Afterworlds


The Afterworlds on a North Melbourne train platform

Scott Westerfeld
Penguin
Published 24th September 2014
Bought from Megalong Books in Leura, NSW

Since hearing of its impending release all the way back in April at PTALive, I have been eagerly awaiting Scott Westerfeld’s Afterworlds.  Afterworlds is not just one story, but two – the story of Darcy Patel, a high school graduate who just sold the novel she wrote during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those not in the know) told alongside the story she wrote, titled Afterworlds.

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Series Binge Read (1): Fallen Series

series binge read

My first Series Binge Read was the Fallen series by Lauren Kate and took place between August 25th and September 3rd. There are five books – four full length novels and one small novella that fits between books three and four.

Disclaimer – this post includes spoilers but I have at least tried to contain my rage.

So why Fallen?
I read the first three books around four – five years ago when I was 15. It had come just after Twilight and it was during a time when I would read absolutely anything. Scratch that, because I still do that. But I was never as critical as I am now and would often read books, love them and then move on to the next one. I had rated Fallen, Torment and Passion all four stars. I thought it was time I finally finished off the series so I bought the books I didn’t own and had no reason to believe I wouldn’t enjoy these books as much as I did when I was 15.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

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Finale

Finale
Author: 
Becca Fizpatrick
Series: The Hush Hush Saga, Book 4
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Star Rating: 2.5/5
Date Read: June 22nd to 23rd, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
Rejoice! I have made it to the end. This series is over, completed, and resigned to sit on my shelves for the rest of its life because I have a problem. But that’s a story for another day. I know after the last week everyone is dying to know what I thought of how the series ended…
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Silence

Author: Becca Fizpatrick
Series: The Hush Hush Saga, Book 3
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Star Rating: 2.5/5
Date Read: June 21st to 22nd, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
I’m making good progress through this series. On to book three already and looking like I will officially be done with this saga/sequence/whatever in the next couple of days. Thank goodness. I know what you’re thinking, I could have stopped anytime. But let’s face it, that’s just not me. I will read bad books just to be reading something, no matter how angry I get at characters (authors generally spare most of my wrath, maybe unfairly).

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Crescendo

Author: Becca Fizpatrick
Series: The Hush Hush Saga, Book 2
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Star Rating: 3/5
Date Read: June 20th to 21st, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
Crescendo is the sequel to Hush, Hush, the story of the infuriating Nora and her fallen angel lover boy Patch. Right from the start there was a lot about this novel that irked me. They may seem like little things, but they add up to the reading experience of the book as a whole. I’m going to remember those little things. Well, most of them, hopefully.

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Hush, Hush

Author: Becca Fizpatrick
Series: The Hush Hush Saga, Book 1
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Star Rating: 2/5
Date Read: June 15th to 20th, 2014
Read Count: 2
Review:
If you’ve been following my reviews lately, then you would know I have made myself a goal, to start finishing all these series I’ve started and then forgotten about. Next up in my pile was Hush, Hush, which I first read in 2012. Here is my original review(I gave it 3 stars):

I’ve read a lot of negative reviews about this book, but personally I kinda liked it. I read it within around three days, the storyline just grabbed me. Paraanormal romances are a dime a dozen these days, and most aren’t very good at all, but I did enjoy this story of fallen angels. Interesting concepts of getting back into heaven by becoming guardians, or by becoming human by killing a possessed Nephilim host. Not really sure what it was in this book that hooked me, but whatever it was allowed me to overlook some annoying little details, which I won’t point out because then you’ll notice them everywhere. So I’ll leave them for now!


Back then I obviously believed in more of allowing readers to make their own decisions without being influenced by my sorry excuse for a review. These days, that doesn’t bother me so much and I just say exactly what I think in my reviews. Like, that I think Nora is one of the most ‘wishy-washy’ characters I’ve read who seems to have little sense of self-preservation as she continually wanders into dark alleys and other potentially dangerous or just flat-out dangerous situations.

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Half-Bad

Author: Sally Green
Series: Half-Life, Book 1
Publisher: Penguin
Star Rating: 3/5
Date Read: June 2nd to 4th, 2014
Read Count: 1
Review:
I was lucky enough to score a pretty, special silver-covered copy of this book from PTALive Melbourne. Score! But now I’ve read it, and I don’t know how to write this review, and I don’t know how to rate this book. So I’m just going to start typing and hopefully I’ll figure it out…

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Interview with the Vampire

Author: Anne Rice
Series: The Vampire Chronicles, Book 1
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Star Rating: 3/5
Date Read: October 10th to 17th, 2013
Read Count: 1
Review:
I was fascinated by this book. Intrigued. I think those are the right words to describe my relationship with Interview with the Vampire. I thought it was different and kind of exciting and even thrilling in places. I thought Louis was an interesting character. He had typical vampire features and instincts and yet his deeper thoughts, so out of tune with his kind, managed to retain their humanity. His suffering was a little heart wrenching and even overwhelming. But the vampire I felt the most for was Claudia. Imagine being in her position, stuck in a child’s body long after your mind had outgrown it. She had every right to be furious with Lestat and Louis, too, who had he not been such a weasel even through his self-righteousness, could have prevented her turn.

As for the story itself, when it was going, it was really good. Unfortunately there were places where it lagged or my attention wandered. I wasn’t sure if I was going to read the rest of the books in the Chronicles but maybe, just maybe, the last page was enough to change my mind…

Storm

Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elementals, Book 1
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Star Rating: 3.5/5
Date Read: November 26th to 28th, 2013
Read Count: 1
Review:
I’m giving this book 3.5 stars, leaning away from the 3 star rating, closer to the 4. I had a few issues with it but I was so intrigued by it that I’m going to buy the next book.

Becca, as a character, didn’t do much for me. I see her mainly as a catalyst but she’s not particularly useful although not overly stupid either. She’s not quite the strong female character I like to see in YA novels, but I did like her best when she stood up to the boys and slammed the door on them, etc. She has some potential. However, the Merrick brothers are fascinating and I’m enjoying the secret world building that’s been happening. I don’t care that they are ZOMGGG SO HOT (please shut up) and it frustrates me that this was the first thing mentioned about any of the main male characters, Hunter included. I want to know something more interesting than how good looking the boys are. Once we got past that, you could see the depth of character of the four brothers and their history was well developed. The author had clearly spent time on their characters, more time than on Becca or any other secondary characters, and I look forward to see how they develop over further books.

My issues arose, as mentioned before, with the wonderful hotness of all boys involved. I’m sick to death of boys being described that way like that’s all that is important, and also how girls (Becca was very guilty of this) just seem to lose control around them while boys keep their cool. It seems a very dominant thing and in this novel, Hunter particularly was very protective of Becca in an Edward sort of way. Boring and annoying. Let her do what she wants. And yet he let her go off with Drew, with whom she was in the most danger. Go figure.

This book also seems very ‘boys club’ – the four Merrick brothers, Tyler and Seth, Hunter. All the boys are special or different in some way, they have these Elemental ‘powers’ for lack of a better word – but where are the girls? The girls are dramatic, like Quinn, or bitches, like Lilah. Where are the girls with the cool powers? I only hope that this is something to be developed in further books, although I can see Becca getting jealous if any other girls show themselves to be like the brothers. I hope I’m wrong, but at the moment that’s what I’m predicting.

Still, I’m interested enough to want to go and buy the next book to see where it goes.

Find my review of Book 2 of this series, Spark, here.
Find my review of Book 3 of this series,
Spirit, here.
Find my review of Book 4 of this series,
Secret, here.
Find my review of Book 5 of this series,
Sacrifice, here.

 

Spark

Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: Elementals, Book 2
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Star Rating: 3.5/5
Date Read: November 29th, 2013
Read Count: 1
Review:
I’m giving Spark a 3.5 star rating, like I did with Storm, for pretty much the same reasons. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it, but I’m still enjoying the world that’s been developed here. Maybe because it’s a secret, I’m not sure.

I was surprised, picking up this second book from the Elementals series, that this wouldn’t follow Becca and Chris. After Storm, I just expected it to. But then I settled into Gabriel’s shoes and read his story. His voice is completely different from Chris’ – as it should be. I’ve said before that I thought the Merrick brothers were very well developed characters. I stand by that. Gabriel is angry and rash, and Layne I thought was similar. They’re both closed off their real selves from the outside world, are very quick to jump on the defensive and make rapid judgments before they know what’s going on. I understand why Gabriel is so worked up all the time, but his attitude and quite frankly, his rudeness, hasn’t done him any favours. He needs a chill pill, for lack of a better expression.

I thought the storyline of the arson, the fires, was well done – I didn’t pick the culprit! This series is surprising me in little ways like that. The romance wasn’t my favourite and I’m worried these books are going to follow a formula. In this case it’s the Elemental boys meeting normal girls (except Becca wasn’t), but it feels like the formula is already decided – they get the girl in the end. Maybe I’ve been too quick to judge, after just two books. I hope I’m wrong. I’m intrigued enough to read on.

Still having a little trouble with the way girls are presented in these books. The girl who is the main focus is perfect, maybe with some little flaw or insecurity but nothing that can’t be fixed with a few kisses from WonderBoy – and all others are horrible. Please. The real world is not like that. Why did Layne’s best friend turn out to be a bitch? Why couldn’t she have been supportive, rather than use it as her elbow into the popular circles? The boys in this book, other than the Merrick boys and Hunter, have also been displayed in a similar light. Every other boy in the school, it seems, thinks its fine to force himself on a girl, video/photograph it and share it, while laughing at all her imperfections. While I did not go to school in America, I find it hard to believe that everyone’s like this. But I guess the ones that aren’t, aren’t worth mentioning for the purposes of this story. I’m finding it a little annoying but I guess Kemmerer doesn’t want to draw focus away from the main romance to introduce characters with a little compassion and no other motives.

My issues aside (as I always have issues), I’m on to the next one! Curious to see where it goes.

Find my review of Book 1 of this series, Storm, here.
Find my review of Book 3 of this series,
Spirit, here.
Find my review of Book 4 of this series, Secret, here.
Find my review of Book 5 of this series, Sacrifice, here.