Author: Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #2
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Date: September 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher
The eagerly anticipated sequel to the international bestseller DELIRIUM, one of the most addictive books of last year. Unflinching, heartbreaking and totally addictive, this novel will push your emotions to the limit.
Lena's been to the very edge. She's questioned love and the life-changing and agonising choices that come with it. She's made her decision. But can she survive the consequences? PANDEMONIUM is the explosive sequel to the critically acclaimed and bestselling DELIRIUM.
Even after the intense ending of Delirium, Lauren Oliver exceeded my expectations with this book and more. Word circulated that Pandemonium was a lot better than Delirium and I agree wholeheartedly. Not only is it filled with gritty action and true emotion, it also introduced a boy that I love a whole lot better.
Pandemonium starts a while after Delirium, but also immediately after. It’s told from Lena’s ‘Now’ and ‘Then’ point of views, the ‘Now’ being the current timeline and the ‘Then’ flashing right back to the events after Delirium and Lena’s start in the Wilds. Lena is now part of the resistance in New York City, with a fake identity as an active member of Deliria-Free America (DFA) in order to bring the organisation down from the inside and to keep an eye on its poster boy, Julian Fineman.
I fell in love with Oliver’s writing once again, especially when she describes Lena’s sorrow. The ‘Then’ point of view was so heart-breaking. Lena struggled with survival, fitting in, adjusting to life now that her whole world and beliefs had been cast aside. She was also wracked with guilt, believing that she was responsible for Alex’s death.
As much as I enjoyed the beauty in her sorrow though, it was the ‘Now’ timeline that I raced through the book for. From Lena attending her first DFA meeting and throughout Lena and Alex’s imprisonment and escape, everything that happened was heart-poundingly exciting. When the book built up to the amazing climax, it really was impossible to put down. My heartbeat was racing, my palms were sweaty and I certainly felt like I was up against my own clock. My mind was screaming at Lena, as I wanted her to pull of her greatest feat yet.
I really admired Lena throughout Pandemonium, as she really came full-circle. From someone who was shown and taught throughout the majority of the story thus far, she has turned from being saved to becoming a saviour. I love the parallels between what Alex did for Lena in Delirium and what Lena did for Julian. I respected her so much for sticking to her conviction, for pulling off some amazing escapes, and also (in the immortal words of Demi Lovato) for giving her heart a break. Her emotions were killing her and I was so glad to see her slowly forgiving herself.
My absolute favourite thing about the book though was Lena and Julian’s chemistry and slow acceptance of each other. Julian really surprised me a lot as a character. I genuinely thought that his imprisonment with Lena was some sort of ruse by the DFA to get one up on the resistance (boy was I wrong about whose ruse it turned out to be). His quiet determination and innocence was very attractive. It was great to see his character develop as everything he knew to be true fell apart. He struggled a lot with the idea of Lena, and I thought he showed great bravery accepting everything that was thrown his way. I was really happy when Lena finally gave in to Julian’s love.
Best of all, WHAT AN ENDING. Oliver is again the master of the cliffhanger and has killed me dead. All in all, I loved this book so much for two reasons: a more kick-ass Lena and a much better male protagonist in Julian. Bring on Requiem!
Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking The Spine, where we feature a book we are looking forward to being released!
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
18 December 2012
When Ruby wakes up on her tenth birthday, something about her has changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.
Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.
When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her–East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.
When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.
As the end of the year comes closer, I’m so excited to be featuring a book that I’ve already had the pleasure of reading. This is due to the fact that I’m lucky enough to know the author, Alex, who snagged a copy for me at BEA earlier this year and sent it over the pond.
I know there seems to be a never ending list of new dystopian YA novels lately, but this one is truly worth reading. It’s got fantastic characters, a really strong premise and lots of adventure and excitement. Can’t wait to see what the reaction is when it comes out!
Author: Theo Lawrence
Publisher: Corgi UK
Published: October 2012
Source: Review copy from publisher
Aria Rose, youngest scion of one of Mystic City’s two ruling rival families, finds herself betrothed to Thomas Foster, the son of her parents’ sworn enemies. The union of the two will end the generations-long political feud—and unite all those living in the Aeries, the privileged upper reaches of the city, against the banished mystics who dwell below in the Depths. But Aria doesn’t remember falling in love with Thomas; in fact, she wakes one day with huge gaps in her memory. And she can’t conceive why her parents would have agreed to unite with the Fosters in the first place. Only when Aria meets Hunter, a gorgeous rebel mystic from the Depths, does she start to have glimmers of recollection—and to understand that he holds the key to unlocking her past. The choices she makes can save or doom the city—including herself.
It started out with such a great premise—Romeo and Juliet meets the X-Men—and such a gorgeous cover that I immediately knew I had to read it. Sadly, even with the cool dystopian Manhattan setting, Mystic City fails to live up to my expectations.
In this world, Manhattan has suffered from the effects of global warming and is flooded. A new city is built high above the island called the Aeries (which I pictured to be just like the Jetsons) where only the rich live. Mystics (those with special energy and powers) are considered dangerous outcasts who get drained of their powers and are confined to live on the remains of Manhattan in relative squalor. Mystic energy is used to fuel the Aeries, but was also once used as a bomb against the city hence the ‘dangerous’ tag. I thought the world was fascinating and well-realised and I could imagine the colourful lights of the Aeries as well as the polluted rivers down in the Depths vividly.
Where the book fails to impress me is the characters and the plot. Aria Rose is the daughter of one of the most prominent families in the city and the book starts with her waking up from a supposed overdose, engaged to the rival family’s son Thomas. She has no recollection of how they met and fell in love, only that their union is now uniting both families against the growing Mystic threat. Confused and unable feel any affection towards Thomas, she somewhat tries to find answers down in the Depths to questions she doesn’t even know she has.
The majority of characters were insufferable and really under-developed—very one dimensional. For example, Aria’s father was the strict and powerful ‘mafia boss’ and her best friend was a flighty socialite. I found all the teenagers from the Aeries grating and Aria particularly whiny. Most of her motivation (and indeed her actions) were extremely immature, like expecting to feel fireworks when in love. She also suffers from fatalistic heroine syndrome, where she keeps putting herself in unnecessary danger and bears no self-preservation instinct.
Even the romance was superficial. She eventually meets Hunter, a rebel Mystic (one that hasn’t been drained of their powers), who saves her several times during her trips to the Depths. It seems the only reason they fall in love with each other is because of their good looks, which is repeated constantly. It also frustrated me that the tone of the letters written from Aria’s love is wildly inconsistent with any of the characters we meet in the book. It’s a shame because Hunter is normally the type of character I really like—a skilled, witty, strong leader-to-be. However his bizarre attraction to Aria really dampens his style.
The story was interesting, but very predictable. It tried hard to shock and surprise, but I could see most twists coming for miles and even the character reveals were cliché. Without giving anything away, the ending certainly was shocking, but it just left me muddled. I’m hoping the sequel focuses more about the power struggle between the Aeries and the Mystics and all the characters grow up a bit. Really disappointing for a story that had such a great world and so much promise.
Thank you to Corgi UK (Random House) for providing a copy for review.
Author: Michael Grant
Series: Gone, Book 4
Publisher: Egmont Books
Published: April 2011
It’s been eight months since all the adults disappeared. Gone.
They’ve survived hunger. They’ve survived lies. But the stakes keep rising, and the dystopian horror keeps building. Yet despite the simmering unrest left behind by so many battles, power struggles, and angry divides, there is a momentary calm in Perdido Beach.
But enemies in the FAYZ don’t just fade away, and in the quiet, deadly things are stirring, mutating, and finding their way free. The Darkness has found its way into the mind of its Nemesis at last and is controlling it through a haze of delirium and confusion. A highly contagious, fatal illness spreads at an alarming rate. Sinister, predatory insects terrorize Perdido Beach. And Sam, Astrid, Diana, and Caine are plagued by a growing doubt that they’ll escape or even survive life in the FAYZ. With so much turmoil surrounding them, what desperate choices will they make when it comes to saving themselves and those they love?
I really don’t know how many more times I can continue to write the same sort of raving review for this series. The awsomeness just never stops!
Plague, the fourth instalment to Michael Grant’s epic Gone series was just as fantastic as the first three. Each time I pick up another book in this series I am convinced that nothing in it will be able to shock me in comparison to the one before it. But boy am I ever wrong! The gore and sheer shock factor in this one is incredible. It actually left me wondering whether this is suitable reading material for children. I certainly would have had nightmares reading these books as a child.