Review: Partials by Dan Wells

Goodreads–The human race is all but extinct after a war with Partials—engineered organic beings identical to humans—has decimated the population. Reduced to tens of thousands by RM, a weaponized virus to which only a fraction of humanity is immune, the survivors in North America have huddled together on Long Island while the Partials have mysteriously retreated. The threat of the Partials is still imminent, but worse, no baby has been born immune to RM in more than a decade. Our time is running out.

Kira, a sixteen-year-old medic in training, is on the front lines of this battle, seeing RM ravage the community while mandatory pregnancy laws threaten to launch what’s left of humanity into civil war, and she’s not content to stand by and watch. But as she makes a desperate decision to save the last of her race, she will discover that the survival of humans and Partials alike rests in her attempts to uncover the connections between them—connections that humanity has forgotten, or perhaps never even knew were there.

                                                   Partials (Partials, #1)

Partials by Dan Wells is another monster of a book (472 pages) that will appeal to YA dystopian fans. My colleague passed along this ARC after giving it glowing reviews. Although I enjoyed it, I wasn’t as hyped about it as she was.

The Bad

-Too many characters. New cast members were continually added to the plot making it increasingly difficult to differentiate between them, remember what side they were on and ultimately connect with them.   It was also really challenging to visualize them due to a lack of physical descriptions.

-Slow moving. The characters spent the majority of the story problem solving, discussing what to do, whom to trust, etc.  Since I didn’t connect with the characters, I didn’t really care what their thoughts were so I found myself skimming a lot in this drawn out book. Thankfully, the book really picked up in the latter half of the book—tons of action to get your adrenaline going!

 

The Good

-Plot Twists. I found the book’s concept really interesting and LOVED the plot twists. They got me every time—especially the big last reveal!

-Wells’ world building. Wells did a fantastic job at describing with detail the future world of 2076.

-Book cover.  Partials has such an intriguing cover and fantastic tag line—‘the only hope for humans isn’t human.’  This cover grabs the reader’s attention!

Like many other YA novels, the next instalment in this series was perfectly set up with the cliff-hanger ending and unresolved questions.  I think it would be interesting to read about their future society post-virus.  Look for Partials at bookstores and libraries February 28th, 2012.

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Review: Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

                                    Rules of Attraction (Perfect Chemistry, #2)

***CONTENT WARNING—Before the summary and review, I would like to give a content warning that this YA book contains sexual, drug and alcohol content, and course language.

GOODREADS SUMMARY: When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realises that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

Review:

I’m not sure how I ended up with Rules of Attraction on my shelf, but I’m happy I grabbed it for my vacation in Jamaica! Although I had not read the first book in the Perfect Chemistry series, I was still able to understand and enjoy this book. Apparently, the whole series (three books in total) have pretty similar plots as they follow the three tough Fuentes brothers as they rebel against society until they all find that special lady that changes their lives.

In this book, the love story revolves around Carlos and Kiera. We get to understand both their perspectives as the book shifts first person narration chapter by chapter. I did like the quiet, shy character of Kiara and her love for over sized t-shirts and old cars. For the most part, she is a goody good girl, yet a different side of her is exposed when she is around Carlos—a bolder sexual side. This romance between Carlos and Kiera does develop nicely, and the sexuality that comes along with it is spicy hot. 

 

Critiques

-I didn’t understand why Carlos and Kiera ever pretended to be boyfriend/girlfriend. Why was it necessary to fool Madison? I don’t get it.

-The ending. I didn’t buy it. It wrapped way to quickly and easily for the couple. It made it unbelievable for the reader. 

-The epilogue. Whyyyyy? It was painfully beyond cheesy. SKIP IT!

Overall, this book was a quick fun beach read. Despite my critiques, I did enjoy this angsty, romance book and I can understand why readers love this series.  If you would like to read the series, I’ve listed the titles in order:

1. Perfect Chemisty

2. Rules of Attraction

3. Chain Reaction

*FYI-The book trailers are available on Youtube. If you want to see the worst book trailer ever, click here to watch the rap book trailer of Perfect Chemistry. Sigh… just why?

Bookit Review: Legend by Marie Lu

I saw this book highlighted on Facebook in a “What to get your Teen for Christmas” reading wish list by my local library, and I also came across it in eBook format through the popular library downloading database Overdrive. Knowing that eReader devices would be a popular present this holiday season, I was excited to dive into a read that I could share with tech savvy teens that enjoy reading on electronic devices.

Legend (Legend, #1) 

 

From Goodreads:

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’ death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

I really enjoyed this book, especially since I had recently finished The Hunger Games. Dystopian fiction is a popular genre, and Legend makes a great next read for those that enjoyed The Hunger Games and are interested in escaping into what the future may be like (past 2012)! What is the world like after surviving horrific natural disasters? Are the children in the dystopian world of Legend also subjected to some sort of cruel process?  Does the government have a hidden agenda? Could a romance bloom between two characters who were supposed to be lethally opposed to one another?

Set in the Republic of America, what was once Los Angeles, California in the year 2031 we find the two main characters Day and June. Chapter one features Day perspective (in gold print), the following chapter is of June’s (in black print), and the book continues like this flipping back and forth so that the reader is able to understand their experiences and become attached to both as their characters develop.

When we first meet Day he has just seen one of the many JumboTrons displaying a ‘wanted’ add for his arrest:

WANTED BY THE REPUBLIC

FILE NO: 462178-3233 “DAY”

——————————-

WANTED FOR ASSULT, ARSON, THEFT,

DESTRUCTION OF MILITARY PROPERTY,

AND HINDERING THE WAR EFFORT

200,000 REPUBLIC NOTES FOR

INFORMATION LEADING TO ARREST

The author Marie Lu’s effort to put in unique text add-ins, such as the one above, and changing the print colour, aid in creating the ambiance for the story. Her writing style of bouncing between the two characters also creates foreshadowing, while at the same time she puts in plot twists that make this a suspenseful read you don’t want to put down.   

Like many YA titles, Legend is the first book of a planned series. Currently, the release date for the next title is unknown, but let’s hope it’s not too far away! I give it a good 4 out of 5.

Happy reading, Bookit

p.s. for more information about the author or book visit her website

Book Review: Anna and the French kiss by Stephanie Perkins

                 

 

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris – until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he’s taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

J’adore this book.  I devoured this YA romance chick lit book within a day.  Chalk full of teen entertainment and drama, this book will transport you back to your teenage years. Perkins is able to nail every aspect of having a teenage crush. The sweet romance between Anna and Etienne St.Clair (swoon) will make you blush and put a goofy smile on your face. It is a gradual, complicated love that readers will eat up.  The best part? This love story is set in the most romantic city in the world- PARIS! Clearly, Perkins did her research on the city before including details about food, arts, and architecture. I’ve never been to Paris, but this book has made me want to go even more! Sigh…

I also really loved the rich cast of secondary characters–Josh, Meredith, Rashmi, and Bridget. All of these high school students face real problems ranging from relationships, friendships and parents. They realistically handle the situations as any teen would. In the end, readers will connect with these individuals and feel apart of this group of friends.

Overall, this book is an entirely addictive, fun read. Please don’t dismiss it for the cliché title and cover.

My favourite YA Book of 2011

Drumroll please…

 

            

DIVERGENT by Veronica Roth!!!

followed by a close second… MY NAME IS MINA by David Almond.

Click the book titles to access their reviews. What was your favourite YA read of 2011?

Book Review: Steampunk!: An Anthology of Fantastically Rich and Strange Stories

From Goodreads:

In the first major YA steampunk anthology, fourteen top storytellers push the genre’s mix of sci-fi, fantasy, history, and adventure in fascinating new directions.

Imagine an alternate universe where romance and technology reign. Where tinkerers and dreamers craft and re-craft a world of automatons, clockworks, calculating machines, and other marvels that never were. Where scientists and schoolgirls, fair folk and Romans, intergalactic bandits, utopian revolutionaries, and intrepid orphans solve crimes, escape from monstrous predicaments, consult oracles, and hover over volcanoes in steam-powered airships. Here, fourteen masters of speculative fiction, including two graphic storytellers, embrace the genre’s established themes and refashion them in surprising ways and settings as diverse as Appalachia, ancient Rome, future Australia, and alternate California. Visionaries Kelly Link and Gavin J. Grant have invited all-new explorations and expansions, taking a genre already rich, strange, and inventive in the extreme and challenging contributors to remake it from the ground up. The result is an anthology that defies its genre even as it defines it.

                       

This imaginative and original book served as a great introduction to the ‘Steampunk’ genre. From what I understand, ‘Steampunk’ refers to old science, and 1800s England. After reading through the book, machines, clocks, alternate universes, and scientists played a big role in the 14 stories.  Of the 14 stories, there are 12 in text and 2 in graphic format. All stories are by different beloved authors, including Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Obviously every reader will have his or her own favourites. My top picks are:

*** Cory Doctorow’s Clockwork Fagin—about limbless and mutilated orphans injured by steam-powered machines that kill their evil master and replace him with an automaton.

**Libba Bray’s The Last Ride of the Glory Girls—about a gang of girls that use clockwork to stop time and rob trains.

Unfortunately, I found that the majority of stories were just a tad too long and boring for me. They didn’t keep my attention and I found myself skimming through them—especially the graphic comics. I appreciate the attempt to blend formats and offer the reader a break from the text, but they were just blah. However, I am glad I read this anthology to get a sampling of what Steampunk has to offer. I am now familiar with the genre and can recommend this book to those interested in experiencing Steampunk writing.

2011 in review

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