Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Early Review – Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori #1) by Heather W. Petty

June 4, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 2 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Lock & Mori (Lock & Mori #1) by Heather W. PettyLock & Mori by Heather W. Petty
Series: Lock & Mori #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on September 15th 2015
Pages: 256
Genres: Fairy-Tales/Retellings, Mystery-Contemporary
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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two-stars

In modern-day London, two brilliant high school students—one Sherlock Holmes and a Miss James “Mori” Moriarty—meet. A murder will bring them together. The truth very well might drive them apart.

Before they were mortal enemies, they were much more…

FACT: Someone has been murdered in London’s Regent’s Park. The police have no leads.

FACT: Miss James “Mori” Moriarty and Sherlock “Lock” Holmes should be hitting the books on a school night. Instead, they are out crashing a crime scene.

FACT: Lock has challenged Mori to solve the case before he does. Challenge accepted.

FACT: Despite agreeing to Lock’s one rule—they must share every clue with each other—Mori is keeping secrets.

OBSERVATION: Sometimes you can’t trust the people closest to you with matters of the heart. And after this case, Mori may never trust Lock again.

I love Sherlock. I love anything to do with Sherlock. But this? I wanted to rip my hair out. The frustration was insane between the characterization, the absurd plot, the even more ridiculous ‘mystery’, but the insta-love thing Lock & Mori had going on was beyond foolish. All lumped together, it was positively rage inducing for me. But I’ll try to break it down and explain myself instead of just summing up my review with this gif:

The Mystery: A recent string of mysterious murders catches the attention of ‘Lock’ and subsequently Mori when he enlists her help in investigating. All murders occurred in the same spot and the murder weapon appears to be, strangely enough, a sword.

The Characters: Mori is the oldest of four children who lives with her alcoholic father and her three younger brothers. Her mother recently passed leaving her father a changed man, taking out his grief on his children. Sherlock Holmes? We’re told next to nothing about. He has a brother, and a sick mother and… yep. Basically, this was all Mori’s story, told from her point of view and Sherlock, unfortunately, ended up being nothing more than a supporting character. It would have been completely fine if Mori was a character I wanted an entire story about, and I didn’t.

The Romance: The two inevitably fall into a hasty romance where they seemingly spend approximately half the story kissing and Sherlock is continuously making awkward declarations of love.

“I thought I was more evolved than that. But my obsession with revenge […] with wanting to keep you near me from now on, I fear I’m outing myself as the Neanderthal I never thought I’d be.”

In addition, Mori is a constant angst-ball complaining about having to suffer through life’s tribulations all by herself and telling herself that she can’t tell Sherlock about herself because *gasp* he can’t know about her so she’s trying to solve this mystery by herself. Of course, all along Sherlock is practically a leech in human form and he sleeps on her bedroom floor at night to make sure she’s safe. Yeah. So alone. Poor thing.

But the one thing that bothered me so completely that it dwarfed all previously mentioned issues: the logic of the decision making. Sure, it could be argued that “this is fiction! logic isn’t a requirement!” Well, this is what I have to say to that:

Most of what I’d like to say is just a giant spoiler so I’ll try to be as vague as possible. You know those types of mysteries that have the characters doing the most ridiculous things (like trying to solve murders on their own) instead of being smart and just going to the police? This is one of those stories. You know those stories where the character has friends there for them and instead of allowing them to be of some help they choose to go off on their own and handle it themselves (predictably getting themselves in a world of shit in the process)? This is one of those stories. All these silly, stupid decisions could have all been avoided with a little common sense. Common sense isn’t quite so common apparently, at least when it comes to Mori.

The ending sets up even more future angst and unnecessary drama to come. Considering we know how Sherlock and Moriarty’s relationship typically ends up transpiring, I guess the groundwork had to be laid somehow. However the series progresses though, I won’t be around to witness. Sherlock and Moriarty both are two of the smartest individuals in fiction and in my opinion that shouldn’t change if you switch up their gender and turn their relationship into a love affair. I guess I now need to change my “I love anything to do with Sherlock” to “I love practically anything to do with Sherlock” because I definitely did not love this one.

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Early Review – Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles #2) by Lauren DeStefano

March 7, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015, YA 1 Comment

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Burning Kingdoms (The Internment Chronicles #2) by Lauren DeStefanoBurning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Internment Chronicles #2
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on March 10th 2015
Pages: 320
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: Wither, Perfect Ruin, The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart

two-stars

Danger descends in the second book of The Internment Chronicles, from the New York Timesbestselling author of The Chemical Garden trilogy.

After escaping Internment, Morgan and her fellow fugitives land on the ground to finally learn about the world beneath their floating island home.

The ground is a strange place where water falls from the sky as snow, and people watch moving pictures and visit speakeasies. A place where families can have as many children as they want, their dead are buried in vast gardens of bodies, and Internment is the feature of an amusement park.

It is also a land at war.

Everyone who fled Internment had their own reasons to escape their corrupt haven, but now they’re caught under the watchful eye of another king who wants to dominate his world. They may have made it to the ground, but have they dragged Internment with them?

The Internment Chronicles series

Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1) by Lauren DeStefano {My ReviewPurchase}
No Intention of Dying (Novella) (The Internment Chronicles #1.5) by Lauren DeStefano {Purchase}

Returning to the story of Morgan Stockhour, a resident of Internment, who has now crash landed on Earth with no feasible way of returning home. With her is her betrothed, Basil, her best friend, Pen, her brother, his wife and Celeste, the princess of Internment who was a stowaway. Shortly upon their arrival, the group learns that Earth isn’t necessarily the safe haven they had hoped for and is actually in the middle of a war that unknowingly involves Internment.

In this middle installment, we’re given a brand new environment to understand but rationalizing won’t come easy. Here on Earth, Kings rule even though it seems like the setting is sometime in the 1920s. There are speakeasies and silent movies but then out of nowhere, a mermaid is spotted. The world building is focused on much more in this installment but with all the descriptions given it’s still not fully explained.

The characters themselves and their various backgrounds are delved into more in this installment. Morgan still acts as narrator, but considering there isn’t much of a plot going on, for the most part, her narration managed to drag this story down even more. Regarding the lack of plot, the characters spend a lot of time sitting around waiting for something to happen. Inevitably, drama gets stirred up, a love triangle develops and friendships are tested. This could have all been an interesting addition to this dystopian tale, however, that would require you to have been invested in these characters from the very beginning of this trilogy and I, unfortunately, was not.

Burning Kingdoms is the second installment in The Internment Chronicles and it definitely suffers from a slower pace and lack of plot. For me, it’s been frustrating with how unsatisfying I’ve found it considering the potential behind the interesting concept. The final story may provide some satisfaction but I think I’ll be calling it quits.

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Book Review – Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1) by Lauren DeStefano

February 28, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 1 Comment

Book Review – Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles #1) by Lauren DeStefanoPerfect Ruin by Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Internment Chronicles #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on October 1st 2013
Pages: 356
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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Also by this author: Wither, Burning Kingdoms, The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart

two-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Chemical Garden trilogy: On the floating city of Internment, you can be anything you dream. Unless you approach the edge. Children’s Literature says “shades of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and George Orwell’s 1984 inspire DeStefano’s sci-fi/murder mystery page-turner.”

Morgan Stockhour knows getting too close to the edge of Internment, the floating city and her home, can lead to madness. Even though her older brother, Lex, was a Jumper, Morgan vows never to end up like him. There’s too much for her on Internment: her parents, best friend Pen, and her betrothed, Basil. Her life is ordinary and safe, even if she sometimes does wonder about the ground and why it’s forbidden.

Then a murder, the first in a generation, rocks the city. With whispers swirling and fear on the wind, Morgan can no longer stop herself from investigating, especially once she meets Judas. Betrothed to the victim, Judas is being blamed for the murder, but Morgan is convinced of his innocence. Secrets lay at the heart of Internment, but nothing can prepare Morgan for what she will find—or whom she will lose.

Morgan Stockhour is a resident of Interment, an island that has been separated from Earth and now floats above it in the sky. Internment possesses the ideal conditions of a Utopian society until the shocking murder of a young girl leaves everyone feeling unsafe.

‘You have all heard the warnings about the edge. We have been told its winds are a song that will hypnotize us, and by the time we awaken from the trance, it will be too late.’

The warnings to not peer over the edge, to look down on Earth’s people, have been drilled into all residents since before anyone can remember. Those that chance this danger are known as Jumpers and Morgan’s brother Lex is counted among the few to have survived, except he is now blind. Here lies my first issue. We end up meeting another of these ‘Jumpers’, a young girl, yet she ends up with a mind that isn’t “quite right” (something sounding a lot like epilepsy). No reasoning behind the differences in their injuries is given. But you’d think an island floating in the sky would have severe winds especially near the edge and you wouldn’t be able to be anywhere close to it.

The world-building is spent mostly on the culture of these people, rather than explaining the actual reasoning behind why an island just randomly detached from Earth and floated to a still livable position in the sky and not straight out into space. But basically, the way the society works is there’s the evil group of leaders, a King and Queen, that seek to control all aspects of the resident’s lives including arranged marriages from birth. And then it goes off on a typical tangent with the evil plot being discovered and the subsequent plan to escape/overthrow those evil doers. It was hard to get a feel for the time period this is set in. The society seemed technologically advanced yet had the feel of a medieval type era with its arranged marriages and King/Queen rulers. But you would think it’d have to be set in a distant past since one would expect the people on Earth to fly up and make contact with the ‘island people’, no?

The slow, meandering pace of the introduction was an interesting first look into this strange society and could have worked were it not for the continued slow, meandering pace even after the murder mystery aspect was introduced. Even during moments when you would expect a certain level of excitement or tension were made inexplicably dull. Unfortunately, what could have been an interesting dystopian tale turned very predictable and far from original.

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Book Review – Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne

September 20, 2014 Bonnie Book Reviews, Middle Grade, Read in 2014 1 Comment

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma TrevayneFlights and Chimes and Mysterious Times by Emma Trevayne
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 13th 2014
Pages: 320
Genres: Steampunk
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
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three-stars

Ten-year-old Jack Foster has stepped through a doorway and into quite a different London.

Londinium is a smoky, dark, and dangerous place, home to mischievous metal fairies and fearsome clockwork dragons that breathe scalding steam. The people wear goggles to protect their eyes, brass grill insets in their nostrils to filter air, or mechanical limbs to replace missing ones.

Over it all rules the Lady, and the Lady has demanded a new son—a perfect flesh-and-blood child. She has chosen Jack.

Jack’s wonder at the magic and steam-powered marvels in Londinium lasts until he learns he is the pawn in a very dangerous game. The consequences are deadly, and his only hope of escape, of returning home, lies with a legendary clockwork bird.

The Gearwing grants wishes. Or it did, before it was broken. Before it was killed.

But some things don’t stay dead forever.

Jack Foster is your typical ‘dissatisfied with life ‘ ten-year-old boy who is constantly left to fend for himself, in terms of entertainment, by his mostly absent parents. When he follows a man by the name of Lorcan Havelock through a magical doorway set in a clock tower in London, he finds himself in a strange and mysterious ‘other’ version of London. This land is known as Londinium .

‘A land of brass and steel and clockwork, of steam and airships, cogs that turned and wheels that spin. He half wondered if he was dreaming, so perfect was this place, and would wake in his bed to the sound of Mrs. Pond clattering the breakfast things in the kitchen below.’

Jack is mesmerized by this new world he’s found himself in and has no desire to try to find his way back to where he came from, figuring that his parents won’t likely miss him anyways. The air quality is poor and causes his lungs to ache but all the wonderful things made out of metal far outweigh any bad aspects in his mind. After stumbling upon a cage containing a clockwork girl named Beth, she takes him to Dr. Snailwater who tells him the truth behind the man named Lorcan.

​’​Portraits lined the walls […] All were of boys who could pass for Jack’s brothers, had he any, the oils faded and cracked, some more than others. Dozens of them.’​

Lorcan Havelock was sent to London by the ruler of Londinium, a woman only known by the name of ‘Lady’, to procure for her a perfect human boy that she can play with and love. Lorcan was her previous (and not only) son but he has grown old, while the Lady has not, and she requires a new child. Lorcan was a surprisingly terrible and unforgivable type of villain that did truly awful things. I felt the acts of violence were extreme for a Middle-Grade book (including daily hangings that go on for far too long) but Lorcan was still a small child at heart that only wished to be loved again by the Lady. Nonetheless, his actions were shocking.

​​’Most of all, the open door beside the stairs, the maddeningly incomplete glimpses of the engine in the room beyond. He ran to it, through it, engulfed by the sound. It was like nothing Jack had ever seen. The enormity of it, the clouds of steam thick enough to blanket the whole sky, sucked from the room by a shaft that led upward. Every metal part, tiny and huge, playing its well-oiled part. Spinning, hissing, churning.’

The single most lovely thing about this book was the imaginative descriptions of this parallel world. Her descriptions of clockwork dragons and magic made it easy to understand what made Jack so spellbound. The descriptions alone will keep the reader invested but upon closer examination, one would have questions abound regarding what exactly makes this world tick. It lacks a clarity and feels akin to a hazy dream, but then again this is a magical world so maybe that’s to be expected. The characters were also written in a hazy, imprecise manner and added detail into who they were (most especially the Lady) would have been well-received. While I loved the world Travayne created, I didn’t feel it fulfilled it’s potential especially with the lackluster ending.

Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times will appeal to fans of steampunk (or readers looking to try out the genre) and middle-grade readers will likely be mesmerized just as Jack was.

The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making (Fairyland #1) by Catherynne M. Valente {PurchaseMy Review}
Liesl & Po by Lauren Oliver {Purchase}
Wildwood (Wildwood Chronicles #1) by Colin Meloy {Purchase}

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Early Review – Golden by Jessi Kirby

April 25, 2013 Bonnie Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2013, YA 6 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – Golden by Jessi KirbyGolden by Jessi Kirby
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on May 13th 2013
Pages: 256
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
Amazon
Goodreads


four-stars

Love, tragedy, and mystery converge in this compelling novel from “an author to watch” (Booklist).

Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

“Tell me, what do you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life.”

Parker Frost has always lived her life with the future in mind. She has always studied hard and received good grades in hopes that she can attend Stanford after graduation and become a doctor. There has never been an alternate path for her, no detours or side streets to take, she has only had the one goal. When she stumbles upon an old notebook that sheds light on the town mystery, she thinks she knows the answers but she couldn’t be further from the truth. When this revelation comes to light, Parker starts to wonder what she would do with her one wild and precious life and begins to question if the path she’s on is really the answer.

Life can be so very distracting at times. You can find yourself so caught up in everything when there comes a day you stop and look around and have to truly wonder how you got to that point. Worse, is when you realize you’ve been on the wrong path the entire time. Parker is a strong and vivid character that was incredibly easy to empathize with.

The town mystery felt at first like a separate part of the story entirely except you realize that Parker’s life choices begin reforming as the pieces of the mystery begin coming together, both intertwined. She begins realizing the immensity of making your own life choices because this is your one wild and precious life. You don’t have another.

This was a beautifully written coming-of-age novel about a girl who decides to take chances when she never has before. Golden is an inspiring novel of hope, of not being scared to take the leap, and realizing that not everything is golden.

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Book Review – Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefano

October 24, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Wither (The Chemical Garden #1) by Lauren DeStefanoWither by Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Chemical Garden #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on March 22, 2011
Pages: 384
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads

Also by this author: Perfect Ruin, Burning Kingdoms, The Peculiar Night of the Blue Heart

one-half-stars

What if you knew exactly when you would die?

Thanks to modern science, every human being has become a ticking genetic time bomb—males only live to age twenty-five, and females only live to age twenty. In this bleak landscape, young girls are kidnapped and forced into polygamous marriages to keep the population from dying out.

When sixteen-year-old Rhine Ellery is taken by the Gatherers to become a bride, she enters a world of wealth and privilege. Despite her husband Linden’s genuine love for her, and a tenuous trust among her sister wives, Rhine has one purpose: to escape—to find her twin brother and go home.

But Rhine has more to contend with than losing her freedom. Linden’s eccentric father is bent on finding an antidote to the genetic virus that is getting closer to taking his son, even if it means collecting corpses in order to test his experiments. With the help of Gabriel, a servant she trusts, Rhine attempts to break free, in the limted time she has left.

I had major issues with the dystopian situation this book found itself in. The virus and evolution of everything seemed too far-fetched for me. The more YA books I read, the more I’m finding that there are books out there labeled as YA that young adults should not be reading because of the topics… this book being one of them.

Spoilers ahead..

Girls hide inside their houses at night scared of being kidnapped by ‘Guardians’ and sold into prostitution or sold as child brides to men who can afford them. The opening scene was a group of girls that had been kidnapped, three were ‘approved’, the rest were shot. The approved child brides are taken to the mansion of their future husband where they are promptly married to 21-year old Linden. One of the brides is only 13 years old. Sure this happens and sure this is real; however, there are some topics that just shouldn’t be glamorized and geared towards young adults.

I didn’t think it would be possible, yet I did manage to finish it. I can understand the story, I understand that these kind of things do happen in this world… but it was one of the worst books I’ve ever read.

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Book Review – Crave (Crave #1) by Melinda Metz and Laura J. Burns

July 31, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Crave (Crave #1) by Melinda Metz and Laura J. BurnsCrave by Laura J. Burns, Melinda Metz
Series: Crave #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on September 21st 2010
Pages: 288
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


one-star

Shay has had a rare blood disorder since she was born. In fact, her mother married one of Shay's doctors, Martin, who left his world-renowned leukemia research to try and figure out exactly what the disorder is and how to cure it. When she turns seventeen, Martin begins to give her new blood transfusions that make her feel the strongest she has ever felt. But she also has odd visions where she sees through the eyes of a vampire. At first, she thinks she must be imagining the visions, but when she begins to see Martin's office in them, she knows she has to check it out. That's when she finds Gabriel, a sexy, teenaged vampire, imprisoned in Martin's office. The connection she has built with Gabriel compels her to set him free. But when he kidnaps her in an attempt at revenge on Martin, their lives become deeply intertwined. She doesn't know the half of it.

FYI, there are spoilers in this review. Wait, scratch that. There are spoilers in this rant. I don’t think this even constitutes as a review.

Holy crap! Where do I even begin? This book was the biggest load of crap I’ve read in a good long time and I don’t feel I’m being overly critical. I’ve read my fair share of YA; I went through a phase where that is all I read. But what shocks me the most about this one was the outrageously positive reviews it got.

Crave is about Shay, a 17 year old (she’s 17 right? Shit. I don’t even remember.) Anyways, she has a blood disorder that of course no doctor can figure out. Shay’s step-father, Martin, gives her blood transfusions at home and at this point they are the only thing that is keeping her alive, but they only succeed in making her feel ‘fine’. That is until the day Martin gives her a transfusion and it makes her feel better than she has ever in her life. So she decides to live.

“If you get there, you’ll be famous,” Lai-wan said reverently. “Everyone will know.”
“That’s worth it,” Shay said. Worth any danger. Worth drowning. Worth trying.

And that pretty much sums up the stupidity of Shay. Once she begins to feel better, stronger, after being sick for so long she decides to “live” as she likes to call it; otherwise known as being a complete and total idiot.

She decides to take up running when she’s never run in her life. She decides to make her first kiss be with her best friend’s boyfriend. She decides that it’d be an awesome idea to swim out to the middle of a river to go carve her name on a big rock. In other words, she takes her good health for granted and acts like a total brat to anyone and everyone and ended up causing me to pretty much hate everything about her.

Oh but it gets better! There’s the instalove.

There was of course nothing funny about this instalove, but I felt I deserved some comic relief.

So Shay finds out that the blood that she was receiving was coming from the vampire that was being held hostage in her step-fathers doctor’s office! So what does she do? Well she busts him out of course and runs away into the night with him. So they spend about two days together where she spends approximately half that time as his hostage… she slowly begins falling in love with him. Mm-hmm. Slowly. Over the course of two days.

This book was so ridiculous. It was predictable, it was total cliché with the instalove, the characters were IDIOTS and I hated every single one of them (which is rare…usually you find SOMEONE to like, even a little), and then there was the dramatic cliffhanger that at first made me think that I must not have the entire book because the authors couldn’t possibly have ended the book at that point. That wasn’t an ending. That was an end to a chapter, maybe even the end to a sub-section of a chapter. Stupid.

I have the 2nd book ready for me to start reading. But you know what? I’m not going to do it. I won’t do that to myself. Book number one caused enough pain I don’t expect miracles from book number two. Shay was one of the most imperfect, ridiculous, unlikable, and ludicrous book characters ever. I won’t be reading any book that she is in in the future.

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Book Review – Rot and Ruin (Benny Imura #1) by Jonathan Maberry

July 25, 2011 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2011, YA 0 Comments

Book Review – Rot and Ruin (Benny Imura #1) by Jonathan MaberryRot and Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
Series: Benny Imura #1
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on September 14, 2010
Pages: 468
Genres: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic
Format: eBook
Source: Library
Amazon
Goodreads


two-half-stars

In the zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America where Benny Imura lives, every teenager must find a job by the time they turn fifteen or get their rations cut in half. Benny doesn't want to apprentice as a zombie hunter with his boring older brother Tom, but he has no choice. He expects a tedious job whacking zoms for cash, but what he gets is a vocation that will teach him what it means to be human.

I’ve read several zombie books in the recent months. Because of this I know that it’s important for the author to come up with some original aspect to centralize their story around. I don’t feel that this book did it… what this book felt like to me was a typical YA story with zombies thrown in as an after-thought.

Rot & Ruin’s ‘original aspect’ focused on a group of people trying to change the world to make people see and understand that zombies don’t have any control over their actions and that they were once people and should be treated as such.

The society 14 years after ‘First Night’ is a far cry from the world today. People have developed a rut to the point where they have no desire to attempt taking back their world so they survive by living locked inside a chain link fence living in cabins and surviving without electricity. How zombies came to be is never explained either, which, I missed because I always love a good explanation for their existence. Even people who die of natural causes come back as zombies. But even after all this time, these people have chosen to live a stagnant life of monotony rather than attempt to grow and develop as a people and overcome the zombies. This line pretty much sums it up:

”Electronics and complex machines were no longer allowed in town, because of a strong religious movement that associated that kind of power with the “Godless behavior” that had brought about “the end.””

The Imura brothers, Tom and Benny, are in the zombie killing business… or more appropriately, they are in business to bring families peace of mind. Rather than just going out and mindlessly slaying zombies to be rid of them, they are hired by families to locate their zombiefied family members and kill them so that they can rest assured that they are no longer the walking dead going around munching on people. Num num.

There were a few other interesting tidbits to this story, like, “Gameland”. So apparently some really sick and twisted humans that were often described as being worse than the zombies (because the zombies of course don’t know what they’re doing and should be excused because they’ve got a bad case of the munchies) like to capture up small children and force them to fight against zombies. We never see Gameland, we just hear about it…. So that storyline kinda fell flat.

There was also the story about the “Lost Girl”. The girl who’s survived on her own for years. Benny first learns about her when he gets her ‘card’ in the latest batch of zombie cards. Yes, zombie cards. Much like your normal baseball cards, but with celebrity zombies, bounty hunters, etc. So yes, Benny gets the “Lost Girl” card and is immediately infatuated with her. It suddenly becomes his desire to find her, save her, and keep her from danger. Aw, here comes her knight in shining armor.

But the only thing I can think of is, here’s this 15 year old kid who just started training to be a zombie hunter less than week ago and he feels it’s his mission in life to now save this total bad ass Xena type zombie killing machine who’s been surviving on her own in the Rot & Ruin for YEARS… and Benny plans on saving her. With his wooden sword. Right.

By the time the ending came around I was truly bored. I think the complete predictability of the book had something to do with it but this story just lacked in overall excitement for me.

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