Top 5 Favourite Book Series.

Totally random post (and I have no idea what day I’m scheduling this for!), but I felt like sharing 5 of my favourite book series.  Since I’m only going for 5, they’re probably all going to be YA.  But I do have some favourite adult books and of other genres!

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  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Harry Potter, #2) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Harry Potter, #3) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6) by J.K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7) by J.K. Rowling

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Harry Potter! Of course, I LOVE this series. It takes an undebateable top spot on this list simply because this was the first series I ever read and loved to bits. Even though when I first came in contact with this series, I was around 7 or 8?  I had it read to me, because I was at a point where I couldn’t read it for myself yet. But by the time Prisoner of Azkaban came out, I was reading the books on my own, over and over again.  So of course, this series takes the number one spot on my top five favourite series.  How can it not?  😛

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2.  A Great and Terrible Beauty (Gemma Doyle, #1) by Libba Bray Rebel Angels (Gemma Doyle, #2) by Libba Bray The Sweet Far Thing (Gemma Doyle, #3) by Libba Bray

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Next on the list would have to be the Gemma Doyle Trilogy. This is on here because it was the first YA series I read during highschool. I’d love to say I read books every single day since I first encountered HP but truthfully, I stopped for a while for a variety of reasons. And because I stopped, I wanted to get back into the swing of things. And doing that, I started with standalones like Just Listen (Sarah Dessen), The Truth about Forever (Sarah Dessen) and Thirteen Reasons Why (Jay Asher). But the Gemma Doyle Trilogy was my first series. And I LOVED it for the historical setting. LOVED it for its gothic story. LOVED the ending even though it was somewhat heartshattering.  But it was also the first time I had ever encountered a story that did not end in happy ever after (if you’ve read this series, then you’ll understand what I mean!)

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3. Poison Study (Study, #1) by Maria V. Snyder Magic Study (Study, #2) by Maria V. Snyder Fire Study (Study, #3) by Maria V. Snyder Shadow Study (Soulfinders, #1) by Maria V. Snyder Night Study (Study, #5) by Maria V. Snyder Dawn Study (Soulfinders, #3) by Maria V. Snyder

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Next would have to be the Study Series. This holds a special place in my heart for being so awesome.  I think what I loved about this series was that Yelena is the main character.  Despite her hard history, she is able to stand on her feet and keep trying.  Although she falls in love, their romance is not the sole focus of the whole story.  I love how it’s there, and yet, doesn’t take over the whole show!  Not to mention that this was perhaps one of the first series where I decided to read it again right after I had just finished it.  How did I come across it?  I think I was looking for stories that involved assassins – in particular female, since I really was in the mood.  This wasn’t it, but it came up in the search, and I figured I’d give it a try.  It was also one of the first few books in which I actually did not mind the larger age gap between the main protagonist and her love interest.

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4. Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles, #1) by Marissa Meyer Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, #2) by Marissa Meyer Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3) by Marissa Meyer Fairest (The Lunar Chronicles, #3.5) by Marissa Meyer Winter (The Lunar Chronicles, #4) by Marissa Meyer Stars Above (The Lunar Chronicles) by Marissa Meyer

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Even though I’ve only read this series recently, it definitely deserves a place on my list of favourite series for simply being amazing.  I think it’s one of the most creative retellings I’ve ever come across in a long time.   l love the mesh of science fiction, fairy tales, and imperfect characters.  The romances are also very adorable.  But what holds this series together, is the well planned out plot.  Some of it was very predictable, but there was enough emotion to keep the roller coaster going.  I had to consume each book as quick as possible, and I think, asides from the other books on this list, this is something I haven’t done for a long time (or so it feels like!)

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5. Obernewtyn (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #1) by Isobelle Carmody The Farseekers (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #2) by Isobelle Carmody Ashling (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #3) by Isobelle Carmody The Keeping Place (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #4) by Isobelle Carmody The Stone Key (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #5) by Isobelle Carmody The Sending (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #6) by Isobelle Carmody The Red Queen (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #7) by Isobelle Carmody

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I include the Obernewtyn series here as well because I feel I need to add at least one Australian author on my list.  And there aren’t many Australian authors with series I wanted to list that I’ve finished.  But Obernewtyn, though I started it late, is definitely a long time favourite of mine.  I forgive the somewhat slow ending because I love, love love what Carmody does with her story here.  Not only is it a great story that features heavy themes about Being Kind to Animals and whatnot, Carmody does something really special with the language.  As a linguist, I don’t see this kind of creativity very often.  Most other authors who’ve written books set in the future and are considered YA don’t really give much attention to the language. But language, people! is tied with our existence, and it does not truly remain the same.  It evolves!  It would definitely look different in the near and distant future.  Carmody knows language.  It’s beautiful.  I think this was probably one of the reasons why I was really attracted to her story (that and all my favourite characters!)  She even gives the animals a really believable language system too!  And this is why I also love the Obernewtyn series (not just the story!), it’s because of her approach to the language.

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And those are my top five favourites!  What about you?  What are some of your all time favourite book series?

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Oh and to wrap up – some honourable mentions!

Blog Tour: Storm and Silence by Robert Thier

24035804Title: Storm and Silence

Author: Robert Thier

Publication Date: March 19th 2016

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Freedom – that is what Lilly Linton wants most in life. Not marriage, not a brood of squalling brats, and certainly not love, thank you very much!
But freedom is a rare commodity in 19th-century London, where girls are expected to spend their lives sitting at home, fully occupied with looking pretty. Lilly is at her wits’ end – until a chance encounter with a dark, dangerous and powerful stranger changes her life forever…Enter the world of Mr Rikkard Ambrose, where the only rule is: Knowledge is power is time is money!

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R E V I E W

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Storm and Silence.  Robert Thier

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An unpolished version of this book is posted on Wattpad. You can check that out before making up your mind about purchasing the book, but know that the published version has extra material that you want to read. Trust me. 😉

Make sure to check out the other posts in this blog tour!

Name Date Blog Link
Jinan 19th of March LINK
Henz 20th of March LINK
Aira 21st of March LINK
Raven 22nd of March LINK
Nina 23rd of March LINK
Eti 24th of March LINK

About Robert Thier

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Robert Thier is a German Historian and writer of Historical Fiction. His particular mix of history, romance and adventure, always with a good deal of humor thrown in, has gained him a diverse readership ranging from teenagers to retired grandmothers. For the way he manages to make history come alive, as if he himself had lived as a medieval knight, his fans all over the world have given him the nickname “Sir Rob”.

For him, Robert says, becoming a writer has followed naturally from his interest in history. “In Germany,” he says, “we use the same word for story and history. And I’ve always loved the one as much as the other. Becoming a storyteller, a writer, is what I’ve always wanted.”

Besides writing and researching in dusty old archives, on the lookout for a mystery to put into his next story, Robert enjoys classical music and long walks in the country. The helmet you see on the picture he does not wear because he is a cycling enthusiast, but to protect his literary skull in which a bone has been missing from birth. Robert lives in the south of Germany in a small village between the three Emperor’s Mountains.

My Life Next Door. Huntley Fitzpatrick.

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My Life Next Door
by Huntley Fitzpatrick
My rating: 3.7 Stars!

I read this for a buddy read with Rinji for the Quarterly Book Club.

I did really enjoy reading this, don’t judge me by how long it took me to read because I was also busy with academic work and other books.

However, unfortunately, this book had to compete with Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta. It’s one of my favourite books of all time. While Marchetta’s other contemporaries are considered better, Looking for Alibrandi is a classic for a lifetime, and upon rereading it, I really, really, really enjoyed it. AS for My Life Next Door, I think it’s a good book–

——> Oh gosh, I sound like one of those old grannies who say ‘she’s a nice girl’ or ‘he’s a nice boy’ but really means, ‘that person is just not for you!’

I’m rating My Life Next Door 3.7 stars because it was in fact a really good book that by the end of it had me smiling, and appreciating the story that Fitzpatrick wove, despite the fact that it was grossly overshadowed by Melina Marchetta’s book.


The Pros

– Samantha. She has a very relatable voice, and her kind of character is one that I can really understand–she’s someone who has never really spoken up before because she wanted to help her mum and suffers under the pressure of Family Obligations. And I never once found her annoying. She has a well defined character with depth to the way she acts.

– Jase. Are dream boy next door. Ideal YA love interest. Since I have little to say about him, because he was almost perfect–training hard every day, works for the family, considering college if he can get in on scholarship, all round, the perfect kind of guy to see in a YA contemporary novel. I liked him. But, in some ways, I feel like he doesn’t have an extremely deep character, but yet is still well developed, if that makes sense?

– The family dynamics. I liked seeing the contrast between Samantha’s family and Jase’s. The reasons behind them, and how they developed.

– Supporting characters. Tim was the best! I loved him as a character the most and I would love to read about him. I mean, really, that guy was awesome. In a way, he kind of outshone Jase (not that I want him to be with Samantha, but in character development terms, he did outshine the boy). Nan. I can’t believe Nan, and actually that was something I was kind of displeased with! (More in cons.)

– And wow. There really aren’t that many pros.

– Oh wait. Sam and Jase’s relationship. I liked it. It was cute. It began pretty quickly, and progressed at a reasonably interesting pace. I like how Fitzpatrick dealt with Sam and Jase’s relationship. And I guess their relationship is one of the highlights of book. I should probably say…it’s the main highlight, bviously, because it’s a romance…

The Cons

– Clay is an atrocious, ambitious asshole who I still felt sorry for. I didn’t like him at all but knew from the beginning that he was no good (and the only con is that he’s an ass, but the pro about him is that he ended up helping Sam’s mum out, so this should also be a pro lol.)

– Jase could sometimes come across as boring…only because he seemed a little too perfect sometimes. Perfect in the sense that he is the dreamy kind of good love interest in YA contemporary novels. He doesn’t have many problems, though he does have family ones and also the fact that he’s a total family guy….(but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing! I think, once again, the love interest in Looking for Alibrandi overshadowed my appreciation of Jase)

– NAN. THE F**K happened there? That TOTALLY sucked. I mean, I completely understood all the reasons why, and so on, but it just felt like a loose tie that wasn’t really tied up at the end–I wasn’t really satisfied with how they ended up. The only good part was that because of Nan, Tim looked better. But still. Nan and Sam were the weakest part in the whole book–> A Big Angry Dissatisfied Frown Here.

Overall

I did finish this with smiles and liked it all round. I would DEFINITELY go and read the companion/sequel to this because I DEFINITELY want to see more of Tim. The guy is so messed up, I want to know about him. But yeah, the sad part is that I read this while reading Looking for Alibrandi, and Looking for Alibrandi just has a deeper message, a stronger plot, and greater themes for me to relate to than My Life Next Door. That’s all. I do suggest My Life Next Door however, as a Suggestive Read, it kind of reads like Sarah Dessen (yes and no), and it’s definitely the light and fluffy kind of thing that if I had more time, I’d have read it faster!

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Dark Triumph. Robin LaFevers.


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Dark Triumph by Robin LaFevers
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Read for the 4th Quarter (Historical Fiction) Read for the Quarterly Book Club!

This is also the companion sequel of Grave Mercy, the first of the His Fair Assassin Trilogy.

P L O T

The plot of this story is less like Grave Mercy than I expected. Granted, it has been so long since I read Grave Mercy, I can’t even remember the specifics except that Ismae used her body to save Duval (I actually forgot his name too before I started reading Dark Triumph), and then things worked out well in the end. The good thing is, I didn’t have many expectations for this sequel/companion novel. Apparently I liked Grave Mercy! But my review of it was sparse and detailess, so anything I really liked, loved or hated is lost in the swarm of a thousand books in my head. The downside of being a readaholic without an eidetic memory (not that I would want an eidetic memory at all–I’d like to be able to forget when I can). However, I rated it pretty good, and what I did write, did not make me any less or any more hesitant to read Dark Triumph. I think, even back then I really wanted to read Sybella’s story, mainly because she seemed so unreachable, not like Ismae who seemed so full of hope and belief and faith.

So where Grave Mercy had a more substantial plot about the world and its historical elements, Dark Triumph tends to read as a more solo, individual journey of self for Sybella. Yeah there is a plot, but not as much as the first in my opinion (or from the vague feelings I remember). In this book, the main plot is very simple. Defeat d’Albret. Help the Duchess. That kind of thing. Two sides clearly defined, and a war for Brittany. The historical elements are well tended to (I’m not a historian and have never studied history, but I do like my historical fiction novels every once in a while, and a variety at that–though usually stories older than the 20th century.)

The plot also while it is very simple, it actually doesn’t fall flat. I felt the urge to keep reading (and yeah, stayed up to like 2:30am in the morning (continued reading from like 160pages at around 11pm) to finish it all in one go (gawd I am so tired right now, I wonder why I haven’t had several micronaps by now!). Mostly, I think I was interested in when Sybella would do two things: a) Get the man; and b) kill d’Albret. I was also wondering exactly what would happen to her family, and what had happened to the family to make it so bloody twisted!

But as for the actual other non-Sybella, and non-romance parts, there weren’t actually many elements to the political plot. Like I said, it was very simple. It makes me wonder how the ending will look like in the last book.


C H A R A C T E R S

Sybella! I loved her! But only because she had such a deep character and was twisted in her own way, supported by all the dark events of the past. I hate her family though. But they did shape her. And I felt sorry for her a lot of the time, but she never wallows in self pity, and she does her best to keep trying. I liked seeing how she thinks when it comes to her family. Even though it’s all a little sickening, I liked seeing how she stays strong even when she knows she should be afraid. Loved when she had to help the Beast escape. That was funny, specially when she woke up! And while some might go and hate and be stupid, I like how Sybella does her best to put her fears aside and go with the flow. She’s a strong character, totally kickass, and not afraid to kill, even though she doesn’t always want to. And when Ismae comes back into the picture, Sybella really contrasts to her, in terms of personality. They’re similar and different at the same time.

Beast. Oh the Beast. Described as ugly, but really, overall has a really nice personality. And I liked him! And I love that Sybella notices how even after they sleep together, he doesn’t look any prettier (I love how normal that sounds, rather than the usual flowery, he looked beautiful even though he was ugly crap). Beast is Beast. He is scarred and considered ugly, but he is beautiful deep down. Which his actions show, and there’s no need to dress up his ugliness in pretty descriptions. If that makes sense? I just liked how LaFevers depicts Beast. And also depicts and develops his relationship with Sybella.

THE D’ALBRETS. Gawd. That is one twisted family. Only the sisters are harmless. Being young and isolated, protected from the merciless elder brothers and their father. Sybella is a d’Albret, but she hates that she is. And she hates remembering it. Yet, she is, and because she is, she must use it to her advantage for the convent. Her older brothers are asshats. And Julian, her older brother too I think, but like with her other siblings, is a half brother, was both someone she loved and hated. The relationship between them is….well….a bit incestuous, and at the same time….and I hate saying it, but the ending at the end, resolves it and makes me feel abit better. Then again, how LaFevers treats the whole family dynamic, she treats its carefully and thoughtfully. She puts all the necessary emotions in there so that one should feel how Sybella feels about everyone and everything related to her family. There is so much hate there, and there is also, so much she wished she hadn’t done. Sybella’s father though, is the worst out of all of them though. He’s cruel and callous, and he doesn’t care who he uses, hurts, in order to get what he wants: and that is the Duchess’s hand in marriage. I think d’Albret is based on a real historical figure. I’m not too sure, but well. LaFevers did well with being creative with this whole period of history.

Supporting characters and return of the old. Loved seeing Ismae and Duval again! That was awesome! They’re so cute together. The Abbess has me frowning as always. And we hear about Annith again!


S E T T I N G

Morlaix, Nantes in Brittany.  Year: 1489


W R I T I N G

I can’t remember what I thought of LaFevers’ writing previously, but I enjoyed reading it last night! Maybe it was Sybella, or maybe I just needed this kind of writing at that moment. Either way, I did really like her writing. Written in first person, LaFevers mixes both historical language and contemporary language well. The style of writing has a taste of formality to it, yet isn’t dense and a pain to read. Which was beautiful. I almost cried (after all I did lament a bit about this when I was reading the Witch Hunter). It was great. I loved it.

O V E R A L L

I really enjoyed this one! Though now after writing all of the above, the ending while it was nice, I was already happy a few pages before the end of the book lol. Anyway, yes, a suggestive read. And looking forward to Mortal Heart.

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Burn For Burn. Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian.


13406425Burn for Burn
by Jenny Han

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I really enjoyed this, I really got sucked into this in the end, and like all the reviews that I’ve read, there is a bit of supernatural, but it’s such a small bit that you don’t notice it until the very end, and then it’s like bam! So I found it really hard to describe/allocate this book into a genre, is it contemporary? Is is supernatural? Is it what? So I’m just going to combine it and say it’s a contemporary supernatural. But really, it’s such a contemporary novel, such a YA fiction that I find it hard to see it as a supernatural story…and yet I’m curious about the supernatural element.

The Plot
BIG GIRLS DON’T CRY…
THEY GET EVEN.

Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she’s ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she’s not the same girl anymore. And she’s ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won’t stop until they each had a taste.

The Characters
Lillia > the kind of character who’s part of the bitchy crowd, yet she’s not half as bitchy as the rest of them. Not only that, she has something to protect, and I don’t hate her. I find myself, instead liking her. Also, even though she acts against Alex, I think I really would like to see them get together.
Kat > The cool kind of ostracised girl, who kind of doesn’t care about what others think about what others say about her. I loved learning about her past with Rennie in pieces. That was cool. Plus she’s not so bad, she’s actually pretty nice.
Mary > Mary was so whimpy. But because of the changing perspectives of the three main girls, I didn’t get half as annoyed at Mary. In fact, I liked her more. In fact, I didn’t even feel as though she was just whimpy, rather she was whimpy with a very good, very valid reason – though I have to say, to begin with I thought her reason was more than cliched, that is, until I saw more of her past, understood more about her relationship with Reeve.

Others – The Targets of Revenge:
Alex > is the nice kind of guy, who is really good friends with Lillia, and who I suspect, is in love with her. Throughout the whole novel though, I felt as though there was too much revenge on Alex over the other two revenge targets. It’s weird since out of Alex, Rennie and Reeve, Alex perhaps has the least reason for any of the girls to be mad at. BUT. In saying so, while there was so much going on, so much development in character for every main character, development of relationships, of the past and the present, I still think there’s a long way to go to full understand and unravel the stories between these six characters.
Rennie > is the bitch and self-professed Queen of the School. She’s also Lillia’s best friend and Kat’s ex-best friend. And Kat”s after her. See this here is the dilemma, right now, right til the end of Burn for Burn, Rennie is still your 2D kind of mean girl, except you can tell she’s also not, and somehow I feel in subsequent novels to follow, I can’t wait to find out more about her.
Reeve > is probably my favourite out of all the revenge targets. Why? Because even though he’s your average jock asshole, through Mary’s memories, he becomes some one else entirely, and that’s when I realised, I might actually like this character more than any other character in the story. When he blurts out “Big-Easy” at the end of the novel, right before he passes out and is sent out to the hospital (an outcome that was not supposed to happen as a result of Kat’s, Lillia’s and Mary’s revenge), I was like *gasp* and then, flipping over the final pages, I see Mary in shock and grief, and then it ends. And I’m like OMG. What the hell did that mean? Does that mean Reeve recognise the now gorgeous and thin Mary? Or was he thinking about her? Or what??? I AM DYING TO KNOW> so Reeve, is officially the character I’m genuinely most interested in, second to Mary, Lillia, Kat, Alex and Rennie.

The Writing
Look when it comes to Jenny Han, you know you’re in for a rollercoaster of ups and downs, past and present. You’re never gonna be wanting, and you’re definitely not short on character development. That’s what I love about her work. But this is a combined work. Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian. I’ve never read Ms Vivian’s work, but I have read Ms Han’s. SO as a combined work, for me I can only judge from one perspective, together, though, they’re brilliant. I loved the writing in the novel, I thought it was wonderful, delectable and page-flipping!

Overall
Loved it, loved it, loved it. Absolutely cannot wait to read Fire with Fire and no doubt the one after that Ashes to Ashes.

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Cate of the Lost Colony. Lisa M Klein.


7936035Cate of the Lost Colony
by Lisa M. Klein

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This caught my attention even though it was a historical. It seems lately I haven’t really been reading historicals, yet they are one of my favourites types of reads. This is an example of a good historical. It seriously made me want to know more about this particular piece of history.

Plot
I quite liked the plot overall. It is well paced and well plotted, there is drama and at the same time (which I thought was a winner) the character’s feelings reason out the dramatic events. So I didn’t get angry because of something stupid. Instead felt the need to keep reading for the purpose of feeling comfortable. I really wanted to experience Cate’s life. I wanted to know what happened.
(view spoiler)

Characters
Cate: Or Lady Catherine is an destitute, but well-born daughter of society who was given the chance to be one of the Queen’s ladies. Taking the chance, she debuts in court and spends life loving and caring for the Queen. She makes friends and enemies, and becomes a favourite of the Queen. She has a strong personality, and though I feel that sometimes she’s naive, most of the time, she acted out of good intentions. I thought she was a rather well rounded character, strong, wilful, yet wary and sharp. I enjoyed reading about her.

Sir Walter Raleigh: As a historical figure, generally I never thought he could be written so well, or so convincingly. But I liked this interpretation of him. I loved Klein’s approach to him. It made me want to fall in love with him too (especially when she added the little memorandums and notes from his travel log).

Manteo: Honourable and clever, kind and good, Manteo is the good guy. There isn’t much in his pov, yet, throughout the story, you can’t help but cheer for him too. Especially when he starts calling Cate (in his head) his “Moon Maiden”.

Setting
1587 England and the colony settled in Virginia.

Writing
This is one of those historicals that were written so well, and so accurately (though I don’t much about this particular piece of history since it was not in my study curricula) that makes me want to know more. I really have the urge to go and do a bit of research. Lisa M. Klein did a wonderful job! Her writing is exquisite in bringing Cate, Raleigh and Manteo alive, and she never spares a chance for detail. There is just so much detail, it felt so real.

Overall
If you like historical fiction, this is a must read. If you like a sweet romance, this is a must read. If you like a coming of age story, this is a must. This is a must read, period.

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Pandemonium. Lauren Oliver.


9593911Pandemonium
by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked Delirium better. There was something more alive and magical about it. I wasn’t very convinced in this one. I kept wanting to go back to Ally Condie‘s Reached and rereading various passages. But, I will say, the cliffhanger is just making me want to read Requiem and rumour has it that it’ll be divided between Lena and Hana. Makes me wonder who Alex will end up with and who Lena will. I did like Julian but he sounds a bit whimpy, but nice. I like that vulnerability. I was annoyed by Lena, but unlike Tris from Veronica Roth‘s Divergent, Lena stays true to her character, her thoughts, loves and fears. She’s great in a way, but still not my favourite female character.

This was a good read, I’m dying for the third book. I want to know what happens. And I want to know now.

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Delirium. Lauren Oliver.


7686667Delirium
by Lauren Oliver

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

When I first read the premise I thought…Another Matched?

But it had so many good reviews, and I realise I should give it a try. AND well, surprise! It was actually good.

Now I’m not obsessively in love with it but I must admit that for a story singularly based on love it is very good.

I could laugh…there are books that are just about love that drive me insane, because they are so bad at it…cough cough Twilight but this was nothing like that…well it was and it wasn’t.

It was because Lena Haloway is not supposed to fall in love, because in her world, the deliria that comes with it is a drug that kills. But of course like any girl she does. She falls in love with the one guy she isn’t supposed to.

Before I go on I’d like to say I absolutely hated how it ended! but also makes me want to read the next one.

Anyway…so she falls in love, and because it’s illegal things happen, and it isn’t long until Lena makes a choice she cannot turn away from.

I think what got me through this novel was Lauren Oliver’s beautiful writing. I can understand now why it’s such a hit. She writes so beautifully, and beautiful writing makes me weep – not literally, but the kind of weeping that comes in the form of words, more like word weeping or gushing – whatever. But that’s just it…her writing I’d give 5/5. Oh yeah and the way she structures her novel, giving Lena’s memory as an introduction to the chapter, then moving onto the current events, then ending with an understanding. I liked it, made the novel flow effectively, gosh I feel as though I’m at school.

Anyway, as for the story I’m not going to comment – pick it up and read it for yourselves! And warning this is nothing like Matched, which I loved for its beautiful almost timeless romance, but that’s it.

As for the setting…I liked it, Oliver does nothing to give leeway, as though the author was indecisive, everything is tight in Lena’s world. It’s restricted. The rules are inflexible. It feels real.

Lena Haloway though has an admirable character, one that every girl can empathise with. Maybe not in the same topic – love, but in the struggle against one’s own dead set ideals that they’ve known all their life and the change brought by someone or something that challenges that.

So read it if you love Dystopian fiction. Read it and weep. Read it if you loved Matched, or the Hunger Games. Just give it a try!

🙂

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Anna and the French Kiss. Stephanie Perkins.


6936382Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Anna and the French Kiss is funny, and light and most definitely entertaining. A great summer read that’s fluffy in all the write places.

Anna is sent to France for boarding school by a father she couldn’t care less about, and away from her best friend, mum and brother, and, oh yeah the great job that she had and the great guy who she was actually about to get somewhere with.

But when Anna gets to France, things take a turn, and maybe not for the better.

Okay so yes, this book is light and fluffy. It’s set in Paris and it is romantic. It has its ups and its downs. It’s funny and sad.

It’s everything. So yes pick it up and give it a try.

That’s the good part. The bad part is…

IT is freaking stuffed with clichés! Every page there is at least one. NOT that that is a really bad thing. It can be bad because its repetitive, but good too because, well, it makes the dialog familiar.

If I liked a boy who was willing to cheat on his girlfriend – sort of – then who’s to say he wouldn’t do it again?

Kissing in public when the guy already has a girlfriend – over romanticised? Or just plain stupid?

And my biggest pet peeve about this novel is that Anna keeps on crapping on about how ‘beautiful’ Etienne is. God. Twilight much? Oh yeah the scene where they sleep in the same bed without doing anything…reminds me of twilight, but I think the innocence of the scene makes it less nauseous for me.

HOWEVER that does not mean you shouldn’t read this book. You should def’s read it because a) who knows when you need some overly dramatic, highly clichéd, fluffy read? and b) It’s pretty good.

And it reminds me of something Meg Cabot might write – minus the over the top clichés (The Mediator Series) or Jenny Han (The summer I turned Pretty) or Isabelle Merlin (Three Wishes) or Simone Elkeles (Leaving Paradise, Perfect Chemistry and Rules of Attraction) or Jennifer Echols (Going Too Far) or Elizabeth Scott (Perfect You). I’ve just picked some authors and books that are similar – mind not the same – that anyone has read and liked, would like this one. I would have put Sarah Dessen down, but this novel seemed more romanc-y than teen angst – as in dealing with the more serious issues that Dessen’s books do deal with asides from the love angle of course.

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Sea. Heidi R. Kling


6482981Sea
by Heidi R. Kling

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sooo Sienna is still having nightmares from when her mother died three years ago. It makes her afraid of the Sea and flying. But when her father surprises her with a ticket to Indonesia to help out with an orphanage looking after children from the tsunami, she isn’t so sure until she realises she could be helping others even though she can’t quite yet help herself.

In Indonesia though she meets a boy named Deni who has his own sufferings. Can she help him?

So hesitation…hesitation…hesitation. I did not want to pick up this book in the first place. I might read romances but they have been worse of late, particularly YA. So I was hesitant. But then it was a choice of reading this book or another one which sounded the same…more promising premise…possibly very disappointing lusty finish. Whatever I thought. Since neither seemed great.

Several hours later
This was not what I expected! Okay so I kinda want to cut the cover into tiny pieces because it is sooo deceiving. But I can’t because it’s the library’s book.

Heidi R. Kling writes a beautiful novel about the tragedy of the 2005 Tsunami in Indonesia. Her character, Sienna though a little wimpy to begin with grows as she experiences more and more of the extent of the tragedy.

I loved how the focus was not entirely on the ‘couple’ but on the disaster.

It is beautifully written.

(view spoiler)

I think this is a great book that mixes fiction with fact. Kling sets the scene well and as a reader, you actually feel as though you were there.

Three stars because according to goodreads it means ‘I liked it’ which I did. It could have been four stars on another scale because it was well written, had an interesting protag, well developed plot, and I did not feel as though her time (the protag’s) was rushed when she was with Deni in Aceh.

As for other books similar to this, I would have to say that once I finished this one, North of Beautiful by Justine Chen Headley was the first to come into my mind. Although they couldn’t be anymore different. I think the gradual unfolding of events that lead the development of the protagonist was what put me in mind of that book particularly.

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One Thousand Nights.

For one thousand nights I will have the same kinds of dreams.  An impossible cacophony of sadness and darkness.  They would weigh upon my heart like an anchor on a ship.  There is no pillow to soften the blow, so the colours of blue, black and yellow choose to show.  They colour me.  They are a colour patchwork across my heart.  I cannot see beyond the dreams, I cannot breathe.

I wake, my heart races faster than the last time I dreamt.  I remember the dream for the eight hundredth time.  I feel as though the surface will crack.

Eight hundred days ago the dreams began.  They took from me my sleep and they took away my freedom.  These dreams of lives, real lives?  They became my everything.  At first they were just dreams, dreams of sadness that drained my energy.  But as each night passed, and with each day I lost my sleep, the dreams became nightmares.

I wanted them to go away.

“What the hell are you doing?”  I squealed, jumping out of my seat.

“You!”  I said.  “Oh get away from me.”

Ero was the dream master.  His life was about dreams.  I met him by accident eight hundred days ago.  He was the one who did this to me.

“What does it bother you?”  He said, the dark ethereal tendrils of his cloak billowed about him by some unseen wind.  “Two hundred more nights to go.”

I hated him.  He was as pale as a ghost, yet his hair was as dark as the night.  They had always been like that.  But what was unsettling was the pale quality of his eyes.  As he stared at me with his hand resting on the back of my chair, he was seeing into my soul.  No one else could see what I was seeing.  No one else could see the dark shadow that encompassed the guy.  No one else saw his pale all-seeing eyes.  No one but me.

I said nothing.  I would not give him the satisfaction of knowing that I was unsettled by the dreams.

“Well, see you later then.”  And he walked away.  When he left, it felt like a whole world of burden had been lifted from my shoulders.  Even so I could not breathe until he was gone.  I watched as he walked out my classroom, his cloak wavering behind him like endless smoke.  He didn’t turn back once.

When he was gone I could breathe again.  But like the last few years, the whispers began.

“He’s so hot!”

“Who is he?”

“Was that his girlfriend?”

And always I would slouch in my seat, hiding as much as I could behind my textbook.  If they knew what he was like, I doubt that would say such things.

This story began eight hundred days ago.  I was in my ninth grade of high school.

I was a happy person.  I had a boyfriend.  I had friends.  I had a great family.  I had everything.  But I was not nice.  I ignored a lot of things and used blunt methods to get what I wanted.  It wasn’t hard.  At fourteen, just being popular is the ultimate goal.  Easy if you played your cards right.  So then why did I end up like this?  It’s because I met him.

He didn’t look like he did now.  Eight hundred days ago, on the first day I walked passed him, he was dressed like nerd, with glasses and acne.  He asked me for help.  In my heart I felt bad because he was asking everyone for help.  Some signed the petition, the others walked by.  I didn’t know what the petition was for, since I was feeling excessively self-conscious and guilty, I didn’t hear what he said.  Instead, I looked once at my friends and once at the guy.  I didn’t even acknowledge the guilt in my heart.

I refused him, insulted him, and told him to stop giving everyone an eyesore.

And that was the turning point.  Although I didn’t find out until later that night when I looked out my window.  I saw him watching me.  Still in his nerd disguise he looked creepy.  Afraid and guilty, I dropped several plates that night.

And I had the first dream.  I dreamt of someone’s unending sadness.  I dreamt about a person like that guy, whose days are inconsolable and burdened.  I became that person, walking through the school hallway, her eyes averted, afraid to look at those beautiful people who looked down on her.

I woke in a sweat.  It was a dream and yet I could feel the girl’s pain—my pain—so clearly, I wondered whether it had been real.  It had terrified me even though I’d only dreamt of being the school outcast for what felt like a moment.  It terrified me.

I didn’t know that was his plan.  But I saw him in school the next day, again dressed as a nerd.  But he just smirked at me.  When my friends saw it, they shoved me and said, “You’re not going to take that crap, right?”

And I wouldn’t.  Because that was who I was.  I couldn’t face up to my own peer pressure.

I had the same dream again the next night, and the next, and the next.  Each time I would see a little more and become a little more terrified.  But still, I did not know that this was punishment.

On the fifth night I saw my demise as the nerdy girl.  I could not take the pain, the disdainful glares.  I could not take the pressure of being the best.  I didn’t care that I was smart or that my best friend praised me.  I could not handle the pressures of society.  In my dream, I took eight pills.  In reality, I woke up with tears on my face and heart that was beating much too loud.

“Did it hurt?”

I turned and found myself facing that guy.  Only he wasn’t dressed as a nerd, he was dressed as I know him now in that inhuman cloak with pale eyes and dark hair.  There was a strange look on his face that really scared me.  It was sadistic and sly.  He just sat on my dresser with one knee up, an arm draped over it with pawn in his hand.  He twirled the piece with his slim fingers as his pale eyes glared at me.

I was terrified and so I screamed.

By the time my family came up I was already in hysterics.  The next day, I discovered that everyone was on high intruder alert.  I was still shaken but by the end of the day, with my family and friends to support me, I was able to become that hard super popular girl that I always was.  I spent the weekend with my boyfriend and felt beautiful because of him.  But on the dreams didn’t stop.  They got worse.

And I got worse.  I couldn’t sleep any more.  Instead, I saw the images.  Now that I had seen the fate of that girl, I watched sadness of another person.  And as each week passed, I watched and experienced more souls losing themselves in sadness.  It wrenched my heart so badly, I didn’t know if I could cry.

The painful sadness that each person went through became my sadness.  As I lived each life, I took on a burden more than my heart could hold.  The weight crushed me from the beginning, terrifying the cold person I pretended to be.  Was this his plan?

I didn’t know.  So I looked for him.  I found him at school in that disguise.  I found him so normal with green eyes I couldn’t believe that he was the same as the guy who intruded into my room.

I demanded to know what was happening to me.  He said, “Is something happening to you?”

I said yes, and asked him again.  He looked at me, with the same kind of glare that the guy who’d intruded my room used and said, “What gives you the impression that I would know anything?  I’m an eyesore and a waste of space remember?”

He left in such a breath coolness I was stunned.  Being as tired as I was, I didn’t realise what I was feeling or seeing or even beginning to understand.

I didn’t come across his path for weeks.  The only sign that he acknowledged my problem was the chess piece he left on my desk.  A pawn and a letter wrapped in red silk.

The letter inside only had three sentences.  A date.  A time.  A place.  I shivered at the thought that he could intrude on my room.  I felt violated and scared.  That night I slept with my chests of drawers pushed against the door and double locked my windows.

On the day stated in that letter I met my enemy in the park near my house, just as it said.  It was a windy day, so my coat was blown about the wind, my scarf got in my face and my skirt would not stay down.

“So you came.”

“So I came.  Who the hell are you?”  I demanded.  At that point in my life I still had my fire.  I hadn’t lost it yet.  I had a boyfriend, so looking at the handsome scary guy before me, wasn’t difficult.  I was more afraid that he’d hurt me than I was that he would hit on me.  Even so…

“Don’t think I’ll like you.  You’ve caused more harm than the harshest person,” he said.  How did he know what I was thinking?

“Whatever.  What the hell is up with the dreams, and who the hell are you?”

And he said looking right at me.  He said, “Punishment.”

“P-punishment?  What for?”

“Take a guess.”  He handed me another letter wrapped in silk.  “When you know why, read this.  Until then, the dreams will keep coming.”

He left after that.  That letter stood on my bedside for many weeks and months as I suffered through the dreams. It was no different to the other one in size and shape, but this one had a set of scales on the back and my name embossed on the front.

I tried to pretend I was not suffering, but the sadness from my dreams, and my lack of sleep became a part of my life.  One reality seeped into the other, and the other became my unreality.  I lost sleep because I was too afraid to feel that unbearable sadness.  Because I was so tired all the time, I ended up refusing invitations left and right.  I didn’t even see my boyfriend, because I’d started falling asleep around him.  In six months, everything I’d worked hard for fell away, and I found myself on the other side of an impenetrable wall.

It was then I was beginning to understand what I’d feared.

When it was clear I was no longer popular, no longer proud of myself, no longer surrounded by my friends and boyfriend, I opened the letter.

You should feel alone by now.  There is no other reason for why you chose to open this letter.  Perhaps even now you feel the sadness experienced by others. This is your punishment.  One thousand nights of sadness. You must live each life through your dreams.  You must experience the pain, until you understand.  Ero is your punisher. 

I had not seen him since the day he handed me that letter.  When I realised that the dreams were my punishment, I convinced mum and dad to transfer me to another school.

When I look over it now, I realised how futile it was to even think about transferring schools.  Since then I had transferred three more times.  Each time for one reason worse than another.  The first because of a misunderstanding, the second because my boyfriend was a loser and the third because I was failing all my classes.

Sleeping became a burden, as was anything else I did.  Just moving was a burden.  I started hating everything.  I had no interest in studying.  I had no interest in making friends.  It all became a burden.

I tried hard to ignore the dreams.  But when I didn’t sleep, I spent more days dwelling inside the person in my dreams.  When I did sleep, the sadness of that person disappeared quickly.  For the first couple of years the dreams were a burden, they still are, but now I sleep longer to see these lives.

As for Ero, he turned up at my second transfer.  I had seen him nerdy and humble.  I had seen him stalker-scary.  But that time he was angry.  I received a silk wrapped envelope in my locker.  A locker I had only just opened.

He waited for me out front, not even dressed in the school uniform.  He asked me why I was there.  He asked me about the dreams.  And then looking at my weary face, he asked how I was.

I ignored him and returned to class.  I didn’t see him until now.  But this time he stalked into my classroom and demanded what I was doing.  My only response was, “get away from me.”

My dream this night was different.  It was a new girl.  She was sad all the time.  She was popular.  She had friends and she had a boyfriend.  She was like the fourteen year old me.  But she was sad.  At home her family was not all happy smiles. Her mother worked all the time and her brother was closed off.

Unlike me.  She suffered on her own.  No one could get to her.  She held her troubles in her a heart wrapped in barbed wire.  And because of that she was losing hope fast.

I wake shivering, not sure how this could scare me.  I had seen so many dreams now.  Since I’d moved here to this frigid little town, it was so easy to be isolated.  Since I didn’t care for friends, I didn’t bother trying to be friendly anymore.  But that recent dream made me wary.

I pulled a jumper over my camo and shorts and headed outside.  It had become the norm for me to work of the sadness from the dreams.  It was dark and scary but I didn’t plan to go far from home.  I guess being alone meant I didn’t care anymore.

Looking left and right, I shivered again at the empty stillness, and then started jogging.  Because I didn’t care, I ran faster to shake the burden away.  My breath was a huff of mist in the darkness.  My shadow just a passing human shape under the circles of light.  I was an enigma in the darkness.  Running to escape, running to feel free.  It was cold.

I shivered again oblivious to my surroundings.  There was nothing left in me to feel anymore.  I felt numb.

“What the hell do you thinking your doing?”  The voice that was colder than how I felt sliced through me, knocking me off balance.  It had been unexpected.  I tripped and tumbled to the ground.  Darkness swathed me.

“Don’t touch me.”  I evaded his helping hands.  What, he wanted to help his punishee?  I stood up, shaking, not just from the numb cold I’d relished in before, but because a sharp pain shot up my leg.

A gust knocked me off my feet.  I swore, but this time I could not evade his arms.  Dark clothed swathed me again, capturing me in its grasp.  “Don’t be stupid.”

He dumped me on the low wall began wrapping my ankle with strips from his cloak.  I shivered.  My anger began to rise.  I didn’t need help.  I was fine on my own.  I had been fine one my own these last few years anyway.  I pushed him away and tied the bandage myself, my cheeks flushing hot red in embarrassment.

“What are you doing here anyway?  I never see you.  So don’t expect me to be nice when you turn up after such a long time!”

I jerked my shoes on and stood up again, ready to leave.  I couldn’t stop feeling agitated.  This guy—!  This person who had taken away my life, replaced my dreams to punish me should not be caring about me at all.

“Just go away.  I’ve only two hundred days left.  Two hundred and these dreams will stop.”

If ever there was a faster escape route, I wish someone had told me.  No sooner had I taken a step in the other direction, I was jerked back.  My first urge was to scream, but a hand covered my mouth.

“Do you really think once the two hundred days are over, you will be free?”  He said.  I shivered again, but I should be scared, so why wasn’t I?  “I have to keep looking for you.  By the time I find you, you always disappear again.  This is what I wanted to tell you.  Your punishment is not for being self-centred and childish.  It is not because you hurt others to be popular.  It is because you forgot who you were.  You lost yourself and hurt others because of it.”

What—?

“You’re supposed to find yourself before your days are up.  That’s your punishment.”

He left in a wisp of darkness, as though he hadn’t even been there.

I dreamt again of that girl.  Her sorrow far more a burden than the night before.  But still she kept moving forward.  As her, I pushed through the happy façade, being perfect for everyone.  Her boyfriend kissed her, her friends hugged and cheered her, and her teachers loved her.  All the while her heart bled on the inside.  But even though she was suffering, she kept going.

She had a hundred plans in her head that kept the sorrow company.  I didn’t understand her dual heart.  I didn’t understand how her sorrow could support her determination.  Shouldn’t a sorrowful person be under such a weight that they couldn’t bear the burden anymore?

Class was boring.  I didn’t expect anyone to talk to me.  But when I walked into the canteen, I was surprised.

Sitting in the centre of the room was Ero.  He looked to me, the same as usual.  His natural form was frightening, yet handsome, with those pale eyes.  If his eyes weren’t pale, he would be less frightening.  But yet, girls flocked him.  A group of them stood about him, giggling and chatting.  He seemed so at ease, with that careless return smile.

So why was I unnerved?

“The new guy is quiet hot isn’t he?”  Startled I turned around to see a girl from my class standing next to me.

“What are you talking about?”  I asked, honestly surprised.

“You serious?”  She said looking at me as though I had a four heads.  “Those smoky green eyes, excellent bone structure, manly body and amazing mop of dark hair.  Not to mention that mysterious aura around him.  If that doesn’t make a guy hot then I don’t know what.”

They didn’t see the real him.  Why was that?  Startled I turned back to find him staring back at me.  I was the only one who can.  And now he was more popular than me.

What the hell?  Why was I suddenly feeling like I needed to be elsewhere?  Why was I suddenly feeling that the room was too small?

“Hey are you okay?”

I turned to her, now she was concerned?  “Fine.”

She frowned.  “Are you his girlfriend?  I mean I did see you with him this morning.”

“No.  I’m not.”  I turned and left.

“Idiot.  So now you’re in my school!  I won’t forgive you!”  I said walking briskly down the hall.  I shoved people out of the way, not caring where the hell I was going.  I should have been more careful.

“Watch where you’re going weirdo.”  I froze.  I’d forgotten the popular people.

I mad to retort back, but, instead just looked at the beautiful girl.  Then I walked away.  And I listened to the laughter that echoed through the corridor.  Laughter that once upon a time had been mine.  Though, maybe I wouldn’t have used the word ‘weirdo’, maybe my words would have been stronger.

Was this a part of the punishment as well?

My shoes clipped down the corridor, marking my presence.  This was not what I wanted.  I wanted to be left alone as I had been for the last two years and a bit.  I wanted to suffer alone.  Was that so hard to ask for?  Was that not my punishment?

I slammed the door of my classroom open.  My breathing hard as my shoes slipped on the linoleum.  I dumped my books and lunch onto my desk and dropped my head into my hands.  I felt sick.  First the dream with its unusual aura, and aura that meant I had no idea where it was going to go.  Second, my punisher, dream master turns after such a long absence.  And third, instead of disappearing, he has also enrolled in my school as a student.  What the hell?

She started reading pamphlets.  University brochures.  Her eyes took in the various courses they listed.  She was curious.  Despite being in her mind, I didn’t quite know what she was thinking.  Most of the lives I’ve lived, drowned in their sorrow.  Some drowned in the liquid of sorrow, others fell to liquid to remove their sorrow.

But she did not do either.  She kept pushing forward.  Why?  Why didn’t she just give up, her heart was already divided.  But she just kept flipping through those booklets, her eyes, my eyes, full of enthusiasm, sometimes bordering annoyance, but enthusiasm all the same.

Really?  That’s ridiculo—

Wake up!”  My eyes flew open.  What the hell is he doing in my classroom?

“Don’t hiss at me!”  I slammed my palms on the table and shoved myself as far away from him as possible.  I was used to those pale eyes now.  In two years I had gotten used to it.  Because I had changed as well.  Gone were those mini skirts and low cut tops.  Gone were those long tresses.  Gone was that attitude.  Replaced now were a cropped do and clothes that said ‘go away’.  Change.  I am one of many people.  No one will care.

“Why are you here?  Why are you a student?  In one hundred and ninety-eight more days and I don’t need to see you ever again!”

“Do you really think so?”

His hand rested on the table, fingers spread.  Dangerous.  He watched me warily.  “I told you before, it’s not just one hundred and ninety-eight more days.  Did you forget?”

In the end it didn’t matter how much I hated him, or how much I resented his presence, what he said, that held the value.

I sat back in my chair and fist my hands on my knees.  “No.  I didn’t forget.”

Once I would not have admitted that.  I would have feigned disdained and told him to go away.  I had started getting tired a long time ago, but now I was really tired.  If I had to find myself before the days were up, I wasn’t sure if I could.  How I am now, isn’t that who I was?

“So go away, leave me alone.”

When did he leave, I didn’t know, and I didn’t care.  But that infuriating heart in my chest wouldn’t stop pounding.  I wonder why.

What was her secret that made her sad?  Why had she stopped looking at the brochures?  What happened in the time between yesterday and today?  Why was she lying on her bed with her sorrow leaking out?  Where had that determination gone?  Then I saw the letter on the bed beside her.

A letter of condolence?  Who died?

I watched as she picked herself up, her body leaden with that heavy grief.  The tears on her cheeks.

When I looked around the room, it took me a moment to realise this was not her room.  This was her brother’s room.  I studied the awards all over the walls.  I looked at the books on the table and the neatly organised wardrobe.  Her brother was no slacker.

He had been so close to obtaining a goal that would have been improbable for someone at his age, he had the expectations of everyone.

I woke up early and jogged before going to school.  It was supposed to clear my head but I could think of nothing but that girl.  She wasn’t just sad, she was guilty!  Before she had been sad and lonely, now she was guilty?  What the hell?  I didn’t understand.  Where had this guilt come from?  From my experience it was from being the sibling alive.  But what did that mean?  What happened?

I slammed my locker shut with an unexpected force.  Murmurs rippled behind me but I ignored them anyway.  As I turned, I found myself in the presence of something unpleasant.

“You need my help,” he said.

“I don’t.”

I walked away.  All day, he and she were in my head.  Why did he want to help?  Why did she lose her way? Why? Why? Why?

“She wanted to support her parents first.  That’s why she was lonely.  That’s why she worked hard.  She was sad because she was always alone.  But she worked hard to go to a better school so that she wouldn’t disappoint her family.  But even though she’s guilty, she’s guilty because she thinks she’s not trying hard enough.  She thinks to some extent that she is the reason for his death.  But it is unreasonable.  She knows that too, but at this moment, her determination, where her rationality lies, is failing.  Why?”  I asked myself.

“Why don’t you try sleeping?”

I spun around.  “What do you want?  I thought I told you to go away.”

Even in broad daylight it still seemed like he was caring the world’s darkness on his back.  It didn’t matter how casually he leaned against the railing or how tough he seemed with his arms across his chest, he was still an enigma beyond normal.

“I can’t go away.  Not now.”

“What the hell is that supposed to mean?”  My head throbbed, and my eyes blurred in a moment making me feel light headed.  “You’re like a migraine!”

“But they always go away.”

“What?”

“Migraine’s.  Dealt with properly, they always go away in the end.”

“Yeah! After a long period of pain!  Which is what you are—a pain!”  Ugh!  My head ached badly.

There was silence after that.  An awkward heavy silence that was only filled in by the sound of a gust of wind that blew between us as we stood on the roof of my house.

He brushed his hair out of his face.  “I’m sorry for being a pain.  But I need to tell you.  Will you listen?”

“I will listen.”

“You do not have to continue the nights.  If you understand yourself before the deadline, then you will be free of the punishment.  But if you can’t understand yourself before the deadline, then you will forever live with the sorrow of not knowing.  I’m telling you this, because you are very close to the end now.  So close, I think you might fail.”

“What?”

If what I understood of Ero’s conversation was correct then I could be free of this sorrow soon.  But if I were to be free of the sorrow it meant that I was not happy with the way I am now and that I was actually someone better.

Ero had said that it was easy for me to break the punishment.  He had said that I had accepted my punishment a long time ago.  My problem was that I had grown comfortable with these dreams.  This problem I was facing now, this dream I was seeing, I knew the answer.  I knew what it was telling me, but as Ero said, I was pushing the answer away.

“It’s too close to the truth, isn’t it?”  He’d said.  And he hadn’t said it with a smirk or sneer.  It was as though he knew.

She was at last standing at her desk with books in her arm.  She didn’t look sad anymore.  Instead she looked determined.  The lines of a young girl were gone, and the birth of a more mature woman stared back at me.

As I watched, I looked at the pile of books in her arms.  They were the brochures from before.

“ANI where are you?”  Her mother shouted from downstairs.  She was leaving.

“Coming mum!”  She shouted.  Then back to the window she said, “I love brother.  I always will.  I was guilty.”

She looked down at her book.  “I won’t ever say I’m not guilty but I can’t forget it.”

She moved around the room.  “All your memories are here.  How hard you worked, how much you did to protect mum and me.  Everything.  I know it all now.  I was sad when you were never at home, when mum was never at home, but I knew you were working hard.  So I worked hard.  But then you died.”

Tears started pouring down her cheeks again, whether she wanted it or not.  “And I was lost.  I couldn’t do anything anymore.  Those people I used to help my appearance?  My boyfriend, my friends, did you know they really cared about me?  Did you know?  I think you did, because they showed me you, they showed me what I refused to see.  I miss you, but I’ll work harder.  I’ll make you proud.  I love you brother.”

I watched as she turned and walked out the room, her hand grazing a photo on the wall beside the door.  As she did, she whispered, “Goodbye brother.”

I was stunned.  What had happened?

“She found a purpose.”

I jumped startled at the sound of Ero’s voice.  “What are you doing in my dream?”  I asked turning to face him.

He looked different.  His eyes weren’t white, but green, and he was wearing plain plaids.  While still good looking, he also looked human.

Looking into my eyes he said the strangest thing.  “Even a dream master has dreams.”

But even as I was looking at him, I was drawn to a photo perched on the wall behind him.  I pushed past him.  What?

He didn’t seem to be aware of it.  He was still staring at the place where she once stood.

When I woke, I was on the ground of my rooftop, and the dream master was beside me.  Strangely enough, I didn’t feel sad.  I watched my dream master wake.  It was slow, because he was still sleeping so peacefully.  I wondered if he would wake soon.

I felt calm for someone who had discovered something immense.  Was this what my punishment led to?  But why?

“Is this what happens if you don’t succeed in one thousand nights?”

He opened his eyes slowly.  I nearly jumped in surprise as they were revealed.  Why were they green now?

“Yes.  You become a slave to her.  You work until someone can free you.  But it’s not all terrible.  If you succeed, you free yourself from the fear.”

“Are you alive?”  I asked him.

He rolled on his stomach.  “No.  I think you know that.”

“So the ultimate punishment is death.”

“No.”

He looked at me.  It was unnerving that he was no longer paled eyed.  But all the same.  It didn’t matter to me if he still had his pale eyes.

“Death was better than living.”

“I don’t understand,” I said.

“You do.”

He stood.  I stood after him.  “What’s that supposed to mean?”  I demanded.

“If you didn’t then tonight you’d dream those dreams again.  But you do, so you won’t.  Now you can live your life the way you want to.  Live it your way.”

He didn’t make much sense, but I think I understood.

“Where are you going now?”  I asked.

He just smiled and looked up to the sky. “I’m going home.”

Angel Fiction.

What’s popular beside Vampire fiction?  Angel fiction.  Angel fiction has probably always been around, I mean they talk about Angels in bibles right?  Well, now they’ve seeped into YA, and are excessively popular.  Sooo here are some Angel fiction that’ve I read and which I think are worth reading.

Unearthly (Unearthly #1).  Cynthia Hand.  

In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . . .

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place—and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.

As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she’d have to make—between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil. When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

Unearthly is a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart.

Mercy (Mercy #1).  Rebecca Lim.

Mercy ′wakes′ on a school bus bound for Paradise, a small town where everyone knows everyone else′s business — or thinks they do. But they will never guess the secret Mercy is hiding ….

As an angel exiled from heaven and doomed to return repeatedly to Earth, Mercy is never sure whose life and body she will share each time. And her mind is filled with the desperate pleas of her beloved, Luc, who can only approach her in her dreams.

In Paradise, Mercy meets Ryan, whose sister was kidnapped two years ago and is now presumed dead. When another girl disappears, Mercy and Ryan know they must act before time runs out. But a host of angels are out for Mercy′s blood and they won′t rest until they find her and punish her — for a crime she doesn′t remember committing …

An electric combination of angels, mystery and romance, MERCY is the first book in a major new series.

 

 

Halo (Halo #1).  Alexandra Adornetto.

   Three angels – Gabriel, the warrior; Ivy, the healer; and Bethany, the youngest and most human – are sent by Heaven to bring good to a world falling under the influence of darkness. They must work hard to conceal their luminous glow, superhuman powers, and, most dangerous of all, their wings, all the while avoiding all human attachments.
Then Bethany meets Xavier Woods, and neither of them is able to resist the attraction between them. Gabriel and Ivy do everything in their power to intervene, but the bond between Xavier and Bethany seems too strong. Then comes the brooding and popular new transfer, Jake Thorn… who just so happens to be in Bethany’s class. Something about Jake seems to be hiding something darker, something more powerful than expected. That thing, and Xavier, distracts Bethany to a point that Gabriel and Ivy are concerned.
The angel’s mission is urgent, and dark forces are threatening. Will love ruin Bethany or save her?

 

 

Forsaken  (The Demon Trappers #1).   Jana Oliver.

Riley Blackthorne just needs a chance to prove herself—and that’s exactly what the demons are counting on… 

Seventeen-year-old Riley, the only daughter of legendary Demon Trapper, Paul Blackthorne, has always dreamed of following in her father’s footsteps. The good news is, with human society seriously disrupted by economic upheaval and Lucifer increasing the number of demons in all major cities, Atlanta’s local Trappers’ Guild needs all the help they can get—even from a girl. When she’s not keeping up with her homework or trying to manage her growing crush on fellow apprentice, Simon, Riley’s out saving distressed citizens from foul-mouthed little devils – Grade One Hellspawn only, of course, per the strict rules of the Guild. Life’s about as normal as can be for the average demon-trapping teen.

But then a Grade Five Geo-Fiend crashes Riley’s routine assignment at a library, jeopardizing her life and her chosen livelihood. And, as if that wasn’t bad enough, sudden tragedy strikes the Trappers’ Guild, spinning Riley down a more dangerous path than she ever could have imagined. As her whole world crashes down around her, who can Riley trust with her heart—and her life?

Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush #1).  Becca Fitzpatrick.  

 For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She’s never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her…until Patch comes along.
With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora’s not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can’t decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen – and when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

Fallen (Fallen #1).  Lauren Kate.

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.

Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.

Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1).  Cassandra Clare.

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It’s hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary’s first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It’s also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace’s world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . . .

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare’s ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1).  Laini Taylor.

  Around the world, black handprints are appearing on doorways, scorched there by winged strangers who have crept through a slit in the sky.
In a dark and dusty shop, a devil’s supply of human teeth grown dangerously low.
And in the tangled lanes of Prague, a young art student is about to be caught up in a brutal otherwordly war. 

Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real; she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”; she speaks many languages—not all of them human; and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out.
When one of the strangers—beautiful, haunted Akiva—fixes his fire-colored eyes on her in an alley in Marrakesh, the result is blood and starlight, secrets unveiled, and a star-crossed love whose roots drink deep of a violent past. But will Karou live to regret learning the truth about herself?

Coffeehouse Angel.  Suzanne Selfors.

From the author of Saving Juliet comes a romantic comedy that is good to the last drop. When Katrina spots a homeless guy sleeping in the alley behind her grandmother’s coffee shop, she decides to leave him a cup of coffee, a bag of chocolate-covered coffee beans, and some pastries to tide him over. Little does she know that this random act of kindness is about to turn her life upside down.  Because this adorable vagrant, Malcolm, is really a guardian angel on a break between missions. And he won’t leave until he can reward Katrina’s selflessness by fulfilling her deepest desire. Now if only she could decide what that might be . . .

Meridian (Fenestra #1).  Amber Kizer.

Half-human, half-angel, Meridian Sozu has a dark responsibility.

Sixteen-year-old Meridian has been surrounded by death ever since she can remember. As a child, insects, mice, and salamanders would burrow into her bedclothes and die. At her elementary school, she was blamed for a classmate’s tragic accident. And on her sixteenth birthday, a car crashes in front of her family home—and Meridian’s body explodes in pain.

Before she can fully recover, Meridian is told that she’s a danger to her family and hustled off to her great-aunt’s house in Revelation, Colorado. It’s there that she learns that she is a Fenestra—the half-angel, half-human link between the living and the dead. But Meridian and her sworn protector and love, Tens, face great danger from the Aternocti, a band of dark forces who capture vulnerable souls on the brink of death and cause chaos.

So these are what I’ve read.  There are plenty more out there though.  So look below, yes that’s it, look and see that little link there.  Click it and you’ll find yourself looking at a list of other YA Angel novels!  Enjoy 🙂

http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/5486.YA_Angels

Odin’s Voice. Odin’s Queen. Odin’s Son.

Imagine a future world based on a Norse society with Bonds and intense worship of the Norse gods such as Odin.  It’s such a strange mix but this serious drew me in years ago.  I think it may have been the starting point of my fascination with Dystopia.  Phillip K Dick then got me into science fiction.  But still, I just can’t help liking these three books.

Odin's Voice (Mars)  Odin's Queen (Odin Trilogy)  Odin's Son (Odin Trilogy)

Odin’s Voice:  This first adventure follows the story of a bonder, Kylie, and a pampered teen, Affroditey – both thrown together as their prescribed roles in society change. Kylie becomes the mouthpiece of the god, Odin, and gains political advantage and freedom as a result. Affroditey finds herself reduced to penury after her father’s suicide, and sold off as a bonder by her uncaring stepmother. Brought together by Kylie’s young son, who has been ‘adopted’ by Affroditey’s employers, the two girls decide to escape as pioneers to Mars, where they will help to set up a new society.

Odin’s Queen:  In this thrilling adventure, bonder Affie has escaped to Mars with Odinstoy, and her young son, Apollo. Odinstoy has been employed by the Martian Temple of Odin as their God-speaker and Affie goes undercover as her ‘wife’. Affie hopes their new life will enable her to claw back the status and respect she had before she became a bonder – and is frustrated by Odinstoy’s disdain for the fame her new role brings. Affie’s craving for attention leads her to fall under the spell of a follower of the rival temple of Zeus, and before she knows it she is revealing more of her past to him than she ever intended. And in doing so, she finds herself betrays Odinstoy; putting all their lives at risk…

Odin’s Son:  Since his mother, Odinstoy’s, death, Gift has become obsessed with the idea of tracking down his real father. In secret, he employs a private detective to make investigations on Earth so that he can uncover his past. But when a Newsblog reveals evidence to suggest that Odinstoy wasn’t his real mother, Gift doesn’t know where to turn. He flees to the poisonous surface of Mars in the hope that the great god Odin can give him some answers…Meanwhile the mysterious Sherri, whose resemblance to Gift is undeniable, is making her way to Mars with some important news. Will she find him before it’s too late?

Dystopia and Science Fiction in YA.

YA is blooming with dystopian and Sci-fi fiction.  And there are all kinds, some about an apocalyptic world.  Some of a dead world.  And some about a controlled world.  So I thought I might narrow it down a bit, and list some in categories I think they belong (Because some are so similar!) below.  🙂

FACTIONS IN DYSTOPIA AND SCI-FI.  A CONTROLLED FUTURE WORLD >

Possession (Possession, #1)  The Pledge (The Pledge, #1)  Divergent  Girl in the Arena  Obernewtyn (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #1)  The Declaration (The Declaration, #1)  The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)  Uglies (Uglies, #1)  The Declaration (The Declaration, #1)  The Giver (The Giver, #1)

LOVE IN DYSTOPIA AND SCI-FI.  LOVE IS CONTROLLED >

Delirium (Delirium, #1)  Wither (The Chemical Garden, #1)  Matched (Matched, #1)  Possession (Possession, #1)

SPACE IN DYSTOPIA AND SCI-FI.  WHERE THE FUTURE IS SET IN SPACE.

Glow (Sky Chasers, #1)  Across the Universe (Across the Universe, #1)

A DYING WORLD DYSTOPIA AND SCI-FI.  WHERE THE WORLD IS LACKING RESOURCES FROM ONE EVENT OR ANOTHER.

Life as We Knew It (Last Survivors, #1)  The Water Wars

ZOMBIE DYSTOPIA AND SCI-FI.  WHERE THE FUTURE IS PLAGUE WITH DECAYING UNDEAD.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #1)  The Dead-Tossed Waves (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #2)  The Dark and Hollow Places (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, #3)  Dearly, Departed (Gone With the Respiration, #1)

FUTURISTIC DYSTOPIA AND SCI-FIWHERE THERE ARE SOME MYSTICAL ELEMENTS.

Forsaken (The Demon Trappers, #1)

I will continue to add to this…the more I read anyway.  But mind, this is only a list of Young-Adult dystopian and sci-fi fiction.

Great Aussie YA.

I love Australian YA fiction, nearly every book I’ve read has met my expectations.  There isn’t one that I haven’t enjoyed!  So here are some Aussie fction for you peeps out there!

Obernewtyn (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #1) Burnt Snow Mercy (Mercy, #1)  Halo (Halo, #1)   Wildwood Dancing (Wildwood, #1) The Singer of All Songs: The Chanters of Tremaris Trilogy, Book 1   Sabriel (The Abhorsen Trilogy, #1)  Eon: Dragoneye Reborn (Eon, #1)

Fury   On the Jellicoe Road

Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody (Dystopia, must read for all those who are obsessed with YA dystopia.  You will not be disappointed!)

Burnt Snow by Van Badham (A surprising supernatural fiction that is both horrifyingly terrible – in a frightening sense, not a this is a bad book sense – that should be read by anyone who calls themselves a connoisseur of supernatural fiction.  There is real substance in this story!)

Mercy by Rebecca Lim (Love angels?  Pick this one up, you won’t be disappointed.  Lim knows how to weave a tale.  I am going to be a little biased here – but it definitely has more substance than Fallen.  (Or at least the books that follow as the sequels of Fallen.) )

Halo by Alexandra Adornetto (Not my favourite particularly, but people seem to enjoy it.  I think it’s longer than it needs to be.  Halo, for those who love books about angels.)

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier (One of my favourite fantasy reads!  Marillier’s writing is as delicious as her story.)

The Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable (I read this one early on in highschool and I really enjoyed the story.  It was later I learnt the author was an Australian.  I was enchanted, so hopefully others will be too!)

Sabriel by Garth Nix (Garth Nix, the god of fantasy?  Okay maybe that’s an exaggeration but his books are high fantasy and definitely worth the read.  If you’re after a novel that is both fantasy and extremely well written then pick up Garth Nix – anyone of them will do!  The old Kingdom series and The Keys to the Kingdom are both excellent!)

Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Allison Goodman (An Australian author setting her book in an ancient Eastern era was a big surprise for me.  But a pleasant surprise.  She knows how to write.  If you enjoy fantasy and eastern settings, this is the book for you.  Even the protagonist is strong!)

Fury by Shirley Marr (This was a riot!  Marr creates the most comical character that I’ve hadn’t had the pleasure to read about in a long time.  I absolutely loved Fury.  Although mind you it’s Eliza Boans retelling of a murder she commits, but it also is a story about the strength of friendship bonds.  Marr’s Eliza is a well developed character.)

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (This story is extremely confusing at first, but once you get the hang of the plot and the multiciplicity of characters, you start to fall in love with the story itself.  Any of Marchetta’s book are amazing; this is only one of them!)

Timeless. The Faerie Ring. Entwined. The Splendor Falls. Power and Majesty.

Timeless The Faerie Ring (The Faerie Ring, #1) Entwined The Splendor Falls Power and Majesty (Creature Court trilogy #1)

Alexandra Monir’s Timeless is beautiful.

Kiki Hamilton’s The Faerie Ring was a pleasant surprise!

Heather Dixon’s Entwined, despite its size is worth the read!

I’m so glad I read Rosemary Clement-Moore’s The Splendor Falls.

Tansy Rayner Roberts’s Power and Majesty is a Must Read fantasy!

Divergent – Veronica Roth

Veronica Roth‘s Divergent was one of 2011 must reads.  I remember the day I waltz into Borders and seeing it sitting there on the shelf.  I thought the premise was a little too Hunger Games for me.  But it was on my to-read list on Goodreads, and I thought, why not?

Turns out:

Loved it!

Divergent
by Veronica Roth

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Okay so according to Goodreads a five star rating means ‘it was amazing’ and after reading so many dystopians, I didn’t think this was possible, but there we go, there is the rating, and yes, believe me it was amazing.

sixteen year old Beatrice Prior is on the verge of choosing the Faction she will live in for the rest of her life. On the day of her test something goes wrong and affects how she ends up choosing. There are five factions, Abnegation (selflessness), Erudite (knowledge), Candor (honesty), Dauntless (brave/fearlessness) and Amity (peace/friendship). When she chooses Dauntless she becomes Tris, and from there her initiation marks the path to what it really means to be Dauntless. Veronica Roth has created a remarkable dystopian world and Tris’s story is page flipping.

I picked this book up when I happened to be in Borders because well, it’s been on my to-read list for a while, and I absolutely loved the cover. The premise on the back though…that just told me this was another dystopian future world that is very restricting, not much different to other recent debut Dystopians, Such as Matched, Delirium, and Wither (Which I have yet to read). They’re all similar in the sense that a) they’re dystopians and b) they are about a future that either has a controlling sector or varying factions (although I cannot speak for Wither because I have yet to read that one. I just included it because of its similar sounding similarities.) And blah blah blah so on right…so what makes me rate this one 5/5 that’s easy…it’s actiony, and real sounding. The romance was not the singular focus but it was there. The mysterious ‘Four’ was cute and sexy in the way Roth delivered him. The protagonist though – she was strong willed, and human – italics because what person is ever just stupid brave or selfless? Tris is every and none of them at the same time, which makes her likeable, real, and easy to empathise for the reader.

Now comparing it to the supposed it dystopian trilogy – The Hunger Games which did not get a high rating from me except for the last book, I’d have to say I preferred Divergent better. Don’t get me wrong, I liked The Hunger Games but Divergent had a quality to it that made it so much more readable.

But hold up a second – I’m not saying it was perfect. No book is. I already mentioned that the summary on the back didn’t quite intrigue me, and I’ll say that when I first began the novel I was a bit iffy, because you know I just finished reading Delirium which was like Matched love based, so my hopes weren’t too high. And plus the writing at the beginning began rockily so I really was iffy, until the story starting sucking me in. The further I read the more I couldn’t put it down. I had to know how Tris dealt with her problems, with Four, with her enemies and her friends, and her family. I just had to know. And bam! just like that it was 1am in the morning and the book was finished. It took me a total of 3 or 4 hours to finish – which I only ever do to books that absolutely amaze me. I didn’t do it to Delirium – which took me what 8 hours over 2 – 3 days to finish. And I didn’t do it to The Hunger Games– well I did with the first book only because I skimmed the second half of the novel because I couldn’t stand anymore of Katniss’s whining and manipulating.

SO you’ll have to try this out if you’re interested in Dystopian fiction. But if you’re looking for novels like Delirium or Matched then you might not like this as much, not that I’m saying you won’t. But…if you’ve read The Hunger Games or even the the Obernewtyn series by Isobelle Carmody then you’ll like Divergent.

View all my reviews