Champion (Legend #3)

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Champion (Legend, #3)

He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.”

-Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/14290364-champion)

I usually dislike the endings of dystopian series (Allegiant, for instance, was a disaster in my opinion). Because of this, I was hesitant to read Champion, the final book in the Legend series. While I wanted to know how it all ended, I was still afraid it would turn into a huge wreck.

In this case, my fear was unfounded. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Before I started reading it, I read some reviews that said it had a lot of politics, and it was boring because of it. I actually liked reading the scenes involving politics and diplomacy (blame it on my degree). Another fear of mine, regarding Ollie, was also unfounded, which was a relief (albeit a tiny bit unrealistic, come to think of it).

The characters were forced to grow up before their time, especially Tess and Eden. Day and June were also forced to grow up as well, and make some really hard choices. The hardest choice of the book, for me, came at the end and it was made by June. Once you’ve read the book, you’ll know what I’m talking about, there’s no mistaking it. June’s choice really broke my heart. It’s not a sad end, though. I thought it was poignant and full of hope. It was not a closed end either, which means that Marie Lu is free to come back to this world if she wants to.

While this series is, for now, finished (I really, really hope it is finished and Lu doesn’t make the same choice that Cassandra Clare did), I already have her upcoming release in my to-read shelf. I’ll definitely read it as soon as it comes out (it’s highly unlikely I’ll get an ARC, right?).

Rating: 4 out of 5

Resist (Breathe #2)

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Resist (Breathe, #2)

“The sequel—and conclusion—to Sarah Crossan’s Breathe. Three teen outlaws must survive on their own in a world without air, exiled outside the glass dome that protects what’s left of human civilization. Gripping action, provocative ideas, and shocking revelations in a dystopian novel that fans of Patrick Ness and Veronica Roth will devour.

Bea, Alina, and Quinn are on the run. They started a rebellion and were thrown out of the pod, the only place where there’s enough oxygen to breathe. Bea has lost her family. Alina has lost her home. And Quinn has lost his privileged life. Can they survive in the perilous Outlands? Can they finish the revolution they began? Especially when a young operative from the pod’s Special Forces is sent after them. Their only chance is to stand together, even when terrible circumstances force them apart. When the future of human society is in danger, these four teens must decide where their allegiances lie. Sarah Crossan has created a dangerous, and shattered society in this wrenching, thought-provoking, and unforgettable post-apocalyptic novel.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13447149-resist)

This book was a very satisfying read, though it was a bit confusing at points. It is full of action, from start to finish, with several tension peaks throughout the story. There were some unexpected deaths, so watch out for them. The very end felt a bit rushed, and, because of that, it was a bit confusing at points.

My biggest challenge was remembering who on earth were all the characters, especially considering that this book has several POVs. In truth, I never remembered who were all of them, but I kept reading anyway. That’s the problem of having sequels released (or reading them) too long after reading the prequels. In the case of Resist, I didn’t think it was a big issue to not remember the details of the characters or the plot.

I don’t really have much to say about this book. It was a fast and entertaining read, with some plot weaknesses (not that I picked it apart, but some things didn’t feel right or adequately paced). It was a good sequel to Breathe, though I missed a longer epilogue. Dystopian books have this tendency of not really showing what became of the societies portrayed after the revolution that usually happens.

Rating: 3 out of 5

The Edge of Always (The Edge of Never #2)

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The Edge of Always (The Edge of Never, #2)

 

“Five months ago, Camryn and Andrew, both dealing with personal hardships, met on a Greyhound bus. They fell in love and proved that when two people are meant to be together, fate will find a way to make it happen.

Now, in the highly anticipated sequel to The Edge of Never, Camryn and Andrew are pursuing their love for music and living life to the fullest as they always swore to do. But when tragedy befalls them, their relationship is put to the ultimate test. As Camryn tries to numb her pain, Andrew makes a bold decision: To get their life back on track, they’ll set out on another cross-country road trip. Together they find excitement, passion, adventure-and challenges they never could have anticipated.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17899696-the-edge-of-always)

This is yet another book that I have to disagree with the high rating on Goodreads. In my opinion, a book with a rating higher than 4 is unputdownable. Not so with this book, especially toward the end. There was no tension between the two main charactersm, Andrew and Camryn. They were always together against the world, and that was a bit tiring at points.

The road trip part was extremely close to boring. Not even the big scene in Florida excited me (once you’ve read it, you’ll know what I’m talking about). At points, especially during the road trip, I felt that the characters thought way too much about their issues but, at the same time, it felt like they weren’t taken as seriously as they should have been, especially the consequences of the tragedy mentioned in the synopsis. I don’t know if it happens like that in real life.

To my surprise, the book ended at the 85% mark, which was a bit of a relief. I was asking myself how the author was going to fill the other 15% that were still left, had she not (finally) ended it there. You see, toward the end, it felt to me like the book was more and more dragged. In my opinion, had this been a shorter book, with around 250-300 pages instead of the 450 pages it has, it would have been a better book.

Rating: 2 out of 5

The Pagan Lord (Saxon Stories #7)

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The Pagan Lord (The Saxon Stories, #7)

“Bernard Cornwell-who “is at his enthralling best conveying . . . one of the defining periods of English history” (Wall Street Journal)-returns to his epic Saxon Tales saga with this dramatic story of divided loyalties, bloody battles, and the struggle to unite Britain

At the onset of the tenth century, England is in turmoil. Alfred the Great is dead and Edward his son reigns as king. Wessex survives but peace cannot hold: the Danes in the north, led by Viking Cnut Longsword, stand ready to invade and will never rest until the emerald crown is theirs.

Uhtred, once Alfred’s great warrior but now out of favor with the new king, must lead a band of outcasts north to recapture his old family home, that great Northumbrian fortress, Bebbanburg.

Loyalties will be divided and men will fall, as every Saxon kingdom is drawn into the bloodiest battle yet with the Danes; a war which will decide the fate of every king, and the entire English nation.

With The Pagan Lord, New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell-“the reigning king of historical fiction” (USA Today)-continues his magnificent epic of the making of England during the Middle Ages, vividly bringing to life the uneasy alliances, bloody battles, and deadly intrigue that gave birth to the British nation.”

-Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17853024-the-pagan-lord)

To those that know me, it’s no secret that Bernard Cornwell is my very favorite author. I have over 40 of his books on my shelves, and I absolutely love his heroes, particularly Derfel and Richard Sharpe. Whenever he releases a new book, I read it without even reading the synopsis. To those that are not familiar with his writing, he writes historical fiction.

This particular series focuses on the making of England, a tale that involves Danes and Saxons, and a narrator that is sort of stuck between both worlds. Uhtred of Bebbanburg is a Saxon raised by Danes, and he is now fighting for the Saxons. He has not given up on his dream of retaking the fortress of Bebbanburg, but, as Cornwell likes to say, that’s a tale for another book.

As much as I love Cornwell’ books, this was not his best. I just wasn’t as entertained as I use to be by his other books. Maybe it’s because it is such a long series, and it feels as if it’s not going anywhere. I do have to say at this point that I’m not British, and though I have lived for a year in England, I don’t know anything about the Danish invasion of the isle. Therefore, I don’t know the actual historical facts that led to the unification of England, which, in turn, means that I have no clue about how long Uhtred still has to fight for England.

Besides, Finan’s wit was not as sharp as in the previous books, and I missed that. Furthermore, at points, I was a bit confused by all the names and places (again, I’m not British, so I have no clue about where such and such citis/towns/villages are).  The book did pick up toward the end, when finally the facts made sense. And, as usual in Cornwell’s book, we were entreated to a big battle scene (no big spoiler there, right?).

I’m definitely going to read the next book in the series, as I’m loyal like that. Just kidding, I’m going to read it because I really think that The Pagan Lord was more of a ‘transition book’, and therefore, I expect something big (either England or Bebbanburg) to happen in the next book.

Rating: 4 out of 5

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1)

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The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1)

 

“When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had 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.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10576365-the-darkest-minds)

I was expecting more of this book, given the high ratings on Goodreads. But only the ending justifies those ratings, in my opinion.

The world building was very bleak, thanks to the camps, but it was also a bit confusing. I think too much emphasis was put on the disease issue, and not nearly enough on the country’s situation. Why did it go bankrupt? Maybe I missed the explanation, but I kept wondering what happened outside the camps. Of course, Ruby would not be able to tell us that, since she was incarcerated at the camp for six years.

It would have been nice to get an adult’s perspective on the issue. After all, adults were the ones that devised the camps and sent the kids there. Besides, I wanted some answers to a lot of questions, such as why the Thurmond camp was so much worse than the other ones?

As for the characters, I have to say my favorite ones were Zu and Chubs, and I kept yearning for more moments with them, to learn more of their history.

The storyline could have been better, in my opinion. At points, it was slow. At others, it was downright confusing. I found myself wanting to read other books instead of this one (and I did, I must confess). At this point, I’m not sure whether or not I’ll want to read the sequel, as I was surprised by the end, but am not entirely happy about it.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5

The Naturals (Unknown Series Title #1)

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The Naturals

 

“Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there’s more at risk than a few unsolved homicides— especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own.

Sarcastic, privileged Michael has a knack for reading emotions, which he uses to get inside Cassie’s head—and under her skin. Brooding Dean shares Cassie’s gift for profiling, but keeps her at arm’s length.

Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms closer than Cassie could ever have imagined. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.”

– Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13597723-the-naturals)

Yet another book read (what can I do? It’s the holidays, and so far the day is quiet). This one was, in my opinion, a very good read. At first, the concept reminded me of the defunct TV show Lie To Me, which I really liked (both the show and the concept).

I was already familiar with the author, having read her Raised by Wolves series, which I enjoyed. I already liked her writing style before reading The Naturals, but now I like it even more. I liked the plot, I liked the characters, and I liked the world building. I also liked the glimpses into the killer’s mind.

As for the ending, I wasn’t able to predict it. The author kept me guessing the killer’s identity until the end, and when the killer was revealed, I was really surpised. What did not surprise me was the existence of a love traingle *sigh*. At least, the story wasn’t too heavy on that side. I missed seeing more of the other character’s background as well as of Cassie’s Italian family.

I don’t know the name of the series yet, but there is going to be a sequel (as announced in the final pages of The Naturals), which I’m already waiting for.

Rating: 4 out of 5

Sapphire Blue (The Ruby Red Trilogy #2)

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Sapphire Blue (The Ruby Red, #2)

“Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.
 
At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.”
 
Because this book deals with time travel, it’s not advisable for the reader to think too much about the events related to going back in the past. Whenever I try, I get really confused. Furthermore, this book has a lot of different characters from different time periods, and they kepp meeting in different times (see? Even reviewing this book is confusing).
 
I was a bit frustrated with this book, as not much happens for most of it. There is a lot of romantic angst, but not much action (either romantically or otherwise). The high point of this book was a new character, Xemerius. I kept looking forward for his appearances, since he had a snarky sense of humor, and, because Gwen is the only one that can actually see him, it made for a lot of weird three-waydialogues.
 
Another frustrating thing was the cliffhanger at the end, but that was to be expected, given that this is a middle-book. Luckily, the final book in the trilogy is already out, though I’ll only be able to read it in January.
 
Rating: 3 out of 5