Midnight Star Was a Sparkly Conclusion To A Bright Trilogy

midnight-starSo way back in 2015 I read Young Elites and Rose Society– then I had the horrible ordeal of waiting for the finale. The thing about waiting over a year for the final book in the series is that the conclusion can often disappoint- it doesn’t live up to expectations, the story’s gone cold while you waited or you’ve just lost interest. Luckily for me, however, this did not happen to me with Lu’s masterful series.

Now I’ve mixed reviews around for this finale, but for me it was a very satisfying ending to a unique story. Personally I thought it ended the only way it could. In fact it was so beautifully done that I was left shaking and with tears in my eyes.

New, imaginative elements were brought into the finale that were only hinted at in the rest of the series, giving it more of a mythological edge and the feeling that the story would become part of legend. This took the book to a whole new level- and was impressed that Lu was able to step it up in the last book- not many series manage to do that! Apart from being disappointingly short and a little rushed, I felt this was the perfect way to end it:

Rating: 4½/5 bananas

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One satisfied Orangutan

So this was my first read this year- it’s early days but how’s your reading shaping up so far for 2017? And have you read this series? Do you like it? Let me know in the comments!

5 Books That Beat Middle Book Syndrome

After my post yesterday, I decided to do talk more positively about the books that managed to beat middle book syndrome. Actually, these books didn’t just defeat middle book syndrome, cos I’m not gonna include books that were as good as their predecessors (we’d be here all day!). Instead I’m gonna talk about the books that brought something new to the series they belonged to, raised the stakes and just knocked it out of the park! So buckle up and enjoy the ride.

  1. Crown of Midnight

crown of midnightI could easily use this post just to rant and rave about how much I *loved* this series. And, surprisingly, that love did not begin with book 1. Unusually, I started loving this series only after book 2 and then was completely blown away by book 3. Every book since the first one Maas has upped the stakes, made me love the characters more and developed the world in incredible ways! So yeah it’s safe to say this beat middle book syndrome!

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  1. The Novice

the noviceWith the Novice, Trudi Canavan didn’t just build on the first one, she made *everything* so much better. In all honestly, I hadn’t actually enjoyed two thirds of Magician’s Guild- but the last section of the book got me wanting to read more. And I’m so glad it did! Because the second book (and the third) took everything to a whole other level- the characters came to life, the world went from generic to intriguing and the plot was phenomenally gripping. After the slow world-building of the first one, I had not expected to like, let alone love the rest of the series- but somehow Canavan pulled it off, and this is now one of my favourite fantasy series of all time.

  1. Fractured

fracturedThis is a bit more of an unusual one for me to pick. Honestly, I did not think much of Slated– I wasn’t crazy about the idea, the characters and the pacing was all off- so I really don’t get how the sequel managed to impress me. But Fractured was a massive improvement on the series and because of this book I actually became invested in the story. The stakes were higher and the characters were more complex. And unusually for a YA dystopia- I actually liked how it turned out!!

  1. The Rose Society

rose societyThe Young Elites was definitely up there as one of my favourite books of last year- I just loved how dark and unexpected it was. So naturally, I picked up this book with high expectations- and not only did it not disappoint, but it actually built on the success of the first one and made me even more excited about the potential directions this series might take. I loved the twists and turns of the second book even more than the first one! You can read more in my review here.

  1. Cress

cressHaving read the whole series now, I can safely say this one was my favourite! I rated it higher than all the others- and for that reason it had to be on this list! I’m a sucker for cute romances- so I just loved Cress and Thorne’s relationship. Those characters were just gorgeous! Throw in the awesome direction the plot took and the general character development and I was all for it!

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Bonus: Catching Fire

catching fireSome people believe this book is firmly in the Middle Syndrome category- but I disagree- which is one of the main reasons why it had to be in this post. Admittedly, it is really similar to the first one, yet as I said in my last post, it had wonderful character development and really advanced the plot to set up the finale- so it definitely deserves an honorary mention.

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Hope you enjoyed that! Have you read these books? Anyone have any other books that beat middle book syndrome? Let me know in the comments below!

The Rose Society Review

rose society*A bit spoilery if you haven’t read book 1*

Initially, I didn’t feel like I needed to do a review for this series. I mean- it’s pretty much exactly what I asked for after the last one: more of the same. And yet- this book still surprised me. It pulled me in directions I did not expect. Not only am I still sympathetic and invested in the main character’s plight, but I have realised she may become more than just an anti-hero- she could be on the path to fully fledged villainhood. And to me this is the most exciting thing ever. Any possible story arcs for the main character are exciting at this stage- either she continues down the terrible path she’s taking and becomes a completely evil maniac, or she changes course and she gets a redemption story. Either way, it’s a win-win for the reader. This bold choice by Marie Lu is making me impossibly excited for what comes next.

But the brilliance of the book does not stop there. One aspect of the book that is handled masterfully is the characters- they all feel like distinct and different people. Which is such a pleasant change. Even Raphael isn’t a straightforward good guy. In fact, none of the “good” guys are straightforward. All of them make mistakes. And none of them have entirely altruistic motivations. Everyone has shades of grey.

On top of that, I felt like the romance was hotting up- I much preferred the love interest in this book, because I felt like this guy actually *knew who she really was* instead of the other guy that fell in love with the idea of her. To be honest, in the first book, the romance was bordering on insta-love, but thankfully it felt real in this book.

And the twists and turns in the plot were excellent- much like the first one, it never took the foot off the accelerator. Needless to say, I’m on the edge of my seat to see what happens next.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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The Young Elites- Flash Review

the young elitesSummary from Goodreads:

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.
Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

My thoughts:

Now this is a fun book. I’m honestly surprised by how much I enjoyed it considering how I found her other series, Legend, pretty lacklustre. So when my friend recommended this to me, I was really reluctant to pick it up. But I’m glad I did because it completely took me by surprise.

As with Legend the writing style is simple. Yet fortunately the plot was engaging, interesting and really entertaining- and I found myself enjoying the ride in spite of my initial misgivings. It twisted and turned and went in directions I did not expect. More than that, it had a dark, unpredictable edge to it that made my hair stand on end.

I liked the simple set up for the world, with its direct explanation for the Young Elites’ powers and their (somewhat typical) persecution. Yet in spite of how straightforward it was, I didn’t find it tired or boring. In part it was because it was very atmospheric. But mainly it was because the characters really stood out. They were complex, disturbed and bordering on straight up evil. Which of course I loved. Because moral ambiguity is awesome.

Overall, this was a very solid start to a series, and I’m looking forward to see where Lu takes this. Naturally, I’m hoping for more of the same.

Rating: 4/5 bananas

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