Review: The Fandom by Anna Day

The Fandom was a strange mix of dystopian satire, Inkheart, and a convention book. While I was relieved to find that the characters get transported into the world of their favourite book within the first 50 pages, I knew from the very beginning that this wasn’t going to be for me.

The premise sounded amazing. I wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise. But the opening chapter featured Violet reciting the plot of ‘The Gallow’s Dance’ to her English class as a presentation on plots. First of all, I had to suspend my disbelief that this class would actually happen and I was surprised no one in the audience shouted SPOILERS! This should have been a dead giveaway that the world building wasn’t going to work how I expected.

But nothing quite compares to how deeply I despised the quote-unquote friendship between Violet and Alice. For one, Violet and Katie are straight up bitchy towards her. They literally laugh when someone makes fun of her all ‘she deserved it, about time someone shot her down!’ and that kind of rivalry and competition between friends is not what I’m about. This kind of behaviour does not warrant the term ‘friendship.’ They break friends and make up so many times in this book, I couldn’t keep track.

While they were transported into the world of ‘the book’ there was an awful lot of movie references. Violet kept referring to a script, which made me wonder why it wasn’t just a film franchise to begin with. I really liked the moments where the script format was used – it was very cleverly done – and I wish there had been a bit more like it too.

I also wished that the book had leant more into the dystopian satire aspect, as all the characters were self-aware in the fictional world that the love interest had a silly name, and there was always a rebel group fighting against the government. It could’ve done something really interesting with setting up expectations, but the plot ended up being a pretty conventional for urban fantasy/dystopian fiction.

There’s not great consistency when it comes to the dramatic irony. Basically, Violet has to live out the life of the main female character in ‘The Gallow’s Dance’ so she knows exactly what she has to do, but there’s not really any sense of foreboding. (Apart from the whole ‘I will hang in four days’ line, which I swear was repeated OVER and OVER again to NO effect.) The whole magic system was underdeveloped too. And I had a lot of questions. Not only in the fictional world turned reality, but about how they ended up in the fictional world to begin with.

As for the writing, it was very repetitive. Day kept stressing that even though Nate was 14 he was more like a 5 year old, and I couldn’t help thinking, why not just make him five years old then?? It was supposed to add emotional impact, but I just kept getting annoyed that Violet was infantilising her brother.

The ending was far too twee, and I’m not sure whether to expect a sequel. I’m not sure how the stakes would change, but I feel like there’s still more of the fictional world to explore. Since we the reader were told the plot of the book in the very first chapter, nothing really came as a surprise…I’m disappointed that I wasn’t more impressed with this book, as it seemed like an absolute dream.

Review: Contagion by Teri Terry

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Teri Terry is one of my favourite writers. I’ve read everything she’s written bar the sequel to Dangerous Minds. Contagion is the start of a new series, and since Slated is one of my all time favourite dystopian stories, there was a lot to live up to. And what’s the number one thing we always end up saying about high expectations? It’s pretty much our motto… Continue reading “Review: Contagion by Teri Terry”

(Spoiler) Series Review: The Lone City by Amy Ewing

The Jewel, The White Rose and The Black Key by Amy Ewing
Genre: Dystopian, Romance
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 362 | 310 | 304
Format: Paperback & e-book
Rating: ★★★★ | ★★★ | ★★★★

The Jewel is one of the books I’ve had on my shelves for ages and have been dying to read. In our Last Minute TBR video, I made a list of five books I couldn’t finish 2016 without reading, and this was at the top of that list. It’s been nearly a whole year since I read my last dystopian series, and I was reading to get sucked into a world for a few days and love every second of it. Luckily, The Jewel lived up to every expectation I had of it, and was one of the most lovely reading experiences I’ve had all year! I’m so pleased to have found another favourite series in The Lone City and it’s time to share the love!
Continue reading “(Spoiler) Series Review: The Lone City by Amy Ewing”

Review: Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery

29864658Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery
Published by:
Hot Key Books
ARC e-book
Rating: ★★★

I absolutely adore the tagline, ‘Behind bars. For your entertainment.’ It’s such an exciting premise! (Here’s a plot summary: Martha has killed a high profile celebrity, and she will be tried in the Cells, where the public will vote over seven days whether or not they think she’s ‘guilty’ or ‘innocent.’ But there’s something she isn’t mentioning and the people that love her and getting increasingly more concerned as it looks like the vote isn’t going to save Martha. It’s going to kill her.) This book has received quite a lot of hype already and it comes highly recommended by a few blogger friends. So, let’s get onto what I made of it!

Continue reading “Review: Cell 7 by Kerry Drewery”

Review: The Program by Suzanne Young

11366397The Program by Suzanne Young
Genre: Dystopian, Sci-fi, Romance
Published by: Simon Pulse
Pages: 403
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★
Series: The Treatment (#2)

I started to read this book because I’d recently finished the currently available 2 seasons of iZombie on Netflix. I LOVE iZombie, it’s just incredible and I couldn’t recommend it enough. After all the medical sci-fi, I decided it was finally time to read The Program which has been on my TBR for ages. In short, it definitely reminds me of YA from 2013. It’s a little too romance heavy and insta-love is a real issue. I was really intrigued by the first 50 or so pages, but after procrastinating from continuing for almost two months (due to BTAT2016 and university reading) I was losing hope. I finished it…eventually, though! Here are my thoughts:

Continue reading “Review: The Program by Suzanne Young”

Review: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin

18196040The Walled City by Ryan Graudin
Genre: Realistic Dystopian
Published by: Indigo
Pages: 424
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★.5

I was super excited to get my hands on The Walled City considering Wolf by Wolf was one of my absolute favourites of the year. However, this book has showed me that just because you gelled with an author on one of their books, doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to like them all. I put my distaste of this book mostly down to the subject matters – it’s not exactly what I would describe as enjoyable.

Continue reading “Review: The Walled City by Ryan Graudin”

Review: Rite of Redemption by Sarah Negovetich

30237509Rite of Redemption by Sarah Negovetich
Published by: Self-published
Pages: 242
Format: ARC e-book
Rating:  ★★★
Note: We received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

It’s been such a lovely experience getting to finally finish the Acceptance series. Sarah contacted us to read the first book, Rite of Rejection back when our YouTube channel had under 1,000 subcribers and it meant so much that a self-published author thought that our audience was big enough to share her work with. Since then, Sarah’s finished the series and we’ve got over 5,000 subcribers, so we’ve all come a long way since the debut, especially the characters of the series.  So, without further ado, let’s discuss.  Continue reading “Review: Rite of Redemption by Sarah Negovetich”

Review: The Last Star by Rick Yancey

24955557The Last Star by Rick Yancey
Genre: Dystopian
Published by: Penguin
Pages: 338
Format: e-book
Rating: ★★
Series: The 5th Wave (#1) | The Infinite Sea (#2)

I feel like the world has been waiting a long time for this finale to drop. The 5th Wave was such an action-packed story but the second left a little something to be desired, and I’m really sorry to admit that the third book took it down another notch. Not gonna lie, but this was kind of a mess. After the wait I was expecting something spectacular! With an awesome ending and satisfying closure on the whole things, but once again, I was left feeling disappointed. Here’s why:

Continue reading “Review: The Last Star by Rick Yancey”

Review: Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum

13667361Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenbaum
Genre: Sci-fi, Dystopia
Published by: HarperTeen
Pages: 265
Format: Paperback

I picked up this book on a whim. I thought I’d heard someone talk about in on booktube maybe a year and a half ago. Now, I realise why there probably hasn’t been any discussions about it since. The main premise is robot apocalypse, right? Sounding pretty awesome so far? What it’s missing is character depth, an non circular plot, characters who learn from their mistakes and – not to mention – actual world building. So, welcome everyone to, what I believe to be, my first one star review of 2016.

Continue reading “Review: Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum”

Review: The Chemical Garden Trilogy by Lauren DeStefano

ChemicalGardenTrilogy_zps9084f5c1(Warning: As this is a series review, only my comments of Wither will be non-spoiler. When commenting on the sequels, Fever and Sever I may spoil the contents of the previous books.)

I’ve had the first book Wither on my shelf for about two years, and only managed to read the first fifty pages before I put it down for some unknown reason. I thought it was about time to give the series another shot, so here’s what I thought of what was promised to be a dystopian, and ended up being like The Selection gone wrong.

W  I  T  H  E  R

For a first book in the series, I could forgive a lot of things. It was Lauren DeStefano’s debut novel, and dystopian is always going to be a hard genre to write because so much thought has to go into the world, it’s purpose and what went wrong. Because of this, I think the writing style was a bit clumsy. The USP of Wither is that women die at 20 and men at 25. We’re told this fact on three consecutive pages. More trust needed to be put into the reader understanding the basics of the world, especially if it’s described on the blurb!

Along with the immediate death thing, girls are sold off to men at the highest bidder. Rhine, the protagonist, is sold to Linden Ashby, along with two other girls, Jenna and Cecily. Bigamy is apparently OK in this world. It was a very strange concept to read, especially the jealously that seethed between all the girls, despite two of them saying they didn’t really love Linden. I was quite uncomfortable with the whole set up.

Rhine was an OK character. We were told that she was special, because she had two different colour eyes, but for me she didn’t seem very special at all. There was nothing about her that was better than the other girls she was compared to. Jenna was probably my favourite of the girls, and I got to know the least about her. Cecily was downright annoying. Linden had absolutely no spine and no clue. Vaughan felt like a stock villain. He was doing evil things, but it’s not given a real explanation to why he’s so evil. If he’s not trying to find an antidote to the killing virus, what is he doing?

As for the romance, golly was it forced. Rhine and Gabriel didn’t get to see each other a lot, and it was like kindness was mistaken for love. I don’t doubt they do love each other, it’s just that I would have liked a bit more interaction between the two before they decided to try and escape together.

When reading Wither, I felt as trapped as Rhine in the Governor’s mansion. The pacing was erratic, days would pass and the only awareness would be sentences like “it was a cold December” and then it would click how long it had been. If I were to boil the book down to its essence, not a lot would have happened. Two people would have fallen in love, been thwarted and tried to run away. But, I had a lot of hope for Fever.

F  E  V  E  R

Second book syndrome to the max. Rhine and Gabriel managed to escape, otherwise this wouldn’t be a series, BUT, did they really escape only to be captured by a different villainous character? If I thought the first book was repetitive, Fever took it to a whole new level.

Gabriel and Rhine both get sick at different times in the book, hence the title. Reading so many scenes of delirium and falling asleep got so boring, I thought I was going to drop off myself! The whole book put me in this very weird, lethargic mood.

The new characters were interesting, I guess, but generally the same as the girls and villains we’d been introduced to in Wither. Not enough time was spent with any of them to truly gain an understanding of their character. Maddie holds the most potential for Sever, but not by much.

And, after another 340 pages, we’re still no closer to Rhine’s true goal: to find her brother, Rowan. That’s what this whole book was supposed to be about, the driving force behind her wanting to escape Linden’s mansion in the first place. I was annoyed with how this book didn’t propel the plot forward, but seemed to hinder it, instead.

S   E   V   E   R

I left at least a month between reading Sever and Fever, so I was a little out of the loop, but generally, I was surprised by how much I loved the ending. It gave a nice conclusion to all of the remaining characters’ lives, and finally addressed where the heck Gideon ended up after Fever. 

Overall, the last book felt very back-and-forth, like any progress that was made in the first two was completely eradicated. Rhine ended up back at the evil wife mansion. What gave this book purpose was the introduction of Rowan, Rhine’s twin brother, who she’d been searching for since Wither. He was an OK character, I guess, but didn’t really understand how traumatised Rhine had been by Vaughan. Nothing he said could convince me that Vaughan was a good guy. He was evil through and through.

I was very aware when I began the series that it was going to end in a genetic experiment, because how else were they going to solve the deaths of their young people? Being aware of the cliche before the ending helped to accept that this was one of the only incidences it would have made sense, unlike any other kind of dystopian society, explained any by genetic experimentation.

As I said, all the characters got…an ending. It might not have been happy, but at least all the little loose ends were tied. We found out the secret Jenna was hiding, and the backstory of Rose, and what made Madame so relevant. Cecily became much less annoying and Rhine, only a little bit worse for wear, got what she wanted: freedom.

I really would recommend this series to those that liked The Selection by Keira Cass, and are fond of the dystopian genre. It’s a little more tame than other dystopians, gentle and simple. In the end, I’m giving the series 3.5 stars, and in order of my favourites: Wither, Sever and then Fever.