Saturday, March 29, 2014

Stung by Bethany Wiggins

There is no cure for being stung.

Fiona doesn’t remember going to sleep. But when she opens her eyes, she discovers her entire world has been altered—her house is abandoned and broken, and the entire neighborhood is barren and dead. Even stranger is the tattoo on her right hand—a black oval with five marks on either side—that she doesn’t remember getting but somehow knows she must cover at any cost. She’s right.

Those bearing the tattoo have turned into mindless, violent beasts that roam the streets and sewers, preying upon the unbranded while a select few live protected inside a fortress-like wall, their lives devoted to rebuilding society and killing all who bear the mark.

Now Fiona has awakened branded, alone—and on the wrong side of the wall.

4 Star Rating
My Recommendation:  Pick it up, download it.  It is not only a good read but something different!  It started off exciting and consistently stayed that way.  Not saying there is non-stop action, but you'll stay interested - no doubt.  

Recommended Age 14+  Things start off mysterious!  Memory loss, tattoos, absolute destruction.  This book had a fascinating concept.  I love it when a story gives me something new to daydream about.  The characters weren't very original.  A young vulnerable girl and a young man with a chip on his shoulder who has a need to protect the girl - they fall in love, blah, blah, blah.  Every new YA dystopian fiction has this same character scenario but Stung is among the few books that does it right.  The never ending questions and the anticipation of the outcomes made this a great read.

Plot/Pace:  Wanted to keep reading and reading.  It felt like the more I read, the more I couldn't stop because I had to know what was going to happen next.  It was never boring.  As I said before a unique plot, at least for me.  Yes there have been books about viruses decimating the population, but none brought about by a bee vaccine!  There's some intrigue and secrets to keep the story interesting.  The moments between Fo and her twin brother tugged at my heart!

Imagery:  Not overly descriptive.  Fo's flashbacks provided a clear vision of what things were like and how she felt.  I even liked that they were italicized. 

Romance:  Niiiiice...  Not too intense and the romance builds up over time.  You get some of the best elements of young romance -  gradual attraction, fear of loss, fierce protection and a declaration of feelings.  The romantic scenes are wonderfully described - his fingers slide to the nape of my neck; my mouth moves with his, my breath flows with his....whoa!

Action:  Throughout the book  there were moments when I was on edge about the outcome.  The author gives a good depiction of the entire situation.  She doesn't just detail the fighting, but all of the elements of the confrontation.  The anticipation leading up to it and the imagery during the battle.  Even the dialogue is written so that you get a feel for the emotions of the characters.

Characters:  Enjoyable.  I liked the enigma of Arris.  It was touching that Jonas' bond with his sister was stronger than his transformation.

What Irked the Shiznit Out of Me:  Nothing

What Blew Me Away:  Nothing

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson

There are no heroes.

Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. 

Nobody fights the Epics... nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David's father. For years, like the Reckoners, David's been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience. 

He's seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

5 Star Rating
My Recommendation:  So worth it!  Am I upset that he took time from finishing the next book in the Way of Kings series to write this?  HELLZ YES..but adding a YA series to his collection was such a very good idea.  Action packed, humorous, imaginative, climactic and moving.

Recommended Age:  14+  I will try not to be biased in this review, but I can't get enough..can't get enough Brandon Sanderson!  None of his books has ever disappointed.  As an author he has such an amazing way of bringing  unique ideas to his books.  This was a super hero book with what seems to be no true super heroes.  You are rooting for the regular humans in this story and they are all great characters.  Quirky, individual and passionate.  What you think you've figured out, you didn't!  I just knew..KNEW I KNEW what Steelheart's weakness was after the Prologue.  Ehh..wrong!  This book has surprises, shocks and plenty of funny moments.  Just another Brandon Sanderson book to add to the "I highly recommend" list!

Plot/Pace:  Couldn't stop reading.  As a matter of fact, I back-tracked quite a few times to re-read paragraphs.  Just the right measure of excitement and getting to know the characters.  The story didn't lag in place and it was never too complex to follow.  The plot is pretty simple, but well-thought out with victories and disappointments.  As a reader you don't feel like things are always working out perfectly.  And the hidden sub-plot of the labs and testing on superheroes!!!  I can't wait until the next book where that really starts to be revealed.

Imagery:  Well written descriptions of the scenery and characters.  I was able to build in my head a good image of the surroundings and faces.  But things weren't so detailed that I was limited in making the characters my own.  Brandon Sanderson relates a scene in a way that allows you to envision facial expressions without having to spell it out in the sentence.  I became absorbed in reading the story. I felt awkward when David felt awkward; empathy for the Professor when he would lose it and I fell in love with Cody's charm and liveliness.  Now that's some good writing right there!

Romance:  The story has a teen crush element.  It made for some very cute moments with David.  

Action:  Action-packed! The situations they got themselves into were very thrilling.  The book was filled with scenes to show off great weapons and great powers!  When this is made into a movie, and I really hope it is, this will be on par with the new Spiderman and Avengers.

Characters:  Each and every character was so well developed and unique!!  Bad guys, good guys, main characters and secondary!  Each had a personality trait or quirk that made him memorable.  David is a great main character and hero all in one.  He is smart, geeky, awkward and ballsy.  I loved his "inside the mind" conversations.  They brought a lot of humor to the story.  And so did Cody!  The Southern/Scottish character was one of my favorites.  He brought the human aspect to the story, balancing out the revenge with keeping their humanity and compassion.  Sanderson uses each of his characters to develop the story and make it entertaining.

What Irked the Shiznit Out of Me:  Not Applicable :)

What Blew Me Away:   The dialogue and banter between the characters.  The unexpected revelations and twists.

If you like this book, what else might you like???