The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / January 8, 2014

I had been initially reluctant to read The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, despite the many positive reviews, mainly because of its subject matter.  It deals with the romance between two teenage cancer survivors.  I eventually relented when I saw that my local library had an e-copy, which was duly downloaded to my Kobo. From the first few pages I fell in love with these characters – it was clear that Green had put a lot of effort into creating them as unique, individuals with their own hopes, fears and desires, who just happen to be ill with cancer.  I ended up purchasing my own copy of the book, as I suspect I will reread it more than once. What I liked The characters.  As I mentioned, I fell in love with these characters.  The beauty of Green’s writing is that Hazel and Augustus are not defined by their illnesses.  They are two young people who happen to be living with cancer.  Hazel is defined more by her love of the book “An Imperial Affliction”, which is a plot point in the novel, and her obsession with America’s Next Top Model.  Augustus’ sharp wit and fun-loving nature is…

Legend by Marie Lu – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / December 30, 2013

Legend by Marie Lu is the first in a YA dystopian trilogy and tells the story of Day and June two teenagers on the opposite sides of the political fence.  June is a young government soldier, while Day is a freedom fighter.  When June’s brother is killed during a raid on a hospital in which Day is taking part, their paths collide. What I liked The romance.  It’s an old trope, but an effective one, to have the protagonists fall in love but be unaware that they are in fact mortal enemies because of their political viewpoints.  (see You’ve Got Mail, Pillow Talk, The Shop Around the Corner)The added personal motivation of Metias’, June’s brother’s death adds an extra element to the mix.  Lu builds up an excellent tension for the reveal of the identities to each other.  She actually had the revelation take place earlier in the book than I’d expected – however, it works well, as the rest of the book is devoted to finding out the truth behind Metias’ death. The setting.  I found Lu’s world nicely written.  The dystopian side of it is very subtle at first, and it’s only when we learn more about it…

Legend by Marie Lu – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / December 30, 2013

Legend by Marie Lu is the first in a YA dystopian trilogy and tells the story of Day and June two teenagers on the opposite sides of the political fence.  June is a young government soldier, while Day is a freedom fighter.  When June’s brother is killed during a raid on a hospital in which Day is taking part, their paths collide. What I liked The romance.  It’s an old trope, but an effective one, to have the protagonists fall in love but be unaware that they are in fact mortal enemies because of their political viewpoints.  (see You’ve Got Mail, Pillow Talk, The Shop Around the Corner)The added personal motivation of Metias’, June’s brother’s death adds an extra element to the mix.  Lu builds up an excellent tension for the reveal of the identities to each other.  She actually had the revelation take place earlier in the book than I’d expected – however, it works well, as the rest of the book is devoted to finding out the truth behind Metias’ death. The setting.  I found Lu’s world nicely written.  The dystopian side of it is very subtle at first, and it’s only when we learn more about it…

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / December 23, 2013

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer is the second in The Lunar Chronicles series and is loosely based on the fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood.  The narrative is split between continuing the story of Cinder from the first book and following Scarlet as she attempts to find and rescue her kidnapped grandmother. What I liked Strong, intelligent protagonist.  Scarlet, like the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood, is a spirited, feisty young heroine and a lot of fun to read.  I enjoyed her story and watching her learn about her grandmother’s secrets.  I was amused that at the end both of the male protagonists were out of commission and it was up to the ladies to save the day. Intriguing love interest.  The character of Wolf was very well written.  Meyer deliberately keeps the character’s motivations unclear right until the very end and the way Meyer fulfilled the fairytale’s wolf role was masterfully done. There are probably fewer iconic moments to bring over from Little Red Riding Hood – the red cape of course, “what big eyes you have, grandma” and both of those do make an appearance.  I loved the way Meyer brought those and the wolves into her narrative –…

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / December 23, 2013

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer is the second in The Lunar Chronicles series and is loosely based on the fairytale of Little Red Riding Hood.  The narrative is split between continuing the story of Cinder from the first book and following Scarlet as she attempts to find and rescue her kidnapped grandmother. What I liked Strong, intelligent protagonist.  Scarlet, like the fairytale Little Red Riding Hood, is a spirited, feisty young heroine and a lot of fun to read.  I enjoyed her story and watching her learn about her grandmother’s secrets.  I was amused that at the end both of the male protagonists were out of commission and it was up to the ladies to save the day. Intriguing love interest.  The character of Wolf was very well written.  Meyer deliberately keeps the character’s motivations unclear right until the very end and the way Meyer fulfilled the fairytale’s wolf role was masterfully done. There are probably fewer iconic moments to bring over from Little Red Riding Hood – the red cape of course, “what big eyes you have, grandma” and both of those do make an appearance.  I loved the way Meyer brought those and the wolves into her narrative –…

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / December 11, 2013

Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a YA sci-fi novel and is the first in a series of four books based on classic fairytales.  This first one is based on Perrault’s Cinderella.  Many elements of the original are incorporated: the persecuted heroine, the wicked stepmother and stepsisters, Prince Charming, a ball at the palace, the protagonist’s desire to attend thwarted by her stepmother, the pumpkin turned coach, footwear left on the palace step. Cinderella is an interesting choice for the basis of a YA novel.  Generally speaking, YA heroines tend to be strong, proactive heroines (we’ll try to forget Bella Swan for a moment).  This fairytale princess is the epitome of a passive character. In part, that is why the tale is so beloved. The idea that a fairy godmother could suddenly whisk you away from your humdrum existence to a life of luxury and privilege is very appealing to many people.  it’s the ultimate rags to riches story.  As a character though Cinderella is, well, boring.  She does very little to earn her happy ending other than to be generally nice. Fortunately, that is one aspect that Meyer did change for her novel.  Her Cinder is strong, assertive and willing…

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / December 11, 2013

Cinder by Marissa Meyer is a YA sci-fi novel and is the first in a series of four books based on classic fairytales.  This first one is based on Perrault’s Cinderella.  Many elements of the original are incorporated: the persecuted heroine, the wicked stepmother and stepsisters, Prince Charming, a ball at the palace, the protagonist’s desire to attend thwarted by her stepmother, the pumpkin turned coach, footwear left on the palace step. Cinderella is an interesting choice for the basis of a YA novel.  Generally speaking, YA heroines tend to be strong, proactive heroines (we’ll try to forget Bella Swan for a moment).  This fairytale princess is the epitome of a passive character. In part, that is why the tale is so beloved. The idea that a fairy godmother could suddenly whisk you away from your humdrum existence to a life of luxury and privilege is very appealing to many people.  it’s the ultimate rags to riches story.  As a character though Cinderella is, well, boring.  She does very little to earn her happy ending other than to be generally nice. Fortunately, that is one aspect that Meyer did change for her novel.  Her Cinder is strong, assertive and willing…

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / November 13, 2013

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken is a young adult dystopian novel which tells the story of Ruby, a young survivor of the IAANS plague.  IAANS killed off most of the children between the ages of about eight and fourteen and those who survived, like Ruby, are left with supernatural powers.  This frightens the government who responds by placing them in “rehabilitation camps.”  The Darkest Minds is about Ruby’s escape from such a camp and her search for a way to live a normal life. What I liked Multi-layered characters.  The people we meet in The Darkest Minds are generally neither wholly good nor wholly evil.  There are a lot of shades of grey in the characters and it’s often difficult to tell whose side a person is on.  Even those characters who are not, shall we say, altruistically concerned about Ruby’s welfare have good and believable motives for their actions.  This adds a great deal of depth to the characters and a nice level of narrative tension.  Even the mute Suzume has a real personality. Beautifully descriptive writing style.  I immediately fell in love with Bracken’s way of writing.  She has a wonderful way of describing things that made…

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / November 13, 2013

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken is a young adult dystopian novel which tells the story of Ruby, a young survivor of the IAANS plague.  IAANS killed off most of the children between the ages of about eight and fourteen and those who survived, like Ruby, are left with supernatural powers.  This frightens the government who responds by placing them in “rehabilitation camps.”  The Darkest Minds is about Ruby’s escape from such a camp and her search for a way to live a normal life. What I liked Multi-layered characters.  The people we meet in The Darkest Minds are generally neither wholly good nor wholly evil.  There are a lot of shades of grey in the characters and it’s often difficult to tell whose side a person is on.  Even those characters who are not, shall we say, altruistically concerned about Ruby’s welfare have good and believable motives for their actions.  This adds a great deal of depth to the characters and a nice level of narrative tension.  Even the mute Suzume has a real personality. Beautifully descriptive writing style.  I immediately fell in love with Bracken’s way of writing.  She has a wonderful way of describing things that made…

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare – Review
Audiobook reviews , Book Reviews / November 11, 2013

City of Glass by Cassandra Clare is the third in the Mortal Instruments series and ties up the first three books in the series.  In it Valentine’s end game is revealed as is the truth about Jace’s lineage. What I liked Visiting Alicante, the so-called City of Glass.  I was fascinated to see Alicante, the capital of the Shadowhunters.  I personally would have liked to have seen more of how its inhabitants manage without electricity. Logical plot progression.  All of the plot development within the book was entirely logical within the framework of the story.  There were some surprises, certainly, but nothing to disrupt the internal logic of the story.  The foreshadowing was well done and very subtle. The relationships.  I was invested in all the key relationships: Jace/Clary, Luke/Jocelyn, Magnus/Alex.  They were all beautifully written and I was happy that they worked out the way they did. What I didn’t like Pacing.  For once I felt the pacing was slightly off.  For a book that was supposed to tie up a lot of loose ends, there were a lot of slow moments, especially towards the beginning.   Scenery chewing villains.  Personally, I prefer my villains to be a little…