Thursday, 30 July 2015

The Girl with all the Gifts

Presenting The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey.

Here is the summary of the book:

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius."

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children's cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she'll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn't know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

M. R. Carey has presented in all of its splendor, a sure footed tale in this particular genre. For all of its intents & purposes the synopsis keeps its secrets close to the vests. But then you see so many big names giving this book, their thumbs-up that you can't help but see what the fuss is all about contained behind its minimalistic yellow front cover that had awed them so. And my my my .... doesn't it floor you with its simplicity, completely and ingenious wordplay.

Well it came out a year early, so it is safe to say that the cat is out of the bag. This is a post-apocalyptic dystopian thriller. As I already stated neither the plot nor the gene can be guessed at first, it cleverly creeps up on you as you advance through the chapters, through the eyes of the little girl Melanie. 10 year old and living by a routine. Exceptionally clever, she watches anything and everything. Everyday she takes classes with her mates and enjoys her favorite teacher Miss Justineau's classes the best. Normal isn't it but what not quite normal is that she is taken o her classes strapped to a wheelchair with guns trained on her head from her cell.

There is the Sergent Parks and his men, the other kids, the creepy Dr. Caldwell and that chemical smell .... always that chemical smell. And sometimes her friends are taken away, never to be seen again. The Girl with All the Gifts, shows us a world in its bare dredges. Humans are pretty much extinct with pockets of survivors here and there, living within enclosed spaces and the remaining half turned to Junkers, scavenging for supplies and living the wild way. There is a bacteria attacking the populace at large and no one is safe. Zombies or Hungries are what they become and it is definitely not a pretty sight at all.

It may seem slow at the beginning but Carey's fluid wordplay and vivid imagination strikes through as little by little of his end of the world diarama comes to light through the mind of 10 year old Melanie, who can't keep her curiosity at bay or her biting jokes. What strikes about this tale is that Carey pretty much keeps the narrative realistic and most of all scientific. Pretty much every dystopian tale has a miracle cure to heal the world at the end but not here.

There is a lot of biological background here which just serves to strengthen the story. The author as biology would most probably state, looks to Evolution as the crux of the issue. Of course action and battles can be found aplenty here, so yes there is something for everyone in it. A solid piece of literature and a strong addition to the genre. A definite tricky one to review but I hope I was able to do it justice.

"Vivid and engaging"

Genre :     Young Adult,Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Sci-fi, Thriller

Publisher: Orbit 

Release Date: 19th June, 2014

My Copy: bought (paperback)

Rate:             5/5 (It was Amazing)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

The Leveller #1 The Leveller

Presenting The Leveller #1 The Leveller by Julia Durango.

Here is the summary of the book:

Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them.

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?

Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?

Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.

Virtually vivid and technologically suave, Julia Durango's The Leveller is a fantastic and fascinating young adult adventure. A homing beacon to all those who love games (of the virtual kind) or are simply looking forward to a thrilling sci-fi adventure played out in the confines of a game. You heard right, the story takes off in a games and plays out in a game. Of course the setting is not new - '.hack' anime series, Spy Kids movie 3 and author Eve Silver's The Game trilogy comes to mind.

Set in the virtual premise of an interactive RPG called 'MEEP' (think of 'The Sims' on a grander scale), Durango describes this customizable world to stark details adding the concept and science of virtual reality to set things off. You can do practically anything in this game world if you have the imagination & the stamina for it. And that is what makes the job of a Leveller more interesting and thrilling.

Nixy Baeur, our kick-ass no-nonsense Leveller works to chase down people who spend more than necessary time in the MEEP world and must be extracted kicking and screaming back to the real world. A gamer, strong and clever and intelligent to boot Nixy isn't one to shy away from a challenge even if the case may be related to the MEEP's creator.

Wyn is our person of interest and he definitely has the brains to show for it. There was a marked sweetness to his character. He is just as smart and determined too. There is romance here as well but thankfully it doesn't overpower the plot. Nixy & Wyn have too much on their minds to maintain a relationship at the moment but the under currents are there and I absolutely look forward to this in the future sequels.

The plot paces well and very clear; adding the exotic details of the MEEP world to maintain the thrill throughout the pages. Keeps us hooked and tethered that we don't even see the hurdles coming our way. Packing unexpectedly surprising punches along the way. Julia Durango's The Leveller proves its mettle as an exciting debut for the series.

"For gamers & thrill-seekers alike 'The Leveller' proves to be an exciting virtual adventure with the promises of more to come"

Genre :     Young Adult, Sci-fi, Thriller, Dystopia, Romance

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release Date: 23rd June, 2015

My Copy: publisher & edelweiss

Rate:             4/5 (Really Like It)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Penryn & the End of Days #2 World After

Presenting Penryn & the End of Days #2 World After by Susan Ee.

Here is the summary of the book:

In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister, Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

Sitting tight and snug onto the Penryn-Raffe bandwagon, the sequel World After proved to be just as thrilling and a quick read as the first book. Continuing on from where the first book ended in that horrible cliffhanger. Penryn is reunited with her mother and sister. Poor Raffe got the back break with his drive to be whole again. Things are still uncertain and the Angels are still a ruthless bunch. This is 'World After' and things have just escalated from bad to worst.

Just as atmospherically dark and chilling as the first book, affording us a closer look to characters and situations not seen before. Raffe who is absent bodily throughout the majority of the book is available spiritually throughout the memories of his Angel-sword and Penryn comes to see him bit by bit the hardened warrior, the ages had turned him into. Of course being experimented upon Paige is also no longer the sweet girl her big sister knew. And the mother is a case of a different league altogether.

Still following the easy to understand script and thrilling kick-ass, Susan Ee maintains a tight lease on her plot dosing out her vivid imageries bit by bit. Be it the nefarious plans of the Angels with mighty proportions of about the Apocalypse or the dry and sarcastic humor as evidenced from the first book to balance out the dark and gory. Although i'm still waiting to read the exact reason that lead the Angels to come to Earth but aside from this disappointment Ee has got a power packed sequel replenished in marvelous world building, strong and dependable characters, vivid and spine-chilling horrors and certain swagger for drama ....... Lets hope 'End of Days' will hold all the answers for us.

"Dark and exhilarating and a spine-chilling breathless sequel"

Genre :     Young Adult, Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Paranormal

Publisher: Skyscape

Release Date: 19th November, 2013

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:             4/5 (Really Like It)

Other Books in the Series(review links):
           #1 Angelfall 

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Penryn & the End of Days #1 Angelfall

Presenting Penryn & the End of Days #1 Angelfall by Susan Ee.

Here is the summary of the book:

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

A wee bit late to the Angelfall bandwagon but i'm finally here. Angels, the hot and hunky winged men. The messengers of God. Angels till date have been a major part of the paranormal genre for a long time but I have only heard and read very few of the lot. Lauren Kate's Fallen, Scott Speer's Immortal City, Becca Fitzpatrick's Hush, Hush to name a few. And all of them had one thing in common, the Angels are the good guys ..... So points for Susan Ee for going against the norm and portraying her Angels as the harbingers of Apocalypse.

The Angels have descended upon mankind and now rule over them monkeys (humans) with a cruel fist. In an antagonistic role ..... who would have thought this to be true .... but it is and we can thank the author for presenting such a fresh point of view. A dark and bleak world to be sure where anything bad that can happen happens. Street gangs and mobs rule over the cowering masses. Black market has found the opportunity to flourish, selling and profiting in dead Angel's parts. And the Angels themselves show no mercy lording above all from the skies.

Now that is not to say that this a perfect story because it is not. Imperfections are plenty but lets take a moment to look at the lead pair ...... the human Penryn and the Angel Raffe. The romance is definitely not insta but developing at a slow and steady rate, even then it wouldn't be considered romance but more of an agreement. Penryn first met Raffe when she is out scavenging with her handicapped sister and psychotic mother. Raffe is getting his wing cut by force by the enemy angels and Penryn decides to help because even if Angels are the enemy she can clearly see Raffe at a disadvantage resulting in the enemy taking her sister, Paige.

Rather than breaking down she resorts to coercing Raffe into helping locate her sister. And Raffe is a dangerous bid to be whole again decides to help. One of the most realistic and kick-ass heroine. Resolute in her actions she doesn't stand much chance against super beings but she is decisive. Another plus, she doesn't let Raffe glamour her impressions. He comes off as a jerk. He has never seen God and he doesn't believe in God but he is definitely no masochist and gives Penryn the respect she deserves. Since Penryn is pretty much the focus of this story so i'm not really a big fan of Raffe right now.

Starts way too slow, picking up the momentum along the way in the middle. Nephilim, low demons, nefarious plots, the degrading conditions of humanity and angels experimenting on the humans. Definitely every bad that is about to come. The author does a marvelous job of keeping her story dark and creepy. The writing is also not that complicated and very easy to understand ..... I would have loved to have seen the reason for the Angel's arrival on Earth and why they attacked the human. The story tells us everything that happens after the attack but what was the reason should be a must to add to too. So I was disappointed in that context. Lets hope we find that out in the coming books.

"Dark and Chilling to the bone, Angelfall shows us a bleaker than thou future of mankind"

Genre :     Young Adult, Fantasy, Post-Apocalyptic, Dystopia, Romance

Publisher: Skyscape

Release Date: 28th August, 2012

My Copy: publisher & netgalley

Rate:             4/5 (Really Like It)

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Monday, 13 July 2015

The School for Good & Evil #2 A World Without Princes

Presenting The School for Good & Evil #2 A World Without Princes by Soman Chainani.

Here is the summary of the book:

In the epic sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel, The School for Good and Evil, Sophie and Agatha are home, living out their Ever After. But life isn’t quite the fairy tale they expected.

When Agatha secretly wishes she’d chosen a different happy ending, she reopens the gates to the School for Good and Evil. But the world she and Sophie once knew has changed.

Witches and princesses, warlocks and princes are no longer enemies. New bonds are forming; old bonds are being shattered. But underneath this uneasy arrangement, a war is brewing and a dangerous enemy rises. As Agatha and Sophie battle to restore peace, an unexpected threat could destroy everything, and everyone, they love—and this time, it comes from within.

Soman Chainani has created a spectacular world that Newbery Medal-winning author Ann M. Martin calls, “a fairy tale like no other, complete with romance, magic, and humor that will keep you turning pages until the end.”

Choices made and consequences wrought. At the end of 'The School for Good & Evil' first book, we see Agatha choose Sophie instead of Tedros, to save her best friend's life and wen back to Gavaldon. But Happily Ever After lasts only when you actually mean it and Agatha doubts she chose the right one. When your best friend tries to kill you, that leaves a bitter after taste thus in a moment of weakness she wishes for her Prince depositing them back to the school but thins are different now. Instead of 'A school for Good & Evil', it now spells 'A School for Boys & Girls'.

A choice, a single spark blazes the path to unexpected beginnings. Who needs a Prince when you have a powerful witch friend by your side or vice versa. A tense arrangement at best. For the girls, the subjects go from Debeautification, Princeless Power, History of Heroines and for the boys every battle training they would need for the brewing war. A recipe for disaster as an old evil hides in the shadows waiting for the moment to stake its claim. Agatha & Sophie's friendship is tested. The motives, the means and their resulting actions are intricately woven throughout this tale. Their actions  may vary but their motives are same. Both want to be accepted and loved and cared for.

Sophie was pretty much he same as was in the first book but the selfish and narrow-minded side rears its head more than others. It is attention she craves and most of all as I already stated not to be alone. As long as Agatha is at her side but its this wish that sends it all spiraling again. In her misguided sense of love, she does questionable things again. Desperation has always clouded her mind and you just can't help seeing her complexity shine through these moments. Fairytales today stress on this one fact the most - 'Villains are not born, they are made' and I very much appreciate Chainani for incorporating this element throughout this series.

Agatha on the other felt in denial. Her choice - Sophie or Tedros. These oscillating feelings made her doubt herself brought her down a few notches. The rebellious sarcasm, the wit and intelligence she had in leaps and bounds in the first time felt sorely lacking this time. Always turning a blind eye to Sophie's faults just so she could keep a lid on her feelings for Tedros.

Now Tedros Pendragon on the other hand had the most character degradation. Resorting to letting his rage and his sword do the talking he felt truly pathetic. Prone to being easily manipulated, he felt kind of pathetic without Agatha by his side and not all that resolute and charismatic Prince he was in the first book. In a way he reminded me of Bradley James' portrayal on the BBC show 'Merlin', prone to self-pity and indecision during the time when something went bad. Tedros is given more ground and somehow we can't help but sympathize with where he is coming from.

Looking at the scenes as they play, 'A World Without Princes' is not all that different from the first book. But Kudos to Soman Chainani for presenting his characters in similar but such different styles. Despite propensities of the needful, the author has created an exotic and stratifying-ly elegant sequel. Coupled with its many diverse character developments and a much darker tone, 'A World Without Princes' keeps us tight and on tenterhooks till the end. Definitely looking forward to what 'Last Ever After' has instore for us.

"An epic intrinsically magical and exponentially breathless sequel"

Genre :     Young Adult, Fantasy, Fairytale Retellings, Paranormal

Publisher: Harper Collins

Release Date: 15th April, 2014

My Copy: bought (paperback)

Rate:             5/5 (It was Amazing)

Other Books in the Series(review links):
           #1 The School for Good & Evil 

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository

Monday, 6 July 2015

The Orphan Queen #1 The Orphan Queen

Presenting The Orphan Queen #1 The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows.

Here is the summary of the book:

Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

Fantasy I love, Epic Fantasy I adore and Jodi Meadows' The Orphan Queen had everything to look forward to. There is magic. Mystery. Intrigue. Kingdoms at war/ The approach of the end. Betrayal. Romance and most of all a great cast of characters to boost off. Utter perfection, Meadows'  writing is as usual fantastic. I so wish there were more books in the series instead of it being the first of a duology and another coming soon. But holy hell this book is worth it all.

Wilhelmina Korte is the Orphan Princess-Queen of Aecor. She and her ragtag Osprey's fight to take back their conquered kingdom and if they have to impersonate dead people to do it then so be it. Getting inside information. Integrating with enemies or anything useful for taking back Aecor. But the vigilante Black Knife and the Wraiths prove more than the requisite hurdles in their paths. And the author has created just the perfect world to set her tale upon as well.

Wil was a great heroine. She is brave, selfless, and intelligent. Knows to be fair to all and has the ingenious ability of thinking on her feet. Most of all she exudes loyalty from those around her. Melanie had questionable loyalty and the Black Knife proved much to curious about Wil and Prince Tobiah was according to Wil 'sour'. Every character bringing something to the table, well written and hidden among so many layers. Romance is there too, won't go into specifics, although it is quite predictable once you have read through to a portion of the book. But i'll only say this - Poor Wil!

Then the author just had to leave us all high and dry with that awful cliffhanger ending. The wait for 'The Mirror King' is definitely gonna be a pain. But in a sense I do appreciate it even if it was heartbreaking. I recommend it guys, try this if you love fantasy or post apocalyptic or just - like to experience a well written book, then definitely give this book a shot.

"A vividly intriguing fantasy in a vividly intriguing world"

Genre :     Young Adult, Paranormal, Romance, High Fantasy, Dystopia

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

Release Date: 10th March, 2015

My Copy: bought (ebook)

Rate:             5/5 (It was Awesome)

Other Books by the Author(review links):
         Newsoul #1 Incarnate 
         Newsoul #2 Asunder

Buy:         Amazon | Book Depository 

Sunday, 5 July 2015

The Game #3 Crash

Presenting The Game #3 Crash by Eve Silver.

Here is the summary of the book:

A thrilling action/suspense novel for fans of The Fifth Wave about contemporary teens pulled in and out of an alternate reality where battling aliens is more than a game—it's life and death.

Miki’s life is falling apart around her. Her dad and best friend are lying in the hospital. The Game is glitching, making missions more frequent and more deadly. And someone close to her is waiting for the right moment to betray her.

Miki feels like she’s hanging on by a thread and the only thing keeping her tethered is Jackson’s hand in hers. Yet telling him how much she needs him, how much she loves him, feels like the biggest challenge of all. And if Miki really wants the missions to end for everyone, she’ll have to let go and be ready to fight when the walls between the Game and reality come crashing down. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned, it’s that she’s got a whole lot left to lose.

Crash is the pulse-pounding conclusion to the Game trilogy fans won’t want to miss.

An action-packed (surprisingly) emotionally deep final book in the series. The decisive chapter. For Miki, Jackson and their troop against the Drau invaders. With plenty of action, plenty of drama, of mystery, and plenty of emotional overtures, 'Crash' comes crashing down on us weapons ablaze and keeps us invested along for the ride.

Eve Silver keeps the story straight while spinning curveballs at us as we near the end. Answers never expected are unearthed, about the true nature of the game, the committee and their purpose in it all. The truth is a bitter pill to swallow isn't it! But Miki and Jackson soldier on. Devastating to know that your reasons for fighting are even more sinister than naught. Situations are depressing because of Miki's dad and Carly are in the hospital in intensive care. Situations are rock bottom for Miki but kind and sexy Jackson picks her back up.

There wasn't much in the sense of romance but the much we see was sweet and more than enough. The author, as I already stated maintains the flow of the plot. Nothing lacking. Neither the plot, neither the action, neither the pace nor the twists & turns. The characterization was definitely a plus. The despair among the players over all the lives lost to the years they gave to the game can be felt through the pages, tugging at our hearts.

That said, 'Crash' is clearly the final book of the series and as such i'm sad to see it end. Of course the tale is far from over since the book ends on a hopeful open ending. Action-packed and dramatic till the end, I would totally look forward to more books in the series if it is ever a possibility.

"Action-packed attention grabber"

Genre :      Young Adult, Sci-fi, Paranormal, Romance, Dystopia, Survival

PublisherKatherine Tegen Books

Release Date: 9th June, 2015

My Copy: publisher and edelweiss

Rate:              5/5 (It was Amazing)

Books in the series (review links):
              #1 Rush 
              #2 Push

Buy:           Amazon | Book Depository 

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