Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mini Reviews: Legend, A Certain Slant of Light, The Forest of Hands and Teeth, How to Host a Killer Party

Legend, by Marie Lu
Rating: ✮✮✮
Book Depository | Goodreads

Another recent entry into the field of dystopian YA, Legend breaks from the mold slightly by focusing on action and adventure, with a touch of romance and the inevitable government betrayal. The novels follows two very different character that come together: Day, a notorious teenage criminal, and June, a famous child prodigy working her way through college and into the military. Day and June are interesting characters on their own, and we get a great glimpse into who they are as the narrative splits between them. There's a bit of stretch in belief when they meet and spend some time together, as certain events and gestures and things said have to happen a certain way for all of it to come together, but I didn't mind it at all because I really enjoyed Legend. Even with the romance. I feel like I say this a lot, but not every YA novel needs romance. Day and June and their burgeoning friendship and the way their fates are tied together could have been enough without having them become romantic partners.

Ultimately, Legend was good fun, and I can't wait for the second installment. Also, props to Marie Lu for wrapping up the first novel in a series instead of leaving it with a cliffhanger.

A Certain Slant of Light, by Laura Whitcomb
Rating: ✮✮✮
Book Depository | Goodreads

In A Certain Slant of Light we follow Helen, a ghost who cleaves to an unwitting person and haunts them. Nicely, of course. Helen just wants to stay close to her humans, reading over their shoulders and experiencing their lives. Until she meets a boy who can actually see her, and she's propelled into a whirlwind romance with the only other person she's met like her. This novel is...interesting. On one hand, it's a very well written (Helen's narrative is so polite at times), moody, engrossing book. On the other, you get about half way through and it starts to veer off into unexpected places, and none of them all that good, in my experience. I did enjoy the idea of it, the execution of most of it, and if it weren't for the fact that things just got worse and worse (and worse) in the most melodramatic way before the end, I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

The Forest of Hands and Teeth, by Carrie Ryan
Rating: ✮✮ (Didn't Finish)
Book Depository | Goodreads

The premise of this is right up my alley: dystopian YA fiction set in a post-apocalyptic zombie future, in a small, religious village with secrets, surrounded by a forest where the zombies live. In a manner of speaking. The ingredients are all there for a great novel, but they just don't come together. The problem is our protagonist, Mary. We start off with Mary already an orphan and her brother turning her back on her as she joins the Sisterhood, the village's religious organization. All Mary does is think about how she wants to leave the village, whine about not loving the boy she's betrothed to, but his brother, and wonder what's beyond the forest when all evidence of an outsider is erased by the Sisterhood. Once I hit a hundred pages I realized nothing had happened. All I had read about was Mary doing dumb things and whining about her life, and not even the promise of answers for all the mysteries of the Sisterhood was enough to keep me going. I really wanted to like this book, too.

How to Host a Killer Party, by Penny Warner
Rating: ✮✮ (Didn't Finish)
Book Depository | Goodreads

I figured I could use some light, fun reading among all the ghost/dystopian books I've been reading, but I reeeeally picked wrong this time. I don't take my popcorn books as seriously as the others I read, so I give them a lot of leeway. But I got about halfway through How to Host a Killer Party and realized I didn't care about what was going on. It was cute, sure, and Presley Parker is a fun protagonist, but this is a case of the book just not being for me.

2 comments:

  1. I couldn't agree more Chantaal, not every YA book needs romance! There have been several I've read where the romance just felt a little out of place, stuck in there merely because it was "supposed" to be there instead of fully developed. I think it's refreshing to read a book where the characters are strong on their own and are in a different type of relationship other than romantic. I still really want to read Legend though:) Thanks for all these fabulous mini reviews!

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  2. Thank you for reading, Jenny!

    Legend is great, and the romance is thrown in but easy to ignore once the second half of the book and all the action really picks up and gets going. :)

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