Review: Starters by Lissa Price

Title: Starters
Series: Starters, Book #1
Author: Lissa Price
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers, March 13, 2012
Hardcover, 352 pages

Callie lost her parents when the Spore Wars wiped out everyone between the ages of twenty and sixty. She and her little brother, Tyler, go on the run, living as squatters with their friend Michael and fighting off renegades who would kill them for a cookie. Callie’s only hope is Prime Destinations, a disturbing place in Beverly Hills run by a mysterious figure known as the Old Man.

He hires teens to rent their bodies to Enders—seniors who want to be young again. Callie, desperate for the money that will keep her, Tyler, and Michael alive, agrees to be a donor. But the neurochip they place in Callie’s head malfunctions and she wakes up in the life of her renter, living in her mansion, driving her cars, and going out with a senator’s grandson. It feels almost like a fairy tale, until Callie discovers that her renter intends to do more than party—and that Prime Destinations’ plans are more evil than Callie could ever have imagined. . . .
(From Goodreads)

It’s been a little while since I’ve posted anything (sorry about that!), but I wanted this book to be my next review, and after I finished I couldn’t put my thoughts into words. But now I’m going to try: This book was absolutely amazing.

Not often do I not get distracted from a book. This book kept me on my toes, and made me want to keep reading and keep reading until there wasn’t anything left to read. It ended with a HUGE twist (like, seriously, WHOA.), and left lots of things open for a sequel, which by the way I can’t WAIT for! It did leave me questioning a few things that I do wish would’ve been explored a little bit more, though.

My biggest and pretty much only problem with Starters was that the Spore Wars were never explained. It never told what caused them. It never told exactly what the spores did to you body. And it left me really interested. I wish there would’ve been even a paragraph or two more just to explain all of this, because I’d really like to know. I also wondered how people were able to stay alive so long (There are 200 year olds!). I wish a little bit of the science behind it all could’ve been explained more.

One thing that I either wish there was more of, or just not there at all were the Cinderella references. I actually don’t even know if they were intentional, but I definitely picked up on them throughout. I haven’t seen mention of this in any other reviews though, so maybe I overanalyzed.

I honestly loved every single character in this book. Even the bad guy, “The Old Man.”(Whose identity, by the way, I have a theory about! I’ll have to wait and find out in the next book if I’m correct, but I have interesting thoughts.) I thought all of the characters were fleshed out extremely well, and I couldn’t help but be invested in all of them.

I’d definitely recommend this book. It might be my favorite book that I’ve reviewed YET!

Review: Surrender by Elana Johnson

Title: Surrender
Series: Possession, Book #2
Author: Elana Johnson
Published by Simon Pulse, June 5, 2012
Hardcover, 469 pages

So instead of telling you the plot of the book like I normally would, I’m just going to post the Goodreads description, because it’s better than anything I could come up with.

Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…

Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque….

Okay, so that’s a little bit misleading, because Raine is really more of a rebel than Gunn is. But whatever. The description also doesn’t really tell about Gunn’s part in the story, which I think it should include since he is one of the narrators.

I enjoyed Surrender SO much more than Possession. Most of the problems that I had with Possession were not present in Surrender. I felt more connected with the story and the characters in this book than I did with the first. I also liked that Johnson changed it up a little and gave us new lead characters. Because of that, though, this is more of a companion than a sequel, even though it does follow up on Vi, Jag, and Zenn, and they play a major part in what happens, especially towards the end.

I LOVED Raine and Gunn. I loved that instead of just one side of the story, we got to see two different perspectives of what was happening. Usually books with two different narrators annoy me, but that didn’t happen in Surrender. I think it worked well for the story.

There’s not as much of a love triangle in Surrender as there was in Possession, which I was thankful for. I wanted to like Jag, Vi, and Zenn in Possession, but never warmed up to them. In this book, I ended up liking all three of them. I think Johnson definitely worked to make them more relatable, and it helped a lot. My complaint about Thane Myers not being evil enough in Possession was fixed here with his even-more-evil boss, Director Hightower. In general I don’t have any really big complaints about Surrender like I did with Possession. I do wish that the world building would’ve been a bit stronger, but it was already stronger than in Possession, so maybe it’ll get even better in the next book (is there a next book? I hope so!).

Surrender is loads better than Possession, so if you read Possession and liked it, or even if you just sort-of-kind-of liked it, then I definitely recommend reading this one!

Surrender is in stores today!

Review: Possession by Elana Johnson

Title: Possession
Series: Possession, Book #1
Author: Elana Johnson
Originally published by Simon Pulse, June 7, 2011, Paperback May 8, 2012
Paperback, 432 pages

For the first 100-or-so pages of Possession, I didn’t think I was going to like it. I couldn’t get into the writing style that Johnson used at all. The story was just kind of blah. I kept getting confused with their tech-talk. But then about halfway through I started really getting into it and I read the second half in one sitting.

Possession is set in the future where there are “Goodies” who are basically mind-controlled by the Thinkers and “Baddies” who are criminals (except not really, they just don’t follow the ridiculous rules set by the Thinkers, and therefore get banished). The main character, Vi, is in love/matched with Zenn. She get’s caught walking with him one night in the park, and is sent to prison. There, she meets Jag, a Baddie. And she falls in love with him. YAY LOVE TRIANGLES. Vi finds out from Jag that she may be more special than she ever could’ve guessed. I won’t say anything else about the story, because I’m afraid I’d spoil it!

If you’re not a love triangle fan, this definitely is NOT the book for you. That’s one of the major parts of the story, and where most of Vi’s conflicting emotions come from. The other main conflict of the book is with Thane Meyers, who wants Vi to come work with him as a Thinker. I really felt like he could’ve been a much stronger villain than he was. He was almost there, but I felt like he needed a little something more to push him over the edge and make him even more ominous. He could’ve been just as evil as President Snow in The Hunger Games, but Johnson didn’t take him that far, and a part of me really wishes she would’ve.

I had problems throughout with liking the characters. Vi was okay when she wasn’t trying to be snarky. I never really cared for either of her love interests, though, which was disappointing because I WANTED to like Jag, but it just didn’t happen. I also think at the beginning of the book, the reader shouldn’t have been just automatically thrown into the action. There should’ve been a bit of relationship establishment between Vi and Zenn, and even Vi and her mom. I just felt like I never really got to know Zenn and so I never thought they’d end up together. It also would’ve been nice to have a little bit of background on the technology and how it works. I never fully understood that. Just one or two chapters at the beginning could’ve easily solved both of those problems, but it didn’t happen.

Overall, I liked this book. I didn’t LOVE it as much as I wanted to, but it was still a nice read. The sequel, Surrender, is released on Tuesday! I went to Barnes & Noble today and they had it out already, so I’m going to start it later tonight! Hopefully it’ll be at least as good, if not better, as Possession!