Monday, June 27, 2016

Catching up on YA Series

So part of the fun of my reading in the past few months is having the chance to catch up on some series I wanted to read as released but didn't have the time to do. I'm still behind, always behind, but here's my thoughts on a few I had the chance to listen to.

Cynthia Hand's Unearthly Series

In the past, I shied away from books about angels because as a person of faith, I believe angels are real. A lot of times stories about angels enjoy exploring the idea of the "fallen angel" the angel that chooses humanity over service to God, etc. These sorts of stories are in general--not what I want to spend my time on. But lately I have realized that they can also be a ground to explore ideas of faith and destiny. While it might not look how I think angels look, it's still very interesting!

I enjoyed the first book in this series a lot. The narrator, Samantha Quan, was perfect with a very pleasing voice and pace of narration. The mythology was interesting, and I was excited to see how everything unfolded. The basic premise of the book is that angels can reproduce with humans and leave behind angel-bloods. And fallen angels are dark wings. Dark wings want angel bloods under their control and so there is a fight of power.

Every angel blood has a mission or purpose and that's where the series starts as Clara starts having visions about hers. There is a love triangle and I'm sorry to say I was very much on the losing side of it (but pretty aware throughout the story that I was) There are also some very interesting side characters, Clara's best friend in particular is a delight.

So I enjoyed the mythology and the ideas and the first book quite a lot. Actually, I liked ALL the books, but I definitely felt the story was too hastily wrapped up or something by the third. I disliked some of the direction the story took and was still confused over a few developments. But ultimately, great books to listen to while working, I was never bored, etc. :)

Dan Wells's Partials Series

These were fabulous! This is a..apocalyptic/dystopian because the robots we created took over the world series. And for the most part the partials and the humans decided to live and let live but the humans can't reproduce due to a virus killing every newborn. So a few teens take it into their hands to go into partials territory and try to capture a partial so they can study it. As you can probably imagine, this book is a bit of a war story with a controlling government, a rebellion, etc. There is a lot of death and torture. But the series is fast paced and interesting, the world really captures your imagination. There is a love triangle! Once again I was on the well known losing side. :) Julia Whelan is a great narrator, too.

It's hard to say too much about the books, but once again I felt like the third book was a bit rushed and really got a bit too close to utter destruction for me, but overall extremely enjoyable!

Rick Yancey's The 5th Wave books

Um. I remember this first book getting a ton of praise. And don't get me wrong, these books were very easy to listen to. But by the end of the series I was really confused about what had actually happened and disappointed in the outcome. Still the first book especially is quite interesting and the books tend to hang on a twist.

Sinner by Maggie Stiefvater (the 4th book in the Wolves of Mercy Falls series)

I enjoyed this book, but not nearly as much as I loved the original trilogy. It was a bit of a let-down in that regard. Still, it was nice to revist some of these characters and get some closure to Cole and Isabel's story.

Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Cycle Series

This series, however, I cannot recommend enough. It is beautifully written, imaginative, and and thought provoking. The world created in these pages is so unique and vibrant and realized. The characters are easy to love. The socioeconomic commentary is spot-on and in some ways a relief to read. If I were to say anything that it would be that well...these books are about boys, mostly. Sure there is Blue (and I haven't read anything Maggie has said on the books really is this a shout-out to Smurfette syndrome?) and her female family, but the characters given the most emotional weight and insight and plot are boys. There is nothing wrong with this, but I just think it's a little bit sad. But perhaps it's a testament to how enjoyable they are that I still liked them!


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