Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Young Adult

The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

Review:

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This is book 3 in the Young Elites series. Beware of spoilers if you haven’t read The Young Elites and The Rose Society.

Is being Queen worth losing everything and everyone you ever loved?

Adelina supposedly now has everything she wanted. She is Queen and she’s as ruthless and as cruel as ever. Even though she is now queen, she can never have enough power. Her darkness feeds on the power and it’s taking over. Adelina has lost so much, but now it seems the whole world is at risk. Her Rose Society must join with the Daggers and make an unforgettable journey to the realm of the gods. If they can’t work together, there is no hope.

This was an amazing series and Marie Lu is an impressive and talented writer. I also loved the Legend series. Adelina’s journey is heartbreaking and difficult, but I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

 

Original post:
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Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Favorite, Young Adult

The Rose Society by Marie Lu

Review:

owlowlowlowlowl half

If you haven’t read The Young Elites, this review may contain spoilers related to the original story.

How can you be good when everything within you is dragging you into darkness??

After losing Enzo and being rejected by the Dagger Society, Adelina is on a path of vengeance and violence. Her powers are fueled by hate and fear, and they’re growing beyond her ability to control. She has found a new group of Elites, but she has difficulty trusting them, and she is constantly doubting who she is and questioning her own decisions. She is now known as the White Wolf, a symbol of power, violence, and death.

This book is even better than the first. As the reader watches Adelina’s descent into darkness, we feel for her and in a way even understand the decisions she makes. She has spent most of her life living in fear; who can blame her for wanting to feel powerful and safe. This doesn’t take away from the horror of her actions; she is no hero.The real question is, will Adelina ever find happiness or even recognize it if she does.

A great addition to the trilogy. On to book 3: The Midnight Star

 

 

Original post:
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Posted in Adventure, Book Review, Fantasy, Grades 6-8, Sunshine State 17-18

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

Review:

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Yes. There is a witch in the woods. There has always been a witch.

– Opening lines

 Magical babies are dangerous babies, Glerk tried to remind himself, day after day. When he wasn’t cradling Luna. Or singing to Luna. Or whispering poetry into her ear as she slept.

-Chapter 5

A story can tell the truth, she knew, but a story can also lie. Stories can bend and twist and obfuscate. Controlling stories is power indeed.

– Chapter 38

Knowledge is powerful, but it is a terrible power when it is hoarded and hidden.

– Chapter 38

The village has always known about the witch, and about the sacrifice. Once a year, the Council of Elders takes the youngest baby and leaves it in the woods to appease the witch. But… the witch (Xan) has no idea why they leave the baby, so she takes it to the village across the forest and gives it to a loving home. Except for Luna… The witch accidentally feeds Luna moonlight (instead of the starlight she usually feeds the babies). The moonlight makes Luna magical. Luna grows up with Xan, Glerk (the swamp monster), and Fyrian (a Perfectly Tiny Dragon who thinks he is a Simply Enormous Dragon).

With characters like Xan, Glerk, Fyrian, and Luna, how could this story fail? The characters are amazing and the world is magical. People have been recommending this book to me all year, but I kept putting it off. I don’t know why, but the cover just didn’t appeal to me. Once I started reading it, I loved it.

Recommended to: Grades 5 & up. Fans of magical stories or fairy tales.

 

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Posted in Audiobook, Book Review, Fantasy, Favorite, Young Adult

Everfound – Audiobook

Review:

owlowlowlowlowl

 

“We can lie to ourselves, saying we believe one thing, and sometimes we convince others it’s true, with the hope that by convincing others, we can convince ourselves. Wars are often waged not because of what we believe, but because of the things we want others to believe.”

Book 3 in the Skinjacker series. I love the series, the characters, the ups & downs, basically everything about it. I am now a huge fan of Neal Shusterman. This is the second series I’m reading by him and I’m now ready for the next one.

This book is amazing. It takes the characters on surprising and unexpected paths that end up in quite unusual ways. No characters are just plain evil or good. They all take personal journeys and look at the world in different ways. I felt for all of them at different points in the book and I cringed at their actions at other points.

 Recommended: Grades 7 & up. Fans of fantasy or dystopian novels.

 

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Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Young Adult

Everwild by Neal Shusterman – Audiobook

Review:

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If you haven’t read Everlost, then you probably shouldn’t read this review. But more importantly, don’t read the synopsis of this book (Everwild) on Amazon as it gives away an important plot point that the book doesn’t reveal until at least the 65% mark.

Everlost is populated by children who died and didn’t find their way to the light. They are basically ghosts, who can’t be seen or interact with the living world (with one interesting exception). Places (dead spots) and things also cross to Everlost, but only those that are truly loved by someone. The children in Everlost are called Afterlights, because they have a glow about them. Afterlights will sink to the center of the earth if they stand in one place for too long, unless they are on a dead spot. In the first book, we learn that large dead spots are rare, but can be found in places that were considered important to a lot of people, such as the Twin Towers in NYC. In Everwild, Allie, Nick, Mary, and Mikey continue their journeys, although their paths have changed. Some secrets have already been discovered about Everlost, but still more questions remain unanswered.

Shusterman is a magnificent writer and I love losing myself in his worlds. There is no black or white, no flat good and evil. The “good” characters make mistakes or wrong choices, and the “evil” characters have motives that might have started out as good. There is a constant struggle within each character to understand their own feelings and deal with all the craziness Everlost throws at them. Over the course of this novel, all of the characters (even the secondary ones) develop, grow, and change. There is an overarching theme of “how do we stop the evil trying to destroy the world” and yet each character has their own feelings, hopes, and dreams to deal with.

The instant I finished listening to this book, I began the next (and final) book in the series. This shouldn’t be a surprise considering my similar reaction to the first Shusterman series I read (Unwind).

I’m recommending this book to grades 7 and up. Some of the actions of the characters are a bit callous in their disregard for the living world, but there are also beautiful parts that stuck with me. Fans of the Delirium or Divergent series will enjoy this one.

 

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Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Grades 6-8

Quest to the Uncharted Lands

Review:

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When the Iron Glory’s engines rumbled to life for its journey to the uncharted lands, it marked a new future for the world of Solace.

– First Sentence

This book is a fantastic companion to The Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson. It isn’t a sequel, it takes place in the same world with different characters.

Stella Glass is the daughter of two scientists who are traveling on the Iron Glory to explore the uncharted lands of Solace. No one has ever explored this far west beyond the mountains. The Dragonfly Territories and Merrow Kingdom have finally reached an uneasy peace. They worked together on this ship and representatives from both countries are onboard.

Stella is not permitted to go, but she has planned for months to stow away because she is terrified her parents won’t come back. On the first night, Stella finds out she isn’t the only stowaway. No children are allowed on the ship, but she sees a boy outside the engine room with his hands on the wall. His hands begin to glow, and then his eyes. Stella isn’t sure who he is or what he is up to, but when he passes out, she drags him to her hiding place in the cargo hold. Someone doesn’t want this voyage to succeed, but who and how can they be stopped?

So, in The Mark of the Dragonfly, we met Piper (a girl who connects to machines in an almost magical way), and Gee (a boy who can transform into a dragon). This book continues in the same fantasy steampunk world and the story is in the same heroic adventure vein. Again, I highly recommend it to students in grades 4 – 8. It is just as good as the first.

 

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Posted in Fantasy, Young Adult

Everlost by Neal Shusterman – review

Review:

owlowlowlowl

Nick & Allie were in a fatal car accident and ended up caught in Everlost, a sort of limbo for kids who don’t make it where they are going when they die. Everlost is a magical place for things and places that no longer survive in the living world (ex. the Twin Towers). But Everlost is also full of dangers (if the kids stay in one place for too long, they sink to the center of the earth), and monsters (the Magill, the Haunter). When Nick and Allie make it to the Twin Towers, they find Mary, who calls herself the queen of lost children. But while Nick feels at home with Mary, Allie suspects Mary is hiding something.

This is a fun young adult story with plenty of excitement and danger. The narrator did an excellent job and didn’t distract from the story at all. This is an interesting look at what could happen to souls whose journey is interrupted. Many of the kids have been around for hundreds of years, including Mary, who has written books on how to survive in Everlost. The kids all cross over in whatever they were wearing, which makes for some interesting wardrobes and nicknames for those who may have died on Halloween or during a day at the beach (think Speedo). Nick even dies with chocolate on his face. However, if the kids don’t think about things, they tend to forget them, such as their name and their physical appearance.

Bottom line: This is an engrossing start to the trilogy, that I will be happily continuing. The world building is remarkable and the ending suggests more peril and exploits for the characters that survive. Recommended to grades 6 & up. No serious violence and no sex, only cute crushes. Most of the kids we meet are under 16.

 

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Posted in Book Review, Fantasy, Grades 6-8, Sci-Fi, Steampunk, Sunshine State 17-18

Mark of the Dragonfly by Jaleigh Johnson

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Piper, a young girl with a talent for fixing mechanical things, finds Anna (a young girl with amnesia who needs her help) and together they take the 401 train trying to escape the man pursuing them. There they meet Gee, a boy who can transform into a dragon and who might be able to help them.

Piper is smart, brave and mechanically inclined, who could ask for a better heroine. She is alone and barely scraping by until she finds Anna in the meteor field (each meteor shower brings items from other worlds that the scrappers find and fix or sell). Anna doesn’t know who she is but she has the mark of the dragonfly which means she is someone important to the king. Piper sees her chance to help Anna and maybe get a reward that could change her life at the same time.

This story is filled with magic, adventure, steampunk, humor, and a smidge of romance. I highly recommend it to readers in grades 4 through 8 (and adults who enjoy strong female characters and a bit of western/sci-fi; sort of like Firefly for the younger set). A promising series which I plan to continue.