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.

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