Monthly Archives: August 2012

Just Finished…The First by Sara Zaske

   What a great and unexpected book!

I’d read – I think – that The First was a dystopian and so I’d left it in my Kindle dwindling having had a good dose of dystopia recently. And then I began reading it (after pressing the wrong button on my Kindle) and mistakenly thought I was reading a book about vampires and at around 15% in was wondering how the hell the people with power over nature were going to have anything to do with vampires…what can I say – I don’t always pay attention!

So – back to the book. There are dystopian elements to The First, but it would only be a dystopian book if you are one of the First People – if you’re a human, like me, then the environmental indiciators in the book are a nice nod in the direction of dystopia, but it’s not the end of the world, but a little journey down that path0. The environmental message is handled really well in the book, so it isn’t overbearing, but there are lots of good pieces of information to get you thinking.

The characters, dialogue and writing are great – very engaging, perfect pitch for a YA (I would also suggest this as being suitable for MG audience as it is clean, quirky and fun on the whole). The character voices feel authentically teenaged and the pitch, pace and action are all perfectly balanced with the motivations of the individuals. For me it felt a little like a fantasy cross-over in parts – the powers of the First People and their approach to life certainly had those elements, but it worked very well in the contemporary setting. I also liked the family/military references, which are outside the main plot, but I felt were very ‘real’ to life for anyone who has been in those situations.

Overall Thoughts: 4* – I think this was a great read. It is a nice length and paced so well to keep you reading – I got through it in four days, which is quick for me as I don’t always get too much time to read. I think the story was also very original and quality of writing was good. I would recommend this to anyone looking for an adventure story with interesting characters.

Thanks very much to Sara for releasing this free at Amazon on Earth Day, as that’s where I got my copy.

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Just Finished…Death by Jade Varden

So The Tower, Book 2 in Jade Varden’s Deck of Lies series left us with a real cliff-hanger, so what did the third book Death deliver?

Death is a great third addition to this series of books, after the flood of revelations and lies that came out in The Tower, which got to the point of being near overwhelming, Death has a more mellow pace – it’s like that period of disquiet (I certainly can’t call it calm) that comes after a storm…or perhaps that odd come down you feel after a major adrenaline rush and reality begins to sink in. Rain/Chloe/? our protagonist is still in the thick of it, with lies, odd family connections and dirty deeds seeping out of every brick in the fancy mansion she lives in…

Rain continues her quest for the truth – but what truth that is continues to change: her hunt for her identity led to a murder, her hunt for a murderer led her to more of her own secrets… Death delivers a good dose of reflection on the previous rollercoaster of events from Books 1 and 2, whilst continuing to throw up more surprises. I really liked the development of Rain’s character in this book – her experiences are certainly changing how she operates in the vicious world she’s found herself in. The re-appearance of one of my favourite characters was also nicely dealt with – definitely some good potential there for the last book in the series Judgement.

Deck of Lies is a fantastic YA mystery series, with plenty of twists and fans of soaps like Dallas, Days of Our Lives and Sunset Beach, will love the mad hookups and random family relationship relevations. Jade’s writing is style is vivid and concise, helping you to completely immerse yourself in her stories.

Overall Verdict: 4.5* If you’re not already into this series and enjoy a good contemporary YA read, then you’re missing out! I can’t wait for Judgement

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Just Finished…Dreamless

 

   I really enjoyed the first book in this series when I read it earlier this year and in many ways Dreamless delivered just as well as Starcrossed did. I do like the way Angelini uses the traditional mythology: some very famous and obvious, such as Helen and Paris, the Oracle, etc. with others less common.

Certainly, I read the book quickly and found it difficult to put down (although the chapters are quite long, so that could explain it!) But I didn’t enjoy the dynamics between the characters as much as I did in the first book – I missed Helen and Lucas’s intensity and was quite put off by how their relationship developed/dwindled in Dreamless – I understand why this was necessary for the plot, but I still missed them.

There’s lots of romantic developments for other characters, which if you’ve read Starcrossed I’m sure you can guess at – they were fine, but I wasn’t overly fussed. The baddies are good though and I thought the overall plot was interesting. Angelini’s skirting around the idea of a love triangle towards the end of the book – I hope she doesn’t opt for this ‘go to’ plot device in Book 3 as it’s been done too much recently and I’ll probably switch right off.

Overall Verdict: 4* People who liked Starcrossed will enjoy this I’m sure – doesn’t suffer too badly from ‘second book syndrome’. For a mythology YA it’s one of the better series around. 

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