The Infinite Sea – Rick Yancey

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The Infinite Sea (The 5th Wave #2)

Rick Yancey

Rate: 2.5

I didn’t enjoy the Infinite Sea like I did the 5th Wave. The writing was still great, but the story did not grip me and engage me like the first book did. I think the main thing I did not like was the point of views. I don’t mind stories with various POVs; I just didn’t like the perspectives I received in the Infinite Wave.

**Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead**

POVs

  • Poundcake: Unless Yancey intended to kill off both Poundcake and Evan, there was no reason to provide Poundcake’s POV. Yancey could have left the story of the hotel explosion unknown until Evan rejoined Cassie and the others and told them what happened. Yes, it wouldn’t have been as detailed as Poundcake’s POV, but it would’ve been better than inserting a perspective just to take it away. The perspective added details, but it didn’t further the story.
  • Ringer: Majority, like 90%, of the story was told in Ringer’s POV. Again, the writing was good so her perspective wasn’t dull, but it didn’t entertain me like Cassie and Ben’s perspectives in the first book. Plus, Ringer’s story didn’t seem to be going anywhere. She spent the whole time trying to find the answer to a question I can’t even remember, but never finding it. It felt like she spent the whole book thinking in circles and never coming close to an answer, or at least a way to escape.

Romance

What was Yancey trying to create between Razor and Ringer? Their “romance” didn’t make sense and went against Ringer’s established personality. Ringer is supposed to be cold and stoic, but she falls for a guy whose grandma had a yippie dog? Sorry, does not compute.

Overall, the writing of the Infinite Sea was good, but the content was lacking. Yancey could have explored the 5th Wave universe more than having Ringer attempt to find out if the Others are really aliens and not coming to a definitive conclusion. For the most part, it felt like Yancey wrote the Infinite Sea in hopes that it would be adapted into a movie and so that he could develop the 5th Wave universe more. For example, some of the scenes seemed more action-movie-like than how a regular person would react in that situation. I think that took away from the quality of the story.

Side note: Can we stop having characters use the phrase “the/an infinite sea”? It’s annoying and redundant. I get that it is the title of the book, and I see what you did there, but after the second time, it’s annoying.

Order of the Wicked – Danielle Paige

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Order of the Wicked (Dorothy Must Die #0.7)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 2

This novella might have been more interesting if it hadn’t been so long since I read a Dorothy Must Die novella or novel. Coming into the story fresh, it was hard for me to decipher who was important and who was not. Namely, I couldn’t figure out if there was a point to me reading Lanadel’s POV – I don’t remember her from the other books. Nox, Mombi, Gert, and Glamora are present, but no new information is given about them to say their stories are fleshed out. No new information is given about the Order either since everything “has to be” shrouded in mystery and secrecy to ensure nothing can be revealed if Dorothy happens to capture and torture an Order member.

If this sounds like a waste of a novella, it is.

Even if Lanadel is an important character, we don’t learn much about her: She joins the Order to avenge her family – Dorothy’s army murdered her parents and her two brothers – but she’s lying to herself as much as the Order is lying to her. Lanadel refuses to admit that her family is dead because, once peaceful, Ozians are turning on one another without being poisoned by Dorothy’s magic. Also, Lanadel refuses to see that she responds to Nox so negatively because he receives affection from the girl she has a thing for. (Lanadel may be gay, but I can’t be 100% sure because she never allows herself to explore her feelings.)

The whole novella becomes moot at the end when Lanadel states that she’s grateful for the training she’s received, but she’s no longer going to work for the Order. This makes all her whining needless because she’s not even going to work with the people she’s been bitching about the whole book. Lanadel claims she’s leaving because of the Order’s secrets, but really she’s leaving because Melindra is being sent to spy on Dorothy’s palace, where her death is almost certain, and Lanadel doesn’t have the courage to tell Melindra how she really feels.

Poetry: The Last Time I’ll Write About You

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The Last Time I’ll Write About You

Dawn Lanuza

Rate: 3

The Last Time I’ll Write About You follows the rise and fall of a relationship from the perspective of a person who has already reached the end of the relationship so even from the very beginning the poems foreshadow the relationship’s demise. Like with any poetry collection, you can’t expect to like every poem in the collection. This is true when it comes to The Last Time I’ll Write About You. There were lines I liked here and there and some poems were better than others, but, for me, the collection wasn’t great poem after great poem. The following are a few lines I enjoyed from The Last Time I’ll Write About You:

“And you ask the world,

Why doesn’t it happen

To someone like you? …

You knew the answer:

It’s because you don’t let it.”

 

“When we parted

I’ve always wondered

How everyone else

Reminded me of you”

 

“Was I a secret not worth sharing

Or

Was I fact not worth telling?”

The Existence Trilogy By Abbi Glines

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Existence Trilogy

Abbi Glines

Overall Rating Average: 3.5

Existence (#1): 4

Predestined (#2): 4

Leif (#2.5): 3

Ceaseless (#3): 3

What I Liked About the Existence Trilogy

  • Dank-so hot
  • I began reading Existence because I wanted a story similar to Significance. Even though there is no imprinting in this trilogy, Dank could sense Pagan’s feelings like Caleb could sense Maggie’s.
  • Once Pagan stopped toying with Leif (mostly book one), the romance got better and was more enjoyable
  • I Loved Gee and her attitude. She was fun and spunky, but also had a soft side that cared about Pagan.

Things I Disliked About the Existence Trilogy

  • That it was a trilogy. The way the events unfold the trilogy could have been one long book broken into two parts instead of three books.
  • Leif’s novella – There was no point to this book. It did not add to Leif’s story and it didn’t show him moving on from Pagan and living happily ever after.
  • Leif in Book 3- How was he not annihilated for breaking the terms set at the end of Book 2?
  • All of Book 3- The third book was completely unnecessary. It didn’t add to Pagan’s story and just seemed to rehash some of the drama from the first two books. Ceaseless seemed like a “let me write more so I can make more money” kind of book.

Not sure if this trilogy is for you? Get the first book free on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Ruler of Beasts – Danielle Paige

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Ruler of Beasts (Dorothy Must Die #0.6)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 2.5

This novella almost got three stars but then the ending happened. But let me go back and start from the beginning.

Ruler of Beasts isn’t as informative as the previous two novellas. Meaning, unlike with Tin and Scarecrow, there is no explicit point where Lion goes from good to wicked. Yes, Glinda uses evil magic on him, but Lion was so bored with “ruling” the Forest of the Beasts that he would have done her bidding without magic. After the interaction with Glinda, Lion spends most of his time eating and sleeping at the Emerald Palace until Ozma invites him on a journey. (Tin, Scarecrow, and Lion are journey/quest/battle junkies since meeting Dorothy.) I actually start to like Lion during this mission, but that doesn’t last long. During the mission, Lion finally starts to show his courage and to think about someone other than himself. However, at the end when Ozma learns Lion is working for Glinda, instead of accepting responsibility for his actions and admitting he is wrong, Lion mentally rants about how Ozma is a terrible person because she won’t accept the good he did do even if it was wrapped in bad. I really dislike people who instead of admitting their faults and mistakes, will blame the other person for not viewing the situation in a way that benefits them. This is how Lion reacts when Ozma, rightfully, stops trusting him because of his betrayal. For me, Lion goes from decent to terrible because of this behavior.

Overall, Rule of Beasts isn’t a novella I wish I had skipped, but it wasn’t very interesting. The novella made me dislike Lion and not in a way where I empathize with him like I did with Tin.

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The Straw King – Danielle Paige

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The Straw King (Dorothy Must Die #0.5)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 3

The Straw King tells the story of how Scarecrow stopped being the King of Oz. From other books in the series, we learn that Scarecrow stops being king because Ozma shows up and since she is the rightful ruler of Oz, Scarecrow renounces the throne to her. The Straw King takes a long-winded, dramatic journey to show how Ozma ended up with the throne. What really irked me about this novella is how some of the details seemed to contradict each other, but the contradictions were ignored for the sake of drama. For example, the characters repeatedly say that no one has ever tried to usurp the throne and yet Scarecrow is able to consult a book on despots. A book that’s so current it tells Scarecrow that Jinjur, the general of the attackers, has always wanted the throne and has never liked the Wizard, Scarecrow, Lion, or Tin. Isn’t that a bit too convenient and unusual? Jinjur can’t express to Scarecrow why he is an unfit ruler, but there’s a whole book “explaining” her motives and the motives of people like her, yet this has never happened before. Plus Jinjur and her army have guns and a moped. I never knew Oz had such weapons and if there are vehicles in Oz, why does everyone walk (sometimes fly) places? Why not just buy/rent a vehicle and get places faster?

Another discrepancy that bothered me is when Scarecrow is on his way to the Forest of Beasts and interacts with a Munchkin girl, Hibiscus Lemon. Hibiscus mentions that she doesn’t mind if the Wizard, Scarecrow, or Ozma rule Oz, but at this point in the story, Hibiscus should not think there is a possibility of Ozma ruling. She should still think that Ozma was killed when she was young. This isn’t a significant detail but it still bothered me.

Nonetheless, it is still interesting to see Glinda’s plan unfold.

“… the trick isn’t to be on the throne- it’s to be behind it…. Kings and queens come and go, but power stays with the powerful. You don’t have to be the King of Oz to rule it.” – Glinda

For those who watch Scandal, Glinda is the Cyrus of the Dorothy Must Die series; she’s willing to do whatever it takes to have power and control the throne (Oz’s oval office).

Overall, The Straw King isn’t much better than Heart of Tin. It’s less sappy, but Scarecrow has his own annoying characteristic (his need to be reassured that he is clever).

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Heart of Tin – Danielle Paige

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Heart of Tin (Dorothy Must Die #0.4)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 2

Even though this is a novella, parts of the tale can be interpreted as an ode about Dorothy written by the Tin Woodman. If you’re not into mushy romance or someone confessing his/her love for another every other sentence or so, then you should skip this novella. You don’t learn much about Tin’s role in bad Oz other than he loves Dorothy a lot and is willing to do anything for her to the point where someone can manipulate Tin by claiming that a particular action will benefit Dorothy and make her happy. For the most part, I pitied Tin. All he wants is to love and be loved but he is in an environment where love is a weakness and that weakness can be manipulated.

The only part I truly enjoyed about the novella- talk of love and devotion became tiresome quickly – was the power structure among the characters. At this point at least, it is clear that Glinda is at the top. She is influencing everyone’s behavior using some sort of dark magic. On the other end of the spectrum is Tin Woodman. He is clearly a pawn. Somewhere in between is Scarecrow. It’s clear that he’s not on the same level as Tin, but from this novella alone, it is difficult to interpret how much Glinda may be controlling Scarecrow. It’s also difficult to interpret how much Dorothy is being controlled but she clearly isn’t herself. However, other than this bit of analysis, Heart of Tin is mostly a journal entry of Tin’s (unreciprocated) love for Dorothy.

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From Apocalyptic SciFi to Teen Romance: The Downfall of Cured by Bethany Wiggins

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Cured (Stung #2)

Bethany Wiggins

Rate: 2.5

Stung was by no means perfect, but Cured was doomed to fail when Wiggins decided the protagonist of Cured would be a tertiary (if not lesser) character from Stung. Cured focuses on Jacqui’s experience in the Stung universe after the cure is revealed at the end of the first book. If you don’t remember Jacqui, that’s okay. She was only present in the first book for, at most, five minutes. Let me jog your memory. Jacqui is the person that gave Fiona peanut butter crackers in Stung. Yes, that person got a whole book in her point of view. If that sounds ridiculous, it’s because it is. The synopsis makes it seem as if we’re following Fiona, Jonah, and Bowen as they set out to find Fiona’s mother, who should be dead but whatever, with the subplot of them handing out the cure along the way. The synopsis makes it seem as if Jacqui and Kevin are new characters the trio meets along their journey and helps steer them in the right direction. I don’t know if the synopsis is simply bad or the story is just bad, but that’s not what happens.

The story stems from Jacqui’s suicide mission to find her brother, who left one day to help someone and hasn’t been heard from since (at least to Jacqui’s knowledge). She enlists the help of Fiona and Bowen, who only agree to it in the hopes of finding Fiona’s mom and distributing the cure. Jonah is dragged along to be a bodyguard for both Fiona and the cure and to be a pack mule for the cure. (Yes, you should feel bad for Jonah. He isn’t being treated like the human being he supposedly is now.)

Kevin is a new-ish character. He’s been stalking Jacqui for longer than I feel comfortable with and only reveals himself after realizing that he can’t remain on the sidelines and keep Jacqui safe.

The story quickly disintegrates from a find and rescue/reunite story into a romance as Jacqui becomes more consumed by her feelings for Kevin. Thoughts of her brother take a backseat to her internal dialogue about whether Kevin has feelings for her and if they could ever have a future together, especially since she’s supposed to be pretending to be a boy but she’s not doing that well anyway. What’s worse is that during this long ass journey (No I’m not going to excuse my language) they only give the cure to ONE FUCKING PERSON (again not sorry). This story quickly becomes a pile of failures as the romance takes over and nothing gets done. The story ends in HEA though if you’re into that.

Honestly, I would have preferred if the story had focused on Jonah even if it wasn’t from his POV. It would have been interesting to read his feelings on going from human to beast to human again and if he could ever imagine himself opening his heart to love. It wouldn’t have been appropriate for him to just enter a relationship and “fall in love” but that level of self-reflection would have been interesting.

Anyway, Cured shouldn’t exist. It’s not an adequate sequel to Stung. I think just the premise of the story threw the whole thing off. A super minor character shouldn’t get his/her own book unless s/he can prove his/her worth.

Fairy Tale Retelling: Beauty and the Beast #2 of 2

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Stung (Stung #1)

Bethany Wiggins

Rate: 3.5

 

Stung captured and held my attention from the very first scene. There wasn’t a time when I wanted to put the book down because the story was terrible. Wiggins does a great job of hooking the reader’s attention and keeping it to the very end. Her descriptions aren’t flowery or purple prose but they fully immerse you into the Stung universe. Wiggins describes sights, smells, tastes, etc so it feels as if you’re taking this journey with Fiona and aren’t simply a bystander. Wiggins gives a lot of details so you are sucked into the book using your imagination and all your senses.

 

The plot itself was good. Nothing for which to be overjoyed, but it wasn’t super simplistic and annoying either. In other words, it was pretty predictable, but still enticing.

 

If you’ve read my review on Nirvana, then you know I coined it as a post-apocalyptic dystopia due to bee extinction. Stung is the apocalypse that occurs between our world and Nirvana‘s.

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[A Quickie Review] The 5th Wave (Movie)

Having not read The 5th Wave, I think the movie was decent. It started off good with its singular perspective and detailed explanation of the first four waves. However, this quickly changed as the movie shifted from an alien invasion story to a hybrid apocalyptic dystopian story. The glaring shift occurred when the movie suddenly went from singular perspective to dual perspective with no logical explanation or gradual transition. Once the second perspective was introduced, the plot’s tempo increased until clarity and sensible progression were dismissed for drama and action scenes. Just as soon as love interests were introduced  they were taken out with the half-baked excuse of self-sacrifice in the name of love. (And potential love interests were inserted in their place.) As soon as Cassie reunited with her brother she promptly declared to Ben that they had to save all the other children, the same as every other female lead in a dystopian story. Obviously, this closes the movie while simultaneously leaving an opening for a sequel.

While the aforementioned only shows me ragging on The 5th Wave, I did enjoy Cassie’s commitment to reuniting with her brother (when she had multiple opportunities to just give up) and I’m a romantic so I totally fell for the moments between Evan and Cassie even though the movie provided no concrete evidence for their “relationship.”

Sorry to those who read the book and sat through this movie, you must be disappointed. I know the main reason I (sort of) enjoyed it was because I wasn’t expecting anything from it.

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