Star Wars: Rebel Rising-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Science-fiction

Rating: 4/5

Rebel Rising is a part of the Rogue One story line in the Star Wars franchise. This book can be found in the young adult section of your local book store, and is written for more of a teen audience, which made this a fun and unique read in addition to the Star Wars collection of books.

This novel features Jyn Erso for the ten years she spends between the time of her mother’s death and the time that she truly joins the rebellion. When Jyn is taken from her hiding place by Saw, a Clone Wars veteran, she finds she could learn to care for him as if he were family, but Saw has treated Jyn as a rising rebel rather than a daughter. At times, he does claim her as his daughter and he ingrains into her that she must never share her true identity, since her father is working for the Empire.

Jyn learns how to use a blaster and how to fight and defend using hand-to-hand combat. She becomes antiquated with a number of rebels that begin forming small strikes against the Empire, and she even demonstrates her strength against them, proving her worth to join Saw and the rebels on a mission.

When a mission goes sour and the rebels find a traitor in their midst, they must be careful. When the wrong person is accused, the real spy makes himself known, and Jyn is separated from Saw. She spends a year with the Ponta family (Hadder and his mother, Akshaya), finding new meaning to life, and even romance.

Even though Jyn constantly warns Akshaya that the Empire will eventually come down on their planet, the trader does not listen. When the Empire strikes, Jyn must make a new start yet again. Finding jobs hard to come by, Jyn resorts to working codes for the Empire and even selling out rebels, until she lands herself in the Imperial prison on Wobani.

This book is fun and fast-paced with the perfect type font, line spacing, and writing style for a young adult audience and it works for any Star Wars fan as well. There are some time skips that make the book feel rushed, which was noticeable and a bit of a bummer, and there isn’t anything that particularly stands out that makes the book great. Rather, it is the build and background that is placed upon Jyn’s character that makes this book more interesting, especially since we know the events that happen right after the books ends.

All in all, I would recommend this book for Star Wars fans of all ages, whether they be new fans to the franchise or veterans. It was a great installation to the series, to be sure!

King’s Cage (Red Queen 3)-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Rating: 4/5

This is the third book in the Red Queen series. Following the ending events of Glass Sword, Mare is imprisoned by king Maven. The book title comes from her experience of feeling that she is constantly in a cage created by the king.

With Mare having Silent Stone shackles at all times, her powers are useless. She becomes weak, a pawn in Maven’s game. Maven forces Mare to enlighten Newbloods to come to his side and fight for him, that they will be duly rewarded.

One of the interesting aspects about this novel compared to the previous one is that we get Cameron’s point of view, a Newblood girl from the group rescued at Corvium Prison. When we get her perspective, we see what is going on with the Scarlet Guard, Cal, and the Newbloods during Mare’s imprisonment. This addition gives the reader a new perspective on Mare and Cal as people.

While Mare is imprisoned, she can tell that Maven must still have feelings for her. She uses that to her advantage, until he declared his engagement to the Lakeland Princess. During the wedding ceremony of Maven and the princess, Mare makes a daring escape with the help of someone the reader would not have expected, but her helper has their own goals in mind.

The whole first half of the book involves Mare’s imprisonment, but does not mean it it lacking. We learn a lot about the other nations and their opposition to Maven as king, as well as some of the high houses of Norta who think likewise.

The second half of the book involves taking Corvium, helping Newbloods, and making a bunch of political alliances in the Scarlet Guard’s plans to take over Norta. It also features a nice spotlight on Cal and Mare’s relationship, but when Cal is being put forth to be the king to take over Norta, Mare is furious, since he previously stated he did not want to be king again. This leads to an interesting cliffhanger in regards to there own romance.

Mare is also reunited with her family and becomes and auntie. She also meets a bunch of interesting Newbloods who want to see a world undiscriminating by blood, just like Mare.

This book was not quite as good as the first one, but it was better than the second, despite the fact that Mare is imprisoned for a huge chunk of the novel. If you thought the second one was a bit meh, fear not! This book more than makes up for the slow bits, leaves the reader with a lot of questions, as well as itching for more!

Carve the Mark-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Science-fiction

Rating: 4.5/5

Carve the Mark blew me away! At first it was slow and convoluted because there is a lot of information to take in about the world and how it functions, but once that is more clear, the story is interesting, fast-paced, and outstanding! I went into this book not knowing anything about it or what to expect, and it turned out to be one of the best reads of 2017 thus far. The author the the Divergent Series does not disappoint her fans here.

The premise of the story is somewhat complex, but I will try my best to explain: basically there are two groups of people who inhabit the same planet and they are warring with each other. The origin stories for this dispute are different in both societies, so we cannot know which is accurate and which is not. The people of these planets obtain something similar to powers, called “currentgifts,” such as the use of fire or healing. People gain currentgifts from the current stream in their universe when they are around the age where they would go through puberty.

Akos Kereseth is the main male character who obtains the currentgift for interrupting other currentgifts; in other words, he can take them away. He is of the Thuvhe, the northern culture of people inhabiting the planet. When the Shotet people come to take Akos and his brother away, one of them supposedly the new prophet, the violence encourages even more dispute among the people.

Ryzek Noavek, the leader of the Shotet people in the south, believes that if he owns his own prophet (in this case, Akos’s brother), then he can escape his fate or rewrite what the prophet foresees before it happens. Ryzek’s gift is to exchange memories with others, and his hope is to be able to take the prophet’s power away through memory exchange.

When Akos becomes a servant for Cyra Noavek, Ryzek’s sister, the two seemingly hate each other, but their currentgifts are well-paired. Cyra’s currentgift is being in a constant state of nearly chronic pain, pain which she can give to others through touch, and even kill people with it. Since Akos can take currentgifts away, he can help Cyra ease her gift to build her public face for her brother. Because of her gift, Ryzek uses her to torture enemies often, despite how it affects her.

Eventually, Cyra and Akos not only find feelings for each other, but find that they have a common goal: remove (by murdering) Ryzek from power, because he is the one causing the current violence between the two civilizations. Akos also knows his fate: that he will one day die for the Noavek family, but when and how is uncertain, and no one can change their fate.

Overall, this book received a number of mixed reviews and has been called “ableist” and “racist” by many reviewers. While I can see these aspects in the novel, it is the racism and ableism that make the characters and the novel interesting. Basically, Roth is using this science-fiction world to demonstrate issues that we are still struggling with in the world today, issues that may need a bit more light and understanding bestowed upon them.

Despite the mixed reviews, the story is fast-paced (after the large amount of world building and exposition at the beginning of the novel) and has characters that seem to have a sort of Romeo and Juliet type of fate. It is the hardship and tragedy of the characters that make them worth following and growing attached to. It is the hope that they will overcome what fate has written for them, but knowing Roth, Akos and Cyra may yet have a tragic end.

The writing is pretty solid, and I have to say that the only way to really get a feel for what this book has to offer is to pick up a copy and READ IT! I am greatly looking forward to the next one, which I believe will be even better than the first, since the major exposition has been put out in the first novel.

A side note: Why is it called Carve the Mark? Well, every time the Shotet kill someone, people of violence, they carve a mark into their skin and dye it so that everyone knows how many they have killed, and to put those deaths to memory as well.

Frostblood-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Rating: 4.5/5

You may have come across this book at your local Barnes and Noble, Costco, or Target. With it being in all these places, being a debut novel by Canadian author Elly Blake, it makes you wonder, should you read it?

  • I tried to keep the following details of the novel relatively brief and non-spoilery, but I also wanted to give enough detail for the events throughout the novel to put forth the main idea and conflict as it unfolds in the novel as well.

The premise of the story is that there is a kingdom divided by blood. While there are regular humans, there are also Frostbloods, who can manipulate frost, and Firebloods, who can manipulate fire. The lore of the blood origins is interesting, and Frost and Fire were once allies, but no more.

Firebloods are being hunted in the kingdom, and despite her mother’s efforts, the Frost King has found Ruby and imprisoned her. When two Frostbloods come to set her free, she is wary about their reasoning, but only gets the response that they need her fire power for something, but they will not say what.

Going through rigorous training at an abbey in the mountains, elderly Brother Thistle and young Arcus attempt to train Ruby in hopes to destroy the Frost King’s throne of ice. The speculation is that the Frost King’s of past and present are being manipulated by a creature that possesses the throne of frost.

Before Ruby can help Brother Thistle and Arcus with their mission, she is captured by the same soldiers who initially raided her village and killed her mother. Ruby is now titles as one of the Frost King’s champions, to be used in a fighting arena against soldiers, beasts, and frost users in fights to the death. When she continues to win, the Frost King is sure he has found the one to partner with him and his throne.

This is a fast-paced book, one of the quickest I have read in quite some time, and it was fantastic! What prevents it from being a 5/5 on my score chart? Well, the plot was relatively predictable and slightly cliche in that SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS Arcus was the prince the whole time and the pacing of the romance was the usual guy-is-an-ass-but-they-fall-in-love story that we see all the time, it was still an AMAZING premise, especially for a debut novel. Out of all the debut novels I have read from various authors, this one is probably one of the most well-crafted and plot-driven books I have read.

I would highly suggest picking up this book, because it is well worth it, and Elly Blake deserves to be on your top 10 YA author list for sure!

The Rose Society (Young Elites #2)-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Rating: 5/5

Just as fantastic as the first novel, The Young Elites, The Rose Society follows Adelina on her path of revenge. Her power continues to grow, and she forms her own society similar to the Dagger Society: the Rose Society, with her own powerful Young Elite followers.

Being cast aside from the Dagger Society for the murder of one of its members, Dante, and the unintentional murder of her prospective lover, prince Enzo, Adelina ventures on her own to find her own powerful Elites to form an army with her sister in tow. Her goal: bring down the Inquisition Axis that attempted to kill her on multiple fronts, the Inquisition that ruined life as she knew it. Teren Santoro is the Inquisition man that Adelina seeks revenge against, and ultimately, seeks to take the throne of Kenettra to reestablish peace between the Young Elites and other malfettos with the people who were unaffected by the plague.

Adelina and her sister set off in search of a powerful Young Elite of rumor: Magiano, an Elite who can mimic the powers of other Elites. When they finally find Magiano, he agrees to follow in her Rose Society if she can pass a test: steal the Night King’s diamond pin, a task that is meant to be impossible. When the sisters infiltrate one of the Night King’s parties using Adelina’s illusion abilities, they find that Maggiano is also present, ready for a show. When things do not quite go as planned, Adelina finds herself forced (and seems to take pleasure in) killing the Night King with her abilities and taking what she was there for in the first place.

Having proven herself a strong leader, many of the Night King’s followers have decided to follow Adelina and join her Rose Society, while others hunt her down for the murder of their master. On a ship heading back to Kenettra, Adelina meets Sergio, the rumored rain master who was banished from the Dagger Society previously for his inability to control his power. Adelina promises wealth from the Kenettran treasury for those who help her rise to power and take the throne.

Meanwhile, while Adelina plots to take the throne, Raffaele seeks Meave, a ruler from another country who can bring the dead back to life. Their idea is to bring prince Enzo back from the dead and basically use him as a puppet to control two thrones, rather than just one. Enzo may not be quite the same person after coming back from the other side.

When Adelina’s Rose Society and Raffaele’s Dagger Society clash, a fight for the throne of Kenettra ensues, and Young Elites face each other for power.

This book was just as amazing as the first. The thing that makes this series well worth the read is the unique power and revenge that Adelina seeks. She is a villain in the making, and yet we the reader seem to root for her. The series is full of action and unique characters, and the fight for power continues in an adventurous and iconic way that will be concluded in the third novel, The Midnight Star. Marie Lu is on my top five list of best young adult authors at present, and she is well worth looking into; so far I have been satiated to the utmost by all of the works I have read by her (Legend, Prodigy, Champion, The Young Elites, and The Rose Society) and I greatly look forward to anything she brings us in the future.

The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus Book 1)-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Fantasy/Dystopian

Rating: 3.5/5

This is the first of The Heroes of Olympus series. It features Jason, Piper, and Leo, three new additions to Camp-Half Blood. Don’t worry, Percy appears in the next book! 

When Jason awakens on the school bus next to his girlfriend Piper and best friend Leo, he has lost his memories. On their school trip to the Grand Canyon, the trio is attacked by a Venti (a storm spirit) and Jason finds his gold coin turns into a sword. Using his newfound weapon to fight off the Venti, their coach, Hedge, reveals that he is a satyr and is taken away by the storm spirits. Annabeth Chase, who we may remember from Percy Jackson and the Olympians or Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, arrives in a chariot seeking Percy, after being informed by Hera to find the one who lost the shoe. While Percy is not around, Jason did happen to lose his shoe in the midst of the fight.

When they arrive at Camp Half-Blood, Leo and Piper are almost immediately claimed by their God parents (Hephaestus and Aphrodite), and Jason soon learns he is the son of Jupiter (Roman name for Zeus, and the use of Greek versus Roman names comes into play later). Although Jason is the son of Jupiter, Hera claims he is her champion. Thalia is revealed to Jason as a sister (through Zeus) who has joined the Hunters of Artemis (it was fun hearing about Thalia again). Like Percy, Jason, Piper, and Leo are given a quest: rescue Hera. Their main means of transportation is a great mechanical dragon that the Hephaestus kids built many years prior.

It is soon discovered that their enemies are working for Gaea, who is planning on overthrowing the gods. With some minor setbacks from Aeolus (wind God) and some giants, the trio meets Thalia at a place called the Wolf House, the last place Thalia had seen Jason before he lost his memories, and also the place where Hera is supposed to be. Unfortunately, Hera’s freedom costs the resurrection of the giant Porphyrion, who escapes Hera and the trio by going deep into the earth. This will probably be important in the books to come!

When the heroes return to Camp Half-Blood, Jason’s memories begin to return. He is actually from Camp Jupiter, a Roman camp on the other side of the country, and Hera has switched him with someone important from Camp Half-Blood: Percy Jackson! Hera’s aim is for the camps to become allies, rather than enemies, so that the heroes can save the Gods from Gaea.

While this book sounds pretty darn exciting, I found that it was actually rather slow-paced compared to Riordan’s other series’. Son of Neptune, the second book in the series, is already far more interesting than this book, but that is because the Percy we have grown attached to as readers from the original series is the prominent character, with some new additions of course. The Lost Hero was a good foundational piece and huge set-up for the rest of the series, so even though it was a bit slow-going, it is worth the read the get to know the new characters and the situation that has landed Percy elsewhere.

Delirium-Should You Read It?

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Genre: Young Adult Dystopian Romance

Rating: 3.5/5

In Portland, Oregon 2091, a city surrounded by a great fence, love, or amor deliria nervosa, is a dangerous disease that could lead to chaotic misbehavior and even death. When people hit the age of eighteen, they get the surgery that removes the deliria and its effects from the brain and are later given match options for marriage based on their future jobs in the society.

Magdalena (or just Lena) has been looking forward to the surgery for years, because that means no more curfew or gender-restricted activities. When her surgery is postponed by some renegades from the Wilds, Lena meets the guy behind the plot, Alex, and learns there is much more to the deliria than society admits to.

Her mother having succumb to the deliria (killing herself for love), Lena has been singled out and questioned in her totalitarian society as a suspect that may succumb as well, despite her eagerness for the surgery.

When Alex shows her what love really is, Lena begins to question the rules of the society she lives in, and when he offers to show her the Wilds, she is in awe of how people live in the nuked wastelands outside of the city’s fence. Alex prompts that the fence may not necessarily be there to keep people out, but to keep them in.

When Lena learns that her mother may actually still be alive, she aims to find her, but too late; the woman in question has escaped. Now Lena wants to go to the Wilds to find her, with Alex in tow, and to escape from this society that restricts the freedom to love.

Their escape is challenging and thwarted, and the government will do anything to control its people.

This was an interesting young adult dystopian novel in that it takes love, a concept and need that all people succumb to at some point, and removes it from society. People are segregated by gender until they have the surgery. There is evidence of nuclear warfare, which shows that this is one potential outcome that society may fall to if our country resorts to such methods.

The reason why this novel received a slightly lower score from me is because of the pacing. It took me months to read through the first half because it was very slow and the events were not exciting or enticing to the novel and its society. After Lena ventures into the Wilds for the first time, the novel really picks up from there, and the ending leaves the reader itching to read the second book in the series, Pandemonium.

Overall, I would say this is an interesting novel, especially for teens, to read, because it reflects something that many teenagers think about: love. It allows young readers to think critically about their own relationships as well as regulations in society today, making the novel relevant in more than one way.