Thursday, 11 April 2013

REVIEW: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Battling against a society in which love has been declared a disease, Lena now finds herself at the centre of a fierce revolution. But the Wilds are no longer the haven they once were as the government seeks to stamp out the rebels. And Lena's emotions are in turmoil following the dramatic return of someone she thought was lost forever...

Told from the alternating viewpoints of Lena and her best friend Hana, Requiem brings the Delirium trilogy to an exhilarating end and showcases Lauren Oliver at the height of her writing powers - emotionally powerful and utterly enthralling. (goodreads)

Review (contains spoilers for ALL 3 books):

I read Delirium and absolutely loved it. I read Pandemonium and thoroughly enjoyed it. As for Requiem I certainly LIKED it, but I did have a few issues, which I will submit you to now. ;)

I suspected it from the moment I picked up book 2 and by the end I knew it was inevitable. Brace yourselves... the love triangle is coming. I'm afraid I rather dislike love triangles. I think it was sparked by Twilight, and then bolstered by countless other books with the same tired formula. I'd rather just focus on the one couple, and bypass all the drama that comes with a second suitor. I'm certain love triangles can be done right but... I'm just a bit tired of seeing them done wrong.

In Delirium I completely fell for Lena and Alex. I relished every scene they had together; they seemed such a sweet, perfect couple. As a result I went into Pandemonium ready to hate Julian and... didn't. In fact I really love Julian, and that only intensified with this instalment. He's been through so much and his world was turned upside down, yet he never wastes a moment feeling sorry for himself. Instead he focuses on adapting to life in the wilds, and soon proves his worth to the rebels. This is all in spite of Lena's complete lack of support, as she is absolutely awful to him from the moment Alex reappears. I was really, really disappointed with how petty and mean she becomes. The only time she is nice to Julian is when she's using him to distract herself from Alex, or trying to make him jealous.

Speaking of Alex, I didn't find him very sympathetic in this instalment. At the end of Pandemonium I was actually (unpopular opinion alert!) not that happy about him turning up again. Because I knew the love triangle was imminent, and because I really. like. Julian! After the big Alex shaped space in book 2, I needed Requiem to remind me why I adored him so much in the first place and sadly, it didn't deliver on this front. He has a much less significant role than I expected, and spends most of it either cosied up with Coral or trying to rival Lena in the pettiness factor. I was really annoyed with his whole "I never really loved you" thing, and I can't believe Lena bought it. Pleeeease! You are both better than this.

Luckily there is much more to Requiem than the relationship drama. After the events of Pandemonium the government have stepped up their campaign against the 'invalids', and the time has come to make a stand. The tension had me glued to the page throughout and there was a certain fatality that absolutely ripped my heart in two... As well as following Lena's story we also rejoin her former best friend Hana, who has been cured and is preparing for marriage to Portland's mayor to be. At first this may all seem a bit irrelevant, but we soon learn Hana's new life is not as simple as it seems, and eventually the two story lines converge in the finale.

I really did enjoy this final instalment to the Delirium series, despite my issues with the love triangle setup. I liked the hopeful, open ending and the last few paragraphs gave me goosebumps! (the good kind) By the way, was I the only one who wanted to belt out this song as I turned the last page? 

Probably... but doesn't it fit well?!

What was your opinion on this book, or the rest of the series for that matter? :) Let me know!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Feature & Follow Friday (#3)

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Alison Can Read & Parajunkee's View. This week's question is...

Q: Have you ever read a book that you thought you would hate? Did you end up hating it? Did you end up loving it? Or would you never do that?

I don't think I've ever really started a book thinking that I'm going to hate it- I'd rather read something I think I'm going to like! But I did procrastinate for a long time on reading George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series. My friend kept on recommending them to me, but I thought I would find them boring as I dont usually read much high fantasy. Also I felt like I'd be wasting reading time I could be spending with something better, as all the books in the series are so long!Even after I started watching the (brilliant) TV series I still resisted reading the books for quite a while. I couldn't believe how obtuse I'd been when I finally got around to starting A Game of Thrones. AMAZING! I raced through the whole series after that and never once got bored. :) sometimes it's good to take a chance!

Hello to anyone hopping through! Make sure to leave a link to your FF so I can check it out. :)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

REVIEW: Let the Sky Fall by Shannon Messenger

Seventeen-year-old Vane Weston has no idea how he survived the category five tornado that killed his parents. And he has no idea if the beautiful, dark-haired girl who’s swept through his dreams every night since the storm is real. But he hopes she is.

Seventeen-year-old Audra is a sylph, an air elemental. She walks on the wind, can translate its alluring songs, and can even coax it into a weapon with a simple string of commands. She’s also a guardian—Vane’s guardian—and has sworn an oath to protect Vane at all costs. Even if it means sacrificing her own life.

When a hasty mistake reveals their location to the enemy who murdered both of their families, Audra’s forced to help Vane remember who he is. He has a power to claim—the secret language of the West Wind, which only he can understand. But unlocking his heritage will also unlock the memory Audra needs him to forget. And their greatest danger is not the warriors coming to destroy them—but the forbidden romance that’s grown between them. (goodreads)

We've had vampires, werewolves, angels, merpeople... and now Let the Sky Fall brings us air elementals, also known as sylphs or windwalkers. What a breath of fresh air! (ahahah gosh I'm so funny) Anyway, I was intrigued enough by the concept to pick this one up, and it definitely does not disappoint.

Messenger has created a detailed and interesting mythology around the sylphs and the different ways they manipulate and communicate with the winds. One of my favourite things was the description of the four different types of wind (northerlies, easterlies... get the drift? ;). They all have unique qualities; for example the Northerly winds are rough and powerful, the southerlies soothing and inviting... Messenger explains it all better than myself though and so beautifully, you can almost feel the breeze on your skin.

The tale is told from two POVs: that of Vane, a boy haunted by dreams of a strange girl and the tornado left him orphaned, and Audra, the sylph who is sworn to protect him. Dual POVs can sometimes be hard to pull off; I've read books where there was so little differentiation between voices I couldn't always remember which was which! In this case though the two voices are very distinct, as Vane comes across very light-hearted and humorous, whilst Audra is serious and lyrical. I also sometimes find male POVs difficult to deal with, as it is hard to hit a good balance between "sounds like a teenage girl" and "OMG BOOBS", but Messenger triumphs in creating a realistic and likeable guy.

Vale is also pretty funny. I enjoyed the humour in this book, and there were quite a few lines which made me smile. As well as Vale's wisecracks, I found Audra's unfamiliarity with basic human concepts like seat belts to be very funny and sweet. In fact, I would have quite liked to see more of this! After all Audra is not human, and she hasn't really had any contact with humans besides following Vale and his family around. I really felt for her on that front, she must have been so lonely.

The plot was fairly slow (though not boring) for the first two thirds, but then it really picks up and gets a lot more exciting. The twist at the end really took me by surprise, but it was completely plausible. The very end was a little bit annoying, but then they tend to be that way when setting things up for a sequel...

There was really only one element of Let the Sky Fall which I actively disliked, and that was the romance. It was very obvious from the beginning, despite the whole "oh you're so annoying" thing they had with each other for the first few chapters. I just never buy it when sparks fly and the characters are instantly in love. Partly because I'm a mean ol' spinster, but also because it really is so unbelievable! I know Vale had been dreaming about her for years already and there may be further explanations coming up, but I still wanted to gag on his sappiness sometimes. Oh and obviously it had to be not only a fated love, but also a starcrossed one... Only not really; I didn't see the reasons they couldn't be together as particularly insurmountable.

I may have heaved a tired sigh when Vale started breaking out the L word, but overall I did really enjoy this book. It was a good read, with some interesting and original world-building and sympathetic characters. I will definitely read the next book, though I am not super-super excited about it. I wavered for quite a while on whether to give Let the Sky Fall a 3 or 4 star rating. This time I'm going to be a little harsh and go with 3. Really I'm not being too mean as its still a good rating for what was an enjoyable tale, but I don't think will stick with me long enough to justify a higher rating.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Waiting on Wednesday (#2)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Distance Between Us by Kasie West
Release date: 2nd July 2013 (Harper Teen)
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.
So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company. (goodreads)

I've seen some positive reviews of this one floating around, and I just can't wait to read it myself! I've read a lot of contemporary YA but only a few which really stuck with me. I think this is going to end up joining that short list though! It sounds a lot of fun and even though it's very cliche I am a sucker for the whole rich guy-poor girl thing when it's done right. July seems a long way away right now, but it doesn't seem too bad when I think about my second pick, which is...

The Winds of Winter by George R. R. Martin.
Release date: ???
There's no cover or even a hint at a release date for this one yet, but the start of Game of Thrones' third season this week has got me excited about all things A Song of Ice and Fire! I was lucky enough to race through this series after discovering them last year, so I thankfully didn't have to experience the infamously long wait for a Dance of Dragons. Let's hope The Winds of Winter comes around a bit more quickly!

Anyone else excited about these books? Or Game of Thrones S3 for that matter? Let me know in the comments below! :)