Friday, March 7, 2014

Review: The Raven Boys

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication Date: September 18th 2012
Pages: 416
Genre: YA
Source: Purchased
My Rating: 3.75 Starfish

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before. -
Summary and cover image from Goodreads.

I started reading this book and I was over 150 pages into it before it got interesting for me. There were parts that I liked, and then there were parts that were slow. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized how much I enjoyed it.

Plot: I'm not into paranormal stuff, but I did think that the storyline was unique and exciting, especially towards the end. I was intrigued when the heroine, Blue, saw the ghost of a raven boy, who was not yet dead. This was what kept me going with the story, and I'm glad I did keep going because the plot got ten times more thrilling. It might be slow at first because a lot has to be explained about the characters and the supernatural stuff going on, but once you get past that, it's much better.

Setting: The story takes place in several different areas. Blue's house is crazy-packed with relatives and friends almost all of the time, and I have no clue how she could stand it. The church graveyard was creepy in a cool way, and the forest with the whispers??? Fantastic! We didn't get to see much of Nino's (the restaurant Blue works at), but it reminded me so much of True Blood. Because you know, she's waitressing and her family is a bunch of psychics and she talks with the mysterious raven boys..... it's like the first time Sookie sees Bill! (Is it weird that I thought of True Blood?) 

Shock Factors: There was something BIG that happened that I didn't see coming, but I should have because it was kind of obvious after I found out. I loved this twist in the story, and that's when the book really sucked me in. I COULDN'T PUT IT DOWN AFTER THIS. 

Blue: She's not my favorite, but I do like her, and I think she makes a good heroine. I liked that there wasn't any insta-love between her and the boys. I liked that she decided to help the raven boys against her mother's wishes. I also really loved it whenever she said exactly what she was thinking and feeling; I get frustrated with characters who hold everything in. I'm not really feeling her relationship with Gansey, which might be because there wasn't hardly any romance in the book. I did, however, feel the connection between her and Adam. I thought all the parts with them were cute. But I must say that I liked her friendship with Noah the best. They shared some super adorable moments together! I just really loved these two!

Gansey: Gansey is a natural-born leader. He's charming and very persuasive. He's also smart and has a strange obsession with the supernatural world. I thought he handled his boys well whenever something crazy happened and they needed somebody to turn to. I did feel bad for Gansey throughout the book because he felt like he was responsible for his friends, and his friends didn't make anything easy for him. I could literally feel his anxiety and exhaustion. 

Adam: Adam came off as shy and timid, but really he's just a quiet guy. He kind of likes to keep the peace, but he never really stood up for himself. I hated that he felt the way he did about his family situation. I really just wanted him to swallow his pride and move on. 

Ronan: I'm not into the bad boy type, so I didn't immediately take to Ronan. But after I saw how much he cared for his friends, and how he defended Adam, I found myself liking him a lot more. 

Noah: I think Noah was my favorite out of the raven boys. He was hardly around during the first half of the book, so I didn't form an opinion of him until I was over halfway done. He was really sweet and shy. I almost cried when I found out what had happened to him. I don't know, I just really liked him!

Secondary Characters: I liked Blue's mom and her two friends whenever they were together. Her mom had a strange personality. She seemed like she was mad and irritated all of the time. 

Strengths: Like I said before, some things were slow, but I liked it for the most part. The supernatural histories and the ghosts were all cool, even though I'm not into that. The characters were a big reason why I loved this book. They're each fairly complex, and I really cared about what was going on with each of them. The characters are probably the book's biggest strength. 

Weaknesses: It needed to pick up the pace on the parts that dragged. The author spends a lot of time describing things, and I could have done without all of the details.

I would definitely recommend that you check this book out and give it a shot. I don't think you will be disappointed.


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Characterize It is a Thursday meme hosted by The YA Book Butterfly. If you would like to participate, click here.

This week's Characterize It is:
Girl or guy character that lives on a farm at some point.
I'm going to choose Jesse Aarons from Bridge To Terabithia. I'm actually currently reading this book, so it was the first thing that popped into my head. If you haven't read this book, then I suggest that you do, (even though it's middle grade) because it is fantastic! Jesse and the new girl at school have a rough start, but soon become close friends. They make up an entire world called Terabithia, and have many imaginary adventures there. 
Have you read any books where a character lives on a farm?

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
This week's theme is:
Top Ten Popular Authors I've Never Read
1. Veronica Rossi. I've heard good things about the "Under The Never Sky" series, but I haven't gotten around to reading them yet.
2. V.C Andrews. I've been wanting to read "Flowers In The Attic" ever since I heard about its controversial stuff. I'm really into books that take big risks.
3. Gayle Forman. I own a copy of "If I Stay" that the library was giving away, but I haven't ventured to read it yet.
4. R.L Stine. I love the "Goosebumps" movies and television shows, but I don't think I ever bothered to read one of the books.
5. Earnest Hemingway. I own a LOT of classics, and I've read quite a few of them. But Hemingway is one that I've never had much interest in. His books seem like they would be really boring.
6. Richelle Mead. I don't like vampire books. I read "Twilight", but that was it for me.
7. Lauren Kate. I've glanced at her books a few times, and the covers are really pretty, but I'm just not feelin' it.
8. F. Scott Fitzgerald. I own "The Great Gatsby" and do plan on reading it eventually, just haven't had the time.
9. Rick Riordan. I like the "Percy Jackson" movies, but doubt that I will like the books. I might give them a try one day, but it won't be for a while.
10. J.K Rowling. Yes! It is true. Never read "Harry Potter". I own all of the movies....and all of the books. But I'm afraid that if I read the books, I won't like the movies anymore, because you know, the books are almost always better than the movies. So I've been holding off on this one.
What popular authors have you not read? Have you read any books by the authors I mentioned above? Leave a link to your TTT, if you'd like, so I can drop by!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Review: Legend

Title: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Publisher: Putnam
Publication Date: November 29th 2011
Pages: 305
Genre: YA
Source: Library
My Rating: 4 Starfish

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths - until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.
- Summary and cover image from Goodreads 

I went into this book completely blind. I didn't have a clue what it was about. I knew it was a dystopian that generated a lot of hype, but that was it. I scoffed at it multiple times while browsing through the shelves at my local library, but because I didn't have enough books to suit my fancy, I ended up checking it out too. Let me just say, I will never turn my nose up at a book again until I have actually read it.

Legend was so much better than I thought it was going to be. It was so action-packed and fast-paced, that I flew right through it. I was quickly sucked into it, and I thought to myself that there was NO WAY it could get more intense, but the action and suspense escalated to crazy levels by the end.

I loved the setting of the book. In this world, kids take this test, and if they get a high score, they're sent to schools that train them to be the best soldiers on the planet. If they get a low score, they're sent to "labor camps". There are plagues that spread throughout the colonies that no one knows how or why they started in the first place. Except, of course, nothing is ever what it seems to be in these dystopian books.

The book bounces back and forth between two characters' POVs, Day and June. June took the test and got a perfect score (the only perfect score as far as anyone knows), and so she's like this tough, kick-butt girl that rebels at basically everything. I had a hard time deciding if I liked her or not, and I don't think I do, but she did get better towards the end. Day is the government's most wanted criminal, and he's been on the run for years. He faced off with June's older brother, and it ended in her brother's death. June set out to avenge her brother and bring Day to justice.

Day and June are both insanely intelligent, and some of the stunts that they pulled throughout the book blew my mind. I didn't like Day much either, but I thought that their personalities suited the story well.

As far as secondary characters go, I loved Tess and Metias. We didn't get to see much of Metias, but he seemed like a really nice and likeable guy. Tess was such a cute sidekick, and her relationship with Day was really sweet. I did like John a lot too. I admired him for what he did to save Day.

As far as the villains go..... they need to die by the end of this trilogy. I just REALLY hope they get theirs.

If you haven't read Legend yet, then what are you waiting for??? Go get it, and read it, because it will be worth it. It wasn't the best book I've ever read, but I liked it enough to give it 4 out of 5 Starfish.