Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review - Fallen

Author: Lauren Kate
Series: First book in the Fallen series
Publication date: December 8th, 2009
Pages: 476
My rating: ♔ ♔ 

There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori.
Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah, Georgia. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move.
Even though Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce–and goes out of his way to make that very clear–she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, she has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret . . . even if it kills her.

I felt like this book had great potential. Angels, unlike vampires, haven't been done over and over again. Luce feels that she's known Daniel her whole life. She's able to see shadows that aren't visible to anyone else. Or so she thinks. These are all great ideas, and it's a shame Lauren Kate didn't fully explore them until almost the very end. 
It took me a while to get into this book. More than 230 pages, to be exact. That's nearly half the book. As soon as Luce arrives at her new school, she starts obsessing over Daniel. And that's what the first half of the book is about. Luce pretty much stalking and obsessing over a guy that tries his hardest to ignore and avoid her. Eerily reminiscent of Twilight, isn't it? Throughout the first 200 pages or so, there were things that hinted at something exciting that could finally happen, but nothing did. 
Around 230 pages in (why do I remember the exact numbers?) something finally happened. Luce and her friend Penn are in the school library, when Luce starts seeing the shadows again. Only this time they are darker than before. A fire starts seemingly out of nowhere, and it looks like the shadows have something to do with it. For a few pages the action is really intense and super exciting. But as soon as Luce recovers from the fire, she's back to obsessing over Daniel in a very Bella-like fashion. This drags on for about a hundred more pages, until we get a bit of action again. 
Much later on in the book, Daniel finally explains to Luce why hes been trying to avoid her and she realizes he's an angel. I wish Lauren Kate had somehow shown us all of this throughout the book, instead of Daniel just telling Luce everything. But starting with this moment the book was very enjoyable until the very end. Now that Luce understands everything, she stops stalking Daniel and there's a lot of action. Luce's friends and classmates turn out to be angels as well, only some of them are good and some bad.  The two opposing sides fight, but they can never completely destroy each other. 
I wasn't really into the book at first, and I felt like it's just the Twilight of angel YA books, but the ending made me comepletely change my mind. Now I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the Fallen series.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Favorite Friday #1

I introduce to you - Favorite Friday! A maybe-weekly (no promises) feature on my blog, where I talk about my favorite books, favorite authors, favorite characters and my favorite anything else book related I can come up with.

I've decided to start off Favorite Friday with my favorite book ever - Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë. The word 'favorite' doesn't even begin to cover it, though. I love this book. I even own it in two different languages.

When I started reading it for the very first time, I was confused. Really. Everyone's last name was either Earnshaw or Linton and it was hard to keep track of who's who. But after I finally understood who's Cathy's brother and who's her father, and how to tell apart Ellen's story from the present, it was like this book was written for me. This was probably the first time when I could connect to everything. The story, the characters. But let's save the characters for another Favorite Friday.

What makes me really angry is how Wuthering Heights is now being compared to Twilight just because it's Bella's favorite book. I could rant about this for hours. And now Wuthering Heights is being released with all these 'Twilight inspired' covers, with 'Bella & Edwards favorite book!' all over it. Seriously? I'm going to be honest - it disgusts me. The books couldn't be more different. I don't have anything against Twilight (maybe except for my undying hate for Bella), but come on. Is Wuthering Heights about a girl with no personality obsessing over a sparkling vampire? Don't think so.

But all this stupidity aside, Wuthering Heights is an absolutely amazing book and it's much more than just a love story.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Review - Vampire Academy

Richelle Mead
Series: First book in the Vampire Academy series
Publication date: August 16th, 2007
Pages: 332
My rating: ♔ ♔ ♔ ♔ 

Lissa Dragomir is a Moroi princess: a mortal vampire with an unbreakable bond to the earth's magic. She must be protected at all times from Strigoi; the fiercest and most dangerous vampires--the ones who never die.

The powerful blend of human and vampire blood that flows through Rose Hathaway, Lissa's best friend, makes her a Dhampir; she is dedicated to a dangerous life of protecting Lissa from the Strigoi, who are hell-bent on making her one of them.

After two years of illicit freedom, Rose and Lissa are caught and dragged back to St. Vladimir's Academy, hidden in the deep forests of Montana. Rose will continue her Dhampir education. Lissa will go back to being Queen of the elite Moroi social scene. And both girls will resume breaking hearts.
Fear made Lissa and Rose run away from St. Vladimir's--but their world is fraught with danger both inside and out of the Academy's iron gates. Here, the cutthroat ranks of the Moroi perform unspeakable rituals and their secretive nature and love of the night creates an enigmatic world full of social complexities. Rose and Lissa must navigate through this dangerous world, confront the temptation of forbidden romance, and never once let their guard down, lest the Strigoi make Lissa one of them forever...

After nearly a year of reading nothing but classics, Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead reminded me why I love YA. Impeccably paced and flowing, this book was like a breath of fresh air after the complex writings of Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker. I have to say that this was one of, if not the, most unique vampire book in terms of YA. P.C and Kristen Cast, Stephenie Meyer and Charlaine Harris have all reinvented the term 'vampire', but the world Richelle Mead created was definitely the best.

In Vampire Academy there are different types of vampires. There are the Strigoi vampires, who are the only ones that would resemble a traditional vampire. They are immortal, don't go in the sunlight and kill humans for blood. Moroi vampires are only weakened by the sun, they aren't considered undead and they never kill humans for blood. In fact, killing a human would turn them into a Strigoi . And then there are Dhampirs - half human, half Moroi. At a first glance it seems like quite a complicated world, but the author did a wonderful job at tying the three types together. Nothing in this vampire society is random. 

The two main characters - Rose and Lissa - aren't characters often found in YA books, either. Or at least I have yet to come across a book where a teenage girl is as compassionate as Lissa. She has the rare power to heal people, and even bring back the dead. Even before Lissa was aware of her powers, she instinctively revived Rose, after she and Lissa's family died in a car crash. Every time Lissa uses her powers, it drains her and leaves her feeling depressed. Rose, being her guardian, is told to keep Lissa from using her powers. This isn't an easy job, because Lissa has an almost uncontrollable urge to help those in need, even if it hurts her. Lissa is also a member of one of the twelve royal Moroi families, but she isn't afraid to be different than the other snobby teens from the royal families. Disregarding what everyone else says, Lissa starts dating a boy named Christian. His parents had willingly turned into Strigoi vampires, which is strongly frowned upon in Moroi society. The students at the Academy don't want to be around him, but Lissa is much different.

Rose is unlike most female characters as well. Strong and confident, Rose refuses to give up even when facing  serious danger. I have to admit that Rose did annoy me at times. Occasionally she seemed a bit over confident and she did have her typical teenage girl moments, but overall was a likable character. 

I absolutely loved Vampire Academy and I can't wait to read all of the books in the series.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Review - The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner

I know, I know. Stephenie Meyer. Twilight. Most people wouldn't associate these words with something well written. The lack of Bella and her mindless obsession with Edward is what made this book all the more enjoyable. But  let's not get ahead of ourselves.

Author: Stephenie Meyer
Release date: June 5th, 2010
My rating: ♔ ♔ ♔ ♔ 

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner is the story of one of the newborn vampires we saw in Eclipse, the third book in the Twilight saga. Bree Tanner, changed at the young age of 15, has to not only learn all the rules that come with being a vampire, she has to survive living with equally confused and, well, hungry newborns. 
Victoria wants revenge on the Cullens, especially Bella, so she creates a vampire named Riley to help her raise an army. It doesn't take long for Bree to start doubting what Riley's telling them, but she's not sure if Riley isn't being lied to as well.

I really don't want to ramble on and on and to retell the entire plot. In fact, in school we had this thing where once a year in Literature, we'd have to speak about a book we've read. This was started to pretty much force teens read. When we presented the book, our teacher always said to not retell the plot, but to speak abut what our thoughts on the book are. And since our teacher was really strict, I guess I still have a trauma or something, haha. So if I can't say more than a few sentences about the plot, this is why.

If I hadn't know this book was written by the same author who wrote Twilight, honestly I wouldn't believe it. While only 184 pages long (and it seemed even shorter) it has everything a good book needs. Growing and changing relationships between characters and the two things Twilight lacked - complex characters and a plot.   This is exactly what I meant about the lack of Bella making this book even better. I don't even know how Bella can be considered a person or a human being, even. She's nothing but a shell. Throughout the first three books I strongly disliked Jacob, but when Breaking Dawn had his point of view, I actually started to like him. Reading from Bella's point of view is torturous, and Midnight Sun would be no different. Now Jacob and Bree's point of view and their personalities turn the story into something completely different. And it's not bad.  Not in the slightest. 

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner and I wish that her life, or at least the book, had been longer. 


Hi. My name's Beāte and I love books. And I suck at doing these 'oh, this is my first post and I have to say something about myself' entries. Anyway. I also have a youtube channel , but this is where I'll be doing book reviews.
There isn't a specific genre or type of books that I prefer. For this past year I've been reading mostly classics, but now I'm jumping right back into YA. My favorite books of all time are Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and the Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead. So I'll be reviewing a variety of books, and I hope everyone will find something they like.

And that's it for my awkward first post.