Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

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The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

Or:…. WOW

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Synopsis: When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control. Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living

Every once and a while you find a book that has an original and ingenious plot and universe. This is one of those books.

This book was so interesting, and meaty, I had no clue what was going to happen, and I loved it.

I love complex main characters who acknowledge that they are imperfect. That is Ruby. Bracken was walking a fine line with Ruby; she could have easily made her a Mary Sue. She didn’t. Not by a long shot. She let Ruby make mistakes and let Ruby learn from them. This is such a breath of fresh air. If I didn’t love Bracken already from her skillful and beautiful story telling in this book, I certainly loved her for the way she crafted her characters.

Bracken’s characters are all so human. In fact her characters are so believable its sometimes hard to remember that this is fiction and this didn’t actually happen.I had to keep pinching myself; Bracken’s work is so good it’s hard not to take this as a warning of what COULD happen. That’s what makes a good dystopian story; when something hits so close to home that it’s possible.

It’s interesting how Bracken has chosen to write this story. Ruby doesn’t have flashbacks to explain her childhood- no Ruby’s story is told as chronologically as possible for the unreliable narrator that is Ruby. Bracken’s skill is so great that she manages to write the story so it’s believable that Ruby has a 10 year old’s education; Ruby is not exceptionally clever, she’s naive and childish. She doesn’t have complex problem solving skills and that’s why, partly, its so believable.

She doesn’t just write Ruby this way, she writes all the children/teenagers this way. Things happen the way they do- all the disasters of the quest to find east river- because the children lack the capacity to make complex decisions in a world twisted by fear. Zu is a notable character, both for her tenacity and for how well she pulls at your heart strings. Liam is every girls teenage fantasy and he is just as flawed as Ruby.

The end twists, I certainly didn’t see coming. I cried, I gasped and I spent hours sucked up into this world. The next book in the trilogy is in my TBR pile ready to go. But I want to pace myself with this series. Hopefully, the other two books are just as good as the first.

You could study this book for hours and find all the cleverness that Bracken has expertly worked in. In fact, I really want to give it to my best friend who’s studying to become a high school English teacher. She’d love this one.

This book deserves all the hype it gets. Trust me here; you’re going to want to read this one.

Read: Paperback English Version. 

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Review: Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

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Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins

or: OMG YES!!!!

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Synopsis: Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper’s destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts. Just when life can’t get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she’s charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper’s least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him—and discovers that David’s own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

I ADORED this book.

It’s not often you find a book like this, and boy am I stoked that I decided to get this book

This is one of those rare cases where a pretty cover hides a BOMB ASS FANTASTIC book. This story is just what I needed, and after having my eye on it for quite some time, It’s a relief to say that this book was definitely worth the wait.

Looking for a kick ass, realistic and perfect Main Character? Harper Price is what you need in your life. Her clever, dry humor was perfect and combined with the banter from David, it makes for an excellent book.

Southern Charm drips from this book like someone has an endless supply of sweet tea within the pages and the surprises are generally gasp inspiring and the plot twists extremely well done. Don’t expect too much complex plot here, this is just a fun book with not too much depth. Don’t take it too seriously. Go in with zero expectations and to just enjoy an entertaining read. Because that’s what this book is- it’s not made for analysis. It’s a light-hearted romp with a the sort of strong, independent Main character that the world needs right now.

Don’t mistake me though, this book does have substance, just don’t look too far below the layer of cake under the frosting. You’ll just end up with a plate. Just eat the cake and enjoy it. I get tired of analysing stuff, and sometimes just want to read a book that doesn’t question life or draw metaphors out of complex problems. This is definitely a summer/spring read.

This book, while determined as a Young Adult book, definitely isn’t limited by it. Anyone can enjoy this book and I can guarantee you, the next time someone asks me for a recommendation, this book will be my top recommendation.

Even the supporting characters in this book are bomb. Saylor (David’s Aunt) is a sassy boss ass bitch, Bee (Harper’s bestie) is the perfect best friend and oh my god Harper’s 3 aunts – May, Martha and Jewel- are side-splittingly funny. The rest of the back up cast are just as excellent and I often found myself gawking or straight up laughing out loud as I read this book.

There is the perfect amount of mystery in the book and nothing is predictable which is a relief quite frankly. There are so many questions left unanswered by this book that the second and third (I think this is a trilogy, I’m not certain) books are definitely warranted. I’m so eager to see what happens to David and Harper now that Cotillion is over.

If I need to sell you any more on this book? The opening scene is so damn shocking and amazing it deserves an Oscar or something. Who wouldn’t want to read a book where the main character is attacked in a bathroom at homecoming by the school janitor who kisses her and then promptly dies?

Trust me, walk your little butt into the nearest bookstore and grab this one. You really won’t regret it.

Read: American Paperback Edition 

Review: Vicious by V. E. Schwab

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Vicious by V. E. Schwab

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

This book has been the center of some pretty severe hype over on Booktube and Bookstagram. Everyone’s been talking about it for months, and so, in one of my book buying splurges, I invested.

This book is interesting and definitely not what I expected.

First and foremost, if you are thinking about reading this book, avoid spoilers if you can- trust me, the full effect of this book comes when you know nothing about it. Secondly, think seriously about hype and the potential bias that it may place on your expectations. This book is good yes, but I’m not sure if it lives up to the hype. Don’t be fooled here. And thirdly, dedicate the necessary time to read this; make sure you don’t have anything else going on and concentrate on how creatively this story is told.

This book was good. I liked it, I enjoyed it. But I wouldn’t tear off my shirt and froth at the mouth raving about it.

This book, as I’m sure you can tell from the type of books that I review, isn’t my normal choice when picking up potential reads. But I was sucked in by social hysteria and convinced I had to read it. I justified the purchase by reminding myself that I have been trying to read books out of my comfort zone this year.

This book is a mix between a sci-fi and a superhero/villain book. The premise is exciting- it’s clear from the beginning that our two main characters are not redeemable and their motives will not be justified. Honestly, It’s about time recently that an author created a book that didn’t try to apologise for the villains or make some tragic backstory. I love villains when they are unapologetically evil, and that’s exactly what Eli and Victor are. And I love that they both become so obsessed with destroying each other that everything falls to the wayside.

Like I said earlier, I liked this book, I’d give it a solid 3 and a half stars, but I’m not in love with it. I struggled at first to connect with the story, got confused often and therefore found myself putting this book down more than I was picking it up. Will I read more by Ms Schwab? Hell yes! I’ve got more of her books in my TBR pile. I just honestly think it was a case of- like the author and the skills, but not really connected here. I’m really eager to try her other things.

So, in summary? Good book, good premise, cool characters, just not as good as the hype. I really struggled writing this review because I’m still not quite sure how I feel about this book. I don’t think I did it justice in this review, but it was worth a shot.

Read: English paperback version