Wren Reviews: ‘Undivided’

Title: Undivided
Author: Neal Shusterman
Genre: Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction, Action, YA fiction
Note: This series is complex. I will not go into details for the plot. I think you should read it yourself. This review won’t have all the characters, though. I will put only the three main characters.
Premise:
(Goodreads)
Teens control the fate of America in the fourth and final book in the New York Times bestselling Unwind dystology by Neal Shusterman.

Proactive Citizenry, the company that created Cam from the parts of unwound teens, has a plan: to mass produce rewound teens like Cam for military purposes. And below the surface of that horror lies another shocking level of intrigue: Proactive Citizenry has been suppressing technology that could make unwinding completely unnecessary. As Conner, Risa, and Lev uncover these startling secrets, enraged teens begin to march on Washington to demand justice and a better future.

But more trouble is brewing. Starkey’s group of storked teens is growing more powerful and militant with each new recruit. And if they have their way, they’ll burn the harvest camps to the ground and put every adult in them before a firing squad—which could destroy any chance America has for a peaceful future.

Plot: The plot is action. This one is focused on the characters not trying to survive but trying to fight back. They are taking matters into their own hands. They are determined to save the world.
Lev wants the Chancefolk to step in. Cam wants to release his rewind brothers and sisters. Risa and Connor want to use the organ printer to do something.
And it works. Their efforts aren’t in vain. They work.
Character Development:
Connor Lassiter. Connor is interesting. He’s brave and daring. But he isn’t smart. He acts without his mind and thoughts. He jumps into actions. I think that recklessness is terrible. But Connor is always the soldier. He fights. And I like that fighter spirit.
Risa Ward. I don’t particularly like Risa. She’s interesting. But she is a bit lame. I do like how she acts on her emotions at times. Especially when she tries to protect the people she loves. I hope she gets married to Connor. That would be a sweet ending. Risa would be great with Connor.
Levi Jedediah Calder. I don’t particularly like Lev. He becomes reckless as Connor. He becomes some guy obsessed with the mission he had. He focuses on crazy missions. Finding Wil’s parts pirates. Etching names on his small body. Making people see the truth. These are major undertakings for Lev. I think he bites off too much sometimes. But that makes him interesting. I hope Lev ends up well. Maybe being adopted. Maybe something else. I don’t know. I just wish him well.
Problems: I think that this book has fewer problems than others.
This book has complicated story lines and characters. It’s hard to keep things in line. Sometimes, it’s easier. Sometimes, it’s not. I didn’t like the confusion. It’s hard to keep up at times.
Another problem is the focus on other characters. This story started with Lev, Risa, and Connor. I wanted it to be that way. Sure. It’s important to have Grace’s view. Or Argent’s. But there wasn’t enough of the main three characters. I felt like that was lacking.
Good points: There are a lot more good things.
I like the plot’s action. It’s interesting. I like it. While it switches point of views, you want to read more to know about that character. It keeps you going.
The characters are quite amazing. I like their growth. Lev was a tithe. Now, he’s a representative of anti-Unwinding. It’s quite an amazing change. Everyone in this story changes.
I like the way the story ends. It ends with family and friends and love. For some reason, the love isn’t bad. I like Risa and Connor together. They’re good together. They compliment each other. I like how their relationship is. It’s not all kissing. It’s light brushes and small smiled. Reassuring looks. Winks. The small things you might overlook. But they don’t.
I like how friendship is added. It’s strong connections. Lev and CyFi. Lev and Connor. Hayden and his group. The Graveyard kids. They are all amazing friendships. I also love how family is added. Your parents sign the unwind order. What does that mean? How does it feel? Do you forgive them? Amazing questions.
This story ends well. There aren’t questions. I feel like it ends well. The antagonists are gone. Nelson gone. Juvies gone. Everything ends peacefully. These characters deserve it.
Score: 8/10
Recommended: If you like the series. If you like dystopian. If you like Neal Shusterman.
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Wren Reviews: ‘Far Dawn’

Title: Far Dawn

Author: Kevin Emerson

Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction, Fantasy, YA fiction, Romance

 

 

Premise:

(Goodreads)

In The Far Dawn, Owen and Lilly are on their own, two of the three Atlanteans left on a journey to find Atlantis and protect it from the selfish greed of their nemesis Paul and Project Elysium. As time grows short and darkness overtakes the planet, Owen must face Paul’s greatest treachery yet. He must choose—does he save the planet, or the people he loves?

Perfect for fans of Star Wars, Percy Jackson, or The Hunger Games, The Far Dawn takes readers on an explosive journey through time and space with heartrending decisions, pulse-pounding action, and fascinating questions of science and ethics alike. Both the paperback and ebook editions include extra content on “where science stops and fantasy starts” in the world of the series.

 

Plot: The story starts off with Lilly and Owen flying in Lük’s craft. They pick up a signal, someone calling for help. They go to the place where the signal originated the Vista and meet Moros/Peter a human being turned digital character inside the Vista a digital utopia. Owen is almost downloaded into Peter’s digital body as a way for Peter to get out. Owen and Lilly escape with the knowledge Peter had. They flee to the mountains. They find Paul there with Evan-turned-Kael/Leech by genetic experimentation. The two save Evan and find the Sentinel the spirit of Rana, Lilly’s ancestor. The Sentinel says that Owen isn’t the Aeronaut. The story turns to the original Three with Owen inside Lük’s head. He sees the Three trying to destroy the Paintbrush of the Gods and failing. The world falls apart in the memory. Owen comes out of the memory and finds that Lilly and Evan are gone, taken by Paul. Rana and Owen go to Antarctica where the original city is rumored to be. They meet a band of military men. They almost save Evan and Lilly, but the Terra is taken. And the world is crushed by ice. Lilly, Evan, and Matheu (or however you spell his name) are killed. Owen survives with Rana’s help. Owen makes coffins for all three and send them out to sea. He is cared for by the military before he leaves to go on a Flotilla to have changes done to him. He gets a bionic eye and a bar code on his finger similar to the ones on the elite. He then goes to an Eden, seeking out passage to Egress the ship in space. He gets on with the Nomads help. He, sadly, betrays them when he gets there. He doesn’t blow up the station. Instead, Owen makes a deal with Paul to have Lilly revived. When about to talk to the Terra, part of his deal, he meets Lilly in her skull. They talk with Lilly making him decide he won’t agree to help Paul. Lük comes in, crashing into the ship using a spaceship he repaired. Rana, Kael’s spirit, and Owen escape the failing Egress. In the ship, they crash into missiles. Owen releases the Terra, saving the world. The Terra returns to the earth and starts healing the broken parts. Owen is revived in the Eden his story began in. Owen sees Lilly, and the story ends.

Character Development: Owen. Owen isn’t a favorite character of mine. Love overtakes all rational thought. And he’s the surprise attack. And he mopes. I don’t like him. He’s simply annoying. I do like that he is human. He mourns. He feels pain. It doesn’t seem like the original Three are not human. Even during the flashback.

Problems: A problem I saw was the world building. I haven’t read this series since the last book, book two. And the world wasn’t defined anyways. LoRad? What? Could there be a section that describes the purpose of these inventions? That would have been good. I like knowing these things. (Either that or it was explained, and I don’t remember.) The romance was a bit much. Kissing every moment. It was nice that Lilly didn’t say ‘I love you’ as if it was ‘pass me the salt’. It was a bit cute that they kept count. It was interesting why they did it. And the fact that they did it at all. I don’t like the romance, though. I don’t like romance in general. And this was part of the ‘general’. The plot, while action-filled, is not too interesting. I don’t particularly like it. It was just okay. The plot was a bit…dull. Betrayal. Fighting. It seems a bit repetitive. I don’t know why I think that. It seems like that happens often enough. Fighting. Betrayal. Loss. It’s becoming common enough.

Good points: ‘Far Dawn’ has certain things I like. Only a few. I like how Owen seems real. He goes through emotional and physical pain. He is real. He feels pain. He isn’t indestructible. When Lilly is dead, he mourns. He builds coffins. He goes on a suicide mission. Knowing he’ll die if he goes through with it. He is real. I like that. I like real characters. The plot is action. Action. Drama. Suspense. Surprises. It’s odd that I don’t like the story, but I have a minor like for the plot. It’s the action that I like. Not the story itself.

 

Score: 7/10

Recommended: If you like the series. If you like dystopian with a supernatural twist.

Wren Reviews: ‘Meritropolis’

Title: Meritropolis

Author: Joel Ohman

Genre: Dystopian, Action, YA fiction, Science Fiction

 

Premise:

(Goodreads)

The year is AE3, 3 years after the Event. Within the walls of Meritropolis, 50,000 inhabitants live in fear, ruled by the brutal System that assigns each citizen a merit score that dictates whether they live or die. Those with the highest scores thrive, while those with the lowest are subject to the most unforgiving punishment–to be thrust outside the city gates, thrown to the terrifying hybrid creatures that exist beyond.

But for one High Score, conforming to the System just isn’t an option. Seventeen-year-old Charley has a brother to avenge. And nothing–not even a totalitarian military or dangerous science–is going to stop him.

Where humankind has pushed nature and morals to the extreme, Charley is amongst the chosen few tasked with exploring the boundaries, forcing him to look deep into his very being to discern right from wrong. But as he and his friends learn more about the frightening forces that threaten destruction both without and within the gates, Meritropolis reveals complexities they couldn’t possibly have bargained for…

 

Plot: The story is action-filled with mutated creatures and an oppressive system for control.

The story starts off with Charley protecting a girl about to be zeroed. This is the action of putting someone outside of the gates that protect the city. Charley is then put in a training program as a punishment to become a Hunter. He ends up training with the High Score girl Sandy who fights like a maniac. He, Sandy, and another High Score go on different hunting trips together. Sven Charley’s friend  is captured. They fight together, working together. They even fight a bion a bull-lion. They take it down with Charley in charge. The result of the killing is Charley’s friend Sven being released. Charley finds a chip inside the bion. Sandy and Charley go into the Tower to investigate. There, they find out it’s a tracking chip or something of that sort. They go back to training before Charley finds out the little girl he saved was zeroed anyways. He attacks the Tower, destroying guards until none are left standing. Charley is jailed. The commander is ordered to let anyone under a Score of 100 to be let out of the city. The people rebel with Charley being freed with help from a portly man who runs the underworld named Chappy. Charley leads the people.  The wall is blown to bits using C4. Invaders attack. Chappy, Charley, and the commander band together to fight back. Animal combinations come too the rescue, looking for the smell of blood and meat. The groups defeat the invaders. But the citizens have to fight back against the animals. Chappy goes into the Tower, letting only High Scores in. Charley has a sudden realization which results in him and Sandy and Sven and the Low Scores joining Commander Orson and Grigor in meeting Commander Orson’s father the instigator of the System.

And the story ends with that cliffhanger.

 

Character Development:

Charley. I like Charley. He’s a fighter. He works for things. He is an intelligent person. He does. He acts. He isn’t passive. I like that. Charley’s personality is something I look for in a character. To me, main characters need to be fighting for a reason, a cause. And Charley does so. I like that in him. Sure, he’s reckless, but he’s that crazy, good kind of reckless.

 

Problems: Meritropolis has many wild animal combinations. Bull-lion. Ram-puma. These, though, are creative yet overly wild. (This is mentioned in the good points as well.)  They doesn’t seem possible. They don’t seem like they will happen.

We also get this odd point of view of an engineer. I don’t think it was entirely necessary. Sure, he blew up the wall, but that doesn’t mean he has to be a point of view. I think it would be fine if he wasn’t a narrator. Even if it’s just a few pages.

Commander Orson has a past. A cruel father. And we don’t get any of that. I wish we had more on his perspective. It would be interesting. You wouldn’t just get Charley’s perspective. You would see the perspective of a ‘bad guy’.

A problem, for me, is the cliffhanger. The plot is actually pretty interesting. It keeps you going. You feel energized. But the cliffhanger just tears you apart. What happens next? Who will survive? What will Orson’s father do? You are left with these questions that don’t explain. Which is disappointing to say the least.

 

Good points: This was, all together, a pretty good book. There were bad parts at times. And there were good parts. It’s hard to say, though, which surpasses which.

A good part is also a problem. The animal combinations were creative. I liked the use of creativity this story had. But it was overly so. A crow-ant? That’s not even humanly possible. No matter what the radiation was. I don’t think these combinations are possible.

Another good point is the main character. I like Charley. He’s interesting. He has a past you don’t know the entirety of. He’s a fighter and gets something similar to the ‘red hot’ Saba (‘Blood Red Road’) gets when she’s ready to fight. He is a doer. He acts. I like that in a character. Especially a main character.

The plot is action. It is entirely action. I enjoyed that. It was fascinating and keeping you on the edge of your seat. You had to know what happened. Charley is such an experienced fighter. I think that’s a good quality in him, and that just adds to the action. He’s no novice to fighting. Hand-to-hand or not.

 

Score: 7/10

Recommended: If you like dystopian books with weird animals. If you like strong main characters.

 

Wren Reviews: ‘The Young Elites’

Title: The Young Elites

Author: Marie Lu

Genre: Dystopian, Fantasy, Supernatural, YA Fiction, Romance, Action

 

Premise:

(Goodreads)

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

 

Plot: This story is an action story. With romance on the side. (Think of the first book ‘Legend’ with the hot-and-heavy but not so heavy in the works.)

The story starts off with Adelina almost being burned at the stake for being a mutated human being. (I would spell the word, but I think I would ruin its musical quality.) She is saved by the crown prince Enzo. He turns out to be the leader of the Daggers a group of the mutated  teens turned superhuman by powers. Adelina meets and befriends Raffaele a consort who can sense other powers. She is tested to become a Recruit for the Daggers and succeeds. She starts training slowly with Raffaele, but she doesn’t end up successfully. She has the potential to do more, though. Adelina sees Teren, the antagonist, at the Fortunata Court where Raffaele works, and where the Daggers hid under. Teren threatens her, saying he’ll hurt her sister if she doesn’t give up information about the Daggers to him. Adelina, frightened, agrees. When the Daggers leave for a horse race, to get closer to the king to kill him, Adelina escapes her ‘prison’ and goes to see Teren. She gives him minimal information, only including a slice of what she knows and faking ignorance. Adelina leaves the Inquisition Tower and sees the horse race the Daggers are at. She sees the Star Thief a Young Elite who can control the minds of animals riding a horse in the race. She finds out that the Stat Thief is a noble girl named Gemma. Gemma wins the race, but Teren orders all of the malfettos (See? I tried.) to not be allowed to enter the races. Gemma is grief-stricken and is almost attacked, but Adelina saves her at the last moment using her powers of illusion. Adelina races back to her ‘prison’ and is picked up by Enzo to train.

Her powers strengthen under Enzo’s tutelage. She becomes a powerful force to reckon with. She asks Enzo to go on her first mission with the Daggers, and he agrees. She goes with them to set fire to the ships during a festival. They succeed, and Teren confronts Adelina in the aftermath. Dante, or Spider, sees them before Enzo duels against Teren. Teren takes off. She celebrates with the other Daggers and the Daggers’ patrons. She kisses Enzo, only to find out that Enzo was, or is, in love with a girl who looked similar to Adelina. She keeps loving him, though, unable to control herself.

She talks to Teren another time and takes Violetta her beloved sister from him. Violetta is discovered to be an Elite with the power to cancel out other Elites’ powers.They race into the streets and see the destroyed Fortunata Court. The sisters hide in the catacombs before coming out and seeking the Daggers. They form a plan to attack. The king is killed by Teren in the night, and the Daggers seek out Teren during the announcement for the king’s funeral. Teren has Raffaele in his clutches. Enzo challenges Teren to a duel on the date of the funeral. The Daggers prepare to wage an all-out war on the Inquisitors. The funeral comes, and the two ex-friends, Enzo and Teren, duel. They fight, and Adelina tries to help. In the end, she hurts Enzo, killing him. She is knocked unconscious by the power draining. She ends up raging when she recovers. Raffaele determines that she and Violetta have to leave the Daggers. The two ends up leaving after Adelina has a mental breakdown. Adelina decides to form her own Young Elite society.

The story switches to the princess of another country. She hears of the news about the king and Enzo’s death. And she prepares her Young Elite army.

The story ends in a cliffhanger without any closure. You don’t know what happens to Adelina. You don’t know what the princess will do. You know she is a Young Elite who can bring back the dead.

This is a good paced plot. It’s interesting and keeps you going.

 

Character Development: There are many characters in this book. Enzo. Teren. Adelina. Violetta. I will name only the narrator. The main one, at least. Which is our White Wolf. Adelina.

Adelina. She is an interesting character. I can’t say if I hate or love her darkness. I might align with those stones like Adelina did. I’m a passionate person fueled by rage. I have an odd connection with Adelina. I can’t say that I love that she falls into darkness. I felt like it was interesting but not amazing. I like anti-heroes as much as the next girl, but I think that Adelina is an interesting case. She isn’t entirely a good or bad person. I can tell there is some goodness in her heart. She loves Violetta. She loved Enzo. I don’t like that she has romance with Enzo. I could tell that was coming. The relationship was awkward and more passion than I wanted or needed. I don’t like the romance between them. I do want to see how she grows. She is weakened at first, but she grows into a powerful Elite. I can’t wait to see her grow.

 

Problems: There seem to be a few problems. Let me say that these are quite minor problems.

The romance is annoying. I knew it was coming. Of course, what author could resist adding in romance to their story? None. It was interesting. I love that Raffaele hints that he loved Enzo. I do like when books add in gay characters. I am a big supporter of gay rights. Definitely.

Another problem? I don’t like the fact that there is nothing about the other pasts. Enzo. Teren. Raffaele. I want to know more about them. I want to know more. Their past is hinted. Who is Raffaele? Why was he a consort? I don’t get that. Consort? How did he end up like that? That can’t just happen. There has to be a reason. There has to be a reason why Teren turned out ‘evil’. There has to be reasons. But this book doesn’t have it. But I know how Marie Lu works. She’ll end up giving out their backstories soon enough. (In the next book perhaps?)

The cliffhanger is just terrible. I don’t like it. I want to know more. I don’t think I can really wait for the next book. Marie Lu, get writing. Come on! I need the next book. Soon. Right now.

 

Good points: This story was fantastic. The plot was amazing. The characters were interesting. Sadly, we didn’t learn enough about Enzo or Teren. I wish I had more of them. They seem to be tortured from their pasts.

I do like Adelina. To an extent. She seems to take darkness too far. But I guess that is how the world works. There are the dark characters. And I like that she’s an anti-hero. I truly do. Anti-heroes are interesting. They have reasons to be dark and ‘evil’. They justify them. And why do they do that? A fantastic question. One I cannot answer.

Another good point is the plot. I know I summed it in the beginning of this ‘good points’ part, but I will expand on it. The plot is not fast or slow. You get more about the character. The plot is interesting. You don’t get too much of anything. You get only a few things since it’s just from Adelina’s point of view. You get to know things from the anti-hero’s perspective. You get to see it in an interesting way.

If you ask me, I think that you should read this book. It’s a good book. I think that if you like supernatural and fantasy elements to Marie Lu’s writing, this is the book for you.

 

Score: 8/10

Recommended: If you like an anti-hero. If you like to have a main character turning to darkness.

Wren Reviews: ‘Pawn’

Title: Pawn
Author: Aimee Carter
Genre: Dystopian, Drama, Action, Romance, YA fiction
Premise:
(Goodreads)
Plot: The story starts with Kitty Doe a III who wants to save her boyfriend Benjy from the shame of being with a III. She steals an orange and is almost caught. The Shield remarks on how her eyes look like Lila Hart’s. Benjy’s ranking will be out in a month when he takes his test. Kitty decides to turn to prostitution until she can be with Benjy, or not. She is bought by Daxton Hart who Masks her into his niece the late Lila Hart. She is trained by Lila’s mother Celia and her fiancée Knox to be Lila. She is judge by Augusta Lila’s grandmother. She is allowed to be released from her distant prisoner. She discovers what Elsewhere is the day after she is allowed out of her isolation. She is disgusted, and scared, by Elsewhere after seeing her caretaker being shot by Daxton. She goes to a club with Knox and parties with him until she discovers he is part of a rebellion to crush Daxton. She goes back to Somerset, fearful of Benjy who turned seventeen recently. She doesn’t see him until she discovers he is Knox’s assistant. Celia forces Kitty to kill Daxton but fails. She, Kitty, discovers that Daxton is actually someone Masked like her.
Kitty and Knox go to New York City to say a speech. When they finis the speech, Celia takes Greyson after an attempt to kill Greyson almost happens. Kitty meets the real, alive Lila Hart when Knox decides he’ll trade Lila for Greyson. They do the trade, but the real Lila is shot by a tranquilizer dart and is taken back to Somerset. In a desperate attempt to salvage things, Knox and Celia and Kitty go to Somerset to get Greyson, Lila, and Benjy. Kitty rescues Benjy, and Knox rescues Greyson, but Lila remains unseen. Kitty rescues Lila only to be caught by Augusta. Augusta makes Knox choose between Kitty and Lila after Augusta skewers Lila with a fire poker. Kitty shoots Augusta and kills her. Lila is rushed to the infirmary. Kitty goes to find Celia and finds her with Daxton. She talks to Daxton, assuming he has memory loss of the past few months. Once Lila is taken out of Somerset, Celia and Lila go Ito hiding. Kitty is forced to become Lila Hart to continue the rebellion as a Hart. Augusta’s funeral takes place, and Kitty realizes that Daxton the imposter remembers everything.
The story ends with a cliffhanger. It has action, but it is a drama story. Family drama. This family takes family drama to another level. When they say, ‘I’ll kill you’, they mean it. It’s a dangerous game of chess.
Character Development: There are many characters. I’ll just talk about our narrator Kitty.
Kitty. I think Kitty is a fascinating character. She has spunk, as many characters say. She is someone who tries her best to prove her worth. She is defiant and daring. She cares a lot for the people she loves. She cares about the things Lila cared for, but she understood on another level. It’s interesting to see the ranking change. She also gains confidence. She becomes a better Lila Hart. If that is even possible. She adds another later to Lila. Lila is a stuck-up, rich girl. But Kitty makes her a more caring character. She doesn’t affect the real Lila. But the Lila we see, the idea of Lila, changes.
Problems: There are a few problems. I think there are be improvements.
I think that there was too much family drama. There was one rebel attack. I felt like there could be more rebel involvement. I have the feeling that the rebels will be more involved in ‘Captive’.
The romance is complicated. It’s odd since I like Benjy and Kitty. But we have Knox as a love interest. But it seems Greyson might become something. After all, they are friends. I do think that having Kitty and Greyson just torn apart and not friends is annoying. They have experienced loss. Why can’t they suffer together?
The cliffhanger just tears me apart. What will happen? Will Kitty obey the rules? Will she escape with Benjy? Will she still go on with the wedding to Knox?
Good points: While there are bad points, there are good ones too.
I like how the story was one about becoming someone else but finding yourself. I think Kitty became braver because of the Masking.
This is one of the times when I like the couple. Benjy and Kitty are adorable together. I was speaking out loud as I read their scene when they reunited. I root for those two. I hope they last.
The plot kept me on my toes. I kept worrying. I wanted to know what happened. I was on the edge of my seat. You could never predict that happened next.
Score: 8/10
Recommended: If you like a dystopian with family drama. If you like dystopian with a twist.

Wren Reviews: ‘Of Beast and Beauty’

Title: Of Beast and Beauty

Author: Stacey Jay

Genre: Dystopian, Romance, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Supernatural, YA Fiction

 

Premise:

(Goodreads)

In the beginning was the darkness, and in the darkness was a girl, and in the girl was a secret…

In the domed city of Yuan, the blind Princess Isra, a Smooth Skin, is raised to be a human sacrifice whose death will ensure her city’s vitality. In the desert outside Yuan, Gem, a mutant beast, fights to save his people, the Monstrous, from starvation. Neither dreams that together, they could return balance to both their worlds.

Isra wants to help the city’s Banished people, second-class citizens despised for possessing Monstrous traits. But after she enlists the aid of her prisoner, Gem, who has been captured while trying to steal Yuan’s enchanted roses, she begins to care for him, and to question everything she has been brought up to believe.

As secrets are revealed and Isra’s sight, which vanished during her childhood, returned, Isra will have to choose between duty to her people and the beast she has come to love.

 

Plot: In the beginning, we have a domed city called Yuan which calls for a blood sacrifice every thirty years or so.

We have Isra a princess that goes to a rose garden to ‘see’ because she is blind. She gets attacked by a Monstrous named Gem. Gem is caught and imprisoned. Isra tries to find out how to stop the ‘poison’ in her body from Gem’s attack. She discovers that Gem is also good at herbs and knows how to reverse her tainted traits, being extremely tall and having peeling skin. Gem and Isra work in a garden to plant herbs to turn back being tainted. They form a friendship of sorts, with Gem vehemently denying that he cares for Isra. One day, they escape to the outside world, where Gem lives, and look for the bulbs that need to be planted in the garden. There, their love blossoms, and they kiss constantly. They return to Yuan. Time passes. Isra gains her sight after being told not to take her tea by Bo, her soon-to-be-husband. She rejoices, happy that she can finally see. Gem is forced to leave one night, and Isra gets married to Bo soon after. Gem discovers his tribe is either dead or dying. He mourns, staying away from Yuan for months. Isra is about to be killed by Junjie Isra’s advisor. She discovers that her father was killed by Junjie not a Monstrous. She and Bo narrowly escape the crumbling dome because Isra refused to be killed, to offer her blood to the monster that controlled the city. She is saved by Gem who comes back in the nick of time. He thinks Isra is dying, but, once they get to the outside world, Isra is saved by the magic of love. The two admit feelings for each other, and the world is saved.

 

Character Development:

Isra. At first, I hated Isra. She was whiny and annoying. She kept complaining about her fantastic life. She was the princess. Blind or not, she had a life of luxury. I could see why she hated it, though. I just thought she took things for granted. While I typically don’t say this, this book is the exception. The characters become better people because of love. They truly do. Well…at least Isra. I didn’t like how Gem changed, and I won’t say he became a better person because of love or Isra. Isra becomes a queen. Someone strong and determined. Sadly, she spends too much time worrying about Gem. I know that happens when you’re in love, but one might assume she was some obsessed fan of his not his lover. Or whatever she was in that point of the story.

Gem. I didn’t like Gem in the beginning or end. He starts out this stiff warrior who is determined to make sure his tribe survives. He’s stuck on this idea for most of the book. He finally breaks out of this when he falls in love with Isra. Of course, at the time, he didn’t realize it was love. He turns into this weepy, head-over-heels guy who is in love. Which is a terrible change. I felt like he could have been strengthened by love. But he isn’t. He ends up a sappy character. If there was a sequel to this book, I wouldn’t willingly read it. Why? Gem would be a puppy dog. I preferred him as the Monstrous warrior, thank you very much.

I would add in Bo here since he does become the narrator a few times, but I truly don’t like Bo’s character. I don’t think he’s a major player in their story either. He does have his moments, but he isn’t a main character like Isra or Gem is.

 

Problems: Okay. There are some problems with this book. I liked it. Mostly.

A problem is with the romance. Where is it from? I don’t see it. Sure, you share commonalities, but I feel like these two will have a falling out in the future. They are built on love. Which comes mostly from Isra. When did Gem start caring for her? Why did he start caring? I don’t see it. It is a relationship built on Isra not Gem.

Another problem is the confusing setting. Okay. It’s the future. Okay. It’s a distant place. Is this another planet? Not even our universe at all? I don’t see where this book is set. I just know it’s the future in a desert land with domed cities.

Another problem is the supernatural elements. The antagonist is this supernatural entity that doesn’t have much backstory except in the prologue. We don’t get why it craves human blood. Is it just that sadistic, or did I miss something? I can’t tell. I just don’t understand that.

I didn’t like the fact that there was a lack of action. The plot was dramatic but slow in the beginning. I felt like there was something missing, though. The romance was a bit much, with both sides falling in love almost instantly after realizing a bit of lust for the other. I don’t know how to describe this book, really.

 

 

Good points: I like the backstories. Goodness, the backstories were fantastic. I love how the betrayal was worked in. I wish I had more of Gem’s backstory. Who was his brother to him? What happened to them? I do think there could have been more backstory. Especially for Gem. I like Isra’s backstory. There was something that broke her in her past. It was quite fascinating to read.

I also like how the story is in the beginning.

The character Isra is interesting. I like how she is in beginning. She ends up a lovesick puppy at the end, though. Which is disappointing. I like how she is courageous. She is determined to make the Dark Side/One suffer until she dies of her own accord.

This book didn’t have the action I wanted. There was minimal action and more romance than I like. The book was an okay one.

 

Score: 7/10

Recommended: If you like romance. If you like a new take on Beauty and the Beast.

 

Reading Wrap-Up: September

Here is a full list of the books Wren and Remedy read during the month of September.

The book titles with an * by them were ones read by Remedy.

Note: These are not links. Do not lick on the pictures and expect links. (Wren will do that when she gets time.)

 

‘The Revenge of Seven’ by Pittacus Lore

TheRevengeofSeven

8/10

 

‘Isla and the Happily Ever After’ by Stephanie Perkins

Isla

5/10

 

‘Lola and the Boy Next Door’ by Stephanie Perkins

lola

6/10

 

‘Just One Year’ by Gayle Forman

JustOneYear

7/10

 

‘Take Me Tomorrow’ by Shannon Thompson

Take Me Tomorrow

8/10

 

‘The Rule of Thoughts’ by James Dashner

rule

6/10

 

‘Heir of Fire’ by Sarah J Maas

heir

7/10

 

‘The Darkest Minds’ by Alexandra Bracken

darkestminds

8/10

 

‘Never Fade’ by Alexandra Bracken

NeverFADE

8/10

 

*’Eyes Like Stars’ by Lisa Mantchev

EyesLikeStars

6/10

 

*’Perchance to Dream’ by Lisa Mantchev

Perchance to Dream

6/10

 

*’So Silver Bright’ by Lisa Mantchev

SoSilverBright

6/10

 

‘Thin Space’ by Jody Casella

ThinSpace

8/10

 

‘Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe’ by Benjamin Alire Saenz

Aristotle

7/10

 

‘Into the Unknown’ by Alice Reeds

intotheunknown

5/10

 

‘Infinite Sea’ by Rick Yancey

InfiniteSea

7/10

 

‘Day 21’ by Kass Morgan

day21

6/10

 

‘Blackbird’ by Anna Carey

blackbirs

5/10