Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Reading Wrap-Up | June 2013

Unfortunately June was a really bad reading month for me, in fact it was even worse than May. I managed to get through five books in May, but in June I only managed three. I've been in such a slump lately, I've started plenty of books but I've been really struggling to get into any of them. I'd like to say that July will be better, but I'm taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo so there's a chance I'm going to be doing more writing than reading, hopefully that way I'll be out of my slump come August.
     Oh well, on with the wrap-up!

My Rating: 

Lena's been to the very edge. She's questioned love and the life-changing and agonising choices that come with it.

She's made her decision. But can she survive the consequences?

The first book I finished in June was the second installment in Lauren Oliver's Delirium trilogy, Pandemonium.
     I finished Delirium, the first book in the trilogy, back in February and I adored it. Since finishing The Hunger Games trilogy it was the best YA dystopian novel I had read; the narrative voice was gorgeous, the protagonist was relatable and the world-building was magnificent. The ending, though terribly bittersweet, was stunning, so I was rather hesitant to read Pandemonium as I was worried it was never going to be quite as good. Unfortunately, I was right.
     There were definitely elements of Pandemonium that I enjoyed, particularly the chapters which explored Lena's life in the Wilds after her escape, but I felt as though this book focused too much on introducing another love interest and subsequent love triangle rather than on the relationship between Lena and her mother I had hoped it would tackle.
     Ultimately it was an enjoyable enough read, and a fairly decent sequel, but it was nowhere near as good as the first book. If you'd like to see some more of my thoughts on this particular book I have written a review of it which you can find here.

My Rating: 

Battling against a society in which love has been declared a disease, Lena now finds herself at the centre of a fierce revolution. But the Wilds are no longer the haven they once were as the government seeks to stamp out the rebels. And Lena's emotions are in turmoil following the dramatic return of someone she thought was lost forever...

After Pandemonium I was determined to read Requiem, the third book in the trilogy, and finally finish one of the many trilogies waiting to be read on my shelves.
     The good thing about Requiem is that it made Pandemonium seem even better, the bad thing was that it did so by being such an unbelievably disappointing conclusion to what could have been an amazing trilogy. The ending, as far as I'm concerned, was not an ending, it could have benefitted immensely with just the simple addition of an epilogue because, ultimately, we really don't know what happens to any of these characters we have grown to love. We don't know if they succeed in overthrowing the government or if they are caught, tried and executed. Even if it wasn't a happy ending I still would have liked an ending. I don't like it when authors ask me to imagine my own; I expect the author to know what happens to their own characters.
     The book wasn't all bad, of course. Personally I really enjoyed the chapters which followed Hana, Lena's old best friend who has since been cured, while she struggled with feelings she shouldn't still be feeling and awaited her marriage to a man who proved to be abusive. It was interesting to see the world from the point of view of a person who has been cured, but I was again disappointed in that we never really know what happens to Hana either.
     All in all this was a very disappoining read, and possibly one of the worst conclusions to a trilogy/series I have ever read. If you have yet to read the Delirium trilogy then please take my advice: read the first book and only the first book. Even though the ending is sad there is a finality to it that the latter two books lack, and it is by far the best book in the trilogy.

My Rating: 

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

After the disappointment that was the ending of the Delirium trilogy I was in the mood to read something a little more angry. Something post-apocalyptic seemed perfect and, after plenty of recommendations from all over the place, I picked up a copy of Susan Ee's Angelfall. I read it in two days because it was such a fast-paced read, and I certainly enjoyed it a lot more than the other two books I read in June.
     I haven't read a lot of post-apocalyptic fiction, it's a genre that I'm just starting to get into, and I've also never read anything with angels in it, so this book really was quite a new reading adventure for me. I'm not entirely sure why I generally stay away from books involving angels or fallen angels, they're just not mythological/fantastical/theological creatures that I have much interest in. I liked Ee's representation of the angels, however; I was a little worried they were somehow going to be rather preachy and 'better than thou' but they were actually rather brutal themselves, which makes perfect sense given some of the passages in the Bible.
     Penryn was a pretty cool protagonist to follow - I really love her name - and her relationship with Raffe was a lot of fun, too, though there were times when I felt as though the obvious romance that was blossoming between the two of them was blossoming a little too fast. The only thing I was really unsure of was the ending. Why were there weird scorpion people? It seemed as though it had nothing whatsoever to do with the angels other than to make them seem creepy.
     Other than that I did enjoy it and I'll definitely be reading the next book in the series.

Since finishing Angelfall I've been stuck in a reading rut. I'm currently reading about six books, I just haven't really gotten into one and that's sad; I'm really in the mood to get into a new book, so I'll just have to keep persevering. Part of me can't help but think that the conclusion to the Delirium trilogy really got me into the rut; the majority of the books on my shelves are part of a series, because there's a real lack of good standalone books in the genres I enjoy recently, and after reading such a disappointing ending I'm nervous of becoming invested in something else only to be let down. I had intended to read Moira Young's Rebel Heart, the second installment in the Dustlands trilogy, this month but I just couldn't get into it after Requiem. Hopefully I'll get through it this month instead.
     That's it for this month, check back in at the end of July for another monthly wrap-up and keep reading throughout the month; I'm probably going to write a few Camp NaNoWriMo updates and possibly a few personal posts as well as hopefully posting some more reviews very soon.
     Until then, thanks for reading! J.