2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, reviews

2019 Unhaul Challenge – Legend Trilogy UPDATE

To see the books I’ve been working through and my thoughts on them, please select the “2019 Unhaul Challenge” category at the top of this post. For a review of all my books, please select “Book Reviews” from the tabs on the menu bar.

So I’ve read Legend and really enjoyed it. I moved on to read Prodigy and I got really bored. I’ve DNF’d after page 128. Here’s why:

Title: Prodigy
Author: Marie Lu
Published: 2013
Country: USA
Genre: YA Science Fiction

Synopsis: June and Day have fled Los Angeles and are heading east to link up with the Patriots. They are assigned a dangerous mission in order to gain clemency and passage to the Colonies.

The setting is wonderful. I love a good dystopian and in this one we find out more about how America split and became the Republic versus the Colonies. There was a climate disaster, the ice caps melted, half the world went under water and anyone that could emigrated from America. Consequently, America became a totalitarian state of secrecy (think North Korea) and isolated itself from the world. Then a civil war broke out and a war front ran through the middle of the country, dividing it in half. It’s all very interesting and we do get a map this time.

I enjoy these types of science fiction novels. However, this one got really boring. I’m a third through and nothing has happened. We’ve just learned of the plan that June and Day have to carry out and they’ve made their way to accomplish the task. But it’s just very dull and I am not even excited about the plan. I had my friend tell me the ending of this book (she hasn’t read the third yet) and what she told me did not entice me to read the rest of the book or move on to Champion.

While there are a ton of comparisons between Hunger Games and Legend, there are some differences, at least in the first. But I see it moving too close toward HG that I am just not really wanting to continue. So I will leave it at the first one, which was an exciting read. Maybe book 3 is better, y’all can change my mind. However, I don’t feel that I’m missing out and I will be unhauling the series. I definitely want to see this as a movie or show though!

Final verdict: It’s not bad. Marie Lu’s writing is good and flows well, but the story didn’t excite me. The world is interesting and my favorite genre, but I’ve read enough YA dystopians to not feel that I’m missing anything. So, unhaul it is! It’s not you, Prodigy, it’s me.

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, reviews

2019 Unhaul Challenge – Red Queen Series

To see the books I’ve been working through and my thoughts on them, please select the “2019 Unhaul Challenge” category at the top of this post. For a review of all my books, please select “Book Reviews” from the tabs on the menu bar.

Author: Victoria Aveyard
Title: Red Queen
Published: 2015
Country: USA
Genre: YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi

Synopsis: Mare Barrow, a Red, becomes entangled in the world of the elites, the Silvers, after an accident reveals she has powerful abilities that Reds are not supposed to have.

VERDICT: Oh man. You guys…I really enjoyed this one! I read this book exactly two years ago and did not care for it (I gave it 2 stars on Goodreads) and was torn on whether or not to continue the series. But somehow I had this nagging feeling that I should try it again. So I did and it’s like I read a completely different book!! I don’t know if it’s because my reading tastes have changed so much and this is more along the lines of things I like now, but somehow I feel completely different about it. See, the challenge is working!

This could be considered Science Fiction or Fantasy since there are magical powers, etc but the world feels more Science Fiction/Dystopian than Fantasy. There are Reds, who are basic humans and indentured servants to the Silvers. The Silvers have powers, ranging from readings minds to blasting fire, or controlling metal. It’s very X-Men like, except that they are the ones in power, not hunted.

Images from MORGANA0ANAGROM https://twitter.com/13nakahara13/media

In the background is a century-long war between the different countries in the world and we see bits and pieces of how it affects the world but we mainly focus on the setting of the Great Hall in Harbor Bay and then the capital of Archeon. There is also the Scarlet Guard, a revolutionary group fighting for freedom and equality of the Reds.

Norta, the land the story takes place in (from Red Queen Wiki)
The World of Red Queen (from Epic Reads)

Mare is working at a Silver tournament and the booth she is at falls apart after a Silver blasts it accidentally. She falls and lights up in a ball of energy and lightening. Because she is a Red, the king and queen quickly step in and claim her as a lost silver heiress and betroth her to the younger prince, Maven. Her secret must be kept since Reds don’t have powers and she is now challenging everything the world knows.

Images from MORGANA0ANAGROMhttps://twitter.com/13nakahara13/media

Of course there are some issues. There’s a cringey love pentagon (you heard that right) and Mare is really pitiful. She’s constantly whining and putting herself down, but it does get better as the book progresses and she stops feeling sorry for herself. There were a couple of times the writing tripped me up, but that’s expected from a debut. I suspect the others will get better. But overall, I think it was pretty good and there are 3 more books (yay) and some novellas that I will be digging into.

There may also be a movie someday. The book was adapted and Elizabeth Banks is rumored to be directing. However, this is news from 2015 and I haven’t found any updates. I think it would be pretty cool on screen, if done right. Here’s the story: https://www.slashfilm.com/elizabeth-banks-red-queen-movie/

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, reviews

2019 Unhaul Challenge – Legend Trilogy

If you didn’t see my post about my 2019 Unhaul Challenge, welcome! I am spending this year (and probably next year) going through several piles of books that I am “reading to keep” or unhauling if I don’t like the book (or 1st book in a series) within 100 pages. This will help me eliminate some books I don’t like and also help me refine my reading tastes further. I’m pretty excited about this project!

For more on my challenge, check this link or click the 2019 Unhaul Challenge tag https://allthesewanders.com/2019/02/11/2019-unhaul-challenge/

I chose my next victim to be Marie Lu’s debut novel, Legend! And guess what everyone, I LOVED it. If you liked The Hunger Games or Divergent, this is right up there with excitement and dystopian YA, one of my personal favorite genres. I loved her most recent duology, Warcross and Wildcard, so I am not surprised I enjoyed this. Here is the Goodreads synopsis:

From different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths…
Until June’s brother is murdered, and Day becomes the prime suspect.
In a shocking turn of events, the two uncover what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths to which their country will go to keep its secrets.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15753977-legend

credit: legendfandom.net

Verdict: This was so good! I didn’t find any problems that immediately stuck out to me and pulled me out of the story, which doesn’t happen very often. June is born and bred to be a leader in the Republic and quickly learns that what she’s believed all her life may not be true. While Day, escaped from a prison camp and remaining in hiding to help his family when his youngest brother comes down with plague, is now accused of murdering Captain Iparis, who is June’s older brother. Their paths cross and they both learn many secrets and have to work together. This set up the next novel quite nicely and I look forward to continuing on with the series!

Even better, I discovered there’s a graphic novel adaptation of each book so I will have to check that out to get some great visuals of this story!

Excitingly, Book #4 was just announced and there is a prequel!

And finally, there is a movie production in the works. Legend came out in 2011 and movie rights were acquired but it moved to a new studio and a new script is in the works (according to a June 2018 article – https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/adaptation-marie-lu-s-legend-finds-new-home-1129931)

2019 unhaul challenge

2019 Unhaul Challenge – Worldwalker Trilogy

Hey friends! So I’ve unhauled my first set of books for my 2019 Unhaul Challenge! I’m sad I didn’t love this, but also excited to make some progress. Here are my thoughts.

The Worldwalker Trilogy by Josephine Angelini

These are beautiful books to look at. Aesthetically, I love them. Sadly, the story didn’t work for me and I DNF’d book #1, Trial by Fire, at 150 pages in (out of 374). The premise and idea sound fantastic to me! I love the idea of alternate universes and overcoming your own fears. However, this novel just didn’t do it for me. The Goodreads synopsis states:

“This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies make it increasingly difficult to live a normal life, and after a completely humiliating incident ruins her first (and perhaps only) real party, she’s ready to disappear. Suddenly, Lily finds herself in a different Salem. One overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women–including Lillian, this world’s version of Lily. What made Lily weak at home, makes her extraordinary here. It also puts her in terrible danger. Faced with new responsibilities she can barely understand and a love she never expected, Lily is left with one question: How can she be the savior of this world when she is literally her own worst enemy?” 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23310784-trial-by-fire

The biggest problem I’ve found with YA books is that the authors sometimes try too hard to make a character relatable and end up just throwing a ton of cliches together. Lily is a living, breathing (sort of) cliche. She is super sickly and weak but yet the most desired boy in school wants to date her because they are childhood friends. She is plain, pale and has unruly red hair but yet people think she’s beautiful and she can’t understand why, coupled with her being a total prude. She is a t-shirt-and-jeans-with-Chuck Taylor’s-wearing vegan, and incredibly self-righteous about it. When she gets to the alternate Salem, she is VERY slow to adapt. And of course she starts falling for the mysterious and moody boy with the sensuous lips and brooding eyes. I mean, come on. Can we get any more cliches? Oh yes, her alternate self is a total whackjob and everyone hates her. Of course they mistake Lily for Lillian and now she’s in danger. Insert massive groan here.

The alternate Salem is medieval but has technology and magic. There are monsters that are failed experiments. There’s a war between the Outlanders and the Citizens. The author borrowed heavily from Native American inspired themes and that was pretty interesting to see. There’s definitely some social commentary about persecution of Native Americans and good versus evil in the name of science and progress. Sadly though, this wasn’t enough to keep me hooked and I had to put it down after the umpteenth groan and eye roll at something silly that happened or that Lily said.

Verdict: I will not continue this series and unhaul the trilogy! Were this to become a movie, I would totally watch it. It has some great potential for the screen and could be entertaining, as long as the immaturity of the characters doesn’t overshadow the actual plot.

2019, 2019 unhaul challenge, Books, reading, reviews, TBR

2019 Unhaul Challenge

To see the books I’ve been working through and my thoughts on them, please select the “2019 Unhaul Challenge” category at the top of this post. For a review of all my books, please select “Book Reviews” from the tabs on the menu bar.

Update: My friend Nicole is doing this with me now! Yay! Check out her booktube and follow us along. And join if you want! We’d love to have you https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JuMbMn8i2Bk

Hey friends! I spent the weekend rearranging my library and organizing my books. I’ve realized that I have way too many books and that many of them likely won’t suit my tastes anymore. Which is sad, but it happens.

I was an avid reader as a kid but lost much of my reading passion as a teen and young adult. By the time I hit college, I didn’t have time to read for fun but I made an effort to read some popular series (Twilight, 50 Shades of Gray, The Sookie Stackhouse series for example) but I didn’t really fall back into love with reading. Fast-forward some years and I found booktube! I began reading again and rediscovered my love for books. So here we are now!

When I started becoming part of the bookish community, I bought many books that sounded interesting. It’s been nearly two years and my reading tastes have changed and I’ve refined the sort of stories I’m looking for. 2018 wasn’t a great reading year for me but it also didn’t completely suck. I really discovered who I am as a reader and what genres I prefer. Here’s a 2018 Review Snapshot:

With all that being said, I reorganized and prioritized my TBR. I’ve got two giant piles of books that are deemed “read to keep.” This means that I have to read them and give at least the first book in a series a chance, say, 100 pages or so. If I am enjoying myself, I keep the book/series and read it. If I am not enjoying myself, I am allowed to unhaul and turn it into a used bookstore in order to find other books I love more. Here are my piles:

So there you have it. I am very excited to document this challenge and will keep you up to date on how I’m doing! I’ve got a coupe of other challenge ideas as well, so this may take a while. But I’ve come to realize that DNFing a book is not a bad thing. Not every book is for every reader and I truly want to enjoy my time when I am in a story. So if I don’t love it, it doesn’t mean it’s a bad book. It just means it didn’t work for me and I have come to accept that it is totally okay!