Monday, April 1, 2013

Mini Reviews # 6

This mini review collection stands under the banner of the dystopian novel. Representatives are THE PLEDGE by Kimberly Derting, EVE by Anna Carrey and STRUCK by Jennifer Bosworth.

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

THE PLEDGE pairs dystopian setting with a classical form of government, the monarchy. Kimberly Derting takes us to a future world ruled by Queen Sabara. To the land of Ludania, where people are divided by their language. They could be executed if they ever try to speak or understand another than their own language. Those numerous languages were occasionally mentioned, unfortunately we don’t get a sample of their sounds.
It’s an interesting concept that Kimberly Derting gave a woman the power to rule the kingdom and decide over life and death. We are fast introduced to all the rules and restrictions determining daily life of citizens and our heroine Charlaina. She understands every language and that mystery really got me. How come she can do that? I was so eager to find out what was behind that special ability of hers.
The story is told from two point of views. Our main character is Charlie who tells the story in the perspective of 1st person narrator. Then we got a third person POV of the Queen which creates a great contrast between protagonist and antagonist.
It took some time for the story to lure me in. Since that one point where a few secrets and a growing romance start becoming a more dominant part of the story, I got more involved in Charlie's story. Unfortunately sometimes the love story between Charlie and that guy, Max, felt a bit too vague.
Kimberly Derting captures the moment of Charlie being on the fence about her growing feelings for Max, but at some point Charlie’s struggles were just too much for me to take any longer. It was not that turbulent and cute love story that I’m a fan of, but effortlessly fit the overall style of THE PLEDGE.
THE PLEDGE shows that the same author can write books that couldn’t be more different. I’m a huge fan of Kimberly Derting’s THE BODY FINDER series and am a bit spoiled when it comes to mystery-action factor and super sweet romance. THE PLEDGE is much slower in pace and even Kimberly’s writing, which I know is really really good, didn’t feel that impressive in her first book in the THE PLEDGE series.

3,5/5 ***/* THE PLEDGE- A dystopian read, highlighted by historical character!

THE PLEDGE is definitely no comparison to Kimberly Derting’s THE BODY FINDER series, which is one of my favourites. Several moments of surprise, a well developed course of actions and the general good intuition for an interesting world though, make THE PLEDGE a book worth giving a try.  

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Publishing Date: November 15th 2011
Length: 323 pages
Keywords: YA, fantasy, dystopia, romance, monarchy
Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

Eve by Anna Carey

The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus—and the vaccine intended to protect against it—wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.“
You see, EVE is yet another novel with dystopian setting. We follow Eve, who breaks out of her protected school where she’s lived since her mother’s death and escapes into the wild, headed to promised safe place Califia together with Caleb, a boy she meets on her way there.
The contrast between EVE’s sheltered life in the girls school and her life outside the protecting walls offers many options for the story to proceed. But everything in the story felt rushed and it was like I only got a glimpse of school, the wilderness or Eve’s love life. In the end, I fear, the story didn't really left an impression on me that would last much longer than the actual reading process. The story wasn’t as thrilling as I’d expected Eve’s fight in the wilderness to be and, I hate to say it... a bit plain.
Even I was surprised when I noticed in the end that Eve and Caleb’s relationship didn’t really interest me. They were both rather lacklustre characters. It were other characters like tough Arden that I wanted to know more about. I would like to recommend EVE to people who enjoyed GRACELING by Kristin Cashore (a book that ironically I didn't enjoy either).
The writing style wasn't my thing either. Some parts of the story were described in vast expansion and the most action-packed and shocking felt like they fell flat in their impact. The devastating plague had great potential. It didn't seem it was used best.

2/5 ** EVE - Not exactly a read that leaves you breathless.

Eve wasn't a heroine to me, she mostly appeared to be a helpless little girl without any knowledge about the real world. I have to give her credit for her courage to let go of the known and flee into a world that's foreign to her. Her character reflects on the story as a whole which doesn't serve in  turning up the action-factor of EVE.

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: October 4th 2011
Length: 336 pages
Keywords: YA, fantasy, dystopia, romance, killer virus, escape
Source: Netgalley

Struck by Jennifer Bosworth

STRUCK is set in future LA. A city destroyed by a terrible earthquake. Imagining Los Angeles like that was pretty scary. Although it could have been an ace dytopian story, STRUCK wasn't primarily about a disaster scenario and the impacts natural catastrophes could have on people's lives. It was mostly about Mia dealing with her lightning addiction. Yes, you've read correctly. She is like a life-size lightning rod. She has the power to absorb lightning but also to destroy with its energy. She has the predisposition to be an attractive character protagonist-wise, but surprisingly she just didn't grow on me.
Grave disappointment struck me after only the first few chapters of Jennifer Bosworth's debut novel. A huge amount of the story felt just wrong to me and I didn't find a way to connect with our protagonist or unterstand the love story. Don't get me wrong, her love interest, Jeremy was a pretty decent guy. Just not that sexy and incredibly defiant guy I wanted him to be.
There's also a religious, or better cult-like, aspect that felt kind of like a foreign substance to the story itself. And it really started to bother me after some time, because it became too dominant and held to much of the story's attention. A Prophet gathering people around him and trying to control an entire city with his nonsense, even involving parts of Mia's family. The cult component struck me as really odd and that's what turned the story into something that just couldn't work for me.
I was rather sceptical about reading STRUCK in the first place, but somehow found myself reading it after a few weeks anyways. Should've listened to my intuition from the beginning. I'm not happy to say that I didn't enjoy this read, but that's how it is. And for that I hope even more readers find a favourite in it and will give it the love any story deserves.

2/5 ** STRUCK - Promising premise, no electrifying content in the end!

This story could have been big, but there was never any tension at all and the action simply fell flat for me. Weak characters and a trivial romance and I was desperate to finish STRUCK to just be done with it.

Publisher: Farrar Straus Giroux
Publishing Date: May 8th 2012
Length: 373 pages
Keywords: YA, fantasy, dystopia, romance, Los Angeles, lightning, earthquake, cult
Source: Netgalley

1 comment:

  1. I loved The Pledge, and am glad you ended up enjoying it overall. Despite being pitched as a dystopian it read like a fantasy book to me. :) Great reviews!