Author: Kate Pentecost
Published: April 14, 2020
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Elysium, Oklahoma, is a town like any other. Respectable. God-fearing. Praying for an end to the Dust Bowl. Until the day the people of Elysium are chosen by two sisters: Life and Death. And the Sisters like to gamble against each other with things like time, and space, and human lives. Elysium is to become the gameboard in a ruthless competition between the goddesses. The Dust Soldiers will return in ten years’ time, and if the people of Elysium have not proved themselves worthy, all will be slain.
Nearly ten years later, seventeen-year-old Sal Wilkinson is called upon to lead Elysium as it prepares for the end of the game. But then an outsider named Asa arrives at Elysium’s gates with nothing more than a sharp smile and a bag of magic tricks, and they trigger a terrible accident that gets both Sal and Asa exiled into the brutal Desert of Dust and Steel. There Sal and Asa stumble upon a gang of girls headed by another exile: a young witch everyone in Elysium believes to be dead. As the apocalypse looms, they must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor — only by reinventing the rules can they beat Life and Death at their own game in this exciting fantasy debut.
This. Cover. It’s gonna be awfully hard to beat this absolutely amazing cover! I didn’t even read the description until after I had gotten home with it! Then I saw that the description sounded interesting so I moved it to the top of my list. Definitely worth it! The story was pretty unique! It was kinda Grapes of Wrath mixed with Mad Max and a little Harry Potter … if that doesn’t intrigue you, then I’m not sure what will!
My only real issue was the virtue signaling that kept cropping up. The one that really bothered me was small, but to me it was problematic. At one point, Sal and Asa met a couple of the desert girls and one was described as white and the other as Black … one capitalized, one not. I’m not ok with that. Unfortunately, it distracted and bothered me enough to bring my rating down. But thankfully, the characters were likeable, the plot engaging, and the experience uncommon. I think this would be a great book to give to a teen that wants to start reading! I loved the idea of magic within a Dustbowl community and those horses … well I can’t give much else away! I would recommend this to most teens and to anyone who enjoys fantasy.
Author: Amy A. Bartol
Published: August 1, 2017
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 6-27, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 3 stars
Firstborns rule society. Secondborns are the property of the government. Thirdborns are not tolerated. Long live the Fates Republic.
On Transition Day, the second child in every family is taken by the government and forced into servitude. Roselle St. Sismode’s eighteenth birthday arrives with harsh realizations: she’s to become a soldier for the Fate of Swords military arm of the Republic during the bloodiest rebellion in history, and her elite firstborn mother is happy to see her go.
Televised since her early childhood, Roselle’s privileged upbringing has earned her the resentment of her secondborn peers. Now her decision to spare an enemy on the battlefield marks her as a traitor to the state.
But Roselle finds an ally—and more—in fellow secondborn conscript Hawthorne Trugrave. As the consequences of her actions ripple throughout the Fates Republic, can Roselle create a destiny of her own? Or will her Fate override everything she fights for—even love?
Secondborn has an interesting concept about birth order and where you fall in society. And you better not have a third child without permission! (Only firstborn’s can have children).Roselle is our protagonist and she is the second born child to a very elite mother, a mother who could care less about Roselle. Roselle even grew up on television and she is well known. But once her 18th birthday hits all life changes for her, she has to become a part of the army.
This is a coming of age story and Roselle’s fight to survive. There is also a love interest thrown in which I could have done without, but it becomes important later in the book and I am sure for the future books of the series.
Secondborn is similar to Divergent with the different sections of society (in Divergent you have a choice) with a female protagonist becoming who she is meant to be with a love story with a hottie thrown in. Ultimately it was just an ok read for me as it did not really add to the YA/Dystopian genre. I’ll stick with the Divergent series which I really enjoyed, despite the unpopular ending that I saw coming and actually enjoyed.[Top]
Author: Jess Rothenburg
Published: May 28, 2019
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule.
Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.
Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.
But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.
I was fascinated as soon as I saw it! The cover is amazing and then the description sealed the deal. If Jurassic Park was done at Disney World and had more than just dinosaurs, then you’d have The Kingdom. Rothenburg does a wonderful job of showing the wonder and fantasy of places like theme parks and what they can mean to people, especially kids. However, her contempt for the huge corporate entertainment conglomerate is easy seen. I can’t really say that I blame her either.
The story focuses on Ana, one of the Kingdom’s AI princesses. While there is a simple plot with a slightly predictable twist, the point of the story is Ana’s growth as a conscious being. Rothenburg tackles a lot of those ethical issues that Jurassic Park focuses on. Ana starts to question her place in life as a whole which then throws off the well oiled machine that is the Kingdom.
It was interesting to see her thought patterns and evolution from the naive, sheltered artificial being into a self aware, questioning woman. Overall, its an engaging read that leaves you thinking and pondering the morals of technological progress. I enjoyed it and I would recommend it to many Disney fans!