Thursday, 28 June 2012

Lucas by Kevin Brooks

Caitlin is spending the summer on the windswept island that is her home. She is caught between girlhood and maturity, and feels utterly isolated from the rest of the world. Then she meets Lucas, who is the embodiment of freedom and honesty. She is instantly drawn to him. But Caitlin must also grapple with the darker forces that seem to be confronting her family. Lucas himself further complicates matters when he is hunted for an awful crime that Caitlin herself becomes involved in.

The Cover: There are a few different covers for this book (which I only discovered when getting the picture for this review) and I'm so glad that my sister had this version. (I 'borrowed' it from her about half a year ago). It's not the best, but I absolutely love its simplicity. It really reflects the simplicity of Lucas himself. Plus, the blue is a very nice colour - kind of like the sea.

The Characters: In my mind, there are two groups of characters in this book. There's the Evil Meanies (this is only my opinion, mind), which consist of Jamie Tait and Sara Toms mainly, who are just smarmy and spiteful and I do not like them one little bit. The second group consists of the Goodies; mainly Lucas and Caitlin. But Lucas really should be in a group of his own. He is just simple and honest. These are my favourite qualities about any character, and it serves as a fantastic contrast to the over the top complexity of all the other characters. Caitlin is so much like me it's insane. Loves the beach? Check. Fascinated by Lucas? Check. She's also intelligent, but she never comes across as false. It really is like reading someone talking about a part of their lives.

The Setting: Lucas is set on the island of Hale, which is joined to the mainland by a long causeway/road thing called the Stand. There are a lot of settings on the island that the book goes into, my favourites being the beach (for obvious reasons), the mudflats (which are really important to the story) and beyond the mudflats. I won't say more about that one because it might spoil it. The setting is also brilliant because it really aids the hysteria as it grows. You know how typically people from tiny towns and/or small islands are really distrustful of other people? Well, this perfectly captured in this book.

The Overall Story: I love it. I love it. I love it. It's heartbreaking. I read this in a day and afterwards I was honestly gobsmacked and furious at the world. It grabbed me and pulled me into its world and I got so invested in the story, in Caitlin and Lucas, that I honestly didn't know what to do with myself after the last page. The most remarkable thing about it, I think, is that there is no doubt that Caitlin is in love with Lucas. No doubt whatsoever. But there's no declarations of this love, there isn't any physical contact (I think the most she gets is a kiss on the cheek), she doesn't even say it in her thoughts. It's like the book is screaming 'SHE LOVES HIM'. Which makes all of it so much sadder.

Definitely 5 out of 5 for me.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers review!

Grave Mercy by Robin Lafevers. 

Young, beautiful and deadly.
Trained as an assassin by the god of Death, Ismae is sent to the court of Brittany, where she finds herself under prepared - not only for the games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death's vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
A dangerous romance full of intrigue, poison and ultimately finding one's way.

A fifteenth century assassin falling in love with the man she was ordered to kill? This immediately sounded like my kind of book! At first I was a little apprehensive to read it because I haven’t read a lot of historical fiction but Grave mercy hooked me on the first page! Now on to the review.

The cover: This cover is so amazing, it gives the book a perfect first image and doesn’t deceive readers. I also love how the title stands out and is simple, unlike some books that just go overboard on their font. So its a thumbs up for the cover!

The characters: There are a lot of characters in this book and I did find myself getting confused with who was who and what side they were on, but this tiny flaw was just surpassed by each distinctive personality LaFevers gave to each character, making the story have a sense of realism and making the reader become attached to characters other than the leading lady (cough Beast cough). The main character, Ismae, was likeable from the first page, she is so loyal to the people she loves and is a strong woman knows what she has to do without letting her feelings get in the way. And of course there is Duval. I love Duval. Duval is awesome.

The setting: Grave mercy takes place in fifteenth century Brittany before France took over. The story takes place mainly in a mansion of sorts which immediately makes me love the setting, with its winding corridors and hidden tunnels, it just adds so much to the story making it that much more enjoyable.

The overall story: Although the blurb suggests that this is a romance, it is much more than this. Its filled with betrayals, deaths, treasons and politics and you find yourself going 'Oh he's a bad guy!' and then later going 'wait, he's actually good!', I am usually able to predict who the bad guy is in books but with Grave mercy I couldn't guess what the outcome would be! I also love the romance in this book because Ismae doesn't fall in love with the love interest at first glance and she doesn't start to trust him straight away like other characters may do in other books, we actually get to see her love grow throughout the book which is refreshing!

This book has such a unique premise and will grip readers from the first page, it will break your heart but then piece it back together again and will make you question which characters are good and which ones are bad and it will ultimately shock you with betrayals! I rate this Grave mercy 5 out of 5 stars because I didn't get bored once whilst reading it and feel in love with the story!

Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

When Henry meets Clare, he is twenty-eight and she is twenty. He is a hip librarian; she is a beautiful art student. Henry has never met Clare before; Clare has known Henry since she was six...

Following the format of Brodi's last review of Wither, I'll split this review into four parts.

The Cover:
The cover becomes almost self explanatory as you read the book, and I love it because it captures the essence of the story - the main reason I love the story. A girl is waitng for a time travelling man, waiting with the facilities to help him. It really does show the depth and simplicity of their love in the midst of all the confusing timelines and complexities of Henry.

The Characters:
Most of the characters are paired off, which I think is pretty genius, mostly because it's easier to track them...timelines confuse me and having two people effectively as a unit, makes it easier to keep a handle on them. The main characters are, obviously, Clare Abshire, who is understanding and creative and most importantly: patient. Which leads us to Henry DeTamble, he's a librarian (already high in my estimation) and his sense of humour is really what made him likeable to me in the first section of the novel. What's extraordinary about these characters is that they know how they're going to end up (mostly), so there's none of the 'willl they wont they' fuss which, I have to admit, I'm starting to dislike. Next, there's Gomez and Charisse - who are friends of Clare. I am not a fan of Gomez at all. I just really dislike the character, which adds to the realism of the book, if anything. You're not supposed to like everyone you meet, are you? That's my rationale, anyway. There's also Alba, but in the interest of keeping this review spoiler free, I'll leave that one well alone.

The Setting:
The main settings are Chicago, which I dont really know anything about, so I'll just assume that it's accurate. The second main setting is the Meadow, which I love, both because I like meadows and it's really symbolic.

The Overall Story:
I love the overall story. I became so attached to the characters that when I reached the last page, I jumped back a few chapters because I didnt want it to end. It's beautiful, it really is. The relationship between Henry and Clare is a joy to read, there isn't glorious harmony throughout their relationship as you might expect, but that's what makes it better because you really feel like you've been invited into the bubble of their world.

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Wither by Lauren DeStefano.

 Wither by Lauren DeStefano review. 

Sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery has only four years left to live when she is kidnapped by the Gatherers and forced into a polygamous marriage. Now she has one purpose: to escape, find her twin brother, and go home – before her time runs out forever.
What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb – males only live to age twenty-five and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape – to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

           Lets just begin this review by saying this is an amazing book! I honestly think that everyone should read Wither, even if they are not fans or haven't read Dystopian YA books, because it is a brilliant story with a descriptive setting and contains a world that will draw you in from the first pages. So to do this review without rambling or going off on a tangent, I will split it into four sections. The characters. The cover. The setting. The overall story.

The Cover: Okay, lets just start off with a shallow point, the cover is gorgeous! People should just buy this for the cover, and of course because the story within is equally amazing, but it looks damn good in a bookcase! Also, the cover creates a perfect image of the story straight away, there are so many clues to what the story is like, you'll find yourself reading it and going "So thats what the birdcage was for!" and I just love it when the cover actually has a meaning to the story.

The Characters: One of the main things I love about the characters in this book is the individual differences DeStefano has created, each character has different qualities and are completely different people, for example Cecily is very childish and bubbly whereas Jenna is quiet and reserved and Rhine is extremely strong willed, which I think helps bring the story together as we see all three sister wives deal with their situation differently, and you star to root for every character, hoping that they will find a way out of the horrible situation!

The Setting: One of the problems I've seen come up in the book blogging community about Wither is the fact that the setting is set only in one place, but I disagree. The story is set in a mansion of sorts but rarely ventures far from that setting, which I think adds to the sense of feeling trapped perfectly. I found myself wanting the characters to get out of the house just as much as the characters themselves! However, the setting was so detailed that I began to fall in love with the house, you have a golf course, a swimming pool with holographic fish swimming around and a library stacked full of books, I'd love to see it for myself, well without having to marry a stranger!

The Overall story: I think the overall story is the best feature this book has. The premise is so unique but also really realistic, which added a sense of scariness as I found myself thinking “this could actually happen in the future!” The setting, characters and plot is so creative, I rarely found myself becoming bored with the story. Even the villain of the book was amazing, I found him quite creepy and I don't scare easily!

The setting and premise of Wither sucked me in instantly, the characters added so much emotion to the book and the cover wrapped up the story perfectly! The only flaws I had found in the book is the romance side of it, this isn't a romance story in my eyes, the love interest was more of a side story to me as we don't get to find out that much about Gabriel or see Rhine's love for him grow. I would've loved to of seen more of Gabriel to give me a better sense of his character and who he was as a person. Overall, this book gets a four out of five from me so I definitely recommend it!

P.s: I want to say thank you again to Elsie for getting me this book for my birthday, it was awesome!