Review to Rant: The Selection (Book 1 and 2)

The Selection (The Selection #1)

Rate: 4

The Elite (The Selection #2)

Rate: 3

Kiera Cass

Series rating average (thus far): 3.5

TLDR: This isn’t a review, it’s a rant. I’m disappointed at my time wasted reading The Elite. Continue at your own risk.

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Two books and Maxon still hasn’t picked a wife, obviously this series is being dragged on. The only reason I picked up The Elite was because The Selection left me anxious about what would happen next. I figured things would work out in one of two ways:

  1. Cass would go the romantic route and Maxon and America would fall in love, thus America would win the selection.
  2. Cass would go the dystopian heroine route and America would manipulate the system so she’d win and work with the rebels (probably the Northerners) to dismantle the caste system.

However, I should’ve known things wouldn’t’ve been that simple since there are a billion more books to go in this series (there are only 3 more full books and a handful of novellas, but I’m annoyed so hyperbole), but I had hope.

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My dislike stems from the fact that The Elite continues with none of the interesting qualities of The Selection. Mostly, the whole selection process is putting on the back burner while America flips back and forth over whether to go home or stay at the palace. And ultimately, she doesn’t make a decision, Maxon does. She doesn’t fight to stay or refuse to go, she allows Maxon to persuade her into staying. Actually, Maxon lies to keep her around and she stays because, well what we’re supposed to believe is “hope”, but really it’s how else are we gonna find out who won if she leaves? (An epilogue that’s how) Plus, it gives Cass an opportunity to write a whole other book, which is great for the fans and the publisher.

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I’ll probably read The One just because I’m a curious cat and what doesn’t kill me just wastes my time, right? Ugh, I’m reluctant to say the least, but also so, so curious about how much worse it could get.

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Big Mushy Happy Lump By Sarah Andersen

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Big Mushy Happy Lump (Sarah’s Scribbles #2)

Sarah Andersen

Rate: 3

Big Mushy Happy Lump wasn’t as funny as Andersen’s first book Adulthood Is a Myth. Most of the comics in the beginning seemed forced, as if Andersen created this second collection because the first was a hit and not because she was trying to get a point across. The comics get better in the end though when Andersen begins to tell longer stories using the comics instead of one-off jokes. The following are my three favorite comics from Big Mushy Happy Lump:

Number 1 Hype Team

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Shopping Anywhere But the Clearance Rack

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Admiring the Male Physique

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War of the Networks by Katie Cross

War of the Networks book cover

​War of the Networks (The Network Series #4)

Katie Cross

Rate: 3

Twenty-seven chapters in this book and I’m going to focus on one scene towards the end of the book: the final showdown.

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Throughout the series, Cross has positioned Bianca as a fierce, strong witch. With each book, Bianca’s physical and magical abilities increase and her knowledge of Miss Mabel’s behavior increases. At the same time, Cross positions Binncn’s dad, Derek, as the most powerful witch in all the Networks. Both seem capable of defeating Miss Mabel and yet at the end of the series, the secondary character (Derek) gets all the glory. And in a lackluster battle too.

I wanted a more epic final battle. I wouldn’t have minded Bianca’s dad beginning the fight, but I don’t think he should have been the one to finish Miss Mabel. I think Derek should have fought Miss Mabel to the point of exhaustion and right when it appeared that Miss Mabel was about to strike the finishing blow, Bianca would have appeared in front of her father and blocked the shot. Then, she would have moved out of the defensive into the offensive and brought her sword down like Sailor Saturn’s Silence Glaive decimating Miss Mabel.

Sailor Saturn gif

That’s the ending to the series we deserved. But that’s not what we got.
Cross allowed Bianca her baby showdown with Miss Mabel while still placing her in the shadow of her father’s greatness. Why create a capable protagonist if you’re not going to use her?

War of the Networks wasn’t bad. I just wanted better.

The High Priest’s Daughter By Katie Cross

The high priest’s daughter book cover

The High Priest’s Daughter (The Network Series #3)

Katie Cross

Rate: 3

What was this book about again? What happened? I don’t remember. That’s how memorable it is. If I told you what I did remember, I’d be spoiling the ending for you.

This book focuses on events occurring throughout the Central Network and along its borders that are bringing the network closer to war. During this time, Bianca mentally feuds with Angelina, the villain of this book, while physically doing nothing different. Bianca basically exhibits the same actions day in and day out until the end of the book. You’ll read a lot of words, but the story doesn’t progress much. I guess Cross is going for a more realistic timeline without many time jumps, but it makes the story drawn out.

The High Priest’s Daughter isn’t boring, but there isn’t much to gush about either. 

Antebellum Awakening by Katie Cross

Antebellum Awakening book cover

Antebellum Awakening (The Network Series #2)

Katie Cross

Rate: 2.5

It’s been awhile since I read Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, but Cross does a good job of providing snippets of information to remind the reader what happened – Bianca and Miss Mabel engage in a Mactos (a magical fight) and Bianca’s mother ends up dead. Once the background is established and we get to the meat of Antebellum Awakening, I soon realize that the story isn’t going to continue on this interesting swing. Overall, Antebellum Awakening is boring and only gets interesting in the last three chapters. The story is predictable and Bianca exhibits the same self destructive behavior over and over which makes her an annoying protagonist. The story accurately takes on the pace of someone grieving the loss of a parent, but this doesn’t make for an interesting read.

My Likes

  • Romance: It would have been so easy for Cross to commit the cliche and have Bianca fall for her instructor Merrick, but she maintains a professional relationship between the two. I’m sure this will change as the series progresses, but it’s refreshing that they don’t fall into insta-love.

  • Showdown: Cross knows how to write a showdown scene. Similar to Miss Mabel’s School for Girls, Bianca and Miss Mabel engage in a fight. The battle is interesting and doesn’t seem repetitive at all – then again it’s been some time since I read the first book so maybe I just don’t realize that the scenes are similar, but I’m going to hope they’re different.

My Dislikes

  • Bianca: Like I briefly mentioned above, I didn’t like Bianca because of her behavior. She acted in ways that prevented her growth and that was very repetitive. This book would have been a whole lot shorter if Bianca didn’t keep exhibiting the same regressive behavior. But I guess that was the point: to lengthen the book and express someone going through the grieving process. It was annoying though.

  • Predictability: There’s really no big twist in Antebellum Awakening. I don’t know if Cross intended there to be some shocking moments, but the story is very predictable. I could see all the big decisions and actions coming from a mile away.

Overall, Antebellum Awakening is a decent story: boring and annoying at times and interesting in the end.

The Queen of Oz by Danielle Paige

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The Queen of Oz (Dorothy Must Die #0.9)

Danielle Paige

Rate: 2

The Queen of Oz tells the story of how Pete came to be. Let me save you about 80 pages of reading: Mombi is entrusted with the task of protecting and hiding baby Ozma so she decides to perform a transformation spell that goes wrong and turns Ozma into a boy, Pete. I don’t know why this detail couldn’t be added to the main story, but I guess since writing is a business, when you have the opportunity to write more and make more money, you do it, right?

The main thing I learned from The Queen of Oz isn’t even Dorothy Must Die specific: adults and teenagers need better lines of communication. Ozma wouldn’t have wound up in Glinda’s clutches if Mombi had been more open with Pete and Pete hadn’t succumbed to his “woe is me” hormones. Mombi didn’t have to immediately tell Pete his true identity, but she could have made it clear that there was danger. She also could have told him more about Oz and its political and social structure. I also think it would have been less suspicious to the general public if Mombi had let Pete out more instead of hiding him away. I think Pete would have helped the situation if instead of jumping to the conclusion that Mombi hated and resented him, he was more reasonable. There could be plenty of reasons why Mombi kept Pete isolated, but Pete figures that she wants free labor. Also, instead of trying to communicate with Mombi, Pete decides to run away, like how predictable. All over some chance encounter with a guy, how boring. This all shows that adults have to be more open with teenagers and teenagers can’t behave like the children they don’t want to be mistaken for.

Anyway, back to the novella. Unless your in the mood for an interlude of teen angst, don’t bother.

Fairy Tale Retelling: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

 

Throne of Glass book cover

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass Series #1)

Sarah J. Maas

Rate: 3

Ok, so this review isn’t going to be as good as my other reviews for two reasons:

  1. It’s been so long since I read Throne of Glass.
  2. I binge read all the books (currently) in the series so they’re kind of blurring together in my mind.

But I’m going to write this review anyway because Throne of Glass is part of my Fairy Tale Retelling series.

My Likes and Dislikes

The Main Thing I Liked About Throne of Glass

  • Celaena: Celaena is the strong, sarcastic heroine I want in a YA novel. She has her moments when she can be annoying and gets caught up in romance, but for the most part, her focus is on obtaining her freedom, at any cost. I also liked Celaena’s girly moments when she’s dressing up and building her friendship with Nehemia. Who says a person can’t be an assassin and still like shiny, girly things?

The Main Thing I Disliked About Throne of Glass

  • Romance: I’ll be honest here; after reading the other books in the Throne of Glass series, I can barely remember Celaena and Dorian’s relationship. All I know is that deep in my gut I didn’t like the two of them together. I can’t remember if I didn’t like it because it felt forced or the whole romance was unnecessary, but I didn’t like it. And if Maas had to include a romance, shouldn’t the assassin be with someone better than the weak prince?

Connection to Cinderella

Similar to previous retelling posts, Throne of Glass will be compared to the Disney version of the fairy tale.

Disney's Cinderella book cover

However, Throne of Glass was a bust as a fairy tale retelling, especially Cinderella. There was no evil stepmother, no evil stepsisters, no identifying the girl with a piece of clothing, and no happily ever after with the prince. The closest Throne of Glass got to Cinderella was when Celaena’s handmaid helped her get ready for the ball and said she felt like a fairy god mother. If you have to explicitly state your connection to a fairy tale, then you’re doing something wrong? If you’re looking for a Cinderella retelling, then you should skip this series because it’s not going to satisfy you. Try Gilded Ashes by Rosamund Hodge instead. However, if you’re looking for a fantasy story, then try Throne of Glass. The first book (this one I’m reviewing) isn’t great, but the series definitely picks up.

Add to your Goodreads | Buy on Amazon

 

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?”