Oooh, is it mini review time again?
YES IT IS, FRIENDS. Time to play catch up because I read 3193 books and don’t have enough space on this blog for them all. Plus I usually conglomerate books I’m not largely fond of for mini reviews, ergo my rants can be mini and not too insufferable for us all. You’re welcome for my genius.
Generally I combine reviews for books that are similar. And today’s theme is….HAHAHAHAHA I GOT NOTHING. Two are rather sci-fi and one is rather magical. I’d say “FIRE ME, I’M TERRIBLE” except it’s Monday and who really makes sense on Mondays? Exactly no one.
Let us dive in, fiendlings.
Thank you to Hot Key Books and Allen and Unwin for the surprise review-copies!
A MOST MAGICAL GIRL BY KAREN FOXLEE
★★✩✩✩ // published October, 2016
Annabel Grey has been brought up to be a very proper Victorian young lady. But being ‘proper’ isn’t always easy – especially when you can sometimes see marvellous (as well as terrifying) things in puddles. But parlour tricks such as these are nothing compared to the world that Annabel is about to enter…
After the rather sudden departure of her mother, Annabel is sent to live with her aunts. They claim to be Shoreditch witches, and from a very old family line of them too. They’re keen to introduce Annabel to their world of transformation, potions and flying broomsticks (which seem to have strong personalities of their own) but are horrified when Annabel announces not only does she not know any magic, young ladies shouldn’t believe in such things. But before Annabel has time to decide whether she does or not, she is swept into an urgent quest.
The trees of Highgate have been whispering to Kitty – an extraordinary urchin of a girl, who Annabel’s aunts seem very fond of – and so have the fairies. They talk of a terrible, dark magic that wants to devour all of London. And of a most magical girl who might be able to stop it . . .
Unfortunately I wasn’t much a fan of this at all. Despite the fact it had MAGIC and DRAGONS, which are generally two of my favourite things. And despite the fact that I adored the author’s previous books The Midnight Dress and Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy. Sad face for me. ALL THE SAD FACES.
- Beautiful cover. HEY IT NEEDS SAYING.
- #LoveOzYA appreciation. Because we Aussie authors are amazing just because I said we are.
- There is magical wonder, and I always do like a good splattering of magic. Especially when Annabel can look into puddles and see magical things. AWESOME.
- There is a quest and there are plenty of magical creatures and it focuses on friendship. Which isn’t exactly new for Middle Grade books, but HEY. If you haven’t read many of them, you might still enjoy this!
- It felt like a generic Victorian-style fantasy. Which aren’t my favourites at the best of times.
- Oh hello to Annabel, who is a special snowflake with 2% of personality on a quest to save the world since the adults can’t do it. Because saving the world from an evil wizard will work really well when the protagonist has never been trained in magic. Just, ya know, WE’RE ALL HOPING FOR THE BEST HERE.
- All Annabel wanted was to be good. Wow. She’s posh and proper and basically a victim of circumstance, so she didn’t instigate the plot — it pushed her along.
- Annabel’s only interesting characteristic is that she can see magical things in puddles. So she AVOIDS LOOKING AT PUDDLES so she can be “good”. Why. And no. You are a puddle of disappointment.
- Oh and add in a villain who wants to destroy the world for no reason. We just get monologues of evil from him which is not interesting at all.
- I wanted to like it, but it just lacked an original and engaging spark for me. Obviously it’s aimed at 12 year olds and I am not 12 SO KEEP THAT IN MIND. #sorry
SWARM (ZEROES #2) BY SCOTT WESTERFELD
★★✩✩✩ // published October, 2016
It’s the holiday season, but the celebration at the Zeroes’s underground nightclub is blown apart when two strangers with new powers take to the dance floor. The Zeroes pursue them, only to discover that they’re fleeing an even more sinister power-wielder, Swarm. The Zeroes must learn all they can about this dangerous new player if they are to stay safe.
Meanwhile each of the Zeroes also has their own issues to deal with. Bellwether’s confidence is challenged, and Mob questions the nature of her power. Crash’s conscience gets a workout, and Anon and Scam face harsh truths about belonging. And it’s up to Flicker to pick up the reins and lead the Zeroes into a terrifying showdown.
I read Zeroes (book #1) last year and…was confused. I nearly liked the sequel, Swarm, because it has SO MUCH POTENTIAL but ultimately it too falls as flat as a pancake being run over by an elephant in a a steamroller. (Beautiful imagery, I know omg.) I struggle with reading superhero books! I feel like I need the visuals of a movie to properly get engaged in a superpower story.
- I adore with the power of a thousand suns the darling that is Anonymous (Thibault <3). His power is that no one can remember him and he has pretty severe depression because of it. He is precious and relatable and the best written character in the series! If it was just focused on him, I would be in love with these books. Unfortunately: it’s not.
- Well explosions are FUN. And this book has plenty of explosions and scene of mass destruction.
- Also I got a mild feels attack at the end. It was brief. But it did make my cold stone heart beat faster for 4.3 seconds.
- Cliche and predictable plot. A strange evil is out to destroy the Zeroes who are…not even doing anything?? The ending didn’t surprise me at all (even though my soul did hurt A LITTLE BIT over a certain character) and I didn’t think The Bad Guy’s finale was that exciting. A cereal box is more captivating (although that’s mostly because I can eat the cereal and I’m hungry).
- I’m not in love with most of the characters. Except Thibault OF COURSE. There are 5 other POV characters that make my eyes glaze over. Nate is just the All Perfect Leader, I can’t even remember the different personalities/superpowers of the girls because they all seem bland. Scam/Ethan is quite the little creep, but at least he’s interesting?? And don’t even get me started on the romance where two characters LITERALLY FINALLY DECLARE THEY LIKE EACH OTHER and then they’re sleeping together. Immediately. How is this not instalove? Why is their relationship not developed?
- I think I shall safely engage my Batmobile and zoom away from this series. It’s just not for me!
CELL 7 BY KERRY DREWERY
★✩✩✩✩ // published October, 2016
Should she live or die? You decide
An adored celebrity has been killed. Sixteen-year-old Martha Honeydew was found holding a gun, standing over the body.
Now Justice must prevail.
The general public will decide whether Martha is innocent or guilty by viewing daily episodes of the hugely popular TV show Death is Justice, the only TV show that gives the power of life and death decisions – all for the price of a phone call.
Martha has admitted to the crime. But is she guilty? Or is reality sometimes more complicated than the images we are shown on TV?
Well, ooops, I did not like Cell 7 at all. Firstly it was the premise that just made me squint awkwardly and I couldn’t connect to the characters and the ending was absolutely bizarre. That saying: I don’t usually do super well with dystopian! So if you’re a dystopian fan: FEEL FREE TO READ IT AND LOVE IT!
- It requires HUGE suspension of disbelief. In this world, they’ve gotten rid of the justice system and moved to online voting to decide who lives and dies. Like really??? I CAN’T SEE THAT HAPPENING. Like, sure a lot of dystopians have totally unbelievable premises, but this had the “set in the not-too-distant-future” vibe and it just didn’t make sense. Sure we have juries, but they’re informed of details. In this book, there’s just people sitting on the sofa’s with popcorn voting for people to die for lolz thanks to TV anchormen only telling half the story.
- 4 people were opposed to the system. Everyone else not. So just four intelligent people…right.
- I didn’t connect to the characters. It was hard to just get to know them. We start off with Martha in a cell. She’s weeping and confessing to a crime and…that’s it. Like I have NO backstory. NO understanding of the world. NO reason to root for weepy Martha. And that should’ve improved as the book went on but #nope.
- Personalities felt like paper plates. This is not a picnic so this is not good.
- The writing seemed a little undecided. It’s 3rd person and then 1st and then 2nd person on occasion too??? It felt disjointed and disorientating. Pick one, mate. Make a decision.
- Too much repetition. Martha’s chapters were just pages and pages of interior monologue that TELLS YOU NOTHING AT ALL about herself, just her regret for getting into prison. Then we have chapters of the news anchormen voting to kill Martha. But they had one argument and they just kept repeating it.
- I was bored, to be frank.
- What were the villains’ motivations? Like why is this host so keen to sentence everyone to the DEATH??? Who spilt her cornflakes? And why was this never discussed?
- Televising people being put to death just sounds like The Hunger Games. I am desperately waiting for the day when a dystopian tries to be, well, original.
- The ending was VERY open. In fact, it was infuriatingly open and rendered the entire plot pointless. I’d be angry except I’m just too confused to what THE POINT OF IT ALL WAS???
- I don’t get it. Might be just me! Everyone else on Goodreads is a fan at least! YAY. I’m happy for you all and I hope you can survive that eyeball on the cover staring at you evilly like it’s the happier cousin of Sauron but possibly with the same deep-seated emotionally damaged issues and will become just as bloodshot one day soon.