blog about reviews writing

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Monsters of Men, Shifter, and Legend Reviews

Oh dear.  Unfortunately, my teachers have been dumping piles of homework onto my head lately.  Which means I'm behind on my reviews.  I don't like doing these mini-reviews, but it's better than no review at all.  Even though these books deserve so much better.

Monsters of Men (Chaos Walking #3) by Patrick Ness

As a world-ending war surges to life around them, Todd and Viola face monstrous decisions. The indigenous Spackle, thinking and acting as one, have mobilized to avenge their murdered people. Ruthless human leaders prepare to defend their factions at all costs, even as a convoy of new settlers approaches. And as the ceaseless Noise lays all thoughts bare, the projected will of the few threatens to overwhelm the desperate desire of the many. The consequences of each action, each word, are unspeakably vast: To follow a tyrant or a terrorist? To save the life of the one you love most or thousands of strangers? To believe in redemption or assume it is lost? Becoming adults amid the turmoil, Todd and Viola question all they have known, racing through horror and outrage toward a shocking finale.

This one started out slower than The Ask and the Answer.  For awhile, it was looking like this book would fall very, very short of its predecessor.  And that would have disappointed me.  But it didn't.  Once the slow parts were over, it really picked back up. 

Ness's writing is spectacular.  I don't know how else to say it.  It's not flowery, pretty, gorgeous prose.  It doesn't dazzle you with wonderful turns of phrase and metaphors and such.  It's too in-your-face for that.  The only word I can think of to describe it is honest.  It stays true to the character's voice.  It's just...awesome.  You have to read it to understand it. 

I really enjoyed getting a bit of 1017's point of view in this book.  That was interesting.  I also like the different fonts.  And the way Ness was not afraid to delve really deep and ask some pretty serious questions.  This book made me think.  A lot.  I like that.

Still, I was expecting this book to be a four-star...until the very ending.  Wow.  I'm not going to spoil it, but it's...awful.  Definitely would've made me cry, if I was that sort of person.  And it was beautiful and wonderful at the same time.  I loved it.  I don't even have words for the last chapter...just read it, okay?  It's a monumental book that you all should go get right now.  Especially if you're considering writing romance, because you can't really have YA romance that's better than the one between Todd and Viola. 
  Nice, right?
PS: Check this out: 

Shifter (The Healing Wars #1) by Janice Hardy

Nya is an orphan struggling for survival in a city crippled by war. She is also a Taker—with her touch, she can heal injuries, pulling pain from another person into her own body. But unlike her sister, Tali, and the other Takers who become Healers' League apprentices, Nya's skill is flawed: She can't push that pain into pynvium, the enchanted metal used to store it. All she can do is shift it into another person, a dangerous skill that she must keep hidden from forces occupying her city. If discovered, she'd be used as a human weapon against her own people.

Rumors of another war make Nya's life harder, forcing her to take desperate risks just to find work and food. She pushes her luck too far and exposes her secret to a pain merchant eager to use her shifting ability for his own sinister purposes. At first Nya refuses, but when Tali and other League Healers mysteriously disappear, she's faced with some difficult choices. As her father used to say, principles are a bargain at any price; but how many will Nya have to sell to get Tali back alive?

I have very mixed feelings about this book.  On one hand, the premise was very unique.  The magic system was cool, and the characters had lots of potential to be very complex, interesting people.  The setting was interesting, and there was plenty of plot to work with.

But then...I couldn't really connect to the characters.  I'm not even sure how to say Nya's name.  I thought she was likable enough, but I didn't feel for her.  For whatever reason, I couldn't bring myself to care about her or her problems.  That's probably the main reason I didn't enjoy this book as much as I could have. 

I also felt it moved a little slow.  Sure, enough stuff happened, but the action just wasn't gripping enough to move it forward for me. 

Overall, my dislikes and likes are fairly balanced.  I wouldn't tell you not to pick it up if it looks interesting, but I wouldn't recommend it, either. 

Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias' death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

I don't think any of my Goodreads friends who read this book didn't like it.  I'd heard so many good things about this book, so I just had to pick it up.  And I'm glad I did.

I really connected with one of the main characters, Day.  He was a very interesting character.  I really felt for him, and I wanted him to succeed.  He was very realistic.  It took me longer to like June, as a character.  I got there in the end, though.  I actually didn't like her for awhile, but then she managed to redeem herself.

This book threw so many curveballs at me.  There were some pretty major twists I never saw coming.  And I love surprises in books!  I'm really eager to see where Marie Lu goes with this series--this is a very exciting start.

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