Book Review

The Power by Naomi Alderman

The Power by Naomi AldermanThe Power by Naomi Alderman
Genre: Science Fiction
Release Date: 27th October 2016
Publisher: Viking
Source: Bought
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-half-stars

In The Power the world is a recognisable place: there's a rich Nigerian kid who larks around the family pool; a foster girl whose religious parents hide their true nature; a local American politician; a tough London girl from a tricky family. But something vital has changed, causing their lives to converge with devastating effect. Teenage girls now have immense physical power - they can cause agonising pain and even death. And, with this small twist of nature, the world changes utterly.

This extraordinary novel by Naomi Alderman, a Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year and Granta Best of British writer, is not only a gripping story of how the world would change if power was in the hands of women but also exposes, with breath-taking daring, our contemporary world.

Well, this was a bit boring. I’m massively disappointed in The Power because I picked it up after Alderman won a tonne of awards, including the Bailey’s prize, and I thought it was going to be a modern classic. I was expecting something epic.

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As I Descended by Robin Talley

As I Descended by Robin TalleyAs I Descended by Robin Talley
Release Date: 6th September 2016
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: three-stars

Maria Lyon and Lily Boiten are their school’s ultimate power couple—even if no one knows it but them.

Only one thing stands between them and their perfect future: campus superstar Delilah Dufrey.

Golden child Delilah is a legend at the exclusive Acheron Academy, and the presumptive winner of the distinguished Cawdor Kingsley Prize. She runs the school, and if she chose, she could blow up Maria and Lily’s whole world with a pointed look, or a carefully placed word.

But what Delilah doesn’t know is that Lily and Maria are willing to do anything—absolutely anything—to make their dreams come true. And the first step is unseating Delilah for the Kingsley Prize. The full scholarship, awarded to Maria, will lock in her attendance at Stanford―and four more years in a shared dorm room with Lily.

Maria and Lily will stop at nothing to ensure their victory—including harnessing the dark power long rumored to be present on the former plantation that houses their school.

But when feuds turn to fatalities, and madness begins to blur the distinction between what’s real and what is imagined, the girls must decide where they draw the line.

Talley’s books have been very hit and miss with me so far. I adored Lies We Tell Ourselves, but her second book, What We Left Behind, didn’t live up to my expectations at all. I’d been looking forward to As I Descended, though, because I liked the idea of a genre switch-up. Thankfully, I did really like the book. I didn’t love it, but it was good.

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The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi HeiligThe Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig
Series: The Girl From Everywhere #2
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 28th February 2017
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: four-stars

Nix has spent her whole life journeying to places both real and imagined aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. And now it’s finally time for her to take the helm. Her father has given up his obsession to save her mother—and possibly erase Nix’s existence—and Nix’s future lies bright before her. Until she learns that she is destined to lose the one she loves. But her relationship with Kash—best friend, thief, charmer extraordinaire—is only just beginning. How can she bear to lose him? How can she bear to become as adrift and alone as her father?

Desperate to change her fate, Nix takes her crew to a mythical utopia to meet another Navigator who promises to teach her how to manipulate time. But everything in this utopia is constantly changing, and nothing is what it seems—not even her relationship with Kash. Nix must grapple with whether anyone can escape her destiny, her history, her choices. Heidi Heilig weaves fantasy, history, and romance together to tackle questions of free will, fate, and what it means to love another person. But at the center of this adventure are the extraordinary, multifaceted, and multicultural characters that leap off the page, and an intricate, recognizable world that has no bounds. The sequel—and conclusion—to the indie darling The Girl from Everywhere will be devoured by fans of Rachel Hartman and Maggie Stiefvater. Includes black-and-white maps.

The Girl From Everywhere was one of my favourite books of 2016, so as soon as I saw this beauty available to review, I nabbed it. I waited a little while to read it because I have been in the worst reading slump of all time, and I wanted to make sure I was a) in the mood to read fantasy, and b) prepared to give it my utmost attention. I’m kind of glad I waited so long, because the way this one ended leaves so much room for a sequel that I’m pretty sure is coming. Or, at least, some sort of follow up story. Because that ending was not okay.

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Ivory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh

Ivory and Bone by Julie EshbaughIvory and Bone by Julie Eshbaugh
Series: Ivory and Bone #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: 7th June 2016
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: one-star

Hunting, gathering, and keeping his family safe—that’s the life seventeen-year-old Kol knows. Then bold, enigmatic Mya arrives from the south with her family, and Kol is captivated. He wants her to like and trust him, but any hopes of impressing her are ruined when he makes a careless—and nearly grave—mistake. However, there’s something more to Mya’s cool disdain…a history wrought with loss that comes to light when another clan arrives. With them is Lo, an enemy from Mya’s past who Mya swears has ulterior motives.

As Kol gets to know Lo, tensions between Mya and Lo escalate until violence erupts. Faced with shattering losses, Kol is forced to question every person he’s trusted. One thing is for sure: this was a war that Mya or Lo—Kol doesn’t know which—had been planning all along.

Thoughts before reading this book: Prehistoric world? Fantasy? Sign me up!

Thoughts after reading this book: Oh. Well. That was disappointing.

Is just one book that ticks all of my prehistoric/dinosaur nerd boxes too much to ask for? Apparently so. I was so, so excited about Ivory and Bone before I read it because I’m all for prehistoric settings. Unfortunately I didn’t connect with the way the book is written, and I didn’t care for any of the characters. Bit of a downer.

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This Savage Song by Victoria Schwab

This Savage Song by Victoria SchwabThis Savage Song by Victoria Schwab
Series: Monsters of Verity #1
Genre: Paranormal
Release Date: 5th July 2016
Publisher: Greenwillow
Source: Publisher
Add it: Goodreads
Rating: two-stars

There’s no such thing as safe in a city at war, a city overrun with monsters. In this dark urban fantasy from author Victoria Schwab, a young woman and a young man must choose whether to become heroes or villains—and friends or enemies—with the future of their home at stake. The first of two books.

Kate Harker and August Flynn are the heirs to a divided city—a city where the violence has begun to breed actual monsters. All Kate wants is to be as ruthless as her father, who lets the monsters roam free and makes the humans pay for his protection. All August wants is to be human, as good-hearted as his own father, to play a bigger role in protecting the innocent—but he’s one of the monsters. One who can steal a soul with a simple strain of music. When the chance arises to keep an eye on Kate, who’s just been kicked out of her sixth boarding school and returned home, August jumps at it. But Kate discovers August’s secret, and after a failed assassination attempt the pair must flee for their lives.

Apparently I just don’t get one well with Victoria Schwab’s YA books. I don’t know what it is, but I felt fairly neutral about The Archived books, and unfortunately I felt the same way about This Savage Song. Schwab’s adult books? Wonderful. I adore Vicious, and ADSOM was excellent. Can’t wait to finish the trilogy. But her YA just doesn’t click with me.

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