Saturday, 28 December 2013

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Rating: 5 Stars
“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. (more)

My Review:

Blue Sargent will kill her true love with a kiss, or so it was prophesied by the women in her family. The seers. And so when she sees a spirit on St.Mark's eve, it is clear that he is either her true love, or the one she will kill.

That can't end too well, and especially because the spirit happens to be a boy by the name of Richard "Dick" Campbell Gansey III. He is rich and attending Aglionby Academy, the local school for the rich, obviously. Aside from wealth, he has good friends, a not so nice car, insomnia, and a sick obsession with a lost Welsh King. I adore Gansey on so many levels. His characterization is astoundingly well formed, astounding to the point where I can imagine him right beside me, a solid human being.

Or perhaps the reason I feel connected to him, and the other's no doubt, is because Maggie Stiefvater has created such a thick atmosphere, I can almost feel the fog pouring out of the pages. As if I am there, and oh boy, the feeling is just breathtaking. I love that about this book, and the same effect was embedded inside her book, The Scorpio Races.

The plot is nicely paced, with enough to keep us on our toes yet simultaneously have us reclining on our chairs. The ideas are just extraordinary (really, they are), and the characters and setting are nicely built upon.

From the wit to the adventure and suspense, I would recommend this book to all and any. Do not be fooled into thinking that this is just another typical romance. It's not, it's so much more. It will keep you up at night, transforming the darkness outside to a forest in which an old king may lie, and the sweat on you to a warm Henrietta summer breeze. Read it. Just go and do it, you will not be disappointed.

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Title: The 5th Wave
Author: Rick Yancey
Rating: 3.5 stars
Blurb: After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

My Review:
They attacked in waves, the aliens did. The first wave took out all forms of technology. The second wave destroyed the coastal cities. The third wave was a plague. The fourth wave, silencer's. And the fifth wave, well, where would be the fun if I told you guys that? Cassie Sullivan has survived all the waves, and now she must face the 5th. The worst of them all.

I was in much anticipation of the 5th Wave, partly because the author happened to be Rick Yancey, and then there was also the hype. Was I satisfied? Yes. Was it flawless? No.

I must admit that I did love the idea of the waves, but not necessarily the way they were portrayed. For the most part, the story is a retelling of the four waves that have already passed, and that really made the plot drag a little. But there was enough curiosity there for me to carry on until the plot started to twist enough to grab my attention and race me through the last half of the story. There were also two narrators, and both had a distinct tone and attitude, allowing us to distinguish between them. I admittedly preferred the second narrator, who I will not mention by name or I fear I might spoil the story. He, yes it is a he, was just more steady and natural sounding then Cassie. I think Rick overdid her tone, trying to bring out a forced teenager, but only slightly.

The one thing I absolutely loved was the element of mystery. The knowing something that later is not what you'd expect it to be but then suddenly it was. What? Exactly. At one point in the story you will begin to question everything, especially the characters. Who's good and who's not? The whole issue of trust is embedded deeply within the characters, and therefore within us.

Overall, I didn't know what to think of this story. I loved it but found myself shaking my head every here and there. Essentially, the plot was nicely paced and the characters were steadily built upon. There was enough excitement and mystery, and a nice touch of romance to carry me to the end. I would recommend this to everyone because it wasn't just another 'Hunger Games'. This was something more. It was enough to satisfy my search for a good read.