The Voting Game by Peter Gulgowski

I was really excited to participate in my second blog tour, which gave me the opportunity to read this novel! Now that the tour is over, it’s time for me to post my review!

The Voting Game coverSummary (Goodreads): In the year 2084, Every Interaction Counts.
Darrius Young’s sixteenth birthday brings a harsh reality: It’s time to join the Voting Game. Playing is mandatory, and each day may be his last.

In this bleak future’s society, citizens rate their interactions with one another. Highest scorers are members of an elite upper-class. An average score means you can keep playing.

Fall below average? You are taken and killed by the government entity known only as The Bureau.

Darrius has prepared his whole life for this challenge, knowing the reality he will soon face — especially after the death of his mother to the game.

But despite preparation, he’s losing — and not just the Game. Suddenly the people he loves are getting brutally downvoted and taken by the Bureau. It’s soon clear there’s a target on his back, drawn there by the Bureau itself, and Darrius has no idea why.

In a frantic race against time in a society that’s already sentenced him to death, can Darrius save himself and those around him before it’s too late?


Review: This is a classic case of a novel with tons of potential … but not the best execution. I think that the author definitely has an interesting concept but the book could use some refinement.

I think that the plot itself was very interesting. The idea that people can rate each other and it determines whether you live or die is an awesome concept. While this idea could have been pushed further to incorporate a rewards system perhaps so that people are more motivated to reach the high-4 and 5 score, it wasn’t necessary, and I liked that the author kept it simple.

However, I feel like the story was a bit rushed and lacked the depth it needed. This is usually the case when an author tries to do too much with the plot. I don’t necessarily think that doing too much was the issue here; it was more that the different plot elements didn’t really connect well with each other. I wanted more of a search, more of an investigation, more moments where the pieces of the puzzle fit together. In this book, it happened a bit awkwardly and that took away from the story. Half of the time it felt like the novel was focused on the friendship and sexual orientation of the main character rather than the actual plot that is outlined in the story. This may have been because the author wants the readers to feel that emotional connection that Darrius has with his friends and family … but it didn’t work out that well. I never felt connected to Darrius and I found his interactions with those he was close with to be very awkward and staged, lacking that realistic element.

Another problem I had with the plot was that it was difficult to tell if this was a story about a society ruled by voting, or a story about being accepted for being gay. There were far too many elements exploring the latter and not enough of the former. I don’t have a problem at all with characters having sexual orientations other than hetero, and I also don’t have a problem with reading about their struggles against ignorant people. But when this becomes the focus of a story purported to be a dystopian fiction about a ranking system, then I don’t really like it. I also didn’t feel like it was presented in the best way; the issue of being accepted as gay was more told than shown, with characters saying cheesy, overused lines that didn’t express the realness of the situation too well.

I also wasn’t a big fan of the writing style. Apart from grammatical errors, I found the writing style to be a little childish. There were awkward phrases and jumps in scenes that took me aback. Again, it lacked the depth that this novel needed. I understand that this is a YA novel, but that doesn’t mean that the writing has to reflect the style of a 13-year-old.

While I think that this novel has a lot of potential, I think its execution prevents it from shining through. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 2/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

 

 

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The Voting Game by Peter Gulgowski [BLOG TOUR + GIVEAWAY]

Once again, I have had the amazing opportunity to work with Shealea @ That Bookshelf Bitch and be a part of a blog tour!

The Voting Game coverBOOK INFORMATION

Title: The Voting Game
Author: Peter Gulgowski
Publisher: Self-published
Publication date: 06 March 2018
Genres: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian

Synopsis:

In the year 2084, Every Interaction Counts.

Darrius Young’s sixteenth birthday brings a harsh reality: It’s time to join the Voting Game. Playing is mandatory and each day may be his last.

In this bleak future’s society, citizens rate their interactions with one another. Highest scorers are members of an elite upper class. An average score means you can keep playing.

Fall below average? You are taken and killed by the government entity known only as The Bureau.

Darrius has prepared his whole life for this challenge, knowing the reality he will soon face — especially after the death of his mother to the game.

But despite preparation, he’s losing — and not just the Game. Suddenly the people he loves are getting brutally downvoted and taken by the Bureau. It’s soon clear there’s a target on his back, drawn there by the Bureau itself. And Darrius has no idea why.

In a frantic race against time against a society that’s already sentenced him to death, can Darrius save himself and those around him before it’s too late?


Excerpt from the book: 

By the time we get home, dusk is beginning its shift for the day. The sun’s steadily fallen over our small city neighborhood. The shadows grow longer as daylight fades before us, with street lights illuminating; their glow a faint orange.

A few cars pass as dad and I walk home from our stop. Dad gave the driver a friendly four. The driver returned the gesture with the same and a nod of the head.

Among our type — our class — our group; whatever you want to call us, it’s an understood thing. We play the game together. No one gets ahead. No one falls below. We try to keep like with like, and of course, we try to keep our kind alive… At least this is what I’ve learned over sixteen years of being an outside viewer.

For sixteen years, I was a spectator on the most vicious game known to man. A game not of pure luck or chance, but of treachery and back-stabbing. It was worse at the beginning, or so I’ve been told. Dad said that as many as two-hundred-thousand lives were lost within the first year of implementation.

This was twenty-years ago. President Wright’s first year in office.

I guess this is what it took to create an ideal society. One where everyone played a part in putting their best foot forward. It’s sad it took this to make this the truth.

But here’s the truth.

It’s all for show.

No one gives a shit about anyone in your time, or in mine.

We just pretend.

We put on a smile, hold doors for people we hate, say compliments about ugly clothes or tasteless food, and in return, we hope for a four or a five.

No one does anything genuinely anymore, at least as far as I know. We do what we do for a reward, like dogs.

Hell, if someone threw a stick and yelled, ‘Go fetch,’ someone desperate enough would chase after it for a five.

Pathetic, I know. But mandatory.

The instinct to survive is strong.

It’ll make us do anything.

Believe me.

Anything.

Links to the Book

Goodreads — https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36952544-the-voting-game

Amazon — https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078B84NJ1/

Be sure to check out all of the other amazing blogs participating in this blog tour:

BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE

09 April (Monday)

10 April (Tuesday)

11 April (Wednesday)

12 April (Thursday)

  • Review from The Little Miss Bookworm
  • Review from Wanders Between Pages
  • Review from Rambling of a Book Nerd

13 April (Friday)

14 April (Saturday)

 

And now…. here’s  a Rafflecopter giveaway

For the giveaway, multiple winners will be drawn. 1 winner will receive a paperback copy of The Voting Game (US residents only), and 5 winners will receive a digital copy of the book (international residents).

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings

When I heard about this book, I thought it would be really interesting. I’ve been trying to read more books that take place in space because I’ve started really liking space adventures. When I went to borrow this book from the library, I was really confused to find out there were only 60 pages. Then someone told me that this was an excerpt that was released before the book and that the actual story was about 500 pages. I decided to try an audiobook format for this novel because of its length so some of my comments may pertain to the audiobook reading and may differ from those who just read the physical book or ebook. But enough blabbing, here are my thoughts:

31394234Summary (Goodreads): Most know Androma Racella as the Bloody Baroness, a powerful mercenary whose reign of terror stretches across the Mirabel Galaxy. To those aboard her glass starship, Marauder, however, she’s just Andi, their friend and fearless leader.

But when a routine mission goes awry, the Marauder’s all-girl crew is tested as they find themselves in a treacherous situation and at the mercy of a sadistic bounty hunter from Andi’s past.

Meanwhile, across the galaxy, a ruthless ruler waits in the shadows of the planet Xen Ptera, biding her time to exact revenge for the destruction of her people. The pieces of her deadly plan are about to fall into place, unleashing a plot that will tear Mirabel in two.

Andi and her crew embark on a dangerous, soul-testing journey that could restore order to their shipor just as easily start a war that will devour worlds. As the Marauder hurtles toward the unknown, and Mirabel hangs in the balance, the only certainty is that in a galaxy run on lies and illusion, no one can be trusted.


Review: Alright, well, I’ll be honest here: I did not like this book at all. The authors promised a lot … but I didn’t feel like they delivered. There was just so much that didn’t work with this book!

First of all, THE SUMMARY IS A LIE. Why do I say that? Because it paints a prettier picture of this book than it deserves.

First of all, the story is not at all about a badass group of females. It’s about Androma and her love story. The other girls on the Marauder are barely given a thought. In a story that has tons of different perspectives, only one of the girls is given her time in the spotlight – and her POV literally added nothing to the story. I never got a good sense of the other characters, never witnessed this close connection between them that apparently existed. It was definitely disappointing.

The story is also not that interesting. The entire premise is that Androma and her crew are supposed to rescue someone on behalf of a man who hates Androma and she must work with her enemy/former lover. This whole mission occurs by Chapter 36. The rest of the story is just flashbacks and dithering around as Androma and her lover/enemy work things out.

Did I mention that there are a TON of POVs? Because there are. A TON. And they just make for the most confusing thing in the world. I’m glad that in the audiobook version, they had multiple narrators to try and help keep all of the different perspectives separate but it was still extremely difficult. And again, I had feelings of complete apathy towards all of the characters and POVs. I just didn’t care about any of them.

I also had a problem with Androma’s character. She sucked. She was boring and whiny and not a “bloody baroness” at all. Her persona doesn’t make sense to me at all. She is supposed to relish killing and fighting. And yet, she spends most of her time mourning over the people she kills. She also is supposed to be fierce about her crew … but she obsesses more about her romantic interest. Her character was just not what I was hoping to get.

In the end, this novel just had too many negative factors to it. The plot was boring, the cast of characters had no depth, and the story fell into too many familiar tropes … but the tropes weren’t carried out well enough to justify that. I’m going to have to give this book a 1/5 star rating.

Happy reading ~

Counteract by Tracy Lawson – Resistance #1

I received this novel as a copy from the author in exchange for my honest review.

Not only is this novel the first book I finished for February, it is also my very first audiobook. I’ve never found myself able to get into listening to an audio book. Somehow, I end up zoning out and losing sense of what’s going on in the story. This time, I was determined to pay attention and give this form of story telling a good shot. Here is my review of the book as well as the experience:


Synopsis (Goodreads): In an alternate reality version of 2034, terrorist attacks on American soil continue after the events of 9/11. The Office of Civilian Safety and Defense, created in 2019 to oversee domestic security, rises to unprecedented heights of power by exploiting the people’s overriding fear of terrorism.

When Tommy Bailey and Careen Catecher meet during one of the bogus terrorist attacks, they discover the OCSD’s darkest secret: an antidote distributed by the government to “protect” people from the effects of imaginary toxins in the air is really being used to lull them into a state of submission. Tommy and Careen face a difficult choice: stay quiet about what they know—or risk their safety and anonymity to join an underground rebel group that’s determined to break the OCSD’s grip on the nation.


Review: There are a lot of YA dystopian novels out there and it can be hard for an author to be unique in this genre. That was not the problem here. I found this story to have a lot of great qualities to it that set it apart from other books in this genre and kept me interested throughout the story!

I really liked the way the story unfolded. There were quite a few people involved in the story, and each got their time to shine. I liked hearing from these different perspectives because it allowed the reader to see the issues through more than just one point of view; whenever I get the chance to see a fuller picture, I am appreciative of it because it doesn’t always happen. Of course, Careen and Tommy were the main characters but having other adult voices to balance out their teen ones was quite nice.

Even though the concept of the government being evil is not a new one, the story that the author presented here was very different from what you see. I liked it because it didn’t take place too far into the future; it was a world that I could easily envision happening a few years down the road. It was scary to see how trusting people are and how easily that can be manipulated by those in power. The novel had a good pace with enough intrigue to keep me guessing about how things would progress. There were a couple holes that I spotted in this book, and I hope that the author addressed them in future books … but it wasn’t a significant problem.

The one thing that I didn’t like was Careen’s personality and behaviour. While she showed independence and intelligence at certain points, most of her actions were a bit too whimsical and flighty for my taste. I didn’t really like how dependent she became on others, especially since her first introduction in this book portrayed her as having a lot of sass and spunk. I also thought the relationship between Careen and Tommy could have progressed a bit slower, allowing it to develop more richly.

I think that this novel really worked as an audio book because the story wasn’t bogged down with too many details and descriptions. The narration was done by Sarah Rogers and she did a great job of expressing all of the right emotions and matching her pace to that of the story. This is not an easy story to narrate as there are many different characters and perspectives to present, but Rogers did a great job in making them all stand out. My only comment would be that Eduardo really didn’t sound the way I expected; even though he was Spanish, the accent used was more similar to Russian. Regardless, I found it really easy to pay attention and my focus never shifted from the story.

Overall, I thought this was a really good dystopian novel that explored the idea of autonomy and the role of the government in protecting its citizens. I liked the various different characters and thought that the novel was well-paced. This book definitely works in an audiobook format, and I would recommend this novel to anyone looking for a unique YA dystopian story!

Happy reading ~

The Wolves of Winter by Tyrell Johnson

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

I really really like dystopian novels. It’s both frightening and exciting to think about what the world would be like if society as we know it collapsed and we were left in an extreme condition and had to survive. Any chance that I get to read a dystopian novel, I take it. And I got the chance with this one through NetGalley. Here is my review:

Synopsis (Goodreads): Forget the old days. Forget summer. Forget warmth. Forget anything that doesn’t help you survive. Lynn McBride has learned much since society collapsed in the face of nuclear war and the relentless spread of disease. As memories of her old life haunt her, she has been forced to forge ahead in the snow-covered Canadian Yukon, learning how to hunt and trap to survive. But her fragile existence is about to be shattered. Shadows of the world before have found her tiny community—most prominently in the enigmatic figure of Jax, who sets in motion a chain of events that will force Lynn to fulfill a destiny she never imagined.


Review: I really wanted to like this novel. But I didn’t. It wasn’t terrible by any standards, but it just wasn’t as gripping or unique as I wanted it to be. The story was pretty much like your average dystopian tale: there’s a girl who is learning to survive in a new environment and through a turn of events discovers that she is different and could potentially save the world. And there’s the love interest that conveniently comes along and becomes a part of the adventure. It’s something I’ve already seen so many times so it was hard for this book to hold my interest.32920273

Now, not everything was the same. For instance, Lynn is older than your usual teen protagonist – she is 23 years old and is no longer a child. But for some reason, her voice didn’t show the maturity of someone her age. I understand that she has been living only with her family for a number of years and has been isolated from others her age, but that doesn’t mean that she should have the maturity of a 16-year-old. The age factor might have been a unique feature of the story but since the author didn’t give her a mature voice, Lynn resembled every other teen protagonist from a dystopian story. It also doesn’t help that Lynn was bland. Even though the story is written entirely from her perspective, and the author tried to include snippets from her past to give her a more defined personality, I didn’t really get anything from it. She bored me and it was really hard for me to get through the novel.

The story was also different in that there were two parts to it: not only was there nuclear warfare that turned the world into a wasteland, there was also a disease that led to the deaths of many people. This was interesting … but perhaps not necessary. Only one of these conditions really mattered and got carried through in the story.

I also had an issue with the relationship between Lynn and Jax. There didn’t need to be one. There was no chemistry to be detected between the two and their exchanges were awkward and cheesy. I got no satisfaction from seeing them thrown together because they were both such bland characters. It didn’t help that all of the other characters in the story were also stereotypically portrayed. There was no nuance or depth to it at all and it made it really hard for me to enjoy this story.

In the end, I just didn’t enjoy this dystopian story. There were too many stereotypical elements to it for it to be unique and all of the characters had a one-dimensional personality. I’m pretty sure there is going to be a sequel to this story based on the way it ended, but I’m probably not going to check it out. Unfortunately, this book gets 2/5 stars from me.

Happy reading ~

Our Dark Stars by Audrey Grey and Krystal Wade

Synopsis (Goodreads): While she sleeps, the whole universe changes. Princess Talia Starchaser has it all. Wealth. Status. Adoring citizens. But on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, she’s forced to publicly betray her best friend, a companion mock she’s had since birth, setting events into motion that lead to the destruction of the humans, and the princess floating through space, a remnant of a time when humans ruled over droids. One hundred years later, half-mock captain Will Perrault and his ragtag crew discover a device floating in space. When a very human Talia emerges from its depths, Will suspects she’s the key to buying his way back into the regiment he once commanded against the last remaining rebel humans—and the ruling mock queen’s good graces. Both Talia and Will would rather get space-tossed than trust one another, but with the queen’s forces chasing them across the galaxy and the fate of both worlds hanging in the balance, they’ll forge the unlikeliest of alliances to survive.


My Review: This was a really fun read for me. I read quite a bit of science fiction but I don’t read many books that are based in space. The authors incorporated a really great adventure through space with just enough detail to understand the basic mechanisms of things without bogging the reader down with inane facts. This story is told from 2 perspectives: Talia’s and Will’s. I really liked that the first part of Talia’s perspective took place 100 years prior to the present (which is where Will’s perspective takes place) because it allows the reader to understand what Talia was going through at that time and how she ended up where she was. It also allowed the reader to see the stark contrast in the political climate from the past versus the present. I liked both Will and Talia’s character and appreciated the fact that the authors didn’t spend too much time developing the romance between them. However, I did have certain issues with the story. While the story went along at a fast pace, I didn’t necessarily think there was enough development of character and plot for the story to really cement itself; there was a lot of jumping around without enough grounding to let the reader believe in the direction of the plot. I also had an issue with the romance, which I know sounds hypocritical but hear me out: the novel is sold as a science fiction and romance, and yet the romance barely develops; I really didn’t feel a romantic connection between Will and Talia so when they suddenly express their feelings for each other after such a short period of time, I was quite taken aback. Maybe the romance should have been left out of the story. I also thought that the ending was a bit too convenient and positive. After such a struggle in the beginning, things were resolved way too easily.

Overall, this was a fun read with a good amount of action and good characters. However, I think the story and romance could have benefited from some depth, which could have been accomplished if the authors had made the story longer and taken the time to allow for some development. I’m giving this a 3/5 stars.

Thank you to NetGalley and Blaze Publishing for this ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Happy reading ~

Red Rising: Sons of Ares #1 by Pierce Brown

Pierce Brown is the author of the Red Rising series, which consists of Red Rising, Golden SonMorning Star, and soon, Iron Gold. I actually read the first 3 books of the series and found them to be quite interesting, and I’m looking forward to reading the latest installment when it comes out. I had no idea that the author had decided to venture into the world of graphic novels, as well, but I thought it would be a great avenue for the story! Here is my review:

N.B: The story takes place before Red Rising. In the future, when mankind has spread across the stars, the hierarchy of man is dictated by the color of one’s caste. The Golds rule all, but what will happen when one falls for a lowly Red?


I would highly recommend reading this after you have read the Red Rising series. Although this is a prequel, it really expects you to know the Red Rising world in order to understand its implications. This is the story of how Ares becomes the face of the rebellion.

I really liked the art used here. It wasn’t as beautiful as some other graphic novels I’ve read, like Monstress by Marjorie Liu, but it was interesting and worked for the story being told. I loved how the text boxes were different colours depending on who was speaking: if it was a gold, the box would be gold, if it was a red or a green, it would be their affiliated colour. Not only did it serve as a reminder of the distinction between the different classes that are part of the world created in the series, it also helped the reader keep track of who was talking.

I really liked the backstory that was given for Ares. However, I don’t think this comic really added to the story. There was nothing really knew here that I wouldn’t have gotten from the story and the theme was the same one as in the series. I understand that the theme being the same was a unifying factor but there weren’t even subtle nuances to give it some depth. It was also too short to have the detailed back story to the rebellion that I was looking for.

Overall, this was an interesting medium to portray the series, but it wasn’t unique enough for me. I’m giving it a 3/5 for creativity and artwork.

Thank you to Edelweiss for this ARC in exchange for my honest review. 

Happy reading ~

Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman – Arc of a Scythe #2

I received this novel as an advance copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

You might recall that I recently read Scythe by Neal Shusterman. I had loved the premise of the novel and while it did have its flaws, I still enjoyed reading it. When I found out there was a sequel, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it and I’m so happy that I was able to receive an ARC! Here is my review of Thunderhead, the sequel to Scythe and the 2nd book of this series:

After just narrowly escaping death, Rowan has gone rogue. He has taken it upon himself to cleanse the Scythedom through a trial by fire. In the year since Winter Conclave, Rowan has gone off-grid and has been striking out against corrupt scythes. He is a dark folk hero now—“Scythe Lucifer”. Citra – now Scythe Anastasia – is a junior scythe under Scythe Curie who also sees the extent of corruption within the Scythdom – but has her own way of dealing with it. Her style of gleaning is more compassionate – but her methods are questioned by everyone in the Scythedom. But when her life is threatened, it becomes clear that not everyone is willing to accept her into the fold. Will the Thunderhead finally intervene? Or will it watch as this perfect world unravels?

A note to Goodreads readers before I actually talk about my feelings on this novel: the synopsis that talks about Citra is not accurate. At no point does she go “deadish” in this novel in order to talk to the Thunderhead. I’ve included in my summary a more accurate portrayal of what occurs in this novel.

To me, it felt like this novel suffered from Second Book Syndrome. What is this syndrome? It’s basically when the second book doesn’t live up to the expectations of the first book in the series. It’s typically characterized by an increase in angst instead of action, a dragging in the plot, and the characters are pretty stagnant. All of those things happened in this book. I found the story to be tedious in length because not much happened. Scenes that could have been high impact didn’t deliver the punch and there was a lot of filler. I don’t really want to read about how Citra and Scythe Curie are wandering around, trying to figure out who is after them. I don’t care about all of these other characters you are introducing that I know will explain some twist in the story but don’t actually matter. There was just this lack of connection between me as the reader and the main characters in the story. Even though the author took the time to write from the perspectives of a bunch of characters, it still didn’t allow me to empathize with them. Just like in Scythe, the author included excerpts from journals of other Scythes … but more often, there were excerpts from the thoughts of the Thunderhead itself. I thought that was really interesting, and it was a nice touch because it allowed the reader to watch the Thunderhead transform emotionally. However, there could have been more done here. Some of the excerpts of the Thunderhead were overly redundant and could have been taken out. I think the reason that this novel suffered in my eyes is because the plot was just a rehashing of the time-old tale of new vs old clashing. There was nothing very new introduced in the novel and with a lack of growth on the part of the characters and a slow pacing, this novel really didn’t deliver the punch I wanted. The last 50 pages of this novel were definitely eventful, and as is the norm with Second Book Syndrome, the story ended on a cliffhanger, which now means I’m going to have to read the next book in the series. Despite all of the shortcomings, I still find myself invested in the concept of this series and interested in how the author plans on resolving the conflict in the story. For those reasons, I’m giving this a 3/5 stars.

Happy reading ~

Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray

I don’t usually read novels that take in space. I also don’t read novels that are romantic. This novel is both of those things. And I liked it! Here is my review:

Noemi Vidal may only be 17 years old, but she will do anything to protect her planet – Genesis – even if it means giving up her own life.

Abel is a machine, abandoned in space for years. With advanced programming, he has begun to evolve in ways no one could ever imagine. All he wants is to protect his creator – and be free.

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 wasn’t expecting to like this novel as much as I did. But it was a really good read. The story is told from alternating perspectives of Noemi and Abel, which I really loved because it gave you the chance to see how both characters (but especially Abel) were changing through their interactions with each other. I loved that most of the focus of the story was on the actual adventure itself. There was a lot of running around and planning and stealing things… and it was awesome! The author really took the time to explain scientific terminology and make the rationale behind certain actions make sense, which was definitely appreciated. I also loved that the author took the time to make the characters develop a relationship to each other rather than just make them fall in love right away. I find that the latter is a common trend in romance novels but I hate it because it doesn’t show the nuances that come with falling for someone; here, everything was well captured and the romance made so much sense and just felt so right! Everything about this novel worked for me: it had great characters, good pacing, and an interesting story line that was more than just about romance. There was a lot of talk about religion and the presence of a soul that I actually found interesting and it added a lot of depth to the story. I especially liked reading about how both of these characters dealt with these topics and their own doubts that surfaced here and there. Overall, this was honestly a pretty perfect read that had everything I wanted and more! I’m giving this a 5/5 stars!

Happy reading ~

Scythe by Neal Shusterman – Arc of a Scythe #1

As soon as I read the premise for this novel, I knew I had to give this book a shot. It was a short blurb but it contained everything it needed to pique my interest. It’s about 400 pages…. and I devoured it in one sitting. Here is my review:

Thou shalt kill.

In a world where hunger, disease, and war had been eradicated, life was relatively comfortable. Humanity has conquered everything – including death. Only scythes are the ones who can take life, and they only do so in order to keep the population size under control. Scythes are feared and respected by all, and they are above all laws except for the Scythe commandments. It is a grim job, but a necessary one for society to thrive. Citra and Rowan are two teenagers who are chosen to become apprentices to a scythe – a role that both have the aptitude for but neither of them want. However, they must master the “art” of taking life – unless they want to lose their own.

While I devoured this novel, my impression of it was mixed. I really liked the concept behind this novel: there is a society of Scythes (who are basically Grim Reapers) and we are following the adventures of 2 characters who will, presumably, end up in this profession. I really liked the little details that the author included and the world-building; I just wish there had been more of it. A lot of it was vague and more details would have cemented the story better. I liked Citra and Rowan a lot, as they were both unique and neither one overshadowed the other. I just wish the author hadn’t tried to put in a romance angle there, because it didn’t really work. Even though the story is mostly about their apprenticeships, I really enjoyed their different journeys. I will admit: I liked Rowan’s journey more because he seemed to have grown and developed more as a character than Citra, who pretty much remained the same from beginning to end. This may also have been because of the lack of details/the focus on certain story lines over world-building. I didn’t actually like the whole idea of there being a duel between Citra and Rowan; it seemed like it was just thrown in there when it really didn’t have any merit. I know it seems like I have a huge list of complaints about this novel but I’ve got to say that I really enjoyed reading it. I was caught in by the story and I really wanted to get through it and see what would happen to everyone involved. I was excited and intrigued and couldn’t pull away from this novel. I don’t think this is a book that everyone will like because it does lack a bit in maturity (plus all of the other issues I mentioned above); this is definitely more suited for teenagers. However, I liked it and I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series! I’m giving it a 3.5/5 stars.

Happy reading ~