Continuing on in my quest to catch up on reviews, here's some recent YA reads. I ended up with quite a few, so I'm splitting them up. First, here's 2 Dystopians and a Sci Fi. In a later post, I'll have some YA Fantasy reads.
It took me 2 attempts (stretched over a few months) to get into this book.
However, once I got to around the 30 page mark (and def by the end of the first
chapter) I was in for the ride.
There is a LOT of action in this one,
and I thought it was really well done.
Set in a future where our present
society is gone and our descendants survive by scavenging through the remains of
our achievements. The powerful rule, most people try to keep to themselves.
Trust is something that is hard earned. There are very few who can read, let
alone know what a book is. Superstition and folk magic govern life. It reminded
me a bit of a History Channel doc I saw on the Dark Ages, how after the fall of
Rome society regressed, living near or scavenging from the architectural and
engineering masterpieces of the Romans without having the know how to recreate
them or maintain them.
Saba lives with her twin brother, Lugh, her
father (broken by the death of his wife and the future he sees written in the
stars), and her younger sister, Emmi. Of all her family, she is closest to and
depends on Lugh - they were 9 when their mother died, and they had to pick up
the slack. Then one day robed men come and take Lugh away. What follows is some
traveling (but it goes quickly - it didn't feel like a "traveling fantasy"),
betrayals, new allies and enemies, and lots of fighting as Saba searches for her
Saba is not an easy character to like, but I could understand
why she was that way. There is some romance, but I didn't feel it was
overplayed. There are few extra characters that you get to know well, but that
is mostly because this is a 1st person POV and Saba is very guarded.
to the caveat: this book is written in a very unconventional style. There are no
quotation marks. Anywhere. The speech is not "proper English", but since it's
first person (and note again, how far society has de-evolved), that makes sense.
It is consistent throughout the book. The lack of quotations bothered me more
than the grammar. There were quite a few times that I wondered if something was
said or not. This is why it took me 2 tries to get into the book.
is a book where you need to download the sample, check out the "Look Inside"
feature, or read through the first pages at the bookstore to be sure you can get
past the style. If you can, and you like action-packed Dystopian YA, then you
will probably really enjoy this one. If not, then you should know that before
you throw down your money on it.
I'm a little torn on it. One the one hand, it was really fast-paced, and it did
keep my attention, but I think it's one of those where everything went by just a
little too fast in some key places.
The setting: here is where I think
that Lu did an awesome job. We are in Los Angeles, in the Republic of
California. A military state at war with the Colonies and combating fighting
within from the Patriots. There has been massive flooding on the coasts and
throughout the US, I think there might still be aftereffects from volcanic
activity, and in that chaos, the Republic was formed. It's a tyranny, of course,
with experiments in weeding out "defective" genes, trying to create perfect
soldiers.It's also treason to mention that there was once a "United" States.
Lots of things here that can be explored (and I'm sure that there will be more
books in this series).
The characters: the POV switches between the two
main characters, Day & June. Day is a criminal wanted by the Republic of
California. He recently discovered that his youngest brother has the plague, and
he is desperate to steal the right medicine to give him. June is the shining
star of the Republic's educational system - she received a perfect score on her
Trials (a test 10 year olds take to decide where they will go in life). A wanted
criminal has killed her brother and now she needs to catch him. I thought both
characters were defined well enough so that I always knew which character was in
the captain's chair. I also thought that each was a bit too perfect. Almost
superhuman feats of physical prowess, beautiful people, although with the
genetic manipulation, this wasn't too hard to believe, but I still was a bit put
off. At least they did show vulnerability and they did get hurt on occasion.
The side characters: these weren't fleshed out as much as I would have
liked. You got a feel for a couple of core ones, but since you already had 2
POVs propelling the story along, it was difficult to get a better feel for
The Romance: Here's the thing, I don't mind
romance in books. I really don't. And I think if the romance happened later in
the series, allowing things to progress a bit, I might be happier with it.
There's a lot going on here: betrayals, lies, mortal danger, death of loved
ones. There are many reasons for Day & June to be drawn together, and those
are there, but sometimes the romance seemed to be more of a driving force, and I
just wasn't feeling it.
I'll still read the next one, like I said, there
is room for some interesting goings-on, and I do really like the world Lu
created. I just have a few reservations.
I liked it, but it was definitely a middle book. Stuff happens that HAD to happen, and I'm really looking forward to the next book.
I think that the characters are very well developed. Perfectly imperfect. The two teen leads, Amy & Elder, are in parts pragmatic, when they really take the time to think things through, but also still work from youthful idealism (the way things "should" be vs the way they really are). While it was understandable and realistic, I at times also gritted my teeth.
There were a couple of things plotwise that I scratched my head at. I don't know if the jumping back and forth between characters interfered with the momentum. I really wish we had more of Orion - he's shaping up to be an awesomely enigmatic character. He's a big part of why I'm looking forward to book 3.
The big reveal was very well done and it sets up some exciting things to come.