Saturday, August 27, 2011

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

It came as no great shock to me that I was going to adore this book. I had seen the glowing reviews, and the second I mentioned that I was going to be reading Starcrossed, the comments came pouring in. Everyone was so excited that I was going to be reading what they were deeming one of their favorite books. Could it possibly live up to all the hype? Oh boy, did it ever. Brace yourselves ‘cause I am about to jump on the gushing bandwagon.

Starcrossed follows the stunningly gorgeous Helen Hamilton who is trying to lead a nice quiet life on the island of Nantucket. She was successful too… until the day the Delos family moved to the island. The first time she lays eyes on the family she is overcome by an uncontrollable rage, and one certain family member in particular triggers that rage: Lucas Delos. Drop. Dead. Gorgeous. Lucas. Helen begins having nightmares and hallucinations, and she’s hearing things. She thinks she may be going completely mad, but there is a reason behind all of it. A mystery that threatens her very existence as well as those she cares about and even these new strangers that have entered her life. A secret that will explain things Helen has been trying desperately to hide her whole life: Her incredible speed, the fact that she is freakishly strong and why she has never quite fit in. The breathtaking, tumultuous romance between Helen and Lucas as they struggle to find a way to be together is beautiful and heartwrenching.

"I don’t care how hard being together is, nothing is worse than being apart."

Josephine Angelini has written a beautiful, heartwarming, heartbreaking, poignant book. Her writing is brilliant, and she made me feel exactly what her characters felt. Every time Helen held her stomach in pain, I realized I was holding mine, not to mention my breath, because I couldn’t read fast enough to find out what was going to happen to these beloved characters. Oh, and Helen and Lucas are not the only characters here to fall in love with. Their families are charming and captivating, too, and you can’t help but feel something for all of them. (ie: Hector and Jason = swoon)

I am a huge fan of Greek mythology. It was a forbidden subject in my private Christian school, so of course, me being me, I researched and found out everything I could about gods and goddesses! Forbidden my arse. I LOVE the myths and I have copious amounts of uber love for Josephine Angelini and her incredible mesmerizing debut novel.

Greek mythology, forbidden love, and Angelini’s superb, descriptive writing have me eagerly awaiting Dreamless, the second much anticipated book in the trilogy.

Wither by Lauren DeStefano

"This is the way the world ends not with a bang but a whimper." - T.S. Eliot

Seventy years ago, scientists discovered a way to engineer genetically perfect children, thus securing the future of the human race. While successful at first, with this new generation being nearly immortal, a virus causes the generations thereafter to die early. Women don’t live past age twenty, and the men past age twenty-five. Girls are now being kidnapped and sold to wealthy men for polygamous marriages in the hopes of breeding children and eradicating the awful virus. Sixteen year old Rhine Ellery is kidnapped and sold with two other girls, Jenna and Cecily, to Linden Ashby. Linden’s father, the manipulative Housemaster Vaughn, is somewhat of a mad scientist and is feverishly working on finding a cure for the virus. The girls come to fear him for good reason (Case in point: hoarding corpses in the basement). They live in a beautiful mansion with immense gardens, and, for the most part, the girls are treated like royalty. Upon Rhine’s arrival to the mansion, she meets a servant named Gabriel. He is quiet, docile, and very sweet. Rhine is immediately drawn to him. Rhine unexpectedly comes to care for her sister wives and surprises herself when she begins to feel compassion and affection for Linden. However, all Rhine can think about is escape and the brother she left behind.

I had been hearing quite a bit about this book, and when I first read the synopsis, I wasn’t sure if this was a book for me. Sister wives? Forced marriages? Um, no thank you? However, the book cover is stunning and as it usually does, curiosity got the best of me. I am so pleased that it did. This book is amazing and one of my favorites so far this year. Rhine is an easy heroine to love. She is strong and nothing can weaken her determination. Wither is thrilling, thought provoking, and poignant.

Lauren DeStefano has a stunning way with words, and her writing style is beautiful and dramatic. Fever, the second book in The Chemical Garden Trilogy, cannot come fast enough.

Divergent by Veronica Roth

The population of Chicago has been divided into five factions: Abnegation, Candor, Dauntless, Erudite, and Amity. When the age of sixteen is reached, each teenager is subjected to an aptitude test and must then choose whether to remain with the faction they were born into or choose the faction that best suits them determined by the aptitude test. Beatrice “Tris” Pryor has been born into the selfless Abnegation faction. However, Tris has always been in awe of a different faction. Will she have the courage to leave her faction, her parents and the only home she has ever known?

I live for the far away places a book can take me, but there are few books that I lose myself in so completely that I become one with the lead character. Divergent was such a book. My own personal upbringing made me feel such a strong connection to Tris and her overwhelming need to break free from her faction, while at the same time maintaining her respect and love for the faction she was raised in. I greatly admired the courage she had when faced with the incredible decision she had to make.

Then there is Four. I could devote pages and pages and then a few more pages to Four. Four is the kind of “hero” I love to love. He is confident and strong with an underlying tenderness that leaves you wanting more. I like how Four and Tris relate to each other. The way he believes in her when no one else seems to left me breathless. I love how the book made my heart pound and kept me captivated until the very end. I will issue a Kleenex warning as some parts are quite sad and extremely touching. Long after I finished the book, I could not stop thinking about the world Veronica Roth created or her wonderful characters, and there are plenty of characters to love in this story aside from the lead characters. I can’t wait to see what the author has in store for them next!