Friday, 30 December 2016

Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff review

With Illuminae gaining so much hype at the end of last year, its no wonder that so many people were insanely excited about its sequel, Gemina being released, myself included.  I couldn't wait to see where the story was headed and to return to a format I loved, and so it wasn't long after the release of Gemina that I finally picked it up after anticipating it for so long.  And this one certainly lived up to expectations. 

One of the most unique and talked about aspects of Illuminae was it's completely unique format that saw the entire story written through messages, camera footage as well as in many other formats, so it was no surprise that Gemina continued and somehow improved on this further.  Not only does this make the story even more addicting and engaging than it already is, but it also seemed to make it all seem that little bit more realistic and immersive, as you feel as if you are in the action rather than being told it.

Unlike Illuminae, this book instead follows two main characters, Hanna and Nik, who are on board the Hypatia when it is invaded by a Beitech squad who take the ship hostage.  Like Kady and Ezra in the first book, somehow once again I loved both of these characters, with Hanna being the smart and strong commander's daughter and Nik being the morally grey character who slowly reveals his true kind nature.  I also really enjoyed watching the relationship and bond between them slowly grow as they became closer and closer, and found it added just the right amount of romance to the story without it ever being too much or overpowering in any way at all.  

But as much as I loved the new main characters introduced in this book, I also loved our new side characters, as well as seeing some old faces crop up again too.  One of my favourite secondary characters had to be Ella, who provided some of the best humour of the book whilst also giving us the amazing bond she shared with Nik.  I also adored how strong a character she was for how much she went through and how she never gave up even when almost everyone else did.  Surprisingly, I also really enjoyed seeing more of the antagonists in this book, as we often got to see things from their point of view as well as Hanna and Nik's.  And let's not forget the amazing reunion we got with some of our favourites from book one, with Kady, Ezra and even possibly the coolest computer ever, AIDAN, all making a welcome appearance as well.  

But what good is a book without a pretty damn amazing plot?  Thankfully, Gemina had exactly that.  I loved almost every aspect of this plot, from the key storyline of the invasion of the ship to some of the others that slowly weaved their way throughout the book as well, such as the deadly creatures.  I also really enjoyed seeing how the plot developed as more became revealed as the book went on, this not only keeping me reading as I wanted to know what was going to happen next, but also making the story unpredictable and full of some great plot twists.

One aspect of the plot though that I adore more than the rest has to be the continued storyline from Illuminae, that this time sees Beitech attempt to remove any witnesses of the attack on Keneza.  For someone who doesn't read a lot of sci-fi at all, for some reason I adore the idea of this almost war and battle in space against this huge co-operation, which is why I loved seeing how the storyline of this book fit into and continued the one in Illuminae.  I really liked how this one, whilst still having its own individual plot, still managed to tie into the overall story in the most perfect way.  

Overall, I think its safe to say this was a pretty damn amazing book and sequel.  It gave me everything I loved in Illuminae and more, and while Illuminae will always hold a special place in my heart, this one definitely meet and exceeded any expectations I had.  Now, I just have to patiently wait until next year to read the next installment in this phenomenal series!

Character: Nik
Scene: Hanna and Kali fight in the grav-rail car
Quote: 'It's not about what I say, right?  It's what I do that matters here.'

Relate a:
Song: Halo by King No One
Other Book: The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey


Have you read Gemina - what did you think?  

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Seventy One

Top Ten Best Books of 2016

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  Despite these posts have been few and far between on my blog recently, I decided that this was one topic I could not miss out on as there was no way I was missing out on the opportunity to talk about some of my favourite books I read this year.  Although my reading year was definitely not a good one in the number of books I read, that doesn't mean it wasn't an amazing one for the quality of exceptional books I did manage to read over the last 12 months.  And so, enjoy!

I decided to pick this one up mid way through the year as my reading slump was just beginning to take hold, and I'm so glad I did as not only was it an amazing and addictive story, but made me fall in love with fantasy.  Everything about this book was just so detailed and beautifully written, with characters that were flawed and realistic and plot twists that I never saw coming. 

One of my main goals for this year was to read more classics, so when I had to read this for my english class it gave me the perfect opportunity to finally do so.  I instantly fell in love with the story and the gorgeously poetic writing and narration that along with the phenomenal atmosphere of the 1920's in America means I can safely say I will almost definitely be rereading this one for years to come.  

For a book I picked up super spontaneously, this is not one I ever expected to love as much as I did, let alone to be one of my favourites from the entire year.  This story just transported as soon as I started it, and was one of the most addictive books I read all year - I honestly could not put this down!

2016 was not only the year when I discovered my undying love for fantasy, but also the year I finally read and loved one of the most talked about books in YA.  I honestly can't believe how long it took me to finally jump onto the bandwagon with this one, but I am so glad I have now discovered the beauty and perfection that is this book, and can now join in with the hype that is constantly spread about this series.

Throne of Glass wasn't the only huge series I started this year, as I also finally decided to give The Raven Boys another go at the start of the year.  This time, I managed to push through and really get into the story, so much so that I ended up loving this book, plot and particularly the amazing characters that make this book as good as it is.

If there was one book that I was most excited about being released this year, it was this one, so I can't tell you how happy I am that this lived up to all my hopes and expectations and more.  The story, writing and characters were all just as, and possibly even more beautiful than in We All Looked Up, and I think its safe to say Zelda has become one of my most memorable characters of the year as well.  

Finally, one of the biggest releases of last year became one of my favourite reads of this year after I decided to join the hype surrounding this early this year.  Everything about this book was just so amazingly unique, from its completely different format to its bold and individualistic characters and plot, that it was almost impossible not to adore this exceptional novel. 

What were some of your favourite books of 2016?  Have you read any of these - what did you think? 

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Top Ten Tuesday Seventy

Top Ten Books I'm looking forward to for the first half of 2017

Top ten tuesday is a weekly feature/ meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.  This week's topic was one I was really excited for, as I love to see what amazing books are coming our way soon, but especially as I am already declaring 2017 as the year of reading.  After my awful year this year, I saw no better way to really motivate myself to get back into reading and blogging than to give myself a few releases to get excited about in the new year.  And so, enjoy!

The Hundred Lies of Lizzy Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti - 3rd January -

If there's one genre I have read an awful lot less of this year, its contemporary, and so whilst I hope to just generally read alot more in 2017, I also would love to get back into the genre whilst still keeping my love of fantasy and such as well.  This one intrigued from the moment I started reading the synopsis and I'm so desperate to find out what will happens in this book that I'm so glad its release date is very early next year.   

Poison Kiss by Breeana Shields - 10th January -

As soon as a book mentions assassins, you know I'll be interested, so I was very excited when the synopsis for this one mentioned a teenage assassin who kills with a single kiss.  I also love that this one is based in Indian folklore and am determined to pick this one up when its released.  

A List of Cages by Robin Roe - 10th January - 

Recently, contemporary novels like this have held no interest with me whatsoever, yet for some reason this synopsis just drew me and actually left me really intrigued and wanting to find out more.  I love the concept of their being more than meets the eye, as well the main character having ADHD, and so I'm excited to see what this one holds.  

Caraval by Stephanie Garber - 31st January - 

I've seen this one floating around for a while, but had yet to actually check it out myself and find out what it was about before now, when I realize what all the hype was about.  This book just seems to include so many different aspects that I love, such as the idea of the performance or game being more real than it seems, and there is honestly no doubt in my mind that I will end up picking this up at some point next year. 

Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas - 21st February - 

Since my love of fantasy has grown enormously this past year, I couldn't help but instantly want to read this story that follows our main character, Freya , who ends up as heir to the throne after all those in line before her die at a royal banquet.  I'm really interested by all the royal politics as well as the mystery of the murders and so I hope I do end up picking up and reading this one at some point.  

The Ship Beyond Time by Heidi Heilig - 28th February -

The Girl from Everywhere was one of my favourite reads from the year, and so there was before I even began looking at some of the releases for next year, I knew this would feature somewhere.  I'm so excited to see where the story goes next, especially as this is also the final book, and just hope this second one is just as addictive and captivating as the first.  

Definition of Indefinable Things by Whitney Taylor - 4th April - 

This is another contemporary that I'm actually surprised caught my attention, as it sounds nothing like what I have been reading in the last year or so.  I think one of the main things that interested me with this one was the idea of the the lives of these three individuals all intertwining, but I'm also super excited to see what happens with the rest of the story and what this book holds.  

Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh - 2nd May -

Finally, I'll be honest and say that the it was the gorgeous cover that first drew me to this one, but it was the synopsis that kept me interested.  I've been really trying to read a hell of a lot more fantasy this year, and this one just sounds like such an interesting one, with the whole idea of our main character hiding out as a boy in the rebel army. 

Are you excited for any of these?  What 2017 releases are you most excited for?  

Sunday, 11 December 2016

The Last Star by Rick Yancey Review

After putting off finishing this series for so long, I finally managed to pluck up the courage to read the last installment a few weeks ago now.  I have absolutely loved this series so far, and so was pretty scared that this one wouldn't live up to the other books, but at the same time knew that I needed to get round to this soon as I reread The Infinite Sea in the summer, and so wanted to go into this one with the story fresh in my mind.  Thankfully, my anticipation and excitement for this was one was not wasted as I ended up really loving this final installment, the downside now being that I have now seen and the end of this amazing series.

One thing I have always loved about this series is all of the amazing characters it has in it, and so I loved seeing them grow further throughout this.  For me, this book just seemed to show us so much more about absolutely all of them, and allowed us to delve so much deeper into these characters.  I honestly can't tell you how happy I am that this series has given us complex and three dimensional characters who, even now, I don't feel like I have seen every side of.  I feel like as the books have progressed, we have slowly been allowed to get to know and grow to care about each of these characters individually, so much so that everything that happens to them I feel so deeply.

I also couldn't do my last review for this series and not dedicate something to the perfection that is Ringer.  I don't know how, but somehow she has just grown and grown on me so much as the story progressed, until there is no question that she is one of my favourite ever characters, and this book just solidified that fact for me.  I love how strong and smart she is and how she lets this shine through, but then also how reserved and sensitive she can be, as well as the mystery that always surrounds some aspects of her.  I am so glad that she became such a focal character in this series and 

If there's one thing this series does amazingly well, and others don't, its the split POV.  Somehow, where most others books fall flat on this front, this one, for me, just improves so much because of it instead.  It allows us to not only see things from all the characters perspectives, but also gives this idea of there being no one central main character, but rather of all of them being of equal importance, particularly in this book, which I love. 

As if this book wasn't already good enough, the writing was also, once again, absolutely beautiful.  It fitted the atmosphere so well at every single point of the story, kept me reading and hooked, whilst still giving some gorgeous quotes and sections.  I just always found that it set the pace perfectly, never really racing over parts or taking too long over them either.    

But all of this still couldn't make this book anywhere near as good as it is if the plot was not just as amazing.  Throughout this series, one thing I have also enjoyed was the direction the plot took, especially as for me at least, it often differed from what I expected, so I am so thankful that this continued through into this book.  There were times when I was on the edge of my seat, wondering and endlessly guessing what was possibly coming, and almost never guessing correctly.  

And if all that was still not enough, then the ending of this really did give me the perfect ending to the series.  It honestly wasn't what I was expecting at all, but at the same time it wasn't in any way unrealistic for the story or the characters and rounded off this series in what I think is the only way it possibly could have.  

And so, all in all, I definitely really loved this book and thought it was a great end to a great series.  For me, the plot, story and characters continued and ending exactly the way they should have whilst still being unpredictable and full of amazing plot twists.  The only thing keeping me from giving this 5 stars, which trust me, I would love to do, is that I just expected the ending to be the tiniest bit bigger than it was.    

Character - Ringer
Quote: 'You never lose those who love you, because love is a constant; Love endures'
'Love is the most dangerous weapon in the world'

Relate a: 
Song: You and I - Pvris 
Other Book - Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 

4.5 /5

Have you read this - what did you think?