I am a sucker for supernatural stories, dystopian stories, and YA stories. The first book in Logan Keys’ ‘The Last City’ series ticked all three of those boxes when I read the description on NetGalley. So I was very excited when I was able to read the book.
And all of those things are present in the story. In fact, there are traces of ‘Twilight’ (I’m 99% sure the vampire girl actually watches Twilight at one point), ‘Divergent’ (the place where the lead girl eventually lives is very much a Factionless sort of area), ‘The Hunger Games’ (people are banished to decrepit places while the privileged few engage in many cosmetic surgeries), and ‘The Mortal Instruments’ (there are werewolves and hybrid creature-people and almost magic). Those are the four series that I’ve read so they are my comparison.
None of this is to say that Keys is unoriginal or copied ideas. That’s not true at all. Keys created a world where these things seem to work together, where the catalyst for action is different than in any of the other stories, but where strands from popular culture are woven together in a whole new one.
I originally rated this book three stars out of five but I’m upping it to four stars because, although it didn’t grab me right away and when I read the last page I wasn’t sure I’d want to read more, I realize that it was the first book in a series. First books are meant to set up a world, to explain the world is at it is, and to make a reader want to know more about a character and a plot. All of that was accomplished in this book.
There were dry places, confusing places, and even possibly unnecessary places but, in the time that’s passed between reading it and writing this review… I want to read book 2 as soon as possible!
(I received a copy of THE LAST CITY through NetGalley and Le Chat Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts are my own & my review is cross-posted at Goodreads, NetGalley, and on my blog.)
Books that start with necromancy and end with (apparently) necrophilia should not work, one would think.
But apparently sometimes they do. Just ask Rin Chupeco, or read her book The Bone Witch when it comes out on March 2, 2017. Then you’ll see. Now, according to Amazon the recommended ages for this first book in a coming YA series are 12-17. I read it anyway, because I was lucky enough to get an advanced read copy through NetGalley and the book’s publisher, because just about any book will make me happy. However, I would not let a twelve year old read this book – if I had a twelve year old. Why?
Necromancy, possible necrophilia (at least platonically) are big reasons. But Chupeco also focuses heavily on war and violence and political intrigue… and those topics are important, but perhaps best explained in a different setting.
All that being said… YA books about twelve year old girls who discovers she is a (dark) witch when she accidentally raises her brother from the dead are surprisingly good! I feel it important to mention that said girl, named Tea, is not in love with her brother… it’s a different dead person, see.
The story is compelling on the whole; a collection of city-states vastly different from one another and yet united against destructive mythical creatures, that women are at the forefront of society and the last line if defense against the dragons, that it is a female driven society…
It does falter in places, though. Chupeco has tied a large part of the story to color – the color of dresses, flowers, uniforms, and heartsrune necklaces. Each color has a meaning and there are a lot of colors heavy with meaning. It is nearly impossible to keep it all straight. I hope that final editions have appendices with lists and explanations for readers. I would have liked that. Chupeco also spends a lot of time… organizing. Organizing is a good word. And it makes sense. It is the first book in a coming series so the world needs to be organized and established.
So despite the slow moments of organization, The Bone Witch is a compelling start to a series and I will keep an eye out for the next book. It is going to be good!
Perhaps the best way to start my review of Lauren Oliver’s ROOMS is to say that I have read stranger books. And this book is the good sort of strange.
The “rooms” of the house are perhaps best described as the ghosts who inhabit the house. These ghosts aren’t your average shiny, see-through, wearing what they wore when they died sort of ghosts. There’s no real visible manifestation here. Alice and Sandy, the ghosts, can slam doors and making light bulbs explode so they are classic in that sense.
And they are the best part of the book because of the way they bicker like two touchy ladies stuck together in the same place. Which they are. They could not exist without each other even as they bother each other. I think it is clear that they know this.
The story that weaves things together are the living people who once lived in the house and return after a death. Minna, Trenton, Amy… they all have their own dark secrets, their own walled off areas inside their souls. And everything comes to a head when they enter the “haunted” house.
There is a simplistic air to the story that is deceiving. You think you know the truth about the dysfunction that is the living family and that is the women in the walls. You do not. Even with the sometimes abrupt flashbacks to Alice and Sandy’s pasts, the threads are all tied together neatly at the end for the most satisfying of conclusions.
(I received a copy of ROOMS through the Goodreads First Reads program in exchange for an honest and original review. All thoughts are my own.)