i'm darkness and light, bubbles and faerie wings. i am sparkles and glitter, shadows and clouds. i love purple, and faeries, and books, and music.

Ramblings by Category

Ramblings by Year

Never Fade

Never Fade (The Darkest Minds, #2)
by Alexandra Bracken

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children—and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts—has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam—and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart—she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself? (goodreads.com)

Whoops! I started this post on November 8 and apparently got distracted because I never actually finished it.

(sort of spoilery, so read at your own risk)

I suppose I also let myself get distracted because I didn’t really want to write this post. Sadly, I did not enjoy Never Fade nearly as much as I adored Darkest Minds. Alas. I had a bad feeling at the start of the book when I couldn’t remember who Ruby was. How did I forget the main character’s name? Golly, Cat, maybe pay better attention to things when you read books! Gah! I had to go back to my review of the first book to make sure I was reading about the same person. I felt like I was reading a different series at first.

I had some trouble reading this book. I kept finding errors in the text and had to re-read some parts over due to some awkward phrasing at times and I don’t normally notice these things, so it’s strange that I did this time.

I felt very little connection to Ruby in this sequel but I really liked Vida. I have to admit the Epic Love between Ruby and Liam just wasn’t doing it for me in this book. I think Ruby did something totally unspeakable and I feel like Liam should not forgive her for her actions. But, whatever… he’s supposed to remember intense love feelings for her regardless of Ruby’s actions and I just was not feeling that connection at all.

I was worried after reading the first book that the sequel would not be able to match the pace of the first book. I was right. I felt like this part of the story was very drawn out with little breathless action. I found a lot of it predictable and nowhere near as mysterious as the first book.

I was disappointed in the sequel much to my chagrin.  I’m not entirely sure how much of my disappointment has to do with my current mood and lack of reading ability or how much was the story itself. It’s often difficult to match the awesome of a first book. Sometimes I love the first, hate the second but love the third book in the series, so I am looking forward to reading the next book. I like the idea of this story and I tend to like the secondary characters a lot. For instance I really loved Chubs this time around even though I wasn’t a fan of his in the first book. He’s had some major character growth and that is pretty awesome to read in a book. Sadly, the protagonist hasn’t had much growth and I feel like her decisions are getting stupider by the second. She keeps endangering herself and everyone around her for stupid reasons. Smarten up, girlie!

Book three is out next fall (I believe) so I’ll be on the look out for that for sure. Hopefully Ruby will be a little more intelligent by then. I’m curious to see where this is all going after the ending of Never Fade. I’d appreciate a little more action and a lot less Epic Never Ending LOOOOOOVE.

The Darkest Minds

  1. The Darkest Minds
  2. Never Fade
  3. TBA – 2014

 

Allegiant

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)
by Veronica Roth

One choice will define you.

What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature—and of herself—while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love. (goodreads.com)

First: OMG! Look! I actually finished a book! It’s been over two and a half months, but I finished a book! Whee!

Second: Hmmm. I don’t know what to write because I am not sure what I thought of the book. I’m having a serious struggle between liked and disliked. So I think I’ll break things down in this post and go from there.

(So, SPOILER ALERT if you have not read this book yet. This is your warning!)

– I didn’t know this book would be told from alternating points-of-view. I didn’t read the summaries online because I didn’t want to know ANYTHING about a book I was highly anticipating. So I had no clue that we’d get the ending to this trilogy in both Tris’s and Four’s POVs. The thing is, multiple POV? I hate it. It’s rare that I come across a book where I feel the back and forth is done properly. And I especially hate when a series makes a switch in narration in the middle or end of a series. The first two books were told from Tris’s point of view and then suddenly the last book? SWITCHEROO! But I have loved this series so far and the writing and story has been solid, so I tried to keep my hatred for this type of thing down and read on with an open mind.

– Which allowed me to understand WHY the dual POV was written. There were two stories to tell and I can understand why there was a separation of narrator. But I still didn’t like it. Part of my problem was in realizing when we’d switched from Tris to Tobias in the chapter titles. I didn’t find their names were obvious enough. Or that they were too similar. I think if they’d written Tobias’s chapters as “Four” and not “Tobias” I might not have missed as many switches as I did. I would see the “T” and assume it was Tris. And then get confused until Tris would walk into the scene, or something. They were not distinguishable enough in my mind.

– I was both disappointed and horrified with what they found after they left the city and went through the fringe. Finding out it’s all a US experiment sort of… I don’t know, took away the mystique of  the dystopian society. I can’t explain it. The whole thing is a lie and it was like my bubble had burst. I didn’t like knowing there were others, out there controlling everything. The quiet bubble of this scary society was burst and the harsh reality of it all being an experiment and a lie left a bad taste in my mouth. But I was also horrified at the idea that a government/country could DO something like this. That the disregard for human life would be so strong and acceptable. I don’t know what I wanted them to find when they escaped the city. I don’t know how I would feel if it had been something other than what they did find. Did I want everything to be barren and empty? That they were the only ones left? Did I want there to be some sort of exiled, escaped people who lived out in the fringe and were insane? I’m not sure. But there was something about them finding… normal. Normal society, like ours now, only with some added quirks and issues about the Genetically perfect and damaged things… I still can’t figure out if I liked or disliked the Big Discovery and this is frustrating to me!

– I felt like Four was too quick to trust someone he didn’t know. I felt like his attitude towards Tris was wrong. I don’t think I ever had strong feelings for him before because he wasn’t the protagonist, but the more I got to know him through his chapters, the less I liked him. I think Tris could have done so much better. Especially since he always seems to make decisions that end up wrong.

– I was a little tired of every single group being part of an uprising. I mean, really. I suppose when you’re in a society that is that unstable you’ll get uprisings all over the place, but with each chapter and discover of new people and new groups, there was an uprising about to happen in each one. Seems a little much to me. Although I had thought those Fringe people would have been a little bigger part of the story. Especially since Tris was so moved by the lack of what they had AND got the name of one of the girls in the camps. I had expected more from the Fringe people, maybe while they were tying to sneak back into the city to thwart the memory serum plans? I feel like there was stuff cut out from the book that would have added more to that part of the story? Maybe?

– Speaking of the book… Sure it’s 500+ pages, but the font was very large and the margins were HUGE! I have no idea who thought this would be a great idea. Let’s make the book LOOK epically long and people will be excited and want to buy it even more! but then you open it and you have a tiny space of text on each page. I don’t like when books are padded like that to make it seem like they are long. This book would have made a decent 350-400 page book if it had normal margin sizes. I felt like I was reading a kid’s chapter book at times.

– I was surprised by the ending. I was convinced it was going to end some other way and when things unfolded as they did, I was convinced I would read on to discover that it was also a lie. But the ending stayed true to what I was reading and I have to say I was impressed with the ending to this story. Very impressed. And as much as I didn’t like Four I think the ending helped me come around a little as he showed emotion and… I really liked the ending. A lot. There were FEELS and stuff and those last few chapters and the epilogue are the main reason I didn’t dislike the entire story.

– Peter. Peter made my heart wrench. He also helped me not dislike the entire story. Peter of all characters.

– So I’m still undecided as to how I really feel about the final book in this trilogy. I do stand by the opinion that the Divergent series is a strong one and a great read. This book might not have had me at the edge of my seat, but I think it did the job at offering closure to a wonderful series. The writing was still strong – even if I didn’t like the dual points of view! 😉

I can now go around and read reviews from others. I am curious to see what the thoughts are on this book. I have to say it surprised me in many ways and I think that’s why I am so undecided on how I feel. Maybe that’s exactly what the author was going for. (Dual POV aside, I mean. That’s just a personal taste of mine to dislike dual POV and doesn’t have much to do with the story itself!) In celebration of my actually reading a book AND posting about it on my blog within 24 hours of finishing it, feel free to leave a comment about what you thought of the story. 🙂 I’d love to hear from you!

Divergent

  1. Divergent
  2. Insurgent
  3. Allegiant

The Bone Season

The Bone Season (book 1)
by Samantha Shannon

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives. (goodreads.com)

DISCLAIMER: You are about to see this book pop up everywhere. On every blog. On morning TV programs. On late night TV programs. In the news. In the paper. In magazines. It will be EVERYWHERE. And you will probably find yourself in one of two camps. Camp One: OMG! It looks AMAZEBALLS! I NEED to get this! Camp Two: OMG! *eye roll* I hate hyped books. It will suck. I refuse to even acknowledge it exists! So I will tell you right now that while I am about to write a post on how much I enjoyed this book and that it was sent to me unsolicited by the publisher, my post is 100% honest. If you have been reading my blog for a while you will know that I don’t say I like something if I don’t. If I didn’t like it I would tell you.

So while you might get sick of seeing this book show up everywhere, all over the internet and other media, I urge to you not roll your eyes and pass it by because this is, in fact, a very solid and entertaining book. Give it a chance. 😉

Also, this will be rather long.

And now on to the meat of the post. No spoilers, at least not intentionally. Read at your own rick.

This book showed up completely out of the blue (and I had to drive to the middle of nowhere to pick it up due to not being home when it was first delivered). I had no idea what it was or what it was about. I read the publicity insert and the inside flap of the book and thought, “Huh. This sounds interesting.” But as you know from the lack of posts on this blog lately and the content of the posts that have gone up, I haven’t been reading much. Nothing is holding my attention. It’s a bloody miracle when something does.

And this book seems to be really hyped right now and I am so, so, so very wary about Over-hyped books. (I’m in Camp Two above.) But I had just finished Lauren DeStefano’s Perfect Ruin and I thought, why not try this book out. So I did.

First thing that hooked me was – A MAP! Oh, how I love when fantasy, dystopian, or sci-fi books have MAPS! I can continuously refer back to the map as details come out in the story and I can have a better time visualizing the scene. There is also a very complicated org chart of all the different types of Clairvoyants. There are many. It was overwhelming at first and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the story. And yes, it took me a little while to get a feel for this alternate reality in 2059 England. Not too long, mind you, I just had to adjust my way of thinking to what I was seeing on the page.

I was worried about a lack of originality, because that’s my current mood phase, and I was happy to discover that The Bone Season wasn’t just a rehash of some other YA or fantasy novel I’d read. I wouldn’t even say this was YA, to be honest. But I’ll get into the categorization issue later on in this post. I was blown away by the world that Samantha Shannon had created. It was solid and deep, certainly very well-thought out. The flow of the story is wonderfully honed so that present actions and flash-backs/memories are woven together in a fluid, easy to follow manner. You learn a lot about Paige and the world of 2059 England as you read and it doesn’t feel at all like you’re being TOLD what is going on. The progression of the story and all the information between those pages feels natural. Almost like real life or watching a movie unfold.

Once Paige is sent to Oxford the action really starts and one thing stuck out at me. I have read books before where the details and backstory are attempted to be told through dialogue between characters. I often find that method clunky and obvious. It sort of seems like a Q&A added into the story to tell the reader what they need to know in a very obvious manner. Sometimes the explanations and details are told in a subtle manner, through very normal, interesting dialogue. The Bone Season presents the plot and details in this manner. Sure there are many question and answer periods between Paige and the Warden, but I realized as I’d read through a few conversations that I was just presented with a ton of information and backstory and I didn’t even feel like it. I wasn’t lectured, it wasn’t told in a manner that made me say “Ugh, stop trying to tell us things like we’re simpletons!”. I’m probably not explaining this well, but I’m trying to say that the amount of information and story told through dialogue in this book is well-crafted and seamless. Very well done. Kudos. Thank you for not making me cranky and want throw my book across the room in frustration!

So, we have epic world and character building in The Bone Season. We have a MAP (yay!) We have likeable characters and enjoyable dialogue. There is action and plotting and snarking and emotion. It’s a pretty meaty novel and it managed to capture my attention for an entire day. This is a pretty Big Deal these days with my reading apathy. Also for coming down from an amazing story in Perfect Ruin, I wasn’t sure how easily I’d slip into another world. This is one majorly enjoyable novel.

Now, the press is trumpeting that Samantha Shannon is the next J.K. Rowling. She has a 6-figure book deal for three books (with a possible 7 in total) and the promotion is pretty intense for this debut novel. Do I think she’s a new J.K. Rowling? Not really. I don’t really see a connection there. Is the book excellent for a debut novel? Yes, it pretty much is. But I’d say it’s no more epic that Veronica Roth’s debut of Divergent a few years backI don’t get the same sense of wonder and whimsy that I had with the Harry Potter books. Although, Shannon’s world is pretty well crafted. It doesn’t seem to be as deep as Rowling’s Potter Universe. And by making the Rowling comparison, my mind (at least) goes right to “a book for kids” whereas this book has a weird cross-over vibe between Young Adult and Adult in the fantasy/sci-fi/dystopian ranges. I can’t quite put my finger on how I want to categorize it because there are elements of all three in this book. It’s like Alternate Reality Fantastical Science Fiction in a Dystopian world. Yes?

So whether you want to think of it as YA or want to think of it as an adult novel (Paige is 19 in the story and many of the characters are a lot older. Some younger.) I highly recommend you give this a try if you like this genre of novel. It is very well written. It is not fluff. It is amazingly imaginative and action-packed. It had already had rights optioned for a movie (and  I will admit this story would be pretty great to see on screen, assuming they don’t change it completely for the movie version) and is being published in 21 countries right off the bat. You don’t put that much effort into a debut novel that is poorly written and crafted. The publishers know what they are doing here, The Bone Season is something special. I am exceptionally happy that this showed up out of the blue one day because I might have passed it by otherwise. Give it a try! It should be out in a bookstore or library near you RIGHT NOW!

I am pretty sure you won’t regret it. 😉

 

PS – this book actually happens to be AMAZEBALLS!. Just so you know.

Perfect Ruin (Early Review!)

Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles, #1)
by Lauren DeStefano

On Internment, the floating island in the clouds where 16-year-old Morgan Stockhour lives, getting too close to the edge can lead to madness. Even though Morgan’s older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. She tries her best not to mind that her life is orderly and boring, and if she ever wonders about the ground, and why it is forbidden, she takes solace in best friend Pen and her betrothed, Basil.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially when she meets Judas. He is the boy being blamed for the murder — betrothed to the victim — but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find — or who she will lose. (goodreads.com)

Release date: October 1, 2013

(No spoilers. But read at your own risk.)

This book doesn’t come out for two months but I couldn’t help myself and read it early. I have been struggling horribly with reading lately and when this ARC arrived  on my doorstep (this time I knew it was coming) I picked it up with a mixed feeling of dread and anticipation.

You see, I absotively adored Lauren DeStefano’s Chemical Garden trilogy and discovered that series thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada when a surprise ARC of the first book showed up one day. Since then I devoured each and every book in that series and lamented the year-long waits between instalments.

So when I saw that there was a new series by this author about to be published I jumped up and down and waved my hand frantically and danced excitedly about the possibilities that could come from a new series by an author I had grown to love.

But of course the fear of not loving a new series by an author you already love from another series is always LOOMING overhead as you fret over opening the book to the first page. What if it’s horrible? What if it’s exactly like the previous series and completely unoriginal. What if it’s sheer drivel?

What if…? What if…?! OMG WHAT IF…!??!

But you know what? All my fears were laid to rest pretty quickly as I read. I admit, I wasn’t certain right off the bat. I had to get my head around this new world and its rules and mythology but it became quickly apparent that this was a book that I was going to be able to finish in a normal amount of time (for me; therefore a few hours) and I wasn’t going to toss it aside with a big, dramatic sigh and wish that the world would just offer me some originality!

Lauren DeStefano delivers with originality. And awesome world-building. And wonderfully likable characters. (There is totally a word for that that I can’t think of. Sympathetic characters? Empathetic characters? Something better than “likable” anyhow. That is way too bland a word for what I mean.)

I was in awe of the world in the Chemical Garden trilogy and I am yet again in awe of the world in the Internment Chronicles. I enjoyed Morgan as a protagonist and I extremely enjoyed her voice in the novel.

One of the aspects of the book I loved the most was the relationship between Pen and Thomas. I don’t know why, but they were such a delight to read. Their banter, dialogue, interaction, everything. I loved them dearly in this story. They were such an enjoyable bonus to an already stellar story. I was always smiling when I would read their dialogue. Always.

Although I didn’t have the same amount of terror and anxiety while reading this book as I did with DeStefano’s first series, I found that she can really create a wonderfully, creepy and deep dystopian world. Her imagination is astounding and her ability to capture these ideas and put them down in words so well-crafted that I can visualize everything in such great detail is just…breathtaking.

My only negative comment about this series is that I read the book two months before it’s due to be published and now I have to wait even longer for the next book to come out. Likely, it’s not even written yet. It doesn’t even have a title on Goodreads and – OMG! Goodreads lists it as due out in 2015.

TWENTY FIFTEEN.

That’s not even next year. *flails*

I will have to survive with other epic books like the final book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent trilogy and the third book in Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles. It’ll be hard, but I’ll do my best to make it through the rough days ahead.

And BONUS points to Lauren DeStefano (and/or the publisher?) for creating not one, but TWO series that have names other than that of the first book.

The Internment Chronicles

  1. Perfect Ruin
  2. TBA – 2015???
  3. TBA – ??

Fractured

Fractured (Slated, #2)
by Teri Terry

How do you know where to go when you don’t remember where you came from?

Kyla’s memory has been erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

Or so she thought.

Kyla shouldn’t be able to remember anything. But she can – and she’s beginning to realise that there are a lot of dark secrets locked away in her memories. When a mysterious man from her past comes back into her life, she thinks she’s on her way to finding the truth. But the more she learns about her history, the more confusing her future becomes… (goodreads.com)

I am at the point where I wish I could just update this blog telepathically. I compose numerous blog posts in my head as I am falling asleep – both about the books I have read and just random posts I should be posting on Beyond Elsewhere. Alas, I am just not around the computer as I am snuggling down into my pillow and drifting off to nightmare land (I don’t dream. I epically night terror.) Reading, blogging and many other things are just tiny parts of my life right now. I can’t seem to find enough time in the day for everything I want to do. I need to quit my job and become independently wealthy and that might help with my time management issues. 😉

SO… Fractured is the sequel to Slated (which I adored). It’s out in the UK now but not in North America until the fall (I think). I wasn’t as OYMYGOSHBREATHEBREATHE with the sequel as I was the first book, but I did love it to pieces and I am very anxious for the final book which will pub some time in 2014. Gah!

I felt like Slated was more sci-fi than dystopian when I read it, but Fractured feels more dystopian to me. You find out more about the world and the slating and the rebellion and revised history and whatnot. It’s very conspiracy-ish and I am suspicious of everyone. People die. People vanish. Everyone is spied on. You can’t trust anyone in this story and I love that in a book. I don’t like knowing instantly who the bad guys are or how things are going to turn out. There were a few plot twists that surprised me as I read and that’s what made me cackle with glee as I frantically turned the pages of this novel.

It’s been a while since a YA novel, especially one that’s of a dystopian-slash-paranormal setting, really gripped me. I haven’t been all that satisfied by YA novels lately. Everything I read seems so similar but this series managed to ensnare me and has me very excited for the final book to publish in 2014!

 Slated series

  1. Slated
  2. Fractured
  3. Shattered  – 2014