Sunday, December 28, 2014

Down The Rabbit Hole...Again

Unhinged by A.G Howard is a continuation of the Splintered trilogy. I have to be honest, I read this one fairly quickly and not because it was a "I can't put this book down" kind of thing. If I put the book down, I was afraid I wouldn't want to get back into it.

Let me explain...The book was not horrible, in fact I did like it. However, it has so many complex things happening that it's easy to forget what the heck is going on. Yes, Wonderland is one of those things that is supposed to be crazy and confusing, but it's difficult to keep up. I read the first book last year, and I never returned to it before picking up this one. So there were some things I forgot, and apparently these things resurface in the second one.

Alyssa has been crowned Queen Of Wonderland, which has suppressed the Red Queen's (Red's) power for now. The problem is Jeb, Alyssa's boyfriend, does not remember his courageous actions, or anything for that matter, from their last trip to Wonderland. Almost a year has passed and Alyssa doesn't want to bring back those memories, afraid he won't accept her and the world she came from.

But Morpheus, Alyssa's long time friend from Wonderland, reappears with startling news: Red has found a way into the human realm, and she plans to destroy those dear to Alyssa. She is back for her crown, and only Alyssa, the true Queen of Wonderland can fight back. But Morpheus's constant treats make it clear that this fight is not easily won, and it could be life or death. Alyssa must make the choice she dreaded: take her place and fight back in Wonderland, or stay with Jeb, her parents, and push her netherling past away.

My one suggestion for this book is to read the first one right before it. A lot of plot points can be better explained. The love triangle between Morpheus Alyssa and Jeb is so powerful. Jeb is the white knight that vows to stay by Alyssa despite the tension, and Morpheus is the mythological creature that foresees a future with her and he doesn't always play fair.
 The book left us with a great cliff hanger in hopes for a happy, or somewhat happy, ending. You root for Jeb because he is the wounded bad boy who would do anything for her, yet Alyssa has a netherling magic inside her that she can't escape.
I look forward to the 3rd one, I just have to recap before I start reading it...

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Never Forget the Potential One Solitary Pawn Has to Change The Entire Game

Kitty Doe's fate lies in the hands of the test. In this futuristic world, young men and women at 16 take a test to determine their intelligence. Once the results are found, these children have their marks engraved on the back of their necks. A mark of a IV or V prove a normal life with acceptable jobs, VI or above show great intelligence and therefore receive jobs that are more aligned with the Prime Minister and the high ranked family of Harts.

However, marks of III or lower only lead to meaningless work that no one wishes to complete. Often times in order to make enough money, these people sell themselves to brothels in hopes of a more enriching life.
Then there are those people who disobey and are taken into Elsewhere, which is just as mysterious as it sounds. No one knows what is beyond Elsewhere, but everyone knows this is no place to travel.

Kitty's test results land her a III. The government wishes to send her to Denver to complete her work of sweeping sewers, but Kitty's one choice this night changes the course of events. Her attempts to sell herself at a brothel land her a proposition from the Prime Minister himself: He will change her marking to a VII, she just has to leave her life behind. When she agrees, Kitty does not realize what this VII could mean, or what dangers it presents.
In Aimee Carter's Pawn, Kitty finds herself masked, a plastic surgery procedure where the individual is transformed into another person. In Kitty's case, Lila Hart; the Prime Minister's niece and one of the most powerful people in the world.
Kitty soon realizes this VII meant changing her identity, her world, and becoming Lila, who was killed because her actions were not well liked by the Prime Minister. She begins to uncover secrets, shocking revelations, and she realizes the Harts have no intention to let her go. But she fears for Benji, the boyfriend she left behind. How will she ever be able to make it back to him and explain this? But what scares her the most; the Hart family have all sorts of different agendas. The day Kitty does not serve her purpose, not only will they kill Benji, but what is to stop them from killing her?

I picked this novel up out of curiosity. The idea of marking children for their potential jobs is one that has been seen before, however the government involvement has dark plans. The dark plans aren't for their seems to be a family affair. Each one is against the other, blackmail is common, and it is never clear whose side anyone is on. Knox, Lila's real life fiance, and Greyson, Lila's cousin, seem to be the only two who are 100% truthful. Kitty is no fool, but with each chapter and each new plan, it begins to get harder and harder for her to fight for her control. She is Lila, and it seems as though her hope in ever finding a life with Benji where they can be free is far from her grasp.

I really liked this concept, the family dynamic was very interesting, and the ending does come as a shock. It was so incredible how these people had no regard for human life. The amount of "accidents" and blatant killings was disgusting. But it proved to show there is a rebellion trying to squeeze through. And despite her troubles, Kitty does not plan to sit back and let anyone tell her what to do.
Overall great book, and seems like it will be a great trilogy.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Some Secrets Refuse to Stay Buried...

I wish I can say the book was as good as the tag line, but alas not so much.
Dan Crawford finds himself going to a summer program at a college that was an old asylum at one point. This asylum was said to have housed many dangerous criminals and those in need of psychiatric care. This is a typical old asylum: electric shock, lobotomies, and dusty old rooms filled with files on those patients that could not be saved.
I had high hopes for this novel because I read the description, and the pictures inside are actual photos of abandoned old asylums. So I thought it was a pretty cool concept. However, Asylum by Madeleine Roux was a waste and a disappointment.

The very first thing you notice is how completely clueless and awkward the main character is. Sometimes that is a good thing, but Dan just has something about him that makes you want to hug him, pat him gently on the shoulder, or just completely shake your head. You're not really sure what to do with him. Enter his two friends, Jordan: a gay rebel who hasn't told his parents he's even at this program, and Abby: typical artsy girl and (of course) Dan's love interest.
One of the things that confused me the most was the mood swings Abby and Jordan had. Halfway through the book the two of them just get angry and take turns huffing and puffing while leaving Dan in the dark. To say Dan is the most normal character in the book, or the most likeable anyway, is really something. Not a good something. The more characters enter, the more weird things get. And I don't think this "weird" was what the author was going for.
Abby, Jordan, and Dan have an obsession with going into the closed off corridor where the creepy psych patient's files are. So they meander in there a few things, each time Dan gets creeped out by notes left for him, pictures, his name even pops up on a few of the files.
Turns out, Dan is adopted (who knew) and he's a relative of the old warden of the asylum...shocker I know. So OF COURSE he's getting creepy flashbacks, weird messages, etc. But it's really hard to follow and not because the writing is complicated, just simply because I was unclear what the hell was going on. One minutes Dan receives a note that has a cryptic message on it, the next he has a weird flashback where he's on a gurney waiting to be operated on, and then he starts to see weird shadows. What. The. Hell.
People start to die, get injured, and panic. The cops all start to question Dan because he seems to always be in the area when these things happen. Abby finds out her Aunt was a patient in this old asylum, Jordan has his gay freak out about disappointing his get the picture.

I can say the ending came as a surprise, but I pretty much rushed through it because I just wanted it to end. Even with the ending I didn't feel any real closure to the book. There's a cliff hanger, but to be honest, I didn't really give a crap enough to even read the first page of the second book.  I think the author had a great idea and a really neat concept...but nothing is really explained. Plot points are unaddressed, characters enter and leave so quickly you are unsure who the hell they are, and the main theme itself is not something that keeps my attention. Roux could have done so much with the concept of the abandoned asylum turned college; she could have amplified her characters so they had more important roles and were easier to relate to; and for the love of God she could have explained key things that would have been VERY HELPFUL to have knowledge about.
Not a great read on this one. I am not deterring people from reading this, but I strongly recommend going in with the idea that you will be disappointed. It's too bad because the covers are cool and the overall idea behind the pictures and the plot were interesting. It's just disappointing.