Thursday, 23 January 2014

Deadly Thorns by Kathleen Peacock

Goodreads Summary : The second in the gripping crime trilogy with a hint of supernatural from Kathleen Peacock has the same great mix of page-turning action scenes and heady romance.
Kyle is still on the run, despite Mac's best efforts to track him down and bring him home. But when they finally find themselves back together, it's not in the best of circumstances. Trapped in a werewolf prison camp where inmates keep disappearing and not returning, Mac knows that something sinister is happening, but can they find out the truth? And with Jason still sure of his own feelings for Mac, will she start to doubt her own for Kyle?

My Rating : 4 of 5 stars

My Thoughts : Deadly Thorns was one of those second in series, with lots of potential but not as compelling as the first one, (you see, I rated Hemlock 5 stars).

After the climatic ending of Hemlock, Mac and Jason set off to search for their missing friend Kyle before it’s too late—before his plan to enroll in a rehabilitation camp tosses him into a greater peril. Their search leads them to a werewolf den in Colorado, where following some sporadic tracks, they find Kyle, but their reunion is cut short by a Tracker raid. Mac, Kyle and several others of the pack is thrown into the infamous rehabilitation camp Thornhill. Now trapped inside the electric fences, Mac must devices an escape plan and her hope lies with Jason, and a man from her past she presumed dead.

The characters from the first book remained pretty much same. I liked when heroine takes risks despite being aware of the consequences, and so I was touched by Mac desperation to leave behind all her comforts just to track down the boy she loves. Mac remains the same ordinary girl whom I could easily connect with, and was delighted by her incredible devotion towards the people she cares about and honesty in her personality.

“I loved Kyle. More than anything. Maybe enough to want what was best for him -- even if that best would end up hurting me.

Her best friend Amy—who played a major role in Hemlock even after death, and kept haunting Mac in her dreams—also mead her appearance, though only briefly.

Amy looked at me sadly, then glanced over her shoulder at the fountain. Something churned the leaves and gave off a sharp, metallic scent. With horror, I realized the liquid in the basin was blood. I scrambled to my feet, but Amy stayed sitting as though nothing were wrong.

She dipped her finger in the fountain and it came back coated red. "Things are about to get so interesting."

I know that it's a bit cliché to say what endeared me most about Hemlock was the romance; somehow I felt lack of passion in Deadly Thorns. Jason, the boy who thinks he loves Mac, accompanied Mac in her search. And Kyle, the boy who Mac is in love with and vice versa, showed very less emotion when they reunited. As the story progressed, I liked Kyle’s display of protectiveness—but not in the hide-behind-me-I’ll-protect-you way, but in a whatever-happens-I’m-with-you way. Not to mention, how much I loved Kyle in the first book, and when he left Mac, how brokenhearted I became. The author did a fabulous job in maintaining the same contradiction in characters between Kyle and Jason in Deadly Thorns . And Jason, well, he never made it easy for me to like him, but he developed in this book—and to a great extent. He improved from his flawed and broken-self, and made it to my book of likings. I loved how fiercely loyal he is to his friends.

The best think I loved about Hemlock was, albeit being totally predictable, it was full of suspense and nail biting premonitions as the story unraveled, where Deadly Thorns was basically adventurous rather than mystery with somewhat of a dystopian feel. The rehabilitation camp gave me the creeps of an anarchist system where werewolves are thrown at the mercy of the Trackers. They are being experimented, and tortured. I’m delighted that the author chose to show some depths in werewolf politics, but wished there was more.

Overall, I loved Deadly Thorns . It definitely was a great enjoyment and ends on somewhat of a cliff hanger. Now waiting for the final books sucks. Really sucks.

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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Revelations by J.A. Souders

Goodreads Summary : Six weeks after her arrival on the Surface, Evelyn Winters is no closer to unlocking the memories lost in her subconscious than she was when she first came. Isolated in a strange new society, Evie has only Gavin Hunter to remind her of who she once was.

But even with a clean slate, it’s easy to see that Evie doesn’t fit in on the Surface. And as her differences make her feel more and more alone, she can’t help but yearn for that place she doesn’t remember: the isolated city hidden in the depths of the ocean. Elysium. Home.

But she can’t exactly tell Gavin what she’s feeling. Not when he’s the one who helped her escape Elysium in the first place, and has the scars to prove it. Though the doctors say otherwise, Gavin believes that Evie just needs time. And if her memories don’t come back, well, maybe she’s better off not remembering her past.

But the decision may be out of their hands when Evie’s ever-elusive memories begin to collide with reality. People and images from her past appear in the most unlikely places, haunting her, provoking her…and making her seem not only strange but dangerous.

Evie and Gavin can’t wait around for her memories to return. They’ll have to journey across the Outlands of the Surface to find help, and in the end, their search may just lead them back to the place it all started…

My Rating : 3.5 of 5 stars

My Thoughts : Revelation, the second book in the series of Elysium Chronicles, gave in to what is known as ‘second book syndrome.’ After the intense conclusion of Renegade, my bubble of expectation for a thrilling sequel was deflated, instead I was given a story that lacks a solid plot and relevant background information of the ‘surface world’ on which Revelation is set.

Six weeks after Gavin and Evie escaped underwater utopia, Evie doesn't remember anything from her past and was having mental episodes and reoccurring flashbacks she fails to fathom. So Gavin, with help of his erstwhile friend Asher (whom I named the third wheel), sets out for a perilous journey to the nearby big city where he can provide Evie with a good doctor and required medical facilities.

Revelation was given split narration. We get to dig inside both of their heads. Evie, with all her trauma, was often ‘woe is me’. She wasn't exactly kick-ass, neither was she totally wussy. She was decent and likable. I felt for her. As the aftereffect of what happened during Renegade, and as result of the experiments that were once performed on her, her feelings throughout this book remained very confused towards herself and Gavin, and her memory was broken into fragments, causing her to experience vivid hallucinations. She couldn’t seem to explain her inner turmoil, which was shown in a very authentic way. Every episodes Evie endured was portrayed perfectly, she was feature both murderous (like she was before her memory got wiped away) and messed up at the same time. Good part, in the end she was back with a bang, so we can expect some butt-kicks from her in the third book.

Gavin was…well, unlike the previous book, his character seemed pretty two dimensional. Not to mention, how badly I missed my spunky, dashing Gavin from Renegade. His charm in the first installment made me fall head over heels for him. Here, other than worrying over Evie 24x7 and the occasional actions he pulled, he did nothing to impress me.

Asher, the new character we are introduced to, was portrayed well. With flair of a cavalry officer(he rode on horseback), Asher managed to woo me. His entry might deceive you in thinking of a triangle at first, but be assured, there is none.

And when we have our Mother ‘psychotic’ Hubbard, what else do we need. She alone made the story thousand times engaging than it was before her appearance.

The story itself progressed while unfurling Evie’s past. However, it started with an interesting beginning which set up my mood for an action adventure (it was an adventure though minus the action part), and after few pages it grew tedious, again near the end it picked up. Had the pacing been a little faster, it might have hooked me right away.

Overall, Revelation was a good read and recommended for readers who are the fan of Renegade. It does have another climatic ending that leaves us hanging till the next book.

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Thursday, 9 January 2014

Perfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano

Goodreads Summery : On the floating city of Internment, you can be anything you dream, unless you approach the edge. Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close can lead to madness, like her older brother Len, a Jumper. She takes solace in her best friend Pen, and in Basil, the boy she’s engaged to marry. When she investigates the first murder in a generation, she meets Judas. The suspect was betrothed to the victim, but Morgan believes he is innocent. Nothing can prepare Morgan for the secrets she will find – or whom she will lose.

My Rating : 4 of 5 stars

My Thoughts : Perfect Ruin is a book that has left me in ruins over the wait for the sequel. Beautifully written and well-crafted, Perfect Ruin is a delightful surprise. Many might be shocked to hear I've read the Chemical Garden Trilogy, which, after my sweet encounter with Perfect Ruin, I’m seriously considering to read soon.

“On Internment, you can be anything you dream--a novelist or a singer, a florist or a factory worker. You can spend entire afternoons watching clouds so close it's as though you're riding on them. Your life is yours to embrace or to squander. There's only one rule: You don't approach the edge. If you do, it's already over. My brother is proof of that. He has successfully quieted my delusions I held about seeing the ground for myself.”

In a floating city of Internment (which reminds me of floating island ‘Neo Verona’ in the animation series called ‘Romeo X Juliet’. Does it do the same to anybody?), you can be anything you dream, unless you approach the edge. Morgan, our protagonist, her entire life has been a happy fairy tale until a murder rocks the city. The suspect was betrothed to the victim, but Morgan believes he is innocent. And there begins her quest to pursue the murder in the darkness, until, on a fortunate eve, she happens to stumble upon him.

Morgan is naïve, innocent with crossing into the line of annoying, which leaves her room for growth. She is a dreamer, always wondering about the edge and fears one day her curiosity would drive mad enough she might end up like her brother, who lost his eyes after his daredevil attempt to jump from the edge. No offence to kick-ass heroines and some pseudo kick-ass heroines (whom I named Katniss Clones) I recently came across, Morgan is like a breath in the fresh air. I, sometimes, like my heroines plain and simple. She is a character I easily connected with.

As for the other characters, Basil is my favourite and so is Lex,, Morgan’s bother. You might find it ridiculous but Lex, had rather deep impact on me than Basil and both his condition and depression, yet indomitable mental strength, drove me feel immensely attracted towards him.

Basil is just a sweetheart. Like a dream. To make him mine, I can cross the stormy sea.

“Morgan.” He takes my hands. “Whatever you decide, I want you to know that I’ll stand behind it. I said I’d follow you off the edge, and I meant it. I’d jump into the sky with you. Wherever you go, you won’t have to go alone.”

That line alone just won me over.

While I don’t mind love-triangle, in this case, I was really worried about one. Despite the protagonist already having a fiancé, she was desperate to help an innocent boy---all signs were seems to indicate a triangle. Let me assure you, there is none. HA! The romance between Morgan and her beau Basil started so sweetly, slowly burning me in their love, I honestly didn’t want a third person to badger in their sweet moment. Morgan is betrothed to Basil since birth. Their relationship developed over years, from innocent friendship to love---exactly the type of romance I like. Basil was her constant supporter against every threat, and his trust on her never receded.

The world itself was fresh, descriptions were gorgeous. It delivered the right feel of a dystopian society with a very unique contemporary touch (I hope I’m not the one who is feeling it). The railroad surrounding the city, the tall apartments and parks, the clock tower, every feeling about Internment was rather realistic than fictional. The city has its own myth and religions, its own culture.

Perfect Ruin was one of best reads in 2013. Dystopian or not, for fans of poetic sense and lyrical prose, Perfect Ruin is highly recommended.

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