Double Trouble Review: “Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3)” and “Unite Me (Shatter Me #1.5, #2.5)” by Tahereh Mafi


13188676 18481271Title: “Ignite Me (Shatter Me #3)” and “Unite Me (Shatter Me #1.5, #2.5)”

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Genre: SERIOUSLY AWESOME, dystopia, YA, fantasy/sci-fi

Publication Date: February 4, 2014 (both – HarperTeen – North America)

Source: Publisher-provided finished copies

Summary:

IGNITE ME: Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them dowPerfect for fans of Tahereh Mafi’s New York Times bestselling Shatter Me trilogy, this book collects her two companion novellas, Fracture Me and Destroy Me, in print for the first time ever. It also features an exclusive look into Juliette’s journal and a preview of Ignite Me, the hotly anticipated final novel of the series.

UNITE ME: Destroy Me tells the events between Shatter Me and Unravel Me from Warner’s point of view. Even though Juliette shot him in order to escape, Warner can’t stop thinking about her—and he’ll do anything to get her back. But when the Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment arrives, he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner cannot allow.

Fracture Me is told from Adam’s perspective and bridges the gap between Unravel Me and Ignite Me. As the Omega Point rebels prepare to fight the Sector 45 soldiers, Adam’s more focused on the safety of Juliette, Kenji, and his brother. The Reestablishment will do anything to crush the resistance . . . including killing everyone Adam cares about.n, she’ll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew – about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam – was wrong.

☆: UNITE ME – 4/5 stars – a must-have for any “Shatter Me” series fan!

IGNITE ME: 5/5 stars – because who am I kidding? This was ridiculously awesome.

 

Review: Now that, ladies and gentlefolk, is an ENDING. Between “Ignite Me”, “Infinite” by Jodi Meadows, and “Into the Still Blue” by Veronica Rossi, I definitely have three contenders for best concluding trilogy books of the year. But Mafi goes all out in this last installment of “Shatter Me” trilogy – so much so that there’s bullets flying everywhere, as well as broken hearts, and a main character that has made such an amazing progression/evolution that just remembering it takes my breath away. There’s also “Unite Me” (the paper publication of the novellas) to talk about, and we’ll get to those in a bit. But seriously, guys, one of the best novels of the year? It has to be “Ignite Me”.

 

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Review: Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson


SteelheartTitle: Steelheart

Author: Brandon Sanderson

Genre: YA, Thriller, Superheroes

Publication Date: September 24, 2013 (Delacorte Press)

Source: print ARC via Amazon Vine

Synopsis: Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.

But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills.

Nobody fights the Epics… nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them.

And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.

He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.

2.5/5 stars – Great plot, pacing, and worldbuilding brought down by lackluster characters and irritating habits

Approximately eighty percent of my friends fall over themselves for Brandon Sanderson, so hearing he had a YA novel coming out about superpowered human beings in Chicago and one group’s attempts to fight them piqued my interest. After nearly 400 pages of being immersed in the complex world he built for his superhumans, I can’t say I see Sanderson’s appeal. His lackluster characters, bad writing, and irritating habits manage to drain the life out of what should be a fun thriller.

The worldbuilding, pacing, and plot I most often hear praised about Sanderson’s works are here and clear. The classifications David has for Epics take some time to get used to and remember, but the intricate nature of it got me right in the part of my heart I reserve for worldbuilding. Some of its twists surprised me in the best of ways too, though some of them don’t make any sense due to MASSIVE plot holes involving the limits of one Epic’s powers. Were it not for some major pet peeves Steelheart stomped on, the nonstop action of it all would have kept me reading right up until the last page because it’s just. That. Busy. In a good way, of course. We all need a good thriller in our lives every once in a while.

What kept me from tearing through it, then? The lackluster characterization, to start. David is the kind of hero who does everything right, knows everything, sees everything happen the way he wants one way or another, and doesn’t have any internal (i.e. character flaws) or external obstacles. Some would even call him a Mary Sue/Gary Stu. Whatever he is, he a dull hero with a threadbare personality. He’s the best we get too; his love interest Megan and his fellow Reckoners are no more thoroughly characterized.

The closest thing David has to a flaw is his habit of making bad metaphors and making fun of them later, but what should be an endearing writing quirk quickly becomes annoying. The other major quirks–a calamitous overuse of childlike fake curses like “calamity” and “sparks” alongside people pointing out how little everything makes sense but going with it anyway–are no less irritating and act as major obstacles to the kind of one-sitting reading experience this book should be. There are only so many times I can stand to see someone shout “Calamity!” in the middle of a bunch of action scenes before a sanity break becomes necessary.

I keep hearing his adult fantasy novels are out of this world, so this one bad experience hasn’t been enough to remove Sanderson’s work from my radar completely. It does give me pause, but he’s still going to come up if I ask about adult fantasy reads and all the hype has me curious. All that is certain is that I won’t be sticking around for Firefight, book two in the Reckoners series because this book about superhumans isn’t quite super enough. (The pun had to be made. It ALWAYS has to be made.)

Review: “The Feros (The Vindico #2)” by Wesley King


16101025Title: “The Feros (The Vindico #2)”

Author: Wesley King

Genre: YA, Superheroes, Magical Reality/Paranormal, Contemporary

Publication Date: June 27, 2013

Source: Publisher-provided Finished copy

Summary: After using your newfound super powers to defeat the most evil villains on the planet, what could you possibly do for an encore?

After defeating their villain mentors, the Vindico, James, Hayden, Sam, Emily and Lana are finally ready to join the League of Heroes. But as their induction into the League draws near, they are framed by a group of rogue Heroes and given life sentences on the Perch.  Thunderbolt, the League’s leader, is the only one who can clear their names, but he is missing. To make matters worse, the Vindico are mysteriously let out of prison and a group of strange Shadow people start trailing the teens’ every move. Unsure of who to trust or where to go, the teens put their new skills to the test once more as they fight to save themselves—and their families—from an unknown foe. But how will they defeat an enemy they can not see?

☆: 3/5 stars – a solid follow-up, but not much growth since book 1.

Review: So, I kind of wrestled with this one, guys. I’d been looking forward to “Feros” ever since I heard “Vindico” was getting a second book, but it feels like this book has a bit of middle book syndrome going on. Or so it felt to me. I feel like this one could have been a lot stronger, but King chose avenues where that just didn’t happen. But that’s okay, as this is a really solid sequel to the first book (and my standards can be ridiculous sometimes), and that certainly doesn’t disappoint. If you liked “Vindico”, definitely checkout life after with our heroes in “The Feros”.

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Review: “Tiger & Bunny: Volumes 1 & 2” by Sakakibara Mizuki


A14861-1553487631.135162758716146012Title: “Tiger & Bunny: Volumes 1 & 2”

Author: Sakakibara Mizuki

Genre: Manga, Superheroes, Comedy

Publication Date: April 9, 2013 (Volume 1), July 9, 2013 (Volume 2 – Viz – North America)

Source: Edelweiss Review Copy

Summary: The official manga tie-in to the international smash-hit animated series!

Volume 1: Superpowered humans known as NEXT appeared in the world 45 years ago. Some of them fight crime in the city of Stern Bild while promoting their corporate sponsors on the hit show “HERO TV.” The people love their superheroes, even if they don’t completely understand them, and not all of the NEXT use their powers for good.

Veteran hero Wild Tiger has years of experience fighting crime, but his ratings have been slipping. Under orders from his new employer, Wild Tiger finds himself forced to team up with Barnaby Brooks Jr., a rookie with an attitude. Overcoming their differences will be at least as difficult for this mismatched duo as taking down superpowered bad guys!

Volume 2: Kotetsu and Barnaby are the first NEXT superhero duo, but they’ve got a few differences to overcome if they’re going to learn to work together. A reality TV show intruding into their daily lives doesn’t help, but a bomb threat just might get them to cooperate. Then a misguided surprise party leads to a NEXT-involved diamond heist!

☆: 4/5 stars – a great new series in which everyone will find something to enjoy!

Review: This is going to be a combined review for volumes 1 and 2, so be warned, there may be some spoilers lurking ahead. But I’ll try to keep them to a minimum. After watching the anime series last year, I totally fell in love with the world that is “Tiger and Bunny”. I’ve grown to love anything with superheroes in them, especially ones that are able to make fun of themselves. I think everyone’s going to fall in love with the “Tiger and Bunny” series like I have, and I think everyone will find something to like in it, too. If you’re looking for a great new superhero manga (or anime) with lots of wackiness and fun, definitely choose “Tiger and Bunny”.

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Review: “The Vindico” by Wesley King


Title: “The Vindico”

Author: Wesley King

Genre: YA/MG, Superheroes

Publication Date: June 14, 2012 (Putnam/Penguin – North America)

Source: Traded-for Hardcover

Summary: The Vindico are a group of supervillains who have been fighting the League of Heroes for as long as anyone can remember. Realizing they’re not as young as they used to be, they devise a plan to kidnap a group of teenagers to take over for them when they retire—after all, how hard can it be to teach a bunch of angsty teens to be evil?

Held captive in a remote mansion, five teens train with their mentors and receive superpowers beyond their wildest dreams. Struggling to uncover the motives of the Vindico, the teens have to trust each other to plot their escape. But they quickly learn that the differences between good and evil are not as black and white as they seem, and they are left wondering whose side they should be fighting on after all . . .

With fast-paced action, punchy dialogue, and sarcastic humor, this high-stakes adventure from a talented new YA voice pulls you in from the first page.

☆: 3.5/5 stars – a solid debut, but feels more like a MG than a YA book.

Review:  Okay, so…I was hoping for something a bit more of a harder YA rating with this book, and so on that note I was a bit disappointed. However, I think that “The Vindico”, with its very accurate description of “X-Men meets Breakfast Club” is going to be great with the mid-to-older MG crowd and is a very solid debut as such. Especially with the superhero genre experiencing a renaissance on a scale not seen since the Silver/Iron Age of Comics, I think that this one is going to be a hit with fans of “The Avengers” and “X-Men”. Its look at the genre is a nice fresh breath of air that I think YA and MG readers alike will enjoy.

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Review: “Shatter Me” by Tahereh Mafi


Title: “Shatter Me”

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Genre: YA, paranormal, superhero, dystopia, romance

Publication Date: November 2011 (expected)

Synopsis: Juliette hasn’t touched anyone in exactly 264 days. The last time she did, it was an accident, but The Reestablishment locked her up for murder. No one knows why Juliette’s touch is fatal. As long as she doesn’t hurt anyone else, no one really cares. The world is too busy crumbling to pieces to pay attention to a 17-year-old girl. Diseases are destroying the population, food is hard to find, birds don’t fly anymore, and the clouds are the wrong color.

The Reestablishment said their way was the only way to fix things, so they threw Juliette in a cell. Now so many people are dead that the survivors are whispering war- and The Reestablishment has changed its mind. Maybe Juliette is more than a tortured soul stuffed into a poisonous body. Maybe she’s exactly what they need right now.

Juliette has to make a choice: Be a weapon. Or be a warrior.

☆: 5/5 – a “shattering”  debut that can’t be ignored!

Review: First off, thanks to HarperTeen for sending me a copy! You guys made my month with that (and have my heart forever). Now, for the review. I LOVED IT. I won’t lie, and I hope to god this gets a movie sooner rather than later. Mafi’s writing has a very cinematic quality to it without reading like a screenplay. This book had everything I wanted and hoped would be in it. This is Juliette’s search for identity after being jailed for a horrible crime she hadn’t known she was able of committing, and how it literally changes her life in a very ugly new world. I think any young adult will very easily relate to Juliette’s story, however fantastic it sounds (and is) with the questions of “Who am I, and what am I capable of?”. I know I did.

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