Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Defiant by Lisa M. Stasse

Series: The Forsaken (bk. 3)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-Fi/Romance

Subjects: rebellions, resistance to government, war, fascism, survival, action, adventure

Setting: Various places in what was once the USA, now the UNA: Texas, Chicago, Illinois, Ohio, Iowa

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Alenna

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 343 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover  

List Price: $17.99

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Summary/ product description: “In this gripping conclusion to The Forsaken Trilogy, Alenna’s loyalties are put the ultimate test—and it’s one of life and death.
Alenna Shawcross and the others who escaped the wheel are working toward an all-out assault on the United Northern Alliance. The plan is to dismantle it from the inside—and Alenna is one of the few people who can access the organization’s inner sanctum. But when she returns to the home she has nearly forgotten, she encounters old friends and is swept into a secret plan that puts everything she loves in danger.

Knowing what is at stake for her and her friends, Alenna ventures into the heart of the treacherous UNA. She’s determined to bring them down, because freedom is the only choice. Or is it?”

My Review:  A wonderful exciting finale to an epic dystopia series, The Defiant takes us to places the series hasn’t been before, both literally and figuratively. Alenna, Liema and Gadya and other rebels travel to the UNA to lead the rebellion into overthrowing the government. It doesn’t go how they expect it. Alenna is taken to see David and he give her a task to infiltrate a work camp that Liam is at, but she is captured and put in a home at the Hellgrounds. Alenna must save Liam, and cause rebels to rise up and fight.

There’s a lot of adventure in this book. Even state and major city has New in front of it. She lands in New Dallas, New Texas and is sent to the Hellgrounds in New Iowa. She and her friends must travel to New Ohio and then New Chicago. Lot of stuff happens that moves this story along at a fast pace. Just so much, but I don’t want to spoil it. I was exciting and I hated having to put this book down when I had to do something else. I have to now how it would end.

This was more exciting than the previous books. I loved The Forsaken, and The Uprising was good, but took me about a week to finish. In less than four days I was able to complete this and I hate that it’s over. It’s a great conclusion, but in some parts I felt like there’s no way this could be the final book. So many changes and big things happened, I felt like this could have been 2 books. This is the definition of finale. Like a firework show, the finale is when they blast a lot of fireworks off at the same time. There’s were twists every few chapter. Miy mind was blown with that ending.
Alenna is a great narrator. I still don’t know what she looked like, but is doesn’t matter. She should be up there with Tris Prior and Katniss Everdeen, in the land of badass heroines. She killed a lot of people in this book. She really cared strongly about her friends. She regretted her decisions, even when it was the right thing to do. She did her best and she succeeded most of the time. With her friends, she was able to overcome so many changes in this book. Liam wasn’t just a love interest, he was her rock, and Gadya was her best friend. I miss reading about these character.

If you have not read The Forsaken, it’s like Catching Fire because it’s about surviving on a prison island. This final book felt like the Divergent series, partly because part of it was in Chicago. This dystopian series is about a corrupt government. It’s also about survival. It’s not post-apocalyptic, but it feels like it sometimes. There’s a lot of advanced technology, genetically modified mutants, and brain washing drugs. It’s pure dystopian, which may not seem unique. The author wrote the Forsaken before the Hunger Games was a thing, though it came out later. I’m surprised this series isn’t more popular. Spread the word. This is one dystopian series every Hunger Games and Divergent fan should read.

Cover Art Review:  I love this cover. It’s neon green in person. Really bright and attractive. The wire frame faces are cool and there’re 2 on this cover. The double exposure photos are almost ghostly. The dome, watchtower and the insect like machine add to the sci-fi feel. The title really stands out in bright yellow. Everything fits together in this cyber-punk style that almost feels like a Cold-War era art piece.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Idol by Margaret Stohl

Series: Icons (bk. 2)

Genera(s): Dystopian Sci-fi

Subjects: aliens, futuristic, abilities, telepathy, emotions, survival, adventure

Setting: California, China, Thailand

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Dol

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 418 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover 

List Price: $19.00

Publisher: Hachette: Little, Brown

Summary/ product description: “The Icons came from the sky. They belong to an inhuman enemy. They ended our civilization, and they can kill us.

Most of us.

Dol, Ro, Tima, and Lucas are the four Icon Children, the only humans immune to the Icon's power to stop a human heart. Now that Los Angeles has been saved, things are more complicated - and not just because Dol has to choose between Lucas and Ro, the two great loves of her life. As she flees to a resistance outpost hidden beneath a mountain, Dol makes contact with a fifth Icon Child, if only through her visions. When Dol and the others escape to Southeast Asia in search of this missing child, Dol's dreams, feelings and fears collide in an epic showdown that will change more than just four lives -- and stop one heart forever.

In this riveting sequel to Icons, filled with nonstop action and compelling romance, bestselling author Margaret Stohl explores what it means to be human and how our greatest weakness can be humanity's strongest chance at survival.”

My Review:  A very interesting sequel to Icons, Idols is full of sci-fi action and adventure and characters you won’t forget. Idols is from Doloria’s (Dol) point of view, like Icons. She, Furo, Tima and Lucas destroy the Icons in the Los Angelos area at the end of Icons. They have to figure out their next step. They have a merk/ex-soldier/Australian scientist named Fortis to help them, and his AI called Doc. Fortis is taken by the Lords and returned with no harm.

Dol is an okay narrator. She seems kind of plain and unconfident. She’s empathic and telepathic, so she feel what other feels and think. Her powers come from the emotion of sorrow. Lucas’s powers to compel other come from the emotion love. Ro’s powers of super-strength and fire starting come from anger. Tima’s powers are fear, and she can freak people out (it’s really not clear what she can do).

I like the characters. I think Ro has the most interesting dialogue. He reminds me a bit like Jacob from Twilight, post-werewolf. Sarcastic, fiery and loves to fight. I really like Fortis too, because his Australian accent and humor. And I love Doc. He’s the funniest computer ever and reminds me of the AI from the Tomorrow People.

What made this book awesome was the part where the characters travel to South East Asia (SEA colonies), what was once Thailand and China. The travel through jungle and along a river called Ping on a raft and on elephants. You don’t see many dystopian books set in exotic places. It was a real treat. And they visit a Buddist temple and see Stupas. The reason they’re there because a dream Dol had about a 5th Icon child with a jade Buddha. In the SEA colonies they meet an overweight (part-monk) guy named Bibi who knows Fortis. He’s an interesting character.

This book didn’t bore me even when it was slow. I think Margaret Stohl’s writing style is beautiful and elegant. She’s poetic. You can see how similar it is to her writing in Beautiful Creatures. Icon have a magic feeling that most dystopian book don’t. I recommend this series to fans of Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, Delirum by Lauren Oliver, The 5th Wave by Rick Yancy, and In The After by Demitria Lunetta.

Cover Art Review: I like the Stupas on the cover. We talked about them in Art History. The title is cool. Not to crazy about the gold circle that looks like a sticker, but isn’t.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Black Heart by Holly Black

Series: Curse Workers (bk. 3)

Genera(s): Paranormal Romance/Alternate History

Subjects: curses, magic, supernatural, criminals

Setting: New Jersey and New York

POV/Tense: 1st person POV, present tense: Cassel Sharpe

Age/Grade Level: Teen

Length: 296 pgs.

HC/PB: Hardcover and now in Paperback

List Price: $17.99/$9.99

Publisher: Simon & Schuster: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Summary/ product description: “Cassel comes from a shady, magical family of con artists and grifters. He doesn't fit in at home or at school, so he's used to feeling like an outsider. He's also used to feeling guilty; he killed his best friend, Lila, years ago.

But when Cassel begins to have strange dreams about a white cat, and people around him are losing their memories, he starts to wonder what really happened to Lila. In his search for answers, he discovers a wicked plot for power that seems certain to succeed. But Cassel has other ideas and a plan to con the conmen.”

My Review:  I finally got around to finishing the Curse Workers trilogy. This is the final book, which came out in April 2012. I waited over 2 years. Red Glove, the second book, I read about 3 years ago. I haven’t forgotten the characters, but I couldn’t remember everything that happened. I still enjoyed this final book and will miss Cassel’s narration.

Holly Black is an amazing YA writer. I read all her Modern Faerie Tales book, and Curse Workers series. She’s great at creating interesting, unique characters. Cassel is unique because he’s a criminal with heart. He’s a con artist with charisma and guilt (so not a sociopath or psychopath). He’s also a transformation worker, which means he can change people and things into other things. He only found out his power recently. His brother Barron is a memory worker, so he had taken Cassel’s memory of his powers.

Lila Zacharov is Cassel’s on-off-girlfriend. She was forced into love by Cassel’s mother, a emotion worker. Lila loves Cassel for real, but Cassel still thinks it’s not real. He feels guilty about turning her into a white cat and being made to believe that he had killed her. Daneca and Sam are Cassel’s friends who like each other, but aren’t really dating. Daneca has a secret boyfriend. In the previous books we see that she’s into Worker’s rights and protesting.

My favorite thing about this book series has been the word building. It’s Alternate History Paranormal because it’s set in a world where there people with a gene that makes them able to curse or help someone with their power by touching them with their hands. Everyone wears gloves in public because they don’t want to be worked/cursed by someone. This series echoes the theme of racism of African Americans with Curse Workers as the minorities and has a touch of politics alongside its crime fantasy. And there are modern (magical) mobsters, in New Jersey.

Governor Patton of New Jersey is against workers and tries to pass a law about not allowing workers in government positions. Cassel is recruited by a special government organization to assassinate Patton by turning him into something. Barron is part of this organization, but he’s kind of a double agent. There’s a girl name Mina at his school that’s supposedly being blackmailed and want his help. Cassel doesn’t know whom to trust. Everyone wants his power or something from him.

If you have not read the Curse Workers series, then you should check it out. I recently read V for Villain by Peter Moore. It was similar, but this doesn’t have superheroes. Transparent by Natalie Whipple is about a crime boss’s daughter that has a special power. Half Bad by Sally Green had a similar protagonist, though set in the UK. White Cat, Red Glove and Black Heart by Holly Black are the 3 books in the Curse Workers trilogy. They are worth read for fans of paranormal YA.

Cover Art Review: I love the new cover with the dots and almost Art Deco style. I loved the original covers too, but these are great.