Tag Archives: apocalypse

Book Review: The End of the World as we Know it by Iva-Marie Palmer

Published 6th March 2014 by Hot Key Books.

19208187Goodreads Synopsis: They wanted to party like it was their last night on earth. They just might get their wish….

Meet the four most unlikely heroes ever:

Teena McAuley: Queen Bee, first-class problem solver, resident heartbreaker.
Leo Starnick: UFO conspirator, pizza delivery boy, all-around slacker.
Evan Brighton: Baseball all-star, Teena-worshipper.
Sarabeth Lewis: Straight-A student, weekend hermit, enemy of the colour pink.

When Teena locks Leo, Evan, and Sarabeth in the basement during her biggest party of the year, she doesn’t plan on getting trapped in the Loser Dungeon herself. She can barely imagine a night with these dweebs—let alone a lifetime. But when an alien invasion destroys their entire Midwestern suburb, it looks like these unlikely friends are the last people on earth. Now, it’s up to them to save the world…

My Review: The End of the World as we Know it is a book I’m pretty mixed on! It was a good read- I love funny books and I love books about aliens, and this did have both. I was excited to start it, but from a few pages in I wasn’t sure I was really going to get into it. I don’t think I fully did… The story was pretty hilarious but I just found it a bit… I don’t know… I just didn’t click with it entirely.

I think the main reason I didn’t enjoy it as much as I’d hoped was because of the characters. They’re all very well developed, and they’re classic stereotypical characters of sorts- the slightly geeky one, the goody-goody son of the local Vicar, the rebellious slacking teenage guy, the popular girl who has a bit of a bumpy history with one and hates all of the others. They meet properly by all getting locked in a basement as the apocalypse happens, which I found pretty funny. But it really started annoying me later on in the book, how they all seemed much more focused on their relationships than saving the planet. Okay, it’s meant to be a funny read… but I guess I was in a Sci-Fi mood and wanted more alien action and things!

The plot was really enjoyable. It shouldn’t really be taken too seriously- it’s an epic adventure across a post-alien-invasion town and the weapons that overcome the aliens are stupidly brilliant. I liked Iva-Marie’s writing. It really drew me into the story, even when a character was annoying me a bit! Some parts are a bit silly, but it was definitely a fun read, that made me giggle quite a bit.

Overall, The End of the World as we Know it wasn’t what I was expecting, but fun to follow anyway. The story is a mix of Sci-Fi horror and humour that I found really unique. I liked the development of the characters over the course of the story, but at points they did kind of annoy me… I’d recommend this to fans of contemporary comedies, definitely. I’m really mixed. There were multiple things I disliked but in all, it was a really enjoyable read.

My Rating:

bibliomaniacheartbibliomaniacheartbibliomaniacheart

I received a copy of The End of the World as we Know it from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

Vivian Versus The Apocalypse

By Katie Coyle, published by Hot Key Books (Winner of the 2012 Young Writers Fiction Prize).

Vivian Versus The ApocalypseGoodreads synopsis: A chilling vision of a contemporary USA where the sinister Church of America is destroying lives. Our cynical protagonist, seventeen-­year-­old Vivian Apple, is awaiting the fated ‘Rapture’ -­ or rather the lack of it. Her evangelical parents have been in the Church’s thrall for too long, and she’s looking forward to getting them back. Except that when Vivian arrives home the day after the supposed ‘Rapture’, her parents are gone. All that is left are two holes in the ceiling…

Viv is determined to carry on as normal, but when she starts to suspect that her parents might still be alive, she realises she must uncover the truth. Joined by Peter, a boy claiming to know the real whereabouts of the Church, and Edie, a heavily pregnant Believer who has been ‘left behind’, they embark on a road trip across America. Encountering freak weather, roving ‘Believer’ gangs and a strange teenage group calling themselves the ‘New Orphans’, Viv soon begins to realise that the Rapture was just the beginning.

My Review: It was no wonder that Vivian Versus The Apocalypse won the 2012 Young Writers Prize! This book simply blew me away with its originality. I’ve never read a book centered around religion almost entirely- it was really interesting, and now the future of religion in America is looking a bit terrifying. The story begins with Viv, at a party that’s basically mocking the supposed Rapture- a date given by a American messenger who predicted that all believers would be awarded on this particular date by being sent up to Heaven. It was such an original idea- I’ve never read, or seen, a book like it before! Katie Coyle has successfully given this whole new American religion a great, detailed background- I understood it straight away and was really intrigued about it. Coyle’s writing was immaculate! It explained everything really well, and I was totally hooked on this because of the imagery.

The plot was really well structured. A huge chunk of the story was told as Viv went on a road trip across America to obtain answers: I really liked that aspect, because every few chapters I was transported to a different place in America, where there were more exciting and riveting plot twists in store for me! For the first part of the book, I wasn’t especially supportive of Viv- who just willingly left with her grandparents who she’d never known, leaving her friends behind. Then, everything definitely picked up as she returned, ready for a road trip with her old and new friends to seek the truth about the Rapture and the location of her parents. The book was just entirely unpredictable, really! The only thing that I didn’t like about the plot was the last few pages before the ending. Don’t get me wrong- the ending was brilliant! But I think that everything was revealed quite fast-Or was that just me reading quickly, eager for answers…?- and so I think the answers didn’t really sink in properly at first. I had to re-read a few passages.

I feel in love with the personality of Viv! She was a really, really great main character. Apart from the beginning, where she left for a while and I couldn’t understand her reasons behind it, she was an excellent protagonist. Strong, a little quirky, and modern, I found myself growing to love her character as the story progressed. I was really hoping she would find her parents! I could feel her emotions really well through Katie Coyle’s writing… especially when she discovered something about her family background quite a way into the book. Wow! That was a really shocking part. And very clever, too. Also, the other thing I adored about Viv was her growing relationship with the character Peter, who was the love interest for the story. They made such a sweet couple! He had a really great background, too. The ending left me a little heartbroken (I’m trying to write this without spoilers. Diiiiiificult!). I now need a sequel to find out what happens with the two of them!

Overall, Vivian Versus The Apocalypse was a truly brilliant read. It was definitely worthy of the prize for the young writers competition run by Hot Key Books and The Guardian! I adored the main characters, and I think that the story was one of the most original that I’ve read lately. Never before have I read a book much like this one! The religious side was really thought provoking, and scarily possible. I’d recommend this to any teenagers looking for an incredible, imaginative read.

My Rating:

ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystem1ratingsystemhalf

I received a copy of Vivian Versus The Apocalypse from the publisher, in exchange for a review. In no way at all did this affect my thoughts.

My review of the other Young Writers Fiction Prize winner, THE RIG, will be up soon, so keep an eye out!

Half Lives

By Sara Grant, published by Indigo (Orion).

Half LivesGoodreads synopsis: Present day: Icie is a typical high school teenager – until disaster strikes and her parents send her to find shelter inside a mountain near Las Vegas.
The future: Beckett lives on The Mountain – a sacred place devoted to the Great I AM. He must soon become the leader of his people. But Beckett is forced to break one of the sacred laws, and when the Great I AM does not strike him down, Beckett finds himself starting to question his beliefs.
As Beckett investigates The Mountain’s history, Icie’s story is revealed – along with the terrifying truth of what lies at the heart of The Mountain.
Sara Grant’s HALF LIVES is a dystopian chronicle of the journeys of two unlikely heroes in their race against time to save future generations.

My review: Half Lives is, possibly, the most emotional and brilliant book I have read all year! I was really looking forward to reading it, seeing as I’d seriously enjoyed Sara’s Dark Parties. It started off really well- I was immediately absorbed into the life of Icie, and everyday teenager, and was curious to see how Icie’s world was going to change forever and why. Then, the narrative switched to that of Beckett, who worships ‘The Great I AM’ on the same mountain Icie is travelling to take refuge on. I was really confused at how that related to Icie’s tale, but after a few chapters in the different perspectives, both hundreds of years apart, I got the hang of it and it really was quite clever.

Icie’s story was a brilliant mix of dystopia and hope and survival. After this disease (Which I would’ve liked a bit more explanation of) was released and the general chaos in America began, this heart-stopping adventure ensued for Icie, and she picked up three very different people on the way. I liked the constant conflicts between the four unlikely survival group as they tried to start over a new life in a cave with limited food supplies. Just past the middle, things in Icie’s apocalyptic world began to fall apart and spiral out of control as the disease began to claim the mountain. I can’t really say anything more about it, because I’ll end up revealing the plot twists towards the end! What I will say, though, is that it gets heart-breaking and terrifying, with some real knuckle-biting moments, but then the ending for Icie’s tale is actually really sweet and brought a happy tear to my eye.

Icie was such a brilliant protagonist. She went through so much throughout the book and there was a lot of visible development in her character. Her relationship with Chaske was a little predictable- of course she’d win him!- and I really liked her friendships with Marissa and Tate, the other survivors. She adapted to her whole new, changed and broken world like any human would- which is what I loved about her. Her emotions and actions were really realistic and believable. I really felt like she was a real person, and that I was with her during her terrifying tale. I was so happy for her at her happy ending to a sad story!

Beckett’s world was so much different from Icie’s. He lives on the mountain Icie did hundreds of years before him, and is a heavy worshipper of ‘The Great I AM’ who generations before him- you’ve probably guessed who that really is. I actually found a lot of the worships and prayers quite funny, because Beckett and his ‘cheerleaders’ (You’ll get why they’re called that a while into the book) kept referencing to ‘The Great Facebook’ and things like that, from The Old World. The now sacred mountain made a really great setting for his story, and so was the surrounding town of Vega. Well, it’s based on Vegas, but I’m guessing it’s named Vega in the future because the S fell off the sign or something. Sara Grant has created such a horrifying, dystopic vision of the future, and it really was quite scary.

Beckett’s half of the book, told between Icie’s chapters, was differently written. Icie’s stuff was told in first person perspective, but Beckett’s was portrayed from the third person, and focused on the people around him too. That difference was a good thing, though, because I got to see was the other members of his religious tribe thought about him. I really liked the protagonist Beckett because he was so passionate and willing to do and sacrifice anything for his religion. Her was a very strong character. The plot for his story was so different to Icie’s plot, but it was still really brilliant and teaches lessons about love, hope, and betrayal. His ending, too, was really great. I loved the discovery he made and how that affected his whole personality and beliefs. His last chapter was the last one in the book, and it finished off the story ever so brilliantly.

Overall, Half Lives is possibly the best book I have read this year. Honestly. It was so riveting and I really couldn’t stop reading. The backdrop was scary and dystopic, with a unique and original twist. The characters of Icie and Beckett were totally unforgettable, and I’m still thinking about them now- a day after I put the book down. I can’t recommend this enough to YA’s, fans of dystopia, and fans of stories with unique formats. It’s just so great, go get a copy now!

My Goodreads rating: 5/5!

I received Half Lives from the publisher, in exchange for a review.

Monument 14

By Emmy Laybourne, published by Hatchette Children’s Books.

Monument 14 (Monument 14 #1)

In the town of Monument, Colorado  the day begins as normal- Dean gets on his school-bus and the journey to school begins… Then suddenly, disaster strikes in the form of a freak hailstorm which sends down hail the size of footballs.

Soon, Dean finds himself trapped inside of a superstore with 13 others, including his brother, as the world outside turns to ruin with more hailstorms, giant tsunamis and toxic air that could turn you into a crazy, mindless monster. Dean is with thirteen other children, mostly scared kindergartners. Can he help take care of them as the world around them crumbles?

 

From the cover, this looked pretty amazing. From the synopsis, this looked pretty amazing. From the first page, it wasn’t that amazing. I didn’t really like the writing at the beginning- it didn’t really pull me in at all- but I kept on reading because I was sure the pace would pick up some more. It did, thankfully. I liked the plot idea so much- fourteen kids trapped inside a store and they can only watch on an old TV the emergency broadcasts of the tsunami’s wrecking the coasts. It was absolutely terrifying, and scarily realistic because all of these problems were natural disasters. I would’ve liked the author to highlight reasons why the air had become toxic, because that wasn’t really explained at all and I think and evil lab’s spill or something would’ve livened the story up more. I really did like the plot overall, as all of it left the outside world to your imagination because it was all set in the Greenway superstore, but it did get a bit frustrating at parts where the boys seemed to be more interested in dating Sahalia than worrying about how they were going to live. Why would anyone do that?

Where the plot was slightly lacking in terms of action, the characters definitely made up for it. All fourteen major characters were three-dimensional and realistic, especially the kindergartners. It just broke my heart as so many little innocent children were thrown into a world full of chaos and a struggle for survival. I really felt a lot of empathy for them- the author has definitely written this so you feel totally heart-broken for them. My only problem with all of the characters was Dean, the protagonist.  He kind o annoyed me, because he really just sat on the sidelines and cooked the dinners for the kids. I would have liked him to get in on the action a bit more; maybe turn crazy due outside air and riot or something to add a plot twist.

Overall, Monument 14 was an okay read. I think the plot could have been filled with much more action in the middle- there was definitely some shocking parts towards the ending, though, so I liked that. I also think the main character could have been slightly more exciting and revealing about his past. Apart from those issues, Monument 14 made for a pretty emotional and gritty read, for teenagers. If you like apocalypse books particularly  you’ll probably enjoy this, and the sequel Sky on Fire out soon. I will probably read the sequel though, as the snippet of it at the ending of this book made it sound a lot more action packed than Monument 14!

Zom-B: City

By Darren Shan, published by Simon & Schuster.

Zom-B City (Zom-B, #3)

After the events of Zom-B: Underground, B Smith has emerged into the zombie–infested city of London. She discovers the mass effects of the zombie infection breakout, and that hardly anybody survived and remained humans. She explores this new, gruesome and blood-coated London, only to find that the evil zombie clown who broke into her old underground home, Mr. Dowling, is at large in the capital of England. What will he do when he finds B?

After waiting so long to buy a copy of City after reading Underground, I was so excited to start this one… and it totally lived up to my expectations. In the last two books, there had been not as much action as I had expected, but in this book, there was constant action throughout: in the form of brain eating and lots of gore. I think the backdrop for the story was great- never before have I read in a zombie book so much description, and so much detail into the setting. I really loved it.

Mr Dowling, the evil zombie clown who has a human eyeball on his nose, entrails wrapped around his limbs, and severed ears stapled to his trousers, terrified me! He was a totally horrific, yet brilliant antagonist, who did so many evil and heartless actions that chilled me to the bone. Darren Shan has still not yet revealed what the intentions of Mr. Dowling and the Mutants are, but that left me with questions in my head after reading the last page, so I’m already eagerly awaiting the publication of the fourth epic, gory installment. There was much development in the personality of B Smith, in my opinion, in Zom-B: City. I thought she’d  begin to crave brains more and become less conscious of her actions, but she still maintained a level head and was trying to save people, even though they were trying to kill her. I really loved that courage in her; she’s a really great protagonist because of that.

Overall, Zom-B: City was a very enjoyable read. Even at only 210 pages, it packed a real punch. I read it pretty quickly and was left craving for more (not brains, books. Don’t worry!). I can’t wait for the next book!

Fragments

By Dan Wells, published by Harper Collins.

Fragments (Partials, #2)

Kira found the cure for RM- the disease that kills human babies after three days of life. But without a Partial to extract the cure from, the doctors at the East Meadow hospital are unable to replicate the cure, so babies are still dying. On top of that, Kira has become friends with the Partial Samm who has only a year left before he ‘expires’ and dies.       Kira’s stepmother Nandita left and never came back at the end of Partials, leaving behind a photo with a note on it: Find the Trust. Determined to find out who she really is, who ‘the Trust’ are, and to find out how to replicate the RM cure and stop the expiration dates on the Partials, Kira begins a terrifying journey through the toxic, abandoned wastelands of America to seek answers.

After seriously enjoying the first in this sequence, Partials, (Review HERE) I couldn’t wait for this sequel! Right from the beginning I was totally hooked in. There was a time gap between the ending of Partials and the start of Fragments, but that made it even more interesting and made me want to read on, because I wanted to discover what had happened.

The plot was really great and I enjoyed every single second of it. Although about three quarters of this book (which is a lot- this is over 550 pages!) was just Kira, Samm, Heron and Afa (a new character) travelling through the deserted wasteland that used to be the U.S.A., the author managed to avoid repetition and the reader reaching boredom by cleverly throwing in some unexpected action and natural disasters. He also broke up their journey by adding in chapters with Marcus (Kira’s boyfriend back in her hometown) as he went through his own times of danger with the invasions of Partials and a raging war re-starting. I really enjoyed the switching of scenes! In Fragments, the settings were even more vivid, and even more terrifying. I really loved them- the backdrop for the Partials sequence is the most brilliant vision of the future I have ever read!

I also found it ingenious that, at the end of Partials, there was about fifty pages of emails and letters to and from members of ParaGen: the people who created the Partials, the artificial humans. I read them yet didn’t quite know how they connected to the story, but it was really clever how they actually belonged to a character who made his appearance in this book. Reading back on those letters in the first book, it really made some connections clearer in Fragments.

I absolutely adored Kira’s dedication and determination to unite the Partials and the Humans and save both of the doomed races. She is a really unique protagonist, who was ready to forgive the Partials for their rebellion and try to save them- she was the first ever person on the new Earth to volunteer for that. Even when, towards the end, when she had the key to the cure for RM in her hands, she didn’t take it just because it was unfair to the Partial race because it would mean putting them all in a comatose state and experimenting on them. She had real guts and courage, not only for that, but also for crossing the whole American continent when it was full of constant acid rainstorms, and flooding, and so many more terrors. I also liked her shaky friendship between Heron and Kira, because although negative, it changed the course of the plot at points and made for some riveting plot twists at the end of the book. I came to really love the character of Samm- I hadn’t liked him much in Partials, but he really developed a personality in this one. He also did such an unpredictable thing at the ending which will probably cause many problems in the third book… he kissed Kira, knowing she had a human boyfriend back at East Meadow. That annoyed me only because Kira kissed him back- where’s her loyalty for Marcus gone, when he was doing so much to save her and not give her location away to the Partials who want to kill her?

Overall, I really loved this sequel. It was full of thrilling plot twists, and the many deaths brought tears to my eyes- Dan Wells has packed so much emotion into this powerful book. I thought it would be a dragged out story when I saw it had about 560 pages, but it was absolutely brilliant and I devoured it in about a day and a half. Recommended, but be sure to read Partials first!

 

The Death Cure

By James Dashner, published by Chicken House.

The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)

The Trials for Thomas, and groups A and B. It should all be over now- no more lies, just a cure for the flare, and the chance for all of the gladers to get their memories back from before the trials. But Thomas can remember more than they think, and he knows they can’t be trusted. He teams up with Minho, Newt, Brenda and Jorge, and breaks out of the WICKED laboratories. They begin an epic, action-packed adventure in the flare-infected America, where they discover the extent of the disease and that some people are keen to get their hands on them because they’re Immunes. Can they work together along with Teresa and everybody else in the Right Arm, a rebellious group, to take down WICKED for good?

After seeing a lot of bad reviews on Goodreads  I was sure I wasn’t going to like this finale to the trilogy, However, it was absolutely brilliant! It had a totally different plot and setting than the two Maze Runner books before it, and was equally imaginative… and terrifying too. The Flare-infected towns, the new city of Denver and the WICKED compound were all well described and believable locations. All of the events in The Death Cure were exhilarating and edge-of-your-seat stuff. I loved the whole new perspective on WICKED, as there were good points as well as bad points about them in this book. It really made me re-think my opinion on them, because really they were god- but just went about the whole saving-the-human-race-thing in the wrong way.

Thomas was just as bold and determined as he was in the previous books. I still loved reading about him. He had a heck of a lot to deal with in this book, and I was rooting for him the whole way through. Also, Newt became a lot bolder. After he discovered he was infected with the Flare, and wasn’t immune, a lot of the story became centered around the difficulties he was facing about leaving his friends. I really felt for him. As well as him taking a bigger role, I think Brenda became a very major character in this final installment. But, as much as I liked to see her betray WICKED to save Thomas and the gladers, I didn’t like her for becoming a major character. It seemed like as she became a bigger part of the story, Teresa (my favourite character after Thomas) was shrinking into the background. She didn’t get much of a part at all, except for at the end… which I won’t spoil but will say I was very sad at!

Overall, The Death Cure was a very action packed and well-structured end to an amazing and unforgettable series which I will probably re-read sometime. I loved the outcome, but was saddened very much by the deaths of two great characters. The ending left me wondering what would happen next, in the unwritten chapters of Thomas’s and the remaining survivors’s lives as they rebuild the broken world around them. I’ll definitely read more from James Dashner, and hope he writes some more about this awesome fictional world. Maybe he could write a book about Thomas’s son, or something, I don’t know… I just want more!