Review for The Bane (The Eden Trilogy #1) by Keary Taylor

The Bane by Keary Taylor

TITLE: The Bane
SERIES: The Eden Trilogy #1
AUTHOR: Keary Taylor
PUBLISHER: Independent
PAGES: 352 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

Eve doesn’t know her history. She was found wandering around at 12 with barely any clothes and no memory of life before the Evolution. TorBane was an exciting new technology that was imbedded cybernetic material into human DNA and make it possible to regrow human organs and limbs. When it was first announced people were overjoyed at the possibility of finally getting the new organ they had been wait-listed for or regrowing the limb they had lost. Something went terribly wrong and the mechanical bits starting taking over. All too quickly the soul was gone and what remained was a malicious Bane determined to assimilate the rest of the population. Eve is now part of Eden, one of the last few remaining human colonies. With 30+ members, they all wondered if they were all that was left of humanity and with the Bane getting more aggressive and cunning by the day, they wondered how much longer they would last.

Eve is that kickass female character that we all want to be. She’s strong, confident, and determined to protect Eden, no matter what. She is somewhat emotionally impaired, having difficulty understanding grief and other strong emotions, but she loves the people of Eden and will protect them until her last breath. She has negative qualities as well, with a low tolerance for deception and a recklessness that can lead to trouble. She also enviable because she can survive with less food and less sleep than anyone else. What I could accomplish if I only needed 4-5 hours of sleep per night is unimaginable.

Then there are Sarah and Avian, a brother and sister who have more or less adopted Eve into their lives. Sarah is kind and caring, helping Eve in any way she can and being the best girl friend you can share everything with. Avian is strong and intelligent. He is the official doctor of their camp, though he never did earn his doctorate. He had a couple years medical training in the army before the Bane started taking over. I find it interesting that the same parents who gave Avian such an interesting name gave Sarah such a boring one. It is pretty obvious from the beginning that Avian has a thing for Eve and I was rooting for them from the moment he gives her that necklace. ::swoons::

West is the other corner in the inevitable love triangle. He’s the outsider, the newcomer who is full of secrets, some about the past that Eve cannot remember. He basically becomes Eve’s stalker, following her around and becoming part of her hunting party and so on. He makes her feel passion, but is that all a relationship should be built on?

Then we have my favorite part, the plot. This had a very I-Robot feel to me, even though the concepts are pretty different, I couldn’t help picturing the bots from I-Robot as the Bane. Robots, even robot-human hybrids, dominating the planet holds a mystical interest for me (except the original Terminator movies, which I will NEVER watch). Seeing the humans outwit the machines is something that just fascinates me, especially when the machines have become so advanced. This mechanical virus spreads quickly. A single touch will infect you and there is absolutely nothing that can save you. With the Bane outnumbering the humans so greatly, how can there be any hope for our survival? Because the members of Eden are determined to live, to survive and annihilate the bots, even if they die trying.

This really is an amazingly intense read, filled with romance and mystery. ****SPOILER****Though the part about Eve being the original hybrid is ssssoooooo predictable.****END SPOILER**** It gets knocked down from 5 stars because I really do loath love-triangles and also because of the ending. No one important dies at then end, but someone is on the brink and I wasn’t happy about it. Really though, if you like dystopians with a bit of romance, this is for you. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did and I can’t wait to read the next one.

****Thank you to Keary Taylor Books for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

TITLE: Wither
SERIES: The Chemical Garden #1
AUTHOR: Lauren DeStefano
PUBLICATION DATE: March 22, 2011
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division
PAGES: 358 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 5 stars

Rhine Ellery lives in a not so distant future where all disease has been cured. Scientists found a way to create perfect embryos that grew into disease free children. Everything has been fixed, no cancers, no colds, and no untimely death. But something goes wrong when these perfect children procreate and their children are ticking time bombs. The males don’t live past 25 and the females drop at 20. This creates a frenzy to find a cure and also pushes the children to marry and mate as soon as physically possible. Things like teen pregnancy and polygamy are now not only common but expected. Crime and poverty have also skyrocketed, with endless orphans scavenging to survive and gathers stealing young girls off the streets to sell into marriages with wealthy men. When Rhine is captured, she wants nothing more than to run away, back to the freedom of life in Manhattan with her twin, but the longer she stays the more she wonders is life in free poverty really better than imprisonment in luxury?

I believe I stated in my last review that I was looking for something to blow me away and this managed to accomplish that. This is the first dystopian I’ve read in a long time, the first one I’ve read this year actually and I’m reminded of why I loved them so much. I always find the worlds completely fascinating. Unlike some, I don’t have a problem with the sometimes preposterous ideas that make up these worlds. I think its fiction and that makes anything possible so as long as it seems well thought out and has a basic set of unbreakable laws of psychics, I’m game. If you can read zombie novels or The Hunger Games without complaining about how ludicrous this idea is, then I don’t think you really have a right to complain about any of crazy ideas. I think Lauren DeStefano does a commendable job building this world, from the hellish first chapter that shocked me with its mass murders to the last one that leaves off with a bit of hope for the future. I was completely enraptured with the raw, dirty feel of this world and the complete bleak outlook of the future. How long can this possibly go on? Once the perfect first generation dies off, which isn’t far away, how long before the doomed younger generation just gives up completely?

Rhine was one of those headstrong feisty characters that you can’t help but root for. She becomes pretty skilled at lying to save her skin, but underneath, you can almost always see the fire and need for her freedom. It was very fascinating to watch some of her ideals fade the longer she stayed in Linden’s world. Will it really be that easy to walk away from this world where everything you could want or need is just a button mash away? Whether she likes it or not, she becomes accustomed to having everything provided for her which will only make things harder if she ever makes it out. I find her ability to still be compassionate and emotional truly spectacular because it would be all too easy to just hate the world and everyone in it instead.

Then there are her sister wives who manage to bond with her. Jenna is eighteen which gives her just two more years to live and Cecily is thirteen which means she’ll outlive both of them. The bond these three manage to form is part of what both makes the idea of polygamy bearable and abhorrent. I understand that none of these women love Linden, except maybe Cecily, but the idea of sharing a husband when the wives would never be allowed the privilege of more than one lover is completely offensive to me. The idea that Linden finds nothing wrong with having more than one wife is also absurd. Speaking of Linden…

I‘ve read a lot of reviews that mention it is completely beyond belief that he could be so naïve about what’s really going on in the world and in his own home but it’s that fact that I really thought brought more life to the story. If Linden were fully aware of exactly how his wives came to be there and what they had left behind, had made a completely informed decision to bring them there, then it would have been so much easier for Rhine and the others to hate him and wish even more for an escape. Having Linden been a genuinely good person who believes he is helping these girls in some way by giving them the life of being his wife(wives) is a genius move in my opinion. It makes all of Rhines choices harder. My one big disappointment is that Rhine never enlightens him. I really would love to read the scene where Rhine tells him what happened to bring them there, the truth about the gathers and Jenna’s sisters and what his father is really up to. I just want to see how he reacts, after the initial disbelief and shock wears off. I want to see what his true colors are and what he does to make things right, if he does anything at all.

When it comes down to it, this book has several things I hate, including (but not limited to) cliffhangers and love triangles, but it is amazing enough that I still gave it five stars anyway and really, doesn’t that say it all?

Review for Magic Hands by Jennifer Laurens

Magic Hands by Jennifer Laurens

TITLE: Magic Hands
AUTHOR: Jennifer Laurens
PUBLISHER: Grove Creek Publishing
PAGES: 224 pages
SOURCE: Borrowed
RATING: 3 stars

I was pretty excited to start this because I really enjoyed Jennifer’s novel, Overprotected. But Magic Hands just didn’t live up to my expectations.

Cort is so desperate for a job that he ends up taking the only one he can find, at a nail salon. Definitely not an ideal job, but the longer he is there, the more he sees that some girls are so two-faced, you can’t tell which one is real. Rachel never lets guys get too close for fear of getting hurt, but when Cort starts to pursue her, can she resist his charm?

Sounds good, right? Guy doing nails? Hilarious and part of it was, but overall, it just felt like it was missing something. Maybe it was the fact that I wasn’t very invested in the characters. I didn’t like Cort much at all. He seemed sweet, but the writing didn’t come off very boy-like. Writing from a male perspective is something not a lot of female authors can do authentically, and I hate to say that this is definitely not a good one. And I don’t just mean because there wasn’t any swearing or explicitly sexual thoughts, he just felt girlish. Maybe it was just me, but I didn’t buy it. Then there is Rachel who came off as the stuck-up rich girl who has guys drooling over her all day but won’t give any of them a chance. It’s supposed to be because she is scared of getting hurt again, but there doesn’t mean she should lead them on like she does. Plus, I didn’t feel any tension or chemistry between the two.

I enjoyed enough of the story to give it three stars, but I almost feel like it doesn’t deserve it. There were just too many issues for me to really get behind it.

Review for Afterlife (Evernight #4) by Claudia Gray

Afterlife by Claudia Gray

TITLE: Afterlife
SERIES: Evernight #4
AUTHOR: Claudia Gray
PUBLISHER: Harper Teen, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 360 pages
FORMAT: Hardcover
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 4 stars

I just finished this and I’m not sure how I feel about it. This final installment of the Evernight series follows Bianca and Lucas when they are forced to go back to Evernight because Lucas was unfortunately turned into a vampire and Bianca into a wraith. When they return, Bianca’s existence is kept secret because they know Mrs Bethany is hunting wraiths and don’t want to risk her safety.

It was a little slow paced and boring for a while, but you finally find out what Mrs Bethany is trying to do, use the wraiths to become human. Apparently, combining a wraith and a vampire restores the vampire to life. That’s a completely insane notion, but in this novel, apparently it’s a reality.

But the ending was rather lackluster. I’ve read a lot of reviews of people pissing and moaning that Bianca stays a wraith, but I wasn’t really that surprised. She has an important power as a wraith and eventually will have a purpose. Lucas being turned back into a human was also the only option besides him committing suicide. The idea of him remaining a vampire was ridiculous. Seriously that’s like Sam & Dean Winchester suddenly deciding that being a crossroads demon for Crowley isn’t such a bad idea. So obviously this isn’t my issue with the ending. The ending between Bianca & Lucas was fine, they’ll have a happy life together and it leaves you with a feeling of hope for their future. My issue was that she didn’t wrap up the other characters stories. Balthazar is going to stay and tend to the horses? That’s shitty, but he’s getting a whole series, so I can deal with that. But what of Raquel? Dana? Vic? Ranulf? Patrice? Maxie? They are all just left kinda standing in the yard of Evernight while Bianca & Lucas ride off into the sunset. I’d like just a brief epilogue implying they all live happily ever after, please.

Review for Midnight (The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3) by L.J. Smith

Midnight by L J Smith

TITLE: Midnight
SERIES: The Vampire Diaries: The Return #3
PUBLICATION DATE: March 15, 2011
PUBLISHER: HarperTeen , an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
PAGES: 567 pages
FORMAT: Hardback
SOURCE: Purchased
RATING: 3 stars

***This review contains spoilers***

This book cannot get more than 3 stars because though it was great overall, one detail completely ruined it. Damon Salvatore dies. Sorry, but this just completely obliterates my good opinion of the book. It does imply at the end, that Damon will come back, but that is a tainted promise after watching him die so painfully.

It really and truly saddens me that this is how The Vampire Diaires series ends…..Yes, I am aware that there are 3 more books slated to be coming out, but guess what? They aren’t written by LJ because the stupid publisher took the project away from her and I’m sorry, but I REFUSE to read any book that tries to follow the plotline of the book series that wasn’t written by LJ.