Tuesday, 23 September 2014

ARC Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Book: Afterworlds

Author: Scott Westerfeld

Release Date: September 23rd, 2014

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Pages: 608 Pages

Format: ARC

Source: An ARC was provided from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks Simon and Shuester Canada!

Where to Buy: Chapters Indigo, Amazon CA, Book Depository

Goodreads Summary

Darcy Patel has put college and everything else on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. Arriving in New York with no apartment or friends she wonders whether she's made the right decision until she falls in with a crowd of other seasoned and fledgling writers who take her under their wings…

Told in alternating chapters is Darcy's novel, a suspenseful thriller about Lizzie, a teen who slips into the 'Afterworld' to survive a terrorist attack. But the Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead and as Lizzie drifts between our world and that of the Afterworld, she discovers that many unsolved - and terrifying - stories need to be reconciled. And when a new threat resurfaces, Lizzie learns her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she loves and cares about most.

My Review

This book started out... okay. The two stories intertwining started out alright, and that's where it all dropped off. I don't know what happened to this one, but I was just not impressed. The characters were one sided, the worlds were over developed, there was no real plot, and everything just happened too easily.

The biggest problem for me was that the transitions between Darcy and her story, and Lizzie's story, was that the connections weren't smooth. Yes, I understand the whole 'leave them wanting more' idea, but it was just too jumpy. When I wanted to know more about Darcy, I was thrown into a boring part of about Lizzie, and vice versa. Dual perspective books, whether they be two different stories, different POV, or different time periods, are really hard to do well, and this one just fell flat.

And, building on the dual perspective, there was minimal to no plot in either story! When it came to Lizzie, the plot didn't start till the end of her part of the book. And it was over so quickly! And then when it came to Darcy and her struggles, there wasn't any. There was nothing huge that wasn't sorted out in a chapter of two. I had the same problem with Afterworlds that I did with the Mortal Instruments series; so much happens, yet nothing is actually accomplished. I like when things are accomplished, and the end is different than the beginning, and this book did not have that attribute.

On a different note, I've read the first two books in Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series (I stopped because there was a huge gap between when I read Pretties and Specials; I forgot what happened and didn't want to reread), and they were fine. They were fun reads that were written well. It felt like this book was written by a different author. The writing was next to mediocre. It was simple. This book had the potential to blow me away, because I remember Scott's writing style. It was poetic without meaning to be. I was hoping for that, but I was left disappointed.

I was really unhappy with this book, which makes me really sad. 1/5 stars. Have you guys read this? Let me know what you thought in the comments below! Thanks for reading, and I'll talk to you soon!!


Friday, 12 September 2014

Review: Vicious by V.E. Schwab

Book: Vicious

Author: V.E. Schwab

Publisher: Tor Books

Pages: 364 Pages

Format: Hardcover

Source: Purchased from Chapters Indigo

Where to Buy: Amazon CAChapters IndigoBook Depository

Goodreads Summary

A masterful, twisted tale of ambition, jealousy, betrayal, and superpowers, set in a near-future world. 

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? 

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.'

My Review

Victoria Schwab, or V.E. Schwab is one of my favourite writers of all time. The way that she effortlessly crafts stories, and creates complex and beautiful characters makes me wonder if this is really fiction, or she is just documenting.

Victor and Eli were such amazing characters to read about. The way that the two of them acted around each other, and the way that each of their minds worked kept me on my toes. I was never sure who was the real villain and who was the real hero. I still don't know. Each character had such a distinct set of right and wrong, and it was so interesting to see how those morals worked when applied in the real world.

But let's be honest, my favourite part of this book was the writing. Victoria Schwab is able to create such a real story, and it is such a different experience reading her works that any other book. Her stories have this aspect of reality that is so hard to find in other books. While authors craft worlds around their characters, she creates characters and their story is about how they deal with the world they are in. 

Victoria Schwab is such a wordmaster. It's been a while since I've really thought about what I've read, The ideas of morality, and mortality, and what it means to be good still make me question what I know. I think that a good book is one that changes who you are, and Vicious did just that to me.

I loved Vicious. It was absolutely amazing, and a must read for everyone. 5/5 stars. Duh.


Friday, 5 September 2014

ARC Review: The Death of Us by Alice Kuipers

Book: The Death of Us

Author: Alice Kuipers

Publisher: HarperTrophy

Format: ARC

Source: Advanced copy was provided by HCC Frenzy - Thanks Ladies!

Pages: 240 Pages

Where to Buy: Amazon CAChapters Indigo

Goodreads Summary

A recovered friendship, a dark secret, and a love triangle with a deadly angle…

Callie is shocked when her friend Ivy reappears after an unexplained three-year absence, but the girls pick up where they left off, and suddenly Callie’s summer is full of parties, boys and fun. Beneath the surface, things aren't what they seem, however, and when a handsome boy with a dark past gets tangled up with Ivy, the girls’ history threatens to destroy their future.

My Review

I was really excited to start this book. After reading the synopsis, and the first few pages, It seemed like it would be a little bit like We Were Liars and If I Stay, with the unreliable narrator, and the secrets being held. And, again, my expectations got a little bit out of control, and this book just couldn't live up to what I wanted it to be. 

The Death of Us starts with Callie, a teenage girl whose best friend mysteriously left years earlier, and Ivy, the mysterious friend who has just returned to town. And with her she brings glamour, parties, boys, and a life that Callie is not accustomed to. The story is very much character driven, written in different perspectives, leading up to the big drop. The problem was, was that the characters were not that interesting. They weren't very captivating, and that's what got to me. They were fully fleshed out characters, with great back stories and motivation, but I just couldn't deal with them. 

The one thing I thought was really well done was the multiple perspectives. I got a lot out of this, being able to see everything from different angles. This made sure that I wasn't able to determine who was right and who was wrong in any type of situation. I was up in the air for a lot of the story, and really enjoyed that. Each character had their own unique voice, and those voices were really well written. 

But that's where the praise ends. Unfortunately, the writing style just didn't do it for me. Alice Kuipers could have used foreshadowing, and could have withheld more information that she did to create a more suspenseful story, but she just put her cards face up on the table as soon as she could. I wanted suspense! I wanted more overall from this story. I wanted a more complex read, but didn't get it from this one.

I own a couple more books by Alice Kuipers, and I will be giving her another chance, but I was not a fan of this one at all. I just... I was underwhelmed to say the least.

2/5 stars.