"I spent my life folded between the pages of books." -Tahereh Mafi

Some of my reviews are normal non-spoilery reviews. But some of reviews contain lots and lots of spoilers to help you (and me!) remember what happened when the next book in the series finally comes out. Both review types are clearly marked.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Endless Knight by Kresley Cole

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

This book picks up right where Poison Princess left off - with Evie killing the Alchemist (who was definitely not a good guy) and coming into her Empress powers. Evie offers Selena (the Moon card), Finn (the Magician card), and Matthew (the Fool card) a truce. She only wants to kill Death and she's out of the game. They accept. Jack seems horrified by Evie's transformation, but he tags along with them anyway. They are attacked by Joules (the Tower card), Tess (the World card), and Gabriel (the Judgment card). Evie offers them the same truce she offered the others. They don't accept, but they agree not to attack them again.

They head into cannibal territory to escape Bagmen that are after them. Eventually Jack is able to accept the changes in Evie and they reconcile. She even ends up giving him her virginity before the big battle with the cannibals and Bagmen.

They meet up with another Arcana - Lark, the Mistress of Fauna (the Strength card). They are wary, but accept her into their alliance. After being repeatedly spurned by Selena, Finn takes a liking to her, and she appears to return the feelings. They compare notes on the game: there can be only one winner, the winner will gain immortality (at least until the next game), some families have retained histories that pass on the knowledge from the last game (like Evie's grandmother), each Arcana is reincarnated from a past one (Evie's dreams/nightmares of the "red witch" are actually memories from one of her previous lives).

Finally the Bagmen catch up to them, but so do the cannibals. The cannibals defeat the Bagmen and take the group hostage. The cannibals are led by an Arcana - the Heirophant card. He apparently doesn't know what he is and thinks that the calls he hears are the voices of angels. He has the power of mind control. The group is put in the "pantry." One of the humans there is about to be taken to be fed on while still alive. He asks Evie to kill him. She does and then injects his body with her poison. After the cannibals (the Heirophant included) eat the human, they die. However, any remaining cannibals are still under his control and will try to get their revenge on Evie. They escape through the tunnels - Lark is from the area and says she knows the way through.

However, Lark has led them into Death's trap. Death is with Ogen (the Devil card). Death promises to let the others in her alliance live if she goes with him. She agrees. After they are away, she unsuccessfully attempts escape, twice. The second time, Joules, Gabriel, and Tess show up to try to kill Death. They are able to escape and make it to his to mountaintop castle. He fits her with a cuff made from his armor that binds her powers. 

Death's castle has lots of comforts that are unexpected in the apocalypse. Matthew is able to communicate with Evie and assures her that everyone in her group made it out okay, but Jack wants to go after her. She realizes that she needs to make Death trust her enough to take off her cuff so she can use her powers to kill him.

However, after time, she realizes that Death isn't that bad of a guy. She dreams some memories of her past lives' encounters with him. The Touch of Death doesn't kill her like it does others. He seems lonely. He doesn't want to kill, but he's forced to by the game. He likes to read. He likes to watch her dance. They grow closer. He tells her that Jack lied to her about 2 things: her ex-boyfriend Brandon was Jack's half-brother and that he killed her mother so that she'd leave with him after the Flash. Evie feels betrayed by this revelations and is hurt that Matthew knew the truth and didn't tell her.

Eventually Death reveals that in a past game, they were married. And then she turned on him and he was forced to kill her. That's why he's been so intent on harming her this time. She dreams that memory and is horrified - he loved her and she betrayed him. She tries to convince him that she won't do that this time around. He also reveals his real name - Aric. He leaves on an errand and while he's gone, Ogen attacks her and Lark. She's able to get her cuff off and protect herself and Lark. Aric comes back just in time and kills Ogen. With her cuff gone, she still doesn't try to kill him and he realizes that he can finally trust her. And he tells her that he loves her. He wants to sleep with her (he's still a virgin since she's the only human he can touch), but she's still too confused by her feelings about Jack. 

Matthew calls out for her help. Jack has been taken by the Lovers - Vincent and Violet. She begs Aric's help to save him. He agrees, but on one condition - that she choose him. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

Blue (yes, that is seriously the main character's name) lives with her psychic mom and her mom's two psychic friends in a small town in Virginia. Blue is not psychic but her proximity makes it easier for psychics. Every psychic she knows has predicted that her true love would die after she kisses him.

She goes with her aunt Neeve to a church on St. Mark's Eve, where her aunt will be able to see the people that will die that year. For the first time ever, Blue sees a spirit too. She asks his name and he tells her it's Gansey. Neeve says the only reason a non-psychic would see a spirit on St. Mark's Eve is if he's her true love or if she kills him.

Gansey is a rich kid who goes to a rich boarding school. He and his friends Adam (poor townie kid who's on a partial scholarship), Ronan (tough guy who has an attitude problem since his dad died), and Noah (who is pretty nondescript) are trying to find the ley lines so that they can wake some Celtic king who is supposedly buried along them. Gansey thinks a psychic might be able to help them find the ley lines so he makes an appointment with Maura, Blue's mom. 

After the reading, Maura forbids Blue from seeing Gansey, which she of course defies. She decides she wants to help him find the ley lines. They find a strange forest where a tree shows them each a different glimpse of the future. They want to try a ritual to wake up the ley lines, but the ritual requires a sacrifice so they hold off. While walking the ley lines one night, Blue and Gansey find a dead body - it's Noah's. Apparently Noah has been dead for 7 years, but was able to manifest because of the ley lines. Once his body is moved, it becomes harder for him to manifest, but he is occasionally able to use Blue's energy to do so. They figure out that Mr. Whelk, their Latin teacher, is the one who killed Noah in his attempt to wake the ley lines 7 years ago. And he's going to try again. 

Adam and Blue have a timid sort of flirtation. Although in the glimpse of the future she was shown, she was about to kiss Gansey. Gansey annoys her at first, but eventually grows on her. She is able to relate to Adam because they're both poor. Adam's father is abusive and Gansey continually tries to convince him to leave and come live with him, but Adam always refuses because of his pride. Eventually Adam's father beats him right after being dropped off by Ronan. Ronan sees and doubles back to attack his father. Ronan is nearly arrested, but Adam ends up pressing charges against his father and moves out. 

Neeve captures Whelk so she can sacrifice him in the ritual. He's able to get free and tries to sacrifice her. Adam arrives to also try to ritual and stops them. He apparently sacrifices himself...except he still seems alive after the ritual... So I really don't know what happened there. So the ley line is awake and now the search for the Celtic king can really begin.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Farm by Emily McKay

Spoilers!! This post contains spoilers!

This book takes place about 6 months after the apocalypse. People started turning into rapid,  zombie-like vampires that everyone refers to as Ticks. Apparently they find teenager blood more appealing and are repulsed by pregnancy hormones. Teens are sent to "farms" on college campuses where they live in safety from the Ticks, but they are required to donate blood every so often. At 18, their blood no longer has as much of the teen hormones that the Ticks love so much so they are released (or more likely killed).

Lily and Mel are identical twins living on one of the farms. Mel is austic and has gotten less functional during their time on the farm. They will be turning 18 soon and Lily is trying to figure out a way for them to escape. She tries barrtering for the supplies they will need.

She runs into Carter, a guy she went to school with (and had a huge crush on) in the Before. He recently got to the farm and tries to earn her trust. He catches her trying to sneak off the farm. She's afraid that he's a Collab, but he explains to her that he's on this farm to rescue people, including her. He's teamed up with Sebastian, a vampire who is quite different from the Ticks. Sebastian's not a good guy, but he's not evil either. But he does want to stop Roberto, the vampire who (they think) created the Ticks to begin with. They think that Roberto has an abductura, which is someone who can control the will of others, working for him and that's how the world surrendered to the Ticks so quickly. Carter and Sebastian have been traveling from farm to farm trying to find an abductura of their own that they can use to defeat Roberto.

Lily is skeptical, but her and Mel escape the farm with Carter and Sebastian, along with a couple other former classmates, Joe & McKenna. McKenna is pregnant with Joe's child and he is afraid of what will happen to it after it's born. The escape does not go smoothly. They run into some Ticks, who are attracted to the tracking devices they had implanted in the farm. And the Dean of the farm comes after them. Him and Sebastian were supposed to have a deal to allow him to take them with him, but the Dean has figured out that Sebastian thinks that Lily is an abductura and he wants her for himself. Carter admits to Lily that he thinks that she is one, which she doesn't take well. She doesn't believe that she has this power and is even more upset when Carter explains that he thinks the reason he was into her in school was because of her powers.

They are able to defeat the Collabs that come after them, but the Dean grabs Mel in the confusion. Lily wants to go after them, but they need to regroup and get more gas for their van. They try to find refuge in a church because Ticks aren't supposed to be able to come onto holy ground. But apparently the church isn't iconic enough, but the Ticks attack. They dig out their tracking devices and Joe (presumably) sacrifices himself by taking off with the tracking devices in another car they had found. The rest of the gang heads off to find Mel and the Dean.

They find them and kill the Dean, but are attacked by Ticks. One attacks Lily and it looks like she's going to die when Mel intentionally draws its attention. It attacks and kills her. Lily is able to convince Sebastion to try to turn her into a vampire, which apparently only works 1% of the time. He then insists that they leave because she'll be hungry if it works (which it does). Carter, Lily, and McKenna head to Canada, Lily & Mel's original plan. Lily decides that instead of settling in Canada, that they'll get McKenna there and then Lily with continue on with Carter to Utah, the base of his rebellion against Sebastian.

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

In this book Jace and Sebastian get linked together so that if one of them dies/gets hurt, the other does as well. So as much as they want to kill Sebastian, they can't because they'll also hurt Jace. Also their emotions are linked together with Sebastian's will being dominant because it's fun to make your good guys become bad.

Clary pretends to join with Jace Sebastian while the others try to find a weapon that can kill Sebastian without hurting Jace. Clary discovers that Sebastion's plan is to create a new race of dark shadowhunters using Lillith's blood.

The others are finally able to find a weapon that can hurt one without hurting the other from an angel. They launch an attack on Sebastion. They aren't able to kill Sebastion and he ends up escaping. But Clary is able to use the sword on Jace which apparently burns away his darkness. So he's regular Jace again except now he apparently has some sort of Angel power in his blood left over from the sword.

Isabel and Simon finally hook up in this book as do Jordan and Maia. Maia is finally able to forgive Jordan for turning her into a werewolf. However things aren't as happy for Magnus and Alec. Magnus discovers that Alec has been talking to Camille and that she offered a way to take his immortality away so that they can live a normal lifetime together. Alec considers it and then realizes it was a mistake after he almost loses Magnus in the battle against the Sebastian.  But he realizes it too late and Magnus breaks up with him anyway.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

Allie is looking for her sire Kanin because she can sense that he is in danger. He has been captured by an insane vampire named Sarren. Instead she finds Jackal, the raider king of Chicago who she tangled with in the first book. He is her blood brother, which is why she thought she was tracking Kanin when she was tracking him instead. Even though she hates him, she agrees to team up with him. He's looking for a secret lab that is supposed to be in somewhere in DC. If she helps him find it, he'll help her find Kanin. She's hopeful that Sarren brought Kanin to the lab and that they will find him there.

They find the abandoned lab. Sarren has been there and he has stolen samples of the Red Lung virus. Allie figures out that he is probably headed to the other lab that she knows is in New Covington, where she's from and swore she would never return. Jackal accompanies her back to New Covington. They sneak into the city and find that the human population has been infected with a virus that basically turns them partially into Rabids. They fight off a few and find an uninfected human. They force him to take them to the other human survivors who are holed up in the underground tunnels.

There Allie finds out that the leader of the refugees is Zeke, the human boy that she fell in love with but left in the safety of Eden. He has come to New Covington to find her. He is angry that she has apparently teamed up with Jackal, since he killed his adoptive father. After Allie explains why she's with Jackal, he understands. Zeke is determined that a relationship between the two of them can work, but Kanin always warned Allie away from that sort of thing. 

Zeke decides to help Allie and Jackal get into the inner city, where they believe Kanin is. The plan is to pretend to be random vampires passing through and then sneak around and find and rescue Kanin. However, when they demand to see the Prince of the city, they are taken to his human assistant, who turns out to be Stick, Allie's friend from back when she was human. Stick believes that Allie turned on all their friends, causing their death. So much for anonymity. They are taken before the Prince of the city, who doesn't believe their story about Sarren being evil. But then Sarren attacks everyone, nearly killing the Prince in the process, and then escapes. 

The Prince still refuses to release Kanin, because of his old hatred for him. But in the end, he agrees to release Kanin, but only if they promise to find Sarren. They still believe that Sarren has the cure for the new virus that has infected the city. But before they leave, the Prince gives Kanin tainted blood to drink from. They have discovered that if a vampire drinks from an infected human, they will get sick themselves. So now they have deadline. 

Jackal appears to betray them and leaves. Zeke gets attacked by an infected human and becomes to sick to continue on with them. Allie reluctantly leaves him behind, hoping they can find the cure from Sarren. They are finally able to find Sarren, but he overwhelms them. Jackal is with Sarren, apparently siding with him. Sarren reveals that he has no cure - he simply wants everyone, humans and vampires to die so the world can start over again. Jackal ends up trying to help them and claims that he never actually betrayed them, he just wanted it to seem that way to trick Sarren. Zeke shows up to save the day and Sarren flees. 

Zeke has apparently survived the illness. While he was in Eden, he received lots of vaccines and one of those must have protected him. Allie realizes that his blood is the cure and injects Kanin with it. Kanin recovers. They return to the Prince with vials of Zeke's blood and tell him they've found the cure. The Prince agrees to let them go as long as it works. 

However, during the day, Zeke is captured. Stick admits that he sold him out to Sarren, who in turn critically injured him. They head back to the lab, hoping to find him. Instead they find an old laptop with an audio recording of Sarren killing Zeke. Allie is devastated and vows to never care for a human again. They believe that Sarren is heading to Eden. Allie, Jackal, and Kanin head there to try to stop him. The end scene shows Sarren heading off with Zeke, who is apparently still alive. 

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Taken by Erin Bowman

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

Gray lives in Claysoot, a small somewhat primitive village surrounded by a Wall. Whenever anyone tries to go over the Wall, they are returned dead and burnt. All the males in the village are Heisted at the age of 18. Gray's brother Blaine is about to turn 18. He is Heisted and Gray feels empty. But he does get closer to Emma, a girl that he's been into since childhood. Love is an unusual concept in Claysoot. Boys are "slated" to different girls every month in an attempt to keep the population stable. When boys are taken away at 18, a long-term love is impossible. But they both wish it was possible for them.

Gray finds part of a letter that his mother wrote to Blaine before she died. It seems that she had kept a secret about Gray. Gray gets curious and finally finds out that him and Blaine are actually twins. Gray is also 18 but wasn't Heisted like his brother. His mother knew something was wrong in the town and thought that would be a good way to test the Heist. Gray decides to chance the Wall. He thinks that the fact that he's actually 18 will protect him. Emma follows.

What they find is a future dystopian America. The United States has been divided into AmEast and AmWest who are constantly at war. There are extreme water shortages. They are taken to Taem (the capital city) and Frank, the leader of AmEast. Frank explains that Claysoot was created by an evil man named Harvey. Harvey is a scientist and created Claysoot as an experiment that they are trying to stop. Harvey has taken refuge with Rebels and the Order (the AmEast military) are searching for them. Gray is reunited with his brother Blaine, who has joined the Order along with all of the boys who've been Heisted from Claysoot. 

While wandering around, Emma and Gray see a man being shot by Order soldiers for stealing water. Gray is horrified and begins to get curious. They snoop around and find out that in addition to stopping Harvey, they are also trying to capture/kill Elijiah, who started the Rebels. He committed some minor offense and was going to be executed and instead, escaped to the forest. Gray decides that he was wrong to trust Frank and wants to find these Rebels. The Order finds out and then plans to execute Gray.

Gray is able to escape but runs across an Order camp in the forest where his brother is. The leader figures out that Gray is wanted and tries to kill him, but that's when the Rebels attack the camp. Blaine is shot, but Gray is able to escape with him. They wander around the forest for a few days until being taken captive by the Rebels. The Rebels take Blaine to the hospital. Gray is introduced to one of the captains, Owen, who happens to be his father. 

The Rebels aren't sure whether or not to trust Gray, but eventually he is accepted. They are afraid he's a Forgery - a clone of a Heisted boy. They tell him the truth about Frank. Harvey was not the one who created Claysoot - Frank was. He also created 4 other similar villages in order to harvest soldiers. Each village had a varying degree of resources - A had the most and ended up destroying itself; B, C (Claysoot), and D (Saltwater) were relatively successful; and E which had very extreme conditions and everyone there ended up dying. He enlisted Harvey's help to create Forgeries of the boys so he would be able to have even more soldiers. Frank was only able to make one Forgery from a boy and he wanted Harvey's help to make unlimited Forgeries. Harvey complied until he had a change of heart and escaped to the Rebels.

Gray befriends Bree, a fiery girl from Saltwater (where girls were Heisted instead of boys). He is attracted to her, but remains faithful to Emma, who he had to leave behind when he escaped Taem. One day they find out that the Order is planning on using a disease to infect the Rebels. They must find the vaccine. Gray offers up a plan, which is accepted, that he should pretend to be Blaine (because Frank thinks Blaine is still loyal) and bring Harvey to Taem as his prisoner. There they will find the vaccine and escape back to the Rebels.

Bree goes with them because she knows the way. The plan is mostly successful. Harvey ends up being left behind, which he knew would be a possibility, and is executed. Gray is also able to free Emma, although he finds her in bed with another boy from Claysoot. He is angry but Emma is apologetic and claims that she thought he was dead. He is unsure whether he can forgive her but he brings her with them when they escape. Bree is shot in the escape. While camping in the forest on the way back to Rebels, Bree asks Gray to kiss her and he does (in front of Emma!!). 

When they get back to the Rebels, the vaccine is distributed. Gray continues to ignore Emma, even though she clearly wants him to forgive her. Gray and Bree continue hooking up, but they don't have sex, because Bree doesn't want to get pregnant and Gray thinks that would make getting back with Emma impossible (because he's clearly still entertaining the idea of going back to Emma). 

At the end, the captains decide to send a team to village A,the one that supposedly destroyed themselves. Harvey and Gray saw a video feed of the settlement while in the capital and it appears that there may be people still there. They decide to send people there to rescue them in the hopes that they'll join the Rebels. Gray, Owen, Emma, and Bree are among the team to go.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

MacRieve by Kresley Cole

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

I'm not going to go into all the steps leading up to Will and Chloe's HEA because, as usual, that story is pretty well contained. I'll just highlight the bits that will probably be important in future books.
We meet so many new awesome characters (Ronan, Nieve) and are reintroduced to others (Cassandra, Munro) who I would love to see have their own book. Seriously,  she could continue this series forever with all the awesome characters she's created.

Nix mentions something about the Bringers of Doom as the next big bad. Eek!

Commander Webb (aka Chloe's dad) didn't die when Lothaire fed of him in his book. Webb took some blend of immortal blood and he's now turned into a super-mutt of immortal beings. And he's now decided that he was wrong to try to wipe out Loreans. Instead he now wants to wipe out humans.

The book ends with Munro being captured by Those Best Forgotten,  a group of warlocks who are trying to create an army of turned Lykae. Munro is resisting,  until they bring her a woman he realizes is his mate. They've kidnapped her from her wedding day and potentially another time period. They've infected her with some kind of poison and she'll die unless he tries to turn her. She pleads with him not to because her people hate Lykae but he does anyway.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

Cia is graduating high school. She hopes to be chosen to undergo the Testing, which if she passes, would allow her to go to University. Very few students are chosen to undergo the Testing and even fewer are chosen to attend University. The United Commonwealth has arisen out of the Seven Stages of War (the first stages were man-waged war and the rest were nature warring against us). The country was left with poisoned land and water. The Testing is designed to pick the best future leaders of the country.

Cia is overjoyed when she discovers that she's been chosen for the Testing. Her brothers and mother are proud, but also sad because this essentially means they'll never see her again. Her father is not pleased. He pulls her aside to explain why. He was also chosen for the Testing and ended up attending University. All of his memories from the Testing were wiped clean. But he occasionally has nightmares of what he thinks was his time in the Testing and it appears that it was not pleasant. He believes that many of the testing candidates were killed during the Testing and that some of them were killed by fellow candidates. He warns her to trust no one. 

She must leave the next day and can bring little from home. She heads her dad's warnings and packs things that she believes can help her. She packs comfy clothes and boots, a pocketknife multi-tool, and a Transit Communicator that has a compass and other helpful things. She is joined by 3 other students from her small colony - Zandri, Malachai, and Tomas. The four of them stick together once they get to Tosu City for the Testing. Their group expands to accommodate Nicolette, Will and Gill (twins). Cia quickly realizes that they are constantly being monitored by listening devices and cameras. 

The first round of testing includes written tests. Cia's roommate Ryme cannot handle the pressure and ends up committing suicide. Cia is horrified that the testing officials are not upset by this and instead seem to think it's a good thing that they found out quickly that she could not handle the pressure.

The second round consists of problems that must be solved. There are consequences for wrong answers, such as when they are asked to sort plants into poisonous and edible piles and then made to eat those in the edible pile. Malachai ends up dead after doing something wrong with a communicator they are asked to repair. Will becomes sick from eating a poisonous plant but Cia encourages him not to seek medical help because she believes he'll be punished (killed) for that. He reluctantly takes her advice. 

The third round is an exercise in teamwork. Cia is paired in a group with Roman, Brick, and another girl. They must decide who will complete certain tasks. Once they decide on the order, the first goes through a door, completes said task and then the next can enter and complete their task. However, each task can only be completed once and there is a punishment for completing a task that has already been attempted. Roman goes first and takes a long time, then the girl goes. Cia is supposed to go next, but becomes suspicious. She begins to believe that Roman tricked them into letting him go first, then completed all the tasks so that they would all be punished (killed) for attempting them a second time. She shares her fears with Brick who seems to not believe her. She goes through the door and exits without completing any tasks and eventually, so does Brick. It turns out that was the right choice as they both survive but the girl is never seen again.

In the fourth round, the candidates are placed in a city that has not be rehabilitated and must make their way back to Tosu City, a 700 mile trip that will obviously take weeks. Tomas and Cia make secret plans to meet up with each other. Before departing, they can choose three items to bring, plus their packs from home. Cia chooses a medical kit, a gun, and water containers with purification tablets. Before dropping her at her location, the testing official Michal (who also escorted them from their colony to Tosu City) pulls her aside and tells her secretly that he and others are confident that she can make it. 

After being dropped off at the location, another candidate starts shooting crossbow bolts at her. She is able to escape and meet up with Tomas. They set out together. They run into various obstacles that have been set up for them. They are able to forage and find food and water. They are also able to find two bikes to help them get to Tosu City faster. They run into the body of another testing candidate who has been killed by another. They run into Will. Tomas wants to ditch him immediately, but Cia is sure they can trust him and they hang with him for a few days. 

They are nearly out of water, so Cia agrees to scout ahead, leaving Will and Tomas alone. After she finds water, she is attacked by mutants who she originally thought were bears, but quickly realizes are mutated humans after she recognizes the intelligence in their eyes. She is scratched by one, but kills the other three and is able to escape. Tomas and Will apparently ran into another candidate who they left behind. But Cia is suspicious that more happened - that perhaps they killed this other candidate. Will leaves them soon and warns Cia that Tomas isn't to be trusted either.

Cia has discovered that their testing bracelets have a listening device and she's also discovered how to remove them, so her and Tomas are occasionally able to talk in secret. They are concerned that all their memories will be wiped when they return and Tomas vows to try to figure out how they can keep their memories. They develop a romantic relationship. 

A man on the other side of the fence that marks the testing area offers Cia food and water. He knows who she is and claims that he wants to help her. He tells her that after she returns, they will interview her and give her a truth serum. If she takes it, she may end up giving information that could hurt her family (that her father and his friend, the town doctor, remember parts of their testings; that the former head of the school also remembered parts of her testing and kept students, including her brothers, out of the testing on purpose). He gives her a vial that he says will counteract the serum.

Close to the end, they are attacked by Roman. Luckily Will shows up and shoots him. Unfortunately, Will also turns on them and shoots Tomas. Cia shoots back at Will but he is still able to escape. Tomas survives, but he is too injured to ride or walk the remainder. Cia is able to modify her bike so that they can ride on one and she can pedal for both of them. They are able to make it to the end. Unfortunately, Will has made it too. 

A little over 30 candidates have made it to the end (Zandri is not one of them), but only 20 will be chosen to attend the University. Tomas believes he has found a way to keep from having their memories wiped, but he's unable to give it to Cia before her interview. (but it's possible he still took it himself and retained his memories) Cia decides to chance it and take the vial before her interview. It works and she is able to keep some things from the testing committee. At the end she asks what happened to Zandri and the testing official says she should know, since she has her bracelet in her bag. She's confused but when she checks her bag back in her room, she realizes he is correct. Then she remembers finding a bracelet in Tomas' bag while she was fixing the bike - she had assumed he had taken the bracelet off the bag of the first dead girl they found since she had taken her bracelet from her wrist to remember her. But now she realizes it is Zandri's bracelet - was Zandri the candidate that Will and Tomas had met up while she was searching for water that she fears they might have killed?  While waiting for the results, she discovers that the Transit Communicator has a record function. She leaves a recording for herself of what happened during the testing.

She is chosen for the University, as is Tomas and Will. But her memories are wiped. Her and Tomas still end up spending time together and falling back in love. And at the end, a few weeks after the Testing has ended, she discovers the recording she left for herself on the Transit Communicator. 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Ashes, Ashes by Jo Treggiari

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

This book happens somewhat shortly (the timeline was a little unclear to me) after a plague apocalypse. Not my favorite kind of apocalypse, but whatever. Basically, just about everyone died of smallpox and then a new strain swept through the remaining survivors. So not many people are left.

Lucy has managed to survive alone. Her family all died in the plague. She has her own little camp set up and she's avoided people since she believes that most of them are dangerous. The S'ans are crazy, the sweepers will kidnap you, and the scavengers will steal from you. So she keeps to herself.

Then one day she happens upon a random boy, Aiden. He helps her escape dogs sent out by the sweepers. She thinks he's annoying, but intriguing, and she's grateful for his help. That night she awakes suddenly to a tsunami about to happen. She's barely able to escape with some of her belongings but her camp is completely destroyed. 

She decides to make her way to where Aiden said his settlement was. She gets there just in time to see the sweepers come and take away a few people. The scavengers (who apparently are not evil as she'd feared) welcome her in. Henry is a little older than Lucy and flirts a lot. Pretty girl Del is obviously into Aiden and therefore sees Lucy as a threat. Leo is a bit older and obviously used to be in the military. And there's an older woman who takes on a grandmotherly role for everyone. There are few S'ans there too, who are apparently not evil either. S'ans have survived the virus, but it's left their skin blackened and their eyes red. She had heard that it infected their brain too, making them crazy. But that was obviously an urban myth. One of the S'ans is Aiden's brother, Sammy. 

The sweepers come and attack again and steal Leo and Del. Lucy feels responsible and wants to rescue them, but everyone tells her it's not worth the risk. Then Del magically comes back - somehow she was able to escape when no one else ever has. And then Aiden finds Leo, who somehow has caught the plague and is about to die. He dies and then Del, Aiden, Lucy agree to rescue everyone else that has been caught over time. 

The sweepers come from a hospital on an island. They are able to sneak in and once inside, they realize that Del sold them out. Apparently, the doctor is only after Lucy. There's something special about her. She was never vaccinated but she was somehow able to survive the plague. Aiden is pissed and Del tries to get him to leave with her and the kids she bargained for but he refuses. The doctor seems nice, but drugs Lucy (why when she could have just talked her way into helping her?). Then Sammy magically shows up to rescue them and Lucy steals her medical file from the doctor's office. Danger and adventure ensues and they are able to escape. And Aiden and Lucy are happily together in the epilogue.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Insurgent by Veronica Roth

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

This book picks up right where Divergent left off - Tris, Tobias, Caleb, Marcus, and Peter are escaping to Amity. When they get there, the Amity agree to take them in but only if they live up to certain conditions - no fighting, no talking about the conflict, and they must work. They decide they can't stay there long.

While at Amity, Tris overhears Marcus talking to the Amity spokesperson about the attack. He tells her that Abnegation was attacked because of something that they know. They were going to make this information public, but Erudite attacked them to keep it secret. Tris is intrigued and tries to get this information out of Marcus, but he refuses to tell her. She tells Tobias about it, but he believes that Marcus is lying and that there is no information. 

Erudite comes and attacks. Tris saves Peter from being shot. Tobias, Tris, and Caleb end up escaping without Peter and Marcus, who they assume have been killed. They end up being confronted by the factionless, who take them to their leader Evelyn, Tobias's mother. Tris is upset because she always believed that Tobias's mother was dead, but he apparently knew that she was alive. The factionless take them in for a bit. But then they decide to go to Candor, where the half of the Dauntless that are not teamed up with Erudite are. 

The Candor make them undergo a truth serum test to make sure they're on the right side. Under it, Tris ends up saying that she shot Will, which understandably upsets Christina. Tobias is also upset that she didn't tell him. There are numerous fights between Tobias and Tris in this book that are basically along this same theme - they don't communicate well. 

They reunite with the loyal half of the Dauntless. The Candor base is then attacked by Erudite/Dauntless and everyone is shot with a new simulation serum. The group is led by Eric and they are looking for those who the serum didn't work on - the Divergent. Tris discovers that Uriah is also Divergent. Eric plans on taking two of the Divergent back with him and killing the rest. Tris is able to stab Eric, not fatally, and a group of loyal Dauntless are able to overpower them and take control again. 

Tori and Zeke (Uriah's brother) show up. They were suspected traitors but it turns out they were spies. Tori reveals that the Erudite have developed a new serum that will work over longer distances. Tris believes this is the serum that everyone was shot with during the attack. 

Following the attack, the Candor decides to open talks with Erudite. They want the Candor to hand over the Divergent and a list of the people who didn't get the new simulation serum. The loyal Dauntless decide they need to elect new leaders and Tori and Tobias are among those chosen. They decide to leave Candor and execute Eric before they leave. They return to Dauntless headquarters. 

Tobias and Tris get into another argument. He's upset because she's being needlessly reckless. She has a suicide wish. She also is still unable to hold a gun after she shot Will. But Tobias still asks her to come with him to a meeting with the factionless, where he agrees to team up with them to destroy Erudite and the faction system. Tris doesn't like it and they get into another fight.

One night the Erudite are able to control a few of the Dauntless to deliver a message - to turn over one Divergent or they'll take control of more every night. And then the 3 under control jump to their deaths. Tris is only able to save one of them - Lynn's younger brother. She is unable to save Marlene, who Uriah just started a relationship with. After this, Christina forgives Tris for killing Will because she saw how impossible the situation was and figures that it was probably similar with him. 

Tris decides to turn herself in to the Erudite so that no one else will die. Tobias begs her not to go and she promises him that she won't, but of course she does anyway. At Erudite headquarters she's taken prisoner and experimented on. Jeanine is trying to develop a new serum that will work on Divergent. Tobias shows up - he's also been taken prisoner. She assumes it's because he came to die with her. He is able to get her alone and let her know that they are actually planning an attack and that she just has to hold on for a little while. Tris also discovers that her brother Caleb is on the side of the Erudite. 

After being continually unable to find a simulation serum that works on her, Jeanine decides to execute Tris. It is, of course, while being executed that Tris finally decides she wants to live - that the best way to honor the deaths of her parents is not to join them but to live. Luckily, the serum that Peter injects her with is not the death serum, but one that only paralyzes her for a minute. Peter helps her and Tobias to escape. When she asks Peter why he would help her, he replies that she saved his life at Amity headquarters so he owes her.

They head to the Abnegation sector, where the factionless are. The Dauntless/factionless are planning to attack Erudite. Tris meets with Marcus, who reminds her of the importance of the secret information. This information will be destroyed in the attack, but he believes it needs to be made public. Tris agrees to help him, even though it means betraying Tobias.

Tris, Marcus, and Christina head to Amity, where they gather some allies - Johanna (Amity spokesperson), Cara (Will's sister - Erudite) and a few others. They head to Erudite. Once inside, they realize the information would be too important to keep on any computer and that it must be on the computer in Jeanine's lab. They make their way there but only Tris makes it in. There she discovers Tori about to kill Jeanine. Tris pleads with her not to, not until they've obtained the information, but Tori doesn't listen. That's when Tobias walks in and discovers that Tris has betrayed him. She confronts him about supposedly loving and trusting her but that he doesn't trust her judgment now.

Tris is taken downstairs and put with the Dauntless/Erudite traitors who have been captured. This is when she realizes that the factionless have all the weapons and that the loyal Dauntless have none. The factionless then announce that they will be starting a new society without factions. The Dauntless protest, but without their weapons, they are powerless. 

Tobias comes back into the room and tells Tris that he shouldn't have doubted her - he found the information. A video starts playing on the screen - it is of a woman explaining how the factions started. Society had gotten so bad that they decided to shut away part of it to start over. When this new society had finally gotten things together, they were to help the outside world do the same. They should reveal themselves when there began to be a large number of flexible personalities - Divergent. The video ends with the woman taking on her new name in the society - Edith Prior (the same last name as Tris). 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Divergent by Veronica Roth

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

This dystopian novel is set in Chicago. We know nothing about what exists outside of the city, although a threat is hinted at. The citizens are divided into 5 factions that each revere a certain quality. Abnegation - selflessness, Dauntless - Bravery, Erudite - intellect, Amity - Peace, Candor - Truth. Each faction takes their quality to the extreme and believes that life would be better if that quality was more dominant.

Beatrice grows up in Abnegation. When citizens are 16, they are tested to see which faction they represent best. This testing is to help them choose which faction they want to join. Those that do not successfully go through initiation in their selected faction are called the factionless and live on the streets.

Beatrice's test results are weird. It show she has an affinity for Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite. It is very uncommon and taboo for someone to show an affinity for more than one faction - she is Divergent. Tori, the Dauntless woman administering her test, warns her to tell no one. 

Beatrice knows she isn't selfless enough for Abnegation, but she doesn't want to disappoint her parents by not choosing Abnegation. At the Choosing Ceremony, she chooses Dauntless and her brother Caleb surprises her by choosing Erudite. Caleb has always seemed so perfectly selfless to her and there is a lot of tension between Erudite and Abnegation that is getting worse. Abnegation controls the government under assumption that you should give power to those that don't want it because they'll be less corrupt. It is also assumed that a desire for knowledge leads to a desire for power (which bothered me a lot until I realized that a lot of the factions have become corrupted versions of themselves). So the Erudite are trying to take over the government by discrediting the Abnegation. 

She begins her Dauntless initiation. Just to get to their compound, she must jump onto and off of a moving train and jump off a building. The initiation consists of three parts. the first is physical training. Tris (she decides Beatrice no longer fits) is small and skinny so she doesn't do great at this, but she's not awful.

Tris makes some friends and enemies during initiation. Peter, Drew, and Molly make her life hell. But she makes friends with Christina (from Candor), Will (from Erudite), and Al. Al is big and strong, but cowardly and has a tough time with initiation. He also develops a crush on Tris, which she's not into. Tris begins to fall for one of the instructors who's called Four. Will and Christina also develop a romance.

The Dauntless initiation is ranked and only the top 10 get to become members. Tris is scared at first but then becomes determined to make it. Initiation is divided between transfers and those born into Dauntless. After the first round, Tris is ranked 7th in the transfers. Peter is 2nd and attacks the 1st ranked boy by stabbing him the eye while he sleeps.

The 2nd part of initiation focuses on mental preparation. They go through simulations of things that they fear. After the first simulation, Four pulls her aside and guesses that she's Divergent. Apparently Divergent can control the simulations. He tells her to be careful. Tris does very well on the 2nd round and is ranked first. Which of course means that Peter attacks her. Peter, Drew, and Al (!! he's obviously upset after her rejection) capture her and try to throw her into the chasm (a very fast moving river - to fall in means certain death). Four saves her. They spend the night in his room chatting. The next day Al begs her forgiveness and she refuses. The next day they find his body in the chasm - an apparent suicide.

The 3rd and final round of initiation involves going into your fear landscape, which involves a simulation of all your fears, one after another. Four invites Tris into his fear landscape, where she discovers why he's called Four - because he only has four fears (claustrophobia, heights, his dad, and killing someone) which is unheard of (most people have about 12) - and his real name - Tobias. He is the son of Marcus, an Abnegation colleague of her dad. Marcus abused Tobias when he was young and he chose Dauntless to escape him. They talk most of the night and kiss. 

When it comes time for Tris to do her own fear landscape, she rocks. She has only 7 fears, one of which is a fear of being intimate with Four. After her fear landscape, the Dauntless leaders inject her with a tracking device, which they say they've done to all the Dauntless. At the initiation, she finds out she's been ranked first of all the initiates. After the initiation, she realizes that the Erudite are going to wage war on Abnegation and she figures out how - by controlling the Dauntless so they'll fight for them.

Her fears are confirmed when she wakes up to find everyone in her dorm sleepwalking. She realizes that the control doesn't work on her because she's Divergent. She plays along so she's not discovered. She works her way to Tobias, who she thinks/hopes is also Divergent. And it turns out she's right. Eric, a Dauntless leader and rival of Tobias's is about to kill him. Tris and Tobias realize they have to break character to save him. Tris is shot in the shoulder as they try to escape. They are captured and brought to Jeanine, the Erudite leader.

She's developed a new serum that will work on the Divergent, which she will test on Tobias. Tris's should injury is bad enough that she'll just be executed. The serum works on Tobias and Tris is taken away. She is able to escape thanks to her mother who she discovers grew up Dauntless and is also Divergent. Her mother ends up sacrificing herself so that Tris can escape and protect her father and brother.

Just before Tris gets to their hideout, she has to face a Dauntless soldier - Will, who she is forced to kill. She makes it inside to find her father, Caleb and Marcus (Tobias's father), and several other Abnegation. Her father patches up her shoulder. She decides they need to stop the simulation. Tris deduces that the simulation is being run from the Dauntless control room. Her, her father, Caleb, and Marcus head to the Dauntless compound while the rest of the Abnegation head to take refuge with the Amity.

In the Dauntless compound, she comes across Peter, who is not under control - because the Dauntless leaders decided it was unnecessary with him (undoubtedly because he's naturally so cruel). he offers to tell her where the control room is if she'll take him with her when she escapes. She agrees and her and her father leave Caleb, Peter, and Marcus behind and continue on to the control room. Her father sacrifices himself so she can get there safely.

She finds Tobias alone in the control room. He attacks her but he's able to shake off the mind control just in time. They shut off the simulation and take the computer chip with them so no one else can use it. Tobias, Tris, Caleb, Peter, and Marcus are able to escape on the train and head to the Amity.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Prodigy by Marie Lu

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

This novel picks up where Legend left off - Day and June are headed to Vegas to meet up with the Patriots to get their help in finding Day's younger brother Eden. When they get there they meet up with Kaede (who they knew from the streets and who, as a member of the Patriots, helped Day escape). And just in time because Day's leg is getting much worse. Kaede takes them to a military officer's room and introduces them to commander DeSoto, aka Razor, the leader of the Patriots. 

Razor agrees to patch up Day's leg and help them find Eden if they will help the Patriots assassinate the new Elector (the previous Elector has just died and has been replaced by his son, Anden). They both agree. Tess is also with Razor and it becomes obvious that she's developed a crush on Day. 

Day and June have some hot and some sweet moments. Day tells her he loves her to which June logically replies that he can't because they've only known each other for a few weeks.  

The assassination plan is that June will purposely be captured by the Republic and gain Anden's trust by telling him of a fake assassination plot and then lead them to the place where the real assassination will take place. And then Day will be the one of shoot him in the street while it's broadcast across the Republic. They separate and everything seems to be going according to plan. Except Anden seems like a nice guy. June discovers that he's a reformer and totally unlike his father. He wants to abolish the Trials. He wants June and Day's help in getting the people to support him. June beings to have doubts about assassinating him and she tries to get a signal to Day. Day sees the signal but is not quite sure what to do. 

On the day of the assassination, June plays sick in hopes they'll take her to the hospital instead of proceeding along the assassination route (its not even much of an act because she is feeling sick). But it doesn't work; Commander DeSoto/Razor gives the order to continue on. When she gets to Day's part of the route, June jumps out of the car. Chaos ensues and Day and June are able to escape using tunnels under the city. Day begs Tess to come with them but she refuses, obviously angry that Day has chosen to betray the Patriots because of June. 

Day asks June why she turned on the Patriots and she tries to explain that Anden's a good guy, but his jealousy gets the best of him (it's obvious from the footage collected while she was with Anden that he is into June(. They get in a big fight and Day ends up saying that the deaths of his mother and older brother are her fault. 

They eventually make it all the way to the Colonies. Day's father had told him how fabulous the Colonies are. And it seems to be true - there's electricity everywhere and no apparent poverty. June is really sick at this point and they're able to use Day's fame to get her into a hospital (under an assumed name). Everything in the Colonies is hyper-commercialized and it appears that instead of the government having complete control, corporations do. 

Kaede appears among the crowd outside the hotel with a sign telling Day that he needs to go back and throws rocks at the window until he come down and meets with her. She shows him the bad side of the Colonies: a woman in poverty that missed on payment to the police so now they won't help her with a robbery. And she shows him footage from the Republic of the Elector releasing his brother. Day changes his mind and decides to go back to the Republic to throw his support behind the Elector. 

He gets back to hospital to find Colonies' guards trying to arrest June - they've figured out who she is. Day and June have both figured out at the same time that Razor was actually hired by the Senate to assassinate the new Elector because they don't like the reforms he wants to make. They escape and make it to a Colonies jet. Kaede is able to pilot it into the Republic, but is killed by a stray bullet when they get there.

There are tons of rioters on the street. Day makes it to a place where he can broadcast on the JumboTrons and throws his support behind the Elector and calms down the rioters. 

They are both taken to the hospital, where Day is reunited with Eden. But then he gets awful news - he has some sort of a tumor in his brain, left over from the post-Trials testing he was subjected to. Basically, he's dying.

Anden offers for June to train to be the new Princeps, the leader of the Senate, who is often also the consort of the Elector. Day comes to her new apartment and instead of telling her about his health, he tells her she should accept the position and that a relationship would never work out between the two of them. 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

This book is told in alternating viewpoints between Alina, Bea, and Quinn. They all live in the pod, which is basically a big domed city that provides oxygen because there is almost none in Earth's atmosphere. The reasoning behind why there isn't any oxygen left is a little shaky, but I'll go with it. Life within in the pods is very class structured. The Premiums are at the top and then there's auxiliaries that live in Zone 2 and Zone 3 (3 is the worst). 

Quinn is a Premium. He tries not to take his charmed life for granted. He does dumb things, but in kind of a sweet, endearing way. Bea is his best friend who has a crush on him. She lives in Zone 2 but is trying to get into a special government program that would lead to her becoming a Premium. Alina lives in Zone 3 with her aunt and uncle and cousin Silas because her parents are dead. She is part of the Resistance.

Alina needs to escape the pod because of a mission gone wrong. Abel, the boy she was on a mission with, has turned up dead. We learn later than Abel was not actually part of the Resistance, but we don't find out more, namely if he was the one who sent the government after Alina. Quinn and Bea are leaving the pod on a planned camping trip. (If air is so precious, it seems dumb to waste is on a multi-day camping trip, but whatever) Quinn has an instant crush on Alina, so he decides to help her leave the pod.

They are all able to leave and decide to stick together for a bit. After a while, Alina leaves them, but Quinn decides to follow. Bea is pissed but follows as well, which is good because Alina has come across trouble. She's run into a drifter named Maude. A scuffle ensues and they disarm Maude. Bea befriends Maude somehow and even though Alina wants to kill Maude, Bea convinces them to bring her along.  

Alina tells them about the Resistance. They are growing trees, even though the government keeps trying to destroy them. The government wants everyone to remain captive in the pods. They even pump more oxygen than necessary (30%) into the pod to keep them used to a higher amount. The Earth currently has been restored to 6%, which some of the members of the Resistance have trained themselves to be able to stand. Bea is shocked and wants to join up. Quinn still just wants in Alina's pants. So they want to follow Alina to the Grove. 

A tank shows up and Quinn is buried in the rumble of a building, while Alina, Bea, and Maude are able to escape. Bea wants to go back for him but Alina insists they don't have the extra oxygen and that they'll return for him once they refuel at the Grove. Quinn survives the attack and while he's unable to move, he realizes his feelings for Bea. Of course he's loved her all along! Alina's cousin Silas and friend Inger come along looking for her, and instead finds Quinn. He decides he can tag along. 

Bea, Alina, and Maude steal a government tank and make it to the Grove with just enough oxygen to spare. The Resistance leader, Petra throws Maude and Bea into a cell. Soldiers come upon Quinn, Silas and Inger. Quinn is shocked to discover that his father is the general in charge and is horrified when he murders Inger. Silas and Quinn finally make it to the Grove, where Quinn and Bea reunite and kiss.

The government is coming to destroy the Grove, where they've managed to grow a decent amount of trees and plants. Petra decides that the best plan is to get Quinn and Bea to lead them off-track. So Quinn and Bea get "rescued" by a tank and pretend to have been kidnapped and escaped from the Resistance. They tell  them that they were to the south, instead of their actual location. This gives the Grove a few extra weeks, which they use to recruit extra drifters, with Maude's help, and train them to fight. It isn't enough however, and the soldiers destroy the Grove and kill most of the Resistance. Alina, Silas, Dorian (another Resistance member who can breathe outside), Maude, and Bruce (another drifter) are able to escape.

Eventually the Pod Minister (the leader of the pod) discovers that Quinn has been lying and forces him to do a press conference. If he doesn't, then he threatens to hurt his family. But Quinn instead tells the truth at the press conference, which incites a civil war (that was quick!). Bea and Quinn are able to separately escape the pod: Bea with the help of Alina and Silas' neighbor and Alina's parents (who were presumed dead!); Quinn with the help of his own father. At the end of the book, they arrive at the Grove and reunite. They discover that the Grove has been destroyed but Jazz (a child who lived there) is still alive and tells them that everyone has headed to the river and they set off to find them. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lover at Last by J.R. Ward

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

Yay Qhuay! Can I first say that I am so damned happy that J.R. Ward had the guts to write this book? I've been rooting for Blay and Qhuinn from the beginning, but I didn't think she'd actually do it. The Blay and Qhuinn stuff was pretty damn awesome, way better than the last book (Tohr and No'One - so boring!). Both of these characters have been so well developed throughout this series and I think the drama and angst between them made sense. In the end, Qhuinn proposes to Blay in front of everyone - all the Brothers and Blay's parents. Sweet. I'm a little annoyed that we didn't get to see the actual mating ceremony, but hopefully that will be in the next book. But I'm not going to dwell too much on their romance - drama happens and they end up together, of course. Yay! There's too many other storylines in this book that I'm going to need to keep straight. Actually, that was the one downside to this book - I'd read one awesome bit about Qhuay than then the next 15 pages were all shit about other storylines - torture!!

In this book Wrath finds a legal way to make essentially anyone a Brother. They don't have to be born of a Brother and a Chosen. I was hopeful that this meant that he would make Qhuinn, Blay and John all Brothers. But no, just Qhuinn. Which makes me happy for him but I'm a little pissed on Blay and John's behalf. Hopefully that will be forthcoming in future books.

Xcor and Layla: Wow, Layla is still as boring as ever. Seriously, no personality. I absolutely love Ward's male characters, but she always has trouble developing the female characters. Totally sad and annoying. In the last book Layla went into her needing, Qhuinn serviced her because they both want a kid. (Which I have a hard time understanding, but whatever.) She miscarries but Payne somehow heals her and saves the pregnancy. And apparently she can't stop thinking about Xcor, even though she knows he's the enemy of Wrath and the Brothers. Xcor is interesting. Very damaged male, but as my love for Zsadist can attest - I love damaged males (in my books at least!). He's still intent on overthrowing Wrath. At the end of the book, he has a new associate on the Council (unidentified), who convinces him that instead of violence, he should overthrow Wrath with the law. Apparently if Wrath cannot produce a full-blooded heir, he can be deposed. Since Beth is a half-breed, their child wouldn't be full-vampire. Interesting. Xcor and Layla have an interesting interaction towards the end. It's clear they both are totally into each other but know they can't be together. Um, they met for like a second - seriously, can we slow things down a little? I'm all for star-crossed lovers, but I need a little something backing up the love.

Trez (and iAm) and Selena: Trez and iAm are the brother Shadows (or s'Hibe), although I'm not really sure what that means exactly. The s'Hibe are matriarchial and Trez has been promised to the Queen's daughter since birth. He's not into that so him and iAm ran away into the human world. Trez has been essentially fucking everything possible in a weird attempt to either forget what he's running from or to make himself so dirty that the Princess won't want him. Until, of course, he sees Selena. She's the Chosen that often takes over for Layla in providing blood to the Brothers who need it. It's love at first sight. For him at least, we have no idea what's going on in her head. Toward the end of the book, the brothers end up moving in to the Brotherhood complex - this way they have a place to hide from the s'Hibe and Wrath has two more fighters to protect him against whatever. I'm looking forward to hearing more about these two. I like Trez, but I like iAm a little more - he's super calm and rational. We didn't get any chapters from his POV in this book but hopefully in the next.

Assail and Sola: Assail is a vampire drug dealer. He wants no part of this vampire civil war that's brewing. He even helps out the lessers by selling drugs to them so that they can sell them on the streets and make money. That's the point when he became an unsympathetic character to me. I can handle Xcor plotting against the King, but to aid the enemy of your entire race? Not cool. Sola is just some kick-ass human. She's good at B&E and is hired by Benloise (the drug wholesaler) to spy on Assail. He catches her of course, and threatens her, which gets her excited even though she won't admit it. I have another problem here - I generally don't get turned on when men threaten to kill me, but whatever works for her I suppose. She tries to get him to leave her alone, but he's apparently decided that he just has to have her. At the end of the book, she's kidnapped by unknowns. Her grandmother (who she lives with), finds Assail's number and calls him to help. I really hope this isn't a major storyline in the next book, but I have a feeling it will be.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Legend by Marie Lu

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

This book is told in split first person. Day is a street kid who's run away from home after failing his assessment test. He should have been sent to a work camp but instead escapes to the streets. June is a prodigy - the only one to get a perfect score on her test. She is destined to be a Republic soldier.

Day finds out his family's home has been marked as having the plague. He attempts to find plague cures (which are very expensive). He's unsuccessful and ends up getting a fight with June's brother Metias. Day injures him and escapes. Day's friend and tag-along Tess helps stitch him up.

Metias ends up dead and everyone is convinced Day is behind it. June is pulled out of school early and put into service under Cmdr Jamison. Her mission is to find Day. She goes under cover as a street kid and quickly finds and befriends Tess and Day, although she doesn't realize who he is. And, of course, they end up kinda falling for each other. They kiss and shortly after, June pieces things together and realizes he's Day.

She executes her plan to turn him in. In the ensuing scuffle, his mother is shot and killed by Metias' friend/collegue Thomas. June is horrified, but sticks with the mission. Day and his two brothers (one who has the plague) are taken into custody. June is in charge of interrogating him. 

Eventually June starts to get curious. She looks up Day's test score to find out that even though he was marked as failing, all of his answers are the same as hers - he should have gotten a perfect score too. Then she finds Metias' journal/blog which shows that he was also getting suspicious of the government as well. He uncovered that their parents didn't die in a car crash and were instead killed by the government because they started asking questions about the plague. Essentially the plague is used as population control and to keep everyone in line since the government provides the cure.  She also looks up the files surrounding Metias' death and realizes that Day wasn't the one who murdered him. Day injured him, but he was murdered by Thomas, who has recently been trying to get June to get romantically involved with him. 

She decides to try to break Day out before his execution. She recruits the Patriots (essentially rebels) to help and discovers that Tess has teamed up with them. They agree to help for a good sum of money. Adventure and danger ensue but the bottom line is that they successfully escape, but Day's older brother Jon sacrifices his life to aid in their escape. June and Day get as far away as possible. They plan to head to Las Vegas, where they believe the Patriots and Tess are, to make sure that she's safe, and then attempt to rescue his younger brother Eden. 

Fast-Tracked by Tracy Rozzlynn

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

Alexandria (or Lexi) has just essentially graduated and taken her assessment test. She's been dating her best friend and neighbor Byron. That's frowned upon until they get their assessment results because they could be placed in different levels. But they're both confident they'll place about the same or higher than their parents so it won't be an issue. 

This book does one thing that I love that most dystopian novels don't do - she explained how we went from now to the society that exists in the book. Actually, I have a hard time even calling this dystopian. I think it was intended to be, but things seem mostly better than they are now. Society is structured into classes, which are represented by colors. How well you do on your assessment test determines what level you are placed into. So while you might have been raised in the lower class, if you do well enough on your assessment, you could be placed higher. Seems a fairer way to do it than we do now. There are definite income differences between the levels, but not like the massive income inequities that exist now. Anyway...

Lexi gets her results and she ends up with a gold level, the highest possible. She's been what they call fast-tracked. She's ecstatic and goes to tell Byron when she finds out he's been placed in orange, even lower than their parents' levels of blue (blue is solidly middle class, orange is definitely not). Byron and his family are angry at her because they think her father had something to do with it because there was some kind of incident at the plant/factory (I can't remember what kind of company it was) where they are both are managers. 

Lexi is devastated for Byron and refuses to be happy for herself. They're so in love (although we never really see why they love each other except that they've known each other forever) and so she can't be happy when his life is now effectively over.

She flies to New York, where she will be attending college (only certain levels go to college and only fast-trackers are at her college). She meets a guy on the plane named Avery who takes her under his wing. She quickly becomes the teacher's pet, which annoys the other students. Her teacher renames her Zandria because Alexandria is too long and Lexi is too cutesy. Her teacher wants her to be a business owner or a politician's wife, but she is determined to become a politician herself so she can change things for the lower classes. This is one part of the book that really bothers me - apparently women, especially those new to fast track, are expected to marry into power. Luckily, that's not good enough for Zandria (good thing, otherwise I would have had to stop reading the book). 

Avery invites her to parties and brings her into the vital social scene of the fast trackers. He explains the importance of power. At one of the parties she meets Autumn, typical mean girl, who takes a liking to her and they become friends, although Zandria knows that Autumn would be vicious if Zandria makes a wrong move. Avery wants to be more than friends, but Zandria's still in love with  Byron, so she keeps politely turning him down. And in the dumbest of all coincidences, Byron ends up being a trash guy at the college (seriously? They couldn't find an orange level job for him closer to home? In any other part of the country? This is way too convenient). He's mean at first, but then he apologizes and she starts sneaking him food. She also takes on her own servant, who was being mistreated at a party by one of her fast-tracker "friends." Of course Zandria treats her more like a friend and roommate.

She makes a plan to take over businesses already owned by blue levels (because gold levels can take over any business owned by a lower level) to build up the money for a campaign. She beings opening nightclubs. After opening night she sees Byron out at a restaurant with another fast-tracker who is known to be gay. She assumes he's essentially sold himself to this guy and is horrified. 

Thanks to some spying, she finds out that it was actually Avery's dad who was responsible for both Byron's low ranking and her high ranking. Apparently Avery's dad owns the company where her and Byron's fathers work. Avery had accompanied him to the plant/factory on a visit years ago and fallen in love with Zandria from afar. So he arranged for her to be fast-tracked and for Byron to be assessed lower so that he wouldn't be competition. Zandria hates Avery for this, but can't show it because she fears what Avery could do to her with all of his power in fast-tracker society. Avery just doesn't seem all that evil to me. He's definitely no hero, but he's essentially an entitled rich kid - not an awesome guy, but not pure evil the way that Zandria makes him out to be. 

Avery proposes to Zandria and she agrees, but only if he'll change Byron's assessment. Avery is reluctant because he's afraid she'll still want to see Byron but she assures him she won't. He convinces his father to change Byron's level to purple (one above blue). So Byron is saved but now she's stuck marrying someone who she hates.