Monday, April 22, 2013

Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson


Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness. 

Elisa is the chosen one. 

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can't see how she ever will. 

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he's not the only one who seeks her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people's savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.

I hate books that have a good story line, but are so difficult to read because they are written by poor authors and I felt that The Girl of Fire and Thorns was one of those books.

I was initially intrigued by this book, because I always  like when someone comes up with a new fantastical element to write about. In this book, the main character, Elisa, has a large jewel in her navel called a Godstone. Since nobody has thought to put a priceless gem in anyone's belly before, I thought it might be rather interesting to see what it means. Unfortunately, that was the only interesting part about the story.

Elisa could have been a really fantastic main character, because she is not tall, thin and beautiful. She is short and fat and plain looking. Rae Carson could have done a wonderful thing and made her into a respectable hero that young girls could look up to and say, "Hey. She isn't skinny and popular, but she saved the world, and so can I." Instead, Elisa dwells on her obesity and brings it up, ALL THE DAMN TIME! It got to be so incredibly annoying. Not to mention the fact that the same words and phrases were used to describe how fat she was. She was also annoying because she dwelt upon all the unhealthy and overindulgent things she was eating. I kind of felt that this book was perhaps driven by the author's own struggle with weight (if she has one) and that she used the book to get all her thoughts out. Like I said, I don't know if that's the case, but that's what it felt like. I also felt that she pushed the elements from he title onto the story. When fire and thorns show up in the story, I felt like they were simply put there because they were in the title and she needed to make the title relevant.

Besides Elisa being an annoying character, the book had an interesting plot line and series of events, but it just wasn't presented in anything resembling an enjoyable read. I gave it 3 stars because I did like the story, and I think an actual young adult reader would be able to overlook the poor writing style, but I just couldn't.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Origin by Jessica Khoury

Wowza! Let's talk about one of the most interesting books I've read in a long time, Origin by Jessica Khoury! This review is a little different, because there have been some pretty heavy crusaders out to kill Origin, and I have some things to say about it.

Pia has grown up in a secret laboratory hidden deep in the Amazon rainforest. She was raised by a team of scientists who have created her to be the start of a new immortal race. But on the night of her seventeenth birthday, Pia discovers a hole in the electric fence that surrounds her sterile home--and sneaks outside the compound for the first time in her life.

Free in the jungle, Pia meets Eio, a boy from a nearby village. Together, they embark on a race against time to discover the truth about Pia's origin--a truth with deadly consequences that will change their lives forever.

Perfect Pia (the original title of origin was to be "Perfectly Pia") was "created" in a laboratory. She was born just like any other child, but she has been genetically engineered to be immortal and perfect. Scientists in a secret Amazon facility called Little Cam, which is short for Little Cambridge. The facility is surrounded by an electric fence and Pia's room is completely made out of glass, but this doesn't seem strange to her, because it is all she's ever known. At 17, Pia is finally about to take her final Wickham test (horrible heinous tests she is put through to prove she is capable of being a scientist) and finally be allowed to know the secret behind her immortality and begin to create a mate for her in an effort to start a new race.

But a new arrival to Little Cam, who Pia call Dr. Klutz, asks Pia why she doesn't question what is on the other side of the fence. That puts a seed in Pia's mind and she sneaks outside for the first time, with her super awesome jaguar pet, Alai (because who doesn't want a majestic jaguar as a pet?). She meets Eio and begins to discover that maybe being perfect isn't all it's cracked up to be. Pia uncovers the truth behind her immortality and the devastation that has led to her birth.

Reception for Origin has been mostly awesome with a few ridiculous Debbie Downers out there. If you look on Goodreads, you'll find all sorts of naysayers talking about the HORRIBLE (sarcasm) topics in Origin. Of course, Jessica Khoury is promoting racism, abusive relationships, women as objects, and animal cruelty (sarcasm again). Come on, people. Just because she wrote about it doesn't mean she believes in it. Ms. Khoury created a FICTIONAL VERSION OF THE WORLD and took creative liberties to really express just what it was like for Pia growing up. So, she was ignorant, and she fell in love with Eio, even though he's the only boy she's ever met, and so the scientists perform horrible experiments on animals. Those elements are all super important to the plot. Pia is ignorant because she's been made to not question ANYTHING. Maybe Eio is the most awesome boyfriend material in the entire Amazon, we don't know. And animal torture was 100% necessary to understanding the steps the scientists took in order to create Pia. I believe it was something like 150 years that they had been working towards it. We test new medicines on rats, same kinda thing.

But, no matter what the Debbie Downers say, I LOVED Origin. I thought it had a really unique and interesting plot line and I can't wait to see what Vitro, Jessica Khoury's next YA release, has in store. I read the first chapter and I'm already hooked. All in all, 5 out 5 stars to an incredibly original story idea from debut author Jessica Khoury!

If you want to know more, you can find Jessica on her website, which is a visual masterpiece.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

Love or life. 

Henry or their child. 

The end of her family or the end of the world. Kate must choose. 

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can’t stop her—until Cronus offers a deal. In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he’ll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead. With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything. Even if it costs her eternity.

Kate Winters has been through a lot. Her mom got cancer and moved her to a small town. Then her mom died. Then she agreed to perform tests to see if she was worthy of marrying Henry (aka Hades) and become Queen of the Underworld. Then, she won, but she didn't think Henry would ever love her, even though she loves him. Then everything was great there. Then, Kate got pregnant. Then, she was kidnapped by Calliope, aka Hera (who has some real self-absorption issues). And this is where we begin the third installment of the Goddess Test series. 

Kate has been held captive by Calliope for 9 months and it is almost time to have her baby. Calliope plans to keep him for herself and try to make Henry finally love her (which has been her goal since Book 1). Calliope thinks her father, Cronus, is on her side, but he has plans of his own. He promises Kate that if she becomes his queen, she can keep her baby and he won't destroy the world, but he will destroy the Council. But what about Henry? Is it ok to be selfish when the fate of the world is pitted against the love of your forever life?

I was really excited to get this last installment in the Goddess Test series, because I loved the idea of a Greek mythology taking place in the present world. I'm a sucker for mythology and love when it is redone in a new and interesting way. That being said, I was disappointed in the style of this book. I felt that Kate was too wishy-washy in this book and a bit of a damsel in distress, when she wasn't like that in the first two books. I also wanted a lot more Kate and Henry interaction, but we still had all this, "Is Henry pulling away?" "I thought he finally realized he loved me". It was just starting to get a little old. I thought this book should have been a strong pulling together of them and their love for each other and their baby and fighting together, and it wasn't. However, I did enjoy it purely because it was the finale of the series and did manage to have a conclusion that I was happy with. All in all, I gave it 3 out of 5 stars. If Aimee Carter writes more books, I will definitely read them.