Friday, February 27, 2015

Jennavier Recommends: The Hybrid Chronicles by Kat Zhang

I should not exist. But I do. and Addie started out the same way as everyone else—two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t . . .

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet . . . for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything. don't say this very often so listen up. I think Kat Zhang might be one of the most original and talented authors writing in YA today. I should have hated this book is because it left me on tenterhooks for so freaking long! There's only so much suspense I can handle people!!! Despite having what should be the most unbelievable premise What's Left of Me rockets along with a lot of questions, a little answers, and a really great heroine.

One of the things I love about this trilogy is how smart Addy and Eva are even while being strait up teenagers. I mean that they make mistakes, they react badly, but at the same time they are willing to grow and adapt in truly courageous ways.

I thought the romances were really well done. They didn't take up a lot of space but what they did have was both sweet and believable. of my big complaints about many series that feature teenagers is that the heroine doesn't have the necessary skills to succeed. Addie and Eva might not seem like they do, but when the time comes they are in a place where they can make the most of what they have. It was satisfying to watch Eva really take on the bad guys instead of being helpless!

The ending was both believable and satisfying. While it did strain the bonds of credulity a little it still worked within the story. The possibilities functioned, is the only say I can think to say it.

I can't wait to see what Kat Zahn writes next!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Jennavier Recomends: Redshirts by John Scalzi
Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It's a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship's Xenobiology laboratory. Life couldn't be better...until Andrew begins to pick up on the facts that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces; (2) the ship's captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations; and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expended on avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues' understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is...and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

I really, really loved Redshirts. It was funny, clever, and nerdy as all get out. Every time I thought I had a lock on it I was surprised. I got completely lost in this book. It helps that it's short in that department! I couldn't put it down until I read it through. I was delighted every time I found another clever bit, and they came thick and fast.

One of the things that is so fun about Redshirts is how Scalzi plays with television tropes. It goes deeper the further you look. The whole book is based on skewering bad TV shows. Like what's up with the group dynamic? Oh yeah, four guys and one girl, and the girls the beat 'em up character. There’s no very little by way of description because it wouldn’t be in a script. There's a thousand more examples just like those. There were a few times I wish Scalzi would have filled something out more but he stuck to his concept. I can't say I blame him. It felt like I could have been watching an episode of a favorite show.

I really should mention the codas at the end. They were only barely necessary and dragged the fast moving plot down to a crawl. If you're reading this book I would suggest giving them a shot and then skipping them if they don't work for you.

P.S. A few sequels has come out to the books I've recommended so I updated their entries. Promise of Blood had a sequel that was less the  amazing and turned me off that series. Sarah Rees Brennan finished the last book in her Lynburg legacy trilogy and it was amazing! You can check my original recommendation for the series out here.