Allgemein, Reviews, U - Z, W

Review: Waking Gods (Sylvain Neuvel)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”If there’s one thing we should have learned by now, it’s that we’re not the greatest thing in the universe, certainly not the smartest. Seems logical there’d be a great many things in it we can’t comprehend.“

Do you remember my sceptical face when I read the blurb of “Sleeping Giants” and was confused by the “enormous, ornate metal hand”? Yeah, it’s been a long while but after almost a year I finally managed to get a copy of “Waking Gods” into my greedy hands and I was very happy to be able to continue this crazy journey. And boy, let me tell you this: It’s been another freaky ride. *lol* The story of the second book starts about 10 years after the first book ended so we have a lot of things we need to catch up to before the plot actually picks up and thickens again.

”I’m a soldier, so if they tell me to walk up behind it and kick it in the butt, I will. But if we can avoid the whole me and Vincent dying thing, you know … that’d be good.”

But first things first: Of course our book starts with a visit from “Mr. Smith” because a huge giant figure similar to Themis suddenly appears right smack in the middle of London and kind of looms over the city. No one knows where it came from or what it wants but the mere presence of the figure already seems to be quite threatening and while the governments are busy thinking about how to deal with this new challenge, there appear more and more giant figures all over the world. So the inevitable happens: After 10 years of training and sort of parading through the world with Themis Kara and Vincent are brought back into the game and are probably the only hope for humankind.

„Kara’s … engaging in diplomacy.“
[She’s what?]
„She’s giving him the finger. Very mature, Kara.“

Haha! Yeah, they probably shouldn’t have sent Kara to do the job, because this girl is as fierce and rebellious as ever but oh well; thankfully Vincent is the voice of reason and knows how to talk her down. ;-P Not that diplomacy would have helped with the things that were coming their way, but that’s a story for another day. I really enjoyed that we got to see a lot of the cast from the first book and Mr. Smith, Dr. Franklin and Eugene Govender were all a part of “Waking Gods” as well. Unfortunately the same can be said about the people we didn’t like. Yes. Mr. Mitchell and Alyssa are once again a part of this book too. >_< And I still don’t like them, especially Alyssa. Urgh, that woman!

„I may believe in God, but I’m at war with Him. I’m a scientist, I try to answer questions, one at a time, so there’s a little less room for Him as the answer. I plant my flag, and inch by inch, I take away His kingdom.“

Anyway! What I really loved was that we didn’t only get to see the huge problem of the robots and the threat they presented for humanity but that we also got to see more of the character’s personal lives. They are all human, they make mistakes and no matter how mysterious they are, they still had a past and a background story that was worth telling. Honestly, those background stories were one of the best things about this book, at least for me, because I was almost speechless when they were revealed. Not to mention all the plot twists that always caught me off-guard. This mixed with a little bit of science, theoretical discussions and the omnipresent questions of “What does humanity stand for?” and “Is it worth to be saved?” made this a really intriguing read.

”I came to realize that good and evil were out of my reach, that time was the only thing I had any control over. I could buy time, create intervals. I could not truly make the world a better place, but I could make part of it a better place for a short while. I came to peace with that.“

4
All told “Waking Gods” was at least as mind-boggling and startling as its predecessor and I can’t wait to pick up the last and final book. I’m sure Sylvain Neuvel has still a lot in store for us and I’ve no doubt the plot twists in book three will throw me for a loop as well. I love that I can never anticipate what will happen next and this makes this series such an interesting read. Highly recommended for everyone who enjoys to be kept on their toes. 😉

Allgemein, F - J, G, Reviews

Review: Gideon the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 36 on My Book List 2021

„Oh, I have hurt your heart,“ she said.
Gideon kept it absolutely level. „I boohooed for hours.“
„It won’t be the last time I make you weep.“

Okay, so “Gideon the Ninth” is definitely a book I have troubles to review because 1.) It’s unlike any other book I ever read and 2.) Most of the time I was super confused and really had to make an effort to be able to follow the plotline. XD Like seriously, all those different names and the houses plus the mere fact that most of the characters went by 3 or 4 different names/nicknames made this really tough to read. I think due to this the writing style was very hard to get into at first and it took me a little while until I could connect with the story. (I mean we have 9 Houses after all) Not to mention Tamsyn Muir’s unique writing style in general. Sometimes I had to read a sentence thrice to actually understand what was happening. (Maybe it was just my tired brain though, so *lol*) Also there were a lot of scenes when you read the scene but afterwards you’re none the wiser. If that makes sense?!

„Oh, this is boring,“ Gideon had said in disappointment. „I wanted one with a skull puking another, smaller skull, and other skulls flying all around. But tasteful, you know?“

As for the premise of the book: There was barely any action happening in space, it was basically limited to two planets and not actually in space and the lesbian representation, was there but vague and not very pronounced. I mean we get a couple of Gideon’s dirty thoughts but they are almost chaste in comparison to what I usually read. I guess my mind would have been way dirtier than Gideon’s, but let’s not go down that road and focus on the book instead. ;-P What “Gideon the Ninth” definitely had a lot of was necromancy and suspense! I kinda loved the murder mystery vibe we got in here and all the interesting details about the necromantic world and how it works.

”If you want to know what I think … I think that you’re a cavalier worthy of a Lyctor. I want to see that, what you’d become. I wonder if the Reverend Daughter even knows what she has in you?”

If I got it right there are nine houses and every one of them is specialized on some area of necromancy which was very intriguing to me. Also the description of how it works and what you have to do in order to move dead corpses etc. was super interesting. You could tell Tamsyn Muir put a lot of thought and effort into her world building and even though it was sometimes very confusing I really liked that love for science and detail. Because yes, if you break it down to the basics necromancy seems to be a science and I loved how Muir made sure to convey that to her readers.

„I must no longer accept,“ she said slowly, „being a stranger to you.“
„Whoa, whoa, whoa,“ said Gideon, sudden sweat prickling the back of her neck, „yes you can, you once told me to dig myself an ice grave. Stop before this gets weird.“

Of course Gideon and Harrow are the main characters of the book and it’s told from Gideon’s POV, which made Harrow quite a mysterious character and added a lot to the atmosphere. I was such a sucker for their interactions because Harrow always seems to be annoyed by everything Gideon does and Gideon just doesn’t get her. Sometimes they were on the same page though and whenever that happened it was either a lot of fun or very serious business. It was really nice to see how they developed from enemies-to-friends and I’m using that description on purpose because this certainly wasn’t your typical enemies-to-lovers arc and I’m not even sure what they would have defined themselves as by the end of the book. *lol* We’ll just leave it at that.

”Well, all I can say is thank the Tomb that nobody knows you’re not really one of ours. If I didn’t know that, I’d be saying that you were Matthias Nonius come again or something equally saccharine.”
„Harrow,“ said Gideon, finding her tongue, „don’t say these things to me. I still have a million reasons to be mad at you. It’s hard to do that and worry that you got brain injured.“
„I’m merely saying you’re an incredible swordswoman,“ said the necromancer briskly. „You’re still a dreadful human being.“
„Okay, cool, thanks,“ said Gideon. „Damage done though.“

When it comes to the other characters in the book I’ve to say that Palamedes and Camilla (6th House) as well as Magnus and Abigail (5th House) were my favourites. Even though I’ve to admit that Palamedes and Camilla kinda won the crown for me. Camilla was such a badass cavalier and an amazing fighter and Palamedes won me over with his calm, gentle, compassionate and inquiring nature. I love that man! Period! *lol* Go find yourself a Palamedes. ;-P Anyway, back on track! The coolest duo in this book were definitely Gideon and Harrow though! When they set their minds on something those two rocked the show and I really want to see more of them?! Please, can we have more of them Tamsyn Muir?!

„I’m not running, Harrow!“
“Of course we’re not running,” said Harrowhark disdainfully. “I said a necromancer alone. I have you. We bring hell.”

4

All told “Gideon the Ninth” was unlike any other book I ever read and therefore very unique. The action sequences and especially the name dropping were sometimes really confusing, but in general I enjoyed to read this and had a great time. The tension and distrust between the different necromancers and the mystery element that ran like a golden thread through the entire book added a nice touch to the atmosphere as well and some of the plot twists were actually really surprising. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to read book two! 😉

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Railhead (Philip Reeve)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”The trouble with friends was, sooner or later he’d have to tell them about Ma’s troubles and his life on Bridge Street, and those were sadnesses which he preferred to hold close and secret. It fitted the image he had of himself, too – the lone thief, all stray-cat-cool, walking solitary down some midnight street.”

So the first thing I have to say about “Railhead” is that it’s unlike any other book I’ve ever read, which is pretty rare and definitely an accomplishment. I mean I read a lot of books and to find something unique that still surprises me is like winning the lottery jackpot. But the world Philip Reeve built? It’s amazing! I don’t know why so many people put this into the genre of “young adult” because I think it’s actually middle grade, but I guess this is a discussion for another day. 😉 Right now I just want to speak about the awesome world Reeve built and how cool it was to dive into it.

”I will not leave without Zen Starling,” said the Damask Rose.
“But you have the painter,” said Uncle Bugs. “Zen Starling means nothing to you.”
“He is brave,” said the train. “He came all this way to save his friend. I will not leave without him.”

I absolutely loved the idea of portals and railways that exist between different worlds and I adored the concept of sentient locos! Like OMG! This is ingenious! Every single loco that was mentioned in this book had its own voice and I loved to discover how different they were. They were very human and some of them even were in love like the “Time of Gifts” and “The Wildfire”.

”They tease each other, and sing, and talk about old times, other worlds they’ve seen. I don’t think they know I’m listening. It’s sweet. People say they’re twins, but they aren’t. They’re lovers. They come from different engine shops. They met on the Network. And they love each other so much…”

Okay, go ahead, tell me that feeling and speaking locomotives aren’t one of the coolest things ever. *lol* Also there are motoriks in this world as well and they are basically very human looking robots (I suppose you could say they are humanoids). One of my favourite characters was Flex! She/He wasn’t just a really sweet character but also some sort of gender fluid motorik and if you think I’m biased now: Well, yes, I am. XD I can’t help it though, I mean how often do you find gender fluid reps in a book and how many of them are cute and talented motoriks?

”Why do you keep switching?” he asked. “Male to female, female to male…”
Flex looked up at him and smiled. “Wouldn’t you, if you could?”

And if that isn’t enough to persuade you to read this book: We also have Hive Monks which are basically bodies that are made of a million bugs and somehow gain a conscience once they are enough to form a body. I know a lot of people might be repelled or horrified by the mere idea of creatures like that but for me they added a really nice sci-fi element to the story and I actually found it very interesting to read about them. They acted very human and Nova the motorik girl that helped Zen with every task that was given to him by Raven was an amazing character as well.

”Her face was very beautiful, he thought. He hadn’t been sure before, but he was now. The mind that lived behind it made it beautiful, the same way that the flame inside a lantern makes the lantern beautiful.“

Truth be told, the slow romance that formed between Nova and Zen was probably one of the most intriguing things about “Railhead”. Nova is a motorik but if you compare her to the other human beings that appear in this book she seems to be the most human of them all. She is compassionate, she is kind and she feels more deeply than most of the people that made an appearance in this book. Which brings me right to Raven. I can’t say I liked him, but I kinda understood where he came from and what he wanted to achieve. The way he went about it was wrong though and I think I’ll never forgive him for what he did to Nova.

”Things need shaking up, Zen. Everything keeps repeating itself, century after century. Empires rise up and grow old, and there’s always some new would-be Emperor waiting in the wings to take their turn. Dark ages come and go. People are born and people die. It’s so pointless. The Guardians mean well, but they have shunted the whole human race onto a branch line of history, and we keep trundling round in circles. It’s time someone changed that.”

Malik, Zen’s and Raven’s antagonist was a super interesting character as well. I loved to find out more about him and his complexity added a lot to the storyline. I mean he’s a man on a mission and he has his own codex of right and wrong. He is confident and knows exactly where he stands and he stands firm in his convictions. I had to admire that about him and I kind of hope that he’ll make an appearance in book two. (Him and his husband, because wow, that tidbit of information was just mentioned in passing and I loved it!!) As for Zen Sterling: He made for an interesting MC and even though I didn’t agree with all of his actions I was still able to see the good in him. In fact Zen is a very complicated character too and I can’t wait to find out how he’s going to change in book two. There is a lot of potential for character growth and I’m so here for it. 😉

4
“Railhead” was such an amazing read and I enjoyed it immensely. Mind you this is someone speaking who isn’t even moderately close to the age of middle grade. *lol* This however didn’t take away any of my enjoyment and I still loved to dive into this world. So if you want something different, if you want sci-fi and unique locos that travel through worlds and wormholes, if you want a young hero and his amazing side-kicks. Well, then this book is for you! 😉

Allgemein, P - T, R, Reviews

Review: Restore Me (Tahereh Mafi)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

By now a few days have passed ever since I finished reading this book, yet my first reaction to “Restore Me” still remains the same.

WHAT THE FREAKING HELL??!!
WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK??!!
WHAT DID I JUST READ??!!
CAN ANYONE TELL ME WHAT I JUST READ?!!

And those were only four of the nicer things I thought when I closed the last page of this mind-blowing book! After reading this I’m shook to the core and my feelings are still all over the place! Tahereh Mafi SHATTERED, UNRAVELLED and DESTROYED me with every single line. To read this felt like someone was constantly punching me, hurting my body and my soul!!
Oh god, all those revelations! I can’t even… I’m still thinking about everything that happened in this book, I’m trying to wrap my head around it, I’m trying to understand it, but I just can’t.

This was just too much!!! My brain suffers from an overload of thoughts and feels and I’m desperately trying to recover from all the different blows. They came from every direction and boy did it hurt!! *cries*

TAHEREH HOW DARE YOU TO WRITE SUCH A BOOK AND THEN LET US WAIT FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR?!!!??

I wish I would have never bought this…
I wish I would have never read this…
I wish I wouldn’t have to wait for the next book…

This is pure torture…

“Restore Me”??!! *shakes head*
Are you kidding me Tahereh? You should have named it “Ruin Me”, “Devastate Me” or “Destruct Me”!
Not “Restore Me” why did you name this book like that?!!!

I can’t … I just can’t anymore… *sobs violently*

1
Juliette Ferrars is the new Supreme Commander of America and struggling to maintain a tight grip on her newfound powers and responsibility. There are a lot of things she hasn’t figured out yet and as the days go by she’s trying her best to take one step after the other forcing herself not to crumble under the sheer force of the new role that has been bestowed upon her. Will she be able to deal with the consequences of her actions or will her past cause her to falter?!

2
I’m so going to spoil the hell out of this section because FEELS!!! I can’t keep them in and if you don’t want to be captured in the midst of my raging emotions you better don’t continue to read! You’ve been warned! This is going to be a spoiler FEAST!!!

Juliette:

”I’m not proud that I’ve thought that.
Or that, in the quietest, loneliest hours of the morning I lie awake next to the son Anderson tortured nearly to death and wish that Anderson would return from the dead and take back the burden I stole from his shoulders.”


Where did the brave Juliette from “Ignite Me” go? I mean yeah, I knew she wouldn’t change overnight and that all her actions of the first three books would have some serious consequences, for some reason I really hoped that by now she would have developed more self-confidence though. I mean I get it! There’s a lot of responsibility on her shoulders and all those revelations were hitting her relentlessly, but despite all that some part of me still expected her to be stronger. She’s so powerful, why should she ever be afraid?! Plus even a blind person could see that Warner loves her more than anything else! How can she be so oblivious?! And that moment when she got drunk and shaved her head? This was such a 2007 Britney Spears move. I can understand why she was angry at Warner, I don’t get why she had to push him away so thoroughly though. It’s not like he knew the entire truth. I don’t like what happened to my independent and kick-ass Juliette from “Ignite Me” and I really hope that she’ll regain some of her self-assurance in the next book. Plus can we please talk about the fact that she killed an entire room full of people?! With nothing more than a scream?!! WTF?!!! O_o There’s a lot of explaining to do!!

”She steps forward. She looks suddenly terrifying. There’s a fire in her eyes. A murderous stillness in her movements. “If I ever catch you putting your hands on him again, I will tear open your chest,” she says, “and rip out your heart.”

”Getting angry and going to war, I understand. But patiently playing a confusing game of chess with a bunch of stranger from around the world?
God, I’d so much rather shoot someone.”


”Right now I can see her, this other version of myself, I can see her dragging her dirty fingernails against the chambers of my heart, drawing blood. And if I could reach inside myself and rip her out of me with my own two hands, I would.”

”I’m trying to come to terms with the fact that nothing is going to be the same for me, not ever again, and I have no idea who to trust or how to move forward. So yeah,” I say, nearly shouting the words, “right now I don’t care about anything. Because I don’t know what I’m fighting for anymore. And I don’t know who my friends are. Right now,” I say, “everyone is my enemy, including you.”

Warner:

”I feel old and unsettled, my heart and mind at war.”

My precious boy, my awesomeness on two legs!! Gosh, I love him so much!!! <333 He’s still my no.1 book husband (with Will of course!!!) and I couldn’t get enough of him! I loved that he had his own POV but his thoughts were so damn sad. I just wanted to hug him and tell him that he’s awesome and important and that he has a freaking damn right to grief!!!! Yes, I know everyone hated his father and Warner was certainly no exception to that rule, but this awful tyrant was still his father! No matter how much he hurt him and tortured him, no matter what he did to him, he was still his father and such bonds are hard to break. I hated that he was so alone in his grief and that no one except of Adam seemed to see and to understand it. Adam of all people! And Juliette! Girl, give that boy a break!!! I mean how much time passed after “Ignite Me”? Two weeks? How was Warner supposed to teach her everything he knew in two weeks? I mean it took him his entire life to master and understand the Reestablishment. And he didn’t even know the entire truth!!! He just wanted to protect Juliette, why is that so wrong?! My poor, poor baby!!! Warner didn’t deserve any of the shit he got in this book and I really hope Tahereh isn’t going to hurt him even more!! And what’s with that last Warner chapter?! An empty journal?!! AN EMPTY JOURNAL, TAHEREH???!!! If you put Warner into an asylum cell I’m going to RIOT!!! I’ll freaking riot!!! If he’s even more tortured and abused I’m going to die!!! Really!!! So you better don’t do anything mean to him!! AN EMPTY JOURNAL!!! *has a mental breakdown*

”And it is this, my unrequited affection for my father, that has always been my greatest weakness. So I lie here, marinating in a sorrow I can never speak of, while regret consumes my heart.”

”I have a great fear of drowning in the ocean of my own silence. In the steady thrum that accompanies quiet, my mind is unkind to me. I think too much. I feel, perhaps, far more than I should. It would be only a slight exaggeration to say that my goal in life is to outrun my mind, my memories.
So I have to keep moving.”


“I’m strangled into speechlessness, numb in my bones. I feel nothing but an immense, impossible pressure breaking apart my body. I fall backward, hard. My head is against the wall. I try to calm myself, calm my breathing. I try to be rational.”

”I’ve been undone by emotion, over and over. It was emotion that prompted me to take any job – at any cost – to be near to my mother. It was emotion that led me to find Juliette, to seek her out in search of a cure for my mother. It was emotion that prompted me to fall in love, to get shot and lose my mind, to become a broken boy all over again – one who’d fall to his knees and beg his worthless, monstrous father to spare the girl he loved. It was emotion, my flimsy emotions that cost me everything.
I have no peace. No purpose.
How I wish I’d ripped out this heart from my chest long ago.”


Kenji:

”I mean, I know she’s probably a sociopath. And, like, would definitely murder me in my sleep. But damn she’s, wow,” he says. “She’s, like, batshit pretty. The kind of pretty that makes a man think getting murdered in his sleep might not be a bad way to go.”

I still love and adore Kenji!!! He’s such an awesome best friend and he always brings some fun into the book. I swear if it wouldn’t have been for Kenji this entire book would have been a brooding feast, so thank you Tahereh for inventing that boy!!! *lol* The only thing I’m still missing is a Kenji POV so maybe we’ll finally get that in the next book? XD Ohh, I’d dig a Kenji POV so much!!! Haha! And since my wishes for a girlfriend/love interest were obviously heard the last time this wish might come true as well, right? XD *making huge puppy eyes*

Nazeera & Haider:

I still don’t know what to think about those two. Apparently Nazeera was a close friend of Juliette when they were kids and Haider seems to like Warner a lot, so I’m pretty certain there’ll be a lot of interesting revelations in the next book. Despite the general air of hostility I liked both of their characters though. I mean Nazeera is a strong female character and I always dig them and Haider … Well we didn’t get to see a lot of him but I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some abilities too. ;-P Plus Nazeera and Kenji!!! GOSH! That would be a match made in heaven!!! <333

Castle:

WHO. ARE. YOU?! This Castle was so completely different to the Castle we got to know in the earlier books! Where did all this information come from? How did he know about all the things not even Warner knew about?! Why did he know that Juliette’s parents are still alive? Does he work for them? Is he related to Juliette?! Where is the connection? I don’t get anything anymore. Up until now Castle was always some sort of gentle guide who gave good advice but took a back seat when things got too intense. Not now! Now he was smack in the middle and seemed to know more than anyone else! I have so many questions my head is spinning!!! And I demand answers in the next book!!! I want to know who he is!!!

Adam:

”I was an asshole. I took everything out on her. Blamed her for everything. For walking away from what I thought was one of the few sure things in my life. It’s my own fault, really. My own baggage. I’ve still got a lot of shit to work out,” he says finally. “I’ve got issues with people leaving me behind.”

THIS!!! It took 3 books to finally get this statement out of his mouth but it eventually happened!!!! OMG!!! I never thought I’d live to see the day when Kent admits that he was wrong!!! Ohh that was balm for my soul! XD Thank you Tahereh! I needed to read this so badly! If you think I’ll forgive Kent for everything he did you’re wrong though. I’ll tolerate him from now on, but the things he said to Juliette and Warner… Nope he’ll never be redeemed for that! Sorry! #SorryNotSorry

3
Juliette & Kenji:

I slap his hand away. “I may not know much about being a supreme commander yet, but I do know that I’m not supposed to be cute.”
Just then, the elevator dings open.
“Who says you can’t be cute and kick ass at the same time?” Kenji winks at me. “I do it every day.”


I still love their friendship! They are so adorable together and they act like siblings would do! *lol* I love that Kenji always tries to help Juliette and that deep down he’s more than just a little protective of her. Not that he’d show it, but it’s obvious whenever they interact with each other. XD Plus I’m glad that there’s at least one person Juliette can trust completely. Kenji would never lie to her and that’s good the way it is! =))

Warner & Kenji:

I smile, big. Lightbulb bright.
Kenji’s eyes widen, surprised, and he laughs. He nods at my face and says, “Aw, you’ve got dimples. I didn’t know that. That’s cute.”


I. SHIP. IT!!! Haha! I know Tahereh might have never intended her fans to ship Kenji and Warner but how couldn’t you?! *lol* Once they actually started to talk and stopped to be so hostile towards each other they were damn freaking cute! XD I loved their honest conversations and it made me happy that Kenji was able to make Warner smile! I mean he made him smile!!! That’s such an accomplishment! *lol* So yeah, I totally dig them! Sorry Tahereh! I can’t help it! ;-P

”I don’t really know man,” Kenji says, and sighs. “I think, this time, you just have to deal with the consequences of your own stupidity.”
I look away, bite back a laugh, and nod several times as I say, “Go to hell, Kishimoto.”
“I’m right behind you, bro.” He winks at me. Just once. And disappears.


Juliette & Warner:

”I miss you,” she says. It’s a whisper I almost don’t catch.
“I’m right here,” I say, gently touching her cheek. “I’m right here, love.”
But she shakes her head. Even as I pull her closer, even as she falls back asleep, she shakes her head.


MY SHIP HAS SUNK!!! *sobs* WHY TAHEREH??!!! Why did you have to do this? This was so damn painful to read!! I mean I understand that both of them had a lot of baggage and that they couldn’t change the way they are, but this?! WHY? So much heartbreak and pain on both of their sides!!! I just wanted them to be happy, to overcome their pain together, but nothing of that happened. Instead they drifted apart and didn’t talk to each other!! What happened to their mutual, strong, respectful and understanding relationship?! I can’t even put into words how much this killed me! You better set this right in the next book! They are my OTP!!! They need to be happy together!!! AND WHAT THE FREAKING HELL WAS THIS LAST CHAPTER?!!! Are you telling me that Warner and Juliette already loved each other when they were children?! That they played together and liked each other?!!! OMG!!! This ending really messed with my mind! I NEED BOOK 5! NOW!!! *faints*

”You will be made to feel lonely. Lost. You will long for validation from those you once admired, agonizing between pleasing old friends and doing what is right.” I look up. I feel my heart swell with pride as I stare at her. “But you must never, ever let the idiots into your head. They will only lead you astray.”

”Haider looks Juliette up and down then, examining her outfit, her hair, her plain, worn tennis shoes; and though he says nothing, I can feel his disapproval, his scepticism and ultimately – his disappointment in her.
It makes me want to throw him in the ocean.”


”Love.
It hits me with a painful force, the reminder. Of just how much I love her. God, I love all of her. Her impossibilities, her exasperations. I love how gentle she is with me when we’re alone. How soft and kind she can be in our quiet moments. How she never hesitates to defend me.
I love her.”


”This, I think, is the way to die.
I could drown in this moment and I’d never regret it. I could catch fire from this kiss and happily turn to ash. I could live here, die here, right here, against his hips, his lips. In the emotion in his eyes as he sinks into me, his heartbeats indistinguishable from mine.
This. Forever. This.“


”It’s a picture of a little boy standing next to a little girl. She’s sitting in a stairwell. He looks at her as she eats a piece of cake.
I flip it over.

Aaron and Ella“

4
All told, there was a lot about “Restore Me” that I loved, but also so much I hated. I’m really conflicted now and I don’t know if I loved or if I hated the book. After reading the ending I had to supress the sudden urge to throw it against a wall, but I also wanted to cradle it and cry my heart out. Ahhh I just don’t know how to feel about his book. I’m drowning in my emotions here. >_<

All I know is that I’m devastated and that I want to read “Shatter Me 5” asap! Shatter Me 5… there isn’t even a title yet. URGH!!! *dies*

A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Champion (Marie Lu)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 16 on My Book List 2021

“Sometimes, the sun sets earlier. Days don’t last forever, you know. But I’ll fight as hard as I can. I can promise you that.”

I just wrote down that quote and I’m already bawling my eyes out… again! T_T Marie Lu certainly killed me with that ending. It’s like a shot in the heart and I’m still not over it and this even though I finished “Champion” about a month ago. Jeez! A month and my feelings are still all over the place. Yes, it was THAT good! T_T I don’t think I’ll get over it anytime soon. Well, maybe if I borrow “Rebel” from the library and replace the ending of this book with new information from the fourth instalment.

Seriously, I hope this will work because I can’t live with the ending of “Champion”. Does this sound a little bit too dramatic? Well, for me it is! Anyway, let’s get back to the overall review. When I began to read this book I thought that it would be mostly about June and Day because Commander Jameson and Thomas were finally out of the picture. Unfortunately the Colonies decided they wanted a piece of the cake that is the Republic and used the plague as a cause to invade it. Which basically meant that our infamous OTP is forced to fight against them while Day’s health is slowly deteriorating. And this just broke my heart! T_T

Of course there were a lot of plot twists I didn’t see coming even though I probably should have known better because Marie Lu is very adept at throwing them with the biggest impact. This said, the pacing of the book was slower this time around and there wasn’t as much action as in the first two books. I think this was realistic though because 1.) This book was more character driven than its predecessors and 2.) Day’s condition just didn’t give enough room to go for unrealistic action scenes. Still, despite all that “Champion” was a great finale and I can’t wait to dive into my characters section, which I’m going to do right now because I have feelings that need to pour out!

2

You are entering Antarctica the country of modern technology and progress. Be careful, though, not everything is as shiny as it seems and there might be backstabbing spoilers ahead of you. 😉

June:

June sees the hesitation on my face and knows it’s a confirmation of her fear. She bites her lip. “It’s my fault,” she says, as if it’s just simple logic. “And I’m not sure I will ever be able to earn your forgiveness. I shouldn’t.”

June broke my freaking heart. She stabbed me with her knife and left me bleeding all over the floor and the thing is, I can’t even be angry at her?! It might have killed me but she grew so much as a character and I can’t really hold it against her. She knows that her actions were unforgivable and that they hurt Day, yet she can’t change anything about it. Add Anden and his advances to the picture as well and you have a really confused girl that doesn’t know what to do. XD I kinda liked to see that side of her though because it was in total contrast to the girl she was in the first book. She learned to deal with her emotions while still being a badass soldier and the combination of both is just sexy. *lol* Still, the sacrifice she made in the end killed me and I basically yelled at the pages! >_<

”Now fate has handed the solution to me on a silver platter – Day survived his ordeal, and in return, I need to step out of his life. Even though he looks at me now like a stranger, he no longer has the look of pain and tragedy that always seemed to come with the passion and love he gazed at me with. Now he is free.
He is free of us, leaving me as the only bearer of our past’s burden.”

Day:

”I feel so out of place among these aristocrats, with their bank accounts and posh manners. No matter how much money the Republic throws at me, I will forever be the boy from the streets.”

*screams in heartbreak* Day crying alone in the abandoned kitchen of his family’s old house was legit one of the saddest moments in this series. T_T Gosh! Where to start?! Day suffered so much in this series already and to see how he got weaker and weaker with every passing day just killed me. I think after finishing “Prodigy” I was kind of in denial and thought that his brain tumour might just be a cruel way to keep him in line. But no… Marie Lu actually went through with it and I died about a thousand deaths. To see how his health deteriorated was so painful and yet still he worried about Eden and June and the people of the Republic. If anyone ever needed proof that Day is an angel: Well, this is it! I mean despite everything he still fought for what he believed in and gave it everything. I just can’t with this precious boy! <333

”What makes me lose my breath, though, is that he’s leaning heavily on a pair of crutches. How long has he been here? He looks exhausted, pale, and distant. I wonder what new drugs the doctors are trying on him. The thought is a sudden, stabbing reminder of Day’s waning life, the few seconds he has left, slowly ticking by.”

”My heart’s been torn wide open, just like I feared it would be, and i have no willpower to close it back up. Any barrier I might’ve succeeded in putting up around myself, any resistance I might’ve built up against my feelings for her, is now completely gone. Shattered.”

”Help me,” I whisper desperately to the empty room. “I can’t do this.” I want to, I love her, but I can’t bear it. It’s been almost a year. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I just move on?”

”The Republic is weak and broken.” I narrow my eyes. “But it is still your country. Fight for it. This is your home, not theirs.”

”You and I will probably never get a chance to meet. But I know you. You have taught me about all the good things in my life, and why I’ve fought for my family all these years. I hope for great things for your own loved ones, that they can go through life without suffering the way mine have.”

Anden:

”I don’t want to hear anyone else right now. I want to hear you. You are the heart of the people, Day – you always have been. You’ve given everything you have in order to protect them.” Day stiffens beside me, but Anden goes on. “I fear for the people. I worry about their safety, that we’ll be handing them over to the enemy just as we’re starting to put the pieces together.”

You know, Anden is actually a very decent guy. I really liked him and I appreciated that he trusted Day so much. He’s exactly the kind of elector the Republic needed and I’m sure he will do a great job at guiding his country into the future. If anyone can do it, it’s him! He cares for his people and he only wants the best for them. This makes him already very different to his father and I loved that about him. Plus he’s a good loser! He knew exactly that June’s heart was with Day but he never resented her for it. Quite the contrary, he accepted his defeat with dignity and there aren’t many people who would have been able to do so. I guess I’m an Anden fan now. =)

”I envy Day, you know,” he says, his voice as soft as ever. “I’m jealous that he gets to make decisions with his heart. Every choice he makes is honest, and the people love him for it. He can afford to use his heart.”

”You are a soldier, Ms. Iparis, through and through – but it has been an honor to see you as a Princeps-Elect.” The Elector of the Republic bows to me. “Whatever happens from here, I hope you remember that.”

3

June & Day:

Half of my heart is breaking at the pain on her face; the other half, I realize guiltily, is swelling with happiness to know that she still cares. There’s love in her tragic words, in the folds of that thin metal ring. Isn’t there?
Finally, I take a deep breath. “Sometimes, the sun sets earlier. Days don’t last forever, you know. But I’ll fight as hard as I can. I can promise you that.”

Talk about star-crossed lovers! I swear Marie Lu is a master at giving us star-crossed love stories. She seems to love to kill us and I have yet to come across a Marie Lu series that doesn’t stab me with the feels. I mean THOSE TWO… I CAN’T!!! T_T My freaking heart got stabbed repeatedly just to shrivel into a little black pea at the ending of the book. Because unlike the majority of this planet named earth I JUST CAN’T with bittersweet endings like that! Like ARADKAFJASDFKASJFAKSDFJSDADKF! 10 YEARS??!!! Are you freaking kidding me?!! I’m having a déjà vu now because I just remembered the ending of Pirates of the Carribean 3. And my reaction back then was basically the same. >_< Didn’t we suffer enough already, Marie!? Why did you have to do this?!! ARGH!!!! *has a mental breakdown* Okay, I’m fine. *says it like Neil Josten* Also is it just me or did June really never tell him that she loves him?!! ARGHIIIIIIIIIIIII! If she doesn’t say it in “Rebel” I’m probably gonna die! Yep, I’m THAT invested! I mean I understand why June didn’t and let him go in the end but still… I’m fine. Totally. T_T

”Has it really been so long since the last time we kissed? Have I really missed him this much? Have all the problems threatening to crush us both weakened us to the point where we are gasping for breath, clinging desperately to each other for survival? I’ve forgotten how right it feels to be in his arms.”

”Why do I do this to myself? I see you and feel such – “ He has tears in his eyes now. The sight is more than I can bear. He takes two steps away from me and then turns back like a caged animal. “Do you even love me?” he suddenly asks. He grips both of my shoulders. “I’ve said it to you before, and I still mean it. But I’ve never heard it from you. I can’t tell. And then you give me this ring” – he pauses to hold his hand up – “and I don’t know what to think anymore.”

Day just smiles at me, an expression so sad that it breaks through my numbness, and I begin to cry. Those bright blue eyes. Before me is the boy who has bandaged my wounds on the streets of Lake, who has guarded his family with every bone in his body, who has stayed by my side in spite of everything, the boy of light and laughter and life, of grief and fury and passion, the boy whose fate is intertwined with mine, forever and always.
“I love you,” he whispers. “Can you stay awhile?”

”I can feel his presence here in every stone he has touched, every person he has lifted up, every street and alley and city that he has changed in the few years of his life, because he is the Republic, he is our light, and I love you, I love you, until the day we meet again I will hold you in my heart and protect you there, grieving what we never had, cherishing what we did. I wish you were here.”

”It’s you,” he whispers. There is wonder in his voice.
“Is it?” I whisper back, my voice trembling with all the emotions I’ve kept hidden for so long.
Day is so close, and his eyes are so bright. “I hope,” he replies softly, “to get to know you again. If you are open to it. There is a fog around you that I would like to clear away.”

Tess & Day:

”What were my last words to her … back when we had botched the Patriot’s assassination attempt on Anden? Please, Tess – I can’t leave you here. But that’s exactly what I did.
I turn away, taking another drag on my cigarette. Do I miss her? “Every day,” I reply.

I’m so glad they resolved their differences and finally had this dire needed talk! They had to sort their feelings first and needed to talk things out properly. Also it made me happy to know that Tess was there for Day and accompanied him on his difficult way. To be honest it was kind of sad to hear that they didn’t have as much contact ten years after, but then I guess that’s life and it was very realistic that they kind of grew apart over time. I mean they obviously still kept contact but it was different than their super close relationship as teens. Still, I’ll always be happy they reconciled. =)

I swallow hard and look down. “but I don’t love you the way you want me to. I’m sorry if I ever gave you the wrong impression. I don’t think I’ve ever treated you as well as you deserve.” My heart twists painfully as the words leave my mouth, striking her as they do. “So don’t be sorry. It’s my fault, not yours.”

”When the entire world turned its back on me and left me to die, you took me in. You were the one person who cared about what might happen to me. You were everything. Everything. You became my entire family – you were my parents and my siblings and my caretaker, my only friend and companion, you were both my protector and someone who needed protecting. You see? I didn’t love you in the way you might’ve thought I did, although I can’t deny that was part of it. But the way I feel goes beyond that.”

June & Thomas:

”Your brother froze, like I thought he would. There was complete stillness. We drew apart, the silence heavy around us, and for a moment I wondered whether I’d made a huge mistake, whether I’d simply misread every signal from the past few years. Or perhaps, perhaps he knew what I was up to. I felt a strange sense of relief at that thought. Maybe id’d be better if Metias figured out Commander Jamesons’s plans for him. Maybe there’s a way to get out of this.”

I didn’t think it would be possible for me to despise Thomas even more but boy, “Champion” really made me hate him! How could he do this to Metias?! A person he obviously loved?! Or he wouldn’t have kissed him. Thomas was such a FOOL! He’s the living and breathing epitome of ignorance! How could he be so thick in the head?! Like seriously?! How can he live and breathe every single day knowing he killed the only person who ever loved him?! My only explanation is that Thomas was an unfeeling robot. His death was random and stupid and truth be told exactly the kind of death his character deserved. No tears for Thomas just one sentence: Good riddance! XD

”I could’ve chosen Day’s route. I could have become a criminal. But I didn’t. I did everything right, you know. That was what Metias loved about me. He respected me. I followed all the rules, I obeyed all the laws, I worked my way up from where I started.” He leans toward me; his eyes grow more desperate. “I took an oath, June. I am still bound by that oath. I will die with honor for sacrificing everything I have – everything – for my country. And yet, Day is the legend, while I am to be executed.” His voice finally breaks with all his anguish and inner torment, the injustice he feels. “It makes no sense.”

Day & Eden:

”Man, look at us,” I reply. My laughter turns into coughs. “What a team, yeah?”
Eden finds me by placing a tentative hand on my head. He sits beside me with his legs crossed and gives me a wry grin. “Hey – with your metal leg and half a brain, and my four leftover senses, we almost make a whole person.”

Day’s unconditional love for Eden will always tug at my heartstrings. This boy loves his family so damn much and since Eden is the only one who is left of it his baby brother means the world to him. <333 I just loved those two and their close relationship and gosh, when Day carried Eden even though he was shot by Commander Jameson I was covering my mouth and praying that June would take out that cold hearted bitch before she could shoot him a second time. This boy really gave everything for his family and people. T_T I just hope Day and Eden will always have such a close bond. As it seems they are still close 10 years after all the happenings in “Champion” so there’s that, right?

A lump rises in my throat. “Eden,” I begin, “we’ve lost Mom and John. Dad is gone. You’re all I have left. I can’t afford to lose you too. Everything I’ve done so far, I’ve done for you. I’m not letting you risk your life to save the Republic – or the Colonies.”
The defiance fades from Eden’s eyes. He props his arms up on the railing and leans his head against his hands. “If there’s one thing I know about you,” he says, “it’s that you’re not selfish.”

”A small, bittersweet smile tugs at the corners of my mouth. Day, the champion of the people, the one who can’t bear to see those around him suffer on his behalf, who would gladly give his life for those he loves. Except it’s not his life that we need in order to save Tess, but his brother’s.”

”You did good,” I reply. “I’m proud of you.” And I am. I’m prouder of him than I’ve ever been of myself – I’m proud of him for standing up to me.”

4

And here I hoped Marie Lu would give me an ending that wouldn’t break me. I should have known better. She’s famous for her bittersweet endings and this one was as bittersweet as they get. I definitely need to get my hands on “Rebel” and I hope it will be able to ease my mind because right now it’s still reeling. 4 weeks after finishing “Champion” I can say that the book finished me instead. My heart is still bleeding. >_<

A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Cress (Marissa Meyer)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”Kiss her, she thought. Isn’t that what people did after they survived thrilling, near-death experiences together? She was sure it wasn’t an appropriate suggestion, but this close, it was all she could think about.”

Ahh, Cress is such a romantic! ❤ The way she swooned over Thorne was just adorable! But let’s not get off topic here and focus on the overall review instead! This said “Cress” was already the third book in “The Lunar Chronicles” and basically everybody and their grandma told me that it’s the best book in the series. Of course there were also a couple of voices that said it’s the weakest book in the series so I decided to just read it and form my own opinion. (As always. Did you expect anything different from me? ;-P)

So did “Cress” live up to my expectations or not? Well, the answer is: Yes, I think it did. It was very entertaining and I loved to see how the story of all those different characters came together in the end. What I really liked about this book was that we got some background info about all the characters and that some of them finally got a chance to confront not only each other but also their personal problems as well. No matter if it’s Cinder, Thorne, Cress or Wolf, they all experience things that force them to act and ultimately lead them to finding themselves and their own path in this (by now very) huge storyline.

Interestingly enough Queen Levana didn’t have an all too big part in this instalment but I’m actually glad she had a secondary role. It gave our protagonists room to plan their next moves and to come to terms with their destiny and their individual parts in the game. The introduction of Princess Winter and Jacin was interesting as well and I can’t wait to read their story. Considering Winter’s mental state I’m sure it’s going to be quite something though. XD For now let’s get down to business and talk about the MCs of “Cress”!

2

If you dare to take a trip to the Sahara be my guest! It’s wise to be careful though, there are many dangers that can be found in the desert and mirages and spoilers are just two of them. ;-P Consider yourself properly warned. That’s all I can do for you, my friend!

Cress:

Cress glanced up, and though his expression was sympathetic, she thought he was probably mocking her. ”I’m not crazy. I know she’s just a computer. It’s just … I programmed her myself, and she was the only friend I had. That’s all.“

Okay, Cress is probably one of the most innocent characters I ever came across in a book but considering she spent almost her entire life on an isolated satellite this doesn’t really come as a surprise. (On a side note: You just gotta love how Meyer turned the initial tower into a satellite. ;-P) She is definitely a cinnamon roll and it’s no wonder she had troubles to adapt to the life on earth. I suppose everyone would have troubles to adapt to life in a desert though so I think she actually did pretty well! Also I kinda liked the contrast of her being a hacker wizard on the keyboard and knowing nothing about the real world. XD I’m very curious where her character arc will head. Still, to find out Dr. Erland was her father was really quite the plot twist. It makes me sad that he died before they could get to know each other. T_T

”She tried to swallow down the rising panic, this sensation that her existence was as small and unimportant as the tiniest fleck of sand blowing against her shins. There was a whole world – a whole planet. And she was stuck somewhere in the middle of it, away from everything. There were no walls, no boundaries, nothing to hide behind. A shudder swept over her, goose bumps crawling across her bare arms.”

Thorne:

”Yeah, I guess you’re right,” he said, squeezing. “Maybe there’s a little bit of a hero in me after all. But … really, Cress. Only a little.”

Poor boy had it really rough in here. He lost his sight due to the satellite crashing and I was really worried about him. I think it was amazing that he never gave up though. You could tell that he was struggling with his fate and had trouble to adjust to a life without his eye sight but he did what needed to be done and he helped Cress as best as he could. Some might say Thorne is arrogant and self-assertive but I know he isn’t. It’s just a way to hide his insecurities and he is indeed the misunderstood hero Cress thought him to be. I loved to get a glimpse at his true thoughts and to see his character arc was really amazing. ❤ Thorne came a long way and I think his journey isn’t over yet.

”She was a girl. A living girl, smart and sweet and awkward and unusual, and she was worth far more than they could ever realize.”

”It seemed like hours since he’d so flippantly said good-bye to Cress, when she was still in the bath, when her singing was still echoing in his ears. And he’d left her. He’d just left her – and why? To show off his gambling skills? To prove that he was still self-sufficient? To prove that he didn’t need anyone, not even her?“

Cinder:

”Of course I will. I’m the rightful heir!”
She drew back, stunned by her own words. She didn’t think she’d ever felt so invested in her identity, and determined to claim her place. It was a strange feeling, bordering on pride.

Cinder actually accepted her powers, but she still feels conflicted about them and I think that’s a good thing! I loved to see how she got stronger and started to see the Lunars as her people and came to terms with her identity. She had to make a lot of difficult choices though and I was really afraid that she might break under the pressure. To think you’re just a cyborg that works as a mechanic and to realize you’re the rightful heir to Luna… I can’t even fathom how tough this must have been. It’s no wonder she’s so insecure, but she has a lot of people that love and support her so I’m sure she’ll make her way. =)

”Standing on the hotel step, with sixty guns trained on her, Cinder realized she was no better than that thaumaturge. This really was war, and she really was in the middle of it.
If she had to make sacrifices, she would.”

“News flash: I have never manipulated you. And I hope I never have to. But you aren’t the only one with responsibilities and an entire country of people who are relying on you. So I’m sorry, Your Majesty, but you are coming with me, and you’re just going to have to figure out whether or not you can trust me when we’re not so pressed for time.”

”You want to know another secret? The biggest secret?” She sat, splaying her legs like a broken doll in front of her. “I’m scared, Kai. I’m so scared.” She thought it might feel better, to say the words out loud, but instead they only made her feel pathetic and weak.

Kai:

”Excellent. And have you given any thought to your wedding vows?”
Kai snorted. “Delete anything that has to do with love, respect, or joy, and I’ll sign on the dotted line.”

Seriously whenever I read about Kai’s and Levana’s upcoming wedding I felt dread! >_< I really, really, really didn’t want him to marry her and ahhh the mere idea of their wedding was already enough to cause me to scream and tear at my hair! He still defied her though and I’ll never get tired of this boys defiance! *lol* Kai is the best and I love him so much! <333 The things he did for his country and people were amazing and I hated to see his self-doubt and insecurity. He did everything he could and it’s not his fault Levana was cunning enough to plan this invasion for years or even decades. It could have happened to his father if he wouldn’t have died of the plague so I really hope he stops blaming himself for everything that happened. It’s not his fault. T_T

”He hated Levana. He hated himself for giving in to her. He hated that his father had managed to keep her and her threats of war at bay for years and years, and within weeks of Kai taking the throne, he’d let everything fall apart.”

”Maybe she’s trying to help me. Cinder knows that if she finds the princess, it could be the end of Levana’s rule. I wouldn’t have to marry her. She would probably be executed for treason. Cinder risked her life going to that farm, and she did it … she may have done it for me.”

”He would never tell Torin that a part of him hoped Cinder would be safe. And he would never tell a single living soul how terrified he was, every moment of every day. How afraid he was that he was making an enormous mistake.”

Iko:

”Aaaaw,” squealed Iko. “Did Wolf just say that he loves Scarlet? That’s so cute!”

Iko fangirling over Scarlet and Wolf was one of the best things in this book! *lol* She’s basically the embodiment of every shipper and the comical relief of this series. XD Also I almost choked when she spoke about Adri and Pearl. Haha! I just adore Iko and I’m so glad she got a new body now. Thorne really picked the perfect robot. It’s a shame she got hurt when she tried to help them, but I’m sure Cinder will find a way to fix her. =)

”See? Injustice. Here we are, risking out lives to rescue Kai and this whole planet, and Adri and Pearl get to go to the royal wedding. I’m disgusted. I hope they spill soy sauce on their fancy dresses.”

Jacin:

”Because Thaumaturge Mira was preoccupied with your operative. Otherwise, I would have been the same brainless mannequin that I usually am.” His tone was self-deprecating, but Cinder could detect bitterness beneath it. Nobody liked to be controlled, and she didn’t think anyone ever got used to it.

Now here’s a new character that has me intrigued. Mostly because he’s still one big question mark and we all know how much I love question marks. XD But please, Jacin! I don’t believe you a single second that you’re not in love with Princess Winter! He so is! It was pretty obvious. After what I saw from Winter I can’t help but wonder about their relationship though. Is his love one-sided, does she reciprocate? I need answers and since the last book is named “Winter” I’m sure I’ll get them soon. 😉

”Do you … do you love her?”
He glared at her, disgusted. “Don’t try to push your swoony psychodrama on me. I’m sworn to protect her. Can’t very well do that from down here, can I?”

3

Cress & Thorne:

”Carswell Thorne wasn’t a heartless scoundrel at all. If anyone bothered to get to know him, they would see that he was compassionate and chivalrous.
He was exactly the kind of hero Cress had been dreaming about her entire life.”

Those two are such an unlikely pair but they still worked somehow. XD I loved them together and they were pretty cute. I mean Cress is super innocent and Thorne well, let’s just say he has a lot of experience with women and all sorts of crimes. *lol* Despite everything they are still kind of perfect for each other. I loved that Cress brought out the compassionate and chivalrous side of Thorne and that he didn’t care about who she was or how she looked like. The fact that he couldn’t see her might have helped to see her inner values more clearly but that was exactly what it was supposed to do so yeah. Also Thorne protecting Cress and taking care of her was legit the cutest thing! She saw his true self long before he saw it and I think her believing that he’s a good person might have helped to actually make him one. Plus can we appreciate that Thorne is super gentle and caring with her. He’s kind of a rake but he got all protective and considerate with her. So, nope, I don’t agree with Dr. Erland. I think Thorne is exactly what Cress needs! <333

”But you’re a prisoner,” said Thorne.
“I prefer damsel in distress,” she murmured.
One side of Thorne’s mouth quirked up, into that perfect half smile he’d had in his graduation photo. A look that was a little bit devious, and all sorts of charming.

He rubbed her shoulder. It was the kind of touch that would have filled her with giddiness and yearning if she hadn’t been too tired to feel anything. “You have to trust me, Cress. I’m going to get us out of this.”

”Good idea,” he said, wrapping an arm around her waist. “How could they not think that we’re in love?”
“How couldn’t they?” she murmured. She squeezed her eyes shut and tried to memorize the exact feel of him.

Knees suddenly weak, she reached for his forearms to stabilize herself. “You came for me.”
He beamed, looking for all the world like a selfless, daring hero.
“Don’t sound so surprised.” Dropping the cane, he pulled her into a crushing embrace that tore her away from Wolf and lifted her clean off the floor.

”While Cress’s thoughts continued to churn through the horrible things that could happen to her, she felt herself being suddenly sprung around and dipped backward, a supportive arm scooping beneath her back. She yelped and caught herself on Thorne’s shoulder.
Then he was kissing her.”

Cinder & Kai:

”Right. And what if I’d said, oh, sure, Your Highness, I’d love to go to the ball with you, but first you should probably know that I’m cyborg. And then what?”
Kai looked away.
“You never would have talked to me again,” she answered for him. “You would have been mortified.”
“So you were just going to keep it hidden forever?”
“Forever?” Cinder waved her arm toward the window. “You are the emperor of an entire country. There was never going to be a forever.”
He was surprised how much the words stung. She was right.

I was so glad they finally got a chance to talk!!! This conversation was so overdue and I was damn happy when they eventually had their confrontation! Also I remember wishing that Cinder would kidnap Kai before he marries Levana when I wrote my Scarlet review and well, it happened! *lol* Marissa Meyer actually threw me a bone here! YAY! XD I guess now that Cinder cleared things up and Kai knows that she’s Princess Selene they got closer to getting their happily ever after and I can’t wait for it to happen!!! <333 I ship them, HARD! Both on their own couldn’t do a lot against Levana but Cinder and Kai together? They’ll crush her! I know they will because they have the potential to be a power couple! 😉 And it definitely helps that they both know how it feels to be responsible for an entire nation. They can support each other and push through their doubts together and I’m so ready to see that!!! ❤

He lifted his gaze. “Just to be clear, you’re not using your mind powers on me right now, are you?”
She blinked. “Of course not.”
“Just checking.”
Then he slid his arms around her waist and kissed her.

”Arms wrapped around her. Cinder pressed her face against his silk shirt. There was some sort of cologne or maybe soap there – so faint she hadn’t picked up on it before.
“I know exactly how you feel,” Kai said.
She squeezed her eyes shut. “Not exactly.”
“I think pretty close.”

Scarlet & Wolf:

Cupping his chin, Scarlet tilted Wolf’s face away from her and pressed a kiss against the wound. He inhaled sharply, but otherwise became as still as a rock – an unusual feat for him.”

They broke my freaking heart!!! T_T I can’t believe Scarlet got kidnapped by Sybil and ended up as a prisoner on Luna. I felt so sorry for both of them because Wolf knew exactly what they’d do to her and Scarlet suffered so damn much. >_< Poor girl!!! I could understand why Wolf considered her to be dead because the torture she went through physically as well as mentally will leave its scars and make her a different person than she used to be. Ahhh! I feel so damn sorry for Scarlet! To lose her grandmother was already horrible enough but now this?! T_T I really hope Meyer gives my girl a break in the next book! Wolf and her deserve to be happy and neither of them are right now and it’s just not fair. =(((

”She suppressed the voice out of nervous panic that her mistress would sense her confusion. She did not want that. There was no confusion.
She knew precisely where she wanted to be. Precisely who she wished to be serving.”

”But then Wolf’s breath hitched and all the fury drained out of him with a shudder. Like a man shot fatally through the heart, he collapsed over his knees, covering his head with his good arm like he wanted to block out the world.”

”The illusion and the pain vanished, but the horror lingered. The rawness of her throat. The damp salt on her face. Scarlet rolled onto her side, sobbing in the middle of the playroom floor, grateful that the boy couldn’t maintain the brainwashing while he was distracted.”

4

All told “Cress” was one of those sequels in which most of the plotlines come together and finally turn into one central theme. The only loose thread that’s still left is Winter’s and Jacin’s story and I’m already very curious about it. I really liked that some of the character’s problems were addressed, resolved and smoothed out. This lays a good foundation for the final book and I’m ready to read it soon! =)

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, S

Review: Scarlet (Marissa Meyer)

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Rating:4 Pfoten

Book 15 on My Book List 2021

”Your mom never made you eat your vegetables, did she?”
Their gazes clashed and the awkwardness was immediate.

Well, nope?! He’s the big bad wolf after all and I found it kind of hilarious that he loved tomatoes. *lol* This said, “Scarlet” was another great addition to “The Lunar Chronicles” and even though the Star Wars vibes weren’t as strong in this one as in the first book I still enjoyed it a lot and was very intrigued by Scarlet’s and Wolf’s story.

Interestingly this book picked up where the first one left off. So we didn’t only get Scarlet’s story that played in France, but also continued our journey with Cinder that still (mostly) took place in New Beijing. For me both plot lines were very interesting and the fast pacing of Scarlet’s chapters was a nice counterweight to the rather slow chapters of Cinder and Emperor Kai. Still, the fact they had a slow pace definitely didn’t mean that they weren’t super intriguing and suspenseful as well, because they definitely were. 😉

I guess we can all agree that Queen Levana is quite a formidable antagonist so the Kai chapters had me clasping my fingers and hoping that she wouldn’t do something unforgivable to him. He’s too precious and I don’t want to see him hurt. And speaking of precious characters: The new addition of Thorne and the return of Iko made this even more fun. *lol* We finally got some answers in “Scarlet” and I can’t wait to read the next book! I’m sure there’s even more to come and I’m looking forward to see where Marissa Meyer will take this series. =) For now we’ll talk about “Scarlet” though and as always I have thoughts. (I always do, don’t I? ;-P)

2

Bonjour, my fellow readers! You are now entering the spoilery territory of my review and if you haven’t read “Scarlet” already I’d recommend leaving this review. If you’re too curious… Well, don’t say I didn’t warn you. We all know: Curiosity kills the cat! ;-P

Scarlet:

”I just think we shouldn’t judge her, or anyone, without trying to understand them first. That maybe we should get the full story before jumping to conclusions. Crazy notion, I know.”

Ahh Scarlet and her shotgun! I really liked that girl! *lol* She’s super independent, can stand her ground and is very down-to-earth, which are all good traits. And she’s very compassionate and always thinks of others first. I loved how much she cared about her grandmother and how determined she was to find her and to get her back to safety. When Scarlet finally reached her grandma it broke my heart though. They only had a couple of pages together and when she died I was so sad. You could feel their strong bond and their love for each other and if Scarlet now feels like eliminating Queen Levana’s soldiers with her shotgun for what they did to her grandma… well go ahead girl! XD The poor old lady deserved so much better than to be tortured by those Lunars. T_T I really hope Scarlet will get over the loss of her grandmother and that she’ll come out of it even stronger than before. Give my girl a shotgun in “Cress” and let’s see what will happen next! ;-P

”I suspect you would shoot me all over again if you thought it would help your grandmother.”
She blinked up at him, almost surprised to discover how close they were standing. “I would,” she said, “But that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be sorry about it afterward.”

”Mademoiselle Benoit retrieved,” she said, planting her heel on the back of the dazed, blank-faced soldier and shoving him off the ramp. “And don’t worry, we’ll take Alpha Kesley off your hands.”

Wolf:

”The only way to prevent becoming an omega is to fight. And to win. That’s why I do it. That’s why I’m good at it.”

Wolf was such an enigma! From the very first moment he appeared on page I wondered about his motives and why he helped Scarlet. His heightened senses, the predatory actions and his appearance, it all had me wondering if he would turn on Scarlet and in the end he actually did. Despite all that I’m pretty certain that we got to see the real Wolf. Beneath the animal there’s still a person and it’s struggling for control. I always wondered why he was so scared around Scarlet and I finally realized that he was afraid of her because she made him feel like a human being, like a person and not an animal. So that kind of made me wonder about how he was raised and how he became one of Levana’s soldiers. He’s certainly no normal Lunar and it was hinted that Levana sort of “breeds” them, whatever that means. The last scene showed her soldiers in some sort of boot camp so I guess she trains them? I really hope we’ll find out more about this in the next books or that “The Queen’s Army” will be able to answer some of my questions. XD For now I’ll give Wolf the benefit of the doubt.

His hands hastily brushed the curls from her face, gripped her shoulders, rubbed her bruised wrist, every ounce of his frenetic energy devoted to checking that she was there. That she was all right. “I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I lost focus, I slipped – I’m sorry. Scarlet. Are you all right?”

”His jaw worked as if to take in a bigger gulp of hair.
She could see his fight. His struggle. As clearly as she could see the animal – the wolf – in him. As clearly as she could still see the man.

”I appreciated everything you gave me.” He picked up the can of olives and sniffed at them, wary of being tricked again. “Although I didn’t deserve any of it.”

Cinder:

”What are they doing?”
“Obeying,” she said heavily, hating herself for making the command. Hating the hums that filled her ears. Hating this gift that was too unnatural, too powerful, too unfair.

Cinder had quite a lot to digest in this book and it’s no wonder she’s kind of insecure about what to do and how to proceed. I guess to find out that you’re a long lost princess that was almost killed by your own evil aunt would be tough for everyone. XD She’s still trying to make sense of everything that happened and with Levana’s henchmen and every citizen of earth looking for her she didn’t even get a break to come to terms with her new status as a princess and fugitive. Not to mention that she still has feelings for Kai and must feel pretty betrayed by his actions. Considering what Levana did to her I’m kind of glad she has no conscious memory of what happened when she was a little kid though. >_< I wonder if Cinder will accept her powers in “Cress” or if she’ll still feel conflicted about them. Let’s hope she’ll make peace with them. I mean it’s not like the entire world depends on that, right? *lol*

”Levana had tried to kill her when she was only three years old.
Her operation had been completed when she was eleven.
Eight years. In a tank, sleeping and dreaming and growing.
Not dead, but not alive either.”

Kai:

”What he didn’t know was how many times she’d glamoured him before that. How many times she’d tricked him. How many times she’d made him out to be a complete fool.”

POOR KAI!!! To read his POV was pure torture! I felt so sorry for him because he doesn’t know about Cinder’s connection to Levana and has no idea what’s actually at stake. Not that he would need any more pressure. He’s basically holding his country together by sheer force of will. To say he’s between a rock and a hard place would be putting it more than just mildly. If you ask me it’s admirable that he even tries to defy Queen Levana! A lot of people would have cowered before her if she’d taken away their voice, but Kai? He still uses every single one of his breaths to annoy the hell out of her. It’s the only way he can defy her and boy does he give her a run for her money. *lol* Still, the pressure was too much and I hated to see him crumble. ARGH! I hated every single moment he had to wait for Levana to stop her attack. The price was too high and Kai basically gave his life for his people by agreeing to marry her. T_T Kai deserves so much better than that… so, so much better.

”Sensation returned to his tongue and Kai threw a thankless smile at Aimery. He then proceeded to do the most disrespectful thing he could think of – he pulled his chair back from his desk and sat down. Tripping back, he folded his hands over his stomach.”

”With the click of the latch, Kai let himself crumble into his chair. His entire body was shaking. It was suddenly so clear that he wasn’t ready for this. He wasn’t strong enough or smart enough to fill his father’s shoes. He couldn’t even keep Levana out of his own office – how was he going to protect an entire country from her – an entire planet?”

Thorne:

Then, “You’re … rather handsome, Captain Thorne.”
Cinder groaned.
“And you, my fine lady, are the most gorgeous ship in these skies, and don’t let anyone ever tell you different.”

Don’t you love a guy that calls himself Captain and is afraid of cockroaches? *lol* I’m not gonna lie, my first impression of Thorne wasn’t really a favourable one. XD To be honest my exact words were: He’s not the brightest candle on the cake. *lol* Which still holds true but the more I got to know him the more I realized that he’s like an adorable puppy. He has no idea what he’s doing but his heart is in the right place and sometimes he’s even downright reasonable. Haha! I think that makes him a great addition to the cast and I’m definitely looking forward to more of his dumb genius moments. In short: He’s super goofy and his rakish attitude makes him very entertaining. XD Considering the next book is “Cress” I’m pretty sure we didn’t see the last of him and that my wish to see more of him will come true soon. ;-P

”I get that you feel like it was your fault, but let’s try to put some of the blame where it belongs here.”

Queen Levana:

”Your Majesty,” Kai said, addressing the queen with, he thought, an admirable lack of contempt. “What a pleasant surprise.”
“One more patronizing comment and I will have you slice off and nail your own tongue to the palace gate.”

Isn’t Levana a sunshine? *lol* No, honestly, I hate that witch! With a fierce passion and the power of a thousand suns. This woman is horrible and I refuse to call her Queen. From now on I’ll only call her Levana because she certainly doesn’t deserve the title. Every once in a while you stumble upon a villain you can’t like because it’s such a horrible person and well, that would be Levana in my case. Guess there’s nothing that could redeem her in my eyes. I hate what she did to Wolf and all her other subjects and I hate her even more for using her power in order to bully Kai into a marriage with her. That cold and calculating, conniving, cruel WITCH! ARGH! I swear if she really marries Kai I’m going to throw that book against a wall. >_<

3

Scarlet & Wolf:

Scarlet’s brow was ceased as she inched toward him. “Do that again.”
He took half a step back, eyes glinting with sudden nerves. “Do what?”
“Smile.”

This was insta-love par excellence, but I still kind of shipped them? I guess we can cut them some slack because they got to know under really dire circumstances and if you take Wolf’s nature into consideration it’s kind of logical that he’d fall for someone hard and fast. Love seems to be connected to his instincts and since he’s such an instinct driven boy it’s no wonder he loves Scarlet. As for Scarlet… I have no explanation for her insta-love other than that she obviously digs broody handsome boys… don’t we all somehow? *lol* I don’t know how I feel about his betrayal though. From a logical perspective he’s as free as Kai is, so not free at all because his free will has been manipulated for years, but still. If I’d be Scarlet I would feel bitter about my grandmother’s death. I guess it works in his favour that he wasn’t around when they captured and tortured her. =( Ahh what a complicated mess… let’s hope that now he’s out of their reach he’ll be his own master and make his own decisions.

”Don’t come near me. I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to listen to you. I would rather die than ever be touched by you again.”
She saw a gulp straining against his throat. Hurt flashed across his face but it only served to make her angrier.

”I know you don’t want to hurt me, Wolf.”
His nose bumped against her jaw. His breath caressed her collarbone.
“You helped me. You rescued me.”

”I know we met less than a week ago and in that time I’ve done nothing but lie and cheat and betray you. I know. But if you give me a chance … all I want is to protect you. To be near you. For as long as I’m able.”

Cinder & Kai:

”But Kai wasn’t his father. He wasn’t that selfless.
Knowing it was wrong, he couldn’t help but wish that wherever Cinder had gone, they would never find her.”

So we basically didn’t get any “Cinder & Kai” moments in “Scarlet” but that doesn’t mean that they didn’t think about each other because they did. Kai still cares about her and this even though he doesn’t even know the entire truth. And Cinder basically went ballistic when she heard of his engagement with Levana, which most definitely had nothing to do with him being foolish but everything with him agreeing to marry that despicable person. *lol* Ahh I really want those two to meet and to talk things out. Can’t Cinder idk… kidnap Kai before he marries Levana? XD Throw me a bone here Marissa! ;-P

Cinder & Thorne:

”You opened my control panel?” she said, her words a little clearer with anger behind them.
He scowled. “I didn’t want to.”

Hahaha!!! What an accusation! It almost sounded like they were intimate which I suppose they actually were? Control panels are tricky things like that. *lol* Anyway, I really appreciated the blooming friendship between Thorne and Cinder and I was so there for their moments. I think without Thorne Cinder wouldn’t even have come as far as she did because in his own way he supported her and helped her to continue. I was really glad she had him at her side and wasn’t all alone with her problems. Even though Thorne only found out about her real identity at the ending of the book. *lol* Their friendship is still precious and I hope we’ll have more Cinder/Thorne moments in “Cress”.

”Yeah, because we’re famous.” He sang the word with a certain measure of pride. When Cinder rolled her eyes, he nudged her in the arm. “Oh, come on, it could be worse.”
She quirked an eyebrow at him and his grin broadened.
“At least we have each other.” He held out his arms, like he would have given her a huge hug if they hadn’t been strapped into their seats.

4

I think in a lot of ways “Scarlet” is such a typical second book. The world expands; new characters are introduced and old ones continue on their journey. Some questions are answered, new ones appear and the stage is set. 😉 All things considered this was a worthy sequel and I’m excited to read book 3. Apparently it’s even better than the first two and I’m ready to be blown away! XD

Allgemein, P, P - T, Reviews

Review: Prodigy (Marie Lu)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten


“All it takes is one generation to brainwash a population and convince them that reality doesn’t exist.”

First of all I have to say: This was amazing!!!
I mean boy! I really thought I knew in which kind of direction this was heading but then Marie Lu apparently decided to throw me for a loop and after finishing “Prodigy” I don’t even know how to feel about … well, anything and everything! Seriously, I’m totally blown away by this ending because I DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING!!!! O_o

But then again there were a lot of things in this book I didn’t see coming and there were some chapters that had me put down the book in order to process what just happened. I mean I kind of felt like a hound: Certain I’d catch my prey but then thrown off the trail because aforementioned prey was clever and decided to walk into the river to cover its tracks. *lol*

So yes, there were a lot of things I never saw coming and there were some things I saw from miles away. XD It was the mixture of both that kept me engaged throughout the entire book and I really can’t wait to read the third and last book. Because I don’t know if I mentioned it already but I’M NOT OKAY WITH THAT FREAKING ENDING!!!! AHHHHHHHHHH!!! I need Marie Lu to rewrite that ending in the next book or to idk work miracles?! *lol* Just, do something Marie!!! Please!! Don’t let that ending stand! And no, you’re not witnessing a mental breakdown, just a person who’s having words with its sanity. ;-P

Anyway… I have thoughts! PLENTY of them so let’s get them all out of my system!

2

Welcome to the Colonies where we treat strangers with kindness until we stab them with spoilers in their backs! ;-P So if you want to enjoy our marvellous land you better prepare yourself for the painful pleasure of being spoiled. XD

June Iparis:

”They act like I’m some sort of untamed weapon – and in a way, I guess that’s true. The irony of it all makes me want to laugh. Day is a Republic soldier on board the RS Dynasty, and I am the Republic’s most valuable captive. We’ve switched places.”

I think the most interesting thing about “Prodigy” was that June is totally out of her depth. XD  There’s only so much you can learn at a military academy and even though they taught her everything about weapons and war strategy they certainly missed out on teaching her about love and human interactions. *lol* This said, I had a lot of fun watching her squirm while she tried to navigate those dangerous waters she suddenly found herself in. ;-P Don’t get me wrong, I’m still a June fan: I mean she’s one of those cool tough people that know exactly with which kind of weapon they are threatened and she’s definitely one of those really rare kick-ass heroines! It was nice to see more of her human side though and I really enjoyed those moments. I think she grew a lot during this book and the hard decisions she had to make only shaped her even more as a person. So yeah, I’m really curious about the June in “Champion”.  =)

”The soldiers point their guns at me (Model XM-2500, 700m range, smart rounds, can shoot through two layers of cement), then haul me to my feet. During the train ride, I’d watched these two soldiers with such intensity that their nerves must be completely shot by now.”

”Love is illogical, love has consequences – I did this to myself, and I should be able to take it. So take it, June.”

”How could I possibly think that we’d never suffer the consequences of what I’d done to him? How could I be so arrogant to assume it would all work out for us in the end, that my doing a couple of good deeds could make up for all the pain I caused him?”

Daniel “Day” Altan Wing:

”He holds me with his gaze. It’s hard to describe Day to those who have never seen him before – exotic, unique, overwhelming.“

And this is the moment when I go all NOOOOOOOOOO!!! NO, NO, NO, NOOO!!! Like just NOOOO!!! How could you do this to my precious baby Marie??!!! I won’t accept that ending, I won’t, I won’t, I won’t!!! ADKFASDFJASKDFAJS! *takes a deep breath* Okay, I’m fine now. *lol* So now that I got that out of my system I can finally concentrate on the important things like for instance why Marie Lu thought it a good idea to give MY Day a terminal disease!!! *holds in another scream* I’m so not okay with that ending and I really hope Marie will undo that in the next book, because I really can’t with this. I just can’t. Day already suffered enough! He lost his mother, his brother, his father, he can’t lose Tess, June and his life now too. >_< This broke my heart so much because he just deserves better. He’s the light and hope of so many people, yet he never gets some of that light and hope for himself. The irony is just too much. Also his self-doubts and fear of not being enough for June just about killed me. He’s the most precious, pure and beautiful soul and no one can compete with him! All I want is to see my precious snowflake happy. *sniff* T_T

”I suddenly feel so stupid for telling her that I love her, as if I’d be able to make her love me in return like some common girl from the streets. She didn’t say it back, anyway.
Why do I even care? It shouldn’t hurt this much. Should it? Don’t I have more important stuff to worry about?”

”I want to run. To do what I always do, have always done, for the last five years of my life. Escape, flee into the shadows. But this time, I stand my ground. I’m tired of running.”

”I’ve been starved, beaten, and humiliated. I’ve been tortured, insulted, and suppressed. I’ve lived in the slums with you. I’ve risked my life for you. And you’ve risked your lives for me. We have risked our lives for our country – not the country we live in now, but the country we hope to have. You are all, every single one of you, a hero.“

”I can’t describe the emotions on his face – something lost, something ripped from his gaze and strewn across the floor. A deep, quiet sadness that tears me apart. What’s going through Day’s mind?”

Anden – The Elector:

”You and Day are the most celebrated people in the Republic. If I can form an alliance with you both, I can win the people. Then instead of quelling rebellions and trying to keep things from falling apart, I can concentrate on implementing the changes this country needs.”

Mhmm I still don’t know how to feel about Anden. He’s obviously either a really good guy or a remarkable actor. *lol* I have no doubt that his moves were all calculated, the question is if they were truly based on his beliefs or if he only did what he had to because he knew he couldn’t hold the country all by himself. For me his character is still a question mark and I hope to find out more about his real motivations in “Champion”. Considering that June will work so closely with him I’m pretty sure we’ll get to see a lot of Anden in the next book though. Let’s just hope it will be something good. XD

”Well, do you think your father’s policies worked?” I ask quietly.
Anden lowers his head. He searches for the right words. “How can I answer that? His policies did work. The Trials did make our armies stronger. Does that make what he did right, though? I think about it all the time.“

3

June & Day:

”We’re in this together, right?” he whispers. “You and me? You want to be here, yeah?”
There’s guilt in his questions. “Yes,” I reply. “I chose this.”
Day pulls me close enough for our noses to touch. “I love you.”

I can’t believe June never said it to him too!!! WHY JUNE!!?? I guess I should be happy for her being responsible and not acting on a whim but urgh, if a boy like Day confesses his love to you and you feel the same way then you should tell him! >_<  No wonder he thought she fancied Anden, especially after the thoughtless remark she made about Day’s ring. How is that poor boy to know how she feels if she doesn’t open her mouth and tells him? I could understand Day’s fears and frustrations… And I really didn’t like the kind of direction this book took, because Anden as a possible love interest for June made everything so much worse. Poor Day! My first thought when they parted ways was: No, don’t separate! It won’t be good for your love and I guess I was right. T_T Well, and there was still that huge “Sword of Damocles” – aka June being responsible for Day’s mum and brother dying – hanging over their heads. I’m glad they talked it out though and that it was addressed as an issue! It would have been unrealistic if it would have never become a problem between them so I have to give Marie kudos for that. There were so many things that killed me but one of the most memorable moments was June being so tender to sleeping and injured Day at the beginning of the book. I remember writing an update and thinking that it’s so sad he doesn’t know she’s so tender with him and then near the ending when June was ill he did the same for her because he actually noticed. I’m still not over it and my heart aches!!!! <333 Plus THAT ENDING!!! T_T *goes into a corner and cries*

Engagements? My heart flutters in my chest. I can’t help smiling. “With paper clip rings?”
Oh no. I’d meant it as an honest question of curiosity, but don’t realize I sound sarcastic until the words are already out of my mouth.
Day blushes a little; I’m immediately angry at myself for slipping up again. “With something handmade,” he corrects me after a beat.

”I’d almost forgotten how his touch makes me feel. I want to fall into the purity that is Day, soaking in his simple honesty, his heart that sits open and beating on his sleeve.”

”That’s not fair, Day. I didn’t choose to be born into this. I never wanted to hurt your family –“
“Well, you did.” I feel myself tremble and fall apart under his glare. “You led the soldiers right to my family’s door. You’re the reason they’re dead.“

”Don’t go, I plead wordlessly. But I can taste the good-bye on his lips and now I can no longer hold back my tears. He’s trembling. His face is wet. I hang on to him like he’ll disappear if I let go, like I’ll be left alone in this dark room, standing in the empty air. Day, the boy form the streets with nothing except of the clothes on his back and the earnestness in his eyes, owns my heart.”

June & Anden:

”My initial distaste wavers – this new thought intrigues me. Anden must be very aware of his poor public reputation. Perhaps he’s hoping for the people’s support. If that’s the case, then he’s taking pains to do something that our last Elector cared little about.”

I don’t ship it. Not at all. Just look how June described kissing Day vs. Anden. I’d take Day over Anden any day! (pun totally not intended *lol*) Their relationship has something so sterile about it and I don’t want June to be with Anden. He’s too polished, too posh, too artificial and too composed. There’s no passion! So a definite nope from me! If they end up together it’s only because they both will gain political influence through their relationship and that’s the wrong reason to be with someone. >_< Enough said!

”With Day, there’s a fire and a hunger between us, even anger, some deep desperation and need. With Anden, though, the kiss is all delicacy and refined grace, aristocratic manners, power, and elegance. Pleasure and shame wash through me.”

Tess & Day:

”Trust me, Day. I’m saying this for your sake. June will break your heart. I can see it already. She’ll shatter you into a million pieces.”

And here’s another relationship development I hated. Not that I didn’t see that one coming, I actually did, I still wasn’t happy with it though. I suppose it’s just natural Tess fell in love with Day or developed some crush on him. He saved her life and helped her to survive so he’s automatically a hero in her eyes. Also let’s not forget that she’s 13 and he’s 15. The age difference isn’t as prominent as some people might think it to be. Still, Tess is like Day’s little sister and he can’t see her as anything else. I really hated Tess’s jealousy and I was so sad when they argued and parted ways. I just hope Tess will come around and realise her mistakes. >_< Day needs his little sister now! Badly!! T_T

”June can do anything she wants to the Republic, and they’ll take her back too.” Tess raises her voice. “Whenever June needs something, she gets results, but my needs aren’t worth a bucket of pig’s blood. Maybe if I were the Republic’s darling, you’d care about me too.”

Metias & Thomas:

”I’m a soldier of the Republic. When I joined the military I took an oath to obey my superiors’ orders at all costs. Metias took the same oath, and he broke it.”

Remember when I wondered about Thomas’s true motives in my review of “Legend”? Oh well, I can say that I’m shocked now. O_O He actually killed Metias because he was being a good soldier. I can’t believe he murdered him. Especially after the revelation that Metias was in love with him. I have no idea if Thomas reciprocated his feelings but OMG!!! I never saw that one coming and believe me when I say that Metias deserved so much better than THAT! To be killed by the person you love. IT. BREAKS. MY. HEART! T_T I think that makes Thomas the worst friend ever and I hope his vacation to hell is already booked! Poor precious Metias. *sniff*

”I did care for him, you know,” he says through my silence. He pretends bravado, some false professionalism. Still, I hear a tinge of sadness. “But I am also a soldier of the Republic. I did what I had to do.”

”I remember how patient and gentle Metias was when explaining things to Thomas. The way his hand would touch Thomas’s shoulder. The night when I’d eaten edame at that cafe with Thomas and Metias, when Metias first stopped shadowing Chian. The way Metias’s hand would sometimes rest on Thomas’s arm for a beat longer than it had to.”

4

“Prodigy” went in an entirely different direction than I expected, but it was still awesome! I guess I probably should have expected Marie Lu to pull such a stunt because she always manages to surprise me and loves to shake things up. XD Still, I’m not okay with that ending and I sincerely hope that it will be altered in the next book. Marie, please! Work your magic and throw me for another loop!

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (Suzanne Collins)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten
 
Book 33 on My Book List 2020
 

”Being a hero at home had its limitations; he needed a larger audience.”

So, “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” made it into the “Goodreads Choice Awards 2020” and is probably one out of 3 books I actually managed to read this year. *lol* Taking a closer look at all the reviews that have been written about it, I have no idea how it ended up as a nominee in the awards but I suppose the main reason why it made its way in there is because it’s popular and provoked very conflicting emotions. I mean, all publicity is good publicity, right? 😉

I can see why so many people didn’t like it. The expectations for this were probably sky high and if you expected something similar like “The Hunger Games” it’s no wonder people ended up hating the book. As for me? Well, I went into this completely blind and all I knew was that it was going to be about President Snow. And tell you what?! I enjoyed it immensely! XD This book was right up my alley and the carefully hidden Slytherin/Dark Court faerie in me was a happy camper! ;-P (As was the part of me that loves to collect hints that are linked to the main trilogy.)

Yes, Coriolanus Snow is neither a hero nor an especially likable person but he’s cunning and knows how to use his strengths. I loved all the machinations and lies, the countless manipulations and the back-stabbing attitude of the tributes as well as their mentors. It kept the story going, it forced me to take a closer look at some of Coryo’s classmates and it helped me to understand Snow a little bit better. Mind you, I still hate him! *lol* But you can enjoy a book and still dislike its protagonist. 😉 So if you’re looking for a slow book whose focus is on the art of schemes, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy this. If you’re looking for action and a good redemption arc, well, I’m sorry to say it, but you won’t get it in here. This is no story in which the heroes win; it’s a murky, morally grey and ambitious tale. And it ends with: “SNOW LANDS ON TOP. ;-P

2

You’re entering the Capitol! Make sure to leave all your good intentions at the front door because you certainly won’t need them in here. Be prepared to read some spoilers and to discuss them with our host Lucky Flickerman! Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Once you enter this spoilery arena all bets are off!

Coriolanus Snow:

”A tendency toward obsession was hardwired into his brain and would likely be his undoing if he couldn’t learn to outsmart it.”

I have so many mixed feelings about this boy! On the one hand there were moments I could relate to him and on the other hand he did a lot of things I didn’t agree with. To say he’s a fascinating character would be the understatement of the century. Is he good? No! Is he bad? No. If anything Coryo is one hell of a multifaceted character and I’ve to give Suzanne kudos for managing to make him this way. So who is Coriolanus Snow while he’s the mentor of Lucy Gray Baird in the 10th Hunger Games? He’s a boy driven by the will to survive! The lengths he’s going to just to ensure that his family “stays on top” are kind of remarkable. I mean there’s a boy who knows hunger, who has nothing but his family, a fancy apartment and his good name. War hardened him, showed him his limits and taught him that sentimentality has no bearing once you’re faced with the decision to either burn your beloved books or to freeze to death. Still, while his cousin Tigris is working hard to keep food on their table, Coryo’s job is to attend the academy’s classes. All in the hope that he’ll become big and earn them enough money to keep them afloat. That’s the boy at the beginning of the book, but the longer I followed his journey, the more it became apparent that he’s also an exceptional egoist and opportunist. Everything he did was calculated, every move he made was deliberate. All of his actions had an ulterior motive, even if it was as simple as not to anger Dr. Gaul. This boy is trying to survive and as long as the end justifies the means everything is allowed! The most fascinating thing for me was the fact that Coriolanus knew Dr. Gaul was trying to manipulate him into a certain direction, but that he still decided to let himself be formed by her. It was way easier than to swim against the tide and to lose everything. There were so many road junctions, so many different routes he could have taken, yet he always, ALWAYS chose the one that made life easier for him. Even if it meant to betray his friends. In the end this led to him being the perfect pawn in Dr. Gaul’s game and it eventually culminated in the poisoning of Dean Highbottom. His first real and intentional murder; the very first cobblestone that paved the way for his cruel future. Well, I don’t know about you, but I think Dr. Gaul won in the end!

”He buried his head in his hands, confused, angry, and most of all afraid. Afraid of Dr. Gaul. Afraid of the Capitol. Afraid of everything. If the people who were supposed to protect you played so fast and loose with your life… then how did you survive? Not by trusting them, that was for sure. And if you couldn’t trust them, who could you trust? All bets were off.”

”I keep asking myself why you did it.”
Not much choice, really, thought Coriolanus. “He’s my friend,” he said.

”What awaited him farther down that slope if he was unable to stop his descent? What else might he be capable of? Well, that was it. It stopped now. If he didn’t have honor, he had nothing. No more deception. No more shady strategies. No more rationalization. From now on he’d live honestly, and if he ended up as a beggar, at least he would be a decent one.”

”He’d continue the Games, of course, when he ruled Panem. People would call him a tyrant, ironfisted and cruel. But at least he would ensure survival for survival’s sake, giving them a chance to evolve. What else could humanity hope for? Really, it should thank him.”

Lucy Gray Baird:

”You can’t take my sass.
You can’t take my talking.
You can kiss my ass
And then keep on walking.
Nothing you can take from me was ever worth keeping.”

I absolutely loved Lucy Gray Baird! She was one hell of a girl and I couldn’t help but admire her for her strength. She was scared and alone, but she still refused to back down. Some might say she’s a survivalist and that would be true. In contrast to Coryo she still has compassion and a good heart though. I think those two were pretty similar but what distinguished them were their different moral concepts and convictions. Coriolanus was like a wind chime always going in the direction of the least resistance without regretting (most of) his decisions while Lucy Gray had to do horrible things in order to survive and despised herself for them. She had to do those things to stay alive, but she neither enjoyed doing them nor did she accept her situation as an excuse. Quite the contrary, she didn’t excuse her actions; she lived with the harsh reality of them! Maybe it was her being a part of the Covey that helped her to get through the Hunger Games. I mean she was exceptionally resourceful and she knew how to work a crowd. Both qualities that worked in her favour. And let’s be honest here, the fact Coryo fell for her gave her an undeniable edge over the other tributes as well. He cared for her wellbeing, gave her food and helped her to avoid the deadly poison of the snakes. Guess Lucy Gray Baird might not only have been sassy and charming but also a little bit manipulative as well. ;-P

”Why? Are you asking?” said Lucy Gray seriously. He looked up in surprise. “Because I think this could work.”
Coriolanus felt himself blush a little at her teasing. “I’m pretty sure you could do better.”

Dr. Gaul:

”If you’re familiar, if they have pleasant associations with your scent – a warm tank, for instance – they’ll ignore you. A new scent, something foreign, that would be a threat,” said Dr. Gaul. “You’d be on your own, little girl.”

Dr. Gaul is one of those characters you can’t help but despise. She has no regard for life, or at least not as long as it isn’t useful for her purposes. This woman was ruthless and cruel, using her position in order to threaten, bully and hurt the people that got in her way. The handful of mentors she took an interest in all either ended up dead or were sent on their way to madness. For her the tributes were as much a part of the game as their mentors and she saw them all as tools. I don’t know why but for some reason the picture of Tilda Swinton in “Snowpiercer” always came to my mind when I thought of Dr. Gaul. *lol*It just seemed to fit her personality and the weirdness of her character. The thing that happened with Clemensia?! Oh boy! Dr. Gaul was one hell of a manipulative witch and it’s no surprise Snow turned out the way he is now after ending up under her tutelage. >_<

”How quickly civilization disappears. All your fine manners, education, family background, everything you pride yourself on, stripped away in the blink of an eye, revealing everything you actually are. A boy with a club who beats another boy to death. That’s mankind in its natural state.”

Sejanus Plinth:

”They’re not animals, though,” said Sejanus. “They’re kids, like you and me.”
“They’re not like me!” the little girl protested. “They’re district. That’s why they belong in a cage!”

Sejanus Plinth was too precious for this world and that’s exactly what cost him his life in the end. He was too trusting, too compassionate; he saw the tributes as people and not as animals like everyone else. Sejanus was brave but also so very innocent and naive. I think he underestimated the power, wiliness and cruelty of the people he was dealing with. On the one hand that made him braver than any of his classmates but on the other hand it also painted a target on his head. Someone like Sejanus had no place in a world like the Capitol and I think the only three people to ever realize this were his mother, Coryo and yes, unfortunately also Dr. Gaul. I think Sejanus was an idealistic dreamer and I really liked him for it. But dreaming will only get you as far and he didn’t have the necessary slyness to go about things the right way. It pained me to see where his way was heading but as a reader there was nothing I could have done to stop it. Which is another reason why this book was so intriguing. It made me pull for him, but at the same time I knew he wouldn’t make it.

”The only thing I loved about the war was the fact that I still lived at home. If you’re asking me if it had any value beyond that, I would say that it was an opportunity to right some wrongs.”

”You never miss a beat, do you? I remember that from school. Watching you watch other people. Pretending you weren’t. And choosing the moments you weighed in so carefully.”

3

Coriolanus & Lucy:

”So you didn’t have a second thought about diving into a cage of tributes?” prompted the reporter.
“A second, a third, and I imagine the fourth and fifth will be hitting me sometime soon,” admitted Coriolanus. “But if she’s brave enough to be here, shouldn’t I be?”

I really think those two loved each other. The way they fell in love might have been pretty fast but considering their circumstances I think it was realistic. I mean Lucy could have died any second and Coryo’s life was dangerous as well.  Not to mention that they were both very young and at least for Coriolanus it was his first love. If he wouldn’t have harboured real feelings for her he would have never even considered giving her his mother’s compact. It was, after all, his most precious possession. This said they barely knew each other and never had the time to spend all too much time in each other’s company. It’s no surprise they didn’t work out in the end; I’ve to admit that I was sort of thrown by the events at the ending of the book though! I mean OMG!!! After everything they went through together he actually wanted to kill her… just like that?! O_o But that’s Snow for you. He was always way too practical for his own good and he saw an opportunity to get the life he dreamed of. Lucy was the only obstacle left in his way so his logical conclusion was that she had to go. I’m glad Lucy was so smart and figured it out before he got a chance to kill her, but I’ll always wonder what happened to her. Maybe Katniss is her descendant? Who knows?

”You matter to me, Lucy Gray,” he repeated. His words drew her eyes back to him, but she still seemed distant.

”You’re not alone.” He took her hand. “And you won’t be alone in the arena; we’ll be together. I’ll be there every moment. I won’t take my eyes off of you. We’ll win this thing together, Lucy Gray. I promise.”

”It really would be like having you with me, wouldn’t it?”
“Go on,” he urged her. “Take me with you. Take it.”

Coriolanus & Sejanus:

”That’s not your fault,” said Coriolanus.
“I know. I know. I’m so blameless I’m choking on it,” said Sejanus.

Was it friendship or not? I think everyone who read this book might have asked themselves this question at some point. I think it was and then it wasn’t. The only reason Coryo saved Sejanus so often was because he would have probably died if he didn’t. I mean it’s not like Dr. Gaul gave him any choice in that matter. For Sejanus it was definitely friendship, he trusted Snow and considered him to be his best friend. For Coryo? I think some part of him actually cared about Sejanus, but it just wasn’t enough to put his friend before himself. When faced with the choice between his or Sejanus’s life Snow would have always chosen himself. And he did it in the end. He knew exactly what he did when he sent Dr. Gaul that voice record and even though he tried to reason with himself he ultimately knew that he had made the wrong choice. He knew about the consequences, no matter how hard he tried to convince himself into believing that he didn’t and yet he still did it. What really struck me as tragic was that nothing would have happened if he would have let Sejanus disappear with the rebels. I mean all they planned was to run away and to seek refuge in another district. So why did he do it? An ingrained sense of duty? To curry favour with Dr. Gaul? Aside from that he had absolutely no reason to turn on his friend. So if you ask me it was some combination of stepping over his friend to get where he always wanted to be and some twisted kind of payback for all the times he got into trouble because of Sejanus. That’s just my opinion though. If you have another theory: Hit me! I’d love to discuss this! XD

”Thanks. You’re quite the rebel,” said Sejanus as they carried their trays to the conveyor belt that ran to the kitchen.
“I’m bad news , all right,” said Coriolanus.

”The one thing Coriolanus had never questioned was Sejanus’s honesty. If anything, he’d have welcomed a little less of it. But this was a bald-faced lie, delivered as naturally as the truth. Which meant that now anything he said was suspect.”

”Coriolanus buried his face in his hands. He had killed Sejanus as surely as if he’d bludgeoned him to death like Bobbin or gunned him down like Mayfair. He’d killed the person who considered him his brother. But even as the vileness of the act threatened to drown him, a tiny voice kept asking, What choice did you have? What choice? No choice.”

Dr. Gaul and Sejanus:

”Possibly on his way to freedom,” said Sejanus in a strained voice. “Possibly captured and under wraps. Possibly injured and hiding. Possibly dead. I’ve no idea. Do you?”

Honestly, I was kind of impressed that Sejanus was able to defy Dr. Gaul for so long. That boy had guts to stand up to her like that and to question her in front of his entire class. Truth be told I was surprised she didn’t shut him up immediately, but then again he probably was another one of her experiments. She enjoyed to be challenged by him and for a while it seemed to amuse her. Also she would have had plenty of opportunities to harm him but she chose a public execution AFTER the Hunger Games in a district that was so far off that no one even noticed. Talk about revenge. Dr. Gaul got her payback alight. >_<

”That’s our right,” Dr. Gaul countered.
“No, it isn’t! I don’t care what you say. You’ve no right to starve people, to punish them for no reason. No right to take away their life and freedom. Those are things everyone is born with, and they’re not yours for the taking.”

4

Since this was Snow’s story I didn’t expect to be all too invested in it, but the more I read the more I was intrigued by the book. “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” was definitely a surprise in this regard and I don’t regret picking it up. Backstabbing, cruelty, machinations and complex characters, this book has it all. I can recommend it to everyone who can’t help but appreciate a well-crafted and thought-provoking intrigue. ;-P

Allgemein, P - T, Reviews, T

Review: The Toll (Neal Shusterman)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

”A successful lie is not fueled by the liar; it is fueled by the willingness of the listener to believe. You can’t expose a lie without first shattering the will to believe it.

I can’t believe it’s over but I can definitely say that I enjoyed every single moment of this journey! Three books and I read and reviewed them all in 9 months. Considering the fact that I’m a person who usually takes ages to finish a series this says A LOT about how deeply and thoroughly I got lost in this one! I loved all those books so much and every single one of them went in an entirely different direction and was something I didn’t expect.

Usually when you read a series you have some sort of golden thread that runs through it, but in this case every book was different, every plot was unexpected and something new and even up until the last book we get introduced to new and amazing characters. It never got boring and I never knew what to expect next! To say “Arc of a Scythe” was enthralling and surprising wouldn’t even come close to the truth. And if you ask me, Neal Shusterman did a more than just amazing job at tying up all the loose ends.

“The Toll” is the last and final book of this series and even though I never thought that I could be content with its ending I had to realize that I actually am?! I mean when it comes to the last book in a trilogy I always kind of tend to find a fly in the ointment and it’s pretty rare I like and accept an ending as it is. Well, not this time around. Neal Shusterman did a great job and the ending to this series was consistent and fitting. Was I happy with everything that happened? No. But it was realistic and it stood true to the critical essence of the series. So there’s that! But enough of my general opinion about “The Toll”, let’s get down to business and head directly to my characters section! XD

2

Welcome back to my characters section, because if you read this you must have come back to read my review about the last book in this series. ;-P So I guess you know the drill! Lots of spoilers, lots of feels, lots of crying and ranting, and last but not least: lots of enthusiasm. Guess that about sums it up. ;-P

Scythe Anastasia – Citra:

”You are an excellent ass, Your Excellency.”

It was so good to see that even after three years – EXCUSE ME THREE FREAKING YEARS!?? – in the deep blue sea Scythe Anastasia still didn’t change her attitude. There was so much to take in and she had to get used to so many changes that happened while she was deadish, but she still managed to process them and decided to do something about it. Her situation was very difficult because she was supposed to be dead and then woke up in a world that had nothing to do with the one she had left before she died. If I’d have woken up in a world in which Goddard is the leader I probably would have had a mental breakdown but Citra didn’t and that made all the difference. XD I guess to have friends like Scythe Possuelo, Jeri and Scythe Tenka at her side might have helped too, but I think it was mostly due to her own strength that she came out of this okay. Scythe Curie and Scythe Faraday were good teachers and it showed in every action Citra took. =) She’s a really great character and if anyone ever deserved a new start then it’s her and Rowan. ❤

”Meu anjo?” she said. “Sydney, I’m nobody’s angel.“
“Ah, but you are,” Possuelo said.  “Because an angel is what the world needs if we are to ever bring Goddard down.”

Rowan Damisch:

”He had died so many times, and in so many ways, he was used to it. It held no more terror for him than falling asleep – which was often worse, because when he slept, he had nightmares.”

*sighs deeply* Rowan, my precious and dear Rowan. I can’t even put into words how much it hurt to read what happened to him. I mean three years dead in the ocean, and then he wakes up in some sort of prison because everyone thinks he sunk Endura, then he ends up in Goddard’s clutches again only to get saved right before his execution just in order to be used as a pawn by the Scythes of Texas!! *takes a deep breath* AJLAASDFKAJSDKFSA! And I didn’t even mention the part at the end of the book when he had to endure – wait for it – 117 FREAKING YEARS before he could be with Citra again!!! JESUS!!! Neal you did a number on my poor boy and I hated it!!! By the end of this series Rowan was so broken it killed me. T_T The only thing that makes me happy is the knowledge that he and Citra will be together for hopefully a thousand years now!!! *dies*

Greyson Tolliver:

”It should have felt good to put the curate in his place, but it didn’t. Perhaps that was why the Thunderhead had chosen him over all others; while others were corrupted by power, Greyson didn’t even like the taste of it.”

When Greyson was introduced in the second book I never thought that I’d love him so much but I do. I really do! This boy is so pure and precious! He’s probably one of the most selfless characters I ever encountered and the way he managed to maintain his innocence is nothing but astounding. After everything he went through he’s still not corrupted by power, he still knows right from wrong, he still stands up for his ideals and does what is right for humanity. Yes, he was guided by the Thunderhead but he was still his own person and this boy was beautiful from the inside and outside. ❤ I just love him! Period! XD

Then he took a deep breath and said one more time with a voice that could make mountains bow, “WHO DO YOU SERVE?”

He looked at her wistfully. “Funny, but it was never easy for me to talk to you before. Now it’s easier than talking with anyone else. I think we’ve become alike in a lot of ways.”

”The problem with painting a mural of my accomplishments,” the Toll said, “is that I haven’t actually accomplished anything.”

Jerico Soberanis:

Jeri laughed. “Yes, it can be inconvenient, but I’ve gotten used to it – embraced it, even. That unpredictability has become part of who I am.”

JERICO SOBERANIS IS THE BEST!!! Gods!!! How I wish Jeri would have been introduced way earlier in this series!!! I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Jeri so damn much!! <333 How do I even talk about Jeri without mentioning that she/he is gender fluid?! The answer is easy: I don’t!  Because it’s such an integral part of Jeri that I just have to speak about it! XD I think I was a goner the moment Jeri appeared on page and the more I read about her/him the more I adored her/him. It’s so rare, so damn rare to find an honourable, wise, beautiful, gentle and kind gender fluid MC in a book but Neal Shusterman gave Jeri room to be who she/he truly is and I’ll always be thankful for that! In a lot of ways Jeri reminded me of myself – scratch the beautiful and wise part *lol* – so I was more than just happy to have Jeri in this book! XD I just …  I loved the way Jeri thought because it’s so similar to how I think and feel and I loved her/him even more for being so content with herself/himself. It’s like Neal Shusterman got to know me and created a better version of myself on page. If that makes any sense? *lol* So yeah, Jeri’s presence alone would have made this an awesome book for me. ;-P

”People are vessels,” Jeri had said to her. “They hold whatever’s poured into them.”

”All children in Madagascar were raised genderless and forbidden to choose a gender until reaching adulthood. Even then, many didn’t choose a single state of being. Some, like Jerico, found fluidity to be their nature.”

Possuelo cursed himself for having said anything at all. “You’re too clever for your own good.”
“That,” Jeri said, “has always been my problem.”

”One of the benefits of being Madagascan is that we see people as people. When it comes to attraction, gender is never part of the equation.”

Scythe Goddard:

”Come now, I’m sure you’ve all thought about it,” he prompted. “You can’t tell me that you haven’t fantasized about doing away with one pesky group or another. And don’t say Tonists, because that’s already my choice.”

I HATE HIM WITH THE FIRE OF A THOUSAND SUNS! *grrr* Like seriously, I couldn’t believe all those Scythes let him do what he did! He’s vain, he’s pretentious, blood-thirsty, cruel, and overall just a horrible, HORRIBLE person!!! Serves him right that he got totally paranoid and expected everyone to kill him in his sleep. The sheer nonchalance he showed when they discussed to eradicate entire ethnicities just because he didn’t like them?!! His arrogance and insolence! It’s outrageous!! I really thought I’d die when he launched those missiles at the spaceships and I was so damn glad Ayn stopped him. Boy, I don’t know what I would have done if he would have gotten away with this too. But Goddard is finally dead now and all I can say to that is: Good riddance! May he be tortured for eternity in hell.

”I want him gleaned just as much as you do. But gleaning should not be entertainment.”
To which Goddard said with an infuriating grin, “It’s entertaining to me.”

The Thunderhead:

”Painful for them, or for you?”
“Both,” the Thunderhead replied. “But my pain must not prevent me from doing the right thing.”

I’m the first one to admit that I was wrong when it came to the Thunderhead. Yes, the Thunderhead had feelings for Greyson and loved him but despite everything it never lost its way. I was so scared that it would turn against humanity but it never happened and this was something I didn’t expect?! *lol* I was so ready for everything to go to hell and for the second voice to triumph over the Thunderhead but in fact the Thunderhead only made a better version of itself. It’s as pure as Greyson and I’m glad everyone who went into space has “Cirrus” now. Still, my heart broke so much for the Thunderhead at the ending. It would have deserved better than that, yet I still understand Greyson’s decision. T_T

”The Thunderhead had no arms to embrace. Even so, it could feel the beat of Greyson’s heart and the precise temperature of his body as if it were right beside him. To lose that would be a cause of immeasurable sorrow. And so night after night, the Thunderhead silently monitored Greyson in every way it could. Because monitoring was the closest it could come to embracing.”

3

Citra & Rowan:

”No,” she said. “That’s what he does, Rowan; he draws us in, over and over – but now we have a chance to show the world not just that we don’t need the scythedom, but that we never did. This could have been our destiny, if the scythedom hadn’t prevented it – and it still can be. That’s the fight I want. Not sparring endlessly with Goddard.”

I really hoped that Neal Shusterman would be done with his star-crossed lovers trope but nopedy nope! He wasn’t! Citra and Rowan might not have had a lot of page time together in “The Toll” but the little they had made me so damn happy! I really wish they would have gotten even more time and I just wanted them to be happy, but alas Goddard had to find them and threw a monkey wrench in their plans. A HUGE one I may add. Gods, I think I died a thousand deaths with Rowan when Citra died in his arms and Cirrus told him that she would only be revived when they reached their final destination.  117 years without the person he loved and waited for his entire life. 117 freaking years… T_T That ending… Rowan’s words. I’m still a sobbing mess whenever I think about it. But they will be happy together now and to be honest that’s the only thing that makes me feel a little bit better about their cruel destiny. >_<

His smile broadens. Tears fill his eyes. They drop slowly, as if gravity itself has become less adamant, less demanding.
“When was that?” Citra asks.
“Only a moment ago,” Rowan tells her. “Only a moment ago.”

Scythe Anastasia & Jeri:

”You won’t tell me because there’s nothing I can do,” she said, anticipating the reasons Jeri would give, “and it would distract me from what I need to do.”
“Do you hate me for it?” Jeri asked.

I really adored their strong friendship!! There was so much mutual respect and understanding. Jeri guided Anastasia and helped her whenever she got lost on her way and there could have been no better friend at her side. I loved that Jeri chose to stay with Citra because she/he enjoyed her company and appreciated her as a person. She/he didn’t have to stay with her but she/he decided to do it nevertheless because Jeri could feel that Citra needed her/him. Citra needed a friend and Jeri was that friend! And that moment when Jeri died so Citra could live?!! That scene was everything! ❤ Such a precious and noble soul! To see this duo on page made me happy and even though both of them went in different directions I’m pretty sure they left a mark on each other’s souls.

”For you, Honorable Scythe Anastasia, I would die a thousand deaths at my own hand. But one will be sufficient.”

”Did you fall in love with her?” he asked.
“No,” Jeri told him. “I fell in love with the idea of falling in love with her.”

”There is opportunity in every disaster,” Jeri told her. “A ship goes down, that’s when I get excited. Because I know there are always treasures in the wreckage. Look what I found at the bottom of the sea. I found you.”

Greyson & Jerico:

”Take me, for instance; I don’t even know your name.”
“It’s … Greyson.”
Jeri smiled with the warmth of the Madagascan sun.
“Hello, Greyson.”

Okay, I know, the romance between those two was just implied but I LOVE THE IDEA OF THEM BECOMING A COUPLE!!! <333 Those two would be so perfect for each other. Like seriously! There was a moment when I was about at the middle of the book and I thought: “Hey, I really wish those two would meet! I’m sure they would hit it off.” And hit it off they did. *lol* The conversations they had!! I was such a sucker for them. So playful and funny, but also serious and gentle. XD But hey, they held hands at the end of the book so I like to believe that they became a couple in the end. Ahh! I swear I’d read an entire book just about them and their relationship! XD

”I will never understand how you binaries are so attached to your birth plumbing. Why should it matter whether a person has ovaries, or testicles, or both?”
“It doesn’t,” Greyson said, feeling a little flustered. “I mean … it does matter for some things … doesn’t it?”
“You tell me.”

”I’m sorry,” Jeri said, trying to regain some semblance of composure. “Did I hurt you?”
Greyson offered his usual guileless grin. “Not nearly enough,” he said, which made Jeri laugh.
“My, but you do have a wicked side!”

Greyson & The Thunderhead:

”I wasn’t lying; I was giving him advice.”
“Yet you didn’t wait for my input. Why?”
Greyson leaned back in his chair. “You know me better than anyone. In fact, you know everyone better than anyone, and you can’t figure out why I did it?“

Boy, to say the relationship between Greyson and the Thunderhead was complicated would be putting it mildly and I’m still not sure whether the Thunderhead loved Greyson like a mother/father or like a lover. I think the only one who could give us an answer to that would be Greyson and judging by how he reacted after the Thunderhead touched him as Jeri I think it’s safe to assume that its feelings were of a romantic nature. I mean it collapsed into his arms because it touched his cheek. Such a simple and pure gesture but all the feelings that came along with it… I could understand Jeri’s anger at being used by the Thunderhead and I could relate to Greyson’s feelings afterwards, but I still can’t help but feel devastated for the Thunderhead. And for Greyson… because no matter how right it was to cut that line, to stop being that one exception for the Thunderhead it still hurt so much! T_T Their connection was something special and because it was special they had to sever it. =(( It still breaks my heart and fills me with grief. >_<

”You are a terrible person,” the Thunderhead said. “You are a wonderful person.”
“Well, which is it?” Greyson demanded.
And the response, as faint as faint could be, came back to him – not as an answer, but as another question.
“Why can’t you see that the answer is both?”

“I broke none of my laws…”
“No … but you broke mine.”
A sudden surge of emotion welled up in Greyson. Tears began to could his eyes, reminding him how much the Thunderhead had meant, and still did mean, to him. But he could not let that stop him.
If there was anything he’d learned from the Thunderhead, it was that consequences could not be ignored.
“Therefore,” he said through his tears, “I can no longer speak to you. You are … unsavory to me.”

Rowan & Scythe Goddard:

”I have so missed these conversations with you!”
“You mean the ones where you gloat, and I’m tied up?”
“You see? The way you get to the heart of the matter is always so refreshing. So entertaining. I’d keep you as a house pet, if I didn’t fear you’d somehow escape and burn me to a crisp in my sleep.”

I think after three books in which Goddard did nothing but torture Rowan we can all agree that they are archenemies, yet I still think that Goddard appreciates Rowan somehow. Whilst Rowan would most certainly love nothing more than to finally end Goddard’s life, the same can’t be said about Goddard. He loves to gloat, he needs a purpose and for so many years to catch Rowan and to make his life miserable was his sole purpose. He antagonized Goddard more than anyone ever did and I think in a weird kind of way Goddard loved him for it. He almost seemed to be relieved when he captured him again and even though he wanted him to die, some part of him still enjoyed to toy with him and would have loved to torment him even more. They have a weird dynamic and a super dysfunctional relationship and it could only end with one of them dying. So I’m glad it was Goddard and not Rowan, because Rowan deserved so much better than he ever got!

”If only I had ignored my conscience.”
Goddard shook his head in pity. “Conscience is a tool, just like any other. If you don’t wield it, it wields you – and from what I can see, it has bludgeoned you senseless.”

Scythe Rand, Scythe Goddard & Tyger:

”Tyger,” she said, “I think I’ve made a terrible mistake.”
“Wow,” said the Tyger construct. “That sucks.”
“Yes,” said Scythe Rand. “It does.”

I would have been so ready to pay Goddard’s and Rand’s tickets to hell but apparently Neal Shusterman had other plans. I was right with my assumption that Scythe Rand would be the death of Goddard but I really didn’t expect the kind of direction it all took in the end. I mean I’m glad that Tyger is back now and even though he has Goddard’s face he still has his old body so there’s that. I really don’t know how I feel about the possibility of Ayn starting to date him and to be his future love interest though. I mean I really don’t like that woman and I loved Tyger and he deserved so much better than her!!! She killed him for crying out loud!! Yes, she’s aware that it was a mistake but she still did it and for a long time she hoped that Goddard would reciprocate her feelings which he never did. So umm… not happy with how things turned out for those two but I guess I’ll have to live with it. As long as Tyger is happy I shall be fine. >_<

”Why must I always be the victim? Why must people make it their mission to tear me down? Have I not honored the commandments and done all a scythe is sworn to do? Have I not been a unifier in troubled times?”
“Yes, Robert,” she agreed. “But we’re the ones who made the times troubled.”

”Is that how you solve every problem now?” Ayn asked. “Glean it away?”

”But she absolutely refuses to hate herself, because that would crush her, and she will never allow herself to be crushed.”

Scythe Faraday & Munira:

There were few things that truly frightened Scythe Michael Faraday. But the prospect of an incalculable unknown was high on his list of personal fears. Especially when it was presented in a particular tone of voice. The kind that usually preceded the phrase “You’d better sit down.”

Was it just me who hoped that those two would become a thing? I could have sworn that there was something between them but whatever it was; it died the moment Scythe Faraday found out about Scythe Curie and Anastasia. =( I really didn’t like the development of their relationship in here and it made me so sad to see Faraday so broken, but then again I suppose it was just too much to take. It’s kind of ironic that his two apprentices where the ones that were able to break him in the end. Still, I’m glad that he met Rowan and Citra for one last time and even more glad that he found back to his old ways. The world changed drastically after he pushed the button and it needed compassionate and kind Scythes that would help to end the suffering of people. So by the end of the book Scythe Faraday is exactly where he was always supposed to be and it helped me to make peace with him and Munira. =)

”Pouting is a passing thing,” he told her dismissively. “What I have is a mind-set. I will not suffer this world again. It has done me no good.”
“But you’ve done much good for it,” she reminded him.

His pain was like a hot poker in a block of ice, but rather than comforting him, Munira found herself hardening. And when she spoke, it was like leveling an accusation. “I expected more from you, Your Honor.”
Faraday looked away, unable to meet her gaze. “That was your mistake.”

”We are imperfect beings,” Munira said. “How could we ever fit in a perfect world?”

4

I might not have been happy with all the developments in this book but they were realistic and Neal Shusterman managed to write a great ending for an even greater series! I loved the diversity in this, all the different and new characters and everything they stood for and believed in. It was an amazing ride and I’m really sad this series is over! Let’s hope Neal will write another great series soon! XD