Three Dark Crowns By Kendare Blake

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Three Dark Crowns (Three Dark Crowns #1)

Kendra Blake

Rate: 2

Synopsis 

Every generation a set of all girl triplets are born to the current queen of Fennbirn Island. However, only one of the daughters can be queen. Therefore, after their sixth birthday, the girls are dispatched to different regions of the island based on their mystical abilities – elemental, naturalist, poisoner – where they are raised and groomed to ascend the throne, which includes killing her sisters. 

Preface 

I read Three Dark Crowns as an audiobook. Unlike Shatter Me, narration did not help me like this book. If anything, it made the experience worst and I had to focus more on the details than the narration to make it through the first few chapters. 

Review 

Overall 

Three Dark Crowns is more like a filler second book in a trilogy or a prequel that’s released after a series becomes popular than the beginning of a series. The story isn’t engaging. The interesting parts aren’t the three protagonists – who feel more like secondary characters but the people trying to manipulate them.

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Shatter Me By Tahereh Mafi

Shatter Me Book Cover

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1)

Tahereh Mafi

Rate: 3

Synopsis

Imagine a dystopian world where governments are too busy squabbling over laws and treaties to notice that fatal diseases are thriving and the Earth (plants, animals, etc.) is dying from climate change. A group calling itself The Reestablishment (think: the commanders from The Handmaid’s Tale but on a global scale) decides to “intervene.” They claim that if society reorganizes itself into regions, rations its resources, and cast away the weak/useless civilians (orphans, elderly, disabled, and sick individuals), the Earth will begin to heal itself.

Thanks to The Reestablishment’s restructuring, Juliette (the protagonist) is sent to an asylum because of her special ability to inflict pain using touch. She left at the asylum in solitary confinement until Warner, one of the regional commanders (villain), decides he has use for her. From there, Juliette must decide if she’s going to allow herself to be used or become useful to society (neither, she runs away).

Preface

I have to preface this review by stating that I read Shatter Me via audiobook. I don’t know if Shatter Me would have lost more stars or been a DNF if I’d had to read through all the strikethroughs and repetitive phrases. Thanks to Kate Simses’s narration, Shatter Me felt more like a performance than a book. Strikethroughs were Juliette rewording her thoughts or simply disregarding them because she wasn’t ready to confront the idea. Repetitive phrases were Juliette being emotionally overwhelmed whether that was confusion or panic or lust. The narration made the story more entertaining and easier to get through.

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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.

The 5th Wave – Rick Yancey

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The 5th Wave (The 5th Wave #1)

Rick Yancey

Rate: 4

First of all, the 5th wave is the first audiobook I’ve ever listened to. I don’t think I could have picked a better first book. Phoebe Strole and Brandon Espinoza did an amazing job narrating and bringing the story to life. I liked and enjoyed the telling of the 5th wave more than I liked the movie.

I also enjoyed the multiple perspectives. I don’t think all of them were necessary, but I did like Cassie’s and Ben’s POVs. Through Cassie’s POV, I was able to learn about both the physical and emotional devastation of each wave. Each wave killed millions to billions of people, but each time it also took away a bit of emotional stability and safety. Cassie had to go through life questioning who she could trust, and if life was worth living, if she was all alone, and if keeping a promise was worth all the physical and emotional obstacles she had to face. Through Ben’s POV, I was able to see what it was like to be molded and manipulated by the others and slowly come to the realization that you aren’t on the side of the war you thought you were on. Ben tried his hardest to be Zombie, but he couldn’t kill off all of his Ben mannerisms. I think this is what made it so hard for Ben to accept he had been manipulated by the others: Zombie was an obedient soldier who didn’t want to see fault in his commanding officers, Ben was a teenager who couldn’t deny that things didn’t add up – the technology, the base, the kids – unless they were being controlled by the others.

I could have done without the Cassie-Evan romance. Yes, I fell for parts of it, but I couldn’t get past the predator-prey dynamic of the relationship. You have to be a special type of woman to swoon at being compared to and called a mayfly. Sorry, but I prefer guys to view me as an equal, as human, not some bug to be crushed. But I guess if a woman can fall for and marry a guy who admits to being addicted to her blood and wanting to kill her, a gal can enjoy being the bug to his boot. I guess I’m just weird for wanting something different.

All in all, I enjoyed the 5th wave. However, I think this is, in part, due to the narration; it really brought the story to life. I don’t know if I’d have liked the book as much in my own mental voice. I don’t know if I would have appreciated the different perspectives if I had read the text. Though I can say this experience has made me more open to trying more audiobooks. They won’t replace the pleasure of reading, but I won’t actively avoid them either.