Friday, 29 November 2013

SECOND CHANCE by David Perry

*I received this copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My rating on this book is undecided, something from 2.5 to 3 Stars but sorry, I cannot be any more generous. This is not because it’s an extremely detestable book which should be burnt to death, no. Second Chance by David Perry is a fairly good thriller which could have been a lot better if more attention was paid towards few, simple tweaks.

My copy had quite a few spelling and phrasing mistakes, I hope they were corrected before publication.

Apart from the similar mistakes on the syntax layer, some issues, in my opinion that needed more attention are these –

First, the premise.
I liked the fact that the thriller was set around pharmacists which I’ve never read before but its sub-plot – the main character who is very devoted to his job has a wife on the deathbed has a chance to save her through a deadly chase. Such a cliché. I’ve read this in so many other books that I’ve lost count.

The main-plot was structured in a treasure-hunt format, which I find really exciting. Well, blame it on Dan Brown but I expected more.

The subject of this “treasure hunt” was something that had the power to revolutionize the whole human history, people would poke each other in the eye for it, countries would go on war and blah blah. But I never felt it. It was conveyed through dialogues many times but I never got the feeling. To me, the whole hunt was like an Enid Blyton’s book instead. Kiddies following breadcrumbs.
I could never acknowledge the seriousness of the situation and it seemed like everything solved itself. The solution to the puzzles came very easily to them, with minimal efforts. A group of people chitchatted for a few minutes and bam! They got the answer. The hunt should have been more complex and interesting, that doesn’t mean more complicating but with more "thrill factor:, more gripping, heart-thudding moments. There were none, not for me, at least.

What I stated above could also have been the side-effect of a plot that didn’t start moving until 60% mark. It took me 5 days to finish this book, the first 30% taking me two days alone! All the characters were introduced in the first quarter, it almost seemed like it had been done in a hurry. To put everything from characters to setting just out there.
In my opinion, it is okay to take your time and introduce in parts, it is not necessary to push everything all at once in the beginning and then not mention the side characters again in the middle of the book because when they are brought up later towards the climax, you rack your brain to remember who they are. Happened with me here. I forgot who’s who.

Let me get back to the point I was actually making. The pacing.
The real chase began at 60% + mark and stayed around 85% of the book. I felt it was too short because Alex Benedict going on a quest was the most attractive part of this book, it is what was supposed to pull the reader in.
Alas, it took me more than 3 days to get properly sucked in but it was over before I had the time to enjoy. This kind of pacing makes you lose interest and everything you read after that seems dull anyway which is why I might have developed so many complaints about this book.

But the little twist at the end actually managed to make me gasp. Points to you there, sir! If I elaborate more on this, I might spoil the secret so I better zip it.

The ending.
Ehhhh, except the aforementioned surprise everything about the ending was predictable but I wouldn’t blame the author too much for it because in books like these, the pleasure is in the hunt and not the prize or its results. So, I’m not going to dwell too much over it but one last thing I will mention is that the epilogue was too long. Long and uninteresting. I directly skipped to the last page and it didn’t make a difference.

2 stars for effort because I know how tough it is to come up with puzzles! And 0.5 for that little surprise element in midst of the climax.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

My take on: INFINITYGLASS by Myra McEntire

4 Stars.

Also find this review on GoodReads and BookLikes.

Way to finish a series!

Mostly in trilogies we've noticed the order goes from Awesome to Awful, mostly last books disappoint us but not here. Nuh-uh.

In Hourglass series the case was completely opposite. Hourglass, the first one was an okay to good book with a very different concept but it just didn't do the trick, there was something missing. But a friend told me to continue the series and read the 2nd book, Timepiece, so I did. And it was bloody amazing. It was narrated by a different character - who also is my favourite in the series. Kaleb <3 
So, of course I was very excited to read the third book which again saw a change of narrator in a different setting which involved crossover of the previous characters towards the end. I was a bit sad about this in the beginning but Ms. McEntire made up for it. Once I got engaged in the book, I didn't even think about others even for a second. 

I am shocked that I loved this book.

I can't believe it, it's been so long since I've actually loved a YA book. This book was simple – good characters, solid plot, cute love story, well planned climax, great ending. There, that’s all it takes to write a valuable YA book and Infinityglass delivered on every level. A teeny tiny thing that I did not like was the writing. It’s fairly good but in some places, especially where the characters tried to describe an event, the language and phrases jumped out at me, they didn't seem very refined. 

Infinityglass is not an explosion of a book which will make you forget everything in the world. It’s plain and simple yet very charming. Same as its 2nd book, Timepiece. I read it long back so I can’t pick which one I liked more but if I ever re-read it, I think I would pick that one because….it’s Kaleb. Come one, guys. It’s Kaleb we’re talking about.

The concept of this series is so weirdly different and when I first read the book I was scared if the author would be able to carry it out properly, turns out, she could but I think she trie, she can create a bigger universe using this subject because I swear, it is very offbeat, it resembles X-Men a little bit but it still is very distinctive on its own and it has the capability of turning into something far bigger and better.

At the end, I recommend this series to all of you who are hunting for a light, fluffy YA series to read because it’s very hard to find one in today’s date.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Much awaited read: ALLEGIANT (Divergent #3)

Mockingjay (Hunger Games), Requiem (Delirium), Sever (Chemical Garden), The Death Cure (Maze Runner) and now we add Allegiant to the list of ya-dystopian-series-finale-gone-wrong. [IMO, Sever was great but some disagree and I have not read Maze Runner, I’m relying on my friend Scarlet’s views here]. Now I’m led to believe that only Patrick Ness can write a perfect ending to a perfect series [Go read his Chaos Walking trilogy NOW if you haven’t.] Before I turn this into “All hail Ness” article let me jump back to Allegiant.

*long sigh*

I can’t write a review this time, I have many scattered thoughts about this book which I’m going to list out so I'm sorry if this feels too haphazard in structure.

First thing, Allegiant is so beyond and disconnected from Divergent and Insurgent, it’s setting so much bigger that it could have been turned into a spin-off series. While reading this book you’ll realise how tiny the previous world was.

Now, I see a lot of people hating this book with a fiery passion, I’m NOT among them. I didn't love it, didn't hate it, neither am I in-between. I felt obliged to read Allegiant because I liked the first 2 books, that’s all. My thoughts about this book are few and not very strong because it didn't matter to me. Just like School Spirits. I don’t want to decide anything because this book is one of those “come and gone” books, which you read and don’t ponder upon.

But as I said, my mind is forced to dwell upon this book for I loved Divergent a lot.
See, Divergent was never a proper dystopia, it doesn't fit the definition at all but V. Roth made it promising by her writing. Divergent and Insurgent with their action sequences, fast pace and mindless fun made the read worthwhile. Plus, Roth is a good writer, you can’t deny that, there are some quotes that are just unforgettable. I never felt deeply connected to the world she created but still I loved it because there is one thing in this series that I really cherish.

And no, that’s not Four. It’s Tris.

Many people find her annoying, unlikable, a jerk but let me tell you this – If there is one heroine I have felt the most familiar with, it’s her. I say my most favourite protag is Rose Hathaway because I want to be like her but a protag that is closest to me is Tris. When I first read Divergent I was surprised by how much I am like her. Her every little thought mirrored mine so it was very comfortable for me to step into her shoes. And obviously, that’s why I agreed with everything she said or did, that’s why I was eager to read a book where I felt I was narrating it. The fact touched me.

But Allegiant is where this bond between me and the book started breaking as I disagreed with the way Tris acted as a litmus test to determine what's right and what's wrong. She set the bar to determine what should be done and what shouldn't and this time I lost the sense of intimacy I experienced with her character.
With Tobias’s inclusion, it became a bit uncomfortable as well. Don’t get me wrong, Tobias’s narration is as welcoming as Tris but the problem is it’s almost the same. I do not like it when an author tries dual or multiple POV but doesn’t master it and that’s what happened here. Tris and Tobias voice is so similar that after reading half a chapter I had to go back and check who’s narrating it.

Finally, the ending.

Choosing the title “Allegiant”, then the cover of the book to the change in setting, it was clear from the beginning that V. Roth was trying to create something different from the very beginning. So, of course the ending followed the same road. I think it was purposely done so people would “talk” about it, to create an instant buzz. 

I’m not unfamiliar with this kind of ending, I've seen a similar closure in another book –which if I mention will spoil both the series for you – and the fact that I had been hearing that “OMG. Allegiant’s ending will break your heart” for the past 2 weeks, it really didn't hit me as hard as it should have, in fact, I had been expecting it.

I have two final thoughts – Either all of this was planned from the very beginning or it wasn't planned at all. Veronica Roth just created it along the way because first 2 books are distant from 3rd book but they are connected in small threads as well. So, I think that either she had planned only first 2 books properly then took all her time to write Allegiant or this had always been her design. I’d actually love to get an answer to this question, if I get a chance I’ll definitely ask her.

I did not hate Allegiant to the extent to break all my ties with this series, I’ll remember it for a lot of things I liked about it and so all the books Veronica Roth decides to write in the future will definitely be in my to-read list. 

My take on: DIVERGENT and INSURGENT (Divergent #1 & #2)

Awesome. Superb. Amazing. Must-read.

Such a fantastic series by Veronica Roth! Personally, I think it’s one of the best Young Adult Dystopic fictions out there. It is totally in the league of The Hunger Games! The third book is yet to be released and I think it might even just be a bit better than THG. Well, we will have to wait and see.

First book  Divergent starts as the story of Beatrice Prior who is about to choose her faction, where she will have to spend the rest of her life. But in the faction test she finds out something about herself which could even get her killed.
Their society is divided into five factions- Abnegation, Candor, Erudite, Amity and Dauntless based on Selflessness, Honesty, Intelligence, Peacefulness and Bravery respectively. At the age of 16 a person has to choose their faction after a series of simulated tests. A person who chooses a faction but fails to qualify for it remains factionless.

This is just the minor theme of the story; the book actually goes much beyond that. The story gets very chillingly interesting and there are some goose bump moments. But one of the best parts about it is the way Roth has described the fighting sequences. The book is filled with action and thankfully Roth’s description is very vivid and accurate. The events in the book get very brutal towards the end but it is just the beginning, 2nd book, Insurgent, is much harsher in comparison to the first one.

The lead character Beatrice is originally from Abnegation, so she has never seen a fierce side of herself because her faction forbids it. But when she chooses a faction which forces her to be powerful she surprises everyone by her strength and bravery. Her character is well-developed; she is a fight back girl with strong morals and a lot of courage and bravery. The second major character, Four, is one of the best things about the book. He is a very determined and passionate guy himself. The way he helps Beatrice hold herself in tough positions is very remarkable. They both support each other in every situation and after everything that happens they still hold on together. Their relationship tells you that if two people are meant to be together, it should be this way, not Twilight way. Keeping each other strong, supporting one another and ready to sacrifice for the goodness others is the way it’s meant to be. Their romance is not promoted very highly, as it is not book’s main theme, but still the amount is sufficient and for one to conjure.
The side characters are not very rememberable. They have a small group of friends which is very daring and adventurous but somehow none of them is not fiery enough to leave a mark. The main attraction is the story itself, the way things work out and unfolds in 2nd book. The ending will leave you at edge which was also the case with Catching Fire.

I can’t pick if I liked Divergent better or Insurgent, both books were impressive and I CANNOT WAIT FOR THE 3rd ONE!