Book Review: Aletheia

aletheia

Aletheia takes place in a world ravaged by a disease that takes away memories. The only city known to have a cure is the city of Iris. Citizens of the city are guaranteed a vaccination preventing them from ever getting infected, but those who were unlucky enough to get infected had only one option: to forfeit their life to Iris and live enslaved underground beneath the city. Our main character 736 is one of the nameless who gave up their freedom for the cure. The story follows her as she plans to break out her fellow prisoners and set them all free.

I finished reading this book weeks ago and haven’t gotten around to writing a review until now simply because I had trouble putting my love for this book into words. Now that I’ve had some time to think on it, I’m finally here with a review.

First off, I will say that I had a little bit of trouble getting into this book. The problem being that it’s written in first person present tense. I’m definitely more of a third person past tense kind of girl. I will say, however, that I got used to this writing style really quick. Something about first person present tense makes it feel as if you’re experiencing the story as it happens along side the protagonist. This book has really changed my opinion on the style and has opened me up to more books written in this style.

What made this book such a good page turner for me was its suspense. The action scenes were all so exciting to read, and the suspense of it all kept me thoroughly stressed out for the vast majority of the book. There were times where I had trouble putting the book down because I just had to keep reading to see what would happen next. And during times when I finally had to put the book down it became all that I would think about. Aletheia had pretty much consumed my life at this point.

The world building in this book is phenomenal. Everything about this book just felt really planned out. I had so many questions about the world as I was reading, some I didn’t think I would get answers for, but they were all answered in the end. There was so much to learn about in this book, and I have a feeling we’re going to learn even more in the next book to come.

The characterization in this book is also really good. I found myself caring for the safety of all the characters, even characters that you don’t get a chance to really know. There’s one character in which we only see them in a couple of scenes, and when they’re killed unexpectedly I found myself really shook. This is a testament to how well these characters are written.

If I had to give one criticism it would be that I wish there was more context behind 736’s relationship with 1633. We know that they’re really close friends, but we never got to learn how they came to be so close. With her other relationships with 93 and Rose we learn a little bit about how she met them and how they became friends, but there doesn’t seem to be any context to her relationship with 1633. I’m willing to forgive this, though, as I’m pretty sure we’re going to learn more in future installments in the series. 1633 seems to have some kind of connection to 736’s past that we’re not in the know about. Or at least that’s my guess.

In all I think this is an exceptional novel that redefines the dystopian genre in young adult fiction. It’s much more gritty and violent than other books within the genre. I’d recommend this to dystopian fans looking for a fresh take on the genre.

Rating: 5/5

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The Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag | 2018

The Mid-Year

Today I’m coming at you guys with the Mid-Year Book Freak Out Tag. Let’s look at some of the books I read so far this year.

The best book you’ve read so far in 2018

the graveyard book

My favorite book I’ve read so far this year would have to be The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. I was immediately taken by Neil Gaiman’s whimsical writing style. This is easily my new favorite book of his.

Your favorite sequel of the year

the reptile room

Probably The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket. I chose this one out of all the books in the series simply because it was my favorite out of all of them.

A new release you haven’t read but really want to

 

I’ve been putting off buying The Savior’s Champion by Jenna Moreci for the sole reason that I already have so many books on my TBR. However, I’ve broken my book buying ban multiple times this year so my TBR keeps growing. I should just give in and buy it already. While I’m at it I might as well add Batman: Nightwalker to the list, because I haven’t read that either.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

catwoman soulstealer

I’m really looking forward to Catwoman: Soulstealer, even though I’ve yet to read Batman: Nightwalker. Whoops.

Your biggest disappointment

ready player one

I wanted to like Ready Player One so bad. I tried really hard to like it, but it just wasn’t for me. Again, you can read my review of it here if you want to know my thoughts.

Biggest surprise of the year

the little prince

I was surprised by The Little Prince in that I didn’t expect it to be so profound. I expected a cute children’s story, but got a deep analysis of adulthood.

Favorite new to you or debut author

the ultimate hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy

Douglas Adams. I recently read the entire Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series, and I can see now why he’s such a beloved author to so many.

Your new fictional crush

Don’t have one, sorry.

New favorite character

I don’t think I have a new favorite character either.

A book that made you cry

None. I’m not a big book crier.

A book that made you happy

p.s. i like you

P.S. I Like You by Kasie West was such a cute and fluffy book. I had a lot of fun reading it.

Your favorite book to movie adaptation that you’ve seen this year

The only real book to movie adaptation I’ve seen this year was adaptation of The Little Prince on Netflix, so I’m going with that. It was a really cute movie in my opinion, and I enjoyed the creative liberties taken by the director.

Favorite blog post you’ve published this year

I’m really proud of my review of A Tale of Two Cities. I published it in January and it still gets views from time to time. I just hope that it’s helpful for people.

The most beautiful book you have bought/received this year

aletheia

I recently bought Aletheia by Megan Tennant, and I’m in love with the cover. Not only is is beautiful, but it has a certain subtlety that I didn’t notice until I read further into the book.

What are some books that you need to read by the end of the year?

 

My current TBR is far to long to list everything, so I’ll just name a few. Firstly is Aletheia, which I’m working on right now, and second is The Savior’s Champion. I need to hurry up and hop on that hype train!

That’s the first half of the year! I feel as if I hadn’t accomplished much. Maybe the latter half of the year will be more productive.

Let me know in the comments what the best book you’ve read so far is? Until next time, happy reading!

May & June Wrap Up | 2018

MonthlyWrap Up

I’m finally back with a wrap-up post. My excuse for missing last month’s is that I only read one book for the month of May. So to remedy this I decided to wait and combine my May and June wrap-up into one post. Without further ado let’s get into it.

and another thing...

The one and only book I read in the month of May was And Another Thing… by Eoin Colfer. This is supposed to be the sixth book in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series by Douglas Adams. If I had to describe this book in one word it would be “meh”. It wasn’t bad, however being that it wasn’t written by Douglas Adams I found it lacked the same charm that the other books in the series had. You can read my complete review of the book here.

turtles all the way down

The first book I read in the month of June was Turtles All the Way Down by John Green. I felt really connected to this book for its mental health representation. I can’t speak for the OCD representation, but I thought the way John Green wrote Aza’s anxiety was pretty spot on. You can read my complete review of the book here.

ready player one

The second and final book I read in the month of June was Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. This is easily the most disappointing book I’ve read so far this year. The first half was really solid and I had a lot of fun reading it, but then the second half began to slow down and I began to see the book for what it really is. This book is really just a bunch of wish fulfillment dedicated to men in geek culture. Because of this I couldn’t connect to the main character or his story. You can read my complete review of the book here.

That’s it for my May and June wrap-up. As you can see it was a very unproductive month in terms of how my reading went. My Goodreads goal has definitely taken a hit. But what else can I expect after making the decision to go back to school full time?

What did you guys read this past month? Did you have a productive reading month? Let me know in the comments.

Book Review: Ready Player One

ready player one

The OASIS is a virtual world created by renowned video game developer James Halliday. Before he died he set up a contest within the game, the prize being his entire fortune as well as rule over his creation, the OASIS. The objective of the contest is to find three keys and complete the challenges that each key represents. At the end the player who completes all three tasks is presented with an Easter egg. Whoever finds the Easter egg wins the contest. This is where the story of Wade Watts begins as he takes on the challenge of finding Halliday’s Easter egg. On his journey he meets other egg hunters, or gunters, who are competing against him, and ends up making friends who help him along the way.

Right off the bat, the first impression I got from the book when I first began reading it, was that this seemed like a very typical male fantasy. Because of this I had trouble connecting to the main character as well as the story as a whole. For instance Wade is kind of an overweight kid with acne problems, so he makes an avatar which is more or less an exact copy of himself only with a thinner build and clearer complexion. He befriends and falls in love with a famous female gunter. I also interpreted the story as a desire for geek culture to gain popularity. This seems to be a very common fantasy among male geeks, which I personally don’t get, because geek culture has never been more mainstream than it is right now.

While we’re on the topic of geek culture I thought the representation of geeks in this novel was really shallow. There’s a scene within the first few chapters in which Wade and his buddy Aech team up and humiliate a kid who didn’t know as much Halliday trivia as they did. This perfectly encapsulates everything wrong with geek culture as a whole, and it’s this kind of exclusionary behavior that you don’t want to represent in your work. This scene is basically the equivalent to the “fake geek” accusations we hear all the time in real life, and it’s really annoying.

In terms of the mass amounts of pop culture references, I thought it was all a little much. There were a lot of obscure references that I just didn’t get. I’d prefer a novel in which knowing tons of useless trivia isn’t a prerequisite. Also, am I the only one who cringes whenever a pop culture reference is made in a book? That kind of thing is fine for satirical shows like South Park or Saturday Night Live, but when I see it in a piece of literature that demands to be taken seriously I just find it embarrassing.

Another thing I found grossly embarrassing was the representation of the Japanese characters Daito and Shoto. When you’re first introduced to these guys they bring up the word honor about three times in one scene. I’m sorry, but the age of the samurai is over. No one in Japan talks like this. I also found it really strange that Ernest Cline knew what the word hikikomori meant, but he didn’t know that the word for suicide is jisatsu. Instead of jisatsu he used the word seppuku which is a form of ritualistic suicide performed by samurai. Again, the age of the samurai is over.

One thing I’ll say I liked about this book was the adventure aspect. The scenes in which Wade is solving puzzles and overcoming obstacles were easily the most enjoyable part of the story. On the other hand, however, I thought all of the scenes in between were really slow and hard to get through. In the hacking scenes especially I thought there was a lot of telling and no showing, which made it all boring to read.

In all, I’d have to say that this book wasn’t for me. And that’s okay, because not everything needs to be made for me. I do see why someone might like this, and I do recommend it to anyone who’s looking to get into the science fiction genre. I feel like this would make for a good gateway book to introduce you to the genre.

Rating: 2/5

Book Review: Turtles All the Way Down

turtles all the way down

Turtles All the Way Down is a story about young Aza Holmes as her best friend ropes her into a scheme to find information on the CEO of a local company who went missing just before the police ransacked his home for his arrest. Along the way she meets her old childhood friend who just happens to be the son of the CEO who went missing. Drama ensues when he learns what she’s really up to.

At the beginning of this book you’re fooled into believing that the search for this CEO is the main plot of the book, but in actuality the main focus is on Aza and her struggles with her mental health. She has obsessive compulsive disorder and anxiety. I don’t know a lot about OCD, but as someone who deals with anxiety I personally felt the representation in this book was spot on. I loved how John Green wrote Aza’s anxiety. It felt very real. I also liked how he wrote Aza’s intrusive thoughts. He sort of wrote them as if they were its own entity separate from Aza. I thought that was a really interesting interpretation of what it’s like to have intrusive thoughts you can’t control.

On the other hand, aside from her mental illnesses I feel that we don’t know anything about Aza as a character. The only other thing that we know about her is that her father died when she was a kid. Aside from those two things we don’t know any of her interests, what she’s passionate about, her plans for the future, etc. We know that she wants to go to college, but we don’t know what she wants to study in particular. The fact that Aza’s entire world seems to revolve around her mental health just made her feel really two dimensional. All of the other characters in the book have something that’s theirs. Daisy has Star Wars, Mychal has art, Davis has astronomy, but Aza doesn’t really have a thing that’s hers. Her lack of interest could be explained away as a symptom of her mental illness, I suppose. But again, I don’t know enough about OCD to really make that call.

I loved how present Aza’s mom was. It’s clear that she really cares about Aza. Aza also has a psychiatrist who’s extremely active in her life. I would say that Aza has a pretty solid support system in regards to her mental health; however, I felt that her best friend Daisy was really ignorant to what Aza was going through. She wasn’t supportive at all, and she made no real attempt to try to understand Aza. The two end up getting into a fight where Daisy admits that Aza’s exhausting to be around, and Aza asked her if she’s so exhausting why be friends with her in the first place. I found myself asking myself the same thing. Even after they made up and apologized to each other, I just couldn’t see why they were friends.

In terms of writing, I can’t say I’m a fan of John Green’s writing style. I have this really weird relationship with his books where I love the stories he tells, but I can’t stand his writing. In every one of his books that I’ve read I found something about his writing to complain about. In Turtles All the Way down I found myself criticizing his sentence structures. An example of this would be:

Are you feeling anxious?” she said askingly.

First of all, I don’t acknowledge “askingly” as an actual word. Secondly, he could have made the sentence shorter by cutting out askingly, and replacing said with asked. It would have gotten the exact same point across with less typing having been done on his part.

Another example would be:

A tiny stream of water—I could easily step over it—bubbled along its bottom.

Those em dashes are unnecessary. He could have instead typed, “A tiny stream of water I could easily step over bubbled along its bottom.”

These were little things that annoyed me. I know I’m coming off as nitpicky at this point, but I thought I’d mention these thoughts I had while reading.

I will say in terms of tone I was really surprised. I feel like the other books by John Green that I’ve read all had a certain tone to them, but Turtles all the way down was different. It had a very serious tone to it in my opinion. Within the first few pages of the book I could tell that this was going to be different from the rest of Green’s books that I’ve read. I got the feeling that this book was very personal to the author, and being that John Green too lives with OCD I can see why.

Rating: 4/5

Have you read Turtles All the Way Down? If so, what did you think?

Discussion: Do Reviews Influence Our Opinions?

Discussion (2)

I had this experience recently that I kind of wanted to talk about. I don’t know if you guys knew, but when the Ready Player One movie came out in theaters there was this influx of criticism about the book. I read all of these negative reviews talking about how bad the book is. It made me curious, so I decided to read the book for myself to see how I felt about it. Once I started to read it I found that I was having a hard time discerning how I felt about it. My mind kept going back to the negative reviews I read, and I found myself wanting to agree with them; however, I just couldn’t make up my mind on how I felt. It took me a while to realize that my opinion was possibly being swayed by the reviews I’ve read. I then realized that I didn’t actually hate this book that I originally wanted to hate.

This brings me to this week’s discussion topic: Do reviews influence the way we think?

For me I’d say to a certain extent they do. Reviews are what help us decide whether or not we want to read a book. If we hear something about a book that we don’t necessarily agree with we might decide not to pick that book up. But this can also be so for people like me who prefer to form their own opinions. We might read a book after having read a certain review, and then that review becomes all we think about. It’s the only real basis we have for reading the book in question, and so our minds are continuously drawn back to it.

Of course, the same can be said about positive reviews. We might read a review for a book that sounds amazing and that would influence us to pick it up. Similarly we might read a positive review and have that review influence the way we think. I’m not sure this has ever happened to me, but it could happen to someone else.

I want to know what you guys think. Is what I’m saying making sense, or do you disagree? Let me know in the comments. I thought this was a really interesting topic of conversation, and I’d love to know what you all think.

Life Update: Furthering My Education

Life Update

Hey, guys. Instead of a regular post I’m coming at you with a life update. If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed that I’ve been a lot less active lately. The reason for this is that I’ve started to go back to school. I’ve decided to take the plunge and go back to college to get a degree in writing. I made this decision ultimately to help my writing career in the long run.

Now that I’ve started school obviously all of my time and focus is going to be on my school work, which allows me less time for reading. In the past month I’ve only read one book, so that alone should tell you how much reading I’ve been able to do between classes. Because my classes have been effecting how much I read it’s also going to effect my frequency of blog posts. I just wanted to make this announcement to give my readers a heads up, that way you guys aren’t wondering where I’ve gone off to.

Instead of posting once a week as I’ve been doing thus far I’m going to have to start posting whenever I’ve written something new, which could be very sparse. At this time I ask for everyone’s patience as I start this new chapter in my life. In the meantime, I will be working on my WIP whenever I get the chance, and will try to post updates of my writing on my Twitter.

Thank you so much, everyone, for taking an interest in my blog thus far. This has been a really fun experience, and I’m looking forward to posting more in the future whenever I get the chance.