03 December 2013

Review: The House of Hades by Rick Riordan

Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Hardcover: 597 pages
Publisher: Hyperion Books

At the conclusion of The Mark of Athena, Annabeth and Percy tumble into a pit leading straight to the Underworld. The other five demigods have to put aside their grief and follow Percy’s instructions to find the mortal side of the Doors of Death. If they can fight their way through the Gaea’s forces, and Percy and Annabeth can survive the House of Hades, then the Seven will be able to seal the Doors both sides and prevent the giants from raising Gaea. But, Leo wonders, if the Doors are sealed, how will Percy and Annabeth be able to escape?

They have no choice. If the demigods don’t succeed, Gaea’s armies will never die. They have no time. In about a month, the Romans will march on Camp Half-Blood. The stakes are higher than ever in this adventure that dives into the depths of Tartarus.

So it's been a while since I've written a review. My life has been hectic, with many changes and things to do; however I had to make time to read The House of Hades upon its release. Why, do you ask? The reasons are obvious: Rick Riordan is a genius and his books are absolute must-reads. The House of Hades was no exception.

The previous book on the Heroes of Olympus series was already an amazing read but The House of Hades was impossibly better. I loved that Percy/Annabeth and the rest of the crew were apart for the most part of the novel, since it gave us two very different settings. Furthermore I found it interesting to see how Percy and Annabeth held their own in Tartarus; the visit of an old character was also a great addition. But even though my love is with the characters of the Percy Jackson series, the other characters also got their chance to shine by themselves. I love each and every character in this series! I'm bitting my nails already to know how things will close up in the final installment.

Somehow The House of Hades was a more heavy and sad read. There is no huge cliffhanger like in the last one but I found its ending beautiful and fitting. I couldn't put this one down not even for a second and even though it is full of ups and downs, this book didn't disappoint in the slightest. Sometimes I wish I had Rick Riordan's brain; he certainly has awesome ideas for the plot of his novels. I wish I could live in a world where his characters really did exist and Greek mythology wasn't just a myth. Nevertheless I'm so happy to be able to live in it through reading these novels.

Needless to say, I need the next installment of the Heroes of Olympus series on my hands right this instant. 

15 October 2013

ARC Review: Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

Release Date: October 15th, 2013
Hardcover: 512 pages
Publisher: Disney Hyperion 

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster. 
When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her. 
As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?

Never Fade was a 512-paged masterpiece. If this was only the second novel in this series, I can't wait to get my hands on the third one. Mostly, authors tend to lose the momentum set in the first novel, but this was certainly not the case with Alexandra Bracken. This series is, up until this moment, pure awesomeness. Sometimes I don't know if I should/can write a review about a novel that I simply loved, from beginning to end. It may seem as if I'm exaggerating, but believe me, Never Fade doesn't disappoint in the slightest. 

I already loved all characters in this novel (and yes, even bad Clancy is a character I can't seem to completely dislike) but Bracken couldn't leave it at that. No, she put more awesome and versatile characters in the second installment. Vida, with her refreshing and yet aggressive character and Jude, sweet, sweet Jude. And those of you, who were waiting to get to know Liam's brother, Cole, better...well, the wait is over! I didn't know which brother I liked the most, since they are so different from each other. 

The old characters are, fear not, still amazing. Ruby is an ever-changing character, and I like that a lot. Liam also shows us a new side to himself, since the ending of the last novel did leave us asking ourselves what would happen to him. And Chubs, still as loyal and sweet as before. And also many other characters, new and old, make an appearance.

The pace of the novel is what makes it so special. It isn't slow-going and I'm sure you will stay up all night reading it! With many twists and turns, heart-wrenching and action-filled moments, it will leave readers satisfied and ready for the last installment, which can't come out fast enough! If you haven't started this series yet, you should give it a try. For fans of Shatter Me (by Tahereh Mafi) or any dystopian in general, you will enjoy this one.

Huge thanks to Disney Hyperion and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this amazing novel for review!

25 September 2013

Review: All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Release Date: September 3rd, 2013
368 pages
Disney Hyperion

"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

Like any other time travel novel, All Our Yesterday has those moments in which you have to stop and think about what you've read to make sense of it all (they are not so many, fear not!). However what distinguishes All Our Yesterday from other time travel novels, is that:
- The plot is mindblowing;
- The characters are realistic and ever changing; you can easily differentiate the past Em from her future self;
- There are many twists and turns and guess what, they weren't always that easy to predict
- The ending was bittersweet but fitting

So you see, there is close to nothing for me to criticize in this novel. Maybe I can say that the author wrote a novel so perfect (I could imagine Cristin Terrill sitting and writing this novel especially for me...) that I would leave it that. Therefore I was a bit surprised when I found out that there is to be a sequel! All Our Yesterdays could be the perfect standalone, leaving readers to fantasize about the future of the characters, however I'm equally intrigued and excited to see what the author is planning on doing next!  

I was pulled into this novel from the first chapter and I couldn't put it down, for even a second. I loved that we got to read both Em's past and future points of view leading to the mindblowing ending. Furthermore the characters were easy to discern. Past Em sucked, Future Em was awesome; to better understand why the characters change so much, the author gives the story away slowly (the past and the future chapters intercalate and we understand better what not only led the characters to the decision to go back to that exact moment in their past, but also why that moment changed Finn, Em and James so much). 

The romance was also a bit surprising. I was expecting one thing and then, something else happened in that department. The romance was so bittersweet but really lovely. There are so many life and love lessons in this novel. Sometimes we have a crush on someone who doesn't deserve it; sometimes there is someone who likes us and we don't open our eyes enough to see it; sometimes love is something that comes after experiencing something and holding on together...but not only that, but if you could go back to the past, what would you say to yourself? Could you hurt someone for the sake of the whole future? I honestly wouldn't know what I would do in Em's and Finn's shoes.

All Our Yesterdays was a surprisingly un-freaking-believably good read! I wasn't expecting to like it THIS much. It has certainly made into my "best of 2013" list. As said, I'm a bit afraid of the sequel, since I enjoyed this one so much and don't want it to be one of those superfluous sequels, nevertheless I'm getting my hands on it! I loved the characters, I loved the story, I loved the setting...yes, I'm completely blown away by it and I'm certain you will be too!