What if women unraveled the evils of patriarchy?
With men safely "gentled" in a worldwide Liberation, the matriarchy of Nedé has risen from the ashes. Seventeen-year-old Reina Pierce has never given a thought to the Brutes of old. Itching to escape her mother's finca--and desperate to keep her training and forbidden friendship a secret--her greatest worry is which Destiny she'll choose on her next birthday. But when she's selected as a candidate for the Succession instead, competing to become Nedé's ninth Matriarch, she discovers their Eden has come at a cost she's not sure she's willing to pay.
Jess Corban's debut novel presents a new twist to the dystopian genre, delivering heart-pounding action, thought-provoking revelations, and a setting as lush as the jungles of Central America.
I’m not sure how I feel about these books. And that’s why I admire it.
This book tackles ideas of gender, women’s rights, femininity, and sexism in a unique and fresh way. Using a compelling plot and high stakes, it kept me turning pages. Her characters had to make hard decisions—decisions that made my stomach sink at times. And in them making those hard decisions, I was forced to think through some as well.
I’m not sure I agree with everything in this allegory. Sometimes I’d nod my head. Sometimes I’d say no. A lot of the time I’d think hard.
In some ways, it didn’t feel quite sensitive enough to women who have been horrifically abused, even though it’s clear Jess Corban put a lot of effort into it. The allegory can tip towards the preachy side at times, as well. I would have liked to see it tackled with more sensitivity and subtlety; I believe that would have made it a more powerful read.
These books won’t be for everyone, but I would still recommend giving them a read. Even if you disagree, it may help you think through your own beliefs and identity in a new way.
Also, points for the Central American representation! It was a fresh new take on a dystopian setting.
As mentioned above, these books won’t be for everyone, but I would hope they wouldn’t dismiss or shame them just because of a difference in perspective.
Nede Rising isn’t for everyone. Some will agree, some will disagree. I’m not sure where I fall on the spectrum myself. But that’s why these books are important, because they force us to think and make the hard decisions. While some sensitivity may be lacking, it’s clear the author worked hard and cared enough to touch the hard things of being a woman. And that’s worth celebrating.
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth's fate hinges on one girl. . . .
Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She's a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister's illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai's, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world's future.
With high-stakes action and a smart, resourceful heroine, Cinder is a Cinderella retelling that is at once classic and strikingly original.
I was skeptical about this book. I had read her book Heartless and adored it, but that was more of a straight fantasy. I’m not much of a sci-fi gal, and I knew this story would be a gamble. Luckily, I got it for a couple bucks at a bookstore due to a damaged cover. And it made it into the bag when I needed a book for a dogsitting trip.
I’m so glad it did.
The worldbuilding blows my mind. I haven’t read many books steeped in Asian culture, so this one was both a breath of fresh air and a lovely bit of representation. The twists on the old Cinderella tale are so clever, sometimes I didn’t even quite realize it until it had passed. I gathered up every little detail I could, trying to predict the path ahead, only for Marissa Meyer to turn it on its head in the most glorious way.
Cinder herself was not at all what I expected, but deeply relatable. She tries to be tough and brusque on the outside to hide a girl who desperately wants someone, anyone to love and notice her. The themes in this book, speaking to the question “am I worthy?” are heartachingly beautiful.
This was one of those books that wouldn't let me forget why I love reading. I was so absorbed in the story.
There are three easily censored pieces of language in this book. Please note that while this is not a Christian book, it is a clean wholesome book.
Cinder gathers up the greasy mismatched parts of the old Cinderella tale, dumps them on a table, and begins to build. Manufacturing a few pieces of clever Eastern representation and heartaching questions of worth, it builds something no one has ever seen before—and in the process, creates an immersive story, the old-fashioned kind that pulls you in till pages’ end.
What if superhumans weren't considered heroes?
When Scarlett Marley is attacked by an illegal super with fire powers, she doesn’t get burned, but now she has a fire-like glow flickering in her eyes.
With superpowers criminalized, she has no choice but to turn herself over to the Superhuman Containment Facility, or risk hurting everyone she loves.
Her normal life seems lost forever, until she is selected to be one of the first to receive the experimental cure to destroy her powers. In exchange, she must first complete one mission:
Infiltrate and capture one of the largest gangs of supers in the remains of once-great Rapid City.
With the cure and all her future at stake, Scarlett is prepared to do whatever it takes to bring these criminals to justice so she can return to her family. But this gang and their leader, Rez, aren’t what everyone says, and Scarlett begins to question everything she was ever told about the SCF and the fire flowing in her veins.
The cure is her only hope for returning her life to what it was before, but is that life worth returning to after all?
On a not really positive or negative note, the book is very differently paced than what I was expecting. It is marketed to appeal to fans of the MCU films, and while it does, it is a much more slow and thoughtful ride. While a Marvel film can be very thoughtful, Ignite is much less focused on the action and more focused on inter-character relationships and what’s going on inside their heads.
While as I’ll mention below, sometimes that thoughtfulness took up a lot of page time, I can’t really blame it. The different characters and their motivations are so well thought out, it’s incredible. They react in unexpected ways that still make perfect sense with where they’re coming from.
Ares was my favorite character, hands down. While ultimately, the author decided he was not the right character to tell this story, I would have loved to see a version of this story from his perspective. His conflict with his father seems like it could be rife with potential.
The conflict with superhumans not being seen as “people” also has a lot of potential to become a powerful allegory for modern judgements and prejudices as well. It was unpacked very thoughtfully in this installment, and I’m looking forward to seeing how it unfolds.
Some of the scenes did get to feeling repetitive. There were quite a few scenes of them going for their “recess” at the compound. While these did become important at the end of the story, it took quite a few repetitions to get there. Other events did seem to have the same things happening over and over again.
We also spent a lot of time in Scarlett’s head. I get that we were supposed to, she’s the main character. But there was a lot of time where she was just thinking and nothing else was happening in the scene.
That is the one and only weakness I could find with this book—just a few too many “filler” scenes without much happening.
Ignite is a different installment in the superhero genre. One where perhaps we slow down and think more than rush into battle. And that’s okay.
“They say every child has an imaginary friend. Mine never left.”
And so goes the inspiration for the novella The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson. Fern Johnson has an imaginary friend who has been with her since she was eight years old, when a trauma that even Fern can’t remember or face left her terrified and alone. Now nineteen and taking care of her young niece, Fern doesn’t have time for Tristan and his fantasy worlds and messages of doom.
Or does she? After all, skyscrapers don’t just sink into the ground by themselves, as FBI agent Barstow reminds her. But that’s just what’s happening in Los Angeles.
And Tristan warned Fern about it.
Could Tristan—and all his stories—possibly be more than imaginary? Could Fern really see into a world that no one else can? And just what would the wrong person give to be able to see the way she does?
This is one of a few books I’ve read that I can say is truly whimsical. There’s something beautiful about the imagination presented in the story. The book is eerily vivid, full of strong characters and beautiful prose—the first time Fern had a “hallucination” and saw the beam slicing through the floor, I actually looked around my living room just to check and felt my heart jump a little. I saw just what Fern saw.
I could not put this book down and my heart pounded through it all. The ending was so very sad . . . leading to a soaring resolution that I would love to detail more, but SPOILERS.
I also loved how the author portrayed different aspects of mental health—anxiety, depression, trauma, etc., things that everyone struggles with to different degrees—without making the characters seem broken, in need of fixing. It was a very encouraging perspective on the topic.
I cannot think of anything negative about this story. Seriously.
This is truly one of the best reads I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying this year. This little book is certainly worth your while—truth be told, we all need an encouragement to jump into the impossible and see what the world has forgotten to see.
How would you live if you knew the day you'd die?
Because Parvin Blackwater actually does, thanks to the Clock by her bedside. Everyone has them now--government-issued Clocks that count down to the day they die. And her Clock tells her she's got one more year left.
What's one more year when she's wasted seventeen of them?
What can she do in one year that will make her remembered forever?
It's perfectly logical, isn't it? Become her own biographer, of course!
Of course, I don't think she was intending that to include crossing the wall from her home to the uncharted worlds of the West. Or stumbling across an invention that could change the Clock system forever. Or gathering a Radical army to bring the wall down.
Let me start out by saying I have never read anything quite like the Out of Time trilogy before. I'd never read a dystopian book. I'd never read a science fiction book. I'd never read a futuristic book. So there was a certain weird factor to get past. In some things, Parvin's society has advanced from ours. In others, it's regressed.
But once I got my feet under me, I started on the journey with Parvin. It is a journey, so sometimes I read a page and wondered how exactly that was relevant to the rest of the story (hint: it was, I just had to read further). I lost track of how many characters Parvin met along her journey, each of them unique and vibrant. And let's not forget Parvin's voice as she narrates the journey! Her character arc from the insecure girl in the first book is incredible. Each book in the trilogy got better both in style and in plot, and that's saying something because the first one was excellent.
One of the things I found most interesting about this book was the characters' view of mercy--even when it comes to their enemies. The characters choose not to participate in riots, give their enemies second chances, even going so far as to take a wounded villain to the nearest town . . . by dogsled. It's a refreshing change, in all fiction, but young adult fiction especially.
By the end of the trilogy, Parvin doesn't have all the answers. And the answers she does have, she went through a lot to learn. Sometimes she makes mistakes. Big mistakes. And we learn from them, just as she does. We learn what it truly means to live. The Out of Time trilogy will live on in your thoughts long after you've read it . . . and maybe, just maybe it will change your life.
Hi there! Rachel again. Check out this section for book reviews and cover reveals of some of my favorites!