Review: Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa & Laura L. Sullivan

children-of-eden Publisher: Keywords Press
Release date: October 4, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 278
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Rowan is a Second Child in a world where population control measures make her an outlaw, marked for death. She can never go to school, make friends, or get the eye implants that will mark her as a true member of Eden. Her kaleidoscope eyes will give her away to the ruthless Center government.

Outside of Eden, Earth is poisoned and dead. All animals and most plants have been destroyed by a man-made catastrophe. Long ago, the brilliant scientist Aaron al Baz saved a pocket of civilization by designing the EcoPanopticon, a massive computer program that hijacked all global technology and put it to use preserving the last vestiges of mankind. Humans will wait for thousands of years in Eden until the EcoPan heals the world.

As an illegal Second Child, Rowan has been hidden away in her family’s compound for sixteen years. Now, restless and desperate to see the world, she recklessly escapes for what she swears will be only one night of adventure. Though she finds an exotic world, and even a friend, the night leads to tragedy. Soon Rowan becomes a renegade on the run – unleashing a chain of events that could change the world of Eden forever.

MY THOUGHTS

3 stars

I had been seeing Children of Eden around for a while and the synopsis sounded interesting enough that I eventually picked it up. There are two things that you should note about this book before picking it up. The first is that this book isn’t written solely by Joey Graceffa. Despite there being no indication on the cover, it clearly states on the title page that it was written with Laura L. Sullivan. The second thing is that, while this book is ostensibly a standalone, it really is not. The story does not end with any kind of resolution and actually leaves more questions than have been answered. There is definitely a sequel planned for this book.

Children of Eden is a dystopian novel, set in a post-apocalyptic world where the sole survivors of Earth now live in Eden, where everything is regulated, including the human population. Each family is only allowed to have one child, in order to preserve the little amounts of food that exists in Eden. Second Children are illegal and are usually killed before they are even born. Those who have been hidden away in secret by their families, usually live a life of imprisonment and are not able to live a normal life, unless they are able to obtain black market lenses that are used for identification, and assume a new identity. Rowan is a Second Child and comes from a well-respected family who have the means to buy her a pair of lenses and a new identity. However, having this new identity and freedom means that she can never see her family again. When Rowan learns about this, she has her first act of rebellion and escapes from her house for a night. There she meets a friend but this taste of freedom leads to dangerous and tragic consequences. Soon, she finds herself on the run from the Greenshirts and meets other Second Children along the way.

I liked the world in this book a lot. It was well conceptualised and nicely described. It wasn’t the most original of worlds and it’s definitely similar to other worlds that I’ve read about before. But I thought it included some interesting elements and I liked that there was a pretty big focus on it in the novel. Having said that, I do think that too much of the book was dedicated to the world building and there wasn’t a lot of anything else in the novel.

I thought the book was well written for the most part. The writing was much better than I had expected going into the book. My criticism with the writing was that there was a bit too much telling and not enough showing. Rowan asks all the questions for the reader, which is not a style that I typically enjoy. Being told exactly what questions to ask about the story makes the reading experience less enjoyable for me and I was a bit bored with the book about 40% of the way in. There needed to be a lot more subtlety and a lot less telling. There was also some made up curses and swear words in the book, and I found them to be incredibly distracting and honestly, kind of stupid? It was something that I couldn’t really get over.

The plot itself was fun and adventurous but I thought there needed to be better transitions and development. There isn’t a lot of action in the book, which is fine, but what was going on in the story gave me whiplash at times. For example, Rowan goes from hating someone to not wanting to be away from them within the span of a few pages. There just needed to be a bit more gradual development for my liking. There were also some things that I found to be unrealistic or hard to believe and I checked out of the story about halfway through. I did not understand the last 20 pages of the book at all and I disliked the way that it ended. I also found Rowan to be extremely annoying throughout the novel and I didn’t like her as a main character. I thought some of her decisions were very illogical and didn’t make sense to me. I just never managed to connect with her.

My biggest issue with the book was the romance. There is love triangle in the book and they were both cases of instalove. My overall impression of the romance in the book was that it felt extremely forced and I was just disinterested in the romance. The only thing that I did like about it was that it was a bisexual love triangle but other than that, I was not on board with the romance. Needless to say, I probably won’t be picking up the sequel.

Review: The Thousandth Floor by Katharine McGee

the-thousandth-floor

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release date: August 30, 2016
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Pages: 448
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A hundred years in the future, New York is a city of innovation and dreams. But people never change: everyone here wants something…and everyone has something to lose.

Leda Cole’s flawless exterior belies a secret addiction—to a drug she never should have tried and a boy she never should have touched.

Eris Dodd-Radson’s beautiful, carefree life falls to pieces when a heartbreaking betrayal tears her family apart.

Rylin Myers’s job on one of the highest floors sweeps her into a world—and a romance—she never imagined…but will her new life cost Rylin her old one?

Watt Bakradi is a tech genius with a secret: he knows everything about everyone. But when he’s hired to spy by an upper-floor girl, he finds himself caught up in a complicated web of lies.

And living above everyone else on the thousandth floor is Avery Fuller, the girl genetically designed to be perfect. The girl who seems to have it all—yet is tormented by the one thing she can never have.

Amid breathtaking advancement and high-tech luxury, five teenagers struggle to find their place at the top of the world. But when you’re this high up, there’s nowhere to go but down…

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

I don’t know where to start with this review. I loved this book so much more than I expected to! I have to admit that this was first and foremost a cover-buy (I could go on a 10 minute ramble about why this cover is the sexiest thing I’ve ever seen, so don’t get me started) but I enjoyed the writing, the world and the story in The Thousandth Floor so much!

The standout aspect of this novel is definitely the world that Katharine McGee has created. The novel is set in the near future in the 22nd century. There’s a lot of really advanced technology but it wasn’t so farfetched that I couldn’t imagine everything actually existing. There were so many wonderful inventions that I wanted to have or try out, and I’m so sad that I won’t be able to in my foreseeable future. There was an incredible communication system where people wear a digital display as contacts… if they can afford it. There’s also a really advanced transportation system of hovers, autocars and trains that can travel from Manhattan to Paris in 3 hours, under the Atlantic. But most exciting of all, Manhattan is literally inside a Tower with 1000 floors. There are streets and different landmarks on different floors, with transportation running up and down the Tower as well as on each floor. For example, Central Park is on the 307th floor of the Tower. I thought this was such an interesting concept and the world was built so nicely in the book. I was just really enamoured by the world and it kept me immersed and interested in the story throughout the entire novel.

The plot of the book was also captivating. The story starts with a prologue that describes a girl falling to her death from the very top of the tower. We don’t know who she is, why she was there or what caused her to fall from the tower, but we slowly find out as the story progresses. I loved the mystery in this book but I tended to forget about it because there were so many other things going on. It wasn’t until the last 100 pages that I remembered that it was supposed to be a mystery. But I didn’t really mind that because I was so intrigued by all of the characters and what was happening in their lives. The Thousandth Floor definitely has a Gossip Girl vibe to it. There are lots of first world problems and dramas but I found them to be kind of relatable in a weird way. I found myself really caring about what happened to these characters and what they would do next, and this really kept me invested in the story. I was a fan of Gossip Girl though, so I guess it was no surprise that I’d love the drama and the multiple POVs in this novel.

The characters themselves were also interesting. I didn’t really feel a close connection with any of them but I understood and empathised with most of them. They weren’t particularly likeable characters but I still found myself caring. If I had one criticism, it would be that I thought some of the characters could have been a little bit more complex and developed. They were at times a little bit too typical or one-dimensional and I would’ve liked to have seen a little bit more out of them. My favourite character in the book was Cord, who isn’t a main character in this book but I’m really interested to see more of him in the upcoming books. I liked Rylin, Avery and Eris quite a bit in this novel. I thought they were the most relatable to me and I was most interested in their stories. Leda and Watt were a little bit too creepy for my liking but I still appreciated what they brought to the novel and the roles that they played.

There were a lot of romantic relationships in this book and I can’t say that I was a huge fan of any of them. Having said that, I didn’t dislike any of them either. I was just ambivalent and I’m hoping that we’ll get much more development in the sequel and that there will be a romance that I can latch on to and champion. I did really like that there was a F/F relationship that didn’t just last a couple of pages and I’m happy that there’s some diversity of sexual orientation and race in this book. However, there is a bit of cheating in this story and a relationship that could be considered taboo, so if either of these things are a dealbreaker for you, you may want to avoid this novel. I should say, however, that these were two very minor aspects of the novel and the rest of it was incredibly well done.

I’m super excited for the sequel of this book. The Thousandth Floor does end in a slightly unresolved way (though I wouldn’t call it a cliffhanger) so I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book to see how the story continues. I enjoyed the writing immensely and I absolutely loved the world and the idea of Manhattan being literally inside a tower.

Review: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

the-hunger-games

Publisher: Scholastic
Release date: December 1, 2011 (originally September 14, 2008)
Format: Paperback (boxset edition)
Source: Purchased
Pages: 454
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Winning will make you famous.
Losing means certain death.

In a dark vision of the near future, twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live TV show 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.

May the odds be ever in your favour.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

I finally read The Hunger Games! Going in to the book, I kinda knew what the book was about without really knowing anything and this was reflected in my reading experience. As I was reading, I felt like I was reading something very familiar, but still feeling completely shocked and surprised by a lot of things in the book. There’s probably not a lot that I can say about this book in my review that hasn’t already been said but here’s my experience with The Hunger Games anyway.

Dystopian novels aren’t really high on my list of preferred genres, which is one reason why I haven’t read or watched anything from The Hunger Games franchise until now. But I ended up enjoying this book a lot more than I thought I would. It was thrilling and action-packed and I enjoyed the small bit of brutality that was in the novel. I also enjoyed how the book doesn’t really waste any time and goes straight into the plot from the very first chapter. It’s very fast-paced and I don’t think there was any part of the book that felt draggy. There were a few twists and turns in the book that I really, really liked and they kept me interested in the story. Like who doesn’t love a mutant dog? In addition to the action of the plot, it also has a ‘reality TV’, competition aspect that I think appeals broadly to YA readers.

The characters in the book were also great. I thought they were nicely developed and I got a good sense of who they all were. Katniss is such a fierce and smart character, with some crazy survival skills that I wish I had. She’s quite an aspirational character and I loved almost everything about her. I did, however, think that she was a bit oblivious when it came to the way she perceived herself and others. I think there’s definitely room for development on that front and I’m keen to see how she changes throughout the trilogy. I also really liked a lot of the side characters in the book, especially some of the other tributes. Rue was a beautiful character and I wish we could have seen more of her. And of course, I loved Peeta. He’s definitely my kind of character and I really felt for him at the end of the book. I’m keen to see how this plays out in the next two books.

Overall, The Hunger Games is worth the hype for me. I was definitely skeptical going into the trilogy but it exceeded my expectations and I’m keen to see how the rest of the series plays out, though I do think this novel can stand alone by itself.

Review: All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

all-the-birds-in-the-sky

Publisher: Titan Books
Release date: January 26, 2016
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 432
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Patricia is a witch who can communicate with animals. Laurence is a mad scientist and inventor of the two-second time machine. As teenagers they gravitate towards one another, sharing in the horrors of growing up weird, but their lives take different paths.

When they meet again as adults, Laurence is an engineering genius trying to save the world – and live up to his reputation – in near-future San Francisco. Meanwhile, Patricia is a graduate of Eltisley Maze, the hidden academy for the magically gifted, working hard to prove herself to her fellow magicians and secretly repairing the earth’s ever growing ailments.

As they attempt to save our future, Laurence and Patricia’s shared past pulls them back together. And though they come from different worlds, when they collide, the witch and the scientist will discover that maybe they understand each other better than anyone.

MY THOUGHTS

4 stars

I don’t really know where to start with All the Birds in the Sky. It was strange and unique and I can’t neatly fit it into any one particular genre. But that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t good because I thought it was incredibly quirky and unlike anything I’d read before.

This story is about magic and science and what happens when they interact. It’s set in the near future, in an apocalyptic setting where the world is about to self-destruct and our two main characters are on separate missions to save the future. But they have two very distinct ways of going about it. Laurence, a scientist and engineer is working to create a machine that will allow people to be transported to a different planet. His philosophy – and the philosophy of his fellow scientists – is that humanity doesn’t have to be tied to this particular rock in the universe. However, Patricia, a witch with a magical tie to nature, is determined to save the future by saving planet Earth and curing it of its ailments. As magic and science go to war, what will happen to the future?

But the story doesn’t begin there. The story begins more than a decade ago when Patricia was just a young girl discovering her magical abilities for the first time, and Laurence is a young boy who is obsessed with science and spaceships, and the inventor of a time machine that can propel him two seconds forward into the future. As they make their way through middle school as the misfits and are bullied by those who despise any kind of weirdness and unconformity, they gravitate towards each other and become the other’s only friend. The first half of All the Birds in the Sky is actually about Laurence and Patricia’s past. We spend a good amount of the book learning about their friendship as teenagers and how their connection and their story would later affect the future. This section of the book was probably my favourite (and this may partly be due to the fact that I read a lot of YA) because we really got to know the characters and what they represented… as well as what they meant to each other.

But that’s not to say that I didn’t love the rest of the book too. The second half of the book is about Laurence and Patricia reconnecting as adults, after having spent high school apart. In the first section of the book about their adulthood, we get to learn more about the upcoming apocalypse as well as who Laurence and Patricia are now as adults. I thought it set up the climax really well and I enjoyed the romance that was brewing between them. However, I did feel that there was a strange transition in the book where the romance and the plot of the book just kicked off without warning. I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it because even though it felt really sudden, the whole book up until that point had been setting up for that moment. My main criticism of the plot would have to be that the last 50-70 pages of the book felt a little rushed and the ending slightly unresolved. But overall, I really enjoyed the entire story.

What I loved most about All the Birds in the Sky was the writing and the pacing of the book. I loved the third person omniscient narration in this book and I found the writing to be lyrical and beautiful. The book was quite slow-paced, especially in the first 3 parts of the book, and I thought that this added to the slightly magical feel of the story. I thought the format of the book worked really well and I enjoyed following Laurence and Patricia’s story from childhood into adulthood.

The writing and narration style also made it easy to connect with the characters. I absolutely loved Patricia and Laurence separately and together. They were both strange children who stood out too much for society’s liking. They’re bullied at school and are treated with almost no affection from their parents. But they were some of the most interesting and unique characters that I’ve read about and I really appreciated their quirkiness. Together, Patricia and Laurence were amazing. They became each other’s one and only friend in childhood and also had a wonderful connection in adulthood. ‘Friendship goals’ is all I can say.

This novel isn’t going to be for everyone. But I definitely enjoyed it. If you like slow-paced fantasy stories or magical realism stories, I think you might enjoy All the Birds in the Sky. I think it’s an adult fiction novel that would appeal to YA readers too.

Review: Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

shatter-me

Publisher: HarperCollins
Release date: October 2, 2012 (originally November 2011)
Format: Paperback
Source: Purchased
Pages: 338
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Juliette 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.

MY THOUGHTS

3 stars

I’m not really sure what to say about Shatter Me. I’ve been looking forward to reading it because I’m probably the only person at this point who hasn’t picked up this trilogy… and the male love interests sounded really interesting. But after reading this first installment, I’m feeling a little bit let down.

My main issue with Shatter Me is that I felt like there was no plot. The story for me didn’t begin until 30 pages from the end of the book and I felt like the first 300 pages were just 300 pages of nothing. I couldn’t even tell you what happened because I feel like nothing did. This book follows Juliette, a girl who has a fatal touch. She’s been imprisoned for over 250 days in a dark cell but one day she’s brought out of her cell in order to aid The Reestablishment in their mission… something which Juliette doesn’t want to do. But even though the novel had a really great concept, I don’t think it was executed to its full potential. Juliette spends most of the book either locked up in different locations like a prisoner or on the run from different people who are after her. The plot doesn’t really progress and by the end of the book I felt like I was still kind of at the beginning.

What this book does focus on are the relationships between the characters and the romance. But I wasn’t a fan of the romance in this book, nor the developing love triangle. Even though Adam seems like a great guy, I never really warmed to him and was always suspicious of him. I felt like the romance developed slightly too quickly and it was just a bit uncomfortable for me to read. Warner was an intriguing character to me but I also felt like he was a bit of a creep. Overall, none of the characters really did it for me.

I did like the world in the book. The novel has an apocalyptic setting that I found really interesting. It was interesting to read about how the weather and ecosystems are failing due to human activities, and how the people live with barely any food and are concentrated in small communities that are governed by soldiers and The Reestablishment. What I was a little bit underwhelmed by was The Reestablishment itself. I thought the book lacked description and I didn’t think The Reestablishment was very well conceptualised. I had a rough idea of who they were and what they did but I thought the world building in this respect was weak.

Having said that, I enjoyed the writing style. It was easy to read and I sped through the book in two sittings. It made me want to keep reading and I’ll definitely be picking up the rest of the trilogy. Hopefully the next two books address some of the plot and world building issues that I had.

Review: Disruption and Corruption by Jessica Shirvington

disruption-duology

The Disruption duology by Jessica Shirvington was recently rereleased with new covers. Aren’t they just beautiful? I think they’re more representative of the story than the previous covers, even though they were extremely beautiful too! Let’s get into my thoughts on the two books.

Thank you to HarperCollins Australia for sending me review copies of the books. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

DISRUPTION

disruptionPublisher: HarperCollins Australia
Release date: June 20, 2016 (originally April 2014)
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Pages: 416
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What if a microchip could identify your perfect match? What if it could be used against you and the ones you love?

Eight years ago, Mercer Corporation’s M-Bands became mandatory. An evolution of the smartphone, the bracelets promised an easier life. Instead, they have come to control it.

Two years ago, Maggie Stevens watched helplessly as one of the people she loved most was taken from her, shattering her world as she knew it.

Now, Maggie is ready. And Quentin Mercer – heir to the M-Corp empire – has become key to Maggie’s plan. But as the pieces of her dangerous design fall into place, could Quentin’s involvement destroy everything she’s fought for?

In a world full of broken promises, the ones Maggie must keep could be the most heartbreaking.

MY THOUGHTS

4 stars

Disruption was a fantastic start to Jessica Shirvington’s dystopian duology. It was fast-paced and engaging, and has characters that you can’t help but root for.

The story begins 9 years after the US government made M-bands mandatory for all of its citizens. M-bands are a magnificent piece of technology that allows you to keep track of all things in life, including your heartbeat and other vitals, your medical history, your car keys (so to speak) and your money. Most importantly, M-bands allow you to find your true romantic match. As soon as you turn 18, your M-band is installed with Phera-Tech, which calculates a rating based on pheromones with everyone who has Phera-Tech activated within a certain distance. While you can have Phera-Tech turned off, each person must log at least four ratings each month and if four or more ratings are negative, you are taken to a rehabilitation camp because you are a ‘Neg’ and a danger to society. Or at least that’s what the public think.

Our main  character, Maggie’s father became a Neg overnight and was taken away two years ago. Since then, Maggie has been trying to locate her father by searching Neg camps and blackmailing people to help her. What Maggie’s discovered is that the rehabilitation camps are fake and the Negs are locked up in underground prisons and recruited into being soldiers and slaves… all controlled by the Mercer Corporation. In order to rescue her father, she must use Quentin Mercer and get him to empathise and open his eyes to the atrocities that his family is responsible for.

I absolutely loved the plot of this book. It was a really well thought out world and I highly enjoyed how the story unfolded. It was filled with twists that I never saw coming and I was really invested in everything that was going on. My criticism of the plot was that it dragged a bit in the middle section of the book. There wasn’t much happening for a large portion and it definitely felt like we had jumped from doing not much at all to the climax where everything was happening all at once. It was just missing a little bit of plot development for me. Having said that, it didn’t bother me too much because there was a lot of wonderful character development going on during this middle section of the novel.

I loved the characters in Disruption. Maggie starts off as a bit of a dislikeable and manipulative character who doesn’t care who she steps on in order to achieve her main purpose of rescuing her father. She blackmails those around her into doing her bidding and doesn’t care that she’s ruining other people’s lives in the process. However, Maggie’s growth throughout this novel was one of the highlights of Disruption for me. She develops lots of wonderful relationships with the people around her and it was wonderful to see her trust in them and confide in them. Her relationship with Gus, the black market computer genius and hacker, was so funny and they fought constantly like siblings. Gus was so snarky and had a great sense of humour. I loved his role in the book and how he became such a big presence in Maggie’s life.

And of course I loved Quentin, the love interest in the novel. He was just perfection – handsome, smart and most importantly, not evil. He brought out so many great qualities in Maggie and taught her to love and care about others. Even though their relationship started off a bit rocky, with Maggie manipulating him, I really enjoyed how their romance developed and I ship these two soooo much! It was a romance that had my heart racing and breaking throughout the book and I wanted to read more and more about them! And luckily, I could because there’s a sequel!

I’M NOW GOING TO GO INTO MY THOUGHTS ON CORRUPTION. THERE NO SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST BOOK, EXCEPT FOR THE SYNOPSIS THAT I’VE INCLUDED WITH THE BOOK INFORMATION.

Continue reading

Review: Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

monsters-of-men

Publisher: Walker Books
Release date: May 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
Pages: 643 (includes bonus short story)
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Monsters of Men is the last book in the Chaos Walking trilogy, so this review will contain spoilers for the first two books. I have reviews of The Knife of Never Letting Go and The Ask and the Answer. If you haven’t started the trilogy, you really should! It’s amazing!

 

MONSTERS OF MEN SYNOPSIS

Three armies march on New Prentisstown, each one intent on destroying the others. The New World is at war. Todd and viola are caught in the middle with no chance of escape.

As the battles commence, how can they hope to stop the fighting? And if war makes monsters of men, what terrible choices await?

Then a third voice breaks into the battle, one bent on revenge…

Profound and gripping, Monsters of Men is a heart-stopping novel about power, survival and the devastating realities of war.

MY THOUGHTS

5 stars

Monsters of Men was an explosive conclusion to the trilogy (literally). It was extremely fast-paced and full of action and conflict. I knew from the very first chapter that this was going to be my favourite instalment of the trilogy, and my enthusiasm and love for the book never wavered. Monsters of Men has everything I could possibly want in a book. It has action, fighting, romance, suspense, politics, power struggles, feels, feels, more feels, with an extra serving of FEELS.

Is this what war is?
Is this what men want so much?
Is this sposed to make them men?

This book picks up where The Ask and the Answer left off. The Ask and The Answer are about to go to war, but find themselves facing a Spackle army who have come to take back the New World from the oppressive settlers. This novel follows what happens as each army fights for control and domination, and the impact war has on individuals and societies. As with the previous two books in the trilogy, I appreciated how well Patrick Ness handled the important social themes explored in this book. It was a thought-provoking story that never felt too much or too heavy for a young adult audience. This book also continues exploring the themes of self-identity and individualism that were explored in the previous two books, but Ness takes it even further by also examining this in the Spackle population, as well as through our protagonists, Todd and Viola.

I thought the pace of this book was great. The Ask and the Answer, for me, was a little bit slow at the start, but Monsters of Men starts off with a bang. The beginning was incredibly fast-paced and I whizzed through the first 100 pages in no time. I was completely immersed in the book because the action and strategy in the book was so captivating. I had absolutely no idea where the story was going to go and there were surprises at every turn. It was a complete page-turner for me. I also loved that the plot was completely resolved. I was satisfied with how everything played out, even though there were tears due to certain events, and I’m so happy with the way that the trilogy ended.

The writing in this book is perfection. We get to read not only from Todd and Viola’s perspectives, but also from the perspective of a Spackle, which I thought added a lot to the story. I enjoyed learning more about the Spackle and their collectivist society. The Spackle’s voice took me a little bit of time to get used to. Initially, it was very hard to understand because of its abstractness but I quickly got used to it and really enjoyed the writing style. I appreciated the differences in style between the three perspectives and it was always obvious to me which perspective I was reading from, even though it switches back and forth very often. The different perspectives blended together seamlessly and it never felt repetitive or unnecessary. I continued to enjoy Todd’s distinctive voice and I found it to be even more endearing in this book and I also highly enjoyed Viola’s perspective too.

I continued to love Todd and Viola’s characters in this book. They were amazing together and this ship will never sink!! We’re also introduced to some new characters in this book, Viola’s settler friends who arrived on the scout ship at the end of The Ask and the Answer. I thought they were necessary additions but I didn’t always love them. Who I did love were our ‘villains’. Mayor President Prentiss and Mistress Coyle are such complex and morally ambiguous characters. I had a hard time understanding them because they weren’t black and white characters. I definitely don’t think that I can classify them as villains because, even though they do some evil and atrocious things, their motivation aren’t entirely evil. I also liked how their stories ended.

I have so much more that I could say about this but I’ll just encourage you all to read it! It was a wonderful last book to the trilogy and now I’m going to go and read all the short stories!

Review: The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

the-ask-and-the-answer

Publisher: Walker Books
Release date: May 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
Pages: 553 (Includes bonus short story)
Goodreads || Book Depository

The Ask and the Answer is the second book in the Chaos Walking trilogy. Therefore, there will be spoilers in this review. Check out my thoughts on Book 1, The Knife of Never Letting Go, if you haven’t started the trilogy.

 

THE ASK AND THE ANSWER SYNOPSIS

Fleeing before a relentless army, Todd and Viola once again face their worst enemy, Mayor Prentiss.

Immediately imprisoned and separated from Viola, Todd is forced to learn the ways of the Mayor’s new order.

And then, one day, the bombs begin to explode…

Tense, shocking and deeply moving, The Ask and the Answer is a heart-wrenching exploration of free will and resistance under the most extreme pressure.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

After the heart-stopping cliffhanger at the end of The Knife of Never Letting Go, Todd and Viola find themselves separated, with no knowledge of where the other is or if they’re even still alive. They find themselves working for opposite sides of a war that is brewing in New Prentisstown, and they must try to stay true to themselves and do what is right even when faced with enormous pressures to conform.

What I loved most about this book was the social commentary that it provided. While The Knife of Never Letting Go examined self-discovery and identity, The Ask and the Answer looks at the bigger picture and explores free-will in an oppressive environment, terrorism and war, power and resistance, among other themes. I enjoyed the focus on the grey areas, on the fact that life isn’t black and white and that there is no right or wrong. What the book makes us realise is that things that are seemingly wrong are not always wrong and things that we do ostensibly for the greater good are not always right. Throughout the book we see our characters vacillate between this blurred spectrum of right and wrong, and their internal struggle to determine what’s best for the world and what’s best for themselves.

For me, the pace of this book was much slower than The Knife of Never Letting Go. Even though it was still a quick read for me, I felt like there were times when nothing was happening. The first 150 pages had almost not action and I wasn’t really excited by it until we got past the 25% mark. However, the rest of the book was exciting and I enjoyed seeing the conflict and the struggle for power. The book ends with a powerful climax and another unbearable cliffhanger. You should probably have Monsters of Men on hand so that you can continue straight away. I took a lot of willpower for me to stop and write this review 😀

We still get the same almost stream of consciousness writing style in this book but it was less noticeable for me than it was in The Knife of Never Letting Go. In this second instalment, we also get to read from Viola’s perspective and it was interesting to see the differences in writing style and voice between the two perspectives. I probably still enjoyed reading from Todd’s perspective a little bit more because I love his voice and how well the writing flows. But I still really enjoyed being able to see from Viola’s point of view. The shifts in perspective were smooth and didn’t feel jarring. I am in love with Patrick Ness’s writing!

The characters in The Ask and the Answer were fantastic. I enjoyed being able to see Todd and Viola develop further in this book, and develop separately. I probably enjoyed The Knife of Never Letting Go a little bit more than The Ask and the Answer purely because we don’t get to see as much of Todd and Viola together (I SHIP) but I also thoroughly appreciated being able to see them grow separately, with different influences. Needless to say, the scenes where they were together were my favourite in this second book. Another thing that I admire about Patrick Ness is his ability to make me loathe a character in one book and love them in the next. There were characters that I was expecting to hate forever and ever but they ended up being big surprises and I went all teary-eyed at some parts. All of the characters are extremely complex and make me continue to question their motives. Also, for those of you who were upset about Manchee in the first book, there’s another animal friend in this novel that might help cure your heartache. But Manchee will never be replaced! NEVER!

Overall, I thought this was a wonderful sequel! Even though it was a bit slower and didn’t have as much action as the first book, it never felt like a filler book. I enjoyed it as much as The Knife of Never Letting Go and I’m excited (and a little bit scared) to jump into Monsters of Men right now.

Review: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

the-knife-of-never-letting-go

Publisher: Walker Books
Release date: May 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
Pages: 512
Goodreads || Book Depository

Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a constant, overwhelming, never-ending Noise. There is no privacy. There are no secrets.

Then, just one month away from the birthday that will make Todd Hewitt a man, he unexpectedly stumbles on a spot of complete silence. Which is impossible.

Breathtakingly exciting and emotionally charged, The Knife of Never Letting Go is a compelling original story of fear, flight and the terrifying path of self-discovery.

MY THOUGHTS

45 stars

Holy moly. I’m going to keep this review short so that I can jump straight into Book 2: The Ask and the Answer, because this book ends on the most unbearable cliffhanger. The Knife of Never Letting Go is the first book in the Chaos Walking trilogy and I need to preface this review by saying that if you plan on reading The Knife of Never Letting Go, you should have the other two books on hand! Warning: I just finished reading this novel so this review probably won’t make too much sense.

The Knife of Never Letting Go is a sci-fi, dystopian novel, set in New World, where everybody can hear everybody else’s thoughts, or their Noise. In this world, animals and living things also have Noise. 12 year old Todd Hewitt lives in Prentisstown with his two guardians and his dog, Manchee. There are no women in Prentisstown and Todd is the only boy left in his small town. One day, Todd stumbles finds a spot of complete silence and discovers that things in Prentisstown, and on New World, aren’t as he’s been told. His new discovery leads him to have to pack up his belongings and run away from Prentisstown.

It’s probably best to go into the book not knowing anything because it’s a thrilling and suspenseful story about survival and self-discovery. We follow Todd as he escapes from Prentisstown and makes his way around the New World. Along the way, he is hunted by an army from Prentisstown and a crazy preacher who seems to be out to get him. I enjoyed the suspense in this novel quite a bit. We were left in the dark from the very beginning and things are only revealed to us as they are revealed to Todd. I didn’t find myself speculating very much, simply because everything was complex and unpredictable and I was happy to just go along for the ride. There were some scenes that were quite violent and gruesome, and the suspenseful tone of the book made these even more bloodcurdling and horrific. This plot was definitely a rollercoaster ride for me. It gave me multiple heart attacks and ripped my heart out. There were lots of feels and a bit of crying.

The uniqueness of the writing style hits you straight away. The book is written in first person narration, in an almost stream of consciousness manner. It’s something that might take a while to get used to but the style of it definitely enhanced the story for me. I felt completely immersed in the world and Todd’s story, and the writing flowed beautifully because of its stream of consciousness nature.  I found myself just flying through the book because of how well the writing flowed and how everything had its place. I thoroughly enjoyed Todd’s voice and thought it suited his character very well. There are intentional grammatical and spelling issues to showcase Todd’s background and his lack of education that might irk some readers but I didn’t have any issues with it, even though I’m a big grammar Nazi.

I really liked the characters in this book a lot. Todd was a protagonist that I didn’t always love, but his actions and his thoughts were realistic, and it was easy for me to forgive his bad decisions and shortcomings. He’s definitely an isolated boy who wants to belong but doesn’t conform to society’s expectations. I was amazed by the strength in his character. It’s hard to remember that he’s just a child because he’s doing all these incredible things to survive. I appreciated that we got to witness his inner turmoil and his efforts to maintain his innocence when the rest of the world is trying so hard to break him. I loved the development and growth in his character and thought it was the most noteworthy aspect of the book. His mental strength and willpower amazed me. However, my favourite aspect of this book was the beautiful relationship between Todd and his talking dog, Manchee. Manchee was by far my favourite character and I had a lot of Manchee feels. Cue tears.

I thought the villains in this book were also exceptional. They were so evil and terrifying that I was actually scared by how insane and crazy they were. It was also incredibly horrifying how persistent these villains were in their pursuit. One guy literally has half his face bitten off (there’s a hole in his cheek and he’s missing a nose) and he’s still alive and chasing after Todd. It was scary and horrific, but also perfectly executed and I need to start The Ask and the Answer now.

Goodbye!