The Title Page is a book review blog with a focus on YA Fiction, Dystopian Fiction, and Science Fiction.

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Sever

Sever (The Chemical Garden, #3)

Sever by Lauren DeStefano

My Rating: 1.5 Stars

It was hard for me, at first, to figure out why everyone seems to love the second and third books in these series and the first one got awful reviews. Because, to me, all three of them were pretty awful.

Then it hit me.

The first book was so bad, that only the diehard fans read the sequels. And then me.

The writing in these books is beautiful. If Lauren DeStefano wanted to write a sappy romance novel, she would probably hit it off pretty big. The thing that brings these books down to the level that they are is that there is absolutely no believability in this world. A dystopian future where girls die at 20 and boys die at 25 (exactly). On their 20th and 25th birthdays respectively, their body somehow succumbs to a virus that kills them. This is just so ridiculous. Maybe if they had been suffering from this virus their whole lives, and then around that age their body’s normally gave way, but it can’t be exactly. You can’t live to be 19 years and 364 days old and then drop dead from a disease.

These books also feature polygamy. I didn’t find this part so hard to read, like over reviewers. The thing that stunned me about this was that we are expected to believe that in this day and age, we have digressed enough to the point where, once again, men are considered the superior gender and women are only useful for child-bearing. We are supposed to believe that women just sat down and took this and didn’t fight it at all.

The biggest fault of believability in these novels was the idea that North America was the only continent left in existence. The polar ice caps melting and World War 3 has left everyone but NA underwater. First, the main part of the novel takes place in Florida. If this were true, Florida would be one of the first areas in North America to sink. Secondly, what happened to the higher altitudes? The Alps just sunk underwater? North America is still on the surface while Sweden is at the bottom of the ocean? Seriously?

Now I know this whole North America being the only thing left thing is explained away by the end of the series, but the fact that so many reviewers didn’t believe it leads me to believe that maybe, just maybe, the Americans wouldn’t believe it either. Maybe some people in America aren’t so gullible that they’ll let their president take away their history books and replace them with his own ideas? Maybe some people in America aren’t so gullible as to blindly believe that North America is the only place left standing? Maybe, just maybe, all American’s aren’t complete idiots.

The one other quam I had with these books was that each book took one step forward and two steps back. In the first book, it took Rhine the entire novel (and the timeframe of a year) to finally escape. That time was filled with images of pretty wives, dresses, candies. In the second book, Rhine finally escapes and by the end, ends up exactly where she started. In the third book, she escapes again, and once again, ends up exactly where she started. These books are less about Rhine’s adventures and more about her changing her mind and not doing the things she is so set on doing.

This is not a post-apocalyptic adventure, it is a distorted vision of a gifted author’s sad fantasy.

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A Conspiracy of Alchemists

A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #1)

A Conspiracy of Alchemists by Liesel Schwarz

DISCLAIMER: I received A Conspiracy of Alchemists as a publisher ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 3.5 Stars

A Conspiracy of Alchemists follows air-pilot, Elle, and her warlock companion, Hugh on a quest to find her kidnapped father. Elle discovers that she holds powers she never even imagined in this adventure that takes place in a magical, historical, alternate universe.

This book starts out interestingly enough, pushing us straight into this universe with no explanation. I was able to pick up enough from the setting and character description to figure out some of the mythology going on throughout the book, but it took a while for me to fully understand what was going on. I ended up googling different mythology just to get an image in my head of certain characters.

The characters were very in-depth, I enjoyed the people I was reading about. Consistency could have been better. In the beginning of the novel, Hugh was a hardened gentleman with a snarky attitude but by the end of the book he had turned into a useless boy pining for a girl’s love.

Everything seemed to move slower in this world too. Elle is determined to find her father (who she fears may be dead), but only after she’s had her breakfast. Hugh and Elle travel to Venice to speak to the only people who can help them, but the first thing they do is check into a hotel. Once Elle is kidnapped, Hugh visits a few friends and checks into a hotel for a few days before finally freeing her. They just seem really calm in the situations they’re in. Panic should be their first reaction.

And then, of course, in the end we have the inevitable ‘bad guy reveals entire plan because, hey “you’re going to die anyways”‘ cliche, that I did not enjoy from such an original novel. And we wouldn’t miss the Prologue designed only to set up for the next novel. (which I really think it could have done without. This book would have been a great standalone novel, I fear the sequels will only bring it down.)

I was not overly impressed with the novel, but I didn’t hate it. The world building was fascinating, if not a bit overwhelming. It’s a good read, but not the top of my list.

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The Maze Runner

The Maze Runner (Maze Runner, #1)

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

My Rating: 3 Stars

The Maze Runner is the story of 50-60 boys thrown into a Maze together and forced to build a society. They work together to live, and figure their way out of their prison. Everything is going fine. That is, until Thomas and Teresa show up.

The game is ending, monsters are set out on the boys and they are unsure how to survive. It is up to Thomas to figure out how to get these boys out of their hellhole and back to their real world… if the real world still exists.

This book is a difficult read at first, it’s a little slow, but you won’t be disappointed if you stick to it. There are some inconsistencies throughout, but most are explained away by the end of the novel.

The writing is not amazing, I wasn’t able to connect with any of the characters on any level and that left the book feeling a bit empty. It is completely plot-driven, there’s barely any character development there.

I enjoyed the book, it could have been written better, but when the plot got started the pages flew by. A definite read for dystopian fans.

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My thoughts throughout the book;

32% – “This book is starting to pick up a bit, it did take a while for the story to get going. I do like it so far, definitely something you want to stick with if you are getting a little bored.”

39% – “While Dashner keeps things consistent by mentioning that Thomas’s memory has been wiped. I feel like pointing it out every single time he does something noteworthy is slight overkill.”

54% – “I can’t believe I’m only halfway through this novel, I feel like so much has happened, yet I’m not bored nor ready to stop reading. I would really like to see some sort of picture or map of the Glade. It’s getting a bit hard to picture it in my head when Dashner keeps adding buildings that weren’t there before.”

83% – “This book just got really confusing. We find a lot of information all at once and it is explained very quickly.(view spoiler)

98% – (view spoiler)

Final Notes:

One thing that is never explained in the book; Why was Teresa the only girl?

The Epilogue was a great addition, it definitely set it up well for the next book.

But I do feel that comparing this novel to the Hunger Games is totally pointless. They are two different books centering around different ideas. The only thing I saw in common was that they are both YA Dystopian.

UPDATE

I have changed my review from 4 stars to 3 after reading the sequels.
You may ask why I didn’t just leave this one and rate those lower, my answer is simple: the plot.

By the end of the first book, you are still blindly ignorant of the entire plot. Once you find out why the maze happened, it just doesn’t make any sense. I was disappointed and frustrated. Thus, I changed my rating.

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The Hour of the Time

The Hour of the Time

The Hour of the Time by Vincent Hobbes

My Rating: 4 Stars

This book intreagued me for no other reason that all of the reviews raved.

“How could such a short novella get such great reviews?” I asked myself, and set out to find the answer.

You automatically don’t like the main character, he’s annoying, and weird. He’s the type of person who you cross the street to avoid. And he’s blissfully ignorant.

This book will captivate. You won’t want to put it down because you are so intrigued to find out what they are waiting for.

Read it. Do it.

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To Read or Not to Read

To Read or Not to Read

To Read or Not to Read by Vincent Hobbes

My Rating: 4 Stars

So, I was expecting a twist, but that was awesome!

If you have 5 minutes to put aside in your day, read this books.
The first bit of it dragged a little, and was a bit confusing, but the last chapter wholly made up for it, leaving you wanting more.

I want to know more about this special bookstore, where did it come from? How does it work?

Hobbes did a great job of placing the setting and preparing you for the twist you didn’t expect.

He covered his bases and left no room for skepticism.

A definite read.

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