Category Archives: Dystopian

>ARC Review: Legend by Marie Lu


LegendWhat 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.

Told in alternating perspectives between male and female protagonists this book is sure to find a welcoming audience of boys and girls that are eager to fill the void The Hunger Games books left. The similarities between the two books are minimal–aside from both being dystopian in concept, there is little else to compare.

The writing style in LEGEND is not flowery or lyrical like in others of this genre yet it still draws you in with the character driven plot. From fairly early on I had a good idea of the events that were to unfold in the story. Normally, one would think that obvious clues would be a deal breaker, but for me personally, I couldn’t put the book down and that is due in large part to the captivating way Marie Lu has written the character’s voices. Both leads are very distinct and different but they each have something that makes them easy to relate to and sympathize with.

The Character of Day (great name for a hero of any sex BTW) was so layered and amazing that I struggle to find ways to describe him with justice. A bit like a futuristic, teenage version of Robin Hood that steals from the rich to give to the poor he is the type of character both young men and ladies will be able to embrace–for different reasons. He is humble and confident. Smart and reckless. Day is full of honor and morals and yet his Society deems him a criminal. Despite his labeling by the republic as “WANTED”, his rebellious actions and infamous heists accomplished has turned him into somewhat of a celebrity–and he still somehow manages to keep his identity a secret…that is until people he cares about are in danger. Day risks everything in a desperate attempt to help loved ones and ends up in the wrong place at the wrong time.

June is the opposite of Day in many ways. She was raised in a life of privilege and nurtured by her family (her brother) blossoming into the Republic’s poster girl of perfection. She is just as smart as Day mentally, but possibly because of her gender there are some physical feats the criminal has achieved that she is unable to pull off. Obsessed with being better than the criminal in every way in order to bring him down, June takes on a mission that is personal for her in more ways than one.

Throughout the book Marie Lu demonstrates great character development and pulls the readers along in order to see the final outcome and it really is the characters that shine the brightest in this debut. Both Day and June are strong leads that are inspiring in their own ways. I was up until the wee hours of the morning desperate to stay in the author’s world and spend a little more time with these wonderful heroes. Emotional, fast paced, action packed and easy to read, Legend is a must read.

Check out the Legend Fan Page for original sketches (which are insanely awesome) by the author of her characters and a fantastic trailer and other media.

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>Tween Review: Enclave by Ann Aguirre


EnclaveWELCOME TO THE APOCALYPSE In Deuce’s world, people earn the right to a name only if they survive their first fifteen years. By that point, each unnamed ‘brat’ has trained into one of three groups-Breeders, Builders, or Hunters, identifiable by the number of scars they bear on their arms. Deuce has wanted to be a Huntress for as long as she can remember.

As a Huntress, her purpose is clear–to brave the dangerous tunnels outside the enclave and bring back meat to feed the group while evading ferocious monsters known as Freaks. She’s worked toward this goal her whole life, and nothing’s going to stop her, not even a beautiful, brooding Hunter named Fade. When the mysterious boy becomes her partner, Deuce’s troubles are just beginning.

Down below, deviation from the rules is punished swiftly and harshly, and Fade doesn’t like following orders. At first she thinks he’s crazy, but as death stalks their sanctuary, and it becomes clear the elders don’t always know best, Deuce wonders if Fade might be telling the truth. Her partner confuses her; she’s never known a boy like him before, as prone to touching her gently as using his knives with feral grace.

As Deuce’s perception shifts, so does the balance in the constant battle for survival. The mindless Freaks, once considered a threat only due to their sheer numbers, show signs of cunning and strategy… but the elders refuse to heed any warnings. Despite imminent disaster, the enclave puts their faith in strictures and sacrifice instead. No matter how she tries, Deuce cannot stem the dark tide that carries her far from the only world she’s ever known.

What if all of your favorite post apocalyptic and dystopian books were able to marry and produce offspring? The outcome of such a phenomenal mash-up would have the potential to be the most uber fabulous, end all of end all stories. It would have action, adventure, struggle, zombies, sickness, corrupt leadership, strong protagonist, and amazing characters. In fact, it would be exactly like ENCLAVE.

This book has it all and then some!

At first I feared that there was too much going on in the book and fought the urge to compare it to other popular books in this genre. But, sooner rather than later, I forgot why I was so skeptical and surrendered all to the plot. IT WAS AMAZING!!!!

The story is really made of three different parts. The first (and longest storyline) focusing on the people who have been surviving the apocalypse underground for centuries–never setting their eyes on the sun and everything “top side”. Underground they have developed a type of government and assign people jobs (this was very reminiscent of City of Ember). Some people are born to be breeders, some builders, and others hunters. The Hunters are the group of people that go through the tunnels and collect food and try to remove “The Freaks” which are zombie like creatures that live underground and one of the threats to the settlement. However, there is another threat to the long term survival of the enclave and that is their life spans. For an unknown reason, most likely from nutrition or lack of sunlight, the people born and living in the underground enclave’s do not live long, in fact their Elder is 25 years old.

This first part of the book not only introduces us to the characters and their way of life underground, but also to the relationships that become very important through out the rest of the story. In particular that of Deuce, the huntress, and Fade the orphan boy who joined the enclave only years earlier. It is the bond between them that leads us to the second part of the storyline. Together they are exiled from the enclave and forced to try to make it “top side” where gangs of boys are the main threat (this part reminded me of The Hunger Games where Peeta and Katniss are in the arena).

The third part focuses on Deuce, Fade and a couple of new friends and their journey to find a safer place to take shelter. As they travel North we see how the stress and uncertainty of the journey effects their bonds and how they strive to persevere in a hostile world.

Though there are lots of things that on their own would and have already made interesting stories, joined together they made something really awesome. I was very sad when it ended because I wasn’t ready to close the book. I was pleased to discover that there is another book in this series coming out in 2012…it just can’t get here soon enough!

2011 is definitely proving to be full of amazing books and ENCLAVE is one of my favorites!!!

*this book was purchased by Desi

>Tween Review: Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi


Ship BreakerIn America’s Gulf Coast region, where grounded oil tankers are being broken down for parts, Nailer, a teenage boy, works the light crew, scavenging for copper wiring just to make quota–and hopefully live to see another day. But when, by luck or chance, he discovers an exquisite clipper ship beached during a recent hurricane, Nailer faces the most important decision of his life: Strip the ship for all it’s worth or rescue its lone survivor, a beautiful and wealthy girl who could lead him to a better life. . . .

In this powerful novel, award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi delivers a thrilling, fast-paced adventure set in a vivid and raw, uncertain future.

I was drawn to this book because several of the authors that I respect had said amazing things about it. To be honest, I am still not sure exactly how I feel about this book. I don’t know if I like it, love it, or dislike it all together. I guess it is all three…

Ship Breaker is a YA book like no other. It is gritty and emotional in ways that are even darker than other dystopian books of late like The Hunger Games. Where Ship Breaker differs is in the way it is told and the strange characters that the author has created.

Never before in a YA novel have I seen such an excellent display of layered characters. NONE and I mean NONE of them are all good or bad. Sure, there are definitely some that are down right evil at times, but the world in which the characters live is so grim that the survival instincts of the people forces them all to be selfish and mean just to make it through the day. It’s almost like the humanity has become diluted in these future generations and they behave like animals…eating their young so to speak.

Our hero Nailer, is a boy that bears the scars of hardship and strife both physically and emotionally. His father is a good for nothing son of a gun that is abusive toward Nailer. Yet, in some circles his Father is respected and feared because of his reputation. Nailer fears his father and at the same time you can feel that underneath it all he can’t help but care for the man…abusive or not.

The other characters we meet at the beginning of the book are like Nailer in the sense that they all come from a bad place and are working their butts off to make a living. The living comes from diving and salvaging wrecked ships and scrapping them for money. They work in crews, and one would think that with the danger they put themselves in every day that at least they could depend on their crew to back them up…but not in this world. No one can be trusted and just about everyone will sell you out if it might make them look better. It is a depressing world.

When Nailer makes a “Lucky Strike” and discovers oil and copper wiring it looks like his luck may be changing. Especially when Nailer rescues a girl –who is very different from the girls he has seen– on a wrecked ship. When she promises to reward him if he can return her to her family, Nailer is hopeful. However, Nailer’s old man has other plans and would kill his son and anyone else that stands in his way to achieve his goals.

I’d like to say that it gets a little brighter, but it pretty much stays dark and depressing throughout. That being said, I can not wait for the next book in this series. Call me crazy! The book is so well written and oddly poetic that I can’t help but want more. At the same time…I definitely will need some cheerier and more upbeat books to read before the next book in the Ship Breaker series hits book shelves.

>11 Reasons why you should read "Divergent" by Veronica Roth


Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her.

Debut author Veronica Roth bursts onto the literary scene with the first book in the Divergent series—dystopian thrillers filled with electrifying decisions, heartbreaking betrayals, stunning consequences, and unexpected romance.

I was totally going to wait and let our tween reviewer review this book, but I haven’t been able to stop spreading my love of this book everywhere I go. So you see, I simply couldn’t wait long enough for her to read it which means…I am going to be a little divergent myself and post this right now and continue gushing over this amazing new book!

Oh Divergent, how I love thee so! Let me count the ways…

1) Amazing world building. In order to really connect with a place it’s important to understand the complexity of it. This was done wonderfully. I jumped right in and the story made sense to me exactly when I needed it to.

2) Phenomenal Characters. The lead character is a young girl that I instantly felt like I knew and could relate with. She is struggling between how she was raised to act and how she feels-and those are universal emotions that everyone has dealt with at some point. But, she isn’t the only character we see grow. Throughout the entire book we see how various feelings (jealousy, depression, fear, greed, arrogance) and circumstances (fights, bullying, separation from loved ones) impact the way we act and that if one is truly brave, they learn from both the good and the bad.

3) Really awesome setting of Dystopian Chicago. From Navy Pier to Sears Tower to the railways, I love Chicago;).

4) A unique concept of factions-which yeah, technically could be part of the world building but it felt like they were their own characters to some extent. In my opinion the factions represent the typical stereotypes that we place on people. I found the factions to be metaphors for stiff and frigid religious conservatives, brainy know it all liberals, tough tattooed alternatives, hippy tree huggers, and brash and blunt loud mouths. It demonstrated how we cannot judge people based on perception alone, because there is more than meets the eye in every faction.

5) The sweet and seemingly honest relationship the heroine begins to have with a boy she meets. Their interactions and the mystery made me feel like a teenager again wanting to analyze every little detail and pondering the boys motives right along with the lead character.

6) Overcoming fears and making tough decisions. This is a really inspiring message of determining what our fears stand for and confronting them and also of how sometimes we have to make really hard choices that we won’t like doing. Great message for Young and Old adults alike;)

7)The parents of the heroine in this book were incredible. I felt like I knew them, and could respect them…especially by the end of the book.

8) The mystery. I loved that “sitting on the edge of your seat” anticipation I had while reading and piecing together the mystery.

9) The satisfying ending. Although the book left some details left unsolved, it ends at a place where you wont be pulling your hair out.

10) The fact that this is a debut book from a young author is so impressive. I was blown away!

11) NO LOVE TRIANGLES…nuf said;)

There you have it folks. This is the best book I have read this year and that speaks volumes because there have been so many wonderful books released so far in 2011. I read the book, then went straight to audible and purchased the audio version and have listened every day since I downloaded it- What can I say? I absolutely LOVE this book!

Do yourself a favor and read DIVERGENT immediately!
Visit the author on her BLOG

>ALERT!!! Special book trailer for "ENCLAVE" by Ann Aguirre!

>Available today from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group is Ann Aguirre’s debut Young Adult release, ‘Enclave‘!

In celebration of the release of ‘Enclave’, we have new Youtube book trailer for you to enjoy!

EnclaveAnn Aguirre, author of the Corine Solomon Series & the Sirantha Jax Series, releases her first -ever Young Adult dystopian novel, ‘Enclave’:

“New York City has been decimated by war and plague, and most of civilization has migrated to underground enclaves, where life expectancy is no more than the early 20’s. When Deuce turns 15, she takes on her role as a Huntress, and is paired with Fade, a teenage Hunter who lived Topside as a young boy. When she and Fade discover that the neighboring enclave has been decimated by the tunnel monsters—or Freaks—who seem to be growing more organized, the elders refuse to listen to warnings. And when Deuce and Fade are exiled from the enclave, the girl born in darkness must survive in daylight, in the ruins of a city whose population has dwindled to a few dangerous gangs. As the two are guided by Fade’s long-ago memories, they face dangers, and feelings, unlike any they’ve ever known.”

Find out more about ‘Enclave‘ by clicking the link below, including the first two chapters, the book cover and an interview with the author!

>ARC review: The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan


Due for release March 22, 2011
The Dark and Hollow Places (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Book 3)There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister’s face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.

Annah’s world stopped that day, and she’s been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn’t feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it’s up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return’s destruction?

The lead heroine in THE DARK AND HOLLOW PLACES, Annah, has been surviving on her own ever since her companion joined the recruits. Even before then Annah was forced to grow up rather quickly since she and her companion were separated from her twin sister in the Forest. She was horribly disfigured on one half of her body at a young age and feels as ugly as the world around her has become–Especially since being deserted by her only friend.

As Annah comes to terms with her situation she makes the decision to survive at all costs and try to find her past (her sister) in order to forgive herself for leaving her in the forest so many years ago. It’s at this point that the plot really thickens and Annah meets Catcher who tells her that her companion, Elias is alive.

Annah at first is elated that Elias has not been killed or worse turned into one of the unconsecrated, but then she wonders why, if he is alive, he hasn’t contacted her. The whole thing is very emotional and a story that anyone who has ever felt broken, unwanted by someone they long for, or less than perfect can easily relate to and the way it’s told is touching. The author added just enough angst so readers could relate, but then she surprised me with how the characters didn’t dwell on it as much as maybe others in similar situations would have. The way everything goes down with the characters and their feelings is very mature and I think it sends a good message of overcoming difficulties, realizing what is important and getting past the hurt.

Despite some of the underlying positive messages, The Dark and Hollow Places is dark, and it kinda has to be for readers to fully understand the world the author is writing. So much has happened since The Forest of Hands and Teeth, and not for the better. People in this story are desperate. Many of the soldiers that are supposed to be protecting the living from the unconsecrated have gone mad with the reality of death everywhere and do awful things to the very people they are to be saving. It’s very sad and at times a little graphic.

All I can say is, what a crazy roller coaster this story has been! Carrie Ryan is one of those authors that doesn’t simply tell a story with her words. She uses words in a way that grips your soul and forces you to feel the emotions of her characters. Being that this is a post apocalyptic dystopian fiction–some of those emotions are hard to swallow. At times I found myself reading through tear blotted pages and others clenching the book so tightly with my eyes wide. The reason for my excitement is not so much because of the story (though it’s really good) but because of the characters the author created. With each new installment in The Forest of Hands and Teeth books I have grown attached to the main characters featured. At first it was Mary, Travis *sniff sniff* and Harry — then I was all about Gabry, Catcher and Elias, but now I care more about Annah and Catcher than I did about any of the others. I believe it takes a talented author to captivate readers with so many different story lines in their books, and in my opinion, Carrie Ryan is one of the very talented!

Without a doubt, I loved this conclusion to the series. I think it leaves much to the imagination and I hope that the author is considering continuing the storylines of a couple characters because Annah is really amazing and inspiring and I would love to read more about her — in fact, I would love to read more about what happened to Mary between The Forest of Hands and Teeth & The Dead Tossed Waves too. Yes, I guess it is safe to say I loved these books and would be ever so excited to have more of these characters!

~Peace & Love

*******GIVEAWAY is NOW CLOSED*******

I am going to give away my precious…I mean my ARC copy of The Dark and Hollow Places to one super duper lucky reader. In order to enter all you have to do is follow Paperback Dolls and leave a comment in this post telling me what you would do in the event of a Zombie apocalypse. One winner will be randomly selected and announced here no later than March 13th.  GOOD LUCK!
PS. Sharing is nice, so tell your friends about this giveaway on twitter and facebook…it won’t get you extra entries, but maybe extra kharma points? 😉

Visit Carrie Ryan

>Tween Review: Matched by Ally Condie


MatchedCassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

I’d heard of this book sometime last year and seen reviews for it on other blogs, but for some reason or another I hadn’t pre-ordered it or picked it up on one of my trips to the bookstore. When winter break for me came along I had a long list of books that I wanted to read while on vacation from school and was already reading those when I started getting headaches and was unable to read as much as planned. But that didn’t stop me, I had some credits saved on audible and got some audio books to entertain me and Matched was one of them.

I fell in love with this book instantly. I found myself sitting and just listening to this book even when my headache had gone away. I couldn’t do anything else while in the midst of this story but listen to the narrator tell Cassia’s story. Her voice was so sweet and clear, it was like I was listening to a friend (my age) tell me about her life and I was enchanted by every word.

At the heart of the story is a very real kind of love triangle and contrary to the way I normally despise these types of plots, this one I didn’t mind. Both potential suitors are equally good, in very different ways. The way the author introduced Xander and Ky to readers we feel the same uncertainty and confusion that Cassia does. It was very interesting and full of mystery because we as readers aren’t positive what is real and what is simply orchestrated by The Society (government officials that are in charge of practically everything). I found I was putting myself in the heroine’s shoes and wondering what I would do and feel in her place.

By the end of the story I had fallen in love with the characters and anxious to find out what happens next. Matched is such a thought provoking read that has just enough feeling of “what if” and “it could happen” that makes everything so believable. It made me stop and think about things in ways I hadn’t since reading Suzanne Collins Hunger Games trilogy, but in less violent and graphic ways. This book really showcases what a world *could* become if the government forced everyone to be more equal and stripped the individual ways we can express ourselves. Good stuff!

Peace & Love

The next book in the series is due out November 1, 2011.
Visit Ally Condie’s WEBSITE to learn more about her works.