August 21, 2012

Review: Crossed - Ally Condie

Well hello there!

Just recently, I posted my review for Matched (you can read it here) and if you still didn't read Matched, I'd advise you not to read this review. I will try not to spoil Crossed for anyone, but I can't be held responsible for Matched spoilers.

Now that the warning has been made...

It's not a popular opinion, but I really liked Crossed. I thought it had an amazing world building, it showed us a lot of what people were questioning after Matched and it let us see what Society is really like - on the not so perfect side.

We start seeing Cassia at a kind of forced work camp. She's arranged with her parents to be deemed a rebel and they ask her to be sent there to be disciplined. Actually, they are trying to help her to find Ky.

Ky, on the other hand, has been sent to the Outer Provinces where he is expected to pretend he lives there, pretend he's a settler/farmer while, on the other hand, enduring attacks from "the Enemy" and just die, eventually.

Crossed alternates points of view between Cassia and Ky. We get a small moment of Xander when he visits Cassia - after all, they are still Matched together, their Match was never undone by Society.

Cassia goes off to the Outer Provinces, after Ky, to look for him and, while at it, she also starts looking for the Rising, the last drop of resistance against The Society. She's not quite sure, yet, why she's trying to fight the Society. She's not sure it's all bad, but she wants to love Ky and if she wants that, she must be willing to leave The Society and work with her life the way people used to and more - not only deciding for herself, but fighting all those who want to decide for her.

People say this book is bad and that it's too slow. I sort of agree. But not really. It's not slow, I mean, Matched was slow as hell, this isn't worse, it does, however, show a lot more personal growth for the characters, a lot more of who they are and what they think. Also, we get to know a lot about Ky, which we didn't before, and we get to see so much of the Society's hidden side that I find this book much better than Matched. It's kind of predictable at times, but still surprises us, sometimes. It raises more questions than it answers and I really do hope they answer at least a lot of them on Reached, or I'll be very frustrated. I like books with a decent dose of internal/emotional growth as well as some action and yay new characters.

With Matched, we learnt more about the green tablet and how it keeps people calm (and Cassia's thing with her grandpa over not taking it), how it helps people be controlled, since they are under control, not anxious and not really thinking about their problems. With Crossed, we learn about the blue tablet, the one that is said to help you, if you are caught without food or water, you can just take one and be fine. With Reached we will hear more about the red tablet, I am sure. We know it makes people forget... And how many people have taken it already? What have they all forgotten? How much has been forgotten by society as a whole?

Other questions I'd like answered include (but are not limited to):
- Who is The Enemy and how did they become "The Enemy"? 
- What happened (history-wise) to create the separation between The Society and The Enemy?
- What's with that weird Society Employee who told Cassia that they'd put Ky's name on her card? Why did she lie like that?
- What's with The Rising and what's the connection with The Society?
- What's with Xander? Did he know... (spoiler)?
- What's happened to the artifacts? Where are the things that were "removed" from The Society?
- What's happened to the farmers (sure we know part, but why now?)?
- What's happening in The Society? Why it's getting different?


My guesses on things that will be told/happen on Reached:
- Cassia is the Pilot.
- She's meeting Xander at the end of Crossed.
- The Enemy doesn't exist. It is The Society's way of killing people they can't or won't control and a scare tactic.
- The Rising is not quite as clandestine and not quite as "against" The Society as it wants people to think.
- The red pill has been used in almost everyone. People who can't forget, if found out, become The Rising or Anomalies/Abominations (depending on how dangerous they can be)
- There's something in the past The Society wants forgotten. It's deliberatelly erasing people's pasts.

August 16, 2012

Review: Matched - Ally Condie

I really love dystopias.
But Matched has been on my "To Be Read" pile for months, I just didn't get to it and it wasn't pulling me in. It did feel like a decent distopia, but it also felt too teen-ish and Twilight-y.

The story tells us about Cassia, a teenager of the Society. Where she lives, the government and all its ramifications is called The Society and it's all perfect. Her life is all planned - they control everything, where she lives, what she eats, where she goes to school, where she goes to work and, more than anything, who she's going to marry and all their actions together (children, houses, jobs) but that is not considered a bad thing, they are not really opressed, but they are happy, they understand that only the Society knows what is best for them, since they have the technology and methods to predict what each person should have.

Cassia is fine with it and excited about it. She's 15 and she's going to her Matching Banquet, where she will meet her Match, the person she is most compatible to in the whole of Society and who she's going to marry.

It's very unlikely to be Matched with someone you aleady know. With so many people all over the Society, the probability is small, but that's exactly what happens to Cassia: she is Matched with one of her best friends, Xander, and it feels right. When they tell her he's her Match, she feels like she should've known, since they like each other very much and that the Society is always so right, they knew it even when she didn't.

But when her card flickers and another face shows up, a face she knows too, but that wasn't an option, she starts to question everything. She is sure the Society knows what it's doing... But does it? Ky is so mysterious and sweet. He knows so much and tells so little... And Cassia has a desire to know.

This is where I stopped writing this review, months ago. I have conflicted feelings up to this day. Even after reading the sequel. Let me try to explain...

This book is slow. When you think back, nothing happens in it and it makes you turn pages quickly because the scenes and all of the plot could have taken half the book to happen, but, on the other hand, taking as long, allows you to know much more about The Society and that's what attracted me that much. You see, I didn't like the pace, but I did love the setting of the story and that's, mostly, what's kept me reading. I'm sort of over YA love triangles... But not while I'm reading them.

There's this thing, where... While you are reading the book, you don't feel like it's silly or dumb or teen-ish. But when you finish and review it, you decide that it's not really that good, that's mostly written for love-sick teenagers. And then you go wild and read the sequel. lol

Cassia is not really a passive girl, which was interesting. She had her doubts, she's just a teen after all and she's lived all her life without thinking - without even thinking about thinking - so you have to give her some credit, but she decided that life is worth living - REALLY living - and that people deserve to be, well, people, with rights and wrongs, with issues and loves and all that comes with it. I respect that.

I recommend Matched to people who enjoy a love triangle, who enjoy dystopias (Admirable New World style) and who aren't bothered when the book doesn't have much action.

Stay tuned for my review of Crossed, Matched's sequel.

You can buy Matched at Amazon.

August 13, 2012

About Blogging

Well hello there!

You might have noticed that I've been kind of gone and now kind of back? All my... 5 readers or so :)
I'm really convinced of the theory that the less time you have, the more you do, because you end up making the most of your time. That's what's happening to me lately.

I'm doing 5 classes at college (which is the most that someone will do, since that means 5 nights a week) and working all day (8am to 7pm). Aside from that, I maintain 2 and a half blogs, so that's a lot of work.

For a while now, I've let this blog down, poor thing, and I have so many reviews late. Mostly books I've bought or won in giveaways or in gifts, but still they deserve their reviews!

I've also decided to play with the layout, as you can see, I'm using a basic one now. That's because DisqUs wouldn't show the "x comments" thing on my main page with my old layout (which I loved, but just didn't work right!), so I'm trying a new one... But I didn't get to changing the header or, well, anything, just yet.

I'm back to writing reviews, I think my block is over, and I've been reading quite a lot lately, so that's really good, because my list is huge nowadays.

These 5 classes I'm taking are, actually, my last ones. I'm graduating college this year, finally, and then I'm taking at least a year off. I need it, definitely. I will have a few chaotic months near the end of the semester, so I can't promise I'll keep on posting like I am now (I'm aiming at 2 times a week), but I will be posting as often as possible.

So, that's about it. Just wanted to give you some news... And keep on checking back, I'll be posting several new reviews this month :)

August 10, 2012

Review: The Do-Over - Andrew Hessel

May I say I'm in awe?

I just finished "The Do-Over" by Andrew Hessel and, well, it's been a while since I stopped what I had to do and did what I wanted to do: write this review. It's been a while since I finished a book by wasting one good hour of much needed sleep and then spent another 30 minutes laying awake thinking of it. It's been a while since I last ran to the computer to write a review.

That's not to say I didn't absolutelly love the books I finished reading before this one. That's just to say that The Do-Over has touched me. So let's do this!

Summary: Kimberly Ann “Kiki” Kinsler is a twenty-one year-old college student excited to be returning home to Portland, Oregon for summer break and eager to see her family. Instead of the happy homecoming that she anticipates, Kiki’s world is upended by an unimaginable tragedy. Her parents and younger sister are dead, victims of Little Mo Biggs, a tragically accidental monster, himself a victim of profound parental neglect and abuse. Kiki is also attacked and hospitalized but survives. In the hospital, when all appears lost, she is given an opportunity to wipe away the nightmare, to un-do it, and correct the senseless tragedy. A second chance, a wonderful, improbable, and miraculous gift, that doesn’t come easily. To reclaim her future, Kiki must first correct the injustices of Little Mo’s past, which can only be corrected at the root. In doing so, she learns that home is more than a place, it is also a time, and must confront the parallel challenges of life and love, past and present, in a love story with a foot in each world, 2012 and 1981.
Kiki is an ordinary undergrad student, with a best friend, two years out of her parents' house, just broke up with a crappy boyfriend... Until tragedy sets in.

Little Mo Biggs is a poor young man, with brain damage and badly abused.

Their paths cross and life will never be the same. Kiki will have to understand that evils can be undone, using The Gift, given by The Guardian.

There's also Jenna, who is Kiki's best friend and so much like my own best friend and my relationship with her that I could feel their relationship rather than reading it and there's Clark, who is Kiki's father's best friend and sort of like a favorite uncle to Kiki.

Now, I don't want to spoil anything, but I loved this book very badly. Just as the movie "Somewhere in Time" (which Kiki actually watched, back in 1981), we see, along with the people trying to fix the present/future, a love story. One that transcends time itself.

It saddens me. I don't understand people who think "Somewhere in Time" is a beautiful love story - it is a tragic love story, since whenthe guy goes back to his time, she is dead! I mean that's SO sad, she's lived all her life just to be able to give him the means to go back to her. It reminds me of Doctor Who (River Song's story, if anyone follows the series).

There's nothing just as tragic in The Do-Over, but there is something very similar and it broke my heart. The ending really hurt me and I hope we see more of Kiki Kinsler and that we actually see that part of the story fixed.

I only have one complaint and it is a minimal one... The descriptions of Oregon and the city of Portland are a bit too much and I got lost in them, since I don't know the city or the state and it made me feel strange reading all of that since it didn't add up to the plot. But still, it didn't bother me that much.

I really loved the book and I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good fantasy/sci-fi/love story. I mean, really, how can we have so many cool things all at once? :D

You can buy The Do-Over at Amazon.

August 02, 2012

Review - Silent Partner - Jennifer Chase

Silent Partner by Jennifer Chase is a police book, about a K9 (canine) officer (Jack Davis) and his loyal partner - a dog, of course.

When you read Silent Partner, it looks more like some ordinary Law and Order episode, but with a bit more of a background, since we hear more about the officer and we get to see some different Point of Views.

It's taken me months to finish this review, because I'm not quite sure what to tell without spoiling, I'm not quite sure how I feel about it either.

I wasn't very much into the book at first, specially since the theme appeals more to me as a TV show or movie than a book, but I kept on reading and I don't regret it, since the ending makes a lot of difference. 

I love dogs, my family has had dogs for all of my life and German Sheppards for most of that time, so I'm very attached to large, beautiful police dogs. There are two injured dogs during the book and my heart went with the police officers - they too grow attached to their partners, as if they are humans and, well, sometimes more than humans - and when one of the dogs die, well, I cried a little, I admit it, since I remembered my German Sheppard who died a bit over a year ago. She had diabetes, it wasn't anything "criminal" but it hurts a lot.

What I can say about Silent Partner is that not everyone is what they look to be and not every victim or suspect is such a thing, even if we are reading their minds, they might not even know it themselves.

Megan, suspect of killing her sister and other women, is Jack's childhood friend and former girlfriend, and has suffered a severe trauma which leads her to developing agoraphobia.

Darrell is trying to make some money and all that stand on his way is Megan, so driving her insane or getting her arrested is an interesting idea.

If it wasn't for the ending - which I did not see coming, even with my years of law/police shows, I wouldn't have considered this book so high, but now I must say I liked it very much.

You can buy Silent Partner at Amazon.