Thursday, September 11, 2014

[Review] The One by Kiera Cass


Title: The One
Author: Kiera Cass
Pages: 323
Series: The Selection #3
Publisher: HarperTeen
Date of Publication: May 6th 2014
ISBN13: 9780062060013
Source: Bought
Format: Harcover
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
The Selection changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. And now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown—or to Prince Maxon's heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realizes just how much she stands to lose—and how hard she'll have to fight for the future she wants.

From the very first page of The Selection, this #1 New York Times bestselling series has captured readers' hearts and swept them away on a captivating journey... Now, in The One, Kiera Cass delivers a satisfying and unforgettable conclusion that will keep readers sighing over this electrifying fairy-tale long after the final page is turned.

The Selection-Trilogy
3. The One

My Thoughts
So... my guilty pleasure series. I just love it. I'm thinking about re-reading it, just because it makes me feel all warm inside. He. But let's talk about the ending of the trilogy first! (By the way, I do expect a spin off or something. Please.) The One starts immediately where The Elite left us. Maxon has decimated his harem ... err... prospective wife-pool to just four girls: Celeste, Kriss, Elise, and America.

I quickly fell back into the palace rythm. Pretty dresses, the king wanting to kick America out, America's occasional stupidity, the other girls, the queen. It was all there. Rebel attacks were there sometimes, although I still feel that they happened too often at the palace. It doesn't feel very secure. I think the rebel's were working a guerilla tactic, where bombing public buildings or something would probably have been more effective. But I get it, it was supposed to make it all feel more real. To the reader, as well as to America. 

I think we all knew who America would choose in the end. It wasn't even a competition anymore by this book, for several reasons that I'm not going to get into. But I think it was handled well and believably. Like I said, I want a spin off, to see what and how things have changed. I even grew to like Celeste, of all people. That was a complete 180 and I'm not sure I think it's believable. But I liked it. It wasn't a complete happy end by far, which was what I had been fearing because of the whole fairy tale aspect of the book. Maybe the 'climax' at the end was a tad overdone, but it certainly was dramatic and a real page turner.


Buy It

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, August 28, 2014

[Review] Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo


Title: Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity
Author: Katherine Boo
Pages: 290
Series: //
Publisher: Random House
Date of Publication: February 7th, 2012
ISBN13: 9781400067558
Source: Bought
Format: Hardcover
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
From Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo, a landmark work of narrative nonfiction that tells the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the twenty-first century’s great, unequal cities.

In this brilliantly written, fast-paced book, based on three years of uncompromising reporting, a bewildering age of global change and inequality is made human.

Annawadi is a makeshift settlement in the shadow of luxury hotels near the Mumbai airport, and as India starts to prosper, Annawadians are electric with hope. Abdul, a reflective and enterprising Muslim teenager, sees “a fortune beyond counting“ in the recyclable garbage that richer people throw away. Asha, a woman of formidable wit and deep scars from a childhood in rural poverty, has identified an alternate route to the middle class: political corruption. With a little luck, her sensitive, beautiful daughter—Annawadi’s “most-everything girl“—will soon become its first female college graduate. And even the poorest Annawadians, like Kalu, a fifteen-year-old scrap-metal thief, believe themselves inching closer to the good lives and good times they call “the full enjoy.”

But then Abdul the garbage sorter is falsely accused in a shocking tragedy; terror and a global recession rock the city; and suppressed tensions over religion, caste, sex, power and economic envy turn brutal. As the tenderest individual hopes intersect with the greatest global truths, the true contours of a competitive age are revealed. And so, too, are the imaginations and courage of the people of Annawadi.

With intelligence, humor, and deep insight into what connects human beings to one another in an era of tumultuous change, Behind the Beautiful Forevers carries the reader headlong into one of the twenty-first century’s hidden worlds, and into the lives of people impossible to forget.

My Thoughts

I read this as part of the Nerdfighteria book club. Interestingly, I had already bought the ebook of Behind the Beautiful Forevers at some point, probably because someone recommended I read it. I couldn't resist when the vlogbrothers chose this as the book to read, could I?

What can I say? It really sucked me in. I was immediately captured by the life-like characters... which could be because these characters are actual people. It's a work of non-fiction, even though it reads like a novel. I kept forgetting that these were actual people I was reading about. And sometimes I wasn't sure if that was a good thing, which is why this book gets four stars from me. I felt like it should be more obvious that these are lives we are reading about, not... plots. It made me feel very surreal at times.

I'm also not quite sure if I liked the ending. It felt a little cut-off. Maybe Boo didn't want to continue researching, or her sources quit... or maybe it was supposed to be like this, which I hope isn't true. I would have liked a little bit more closure, for myself as well as for the people about whom Boo wrote this book.

Buy It

Follow on Bloglovin

Thursday, August 14, 2014

[Review] Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs


Title: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Pages: 348
Series: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children #1
Publisher: Quirk
Date of Publication: June 7th, 2011
ISBN13: 9781594744761
Source: Bought (German Version)
Format: Hardback
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children-Duology
1. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
2. Hollow City

My Thoughts
The protagonist, Jacob, grows up with his grandfather's "fairy tales" about children with supernatural abilities like invisibilty or the ability to fly. Of course, as he grows older he stops believing in them after being ridiculed at school. As his grandfather's health deteriorates, he seems to suffer from dementia, the stories of monsters become ever present. As Jacob discovers, the monsters - and of course, the children, too - might be a lot more physical than he was convinced himself they were.

I liked Jacob. Right from the start. I think he's very likeable because he has a neutral view on things most of the time - and when he doesn't, it's easily forgiven because he might be facing his own personal nightmare. I'm not quite sure whether that makes Jacob a little too mature for a teenager (he's 17, I think?). But then, there are mature teenagers and people who are older than they physically are. So it's all good.

Something that makes this book very special are the photographs that are interspersed with the story. I would bet my left hand on the fact that the author was inspired by the photographs to write the story. As I understand it, the photographs are authentic. It helped give voice to the characters and also to Jacob's childhood. He grew up with his grandfather showing him the pictures. Of course, he convinced himself later on that everything was bogus, but alas...

I found the middle to be a tad slow. I really enjoyed the beginning and the ending. The pacing is phenomenal. But the middle part requires a bit of "pushing through" because it really takes Jacob quite a while to figure things out, mostly because a certain someone doesn't want to tell him anything. But also because he's a little blind sometimes. But in any case, if you do pick this book up, don't leave it because of the slow middle, because you'll miss a phenomenal ending!


Buy It

Follow on Bloglovin