // Character Obsessions: Secrets, Prime Destinations, money, greed.
The Old Man is the villain of this story and boy is he CREEPY. We don’t know a lot about him at first and I actually had a couple theories that didn’t pan out (although I think they would have been cool haha) and he seems to be preeeetty evil. The things we find out about him in the end of the book just made my skin crawl so I vote thumbs up for a good, spine-chilling villain! Maybe a bit overdone at times, but I’m still dying to know more about him!

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Kept Me Hooked On: Creepy villains. This guy freaked me out. There is way too much that people don’t know about him — even his associates! — and hellooooo. Old Man!? Old men just make the creepiest villains sometimes. Not sure why but I surely get skeeved out!
Left Me Wanting More: Believability. While the concept was interesting and chilling, I didn’t quite believe it would ever happen. Just the old and the young left and the old renting young people’s bodies? Creepy, but not entirely plausible to me. The dystopian books that truly hit close to home are the ones that really get to me!

Addiction Rating
Try it!

I think this book could really go any number of ways with the general YA-reading audience. For me, it landed on a good, solid “LIKE” but not quite love. I had very minor issues that I’m sure wouldn’t bother a lot of people, but even without those, it wasn’t quite off the charts.

book_recommendations1BOOKS LIKE STARTERS

(Click the cover to see my review!)

        pawn   The Adoration of Jenna Fox

Independent Study (The Testing #2) – Joelle Charbonneau

Independent Study (The Testing #2) – Joelle CharbonneauTitle: Independent Study (The Testing #2) by Joelle Charbonneau
Publishing Info: January 7, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: BEA 2013
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 25, 2013
Related Posts: The Testing (The Testing #1), NEED

    In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.  

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I guess I shouldn’t start off a review by saying that I almost didn’t read this book but… I feel like I must disclose that! After reading THE TESTING last year and feeling like it too-closely resembled THE HUNGER GAMES (not just because it’s a dystopian but really in so many ways), I almost didn’t pick up INDEPENDENT STUDY. I was just so torn on whether I would really enjoy it or if I would still see those parallels and feel unable to separate myself from that idea. What I can say is that I decided to read it thanks to encouragement from Nicole at The Quiet Concert (thanks for the encouragement!!!!)  and although I wasn’t stuck on THE HUNGER GAMES parallels, it still didn’t quite knock me off my feet.

I liked INDEPENDENT STUDY… But I almost didn’t. The beginning was very slow to me. It wasn’t that nothing was happening but I just was still very unsure in what direction the book — and the series, actually — was taking me. THE TESTING ended with quite the epic finale, including a shocking cliffhanger and INDEPENDENT STUDY kind of did where we left off… So maybe that’s actually the reason it was slow for me. I almost feel like it would have benefitted from some time in between the two books and backtracking through the story to fill in what we’ve missed. It sounds crazy, right? Isn’t that the kind of stuff that normally confuses me and I get frustrated with? Yes. It is. But for this book, I feel like that would have worked because I wanted both me as the reader and Cia as the main POV to be more… in the dark. I can’t really say any more because of book one spoilers and honestly going in, I had no expectations or an idea that that’s what I wanted so it wasn’t even a let down of expectations. I was just… restless.

I actually appreciated the content of this book more than the first, I think. While THE TESTING set up necessary elements, characters, and world building, INDEPENDENT STUDY really started to explore those elements and how Cia would ultimately fit in and how she could change things. I know, I know, you’re saying, “Well duh, that’s what a book two should do!” But trust me — it doesn’t always. That being said, INDEPENDENT STUDY also felt like a totally different book in many ways. I think it matured a lot from its predecessor and the content went much deeper than Cia’s experience in the Testing. Things got much more political and the stakes were higher when it came time for Cia to decide who to trust and who to fear.

There were a few twists involved in the second half of the book but I was torn whether I liked them or not. The one big twist I’m thinking of I’m still very hesitant about because it hasn’t been developed yet but I guess that’s something for me to find out in book three! In all honesty, I was almost surely not picking up book three — which is called GRADUATION DAY, coming in June — and I almost didn’t even pick up book two! I’m actually glad that I did because I enjoyed it and it was a quick, fun read once the ball got rolling. I’ll be looking forward to book three to finish off the series but admittedly, I won’t be running to the shelves to get it.

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Cia // Character Obsessions: Surviving in the real world, spending time with Tomas when she can, fulfilling her role as a good student, subterfuge.
Subterfuge. How much did I just want to use that word? (It’s true, either way.) Cia doesn’t have it easy. She’s torn between what she knew and what she knows now and all of the things she used to know and doesn’t anymore. She doesn’t know who to trust and I really appreciated seeing things from her POV because I was pretty wary of MOST people myself. She gets betrayed a few times and finds unlikely allies in other places and I think she does a pretty dang good job of holding it together! Are we BFFs? Not quite, but I admire her courage and determination! Oh, and her keen intellect because she’s a lot smarter than I am!
Michal // Character Obsessions: Hidden agendas, helping Cia, more subterfuge.
More subterfuge. Yes. Hmm, Michal. I was always wary of him, never quite sure if he was on the side of good or corrupt. I had a hard time trusting him and wasn’t sure if Cia should too which made his role in this book all the more interesting! I was actually really happy to see more involvement from him!
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Kept Me Hooked On: The Testing Series. I almost didn’t even pick this book up because I didn’t have a driving force to push me to continue with the series, but I’m glad I did. (And thanks to Nicole for the push!) I’ll be finishing the series now because I’m curious to see how it all wraps up!
Left Me Wanting More: Mind games. Dare I say I wanted more politics in this book? Okay. I wanted more politics. The university students in this book go through more training and challenges that were similar to the Testing so while that added another aspect of how they worked together and figuring out who was smart and who was not to be trusted, I wanted even MORE of a political aspect and MORE of the rebellion. INDEPENDENT STUDY really started to explore that aspect but I wish it had been more of a primary focus instead of more game-type deals.

Addiction Rating
Read it

If you’re already invested in The Testing trilogy and you’re thinking about picking this one up, it’s still a good read! I had a few reservations while reading but the ending really picked up and I ended up enjoying it over all.

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BOOKS LIKE INDEPENDENT STUDY

(Click the cover to see my review!)

          Catching Fire            Insurgent

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) – Veronica Rossi

Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) – Veronica RossiTitle: Into the Still Blue (Under the Never Sky #3) by Veronica Rossi
Publishing Info: January 28, 2014 by HarperCollins
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: December 15, 2013
Related Posts: Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1), Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2), Roar and Liv (Under the Never Sky #0.5), Brooke (Under the Never Sky #2.5)

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it's time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.
    The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.
   Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won't even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.
   Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn't just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he's also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.
   In this final book in her stunning Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi raises the stakes to their absolute limit and brings her epic love story to an unforgettable close

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INTO THE STILL BLUE was the perfect finale to the Under the Never Sky trilogy. If you haven’t started this series yet, after having finished all three books (and two novellas!), I can tell you to GO BUY THEM. I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve had such a positive outcome on a series as a whole and the last book in a series so to say that I fell in love all over again with INTO THE STILL BLUE is really saying a lot for me!

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Veronica Rossi’s writing grows leaps and bounds throughout the series. UNDER THE NEVER SKY was absolutely gorgeous but the plot arcs, character development, and overall beauty of her writing amazes me with each sentence of hers that I read. Her words make me feel emotional, ethereal, and makes me say things like “my heart is floating” because that’s honestly what I felt like. I stopped several times just to admire the way she strings words and phrases together, not to mention the amazing relationships and friendships that she creates between the characters. Speaking of which…

It will be hard to say goodbye to Aria, Perry, Roar (<3) and the rest of the characters I’ve grown to know and love in this series, but I’m also 100% satisfied where everyone was left at the end of the book. I remember feeling relatively lukewarm about Perry and Aria’s relationship in UNDER THE NEVER SKY because I just hadn’t fallen into their rhythm yet. I had always liked the two of them as characters (well, Aria had to grow on me JUST a bit) but their relationship really started to mesh for me in THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT and I absolutely melted in INTO THE STILL BLUE. Everything about their relationship, their love, their struggles just felt so real and I really made a significant connection with both of them.
We all know that I love Roar so of course I loved seeing more of him in INTO THE STILL BLUE again. We see a much different side of him and I won’t go into detail since that would be a major spoiler for THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT, but it’s quite interesting to see his interactions with his friends and tribe based on the events that happened in that book. And can I just say… *stands up and applauds Veronica Rossi* THANK YOU SO MUCH for NOT making an Aria-Perry-Roar love triangle!!!! I LOVED the friendship between Aria and Roar. They have a real connection with both of them being Auds and they really form a bond over that in addition to their already easy friendship. Roar wasn’t quite brotherly but he also was not a romantic interest and I am so happy for it because while I wouldn’t say a love triangle would have ruined the series, it would have definitely not been the same. I appreciated that friendship so much and it’s absolutely one of my favorite parts of these books.

INTO THE STILL BLUE really kept me hooked the whole time. Things were always happening, the action was always moving forward, and there were some really neat plot developments that surprised and impressed me! I actually didn’t even brush up on the series before I picked this one up but the fact that I read THROUGH THE EVER NIGHT about a year ago (almost exactly a year ago, actually!) really didn’t make it difficult. It was easy to pick up where book two left off and of course I didn’t remember ALL of the details, but Veronica Rossi does a great job at helping the reader pick up the little things that may have gotten lost over the year gap between books.

I was actually really worried about the ending! Nervous, excited, panicked… It was so excited and yet so scary and all of my emotions were right on the surface! I was reading with little glistening tears in my eyes, afraid for what was going to happen to the characters in this series finale! With it being the last book, you just never know what might happen so I was nervous but the book wrapped up perfectly and I couldn’t imagine it ending any other way.

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Aria // Character Obsessions: Finding the Still Blue, helping Perry, regaining strength, strengthening her friendships.
This was definitely the most I’ve liked Aria. Admittedly in book one, I had a little trouble with her from time to time but she really grew SO MUCH throughout the series and by the end, I wanted her to by my best friend. She was a bit immature and very sheltered when she lived in Reverie and she grew into a beautiful young woman who was strong, proud, loyal, and determined. I think it made it even better that I didn’t get along with her 100% in UtNS because that really allowed me to see how much she grew.
Perry // Character Obsessions: Protecting his tribe and friends, comforting Roar, getting everyone to the Still Blue.
PERRY. I know everyone loved Perry and really, I liked him, but I didn’t swoon like most. INTO THE STILL BLUE had me swooning. There were a few lines that just floored me and I just loved seeing the maturation of his relationship with Aria. He also really stepped into his role as Blood Lord and totally owned it, maturing in that position as well. I think it was the hardest to say goodbye to Perry’s character once this book was over because I really started to fall in love with him and how his character developed.
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Kept Me Hooked On: This beautiful dystopian/post-apocalyptic/fantasy mix. It’s hard to say exactly how I would classify this series in terms of genre but I always felt it was a bit of a mix between dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and it carried a big fantasy feel for me as well. I loved how everything sort of blended so well that I couldn’t even pin a genre on it. It had such a unique feel and I really loved every minute of INTO THE STILL BLUE.
Left Me Wanting More: Aria and Perry. I finally got HOOKED into their relationship. After liking it, then loving it, then totally falling in love with it, I just wanted to read so much more of it!

Addiction Rating
BUY IT! Read this series!!!

I feel like there have been a few series lately that I have been really disappointed with the last book. INTO THE STILL BLUE is NOT that series. This was the perfect ending to a trilogy that just got better with each book. The plot, the characters, the writing, the FEELS. Everything grew and got better from one book to the next. I don’t know of Veronica Rossi’s future plans, but anything she writes will now be on my auto-read list and I feel absolutely confident now that the series is over to recommend it to people and tell them that they won’t be disappointed!

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