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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?



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?
After their beautiful yet brief bonding ceremony in Italy, Schuyler Van Alen and Jack Force are forced to separate. To fulfill the Van Alen Legacy, Schuyler travels to Alexandria to search for Catherine of Siena and the Gate of Promise. But Schuyler quickly discovers that everything she believed about the Gate to be wrong. Meanwhile, Jack makes the difficult decision to return to New York to face his twin and former bondmate, Mimi. But instead of a bitter reunion, he is faced with a choice for which there is no good option.

Mimi, with a most unexpected travel companion in Oliver Hazard-Perry, jets off to Egypt, too, to search for Kingsley Martin, her long lost love. With all roads leading to Hell, Mimi learns that not all love stories have happy endings. But she’ll have to put her own feelings aside if she’s going to save her crumbling Coven.

Packed with heartache, twists, and vampiric folklore, Lost in Time is sure to satisfy hungry fans’ cravings for more Blue Bloods adventure.

– Synopsis from Goodreads 

This novel was once again filled with mystery, romance and adventure.
I give it four stars and this is why:
Relationships

The Force Twins
By now you should know how screwed up this book can seem what with Mimi/ Azrael and Jack/ Abaddon, the Force twins pretty much in love with each other. Yes, I said twins. Cruz had them born twins, but in their world they have been bond mates for centuries. But Jack did the unthinkable and left Mimi during the bonding ceremony to be with Schuyler. Ouch. It’s one thing being stood up for a wedding, but stood up by the person you should be bonded with for all eternity pretty much sucks. So Jack has a bounty on his head. She wants revenge, go figure. I was absolutely terrified for Jack. I love Sky so I’m totally taking his side on this. Besides, what Jack and Mimi have just doesn’t seem real to me. I don’t think it’s pure is all. But then, they are the Twins of the Apocalypse. What happens between them will astound you and although I had to wait till the very end, my jaw just dropped. What I don’t understand is that Mimi obviously really cares about the Coven, so why would she just drop everything to deal with her traitorous brother? Hell hath no fury like Azrael scorned.
Kingsley & Mimi
I actually really like their relationship. They seemed like one in the same. They are both selfish, they are both very attractive, and they are both… adventurous. It’s a pity that their love is also technically forbidden. Unless Mimi wins the blood trial and Abbadon/ Jack dies… I will give nothing away. So of course Mimi goes on a mission to save her beloved from hell. To find out how it ends you will have to read the book yourself. All I can say is that I was rather shocked. How could he act so cool as if he doesn’t even care?! How can Mimi use her ‘friend’ like that? Urgh! 

The Other Twins- The Uncorrupted
Part of the novel also includes Allegra’s story, back when she had just finished High School I believe. We see how she really viewed Schuyler’s father, and Michael/ Charles. To some extent, I liked it and it definitely brought the whole ‘Lost In Time’ element because Cruz was recounting Allegra’s past. I think you will either hate it or love it. 
The Plot
All of the character go their separate ways. Sky goes to find the gate and gatekeeper, and uncovers hidden secrets. Jack goes to face his vengeful twin. Oliver helps Mimi find her true beloved in Egypt. I wasn’t sure why he would help someone he could barely stand once upon a time, but in some ways he has chosen a valuable ally. I don’t want to give too much away, but there are many twists and turns. Cruz leaves the novel on a frustrating cliffhanger. Why must she do this?! I’ll read her sequel anyway. I’m not sure what the Apocalypse twins think they’re up to. I wish them the best of luck. 
My rating? 
4 Stars

I don’t re-read books very often. My life is just far too busy for this. Urm, no. I just have a short attention span at times. I usually have to wait a very long time to re-read a book as I remember way too much. This is more so with books than with movies. Anyone out there who feels the same? Anyway, here are the books that I’ve re-read in the past. I only re-read Ink Exchange a month or too. Comment and let me know which books you’ve enjoyed re-reading.

Ink Exchange by Melissa Marr

This book sort of picked up from where Marr ended in its predecessor, Wicked Lovely. It is not a direct sequel, but instead, it is thought of as a companion novel. Ink Exchange has three new characters take the role of narrator. First and foremost is The Dark King, Irial, then also Niall and Leslie, the ‘broken’ girl. It is a novel laced with intrigue and romance, darkness and sexiness. (Yes, I really just wrote that!) I re-read this one before re-reading the first in the series as this is one of my favourites in the series. 

Characters:
Irial- Dark and sexy, he’s the kind of guy you should never mess with. Although he is cruel and manipulative, he takes care of his own. His love is not the waning sort. 
Niall- He carries the scars of a past life quite literally. I think he is the empitemy of the saying’What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Loveable and unique, he is one of my favourites.
Leslie- This girl is stronger than she first appears. She is headstrong, stubborn, and kind- a perfect balance for the faeries’ cruel streak. 


Here is the plot if you don’t get it from my short review:

Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Court has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.



Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.

The tattoo does bring changes—not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils. . . .
– From Melissa Marr’s website

Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan


I don’t know many people who haven’t heard of Percy Jackson. It even had its own movie. I will refrain from commenting about it, however. There are only so many ways of describing disappointment. 

The book however is brilliant. Riordan weaves myth and modern wonderfully. The novel is never stale, with plenty of humour to relieve the tension. Just don’t forget- the fate of the world is at stake! 

Characters:
Percy- Whilst he is a very capable protagonist, he too has weaknesses. His ADHD is both a blessing and a curse, but despite his screwed up life, he never stops fighting for the things he believes in. 
Annabeth- She isn’t called ‘Wise Girl’ for no reason. She is one bad-ass character, with the brains to back up her brawn. She is always ready to go down fighting, or think of an ingenious plan to get them all out of sticky situations. But even she has her limits…
Grover- This guy is an awesome best friend, though he has a rather shameful past. He will do anything for the people he cares for the most. 
Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school… again. And that’s the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he’s angered a few of them. Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus’ stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves
– Synopsis from Goodreads



I had a Meg Cabot phase so please forgive me for the lack of diversity here:

Teen Idol by Meg Cabot

I’m not sure why I had such an addiction with this book. It was well before I discovered the brilliance of Rick Riodarn, and a very long time before the rise of dystopian novels, and sparkly vampires, or even sadistic fey. It was a good novel at the time and I probably still own my copy. I still like the values of this novel, no matter what. Luke taught our girl a few things.

I don’t remember enough to give you my opinion of the character except for that Luke is hot, especially when shirtless.

High school junior Jenny Greenley is so good at keeping secrets that she’s the school newspaper’s anonymous advice columnist. She’s so good at it that, when hotter-than-hot Hollywood star Luke Striker comes to her small town to research a role, Jenny is the one in charge of keeping his identity under wraps. But Luke doesn’t make it easy, and soon everyone—the town, the paparazzi, and the tabloids alike—know his secret…and Jenny is caught right in the middle of all the chaos.

– Synopsis from Goodreads

Love You To Death/ Shadowland by Meg Cabot

I remember this series all too well, hehehe. Suze can see ghosts, and there is a hot, depressed, 150 year old (or so) dead guy in her new bedroom. Poor her! 😛 

This book was very gripping. Suze is a strong character who doesn’t take crap from anyone, least of all the dead. If the whole seeing-the-dead thing isn’t bad enough, she is trying to adjust her life in California as her mother has remarried. This novel is filled with action and suspense, and it will leave you wanting more. Much more.

Characters:
Susannah Simon- Call her by her full name and you die. Having been born in New York, adjusting to a new State is quite something for Suze. Dealing with ghosts even somehow gets trickier. She is awesome, and not much of a whiner. What more can you ask for?

Jesse- This guy is probably my favourite ghost of all time. He is really old school. He is both caring and kind. Their friendship was rather unlikely, given how their first meeting went, but I’m glad that he helped her, even when she insisted she was fine.

Father Dominic- He becomes rather like her mentor in all things ghost related. I think he is rather optimistic about things, but I can understand why he may view things the way he does. I greatly respect him, and I feel bad for him as his student is very stubborn. 

There’s a hot guy in Susannah Simon’s bedroom. Too bad he’s a ghost.

Suze is a mediator-a liaison between the living and the dead. In other words, she sees dead people. And they won’t leave her alone until she helps them resolve their unfinished business with the living. But Jesse, the hot ghost haunting her bedroom, doesn’t seem to need her help. Which is a relief, because Suze has just moved to sunny California and plans to start fresh, with trips to the mall instead of the cemetery, and surfing instead of spectral visitations.

But the very first day at her new school, Suze realizes it’s not that easy. There’s a ghost with revenge on her mind.and Suze happens to be in the way.
-Synopsis from Goodreads

When Lightning Strikes by Meg Cabot

When Jess gets hit by lightning she gets a cool new power. But with great power comes great responsibility and yadah yadah yadah! Not to mention the FBI are on her case. How can she keep her power a secret with them around, constantly nagging her?

This is a case of doing the right thing and risking your life, or not doing the right thing and risking your conscious. Jess is a tough girl who can take care of herself. She has anger management issues and she plays the flute. I say this because so do I! I mean, I’ve sorted out my anger issues, but I still play the flute. 

This novel is full of suspense and action. It has a strong female character, who I really like. She is the bad ass girl who isn’t afraid of sticking up for her friends despite her lack in size. This was rare for me back in the day before the likes of Annabeth Chase and Katnis Everdeen. And of course, Jess is pining after the guy that she can’t have- bad boy  Rob Wilkinson. Read the series to find out how it ends between them.

Jess Mastriani has never been what you’d call a typical Midwestern teenager—her extracurricular activities, instead of cheerleading or 4-H, include fist-fights with the football team and month-long stints in detention. A part of Jess would like to be the prom queen her mother has always envisioned her being, but another part is secretly counting the days until she’s saved up enough money to buy her own Harley.

Then something happens that guarantees Jess will be one of the in-crowd…at least until her newfound talent ends up getting her dead.

I was incredibly skeptical to read this book, which is the first of the new Blood of Eden series. I know the saying goes ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’, but I’ve long since given on it. I judge books by their covers and I’m not ashamed. Kagawa’s cover is quite simply morbid and terrifying, though artistic. What’s more, I just didn’t want to read another vampire book. I liked the Twilight saga to begin with, but Bella annoyed my senseless, and I now no longer have a clue what I first saw in the series. Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods series is the only other series I’ve read with vampires and the thing is, they’re more than that. Nonetheless, I read an excerpt of Kagawa’s new book, wanting to give it a chance- especially after hearing good reviews about it.

The Protagonist

I liked and admired Allison Sekemoto. Her voice didn’t irritate me, as some female protagonists have in the past. I felt sorry for her in the beginning, after seeing how awful her life was but I doubt she would want my pity. She is strong willed and very determined. This reminds me an awful lot of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. The world that they live in has shaped them and forced them to become very self reliant and independent. The difference is that Allie believes that it’s everyone for themselves, whilst Katniss looks after her family and even hunts with Gale. Although you can say that because Allie is part of a small group of Unregisters, they are not her family and she admitted that she would never sacrifice herself for any of them.

Allie has always hated vampires and I can’t blame her. I found it a bit hypocritical that she became the creature that she most loathed, but I understand that the human to want to live. Her choices were simple, become a vamire and ‘live’, or die and possibly become a rabid. Allie’s vampire transformation reminded me of Aislinn’s change from human to faery in Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, as she too hated and feared the creature she would become. The main difference is the whole near death experience, which Ash was not in, and the choice, as Ash had none.

Allison is stubborn, often disagreeing and going against her creator’s commands. This stubbornness does help her control the blood lust later on, when she is a vampire though. She is at first a little naive, hoping to be a ‘good’ vampire, but she eventually comes to terms with the fact that she is a monster. Thankfully, this doesn’t make her give up on humanity, as she became very attached to a group of humans that she travelled with.

Allison is a kick-ass, katana wielding bad-ass!

Kanin, the Creator 


It’s never said how old he is but all I know is that it’s been 60 years since the Red-Lung disease first hit the world, becoming a wide spread plague. Kanin- this may or may not be his real name, I think not- is the infuriating secretive type. The sort of person who can be very cryptic. It’s no wonder he doesn’t just speak in riddles. That really would drive me insane. At first, I thought that he was slightly cruel, but we learn why that is so. He is a very lonely character, telling Allie from the beginning that they would not be able to travel with one another for very long. He is blunt to a point, telling Allison quite clearly what she is- a monster. I wanted to laugh out loud when he said that animal blood is junk food. Tell that to Edward Cullen! It’s hard to say whether I like him or not. A part of me dislikes him for… well, you’ll find out. But then again, he’s so filled with self loathing, a part of me want to hug him real tight and tell him it’s all going to be okay. He’d probably just tear my throat out. Or maybe not. He seems to be very in control of himself. 

Zeke, the Human

Oh my gosh! How can such a lovely person exist in such a world? He reminds me of Peeta for this reason. Peeta had never known the true harshness of District 12, as his parents were bakers. This didn’t make him wealthy or anything, just not a starving street kid. Zeke has all the traits you look for in a YA love interest. Unless of course you very much inclined towards a bad boy, in which case, look elsewhere. Zeke, first and foremost, is the son of a preacher man. I like Zeke’s morals. He doesn’t like to ever leave a man behind on the group’s dangerous travels. He believes that there is good in humanity, and he doesn’t like to turn anyone who wishes to travel with the group. Even a dangerous vampire like Allie, you ask? No. Even he doesn’t stretch that far, unfortunately. I like Zeke because he’s like a beacon of light in an otherwise dark world.

The Dystopian Society


The dystopian world that Kagawa created is the sort of thing I’ve only ever heard in movies. The sort of movies that I would never watch because I’d be peeing myself from fear. Yet somehow it’s alright to read about them. Don’t ask me how that works, but it just does. I’m sure I’m not the only one who feels that way.  Growing up in a vampire city, Allie and other humans are treated as blood cattle. They are allowed to live because vampires need them and therefore allow them to. Allie lives in a run down place called New Covington, in the Fringes of sector 4. Sound a little bit Hunger Games like? Yeah, I thought so too. Strangely enough, the centre of the vampire city isn’t much like the Capitol at all. It’s just as run down as the rest of the city. Humans actually have a choice about whether they want to be Registered or not. If they become registered, they are the property of Prince Salazar, the Master vampire of the city. This means that twice a month, they must donate some of their blood. If they miss a bloodletting, guards come and take all the blood that is owed by force. Now imagine if you were sick, or had missed multiple blood lettings.

But vampires are not the worse creatures around. Outside the Wall of New Covington, and around the entire world, ferocious creatures called rabids roam around. Neither human nor truly vampire, they are mindless creatures whose only priority is to kill. Like vampires, they are ‘allergic’ to the sun, but by night, they literally erupt from the ground and prowl the lands. In my mind, they are like vampire-zombies.

The Plot


Kagawa divided her book into four parts.
Part I: Human- This is rather like an introduction into Allie’s world. We gain an insight into her hard life as an Unregistered, living in a vampire city. I enjoyed this part because we got to know what Allie was like before she was a vampire. 
Part II: Vampire- After being Turned, Allie gets coached about the ways of the vampires by her creator. I’ve heard some people criticise that they would rather have had Allie figure things out on her own. Realistically, I don’t know whether she would have survived all on her own. Kanin taught her how to fight, and the basics of what being a vampire was. He also told her a handy trick about burying oneself in the dirt to avoid the sun.
Part III: Monster- In this section, Allie fights her inner demons as she tries to avoid the savageness that is her inner vampire. It’s the part of her that sees humans as nothing more than food, that will kill first, ask questions never. 
Part IV: Wanderer- Allie is on her own again, and she tries to find some sort of purpose in her ‘life’, beyond sating the Hunger. 
Overall, the book is rather evenly paced throughout, but most of the really good stuff happens towards the end. This kind of sucks but I didn’t mind. Everything came together and the pieces of the puzzle finally made sense. Throughout the novel, we are given fragments, and Allison has to put them together. There are a few things that I saw coming well before Allison, but maybe I’ll put it down to all the ‘near death’ experiences and the Hunger gnawing down at her.

Overall Impression


This book was actually good, considering that I had been incredibly skeptical. I fell in love with Kagawa’s faeries, and now I’m captivated by her vampire world. I realised when she met up with the travelling group why it’s called Blood of Eden, and I thought it was really clever. Having faced betrayal earlier on in the book, I wasn’t sure how things were going to go in terms of Allison’s growth. I was disappointed that the crazy, poetic vampire didn’t feature very much, and I can’t wait to see this psychopath in the sequel. The ending of the book was alright, as it’s rather bitter sweet, but I liked that it ended with her fighting more rabies. This is because it emphasised the danger of the world Allison lives in but also highlights her bad-assery. As for the romance, I’m only going to gloss over this because it is not the main feature of this book. I’m pretty sure you can guess who the love interest is. It’s very interesting that the prey and predator are in love, more so than in Twilight because we get to see what it’s like for the vampire to try and resist. Like The Hunger Games, and actually, many other good books, their are casualties. Being a dystopian book, however, more people die than usual. I remember that the first significant death in The Percy Jackson series wasn’t until Book 3, and Book 4 had quite a number of deaths. If this is how bad it is in the first book of The Blood of Eden series, I can’t imagine how heart-wrenching the sequels will be. 
My Rating:

Three teenage descendants of Medusa, now united, must claim their heritage to fight the monsters escaped from the abyss.

Gretchen may have known she was a descendant of Medusa long before her sisters–after all, she’s spent her life fighting the monsters that escape the abyss–but that doesn’t mean it will be easy to teach the other girls the ropes.

Greer has pressing social commitments on her plate and precious little time to train in her newfound powers. But that wretched second sight won’t leave her alone, and her fabled heritage seems to be creeping into her fashionable life.

Grace has worries closer to home–like why her brother, Thane, has disappeared. He’s hiding something. Could it possibly be related to the secret heritage the triplets share?
– Synopsis from Goodreads


I have yet to read the first in the series, Sweet Venom, but I do plan to. This sequel is, Sweet Shadows is coming soon, by Tera Lynn Childs.

Coming: September 4th 2012

I like the title. It’s cool that the author is continuing the use of ‘sweet’. Once again, the hair twirls ever so slightly, suggesting snakes. If I’m honest, I’ve seen better looking people but the model looks beautiful nonetheless. My problem is that the air of mystery has been taken away. We did not see the protagonists’ face in the first book and now we do. It would have been nice if her face could have been silhouetted or something, to represent the shadows. Just an artistic suggestion. 

I hadn’t initially intended on reading this book. I was satisfied with the ending of The Iron Queen. What can I say? I like a good tragedy from time to time. If I can’t have Ash, no one can! But honestly, it took until the end of this book until I was satisfied with Meg’s decision. In the first book, I won’t say that I didn’t like Ash. The whole ‘I’m going to kill you’ thing was actually kind of amusing. But I was Team Puck for the majority of the time, and by the third book I still hadn’t truly made up my mind. The Iron Knight erased all doubts. And this is why….

But first, let’s take a while to look over at the synopsis and awesome trailer.

Ash, former prince of the Winter Court, gave up everything. His title, his home, even his vow of loyalty. All for a girl… and all for nothing.

Unless he can earn a soul.

To cold, emotionless faery prince Ash, love was a weakness for mortals and fools. His own love had died a horrible death, killing any gentler feelings the Winter prince might have had. Or so he thought.

Then Meghan Chase—a half human, half fey slip of a girl— smashed through his barricades, binding him to her irrevocably with his oath to be her knight. And when all of Faery nearly fell to the Iron fey, she severed their bond to save his life. Meghan is now the Iron Queen, ruler of a realm where no Winter or Summer fey can survive.

With the (unwelcome) company of his archrival, Summer Court prankster Puck, and the infuriating cait sith Grimalkin, Ash begins a journey he is bound to see through to its end— a quest to find a way to honor his solemn vow to stand by Meghan’s side.

To survive in the Iron realm, Ash must have a soul and a mortal body. But the tests he must face to earn these things are impossible. At least, no one has ever passed to tell the tale.

And then Ash learns something that changes everything. A truth that turns reality upside down, challenges his darkest beliefs and shows him that, sometimes, it takes more than courage to make the ultimate sacrifice.


Book Cover

Beautiful, as usual. It was nice to have Ash at the front and Puck at the back, with that slight rueful smile. Once again the theme is blue for Winter, as it was in The Iron Daughter. I used to have a thing against seeing faces on covers as it doesn’t give me much room to imagine what the characters look like for myself. Unfortunately, many YA books still have photographs of characters on the front cover. For the most part, however, Kagawa’s books have been handled with care and the characters look more or less how I would imagine them. But on to the important things that the author actually has something to do with.

Settings

I have this thing about descriptions. I like them. They’re very important as its what lets you truly imagine. But I have this awful tendency of skipping them when they get too much. I think that Kagawa handles them with care though. It’s not over the top but it’s enough, and very well done. This is especially important in fantasy books because impossible settings are brought to life. I particularly liked her description of The End of the World and the river that they followed. 

Characters

Grimalkin & the Wolf: What can I say? Their banter was the next best thing since Puck and Ash. The cait sith is  forever calling the Wolf a dog, and he takes great offence to this, of course. I hadn’t expected to like the Wolf, though I never got to read Winter’s Passage, which is a shame. Still, it was very clear that the Wolf was bad news as soon as he appeared, and I was terrified he’d kill someone I loved, like Puck! I mean, pffh, of course Ash was going to live. Grimalkin was the same old, same old. Infuriating, cryptic, and wise. Kagawa even slipped in his famous line: I am a cat! Love it. 

Ash: This is his story and it was a pleasure to finally get into his mind. I was mad that he was only doing this whole quest to keep his stupid oath so that he wouldn’t unravel and die, or worse. In the end, I was satisfied because he made up his mind on his own, with no oath to dictate his decision. Throughout the tests, he finally found out what it meant to be mortal, and he came to finally face all the horrors he had committed in the past. Ash really grew in this novel and I loved seeing him finally discover who he is really was. Not Ash, the Winter Prince- the cold and ruthless faery he had come to despise. He is the Iron Knight. 


Puck: This book wasn’t about him, of course and as usual, we didn’t get to delve too deep into his character. On the other hand, I think that he was vital in this novel. Puck was Ash’s best friend before Ariella died and he swore to kill him to avenge her. He provided the comic relief, as usual, which was good because this quest was very important and death defying. The two of them finally resolved the feud between them and I just wanted to cry from the bromance 😀


I know that there is another vital character that I’ve missed out but mentioning them would be a spoiler!


The Tests

Having recently read The Goddess Test, I wasn’t expecting much. Having finished the book, I was just overwhelmed with the AWESOMENESS it radiated! It was… awesome! I was surprised that they all had to have these almost tests (running the gauntlet) to get to The End of the World. They were tests of strength and knowledge. Trust the sphinx’s to give an impossible riddle. Ash had three tests on his own, given to him by the Guardian so he could understand what it meant to be mortal. I don’t want to give too much away about them but I can’t believe that these tests were this hard. How is it that in YA books, the tests for mortality (the soul) is harder than the tests for immortality (The Goddess Test)? Very strange. 

Ending- Tying up the loose ends

The ending was incredibly romantic and although their were no church bells, there really didn’t need to be! I’m honestly going to have to say that I’m glad that they didn’t leave the Wolf behind, despite what Grimalkin had to say. Puck will have to get over Meg at some point, and I hope that he appears in the sequel series, The Call of the Forgotten: The Lost Prince being the first book.  So now I am finally, truly and utterly, Team Ash!

My Rating:
Five Stars

I honestly had no idea that this movie was also a book. I’m going to watch the movie for Chris Hemsworth, but I wonder whether I’ll actually every get round to reading the book. I would have preferred reading it first but the book comes out about the same time that the movie does, which is a bit strange. I’ve had problems with reading books after watching the movie, such as Eragon, however I loved reading The Time Traveller’s Wife, though saw holes in the movie after reading the book. Has anyone had similar experiences?

Release Date: 5th of June

Now pardon me whilst I stare at Hemsworth, and the other movie promotional posters.