Reviews

Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody

daughter of the burning city

# of Pages: 377

Time it took me to read: 7 days

# of pages a day to finish in a week: 54 pgs

Rating: 5 out of 5

 

There is no place in the world like Gomorrah. And that is because Gomorrah travels all over the world–a traveling festival that is more like a traveling city because of its sheer size. Gomorrah is a place of magic, where you can find fantastic beasts and fortune workers who will read your palm to tell your future. It is a dark, licentious place that isn’t for the faint of heart. And it’s the home of sixteen-year-old Sorina, the adopted daughter of Gomorrah’s proprietor. And Sorina has a power like no-one else she’s ever met: she’s an illusion worker, able to create illusions so vivid you can see, smell, and in some cases, even touch them. Because not only can Sorina make you believe that you are soaring on the back of a large eagle while the sun sets over the ocean, she has also created a family full of illusions that have lives of their own.

But everything changes one night when Sorina finds a member of her family, one of her illusions, dead on the floor. Sorina must venture outside of the safety of her life on Gomorrah’s Uphill to discover who is behind the murder, finding new allies and venturing deep into the long history of Gomorrah to discover who she truly is, before it’s too late.

 

Wow, I really couldn’t have picked a better book to start the new year. It took me all week to read, since I’ve been a little bit lazy with my reading lately, but once the book had me in its grip, it wouldn’t let me go and I couldn’t put it down.

The world that Amanda Foody has created–both Gomorrah specifically and the wonderfully rich, captivating universe that it exists in, is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Foody blends many different parts of real-world cultures into something that is both unique and extraordinary. Gomorrah has people of all shapes, sizes, genders and sexualities, which is an aspect I’m really loving. It’s clear pretty early on that Sorina is bi-sexual, and though her romantic interest is male, there is a member of her family that is a lesbian, though none of that is the point at all, which is wonderful. These characters, though self-proclaimed freaks, are just people, and I think that having a cast of characters with a wide range of sexualities without having the story be about their wide range of sexualities is the kind of representation YA really needs.

Anyway, I’d like to talk more about Sorina, because as much as I loved the vivid, vivacious world that Foody created, a big part of what really drew me in was Sorina as a character. She’s a “jinx-worker” with a very unique sort of magic: she has the ability to create illusions that people can see, touch, and can even have lives of their own. She can’t go and create people willy-nilly, but once she does make a new member of her family, they are as much of a person as anybody else. They’re all part of Sorina’s act, her “Freak Show”, because all of the people she creates are “freakish” in some way. Her sister Venera is an acrobat so flexible she can literally tie herself in knots, and her uncle Gill is a man who has to live underwater, because he has gills that he uses to breathe. But Sorina often thinks that the biggest freak in her show is herself, because not only is she the illusion worker behind her whole act, but she looks the part of a freak herself–with a smooth, eyeless face that she often covers with a mask, though through her magic, she can see just as well as everyone else. And honestly, I think she’s such a badass. It’s not often that you find a main character in YA that is not conventionally attractive, and being totally eyeless is pretty big on the freaky factor, but it doesn’t slow Sorina down or make her any less relatable as a character, and I’m here for that.

Sorina also continues in a trend that I like that I’m seeing more of in YA: she’s not this seemingly perfect, mature leader who always seems to have all the answers: she’s nieve, she’s flawed, and though she has this amazing magical skill, she doesn’t always know how it works, and her magic isn’t infallible.

This book has really full cast of super well-rounded, interesting and diverse characters, like I mentioned briefly in the beginning. Sorina’s family of illusions, as well as her adopted father, foster mother, and romantic interest Luca, are all wildly intense and likeable, and really add a lot to the mystery of Gomorrah’s murderer.

Speaking of which, the plot was definitely another win on the part of the author. I mean, not only did she create a story full of such great characters in a world that is remarkably engaging, but having this book be a murder mystery where the victims are illusions who technically shouldn’t be able to die in the first place? Genius. The predictability level on this book was pretty low. While I had a few hunches, I have to say that by the end I was very surprised indeed, and thought that the climax was really well built up in the rest of the story (meaning the author left lots of breadcrumbs throughout the story, that once you figure out the resolution you go “oooohhh, yeah, that makes sense now”, like in any good murder mystery).

I will say, the one critic that I have of this story is that, since it’s a stand-alone, I thought it wrapped up a bit too nicely. While there is no doubt that the characters all suffered (there weren’t really any punches pulled in that department), there were a lot of more minor plot points that were built up that were almost “shoved under the rug”, if you will. I still have some questions, that will of course never be answered because it’s a stand-alone, but it was a satisfying ending, even if it did leave me with some lingering thoughts. But I suppose good books often do that–leave little pieces of themselves floating in your brain, long after you’ve read the last word.

But I’d really, 100%, recommend this book to anyone who is a lover of creative world-building, unique magic, and dark fantasy. It was, I hope, just the first of many amazing books in 2018.

If you liked Daughter of the Burning City, try: Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Reviews

One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake

One Dark Throne

# of Pages: 448

Time it took me to read: 5 days

# of pages a day to finish in a week: 64 pgs

Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Ever since sister queens Mirabella, Arsinoe, and Katherine were born, they knew that one day two of them would lie dead and only one sister would reign over the whole of the island of Fennbirn. Mirabella, who’s powerful elemental magic has always given her the edge, is no longer the chosen one after Arsinoe’s terrifying naturalist display at Beltane. But all three of the sisters have their secrets, and the only question left is: which sister is willing to do everything that needs to be done to take the throne? Will it be Mirabella, still the strongest, but also the softest of heart, loving still the sisters that she must destroy? Or Arsinoe, raised as a naturalist with no abilities to show, who is actually a poisoner is disguise? Though always seen as weak, one cannot discount Katherine, who is suddenly showing more power and hunger for the throne than she ever has, despite having been thrown into the heart of the island by the boy that she loved. This Ascension Year promises to be the most mysterious and strange in Fennbirn’s history, but the question still stands: which of the three queens will seize the one dark throne?

I’ve already broken my no sequels rule, but I didn’t do a full review of Three Dark Crowns, so I figured I’d be fine to review the sequel.

I really, really enjoyed this book. I rarely give a sequel a better score than an original, but this is one of those times that I really thought that the author stepped it up in her sequel. All three of the sisters showed a different side of themselves than they did in the first book, and I thought that it really brought a lot of depth to each of the protagonists. And might I say that I think Blake really mastered the art of three protagonists. Two is pretty commonly done, but three is a hard feat. I think that typically it’d be hard as a reader for me to care about all three of them equally, but I actually did. I was invested in the outcome of each sister, and found myself rooting for them all, even when they were pitted against one another.

At the end of the first book, I think that there were several routes that Blake could have taken, and this was probably one of the best ones, definitely a tricky one. The story of Katherine, in particular, really kept me guessing the whole time. It was obvious that the author took some risks and killed some darlings in this book, but I think it all paid off. As a writer myself, I respect some hard decisions that she made, but as a reader I was heartbroken. And as a writer if you can make your readers ache for a character that you’ve written, I’d call that a success.

I also think that this story was paced a lot better than it’s predecessor. I don’t think that it was any fault of the prequel’s, because doing set up is hard, but One Dark Throne started with a great pace and ended the same way. There was no sort of slow build up to the action, the action was there right away. When reading the first one, I remember it taking me until just about half way through to become fully invested in the characters and their world, though by the end I was hooked. I have to say that I was hooked from page one in this story, and I was really refreshed by that, because a lot of popular YA writers will produce a banger of a debut novel, but there is so much pressure after that, that typically I find that the sequels don’t perform as well. So I’m always happy to be able to give a sequel a glowing review.

I know I mentioned this in the first review I did, but I was very impressed with the world building and the magic originality of this story. Fennbirn Island is home to the poisoners, the elementalists, the naturalists, the warriors, and the oracles. The warriors and the oracles aren’t as unique, but they are also the most rare, and not the aspect of magic most focused on. It’s the poisoners and the naturalists that are so cool and unique, particularly the poisoners. Though Katherine isn’t my favorite of the sisters,  I can’t help but be fascinated by the whole poisoner culture that Blake has created. Their religion is also really interesting, and brutal as well. I love it a lot.

Anyway, I’m happy to be able to give this book a resounding 5 out of 5. I really enjoyed every page of it, and am surprised and thrilled that there is going to be one more in the series.

If you liked One Dark Throne, try: The Black Witch by Laurie Forest

Poison Study by Maria V Snyder

Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

 

 

Reviews

Wonder Woman: Warbringer by Leigh Bardugo

WW Warbringer

# of Pages: 364

Time it took me to read: 5 days

# of pages a day to finish in a week: 52 pgs

Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Diana has lived her whole life on the beautiful, isolated island of Themyscira. Her mother, the Queen, and her battle-tested Amazon sisters have always made Diana sure that she has something to prove. What Diana doesn’t know when she pulls a young girl from the wreckage of a sinking ship, is that this girl holds the fate of the world in her very breath. Alia Keralis has been facing the threat of danger her whole life, but what she didn’t know is that it’s because she is the Warbringer, the latest in a long line of descendants of Helen of Troy, the face that launched a thousand ships and brought war to the Greeks and Trojans.

The pair make an unlikely team as they escape from Themyscira and hurry towards Greece, because only at the resting place of Helen can Alia be purified and end the line of Warbringers forever. But the World of Man is unfamiliar to Diana, and though she has sworn to protect Alia, there are enemies hidden all around them: those who would seek to destroy the Warbringer before she comes into her full powers, but also those who would seek to use her powers to thrust the world into a new age of war.

I just have to start by saying that this book was amazing! Like, I’m really not surprised, but I’m also just a little bit surprised. I’m not really into reading books that come from movie franchises. I’m all for the books that I like getting turned into movies, but vice versa? Not so much. Though this book is not a literary retelling of the Wonder Woman movie, don’t be confused (though if you’ve seen the movie and you read the description at the top, you’ll know they’re nothing alike). They are set in the same DC world, but the mythology and timeline of the book and movie are very different. Diana is a fully grown adult in the movie, which takes place during World War I, but in this book she is only 16, and it is the modern day. The reason I’m not a) mad about it, and b) actually really loved that aspect of it, was because I’m not into the DC Comics world at all. I’m a Marvel girl all the way, and even then, just the movies, not the comics. Also, this book delved much further into the Greek mythology aspect of the Amazons and included Helen of Troy and other deities much more than in the film.

The reason I’m not surprised that I loved this book was because it’s Leigh Bardugo, whom, if you read my first Throw Back Thursday mini review, you’ll know I’m absolutely in love with. I’m not surprised she was able to make a world that was totally her own, while remaining true to the Wonder Woman character that we all fell in love with this last year with the release of the film. I’m very impressed that she was able to make something creative and different, because it would have been very easy for her to fall back on the world building and mythology that was established in the movie and the comics, and though I’m sure that she borrowed from both, the world felt more realistic than comic book worlds usually do, even with all of the gods and monsters Bardugo invokes (which is very much her style).

Now, to talk a little bit about characters. I absolutely loved teen Diana, because though she is still the strong, socially inept badass that we know and love from the movie, she is a lot more relatable as a teen, because she hasn’t come into her powers and isn’t as sure of her place in the world, which is something that I’m sure a lot of young readers will identify with. I’m sure of this because I identify with it, and at 23 I’m seven years Diana’s senior in this story.

The other main character in this book is Alia Keralis, the daughter of two of New York’s most famous scientists, and the descendant of Helen of Troy. While it is clear that this girl is much more comfortable buried in books, she still contains the street smarts of a girl who has grown up in New York city. Alia is also black, from her mother’s side, and Bardugo doesn’t shy away with making commentary on race in this story, though she does not fall back on using stereotypes at all which is awesome. Alia seems like a totally realistic teenage girl from the city; self conscious, but also scrappy. Though she is initially disbelieving of the world of mythology that she falls into when she meets Diana, she goes from skeptical to resilient and brave in the face of adversity, which is what we all love in our YA heroines.

Quite possibly my favorite part of this book, however, is the insane plot twist at the end. Like, honestly, I haven’t been this surprised by the climax of a book in probably years. While there are usually little parts of every book that are unpredictable and exciting, I typically finishing the book able to say that I guessed pretty well how it was gonna turn out. But I have never let out a more emphatic “damn, I did NOT see that coming” than I did when I got near the end of this story. I won’t say any more, but seriously, so good. No punches pulled at all with that one.

Anyway, just a few last things before I sign off. The pacing of this book was excellent, I was constantly on my toes, excited for that next page, which I haven’t been for quite some time, so that was very refreshing. The side characters were funny and dynamic, very well written additions to this story. The plot was engaging and fresh, thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish. This book is well-deserving of every one of its five stars.

I’m kind of digging this idea of hiring famous YA writers to retell classic stories. They’ve got a bunch of ones based on Disney movies, of which I’ve only read one, and it was okay, but this one was a win by far. This book definitely proved the Leigh Bardugo is more than capable of escaping her fantasy-dystopia niche.

 

If you liked Wonder Woman: Warbringer, try: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

AntiGoddess by Kendare Blake

Defy by Sara B. Larson

Siren’s Song by Mary Weber

Reviews

Scale: A Novel by Keith Buckley

Scale A Novel

# of Pages: 241

Time it took me to read: 3 days

# of pages a day to finish in a week: 35 pgs

Rating: 4.5 out of 5

 

Ray Goldman is a conundrum of a man. He strives his whole life to make something of himself, following the paths of good role models and bad ones, as he tries to make it in the world of music. This book has everything that you could want in the fictional biography of a musical artist: drugs, sex, and rock and roll. Ray starts down a path early in his youth that brings him to a point where he explores the ideas of love, nihilism, and the motivations behind creating art.

This book was really a big leap out of my comfort zone. I haven’t really read much of what I’d consider “literature” since I left college, but this definitely fits the the definition of a “great American novel”. My friend Sam and I were talking about books recently, and we decided that we’d both try and branch out a little bit. This book, Scale, is by the lead singer of one of Sam’s favorite metal bands “Every Time I Die”. Sam told me that he didn’t do a lot of reading, but he liked history, so I gave him And I Darken, so hopefully he will enjoy the fictional retelling of Lada (Vlad) the Impaler.

I have to say, I’m pretty surprised at how much I liked this book. Typically, I really am not into books that are cerebral and character driven like this, but I found that I was really drawn into the writing style. This book was written in such a way that I was sort of forced to take it slow (I know, reading a whole book in 3 days doesn’t sound like taking it slow, but if this was a YA book under 250 pages I could have read it in 4 hours).

I’m not sure that I can explain very well why I read it slow, but it wasn’t entirely because the book was very heavy on big vocabulary and light on plot. It was more that even when the story was outlining something fairly lighthearted, I felt like I had to take a pause between sentences or paragraphs to digest a little bit. And normally when I’m enjoying a book I don’t stop for anything. I just chew and chew and don’t stop to swallow or sometimes even to breathe. But reading this book can be accurately represented by how I actually eat: one small bite, then a drink of water, then a bit of conversation, a deep breath, then another small bite and repeat. Scale requires you to take a bite, wash it down, then think about it a bit before diving back in. And, though reading those kinds of books has always felt like homework to me, I found this book a refreshing taste of the world outside of YA.

Buckley also made a really interesting move with how he designed the timeline of this story. The odd chapters were the “present day” of this story, while the even chapters start in his late teen years and lead up to how he became the man that he is in the odd chapters. This stylistic choice kept the book fresh and interesting.

This book also has a great cast of side characters, all of whom were very well written, but none of whom I liked very much on a personal level. In fact, I don’t think I liked the characters at all that much. And maybe that’s the way its supposed to be? I’m really not sure, this book really gives you a lot to think about, and it’s one of those books that makes me super sleepy after reading it for a while. It’s a lot to process.

After reading this book, I also did a bit of research on the author, because I had a few theories that I wanted to check out. Keith Buckly is a pretty interesting guy. He’s married to his high school sweetheart (which I love), and this is his first novel. He definitely drew from some of his own life experiences when writing Scale. Ray Goldman went to Virginia Tech, and so did Keith Buckley. The other events that he borrowed from his own life I won’t reveal, cause spoilers, but Ray Goldman was certainly an interesting way for Buckley to explore certain aspects of his own life as a career musician.

I’ll go over briefly what it was that brought this book down half a star from a perfect score, though I will begin by saying that this bit is highly based on my own personal experiences and bias, and doesn’t reflect negatively at all on the book itself. My friends Chris and Sam give this book a perfect 5 out of 5, and they aren’t wrong. The reason I docked this book half a star was because a) there were some parts of it that went over my head, and b) I found it to be just a teensy bit pretentious. I will add a however, because the parts that didn’t make sense to me after trying to read them a few times over probably made perfect sense to somebody else, I just think that my life experiences and my worldview don’t always allow for a lot of philosophical thinking. And the pretentious part? Well, I think that all books that are character driven and could accurately be described as a “great American novel” are a bit pretentious by definition. There was a lot of big vocabulary words thrown about in such a way that it almost seemed like he was trying too hard to be deep. But again, that is merely an opinion, and I don’t think that either of these things should discourage anyone who might be interested in this book from reading it.

I can’t say that I think that everyone would enjoy this book, but I do think that it is a well-rounded, well-written book overall, and even I, someone who ever so rarely ventures outside the folds of the YA genre, enjoyed it very much. So I feel like anyone who enjoys books with very realistic characters, a great pace, and heavy philosophical and nihilistic overtones, or really any of those traits, should give this book a try.

I am going to, once again, forsake the “If you liked ____, try ____ section of this review, because honestly I don’t think that I’ve read anything remotely similar to this book that I would actually recommend to others.

Reviews

Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Sweet Venom

# of Pages: 345

Time it took me to read: 3 days

# of pages a day to finish in a week: 50 pgs

Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Grace, Gretchen, and Greer could not be more different. Grace is a quiet computer nerd who strives to save the environment. Greer is rich, popular, and strives to be a senator someday. Gretchen escaped abusive parents at a young age, and ever since then has dedicated her life to hunting the monsters that appear all over San Francisco…before the monsters can hunt the humans. What these girls do have in common is that they’re triplets, separated at birth, and they all have the power to see the monsters.

Suddenly everything begins to go awry. Gretchen’s mentor, the woman who taught her everything she knows about being a huntress, has disappeared, and the monsters begin to break the rules they’ve always been bound by. Will the sisters be able to see past their differences and work together? Or will the very power that brought them together keep them apart?

Okay, first off, you know that spiel I went on last week about how I like it when YA books transcend their genre? If you don’t, then go back and read my review for Elusion. Anyway, so I gave this book 5 stars, but this book does not transcend genres. This may seem like me going back on everything I said before, but hear me out.

I’ve read several other books by Tera Lynn Childs. Primarily her series about mermaids. And I have to say, that every book I’ve ever read by her has just been amazingly fun to read. Like I tear through her books because they’re very engaging and and fast paced. And her characters are always just plain adorable, and her worlds so magical.

But this book is very firmly in the realm of YA. Like, if you don’t like books that were clearly written for readers aged 14-16, you will not enjoy probably anything that Tera Lynn Childs has written. However, what makes Childs stand out from other YA books that don’t transcend genre is that she doesn’t try to. Childs has found her niche, and she is very, very good at what she does. I mean, I’m 23, but did I still thoroughly enjoy reading this story about long lost triplets who fight mythological monsters? Yeah. But not all 23 year olds, in fact I’m going to hedge the bet and say that most 23 year olds wouldn’t like this book as much as I did. But I’m young at heart, so what can I say?

Alright, age range aside, I’ll get to the reasons why I gave this book a 5 star review. I’m an enormous sucker for any YA book that takes a spin on Greek mythology. Percy Jackson isn’t the only one out there, folks, just in case you were wondering. It’s turning into a whole sub-genre, and one that I could not be more in love with. I also really appreciate that Childs did something pretty unique in terms of the world of YA Greek myth books. Her characters are the descendants of Medusa, the mortal Gorgon best known from the Perseus myth as the monster with snake hair with eyes that turned people to stone.

Well, Childs spins her as a good guy that was totally persecuted by the Gods because they were jealous. It’s something I’ve never seen done before, and I liked it very much. It was very obvious that Childs did her research, but she also took lots of liberties and made the story and the characters very much her own, which I liked a lot. Several of these Greek myth YA books either try and borrow characters and stories too heavily from myth and don’t do enough research and make it nearly painful to read for someone who has studied a lot of myth. Anyway, so far A+ on the mythology aspect of this story.

The writing itself is great, and the pacing fantastic. I read the book in 3 days, 3 work days mind you. That basically means I couldn’t put it down. Were there parts of this story that were fairly predictable? Sure, but there were also parts that surprised me. The characters had a pretty basic story arc for each of them, but they had all of the components of a well rounded, three-dimensional character, so that’s fine.

I’m going to try and not do sequel reviews on this blog any more. That’s right, every book I review is going to be an original. And I do promise to try and get more regular with the reviews coming up soon, it is taking me much longer than I anticipated to get my schedule regulated. But I’m finally done working 6 day weeks, so hopefully I’ll be a little less tired.

If you liked Sweet Venom, try: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Forgive My Fins by Tera Lynn Childs

Reviews

Crewel by Gennifer Albin

crewel

# of Pages: 357

Time it took me to read: 5 days

# of pages a day to finish in a week: 51 pgs

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

 

Adelice has a gift. She has the power to see and weave the threads that make up everything in her world, a gift that means she will be called by her government to be a Spinster. Though being a Spinster means a life of glamorous parties, decadent food, and unparalleled privilege, it also means that she will have to leave her family and her home behind forever. But being a Spinster isn’t what it seems, and when Adelice arrives at her new home, she knows that she has to make allies, and fast. Because in a world of politics and desperate bids for power, Adelice might not be able to trust anyone besides herself. And if she wants to protect the few people left that she loves, she has to make sure that she has more leverage than the people who are trying to control her.

 

 

First off, I can’t shake the feeling that this book reminds me of the book that I read last week. It’s super weird, the premises aren’t at all the same, the style isn’t particularly similar, and the characters don’t have the same characteristics at all, so I’m not sure what it is. Perhaps it’s because I enjoyed them about the same amount.

 

Author Gennifer Albin wastes no time jumping right into her almost fantasy seeming world, though later it evolves more into a dystopia/sci-fi type universe. Normally I try and talk about some of the good parts of the book first, but I really can’t get past the biggest issue I had with this book, and that was that there were too, too many details. It is very clear that Albin had a clear picture in her head when she was writing this book, and I think that’s fantastic. I also think that she didn’t do the most amazing job transcribing that vision onto the page. Sometimes I had to go back and read a passage two or three times to try and understand exactly what just happened, and every once and a while I still couldn’t understand it after a few passes, so I just moved on. Albin’s concept of Adelice’s whole world of Arras being made up of threads of time and matter that the Spinsters can weave and manipulate is fascinating, I just think that I got lost along the way in the sheer number of details and Albin’s complex way of describing them.

 

Something that I also thought was interesting was that in the beginning of this story, I thought this was going to be an interesting gender power swap kind of book, where the women actually have all the power. And while that is technically true, women are the only ones that have the capabilities to be Spinsters, it is actually the opposite in terms of who holds the power in this world. Because while the women do the important work and wield the power of weaving the threads, the men have the true power in this story. They keep the women placated with fancy parties and beautiful gowns, while the male politicians make all the real decisions.

 

Adelice figures out the power structure pretty quickly, to her credit, but can’t do a whole lot initially to fight it. She rebels in her own smalls ways, and gets punished fairly severely for it. It doesn’t stop her, though, and I admire that kind of tenacity in a character. In fact, as protagonists go, I don’t have a lot of problems with her. Sometimes it takes her a while to figure things out that I, as a reader, understand a lot quicker, but I guess I understand that some things can’t be revealed until later for plot reasons. But I guess that if I were writing this story, I would have made things slightly less obvious so it didn’t make Adelice seem totally oblivious for not seeing them sooner.

 

I’m definitely going to pick up the sequel pretty soon here, because the end of this book left me with a lot of questions. I have high hopes that Albin will reign in her writing style a little bit in the second book, and that I’ll have a bit of an easier time understanding the “science/magic” behind the power that Adelice possesses.

 

This book was definitely a brain candy kind of book, and I think that it’s books like this book, and like Incarceron, that give YA a bad name among those who don’t know better. Don’t get me wrong, I think that brain candy books like this are just fine, for entertainment’s sake. I enjoyed reading this book and Incarceron, but they certainly weren’t perfect, and I don’t think that they were particularly substantial, and perhaps that’s why I was getting a kind of de ja vu while reading Crewel.

 

YA is my favorite genre, and I feel like day by day, the genre itself is becoming more and more cutthroat in who gets published, because YA has got to be one of the most highly monetized genres in publishing. I’m into it, because I have a lot of feelings about why YA is the most important genre because it is written for an age group where people commonly fall out of reading for fun, particularly in this age where digital media is on the rise and becoming more and more accessible. Okay, end rant. But if you ever want to have a conversation about this kind of stuff, hit me up! I have a lot of opinions and would love to hear yours!

 

As much as I hate to have this kind of thought process going in, I have a feeling that my book for this upcoming week is going to leave me with much the same feeling, but here’s to hoping that I’m wrong and it’s spectacular. Stay tuned!

 

If you liked Crewel, try: Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

Maximum Ride by James Patterson

After the End by Amy Plum

Reviews

Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Incarceron

# of Pages: 442

Time it took me to read: 5

# of pages a day to finish in a week: 63 pgs

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Incarceron is a prison unlike any other. It is a conscious, living organism that keeps its prisoners locked away. There are no windows and no doors, and no one goes Outside, ever. Because everyone is born in Incarceron, and they die there, too. But Finn knows that he came from Outside, even if he doesn’t have any real memories from being there. But with the help of an extraordinary device, Finn is able to contact Claudia, who claims to be Outside, and that her father is the Warden of Incarceron. Finn and Claudia must work together to piece together the mystery of Incarceron before anyone can thwart their plan to Escape, because many obstacles stand in their way: the Warden, the Queen, and even Incarceron itself.

 

Hi everyone, sorry that it has been a minute since I’ve posted a review. This was the craziest moving week of my life, but the dust is finally settling and I have a little time to sit down and write this review. But even though my life has been totally cuckoo, I have still been reading! I’m just a little bit backlogged. But I I should be back to my regular schedule of posting my reviews on Sundays this coming Sunday.

 

But for now, here is the review for Incarceron. I just have to start out by saying that this was a pretty funny book for me to be reading as I’m starting my new job. Because Incarceron is alive, but it’s a machine: It has some organic parts, but it’s basically artificial intelligence gone wrong. And I now work as technical support at an artificial intelligence software company. Luckily, all our AI does is help people sell cars, not keep them trapped in an inescapable prison.

 

Anyway, this book was super unique and interesting conceptually. And its uniqueness really made it so that this story was very unpredictable. Which is nice, as I like to be kept on my toes. I really liked Claudia as a character: whip smart, skeptical, and independent. All traits I like in my female protagonists. Honestly, I thought that Finn fell a little flat as a character in comparison. Finn felt more defined by the side characters around him, which I was far more interested in, anyway.

 

The book was basically split into two different narratives: Claudia’s story, which took place Outside, and Finn’s story, that took place inside Incarceron. And while I thought that Claudia’s story was quite fast paced and interesting, Finn’s was dull in comparison.

To summarize, in my opinion this story was unique and had a lot of potential, but was not as well executed as it could have been.

 

I know it probably seems like I didn’t like it very much, I’ve been focusing a lot on the negatives, but I did have fun reading this book, which is why it still earned a solid 3.5 out of 5 from me.

 

Unrelated, but I got a total of $75 to Barnes and Noble for my birthday recently, so I’ll be making a trip there coming up soon, and I’ll have lots of new and amazing books to review. Thanks again for being patient with my wonky schedule. Like I’ve said in other posts recently, once my life straightens out, I’ll be doing my reviews regularly, and I should be doing more daily stuff on this blog throughout the week. So stay tuned, and thanks for reading!

 

If you liked Incarceron, try: The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

The Broken Hearted by Amelia Kahaney

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow