Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Clariel - Garth Nix

Excuse me while I get my fangirl on for just a moment: oh my god oh my god oh my god!!! Another Abhorsen book!!! 

Now onto our regularly scheduled review...

Sixteen-year-old Clariel is not adjusting well to her new life in the city of Belisaere, the capital of the Old Kingdom. She misses roaming freely within the forests of Estwael, and she feels trapped within the stone city walls. And in Belisaere she is forced to follow the plans, plots and demands of everyone, from her parents to her maid, to the sinister Guildmaster Kilp. Clariel can see her freedom slipping away. It seems too that the city itself is descending into chaos, as the ancient rules binding Abhorsen, King and Clayr appear to be disintegrating.

With the discovery of a dangerous Free Magic creature loose in the city, Clariel is given the chance both to prove her worth and make her escape. But events spin rapidly out of control. Clariel finds herself more trapped than ever, until help comes from an unlikely source. But the help comes at a terrible cost. Clariel must question the motivations and secret hearts of everyone around her - and it is herself she must question most of all.

So there have been so many books and so many book series, but Garth Nix's Abhorsen series is honestly by far my favorite. Completely. Truly from the bottom of my heart. However, I feel like this is not a widely read series so many people might not know what the heck  is going on in Nix's beautiful, brutal, and breath taking world (gotta love alliteration). In short, the books follow a family known as the Abhorsen. They are sort of like necromancers but instead of calling up the dead, they send them through the the different gates of death. They use bells to have the dead do what they ask and they can actually walk through death. Oh. And death is like this other world. Like I said. Beautiful. Brutal. Breath taking. 

But I better stop there about what the series is about. Otherwise, you would be reading for quite a while. 

Though Clariel is book 4 in this series, it's a prequel to the story itself. The first books are Sabriel, Lireal, and Abhorsen. So you might be asking yourself "so if this is a prequel, can I start with this book. Um. No. You need to read the first three books first. The reason being is that you will have a better understanding of this unique world. Also, there are certain things mentioned in this book that are fun to reflect back on. Clariel is actually a character that reappears in Lirael, but you River Song would say "Spoilers!" 

Nix did a brave thing I think. Instead of a book about Lireal and Nicholas, or even Sabriel and Touchstone (read the books. You will see), he opted to tell us a story about  Clariel...a girl who really deep down in her soul is a hermit. And she's not really all that much of a likable character. And that's interesting. She goes beyond being an anti hero. How can I explain this? Clarial is the type of character that in every other book, is the border line villain, someone who probably needs to be save from herself. 

And you know what? I loved it. I loved that this girl did not really give two shits about anything other than herself and her own wishes to leave everything behind. This book could be seen as a cautionary that says be careful what you wish for, you might get a big boot in your ass. 

This is a fantasy novel so there are times where the story drags and feels tedious. But stick with it. You'll be pleasantly surprised. The writing is beautiful though. Each word carefully chosen to reflect a particular character. The ending of the boom is EPIC and that alone should be enough. 

"But Candace" you asking, "what happens?!" Mm mm...sorry. Read the books. Spoilers. 

This book, like the others, just makes me happy. It breaks away from the typical young adult formula, daring to be literature rather than just brain candy. Don't get me wrong brain candy is nice, but Clariel is a strong and fiercely independent young woman who at the same time is so flawed and so borderline unlikable, that it's refreshing. She isn't pining away from some dude. In fact, she doesn't really care about relationships and sex at all. All she wants is to live amongst the trees and live in solitude. And sadly, that doesn't happen. There. One sorta spoiler. Not necessarily a happy ending.  

Do me a favor and read this book series. Please! Because I really need other people to talk about with! 

Thank you for reading 
Remember to always be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate. Then always be the pirate!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Reboot - Amy Tintera

Well now. So in the future, the perfect super soldiers are teenagers who came back from the dead. Oh, and apparently Texas is an independent nation. Yeah. It could happen. Totally. Well, that last part anyway. You know, about Texas being its country…

Five years ago, Wren Connolly was shot three times in the chest. After 178 minutes she came back as a Reboot: stronger, faster, able to heal, and less emotional. The longer Reboots are dead, the less human they are when they return. Wren 178 is the deadliest Reboot in the Republic of Texas. Now seventeen years old, she serves as a soldier for HARC (Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation). Wren’s favorite part of the job is training new Reboots, but her latest newbie is the worst she’s ever seen. As a 22, Callum Reyes is practically human. His reflexes are too slow, he’s always asking questions, and his ever-present smile is freaking her out. Yet there’s something about him she can’t ignore. When Callum refuses to follow an order, Wren is given one last chance to get him in line—or she’ll have to eliminate him. Wren has never disobeyed before and knows if she does, she’ll be eliminated, too. But she has also never felt as alive as she does around Callum.
The perfect soldier is done taking orders.
I first came across this book in a YouTube review done by one of my favorite book vloggers. Her description of the book and review pretty much matches mine. If you have a few minutes, you should watch it. This Kat is delightful! You should subscriber to her channel! Her YouTube name is Katytastic. For real. She's adorable.
Any who, this book. Right. It’s a take on the zombie genre. I love zombie tales. They are fun. Zombie tales allow us to look at the different aspects of humanity when the shit hits the fan. But this tale…this tale is different. The story of Wren178 is that of dying and then waking up with your intelligence still in enact. However, you don’t get to go home. You get shipped off to a government facility to be turned into a zombie solider. The longer your dead, the stronger you are. The longer you’re dead, the less your humanity stays intact.  This is Wren. She seems to be void of all emotion and just seems indifferent to the circumstances around her. The only thing that brings her any type of joy is training the newbie Reboots. And that is where we meet Callum…and that is when things just start going downhill. He challengers her every step of the way and questions everything. It truly does drive her crazy. On top of her 22 minute dead Reboot, there is some other things going on throughout the facility that she is at. The lower numbered Reboots are acting like…well, zombies. They are crazed and loose themselves in periods of frenzied animal behavior. Then the men in lab coats give them shots and they pass out, waking the next morning (almost) like their old selves. Wren soon begins to feel those troublesome emotions as if she were still a human. At that point, things do kind of go to shit.
Over all, I really enjoyed this story. Like all young adult tales, there is a romance element that develops between Wren and Callum, but thankfully, it is not the focal point of the story. The story is about Wren and Callum trying to escape the Reboot compound and the shadiness of a world that is using children/teenagers as some kind of super soldiers. How did all this happen? No clue. All we know is that Texas said “Deuces!” to the United States of America, making its own country and that there is a chance that if you die, you are going to wake back up. I’m okay with the lack of details of this world. For a story like this, it’s sometimes best for the author to tell the reader, “This is the way of world and I don’t have time to truly delve into the why. You just have to trust me.” And thankfully, I wasn’t stabbed in the back with trusting Amy Tintera and her story telling (Yes, I’m still bitter about Veronica Roth and the Allegiant fiasco). I didn’t have a problem attaching to Wren and following her on the rediscovery of her emotions and also the conspiracy theory that was developing about the Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation, or HARC. The action was well written and with Wren’s voice telling the story, it was easy to follow and conjure up those images of a badass Reboot. The tale ends with a great cliff hanger that begs for the second book, Rebel, to be read to see what happens with Wren and Callum and all the other Reboots in the Republic of Texas.
My only little niggle with this story was, of course, the budding romance between Wren and Callum. I know it’s what seems to be a staple in all Young Adult books. But for once, I would like to read about a two people who can just be friend and not develop forced affection for each out. Wren and Callum on the run from the HARC should be enough. Their banter back and forth was natural and easy. Two friends. So why must there be a romance? Maybe I should just be glad that there’s not a love triangle…
If you are looking for an interesting take on zombies and do really wish that Texas was it’s own separate country, then give this book a read. It is fun, the writing is good, and there is a good bit of butt kicking action.
Until next time!
Remember to be yourself. Unless you can be a pirate…then always be a pirate!