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

Posts tagged ‘Young-adult fiction’

The 5th Wave

The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave, #1)The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Rating: 2 Stars

I was really disappointed with this book. I heard this was such a great novel, the next big thing, better than the Hunger Games! But, no.

It was predictable, overdone, and quite honestly, horribly written. The main character annoyed me, the plot annoyed me, and the writing annoyed me.

Everything annoyed me.

From reading this novel alone, I will avoid all other Rick Yancey novels, because he seems to lack the general knowledge it takes to write a good book. Like how to speak in persons, or how not to have the corniest dialogue on the face of the earth. “I love you… my mayfly.” Really? Save me the insta-love-spew-fest.

I heard this book was great. I must have only read the reviews that the publisher paid to have written, because this book deserves a max of 3 stars. I’ve read better self-published YA dystopian fiction.

Okay, just to get all of my thoughts in one place, let me break it down (with pictures!)

The Plot

The plot of The 5th Wave is that of an alien apocalypse. The aliens attack in 5 waves to wipe out humankind. They do the whole EMP thing, the disease thing, the whole taking-over-human-bodies thing. All been said and done.

Then they start training kids to take out other humans… ummm okay? Tell me, if you are a giant alien army who has wiped out so much of humankind already, why do you feel the need to TRAIN human children to do the rest for you? That’s just so freaking stupid!

The Romance

Now, romance is normally an extremely difficult hurdle to jump when writing a YA novel. Partially because it’s so hard to stay away from the insta-love-do-anything-for-the-girl-I-just-met piece, and partially because if you avoid romance completely, it makes for a very boring novel. (Don’t deny it readers, you may roll your eyes at the romance, but you’d be bored without it.)

But one of the worst things an author can do it try to merge a powerful love story with a powerful plot. There just simply ins’t enough room in a single book for both. If the plot is overpowering, we get The Hunger Games: Mockingbird where no one, not even the main characters, give a shit about what happens in the romantic plot. If the romance is too overpowering you get so many crappy YA novels that I can’t even single it down to one example.

I digress. In this book, they introduce an insta-love romance plot, and then just kinda disregard it.

Let me tell you, if (view spoiler)[I was so deeply in love with someone as Cassie was written to be with Evan, I wouldn’t be kissing other guys right after he dies, I’d be all:

(hide spoiler)]

The Writing

I don’t have much to say about the writing except that it was awful. Absolute shit.

As I mentioned in one of my updates, the author switches from first to third person and back, which is the #1 do not do of writing. I wanted to stop right then, but I paid for this book, so I’ll be damned if I don’t finish it.

Also, the book is insanely repetitive. I wish I had counted how many times the author states not to trust anyone, or that the alien’s genius plan was to have the humans unknowingly kill themselves (which, as I said before, is fucking stupid).

I need to stop now or I’m gonna over-do it with the GIFs, but as you can see, I wasn’t a big fan of the book.

P.S. Whenever I am with someone in a bookstore, and they see this book, they go “What’s the five wave… I don’t get it.”

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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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The Testing

The Testing (The Testing, #1)

The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

DISCLAIMER: I received The Testing as a publisher ARC through Houghton Mifflin in exchange for my honest review.

You can sign up for an ARC Tour for The Testing here!

My Rating: 4 Stars

The Testing follows Cia, a bright young girl, when she embarks on The Testing, a series of trials designed to weed out the weak. By finishing The Testing, Cia can go on to the University and become one of the country’s next leaders.

This book will remind you of the Hunger Games, but there are some key differences. If I had to compare it, I’d say it is a mix between The Hunger Games and The Scorch Trials with a hint of Divergent.

Charbonneau does a great job of keeping The Testing separate from other dystopian novels. Yes, it has the same plot line as a lot of others, but when you actually read the book, you get a different feel for the characters and trials as with other books.

Cia was an interesting character. I’m not sure if I liked her, she did seem a bit weak. When it came down to it, Cia was not someone who could kill another human being. However, she had her wits about her, she kept a level head in hard situations and always thought the best about people. Tomas, however, annoyed me. Cia is supposed to trust him unconditionally because he loves her, but I never got that feel from him. Saying something and actually feeling something are two very different things and I just didn’t get that feeling from Tomas.

The writing in this book was very well done. Things were well explained and while interesting things were expanded on, no time was wasted on the boring parts. My only issue with the writing was that there seemed to be too much of it. I found myself easily distracted while reading and ended up reading the same paragraphs multiple times. There was too much to read about each thing and it overdescribed the novel.

This was a good read, it was slow to start, but after the first hundred or so pages, it was hard to put down. I would say if you try it and are having trouble, keep going, give it about half the book before you put it down.

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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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