Category Archives: Young Adult Dystopian

Book Review: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

an ember in the ashesTitle: An Ember in the Ashes

Author: Sabaa Tahir

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Release Date: April 28th, 2015

Laia is a slave.

Elias is a soldier.

Neither is free.

Under the Martial Empire, defiance is met with death. Those who do not vow their blood and bodies to the Emperor risk the execution of their loved ones and the destruction of all they hold dear.

It is in this brutal world, inspired by ancient Rome, that Laia lives with her grandparents and older brother. The family ekes out an existence in the Empire’s impoverished backstreets. They do not challenge the Empire. They’ve seen what happens to those who do.

But when Laia’s brother is arrested for treason, Laia is forced to make a decision. In exchange for help from rebels who promise to rescue her brother, she will risk her life to spy for them from within the Empire’s greatest military academy.

There, Laia meets Elias, the school’s finest soldier—and secretly, its most unwilling. Elias wants only to be free of the tyranny he’s being trained to enforce. He and Laia will soon realize that their destinies are intertwined—and that their choices will change the fate of the Empire itself.

My Review: An Ember in the Ashes is a book that I am going to have a very hard time summarizing. A friend of mine read it and highly recommended it, but I looked at the 446 page count and was not quite sure I wanted to take that on, but I am so glad that I did. Those pages flew by and I never once looked to see how many pages I had left or felt for one moment that anything was dragging.

The book switches between Laia and Elias’ perspectives which gives you are really good understanding of everything that is involved in this world and the people within it. It takes place in almost a Roman like society and is very brutal. The author did not pull her punches emotionally in this book and I was brought to tears a couple of times. It was harsh, cruel and probably very realistic of what a society in this world would look like.

I loved both of the characters, and the way they slowly worked their way to each other. There are small little snippets of romance, but the main plot focuses on the two characters finding their own definition of freedom.

It was heartbreaking, fantastic, non-stop plot and a book that has stayed with me long after I read the last page. I cannot wait to get started on the sequel and will definitely be keeping an eye on this author in the future.

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Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

six of crowsTitle:  Six of Crows

Author: Leigh Bardugo 

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Release Date: September 29th, 2015

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.

Summary from Goodreads.com 

My Review:  I know the term “book hangover” can seem strange to some people, but I am convinced it is a real thing and this book has given me a huge one. I have read a little over 10 books since reading Six of Crows, and it is still fresh in my mind and consumes a lot of my thoughts, haha. I work as a librarian and every student who comes in searching for a good book, this is the first one I recommend to them. I cannot even really describe it to them, I just say it is a mix of Ocean’s Eleven heist scheme, some fantastic characters that all live in some awesome fantasy world. That is a poor summary I know, but there is so much to this book, and so many complex and amazing characters, I have a hard time putting all of it into a simple summary. I do know that I am not wrong with my excessive love for this book though because every student or person I recommend it to comes back loving it and often one of their friends wants to take it and check it out in their place.

Then there is Kaz Brekker. He is probably my new favorite character, ever. I love everything about that shady guy and can easily see why he can get a team of people to follow him, maybe right into their own dooms. He alone is worth reading this book for.

I have not read the other books by Leigh that take place in the same world, so I am not sure if there are crossovers or anything like that from that series, but I know I loved this book without having to read them at all. Now that I have though and I have to wait for months (sobs) for the second book to come out, I will probably go ahead and give Shadow and Bone a shot just to try and hold me over until I can get back to Kaz and the gang again.

Cannot say enough good things about this book, love, love, love it and am excited for Crooked Kingdom this fall.

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Book Review of Crewel by Gennifer Albin

Title: Crewel

Author: Gennifer Albin

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Release Date: October 16th, 2012

Incapable. Awkward. Artless.

That’s what the other girls whisper behind her back. But sixteen year-old Adelice Lewys has a secret: she wants to fail.

Gifted with the ability to weave time with matter, she’s exactly what the Guild is looking for, and in the world of Arras, being chosen as a Spinster is everything a girl could want. It means privilege, eternal beauty, and being something other than a secretary. It also means the power to embroider the very fabric of life. But if controlling what people eat, where they live and how many children they have is the price of having it all, Adelice isn’t interested.

Not that her feelings matter, because she slipped and wove a moment at testing, and they’re coming for her—tonight.

Now she has one hour to eat her mom’s overcooked pot roast. One hour to listen to her sister’s academy gossip and laugh at her Dad’s stupid jokes. One hour to pretend everything’s okay. And one hour to escape.

Because once you become a Spinster, there’s no turning back.

Summary from Goodreads.com

My Review: I read the summary for this book and it sounded interesting, but does not really give a lot of information about the book itself and that made me very curious. After reading Crewel, I can understand why the summary is so vague. There is no way to sum this book up into just a few sentences without giving too much away. I am struggling now to write this review without giving away information that will spoil this story. It was truly an entrancing world that I was completely absorbed in from start to finish.

When I first entered the world of Crewel, I was confused for the first couple of chapters because I needed to acclimate to how Arras worked and what exactly everyone’s role in it was, Once I finally settled in though, I was captivated. Gennifer has created a completely unique world and I can honestly say I have never read anything like Crewel before.

In Crewel, we follow Adelice, a young girl who has been chosen to become a Spinster. In her world it is considered to be an honor, but Adelice views it as a punishment and after seeing what they endure I can understand why. When she starts training and the truth about what Spinsters do starts to slip out, Adelice observes this about her peers:

“No one asks any questions. They bob their heads in synchronized conformity as though why we are being asked to do these things is trivial. All that matters is doing what the Guild asks us, because they say it is important.”

These sentences had the most impact on me when trying to define this world. Arras is a world built on lies covered up by deceitful, powerful people who like to keep the general public in the dark about how their world truly works. Adelice has always known something was off about Arras, but she never imagined how deep the lies go as she slowly peels back all the layers to reveal how cruel the world around her as become.

The only part of the book I could have down without is the love triangle. They seem to be turning up more and more in young adult literature and I really don’t like them. Especially when there is clearly one person that Adelice is going to end up with and the other guy is there just to add stress to the main relationship. I was glad to see that the guy I liked more ended up being the one Adelice chose too, but Crewel would have still been a wonderful read without the tension of the love triangle.

There is not a whole lot more I can saw without giving the plot away and I don’t want to do that. The best part of this book is uncovering the true purpose of Arras and the Spinsters for yourself. Crewel takes place in a unique world and is a stand out debut novel in the young adult world. I highly recommend checking it out for yourself so you can become as mesmerized with this world as I have become.

FTC: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.