Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Title: Across the Universe
Series: Across the Universe, Book #1
Author: Beth Revis
Published by Razorbill, January 11, 2011
Hardcover, 416 pages

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone-one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship-tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming. (From Goodreads)

This book has been on my to-read list for over a year. I bought it the week it came out. (I mean, COME ON who can resist that cover?!) But then I gave it to a friend to borrow and I didn’t get it back until earlier this year, and by that time I had lots of other things I wanted to read. I kept putting it off, but I FINALLY got around to reading it!

Sci-Fi isn’t usually my thing. But this was really really really really really good. Most reviews I’ve seen have liked this book, but haven’t loved it. I wouldn’t go as far as to say it was my favorite book, but I did enjoy it a lot, even enough to say that I loved it.

That’s not to say that I don’t think this book had its problems. It did. One of those being the instant-love. If you’re looking for some big romance where it takes a while for the main characters to fall in love, this is not for you. Elder loves Amy because she’s “different.” Period. AKA, she has red hair. He gives no other good reason whatsoever. AND Amy is kind of a whiner. Constantly. Sure, I probably would be whiny, too, given her circumstances, BUT PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER, GIRL. I do think the overall story arc for their characters was good, though, and I’m really excited to read the rest of the series.

I also really liked the mystery aspect of this book. I mean, I figured out what was going on WAY before Amy and Elder did, but it was still a nice addition. And normally, I really dislike books where the narrators of each chapter switch, but I kind of got into it with this, and I don’t think it would’ve worked nearly as well if it was JUST from Amy or Elder’s point of view instead of both.

I know this review is kind of late, given that this book has been out for over a year and a half, but I think that if you haven’t read it that you definitely should. It may not be the best thing you will ever read, but it was entertaining for the most part. I’ll definitely be reading the sequel after I finish a couple of others that I need to read first!


Review: The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner

Title: The Maze Runner Trilogy
Author: James Dashner
Published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
 (Overall rating of the series)

I’ve never done a review for an entire series at once before, but I figured that would be the best way to do this one. I bought The Maze Runner about two months before I actually read it, and I was nervous about reading it. I had really high expectations because I know a lot of people that love these books, and I didn’t want it to be a let down. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy the first book of the series all that much until I was near the end.

Without giving too much away, I’ll try to tell you what the series is about, since the Goodreads descriptions are for each book separately. The Maze Runner series focuses on a sixteen year-old named Thomas. One day, he wakes up in a lift where he can’t remember anything at all about his past other than his first name. He isn’t alone, however. There are others who are just like him, who woke up in “The Glade” and didn’t remember anything. They’re also all boys. The Glade is in the middle of a giant maze with stone doors that close at night so that “Grievers,” which are basically giant slugs with mechanical arms, can’t get in at night. The day after Thomas arrives, a girl is sent into The Glade. A girl has never been sent to the maze before, and usually the boys arrive a month apart from each other. More surprising, though, is the message that she has been sent to deliver. Thomas and the other boys have to find a way out of the maze.

If I tell you any more than that, it would ruin the entire series, so there’s just your basic premise. I will tell you, though, that the rest of the series doesn’t take place inside the maze. We get to see what the rest of the world is like, which I liked a lot about the sequels. Honestly, I didn’t like the first book much at all. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads. At times, I got bored with all of the descriptions that Dashner gave. It almost felt like he had a certain amount of pages he HAD to fill, and so instead of giving us more things happening, he gives us endless descriptions of things that I honestly didn’t care about. On top of that, the characters never really made me like them (in the first book, anyway). I loved the ending though, so I knew I had to read the rest of the series.

The Scorch Trials was MUCH better than the first book, in my opinion. I can’t really give a description of what happens because it would spoil the first book, SO I’ll just say that I really loved some of the new characters that were introduced (Unpopular Opinion: Brenda was a MUCH better female protagonist than Teresa). The story was MUCH more entertaining than The Maze Runner as well. It still took a little while for me to really get into this one, but not nearly as long as the first one.

The Death Cure was my favorite in the series. It has the lowest rating on Goodreads, and I honestly don’t understand why. I felt like it was the perfect ending to the series. I think the reason I liked it so much more than the others was because we got to see the world outside of WICKED’s control, and by this point I had finally warmed up to most of the characters.

Overall, I enjoyed this series, especially after I started liking the characters. It’s not my favorite series, by any means (that’s a tie between The Hunger Games and Divergent), but I do think that it was a nice read. I definitely recommend that you guys check it out if you haven’t already. If you can’t get into the first book, don’t fret, because they definitely get better as they go!

The prequel to this series, The Kill Order, was released this week. I’ve already bought it, but I have a couple of other books I need to finish first. I’ll be sure to let you know what I think of it!

Review: Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

Title: Struck
Author: Jennifer Bosworth
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, May 8th, 2012
Hardcover, 373 pages

Mia Price is a lightning addict. She’s survived countless strikes, but her craving to connect to the energy in storms endangers her life and the lives of those around her.

Los Angeles, where lightning rarely strikes, is one of the few places Mia feels safe from her addiction. But when an earthquake devastates the city, her haven is transformed into a minefield of chaos and danger. The beaches become massive tent cities. Downtown is a crumbling wasteland, where a traveling party moves to a different empty building each night, the revelers drawn to the destruction by a force they cannot deny. Two warring cults rise to power, and both see Mia as the key to their opposing doomsday prophecies. They believe she has a connection to the freak electrical storm that caused the quake, and to the far more devastating storm that is yet to come.

Mia wants to trust the enigmatic and alluring Jeremy when he promises to protect her, but she fears he isn’t who he claims to be. In the end, the passion and power that brought them together could be their downfall. When the final disaster strikes, Mia must risk unleashing the full horror of her strength to save the people she loves, or lose everything. (From Goodreads)

I wanted to like this book. I really did. The book trailer was absolutely stunning, and I really liked the description given, but it never lived up to my expectations. Not to say that there weren’t SOME good things about Struck. The world building was great– Bosworth’s descriptions of the post-earthquake LA were at times extremely realistic– and the idea of being struck by lightning and receiving you some sort of “powers” was really cool, but the way that sci-fi element was included didn’t turn out to be great. The cults could’ve been a great addition to this book, but I felt like they were overly religious most of the time, to the point of making fun of Christians, which I didn’t like in the least, no matter how much the author denies she was doing that.

Really, though, my biggest problem with this book was my lack of emotional investment in the characters. I honestly didn’t care what happened to any of them at all. If an author can’t make me feel sorry for at least one of the characters throughout the entire course of a nearly 400-page book, then in my opinion that book is not worth reading. I should WANT to know what’s going to happen to these characters, but that just didn’t happen for me in Struck, unfortunately.

I HATE giving a book a bad review, especially when I was so excited to read it. I really wanted to like it. The concept was intriguing, and the trailer and book cover are both great, but I honestly had a hard time making it through. There were several times I just wanted to quit, but I kept on reading anyway just because I thought it HAD to get better at some point. I suppose I was wrong.

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: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Title: Cinder
Series: Lunar Chronicles, Book #1
Author: Marissa Meyer
Published by Feiwel & Friends, Jan 3, 2012
Hardcover, 387 pages

Let me just first say that I absolutely LOVE Fairy Tale Retellings. Cinderella as a cyborg?! HECK YES! It was a really intriguing idea, which got me interested in reading the book.

What kept me reading the book, however, was not the fact that Cinder was a cyborg. It was the fact that she was a great character. Marissa Meyer did a fantastic job making her characters relatable AND likable (or unlikable when necessary). Cinder, Iko, Kai, Peony… I could go on and on with all the characters that were well written.

The story was very fast paced and action packed. It kept me reading until the very end, so much so that I didn’t want it to be over. It was, however, a tad bit predictable… I guessed what would happen about 80 pages in, and most of my predictions turned out to be true, and I’m thinking that some of my other predictions will come true in the sequels. The predictability could’ve been on purpose of course—it IS based on a fairy tale, after all—but I felt that it could’ve used a few more twists and turns to throw off the reader a little bit.

I also felt that the world building could’ve been stronger. The book gave surface details of places, but never got into the inner workings of New Beijing and the Lunar Empire. How did these new societies come to be? What happened in World War IV to make the Earth have so few countries? How are there people breathing on the moon without wearing astronaut gear? These are all questions I’m hoping will be answered later on in the series, because this was one of the few weaknesses of Cinder.

All in all, I thought Cinder was a very strong start to what will no doubt be a stunning series. I can’t wait to see what happens to Cinder, Kai, and the rest of the world in the next three books!