The following are a few reviews of books I’ve read over the past few months. I’ve procrastinated reviewing them for a while and figured I’d get them done all at once.
The Invisible Life of Ivan Isaenko
by Scott Stambach
5 of 5 stars
I really adore this book which actually surprised me a little. I expected to enjoy it based on the premise but it’s not a genre I normally find myself wandering into. The book is very character driven but remains incredibly interesting. Ivan is a fascinating character who I fell in love with gradually over time. Polina is equally charming, especially through his eyes. I admit some of the sexuality made me slightly uncomfortable but unlike some books it felt like it had a place. Instead of just being graphic or shocking for the sake of it, this was used to round out the characters and make them all that much more real. I had a suspicion that this book was going to make me cry and I was right. I found the ending to be perfect. I don’t think this book is for everyone but I do highly recommend it if you want a book that will completely immerse you in all sorts of emotion.
Menagerie (Menagerie #1)
by Rachel Vincent
4 of 5 Stars
I admit right off the bat that I went through some strange back and forth with this book At first I was really excited by the premise and jumped at the chance to read it but then seemed to grow hesitant and put off actually reading it for quite a while. I’m really glad I finally decided to jump in though as it’s truly a magical story. I love any story that really features oppression of any kind. The story line with Menagerie focuses on a battle between ‘monsters’ and regular humans. The entire book I couldn’t help but be reminded of the similarity to real class war and racism that happens every down around the world. I felt like these topics were handled incredibly well. There were a few weird bits that never felt exactly right to me but I liked anyway. The only thing that holds me back from a five-star rating is perhaps the pacing of the book. I felt like the majority of the book was almost slow and then all of a sudden at the end all sorts of things happen all at once. I’d prefer some more gradual building though I did appreciate the lack of cliff hanger since the next book in the series isn’t available until May of 2017 according to GoodReads. I am feeling the pain even without the suspenseful ending though.
by Eileen Cook
3 of 5 Stars
I’m extremely conflicted when it comes to this book. The writing itself was good though at times confusing with the unreliable narrator that we are provided. It’s not a fault of the book, it’s simply the reality that Jill has with the huge gap in her memory. That aside the book just gave me a very uncomfortable feeling which I believe was part of the point. I appreciate where the author chose to go with the story as it’s not something I see very often in YA but I don’t think I’m the target audience for this type of book. It held it’s own in terms of being an intense thriller that kept me guessing for sure. Often I had no clue how things might turn out though there were a few things I was able to at least speculate on in advance. If you are wanting a really good YA thriller or mystery novel I highly recomend this. Don’t go in expecting warm and fuzzy though, you won’t get it for sure.
by Natasha Preston
2.5 of 5 Stars
I liked the premise of this book so much and then I began reading it. The relationship between the characters never made much sense to me, and the romance never felt quite right. I don’t mind instalove on occasion but this felt like a much more boring tamed down version of the cliche that’s so popular in YA books. This wasn’t the only emotional connection that just didn’t quite work – her friendships felt wrong. Even the family dynamic she has with her parents just felt very off. The first half of the book is a bit slow and the only thing that kept me reading was how it picked up after that. I chose to purposefully ignore the fact that a key part of the story (her not remembering anything before the age of 4) was scientifically .. lacking. In my own head I sort of upped that age a bit just to have it make sense. Very few people remember much of anything significant before the age of five so this element just had to be overlooked or it would drive me crazy. What I would have appreciated was a bit more reason to have empathy for the cult members. Not much is ever truly explained as to why this cult is so charismatic. To get to the point they do in the story with Scarlett they’d have to be pretty convincing and charming right? I just never saw it. If anything they come across as creepy and somehow lacking in rounded character formation – specifically the leaders. I never really understood why anyone was following them, what the pull was. The action itself was interesting and curiosity kept me going through the book but I really had hoped for more out of such a promising premise. If you are able to look past quite a few of these issues you’ll probably enjoy this book a lot more than I did.
Thanks to Netgalley for providing these titles in exchange for my review. This did not affect my opinion in any way and I was compensated in no other manner.