Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Dark parties - Sara Grant - Review

A world isolated by the Protectosphere - a dome which protects but also imprisons...

Neva lives in this isolated, dystopic future where people go missing - as if they've simply vanished - and everyone just seems to pretend they never existed. But Neva keeps a list, a list of names, names of all the missing. 

I had actually had my eyes on Dark Parties for a while so when it came up for review I was so excited! I mean the cover is just to die for! It's stunning! (Though I don't really know where the big, red dress came from?). And I'm a sucker for dystopian story with a side-plot of romance!

Dark Parties was a typical dystopic novel but still unique in its own way. The opening of the novel really drew me in - it was rebellious, intriguing and sexy - everything a YA plot should be. Within the first few paragraphs I already felt connected with Neva, I felt her fear and her passion; she started off as a strong protagonist and maintained this solidity throughout the novel.

The plot was actually quite simple but seemed more complex due to its characters and the secrets they kept. I did feel as though the plot slowed down slightly in the middle and that it wasn't really going anywhere after such a promising start but it picked up its pace towards the end which resulted with a satisfying finish. 

The characterisation has both its strengths and limitations. I thought that the relationships between Neva and her parents and also between Neva and her best friend Sanna were strong and believable, they were well thought-out and evocative. But on the other hand the relationships between Neva, Ethan and Braydon were a different story. This 'love-triangle' was messy and admittedly very sloppy. Ethan didn't really have a set personality, he constantly changed so I struggled to see who he actually was - I thought I knew him at the start but towards the end I was totally confused. Then there's Braydon. The 'instant attraction' wasn't good enough, it wasn't built up well and I just felt like Neva trusted him too easily and liked him too much for it to feel believable. There were no real 'sparks' in the relationships developed in the romance like there were between the friends and family. BUT having said that I still think the romance was a good element of the story.

As a whole I did enjoy this book and I plan on reading the sequel - I'd recommend it to fans of the genre and anyone who's not!

3.5 Stars ***'

Monday, 11 February 2013

Shadows - Paula Weston - Review

Love. Nightmares. Angels. War

Conflicting emotions, instincts and truths collide inside Gaby's head as she tries to figure out who and what she is. What she thought she knew about herself is only a shadow of the truth, but Rafa, the man of her dreams - literally, she's been dreaming of him since the accident that killed her twin - strolls into town to shine a light into the dark abyss inside Gaby's head.

I haven't read very many books about angels (only The Demon Trappers series by Jana Oliver and the Hush Hush series by Becca Fitzpatrick) so I didn't really know what to expect of Weston's twist on the genre. I enjoyed certain elements a lot and others not so much. I'm not sure if Weston's research into angels is accurate (it may well be) but it didn't quite line up with the information I've read about in other novels so I guess you'll find out when you read. :)

I'm going to get my nags out of the way first so that we don't end this review on a downer because I did actually enjoy this novel as a whole. My main concern about this book was that I felt as though I was being told a lot of the information rather than being shown it - I suppose it just could have been slightly more subtle; I know that the protagonist, Gaby, needed to be told some things but I just felt like a whole text book on the history of religion/demons/angels was being regurgitated from other characters so that I found it was hard to keep up.
    Another nag is that this novel included some stronger language (The F word) which I totally don't mind, it's a YA novel and mature at that, but I think it should have been used more... strategically so that it had more of an effect rather than being dumped in dialogue every now and then.
    My final little nag is that characters would say something like "You don't think?.." and another character would cut in and just nod and I'd be sat there like THINK WHAT?! Maybe it's just me being slow but I didn't like how I was supposed to be able to assume what the characters meant (this happened about 3 times throughout the novel).

Those nags aside, I really did enjoy this novel. I wasn't bored, though I wasn't utterly drawn in to start with either, but towards the end of the novel I grew more and more attached to the characters and now that I have turned the final page I am definitely craving more! The small mystery of who can I trust? is fun because Gaby is confused about herself and you're just as keen to find out the truth as much as she is; I mean who can you trust when you remember absolutely nothing?
    The characterisation was what drove this story forward for me though (although there were some good, unpredictable twists throughout the plot too!) as the passion they have for what they believe in and each other is admirable.  I love the 'thing' that goes on between Rafa and Gaby - whatever it is! I also loved the way the relationships between characters altered depending on their situations - allies are those who share the same enemy for sure in this novel.
    My favourite character had to be Rafa! He was cool, cocky and oh so hot! *Swoons* He's one of those I really shouldn't but I will anyway kinda guys. He's been in Gaby's dreams since the accident and now he has waltzed into her life, aggravated her curiosity and stormed her heart.

I think fans of the genre should definitely give Weston's spin on Angels a go, I certainly enjoyed it. 

3.5 Stars ***'