by Faber & Faber
In a near future, society is segregated according to whether people are genetically disposed to mental illness. 17-year-old Ana has been living the privileged life of a Pure due to an error in her DNA test. When the authorities find out, she faces banishment from her safe Community, a fate only thwarted by the fact that she has already been promised to Pure-boy Jasper Taurell.
Jasper is from a rich and influential family and despite Ana’s condition, wants to be with her. The authorities grant Ana a tentative reprieve. If she is joined to Jasper before her 18th birthday, she may stay in the Community until her illness manifests. But if Jasper changes his mind, she will be cast out among the Crazies. As Ana’s joining ceremony and her birthday loom closer, she dares to hope she will be saved from the horror of the City and live a ‘normal’ life. But then Jasper disappears.
Led to believe Jasper has been taken by a strange sect the authorities will not intefere with, Ana sneaks out of her well-guarded Community to find him herself. Her search takes her through the underbelly of society, and as she delves deeper into the mystery of Jasper’s abduction she uncovers some devastating truths that destroy everything she has grown up to believe.
I tried to get into this one, halfway through and incredibly bored I deduced that it was clearly not for me. The plot is taking a lot of detours that I find quite pointless, seemingly used as filler material. I don’t like the protagonist that much. The world isn’t very believable, especially how this is supposedly only a few years in the future. Society could never change this drastically in such a short time, particularly considering how controversial it all is. Along with inconsistent perspective changes and improbable happenings that are simply ridiculous, I could not motivate myself to finish this. It certainly doesn’t give anything new and interesting in a year filled with dystopian novels.
Griffins are supposed to be extinct. So when Yukiko and her warrior father Masaru are sent to capture one for the Shogun, they fear that their lives are over. Everyone knows what happens to those who fail him, no matter how hopeless the task.
But the mission proves far less impossible, and far more deadly, than anyone expects – and soon Yukiko finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in her country’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled griffin for company. But trapped together in the forest, Yukiko and Buruu soon discover a friendship that neither of them expected.
Meanwhile, the country around them verges on the brink of collapse. A toxic fuel is slowly choking the land; the omnipotent, machine-powered Lotus Guild is publicly burning those they deem Impure; and the Shogun cares about nothing but his own dominion. Yukiko has always been uneasy in the shadow of power, when she learns the awful truth of what the Shogun has done, both to her country and to her own family she’s determined to do something about it.
Returning to the city, Yukiko and Buruu plan to make the Shogun pay for his crimes – but what can one girl and a flightless griffin do against the might of an empire?
I know a lot of you are glaring at me right now, but this one was not a fun read for me, at all. Having to look up words every 30 seconds, using an annex to keep all the world terms straight (which is an immense pain on an eReader), and being confused as heck because even with all of that, the language is just too foreign… this is not fun, lovelies! Not fun at all! I know the second half is apparently epic and worth studying for 12 hours to get through the beginning, but dude… Sure the heroine is fantastic and strong, and the world may be especially vivid, but if I need a set of Encyclopedias and dictionaries at the ready when I’m reading, no dice! The cover is cool, I’ll give you that.
The Treachery of Beautiful Things
by Dial Books
A darkly compelling mix of romance, fairy tale, and suspense from a new voice in teen fiction
The trees swallowed her brother whole, and Jenny was there to see it. Now seventeen, she revisits the woods where Tom was taken, resolving to say good-bye at last. Instead, she’s lured into the trees, where she finds strange and dangerous creatures who seem to consider her the threat. Among them is Jack, mercurial and magnetic, with secrets of his own. Determined to find her brother, with or without Jack’s help, Jenny struggles to navigate a faerie world where stunning beauty masks some of the most treacherous evils, and she’s faced with a choice between salvation or sacrifice–and not just her own.
As some of your know, I’m very picky and hard to please when it comes to fantasy novels. The Treachery of Beautiful Things did not have any of the qualities that keep my interest in this genre. I was finding I didn’t care for the characters still at 65% in; the MC is easily swayed and a little too “damsel in distress” for my taste, so I called quits on this on knowing it wouldn’t garner more than a 2-star if I forced myself through it. I could see those who are big fans of fantasies/fairies enjoying it. Though you’d need to like the old school fairy tale style protagonist.
Two young women from totally different backgrounds are thrown together during World War II: one a working-class girl from Manchester, the other a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a wireless operator. Yet whenever their paths cross, they complement each other perfectly and before long become devoted friends.
But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends has to bail out of a faulty plane over France. She is captured by the Gestapo and becomes a prisoner of war. The story begins in “Verity’s” own words, as she writes her account for her captors
This is the truest case of “It’s not you, it’s me” while reading, and DNFing, a book. I knew this was over my comfort zone to begin with. But I wanted to give it a try as it does sound like a good story – and it is, it was just too much for me. Too much piloting and plane details I didn’t get. Too many war specifics that I didn’t completely understand. I can easily see that if you can get into it it would be a fantastic novel, though. The narration is wonderful and the reason I kept reading so long–DNFed at 70%. So don’t dismiss it on my account. It’s a truly poignant story that has a lot of weight. I can see it becoming a true classic to be talked about for years to come. So it’s very unfortunate that I wasn’t able to get through the off-putting elements.
What books did you DNF this year?