Wednesday, 17 April 2013

ARC Review of The Elite by Kiera Cass (The Selection book 2)

The Elite (The Selection, #2)Pages: 336
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release: April 23rd 2013

Plot: Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending. (Goodreads)

Good Points:
I cannot tell you how much I have wanted this book after finishing The Selection around a year ago. The last book left so abruptly that it had me hanging on for more so you can imagine my excitement at receiving my review copy a couple of days ago.
Firstly, I have read The Prince so I went into this book already with a different outlook of some of the characters, namely the king than that I had received from reading the first book.

The Elite continues basically where we left off in The Selection with only six girls remaining including our main protagonist America Singer (whose name to be honest still frustrates me).
 The tension increases with this book as you'd imagine as the competition draws ever closer to its conclusion which I am sure we will eventually see in the next and final book to the trilogy which has yet to be titled. There is also an increased tension as we see America switch between Prince Maxon and Aspen, the boy from her past, and this is a theme that is consistent throughout the series, more so in this book as the reader gains a clear understanding into not only America's confused emotions but also the difficult choice that will pave the path to her future, ultimately the question of who will she choose?
America's secret meetings with Aspen are also proven even more dangerous as we see the consequences of what happens to those who do not abide by the rules.

 The characters did develop in some aspects it could be argued as we discover and begin to sympathise with characters that didn't really get a massive look-in in The Selection, and of course there is also the increasing worry and fear of the rebels which attacks grow more frequent and chosen targets prove fatal for some. However it did feel that something was missing from this book that I craved.

What I didn't like...
As much as I hate to admit it I didn't really think there was much of a plot to the book. There were moments where I got excited expecting something to happen only discover that it didn't.
The Elite in my opinion is more of a filler book, where basically you get the opportunity to discover more about the lives, emotions and thoughts of the characters yet they don't really seem to get anywhere with anything.

Yes, we do see a couple of the characters stand up and defend themselves and there are moments where we discover certain truths about them, however these just lead on (I hope) to the final instalment to the series. I understand that the final book is the revealing book where everything comes to light and we see whether the character we invested so much time into gets her happy ending, however I would have liked just a little more action or just something to make this book stand out a little more and I think especially the sub-plot of the rebels could have been introduced a little more firmly than it was.

To Sum Up:
Overall, yes, I didn't think it was as good as The Selection however it wasn't a bad book.
 The Elite lives up to some of my expectations and I know I must have liked it after reading it in only a couple of sittings.

I recently watched one of the authors Youtube videos where Kiera Cass is describing her books and I think she sums it up pretty well and in a food orientated way. Her books are like comfort food, namely mac and cheese which I love! They're easy to read, yet loveable and you always find yourself going back for more.
Don't let my negatives about this book stop you form picking it because ultimately its only one side to the story and only my opinion. With every book there is good points and bad points and I have faith that the next book will deliver everything that is promised (hypothetically, of course) in a concluding novel of a series.
Kiera Cass, I need more comfort food from you but until then I'll just have to re-read the series so far.

Thanks for reading and I'd love to hear what you thought of the book!

Monday, 15 April 2013

Review of The Prince by Kiera Cass

Pages: 59
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release: March 2013

The Prince (The Selection, #0.5)
Plot: Before thirty-five girls were chosen to compete in the Selection...
Before Aspen broke America's heart...
There was another girl in Prince Maxon's life...

Don't miss this thrilling 128-page original novella set in the world of the New York Times bestselling novel The Selection. Also features a teaser to The Elite, Kiera Cass's hotly anticipated sequel to The Selection. (Goodreads)

Thoughts... Its been a long wait but I finally read the novella to the Selection series by Kiera Cass and just like her first book The Selection, The Prince continues to strengthen my love for this series.

Within this short e-book we see the story told in the perspective of Maxon in the lead up and briefly during the arrival of the 35 girls taking part in the competition. We also discover that there was another girl in Maxon's life before the competition named Daphne, the daughter of the King of France and we get to explore Maxon's relationship both with her and his father.
 The relationship between Maxon and his parents, the King and Queen however is in my opinion defined in The Prince a lot better than I thought it was in The Selection as the reader get's to the chance to explore Maxon's views and relationship with how his parents treat him.
The Selection (The Selection, #1) I'd definitely say that the King especially is put forward in a much more negative light as we are introduced further to the idea that the Selection has possibly been meddled with by the King and that he is actually rather unpleasant towards his son.
My opinion of the Queen has also changed and my suspicions have grown that there is possibly about her character. The quote "I couldn't imagine a circumstance that would dim my absolute adoration of her (The Queen)" that Maxon speaks of within the book about his mother immediately jumps out as a huge opening to the story that almost begs for his view of her to be challenged and possibly a truth may arise about her character soon that would change this. Just a theory though...
To conclude, if you haven't already read The Selection I highly recommend you read that before the novella as I think you get a broader understanding of what is happening within this story.
 The sequel,The Elite, is out later this year however I have just received my Review copy of it and am literally dancing around my room with excitement, so the review for that shouldn't be too far away if I read this one as quickly as I managed to devour the first book to the series.
Thanks for reading and I'd love to hear what you think about the series so far!

Sunday, 14 April 2013

ARC Review of Ink by Amanda Sun

Pages: 377
Ink (Paper Gods, #1)Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release: June 25th 2013

Plot: On the heels of a family tragedy, the last thing Katie Greene wants to do is move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn’t know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can’t seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

Then there’s gorgeous but aloof Tomohiro, star of the school’s kendo team. How did he really get the scar on his arm? Katie isn’t prepared for the answer. But when she sees the things he draws start moving, there’s no denying the truth: Tomo has a connection to the ancient gods of Japan, and being near Katie is causing his abilities to spiral out of control. If the wrong people notice, they'll both be targets.

Katie never wanted to move to Japan—now she may not make it out of the country alive. (Goodreads)

Good Points: One of the major things that stood out for me when I read this book was the obvious love the author has for Japan. The description of the people, traditions and scenery all helped beautifully create a vivid image for the reader right from page one which I absolutely loved. The use of the Japanese language throughout for me worked really well also, as at times a character would say something and you wouldn't necessarily find out what they had actually said, only what they had implied, and I thought this fitted into the book really well as the reader gains some understanding and a brief insight into the humongous challenge that Katie has of being placed in an environment where she doesn't really know the language yet. I thought this was a nice touch to the story.
Also every now and then there's a little drawing that's relevant to the scene which was nice seeing as though its a book involving drawings coming to life and for a moment I did look at the pictures on my Kindle and expect them to move -_- Just saying... 
Continuing with the Japanese setting in the book, traditional Japanese mythology is used to create the paranormal element to the story and explain the strange things that Katie is sure she is seeing such as the moving drawings that she catches staring at her.
Overall though the book did get slightly better the more I read on though I think the first half ruined it a little for me in the end and that's why I'd probably only give it 2, maybe 3 stars if I was rating it. 

What I didn't like: I really wanted to love this book but I just didn't. I saw INK a couple of months ago on Goodreads before I received the ARC and it sounded really interesting with its plot being set in Japan where a girl see's drawings come alive. Sounds pretty good, right? But instead I guess you could say that I just felt a little let down.

Firstly I would have loved for the book to deal a little more with Katie starting out in Japan rather than jumping dramatically to the point where she meets Tomohiro and seemingly falls in love with him pretty much from the start. This is reflected in her infatuation with her following him despite his cries of 'Get away from me, I'm dangerous!" which I have to admit had me rolling my eyes. I don't know, maybe I'm finally getting tired of this sort of stuff cropping up in YA books. Yes, the whole drawings to life and Japanese culture playing a key role within the book were unique I give it that, but the sub-plot wasn't. It was you're typical bad yet mysterious boy falling for the new girl at school who is being sought after by that other guy and they somehow get caught up in danger. 

To Sum Up.... I wouldn't completely rule this book out because I know some people will really love it but for me it just wasn't my cup of tea. 
The book hit shelves June 25th this year so look out for it! 

Friday, 5 April 2013

Review of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1)Pages: 375
Publisher: Puffin Books
Released: 2005

Plot: After getting expelled from yet another school for yet another clash with mythological monsters only he can see, twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is taken to Camp Half-Blood, where he finally learns the truth about his unique abilities: He is a demigod, half human, half immortal. Even more stunning: His father is the Greek god Poseidon, ruler of the sea, making Percy one of the most powerful demigods alive. There's little time to process this news. All too soon, a cryptic prophecy from the Oracle sends Percy on his first quest, a mission to the Underworld to prevent a war among the gods of Olympus. (Goodreads)

The Review... People have been recommending me to read these books for a while now and so I thought it was about time I gave them a try. I watched the film with Logan Lerman a couple of years ago and thought it was okay but I have to admit after reading the book I finally understand what everyone in the Percy Jackson fandom were arguing about. The book is so much better. Honestly you can barely recognise that the film even came from the book there's so many differences to it.
The main character Percy was introduced well. He has all the characteristics of a likeable character loyal, caring and at times funny which add to the book being a fun read alongside the adventure Percy, Annabeth and Grover embark on, of finding Zeus's stolen lightning bolt.
Basically I'm going to keep this review short and sweet. I was a little bit sceptical about reading the book to begin with because of the hype surrounding them and I have to hold my hands up to this when I saw Percy was a 12 year old boy I immediately thought kids book. But DON'T BE FOOLED! The book was fantastic! It was fast paced and the plot moved smoothly yet never got boring. To be honest, I kind of forgot that Percy was 12 after a while due to his smart mouthed and outgoing character that took charge in going to find not only the lightening bolt and his mother but also taking on the Gods as well.
Overall I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone of any age, the story's great, there's five books in the series and it centre's around Greek mythology. Honestly, what more could you want?
Reviews of the next books in the series to come!

Seen the trailer for Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters movie? Any thoughts? Leave them in the comments below :)

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