Monday, 16 March 2015

In The Afterlight review

In The Afterlight
Dais Daily

I don’t think I’ve ever been so nervous about an ending of a series before. The Darkest Minds and Never Fade were both amazing books that I had given 5 stars too. In all honesty, I didn’t want the series to end. I feel like I could read about these characters for another five book and I would never find a single second of boring.

In The Afterlight delivered on every front. The ending was amazing and the entire series feels like it all comes full circle for Ruby. The is a touch of ambiguity in the ending of The Darkest Minds series. Throughout the book, I had assumed that Ruby would chose to get the procedure done to have her abilities nullified. But instead you don’t know if she does. And you don’t know if life for all of those children get any better. But I kind of like that.

Out of this entire book, the only thing I didn’t particularly like was the death of the older Stewart brother. I loved him, and I loved his a Ruby’s relationship.
What Clancy does to Cole was just plain cruel. Different in a way than I had seen from him previously. Yes he’d called in government officials to ransack/capture/kill the tweens of East River, but even he said that his decision was a bad one. However, in In The Afterlight, Clancy purposefully goes out of his way to manipulate Cole’s want and need to understand his abilities, and for that reason alone I thought Ruby was a fool to relieve Clancy’s scarring memories.
I really wanted something huge to happen with Cole. Like in the evacuation on Thurmond for them to be losing and then Cole comes out and BAM. Sends fire up everywhere. But later we read how there were Reds there at Thurmond anyway, so maybe that idea wouldn’t have been as explosive as I would have wanted it.
I wasn’t as emotional assaulted by his death as I had been with Jude’s but I felt like Cole’s potential wasn’t quite reached.
Oh and I also didn’t quite like how obvious it was that it was Ruby who was the one sending all the emails in the middle of the night. As soon as we first discover she’s sleepwalking, I knew it. And I had guessed that perhaps Clancy would somehow be involved. Though I will also say that I don’t blame Ruby for not figuring it out sooner because she hadn’t thought Clancy would dig that low.

I don’t think I’ve ever connected to a character quite as much as Ruby. We see her grow from this frightened and damaged girl into a force to be reckoned with, willing to do anything to protect not just those she loves, but also the people who don’t have anyone else. She is a hero in the truest sense of the word. She is perfect in a way that she is also as flawed as any of us. She was over bearing, cynical, outright cruel; and it only made me love her that much more.
We start at Thurmond, and we end it at Thurmond. The difference between these two Ruby’s is stark in contrast. Ruby goes in and makes her own rules, not afraid of what this place could to her. She’s outgrown that life. I was so proud of her.
That part where she’s telling Liam that she has to walk out of Thurmond on her own two feet, it was beautiful and bittersweet.

A lot of people have said that they had issue with the pacing of this final instalment, but I thought it was perfect. Though looking back on it now, yes they were in the Rach for a prolonged period of the book, the dialogue and events that went on there were never boring and so I didn’t find a fault with it. This book had me more hooked than the first one. It was all consuming and I couldn’t look away for a second.
The writing and sequence of events. The actions and reactions in this book. They all outshine the previous two books in my opinion.

When the first breakout on Oasis went without hitch* excluding the pop up of Liam* I was literally squealing in excitement.
Moving to the subject of a one Liam Stewart, I kind of had a love hate relationship with his in this book, which I found surprising. I found myself siding more with Ruby and Cole in the situations where they would butt heads. He was incredibly reckless, but we already knew that, and again it shows Bracken’s excellent way of making these characters more real with their flaws.
Chubs and Vida? Called it. Right from Never Fade I called that the two of them would get together.
I want to touch quickly also on the sibling rivalry between Liam and Cole, I found it really refreshing and at the same time frustrating. The same goes for Liam and Ruby’s relationship.
They’re in a strange place as a couple. They hardly communicate at all. We know that Liam is afraid of Ruby wiping his memory again, and we know Ruby still struggles with herself becoming a monster and Liam being unable to forgive her completely.

The Darkest Minds trilogy is strong from start to finish. I honestly think that it is the most consistently brilliant series that I’ve ever read. The characters aren’t changing, their evolving and the plots kept me on my toes from page one. I’ve never been connected or invested in a whole group as much as those from The Darkest Minds series. I’ll love them all dearly forever.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Never Fade review

Never Fade

As with most series, a middle book can sometimes fail to peek at the momentum created by the first book, and then the suspense for the final instalment. And while I feel Never Fade doesn’t fall prey to this reoccurring theme, I do have to grudgingly admit that I did like The Darkest Minds more.

Never Fade picks up 6 months after Ruby had wiped all traces of herself from Liam’s mind and I very interested in how the Children’s League and Ruby would fit around each other. And though we aren’t given an exact look into that relationship we know enough that Ruby doesn’t like the idea of being Leader to a small band of psi kids, and still wants out.
The story still has its darker edge, which I was glad for. The book is also more psychically demanding on its characters.

I said in my review of The Darkest Minds that Ruby had already gone through a hell of a lot of character development. And actually, the same can be said for Never Fade too.
All along we’ve seen Ruby struggling with her abilities, and in this book, she really gets a handle on them, but she also really sees the dark depths that her powers can achieve. And Ruby fights with the monster side of herself that she has always associated with herself.
Her scenes with Knox, and especially the one with Rob in the car was so engrossing.

The writing was as stellar as the first books, but I felt the very beginning of Never Fade suffered from a little bit of slow pacing. While Ruby was with the League, I was a little distracted in waiting for something to happen to get the story set off.

Never Fade certainly threw in some wicked curve balls. The biggest for me personal was the death of Jude. It felt so personal, and how it affected Ruby hit me that much hard. Through the trials that Ruby and the gang faced, I always thought Jude would make it through unscathed. I was looking forward to watching him grow and thrive.

Again, I loved the secondary characters. At first I thought Bracken was trying to replace Liam and Chubs, and yet still keep the humour from a diverse group, almost like Jude was taking Zu’s place as the one to be protected, and I kind thought that it was cheating slightly, but the more I read into these new characters, the quicker I fell in love with them. Vida won me over almost instantly and I loved every snarky quip that her foul mouth spewed. Jude was my particular favourite. The way Ruby protects him and comforted him.

Although Liam is very much a huge part of the plot in Never Fade, I felt his actual character lacked growth because of that.
A character I was very surprised about was Chubs. He has changed pretty radically when he is first reintroduced in the book. In addition, you see how dangerous and desperate a step it was for him to become a skip tracer so he could find word on the others. He really does come into his own.

Then there was Cole. Liam’s older and hard arsed brother, and as we find out in a few of the very last pages, a Red. I enjoyed Cole’s sporadic appearances and I really hope we get to see more of him in the third and final book.

I was unsurprised by Clancy’s reappearance, though I was very surprised by the how and why of it. His side of the plot was very interesting and comes sort of out of left field. I felt just as slow as Ruby does when trying to piece all of the titbits of information together.

The second half of the book was explosive, pretty literally too. I had no idea of where things would go and I much prefer that. I am honestly so consumed with what might happen in the final book In The Afterlight. I’m going to have to start it as soon as possible. 

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Champion review

Champion – Marie Lu
Dais Daily

Though I do admit to being somewhat disappointed with the Legend series as a whole so far, I also said that if the third and final book were better than the last two, that I would chose to look back at the series in a more positive light. And I’m happy to report that the third book had me pleasantly surprised.

I enjoyed Champion more than the previous two books, and was genuinely curious and attached to these characters.
The writing finally felt true and had me trying to predict what was going to happen next. The story telling was stronger and more engaging then the series previous instalments. There was so much more realism about the events and reactions.

I was very curious how Day’s illness would fit into the book, considering the way Prodigy ends. It was quite refreshing to have had a somewhat break between the books. I dislike when a trilogy seems all to have happened in the space of a couple months.
I was just as nervous as Day and June were when they were set to reunite.

Reading others reviews on Goodreads, I see that the ending to this series are split evenly between love and hate. I can quite easily say that I really loved the ending. I thought it wonderful and creative. I wouldn’t say ‘fitting’ and neither was it expected, but that just made the end so much better for me. It was a breath of fresh air that everyone doesn’t walk away right at the end into the sunset with his or her significant other.

Also, in my review of Prodigy, I was talking about how annoyed I was that June was all of a sudden ill, and basically had to be carried everywhere and was dead weight. I guess now I have a sort of answer. Though we never did learn if the Colonies were the ones that had administered the mutated plague to June.

June continues to be my favourite of the two main characters. She is a Queen, most definitely. Her courage and devotions was a wonder to read.
I really liked June’s decision to leave the political world behind and jump back into the world of a soldier. I was happy for her.

I also really learned to love Anden. His character was complicated and intricate, I actually wish there had been more of him, and not just a sort of love interest. Both Day and June comment on the darker side of his personality, and I wished that had been explored a little more, because we know he walks a hard path of pleasing people, and doing what’s right.

I was happy to see the way Marie Lu included him in June’s life, after main events ended. I felt it actually would have played out that way too. It was a logical thing for June, and I hoped they were somewhat happy.

It was truly a beautiful and bittersweet ending. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

The Darkest Minds review

The Darkest Minds
Dais Daily

I’ve been waiting for the right time to read The Darkest Minds for a very long time. I’ve never heard or read a bad word spoken about it. This obviously makes me nervous. What if I was going to be in the small percentage that didn’t enjoy the book? I started to hype the book up so much that the thought of actually starting it was somewhat terrifying.
I knew that I had to be in the right frame of mind to start this series. I wanted to make sure that I could give my absolute full attention to the start of this beloved series.

I can honestly say that I devoured this book. I was eagerly consuming every word.
The plot from the very beginning was intriguing and had a darker vibe then I was expecting, which I loved.
The whole setting at camp is unsettling, but I really was transfixed but all of those scenes.
I was so enamoured with the idea of these kids having to be colour coded based on the abilities. It’s such an original and well executed idea.

From start to finish this book stayed thrilling and complex. The action was well paced and written in a way that I couldn’t look away for even a second. Every moment lead beautifully into the next. I wasn’t even aware of how much time was passing as I read. My emotions were being thrown around like a ragged doll, and it was brilliant.
Bracken makes it so that every scenario feels completely plausible and has you questioning if something like this really could happen. There is such a sense of realism through the whole of the book.

Ruby goes through some of the best character growth that I’ve read in a while.
In the very beginning she goes out of her way to make sure she blends into the background, but as the story progresses she learns to look for those she cares about and fights admirably to keep them from harm.
I was so fascinated with Ruby’s abilities from the get go. I was so curious to see the extent of her capabilities and was so proud whenever she accomplished some small task.

From the very beginning, I was suspicious of Clancy, and always thought he would be some sort of double agent in some way. Though I certainly hadn’t expected it to go quite the way it did. Alexandra Bracken has a brilliant way of completely blind-siding you with events.

I couldn’t find a single fault with any of the characters. They were all written perfectly and made believable by their very real faults. Liam’s unwavering need to protect, Chubs’ brutal honesty. And then Zu’s muteness. They made up a complex trio that I fell in love with.
Chubs was incredible and definitely pushed my opinion of the writing even higher. I loved how his and Ruby’s relationship change and grow throughout the story.
His slam down with Clancy was awesome.
I know that we haven’t seen the last of Clancy, and I hope that the next time that him and Ruby meet, they can be on a little more equal footing, in terms of powers.
I also really hope that we find Suzume again in Never Fade.

For once I really liked the idea that our main character didn’t have much of an idea of their actual plan. There was ever a specific endgame goal and I preferred in that way. It let the story breath and things could play out just as they needed to.

With the end, I find myself really excited at the thought of having a hardened and colder version of Ruby, and honestly, if that is the way that Bracken goes in Never Fade, I have no doubt it will become one of my favourite books.
I’m so excited to continue this series.
The Darkest Minds is a perfect example of how to start a series and leave all of its readers waiting in desperate anticipation for the next one.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Prodigy review

Prodigy Review

If you’ve read my previous review on Legend by Marie Lu, the first book in the Legend series, you’ll most likely already know that I wasn’t quite sure if I liked the book or not. And unfortunately, the same problems again apply to this book that I found with the first one.

I didn’t find the plot that engaging as I had done with the first book. Though I do admit I quite liked the bigger scale of the book, and how we finally got to know a little more about how The Republic came into existence and its place in the rest of the world.

Again, my biggest problems with these books so far are the main characters young ages. I find it completely illogical that two fifteen year olds would how so much sway over this government, and are that much of a threat.

I also feel a little confused by the ending of this book. I know there is a third book, Champion, and yet, it seems things could have very easily tied themselves up and the series could have finished there, if not for the unresolved issue of Day’s health.
I was also wondering why Day has never told a single person about being experimented on after ‘failing’ his trials. This, we know, didn’t actually happen. June finding out Day’s actual test scores plays a big role in swaying June that she is on the wrong side, and yet, this fact is never actually mentioned to any sort of official or the public. I guess it all comes into play in the third book, but I just found it a little odd. Every the doctor at the end was aware of Day’s, and thousands of others being experimented on, and yet, still nothing comes of it.

In addition, I’m just going to touch on this sore spot lightly, but what on earth was all the shit about June being ill?
Why does it come on so quickly, like literally, within a few hours she can barely stand and passes out a bunch of times? And yet, there is no actual name for this mysterious illness, we are never told what made June ill, and if will now cause later problems or if it was serious. And, by the end of the novel she is fit and healthy. What kind of illness comes on that strong that it renders the person useless, and is then done away with. It rather irked me, and just made me resent June slightly. Which I didn’t like because I had grown to really like June’s character.

I much prefer June to Day, though I still find that the book benefits from the duo point of views. I enjoyed June’s colder and more methodical approach to things.

I quite liked the story line of June going undercover in her previous Republic alliances, while she helped put in place the pieces of the Elector’s assassination. That was all quite thrilling, and I was starting to like the young Elector himself.

I don’t have any issues with the writing in itself, but I didn’t connect as much to the characters as I had in the last one.

Will I be reading the final instalment, yes; but at this point, I think it’s based solely on my curiousness on how the series will end. I’m not particularly attached to these characters and their lives. I would just rather finish the series that leave it sitting on my shelves.

I’m choosing to look past the negatives that I’ve found and hope to have the third book satisfy me and if it surprises me, than I would be happier to remember the series on a more positive note.