Reached (Matched Trilogy #3) by Ally Condie

Title: Reached (Matched Trilogy #3) written by Ally Condie
Genre: YA Fiction, Dystopic Fiction
Published by Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
Page count: 344
Format: Ebook (read on Barnes and Nobles HD+)
Rating: 4/5 – Loved this book!
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #24

After finally finding their way to each other and to the Rising, Cassia and Ky are separated again when Cassia is sent to work for the Rising undercover within the society and Ky begins training to fly air ships. As Xander, Cassia and Ky all work towards the Rising’s goal of usurping power form the Society, people all over the society start falling sick. Confident that their resources far outweigh that of the Society, the Rising storms in with a cure and all is set right. Until the sickness mutates and the Rising is not prepared. Xander, Cassia and Ky all start to question the Rising, as well as themselves but their bonds and their brains prove unbreakable!

Once again, I have loved a book in this series. After completing this book, the Matched Trilogy is one of my favorite series in YA and definitely one of my favorite Dystopic YA series.

What I really liked about this book is that it was never really predictable, there were alot of twists and turns in the story that I never expected to see in this series which was pleasant. For me, this book actually felt like it had a more sci-fi element thrown into the story. I never felt this way about any of the other books, the other books had a very distinct Romance element to them. Although this book did have some romance in it, it was not anywhere near equal to the amount of the other two books, especially the first. I think I was expecting this to be really romantic since it was the conclusion to the trilogy. Although I do love a romantic element in the books I read, I was pleasantly surprised that the romantic element wasn’t as strong as in the first one.

I also really love the character’s individual stories do get tied up really nicely. The only person I found myself wondering about at the end of the book was Patrick and Aida’s son because he is mentioned in the book and we’re presented with this really optimistic storyline for him that kind of gets dropped and then we don’t hear any conclusion to it. I also didn’t really see what was such a big deal about the Red Garden day, maybe I just read it wrong. What I got from it as far as significance goes is that it points out to Cassia that she can overcome the effects of the Red Pill and remember. Was this the meaning you got from this scene?

One of the things I really liked seeing in this series is witnessing the character journeys and how each character changed so much from the initial character we were presented to the conclusion of the series. I guess that is what is so magical about a book series! I really like how they all change each other over and over again and their bond/relationships change in so many different ways.

Anyway, needless to say I loved Reached. I think it was a fitting conclusion to the series and I do like Cassia’s choice in the end and that (mostly) everyone get’s a happy ending. I feel really bad for Cassia’s family though and throughout the story I had these moments that made me really sad but some that also made me happy. Reading this book sort of reminded me of the saying that “everything happens for a reason”, and I think I see this in what happens in Xander’s love life as well. All in all, I am so happy I read this series! Thanks Ally Condie for writing this! I recommend giving this series a read! My favorite book of them all is still the first, I think there is something so special about it, but this one is really great too!

(Also I couldn’t help but LOVE that there are Archivists in this book series!! Just thought I’d mention this since I am always on the lookout for scenes in libraries or archives since I am studying to be a Librarian and will study Archival Studies after. Fun!)

Book Review: The Pledge by Kimerly Derting

Title: The Pledge written by Kimerly Derting
Genre: YA Ficton, YA Dystopian Fiction
Published by Margaret K. McElderberry Books
Page count: 323
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4/5 – I really liked this book!
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #13

For sixteen year old Charlaina, life in Ludania means always being cautious and treading very very carefully. She lives in the country of Ludania with her protective parents and her little and very gifted sister Angelina. Ludania is a dystopian society with a very rigid class structure in place that resulted from a rebellion that took place against the royal family. Society is broken up into classes that have their own specific jobs, schools, rules and most importantly their own languages. It is a Matriarchal society that is ruled by a pretty nasty, evil Queen who is on the brink of death. Charlie and her family belong to the Vendor class which consists of merchants and their class language is Parshon. It is highly forbidden for people of Charlaina’s class to speak any language other than Parshon and Englaise (the Universal tongue) but Charlie and her family are hiding a secret, one that could cost Charlie her life. Charlie can understand and speak every class language as well as the language of the Royals. Her little sister also harbors great power within her as well. As Charlie tries desperately to keep her secret hidden, more and more trouble just keeps heading her way until she finds herself right in the middle of the struggle between the Queen and the rebels.

The Queen is on the hunt throughout Ludania for her female heir and also to squash the rebellion that is also seeking the heir so they can overthrow the current Queen and thereby destroy the destructive class structure. The big problem here is that every princess is born with special powers and the current Queen has ruled for centuries as she has been able to take over the body of her next heir and ensure her tyranny over and over again. Her powers are also destructive and she can harm people with a mere gesture.

As the Queens time runs out and she becomes ever more impatient to get her hands on her host, Charlie must make an impossible decision between the two seemingly simple options but that come with their own devastating consequences. Will she choose life or death?

I really really liked this book. I know I’ve mentioned it before but I am pretty obsessed with Dystopian literature and that will probably not be the last time you see me write this on here either. I struggled with whether to rate this as a four or a five. I ended up rating it as a four because while I really really liked this book I wasn’t super gaga over it either like I was with say, Matched by Ally Condie or Insurgent by Veronica Roth (notice how those are both Dystopian pieces, Gotta love that Dystopia!). Or more recently, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare.

I did find this story to be really original which I loved. I think the story is pretty interesting. I didn’t mention Max in my summary but he is a part of the story that I really really liked because it’s just really great to have a romance thrown into a YA Dystopian world. It just makes it that much more intense, but I don’t want to give away Max’s part in the story so you will have to read it to figure that out! This book did keep me interested from page one, I absolutely love when books can do that. I find that the worlds authors craft for us in Dystopian novels in particular are just so interesting. I wouldn’t say the novel is action packed but it does have some really great action scenes, it has some scenes that just make you swoon and also some scenes that are just so heart wrenching that seriously my eyes started to water on. I recommend giving this one a read, it’s not too heavy a read, I read it in a day so that just shows you how interesting it was. I couldn’t put it down! And once again, I love this cover!! i will hopefully be picking up the sequel to this book, The Essence as I am dying to know what will happen next.

Happy Reading!

Book Review: Darklandia by T.S. Welti

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Title: Darklandia written by T.S. Welti
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Dystopian Literature
Self Published
Page count:132
Format: Ebook (read on Barnes and Noble’s Nook HD+)
Rating: 3.5/5 – I liked it
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #9

Suffering is Optional – T.S. Welty in “Darklandia”

Darklandia is a dystopian piece that takes place in the future Manhattan following a civil war within the United States. The United States allied with a few other countries to form the new country of Atraxia that is still in the latter stages of civil war with rebel groups still moving against the government.The civil war was the product of people rebelling against the governments restrictions on water usage. Because of the strain humanity has put on the earth’s natural resources especially water, there is a really really long drought which forces the government to restrict water usage and provide people with “rations’ that basically take the place of food and are packed with everything humans need to survive and that we used to get from regular drinking water and hard food. It comes in the form of liquid and is consumed three times a day. Not drinking your rations causes unpleasant side effects as well as being a violation of the code of Felicity.

The concept of Darklandia as it is explained to us is a really crazy and very interesting concept. The government basically wants everyone in Atraxia to be happy and perfect. It’s like this perfect, highly monitored community. Darklandia itself is like a video game, a virtual reality in which all citizens of Atraxia have to spend at least an hour a day in. They have to climb into these pods (which are disgustingly dirty) and live a few hours of their alternate life. The idea here is that in Darklandia you can do whatever you want or whatever the “darklings” used to do before they were perfect like kill people and have casual sexual encounters and that if you got all that out of your system during those hours (up to six) you will be perfect and happy and wiped clean of those urges in your daily life.

We experience the story from the point of view of Sera, a high school student whose father has been taken away and “purified” for being a part of the rebellion and whose grandmother was the last darkling to live amongst those in the community. Darklings are basically what they call pre-felicity humans and they are pretty much looked down upon. The darklings are considered to be impure or diseased. They are said to be infected with misery and suffering which the department of Felicity has cured with the rations and with Darklandia, hence the term phrase “suffering is optional”. This is just the very basic explanation of the roots of the story and that is all I’m going to tell you because I do definitely think that this is book is worth reading. There are a couple of twists especially one very very big twist at the end of the story that you definitely would not see coming.

I rated this book a 3.5 because I didn’t absolutely love it, but I did really like it. I think the concept of this book was a really amazing concept and it had the potential to be a really amazing book. It just left me with alot of unanswered questions and some things in the story did beg for more explanation or more attention. I think this can be rectified in a sequel but I don’t really know if that’s happening (although I wish there was because I’d like to see more of this world and these characters). I was really interested in the story and seeing how it played out, by now you probably guess that I have an affinity for dystopian literature. There is just something about it that makes my heart race and keeps me glued to the edge of my seat biting my poor nails! I definitely recommend fans of dystopian literature to give this one a read, at 132 pages it is a really fast read and I think it’s always an awesome thing to support our self publishing authors as much as we can. I love this book cover by the way!

Happy Reading y’all!

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched written by Ally Condie
Genre: YA Fiction – Dystopian Romance
Published by Penguin Group
Page Count: 366
Format: Paperback
Rating:  it was amazing! Couldn’t put it down! I want to shout it from the top of a mountain!
Goodreads 2013 Reading Challenge #7

This book starts off with seventeen year old Cassia Reyes  getting dolled up for her matched banquet which in her society is  a really big deal. At the banquet Cassia will be “matched” with a boy in another community that will be her husband when they turn 21. She will stand and face a screen that will show her the face of her match and they will smile at each other, it will be the first glimpse of their future. For Cassia, it doesn’t quite work out this way. It’s a rare thing to be matched with someone in your community and it hasn’t happened in many years but when the screen in front of Cassia turns out to be blank she knows her match is someone she knows…her best friend Xander.

Having known Xander since they were young Cassia and her family feel tremendous relief at their luck at such a match. That is until Cassia, alone in her home, views the microcard with Xanders picture and information that was given to her at the banquet, and see’s not only Xanders face but someone elses. Someone that she knows as well, someone who it is impossible for her to be matched with since he is not eligible to be matched (a.k.a Ky Markham). This of course causes Cassia to wonder and question, something that is dangerous for her to do living in a controlled society.

This is a dystopian novel set in a controlled society that takes place long after our time. Everything is literally controlled. “The Society” controls the food they eat, the clothes the way, the activities they do, the professions they have, and the romantic matches that are made. This is all so that the optimum results can be had…no disease, no dissension. That is until Cassia’s grandfather gives her a forbidden poem whose words, “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light”, continue to haunt her and cause her to question more and wonder. She is no longer satisfied with following orders. As her forbidden relationship with Ky grows and they spend more and more time together doing forbidden things like writing, drawing, and reciting the forbidden poetry, Cassia becomes more and more dissatisfied with her life as assigned by The Society. When Ky is taken by officials in the wee hours of the morning, Cassia vows to find him. We are left at the end with the promise of her beginning the search. Exciting!!

Wow!! This book reminded me of all the things I love about dystopian literature. They are always such a roller coaster for me to read and Matched was definitely no exception. At first I thought the pacing was really slow but in the grand scheme of things I think it all flowed really well and we learn things about the characters and about Cassia in a really great even flow which I think was essential to making me build a relationship with the characters. I literally did not want to put this book down. I just couldn’t. I hated the fact that I had to work today because all I wanted to do was read this book. Halfway through it I was texting my friends and raving about it to them. Just the whole idea of the story is crazy. I can’t even imagine how it would be to have everything controlled especially who you marry. That’s so creepy! Later in the book we find out a lot more about the things The Society does and we glimpse some top secret information about how they control things and it’s pretty terrible!

I love Cassia’s character and I love seeing Ky through her eyes. I loved experiencing her awakening feelings for him. Everything about their relationship/friendship was so dangerous it was like I was always on the edge of my seat. My heart literally broke like ten times during this book. I found myself exclaiming aloud. I felt a ton of emotion reading this…I was happy, sad, terrified, and heartbroken. I was going to write about my favorite part of the book but I had quite a few so it’s so hard to pick one. I really like the part where Cassia leans a bit toward Ky while they are the small Hill during their Hike and she whispers the first few lines of the forbidden poem and he closes his eyes as she says the words. I also love the part where she asks him what his match would be like if he was eligible and he says, “You”. My heart literally just died on that part. I also love the part where he gets taken by the officials and she is so desperate to look into his eyes and she points up at the sky and we read the lines “My heart will always fly his name. I won’t go gentle. I’ll find a way to soar like the angels in the stories and I will find him.” Oh my god. I can’t say enough great things about this book. There is just something about forbidden romances set in a dystopian atmosphere that just gives a book that extra oomph. I loved it. I highly recommend this book for any fans of dystopian literature or just really for anyone…read it!! I can’t wait to read the second and third in the series but I’ll have to wait until I can get to the bookstore later this week so in the meantime I’ll have to read something else. I am so curious!!! Ahhh!