Dystopian

The Fate of the Tearling (Queen of the Tearling #3)

The Fate of the Tearling

Summary:

In less than a year, Kelsea Glynn has grown from an awkward teenager into a powerful monarch and a visionary leader.

And as she has come into her own as the Queen of the Tearling, she has transformed her realm. But in her quest to end corruption and restore justice, she has made many enemies - chief among them the evil and feared Red Queen, who ordered the armies of Mortmesne to march against the Tear and crush them.

To protect her people from such a devastating invasion, Kelsea did the unthinkable - naming the Mace, the trusted head of her personal guards, Regent in her place, she surrendered herself and her magical sapphires to her enemy. But the Mace will not rest until he and his men rescue their sovereign from her prison in Mortmesne.

So, the endgame has begun and the fate of Queen Kelsea - and the Tearling itself - will be revealed... (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This is going to be a difficult review to write without revealing any plot holes so I’m going to do my best by describing my general feelings about the series at the end.  I really liked that Kelsea is a strong, but not infallible leader and that she is mature enough to identify which choices are being made for herself and which for her kingdom.  My biggest frustration at the end is what I perceive to be some solid plot holes that leave me with a lot of questions unresolved. 

I initially really didn’t like the ending feeling like it was too convenient, but have warmed up to it slightly.  I just wish that some of my questions were answered.  The main let down is that I thought the series was building up to something a little more intense and it didn’t quite deliver for me.

I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the series, but I believe it’s unlikely that I’ll reread it.  Much of the “big reveal” drove my motivation to finish the series and without that mystery I think the book may have dragged on a bit more.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? Only folks who have read the first two in the series, otherwise there is going to be a lot of complexity lost.

Want to read the whole series?

Invasion of the Tearling (Queen of the Tearling #2)

Invasion of the Tearling

Summary:

Kelsea Glynn is the Queen of the Tearling. Despite her youth, she has quickly asserted herself as a fair, just and powerful ruler.

However, power is a double-edged sword, and small actions can have grave consequences. In trying to do what is right - stopping a vile trade in humankind - Kelsea has crossed the Red Queen, a ruthless monarch whose rule is bound with dark magic and the spilling of blood. The Red Queen's armies are poised to invade the Tearling, and it seems nothing can stop them.

Yet there was a time before the Crossing, and there Kelsea finds a strange and possibly dangerous ally, someone who might hold the key to the fate of the Tearling, and indeed to Kelsea's own soul. But time is running out...(Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

The best part of this book is discovering the back-story of “The Crossing” and the logistics that pulled everything together.  In this sequel to “Queen of the Tearling” Kelsea grows into an entirely different kind of ruler – and perhaps not the one she intended.  The visions grow and as Kelsea learns more about her legacy with the gems, things also get more confusing at the same time.

This was a slower book at times as we spend almost equal amounts of time in the past as we do in the present.  It was fascinating to see what steps Kelsea took first to consolidate her power and shape the new world in a better way.  Of the new characters introduced, I really enjoyed Father Tyler’s perspectives.  Yet there seems to be challenges from all corners and Kelsea will have to move quickly in order to save the kingdom.  I found this book compelling in that I consistently wanted to find out what was happening next, but the ending left me in a lurch and feeling obligated to find out what happens next.

Warning: Contains repeated violence.

Rating: 5 stars!

Who should read it? Only folks who have read the first in the series, otherwise there is going to be a lot of complexity lost.

Want to read the whole series?

Day Moon

Day Moon

Summary:

In A.D. 2039, a prodigious seventeen year old, Elliott, is assigned to work on a global soft-ware initiative his deceased grandfather helped found. Project Alexandria is intended to provide the entire world secure and equal access to all accumulated human knowledge. All forms of print are destroyed in good faith, to ensure everyone has equal footing, and Elliott knows he must soon part with his final treasure: a book of Shakespeare’s complete works gifted him by his grandfather. Before it is destroyed, Elliott notices something is amiss with the book, or rather Project Alexandria. The two do not match, including an extra sonnet titled “Day Moon”. When Elliott investigates, he uncovers far more than he bargained for. There are sinister forces backing Project Alexandria who have no intention of using it for its public purpose. Elliott soon finds himself on the run from federal authorities and facing betrayals and deceit from those closest to him. Following clues left by his grandfather, with agents close at hand, Elliott desperately hopes to find a way to stop Project Alexandria. All of history past and yet to be depend on it. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Please note: I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and I voluntarily chose to write a review

Review:

This was a read I had to abandon, but I did give it about ~160 pages before giving up.  The premise was fairly intriguing to me, but I wish I had realized that the religious connotations were going to be quite so heavy handed.  I’m not opposed per say, but it just didn’t quite fit with the expectation.

Regardless of the religious content, the reason I had to put the book down was because it was so dragged out.  The story just never quite felt like it was moving anywhere and there wasn’t any urgency to the events.  Even when the characters are in danger, it seemed to unfold in a very “matter-of-fact” way.  I liked the world-building the potential of the story, but ultimately this one fell flat.  Hopefully others have more luck with this read.

Warning: Contains violence and heavy religious content.

Rating: 1 stars!

Who should read it? More religious readers who are willing to be a little more patient with a story.

The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid's Tale

Summary:

Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant, because in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before, when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now... (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)

Review:

This was a book that creeped me out just enough I had to put it down and pick it up again later.  I found the book interesting, but not compelling.   There are a lot of very good topics addressed such as feminism, ownership, and the risk of over-reactions to social topics.  Yet despite it being intriguing from those perspectives, if I had thought not been reading the book as part of the challenge I might not have finished it.

I think what makes this book better than some other dystopian with similar themes is the psychological insight.  The internal commentary from Offred is what gets the book under your skin because we get the understanding of just how far she’s willing to go for different things.  The flashbacks to her family “before” everything happened are also quite creepy as they look quite a bit like our current society.  Mixed feelings on this one, but I’d still highly recommend giving it a read.

Warning: Contains violence and sexual content.

Rating: 4 stars!

Who should read it? I think it’d be good for everyone to give it a read as it’s becoming more of a classic and a new TV show is coming out based on it!