Thursday, June 26, 2014

Review: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami


Review: Battle Royale by Koushun Takami
Genre: YA (?) I’m not sure.
Warnings: A lot of gore, bloody scenes, mature themes throughout
Buy: Amazon


Summary: Koushun Takami's notorious high-octane thriller envisions a nightmare scenario: a class of junior high school students is taken to a deserted island where, as part of a ruthless authoritarian program, they are provided arms and forced to kill until only one survivor is left standing. Criticized as violent exploitation when first published in Japan—where it became a runaway best seller—Battle Royale is a Lord of the Flies for the 21st century, a potent allegory of what it means to be young and (barely) alive in a dog-eat-dog world.


Review:

Think Hunger Games. Put it through a wood chipper and smash it back together with nails and bolts and blood. Then you’ve got Battle Royale.

The similarities are undeniable, but so is the fact that BR was published in 1999, nine years before Suzanne Collins’s bestselling trilogy. This, I feel, is the original story, and like all original stories, it’s so much better.

Battle Royale takes place in Okishima Island off the coast of Japan, where a class of 42 students is placed and forced to annihilate itself within three days, leaving only one victor standing. It mainly follows the stories of Shuya Nanahara, Shogo Kawada, and Noriko Nakagawa. Be warned: BR is not for the faint of heart. It’s 570+ pages of gore and bloodshed in bitter detail. When I read this back in 2012, I was afraid of writing about it because of how gruesome it is. Though it is known for it’s explicit nature, it also deals with some pretty deep emotional issues that the reader gets to know about as the novel progresses. It leaves room for lots of character development, and we get to see the motivations behind a cast of several characters besides the protagonists. What I like about this story is that we are not only limited to our 3 main protagonists, but that we are given the backstories of several others and get to know them in their own way. Heartbreaking and thrilling, Battle Royale will have your heart pumping from start to finish. Battle Royale being one of my favorite books, I highly, highly recommend.

I gave this book 5/5 stars on goodreads.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green


Review: An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Genre: YA
Warnings: None
Buy: Amazon


Summary: When it comes to relationships, Colin Singleton’s type is girls named Katherine. And when it comes to girls named Katherine, Colin is always getting dumped. Nineteen times, to be exact. On a road trip miles from home, this anagram-happy, washed-up child prodigy has ten thousand dollars in his pocket, a bloodthirsty feral hog on his trail, and an overweight, Judge Judy–loving best friend riding shotgun—but no Katherines. Colin is on a mission to prove The Theorem of Underlying Katherine Predictability, which he hopes will predict the future of any relationship, avenge Dumpees everywhere, and finally win him the girl. Love, friendship, and a dead Austro-Hungarian archduke add up to surprising and heart-changing conclusions in this ingeniously layered comic novel about reinventing oneself.



Review:

Eh… out of all the John Green novels, this is probably the one I dislike the most. This book follows Colin, a bona fide genius who also happens to have gone out with 19 different girls all named Katherine. I had a lot of problems with this book concerning the portrayal of women and the sheer unlikelihood of most situations in this book. I’d say that the only character who was worthwhile in this book was the best friend, Hassan, who provided the comic relief and served as the voice of reason. Everything else about this book was just… okay. It took me a little bit of time to get through it because Colin is borderline unlikable and his qualms are just… whatever.

I gave this book 2.5/5 stars on goodreads.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Review: Paper Towns by John Green


Review: Paper Towns by John Green
Genre: YA
Warnings: None
Buy: Amazon


Summary: When Margo Roth Spiegelman beckons Quentin Jacobsen in the middle of the night—dressed like a ninja and plotting an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows her. Margo’s always planned extravagantly, and, until now, she’s always planned solo. After a lifetime of loving Margo from afar, things are finally looking up for Q . . . until day breaks and she has vanished. Always an enigma, Margo has now become a mystery. But there are clues. And they’re for Q.



Review:
I read Paper Towns more than two years ago, but I still remember it as my favorite John Green book. Many people might disagree with me, but I’ve always found this one to be the superior one out of An Abundance of Katherines and Looking for Alaska. Paper Towns follows the point of view of Quentin, who’s always had a thing for Margo, and one day she vanishes. She leaves clues for him to find, which sends Quentin on a journey of self-discovery and realization that he was not prepared for.

Many people might dispel this novel as an example of the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, but I strongly disagree with this claim. This novel is about dispelling the MPDG trope itself—and it’s sad that so many people can’t see it. Personally, This was the book that made me want to take road trips and experience life for myself and not just center it around something or someone, which is, ultimately, the lesson in this book. I hold this book very near and dear to my heart and it’s one that I would read time after time again (if I had that luxury).

I gave this book 5/5 stars on goodreads.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Review: The Merciless by Danielle Vega


Review: The Merciless by Danielle Vega
Genre: YA Horror
Warnings: Mature themes throughout, gruesome scenes, not recommended for younger audiences.
Buy: Amazon


Summary: Forgive us, Father, for we have sinned.
Brooklyn Stevens sits in a pool of her own blood, tied up and gagged. No one outside of these dank basement walls knows she’s here. No one can hear her scream.
Sofia Flores knows she shouldn’t have gotten involved. When she befriended Riley, Grace, and Alexis on her first day at school, she admired them, with their perfect hair and their good-girl ways. They said they wanted to save Brooklyn. They wanted to help her. Sofia didn’t realize they believed Brooklyn was possessed.
Now, Riley and the girls are performing an exorcism on Brooklyn—but their idea of an exorcism is closer to torture than salvation. All Sofia wants is to get out of this house. But there is no way out. Sofia can’t go against the other girls . . . unless she wants to be next. . . .


Review:

I could say a lot of things about this book, starting off with the fact that this is one of the only YA Horrors that has really surfaced recently. But more than that, it deserves all the hype that it’s gotten. The Merciless follows a girl named Sofia who, upon moving to a new town, befriends a group of popular girls that want to perform an exorcism on an ex-friend of theirs, Brooklyn Stevens.

Throughout the novel, it’s quite unclear whose intentions are good and whose are bad, and more importantly, where do the true intentions lie. I received this book in the mail and immediately tore it open, sat down to read it, and finished it in a few hours. It keeps you at the edge of your seat because you’re constantly changing sides and there are some unexpected twists that keep you guessing and make this a thrill for all who read it. I will say, though, this is a horror novel and, unlike some horror novels, the horror aspect of this book bleeds throughout, it’s not just condensed into a couple of scenes. The first page even comes with a warning saying, For mature audiences only. This is a fantastic debut from Danielle Vega. If you’re into horror and like the prospect of exorcisms, I’d highly recommend this.

I gave this book 4/5 stars on goodreads.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth


Review: Allegiant by Veronica Roth
Genre: YA
Warnings: Some mature themes
Buy: Amazon


Summary: What if your whole world was a lie?
What if a single revelation—like a single choice—changed everything?
What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected?
The explosive conclusion to Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy reveals the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.




Review:

Ah, Allegiant… you have frustrated the hell out of a lot of people, made them throw their copies at walls, made a lot of people cry… and a lot of people hate you. I get it. You had to tie up all the loose ends in the story in 600 pages or less, as well as try to flesh out a romance, deal with a broken brotherhood, and also make half of you act as a history book with information dumps the size of California. But that does not make me like you. No, in fact, I think I join everyone else when I say that your ending put the rest of the series to shame—that’s right, shame. All of the beautiful writing and complex characters have been outshined by your glaring and undeniable flaw which is that you switch out much of the action for slow-paced scenes that shouldn’t make any difference to the story. The fate of many of the characters is ill-deserved, and I believed that your author tried to tie everything as neatly as possible in a pretty little bow for us to carry home instead of extending the plot by at least one more book. And if the extra book was impossible, then at least you shouldn’t have been written in a way that required that much space. Allegiant, I had great expectations for you, as did everyone else who had been following the series for the previous two years, and I have decided to ignore your existence. I’m sorry, but I can’t live with the fact that you are the ending that was given to all these people. You suck, Allegiant. I’m sorry. But we can’t be together. Our love cannot be. With this, I say goodbye to you, Divergent trilogy. I’m sorry you got a shit ending.

I gave this book 2/5 stars on goodreads.