Review: The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey

The Girl With All the Gifts reviewThe Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Published by Orbit in January 2014
Pages: 460

Genres: Adult, ApocalypticScience Fiction, Thriller 
Source:
Purchased
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble
Rating:  photo four half_zpszfonypqk.png

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

I really don’t think it’s a spoiler that this is a zombie book. Like really, it’s implied heavily in the synopsis, plus it’s revealed very early on in the book that we’re dealing with zombies here. 

So yes. Zombie children. But not regular zombies, because these children actually have brain function, which is a far cry from the other zombies roaming about outside. And we’re reading to figure out why that’s the case, among other things. 

I found this to be a really interesting take on the whole zombie thing, I especially liked the how and the why to the epidemic, it made a whole lot of sense. And I’ve actually thought of the same thing before so imagine my delight when I realized someone has actually used it in a book. I liked the ‘normal’ zombies too (i.e. the ones without brain function), I found their nature very intriguing and different from what I’ve seen previously. I hated the word “hungries” though, it sounds so juvenile. But then again, there aren’t many words for zombies left that haven’t been used before. I’ll give it a pass even though I cringed a little every time I read it. 

I really enjoyed Melanie’s relationship with her favorite teacher, the beautiful and kind Miss Justineau. Miss Justineau treats the children like people, which is a rarity. She tries to teach them things and she reads them stories from Greek mythology. It’s not a secret that Melanie has a crush on her, I found that so sweet and lovely. This child would do anything for this woman and my heart can’t take it. Too precious. 

I love you, Miss Justineau. I’ll be a god or a Titan for you, and save you.

The first part of this novel is absolutely amazing. Like the first 130 or so pages? Fantastic. If you’re looking for a book with a gripping start definitely try this one. I hate it when books start slow but this one took you straight into the action and I couldn’t stop reading. The middle part lost a little bit of oomph here and there, but I was still immersed in the plot and the characters.

I enjoyed all the character development, because pretty much every character starts out as a generic stereotype but then reveal deeper parts of themselves as we read on. I grew to really like one character that you wouldn’t think you would ever like in the beginning. 

I was ready to give this book a solid 4 stars until the very last page. Holy shit, that last page gave me actual chills and I had to change my rating to a very strong 4.5. I really loved the way this ended. It was melancholic, tragic, yet beautiful and somewhat hopeful. 

I’d recommend this book to everyone, it’s haunting and gripping and makes you think about what it means to be human. 

Have you read this book? Or are you going to? Tell me what you think!

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Review: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab

a darker shade of magic reviewA Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
Published by Tor Books in February 2015
Pages: 398
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Source:
Purchased
Buy: Amazon | Book Depository
a darker shade of magic

Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped.

I couldn’t be bothered to write my own synopsis this time, so you’re going to have to deal with the mile-long Goodreads one. 

First off, let me remind you how much I love Vicious. I love it so much, I read it in one single sitting and it became one of my all-time favorite books. I basically inhaled that book. I sat down and sucked it in like a dementor sucking in a soul and it was glorious. So naturally, after reading that deliciousness I couldn’t wait to start this one because people have raved and raved and raved about it. 

Magic, parallel worlds, a royal who is equal parts Prince Harry and Jack Harkness (Victoria Schwab’s own description of him), blood magic, magic coats, pirate girls… What could go wrong? Well. Buckle up and prepare for some unpopular opinions. 

I started reading it this summer and I didn’t finish it until right now. That’s slightly more than just one sitting. Let me tell you why. 

It is SO BORING. Like literally so boring. Things happen, it’s not that, it’s just the writing. The writing in this book is bland and lifeless and not at all engaging. That’s the main problem. It doesn’t come alive or spring from the page, it’s just… there. I zoned out constantly and kept having to go back several pages because I had no idea what was going on.

It’s just incredibly hard to get into and I never got into it, no matter how hard I wanted to (because I really wanted to). Every time I put it down I didn’t want to pick it back up, so it became a chore to finish. It had some good moments here and there, usually involving Holland and/or Rhy, but other than that it was a pretty dry read, unfortunately. I know I’m blaspheming right now, but there you go.

I was glad to see I’m not the only one who felt this way. When I skimmed through a couple Goodreads reviews I found Darth J, who felt the same way about the writing as I do (high five, Darth J). They used the perfect image in their review to describe this book:

read me like one of your textbooks

The only quote that stuck with me is this one, and it’s the one I’ve seen everywhere else. 

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”

Things I actually liked:

  • The cover
  • Holland (He gave me angsty feels. I wish he had a larger role)
  • Rhy (yay bisexual princes)
  • Rhy and Kell’s relationship (sibling dynamics is my weakness)
  • Kell’s black eye
  • It ended kind of like a Pirates of the Caribbean movie. Take me to the horizon. 

Unfortunately, the things I liked didn’t make my reading more enjoyable. And I rate books mostly on my enjoyment, so it’s with a heavy heart that I give this beloved book such a low rating. It’s not that it’s a bad book necessarily, it’s just that it didn’t hit me in any way, shape, or form. 

Don’t kill me D: 

goodreads

Am I just weird or do you agree? You probably don’t but let’s discuss it anyway. 

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Review: Vicious by V. E. Schwab

Vicious by V. E. Schwab
Published by Tor Books
on September 23rd 2013
Pages: 364
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction, Thriller
Buy: Amazon | Bookdepository
Rating:
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In this book we meet two young college roommates and best friends, Victor and Eli, who, through some pretty dramatic research, figure out how to get superpowers. All for the sake of their thesis on Extra-Ordinaries, of course. And then things go very wrong. Flashforward into the future, Victor breaks out of prison to look for Eli, his now arch nemesis, and kill him. And Eli has a terrible plot going on himself. 

THIS BOOK IS FUCKING AMAZING. Excuse my French. It’s that good though, I’m flailing over here just trying to express how much I loved it. I read this book earlier this summer and I’m still in awe. I read it in one sitting, completely hypnotized, and it went straight onto my favorites shelf after I was done. This book has been very hyped up, but for me it definitely lived up to it. 

Not only are the characters great and the plot something I haven’t read before, but Victoria Schwab’s writing style is so beautiful. I fell in love with it right away. 

“Someone could call themselves a hero and still walk around killing dozens. Someone else could be labeled a villain for trying to stop them. Plenty of humans were monstrous, and plenty of monsters knew how to play at being human.” 

This book is about superheroes and supervillains. It’s got the whole “what makes a villain and what makes a hero” thing going on that I really like. Victor is the perfect anti-hero for me, I really liked him as a character, flaws and all. I think he might be one of my favorite fictional characters. And Eli… well. When I read the portion of this book that took place during their college years I imagined these boys kind of like I imagine a college aged Sherlock Holmes (the BBC version). So that tells you a little bit what kind of characters they are: ambitious, kind of arrogant, and dangerously brilliant but with a touch of loneliness and desperation. I loved their relationship and the complexity of it. Where are my Victor/Eli college years fanfics? Someone get on that.

“All Eli had to do was smile. All Victor had to do was lie. Both proved frighteningly effective.”

There were other great characters in this book apart from Victor and Eli and they were all fleshed out and complex. I’m going to mention Sydney especially, a young girl with a truly tragic story. It was heartbreaking to read from her perspective sometimes. And Mitch, bless him, another great character.

Even if you’re not into superheroes I really recommend you try this book. Actually I recommend it to everyone and their mother. I think my mother would like it. It’s fast paced and brilliantly written. I think some of my favorite parts were actually the scenes that described their attempts at getting superpowers, it was so creepy and dark and such a clever idea. When I read it I was actually like “yeah, that makes perfect sense.”

I think this book has great crossover appeal from the young adult genre. If you usually only read YA it wouldn’t be much of a stretch to read this.

Read this book now. Just do it.