Friday, December 27, 2013

Review: All Our Yesterdays- Cristin Terrill

Hardcover368 pages
Published September 3rd 2013 by Disney Hyperion 


"You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain.

Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside. 

Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 

All Our Yesterdays is a wrenching, brilliantly plotted story of fierce love, unthinkable sacrifice, and the infinite implications of our every choice.

My Review

“Time travel isn’t a wonder; it’s an abomination.” 
“But progress is always dangerous, isn't it? Most of the time, walls don't get dismantled brick by brick. Someone has to crash through them.” 

Wow. It has been a while since I read such an eclectic mix of dystopia, sci-fi and romance; and one that has time travel to complete the irresistible package. 

The book was a totally engrossing read from start to finish. The intriguing start with the protagonist's musings about a drain, the subsequent unravelling of secrets and the fast paced wild goose chase, sprinkled with flashbacks to offer explanations along the way, were all perfectly thought out and written.

The plot was nearly flawless and instead of offering baseless and vague reasoning for various events as usually happens in most time travel books, the explanations offered were perfectly understandable and plausible. 

The characters were adorable- whether it be the strong heroine Em and her sweet and naive counterpart Marina, the ever snarky Finn, the evil Doctor or the eccentric James. Finn was totally gorgeous and his ability to not lose his head or humour in even the most challenging situations was admirable. Em's strength of mind and body and her refusal to crack under the grimmest torture dished out by the Doctor was creditable as well. 

“Remember when you used to hate me?”
I laugh-sniff-hiccup. “Well, you used to be insufferable.”
“I think incorrigible is a better word.”
I lean my forehead against the wall and let myself imagine for a moment that it’s his shoulder, warm and firm, beside me. “You’re so full of it.”
“Hey, I just got tortured for you. Easy on the ego.” 

The book posed the major moral question of whether it is right to sacrifice a select few in order to save hundreds. It is the concept of the 'greater good' all over again. Also, is it possible to think about the rest of the world when all you love is at stake? Is it possible to kill the man you love if it meant ensuring a painless future for others? And what about your own past self- the one who is oblivious of everything and can only suffer heartbreak at the end of it all?

The book was a total emotional roller coater. It had me laughing, crying, gasping in shock and nearly pulling out my hair in frustration. And the endingMerlin! The ending was so nerve-rackingly bittersweet! 

Overall, a highly impressive debut by Ms Terrill. I'll definitely be looking forward to more books from her in future.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Review: The Fiery Heart- Richelle Mead

438 pages
Published November 19th 2013 by Razorbill


Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets - and human lives.

In The Indigo Spell, Sydney was torn between the Alchemist way of life and what her heart and gut were telling her to do. And in one breathtaking moment that Richelle Mead fans will never forget, she made a decision that shocked even her. . . .

But the struggle isn't over for Sydney. As she navigates the aftermath of her life-changing decision, she still finds herself pulled in too many directions at once. Her sister Zoe has arrived, and while Sydney longs to grow closer to her, there's still so much she must keep secret. Working with Marcus has changed the way she views the Alchemists, and Sydney must tread a careful path as she harnesses her profound magical ability to undermine the way of life she was raised to defend. Consumed by passion and vengeance, Sydney struggles to keep her secret life under wraps as the threat of exposure — and re-education — looms larger than ever.

Pulses will race throughout this smoldering fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where no secret is safe.

My Review

“Don’t take the high ground and assume you already know what you’ll do. The truth is, when it comes to someone you love, you’ll find there isn’t anything you won’t do.” 

Oh. My. God.

It’s obvious now that Ms. Mead wasn’t kidding when she said The Fiery Heart is to Bloodlines what Shadow Kiss was to the VA series. This is the book where the story actually picks up pace, you see the beginning of another magically intricate plot and there is some real character development to boot.

“It’s Adrian Ivashkov logic. Don’t try to understand it. Just roll with it.” 

TFH was actually Adrian’s journey, one that was full of self-realization. He is no longer the party boy we knew in VA. His snarky and smartass side is never far away, but they are no longer his defining characteristics. Rather, we get to see more of his loyalty and passion, the depth of his love for Sydney, and his readiness to do anything for her. Adrian’s POV was addictive. It made me so damn frustrated when the POV switched to Sydney’s. It was hilarious to see his perspective on certain things and at the same time disturbing to see how much spirit affected him. The things he does and tries to do for Sydney were…well…. nothing short of fantabulous.

“Relax, having kids is years away. But can you imagine? Your brains, my charm, our collective good looks... then add in the usual physical abilities dhampirs get. It's really not even fair to everyone else.” 

“An image of Sydney's face appeared in my mind's eye, calm and lovely.
I believe in you.
My anxiety faded.
I took a deep breath and met the gazes of all those watching me in the room.
Who was I to do this?
I was Adrian Ivashkov.
And I was about to kick some ass.” 

“Moroi shied from the sunlight but as I watched Sydney, I knew without a doubt that humans had been made for the sun.” 

Sydney also comes a long way from hating vampires to loving one to death. Her concern for Adrian and her truces to keep him from using too much spirit and to control his rampant drinking were cute.

 “No matter how long or how difficult, we will undo whatever that Moroi boy has done to you."
I managed a wavering smile, tasting blood in my mouth. "You sure about that, Dad? Because he's done everything to me.” 

It was amazing how the two fit together like two missing puzzle pieces even after being so very different from one another. They complement each other perfectly and though I wouldn’t go as far as to say they have the Rose-Dimirti kind of magic, there is some really strong chemistry to spice things up.

“I'm guessing whatever 'ways' you have in mind aren't Jill-appropriate either." 
"Put your books away and I'll show you.” 

The various Eddy-Jill and Trey-Angeline moments seemed kinda forced though. As did Neil’s infatuation with a certain dhampir. It had none of the flair that Christian and Lissa had as supporting characters and seemed mostly stilted .

The ending was…. painful. A cliffhanger of sorts…again. After TFH’s comparison to shadow kiss, it was predictable but nothing had me prepared for Adrian’s reaction. The intensity and rawness of the emotion…it may have made me shed a few tears.

Overall…yet another stupendous book by Richelle Mead and yet another agonising cliffhanger to wait out until July 2014 until Silver Shadows comes out…

Highly recommended- 4/5 stars!