Archive for the ‘Young Adult’ Category

The Hunt

The Hunt by Andrew Fukuor

Book Stats:
Reading Level: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Dystopian/Urban Fantasy/PNR
Format Reviewed: EGalley
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Release Date: May 8, 2012
Series: Currently Untitled #1
Source: Netgalley

Don’t Sweat. Don’t Laugh. Don’t draw attention to yourself. And most of all, whatever you do, do not fall in love with one of them. Gene is different from everyone else around him. He can’t run with lightning speed, sunlight doesn’t hurt him and he doesn’t have an unquenchable lust for blood. Gene is a human, and he knows the rules. Keep the truth a secret. It’s the only way to stay alive in a world of night—a world where humans are considered a delicacy and hunted for their blood.
When he’s chosen for a once in a lifetime opportunity to hunt the last remaining humans, Gene’s carefully constructed life begins to crumble around him. He’s thrust into the path of a girl who makes him feel things he never thought possible—and into a ruthless pack of hunters whose suspicions about his true nature are growing. Now that Gene has finally found something worth fighting for, his need to survive is stronger than ever—but is it worth the cost of his humanity?

Why I read this book?: I recently saw that this book was in a lot of IMM’s and I really thought that the premise of the book was very interesting. I found that it was available on Netgalley and put in a request to read the egalley.

What I liked?: I really enjoyed that the premise of this story was completely different than anything I have read recently. Usually we read about us humans being the hunters and the paranormal beings being the hunted, the roles are completely reversed in The Hunt. I think that I was able to connect with the characters of this book because it was so different. In the beginning of the book we don’t now what our main character’s name is, he’s known by a number really, it isn’t until later in the book that we learn that his name is Gene and he’s spent the vast majority of his life trying NOT to act like a human just so he can continue living. The announcement of the last heper (human) hunt, humans are virtually extinct now, set’s the ball rolling for an action packed fast paced YA debut. I think my favorite part of the whole book was the author took some shots at the Twilight franchise, I don’t know if it was intentional but I really liked it.

What I disliked?: In the beginning of the book was I was worried that The Hunt was going to be another version of The Hunger Games. There were a fair amount of similarities between both books but then there was a scene that changed my mind entirely. I’m glad that scene was there, if not it would have affected my review and rating. Have I mentioned that I have a growing dislike for cliffhangers?!

Overall Impression: My overall impression of this book is that I will for sure be buying a finished copy of The Hunt once it is made available to the general public. I LOVED this book and I think it is a wonderful beginning to this series.

Rating:  4.75/5
Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
Genre: Young Adult/Paranormal/Fantasy
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: Flux
Release Date: October 1, 2009
ISBN 10: 0738714844
ISBN 13: 9780738714844
Source: Personal Purchase
 
Rating: 4/5

Remember us, so sing the dead, lest we remember you…

James Morgan has an almost unearthly gift for music. And it has attracted Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and then feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. James has plenty of reasons to fear the faeries, but as he and Nuala collaborate on an achingly beautiful musical composition, James finds his feelings towards Nuala deepening. But the rest of the fairies are not as harmless. As Halloween—the day of the dead—draws near, James will have to battle the Faerie Queen and the horned king of the dead to save Nuala’s life and his soul.

***** MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS *****

Review:
 
In the beginning of the book I was totally confused….The characters kept talking about events that took place “last summer” which I took to mean “the last book, Lament” which I did NOT read before I started Ballad (bad me!). The book starts off telling us – the readers – a little bit about the Leanan Sidhe and then about the death of a Leanan Sidhe. Then we meet Dee, who we “hear” from in the book mostly in the form of text messages to James. James and Dee are new students at a prestigeous music high school called Thornking-Ash. James plays the bagpipe and is kind of a smart ass (which is an unusual instrument, but if you’ve ever heard it belt out Amazing Grace your hooked) and Dee plays the harp. James’ roomate in the dorms is Paul who is a talented Oboe player but in my opinion a little bit too straightlaced for my liking in the beginning of the book.

 
The first week of school is just like any other school….learning the ground rules, learning your way around….all that fun stuff. Then week two starts and James and Paul are assigned to read Hamlet in Mr. Sullivan’s first hour English class AND James is hearing and seeing the Antler King (king of the dead)…which means that there are fey around. Seems that there is a cloverhand (calls to the fey) at the school. Then to top is off James is sent to take private piping lessons from a piper who is nowhere near as good as James. Upon leaving his disasterous lesson James meets Nuala who is a Leanan Sidhe. In the beginning Nuala wants to make a “deal” with James but James refuses. But Nuala doesn’t give up….Nuala has never not gotten what (read: who) she wanted, so she decides that she is going to send him a dream that will just make him want to take the “deal.” The day after James’ disasterous piping lesson he is informed by Sullivan that he will either have to learn the guitar or the piano instead to meet his musical requirements.

 
I didn’t really like Dee….She seemed really weak and whiney….Not to mention more than a little bit of a “user”…..Nobody likes to be used, especially James. This is the point where is feelings start to shift in regards to the ladies in his life….In the beginning all he wanted was Dee and he wanted nothing to do at all with Nuala….now it’s starting to shift the other way. Nuala takes James one night to a movie where they get to talking about things and end up sitting down and writing the play Ballad. Upon the completion of reading Hamlet Sullivan assigns a 10 page essay on Metaphor to his students. James and Paul are so NOT happy about the assignment that it leads to one of my favorite scenes in the book…Paul getting “drunk.” This is where James tells Paul about Ballad and we learn that James and Dee aren’t the only ones who are dealing with the paranormal.

 
The further into the book I got the more I learned and liked Nuala. In the beginning I thought she was going to be some soul sucking leech but she really isn’t like that. Come to find out she’s part human and every 16 years on Halloween she must burn in order to continue to live. But the kicker is that once she comes back she has no memories. Also, the further into the book I got the less I liked the “relationship” between James and Dee….Very UNhealthy. You also learn who the cloverhand is and what James and Nuala have to do while she is burning to make there dreams come true. Also, Thornking-Ash isn’t just any ordinary prestigous music school either. Oh and all the “dirty deeds done dirt cheap” whichs ends up with a new King of the Dead being crowned. Oh, and Ballad? Ballad ends up being AWESOME!

 
Overall, I was really happy with the book. Next time though….I will start with the first book in the series so things make sense in the second book!

The Selection (The Selection, #1)The Selection by Kiera Cass

Genre: Dystopian/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/ YA
Format Reviewed: Finished Hardcover, 327 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: April 24, 2012
ISBN 10: 0062059939
ISBN 13: 9780062059932
Source: Personal Purchase

Rating: 5+/5

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in the palace and compete for the heart of the gorgeous Prince Maxon.
But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.
Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself- and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

The Selection how do I LOVE you?! Well, you know those cupcakes with the delicious frosting piled on top? You know the one’s that you know you SHOULDN’T have more than one of but by the time you’re done you’ve had 3 or 4 and you still want more? That is how much I LOVED The Selection. Not only was it delicious, I was left wanting MORE! Now I have to wait for what seems like an ETERNITY for book 2! :(

What I really liked about this book was that it’s classified as a Dystopian novel but it didn’t really have a Dystopian feel to it at all. It had “shades” of dystopia but not hardcore like say Legend or The Hunger Games. Yeah for A-Typical dystopian’s!

In the beginning I was sure how I felt about America. I kind of felt that at the beginning of the book America was maybe a little bit naive about some things…Mainly men and relationships. Then I thought that there were some things that America was right on the ball about…Life outside the palace walls, especially for lower caste citizens. Though as the book progressed I saw a lot of growth in America. Which made me really happy. :)

Can we talk about Aspen for a minute? I’m NOT a fan. I felt that in the beginning of the book Aspen was using America because she was a caste above him. She had a little more food readily available and she was more than willing to share, so felt he took advantage of the situation. Then things happen later in the book and as a result I’m EVEN LESS of a fan.

Maxon!? I’m definitely Team Maxon, all the way! When the ladies of The Selection move into the palace Maxon is WAY out of his element. To the point of being adorably awkward. Then America catches his eye and I want to be America. He showers her with a lot of attention and experiences several firsts with her. Even though Maxon is clearly attracted to America he does end up doing right by the other girls in The Selection as well.

Overall, I was BEYOND impressed with this book! It exceeded my expectations and I can hardly wait for the next book to come out. It has it all! Drama, romance, evil characters you just want to reach into the book and slap, and action to name a few things. If you haven’t picked up The Selection and read it yet DO SO RIGHT NOW!

 
Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass, #1)

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 416 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children’s
Release Date: August 7, 2012
ISBN 10: 1599906953
ISBN 13: 9781599906959

Rating: 4.75/5

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin. Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best. Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.



Review:

I was pretty much sucked into Throne of Glass from the first page.  Our heroine Celaena, is a well known, well trained assassin who has is currently imprisoned at a salt mine.  But Prince Dorian offers Celaena a chance at freedom, compete against 23 other criminals to determine who will be the King’s assassin.  What really drew me into the story was that I was going to be inside our skilled assassin’s head.  I was really looking forward to seeing what Celaena was thinking and feeling.

But I did find a fault in this seemingly “perfect” novel.  I felt at points the story was dragging on, to the point that I felt the story was not progressing.  Honestly, for me anyway, the first 100 or so pages felt a little “info dumpy” to me.  So I set the book down for a day and went about life.  When I picked Throne of Glass back up, I was able to tear through the rest of the book no problem.

One of the things that I really liked about Throne of Glass was that all the key “players” in the book were all very complex.  Just when you think you have them figured out the author throws you a curve ball and your back to square 1.  I really thought Celaena was a really well written “bad ass” heroine.  Even though we (the readers) don’t get to really see the assassin side of her, the subjects of the kingdom and the Royal family are all aware of her “dark side.”  I wonder if we will get to see more of the “dark side” in later books?  Prince Dorian is probably my favorite prince so far this year.  He’s the anti-royalty royal. Then there is his loyal friend and Captain of the Guard, Choal.  I think these two guys complement each other very nicely. I really enjoyed seeing how each of the guys interacted with Celaena.  There is a hint at a potential love triangle, but honestly, there was minimal romance in this first book.

The place where this book takes place at one time had magical elements to it.  I was hoping to read about some pretty serious fantasy elements, but then we learn that the King came through and did away with anything or anyone who maybe magical.  Needless to say, my high hopes for “pretty serious fantasy elements” were kind of dashed a little bit.  I’m not going to say that there isn’t any magic in the book, but what there is is VERY hush hush.

Overall, I was really happy with Throne of Glass.  The ending was completely crazy, in a good way, which I enjoyed immensely.  If I were going to recommend this book to someone I would recommend it to a person who enjoys their heroines with a set of “stones.”  Likes their hero’s slightly unorthodox and likes a little “dark magic.”