Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Book Review: The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
The Winner’s Trilogy Book 1
Published by Bloomsbury Childrens publishing house
I received this courtesy of the publisher it does not change my opinion
Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.
For a slow to start novel The Winner’s Curse is sure worth a read. It was actually my favourite fantasy novel of last year.

The Winner’s Curse follows the general’s daughter Kestrel an intelligent 17 year old who does not want to make the choice that every Valorian must make at 20; to either marry or enlist in the army. Kestrel just wants to play the piano, which is not a suitable past time, as music is only for slaves. When utterly drawn to a young male slave during an auction Kestrel pays a huge sum for him and she comes away with Smith. With a slightly slow first half this book soon builds into beautiful political plotline and a wonderful romance between two perfect characters.

As I said above this was one of my favourite novels of the year for some many reasons that all just make this a perfect book. It has wonderful world building that never felt like anything was missing or had huge information dumping points. The world had quiet a roman feel that really detailed but not so much that everything felt cluttered. The relationship between the Valorian and the Herrani people was really well developed and explain as the story progressed.

The characters in this book also make it stand apart from the rest just like the world building they are so detailed and amazing that it just makes me smile like a manic to think about it. Kestrel is definitely one of the best female protagonist I’ve read about in a while with her strategist brain and strong will she makes some really hard choices that I’d certainly struggle with. While having such good qualities Kestrel is by no means prefect she is whiny and can some times be irritating but all of this I found made her a well rounded character. Smith or Arin as we find out he’s really called is just as perfectly flawed as Kestrel and that makes their slow burning romance oh so swoon worthy.

The ending of this book is a killer to say the least with out spoiling anything and you can bet your bottom dollar I would fight to the death for the next book in the series. All in all this is a great book to read and I would recommend it anyone.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Book Review: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
Published by Penguin Teen Australia on 7 January 2015
384 Pages
Goodreads Book Depository
Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him.

Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death.

When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink.

This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.

I just spent the last hour in my bathtub sobbing so this isn’t going to be my best review but god its going to be heartfelt so prepare for that. Up until writing this review I actually hadn’t read the synopsis for All The Bright Places, so I had no idea what I was going into and simply picked up the book on the recommendation of Kelly over at Diva Booknerd who said it would destroy me and boy was she right.

This book is being sold as a combination of Eleanor and Park and The Fault In Our Star the later of which I have read. I fall into the unfavourable opinion that The Fault In Our Stars was just okay, as I couldn’t really relate to the characters. This book blew it out of the water. It is really awe-inspiring is how relatable it is I’ve never connected so much with two characters and wished for them to have the best circumstances possible. I personally suffer from depression and anxiety and have at time been suicidal and to say that Jennifer Niven captured every emotion I’ve ever felt perfectly is an understatement. Jennifer Niven truly is a goddess of writing.

 So this book follows what happens when two completely different people meet in circumstances that no one ever wants to meet someone; up on bell tower both thinking about what it would be like to jump.  This is how Theodore Finch and Violet Markey meet and start their adventures. God they have such a beautiful adventures, and even that is understating it.  Dealing with topics like mental illness, post-traumatic stress and most importantly suicide this book isn’t a walk in the park but it is a must read for everyone.

Finch is now officially my favourite male character of all time; I really just want to hug him over and over. He is spontaneous, outrageous, a gentleman and just so alive. Finch has periods where he is asleep to the world and just doesn’t function and this makes him feel different than everyone else. Throughout this book Finch really struggles to find who he is and tries out a bunch of different personas like 80’s Finch and Nerd Finch and god I understood exactly what he was going through. It’s hard being weird and Finch is constantly reminded by everyone at his school that he’s weird. All of these things combine somehow to create the most realistic and beautiful character. On the other side of the spectrum is Violet and she is also perfect.

Violet suffers from post-traumatic after a devastating car crash took her older sisters life and her will to live. She quit all her hobbies, doesn’t drive and wears her sisters glasses like they make her some how Eleanor. Violet is stuck in a constant cycle of want to not live and also be alive that gives her an inexplicable connection to Finch and considering the circumstances they met, they both find it hard to forget each other. I did find that I connected with Finch better than Violet but I think that was purely because I understood him better than Violet.

This book has duel a prospective alternating between Violet and Finch they both had such individual voices without either of them losing the underlying beautiful prose that just captured my heart. I’m not really one for adult book but I’m going to be reading all of Jennifer Niven’s other books just in the hope that it’s there as well. I also really loved that quotes littered this book they ranged from Virginia Woolf to Dr Seuss. Each quote was meaningful well placed and just added generally to the story.

All in all if you’re even mildly considering reading this book please do and if you’re not considering reading it please think about it. I honestly can’t express my love this book enough it really just hit all spots.

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