grav_ity: (books)
Every time I think I'm burned out on dystopia, I read "just one more", and remember that I will read messed up politics FOREVER. ;)

The more things change... )

Also, there is going to be a map. I AM SO EXCITED. And over Christmas, I saw more than a few kids eagerly looking it up in our system. I did my best not to rub it in, but I did mention that I'd read the ARC and loved it.

9/10 for action, heroism, politics, talking about feelings, making smart decisions and THAT THING WITH THE [SPOILER].
grav_ity: (books 2011)
I said of the first book in this series, DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE, This book is kind of like the TARDIS: First you're all "Hey! It's bigger on the inside!", and then you're all "HOLY CRAP THERE'S A SWIMMING POOL IN HERE!"

In keeping with the theme, DAYS OF BLOOD AND STARLIGHT was like traveling with the Doctor: there's danger and beauty, and the inevitability of heart break. Also, there is AWESOME.

Spoilers )

All told, another excellently written story, with fantastic characters and wonderful imagery, and an ending that defies description.

Oh, and also THERE WAS A MAP.

grav_ity: (books 2011)
In which Victor Frankenstein is an emo-teenager who discovers alchemy.

(True story, I once read a review about how TDE was Oppel's "first endeavour" into genre fiction, and how it was too bad he had to stoop that low. The writer of that review had clearly never seen, much less read, one of Oppel's books.)

Spoilers! )

8/10 for historical details, excellent narratives, interesting adventures and the take on religion.
grav_ity: (books 2011)
One of the last genres to break into the teen section is sci-fi. I think this is because a lot of sci-fi was already read anyway (like, for example, The Book That Shall Not Be Named, which was rebranded on account of the movie and, hilariously, GIVES AWAY THE ENDING ON THE COVER), but every time a true sci-fi title pops up in the section, I am THRILLED. And when that book is written by Malinda Lo? I am extra-so. ;)

Adaptation is the story of Reese, a girl from San Fransisco who goes to a debate competition in Phoenix and is traveling home the day the world changes. Birds fall from the sky, and they bring planes with them as they fall; planes built to withstand one or two bird-strikes, but not dozens at the same time. Almost right away, conspiracy looms. The government is lying about the number of planes. Everything is shut down. There is panic, and Reese and her co-debator, a boy named David, find themselves driving home. They're in a crash, and when they wake up, everything has changed.

Spoilers! )

Rated 9/10 for amazing pacing, brilliant and creepy plots, wonderful (and creepy) imagery, an excellent application of The Love Triangle, and a roster of great female characters.
grav_ity: (machete)
I just re-read my review of SON OF NEPTUNE and saw my comment about how it was less frenetic than the original PJ series. This book? FREN-FREAKING-ETIC. But with seven main characters and approximately a hundred thousand side quests, that's really not a surprise. And everyone bonded! Which was great.

Let it be said of THE MARK OF ATHENA: it does not end with a cliff-hanger. )

Some favourite lines:

"It's a famous spot from the American Civil War."
"I'm Canadian, actually."

"Perhaps later, if I don't have to kill you, I will share my brownie recipe."

"Hercules, huh? That guy was like the STARBUCKS of Ancient Greece. Everywhere you turn - there he is"

"But you're also my half brother, which means all the flying horses in the world are also my - you know what? Let's forget it."

"It's amazing what you can do with an Archimedes sphere, a girl who can sense things underground, and a weasel."
"I was the weasel."

9/10, because Annabeth is AWESOME and like I was going to give the ATHENA book anything shy of a high number. ;)
grav_ity: (books 2011)
Let me be straight with you: there is no way in hell I am going to be rational about this book. I adored it.

Let me explain. No there is too much. Let me sum up.

I totally explain. )

The back of the book has two blurbs, one from Rachel Hawkins, proposing marriage, and one from Locus, putting Carson in the club with Cashore, Turner and Pierce. Both of them are completely true. Second Books are hard. This book is freaking brilliant. 10/10
grav_ity: (books)
Gothic Romance is, shall we say, not usually my thing. But Gothic Romance written by Sarah Rees Brennan, inspired by Miss Marple and Veronica Mars, and incorporating delightful one-liners and excellent world-building (not to mention some word play that paid off brilliantly)? That I can definitely go for! So when the Unspoken ARCs went out, I begged volunteered for one, and read it almost as soon as it arrived.

And then I forgot to review it on my lj (though I did blog about it, and SRB put it on her tumblr, and it's my most viewed blog of all time, so I don't think I missed the boat or anything). And now it's out and available, so I am putting the review on livejournal.

Doesn’t the name Lynburn just send shivers up your spine? I LOVE IT. )

9/10 for being hilarious and awesome, for giving me some amazing characters, for having a cover that is gorgeous, and for the ending, even if I don't react to it the way everyone else seems to.
grav_ity: (books 2011)
I have been madly excited for this book since I saw the cover art months and months ago, and it did not disappoint!

This book was so much more than I was expecting! I had been looking forward to a Steampunked romp with some wonderful creatures, and what I got instead was this HUGE world, full of beauty and terror, joy and sadness, good and evil, and probably the best Start-to-Byron pay-off in the history of literature (plus, I just have to find a way to make "Saint Darwin and all of his apes!" an expression that everyone uses when things go awry).

Trent pulls out all the stops, possibly inventing a few as she went along, and the result is a fabulous story with great characters and a tremendous world for them to stand on. I was utterly captivated by the dark side of the Steampunk world, where science ran amok and complete destruction is just around the corner. Plus the invented religion was intriguing and scarily possible and...yes. I loved this book a lot.

9/10 for being something NEW in the steampunk genre, for having a great heroine and supporting characters, for secret societies, for some truly original Saints, and for completely surpassing my expectations.
grav_ity: (books 2011)
Here’s the thing about trilogies: you have to really want them. So many trilogies fall prey to “second book syndrome”, and then sometimes also “third book syndrome”, and Pearce managed not only to make each book in her Unhappily Ever After series compelling, but she went the additional mile of linking them all together in ways so beautiful and terrible they kind of MADE MY HEAD EXPLODE.

I was five when THE LITTLE MERMAID came out. As far as I was concerned, Walt Disney had personally made this movie for me. We only had a black and white TV in those days, so I didn’t even know Ariel was a red-head until I saw the video at a friend’s house. But the soul of the movie was music, and a girl who loved things, and I loved her. I drove everyone crazy singing. When my sister told me how the story really ended, I was confused. I didn’t understand. So I held on to that Disney ending until I was old enough to appreciate that happy endings don’t always look the same.

And then I discovered Jackson Pearce, and her fairy-tales. I loved SISTERS RED so hard, and SWEETLY was a beautiful thing I should probably read again someday when I’m not freaking out about being unemployed, but FATHOMLESS…FATHOMLESS blew me away.

Spoilers: Everyone Drowns )

10/10 for surpassing all my expectations, for being one of the most brilliant conceived stories I’ve ever read, and for, one again, taking a story I know and love, and making it into something I love even more.
grav_ity: (books 2011)
You guys. YOU GUYS.

You still have a couple of days before THE RAVEN BOYS comes out. I recommend you spend them reading this. I can’t even say things about it (besides “EEEEEEEEVIEEEEEEEEEE!!!!”), but it is beautiful and wonderful and only a little bit gross, and, OMG, the cover is even more pretty than I had imagined.

Just, just, there’s magic and power and love and OMG, DID I MENTION LOVE and now I want to go and grow something.

10/10. *flails all over this book*

At this rate, I’m going to need a lung transplant after PAPER VALENTINE comes out...
grav_ity: (books)
I think it’s important for me to state, for the record, that when I compare two things to each other, it’s not because I think they are the same. It’s because they make me FEEL the same. I read a tumblr post by Sara Reese Brennan once about how it annoys her when people compare her Demon Trilogy to the TV show SUPERNATURAL. It’s about two brothers, saving people, hunting things. But it doesn’t remind me of Supernatural at all. Because it makes me feel entirely different.

So when I say that CJ Redwine’s DEFIANCE reminded me of THE HANDMAID’S TALE, I don’t mean because it threw around the word “commander” a lot, had ridiculous gender roles and involved some truly skeevy arranged marriages. It did all of those things, but WITHER, which does them too, made me feel entirely different. DEFIANCE made me fall in love with a powerful girl, who started to understand what she was capable of, and then set the world on fire.


8/10 for being a fight, but a worthwhile one.
grav_ity: (books)
I really enjoyed this book a lot, except for a tiny bit in the middle and the end where it spiraled into "Harry Potter and the Order of the People Who Don't Talk To Each Other Because That Would Make It Too Easy". That said, at least Donna acknowledges that she probably should talk to people, and then does actually talk to them, but it's the GROWN-UPS who don't, and *headdesk*.

Anyway, the important thing is that Donna Underwood is AWESOME, and her best friend is AWESOME, and her boyfriend is...well, not QUITE awesome, but that's only because he's double majoring in Mysterious, so he couldn't take all his AWESOME classes this semester. He's still pretty cool, though, and at one point he takes the opportunity to be That Guy, which is always a sure way into my heart. I really liked finding out more about Donna's family and the Order, and the other Orders. (Who me? Loving secret societies WITHIN SECRET SOCIETIES?)

Also, there were about a million seeds planted for the next book without completely sacrificing the (very important) plot in the middle book, which is always fun.

8.5/10, I think, for being fun and faerie-filled, I hate it when I get trapped in abortive alliterations.
grav_ity: (books 2011)
One of the best parts of the PRINCESS ACADEMY was how the characters used their brains to solve their problems. In PALACE OF STONE, we have Miri finding out that the world is even bigger than she thought it might be, and also about a million times more dangerous...but there's still her brain, and her friendships to fall back on.

Sometimes you have to let the painting burn. )

9/10 for being beautifully written, for having a great character who uses her brain and her heart, for not taking the easy way out, and for being the kind of perfect sequel you only get by surprise.
grav_ity: (books 2011)
True story: I put this book on a table close to That Other Book, and since I've done that we've sold 15 of them. I consider it a victory for humanity, really. Because this book has something very important to say.

I love it when historical fiction deals with a part of history I don't know that much about. I knew that Stalinist Russia was awful, and I knew that Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia were seriously set back under the Soviets, but I didn't really put all the pieces together until one of the characters said something about how the Germans had invaded, and maybe they would be saved.

Between Shades of Gray is a story about art and hope and family, and what people can do under unreasonable stress. It's incredibly raw and well written, and remarkably breath-taking. It doesn't quite match the urgency of CODENAME VERITY, but what sets it apart is how the book deals with human ability and resiliency. If CODENAME VERITY is a sprint, BETWEEN SHADES OF GRAY is a marathon. Which is to say they are performed in the same arena, but executed so differently that you can't compare the results. ;)

The main character of GRAY is wonderfully stubborn, which is how she stays alive. She's a bit oblivious at the start (because she's a teenager and no one is bothering to tell her anything, so I don't mind so much), but her growth and her journey are just amazing. She is definitely on my short list of great female characters.

8.5/10 for artistry, history, the way in which it confronted real life, and a truly tenacious lead character.
grav_ity: (books 2011)
I'm going to see if I can do this without being entirely maudlin. :)

Once upon a time, a baby author wrote a manuscript in November, and then had no idea what to do with it. One day in early January 2010, she discovered a website called Merry Fates, and three authors who, though they were at various states of publication, put out short stories on a regular basis to flex their muscles and see what happened. They also talked about how they wrote and how they navigated the mechanics of the publishing world.

Today, they have a book. THE CURIOSITIES is a collection of short stories, written from common prompts but usually taken in three entirely different directions. Additionally, the book is annotated with remarks from all three authors, plus their editor, and it's hilarious and insightful and weird.

Because if I had to pick a word for this book, this collection, it would be weird (well, sometimes it would be gross, but in the good way, if that makes sense). Weird and wonderful and beautiful and gross, and sometimes all of them at the same time. There are faeries and rock stars, knights and history majors, storytellers and serial killers. And they all come in small, infinitely interesting packages.

I'm not going to rate this book, because it has way too many feelings inside of it for me to be objective. But I can say with some surety that there is something for everyone here, because there is so MUCH going on in the pages. I really recommend it for writers, because of the notes and the idea of Merry Fates, but it's also very good for people who love stories, because the stories are fantastic.
grav_ity: (have faith)
So once upon a time, I randomly picked GLOW up off the shelf and read it, even though it was an uphill battle (not because it was BAD. But because it was HARD. In the GOOD way.), and I loved it.

And then SPARK came out. And, holy crap.

Spoilers )

9/10 for being a tremendously awesome second book, for tackling religion and tolerance, for being upfront and blatant, and for Waverly. Because Waverly is awesome.
grav_ity: (books)
Yes, that Chris Colfer. And maybe as a baby!Author I am not qualified to say this, but WELCOME TO THE YA/MG FAMILY, CHRIS. You wrote an excellent book, and if this is your career after acting (or during acting), I say BRING IT ON.

And they all lived happily ever...hold that thought! )

10/10 for weaving together so many stories, for being fantastical and having common sense, for a great sister-and-brother team, for a GORGEOUS map, and for being something I believe would have been published anyway, had the author not already been famous.
grav_ity: (luna)
Every now and then, there is a book that is beautiful. A book that is masterful. A book that is everything you have ever wanted in your ENTIRE LIFE. A book that makes you laugh and cry and gasp in shock. A book whose every word is placed with such precision, it seems to look right into your soul.

And if you are very, very lucky, that book will be part one of a quartet, spaced out to taunt you by being published in 2012-15.

You can say things like "masterful" or "a tour de force" or "her best one yet". Or you can just say "September 18, 2012. Put it on your calendar."

10/10, even though it's the first in a series, and I'm not telling you anything else until I'm holding my own copy in my hands.
grav_ity: (The Story of Owen)
So this book is mostly about dragons and music and politics. Which, I will admit, scared the CRAP out of me, because that is also kind of what my book is about. Fortunately, they are about as alike as The Hunger Games and Ender's Game. Which is great news for me, because HOLY CATS, THIS BOOK!

I am going to fail at words in a spectacular way... )

So 10/10, obviously. For being awesome, having music, having religion, having science, having dragons, having NEW dragons, making me love a love triangle, having several female characters that were so awesome I wept with joy, for being laugh out loud funny, for the best character list OF ALL TIME and for...JUST FOR EVERYTHING.

SERAPHINA's official release date is tomorrow, so you can track it down as soon as the stores open. :)
grav_ity: (books)
So. I read EON, the first book in this set, in 2010. It was...not my favourite. I mean, the world-building is impeccable and the characters are strong, I just didn't like any of them. I was hoping that would be better in EONA.

And, sort of? )

7/10, for not quite reaching its potential.


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