After finishing the entire trilogy [Delirium, Pandemonium, and Requiem] PLUS the novella collection [Delirium Stories: Hana, Annabel, & Raven], I suddenly realized that I have never reviewed a single one of these stories. I didn’t even have any of them started/saved in my drafts. What?!? I don’t know where my brain has been, but this is a problem I need to fix!
Imagine a world in which people were promised a “cure” that could take away all heartache. Peace and happiness for all as long as everyone has a simple procedure? If it sounds too good to be true, that’s probably because it is. Lena has been raised to believe that love is a disease [Amor Deliria Nervosa] and that life without love is the safest and most stable way to live. People don’t fall in love and get married anymore — they get paired based on government-imposed ratings and compatibility of interests. It’s safer and easier to just fall in line, but Lena has a hard time forgetting the mother who could not be cured and whose last words to her, before committing suicide, were “I love you.” Only a few months before her own procedure, Lena has a chance encounter with a young man named Alex. Despite government assurances that all “invalids” [non-cured people living outside of society] have been taken care of, she’s pretty sure Alex *is* an invalid. And when she starts experiencing symptoms of the Deliria, she also starts to question everything she’s ever taken for granted. Is love really a disorder? Does the government really have everyone’s best interests at heart? And, most importantly, should Lena go ahead with her own procedure or follow her heart?
First of all, I just have to say that I read this book a few years ago and only now realized that I never reviewed it… Shame on me! Second, I feel compelled to tell you all how much I love the complete/crazy-long title of this book — Princess Ben: Being a Wholly Truthful Account of Her Various Discoveries and Misadventures, Recounted to the Best of Her Recollection, in Four Parts — which is a lot! It has such a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? Seriously, though, I think it helps to set the tone for the book. Because this is not your typical princess story!
It is true that Princess Ben (short for Benevolence) has been hidden away in a tower by her overbearing aunt, Queen Sophia, since her parents and her uncle (the king) were assassinated. Queen Sophia has plans to marry Ben off to the first mildly suitable man to present himself, but Ben is not the kind of princess who would be content to wait for a prince to come to her rescue. Thanks to her inquisitive/mischievous nature, she manages to find an enchanted room in the tower and begins to teach herself some magic with the books therein. Not only does this magic give her something to do with all of her “free” time, but it also buys her some freedom and increases the odds that she will be able to save both herself and the kingdom from Queen Sophia.
P.S. If you like this story, I also recommend the sequel — Wisdom’s Kiss: A Thrilling and Romantic Adventure Incorporating Magic, Villainy, and a Cat.
Although I don’t generally “do” the whole Twitter thing, I technically have an account through which I [supposedly] follow a few people. One of those people is the amazing John Green and, because I actually read one of my Twitter digests last month, I read this Tweet. Though I hadn’t previously heard about this book, I trusted John Green to know what he was talking about and requested a copy from another library in my system. I absolutely loved it, so I made sure to order a copy for my library AND bumped this book to the top of my “to review” list. FYI, in case you were not aware, I am way better at reading books than following through with reviews, so my “to review” list contains no fewer than 5 books at any given time and often has books that I finished months ago!
You may be wondering, “What was so great about Poison?” How about the fact that it had action, adventure, humor, magic, romance, AND strong female characters all rolled up into a unique fantasy story? Kyra, a potions master, used to be best friends with the princess. Until, that is, she tried to kill her. Since no one seemed to understand that trying to kill the princess was a good thing, she had to run away to avoid being jailed/hanged for the attempted assassination. And, while being the infamous “Princess Killer” made it rather difficult for Kyra to travel through the kingdom unnoticed, her bag of potions and the help of a cute little enchanted pig was enough to give her hope that she could find the princess and finish the job before it was too late…
The only thing I didn’t like about this story, to be honest, was learning that there won’t be a prequel or a sequel [since the author passed away before this book was even published]. I wish I could learn more about Kyra, but I guess it’s better to have loved and lost [a character] than never to have loved at all.
Period 8 is a class like no other. Regardless of how they get along outside of class, everyone is equal in Period 8. The teacher, Mr. Logsdon [a.k.a. Logs], has a lot to do with that. His only rules are that everyone has to be honest and that nothing leaves the room. Students are encouraged to share or discuss anything they wish, but they are also allowed to just listen to the others if they don’t wish to talk. When one of the Period 8 students — Mary “Virgin Mary” Wells — goes missing, everyone is worried. She never misses school, and her dad is known for being insanely strict, so the fact that she went missing AND that her dad waited three days to report her missing has people feeling very unsettled. Paulie Baum [a.k.a "Paulie Bomb"] is acting strangely too. And even though Paulie is known for ALWAYS telling the truth, Logs can tell he is holding something back. Could Paulie know something about Mary’s disappearance? And, if he does, why wouldn’t he say?
If you’re looking for a story that relates to teens’ lives without talking down to them and seamlessly combines everyday situations with a mystery/thriller scenario — while appealing to guys and girls alike, no less! — look no further. This book was everything fans of Chris Crutcher have come to expect with a little extra thrown in — fast paced, lots of action, and so many twists and turns that I honestly couldn’t guess them all before the story’s conclusion.
Victor Frankenstein and his twin brother, Konrad, have shared in many adventures with their cousin, Elizabeth, and their friend, Henry. On one such adventure, they discovered the the Dark Library — filled with ancient books about dark magic and alchemy. When their father found out, he forbade them from entering the library again. After Konrad fell ill with an unidentified malady that the doctors’ treatments and medicines could not cure, nevertheless, Victor decided to seek an ancient remedy in the books of the Dark Library. Full of action, adventure, and mystery, this back-story to Shelley’s Frankenstein is a gothic thriller that will probably even appeal to reluctant readers.
In post-apocalyptic North America, two countries have replaced the former United States of America — The Republic and The Colonies. Fighting against both of them is also a rebel group that calls itself the Patriots. Though it isn’t clear if The Colonies are any better, readers can easy ascertain that The Republic is not so much a republic as a totalitarian regime. This story is told from the alternating perspectives of characters named Day and June – Day is an independent anarchist who refuses to work for the Patriots but still does everything in his power to sabotage The Republic in their war efforts against The Colonies; June is a military prodigy who got a perfect score on her entrance exams and has been fast-tracked through military training school.
I think the duel narration was a great way to make readers more sympathetic to characters on both sides of the spectrum and to gradually unfold details about what, specifically, is happening both around the country and in Los Angeles [where both Day and June live]. The truth is, while life is clearly better for some people in The Republic, no one is truly free.
Not only does this book continue the fantastic Cinder storyline, but it adds a few new characters into the mix! The title character, Scarlet Benoit, is a teenage girl who has been raised by her grandmother on a small vegetable farm in Rieux, France. Her grandmother recently went missing, and while Scarlet is sure something must be very wrong for her grandmother to have left home without her portscreen [or even her ID chip], no one else seems very worried at all. Michelle Benoit is a kind and beloved, albeit eccentric, farmer who has no known enemies [as far as Scarlet believes, anyhow]. And because there is not any evidence of foul play, the police claim they have no choice but to dismiss the case. Scarlet is pretty sure a street fighter named Wolf knows something that could help but, though she is inexplicably drawn to him, she isn’t sure if she can bring herself to trust him. I can’t really say any more without spoiling it, but trust me when I say that this series just keeps getting better! And, since The Lunar Chronicles will have at least two more installments — Cress is due out in 2014 and Winter is due out in 2015 — fans have plenty more to look forward to before the series ends.
There are a lot of series that have sequels/conclusions due out this year, but Shades of Earth (Across the Universe #3) is definitely the book I was most eager to read this January. And, to think, I didn’t even realize how much I enjoyed science fiction before I read Across the Universe! (Granted, this is not “hard core” science fiction, as my husband pointed out, but it counts well enough for me.) You all should know by now how much I hate spoilers, so:
If you’re still with me, I will assume you finished A Million Suns [how did I manage to NOT review that book?!?] and already know that Godspeed was orbiting Centauri-Earth. You know that some of the people aboard Godspeed don’t want to leave the ship and that Amy and Elder plan to bring along anyone who wants to make a go of life on the new planet. Things rarely go as smoothly as planned, so it was no surprise to me when the shuttle experienced a difficult landing and that the thawing of the Earthborns caused strife. Add that to the fact that there are pterodactyl-like animals and some sort of aliens attacking the new civilization, and you’ve got an action-packed story that won’t disappoint!
Because of a few books I suffered through in high school, I didn’t used to think I could enjoy historical fiction. Neither did I realize, apparently, that I liked steampunk — partly because I wasn’t even 100% sure what the label even meant when I first saw it used on librarian listservs. But, considering what a huge nerd I am for Firefly and how much I loved Kenneth Oppel’s Airborn series, it is apparent that I liked steampunk even before I realized it was classified as such! Luckily, I have some awesome teen readers who clue me in on the books they love and think I should be reading, too, because they’re why I finally got around to reading Leviathan. Thank goodness I listened, because this book was awesome! It’s just too bad that I somehow managed to forget to post a review about this book back when I read it [about 2 years ago]… Luckily, I have the ability to fix that oversight right now.
In this alternate history of World War I, the German forces [called Clankers] used steam-powered war machines like tanks and the Allied forces [called Darwinists] utilized living creatures as war machines. The Leviathan, for example, was an airship made from a living whale-like creature. Though it looked much like a Zeppelin, it was MUCH cooler because it depended on a complex ecosystem in which the waste-products of smaller organisms [living inside] to provide the helium-like substance that made it float. Add that to the fact that people were walking around inside the beast/ship, and it’s not hard to understand why a science geek like me was just as enthralled by the Darwinists’ creations as I was with the whole rest of the story! If you like action and adventure, and you’re not opposed to possibly learning something about world history, this is a book you should probably read. (Just be sure to check out the author’s note in which Westerfeld explains which events/facts were true to history and which he created for the sake of his story.)
When I read Unwind, I thought it was a stand-alone book. And, apparently, even Neal Shusterman didn’t originally intend for it to be a part of a trilogy. But then, he couldn’t get this world out of his head and decided to tell the rest of the story. I, for one, was thrilled when this book was announced and could hardly contain my excitement when it finally arrived on the library holds shelf! For anyone who is unfamiliar with the first story, though, I would recommend you quit reading this review and start reading that book.
Connor, Risa, and Lev are all alive and doing as well as can be expected. Sure, they lived through their time at Happy Jack Harvest Camp without being unwound, but that didn’t exactly give them back the lives they had before they were scheduled to be unwound. Lev, for instance, has permanent damage to his entire body because of the chemicals that were used to make him a “clapper” [before he changed his mind]. He now spends all of his time on house arrest or working with high-risk teens, to keep them from behaving badly enough that they will be sent to a harvest camp. Risa and Connor both got hurt in the explosion at Happy Jack, but ended up with very different results. Connor woke up with an arm that used to belong to a kid named Roland, but Risa was able to refuse a new spine and now requires a wheelchair. Though Connor has been presumed dead, he and Risa were actually saved by the ADR (Anti-Divisional Resistance) and taken to a place called the Graveyard. They are now helping to run things and doing the best they can to take care of the teens in this AWOL sanctuary.
With the addition of some new characters — an AWOL named Starkey, a tithe named Miracolina, and a “rewind” named Cam — this story goes beyond a mere sequel and delves even deeper into the moral implications of unwinding. I found this book to be absolutely fascinating and cannot wait until the third book is released. [UnSouled is scheduled for release next fall!]