Nightfall

“Sometimes in life, we do things simply because we’ve always done them. “

Title: Nightfall

Authors: Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

Series:Standalone

Publication: September 22nd 2015 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers

Pages: 368

Source: Publisher at ALA Annual

Summary from Goodreads:

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.

Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.

Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.

Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and  Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.

And it may already be too late.

My Thoughts:

Well… I liked it, and I didn’t like it at the same time. Do you know how confusing that feeling is? I wanted to like it, and I did like it – but I didn’t like it enough for it to really mean something. At this point, I feel almost indifferent – but I don’t want to. Nightfall had a brilliant premise, though it is a complete rip off of Game of Thrones (I’ll get to that in a moment). This is one of those cases where my excitement took over, and then I was devastatingly let down. Nightfall had the makings of a great novel, of a story that would leave me with nightmares and the chills, but it fell woefully short.
Nightfall follows Marin, a fourteen year old (I think) who lives on a strange island. This island is strange because its days and nights are not the normal twenty-four hour cycle. No, this island runs on a cycle of fourteen years of daylight and then fourteen years of night. In the fourteen years of nighttime, the island freezes over and the entire populace of the island is supposed to vacate the premises and leave it as it was found however many years in the past. The terrain changes, the bad things come out, and you better pray that you don’t get left behind. Marin, our protagonist, has lived all fourteen years of her life in complete daylight – and as this book takes off, the night is finally coming, and the others are coming with it.
Preparations for abandoning the island is not what you think they are going to be. Sure, there is the basic packing up of belongings and cleaning the house, but there are rules everyone must follow. You must leave your house completely spotless, rearrange furniture in weird ways, sprinkle lime juice around the house, remove all the locks from the doors, leave the doors cracked, and make sure that every trace of your existence is basically gone.
Now, as we know from the synopsis, Marin, her brother, and her friend Line do not make it off the island. And, basically, from that point on everything goes to hell.
But, I don’t want to talk about that. What I want to say is this : Nightfall rips off Game of Thrones so obviously I have no idea how it got published and it makes fan fiction look original. Game of Thrones has crazy long winters and summers, sound familiar? In GoT, the summers can last up to twenty eight years or more, as can the winters, and with the winters come the White Walkers. In Nightfall, we get fourteen yearlong summers and then an equally long nightfall where the entire island freezes over and the others come out. Do you see what I am saying here? The entire basis of this book is a play on Game of Thrones. Now, I don’t know if it was intentional, but it was impossible for me to ignore (considering I am a huge GoT fan). For God’s sake, the damn blurb on the back of the book says “Night is coming.”
Now that my mini rant is out of the way, the characters were flat. I hate saying it, and I hate thinking it, but I do. The characters were all so one dimensional, so borderline boring that it almost put me to sleep. The plot didn’t help, either, but that’s for another paragraph. I think the biggest part of my issue with the characters came from the writing style, I don’t think I would have felt the same way if the writing had been more descriptive. Instead, there is a lot more telling rather than showing. We are told this characters is like this, or does this, or thinks this – rather than illustrating it through their actions, descriptions, and thoughts. We are not given any real inner monologue, instead, we are given a constant script that is clearly robotic in structure. I must find my brother. I must get off the island. They must not find out what I am. Nothing more than that. Their thoughts don’t stray, they don’t seem to really feel anything – I literally felt like I was watching one of the worst renditions of a play I had already seen a million times before. It was really depressing, to be completely honest. I wanted to get to know the characters, maybe then I would have actually felt something. But instead, I felt so detached that I didn’t give two shits about what they were going through

.
As for the plot, it was bleh. I was expecting some terror, some genuine fear and all together hopelessness. I wanted my heart to pound, I wanted to have goosebumps, I wanted to have nightmares. I am completely terrified of the dark, those of you who know me will know that to be the honest truth. So, a book that is supposed to take place entirely in the darkness where monsters are chasing you the entire time? I should have been significantly terrified, but I was not. The attempts at terrorizing the reader in this book are laughable at best and sleep inducing at the worst. The “monsters” weren’t scary, there were basically giant lizards that don’t feel the cold. The darkness wasn’t scary. The fear of being stranded on the island was nonexistent. There was nothing in the plot that drove home the fact that this was supposed to be a thriller and a horror story – it was far too bland for me. What should have terrified me, only made me laugh.
What could have been a wonderful thriller to keep you awake at night was nothing more than a half-assed attempt at marketing Game of Thrones as Young Adult with a new book cover and different title. Nightfall was a disappointment, it tore my heart out and stomped all over it. I wanted to love this, I wanted to be scared by this, instead – what I got was a laughable imitation of some of the most overused horror story tropes out there. There is nothing to fear in this book other than one dimensional characters and giant lizards that look too much like the Kanama from Teen Wolf to be anything original. Nightfall, good job destroying my expectations and making me want to weep for humanity.

Goodreads

Amazon

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Fandom of the Month: September 2015

So, I recently joined Fandom of the Month Club. It is a basic subscription service: every month they send you something. But, Fandom of the Month is entirely centered around Fandoms (The Hunger Games, Game of Thrones, Doctor Who, etc.). You can sign up and check them out here: Fandom of the Month Club.

This is my first month receiving a box, and I have to say, I was not disappointed. I am so glad that I signed up! The jewelry is gorgeous, the hand painted bag is gorgeous, and everything about this system is amazing. They shipped the boxes out on Friday and I got mine in the mail today! How awesome is that!?

Now, as to the unboxing:

I don’t know how many of you follow me on twitter, but if you do, you would have seen this tweet form my roommate:

This is the God honest truth. Our sink only has two settings, a drought and then the wrath of Poseidon. It will either spray you to death or let only the barest of drips out, there is no middle ground – trust me, I’ve tried. Why am I bringing this up, you wonder? Well, I am bringing it up because…

This month’s theme is Percy Jackson!

That’s right, the son of Poseidon (the man who controls our sink while laughing manically) is officially the theme of September.

The box is adorable, it comes with a super cute, specialized theme card and a hand painted draw string bag that holds all of the goodies.

When I got the box, I was jumping up and down with excitement. I wanted to rip it open, but I didn’t. I held myself back until I got to my room and could nicely cut through the tape with scissors.

The first thing I saw when I opened the box was this:

You tie your shoe laces through the holes and then, voila, your shoes have wings and you can fly!

The second piece I pulled out was the little hand painted bag, and I have to say, it is completely adorable.

Isn’t the owl cute!? Also, raise your hand if you see the Greek. *raises hand*

The first thing I grabbed out of the bag was this awesome magnet, which now has a home on my fridge.

Next came the jewelry, and boy am I happy to call these pieces mine. I can already tell you what I am going to be for Halloween (A Fangirl).

The bag held these really cute little earrings, there is a picture of Pegasus and they also say Camp Halfblood.

There was also a really cool necklace, I can’t wait to wear it!

Lastly, and my favorite, is this ring in the shape of Poseidon’s Trident.

By the way, when I put this on, the first thing I did was go up to the sink and yell “I have the power here, you shall obey me!” No lie. I’m weird, I know.

All in all, Fandom of the month is a wonderful subscription and I can’t wait to see what is coming next month.

Here is my full haul:

What do you guys think? Plan on joining any time soon? (It’s worth it)

The One Lovely Blog Award

Hi there everyone! I come to you today with the wonderful news that I was nominated for The Lovely Blog Award by Sumaya at Sue’s Reading Corner. I just want to say thank you, it means a lot to me that I was nominated – I put a lot of effort into my blog and my posts, and seeing that recognized is the highest form of praise.

Here are the rules for the award:

  1. Thank the nominator and link them
  2. List the rules and display the award
  3. Add seven facts about yourself
  4. Nominate seven other bloggers and notify them of the nomination

Seven facts about me:

  1. I am legally blind in my right eye.
  2. Asking me to pick a favorite book is like telling me to choose a parent I love more.
  3. I have a cat and two dogs, all of whom have frighteningly human-like personalities.
  4. Coffee runs through my veins, don’t try talking to me in the morning until I’ve had some. Otherwise, proceed with caution.
  5. I am obsessed with Good Earth’s Sweet and Spicy tea… like, you have no idea o.0
  6. I am one of the youngest ones in the sophomore class at my college.
  7. I hate snakes, I mean, I am deathly afraid of snakes – and yet they are uncontrollably drawn to me. It is terrifying.

The seven bloggers I nominate are:

  1. Aria from Aria Stuck In Wonderland
  2. Anne from Inked Brownies
  3. Aentee from Read at Midnight
  4. Jenna from Reading with Jenna
  5. The wonderful ladies from Books with Chemistry
  6. Alexandra from Literary Legionare
  7. Michelle from The Writing Hufflepuff

Coming Soon: October 2015

Get ready to add these 25 upcoming young adult novels to your bookshelf! I’ve taken picks from both my bookshelf and from Goodreads, you won’t want to miss them.

  1. The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness

Summary:

What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshiped by mountain lions.

October 6th 2015 by HarperTeen

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2. A Thousand Nights by E.K Johnston

Summary:

Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.

And so she is taken in her sister’s place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin’s court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.

Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.

Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.

October 6th 2015 by Disney Hyperion

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3. It’s a Wonderful Death by Sarah J. Schmitt

Summary:

Seventeen-year-old RJ always gets what she wants. So when her soul is accidentally collected by a distracted Grim Reaper, somebody in the afterlife better figure out a way to send her back from the dead or heads will roll. But in her quest for mortality, she becomes a pawn in a power struggle between an overzealous archangel and Death Himself. The tribunal presents her with two options: she can remain in the lobby, where souls wait to be processed, until her original lifeline expires, or she can replay three moments in her life in an effort to make choices that will result in a future deemed worthy of being saved. It sounds like a no-brainer. She’ll take a walk down memory lane. How hard can changing her future be?

But with each changing moment, RJ’s life begins to unravel, until this self-proclaimed queen bee is a social pariah. She begins to wonder if walking among the living is worth it if she has to spend the next sixty years as an outcast. Too quickly, RJ finds herself back in limbo, her time on Earth once again up for debate.

RJ is a snarky, unapologetic, almost unredeemable, very real girl. Her story is funny and moving, and teens will easily connect with her plight. Prepare to meet the Grim Reaper, who’s cuter than you’d expect; Hawaiian shirt–wearing Death Himself; Saint Peter (who likes to play Cornhole); and Al, the handler for the three-headed hound that guards the gates of Hell. This cast of characters accompanies RJ through her time in the afterlife and will do their best to gently shove her in the right direction.

October 6th 2015 by Sky Pony Press

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4. A Step Towards Falling by Cammie McGovern

Summary:

Emily has always been the kind of girl who tries to do the right thing—until one night when she does the worst thing possible. She sees Belinda, a classmate with developmental disabilities, being attacked. Inexplicably, she does nothing at all.

Belinda, however, manages to save herself. When their high school finds out what happened, Emily and Lucas, a football player who was also there that night, are required to perform community service at a center for disabled people. Soon, Lucas and Emily begin to feel like maybe they’re starting to make a real difference. Like they would be able to do the right thing if they could do that night all over again. But can they do anything that will actually help the one person they hurt the most?

October 6th 2015 by HarperTeen

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5. Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

Summary:

Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness.

Ashley doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with the way she looks, but no amount of arguing can persuade her grandmother that “fat” isn’t a dirty word—that Ashley is happy with her life, and her body, as it is.
But Ashley wasn’t counting on having her dreams served up on a silver platter at her latest birthday party. She falters when Grandmother offers the one thing she’s always wanted: tuition to attend Harvard University—in exchange for undergoing weight loss surgery.

As Ashley grapples with the choice that little white card has given her, she feels pressured by her friends, her family, even administrators at school. But what’s a girl to do when the reflection in her mirror seems to bother everyone but her?

Through her indecisions and doubts, Ashley’s story is a liberating one—a tale of one girl, who knows that weight is just a number, and that no one is completely perfect.

October 6th 2015 by HarperTeen

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6. We’ll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean

Summary:

Murder.

Fire.

Revenge.

That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.

Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story?

October 6th 2015 by HMH Books for Young Readers

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7. An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet

Summary:

The strange war down south—with its rumors of gods and monsters—is over. And while sixteen-year-old Hallie and her sister wait to see who will return from the distant battlefield, they struggle to maintain their family farm.

When Hallie hires a veteran to help them, the war comes home in ways no one could have imagined, and soon Hallie is taking dangerous risks—and keeping desperate secrets. But even as she slowly learns more about the war and the men who fought it, ugly truths about Hallie’s own family are emerging. And while monsters and armies are converging on the small farm, the greatest threat to her home may be Hallie herself.

October 6th 2015 by Clarion Books

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8. Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown

Summary:

Samantha Donaldson’s family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the homefront as a Girl Guide and messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, high-level mathematics, and complex puzzles and codes, hoping to make him proud.

When Sam is asked to join the famed women’s spy group La Dame Blanche she’s torn—this could be the adventure she’s dreamed of, but how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband to the war? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes there’s no way she can refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity.

Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known to the members of LDB only as Velvet. Deep undercover within the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Samantha must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she finds herself forming a forbidden attraction to the enemy-a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Samantha discover the truth and find Velvet before it’s too late…for them both?

October 20th 2015 by Balzer + Bray

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9. Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul

Summary:

Mattie shouldn’t be at the bonfire. She should be finding new maps for her collection, hanging out with Kris, and steering clear of almost everyone else, especially Jolene. After all, Mattie and Kris dropped off the social scene the summer after sophomore year for a reason.

But now Mattie is a senior, and she’s sick of missing things. So here she is.

And there’s Jolene: Beautiful. Captivating. Just like the stories she wove. Mattie would know; she used to star in them. She and Jolene were best friends. Mattie has the scar on her palm to prove it, and Jolene has everything else, including Hudson.

But when Mattie runs into Hudson and gets a glimpse of what could have been, she decides to take it all back: the boyfriend, the friends, the life she was supposed to live. Problem is, Mattie can’t figure out where Jolene ends and she begins.

Because there’s something Mattie hasn’t told anyone—she walked away from Jolene over a year ago, but she never really left.

October 27th 2015 by Balzer + Bray

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10. What We Left Behind by Robin Talley

Summary: 

Toni and Gretchen are the couple everyone envied in high school. They’ve been together forever. They never fight. They’re deeply, hopelessly in love. When they separate for their first year at college—Toni to Harvard and Gretchen to NYU—they’re sure they’ll be fine. Where other long-distance relationships have fallen apart, their relationship will surely thrive.

The reality of being apart, however, is a lot different than they expected. As Toni, who identifies as genderqueer, falls in with a group of transgender upperclassmen and immediately finds a sense of belonging that has always been missing, Gretchen struggles to remember who she is outside their relationship.

While Toni worries that Gretchen, who is not trans, just won’t understand what is going on, Gretchen begins to wonder where she fits in Toni’s life. As distance and Toni’s shifting gender identity begins to wear on their relationship, the couple must decide—have they grown apart for good, or is love enough to keep them together?

October 27th 2015 by Harlequin Teen

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I’m so excited for all of these books, it is sort of ridiculous, actually. I hope all of you are looking forward to these just as much as I am. What are some of your most anticipated books for October? Any scary stories?

Walk on Earth a Stranger

“I’d rather be treated with respect than treated like a lady.”

Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger

Author: Rae Carson

Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy # 1

Publication: September 22nd 2015 by Greenwillow Books

Pages: 432

Source: Book signing at ALA Annual

Summary from Goodreads:

Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more.

She also has a secret.

Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it.

When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

My Thoughts:

I don’t even know what to say about this book. If you want a testament to its amazingness, I sat down and started reading this at four pm yesterday and I finished it bright and early this morning. I read this book in less than a whole day, and this is not a small book. It drew me in, tangled me in its webs, and refused to let me go until the last page. This is a prime example of a book that sucks you in so deeply that it will make you ignore all your responsibilities. Marketing exam in two hours? Pshh, let’s read about crossing the Oregon Trail. Walk on Earth a Stranger is an amazing Young Adult western about the trials of life, travel, and family during the eighteen hundreds in the United States and relevant territories.
Leah “Lee” Westfall can sense the presence of gold as long as it is relatively close to her. Any type of gold, really. Veins, nuggets, dust on people’s skin. It was really quite amazing to read, and I wanted to explore it more – hopefully that comes in the later books. Soon, as the synopsis says, Lee’s life is ripped away and she flees for California disguised as a boy.
Leah was a wonderful protagonist. She was smart, kind hearted (most of the time), a hard worker, someone willing to take risks, and completely vulnerable and bad ass all at the same time. She was extremely determined, willing to face danger in order to get to where she needed to go and in order to protect those around her. She was far from perfect; don’t get me wrong here, she had some flaws too – but it only made her that much more human. I loved her, I loved her attitude, and I loved her voice in the story. Leah, as we know, is pretending to be a boy, and she doesn’t do it half assed. She cuts off her hair, does a man’s work, and sleeps in the barn. I do have to give Carson some props here, this is the first book I have ever read where a main character had her period – not just once, but twice. It was a huge struggle for Leah, having to hide the fact that she was a woman was hard enough on its own.
I will say this, though, the summary of the book is somewhat misleading. I was expecting some action, some romance, some serious adventure – but no. I did really like it, though, don’t get me wrong. I really love historical fiction, and the latter half of this book reminded me of reading Across The Wide And Lonesome Prairie: The Oregon Trail Diary Of Hattie Campbell. My big issue here was this: I felt like it wasn’t going anywhere. As I said, I was expecting some action, maybe some romance, and a hell of a lot more involvement with her special power. Instead, we get a really long, drawn out, day by day road trip. There wasn’t anything else, this book starts off really strong and sets the perfect tone – but it went downhill from there. I still loved it, I really did, but I was also disappointed because it wasn’t what I thought it was going to be. You would think, since this gold sense is such a big factor (supposedly), that Leah’s past would come back to haunt her. That the person/reason she fled for California would come back and kidnap her and force her to find gold. But no. We don’t get a confrontation with the so called bad guy until the very last pages off the book, and even that was mediocre. I was expecting it to be so much more, so much bigger and a main point to the story. Otherwise, it seems that there was no logical reason for all of the worrying and fear that Leah felt about this person.
I don’t mean to say that his book is boring, it could be to some people – but it was still worth the read, in my opinion. I love historical fiction; I love stories about the Oregon trail. But, this book was a lone traveler on one long road to nowhere. It was all about getting to California, and it ends immediately at that point. See why I was disappointed? There were over four hundred pages in this book, and pretty much all of them are all about putting one foot in front of the other. It wasn’t what I expected to read, and for that reason I don’t think I love this book as much as I otherwise would have. This book felt like a really long prologue to the sequel.
Walk on Earth a Stranger is a gritty, honest, and brutal book about what it takes to survive the Oregon Trail. Nothing is taken lightly; there are lots of deaths, lots of hardships, and two births. This book has its happy moments, its sad moments, and moments that will make your heart pound so fast that you feel as if you are going to faint. This is one book I will go back and reread multiple times. Walk on Earth a Stranger is pure gold (see what I did there?). You will meet fascinating characters, excruciating circumstances, and beautiful and deadly scenery. You will inhale each and every page; the slow pacing won’t even matter the farther into it you get. I loved it, I would highly recommend it.

Goodreads

Amazon

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The Scorpion Rules

“You cannot control a man if you take everything from him. You must leave him something to lose”

Title: The Scorpion Rules

Author: Erin Bow

Series: Prisoners of Peace # 1

Publication: September 22nd 2015 by Margaret K. McElderry Books

Pages: 384

Source: Publisher at ALA Annual

Summary from Goodreads:

A world battered by climate shift and war turns to an ancient method of keeping peace: the exchange of hostages. The Children of Peace – sons and daughters of kings and presidents and generals – are raised together in small, isolated schools called Preceptures. There, they learn history and political theory, and are taught to gracefully accept what may well be their fate: to die if their countries declare war.

Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Precepture. Learned and disciplined, Greta is proud of her role in keeping the global peace, even though, with her country controlling two-thirds of the world’s most war-worthy resource — water — she has little chance of reaching adulthood alive.

Enter Elián Palnik, the Precepture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Precepture’s insidious surveillance, its small punishments and rewards, can make no dent in Elián, who is not interested in dignity and tradition, and doesn’t even accept the right of the UN to keep hostages.

What will happen to Elián and Greta as their two nations inch closer to war?

My Thoughts:

This book was brilliant. There were moments that made me laugh, moments that made me tremble in my chair, moments that made me cry, moments that melted my heart, and moments that made me want to rip my hair out at the roots. This book has it all, and it delivers it through a cold but much needed message.
The Scorpion Rules is not a typical dystopia. It takes The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, and Divergent and basically gives them the middle finger while laughing manically – actually, Talis would be laughing maniacally because he is just that strange. This book starts off with a very informational prologue, basically, it is explaining what the hell went down a couple hundred years in the past from when this book takes place. Long story short, humans were killing humans, Talis – an extremely advanced AI system – was tasked with finding a solution, and his solution was to blow up cities to get people’s attention. It worked, he became like some evil, computer overlord thing, and it all basically goes downhill while also solving a lot of problems from there. He has also removed all weapons except for things such as swords, crossbows, and knives. He wants you to get blood on your hands if you kill. Talis’ answer to world peace is this: the Children of the Peace. Basically, if you want to rule, you must have a child – and that child is taken away from you. It usually happens when they turn five or six years old so you have time to bond with them before they are taken away. Because, the grand scheme of it all is that if you start a war – your child, your hostage, will die. Brutal, but effective.
Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan Polar Confederacy, spends her days, then years, as a hostage at Precepture Four in Saskatchewan. She was amazing. I don’t know what I liked the most about her, her willingness to do what needed to be done, her dignity, her bravery, her ability to think things through and come up with a logical solution. She was a beautifully crafted character, so different from the norms of a young adult dystopian protagonist yet still having that same spark that I love. She was responsible, she knew her duty and she wasn’t afraid to do it – no matter the cost.
The rest of the characters were just as compelling, though some were more so than others. I loved Elián. I loved him, loved him, loved him, loved him. Getting the picture? The first words out of his mouth are these: “Hi. I’m Spartacus, and I’m here to lead you in a slave revolt against an unjust syst-“ Elián is a pop culture nerd, and I loved it. He quotes movies that no one else understands but the reader and the AI systems, and it is pretty entertaining. He uses the quotes, his innuendos, and his snide commentary to constantly push at the boundaries of what he can get away with saying about revolution – failing more often than not. He was a really interesting character.
As usual, I am trying very hard to avoid spoilers, but, I need to make something very clear to you. This book is not a typical dystopian, as I have already said. Rather than this being focused on overthrowing a corrupt government like all of the other books out there, this is a detailed overview of what can lead people to war and the consequences it can have.
Talis is not a bad guy, despite his overlord status – I actually really liked him. As much as I enjoyed all of the other characters, Talis and the Abbot were some of my favorites, Talis mostly. I will never forget him, forget his humor and his capability to reason things through. Yea, sure, Talis is an artificial intelligence system, but he wasn’t always – and that is what makes him and the Abbot so special. They were both humans once, uploaded into this computerized version of themselves. They feel, though it takes more effort. He is a beautiful character for a multitude of things, but what stood out to me the most was how much he actually cared about the children of the percepture. He saves Gerta, he heals her, he protects the children, he basically saves the day. He isn’t all good and he isn’t all bad, and I love that about him. He sort of reminded me of Ultron from the Avengers, but only better.
One thing I did not like was the pacing. This book had too much in it. It bothers me even more now that I know it is a going to be a series. This book had far too much going on, if it was going to be a standalone – fine, but I felt like I read an entire series in the scope of one book. Too much, too fast.
There are so many books marketed as the next big dystopian hit, hoping to knock The Hunger Games and Divergent off their pedestals – but this book does it without trying. The Scorpion Rules has no rebellion, and the evil overlord is one of the most likable, entertaining characters in the book. But, The Scorpion Rules is disturbing, suspenseful, vivid, and it doesn’t sugar coat anything. There is brutal torture, cold hearted murder, entire cities decimated, and one little farm in the center of it all.
The Scorpion Rules is a compelling story of transformation and choice when all options seem lost. It plays with the ideas of sacrifice, science, human mentality, the willingness to go to war while knowing the consequences, and the nature of our choices. It toys with the meaning behind the greater good, how far is too far when lives are at stake? I highly recommend this book, there are some very disturbing scenes – I will never be able to look at an apple press the same way again. I would say this book is appropriate for ages thirteen and up, though, as I have already said, there is some very disturbing material – but it’s worth it. Oh god is it worth it in the end.

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Cover Reveal: True Born by L.E Sterling

True
Born
Release
Date: 05/03/16
Entangled
Teen
304
pages
Summary
from Goodreads:
Welcome to Dominion City.
After the
great Plague descended, the world population was decimated…an
d their genetics damaged
beyond repair.
The
Lasters wait hopelessly for their genes to self-destr
uct. The Splicers pay for expensive treatments
that might prolong their life. The plague
-resistant True Borns are as
mysterious as they are feared…
And then
there’s Lucy Fox and her identical twin sister, Margot.
After endless tests, no one wants to
reveal what they are.
When Margot disappears,
a desperate Lucy has no choice but to put her faith in th
e True Borns, led by the charismatic
Nolan Storm and the beautiful but deadly Jared Price. As
Lucy and the True Borns set out to
rescue her sister, they stumble upon a vast conspiracy
stretching from Dominion’s street
preachers to shady Russian tycoons. But why target the Fo
x sisters?
As they say in
Dominion, it’s in the blood.

About the Author
L.E. Sterling
had an early obsession with sci-fi, fantasy and roman
ce to which she remained faithful even
through an M.A. in Creative Writing and a PhD in Englis
h Literature – where she completed a
thesis on magical representation. She is the author of
two previous novels, the cult hit Y/A
novel The Originals (under pen name L.E.
Vollick), dubbed “the Catcher in
the Rye of a new generation” by one reviewer, and the urba
n fantasy Pluto’s Gate.
Originally hailing from Parry Sound, Ontario, L.E. spent
most of her summers roaming across
Canada in a van with her father, a hippie musician, her
brothers and an occasional stray mutt –
inspiring her writing career. She currently lives in Toron
to, Ontario.


Author
Links:


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