Saturday, 15 September 2012

2012 Reading Challenge: Twenty-Six Books Down!


For the first time in the challenge I'm having to write a completely negative review as unfortunately book twenty-three, Numbers, just wasn't for me. It tells the story of a teenage girl named Jem who can see anybody's date of death just by looking into their eyes which sounds like a fairly intriguing setup. As I began to make my way through it I found it wasn't what I had been expecting at all. I didn't care for any of the characters and the language style frustrated me. If I'm being completely honest I struggled to finish it as I wasn't enjoying it at all but I refused to be defeated by a book. It is the first in a trilogy and the other two books, The Chaos & Infinity, follow Jem's son who of course can also see the numbers but sadly I won't be reading either of them.

The next book I chose was Pretties which is the first sequel to Uglies. This time around there were even more annoying phrases, 'bogus' and 'bubbly' being the worst of the selection as well as the addition of nicknames such as Tally-wa and Shay-la. If you've read the series you'll be aware that in this case there is a valid reason for the characters to be using these kinds of terms but I still found them frustrating. When I read the ending of Uglies I had a basic idea in my mind of what I expected some of the main events to be in Pretties but I was completely wrong. I didn't really enjoy the plot of this book or the new characters. At the beginning of the series the main character Tally is fifteen about to turn sixteen and I do feel that if I had read them when I was that age I maybe would have enjoyed them more.

My favourite of this roundup is book twenty-five; Variant. In actual fact I think this is one of my favourites of the challenge so far. I don't know anyone else that has read Variant so I didn't have any expectations when I picked it up and luckily I was pleasantly surprised. As the front cover quote from James Dashner (author of the Maze Runner series) states this book has a big an unexpected twist which I personally wouldn't have predicted. Without being too spoilerish the twist means that the book crosses over into another genre which I wasn't previously aware that it was a part of, so if you do read this one watch out for page 218! The characters are so much more likeable than those of the other books I've mentioned in this post and I thought the plot itself was well-paced. I actually also enjoyed the fact that it was set in one building as it meant that more time could be spent on introducing different characters and giving information about the school rather than describing various locations. The writing style is quite basic but to me that didn't matter because the story itself was interesting and was a total page-turner. The only sequel (author Robison Wells has confirmed this will not be a trilogy) named Feedback is released on October 2nd and thanks to the cliffhanger ending I'm very excited to receive my pre-ordered copy.

Although I hadn't been overly impressed by the series so far I decided to read Specials which is the third in the Uglies quartet. The first thing I noticed was the addition of summarising paragraphs as little reminders of events that had happened in the previous two books, something I don't remember there being very much of in Pretties. As I have read the other books recently and the events are still relatively clear in my mind I found these recaps to be repetitive and unnecessary although I can see how they would be useful if you were picking up Specials a long time after the others. Part one of the book wasn't enjoyable and was very forgettable however parts two and three had a few more interesting sequences and ideas. I will be finishing the series by reading Extras at some point and although its very popular I still believe there are better YA dystopian novels out there.

Only four more books to go!

You can read about books 18-22 here.

Have you read any of these books? What are you currently reading?
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