Wednesday 27 November 2013

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules (Blood of Eden #1)
Author: Julie Kagawa
Pages: 443
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

 To survive in a ruined world, she must embrace the darkness…

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a walled-in city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten. Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them—the vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself dies and becomes one of the monsters.

Forced to flee her city, Allie must pass for human as she joins a ragged group of pilgrims seeking a legend—a place that might have a cure for the disease that killed off most of civilization and created the rabids, the bloodthirsty creatures who threaten human and vampire alike. And soon Allie will have to decide what and who is worth dying for…again.

Enter Julie Kagawa's dark and twisted world as an unforgettable journey begins.

After reading and loving Twilight at such a young age, I find it extremely hard to find a vampire novel that could ever exceed my expectations. A few months ago, I tried to read Marked, but the protagonist came off as whiny, immature brat that I couldn't bring myself to finish the book. I've also read the extremely well known, The Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, which I liked, but still had a few problems with the protagonist, Rose. Even after reading the sequel, I didn't see any character development. The common issue I have with vampire novels are the protagonists. Usually, it was their decisions or the way their voice projects through the pages that bother me. However, with The Immortal Rules, none of the issues stated above were not presented in the book.

Our main character, Allie is given a choice, either to be turned into a dangerous rabid or to become a vampire. Wanting to live, Allie allows Kanin to transform her. But with becoming a vampire, comes great challenges. In the book, Allie's biggest struggle was to hold in her thirst. There were times where she wanted to slowly take a quick drink from the children while they were sleeping, but somehow Allie convinced herself not to. This to me shows a strong character. Yeah, Allie can fight and defend herself, but her boldness came out when she held in her thirst for the people she loved.

With an excellent main character, I didn't want the love interest to have bad boy vibes. Don't get me wrong, I love my good-hearted bad boys, but after reading countless of them, I wanted something different. Zeke, our love interest, gave me exactly what I was looking for. Independent. Strong. And most certainly, kind. His duty was to take care of the people and make sure that they were protected and fed. But one of the downsides to his personality was that he was one of those guys who you can easily walk over. He gave out his trust too willingly.

Not only were her characters fantastic, but her writing was, too. Her dark, descriptive writing held me captive in the story, making me breeze through the book so easily. The Fringe, the hideout, all the places where Allie traveled to reminded bits and scenes of The Walking Dead. Though, I don't like The Walking Dead, it was very comparable to Allie's chance at survival.

A true vampire novel with dystopian elements, The Immortal Rules is surely not to be missed.

 4/5 STARS

Friday 8 November 2013

Mini Reviews: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell & Belladonna by Fiona Paul

Author: Rainbow Rowell
Pages: 433
Publication Date: September 10, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Rating: 4/5 stars

With the success of Rowell's Eleanor & Park, I knew that Fangirl was going to be extremely hyped throughout the book blogging community. And of course, I was right. But the question is, was it worth the hype? I say, heck yes! It wasn't as deep and dark as Eleanor & Park, but it still had meaning to it. Our main protagonist, Cath is shy and scared to try new things. She's holed up in her dorm, writing her fan-fiction stories rather than drinking or partying. Even though she's shy, Cath has a huge heart for her family. With frequent visits back and forth between home and her dorm, she always makes sure that her dad is being watched over, fed properly and getting enough sleep. Not to mention, she looks out for her twin sister, Wren, who always seems to get in trouble. After finishing the novel, I didn't like how the relationship between Cath and her mom wasn't resolved. I was expecting Cath to forgive her mom, but she didn't. And because of that, it brings Fangirl to a four star novel.

Author: Fiona Paul
Pages: 336
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: Philomel
Rating: 3.5/5 stars

The previous novel to this series, Venom, had a slightly better plot than Belladonna. Venom had more thrill and mystery to it while Belladonna had a slow, excruciating start. By the time, it picks up, you're 40% into the book. If I wasn't anxiously waiting for Falco to appear, I would have DNF'ed it within eighty pages. But after waiting for Falco, he turned out to be a jerk and some other words I prefer not to say. I understand that he wants Cass, but how dare he say that he wishes Luca be dead so that he could have her back! Sorry Falco, but I'm no longer on your side. But, I wouldn't say I'm on Luca's team either because I don't feel connected to his character at all. Though he's sweet and responsible, he's quite dull. I'm hoping that the final book, Starling will show a side of Luca that will eventually win me over.

Tuesday 5 November 2013

Enshadowed by Kelly Creagh

Enshadowed (Nevermore #2)
Author: Kelly Creagh
Pages: 429
Publication Date: August 28, 2012
Publisher: Atheneum Books

 Varen Nethers is trapped in a perilous dream world -- a treacherous and desolate realm where the terrifying stories of Edgar Allan Poe come to life. Isobel Lanley, plagued by strange visions and haunted by the nightmares of Varen's creation, is the only one who can save him.

Isobel knows that her only hope lies within a Baltimore cemetery. There, in the early morning hours of Edgar Allan Poe's birthday, a mysterious stranger known as the "Poe Toaster" will make his annual homage at the legendary poet's grave.

Only the Poe Tosater holds the key to the way between worlds. But even greater dangers lie ahead for Isobel. An ancient evil, draped in veils of white, is watching, challenging her for Varen's affections. When Isobel finally finds Varen, he is no longer the quiet and brooding boy who once captivated her, but a dark force, powerful and malevolent.

As much as I enjoyed the first book, Enshadowed fell flat to me. I really don't want to say this, but this book suffered the "middle book" syndrome. Filled with descriptive and well-written scenes, there was nothing pushing the plot forward. It starts to pick once you reach the last quarter of the book. If it wasn't for Kelly's writing, I would have probably never reached the 75% mark.

Ever since Isobel left Varen in the dreamworld, she hasn't been the same since. Her parents think she needs help. But what Isobel really wants is to save Varen from the world that he has created. Isobel convinces her parents to bring her to Baltimore where a mysterious stranger (The Poe Toaster) makes an appearance at Poe's graveyard. She believes that the mysterious stranger is the only link between the two worlds.

If you thought Nevermore's ending was a cliff-hanger, you're in for a disappointment because Enshadowed leaves you at a bigger cliff-hanger. Especially with it being in Varen's POV. You literally get the feels. Though this book was a bit boring at some parts, Varen's POV made up for it. That epilogue tore my heart into two. I read that epilogue five times because I couldn't believe what was happening to Varen! Usually I would feel so emotionally invested to characters written in first person, but Varen's point of view made me feel twice amount of heartache I felt for any first person book. It crushes me my heart, knowing that I have to wait until August 2014 to read the final installment.

Enshadowed wasn't impressive as Nevermore, but that will not stop me from pre-ordering the next book. August 2014, please come quickly!