Monday, 20 October 2014

Graceling by Kristen Cashore

Graceling by Kristen Cashore
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 1st, 2008
Pages: 471
Source: Paperback, purchased
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 5/5 (97%)

How I Felt: This was my first ever fantasy read, I don't usually gravitate toward this genre because the unique worlds take a long time to develop, and I don't always have the time to dedicate building a whole new fantastical world in my head. But Graceling was fantastic! I instantly grasped the meanings of the world, and I instantly connected with the characters, which I didn't expect to happen. This is a great first fantasy book because it's easy to get used to the writing and the world. When reading other reviews of this book I found that most people found the writing style to be quite slow paced, but my feelings were quite opposite. I felt the story had a great continuous pace, and it never lagged for me at any point while reading.

In the Seven Realms there are seven different kingdoms, each ruled by a different king, but they all communicate and trade with each other. In this world, people also have the possibility of being born with a 'Grace'; some enhanced skill they can preform. These Graces range from something simple as being a good cook to being able to read minds.

Our main protagonist, Katsa, has the Grace of killing, so therefor she is used by king Randa, of the Middluns (also her uncle) to do his bidding, and to make sure not one citizen takes advantage of him, and also to rule his land in fear of his niece. Katsa has grown up in Randa's palace without a real family because she doesn't know what happened to her parents. Her only friends are her cousin Raffin, and her caretaker Helda, so she's grown up to be quite independent. By the end of the story you could tell how much she and the other characters had grown and matured over the short span of just one novel.

Throughout the story I could easily see so many admirable themes of independence, feminism, and being self-confidence. I really enjoyed how these were emphasized throughout the story, and that made Katsa a much more relatable character.

I really loved how each individual Grace was hashed out and explained for the reader's understanding. The explaining of both Katsa and Po's Grace was done really well, and didn't take too long for me to understand.

My favourite character overall would have to be Bitterblue. I just admired her strength, courage, and determination so much, especially since she was only 10 years old. I found her to be a character that even despite her age, I really related to her in some ways, and in others, looked up to her. I definitely look forward to reading Bitterblue, which is all about her story eight years after Graceling. Now without getting too spoilery my favourite scene would have to be when Katsa and Po talk to Grandfather Tealiff, there was just something about that scene that had me close to tears.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is hesitant about diving into the fantasy genre. I look forward to reading more books set in the Graceling Realm!

Favourite Quotes:
  • “I'm not going to wear a red dress," she said.
    "It would look stunning, My Lady," she called.
    She spoke to the bubbles gathered on the surface of the water. "If there's anyone I wish to stun at dinner, I'll hit him in the face.”
  • “When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?”
  • “How absurd it was that in all seven kingdoms, the weakest and most vulnerable of people - girls, women - went unarmed and were taught nothing of fighting, while the strong were trained to the highest reaches of their skill.”
  • “I'll teach you how to defend yourself, how to maim a man. We can use Po as a model.'

    'Wonderful,' Po said. 'It's quite boring really, the way you beat me to death with your hands and feet, Katsa. It'll be refreshing to have you come at me with a knife.”
  • “It seems better to me for a child to have these skills and never use them, than not have them and one day need them"
***Quotes taken from and Graceling by Kristen Cashore***
*Info on book taken from*

Friday, 17 October 2014

The Program by Suzanne Young

The Program by Suzanne Young (The Program #1)
Published: Simon Pulse, April 30th, 2013
Pages: 405
Source: Hardcover, purchased
Genre: Dystopian
Rating: 4/5 (89%)

How I Felt: This books revolves around the topic of depression, and I found this intriguing because I haven't read any novel about this topic before. Overall I thought this story was amazing! It was excellently written, I love the way Suzanne writes. The words just flew by and I did enjoy my reading experience with this book. The pace of the novel was excellent, and there wasn't a portion of the book that lagged. I was expecting it to be bad or constantly in a gloomy mood because it's all about depression and suicide but it was actually entertaining! (As weird as that sounds.) There were parts that would be really funny and I'd laugh out loud and those pages would balance out the extreme sadness coming from the previous pages. The topic never felt too overwhelming and I enjoyed that aspect of it. Although, there were a few things that bothered me, but I'm not sure if they bothered anyone else. For example, the adults of the world are frustrated with the youth/teens because they think suicide is the solution to there problems. So knowing this they create a product called "QuikDeath" to assist them in there suicide attempts. I found this annoying because the product kept being mentioned and the adults didn't seem to notice this as a problem. The whole concept of the actual Program was a good idea, but it was taken way to far. These kids do need counseling to try and deal with their problems, but to erase their memories is just opening up opportunity for them to try and make those same mistakes again because they never had any time to learn from them. Immediately from the beginning of the book I was skeptical of James, there's something about him I just don't completely trust. Even now, after he reunited with Sloane. I also hated Sloane's mom when we first met her because she thinks she's doing something good to benefit her daughter, but she's not looking at how Sloane's acting, she's looking at a list of stereotypes; no child is similar and it really comes down to how well she actually knows Sloane and she proved in the book that she doesn't. The moments Sloane had with her father were really sweet because he was only trying to help her but her mother kept insisting on the Program so he went a long with her.
Overall I really enjoyed this books and I hope to continue on with the sequel soon!

Favourite Quotes:
  • “...some things are better left in the past. And true things are destined to repeat themselves.”
***Quotes taken from and The Program by Suzanne Young***
*Info on book taken from*

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz

The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz
Published: Disney-Hyperion, April 1st, 2014
Pages: 384
Source: Hardcover, library
Genre: Fantasy/Historical Fiction
Rating: 3.25/5 (79%)

How I Felt: Overall I enjoyed this book, I just don't think it's fantastic. I expected a little more from this book because people rave about how amazing an author Melissa is, but honestly in this book I didn't see that. This book was really slow to start off and I just couldn't get into it, but after about 80/90 pages it became a little bit more entertaining and the pace picked up a bit. But by the end the story really started to get annoying because the characters I was finally growing to like just took a turn for the worst and everything started to fall apart by the end. It often came to a point where I couldn't stand to read any more, and I had put the book down on multiple occasions. One of the main issues I had with this book was that it took me a long time to start to like the characters and get used to them and their point of view. The characters just didn't immediately attach themselves to me until near the very end, and by that point there were major plot twists that switched everything up again, distancing me from the characters all over again. Usually when I read a book I can find something I like about the characters that I can relate to myself; just to make the story more enjoyable, but with these characters this process was quite difficult. One thing I can say I enjoyed was the world development. The world and time period this story was set in was quite enjoyable and interesting. I felt like it was also expertly explained. It's kind of an alternate twist on history, and because I love history I found this aspect quite enjoyable. The incorporation on magic and all these fantasy elements really added depth to the book and plot and made me sit at the edge of my seat at times. I don't even think I have a favourite character, they were all just okay, most of the time there's at least one character I gravitate to but again I just didn't have that in this story. If there was a sequel I would most definitely read it because I'd like to find out what happens in the kingdom, and with the main characters. This book as a whole was enjoyable. I can't say I highly recommend it but if you're looking for a fantasy book to read you might like this one.

Favourite Quotes:

  • “What happened to your face?' she asked.
    'It fell on a fist.' He shrugged.
    'That happens a lot?'
  • “It was a story they could tell their children, something out of a fairy tale. How their mother had not known who he was when she accepted him, and the frog turned out to be a prince. But the princess had been unwilling to kiss the frog, the prince remained warty and unloved, and now there was no adventure to be had.” 
***Quotes taken from The Ring & the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz and***
*Info on book taken from*

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Book Spotlight: Reboot by Amy Tintera

            Book Spotlight is a new segment I wanted to start on my blog, so I thought Reboot by Amy Tintera would be a great book to start with!
           Reboot is the first book in a duology and is Amy's debut novel. First, let me just congratulate Amy on not only such an amazing debut novel, but a fantastic debut series as well! This is such an interesting and unique take on zombies that I found really enjoyable and intriguing. The writing style of this book is fantastic. Reboot has a great pace, and it flowed nicely throughout the entire book. I loved how it was a fast-paced, continuous/consistent story in that it never started to lag or drag, and the writing always had the same feel.
            This book has everything a reader could ever want in a novel: action, wit, and romance! I've re-read this book multiple times, and for each one I couldn't put it down, and my love for it increased with every turn of a page.
             This book has an interesting twist on zombies. Mostly found in teens (occasionally adults), a newfound disease causes people to wake up or come back to life after they die, and depending on how long they're dead for they become stronger, faster, and more emotionless than an average human. We follow Wren, the Reboot with the longest death time of 178 minutes. The pride and joy of HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation) As they're most prized soldier she's incredibly fast, strong, and well, empty. Or so everyone thought. Later she meets Calum, 22. Complete opposite of herself, and together they work to find out what secrets HARC has been keeping from them, and what really lies out in the world behind the fences of Texas.
              If you haven't read this book yet I highly recommend it! Both books are out now so you can marathon the whole duology.

Published: HarperTeen, May 7th, 2013
Pages: 365
Source: Hardcover, purchased
Genre: Dystopian
Rating: 4.8/5 (92%)
Favourite Quotes:
  • “Want to dance? We have music this time. And I don't have to punch you when we finish.”
  • “Humans had a brightness to them, a glow that only death extinguished.”
  • “I still have the scars from when they captured me and beat me in the middle of the street."
    "You don't get scars."
    "Emotional scars then.”

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