Tag: YA

Otherbound is trying very, very hard, but just isn’t that good

Otherbound is trying very, very hard, but just isn’t that good

★★☆☆☆

(2 stars)

This is a very meh book. I didn’t particularly want it to be, but it failed me in every way. There was nothing really going on, the writing was dull, the worldbuidling was clearly making an effort but explained poorly, and nothing felt interesting, legitimate, or real.

The characters are diverse, but even in the reviews that’s all anyone can talk about. Yay for diversity! Not much to cheer about otherwise.

Continue reading “Otherbound is trying very, very hard, but just isn’t that good”

A Soul To Take has a great premise, but needs a rewrite (or two)

A Soul To Take has a great premise, but needs a rewrite (or two)

★☆☆☆☆

(1 star)

(This is a review of a free ARC I got from the publisher. As you may guess, this did not impact or change my review or review process. These opinions are my honest own.)

I hate to leave a negative review, especially for a book I’d been excited for, especially for a book by a debut author, especially for a book from an indie press… but here we are.

This book was right up my wheelhouse- wait, scratch that, it was parked in my garage. Urban fantasy? Demons? Demon-human integration? (with promise of political-social implications of that?) Beauty and the Beast type romance? Soul selling? Gothic cyberpunk? Yes. Yes please. It was on my ‘to-read’ list before I’d gotten myself an ARC.

Continue reading “A Soul To Take has a great premise, but needs a rewrite (or two)”

Only Ever Yours is an incredible modern, yet classical dystopia

Only Ever Yours is an incredible modern, yet classical dystopia

★★★★★

(5 stars)

I read this on the floor of a train station during a ten-hour train delay, finishing around 2am, and it was probably the perfect experience for this book. Strange, long, complicated, at times mysterious and frustrating, Only Ever Yours brought perfectly together Brave New World and 1984- but with a more direct commentary on feminism, the role of women in society, sexuality, and media. (While also having time to talk about racism, eating disorders, sex, sexism, social inoculation, brainwashing, and mental illness).

And listen, folks, I’m not a pretentious person. You won’t catch me dead giving a holler about women’s studies or queer theory. But Only Ever Yours is not some highbrow, academic commentary. It’s a solid story in an extreme dystopia, where the world has shaped the characters perfectly, and the reader never quite knows enough.

Continue reading “Only Ever Yours is an incredible modern, yet classical dystopia”

Beauty Queens: Diversity is good, but it doesn’t make a book

Beauty Queens: Diversity is good, but it doesn’t make a book

★☆☆☆☆

(1 star)

I love Libba bay. I want to put that out there. I loved Going Bovine, and when I was about 13, it was probably my most read and reread book. Beauty Queens, by her, sucks. Oh man. Oh boy. I used to just be lukewarm, but I’ve been seeing it float around on LGBT recommendation lists and on tumblr, so I want to officially clear the air: Don’t read this book.

Is there a lot of diversity, female friendship, gay stuff, ethnicity stuff, and feminism? Does the cover rock? Is the premise gold? Well, sure. But that doesn’t make up for everything else.

Continue reading “Beauty Queens: Diversity is good, but it doesn’t make a book”

Valhalla is, at the very least, something different

Valhalla is, at the very least, something different

★★★★☆

(3.5 stars)

Valhalla is not for everyone. It’s action, for one, an overlong action film put onto the page. It’s a hyper violent romp through a complex future world with a murderous lesbian as the guide. Do I like it? The first book holds up well when reflecting on the rest of the series. What I ultimately have to conclude, however, is that it’s at least something very different. New.

It harkens back to the old days of action/sci-fi while still being a very modern book. And even though I say this, I can’t name any one thing I could compare it to.

Continue reading “Valhalla is, at the very least, something different”

Relic: The next big YA dystopia you’ve never heard of (because it flopped, hard)

Relic: The next big YA dystopia you’ve never heard of (because it flopped, hard)

☆☆☆☆☆

(0 stars)

The dystopia craze of the early 2010s brought forth an incredible wave of roughly the same plot line: an average white girl (often with brown hair, which she tends to tie back) finds she’s not so average after all, and then must contend with two love interests in a paper-thin world that just doesn’t understand her problems. Hunger Games was a good book series, but the vast majority that followed were not. Many felt like cash grabs towards the current hot genre.

Relic, by Heather Terrell, feels entirely constructed. Somehow I refuse to believe she put any soul into it, ever labored on the manuscript in dreams of one day publishing this dear pet project. To be frank, it is a disaster of a YA novel, so cliché it feels like clever satire. Described as Game of Thrones meets The Hunger Games, this book is neither of them.

Continue reading “Relic: The next big YA dystopia you’ve never heard of (because it flopped, hard)”