Review: “Pawn,” Aimée Carter

Review: “Pawn,” Aimée CarterPawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Written by Aimee Carter
Published November, 2013 by Harlequin Teen
346 pages
Genres: Dystopian
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three-stars

You can be a VII. If you give up everything.

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister's niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There's only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that's not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she's only beginning to understand.

Though it took a little time to really pick up, Pawn was a surprisingly easy and enjoyable read. More simplistic than it’s fellow dystopian shelf-sitters, the plot and world of Aimee Carter’s new series is quite straightforward and the characters are easy keep track of. I liked this one more than I thought I would! (more…)

Review: “The One,” Kiera Cass

Review: “The One,” Kiera CassThe One (The Selection #3)
Written by Kiera Cass
Published May, 2014 by HarperTeen
217 pages
Genres: Dystopian, Romance
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two-stars

The time has come for one winner to be crowned.

When she was chosen to compete in the Selection, America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown--or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the end of the competition approaches, and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose--and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.

I didn’t enjoy the final instalment in Kiera Cass’s ‘The Selection’ series, The One. I have never been a ridiculous fan of these books, but I have stuck with them in the hopes that it would improve. Three books in, I expected Kiera Cass to amp up her game… but it just never happened. Looking back on all three novels, I just couldn’t see the growth of her characters or relationships.Warning: Spoilers within the full review. (more…)

Review: “Never Fade,” Alexandra Bracken

Review: “Never Fade,” Alexandra BrackenNever Fade (The Darkest Minds #2)
Written by Alexandra Bracken
Published October, 2013 by Disney Hyperion
507 pages
Genres: Dystopian, Psychics, Survival
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three-stars

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

Though I devoured The Darkest Minds pretty much instantly, I had trouble enjoying Never Fade as much. It had a lot to do with my high expectations, the pacing and the ‘all over the place’ plot. While assorted pit-stops and road blocks were charming in The Darkest Minds, I felt that the second book in the series overdid it. (more…)

Review: “Just One Year,” Gayle Forman

Review: “Just One Year,” Gayle FormanJust One Year (Just One Day #2)
Written by Gayle Forman
Published October, 2013 by Dutton
336 pages
Genres: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Romance, Travel
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four-stars

When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is—Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day—that girl—makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought...

The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen—and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.

I found that Just One Year was a step up from its companion Just One Day. I slowly realised as the pages went by that I was becoming more and more invested in the story of Allyson and Willem, and that I truly wanted them to get their happy ending. Gayle Forman does an excellent job of pacing the two stories alongside each other as well. Though I knew where and how this one was going to end, Willem’s journey was one worth reading. (more…)

Review: “The Darkest Minds,” Alexandra Bracken

Review: “The Darkest Minds,” Alexandra BrackenThe Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)
Written by Alexandra Bracken
Published December, 2012 by Disney Hyperion
488 pages
Genres: Dystopian, Psychics, Survival
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five-stars

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government "rehabilitation camp." She might have survived the mysterious disease that's killed most of America's children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she's on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can't risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

The Darkest Minds initially looked like a daunting read, but I shouldn’t have been worried. I flew through this book in less than 24 hours, carried along by the fast-paced plot and non-stop action. Alexandra Bracken has mastered a particular art of storytelling – one that combines interesting and emotion-filled characters with an intriguing and intricate world. (more…)