5/5 Book Review: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

5 years sitting in my bookshelf; 5 wasteful years when I should’ve enjoyed this sooner.

Series: N/A

Literary Awards: Man Booker Prize Nominee (1986), Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (1986), Arthur C. Clarke Award for Best Novel (1987), Audie Award for Fiction (2013), Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction (1986), Governor General’s Literary Awards / Prix littéraires du Gouverneur général for Fiction (1985), Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Nominee for Best Book in Caribbean and Canada (1987), CBC Canada Reads Nominee (2002)

Rating: 5/5

Recommended for: Dystopian lovers

As I contemplate on which book to review next (there are lots of them, waaa), I decided on The Handmaid’s Tale (THT) just because the hashtag for Women’s March in the US has been consistently appearing in my twitter feed. While I have the faintest idea on what that was really all about, I figured why not? THT is one of my best reads last 2016 (but I failed to include it in my 2016 Best Reads post, I know. Boo!). Might as well try to review a book that consumed my womanly insanity. Haha!

I was a sucker for YA dystopian series a few years ago, and now I am very picky. Finishing THT was a harsh wake up call on what I know of dystopian society portrayed in YA. Atwood’s world in the form of Gilead was rigid, stiff, gritty, terrifying. I will not be an Offred, though. I am a Moira!

This is the worst world a woman can get stuck into. Women are not allowed to learn how to read and write. They can go out of the house to do some shopping in the market; they have pictures of food (meat, bread, vegetables), that they can show to communicate with vendors. They go out in twos (Ofrred is paired with Ofglen), and were not allowed to talk to anyone in the streets, especially men. Handmaids like Offred were taken care of, in the possibility of bearing a child, and so there’s a schedule for her and the Commander for sex. It was a transaction, as tasteless as waiting for your receipt after doing your groceries.

More than these traditional (ridiculous) restrictions set upon women, what burned in my mind the most is Offred’s (reliable? unreliable?) memories of her life before Gilead. She feigns ignorance but she can read and write; she blanks out her face during sex with the Commander, but was constantly reminded of her affair with Luke; she refuses to think that she really had a daughter, for what kind of a mother would subject her daughter to that kind of horrible life with a commander and her unfeeling wife?

This is my first Margaret Atwood book, and I am happy to say that I am looking forward to reading more of her work. The writing was so effective in playing with my emotions – being a woman has never been this hurtful or shameful. The late nights with the Commander added a layer of complication during their sex sessions, because what if Serena Joy notices that she’s liking it, because she knows the Commander more so everyday? Offred’s affair with Nick was the element that I can see that made her pause, and think that maybe, what her situation is right now, she does not want to take it lying down anymore. It was heartbreaking, this affair-turned-escape-from-reality. Let the rebels worry about Gilead’s future, she thought. I cannot go back to Luke and my daughter, I know that. But here with Nick? This might be something, at least. Sigh.

The uncertainty of the ending made me think that whatever happened to Offred, I hope she makes it. I really, really hope she makes it.

Sorrowful at most, The Handmaid’s Tale made me ache. It was beautiful in its tragedy.

 

Paperback Edition, 400 pages

Published by Seal Books

 

maria

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Book Review: Horde by Ann Aguirre

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Young Adult > Science Fiction | Post Apocalyptic

(Razorland #3)

The horde is coming.

Salvation is surrounded, monsters at the gates, and this time, they’re not going away. When Deuce, Fade, Stalker and Tegan set out, the odds are against them. But the odds have been stacked against Deuce from the moment she was born. She might not be a Huntress anymore, but she doesn’t run. With her knives in hand and her companions at her side, she will not falter, whether fighting for her life or Fade’s love.

Ahead, the battle of a lifetime awaits. Freaks are everywhere, attacking settlements, setting up scouts, perimeters, and patrols. There hasn’t been a war like this in centuries, and humans have forgotten how to stand and fight. Unless Deuce can lead them.

This time, however, more than the fate of a single enclave or outpost hangs in the balance. This time, Deuce carries the banner for the survival of all humanity.

Book 1: Enclave review       Book 2: Outpost review

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Awesome finale, you guys!

*whispers* Thank you, Ann Aguirre. Thank you.

I couldn’t resist pushing, just a little. “So it won’t bother you if I find someone else?”

His jaw clenched, and I saw the muscle move before he got it under control. “I thought you said you’d fight for me.”

“And you said it’s too late.” I offered him a faint smile along with his watch. “So it’s a good thing I don’t intend to listen to you.”

Out all the 2013 final book releases that I’ve read (Reached, Boundless, Champion, Requiem, Allegiant), Horde can actually stake a claim as the best and most amazing finale! It can sing loud and clear: Shine bright like a diamond. This is how a series should be wrapped up, people! The inevitable war (that actually happened!), the bloodshed (of characters I love and hate), and the love that survives (even if one was broken). It is truly an outstanding final book from one of my favorite authors, Ann Aguirre. Woot!

I was hesitant when Deuce was tagged as humanity’s best hope agains the Freaks. I mean, she’s just a teenage girl, a Huntress yes, but still in her teens. But Ann Aguirre laid out the development of her character solidly, that I began to hope. Gone was the Huntress who had nothing but her skills to kill. Now, she is a Huntress who will fight to the death (because of Fade and her new family), and if she was to die, she will take as many Freaks as possible with her. 😉 Deuce was so badass!

Fade is a complicated one, but coming from Outpost, I have to accommodate his insecurities. And here lies Deuce’s strength – for no matter how hard, or how cruel Fade was in pushing her away, she shoves back, with her unrelenting love, unbent faithfulness for him. So many swoon with these two!!! I love how their relationship was built, and forged to withstand the despair of their world. *fist pump*

The war was awful, gory, and with casualties (everything I savor in battles!). My emotions were running high during that part, for fear that Ann Aguirre will break, break my heart. But I approve, Ann Aguirre. What a fantastic way to end Razorland series!

Destruction and desolation, that has always been the theme of Deuce’s world. But amidst the chaos and fear, she learned how to be a friend, a family, a partner. Most of all, she learned to hope.

Deuce and Fade FTW… always. 😀

I get it. You’d rather have him, broken, than me whole. If that didn’t clarify my chances with you, nothing would.

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HORDE by Ann Aguirre

Ebook, 432 pages

Published October 29th 2013 by Feiwel & Friends
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5/5 stars

Book Review: Rebel by Amy Tintera

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Young Adult > Science Fiction | Dystopia

(Reboot #2)

After coming back from death as Reboots and being trained by HARC as soldiers, Wren and Callum have finally escaped north, where they hope to find a life of freedom. But when they arrive at the Reboot Reservation, it isn’t what they expected. Under the rule of a bloodthirsty leader, Micah, the Reboots are about to wage an all-out war on the humans. Although Wren’s instincts are telling her to set off into the wilderness on their own and leave the battle far behind, Callum is unwilling to let his human family be murdered. When Micah commits the ultimate betrayal, the choice is made for them. But Micah has also made a fatal mistake . . . he’s underestimated Wren and Callum.

The explosive finale to the Reboot duology is full of riveting action and steamy love scenes as Wren and Callum become rebels against their own kind.

Book 1: Reboot review

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It was better than I expected! And that “off-with-his-head” moment was so awesome. 😀

I thought Rebel was better than Reboot. It could be that reading Callum‘s POV lessened my irritation towards him, because he’s an okay guy. Minimum sappiness? Check. Thank goodness!

Wren is still as badass as her number implies: One Seventy Eight. Showdowns between her and Micha were priceless :)) Her mentor Riley made his appearance in this sequel. This was the reboot who shot at her multiple times during training just so she can get over her fear of guns. He’s the reason why Wren survived HARC’s training. But Wren was confused, because now, he’s joking around her, hugging her, even! I liked him. He’s amused about Wren leaving HARC over a boy, a reboot under Sixty, no less! But in the end, he broke my heart. =(

I also like Gabe and Callum’s brother, David. These are only kids compared to the human rebels, and yet they understand more the need for humans and reboots to unite in order to bring down HARC.

Rebel is not lacking in action. Amy Tintera was not afraid to spray some blood, and break some bones. Having said that, I think Reboot series is a worthwhile read. I am glad that I gave romantic Callum another chance. Ha.

Oh, and this is a duology so, score!

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins/HarperTeen for granting my galley request.

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REBEL by Amy Tintera

Kindle Edition, 352 pages

Published May 14th 2014 by HarperTeen
4/5 stars

Book Review: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

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Young Adult > Dystopia | Paranormal

(Shatter Me #3)

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she’ll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

Book 1: Shatter Me review       Book 2: Unravel Me review

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3 books later, I only realized that this is more romance than dystopian (silly me :/). But I am soo glad I am done with Juliette’s idiotic, dramatic tendencies.

Warner? It was nice meeting you. *winks*

Is it too early to declare that Ignite Me is the worst finale for this year? Seriously, it came this close to usurping Allegiant in my list. Tahereh Mafi , what have you done with this series? With Adam? I’m not even Team Adam and yet I despised how his character was massacred utterly and complete in order to give way to the other obvious ending. /wrist

To hell with Juliette. To hell with the abysmal plot. I read this series for Warner, and even that was slightly ruined for me.

Remember Juliette who was whiny and wimpy in Shatter Me? She was all over Adam then. But in Ignite Me, wow. She’s giving him the coldest of the cold shoulder that I have ever seen. Where’s the love, girl? She was panting for Adam in the first book and yet, and yet,

I don’t even know what this is, Kenji. That’s the problem. I don’t know how to explain it, and I’m not sure I understand the depth of it yet. All I know is that whatever this is, I never felt it with Adam.

Adam is a good guy. He really is. But just because he’s a good guy doesn’t make him the right guy for me.

She keeps on saying it’s over between them, but every time he’s not around, she keeps looking for him, and asking Kenji, “where is he? is he okay?” You are selfish, Juliette! Just cut your ties with Adam, damn it. You can’t have Warner, and keep Adam as a friend on a leash. You want everyone to love you, care for you, but that’s just BS. *shouting maniacally* You don’t deserve Warner or Adam, not even Kenji! Fool.

Not that Adam’s character is any better. But I pity him. The way Tahereh Mafi reduced his character to this illogical, irrational, super-mad love-sick puppy was despicable. Way to go, TM. There was not a shred of that Adam from Shatter Me. Not one bit. And he didn’t even showcase his power during the battle. Pathetic turn of events for him who I thought was pegged as the hero.

No – I wanted you. That’s all I wanted. From the very beginning, Juliette. You were it. You were all I wanted.

I love Warner, period. I don’t need Tahereh Mafi  to make all these flimsy excuses on his character. He’s a stronger character if he’s just this unrepentant psychopath. Why, oh why, did Tahereh Mafi  felt to justify all his cruel past actions?!! He did unspeakable acts, just leave it be! It was so obvious that Warner was being set up as this torturous hero, when really, he did all those things, because he needed to survived. And didn’t Adam have a hard life, too? So why is Warner’s character be any different?

Kenji is the most decent, (and James, too). How come Juliette did not end up with him? His character is so energetic and more lovable than Adam and Warner combined. And he truly knows Juliette. Not Adam. Not Warner. It is Kenji who understood that sorry excuse of a heroine.

Ending was surprise! – so ridiculous. Juliette, stepping up as a leader for Anderson’s army? Puh-lease. She cannot even handle two guys without hurting them, she’s still as messed up, and I am expected to believe that she can sustain the revolution. Let me repeat: ridiculous!

Ignite Me? No, thank you. I am ready to forget this series, fuck you very much.

(My copies of Shatter Me and Unravel Me are now for sale. LOL)

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Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Kindle Edition, 352 pages

Published February 4th 2014 by HarperCollins
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2/5 stars

Book Review: Into The Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

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Young Adult > Dystopia

(Under the Never Sky #3)

Their love and their leadership have been tested. Now it’s time for Perry and Aria to unite the Dwellers and the Outsiders in one last desperate attempt to bring balance to their world.

The race to the Still Blue has reached a stalemate. Aria and Perry are determined to find this last safe-haven from the Aether storms before Sable and Hess do-and they are just as determined to stay together.

Meanwhile, time is running out to rescue Cinder, who was abducted by Hess and Sable for his unique abilities. And when Roar returns to camp, he is so furious with Perry that he won’t even look at him, and Perry begins to feel like they have already lost.

Out of options, Perry and Aria assemble a team to mount an impossible rescue mission-because Cinder isn’t just the key to unlocking the Still Blue and their only hope for survival, he’s also their friend. And in a dying world, the bonds between people are what matter most.

Book 1: Under the Never Sky review       Book 2: Through the Ever Night review

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Through the Ever Night is much better IMO. Still, better ending than I thought possible for this series. 🙂

Perry! ❤

Into the Still Blue was not spectacular, to tell you the truth. Although compared to Reached, it’s more quick paced; and compared to Champion, it has more swoon moments.

The best thing about this finale is that Aria and Perry did not waste time. They took what was needed (from each other), and they did what what needs to be done (for each other). Aria is a grown woman now, stronger and more matured than when she was still a Dweller. Perry is more outspoken, and more confident as the Tides blood lord, and Aria’s partner.

But. But.

Roar‘s character was a sore thumb. I understood his grief, but he did not understood Perry’s (and how different his friend mourns for their loss). Roar went from hero to zero for me. And that’s a shame!

Cinder was a loose, loose end. that’s it for Cinder?!!! It was a very abrupt exit for Cinder, this boy who supposedly will be their savior, the one that will usher Aether’s survivors into the Still Blue. It was pretty disappointing that his character was handled carelessly, like that.

The parts that I was so pissed about are these:

(1) Aria’s business with Kirra was not settled properly. I mean, c’mon on! I was eager for a cat fight!!! What a letdown.

(2) Perry’s inevitable showdown with Sable was anticlimactic. Lame combat, anyone? Since I first met Sable in Through the Ever Night with Roar and Liv, I wildly anticipated his meeting with Perry. But I was in for a boring battle of the blood lords. 😦

I super loved Under the Never Sky series. But the finale was sort of bland, dampened down to maybe make sure that it has a neat ending. And it was, but I will not call it phenomenal.

Thank you Edelweiss and HarperCollins for granting my galley request.

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INTO THE STILL BLUE by Veronica Rossi

Kindle Edition, 400 pages

Published January 28th 2014 by HarperCollins

4/5 stars

 

Mini Book Reviews: Brooke, Destroy Me

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Young Adult > Dystopia

(Under the Never Sky #2.5)

The only fight she can’t win is the one for Perry’s heart. Following the stunning climax in Through the Ever Night, the Tides have been forced to seek shelter from the Aether storms in a dismal, secluded cave. But Brooke’s memories of the cave go back much further, to when she and Perry used to come here together. That was before Perry fell in love with Aria and before Vale’s dealings with the Dwellers altered the course of the Tides forever.

Now, with her sister back from a haunting year in captivity and Aria lying unconscious in the sick bay, Brooke struggles to put the pieces of her life back together. Without Perry, who is she? And what is her role in this frightening new world? As these questions swirl about her, an old threat to the Tides resurfaces, and Brooke is forced to put the lives of her people before her own. But in taking this step outside of herself, Brooke may finally discover what she truly wants.

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Brooke has this brotherhood going on :/
(*whispers* serial kisser! hmph.)

Brooke sets the mood for Into the Still Blue. While I liked that a minor threat was eliminated here, Brooke’s actions toward certain individuals struck me as inappropriate. Good thing that she’s no match for Aria when it comes to Perry. Yay!

Veronica Rossi gave focus on the ragtag crew that Perry met in Through the Ever Night. These characters are explored, so I’m thinking they will have bigger roles in the final book.

This is a mere glimpse of what is to come to Perry’s people – cowering in fear of the worsening Aether storms, sheltered by a dreary cave.

Forget Brooke. Just get ready for Into the Still Blue!

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BROOKE by Veronica Rossi

Ebook, 82 pages

Published November 26th 2013 by HaperCollins

3/5 stars

…..

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Young Adult > Dystopia

(Shatter Me #2.5)

As Omega Point prepares to launch an all-out assault on The Reestablishment soldiers stationed in Sector 45, Adam’s focus couldn’t be further from the upcoming battle. He’s reeling from his breakup with Juliette, scared for his best friend’s life, and as concerned as ever for his brother James’s safety. And just as Adam begins to wonder if this life is really for him, the alarms sound. It’s time for war.

On the battlefield, it seems like the odds are in their favor—but taking down Warner, Adam’s newly discovered half brother, won’t be that easy. The Reestablishment can’t tolerate a rebellion, and they’ll do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam has ever cared about.

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This is not necessary. Why even bother to write an e-novella when it has no bearing whatsoever on Adam‘s character, and the story’s plot?

Crap.

(Being on Team Warner is not even that exciting anymore.)

It pains me to say that Fracture Me is now a turning point for readers (like me?) if they will like Shatter Me series or not. Let’s not even talk about Team Adam or Team Warner anymore. The fact is, the writing is so unbalanced that if you like Adam, you will be disappointed. But if you didn’t like him, you will be relieved (that you did not root for him).

Like I said, Why even bother to write Adam’s POV?!!!!

Ignite Me – such a spoiler. Do I even care anymore who Juliet ends up with?

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FRACTURE ME by Tahereh Mafi

Ebook , 68 pages

Published December 16th 2013 by HarperCollins

2/5 stars

Book Review: Sapphique by Catherine Fisher

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Young Adult > Fantasy | Dystopia

(Incarceron #2)

Finn has escaped Incarceron only to find that he must defend his right to the throne from another challenger. His life and Claudia’s hang on Finn convincing the Court that he is the lost prince, even though he has his own doubts about being the true heir.

Book 1: Incarceron review

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This is really, really inventive.

You cannot box Incarceron series into one sub-genre alone, for it encompasses dystopian, fantasy, and science fiction. The connections are seamless, as Catherine Fisher weaves this rich story, so intricate that you will be smiling at the ingenuity of it all. Dare I say I understood Sapphique the way I did for Incarceron? In some ways, yes. Because while prequel sets the stage to an astonishing story, Sapphique drew the curtains with a flourish that only fantasy lovers will appreciate.

The complexity of the characters is a strength. Finn is defiant, Claudia is stubborn, Jared is brooding, Keiro is immovable, and Attia is determined. The web of their relationships is askewed at best, but when I think about it, it is best that way. For everyone has a claim, everyone has a motive. Who will triumph in the end? Or could Incarceron herself outplay them all?

It will always be Incarceron who is the star of this series. No matter how deceitful, ruthless, or vindictive she may be, I can identify something in her that is human. Well… why not? a bunch of scientists created her. Incarceron was animated with human antics, and that’s the most enjoyable in this series. =)

The richness in fantasy of Sapphique was mesmerizing. I might favor Incarceron more, but this sequel more than sums up the core of Finn’s story. It was executed astoundingly.

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SAPPHIQUE by Catherine Fisher

Hardcover, 462 pages

Published December 28th 2012 by Dial

4/5 stars

Book Review: Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin

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Young Adult > Post-Apocalyptic > Dystopia

(Ashfall #2)

It’s been over six months since the eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano. Alex and Darla have been staying with Alex’s relatives, trying to cope with the new reality of the primitive world so vividly portrayed in Ashfall, the first book in this series. It’s also been six months of waiting for Alex’s parents to return from Iowa. Alex and Darla decide they can wait no longer and must retrace their journey into Iowa to find and bring back Alex’s parents to the tenuous safety of Illinois. But the landscape they cross is even more perilous than before, with life-and-death battles for food and power between the remaining communities. When the unthinkable happens, Alex must find new reserves of strength and determination to survive.

Book 1: Ashfall review

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You want true and gritty post-apocalyptic? Pick this up.

Freakin’ Mike Mullin got be depressed, hopeless, and downright in despair. *sulks in a corner*

So this is what it felt like: dreading the chapters because every ending of each chapter got me wincing, palpitating, and yup, closing Illium the Kindle (because I cannot bear if Alex dies, or Darla); wishing that I don’t want to get transported to Alex’s post-apocalyptic world (because I don’t think I can survive it); and expecting the worst can happen to Alex’s loved ones (because really, no one is spared during times like this).

It’s time to pray for our survival.

I’ll have you know, that two weeks I was reading Ashen Winter? I was in a current state of sadness (I was so distressed!). That’s how nerve-wracking the story was. I was chanting a mantra just like Alex, please let it end, please let it end.

The scheme of things is even worse than Ashfall. It did not help that Alex is too willful, to the point of being stubborn (to look for his parents). Darla said this is not a good idea. Another scene played: Alex wanted to help someone, Darla said let’s not get ourselves killed. So I’m thinking: Alex just isn’t good in listening?

When Alex realized the consequence of his action, things went from worse to hell-if-i-still-want-to-live-longer-after-this worst. Even I don’t want to get caught up in Alex’s skirmish with the cannibals. *shudders*

The ending was.. hard to take. I thought my heart was already in pieces when I started this book. When I get to the end, it was breaking all over again. How is that possible? *sob*

Mike Mullin can truly write a terrifying story! Ashen Winter was believable. and scary. and incredible.

Thank you Netgalley and Tanglewood Press for granting my galley request.

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ASHEN WINTER by Mike Mullin

October 16th 2012 by Tanglewood Press

4.5/5 stars

Book Review: Countdown by Michelle Rowen

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Young Adult > Dystopia

3 seconds left to live. Once the countdown starts, it cannot be stopped.

2 pawns thrown into a brutal underground reality game.

Kira Jordan survived her family’s murder and months on plague-devastated city streets with hard-won savvy and a low-level psi ability. She figures she can handle anything. Until she wakes up in a barren room, chained next to the notorious Rogan Ellis.

1 reason Kira will never, ever trust Rogan. Even though both their lives depend on it.

Their every move is controlled and televised for a vicious exclusive audience. And as Kira’s psi skill unexpectedly grows and Rogan’s secrets prove evermore deadly, Kira’s only chance of survival is to risk trusting him as much as her instincts. Even if that means running head-on into the one trap she can’t escape.

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So even if there are several holes in the plot, Countdown was enjoyable nonetheless. I especially liked chapter 1 — reminded me of the opening scene of The Saw movie. 😀

This is a quick read.

Yes, the challenges are not that hard to accomplish, and yes, the romance seemed too quick to develop, but the fast pace drove me into sticking with the characters. Rooting for them to win (and maybe hope that Kira and Rogan ended up together). As hurried as the relationship was between them, I admit that those little hot scenes are definite swoon material. *ahem*

The best parts are last few chapters. Made me think that Michelle Rowen will disappoint me, considering all I had going through the book is the romance. But she pulled through. Good twist and good outcome, I say.

If you are looking for a quick dystopian fix, try Countdown. I don’t think you’ll mind the loose ends, and thank goodness this is a standalone.

Thank you Netgalley and Harlequin Teen for granting my galley request.

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COUNTDOWN by Michelle Rowen

Published September 24th 2013 by Harlequin Teen

3.5/5 stars

Book Review: Champion by Marie Lu

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Young Adult > Dystopia

(Legend #3)

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the p
eople of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has.

Book 1: Legend review       Book 2: Prodigy review

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*sob*

How do you move on from an ending like that? =( Oh, don’t get me wrong, because Marie Lu wrapped up Legend series pretty neat. It’s just that.. too little time to say what should have been said, simultaneously time was too long to have the wounds and hurt be healed.

I am nitpicking, because I am so attached to the characters! So emotional with Day and June. My heart still bleeds, I tell you. The letting go broke my heart more than the giving up did.

Day is battling to stay alive every day, while protecting his brother Eden from the Republic’s dangerous intentions. When June’s life was threatened, Day was backed up against a wall with no options… I will always admire Day’s casual arrogance to masked the suffering he experienced (caused by the Republic), but I think June should be called Champion.

June is caught between serving the Elector, and staying by Day’s side because she believed he has suffered enough. When the ‘big elephant’ in the room between her and Day becomes apparent and utterly unavoidable, June must choose: break her heart, or Day’s?

Last five chapters are the bomb, with June’s last POV making me a mumbling, emotional wreck. She was so brave, I am in awe of her. *eyes shining brightly*

and that Epilogue.. while hopeful, still left me wondering: is this really how they ended??? It was really a good and realistic ending, but since I am heavily emotionally invested in this series, I am wanting more.. of Daniel and June. So very much wanting more. *sniffs*

The war is full mode in Champion. June’s involvement in the plague’s cure was a bit of a stretch for me. And that one time that June exhibited her prowess in military training, she got her *ss whipped. Understandable, since her opponent is older and more experienced, but still.

Nitpicking again. Sorry.

This conclusion was the right blend of rage, loss, and despair. I think Champion truly revealed the answer to the question: Can love ever truly forgive?

(Thank you, Marie Lu for a finale worth a good cry, for a day or two.)

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CHAMPION by Marie Lu

Paperback, 353 pages

Published November 5th 2013 by Penguin

4/5 stars