My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This is probably a 2.5/5 too but it was better than the first so I rounded up instead of rounding down.
As I mentioned in one of my updates I feel awkward reviewing books like this because I know I couldn’t do any better, and I also know I’m not the target demographic. Still, it was free on KU and the plot has been compelling enough to keep me engaged.
This review will contain spoilers so stop reading now if that bothers you.
I’ll start with the things I didn’t like that way this review ends with the positives. At times the writing was a little repetitive, and what made the repetition even more noticeable was how it carried over from the first book. For example, the descriptions of muscles on all the men Roselle respects or is romantically involved with. You can tell who the good guys are because they’re hot and muscular. You can tell who the bad guys are because they’re pure evil, usually less attractive, and very immature. Also, most people are blonde. It’s not that big of a deal but it just catches my attention how even some throwaway characters who don’t even need a physical description “brush their blonde hair out of their face.”
I was also not a fan of the love interests (it’s now a long quadrangle). Clifton, Hawthorne, and Reykin are all practically the same character because the most important thing about them is their combat competence and their physical appearance.
The villains are flat (most of the characters are) but they are still just evil for the sake of being evil.
Roselle is too perfect. She is able to kill an entire hoard of enemies at a costume party and come out with only a couple fractured ribs. Then when Clifton gives her this special body armor she is bested by two guards but is miraculously saved because of the armor. There’s really no conflict because it’s clear if Roselle wanted to she could kill everyone at once with ease, and I dont understand the connection she feels with her mom because we never actually saw any relationship (or lack thereof) we were just told Roselle was ignored and her mom hates her. I just mean I feel nothing for her dilemma because I never shared the same hope she had that their family would be reunited.
The only thing that gets in Roselle’s way is her own naivety and it’s kind of annoying because it’s so out of character. She goes from this overpowered demi-god to a bumbling idiot when it’s convenient for the plot or the romantic sub-plot.
It is entertaining though and there were pockets of good writing. Again I feel like I shouldnt be saying that because Bartol produced something better than I could.
As long as the third book is available on KU I will finish the series.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
0-50% was 1/5
51-80% was 2/5
81-100% was 3.5/5
This review will contain spoilers so if that bothers you do not read on.
If the ratings are not clear to you all I mean is that I struggled to get into the book early on, but there was at least something compelling me to finish. Though none of the characters (especially Roselle) stood out to me there was something about the world that made me want to at least finish this book.
Unfortunately, this book did fall flat in some regards. There was very little world-building, very little character development, and a plot that sometimes lost its way. The actual events that happened didn’t really matter. What mattered was proving to the reader that Roselle was a worthy leader so in the following books the rebellion would make sense.
Unfortunately, I don’t think this book did a good job proving Roselle was a leader. It proved she’s capable of killing an army on her own when she wants, but for some reason is able to lose fights when it’s convenient for a male character (usually a love interest or an aspiring love interest) to comfort her. Oh, also the love interest felt incredibly forced at first, but I got over it because Hawthorne became interesting by the end of the book.
The main villain, or at least the man I assume to be the main villain doesn’t have much depth. He’s just evil for the sake of being evil.
There is also a war going on but we only actually see one war scene and it’s mostly Roselle tripping over corpses to see if anyone is alive. She’s never in any danger and even though it’s obvious she isn’t going to die, she never felt close to dying at any point throughout this book, even though many people want her dead. She was kind of an annoying main character because she was just perfect. She was attractive but didn’t know it, a weapons expert, and incredibly innocent and naive (like literally someone who justified killing guards but also nursed little animals back to health).
The best parts of the book were the descriptions of the advanced technology. The final three chapters were the most intriguing and did enough to make me curious about the rest of the series (as long as they remain on KU).
I hope the second book does a better job world building and also goes into more detail about the secondborn trials. I don’t care if it’s derivative of hunger games as it’s entertaining. It kept getting referenced throughout the book but we rarely saw it.
I do want to finish this on a positive so I will say Clifton Salloway was an interesting character. He was by far the most well developed and had the most intriguing story of the cast.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow it’s been a while since I’ve read a book in a day. It’s strange to go back to the real dystopian novels after reading a number of YA dystopian that hijacked the genre. I mean no disrespect to those novels, I enjoy them they’re just so different from dystopian work like 1984 and Brave New World.
As usual my reviews contain spoilers so stop reading if they bother you.
For one, this book was not about overthrowing the status quo, it was demonstrating how powerful it was. Winston Smith was not a hero. He was a vehicle to show us the extent of the government’s power. It was so powerful that it could change reality. It could make 2+2=5 or change the laws of nature–or at least how they’re perceived by humans since only animals and proles are free (so the lower-lower class aren’t seen as human).
It’s just so vast. The fact the world is broken up into 3 super continents and each one has its own form of big brother. It’s just so overwhelming and feels so infinite. There is no hope and those like Winston are conditioned to learn that and eventually love that before celebrating their own death.
It’s an insidious tale. While I was reading I was entertained but an hour after putting it down I felt creeping fear. Every detail about the ruling party changing reality, rewriting history, and making people disappear, it’s all terrifying.