The Wicked Deep

Defy the Stars (Defy the Stars #1) by Claudia Gray

Defy the Stars (Defy the Stars #1) by Claudia GrayDefy the Stars (Defy the Stars, #1) by Claudia Gray
Published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers on April 4, 2017
Pages: 503
Goodreads
two-stars

She's a soldier -- Noemi Vidal is willing to risk anything to protect her planet, Genesis, including her own life. To their enemies on Earth, she's a rebel.

He's a machine -- Abandoned in space for years, utterly alone, Abel's advanced programming has begun to evolve. He wants only to protect his creator, and to be free. To the people of Genesis, he's an abomination.

Noemi and Abel are enemies in an interstellar war, forced by chance to work together as they embark on a daring journey through the stars. Their efforts would end the fighting for good, but they're not without sacrifice. The stakes are even higher than either of them first realized, and the more time they spend together, the more they're forced to question everything they'd been taught was true.

I’m really sad that I didn’t enjoy Defy the Stars. The concept sounded really cool and when I realized it was kindred to a favorite show of mine, Battlestar Galactica, I was even more psyched.

I had a hard time getting into this book. Defy the Stars threw a lot of heavy information at me all at once. I had a hard time understanding the setting, the character’s casual use of unique words and phrases, how the controls on an intergalactic ship work. I was discouraged right from the beginning.

My favorite character was the ‘mech’ Abel, a human-looking robot built with machinery and organic material (just like the Cylons!). Even though there are 26 different mech models Abel is one-of-a-kind. He is the only model A mech. He stands above the other mechs, because he has the combined abilities of all models, like strength and medical experience. Abel was also equipped with the capability to feel emotions, to come to his own conclusions, and make his own decisions. This programming is unheard of in any other mech models. Abel’s journey to understanding human emotions, as well as his own, was fascinating. I loved his inner dialogue, how he learned to analyze the motives and emotional responses from the humans around him, as well as his own.

I hated Noemi. She was my least favorite character. She was bland and boring and I dreaded when the POV switched to her. Noemi says people call her miserable, a “rain cloud”, so I expected her to be sardonic, argumentative, or even snappy, but she wasn’t any of those things. She was lifeless, and I didn’t care about her at all. I just wanted more Abel.

The plot was interesting but Noemi kept ruining it for me. I wanted to see how her and Abel’s relationship would continue to grow, to see how Abel would react and start to understand why he was feeling certain ways about her like caring and even lust. I thought that once Abel acknowledged those thoughts, that this book would be amazing, but I despised Noemi so much that I couldn’t even enjoy that aspect of the story.

I read the first 50% of Defy the Stars, skipped 40%, and then read the last 10% because I wanted to know how book one would end. Minus Noemi, I really liked the last 10%. I can’t bring myself to read that missing 40% which means I’ll be passing on book two.

two-stars
The Wicked Deep

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2) by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel Me (Shatter Me, #2) by Tahereh MafiUnravel Me (Shatter Me, #2) by Tahereh Mafi
Published by HarperCollins on February 5th 2013
Pages: 461
Goodreads
five-stars

It should have taken Juliette a single touch to kill Warner. But his mysterious immunity to her deadly power has left her shaken, wondering why her ultimate defense mechanism failed against the person she most needs protection from.

She and Adam were able to escape Warner’s clutches and join up with a group of rebels, many of whom have powers of their own. Juliette will finally be able to actively fight against The Reestablishment and try to fix her broken world. And perhaps these new allies can help her shed light on the secret behind Adam’s—and Warner’s—immunity to her killer skin.

The first third of Unravel Me bored me. There wasn’t much action and Juliette just puttered around in the underground anti-establishment community she joined at the end of Shatter Me.

Juliette barely spends any time with Adam in Unravel Me. Whenever they do it’s always for short periods of time like breakfast. Adam started to annoy me in this book. One minute he’s deflecting Juliette’s feelings and then the next he’s eyeing her like he wants to spread her on top of the table in the dining hall and ravish her.

If we never got the novella Destroy Me, if we never got a glimpse into Warner’s mind and heart, I wouldn’t have minded Juliette and Adam’s angst as much. But ever since Destroy Me, I couldn’t stop thinking about Warner and Juliette and how their pairing would be so much better, hotter. This sounds totally harsh, but I didn’t even care what Adam’s problem was in this book. I just kept thinking Warner Warner Warner. When are we gonna see Warner again? When is Juliette gonna Shatter (haha see what I did there) Warner’s dark exterior and see the light within.

When Warner and Juliette finally see each other again it’s pure magic. They connect on a deep level that Juliette can’t reach with anyone else, especially Adam. Juliette tells Warner things that she hasn’t and is too afraid to say to anyone, even to Adam. Juliette feels like she’s a monster. and since she thinks Warner’s a monster too, she doesn’t fear telling him what’s in the deepest, darkest part of her heart.

This review is basically a love letter to Warner. Adam and Juliette’s romance in book one was sweet, tender, and romantic. But once Warner opened up and shared what was in his heart I was so bored with Adam and was praying he’d just disappear. Yes, once again I sound and feel horrible, but Juliette and Warner have a connection that is so deep, electric, and sexy, a connection that doesn’t even come close to what she has with Adam.

I also liked Unravel Me because Juliette grew a lot. Her time away from Adam was good. She spent her life ostracized, depressed and withdrawn until Adam came along. Adam was the first person to be able to touch her. He was the only one who ever cared about and remembered her. I felt like  Juliette used him as a crutch in book one and most of book two, and that she wasn’t able to start working through her own issues until they had time apart. In Unravel Me Juliette begins to feel confident in herself and her extraordinary powers. She learns how to trust and connect with others.

I read this book in one sitting. All 400+ pages. #sorrynotsorry #noshame

five-stars
The Wicked Deep

Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5) by Tahereh Mafi

Destroy Me (Shatter Me #1.5) by Tahereh MafiDestroy Me (Shatter Me, #1.5) by Tahereh Mafi
Published by Harper on October 2nd 2012
Pages: 109
Goodreads
five-stars

In Tahereh Mafi’s Shatter Me, Juliette escaped from The Reestablishment by seducing Warner—and then putting a bullet in his shoulder. But as she’ll learn in Destroy Me, Warner is not that easy to get rid of. . .

Back at the base and recovering from his near-fatal wound, Warner must do everything in his power to keep his soldiers in check and suppress any mention of a rebellion in the sector. Still as obsessed with Juliette as ever, his first priority is to find her, bring her back, and dispose of Adam and Kenji, the two traitors who helped her escape. But when Warner’s father, The Supreme Commander of The Reestablishment, arrives to correct his son’s mistakes, it’s clear that he has much different plans for Juliette. Plans Warner simply cannot allow.

Set after Shatter Me and before its forthcoming sequel, Unravel Me, Destroy Me is a novella told from the perspective of Warner, the ruthless leader of Sector 45.

When I read Shatter Me I was disgusted by Warner. He was demanding, cruel, and a bit crazy. He seemed to have this sick infatuation with Juliette and I was so happy when Juliette and Adam finally escaped his evil clutches. Warner was the villain in book one.

I actually read this novella, Destroy Me, 5 years ago, but I barely remembered what transpired. I vaguely remembered that at some point I stopped seeing Warner as the villain. I actually started falling in love with him but I couldn’t remember when or why. It was in Destroy Me!

Because of his ruthless and abusive father, the supreme of the Reestablishment, Warner has spent his entire life pretending to be heartless. The supreme saw any act of kindness or hint of vulnerability as a weakness, and quite literally, beat it out of his son. I’m not going to lie, Warner has done some pretty horrible things, but I think you need to go to the core and see why he is the way he is before you judge him. I’m a super fan of redemption, so Destroy Me gave me hope that Warner could change. He can’t erase the evils of his past, but he can try and do good in the future.

Warner spends the majority of Destroy Me reading the journal Juliette accidentally left behind during her escape. Warner’s shocked to find out that they both share a sense of sadness, confusion, fear, and helplessness. Warner’s anguish breaks my heart and I started shipping him and Juliette so hard after I finished Destroy Me.

five-stars
The Wicked Deep

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) by Amie Kaufman

These Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) by Amie KaufmanThese Broken Stars (Starbound, #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 10th 2013
Pages: 384
Goodreads
three-half-stars

Luxury spaceliner Icarus suddenly plummets from hyperspace into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive – alone. Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a cynical war hero. Both journey across the eerie deserted terrain for help. Everything changes when they uncover the truth.

The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

Before I started These Broken Stars I was convinced that I was going to love it. Unfortunately this book ended up being just an “okay” read. I liked the characters and the setting in These Broken Stars but not the huge plot twist that occurred 3/4 through. The twist confused me and I didn’t like the direction the story went after it was introduced.

I really liked the dynamic between Lil and Tarver, because they come from completely different worlds, and therefore they often contradicted each other. Tarver is a well-mannered, country boy, with a military background, and Lil is a spoiled, young heiress, who gets everything she wants. At least, that’s what people like Tarver believe. Yes, Lil’s been pampered her whole life and has a taste for upper class life, but she’s not a snob who thinks she’s above everyone else. It was so much fun watching them try to work together to survive when they constantly challenged each other.

I definitely understand why some readers have made the comparison between These Broken Stars and the movie, Titanic. Lil (Rose) and Tarver (Jack) come from completely different classes. They fall in love and then try like heck to survive an impending tragedy. Their story also reminded me of Romeo & Juliet, because their forbidden romance is living on borrowed time.

Things got really weird 3/4 through this book. There was a big plot twist that I didn’t like. I thought the story was just going to focus on Lil and Tarver getting to know each other, falling in love, surviving the planet’s climate and creatures, but then out of nowhere this huge, weird plot twist entered the mix and I didn’t know how to respond to it. The concept was heavy and confusing and I wasn’t happy with how it changed the overall story

In conclusion, I didn’t care much for These Broken Star’s story-line, but I did love Lil and Tarver’s relationship. I’ve skimmed the descriptions of books two and three and see that they follow new characters. I’m hesitant about continuing with the series, because I want more Lil and Tarver, and I’d be super disappointed if the new characters didn’t compel me like they did.

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three-half-stars
The Wicked Deep

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra Bracken

The Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds #1) by Alexandra BrackenThe Darkest Minds (The Darkest Minds, #1) by Alexandra Bracken
Published by Disney Hyperion on December 18th 2012
Pages: 488
Goodreads
five-stars

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.

One of the greatest feelings in the world at least the book blogging world, is starting a book with high expectations and then being able to finish said book, with an even greater amount of excitement. I’m not going to beat around the bush. The Darkest Minds rocked! From start to finish my hands were glued to this book and my eyes to the pages. I couldn’t get enough!

The Story: Bracken proves that there’s still plenty of originality left in the dystopian genre having crafted an incredibly original tale of (future) disarray, destruction, subjection and fear. The world in DM is so large and full of possibilities. With so many different organizations/groups at play, you never really know who to trust, or who’s the bad guy. The plot is very twisty at times. Just when you think that you’re safe, you realize you’re not, or vice versa. Bracken throws out a lot of false trails, continually and successfully leading us down wrong paths.

The Main Character: I had quite the love-hate relationship when it came to Ruby. On one hand I found her incredibly naive. Having firsthand witnessed Thurmond’s cruel treatment and quite literally laughable ”rehabilitation” methods, you’d think that Ruby wouldn’t be so quick to trust. Unfortunately that’s not the case due to the fact that she makes a lot of stupid mistakes. These mainly involve trusting anyone who promises to help, save or protect her. Ruby is flawed for sure, but the parts of her that shine the brightest are the good parts, like her huge heart and budding determination. She grows a lot throughout the story. In the beginning you find a girl too scared to stand up for herself, let alone anyone else. By the end, Ruby is ready to strike down whoever tries to comes at her or especially, her friends.

Supporting Characters: A lot of DM‘s strength comes from its core group of supporting characters. Unlike many books that feature their S.C. in the background, DM‘s remain constantly upfront, thickening and propelling the story forward. Each one, Suzume, Chubs and especially Liam, burst with strong individuality. Their quirky, irritable yet hilarious and charming personalities (in that order) fill out this book with emotion. No characters fall flat in DM because they are all carefully constructed and considerably utilized.

The Romance: Sigh! Swoon! Drool! You name it!!! Since the description makes mention I don’t feel spoilery for saying that there is a lot of lurve brewing between Ruby and my dear, Liam. Besides the fact that I personally want to transport into DM‘s world and snatch Liam for myself, the chemistry between Ruby and Liam is just so damn powerful. Watching their relationship slowly (sometimes painstakingly) build, kept me hooked the whole way through. What I like is seeing love not being told there’s love. DM excels at this. You won’t see any pre-mature “I love you!” and “I love you tos!” Instead you get the story of two people, having met under incredible and horrific circumstances, learning to trust and lean on one another through dangerous after dangerous situation, and finally realizing that their feelings of friendship branch deeper and stronger.

Because at times the story did slow down and it was a bit of a struggle to get through, I give The Darkest Minds 4.5 stakes. I’m so bummed that it’s going to be a year before book two comes out. After the mind-blowing cliffhanger in DM and Ruby’s new-found realization and determination I CANNOT wait for the book(s) to follow.

five-stars