Review Rendezvous: 9/30/17


Prism by Nina Walker
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, dystopia, romance
Medium: Kindle
Number of pages: 315
Publish date: August 17th, 2017
Purchase: Amazon – Book Depository – Barnes & Noble

PrismWhat if color held the secrets to powerful magic? 

Forced to move into the palace, Jessa begins training as a Color Alchemist under the direction of the kingdom’s most eligible bachelor, Prince Lucas. As an alchemist, Jessa must capture and harness the color of living things. Every color has a unique purpose, except red. Red is the untapped magic no one can access—until Jessa.

Prince Lucas is running out of time. His mother is deathly ill and healing magic hasn’t worked. When Lucas suspects someone is using alchemy to control her, he sets out to discover the truth, no matter the cost.

I have had quite a few ARCs and review copies recently, so it’s taken me a bit to get to this book. But boy, am I sad that I waited this long! There are so many good things about this book, I can’t help but love it!

First of all, the entire premise of magic is new to me. There is probably other books out there that have a similar magic system, but I haven’t yet found one. In order to access magic, people must be born with the skill to take it from objects with physical color. They can only take it from organic objects, at least, until Jessa accesses it in the middle of her ballet solo in one of the most prestigious shows in the area. Seeing as untrained magic is highly dangerous and illegal, she’s immediately taken to the palace for training.

I will admit, the first thing that stuck out to me was the romance. It’s a bit insta-lovey and sometime I was wondering why they were focusing on that instead of, I don’t know, surviving? But, Jessa is only sixteen, so it kinda makes sense, especially since she’s been in a normal life up until this point.

There is so many secrets and plans in this palace, I don’t know where to start. I think every dystopian monarchy is bound to have a resistance pop up, it’s practically inevitable. However, one of the people on the inside of the palace may surprise you.

There’s also the character of Lucas. Not entirely sure why he’s ready to protect Jessa so quickly in the book, but at least it’s not his main focus. He’s trying to save his mother, and will do anything to accomplish that.

I really want to read the next book in the series so soon! Jessa and Lucas are both in a prime position for more character development and higher stakes, so I can’t wait to see where this story takes them!

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


If you liked this book, check these ones out:

Crowns

A young girl is kicked out of her home only to realize she has the potential to learn great magic.


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Review Rendezvous: 9/16/17


Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, dystopia, romance
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 338
Publish date: November 15th, 2011
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

ShatterJuliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days.

The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war – and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

I read the first book of this series a bit ago, but I just went back to re-read it because I wanted to get into the rest of the series. There are so many questions and plot lines to explore that start in this book, I can’t wait to explore them all. But, that’s beside the point.

In the debut novel of this series, we meet Juliette. For some reason, she hurts and even kills people with her touch. She accidentally caused the death of a young boy, which is how she got locked up under the ‘care’ of the Reestablishment, which is the government that has now taken over the world. Juliette doesn’t know much of the outside world, since it’s been several months she has been in captivity and is slowly losing her mind.

I did like that Mafi explored the effects of solitude on Juliette’s character. I’ve seen protagonists bounce back from terrible conditions and imprisonment too fast, so it was nice to see a more realistic portrayal.

The inciting moment when Juliette’s situation changes is when she ends up getting a roommate. At first she doesn’t like this person, but then she begins to open up and get to know him a bit. That is, until she realizes that he was sent there as a test for her and the commander really wants to use her as a weapon. Of course, Juliette was scarred by hurting the little boy, so she downright refuses. And that’s when things get ugly.

There is so much potential in this character and her story, so I’m excited to see where Mafi takes it. I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of the series, and I’m looking forward to seeing if it gets a spot on my favorite books list 🙂

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 9/9/17


Unwind by Neal Shusterman
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, dystopia, science fiction
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 335
Publish date: November 6th, 2007
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

UnwindThe 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.

The premise of this book is chilling to say the least. I can’t imagine parents who would willingly do this to a child, but it is still frightening. Shusterman has written quite a compelling series, as this is the debut book. I don’t believe I’ve read the last one yet, but I will have to get to it.

This book basically pits children from ages thirteen to eighteen against the world, because if they become “too much” of a troublemaker (and that line is always blurry), they can easily be shipped off and unwound into different people. ‘Technically’ the kids don’t die, so maybe that’s how they adults are okay with this. But, not everyone is, as there are the stirrings of a rebellion.

I must say, Connor is basically written to be the leadership type. His actions, decisions, and temperament all point to the fact that he’s meant to lead a group, whether it is just the three main characters or if it’s an entire group of children fighting against the wish that they be unwound.

There are so many things wrong with this society, and yet that’s what makes it compelling to read, to see the characters triumph over the circumstances. People can do this thing called “storking”, which is leaving a baby on someone’s doorstep and they are legally required to care for it since abortion is not allowed any longer. Sounds good in theory, until you realize that it brings unnecessary burden on families that many not be able to afford it or care for the child easily.

Either way, this is one of the first dystopian series I ever read, and I’m kind of surprised that it took me this long to write a review of it. But, I do plan on taking up the last book soon, so I’ve been refreshing my memory. Shusterman managed to get in on a trend at least a year or more before it began to blow up with the onset of the Hunger Games franchise, so I have to give him credit for jumping in on a previously unloved genre.

Also side note, there’s this very well done video on YouTube I stumbled across depicting and “unwinding”. It’s not graphic, but it’s still slightly frightening because of the sound effects and all. Fair warning. Feel free to check it out if you’re interested.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 9/2/17


The Jewel by Amy Ewing
Book stats:
Genre(s): Young adult, fantasy, dystopia
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 358
Publish date: September 2nd, 2014
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

The JewelThe Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence… and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

First of all, love the cover. There’s something about beautiful dresses on covers that just strikes me (I’m looking at you, Selection series). Anyways, I must say that I was interested in this book because of it’s similarity in premises to The Handmaid’s Tale. Granted, it’s not exactly the same, but they both revolve around the idea of surrogacy, with elites and wealthy having all the power while the poorer bunch get the worst of it.

Violet originally begins as a bit of a timid girl, not that I blame her. She’s been trained at a special ‘school’ where certain girls born with good genes are taken to after being rounded up. She understands that the only way to survive is keep her head down, and that works – for a bit. Once she gets in to her household, she quickly realizes how difficult life could be, both physically with her skills and mentally dealing with the woman who owns her. Surrogates are paraded around as show dogs and told to do ‘tricks’ with the powers that they have been trained in, but the problem is those powers come at a cost.

Eventually, Violet stumbles upon the stirrings of a rebellion, and people plan to help her get out. Only, it doesn’t go so smoothly. Nothing ever does. I do like the fact that instead of her becoming the ‘face’ of a rebellion, as easy as it is for this type of book to fall into that trap, she’s just another one of the girls being rescued. There is enough ‘teenage rebellion leader’ tropes going around, it was refreshing to see someone not take the reigns immediately after joining the resistance after all.

Then there is the matter of the extremely forbidden romance. Boy does Violet get in over her head on that one. I can’t give away much, but it is so conflicting I don’t even know what to think.

There is two more books to the series so far, one I’ve read and one I haven’t. I need to pick up the third one ASAP.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeart


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Review Rendezvous: 8/19/17


The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid
Book stats:
Genre(s): Dystopian, science fiction, fantasy
Medium: Print
Number of pages: 416
Publish date: November 1st, 2016
Purchase: Amazon Book Depository

DiabolicNemesis is a Diabolic. Created to protect a galactic Senator’s daughter, Sidonia. There’s no one Nemesis wouldn’t kill to keep her safe. But when the power-mad Emperor summons Sidonia to the galactic court as a hostage, there is only one way for Nemesis to protect Sidonia.

She must become her.

Now one of the galaxy’s most dangerous weapons is masquerading in a world of corruption and Nemesis has to hide her true abilities or risk everything. As the Empire begins to fracture and rebellion looms closer, Nemesis learns that there is something stronger than her deadly force: the one thing she’s been told she doesn’t have – humanity. And, amidst all the danger, action and intrigue, her humanity might be the only thing that can save her, Sidonia and the entire Empire.

This particular book has been on my to-read list for some time. I always thought that the concept was quite interesting, so I had to read it. Fortunately, I finally got the chance, and it was just as entertaining as I’d hoped.

We open the book with Nemesis in her “training” period when she’s being raised as a Diabolic. It never really does explain if they were human to start with (as I suspect), but they’re genetically engineered for rage. Yet, they are attached to one singular person, and would do anything to save that person.

The downside to this is that eventually, her kind are outlawed, but the people who own her (as diabolics are property, not people) keep her safe and hidden. Of course, the family she is employed by are not the most respectful citizens, barely threading the line between outlier and insubordinate. The emperor knows this, so he calls the daughter away to the court. Of course, the family isn’t going without a fight, so they send Nemesis instead.

Nemesis journey throughout this book is highly intriguing. We see her go from completely subservient to thinking and acting on her own. She also befriends some interesting people at court, and though there is a lot of backstabbing going on, she manages herself not terribly bad.

I will say, the very ending had me so conflicted over who was telling the truth and who wasn’t. Kincaid keeps you guessing, which I liked very much. There wasn’t a specific ending I could pick up halfway through the book, as I’ve been known to do that before. Definitely give this one a try, you’ll enjoy it.

Rating:
HeartHeartHeartHeartHeart


If you liked this book, check these ones out:

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It’s Cinderella, but as a cyborg in SPACE!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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