Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Code Name Verity

(Goodreads) I have two weeks. You’ll shoot me at the end no matter what I do.

That’s what you do to enemy agents. It’s what we do to enemy agents. But I look at all the dark and twisted roads ahead and cooperation is the easy way out. Possibly the only way out for a girl caught red-handed doing dirty work like mine — and I will do anything, anything, to avoid SS-Hauptsturmf├╝hrer von Linden interrogating me again.

He has said that I can have as much paper as I need. All I have to do is cough up everything I can remember about the British War Effort. And I’m going to. But the story of how I came to be here starts with my friend Maddie. She is the pilot who flew me into France — an Allied Invasion of Two.

We are a sensational team.

The Short Story? - A powerful novel about loyalty, friendship and sacrifice. While I didn't feel like the book lived up to all the hype and raving reviews, it was nevertheless a heart-wrenching read that will move readers to tears (if you're a sucker for sob stories like me). The book was a little slow but the ending was absolutely devastating and definitely worth the build up. Well-written, Wein clearly knows her stuff about planes and war, there are a lot of technical aspects that in this book and it's very detailed and interesting. The characters were endearing, I absolutely loved both of the girls. Overall, it was a really good book, I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't gone into reading with such high expectations.

The Long Story? - I was so excited to read Code Name Verity after reading so many reviews from other bloggers raving about how good it is. Unfortunately, this book fell short of the hype for me and I think part of the reason is because I expected too much from it. The novel as a whole was really well-written and enjoyable. It was refreshingly in the sense that the book actually focused on the power of this incredible friendship between the two protagonists. Wein didn't mask the horrors of war behind some love story, it was something different from the norm of the YA market. The pace was a little slow for my liking, most of it was just recounting past events. The book was also very technical, Wein goes into a lot of details about planes and war, great if you love that kind of stuff, not so great if you don't. I personally didn't mind the details. I absolutely loved the ending, it really took my breath away ( I might have shed a couple of tears), it was the best ending that a book like this could have been given. Devastating but not unreasonable and completely unforgettable, I have to give Wein credit for such a spectacular ending. 

The book is written in two parts, the first from Verity's perspective (not her actual name -duh, I'll leave that as something for you guys to find out) and the second from Maddie's perspective. I adoredVerity as a character, she was so brave. For her to keep her head up during what she had to endure, I honestly salute this girl. I grew to really like Verity and while I couldn't relate to her, I could connect with her and understand her. Maddie, on the other hand, was definitely the less vibrant of the two characters, we have very different personalities however her section of the book was easier to read. I admire Maddie for what she had to do, it would have absolutely wrecked her but she did the right thing (haha vague!). I think Wein did a fantastic job portraying these two very different characters and she's developed this beautiful and believable friendship between the two girls. 

As you can see, there isn't much I didn't like about this book but I just felt that it fell short of my expectations. I expected more from Code Name Verity but overall it was very enjoyable and heart-wrenching read. I would definitely recommend this book because it's different from the other books on the market, there is no love story, it's set in a very dark part of history and the friendship and sacrifice between the two girls is incredible. Definitely worth a read! 

Badass Bookie xx

Monday, January 27, 2014

The Elite

Review Time! Okay so I was totally planning on posting a heap in January but instead I took another hiatus from posting (oops). In my defence, December was super busy on the blog AND I read a lot of books which need reviewing so I'm back (for now)! The Elite by Kiera Cass is the second book in the The Selection trilogy, I'm a huge fan of the first book so I'm glad that I found the time in December to finally get around to reading it! You can purchase a copy of The Elite from The Book Depository | The Nile | Booktopia | Bookworld. Thanks to HarperCollins for the review copy (sorry for the super late review)!

(Goodreads) Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

The Short Story? - I'm aware there is a lot of hate out there for The Elite but I'm not sorry for LOVING THE BOOK. I loved The Selection but The Elite was so much better, I laughed, I cried, the book was an emotional roller coaster. There was more action and while some people found the love triangle to be annoying, personally I think it's one of the high points of the novel. This series has quite possibly one of the best love triangles out there, there is drama, intensity and scandal - what more do you want from a love triangle? Well written, great characterisation, The Elite was an incredible sequel to The Selection.

The Long Story? - I like to read reviews of books before I read them because it gives me perspective on the book. Before I read The Elite, I read a bunch of horrible reviews about how terrible the book was however I disagree with every one of those reviews. Just because a book isn't typical to the genre doesn't mean it's a bad book. I think people need to be more open-minded about the dystopian genre. It doesn't HAVE to have a crazy amount of action, a body count and an over-the-top rebellion movement. So what if romance is the main focus, personally I think it's refreshingly different. The Elite provided a nice alternative to the typical dystopian genre and there was action and drama incorporated into the plot even if it wasn't the main focus. I'm not a fan of love triangles but when it's well done - they make pretty great books and the love triangle America, Maxon and Aspen is a roller coaster ride. Beautifully written, I think Cass did an incredible job with this sequel and I look forward to reading the last instalment.

I'm very impressed with the characterisation, I thoroughly enjoyed the characterisation in book one but the growth in America as a character was amazing. She's starting to stand up for what she believes in even if it means dire consequences, I'm starting to see a fighting spirit inside her. My connection to America as a reader is incredible and I completely emphasise with her. Definitely a great protagonist who I expect great things from in book three! I'm very torn over Maxon because I love him and I'm rooting for Maxon 120% however he made poor choices and he needs to stick up to his father, HE NEEDS TO GROW A BACKBONE. Aspen is lovely but is very much overshadowed in this book and from what I did see of him in the book, I didn't really love. He's an okay guy and he always has America's back but I just don't think he's the one for her (read: I wouldn't be upset if he died).

I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Elite and it's definitely one of my favourite reads of 2013 (although I only read like 50 books). The writing was great, the characters were fantastic and I think Cass did a wonderful job with the world-building as we are starting to see more cracks in the society. I also loved the romance, the drama and the action of The Elite and I'm excited to see what kind of conclusion book 3 will bring. Two thumbs up for The Elite!

What's it Worth? - Hand Over the Paycheck 

Badass Bookie xx