2014 End Of Year Book Survey

This is a sort of tag, created by the lovely The Perpetual Page-Turner. There's not really a point to this as it is only a little book survey to think back at all the wonderful books one's read in the year 2014.
Let's begin!

2014 Reading Stats

Number of books you read?

Number of re-reads?

Genre you read the most from?

Best in Books

1. Best book you read in 2014?
Cress by Marissa Meyer

2. Book you were excited about & thought you were going to love more but didn't?
Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas

3. Most surprising book you read in 2014?
The Luthier's Apprentice by Mayra Calvani

4. Book you "pushed" the most people to read?
Percy Jackson & The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

5. Best series you started in 2014? Best sequel of 2014? Best series ender of 2014?
The Young Elites by Marie Lu
Cress by Marissa Meyer
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

6. Favorite new author you discovered in 2014?
Morgan Matson

7. Best book from a genre you don't typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo

8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

9. Book you read in 2014 that you are most likely to re-read next year?
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2014?:
Ignite Me by Tahreh Mafi


11. Most memorable character of 2014?
The entire Heroes of Olympus crew

12. Most beautifully written book read in 2014?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

13. Most thought-provoking/life-changing book of 2014?
The Giver by Lois Lowry

14. Book you can't believe you waited UNTIL 2014 to finally read?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

15. Favourite passage/quote from a book you read in 2014?

“He froze, becoming stone still. As the hover climbed the hill to the palace, his shoulders sank, and he returned his gaze to the window. "She's my alpha," he murmured, with a haunting sadness in his voice.


Cress leaned forward, propping her elbows on her knees, "Like the star?"
"What star?"

She stiffened, instantly embarrassed, and scooted back from him again. "Oh. Um. In a constellation, the brightest star is called the alpha. I thought maybe you meant that she's...like...your brightest star." Looking away, she knotted her hands in her lap, aware that she was blushing furiously now and this beast of a man was about to realize what an over-romantic sap she was.

But instead of sneering or laughing, Wolf sighed, "Yes," he said, his gaze climbing up to the full moon that had emerged in the blue evening sky. "Exactly like that.”
-- Marissa Meyer, Cress

16. Shortest & longest book you read in 2014?
The Little Android by Marissa Meyer
City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare

17. Book that shocked you the most?
The Young Elites by Marie Lu

18. OTP of the year?
Caleo from The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

19. Favourite non-romantic relationship of the year?
Percy Jackson and Leo Valdez from the Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan

20. Favourite book you read in 2014 from an author you've read previously?
The Iron Trial by Cassandra Clare & Holly Black

21. Best book of 2014 that you read solely on a recommendation from somebody else?
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2014?
Nox from Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

23. Best 2014 debut you read?
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige (yes I really love that book)

24. Best world building/most vivid setting you read this year?
The Giver by Lois Lowry

25. Book that put a smile to your face?
Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson

26. Book that made you nearly cry in 2014?
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

27. Hidden gem of the year?
The Luthier's Apprentice by Mayra Calvani

28. Book that crushed your soul?
The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

29. Most unique book you read in 2014?
Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

30. Book that made you the most mad?
Paper Towns by John Green

Your blogging/bookish life

1. New favourite book blog you discovered in 2014?
The Midnight Garden

2. Favourite review that you wrote in 2014?
City of Heavenly Fire/The Young Elites/Dorothy Must Die

3. Best discussion/non-review post you've had on your blog?
Cover reveal: The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

4. Best event you participated in?
Cassandra Clare's book signing at the Boekenbeurs 2014

5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2014?
Receiving ARCs from big publishing companies

7. Most popular post this year on your blog?
Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

8. Post you wished got a little more love?
Review: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

9. Best bookish disovery?
The Book Depository

10. Did you complete any reading challenges?
Nope, none of them actually. *laughs at herself*

Looking ahead

1. One book you didn't get to in 2014 but will be your number #1 priority in 2015?
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

2. Non-debut book you are most anticipating in 2015?
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan

3. 2015 debut you are most anticipating?
The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

4. Series ending/sequel you are most anticipating in 2015?
Winter by Marissa Meyer

5. One thing you hope to accomplish in your reading/blogging life in 2015?
Getting approved on Edelweiss

6. A 2015 release you've already read and recommend to everyone?
The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
18044277The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma
Published: March 24th 2015 by Algoquin Young Readers
Pages: 336

The Walls Around Us is a ghostly story of suspense told in two voices—one still living and one long dead. On the outside, there’s Violet, an eighteen-year-old dancer days away from the life of her dreams when something threatens to expose the shocking truth of her achievement. On the inside, within the walls of a girls’ juvenile detention center, there’s Amber, locked up for so long she can’t imagine freedom. Tying these two worlds together is Orianna, who holds the key to unlocking all the girls’ darkest mysteries.

We hear Amber’s story and Violet’s, and through them Orianna’s, first from one angle, then from another, until gradually we begin to get the whole picture—which is not necessarily the one that either Amber or Violet wants us to see.

Nova Ren Suma tells a supernatural tale of guilt and innocence, and what happens when one is mistaken for the other.
“Ori’s dead because of what happened out behind the theater, in the tunnel made out of trees. She’s dead because she got sent to that place upstate, locked up with those monsters. And she got sent there because of me.”
Thank you Alogoquin Young Readers for providing me with an advanced reading copy for review.

Books like The Walls Around Us are in my opinion too rare in the young-adult genre. This is a book that takes patience and full concentration to read, but it was worth it in the end. The plot slowly builds up and connects the three storylines of three different teenage girls together, and with each page you read you're more and more intrigued in what's yet to come. Throughout the book you never know the whole story from each girl, and that was my ultimate motivation to finish as quickly as possible. I do hereby warn you by saying this not for everyone. I do highly suggest to give it a chance if the premise of Black Swan meets Orange is the New Black seems appealing to you.

The author definitely managed to put the story nicely together, but also made all of the girls' situations come across very believably. I can't imagine how hard it must be to start writing about the lives of forty-two girls in Aurora Hills Secure Juvenile Detention Center, also known as a prison for teen girls. This prison is the main setting for the book, and immediately creates a haunting feeling when I started reading it. Every girl in there has a story to tell and secrets they would never want anyone to know. That is where the author did a terrific job in make you feel how the girls there felt. They are left there to rot and always have to keep an eye on everyone, while they still are a family in some kind of twisted way. They only have each other, but no one knows anyone completely. Besides the prison life I simply adored the input of ballet in this novel. Something so fine and graceful combined with blood and horror, two complete opposites, went together so well.

Everything I had learned through read the book breaks down into a thousand shattered pieces. I felt my eyes widen and the feeling of some kind of shock went through me as I felt my mind being blown. I should have seen it coming because it was obvious all along. I just still can't imagine what kind of things teenage girls are capable of doing and how well they can cover up their lies and their deceit, and how messed up they can be.

I always barely say anything about the writing style of an author. When I do speak of it is always because the writing stands out, which was without doubt the case with this book. Suma's way with words can create emotions on their own. It never fails to have a lyrical and beautiful touch to it, and it didn't prevent me from understanding what is told, as it is often with authors who try to make their writing special but don't succeed.

At first the three main characters in The Walls Around Us don't seem to have anything in common, nor would they connect in any way. They all have such unique and different voices, it was never hard for me to follow the story in either Amber's or Violet's point of view. It was clear to see there was a lot of time spent on creating three personalities a reader would love, no matter their backgrounds, words or actions. However at some point in the story, the connections between the three girls slowly become visible, still with a lot untold. I loved to read from all three's perspective, just because they all had such a different story to tell, but no story was less valuable or less interesting than another.

Just because this type of book is so rare, it was very hard for me to rate since I barely have anything to compare it with. It brought along feels, I can tel you that. It mainly left me impressed but also scared and sad. I don't know why but I'm not capable of adoring a book so dark. That is the reason, and the only reason, why I'm going for a solid four stars. Go and read this book with as little knowledge of it as possible. In the long run it will all be worth it.

The DUFF by Kody KeplingerThe DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger
Published: September 7th 2010 by Little Brown
Pages: 280

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face.

But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.

Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone.
“Your sense of humor needs some work, then," Wesley suggested. "Most girls find my jokes charming."
"Those girls must have IQs low enough to trip over.”
Where do I begin to review a book such as The DUFF? Let's start off by mentioning the only reason I was drawn into reading this: the trailer. Not the book trailer, but the awesome-looking trailer for the motion picture coming out this spring. I did notice the huge difference between the book and the movie such as the friends with benefits. Personally I didn't make a huge deal about it. I was ready for an uplifting chick-lit novel. Somehow, it disappointed immensely.

The main reason as to why I'm so disappointed, involves our main character, Bianca. This girl made me want to rip out my own hair, out of complete frustration. To begin with a lot of cussing I really needed to get used to at first. Seriously, there were moments when Bianca cussed like an Elizabethan Sailor. Second, how she kept whining throughout the entire book that she's a duff, yet does nothing about it. This is also the case with many other little things, but those little things kept piling up one another until they formed such a big mountain it became a huge struggle for me. Third, how she kept blaming every teen girl in this book of being a slut or a whore for making love to Wesley, while she was not a whit better than any of them. Eventually she figured that out, although it took a long time for her to finally realise. As I'm already talking about her realising things, she always seemed to be the last person on earth to discover what she wanted. She was constantly surprised about her surroundings and behaviour when had already seen it coming. Her personality itself is in a constant clash with the way she behaves towards others. Call her loyal, intelligent and mature, she acted like the complete opposite. This being said, I'll end my little rant about one of the most annoying main characters I've ever encountered. Moving on.

I've always had mixed feelings about a love-hate relationship. In my opinion it's always too predictable, simply because you always know they'll end up falling in love, no matter what they put each other through. After all, there's a thin line between love and hate. I didn't really love the friends with benefits combined with the relationship they had. One moment Bianca would throw her coke in his face, and a second later she'd be all over him. I didn't fell of their love for each other until the very end of the book. I don't understand why Bianca ended up loving him. Wesley was such a douche until he finally decided to change, yet it also happened way too late.

Secondary characters like Jessica, Casey and Wesley felt a bit one-dimensional to me at first. It later turned out those character were going to be the ones I ended up loving. They turned out to be more fleshed out than I first imagined, and Wesley went through some amazing character development. So I liked most of the minor characters, while others like Toby and Vikki remained close to stereotypes all the way through. I also laughed at how the author presented teenagers in the first place. Was her plan all along to create a book which claims our generation is as bad as the media shows it? As a sort-of peer of Bianca, I know our generation is bad, but how every teenager acted in this book made me want to lose my faith in humanity. There's nothing wrong in first place with sexual intercourse at seventeen, it's supposed to be normal. What wasn't normal for me at all, was how girls were portrayed to sleep with everybody they could get their hands on. Especially Bianca had the most worthless excuse to have sex.

The plot itself wasn't very good either. While I was expecting a perfect uplifting novel for the holidays, dark themes such as alcoholism and divorce cross my path. I always applaud an author when he or she chooses to put these kind of things in a book and handles it well. It just wasn't what I first expected and eventually wasn't something I enjoyed. Besides that and the countless well-written sex scenes, there was barely anything happening. Since the good part was the ending itself, I didn't had that much joy from reading the entire thing. It was only at the end the message of loving who you are became clear and Bianca realised she shouldn't judge others so much.

In the long run, I'm just very disappointed with how The DUFF turned out. I got to meet a very frustrating main character, quite the lovely and sometimes flat secondary characters and a thin plot besides all the sex, hate and fighting. All I can do now I cross my fingers in the hopes that the film will be more what I expect.

Currently readingThe Course of True Love [And First Dates] (The Bane Chronicles, #10) by Cassandra Clare
Published: March 18th 2014 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 40

Magnus Bane and Alec Lightwood might fall in love--but first they have a first date.

When Magnus Bane, warlock, meets Alec Lightwood, Shadowhunter, sparks fly. And what happens on their first date lights flame...
"You're sarcastic twelve hours a day, but you're almost never spiteful. You have a good heart under all the glitter."
First dates are known to be awkward, complete with silences from time to time and clumsy behaviour. The kind of first date I saw here could have been cute. I was ready for an opportunity to ship Malec more than I did before. You see, I'm not the biggest Malec shippper out there. I have quite the unpopular opinion of thinking both deserve better, and I rarely see sparks flying. This novella didn't help in shipping them more. Throughout the story they both felt uncomfortable and the atmosphere between the two was nothing but awkward. With the first date itself, I thought that Clare tried a bit too hard to make the date awkward.

My issues with the novella didn't remain with the chemistry. The attempted humour was cringe-worthy. While others may have bursted out laughing at The Butt Song, I was just sitting there with arched eyebrows. Also, I found the scene at the metro station to be a bit odd. Both the robber and the talent agent jump out of nowhere, turn out to be the friendliest of people and then leave. It was all too random for me and didn't seem to have a real purpose, if I may say so.

I didn't really enjoy reading about a first date gone wrong. That is why I highly appreciated that the supposed emergency wasn't supposed but real, and brought in some fabulous teamwork between the two lovers. It lifted up the rating I first was going to give, and managed to bring a smile to my face. For some reason, I enjoy Malec much more in an action scene than on a date.

The Last Stand of the New York Institute (The Bane Chronicles, #9) by Cassandra Clare
Published: December 17th 2013 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 40

Magnus meets Valentine in battle as the Circle attacks the Downworlders of New York City.

In time of the Uprising, Valentine's Circle goes after Downworlders in New York...and the Shadowhunters of the Institute must decide whether to join him, or fight with Magnus and his kind. This is the first time Magnus sees Jocelyn, Luke, and Stephen--but not the last. It is not long before Jocelyn seeks him out...
"Valentine clasped Lucian's arm in return, but Magnus saw the look Valentine gave Lucian. There was love in that look, but hate as well, and the hate was winning."
This last Bane Chronicles novella but one completely messed with my emotions. The involvement of particular characters I won't say the name of, brought me to tears. It has been so long but just reading the names themselves bring back all the memories and made me enjoy this novella so much more. Despite it not being anything new, I loved that it played out before my own eyes. New friendships were forged and new promises were made. If for that part only I think I would have gladly given it five stars.

For a moment I forgot the first half of what I'd read, which was a slight disappointment for me. I have always been fascinated by Valentine's Circle, their ideas, why they thought their actions were justice, their behaviour in their teenage years, etc. I have always loved the chance of getting to gain more insight on all those topics, and in general just see more of The Circle itself. Upon reading The Last Stand of the New York Institute, I was prepared to learn more and be blown away. Little did I then knew that new information in this novella was going to be close to nothing. I honestly didn't care for the werewolf child and the discussion between Lucian and Valentine, as we've seen that many times before. The actual Uprising itself fell short and was very rushed in my opinion. When there could have been an entire novella dedicated to things we hadn't seen before, to me it felt like I hadn't learned anything new. Though it now sounds like I'm extremely disappointed, I'm not. I still liked what I've read, but it could have been better.

21871876Charming by Krystal Wade
Published: October 6th 2014 by Curiosity Quills Press
Pages: 208

They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger, and that's great... as long as you don't die.

Sixteen-year-old Haley Tremaine had it all: top-notch school, fantastic family, and a bright future, but all of that changed when an accident tore her family apart. Now, an alcoholic father, a bitter younger sister, and a cold headstone bearing her mother's name are all she has left.

Chris Charming has it all: a powerful CEO for a father, a prestigious school, and a fortune at his fingertips, but none of that matters when he lands a reputation as a troublemaker. Struggling to follow in his father's footsteps, he reaches out to the one person he believes truly sees him, the one person he wants: Haley.

Little do they know someone's determined to bring the two together, even if it means murder.
"Thirty-two steps until Haley Tremaine entered hell. Thirty-two steps until she walked into the smell of alcohol and burned microwaveable meals, into a place where fear overwhelmed."
Thank you Curiosity Quills Press for providing me with an advanced reading copy for review.

Actual rating: 3.5 stars

When I first started reading Charming, I never expected it to turn out the way it did. I was aware of the Cinderella retelling combined with something much darker - hence the cover -, but I was still surprised in more ways than I first imagined.

Something I appreciated very much was the Cinderella retelling. I've always fallen easily for retellings and fairy tales, especially the two combined. Therefore there was no doubt that I smiled and swooned at the obvious Cinderella references, especially when they were present in the first half of the book. Even though it did start off as a retelling, over the course of the story it quickly grew into something much more than that. The book dealt with much harsher topics than I first imagined, but I can't say I'm not glad the author decided to write about things like child abuse and alcoholism. It added the touch to the book it needed to stand out, something I absolutely love.

The book itself got off to a slow start, where we meet the characters and get insight on their backgrounds. I liked the overall cast of characters who were present in this book. They were all individuals with a personality of their own who just got dragged into trouble they never wanted. On the other hand, I'm actually sad to admit to I didn't really bond with them, with one small exception. For example, I had some issues with Chris Charming.

The book itself is only two hundred pages long, and yet I do think there were plenty of moments where it was possible to learn more about his background. In my opinion there was a lot of telling, not enough was shown. I was told Chris had his problems too, though I still see him as a spoiled rich kid. That also goes for characters like Joce and Christina. The small exception has everything to do with the heroine who holds my heart, Hailey. She went through a lot of character development, to eventually turn into a though girl who won't back down easily. I love her for that.

All of a sudden the action jumped in, and that's where the book convinced me why it belongs in the mystery/thriller genre. Ever since the first envelope I was full of adrenaline and was already guessing who it possibly could be. I came up with the strangest theories. After all, no one is to be trusted in books like this. It kept me excited and my attention was focused on the pages at all times when reading, and that doesn't happen very often.

I'm not sure what to think of the romance between Hailey and Chris. I found it to be quite unrealistic and jumped out of nowhere. It did cause cute and fluffy scenes, something I saw as a good escape from the general dark tone of the book. In normal cases I don't normally root for this kind of romances, and that's why I'm surprised I like this one. Do mind the like and not love, because there were moments when their relationship rather came across as a plot device and felt forced than an actual relationship between two teenagers.

Charming has everything that made it stand out from other retellings. It was scary, contained blood and gore but also fun characters and a fluffy romance. I'd suggest you pick it up if you're in the mood to read something different.

9565548Grave Mercy (His Fair Assassin, #1) by Robin LaFevers
Published: April 3rd 2012 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 549

Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf?

Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others.

Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
"Whenever you are ready, or if you never are, my heart is yours, until Death do us part. Whatever that may mean when consorting with one of Death's handmaidens."
Thank you Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for providing me with an advanced reading copy for review.

Grave Mercy was one of those books I have wanted to read for a lifetime. The premise of assassin nuns was nothing but intriguing and I was drawn in very easily. When the opportunity came across for me to review it for the publisher, I couldn't resist to read it. What was going to stop me from loving this book?

A lot of things. To be honest, I had a lot more struggles with this book than I originally wanted to. I'll start off the with the good parts: the setting and the beginning. Now, I have always been a huge historical fiction fan. I love that while reading, it's like I can escape in the past and enjoy the time setting. The time period in Grave Mercy has to be around the late 1400s, which means The Dark Ages. In some way LaFevers really managed to set that time period in her book and make it come across as believable. Throughout the book there's so much violence and lies, it's hardly possible to trust a handful of people. This was also the main reason as to why I adored how the book started off. I was blown away by the action and how the author wasn't afraid to really set the tone of the time period.

The list containing all my issues, is sadly a lot longer. In my opinion is safe to say I was completely lured in by the premise of Grave Mercy. How can one resist to read a book about badass assassin nuns? About Death himself having handmaidens who do his dirty work for him? I couldn't, and I was fooled. This book wasn't like anything I'd expected. To begin with the plot itself, I must speak of a so-called plot because there was almost none. Some parts such as Ismae's training felt very rushed, while others dragged along immensely. It dragged on for far too long, so long I found myself skimming more and more pages to eventually figure out I hadn't missed a thing.

Don't expect to find a lot of action, thrill or suspense. The only assassinations you'll get to see are in the very beginning before the book switches to a story filled with boring events, one after another. There was no doubt about the great amount of politics in this book. Sometimes this can be done in a splendid way so it's interesting and so you're curious for what will happen next. Grave Mercy didn't achieve that in any way. The politics here are nothing but boring, repetitious and maybe even made me like the time period less.

Even though I still am a huge fanatic of historical fiction and have nothing against the use of old and formal English, the use of it in Grave Mercy nearly drove me mad. It bothered me way more than I would have liked and above all, had way too much impact on many things, such as the action. To mention it yet again, there is no action whatsoever. When there's finally something that comes close to keeping you on the edge of your seat, the author made it seem like it was nothing and went on with what had happened before. I didn't feel any sort of suspense or thrill, something that was absolutely need in the course of the story.

I barely have anything to say about Ismae, except that she was such an unbelievable heroine. According to the book, this girl has spent three years in training to one day become one of the best assassins out there, and yet nothing she did afterwards made me believe it. Her personality was also so bipolar. When she was still a trained assassin a few seconds ago, she could also act like a naive little girl with no knowledge of the real world, and confused me a lot.

Other characters in this book just came and went, and I never got the chance to know them properly, which ended in an endless stream of names and very flat personalities. I can't even remember any of them expect maybe five, the heroine included. For that simple reason, I didn't feel anything for any of the characters. I didn't care if anything happened or if someone died; I just wanted to finish the book already.

All in all, Grave Mercy is the kind of book you either love or have struggles with. It's sad I didn't love this as much as I wanted to, but then again I can't force myself to love something I don't.

Paper Towns by John Green
Published: September 22nd 2009 by Speak
Pages: 305

Who is the real Margo?

Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificently adventurous Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs into his life—dressed like a ninja and summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. After their all-nighter ends, and a new day breaks, Q arrives at school to discover that Margo, always an enigma, has now become a mystery. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they're for him. Urged down a disconnected path, the closer he gets, the less Q sees the girl he thought he knew...

"Margo always loved mysteries. And in everything that came afterward, I could never stop thinking that maybe she loved mysteries so much that she became one."

Very slight spoilers for Paper Towns, so be warned.

Actual rating: 1.5 stars

Paper Towns has to be the kind of book that I was pressured into by my whole environment. The film is coming out in a year, it has been a hyped book ever since John Green started getting popular among us teenage girls, and everyone I knew had already read it. It was eventually that last reason which made me eventually want to read it. Having finally read the book, I won't say I'm disappointed. I didn't have high standards in the first place. My prejudice and the average rating on Goodreads told me: John Green's other works are nothing compared to the fabulous The Fault in Our Stars. Still, the feeling of having read one of the most overhyped books of all time doesn't exactly feel good.

In other words, I didn't think Paper Towns reached my expectations. I did not know what to expect in the first place. As soon as I progressed with the novel, something became very clear for me. Margo isn't the main character and, after all, didn't appear for the most part of the book, and yet the author would manage just fine to still make the book centered around her. How, you might ask? By using a boy named Quentin Jacobsen. One of the weakest characters I have known. He was so easy for Margo to manipulate and use, it's hardly believable. His crush for this girl was not just a simple crush, it came across to me as an obsession. He would do everything she wanted him to do and believed all her small-talk. I didn't flip a page when I was irritated by Quentin's character. He does so much for her and is during the book constantly trying to understand the messages she left him in order to find her, and in the end it all feels like so much wasted time. It felt like the book itself was wasted time to read, honestly. In my opinion, that's just sad.

When I first started reading the book, I had this feeling I was going to have a love-hate relationship with Margo. Her attitude is full of freedom and craziness, something I really liked at first. After a while the results of her actions became clear and the once love-hate relationship I had with this girl quickly turned into nothing but hate. I'm sorry for any possible cursing, but in my opinion Margo is such a self-centered cruel bitch it makes me want to crawl my eyes out. She is the stereotype of a poplar girl who wants to be unique and strange but wants everyone to like her. She is so selfish and most of all: she doesn't care about anyone but herself. She doesn't even know what effect she and her actions can have on other people. From what I've read she's indeed a mystery, but one I would rather leave alone.

The other characters were in a way very stereotypical, but much more likeable than Margo or Quentin. Ben, Lacey and Radar all were fun to read about, just because their characters felt much more real to me. For instance, Ben's situation of needing to pee all the time near the end of the book, or Radar's wisdom and strength to stand up to Quentin and confront him with his obsession with Margo. Yet even when I did like some of the side characters, it does not mean I had a real connection with any of them, which truly is disappointing.

If I ever had to choose a genre for Paper Towns, it would have to be a wannabe mystery/coming of age, because it was. The clues Margo leaves for Q were supposed to give me feeling of suspense, something which would make me fly through this book, but nothing like that happened. There was so little plot to tell, Green still wrote a book consisting of three hundred pages, and I'm actually astonished. Out of all those pages, there was only five percent or so I actually liked: the prom after-party. Everyone was drunk, and we all know when that happened, good things were about to go down. I cracked up with Ben's attitude combined with alcohol, and Q's deep conversation in the bathroom. After that everything was such a bore. Especially the road trip itself. In a way the author described the most boring things ever, I started wondering if it was to fill up the pages. Green himself also seemed to know very well that the event near the end was very unrealistic, yet he went through with it. I keep myself asking: how was it possible they could survive something like that without any scratches? It definitely seemed like either their guardian angels, or just Ben himself, did a pretty good job.

To summarize this small rent, I wouldn't suggest you read Paper Towns. If you loved Looking for Alaska, The Fault in Our Stars or any other John Green book, that's good for you. I'm not judging. But to avoid possible stereotypical characters, serious-lacking mystery and a plot that headed in no specific direction, skip this one.

17256588Tales of the Unexpected by Roald Dahl
Published: 1979 by Penguin Books
Pages: 288

Sixteen tales, each with a startling twist, told by the grand master of the short story, Roald Dahl.

Inside these covers you will meet the man prepared to wager his daughter's hand in marriage over the breed and vintage of a bottle of wine; the traveller who throws himself overboard on a cruise liner just to win a bet; the innocuous-seeming landlady whose guests stay for longer than they intended; and Edward who takes on a deeply mysterious cat
"If this is about what I am beginning to suspect it is about, she told herself, then I don't want to read it.
Can one refuse to read a letter from the dead?"
There's no doubt about it: Roald Dahl is one of the greatest writers who has every lived. His stories are compelling, heart-breaking; keep you on the edge of your seat and is read by thousands of people all across the globe. I can understand why people are saying things like this about an author as him. I personally have heard nothing but positive reviews about Roald Dahl and his fantastic stories. When it comes to his adult literature, however, I knew very little about them or what they were like. Turns out they are a bunch of short stories, all with an extremely vague tone to them.

Let's say a huge amount of focus was needed when I read Tales of the Unexpected. So much it eventually gave me a headache. It felt like if I ever missed one word, I would have to read the entire page all over again. After a while the book really started to weigh on me, and in the end it was all too much. The fact that it's written by the Roald Dahl didn't take away the feeling of wanting to throw it out of the window.

Believe it or not, but upon finishing the book I was left so confounded I actually had to do some research to understand what I had just read. All had to do with how vague the stories were. Not some stories, all of them. None had a solid ending, they just left the reader wanting more if that was the case. What I did like about this book, hence the two stars, was how good some stories were put together. There was a lot of thought and time put into them, and that's something I can only appreciate from a writer. I also couldn't ignore Roald Dahl's fabulous writing style. He has his way with words and there were scenes when I had to stop for a moment and read a certain passage over again. Not because I found it to be vague, just beautifully written. For that only, Roald Dahl earns every respect in the world he can get.

All in all, Tales of the Unexpected is a title which connects greatly with all the stories, every single one of them. I did not expected them to turn out as they did, yet I don't mean that in the most positive way.

20827345The Witch Must Burn (Dorothy Must Die, #0.2) by Danielle Paige
Published: November 11th 2014 by HarperCollins
Pages: 100

There’s a new Wicked Witch in Oz—and her name is Dorothy. This digital original novella is the second installment in the prequel arc to the edgy and exciting New York Times bestseller Dorothy Must Die

Dorothy Gale is back . . . and she’s not the sweet little heroine of Oz anymore. She’s power-hungry and vicious, and she leaves a trail of destruction beneath her spike-heeled, magical shoes. But behind the scenes, there’s someone else pulling the strings. Someone who doesn’t want fame or glory—just control. 

Glinda of the North brought Dorothy back to Oz for a reason. And in The Witch Must Burn, a young maid is about to discover that a witch who says she’s Good might be the most dangerous kind of Wicked. 

 The Witch Must Burn, by debut author Danielle Paige, is a dark and compelling reimagining of a beloved classic and is perfect for fans of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, Beastly by Alex Flinn, and Wicked by Gregory Maguire.
'"That part is simple," Mombi said. "The witch is going to burn."
The Witch Must Burn is a prequel novella to Danielle Paige's Dorothy Must Die, released months after the release of the actual novel. As big of a fan I am of Paige's debut novel and couldn't stop recommending it to everyone, it was nothing but obvious I had to read this one too. I liked this addition to the series. I really do. Then why do have this feeling that this story is one I've read before, maybe even in the same series? It's because I have. People who have read Dorothy Must Die will quickly notice the undeniable similarities between these two. Unfortunately, the similarities don't stay within the story. Also some of the characters are similar to others, too. In this case, the way Glinda behaved and acted towards her servants reminded me a bit too much of Dorothy. If the shoes Dorothy wears made her act like Glinda, I don't know, but it surely looked like it. Glinda's now just the same villain as Dorothy, and I would have loved if she had been different.

Don't think I don't like the story because several resemblances. I was surprised by Jellia's point of view, but it didn't stop me from loving her background and personality. The reasons as to why Paige chose Jellia to tell the story may haven't been very clear in the beginning, but as I progressed with the book I quickly began to understand. I eventually liked her point of view so much more than Dorothy's. Despite her big mouth, she knew exactly how to play the game, and that's what I loved so much about her.

Although The Witch Must Burn came out after Dorothy Must Die, I highly recommend you read it before the novel, if you already haven't. Because now, this novella only seemed like a well written money-maker than an original story which could have been an amazing addition to this fabulous series.

17212231Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4) by Dan Brown
Published: May 14th 2013 by Doubleday
Pages: 461

In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci CodeAngels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date. 

 In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.
“If you could throw a switch and randomly kill half the population on earth, would you do it?..What if you were told that if you didn't throw that switch right now, the human race would be extinct in the next hundred years?"
Actual rating: 2.5 stars

I'd like to start this review off and get straight to the point: this book did not blew me away. This book was most definitely intriguing, to say the least. The premise drew me in, yet when I finished the last page I couldn't help but to feel disappointed. While I was expecting an adventure filled with action, riddles and mystery, there were also a lot of other things I crossed paths with.

Inferno is a book made out of approximately five hundred pages, and it was most definitely palpable. There were a lot of moments where I threw my head back and sighed out loud, thinking I could never finish it. I had to read it for English class, and the fact that I have to read it by a certain date did not help. I had some difficulties with getting through it, but lucky for me it was never so slow that the word DNF came to mind. Let me tell you why: the mystery in this book is somewhat great. Dan Brown knows his territory, as it was already clear from page one. Plot twists left me speechless and grasping for more, while another big part of the mystery lacks a bit. The mystery didn't do enough justice sometimes. I expected it to be a masterpiece in its genre. Great, yes, but it does not come close to being a masterpiece.

The plot, however, is by far the best aspect of the book. It was what drew me in and was one of the few things that did not disappoint. I just couldn't resist saying yes to a book with a combination of the Black Death and Dante, though my knowledge of the two before this book was very limited. The story itself is something you'd expect from Dan Brown, and is still a memorable read. The European setting and an interesting historical event or time period is something you'd find in every Dan Brown novel. On the other hand, it's not like anything I've read before - mainly because of Dante -, and I just love how that aspect of the book turned out. Also the involvement of a topic such as overpopulation made me quiet for a moment. Not many people have the 'courage' to take on such topics, and when they do, I for one appreciate it very much.

Even though the plot is amazing, Inferno still went against many of my expectations. The most important has a lot to do with Brown's writing style. In the world where I come from, it's not very common to know that Brown has a special preference when it comes to his writing. One which involves repeating and a chunk of info dumps. I felt like I could easily skip a page, and still be able to keep up with what's going on. It would be like I wouldn't have missed a thing, because that was the case here. There's practically an overdose of useless information in here, and that's where the repeating jumps in. Let's say it's normal to find yourself wondering if you've read this already. It was like Brown wanted to make sure we would still remember everything, and therefore explains the non-stop repeating of either words in italic, events that just happened, explained terms, etc. Well, I don't remember any of this so-called important information about buildings and moments characters walk by. The information was just there to fill up the pages. At times I didn't feel like I was reading a thriller, more something like an encylopedia which jumps from one subject to another.

In a nutshell, Inferno wasn't the book I first expected it to be. The mystery lifted the book up because of several genius plot twists and the story did the book justice, yet not a single character in here was all that likable - except for Sienna, that girl has something about her -, and Brown's writing style is definitely not my favourite. In the end, there's no doubt about it: Inferno is so overhyped it's actually hard to believe.

20821111The Young Elites (The Young Elites, #1) by Marie Lu
Published: October 7th 2014 by G.P. Putnam Juvenile
Pages: 355

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.
"Everyone has darkness inside them, however hidden.”
I'm amazed at how much The Young Elites surprised me. Of course, I couldn't expect less from author Marie Lu, whose Legend trilogy knocked my socks off. This book is however the start of a series with great potential. There's no doubt about it that I fell in love with the world at first sight, but I also managed so love so many other aspects of this book it's hard to believe. In short terms, 'The Young Elites' is almost everything how I imagined it would be, and still surprised me in many ways.

Marie Lu got rid of many YA-clichés, it makes the novel stand out even more than it already does. Gone is the annoying but heart-wrenching love triangle. No more female protagonists who are nothing but special. This book takes the high road and still resembles George R.R. Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' series, yet on the aspect of deaths. It's clear that Lu isn't afraid anymore of killing off characters, whether they have a role to play or not. I won't spoil the fun for anyone, but do take my warning: be careful who you get to love. Deaths are so unexpected in this book, it's like anyone could die at any moment. If I may talk about a certain death in this book, I loved that it happened. I really do. There would have been a whole storyline for the character and could have been used for later books. What the author does here is taking a serious risk of killing off a character who could have been a great addition for the rest of the series. This is also the reason why I'm definitely going to be reading the entire trilogy. I'm so curious now to see what happens next.

There's not much to be said when it comes to the romance in The Young Elites. It's so light it's barely even palpable. Yet what you do feel, makes you swoon every single time. It started off beautifully and a little predictable, but there's nothing bad to be said. There was obviously no need to fill in the book with only romance and focus the story around it. It came when the book was already halfway through, and from the moment I've read such a scene it made me want more. Though it stayed in the background and still made me swoon, deserves a round of applause.

I don't believe in love at first sight. Then I wonder, when did I then fell in love with the world? A combination of high-fantasy and dystopia with influences from Victorian times, the renaissance and Venezia, what's not to love? In my opinion, this was such a clever thing to do and makes the book even more original. I do have to keep in mind that this is only the first book of a trilogy, and therefore there's still a lot of world building to be done. It's only now that Lu has set the tone of the world for her book, but with much more to come. She's left many other options open for possible adventures and plot twists I won't see coming. I look forward to seeing more of this in the near future.

The characters are especially what made The Young Elites so great. Every one of them, ranging from characters who you get to see a lot like Enzo and Rafael, to minor ones like the Daggers or even the Queen, the type of villain you can't but love. The same goes for Teren, although his situation and characters are a little more extraordinary. He's not your everyday villain, so to speak. With each Teren chapter, you'll get to know more about him. Sooner or later you'll discover that Teren is just a young man who does things, either good or bad, for the woman he loves. The woman who manipulates him. He's does what he's been told is his right, and because of that Teren is a character you'll adore. He has a story of his own, and while there's a lot of him you learn in this book, I have a feeling that the next two book will reveal even more.

Adilena was the typical coin with two sides. The side I love and the one which frustrated me on many levels. In short words, she got on my nerves for pretty much the most part of the book, or just the middle part. I loved who she was when the story got off a flying start, and the person she became when the book ended. She goes through immense character development, and I appreciated it. What I didn't love so much was the deal with her sister. I won't go into details because spoilers, but keeping secrets from everyone and being manipulated the whole way through isn't a smart thing to do. I understand the girl had difficulties, but what she did made me want to rip my hair out of frustration. It dragged on for a while and also explains the four stars. I'm crossing my fingers for her to not repeat herself, but looking at the end of the book I have a strong feeling she won't.

When The Yong Elites could have been a five-star book, it  remains a fabulous start for a series just as good as Legend. The story started off amazingly and the ending left me wanting more. I'm in love with almost every character, and I long to discover the unique world Lu has created. I'll be anticipating this more and more with each book to come.

8130427The Demigod Files (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #1) by Rick Riordan
Published: February 10th 2009 by Hyperion Books
Pages: 160

If you're reading this book, your life is about to get a lot more dangerous. 

In these top-secret files, Rick Riordan, Camp Half-Blood's senior scribe, gives you an inside look at the world of demigods that NO regular human child is allowed to see. 

These highly classified archives include three of Percy Jackson's most perilous adventures, a Spotter's Guide to Monsters, a Who's Who in Greek mythology, Percy's Summer Camp report and much more. 

 So, if you're armed with this book, you'll have everything you need to know to keep you alive in your training. Your own adventures have just begun...
"If I was going to pick one person in the world to reattach my head," I said, "I'd pick you."
I'm being nothing but honest here when I say I don't want to deal with my feelings, which may have something to do with 'The Blood of Olympus'. Because I'm not ready yet to express my thoughts about the final book in the Heroes of Olympus series, it only seemed logical that I would read the only book out of all the Percy Jackson books I haven't read yet: 'The Demigod Files'. I couldn't have picked a better time, because this was a perfect guide from my Percy Jackson withdrawal.

I would definitely describe 'The Demigod Files' as a quick and fun inbetween-read. It made me smile several times throughout the book and brought along a lot of nostalgia. At times I felt like I could pick up 'The Lightning Thief' again and re-read the entire series. The interviews were all so well-done. It's no secret that Riordan knows his characters. It was like he just fished them out of his books to have a little chat with them. I'm also considering to also buy this book in hardcover. Not so it can match all the other Percy Jackson books, but because it's impossible to do the crossword puzzles and other games on an e-reader.

Heading onto the stories themselves, there were three stories to be found in 'The Demigod Files', all set after the events of 'The Battle of the Labyrinth' and 'The Last Olympian', considering the publishing date. I loved all three of them, some more than others, but each one still featured the characters I love so dearly.

Percy Jackson and the Stolen Chariot

This story mainly focuses on Clarisse and Percy as they head into an adventure to return Ares's stolen chariot, as the title suggests. Knowing the relationship between the two of them before the events of 'The Last Olympian', they aren't exactly on good terms. That was definitely the case here. Despite some action scenes and the scene at the end with Clarisse and her fear, all they really do is argue and comment. I always loved their rivalry throughout the Percy Jackson books, but to have that spread out in a short story isn't so enjoyable as it might sound.

Percy Jackson and the Bronze Dragon

Rick Riordan, I see what you did there. At least, I do hope that that bronze dragon was a reference to Festus. Oh, how I loved this story. It contained the beginning of a romance between Silena Beauregard and Charles Beckendorf, a random but hilarious input of acid ants and scenes I'll always love: Percabeth moments. This definitely brought me back to when everything was still okay. I kept smiling throughout the short story and I just absolutely loved every single aspect of it.

Percy Jackson and the Sword of Hades

What's not to love about a story with demigods of The Big Three? It's rare to see them team up and therefore something I appreciated to the fullest. Filled with action and whitty remarks from Percy, Nico and Thalia, there's nothing more to be said about a story that I loved.

Eventually I'll have to get over it and deal with the fact that this series is over. I will, but in the meantime, I'll still be here on my cloud with my thoughts of Camp Half-Blood.

Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3) by Sarah J. Maas
Published: September 2nd by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books
Pages: 567

Lost and broken, Celaena Sardothien’s only thought is to avenge the savage death of her dearest friend: as the King of Adarlan’s Assassin, she is bound to serve this tyrant, but he will pay for what he did. Any hope Celaena has of destroying the king lies in answers to be found in Wendlyn. Sacrificing his future, Chaol, the Captain of the King’s Guard, has sent Celaena there to protect her, but her darkest demons lay in that same place. If she can overcome them, she will be Adarlan’s biggest threat – and his own toughest enemy.

While Celaena learns of her true destiny, and the eyes of Erilea are on Wendlyn, a brutal and beastly force is preparing to take to the skies. Will Celaena find the strength not only to win her own battles, but to fight a war that could pit her loyalties to her own people against those she has grown to love?
“She was the heir of ash and fire, and she would bow to no one.”
The 'Throne of Glass' series seemed like a series I would love from the start. Consisting of six books, I would seem like an amazing adventure with characters I'll grow to love and put my entire live in a series like this one. After the disappointing sequel in the 'Throne of Glass' series, all I could do was to cross my fingers and hope for a better follow-up. Nonetheless, 'Heir of Fire' brought my hope for this series to even lower levels I didn't know existed. It did not restore any of the problems I had with 'Crown of Midnight'. It held so much potential I can't even believe in which direction it actually headed instead of which way I wanted it to go.

Because the book is actually divided into two parts, 'Heir of Ash' and 'Heir of Fire', I'm also going to split my review into two parts, simply because the time span between the first and the second part was too long to recall issues from what seemed like an age ago.

Part 1: 'Heir of Ash'

After the terrific ending of 'Crown of Midnight', it opened up an endless list of amazing directions this book could head. There are more and more sparks of rebellion, and the fabulous plot twists already had me guessing what would happen. I thought the main focus of 'Heir of Fire' would be Celaena and her mission to kill the royal family of Wendlyn. There was nothing that even pointed in that direction. She had went there as the King's Champion on a mission and during her long stay, she didn't even try to do so. Unlike previous missions, she didn't cover it up or did at least something to make the king believe she managed to do it. She didn't go to the family to at least warn them. I feel like I can already guess the king's reaction when he finds out. I'm still surprised to mark this book as 'great premise, bad execution', but it was completely like that. Maas just dropped what could have been an amazing storyline, and I am so disappointed she did.

Aside from a few characters, I didn't care for any of them in this book. While there was a lot of Chaol in 'Crown of Midnight', we barely get to see him in 'Heir of Fire'. Of course there was a lot of focus on Celaena because she's the main character. Sometimes it did feel like it was centered around her and her only. We do get to see a lot of character development from Celaena, and in a way I did appreciate it. It wasn't until the second part that I actually started noticing it because my love for this character in particular had shrunk to a minimum.

If I did had to pick my favourites from the novel, Dorian, Sorcha and Rowan definitely made my top three, if those weren't just the only three characters I liked. Rowan was so interesting to read about. He's a pained character with a past so dramatic, it's impossible not to feel compassionate for him. It wasn't the compassion however that made me like this guy so much. I can't seem to put my finger on it. There was something about him which made an impression, and one that stayed with me throughout the book. I feel like there's much in store for him, and I can't wait to see how important he'll become, if I decide to continue. Sorcha, I loved. I loved the sudden attention towards a normal girl, who's nothing special really, but that's what made me like her so much. She's not a famous assassin, or a feared witch but a normal girl with her normal problems, interests and crush. Her dynamic with Dorian was to swoon for. How they connected and how their friendship made Dorian such a stronger character really did it for me.

Speaking of a feared witch, I still wonder what the deal was with Manon Blackbeak and her Thirteen. I love witches, thought to let you know. There's no doubt that I'm also in love with Manon's cruel world of witches with their iron teeth and claws. What I don't understand, is its importance or role in this book. In my opinion, it looks like it was an idea for a Sarah J. Maas standalone, yet for some reason she randomly added it to 'Heir of Fire' to fill up the pages. I didn't like Manon very much as a character. Despite her badassery personality and her lovely relationship with Abraxos, I felt too disconnected to care.

I wouldn't say the book started off beautifully, because how matter how hard I tried to like it in the beginning, I got bored pretty quickly. The pace was so slow. Honestly, it felt like the most slow-paced book I've ever read, which then also explains how long it took me to read it: six weeks. I struggled with it so much at one point I actually felt like putting it down and not continue. If I really didn't have a heart, I would have likely marked it as DNF, no matter how much the hates gonna hate. I eventually took a break from reading, otherwise I knew I would have hated the second part. Therefore, I was pretty amazed when I found out I didn't hate it as much as I thought I would.

Part 2: 'Heir of Fire'

I don't have much of real importance to say about the second half, apart from the things that suddenly got so much better. Most of the characters stayed the same and the plot stayed as boring as it was, until we got near the end. There's this scene which it involves an entire flashback of Celeana's past before she got found by the riverbanks. It blew my mind. The writing in this scene is phenomenal, lyrical and beautiful. Celaena's character development reaches its highlight and impressed me in so many ways. There probably would have been tears in my eyes, if I didn't dislike such a big part of the book. In short words said, this scene made the second half for me. I feel like I could re-read it all over again, and I probably will search for it in the near future.

In other words, 'Heir of Fire' is my disappointment of the year. Though there still were some positive aspects, they didn't make me forget about the endless list of things I didn't appreciate. I'm still not sure if I'm even interested in picking up any upcoming follow-ups, I probably will out of all the hype that surrounded this series over the years, but my faith for the so-called "spectacular" series has reached a rock-bottom.

MeritropolisMeritropolis by Joel Ohman
Published: September 8th 2014 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Pages: 226

The year is AE3, 3 years after the Event. Within the walls of Meritropolis, 50,000 inhabitants live in fear, ruled by the brutal System that assigns each citizen a merit score that dictates whether they live or die. Those with the highest scores thrive, while those with the lowest are subject to the most unforgiving punishment--to be thrust outside the city gates, thrown to the terrifying hybrid creatures that exist beyond.

But for one High Score, conforming to the System just isn't an option. Seventeen-year-old Charley has a brother to avenge. And nothing--not even a totalitarian military or dangerous science--is going to stop him.

Where humankind has pushed nature and morals to the extreme, Charley is amongst the chosen few tasked with exploring the boundaries, forcing him to look deep into his very being to discern right from wrong. But as he and his friends learn more about the frightening forces that threaten destruction both without and within the gates, Meritropolis reveals complexities they couldn't possibly have bargained for...
"Submitting to the System provided the best chance of collective survival.
Of course, there are always those who refuse to submit."
DNF at 60 %

Thank you CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform for providing me with an advanced reading copy for review.

I can't remember the exact reason as to why I ever decided to request Meritropolis from its publisher. I seriously wonder now though, because it surely wasn't the premise. I didn't have much hope for this novel, because from what I've read this book seemed like yet another wannabe-dystopian. I wasn't surprised when I decided to just stopped reading. There is literally nothing interesting in here.

The writing style definitely needs some getting used to. There was an overuse of strange terms without explanation and it definitely gave the impression that the author wanted to have a beautiful but sophisticated writing style à la Markus Zusak or John Green. It wasn't flowing in any way and needs all the improvement it can get. Because the writing itself was just trying too hard for my liking, I had a great deal of trouble trying to stay focused on the story. If I can even speak of a real one.

Even though this book consists over two hundred pages, I don't feel like anything special happened. I was almost crossing my fingers in the hope that I won't stay like that for the rest of the book. There could have been such a great storyline filled with action, rebellion, mystery, plot twists, even a spark of romance. It disappointed so much.

I can't really talk about any of the characters, and I have a great explanation for it. I honestly can't remember any of the characters, nor their names, except for Charley. I bet it's rather easy to guess that none of them really stuck with me enough to remember them. They didn't make a great first impression. It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it also implies that I had zero interest in getting to know them or to learn about their lives. Other than that, I found them to be shallow, lack in depth, were completely unbelievable and they did not have such thing as a personality. I'm sad I don't like any of them, because now the characters are yet another aspect which made the book not really likable.

Despite the book being labeled as a 'dystopia', there is zero world building in this book. The only aspect that may count as world building, is the system of Scores. However, I already lost count on how many times the main character keeps being proud of his Score and talk about his Score and his Score only. There is no explanation whatsoever about the System itself, nor on what these Scores are based on, how it's possible to get a High Score. It's a must that every dystopia at least has a controlling system, and preferably a system with a little more depth into it.

After all, Meritropolis is yet another dystopia with a serious lack of world building, believable characters and something like a plot. Do not waste your time reading this if you're looking for a refreshing dystopian novel, because you won't find anything here.
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