Catherynne M. Valente – Deathless
“We are all dead. All equal. Broken and aimless and believing we are alive. This is Russia and it is 1952. What else would you call hell?” 

Found out about this book via a graphic floating around on tumblr and wanted to read it for ages! Ah, Deathless – probably a book which will always be somewhere between 4 and 5 stars, varying with each time it’s read. And it definitely is a book which needs to be reread a few times to get all the little things, especially if you haven’t grown up with the mythology and the Russian language. The writing of this book was perfect: rich and poetic and just so GOOD the entire time. I loved the different themes within, how Marya Morevna changed throughout, the different takes on marriage and love in general and how the two worlds – “fairy tale land” and real Russia – were interwoven. I maybe would have ended the book in a somehow more happy way but then it wouldn’t have been Deathless, would it?

rating: 4/5

Martine Leavitt – Keturah and Lord Death
“If untimely death came only those who deserved that fate, Keturah, where would choice be? No one would do good for its own sake, but only to avoid an early demise. No one would speak out against evil because of his own courageous soul, but only to live another day. The right to choose is man’s great gift, but one thing is not his to choose–the time and means of death.” 

I wanted to love this book, I really did. The blurb sounded promising and having Death as a character is something I find highly interesting. But here he’s a rather… dull character. Keturah has him basically wrapped around her little finger right from the beginning and the explanation of him just being madly in love with her – duh, somehow not working for me. The end is written in a way that you expect her to take the other guy (and seriously, he would be the better choice) but the entire thing didn’t make much sense anyway. Maybe Leavitt should have aimed at an older audience and have the plague actually kill off some characters, showing how merciless (and probably cruel and unforgiving in Keturah’s eyes) Death can really be. And the last chapter of about what happens to the minor characters afterwards was terrible out of place.

rating: 2/5

Veronica Roth – Free Four (Divergent series #1.5)
“I feel like someone is pressing me into a mold that does not fit my body, forcing me into the wrong shape.”

Read this before Divergent – don’t ask, I somehow believed it to be #0.5 – but could still follow the plot. Dunno, I didn’t like that scene so much and having it from Four’s perspective hasn’t made it better.

rating: 2/5

Veronica Roth – Divergent (Divergent series #1)
“Becoming fearless isn’t the point. That’s impossible. It’s learning how to control your fear, and how to be free from it.” 

Basically I liked the trailer for the upcoming movie and wanted to read the series before and with the release of the last book I just dived into it. I liked the idea with the factions and most of the characters. Roth also isn’t afraid of getting characters being really hurt (knifed in an eye, hello?!) and killing them off. What I didn’t like was the fact that we basically get 2/3 of the book dedicated to the initiation process and right after Tris gets in it’s like nope, no fun, no celebration, all hell breaks loose NOW and the book is over. It would really have been lovely to see a bit more of normal dauntless life as far as that exists. Also her birds tattoo was pretty cheesy.

rating: 2/5

Veronica Roth – Insurgent (Divergent series #2)
“And sometimes, if you want the truth, you have to demand it.” 

This book gave more details about being divergent and the factionless. We also get to see more of the other factions and you really want to know what happens next and just what the hell Jeanine is so scared of and doesn’t want anyone to find out. The conclusion to the conflict was also pretty satisfying and left you hanging on the edge.

rating: 3/5

Veronica Roth – Allegiant (Divergent series #3)
“I suppose a fire that burns that bright is not meant to last.” 

Basically: NO.
God, seriously, this book was awful. I figured out later that the Merchandise Mart actually exists and you kind of could have known from Insurgent that the city is a future version of Chicago but after figuring this out in this part I was so disappointed to begin with. Up til that point it could have just been a city anywhere and anyplace and just knowing it was Chicago really annoyed me. After that came the whole explanation of what divergent actually means and the genetic conflict in the ‘real’ world. Roth really tried to aim high here and it was just too much all at once – and as this being the finale book it couldn’t be explored enough.The change between Tris and Four telling the story annoyed me because we had the same thing in the last Twilight novel, I couldn’t really hear the difference between this two characters talking and it felt forced in a way. Because basically it’s a buildup to the little problem that the main teller of the series so far kind of can’t tell the story anymore after some time. What to say about that? The deaths kept multiplying left and right throughout this series and often were annoying but the final one – it made me mad. And how it is handled by a certain someone? Just hell no. This death just gave nothing to the story and was unnecessary. And everything after that was written so cheesy I wanted to throw my reader out the window. I admire the bravery to kill off a main character but please only if it makes sense and serves a purpose!

rating: 1/5

Gretchen McNeil – Ten
Don’t spread the word!
Three-day weekend. Party at White Rock House on Henry Island.
You do NOT want to miss it.”

I wanted something relaxing after the Divergent series and the blurb read a lot like Harper’s Island so I was in. As a novel it’s pretty terrible and full of cliché. It’s normally something I’d expect to find as a cheap penny dreadful at the supermarket and as that it works. Is it realistic? Hell no. But at least the killer isn’t running around with quite a literal neon sign above his head declaring him the killer and it’s making you want to read on and figure the entire mess out.

rating: 3/5

Rainbow Rowell – Fangirl
“Happily ever after, or even just together ever after, is not cheesy,” Wren said. “It’s the noblest, like, the most courageous thing two people can shoot for.” 

Basically I loved this book. Not entirely happy about the title as Cath is a fangirl but the main focus is on her being a fanfiction writer and that’s not the whole deal about being a fangirl but fine. Main problems with this book:
– think of fanfiction whatever you want but you can’t submit that as a homework in college in a writing class – seriously girl!
– did Cath’s main story really need to be such a hit as for example “The Life and Times” seems to be for the marauder fandom in real life? Couldn’t she just write because she needs to as very well explained in the scene of her first writing class?
– Simon Snow in the world of the book is basically real life Harry Potter. Why the hell did you mention it then? And also ‚the magic word is please’ thing? You’re kidding, right?
– another fangirl recognizes Cath as such because of a shirt. First of – that girl in real life would have my highest respect because just walking up to someone and starting to talk about fandom isn’t the easiest thing to do. But it’s a tiny scene and why not have them meet again after that? Seemed like a lost opportunity somehow.
– Wren. How awesome would it have been if instead of being in the hospital because of too much alcohol it would have turned out that in fact she inherited the bipolar problem of their dad and hence spinning out of control? Especially because Cath states earlier how afraid she is that maybe she got it and how Wren is perfect and always in control? God, I’d have loved that turn of events.
– the snippets. What purpose did they have? I didn’t get it. Especially why give us so much snippets of Simon Snow and only two very brief ones from Cath’s final class work?
– speaking of her class work: I’d have loved another scene with her professor trying to help her work it out or simply just getting the piece handed in and her reaction.

The writing was fun and the topic is something I can relate to. Maybe the rating wouldn’t have been so good otherwise, I dunno.

rating: 4/5

Richard Bachman/Stephen King – The Long Walk
“He found himself still with too many questions and not enough answers.” 

This man writes such good novels but for the life of him can’t finish them off satisfying. Basic two problems within this book:
– Ray never gets down to his reason for being there. Stebbins tells him that during the walk you basically learn about yourself by kind of digging through the different layers of your self and finding things out you weren’t aware of at some point and it doesn’t really happen for him at all?
– some death scenes are too simple. I had to reread one paragraph because I somehow missed Barkovitch’s death the first time around and McVries’ didn’t give the character justice at all. Don’t make me care for characters and then off them in an embedded sentence!

I get the metaphor of The Long Walk and the ending was somehow making sense within that metaphor but it’s just too open really and you feel like there’s something amiss.

rating: 3/5


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