Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Legend by Marie Lu

If you want to rebel, rebel from inside the system. That's much more powerful than rebelling outside the system.
-from Legend by Marie Lu

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In this first installment of Marie Lu's dystopian trilogy, Legend introduces us to two protagonists from different sides of the tracks: wealthy and prodigiously intelligent June and the government's most wanted low-class criminal, Day. When Day is framed for June's brother's murder, June vows to track him down to avenge her brother's death. But amidst uncovering Day, she also uncovers the darker side of the Republic, a government she has sworn her allegiance to her whole life. June must decide whether or not to conform or shed her entire value system.

Okay, so don't hate me but I did not adore this book as much as I feel like I was supposed to. (Blogger note: Please don't just read this paragraph and skip the book because I do say nice things in later paragraphs!) I'm going to be honest and say that I was a little overwhelmed with life when I began reading, so perhaps I didn't give it a fair chance with a clear mind/emotions; but I also want to argue that a good book should wipe out reality. I really loved the bones of this story, I just wasn't knocked over by its execution. The world-building didn't feel to extraordinary and while the prose was fine, it wasn't all that impressive. I just don't think I got the "feels" that I was supposed to when shocking things happened which either makes me heartless or simply detached from the characters (I'm going with the latter).

All that said, I did enjoy the characterization, even if I didn't feel especially attached to June or Day. I know that sounds strange, but I appreciated how different both characters are and yet how similar they become as the story progresses. On the exterior they seem like foils: June is rich, Day is poor; June got a perfect score during her Trial, Day failed his Trial; June is a government official, Day is a wanted criminal. But the more readers learn about the two, the more similarities are revealed.

While I didn't connect with this story as much as I wanted, I will say that this book sets a great foundation for the rest of this series. I am writing this review after I've started (and almost finished) reading Prodigy, the second book in the series. I can very adamantly say that the story does pick up speed and I am very much enjoying the Legend series overall! But to get to Prodigy, you need to read Legend, and while it's not a bad book by any means, it just doesn't pack the punch I expected.

Bottom Line: This was a good book, but not my favorite series starter. However, I highly recommend for the series overall, especially if you love dystopian (The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc). Great for a book club for the analysis factor, especially regarding varied moral codes/opinions. 4/5 Stars.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Top Ten Authors I've Only Read One Book From But Need More!

Hey guys! It's full fledged wedding planning insanity over here in my world right now! Only 33 days left!! While I'm pretty well organized and on top of everything, it's still chaos and I'm just going to accept that. My bridal shower is on Saturday which basically means it's crunch time! I'm so excited for this weekend, especially to see people I don't get to see all the time (my cousin Wendy is coming in from Arizona!!!). Unfortunately because of all this fun chaos, I have not even touched a book in an embarrassingly long time! Maybe recalling these authors I loved and need more of will jump start something! :) 

Top 10 Authors I've Read One Book From But Need More!
(in no particular order)

Leila Sales
What I've Read: This Song Will Save Your Life

Jeffrey Eugenides
What I've Read: Middlesex

Jhumpa Lahiri
What I've Read: Interpreter of Maladies

Wally Lamb
What I've Read: She's Come Undone

Liane Moriarty
What I've Read: What Alice Forgot

Matthew Quick
What I've Read: Silver Linings Playbook

Jenny Han
What I've Read: To All the Boys I've Loved Before

Katie Cotugno
What I've Read: How to Love

Rob Sheffield
What I've Read: Love is a Mix Tape

Gillian Flynn
What I've Read: Gone Girl

Friday, September 12, 2014

Gathering Blue (The Giver companion) by Lois Lowry

"Take pride in your pain," her mother had always told her. "You are stronger than those who have none.”
-from Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

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Amazon | Goodreads

While Gathering Blue is a companion novel to Lois Lowry's The Giver, there is really no common thread between these two novels other than they are dystopian depictions of what our world could be like someday if we continue to value certain things to the extreme. Maybe throughout the entire series we finally find a greater commonality, but between these first two installments I found little. 

What this novel does give us is the story of Kira, an orphan in a community that puts the physically strongest members at the top and weeds out the weak. Kira is an anomaly in her world because she was born with an injured leg and somehow her mother was able to allow her to live instead of taking her out to The Field to die. But once Kira's mother passes from a disease, Kira finds adversaries who wish to cast her out into the wild where dangerous monsters lurk, the same monsters that murdered her father. Kira cannot offer laborious work, but she may have something else to offer the community if they would give her a chance. 

This story started out so slow for me and it might be simply because of its relation to The Giver. The Giver is such a huge story that set the bar for dystopian fiction, so I think I was expecting a story of the same caliber with Gathering Blue. I tried hard not to let the previous story affect my opinion of Gathering Blue, but it just fell a little flat for me in comparison. Eventually I did grow more attached to Kira, especially because of other characters who are introduced, especially Matt and his dog Branch. If you begin this story and find yourself a little detached, I recommend you persevere and read the entire story. 

There are some twists in this story, some of which I anticipated and some I did not. Even though I figured certain things would happen, I still enjoyed Lowry's execution of the story. I'm not sure if I enjoyed it enough to read the next book in this companion series, but by the end of the book I did not regret finishing. 

Bottom Line: Although I didn't like this one as much as The Giver, Lowry maintains her strong and creative writing with another dystopian world. I would have given this four-stars if it hadn't taken so long for me to become attached to it. If you loved The Giver but find yourself not into this book after a few chapters, I recommend persevering because it's a good story overall (and if you do hate it, at least it's short! ;]) 3.5/5 Stars.