My thoughts on YA dystopia

“I tuck caution into my pocket and hope I can reach for it if I need to.”
― Tahereh Mafi

You know what the Hunger Games, the Giver and Unwind all have in common? Though it’s tempting to say insanely limiting governance, it’s more (or perhaps, less) than that. They’re all dystopia.

Dystopia covers a pretty broad spectrum of things. In young adult fiction, there’s Mindy McGinnis’ Not a Drop to Drink where there’s no governance, just an acute scarcity of water and too many people who’re willing to kill for it. There’s also Red Rising, which is somehow science fiction and fantasy and dystopia combined. My point is it’s hard to figure out what the common identifying feature is.

Personally, I believe it isn’t dystopia without the bleak sense that things are bad (and that they’re just going to get worse) . It’s about people feeling trapped and powerless. It doesn’t have to be about a government; It doesn’t have to be the apocalypse, even.

Imagine you’re in a car that’s sitting in a ditch. You turn on the ignition and the wheels turn, throwing up a cloud of dust. There’s this whiny noise like the wheels already know their effort is futile.
When you turn off the engine, you’re even more stuck in the rut. This is the attitude of most of the characters in a dystopian novel. They’ve seen efforts to make things better, and they’re convinced it won’t work. So, they just sit in their cars which are in ditches.

For most people, it’s not hard to learn, to find a pattern of thought that works and stay that way.

– Veronica Roth, Divergent

Then- behold! There comes a dashing young hero (or heroine) who was born in the stuck car (yikes! my metaphor is getting really stretched here). She’s grown up in the stuck car and so she’s bitter, deprived and cynical. In a word, she’s completely “ordinary”.  But she sees something ahead of the ditch. Maybe it’s an ice-cream truck passing by on the road. So, she along with a group of sidekicks and love-interests loyal, talented friends come up with a contraption to save the day. They pull the car out of the ditch with the help of sheer will power held together by scotch tape (it’s magical, you know). The ending goes something like: Everyone lives happily ever after (except for the few that got squished underneath the car).

“Hope. It’s the only thing stronger than fear.”

-Suzanne Collins, Catching Fire

I get why dystopia is attractive. I really do. There’s something intoxicating about a person who is close to normal stepping up to save the world. It’s lovely to read a bleak, depressing book and think “Man, we sure have it better than they do.”

Image result for dystopia

From a Georgia Tech blog. Ironically enough, it’s graffiti.

But right now, most dystopia is not my cup of tea. I can’t justify reading something so profoundly unhappy and bitter when the world isn’t even close to perfect. I’ve moved on from the point where pissed-off and bitter characters seem more like children to me than kindred souls. Those are just excuses. Let me muster up some courage to tell you, I just don’t get it anymore.
I don’t know if it’s because the sudden flooding of dystopian books have cured me of my liking or if I just grew out of it naturally.

Do I hate dystopia? No, that’s like saying I despise hope. Or that I can’t take pleasure in misery. I totally can. It just has to be really high-caliber hope and despair.

<Evil cackle>

Half Wild: A Book Review

“The point of being good is doing it when it’s tough, not when it’s easy.”

Book: Half Wild (Half Bad #2)

Author: Sally Green

Half Wild (The Half Bad Trilogy, #2)

Blurb:

“You will have a powerful Gift, but it’s how you use it that will show you to be good or bad.”

In a modern-day England where two warring factions of witches live amongst humans, seventeen-year-old Nathan is an abomination, the illegitimate son of the world’s most powerful and violent witch. Nathan is hunted from all sides: nowhere is safe and no one can be trusted. Now, Nathan has come into his own unique magical Gift, and he’s on the run–but the Hunters are close behind, and they will stop at nothing until they have captured Nathan and destroyed his father.

My Thoughts:

This book is like taffy; It’s a bit tough in the beginning  but it sticks to your teeth.
Weird description, but it holds true. I  promise. 🙂

In the first book, I felt sorry for Nathan. In that book, he was a child. Prosecuted, abused, frightened, eager to make the world like him. Nathan was the child locked away in the attic that you cry for. The poor little kicked puppy trying to so damn hard to be perfect. It was impossible to hate him- I could see why he wanted his family to accept him. But at the same time, it was impossible to be impressed by him.

In this one, he’s evolved. He isn’t a child any more; if I had to put him into an age group, I’d say angry teen who belongs to a gang. He’s come to terms with the fact that there’s a rift between Black witches and White witches. He’s no longer bright-eyed, bushy-tailed- believing that if he’s quiet enough, sweet enough, good enough- the White witches will stop judging him for the deaths that his Father caused. He’s jaded and angsty. He’s violent, less likely to look for ‘painless’ solutions. He’s turned into a serious badass (complete with missing finger) and he’s stopped trying to impress the Whites (well, except for Annalise but I’ll get annoyed about that later).

Now, here’s what I really hated about the book: Annalise and Nathan’s obsessive quest to save her. Oh! Annalise with the soft white skin and blue eyes. Oh! Annalise who’s a helpless, judgemental little twerp. Oh! Annalise- who I just can’t seem to appreciate but Nathan had to spend the first quarter of the book rhapsodising about. Oh! Annalise I am so tired of hearing about you.
<Spoiler> She betrays Nathan to the white witches at the end and I’m almost glad because, finally he realises that he’s idolised her, </spoiler>

One unique thing about this book: I have the feeling that the pretty girl will be replaced  as the love interest by the capable gay guy. That makes the protaganist bi-sexual (and a bit confused in the interim). No, I’m not making up weird slash fanfiction plots; <spoiler> Nathan does kiss Gabriel </spoiler>.  I really hope it ends up this way. I adore Gabriel. I loved the Nathan/ Gabriel dynamics when they were friends and I saw those dynamics shift (the dynamics are still as  beautiful) in this book.

“I can’t not be with you, Nathan. I wanted to leave you in that grave and walk away but I couldn’t. I can’t walk ten paces away from you without it hurting me. I treasure every second with you. Every second. More than you know.”

This was a pretty good middle book for the series. It carried along the plot further, made the relationships more interesting and elaborated on the history of the world.
Obviously, if you haven’t read Half Bad yet, you should start with that one. Also, if you’re wondering if Half Lies is worth springing for, (It’s a short story about Gabriel’s sister. She was a Black Witch who fell in love with a White Witch and when she was captured, the White Witches executed her.)  it definitely is.

Overall Rating: 3.5/5

 

 

Red Rising: A Book Review

Book: Red Rising

Author: Pierce Brown

Red Rising (Red Rising Trilogy, #1)

Blurb:

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

My thoughts:

Any sci-fi fans out there? Any dystopian fans?
If you’re anyone of these, you’re going to love this book.
With absolutely no emphasis placed on worldbuilding (despite the amazing and complicated world that Pierce has created) you’re going to be thrown in head-first, just like Darrow is.
What happens when you find out that your whole world- no, your whole universe is a lie?
If you’re Darrow, then you infiltrate the upper echelons of the liars to bring out their hypocrisy and to snag their power. And you lie your ass off.

After his wife is executed, the only thing Darrow wants is revenge. The Sons of Ares transform him physically from a lowly Red to an upper-caste Gold. As he enters an institution to turn Gold born children into war-machines, space ship commanders and all-around masters of the universe, he’s thrown into a very dangerous game (modelled after life) where he’s forced to kill, to lead and to betray.

And as he forms strong friendships with his enemies-the Gold, he struggles with his own identity.
His own sense of communism is offended by how many liberties he and his friends take- but at the same time, he knows these liberties are the only things which allow him to survive.

This book deals with people. How to lead people, how to betray people and how to trick people. Darrow is a strong main character prone to flashes of anger and somewhat naïve at the beginning. The supporting characters- his wife, Mustang, Trey, Julian, Caleb, Roque, etc. are fleshed out character with real ambitions, real friendship and real betrayals.

The writing in this book is stupendous. Sometimes crude, sometimes flowery- always powerful.

Pick this book up and you’ll have 382 pages of action, violence and drama.
This dystopia is better than the Hunger Games and more exhilarating than Divergent. Read it.

Overall Rating: 4/5


Quotables:

“Funny thing, watching gods realize they’ve been mortal all along.”

“ ‘I live for the dream that my children will be born free. That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.’
‘I live for you,’ I say sadly.
She kisses my cheek. ‘Then you must live for more.’ ”

“Personally, I do not want to make you a man. Men are so very frail. Men break. Men die. No, I’ve always wished to make a god.”

“Promises are just chains,” she rasps. “Both are meant for breaking.”

Young Elites: A Book Review

Book: Young Elites

Author: Marie Lu

The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1)

Blurb:

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

My thoughts:

I thought the Legend series by Marie Lu was okay at best so I wasn’t too excited when I heard about Young Elites. That quickly changed after I read the blurb and an interview with Marie Lu saying that she wanted to write about the creation of a villain.

description

Right from the start, Adelina stole my heart (and I was a willing victim).  She’s deformed and is abused by her father who is willing to sell her off as a mistress for a little bit of gold. It’s impossible not to feel any sympathy for her but at the same time Marie Lu has done an excellent job showing Adelina’s dark hatred and her desire to inflict pain, making it obvious that she is no hero. This is made only more obvious when Adelina buckles quickly under Teren’s threats against her sister Violetta to give him information about the Young Elites. I got caught up in this wondorously complex character who likes causing pain but at the same time despises herself for enjoying it. She hates her father but at the same time she really wanted to please him and I think she really did regret committing patricide. This probably makes me sound like a twisted person, but I enjoyed watching Adelina descend the steps towards insanity and darkness. I hoped for her redemption, but at the same time I knew she was never gonna get it.

Adelina’s relationship with Violetta was one of my favourite book sibling relationships. Adelina resents her sister’s naivety and innocence and is clearly jealous of Violetta’s charisma.  Combined with Adelina’s sadistic tendencies, you’d think that Adelina would do her best to hurt her sister. Surprise! She’s fiercely protective of her sister and constantly thinks about her well-being.  Violetta is one of the few people Adelina loves unconditonally and she would do anything (and everything) to keep her safe and happy. Later in the book, it’s revealed that Violetta has a huge secret. I can’t tell you what it is without giving major spoilers but I can tell you that Adelina’s love for her sister is not unrepriocated; Violetta does her best to keep her elder sister safe as well.

Contrary to what the blurb suggest, there is not a love triangle. In fact, the romance plays a smaller role than you would expect. I was not a huge fan of the love interest, Enzo. Sure, he was dark, dangerous, royal and mysterious but his coldness at the beginning of the book kind of put me off and I wasn’t a fan of the tough training he imposed on Adelina. But I guess I’m kind of a hypocrite because during reading, I found myself anticipating the Adelina/Enzo scenes; they had an explosive amount of  chemistry .

So if the book wasn’t full of romance, what was it full of? Action. Swords, knives and control of powers.Not just quantity but quality too. I loved  watching Adelina use her powers (even if I was somewhat creeped out at the same time). Marie Lu did an amazing job giving a description of the working of everyone’s powers and the energy web. Can I just say- Wow!

On a more serious note, the book spends a huge time discussing how the scary appearance of malfettos (those are the young elites) bred first contempt and then fear amongst the society. It got worse when the government started using them as a scrapegoat for all sorts of mishaps and accidents. Stuck among a society which openly discriminated against them and reviled them, the young elites struck back with attacks. And then it continued in a pointless circle (see what I did there?) which just kept escalating. Pretty profound actually, if you think about it. I guess it reminds us not to hate people just cause they look different, or act different.

This book doesn’t have much of a storyline but I found myself enjoying it just the same. It was all thanks to the elaborate world-building and awesome characters. At parts it got kind of dark and disturbing and I didn’t always like it but as a whole I loved the book.

My Ratings:

Cover: 2/5

Plot: 2/5

Characters: 4/5

Romance: 4/5

Action: 5/5

Plotholes: 4/5

Ending: 3/5

Overall Rating: 4/5

Recommend it to: Anyone who wants to read something dark set in an amazing world with powerful characters. At the same time, all the reasons to read this book make it PG 13.

Book similar to this: Cruel Beauty, The Masque of Red Death and Pure

5 YA Books You Need to Read (Even If You Are An Adult)

There are a lot of people who say they don’t like Young Adult fiction. Maybe they think it’s too childish- that everything’s over-explained, that it’s overdramatic and over-exaggerated. But that’s ’cause they’re reading all the wrong books. Here are 5 YA books which you will love even if you’re against the whole genre (at the moment.)

1.)

Book: On the Jellicoe Road
Author/Authoress: Melina Marchetta

On the Jellicoe Road

Blurb: Im dreaming of the boy in the tree. I tell him stories. About the Jellicoe School and the Townies and the Cadets from a school in Sydney. I tell him about the war between us for territory. And I tell him about Hannah, who lives in the unfinished house by the river. Hannah, who is too young to be hiding away from the world. Hannah, who found me on the Jellicoe Road six years ago.

Taylor is leader of the boarders at the Jellicoe School. She has to keep the upper hand in the territory wars and deal with Jonah Griggs – the enigmatic leader of the cadets, and someone she thought she would never see again.

And now Hannah, the person Taylor had come to rely on, has disappeared. Taylor’s only clue is a manuscript about five kids who lived in Jellicoe eighteen years ago. She needs to find out more, but this means confronting her own story, making sense of her strange, recurring dream, and finding her mother – who abandoned her on the Jellicoe Road.

Why you need to read it:
Forget John Green. If you want real, pure, strong emotions, a realistic YA about growing up with amazing dialogues and a lovely romance– you need to read this book. This is definitely not just a book for teens. Of course, it can be read by teens as well but On the Jellicoe Road actually has a very sophisticated subject matter.The book deals with abandonment, responsibility, learning to depend on others and moving forward even while remembering the past. But what really stole my heart is the writing; the way the story is told is simply stunning.
Each and every character was multi-faceted and 3-dimensional.There’s Taylor, who suffers from abandonment and authority issues but is still given the enormous responsibility of leading her school in the rivalry against the Cadets and Townies. And then there’s Jonah who killed his own father and owes Taylor more than she knows. I can’t say much more about the characters without unravelling parts of this amazing story. And trust me, trying to figure out how everybody’s past is connected to each other’s is part of the reading experience. Just trust me on this- All of the characters had powerful, important, utterly moving back stories. And somehow, Melina Marchetta managed to expertly wind them together so that at the end we have a bunch of puzzle pieces that fall together perfectly to create a mind-blowing book.


 2.)
Author/Authoress: Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor & Park
Blurb: Two misfits. One extraordinary love.
Eleanor
… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.
Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.
Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
Why you need to read it: 
I’m never sure if I really love this book or hate this book. But I do know that this book is unforgettable.
Why I love it: I love the characters. I love how they’re so relatable even though (and maybe because of this) they are both misfits. And even though you’d never think the combo would work, I love how the big (in both personality and size), loud, red-headed,tough, loner Eleanor fits with popular (superficially at least), generally good and happy Park. I love the way they encourage each other and help each other with their problems. I love how they react when they learn something new about the other’s life, especially when it’s so unfamiliar to them. And I love the way they’re able to find common links and similarities with each other even when they seem so, so unlike. But what I really love about this book are the things Eleanor and Park say to  each other. The things they say… Oh my God!…they’re  simultaneously sweet, uplifting,heartbreaking and bitter-sweet. But at the same time, they simply reek of honesty and whenever they say something truly profound, you can tell they truly mean it. 
Why I hate it : I hate how this book is able to wring so many tears out of my eyes. I hate how I can’t read another book set in this time period without subconsciously referring to this one. And I hate the sad, unfinished feel of this book. The ending is perhaps the most heartbreaking one I’ve read. There are no happy ever afters in this book; Only an ending which we all wish is unfinished but is instead unfortunately and ultimately final. I wanted to rage and scream at the ending because Eleanor and Park deserved so much more. In fact, even though it probably detracts from the story, I wrote up my own Happy Ever After for them (which, trust me is serious business since I’m normally against happy endings in books).


3.)
Book: The Giver
Author/Authoress: Lois Lowry
The Giver (The Giver #1)
Blurb: Jonas’ world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear or pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the Community. When Jonas turns twelve, he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.
Why you need to read it: 
This book is a freaking classic. I’m serious. We could wait our whole lives for a YA dystopian book this good. Lois Lowry is a genius who created a creepy world that’s oddly enthralling. Just imagine it- everything that makes life painful and unhappy…hunger war, pain, negative emotions- gone as if they never existed. But along with it, everything that makes life, life – contentment, happiness,love- they would all be gone. Along with choices and free will and the ability to make decisions. The themes in this book are so strong and so profound and perfect. This is the kind of book you can read over and over again and get something new out of it every time.I read the book for the first time when I was in fourth-grade and I’ve read it 3 times since. And without fail, I find a new piece of symbolism hidden somewhere deep inside the book that makes me look at the whole story with new eyes.

4.)

Author/Authoress: Neal Shusterman
Unwind (Unwind, #1)
 Blurb: Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.
Why you need to read it:
I am a huge fan of this book! HUGE! Here’s what I can really say about this book: It’s the kind of book which makes you think. Set in a crazy world where abortion is illegal but organ harvesting of teenager’s isn’t, this dystopian book has quite a few political undertones; the biggest issue in the book being pro-life or pro-choice. It speaks about identity and at points it even gets a little spiritual. For example,  if you are divided into parts and not really dead, would your soul disappear or would it just be spread. After reading this book you’ll practically be forced to deliberate on topics like morality and ethics of organ harvestation and how much control parents/guardians should really have.
The characters in this book were truly amazing. Neal Shusterman is a genius for creating such realistic characters that grow and change throughout the book. Each of them had a distinct voice, so for the first time ever- I didn’t completely hate the idea of having more than two POV’s in a book. If you have the time, then let me convince you to read this book right away. Read my review of it here.


Author/Authoress: Elizabeth Wein
Code Name Verity (Code Name Verity, #1)
Blurb: Oct. 11th, 1943-A British spy plane crashes in Nazi-occupied France. Its pilot and passenger are best friends. One of the girls has a chance at survival. The other has lost the game before it’s barely begun.
When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution.
As she intricately weaves her confession, Verity uncovers her past, how she became friends with the pilot Maddie, and why she left Maddie in the wrecked fuselage of their plane. On each new scrap of paper, Verity battles for her life, confronting her views on courage, failure and her desperate hope to make it home. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?
A Michael L. Printz Award Honor book that was called “a fiendishly-plotted mind game of a novel” in The New York Times, Code Name Verity is a visceral read of danger, resolve, and survival that shows just how far true friends will go to save each other.
Why you need to read this book:
Whatever you read in the blurb about history, WWII, fighter planes and torture – you need to know that they’re not important. Okay, they are pretty important (in real life and this story) but most of that won’t matter to you much by the time you’re halfway through the story. Because as soon as Maddie enters the picture, the story of Verity’s and Maddie’s friendship will completely blow you away. This is one of the best friendship I’ve ever encountered in a YA book. Both of them look up to each other and will do anything and everything to keep each other safe.The phrase “Kiss me Hardy. Kiss me, quick” may sound totally innocuous to you now, but after reading this book, you won’t be able to say that sentence without spontaneously bursting into tears.
 But that’s not the only aspect of the book that completely wowed me. Something that I see authors and filmmakers struggle with is how to portray a strong, kick-ass female who can hang with the boys and still retain her femininity. Elizabeth Wein has no such problems doing so. I have looked high and low but have never seen such an amazing interpretation of a ‘strong but feminine woman’.
After reading this book, I stared at the book for almost 5 minutes in shock. This book makes you feel so much; It will tire you out emotionally and leave you at a loss for words. Consider me awed.

So if you’re an adult who’s not really into YA but has been coerced/begged/threatened into giving it a chance, you should pick up one of these books so you can join us happy campers on the YA bandwagon. If you’re already into YA fiction and are hoping for something mature, emotional and basically amazing to read then you should also pick up one of these books.

Which book would you put on this list?

Unwind: A Book Review

Book: Unwind (Unwind dystology #1)

Author/Authoress: Neal Shusterman

Unwind (Unwind, #1)

Cover: 4/5

Right away the cover sets the tone for this book. Creepy, disturbing and dark. Just looking at the cover gave me chills. However, for those for you who are worried, the book is not as ghastly as the cover implies. The characters are very human. It’s just the world they’re placed into that is disturbing. One thing I love about the cover: the fingerprint identation. Identity is a major aspect of this book and what better way to represent that then by a fingerprint?

Plot:5/5

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Yes the plot is actually as creepy as it sounds.

Unwind by Neal Shusterman is a novel about a world gone insane (to a frightening degree) in which children between the ages of thirteen and eighteen can be legally signed over by their parents or guardians to be put through a harvest camp so that others can take their organs, tissue and blood. Yes, you heard me. Organ harvestation camps.

In these camps, ‘problematic’ children and tithes (people who are brought up for the express purpose of being donors) have all of their organs harvested (or at least 99.44%) so that they can be reused. To make this world even more screwed up, transplants are pretty common in the world. You have less than stellar vision? No problem, you don’t need to get glasses. Glasses are so pointless when you can just get a new eye. Going bald? Ouch! you better cover that spot up soon. You can always use the lustrous locks of some poor teen.

“I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.”

This is what a boy about to be unwound says. And it reflects pretty well what society seems to think. Entirely useless children have no real place in it. They are more valuable in parts than as a whole.

So what’s the history behind the organ camps? Well apparently there was something called the Heartland Wars in which people fought over the issue of the legality and morality of abortion. The verdict? Abortion is illegal when the child is a foetus but you can always have all of their organs harvested while they are  between the ages of 13 and 18. How’s that for morality? And if you just can’t wait to get rid of the child, you could always use the ‘storking’ method. People can leave infants on other people’s doorstep and thus legally handing over their responsibilities of the child. And they’ll be forced to take it in. Perfectly legal and moral. As long as you don’t get caught of course. The problem is usually the storked families don’t want the infant anyways.

Anyways, as much as the plot creeps me out, you can see the sheer potential Neal Shusterman has created in this world. And he doesn’t disappoint. This book is crazy good in a creepy sort of way.

Characters: 5/5

The book is told in multiple POV’s. Thus, giving us a good feel for the thoughts and emotions of each character. I’ll write about them in chronological order.

Connor: He’s a troubled teen. Not particularly good but not particularly bad. He’s not vicious, spiteful or difficult. But he has quite a temper, goes looking for trouble and mostly lazy.  But his parents are also lazy and selfish. Bought in by all the unwinding-is-good propaganda, they sign him up to be unwound. And this is where the story starts. Understandably, Connor is not really into the idea. So he runs away in the middle of the night. He’s tracked by a Cop. To get away from him, he uses Levi as a hostage.

Lev is a tithe, a child born and raised to be signed off as an Unwind as soon as he turns thirteen. There’s no polite way to say this. But Lev is … brainwashed. His oldest brother is vehemently against the process, but his deeply religious parents have convinced Lev that being tithed is a great honor that he must follow through to the end. And Lev is not happy that the end will come later rather than sooner.

Disturbed by the chaos of an AWOL Unwound holding a tithe as hostage, Risa makes a plan to escape. She’s a ward of the state whose piano playing skills weren’t enough for her to make the cut. The budget cuts. And so she is signed up to be unwound. Unsurprisingly this doesn’t fit in well with her ambitons.

When these three meet, they make a plan to stay off the radar of the Cops (in the book the cops incharge are called juvenile authorities) who plan to take them to the harvestation camp (Okay, Risa and Connor do.)  Lev, who feels he was deprived of the purpose and honour of giving up his life, gives them up but immediately feels remorseful (frankly, that part really annoyed me). Thankfully, all three of them escape (there wouldn’t be much of a story if they didn’t). Risa and Connor end up in the basement of a safe house and Levi ends up in the company of an interesting kid called CyFi who suffers from something like dual personality because half of his brain was a transplant from another kid.

In the basement of the safe house Risa and Connor end up in the company of several children. One of them is Hayden. His parents divorced but were unable to decide who received custody. In pure spite, each of them signed the papers agreeing to let Hayden be unwound so that the other wouldn’t get custody. Talk about priorities. Another is Raymond. Raymond is a violent, psychopath who attacks Risa in an effort to get to Connor. He’s also a traitor. But even he doesn’t deserve the fate he receives. He’s unwound at Happy Jack Camp (that name is revolting, isn’t it?). That chapter is one of the most disgusting, horrifying scenes I’ve read. Scratch that. It is the most horrifying scene I’ve read. I almost puked. His unwinding takes place with him strapped to a table, conscious and under anaesthesia. The whole time, a nurse talks to him and warns him that he’ll lose ability and feeling in each of his limbs as they get harvested. Definitely not a scene for the faint hearted.

All three main characters grow and change so much in this book. Connor becomes responsible and trustworthy. He starts thinking before he acts (Risa’s influence no doubt). But his rough around the edges personality never truly goes away. Risa is the character who changes the least. She was never naïve, but I think her experience makes her a little jaded. Still she remains clever and full of life throughout the book. Holy Hell! does Lev change a lot? It was heart breaking to see him go from annoying little tithe to angry suicidal bomber to loyal and regretful friend. I predict that Lev’s a character to be watched throughout the series.

Romance:5/5

The romance in this book was like a little sidenote to the whole story. But you should feel assured that it was a good sidenote. The romance between Risa and Connor was sweet and intense but it didn’t take over the entire story like romance tends to do in most dystopian novels. Hello, Divergent or The Hunger Games? The character were willing and able to put the needs and necessities of other Unwinds before their own romance. And thank god each thought of theirs wasn’t nauseatingly sweet thoughts about the other.

Ending: 5/5

On a scale of 1-5 for cliffhangers, I’d put the book at about 2.5. The ending was pretty bitter sweet with each character having lost stuff important to them. <spoiler> Risa loses the use of her legs, Connor loses his arm and it gets replaced by an organ from an Unwind (which is something he feels is morally irreprehensible) and Lev gets put in jail trapped in a suit which doesn’t allow him to move at all. </spoiler>

Plotholes:5/5

This book really makes you think. It’s the type of dystopian book which has quite a few political undertones (and overtones too). I mean, pro-life or pro-choice- that’s quite a difficult decision to make. Maybe that’s why it’s so sensitive.

It speaks about identity and at points it even gets a little spiritual. Like if you are divided into parts and not really dead, would your soul disappear or would it just be spread. After reading this book you’ll practically be forced to deliberate on topics like morality and ethics of organ harvestation and how much control parents/guardians should really have.

Overall Rating: 5/5

It’s rare enough for me to give one book a 5/5 rating but two in a row? The sky must have fallen. But Unwind deserves this rating. Deep, interesting and unique characters, a twisting and new plotline. Plus it really makes you think. I’d recommend this book to everyone over the age of 13 because there is one chapter that is particularly revolting (Raymond’s unwinding). That chapter is not terribly descriptive but it is the stuff of nightmares, so beware.

 

The Darkest Minds:A Book Revew

Book: The Darkest Minds

Author/Authors: Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)

Cover:2/5

There was nothing wrong with the cover …. But nothing really made it stand out (you would think that the orange on the cover would be like a flashing beacon, but no it actually isn’t). Combined with the fact that Disney was the publisher (I’m not really a Disney princess fan; not when they messed up the fairytales so much) , this book really didn’t look so appealing. So, I passed it up for a long time despite its good rating for other books with better covers (but inferior content). Moral of the story for publishers: Readers judge books by their covers. Moral of the story for readers: Trust your fellow readers and goodreads.com; seriously, they rarely guide you wrong.

Plot:5/5

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

The plot in this book deserves more than 5 stars. It was attention grabbing and I’ve definitely never seen something like this before in this genre. If any such book exists, it’s a cheap knockoff (even if that book was written earlier)

Characters:5/5

The characters in this book were amazing. From Ruby, the main character to Chubs (I guess his designation is the sidekick but he was too smart for me to think of him as one) to Zu, the adorable little girl who was mentally traumatized enough into not speaking. Most books have one character (if they’re lucky) who stands out. But the awesome thing about this book is that there are many such characters.

Ruby: Ruby starts off at the beginning of the book knowing almost nothing about the world she lives in. But she has a good reason for this. Ever since she turned 10, she’s been stuck in a rehabilitiation camp (the concentration variety) because the adults are scared of her awesome super powers. So far this sounds like the plot to a cheesy comic, right? Wrong. Let’s just drive the stakes a little bit higher. Majority of the children in America had succumbed to a mysterious illness and died. The rest…developed super powers. Naturally everyone was scared. So they stuck their kids in camps which were designed to make the powers go away. That’s one brilliant thing about this book: The government and adults acted almost exactly like you would expect them to act in such a situation. However because this is dystopian fiction, the camps are horrible. The children in them are mistreated- the most dangerous ones are killed, the rest are treated brutally, not allowed to talk, forced to do hard menial labour, etc. Disturbingly,there are several parallels between the ‘rehabilitation camps’ and the Jewish concentration camps set up in Nazi Germany during WWII. But this really didn’t set in for me until Ruby tells us how her mom had told she would be allowed to shave when she was 12 but she didn’t actually do so until she was almost 16. In this book, Ruby is special because she is one of the last ‘oranges’ (that’s a code name for her power level and basically means she can mess with people’s minds- literally! ) and also dangerous for that reason. But here’s the catch: She has no idea to control her powers. Right from the beginning we can see how much her powers scare her. With one touch, she erased her best friends memory. <spoiler> somewhere in the middle we learn that she also erased her parent’s memory and in the end she erases Liam’s memory.<okay, relax spoiler’s over>. Ruby’s a good character. She’s nice without being too sugary. Scared enough without being a total coward. Powerful but not invincible and awkward enough without being cringe-worthy.

Liam: If Ruby’s a good character, than Liam is an even better one. Having come from a less notorious camp, he’s less troubled than Ruby and much nicer, sweeter and more naive for it. Liam is the kind of guy who has an actual personality. As soon as he meets her, Liam is all for travelling with Ruby. However this is not because of some twisted love-at-first-sight thing (thank god!) but more a reflection of his personality. He’s not the type of love interest whose life would revolve around his love for the MC. Ahem, Malcahi from Sanctum, I’m looking at you. No, Liam had much more going for him such as his need to help others and his  loyalty to his friend. Definitely a swoon-worthy romantic love interest.

Zu: It’s hard to learn about a character who doesn’t talk. I mean, can’t talk. Although no one ever says what, it’s implied that Zu was tortured and tested upon in the camp and was so affected she stopped speaking. Despite the fact that she doesn’t talk, it wasn’t exactly hard to learn about her. She’s a yellow (that means she can make stuff explode) but more importantly, she’s a loving little girl who’s interested in dressing up, needs a serious dose of self-confidence and fiercely loyal to her family (whether they’re related to her by blood or just bound together by necessity).

Chubs: Chubs is a character I really enjoyed. Annoyingly assured his intelligence was superior, a little bit (okay, actually a lot) distrustful and insecure- he’s the type of character who grows on you. And he didn’t just grow on me as a reader, he grew on Ruby too. As he came to trust her more, they had surprisingly insightful and profound discussions.

Clancy: This is a character who oozes charisma (not surprising, since he is the President’s son). At first I was kind of annoyed with him for appearing because I really didn’t want a love triangle. But there’s a lot going on underneath the polished and charming exterior of this boy. I guess you could call him the villain of the piece but I was never really able to muster up any real hatred for this character (By the way, Ruby wasn’t able to either). Sure he was petty, arrogant and jealous with a strong cruel streak. But that somehow added to his charm (believe me, I know how messed up that sounds) but somehow he managed to make it all up with a short letter to Ruby.

R-

I lied. I would have run.

-C

 

Romance: 5/5

The romance in this book was surprisingly good. It wasn’t too heavy, neither was it too light. It didn’t hurt that the characters involved in it were so brilliant either.

Plotholes: 4/5

 This book was surprisingly realistic. I mean if a virus such as IANN did exist I could imagine the world (or at least America) going to Hell in a handbasket like this. Of course there were some unhealthy messages in here. For example, Ruby’s whole relationship with Clancy but the book made it clear that the relationship was unhealthy.

Overall Rating: 5/5

No, I’m not surprised I gave this book a five star rating and you shouldn’t be either. It was amazing, I promise you and totally deserves this rating. Buy this books as soon as possible so that you can read it over and over and over again.

The Hunger Games: A Book Review

Book: The Hunger Games
Author/Authoress: Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)

Hunger Games is one of the best known dystopian young adult books and I loved it. It seems kinds of silly to me, that I dedicated this blog to young adult dystopian books and I still didn’t have a post about the Hunger Games over here. I guess I took it for granted that everyone’s read the series (and loved it too) but recently I wished a friend of mine ‘May the odds ever be in your favour’ in and got a blank look in return. To minimize my self-humiliation I  prompted them- “You know, the Hunger Games?” and got a smile and a ‘I haven’t watched the movie yet’…
I haven’t watched the movie yet?!? <Shakes head in despair>. You poor, poor deprived person.

So, here I am, reviewing the Hunger Games not just for the sake of the people who think it’s just a movie but also for people who I know have read and loved it. Be warned, this may turn into a fangirling session.

Cover:2/5

I don’t really go for the minimalist style for book covers. So the stark black background with ugly white letters proclaiming that the book’s name was ‘The Hunger Games’ and watermarks of targets didn’t really inspire much enthusiasm for me. But I can admire how the background makes the mocking-jay pin stand out. It’s probably the most recognisable young adult series just for that golden shiny pin which appears in some form or the other on every single book in the series. And for good reason too, that pin is important. Every single event in this book eventually boils down to that pretty golden pin.

Characters: 3.5/5

Katniss: The main character that everyone loves and even if you say you don’t love her, you know deep down you really do. Ever since her father died at the tender age of ten, she’s been shouldering the full load of her family almost single handily. She learnt how to hunt with a bow and arrow (actually let’s be fair to her father, he taught her before he died) and hunts illegally catching squirrels and rabbits neatly in the eye as well as bringing bigger game down. Like expected from such a character, she’s not squeamish about blood or even that squeamish about killing human living beings. To her, they’re just bigger prey. She’s suspicious and mistrusting (even of her own mother) but once you have her loyalty or do her a favour, she’ll do anything for you and do her best to get out of your debt. And her way of classifying everyone into predator and prey- totally charming.  But she has her flaws too. Can there ever be a good character without flaws? Never mind, that’s a rhetorical question. Katniss is hot-headed and stubborn and while this makes her undoubtedly cool at some times, it gets her into trouble as well. Besides that, she has the annoying tendency to see everything in black and white and label everyone and everything as evil and good. She doesn’t see blurry lines and grey areas. Another thing that annoys me about her is her priorities- they’re seriously messed up.

Prim: Prim’s the kind of cliché sweet baby sister character who the main character has to protect. But Suzanne Collins is not content to leave her flat and two dimensional. With the help of memories and Rue, Ms. Collins manages to string together an amazing back story which not only shows just how gentle, kind and sheltered Prim is but her healing genius and  tough inner strength as well.

Rue: Rue was a fabulous character. Just small and innocent enough for Katniss to protect and wise, clever and skilled enough to stand on her own. Through her, we learn more about the Capitol and through her death we develop a hatred for it. I’m not ashamed to admit- this is one death scene I actually cried for.

Cato: Is it weird that I actually liked this brutal, brain-washed Career from district 2? His intense temper and smug arrogance made me laugh, laugh, laugh. Suzanne Collins, would you please do a short story from Katniss’s archenemy’s of the 74th Hunger Games point of view?

Plot:5/5

In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.

When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister’s place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Honestly, how could I resist this plot?  It’s like a twisted mix of awful reality television, a promise of lots of action  and a chilling dystopian world. Just what I’ve always wanted.

Worldbuilding:4/5

The strange blend with old fashionedness (trains and phones as a novelty) and modern technology (mutated, genetically modified animals and food appearing at the touch of a button) that’s so common for these types of books worked fantastically for this one. The world building begins on page one of this book and continues on ’til the last page of the last book. It’s slow, gradual and inspired genius.

Action:5/5

You would think that with 24 deaths, eventually all of the action will get boring. That’s not true. Not true at all. Right now I’m thinking of death by tracker-jackers. Definitely not a fun way to go.  It seems weird to compliment Suzanne Collins on the imaginative deaths she thought up for her characters, but I have to. They were really innovative and cool in a gruesome sort of ways.

Romance:1/5

Peeta: For some reason Peeta really annoys me in this book. Despite him starring in a major part of the book either directly or indirectly, I feel that we’re not really given much information about him. Even the information we are given is in the form of telling and not showing. What we do know about him: he bakes bread, he likes camouflaging, he’s selfless, he’s a good actor (or the Careers are really dumb, either one or maybe both) he’s been in love with Katniss since he was five, he remembers everything about Katniss, he was too shy to tell her that he loved her for eleven years until he announced it on national television, he refuses to let Katniss put her life in danger for his sake, etc. etc.

I think you get my point.  A large part of his personality is based on Katniss’s. So much so, he’s almost defined by her.  If you take her away, you get a kind of cowardly guy who bakes bread and likes art. Not the dreamboat everyone thinks about.

Gale: We’re only treated to him for a couple of pages and it’s already obvious where this is heading. He’s angry, rash, masculine (which means he’s not into baking or art),  anti-capitol and truly, deeply and madly in love with Katniss although she doesn’t know it yet. Other than that, he’s remarkably similar to Peeta.<rolls eyes> Oh boy!

Disclaimer: I am sick of love triangles in which there are obvious winners and carbon copy characters. 

Plotholes:3/5

Just look up, the love in this book is riddled with plot holes.

Overall rating:4/5

I am reminded again why I do not read young adult dystopia for its strong,  gradual and beautiful romances. But I loved the world building, plot, most of the characters, and the action of this book. I would recommend reading and maybe even buying this book.

Ashfall:A Book Review

Book:  Ashfall
Author/Authoress: Mike Mullin

Ashfall (Ashfall, #1)

Cover: 1.5/5

The cover didn’t exactly drum up much enthusiasm for me. For some reason, I was reminded of Narcissus after seeing the cover. A mirror? Seriously? I know that teenagers can be self-obsessed and writers writing in first person need to have people look in mirrors so that their readers can get an accurate description of the main character,  but in the wake of an apocalypse why would people spend time staring at their face in mirrors? That’s a good question and one they don’t answer anywhere in this book because nothing like this ever happens in the book. I guess the other things on the cover are accurate enough, though.  For example, Darla really does wear a grey sweat shirt and she does have blonde hair. But I’m still hung up on the fact that their is a huge mirror which is hugely inaccurate and taking up all the space on the front cover.

Characters:4/5

The Main Characters move around a lot and rarely meet the same person twice so there’s not a lot of characters that I can really talk about. However, I can vouch for this: Mike Mullin has gone for quality over quantity. There are two main characters in the book and the author’s done a great job with their characterization.

The characterization is… realistic (there’s no other way to describe it. I hate to break it to you, but kids who face hardship don’t automatically become Enid Blyton kids. The girls don’t automatically learn how to wash dishes, sew clothes, make food and go on adventures. The boys don’t immediately launch into a crusade of adventures gone wrong where they have to rescue their friends and comfort the girls. Most post-apocalyptic books would have you believe that the kids who survive are either

a.) mean, tough kids who will not hesitate to shoot you, maim you, steal things, etc. etc.
b.) someone who the mean, tough kids care about
c.) abnormally and weirdly lucky enough not to be shot or maimed and even more lucky to find safety, shelter and food

Maybe they’re right. Survival is a tricky thing which does not really tie in with morality anywhere. But I’d like to believe that the progress we’ve made from an ape like thingy to a human over several million years can’t be erased in a day. Even if that day includes the eruption of a super volcano.

This book features a teenage guy ( words can’t describe how refreshing it is to have a strong, male main character for once) who is a real teenager. Sure, he’s selfish enough to want to stay at home and play computer games while his parents visit his boring relatives but he’s kind of selfless too. He cares for his family enough to go and make sure they’re all right even though several feet of ash cover the ground. He has a heart and he demonstrates his respect for human life over and over again as he meets several people through the course of the book. Sometimes this trait gets him into trouble while at other times it’s his saving grace.

Darla is one of my favourite female characters ever.  She is the ultimate woman (yes, woman- not girl). She’s intelligent, proactive and strong. More importantly, she’s resourceful, clear minded, determined and capable. Without her, the MC would have died several long, miserable deaths and she doesn’t mind reminding him of the fact several times. If Annabeth from Rick Riordon’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians ever grew up, I imagine she’d both look and act like Darla. In fact, I’d say Darla would be Mary-Sueish if not for the fact that she’s seriously lacking in empathy. Oh well, I guess you can’t have everything.

Plot: 4/5

Under the bubbling hot springs and geysers of Yellowstone National Park is a supervolcano. Most people don’t know it’s there. The caldera is so large that it can only be seen from a plane or satellite. It just could be overdue for an eruption, which would change the landscape and climate of our planet.

For Alex, being left alone for the weekend means having the freedom to play computer games and hang out with his friends without hassle from his mother. Then the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, plunging his hometown into a nightmare of darkness, ash, and violence. Alex begins a harrowing trek to seach for his family and finds help in Darla, a travel partner he meets along the way. Together they must find the strength and skills to survive and outlast an epic disaster.

Now that I think about it, a supervolcano is actually a pretty novel idea for a book plot (pun intended). Mike Mullin delivered the plot amazingly well with strong characters and emotion evoking incidents.

Romance:4/5

The romance in this book was initiated by Darla and that’s a remarkable feat. In young adult books, why is it always the male who has to take initiative? Personally, I think Alex and Darla have a lot of chemistry. The romance is one of the best things about this book.

Action:5/5

 A fifteen-year-old boy left alone for the weekend. An attempt made by him to get to his family in the wake of the mother of all natural disasters. An eruption. Bandits.  Cannibals. Prison Escapees. Fighting. Snow. Choking ash.  More ash. Murder.  Rape.  More ash. Love.  Refugee camps. Escape. Marauders. More ash. This book has action of all kinds- physical, mental and emotional.  Mike Mullin must be a crazy kind of guy to imagine all of these things in the minutest detail. But I don’t mean he’s thrown in a bunch of stuff for shock value or to evoke a sense of disgust like Julianna Baggot did in Pure. It’s all plausible and beautiful in a twisted sort of way.

Plotholes:5/5

No plotholes as of yet. Or none that I could identify, anyways. I think I was a little too caught up in the story to notice any major discrepancies. Way to go Ashfall!

Overall rating: 4/5

Why are you still reading my review? This book was amazing times infinity. If you haven’t read this book yet, you don’t know what you’re missing out on. This book reminds me of why I love young adult dystopian post apocalyptic books so much. If you need a reminder or if you’re not truly into the genre yet, buy (or settle for reading) this book right away.

Three (Article 5 #3):A Book Review

Book: Three (Article Five #3)

Author/Authoress: Kristen Simmons

Note:

You may (or may not) have noticed that I’ve always tried to stick to reviewing the first book in the series. I’m not completely sure of my reasoning, but I think part of it is because I want to get new readers hooked onto a series. But I recently got Three by Kristen Simmons which is the third and final book in the Article 5 series from Net Galley (Thanks, by the way NetGalley) and I  just couldn’t hold myself back from reviewing it. Part of the reason is sentimental.  Article 5 was one of the first ‘good’ dystopias I read. It got me hooked onto this whole genre which I grew to love enough for me to actually start a blog about.

Cover: 5/5

This cover brings back lots of nostalgia. The same red, white and grey theme that was used in the past books is used again in this one. Personally, I think the colour scheme is perfect. Patriotic, dark and a little hopeless. Besides, what Article 5 cover would be complete without the city scene? But even from the cover, we can see that Three is not the type of book to lean on the success of it’s predecessors. The bright red slashes on the top add an edgy look to the cover and a whole new meaning to the title “Three”

Three (Article 5, #3)

Characters: 5/5

These books have seen the characters change and grow a lot.But what I love most about these character is the fact that they never lost their integrity. No OC’s in this book. If I didn’t know for fact that the American government wasn’t taken over by a bunch of crazy wackos who implemented several Articles, then I would have seriously thought that these characters were real people. There were no iffy decisions made by the characters for the sake of the plot and no ‘I have no idea what’s going on’ moments just so Three could have a few extra chapters.

Ember: She’s no longer naive and idealistic. By the end of this book she’s no longer in a position to judge other people. Nor does she.

Chase: Chase has grown in a way completely different from Ember. Something about the events he’s witnessed and the things he’s gone through have turned him into a more hopeful person and someone who’s willing to fight for humanity instead of against humanity.

Tucker: I knew that this guy would be an amazing character. Even though Three is not in his point of view, we can still almost feel the tumultuous roller coaster of emotions that Tucker rides through.  Who does he owe his loyalty to? Is he a traitor? Does he deserve redemption? It’s all explored in this book. I won’t tell you why he hates Chase or why he killed Ember’s mother. But I will tell you that Ember grossly underestimated him while other characters grossly overestimated him.  I’ll give you a slight spoiler. This book doesn’t give him his  happy ending (does any character in this book truly get one?) but no one will turn the last page of this book without being a Tucker Morris fan.

Chris’ Uncle: For some reason, Chris’s Uncle has an almost ‘Sirius’ like character. He’s the playful, un-serious,slightly secretive  trouble making sort of guy who is not really fit to be in any sort of parental position.Hotheaded, angry and rebellious he’s willing to sacrifice his life for the sake of his goal. And willing to sacrifice much more for Chase’s sake.

Plot: 4/5

Kristen Simmons’ fast-paced, gripping YA dystopian series continues in Three.

Ember Miller and Chase Jennings are ready to stop running. After weeks spent in hiding as two of the Bureau of Reformation’s most wanted criminals, they have finally arrived at the safe house, where they hope to live a safe and quiet existence.

And all that’s left is smoking ruins.

Devastated by the demolition of their last hope, Ember and Chase follow the only thing left to them—tracks leading away from the wreckage. The only sign that there may have been survivors.

With their high-profile, they know they can’t stay out in the open for long. They take shelter in the wilderness and amidst the ruins of abandoned cities as they follow the tracks down the coast, eventually finding refugees from the destroyed safe house. Among them is someone from Chase’s past—someone he never thought he’d see again.

Banding together, they search for a place to hide, aiming for a settlement a few of them have heard about…a settlement that is rumored to house the nebulous organization known as Three. The very group that has provided Ember with a tiny ray of hope ever since she was first forced on the run.

Three is responsible for the huge network of underground safe houses and resistance groups across the country. And they may offer Ember her only chance at telling the world her story.

At fighting back.

After I finished reading this book,  I was kind of surprised to find tears (actual tears!) running down my cheeks. I can’t believe this  is over. I just can’t. I loved this series and I have to say a huge part of it is because of the plot. It’s full of plot twists which seem to come together in the most beautiful of ways.

Action:4/5

This book takes the action up another notch. Heat seeking missiles, fist fights, guns, batons…This book has it all.
Not to mention the traitor (three guesses who it is) and all the suspense that mini-arc brings along with it.

Romance:4/5

The romance in this book is hot but tasteful. A good quarter of this book is spent on kissing (and more) and funnily enough I loved  the romance in this book. I have no idea how this  works but Kristen Simmons somehow managed to allude to everything without saying it flat out. It sounds annoying but trust me, it’s not.  The romance was sweet but not cloying. At the same time it was passionate without being hormonal.  Folks, that takes talent.

Overall Rating:4.5/5


This is one of the few books (and series) that I just wish would go on forever. New, intriguing plots. Realistic, exciting characters. Interesting worlds and fast-paced action. I really hope Kristen Simmons does some mini-stories or something that relates to this series. It goes without saying, that I’ll read her next book.  But I guess all good things must end.