Genre: Post-Apocalyptic

Divider

Review: Moon Chosen by P.C. Cast

December 23, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 3

Review: Moon Chosen by P.C. CastMoon Chosen by P.C. Cast
Series: Tales of a New World #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on October 18, 2016
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, YA, YA Fantasy
Pages: 608
Format: Hardcover
Source: finished copy from the publisher
Goodreads
zero-stars
Chosen to embrace her true identity. Chosen to follow her destiny. Chosen to change her world.

Mari is an Earth Walker, heir to the unique healing powers of her Clan, but she has been forced to turn from her duties, until she is chosen by a special animal ally, altering her destiny forever. When a deadly attack tears her world apart, Mari reveals the strength of her powers and the forbidden secret of her dual nature as she embarks on a mission to save herself and her people. It is not until Nik, the son of the leader from a rival, dominating Tribe, strays across her path that Mari experiences something she has never felt before…

Now evil is coming, and with it, a force more terrible and destructive than the world has ever seen, leaving Mari to cast the shadows from the earth. By breaking Clan Law and forming an alliance with Nik, she must make herself ready. Ready to save her people. Ready to save herself and Nik. Ready to embrace her true destiny…and battle the forces that threaten to destroy them all.

Diversity: -5 – What the Fuck Is This?

Racial-Ethnic: -5 (this is some goddamn racist shit)
QUILTBAG: 0 (one blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gay character; there’s a lesbian couple, but one of them dies soon after being introduced)
Disability: 0 (one blind girl, heavily fetishized)
Intersectionality: 0

This is gonna be a long review and I’m not even covering everything I want to, so I’ve uploaded my notes on Google Drive for easy viewing. Just click the link! All quote citations and page numbers are in that document and based on the US hardcover edition.

Once upon a time, there was Revealing Eden by Victoria Hoyt, a novel that turned white people into the oppressed class and made the white main character donning blackface a narrative necessity. It was rightly called out for racism then and is still ridiculously racist now. If I weren’t already familiar with the Cast family’s brand of racism thanks to their House of Night series, I’d think Moon Chosen was written specifically to out-racist Revealing Eden and all the cultural appropriation and Magical Native American fuckery from the aforementioned series.  Between blackface and all the racial coding, Moon Chosen may actually be the most racist YA novel of all.

Read more »

Divider

Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

October 3, 2016 Diversity 0, Reviews 0 ★★

Review: The Testing by Joelle CharbonneauThe Testing by Joelle Charbonneau
Series: The Testing #1
Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Children on June 4, 2013
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, YA, YA Dystopian
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
Goodreads
two-stars
Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one and the same?

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one.

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

Diversity Rating: 0 – What Diversity?

Racial-Ethnic: 0 (there’s one black guy and he dies pretty quickly)
QUILTBAG: 0
Disability: 0
Inteersectionality: 0

To be honest, I only bought The Testing because it was free and I was mildly curious. Post-apocalyptic dystopian novels like this aren’t my thing. Nor are they my thing if you separate them into post-apocalyptic novels and dystopian novels. Still, I wanted to see what it would look like if we put the SAT/ACT on steroids and made the test a life-or-death situation. It went about as expected, by which I mean it was nonsensical and pretty bad. Read more »

Divider

Review: World After by Susan Ee

October 13, 2014 Reviews 0 ★★★

Review: World After by Susan EeWorld After by Susan Ee
Series: Penryn and the End of Days #2
Published by Skyscape on November 19, 2013
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, YA, YA Paranormal
Pages: 320
Format: eBook
Source: Bought
three-stars
In this sequel to the bestselling fantasy thriller, Angelfall, the survivors of the angel apocalypse begin to scrape back together what's left of the modern world.

When a group of people capture Penryn's sister Paige, thinking she's a monster, the situation ends in a massacre. Paige disappears. Humans are terrified. Mom is heartbroken.

Penryn drives through the streets of San Francisco looking for Paige. Why are the streets so empty? Where is everybody? Her search leads her into the heart of the angels' secret plans where she catches a glimpse of their motivations, and learns the horrifying extent to which the angels are willing to go.

Meanwhile, Raffe hunts for his wings. Without them, he can't rejoin the angels, can't take his rightful place as one of their leaders. When faced with recapturing his wings or helping Penryn survive, which will he choose?

Pretty much everyone who has been on the blogging/indie scene for at least two years knows about how massive a critical hit the initially-self-published novel Angelfall was. We’ve been waiting on pins and needles ever since for the next book, but it took me pretty close to a year to get around to reading the book in question. Oops? Stuff gets in the way. We all know it. While I have fond memories of Angelfall, I can’t say I feel the same about World After because of its serious case of Middle Book Syndrome. Read more »

Divider

Review: Raging Star by Moira Young

June 9, 2014 Reviews 2 ★★★★

Review: Raging Star by Moira YoungRaging Star by Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands #3
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on May 13, 2014
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, YA
Pages: 448
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
four-stars
Saba is ready to seize her destiny and defeat DeMalo and the Tonton...until she meets him and he confounds all her expectations with his seductive vision of a healed earth, a New Eden. DeMalo wants Saba to join him, in life and work, to create and build a healthy, stable, sustainable world…for the chosen few. The few who can pay.

Jack’s choice is clear: to fight DeMalo and try to stop New Eden. Still uncertain, her connection with DeMalo a secret, Saba commits herself to the fight. Joined by her brother, Lugh, anxious for the land in New Eden, Saba leads an inexperienced guerilla band against the powerfully charismatic DeMalo, in command of his settlers and the Tonton militia. What chance do they have? Saba must act. And be willing to pay the price.

This series is one that snuck up on me in a way. Though I initially avoided it due to the colloquial writing style, seeing the first book Blood Red Road for cheap in a used bookstore was enough to encourage me and it wormed its way into my heart somehow. Rebel Heart was a weaker novel and a victim of Second Book Syndrome, but I trusted Raging Star to bring me back and give this series the solid conclusion it needed. Though frustrating at times because of Saba’s choices, this does function as a pretty solid trilogy ender.

Saba is equal parts admirable in her character development and irritating because of her place/choices in her band of rebels. In the first book, Saba’s time as a slave forced to fight in death matches made her the Angel of Death and that label has stayed with her throughout the series. By the time Rebel Heart rolls round, her magically-cured PTSD started to reveal her disillusionment with The Great Fight before it went away. Raging Star opens with the death of Tonton and innocents alike and this is her breaking point. Though it seems impossible, she would rather try to defeat DeMalo and the Tonton through non-deadly means than be the Angel of Death one more time. Even Saba, a figure who has made herself legendary for her brutality, can’t fight and kill forever because it wears down her soul. This development makes later developments in the novel even more heartbreaking because to put it in the least spoiler-y way possible, the more tired of death she gets, the more death there seems to be.

Seeing her hurting because of all the blood already on her hands is bad enough, but her deal with DeMalo carried the promise of more blood. If she won’t agree to marry him, he’s going to kill everyone she knows and loves. What makes her actions in the aftermath of this agreement so irritating is that in keeping her deal from everyone else, we all know things are going to end badly. It’s a cliche fiction indulges in time and time again: character keeps important information from everyone else to “protect” them and it eventually causes deadly consequences when the secret comes out. Had Saba told her group about the deal she made, lives could have been saved! I understand it’s important to go with this to make certain events happen, but at the same time, I’m tired of characters dumping their common sense in such a way. It’s a bit of a writer me vs. reader me conflict.

For most of the novel, this is in the three-star range due to it being seemingly predictable, but the last 100 pages or so slap the reader with twist after twist and prove that the apparently obvious answer was not the answer at all. Questions we thought were answered get new answers, questions we never knew were around are suddenly asked and get answers, and it’s overall a bloody finale. In a world like Saba’s, I didn’t expect everyone to get out alive because that’s not how it works here, but it still hurt to see some of these casualties happen.

All in all, Raging Star is a wonderful, bittersweet ending to the Dust Lands trilogy. All the sneaking around and plots are fun while they last, but as with the fighting, the novel recognizes that all these adventures can’t last. Everyone wants to settle down into ordinary life because they don’t have the energy to keep it up forever. It’s a bit funny to see some characters get semi-happy endings when we don’t know if the rest of the world is still as awful as it was when Saba swept through (her making various structures collapse while looking for people does not mean change and we don’t get the look back to see if there was change), but that’s a mere niggle. If you’re looking for a unique post-apocalyptic series and don’t mind the colloquial style, you might want to take a look at this series now that it’s finished.

Divider

Review: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston

May 16, 2014 Reviews 1

Review: Frozen by Melissa de la Cruz and Michael JohnstonFrozen by Melissa de la Cruz, Michael Johnston
Series: Heart of Dread #1
Published by Putnam Juvenile on September 17, 2013
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, YA Fantasy
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
zero-stars
From New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz and Michael Johnston comes this remarkable first book in a spellbinding new series about the dawn of a new kind of magic.

Welcome to New Vegas, a city once covered in bling, now blanketed in ice. Like much of the destroyed planet, the place knows only one temperature—freezing. But some things never change. The diamond in the ice desert is still a 24-hour hedonistic playground and nothing keeps the crowds away from the casino floors, never mind the rumors about sinister sorcery in its shadows.

At the heart of this city is Natasha Kestal, a young blackjack dealer looking for a way out. Like many, she's heard of a mythical land simply called “the Blue.” They say it’s a paradise, where the sun still shines and the waters are turquoise. More importantly, it’s a place where Nat won’t be persecuted, even if her darkest secret comes to light.

But passage to the Blue is treacherous, if not impossible, and her only shot is to bet on a ragtag crew of mercenaries led by a cocky runner named Ryan Wesson to take her there. Danger and deceit await on every corner, even as Nat and Wes find themselves inexorably drawn to each other. But can true love survive the lies? Fiery hearts collide in this fantastic tale of the evil men do and the awesome power within us all.

Once upon a time, I got bored and told Twitter I wanted recs so I could choose one at random and read it. I’m never doing a reader’s request feature for reasons I might eventually explain, but this was pretty close to it. One of my friends–a certain Gillian Berry of Writer of Wrongs–suggested Frozen because my friends are jerks and hate me and want me to read bad things even though I’m 98% done with hate-reading. (The 2% I’ll never be over is what I use to power through something terrible I have to keep reading for various reasons.) Six months later, I actually read the book and it turned out almost like she expected. I didn’t like it. I can’t even say hate because this book is just so lifeless that I can only really muster up indifference toward its lunacy. Read more »

Divider

Review: The Forever Song by Julie Kagawa

April 15, 2014 Reviews 1 ★★★

Review: The Forever Song by Julie KagawaThe Forever Song by Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden #3
Published by Harlequin Teen on April 15, 2014
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic, YA Horror, YA Paranormal
Pages: 416
Format: eARC
Source: eARC via NetGalley
three-stars
VENGEANCE WILL BE HERS

Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster?

With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer.

MONSTER

Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie.

In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

Well, this is a bit sad. After enjoying the first book and being really into the second book, The Forever Song seemed to promise me a solid finale to the Blood of Eden trilogy, but it appears those promises were empty–or at least not entirely what I was hoping for. Die-hard fans of the series who wanted to see a semi-happy ending will be more than satisfied with The Forever Song, but other readers may not be as fine with it. Read more »

Divider

Review: Rebel Heart by Moira Young

February 3, 2014 Reviews 4 ★★★★

Review: Rebel Heart by Moira YoungRebel Heart by Moira Young
Series: Dust Lands #2
Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on October 30, 2012
Genres: Post-Apocalyptic
Pages: 432
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
four-stars
Nothing is certain and no one is safe in the second book in the highly praised Dust Lands trilogy, which MTV's Hollywood Crush blog called "better than "The Hunger Games.""

It seemed so simple: Defeat the Tonton, rescue her kidnapped brother, Lugh, and then order would be restored to Saba's world. Simplicity, however, has proved to be elusive. Now, Saba and her family travel west, headed for a better life and a longed-for reunion with Jack. But the fight for Lugh's freedom has unleashed a new power in the dust lands, and a formidable new enemy is on the rise.

What is the truth about Jack? And how far will Saba go to get what she wants? In this much-anticipated follow-up to the riveting Blood Red Road," a fierce heroine finds herself at the crossroads of"danger and destiny, betrayal and passion.

Rebel Heart, you sly little devil. Only just recovered from the awesome that was Blood Red Road, I threw about a dozen higher-priority books out of the way because it was time to dive back into Saba’s world and get to the element of this series that enticed me the most. Rebel Heart doesn’t manage to live up to Blood Red Road in terms of quality, but it’s still thoroughly entertaining and gives readers plenty of good stuff. Read more »

Divider