The Burning World (Warm Bodies #2)-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Post-apocalyptic Fiction

Rating: 3.5/5

Normally I don’t do reviews or summaries or anything on sequel without having written about the first book prior, but I read Warm Bodies quite awhile ago and my opinion is still the same: It was an amazing read, even better than the movie, and I would love to read it again. (For technicalities, this book is actually #3 in the series because it is followed by a short novella called The New Hunger, which is dubbed as book #2).

When I found out that there was a sequel to Warm Bodies, The Burning World, I got it immediately! Sad to say, this novel is a much slower-paced story (in my opinion) and does not have the same excitement and potential fear that the first novel had, but it was still somewhat interesting. It took me nearly three and a half months to read this book because it moved that slow for me, compared to my speed reading of other novels. Despite this, the conflict in the novel was still interesting enough for me to keep reading, but it was slow to get there.

One of the interesting features of this book is the alternation between “I” and “WE,” the first person perspective of R and the collective perspective of the dead. While this did have its interesting moments, I didn’t feel like the “WE” added anything special that the book couldn’t live without. Another thing about this book, one of the more negative things I have to say, is that the transitions were all over the place. One moment the group will be in the plane and the next they are in a house. quite a few of the transitions were confusing, but after reading a page or two in, it clicks where they are and what they are doing. It’s just a small thing that took away from the flow of the reading. There was also quite a bit of post-apocalyptic politics, which made the book run a bit slower and drier than the first novel.

This book begins with R and Julie having their own little home outside of the Goldman Dome, where R is learning how to be human all over again, including reading, writing speaking, socializing, and romance! When some helicopters fly overhead, Julie has her suspicions, because who could it be with operating helicopters?

When R and Julie head to the main headquarters in the Dome, they find themselves face to face with some members from a group called Axiom, a group that seems like it wants to establish peace across the various human colonies, but rather has other plans. The Axiom group, although shrouded in mystery, seems to have some kind of ulterior motive, which is reinforced by the destruction of the armory and the leaders of the Dome.

Taking Julie, R, and Nora captive, they aim to get information on this new “cure” that seems to have made itself known at the Dome. With torturous interrogation by the Axiom group, the prisoners seek a way out. Before their eyes, Perry, Julie’s once-boyfriend, seems to have shown up, but how? What looks like Perry is actually his older brother that no one really knew about, and he is there to get them out. While he is a member of Axiom, he finds that perhaps what they are doing is not right, and he has a daughter to think about.

When they escape, Axiom goes after them endlessly, but when  M saves the day, the group decides to head to R’s old home: the airplane! With Abram (Perry’s brother) having the skills to pilot a plane, the group plans on heading out to some other place, away from the Axiom-dominated America. Aboard are R, Julie, Abram, his daughter Sprout (not her real name), Nora, M, and R’s two “children” who roamed around the airport with him in his more dead-days.

When the group jumps from city to city, finding old homes ravaged, burned down, or destroyed, or not even being able to cross another country’s borders, they eventually end up in New York, where the head of Axiom resides. Along the way, R continues to recover his past life, and the terrible things he had done before his new life. He wants to tell Julie, but he is afraid that she would not be able to accept him for his past.

While in New York, they meet the woman responsible for the Almanac, a hand-written and self-published newsletter that she sends out to the world to give survivors information. This interesting woman has discovered one of Axiom’s secrets: they have a tower that is jamming all frequencies except for their own sick message to draw people in. When she destroys the tower, she expects to be able to share the news of the world on a global level, but the group finds out that there is another jamming tower on the west coast, and they head out to destroy it.

With the ending being thus, we can expect another book to be coming in the series. Despite the slower pacing and the switch from surviving the dead to surviving the living, it was still a decent read. I would recommend it for an older reader (16+) because of a lot of the vocabulary, political, and sexual inferences that are in this book. While it was slow, the end shows promise and gives the reader something interesting to look forward to. Since Warm Bodies and The Burning World are so different in terms of plot, there’s no saying what kinds of things we can expect to happen with the characters in the next book. Overall, slow but decent. You should read it if you feel like Warm Bodies needed to continue, but if you are satisfied with the ending of the first book (or perhaps the movie) then maybe just leave it at that.

Bloodlines-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Fiction/New Adult Fiction/Paranormal

Rating: 4/5

While this is a spin-off series from Richelle Mead’s Vampire Academy series, it can still be read as its own series. I would highly recommend reading the Vampire Academy series first anyway, because this book has a lot of references and characters that first appear in Vampire Academy. One of the characters in the later part of the series, a supporting character, takes on a leading role in this series, and the main character, Sydney, reflects upon events that happened with her and the vampires during the Vampire  Academy series. Also, I had trouble deciding whether this should be young adult or new adult, because the main characters are 18 and 21, but the other characters are high school age and the predecessoing novels are young adult, so I put under both, because I think college-age would like this novel too.

After Lissa Dragomir becomes the Queen in their society, her cousin, Jill, is in grave danger. With the Vampire rule that a ruling monarch must have a living relative to hold the position, Jill’s life is attempted at to remove Lissa from the throne. Told from the first person perspective of Sydney, the Alchemist must keep the peace while aiding to hide Jill in Palm Springs.

Alchemists find Vampires to be against nature, their very existence a foreboding thing against God. Sydney is frightened of their use of magic, abnormal beauty, and blood diet, but even more foreboding are the Strigoi. Strigoi are the evil, corrupt version of the Vampire community who live forever and enjoy killing, while Moroi are the mortal elites, and Dhampirs are half human half Moroi.

With Sydney finding her latest assignment acting as Jill’s sister at a boarding school in Palm Springs and keeping Jill hidden and safe, she also notices a number of things. One is that everyone loves her tattoo and thinks it makes her super intelligent so she doesn’t have to try academically. When other students begin getting tattoos that make them high or enhance them physically, Sydney suspects the misuse of compounds made by her own association: the Alchemists. The other thing that she notices is that a strange sting of murders has happened in the area over the last few years. Could there be any connections here?

The only local Vampire in Palm Springs believes that his daughter, among those murdered, was killed by some vampire hunters. The odd thing is, vampire hunters seem like a thing of myth, since it is part of the Alchemists jobs to keep the Vampire world hidden. When the attacks appear to be from a Strigoi, Sydney and Adrian investigate, only to find that something even more shocking than a Strigoi OR vampire hunter has been behind the murders.

To keep the human world safe from the Vampire world, Sydney must learn to face her fear of Vampire magic and mystery, and fight to keep her job in Palm Springs. Jill and Adrian have some interesting secrets of their own, but Sydney finds that even though they are Vampires, she can possibly call them friends.

I was a bit wary of this book at first, thinking it may not be as good as the Vampire Academy series, but it was an excellent read. Like I said, you can read it on its own, but I would highly recommend reading the Vampire Academy series first because of the number of events and character appearances. This book is amazing, and shows what happens to Adrian after his heartbreak with Rose. That being said, Adrian was definitely one of my favorite characters from the original series, and I am glad he was able to get his own story, because he is an interesting character, and the development of both him and Sydney is superb. I can’t wait to read the next one!

The Fever Code (Maze Runner Book 5)-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Fiction

Rating: 4/5

Since The Kill Order was a somewhat lacking prequel to The Maze Runner series, I lowered my expectations for The Fever Code, but this book was interesting and fantastically crafted!

This story gives us the reveal to the mystery that readers have been wondering since reading The Maze Runner: how the maze was built! The novel starts with how Newt was taken from his family, along with his sister, who is also a candidate in the maze trials for group B (the all girl group).

Following this single instance of Newt’s capture, the rest of the story is taken in by Thomas’s third person limited perspective. When Thomas first came in, his name was Stephen, but WICKED used a sort of torturous shock therapy until his brain was ingrained with the name: Thomas.

We get to see a somewhat rushed version of Thomas’s childhood, when he meets Teresa, and how they get involved with the other guys, such as Chuck, Minho, Newt, and Alby. Thomas and Teresa are special, though, compared to the other children. They are the two from group A, designing the maze for the boys to study the killzone (the brain) to fight the Flare. Aris and Rachel are the designers of the maze for group B, the equivalents of Thomas and Teresa.

Once the mazes are built, the children start getting inserted into the mazes to begin the maze trials. Thomas, Teresa, and their buddy Chuck, begin to observe their old friends through the beetle blades. On top of Thomas’s and Teresa’s observational work for WICKED and the maze trials, they find that one of the leading officials has the Flare, and that he has been hiding it from WICKED. Since Thomas, Teresa, Aris, and Rachel are immune to the Flare, Dr. Paige sends them to remove this threat, among other suspected officials who are infected, before the whole facility and their killzone project becomes marginalized! The kids have never killed anyone before, and this mission will test their limits.

Jorge and Brenda, who appear in The Scorch Trials, make an appearance as well, explaining that the mazes are only the first trial, and that once the Gladers find their way out of the maze, all of them will then have to go through the Scorch.

When it is Thomas’s turn to enter the maze, those of us who have read the initial trilogy can figure out the story from there. His thoughts and feelings about going in demonstrate his feelings for WICKED, but Teresa still believes, no matter what, that WICKED is good.

Overall this was a fantastic book. I would recommend it more after having read the whole series first, BUT it could also be read as the first book for new readers going into the series. It was well paced and fun to see the characters in the WICKED facility before they ever entered the maze, and it was also interesting to see Jorge and Brenda and their involvement before Thomas meets them in the scorch. This was a great addition to the series, and it would actually be pretty fun to see another installment, if it can meet up with the standards set by this prequel!

On a side note: Don’t forget to check out Dashner’s worthwhile, internet adventure Mortality Doctrine trilogy, The Eye of Minds, The Rule of Thoughts, and the Game of Lives, wherever books are sold!

We Should Hang Out Sometime: Embarrassingly, A True Story-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Fiction/Memoir

Rating: 4/5

This book is a gem in disguise. It is a true story by Josh Sundquist with a few names and words and things changed around for the privacy of those involved and for the sake of writing a great piece.  (A few spoilers in summary portion this review; read at your own discretion).

This story starts off with Josh wondering why he is still a 25-year-old virgin, and if his lack of a leg has anything to do with it, or if there is something else wrong with him entirely. Josh had a leg amputated early in life due to cancer. In 8th grade he experiences his first rejection from a girl after having gone out for less than 24 hours, and to Josh, you are not actually dating unless you are together for over a day. With his religious family and the neighbor girl being of the same sort, he thought it was a good match, but alas, she never called him back and broke up with him through a friend.

After each girl, Josh forms a hypothesis for why he may have been rejected and finds his answers by reconnecting with the girls later in life. Josh was home-schooled until high school, where he goes out of his way to memorize the face of every person in his class and to say hi to them on the first day, especially one girl in particular. When he finally finds her, she explains that he knows about his “situation,” from her youth leader. Josh tends to hide his amputation with a fake leg because he does not want to be a burden and he does not want to be different and stand out in the eyes of others. When he decides to join the youth party, a pumpkin foot race ends it all.

Josh eventually uses logic and statistical reasoning to justify that “We should hang out sometime,” is the best pick-up line, since it is not a yes or no question and does not give means for a girl to give excuses. When Josh applies this new phrase to another girl during his junior year, it works, and they hang out multiple times. When Josh thinks she could be the one, he does not go in for the kiss…

Josh has a few girls in college, one he likes throughout his college career and one who is…well…a stalker, and not what he wants for a girlfriend. After many attempts, he goes to a party and a girl comes up to him saying he is awesome! Just a random girl!

Anyway there are a lot of girls and he finds out that it was more the fact that he never took the initiative or discussed a relationship when perhaps he should have, and it had nothing to do with his leg!

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All in all it was an amazing book. One of the unique qualities about this book is the insertion of graphs and charts to demonstrate his current dilemmas, which gives the book an interesting visual aspect that also adds some political and social humor. From a teacher perspective, it was interesting to see how Josh perceived himself, not wanting to be a burden on or treated differently by his teachers. It was also interesting to see how he felt transitioning from home school to public school, which is something educators may want to be mindful of with their students. I would actually want Josh to confide in me, and any students experiencing, feeling, or going through what he has, but that is just the kind of educator I am!

The question is: should you read it? I would give this book a big, fat YES. The demographic is wide, catering to young adults, new adults, amputees, home schooled people, college age, all kinds, which makes it very appealing and marketable as well!

Harmony-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Japanese Dystopian Fiction

Rating: 4/5

I have had this book on my shelf for years (I believe I picked it up for a dollar at a used book store). It caught my eye, rightly so, but with so many books to read, this one was not high on my list. That is, it wasn’t until I came across the anime movie of the same name based on the novel by Keikaku (Project) Itoh.

This Japanese dystopian fiction takes place many years in the future, after an event called the “Maelstrom,” an event described with nuclear destruction and warfare that has change the way the world works. Now, people do not see or know violence, and their very lives are governed by the “WatchMe” installed when they become adults, alerting them to health needs and basically becoming an internal camera that can scan people or tap into the web or news at will.

Ruled by the Admedistration, three high school girls–Tuan, Miach, and Cian–aim to kill themselves together to demonstrate that their bodies and will are their own. When one supposedly succeeds and the other two fail, life returns to normal.

The events from high school are written as recollections in the novel while Tuan, now a member of the World Health Organization, begins a new investigation, one she recognized must have some connection to her friend who committed suicide. When over 6,000 people attempt suicide worldwide at the same exact time, including Tuan’s friend, Cian, her friends last words begin the lead to find out who is behind the control of the WatchMe: “I’m sorry, Miach.”

With some organization having the ability to tap into each person’s personal tech to control their will, Tuan must find a way to stop it. When the second wave hits, instructions that people must either kill another person or kill themselves before the deadline, or they will all attempt suicide, is a means of having toe world break free from the utopia and to demonstrate that a person’s free will belongs to the individual, not the government.

Tuan’s search to find out if Miach is alive and behind this leads her to her father’s research, and from there, the truth behind the reason for creating chaos to make the word a place of harmony once more.

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This book was interesting and is worth the read for any fan of dystopian. It was a nice comparison and contrast between American dystopian novels and Japanese dystopian novels. The similarities and differences are interesting to analyze. The anime adaptation was also interesting. It was very well animated with vivid visuals, and it followed the book phenomenally. A must read for fans of Japanese or dystopian fiction.

Comics Highlight: The Walking Dead (Part 2)

This highlight will feature the second eight volumes of The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, how the story has progressed since the destruction of the prison, similarities and differences between the comics and the television series, and will talk a bit about the artwork within the volumes. Volumes 9-16 are also collected as Compendium Two (Issues 49-96).

Genre: Post-apocalyptic Fiction/Horror/Drama

Overall Rating: 4/5

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Individual Rating: 3.5/5

In this issue, we see that Michonne has survived as she checks out the ruins of the prison and skewers the un-dead head of the decapitated Tyreese, then follows a pair of footsteps leading away from the prison. Meanwhile, Rick and Carl have found a house to lay low in for a little while. Rick finds some antibiotics for his gunshot wound and passes out with an infectious fever. Carl finds his independence, telling his dad’s unconscious form that he can take care of himself. When Rick gets better, they aim to head back to Hershel’s farm, but a phantom phone rings, with Lori on the other end. Rick finds solace in speaking through the phone, even though he knows the conversations are all in his head. He later learns that Michonne speaks to the dead in the way Rick does as well. Before reaching the farm, Michonne has found them. When they reach the farm, Rick, Carl, and Michonne are reunited with Andrea, Dale, Glenn, Maggie, and the three children. They find that they can make a life here until Abraham, Eugene, and Rosita show up and explain their mission to D.C.

This is a pretty decent transitional volume. It lacks in action, but makes up for it with the reunion of the group as well as the promise of an end goal for the group. In this volume Abraham explains how walker herds form, and that defending a farm from a herd that may show up will not work. This theory is reflected in the second season of the television series as a horde is drawn to the farm, making the place unlivable. The explanation is very well thought out and worth looking into, whether your a comics fan or a television show fan.

 

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Individual Rating: 3.5/5

Rick is still having his private phone “conversations” with Lori as he grieves over her death and the death of their daughter, Judith. He and Abraham do not get along well and threaten each other often. Their dislike of each other continues to grow when Glenn finds Maggie hanging from a noose; when he pulls her down she is not breathing, and Abraham aims to shoot her before she turns. Rick and Glenn turn on Abraham. After CPR, Maggie is revived, but still in a wallowing depression at the loss of her entire family. When Rick, Carl, and Abraham go on a supply run to Atlanta’s police station before continuing to D.C., Rick and Abraham learn a lot about each other and how a person just has to kill sometimes. What they become is an undeniable result of the new world they live in. Meanwhile, Andrea and Dale wish to stay at a house just off the highway where they can just live out their days, but when Rick and Abraham return, they are followed by a massive horde of thousands of zombies, making staying in one place an impossibility.

While we get to learn a little bit more about Abraham in this volume, it lacks a lot of elements to keep the reader going. There is some human versus human action, but it is very minimal, and there is not anything too exciting until the end with the zombie horde. Even then, the incentive to keep reading drags in a way that the survivors drag on to find their destination. Intentional in the writing? Who knows. At least they still have a destination and end goal, for now.

 

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Individual Rating: 3.5/5

When twins Billy and Ben are missing, adoptive mother Andrea goes out in search of them only to find that Ben has killed Billy. Ben is too young to understand that what he did was wrong, especially when the world around them only knows killing. The debate of whether or not to terminate Ben is brought up with the group, but eventually Carl shoots Ben without admitting what he did. When priest Gabriel approaches the group, clean cut and not a speck of grime on him, the group become suspicious that the priest intents them harm. He humbly invites them to his church, where the dead have not yet breached. Dale becomes warily tired of the post-apocalyptic life and wanders off in hopes of dying. When Andrea suspects the worst, they find that Dale has been taken by a group of cannibals. The leader of the cannibalistic group explains to Dale that they only survive by eating other survivors. They do not normally attack groups the size of Dales, but this time they thought picking them off would be okay, since food was becoming scarce. Dale chuckles at the fact that he was bitten and that they are eating tainted meat. Of course, Rick, Andrea, and Abraham aim to bring their man back, killing the cannibal group in the process. Andrea is grieved to find that Dale has been bitten and knows what she must do next.

Sorry television show fans, but there is no Terminus in the comics, just a rogue band of cannibals trying to survive. While the group does choose to stay at the church for a little while, ideally they will move on to D.C. soon. With that goal still set in place, the comics are a bit slow-going, but will eventually pick up once they reach Alexandria and enter Negan’s domain.

 

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Individual Rating: 4/5

After Carl admits to to Rick about killing Ben, they have a long conversation about the needs of survival in this new world and Rick accepts Carl’s rationalization of killing Ben because the child was a threat to the members of the group. When Rick wants to get things moving along and test the walkie-talkie for the people waiting in D.C., Eugene is reluctant to hand it over. Finding this strange, Rick imposes on Eugene. Their scuffle leads the walkie to fall to the ground, the battery compartment exposed to hold no battery. With this revelation, Eugene admits that there was no one in D.C. He lied to survive, and of course, Abraham is absolutely furious. With no end goal in mind, Rick and Abraham wonder what to do with the group, but then someone new approaches them. Of course, Rick and the group are always wary of new people, and the new arrival is just too convinient with his offer. They meet Aaron and his friend Eric from Alexandria. When Rick finally puts his trust in these new people, a flare goes up. While he expects a trap, it is explained that some of the people from Alexandria were on a supply run and needed help. After aiding the people from Alexandria, Rick and the group finally get to see the safe haven and they all meet Douglas Monroe, who decides their community needs a constable, and Rick is just the right man for the job.

It was nice to finally get away from the D.C. goal. Finding out it was not a true haven made a great deal of tension arise in the group and that tension continues for a few more volumes as the group settles into the new community. It also leads us into the major arc of Alexandria. As some of you who watch the show know, a lot of stuff happens in Alexandria, and in the comics, Alexandria as a safe-haven continues for quite some time. There are a lot of new characters and there is continuing character development from those we already care about. This is a great transition volume to build into the people and expectations of Alexandria.

 

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Individual Rating: 3.5/5

Rick isn’t the only one who has been assigned a job. Everyone who lives in Alexandria must play a contributing part to the community. Abraham is assigned to the work group that aims to clear out and extend the community. When gathering materials, the group is attacked by roamers, and when the group tends to stay in formation, Abraham breaks form to save a woman named Holly. He finds that these people do not really know how to deal with walkers efficiently; had he not broken the formation, Holly would have been dead with everyone guilty of merely watching. Meanwhile, Morgan and Michonne hook up, Rick and Carl grow distant in their relationship, and Glenn sneaks into the armory where the group had to previously relinquish their weapons in the community. The community has a false aura of safety. Rick becomes more and more out of control as he aims for everyone’s safety through violent means. Douglas concedes to allow Rick to do whatever needs to be done to keep the community safe, even if it means killing or banishing. The safety of the community is threatened when a group of people follows Heath and his scavengers from D.C. The community and the group fight each other with Andrea’s sharpshooting saving the day. When Douglas officially hands over the leadership of the community to Rick, the judgement of the community’s safety becomes questionable by its citizens.

In this volume we are introduced to a number of new characters in the Alexandria community and we see how the community is governed. When Rick comes in, we all know he tends to have a different set of politics in the post-apocalyptic world. His group of survivors has a hard time mainstreaming to the air of safety that Alexandria seems to haven, and they find that they were right to keep on guard when other people attacked. The community may appear safe, but they really need to figure out that the world outside the walls is not friendly and never will be again.

 

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Individual Rating: 4.5/5

After Eric is stabbed by a mysterious woman and one of Maggie’s horses is taken by her, Aaron approaches Douglas to instigate Rick as the leader of the town. With the previous attack on the settlement, Carl is excited because not the people will realize that the real world is like and what it takes to live in such a world. The thing that once separated the newcomers and the people of Alexandria is now what will unite them. The gunfire from the previous assault on the town has drawn far too many zombies, and Abraham’s team cannot take them all out; a massive herd knocks at Alexandria’s walls. When the people of Alexandria get trapped in their own homes by the herd, Rick pushed Carl, Jessie, and Ron to make their way through the herd with their good old slice and cover method using organs and grime to scent their clothing. When Ron panics, too innocent to worm through the dead, he is attacked, drawing the screams of his mother. When Jessie won’t let Carl go, Rick chops her arm off to save his son. Douglas, dumb in the art of zombie-killing, shoots at the dead, but when he is bitten, he fires randomly, a stray bullet shooting Carl in the eye. With the potential looming death of his son, Rick goes berserk and realizes that zombies are easy to fight because they are dumb; it is humans who pose a greater threat for their potential to strategize. The whole community bands together to take out the herd.

This volume is packed with action from beginning to end. There are a lot of injuries and death in this one, and a lot of fighting against the walkers as well. The iconic issue in this volume is the one where Rick is trying to get Jessie, Ron, and Carl through the herd and to safety, because a lot of chaos happens there, and we can also relate the events to that part from the sixth season of the show. This volume is fun and heart-stoppingly fast-paced. Too bad not all the volumes are like this one!

 

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Individual Rating: 3.5/5

Rick is worried about Carl and at the same time has realized what the people can really do as a community. To take up arms together is to survive against the dead. Members of the community come up with different defense ideas for the community (reinforcing the walls or building a maze for roamers to get stuck). Rick suggests that the community have regular meetings to make decisions about things. Andrea begins teaching the community members how to shoot, Rosita walks out on Abraham (and stays with Eugene), and Michonne mourns Morgan. Of course, some of the original inhabitants of Alexandria are still not keen on Rick leading them, in which they plot to kill Rick. Of course Rick will not allow himself or his people to be harmed, threatening the original Alexandrian’s with the brutality he used to survive in the post-apocalyptic world.

This is a bit of a slower volume, somewhat transitional. It demonstrates the conflicts within the community itself after both human and zombie attacks, and a reformation is needed to keep the community alive. This communal conflict will lead into reshaping Alexandria and move us gradually into the next main story arc.

 

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Individual Rating: 4/5

This volume begins a few weeks after the conflict between Rick and the Alexandria citizens. Carl is awake and active, and the community is beginning to fall under a regular routine of events. Food, or lack thereof, is becoming a major issue for the community. When Abraham and Michonne head out beyond the designated safe zone, they run into a potential hostile who goes by the name of Jesus, who asks to see their leader. Of course, Rick is wary about all strangers, but Jesus brings promise of profitable proportions: he comes from another community called the Hilltop, willing to trade with Alexandria. Some of the main crew–Rick, Andrea, Michonne, and Glenn(along with a hitchhiking Carl)–go with Jesus to check out the credibility of the Hilltop. When the Hilltop leader is stabbed by one of his own men, Rick intervenes and kills the hostiles. At this time, Jesus explains the conflict between their group and the Saviors, a group with a lot of men and firepower, who takes a great portion of their supplies in exchange for the Hilltop group to live and be protected. The leader of the saviors, Negan, is mentioned, and Rick opts for taking out Negan and the Saviors, and Gregory, the leader of the Hilltop, agrees. With this new trade agreement, Rick feels that their own community will finally be able to thrive the way it should.

This volume is interesting in that is the introduction to the Negan arc, and Negan is inherently present for a long time after the main part of the Negan arc. Negan is an interesting character who will greatly shake things up, and this is a great lead-in and explanation of the conflict that has been going on with the Saviors and the Hilltop for awhile now, and in turn, will affect Alexandria, which the Saviors have previously struck.

The You I’ve Never Known-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Poetry

Rating: 4/5

Ellen Hopkins graces us once again with her latest young adult novel: The You I’ve Never Known. This book reflects some experiences that Ellen has faced in her life with her own daughter, so if you know about that or choose to look into her biography, that might spoil this book. While the event with her own daughter happened when the child was three and lasted for three years, the girl in the novel, Ariel, has been going through this so long that she doesn’t even remember or know who she really is.

This novel is about Ariel and her father who travel around a lot. They never stay in one place for too long, which is stressful and hard on Ariel in her academic and social life. When her father meets a girl that might make them stay in one place for awhile, Ariel meets Monica, a girl who she soon comes to love, and Gabe, the son of her father’s new girlfriend, Zelda.

While Ariel experiments with he feelings for both Monica and Gabe, we see a journal-type prose every so often from someone named Maya. Her connection to Ariel is not apparent right away. Maya tells of her time with Jason, a seemingly sweet military man. When she becomes pregnant, she writes a journal for her daughter, Casey, who was taken by her father just to keep something she loved away from her. Why? Because Maya fell in love with another woman.

While I do not want to share too many details and spoil the novel, the twist is definitely one of those Ellen-Hopkins-Worthy twists that connect everything in an awe-inspiring way. The combination of the poetry structure with the prose was an interesting twist compared to her other novels, and it made the reading feel somewhat slower, but switching visual reading structures for each character really differentiated the two and kind of reflects the time gap between the two characters.

While I find this novel to not be quite as interesting and fast-paced as her romance-centered novels, this was a great father/daughter/mother (family) story that we do not see as much focus on in young adult fiction, which was a fresh twist and demonstrates Hopkin’s ability to bedazzle with any content, so yeah, you should read it!