The Body Electric by Beth Revis

The Body Electric by Beth Revis“What if eternity is nothing more than me, alone, in the darkness?”

Ella Shepherd is able to enter people’s dreams and memories using the technology that her mother created. The government finds out what she can do and asks her to spy on a rebel group. The only problem is, the leader of the rebel group knows her and claims that he and she were once in love. Ella has no memory of this and realizes that somebody has been inside her head and erased her memories. Now she can no longer trust anything in her own mind because she doesn’t know if it was real or planted there by someone.

After reading the Across the Universe series, I will read anything that Beth Revis writes. This book did not disappoint me! Ella is able to use the machines that her mother built to go inside people’s mind and by doing so can access their dreams and memories. When the government recruits her to look into the mind a man suspected of being a rebel, she is a little nervous. When she sees a name in his head, it leads her to a boy who claims to have been romantically involved with her. When evidence in his favor begins to pile up, Ella realizes that she has to find out who erased her memories, and why.

I loved the world building in this book. Ella lives on a bridge between two islands. The bridge is miles and miles long, big enough that an entire city is built on it. Underneath the city is the lower class part of the city, which is basically a floating city that is made up of individuals boats. In this futuristic world people have androids, who do all sorts of jobs like cleaning, vending, and nursing. The rebel group is made up of the lower class, who are sick of living in decrepit conditions on their floating city while the upper class lives in luxury with androids doing everything for them. When Ella finds out about her memory being erased, she is suddenly thrown in the middle of a war she didn’t even know was happening.

I loved all of the medical elements of this book–Ella’s parents’ research, especially her father’s, and the ethical questions that both raise. I also really loved how this tied into the Across the Universe series–it’s actually set in the same world, but still on Earth.

Overall, The Body Electric was an exciting and interesting read. Beth Revis has definitely made me a fan for life and I can’t wait to read what she writes next!

The Body Electric was released on October 6, 2014.

Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund“We can only be responsible for what we ourselves do.”

Persis Blake publicly plays the role of a rich socialite, spending time at parties discussing clothes and gossip. But in her private life, she is the Wild Poppy, a notorious spy who rescues people of Galatea from being Reduced and sneaks them over to the island of Albion, where she resides. When Justen Helo, a medic from Galatea, finds her ill after one of her missions and helps her return home, she decides to keep him close so that she can discover his true motives in Albion. What she didn’t expect was how she would begin to feel for him, and how much she would wish she could tell him the truth about who she is.

Across a Star-Swept Sea is actually a companion novel to For Darkness Shows the Stars. While you don’t need to read the first book in order to understand this one, it definitely helps because some characters from that book reappear in this one. I absolutely loved the first book, and the second was just as good.

This book is actually a retelling of The Scarlet Pimpernel, which I haven’t read but definitely want to after reading this one. Persis has always been very intelligent and has had a bright future ahead of her, but when her best friend Isla’s family is killed and Isla is made acting queen of Albion, Persis abandons school and her future in order to help her friend. She creates the Wild Poppy in order to help Isla make a difference while the council of Albion prevents Isla from actually doing anything politically about the rebellion in Galatea. In Galatea, the rulers are Reducing people–basically giving them a drug that makes them lose their mental capacities. The Wild Poppy saves these people who are Reduced and brings them to Albion to recover.

Justen Helo decides to abandon Galatea when he realizes what is really going on. He sees Persis as nothing more than a flaky socialite however, and doesn’t realize how much of a difference she is actually making. He begins to work in the lab, trying to find a cure for the Reduced, and tries to keep from Persis how involved he really was in the rebellion in Galatea. Persis uses the image she created for herself as a ditzy socialite to keep people from finding out that she is really the Wild Poppy, but unfortunately it keeps Justen, the one person whom she may actually want to be herself with, from seeing who she really is.

Peterfreund does a brilliant job building the world of New Pacifica. Her descriptions paint a vivid world and by doing so she creates an intricate and compelling story that you can’t put down. The flutternotes were the most interesting detail for me–little holographic notes that basically fly from one person to another through the air and then deliver a message to them via an electronic device on their palm. Every detail of this story was fascinating and unique and added a great sci-fi aspect to the plot.

Overall, Across a Star-Swept Sea was a fascinating story with great world building and beautiful writing. I look forward to reading more stories about New Pacifica!

Across a Star-Swept Sea was released on October 15, 2013 and is a companion novel to For Darkness Shows the Stars.

Toxic Heart by Theo Lawrence

Toxic Heart by Theo LawrenceSince Aria and Hunter started a rebellion in Mystic City, Aria has been in hiding outside the city while Hunter has been underground in the city leading the rebels. Aria is growing more and more restless because she misses her boyfriend and feels like she is not helping anyone by hiding out. When she is forced to return to the city and Hunter, she realizes that the Hunter she fell in love with has changed. Aria believes that he can still be the leader they need, and she tries to reunite the city rather than cause more destruction.

Mystic City was a really unique story so I was looking forward to reading this sequel. However, it seems that this book fell into the sophomore slump. The romance between Aria and Hunter, which basically drove the entire story of the first book, completely died in this book. Hunter was distant and cold and had a completely different personality than in the first book. He kept pushing Aria away and doing things that the old Hunter never would’ve even considered in order to win the rebellion. Basically, he became extremely unlikable.

Aria herself became kind of annoying also. She seemed even more naive in this book than in the first, and kept putting herself in obviously dangerous situations and then is shocked when her life is threatened. She wants the city to reunite and everyone to live in peace and harmony, which is all well and good but more than a little bit impossible. I was glad that she finally started learning to fight though, instead of relying on everyone else to save her all the time.

The story as a whole was a bit dragged out, with Aria basically searching the city for the heart of her dead mystic friend for much of the book. The whole book was basically Hunter telling Aria to stay put and do nothing and Aria going out and doing what she wants instead. The ending was definitely different than I expected, and I may still read the next book just to find out how it all ends.

Overall, Toxic Heart was not as good as the first book in the series. I was really surprised that Hunter, such a pivotal character from the first book, had such a diminished role in this one. The romance that was so important to the first book completely fell flat in this one, and I honestly don’t know what will happen in the next book.

Toxic Heart was released on April 8, 2014 and is the second book in the Mystic City series.

The One by Kiera Cass

The One by Kiera Cass“The best people all have some kind of scar.”

America Singer has to make a decision once and for all–will she choose Maxon and a life as a princess, or Aspen and a normal life? Both options have their pros and cons but what America begins to realize is that her decision affects more people than she could have imagined. In The One, America has to choose her future, knowing her life may never return to what it was.

I had been waiting to read this book for what seemed like forever and I literally downloaded it to my Nook at midnight on its release date. All three of The Selection books were super fast reads and I literally finished this one later that night. I couldn’t wait to find out who America would choose and how everything would play out and I was definitely not disappointed.

In this book America begins to realize that the other girls are more than just competition. She realizes that they each have qualities that would make them wonderful future queens, and finally instead of just trying to drag each other down, the girls begin to enjoy their time together because they know it is limited.

We also get to see more of what is going on politically throughout the country and how America and Maxon could help to change things. There is a good amount of action in this book that keeps the pace moving quickly. We learn a lot more about the country’s past and about the different types of rebels and what their actual agendas are. All loose ends are tied up pretty nicely, though I will say that towards the end things were a little bit more rushed than I would’ve liked.

Overall, The One was a great ending to the trilogy. I’m sad to leave these characters but I really loved the ending.

The One was released on May 6, 2014 and is the final book in The Selection trilogy.

The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse by Marie RutkoskiKestrel is the general’s daughter in an empire that is constantly seeking out new territories and enslaving those they conquer. As such, she can either join the military, or get married. However, neither option appeals to her. On instinct in the market one day, she bids on a defiant slave and ends up winning, bringing him home unexpectedly. What is even more unexpected is the way she begins to feel about this slave, Arin, who seems to have his own secrets.

This is one of my favorite books from this year so far! There are so many different elements to this story and the way the world is built in this book is phenomenal. Kestrel’s people took over the land that Arin’s people had long inhabited and turned his people into slaves. They actually took over their former homes and claimed them as their own. Since Arin’s people did not have a great military presence they were unable to fight back successfully, and those who were once nobles in their society were forced to become slaves just like the rest.

Kestrel seems to have much more of a moral compass than her father and the rest of the empire. She also is very strong, and not just because her father forced her to train with weapons since she was a child. Her intelligence and wit is what makes her strong, and she is able to out wit almost anyone, even when her life is at stake.

This story is told from both Arin and Kestrel’s perspective, and what this really serves to do is allow the reader to get a glimpse into the secrets Arin is keeping. Therefore, we learn what is really going on before Kestrel does, which makes the story even more interesting. This was definitely a smart narration choice because it kept me biting my nails wondering how Arin was going to reveal the truth to her. Arin himself is a very complex character–he is old enough to remember his previous life before slavery and he is educated enough that he can speak the language of Kestrel’s people, which gives him an advantage. Despite their obvious differences and conflicts, Arin and Kestrel begin to fall for each other, unfortunately at a very inconvenient time.

Overall, The Winner’s Curse was an exciting read that kept me on the edge of my seat. This was definitely one of the best books I’ve read this year so far, and I can’t wait to read the next one in the series!

The Winner’s Curse was released on March 4, 2014 and is the first book in The Winner’s Trilogy.

Cress by Marissa Meyer

Cress by Marissa MeyerCinder and Captain Thorne are on the run in a stolen spaceship, and they have teamed up with Scarlet and Wolf in order to overthrow Queen Levana. In order to do this, they must seek help from Cress, a girl who has been imprisoned on a satellite since she was a child. Cress is an excellent computer hacker because she has had nothing and nobody but her netscreens the entire time she has been imprisoned. The problem is that Cress has just received orders to track down Cinder and her accomplices for Queen Levana.

I had highly anticipated the released of this book and I am pleased to say that it was well worth the wait! Each book in this series gets better and better, and Cress definitely did not disappoint. In this book we meet Cress, who is basically Rapunzel but instead of being imprisoned in a tower she is on a satellite orbiting Earth. Her social skills are a bit lacking because she has been imprisoned alone for so many years, but for a girl who has spent so much time alone she is very bright and strong.

When Cinder and her group attempt to rescue Cress from the satellite so that she can help their team, they run into trouble and the group ends up separated. Cress is finally free of her prison but is now lost along with Captain Thorne, and the Cinder must do everything in her power to stop Queen Levana from marrying Emperor Kai.

I love the way each of these books focuses on a new character each time but still allows us to see what is happening to the other characters as well. Cress is a great new character and at first seems so childlike and innocent because she has been alone for so long but I like how she is able to become strong and hold her own. I also love the way the relationships between the other characters are still developing three books later and it doesn’t feel like anything between them has been dragged out or fallen flat. Meyer does an excellent job of keeping the story going and keeping the relationships interesting.

Overall, Cress was an excellent and exciting follow up to Scarlet and Cinder. This book definitely had an interesting ending so I am very anxious to see what happens next!

Cress was released on February 4, 2014 and is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles.

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi

Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi“We all have the potential to do terrible things. But we also have the potential to overcome our mistakes.”

Perry and Aria have to figure out a way to save the Dwellers and the rest of Perry’s tribe by bringing them into the Still Blue. However, now that Sable and Hess have teamed up, it seems almost impossible that Aria and Perry will be able to save their people. First, they must rescue Cinder, because he is the only one that can help them get to the Still Blue, even though it means sacrificing himself to save them all.

I really enjoyed this series overall. Aria and Perry have grown so much since the first book, both individually and as a couple. They finally have learned how they best complement each other, and that they cannot stop the other from fighting alongside them. Their relationship allows them to help the Dwellers and the Outsiders see past their differences and help each other to survive.

One of my favorite things about this series is Roar and Aria’s relationship. This was so well done by Rossi–Aria and Roar are able to have a very close friendship without it being at all romantic or love triangle-y. The two of them have a great relationship and after the loss of Liv it is even more important that Roar have someone like Aria by his side.

The ending to this series was somewhat predictable, but I like the way it was executed. Once again, the dual narration worked well, especially towards the end. I really loved how strong Aria has become, especially outside of her home, and how she has truly become part of both the Dwellers and the Outsiders.

Overall, Into the Still Blue was a great ending to the series! I’m sad that this series had to end, and while the ending was somewhat predictable, I enjoyed the way it was done.

Into the Still Blue was released on January 28, 2014.