Review: Red Rising (novel) by Pierce Brown

Red Rising
Red Rising by Pierce Brown

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I’m this close to giving it give stars, but then what if book two is better?

I just really have no idea what to say right now.

(hours later)

It might be easy for some to compare this to The Hunger Games, or Ender’s Game. I admit, if you simplify the story, it can seem that way, but there is something about this that makes it feel harsh and brutal in a different way. I can’t really describe the difference. Or maybe it doesn’t need to be so different to stand out. There are many similarities with books in the same genre, at least when put in simple terms.

The complexity of the characters, the emotions they stir up, both in them and in us, is what makes it stand out.

And there’s emotion there. Sometimes it’s anger, or frustration, or sadness, or horror, maybe a little bit of humor, and I mean a little. Because this world that author Pierce Brown has created is not funny. Especially for a Red.

Like in other books, people are place in coded society. The Hunger Games had their districts. Ender’s Game had their armies. Red Rising has their colors. Being a Red is the lowest class you could be in this world. Being a Gold is the highest. Golds have done wrong, and Darrow wants revenge.

And Darrow’s journey to get on the same level as a Gold is not only horrendously physically painful, but just as, if not more so, painful emotionally, especially because being a Red is not only a psychologically and mentally low class, but it’s a physically (physicality and beauty) low class in Society.

Pierce creates a very human character in Darrow, which is why he makes mistakes often through this first book. The thing is, these are mistakes that I didn’t find unbelievable or stupid in a way just to piss off the reader (although it probably has happened if you think Darrow to be perfect). He does many things, though, that you tend to wonder why he does what he does. Many times, I just wondered what the plan of action was for what Darrow was doing. The author purposely hides the answer from us until it’s ready to be revealed to make for a more exciting section of the book. I didn’t mind it.

Darrow is definitely not someone to despise for being weak or trite or dumb. You see him learning and you read him as he calculates methods and plots just to get to the top of his class.

At the same time, much of the story is not nearly as fast-paced as one would think. As stated, Darrow calculates things. He’s methodical, he’s contemplative, and although he carries around this rage and utter desire for vengeance, he’s not not made of steel, and shows or expresses his fragility and loneliness often enough that it’s heartbreaking for me as the reader gaining insight into this young man’s life.

I was hurt when he was hurt, I was angry when he was angry, I cried for his losses, and I was in shock for some of the things he had to do and go through just to survive. It was insanely terrifying to live through the eyes of Darrow.

There was even one point that I literally had to turn my head away from reading a specific section because it was just too harsh and heartbreaking for me to visualize in my mind. Even now, I have a hard time thinking about it without feeling some kind of heartache.

The surprises and shocks only stop once you’ve finished reading the book. It was both amazing and insane at the same time.

Pierce Brown has pieced together a dark world on planet Mars, and he’s used classic books on revolutions as an influence to this story. I was not disappointed in it, and I look forward to reading how things start changing in book two, because book one was definitely just the beginning.

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Review: The Retribution of Mara Dyer (novel) by Michelle Hodkin

The Retribution of Mara DyerThe Retribution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It’s been over a week since I had read this book, so my review won’t be as thorough. However, I’ll point out some things I do remember that made me rate it as 3 stars instead of 4 or 5.

So, things are a little nutty in a metaphorical sense. So many things happen, and not all of them good, that it makes me question why the author wrote Mara the way she did.

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Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park is one of my favorite “adult” (as compared to “YA”) books. Naturally, I loved the Jurassic Park movie, which was directed by my favorite director. That definitely helped.

Three movies later, we now have Jurassic World. I’m just hoping it brings the excitement and thrilling pace that the first movie did. The second movie had its moments, but many found it lacking, and the third movie was better, but still not as good as the first.

I can hope this one at least does as well as the third, but hopefully better.  And as much as I loved Chris Pratt as Peter “Star-Lord” Quill in Guardians of the Galaxy, his character in here probably won’t be challenging the villain to a dance off.

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Peek Into JURASSIC WORLD With Official Trailer

Funko Appeases FIREFLY Fans with Pop! Vinyl Figures

It was only a matter of time before Funko realized the error of their ways and finally got around to making these wonderful Firefly additions to their already massive collectible vinyl figures.  I’m Veruca Salt and I want it all!

Despite the same black eyes on almost all their figures, what’s great about these Funko Pop! figures is how they add those little traits that we love about the characters.  We have Jayne’s most iconic accessory – his knitted cap, Kaylee with ratchet in hand and her green overalls, and Wash with his endearing plastic toy dinosaur.  It’s just too cute!

No doubt you’re noticing that there are a few figures missing.  I’m thinking Funko’s other job is to make people crazy with desire for what’s not here.  They best have Simon, River, Inara, and Preacher available soon, or there’ll be hell to pay!  Fear the Browncoats!

via GeekTyrant.

Review: THE REVENGE OF SEVEN (novel) by Pittacus Lore

The Revenge of SevenThe Revenge of Seven by Pittacus Lore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Are you freaking kidding me!?!? Gahhhh! Another year!!! (Review to come soon…ugh!)

One month later…

Well, it seems I’m behind on my reviews. And sorry to say that this book is no longer fresh in my mind for me to give a more deserving review, so I’ll do what I can.

After what happened in The Fall of Five, we find the group lost and divided. Each person has to deal with what happened and each group has to find a way to get back to the others.

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Review: The Blood of Olympus

The Blood of OlympusThe Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, it’s another end to another great journey. As with any awesome series, I’m feel somewhat sad to see the characters off. Especially this crew of “misfit” demigods.

As much as I loved this book, it definitely left me wanting. But maybe that’s what the author intended. The characters are, after all, demigods. Their story is hardly ever really over, sometimes not even after death, as has been the case with many gods and heroes before them. So, it would seem appropriate to have some of these characters come away from the aftermath of the final battle with questions yet to be answered.

However, I’m sure that doesn’t sit well with many readers. Even I wanted more of a clear cut happy ending at the end of a 6-book journey, but I’m not disappointed.

Rick didn’t falter in showing us the growth of each character through the previous five books. He made them more apparent of their changes, in physical appearance, personality, and self-esteem. Those middle school and high school years are torturous in terms of personal development, and it seems Rick understands that, which is why these books draw so many young (and young-at-heart) readers to them.

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Review: The Young Elites (Novel) by Marie Lu

The Young ElitesThe Young Elites by Marie Lu
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(NOTE: This review is based on the ARC of the novel)

I figured since I’ve read Marie Lu’s Legend series, I could handle what was in store for me with her newest series, The Young Elites.

It goes to show how much I know!

Marie introduces us to a fantasy world that is dealing with the aftermath of a mass plague, in which a portion of the young people develop unique powers, varying from person to person. Not everyone has them, though, and of course, this causes fear and conflict within the country.

It’s not a wholly unique premise, as that pretty much describes the turmoil the mutants have to go through in X-Men, but the characters that Marie has created draw you into this world.

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Review: Opposition (novel) by Jennifer L. Armentrout

lux-opposition
Opposition by Jennifer L. Armentrout
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Let me state first off, the majority of this book can be labeled as smexy romance. It’s not quite New Adult, but it’s definitely getting near the border between YA and NA, and good reason as there’s a hot teenage boy who can’t stop thinking about what normal teenage boys can’t stop thinking about. In this case, though, he does more than think about it. So yeah, let’s just put that out there, because really, Daemon is a bad boy in that sexy way.

Now, even though the majority of the book is a romance, yes, there’s still the sci-fi element of it, too. There’s definitely a lot of action and drama and turmoil. Many fights to be had between Luxen and humans, and Luxen and Luxen, and Luxen and Arum, so it’s all good tension. And what we thought we knew about Luxen, we didn’t know enough.

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Review: Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice

Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice
Manga Classics: Pride & Prejudice by Stacy King
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’m not a regular manga reader, and I actually had not planned on reading this book when I found out there was going to be a manga version available at Comic-Con this year. But when I happened to pass by the UDON booth on the Saturday (which by the way, I’m usually at Hall H all day on Saturdays) of Comic-Con weekend, I decided to take a peek inside.

Needless to say I was very impressed with what I saw. I purchased it almost immediately. And since this past weekend, I have read the whole thing once and have glanced over the pages more than several times.

This really is a wonderful representation of Jane Austen’s classic and it made me fall in love all over again with Darcy, as well as appreciate the journey of the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

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My Weekend at Comic-Con 2014

This being my 18th year attending Comic-Con (although I mistakenly said 17 to everyone I mentioned it to at the Con), you’d like one would get tired of it.  But that’s the glory of Comic-Con, it doesn’t get old.  There’s always, and I mean always, something different, something new, to experience.  Granted, an event of this magnitude brings out some of the unflattering traits of humanity despite every effort on the part of those involved in organizing the event to make it a highly positive experience for all.

For me and my friends, I believe we’re on the positive side of things.  I understand that I cannot possibly achieve meeting the actors that I want to meet and attend the panels that I want to attend and get the autographs of authors that I admire (even though I most certainly try), but what I can get, I am grateful for.

I will try to help convey the pleasantries of this often overwhelming weekend, not to make anyone jealous of my fortune, but to make people aware of one of the many experiences that one can have at San Diego Comic-Con, as well as give anyone who’s planning to attend bits and pieces of what to expect.

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