Review: The Lunar Chronicles #3.5, Fairest by Marissa Meyer

22489107Blurb from Goodreads

Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Who is the fairest of them all?

Fans of the Lunar Chronicles know Queen Levana as a ruler who uses her “glamour” to gain power. But long before she crossed paths with Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress, Levana lived a very different story – a story that has never been told . . . until now.

Marissa Meyer spins yet another unforgettable tale about love and war, deceit and death. This extraordinary book includes full-color art and an excerpt from Winter, the next book in the Lunar Chronicles series.

Hardcover, 222 pages
Published January 27th 2015 by Feiwel & Friends
edition language: English
series: The Lunar Chronicles
genre: Dystopia, Retelling, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up. You build up all these defenses, you build up a whole suit of armor, so that nothing can hurt you, then one stupid person, no different from any other stupid person, wanders into your stupid life…You give them a piece of you. They didn’t ask for it. They did something dumb one day, like kiss you or smile at you, and then your life isn’t your own anymore. Love takes hostages. It gets inside you. It eats you out and leaves you crying in the darkness, so simple a phrase like ‘maybe we should be just friends’ turns into a glass splinter working its way into your heart. It hurts. Not just in the imagination. Not just in the mind. It’s a soul-hurt, a real gets-inside-you-and-rips-you-apart pain. I hate love.”

― Neil Gaiman, The Sandman, Vol. 9: The Kindly Ones

This is a story about love, a love that causes jealousy, hurt and madness. Levana craves love; from her parents who never able to show it to her, from her older sister who is cunning even in earlier age and most importantly from a man that attracts her from the first time she met him. She has love she’s willing to share yet she doesn’t have anyone to share with.

Levana as all we know is an evil antagonist in The Lunar Chronicles. So evil I want her to meet her end in a very hurtful way. But somehow, I can guess that there is a story, her reason, why she acted the way she did. I’m glad she has her own story, as I know her more well now. I think it’s a sad story, as sad as Disney’s live-action Maleficent. I feel sorry for her, but it doesn’t mean that I forgive her for all of her cruelty. What she did is beyond reason and unforgivable. But that’s the best thing about this book. It can make me sorry for her as much as hate her at the same time.

description

As a bridge between book 3 and 4 (or is it a prequel of book 1?) I already knew most of the things in the story. Reading it is like putting the puzzle of who is who and what they will become in next books, one by one. I think it’s good because it means that it intertwines with a whole Lunar Chronicles books. But in a way it’s also kinda boring. There is a time when I wish I get surprise from the story, just so I feel like I get something else something different in the story. So it is good Levana is a strong character. She can make me bear a bit of boredom and turn it into engaging story.

Although there isn’t much happens here, at least not much if I compare with other characters in Lunar Chronicles’ story, I think Levana’s story is stronger than Cress’ and probably more complex than Cinder and Scarlet’s story. Now I can’t wait to read the final one, Winter.

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #17
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish at least 5 series I’ve started.
– Popsugar: A book based entirely on its cover
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Review: Taking #3, Collide by Melissa West

16032329Blurb from Goodreads

Military legacy Ari Alexander has survived alien spies, WWIV, and a changing world order. But when the new leader of Earth uses Jackson—the only boy she’s ever let herself care about—to get to her, Ari has no choice but to surrender.

To free Jackson, she agrees to travel to the national bases to train others to fight. What she discovers is a land riddled with dying people. Ari has the power to heal by turning the fighters into aliens—half-breeds like her. If she succeeds, together, they have a chance at overthrowing the alien leader, Zeus. But if she fails, everyone she holds dear will be wiped away forever.

Once again, everything Ari’s come to believe is thrown into question. In a world of uncertainty, loyalties are tested, lies are uncovered, and no one can be trusted. If Ari and Jackson have any hope at survival and at preserving a life for the future, they must fight the final war with their eyes wide open.

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published February 9th 2015 by Entangled: Teen
edition language: English
series: Taking
genre: Dystopia, Sci-fi, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

When book 2, Hover, didn’t live my expectation, I don’t except anything to the final one. But that’s when the best thing for the series happens. This book is the best among the three. I think it’s perfect as the last book.

Ari doesn’t lose focus anymore here, instead she’s so determine and clear of what she wants and what she has to do. She’s more badass which I liked, by the way because she doesn’t waste her talent into some wishy-washy thoughts like in book 2. Her romance with Jackson is also spots on. And it doesn’t shadow the action. But then again, it’s one of things I like from the series. There is romance but never shadow the story of the human versus the alien.

I couldn’t agree more with the tagline of the book, The War is Imminent. You’ll find more action and tension here, more than in book 1. It’s like Ari and other characters are always in the run and danger as the war approaches. But my favorite thing is Zeus’s mind game. It’s so good I keep wandering which one is real and which one is not. When I read it, I think I know when Ari dreams but then I’m not so sure anymore. I liked the feeling when I read it. It’s confusing but in a good way, if you know what I mean.

But if I have to point out one thing I’m not quite satisfy, is Ari’s POV makes some scenes aren’t not clear enough for me. Her POV limited few things I really want to know more. It’s just my preference, though. This book is still the best of the series.

Note: Is it just me or do you feel like there is a potential of sequel or spin-off of the series?

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #15
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.

Review: Rebel Wing #2, Storm Fall by Tracy Banghart

23556036Blurb from Goodreads

In the action-packed sequel to Rebel Wing, Aris battles for life and love . . . and not everyone will survive.

Aris Haan gave up everything to join the Atalantan Military: her family, her boyfriend, even her identity. In the end, though, it didn’t matter that she was a war hero. When the all-male Military discovered that she was actually a woman, she was sent home and erased from history.

Now she has a chance to go back to the battlefield—as herself. But as hard as it was to be a soldier in disguise, it’s even more difficult now. The men in her unit undermine her at every turn. The Safaran army has spies everywhere, perhaps even on Aris’s stationpoint. And she’s falling for her mysterious superior officer, Milek. But their relationship is forbidden, just stolen moments between training sessions and missions. There’s no room for love in war.

Then Aris discovers that Safara’s leaders have set their sights on her, Atalanta’s hero. And she must find them before they find her . .

Kindle Edition, 230 pages
Published December 16th 2014 by Alloy Entertainment – Powered by Amazon
edition language: English
series: Rebel Wing
genre: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

I think this sequel is much better than Rebel Wing. In Rebel Wing, half of it was boring, but here there isn’t any single dull moment I can find. It’s so engaging I read it in one sitting. It’s fast-paced from the beginning to the end.

I have to admit that the idea that Aris has to struggle (again) in the military made me doubt the story. Although I have a high hope to this book, I also think that it can be repetitive as Aris has to do the similar things as in book 1, though for different case. She’s indeed struggle for her position again, but the author write it well to avoid the similar things happen twice. And for that I’m so happy. It’s so good reading her struggling and determination throughout the story, as well as her hide and seek relationship with Major Vadim.

However I still don’t like reading Ward Neko and Ward Vadim relationship. In fact I couldn’t care less of their romance. For me, as leaders, especially Ward Neko, they don’t bring much contribution to the war their dominions have to face. I see him as a weak character. Maybe he’s meant to be that way, but his regret over his past love doesn’t give any good to his dominion. And reading it is so annoying. I rather read about Dysis relationship, or even Pallas story. So I think it is good they don’t take much in the story.

This book is still action-packed. Not just from Aris’ flying ability, but also from the nightmare that she has to face. It’s like the tension is all over her and she doesn’t have anything to avoid it.

On a side note, I think this book still has unclear things, just like in book 1. 1) I’m wondering where Theo goes? He’s the one who recognize Aris flying talent but he still doesn’t show up in the story. It’s like the author forgets him. 2) The invisible wingjet. It is invisible not only from the outside, but also from the inside of the jet, as in the pilot cannot see its nose and all. Does it make sense? I mean if it is the case, doesn’t it dangerous for the pilots for not being able to see their own jet? I know there are these kinds of military jet in our world, stealth jet, if I’m not wrong that can invisible from the radar and all. But I don’t think it’s truly invisible as in there is nothing that can see it, including its pilots. 3) Similar case with Theo, where does Aero Contas go? He’s an ass and is being station to another stationpoint, but I thought, well I assumed, to be honest, from his talk to Aris that he will appear again in the story. But until the last page, he doesn’t show up anymore.

All in all I really liked this sequel. I’m enjoying it more than book 1 and is as good as I expected. It still has things I dislike, though. But it doesn’t mean that I won’t read book 3, in fact I cannot wait to get my hand on it!

Result: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #13
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.

Review: Taking #2, Hover by Melissa West

16032322Blurb from Goodreads

On Earth, seventeen-year-old Ari Alexander was taught to never peek, but if she hopes to survive life on her new planet, Loge, her eyes must never shut. Because Zeus will do anything to save the Ancients from their dying planet, and he has a plan.

Thousands of humans crossed over to Loge after a poisonous neurotoxin released into Earth’s atmosphere, nearly killing them. They sought refuge in hopes of finding a new life, but what they became were slaves, built to wage war against their home planet. That is, unless Ari and Jackson can stop them. But on Loge, nothing is as it seems…and no one can be trusted.

Kindle Edition, 352 pages
Published August 13th 2013 by Entangled Teen
edition language: English
series: Taking
genre: Dystopia, Sci-fi, Young Adult, Romance
My Thoughts
Although book 1 of Taking series is only a 3 stars for me, I think it has interesting idea and I like the way Ms. West wrote it. And compare to some of dystopian YA books I’ve read, it is a better one. So I have a high hope to its sequels.

This time, Ari’s story takes place in Jackson’s planet. As a place that is so far away from the earth, I need a vivid worldbuilding, or at least enough description about the place so that I believe that the characters are in other planet, outside the earth. Just like book 1, the writing is still good, the description of the worldbuilding is also so clear I can picture it in my mind easily. But I feel like there is no difference with the earth. Everything seems similar to the earth. I don’t get the feeling that it is a place that is so far away from the earth that you need a wormhole to send messages.

I also feel there is not much happen in most of the story. Thus it feels slower than book 1. I know what Ari has to do here is not an easy task. But she’s being with the enemy, I feel she loses focus of what she has to do. In a way she spends her time training as a RES, Republic Employee Spy, since she’s a half-human, half-ancient now but I don’t see she does much training as other RES do. In another hand, she has to kill Zeus. I don’t see much of her plan or effort to do it either. All of her attempts are mostly caught in the act kind of thing, without so much planning as she wants to. And her I-have-to-kill Zeus speech at the end of many chapter sound like a broken record for me.

But don’t worried I still have things I like. The writing is still good. Despite the slow-paced, it is an engaging story. I also like the way Ari chooses not to be in a relationship with Jackson immediately. She needs time which is understandable and it makes the story not all about herself. She places her people and her task above her relationship with him. So book 3, here I come!

Result: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #12
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish at least 5 series I’ve started
– Popsugar: A book you own but have never read

Rebel Wing #1, Shattered Veil by Tracy Banghart

20951188Blurb from GoodReads

When everything that defines you is stripped away, who do you become?

War has invaded Atalanta’s quiet villages and lush woodlands, igniting whispered worries in its glittering capitol. Far from the front lines, 18-year-old Aris Haan, a talented wingjet flyer, has little cause for concern. Until her beloved Calix is thrust into the fray, and a stranger makes her an impossible offer: the chance to join a secret army of women embedded within the all-male military.

Aris’s choice to follow Calix to war will do more than put her in physical danger; it will make her question everything she believes about herself. When she and her enigmatic commander uncover a deadly conspiracy, her expert flying may be the only hope for her dominion’s survival…and her own.

It’s Mulan meets Battlestar Galactica, with a heroine who is strong enough to save a nation…but only if she’s willing to sacrifice everything, even the one promise she swore she’d never break.

Kindle Edition, 372 pages
Published February 24th 2014
edition language: English
series: Rebel Wing
genre: Dystopia, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
ARC was provided by the author/publisher via NetGalley in exchange for honest review.

I think this is a good book and I enjoyed reading it, mostly in second part.

The first part was a struggle for me. Despite the war that is looming in Aris’ world, the story is a bit boring. Although I admire her eagerness to be with her loved one, Calix, I’m also annoyed with her. She’s joining the military to be close to him, so she should know the consequences. But in all her training time she’s whiney and is so innocent, if not a bit silly and careless. I know it is needed for her character development, as we can guess she’ll soon realize her role and reasons in the military is bigger than her initial reason, but still I felt like I want to tell her to stop complaining. In a way, it makes the story feels slow. And then, there is another story between the leaders of the dominion, it isn’t as interesting as Aris story and I felt it kind of dragged on.

Another thing is there isn’t much description about most of the important things, well at least important for me.

When I read the blurb I thought that this is a dystopian story. I felt like it is a dystopian but I didn’t get clear worldbuilding and the time setting of the story. If it’s a dystopian I need to know what happened before Aris’ time takes place. My friend said this might set in an alternate universe as we felt places in the story remind us of places in our world. But there isn’t much any description either. So it’s pretty hard for me to picture Aris’ world.

As the most important thing in Aris disguise, the Diatous Veil, didn’t describe much either. Aris has to have it to manipulate human eyes to think that she’s a man. The book says that it has something to do with electrode. I don’t think it’s enough for my brain to believe it. I need more explanation about it, how about the chemistry and other technical things that connects to the electrode?

There are so many questions about it in my mind as so does with the reason of the war. I hope I’ll get the answers in next books.

Fortunately, second part is much better as the pace takes turn. Aris is more likeable. She begins to understand her role in the military. Her struggle to keep hiding her identity is also interesting. In order to keep her “mask” I think it’s impossible for her to avoid touching her friends in the military, but I also can’t wait to know when and how her disguise reveals.

I also like the way Aris and Calix relationship grows. It’s bittersweet but it’s understandable. It surely adds the drama in their relationship and become an important thing in Aris’ life. And it’s action-packed. I really enjoyed reading how Aris loves flying. I can see that she indeed loves to fly.

Can’t wait to read book 2! Thank goodness I’ve already had it so I don’t have to wait for long to read it.

Result: 3 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #11
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish all of ARCs (Advance Reader Copy) I have by the end of 2015.

Review: Starbound #2, This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

13138734Blurb from Goodreads

The second installment in the epic Starbound trilogy introduces a new pair of star-crossed lovers on two sides of a bloody war.

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet’s rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn’s blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

ebook
Published December 23rd 2014 by Hyperion
edition language: English
series: Starbound
genre: Dystopian, Romance, Young Adult
My Thoughts
I really like the first few chapters in this book, though Jubilee and Flynn remind me of Legend a lot. It’s so engaging. Jubilee, is kickass heroine and so does Flynn. Those chapters attract me I even felt like this is so much better than These Broken Stars. But then unfortunately it’s falling slowly into the boringness.

My biggest problem was Jubilee and Flynn back and forth feeling regarding their role. They are meant to have a star-crossed kind of relationship, I know that, and I understand when they feel conflicted but when it happens so many times, I cannot avoid feel bored. Add it with the push and pull relationship between both of them. And how things often come too easily for them I ended up skipping pages, mostly in the middle of the story. I just felt the story was going nowhere while I was so eager to finish. And when I skip pages or just skim the book it never a good sign for me.

On the other hand, I think Jubilee and Flynn’s story is more interesting than Lilac and Tarver’s. It’s more complex and has more actions, though maybe it’s because there are more characters in it than in These Broken Stars. I really liked how the authors connect Jubilee and Flynn with Lilac and Tarver. It makes the story intertwine each other and become a whole series. Something that I never thought when I knew that book 2 of Starbound series isn’t about Lilac and Tarver anymore. I also like how Jubilee’s past plays role in her present. And I did like the way she tells her past, though it’s still unclear for me.

Although this series isn’t that impressive for me I can’t wait to read the final book. It has to be epic since there are big things that still left unsolved.
Result: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge:
– GoodReads: Book #4
– YA Buddy Readers’ Corner ♥: Finish at least 5 series I’ve started.
– Popsugar: A book set in the future

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