Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Warning: There might be some spoilers. 
Wow, it's a tough one with this book. First, the beginning is really, really slow. If you are reading this review and thinking of giving up, then I urge you to skip to page 250 and continue there. I wont go on about the story or what it is about since the blurb already tells you that. I will just touch on a couple of things.

Yes, the world is very much like the giver. Even up to the getting your assignment and growing apart from your friends stage.
Does it take away from the book? In the beginning yes, but as you read on, I think Condie redeems herself and you can see her own world shinning through.
Cassia on the other hand was better than Nora and Luce and all the other stupid airhead clouding YA lately. For some reason she reminds me of Grace from Shiver, so if you liked Grace you might like her. I still dont know if I like her or not. What do I mean by this? I would have felt the same way by anyone else in her shoes. By this I mean, that I love how she grew and matured, but I didnt think her personality shown through enough to captivate me.
Matched is by far one of the best books of 2010, but it isnt an easy ready. It reminds me a lot of The Time Traveler's wife. And most of all, it isnt Twilight. Touting this book as the next twilight is bad for this book, it would only turn people away from it. Why? There is no escapism whatsoever in this book. In Twilight you close your eyes, and you imagine having a beautiful, rich boyfriend who worships you. Prince Charming. The kinds of thing young girls like. But this isnt the case with this book. The love interest that Cassia loves so much, Ky is in a very bad situation. This might be extreme, but why would anyone want to fantasize about having a love interest who is serving a life sentence in prison with possibility of Parole? You get the point, it's harsh, and its a little too real for teens these days to adopt this book because of this. The pain is there and the truth is all around us in life, we see pain. We see the hurt love can bring in a harsh way, with no chance of anything good. This book is that. Twilight is good, as in daydreamish fantasy. So, I fear comparing this to Twilight might make people read it, however the Twilight crowd will pretty much turn away from it or start blasting it with bad reviews. Of course that is if they can get past the very slow beginning and middle.
Older people though, those who are more matured might be more drawn to this book. This book flirts with being literary fiction. Cassia does a LOT of thinking and then more thinking and some more thinking, for pages and pages. I confess, I skipped some of it because they were repetitive.
The internal monologues should have been cut short, the pace reworked, some urgency added to it, the tone  more informal, a little more passion in a physical way, (not saying they should get down and dirty) but something burning, because lets face it, if you love someone like that, except there is a reason, (a.k.a Edward killing Bella if he does her.) then the physical attraction would be crazy. Here, is very tame.
Why Ally is obviously a gifted writer, her type of writing isnt my thing. Very very descriptive, a lot of comparisons and just too damn poetic for me. I have never been a big fan of poetic writing, because I always feel they take away from character development. A lot of reviews  you would read about this book, both positive and negative will tell you the same thing. Its hard to connect with Cassia or her family members because of the writing. I will definitely recommend this. My rating: 3.5/5 Also, for lovers of happy endings, know there is no happy ending here.

Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

My Take:
Warning: There might be spoilers.
First let me say that if I was the president of all publishing houses, who would I pick to constantly churn out stuff every month, (apart from the love of life, the late Mr. Awesome Chekov) it will be Andrea Cremer.
 Dont get it wrong here, she has raw writing talent. Words are not thrown around, neither do they try to stuff you with so much poetic stuff, you keep rolling your eyes, (Shiver, Matched), so not my thing. Andrea's words are sweet, and all have punch and meaning. It's like word porn, you just can't get enough. Alright, I will get to the story. I hate rehearsing what the book is about since the blurb can tell you so I will just jump right in with the good and the bad.
The Good:
Her writing. (hehe, I already mentioned that.)
Andrea does a good job of creating a complex heirachy in her world. I like that the wolves are controlled by the Keepers. They drink blood to heal, so vampirish and awesome. Calla is no Luce, but I dont know if she is really as strong as I would have liked her to be. I think Andrea did this on purpose to show that despite all the responsibilities on Calla she is still a young girl. Ren just didnt do it for me. The biting Calla's neck to keep her in place was gross and botherline no-no for me. And the constant groping and so on he forced on Calla ... Not sexy in anyway but I think I am in the minority as all you have to do is check twitter for all the #teamRen. Shay was sweet and delicious.  #TEAMSHAY forever. Yes, Shay was that hot. Curious about knowledge, beautiful, but yet still like a real boy who every young girl wants as her ideal boyfriend. The lovliness when both he and Calla are in wolf form is beyond amazing. I would say it again, AMAZING. Not sure why but I sort of liked Logan too, she wrote him so well, I could picture him so clearly.
I am so happy she included gay characters who were not loud, obnoxious or cross dressing and have a female as their best friend. They are gay, but awesome gay characters. This might make me sound perverted but I loved Logan too much to feel bad about what he was doing.
Overall, the story is complex, the world building is strong, the mythology is fascinating, and the characters are interesting. This doesn't mean the book is without flaws. Calla's inability to control her hormones is grating and sometimes add a lust like feel because you forget you are reading a young adult novel. But its a conflicting emotion,  Andrea writes so well, you feel hot reading the scenes, but just when you start fearing that Calla might be acting based on sexual tension instead of Love, Andrea spuns your head around. But the truth is sex is very much a part of love and at that age your hormones are raging. 2010 is almost over, but there is no doubt Nightshade is one of the best books of the year. Most importantly, Andrea wasn't scared to go there, she touched on topics people have been crying to see in YA, without making them seem like an outcast or something bad. My rating- 4.5/5 A must read!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Welcome to my new baby!

I have always been a big tumblr head because of the short posts format, but it seems most people that like the things I do are either on blogger or Livejournal, so I have decided to join. I am new here, and my goal is to make friends and learn from the wonderful people here. If I befriend you, please be kind enough to return the favor if you can.