Tag Archives: dystopia

Book Review: The Testing

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

It’s high time that i actually post a review don’t you think? So to get me back in the groove, here’s my review of a (slightly) older book. The third book in this series, Graduation Day, will be coming out later this month on June 17th, so it’s not the newest YA book out, but it’s one that has been in my ever-growing to read pile for a while. So, without further ado, here is my review of The Testing.

 13326831

Book: The Testing

Author: Joelle Charbonneau

Genre: YA fiction, dystopia

Series: Yes. This is the first in the Testing series. The second book is already out and titled Independent Study

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

 

I adore dystopia novels, so I pretty much devour any and all that I hear about. However, this book I was a little iffy about, because I heard it closely resembled The Hunger GamesAnd while that series isn’t my favorite book series, or even favorite dystopia, it’s still one that I’ve read and like, not to mention being very well known. Because of that, I really didn’t want to read a copy cat of it. And The Testing wasn’t (Yay!). Yes, kids fight each other and sometimes kill each other. Yes, the government is messed up, and yes there is a little romance (which isn’t the main focus thank you very much). But, that’s really where the similarities end. It’s not a true copy cat and it has its own original concepts that keep it fresh.

The Testing told from the perspective of Cia Vale, a sixteen year old girl, who is about to enter into adulthood. The world was completely devastated by the Seven Stages War, leaving most of it as nothing but a charred wasteland. Because of that, only a select few high school graduates, the cream of the crop as it is, are chosen to participate in The Testing. The results of this determine each participants merit in regards to becoming a university student as well as future job and leadership eligibility.

Being chosen to participate in The Testing is a huge honor. However, strange circumstances surround it. For instance, not everyone returns from it and no one ever really talks about it or even remembers what occurred during the Testing.  The Testing isn’t everything it’s portrayed to be. This becomes evident when Cia’s father, a past participant, tells her to trust no one.

Cia doesn’t take that advice to heart though. She decides to trust and form an alliance of sort with Tomas, a childhood friend who becomes something of a love interest for her during the book. Together, along with a few other participants, they try to survive The Testing that’s rife with deadly tests, betrayal, and participants willing to do anything to become one of the 20 that will pass it, including poisoning and even killing  the others.

That’s where I’ll leave you in regards to the book description. I don’t want to ruin the story be giving too much away because the book has some “What the f***” moments that are truly great and definitely make the book in my opinion.  So, with that said (or written as it would be in this case), time to move on to my thoughts on the book itself.

The book was an easy read. It’s not as dark as it could be considering what occurs in it (or maybe I’m just jaded to the darkness in it). I’m not quite sure if I like that it’s not as dark as it could have been.

The setting for the book was pretty awesome. You get this awesome mixture of high tech and rural/small town community. This juxtaposition of two widely different aspects of life really helps to hone in on the fact that the world as we know it has ended, and it’s slowly being rebuilt using both the old and  the new.

The characters themselves were okay. I think they fell a little flat, but I think that over the course of the two next books, we’ll really see them develop.

The plot of the book is mainly to survive and to really trust no one in this messed up, every man for himself kind of world. As I mentioned briefly before, their is some romance. But it isn’t the main focus. And it’s not added in as an afterthought or as an easy way to get readers. It’s actually nicely done, if a little unrealistic (but then again when isn’t it in regards to YA?).

Overall, I liked this book. It was an interesting read that kept my attention the whole way through. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the second book, and I would recommend this series to my friends. So with that, what were your thoughts on the book? I’d love to hear some other opinions.


Photo Credit –> Cover Picture

 


Book Review: The Darkest Minds

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

I am extremely sorry that I haven’t posted anything in what seems like forever. Instead of reading my ever-increasing “To Read” pile (I cannot resist visiting the book section in whatever store I go to – even if it’s just groceries), I have been catching up on much-needed sleep, doing neglected house chores, gaming (a lot), and trying to catch up on all my TV shows (I still have 11 episodes of Supernatural to watch). But that ends now. So without further blathering on about why I haven’t posted, here is my review of The Darkest Minds.

1057633

Book: The Darkest Minds

Author: Alexandra Bracken

Genre: YA fiction, dystopia, sci-fi

Series: Yes, this is the first book in the series. The second one, titled Never Fade is scheduled to be published on October 15th of this year.

My Rating: 3.8 out of 5 stars

 

 

So as I’ve told you before, I absolutely adore dystopia novels, and this one did not disappoint. The Darkest Minds is told from the perspective of Ruby, a sixteen year old girl who has been in the concentration camp or, as the US government refers to it, a”rehabilitation” camp, Thurmond, for 6 years now. She was put here because, she, like other children in this camp, survived Idiopathic Adolescent Acute Neurdegeneration, or IAAN for short. This disease killed almost all of the children within the US once they hit puberty, and there was nothing they could do to stop it. The majority of children who had it died, those that survived though developed certain abilities.

The abilities were classified by color. Greens have increased brain power and are seriously smart (computer smart). Blues are telekinetic (they can move things with their mind). Yellows seem to have some control over electricity or electronics. Oranges can influence others to think or feel however they want. Lastly, Reds have pyro-kinesis (the ability to create and control fire).

Because the government feared the children with these abilities they are put into camps where the are made to work and are punished for talking to others, looking at the guards or each other in the eye, and using their abilities either accidentally or on purpose. Originally the camps also had rehabilitation practices to try to get rid of these abilities (including shock therapy) but this didn’t work so now the camps are just holding cells for the kids.

In the meantime, the US has gone to hell (excuse my language).The president has pretty much made himself a dictator, and the country has no money, so there are empty housing developments, tent cities everywhere, and rampant crime since the government can’t afford to pay the police.

So now that you know the backdrop, let’s move onto the plot. Ruby, classified as a green (but who’s really an orange) escapes Thurmond, and later a radical group, ending up with a group of kids which include Zu, Chubs, and Liam. Each of them also has powers. Together they try to discover East River, a camp that is believed to a safe haven for those like themselves.

Okay, so now that the description is out of the way, onto my thoughts on the book. I really liked this book. It’s a lot darker than the YA dystopia books I read (concentration camps for kids anyone?) and I actually like that. The description of Thurmond and what the kids went through there was really well written and thought out. I also liked the road trip portion of the book. It wasn’t all rush-rush-rush here. Instead, it was as if three teenagers and a younger kid were actually on the road, trying to find their way instead of being omnipotent and knew exactly what to do and how to get there.

The characters were okay, the plot and writing style are more the cause of the high rating though. Chubs (the funny sidekick/best friend), Zu (the cute but spunky younger mute girl), and Ruby seemed to have a lot more depth than Liam, but he’s still okay (and not your typical bad boy main guy which made him more interesting in my opinion). The dialog between the characters was funny as all get out and had me laughing out loud at some points (always I plus in my book). And finally, the romance (you had to know there was one). For most of the book, there actually isn’t much of a romance between Ruby and Liam. The plot focuses more on surviving and getting to East River. Towards the end though, the romance becomes more prominent. I actually like this. I enjoy it when the focus is on the plot, and the characters’ romance comes second (a isn’t love/lust at first sight).

Overall, I really enjoyed the book, and I can’t want until the second one comes out this fall. I definitely recommend you read it, but be warned there is a twist/cliff-hanger at the end!

___________________________________________________

Photo Credit –> Cover Picture


Book Review: Doomed

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

Time for another review! Now I know you can’t really guess this from the past books I’ve reviewed, but I absolutely love dystopian novels right now. i am so happy that they’re becoming somewhat of a fad right now. So with that in mind, time to review one of the newest YA dystopian books.

doomed-250x375

Book: Doomed

Author: Tracy Deebs

Genre: YA fiction, sci-fi, dystopia

Series: Yes, 1st book in the Pandora Books series

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

So the tagline of Doomed is Beat the game. Save the world. And that is exactly what Pandora, the main (chick) protagonist of the book has to do alongside her classmates Eli and Theo, the incredibly sexy new-ish guys at school that just happen to be stepbrothers.The gane that has to be beat is an MMORPG (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-playing Game) called Pandora’s Box. The game is set in the future where the world is in ruin thanks to how we’ve treated it.

The games as been altered by the same man who created a worm/computer virus that took down pretty much everything electronic across the world: the internet, cell phones, lights, traffic signals, everything. This same man unleashed the virus by hiding them within 12 pictures that he had his daughter, Pandora, unknowingly open. These pictures, along with letters, were sent to Pandora on her seventeenth birthday after 10-12 years off being absent. These pictures are the clues to winning the game and saving the world.

There quest to beat the game takes them on a road trip across the country. Where the trio is chased by “alphabet soup” (i.e. every security department acronym in the country such as the FBI). And all this has to be done before the world goes up in nuclear flames at the end of the countdown of ten days.

So I’ll leave you guys with that in regard to the description. I don’t want to give too much away. I loved the idea and the plot of this book. I mean first of all, it’s a dystopia novel. But it’s also more than that. It has Greek mythology weaved within in it in a very awesome way. The characters, while they could use some more development, are (somewhat) real with flaws and strengths. I say somewhat because, come on, guys like Eli and Theo, totally not real, and especially not in high school. It also brings up environmental issues, but in such a way that you’re not pressured to believe one way or another. It’s not trying to persuade you to believe as they (the author) do. And finally, the romance (you knew there was going to be one with a chick and two guys as the main characters) is pretty well done. As with the characters, it could use more development, but I feel it was a nice add-on to the main focus, which was Pandora, Eli, and Theo saving the world.

My only concern with the book is that while I was looking into the author, I found out that the book is actually one in a series. With the way it ended, I don’t see how it can really continue on with the same level of excitement and adventure.

I’ll leave you guys now, and ask you to read the book for yourself, and then tell me what you thought of it.

____________________________________________

Photo Credit — Doomed


Review: Dosterra

 

Hey Fellow Book-Lovers,

 

In Monday’s post, I told you guys that I would be reviewing Dosterra today, so here it is.

Dosterra_esta_f05123aa_20120919161411PM

Book: Dosterra (Click the link to read chapter 1)

Author: K. Esta

Genre: Dystopian Sci-Fi

Series: Yes, in a manner of speaking. It’s a serial novel on the website JukePop Serials (Chapters 1-7 are up)

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars (based on the first 3 chapters)

Alright, well first off, let’s start off with a quick synopsis of the novel:

“Dosterra is a wintry planet, With a monopoly on natural resources and transition technology, it is the undisputed leader of the Earth Origin Colonies. But Lexie has stumbled across something that threatens their dominance. What if their power was built on a lie? On the run, she’s forced to seek the help of Iden, a scientist with the Transition Regulation entre, though his motives for helping her are unclear.”

Now, I’m not new to sci-fi books, but the first chapter was hard going. A lot of technical terms and scientific concepts  were thrown at you, so, in order to understand it, you had to really concentrate. However, that being said, Esta does a wonderful job of explaining them all, and in such a way that you not only understand them, but can picture what is being described fairly well. Aside from the pretty awesome descriptions, I loved the banter between the characters. The sarcastic remarks and ramblings of Tem had me smiling, as well as some of Lexie’s quips.

Now for some criticism. The writing is a little stilted at times. I don’t know if it’s because of all the new concepts being introduced or because of how detailed the descriptions are, but it comes across as a little stiff. I love the flow of the conversations though. They move the story along really well. The flashbacks are also well done, at placed fairly well in my opinion. They add depth to the characters, drawing the readers into the story. There are a few grammar and spelling errors, but, as far as I can tell, there aren’t too many of them so they don’t take away from the overall novel or draw you out of the story.

Overall, I would recommend this series to other readers. The plot is interesting and the characters are well-developed and help to draw you in. My one complaint (if you can call it that), is that I’m not seeing the dystopian factor so much as just sci-fi. Maybe it becomes more prominent in later chapters, or I’m just used to it being a larger focus in dystopia novels (I recently read Pure by Julianna Baggott, so this might be it). However, that doesn’t take away from the story itself.

So, head over to the site using the link provided at the beginning of the review, and check out Dosterra for yourself. If you’d like, you can then comment below and tell me what you think and if your thoughts line up with mine.

Photo Credit — Dosterra