28 April 2012

Department 19 by Will Hill

Department 19 by Will Hill
Department Nineteen #1
Release Date: March 1, 2011
Publisher: HarperCollins
Rating: Enjoyable

Jamie Carpenter's life will never be the same. His father is dead, his mother is missing, and he was just rescued by an enormous man named Frankenstein. Jamie is brought to Department 19, where he is pulled into a secret organization responsible for policing the supernatural, founded more than a century ago by Abraham Van Helsing and the other survivors of Dracula. Aided by Frankenstein's monster, a beautiful vampire girl with her own agenda, and the members of the agency, Jamie must attempt to save his mother from a terrifyingly powerful vampire.

Department 19 takes us through history, across Europe, and beyond - from the cobbled streets of Victorian London to prohibition-era New York, from the icy wastes of Arctic Russia to the treacherous mountains of Transylvania. Part modern thriller, part classic horror, it's packed with mystery, mayhem, and a level of suspense that makes a Darren Shan novel look like a romantic comedy.  - Goodreads

This book wasn't entirely what I was expecting. I was looking forward to an Alex Rider type novel with vampires, but this was completely different. It is a HUGE book, and is very intimidating. As a result, it took me a while to read it due to the size, and it also took me a while to get into because I kept stopping and starting.

While I feel that things were just a bit too easy for the protagonist (can we see Jamie struggle a bit more, please?), I did really liked him, especially towards the end. My favourite character has to be the antagonist, who has kidnapped Jamie's mother and is planning on killing Jamie too.

The other vampires in this novel were also - mostly - awesome. I love that while there were some good ones, they didn't come across as boring, teddy bear types. They were still pretty scary!

Some of the flashbacks were a bit off putting, as they often felt out of place between two present day chapters. However, I do love the insight that the flashbacks gave us into several characters and into the history of the vampires and the Department.

Overall, while this lagged a bit, it was still a fun read with an awesome antagonist. I'm definitely going to be reading the sequel because I want to know what happens to the characters that I loved (like Frankenstein!)

27 April 2012

TGIF and Follow Friday

TGIF is hosted by the lovely GReads. Go and check out the blog if you haven't already! 

Reading Blues: We all get them from time to time. What helps you overcome those reading slumps when nothing seems to grab your attention?

I get in reading slumps about once every two months. I think this is because of the amount of books I read, and how quickly I tend to read them. To overcome the slump, I usually read an adult paranormal romance or urban fantasy, as these are something that I don't get to read very often as my blog focusses on YA novels. My current go-to books for when I'm in a slump are Richelle Mead's Dark Swan books, and I also have Dark Lover by J R Ward waiting to go!

Feature and Follow Friday is hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. This week's featured bloggers are Little Read Riding Hood and Book That Thing!

Have you had a character that disappointed you? One that you fell in love with and then “broke up” with later on in either the series or a stand-alone book? Tell us about him or her.

I've thought long and hard about this one, and it took a while for me to come up with a character to talk about. It's not very often that I love a character and then come to hate them later on. But, of course, it has happened. It happened with Dimitri Belikov from Vampire Academy. I adored him in the first few books, but after something changed at the end of Spirit Bound, I actually became really annoyed at him. Of course, he wasn't going to be the same as he once was, but to be honest I found him a little pathetic. 

And I've just realised that both of my answers mention books by Richelle Mead! Totally unplanned, but awesome nonetheless.

26 April 2012

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Unearthly #2
Release Date: January 17, 2012 (UK)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Rating: Enjoyable

For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning. - Goodreads

I absolutely adored Unearthly when I read it towards the end of last year. It was such an unexpected read for me, because I was honestly expecting it to be preachy. Nevertheless, I adored it and I was excited to read Hallowed because Cynthia Hand has a beautiful writing style and I was sure I was going to be dragged in.

While Hallowed didn't completely live up to my expectations, I still enjoyed it. It just didn't have the same feel as Unearthly did, and I was a bit disappointed by the love interests.

I felt that this book focussed a bit too much on the love triangle for me to thoroughly enjoy it. There were some instances where it just wasn't realistic for Clara to be worrying about her love for either boy, and I also wasn't impressed with Christian and his near Edward-esque ways. Tucker wasn't in this book much at all, and he was my favourite in the first book, so as you can imagine I felt really let down.

I did, however, love the focus that was put on the family relationships between Clara and her mum, and her brother. Her dad also made an appearance, which was unexpected and totally awesome.

Like I said, Cynthia Hand has a beautiful writing style, and I was totally sobbing throughout the final four chapters. It really hit a nerve with me, as I had been through a similar situation and I just cried and cried.

There were some twists that I didn't see coming at all. I was expecting something completely different to happen, but the plot went in the opposite direction and I was kind of stunned.

Overall, this is a good book and I adore Cynthia's writing, but I think if there had been more focus on the angel lore and the family, and less on the 'epic-love-we-belong-together-it's-destiny', I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

Unearthly series:
1. Unearthly
2. Hallowed
3. TBD

24 April 2012

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E Pearson
Jenna Fox Chronicles #1
Release Date: April 29, 2008
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Rating: Enjoyable

Who is Jenna Fox? Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a coma, they tell her, and she is still recovering from a terrible accident in which she was involved a year ago. But what happened before that? Jenna doesn't remember her life. Or does she? And are the memories really hers?

This fascinating novel represents a stunning new direction for acclaimed author Mary Pearson. Set in a near future America, it takes readers on an unforgettable journey through questions of bio-medical ethics and the nature of humanity. Mary Pearson's vividly drawn characters and masterful writing soar to a new level of sophistication.  - Goodreads

The plot of Jenna Fox was pretty predictable. I think I worked out what was happening in the first few chapters, however I still really enjoyed the book. There was some science-y stuff, but it wasn't complicated and didn't confuse me at all.

The plot raises a lot of questions on humanity and morals, which I really enjoyed. It had me asking myself certain questions, and I liked being able to do that.

I liked Jenna, the main character, and I also really liked her grandmother. The two didn't start out on the best note, but I loved reading about their relationship because it was the most complex one in the entire book.

I thought that the secondary characters were less developed than I had hoped they would be when we were introduced to them. I was looking forward to getting to know several characters more, but we didn't really get the chance to and that was disappointing.

There was an epilogue to this book that I didn't mind at all, however it was really strange to read after having spent so much time somewhere else previously. I doubt I will be reading the sequel, because I feel that this plot wrapped up nicely and the sequel isn't really needed to get the full enjoyment out of it.