Review: Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu

ChampionTitle: Champion
Author: by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #3
Rating: 4.5
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
He is a Legend.

She is a Prodigy.

Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republicโ€”and each otherโ€”and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the governmentโ€™s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republicโ€™s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her countryโ€™s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Luโ€™s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

My Review:
Actual Rating 4.5 Stars

Wow. This book was a fast-paced roller-coaster-ride of a read from start to finish. I found it extremely difficult to put this book down, and it was a real page turner.

My heart bled for June and Day as circumstances conspire, yet again, to keep them apart. I could really feel the emotional turmoil that both characters felt. Day is also dealing with the impact of his health problems and grows increasingly frustrated with the limitations it imposes on him.

Day is caught in the crossfire between the Republic and the Colonies and no matter what decision he makes someone he cares about will suffer. Definitely stuck between a rock and a hard place, if you can forgive my blatant clichรฉ.

I loved the power struggle, and the story-line was epic; full of twists and turns, moves and counter-moves, as June, Day, and Anden, battle to stay ahead of their enemies.

The battle scenes at the end were incredibly well written; nail-biting and genuinely explosive. My heart was in my mouth the whole way through.

Then we come to the last couple of chapters, and the book lost some of it’s appeal for me. (view spoiler)

Overall though I really enjoyed this book and I would highly recommend this series. I note in the acknowledgements that she talks about film rights, so I’m wondering if the movie has come out yet, or is it still in the planning phase? I’ll have to check it out as I’d definitely be interesting in seeing this series on the big screen.

Review: Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu

prodigyTitle: Prodigy
Author: by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #2
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

My Review:
I absolutely loved this book! Prodigy was far superior in ways in which Legend fell down, in my opinion. This book hooked me from the get-go and I ended up reading it in 2 sittings, in less than 24 hours. I thought both the pacing and the writing was vastly improved from the first book in this series.

In Prodigy, we follow June and Day as they struggle to identify whom they can trust. As they get sucked into a ruthless battle for control of the Republic, their relationship is tested as the cultural differences between them become more apparent. Though they still share a strong connection, and are undeniably attracted to one another, their vastly different upbringings threaten to tear them apart. I always love a strong romance element to these type of fast-paced action-packed adventures, and Marie Lu doesn’t fail to deliver in this regard. June and Day are loyally protective of each other and it’s really sweet. Sometimes I struggle to relate this with the fact that they are only 15, however, they are presented as mature 15-year-olds with strong intelligence and keen observational skills, so I can overlook it.

The plot is a lot less predictable in this book, and the suspense and drama is deliciously built the whole way through the novel. There were a couple of twists at the end that I didn’t see coming, and I always love when the author retains the ability to surprise me.

The ending was so shocking, and bittersweet, and my heart was literally in my mouth. Now I can’t wait to read Champion to see how things end up for June and Day.

Review: Legend (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

LegendTitle: Legend
Author: Marie Lu
Series: Legend #1
Rating: 3.5 stars
Genres: Dystopia/ sci-fi/ post-apocalyptic
Links:

Blurb:
What 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 pathsโ€”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.

My Review:
Actual Rating 3.5 Stars.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and I’m invested enough to continue with this series. However, initially I really struggled to get into the story. I felt it was very slow-paced at the start, and there was hardly any dialogue so it was difficult to feel a connection with the characters. At around the 30% mark I contemplated throwing in the towel, but I didn’t, and I’m glad that I persevered.

What I like most about this book is the two main characters – June and Day. Initially I was a bit luke-warm on June. She appeared to be spoiled, a little selfish and naive; which was surprising for someone so intelligent and keenly observant. She redeemed herself as the story progressed, particularly towards the end where she made a difficult decision in order to do the right thing. That took huge guts and she embraced that decision with gusto.

Day was a shoo-in for me from the first minute. I never doubted that his intentions were genuine and he struck me as a modern day Robin Hood type, a rebel with a heart. I love the developing relationship between him and June, and I can relate to the strong attraction they feel toward one another: It’s believable.

The plot was fairly predictable, and I guessed everything that happened pretty early on; though there were enough twists and turns to keep my attention.

The book is well written and the prose is decent, but after a 2 month long Jennifer L. Armentrout read-a-thon, there wasn’t anything uniquely stand-out about it for me.

I read the paperback and I struggled at the start with the style choice for Day’s POV. I understand and like the idea of two different style pallets for the different POV’s, but using a bold font for Day was the wrong decision in my opinion. It was jarring to read; however, I got over it as I got hooked into the story.

I’m invested enough now to continue the story, and I look forward to seeing where the author brings it next.

Review: Raging Star (Dust Lands Trilogy #3) by Moira Young

Raging starTitle: Raging Star
Author: Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands Trilogy #3
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
Her passion kept them alive. Now it may destroy them all.

Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo…until she meets him and finds herself drawn to the man and his vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to build a stable, sustainable worldโ€ฆfor the chosen few. The young and the healthy. Under his control.

Jackโ€™s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Presumed dead, he’s gone undercover, feeding Saba crucial information in secret meetings. Saba hides her connection with DeMalo and commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, and her sister, Emmi, Saba leads a small guerilla band against the settlers and the Tonton militia. But the odds are overwhelming. Saba knows how to fightโ€”she’s not called the Angel of Death for nothing. But what can she do when the fight cannot be won? Then DeMalo offers Saba a chanceโ€”a seductive chance she may not be able to refuse. How much will she sacrifice to save the people she loves?

The road has never been more dangerous, and betrayal lurks in the most unexpected places in the breathtaking conclusion to the Dust Lands Trilogy.

My Review:
I feel slightly bereft after finishing the final book in the series; I wasn’t ready yet to say goodbye to Saba. While the ending was fitting, I still felt somewhat saddened. The pacing, tone and plot of books 2 and 3 were definitely different to the first book but I still enjoyed them. Moira Young’s world building is breath-taking and it was very easy to visualize the world that Saba inhabited. I missed Saba’s fiesty lust for life in this one but it fit that her character had become jaded and weary of all the killing/death. I still despised Lugh in this book and the way that Saba pandered to him most of the time annoyed me a little (though it has to be said it’s totally believable.)I loved how Saba and Emmi grew closer though and Emmi was very endearing as a character. The plot around the betrayer – was it Lugh? was it Tommo? was very good and suspenseful. I found myself changing my mind several times as to the betrayers identity but nailed it in the end. I also guessed the twist with DeMalo but that was a good plot twist and unexpected. One thing I wish had been resolved was how the heart-stone burned for both Jack and DeMalo – what exactly was that and did DeMalo drug Saba’s wine in Book 2? But I guess we just have to figure that our for ourselves. Overall I felt this series was excellent and a must-read.

Review: Rebel Heart (Dust Lands Trilogy #2) by Moira Young

Rebel HeartTitle: Rebel Heart
Author: Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands Trilogy #2
Rating: 4 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
Saba thought her world would return to normal after they defeated the Tonton and rescued her kidnapped brother Lugh. The family head west for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But a formidable enemy is on the rise. What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants?

My Review:
Another great read from Moira Young. I felt it was a little slow-paced at the start but then the action kicked in and it kept me fully engaged till the end. I’ve gotten so used to the authors prose style that it barely even registered as different while reading it. I think I missed Jack more than Saba did! Would have loved more scenes involving the two of them as a couple but I understand why it wouldn’t fit within the plot. I’m still intrigued to find out what’s going on with Lugh, and to learn exactly what happened to him when he was under Pince’s control. And I’m wondering what the ultimate impact of that is going to be – his obsessiveness over Saba is a tad bit disturbing and I think it will drive whatever he’s going to do in Book 3. And while I knew from Book 1 that there was some connection with DeMalo, I’m perplexed as to how they seem to share a bond, and why. I’ve already downloaded Book 3 and can’t wait to get stuck in. If you haven’t checked out this series then you need to!

Review: Blood Red Road (Dust Lands Trilogy #1) by Moira Young

Blood Red RoadTitle: Blood Red Road
Author: Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands Trilogy #1
Rating: 5 stars
Genres: Dystopia
Links:

Blurb:
Saba lives in Silverlake, a wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms where her family scavenge from landfills left by the long-gone Wrecker civilization. After four cloaked horsemen kidnap her beloved twin brother Lugh, she teams up with daredevil Jack and the Free Hawks, a girl gang of Revolutionaries.

Saba learns that she is a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Saba and her new friends stage a showdown that change the course of her civilization.

My Review:
This book is a very unique read – in terms of the prose/writing style, and the setting. It may not be everyone’s ‘cup of tea’ though. I was gripped from the very beginning and read the whole book in less than 24 hours. I loved Saba, she’s prickly and fiesty and can come across as not-altogher-that-nice but I actually really, really liked her character. I was a little put out with her at the start for her lack of regard for Emmi but she redeemed herself later on. And I loved the whole cage-fighting theme, very kick-ass. A must read for anyone that loves a fast-paced, action packed adventure with a strong female protagonist and a good dollop of romance. A few hints/teasers dropped subtly into the plot which I assume will be addressed in the rest of the series. Off to download Books 2 and 3 now. Exceptional Book in my opinion.

Why I love Science Fiction

The Oxford Dictionary defines Science Fiction as, โ€œFiction based on imagined future scientific or technological advances and major social or environmental changes, frequently portraying space or time travel and life on other planets.โ€

Iโ€™ve been an avid science fiction fan since I was a little girl, though it is fair to say I was mainly into films and TV shows back then. I can still remember going to the cinema to see the โ€˜Empire Strikes Backโ€™ when I was only 8 or 9, and I was hooked on the Star Wars series from that point. My mom loves to recount tales of how I used to hide behind the sofa, with a cushion obscuring my face, as I braved glimpses at Dr. Who on the TV. She says I refused to allow let her switch it off, though it clearly terrified me! (On a side note, excellent parenting Mom!!)

Iโ€™ve been a voracious reader my whole-life, and I exasperate my husband as I constantly have a book in my hand or my trusty kindle by my side. However, I only got into reading science fiction as an adult. A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was one of the first classic sci-fi books that I read, and it is still up there at the top of my list of all time sci-fi greats. Written in 1931 it describes a frightening vision of the future, and I think Mr. Huxley was ahead of his time in his thinking, and analysis. I also love The Hunger Games series; those books just blew me away.

When I first started writing fiction, in my early thirties, I wrote lots of chicklit/romance, and I secretly harbored an ambition to write crime/thrillers. Mostly because those were the genreโ€™s I was reading back then. Around this time, I commenced employment with an IT company and my interest in technology piqued. Then I got sucked into the YA genre, and Iโ€™ve read lots of dystopian science fiction and for me, and my writing, it was organic from that point.

In 2010, the CEO of the company I work for gave me a book to read called the 2020 Workplace. It is written by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd and is intended for human resource professionals like myself. Essentially it is about innovative ways to attract, retain and develop the employees of the future. It describes the future workplace in some detail and draws an analysis between technological advancements of the last ten years, and planned developments for the next ten years. To see how far we have advanced in such a short period is breath-taking, as is visualizing the future and how far we will develop technologically in my lifetime. While this book added value in my corporate life, it also set my creative juices flowing.

I love imagining what the futuristic world will be like, and trying to second guess how technological and medical advancements will shape the culture and society of the future. The universe is vast, and so much is still unknown and unexplored and as a writer, that opens up limitless creative opportunities. I am particularly enamoured with stories that are set in space and those involving alien racesโ€”I think it all stems back to my early childhood obsession with the Star War series. To think that regular space-travel is being realized during my life-time is truly incredible.

A good science fiction story for me (whether it is a book, TV series or movie) has to strike the right balance between technology and human emotions.ย  Particularly, showcasing how human nature evolves and deals with advances in technology and medicine, and the impact of that on human relationships and their environment. Unless it has a good mix of those things, it will not hold my attention for long. In writing True Calling Iโ€™ve tried to achieve these aims, and completely given in to my reader-sci-fi-geekiness.

I donโ€™t think Iโ€™ll ever tire of science fiction stories and with some interesting new releases coming to our cinema screens and bookshelves soon, I know Iโ€™ll have plenty to indulge my passion.

Star Wars

True Calling Paperback GIVEAWAY

Afternoon all,

How do you fancy winningย a copy of my exciting new YA sci-fi romance series True Calling? In celebration of the forthcoming release of the paperback version of True Calling, I have partnered with Goodreads on a special giveaway. Head over to www.goodreads.comย and enter theย competition to be in with a chance to win one of ten signed paperback copies that are up for grabs. The giveaway ends on October 31st so don’t miss out.

Best of luck!

Siobhan.