Review: Across the Universe by Beth Revis

Lizzie     Jan 7th, 2011     Dystopian, Reviews, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Razorbill (January 11, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1595143971
ISBN-13: 978-1595143976

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder.

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone–one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship–tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

If I had to review this in two words, those words would be: freaking awesome.

I was so excited to receive this, completely unexpectedly back at the beginning of November. I was also scared, because I was holding my expectations very high and didn’t want to be disappointed. I waited about a month before I finally picked it up, and I will tell you that I devoured it without regret.

The world Amy wakes up in is the close quarters of the spaceship Godspeed, which was sent off for a new planet 250 years ago. Everything about the ship is strange, at least to our standards. The people all look alike, act alike, are alike. The only ones that are different, are crazy and institutionalized. I could not get the sense of sickening dread out of the pit of my stomach every time I read Amy’s prespective. Could you imagine waking up in a world completely foreign, unexpected, and claustrophobic place like that of Godspeed when you expected to be on a new planet with wide open spaces and fresh air? Not only that but knowing that you will be much older than your own parents when they are finally awakened? I wanted to cry for Amy and everything that she lost.

Everything about this book is swoon-worthy. The setting, the time, the characters . . . the guy. ;) Beth’s writing is fantastic and kept me entirely engrossed all the way through. I enjoyed the sick, twisted little mind games that she played. I was never, ever bored reading this. I really appreciated that, while there is obviously a flicker of romance between Elder and Amy, it didn’t dominate the story and there was no pointless making out at random times just for the sake of having a make-out scene.

If you like novels of the sick kind, ones with totally unexpected twists and a little romance tossed in, you will definitely like this book. I am so grateful that I was given the chance to review it but I will be going out on January 11th to get my own hardcover too. :) There are so many layers to the story, so many little twists that will surprise you, haunt you, even scare you. You truly have to read it to appreciate its awesomeness though. I absolutely cannot wait for the next book!

Review: Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

Lizzie     Dec 20th, 2010     Dystopian, Fantasy, Reviews, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 464 pages
Publisher: Dial (December 28, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0803733976
ISBN-13: 978-0803733978

The only one who escaped . . . And the one who could destroy them all.

Incarceron, the living prison, has lost one of its inmates to the outside world: Finn’s escaped, only to find that Outside is not at all what he expected. Used to the technologically advanced, if violently harsh, conditions of the prison, Finn is now forced to obey the rules of Protocol, which require all people to live without technology. To Finn, Outside is just a prison of another kind, especially when Claudia, the daughter of the prison’s warden, declares Finn the lost heir to the throne. When another claimant emerges, both Finn’s and Claudia’s very lives hang on Finn convincing the Court of something that even he doesn’t fully believe.

Meanwhile, Finn’s oathbrother Keiro and his friend Attia are still trapped inside Incarceron. They are searching for a magical glove, which legend says Sapphique used to escape. To find it, they must battle the prison itself, because Incarceron wants the glove too.

*Note: This review contains no spoilers of Sapphique but may spoil Incarceron if you haven’t read it. Read my Incarceron review here.

I absolutely loved Incarceron so when I was able to get my hands on a copy of Sapphique, I was SO excited. I was also a bit nervous because I knew it was not only the sequel but also the closure of the series. But I can honestly tell you that it was amazing in every way!

Now, Finn is out of the Prison and preparing to take up his duties as Prince of the Realm, but he runs into some problems… like a strange character who claims that he is the real Giles. The author makes even you begin to doubt that Finn is the real Giles, that everything you thought you knew about the Realm and Finn isn’t the truth. There’s so much more evidence that supports the Pretender’s (as he is called in the book) claims. I had my own doubts as well but none that I could say without spoiling it. ;)

I loved that even though Finn has escaped from Incarceron, there was still a storyline that focused on Keiro and Attia’s own attempt at escape. I loved every second of their journey, especially that so many more levels and depths of the Prison were searched and discovered than in the previous book. You get to see an even darker, twisted side of Incarceron. If you’re thinking, “How could Incarceron get any more twisted than it already is?” then I’ll just tell you this: It does.

When you start this book, you’re once again tossed and yanked and ripped into the pages and taken on an incredible adventure. I had such a hard time putting this book down, that some nights I’d be up well passed 2 AM reading it because it’s so awesome. I don’t know how Catherine does it but I can tell you this; She is a master. Her writing is enthralling and interesting, and keeps you interested long past the last page.

Granted, while this is the finale, I still felt like there was a lot to be tied together past the end. Easily, I think a third book could be added and have so many places to go. As a finale, though, it was one of the most satisfying endings I’ve read in a long time (and yes—even more satsifying than Mockingjay’s ending!). Overall, I loved just about everything about it. I even ended up liking Claudia more than I did when I finished Incarceron. It’s bittersweet to see the end of this amazing series so soon but so amazing that so much action and adventure was packed into just two books!

Review: Incarceron by Catherine Fisher

Lizzie     Oct 23rd, 2010     Dystopian, Reviews, Science Fiction     0 Replies

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Dial (January 26, 2010)
Source: Purchased
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0803733968
ISBN-13: 978-0803733961

Incarceron — a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology — a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber — chains, great halls, dungeons.

A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison — a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists.

But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device — a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn’s escape is born …

First off, allow me to tell you that I absolutely loved this book. It was dark and twisted and intriguing. I had been meaning to pick it up since I saw that gorgeous cover at Borders very early in the summer and finally had the excuse when I won an ARC of Sapphique, the sequel to this one, releasing on December 28th 2010. I couldn’t stop playing with the cover and it was practically burning a hole in my bookshelf.

The concept of this novel fascinated me. A prison where people are born and die without ever knowing whether Outside really exists? A prison that is alive and watching your every move, deciding when you should die? Um, yes, please! I was immediately drawn in by the first chapter but the second didn’t quite catch me as much. Nonetheless, I didn’t stop (didn’t even consider it) and I’m glad I didn’t.

From the beginning, you’re tossed and yanked and ripped into the pages and are taken on an amazing adventure, both inside Incarceron and outside. Finn is haunted by visions of a strange party and is convinced he from the Outside. Claudia lives outside and is doomed to become the wife of snarky Casper and the Queen of the Realm. None of this, she wants. When both of them discover a key, they learn that it is a way to communicate with each other. As Finn makes to escape Incarceron, Claudia assists him as best she can.

The writing of this novel was fantastic. The plot was amazing. The characters were likeable and often times, even relatable. Some of the twists were quite easy to figure out but others, not so. I enjoyed that it wasn’t just an easy adventure where the characters are rarely in any true danger. In fact, Incarceron is a menance that is always watching, lurking, waiting. I found myself creeped out by the Prison more than once. Fisher has created an amazing world here. The ending wasn’t all wrapped up with a fluffy, pretty bow and I’m now dying for the sequel. Many things were left unanswered, so be prepared for the short wait for Sapphique.

Overall, this was definitely one of my favorite books of 2010! I loved it so much, and the gorgeous cover definitely helps add to the love.

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