Thursday 22 March 2012

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic
Published: 25th August 2010
Pages: 455
Goodreads Synopsis:
Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding. 

I don't think anything could prepare me for the ending of this brilliant trilogy! During the course of this book, you met new characters, saw new sides to characters we already know and love, and felt genuinely terrified for not only Katniss but her family and Peeta and Gale and Finnick.

Without spoiling too much, there were a number of twists that I did not predict. Pretty much the whole of 13 was somewhat predictable after the comments in Catching Fire, yet I did not see the ruthlessness of Coin and Plutarch in their desire to see the Capitol fall. I really did cheer them on in their quest but some confessions from Finnick and Peeta's return made me realise how utterly horrible the Capitol was. It broke my heart to see Katniss so fragile and Peeta so... unlike him. I think I even cried a little!

The final conclusion - the last big fight and the aftermath - was so completely shocking I could not even believe it. Prim and President Snow and Coin? I just can't...

I wanted so much a happy ending for Katniss after all her fighting and loss and, even though for the romantic in me it seemed a little rushed, I was not disappointed. The lasting message on the Capitol's influence was touching and incredible.

Saturday 17 March 2012

On My Bookshelf

I don't know if anyone has this specific idea before me, if so I apologise and if not, I will happily take credit for it! I'm also aware this is awfully similar to In My Mailbox but I do not yet receive books, I buy them, so for now let's just go with it.

All synopses from Goodreads and likely to be from my edition of the novel.

Hawksmoor by Peter Ackroyd
In the aftermath of the great fire, eighteenth-century London is a city of extremes. Squalor and superstition vie with elegance and reason as brilliant architect, Nicholas Dyer, is commissioned to build seven new churches. They are to stand as beacons of the Enlightenment - but Dyer plans to conceal a dark secret at the heart of each one. Two hundred and fifty years later, in the same vast metropolis, a series of murders occur on the sites of those same churches. Detective Nicholas Hawksmoor investigates, but the gruesome crimes make no sense to the modern mind...Combining thriller, ghost story and metaphysical tract, "Hawksmoor" won the Whitbread Book Award and "Guardian" Fiction Prize in 1985. 

A set text for university, half way through it, so far so good, but rather confusing. Hopefully will make more sense when finished, but judging from my friends reactions? You definitely have to suspend reality when reading this.

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding. 

Just started this morning and am eagerly anticipating reading the last in the trilogy before the movie!

Pure by Andrew Miller
Deep in the heart of Paris, its oldest cemetery is, by 1785, overflowing, tainting the very breath of those who live nearby. Into their midst comes Jean-Baptiste Baratte, a young, provincial engineer charged by the king with demolishing it. At first Baratte sees this as a chance to clear the burden of history, a fitting task for a modern man of reason. But before long, he begins to suspect that the destruction of the cemetery might be a prelude to his own. 

Although I had already noticed this in shops, this is actually a recommendation from one of my university tutors! Historical fiction is right up my street and this looks amazing.

One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost
How do you send a killer to the grave when he's already dead? 
Having narrowly averted an (under)World War, Cat Crawfield wants nothing more than a little downtime with her vampire husband, Bones. Unfortunately, her gift from New Orleans's voodoo queen just keeps on giving--leading to a personal favor that sends them into battle once again, this time against a villainous spirit. Centuries ago, Heinrich Kramer was a witch hunter. Now, every All Hallows Eve, he takes physical form to torture innocent women before burning them alive. This year, however, a determined Cat and Bones must risk all to send him back to the other side of eternity--forever. But one wrong step and they'll be digging their own graves.

I love this series so much! You may remember my review of the previous novel? Why did it take me this long to buy the next one?!

Divergent by Veronica Roth
In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. 
During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles to determine who her friends really are—and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes infuriating boy fits into the life she's chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she's kept hidden from everyone because she's been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers a growing conflict that threatens to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves… or it might destroy her. 

After The Hunger Games, this sounds brilliant! Heard good things from plenty of people about this book.

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
According to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter--the world's only totally reliable guide to the future--the world will end on a Saturday. Next Saturday, in fact. Just after tea... 

I received this one as a Christmas present and have yet to read it - really looking forward to it though, as two of my favourite authors!

Thursday 15 March 2012

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic
Published: Sept 7th 2009
Pages: 472
Goodreads Synopsis: 
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Suzanne Collins continues the amazing story of Katniss Everdeen in Catching Fire, the second novel of the phenomenal Hunger Games trilogy.

Just as addictive as the first, just as unable to put it down! The hatred I felt for the Capitol in the first was nothing to what I felt throughout Catching Fire; my heart broke a little with every horrible thing President Snow said or did to Katniss or Peeta and I willed them on all the more. The plot twists kept me guessing and on the edge of my seat, with some of them pretty horrible. 

Even though Katniss and Peeta's relationship is hardly conventional, I'm a romantic and even hated Gale a little bit for confusing Katniss - it's hard enough for her to distinguish between reality and the Games with Peeta last year and you had to make it worse? Unbelievable!

One last thing, I did not appreciate the cliffhanger ending and honestly did not see the major twist coming! It just makes me want to read the next one - so that's what I'm going to go do!

Thursday 1 March 2012

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Publisher: Scholastic
Published: 1st October 2008
Pages: 454
Synopsis: In a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called the Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed.
When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.

Ok, this has to be the fastest I've ever read a book, at least since the last Morganville book. I honestly could not put it down! Now I understand all the hype about this book - I was almost scared it wouldn't live up to it but thank God it did!

I'm not sure I can do this book justice, I loved it so much! Don't get me wrong, there were parts that made me tear up, sigh in happiness, and really honestly hate the Capitol. And of course Peeta - oh, Peeta! He is sweet and funny and charming and has a way with words that is amazing. I even admire Gale for his skills and resourcefulness. But I'm decided: Team Peeta all the way!

The idea for this book is simply incredible. I'm sure most of you would have read it by now so I won't bother explaining it. But I do have to say I cannot believe the cruelty and the cunning of the Capitol - it is genuinely terrifying that any human could be that cold. And the Games? No words.

I think my finishing comments can be summarised as: Rue, Cinna and Haymitch.