- File Size: 2777 KB
- Print Length: 610 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Norilana Books (December 20, 2014)
- Publication Date: December 20, 2014
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00RALWMLM
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,217 Free in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Free in Kindle Store)
|Digital List Price:||$4.99|
|Print List Price:||$18.95|
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Qualify (The Atlantis Grail Book 1) Kindle Edition
|Length: 610 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 12 - 18|
|Grade Level: 7 - 12|
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Here we have a heroine who is bright, geeky, and devoted to family who actually has a brain and uses it. The love interests are driven by more than a desire to party and nail girls. The stakes are larger than the next prom. The antagonists aren't conveniently idiotic to make the heroine look good. There's a whole lotta character drama going on, which isn't about who gets the boy.
The author gives a nod to teen hormone but moves on to include a much more interesting drama, that of a world in peril and a civilization that has supposedly appeared to provide an imperfect solution.
The writing is clean the setting very cool. While I'm not a scientist, I think the details the writer provides in terms of technology make this world exciting and interesting. Sexual elements are handled well. Another thing I like is these elements are present but do not dominate the story to the extent that it interferes with the plot.
I'd recommend this based on the quality of the writing and the uniqueness of the plot. Are there some issues with the plot? Maybe. Seeing that this is the first book, I'm willing to stick with the series and see whether they're going to be answered.
Oh, one more thing, the first time I saw the number of pages, I did a double blink. Lotta words there. I often find that with these exceptionally long page counts, there is a great deal of excess writing that should have been editing out. I nearly opted to skip the book, but instead, I zipped over to sample. Sometimes, longer pages counts point to an authors inability to be willing to cut the extra stuff out. As a result, the reader is dragged through a mess of extraneous material that didn't need to be there. In this case, the longer page count is a plus. It's a great read. Entertaining and refreshing. I've gone ahead and bought book 2. Thumbs up to Ms. Nazarian. Oh, and I think the cover is great too. :)
The main character is Gwen (G2). Events focus on her struggle to qualify, dodge bullies, preserve her three siblings who are also testing, and maybe find love along the way.
I found the story entertaining, but not compelling enough to move on to the other books in the series. I found Gwen to be a real whiner, which was a turn off for me. The story was saved by the interesting supporting cast, and the puzzle solving that occurs as part of the qualification. During those times, Gwen undergoes a personality change, becomes a terrific problem solver, then returns to whiner status sometime later. Maybe that's what life is like inside the head of a teenage girl. I wouldn't know. But it did distract from the story for me.
If that represents reality for you, or is something you can tolerate, you may find the story more enjoyable than I did.
Editing was well done with few if any grammatical or spelling errors. Dialog and plot development were decent and engaging. My biggest turnoff was the whining. Maybe if Gwen grows up in the later books they would be more enjoyable. But with so many books available, I am not willing to invest the time to find out.
Top international reviews
The writing is excellent, compelling, heart wrenching, and thought provoking. This isn't a stand alone book, its part of a series which is still being written, and its a must have series!
I have read book 2, Compete, and now I am nervously waiting for Book 3, Win.
I am a speed reader, and this is NOT a short book, but I have been compelled to re-read the first 2 books back to back, as in read Qualify, then Compete, then back to Qualify, then Compete, and now I am re-reading them again! Not because I have missed something or misread something, but because the story line is so compelling, that I need something to fill my time until Book 3, Win, is due out in March sometime. I find my self thinking of all the possible scenarios that could occur, with the main characters, all the twists and turns.
Having said that this is not a book for those who are looking for a typical Sci-Fi book, full of space ship battles. This is a series full of personal battles set in space. Rarely am I caught up in a book to such an extent! I have even had a peek at the first 4 chapters of Win, and now I am even MORE nervous! I need the full book, but I know I am going to be left in a similar state while waiting for the final book in the series to be written........But I don't care, I just need to read the book! This author has the ability to hold me with the story, and I eagerly await the next 2 books, and probably more from this fabulous writer. The only other authors who have had this effect on me, are David Eddings, Jolea M Harrison, and Robert Jordan, and as far as I am concerned those are the Best writers to keep company with!
It's a future earth, and one with only a couple of years left before it's wiped out by an asteroid.
The only hope for the human race is the children, who are given the chance to Qualify for place on rescue ships sent by the planet Atlantis (who used to be from Earth Atlantis,but left) by competing in a world-wide Running Man sort of contest.
Every child in the right age band HAS to apply to Qualify, but out of all them, only ten million will earn a place.
Enter Gwen Lark and her siblings George, Gordon and Grace - the Four Gees.
Gwen is the protagonist, a bright, compassionate girl, and the school nerd. She and her siblings qualify and are take immediately to a Regional Qualification Centre to be trained for the next stage.
Qualification is an unforgiving and often brutal process, with no space for mistakes.
CONTENT WARNING: Children/young adults are killed in this book. Even though I knew it was coming, I found it quite hard to process how abruptly it happened, and was quite distressed.
This book is gripping, although it feels a little slow in places, and races by in others. There is a palpable sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop; it's claustrophobic and menacing and quite dark throughout.
I did immediately purchase book two on finishing because I have invested a lot of time and effort into Gwen and her friends and family and I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. It ended on a horrible (although appropriate) cliffhanger, and I can't leave it there!
An excellent book with a very real and realised world. Highly recommended.
Unfortunately it was too long and the pace needed to be faster. It would have worked better in a smaller, closer-knit dystopian setting and I think that's what the writer was trying to create in the training camps, but it fell to bits whenever they encountered the wider world.
SPOILERS AHEAD: it was too contrived that all of Gwen's family, friends and enemies (basically every named character we'd encountered) kept making it through each round of the qualification process while nameless teens or people who'd had one or two sentences of introduction were dropping like flies. She was a genius and had her unique voice skill, but there was no indication that any of her siblings or friends were special in any way. After they all received their training scores we were briefly introduced to the elite top-scoring candidates, but they were never mentioned again.
Most of what they learned in their classes wasn't useful for the trials. When did they need to swim? The underwater challenge could only be survived by hoverboarding, and the hoverboards don't work underwater. The Blue quadrant's firearm weapons were always going to be ridiculously overpowered in an open urban environment. We never saw any of the other types of weapons used outside of classes. Almost every challenge in the trials was solved by Gwen's ingenuity and the rest of the candidates following her ideas. As a result it seemed those who qualified were a handful of brilliant out-of-the-box thinkers and whoever happened to be tagging along with them at the time.
I won't comment on the contradictions and unpleasantness inherent in Atlantean society and attitudes, since I haven't read books 2 and 3 yet, and I have a suspicion the Atlanteans may not turn out to be as benevolent and morally/culturally advanced as they claim. I think this book did just enough to prompt me to continue.
And how glad I am that I did.
It's pretty easy to see where the author found the influences for this story: The Hunger Games would be the predominant stand-out, but there are definitely hints of Avatar, Harry Potter and maybe even The Maze Runner in there, too. But that doesn't mean the story is unoriginal: the idea of having every single teen on earth having to fight for a place on a rescue ship is pretty wild and has been very well structured and thought-out; in fact, the one thing that never ceased to amaze me was the sheer amount of detail - the planning alone must have taken months of hard work. And the whole infrastructure of the story is so well put together that it reads extremely easily; it doesn't take much effort to bring up vivid images in your mind as to how the story plays out as you continue to read, and you will find yourself very unwilling to put it down as it draws you in and absorbs you completely.
I loved this book, and it would be very difficult for me to say there was anything fundamentally wrong with it; find bits of the story that I truly hated. But there are a few things I would like to have seen presented a little differently:
- The pivotal character, Gwenevere Lark; she did have a tendency to be annoying at times, and while her geek nature might certainly prove helpful in problem-solving as was portrayed, it is maybe a little unlikely she would act so defiantly as she did in the face of authority at times;
- Maybe the qualification section of the story could have been a little more condensed; it takes up two-thirds of the book and it can give you a sense of repetition. A little more time following the storyline outside of Qualification - Earth in crisis - could have played a bigger part and added more weight to the story;
- For all there are many characters throughout the book, you never really learn a great deal about any of them. While books that are written in the first-person such as this one are usually my favourites, I would liked to have known a little more about some of the other characters, their thoughts and feelings.
- Speech is always going to be difficult, and while I would commend the author for trying to tone things down, quoting characters as saying things such as 'No effing way!', or 'F- you!' or even '#*&!@%$' (someone actually 'said' this) is unrealistic and also gives enough away as to what was really being said. I have no problem at all with bad language used in the right context, and it certainly was here, but I would have either used the words in their entirety (teens all know them anyway) or found another superlative. And teenagers really don't say things like 'good grief!' (Unless it's on a Charlie Brown cartoon, of course :) )
But none of the above is enough to stop this from being a wonderfully-written and extremely enjoyable book; it is definitely something I could read and enjoy more than once. And while I never usually mention anything to do with editing or grammar, to only spot possibly two or three insignificant spelling errors and perfect formatting in a 600-page e-book is an excellent achievement - my compliments to the editor(s) of the book for this.
As someone who is nowhere near a young teen and as a genre I would never normally bother with, I can only say that I loved this book and can't recommend it highly enough. Absolutely fantastic.
UPDATE. I've now finished reading this book and repeat all I said above. Very good indeed, ordering the next two in the series now. Excellent find !
I'm re-reading it... again, in preparation for the next book being almost ready.
This is my all time favourite series. The storyline is brilliant, the plot flows brilliantly and the characters are absolutely brilliant.
You know a book is written well when you're in love with the characters.
I'm completly in love with Aeson.
He is the best thing ever to be written. I might be saying this because I've read these books before, but reading these books again is just as good as the first time I did. I'm just falling in love with him all over again.
Gwen is a brilliant character. She's not the strongest, and she is by far not the best person competing, but her clever mind and crazy tactics save the day. I absolutely love reading her journey and I enjoy seeing her interactions with Aeson.
The storyline is brilliant. I love the dystopian and apocalyptic feel. The Atlantis culture we learn about is interesting. The qualifying trials are also interesting and exciting to read. I also love the fact that not everything always goes according to plan. Things are brutal. It only adds to the excitement of the story.
Overall, this series is simply brilliant. It's my favourite, so I would definitely recommend it. Even if only to read about Aeson.
Gwen is likeable and not at all Mary Sueish, even though she has a defining character trait that makes her special to the Atlanteans.
Its a tried and tested formula that draws heavily from battle royale and hunger games, an eliminator novel that pits teens against each other to claim a life giving prize. The impetus is leaving a soon to be annihilated earth. Although there is a plethora of these books, this is fast paced and excellently plotted, in particular the sense of urgency and tension with the destruction of the planet.
My only gripe (and it's not really one) is that of course we knew Gwen would/will make it... As she is the heroine. But there are enough heart pounding scenes to make up for that inevitability - did we ever think katniss would not succeed? But that is a problem with the genre, not the author!
I highly recommend this, pick it up. Brill YA fiction.
It's gripping, a real lose-sleep page turner.
The lead character is well defined, as are the others, and her character development is handled realistically.
The level of realism is impressive – The author creates a well defined scenario where the science fiction elements are based on a limited number of premises, resulting in a tight cohesive story. At the same time the lead (and the reader) only learn those premises gradually. This is part of what kept me turning the page, to experience the same discovery as Gwen Lark.
Note that while this novel has been described (by at least the top review) as being set in a dystopian future that's not true. I mention this because I always find the word a huge turn-off in any description or review.
However, the story does tend to drag on a bit at times with superfluous information, also the theme of A benevolent race of Aliens coming to Earth's rescue, lacks a bit of credibility when the story unfolds that these very aliens/Atlantians kill contestants with lazers in "The Qualifying games" and also give them rifles to kill each other with... There may be reasons behind this sinister contradiction which are not answered in this first book of the series, even the very clever contestants including Gwen don't seem to have picked up on the fact.. All may be revealed in the later books, I hope so as I'm just about to purchase the next book.
I won't give you a synopsis of the book as other reviewers have already done so. The main thing I liked about this series is the level of detail the author puts into every scene- what they eat, what they wear, the emotion on their faces, the surroundings. I loved the characters- they had depth and maturity. I also liked that this is not just a book for young people but almost everyone should be able to take something away from it. I found myself thinking about the characters and story days after I finished it.
It has some similarities to The Hunger Games and other sci fi YA books but I found the Atlantis angle very unique and it opens up lots of new possibilities for the rest of the series.
I very nearly didn't get it as I thought it would be too similar to the Hunger games but that turned out not to be the case. Although it's probably classed as SF, most of that part is about the technology rather than aliens and I got so hooked on this book I purchased the 2nd and then the 3rd in the series straight away and read all 3 books over the space of a few days and they are not short books. I'm just glad I'm retired.
Be aware that the story doesn't end at the end of book 3 and book 4 is due to be released late 2018 or early 2019. I have already put my name down to be advised as soon as it is released.
I can't remember a story ever capturing my attention as much as this and after finishing book 3 I keep thinking about the main characters even though they aren't real.
If it sounds like your type of book then you won't be disappointed but be prepared for the long haul.