Archive for the ‘dystopian’ Category

Review: Divergent – Veronica Roth

Cover of Divergent by Veronica Roth

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Publication date: April 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-00-742041-4
Length: 487 pages
Genre: Dystopian
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Gift
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

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.

The first thought that came into my mind when I put this book down was, ‘I can’t believe I waited for so long to read this’. Veronica Roth’s Divergent is without a doubt one of those books that will grow on you in a heartbeat. I had high expectations about this one and it didn’t disappoint. I am completely and utterly in love.

Dystopian is still a new genre to me because I’ve never really read any dystopian books before I started blogging but after reading some really outstanding novels, such as Susanne Winnacker’s The Other Life or Divergent, it quickly became one of my favourite genres. Roth’s story is so unique, but at the same time so believable that you won’t be able to put it down.

On top of everything else, I love the world she describes in this book. This whole dystopian Chicago is divided into five factions and just like in real life, there’s some tension and rivalry among them. I love the fact that even though it’s a completely fictional world and it feels so different from what we’re used to now, it’s still similar to our world in a way. As for the characters, Roth did a fantastic job. Divergent is narrated by Beatrice (or Tris) who is a tough and very brave girl behind the fragile exterior. Her bravery is just astonishing and you can’t help rooting for her to survive throughout the story and to come out on top in this crazy world.

Character-wise, I think Four was -and I’m sure most female readers will agree with me here- my favourite in this book. Even though I’m actually 4 years older than he was in the story, I totally understand why thousands of readers will fall in love with him in a second. I love how tough he is but how there is a vulnerable side to him as well. What’s not to love?

If you’re looking for a fast paced dystopian book and you haven’t read Divergent yet, do pick it up as soon as you can. Don’t let its length put you off, you’ll breeze through the story in a day. It’s definitely one of my favourite reads this year. Brilliant!

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*Thank you to Kayleigh from K-Books for sending me a copy of this book*

Review: The Other Life – Susanne Winnacker

Cover of The Other Life by Susanne Winnacker

Title: The Other Life
Author: Susanne Winnacker
Publication date: February 1, 2012
Publisher: Usborne Publishing
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-4095-3608-6
Length: 314 pages
Genre: Dystopian fiction
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US | Amazon UK | The Book Depository

3 years, 1 month, 1 week and 6 days since I’d seen daylight. One-fifth of my life. 98,409,602 seconds since the heavy, steel door had fallen shut and sealed us off from the world.

Sherry has lived with her family in a sealed bunker since things went wrong up above. But when they run out of food, Sherry and her dad must venture outside. There they find a world of devastation, desolation…and the Weepers: savage, mutant killers. When Sherry’s dad is snatched, she joins forces with gorgeous but troubled Joshua – an Avenger, determined to destroy the Weepers. But can Sherry keep her family and Joshua safe, when his desire for vengeance threatens them all?

Susanne Winnacker’s The Other Life is the perfect example of a fast paced, action packed and cleverly written dystopian novel – something you pick up and find yourself breezing through the story in one day. I still consider myself quite new to the dystopian genre but Winnacker presents us such a devastating picture of a future Los Angeles, something so different from the world we’re living in now, that you simply cannot help but listen to every word she says.

The plot is just fantastic: there’s no introduction in the sense that we don’t have a clue about what happened Sherry and her family. They’ve already been living in this bunker for 3 years by the time the story starts. We learn little bits of information about them and how their life has been down there in the past few years, but we still don’t know why they’re there or what happens if they run out of food and have to go out of their hiding place. Winnacker gradually builds up the tension in her book and keeps you on the edge of your seat all the way until the end. There are short periods when she lets you relax, take a deep breath and hope that everything will be all right, everyone will make it to the end but you soon realize that just like the characters, you can’t let your guards down. When you think you’ve seen it all, Winnacker still manages to surprise you with another twist and make the suspense even more agonising than before.

On top of a gripping storyline, The Other Life has characters you probably won’t forget anytime soon. Sherry and Joshua are a perfect duo and I couldn’t tell you which one of them is more likeable or relatable – I just loved them both. I loved the fact that even though Sherry is only fifteen, she acts like an adult. She takes care of her little sister and she’s tough, just like Joshua. I really liked how mysterious and tough, but at the same time vulnerable he is.

Gut-wrenching, utterly riveting and still a little bit optimistic, The Other Life is definitely one of those books you need to pick up as soon as you can. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s brilliant – believe me, you’ll find it hard to put it down. Without a doubt, it’s been one of my favourite books this year. The ending opened up many possibilities for the next book and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Can 2013 hurry up, please?

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* Thank you to Usborne Publishing for sending me a review copy of this book *

Review: All These Things I’ve Done – Gabrielle Zevin

Cover of All These Things I've Done by Gabrielle Zevin

Title: All These Things I’ve Done (Birthright #1)
Author: Gabrielle Zevin
Publication date: March 29th, 2012
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-330-53789-6
Length: 350 pages
Genre: Dystopian
Age group: Young Adult
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon US| Amazon UK | The Book Depository

For Anya, love will become a life-or-death choice…

New York 2082. When Anya is arrested for attempted murder, the District Attorney offers her a choice: stay away  from his son or watch helplessly as he destroys her family. It should be a straightforward decision. Except that the DA’s son is the boy Anya loves, and her family is at the dark heart of the city’s criminal underworld. Anya must choose between love and loyalty, knowing that whatever she decides will have shattering consequences: heartbreak or a ganglad war that will tear the city apart.

I’ve heard great things about All These Things I’ve Done in the past few months so I was really excited when I received a review copy of this book. I didn’t know what to expect but in the end, I was genuinely surprised. Is that a good thing? Well, in this case, yes. It’s different from what I expected it to be but it was interesting nonetheless.

The plot itself centres around Anya, a 16-year-old girl from New York, and her family. Anya, who lost both her parents when she was young and who now lives with her little sister and her older brother, is a member of a criminal family. Since her brother was in an accident a few years prior to the story and he’s had a sheltered life ever since, Anya is the one who keeps the family together, who looks after the three of them and who sees to the day to day running of the household. Which is – and I’m not going into details about the story because the synopsis says it all – one of the things I liked about her character the most. I love books with a tough heroine and Anya was definitely one of them.

The first thing that came into my mind when I was reading this story is Romeo and Juliet. Gabrielle Zevin’s book is like a modern Romeo and Juliet with a futuristic twist. I loved the way Zevin presented the world Anya and her family live in. We learn that in 2082, chocolate and coffee are illegal and everything we take for granted now in 2012 is rationed. The city is running out of water so what’s left is becoming more and more expensive. Books no longer exist (yes, can you imagine that?!) because no one can afford paper, and museums had been turned into night clubs. It really is a totally different world from what we live in now – it was a very clever idea.

All in all, I think it was a great way to start this trilogy – I see why some people might say it’s a bit slow paced but I think in this case, it’s inevitable for us to get a clear picture of how Anya’s family, and the whole society works in 2082. The second half of the book is certainly more action-filled and the ending was brilliant – talk about cliffhangers! Gabrielle Zevin definitely made me want to pick up the next book in this series and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the story goes.

The only thing I don’t understand is why it’s classified as a ‘thriller’. I love thrillers but All These Things I’ve Done didn’t seem like one. Dystopian(ish) fantasy, maybe. Thriller, no(t yet). Well, I suppose we’ll have to wait and see. ;)

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*Thank you to Pan Macmillan for sending me a review copy of this book*