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

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

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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

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.

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{Mini} Book Review: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

{Mini} Book Review: The School for Good and Evil by Soman ChainaniThe School for Good and Evil (The School for Good and Evil, #1) by Soman Chainani
Published by HarperCollins on May 14th 2013
Pages: 488

The first kidnappings happened two hundred years before. Some years it was two boys taken, some years two girls, sometimes one of each. But if at first the choices seemed random, soon the pattern became clear. One was always beautiful and good, the child every parent wanted as their own. The other was homely and odd, an outcast from birth. An opposing pair, plucked from youth and spirited away.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil.

But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

The School for Good & Evil is an epic journey into a dazzling new world, where the only way out of a fairy tale is to live through one.

The School for Good and Evil is one of the most creatives books I’ve read in a long time, perhaps even ever. It’s also one of the funnier books I’ve read because I found myself LOL-ing A LOT. Unfortunately this book is about a 100 pages too long. Especially towards the end, I found myself skimming the pages. A lot happens, back-to-back-to-back and without any time to ruminate I found myself forgetting things that *just happened*. You know it’s bad when you keep hoping a book will finally end. Regardless, I’m very interested in what happens next so I’m sure I will read the sequels.

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Made for You by Melissa Marr

Made for You by Melissa MarrMade for You by Melissa Marr
Published by HarperCollins on September 16th 2014
Pages: 356

When Eva Tilling wakes up in the hospital, she’s confused—who in her sleepy little North Carolina town could have hit her with their car? And why? But before she can consider the question, she finds that she’s awoken with a strange new skill: the ability to foresee people’s deaths when they touch her. While she is recovering from the hit-and-run, Nate, an old flame, reappears, and the two must traverse their rocky past as they figure out how to use Eva’s power to keep her friends—and themselves—alive. But while Eva and Nate grow closer, the killer grows increasingly frantic in his attempt to get to Eva.

Made For You reminded me why I avoid psychological thrillers. Long story short: I’m a wuss and Made for You gave me the chills. Which, is great because Melissa Marr did achieve her goal as writer, but also, yeah, I’ll be double-checking my door is locked tonight.

Eva Tilling is the creme dela crème in her small southern town of Jessup. Granddaughter to the richest man, in a town where breeding and image matters above all else, Eva is pretty much a queen amongst her peers. Everyone looks to Eva for direction and approval, girls and guys alike. Made for You felt very Gossip Girl-y in the sense that, if you damaged your image, you’re better off just moving out of town.

Eva is seemingly the product of her environment. She’s with the well-bred, handsome and boring boyfriend, because it’s a practical decision, and she’s mostly surrounded by the snobby and better-than-you peers. In the beginning Eva annoyed me because she played by everyone’s rules. The more you get to know her though, the more you realize that she doesn’t believe in Jessup’s ways. She’s just not sure how to break free of the expectations of multiple generations of high society.

Eva’s stand against the status quo is only a small part of Made for You. This book very much centers on an individual, who after (trying) to kill Eva by means of a hit and run, spends the majority of the book trying to show their twisted affection for Eva, by sending messages via symbols of the homicidal-variety.

The reveal of the killer wasn’t blatantly obvious, but I’d being lying if I said the reveal didn’t hinder my feelings a bit. On one hand the reveal wasn’t that shocking or unexpected. The clues started out small then just blew-up. On the other hand, even once the killer was revealed, I was still thoroughly creeped out and enjoying the story. I don’t think the supernatural aspect of this book was particularly strong, but rather the inside look into the killer’s mind. The killer wasn’t only obsessed and delusional, they were also very religious. Those three things made the killer highly dangerous. As the killer’s connection to reality lessened, they became even more unpredictable and frightening.

Thanks HarperCollins for providing me with a copy in return for a honest review.

The Wicked Deep

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle PageDorothy Must Die (Dorothy Must Die, #1) by Danielle Paige
Published by HarperCollins on April 1st 2014
Pages: 452

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado - taking you with it - you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little bluebirds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still a yellow brick road - but even that's crumbling.

What happened? Dorothy.

They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm - and I'm the other girl from Kansas.

I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.

I've been trained to fight.

And I have a mission.

Dorothy Must Die is the first book in a trilogy centered around the malevolent Dorothy, who after finding herself back in Oz again, took control of the magical land by teaming with the secretly wicked Glinda, and bewitching Oz’s true ruler Ozma. Although time passes differently between worlds, it’s been over 100 years in our time, when Amy Gumm, another poor Kansas girl, gets swept up in a tornado that crash lands her in Oz. Amy doesn’t know who brought her to Oz, but the one thing that is clear is that Oz is in serious trouble. Dorothy is sucking the magic out of Oz to feed her own needs and the last people standing against her are the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked. The Order is convinced that Amy is the key to destroying Dorothy once and for all.

It was fun comparing and contrasting Dorothy and Amy because they were similar in a lot of ways. They both come from a poor and unconventional family unit. Sick of the lives they live, Amy, like Dorothy, constantly wishes for something more. Their stories match-up quite a bit and yet, also diverge. Dorothy was raised with love and became evil. Amy, however, basically raised herself and is fighting for what’s right. I won’t call it what’s good because the line between good and wicked is constantly blurred in this book.

Dorothy and Glinda are good but punish “sassers” by beating and chaining them outside. The witch Mombi is wicked, yet she’s working with a resistance to save Oz from losing all its’ magic. I liked that you couldn’t pinpoint who was good or bad. Everyone has their own agenda and they aren’t afraid to knock people down or make the occasional sacrifice to reach their goal. This is a version of Oz that would be absolutely horrifying on TV. It was like the American Horror Story version complete with bodily experiments and mutilation.

I finished this book fairly quickly but not so much because I was enraptured, but rather because I kept waiting. For what I was waiting for, I’m not sure. It just felt like something was missing. Some characters like Amy were meaty and interesting, others like Nox just sort of deflated. I think a good chunk of secondary characters could have been fleshed a bit and then I would have actually cared about them more.

The biggest problem I had with Dorothy Must Die was the spoilerific marketing. The “big plan” on how to defeat Dorothy for good was kept from Amy and the readers until the last page or so, but it didn’t matter, because I already knew thanks to the book’s back cover. The whole recipe was right on the back – what a complete letdown.

I’m interested in finding out what happens next but I wouldn’t consider myself incredibly eager. If you like darker books with new twists on old stories you could enjoy Dorothy Must Die. But be warned: don’t read the back of the book.