Author: Gayle Forman
Series: If I Stay, Book 1
Life can change in an instant.
A cold February morning…
A snowy road…
And suddenly all of Mia’s choices are gone.
As alone as she’ll ever be, Mia must make the most difficult choice of all.
I had high expectations of this book. Everybody who read it seemed to rave about it and promised me that I would be blown away by it. So when I finished it, I was actually disappointed that I did not feel this way.
Don’t get me wrong, this is a very cleverly written book and I enjoyed it for what it was. But it didn’t leave me awestruck and in desperate need to read the sequel. I just thought it was good but with no wow factor.
The story takes place all in one 24 hour time period. There are no actual chapters; the story is simply updated by inserting the time every so often. And we are told the story from the point of view of Mia. Mia is in a terrible car accident right at the beginning of the book and finds herself sort of ‘trapped’ between life and death. She is viewing the aftermath of the accident and all that is happening in the ‘physical world’ as a separate entity to her actual body. I found this very unique and a completely different way of telling a story.
And of course the rest of the story revolves around Mia trying to decide whether to stay in the world of the living where her life will be very different or to ‘cross over’ into death and in essence ‘give up’.
As you can probably imagine, this makes for some quite grim and depressing reading. This did not bother me at all. What did bother me were the flash backs. As Mia hovers between life and death and as various relatives and friends come to visit her in hospital, she one by one delves back into her past going through pivotal moments in her life with these various people. Now I understand that these were needed in order for her to make the decision she made but as a personal preference of mine, I simply am not a fan of flash backs in books. I feel like the story is not moving forward if we have to keep skipping back. And about 50% of this book seemed to be consisted of flash backs. So for this complaint, I think it’s actually a case of reader preference, if flashbacks don’t annoy you like they do me, then you would probably enjoy this book a lot more than I did.
If I Stay is a short, clever and emotional read but for me, I just didn’t ‘get’ what all the hype has been about.
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden, Book 1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: April 2012
In a future world, vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.
Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.
Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked–and given the ultimate choice. Die…or become one of the monsters.
Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.
Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.
But it isn’t easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.
Thank you to Harlequin Teen and NetGalley for providing and advanced copy of this book for review!
I have to start this off by saying that Julie Kagawa blew my expectations away. In this saturated genre, I never expected such a refreshing take on the vampire story, and I truly enjoyed this book.
The Immortal Rules takes place in a dystopian future where vampires rule over cities and humankind have been all but wiped out by the Red Lung disease. Humans have little choice—either become a marked as a registered ‘pet’ used for feeding, or choose to be free but have to fend for yourself. Allie Sekemoto is one of these unregistered humans, constantly living in hunger and facing the harsh realities of life in New Covington. She’s tough, she’s street smart and she would rather starve than take a vampire’s mark.
One night when Allie wanders out of the city walls to find food, she is attacked by Rabids (zombie-like vampires who cannot control their hunger) and left for dead. A mysterious vampire comes and offers her a choice—either die or become like him. I really admire Allie’s self-preservation instinct here, even though she knew she would struggle living as something she hates. It’s refreshingly different from so many other heroines that want to throw themselves into danger, not appreciating the value of their lives or thinking about the consequences. The entire turning scene was so grim it made me feel ill and I attribute that to great writing. This book does not shy away from the unpleasant.
Kagawa excels as always at world-building, this time by adding her own twists to vampire and zombie lore. There is nothing romanticised in this book in the slightest. The environment is extremely harsh and it’s survival of the fittest where it matters most—in the real world. Despite a few slow-moving sections in the middle, the majority of the book was paced well. There were so many plots and reveals throughout the story that I couldn’t put the book down. I just had to find out more about the intriguing future they all lived in.
The book follows Allie’s journey of discovery as she learns more about why things are the way they are in her world. She is an extremely well-developed heroine. We see her dealing with her internal struggles, such as coming to grips with her morality versus her need to survive and learning cruel lessons about leaving her past behind. She’s flawed, brave and you can’t help but root for her all the way through the book.
The supporting cast is equally great. Kanin, Allie’s vampire sire, acts as a ‘sexy Yoda’ (never thought I would use those two words together), mentoring the newly turned Allie. He clues Allie in about the state of the world, and teaches her about how to sate her blood lust and how to defend herself (katanas, baby). He also has a deep backstory himself, and I’m looking forward to more of him in the books to come.
And of course the world isn’t complete without a love interest—good, kind, human Zeke, a God-fearing natural leader with not a trace of arrogance about him. It’s so rare to find a male character in young adult fiction that isn’t afflicted with ‘I’m too emo for my shirt’ syndrome. Sure he had his own struggles and doubts to contend with, but it was mainly about the welfare of others, not just himself. It was a pleasure to see his relationship with Allie develop slowly, convincingly and a little bittersweetly as both of them had very realistic notions about where their attraction could go. So refreshing.
I was also extremely satisfied with the ending. To me, there was a nice balance of wrapping up the current story and leaving other things in the air to keep you wanting more from the sequels. Which I definitely do. Overall, a fantastic read!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine and is where we can talk about books we are looking forward to being released!
Endlessly (Paranormalcy, Book 3)
Release date: 24 July 2012
Evie’s paranormal past keeps coming back to haunt her. A new director at the International Paranormal Containment Agency wants to drag her back to headquarters. The Dark Faerie Queen is torturing humans in her poisonous realm. And supernatural creatures keep insisting that Evie is the only one who can save them from a mysterious, perilous fate.
The clock is ticking on the entire paranormal world. And its fate rests solely in Evie’s hands.
So much for normal.
As a big fan of humourous takes on the paranormal genre, I can’t wait for the last book of the highly recommended Paranormalcy series, which is like a teen Ghostbusters for young adults. There are a lot of question about Evie I would like to see answered in this book, but really I just want more of the spunky, sarcastic heroine and her interactions with the lovely Lend and mysterious Reth. The end of the supernatural world + faeries? Yes please!