If you missed my first collection of review minis, you can catch up on
what the heck I'm playing at and see what I thought of some of my recent forays
into crime fiction with the Mystery Editionhere.
I seem to have a funny relationship with YA fiction at the moment. I
keep craving it and keep finding myself disappointed. In Spring, however,
I was having a lovely time. Perhaps that'll teach me that sweeping
statements about a whole type of fiction isn't what's required but better
choosing. The highlights? Well, since you asked...
Forgotten by Cat Patrick(Find
it on Goodreads here)
Stories based around memory loss must be terribly hard to write.
I have to confess that when I start one, I'm almost waiting for a clanger
of a plot hole. I think what made this one easier to go along with was
that the central character, London Lane, can't remember the past but can
"remember" the future. Since you have to suspend some belief
anyway, it's not too much of a stretch when the odd day seems a little bit too easy
or where London seems a little bit too comfortable for someone who shouldn't
have the faintest idea of who she's talking to and what on Earth she's
doing. It does manage to touch on the moral implications of being able to
peek into your friends' futures and ideas about whether you would want to know
your future if given the opportunity, even if it does so in a fairly light
I read this in a single day - it's definitely entertaining and the
pace, in particular, with the London's occasional glimpses into the future is
very well-judged. There's a good balance between plot development and the
musings of a teenage girl that is trying to navigate her adolescence with
post-its. And it was also extremely nice to read a self-contained story.
No cliff-hangers, no labouring of points and no meting out facts so that the
story arc can be spanned over multiple instalments? Bliss! If
you're looking for a way to spend a day that won't result in you having to
sprint to your local bookshop or desperately willing away the next few months
of your life in anticipation of a resolution, grab Forgotten.
Rating: 3.5 stars
out of 5 for being a light and
not-horribly-confusing book about memory loss
Insurgent by Veronica Roth(Find
it on Goodreads here)
***This is the second in a series - beware of
SPOILERS for Divergent!***
Divergent was one of my favourite books of last year (review here)
so I downloaded the eBook of the sequel eagerly. Thankfully, Hanna had given me a heads up
about a re-cap
of the first in the series on Roth's blog because Insurgent jumps
straight back into the action. It's a strange one because when I'm
reading a series quickly, it can be annoying to have to wade through a couple
of chapters of filler before the author lets you get back into the story but,
if it's been a while since you read the first book (a la Divergent for
me), those snippets can be handy or you spend the first few chapters thinking,
"Who's that again? Where are we? What's going on?!". It's
a brave decision, I think, but one that, on the whole, I liked. It suits
the pace and style of the series.
In this instalment, Tris isn't quite the feisty lady that she was in
the first. A little bit of the fight that I loved so much had gone but I
don't think that many people would be super well-balanced if both of their
parents had died and they'd killed one of their friends and was sort of in
hiding. So I'm prepared to forgive Tris the odd eratic moment.
Sure, I was frustrated that she wouldn't flipping well listen to the
people around her but her (realistic!) flaws are part of what make her one of
my favourite YA characters of recent years. And I still love Four.
The story still hares along at break-neck pace and is almost impossible
to put down. I was quite disappointed in the ending. It wasn't
badly written or anything but I'd had an inkling earlier on that this was the
way the story was going but I was hoping that I was wrong. The book also
seems to just...stop. I can see the commercial merit in whopping
cliff-hangers, and it's a good set up for the final book, but I did feel lead
on, almost; lured to a dramatic finish and then cut off. I suppose,
though, that particular criticism could be read as a way of saying that I was
enjoying the story and didn't want to finish reading but it was just the way
that it wasn't written like an ending. It just stopped.
stars out of 5 for being a generally superb second
instalment in a series that I can't wait to get back to in Autumn 2013.
Ill Wind by Rachel Caine(Find
it on Goodreads here)
This is another book that shoves you straight into the middle of the
action. It opens with Joanne Baldwin running for her life and pretty much
never gives you chance to catch your breath.
I spent the whole time I was reading this feeling as though I was just a
few steps behind and that I was trying to chase the plot down and get a handle
on what was going on. It’s quite
exciting and has an unpredictability about it that is fun but that’s about it.
The inevitable downside to having your story start in
high drama is that you have almost no time to develop characters that a reader
can care about or to create the world that they're causing all the mayhem in.
Joanne was so busy dashing about and re-enforcing the sense of impending
doom that her motivations get lost and even though she mentions plenty of times
that there are reasons why she won't accept the help regularly offered to her
from a range of sources but doesn’t feel the need to really share what they
are, which is extremely FRUSTRATING to read. There’s also a strange relationship with a
chap called David who appears as a hitchhiker and pops up at random moments
being all mysterious. As another side
effect of racing everywhere, the plot becomes quite repetitive: run, rest, fend
off a pursuer that’s caught up; repeat three times (at least…). A case of action over substance.
Most of my disappointment came from the fact that the ideas behind the
story were fantastic and I was looking forward to reading about them, I just
didn’t get to see enough of them in the end. Weather Wardens that can control
the elements sound awesome and the Djinn sound pretty cool but I couldn’t really
tell you much about either. Enough that
I’m prepared to read the next book to see which direction the series goes in but
not enough that finished this one feeling satisfied.
Rating: 3 stars
out of 5 for promising some brilliance for later in the
series but delivering something luke warm as a starter.