Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Book Review: The Murder Complex by Lindsay Cummings
An action-packed, blood-soaked, futuristic debut thriller set in a world where the murder rate is higher than the birthrate. For fans of Moira Young’s Dust Lands series, La Femme Nikita, and the movie Hanna.

Meadow Woodson, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been trained by her father to fight, to kill, and to survive in any situation, lives with her family on a houseboat in Florida. The state is controlled by The Murder Complex, an organization that tracks the population with precision.

The plot starts to thicken when Meadow meets Zephyr James, who is—although he doesn’t know it—one of the MC’s programmed assassins. Is their meeting a coincidence? Destiny? Or part of a terrifying strategy? And will Zephyr keep Meadow from discovering the haunting truth about her family?

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I first heard about this book through a reviewer that I watch on youtube. Seeing as how i've loved every single book that she loved, I was extremely excited to read this one. I had been trying for months to get ahold of a copy of this book for less than twenty bucks (my library is very small so they didn't have it), and FINALLY out of the blue, I get a random email that tells me about the deal they were having on all devices for The Murder Complex, so I freaked out and bought it immediately for two dollars. Score, am-I-right? I was also nervous that I had hyped it up to be too much, and that it would be a letdown. I was wrong, so very wrong.

The basic premise for this book is that a girl, Meadow, gets a job so that her family and little sister can eat since they have almost no money, but she ends up meeting a ward (orphan) named Zephyr, and together they discover the truth about their screwed up society. Without any spoilers, I can tell you that their society is extremely dangerous. They live inside a ginormous fence, that will kill you if you try to escape, and every night hundreds of people are murdered, seemingly for sport since they really have nothing to gain from these people. Also they have these things called "nanities" in them, that make you heal extremely fast, and brings this book into a more sci-fi dystopian genre.

Though I'm not really a sap, I still know a thing or two about how I like relationships in books to play out. This book was definitely not my favorite example of a relationship. I felt like Meadow, a girl who has trained her whole life NOT to trust others, fell way too hard and way to fast for Zephyr. It just felt rushed and a little childish for me. I mean she didn't have any obligation to him, yet she risked literally everything she had for him. Could have gone a little slower.

"Sometimes we have to give up little pieces of our humanity so that we can keep living."
- Lindsay Cummings, The Murder Complex

My favorite character, though she was not either of the main characters, was Talan. Zephyr's best friend since he could remember, Talan was strong, funny, and all around an nice person. I never caught the part where it said exactly how old she was, but she had had a daughter, so she was probably around 18ish. Whenever Zephyr needed her, she was always there for him. She could have given up on him the first day he arrived, when he was just a jumble of tears and useless memories, but she didn't, and that makes me love her so much more. Except the end of the book made me want to cry because of her, because why Lindsay? Why?

Every time this book started to get a little dry, there would be a major plot twist, and it would hook me all over again, and let me tell you, there were a lot of plot twists! I really enjoyed Lindsay Cummings not creating a cookie cutter family for Meadow, and that despite how screwed up they were, she still had a love-hate relationship with them. I finished this book within two days of obsessively reading it wherever I possibly could. It was bloody, and creepy, and is definitely not for the faint of heart, but I would fully recommend reading it. If you are like me, and horror movies or Hannibal have always been a favorite of yours, I would tell you right now to go pick up this book.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself--and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

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When I first read the summary of The Selection, i'll be honest, I was not too impressed. I never really liked princesses or royalty, so I was not expecting to like this book very much at all. Kiera Cass definitely changed my mind about that, it was really good! I was in my local bookstore when I remembered my friend telling me about this "amazing," book that was "so much better than you'd think Madi!" I went in with my mind set on only buying one book, and obviously, I somehow left with three (that's how it always works right?). This was a fast read, I started on Monday and finished on Tuesday, but that was probably just because I was hooked!

The Selection is technically a dystopian novel set about 300 years in the future, in a country called Illea, but it didn't seem too much like a dystopian kind of book to me; more of a fairy tale or fantasy. It follows a caste system with levels from 1 to 8, with 1 being the most wealthy, and 8 being the least. America Singer, the main character, is a five. Fives are artists and musicians, which means that America plays the violin. She gets selected to be one of 35 girls to compete for the prince, but going in, she knows she doesn't want to be with him. Basically what happened before to make her come to that conclusion was that the guy she loved made her sign up the Selection so that he would know that he wasn't holding her back. He broke up with her that night because she was a five, and he was a six, and he knew that he couldn't afford to spoil her, but then she got picked for the contest, and she was still in love with him. Oh so much angst.

It followed a pretty basic plot line, so it was kind of easy to guess a lot of what was going to happen, but it still strayed enough off that path that it wasn't boring. The plot line was: mysterious lower-class girl in love with someone else meets upper-class guy, upper-class guy falls in love with girl, but the girl can't decide between her love triangle, with a little bit of fluff mixed in. The great thing about this story compared to others like it was that Prince Maxon had a lot of flaws. He wasn't a perfect porcelain doll that knew exactly what to do, but instead awkwardly asked the wrong questions and couldn't figure out how to comfort someone. Not to mention, he was also incredibly sweet and understanding, and the friendship that he had with America made me want to scream with giddiness.

“I hope you find someone you can't live without. I really do. And I hope you never have to know what it's like to have to try and live without them.” 
― Kiera CassThe Selection

Aspen. Just to be clear, I am totally NOT team Aspen (I'm not really sure yet if i'm team Maxon either, but he is a heck of a lot better than Aspen). This boy, was a nightmare. First he forced this girl into entering the competition to save his conscience, knowing full well that she did not want to enter at all. Then he dumped her, who he had been dating for two years, and was in love with, because she made him a dinner. What? Then he did another thing, but i'm not about to spoil the book for you, so you'll just have to infer that it was completely not cool. Seriously, he doesn't even deserve America. Even a guy who's never even been around girls before knew how to treat her better than Aspen did.

The ending was cut off quite abruptly. It didn't really leave you with a cliffhanger or anything that makes you "NEED TO KNOW WHATS GOING TO HAPPEN," but i'm definitely going to read the next book to see how it continues. I was around 20 pages from the end when I realized that there was no way Maxon (the prince) could end the competition. There were still 6 girls left! And I was right, he didn't. Oh well I guess we'll find out in the next book, The Elite. I have to say, the ending left me a little bit disappointed, but it wasn't bad enough to make me want to quit the series. 

I think this is really one of those books that you either will love or hate. I was surprised when I went onto Goodreads that there were so many negative reviews, but it just confirmed my suspicions. Personally, I really liked this book. I tend to read more sci-fi, actual dystopian novels, so this one was a step out of my comfort zone, but i'd say it was probably in my top 25. The writing style was very simple and straightforward, so it was easy to understand, but at times is could have been a little more intriguing. Props to Kiera Cass though; this was her first published book, and it was quite good! 
*Sigh* Now I just have to wait for The Elite to come in the mail.