Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Sequel Edition

I have not blogged much recently, but I have read 15 books since I last posted a review.

I'm out of control.

Truth is, I'm actually expecting a new little reader to join my family this fall and I have been sick, sick, sick. The only thing I've had the energy to do is lay on the couch with a book. Books aren't the perfect morning sickness cure, but they make a good distraction from constant nausea. Thankfully, my first trimester is over and I can feel my energy s l o w l y returning. And now I have some catching up to do! First up, the big sequels (spoilers inevitable for their predecessors):

From Goodreads:
June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

Legend was right up there with my favorite books of last year as a totally epic dystopian. I loved its energy and Prodigy somehow manages to pick up the pace even more! Both of these books read like highly entertaining movies. Marie Lu's writing is very visual and energetic and I was completely swept up in the story. There are some new twists and turns and surprises and I loved it all.

Sequel Romance trap? Yeah, there's a little bit of that going on. I always hate it when a couple fights so hard to be together in a first book, and then right away in the sequel they begin to doubt each other and secondary love interests are introduced. Prodigy has all of that, but the focus of this book is more on story and action than romance anyway, so it didn't feel like too much of the book was spent on sappy love complications. June and Day have ZERO time for sap in their lives.

A couple of complaints: there's so much action, that at times I felt like I wanted more character development. There wasn't enough time to get as deep into their emotions as I usually like in a story. And my biggest complaint is the ending. Won't say much, but I was really irritated at what felt like, to me, a pretty unnecessary way to keep the tension going for a third book. I was going to read it anyway. She didn't have to go there.

Overall, though, I love this series for its intensity and its sheer awesomeness. Can't wait to see what happens to June and Day in the final book.

Content: A steamy kiss, a little swearing, and plenty of action scenes, some kind of violent but not much blood and gore.

 From Goodreads:
Ana has always been the only one. Asunder. Apart. But after Templedark, when many residents of Heart were lost forever, some hold Ana responsible for the darksouls–and the newsouls who may be born in their place.

Many are afraid of Ana’s presence, a constant reminder of unstoppable changes and the unknown. When sylph begin behaving differently toward her and people turn violent, Ana must learn to stand up not only for herself but for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

Ana was told that nosouls can’t love. But newsouls? More than anything, she wants to live and love as an equal among the citizens of Heart, but even when Sam professes his deepest feelings, it seems impossible to overcome a lifetime of rejection.

In this second book in the Newsoul trilogy, Ana discovers the truth about reincarnation and will have to find a way to embrace love and make her young life meaningful. Once again, Jodi Meadows explores the extraordinary beauty and shadowed depths of the soul in a story equal parts epic romance and captivating fantasy.

My Rating: 3 / 5 stars

Incarnate was totally weird, but in a super fascinating way and I was really looking forward to figuring out some of the answers behind all the mysteries with Asunder. Good news! Asunder provides major answers and they are pretty mind-blowing. Sometimes a series will make me wait until the third book to figure things out, but Asunder was a very kind second book. Of course, that doesn't mean things are going to be easier for Ana in book 3, but now I'm getting ahead of myself.

So despite Ana's heroic actions at the end of book 1, people are still terrified of her as a newsoul, still freaked out that they will all be replaced, and still mourning for all those souls lost who will never be reincarnated again. Ana is seriously bullied and at times violently terrorized and it was interesting to see how she handled that and nice to see the way Sam stood by her. And sequel romance? There are some concerns to keep them from openly declaring they love each other and some doubts and arguments along the way, but it all felt really natural. But I have to say that the romantic atmosphere in this series is weird, mostly because these are people who have been reincarnated for thousands of years, falling in love with different people and being different genders at times and in general its all a mess. There is a major character introduced who was once in love with Sam, but it doesn't affect Sam and Ana's feelings for each other in a bad way.

My favorite part was the answers. What are sylphs? Why is this particular group of people able to reincarnate? How? Where did Ana come from and why aren't there other newsouls? It all makes sense now, but Ana has to go through some pretty harrowing experiences (dealing with a certain uber-creepy temple) to find everything out. I'm going to be reading the conclusion and I'm looking forward to seeing how it all wraps up.

Content: No sex scenes, but plenty of hints that it's moving that direction for Ana and Sam. Can't remember if there's swearing. Nothing truly vulgar and memorable at least, since I can't remember :D. A little violent at times and there are a couple of stomach-turning descriptions (things Ana sees in the temple).

 From Goodreads:
When Philip Walker appears as a new student in Michele Windsor's high school class, she is floored. He is the love she thought she lost forever when they said goodbye during her time travels last century. Overjoyed that they can resume the relationship they had a lifetime ago, Michele eagerly approaches him and discovers the unthinkable: he doesn't remember her. In fact, he doesn't seem to remember anything about the Philip Walker of 1910.

Michele then finds her father's journals, which tell stories of his time-traveling past. As she digs deeper, she learns about his entanglement with a mysterious and powerful organization called the Time Society and his dealings with a vengeful Windsor ancestor. Michele soon finds herself at the center of a rift over 120 years in the making, one whose resolution will have life-or-death consequences.

Alexandra Monir's Timekeeper combines breathtaking romance with a tale of complex magic in a sequel that will have every reader believing in the transcendent power of love.

My Rating: 2 / 5 stars

This one isn't as big a sequel as the others, but I was looking forward to reading it anyway. There aren't enough good time travel books in YA lit and I enjoyed Alexandra Monir's take with Timeless. She did a great job with a lot of fun New York history and a cool magic/time traveling system. My biggest problem was the romance. Too cheesy. The sequel, I'm sorry to say (and you can probably tell just by looking at the cover) is even more cheesy. It's just so "our love is so epic but we are kept apart by time and it's so tragic so feel bad for us!" without the actual epicness to back it up.

There's plenty more cool time traveling and some fun back stories are added. The world is fleshed out even more with info on Michele's dad and his time traveling story. There's more awesome history too. The plot introduces a great villain, but the way said villain is disposed of at the end was so easy, so convenient, I'm wishing she hadn't been introduced at all.

And like I said, the romance is the worst. Philip somehow appears in modern times with no memory whatsoever of Michele. She pines for him and he dates the most popular girl in school in front of Michele, making her crazy depressed and jealous (it was kind of irritating and more than a little cliche). Later, when it's explained how he's able to be in modern times (and when he all of a sudden remembers that he so, so, so loves her) it was beyond annoying because the solution is just too implausible. Blech. I wasn't impressed.

Once more, like in Timeless, music plays a big part in the story, something I normally love (since I am a musician). But when Michele and Philip write songs together I can't help but find them underwhelming, especially when the book compares their songs to true greats like Gershwin's "You Can't Take That Away" and Billy Joel's "And So It Goes".

I hate to rag so much on this and go on and on, but when I dislike something I really do try and back it up with proof why. Sorry Alexandra Monir! I find your story a bit unimaginative despite a very promising set-up. We'll see if I decide to read the third book. Right now I'm not convinced I want to commit any more time to this series.

Content: A little swearing, but nothing else.

From Goodreads:
It's been months since Aria last saw Perry. Months since Perry was named Blood Lord of the Tides, and Aria was charged with an impossible mission. Now, finally, they are about to be reunited. But their reunion is far from perfect. The Tides don't take kindly to Aria, a former Dweller. And with the worsening Aether storms threatening the tribe's precarious existence, Aria begins to fear that leaving Perry behind might be the only way to save them both.

Threatened by false friends, hidden enemies, and powerful temptations, Aria and Perry wonder, Can their love survive through the ever night?

In this second book in her spellbinding Under the Never Sky trilogy, Veronica Rossi combines fantasy and dystopian elements to create a captivating love story as perilous as it is unforgettable.

My Rating: 4 / 5 stars

I really liked this and immediately felt like I was able to get right back into Aria and Perry's world. Sometimes it takes me forever to get back into a sequel, but it was easy to remember what had happened in Under the Never Sky as soon as I was a handful of pages in. I think that's a testament to Veronica Rossi's great writing and truly memorable and fascinating world and story.

I loved exploring more of this world through Aria's travels with Roar. She's not the clueless girl she was at the beginning of book one and I love the fierce and capable woman she's become. Roar is also a favorite character of mine just because he's so fun to be around. This book needs the way he lightens things up because it's intense and dark. Things are not going well for anyone, especially Perry, who's trying his best to handle responsibility as Blood Lord and not being very successful. The aether is ramping up its destructive power and while I still don't have answers to what and why and how it works, I'm hoping those are coming in book three. I can be patient. Maybe.

This book is a rescue mission. Aria's trying to rescue Perry's sister, Perry is trying to rescue his tribe, and there's another big rescue mission at the end that I won't detail for spoilers' sake. There's plenty of danger and it's thrillingly fast-paced. Loved it.

How does the romance fare? Typical sequel. Aria and Perry doubt each other and secondary love interests show up. This is the aspect that knocked my review down a star. It was very cliche and I wanted it to be so much more. Disappointing, especially because it's obvious Aria and Perry will end up happily ever after (somehow someday) and these things are obviously just a distraction and a stretching device.

Still, I'm dying to check out Into the Still Blue.

Content: Minimal swearing, hinted at sexual content (nothing on page), and a fair bit of violence - blood, death, and burning. Nothing that made me feel extra nauseous (though it's hard to tell when that's how I feel anyway :D)


That's all I've gotten to so far of this year's big sequels. I'm still waiting for Marissa Meyer's Scarlet, which I'm dying to read. I held out because I was too poor to buy it before, but it's now on its way to me in the mail. Hooray!!! I actually reread Cinder to get ready for it and fell in love with it all over again. If you haven't read Cinder, go do it right now. The BEST, most creative cinderella retelling in existence.

Read any good sequels lately? Especially without sequel phase romance?

1 comment:

melissa @ 1lbr said...

Congrats!! I was really lucky that I didn't get sick much, but I've had a much lower desire to read, so it was a trade off :(