Book Review: Enclave

Aug
12
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Enclave Enclave by
Series: Razorland #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: , ,
Pages: 259
Source:
Goodreads

WELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE

In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups–Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear—to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

My Review:

This book was an interesting experience for me. I read it while driving to Chicago to catch my plane. One of the best places for me to read is scrunched into the car on a long journey, and because of that I sped through it. At the same time I kind of felt disappointed. There had been such hype over the book when it first came out and between the blurb and the reviews, I lusted after the book something fierce! 


That said, I think the book was very good. Maybe my slight disappointment was merely due to the recent let down off the high of finishing Divergent in less than 12 hours. While none of the characters particularly stood out, the setting and the way Aguirre deals with the emotional and psychological problems after such a disaster is phenomenal. The zombie men also reminded me a little of the reavers from Firefly – one of my favorite shows, and therefore a major plus in my book!


In the end, I’d say this book is an entertaining and thought provoking read that is definitely worth your time, but with all the competition out there, don’t expect it to be the next Hunger Games.





Mini Book Review: Divergent

Aug
11
4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Divergent Divergent by
Series: Divergent #1
Published by in 2012
Genres: , ,
Pages: 487
Source:
Goodreads

Beatrice "Tris" Prior has reached the fateful age of sixteen, the stage at which teenagers in Veronica Roth's dystopian Chicago must select which of five factions to join for life. Each faction represents a virtue: Candor, Abnegation, Dauntless, Amity, and Erudite. To the surprise of herself and her selfless Abnegation family, she chooses Dauntless, the path of courage. Her choice exposes her to the demanding, violent initiation rites of this group, but it also threatens to expose a personal secret that could place in mortal danger. Veronica Roth's young adult Divergent trilogy launches with a captivating adventure about love and loyalty playing out under most extreme circumstances.

My Review:

There certainly are a lot of dystopian novels coming out recently! I have wanted to get my hands on this one for quite a while, especially after all the hype around its release! There was a time whe it seemed like everyone in the blogosphere had either read and loved this one or was desperate to get their hands on a copy.

Even though the hype has pretty much died down by now I am glad to say I found Divergent deserving of everything said about it. The plot was engaging and the world was detailed. The book seemed like the perfect mixture of The Hunger Games, Ender’s Game, and Harry Potter. My only concern is how very long the book is. I think the length is necessary and the plot is fast-paced enough to keep the reader interested, but some readers might be put off. I’m telling you now, don’t be! It is well worth it!





Book Review: Wither

May
23
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Wither Wither by
Series: Chemical Garden #1
Published by in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 358
Source:
Goodreads

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 Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

My Review:

More than anything else, Wither reminds me of The Handmaid’s Tale. True, it’s less graphic and less frightening overall, but Wither seems like what Handmaid’s Tale would be if it were a YA novel.


Despite the strangeness of the future setting, Rhine is very normal-seeming. Of course, she’s mostly normal in comparison to other dystopian heroines like Katniss from The Hunger Games and Vera from The Water Wars, but these strong-but-reluctant heroines seem to have become the norm. Not that it’s a bad thing, though it does make me wonder at the cultural implications. Either way, Rhine reacts to the situation in the same way I’d like to think I would in such an awful setting.


But the thing I liked the most is the way Destefano treated Rhine’s husband, the House Master. Even though Rhine was being forced into an unwilling marriage, it was very clear that her husband was not the one to blame. He may have been clueless and guilty by association, but it was very obvious that he should not be considered “the bad guy.” The one to watch out for is the Governor. That man is not only evil, he’s downright creepy! Here is the real mastermind of all the troubles. Even if he personally didn’t create the virus, he is the one you want to blame for everything. He’s the perfect villain, keeping me scared and angry and defiant all at once.


Overall, this was a great read. It explored all the ways society would change if we began dying so young and through that it was a wonderful cautionary tale. Let us hope the right people take heed!





Book Review: Delirium

May
17
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Delirium Delirium by
Series: Delirium #1
Published by in 2012
Genres: ,
Pages: 441
Source:
Goodreads

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

My Review:

I’m having a hard time pulling my thoughts together on this one, so I apologize if I seem less than coherent (or less than normal anyways). Delirium was definitely not what I was expecting. Somehow I’d forgotten everything I’d read in the reviews because all I knew was it was a society without love, going into it. What makes the book so intriguing is how centered on the theme of love the book actually is. Sure we have other love-less societies in dystopia; all the adults take pills to cure it in The Giver and in Ayn Rand’s Anthem, they’re brainwashed out of it. But in Delirium, love as a disease is so prominent it’s almost a character.

The scariest thing about this book for me is how logical the whole thing sounds. I doubt we could really connect love as the cause of all those diseases directly, but love causes stress which does cause a lot of diseases. When the crazy theories of the “bad guy” governments start making sense to me, I get real scared, because there are lots of people out there it would be even easier to convince! On the other hand, could we really convince all of society to give up love? For all we’re a “post-modern, disillusioned” society, we really are quite obsessed with the idea of “true love.”


Overall, though, an amazing read that makes you think! I would definitely recommend it to a friend.





Book Review: Matched

Apr
11
3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Matched Matched by
Series: Matched #1
Published by in 2010
Genres: ,
Pages: 369
Source:
Goodreads

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

My Review:

I have always been a fan of dystopia, ever since I read The Giver for the first time in fourth grade. Now, I know everyone has already made this comparison, but Matched felt like reading The Giver all over again. Some people complained that this was a problem and that Matched wasn’t original enough, but I disagree. I think Matched balanced its references to its predecessors with originality in such a way that made reading it an enjoyable experience. We’ve all had those books that we finish and wish that we could read it for the first time again. The only way to do that is to read something similar.

That said, I did get a little frustrated with Cassia. I don’t think it’s really her fault, it’s just that I’ve seen the topic of “girl has two boys and can’t decide which she wants” so many times now that it’s starting to get very old. Yes, fine, they’re both gorgeous, wonderful boys, but since when does being a girl automatically mean that you can’t make a decision? I don’t think this would have bothered me if it was the first time I’d seen this trope, but after a gazillion times it’s starting to get on my nerves.

On the other hand, I really loved the character of Ky. He is mysterious but sweet and helpful to Cassia when she needs it. But the thing I loved most is that even though I can tell that he’s part of the revolution, he isn’t looking for a fight. He believes in a different world, and if he had to he’d fight for it, but you can tell he doesn’t want to. That’s one of the major places I found originality in this series, and I liked it just for that. Yes, it does make for a more philosophical book than, say, the action packed trend The Hunger Games started. But it also makes a good point – sometimes violence isn’t necessarily the answer, and even if it is the answer, you shouldn’t go chasing after it until it’s the last resort.

So overall, enjoyable, but not for everyone. It has its good points, and it does have strong nods towards previous books. But, don’t go in expecting a ton of action, or you will be disappointed.





Book Review: Mockingjay

Mar
22
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Mockingjay Mockingjay by
Series: The Hunger Games #3
Published by in 2010
Genres:
Pages: 390
Source:
Goodreads

Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12.

My Review:

I’m going to go ahead and say something controversial here: I did not enjoy Mockingjay. Now before you go all torch and pitchforks on me, may I point out that you’re not supposed to? Mockingjay, and the whole series really, is meant to make you uncomfortable. It is meant to create cognitive dissonance. I can see this book being taught in 50 years alongside the famous dystopias like The Giver, Anthem and The Handmaid’s Tale

There has been a lot said about this book, so I’m not going to say much more. Besides, after finishing, it feels like there’s only one thing to say:

A Moment of Silence for those who gave their lives in this series:
Though you were fictional, you still left your mark.




Book Review: I am Number Four

Mar
17
0 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
I am Number Four I am Number Four by
Series: Lorien Legacies #1
Published by in 2010
Genres: ,
Pages: 440
Source:
Goodreads

In the beginning they were a group of nine. Nine aliens who left their home planet of Lorien when it fell under attack by the evil Mogadorian. Nine aliens who scattered on Earth. Nine aliens who look like ordinary teenagers living ordinary lives, but who have extraordinary, paranormal skills. Nine aliens who might be sitting next to you now.

The Nine had to separate and go into hiding. The Mogadorian caught Number One in Malaysia, Number Two in England, and Number Three in Kenya. All of them were killed. John Smith, of Paradise, Ohio, is Number Four. He knows that he is next.

My Review:

When I first saw this book around the blogosphere, I was kind of skeptical. I’m getting a little tired of the “New guy/girl falls for the wrong person but they were meant to be together  so they work it out in the end” and that’s exactly what this sounded like. I’m so glad to be proven wrong!


First of all, this is the first time I have ever seen one of these where one of them is an alien, and I like it! I’ve seen thousands of Vampire/Werewolf/Angel/Witch/whatever paranormal you fancy versions of this, and it’s getting to the point that they have to be absolutely fabulous for me to enjoy them because they’ve been done so often. But aliens have rarely been touched, and I think it’s a really good idea! We need to bring back YA sci-fi, and here’s a great start.


The thing I really liked about this one is that, even though there’s a love story to it, it’s not the main story. John loves Sarah but the important part of the story is the Mogadorians trying to kill Loriens, and that always comes first in the story. I really like this – many paranormal stories are all about the forbidden romance these days, and while that’s nice, I’m so ready for one that is more about the actual story not the romance. 

Oh, and of course I love the fact that it’s set in Ohio! We tend to be considered a boring place to live, and while I don’t disagree, it’s nice to read a story  that makes it seem at least a little more interesting.


I’m so excited to go see this  film someday, and I’m so glad I gave the book a chance!





Book Review: The Water Wars

Mar
10
2 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
The Water Wars The Water Wars by
Published by in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 240
Source:
Goodreads

Welcome to a future where water is more precious than gold or oil—and worth killing for

Vera and her brother, Will, live in the shadow of the Great Panic, in a country that has collapsed from environmental catastrophe. Water is hoarded by governments, rivers are dammed, and clouds are sucked from the sky. But then Vera befriends Kai, who seems to have limitless access to fresh water. When Kai suddenly disappears, Vera and Will set off on a dangerous journey in search of him-pursued by pirates, a paramilitary group, and greedy corporations. Timely and eerily familiar, acclaimed author Cameron Stracher makes a stunning YA debut that's impossible to forget.

My Review:

The Water Wars is most definitely a thinker! The world Vera lives in is well crafted and vivid, and scarily realistic. As the summary says, water is scarce. Vera is only allowed to drink at meals and even then  it’s only a few sips, because water is so precious. The day I started this one, I sat down to dinner, my favorite kind of soup, and suddenly it hit me – what would we do if we ran out of water, or almost did, like in Vera’s world? There are so many things we do with water – take showers, flush toilets, clean our houses, swim, cook meals (no more special Ham and Bean soup!) – not having it is something I have difficulty imagining. I remember discussing in my Global Health class how much water we use per day. We were asked to guess how much water we used in a day, and one girl said 3 gallons. Our teacher laughed, and said “Well, no showers, no toilet and no cooking then.” We use just under a gallon each time we flush (though that keeps going down with the new green toilets) and a shower uses a gallon per minute! With that in mind, Stracher brings up a valid point – we waste so much, what will we do when it’s gone? What’s worse is the part I didn’t even think about: all that water in the Polar Ice caps may be fresh now, but if they melt it will just go straight into the sea, and the majority of it will become salt.

This book is the perfect way to get into the topics of global warming and environmental issues, especially for someone who doesn’t keep on top of them. I think everyone should read it just to get them thinking about these issues – the way we’re using our resources, they’ll be gone before we know it. We need to start thinking now about what we’ll do when they’re gone, or we’ll end up in the situation this book puts forth.





Book Review: XVI

Feb
10
4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
XVI XVI by
Series: XVI #1
Published by , in 2011
Genres: ,
Pages: 325
Source:
Goodreads

Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

My Review:

This is my first dystopia in a while, and I have to say, I was really looking forward to it, even though it didn’t make it onto my original projected reading list for the challenge. Projected reading lists never work for me anyways, so I just picked books at random that looked good. I figure some of them will end up getting read and some not, but overall I should end up with a full 12 after a year.


Some things that really impressed me: I could really see this happening. Some dystopias are set so far in the future or so differently from our world that while they’re really interesting, they almost don’t qualify as an earth dystopia for me. But this one was really rooted in some issues that are current, and have potential for changing our society in the direction of the world in XVI. It even mentions Katrina and the BP oil spills, albeit indirectly. While there are some unexplained parts, the majority of the society is very well explained, and well thought out. 


I also liked that while the society is dystopian, the issues dealt with are completely relevant now. We’ve all heard the stories about the people like Ed. In fact, most of us probably know people who have been in Ginnie’s situation with Ed. When someone is that abusive, the recipients of the abuse often feel like Nina did – out of control, and unable to fight back. It’s obvious that Karr is not advocating Nina’s particular solution, but she is advocating getting help. Nina spends a lot of time scared of Ed and I don’t blame her, but once she tells her friends what is going on and gets help the situation becomes at least slightly better. 


All in all, whether I liked it or not isn’t important (I did, for those of you who like black and white answers). The important bit is that this is an extremely thought provoking novel that belongs in schools being taught alongside books like The Giver (which personally, I know many people hated in school – it got taught anyway), though perhaps at a higher level, since we did The Giver in 5th grade. 


I know, this review feels rather short, but it’s difficult to say more without spoiling it. I recommend this to everyone, not because I think you’ll like it (though I did) but because I think everyone should read it. 


On to lighter reviews soon, I hope!





Book Review: Ender’s Game

Jan
27
3 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review
Ender's Game Ender's Game by
Series: Ender's Saga #1
Published by , in 1994
Genres: ,
Pages: 324
Source:
Goodreads

Intense is the word for Ender's Game. Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To make sure humans win the next encounter, the world government has taken to breeding military geniuses -- and then training them in the arts of war... The early training, not surprisingly, takes the form of 'games'... Ender Wiggin is a genius among geniuses; he wins all the games... He is smart enough to know that time is running out. But is he smart enough to save the planet?

My Review:

I don’t know how I managed to get this far and not read this one. Everyone says it’s a classic. Everyone says you have to at least read something Orson Scott Card before you can call yourself a sci-fi geek. But somehow I missed it, so I’m reading it now.

I have to admit, I’m torn about what to say. People have such strong opinions about this book – you either love it or you hate it, going by the reviews I wandered through on GoodReads. The truth is, yes, it’s a great sci-fi and I can’t believe I haven’t read it, but it just didn’t stand up to my favourites (probably because it is sci-fi – I like it, but fantasy is more to my taste).


I do like how complex the storyline is. Ender is just a kid, but he is dealing with very adult emotions. If anyone ever set up a system like that while I was around I’d be the first to start (or join) a rebellion. Children shouldn’t have to live through what they made Ender do, no matter what the consequences are. We keep getting reminders that Ender is not an adult, and that he shouldn’t be in this situation, but at the same time it is easy to forget that he is as young as he is. He’s already way past his classmates by the time they take him at 6. By the time they’ve put him through all the training, he might as well be my age for all I know, and how he acts.


The sad part is, while they were in battle school playing the null gravity games, I kind of wanted to be there. I wanted to play the games, because the games sound fun. Yeah, if you think about what they were for it seems awful, but the games themselves present challenges and competition, which is what I always wanted from games as a kid. Then again, I’m very competitive and I love logicking out the solution to whatever problems are set for me, and that’s basically what they were having Ender do.


I guess there’s not much else to say that hasn’t already been said. Lots of people loved Ender’s Game when it came out, and I’m just the latest in a long line of reviewers. But hey, if you like sci-fi, then you should read this one. It’s like liking fantasy and not reading Harry Potter – difficult to do, and kind of sad for the rest of us.





Many older posts are currently under reconstruction. Please excuse the inconvenience.

Welcome!

Creativity's Corner is dedicated to fostering discussion among a community built around books. I'm so happy you decided to join us! If you have any questions please check out the Tips for New Readers page.

Creativity's Corner is NOT accepting any review requests at this time. Thank you for your consideration.