Saturday, August 10, 2013

3 Book Reviews, 1 Giveaway: THE CHAOS OF STARS, REBOOT, and SIEGE AND STORM

This blog post is going to be a three-in-one sort of deal, but to reward anyone for reading three reviews (which I hope y’all do because these books are great), I am also giving away an ARC of The Chaos of Stars by Kiersten White. And without further ado, let the reviewing begin!

The Chaos of Stars
Author: Kiersten White
Publisher: HarperTeen (imprint of HarperCollins Publishers)
Publication Date: September 9, 2013
Pages: 228

I believe in magic. A childhood growing up reading Harry Potter and waving sticks like wands has not been cancelled out by age and the real world. Experience continues to press me further into the embrace of the otherworldly, and perhaps that is why I found The Chaos of Stars to be a breath of fresh air in the realm of mythical books written for teens.

(Full disclosure: I haven’t read the Percy Jackson series. So no judgies.)

However, The Chaos of Stars doesn’t feel like those books. It isn’t a series. The danger isn’t some evil figure out to destroy the world. It’s a book about family and the bonds between loved ones (and not so loved ones).

Isadora may be the daughter of gods but she isn’t powerful; in fact, she’s mortal. This book is less a retelling of myth and more a natural exploration of how myths have adapted to change and now live quiet lives among unsuspecting humans. And it’s fascinating.

I believed every second of it and that, I think, is the highest praise I can give any book. Just like I believe that my house is hidden by some kind of strange magic from the owls carrying my Hogwarts letter, I believe in the mythology that White has used so well in weaving Isadora’s story.

Author: Amy Tintera
Publisher: HarperTeen
Available Now
Pages: 365

I did a semi-review a few posts ago, so if I repeat anything, I don’t care. That said, Reboot is everything the author blurbs on the covers say it is.

“Fast-paced and thrilling—I devoured this book!” –Veronica Rossi (Under the Never Sky)

“A bone-breaking heroine fights for her life, her love, and what remains of her humanity in this fresh take on a world gone wrong.” –Lissa Price (Starters)

Wren 178 is a no nonsense character. As a child, she contracted the deadly KDH virus (kind of like a modified zombie virus) and during a supposed break-in was shot three times in the chest and killed along with her parents. Once dead, she rose 178 minutes later as a Reboot. Her role in the world after that became much simpler: follow orders.

She exists as a tool for the Human Advancement and Repopulation Corporation (HARC) to hunt down criminals and rogue Reboots. Because it took 178 minutes for her to “wake up,” Wren is super fast and super strong. The longer a Reboot is “dead” equals the strength of a Reboot once he or she awakens. I must admit, I find this semi-zombie virus style epidemic and resulting super humans to be a fascinating concept.

Part of Wren’s job is to train new Reboots, and the narrative really picks up once Wren gets her new trainee: Callum 22. He’s the lowest number she’s ever trained and it is her decision to train him that thrusts her into new territory and propels the Bourne-paced action of the story. I flinched a few times to be honest. Wren 178 really is a “bone-breaking heroine.”

My only niggling qualm about Reboot is about the pacing near the end. Everything seems to happen all at once, things falling into place miraculously (or so it appeared to me) one after the other. Click, click, click into neat stacks. It’s not a bad ending, but it isn’t a “Wow, would you look at that!” ending either. It’s…adequate, particularly since there will be more to follow.

Despite that, I can confidently say that I do recommend Reboot and I hope you all read it at some point or another because I have a feeling it might be made into a movie, a la The Hunger Games. Or at the least a TV show. Like I said, the KDH virus premise is just too appealing to pass up. If I were a producer (*cough* Joss Whedon *cough*), I’d snap it up in a heartbeat.

(*eyes Hollywood*)

And finally…

Siege and Storm
Author: Leigh Bardugo
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Available Now
Pages: 432

It doesn’t happen often but I’m at a loss for words. How shall I begin to talk about this second installment in The Grisha Trilogy? Ummm, well, I read it today in about three hours and once I finished I had to wait 30 minutes before I was able to tweet anything comprehensible.

Sometimes books affect me that way. I squeak when I try to summarize them to people, stumble over the plot points, and wave my hands to try to gesture-describe what my mouth can’t. It’s a strange state, I give you that, but it’s part of who I am.

Siege and Storm is one of those books, along with any Harry Potter, The Night Circus, and any Shannon Hale novel. There are a few others, but y’all don’t need a comprehensive list of topics that make me tongue-tied.

If you’re a Shadow and Bone fan but haven’t read Siege and Storm, then let me say this: buy it but don’t read it until the last book, Ruin and Rising, is released because it’s TORTURE having to wait. My brain is leaving claw marks on the inside of my skull because I have to wait until June 5, 2014 to find out what happens next. Just look at the first few “reviews” on Goodreads and all the GIF sets that I want to use are there.

Now that I’ve rambled, for, like, ever, I suppose I can actually provide somewhat of a summary/review. Ahem.

After Alina Starkov escapes the sexy clutches of The Darkling with equally sexy Mal, she tries to put her life back together while on the run. Of course, this can’t last and Alina is forced to assume her role as the Sun Summoner and as the only person in the world who is capable of standing up to the malicious (and handsome) force of The Darkling. There are new perils in this continuation of The Grisha Trilogy and Alina must make some difficult decisions, about power, about love, and about herself. The hunt is on for powerful artifacts and for a resolution to the power struggle in Ravka and the mysterious Fold. Darkness is gaining ground, but can Alina, the conflicted Sun Summoner with a growing cult following, hold back its sway over the land?

Whew. What a summary.

I feel like I need to give something away now. Just fill out the Rafflecopter survey below to earn entries and you might just win an ARC of The Chaos of Stars! Yay! It goes without saying that the contest is only viable in the continental U.S. and Canada. Remember, college student=no money. Best of luck guys!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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