Review: The Giver Quartet #1, The Giver by Lois Lowry

8309278Blurb from Goodreads

The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.

Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Published April 26th 1993 by HMH Books for Young Readers (first published 1993)
edition language: English
series: The Giver Quartet
genre: Dystopia, Children/Middle grade
My Thoughts
The community was so meticulously ordered, the choices so carefully made.To be honest, I read this book because I want to watch the movie version. Based on its trailer, I thought the book is a young adult book. So you can imagine how surprised I was when I know that it’s a children/middle-grade book. And Goodreads put it under dystopia list. Most of children books I read were fantasy. So this is the first one for me and let me tell you that it’s more frightening than any YA dystopian books I’ve ever read. Yes, it’s even scarier than The Hunger Games trilogy. I think what scared me the most in Jonas world is the rules. I’m not a rule-breaker kind of person, though I’m not an abiding rule person either, but the idea that my life is controlled by rules is really frightening. I don’t get a choice of who will be my husband, my children, my jobs, not even my bicycle. The rules in Jonas world, or community as he knows it, take to a new level.

Jonas lives in a community where everything is monitored and controlled by the rules. He got his own family by the age of one, had his “independence” and responsibilities when he was eight. By the time he was nine, he got his bicycle. His first hair cut was when he was ten. And he will assign for his job when he’s twelve. If he wants to have a spouse, he has to apply to the committee whom will choose his spouse, when he reaches his adult age. When they marry, they have to apply to get a child. And then their child will start the same circle.

I really liked the way it’s written. It’s slow-paced but that way I can see the difference between Jonas before the Assignment and after he receive his assignment. And he is so easy to connect. First part where he doesn’t know the truth feels like an ideal community. Everything and everyone live peacefully and in order. There are no differences, everything and everyone is the same. But I also feel like they aren’t real human. While in second part, where Jonas knows the truth feel like more real and colorful. It made me questioning the ideal community Jonas lives. Is it really an ideal community when the citizen doesn’t have a choice? And knowing that human can make mistakes with their choices, should they have it in the first place? I really liked the contradictory in it. Everything that Jonas chooses has consequences, even if he chooses nothing.

As I reach the final page, I can see that the movie trailer doesn’t look anything like the book. It is way different, not only in Jonas age but I also don’t recognize most of the scenes in the trailer. In the end, I don’t care whether it is children or YA book as I really enjoy reading it (with my adult eyes and mind). So I think I can see the movie and the book as different thing too.

Result: 4 out of 5 stars
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Review: The Ascendance Trilogy #2, The Runaway King by Jennifer A. Nielsen

15703770Blurb from Goodread

A kingdom teetering on the brink of destruction. A king gone missing. Who will survive? Find out in the highly anticipated sequel to Jennifer A. Nielsen’s blockbuster THE FALSE PRINCE!

Just weeks after Jaron has taken the throne, an assassination attempt forces him into a deadly situation. Rumors of a coming war are winding their way between the castle walls, and Jaron feels the pressure quietly mounting within Carthya. Soon, it becomes clear that deserting the kingdom may be his only hope of saving it. But the further Jaron is forced to run from his identity, the more he wonders if it is possible to go too far. Will he ever be able to return home again? Or will he have to sacrifice his own life in order to save his kingdom?

The stunning second installment of The Ascendance Trilogy takes readers on a roller-coaster ride of treason and murder, thrills and peril, as they journey with the Runaway King!

Kindle Edition
Published March 1st 2013 by Scholastic Press
language edition: English
series: The Ascendance Trilogy
genre: Fantasy, Children
My Thoughts
I expect this book will be better than its prequel, The False Prince or at least as good as it is, but I’m so disappointed that it cannot glue me to the story. Most of the time I’m bored with Jaron/Sage.

This time Jaron is back as Sage in order to save Carthya from Avenia, while the regents think that he is too young to become a King and suggest a Steward to replace him.

I know he is indeed still young but I was kinda expect that he will be more mature, because he’s a royal after all and he is a King. But he acts only as he wants, never consider of what other think. He is more act first think later. Despite there are people who want his throne, he surely has someone who loyal to him. He never hears what his side suggest, instead he just does what he think right without second thought and then he regret it. And by the time he changes his mind, it’s already too late. He’s also reckless and cannot learn from his mistake.

And the most annoying thing is he seems always in the right place at the right time. There are too many coincidence and lucky in his part. I think it makes his “adventure” easier that it’s supposed to be.

I still want to read the last book, though. But I don’t know when. It isn’t in my top priority anymore.

Result: 2.5 out of 5 stars

Review: The Ascendance Trilogy #1, The False King By Jennifer A. Nielsen

12432220Blurb from Goodreads

THE FALSE PRINCE is the thrilling first book in a brand-new trilogy filled with danger and deceit and hidden identities that will have readers rushing breathlessly to the end.

In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point — he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.

As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.

An extraordinary adventure filled with danger and action, lies and deadly truths that will have readers clinging to the edge of their seats.

Kindle Edition, 1st Edition, 352 pages
Published: April 1st 2012 by Scholastic
Edition language: English
Series: The Ascendance Trilogy
Genre: Fantasy, Children
My Thoughts
Sage, the main character and narrator of this book is a 14 years old boy who lives in orphanage. He’s well known as a very good thief. His life changed when he gets caught and someone bought him from the orphanage to become a pawn in Carthya kingdom political intrigue. He, along with two other orphans, Tobias and Roden have to compete each other to become a false prince, an impostor of Prince Jaron of Carthya who everyone thought has already died 4 years ago but his body never been found.

One thing I loved most from this book is the characters. The author created her characters in gray area. There is no one who actually kind and be a good character as well as there isn’t anyone who is truly evil either. They have their own reason to act and think the way they did. In some point I agree with them or at least I can understand why they did it, but then in other part I think what they did is wrong. Each character has virtues and vices both I liked and disliked. Sage, for example although from the very beginning I already liked him with his witty and mischievous, he also annoyed me with his rebel attitude. He didn’t take what happened to him seriously and seem didn’t care either, though it’s also obvious that he is smart, kind, and brave. It’s just there was time when I think he wasted his time and virtues just to prove to Connor that he can. And Connor is interested me more than other characters. He is one of the regents of Carthya, the one who bought Sage and other orphan and prepare them to become Prince Jaron. Most of the time I was questioning his motive, whether he is a good regent who care about his kingdom or has hidden agenda.

However there is also one thing that I didn’t quite like. The paced was too slow for my taste. For the setting that only takes place in two weeks and a lot of things happened to prepare the false prince, it didn’t feel like Sage, Tobias and Roden only have two weeks to prepare themselves. Hence, it couldn’t make me glue to the book. I needed 3 days to finish it. And there is one teeny tiny little thing that kinda distracted me, the words choice that I don’t think are used in regent era. It might be just my thought, though because English isn’t my first language so I maybe don’t know much about it but I don’t think c’mon (instead of come on) is used in 19th century, the setting I assumed the story takes place.

Note: Everybody wants to rule by Lorde is my soundtrack when I read it.

Welcome to your life
There’s no turning back
Even while we sleep
We will find you

Acting on your best behavior
Turn your back on Mother Nature
Everybody wants to rule the world

It’s my own design
It’s my own remorse
Help me to decide
Help me make the most of freedom
And of pleasure
Nothing ever lasts forever
Everybody wants to rule the world

There’s a room where the light won’t find you
Holding hands while the walls come tumbling down
When they do, I’ll be right behind you
So glad we’ve almost made it
So sad we had to fade it
Everybody wants to rule the world
Everybody wants to rule the world
Everybody wants to rule the world

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars