Monday, 27 February 2012

Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Synopsis (From The Waterstone's Website)

Tally lives in a world where your sixteenth birthday brings aesthetic perfection: an operation which erases all your flaws, transforming you from an 'Ugly' into a 'Pretty'. She is on the eve of this important event, and cannot wait for her life to change. As well as guaranteeing supermodel looks, life as a Pretty seems to revolve around having a good time.
But then she meets Shay, who is also fifteen - but with a very different outlook on life. Shay isn't sure she wants to be Pretty and plans to escape to a community in the forest - the Rusty Ruins - where Uglies go to escape ' turning'. Tally won't be persuaded to join her, as this would involve sacrificing everything she's ever wanted for a lot of uncertainty. When she is taken in for questioning on her birthday, however, Tally gets sent to the Ruins anyway - against her will.The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she could ever imagine: find her friend Shay and turn her in, or never turn Pretty at all. What she discovers in the Ruins reveals that there is nothing 'pretty' about the transformations...And the choice Tally makes will change her world forever.

What I Have to Say
I've fallen completely in love with this series. It just feels so real. All of the new ideas that Westerfeld has come  up with have a basis in today's society. The whole "Size Zero" thing that we have today seems like it could really grow into the "Pretty" society that Westerfeld describes.

But I think the scariest thing about it is that the logic behind it is understandable. I'm not saying that it would be good, just that you can see where they're coming from. Mostly, it's the making people Pretty so that everyone looks the same thing. It's true that a lot of conflict comes from differences in appearance and one way to stop those arguments would be to somehow make everyone the same.

I think that's the way to make a good realistic "Utopian" society. Start with one thing that could make the world a better place and then find all the problems with it.

Secrets also tend to be good, 'cause they give a mystery into the plot. It's especially so because when you see a Utopia you instantly start looking for underlying problems.

Anyway, I think this is a really, really interesting story world and I'm looking forward to reading more of it.

In a few weeks they'll be another review for the next book in the series. In the mean time, I really think that you all should get Uglies, because it's just an amazing book. 

Monday, 20 February 2012

Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa

My name—my True Name—is Ashallayn'darkmyr Tallyn.
I am the last remaining son of Mab, Queen of the Unseelie Court. And I am dead to her.
My fall began, as many stories do, with a girl… 

What I Have to Say

I'm splitting this section into two parts so as to give both the book and the series justice whilst not spoiling anyone who hasn't read the previous books. If you don't want any of the previous books in the series please don't read the section about Iron Knight.

About the Iron Fey series in General

Julie Kagawa is one of my favourite authors. I will buy everyone book she writes without question (or even stopping to read the blurb). The Iron Fey series is a really original but still pretty classic fey story. She intertwines the normal rules of Faerie with this new idea of combining fey creatures with iron to show the human effect on Faerie. Then she goes to show how damaging this is to the original fey. 

I love reading about fey. I love the stories people are finding to tell about them. But Kagawa takes it even further by finding something new that she can create by basing her iron fey on the age of technology. Her inventions range from powerful creatures such as Iron Horse, Glitch and Virus to adorable little things like packrats and gremlins (even if the latter is a bit of a nuisance xD). 

So not only has Kagawa described in wonderful detail her interpretation of the land of Faerie, she's also made it very original and interesting to read. 

If you haven't read the other books in the series I strongly recommend you read them before reading the rest of my review. It's your choice, of course, but they're amazing and you should read them :p. You can get them all off Amazon or from a decent bookshop (Order them from your local independent bookshop!!! They need the profit. Amazon will survive without your money!!!!)  

About Iron Knight in Particular (contains spoilers for previous books in the series) 

I think that Iron Knight is my favourite of the Iron Fey series. First of all because it contains Ash who I absolutely love, even if he's gone soft since falling for Megan. He's change a lot from his hard, cold, unseelie self, but there's still traces of the ice prince in there as well as flashbacks of him in his prime. I like evil guys!! I can't help it!!! 

I also really love him and Puck together. I love the way they bicker and threaten each other even though they kind of like each other really. They also make a really good team, which goes some way to show what they were like before their feud got in the way. 

All that said, I think the thing that made me love the book so much more from the rest of the series (which I didn't even think was possible before I read it) was the whole Arthurian feel it had about it. It was set out as a traditional Knight's tale: a group of companions setting out to face challenges together with the purpose of gaining the power to go back to the side of their leaders one True Love. You can imagine that it could big King Arthur trying to get back to Guinevere. Or you could if Arthur was an unseelie fey who'll throw ice daggers at anyone who annoyed him anyway xD. 

The book is also so emotional. You go through the trials that Ash faces with him and experience what he has to give up in the hope of being able to be with Megan again. 

I strongly recommend the whole of the Iron Fey series. 



Monday, 13 February 2012

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Synopsis (from the Watersones Website)

  'R' is a zombie. He has no name, no memories, and no pulse, but he has dreams. He is a little different from his fellow Dead. Amongst the ruins of an abandoned city, R meets a girl. Her name is Julie and she is the opposite of everything he knows - warm and bright and very much alive, she is a blast of colour in a dreary grey landscape. For reasons he can't understand, R chooses to save Julie instead of eating her, and a tense yet strangely tender relationship begins. This has never happened before. It breaks the rules and defies logic, but R is no longer content with life in the grave. He wants to breathe again, he wants to live, and Julie wants to help him. But their grim, rotting world won't be changed without a fight...

What I Have to Say 

Dark Fantasy has really brought a lot of new plots into the world. Nowadays there are Werewolf romances and Faery romances and way, way too many Vampire Romances. But the one thing that was the genre was really missing was a good zombie romance. Now Warm Bodies has filled the gap in the market. Marion has characterised R so well that you want him to succeed so badly. It's so good at making you feel things that you don't expect to. 

It's such a reversal of the normal zombie stories that it brings a freshness that was really needed in Zombie stories. 

And it's awesome to tell people that you're reading a zombie romance xD 

Monday, 6 February 2012

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater

Synopsis (From the Waterstones Website)

 Every November, the Scorpio Races are run beneath the chalk cliffs of Skarmouth. Thousands gather to watch the horses and the sea that washes the blood from the sand. The mounts are capaill uisce: savage water horses. There are no horses more beautiful, more fearless, more deadly. To race them can be suicide but the danger is irresistible.

What I Have to Say 

I've loved absolutely everything that Stiefvater has written so far. She has a way with words that few authors have. The Scorpio Races is something really special. It contains in it a few pieces of writing that you just have to read aloud and share with anyone who'll listen. That includes you so listen up: 

"This last exclamation is because we've just got to a high point where we can see the ocean and the area around us. The land is perilous, low cliffs, cracked and cut deeply into the green pasture and then suddenly empty air and then pasture again. Below us and beyond us, the sea is whitecaps and foam and black rocks like teeth. A busy sea." 
This is such a wonderful piece of description of the sea, a central part of the plot. It shows its beauty and it's danger without slowing down the pace or being extraneous. 

I really, really loved every moment and every component of this book so I highly recommend it.