Tuesday, January 29, 2013

REVIEW: Outpost by Ann Aguirre

My Rating: 10 out of 10 stars

Outpost is the second book in the Razorland series and the follow-up to 2011's Enclave. I enjoyed Enclave tremendously and immediately predicted it'll be one of my best reads of 2013. Fortunately the sequel—while quite different—was just as riveting. I'd give it a 9.5 if I could—if only because I liked Enclave just a wee bit better, mostly because of it's slightly faster pace throughout—but definitely not enough to deduct a whole point for it. :)

The story begins two months after Deuce and Fade emerged Topside from the dank, dark underground tunnels of the Enclave, into a part of the city now ruled by rival gangs who fight to the death for their lives and territory. Along with unlikely allies Stalker and Tegan, whom they picked up in the city, the four teens arrive at the walled, protected community of Salvation—built on the now trice settled site of an old war fort near what was once the Canadian border—and attempt to carve out a life Topside.

But adjusting to life in Salvation is anything but easy, especially for Deuce who doesn't particularly care for this new, simpler way of life where physical strength, aptitude, and training count for nothing if you're a woman. Instead, Deuce is expected to learn to do womanly work in the home, cook, wear dresses and look pretty. Things that are definitely not in a Huntress's repertoire. Several of the more god-fearing, bible-thumping citizens of Salvation shun Deuce, claiming she's an abomination whose presence will displease the gods and bring the plague back down upon them! But who needs plague when the Freaks—now called Muties by the citizens of Salvation—have been getting smarter and are now able to think and plan—even if they still smell of rotting flesh. Little do they realize that for Salvation to survive, they are going to need a girl like Deuce to save their ass!

Though this story takes place in a post-apocalyptic dystopian world like its predecessor, Outpost takes place completely topside, so there's a whole new world to be discovered, both by the reader as well as by Deuce and her friends, and Aguirre does a spectacular job creating this scary new world. Character development is amazing as Deuce and Fade continue to learn, grow, and adapt, and as a reader, you come to understand many of the complexities that make up their personalities—these are no one-dimensional characters! The plot is quick and snappy and I hated when I had to put this book down to actually get other things done! LOL But what I hated even more was when I finished and realized that the final book in the trilogy, tentatively named Horde, is not due out until the end of October. :o So now I have 9 more months to wait before finding out how this amazing story ends!

If you're a fan of dystopian fiction, you must read this series. Though classified as young adult, it is definitely a book for all ages (okay maybe not pre-teens LOL), but everyone else for sure!

BookCrossing journal page for this book

Friday, January 25, 2013

REVIEW: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

My Rating: 4 out of 10 stars
read January 18-24, 2013

This book really didn't live up to all the hype for me. Neither of the main characters really endeared themselves to me and when I don't like the main characters, I find myself not really caring what they do.

That said, the way the story was composed, with the author making you wonder what was going on for most of the book, is what kept me reading. But then when I got to the end, whoa that really blew it for me. I didn't like the ending AT ALL! I hear they might be changing the ending for the movie though, so I'll probably see it just for comparison purposes, and to see if the characters are somehow more likeable on the big screen.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

REVIEW: Enclave by Ann Aguirre

My Rating: 10 out of 10 stars

New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20's. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade's long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.

Wow, this was a fantastic read! Enclave is the first book in the Razorland trilogy, a new Young Adult dystopian series by Ann Aguirre. (Actually it was published in April 2011 so it's not really that new.) I devoured this book in only 5 days, having a hard time putting it down. It was only about 272 pages though so I'm sure there's many that could read that in a single day. ;) Though it's only January, I have a feeling this one will wind up at or very near the top of my best reads of 2013.

So what makes this novel stand out among the plethora of others like it? Yes, the whole dystopian theme has been getting an extraordinary amount of attention, some even claim it's being overdone, but you can't deny the success of books like The Hunger Games or TV series like The Walking Dead. And IMO, this stuff is a whole lot more interesting than the snooze fest that is Fifty Shades of Grey. :P
The author has taken several chilling themes—zombies, war, plague, underground societies—and given them a different spin so the story is fresh and new. And thankfully, no "love triangle"!

I'd highly recommend this series to fans of the above mentioned books and shows, and I'm looking forward to reading Outpost, the next book the series, which fortunately I already have here and waiting thanks to a thoughtful holiday gift from PaperBackSwap. :)

REVIEW: Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn

My Rating: 9 out of 10 stars

This is the sixth book in the Kitty Norville series, and it was great to get back to this series after a year and a half away.

In this installment, Kitty is back home in Denver and dealing with the repercussions of her recent trip to Las Vegas where she seriously pissed off a cult of were-tigers and it's vampire priestess. With her life in danger, as well as those of the people she cares about, she sets out to track down the source of the curse that's been placed on her. Fortunately, a group of TV paranormal investigators--one of whom has real psychic abilities--is in town filming so Kitty is sure that if she can enlist their help, she can stop this thing before more people get hurt.

This was another fantastic installment in the Kitty series and I look forward to reading more. :)