The Lunar Chronicles | Marissa Meyer

Alternatively titled: Sometimes I play tricks on myself by assigning something and forgetting about it until I have to write it.

The Series

Cinder is a cyborg in New Beijing. Unbeknownst to her she is the long thought dead Lunar Queen. If only her Aunt would let her be. Scarlet just wants to find her grandmother and work on their farm. If only Cinders Aunt would let her. Cress just wants to get off her satellite and be in love with Thorne. If only her queen would let her. And Winter just wants Jacin. If only her step-mother would let her.

The Plot.

– Possesses a solid plot. The story progresses at a good pace and I never found moments where I needed to know what was happening elsewhere when our heroes were split up.

– Although the “bio-electricity” felt a little like Marissa Meyer wanted to have this feature and had to think of a science-y way to do it. That was the weakest part for me.

The Characters.

– I love them.

– I felt that their character arcs were strong and they didn’t progress too quickly or anything.

– Also their relationships to each other is just… amazeballs.

The Conflict. 

– Occurred naturally without excess.

– I feel like the conflict was only necessary because otherwise there would be no resolution, but I don’t think you’d miss too much without it. If that makes sense. The book holds it’s own without it.

I know I’ve done these books separately before, but I wanted to do them as a series because it’s an incredibly well written quadrilogy and I would definitely recommend it to anyone looking for a new YA dystopia.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

 

 

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Zero Day | Jan Gangsei

Edit-Zero Day

The Book

Follows Addie Webster: Presidents Daughter. She was kidnapped when she was small, and now, eight years later, she has returned. Things are different, people have moved on. What else could they do? But why, after all this time has she returned? And who is she now? Featuring: First Daughter, the chatty bodyguard, terrorists, teenager has to save everyone.

The Plot

– It was a compelling mystery. Are really aren’t sure where Addie stands through most of the book. It would have been interesting to look at it from an unreliable narrator stand point, but you never really got that in there.

– It was an interesting premise. Of course, to focus on the presidents daughter is just icing on the cake, but the whole “someone-returns-after-being-kidnapped-young” thing is interesting, it is unfortunate that Jan didn’t really show how messed up she’d be. Regardless of how much she ended up liking her kidnappers (spoiler) she was freaking kidnapped!

The Characters

– Despite Addie being the protagonist, I really didn’t see her shine. There was never that moment where I thought “You know what? I like this girl” which is just unfortunate.

– That said, we did manage to get a peek at her vulnerability. She wasn’t as head strong and cock sure (or is it the other way around) as most YA protagonists are, which is refreshing.

The Conflict

– It was entertaining enough. As I mentioned earlier, the mystery was compelling, which meant that the conflict didn’t have to be huge, but it did have to live up to the hype of the mystery.

– I’m of the opinion that books should really exist alone. Sure, have a series, but the whole plot should really be resolved by the end. I dislike cliff-hangers. Sure they get you to read the next one, but unless you baddy is The Big Bad (a la Voldemort in HP) slap him in cuffs and have the superserum fall down a drain. Someone else can find it next.

Point of Dis/Interest

– Obvious Love Triangle is Obvious.

Etc. Why do YA books exclusively target Teens?

Technically speaking, you need to be an adult to be a young adult. Which means you need to be at least 18. So why are YA books targeted at teens? The protagonist is nearly always still in school and honestly, the older I get the more that annoys me. I am a young adult damnit! everyone else is a teenager!

You get some good YA books that are accessible to all ages, but they’re not so much in the YA genre. While Harry Potter might still be in school, I don’t find it an annoying extra. I don’t find Harry annoying just because he’s still in school. everyone else it’s free range though.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

Percy Jackson and Friends | Rick Riordan

The Book

What I have come to call Percy Jackson and friends follows two book series. Percy Jackson and the Olympians and The Heroes of Olympus, both of which feature a certain Percy Jackson, thus the name. Basically Percy Jackson discovers he’s a (spoilers) demigod and is the son of Poseidon when he is twelve and then over the next umpteen books he proves his awesomeness by defeating a Titan and and then Gaia. Freakin’ Gaia. Featuring: The Clueless Hero, BAMFemales, demigods, YA treasure tropes.

The Characters

  • The characters were well written and they had a long time to be fleshed out.
  • There are just so many characters there is no way I’m going to write up on all of them.
  • The relationships develop over time into what they become and they change and mutate as things happen and time flows which is always really super good.

The Plot

  • He starts out young which is always surprising for a YA.
  • It’s very similar to Harry Potter in some respects (such as these) but I found the beginning of the series a little too young for me as an adult. They’re still entertaining, don’t get me wrong, but they’re young in a way that draws me out of the immersion process.

Conflict

  • While there is Deus Es Machina, there is a whole lot less than expected. It’s a series about gods how can there not be! But most of the time the group had to solve the challenges on their own.
  • Anna Kendrick once distinguished musicals from movies with singing by saying that in musicals the songs move the plot forward or they reveal something about the character. So too with conflict. The conflict needs to move the plot forward or reveal something or there’s no point in it. Percy Jackson and friends does this well. Each conflict has a clear purpose, and most of the time it does more than just move the story forward.

Points of Dis/Interest:

  • Everybody gets paired up. To us single people that’s just a slap in the face.

Etc. The Importance of YA Lit.

My sister likes to say that if you only read popular lit then you’re not a real reader. I’ll tell you a secret: She buys classics because they look good on her shelf, not necessarily to read. I’ll tell you another: Classics are usually in the public domain and can be purchased, legally, for free, for your kindle or e-reader which is far more sustainable. (don’t hate me I love real books)

I value what my sister thinks of me so I don’t usually argue with her on this topic, but the chances of her getting this far down my blog is slim, so I can say whatever I want. I think you are a reader if you’ve only read Twilight and I hate Twilight I hate what it tells to young girls and the writing is really bad. But if that’s what gets you into reading that’s great. I tried for years to get my best friend to read and she wouldn’t. But After she picked up Twilight she was off, so I can begrudge it a little something.

YA lit can often be heavy handed and obvious. It’s not always the best writing in the world. But what it can do is start a conversation. The Hunger Games is a seriously popular series. it’s not always nuanced and “clever” like Harry Potter or C.S. Lewis, Marley, but it gets people talking about the sort of violence we expose ourselves to on a daily basis for a start. And isn’t that better than nothing.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash

All the Bright Places | Jennifer Niven

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The Book

All the Bright Places follows depressed “friends?” Theodore Finch and Violet Markey. You notice the quotation marks? Good, because I put them there. Notice the question mark? That was me too. Because for at least half the novel they’re in a state of “Are they really dating?” They meet at the top of the school bell tower and neither of them jump. Then they get assigned a school paper to #discoverindiana. And as Violet become more and more of a person, Theodore becomes less.

The Good Bits

  • The consistency of the chapter swap makes the ending (spoiler) worse (but in a good way) Each chapter is either Violet, or Finch (very YA names right?) and it alternates. first Finch, then Violet. Then Finch, then Violet. Then… yeah. You get the picture. Until the end. That’s when we start to realise something’s wrong. Something’s really wrong.
  • Finch’s wardrobe changes. From one day to the next, we see Finch change his clothes, his entire style, trying to find one that he likes. A Finch that he likes. Although sometimes it’s left me wondering how he gets money for all of this.
  • Anyone can be depressed. The guy at school who doesn’t talk to anybody, or the most popular girl in school. This book highlights that.

The Not-So-Good-Bits

  • I’m not going to lie. This is about as YA as a John Green. (there’s nothing wrong with YA. It’s just very) And flower and a bird. Violet and Finch.
  • Why can’t we have a YA story that doesn’t have a Manic Pixie Dream person? This illusive ideal is just a way to tell people that “hey! you can never achieve this level of nonchalant cool that they somehow end up achieving.”

A Poem from the back cover | Itches

This Book makes me itchy.

Itchy in my room,

Itchy in my lifestyle,

Itchy in my home.

It makes me want to just drive for days,

pack a bag and go,

someplace I’ve never been,

someplace I’d never go.

Somewhere interesting

Somewhere boring.

It makes me want to paint my room,

change my clothes, move out and

run away

Away from work, away from problems,

just… away.

Live in a hut by the sea,

an apartment in a city,

a cottage in the country,

All on an island I’ve never seen

on an ocean far away.

Get Reading. Get Travelling.

Ash