26 November 2012

REVIEW: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Series: Uglies #1
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 8th 2005
Source: Bought

Tally can't wait to turn sixteen and become Pretty. Sixteen is the magic number that brings a transformation from a repellant Ugly into a stunningly attractive Pretty, and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be Pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the Pretty world - and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn Pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

This has definitely been one of my favourite books that I've read this year. I absolutely loved reading it and couldn't put it down!
Tally is definitely my favourite character in this book. David is a very close second though. I loved Tally because of the development of her character throughout the book. At the start she was this naive girl who believed everything she was told and believed that she was Ugly and she had to become Pretty. But when she was sent out to the smoke by the Specials to find her friend Shay (who ran away from the city so she didn't have to become Pretty), she learned to accept herself and she also learned to think and make decisions by herself. Tally has to find she so that she can become Pretty, but when she gets to the smoke, she realises that she would rather stay the way she was and never return to the city to become Pretty. 
She meets David (who Shay had told her about - but Tally never believed her was real) and they have a connection from the very start. Their relationship starts to develop and Shay isn't happy about it because she has feeling for David. Tally and David kind of get together (I'm just going to say their a couple even though it was never really official) and I really did like their relationship. Even though it was a very quick relationship and they developed feelings for each other quite quickly, I liked the way their relationship was written. I liked how David would tell Tally she was beautiful, even though she didn't believe it because she's an Ugly, but I think this helped boost Tally's confidence and it also made her more determined to stay in the smoke. David is also a very strong character and from the very first interaction he had with Tally, I knew they would get together. I was excited to see how their relationship developed. 
I loved all the action in the book as well. The invasion of the smoke by the Specials was exciting and I couldn't put the book down until I found out what happened. And then when Shay finally realised that Tally was a spy I wanted to know how it would affect their relationship. The best part of the book for me though was when they broke into the Special Circumstances building to rescue all the people who had been captured at the smoke who were from their city. I was on edge the whole time hoping they wouldn't get caught and then when Dr. Cable found them I was sure they were done for. But then it was David to the rescue! And then they found everyone and Shay had been turned Pretty! And the worst part was that she was happy! I really didn't want Shay to become Pretty because I knew it was change her and she would become some Pretty airhead and I really liked the Shay before the operation. But I suppose I'll just have to get used to the new Shay. 
The ending was really good as well! I just wished that Tally and David had had a chance to make up before she went back to the city to become Pretty. I didn't want Tally to become Pretty either, but I understood why she had to do it because she was determined to save her friend.

If you haven't read this book, make sure you do because it's amazing! At the end of the book, there was a preview of the second book Pretties and I'm so excited to read it!

25 November 2012

REVIEW: Guardian of Atlantis by Annie Rachel Cole

Guardian of Atlantis by Annie Rachel Cole
Series: The Children of Atlantis #1
Publisher: Createspace
Publication Date: July 21st 2012
Source: Bought

Sixteen-year-old Raven Weir has a somewhat normal life until she receives a mysterious necklace…a necklace others are willing to kill her to get because it contains the key codes to Atlantis. Now she finds she’s the only one standing between Atlantis and those who want to use the power hidden there to take over the world.

And Zeus is at the head of that line.

On top of worrying about social acceptance at school, Raven has to get control of her growing powers before she harms someone. And it doesn’t help that the alpha Hellhound at school is attracted to her while members of his pack are trying to kill her. And then there’s the whole biological parent issue. Finding out you’re adopted is huge, but discovering you’re actually the daughter of Medusa and Poseidon will definitely cause problems.

Will Raven find the inner strength she needs to survive?

Will she be able to protect Atlantis?

This book was amazing! I really enjoyed reading it! I loved the characters in the book. Raven was definitely my favourite. She was strong and never let anyone scare her or tell her what to do.I absolutely loved how sarcastic she was. Every time she was in a dangerous situation, she always had something witty to say that would make me laugh. She was an extremely confident heroine and I think she was a fantastic main character. I loved the incorporation of the Atlantis theme and the Greek Gods (especially the Greek Gods) because I'm a massive fan of Greek mythology and I think this book managed to convey it in it's own unique way and I enjoyed reading it. The epic battle between Zeus and Poseidon was definitely one of my favourite parts of the book! The only thing I didn't enjoy about this book was the weird relationship between Ethan and Raven. I'm not even sure if they were actually together or not. He just seemed to randomly kiss her a couple of times throughout the book and I don't even think Raven knew what was going on (especially the first time, because it was kinda weird). I also didn't like how possessive and kind of controlling he was, Ethan needs to back off! It seemed a bit like insta-love to me because he was in love with her the minute he saw her (or smelt her) and he told her she was his mate for life and it just seemed like Raven had no choice at all. But other than the relationship, there wasn't anything I didn't like about the book. I absolutely loved it and I would definitely recommend that you read this book. 

I had to take off a star for the relationship because I really didn't like how it was written and to be honest, I really didn't like their relationship at all. Maybe it'll be OK in the second book, but I'll just have to wait and see. I would definitely read this book again because I really enjoyed it.

15 November 2012

REVIEW: Ascend by Amanda Hocking

Ascend by Amanda Hocking
Series: Tryll #3
Publication Date
Source: Bought

Wendy Everly is facing an impossible choice. The only way to save the Trylle from their deadliest enemy is by sacrificing herself. If she doesn’t surrender to the Vittra, her people will be thrust into a brutal war against an unbeatable foe. But how can Wendy leave all her friends behind…even if it’s the only way to save them?

The stakes have never been higher, because her kingdom isn’t the only thing she stands to lose. After falling for both Finn and Loki, she’s about to make the ultimate choice…who to love forever. One guy has finally proven to be the love of her life—and now all their lives might be coming to an end.

Everything has been leading to this moment. The future of her entire world rests in her hands—if she’s ready to fight for it.

Oh my freakin' god! I absolutely loved this book! To be honest, I didn't think I would because I had a feeling that nothing would go the way I wanted it to, and it didn't, but it was perfect!

I still think Wendy is one of the strongest characters I've ever read about. She had to deal with so much in this book, like marrying a guy she didn't love, dealing with her mother dying, trying to fight to save her kingdom and fighting to change the way the kingdom is run. She's fierce and strong-willed and I love that about her. Her strength is shown through how she deals with her mother's death and how she realises that she has very little time to mourn as she has her kingdom to save and she manages to put her feelings about her mothers death to the side for the time being to focus on saving her people.

She also had to deal with her feelings for Finn and Loki. Oh, Finn. Oh, Loki. I loved them both and I found it really hard to start with to imagine her with Loki because I was so set on her being with Finn, but after reading this book and seeing Wendy and Loki's relationship develop, it's clear that they're perfect for each other. I love how he shows her how much he cares about her and doesn't put anything in front of his love for her, unlike Finn.

Wendy is crowned Queen hours after her mother dies (and Tove becomes King) and they start to work very quickly to plot to take down the King of the Vittra. Wendy had to fight her father (The Vittra King) to save her kingdom and with the help of her friends and her people, they invade the Vittra territory. Wendy faces the King and then he has his hobgoblin things bring in Loki and he stabs him in the heart in front of Wendy. It's at this moment that Wendy realises that she's at her most powerful when she's upset and angry and she harnesses this power to distract the King so she can kill him. Sarah (the Kings wife) helps Wendy to save Loki. I actually had a tear in my eye when he died because he had just started to grow on me and I'd realised how perfect he was for Wendy, but they manage to save him so everything's fine! This stops the war between the Vittra and the Trylle and they're finally at peace. 

At the end of the book, there's a bonus short story which explains everything that's happened in the past year and a half which I completely loved! I adored seeing what happened to Wendy and it was just such a perfect way to end the series.

Overall, the Tryll trilogy has been a fantastic read. I've loved - and hated - it, but it's been such a journey and it's a series I definitely recommend.

REVIEW: Torn by Amanda Hocking

Torn by Amanda Hocking
Series: Tryll #2
Publisher: Tor
Publication Date: March 1st 2012
Source: Bought

Acknowledging that she was different from everyone else wasn’t difficult for Wendy Everly – she’d always felt like an outsider. But a new world and new family is a hard for any girl to accept easily.

Leaving behind the mysterious country of her birth, she is determined to fit back into normal life. But the world she’s left behind won’t let her go that easily. Kidnapped and imprisoned by her true family’s enemies, Wendy soon learns that the lines between good and evil aren’t as defined as she thought. And those things she’d taken for granted may have been lies all along. With the help of the dangerously attractive Loki, she escapes back to the safety of Förening – only to be confronted by a new threat.

It’s time to make a choice – can she put aside her personal feelings for the sake of her country? Torn between duty and love she must make a choice that could destroy her one chance at true happiness.

Torn was a fantastic follow up to Switched.

We meet the new character Loki in the second chapter of the book (I think) when he kidnaps Wendy, Matt and Rhys. Later on we find out that he's a Markis of the Vittra (who are the Trylle's enemies). I had conflicting emotions about Loki. On one hand, I think he's a really bad influence and I'm certain that if he and Wendy were to get together it would cause a whole lot of trouble and on the other hand, I think he might just be misunderstood. He seems to be scared of the Vittra and seems to be very vulnerable, but I don't know if it's just an act or not. He and Wendy kiss later on in the book but Wendy doesn't take him up on his offer to run away and instead heads back into Elora's mansion.

I really enjoyed seeing Wendy's character develop and become more mature as she learnt how much she would have to deal with when she becomes Queen and how soon it might happen since her mother - Elora - is dying. I love Wendy's character because she's so strong willed and always sticks up for what she thinks is the right decision/choice for The Trylle, and she'll continue fighting until someone listens. 

I wasn't a big fan of the relationship between Finn and Wendy in this book. In fact, I wasn't a big fan of Finn altogether. He was so arrogant and horrible to Wendy in this book that it made me question whether I actually want him and Wendy to be together. I was rooting for them all the way through Switched, but after reading this, I'm not too sure whether Finn and Wendy would make a great couple. I know they can't be together because Wendy is a princess and Finn is a tracker, but I always hoped they might find a way, but it doesn't look like they will.

I liked Elora much more in this book because we got a deeper understanding of what she went through when she was Wendy's age and we also learned that she had been pushing Wendy because she's going to die soon. I'm not too sure if I'm that bothered that Elora will probably die in the next book, but I know it will affect Wendy in a lot of ways.

We were also introduced to Tove more in this book as he and Wendy got engaged. Although they don't love each other, they think that their partnership will benefit the Trylle community so they decide to go through with it (even though Tove's gay and I'm pretty sure we found out who he has a massive crush on). I really don't agree with this part because I think it's extremely unfair that they don't get to be with the person that they love. That they'll  have to live a lie for their whole lives just to benefit their community.

Rhys, Matt and Willa also make an appearance in this book, with Matt and Willa becoming involved with each other which is against the rules because Matt's a human and Willa's a Marksinna.
I enjoyed the character development throughout this book and how I learnt what each character was actually like.

I love the world created in these books and I love the detail that Amanda Hocking goes into to explain it. My favourite part of the world (and Wendy's) is the back garden. It sounds like a stunningly beautiful place and the picture I have of it in my head probably doesn't even do it justice. I like the unique idea Amanda had of the way she was going to write trolls into a story, because whenever I think of a troll, I think of a small green monster that lives under a bridge. But Amanda's trolls look exactly like humans, they just have weird habits.

I also loved learning more about the Vittra and why the Trylle and Vittra have been at war for so long because I never really understood it in the first book. I was also intrigued by the differences between the Vittra and the Tryll: The Vittra's power lie in physical strength and longevity whereas the Trylle's power comes from psychokinesis.

Torn completely reeled me in and it was a fantastic follow up to Switched. I definitely recommend giving the first book a go because this series is fantastic.

12 November 2012

2013 Dystopia Book Challenge!

Hello everyone! 
So today I saw that Blog of Erised had posted a 2013 reading challenge about dystopia novels and I really really want to do this challenge because there are a lot of dystopian novels/series that I really want to read that I just haven't gotten around to. So I thought this challenge would be perfect for me so that I can finally read all the dystopian books I've been dying to read!

The goal is to read 24 dystopian novels between: 1st January 2013 and 31st December 2013.

Click here to head over to Blog of Erised to check out the rules and sign up for this challenge. I can't wait until January to get started on this! :D

Some dystopia books I really want to read:

The Maze Runner Series - James Dashner
Crossed and Reached - Ally Condie
The Selection - Kiera Cass
Wither - Lauren DeStefano
Partials - Dan Wells
What's Left of Me - Kat Zhang
Legend - Marie Lu
Breathe - Sarah Crossan
Origin - Jessica Khoury

These are just a few of the dystopian books that I want to read, but I have a huge list so hopefully I should be able to complete this challenge next year :)