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Champion: A Legend Novel
Champion: A Legend Novel
by Marie Lu
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $12.34
90 used & new from $2.28

5.0 out of 5 stars Very satisfying conclusion to an amazing series (Spoiler alert!), January 3, 2014
First off, I just like to say that this is one of my all-time favorite dystopian series. Though there are plenty of dystopian novels sprinkled among the young-adult genre, I would have to say that the Legend trilogy stood out to me because of its strong character development, brilliant writing, and complex and insightful look into themes concerning political power, family relationships, and human morale. And though I think Marie Lu is an awesome writer, I was scared for many reasons to read the third book because (as many people have pointed out) of the atrocity that was Allegiant (I still haven't forgiven you Veronica Roth!). But as I blazed through the pages of Champion, I was able to breath a sigh of relief as Lu stayed true to the plot and characters that we have come to love.

Champions starts eight months after Day decided to make leave June in order to protect her from the devastating truth that he is dying. However, the two are soon reunited after a strain of the virus created by the Republic begins to infect the Colonies, shattering the already fragile peace between the two nations and igniting a new wave of tension. In order to prevent another war from happening, Elector Anden needs Day's permission to experiment on his younger brother, Eden, since he believes that Eden's blood holds the key to developing a cure for the virus. As someone who has witnessed firsthand how the Republic tore apart and destroyed his family, Day is unwilling to hand over his little brother to the Republic so soon after they were reunited. As Day is faced with the dilemma of potentially sacrificing Eden in order to save the lives of thousands of people, he and June are also forced to confront their feelings for which other, which have grown stronger rather than dissipated during the course of their separation.

Major pro's of the book: I loved the action, quick pacing, alternate POVs, relationship development, and descriptions of the new places that Anden and June visited. Though the first two books already shone with many of these excellent qualities, I feel that Lu really took them to a whole new level with Champion. June and Day shown a level of maturity, selflessness, and courage that i both respected and deeply admired. Though they were both hanging onto hope by the edge of the thread, they still faced all their challenges with a fortitude that made me realize how perfect they are for each other. Though I didn't know how I felt about the whole 360 at the end of Prodigy when Day received the news that he was dying, it did bring a tragic element to the book that only heightened the emotional tension of the story. I felt every emotion possible while reading Champion--from anger to sadness to fear to joy.

Another element that stood out strongly to me in the book was the bond between Day and Eden. It's only natural that Day would be overly protective of his little brother after losing his entire family, but the level of trust, attachment, and love between the two brothers was very touching and made me realize how brilliant Lu is at highlighting the strength of love between family members (also exemplified in the heartbreaking scene when Day visits his old house in the Lake sector).

And as for ending...though I was scared that Lu would pull a Roth and kill off a beloved character, alas she spared us that kind of pain and instead concluded the trilogy with a bittersweet ending that gave us hope into Day and June's future. Though I'm sure many would have wanted to see Day and June kiss and live happily ever after as soon as the war ended, it would have been too idealistic in a world where the reality of loss and pain is both deep and raw. Hence, its nice that Day and June were reunited in a brighter world where they can fall in love all over again without the weight of their broken pasts weighing them down. All in all, I was very satisfied with Champion and can't wait to buy the full trilogy now that all the books are out! Hats off (or salute) to Marie Lu and I sincerely hopes she writes more amazing books in the future!

Still Star-Crossed
Still Star-Crossed
by Melinda Taub
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.38
70 used & new from $0.48

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Move over Romeo and Juliet!, July 27, 2013
This review is from: Still Star-Crossed (Hardcover)
Though I enjoy most of William Shakespeare's work, I am not a fan of Romeo and Juliet. However, I was interested in the premise of Still Star-Crossed and how it would play out. And wow, was I impressed. Not only was the writing excellent and the characters well-developed, but Melinda Taub re-created the world of Shakespeare's Italy in wonderful detail and vision. What I loved about the relationship between Benvolio and Rosaline was how their story wasn't the typical love-at-first-sight plot. Rather than falling in love within five minutes and getting married hours later, the two protagonists couldn't have been more repulsed upon their first encounter. Benvolio is filled with grief over the death of his best friend and loathes Rosaline for rejecting Romeo and making him turn toward a doomed love. Rosaline is mourning the death of her own beloved cousin and does not care for Benvolio's blatant dislike of her. Despite their differences, Benvolio and Rosaline are forced to work together in order to uncover who is trying to stir the age old feud between the Capulets and the Montagues again in order to save themselves from a forced marriage. Along their journey, however, the two end up developing a true affection for each other that becomes threatened by scheming forces.

Many characters from Romeo and Juliet appear in this book and play an important role, such as Friar Lawrence, Lady Capulet, and Prince Escalus. Melinda Taub explores many of these characters in greater detail and presents a new side to them that is both unique and interesting. Though she employs Elizabethan dialogue in the book, it's still sufficiently simple to understand what the characters are saying and never takes away from the enjoyment of the book. So if you like romantic stories filled with sharp, witty dialogue, political intrigue, action, adventure, and an ending that makes sense, then I would definitely recommend Still Star-Crossed by Melinda Taub!

Prodigy: A Legend Novel
Prodigy: A Legend Novel
by Marie Lu
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.39
100 used & new from $1.55

5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Sequel!, February 9, 2013
I didn't believe that Marie Lu would be able to follow up her first novel with equal force, but how wrong I was! Prodigy just proves how this talented author is able to continue to build on great storylines and characters with effortless grace. In this sequel to Legend, Day and June seek refuge with the Patriots after narrowly escaping from the clutches of the Republic. In exchange for their help in saving Day's little brother, Eden, Day and June agree to help the Patriots assassinate the new Elector in order to bring down the government once and for all. But as June begins to realize that the new Elector is nothing like his father, she begins to question the wisdom of their plan and the future of the Republic.

What I liked best about Prodigy was how Lu was able to develop both of the main characters. Day and June are both people who come from completely different worlds, yet are able to find a connection with each other that is strong as iron. Their relationship, however, is put to the test in this book when both old and new friends threaten to pull them apart. I actually liked the conflict in their relationship because I thought that they fell in love very quickly in the first novel. But here, you can see that Day and June still need to build trust and communication between each other. It was great to see how Lu was able to peel back the layers of both of their characters to show the raw emotions beneath their surfaces.

The twists in the book were great as well. She keeps you guessing as to what will happen to the very end, and NOTHING is what it appears on the surface. The only qualm I have about Prodigy was the heartbreaking ending. I can only hope that things will turn out for the better, and now I def can't wait for the third book!

Defiance (Defiance Trilogy)
Defiance (Defiance Trilogy)
by C. J. Redwine
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $14.23
68 used & new from $0.45

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING Book!, November 10, 2012
I loved Defiance from start to finish. As someone who had been reading a string of crappy YA novels, I didn't have high hopes for this book when I first picked it up. But I was hooked from the first chapter! Set in bleak landscape filled with dangerous and mysterious creatures, the novel tells the the story of two characters named Rachel and Logan who journey together to unravel a mysterious disappearance while rediscovering love along the way.

I loved the fact that the author told the story from two POV's. It really helped me know who Rachel and Logan were, and see how they process the world around them. I think that she created two characters who were really perfect for each other because they both balanced each other out, yet had a connection that was both strong and binding. And as someone who likes strong female characters, I loved how Rachel was defiant and refused to live by the conventional roles that her society placed women in. At the same time, she had the all emotional sensitivity and fragility of a girl who was beginning to fall in love again.

I loved Logan's character as well because he was strong, loyal, fiercely protective, and insanely smart. Despite his need to protect Rachel, he also respected her as an equal and didn't treat her like the usual men in Balboden. The story moved along at a good pace and had me in suspense during all the action scenes and sighing during all the romance ones. If you love stories that are filled with great action, characters, and romance, then Defiance is def the book for you!

by Josephine Angelini
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.18
73 used & new from $0.01

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Had potential, but great dissapointment, July 20, 2012
This review is from: Starcrossed (Paperback)
I don't know if I'm growing out of YA novels or blind, but I can't see why so many people seem to like this book. I picked it up because I love Greek mythology and wanted to read a romance story without any vampires, werewolves, fairies, zombies, or aliens. But as I began reading Starcrossed, I realized that I wasn't going to enjoy this novel at all because it was basically a mashup of Percy Jackson and Twilight. I usually don't like comparing every YA novel to Twilight, but in this case I felt that the similarities were too startling.

The story revolves around a sixteen-year old girl named Helen Hamilton who is painfully shy and self-conscious even though she is apparently extremely beautiful. She lives with her loving, but clumsy and bumbling father Jerry (aka Charlie), who was abandoned years ago by Helen's flighty mother. Helen tries to hide herself in school because she has supernatural abilities that include speed, strength, enhanced hearing, etc. When a rich and good-looking family move into town (aka the Cullen family), Helen is suddenly overcome with a powerful hatred for one of the Delos kids, Lucas, and tries to kill him when she sees him in school. Thus ensues a series of events that leads Helen to discover that she is a Scion (or demigod) who belongs to one of the four ancient Greek Houses, or bloodlines. Each of the houses are cursed by the Furies by a compulsion to kill each other as the result of a blood debt. Through the novel Helen faces obstacles in the form of an evil/creepily perverted demigod named Creon, forbidden love, undiscovered power, etc.

Before I barrage into a stream of complaints, I will say that the concept and supporting characters of Starcrossed were very good. It was interesting to read about the different powers that Lucas (Edward), Adriadne (Alice), Hector (Emmett), Jason (Jasper) and Cassandra (Rosalie) had. I also thought that the concept of bringing a modern twist to the tale of the Trojan war and the Furies was a good idea as well.

And now for the con's: I did like not like the love story between Helen and Lucas very much. If anything, I think the one between Jason and Helen's best friend, Claire, was much more sweet and intriguing. Helen and Lucas go from hating each other's guts in one scene to suddenly holding hands and shooting lovey-dovey looks at each other in the next. There is no development whatsoever in their relationship. In addition, I didn't like the character of Helen very much either. Despite the fact that she is strong, beautiful, and smart, she chooses instead to slouch around under a turtle shell in school and keeps trying to run away from her problems throughout the book. It was annoying to read through all her whiny, self-degrading complaints throughout the book.

I also had a problem with the author's writing. I know that Josephine Angelini is a new author, but some of her writing was so strange that it threw me off and dashed any hopes I had for book. Phrases such as "her insides felt gooey and soft, as if she were a freshly microwaved chocolate chip cookie" and "they sparked and blushed at the sight of each other" made me wonder if she even realized what she was writing. I mean, really? Who microwaves chocolate chip cookies? Or uses words like "sparked?" Or compares the colors of a sunset to fruit punch?

The ending of the book had enough action and suspense to at least keep me reading till the end. Though I loved the big showdown between Hector and Creon, I wished that Helen's mother, Daphne, had been out of the picture because her character was inconsistent as well. One minute she's stabbing needles into her daughter's neck and the next she's trying to "protect" Helen and "make peace" with the Delos family.

All in all, I would recommend this novel to anyone who doesn't mind weak writing, copycat storyline, unlikeable characters, and a lackluster romance. I know that many people liked Starcrossed, so maybe you will enjoy it. I, however, was seriously dissapointed and will not be looking to read the next book in the series.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 20, 2012 8:42 PM PDT

Reckless (Mirrorworld)
Reckless (Mirrorworld)
by Cornelia Funke
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.99
224 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars A New, Darker Fantasy, July 23, 2011
This review is from: Reckless (Mirrorworld) (Hardcover)
When Jacob Reckless was twelve he discovered a magical world hidden behind the mirror in his father's office. Since then he has come back time and time again in order to leave the tragedy of his life and escape into one filled with dwarves, fairies, stone men, and shape-shifters. Twelve years have passed and Jacob is back in the Mirroworld, only this time accompanied by his younger brother, Will, who has been touched by the curse of the Dark Fairy and is slowly turning into a man of stone. Accompanied by Will's loving girlfriend, a loyal shape-shifter, and a scheming dwarf, Jacob must venture into the darkest places of the Mirrorworld in order the break the curse and save his brother.

I have been a fan of Cornelia Funke's novels since I read Inkheart, and I wasn't dissapointed by this one. To start with the pro's, the characters are older and thus easier to relate to at least for me. This book is def darker then her other ones not just because of the violence, but also because of the emotional themes and conflicts presented. I also loved the world that the author created behind the mirror. It was fascinating to read about the dangerous creatures and strange magic that Jacob and his friends encountered as they ventured into both old and new territories. Toward the end of the book i was caught in so much suspense because I truly didn't know whether Jacob would be able to save his brother or not.

Now the con's: the beginning started off slow and I wished she had explained more clearly what had happened to Will. I didn't understand the curse the Dark Fairy had placed on him until a few chapters in when i read about the Goyl. The book took a while to pick up its pace, but other then that I loved it.

It will be interesting to see what will happen in the sequel. I wonder if Will and Clara will return back to the Mirrorworld, especially since it seems that Clara has feelings for Jacob. I had a suspicion that she might come between the two brothers when she first appeared.

Crescendo (The Hush, Hush Saga)
Crescendo (The Hush, Hush Saga)
by Becca Fitzpatrick
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $13.67
319 used & new from $0.01

3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Serious dissapointment, January 4, 2011
In the sequel to Hush Hush, Nora and Patch's relationship is tested by dark forces that threaten to tear them apart forever. There's a new character named Scott, who is Nora's childhood friend and comes back to Coldwater for mysterious purposes that Nora tries to figure out. To top off her already growing list of problems, Nora is haunted by the memories of her father's death and becomes obsessed with finding out who her killed him.

First off, I don't understand why people are giving Crescendo such good review. The only reason why I kept reading the book was because I wanted to find out what happened in the end. Rather than moving at a fast, exciting pace like the first one, Crescendo seemed to plod along with a overwhelming dreariness. There were scenes thrown in the book that didn't fit in with the plot and were random and senseless. Nothing is really revealed until the end of the book, which made about the first 3/4 of the book seem quite pointless.

In addition, I feel like Becca Fitzpatrick did not do enough do develop her characters. Patch is still a mystery to me even after this sequel. Sure, he sounds hot and everything, but we still don't know much about him, which is probably why Nora still can't completely trust him even after everything they've been through. He appears randomly throughout the book and doesn't really explain anything to Nora, which only made things between them quite worse. I feel like Nora wouldn't have "fired" Patch as her guardian angel if Patch would be more open and honest with her.

Nora also annoyed me a lot in the book. I thought that she would have wised up since Hush Hush, but apparently not. She puts herself in dangerous situations time and time again without thinking about the repurcussions of her action. The fact that her best friend, Vee, likes to go on "adventures" and doesn't seem to care too much about Nora's safety doesn't help things either. Most of the book consists of them trying to play detective and ending up in hot water half the time.

In addition, Nora went through random emotional changes in the book that confusing and tiring. One minutes she's acting calm and the next minute she's throwing punches in her arch nemesis Marcie Millier's face. She's jealous, insecure, tempermental, and makes really stupid decisions, especially with Patch.

All in all, Crescendo was a huge dissapointment compared to the first one. I felt like the author didn't know how to tie all the scenes together, which made them random and pointless. I love the whole concept of fallen angels and Nephelim, but in the end it just wasn't worth it.

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