Genre: Dystopia

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Review: The Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons

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I received this book for free from Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Glass Arrow by Kristen SimmonsThe Glass Arrow by Kristen Simmons
Published by Tor Teen on February 10th 2015
Genres: Dystopia, YA
Source: Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group
Buy on Amazon

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road in Glass Arrow, the story of Aya, who lives with a small group of women on the run from the men who hunt them, men who want to auction off breeding rights to the highest bidder.

In a world where females are scarce and are hunted, then bought and sold at market for their breeding rights, 15-year old Aya has learned how to hide. With a ragtag bunch of other women and girls, she has successfully avoided capture and eked out a nomadic but free existence in the mountains. But when Aya’s luck runs out and she’s caught by a group of businessmen on a hunting expedition, fighting to survive takes on a whole new meaning.

The Handmaid’s Tale meets Blood Red Road? Sign me up! And unlike most times, I actually agree with that description. The Glass Arrow is a story about a girl living in a terrifying world where women are sold like livestock to the highest bidder. Fortunately for her, she has been raised in the wild, away from it all. Until now… she gets caught by hunters and she’s shown no mercy.

Being a fan of Kristen’s Article 5 series, I had high hopes for this one. Even though I didn’t absolutely love it, it does have a lot going for it that I think many will enjoy. The world building is what I found to be the book’s best quality. We’re shown the ins and outs of this cruel world from the beginning, both outside and inside the city. The plot itself, however, is fairly slow paced throughout. We spend a lot of time imprisoned in solitary, brooding, planning, and longing for freedom. While this can get a bit monotonous at times (more on this in a sec), it does allow for some excellent character building. We get to know Aya quite personally – how she thinks, why she reacts the way she does – until she becomes a part of ourselves. She’s definitely not flawless, and a couple of times I wanted to scream at her for what she was about to do, but it was easy to put myself in her shoes and understand what led to her decisions. She shows kindness in the midst of cruelty, and that’s rarely a mistake.

I did struggle for the first half of the book, though. During her imprisonment, Aya does nothing but plan her escape. Her determined attitude makes it easy for us to root for her, however, there are so many failed attempts and botched plans that I began to get frustrated. Combined with the slow pacing, I felt like these instances were nothing but attempts at building excitement, but then went unrewarded. Maybe to mask the fact that we were moving at a snail’s pace? Except it only highlighted the lack of progression, in my opinion. Having someone try and fail over and over again is discouraging, and left me feeling annoyed instead of sympathetic or eager.

Eventually we do start moving forward. The least 40% or so is full of adventure and excitement and hope and bravery. Our view of this world gets more complex as we delve deeper into the different factions, we meet a few more secondary characters, while learning intriguing twists along the way. A bit of romance shows its head in this final chapter, too, but it’s still fairly low-ball so don’t expect a very romantically-inclined story at all. It’s more about family and survival in a world where death could be a mercy. Fans of survivalist stories are likely to take a liking to this one, as long as you don’t mind its unhurried nature.


3 Hot Espressos

In the Afterlight Dream Cast & Giveaway!

In the Afterlight Dream Cast & Giveaway!

Posted by on 10/28/2014 • 8 Comments

It only took the 1st book for me to become a big fan of Alexandra Bracken, and  today I’m happy to have her drop by the blog to show us her Dream Cast for 5 of the characters in this series. First, here’s the details on the most recent release in series which is out TODAY!

In the Afterlight Dream Cast, by Alexandra Bracken

Oh man oh man oh man. The number one question I get from readers is who I’d want to see cast in a film version of The Darkest Minds. I have to be up front and tell you that I don’t know that there’s any actor out there who perfectly fits the way I imagine the characters’ appearance… but there are a few…

Review: The Treatment by Suzanne Young

Review: The Treatment by Suzanne Young

Posted by on 04/21/2014 • 20 Comments

There’s always something nerve wracking about going into the sequel to a book that you loved. I was a huge fan of The Program so my hopes were high that The Treatment would follow in it’s awesome footsteps. I am saddened to report that it really didn’t. This novel fell so flat with me that I almost DNFed it about 3 times. But then I would think about how much I loved The Program and how since this is a duology this was the last book in the series and I just had to see how everything played out.

I’ll start this out by talking about what didn’t work for me because the beginning was just a train wreck in my eyes and then the novel started to get better…

Review: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Review: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Posted by on 03/19/2014 • 27 Comments

I had high expectations for Plus One, especially with how much I enjoyed Monstrous Beauty last year, but unfortunately I didn’t click with this one. I won’t fault the writing itself, Fama still has a way with words. My problems mostly lay with the plot and world building.

While the setting itself is interesting in many ways – involving a society divided by night and day, characterized with social divides and discrimination – I found its raison d’être quite flaky. The idea of a whole epidemic being stopped by a simple night and day solution feels improbable, and many questions about the overall workings of this world still remains. The brief explanations we do get require some suspension of disbelief that a world like this could successfully establish itself….

Discussion Review: The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams

Discussion Review: The Haven by Carol Lynch Williams

Posted by on 02/12/2014 • 18 Comments

Jenni: Ok, Giselle, The Haven, what did you think?

Giselle: Well I’m going to admit that my 3 star rating surprised me because I almost DNFed this one during the first 30%. It was so full of typos and annoying capitalizations that I found SO ANNOYERZ. Like: “If they bother you, come to the Nurse’s Station for a change in your Tonic.” It kept jarring me out of the story. Did you notice that? Maybe I was nitpicking because nothing was keeping my mind from roaming.

Jenni: I did notice the capitalizations, but I found that it was always a place in the Haven or the name of a product inside the place that was capitalized so I kind of got into the groove of it and was able top…

Review: Three by Kristen Simmons

Review: Three by Kristen Simmons

Posted by on 02/07/2014 • 13 Comments

I used to say that there was nothing worse than reviewing sequels, but I officially take that statement back because reviewing the third book in a series is definitely worse. There are people who can manage without spoiling anything and I just don’t get how they do it. So be prepared, there will probably be spoilers up ahead. Note: Scratch that, I actually managed to make this spoiler free!!!

What can I say about Three that I haven’t already said about Breaking Point and Article 5 hmm… Well, I can say that the action in this one is pretty constant just like the first two books in the series. The pacing of these books is always a highlight for me because it just never lets up. Even in the calmest…

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Review: Red Rising by Pierce Brown

Posted by on 01/24/2014 • 32 Comments

What an intense thrill ride! Red Rising gives us one meticulously built strategy game with a large cast of colorful characters who represent social status in a whole new perspective.

Ultimately, the Red Rising Trilogy is a story of rebellion, and this is its first chapter. Set on Mars, we’re introduced to an intimidating oligarchy government where your color decides your fate. Darrow, a Red – the lowest of the lows – is surgically enhanced to look like a Gold, and here’s hoping he can successfully infiltrate and beat the system. This whole color classification did not have me completely convinced, I will admit. Pinks for pleasure, Golds for “gods”, Reds for slaves and so on. No question that it’s fascinating, even not so far from the racial disparities that…

Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Review: Uninvited by Sophie Jordan

Posted by on 01/08/2014 • 39 Comments

A quick read that leads us into a dystopian society where future killers can be identified with a gene test. The last thing Davy expected was to be found positive – her perfect life as a popular, smart, future Julliard student down the drain.

What I found very interesting about this dystopian story, and also one that makes it stand out from the others, is how it doesn’t completely start out as one. We get to see the actual developments of a very scary dystopian society where people’s rights become non existent, and extreme measures are unfairly taken to control the country. It’s set in the not-so-far future where this HTS Killer gene is well-known and government control is beginning, but we experience through our protagonist’ eyes the change…