Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Allegiant - Veronica Roth


Oh I’m sorry Ms. Veronica Roth. Can you help me out for a second? I seem to be having a difficult time getting this knife out of my back that you stabbed so deeply in my back.





“The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.”

So a couple things first:
1. I’ll try to keep this as spoiler free as possible. However, there might be a few plot things that will be mentioned for this review. Okay actually, I’m going to spoil this book. But there is a warning to see keep your eyes open.
2. My nice things about this book are limited. Oh…and there might be a few curse words. Yeah. (Well I am a pirate after all. What did you expect?)

Okay, now with that out of the way, we can start the review on this book. And I suppose the first thing I should start off in saying is that it has been a while since I have felt completely and utterly betrayed as a reader. Truly. I feel like the whole success of the Divergent series might have gone to Ms. Roth’s head in that she can write whatever she feels like. Or maybe, at the end of Insurgent, wrote herself into a corner and thought, “well crap…what do I do now?”

For those who don’t remember, the end of Insurgent left us with a cliff hanger with a video of a woman named Edith Prior pretty much saying that Tris and her the factions way of life is a lie. I am summarizing of course. So, as to be expected Evelyn and her factionless army take over and now it is one dictator for another. And what happens in this short amount of time? A rebellion is formed in a group called Allegiant. Tris and Tobias are recruited and they leave Chicago, met with an outside world of despair and desolation. We learn about genetic manipulation caused a war and that’s what created experimental cities, like Chicago, to produce eventually genetically pure individuals. And….then all sorts of bullshit mayhem and chaos occurs.
Now, let’s talk about my main issues with this book.

First off, the structure of the book suddenly changes from the first two books. With Divergent and Insurgent, we see the world from Tris’s point of view. But now, suddenly, there is a back and forth between Tris and Tobias/Four’s. This, in the long run, should have been a hint about where this story was going to be going. Though the writing is okay, I felt like there was so much being forced onto Tobias/Four’s. It felt forced and uncomfortable. I get that we are getting an inside look at the “true” Tobias, away from his reputation as the legendary Dauntless member Four, but come on. He finds out he’s not Divergent, and suddenly he is super whiney and woooo is me? He jumps head long into a rebel on the Compound that runs the Chicago experiment which results in the death of a friend? No. I don’t buy it. Tris is the only character that I feel we should really care about.

Second thing on my Pissed Off List: The whole plot of the book. To me, it felt like a complete slap in the face from the beautiful, terrifying and unique world that was created in Divergent. Though it started to fall a little apart in Insurgent, I was able to forgive certain elements because it still felt like a natural development of the Tris’s story. This felt forced. I can suspend my own personal sense of reality for a book; because that’s what books are suppose to do: suck us in and transport us to a new place. But this is such a sharp turn from what I feel was the natural progression of the story. I just couldn’t believe it. Suddenly, there is a government agency that is running experiments in large cities due to genetic manipulation that pretty much screwed up mankind…and there are terms like “genetically pure” and “genetically damaged” being thrown around all willy-nilly like. Oh, and this government agency monitors Chicago constantly and sometimes they interfere…and not in a good way. It’s like Big Brother of 1984….but lacking drama, mystery and follow through….and it failed completely.

And the third thing that totally had me writing in betrayal….well, it’s a spoiler. So, if you haven’t read this book, just scroll to the end. Because yeah, I can’t keep this spoiler under wraps.


****SPOILER TIME****

Well, Veronica Roth kills a main character. Like an important main character.
She KILLS TRIS. Kills her. Nay, MURDERS her. Pointlessly. Just a complete waste. You know what it makes me feel like? Makes me feel like I completely wasted my time reading the entire freaking series. We are supposed to believe that this was some great sacrifice Tris was making for the good of the ones she loves. Total bullshit. I just…damnit! Son of a…..grrrrrr!!!!!
Here’s the thing, I have no issues with an author killing off a main character. As long as it feels natural and something that the character needs to do. This, Tris being shot down in the back…just…I have no words to describe the bad taste in my mouth this book left after reading that part. I am one how loves a good twist…but it needs to be a twist that makes SENSE.


****END OF SPOILER TIME****

On Goodreads, I gave this book three stars because it’s not completely awful. The writing is good. The characters, for the most part, are well developed. I feel like I gave this a three just because the first two books were grat. We don’t really here anything more on Edith Prior and her video, which is really kind of lame since you know, the end of Insurgent made it seem like a pretty big deal. I just feel like my trust as a reader that I give to an author was totally thrown away like it meant nothing. Complete and utter betrayal. And after this whole book series ending the way it did, I don’t know if I will ever read another Veronica Roth book again. There you go. I said it.

Then again, this is what happens when you stab your loyal readers in the back with such a lame ass ending.

Until next time. Remember to always be yourself…unless you can be a pirate. Then always be a pirate.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

The Arrivals - Melissa Marr


You know, just because it says “New York Times Best Selling Author” doesn’t mean you can’t have your editor take a little peak at your book to make sure that your story makes some sort of sense. Oh, and on a side note, I want to call shenanigans on this books synopsis. Totally not what this book is about.


Chloe walks into a bar and blows five years of sobriety. When she wakes, she finds herself in an unfamiliar world, The Wasteland. She discovers people from all times and places have also arrived there: Kitty and Jack, a brother and sister from the Wild West; Edgar, a prohibition bootlegger; Francis, a one-time hippie; Melody, a mentally unbalanced 1950s housewife; and Hector, a former carnival artist. None know why they arrived there--or if there is way out of a world populated by monsters and filled with corruption. Just as she did in Graveminder, Marr has created a vivid fantasy world that will enthrall. Melissa Marr's The Arrivals is a thoroughly original and wildly imagined tale about making choices in a life where death is unpredictable and often temporary.

This is a book falls into the whole “curiosity killed the cat” category of library books. I have several Melissa Marr books on my Kindle just waiting to be read. I got them because there were free and sounded interesting. More interesting than this book. But after reading this book, I just don’t know if I want to read them know.
Well…I read the first 100 pages. And then stopped. Because I felt like I was wasting my time. Completely. The writing was awful. It was so awkward and just didn’t make sense. It was a lot of telling and not a lot of showing. I couldn’t develop the world in my own head.  And this book is not about Chloe, who by the way, is such a weak and boring character. Another issue with this book is that it’s not really about Chloe. It opens from the point of view of Kitty. And then switches to Jack. And then back to Kitty. We done see Chloe until like chapter 4 or 5. Really? Shanigans I say!
I didn’t get too far into this book because let’s face it, Marr’s creation of “a vivid fantasy world that will enthrall” TOTALLY DIDN’T HAPPEN! Shenanigans again I say! Shenanigans, shenanigans, and more shenanigans! There was nothing in the writing of this book that enthralled me. There was nothing that drew me into this strange world and characters. It was a struggle to read. I tried. I really did. I give this book more of a chance than I normally would, but I wanted to like it. But alas, it was crap.
Yes. That’s right. I called this book crap.

I just….I can’t. I know I should feel bad about completely bashing this book, but there seems to be a type of arrogance from Melissa Marr in the writing that says “I’m a New York Times Best Selling Author, I’ll write how I want and you the reader will be it just for this title I have!” 

Okay. I’m done. I have nothing else to say. Sorry that this was a super negative review. But this has totally been building up in me for a while. What has this book taught me? Do not fall into the whole trap of “Oh, they are a New York Times Best Selling Author, I bet this will be a great book!”
Shenanigans!
Until next time.Be yourself….unless you can be a pirate. Then always be the pirate!

Ready Player One - Ernest Cline


This book…..yeah. Not only is it totally an 80’s movie, but this future is TOTALLY GOING TO HAPPEN!!
 
 

It's the year 2044, and the real world is an ugly place.
Like most of humanity, Wade Watts escapes his grim surroundings by spending his waking hours jacked into the OASIS, a sprawling virtual utopia that lets you be anything you want to be, a place where you can live and play and fall in love on any of ten thousand planets.
And like most of humanity, Wade dreams of being the one to discover the ultimate lottery ticket that lies concealed within this virtual world. For somewhere inside this giant networked playground, OASIS creator James Halliday has hidden a series of fiendish puzzles that will yield massive fortune -- and remarkable power -- to whoever can unlock them.
For years, millions have struggled fruitlessly to attain this prize, knowing only that Halliday's riddles are based in the pop culture he loved -- that of the late twentieth century. And for years, millions have found in this quest another means of escape, retreating into happy, obsessive study of Halliday's icons. Like many of his contemporaries, Wade is as comfortable debating the finer points of John Hughes's oeuvre, playing Pac-Man, or reciting Devo lyrics as he is scrounging power to run his OASIS rig.
And then Wade stumbles upon the first puzzle.
Suddenly the whole world is watching, and thousands of competitors join the hunt -- among them certain powerful players who are willing to commit very real murder to beat Wade to this prize. Now the only way for Wade to survive and preserve everything he knows is to win. But to do so, he may have to leave behind his oh-so-perfect virtual existence and face up to life -- and love -- in the real world he's always been so desperate to escape.
A world at stake.
A quest for the ultimate prize.
Are you ready?

So I feel like a bad bookworm nerd that I have just now discovered this book and how completely awesome it is. It’s one that has been on my to-be-read list for a while, however, just never got around to reading. Then, one fateful day at the library, I found the audiobook for this book…and it was narrated by Wil Wheton. And after that I was sold.
Granted, Wil Wheton narrating did seal the deal for me to check out this book, but from the very beginning, when there is a description of The Stacks located in Oklahoma City, OK off of Portland Ave (which is like a mile away from where I live!) I couldn’t help but fall into Wade Watts’s world head first. The stark contrast of the world turning to crap and the beautiful escape of the OASIS is wonderful and breathtaking. It would make sense for everyone to run away from a world experiencing an full blown Energy Crisis and evil Corporate bastards who can send to you indenture servitude if you are late on a credit card payments (and yes, I totally see this happening!) But the OASIS is a utopia of free intellectual thought and you can be anyone you want to be while inside this fully immersive virtual reality. It seems like a not bad place.
But what about Wade Watts? He’s just a poor kid from the Stacks (which is mobile homes stacked on top of each other….like super high. Wade lives on the top of 23 mobile homes!) who just wants to escape. To find the ultimate prize of Halliday’s Easter Egg: complete access to his mega fortune. Wade is a great character because who cannot relate to being an awkward 17 year old kid? But, he has a passion and a drive that is almost beyond his years. We see him grow out of his big talking ego ways to see the world outside of himself. He makes true friends through his comrades who are also searching for the Grand Prize. He takes down the evil internet corporation IOI for the most part. He is all around a character you can’t help to root for.
Is some of the things predictable? Yeah.
Is some of the situations that he’s thrown into a little too easy for him to get out of? Sure.
But isn’t that like all 80’s movies? Well due.
This book is pure fun. There’s a lot of awesome 70’s and 80’s references to movies and games and music and you can’t help but fall in love. But, what I love most about this book? The little hints of truth in our society. And what’s the truth? We need to pull ourselves away from the internet and the social media and the iPhone and smartphones and look at the world around us.
Until next time!
Remember to be yourself…unless you can be a pirate…then always be a pirate!!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Mark Of Athena - Rick Riordan

So the epic adventure continues...and even more perils lay ahead. Being a demi god is actually not so awesome...

Annabeth is terrified. Just when she's about to be reunited with Percy—after six months of being apart, thanks to Hera—it looks like Camp Jupiter is preparing for war. As Annabeth and her friends Jason, Piper, and Leo fly in on the Argo II, she can’t blame the Roman demigods for thinking the ship is a Greek weapon. With its steaming bronze dragon masthead, Leo's fantastical creation doesn't appear friendly. Annabeth hopes that the sight of their praetor Jason on deck will reassure the Romans that the visitors from Camp Half-Blood are coming in peace.
And that's only one of her worries. In her pocket Annabeth carries a gift from her mother that came with an unnerving demand: Follow the Mark of Athena. Avenge me. Annabeth already feels weighed down by the prophecy that will send seven demigods on a quest to find—and close—the Doors of Death. What more does Athena want from her?
Annabeth's biggest fear, though, is that Percy might have changed. What if he's now attached to Roman ways? Does he still need his old friends? As the daughter of the goddess of war and wisdom, Annabeth knows she was born to be a leader,  never again does she want to be without Seaweed Brain by her side. Narrated by four different demigods, The Mark of Athena is an unforgettable journey across land and sea to Rome, where important discoveries, surprising sacrifices, and unspeakable horrors await. Climb aboard the Argo II, if you dare....

Weird format from the previous post I know, but my laptop is crapping out on me so this is being typed from my phone. Yeah....anyway.....

This tale is is told from a multiple point of view, but I feel that this book is an  Annabeth-centric tale. We do see this epic quest from the point of view of Piper, Leo, and Percy as well, but I don't know. There is something more appealing about Annabeth's stoey. It heartbreaking to he honest. First she's living in a nightmare worried crazy over Percy's disappearance (revist book one and two for more back story). Then she encounter with her mother Athena, who is in a struggle with her Roman persona Minerva, the bitterness of Athena and the dangerous task of find the Athena Parthenous. All of this before the Argo II is completed and the true quest begins. For the first time we see past the confident exterior of a bold and courageous leader and friend. We see Annabeth struggle with insecurities. We always knew they were there, however, it is a new experience to hear it from the character herself.

Rick Riordan's writing is flawless, like it always is, and the storytelling is wonderfully crafted. There is not a dull moment as it is action pack and full of feels. Oh Lordy. So much FEELS! I love it when a book makes me all weepy at the end.

I know this is a short review, and it really doesn't doo this book justice. However, I was looking through blogger and felt kinda crappy that this particular review has been kind of sitting....waiting to be finished. Yeah.

Anyway, read the series, its amazing. Its a fun time to escape the reality and lose yourself in a world of demigods and monsters hell bent on destroying the world. That sounds like an awesome time!

Thanks for reading and remember to always be a pirate given the opportunity!

The Scorpio Races - Maggie Stiefvater


Alright. I’m giving you guys fair warning: I am about to completely GUSH over this book. That’s right. Complete. Book. Lust.



It happens at the start of every November: the Scorpio Races. Riders attempt to keep hold of their water horses long enough to make it to the finish line. Some riders live. Others die. At age nineteen, Sean Kendrick is the returning champion. He is a young man of few words, and if he has any fears, he keeps them buried deep, where no one else can see them. Puck Connolly is different. She never meant to ride in the Scorpio Races. But fate hasn’t given her much of a chance. So she enters the competition — the first girl ever to do so. She is in no way prepared for what is going to happen.

So I read this book a little while ago, and I have been meaning to do a review on it, but I just couldn’t find the right words. I feel that there was so much love and attention poured into this book by Maggie Stiefvater that I really didn’t know where to start. But, after drooling over this book to anyone and everyone that would listen, I have had time to organize my thoughts into something coherent and understandable.

I suppose a good place to start off is with the world that was created. I picture a lonely British Isle in the middle of the sea. There is a sense of emptiness and desperation, but also a rough-around-the-edges beauty about the island that Sean and Puck call home. When talking to my friend, Jeff, about this book, he pointed out that he imagines the world as gray. Simply gray. And, upon reflection, it is. There is rarely any moment of pure happiness for anyone on the island. They are all too consumed with surviving the harsh conditions on Thisby, and when November rolls around, the water horse and the Scorpio Races.

Oh. The water horse! There is the true star of the book. I am pretty sure that somewhere out there in the world of books and make-believe, there is another story with a similar type of mythical beastie. If there is, well, I sure haven’t found it. This is my first encounter with these beautiful, strange, and EXTEREMLY deadly creatures, and I just fell in love. They seem to be the embodiment of the restless and ruthlessness of the islanders. The people of Thisby live under a mask of politeness and sunny attitudes, but in reality, there is a dark and almost…angry? No, not angry…damn, what’s the word I’m looking for…brutality? Yeah. That’s it. But there is an unguarded beauty to the water horse. I just love them and wish that they were real.

Thankfully, Shawn and Puck (Kate is her real name. Why she’s called Puck? Eh…) were likeable characters from the beginning. Both strong and dependable characters who are at their breaking points and doing what they can, anything, to keep themselves and their world from falling apart around them. There’s not too much to say about them other than they are completely refreshing characters in the world of Young Adult. No whining. No instant falling in love. Just two people struggling. They are doing what they need to do to get by. Period. It makes these characters, with all their flaws and guilt and fears and pipe dreams so wonderfully realistic. Granted, they do grow closer together and there is a small, a VERY SMALL kiss shared between the two characters, but it’s like in the last fourth of the book so it’s whatever. Their relationship with each is developed naturally and not forced in anyway. Like I said, it’s a nice change from what you read in most Young Adult books (i.e. Stiefvater’s other series, the Wolves of Mercy Falls or whatever it’s called. Blah. I am so not reading the second book and I’m SO glad I read this book first. Not even sure if doing a review on Shiver is even worth it…).

So can you tell I loved this book. I loved this book so much. You know it’s a good book if you can survive it ripping your heart out of your chest and leave you a heaping mess on the floor…and you like it. This book is gorgeous and beautiful tale with the right amount of heart break and triumph. Oh, and did I mention this is a stand alone novel? Not a series? Awesome. Anyway, read this book! You will not regret it. 

Until next time. 
Remember to be yourself...unless you can be a pirate.
Then always be the pirate!!