30 September 2015

Recent Reads Reviews | #6

Today feels like a good a day as any to share some book reviews! I feel like I'm falling behind in the writing about the books, but I still plan to review every book I read - eventually. Today's theme is supernatural. So if you like zombies or witches, well I have a few book recommendations. 

The Wicked Will Rise (Dorothy Must Die #2)The Girl with All the Gifts

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
Published 2014. Read July 27th 2015, 4 stars.

I really got in to this book. I'm not the biggest Wizard of Oz fan, but it's one of those stories where even if you know the bare minimum about Oz and the characters (yes, that would be me, hello) you're still able to get a feel for this book. Taken from the view point of Amy Gumm, a girl from Kansas who hitches a ride on a tornado, finds herself in the Oz we all know (yellow brick road, Emerald City, munckins, etc) but things are a little different. All those good guys, they're now bad - the tin man has an army, the scarecrow performs creepy experiments on unwilling victim and the lion is a step away from being a monster - and they all work for sweet little Dorothy Gale who has gone power mad and is sucking the magic out of Oz.

I started reading this because I wanted to immerse myself in some good YA that had some magic to it, so if you like magic and witches then this is a jolly good read. There is a hint of romance in it, but luckily it's subtle, I'm glad too because it was leaning towards an awkward love triangle and sometimes I just can't deal with the which one do I choose. The main focus is the mission to kill Dorothy, and it's done well with interesting characters you're not sure you can trust, interesting twists and I'm sure there were a few times I thought I'd figured something out, only to doubt myself, for it to then reappear like BAM!

The Wicked Will Rise by Danielle Paige
Published 2015. Read July 31st 2015, 2 stars.

You know, I was really disappointed with the follow on. The voice of Amy Gumm changes dramatically even though the story picks up from exactly where it left off. Thinking about the chain of events in this book, compared to the last one, it feels disjointed somehow. I feel like this novel was rushed (catching two or three errors) and some things were shoved in to tick a box. At one point Amy kisses a character who comes out as gay and even though I love me some LGBT fiction, it felt so random when it happened. Like someone was thinking - yes this is good because it ticks a box to show we are diverse. Another thing I realised was there was a lot more swearing too, again I like me a little bit of swearing but considering there was absolutely none in the first book, for them to just be dropping shit and f-bombs around, I'm like woah. I think someone might have wanted to write a contemporary novel and just merged it with a book they were already writing because there had to be a sequel.

Not only does Amy change - I know characters are supposed to develop over a series but this was too different too quickly. she does get darker which is pretty interesting, but I'm thinking about her core, her personality - but Nox is a completely different person. In the first book he's broody, strong and to himself but when he shows up in this novel he's lovesick and dependent on Amy. The romance blossoms out of pretty much nothing in the first book, well there's hints and you feel like you're at the bottom of a steep hill. I wanted to climb the hill and watch this relationship grow but it insta-grows, and rapidly too. The character shifts are so dramatic it's like they are completely different and I just couldn't get past that. I also couldn't get past some of the descriptions, using the phrase "and things I didn't even recognise" to describe a lot of different things kept cropping up as well as other blasé terms. I got a strong 'meh' feeling from it all.  

Maybe it's just me, I talked with a colleague and he was like this is awesome but I don't see it. I think the series started strong but has strayed. Part of me does and doesn't want to read the spin off novellas because I have no idea what to expect. 

The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey
Published 2014. Read June 16th 2015, 5 stars.

This book. You guys. I can't even. The main thing I love about this book is the ending, obviously I don't want to spoil it, but it felt so good, so justified. There are some amazing twists that I'm scared even the slightest bit of information will ruin it, so I'll pass over to Goodreads before I go further.

"Melanie is a very special girl. Dr Caldwell calls her "our little genius." Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don't like her. She jokes that she won't bite, but they don't laugh." (Goodreads)

The Girl with All the Gifts is a clever read. It's third person but the focus shifts between characters so you absorb a lot of information about this post apocalypse world. I'll admit, at the start I was highly interested in Melanie and not too bothered and the stuff with Dr Calder (a researcher looking in to the virus that has changed the world as we know it) but as time went on I got sucked in and felt something for all these characters. I loved Melanie, I surprisingly loved Sergeant Parks, I couldn't stand other characters and these were real feelings. If something bad happened I was muttering "good" and "serves you right".

This book is like nothing I've ever read before. Even if you're not normally a fan of zombie fiction, this is a superb read and an easy one at that with amazingly good twists that I didn't see coming. Beautiful. This could be in the running for one of my favourites this year. 

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