Top 5 Wednesday: Books You Felt Betrayed By

This week’s Top 5 Wednesday topic is: Books You Felt Betrayed By: Beware the Ides of March! What books (or characters) did you feel betrayed by, for whatever reason…big or small.

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1. Allegiant by Veronica Roth. First of all, I kind of have the Twilight Effect with this series- I really loved Divergent (and even Insurgent) when I first read it, but going back and re-reading I find it really underwhelming. Anyways, I was so excited for Allegiant and it ended up being probably the worst series ender I’ve ever read. Not just the controversial death, but it made me really dislike Four and the plot was just so convoluted and didn’t make any sense!

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2. Sacrifice by Brigid Kemmerer. I loved the Elemental series and was excited to finally get Michael’s POV. And I was really enjoying this book – right up until the very abrupt end! Part of the problem was my sneaky ARC, but I felt like there were just SO MANY loose ends and this was supposed to be the series finale. Since then, Kemmerer has said she is continuing the series, but no date has been announced as to when that will happen.

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3. The Rose Society by Marie Lu. Every review I read for this series raved about how “dark” it was supposed to be and how the main character was supposed to be so villainous. However, I did not feel that way at all about it. There were maybe a couple of darker moments, but I felt way more sorry for the main character than scared of her, which was a major disappointment. I still haven’t read the final book in the series yet.

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4. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater. So I gave this a pretty favorable review when I first read it, but the more I got away from it, the more disappointing I found not just this final book, but the whole series. Though I will always love the characters, the story just doesn’t make a lot of sense! I especially find the conclusion of the Glendower plotline to be particularly ridiculous and unsatisfying. I’m not even very interested in the upcoming Ronan spin-off.

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5. Kate in Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld. She kind of ruined everything between her and her husband, who I loved, with one stupid choice. The fact that it seemed so abrupt and not anything that the story had been “leading up to” made it even worse.

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A Long Time Ago, in a Land Far, Far Away Book Tag

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I was tagged by Deanna over at A Novel Glimpse (check out her blog, she’s awesome!). Feel free to tag yourself if you would like to participate.

ONCE UPON A TIME

At least in western fairy-tales, once upon a time is the most common and well-known opening for a traditional fairytale. What book opening makes you feel nostalgic?

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I don’t think I entirely understand this question. So, I’m going with a book opening that has “once upon a time” with a twist. The Rose Society by Marie Lu.

“Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.”

IN A LAND FAR, FAR AWAY

Another common opening which speaks of far off places. What is a book set in a country completely unlike your own?

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Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo is set in Ketterdam. Yes, it’s fictional. But it’s kind of Russian inspired, right?

FROM MOUTH TO MOUTH

Our oldest fairy tales were told time and time again with no written record, told only in the spoken form. Everyone had their own version of the fairy tales. What is your favorite retelling?

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All of The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer are really well done, but I think Cress (Rapunzel re-telling) is my favorite book of the series.

THROUGH THE GENERATIONS

Fairy tales are told to us as children and so are passed on through the years. What is a book that someone beloved passed on to you?

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I am usually the one that forces people to read books. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins is one that I read and then bugged and bugged my sister to read. When she finally did she loved it,  so much she started working for one of the major HG fansites, and so then my parents and brother all decided to read it too.

A SPECIAL STORY

Fairy tales are a big part of our culture and say a lot about who we are as people. What is your favorite fairytale and what does it say about you?

My favorite Disney fairy tale movie is beauty and the beast because it's one of the rare times a prince gets saved:

Beauty and the Beast, like all good bookworms. Of course there is the relatable factor of Belle being a book lover. But I guess I also like the idea that physical attraction doesn’t play a role in them falling in love. And I never really realized it until I was searching for a picture to use and found the above one, but Belle is one of the most feminist characters which is cool.

AND THEY ALL LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER

Fairy tales tend to have happy endings. What is a book you’ll love forever?

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The Hating Game by Sally Thorne is one of my new favorites.

Review: The Rose Society (The Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.

Adelina Amouteru’s heart has suffered at the hands of both family and friends, turning her down the bitter path of revenge. Now known and feared as the White Wolf, she and her sister flee Kenettra to find other Young Elites in the hopes of building her own army of allies. Her goal: to strike down the Inquisition Axis, the white-cloaked soldiers who nearly killed her.

But Adelina is no heroine. Her powers, fed only by fear and hate, have started to grow beyond her control. She does not trust her newfound Elite friends. Teren Santoro, leader of the Inquisition, wants her dead. And her former friends, Raffaele and the Dagger Society, want to stop her thirst for vengeance. Adelina struggles to cling to the good within her. But how can someone be good, when her very existence depends on darkness?

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THIS REVIEW WILL HAVE SPOILERS. BECAUSE IT’S MY BLOG AND I CAN DO WHAT I WANT TO.

I completely love how the first chapter ends, which is also in the synopsis, Once upon a time, a girl had a father, a prince, a society of friends. Then they betrayed her, and she destroyed them all.” I felt like it was really going to set the tone for this dark story, but unfortunately the rest of the book does not live up to that one line.

I don’t really feel like a structured review on this, so behold my Spoilery Thoughts:

-While there were several action-packed sequences in the beginning of the book, I was kind of bored. I’m not really sure why, but I just didn’t really care what was happening. I just wanted to get to the meat of the story and I felt it took too long to get there. It took about 200 pages for me to really get into the story.

-I thought we were supposed to get lots of new Elites that were going to join Adelina, but we only got two. I was ok with that, though. I liked Sergio, but he’s not very well developed. He’s just always there to save Adelina when he needs to be. Then there is Magiano who I LOVED. Again, I felt like he could have been a little more developed, but I LOVED him. He’s strong and sarcastic and smart, and a little vulnerable. I ship him and Adelina way more than I did Adelina and Enzo in the first book.

-Since I loved Magiano so much and he brought out the light in Adelina, I became absolutely convinced that he was going to die. However, HE LIVES!!! And I am so, so glad. I don’t think there’s any hope for them as endgame since Adelina is supposed to become a super villain and she has no time for love, but for now, I will just be happy that he’ll still be around.

-I was really looking forward to Enzo coming back from the dead, but the whole storyline just left me disappointed. We find out that it’s not truly Enzo, but some Underworld demon type thing that looks like Enzo and I guess has his memories and stuff? I felt like large portions of it acted like it was the real Enzo, but we are also supposed to believe that it’s Not-Enzo. It was a little confusing. And I just didn’t like the way it played it out. He’s supposed to be linked to Adelina, but he very easily goes against her and goes off with the Daggers. I don’t think we’ll ever see him reach the full potential this character had.

-Speaking of the Daggers, I just didn’t care about them in this book. We get a few chapters from Raffaele’s POV which kept them still in the story, but I don’t know…I just looked forward to getting back to Adelina’s POV when we were with him. None of the Daggers are really developed any further and I didn’t even care when Gemma, who I liked in the first book, died.

-The addition of Maeve wasn’t as interesting as I thought she’d be. She wasn’t as smart or cunning as I thought she was supposed to be. I also thought the Maeve & Lucent relationship just ticked a box on the “Diversity” checklist. We don’t get much more than a chapter to explore their past and their relationship and their possible future. I think it should’ve been much more developed or just left out. As it is, it does not add really anything to the story other than a limited effort to make the characters more diverse.

-Everything I’ve read said this book was going to be DARK and I was looking forward to that. While there were a few moments that I felt fit the bill, for the most part I just still don’t see Adelina as a villain. She comes across more Schizophrenic than Evil. Whenever I feel we were supposed to be getting Dark Alina, I just felt like she was Crazy Alina – and in a really sad way, not the Crazy-and-I-Love-It kind of way. This book is not sunshine and rainbows by any means, but neither did I feel it was the dark book I was promised.

-As I said earlier, it took about 200 pages for me to get into it, but once it got there, I had trouble putting it down. There was lots of plot development and action and I was enjoying it. However, I felt the final chapter was just pretty “meh”. While I know the overall story is not yet finished, I think the storylines of this book wrapped up well and the ending of the book just didn’t make me excited to read the next book. I’ll have no problem waiting for the conclusion of the series to come out.

Overall, I think the idea and intent of The Rose Society and the series in general is interesting and unique. However, I just don’t feel like the actual books deliver. While I did enjoy parts of this book – and absolutely loved the addition of Magiano – it was overall just an ok read for me. I do think people who loved the first book, will also enjoy this one, though.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2.5 Stars

Review: The Young Elites (The Young Elites #1) by Marie Lu

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

I am tired of being used, hurt, and cast aside.

Adelina Amouteru is a survivor of the blood fever. A decade ago, the deadly illness swept through her nation. Most of the infected perished, while many of the children who survived were left with strange markings. Adelina’s black hair turned silver, her lashes went pale, and now she has only a jagged scar where her left eye once was. Her cruel father believes she is a malfetto, an abomination, ruining their family’s good name and standing in the way of their fortune. But some of the fever’s survivors are rumored to possess more than just scars—they are believed to have mysterious and powerful gifts, and though their identities remain secret, they have come to be called the Young Elites.

Teren Santoro works for the king. As Leader of the Inquisition Axis, it is his job to seek out the Young Elites, to destroy them before they destroy the nation. He believes the Young Elites to be dangerous and vengeful, but it’s Teren who may possess the darkest secret of all.

Enzo Valenciano is a member of the Dagger Society. This secret sect of Young Elites seeks out others like them before the Inquisition Axis can. But when the Daggers find Adelina, they discover someone with powers like they’ve never seen.

Adelina wants to believe Enzo is on her side, and that Teren is the true enemy. But the lives of these three will collide in unexpected ways, as each fights a very different and personal battle. But of one thing they are all certain: Adelina has abilities that shouldn’t belong in this world. A vengeful blackness in her heart. And a desire to destroy all who dare to cross her.

It is my turn to use. My turn to hurt.

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I recently won a giveaway for an ARC of The Rose Society, the second book in The Young Elites series so I decided I should probably read the first book. I’ve read many glowing reviews for The Young Elites, but it’s just been hanging out on my TBR shelf with no real urgency attached to it. Maybe because I never finished reading Legend by this author. Maybe because the cover reminds me of Seeker, which I also wasn’t able to finish. For whatever reason, it wasn’t high up on my list, but winning the second book definitely pushed it to the front.

I started out really loving this book. It was intense and intriguing and I was glued to the pages. I liked Lu’s writing, which surprised me since I wasn’t entirely impressed with Legend. The character of Adelina was complex and interesting and I wanted to learn more about her. The action sequence early on was well done and I don’t generally like action in books, but I liked it here. As we got to meet each of the new Young Elites in the Dagger society I became more and more intrigued. But then it just became really…slow. A touch confusing. Almost a little boring. I hate to say that. It started out so strong for me and maybe it was asking too much to hope it kept it up for the whole novel.

The Young Elites also isn’t quite what I was expecting. I was expecting Villains. And the characters did give off a somewhat villainous vibe. The main characters reminded me a lot of the Darkling from The Grisha series, so that’s a major plus. However, they were not as villainous as I wanted or expected. They were an oppressed people fighting for a greater cause. Even if they weren’t exactly noble, they came across more as revolutionaries than villains. This is by no means a bad thing, it just didn’t feel like what I was promised.

I was very intrigued by Enzo, the leader of the Dagger society. He seemed very complex and his backstory was given, but I felt like there was so much more that could have been explored and I kept waiting for it. We only get his POV once and it’s very short. I wanted more. Even though I liked him, I did not really get into the “romance” he had with Adelina. From other reviews I’ve read I was expecting it to be really intense and I didn’t get it at all. This book is not supposed to be based on the romance, which I don’t mind, but it was an aspect of it and I didn’t think it was well done. I have really high hopes for Enzo in the next book, though I’m not sure how feasible that is. Fingers crossed!

I don’t mean to focus on the negative. This book was interesting overall. We did really get to know Adelina and her motivations and she is an interesting character. While not exactly likable, she’s empathetic. I look forward to seeing her develop as the series goes on. I’m hoping to see her darker side become even more pronounced in the next book.

Overall, The Young Elites was enjoyable. Even though it left me a little disappointed, it was an interesting idea with strong, complex characters. I think fans of the Darkling from The Grisha series would enjoy it. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next in The Rose Society.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 3 Stars

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