The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Forbidden WishThe Forbidden Wish 

Author: Jessica Khoury
Genre: Fantasy
Rating: 4/5

Goodreads Synopsis: When Aladdin discovers Zahra’s jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn’t seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra’s very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes. 

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

As time unravels and her enemies close in, Zahra finds herself suspended between danger and desire in this dazzling retelling of Aladdin from acclaimed author Jessica Khoury.

Review: This is one of those book where I was a bit on the fence with my rating. I enjoyed it a lot and had fun reading it. Aladdin is actually my top 5 favorite Disney movies, so I had high expectations for it. I wasn’t really sure how I would feel between the relationship of the Jinni and Aladdin, since the book and the Disney version is totally different.

One of the reasons why I enjoyed this book is the relationship within it, not just the romantic aspect, but also all the friendships.  This is actually one of those few books that I enjoyed the minor characters more than the protagonists of the story. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Aladdin and Zahra, but I think Princess Caspida and her Watchmaidens are awesome. I haven’t really read a lot of novels where there are good female friendships, and this part of the book was a great addition. I really wish that Khoury would think about crating a companion novel, or even a short story that focuses on these ladies. I would like to know more about them, and it won’t hurt to see a glimpse of Jinni and her lamp holder.

I also really enjoyed the world that Khoury created in this book. I love the little characters that she added and the different areas of the world. She has a vivid way of writing her settings and in your head you can actually see the places and even smell the locations. I especially love the garden and the tavern. The beauty of the garden makes you want to see it in person and the tavern makes you want to hold your breath from the stink. Like I said her world is very vivid.

The one thing that I had a problem with is the Jinni system that Khoury introduced to us. I was a bit confused on the hierarchy of the Jinni and I don’t think Khoury did a good job in explaining it to us. I get the different groups of Jinnis, all except the powerful one. I wasn’t all that convinced that Zahra, not actually of Jinni descent, became one of the most powerful Jinnis. I think it was too convenient for the story and I don’t think it was as pertinent to the story. It would have been a lot more convincing if lower Jinnis is able to attain power through some sort of transformation or overcoming a difficult trail.

I also had a tad problem with the ending. It feels too rushed and I wasn’t a fan of how the fight concluded in the end. I actually wish that the author spent more time developing this part of the book as well. I feel that she dragged the story in the beginning of the book too much and didn’t do the end as much justice.

Looking back to my thoughts of the book, I think I’ll give this book a solid 4 star. Although I did enjoy the majority of the book, I feel that the problematic parts are too big for me to ignore. I guess writing reviews does help sort out ones thoughts. Anyways, even though I have negative comments on The Forbidden Wish, I still enjoyed it enough to check out Khoury’s other books. I think she did a great job in retelling this particular Disney story.

 

 

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In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

in the shadow of blackbirds

Author: Cat Winters
Rating: 4/5
Protagonist: Mary Shelley Black

SYNOPSIS: In the midst of World War I, the world was hit with the Spanish Influenza, not only are people being killed in the line of fire, but those that stayed home must also fight the deadly flu.

Those who have lost loved ones flock seances to talk to their loved ones, and a new phenomenon, taking pictures with the dead. Unlike those around her, Mary Shelley never believed in ghosts, and she never believed in the ghostly portrait. As she deals with the lows in her life, she must rethink her beliefs in the afterlife, especially when someone close to her is showing themselves to her, one that she knew to be dead.

REVIEW: I’ve read my fair share of books that goes bump in the night, a lot of thrillers and definitely more than a handful of mystery novels, but never have I lost sleep on any of them, until this book. Winters did such a great job in creating such an ominous environment with the fear of the Spanish Influenza and the impending doom of the first World War. You can feel the dire situation that people were facing during that era and how the social status of people no longer matter; the influenza struck the young, the old, the rich and the poor.

I also really enjoyed that Winters included the changes of woman’s role in the household and society because of the war. As more men have been shipped to fight at the front, many more women are stepping up to keep their household intact financially. As seen with Mary’s aunt, she has stepped up in being the main caretaker of her home, but at the same time she is still very much aware of her femininity. I love how she subtlety included this character to show the growing change that women will face in this century. At the same time we have Mary Shelley who excused the modern woman. She dresses the way she wants to, speak up for what she believes and argues for those beliefs. Right from the start we see her stubbornness and her independence, which is rarely seen during these times on a 16 years old girl.

As for the main bulk of the story, which is the mystery surrounding Stephen, it is also as amazing as her use of setting. I don’t really want to go into depth with it, but it this book left me sleepless at night. Not because I was reading it all night, which I was, but even after the book was done, I was left picturing each and every creepy detail as I lay in the dark. Even now as I write this review, in broad daylight, I’m getting the chills. Yes, I admit I don’t really read a whole lot of adult horror novels, but for a YA novels this was up in the scary chart. I really do give Winters props for using her backdrop, because it suited her novel very well and the use of Blackbirds, amazing! I will never look at blackbirds the same way again.

Yes, I really am giving this book high praises because it scared me through and through. FYI, I’m scared of ghosts. So if you’re not then this book might not be up your alley. I really thought that more people would enjoy this book, but I don’t really see a lot of people put it on their ‘Scary Recommendations’ or ‘October TBR’. For me, highly recommended for the September/October months, or for those who enjoys being scared.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

ENDING: I’m not really sure if I should reveal the ending because its such a fantastic ending. Yes, I basically guessed what has happened, but how and why was a bit off. I’m glad that it went that way, heartbreaking, but effective with this story.

Stephen came back from war with PTSD. Julius wanting to win the photo competition and Mr. Darning wanting proof of the afterlife, used Stephen as a ginuea pig. On the night of his death, suffering from hallucinations, Julius and Mr. Darning poisoned him to be able to take a picture of Stephen’s soul leaving his body. Under severe stress and imagining big blackbirds (really his brother and Mr. Darning) in his vicinity, Stephen picked up a gun to kill the ‘blackbirds’, but killed himself instead.

Alive by Scott Sigler

alive

Author: Scott Sigler
Rating: 3.5/5
Protagonist: Savage
Other Character(s): O’Malley Bishop, Spingate, Bello, Aramsovky, El-Saffani, Latu, Gaston

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Synopsis: What will you do if you wake up in the dark, immobile and alone? Will you wait for help or fight your way through? This is the story of a group of young men and women who woke up and their fight for survival.

Review: I haven’t been in mood to write reviews lately, they’re very tedious and so grueling to write especially since it’s been awhile since I’ve read it, but I think they’re the most important part of being a book blogger since it does allow me to recommend great books to book lovers, plus its a great way to advertise great writers!

Since I’ve just read this book and it’s pretty much fresh from my mind I decided to write a simple and honest review. Now it’s no secret that I’m part of a Goodreads group and one of our challenges this year is to read ‘hidden gems’. Basically, instead of having a monthly read that is held by vote, 12 volunteers are picked to recommend a book that is not overly popular/mainstream and the group will read that for the said month. For August we were recommended to read Alive by Scott Sigler. Now usually before I get into any book that I haven’t heard a lot about I try to do as much research on it as I can: read reviews, check out the author, etc. For this one, however, I just decided to get into it with a blind eye and I’m really glad that I did. When reading this title I was very certain this was going to be a post-apocalyptic novel, to my surprise it wasn’t. Yes, dystopian is part of the sci-fi genre, but I would not have suspected this to be more on the science-fiction theme. I’m not complaining though. I have nothing against sci-fi novels, I was just taken aback. I’m not really sure how much I want to reveal of the story because it was the mysterious aspect of the book that made me keep on reading.

In all honesty I had a rocky start with this book. I had a huge problem with the characters and their portrayal. I felt that for their ‘age’ it wasn’t realistic enough. I understand that there needed to be some type of dependence that needed to happen for story purposes, but I feel that Sigler didn’t really capture the younger ‘age’ of his characters. I also had problems with the main character. Usually I’m the type of reader who enjoys a tough, kick-ass female heroine, but for me Em was too dull. She acted on behalf of her people, but she was too predictable. She did eventually get better, but I still didn’t feel the connection. As for the other characters, I felt that her two right-hand men were written with a lot more dimension. I enjoyed seeing their growth and their maturity as the story progressed. Although, Sigler didn’t really talk a lot about his other characters in depth, I enjoyed the variety of people he does choose. Hopefully in the next book we will see more of everyone and learn more about their history. I also want to see where Sigler will go with their leader.

Off the bat I wasn’t in love with this book. There were times that I wanted to quit and DNF it, but since many of my Goodreads friends enjoyed it I figured it was worth finishing, and it was. I admit it was difficult for me to get through the first half of the book, but once the climactic event happened I was hooked! I enjoyed the concept of the book and Sigler did a great job in creating a world that makes you question life and humanity. I’m not really sure how I stand on the religious aspect of this novel, and I feel that it’s out of place in the setting. I have nothing against religion, but with this type of novel I really don’t think that it was worth including, unless the author has plans for it in the second book. Even though it seems like I complained way too much about this book, it is actually a good read and worthy of our ‘hidden gem’ category. Hopefully the second book will be just as interesting and enjoyable to read.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending: As much as I love including endings in my reviews, I feel that this one needs to remain a secret. I enjoyed reading this with no knowledge of anything regarding the book and I think it would make a difference on your reading experience.

 

Heroes of Olympus: The Blood of Olympus (Book 4) by Rick Riordan

Blood of Olympus

Author: Rick Riordan
Rating: 4.5/5
Protagonist: Percy, Annabeth, Jason, Piper, Leo, Hazel, Frank
Other Character(s): Rhaena, Nico, Gleeson

Synopsis: The final battle for Percy Jackson and his friends in this last epic novel by Rick Riordan. We find the seven demi-gods in the brink of war with the Titans, which of the gods/goddess will come and help them defeat this impending doom. At the same time, the quest of Rhaena, Nico and Gleeson is on the verge of failing due to forces that is out to stop them. Will the demi-gods find the strength to defeat their foes in this last battle or fail and see both their camps burn to the ground.

Review: I was finally able to finish this series and just in time for Trials of Apollo to be release, which ties up to PJ and HOO series. If you have read my previous reviews from this series, then I think by now you have realize that I a big Riordan fan. I’ve read most his middle grade book and absolute love them! So it won’t come as a surprise when I say that Blood of Olympus was fantastic and such a great conclusion to the series, not my favorite book in it, but still amazing. I did have my share of complaints, but in the end I enjoyed reading every moment of this book and nearly broke my heart that it’s already done.

Let’s get the grittier part of the review out of the way first. As much as I proclaim my love for Blood of Olympus, I did have my share of complaints. One of them being the battle between the Titans, god/goddess and the demigods. For Riordan to build up the suspense for this battle from book one, I really did expect and epic fight between these three enemies. Unfortunately, I was mistakenly mislead. Yes, it was amazing that all the gods/goddess showed up to support their children, but it ended as abruptly as it started. I’m not really sure if my expectation was just too high, or the battle is really as dull as I remember it to be. This is pale in comparison to the other battles that Riordan included in the previous books. While I was reading this book, I had no idea that Trials of Apollo was in the works at all and so this other bit of ‘complaint’ shouldn’t really be a part of my review now, but I’ll still mention it. There was a time at the end of this book when I wanted to fling it across the room because of what Riordan did to one of the characters. Now that he included Camp Half-Blood in his new series, I’m really hoping that he will alter his ending with one of our heroes. If you’ve read this book, you’ll understand what I mean. Now that I’ve mentioned all my dissatisfaction regarding this book its safe to say that they’re minor compared to my love for this series.

I think the main reason why I love Rirodan’s books is because of all the character development and friendships that he includes in his books. Yes, the story he creates are all beautiful and intricately woven, but for me its the characters that are the main attractions. All throughout this book and the previous dour, you see the growth of each individual characters and even those who did not have their own narration shill showed their strengths. I love how both camps were able to unite with each other to fend off the attack of Gaea, and ultimately defeat her. I enjoyed the final teamwork of the three that was chosen to overthrow her reign over the land. I don’t think Leo favored the two over the others, but rather they each know the strengths and weakness of each demi-god, and this choice is crucial at the end. The end was amazing because it enable each of them to showcase their strengths, not just our main protagonists, but the other supporting characters as well. As seen in my previous reviews in this series, I really do love all the friendships and pairings that happen all throughout this series. Not only are they amazing together, but they make each other better as an individual and as a couple. I don’t really have a favorite couple, since Riordan created them all wonderfully! Of course I can’t end my review without mentioning all the friendships that was formed in this last book. It’s really hard not to become close friends between the seven protagonists considering what they have experience together, but I’m glad that the author showed us different people being included in their small circle as well. It shows that they work very well with each other, but are not afraid to be an individual, separate from the group.

As much as I hate to see this series end, I feel that the conclusion is beautifully done, which ties up many of the loose ends that was present since book one. I do believe that Riordan has exhausted this story arc and glad that he didn’t extend it any further. However, I wouldn’t mind seeing glimpses of all of my favorite characters that I grew to love in Trials of Apollo. I don’t think I would ever get tired of reading more about Percy Jackson and company.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending: I’m taking this ending and running with it. Sorry no spoiler for this book, but I do have to say…I love it!

My Reviews for Book 2, 3, 4 of Heroes of Olympus:
Son of Neptune mark of athena house of hades

Series Review: Starbound Trilogy

Book 1: These Broken stars – Lilac Laroux & Tarver Merendsen
Book 2: This Shattered World – Jubilee Chase & Flynn Cormac
Book 3: Their Fractured Light – Sophia Quinn & Gideon Martin

Rating for all 3 Books: 4/5

Review: I finally was able to finish this trilogy and it was really good! For me they are equally good in their own way, but I do have my favorite characters. I was really unsure how these books were going to end, but I was very happy with the conclusion since I was unable to write a review for the first two books. I will be discussing each book briefly and then discuss my thoughts on all three at the end.

The first book in this amazing trilogy is These Broken Stars. Tarver and Lilac are only two of thousands on board of the luxury ship Icarus to survive the unfortunate accident in space. Crash landing in a deserted planet, the two must travel in the harsh terrain of this unknown world to try to survive and find help. Unknown to them, they are not the only ones that inhabit the planet.
* I really love this book. I admit it’s not the best book ever to be written, but I enjoyed my reading experience. When I remember when people were reading this, many complained that it was too similar to Titanic and the most we saw of anything are the two characters. For me I didn’t mind the lack of characters because I love reading about the trials and obstacles that the two faced. Plus, there were enough information that needed to be processed to keep the readers entertained. As an introduction book, its a good set-up for the next two.

In the second installment of the trilogy, we meet Flynn, reluctant leader of the rebellion and the stone face soldier known as Jubilee. Their paths cross as Flynn stumble on a secret base that once was use to keep the whispers. Unfortunately civil war has broke through that hindered the two from really discovering the truths about the secret labs. We also learn that the whispers had learned to possess solders and act violently towards civilians, which eventually caused the unrest with the Avon natives and the revolt of the people.
* I did mention that I enjoyed each book equally, but in all actuality this second book wasn’t as loved as the first. But, I think it is due to my love for Lilac and Tarver. I’m not saying that Jubilee and Lynn are not great characters, they actually add a lot of substance in the Starbound trilogy. I feel that the bulk of the main story is within this second book. I also enjoyed how the story intertwine with Tarver and Lilac, and we even get a glimpse of the other two characters. There were so many sad events that occurred in this book, but I think it was necessary to show just how strong the whispers has gotten and the lengths that Laroux Industries would go to get what they want.

In the final installment of Kaufman’s and Spooner’s trilogy we re introduced to the last two characters. Sophia, the recently orphaned Avon native, wants nothing but revenge for her father’s death, and that is to kill Laroux. Gideon, the computer wiz, on the other hand believes that to bring Laroux down is to destroy his company and the whispers. The two eventually meet and even with their opposing beliefs, they must work together to survive the final battle.
* Although I love the first book, I think Their Fractured Light, takes the cake. This had everything that the two books had plus more! I especially love the second half of this book, when all six characters started working together. Even though it didn’t last that long, I was really giddy when they all met each other and everyone revealed who they are. I’m really glad I proceeded to finish this series because I really enjoyed the characters and world building in all three books.

The one major drawback that I found in all three books was that there were dull moments. I know that it can’t all be action, but I wished that there were less of it. I do remember that in the first two, there were times when would skip a few pages because nothing was happening, and if there was it was dragging on for too long. Also, if you are planning on reading these books a few months apart form each other, and your memory is not all there, remember to jot down a few points regarding the whispers. For me it took me a bit longer to remember the whispers in the previous books. I knew they were there, I just needed to refresh my memory on what happened to them to cause such hatred in them. Although there were a few things I disliked about the books, all in all I had an entertaining time reading them and would eventually re-read them in the future. I do hope that Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner would write a novella on the life of these three couples a few years after these events occurred, just to show us how they are doing and if they all remained friends.

I used two different formats to read these books. One is the regular book format and the other is an audiobook. As much as I always enjoyed dreading the physical form, I actually enjoyed the audiobook and would recommend it to those who prefer this format. It did take me awhile to get used to the voice of Gideon, but in the end it wasn’t that bad and thought that it actually suited the personality of the character. Since I only listened to the last book, I’m not really sure if they used the same voice for the other characters as in their respective novels. I do know that there were different voices for the ‘main’ characters.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending: Most people who has read some of my reviews, they know that I’m a sucker for happy ending and this one is obviously a good one. Everyone is alive! Like alive and well! Obviously enough its unrealistic, but I’ll take it!

Laroux’s wife was killed during a revolt in one of the planets that was being terraformed. Laroux believed that he can use the whispers to bring his wife back and as he experimented on them they became more wary of humans and eventually started to think evil towards them. The main whisper wanted to destroy all humans for their evilness, but with Lilac and with the help of the others, they were able to show them that not all humans are violent and selfish. The whispers from the start have been watching all six characters and can see the good in them, and they all chose to listen and believe the good than the bad.

At the end of the battle Laroux eventually looses his mind thinking that he had lost his daughter. Lilac because the ambassador between humanity and the whispers and she is now married to Tarver. Flynn and Jubilee were present during her swearing in speech while Sophia and Gideon are watching from the comforts of their home.

Blood of my Blood

blood of my blood

Author: Barry Lyga
Rating: 5/5
Protagonist: Jasper Dent
Other Character(s):Howie, Connie, Billy, Mrs. Dent, H.G

Synopsis: Hurt and unable to fix his current problems, Japer must rely on his instincts that has being honed by his father. On the other hand Howie, must piece together who Ugly J is, while trying to stay alive. And Connie must deal with the consequences of the decision that she chose. In this last chapter of the Jasper Dent trilogy, all three must sacrifice a part of themselves to survive the final battle.

Review: I finally mustered up enough courage to pick this book up and finally finished the trilogy. It is as good as I thought it would be and that’s evident enough on the rating I gave it. The writing as usual, is amazing, and creepy.The characters, just as well written as the other two books and the twist in the end, mind blowing! I loved every minute of it and wish more books would be written similar to this.

Although, I got to see Jasper, Howie and Connie again, knowing that its the end, its a bittersweet moment for me and every other reader who loves these three. Connie, in this book, is so much better than the previous, which irritated me at that time. In, Blood of my Blood, she is back to her smart and independent self again. I admit, she’s not my favorite heroine of all time, but to be able to stand against a serial killer is an amazing feat! Let’s not forget her courage towards her father and standing her ground with her relationship with Jasper. That is guts!

I’ve always enjoyed reading Howie’s point of view, and to be honest, he’s my favorite character. I think his sense of loyalty towards Jasper and Connie is something to be admired. Especially his friendship with Jasper. I love their relationship and their bond is unbreakable. I love that Jasper sees Howie as his anchor as a regular human being and I think both of them keep each other grounded. I also enjoy Howie’s sense of humor. This books is really not a laughing matter, but Lyga does a good job in inserting some jokes that is appropriate, even though its cheesy at times.

As for the actual book. I can’t even describe how wonderful this ending is. There is a reason why I gave it a five star and it deserves every shiny bit of it! There is so many things that happens in each page, but at the same time, every questions you have are answered. I even enjoyed the little glimpse we have at the end when Lyga enable us to see the future of our beloved characters.

Although, I really did enjoy the trilogy. I’m quite satisfied with the ending and how everything was revealed in the end. It might not be such a happy ending for everyone, but for those that matter to me, I can deal with what Lyga gave us. I do think that more books should be written similar to this because I enjoyed the intensity of the book and that it kept me at the edge of my seat the whole entire time. Maybe in the near future I would feel inclined to re-read the trilogy and visit the three friends again.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending: I’m really surprised at the ending. I hand a little premonition on who the partner is, especially when we find out that the mom is still alive. It was still a shocker for me that she was the one who set up the whole ‘game’ right from the beginning with the Impressionist. I can’t imagine how Jasper felt in finding out BOTH his parents are serial killers. To have one is already traumatizing, but to actually have TWO, that would have put me over the edge. I’m really not sure what to feel about the story of Jasper and his mother. For me that’s a little over the top, but it’s understandable considering Lyga wants to show that his mom is the ‘alpha male’ and to be the leader, she must be fearless.

As I said, the author allows us a glimpse of the future of the three protagonist. I’m happy to announce that all three are still friends and considering what Jasper and Connie went through with their relationship, I think they’re still holding strong. Like in their teens, the two boys, now men, are still friends and have made considerable amount of money publishing a book about Jasper’s life in the shadow of a serial killer.

The Revolution of Ivy (Book 2) by Amy Engel

The revolution of ivy

Author: Amy Engel
Rating: 3.5/5
Protagonist: Ivy Westfall
Other Character(s): Bishop Lattimer, President Lattimer, Justin Lattimer, Ash, Caleb, Cally Westfall, Mark Laird

***This will reveal some spoilers from Book 1 The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel***
Review for Book 1: The Book of Ivy by Amy Engel

Synopsis: The second and last installment of Engel’s The Book of Ivy takes us to the life outside of Westfall. This begins with the end of the first book and Ivy is left to learn to live on her own in this harsh war-ridden world. Will she be able to find herself and overcome her exile to survive or succumb to the harsh environment?

Review: For a series that I never meant to pick up, I’m actually surprised that I finished and enjoyed the duology. Not my new favorite, but they are good enough for entertainment purposes. This second and final book of ‘The Book of Ivy’ is just as good as the first and if truth be told I enjoyed it a lot more than the first. I still have some problems with some things, like decisions Ivy make and the background story of Westfall, but overall the book is a great conclusion to the story of Ivy and Bishop.

I always like to get the grittier part of the review out of the way first. So lets start with the things I didn’t like about the book. There really aren’t that many, but I feel that they are important enough that I took away 2 stars from my rating. The number one thing I really was not happy about, in this book and even the first, is the lack of world building. As much as I enjoy hearing about Westfall over and over again, I do wish that Engel spent a little more time in creating her world outside of the small town. In this book we get to visit three different locations and yet our author failed to create a detailed description of the towns she mentions and even the community Caleb and Ash. Just like in the first, we are left to use our own imagination on how the whole world came into this post-apocalyptic era. I understand that she is trying to create a sense of isolation, but if she mentions the whole world being decrepit and in the same dire situation as Westfall, she could have at least given more thought on conveying information to the readers regarding the reasons. The lack of this, made me ask a lot of questions that are unfortunately left unanswered. I feel that she took the easy way out and created her characters to be a recluse in order to not mention the fall of other societies. Also, the way she describes the world, in the first book, just over the fence seemed a lot more…intense. Unfortunately I really didn’t get this feeling. Except for one instance, I really wasn’t scared for Ivy’s life. Yes, she did get saved, but Engel could have added more risk in our heroine’s journey. Like I said, she describes this future world in a more sinister way, and yet when she has the chance to give us more details, she backs down from it.

Now in this book we see a different Ivy. At first, she is this lost and scared girl unable to know if she can live without her family or husband, but then she turns into a character worth enjoying. She is now more sure of herself and is able to defend herself in time of a crisis, not just physically, but also emotionally. I feel that her character has grown up to be someone who is more certain of herself and her decisions in life. Although, this does not mean I agree with some of her actions, especially regarding her sister and Mark. I am little bit more forgiving on her actions towards Bishop, I know its uncalled for, but considering her situation its very understandable. As much as Engle wanted her protagonist to look noble in terms of her relationship towards her family, I feel that it just made her look naive. I hoped that Ivy used more sense in this particular part of the book and even if she let her heart overrule her brain, it would have been more realistic if she had a backup plan. This though is just my personal opinion and I feel that I’m a minority in this.

Now that my rant is over, I actually did enjoy the rest of the book. I love that the author added Caleb and Ash to the list of characters. They added a different type of relationship and meaning to the world family. They gave a sense of belonging to Ivy, one that she never felt with her own people. I’m even happier that Engel didn’t include a love triangle. Seriously, most authors would have grabbed a chance to make this into another Twilight, and I’m so glad that she set herself apart from this trope. The relationship between these four shows that a family doesn’t necessary have to be biological, but rather those who are willing to stand by you no matter how difficult or good the situation is. Even if I’m not a big fan of sad endings, I’m actually okay with this. In fact I really can’t picture a more fitting ending than what the author has chosen. It’s exactly what the protagonist needs to start out anew.

Even if this duology is laced with political intrigue and dystopian setting, I feel that this is more centered on the romantic part of the story. I’m not saying its all lovey-dovey between Bishop and Ivy, but its mainly about the different relationships that all the characters present. The rest is all a backdrop of the main point: love can either be good or bad depending on how you want to use it. I’m not much for romance, but Engel does a great job of keeping it simple and heart-warming with a touch of action. This conclusion is sufficient and fitting enough to make the readers happy.

***********************SPOILER ALERT!!*********************

Ending: For me, this story is similar to Rome and Juliet but with a different ending. Instead of the couples suffering the idiocy of their fathers, it was the latter who answered to the consequences of their actions. Which would have been a fitting end to Romeo and Juliet, and I’m happy that Engel took this way in her book. As I said before, I usually prefer endings that are more ‘happily ever after’ but this is a good end to the feud between the Westfalls and the Lattimers. It will enable Bishop and Ivy to live their lives outside of their town and away from the shadow of their families.

I’m also really glad that Cally died in the end. I feel that she is the actual villain in the book, since her reasons for her revolution is a lot more selfish. I really do think that she wanted the Lattimers to step down so that Westfall will be in power, meaning she could be next in line as President. At one point President Lattimer tells Justin Westfall that his revolution has nothing to do with political injustice, but rather the root of it all is the death of his wife. Justin’s reasons are from the heart, where as Cally was for her own gain.