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Coming Soon: The Midnight Star by Marie Lu

The Midnight Star by Marie LuTitle: The Midnight Star

Author: Marie Lu

Series: The Young Elites #3

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Release Date: October 11, 2016

The Overview: There was once a time when darkness shrouded the world, and the darkness had a queen. Adelina Amouteru is done suffering. She’s turned her back on those who have betrayed her and achieved the ultimate revenge: victory. Her reign as the White Wolf has been a triumphant one, but with each conquest her cruelty only grows. The darkness within her has begun to spiral out of control, threatening to destroy all that she’s achieved. Adelina’s forced to revisit old wounds when a new danger appears, putting not only Adelina at risk, but every Elite and the very world they live in. In order to save herself and preserve her empire, Adelina and her Roses must join the Daggers on a perilous quest—though this uneasy alliance may prove to be the real danger. –Goodreads

Waiting on Wednesday
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Okay, I’ll admit I’m not totally caught up with the series, but I will be by the time October rolls around! I really liked the first book (Young Elites) and it reminded me very strongly of the bits I liked from Throne of Glass. It has an atypical heroine and a great concept, and I got the feeling it was only going to get better. And for the record, I also loved Marie Lu’s Legend Trilogy, so I imagine the remainder of this series will be just as good!

What book are you waiting on?

 by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: The Rose Society by Marie Lu

rose societyTitle: The Rose Society

Author: Marie Lu

Series: The Young Elites #2

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Release Date: October 6, 2015

The Overview: Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers that murdered her love, the Crown Prince Enzo Valenciano. But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

Waiting on Wednesday
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As much as I loved the Legend trilogy, I was apprehensive about this series at first, but ended up really enjoying it (so far). Adelina is such an atypical female lead that I couldn’t help but like her. I also really like the setting, and have the feeling it’s only going to get richer going forward. The Young Elites took an interesting plot turned near the end, which is solely responsible for why I’m clamoring for this novel sooner than I would’ve otherwise. I’m really looking forward to this one.

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki Hawkes

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Coming Soon: The Young Elites by Marie Lu

young elitesTitle: The Young Elites

Author: Marie Lu

Series: Young Elites #1

Genre: Teen Dystopian

Release Date: October 7, 2014

The Overview: I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside. Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all. Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen. Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her. It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

young elites

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As I thoroughly enjoyed the Legend series, liking the conclusion a bit more than other popular dystopians on the market, I’m really looking forward to this new spinoff series! It’s taking one of the plot elements I liked the most and expanding on it – what’s not to love?

What book are you waiting on?

by Niki hawkes

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Book Review: Champion by Marie Lu

ChampionTitle: Champion

Author: Marie Lu

Series: Legend #3

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has. With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Champion

The Review:

Every time I pick up the conclusion to a trilogy I wonder if it’s going to live up to the expectation’s I’ve been harboring for the months leading up to it. Luckily, in Champion, most of the things I loved about the first two books were as amazing as ever: smart and relatable characters, immersive world-building, and wonderfully heart-wrenching moments.

I’ve always appreciated the multiple societies Lu introduced in the first two books, but enjoyed them even more in this novel when she expanded it to a global level. For the first time we really got to see how other countries function in this world and the roles they play regarding the Republic and the Colonies. I particularly loved the Antarctic society where a virtual point system “game” was created. It was evidently responsible for the high levels of national productivity and low crime rates. I found it really fascinating and would love to see an entire book written from a Antarctican’s perspective. Just think, it could be like Ender’s Game meets popular dystopian… I’m just saying.

I always enjoy reading books that are provoking, so long as they’re still fun. Champion, much like the first two in the series, drew me into the conflicts emotionally to the point where I caught myself dwelling on them long after I put the book down. While Legend seemed mostly centered around June in my eyes, Champion seemed much more focused on Day (or, at the very least, he had the most compelling conflicts). Most of his passages were vibrant and evoking, really making the story pop. June, on the other hand, had some good moments but I occasionally found myself zoning out during her POV. Overall, the emotional conflicts in this final book were outstanding in all regards… except for one: the love story.

There seemed to be a great deal of prolonged, almost senseless turmoil surrounding June’s and Day’s relationship. What’s more, it all stemmed from each character’s internal dialogue that the other person either deserved better, didn’t feel the same way, or whatever other stupid reason they could find not to be together. It’s the only thing I found dissatisfying about the story, especially considering how brilliant their analytical skills are supposed to be (which, incidentally, was my favorite element about the first book). You would think they would have been able to figure out a way around their issues somewhere along the way. Love is not that blinding. Anyway, I found it tiresome after a while, and it made me care a whole lot less whether or not they wound up together in the end.

So, despite the fact that Champion lost that consistent, strong characterization that made the first book so special for me, I still enjoyed it. In every other regard, it was truly a satisfying conclusion.

Recommended Reading: I always hand Legend to people who have read Hunger Games and Divergent and are looking for their next amazing dystopian. It’s a fast-paced, exciting trilogy that remains among the ones I recommend the most.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

ProdigyTitle: Prodigy

Author: Marie Lu

Series: Legend #2

Genre: Teen Dystopian

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

Prodigy

The Review:

I always find the second book in a trilogy to be the most difficult to write a review for – they’re often little more than transitional stories. The only thing I can really do is compare it to the first one and figure out if I like the direction is going in preparation of the third one. Sometimes you luck out and get a second book that winds up being the best in the series… as good as Prodigy was, that was not the case here.

Not to say it wasn’t a great book. I enjoyed it thoroughly, I just liked Legend a bit more. I think the difference for me was pacing – Prodigy was considerably slower, lacking that fast-paced decision-making I enjoyed so much about the first one. A lot of things happened to advance the plot, it just didn’t feel as pivotal… At least until the end, where the story culminated into a powerful conclusion (which happens to be my favorite part of the series so far).

Another thing I enjoyed was learning about a handful of side characters who had a much stronger role this time around. They really helped broaden the conflicts and kept the story fresh and interesting. I would say what I’m most looking forward to in Champion is to see how all of these characters are going to work together.

Overall, the quality of the writing and the overall appeal of Prodigy was every bit as good as Legend. I am extremely excited to find out how the story ends in Champion coming out November 5!

Recommended Reading: for dystopian fans! Especially those who prefer edgy (rather than romantic) dystopians like Hunger Games and Divergent.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

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Book Review: Legend by Marie Lu

13042002Title: Legend

Author: Marie Lu

Series: Legend #1

Genre: Teen Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars!

The Overview: What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem. From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

13042002

The Review:

I’d been passing over this novel for several months before someone personally recommended it to me based on the types of books I like… and now I’m kicking myself for not having read it sooner (thank you, Rachel!). It’s probably the best book I’ve read all year and is a strong contender for the #2 spot in my all-time favorite dystopian list (following Hunger Games, of course).

With fast-paced action, two amazing protagonists, and a compelling storyline, Legend really was one of those can’t-put-down books that will have you up half the night finishing it. Sometimes when an author switches back and forth between two POV characters it can steal momentum away from the story and make it more difficult to connect with either one. That was certainly not the case here: both protagonists were complex, well-rounded characters and each switch invested me deeper into the story.

The way the plot was organized helped with this too, and I’m convinced Lu really knows how to tell a story that will keep you at the edge of your seat. Just when you feel like you can’t get more involved with the book, she hits you with something even more gut-wrenching and evoking. I even found myself holding my breath on occasion – you know a book is amazing when it can garner a physical reaction, not just an emotional one.

Another reason I think the book was so effective was the way the characters and the conflicts developed throughout the story. The two main characters are highly intelligent, which means they figure things out faster than the average person. Lu completely committed to this and never once dumbed them down for the sake of drawing out a conflict. This means her story had to keep evolving as the characters made discoveries and formed conclusions. It just speaks of brilliant storytelling, and I think it’s probably my favorite element of the book.

Recommendations: For all of you fellow dystopian fanatics – if you haven’t read this book yet, consider putting it next on your list! I might’ve even liked it a bit more than Divergent, and that’s saying something. I will definitely be rereading it within the next couple of years – and if you could see the size of my TBR pile, you’d know what a commitment that is (I really, really liked it)!

Other books you might like:

 The Fifth Wave Review   •   Divergent Review   •   Partials Review   •   Pure Review