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July 2012

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Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school-that is, if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. The Gallagher Academy might claim to be a school for geniuses but it’s really a school for spies. Even though Cammie is fluent in fourteen languages and capable of killing a man in seven different ways, she has no idea what to do when she meets an ordinary boy who thinks she’s an ordinary girl. Sure, she can tap his phone, hack into his computer, or track him through town with the skill of a real “pavement artist”-but can she maneuver a relationship with someone who can never know the truth about her?

Cammie Morgan may be an elite spy-in-training, but in her sophomore year, she’s on her most dangerous mission-falling in love

– Goodreads Synopsis
UK Cover
So I’ve had this book on my bookshelf for several months, waiting to be read. I’d seen this book at my nearest bookstore and the first that came to mind was ‘Awesome title!’ So I looked it up on Goodreads and then bought it then next time I had money. And then I let it collect dust… So was it worth the wait? 
When I’d picked this book up, I’d expected something like Cathy Cassidy meets Anthony Horowitz. Whilst it did indeed have that spy background, it was too Princess Diaries for my liking.

Plot

The plot left a lot to be desired. The entire book revolves around Cammie’s double life as she pursues this boy and tries to keep it a secret. All the while, she is trying to pass her new class, Covert Operations, in the hope of being the great spy that her father was. Now ‘what’s wrong with that?’ you may ask. It is boring and tedious. We know that she is infatuated with this boy, who she says is the only person who has ever looked at her and ‘seen’ her. (Okay, let’s face it, I thought this sounded quite romantic!) Now moving on from that, where is the antagonist? There is actually no clear antagonist in this entire novel. The only one that I can think of is her new Covert Operations teacher, but it’s not like he wants her dead or anything. How can you have a spy book without a proper antagonist?

Characters


Cammie:

We are forever told that Cammie the ‘chameleon’ is smart, and yet I find that hard to believe because of the way her character narrates the story. She can obviously do awesome things like beat up someone much bigger than herself, and she is actually very intelligent. It is some of the more ‘normal’ things that she is clueless about. I understand that attending an all girl’s boarding school would have a major impact in her, but I think the author might have overreacted just a bit. True, I found it amusing that Cammie’s school teachers her 14 languages (I’m not sure if this is the exact figure, to be honest) but the one language she has no grasp of is boy. What makes this work is that girls are forever trying to understand what boys are thinking, but this spy is particularly curious. So the girliness in this novel can work, but I think Carter overdoes it, and drives me insane whilst reading it. I wanted to read a book about a spy who is a girl; not a girl who is a spy. I wanted a kick-ass heroine who would always be one step ahead of the bad guys or something, whilst trying to guard her heart- or something.

The Friends:

Now perhaps this is no fault of her own, but Carter’s supportive characters are compared to Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. Worst still, they are declared as better than the two wizards by some popular YA reviewer on the back of the UK cover that I bought. Now, I’m no fan of the Harry Potter series, but I loathe it when books are compared like this. Just let the book stand on its own two feet. I don’t need to be told on the cover who the characters are like. Let me determine this myself.
Now at this present time, I cannot remember the name of these two best friends of Cammie’s , which is a bit worrying to say the least. This obviously means that I didn’t particularly care for them. Upon Googling the book, I have found out that their names are Liz Sutton and Bex Baxter. I actually kind of liked them, I suppose. One of them was the strong willed type who didn’t put up with other people giving her nonsense. The other was more a techy girl, rather than the sort of spy that would go out into the field. Her geekiness proves invaluable as they stalk infiltrate Josh’s (Cammie’s crush) every move. Helpful and mostly reliable, I blame these two for fuelling Cammie’s new found obsession. Granted of course that they are teenage girls who have little contact with boys, their behaviour maybe understandable. It is still my firm believe, however, that they took it too far. Just saying. 
The New Kid
Now, let me dip into Macey McHenry for a moment. I don’t want to give too much away, after all I didn’t find that this book had much too it. Macey behaves like a spoilt brat, being the rich kid that she is.   Why do these YA books always seem to have a new kid? This one also had a new teacher. Isn’t a new teacher enough? With the exception of Macey as Cammie’s unlikely ally, I do not see the point in this character. There was little to her and Carter did not explore much of her besides her vapid and shallow side. Later on, we could see that she was taking an interest in the school and even a few of the students, but by then it was too late to salvage very much. 

The Romance

In a way, Carter played on the whole forbidden love thing favoured by many novels. As Cammie is a spy in training, it is not advised that she starts a relationship, let alone with a boy in the same town as her school. I found it endearing that Josh managed to see her, when all her life she has been the plain girl that stayed hidden. And I don’t mean that in just the whole ‘she doesn’t think she’s beautiful’ way. She calls herself a pavement artist, the kind of spy that can go by undetected whilst following her target because she can blend in well with the crowd. 
I like the way they decided to communicate, with the notes instead of by phone or email. They do the whole boyfriend- girlfriend thing, and she tries to hold on to something that she knows won’t last. It should be heartbreaking, but mostly I’m pining for more action. I’m not apathetic towards her feelings or anything, but I was promised a spy novel. I wanted less kissing (this was even kind of brushed over. I know she’s only fifteen, but you don’t have to be such a prude about it!), and more butt-kicking. 

US cover
Overal, I think I’d give this book a 2.5 stars. It was entertaining, but forgettable. 
I doubt I’ll be purchasing the sequel. 

Alright, so Summer is here and new books are evermore approaching. Now I was a little disappointed with the pacing of ‘The Power of Six’ but it really picked up towards the middle and end. Now that the main writer behind the pseudonym, Jobie Hughes, has left the project, I’m interested to see how this will affect he writing of the third novel. I’ll guess we’ll have to wait and see…

To be published: 21st of August 2012
(So close to my birthday!)
Alright, so each cover shows Nine’s emblem/ logo. It reminds me very much of a shuriken starts. Maybe he’s some sort of ninja, haha.  I very much like the earthy feeling of the US cover. It looks very mysterious and it gives a sort of ancient feel to it. Unfortunatley, it is ruined by the title which I think is far too bright, and badly placed. It takes away the attention on the image. Tsk- tsk. 

Now, the UK adult cover is similar to the US one but the tone is very different. I’m very interested to find out why the symbol is made up of birds this time. It became evident that The Power of Six was made up of bubbles and water droplets because of Eight’s connection to water.

Now the Adult cover does not have much of a connection to the previous books in terms of the style. The title is far too big, for one, and the white background is not expected, but not necessarily a bad thing. I read a blog where they had criticised that the words ‘Rise’ and ‘Nine’ were much bigger than ‘The’ and ‘Of’, but I don’t think that’s a problem really as they are more important. However, as mentioned before, this does not match the style of the previous books. Still, rules are made to be broken!

I am very happy with this cover as a whole, and I will definitely be buying this edition, as usual 😀

Call me shallow if you wish. It’s my money.

So, here is the UK Young Adult cover. I’m not sure what is with the packman thing. It somehow much more evident in this versions as the design is much more blocked out. All I can think about is how playful Nine seemed when Four saved him.

This is probably my least favourite cover. Perhaps it’s just the lack of originality in comparison to the others. It is by no means a bad cover, it just lacks that one ingredient to make it brilliant, if you know what I mean. I very much like the placing and the size of the title on this cover, though. That is somewhat of an achievement. The white is striking in contrast to the dark colours.

Unfortunately, I don’t really like all that writing in the middle. If I want to know that it’s the third in a series, I’d prefer to see ‘3’ on the spine or something. Just saying. On a good note, I’m glad that this matches the style of the previous novel, what with the lightning and stuff.

Not bad, not bad.

And I managed to find the Australian cover:

What do you think?


To Be Published: 7th of August 2012

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the kings council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.

Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.
-Goodreads Synopsis



For once, I’m actually partial to the UK cover, on the right. I mean, the US cover makes her look like a supermodel. A supermodel with a dagger strapped to her arm for no apparent reason. She looks too delicate, too sweet. Now the illustration on the right is LUSH! It’s intense, it’s believable, it’s got a catchy tag-line. Heck, even the design of the title is better! Well done, unknown illustrator. I will find you! What do you guys think?



It’s been seven years since The Lightning Thief was published and now much loved author Rick Riodarn is about to have The Mark of Athena published. This will be the third in his follow up series, Heroes of Olympus. 

I stumbled upon this clip on YouTube and thought that it would be perfect to post. Sometimes we need to be pushed by the ones that care about us most, and that’s exactly how Riordan started off writing The Percy Jackson series:

Rick Riordan has seen his novel The Lightning Thief go from print to movie screen, with Logan Lerman portraying the troubled demigod. It is believed that there will be a sequel, which should be out in 2013. I am in equal parts fear and equal parts awe.

Say what you will about this movie. Not all authors get to see their ideas on screen. Riordan had nothing to do with the poor execution of this movie, which I believed had so much potential.

And of course, he didn’t stop there, as Riordan proved that he had more than just Greeks up his sleeves by getting the Egyptian Myth series inspired, Kane Chronices trilogy. 

Official artwork of the main characters
For me, Riordan’s best trait is his humour. Here are a couple of much-loved quotes from The Kane Chronicles:
Source: kanechroniclesmoments.tumblr.com 

Source: kanechroniclesmoments.tumblr.com
Then there is the way he seamlessly weaves myth with modern. I have tried reading other books based on mythology before and I will continue with my pursuit, but I must say that no one does it like Rick Riordan! I commend you, fine sir! Having finessed The Serpent’s Shadow, I see that he is hinting that the magicians and demigods may cross paths. I don’t really know what you’re up to, Riordan, but I’m on board! Carry on the good work. I’ll be reading your books until my hair starts greying. Whoops, too late. I started when I was 10. 
And now I shall leave you with this YouTube clip of Riordan reading the first chapter of his upcoming novel, The Mark of Athena.


I apologise if the quality is not try high. I suggest that if you wish to read it for yourself that you go to the website: http://disney.go.com/disneybooks/heroes-of-olympus/the-mark-of-athena/ 

Rick Riordan, I salute you! 

So,  finished this novel about last month and so this is the review I promised. It seems that the Dystopia Genre is here to stay with the bit of The Hunger Games which allegedly kick-started it off. So the big question: ‘Is Divergent original or just another Dystopia hit wannabe?’ 


In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 

– Goodreads Synopsis
Submitted by fatoshleo on Fanpop

Characters

Well, Beatrice “Tris” is one hell of an action girl. Despite all of her weaknesses, she is a kick-ass heroine. Her physical and emotional weaknesses only serve to humanise her and add to our sympathy. But let’s face it, she is certainly strong-willed. It’s clear that Beatrice has never been cut out for the life on Abnegation, but to choose another faction would be to walk away from her family. She is not the kind of girl you can walk all over, and despite the way that her fellow initiates looked at her- as if she were fresh meat- she definitely showed them up.

Four is very interesting. I can’t tell you much about him as it’ll ruin the surprise. It is important to not that this is not intended to be a very romantic book, but I feel that it is indeed more romantic than The Hunger Games. I hadn’t thought Four as a particularly obvious romantic interest but I had viewed it as a possibility, what with the air of mystery around him. I mean, what is with the name ‘Four’? I mean, I know about it NOW, but at the time it was very weird. All I could think of was Pittacus Lore’s ‘I Am Number Four’. I don’t think Roth’s Four and Lore’s Four are alike.

Additional Friends: I very much liked Christina. I have a friend called Christina. But she’s the white one and I’m the black one, lols. Having been Candor born, Christina always speaks honestly. Which she later learns is not a good idea. She adds a bit of humour and her interaction with Tris is significant as they help each other out during the initiation. Al is another character who was important. He’s a really big guy and he seems nice at first, but not all is as it seems.

Needless to say, Tris makes a number of enemies as she goes along. Some are fellow initiates, whilst others have the power and authority to terminate her. I shan’t give anything away 🙂

Society

Roth has created a unique society in which people are divided by what they believe in. I have concluded that I would be Candor as it basically just gives me a licence to speak my mind all of the time, which is good because I’m a complete chatter box! I liked the idea that the town or city or whatever is ruled by Abnegation, as they are the selfless ones. I genuinely feared that they might have gone out of control, considering the amount of power that they wielded. But it was another faction that was to bring about the downfall of this society.

My only real criticism is that I don’t understand how their society got to this. What kind of catastrophic event could have led a society to this?

So which faction would you choose if you had to?



Plot

Well, without giving away too much, it is a novel of self-discovery. This is pretty good start for a YA book because of the audience. Tris got out of her comfort zone a lot. Now one might wonder why she is trying to be something that she is not. Perhaps she is trying to be the girl that she’s always been. By the end of the novel, she realises that she doesn’t truly belong anywhere. Sorry if that spoiled everything for you. Still, this is a Dysptopian book. It’s hardly going to have a Happily Ever After. 
The idea is that the initiates can only become fully pledged members of their new factions if they pass the tests. It’s hard to explain this without giving away which faction Tris chooses, but the point is that hers is a test of endurance. The problem with their initiation is that there are not enough spaces for all of the initiates, and those that fail will become factionless. This is a fate that Tris has described as worse than death on a number of occasions. I actually don’t think that she’s being overdramatic either. 
So essentially, Tris must survive or die trying. 

Comparison

Okay, first up: Katniss vs Beatrice. 
Katniss is the family provider. Beatrice is the selfish one in a selfless family. Katniss has a bow and arrow. Tris learns hand-to-hand combat quite well. Katniss has a Mockingjay pin. Tris has a few tattoos. Now this doesn’t really equate. Tris’ tattoos aren’t a sign of rebellion, and so far they have not been perceived as such. Both girls are strong-willed, very driven and in some ways inherently selfish. But in actual fact, Tris’ bravery comes down to her skill to be selfless thanks to her Abnegation upbringing, whilst Katniss has at this stage done more things that she is not proud of. Bearing in mind, I’ve only read the first in Roth’s series. 
The society is a bit like The Hunger Games in the sense that they are all divided, but this is where the resemblance stops. For a start, the children do mix whilst they are at school. As for the adults, well, not too often. The way that everything is so heavily monitored, particularly in Abnegation reminds me a bit of Ally Condie’s ‘Matched’. The closest to the match-pairing they get though is the fact that you can only marry someone within your own faction. Thankfully, the society doesn’t choose for you. 
Overall, this is at least a FOUR STARS

Okay, so I’m a little late on the cover reveal. Okay, over a month late. In my defence, I have been very busy at various university Open Days and stressing about what I want to do with the rest of my life. So here is the awesome cover. And the UK version. Meh.

So as usual, I’m loving it! The owl is essential as it is the symbol of Athena. Typical that the Romans and the Greeks won’t get along. I love the graphics. The storm for Jason, and the tidal wave for Percy. Now the thing is, I’ve grown to admire them both. If I were forced to choose, however, I’d side with Percy because I feel closer to him. It’s like I’ve been on so many adventures with him. Which is actually kind of sad. But still. You get what I mean. I hope. Funny that both of their horses are black. Well, Percy’s as a Pegasi. I can’t recall if Jason’s is a Pegasi too. He was something like the world’s fastest horse after the original Pegasus, or something. And the most foul-mouthed one. Or am I getting my story confused? Oh, it’s been a whole year!

Once again, I am disappointed to say the least. I don’t mind the colour. I have nothing against blue. The UK logo is actually alright and I’ve gotten used to it, but I’m still very fond of the US’s Omega symbol. Now is it just me, or is there just something not quite right about Festus’ head? I want to like the graphics, I really do. Heck, I’ll probably end up having to buy it as I’m in the UK. Still, something doesn’t look real about that fire. It’s much harder to tell who’s fighting on the New Argo. There are so many demigods, it really could be anyone. The UK cover doesn’t make the differentiation, as they are too dark. As for the battle stance, well, it’s not very convincing. But what really gets me is that there is nothing about the cover that screams ‘Mark of Athena’ apart from the title. Where is the OWL?! Oh woe is me!

What are your views on the UK vs US cover debate?
I’ve decided to make this a regular thing, at least once a month. Here is July’s awesome artwork. Once again, I’ve found these all on DeviantArt, and I’ve accredited the right artists. Enjoy and comment!

Divergent by Veronica Roth

I bought the American cover for a measly £1.99 a week ago from this awesome store and I’m on top of the world! I finished it yesterday and I loved it! I feel so behind though, what with Insurgent already out. Look out for my review on Divergent!

Tris, by xYue-Mayx

Tris’ tattoo, by singdancedraw13

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Katniss Everdeen By Patsie

Gale, Katniss, Peeta by ichan-desu

The Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa

Titania by xion-cc


Left to Right: Ash, Meghan, Puck
By AlicantesRune

Puck and Meghan from an imagery scene by seosa
In the defence of the artist, they may not have pointy ears because they are wearing glamour or something.

Need series by Carrie Jones

I’m not sure if I’ve ever reviewed her books here, but I’ve read them all except for the last one. Her series was great and the protagonist’s character development was kind of inspirational. The only reason I haven’t finished yet is the price of the last book is too much for a book that thin, despite the amazing cover. Here’s some art work I found though:
Prince Astley by artxhorse
Mnemophobia as mentioned in Chapter 2, by chromophobicrayons
Fan-made movie poster by chromophobicrayons featuring Zara

Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore

You have no idea how hard it is to find fan art of this without Alex Pettyfer. He’s good looking and everything, but I’d like the interpretation took before All they saw of Four was Pettyfer. I used to be more attracted to Peeta as a character rather than his looks until Hutcherson got the role.
Number Four by MarvelousManga
Sarah by soloist-demyx

Universes Collide

Left to right: Annabeth, PJATO (c) Rick Riordan

Hermione, HP (c) J.K. Rowling
Katniss, THG (c) Suzanne Collins
Tris, Divergent (c) Veronica Roth
Bella, ToiletTwilight (c) Stephenie Meyer



Hermione from Harry Potter series
Clary from The Mortal Instruments
Tris from Divergent
And Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games