Learning To Trust A Series Again: Prodigy by Marie Lu Review

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Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them, or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

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PREVIOUS BETRAYAL OF LEGEND

If you have read my review of Legend, the first book in this series you’ll know I had…less than stellar things to say about it. To say I’d rather roast my left leg while its still attached to my hip than read Legend is an understatement. So, as expected I went into this book wanting to hate it.

But, despite my wariness, it disappeared almost immediately and I fell in love with it.

The plot kicked in straight from the get-go and we finally leave the grey buildings and dark alleys of the first book behind and step into the wider and more colourful world of the Republic and the Colonies. The plot actually surprised me, with dramatic twists and violent turns, which is shocking coming out of Legend, the driest and simplest YA plot template that anyone could follow.

It’s a lot cleverer than I could give it credit. For a 2013 book its message about government-controlled news and media is strange to look at through the eyes of modern day with all the ‘fake news’ that surrounds politics. It would even seem almost preachy if published today.

However, it’s not without its issues: there is no real distinction between Day’s and June’s voices in the chapters, so it’s easy to be confused, especially when they are together. Also, it does not hold your hand in terms of returning characters from Legend, half of which I still, even after reading Prodigy, have no clue who they are.

But damn was it good! It had me on the edge of my seat, face pressed against the page, I was so invested. I can’t wait to read the next one!

“(A)ll it takes is one generation to brainwash a population and convince them that reality doesn’t exist.”

~FAKE NEWS, ABSOLUTELY FAKE NEWS

 

LOVE THE MAIN TWO, THE REST NOT SO MUCH

I came to love our two protagonists so much. I love how head over heels they are for each other, it’s adorable despite the half-assed love triangle we’ll get to later. I hated them in the first book because they just fell in love for no reason and while that still is the case, the gap between the books made it seem less jarring.

I genuinely felt for them when they were in danger, (my heart was ripped out of my ribcage at one point, it was so intense)! But I didn’t feel any attachment to any other character, I don’t care about Day’s little brother nor about Tess.

“We’re in this together, right?” he whispers. “You and me? You want to be here, yeah?” There’s guilt in his questions. “Yes,” I reply. “I chose this.” Day pulls me close enough for our noses to touch. “I love you.”

~You two are so CUTE

 

THE TENSION AND UNPREDICTCALITY

The black and white characters of the first book become greyed in this one. There is a lot more complexity to the majority of them that it makes them feel like real people. And it is not a lie to say I couldn’t see where the book was going.

My initial thought for the first half of the book was that the two main characters would be unable to communicate (even if it was contrived reasoning) and once again find themselves fighting against each other despite apparently being in love. However, I’m glad to say this didn’t happen. While yes, the first half of the book Day and June find their ideals at odds, it feels warranted and I completely understand each characters reasonings.

It was at the point the book took its turn from the predictable, I realised I was enthralled by it. It was no cookie cutter plot that I could guess the outcome of. I had no idea where it was going. And my dream came true: they finally had a sit down and talked about everything. There was actual communication people! Too many books rely on characters just not talking and instead of that, they’ve actual that a discuss, taken the hard route with everyone as the enemy and that is a more interesting story than anything else.

 

DAMN LOVE TRIANGLE

But unfortunately, the book cannot run away from the bloody love triangle. I’m glad there is no ‘will they-won’t they’ plot line, as it’s in too many YA books. But it’s like Day and June are the most beautiful and ethereal people in the whole world. Why does everyone keep falling for them?

And Tess…why?? Seriously I hate love conflicts, because Tess would be making some good points about June if she didn’t appear to be madly in love with Day. Just STOP IT!! Tess is a good character and is just treated as a half-hearted love interest, its disappointing because there was no indication of this in the first book.

 

THE ENDING: SO CLOSE YET SO FAR

Overall, I loved this book…

…And then the ending happened…

Just why? The ending has a sad twist anyway, but they COULDN’T COMMUNICATE. LAST FIVE MINUTES AND THEY COULDN’T TALK. Honestly it was such a let-down and I WON’T STAND FOR IT. I’ll still read the next one because I love these characters and want to see where they go, but just at the last hurdle it had to annoy me.

 

“He is beauty, inside and out.
He is the silver lining in a world of darkness.
He is my light.”

~You deserve better after that, June

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Writing Tip: 107#

Read your work aloud.

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You’ll notice more mistakes that way.

Unity Game by Leonora Meriel: Review

Thank you to Author Assistant for the free book for an honest review.

Synopsis:

A New YorThe Unity Game_Coverk banker is descending into madness.

A being from an advanced civilization is racing to stay alive.

A dead man must unlock the secrets of an unknown dimension to save his loved ones.

From the visions of Socrates in ancient Athens, to the birth of free will aboard a spaceship headed to Earth, The Unity Game tells a story of hope and redemption in a universe more ingenious and surprising than you ever thought possible.

Metaphysical thriller and interstellar mystery, this is a ‘complex, ambitious and thought-provoking novel’ from an exciting and original new voice in fiction

 

Review:

This book’s annoying to talk about. Because I can definitely can see the effort put into the research and philosophy because it’s definitely trying to be clever… but it makes no goddamn sense.

One part of me wants to think I’m just not getting it, another part knows it just makes no damn sense. It’s trying way to hard to be clever and by doing so it leaves no way to empathise with its characters or understand its plot.

Do you know what I’ve learnt from this book: referring to characters by ‘it’ really makes them unsympathetic. One of the three characters is referred as such and I felt nothing for them, especially since the language is so twisted, like the author looked in a thesaurus for each word, that you can’t understand what’s going on.

It’s got beautiful imagery that again, makes no sense, but it’s imaginative…that’s really all it has. And the ending, I wouldn’t say it predictable but because of how clever the book’s attempting to be, the ending’s not surprising.

I don’t know, maybe I’m too dumb for this book, but I don’t think that can be an excuse for anything.

Plus I’m a genius.

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Have you read Unity Game? What do you think? Comment below!

 

My Convention Experiences

I’m not a big convention goer, the only ones I’ve been to are writing ones…

Good thing I have a blog about writing!

 

Get ready for a load of free books

People love giving away books at conventions…too many books. I now have a shelf devoted to free books. You get free books on the door, then more as you go into different rooms, you better hope they’re a good read.

 

Putting this many anti-social people in one room may not be the best idea

I don’t know about you but I hate bloody communicating people…no offense. But what I’ve come to realise is that most writers are also weird shut-ins who refuse to talk. And nothing is more awkward than when EVERYONE in the room doesn’t know who to start a conversation.

 

Group workshops are definitely not the best idea

Honestly workshop are pretty good ideas. I just wish no one else was in there with me and I think everyone else’s thinking the same thing.

 

Civil war: Traditional vs. Self publishing

A strange thing happens at writing conventions, especially panels. You’re either Team ‘in it for the money’ or Team ‘putting in the effort’ and you may be able to tell which side I’ve taken if only because Traditional published author seem to be the only ones allowed on panel.

 

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So have you ever been to a writing convention? Do you want to? Or have I offended you with my team choices?

Let me know below.

 

The Curse of Fantasy YA (Review)

A royal wedding should be a celebration, with fireworks and dancing till dawn. But for General’s daughter Kestrel, betrothed to the Crown Prince, marriage is a trap.

Just as they fell in love, Arin became her enemy. Kestrel aches to tell him the truth – that her engagement was the price she paid to save his life. But in a world of lies and intrigue, how can she trust him if she doesn’t even trust herself? The truth will come out, and when it does, Kestrel and Arin will learn the high cost of their crime…

Winner's crime

I have a confession. A horrible confession.

I hate the YA fantasy genre….

Okay granted it’s not something I keep secret but my point is, is that I expected all fantasy YA books to turn out the same. Same plot, same beats, same surprises. And this is because what feels like the same story a thousand times over. So, entering a YA book, I’m nervous and wary.

So, I feel I have to apologise to Winner’s crime because while it’s a good book, I can’t escape the worry that it’s plotline will be the same as every one of its pretentious. It’s good, even I’ll admit that. This world is immersive, it’s characters diverse. It was an interesting read for sure. Let’s try and go through it’s good point without being too biased.

  • Main protagonist: I like Kestrel, and really do understand the horrible situation she’s being put in. I like Arin for bad reasons: I like him because he isn’t a carbon copy of Kestrel, he’s actually kind of dumb, which made him interesting, but really, I never felt sucked into his storyline like Kestrel’s.
  • There’s a reason they can’t be together: I won’t go too into this, but the fact that they can’t be happily together is simple, common sense, actually. Doesn’t make it hurt any less but at least it has context.
  • It doesn’t really suffer from middle book syndrome…maybe: While the ending did essentially move the plot backwards, stuff did happen in this book and not all of it went to waste.

So yeah those are my main good points with the book, but all of that is over shadow by the looming threat of a predicable plot. I don’t want it to be predicable but…it is. It’s pretty and written beautiful but it’s predicable and I’m so afraid the next one will just ruin it all with the same finale that’s just like every other YA novel. I hope it’s not.

Only one way to find out…

In the end I’d recommend this as a great starting point for YA fantasy, it just shouldn’t be your 100th book.

 

What do you think? Would you read it? Have you read it? Comment below!

Between Character and Story

Let me tell you about my charatcer Divya. Divya is a shy thirteen year old slave with a navie mind and fascinated with the stars and moons of her planet. Every word I write for her fits her character perfectly. She has a life outside of her arc filled with friends and love and hobbies and hope and dreams. She is by far the best character I have ever written and favourite to write.

And I’m deleting her.

I always thought it harsh saying that if it wasn’t plot relevant, it wasn’t worth having in the story. But now I understand. Divya isn’t plot relevant. In fact, the amazing arc of Divya takes away from plot. But even though I love her, I realise my plot is more important than any character.

So yeah, I’m sad (very sad, I may have cried taking out her scene), and I’m going forward the knowledge that if I ever have to take a character out again, they won’t be as good as Divya.

Champion 

No one expected the boy, the human to win. No one ever expected much of Harold. Sakiah knew what he was capable of, still she gripped the handle of throne over looking the arena. Ess’ also seemed to be suffering from the same anxiety though she had not spoken to her brother in years.

“He shouldn’t be here,” she said stiffly. He should be dead, remained unsaid.

Sakiah watched the screen above her, it focused on Harold‘s face, it was fearless as ever despite how heavily he leaned on the metal spear he brought into the arena. It was laughable given the guns holstered on his opponent’s belt.

Everyone underestimated Harold. The battle was long, not because they were evenly matched but because it was not allowed to be over until one of them died. Harold didn’t let the stronger and taller man die quickly. He wouldn’t be Harold if he did. He had fallen to the floor when his spear went flying in front of him, his enemy shooting a storm of bullets his way. But the metal would not disobey its master. Sakiah watched stoically as she could, Darlinya whimpering for even the ill child could see what was truly happening as the crowd hissing and cried out, both in horror and amusement. Harold’s eyes casted up to the shaded box for the royal family and Sakiah raised her eyebrows. Harold took mercy.

The crowd was too shocked to cheer, but Harold didn’t care he had only come to have his demands heard as everyone who entered the arena did. You didn’t come here to fight unless the only option was death.

Harold struggled to stand, willing his spear to his side. Ess’ quickly stood, leaning over the edge to check on the damage to her estranged brother, Darius her ever doting son following.

Sakiah stood, “what is it that you demand of your emperor?” the word was spat out as it was something that could never truly represent Sakiah.

“I only ask for one thing. Britain.”

Sakiah furrowed her eyebrows.

“Help me take Britain. I will rule them as their leader. For you.”

He said it as if he was offering a box of chocolates to rekindle a long dead relationship.

Everyone underestimated Harold including Sakiah.

 

via Daily Prompt: Champion

Daily Prompt: Vivid

It was everywhere. The body was nothing more than a hollow shell, the kid’s once deep brown skin now a dull dirty yellow. The blood that had given him life coated the walls, floor, even the ceiling, seeping into the alabaster of throne room that was dutifully cleaned every day, slowly creeping up. The blood danced mid air surrounding its dead owner, the droplets waltzing slowly towards the ceiling. And the heart, oh the heart. Darlin’ stared at it in awe of the strange object she had plucked from the teasing bully. The blood had been coating her for only a few moments before it had taken to the air, along with everything else that wasn’t held down, the throne creaking loudly. But the heart was surrounded by the heavenly light that surrounded herself held merely inches from her hands, yet she still turned it if she held it. She was smiling. She didn’t know what it meant, Valar was sure she couldn’t, the unwell six year old would have no idea of the fate that would befall her for the murder of the Leader’s son. He doubted she even knew it was murder. He should take her from here as he should have done a long time ago. But the power that now surrounded her kept him still. It was not the gruesome murder that had taken place in front of him that took his breath away. He’d seen too much, from such a young age, and caused so much of it for it to effect him. It was the smiling girl. He had never seen something so beauty and perfect as the innocence on her face at the site of such gruesomeness. It wasn’t delight but ignorance, something he could only wish for. She feet were barely on the floor, her red cloth dress bleached white by the light that burst from her soul, the power made her hair weightless moving as if under water. And her eyes, they shone bright gold, highlighting the small chubby cheeks of her face and drool on her chin. No creature of such purity should have the power to bring men down if as they were flies. The door to the throne room swung open and closed again and Valar looked round. the Leader looked at the sight of his son’s floating boy with such calmness and his daughter holding her half-brother’s drying heart as if it was a normal sight to behold. but Valar could feel it, the blackness flooding from the Leader and coating himself, the word repeating over and over:

Death.

he should have been quicker.

via Daily Prompt: Vivid