Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

20983362Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
Genre: 
Time Travel, Romance
Published by: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 486
Format: ARC e-book
Rating: ★
Note: 
We received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Passenger was one of Sarah‘s most anticipated releases. We couldn’t really say the same, as it’s no secret we didn’t enjoy The Darkest Minds. Nevertheless, this book had a lot of hype in the BookTube community (it’s been floating round on the internet since BEA 2015!) and the premise sounded super fun. Unfortunately, we weren’t too impressed with the execution of the idea, so let’s talk about it!

Continue reading “Review: Passenger by Alexandra Bracken”

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Cover Comparisons: Girls in Dresses

As part of the gendered covers debate, I thought for this ‘Cover Comparison’, I’d discuss some covers filled with girls in dresses, a classic trope used to obviously market books to a female audience.

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The first collection of books are ‘The Selection’ series by Keira Cass. These stand out, as America’s dress is the central feature of the cover. It makes sense, and links to the almost-beauty-contest concept of the novel. The covers are accurate and appropriate. These books are very ‘girly’, focused on romance and making a good impression because of appearance. Only in the final book are the social injustice themes prominent. Looking at these covers, you wouldn’t be expecting anything more than a cutesy light read.

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The ‘Precious Gems’ series by Kerstin Gier does the same thing as ‘The Selection’ series. The appearance of Gwen, in fancy ball gowns, is quintessential to her time-travelling adventures – she needs to fit in with the societies she’s investigating. At least there’s a slightly dystopian looking background of curled clocks and cities.

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So, what about ‘The Winner’s Trilogy’ by Marie Rutkoski? Like with ‘The Selection’ the focal point of the covers are Kestrel’s dresses…she just happens to be holding a sword. I think covers like this do the content an injustice. Boys are going to be less likely to pick up this book because of the cover, when in actuality, the books are filled with war, conflict and social struggle, set in a high fantasy world resembling the 18th Century. Why wouldn’t boys be interested in that?

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The His Fair Assassin trilogy is a real contrast to the previous examples. With the stormy backgrounds, dark colour palette and the weapons. It’s important to notice that their dressed are not made of satin and silk, but much heavier materials like velvet – these girls are obviously not afraid of getting their hands dirty, and I wouldn’t mess with them because they look extremely comfortable holding those weapons. These covers are excellently well designed and I think actually do the story justice. You can see the tense emotions, and even the titles are enticing. These covers tell you that you are in now way about to experience a fluffy read.

throne of glass throne of glass back

The ‘Throne of Glass Series’ by Sarah J Maas is taking book covers in the right direction. Sure, Celaena is on the front of every cover, but she’s not in a ball gown. She’s wearing combat weaponry, cloaks and armour. I love that when you look at the back cover, only then do you seen a girl in a dress, because Celaena is a warrior first and a lady second.

Review: Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier

Sapphire Blue bsapphire bluey Kerstin Gier
Genre: Fantasy, Time Travel, Historical, Contemporary
Published by: Square Fish
Pages: 354
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★
Series:
Ruby Red (#1)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

Because I was so involved with ‘Ruby Red’, I just had to read the next book, ‘Sapphire Blue’, straight away! This, again, took me about a day to read for similar reasons as the first book  – just so much happens!

I didn’t enjoy this book as much as the first, however, and here’s why: the romance. Gwen and Gideon were suddenly the loves of each other’s lives. It all seemed a bit sudden, seeing as Gideon thought that Gwen was annoying and immature to start with. The story line remained quite down to earth, in the case of Gwen getting jealous of Gideon being with Charlotte, which made me realise this isn’t just a book about time travel; it’s also about teenagers.

Some of the things Gwen moped about seemed a little melodramatic for the situation, but you could tell that she’d definitely gotten more confident with her role as a time traveller. Lesley, possibly my favourite character, didn’t have as big a role to play, which was upsetting, but the addition of Gwen’s gargoyle demon ghost thing made up for the loss of Lesley’s humour.

I really loved how little things from ‘Ruby Red’ were explained. As I said in my previous review, Gwen could see and talk to ghosts. She is also linked to the raven, as all time travellers are linked to an animal. Ravens themselves are birds that bridge the gap between life and death (duh, I should have guessed because of Vampire Academy!) so that explains why she has these supernatural powers! Everything became relevant, at least, which now improves my thoughts on ‘Ruby Red’.

I don’t think I understood why this book was called ‘Sapphire Blue’. Lucy, the lost, rogue time traveller, is the sapphire, but she wasn’t a main staple of the plot. Gwen and Gideon were the carbohydrates of the book, whereas Lucy and her partner Paul were more….the dairy. Not as present. Not as necessary. Did Gwen even wear a blue dress? I was expecting a little nod to the first book, where Gwen spots her older self kissing someone at a Rococo ball, but that didn’t happen.

Similar to its predecessor, this book ended at a point where you were desperate to know more. A revelation had been made about Gideon’s and Gwen’s relationship, which kind of explained the instant romance, so I’m looking forward to how their story unfolds in the third and final book.

I’m hoping for a big showdown between the time travels and the maybe-evil Count. Fingers crossed.

Overall, I’d give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars, because I enjoyed it, but not as much as the first book. The plot didn’t have as much excitement and some of Gwen’s personality traits grated on my nerves. I have high hopes for finale of this series – it may make the favourites shelf!

Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Ruby Rruby reded by Kerstin Gier
Genre: Fantasy, Time Travel, Historical, Contemporary
Published by: Square Fish
Pages: 322
Format: Paperback
Rating: ★★★★★
Series:
Sapphire Blue (#2)
Where to Find: Goodreads | Amazon

I didn’t go into this book with high expectations because Bee didn’t immensely enjoy this book. However, due to my love of ‘Under the Never Sky’, I realise we have quite different opinions!

‘Ruby Red’ caught me completely by surprise. I didn’t know what to expect, with the time travel element and all the other lore that went into this novel, like the gemstones, the birds and the musical notes. I thought it would be all too bitty. However, I was completely wrong. I fell in love!

This book does not stop. There is always something going on, whether for a chapter or a paragraph, this book was full of content – hence why I couldn’t put it down and read it in one day. Even though the chapters are long, which normally puts me off a book, I couldn’t stop turning the pages to see what would happen next.

The characters are loveable. I really liked the fact that Gwen, the main character, had told Lesley, her best friend, about being a time traveller. It completely cut out the cliched ‘you’ve been lying to me, betrayal of trust’ storyline that I’ve read all too many times. Lesley was quirky and realistic – wouldn’t you Google search everything your friend dug up about the eighteenth century?

There were so many little things that I can’t wait to be elaborated on in the next two books. Like the possible rivalry between Charlotte, who was supposed to be the next time traveller, and Gwen, who turned out to be the real time traveller. Or the magic element. Or Gwen being able to see ghosts! Like I said, this book is choc-a-block with cool things.

Bee did say that there was some romance that came flying out of nowhere. I do have to agree that the romantic feelings between Gwen and Gideon, her male counterpart, were slightly forced, however romance really didn’t contribute much to the plot of this book. It was purely action and adventure…you know through time and space.

I thought it was especially nice to have the book set in England, despite being originally written in German. I love it when I can recognise locations in novels! The translation aspect of the book was almost flawless, with only a few irregular word phrasings, on the other hand, if it didn’t tell you on the end pages that this book was translated, I never would have known.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars, because I loved it, but 5 out of 5 stars seems like a stretch. This book isn’t ‘Mark of Athena’, after all. However, I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone that likes historical fiction, Cassandra Clare style, and those that want a quick, fun read!