Tag: Dystopian (page 1 of 30)

BOOK REVIEW: Warcross by Marie Lu (Warcross #1)

BOOK REVIEW: Warcross by Marie Lu (Warcross #1)by Marie Lu
Purchase on: Amazon
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

Oh man. Marie Lu KILLED it. This was phenomenal, and easily one of my favorite books of 2017.

I don’t even want to say much about the plot (hah if you know me, I normally like to go into books blind anyway). I’ll just say this – Emika is a kick ass heroine struggling to survive in a world where digital reigns. But she does something unexpected, which leads to a domino of events that land her in a crazy cool situation with the maker of Warcross.

Thats it. That’s all you get.

Hah okay but seriously… I am not a huge sci fi/futuristic/dystopian (not sure if this is actually dystopian though) fan. I’m a fantasy reader, point blank period. However, I LOVED Ready Player One, mostly because I played World of Warcraft for years when I was in college (heyo to my gamer friends.) And if you’ve read Ready Player One, you know its the perfect balance between fun references to crazy intense plot line, and it appeals to an audience beyond the themes it references. It was a freaking great story.

The same can be said about this.

Right now, my husband is actually reading my ARC of this and loving it. Like when we read Ready Player One together, he’s constantly nudging me and freaking out because Marie Lu knows her stuff. (Oh my gosh there’s a certain reference to WoW that had me actually screaming.)

But even if you have no gamer knowledge or you’re intimidated by books like this – trust me, don’t pre judge it. The story is damn fun and full of feels. Marie Lu has a way of sucking you into her characters, and her writing is so easy to follow. Not to mention, this is one of the coolest worlds I’ve read about, and Emika is so thoroughly developed in the beginning of the book that you’re instantly drawn to her and rooting for her hardcore.

You guys, I enjoyed EVERY. SINGLE. PAGE. The whole book is so well written and holy crap, I think I jumped out of my bed a few times. Oh man. I wish I could say more, but there are some FUN plot twists. I guessed a few, but oh Marie Lu got me in the end. But try not to go in with expectations. Just get pulled along with the plot and have fun.

AND HOLY CRAP SLDFKJ:SLKFDJ BOOK TWO AHHHH I NEED IT NOWWWW. That set up… ermergershalkdjfal;skdfj.

***

Initial pre-review:

If you like Ready Player one, read this book.
If you didn’t like Ready Player one, read this book.
If you read only fantasy(like me), trust me, take a break from it and read this book.
If you liked this book, read Ready Player one (once the trauma wears down.) And then come off the high of RP1 and read this book.

Basically read this book.

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – The Invasion (The Union #4) by T.H. Hernandez

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – The Invasion (The Union #4) by T.H. Hernandez

If you haven’t discovered this series yet, I can’t recommend it highly enough! It’s a young adult romantic adventure set one hundred years after the second civil war. And it's soooo addicting! Check out my 5 Star Review below and enter a giveaway for the series along with a gift card! Enjoy!

BOOK REVIEW + GIVEAWAY – The Invasion (The Union #4) by T.H. HernandezThe Invasion (The Union #4)
by T.H. Hernandez
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

They failed. Evan and Cyrus risked everything to keep the Uprising from attacking the unarmed Union, but something went terribly wrong. Evan’s home has been invaded by soldiers who are killing government officials and occupying the homes of her fellow citizens.

Captured by the Uprising, Evan fights for her life and her sanity, desperate to escape so she can find Cyrus and her family.

Reeling from an unexpected discovery, Cyrus is adrift until he uses his Uprising training to find a way to fight back against the invading force the only way he knows how.

With the help of old friends and new, they will do whatever it takes to protect each other and those they love, even if it means sacrificing being together, their way of life, and even their very lives.

Review:

If you haven’t read this series yet, you can check out my review for the first book, The Union, by clicking here.

The Union Series continues to be one of my top favorites!  Especially since romance, action, torture, twists, friendship and political intrigue filled the pages!  So it was impossible for me to put this book down.  I had to know what happened next, since so many of these characters have become embedded in my heart.  I treasure the time I get to spend with them, and they make my emotions run from gut wrenching to over the moon happy.  So of course The Invasion continued to cement my love for this series.  I mean each time a new book comes out I think now this one is my favorite.  There’s no way she can top it.  And then she does.  I’m always floored!  The Invasion is definitely one of my favorite books!

The chill becomes ice, turning my blood to slush. Two words repeat in my head: we failed. – Evan

So I thought I would talk about certain aspects or moments in The Invasion that made this a solid 5 Stars for me.  And they are –

* Evan’s Struggle With Torture

Death will be welcomed when we’re done.
They have finally broken me. – Evan

The level of pain and the events that happened to Evan made this book so much more than I ever thought it could be.  It was intense, emotional and I sobbed for Evan.  I tried to be strong for her, but the extent of what happened to her, I just couldn’t.  I felt gutted to the core, it was all so real and I was beyond terrified for her.  I’m not one who can usually handle torture, but I survived through it and it made me feel that much closer to Evan.  Plus the ramifications of what happened to Evan, and how it affected others, was brilliant.  

* Evan & Mateo’s Bond

Mateo cradles my face, forcing me to meet his dark gaze. “No one’s ever gonna hurt you again. I promise.” – Evan

I loved that Mateo became such a great friend to Evan.  He quickly became a favorite in the last book, The Invasion, so I was ecstatic to see he had such a prominent role in The Uprising!  We got to witness Mateo be fierce, protective and caring towards Evan.  And that made me fall so hard for him. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed that when this series wraps up, he’ll get his HEA.  Possibly with someone I will not say, but if you read this series then we may be on the same page? *wink wink*

* Character’s Growth – Lisa and Colin have grown up so much in my eyes.  And in The Invasion, they became true adults and stepped up to the game when they were needed.  They were brave, took charge of situations and have become so much stronger than who they were in The Union.  I have become so proud of the both of them!

* Evan & Cyrus Figuring Out Their Relationship

God, I don’t deserve her. That’s the only thing I can focus on as I struggle with my thoughts, wrapped around her, doing my best to protect her, even though I failed her over and over. – Cyrus

Evan and Cyrus have come a long way too, since The Union.  They’ve learned that they continually have to work on their relationship and communicating to one another.  Especially since so many outside factors try and tear them apart.  And while they still fight at times, I love that their relationship is built on trust, respect, friendship and love!  Their struggles individually and together have made their relationship that much stronger.  I truly believe they’re almost to the point where together they will be a force to be reckoned with!  

I’m learning that not facing the horror doesn’t make it disappear, instead it eats away at my subconscious, waking me at night with hoarse screams that rip from my soul. – Evan

Now how this book ended?!  It left me SO excited for what’s to come!  While I’m dying to know what happens next, I love where it left off.  And I love how we got more answers to some questions and more pieces to the puzzle.  It’s continually coming together, and I can’t wait to read the next book in this series!

Fuck fate, I’m done here. – Cyrus

PS My hatred of Bryce was cemented again in this book *smiles hugely*.  Is it wrong that I’m happy that others could possibly seethe with anger or hatred towards him because of what he did in The Invasion?!  Gah, I just love to hate that guy, and I’m not sorry at all lol!

*ARC kindly provided by Author in exchange for an honest review*


Get You Copy Today:

Amazon | iBooks | Barnes & Noble | Google Play | Kobo | Goodreads

 

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), & Book Depository (click on book #)
The Union by T.H. Hernandez
The Union #1
Review:
Jen
the ruins th hernandez
The Ruins #2
Review:
Jen
The Uprising (The Union Series #3) by T.H. Hernandez
The Uprising #3
Review:
Jen

The Invasion #4
Review:
Jen

Add To Goodreads:

The Union #1: Goodreads 
The Ruins #2: Goodreads
The Uprising #3: Goodreads

 

About TH Hernandez:

When not visiting the imaginary worlds inside my head, I live in San Diego, California, with one husband, three children, two cats, and one dog. In addition to my day job as a technical writer and editor, I write young adult fiction. I love the intensity of teen emotions and the way they’re still figuring out life. When I’m not writing, you can find me with my nose in a book, hanging out with family and friends, hiking, or knitting. I’m obsessed with Facebook, young adult novels, bad lip reading videos, pumpkin spice lattes, microbrewed beers, and the San Diego Chargers.

Goodreads | Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Instagram | Author Amazon Page

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BOOK REVIEW – The Revolution of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #2) by Amy Engel

BOOK REVIEW – The Revolution of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #2) by Amy EngelThe Revolution of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #2)
by Amy Engel
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

*** SPOILERS FOR 1ST BOOK***

Beyond the fence. I am still alive. Barely.

My name is Ivy Westfall. I am sixteen years old and a traitor. Three months ago, I was forced to marry the president's son, Bishop Lattimer—as all daughters of the losing side of the war are sold off in marriage to the sons of the winners. But I was different. I had a mission-to kill Bishop.

Instead, I fell in love with him.

Now I am an outcast, left to survive the brutal savagery of the lands outside of civilization. Yet even out here, there is hope. There is life beyond the fence. But I can't outrun my past. For my actions have set off a treasonous chain of events in Westfall that will change all of our fates—especially Bishop's.

And this time, it is not enough to just survive...

*** SPOILERS FOR THE BOOK OF IVY***

Review:

The Revolution of Ivy was such an entertaining Dystopian that I quickly devoured!  I enjoyed where the story went and how everything was fabulously wrapped up!  But while I was flipping through the pages, I desperately wanted Bishop back in the picture.  And I wanted even more for Ivy and him to get their happily ever after.  But I definitely questioned whether that was a possibility.  Not because Bishop didn’t come back, since we’re told in the synopsis that he does, but because I was unsure whether Ivy could get her shit together so they could unite as one. Ivy was definitely my biggest struggle in this book.  But everything else, eeks, it was so much fun!

Too weak and too angry. I hold my good arm out from my side, beckoning into the hot, still air. “Come on,” I yell. “You want me? Come and get me.”

Ivy was thrown out.  Bishop thought she was trying to murder him, and her family let her take the fall.  She was truly all alone.  The situations Ivy found herself in, right after she was thrown outside of the fence, oh my gosh, I was panicky for her.  I kept thinking, okay, that’s enough for now.  And then bam, something else would knock Ivy’s world off kilter and I questioned whether she could survive what was happening to her.  Ivy proved that she was tough as nails.  Her endurance and need to survive was impressive!

I know now that I can survive out here. The question is whether I have the strength to really live.

Ohhh survival.  It’s such a hard subject, since not everything is black and white.  I really, really struggled with some of Ivy’s choices.  She did what she had to do to survive.  Or at least what she believed she had to do to survive.  And oh man, that was such a hard pill to swallow at times.  I definitely got angry with Ivy, actually livid is a better choice of word.  I wanted to make her reconsider some of the choices she made.  And while she did come around, it took longer than I wish it did.

Bishop’s jaw tightens, but he only sounds incredibly tired when he says, “I just want to be with you. Walk next to you, Ivy, wherever you’re headed. That’s all.”

Let me say, I was so ecstatic when Bishop came back.  His faith and devotion to Ivy was beautiful.  His understanding of how she worked and what she needed was breathtaking.  Bishop was everything that was good in their world.  Yes he made mistakes, yes he suffered from some of his decisions, but his heart was so pure and in such the right place.  But, I have no clue how he tolerated Ivy during the time that she treated him like garbage.  She was horrid to him, and there was Bishop, waiting for Ivy to come around and love  him.  I found myself mad at Ivy again, for how she treated Bishop.  And I don’t want to go into all of the details, cause spoilers, but just know that because of a past boyfriend, I got Ivy.  I understood the way she was.  And I was able to forgive her because of that understanding.  But I don’t know if everyone else will be as understanding to Ivy as I was.

My voice already sounds more my own. Stronger. I point to the knife in Ash’s hand. “I need one of those. And lessons on how to use it.”

Not everything was all doom and gloom in Ivy’s new life or her attitude (haha) because she met two characters I absolutely loved, Caleb and Ash.  I liked them the moment I met them, even if Caleb was being a grumpy the first time we met him.  What developed between the three of them was so natural and it made me love every single scene that Caleb and Ash were in.  They added so much depth to the story!

I can live with blood on my hands.

So if you’re looking for a quick, fun dystopian to pick up, you may want to give this one a try!  The story itself was entertaining and that last quarter of the book was so fast paced, I loved it!  It made me even have tears in my eyes and I felt a plethora of emotions in my heart.  Oh, that ending was perfect!  But just realize that you may need to work on your patience with Ivy, even though she does grow throughout the story.  It just takes a while.  Or a little longer than a while.  But ultimately you’ll get to meet Bishop, sigh.  And he is definitely someone you will want to meet!

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
the-book-of-ivy-by-amy-engel
The Book of Ivy #1
Review:

Jen
the-revolution-of-ivy-amy-engel
The Revolution of Ivy #2
Review:

Jen

BOOK REVIEW – The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy Engel

BOOK REVIEW – The Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1) by Amy EngelThe Book of Ivy (The Book of Ivy #1)
by Amy Engel
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

What would you kill for?

After a brutal nuclear war, the United States was left decimated. A small group of survivors eventually banded together, but only after more conflict over which family would govern the new nation. The Westfalls lost. Fifty years later, peace and control are maintained by marrying the daughters of the losing side to the sons of the winning group in a yearly ritual.

This year, it is my turn.

My name is Ivy Westfall, and my mission is simple: to kill the president's son―my soon-to-be husband―and return the Westfall family to power.

But Bishop Lattimer is either a very skilled actor or he's not the cruel, heartless boy my family warned me to expect. He might even be the one person in this world who truly understands me. But there is no escape from my fate. I am the only one who can restore the Westfall legacy.

Because Bishop must die. And I must be the one to kill him…

Review:
Our story was written long ago, and it does not have a happy ending.

The Book of Ivy was so much fun, and I quickly devoured it in two sittings!  It’s just one of those books that you can step right into and easily enjoy it from the first page on.  The characters, the world building, the way the story progressed, it was all so effortless to connect with.  And yes, I’m definitely kicking myself for not picking up this book sooner!

Once I’m safely out of range, I realize this is the first time I’ve spent more than five minutes with him where I wasn’t thinking about the plan or what to do next. Which is exactly what my father and Callie want, for me to act natural, to make it seem real. I should be happy. But I remember Bishop’s laugh, his crinkly nose, the warmth in my cheeks, and can’t help feeling I’ve done something wrong.

The story starts off with us following Ivy, who is on her way to get married to a stranger.  And that stranger is the President’s son, Bishop.  Yet Ivy isn’t looking forward to a happily ever after with her new husband.  Instead, she is looking forward to helping out her family’s agenda, which involves murdering her new husband-to-be so her family can step back into power.  And in the beginning, I was all for that plan.  I hated how the President maintained their population by arranged marriage.  That at the age of 16-18 they were expected to get married and for the women to start popping out babies.  I understood the importance of keeping up their population of 10,000, since the U.S. had been decimated from war, floods, drought, famine etc.  But I also understood the importance of Ivy’s family taking back the power and changing the marriage laws along with a slew of other things.  So I was on board with Ivy murdering the President’s son, but then I met Bishop.

“Sometimes,” he says, voice raw, “I hate this place.” He twists his neck and looks at me, hands still hooked in the fence above his head.
“I know,” I say, barely a whisper. “Me, too.”

Leave it up to me to fall for the man who is supposed to get murdered.  I couldn’t help it, but I loved Bishop!  From the moment he squeezed her hand before the wedding ceremony, I was a goner.  Yup, I’m that easy lol.  If you follow my reviews, you know I’m one of those people who always looks for the tiniest of clues to show that someone is worthy of falling for.  And Bishop gave me so much hope.  He was thoughtful, compassionate, caring and was open with her at times.  And his actions and words slowly started to plant foreign thoughts in her head and mine.   Who could we trust?  Was Bishop being honest or was he tricking Ivy?  I struggled trying to figure out Bishop’s motives, but I definitely didn’t struggle falling head over heels in love with every single tiny beautiful thing Bishop did.

My head knows what a horrible idea this is, screaming at me to stop, that I’m taking things too far, but the rest of me has no such reservations. I have the fleeting thought that perhaps self-preservation isn’t my strongest character trait.

Bishop and Ivy slowly started to get to know each other, after they were married.  It wasn’t always smooth, and they definitely had their share of fights.   But underneath their fights and their uncertainty around each other was always something simmering.  They had the best slow burn romance that continued to burn hotter and hotter as each moment passed.  It was undeniable.  So regardless of whether they were making each other smile, or making each other’s blood boil, there was always that sexual tension.  And it was so, so, so good!

I’ve learned the hard way, we can’t choose who we love. Love chooses us. Love doesn’t care about what’s convenient or easy or planned. Love has its own agenda and all we can do is get out of its way.

While I guessed how a few things would go, one thing went in an entirely different direction than I thought it would!  But that’s probably because I didn’t always agree with Ivy’s decisions.  There were things I wanted her to say and do, or not do, yet she had her own agenda and her own plans.  So I’m nervously counting the seconds until I can pick up the final book and see how it all plays out.  If you’re looking for a Dystopian that is easy to get lost in and has a fabulous slow-burn romance, then I definitely recommend picking up The Book of Ivy!

Reading Order & Links:
Amazon (click on covers), iBooks (click on titles) & Book Depository (click on book #)
the-book-of-ivy-by-amy-engel
The Book of Ivy #1
Review:

Jen
the-revolution-of-ivy-amy-engel
The Revolution of Ivy #2
Review:

Jen

BOOK REVIEW: Carve the Mark (Untitled Duology #1) by Veronica Roth

BOOK REVIEW: Carve the Mark (Untitled Duology #1) by Veronica RothCarve the Mark by Veronica Roth
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Book Depository
Add to: Goodreads

Synopsis:

Fans of Star Wars and Divergent will revel in internationally bestselling author Veronica Roth’s stunning new science-fiction fantasy series.

On a planet where violence and vengeance rule, in a galaxy where some are favored by fate, everyone develops a currentgift, a unique power meant to shape the future. While most benefit from their currentgifts, Akos and Cyra do not—their gifts make them vulnerable to others’ control. Can they reclaim their gifts, their fates, and their lives, and reset the balance of power in this world?

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power—something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is from the peace-loving nation of Thuvhe, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Though protected by his unusual currentgift, once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get his brother out alive—no matter what the cost. When Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. They must decide to help each other to survive—or to destroy one another.

 photo Carve the Mark Quote_zpswovbk5j4.png

Wow. I just…there are times when the words flow out of me in torrents and I can’t stop no matter how hard I try, but then there are times when I have literally one million things to say…and no idea how to say them. This book touched me in a way I’m not often used to-at least, not anymore. A long time ago, when I finally found my favorite genres and what made me the happiest, I was finding a seamless stream of five star books because I had finally found what worked for me. But lately, those streams of winners are harder to come by.

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For one, I’m extremely picky now-I know what I like, down to the very last word, and anything less is unacceptable. It’s no secret to any of my friends that I love all things mayhem, death, destruction, forbidden love mixed with peril peril peril. But not many authors truly, truly give you all those things at once. It’s so rare, anyway. And, because it’s so rare, those authors who do deliver on all things nasty and despicable in the name of love make it impossible to forget who they are.

“You’re a Noavek,” he said stubbornly, folding his arms. “Brutality is in your blood.”

I have this little niche of what I like to call ‘peril authors’. They are my go-to when I want something that isn’t always rainbows and unicorns. Now, I’m not saying the stories don’t eventually end happily…but they leave you with some very nasty cliffhangers. Did I happen to mention that nasty, white-knuckle cliffhangers are literally my favorite thing EVER?? So, these authors, they never shy away from doing what they need to pack a devastating punch. I never go all in when my head isn’t in the right place-after all, even the most dastardly and peril obsessed reviewers need a break from all the heart-break. We aren’t robots, ya know?? And, after a while, if you read hardcore books one after the other, you are bound to become a little bit jaded.

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So, when I was offered this beauty from the publishers of Veronica Roth’s newest MASTERPIECE, I, of course, accepted. For one, what an honor-little ol’ me, getting a book from a best-selling MEGA FAMOUS author before most of the world. It’s crazy, and I did not look a gift horse in mouth-I didn’t hesitate in responding. Secondly, I adored-ABSOLUTELY ADORED-the Divergent trilogy. And not just the first two-all three. Veronica Roth, while a very cunning and devious woman, is someone I wholly admire. Her writing is poetic and flows effortlessly from paragraph to paragraph, page to page. I have ALWAYS lumped her in with my favorite poetic authors.

“A knife,” I said. “A hot poker. A rusty nail.”
“You are more than any of those things.”

And, while she isn’t someone I think of weekly, or even monthly, I have never forgotten her after her shocking finale to the Divergent series. The ‘what-if’s and ‘what will she do next’s were never far from my mind…it has just taken a while to finally see a new book in the works from this spectacular woman.

“And you’re starting to sound kind of cocky, for someone I routinely beat up.”

I know many people are weary of what comes next from the daring author who shocked the world (and that is the LAST time I will mention her former series, because it is doing a great injustice to this beautiful book), and I know there are going to be a million comparisons-it’s just inevitable. But I truly saw something so amazing here-something I never thought I’d see. It would be such a shame to not give this duology a chance because of an uncertain future and phobia of the past. I know everyone is quick to fall in love with main characters (I fell so hard, so fast for these two new characters that it shocked even me) and people are quick to protect those they love—but the love I feel for these two AMAZING characters is so unparalleled, and permanent, that I must insist on reading this the moment it comes out.

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When I looked at him again, he was smiling at me hesitantly.
“You love them,” he said. “All these places, all these things.”

I’ll admit that I was scared of the prospect of space travel-and for that matter, space lingo-but not once did I ever slow down or feel lost as I was racing through this fast-paced, addicting story. And that’s my favorite thing-I never wanted to put this book down. Roth’s passion was reflected on each and every page, echoing to us in a new, inventive way with each arising issue. Each character was created in a delicate manner, making for layered, flawed, and believable characters. These were people you wanted to root for, and you never really knew if they were going to win-in both mental and physical scenarios.

“You and I, we’ve become what we were made to become.”

Their minds were tested in unimaginable and barbaric ways, twisting what they believed and hoped for in life to the point of utter despair. Loyalties were bent and broken, repaired and restored-the boundaries of love and family snuffed out in a manner of minutes. You were forced to pick a side and survive…whether you wanted to or not.

The same thing she always did, only now he noticed-noticed that he knew it, that was; knew her routines, knew her.
And liked her.

Akos is from the peace loving Thuvhe, a wintery world where you have to wear goggles to walk around outside. It’s beauty is unparalleled to its inhabitants, crystallized and serene and snowy as can be. Grays are the norm, much like the environment…which can be seen as dull to others. Cyra is Noavek-Brutal and unforgiving Shotet tyrants who wear blue. Their beliefs couldn’t be any different, nor could the difference in style of life: One place bloodthirsty, unrelenting in its quest for power and dominance. Pain is no stranger here. You can immediately see why our two main characters are the way they are, and you instantly feel for both. Sides are hard to choose and lines are blurred…as becomes evident the farther into the story we get.

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And here comes the good stuff, the stuff that makes this beautiful love story possible. Forbidden love…isn’t it the best thing ever, when done correctly? Yeah. I think so, too. Cyra’s currentgift is pain, Akos’s is to diffuse people’s gift. Both very valuable currentgifts…and both susceptible to manipulation and vulnerable to almost everyone. When paired together without a say in the matter, they realize they can be an asset to one another. Neither is willing to put all their trust in the other, but they also don’t fight what seems to be a tentative alliance. After all, it’s nice having someone who understands you (to a degree), someone who is there to take some of the burden away, who wants to help (again, to a degree-they do have differing conclusions to what they believe to be their story).

“Honor,” I said with a snort. “Honor has no place in survival.”

But, as they get closer, what was once clear begins to become a convoluted cloud of emotions and hope-could they possibly want the same thing?? Is she truly a monster, or can she still be someone who helps make the world a better place? Does she want to help Akos…even at the expense of going against her only brother?

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Akos’s kindness was something that resonated deeply within me right away-but, even more than that, his gradual fierceness. He’s not perfect, nor is he indestructible, but his silent fury mixed with an unrelenting kindness made him an instant book boyfriend that I was absolutely obsessed with. And then Cyra-one of my favorite female leads of all time. Some might say I even have a girl crush. Yeah-serious stuff, right?

“Next time, when something that sounds remarkably like war drums is going to wake me at dawn, could you maybe warn me?”

Cyra deals with pain 24/7. Literally-all day, all night-no matter what. Until she dispenses that pain into an unwilling victim, causing them pain so severe they would reveal their deepest, darkest secrets. She is numb to the power now, her brother’s little torture device. Cunning, witty, and skilled in combat like nobody’s business, she is not to be trifled with-seriously, she’s so badass. But-and probably why my girl crush (on top of my book boyfriend crush (so much win)) is shining so bright-she wasn’t so strong she didn’t have vulnerability or weakness. She lost sometimes. She didn’t always make the right choices. And, if I’m comparing here, I kept thinking of a female book character I really didn’t like…she kind of made up the anatomy of Cyra, here.

It was not hope; it did not soar; it slithered, clawed, and dragged, and it would not let me stop.

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I saw a lot Adelina from Marie Lu’s most recent trilogy. Dark, corrupted, and willing to do what she had to for those she loved-and herself. She had to relieve the pain sometimes, you know? It’s not all about choice. But, see, I hated Adelina. She was okay, I guess, but I found her pathetic and whiny-not here. Cyra took the BEST PARTS of Adelina and made her someone I adored. Okay, I didn’t really read the second or third books of that trilogy, nor is there a direct line that connected these characters in any way-I just got the vibe, that feeling, and I dug it.

“I like to move.”
“I’ve noticed.”

She is a tool of destruction, of torture, she is a key to be used in war-she can bring any one person to their knees with her amazing power-but she is vulnerable to the pain, and to herself-she is resigned to be the monster she was fated to be. But not ONCE does she whine about it-it’s her life and she lives with it daily…And I found that so amazing. She just goes about her life in suffering, trying to (at Akos’s influence) be the best she can be. And, again, she doesn’t always succeed. Did I mention I love her? And Akos? And I ship them? Hm. Well. I’ll say it again: they are everything to me.

He offered touch to me so freely, without realizing how rare it was. How rare he was, to a person like me.

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So, as you can see, I’m hooked. I was hooked from the first part that was in his POV, and I was sunk-line and sinker-when I met Cyra. These two were made for one another, but born enemies. They don’t want to like each other, and they don’t always understand, but…things happen. And isn’t slow burn romance the best kind of romance (especially paired with forbidden romance-HA thought you caught me there, didn’t you)?? Roth’s writing was, as promised, better than ever and even a bit more mature, if that’s even possible. She writes in a way you don’t once get confused about, no matter the content, and makes you physically ache for more. It’s been a long time since I was so stressed out I couldn’t breathe, but more than once I found myself gasping for breath and clutching my heart-stopping and staring at the page with wide eyes as I tried to calm my breathing (maybe this partially has to do with being pregnant, but I say no, I was just super excitable because…excellence at work, people) and get myself under control. I smiled so big without even realizing it that it bordered on embarrassing. I tried, and failed, repeatedly to find errors with the book and why my best of friends wouldn’t like the story (or anyone, for that matter, if I’m being honest), but never once could think of anything. And, if there was something, it was nit-picky and I completely missed it. I don’t know if this book is for everybody, or even what everyone else will think-All I can do is go with my heart and my gut, and they both say this is a winner. I know, without a doubt, that when this releases it will be my (late) Christmas gift to all friends and family that read. I know it’s a certainty I will be rushing to Barnes and Noble on release day to buy myself a hardback of this new absolute favorite. I have found three favorite books this year, all by amazing authors almost everyone loves…and this book tops them all. So, my hope is, with this long-winded review, that I’ve convinced or intrigued almost everyone to give this book a shot. And, for those who are not so easily swayed (or manipulated), honestly, its their loss.

 

*I was sponsored by HarperCollins to share my review, but all opinions are my own!*

**Quotes taken from an uncorrected galley and are subject to change upon release of the finished book**

 

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