Review

Review: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) by Aimee Carter

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1 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Me throughout most of this book?

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Yeah. Where to begin? First of all, let’s address the fact that NOWHERE is it explained why Kitty’s society is like this. The people are ‘ranked’ on their seventeenth birthday, given a number from I to VI, with VII only applying to the President and his family. If you’re anything below a III, then it pretty much means you disappear from society in ~mysterious circumstances~. GEE I WONDER WHAT THEY COULD BE? Why does no-one question this?!

The only background information that we get for why this system is in place is because the economy crashed. Sorry, what? Did the people turn feral the moment Wall Street went down? How did everything get built back up? Why are the ranks the best solution? Why can people only have one child? Answers on a postcard, please.

Major issue #2: the ranking system is a big con and NO-ONE REALISES IT. Seriously. If you’re a higher ranking member of society, you’ll be able to access better facilities including healthcare and education. So if you’re raised in a Rank IV environment, you will receive a worse education than those raised in Rank V and VI, meaning you’re more likely to get stuck in that system, then repeat with your children, their children, etc. How has no-one in this society worked this out? That was my immediate thought as soon as I read about the rankings. Kitty is later told this is how it works and is all like ‘Oh yeah that explains it!’… really Kitty, really. No wonder you were marked a Rank III.

And major issue #3, the thing that SERIOUSLY pissed me off and made me want to slap some sense into Kitty?

She would rather become a prostitute to stay near her boyfriend than be given a safe job and be sent to another state.

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I just… yeah. That should have set off the alarm bells really. At first I thought their relationship seemed okay, Benjy was someone Kitty had grown up with so it wasn’t insta-love, she wasn’t all despondent about the idea of them being different ranks and it seemed she was thinking more of Benjy’s feelings than their romance. And then she does a complete 180 and makes this ridiculous decision and I just immediately gave up on her as a character.

Oh, there were so many other reasons… Kitty’s virginity is being sold off after she makes her truly awesome decision of becoming a prostitute to keep her teen romance alive, and she is bought by the President. He needs her because she has the same eyes as his niece – who died a week before in a skiing accident. Apparently they can do all this ridiculous surgery to completely transform someone, but the eyes can’t be changed! Contacts? What are they? So yeah, Kitty is ‘bought’, smuggled out of the brothel and wakes up a week later completely transformed. And she really doesn’t seem that freaked out by the fact that these people have abducted her and utterly changed her appearance into that of Lila Hart, the President’s niece, without her consent. Cool.

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AND THEN OH GOD THERE’S MORE.

Lila has a fiancee. A fiancee that Kitty now has to marry, as Lila. A fiancee that I can see her eventually falling in love with and then oh no LOVE TRIANGLE. Towards the end of the book she also has to do something really big in order to save her life and those of whom she loves, and she chickens out halfway – where is her sense of self-preservation?! It really frustrates me when people talk big about how they will protect their loved ones, but they can never go through with it. And one final thing – I am expecting the next book or somewhere in the series to reveal that Kitty’s parents were VIs or even VIIs and therefore she is ~special~. But I won’t know, because I won’t be reading book number two, no thank you.

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Review

Blog Tour + Review + Giveaway: The Returned by Jason Mott

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4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

I’m proud to be taking part in TLC Book Tours‘ tour for The Returned by Jason Mott! In this post you will find a review of the book, a little bit about the author and a giveaway.

If someone that you had known and loved, long since passed away, suddenly turned up on your doorstep, how would you react? This is what the Hargreaves, and others around the world in The Returned, have to deal with.

The book raises a lot of interesting questions, and demonstrates many of the possible responses through the actions of different countries throughout the world. It is something that would divide people, and certainly does in the little Southern town of Arcadia. After years and years, family and friends will have moved on and accepted the death of a loved one. So how would they feel when that person, who has been missing from their life for so long, suddenly appears as if nothing ever happened?
Like the Hargreaves, many people are terrified of the idea – until it affects them personally. Lucille refers to the Returned as ‘devils’, and Harold doesn’t show any strong opinion. That is, until their son suddenly appears, fifty years after his death and eight years old once again, looking exactly as he did on the day that he drowned. By this point Harold and Lucille are in their seventies, past the age and energy level of being able to look after a young, hyperactive child, but he is their son – or is he? Is he really their son, who died fifty years ago, or is he an apparition, a clone, anything but?
The Returned have the memories and habits of the people that they once were, and the book  never really addresses whether they are anything other than those people – it’s pretty much left open to the reader. The book also points out a few other problems with these ‘miracles’. What do you do when a spouse, partner, boyfriend or girlfriend who died all those years ago suddenly reappears and wants to be with you? What if you had someone else, a new family? How about people who were murdered – could they name their killer?
So many questions! It really is a thought provoking book.
The Hargreaves are a sweet old couple, Harold grumpy but with a soft spot for his wife, and Lucille a lot tougher than she originally seems. Both characters develop at a good pace over the course of the book, recent events causing them to question their own beliefs and morals.

It was nice to have various interludes all over the world of the Returned appearing, but I think a bit more of that would have been better. As it was, it felt a little like it was only affecting the town of Arcadia, rather than being a worldwide occurrence. Apparently there are some shorts covering other characters and places, but I really wouldn’t have minded that in the main storyline. There were also no stories of any Returned being upset or confused by the time skip, or age differences with loved ones – in fact they barely seem to bat an eye at their parents or lovers suddenly being fifty years older.

Jason Mott chooses to ignore writing any explanation for the Returned, and it isn’t really questioned by many of the characters. Instead he delves straight into how people would react or feel, he plays brilliantly on emotion and character development. I think this was the right choice; by leaving out any reasoning behind the sudden appearance of the deceased he leaves it very much open to the reader to decide how and why, whilst probably also widening the target audience for the book.

Overall, this was a very enjoyable read. Slow-paced to start with, it picks up and ends with a shock. It had me really thinking about the situations within the story and how I would react if I were part of them, and it’s always great when a book gets you to interact that way.

About the Author

 

Jason Mott holds a B.A. in fiction and an M.F.A. in poetry, both from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, and is the author of two poetry collections. His writing has appeared in numerous literary journals, and he was nominated for the 2009 Pushcart Prize. Jason lives in North Carolina. The Returned is his first novel.

Website | Goodreads | Twitter

The Returned is also being made into a television series, entitled Resurrection! Optioned by Brad Pitt’s production company, Plan B, it will air on ABC in the US this autumn.

Giveaway

 

Review

Review: Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter

Goddess Interrupted (Goddess Test #2) by Aimee Carter

3 out of 5 stars

I was really excited for this book, and was sadly rather disappointed by it. I absolutely love Greek mythology, so any book involving it – especially an interesting modern take on it – is a must read for me. But I think it was actually my love of and interest in Greek mythology that ruined this one for me.

 

Firstly, it took me a while to work out which god/goddess was which. I just had to know who was who, whereas for some readers that might not be such a concern. They all have modern names, and whilst some of them have names starting with the same letter as their Greek counterparts, others seem completely random. Not to mention naming Demeter Diana, which is the Roman name for Artemis – plus some characters, such as Adonis, still had their Greek names. I really wish there had been a guide to the gods – which there was, at the very back, so hard to spot on the Kindle version! It would’ve been much better to put that right at the start. I did manage to identify all the gods though, through both their powers/attributes, and then by process of elimination… (i.e. Sofia being one of the ‘big six’, and she isn’t Hera or Demeter, so she must be Vestia).

I think the only reason I managed to work out who was who is because I have read and studied so much about Greek mythology – there really wasn’t much to set them apart, and they didn’t seem very ‘god like’ to me.

Also, if you know anything about Greek mythology, you should know: never trust the gods. They’re scheming, selfish and see humans as their playthings. And have a penchant for incest… Carter tries to get around this by explaining that although the gods are all a big (not so happy) family, family is a very loose term. They’re not related by blood, but they don’t have another word to explain how close they are. Yet at some moments the book seems to claim X is related to Y etc, and others they’re not. I can understand it would be a tricky thing to get around, since incest is not exactly a topic you’d want to cover in a book like this, but Carter just doesn’t quite pull off the ‘not family’ thing. Theo and Ella’s (Apollo and Artemis) relationship was a bit odd. They’re twins, yet they seemed like a couple – or maybe they weren’t actually related in the book? I can’t tell!

Plus – the idea that Henry (Hades) is a virgin?! He’s a god. Hades stole Persephone away, then tricked her into eating pomegranate seeds so she had to stay in the Underworld during autumn and winter. I’m sorry, but I can’t see a guy like that still being a virgin. There are so many legends where various gods (and occasionally goddesses) rape humans, or trick them into having sex by transforming into their husbands or partners (that’s how Heracles was born – Zeus transformed into his mother’s husband and slept with her).

The main villain was Calliope (Hera) along with Cronus – and she did some very uncharacteristic things. Hera was the goddess of marriage and fertility, and despite all of Zeus’ philandering, she remained loyal. Yet in this story she is anything but.

Honestly though, despite all my moaning about the gods and the mythology, the story was well-written, flowed nicely and had none of the usual annoying Young Adult traits (apart from the occasional moaning on Kate’s part, but it wasn’t too much). The story is nicely paced, with some slower chapters that reveal more about the characters, and a couple of action-packed scenes. Overall, I think the mythology part ruined it for me, which is a real shame. If the book appeals to you, go ahead and read it – but if you have an in-depth knowledge of Greek mythology, some parts may make it a more difficult read.

I would recommend it for anyone who enjoys Young Adult novels, and is bored of the usual vampires/werewolves etc. Aimee Carter has come up with a fun, exciting twist on the usual supernatural YA novels, and I can’t fault her writing.

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