Seer by Ashley Maker

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the author and my friend Mary Ellen. Thanks! All opinions are my own!

 

Rating: 3.5/5

 

Genre: YA Paranormal Romance/Dystopian/Science-Fiction

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (romance scenes and violence)

 

Pages: 344

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: When Clare Palmer accepts a scholarship to attend Evergreen, she thinks she’s escaping her insane, estranged father, while also getting the chance to go to the school her late mother graduated from. Instead, she finds herself trapped in a scientifically-enhanced, combat-obsessed society called the Corasha who view her as a dangerous outsider.

Clare views herself as an outsider, too. Unwilling to accept the outrageous claims of those around her, she’s ready to get out of Evergreen at the first opportunity, until unwanted and unstable visible abilities begin to surface, confirming she’s a Seer, a biological anomaly that’s both prized and guarded by the Corasha. The only person who knows about her phasing is Kade, the attractive yet infuriating mentor she’s now indebted to, but trusting him comes with a price her heart might not be willing to pay.

Surrounded by dangerous secrets and hidden agendas, Clare must figure out who she can trust—and fast, because there’s a war coming, and the last thing she wants is to become a weapon in the wrong hands.

 

Oh wow! I don’t think I’ve read a paranormal romance in quite a long time (and I’m not sure if this qualifies as a paranormal romance or if it’s more scifi-y but I’m gonna go with it)… probably since Twilight? Anyways, I went into this kinda blind and I felt for my first trip back into the genre I thought it was really well done. I’m really into conspiracy theories and plots within plots so this one definitely grabbed my attention. I also really enjoyed the world building aspect and the character development.

 

 

However, I did feel that the book had uneven pacing. It was fast in some parts and then tremendously slow in others. The main character was a tad annoying for me and she really didn’t seem to want to figure out what was happening on her own. While this book was very entertaining for me generally, I felt that Clare’s personality really put me off this novel.

 

Verdict: Unique and amazing story within a story that deserves to be read.

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Ozland by Wendy Spinale (Everland #3)

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book through KidLitExchange from the publishing company Scholastic Press in exchange for review and promotion. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Rating: 3/5

 

Genre: YA Dystopian/Fantasy/Retelling

 

Recommended Age: 14+ (violence, slight gore, murder, and poison)

 

Pages: 288

 

Amazon Link

 

Author Website

 

Synopsis: With Everland and Umberland both destroyed, the survivors have taken refuge in a small village tucked within the shadows of the Bloodred Queen’s castle. Doc has found an actual cure for the Horologia virus, while Gwen, Pete, and Alyssa begin plotting the assassination of the queen with the help of Gail, an excellent huntress. But killing the queen won’t be enough. The world has been destroyed and its needs a ruler to set things right again. A ruler who is good, kind, and fair. Someone like the former king of Germany. But he’s dead … or is he?

There’s a rumor that the king has been hidden away in a secret land, where only the worthiest can find him. Desperate to end the war, a plan is hatched that could put everything right again, only before it’s set in motion, the village is burned to the ground, all survivors taken prisoner to the castle. Except Gail.

But is one girl enough to find a long-dead king, kill the wicked queen, and save the world?

 

While I was heavily disappointed with how Umberland turned out I wanted to complete the series, thus I started this book. This book takes place a few months (weeks? Unsure) after the events in Umberland. The book does really well at drawing in your interest immediately with all the death and destruction of this world and it’s amazing to see how twisted a retelling can be. The plot overall was also good and well thought-out as was the steampunk elements of the book.

 

However, I did feel that there wasn’t any character development and that the book was incredibly fast paced. Dystopians are usually slower paced then what we see in this read and the pacing of this book really makes the reader rush through all the elements of this world. The world building in this book was almost non-existent and the writing was a bit confusing to read. I’m not sure if the fault in that was from the multiple POV or because the writing flew by a lot of important items and retelling portions in the book. The book is good overall, but I feel that if this entire series was expanded in terms of world building and character development then I think the series would be better overall.

 

Verdict: Good, but not as good as the original.

Umberland by Wendy Spinale (Everland #2)

Disclaimer: None, I got this on my own accord!

 

Rating: 2/5

 

Genre: YA Fantasy/Dystopian/Steampunk

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (violence, murder, slight gore, sexual references, drug references)

 

Pages: 275

 

Amazon Link

 

Author Website

 

Synopsis: Gwen, Pete, and the others have escaped from Everland. Except the safe haven they hoped to find at Alnwick Castle doesn’t exist. With the Queen of England on her deathbed, Duchess Alyssa has stepped in, but things have gotten worse as the cure Doc created for the Horologia virus has mutated into something even more deadly. The only possible solution he can think of is to go back to the virus’s origin: an extinct poisonous apple.

Legend has it, though, that a tree bearing the apple might be found at the center of an impossible labyrinth hidden deep within Germany. A place no one in their right mind enters. With no other options, Alyssa sets out with only her sword, her wits, and the help of Maddox Hadder, a wild boy who oversees the castle gardens. To get to the center of the maze, she’ll be forced to battle monsters more terrifying than her darkest nightmares.

But can anyone truly survive the madness of the maze? And what if there’s no apple to be found there?

 

I adored the first book in this series and seeing as how Alice in Wonderland is one of my faves I decided to give this book a try. For the most part is was okay. The steampunk elements were still there, the plot was okay, and for the most part this was a pretty good book.

 

However, there were a lot of issues with this book.  For starters, let’s just say that if you’re going to read this book make sure to read the first one right before. The book begins immediately with no backstory information/helpful hints for the reader who might have not read the last book in a bit. The characters are flat and boring, the world building is super confusing and too much of a reach for what this book needed, the continuation from the first book felt super forced, and the plot was awful. I don’t understand what happened between book 1 and book 2, but there’s a stark contrast between the two. I don’t understand what make it possible for any of the events that happen in book 2 to happen in book 2 and I like how the author tried to cram everything Alice in Wonderland into this book. Retellings are supposed to borrow things from their originals, not take everything and recreate it. No one complained when the shoes were turned from silver to ruby and no one complained when Belle became an inventor. Some of my favorite retellings are those that have just some elements from the originals, not everything in it. This book needed a complete overhaul to be as good as the first book, but I wonder if there ever should have been a continuation at all.

 

Verdict: Don’t fix it if it’s not broken.

Gunslinger Girl by Lyndsey Ely

Rating: 4/5

 

Genre: YA Dystopian/Western/A bit of feminism

 

Recommended Age: 16+ (sexual references, drug and alcohol use, suicide trigger warning, gore, violence)

 

Pages: 422

 

Author Website
Amazon Link

 

Disclaimer: None, I got this copy on my own accord.

 

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Serendipity “Pity” Jones inherited two things from her mother: a pair of six shooters and perfect aim. She’s been offered a life of fame and fortune in Cessation, a glittering city where lawlessness is a way of life. But the price she pays for her freedom may be too great….

 

In this extraordinary debut from Lyndsay Ely, the West is once again wild after a Second Civil War fractures the U.S. into a broken, dangerous land. Pity’s struggle against the dark and twisted underbelly of a corrupt city will haunt you long after the final bullet is shot.

 

I don’t think I’ve ever read a Western before this book. And while this book is set in an alternate world where there was a Second Civil War and there is all sorts of technology I’ve never heard of, I’m still going to count this as a Western. Because it’s my review.  I can call it Zamboni and it would be fine. Anyways, we follow Pity in this book who lives in a fragmented America. She’s a part of a commune that basically owns women and their wombs and she is being sold by her father to a man she’s never met to push out babies for him. Ew. Anyways, she runs away and goes on an adventure where she discovers herself. I really liked this book for a lot of reasons, but the thing that stands out the most to me is that Pity is not a typical YA heroine. She doesn’t come equipped with all of these lifesaving powers. While she knows how to shoot guns and is amazing at it, she fails in this book… a lot…. Like a regular person would. She also suffers from self-doubt and PTSD, which make for an interesting and human-like main character. The other characters are also widely diverse and the main love interest isn’t some big protector but a sensitive artist, which reminds me a lot of Peeta from The Hunger Games. The writing was extremely well done and the plot and pacing were as well.

 

However, there were just some things that were downers for me. The science in this book and the world building weren’t that great. They were middle ground, but I wanted to know more and I felt that I wasn’t given a lot of info about these items. There was a huge cast of characters and I easily became confused about them. I couldn’t quite remember who each one was and that became frustrating to me throughout the book. There were also a lot of characters that were introduced but weren’t given a lot of screen time at all. The story also didn’t have a well-defined plot. There were a lot of different little stories that Pity goes through, but from where the book began and where it ended the plot completely shifted. While I’m pleased with the outcome of this book, I’m not sure if others would be.

 

Verdict: Yippiekiyay cowboys!!

The Shade of the Moon (Life As We Knew It #4) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Rating: 3/5

 

Genre: YA Dystopian

 

Recommended Age: 16+ (sexual content, gore, violence, death, trigger warnings for suicide and infant death)

 

Pages: 288

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Disclaimer: None! This is my copy of this book!

 

Synopsis: It’s been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?

 

This is it! It’s the final book in the Life As We Knew It Series and I have feelings! Not a lot of them, but enough! Going into this book you’ll notice the voice is of Jon, Miranda’s younger brother, and it’s written in the same diary format but from third person like how Alex’s book was. The world was excellently well developed. The story plot and pacing are pretty well done and the writing is really well done in terms of making the book sound like it’s from Jon’s point of view.

 

However, there are some problems with this book. The characters are just thrown into this world without rhyme or reason, some characters were disposed of for little or no reason whatsoever. There were unnecessary plot twists that didn’t need to be in there. The previous main characters disappeared at the end of the book and nothing was really solved in the book. In essence, this wasn’t a satisfying ending for me and I’m slightly disappointed in this book.

 

Verdict: Read the ending, but don’t expect anything spectacular.

This World We Live In (Life As We Knew It #3) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Rating: 4.5/5

 

Genre: YA Dystopian

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (sexual content, death, violence, slight gore)

 

Pages: 239

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Disclaimer: None! I got this book for my own amusement!

 

Synopsis: It’s been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. For Miranda Evans, life as she knew it no longer exists. Her friends and neighbors are dead, the landscape is frozen, and food is increasingly scarce.

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

 

 

I don’t think I’ve ever read a series so fast in my life. I’m absolutely in love with this series. In this book we are reunited with both of our faves: Miranda and Alex and they are amazing. This book is still in diary format and Miranda is the voice. I thought the voice was authentic and the character development was well done for the most part. I also thought the pacing and plot were intriguing enough to keep me entertained and engaged throughout the book.

 

However, I did think that there was an over abundance of insta love and I didn’t feel like Alex was well written in this book. He felt really one dimensional, which is sad because he’s my favorite character of the whole series. Also, I think the book didn’t start at exactly the same place it left off from the first book and the book was a bit slow for the first 50ish pages.

 

Verdict: If you read the first two book you need to read this one too!

New World: Rising by Jennifer Kay Wilson

Rating: 3/5

 

Genre: YA Dystopian

 

Recommended Age: 14+ (violence, some gore, end of the world jazz)

 

Pages: 318

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Disclaimer: None, I got this book in an OwlCrate sub box that I bought with my own money.

 

Synopsis: Worlds collide in debut author Jennifer Wilson’s graphic dystopian series where Divergent meets Mad Max. Since witnessing her parents’ murders at the age of eleven, Phoenix’s only purpose in life has been to uphold her mother’s dying words – to be strong and survive. But surviving outside of The Walls – outside of The Sanctuary – is more like a drawn-out death sentence. A cruel and ruthless city, Tartarus is run by the Tribes whose motto is simple, “Join or die.”

Refusing to join and determined to live, Phoenix fights to survive in this savage world.

But who can she trust, when no one can be trusted? Not even herself…

The first of a trilogy, New World Rising is an epic tale of survival, instinct, trauma, and the extraordinary power of human connection.

 

Another dystopian, another day. This one I wanted to try out because I heard such good things about it, but personally I had some issues with it. The book was decent overall. I felt that the character development was really good and the storyline was interesting. Unfortunately these were the only things I liked.

 

I felt that while the pacing was okay, the beginning of the story dragged on really slow. Nothing really was interesting until over 50 pages into the book. I felt while the world building was really well done, I was left with more questions than answers about why we were in this world and what was happening. I also noticed some plot holes throughout the book. Also insta-love and cliffhangers.

 

Verdict: Overall, this book was good on the surface but when I started digging around the book I felt that this book had a lot of things left to explain.

Defiant by Julian A. Valentini

Rating: 3.5/5

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Genre: YA Dystopian/Sci-Fi

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (violence and language)

 

Pages: 320

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publishing company (Austin Macauley) in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

 

Synopsis: When his sister tests positive for the Defiance Virus, young fisherman, Junas Reilly, tricks the examiners and switches the files documenting her illness. He takes her place like his rebellious father and finds himself thrown into Penance Square, the city turned prison where the worst of society go including the criminal, traitorous, and worst of all, the Defiant. Upon arriving in the Square, Junas befriends those that make him question everything he’s thought about not only the Defiant, but every person he meets. However, making a few “allies” isn’t enough to survive the Square, and the whispers of an impending civil war does nothing to make it easier.

 

I think this year will be known as the year I read ten thousand dystopians. Seriously, I’m like going through these books left and right. This recent read was about middle of the road for me. I liked the concept of this book and I loved the storyline. The plot was intriguing and the world building was pretty well done. For the most part I enjoyed the book.

 

However, I did feel that some of the stuff in this book wasn’t that well explained and that the character development for some wasn’t quite there. I did get confused during some of the more action-y scenes as well.

 

Verdict: A well constructed dystopian that any lover of the genre would want to read.

Shadow Rise by Audrey Grey

Rating: 3/5

 

Genre: YA sci-fi/dystopian

 

Recommended Age: 16+ (violence, gore)

 

Pages: 305

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

I received a copy of this book for free courtesy of Blaze Publishing. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

 

Synopsis: Terrorist. Rebel. Traitor. One rash decision during the Shadow Trials led to unspeakable horrors that left innocents dead, friends injured and hunted by the Empire, and Maia Graystone imprisoned in the Tower at the Archduchess’s mercy. Unsure if Riser Thornbrook survived, Maia must find a way to battle the Empire from within its own walls and escape so she can fulfill the promise to her father and stop the asteroid. But when she breaks free and joins Nicolai’s Rebel army, she discovers she’s been branded a traitor. With war between the Rebels and the Empire looming, old alliances shifting, and suspicion hanging over her head, she must fight in the Rebel Blood Courts—and win command—to regain their trust. Only problem is, first she has defeat the reigning champion, someone she knows all too well. Will Maia’s emotions lead to her defeat, or will she rise up and claim her victory?

 

While the first book wasn’t my favorite beginning books for series, I did go ahead and read the sequel over the weekend while I could. And again, it was a decent read for me. I felt that the ending was decent and that the character development and world building was much better. The book was also much more action packed for my tastes.

 

However, the first part of the book is really really slow and boring for me. It took a lot for me to make it through that section. I’m still really confused on some of the aspects of the book and I also found that a lot of the book is forgettable.

 

Verdict: If you liked the first book, you’ll like this one. Just get through the first half of the book.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Rating: 4/5

 

Genre: YA Dystopian

 

Recommended Age: 15+ (slight gore, confusion, and the stillings)

 

Pages: 180

 

Author Website

 

Amazon Link

 

Synopsis: The Giver, the 1994 Newbery Medal winner, has become one of the most influential novels of our time. The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.

 

My husband has been bugging me since we got together to read this book, so I finally took the plunge and read it (since I found it unfair he reads the books I give him to read and I don’t read any he gives me). Andddd I really liked it! The character development was really good for such a short book, I felt I connected with Jonas and the other important side characters. I felt very invested in Jonas’ struggle and everyone elses… non-struggle lol. I can’t give a lot away so that sentence won’t make sense. The book also had an amazing storyline and plot. You can tell that Veronica Roth got a lot of inspiration from this book for at least Divergent and for this book to be one of the first really popular YA dystopians it was really good.

 

However, I did feel that there could have been points that could have improved this book. This book didn’t have great world building. The world was confusing and you’re left in the end with more questions than answers, especially in how a certain act was done and where the main character is going at the end. The pacing of this book and the timeline is also confusing. At times the book skips months ahead, but you don’t know until the time is mentioned. The biggest factor in this is baby Gabe who has a very confusing timeline throughout the whole of the book. I think if this whole book could be rewritten with exact timelines and descriptive world building then this book would be the best Dystopian ever in my opinion, but maybe there is more info in the other books of this series.

 

Verdict: World building is key for a dystopian novel, especially if set in the future. Also stillings are a thing in this book and it’s hilarious to me.