Review: Unbreakable

Author: Elizabeth Norris
Date of Publication: April 23 2013
Pages: 479
Source: Library ebook
Series: Sequel to Unraveling

Four months after Ben disappeared through the portal to his home universe, Janelle believes she’ll never see him again. Her world is still devastated, but life is finally starting to resume some kind of normalcy. Until Interverse Agent Taylor Barclay shows up. Somebody from an alternate universe is running a human trafficking ring, kidnapping people and selling them on different Earths—and Ben is the prime suspect. Now his family has been imprisoned and will be executed if Ben doesn’t turn himself over within five days.

And when Janelle learns that someone she cares about—someone from her own world—has become one of the missing, she knows that she has to help Barclay, regardless of the danger. Now Janelle has five days to track down the real culprit. Five days to locate the missing people before they’re lost forever. Five days to reunite with the boy who stole her heart. But as the clues begin to add up, Janelle realizes that she’s in way over her head—and that she may not have known Ben as well as she thought. Can she uncover the truth before everyone she cares about is killed?

Review:

I'm not very happy with Unbreakable. I liked the first, Unraveling, but this sequel disappointed me in many ways.

First, the writing irritated me. I felt like the entire story was completely overwritten. There were so many unnecessary details and I didn't like that some chapters would end off with an extremely detailed thought, and the next chapter would again elaborate on this insignificant piece of information. It felt like complete overkill, and this book should not be 400+ pages because it doesn't have 400 pages worth of content.

Here's an example.

*Something shocking happens*

Janelle: OMG this is crazy!

--Next Chapter--

Janelle: This is crazy and I do not know what to do about it.

*someone else walls in*

Person: This is shocking!

Janelle: What do we do?

--Next Chapter--

Janelle: I'm so screwed.

Person: Here's a plan.

--Next Chapter--

Janelle: This so dangerous!

--Next Chapter--

Janelle: I still can't get over that twist.

I admit to some hyperbole, but that's genuinely how the story felt to me. It just kept repeating itself and it was incredibly frustrating to read.

I sound like some kind of hater, but I didn't hate this book. I think you can actually attribute my anger to the story itself because I was not at all happy about the ending. Most of my complaints are personal. I personally didn't like where the story was going, and that made me pretty unhappy with the book overall.

I remember near the beginning, except for the overwriting, I didn't think there was anything wrong with the story. I liked Janelle because she is badass and capable. What I didn't like was her moping for Ben.

Ben is pretty much the second issue I had with Unbreakable. There's nothing wrong with him, except that I have no interest in him. I was pretty impressed with Janelle and her thoughts on Ben at some point, but then she changed completely and so many of the issues she had before were overlooked. I didn't believe in their romance and I did not like how Janelle would pine for Ben.

The romance was a complete miss, and I continued the story despite it because there was another character I really liked. Taylor Barclay was awesome. He was badass and brave and capable and I thought he was the real star of Unbreakable. Don't worry, there's no love triangle, but I enjoyed his interactions with Janelle a lot. I felt that near the end of the book, Barclay was much less prominent in the story, and that pretty much coincided with my declining enjoyment of Unbreakable.

The other characters were decent, but they didn't play as big a role as Ben, Janelle or Barclay.

The plot would have been much more exciting if it didn't move along at a snail's pace because of the writing. The idea behind the story is very cool, and I wish Janelle kicking butt and making a difference was the bigger storyline than the romance.

I think I'm pretty much done with this series because it didn't really go the way I wanted it to. I'm giving Unbreakable a very emotional, subjective 1 star.


-P.E.
 

6 comments:

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Robots; Not My Thing

*hides behind hands*
Robots are creepy.

December is pretty awesome as I get a lot of free previews on satellite and one of those was for Rad channel. On Christmas, they were doing a movie marathon featuring robots and so I sat down to watch The Terminator and I, Robot (note: I'm not Christian. My family gave gifts and decorated gingerbread cookies and then had no idea what else to do). 

Not bad...
The Terminator was hilarious. Predictable, but fun. The robots were all really creepy. I, Robot however, was much more disturbing. Being the overly analytic person that I am, I started to think about robots. 

I've noticed that robots, or an invasion of technology in general, seems to be a major fear. Technology is constantly evolving and always feels new. It is always pushing the limits, and the rules and boundaries constantly change. What's acceptable is always changing. That brings the fear that we're allowing too much change. Maybe humanity will reach a point where we can't go back. 

The Terminator was fine, because the robots were cold and ruthless. I, Robot however, brought to light a major issue I have. 

Okay, let's get it out there: I'm terrified of a robot revolution. It sounds like a really stupid fear, but I don't want robots in every household. I don't feel safe without humanity having control. I mean, imagine what would happen if there's a computer virus? It would be devastating!

In I, Robot, there are three laws that the robots must follow. 

From the internet. 
Okay, so not bad right? I mean, look, we're safe? Well, as I, Robot shows, these laws aren't infallible. I have deeper problems though. In my mind, a robot can never be human. 

Never. 

Ever.

Never. 

They will never dream, or feel, or truly live or become living. They will always be technology: an object, not a person. I, Robot showcased the importance of humanity, but the biggest problem I have is that it also had a robot, Sonny, who could dream, and feel, and make illogical decisions. 

I can't imagine that happening. They're not people and they will never be. I'm not for shoving them and being mean to them, especially because we (hypothetically) made them and I can't stand mistreating something innocent.

That being said, I'm not crazy about robots. I don't want them everywhere. I don't like reading books where robots are romanticized and made like people. They're creepy. It's lame that I'm scared of them, when I never leave my phone unattended. I also go on the computer too much. Why draw the line at robots? 

I don't know. 

What do you think? Do you like robots?

-P.E.

8 comments:

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The Fault in Our Stars Trailer



GAH!

I was completely deadset on not watching the movie- I don't watch romances, but now I have to, and I am going to embarrass myself by bawling in the theatre, but I can't help it.

The characters are unlike what I imagined. I think that's okay though- they're just a different interpretation. I think they're adorable, and I like their chemistry. They manage to make all the extremely intelligent things they say very realistic for their age.

The actor that plays Augustus does a great job, in my opinion, based on a two and a half minute clip. He smiles a lot and is charming. He just kind of exudes sweetness.

I didn't have high expectations for this film, but I think I will watch it anyway. I'm curious to see if they can replicate the emotion of the book on the book screen, but so far so good, right?

What did you think of it?

-P.E.

6 comments:

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WoW - Dark Metropolis




"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Dark Metropolis

June 17, 2014
Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder's mother is cursed with a spell that's driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city's secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they're not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don't always seem to stay that way.
Goodreads 

To be honest, the reason I even clicked on this one was because of that epic cover. I love the use of black, silver and gold, three of my favourite colours. It gives the cover a moody yet rich feel. I also like how this one sounds and a Cassie Clare comparison doesn't hurt either.

What Are You Waiting On?

-MARI 

10 comments:

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Cover Wars: Of Neptune vs. Sublime


Cover Wars is a weekly showdown of two beautiful covers. The winner, as voted by you, goes on to face a new cover, and wins bragging rights. This is basically a fun way to discuss what we like in covers.

It was a close one last week, but Sublime emerged as the victor by one vote. This week it's back to battle Of Neptune.


Roman mythology is quite strong with these two. Loving the connection with the title in Of Neptune. 

So, which'll it be?

Let the Cover Wars begin!


Which cover should win Cover Wars?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

11 comments:

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Review: Speed of Light

Author: Amber Kizer
Date of Publication: November 13 2012
Pages: 544
Source: Library ebook
Series: Fenestra #3

Fans will be thrilled with the final novel in the Meridian trilogy as the romance between Meridian and Tens heats up. And Juliet returns, but her obsessions leave her open to evil exploitation.

Meridian Sozu is a Fenestra, an angel infused human, destined to transition souls into the next world. Together with Tens Valdes, her soulmate and Protector, they've made a home in Indiana, making sure the dead safely enter the light and aren't stolen by the Dark, known as the Nocti. 

Upon rescuing Juliet Ambrose from her terrible childhood, Juliet has become vulnerable without her Protector and grasps at any hope to find her parents, even when it's offered by a proven Nocti, Ms. Asura. Juliet is now faced with the horrible choice between uncovering her past and having a future.

Meanwhile, time may be running out for the hundreds of thousands preparing for the festivities surrounding the Indianapolis 500 car race. As centuries of secrets are revealed, the battles will pit Light versus Dark. Not all with survive as Meridian, Tens, and Julie join forces to try to thwart a potential tragedy.

Review:

I deserve a medal for finishing this book. No seriously. Speed of Light was excruciatingly long with very little action and a serious case of overwriting.

The characters were stale. You couldn't really care about them because they were so clearly good that it was a little frustrating. Meridian's perspective was particularly boring. She was so sweet and seemed to have no personality beyond wanting to help everybody and being in love with Tens. Tens was perfect. He didn't screw up once. He never needed reassurance. He wasn't human, and I became increasingly apathetic over their relationship. They are in love, I get it. I don't need to be slammed with this fact over and over. I ended up skipping most of their unnecessary love scenes.

Speaking of unnecessary, I would say about 1/3 of this book should have been cut, and I'm being generous. The plot is crawling and so slow. Nothing happens. It's really badly written because so many scenes don't advance the story so that by the time you get to the end, I don't know why the ending is rushed and completely anticlimactic.

I always liked the mythology in the series, but this book failed it. It became too preachy and sweet. There was too much good versus evil and not enough why. I would have loved to know more about the inner psyche of a Nocti. And not like Ms. Asura. She was supposed to be scary, but she was the most pathetic villain ever. I didn't once fear her and so it made Juliet look a little weird to be so scared of someone like her. Her confrontations with the Fenestra were almost laughable because she was all "I'm a villain! WE WILL WIN!" And Meridian would say something cheesy like "Love is stronger than everything!"

You may wonder why I read this book? Well, Juliet was interesting in the beginning. By the end of the book I kind of tired of her. But just as my interest in her waned, a new character was introduced. Fara.

Fara is the only character I have any interest in by the end of Speed of Light, and that's because of one thing: she's Persian. Whoa! Diversity! How bad does YA need diversity? I read a whole 544 page book just because of one character who has the same heritage as me. Yeah, I'm Persian, and so Fara maybe interested me a lot more than she would others. It's just the cultural things I find interesting. I grew up with parents that were kinda lukewarm in sharing culture. I knew all about Nowruz and stuff, but I didn't know the stories behind it. That part was fascinating. The food part was cute too. Anyway, I connected with Fara and I have to applaud the author for successfully writing in some significant diversity.

Even with that though, the story was boring. I'm extremely disappointed with it. 1 star.

P.S. I just read that this isn't the end of the series. Interesting, because I thought it was. It even says "trilogy" in the synopsis. Either way, I'm done.


-P.E.


0 comments:

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The Weekly Progress: In Which Nothing Happens

The Weekly Progress is a type of wrap up post that happens every Sunday on The Sirenic Codex looking on the week that was.

I'm writing this on a Saturday morning because I was sick enough to have to stop volunteering (it was embarrassing) and three hours later, I am as good as ever. Isn't being sick awful?

Books Read

None. I've been too lazy. :(

Currently Reading












It's been a week. I don't thin Resist is that bad, it just hasn't captured my attention. I'm in the first few chapters though, so that could change.

Blog Recap

I reviewed Partials, which was a really great start to the series.

Mari's WoW pick is Gilded. As soon as I heard about this book, I texted her, so this pick works for me as well. 

Mari next writes about being an adult who reads YA. Does that mean we have to change our "Welcome" text on the right? Hmm. 


We wrap up the week with my review of With All My Soul, the last in the Soul Screamers series. Farewell Todd! :( 

All in all, I think it was a very balanced week.

The Week That Was

What happened this week? No really. Forgive me, but I remember nothing besides Friday. Friday wasn't the best day either, with the death of a classmate. I didn't do very much of anything this week. Next week is probably going to be awfully boring with exams, and today sucked because I went to volunteer but ended up throwing up about twenty minutes after I arrived (at least I found a bathroom in time!). TMI. Sorry. Hopefully, exams are a breeze and I get awesome marks and I can enjoy my second semester classes. 

Song of the Week

This song just came out, and I love it. Zedd has this way of creating very unique songs and melodies. I love Matthew Koma's voice, and I don't know who Miriam Bryant is, but they did a great job on the song. This isn't my favourite EDM song out there, but Zedd has the contacts to make this song huge. I'll totally support that. 



Have a great week!

-P.E.

9 comments:

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Review: With All My Soul

Author: Rachel Vincent
Date of Publication: March 26 2013
Pages: 377
Source: Library
Series: Soul Screamers #7

What does it mean when your school is voted the most dangerous in America? It's time to kick some hellion butt...

After not really surviving her junior year (does "undead" count as survival?), Kaylee Cavanaugh has vowed to take back her school from the hellions causing all the trouble. She's going to find a way to turn the incarnations of Avarice, Envy and Vanity against one another in order to protect her friends and finish this war, once and forever.

But then she meets Wrath and understands that she's closer to the edge than she's ever been. And when one more person close to her is taken, Kaylee realizes she can't save everyone she loves without risking everything she has....

Review:

Now that the tears have stopped falling and I have a massive headache, maybe I can coherently convey how exceptional this ending was to the series. For the past many years, I've turned towards Soul Screamers as one of my most trusted series. These books made me laugh and cry and I think the biggest theme they explore is love.

There is so much love going on, and it's so profound. It's not just about romances. Those are pretty fantastic, but the friendship and the family bonds are just as powerful. Kaylee cares so much for her friends and family and they adore her too. They still have issues, but like all people, they're making it work.

That being said, I can't even explain how much I ship Tod and Kaylee. Their love is beautiful and so meaningful. They have complete trust in one another and they understand each other. I loved that they never got into fights over the petty things. They are both so supportive and this is what soulmates should be like.

The plot in With All My Soul is mostly tying up loose ends for the series, but it's still entertaining. I've grown to love the characters deeply and like all good finales, With All My Soul did its best at being fair to every character. The ending was hard to read because you just knew that something awful was going to happen.

There were some scenes between Kaylee and Tod that had me bawling because gosh those two are just so perfect for each other and I want them to have eternity but their lives are so unfair. Tod manages always to say the right thing, and when the book did end, it ended appropriately.

I don't think With All My Soul is my favourite of the series. That honour still goes out to If I Die. That being said, it was still a pretty damn good book. If there is any real critique I have, it's that Rachel Vincent's message early on in the book is so sweet but spoils the ending a little. Nothing major, and I know some people would appreciate it, but I honestly want to know nothing about what's going to happen.

I'm sad Soul Screamers ended but I'm happy that it's done with dignity. With All My Soul on its own gets 4 stars, but the series itself is worthy of five stars.


-P.E.



2 comments:

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The Problem With Being Special

I've always thought that everybody wants to be special. Everyone wants to matter and have some sort of significance in the grand scheme of things. Everyone wants a purpose, a goal, and we all want to know that although there are seven billion people on the planet, yes, I matter.

Books are an escape, and one of the most common escapes pertains to being special. Being "the chosen one". That's pretty much the setup for most fantasies- a prophecy, or some seemingly ordinary person who ends up being absolutely remarkable. Heroes are brave, they have special powers, and they are different from other people. They save people- they don't need saving. They are the people with some special secret, some knowledge of a whole other world. 

Look at Harry Potter, who was some dorky orphan until he learned that not only was he a wizard, he was "the boy who lived" and he was famous. 


Look at Percy Jackson, a guy bouncing from boarding school to boarding school, who learns that he's actually the son of Poseidon, the god of the Sea and he's one of the most powerful demigods in existence. 


Look at Bella Swan, who moves into a new town, and is the only person whom Edward Cullen can't read the thoughts of. 

Now that I think about it, all of my favourite books are about this: ordinary people with crappy lives realizing that they aren't just ordinary, there's something more to them. We can analyze that later. The part I want to talk about is the not ordinary people. The Muggles. 
:(

One of the most fascinating parts of these mythologies is that normal humans, often the vast majority, are often ignorant of the world around them. They are blind to the magic and mayhem surrounding them. That isn't a big problem, except that they're often considered to be lesser.

It's like anyone who isn't special isn't really worth it, and it has kind of gotten me thinking. The special groups always seem to be the minority, and one on one, they are definitely more powerful than a human. Maybe it's my optimism, but I totally believe that in groups, humans can achieve wondrous things. People without some God-given talent can join together and use technology to be a force in the world. I've read two books with people like this.

In The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, vampires are revealed to the world and humanity reacts. Humanity puts them in cities, labelled Coldtowns, that the vampires can be part of, and humanity fights for existence and supremacy. There are obvious issues, like the commercialization of vampires, but it's still fascinating to see the power of a knowledgeable humanity. 

Partials by Dan Wells is another example that comes to mind. Society was destroyed in a war between humans and Partials, and since then, no baby has survived. Humanity is dying, but it won't break. People make laws, defend themselves, commit themselves to research. People don't give up. 

I'd like to see more stories about people who aren't special because of a super anything, but special because they work together with other people to enact significant social change.

I'd also like to see less of minimization for anyone who doesn't possess a god-given power. It's a little bit snobby to fault people for not seeing the truth only because you hide it from them.

While I think I will always love stories about "specials", I think I will also try to be more conscious of the amazing abilities of normals like the people around me.

What do you think of the focus on 'special' in books?
-P.E.

7 comments:

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Reading Life: I Love YA




As a reader I've gone through many phases. There was Magic Tree House and Geronimo Stilton which eventually gave way to The Series of Unfortunate Events and Harry Potter. Those two lead to my entrance into YA via Twilight.

I loved volcanos.
Puns!
Read it in a night.













All these phases related to my age. I was a certain age in each and read the books that were more or less designated for that age. As I grew up, the books I read also increased in maturity and changed or evolved. 

However, I recently turned 18 making me a certified adult, so weird. Does this mean that I will follow the path that nature has been leading me through in the past? 



The reason I grew out of each of those previous books was because they were written for a certain intelligence level (except Harry Potter, I'll be reading that to my grandchildren). YA books aren't always the most rich pieces of writing but they appeal to all ages. There is no min/max intelligence level required. The topics covered are universal. 

This is the reason why so many YA readers aren't young adults. Technically I'm not one either now. I should be reading New Adult, but YA doesn't shut me out. I can still read about a 17 year old girl who is an assassin nun in medieval Brittany (Grave Mercy shout out!). And if I'm feeling like reminiscing, I can read about a 14 year old entering high school for the first time. Whatever floats your boat.


I’m sure one day, I'll move on to reading books in other age groups, most likely adult books. I've already started with the occasional book. But that's not the only option. Heck, I know people who couldn't care less about adult books; they enjoy children’s literature. Great! 

lol!
I think what I'm trying to get to is, as we're growing up, we're more focused on age and age advised products. But as we grow up and our minds grow as well and at some point we become capable of accepting of different things. This is why books in the adult genre aren't always about 40 something year olds. They're about kids, grandmas, cats etc. 

I'm 18 and I like YA books and I shall continue to like and read them until I feel otherwise. Not because I've reached a certain age but because my taste has changed. 


-MARI

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WoW - Gilded




"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

Gilded

March 1, 2014
Sixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself. When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god, Haemosu, has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she's next.

But that’s not Jae’s only problem.

There's also Marc. Irresistible and charming, Marc threatens to break the barriers around Jae's heart. As the two grow closer, Jae must decide if she can trust him. But Marc has a secret of his own—one that could help Jae overturn the curse on her family for good. It turns out that Jae's been wrong about a lot of things: her grandfather is her greatest ally, even the tough girl can fall in love, and Korea might just be the home she's always been looking for.
Goodreads 
Come on this requires a Korean GIF!

I think by now, we've all come to know my love for diversity and all things Asian. So this one is an obvious choice; I'm so excited!!

  1. Korea!
  2. Half-half (ethnically) protagonist.
  3. Black belt + arrow.
  4. Chip on the shoulder (so exciting haha).
  5. Demi-gods!
  6. Irresistible Marc?



What Are You Waiting On?

-MARI 

6 comments:

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Cover Wars: Sublime vs. Feather Bound


Cover Wars is a weekly showdown of two beautiful covers. The winner, as voted by you, goes on to face a new cover, and wins bragging rights. This is basically a fun way to discuss what we like in covers.

Some Quiet Place fell to Feather Bound by a very small margin. The victor is back this week to face its new competition, Sublime by Christina Lauren.


The first thing I noticed is how the two covers match each other. The dark blues in the background help pop out the white in the title and the models' dresses, hence making two stunning cover.

So, which'll it be?

Let the Cover Wars begin!


Which cover should win Cover Wars?
  
pollcode.com free polls 

10 comments:

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Review: Partials

Author: Dan Wells
Date of Publication: February 28 2012
Pages: 468
Source: Library

The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to only tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but, worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic-in-training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws have pushed what's left of humanity to the brink of civil war, and she's not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will find that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

Dan Wells, acclaimed author of I Am Not a Serial Killer, takes readers on a pulsepounding journey into a world where the very concept of what it means to be human is in question—one where our humanity is both our greatest liability and our only hope for survival.

Review:

There was something about Partials that called to me from the beginning. I went into the book feeling like I would probably enjoy it. The first chapter captured my attention, and the rest of the story didn't disappoint either.

Where Partials excels is in the details. There are so many nuggets of information about the world, and how it works that maybe are unnecessary and maybe, as not a med student, I'm not qualified to understand any of the medical ones, but they add a layer of reality. If you've ever looked for a truly immersive read, Partials is it. Everything is so well described, and I was pleasantly surprised that with the mix of politics and morality, the story is an intelligent read.

The downside is that the plot is not the most action packed. The story looks long but a lot of it is set up and again, details. A few very important events do happen and there is certain progression of the plot. I think Dan Wells, through his writing, promises very early on that there will be twists and there were. I was expecting a few of them, but I enjoyed them all the same.

The characters were all very interesting to read about. Kira is a medical intern, something I've never read about before. She's an idealist but a very strong moral compass. She's someone I could respect because she was capable, and I admired her strength. That being said, the story features interesting characters, but neither the characters or the plot are what really run the show.

But wait,  I'm still supposed to be talking characters. Marcus was adorable and I did like him. His relationship with Kira did have its issues but they clearly share a bond. That part was exceptionally well done- Kira and all the characters had back stories and families. They were all interrelated through sibling bonds,  romantic bonds, and friendships. There was a history and a background, which made Kira's plight that much more believable.

The star of Partials is the phenomenal premise and world building. So much thought and research obviously went into everything from the medical terms of the RM virus that has killed off humanity, to the behaviour and makeup of Kira's current world. There are political issues, and I loved reading about how the world would respond after a massive tragedy.

The best part is the overall mood the story sets. The tagline is that "the only hope for humanity isn't human" which pretty accurately tells you that humanity is in a rough state. Let's just say that no children are being born and they are faced with extinction. All around Kira are remnants of a previous age- old technology, old systems. It was particularly interesting to see the divide between the adults and the "plague babies". The trauma of the release of RM obviously affected everybody and there are different reasons for different ideologies.

I'll reiterate that the consideration put into Partials is really fantastic. It feels like an intelligent story because the world is so imaginative and realistic. I can't help but to want to read much more, especially after a really good ending. The book was well structured into parts and although some descriptions were a touch unnecessary, Partials felt very well put together and deliberate. In short, well-written.

I'm incredibly excited with these series. I would like to revisit Kira's world. Partials was engaging and complex, and definitely worth a read.


-P.E.



8 comments:

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The Weekly Progress: Almost Done

The Weekly Progress is a type of wrap up post that happens every Sunday on The Sirenic Codex looking on the week that was.

It's been an insanely busy week with me handing in like a billion projects. I don't anticipate next week being much easier, but that's typically what happens in January as classes finish. February will bring some new classes in, but January is all about finishing up. As these are marks universities will be looking for, I can't afford to mess up. I'm not stressed out (yet) but I am trying very hard to do as much as I can.

Books Read

I read both of these in the past day. I felt ashamed for not having read anything all week and decided I would give myself a break on Friday/Saturday. Both are very different, and I like them both. Needless to say, reviews are upcoming. :)

Currently Reading


I wasn't overly into the first, but I read a wonderful review for Resist that convinced me to try it out. I'm hoping I enjoy this one more. Either way, I like the diversity in genres I've been reading recently. 

Blog Recap

This isn't much of a recap because I had no idea what was going on this week. I'm so glad Mari and I were on a blogging spree during the holidays because without those, we wouldn't have much to post these days. Whoops. 

Mari started off the week with her post on why she loves fantasy. Behold: awesome gifs!

Next, Mari did a WoW for The Star Thief. I'm curious about it too. I think I'll make her read it, and then tell me if I need to read it too. :p

This is the part where I get really sad that I wasn't around more to promote my review of Hyperbole and a Half, which is not strictly YA but who cares because it's one of the most awesome books I read in 2013. It may even had made my 2013 list if I uh, didn't write the list a month before 2013 ended. 

Next we did a discussion post on novellas. Mari and I aren't that into them, but apparently we're a minority. 

I reviewed Ten! It was the book form of a horror movie.

The Week That Was

A pretty boring week. Work work work. Blah. I wish I was on the blog more, but I probably won't have time until February. That being said, I'm still going to try to edit lots of post to make sure we don't fall behind schedule. And I'll make sure to read as well. This is always the worst week of the school term because by now, I've done a lot of work but the end doesn't arrive until two weeks later. 

Song of the Week

I don't know if I picked this song before. That's because it's not a new song, but somehow it is constantly in my head. Like, I breathe in the tune of this song. There is this part with the main melody with this sharp kind of resonating tone that is like an eargasm. I don't say that often, but it's true. This song is my addiction and I'm in a bad mood when I can't hear it. It's like I crave that one melody. Gah. Just listen to it: this is Animals by Martin Garrix. 



Thanks for reading guys, and I hope you all have a great week!
-P.E.

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Review: Ten

Author: Gretchen McNeil
Date of Publication: September 18 2012
Pages: 296
Source: Library

SHHHH!
Don't spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.

It was supposed to be the weekend of their lives—an exclusive house party on Henry Island. Best friends Meg and Minnie each have their reasons for being there (which involve T.J., the school’s most eligible bachelor) and look forward to three glorious days of boys, booze and fun-filled luxury.

But what they expect is definitely not what they get, and what starts out as fun turns dark and twisted after the discovery of a DVD with a sinister message: Vengeance is mine.

Suddenly people are dying, and with a storm raging, the teens are cut off from the outside world. No electricity, no phones, no internet, and a ferry that isn’t scheduled to return for two days. As the deaths become more violent and the teens turn on each other, can Meg find the killer before more people die? Or is the killer closer to her than she could ever imagine?


Review:

This is going to be a weird review because my feelings on this book depend on the author's goal. First, let's have some background.

It's supposed to be a fabulous party at Jessica Lawrence's house. And then, people start dying. 10 teens. 1 killer. Everything about this story screams horror movie from the plot and set-up, to the utterly unremarkable characters. The plot is completely predictable and the events are nothing new. In fact, nothing about Ten felt new. Not once did I enjoy any single character. They were all enormous clichés. The bitch, the slut, the douchebag, the writer, etc. Nothing about any of the characters differentiated them.

Even the setting was ridiculously cheesy. The teens are on a remote island during a massive storm. Everything is weird and unnatural right from the beginning. That being said, I don't know why but when people started to die, I was creeped out. I was trying to figure out who it was and ultimately failed. The ways the characters died were also very imaginative and I liked that part.

Ten was totally formulaic. It's the classic horror film. There is no depth, it is cheesy, and it is predictable. Every single horror movie cliché, from saying 'Hello?' when walking into somewhere that you really shouldn't be making noise in to making out with your crush at the worst times... It was all there.

So, I'm conflicted. Content wise, this book was awful. It's a ripoff of every horror movie in existence. There's absolutely nothing new to the story. One part of me thinks that this was the point.

I'm wondering if Ten is satirical. Maybe it started out as a project to incorporate as many cliches into one story as possible. Maybe it was an experiment to see if horror could work in YA. Maybe it was written to see if a book can scare someone as much as a film can. Either way, I have too much faith in the author to believe that she legitimately believed the story was groundbreaking because it was pretty routine.

So, if you're looking for a cheesy horror movie made into a book, check out Ten. If you're looking for something more substantial, and you don't feel like laughing at how stupid people are, look for another read.

My thoughts are still muddled. If you asked me how to improve this story, I would say scratch all of it and put in a genuine effort to make the next story realistic. If you asked me how a typical horror movie storyline would translate into YA, this book is it. I don't know the author so I can't know her goals, so by rating this book just based on how I enjoyed it, it gets a 2.

The characters were almost unbearable at times and the beginning was almost too slow. I also would have liked slightly more variety. That doesn't mean it wasn't serviceable.


-P.E.

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Discussion: Novellas


A discussion with P.E. and Mari.

Recently I've been seeing a growing trend in novellas in YA. These novellas range between being a necessary read or a fun add on and they can be placed anywhere chronologically in the series. To begin, what are your thoughts on novellas? Do you like or dislike them and most importantly do you even read them?

I really don't care very much about them. The thing is, they're hard to get. Either you have to download them, or buy them, and I get most of my books physically from the library, so I usually don't bother with most novellas. I think they're a nice idea, but as someone that desires detail, I can't fall for a short story. I need more.

I hear you. From the few that I've read, I can't say I was satisfied. First of all, they are overpriced. I know on the kobo store some novellas are priced somewhere around $3, which isn't much bang for my buck. I'm often left with a confused sense of loss because the character in the book doesn't always feel the same in the novella. I may have been one of the only people who didn't really like Four's Story, the one chapter add-on from Divergent. However, I can still see why they are around. They do quench some of the thirst when placed in between ongoing series. 

I wouldn't go that far. I've read a few novellas for Wicked Lovely that were fine, although I did want more. Rachel Vincent's Reaper however was outstanding. It was perfectly written, and I ended up crying and loving it. I think it was free too- many novellas are at some point. 

I haven't come by many like those. I think the biggest problem is that they are continuations of stories that you love with characters that you've read so much about therefore you kind of expect their actions to be a certain way and it's hard for the author to show that in such a small space. How about reading a novella thats a 0.5 in a series? Have you read or would read them?

Well that's what Reaper was. It takes something that happened in the background of the series, and explains it. It's a pretty significant event and it looks at some pretty important side characters. Most of the novellas I've read take place during a series too. I don't read many of them though. For me, it's still all about access. How about you?

There are three reason why I would read a novella: I want to read a series and I'm not sure if I'll like it, I love a series and I'm missing it or the novella is a necessary part. For the most part I usually read them for the second reason. Novellas really aren't meant to be taken too seriously and I enjoy them if they are just supposed to be fun. But usually they aren't something I enjoy so I stay away.

In general, I just seem to forget about their existence.

What do you think?


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Review: Hyperbole and a Half

Author: Allie Brosh
Date of Publication: October 29 2013
Pages: 369
Source: Bought it

This is a book I wrote. Because I wrote it, I had to figure out what to put on the back cover to explain what it is. I tried to write a long, third-person summary that would imply how great the book is and also sound vaguely authoritative--like maybe someone who isn’t me wrote it--but I soon discovered that I’m not sneaky enough to pull it off convincingly. So I decided to just make a list of things that are in the book:

Pictures
Words
Stories about things that happened to me
Stories about things that happened to other people because of me
Eight billion dollars*
Stories about dogs
The secret to eternal happiness*

*These are lies. Perhaps I have underestimated my sneakiness!

Review:

I first encountered Allie Brosh's work when I saw a link on Twitter to her post about depression. That post, also in the book, was one of the scariest yet hardest hitting pieces I've ever read. It impacted me and so when I walked into a book store and saw the author behind the post had written a book, I had to have the book. So, I bought it on impulse. Can I just say this is the only time that has ever happened. I don't buy anything on impulse beyond food.

Visually, I love it. Hyperbole and a Half is bright with glossy, multi-coloured pages and Brosh's trademark images (I don't know what else to call them). It's like a graphic novel, except that I think there's quite a bit of text compared to most graphic novels. Well, I assume since I haven't read many graphic novels in the first place. Anyway, as someone who loves pretty things, this book was very well designed.

The actual content was amazing. The stories are from Allie's life and reflections, so there is this undeniable ring of truth to everything. Allie Brosh's voice shines through in her writing and it is introspective and relatable. The depression, identity, and motivation pieces are surprisingly thoughtful for something so succinct. There's a lot of BS in every person, and I admire Allie Brosh for sharing her inner thoughts with everybody.

Did you know Hyperbole and a Half won Goodreads' award for best hunour book? Undoubtedly, that will be what calls readers to Hyperbole and a Half and trust me, you won't be disappointed. Stories about Brosh's dogs, the simple dog and the helper dog, as well as her childhood had me in stitches. I've never used that expression before, so please understand how much I laughed. I laughed so hard my sister from another room walked in and asked what was funny. I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe, and then I had a coughing fit. This book does humour to the point where I laugh at just the memory of what happened. I gave it to a friend who also found it hilarious.

Between the laughs, there are moments of reflection. A lot of the stories could represent something more, which makes the book quite layered and almost literary. Regardless, I know I will be reading Hyperbole and a Half again. I'm truly sorry if I haven't convinced you to read this book. It's about dogs, little girls, depression, and life, and it's probably one of the best things ever. Can you tell I have a complete girl crush on Allie Brosh by now?


-P.E.



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WoW - The Star Thief




"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 

The Star Thief

February 4, 2014
She might only be twenty-three, but Renna Carrizal is the most notorious thief in the galaxy. There’s just one problem – all she wants is to get the frak out of the business. 

But when Renna rescues an injured boy from the warehouse she’s casing, she finds herself on the run from the mob instead of enjoying retirement on a garden world. Turns out, the kid was a plant to lead her to MYTH, a top-secret galactic protection agency. 

MYTH needs Renna’s special skills, and they make her an offer she can’t refuse – unless she'd like to spend the rest of her life on a prison ship. To make sure she does her job they shackle her with a MYTH watchdog, the handsome but arrogant Captain Finn. 

A former mercenary-turned-galactic-hero, Finn happens to have his own dirty secrets. Secrets that Renna wouldn’t mind uncovering for herself. Together, they discover an experiment to develop illegal cybernetics that will create an unstoppable army. The intended target? The human star fleet. 

Now Renna must use her skills as the Star Thief to pull off the biggest job of her career – saving the galaxy. And herself.
Goodreads 

This one is completely stolen from Pili @ In Love With Handmade's waiting on wednesday from last week. It really stood out to me because it's the kind of story I've always imagined and wanted to read. It combines some of my favourite things: sci-fi, thieves, deception, top-secret agencies (even better when they are galactic) All in all, this one looks like it's load with fun! Can't wait to read it.

What Are You Waiting On?

-MARI 

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