Friday, May 29, 2015

End of Days by Susan Ee [Joint Review]

End of Days (Penryn and the End of Days, #3)5 out of 5 Robots!

End of Days by Susan Ee

Series: Penryn and the End of Days #3
Genre: YA Fantasy/Apocalyptic
Release: May 12, 2015
Paperback: 435 Pages
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
My Copy: Purchased
Reviewer: Julia and Shannon

Book Summary:
End of Days is the explosive conclusion to Susan Ee’s bestselling Penryn & the End of Days trilogy.

After a daring escape from the angels, Penryn and Raffe are on the run. They’re both desperate to find a doctor who can reverse the twisted changes inflicted by the angels on Raffe and Penryn’s sister. As they set off in search of answers, a startling revelation about Raffe’s past unleashes dark forces that threaten them all.

When the angels release an apocalyptic nightmare onto humans, both sides are set on a path toward war. As unlikely alliances form and strategies shift, who will emerge victorious? Forced to pick sides in the fight for control of the earthly realm, Raffe and Penryn must choose: Their own kind, or each other?

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Julia and Shannon's Thoughts:
1. Sum up your thoughts in a sentence or two. 
Julia: End of Days is exhilarating and action packed. Full of wit and engaging characters.
Shannon: So much action!  It was non-stop.  I basically loved every minute of it and thought it ended the series on a high note.

2. What was your favorite part?  What was your least favorite part?
Julia: Wellllllll..... There is this part where Raffe and Penryn are spooning. It is at 8% if you're reading the ebook. That's my favorite part. I'm not saying much else, just, yep! But you also get to really see Beliel and why he turned out to be the angel he is. I loved that. My least favorite part? There is this part just before the end, and it is really long and drawn out and it sort of made me want to punch myself. I literally looked at the ceiling and was like COOOMMME ON!
Shannon: Haha, I know exactly which scene Julia is talking about because she texted me about it!  I think my favorite part was when we took a little side trip and got to meet some people from Raffe's past.  It was kind of silly how it happened, but I really liked it nonetheless.  My least favorite part was the lead up to the end as well.  There were an amazing amount of resources being used.  Where did they get it all?  Also, it was very sentimental, which felt odd since this series is very unsentimental.
3. How did you like this book compared to the first two in the series?
Julia: End of Days is right on par with the first two in the series. I'm really sad there won't be more. There are some new angels in End of Days, and I wish we would have gotten more time with them.
Shannon:  I think it is very hard to write three books that are each very good in there own right.  Some of the complaints about the second book are definitely rectified (ie, not enough Raffe).  I truly enjoyed each book.  I want more!!

4. Did you like the ending?

Julia: In my opinion, the ending is perfection. The characters that are there in the ending made me so happy. The ending scene made my heart warm. I really wish we would have gotten to that quicker though.
Shannon:  Um, loved it.  And I'm unapologetic about it.  It probably shouldn't have gone down that way, but I don't care.  I loved it.

5. How did you like this series overall?
Julia: Oh. My. Gosh! Everyone should read this series! It is so good. Can it be turned into a TV show or movie? I think HBO would really know what to do here. Why does it have to end???
Shannon: LOVE it.  I initially put off reading it because angels.  I just can't with the angels.  But this is an angel book for non-angel readers.  And I would also argue that it is much more of an apocalyptic book than star-crossed angel lovers as other angel series tend to be.  I thought it was fun and exciting.  I love the characters, like, a lot.  And I totally agree this should be a movie or tv show!!

6. What would you rate this?  Who would you recommend it to?
Julia: 5 out of 5. If you love fantasy, or dystopian, or angels, or just a kick ass plot  with dark characters, read this. SO GOOD.
Shannon: Same.  5 out of 5 for me too.  I devoured it and I'm so sad it is over.  I recommend it to dystopian/apocalyptic or action fans.  Angels aside, this is a fun series.

Other Books in the Series:
1. Angelfall
2. World After
3. End of Days

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman [Review]

Shadow Scale (Seraphina, #2)3.5 out of 5 Robots!

Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman

Series: Seraphina #2
Genre: YA Fantasy
Release: March 10, 2015
Hardcover: 602 Pages
Publisher: Random House Children's Book
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
Seraphina took the literary world by storm with 8 starred reviews and numerous “Best of” lists. At last, her eagerly awaited sequel has arrived—and with it comes an epic battle between humans and dragons.

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways. 

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
This was a very long awaited sequel.  I read Seraphina back in 2012 when it was first published.  So admittedly, the original story was not fresh in my mind.  But Seraphina had left a good impression, so I was excited to jump back into her world.  I mostly enjoyed the sequel, but it is long.  Length isn't necessarily a problem if my attention is held, but my mind wandered a lot reading this.  It was easy to put down and find other things to do.  When I was reading it, I liked it.  But I do wish it was more straight forward and less meandering.

Here is what I liked:
**I loved that we got to visit several different kingdoms.  This was my favorite part.  Each kingdom was so unique and well crafted.  You could feel real life influences, but they also felt wholly unique too.  I loved that they each dealt with dragons differently as well.  

**As Seraphina finds her fellow half-dragons, I was fascinated by all the ways they developed.  Seraphina lucked out as far as developing to look like a human, but there were many variations and mutations, which often times resulted in disabilities.  It provided for a wide variety of experiences.

**I also Seraphina's personal journey.  She starts out cautious, careful to keep her dragon nature to herself.  But throughout the book, she comes to understand herself better and begin to accept her dragon side.  She truly comes into her own by the end of the book.

**I also like the writing.  It can be a little sterile, but since Seraphina is narrating, I feel it is in keeping with her logical, detached personality.  The descriptions are very good and the writing is clear and well thought out.

Here is what I didn't like:
**As I mentioned, it was a bit of a slog to get through parts of the book.  There was just so much going on.  There was a lot of day to day minutia.  Seraphina spends a lot of time mulling things over and pondering.  So much pondering.  I just wasn't as connected to the story as I would have liked.   

**I loved the slow burn romance between Seraphina and Prince Lucian Kiggs in the first novel, but I felt it got seriously derailed.  They are separated most of the time, which is fine, but they take a very long time to work things out between them.  And when they are together, it just seems very awkward.  I didn't feel the chemistry anymore.  I found myself more annoyed by it than rooting for it.  I think I would have rather done without entirely.  

**The cast of characters is large.  Too large, if you ask me.  I could not keep them all straight.  Which meant that sometimes events did not have much of an impact because I couldn't remember who the person was or why it should have an impact.


I was a little disappointed.  I still think it is a great series and there are some truly interesting parts to this book.  Even though it was sometimes hard to pick it up back up once I put it down, the story has stayed with me.  I just wish the story was more streamlined and I felt more connected to what was happening to the characters.

Other Books in the Series:
1. Seraphina
2. Shadow Scale

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

The Cage by Megan Shepherd [Review]

The Cage (The Cage, #1)3.5 out of 5 Robots!

The Cage by Megan Shepherd
Series: The Cage #1
Genre: YA Sci-Fi
Release: May 26, 2015
Hardcover: 400 Pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
My Copy: Publisher
Reviewer: Shannon

Book Summary:
The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman's Daughtertrilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

(Courtesy of the Publisher)

Shannon's Thoughts:
This book was not as like I suspected.  I really should have read the description better because I completely missed the part about aliens.  So I was pretty taken aback.  But overall, I enjoyed this book.  It wasn't perfect, but it was definitely an interesting read.

Here is what I liked:
**The writing.  I really really like Megan Shepherd's writing.  She has a great way with words.

**I like the "Lord of the Flies" breakdown that starts happening between the cage inhabitants.  They are very much manipulated into scenarios that breed mistrust and jealousy.  It is interesting to see how everyone deals with the situation they are given.

**I also liked some of the small touches of the cage.  The captors tried to put in things they thought they would like, but consistently fail at it.  There are toys and bright colors and candy like a child would enjoy.

**As I mentioned, this book is very different than what I was expecting and I appreciated that.  I couldn't really guess what direction things were going (besides the obvious), but I was even surprised by the ending.

Here is what I didn't like:
**Even though I liked the book on the whole, I'm not sure I loved the premise.  I don't know.  There were parts I liked, but in general...I wasn't that taken with the idea of the "aliens running experiments on humans" schtick.

**The love triangle was not my favorite either.  It wasn't that Cora developed feelings for Cassian (although they may definitely bother some people), but that it didn't feel very developed to me.  I didn't exactly understand WHY she was in love with him.


Overall, I thought this book was different and very well written.  It kept my interest the entire way through.  But I'm not sure I loved it.  I disconnected with it at some level.  I think this book will really reasonate with some readers, but leave others cold.  Depends on how much you can tolerate Stockholm Syndrome-type romances.

Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.


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