Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The End So Soon?

Yes. I'm afraid it's true. Life hit, and I just can't keep up with all the reviews. My reading rate has drastically decreased, and I can't find the time to write the reviews so quickly. So, I'm integrating the book reviews into my other blog on a rotating basis.

I'd like to apologize to those of you who read this when I post reviews, but rest assured, I will be posting reviews along with other random things about living in the UK and writing! It's just been too much for me to keep up with 2 blogs. I have a hard enough time keeping up with my main one. But, I've created a new bi-weekly schedule that will include a mix of things such as book reviews and interviews with authors/writers. I may even get the gumption to do a contest. We'll see...

So, if you're interested in that, follow me on the other blog! And thanks for following the reviews here and commenting. I'll move over these reviews as some point, but will start the new schedule with ones you haven't seen before. :)

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Review: Specials by Scott Westerfeld

Specials by Scott Westerfeld
US Pub. Date: 11 September 2007 (Paperback)
UK Pub. Date: 6 November 2006 (Paperback)
400 pages (US version)
Genre: Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic Dystopian

After having read the previous two books in this series, I couldn't wait to read Specials. This book is the final book in a trilogy centering on the main character, Tally Youngblood(1). It starts out where Pretties left off, this time following a group of teens called the "Specials". I won't give away who makes up that group or what they do, because that would be spoilerish. I will say, however, that the main themes that have run throughout the series continue in this one.

One critique I have of the series in general is that the books seem to follow the same pattern of growth, and this was somewhat unsatisfying to me, because I felt like all the growth I'd seen in the previous books were discounted so that the characters could have a lower point from which to start.

Otherwise, Specials was very action-packed, well-developed, and exciting. I found myself so attached to these characters that I hadn't started out liking that I cried in certain parts of the book. Anyone who knows me will realize that's a big deal. I rarely cry while reading books.

The ending not only left me satisfied, but changed. It left me with lots of questions about society, myself, and what we all do to make ourselves attractive. How far would we go? Would we give up ourselves, our sense of independence? Would we give up our freedoms? Out of context, these questions probably seem superficial (I mean, why would I give up my freedom just to be pretty?), but after you read the books, I think you will understand where I am coming from.

I enjoyed this series immensely, and would recommend it to anyone, really. There was humor, action, great characterization, and a tiny bit of romance.

  1. There is actually a fourth book in this series, which I have not read but plan to soon. The fourth books doesn't center on the main characters from the trilogy, but they apparently make appearances throughout.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Review: Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

Pretties by Scott Westerfeld
US Pub. Date: 1 November 2005 (Paperback)
UK Pub. Date: 3 July 2006 (Paperback)
384 pages (US version)
Genre: Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic Dystopian

Pretties seemed to follow much the same formula as Uglies, but perhaps with less action. Once again, I didn't find this book life-altering, but I wasn't looking for that. It's a good escapist book, and it reads very quickly. I liked the descriptions of people and locations, as it made things easy to imagine. The same theme from Uglies seemed to run through Pretties, but possibly with a stronger focus on choice and personal strength/will. I appreciated how Westerfeld didn't just make all the teens compliant with the powers that be. Instead, the characters seem real, fighting for independence while still trying to figure out who they are and what they are made of.

On the downside, I didn't feel extremely fulfilled by the ending, but I had the same feeling with Uglies, and it's probably (hopefully) due to my not having finished the trilogy yet. I found the characters more annoying in this book than in Uglies, but I think that might have been part of the author's intent. Overall, however, I enjoyed reading the book. I wasn't reading from a literary critic standpoint or with the idea that I was finding the next great piece of literature. If that's something you are seeking, I probably wouldn't expect you to like these books in general. It is a great way to escape to the future with a group of teens who have some decent adventures and grow (albeit, it the same way they grew in Uglies) from the beginning to the end.