Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Book Review - The Fever Code

Title: The Fever Code
Author: James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner (Book 5)
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: 27th September 2016
ISBN13: 9781911077022

Once there was a world’s end.
The forests burned, the lakes and rivers dried up, and the oceans swelled.
Then came a plague, and fever spread across the globe. Families died, violence reigned, and man killed man.
Next came WICKED, who were looking for an answer. And then they found the perfect boy.
The boy’s name was Thomas, and Thomas built a maze.
Now there are secrets.
There are lies.
And there are loyalties history could never have foreseen.
This is the story of that boy, Thomas, and how he built a maze that only he could tear down.
All will be revealed.

A prequel to the worldwide Maze Runner phenomenon, The Fever Code is the book that holds all the answers. How did WICKED find the Gladers? Who are Group B? And what side are Thomas and Teresa really on? Lies will be exposed. Secrets will be uncovered. Loyalties will be proven. Fans will never see the truth coming. Before there was the Maze, there was The Fever Code.

My Review
Now this is the book I have been waiting for, throughout the whole maze runner series there were so many questions raised, who are WICKED, why is Thomas associated with them and why does he feel such a sense of guilt? Where did these people all come from? Why were the mazes built? And why did no-one stop them? I actually really enjoyed the first book in the series and continues to read, and whilst my enjoyment dwindled a bit as the series went on, I found myself still wanting those answers. I thought i would get them in the 'prequel' book - 'Kill Order', but that just created a whole new situation with entirely different characters and made even more questions. I nearly didn't bother with this book as my interest was waning quite rapidly and I didn't want to read something that I didn't think I would enjoy. But I'd come this far - and from reading the blurb of this book, it sounded like the real prequel that I had wanted. 
 This book follows Thomas from the day he is taken from his home as a small child and taken to be part of the WICKED experiment team, we then follow him and some of our other characters through their time at the lab - leading up to the start of the maze. We see Theresa, Newt, Alby, Chuck - the whole gang and get more of an insight into their stories. I particularly enjoyed Newt's backstory and the link to his family and group B. Theresa is still quite a mystery throughout the book and I wondered if i could trust her, having read the series and seen what she does throughout - i was trying to catch her out during this book and there are a couple of moments that make me doubt her. However one revelation about her past that links to the characters in Kill Order made me have a bit more sympathy for her and made that book have a bit more relevance. 
This book had all the excitement and constructs that made the first book interesting, I felt like I was properly immersed in that world again and I read this in just 2 sittings. Overall I think this is probably my favourite book in the entire series, it really opened things up for me and intrigued me again. It actually made me want to read the first book again to see if I could see evidence of things I had just learnt,  and how it all joined up together. 
This is definitely a must read and reminds me of why i enjoyed the first book so much, this is where Dashner shows his skills as a story writer and made me fall in love with the series again. 

My Rating

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Book Review - The Kill Order

Title: The Kill Order
Author: James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner - Prequel
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: 14th August 2012
ISBN13: 9781909489431

When sun flares hit the Earth, intense heat, toxic radiation and flooding followed, wiping out much of the human race. Those who survived live in basic communities in the mountains, hunting for food. For Mark and his friends, surviving is difficult, and then an enemy arrives, infecting people with a highly contagious virus. Thousands die, and the virus is spreading. Worse, it's mutating, and people are going crazy. It's up to Mark and his friends to find the enemy - and a cure - before the Flare infects them all ... 

My Review
I really enjoyed the first book, and was interested in reading the other two in the series. They weren't my favourite books in the world but they kept me intrigued enough to want to keep going. I liked Thomas as a character and wanted to know how his story ended. BUt the series keeps you guessing all the way through about the backstory, I wanted to know where WICKED came from, how Thomas got involved - throughout the series he feels a sense of guilt and hints that he is responsible in the set up of the maze and possibly the disease, so I was hoping that the prequel would answer these questions.
This book did not answer any questions! It is set something like twenty years before the events of the maze runner and therefore doesn't have any of the characters we know from the main series. Instead we are introduced to Mark, Alec, Lana and Trina who are living in some sort of settlement in the mountains. It is set just after the Sun Flares hit, the world has shut down and thousands have died. Mark and his group are just settling into some sort of normality when a flying berg appears and wrenches apart their society. People start to get sick and they have to find out what's caused it and if it was deliberate. This seems to be the only link with the main series - the disease that makes everyone goes crazy has only just been released, so you get a bit of history from that. 
Because i didn't know the characters, i found it hard to care about them to start and i found the story quite slow to start with, and to be honest it didn't get much better. The story is split between Mark and the team trying to solve the mystery of the illness and work out their next steps, and flashbacks of Mark's experience of the day the sun flares hit the earth. 
I actually enjoyed the flashbacks more, they were more like the writing of the first Maze Runner book, more exciting and pacey. I found myself skimming the rest of the book to get to these parts. This could have been a mini spin off on it's own. 
This book wasn't anything like what I expected and to be honest I don't think it really added anything to the series. I ended up trying to finish it as quickly as I could, just so i could say that I had read the series. I keep thinking that I should just give up and move on but something keeps pulling me back to it. But if I were starting again, I would read the main trilogy but not bother with the prequel, it didn't add anything and just felt a bit flat to me. 
I've just found out that there is another book in the series, 'Fever Code' which sounds like it is Thomas' story and the missing backstory that I wanted - so I will try it to complete the set. But honestly, if you are reading the series, I think Kill Order is one you could skip. 

My Rating

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Book Review - Death Cure

Title: The Death Cure
Author: James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner (Book 3)
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: October 2011
ISBN13: 9781909489424

The Trials are over. WICKED have collected all the information they can. Now it's up to the Gladers to complete the blueprint for the cure to the Flare with a final voluntary test. But something has happened that no-one at WICKED has foreseen: Thomas has remembered more than they think. And he knows WICKED can't be trusted ... The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than anyone could have imagined. With the Gladers divided, can they all make it?

My Review
I haven't been wowed by the series as a whole but they are addictive enough that I want to know how it all ends and I can't walk away from the series, so that has to be a positive, right?
This book carries on right from where book 2 finished, Thomas and his friends are fighting back against WICKED and manage to break out on their own. They decide to head to Denver to find some old allies and work out where to go from there. 
I actually read this book quicker than the other two but I'm not sure if that is just because I had a day of work and so could set aside time to read, or if it was just easier to get through. This book has a lot of action and fight scenes in it and this is padded with slower more descriptive passages, The fight scenes did get a bit repetitive after a while and I found myself skimming through. I could see where Dashner was headed and there were quite a few twists and turns to keep you wondering, but there was also a lot of predictable bits that I had figured out long before I was 'supposed' to. 
Thomas continues to be himself and does grow a bit as a character, but I was expecting more from him. He faces some pretty horrendous things in this book and even has to make some horrible decisions, but he doesn't appear to be all that changed by them. He has some internal monologue along the lines of 'what have I done' and 'i can still see his face as he looked at me...' but considering how he acted when Chuck died, I expected more. Instead it felt a bit rushed and skimmed over, like Dashner was desperate to just get to the end. 
My other quibble with the book was that Teresa has all but disappeared in this book, apart from the odd fleeting moment or snide comment she isn't really in the picture, but in book 1 she was built up to be this all important girl who would change the very foundations of everything, now it seems like she has just faded away. And its not even like she was replaced by Brenda, don't get me wrong, Brenda appears a lot more in this book but she seems to be more like a narrator, guiding the story into a certain direction then fading into the background again, I had hopes for her to grow as a character and for her relationship with Thomas to develop and whilst there are hints of this, nothing is really concrete. 
As for the storyline of WICKED and the Right Arm, it wasn't a bad idea and it was executed fairly well, but there are still a lot more questions that needed to be answered and the whole 'we need your brain' thing just made me roll my eyes. 
I was hoping for some epic conclusion and on the surface you would think you had it - deaths, fights, betrayals, mad scientists, explosions, rebels and friendships breaking and reforming. But it all just felt a bit flat to me. 
I am still going to go on and read the 'Prequel' - 'KIll Order' as I am still curious and hope it will answer some of the left over questions, but I have been left feeling a little bit deflated. 
If you have enjoyed the rest of the series, then I would recommend you read this one to complete the story and find out how it ends, it's a fairly easy read - i did it in about 4 hours.

My Rating

Friday, 31 January 2020

Book Review - Scorch Trails

Title: The Scorch Trials
Author: James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner (book 2)
Publisher: Chicken House Ltd
Release Date: 5 Jun. 2014
ISBN: 9781909489417

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escaping meant he would get his life back. But no one knew what sort of a life they were going back to...
Burned and baked, the earth is a wasteland, its people driven mad by an infection known as the Flare.
Instead of freedom, Thomas must face another trial. He must cross the Scorch to once again save himself and his friends.

My Review

I enjoyed Maze Runner overall but had a few reservations, but I was intrigued to find out more so started to read Scorch Trials. The Gladers are out of the maze, but it's not the comforting end they hoped for, instead the experiments continue, but on a much larger and more dangerous scale. Thomas and his friends must once more band together to try and overcome all the trials and adversities that are put in front of them. 
THe book is fairly fast paced and has plenty of twists and turns, Teresa becomes a bit of an Enigma which started off as an interesting mystery, but one that i soon got bored with. I didn't really care where she was or whose side she was on. I just wanted them to get on with it and make a decision.
The setting of the plains was interesting and offered a lot more opportunities for danger, the characters mostly stayed true to themselves and developed in a way that you would expect. There was some very intense scenes and one in particular that made my skin crawl so much I nearly put it down. Dashner is very good at setting scenes and creating tension, and being a bit creepy. 
I liked the addition of Brenda and Jorge, they offered an interesting dynamic and another layer to the story. I am interested to see where they go in the next book and what part they really have to play. 
The main frustration I had with this book was that I still haven't learnt anything more about WICKED, this added more questions, but didn't really help to answer any of the hundreds I had from the first book. It was enjoyable enough as a story but I feel like it's just padding out situations. I hoped for a bit more. However, saying that, I did enjoy it overall and am intrigued enough to proceed onto the third book and hope I get some answers.

My Rating

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

Book Review - Maze Runner

Title: Maze Runner
Author: James Dashner
Series: Maze Runner (Book 1)
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: 6th October 2009
ISBN13: 9781909489400

When the doors of the lift crank open, the only thing Thomas remembers is his first name. But he's not alone. He's surrounded by boys who welcome him to the Glade - a walled encampment at the centre of a bizarre and terrible stone maze. Like Thomas, the Gladers don't know why or how they came to be there - or what's happened to the world outside. All they know is that every morning when the walls slide back, they will risk everything - even the Grievers, half-machine, half-animal horror that patrol its corridors, to try and find out. 

My Review
I've had this book on my shelves for quite a few years and I've never seemed to have time to get round to it, but I've always heard quite good things about it. I was bought the films as a gift and being the book nerd that I am, I can't watch a film if it is based on a book, until I have read it. So I figured, now was the time. 
The premise of the story sounded really intriguing and I love a good Dystopian novel so I was quite excited to get stuck in. I was grabbed from the first page and knew that I wanted to know more. Thomas wakes up in a strange maze, with only the knowledge of his first name, he is surrounded by a group of boys who have all experienced the same situation, but have been in the Glade a lot longer, some of them a couple of years. They have set up a sort of society, they have their own rules, routines and even way of speaking. But it isn't an easy life, every night the maze doors move, and monsters lurk inside. Thomas has to work out why he and the others are there and how they are going to get out. 
The story is quite fast paced and there are enough events to keep you interested in the story, the characters aren't the best developed but I still found myself liking some of them. Thomas is quite relatable and you can see that he will grow as a character and I looked forward to seeing that happen. 
It took a while for me to get used to some of their language as they had different terms for normal things, such as 'shanks'. However, it didn't take me too long to get to grips with it. The only thing that bothered me was the repeated refrain of 'good that'. I'm not sure why it bothered me that much, but the boys say it so often that it just irked me. 
Other than that, i found the story fast paced, exciting and each page made me wanted to read on. The ending was not what I expected and added a good twist. I definitely enjoyed it enough that I want to continue reading and I have book 2 ready to go already.  
If you are a fan of Dystopian YA, I would highly recommend it as an easy, enjoyable read.

My Rating

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Book Review - Stars Above

Title: Stars Above
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Stories from)
Publisher: Square Fish
Release Date: 2 May 2017
ISBN-13: 978-1250106643

The enchantment continues....
The universe of the Lunar Chronicles holds stories—and secrets—that are wondrous, vicious, and romantic. How did Cinder first arrive in New Beijing? How did the brooding soldier Wolf transform from young man to killer? When did Princess Winter and the palace guard Jacin realize their destinies?
With nine stories—five of which have never before been published—and an exclusive never-before-seen excerpt from Marissa Meyer’s upcoming novel, Heartless, about the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland, Stars Above is essential for fans of the bestselling and beloved Lunar Chronicles.

My Review
I absolutely devoured the Lunar CHronicles series in the summer and was desperate for more. When I found out that there was a collection of short stories based on the world and characters, I had to have it. Luckily my birthday was at the end of summer and I got this book as a present. With a new job as a trainee teacher, my schedule has been hectic since the start of September, but I've tried to sneak in some reading for pleasure around my course studies and lesson plans. I actually finished this about 2-3 weeks ago but this is the first chance I've had to come online and type up a review.
The book contains 9 short stories and delves further into the lives of the characters you have come to know and love, and some new added extras. 
The stories included are as follows:-  --
The Little Android: A retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Little Mermaid,” set in the world of The Lunar Chronicles.
Glitches: In this prequel to Cinder, we see the results of the plague play out, and the emotional toll it takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch….
The Queen’s Army: In this prequel to Scarlet, we’re introduced to the army Queen Levana is building, and one soldier in particular who will do anything to keep from becoming the monster they want him to be.
Carswell’s Guide to Being Lucky: Thirteen-year-old Carswell Thorne has big plans involving a Rampion spaceship and a no-return trip out of Los Angeles.
The Keeper: A prequel to the Lunar Chronicles, showing a young Scarlet and how Princess Selene came into the care of Michelle Benoit.
After Sunshine Passes By: In this prequel to Cress, we see how a nine-year-old Cress ended up alone on a satellite, spying on Earth for Luna.
The Princess and the Guard: In this prequel to Winter, we see a game called The Princess
The Mechanic: In this prequel to Cinder, we see Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s perspective.
Something Old, Something New: In this epilogue to Winter, friends gather for the wedding of the century...

I thnk my favourite stories were the final one that carried on from the series, it was a perfect continuation and just the tie up of events that I needed, and the story of how Scarlett came to live with her gran. However to be honest I loved all of them, it felt like catching up with old friends and finding out a bit more about them. They all fit in with the series so well and explained some of the unanswered questions that you may have been left with in the series. Meyer manages to capture each characters voice perfectly and the stories really do just add that extra dimension - bringing them even more alive than they were.
This will always remain as one of my all time favourite series and one I will be sure to re-read a number of times in the future. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone - but make sure you start with Cinder.

My Rating

Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Book Review - Winter

Title: Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book 4)
Publisher: Puffin; 01 edition
Release Date: 10 Nov. 2015
ISBN-13: 978-0141340241

Princess Winter is admired for her grace, kindness and beauty, despite the scars on her face. She's said to be even more breath-taking than her stepmother, Queen Levana...
When Winter develops feelings for the handsome palace guard, Jacin, she fears the evil Queen will crush their romance before it has a chance to begin.
But there are stirrings against the Queen across the land. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even find the power to launch a revolution and win a war that's been raging for far too long.
Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter claim their happily ever afters by defeating Levana once and for all?

My Review
I could not wait to get stuck into this book, After devouring book 3 I had to know how it all came to an end. This book is twice the size of the other books, at a whopping 820 pages it's quite big. I can sometimes be a bit daunted by such big books, but for this one I was pleased to see that it wouldn't just be a rushed ending, and even whilst reading it, the book didn't feel that long. I read it in 3 sittings, I managed to get 200 pages in the first day but then had to put it down to go out. The next day I read 400 pages in one big chunk and couldn't get enough, but again had to put it away, but I was so desperate to get back into it that I picked it up as soon as I could the next day and finished the last couple hundred pages. 
****This may contain spoilers for the previous books in the series ****
Cinder, Thorne, Cress, Scarlet and Wolf are still trying to bring down Queen Levana and stop Emperor Kai from having to marry her. The plots and plans are getting more dangerous, but something has to work. Kai is on the Rampion with the crew after being 'kidnapped' by Cinder. Jacin has betrayed them, but is re-united with his Winter and Scarlet is still being held captive on Lunar, treated like a pet by Winter, locked in a menagerie.

The best thing about these books, is that every time you think you can predict what is going to happen next, Meyer throws a curve ball at you and something else happens, but it's never a disappointment, its always exciting and nail-biting and make you want to read more and more. 
Cinder has really developed as a character and continues to develop further, she is a lot more likeable now and has really grown into her role. Kai is as charming as ever, a character you can't help but like, he always tries to do his best and clearly isn't perfect, and is actually rather insecure, but it just makes you like him all the more. 
there's some crazy stuff happening with Wolf, and you just want to bang Cress and Thorne's heads together and tell them to 'kiss already!!!'  

This book was the perfect conclusion to the series, the characters all have a satisfying ending, with hopes of a future. The book is concluded properly, but I feel like it's been left in a way that more could follow one day. 
I haven't found a series that has gripped me this much in quite a while. When I finished reading this book I actually found myself missing the characters and wishing I could hang out with them that little bit longer. I felt like I was saying goodbye to real friends, and I want to check up on them and see how they are doing. Meyer is clearly an amazing storyteller to be able to create characters that seem so real and relatable.

I can't recommend this series enough, I fell in love with it and know it will be one that I revisit. I've even asked for the short story collection for my birthday - so I can't wait to get that, look out for my review in a couple of weeks.

My Rating

Saturday, 3 August 2019

Book Review - Cress

Title: Cress
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book 3)
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 6 Feb. 2014
ISBN-13: 978-0141340159

In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she's just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.

My Review
So I've been totally absorbed by this series, and I couldn't wait to get into book 3 - in fact I finished book 2, ran upstairs to get this one and then read half of it in one sitting. I've heard rumours that many people think this is the best book in the series, and i would have to say that so far I agree. Cress is obviously supposed to be a Rapunzel figure - locked up in a satellite (not a tower) with long hair and a desperate need to be free. I loved the twist of her captivity and the fact that she actually had a purpose up there, something to focus on, and a desperate will to do the right thing. Her slightly devious nature is very endearing. She comes across as quite young for her age - but she has been locked on her own with no social interaction or chance to develop naturally with only her 'mistress' for guidance who visits every couple of weeks and takes blood samples.
As before, her story ties in with that of Cinder, Scarlet, Thorne and Wolf. Meyer is very good at weaving separate story-line together, they fall into place perfectly, as though they were always supposed to meet. Yet everyone still has their own individual personality, opinion and end goal. They all play their own parts and roles whilst fitting in with the others and I think it is quite masterful. 
Cress is probably my favourite character overall, I really liked her naivety yet strong-willed nature.
Cinder has really developed as a character and is becoming much more complex, she still has a steely determination to solve her own problems, but she's also starting to think about the needs of those around her and begins to work more with her companions and realise that they can help her too.
I absolutely love Iko as a ship, but also as an escort droid. - to be honest, I jsut love her eccentric personality. 
Thorne has really grown on me too, he's still a self-centered egotistical jerk at times, but also starts to reveal a more sensitive caring side.
This book brings together a lot of the storylines that have been stirring over the previous 2 books and it gets very exciting. 
I read this in just 2 sittings overall, and practically clawed my way through in my desperation to finish it and see what comes next. This has made me love the series all the more and I can't wait to see what comes next in the final book.

My Rating

Book Reviews - ReReads Cinder & Scarlet

Coming towards the end of the school term meant I had a little bit more time to read, I wasn't sure which of my books to pick up next, but one of the students in my form had been reading 'Cinder' by Marissa Meyer and we started talking about it. I read it over 7 years ago, but remembered liking it, however I never read the rest of the series (or so I thought - but more on that later).
Deciding it was about time, I found Cinder on my shelf and started to read.

Title: Cinder
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (Book 1)
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 5 Jan 2012 
ISBN-13: 978-0141340135

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, the ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

My Review
I remembered quite a lot of the story, which must mean it was good, as I read a lot of books and over 7 years I would have read thousands, so the fact that bits of this had stuck, means it must have resonated with me.
I stated to read and was instantly in Cinders world, I liked her character and personality and felt myself wanting her to succeed. I like Iko's sarcastic, self-absorbed personality and sweet little Peony is lovely, her step-mother is just despicable enough to make you dislike her, but still makes you kind of like her too (only a little bit mind). Meyer has taken the classic Cinderella tale and put a modern twist on it, a twist that will hook you in and make you believe every single bit. 
I think I enjoyed this a lot more this time round and found myself almost racing through, desperate to read the rest of the series, eager to know what would happen next. 
If you love fairy tale books - I would highly recommend that you give this series a go.

My Rating

  Title: Scarlet
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles (book 2)
Publisher: Puffin
Release Date: 7 Feb 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0141340234

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic is trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

My Review
I was just looking through my blog for my Cinder review - and a review for this popped up. I could have sworn to you that I had never read it before, so I was really surprised to see my thoughts on it, written 6 years ago. My review said that I really enjoyed it, so I'm surprised it hadn't stuck with me. But that means I can review it almost as new.

It turns out that the end of school term is busier than expected and i ended up carrying this round in my bag for a good few weeks, digging into odd bits when I could, desperate to know what would happen to Cinder and intrigued by the whole Scarlet story. 
So Scarlet is basically little red riding hood - her grandmother is missing and she meets a man calling himself 'Wolf' who has some animalistic instincts, but seems to be on the good side - for now. 

I really liked Scarlet's fiery temper and her deep belief in fairness and what is right. She is desperate to find her grandmother and can't believe the injustice of her village - no one is willing to help, no one seems to care. Determined not to just sit back and wait, she starts her journey to Paris - the place her grandmother is rumoured to be. With Wolf by her side, she has some hope of finding her and bringing her home - but what would someone want with her grandma?

Cinder is escaping from prison, with another prisoner tagging along - Carswell Thorne has a ship and Cinder will need it to escape. They seem like an odd pair - but it works. Thorne is stuck up and self-important, with a serious case of sarcasm and an ego almost too big to fit in the space ship - but he's one of those characters that you can't help but like.

I couldn't decide about Wolf, I was suspicious of him all the way through but he's also quite endearing. Really keeps you on your toes.

I found the story exciting and fast-paced and I was desperate to know how it would end and how Scarlet and Wolf would meet up with Cinder and Thorne. 
I enjoyed this one better than book 1 and liked the development of the new characters.

My Rating

Book Reviews - Desolation & American Monsters

I haven't done this before, but I'm going to review 2 books in the same post. I actually read them a couple of months ago but didn't get round to writing the reviews. They are part of the same series so I thought I would do them together. So here are my reviews for Demon Road Books 2 & 3  by Derek Landy

Title: Desolation
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Demon Road (Book 2)
Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks
Release Date: 28 July 2016
ISBN-13: 978-0008156992

Book two in the mind-blowing new supernatural thriller from bestselling author DEREK LANDY, creator of international sensation Skulduggery Pleasant.
Reeling from their bloody encounter in New York City at the end of Demon Road, Amber and Milo flee north. On their trail are the Hounds of Hell – five demonic bikers who will stop at nothing to drag their quarries back to their unholy master.
Amber and Milo’s only hope lies within Desolation Hill – a small town with a big secret; a town with a darkness to it, where evil seeps through the very floorboards. Until, on one night every year, it spills over onto the streets and all hell breaks loose.
And that night is coming…

My Review
So after being quite disappointed with book 1 I wasn't expecting much from this one, but I was just curious enough to give it a try, and I love Derek Landy, so felt like I owed him the chance.
Amber, Milo and Glen are still on the run, but they have a location where they think they will be safe for a while - Desolation Hill. A small town with some secrets of its own. When they arrive, they aren't exactly welcomed, but manage to get a room and a few of the locals to make awkward conversation. 
The Hounds of Hell are kept out of the city by a sort of forcefield, so Amber and Milo have a bit of time to catch their breaths - until the town starts to unravel its secrets around them and the group find a whole new threat, this time from within.
Not expecting much after all, i kind of started to skim read this one, but did find myself getting more involved with it. I liked Desolation Hill and thought it was a great setting, I liked the new characters and the strange dynamics of the town. I actually found myself enjoying the book, I wanted to know what would happen and how they would get round the numerous problems that were bound to occur.  I found myself really starting to like Amber, she developed a lot as a character and I started to almost understand her more. Milo is by far my favourite character, and he maintained his charm and slightly sarcastic air. Glen continued to annoy me, but not as much.
The people of the town intrigued me and I enjoyed the side story lines. In fact, if the series could have continued with them, I think I would have rated the series higher overall. 
For me the book was still a bit slow but I didn't find it as annoying, I enjoyed learning about the town and its people, but then towards the end, Amber's parents returned, as did the Hounds and the whole chase me, escape, run, chase, escape run and repeat thing started again, and I immediately found myself losing interest. I clearly don't like her parents as characters - they are supposed to be dislikable but evil and cunning, but I just find them super irritating.
Overall, I enjoyed this book much more than the first, but wished they could have stayed in the town. I don't hold out much hope for Book 3, but I've come this far...

My Rating
But bordering towards

Title: American Monsters
Author: Derek Landy
Series: Demon Road (Book 3)
Publisher: HarperCollinsChildren'sBooks 
Release Date: 9 Mar. 2017
ISBN-13: 978-0008157111 

The epic conclusion in the mind-blowing supernatural thriller from bestselling author DEREK LANDY, creator of international sensation Skulduggery Pleasant.
Bigger, meaner, stronger, Amber closes in on her murderous parents as they make one last desperate play for power. Her own last hopes of salvation, however, rest beyond vengeance, beyond the abominable killers – living and dead – that she and Milo will have to face.
For Amber’s future lies in her family’s past, in the brother and sister she never knew, and the horrors beyond imagining that befell them.
My Review
Having enjoyed book 2, I was a little more hopeful for book 3, however I could see it falling back into the pattern of the first book, so it was with some trepidation that I started. Amber now has power - a lot more power than she had as 'just a demon' but now she's taken on a new role and the power is intense. 
The book starts off quite gory again, with some very vivid description of fingers being brutally broken and smashed, I almost stopped reading right then, but I was just curious enough to want to know how it all ended - plus I was at a theme park with my husband and had to wait for him to come off a rollercoaster and had nothing better to do whilst waiting for him - so I kept reading.
I liked that some of the characters from the previous book made another appearance, but Amber seemed to jump from one thing to another with no real in depth explanation, and the amount of characters that die was quite over-whelming, almost like loose ends just being tied up. But Amber is still trying to break the shining demon contract and yes - she is still trying to get back at her parents, or rather get rid of them.
There was a lot of action and gore, but nothing that really made me want to read more, I pretty much skimmed through the entire book, just wanting to know how it all finished, and I would have to say that overall, I was disappointed with the series.
I absolutely love Skulduggery Pleasant and continue to follow the series (I have the new one and am still hooked by it), but this series just left me feeling flat. I wouldn't ever re-read it. 

My Rating   
with hints of