The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen

the queen of the tealingTitle: The Queen of the Tearling

Author: Erika Johansen

Genre: Fantasy/Dystopian

Edition: Hardcover

“I want to be a different queen.”

That’s not an actual quote from the book. It was actually said by Mary Queen of Scots on the show Reign on CW and it was all I kept thinking of as I read. Kelsea Raleigh is the heir of the Tearling and the book begins with her having reached the age of nineteen when she is required to take the throne. With a branded scar and a precious jewel, she is a symbol of hope for the Tear people task with the burden of eradicating their sufferings and removing them from under the oppressive hand of the Queen of Mortmesne. Determined not to be the frivolous queen that her mother was, Kelsea begins implementing her plans to improve the state of her kingdom. To understand the Tearling, picture what would happen to the world as it is now if technology failed and everyone who knew anything about science died. First world advantages as we know it would end. Many of you are no doubt familiar with older generations complaining that digitization is ruining society and the lives of our youth. Well this guy, William Tear, decided to create a utopia on the basis of that mentality and well…let’s just say it didn’t turn out as planned. Naturally, the world reverted to the medieval age.

I was pulled into this story from the beginning. As soon as she left her cottage, Kelsea was thrown into conflict and the problems just kept piling on. It’s ridiculously amazing how she handled everything with finesse and didn’t break down hyperventilating like I certainly would have if I was in her position. Living in a cottage for her whole life, she was never engrossed in royalty life. Then she’s taken to the Keep and has everything under control. I actually adore her and how she can easily focus on what’s important. On the page she exudes confidence even though she’s “plain”–something, by the way, she would not let readers forget. Seriously, in every chapter, there was a sentence referring to her plain facial features. Like okay, I get it, she’s not very attractive, there’s really no need to keep reminding me. That was one of the few things that irritated me. That and her irrational affection for The Fetch. It wasn’t even 24 hours and she was talking like she was in love. He must be damn irresistible to make that happen. While we’re on the topic of characters, I have a strong appreciation for the Queen’s Guards, especially Lazarus and I don’t even know why. Something about their personalities appeal to me and during the various complications, I realized that I really don’t want any harm to come to any of them. I do wish, though, that I knew more about the others besides Lazarus but hopefully Kelsea will learn more about them individually throughout the next two books. Same with the Fetch, who definitely has a mysterious past worth exploring.

The Queen of the Tearling revolves mostly around the political aspects of the kingdom and its strained relationship with Mortmesne rather than the interwoven magic. I can’t wrap my head around it but the events in this book seem to set the foundation for many future revelations about magic in the kingdom. So I’m excited.

Last but not least, the wit in this book is amazing. Everyone’s sense of humor was so intellectually satisfying.

If any of you have read this, tell me in the comments so we can talk about it. If you have not read it…read it. If you just want to tell me how your day was, go right ahead.

Later xx

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Title: red_queen_book_cover_a_pRed Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Genre: Dystopian

Edition: Hardcover

There’s so much hype revolving around this novel. When I went to the bookstore, I ended up buying it and the cashier was all “Oh my gosh that book is so good like *gah* so good!” I found the idea of classification between red bloods and silver bloods to be intriguing, and I always love a good dose of superpowers. But the world building was horrible. It wasn’t terrible to the point where readers could not imagine the setting but a lot of aspects about the world were just not even mentioned or clarified. Like why are there even some people with silver blood and others with red? Was this distinction just always there or did something happen along the way to the human race? Do Silvers have powers because of their blood or is there a mutation that comes along with the silver blood giving them powers? Does anybody even know? The main character, Mare Barrow, did not come off as one who was clueless about her society. In fact, she seemed well educated so one would assume that her being the narrator, she would have a little more extensive knowledge about her world. I believe she said something about the society not always being a monarchy but even that was blurry.

The beginning of this novel was a bit confusing as Mare and her childhood best friend, Kilorn, were going to a gladiator-type fight between a Silver and a Red. Eventually, the storyline cleared up and was quite exciting that I managed to finish the book in one day. I found Mare to be a pretty strong character. She was forced into a complicated situation where her opinion and choices mattered barely to not at all, yet she kept her tenacious spirit. The other characters, the princes Cal and Maven, were interesting enough. I liked how we were never comfortably sure about who they were and what angle they were playing; it sustained a mystery that in turn sustained my interest. Especially Maven. *clears throat loudly*

But anyway. The plot twist, I think, made this book better than it would have been had there been no plot twist. There was a certain point in the book where a character did something suspicious and I thought this could either go both ways–said person could be evil or genuine–but as the story progressed, I pushed those suspicions aside because the person’s involvement just got so deep and they seemed authentically GOOD. Sometimes, you think you can trust a person, you place your faith in them and they just rip your heart out. I’m being vague to prevent spoilers but if you read Red Queen you know exactly who I’m talking about. If you haven’t read this book just know that you will have your mind blown.

Even with the awesome plot twist, I could not rank this novel very high on my favorites list. The idea of Reds and Silvers was unique but beyond that, it was like a cross between X-Men and Hunger Games. Multiple times while reading, I couldn’t shake the comparisons that kept popping into my head because everything was just so similar. Even the characters sometimes. I swear Kilorn and Gale are the same person. Moreover, I sense a really annoying love triangle brewing and I really don’t want to read about it. Red Queen was interesting but now that the whole backstory is (more or less) covered, I feel like the plot from here on out will be so typical. Nevertheless, I will read Glass Sword. 

Let me know what you thought of this book if you’ve read it. Or if you just wanna talk that’s cool too. Bye! x

Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry

Title: Gathering Bluegathering blue

Author: Lois Lowry

Genre: Dystopian

Form: Paperback

 

If you were to ask me to give a synopsis of The Giver, I would just stare at you blankly until a new topic presented itself. I honestly would not even be able to give you as much as a character’s name. The last and only time I read it was in seventh grade which wasn’t really too long ago – give or take 6 years – but my English teacher went so in depth that you would think I’d at least remember something. Nope. So I conclude that it must have been pretty horrible and therefore I was less than excited to read Gathering Blue. 

The only reason I picked this up is because it’s on my summer reading list as required. It actually got voted as required by the students. I heard a lot of people that read it already saying how much they loved it. Then I read the blurb and thought ‘hmm hopefully this will be better than it’s precedent’.

This novel is about a girl named Kira who was born deformed and in her society, people scorn the weak. They are killed at birth if a deformity is detected but Kira was allowed to live on account of her mother. Unfortunately her mother is now dead and Kira has to face a trial to decide if she keeps her life or not. The verdict is in her favor but she has to leave her home and take up a job given to her by the Council of Elders for her gift of threading.

There will be spoilers in the rest of this review so if you are ever planning on reading Gathering Blue then don’t continue but if you aren’t or don’t care then by all means, read on!

So I began reading and I was maybe interested for about a page or two before it just got boring. Lowry’s writing style just was not doing it for me. There wasn’t anything special or unique about it. I was not able to hear any distinctive voice through her writing. On top of that, the main character, Kira (just reminds me of teen wolf ^.^), had no personality in my opinion. The other characters had some potential but we didn’t get to know anything about them, like Thomas for example. He could have talked a little bit about his childhood in his conversations with Kira. On another note, I was a little bit confused as to how Matt’s mother basically cast him out (mind you he’s a toddler) and allowed him to leave civilization, roam the forests far enough to find a whole new society of strangers and had no idea where her child was this entire time………………………..what kind of parenting…

In most dystopians, the societies seem pretty solid at first with some obvious flaws and then later you really see how messed up everything is. The society in Gathering Blue was plain broken to begin with. It seemed like no one really did anything much besides cook, eat, sleep, take care of their “tykes” and not go in the forests. The men would occasionally go out and hunt. Everything was rather primitive to be our future world.

I feel like this book had no resolution. Kira found her father on account of Matt and the color blue and he tells her this whole story about how he was attacked because of his status and is now blind. We find out the culprit is Jamison *gasp*. On top of that, Kira caught sight of chains around the Singer’s ankles and comes to conclusion that all the gifted people: her, Thomas, Jo and The Singer, are being held captive. She puts 2 and 2 together and deduces that the Council of Elders or most specifically Jamison may have deliberately killed her mother, Thomas’ parents and Jo’s parents. This way they would be alone and he can “adopt” them for their gifts. So instead of going back to the community of the injured where her father lives, she decides to stay. This is usually the middle point in novels where the character has a revelation and decides to fight back and the real “meat” of the story begins, right? WELL Lowry decides to end the book at this point. It just ends. Right there. Kira figures out this mass conspiracy and we have no idea what she does with it. There is no sequel to this book so we will never know if she confronted Jamison, if she started a revolt or what have you.

I just do not know what kind of ending that was BUT if you have read this book and have the same or contrasting views on it, please comment and we can talk about it. 🙂 Have a great day!

 

ALLEGIANT by Veronica Roth

allegiantkTitle: Allegiant

Author: Veronica Roth

Genre: Dystopian

Form: Hardcover

Allegiant by Veronica Roth is the third installment in her Divergent series. Therefore, if you haven’t read Divergent then I am not sure that this review will make much sense to you. I mean, you can still read it, it’s your God-given right but I suggest picking up Divergent first then come back and we can talk. 🙂

When we left Tris back in Insurgent, she just revealed Edith Prior’s video about gathering up the Divergent and sending them outside of the city. By the ending sentence and from obvious inferences, we know that this revelation caused a riot. Painstakingly, we were left to wait a whole year to find out what happens.

I honestly had no idea what I was reading when I started Allegiant. Insurgent wasn’t that interesting for me so I barely remembered what took place in that book. Allegiant was totally different. I was actually able to flip through the pages and be interested with ever turn. I was pretty excited to find out what “outside the city” looked like.  Basically, it was no different from how most dystopian novels display the “outer regions”: discombobulated, old, broken, you know the usual. The Bureau of Genetic Welfare really interested me though. Normally, when I read novels such as these, I can tell who the evil guys are and I understand why they are evil. However, I was having a hard time pegging the Bureau as the bad guys because to me, it just seemed like they had some misconceptions but they weren’t evil. It wasn’t like they were killing off GDs for kicks and giggles and it didn’t seem like they were being racist either. Only in the middle, towards the end, did I realize the wrongness of their doings. For example, when Matthew told his story and when Anne (I believe her name was) told Tobias that they can’t blame the GDs for being damaged. Now that got me upset.

I forgot how incredibly frustrating this series made me! As I was reading, I kept getting angrier. I hated Nita as soon as I met her and I could not stand her little ‘moments’ with Four. I especially got upset when Four would not LISTEN to Tris when she told him that Nita was lying! I wanted to scream “Tris’ judgements are always right just LISTEN TO HER FOUR OMG!” Fourtris’ relationship has always been rocky. Their only marshmellow stage was in Divergent. Even though they don’t really act like a fortress (get it?), they always make up and still clearly love each other. Or should I say loved. As in past tense. As in the loving is not an equal distribution anymore because TRIS IS DEAD!

I was unfortunately spoiled about this because my friend thought it was a good idea to tell me who dies. As a result of this, my experience reading her death was not as painful as it would have been. A lot of people would say they don’t like the ending but I’m satisfied with it. Tris died a noble death. I liked the quote when she said there’s evil in everybody and to be able to forgive someone, you have to find the evil in yourself. I highly respect Tris because she sacrificed herself for all her friends and for her city as well as other cities and it was an act of love. She is one of the strongest female characters I know for being able to go through everything she did. The craziest part is that she is only sixteen. As Four put it, “I suppose a fire that burns that bright is not meant to last.”

The last chapters in Tobias’ POV were the most painful. It hurt because I can only imagine all the pain and suffering he was going through. When he was about to drink the memory serum I couldn’t handle it anymore. Bless Christina for arriving on time to stop him! It hurt even more because him and Tris talked about living normally together after all of this was over and now they will never be able to. The epilogue seriously had me in tears. Their one last act of Dauntless bravery for Tris. 😥

The only thing I can say I’m unhappy about is Uriah’s death. I feel like he was too much of an important character to die in such a silly way. An explosion went off, he fell, and damaged his brain. That’s it. I don’t feel like this did him any justice. He is one of my favorite characters in the entire series and I wish he had a bigger part to play in all of this. Also, the POVs could have been better. Four and Tris sound exactly the same. I had to constantly keep reminding myself who was the speaker. Since Tris is who we’ve known for a while, this made Four seem as if he had no deeper personality.

In the end, I felt like everyone was broken from their individual losses. There was peace but it was more of a sadness. I know these characters are fictional but they seem so real to me that I hope they do mend each other and they are able to be happy again.

Tell me what you thought of Allegiant! 🙂