Monday, April 23, 2018

ArchEnemy by Frank Beddor



I can't believe it's been a year and a half since I picked this series up and they inspired me to start writing this blog. I've had a blast with Beddor's version of Wonderland and the stories that have come from such an amazing place. Well, as the last book in the series, let's see if the ending is anything near as good as the beginning and middle.

Imagination has run dry in Wonderland. Both practitioners of White and Black Imagination have lost their powers with the destruction of the Heart Crystal and Wonderland has been overrun by King Arch and his forces from the Borderlands. Alyss, Queen of Wonderland, must protect what's left of her kingdom and it's people, but her allies are slim and her enemies are numerous. Her only choice is to ally herself with her old nemesis, Redd Heart. But Arch is confident in his abilities to take control and even the oracle caterpillars don't have much to say in Alyss's favor. Alyss must cling to her beloved Dodge, her protectors Homburg Molly and Hatter Madigan, and what few forces she has left to reclaim her throne and see the end of Arch.

This book has great set up for the final battle. Not only does Alyss have to deal with Arch and Redd, but also the Clubs, who have taken the opportunity to seize control. The political side of the book is represented pretty well. It shows the consequences of war, not just for soldiers, but for civilians as well. The action is also, as always, very well done. I don't know what it is about these books that makes me enjoy and stick to the battle segments like nothing else really can. The intrigue comes from all angles as well. Not only does Alyss have to deal with traitors, but also Arch as his ambition causes him to become nearsighted. It all blends together really nicely and it's just the kind of writing that we've come to love in this series.

The subtext of the previous books are in this one as well. The question of "imagination" and what it is and how it can help or hurt or what it means to someone who wields it. It asks some serious questions that will get you thinking of imagination itself as being a kind of power and what that power means for those who wield it. These are the kinds of ideas and subtext that most YA novels wish they could pull off but don't always manage it. I really appreciated it about this series and just another reason why I can't recommend this series enough to people.

Now, here more than in the other installments, I have some nitpicks. I wasn't crazy about the Homburg Molly subplot (mostly because I find her teenage angst to be annoying) but she does help out occasionally and makes herself useful, so there was that. It also got a bit rushed in places, trying to tie together every last loose string before the series ended, but that's a final installment for you. But I liked the conclusion of Dodge's revenge story, Redd is a star as always, Arch was perfectly detestable and I loved hating him. All this leading to a climax that, while not quite what I hoped it would be, I did feel set things up and ended the story just how we could have wanted to.

Final Verdict
I just can't help it, I'm a sucker for this series. The characters are wonderful, the ideas are imaginative perfection...I just love it! As the concluding book of the series, I'm glad it ended where it did and I'll always appreciate Beddor's world. While it is, perhaps, the most flawed of the series, I'm going ahead and putting this one along with its others in the Shelf of Recommendation....because it's my blog and I can do what I want.

Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Please make sure to Follow Midnight Readings for instant updates. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer

If you would like to read my book, Powerless, you can find it at:

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Powerless-Shelley-Miller/dp/1543482546/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519062043&sr=8-1&keywords=powerless+by+shelley+miller

Xlibris: https://www.xlibris.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001175242

Next Time: Maybe the Dragon taking the young girl isn't as bad as we thought....

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Traitor's Masque by Kenley Davidson



When you are going to write a fairy tale adaption, you can go about it in one of two ways. One: it can have several elements of the original story even if the overall plot is almost nothing like the original or two: tell almost the same story except with more developed characters are a (hopefully) unique spin on it. In the time I've been writing this blog, I have seen both these types of stories and have found both good examples and bad examples of each. This tale, a Cinderella retelling, is an example of the second type and done pretty well...for the most part. Let's begin.

Trystan Colbourne is stuck. Forced under the thumb of her unbearable stepmother, she finds very little in the world to be cheerful about, finding solace only in escaping her home for the occasional horseback ride. But Trystan is soon pulled into a plot she knows nothing about. She's encouraged to join a masquerade ball, thrown by the prince in the hopes of finding himself a noble woman he'd be willing to marry. While Trystan does catch his attention, this might not be for the best. Forces are seeking out the prince and threaten his place in the palace and the life of the king. Trystan must decide if she's willing to continue to be a pawn in a greater scheme if it means the freedom she longs for, or doing the right thing and saving the prince she's meant to betray.

Now, throwing political intrigue into these types of stories can have both positive and negative consequences. It certainly gives the plot depth and makes the story a bit more realistic. On the other hand...it can get kind of boring. Thankfully, this book uses just enough to balance things out. We see that there are real consequences to situations not working out in favor of our leads if things go wrong, so the inclusion of these details works out in the book's favor. It never goes too far so the readers can continue to be invested and not lose track of what's going on.

The other big aspect of this book is the fairy tale details tying this to the tale of Cinderella and...meh. Okay, let me explain: Cinderella is about staying true in the face of tribulation and fate rewarding you. Cinderella goes through some serious grief in her tale, dealing with constant abuse, both physical and emotional, before she's given her chance. Trystan...doesn't really go through that. What she endures at the hands of her stepmother and stepsisters is...more annoying than anything. Cinderella was forced to cook and clean and sleep by the hearth and Trystan...has to embroider and wear dresses. When Cinderella was punish she was beaten or starved, but Trystan's punishments are...not being able to read or draw. You see what I mean? By taming these aspects of the story down to this level, it makes the impact not as strong. We're happy that Cinderella could finally catch a break and find happiness while Trystan has plenty of opportunity to help herself but doesn't, which can make her come off as kind of stupid.

Other aspects in the story are handled a bit better, thankfully. The 'fairy godmother' stand-in, for instance, is not at all what she seems. There are two princes in this version and the "charming" one is the one you want to watch out for. Little things like that are actually pretty well done. While some of the motivations aren't quite as strong as I would have liked, I did appreciate the effort in making the world realistic and the situation believable. It kind of reminded me of Ever After in that regard, not quite as well done, but definitely the same feel.

But the biggest negative of this story is probably the constant misunderstandings and assumptions that keep being made. It causes a lot of unnecessary drama, some really mean-spirited comments from our supposed "love interest", and it makes the third act of the book really crawl. It didn't feel necessary to throw in some of these details. A lot of them felt like they wanted to be plot twists and turned out to be plot contrivances. Still, the story over all didn't suffer to bad. The writing is solid and does a good job at capturing imagery, when the action picks up it's genuinely entertaining, and the overall conclusion is just what we could have wanted in the first place.

Final Verdict
Flawed but fine. A good retelling with just the right mix of realism and fairy tale. Anyone who likes Cinderella retellings is going to like this one just fine and so, if you want to give it a try, please do...but I'd wait for it on paperback.

Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Please make sure to Follow Midnight Readings for instant updates. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer

If you would like to read my book, Powerless, you can find it at:

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Powerless-Shelley-Miller/dp/1543482546/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519062043&sr=8-1&keywords=powerless+by+shelley+miller

Xlibris: https://www.xlibris.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001175242

Next Time: The Looking Glass Wars conclude....

Friday, April 13, 2018

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman



I've always loved mythology. The different deities and tales of heroes, horrifying monsters and epic battles all coming together to explain how the world works and why things are as they are...*sigh* I just love it! While I was pretty well versed in Greek mythology in my younger days, Norse mythology was always a little more difficult for me to get into. But nowadays with the Marvel version of Thor smack dab in the public eye and it's latest installment, Thor: Ragnarok, being one of last year's biggest box-office hits, Norse mythology is steadily coming back into the public eye. Therefore, I decided to brush up on these ancient Norse tales and, thankfully, we had this new book by Neil Gaiman to guide me along the way.

In this book, Gaiman brings us the Nordic tales of Odin, the All-Father, and all the gods of the Norse pantheon and their many tales. We learn how the world came to be, how all the worlds are connected by Yggdrasil, the World Tree, and the various heroic feats of Thor, Loki, the twins Frey and Freya, Heimdall, Baldr, and many more. Battles with fiendish frost giants and also cunning schemes of trickery all coming together tell us how valleys are forged, why the seasons change, all coming together until the final battle in which nothing shall remain and all of time will end.

Something I always thought was pretty interesting about Norse mythology is that it included the end of times. It spoke of a future in which all these almighty, worshiped deities would some day meet their end along with all of humanity.  As the tales found in the mythology span from the beginning of times to the end of times, Gaiman is able to tell an almost cohesive story with a beginning, middle, and end. Most books about mythology are just a cluster of stories and bios about the gods and heroes described in them. While Odin, Thor, and Loki do get bios at the beginning of the book, it's just so what we know they're the key players in these stories. It's meant to read more like a normal story, not just a textbook. Thankfully, it succeeds. Because of the linear set-up, the short stories of heroic deeds and origins come together to form a story that is easily followed and enjoyed.

Gaiman has such a way with telling these classic tales. He gives each character their own voice and tells the stories with an added flair all his own. For example, in the beginning of the book, as it tells the tale of how Odin lost his eye, it would have been easy to simply say "Odin gave up his eye in exchange for wisdom". Instead, Gaiman writes how Odin was told he'd have to give up his eye in exchange for the knowledge he desires and responds with "Give me a knife." Isn't that just the coolest thing you've ever heard? It gives Odin character and gives us an insight into who he is. He's not just a thing to be talked about. The book describes him as a man who is determined and a serious warrior who kicks butt and lets nothing stand in his way. He breathes life into these legendary characters and I just loved it.

Final Verdict
I had a blast catching up on my Norse mythology. It brought back that young kid in me who just loves learning about gods and heroes and if anyone wants to either learn or re-learn about Norse mythology, this is the book to do it with. Great language, great prose, and a great addition to the Shelf of Recommendation.

Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Please make sure to Follow Midnight Readings for instant updates. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer

If you would like to read my book, Powerless, you can find it at:

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Powerless-Shelley-Miller/dp/1543482546/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519062043&sr=8-1&keywords=powerless+by+shelley+miller

Xlibris: https://www.xlibris.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001175242

Next Time: The secret is in the slipper....

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Dark Breaks the Dawn by Sara B. Larson



Okay, admittedly, of all the fairy tales and classic stories being remade over and over in this day and age, Swan Lake isn't usually one of them. We've got Cinderellas and Snow Whites out the whazoo, but not so much Odette or Odile. So, yeah, I was willing to give this a shot. I wanted to see how someone could take that classic tale and modernize it...which I didn't really get because this story is almost nothing like Swan Lake at all. Let's talk plot.

Princess Evelayn of the Light Kingdom is under a lot of strain since their neighbors in the Dark Kingdom started a war ten years ago, killing her father and pulling her mother constantly away. The corrupt Dark King is determined to seize ultimate control over all power in the world and must defeat both Evelayn and her mother in order to do so. Evelayn must master her powers and her ability to govern her kingdom before their foe can strike and destroy the balance that holds their world in place.  But she has her work cut out for her and must to deal with forces she's not ready to face if she wants to stop the Dark from consuming the Light entirely.

Yeah, sounds a little generic, doesn't it. Well...it is. The painstakingly obvious "good vs. evil" metaphor smacks you right in the face from the start and doesn't let go. The Dark king is, naturally, a guy who gets instantly angry and kills anyone he wants over the tiniest things and makes you highly question why the heck anyone would follow this loser to begin with. He's clearly nuts and evil just for the sake of being evil. And, of course, everyone in the Light Kingdom is good and hardworking and just and true and her mother is just the loveliest person in the history of lovely people. It's just too obvious. It's too simple! There's no complexity, there's no intrigue, there's no...no freaking anything!

While the book tries to give us political intrigue, it really just comes off as teenage angst and boring romantic subplots. She falls for this guy, Lord Tanvir, and it's nothing but "will-they-won't-they-of-course-they-will-who-do-you-think-you're-kidding" drivel. It's also not very good at build up. For one thing, as I've said before, if you don't tell the audience the actual plan that's going down then it's going to work. To its credit, the book does this...just not very effectively. We don't exactly know Evelayn's plan nor the plan of the Dark prince that we keep cutting back to at random intervals. So you're "intrigue" just turns into vague comments like, "all is going according to plan", "if we can't do this, we can't go through with our plan", "this is vital to the plan", and so on and so forth. They talk about their plans in frustratingly vague detail for two thirds of the book, leaving the audience mostly in the dark and completely lost. That's why you have to throw in a couple of plans that don't work, that's why you build suspense, that's how intrigue works!

Also, as I stated earlier, this has freaking nothing to do with Swan Lake other than the fact that there is a lake in the book and there are swans on it. Yeah, this is not a retelling or reimagining of the story of the famous ballet at all. It sounds like that part is going to take place in the second book of the duology, but...if that's the case, don't advertise this book as something that it's not. In fact, if you hadn't promoted it as a Swan Lake retelling, then you might have actually caught us off guard with your big reveal at the end. We'd have gotten to the end of the book and realized "Oh! I see where they're going with this. I never would have guessed" instead of saying, "Um...this isn't like the original story...at all." But, instead, we're given an incredibly generic good vs. evil story with nothing all that original, nothing surprising or groundbreaking, cliched characters, and boring subplots.

Final Verdict
Yeah, this one was pretty bland. Everything felt phoned in and there wasn't enough originality or character or anything to get the reader invested. It called itself one thing and presented us with something totally out of left field. Still, some might be more forgiving of it than others. It didn't make me mad or anything, there's nothing harmful about it. If you still wanna give it a try, you can do so, just save your cash and check it out at your local library.

Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Please make sure to Follow Midnight Readings for instant updates. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer

If you would like to read my book, Powerless, you can find it at:

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Powerless-Shelley-Miller/dp/1543482546/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519062043&sr=8-1&keywords=powerless+by+shelley+miller

Xlibris: https://www.xlibris.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001175242

Next Time: One of today's best story tellers recounts tales of old....

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Lyric's Curse by Robyn Wideman



I like to give people a chance. Just because one book was worth the Waste Bin, does't mean all of them will be like that. So, I gave Robyn Wideman another chance, just trying to be fair and not judge all of their works based on one dud. Turns out...I made a bad call. Yup, it seems that I'm just not a fan of Wideman's writing...or characters...or plots...or.... let's just begin.

Lyric is the bastard son of a whore and a mage who was crippled at a young age and forced to live on the streets. Only when he's been beaten near to death do outside forces supposedly keeping an eye on him decide now is a good time to take him in and try and make something of him. Lyric, it turns out, is a Dragonblood, a person who is said to obtain great power when dragons decided to return to the land, which is going to be sooner than most people realize. So Lyric has to be trained and nurtured and turned into a proper warrior to prepare himself for what is to come.

Okay...Lyric has black hair. Lyric has olive skin. Lyric has violet eyes. Lyric smells bad. There! I just gave you 15% of the story right there. One of the most irritating things about this book is that it repeats itself, time and time again, about stuff we already know. Everyone has to realize the same thing over and over and it's exhausting! It's exhausting having to read the same boring points over and over again and accomplish nothing for the vast majority of the story. It's just the characters confirming stuff we already know and if I'm told one more time what Lyric freaking looks like, I'm going to stab him right in his violet eye!

Also, there are way too many characters in this book and not nearly enough reasons to care about them all. There are subplots and detours in the story that really don't accomplish much of anything and just feel like the filler that they are. Not only do we have to worry about Lyric being ready for the dragons to show up but there's some princess (lord's daughter but who really cares) and her marriage tournament, Lyric's dying deadbeat dad and his venomous sister and her boy-toy, the local barkeep wanting to date one of Lyric's caretakers, a "love" side plot with Sexual-Harrasement Selene, and it just goes on and on. The book even introduces characters two-thirds into a story, giving us their full backstory and life history...just for them to show up for one scene and never be heard from again. How many levels of "I don't care" can I go down? It just got so unbelievably annoying after going through it for the tenth time in one hundred pages.

Also, I've heard it said that this plot moves too quickly, that it takes no time at all for Lyric to become a warrior and strong enough to beat nobles who have been learning to fight their whole lives. Bull crap! This plot moves so slow I've seen snail dipped in molasses swimming through a sea of glue move faster. It just drags on and on about crap that we don't care about and most of it doesn't even affect the plot. It's completely pointless most of the time. The sister character wants to rule the world...then changes her mind. This one guy is going to start trouble for Lyric because he's jealous...and he promptly gets his butt kicked and is never heard from again. The dragons are preparing their return and some are evil and some have love lives and some want peace and...yadda yadda yadda. These going-nowhere-subplots don't enhance the world, they don't make things interesting, they are just a distraction and not a welcome one. These characters have no purpose, no personality, and so much nothing happens for so long. It was unbelievably boring.

Final Verdict
I pretty much summed up my opinion of this book with that last word: boring. There's no suspense, there's barely any main plot, too much subplot, characters and character arcs that go absolutely nowhere and I just couldn't get into it. This is just the first book in a series that's trying too hard to establish things in the future books while neglecting its own story. For these reasons, I'm sorry to say we have another addition to the Waste Bin of Despair.

Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Please make sure to Follow Midnight Readings for instant updates. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer

If you would like to read my book, Powerless, you can find it at:

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Powerless-Shelley-Miller/dp/1543482546/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519062043&sr=8-1&keywords=powerless+by+shelley+miller

Xlibris: https://www.xlibris.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001175242

Next Time: Swans...why did it have to be swans....

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert



Gone are the days when fairy tales are censored, cleaned up, and brightened into child-friendly bedtime stories. Nobody wants to hear about innocent tales that teach good manners and not to talk to strangers anymore, now it's all about grisly realism and dark origins. It's these gritty, disturbing kind of fairy tale that is the source of our latest story. When you dabble in the world of fairy tales, sometimes they can have lasting effects. Let's see how it turns out.

Alice is the granddaughter of the allusive, mysterious Althea Proserpine, author of the fabled Tales of the Hinterland, a book with a massive cult following and near obsessive fanbase. Alice has spent her entire life on the road with her mother, Ella, running away from both Althea's reputation and the ever-present string of bad luck that follows them everywhere. It's nothing Alice can't handle until her mother disappears. Desperate to find her, Alice seeks out the one place she's always been forbidden to go...her grandmother's estate, the Hazel Wood.

First off, this book has a lot of really fun aspects to it. The atmosphere is great, the prose is strong, and there's more than enough pop-culture references to get a chuckle or two out of a reader and help us get to know what kind of person our main character is. The writing in this book is definitely strong and I appreciated that. Ms. Albert knows how to tell a story, both in a fantasy world and in the real one. The combination of gritty, curse-word ridden real world language mixed with the darker, more whimsical fantasy descriptions make this book a good balance, especially as the story travels from one world to the other. It was easy to picture and made the contrasts stand out all the more.

Now, some people might have a problem with our main character, Alice. The story tells us, right off the bat, that she has anger issues and is prone to snapping at others and being cold to just about everyone but her mother. However, I found her a little easier to deal with than other angry characters I've read about. She does feel shame when she loses her temper and does have the grace to apologize from time to time. It also helps that, later on, we discover just how this anger ties into who she is as a person. This made her feel a little more real and the anger felt like a genuine character flaw rather than a bitter person who is better for the sake of being bitter. There was a point to her being that way, so it didn't bother me that much. Plus, she had other, far more likable attributes as well. She could be properly sarcastic, witty, determined, and fearless. Overall, I liked Alice as a character, flaws and all.

This book is centered around the Tales of the Hinterland, the stories that Althea wrote about. You soon find that these stories are not just words on paper and they have a big impact on Alice's life. These are stories that are dark and violent and just the kind of thing that we like to find in fairy tales nowadays. My only problem is...we only hear two of them in this book. I feel this might have made more of an impact if we'd read the fairy tales first. You get more excited or scared or whatever if you know who you're dealing with. We're told Twice-Killed Katharine is a scary character who you should avoid at all costs but...we don't know why. I wanna hear more about the Briar King and the Skinned Maiden and all these other stories. Apparently there is another book coming up in which we finally get to hear these tales, so there's that. I just kind of wish we'd heard them first so I'd get a better idea of who I'm dealing with. That being said, the story still worked just fine and now I'm excited to get my hands on another fairy tale book (yay!).

Final Verdict
This story was very enjoyable, I liked the main character, I liked the set up, I enjoyed the writing...I had fun with it. I appreciated the care that it took in creating this universe and that, blessedly, it's a stand alone, which was nice for a change. If this sounds like the kind of thing you'd enjoy, then I'd say it's definitely worth your money at your local bookstore.

Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Please make sure to Follow Midnight Readings for instant updates. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer

If you would like to read my book, Powerless, you can find it at:

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Powerless-Shelley-Miller/dp/1543482546/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519062043&sr=8-1&keywords=powerless+by+shelley+miller

Xlibris: https://www.xlibris.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001175242

Next Time: I can come up with some curses for this book....

Monday, March 26, 2018

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard



Hype can be an evil thing. You see a book all over the media, you see trailers for it, you hear people go on and on and on about a series and...you can't help it. Your expectations rise. It's gonna happen. It just is. So, after hearing all this praise for this book, hearing from friends and the internet alike that it's so good and the next big thing, I got hyped. Was it all it was cracked up to be? Well, let's just get into it.

Mare Barrow lives in the country of Norta, where the powerless Red blooded people are governed over by the almighty, super-powered Silver bloods. Mare makes her way through life, keeping her head down and avoiding the draft into war and stealing to get by. One day, as she stumbles upon a gathering of Silvers, something extraordinary happens: she's revealed to have powers. The Silvers swiftly take her in and masquerade her as one of their own, keeping her Red blood a secret and having her betrothed to one of the princes, Maven. But Mare has no desire to be a pet in the Silver world and seeks to liberate her Red brethren by joining the Scarlet Guard, but she's surrounded by those who would harm her and seek to destroy her and Mare must play her hand carefully or face the ultimate punishment.

Sounds pretty exciting doesn't it? Well, that's what I thought too...before I read it and discovered that this was...yet again...another girl-starts-rebellion story. Now, that alone is not enough to make a book bad or even mediocre, it's really not. What will kill it for your story is how unbelievably slow the pacing of this book is and how much you do not care about the characters. Katniss Everdeen is someone you root for because you want her to get back to her sister (in the first book anyway). Triss Prior is someone you root for because she's fighting against what she's been told is her destined path and is walking the course she truly wants. Mare Barrow....is sloppy seconds compared to these girls. Seriously, I can't remember what it is about her that I wanted to root for. She's forced to leave her family but...she barely gives them a second thought. She's forced into an arranged marriage she doesn't want but...she's cool with it. She's got both the rebels and the Silvers telling her what to do and how to behave and...she just goes along with it. She comes up with nothing on her own, is that special-snowflake-something-or-other that I hate and she's just so bland. If the character isn't invested, then I'm not invested. Simple as that.

There's almost no other characters in this book that I haven't seen done a thousand times the same way. Cal and Maven both serve as the brooding, silent love interests with the BFF Kilorn dangling over in third-wheel (or in this case fourth-wheel) territory. You have your ruthless, nasty, pain-in-the-butt mean girl, Evangeline, who's also a love rival and bully and hates our protagonist for absolutely no reason whatsoever except that she's the mean girl trope and that's what she's supposed to do. You have your ignorant king, your poisonous queen, your passionate revolutionaries who blur together so much you forget who is who...etc. It's taking all my willpower just to remember the names of these people because they all just left so little impact. If I make it through and entire book and can't remember anyone or at least come away with a character I want to root for...we have a problem.

Now, the Silver classes is clearly where a lot of the creative effort when into with this story (and the soap opera drama, but I'll get to that later). They're divided into houses...I mean districts...I mean factions...I mean categories-to-fashion-into-a-Facebook-personality-test...I mean houses, each with their own X-men power, from controlling water to fire to metal to reading minds and blah, blah, blah. Now, the fact that they're all divided up doesn't bother me (heck, even I've done that in my own story) but what does bother me is that there are too many of them. They're not even clearly labeled either. They just have random nicknames and we're supposed to instantly know who is who and what is what and...you can't. There's just too much to remember. If you're going to have groups of people with different personality traits, powers, or whatever anything over 10 is too much (and yes, this includes the 12 districts of Panem. All these years later and I still can't remember what all the districts are responsible for). I swear, I lost count of all the Silver powers and, judging from the end of the book, there are only more to come. How are we supposed to care about these characters when I can't even remember what they do?

Last rant, I promise. The moral this book wants us to know by the end is that "anyone can betray anyone," (seriously, it repeats this phrase like five times in the last three chapters). There's a lot of backstabbing and plotting and scheming, especially in the third act and...I didn't care. Seriously, I don't care about any of this stuff. And yet, the book just keeps piling the baggage on us. "I'm going to tell you of the tragic story of my sister and make avenging her your responsibility." I don't care.  "I've been living my whole life one way and if I don't do something about it things will never change." I don't care. "There's discrimination within the discrimination within the discrimination and we have to do something about it." I...don't...care! We almost never see anything of consequence happen, so we have no motivation. We can't get invested in the futures of these characters because we don't know these characters. If what you're going for is "anyone can betray anyone" it should end with "but if nobody is invested than it doesn't make for a good story."

Final Verdict
As you can guess, I didn't like this book. But...it didn't make me angry or anything. I was just really, really bored. I couldn't get invested in the bland characters, the recycled plot or its "twists", and the world was too vague to get our attention. I finished this book last night and completely forgot about it when I woke up this morning...it left that little of an impact on me. Still, there are some people out there who might find some joy out of it. If you don't care about the other dystopias out there that are just like this (or haven't read them at all) and you want to give this a shot, feel free...just save your cash and check it out at your local library.

Have you read the book? What did you think? Comment below and share your thoughts. Please make sure to Follow Midnight Readings for instant updates. Have a book you'd like me to read or would like to make a recommendation? Contact me on goodreads at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/65448711-michelle-beer

If you would like to read my book, Powerless, you can find it at:

Amazon:https://www.amazon.com/Powerless-Shelley-Miller/dp/1543482546/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1519062043&sr=8-1&keywords=powerless+by+shelley+miller

Xlibris: https://www.xlibris.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001175242

Next Time: You can spend your life running away from fairy tales, but they'll eventually catch you...