Friday, 28 June 2013

Release Day Blitz: City of the Fallen by Diana Bocco

Book Blurb

Five years ago, vampires came out of hiding and took over the world. It was meant to be a quick enslavement but it turned into a bloody battle that brought humanity to the brink of extinction.

Isabelle Bryant is one of the “lucky” survivors, now living in hiding, scavenging for food through deserted towns. 

And she’s tired of it. 

So she’s devised a plan: find the king of the vampires and drive a stake through his heart.

Except that wickedly sensual king Marcus is nothing like the monster she expected. And while landing on his bed was part of the plan all along, discovering that he might hold the key to humanity’s survival certainly wasn’t. The catch? Saving humanity also means ensuring vampire survival. It means giving up hope for a return to a human-ruled world. 

As sparks fly and hate becomes heat, Isabelle must pick a side -- before the darkness devours them all.

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Book: Sami by H S St Ours

Book 2 of the Water Worlds series.

I was given an ebook copy of Sami, along with the first and third books in the Water World series, Young Moon and Simma respectively, by the author in exchange for my review.

Sami picks up a century (ish) after the events in Young Moon. Sami herself is a young girl living within the five-tunnels complex, in Tee-Four. After the death of her parents she is looked after and became an indentured servant, for the Judge, the spiritual and physical leader of Tee-Four, but Sami doesn't like living within the Judge's rules and she runs away. The book then follows her as she is caught by the Judge, and her subsequent escape with her old friends Glyn and Sef, along with her trusty dog Scout, and finds the things that have been hidden from her in the world outside.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Serial: Setting Sail by Zachary Bonelli

Part 1 of the Voyage Embarkation Serial.

Kal has been trapped on an alternative version of Earth where the life forms include cats the size of elephants, but he's determined to leave and to do so has to use his nanotechnology to break codes and travel to other alternative worlds. But as Kal discovers, there are rules to travelling the universe and he will have to be careful not to rip holes in the fabric of the universe.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Book: Dystopia by Janet McNulty

Book 1 of the Dystopia Trilogy.

I was given a copy of Dystopia by the author in exchange for my honest review.

Dana lives in the society of Dystopia (the US after a series of disasters), where everything is controlled by the state, what you eat, what you wear, what job you do, and you are required to request permits to live together or have children. At 17, same as all teenagers, Dana is assigned her career, but having asked questions deemed unsympathetic to the regime, and having led an illegal fry up, Dana is deemed problematic and sent to work in Waste Management, where the lifespan is short and the conditions demoralising. When she asks one question too many, she comes to the attention of the people in charge, there she is forced to join the resistance in order to betray it, an idea that she isn't particularly comfortable with, and struggles to come to terms with. After listening to advice from Nana, a terminally ill woman living on the Waste Management site, Dana has to come to a decision, leading to the climax of the novel.

Monday, 24 June 2013

Book: Adversarius by M L Chesley

Book One of Shadow of the Rose.

I was given a copy of Adversarius by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The enemy kingdoms of Relavia and Parizdule are nearly to be united, the heir to the Relavian throne, Albassian, and the youngest princess of Parizdule, Kayta, are engaged to be married. But despite the young couple's wishes for peace and unity, the King of Relavia has other ideas, which don't include any thoughts for his sons heart. When a tragedy occurs, leaving the world thinking that Kayta and her brother Hedric are dead, and the King and Queen of Parizdule actually dead, and the only remaining princess of Parizdule with every intention of abdicating, the race is on between the group of people trying to get Kayta home, and the King of Relavia launching his invasion. Yet all the while there are other, larger powers at work, including Rose, whose actions are heavily influenced by his Goddess, and consorts with mythical creatures.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Harry Potter Tour (London)

I know that this is a change from what I normally post, but I was taken to the Harry Potter Tour in London for my birthday (which was on Friday), and I thought that I would share some of the photos with you!

To the left is what happened because it was my birthday...I got to open the doors into the great hall, which was cool! We also got to fly on a broomstick in front of a green screen, learn how to fight with a wand, and try butterbeer!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Children's Book: Zodiacts Aries Adventure Camp on Camping On by Donna McGarry

Review given with the help of my 4 year old brother, Alex. We were given a copy of Zodiacts; Aries Adventure Camp on Camping On by the author in exchange for a review.

Alex's response was that he liked it, when asked which part he liked he said all of it (and then ran off to find some marbles).

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Book: Quidditch Through the Ages by J K Rowling

This is one of the books that J K Rowling wrote and published in aid of Comic Relief, and its about 100 pages long. I read this cause my Dad surprised me for my 21st birthday (which was on Friday) by taking the family to the Harry Potter tour near London for the day (and because neither me nor Mum had read Quidditch Through the Ages we decided we needed to complete our collection!)

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Book: Myadar's Snare by Sophia Martin

Part 1 of The City Darkens.

Jarldis Myadar is called to the capital by her husband, but arrives to find that things have changed dramatically, she has no rights as a mother, or as a wife, and to top it all off, fashions have changed so much that her arrival causes shock waves. Myadar has to learn to play her husband's game or lose all access to her son, an idea that she can't bare the thought of.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Book: Land of the Unaltered by Leti Del Mar

Book 1 of the Confederation Chronicles.

I was given an advanced copy of Land of the Unaltered by the author in return for a review. The book is released tomorrow (there is a link to the amazon page on my Reviews for Authors/Goodreads page.

Rose is a Dartmoor, the ruling family with a not too great reputation. Living in the capital city of the Confederation of cities, Rose lives in a superficial world where fashion and physical enhancements and changes are the number one priority, even going as far as regular plastic surgery. By refusing to be altered, Rose is treated like a freak, and so she decides to move to Eureka, one of the other cities, to live with her Aunt Ivy. While there she works for Flynn Rivers, the shy and social awkward son of Eureka's mill owner. To start with, Flynn is nervous of the new girl, worried she'll be a normal capital bred brat, but as time goes on they both see past each others first impressions and more grows. Then on one disastrous trip to collect tree samples, they stumble across something that will change both their lives drastically.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Book: The Marquis at Midnight by Kate Harper

Book 1 of the Midnight Masquerade.

Grace has been a widow for 18 months, and still misses her husband, Justin, with whom she had a caring and happy marriage, but no children. Her friend, Hester, invites her to London to take her mind off things, and they go to a masquerade at Vauxhall Gardens. At the masquerade, Grace dances with a mysterious and attractive man, only to have him revealed to her that he is the man she holds responsible for her husband's death; Lord Morvyn. Both Grace and Morvyn are consumed with thoughts of each other, though Grace is distracted with the worry over her friend, Hester, who has gambled and lost a family heirloom of her husbands, to the most slippery and shady character in London.

I finally finished this book! Though that is no reflection on how good the book is, its more to do with my short attention span for 'fluffy' romantic reads, which this is. That isn't to say I didn't enjoy the book though, because I did!

The plot was quite basic, there were no real major twists or turns, but with books like the Marquis at Midnight, there doesn't need to be. It's the sort of book that you can read to take your mind off anything serious, because you just know that everything will turn out right in the end, and once you get there the two people who have been falling in love will get together and everyone will live happily ever after. Or at least that is why I read this kind of novel!

The whole story takes place over the course of 10 days, and in most books I would say that that is nowhere near enough time for two people to fall in love, but I honestly didn't feel that with Marquis, and despite both Grace and Morvyn reminding you that it had only been a short space of time, it could easily have represented longer.

The chemistry between Grace and Morvyn was clear, it was leaping off the page! I was impressed that Harper was able to capture that kind of feeling so well through writing, simply because I imagine that it is difficult to achieve. In fact her whole writing of their relationship and their desires was believable and really good. I liked the way that Harper did start by having her characters recognise that it was sexual desire between them, and not love at first sight, though this isn't set in contemporary times, that is a very contemporary idea, and realistic, probably even for the Regency era (its pretty bad that I could only really date this in my head because of my knowledge of French history rather than my native England's!).

One thing that did seem pretty obvious to me, was that it was a female writer, by this I mean that if I didn't already know Harper was a woman I would guess that from the writing, just because she focused more on Grace's desire than on Morvyn's, which I think is a good idea, write what you know and all that.

I read this book in ebook form and so had a dictionary I could access while in book, but if I hadn't I'd think that some of the old-fashioned words, such as bonn, would have annoyed me. They kept popping up every now and again, and though I could have guessed a general meaning from the context, I didn't know what they meant. I'm of two minds whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, after all it adds to the setting of the novel and makes the era more realistic, but at the same time I couldn't understand!

If you're looking for a light, 'fluffy' period romance then this is one for you! I'll be reading the sequels to Marquis, the Maiden at Midnight and the Mistress at Midnight, at some point, though I have a lot to get through first.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Book: Tent City by Kelly Van Hull

I was given a copy of Tent City in ebook form from the author in exchange for my review.

Dani lives in the USA, except after a plague of locusts there isn't enough food for people to eat, and some people have enhanced personality attributes. When the country's dictator, General Burke, passes a law saying that all children between the ages of 5 and 18 had to be relocated to 'safety camps', Dani's parents tell her to run, with her 5 year old brother Brody, and best friend Kit, in tow. When the trio finally reach their destination, after being helped by the mysterious Jack, they find a settlement of teenagers led by the equally mysterious Bentley. Here Kit finds love and Dani starts to find herself.

First things first, I think that this book has serious sequel potential (and I'll be reading any sequels without a doubt!), the ending was set up perfectly for it, but even if it hadn't been, the genre lends itself to being written about more than once.

I found that Van Hull's dystopian setting was well thought out, if a little rough around the edges. However, I thought this roughness worked as it was made clear that this was a dystopia in it's early stages, at one point I think Dani dates it as 7 years ago at the coming of the locusts. Up until nearing the end of the book I'd actually seen General Burke as a kind of Big Brother figure, heard but not seen, though I have now revised that opinion.

I thought that it was interesting how Van Hull integrated religion into her book, with the plagues (based on the plagues of Egypt I believe), and hints towards a surge in people believing in religion and in God. Not many dystopias ever really focus on religion, in most the religion is the State, so this was a refreshing change for it. I was a little surprised that Dani and her brother (along with the other Tent City occupants) escaped from the oppressive society so early on, though then again this worked because of the plot line for fighting against the oppression.

Character wise I found it really easy to relate to Dani, and particularly her caring for her younger brother (I have a 4 year old brother myself, and I know that even with my parents around I would do anything to protect him), and I found her growth pattern to be believable, it was gradual, and even the developing love triangle was believable. I liked the way that Dani wasn't going around kissing both of them all the time, or leading them both on, they both knew what was happening fully. Both the relationships (between Dani and Jack, and Dani and Bentley) were believable in the way they progressed, though personally I preferred the dynamic between Dani and Bentley, to me it just seemed so real because of how Dani was saying he was sweet one moment and then getting frustrated and annoyed at him the next, to me Jack simply seemed a bit aloof.

Unfortunately I did struggle with the character of Kit a bit, she wasn't a bad character or a bad person or anything, she just didn't seem to change. I think the only thing that Dani mentioned changing about her was that she stayed with the same guy for over a week. I just find it slightly difficult to believe that someone who went from living on a farm near a fairly big town, to living in a tent, changed so little.

One thing I noticed about the edition I was given was that the text seemed to randomly grow in size for a sentence and then go back to normal. Obviously this wasn't a problem or anything, and it didn't detract from the writing, it is just an edition quirk.

I always think that half the fun I have with this kind of book is to guess what the twists are, and once again I'm proud to say I guessed both of them right (though at one point I was worried that one of them wasn't going to be revealed!). As I said, I think this adds to the fun and the thrill of reading, for me anyway, and didn't detract from the story.

This is yet another dystopian novel that I will wholeheartedly recommend, and another one that doesn't have the following or the recognition that it deserves!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Book: The Forever Contract by Avery Sawyer

Casey and James live in a world full of drought and generally tough living conditions, but they can escape. At 17 you can sign the Forever Contract, where you upload your conciousness onto a computer and are told that your body is looked after in storage. Casey is nearly 17 and considering signing the Forever Contract to be with her brother, Ben, only one thing is stopping her, her boyfriend; James. James is very against the Forever Contract, he doesn't trust it and looks to discover more about it after his mother committed suicide via sunstroke (she was one of the original designers). Eventually he manages to convince Casey to think long and hard about what the Forever Contract really is, and they break into the warehouse where Ben's body is being 'stored', only to get caught, and that is when things really start to get interesting.

I really really really hope that there is going to be a sequel to this ebook. It felt like there was a lot of potential, for the plot, for the characters and for the dystopian setting, to develop.

One thing that should be said is that I feel that the cover in no way represents the plot or the content of the book, and in fact I feel that it could put some people off buying the book, because by the couple being naked, it gives completely the wrong impression. The way I saw it the love story in this book was the reason why they both questioned the Forever Contract, and the reason behind some of their actions, but it wasn't the central story, that was about how they were being duped and what was really going on behind the scenes. In fact I would say that the level of romance in The Forever Contract was a lot less than in many other dystopian novels of varying aimed audiences.

I really believed in the characters, particularly Casey, I liked the way that she was torn between signing the Forever Contract or not, because of the love she had for her brother and the love she had for James, for her it was never a clear cut decision. That is one of the things that makes a convincing character in my opinion. Also it didn't take her one piece of evidence to be convinced that the system was evil, over a period of time she became more convinced of it. Similarly, though James was pretty set in his views from the start of the novel, reasons behind these views were actually given and it was possible to see where they came from.

However, the narrative swapped between Casey and James regularly, this wasn't a problem in the sense that it was always possible to tell who was narrating, but they felt kind of sameish. To say that these were two different people, and different genders, I don't believe that there was enough differences between the writing and narrative style for them to be truly considered as different.

The dystopian setting was interesting, if a little freaky. The Forever Contract is signed and you get uploaded onto a database. So basically the dystopia is a computer system, which is a strange idea. Actually the idea that the descriptions of the computer system gave me was a little bit like the game the SIMs in my head, with the building things like you want to. Actually that made me think more about what was going on with this computer program, and were people having their computer existence played out like we would play the SIMs. It's a scary concept.

But the conclusion did seem a little rushed, part of me wishes that the author had just added more pages on so that they could explore more possibilities, or even a sequel (which I would read if it was published!), as there seems to be so much more for the characters to do and to experience.

The plot is fairly predictable, though I still found myself pulled into the world and the adventure created by the author, so it being slightly predictable wasn't to the ebook's detriment. This book is worth a read for anyone who likes dystopian fiction, and for people interested in the place of technology in the future.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Book: Young Moon by H S St Ours

Book 1 of the Water Worlds Series.

I was given a copy of Young Moon (along with books 2 and 3 of Water Worlds) by the author, H S St Ours, in exchange for a review.

Young Moon is the daughter of a Chinese-Korean scientist who has the aim in life to make Venus and Mars habitable. Starting in Korea, Young Moon's family escapes to China, where her father heads a group of scientists and engineers who were supposed to do something about a potential asteroid collision with earth, a team on which her mother also has a place. When the intervention goes wrong, Young Moon's family sneaks into Vietnam, and from there enters America to set up new lives away from the responsibility that the Chinese government is placing on Young Moon's father. This is where they witness the end of the world, and their trip to escape from it.

My description above does not do this book justice, the blurb doesn't do this book justice. I didn't want to put this book down, from the very first page it grabbed me and dragged me into Young Moon's world. I will admit that at the beginning I was slightly confused as to why they were in Korea when I was certain somewhere in America/Canada had been mentioned, but as soon as I figured out that it was all to do with Young Moon's memories that problem was solved.

Though the book was told through Young Moon's memories, it didn't feel like the kind of narrative that goes 'I remember this...I remember that...' it was a complete story. Ingrained within the memories was quite a lot of astronomical knowledge and explanations, though I can't quite comment as a lay person (I studied Astronomy at GCSE level, in England that's the qualifications we take at 15/16, so I had a fairly decent knowledge of what Young Moon's father was talking about), but to me the explanations seemed to get the right balance between being understandable to someone who doesn't know a thing about astronomy, and seeming specific enough that it doesn't seem over simplified.

I also liked the way that St Ours wrote about how people reacted to both the threat of disaster and the actual disaster itself. No one alive now can say that they didn't notice how the world reacted to the end of the Mayan calender last year, it was all conspiracy theories and the-world-is-going-to-end talk, St Ours incorporates this into his writing, which I believe shows a good understanding of the human race. Similarly, the people's reaction to the disaster itself; though I have not witnessed a worldwide disaster (and fingers crossed I won't), I have seen the responses that people have had to smaller ones (think back over the disasters in the past 10 years, they include 911, tsunamis, hurricanes etc) and people always panic, despite being told not to, and they bulk buy food and water, even if there is just a severe weather warning. Again, St Ours has taken all this into account when he wrote his book and included it in his writing.

The character of Young Moon seemed very mature at every age, though I think that this could have been due to the fact that she is a lot older and is looking back at the memories, so she is more eloquent in her recollections than a real 8 year old will be. With the other characters there wasn't so much depth, it wasn't possible to truly understand her father's motives as Young Moon herself didn't know them, and though her brother was present in most of the scenes in the book the most notable thing about him was probably that he was there. The one character I didn't really get at all was Young Moon's mother, there seemed to be a lot of affection from Young Moon towards her, yet no real indication of where it came from, I am therefore going to assume that it came from the 10 years that they survived the end of the world together, and perhaps something off screen that we didn't see happening.

Overall this is a very good read, it really draws you in, and feels like an accurate suggestion of how mankind would react in this situation, which is a little bit worrying I must say! I'd recommend you read this one, and I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Book: Future Gone Short stories by Alexandar Tomov Junior

I was given a PDF copy of Future Gone, by Alexandar Tomov Jnr, in exchange for a review.

Future Gone was not what I expected, and I would be tempted to liken the stories more to parables than short stories. I say this too because they seemed to be more inclined towards making you think than having a 'standard' style plot. Because of the way that the stories were written I am actually quite hesitant to put this book firmly into the apocalyptic and dystopian genre, this is because I felt that the stories, or at least some of them, were completely timeless.

Tomov seemed to focus on two main issues in his short stories. The first is death, and what happens after death, and even the inevitability of death. Though in theory this could be quite a depressing topic, the stories are written in such a way that death wasn't at the forefront of my mind, and in some cases, it was only at the end of the story that it was revealed that death played a role at all.

The other issue Tomov focuses on a lot is consumerism and the numbing of human emotion. I put these together as I believe that, from his writing, Tomov gives the impression that the first leads to the second. This leads onto what could probably be seen as the third most important topic of the short stories, human morality, and the complete break down of it. One of the most worrying things brought up by Tomov is that humankind will end up fighting evil with evil.

The one thing that really let this book down, and actually what let the author down too, was the standard of the translation. There were parts of this book where I could really see that in Tomov's original writing (in Bulgarian) the language, phrasing and stories would flow beautifully, however the translator didn't capture this all the way through, and in parts the translation was bordering on clunky. As I said, this really let Tomov's book down, and that it was something that was totally out of his control does make it seem unfair.

But despite the bad translation in places, if you are looking for something to really make you think, then this is the book for you, it does have a slight dystopian/apocalyptic setting but that wasn't an overly large part of the book.

Friday, 7 June 2013

Book: No Shelter by T S Welti

Book 1 of the No Shelter Trilogy.

Nada lives in the post-apocalyptic United States, where the population and civilisation has been wiped out by a series of natural disasters. She, her friend Issac, as well as Mary and Eva have been living in a cave, working together to live, and to save up enough water to trade for the other things that they need. Then Deadric comes along, he saves Issac, and wants the help of Nada's tribe to save his sister, turning all of the tribes lives upside down.

Saying this is an easy read seems to be a bit of an oxymoron concerning dystopian or post-apocalyptic fiction, though it is true, this book is really easy to read. The plot is simple, there is only one real line of story, though this is clear, believable within the setting, and leaves it open for there to be more plot development in the next two instalments in the series (which are already on my wish list for when I get time to read them!)

At first the characters also seem a bit simple and one dimensional, though as the story progressed I felt that they gained more depth, though a lot of that was only hinted at, and as with the plot line I can see plenty of room for the development in the next books. Plus I really want to know what Issac did and whether or not Vic was lying!

The title of the novella on amazon said that it was a post-apocalyptic love story, now I can see that there is a definite love story in it, and that there is the, some what traditional, love triangle falling, but personally I wouldn't say that there was any more of a love story than for any other dystopian book. I'm not saying this as a criticism, there is nothing wrong with the amount of romance in the book, and thankfully it isn't of the soppy love at first sight kind either, in fact I would say that the author has got the perfect balance between the love relationships and the action, there's nothing worse than one dimensional romance or action without the rest of the world!

I'd say this would be perfect for anyone wanting to get into, or just to try the dystopian genre without getting bogged down in some of the heavier novels out there, or for anyone who likes the genre and just wants a quick and light read. And I am very interested to see where the author is going to take this story!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Book: Fifty Shades of Lady Mary Grey; More Sex Scandals That Shook the Tudor Court by T S Wiseman

This is the sequel to Fifty Shades of Lady Catherine Grey, also by T S Wiseman. Included are chapters on; Incestuous Pleasures (Richard III and Elizabeth of York), The least of all the court (Lady Mary Grey), Sorcery and Sex, the great whore and the two Kings (Mary Boleyn), The playwright's love triangle (involving Shakespere), Adultery and Murder (Elizabeth I and Robert Dudley), The noble lady an the prior, and All the King's mistresses (Henry VIII).

The thing I liked about this book, and Fifty Shades of Lady Catherine Grey, was that though it is a non-fiction book about people that really lived, it is based on rumours and makes no issue of the fact. At the beginning of each chapter or story the author writes a scenario that could have happened, though ultimately is a work of fiction, and from there goes on to explain why what has been written has been. The book makes no conclusions about what really happened, leaving you to make your own mind up, yet at the same time it is obvious to discern what the author thinks.

Its very easy to read, because the detail is less important there is less emphasis on it from the author, meaning that the text is light as opposed to heavy going. Though it is worth noting that there is mature content, as the title suggests. Even the title itself is clever (or at least I think so), playing on the, quite frankly, infamous Grey family as well as the popular 'mummy porn' book Fifty Shades of Grey.

I really hope that the author brings out another one! Though I'm not too sure what they could call it considering the only Grey sister left is Jane, and her scandal was of a more treasonous sort!

For anyone even remotely interested in Tudor History, this is a must-read!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Book: Talk to the Snail by Stephen Clarke

 Talk to the Snail is another satirical look at the French by author Stephen Clarke, an expat in Paris. The thing I like about his books is that I can relate to what he is saying, having lived in Paris I have had the experiences he described and as I am reading I think 'that is exactly what the French are like'.

This book is a must read for anyone moving to France, and if you're just going on holiday there I suggest you read it to! Clarke takes a light and humourous approach to his writing and that means that his books are easy to read, informative and educational, and avoiding the trap of being too heavy. He clearly knows what he is on about, and the narrative includes examples from every day life.

It was different to his other books in the way that this is just about the French people, rather than the history or Paris. It does mean that you aren't repeating what you are reading in the other books. 

I just wish this book had been longer! 

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Book: Bran's Story by Maculategiraffe

Book 1 of the Slave Breakers Series originally posted on Livejournal (and now produced as an ebook).

In an alternate future children can be sold by their parents on their 15th birthday to offset their cost of living. Bran is one such child, and has spent the past 3 years being mistreated as a sex slave by various owners. He is sold to the slave breakers who train young slaves and retrain difficult slaves.

Warning: This story does contain graphic sexual scenes of a man on man nature. As well as hinted at scenes of sex with under 18s. I can't say that I was expecting this kind of thing to happen in the book, but despite the graphic nature, and me being female, it wasn't overwhelming. You can't have people being sold into sexual slavery and skirt around sex, which this author didn't. Also the way the story itself (as in the bits that weren't sex) was well written and the characters were engaging enough for it to be detracting.

I only know that the setting was contemporary because the blurb says so, there was no way to really tell this from the story itself, also there was no real world building or background as to why parents are able to sell their children.

Saying this the characterisation was good, the household really felt like a family, which seemed to be the point of the relationships. But ultimately all of the people that are slaves didn't actually seem to be treated or even act like slaves. This even goes for Bran who had 'bad' masters before entering Holden and Alix's house, he seemed to start to trust very very quickly, which doesn't seem that to seem really realistic.

Note: I have put bad in annotation marks, not because I believe that there can be good masters, but simply because I don't believe that the concept of slavery allows for there to be good masters as the 'mastery' of other people is fundamentally bad.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Book: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Book 3 of the Delirium Trilogy

Lena, Julian and Alex are now actively involved in the resistance, which brings them back to Portland (well Lena and Alex back, Julian isn't from there). Meanwhile Hana's wedding to Fred Hargrave, t/he dead Mayor's son, has been brought forward due to social pressures. Lena is struggling with her feelings about both Julian and Alex as well as her feelings about her mother, while Hana is struggling to come to terms with her impending marriage and her pair's suspicious past and ex-wife. It all comes to head in a dramatic conclusion...

In a change from the narrative in Delirium and Pandemonium, it is told from the point of views of both Lena and Hana, alternatively. Surprisingly this isn't confusing at all, as they alternate regularly and one of them is cured while the other isn't, though Hana does say more than once that she suspects that her cure did not work properly. Its actually interesting to see the two perspectives side by side, and I think it demonstrates that even if you remove the love from someone they still care about things, you can't escape human nature.

Despite the obvious love triangle, it didn't feel like it was overly pushed. It more felt like Lena was with a boyfriend and is frequently in a room with her ex. But there is the choosing bit at the end, and the thing I liked about the way that the choice wasn't completely given, readers can guess, but Lena did think about the other person in the situation.

The ending itself didn't seem definite, and I liked that, there was no definite resolution. I liked it because it didn't allow things to be miraculously be fine as some books do. Though I would have possibly liked an epilogue showing how things are in 10 to 20 years.

I really liked seeing inside Hana's head, her shocking revelation wasn't that shocking considering that it is heavily hinted at in the ebook novella Hana, but was only confirmed in Requiem. Up until now there has never been much insight into the heads of the cured, or in fact for anyone that is not particularly rebellious. Hana seems to start thinking for herself over the course of the book, especially as she starts to realise what Fred is really like.

Lena grows too, instead of dealing with her problems by ignoring them and carrying on like some protagonists do, she actually thinks about them and acts after thought in a mature manor, it is easy to forget that she is only 18.

One character that I didn't particularly enjoy the characterisation of was Tack. I thought that he was a brilliant character in Pandemonium in the way that he was written, but in Requiem he just seemed to fall a little flat and moved to the background, similarly to Raven, who also seemed to fade into the background a bit.

I enjoyed the book though, it was a good conclusion to the story and didn't let the other two books in the series. Read them!