Book Cover for Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Magan: Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Book Cover for Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
Publication Date:
January 8, 2013
Publisher:
HarperCollins
Pages:
352
Target audience:
Young adult
Keywords:
dystopian, contrasting worlds, trilogy, Aether storms
Format read:
Borrowed from Anna (Thanks, lady!)

Summary: Aria is reunited with Perry (who is now a Blood Lord) and introduced to the Tides. The only friend she has is Roar and the Tides aren’t likely to accept her since she’s a Dweller. She’s on a mission to save the Dwellers (and hopefully the Tides, too) from the increasingly terrible Aether storms by seeking out the Still Blue.

In the vast sea of trilogies and series, it’s often hard to find a series that stands out from the crowd. Under the Never Sky was a great 2012 read, but I was anxious for more answers – I needed to understand the Aether better and I didn’t grasp why there was so much dissension between the Dwellers and the Outsiders. What had stripped these people apart from living as one society?

In Through the Ever Night, Rossi delivers answers in a perfectly timed and beautifully paced story. The world felt so much more complete and whole — quite possibly because of the sheer amount of exploration and travel Aria has to do. In UtNS, I understood Aria’s life as a Dweller within the compound walls, but this time, I began to understand how the Outsiders lived a bit more. (I will add here that I recommend you do a re-read of at least the last 25% of UtNS so you can jump into this book without hesitation. Jamie and Anna recommended I do this and this refresher made the transition to book two seamless.) The Aether storms were more vivid and the Tides compound was easy to picture, from the critical need for more food and supplies to the chilling glances they sent Aria’s way.

Aria and Perry’s relationship (swoon!) felt very or organic and natural. Things weren’t always perfectly easy for them, but Rossi didn’t throw in unnecessary challenges that over-complicated things for them either. Aria and Perry were sometimes forced to make decisions based on what they genuinely thought would be in the best interest of the other person, even if that meant their relationship might suffer through a hiccup. Perry wasn’t always in the easiest position; often he was caught between loving Aria and his duty to the Tides, causing tension and resistance. Many times, I couldn’t help but question how they would make it as a couple when the Tides accepting Aria seemed so impossible.

Thankfully Roar’s character provided some much-needed comedic relief to break up the stressful situations. He stood out in UtNS, being the humorous and dedicated friend to Perry that he is, but now, his role is amplified and we get to see a whole lot more of him. He’s still the silly sidekick, but he and Aria have a friendship built on a few months of being together after Perry leaves to rule the Tides. Roar helped me to understand Aria’s talents more, and I loved the easy way these two communicated with one another. (Never fear – theirs is not a love-relationship; purely friendship. No love triangle here.) Roar’s character allowed us to experience such a gamut of emotions, sometimes not always the cheerful ones expected of him.

There’s so much to love about Through the Ever Night – amazing character development, world building, and a storyline very different than others currently classified as dystopian. I absolutely loved everything about it (except now having to wait for Into the Still Blue). This is a very solid sequel by Rossi that I highly recommend you pick up as soon as possible!

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book cover for Where You Are by Tammara Webber

Magan: Where You Are by Tammara Webber

book cover for Where You Are by Tammara Webber

Where You Are (Between the Lines #2) by Tammara Webber
Publication Date: October 21, 2011
Pages: 253
Target audience: Mature young adult
Keywords: A-list celebrities, movies, deception, scheming
Format read: Purchased for my Kindle.

Summary: After an unplanned encounter at a coffee shop, Graham and Emma decide to start dating; Reid and Brooke are incredibly unhappy and jealous about this so they team up to rip Graham and Emma apart.

 

I fell in love with Emma, Graham, Reid, and Brooke in Between the Lines, the first book in this trilogy. These four characters were actors in the modern day re-make of Pride and Prejudice. Emma was a newbie to the film industry and got swept up in Reid’s gorgeous looks and his ability to always say the right thing. I rooted for the boy who became Emma’s friend, Graham; he was the one she talked to, ran with, watched movies and listened to music with. Emma realized how manipulative Reid was and reunited, unexpectedly, with Graham in NYC. (Disclaimer: I didn’t realize this was a whole series, hence why I’m behind on reading it. I had made up my own little story for what happened with Graham and Emma after their chance encounter.)

Where You Are picks up right where Between the Lines left off. A pretty big secret was revealed at the end of book one, so Emma and Graham have a lot of feelings to resolve and things to work through. Emma is back in California since the filming is over for their movie and Graham is living in NYC. They decide to pursue a relationship, vowing the Skype, call, and text as much as possible. It proves more difficult than anticipated for them to have a long-distance relationship. They count down the days until they can reunite at promotional interviews and tours for the release of the movie.

As if natural complications weren’t enough, Webber throws in a great big helping of Reid and Brooke and their scheming ways. Reid decides he wants Emma back; he wants to change his ways and clean up his act for her. Brooke discovers her long-time friendship with Graham isn’t enough for her – she wants him to herself. Despite Reid and Brooke’s intense history and the fact they barely utter two words to each other, they decide to pair up to seduce and deceive Emma and Graham. Where You Are alternates between the four character’s perspectives; at times I knew what was coming for Emma and Graham and my stomach ached because I knew things were about to go from good to terrible. Brooke was the main mastermind behind all the drama, and wow, did she know a thing or two about strategizing.

I often found myself incredibly frustrated with Reid and Brooke. They needed to back off so Emma and Graham could have a fighting chance at making it. I suppose I learned a lot about myself while reading this book – it would be hard to earn redemption if you betrayed me. Perhaps I would have felt differently if either Reid or Brooke seemed to have changed or grown. Brooke wanted what wasn’t hers, and I never felt fully convinced that she or Reid would be completely committed to Graham or Emma if they were in relationships. It seemed like these two movie stars were butt hurt because they weren’t easily given what they wanted.

Reconnecting with these characters was definitely a treat. If you enjoyed Between the Lines and want more of their story, continue on with Where You Are. These books are only available for download (and for a great price – $2.99!).

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Magan: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Warning: There will be Divergent spoilers in this review, so please DO NOT proceed if you haven’t read this book yet!

book cover for insurgent by veronica roth

Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Publication Date: May 1, 2012
Publisher: HarperTeen
Pages: 525
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format read: ARC received from TLA
Why I read it: It’s the sequel to one of my favorite books (ever).

Summary: Insurgent picks up where Divergent left off – after the Dauntless have been taken over by a simulation serum. Abnegation was attacked. Tris’s parents risked their lives, selflessly, to help save hers; she lost friends. Tris grapples with figuring out where she belongs and how she can stop future attacks that are sure to rip the factions apart.

I feel as if my hands are hovering over the keyboard, not quite sure where to start and what to say other than WOW.

I read Divergent days after its release date last year, so I knew I’d need to refresh because Veronica’s world is so dense and structured. I couldn’t have been happier that I decided to re-read it; there were so many details that I would have been questioning in Insurgent. Veronica springs right into action and doesn’t provide a lot of back story. I think it’s expected of her readers to be well-versed in the characters and story. (This is probably my biggest piece of advice. Re-read Divergent, your notes, a blog… something that provides the ins and outs of all the chaos that goes down before you begin Insurgent.)

Insurgent is full (FULL) of twists and turns. Tris makes a lot of decisions that I didn’t always relate to or understand, but I don’t think she always knew why she was making them either. She’s searching, relentlessly, to find out who she is. Is she factionless? Is she Dauntless? She’s never been very selfless, but maybe she should have stayed in Abnegation. Because of all these uncertainties, there was a lot of friction between Tris and Four.

I know. Friction?!

I wish I could say to expect only the hottest, steamiest goodness from these two, but they’re both packing a lot of baggage. As they each have their own issues, more depth and complexity introduced itself. Sometimes it was hard for me to decide if Tris or Four was right. They both presented persuasive arguments for why they felt one way or another. My heart felt so torn. Maybe shredded is more appropriate. Tris and Four had so much trouble connecting – they were very hit or miss. I must admit that this part was hard for me to read through; sure, it’s only logical that when faced with so much turmoil, the romantical parts of life might be less… romantical, but somehow in Divergent, they always found a way to have sweet, tender moments. (And yes, I hereby instate romantical as a useable word. Go forth and prosper.)

The ride Roth takes us on in Insurgent is intense. I felt as if I were making the decisions right along with Tris. Her strong, rigid exterior was completely broken after the simulation attacks. She emotes so much more vulnerability and mourns the loss of Will and her parents. She takes on what I’d like to call a “savior complex” and feels like she needs to sacrifice herself to honor those who died. There were times when I felt like I, as a reader, was intentionally kept in the dark, though. I’d have questions about the whereabouts of people or how certain things happened, only to have Roth brilliantly explain them later.

There are people, solutions, and questions along the way that constantly left me guessing. Who is to be trusted? Is X person manipulating Y person? What side is that faction really on? The debates are endless.

There’s no doubt that this was my most anticipated book for 2012. I tried to slowly read through it so I could cling to every ounce of goodness, but yet again, I feel as if I should re-read this soon because I couldn’t contain myself. Somehow Roth always stumps me with her impeccable writing and I’m left thinking, “WHAT THE HECK JUST HAPPENED THERE?” or feeling like I missed something big because surely that’s not the way that just went down. The ending, to be sure, left me flipping back through the final pages several times as I was quite flabbergasted.

I hope you love(d) Insurgent by Veronica Roth as much as I did. Please, please link up your review in the comments below because I need to FEEL and empathize with other readers.

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sequel to delirium by lauren oliver, pandemonium by lauren oliver

Magan: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

sequel to delirium by lauren oliver, pandemonium by lauren oliverPandemonium by Lauren Oliver [twitter | website]
Publication Date: February 28, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 375
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format read: ARC received from HarperCollins at ALA (Thank you!)
Why I read it: Delirium is awesome. This is the sequel!

Summary: Lena has escaped into the Wilds, but the last she sees of Alex is him being beaten and surrounded by the Regulators. She has no idea where to find a settlement with Invalids; just as she’s dying, she is saved by Raven. It is at her homestead that Lena learns how to survive in the Wilds and learns of the resistance.

– – – – – – – – –

**Today I’m publishing my reviews of Delirium and Pandemonium separately because I didn’t want to spoil anything for people who might not have read Delirium yet. If you plan to pick up Delirium soon, don’t read this review. I will unintentionally mention spoilers because I’ll talk about where it left off and Pandemonium begins, though I will try to be cautious of mentioning any new spoilers for the sequel.**

– – – – – – – – –

Delirium introduced us to a girl who was weak and very influenced by the society. Lena had very little say-so and often didn’t think for herself. We saw her progress from a lowly character with little self-esteem into a brave, confident young woman who would do anything to spend her life with Alex. Who would give anything to make her own decisions. Thus, she fled into the Wilds seeking freedom, although Alex was trapped by the Regulators and never makes it to the other side.

Pandemonium opens and we see that there is a “then” and a “now.” Oliver switched up how she chose to tell Lena’s story. Some chapters are flashbacks to when she first enters the Wilds and others are current day. Since there were two stories being simultaneously told, it seemed as though I was reading about two Lena’s. I am amazed by the growth that occurred in Lena. I thought she would be fully prepared to live outside the society, but being broken-hearted and damaged took a toll on her character. She second guesses herself and has to go through another developmental stage. She realizes how weak she is and is pushed to fight; thoughts of Alex are what encourage her to continue on.

While I felt that Oliver was very cautious and intentional in Delirium, she was much more intense this go around. The story was powerful and there were so many puzzle pieces I was trying to fit together. I was anxious to devour the book (but knew I’d be waiting an entire year for the final one). There was hardly a low-intensity moment, and the shifts from now and then would occur just as things were coming together, leaving me in suspense a little while longer. Oliver left me constantly grasping for more information, and I went through an array of emotions while reading.

I was shocked. I was heart-broken. I yearned for Alex. I was disgusted. (Rats, anyone?!)

I was completely surprised by the ending.

There are so many things I need want to know now. I don’t know how things will wrap up in Requiem. I wish I could have a coffee date with Lauren Oliver so she could spill all the details. Honestly, for as much as I loved Delirium, I was even more blown away by Pandemonium. It’s all the things a sequel should be, and much, much more. I encourage you to read this book and have a friend nearby to discuss all the details with. Ginger at GReads! got a few texts from me like, “I am dyinngggggggg. I am still shaking from it.” I guarantee you’ll need someone to help digest all the twists and turns.

Pandemonium just came out on February 28th. Hurry out and buy your copy! If you already devoured it, tell me what you thought below! I’m so curious to know.

More Reviews of Pandemonium:

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