Sunday, August 28, 2016

Red Queen (Red Queen #1) by Victoria Aveyard

Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)

Red Queen (Red Queen #1)
by Victoria Aveyard
Hardcover383 pages
Published February 10th 2015 by HarperTeen

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

“Rise, red as the dawn.” 
Victoria Aveyard, Red Queen

I am going to start off by saying that I am sort of kicking myself for waiting so long to read this. There has been a lot of hype for this book for quite some time now, yet as intrigued as I was, for some reason I never got around to picking it up until now. The question now is, do I think this book lived up to all the hype it has received? 

Yes. But also no. 

Now you're confused I am sure. I say "yes" because I did very much enjoy this book. Parts of it were very unique and I can see why people love it. However, I personally did not LOVE it and had a few problems with it. 

For one thing, for the first two-thirds of the novel, I wasn't really feeling it. What I meant to say is, I was interested, but not too interested. It felt like not much was really going on, or at least, nothing different from any other YA novel that contains a similar plot. I did not really get sucked in until the last third. At this point, I could not put the book down. At last, I was hooked. It is this last third of the book that made me bump my rating up from 3 stars to 4. 

In the world of Red Queen, people either have red blood or silver. Those with silver also possess special abilities that vary. Because of these abilities, they consider themselves superior to those who bleed red. Red bloods are basically their slaves. They do all the work, fight in the long going war that has been raging for years, and get little in return. Then you get introduced the Mare Barrow, who of course is supposed to be special and the savior of all. This plot, while intriguing, is also not vastly different from other YA novels. 

I liked Mare enough. She had her moments were I admired her strength and abilities, but for the most part, she sort of bugged me. For one, there is a love triangle of sorts in this novel, much to my dismay. Though, to be perfectly honest, there were times when I thought there was perhaps a love quadrilateral going on. She's drawn to two brothers and naturally she leans more towards the one I did not really care for and find completely dull. 

The characters are part of the problem I had with this novel. I felt like a lot of them were either rather dull, or I just felt no connection towards them and did not really care much for them. Mare also appeared heartless to me at times. I understand she was in a rather tough situation but at times I lacked sympathy for her because she seemed almost as bad as the bad guys. 

I also felt certain things could have been explained a bit more in the novel. For example, what caused the two different kinds of blood, or why they were even in this long winded war. They mention the war a bit, but I still felt as though I didn't really understand why it was happening, or who the Lakelanders really were. 

There is a lot of betrayal, which was kind of a plus for me because it made me a tad more interesting. It also kind of ticked me off because even though I suspected of the betrayals, I was still a bit shocked and saddened by them. 

I would recommend this book. It wasn't bad. I did enjoy it even though to me personally, it was not all the hype made it out to be. I will probably continue on with the series soon. 

4 out of 5

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8) by by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, Jack Thorne

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (Harry Potter #8)
HardcoverSpecial Rehearsal Edition327 pages
Published July 31st 2016 by Arthur A. Levine Books

The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

“In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.” 
― J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Cursed Child

This is going to be a rather short review. I feel as though I cannot give a full, proper review without giving away too many spoilers. So this review will basically just be my feelings and thoughts on the book as a whole. 

First off, I have to start off by saying that I do not look at this as the "8th" Harry Potter book and think it should stop being advertised as such. For one, its not a novel but a script book. Also, J. K. Rowling did not write this entirely on her own (which is clearly stated on the front cover and is also obvious while reading it). Lastly, I may be wrong but I could have sworn J. K. Rowling herself said that this is NOT the 8th book. But again, could be wrong on that.

I surprisingly enjoyed this a lot. It wasn't at all what I expected and it was nice to go back into this magical world I love so much. I will say, I'm sure this is much better when performed. I also felt as if parts read kind of like fan fiction. I almost felt like I could kind of tell which parts Rowling had probably written and which ones the other authors had a larger hand in.

Overall, very enjoyable, with quite a few surprises.

4 out of 5

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