Publisher: Henry Holt Books for Young Readers

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson | Book Review

Posted June 10, 2016 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 0 Comments

The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson | Book ReviewThe Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
Series: The Remnant Chronicles #2
Also in this series: The Kiss of Deception, The Beauty of Darkness
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on July 7, 2015
Genres: Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 470
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
4 Stars
Held captive in the barbarian kingdom of Venda, Lia and Rafe have little chance of escape. Desperate to save Lia's life, her erstwhile assassin, Kaden, has told the Vendan Komizar that she has the gift, and the Komizar's interest in Lia is greater than anyone could have foreseen.

Meanwhile, nothing is straightforward: There's Rafe, who lied to Lia but has sacrificed his freedom to protect her; Kaden, who meant to assassinate her but has now saved her life; and the Vendans, whom Lia always believed to be savages. Now that she lives among them, however, she realizes that may be far from the truth. Wrestling with her upbringing, her gift, and her sense of self, Lia must make powerful choices that will affect her country... and her own destiny.

I am having the hardest time coming up with a strategy for reviewing this book! I read it in February of this year, and I’m so overwhelmed by my feelings that I’ve pretty much rendered myself speechless. I also tend to struggle with reviewing the second book of a series because things are not resolved yet and I love the world and the story and the characters just like I did in the first book. So naturally, my review always ends up looking a bit like my review of the first one. I can’t put off reviewing this book any longer, though, especially since my wish was just granted on netgalley and I’m one of 50 people who gets to read the final book in this series, The Beauty of Darkness, two months early!

Bottom line, I love this series and I loved this book. There are twists and turns throughout both books, and the world is super dynamic and well fleshed out. Basically everything I said in my review of The Kiss of Deception still applies (I told you this would happen). We also get to learn more about Lia and her gift, which has changed since her arrival in Venda. Again, we are torn between who to trust and what to think. The culture and really the entire world of Venda is terrifying and unique, and even though I did not love the setting and the barbaric secondary characters, I really drank everything in because it was just so unique to me. We get to learn more about Kaden and his life. His bond with the Komizar is creepy, yet captivating. Rafe, of course, is still noble and wonderful. I don’t know how Pearson does it, but I am such a fan of her ability to weave such a crazy detailed story together in way that makes sense! AND to do it through multiple points of view? She’s a phenomenal writer!

The writing is still amazing, and my heart is still fully invested even though Pearson threw all of us off the edge of a cliff with this ending. Guys, it’s brutal. Considering how close we are to the release of the final book in the series you might want to heed my warning and wait until you have The Beauty of Darkness in your hands (or are able to instantly download it off Amazon with the click of a button) before reading The Heart of Betrayal. It might actually extend your life if you do.


Nil by Lynne Matson | Book Review

Posted May 15, 2014 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult / 13 Comments

Nil by Lynne Matson | Book ReviewNil by Lynne Matson
Published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers on March 4, 2014
Genres: Romance, Science Fiction, Survival
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher (Mail)
Amazon Add to Goodreads
2 Stars
On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days--to escape, or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.

Any book that is marketed as “Survivor meets Lost” has some pretty gargantuan shoes to fill. And honestly, I think this might have hurt Nil, because I went into the book with really huge expectations. I am a Survivor fangirl, and got addicted to Lost very quickly. So I was expecting to fall head over heels into crazy love with Nil. And I didn’t. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The premise sounds AMAZING, right? People are randomly showing up on this unknown island and have a year to get off or they die. I mean, what a unique and creative idea! That’s why I was so drawn to the book in the first place, I just feel like I wanted more from it. More details. More surviving. Less of what we got.

2. I really, REALLY did not like the romance aspect of the story. It completely overshadowed the craziness of the Island. The great thing about Lost was that the island was a character. It was the main character. Everything that happened was because of the island. Nil needed that same treatment. I did not care about the lovebirds, I did not believe in their love story of convenience, and I got really annoyed by the fact that Thad kept not wanting to get off the island because he did not want to leave Charley. Are ya kidding me? He wants to risk his life and, ultimately, die to spend a few extra days with a girl he has known for less than a month? Less than a few weeks? I don’t like dumb characters. It would have made so much more sense for him to do everything he could to get off the island and then hope the same for Charley. Because then they might have a chance. And I got so tired of hearing how hot he was and how long and lean her legs were. And her hair. And blah, blah, blah.

3. I feel like a lot of time was spent reading about the characters as they ran as fast as they could to try and catch an exit portal to escape. There is only so much an author can do with running scenes.

4. I did like the society on Nil. The teens who live there all pull their own weight, have different talents that make life easier or more comfortable, and all look out for one another. I liked that they set up searching groups for exit portals and did everything they could to try and help people get out. I like that they keep track of who makes it off the island and who doesn’t. They really care about one another, and I felt like these friendships made me care much more about the people involved.

5. I’m not sure whether or not I liked the dual point of view from Thad and Charley. I don’t like dual POVs unless they are done really well and add something to the story, rather than rehashing things we already read about. Sometimes the dual point of view was enlightening, but other times I found it to be predictable and re-hashy.

6. There were so many characters that nobody really got enough time spent on them for you to care about them individually. I liked a couple people here and there, but I could not even remember their names. For this reason, I wish more focus had been placed on surviving instead of the people and the romance.

7. I loved the mystery and intrigue of the inner workings of the island. I love puzzles and figuring things out. I wish more time had been spent on this.

8. Everything ended SO FAST. You’re kind of left hanging, yet there’s no sequel.

Basically, Nil had large shoes to fill before it even hit the shelves and I feel like it suffered as a result. I wanted a crazy, twisted survival story and got a lukewarm instalove instead. The story had SO much potential, too. Yes, there were some good moments, but I was disappointed overall.

This book is a 2014 debut

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