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

Posts tagged ‘Fiction’

A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz

A Clockwork Heart (The Chronicle of Light and Shadow, #2)A Clockwork Heart by Liesel Schwarz

DISCLAIMER: I received A Clockwork Heart as a publisher ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

Rating: 2 Stars

A Conspiracy of Alchemists was a great novel, it set the standard for the Liesel Schwarz steam-punk series. It was exciting with some strange flaws, but I opted to like it anyways.

A Clockwork Heart sadly fell flat of my expectations. While it was more interesting to read, the story was dry and everything seemed to work out a bit too perfectly. Elle is a completely different character than she was in the first novel, she’s far too dependant on Marsh and seems incapable of functioning once he disappears from the novel, about 20% in.

The dialogue was filled with old-tymey banter, it gives you the feeling that the author was trying way too hard. There was a scene where I swore they said the term “ever so slightly” at least 18 times.

The new protagonist was too good to be true. An evil (but gorgeous) witch lady who can control the weather and wants Marsh for her own? And then, of course, her death comes by far too easily. The climax battle was overly confusing. It goes from a civil conversation between enemies to a battle of air balloons in a matter of seconds.

The ending seemed harsh to me. I got the feeling that Schwarz was just trying way too hard to have an unhappy ending. The book went on way too long as well, it should have ended chapters before it did.

All in all, I was extremely disappointed with the novel, but because I liked the first one so much I will give Schwarz the benefit of the doubt and read the third when it comes out.

Zenn Scarlett

Zenn Scarlett

Zenn Scarlett by Christian Schoon

DISCLAIMER: I received Zenn Scarlett as a publisher ARC from Strange Chemistry in exchange for my honest review.

My Rating: 4.5 Stars

When I first finished Zenn Scarlett, I rated it in at 3 stars. The book was good, don’t get me wrong, but it didn’t really stand out to me at all. It was very typical for my tastes. But here I am, 3 days later, and every time I’ve tried to pick my next book to read, I can’t find anything that peaks my interest. Apparently, Zenn Scarlett had a stronger effect on me than I thought.

It’s one of those books where you get so involved in the story that you forget you are reading a book.

Zenn Scarlett starts out with Zenn, a hardcore teenage girl, if not a bit anti-social. She is an exoveterinarian novice, meaning she’s training to become an veterinarian for alien species. She lives on a compound, or cloister, with her uncle and a few workers where they take care of the animals.

I don’t know what I was expecting, Zenn to go on some crazy adventure to save the cloister? Zenn to get kidnapped away, and have to fight her way back? The entire book took place at the cloister and it was incredibly refreshing. It’s not an adventure book, it’s a creative look into a futuristic veterinarian life (with, of course, some exciting conflict).

Zenn is a refreshing and bold character. She’s smart and knows it, but also has her faults. She’s got passion and will do anything to be what she wants in life.

The cloister was very fun to read about, along with all of it’s alien inhabitants. It was hard to picture some of the creatures at times, but as Zenn continued to work with them, the images slowly came to mind.

I would recommend this book for the younger crowd, it’s a bit juvenile in that there’s not much romantically going on. It’s a really easy read, and I think anyone on the younger side of YA fantasy will really enjoy it.

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Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

Rating: 5 Stars

I picked this one up because I had read the amazing reviews about it and I needed a good audiobook to keep me awake during the traffic I sit into on the way to work. Most of the audiobooks I’d listened to did nothing more than give me a migraine before I got into the office, and I was about ready to give up on the idea all-together, when I got Code Name Verity.

I’m a big science fiction fan. If it doesn’t have an aspect of fantasy in it, I’m probably not going to read it.

But I’ll be damned if I wasn’t enthralled for every word of Code Name Verity. This book is my enemy. It is my best friend. It made me laugh, cry, and hate myself. I have never been so touched by a story until I read this book. I can’t stop thinking about it.

I even listened to the author’s note in the end of the audiobook and, if I hadn’t, I would have believed every detail in Code Name Verity happened exactly as it was stated. This book is fiction, but it doesn’t feel like fiction. If it’s not true, why do I feel so torn up by it?

Elizabeth Wein has an amazing talent. She brought the characters in her novel to life so vividly that I’m still having a hard time believing they never actually existed.

My heart broke 100 times over while listening to this book. I believe having the audio made it that much more powerful.

Please don’t pass up an opportunity to read this book. Please give it plenty of your time and attention. It deserves nothing less.

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Emilie and the Hollow World

Emilie and the Hollow World

Emilie and the Hollow World by Martha Wells

DISCLAIMER: I received Emilie and the Hollow World as a publisher ARC through Strange Chemistry in exchange for my honest review.

My rating: 3.5 Stars

Emilie and the Hollow World was a great read. I don’t regret one second spent reading this book. It didn’t take me long to read at all because it kept me interested every page.

The book starts out with a bang, we follow Emilie as she steals aboard the Merry Bell as she is running away from her uncle and aunt. She boards the ship by mistake, originally intending to stow away on another vessel. We are quickly engulfed in magic and transported, along with the crew, to a world-within-a-world like destination.

The novel reads as an adventure. The cast of the book is met with one challenge at a time as they stride to their eventual goal. It is a really good read that is worth the time you will put into it, but it did fall short in that I wasn’t blown away by it. It wasn’t a book that I just couldn’t put down, but at the same time, I never didn’t want to pick it up again.

If I had to describe this book in one word, it would be relatable. This book is easy to understand with a heroine you can really imagine in yourself. Emilie is strong-willed, but not pushy. She understands the extent of her knowledge and is willing to sit back and learn rather than insert herself into an issue.

There are deeper issues that are addressed in the book, in the Victorian world that it takes place, sexism is a common theme. The protagonists combat that in the best way possible. Two of the main characters, Emilie and Lady Marlende, are women. The way the author approaches this is very professional, the women aren’t looked down upon, but are given less opportunity to advancement. While Emilie seems to have accepted her place in the world, Lady Marlende is a tough cookie who doesn’t take that crap. She stands her ground and Emilie soon follows. Lady Marlende is definitely a winning character, she wins my favorite vote.

Sadly, the world building is where the novel suffered a bit, it could have used more depth. While reading the book, I didn’t feel like I was transported to another world, which is normally my favorite part of alter-reality novels. While the world was creative enough, not enough description is given about the setting. We aren’t told wether a place is supposed to be dark or light, forboding or inviting, etc. Things are explained in character conversation instead of the context of the book, and in that way it took away from the magic of the novel. I felt like I was reading a diary or memoir instead of a fiction novel.

To conclude my review, I suggest this book for the adventurous types, who don’t like to waste time on romance. It is a quick, fun, read that you won’t feel you’ve wasted time on.


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The Lives of Tao

The Lives of Tao

The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu

DISCLAIMER: I received The Lives of Tao as a publisher ARC through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

I really wanted to like The Lives of Tao, I really did. I have heard nothing but great things about it, and it’s under one of my favorite publishing houses so I was excited when I was provided the ARC.

I’m not going to lie, The Lives of Tao is just as funny as everyone claims. It’s filled with embarrassing moments and snarky conversations. In that sense, yes, it was entertaining.

The issue I has was that I was bored out of my mind reading this book. It follows Roen in his training by his alien-life-partner, Tao. He is enlisted by Tao to work for the Prophus, and be an undercover spy. Sounds exciting, no?

No.

Just as Roen claims in the book, the job of being an international super spy is not as exciting as it looks, and this is where the book suffered. We are plagued by pointless conversations and training, and then when we finally get to the exciting part, it is skimmed over with just a few short sentences.

This book takes more focus than I can give it. Maybe I will return to it someday when I have more time to spend between the pages of a novel.

The random flashbacks to Tao’s past lives reminded me a lot of The Amulet of Samarkand in that we caught a glimpse of historical figures from the inside of their minds. It was cool, but it subtracted from the already drizzling story.

I gave it a shot, and I’m willing to try again at another point in my life. This review is my opinion of the book and unless you are exactly like me, don’t immediately throw it in the Abandoned pile. Give it a shot.

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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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Generation Dead

Generation Dead (Generation Dead, #1)

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

My rating: 1.5 Stars

I really wanted to like this book, because I loved Break My Heart 1,000 Times and because so many people seemed to love it too. I just couldn’t get into this book.

I was worried that it would be Twilight-esque, but it wasn’t. It wasn’t a horrible book, I just really didn’t enjoy it.

I tried, I really did, but by 3/4 the way through I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t force myself to love something that was so undeserving.

Lets start of with the warped romance in this book. I get it, you want the weird goth girl (let me just pause for a second… goth… smh) is in love with a dead guy.

Okay, dead guy, zombie, whatever. Let’s just think about this… I know these are teenagers and they’re in high school, and they’re so innocent and pure and yada yada yada. And what typically happens the first time little teeny boppers get sexual?

But this kid is dead. DEAD. Would things even function down there?

Nope, let’s not think about it.

Can I just start off mentioning that Phoebe (the main character; don’t think I ever mentioned that) goes from knowing who this kid was and being in the same english class, to full blown, head over heels, love at first sight bullshit. Where did this come from? Did her feelings wait until the book began to show up? I don’t… I just don’t.

OK, for serious though, this book dragged on. Nothing really happened until the very end. Even the beginning was slow as shit, so I should have known before I started.

I don’t HATE this book. I just hated it… for me, you know? Daniel Waters, I loved your new novel, you should have waited until you were good to debut.

Cause…

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