Wednesday 30 October 2013

Review: Tinder - Sally Gardner

Tinder by Sally Gardner, published by Indigo on 7th November 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
Otto Hundebiss is tired of war, but when he defies Death he walks a dangerous path. A half beast half man gives him shoes and dice which will lead him deep into a web of dark magic and mystery. He meets the beautiful Safire - pure of heart and spirit, the scheming Mistress Jabber and the terrifying Lady of the Nail. He learns the powers of the tinderbox and the wolves whose master he becomes. But will all the riches in the world bring him the thing he most desires?

Sally Gardner is one of those authors whose books I long for.  I'm always excited when I hear that a new book written by her is being published and I'm always extremely eager to get my hands on it.  With 'Tinder', Gardner has written a spellbinding story based around Hans Christian Anderson's fairy tale 'The Tinderbox'.  I actually have a really old book on my shelves which is the complete collection of tales by Anderson and which has been passed down through my family.  One of the most well thumbed sections of the book is this exact fairy tale which has always been one of my favourites.  I always loved the image of the dogs with eyes as big as saucers and the magical tinderbox which has the ability to grace the recipient with whatever his heart desires.   

There are elements of the traditional version of the story here, but Gardner has also reinterpreted it in her own unique way.  It is now set at the time of The Thirty Years war when soldier Otto Hundebiss is given a pair of shoes and a set of dice.  These innocuous objects are set to change his future destiny as he embarks on a strange and mysterious new journey where he will have to face love and death and confront his own personal nightmares. 

I thought 'Tinder' was wonderful.  It's quirky and unusual and quite dark in places but it drew me in and kept me enthralled until the very end.  It shows that fairy tales don't always have happy endings and that conflict, love and loss are faced by people in every walk of life. 

I read a proof copy of the book but the final finished version features over 100 black and white images by illustrator David Roberts which accompany the text of the story.  If you love Sally Gardner and have already read 'Tinder' then why not buy a copy for a friend or if you haven't yet discovered this amazing author then I implore you not to wait any longer and rush out and get yourself a copy today.  You won't be disappointed! 

Monday 28 October 2013

Review: Blinded by the Light - Joe Kipling

Blinded by the Light by Joe Kipling, published by Cillian Press on 1st October 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
In the near future, when the world's population has been decimated by disease, the fortunate few live inside the Boundary, while the unlucky ones are left to die on the Outside. MaryAnn is one of the privileged. It doesn't matter that her friends can sometimes be cruel or that the boy she likes just threw up on her shoes, it's all about being noticed at the right parties. But it takes a single event to rip her life apart.

Struggling with physical and psychological scars, MaryAnn must face up to the truth about the foundations of the Neighbourhood and the legacy of her family. Once she learns the truth she can never go back, but can she really put her faith in the Union?

'Blinded by the Light' is a dystopian young-adult novel, written by a British author.  The first book in the Union trilogy it paints a bleak portrait of a future society which has been decimated by disease, leading to the formation of the Boundary.  The latter has been set up to protect the people within it from the Echo who are feared by all.

The main character MaryAnn lives inside the Boundary with her parents.  She's an Alpha - safe, well looked after and privileged.  She always has enough synthetic food to eat, she's free from disease and is luckier than many of the Delta who hold menial jobs in society.  At the start of the book I really wasn't sure about whether it was going to be for me because so many of the characters came across as quite unlikeable.  As I read on, I was sucked in by the story but sadly never really became a big fan of MaryAnn and her friends and family.

Everything changes for MaryAnn when her parents are killed by a bomb.  Trying to cope with her devastating loss, she goes to live with the Director but only begins to discover the truth about events when she comes into contact with her brother Daryl.  I thought the plot was great.  I'm a big fan of dystopian fiction and I enjoyed the idea for 'Blinded by the Light'.  The world building in the book was excellent and it was interesting to read about a world where the residents live within a protected barrier, believing they are being kept safe from outsiders.  The truth is something altogether different and I thought the way that Joe Kipling gradually revealed this was done brilliantly.          
I felt like the book was let down slightly by some of the dialogue and by the fact that it was hard to feel real sympathy and understanding for some of the characters.  There are hints of romance between MaryAnn and Peter but I suspect that this is going to be developed more in later instalments of the series. 

There are some interesting questions raised in the book and it puts forward ideas about good and evil which show that this isn't always completely clear cut.  I enjoyed the opening instalment, even though not everything came together completely for me and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the series.      

Friday 25 October 2013

Review: Resist - Sarah Crossan

Resist by Sarah Crossan, published by Bloomsbury on 10th October 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
Resistance to the Pod Leadership has come apart. The Grove has been destroyed but so has the Pod Minister. Quinn, Bea and Alina separately must embark on a perilous journey across the planet's dead landscape in search of the rumoured resistance base Sequoia. Meanwhile the Pod Minister has been succeeded by his capricious daughter. Her brother, Ronan, is supposed to advise her, but his doubts about the regime lead to him being sent out of the Pod in search of Quinn. In a world in which the human race is adapting to survive with little air, the stakes are high.

'Resist' is the sequel to 'Breathe' which I read last year and really loved.  I was very excited to see how Sarah Crossan's story was going to be concluded so picked this one up as soon as it arrived. 

When I'm reading the second, third or fourth book in a series I do find it useful if the author provides a recap of characters and key plot points at the start.  Mainly because I read a lot of books and sometimes there's a large gap between books in a series being published.  This didn't happen in 'Resist' and I was plunged straight back into the story, so I did find it took me a little while to find my feet and remember exactly what had happened previously. 

The story is narrated yet again by Bea, Alina and Quinn, but also by Ronan, the mayor's son.  I enjoyed the fact that there were multiple narrators, as it meant getting to understand different character's viewpoints and motivations but it did mean that the story jumped around quite a lot and just as I was getting engrossed in what was happening to one person, the perspective switched to someone else.  Yet again Bea was my favourite character and I enjoyed her sections of the book the most.  Brave, tough and determined, she never gives in and she, more than anyone else, seems to be at the heart of the story. 

The message in the book comes across loud and clear and is about not giving up, about fighting for a better future and about having hope, even when you're continually knocked down.  The characters have to face great adversity but they never stop trying and never give up the will to live. 

The ending was touching and heart-breaking and beautifully concluded the story.  Make sure you have some tissues handy because you'll need them.       

Sarah Crossan is definitely an author to watch and I'm already eagerly awaiting her next book. 

Wednesday 23 October 2013

Review: The Trap - Andrew Fukuda

The Trap by Andrew Fukuda, published by Simon and Schuster on 1st November 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
After barely escaping the Mission alive, Gene and Sissy face an impossible task: staying alive long enough to stop an entire world bent on their destruction. Bound on a train heading into the unknown with the surviving Mission girls, Gene, Sissy, David, and Epap must stick together and use everything they have to protect each other and their only hope: the cure that will turn the blood-thirsty creatures around them into humans again. Now that they know how to reverse the virus, Gene and Sissy have one final chance to save those they love and create a better life for themselves. But as they struggle to get there, Gene's mission sets him on a crash course with Ashley June, his first love...and his deadliest enemy.

'The Trap' is an epic and exhilarating conclusion to one of the best series out there!  I was on the edge of my seat as I followed Gene and Sissy's struggle to save the ones they love and survive in a world riddled with danger. 

I have loved each instalment but I think this was my favourite so far.  It was an incredible, pulse-pounding read which I devoured in one sitting.  The story takes up where 'The Prey' left off, with Gene, Sissy and co on-board a train headed towards an uncertain fate.  As they face unimaginable horrors, they vow to stick together no matter what but someone from Gene's past has other ideas.

The plot rockets along at full speed ahead, as Gene and Sissy find themselves in one dangerous situation after enough.  Having followed their journey this far and having invested so much in the characters I was desperately keeping my fingers crossed for them.  They've faced such terrible situations that I really wanted them to come out the other side and have some hope for the future.  They have a lot to get through first though before that's even a possibility.       

Andrew Fukuda is an incredible writer.  The scenes in the book leap off the page as his writing leads you on a journey full of horror, terror and danger.  There are some wonderfully rich descriptive passages in the book which made everything feel very real and frankly left me quite terrified at times.      

I was preying that the ending would leave me satisfied and wow, did it ever!  There was a truly unpredictable twist near the end which was jaw-dropping and so, so clever.  I never saw it coming which made it all the more surprising.  Sometimes the last book in a series can let you down but 'The Trap' delivered right up to the last page.    

This was a real page-turner that I can guarantee you won't be able to put down.  I'm excited to see what subject Andrew Fukuda will turn his hand to next.    

Monday 21 October 2013

Review: The Naturals - Jennifer Lynn Barnes

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, published by Quercus on 7th November 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
Cassie Hobbes is not like most teenagers. Most teenagers don’t lose their mother in a bloody, unsolved kidnapping. Most teenagers can’t tell who you are, where you’re from and how you’re likely to behave within moments of meeting you. And most teenagers don’t get chosen to join The Naturals.

Identified by the FBI as uniquely gifted, Cassie is recruited to an elite school where a small number of teens are trained to hone their exceptional abilities.

For Cassie, trying to make friends with the girls, and to figure out the two very different, very hot boys, is challenging enough. But when a serial killer begins recreating the details of her mother’s horrific crime scene, she realises just how dangerous life in The Naturals could be...

I was slightly taken by surprise after reading this book.  I thought it was going to be good because I'm a big fan of Jennifer Lynn Barnes's writing and I know she always comes up with brilliant stories but 'The Naturals' was absolutely superb and hugely gripping.  I'm thrilled that this is only the first book in the series because I can't wait to read more about the characters and find out what happens to them next.
In recent months I've become slightly hooked on crime and mystery novels because they are so engrossing and I enjoy trying to solve the cases along with the characters.  I therefore loved the premise of this book which centres on teens with special abilities who work for a secret FBI programme.  It reminded me a little bit of The Body Finder series by Kimberly Derting, so if you enjoyed those books, then I would definitely recommend giving 'The Naturals' a try.

The main character Cassie is a Natural.  She has the ability to profile people, putting together a psychological profile of even complete strangers and this talent leads her to join a special team put together by the FBI.  She, along with other teens who have similar abilities, help to solve cold cases.  She has an ulterior motive too, in that she wants to discover more about her mother's murder and hopefully track down clues to the killer.  There's a real sense of danger throughout as the killer turns the tables on Cassie and she becomes the hunted rather than the hunter.      
One of the things which really helped to make the book stand out for me, was the authenticity of detail which Jennifer Lynn Barnes has woven into the story.  We get insights into how the FBI work, as well as the psychology of how the team attempt to understand the thoughts and motivations of criminals and killers.  I loved all of this and found it utterly fascinating. 
A hugely enjoyable read which had me engrossed from the first chapter, I'm immensely looking forward to the next book in the series. 

Friday 18 October 2013

Review: Eternity - Elizabeth Miles

Eternity by Elizabeth Miles, published by Simon and Schuster on 10th October 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
The weather is mild in Ascension…but beneath the surface, everything is burning up. The nightmare Emily Winters has been living through for months shows no sign of ending, as the Furies stay on the peripheral, slowly driving her crazy. Em feels...different. She's angry, and never cold, and too strong. It's only a matter of time before she turns into the thing she hates the most. Em needs to take her fate into her own hands, but without Drea to help, or anyone to turn to, Em is quickly running out of options.

Crow's involvement with Em has grown more complicated, as his visions begin to take shape. It doesn't look good for Em, but Crow has a plan. He will do anything to save her. Anything. JD misses the Em he used to know...and love. She seems so different these days, like she's hiding something. When JD begins to learn the truth, he is as scared as he is determined to help her. But his help may be the last thing Em needs to survive.

'Eternity' is the third and final instalment in the trilogy about Emily Winters and the small town of Ascension.  I thoroughly enjoyed the previous two books and I was looking forward to reading the conclusion of Emily's story but I wasn't quite as wowed by it as I'd been by 'Fury' and 'Envy'.  Maybe because the gap between reading this and the other books was too long, but it took me a little while to get back into the story and pick up all the threads of the character's lives. 

Emily fears she's losing herself and becoming someone or something else.  She doesn't know how to break the Furies curse until JD begins to put all the pieces together and provides the smallest glimmer of hope that Emily might have a future after all.  The chapter point of view alternated mainly between Emily and JD.  They both still seem to be oblivious to their feelings for each other but this may be the one thing that can save them.

The story was pretty dark and twisty with life and death quite literally at stake but I couldn't help but feel that the Furies didn't come across as ominously as they had in the past.  Previously they'd been a malevolent presence in the town but they didn't seem to play such a big part in 'Eternity'.  They are still there to make Emily's life a misery but they didn't have such an active role in the book.   

I have to say that I was also disappointed with the ending which felt rather abrupt and the big showdown, when it finally came, was something of a let down.  It seemed that Elizabeth Miles was trying to tie everything up too quickly and so the edge of tension went out of the story. 

I think it may have helped if I'd gone back and read the whole series in one go but as I didn't, this final chapter in the series just didn't seem to live up to it's promise.  There were some aspects about it that I enjoyed and I was pleased to finally find out what was going to happen to Emily but overall I had high hopes for it which just weren't met.                

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Review: United We Spy - Ally Carter

United We Spy by Ally Carter, published by Orchard Books on 5th September 2013 

Goodreads synopsis:
Cammie Morgan has lost her father and her memory, but in the heart-pounding conclusion to the best-selling Gallagher Girls series, she finds her greatest mission yet. Cammie and her friends finally know why the terrorist organization called the Circle of Cavan has been hunting her. Now the spy girls and Zach must track down the Circle’s elite members to stop them before they implement a master plan that will change Cammie—and her country—forever.

'United We Spy' is the sixth and final book in the Gallagher Girls series.  I was desperate to read it because I love these books but also wanted to savour every page because it was sad saying goodbye to such fantastic characters and such an amazing world.  If I could have picked any school to attend then it would have been the Gallagher Academy because the girls are so much more than just school friends, they are sisters as well. 

Cammie, Bex, Macey and Liz are still intent on hunting down the members of the Circle of Caven when they discover a terrible truth.  Much of the story is focused on their attempt to avert catastrophe as they try to save the world and each other.  These girls have come a long way since the series first began.  They've always been clever, ingenious and brave but their talents have now been honed and their determination is off the chart.  Cammie in particular has really grown over the course of the series.  She has faced some terrible things and is still haunted and scarred by what has happened to her but she never loses track of the end goal and won't rest until the Circle has been dealt with once and for all.  I love the darker tone that the later books have had and the fact that everything is on the line for Cammie and her friends and family. 

'United We Spy' is a thrill-ride of a story and a fitting end to what has been an amazing series.  Exciting and compulsive reading, I was hooked and couldn't bear to put this book down.  Not even for a second!  Danger lurks at Cammie's heels as she puts into action all the training she's received over the years.  Instead of surviving on her own, I like the fact that we get to see all the girls working together like a well-oiled team.  They all have different strengths but they bring out the best in each other and never lose faith in their abilities.              
I really don't know what I'll do without any more Gallagher Girl adventures.  I love this series and I'm going to miss Cammie and Zach and all their friends so much.  I wonder if Ally Carter could be tempted into writing a spin-off somewhere down the line about their new careers.  I would be the first in line to read about that!

Monday 14 October 2013

Book Trailer: How to Love - Katie Cotugno

Quercus recently published the debut novel of author Katie Cotugno.  I'm going to be reviewing 'How to Love' on the blog very soon but here's a peek at the fabulous trailer for the book. 

This is a love story. But it’s not what you think. This is not a first kiss, or a first date. This is not love at first sight. This is a boy and a girl falling in messy, unpredictable, thrilling love. This is the complicated route to happiness that follows.

This is real. This is life. This is how to love.

BEFORE: Reena has loved Sawyer LeGrande for as long as she can remember. But he’s never noticed her, until one day… he does. They fall in messy, complicated love. But then Sawyer disappears from their humid Florida town, leaving a devastated – and pregnant – Reena behind.

AFTER: Three years later and there’s a new love in Reena’s life: her daughter Hannah. But just as swiftly and suddenly as he disappeared, Sawyer turns up again.

After everything that’s happened, can Reena really let herself love Sawyer again?

Friday 11 October 2013

Review: Because It Is My Blood - Gabrielle Zevin

Because It Is My Blood by Gabrielle Zevin, published by Macmillan Children's Books on 19th August 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
Since her release from Liberty Children's Facility, Anya Balanchine is determined to follow the straight and narrow. Unfortunately, her criminal record is making it hard for her to do that. No high school wants her with a gun possession charge on her rap sheet. Plus, all the people in her life have moved on: Natty has skipped two grades at Holy Trinity, Scarlet and Gable seem closer than ever, and even Win is in a new relationship. But when old friends return demanding that certain debts be paid, Anya is thrown right back into the criminal world that she had been determined to escape. It's a journey that will take her across the ocean and straight into the heart of the birthplace of chocolate where her resolve--and her heart--will be tested as never before.

It seems ages since I read the first book in this series about Anya and her family.  I couldn't wait for the sequel and I'm pleased to say that it was just as enjoyable as the opening instalment was. 

Anya has been released from Liberty Children's Facility and is finally able to re-join her family.  She wants life to go back to normal but everything around her seems to have changed.  Anya is a fantastic main character.  I admire her strength and courage and her determination to do whatever is best for her family and friends even if it means she may suffer as a consequence.  She will go to any lengths to protect her sister Natty and brother Leo and sometimes has to make incredibly difficult choices to ensure they remain safe.   

Her romance with Win is one of my favourite things about the books.  He seems to understand her in a way that no one else does and even when she questions his feelings for her, there's no doubt in my mind that he would do anything for her. 

Throughout the book Anya learns more about the Balanchine chocolate business and about the tangled web of relationships that lie behind it.  Up until this point she has almost been like a pawn in a bigger game but now she seems ready to step up and take her rightful inheritance.  Half-way through the story she ends up in Mexico learning how to farm cacao and this leads to a whole new cast of characters who I enjoyed reading about.

'Because It Is My Blood' was such an enjoyable read and a great book two.   I really love the Birthright world and I became completely immersed in the character's lives.  The only problem now is the long wait to find out what happens next!

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Review: Marina - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Marina by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, published by W&N on 10th October 2013 

Goodreads synopsis:
In May 1980, fifteen-year-old Óscar Drei suddenly vanishes from his boarding school in the old quarter of Barcelona. For seven days and nights no one knows his whereabouts. It all began the previous autumn when, while exploring the dilapidated grounds of what seemed to be an abandoned house filled with portraits, he inadvertently stole a gold pocket watch. Thus begins Oscar's friendship with Marina and her father Herman Blau, a portrait painter.

Marina takes Óscar to the gardens of the nearby cemetery to watch a macabre ritual that occurs on the fourth Sunday of each month. At 10 a.m., a coach drives up to the cemetery and a woman with her face shrouded, wearing gloves, and holding a single rose is helped down from the coach and walks over to a nameless gravestone, where she sets down the flower, pauses for a moment, and then returns to the coach. The gravestone bears no marking but the outline of a strange-looking butterfly with open wings. On one of their subsequent walks Oscar and Marina spot the same woman and determine to follow her. Thereupon begins their journey into the woman's past, and that of the object of her devotion.

I've enjoyed several of Carlos Ruiz Zafon's adult books, particularly 'The Shadow of the Wind' which is a big favourite of mine.  I've also read quite a few of his books for young adults which have also been very good.  I'd heard of 'Marina' which is actually one of Zafon's earlier works and really liked the sound of it.  I normally enjoy Gothic stories but sadly, I struggled my way through most of this book.

The story is set in Barcelona in 1980 and is told through the eyes of main character Oscar Drai.  Oscar is a student at a local boarding school who one day inadvertently stumbles across Marina and her father Germain.  I thought the opening few chapters of the book were intriguing and made me want to keep turning the pages.  I actually felt that some comparison could be made with Dickens's 'Great Expectations' as Oscar and Marina reminded me initially of Pip and Estella.  However, then the story took a completely different turn and the elements of Gothic horror really came to the fore. 

Within the book stories within a story are recounted by various secondary characters.  This continually added layers of mystery and intrigue which began to unravel as Oscar made it his mission to get to the bottom of events. 

'Marina' is an incredibly creepy book.  It has one of the most frightening scenes in it I've ever read and the grotesque aspects of the story really put me off wanting to finish it.  I did persevere and I certainly do admire a writer who can be so versatile in writing about different subject matters but this one just wasn't for me.            

Monday 7 October 2013

Review: Unbreakable - Kami Garcia

Unbreakable by Kami Garcia, published by Simon and Schuster on 1st October 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
When Kennedy finds her mother dead, her world begins to unravel. She doesn't know that evil forces in a much darker world are the ones pulling the strings. Not until identical twins Jared and Lukas Lockhart break into her house and destroy a dangerous spirit sent to kill her. The brothers reveal that her mother was part of an ancient secret society responsible for protecting the world from a vengeful demon - a society whose five members were all murdered on the same night.

Now Kennedy has to take her mother's place in the Legion if she wants to uncover the truth and stay alive. Along with new Legion members Priest and Alara, the teens race to find the only weapon that might be able to destroy the demon - battling the deadly spirits he controls every step of the way.

I was really excited about reading 'Unbreakable'.  I love the Beautiful Creatures series by Kami Garcia and her co-author Margaret Stohl, so I was pretty hyped about this first book in a new supernatural series by Garcia.  Because my expectations were so enormous, I felt a little let down when I actually finished the book.  Please don't think I didn't enjoy it, because I did, but it failed to completely win me over.  I still want to read the rest of the series as I feel that this was a promising enough start to make me want to find out what happens next, but I do hope the next instalment ramps things up a notch.

The plot centres on teenager Kennedy, who comes home one day to find her mother dead.  From this point on her whole world is turned upside down.  She discovers that her mother was part of The Legion, a group who protect the world from evil spirits and demons.  Taken under the protection of twin brothers Jared and Lukas Lockhart, she joins them and their fellow demon hunters, as they battle all kinds of evil. 

After the opening of 'Unbreakable', the story hurtles along at breakneck speed.  There are some seriously creepy moments in the book and I wouldn't recommend reading this if you're alone in the house.  I was frankly terrified!  Be prepared for just about anything to come creeping out of the darkness when you least expect it.  I kept jumping out of my chair!

Although there's a lot going on, I thought that some of the character development perhaps suffered because of this.  I felt like I knew very little about the main character Kennedy before she's sucked into a whole new world, and I would also have liked more time to have been spent on developing Jared and Lukas.  The inevitable love triangle between the three of them didn't particularly draw me in, as I didn't care enough about either boy to root for one or the other of them.

I enjoyed Garcia's world building and I loved some of the action sequences but some aspects of the book just didn't work for me.  I will be intrigued to see how things progress but I'm yet to be completely sold on this new series. 

Friday 4 October 2013

Review: Debutantes: In Love - Cora Harrison

Debutantes in Love by Cora Harrison, published by Macmillan Children's Books on 1st August 2013

Goodreads synopsis:
It’s 1924. Leaving their beloved Beech Grove Manor to go to London for the season, Poppy and Daisy Derrington know that they must shine as debutantes.

Since a girl cannot inherit her father's estate, the sisters have to marry well or face being left penniless.

But it’s not money or marriage that interests them. It’s music, cinema, literature, fashion, parties, love – everything that is shiny and new. Trapped by the dusty traditions of their class, Daisy and Poppy must choose between family duty and the bright lights of the roaring twenties.

The second book in Cora Harrison's Debutantes series focuses on the two middle Derrington sisters, Poppy and Daisy, as they arrive in London for their debutante season.  I was a big fan of the first book about the Derringtons and their home Beech Grove Manor, as it reminded me of some of my favourite books when I was growing-up by Noel Streatfield.  It had the same charm and easy manner about it which always appealed to me, plus I adore books about large families and sisters in particular. 

The story is set in 1924 and so we get the era of the roaring twenties.  Life and society are changing rapidly, with art, music and literature coming to the fore.  The book touches on the divide between duty and passion and between following the same well trodden path or carving out a new future, outside of the rigid confines of society.        

Beech Grove Manor is left behind as much of the action takes place in London.  It was interesting to see how Daisy and Poppy functioned away from their more familiar surroundings and how they strived to build lives for themselves, while at the same time attempting to follow their dreams.  The focus is on affairs of the heart and while Poppy and her childhood friend Baz begin to explore a new dynamic to their friendship, Daisy worries that she must marry well to ensure the Derrington future.  Daisy has always been and continues to be my favourite character.  I love her passion for her film-making, as well as her dedication to her family and her struggle to balance both is at the heart of the book. 

Cora Harrison is on to a winner with this lovely series.  The books are attractive on the outside and in and I'm wholeheartedly looking forward to the next instalment about the Derrington sisters.  I wonder if the time is approaching for Rose, the youngest of the siblings, to get her own story.   

Wednesday 2 October 2013

Review: The 100 - Kass Morgan

The 100 by Kass Morgan, published by Hodder and Stoughton on 29th August 2013 

Goodreads synopsis:
An epic journey from the depths of outer space to a wild, futuristic Earth

In 3010, humanity lives in city-like spaceships orbiting far above Earth's toxic atmosphere. No one knows when, or even if, the planet will be habitable again. But faced with dwindling resources, government leaders know they must reclaim their homeland . . . before it's too late.

Now a hundred juvenile delinquents are sent on a high-stakes mission to re-colonize Earth. After a brutal crash landing, the teens arrive on a savagely beautiful planet. Confronting the dangers of this rugged new world, they struggle to form a tentative community and to get over their dark pasts. In order to survive, they must learn to trust - and even love - again.

'The 100' is a sublime combination of science fiction and dystopia, interlaced with hints of romance.  This was an absolutely stunning read which I thought was superb from start to finish.  I already can't wait for the sequel and the spin-off TV show which has already been commissioned. 

Set in the future, the 100 refers to a group of teens, all convicted of various crimes and misdemeanours who are sent to earth to recolonise the planet after a nuclear war.  The war led to the human race living in spaceships far above radioactive earth and learning how to survive by a number of methods, including limiting the number of new lives allowed to be created.  The plot was fantastic.  It was fast-paced, exciting and gripping and I was never sure what was going to happen next, so I was intrigued the whole way through. 

The book features a four person perspective which alternates each chapter.  The four main characters, Bellamy, Clarke, Wells and Glass, all have differing stories to tell and I was fully immersed in each of them.  I initially worried that I might struggle with the multiple points of view, but it actually worked tremendously well.  I loved the characters and thought they were all equally strong and interesting.  I liked the way they all intersected with each other and it will be interesting to see how their personalities develop in future instalments as they face continued adversity and new challenges.  

Some of my favourite scenes in the book were those that took place on earth.  The characters experiences really shone through and I could feel their wonder and amazement as they experience things like a sunset, rain or birdsong for the very first time. 

I was sucked into 'The 100' and by the second half I couldn't put it down.  Kass Morgan's writing is wonderful, the world she's created is amazing and I would definitely give this book top marks for it's sheer brilliance.            
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