Saturday, March 24, 2012

Review: The Savage Grace by Bree Despain

The Savage Grace
By Bree Despain
March 13, 2012
EgmontUSA, 496 pgs
Amazon Description:Grace's life is a mess. Daniel is still a werewolf, Talbot can't be trusted, and Caleb is still out there. With Sirhan's impending death, war seems imminent. Will Grace give in to the wolf to save her family? What will happen to Daniel . . . and can their love survive one last test?

Here’s the breakdown: 

I have to admit, I had a harder time getting into this one that I did the previous two books. Though I know this isn't any fault of Bree's writing or the plot, it's just that Daniel didn't make an appearance (as a human) for quite some time! And as soon as Daniel reappeared, well, from then on I was hooked. The plot built to some ultimate “twists” that didn’t seem that twisty.
There was one character in particular I was suspicious of for the entire book and I ended up being right about them. Overall, the storyline was more predictable than I would have liked.
The ending was great though! It had all the elements to end happily without being a straight happily ever after; there was loss as well as happiness, which made it so much more believable.

Characters: Grace kicked butt in this book. Enough said. I fell even more in love with Daniel than I already was, and that was quite the accomplishment on Bree's part. He really has it all. The bad boy outward persona with secret marshmallows inside. And of course he's madly in love with Grace. And a hardened character like Daniel who is so unabashedly in love is irresistible. April remained somewhat vague and 2 dimensional, so I yet again had trouble connecting with her.  The multitude of side characters were so dynamic they felt real and wish some of them would be so they could be my friends. Loved the “lost boys” and the allusions to Peter Pan. That was one of my favorite childhood stories growing up and it was great to see it worked into Grace’s situation with the wolves recently released from the clutches of the shadow kings gang.

Writing style: My favorite thing Bree did in this book was that neither Daniel or Grace tried to protect each other by preventing each other to fight for themselves. They were a strong couple and were on equal ground. Daniel never tried to hold grace back to keep her “safe” or vice versa. Something pretty uncommon in ya paranormal romance these days. A healthy relationship, not co-dependent in a scary way. Bree also continued to heavily include Grace's religious values somewhat heavily, but again she did a great job using it as an additional layer of Grace's multidimensional character. Whether or not you share Grace's beliefs, they work in favor of the novel, giving readers more beautiful mythology to wade through as we work towards the definitive solving of the mystery. As for the rest of the novel, I think Bree did a fabulous job, same as her previous two books. As soon as I became invested in the novel, I was hooked till the end, completely invested in the characters lives and the ultimate outcome.


Bree elegantly entwines the werewolf mythology and the religious aspects of the story with a beautiful, real tale of love, loss, and mystery.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Review: Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver

 By Lauren Oliver
February 28, 2012
HarperCollins, 384 pgs
Goodreads Description: "I’m pushing aside the memory of my nightmare,
pushing aside thoughts of Alex,
pushing aside thoughts of Hana and my old school,
like Raven taught me to do.
The old life is dead.
But the old Lena is dead too.
I buried her.
I left her beyond a fence,
behind a wall of smoke and flame.
Lauren Oliver delivers an electrifying follow-up to her acclaimed New York Times bestseller, Delirium. This riveting, brilliant novel crackles with the fire of fierce defiance, forbidden romance, and the sparks of a revolution about to ignite."

Here’s the breakdown: 

Plot: This was really different from Delirium, but it was refreshing and I loved it! The chapters switch back and forth from "then" which begins only moments after the end of Delirium, and "now" which is approximately six months in the future. The "then" sections did an interesting job showing us how Lena grows accustomed to life in the wilds and the shock she feels at living in a world where love, physical contact, and even nakedness are common occurrences. The "now" section dives into a new, reformed Lena, living in New York and acting as an undercover agent for the rebellion. The "then" chapters were slower moving, but so descriptive and at time, achingly emotional. The "now" chapters, however, were fast paced and gripping, and once I got into the action I could. not. put. it. down. I was there right along side Lena.

Characters: Lena's character grows leaps and bounds. Literally transforms into a superhero version of the quiet, obedient Lena we met at the beginning of Delirium. And the cast of new characters was amazing. Raven and Tack were strong characters who each carried an era of mystery around them, and I yearned for answers concerning their pasts. All the other characters we meet at the homestead in the wilds were equally captivating. Now...Julian. He was fabulous. From the moment we're introduced to him, he's interesting and has this complicated, multifaceted background/personality. As the novel progressed, Julian opened up to Lena and we learn a lot about him. He has enough conflict and emotional baggage for five characters! One issue I did have, though, was how easily and quickly their relationship seemed to happen. It seemed like it developed because it was supposed to and not because there was any relationship building, chemistry, etc. The chemistry certainly comes later in droves, but as they're getting to know each other, I felt like it lacked some sincerity.

Writing style: Lauren's writing style is just as stunning. The world she weaves is beautiful, as are the characters. And she's a master weaver of a realistic dystopian America.  The "then" and "now" style was rough sailing there at the beginning. I would just begin to get into the plot and the characters and--bam! We're suddenly in a new plot with new characters, six months in the future. About 1/3 of the way through, however, I was totally absorbed. In both plot lines. In the end, the now and then worked well to get in all the info we needed about Lena's adaptation and transformation, while still enabling us to jump into the plot and not get caught up in the opening exposition. And the ending....what can I say? It killed me. I was reading Pandemonium on my nook, which I promptly chucked across my bed. I feel like a multitude of ya books these days use the crazy cliffhanger gag to ensure readers for the sequels, and I do think it's unnecessary. Readers will still buy the sequels if you give your second book an actual ending. There will still be plot threads left hanging without the sudden cliffhanger. Even still, I loved Pandemonium and I'm dying for Requiem!


It hurts so good :)