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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
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
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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
Goodreads
three-stars

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.

three-stars
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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
Goodreads
three-stars

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.

three-stars
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Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

Magonia by Maria Dahvana HeadleyMagonia (Magonia, #1) by Maria Dahvana Headley
Published by HarperCollins on April 28th 2015
Pages: 309
Goodreads
four-stars

#1 New York Times bestseller Maria Dahvana Headley’s soaring sky fantasy Magonia is now in paperback!

Since she was a baby, Aza Ray Boyle has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live. So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—but as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war between Magonia and Earth is coming. In Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Magonia first caught my attention when I saw it’s beautiful cover. I had no idea what the word “Magonia” meant, but because of the stunning cover, I felt obligated to inspect this book further. From the description I deduced that Magonia had flying ships and possibly, human-bird hybrids; two things I’ve never come across in any of the other books I’ve read. I was definitely intrigued. Though at times I was confused and had a hard time picturing different creatures and how they acted, I absolutely loved Magonia. Maria Dahvana Headley’s imagination and creativeness is through the roof! Magonia is wholly original and enticing.

Aza Ray is a very sick girl. She possesses a disease known as “Aza” (named so because she is the only known person on earth with this disease) that makes it hard for her to breathe. She’s in and out of hospitals all the time and has had multiple death scares. I couldn’t really relate to Aza herself because I’ve never been that severely sick. But I can relate to her family and friend, Jason, who constantly wondered if “this was it”. It’s heartbreaking to watch someone you love trying to battle a sickness. It’s even worse when you have someone like Aza who is young and has a one-of-a-kind medical condition.
Magonia starts off slow by just giving us insight into Aza’s pre-Magonia life, which mostly focuses on her relationships with her sister, parents and Jason. Early on, Aza’s condition gets the worse that it has ever been and she “dies”. At least, that’s what her family and Jason is led to believe. The real truth is that, due to certain circumstances, Aza, a part-bird Magonian, was removed from her home in the sky and swapped, changeling-style with the Ray’s actual daughter. Aza is of course, shocked and disbelieving until she witnesses true Magonians and the power (as in magical) that they, and herself, possess.
The majority of Magonia focuses on Aza coming to terms with her new reality which includes her new/real identity. Needless to say, she has a hard time leaving her old life for her new one. The author gives us a lot of great supporting characters. Some seemed friendly, while others or more like, most of them were hard to get a read on. There are a lot of secret intentions on the ship and Aza needs to walk carefully.

There’s a lot of original terms introduced like squall whales, creatures that also float in the skies, among other things. I had trouble visually picturing some of these new creatures. I would have liked more insight into their origins and better explanations into how they function. Picturing it as just another piece of magic wasn’t good enough for me. I also think I was confused some times because there were info dumps. Both Aza and I were thrust into a new world with new rules that I still don’t fully grasp.

If you like action, magic and flying ships, checkout Magonia. This book is one of a kind!

four-stars