What can I say? Books are awesome. All the non-believers out there are simply misinformed or just haven’t given those wonderful collections of words a chance. Which reminds me, I need to update my Goodreads account.
The Archived by Victoria Schwab (Hyperion)
The Archived reminds me of all good things (the comic book Locke & Key, the novella Coraline, The Chaos Walking trilogy). However, it stands on it’s own and has one of the most fascinating concepts I’ve ever come across. The idea of the dead resting on shelves, and there being this whole secret world of people who tend to them, is intriguing, creepy, haunting, and yet oddly mesmerizing. It’s the freshest storyline I’ve read in YA fiction for sometime now.
Mackenzie Bishop became a Keeper for the Archive when she was twelve years old. Trained and groomed by her grandfather, Mackenzie knew exactly what being a Keeper would mean. It means danger as she hunts for escaped Histories (records of the dead bound in something very close to flesh and bone) that need to be returned to the Archive.
The Archived sounds like it should be a grim book. There are dead people. There are sad characters. It should be depressing. Instead, The Archived is an eerie, original read that is simultaneously exciting and contemplative. Mac is a strong, resilient heroine who is flawed and as utterly authentic as the world she inhabits.
And…there’s just something about Victoria Schwab’s writing. It’s so beautiful and fluid it seems to flow effortlessly, ensuring the reader is completely captivated and unable to stop reading.
The Archived is Schwab’s second novel. It is also the first in a series although it stands very nicely on its own. The sequel, The Unbound, is due out in 2014.
As for the plot itself…I actually don’t want to go into too much detail because I feel it needs to be experienced rather than read about. I’ll say this: the mystery was so tightly woven that it kept me guessing, with my fingers flipping the pages almost faster than my eyes could read. To say this book is a must-read would be downplaying its DOPENESS. Simply put, if you haven’t already read The Archived, you’re missing out on an incredible book that deserves a spot on everyone’s shelves.
Prodigy (Legend #2) by Marie Lu (Putnam Juvenile)
There’s something about dystopian novels that arouses a sort of morbid curiosity within you. After all, you’re reading about the world you live in today…gone wrong. And you can experience it pretty much first-hand in the safety and comfort of your own bed! Set in a post-flood, rogue America ravaged by war between the Republic and the Colonies, “Prodigy” by Marie Lu is the highly-anticipated second book in the “Legend” series.
Prodigy begins where Legend left off. Day and June have just escaped Los Angeles and are on a train to Las Vegas. Immediately upon getting to Las Vegas Elector Primo dies and needing help June and Day seek out the Patriots. In exchange for their help June and Day must assassinate the new Elector, Anden. Only Anden isn’t the man his father was. The lines between good and evil are blurred even further when it comes to the leaders of both sides. What originally seemed so black and white in the first book is thrown into question as both main characters struggle to determine who really has the best intentions.
I’m still digging the ‘He Said/She Said’ alternating points of view between June and Day. They are even more distinct in the way they phrase and view both people and situations. The complementary (and sometimes contradictory) opinions and interpretations of the same situation really added to the story.
No love triangle here, it’s more of a love square. Romance is usually the downfall of most YA novels for me.
Lu excels at writing action scenes, and there are a lot of them in this book. I could picture them as I read them, but they add to the narrative of the story rather than feeling like set pieces designed to wow. The descriptive and devastated world that Lu created in Legend is changing. The way you think things are just might not be what they seem and same with the characters. Filled with twists, turns, change and action. It certainly does not fall victim to middle novel syndrome. Prodigy is not to be missed.
Hitman: Damnation by Raymond Benson (Del Rey)
The story ties in with with the game, Absolution, describing what 47 was doing after the end of Blood Money and before Absolution. The plot revolves around a cult leader running for President of the United States and his possible connection to a terrorist group that targets government installations. 47 is tracked down by the Agency after going dark and hired to do this job even though he’s going through what amounts to a mid-life crisis. Along the way, he infiltrates the cult in order to get closer to the leader, and end up befriending a cult member possibly jeopardizing his mission.
Benson took a one-dimensional videogame hero with a number instead of a name and not only fleshed him out but somehow got blood pumping through his veins too. In this book 47 has a palpable personality, conflicting foibles and emotional doubts as well as being embroiled in several ferocious fight scenes that are a joy to read. If you are a fan of Hitman, pick this edge-of-your-seat whirlwind up. You won’t be disappointed.
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