Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

I seem to be in the minority here when I say I didn't like Hunting Lila, but I found that I struggled to get through it, mainly down to our awfully whiny protagonist Lila – I understand why she is partially like that due to her mother’s death and uprooted family, but it was to the point where she was very unlikeable; and also it's another book with a great premise that I found poorly executed. 

          Lila has a special power – she can move things with her mind – and she is the only person who knows she can do this…until she is mugged and in self defence almost blinds her attacker with a knife. Panicked and afraid, on an impulse she books a plane to take her across the pond to her brother and his best friend (her crush) in California where they work for The Unit. Unfortunately, her father wants her back in London and brother is desperate to get rid of her; soon she discovers the reasons why, and is launched into a dangerous world, where others like her exist, including her mother’s murderer…

             Even though it sounds a little bit like it’s been done before, great premise, right? Unfortunately, the actual plot is predictable and plagued by the romance between Lila and Alex – although I’m starting to think I’m really not a romance fan, unless it’s done well, so my dislike of the book may stem from that. It starts off well, with the reader diving straight into the action, but then you get to know our protagonist, who is self-centred, bland and overly obsessed with Alex. Who is hot. Which totally isn’t mentioned in every other page or every time Lila looks at him.

I felt that the more ‘actiony’ scenes were the best parts of the book, but even they were predictable and over in a few paragraphs; plus we have a cliffhanger ending, which really irks me in books, because its sole purpose is to force you to read the next book if you’re invested in the story. The whole special power thing was very ‘meh’ for me, and I almost felt like I was reading Sophie McKenzie’s wonderfully compelling The Medusa Project series at several points. I found that pretty much everything about this book was average, including writing and plot, despite quite a nice twist; even the cover is average, barring its striking colour quality.

I personally can’t really recommend Hunting Lila (although as I said I am in the minority by saying this as I know a lot of people have thoroughly enjoyed it so it may just be me), but you may enjoy it if you are a fan of the paranormal (as in telekinesis) and romance novels between boy and girl who can’t be together but inevitably find a way because they’re in lurve.

[SYNOPSIS: 17-year-old Lila has two secrets she's prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she's been in love with her brother's best friend, Alex, since forever.
After a mugging on the streets of South London goes horribly wrong and exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust - her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organisation called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they've found them. Trying to uncover the truth of why her mother was killed, and the real remit of The Unit, Lila becomes a pawn in a dangerous game. Struggling to keep her secrets in a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realises that she is not alone - there are others out there just like her - people with special powers -and her mother's killer is one of them...]

Sunday, 23 October 2011

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and is my first ever meme where you share all the books you received during the week whether it be from the library or in the mail post.
This week I got:

Looking for Alaska ~ John Green (Library)
I have been waiting for this to come into my library since like forever so I'm SO happy for it to finally happen! Don't think I've heard a single bad thing about it :)
Thirteen Reasons Why ~ Jay Asher (Library)
This seems very good
13 Little Blue Envelopes ~ Maureen Johnson (Library)
And this one seems fairly interesting
What did you guys get in your mailbox this week? Leave a comment and I'll be sure to check out your IMM :)

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Mary lives in a world where the Sisterhood know better than anyone else, Guardians will unfailingly protect the village and the Unconsecrated, zombie-like creatures who used to be human, must not overrun her village. Through a series of events, Mary learns that the village is not quite as it seems, and that the truths may not be all that, and when the village is finally overrun, she must face the most difficult decision of her life – fight the Unconsecrated and remain in her village, or run away to the outside world that may not even exist.

I feel pretty underwhelmed by this book; let down, even. I’ve read so much hype surrounding it, and so many great reviews, but for me it really didn’t fulfil even half of that. As the reader you were left with too many questions at the end, but really not wanting to read the sequel because you have a feeling it will be even worse, and the majority of the book is left to your own imagination, like what really happened to some characters or how the Unconsecrated came to be, which doesn’t make me more willing to read the sequel, which is probably the reason why so much is left unanswered; in fact there’s three books in the series so you probably won’t get the answers until the final book, so I’m just warning you if you haven't already read The Forest of Hands and Teeth there is a bit of a cliffhanger ending if you're not a fan of those. However, the absence of background information and world building does make you think quite a bit about how the world came to be like that, which I suppose is quite good.

Why am I so disappointed? Another book with a great premise let down by the execution; the writing was lovely, but it was also bland and wittered on for pages of description, and it was also in the present tense, which I am not a big fan of because only a certain type of writer can master it, and I feel that Ryan is not one of these writers. At the start, you are unsure if it is set in the past or the future, as Mary’s village is very much circa 14th Century, but you soon discover that it is in the future when the world collapsed, the Unconsecrated developed and civilisation reverted back to times gone by to be able to cope, including believing in God like there’s no tomorrow and primitive methods to protect the village. Which, from what I’ve read of it so far, is pretty original in a YA dystopian novel, right?

Sadly, we have another unlikeable, naïve, selfish female protagonist in the form of Mary who finds herself in a love quadrilateral between her three best friends! She is betrothed to Harry, whilst in lurve with Travis, who is betrothed to Cass, who is in lurve with Harry. But they can’t be with who they want to be with because…where else would the teen angst come from? The Forest of Hands and Teeth is quite interesting at times, and a little bit gruesome so it’s not for everyone, but the writing just made it boring. And I definitely wasn’t creeped out like the multitude of praise said I would be at the beginning. Although there were some quite shocking deaths, which did make you want to read on to discover the consequences.

I think The Forest of Hands and Teeth is another book a bit like marmite – some people love it, others, like me, struggle to think of anything good about it, barring the intriguing title. I think another thing that made me not like it was the book covers for it – there’s the one featured (which is unique, but weird and I still have no idea what it’s depicting), this one (which looks nothing like what I imagined Mary to be – I never realised she was emo) and this one (which is ok, I suppose and the model looks a lot more like Mary, but it's still not great). I feel rather ‘meh’ upon finishing it, but certain I won’t be continuing with the series.
[SYNOPSIS: In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated will never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary’s truths are failing her. She’s learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future—between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded in so much death?]

Sunday, 16 October 2011

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and is my first ever meme where you share all the books you received during the week whether it be from the library or in the mail post.

This week I got:

Glow ~ Amy Kathleen Ryan (MKB)
Wow, this looks AMAZING! So glad they went with our majority of the purple cover!!

Sister, Missing ~ Sophie McKenzie (Library)
I loved Girl, Missing, but didn't really think there was any need for a sequel - hopefully it won't ruin the point of its predecessor 

Crypt ~ Andrew Hammond (won - many thanks to Aly @ Fantasy4Eva & Headline publishing)
This looks really interesting!

What did you guys get in your mailbox this week? :)

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Abandon has a fresh and interesting premise – seventeen-year-old Pierce hits her head, drowns and dies, during which time she experiences the afterlife which happens to be eerily similar to the Ancient Greek version but manages to return back to her life, although at a cost - she comes back different and is haunted by an exceedingly good looking guy who may or may not be the ruler of that version of the afterlife, and who may or may not be wanting her back to her rightful place…

Before I say anything else, that cover is stunning, and I fall a little bit more in love with it every time I look at it – the contrast, colours and design are beautiful. I’m loving this wave of books featuring Greek mythology, but I also hate it when said Greek mythology is butchered to suit the needs of the novel – Cabot, I get artistic licence, but there were only THREE Furies in Greek mythology who were SISTERS, not just every bad person in the afterlife… It also seems like Cabot is jumping on the bandwagon with having quotes from half-related books at the start of each chapter or at the beginning – in this case from Dante’s Inferno, which is admittedly about a journey to the Underworld, but I found the quotes are utterly unrelated to the events in the chapter it introduced.

I really like Cabot’s ‘Queen of Contemporary-style-writing’, but it really feels different in this book – like brackets and such, usually the mark of a bad author were completely overused, as was the start-a-new-line-for-dramatic-purposes ploy – and for once, the protagonist was completely unlikeable – Pierce is moany, selfish and in my opinion didn’t really deserve to come back from the dead, but then we wouldn’t have Abandon!

Aside from my slight moanings, it was a fun and interesting read, with some nice twists – Cabot knows how to give you just enough mystery to leave you confused but intrigued, and as long as you don’t look too deep, expect another Mediator-esque series and don’t take it too seriously, then Abandon is very enjoyable, and I am looking forward to Underworld, the sequel to see where Pierce's and John's story heads.

[SYNOPSIS: The first book in the brand-new dark and dangerously seductive trilogy from bestselling teen author Meg Cabot. Last year, Pierce died - just for a moment. And when she was in the space between life and death, she met John: tall dark and terrifying, it's his job to usher souls from one realm to the next. There's a fierce attraction between them, but Pierce knows that if she allows herself to fall for John she will be doomed to a life of shadows and loneliness in the underworld. But now things are getting dangerous for her, and her only hope is to do exactly what John says...]

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

In the not too distant future, people are dying young – men at twenty five, women at twenty – with the exception of first generations, who were born before cancer was cured, which is what caused the demise of humans. In desperate attempts to save the human race, girls are stolen from the streets, their workplaces and even their homes, to be sold on into a forced marriage with their ‘sister wives’…that is if they’re not shot because they don’t catch the eye of their suitor. Rhine is one of these girls; she’s desperate to return home, but is plagued by problems, particularly the cruel insane father of her husband, Linden, who experiments on people for living…

I’m in love with the cover, and for once, it’s not disguising a horrible book – I love the name, style, dress, how much the model actually looks like the character she’s supposed to be depicting and the bird cage representing how Rhine feels in her new life - covers are fast becoming my favourite part of a book!

Anyway, I loved Wither as much as the cover, although I do have a few complaints – namely that I would imagine if men and women die so young, then there would be a lot more consequences than there are brushed upon in the book, and most likely the collapse of society, but DeStefano makes it out to be more of an inconvenience than anything else, and chooses to not explore these knock-on effects, other than the kidnaps, or is unaware of what would happen, which I hope she isn’t and that it is covered in the sequels. Although it is obviously a pivotal part of the story, I still feel uncomfortable reading about the kidnapping of young girls for rich men to impregnate, but it thankfully isn’t delved into too deeply, but did leave me wondering why it appears that only girls are kidnapped, and why the unwanted ones were shot when there is a short supply of ‘baby machines’ anyway. Finally, I found that many things were not explained sufficiently, like exactly how the virus came about and how everyone manages to get the virus at the same age, depending on their gender, but again hopefully that will be explained, and that Wither had a very slow pace as everything was drawn out.

However, there is not a book out there that is perfect, and I think the writing almost makes up for every flaw this book has, but not quite the poor world-building and understanding of both science and society and the world in general (if the ice caps melted we would all be screwed, especially Florida and New York, and America wouldn’t be the only country in the world to survive a large scale war because it had the best technology!), and I also liked the characters (they were fairly well-developed and complex, and you really hated Housemaster Vaughan) and the plot, especially the twists that I didn’t expect, as it is very shocking and thought-provoking. Despite its flaws and lack of research, Wither is a wonderful book, and I can’t wait for the sequel!

[SYNOPSIS: What if you knew exactly when you would die?
Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.
When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden's genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.
But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden's eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant Rhine is growing dangerously attracted to, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limited time she has left.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi @ The Story Siren and is my first ever meme where you share all the books you received during the week whether it be from the library or in the mail post.
This week I got:

City of Bones ~ Cassandra Clare (Library)
It would be an understatement to say that I've heard a few good things about this series, so I hope it lives up to the high expectations!
The Knife of Never Letting Go ~ Patrick Ness (Library)
Again, brilliant things about this.
Darkness Becomes Her ~ Kelly Keaton (Library)
Been looking forward to reading this for a while - seems promising enough.
The Fear ~ Charlie Higson (Library)
I love this series, so I can't wait to read this.

What did you guys get in your mailbox this week? Leave a comment and I'll be sure to check out your IMM :)
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