Tag Archives: Cliff-Hanger Ending

Review: Spirit Bound by Richelle Mead

4 Sep

Series: Vampire Academy, book #5

Published: May 18th 2010 by Penguin/Razorbill

Details: Hardcover, 489 pages

My Rating: 4.5/5

My Summary:

Rose graduates from The Vampire Academy and goes to the court with Lissa and other guardians. It doesn’t take long until she has a new crazy plan in store, to save Dimitri from the undead. I loved this roller-coaster from the beginning to the end all though the end was quite a cliff-hanger this time. Can’t wait to dive into the final book Last Sacrifice.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Full Review:

This is the 5th installment of the Vampire Academy Series, a series I have gradually got drawn into, the more books I’ve read. I devoured the previous book Blood Promise, where Rose goes to Siberia in order to find Dimitri and kill him. She fails that mission and ends up having to return to the Vampire Academy, knowing he is still out there in his undead Strigoi state.

Not many pages into Spirit Bound we learn that the tables have turned. Dimitri is now the one chasing Rose, and he is just waiting for her to graduate from the academy so that he can go after her. After the graduation, Rose and Lissa go to the court, along with other newly graduated guardians that are all waiting to receive their real-life assignments.

Rose however, has other things on her mind other than her new status as a guardian. She has heard rumours about someone once having restored a Strigoi back to the living. The one person that may be able to tell her more is Victor Dashkov, who is imprisoned in a high-security jail for his deeds towards Lissa (which you may remember from the first installment). Soon Rose has come up with a plan which includes breaking into Victor’s prison, and well, I won’t say anymore than that.

What I will say is that I loved reading the book. Let me break it up to you in points:

1) Adrian: Rose has started dating Adrian, and all though I am really a hard-core Dimitri fan, I can’t help but feel something for this guy. You can tell how much he cares about Rose, and it’s heart-breaking to watch, because no matter how much Rose tries to tell herself she’s over Dmitri, she is so not.

2) Lissa. Like so many other reviewers have commented, this is the book where Lissa grows a backbone, and it’s about time. We’ve watched Rose doing everything for Lissa (including drawing darkness from her), without really getting anything in return. In this installment, Lissa finally shows us why she is worthy of Rose’s friendship and devotion.

3) Dimitri. Well, I did see that coming, all though maybe not that soon. His depression made very much sense to me. Who wouldn’t feel depressed with those memories haunting you? I only hope he’ll overcome it.

The ending was a huge cliff-hanger that I really didn’t see coming at all. Can’t wait to see what happens to Rose and all my other favorite characters in the final installment The Last Sacrifice! All in all, a great read!

Advertisements

Review: Illusions by Aprilynne Pike

12 Aug

Series: Wings, book #3

Published: May 3rd 2011 by HarperCollins Publishers

Details: Hardcover, 375 pages

My Rating: 2/5

My Summary:

The previous two books in this series, Wings and Spells were not amazing, but enjoyable. Unfortunately this book is less than enjoyable, with no plot to speak of, no Avalon in sight and instead centering around an irritating love triangle between Laurel and her two boys. This is the end of the series for me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Synopsis:

Laurel hasn’t seen Tamani since she begged him to let her go last year. Though her heart still aches, Laurel is confident that David was the right choice.

But just as life is returning to normal, Laurel discovers that a hidden enemy lies in wait. Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible. And for the first time, Laurel cannot be sure that her side will prevail.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My thoughts:

I have one word for this book.

Filler.

That’s all it was. Pure filler. Let me explain it to you:

There are 36 chapters in this book. Chapter 1 to 34 are devoted to the love triangle between Laurel, her human boyfriend David and fairy guardian Tamani. In other words, that’s 34 chapters of “should I choose this boy or that boy”, with no resolution at the end of it, I kid you not. Chapter 34 to 36 finally gives us a plot and some action, before it abruptly finishes in a.. yes, you guessed it right, a cliff hanger!

Now, the synopsis of the book promises something else entirely. I quote:

“Once again, Laurel must turn to Tamani to protect and guide her, for the danger that now threatens Avalon is one that no faerie thought would ever be possible.”

Okay, did I miss something here? Danger, where? Apart from one page of sudden troll action (and chapter 34- 36), there was no danger anywhere. I certainly never felt that Laurel was threatened, and besides, she had about 200 sentries protecting her, plus of course her two suitors watching her every step. Was Laurel in danger? Nope, did not feel it, at all.

What I did feel was irritation. The main reason being the love triangle.

Now, if you’ve read my blog, you know I have nothing against love triangles, if they’re done well. This one however is ridiculous, and even more so since it’s the center theme of the book. Laurel’s indecisiveness annoyed me to no end. She kept bouncing back and forth so much that it had me feeling dizzy. She behaved like a spoiled child that wants to have one’s cake and eat it too. She would chastise David for being jealous, then go on and kiss Tamani. Then she would tell Tamani off for pursuing her, and in the next second throw a tantrum when he flirted/danced/talked to another girl. Seriously? My 6-year old cousin behaves more mature than that.

I was not impressed.

What would have saved this book for me, was a lot less teen-age drama and more of Avalon. I loved Avalon in the previous book Spells but here we only got a very brief glimpse of that world when Laurel visits her mentor Jameson. Other than that, it all takes place in the human world, with highschool, teen-age drama, teen-age angst and the obligatory school dance to finish things off.

There is one more book in the series to be published next year, but this is the end of the series for me. One more word of “David or Tamani” and I’ll be screaming out loud.

Review: The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong

2 Nov

Series: Darkest Powers, book # 2

Published: May 1st 2009 by HarperCollins

Details: Hardcover, 368 pages

My Rating: 4/5

My Summary:

Great sequel to The Summoning, where we follow Chloe and her supernatural friends on the run from the evil people of the Edison Group. Includes some sweet moments of Chloe and Derek together. Not many questions answered though – guess that will finally be provided in the last installment The Reckoning.

A few chapters in:

If you’ve read the first book in this series, The Summoning – you’ll remember the cliff-hanger ending. And it starts just where it left off. Chloe is once again locked up by the very same people who ran the Lyle House, which she ran away from in The Summoning.  So she is back to where she started, and worse still because this time they are aware of her being a threat, and so she is under constant surveillance.

She may have someone there who can still help her though. Liz, her former room-mate at the Lyle House who was taken away, and now appears as a ghost whenever Chloe summons her. But does that mean Liz is dead?

Meanwhile, Derek and Simon are on the run, and Dr Davidoff and his team are eager to find them. While pretending to help Dr Davidoff, Chloe plots her own escape plan, finding an unexpected ally in Tori – her enemy from the Lyle House.

And this is as far as I’ve got, but it’s promising. What I like the most so far is the fact that I have no idea where this is heading. Apart from Chloe finding the brothers, which I assume will happen soon, everything else is a huge question mark. Let’s see how it plays out..

After finishing the book:

So I finished the book last night and I’m left with exactly the same feeling I had when I finished the prequel – I wouldn’t call it amazing but it’s definitely a solid 4, as in, a great fast-paced read.

The plot is quite simple. As hinted above, pretty early on, Chloe and Tori manage to escape the Edison group (which is what the rulers of the Lyle House are called). Soon after, they meet up with the guys. During the rest of the book, we basically follow them while on the run.

Just like in The Summoning the plot trots along in a great pace (neither too fast nor too slow) so that you’re always turning pages to find out what will happen next. Yet there is room for character development, mostly for Chloe and Derek who get some time alone here. As a fan of Derek, I really enjoyed reading those passages. There is no romance yet, but I sure hope that will happen eventually, because they are just so adorable together!

The Bottom Line:

All in all, I enjoyed it just about as much as The Summoning. The only negative aspect was that it felt like a middle book, essentially a filler to provide us with character development and a plot that merely served as an instrument to lead us up to the grand finale in book three. Not much happened, apart from the escape and the final pages, and I had expected more questions to be answered. Yet, I wasn’t too bothered by all of this seeing as I’ve come to like the characters so much.

So, what now? Well, I definitely have to get my hands on The Reckoning – and that quick – as I’m anticipating an even better read there than the first two, what with the grand finale and all – which hopefully (please please please), will include Derek and Chloe getting together!

Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

22 Sep

Series: Darkest Powers, book # 1

Published: July 1st 2008 by HarperTeen

Details: Hardcover, 390 pages

My rating: 4/5

My Summary:

YA trilogy from author of Bitten. About a girl who sees ghosts, is labeled schizophrenic and sent to a home, where she meets the two mysterious brothers Derek & Simon. I’m surprised to see how good this was, considering my view of Bitten. Well paced & exciting. The only downside was the cliff-hanger ending. Make sure to have sequel The Awakening when you finish.

A few chapters in:

After some hesitation I decided to check out Kelley Armstrong’s young adult trilogy The Darkest Powers. As you may know if you’ve been on this site, I’m not a big fan of Kelley Armstrong since I read (or tried to read) one of her books in her adult series Women of the Otherworld. To me that book belonged among Harlequin novels of the worst kind – poorly written and plain trashy.

Armstrong’s young adult work however has received great reviews, and it deals with a different theme than in the adult series. So I decided to give this author one more try.

I’m now halfway through, and I’m wondering if this really is the same author as in Bitten, because seriously – this is pretty good. The plot moves along in a nice logical pace and I like the voice of the heroine – thoughtful but not whiny. And the writing – what an improvement from Bitten!

The story revolves around Chloe, who is a normal 15-year old girl, except for the fact that she sees ghosts. It obviously freaks her out, and after one particularly bad episode seeing a ghost at her school she is taken away to a home for troubled teenagers. The doctors label her schizophrenic, and Chloe seems about to agree , because how can she possibly know for a fact she is seeing ghosts and not hallucinations conjured up by her own mind? Still, she wants to make sure and starts investigating..

She shares the home with a few other kids as well, among them the two brothers Simon and Derek, who both seem to have something to hide. I have no idea yet what that might be, just that there is definitely more to them than we know now.

Let’s see what happens..

After finishing the book:

I finished it last night and wow, I have to say I’m surprised at how sucked into the story I got. I still can’t believe it’s by the same author as Bitten, how is that possible?

The overall premise reminded me a bit of Fallen. A teen girl experiences supernatural events which leads people to believe she’s crazy. She’s sent to a school or home for troubled kids, only to realize that there is something more to that school and the kids within it, than meets the eye. Something more as in supernatural.

Only, where Fallen failed to keep up my interest, The Summoning more than well succeeded. In Fallen, very little action takes place which made it a bit boring to read, and I didn’t feel why Luce should be so interested in Daniel, or Cam for that matter. The book was all telling and little showing. The pointers about what supernatural elements were at play were too obvious to the reader, and Luce the protagonist struggled for too long to figure them out.

In The Summoning, the pace is brilliantly set. It feels as if the protagonist and the reader are realizing things at the same time, which is refreshing. I never felt bored wondering when the heroine was going to make a realization that I had made many pages ago. I also liked the fact that Chloe isn’t walking around pondering which guys like her and if they don’t, why not etc. It’s not like that at all. She has her priorities set straight, as she tells the brother Derek in one scene in the book.  She states that at this confusing time of her life, what with seeing ghosts and all, getting a boyfriend is about the last item on her priority list. Kudos to that statement!

That being said, there may be romance, somewhere along the line, all though it doesn’t happen in this book. I know I am certainly rooting for one of the brothers, and that may be where the story is heading. At first, this particular brother doesn’t seem very likable at all. Then he and Chloe experience a few things together – where his real personality shines through, and Chloe shows him that she can stand up to him, despite his menacing ways. More importantly, she shows him that she sees him, the real him. This is a great case of showing, not telling,  because I could feel a reluctant fondness growing between them. Please Armstrong, let that continue in the sequel!

The Bottom Line:

There is really only one flaw with this first installment, and that is the ending. It ends with a cliff-hanger – a real one, so that it feels as if the author cut one book into two, at a place where you’ll be dying to know what happens next.  You’d really want to have acquired the sequel The Awakening before you start with The Summoning. Otherwise, the ending was definitely surprising – I did not see that coming, and I still haven’t figured out what’s going on. I only have a feeling that it will be an exciting ride to follow Chloe and her friends in the sequel, while they discover their powers in this new supernatural world – hopefully tying some of the loose ends together in the process.

So would I recommend The Summoning?

Yes absolutely, this was a great addictive read. I am so happy I gave Kelley Armstrong another try!

Review: Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

5 Aug

Series: Hunger Games, book #2

Published:  September 1st 2009 by Scholastic Press

Details: Hardcover, 391 pages

My rating: 5/5

My Summary:

Ok, so finished this sequel to the Hunger Games in record time. Suspense from start to finish. And ending with a cliff-hanger again, so can’t WAIT for the last book Mockingjay, out this month!

My Full Review:

Like everyone else in the blogosphere, I absolutely loved The Hunger Games, and I was dying to read the this sequel Catching Fire. Even though my expectations were rocket high, it did not disappoint. Just like the first book, I was sucked into the story and literally read the whole thing in one sitting.

It begins where it left off in Hunger Games, with Katniss and Peeta returning to district 12 after winning the games. At the end of those games, Katniss pulled out deadly berries, forcing The Capitol to accept both her and Peeta as winners, or else they would have committed suicide. This little act of rebellion has not gone unnoticed, and the 12 districts of Panem are now boiling under the surface, so much in fact that President Snow himself pays a visit to Katniss house. He tells her that she better try to calm down the situation while touring the districts on the following victory tour, or else someone she loves will pay.

Beware of slight spoilers:

Katniss and Peeta head out for the Victory tour, looking every bit in love as ever, reinforcing the false view of start-crossed lovers who pulled out those berries in an act of love, rather than rebellion. None of this matters though, as the next Hunger Games is announced as a special 75th Hunger Games. Tradition states that every 25th year, a twist is to be introduced in the Hunger Games. This year, not surprisingly, President Snow has come up with the twist that the former victors have to enter the arena, one girl and one boy from each district, thus throwing Peeta and Kaniss into the Hunger Games round 2.

Meanwhile, it seems as if some districts are rebelling – all though The Capitol is doing their best to silence the news. There are also rumours circulating regarding district 13, which was supposedly completely destroyed as a punishment for the previous attempted rebellion. But what if district 13 still exists?

End of spoilers

There is more, but I don’t want to give too much away. I loved every bit of it though. It was as much of an emotional and action-packed roller-coaster as the first book. Once I started I simply could not let it go. The ending left me aching for more. What a terrific trilogy this is turning out to be, I am truly amazed by the story-telling abilities of Suzanne Collins! If you haven’t read The Hunger Games yet, what are you waiting for? Do it now!

Review: Pretties by Scott Westerfeld

5 Aug

Series: Uglies, book #2

Published: November 1st 2005 by Simon Pulse

Details: Paperback, 370 pages

My grade: 4.5/5

My summary:

I was glued to the pages in Pretties from start to finish. This is as action-packed as the first, and once again ending with a cliff-hanger, so make sure you have the third book ready by the time you finish!

See my full review here:

Synopsis:

Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.

My thoughts:

This is the second book of the series Uglies by Scott Westerfeld. It’s very much a continuation of the first book Uglies – no extra explanations provided for newcomers – so you definitely need to start with Uglies.

I should also warn you that if you haven’t read Uglies,  don’t continue reading this review as it will contain spoilers!

So as for the review:

While Uglies explained the world of the “Uglies” – those who had not undergone cosmetic surgery, Pretties explains the life of the Pretties – what life is like post-operation.  At the end of the first book “Uglies”, Tally decides to become pretty, so that she can try out the cure that David’s mom has developed for the altered Pretty brain. Thus we continue following our heroine, but this time as a Pretty.

There is certainly no slow beginning here. We are quickly thrown into Tally’s adventures in Pretty town. Already in the first chapter, her former “Uglies friends” from The Smoke (rebellious town outside of society) contact her, thus making her remember some of her past, which has been quite fuzzy since the operation (for reasons explained in the book).

She finds an accomplice in Zane, one of the guys in her group of “Pretty friends”, and together they bark on a journey whose goal is to free themselves from their pretty minds, and the city.

If I was a bit hesitant towards Uglies at first,  Pretties was exciting from start to finish. I could not let go of the book! There were a number of reasons for this.

Firstly, I was so invested in the heroine Tally that my heart felt with her in every step along the way. Secondly,  the prequel Uglies had already sparked my curiosity for how the Pretty world functioned. In the first book, we experience Pretty Town through Tally’s eyes as an ugly – that is, at a distance, so I was really eager to find out more about that world in closer details. The main reason however for me liking this book was the new addition of Zane as a character in the story. I immediately rooted for him and loved following his relationship with Tally.

As in Uglies, the plot continues to twist and turn and true to his form, Westerfeld provides a number of things to reflect upon in our society – things I discussed in my review on Uglies. But not only that, while reading Pretties I was also starting to see shades of grey, as in I was starting to wonder if the “bad guys” really were that bad.

The “bad guys” are The Specials who keep interfering in Tally’s life. They are the secret police (The Specials is short for Special Circumstances) who operate whenever a threat from the outside is detected, essentially anything threatening the Pretty World that they have created.

Of course, I knew that The Specials are supposed to be the bad guys. After all, they alter people’s brains without permission which is clearly not OK. But what if the purpose of The Specials is good? I mean, they are trying to avoid a repetition of what happened to “The Rusties” – the people before them (us) who nearly brought the world to an end through wars and environmental catastrophes. At one point in the book, one of the Specials describes humanity as a cancer tumor to the world – unable to live in it without destroying it. And well, at the rate we are currently going at destroying our world, I can’t help but wondering if it’s true.

So, what I asked myself was: how much damage are you allowed to cause (as in what the Specials did with the Pretties), for the sake of the greater good (not destroying the world)? Tough question with no easy answer, but it sure had me thinking.

As for the ending, I was sort of guessing where it was heading, considering the name of the third book. Yet, the way it happened shocked me, as it felt so cruel. Once again, my heart felt with Tally.

All in all, this was a great and exciting read, with an ending that made me throw myself over the third book in the series “Specials”.

Review: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

5 Aug

Series: Uglies, book #1

Published: February 8th 2005 by Simon Pulse

Details: Paperback, 425 pages

My grade: 4/5

My Summary:

Great series set in an distopian future that makes you think about the way things are in our society. Very fast-paced and action-packed. There won’t be a dull moment. With a love story as well, all though it’s not the main focus of the story. Highly addictive read!

See my full review here:

Synopsis:

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait. Not for her license — for turning pretty. In Tally’s world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there.

But Tally’s new friend Shay isn’t sure she wants to be pretty. She’d rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world — and it isn’t very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

My thoughts:

Uglies is the first book in the Uglies Trilogy. At first, when I started reading it, I thought it was just  a light and fun read; a page turner yet not something I’d lose sleep over, a 3 out of 5. But as I read more, I found myself getting more and more invested in the characters. By the time it finished (and it finishes with a cliff hanger) I literally threw myself at the next book Pretties, thankful I had already acquired it. So it does get better!

The book starts with the young heroine, 15-year old Tally, who is an “ugly”. She has been left alone in “Ugly town” since her slightly older best friend Peris, has moved to the “Pretty town” (for his 16th birthday) to have his operation. In this dystopian future, Tally lives in a society in which everyone has major surgery on their 16th birthday, to become supermodel gorgeous. Before the operation, as a normal person, you are thought of as ugly, and thus every teenager longs for the day of the operation.  So does Tally.

Things change though when Tally cross paths with Shay, a girl who has opinions on the society in which they live, not completely accepting it. When Shay runs away just before her 16th birthday to escape the operation, the authorities force Tally to choose between staying ugly for life or to find and bring back her friend.

Tally decides to go after Shay, and well, that is essentially where the adventure begins. I won’t say too much, as there are so many surprising twists and turns in this book, it is best knowing as little as possible.

There were a couple of things that I really liked about the book. Firstly, the plot of the story makes you think about the way things are in our society. Not only about our obsession with beauty and what price is worth paying for it,  but it also makes you reflect on the environmental issues of our world. In the book, our society is constantly referred to, as the utterly stupid society who lived in such an unsustainable way that it nearly extinguished the world. This truly makes you think about how we live our life. One example is when someone tries to explain to Tally what “newspapers” used to be in our society; essentially books printed for a one-day-use to be thrown away the day after. All those trees wasted for a one day read. How utterly stupid and wasteful, Tally reflects. And I can’t but agree.

I also liked how Tally, the main character grows throughout the book, as in the rest of the series. She starts off as a quite immature girl, completely unaware of the effect her society has had on her, but gradually becomes stronger and also more likable.

There is romance, but it’s not the focus of the story. Actually, that happened very quickly, I did not even see it coming (and I’m usually good at spotting those things). Consequently, it’s not something to swoon for, and never really made my heart racing. Still, it’s kind of nice that it’s happening. It sort of adds to the story rather than makes the story if you know what I mean.

Finally what I liked about this book is how you gradually get to know more and more about the society they live in, as Westerfeld reveals secrets throughout the book. He keeps you on the edge, revealing bits and pieces here and there, but always leaving things out, so that you are wishing for more, and keep turning pages.

Uglies does not feel like a stand-alone book, and as I mentioned before, you will most likely want to keep reading the next two when it is finished. It kind of draws you in gradually. Starting light and easy and then before you know it you will be hooked. If you like books like The Host and Hunger games, I’m pretty sure you will like this series as well.