Thursday, June 5, 2014

Brad About Books: Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Read from April 9 to 12, 2014
Published: April 1, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Format: Hardcover
Page Count: 452 pages
Source: Purchased
Series: Dorothy Must Die, #1

I didn't ask for any of this. I didn't ask to be some kind of hero.

But when your whole life gets swept up by a tornado—taking you with it—you have no choice but to go along, you know?

Sure, I've read the books. I've seen the movies. I know the song about the rainbow and the happy little blue birds. But I never expected Oz to look like this. To be a place where Good Witches can't be trusted, Wicked Witches may just be the good guys, and winged monkeys can be executed for acts of rebellion. There's still the yellow brick road, though—but even that's crumbling.

What happened?
Dorothy. They say she found a way to come back to Oz. They say she seized power and the power went to her head. And now no one is safe.

My name is Amy Gumm—and I'm the other girl from Kansas.
I've been recruited by the Revolutionary Order of the Wicked.
I've been trained to fight.
And I have a mission:
Remove the Tin Woodman's heart.
Steal the Scarecrow's brain.
Take the Lion's courage.
Then and only then—Dorothy must die.

Brimming with phenomenal world-building and irresistible characters that you'll fall in love with instantly, Dorothy Must Die is one of the most captivating, addictive books I've read in a very long time. One of the most outstanding debuts I've read that's sure to never die down in hype. 

I had ridiculously high expectations for Dorothy Must Die, since it was amongst my top most anticipated books for 2014. You have no idea how happy I was to find that all my expectations were met and exceeded. I have to start off with my favorite part about Dorothy Must Die, and though it's usually my favorite part about any novel, there was just something different with this one: the world-building. The world in this novel was spectacular. I'm a sucker for any re-telling, and when I heard that this was a Wizard of Oz re-telling, I was ecstatic. Oz is such a dark, sinister place in Dorothy Must Die. Paige does an exceptional job at turning this once lush, ravishing, and beautiful place into a twisted, morbid, and gloomy place of disaster - and I loved every second of it. There's so much detail put into this new world, and I applaud Danielle Paige for being able to pull off this re-telling with this world. The world was frightening and filled with darkness, but it made the story even stronger and more addicting. I can't even with this book. Fantastic!

Amy Gumm is a heroine worth rooting for. I will admit, I had my ups and downs with Amy. Sure, I can totally see where she's coming from with being thrust into a new landscape (especially Oz of all places), and I can see where she could be wary of being trusting or stubborn, but she was too stubborn at times. However, that didn't stop me from loving Dorothy Must Die. Also, can I just say that Dorothy is one of my new favorite villains ever?! Imagine a reality TV star with an ego 10x the normal self-esteem and you've got yourself Dorothy. She was psychotic and monstrous, and I absolutely loved to hate her and hated to love her. The fact that the wicked witches were basically the good guys was really cool to read about. I loved how Paige still kept their roots of darkness and evil within them, but she truly does show that there can be two sides to people. All the characters in Dorothy Must Die (especially the Lion! Oh my gosh, he was insane!) were marvelous, and I can't wait to see their development in the sequel.

Speaking of the sequel, I need it now! Though this novel is pretty hefty with its 450+ pages, it moves so quickly, and there's hardly ever a dull moment with this book. If you're looking for something that will consume you whole until you've finished it and something that's never been done before, Dorothy Must Die fits the bill. With its exciting plot, fantastic villains, and one of a kind twists and turns, Dorothy Must Die is a nail-biting, pulse-pounding read that will make you question everything you know about Oz. One of my new favorites, for sure!

Overall, Dorothy Must Die was everything I wanted from a book and more. Fantastically woven together and masterfully pulled off, Dorothy Must Die is the kind of book that was still tattooed on my mind long after I turned the final page. More, please!

M Y   R A T I N G

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Brad About Books: Hungry by H.A. Swain

Read from March 5 to  7, 2014
Published: June 3, 2014
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (Macmillan)
Format: ARC
Page Count: 384 pages
Source: Publisher in exchange for an honest review

In the future, food is no longer necessary—until Thalia begins to feel something unfamiliar and uncomfortable. She’s hungry.

In Thalia’s world, there is no need for food—everyone takes medication (or “inocs”) to ward off hunger. It should mean there is no more famine, no more obesity, no more food-related illnesses, and no more war. At least that's what her parents, who work for the company that developed the inocs, say. But when Thalia meets a boy who is part of an underground movement to bring food back, she realizes that most people live a life much different from hers. Worse, Thalia is starting to feel hunger, and so is he—the inocs aren’t working. Together they set out to find the only thing that will quell their hunger: real food.

H. A. Swain delivers an adventure that is both epic and fast-paced. Get ready to be Hungry.

Hungry is unlike anything I've ever read in a fantastic way. This refreshing dystopian is sure to have you chomping at the bits and craving for more long after the final page.

I'm sure that we're all somewhat tired of the dystopian genre: it's been blowing up over the last couple of years in YA, and eventually, it gets to be just a tad tiresome. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love the genre, but I do need a break now and then. However, Hungry is unlike any other dystopian I've ever read. Yes, Hungry revolves around the idea of food not being a necessity and a revolution to bring it back; I would've never imagined up this world. Food is most definitely a necessity in life, but what do you do when it's no longer a need? And of course, Hungry takes the route of the government (or technically, scientists in this case) controlling the people, but Hungry's premise makes it unique and stand out amongst other dystopians out there today. Packed with its remarkable world-building and outstanding characters, Hungry delivers a dystopian unlike any other that is sure to appeal to fans of Legend and The Program. Hungry had me in its clutches the entire time and never let me go!

Speaking of characters, Thalia was a great protagonist! In a world where scientists (especially scientists who are your parents) control what you consume and your nutrients and Thalia isn't sure who to trust after a foreign feeling begins to grow inside her, I could totally understand where she was coming from for the majority of the novel. I loved following her on this incredible journey. However, I will admit that this journey got confusing at times, which was my main problem with the novel. There's a lot of sci-fi crafted into Hungry, and I applaud Swain for being able to pull the science element of the novel off, but with all the somewhat info-dumps and world-building that goes above and beyond some dystopians, it was hard for me to keep track of the events and characters sometimes. It was eventually sorted out, though, but that was the hardest part for me to connect to with Hungry.

And the writing was superb. I felt completely immersed into this world and felt as if I were traveling alongside Thalia and Basil and the underground revolution. While it was hard to deal with the insta-love of Thalia and Basil, I still enjoyed their relationship nonetheless. And woah, the plot twists that Hungry throws! There were a couple times that my mouth actually fell open, and I had to set the book down just to let the events sink in - I love that when a book can do that to me. So needless to say, Hungry is an action-packed, twisted, and mind-bending story that has plenty of thrills and secrets to keep the reader fully invested in the story.

Overall, Hungry is a one of a kind dystopian that shouldn't be missed. Needing something new in you're dystopian craving needs? Hungry will most definitely fill and satisfy that need.

M Y   R A T I N G