Book Corner, Dystopia, Home, Young Adult

Review: The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

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Trigger warnings: molestation and sexual harassment

It’s been a while since I read a really, really good YA science fiction.

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As stated by the blurb, the story is about a teenager with a dangerous, inexplicable ability who has been locked away in a camp full of kids like her when she was just a child. According to the government, these abilities are the result of a deadly plague that either kills children or gives them supernatural powers, and the camps are designed to help cure them of their disease.

In reality though, and we figure this out very early in the book, the camps are simply a cross between torture camps and science labs where these helpless children are experimented on and brutally abused on a daily basis.

Sounds familiar doesn’t it? I mean, there are so many novels out there with a similar premise about mutation/diseases resulting in human beings who are different and society’s immediate reaction is to fear them and hate them. And yet, The Darkest Minds is still unique and intriguing enough to keep its readers engaged because it is more than just a story about mutants trying to fight for their basic rights and it is more than just a story about good versus evil. What makes The Darkest Minds so beautiful in my opinion is the way the novel explores how this mutation personally affected each child and their respective families, as well as the society as a whole, and how the government manipulated and used this crisis to further their own agenda instead of helping its people. This novel also examines just how complex the oppression of a particular group can be, and how it is nearly impossible to break away from such oppression because the oppression began with a system that had been designed to work against these people. In this novel, Alexandra Bracken explores how difficult it is to dismantle structural abuse and how over time people become desensitized to it in their attempts to simply survive.

I also loved how there was no loophole whatsoever in the plot. I have this terrible habit of nitpicking a novel and trying to see if the author missed anything important–for instance, in a novel where children are either dying off before they can reach the age of 16 and those who survive are being, for all intents and purposes, expelled out of society, there would be a huge impact on world economy. Alexandra Bracken makes sure to cover these important aspects too, which made this novel all the more interesting to read.

I also loved the fact that there are no specific villain here–and there shouldn’t be, not with this premise. Besides the government itself, there are other antagonists who are morally grey, and while their complexity made this story exciting, I couldn’t help but feel terrible about the poor children who have no one who truly have their best interests at heart.

And of course, there are the characters. Each and every character, from our protagonist to the supporting characters were wonderfully fleshed out and well developed. Ruby, our narrator, reminded me of Juliette from Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me series, but unlike Juliette, Ruby is much stronger; she is obviously a survivor and I loved that in spite of growing up amidst such violence she managed to stay sane and have a strong moral sense.

Liam, our MC’s love interest, is absolutely adorable and the non-romantic scenes between him and Ruby were just as good as the romantic ones. They complement each other perfectly, and I especially loved how protective Ruby felt about him–usually, that’s something we see in our male characters only, giving rise to the stereotype that men are generally the protectors and the women are the ones who need protection.

Chubs is also another adorable, sassy character and personally I shipped him with Ruby (though I knew it would never happen) because of the way they progressed from hating each other to respecting each other before finally learning to care deeply about each other. I believe that the best relationships are those that are founded on friendship, so I really would have loved to see these two become something more.

(Plus it would be nice to see the designated sidekick get the girl for once)

Oh and Zu! Every scene with little Zu made my heart melt. If only I could reach into this book and give this sweetheart a bear hug and shower her with a thousand kisses and sparkly dresses and remind her that she is not evil, no matter what the world said.

Honestly guys, just read this book for this darling eleven-year-old okay? You won’t regret it.

Now you might ask: if this book is all that great why not just give it 5 coffee cups?

Well…

There were certain important scenes during the climax of the story that were unclear and unambiguous–the writing was very vague and it was hard to understand what was actually happening. Normally I wouldn’t lower my rating for a book for just one flaw, but these scenes were so critical that I simply have to subtract one coffee cup.

We are almost at the end of this review but before I wrap things up there is something I would like to note: there is one particular scene of molestation in this book. I am mentioning this because as someone with a personal history of sexual abuse, this scene was very important to me. The author did justice to the response of the character in that situation, and though it did bring up some unpleasant memories it also made me feel…I don’t know…it also somehow made me feel less helpless and less alone about what had happened to me, because it was a reminder that there are other survivors like me too.

The ending was absolutely spot on! It was heartbreaking (of course it was) and it made me miserable for two whole days, but it was also crucial turning point for our characters, and I cannot wait to see how they grow in the next books.

All the world shall be your enemy, prince of a thousand enemies. When they catch you they will kill but first they must catch you, digger, runner, prince with all the swift excuse. Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be destroyed.

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Are you a fan of YA Sci-fi and Fantasy? If so, what are the three things you love the most in this genre? Tell me in the comments below <3

Happy reading!

Dystopia, Home, Young Adult

Review: Queen of the Tearling

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Ratings: 3/5 3 out of 5

 

Kelsea Glynn is the sole heir to the throne of Tearling but has been raised in secret by foster parents after her mother – Queen Elyssa, as vain as she was stupid – was murdered for ruining her kingdom. For 18 years, the Tearling has been ruled by Kelsea’s uncle in the role of Regent however he is but the debauched puppet of the Red Queen, the sorceress-tyrant of neighbouring realm of Mortmesme. On Kelsea’s 19th birthday, the tattered remnants of her mother’s guard – each pledged to defend the queen to the death – arrive to bring this most un-regal young woman out of hiding…

And so begins her journey back to her kingdom’s heart, to claim the throne, earn the loyalty of her people, overturn her mother’s legacy and redeem the Tearling from the forces of corruption and dark magic that are threatening to destroy it. But Kelsea’s story is not just about her learning the true nature of her inheritance – it’s about a heroine who must learn to acknowledge and live with the realities of coming of age in all its insecurities and attractions, alongside the ethical dilemmas of ruling justly and fairly while simply trying to stay alive..

I’ll be honest, I had very low expectations for this book, partly because of the abundance of negative reviews this book has on Goodreads and partly because of Emma Watson’s apparent obsession with this book. Now that I have finally read it myself, I am pleasantly surprised: Queen of the Tearling is an intriguing, entertaining, well-written piece of fantasy and a classic example of why we should all read a book ourselves in order to form our own opinion instead of listening to what the mass people are saying. The characters were very interesting and well developed–Kelsea is by far one of my favorite female characters; she has her flaws like any nineteen-year-old but what sets her apart Continue reading “Review: Queen of the Tearling”

Adult Fiction, Dystopia, Home

Review: The Fifth Season

First off, a huge thanks to Aentee from Read At Midnight for recommending this book. Had I known what a jewel The Fifth Season is, I would have read it sooner. Click here for her review of the book.

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Synopsis

THIS IS THE WAY THE WORLD ENDS… FOR THE LAST TIME.
A season of endings has begun.
It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world’s sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun.
It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter.
It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.
This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.


Ratings: ☕☕☕☕☕ 5/5

Let’s start with the end of the world, why don’t we? Get it over with and move on to more important things.

There are many great, well-known fantasy books that have a strong engaging narration, incredibly realistic and powerful world building, heartbreaking plot twists and characters so unforgettable that you can’t help but be emotionally invested in them as if they were real, all written with such skill and perfect execution that you are transported into a time and place far far away from the reality you live in, which is exactly the reason why you read fantasy in the first place. To discover a world unlike any you know.

Then there’s The Fifth Season.

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Continue reading “Review: The Fifth Season”

Dystopia, Home, Young Adult

Review: Ignite Me (Shatter Me#3) by Tahereh Mafi

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This is my review of the third and final installment of the Shatter Me series by Tahereh MafiTo see my review of the previous books, click here (book 1) and here (book 2).

SEE GOODREADS BLURB HERE

Review: ☕☕☕☕(4/5)

That awkward moment when you are supposed to review a book but it’s so incredibly, inexpressibly great that you really have no idea how to articulate your thoughts so you could explain the magic that this book is.

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Ignite Me by  Tahereh Mafi was everything I wanted it to be, which is to say a lot because my expectations for this book was probably as high as Mt. Everest. After the way Unravel Me ended, I couldn’t help but want to see how the writer ties it all up in the last and final book of the series. Safe to say, I was not disappointed at all.

Continue reading “Review: Ignite Me (Shatter Me#3) by Tahereh Mafi”

Dystopia, Home, Young Adult

Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me#2)


 

This review will be rather short and lacking my usual mess of gif due to my neck injury (in case you don’t know, I had a car accident 3 weeks ago and I’m still in recovery. Nothing too serious, just ligament damage at the back of my neck). 


 


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SEE GOODREADS BLURB HERE

Ratings:  ☕☕☕☕ (4/5)

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi is the second book of the amazing Shatter Me series and takes place about two weeks after the events of the first book. If you want, you can read my review of Shatter Me here.

I won’t lie, while Unravel Me was just as beautifully written as its prequel–Tahereh Mafi continues to amaze me with her brilliant, poetic,

Continue reading “Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me#2)”

Dystopia, Home, Self-Published/Indie, Young Adult

ARC Review: Chained (Cage of Lies #1) By Susanne Valenti

Ratings: ☕☕☕

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READ BLURB HERE

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

Normally I’m very reluctant when it comes to reading self-published or “indie” books because previous experiences weren’t exactly positive. While Chained by Susanne Valenti may not be on my top 10 list, it’s certainly much better than most self-published books I have ever read.

The Writing: One of the things that drew me in about this book was the writing—it was quite simple, but the world-building was amazing. I particularly loved the description of Harbor City; the imagery was incredibly vivid and I could easily picture the complex system of skyscrapers and connecting towers in my head. In fact, one of the strongest points of the book was the way the surroundings and the events were described—for most of the book, the writing was so lifelike that it was easy to dive in to the dystopian world the book was set in.

Continue reading “ARC Review: Chained (Cage of Lies #1) By Susanne Valenti”

Dystopia, Home, Young Adult

Review: Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #1.5)

Ratings: 5/5 ☕☕☕☕☕

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Before I start my review…

OMG WARNER!!!

Review: Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #1.5)

Oookay now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to the actual review, shall we?

When I read Shatter Me, I knew that Tahereh Mafi was a brilliant writer, but I never knew exactly how talented she actually is until I read Destroy Me—a novella from the perspective of Warner, a ruthless powerful young man of questionable sanity. And while this book did meet all of my expectations, there were still many things that Continue reading “Review: Destroy Me by Tahereh Mafi (Shatter Me #1.5)”

Dystopia, Home, Young Adult

Review: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh mafi

Ratings: 5/5  ☕☕☕☕☕

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Despite the five coffee cups, this is not a book I would recommend to everyone because of the following reasons–

1) This is a depressing book, seeing as how our protagonist is a psychologically unstable teenager who had suffered years of verbal and physical abuse from everyone around her, including her parents.

Continue reading “Review: Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh mafi”