Thursday, November 20, 2014

[Review] The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu

Description

Title: The Truth About Alice
Author: Jennifer Mathieu
Pages: 208
Series: //
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
Date of Publication: June 3rd, 2014
ISBN13: 9781596439092
Source: Bought
Format: Hardcover
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Everyone knows Alice slept with two guys at one party. When Healy High star quarterback, Brandon Fitzsimmons, dies in a car crash, it was because he was sexting with Alice. Ask anybody. Rumor has it Alice Franklin is a slut. It's written all over the "slut stall" in the girls' bathroom: "Alice had sex in exchange for math test answers" and "Alice got an abortion last semester." After Brandon dies, the rumors start to spiral out of control. In this remarkable debut novel, four Healy High students tell all they "know" about Alice--and in doing so reveal their own secrets and motivations, painting a raw look at the realities of teen life. But in this novel from Jennifer Mathieu, exactly what is the truth about Alice? In the end there's only one person to ask: Alice herself.



My Thoughts

The Truth About Alice is - you guessed it - about Alice Franklin and the rumours that are spread about her in the small Texan town of Healy. The book is told from four different points of view. It starts off with Elaine O'Dea first telling the reader about the fateful party. Elaine is pretty much the queen bee of Healy High. Because of some petty thing in eighth grade, she starts spreading more vicious rumours, as well as creating the "slut stall". But as bad as she was, I don't think it gets much worse than Kelsie, who also narrates a few chapters.

Kelsie was Alice's best friend before the rumours. She isn't even present at the party, but when she hears about the rumours, she doesn't back her best friend. She jumps ship, mostly so that she wouldn't lose her place at the popular table. She also makes up a couple more rumours to make things even worse for Alice. So yeah, worst person award right here.

Josh - Brandon's best friend - isn't exactly innocent either. And his chapters were definitely my least favourite. They were still written well, but seeing as all characters are in some way unlikeable, I couldn't relate to Josh at all. I got a weird vibe from him right from the beginning and I still feel something is off.

The last point of view is Kurt. As you've probably seen by now, all characters fit into some type of stereotype. Kurt is the nerd-who-has-a-crush-on-a-(previously)-popular-girl. I think he was kind of cute, if somewhat... hm, obvious considering he's supposed to be a genius? 

But anyhow, I tore right through this one. I couldn't stop reading it. I even read it in class at uni and got reprimanded. Maybe it's because I was bullied (though luckily not as severely as alice) but it's definitely also because the subject matter was handled really well. You should definitely check it out!

Rating

Buy It

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

[Review] Sever by Lauren DeStefano

Description

Title: Sever
Author: Lauren DeStefano
Pages: 371
Series: The Chemical Garden #3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Date of Publication: February 12th, 2013
ISBN13: 9781442409095
Source: Bought
Format: Hardcover
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
With the clock ticking until the virus takes its toll, Rhine is desperate for answers. After enduring Vaughn’s worst, Rhine finds an unlikely ally in his brother, an eccentric inventor named Reed. She takes refuge in his dilapidated house, though the people she left behind refuse to stay in the past. While Gabriel haunts Rhine’s memories, Cecily is determined to be at Rhine’s side, even if Linden’s feelings are still caught between them.

Meanwhile, Rowan’s growing involvement in an underground resistance compels Rhine to reach him before he does something that cannot be undone. But what she discovers along the way has alarming implications for her future—and about the past her parents never had the chance to explain.

In this breathtaking conclusion to Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy, everything Rhine knows to be true will be irrevocably shattered.


The Chemical Garden
1. Wither
2. Fever
3. Sever

My Thoughts

Man. I feel bad about this. Wither was one of the first books I ever reviewed on this blog and the series was dear to me, somehow. I can't quite explain it. I decided to read Sever on a whim, even though I wasn't all that excited for it. Like I said, I can't explain it.

The book starts with Rhine wanting to find Rowan. Then it gets a little weird. Linden doesn't want her to leave, then he helps her and ends up wanting to go with her (Cecily, too). He doesn't believe her at one point, then believes her suddenly without much of an explanation given. Don't get me wrong, I liked Linden, I really did. But in this book he seemed to be a puppet of the plot. Even more so at the end. What happened to him was entirely pointless, furthered nothing and wasn't even well done. I'm actually pretty angry about that.

It's no secret that I didn't want Rhine to end up with Gabriel. I thought he was too non-descript, especially since Rhine keeps claiming that she only escaped with him to "let him have his freedom" (not a direct quote). But then at the end it's kind of ... not like that? 

The book has tons of inconsistencies, not just in the plot but also concerning the relationships the characters have to each other. Does Linden love Rhine? How about the other way around? Does he love Cecily? What's Rowan's deal anyway (and why was Bee put in the story, when she doesn't have any sort of purpose?)? Rowan could have been great. Many, many paragraphs were spent giving him layers, making him possibly the most 'real' character in the book. But then he turns out to be more of a sheep. Rhine decides to withhold information that she feels he shouldn't know (like, for example, that the man he admires seems to be a psychopath), so his story never really goes anywhere. He's just kind of there, like most of the cast.

This book is a huge missed opportunity. Two stars only because, like I said, I enjoyed the series as a whole, even if Sever leaves a bitter taste on my tongue.


Rating

Buy It

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

[Review] The Immortal Crown by Richelle Mead

Description

Title: The Immortal Crown
Author: Richelle Mead
Pages: 448
Series: Age of X #2
Publisher: Penguin
Date of Publication: May 26th, 2014
ISBN13: 9781405913584
Source: Bought
Format: Paperback
Synopsis: (from Goodreads)
Gameboard of the Gods introduced religious investigator Justin March and Mae Koskinen, the beautiful supersoldier assigned to protect him. Together they have been charged with investigating reports of the supernatural and the return of the gods, both inside the Republic of United North America and out. With this highly classified knowledge comes a shocking revelation: Not only are the gods vying for human control, but the elect—special humans marked by the divine—are turning against one another in bloody fashion.

Their mission takes a new twist when they are assigned to a diplomatic delegation headed by Lucian Darling, Justin’s old friend and rival, going into Arcadia, the RUNA’s dangerous neighboring country. Here, in a society where women are commodities and religion is intertwined with government, Justin discovers powerful forces at work, even as he struggles to come to terms with his own reluctantly acquired deity.

Meanwhile, Mae—grudgingly posing as Justin’s concubine—has a secret mission of her own: finding the illegitimate niece her family smuggled away years ago. But with Justin and Mae resisting the resurgence of the gods in Arcadia, a reporter’s connection with someone close to Justin back home threatens to expose their mission—and with it the divine forces the government is determined to keep secret.


Age of X-Trilogy
2. The Immortal Crown
3. Untitled


My Thoughts

I find it difficult to write about what I thought about this book. I immensely enjoyed the setting, although at times I kept thinking "Really? A Sci-Fi world with religion and gods in the mix?". I mean, that's not something you see every day. Maybe that's why it works so well for the Age of X trilogy. But then Justin and Mae travel to Arcadia and ... oh boy.

Aside from them not keeping religion and state separate, they also have very... interesting ideas of how women should be 'kept' and treated. It basically boils down to men keeping women as more or less their slaves (housework has to be about as hard as possible to build character, concubines can be sold, men can buy multiple wives, etc.) while at the same time keeping them under lock and key, most of the time either in long dresses or even completely veiled (which I assume is a reference to the burqa). While I didn't find the cloistering very nice, obviously, I realise it's a common practice today and I'm not going to comment further on that. I'm aware that most women who wear a burqa are likely not treated like the Arcadian women.

But back to the plot! Aside from small ventures into Tessa's point of view (which were boring and not exactly relevant to the bigger picture) the plot kept me on the edge of my seat. I'm not very familiar with nordic gods and goddesses, but I thought everything was well done concerning them. Nehitimar - the god the Arcadians are subscribed to - on the other hand felt very one-sided. He was at one point described as "only taking, never giving" and it seems unlikely to me that such a big populace would believe in such a god. Well, and then there is the last god that is revealed. We don't know much about his involvement yet, but I have a bad feeling about this.

What I don't have a bad feeling about, however, is where this story is going. To me, this book is ten times better than Gameboard of the Gods and I enjoyed reading it very much. I'm definitely looking forward to the as-of-yet untitled third book!

Rating

Buy It

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