"I spent my life folded between the pages of books." -Tahereh Mafi

Some of my reviews are normal non-spoilery reviews. But some of reviews contain lots and lots of spoilers to help you (and me!) remember what happened when the next book in the series finally comes out. Both review types are clearly marked.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Breathe by Sarah Crossan

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

This book is told in alternating viewpoints between Alina, Bea, and Quinn. They all live in the pod, which is basically a big domed city that provides oxygen because there is almost none in Earth's atmosphere. The reasoning behind why there isn't any oxygen left is a little shaky, but I'll go with it. Life within in the pods is very class structured. The Premiums are at the top and then there's auxiliaries that live in Zone 2 and Zone 3 (3 is the worst). 

Quinn is a Premium. He tries not to take his charmed life for granted. He does dumb things, but in kind of a sweet, endearing way. Bea is his best friend who has a crush on him. She lives in Zone 2 but is trying to get into a special government program that would lead to her becoming a Premium. Alina lives in Zone 3 with her aunt and uncle and cousin Silas because her parents are dead. She is part of the Resistance.

Alina needs to escape the pod because of a mission gone wrong. Abel, the boy she was on a mission with, has turned up dead. We learn later than Abel was not actually part of the Resistance, but we don't find out more, namely if he was the one who sent the government after Alina. Quinn and Bea are leaving the pod on a planned camping trip. (If air is so precious, it seems dumb to waste is on a multi-day camping trip, but whatever) Quinn has an instant crush on Alina, so he decides to help her leave the pod.

They are all able to leave and decide to stick together for a bit. After a while, Alina leaves them, but Quinn decides to follow. Bea is pissed but follows as well, which is good because Alina has come across trouble. She's run into a drifter named Maude. A scuffle ensues and they disarm Maude. Bea befriends Maude somehow and even though Alina wants to kill Maude, Bea convinces them to bring her along.  

Alina tells them about the Resistance. They are growing trees, even though the government keeps trying to destroy them. The government wants everyone to remain captive in the pods. They even pump more oxygen than necessary (30%) into the pod to keep them used to a higher amount. The Earth currently has been restored to 6%, which some of the members of the Resistance have trained themselves to be able to stand. Bea is shocked and wants to join up. Quinn still just wants in Alina's pants. So they want to follow Alina to the Grove. 

A tank shows up and Quinn is buried in the rumble of a building, while Alina, Bea, and Maude are able to escape. Bea wants to go back for him but Alina insists they don't have the extra oxygen and that they'll return for him once they refuel at the Grove. Quinn survives the attack and while he's unable to move, he realizes his feelings for Bea. Of course he's loved her all along! Alina's cousin Silas and friend Inger come along looking for her, and instead finds Quinn. He decides he can tag along. 

Bea, Alina, and Maude steal a government tank and make it to the Grove with just enough oxygen to spare. The Resistance leader, Petra throws Maude and Bea into a cell. Soldiers come upon Quinn, Silas and Inger. Quinn is shocked to discover that his father is the general in charge and is horrified when he murders Inger. Silas and Quinn finally make it to the Grove, where Quinn and Bea reunite and kiss.

The government is coming to destroy the Grove, where they've managed to grow a decent amount of trees and plants. Petra decides that the best plan is to get Quinn and Bea to lead them off-track. So Quinn and Bea get "rescued" by a tank and pretend to have been kidnapped and escaped from the Resistance. They tell  them that they were to the south, instead of their actual location. This gives the Grove a few extra weeks, which they use to recruit extra drifters, with Maude's help, and train them to fight. It isn't enough however, and the soldiers destroy the Grove and kill most of the Resistance. Alina, Silas, Dorian (another Resistance member who can breathe outside), Maude, and Bruce (another drifter) are able to escape.

Eventually the Pod Minister (the leader of the pod) discovers that Quinn has been lying and forces him to do a press conference. If he doesn't, then he threatens to hurt his family. But Quinn instead tells the truth at the press conference, which incites a civil war (that was quick!). Bea and Quinn are able to separately escape the pod: Bea with the help of Alina and Silas' neighbor and Alina's parents (who were presumed dead!); Quinn with the help of his own father. At the end of the book, they arrive at the Grove and reunite. They discover that the Grove has been destroyed but Jazz (a child who lived there) is still alive and tells them that everyone has headed to the river and they set off to find them. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Lover at Last by J.R. Ward

This post contains lots of spoilers!!

Yay Qhuay! Can I first say that I am so damned happy that J.R. Ward had the guts to write this book? I've been rooting for Blay and Qhuinn from the beginning, but I didn't think she'd actually do it. The Blay and Qhuinn stuff was pretty damn awesome, way better than the last book (Tohr and No'One - so boring!). Both of these characters have been so well developed throughout this series and I think the drama and angst between them made sense. In the end, Qhuinn proposes to Blay in front of everyone - all the Brothers and Blay's parents. Sweet. I'm a little annoyed that we didn't get to see the actual mating ceremony, but hopefully that will be in the next book. But I'm not going to dwell too much on their romance - drama happens and they end up together, of course. Yay! There's too many other storylines in this book that I'm going to need to keep straight. Actually, that was the one downside to this book - I'd read one awesome bit about Qhuay than then the next 15 pages were all shit about other storylines - torture!!

In this book Wrath finds a legal way to make essentially anyone a Brother. They don't have to be born of a Brother and a Chosen. I was hopeful that this meant that he would make Qhuinn, Blay and John all Brothers. But no, just Qhuinn. Which makes me happy for him but I'm a little pissed on Blay and John's behalf. Hopefully that will be forthcoming in future books.

Xcor and Layla: Wow, Layla is still as boring as ever. Seriously, no personality. I absolutely love Ward's male characters, but she always has trouble developing the female characters. Totally sad and annoying. In the last book Layla went into her needing, Qhuinn serviced her because they both want a kid. (Which I have a hard time understanding, but whatever.) She miscarries but Payne somehow heals her and saves the pregnancy. And apparently she can't stop thinking about Xcor, even though she knows he's the enemy of Wrath and the Brothers. Xcor is interesting. Very damaged male, but as my love for Zsadist can attest - I love damaged males (in my books at least!). He's still intent on overthrowing Wrath. At the end of the book, he has a new associate on the Council (unidentified), who convinces him that instead of violence, he should overthrow Wrath with the law. Apparently if Wrath cannot produce a full-blooded heir, he can be deposed. Since Beth is a half-breed, their child wouldn't be full-vampire. Interesting. Xcor and Layla have an interesting interaction towards the end. It's clear they both are totally into each other but know they can't be together. Um, they met for like a second - seriously, can we slow things down a little? I'm all for star-crossed lovers, but I need a little something backing up the love.

Trez (and iAm) and Selena: Trez and iAm are the brother Shadows (or s'Hibe), although I'm not really sure what that means exactly. The s'Hibe are matriarchial and Trez has been promised to the Queen's daughter since birth. He's not into that so him and iAm ran away into the human world. Trez has been essentially fucking everything possible in a weird attempt to either forget what he's running from or to make himself so dirty that the Princess won't want him. Until, of course, he sees Selena. She's the Chosen that often takes over for Layla in providing blood to the Brothers who need it. It's love at first sight. For him at least, we have no idea what's going on in her head. Toward the end of the book, the brothers end up moving in to the Brotherhood complex - this way they have a place to hide from the s'Hibe and Wrath has two more fighters to protect him against whatever. I'm looking forward to hearing more about these two. I like Trez, but I like iAm a little more - he's super calm and rational. We didn't get any chapters from his POV in this book but hopefully in the next.

Assail and Sola: Assail is a vampire drug dealer. He wants no part of this vampire civil war that's brewing. He even helps out the lessers by selling drugs to them so that they can sell them on the streets and make money. That's the point when he became an unsympathetic character to me. I can handle Xcor plotting against the King, but to aid the enemy of your entire race? Not cool. Sola is just some kick-ass human. She's good at B&E and is hired by Benloise (the drug wholesaler) to spy on Assail. He catches her of course, and threatens her, which gets her excited even though she won't admit it. I have another problem here - I generally don't get turned on when men threaten to kill me, but whatever works for her I suppose. She tries to get him to leave her alone, but he's apparently decided that he just has to have her. At the end of the book, she's kidnapped by unknowns. Her grandmother (who she lives with), finds Assail's number and calls him to help. I really hope this isn't a major storyline in the next book, but I have a feeling it will be.