Sunday, April 24, 2011


Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Penguin Group, 2010
Pages: 238
Genre: Sci-fi

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate…until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

This book was fantastic. I love books in which the government is in control of all aspects of the citizens’ lives. Not that I love the idea of the government being in complete control, but I like the thought of that rebellion. Maybe I like to pretend, just for a little while, that I would be that one citizen who has had enough. Who takes matters into her own hands and won’t be brought down by the man.

In Cassia’s society, everything is designed to keep people in their optimal condition. Meals are given out individually with specific nutrient combinations in order to keep citizens healthy. Exercise is regulated in order to ensure people get the required amount without overdoing it. People are poisoned at the age of 80 to ensure they don’t outlive their health. And couples are matched based on genetic compatibility.

Cassia is matched to Xander, her best friend. The probability of two citizens from the same community being matched is slim to none. But it happened to Cassia. And then, it happened again. When she saw Ky’s face on her PortScreen. As you can imagine, this was confusing for Cassia. She grew up with faith in the system that controlled her life. But then they screwed up. And if they screwed this up, what else has gone wrong?

I like Cassia. She rebelled because the Society forced her hand. How do you tell a young girl that she has two perfect matches and not expect her to wonder why? It didn’t help that her grandfather’s 80th birthday was in the midst of all of the drama. Her grandfather who had been keeping secrets from the Society for far longer than Cassia even dreamed. Her grandfather who planted seeds in Cassia’s mind of rebellion and ambition.

I definitely recommend this novel. I also cannot wait for the sequel. And there better be a sequel!


Cover: 5/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Individuality: 5/5
The Whole Shebang: 4.4/5


Title: Virals
Author: Kathy Reichs
Publisher: Penguin Group, 2010
Pages: 319
Genre: Action/Sci-fi

Tory Brennan, niece of acclaimed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (of the Bones novels and hit TV show), is the leader of a ragtag band of teenage “sci-philes” who live on a secluded island off the coast of South Carolina. When the group rescues a dog caged for medical testing on a nearby island, they are exposed to an experimental strain of canine parvovirus that changes their lives forever.

As the friends discover their heightened senses and animal-quick reflexes, they must combine their scientific curiosity with their newfound physical gifts to solve a cold-case murder that has suddenly become very hot-if they can stay alive long enough to catch the killer’s scent.

Fortunately, they are now more than friends, they’re a pack. They are Virals.

I got this book because I love the television show Bones. Kathy Reichs also wrote the book series that the television show is based on. This book was pretty good. It’s based on 4 nerds who live in the backwoods of South Carolina. These nerds are also pretty rebellious, which isn’t the norm. I liked that.
Tory is the epitome of a nerd. She likes science a lot and she won’t stop asking questions until she knows the answers. When she convinces her friends to break into their parents’ university laboratory to clean the dog tags they found, they find a lot more than the information of the fallen soldier.

They find a young wolf-puppy locked away in a cage hooked up to IV’s and monitors. They decide to break him out of that cage. When they do that, they become infected by an evolved strain of parvovirus, which is not supposed to be a threat to humans. This strain of parvovirus gives the teens “flashes” during which their senses are heightened and they’re stronger and faster.

During all of these changes, gunmen who don’t want them to learn the true story behind those dog tags are chasing the teenagers. This book was a good suspense, but ultimately forgettable. I almost wish she hadn’t added in the superhuman attribute to the teens. I think their adventures would have been cooler if they just figured their way out using their big nerdy brains.


Cover: 3/5
Characters: 3/5
Plot: 3/5
Writing: 4/5
Individuality: 3/5
The Whole Shebang: 3.2/5

Friday, April 22, 2011

City of Fallen Angels

Title: City of Fallen Angels
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: McElderry Books, 2011
Pages: 424
Genre: Urban Fantasy

The Mortal War is over, and Clary Fray is back home in New York, excited about all the possibilities before her. She’s training to become a Shadowhunter and to use her unique power. Her mother is getting married to the love of her life. Downworlders and Shadowhunters are at peace at last. And--most important of all--Clary can finally call Jace her boyfriend.
But nothing comes without a price.
Someone is murdering the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle, provoking tensions between Downworlders and Shadowhunters that could lead to a second bloody war. Clary’s best friend, Simon, can’t help her. His mother just found out that he’s a vampire and now he’s homeless. Everywhere he turns, someone wants him on their side—along with the power of the curse that’s wrecking his life. And they’re willing to do anything to get what they want. At the same time he’s dating two beautiful, dangerous girls—neither of whom knows about the other.
When Jace begins to pull away from Clary without explaining why, she is forced to delve into the heart of a mystery whose solution reveals her worst nightmare: She herself has set in motion a terrible chain of events that could lead to her losing everything she loves. Even Jace.
Love. Blood. Betrayal. Revenge. The stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

Holy Moly! I was waiting for this book for over a year and a half, and it did not disappoint! I love this series. Well it’s more that I love this world that Clare created. The Mortal Instruments and her other series, The Infernal Devices, are both set in the same world of Shadowhunters and Downworlders, and I can’t seem to get enough of it.

Shadowhunters are a group of supernatural police that are all part-angel, mostly-human Nephilim. It’s not necessarily that these people have an angel as one of their parents, but an angel, Raziel, gave the first Shadowhunters his blood so now the whole race is a little bit more than human. Downworlders is a generic term for any type of supernatural being that isn’t a Shadowhunter. A few examples are vampires, werewolves, faeries and warlocks.

The main characters in this book are Clary and Jace. Clary and Jace have quite a relationship. They started crushing on each other and everything was great, then they found out they were brother and sister. Gross. So then they felt awful that they could have those kinds of feelings for their sibling. Then we find out that they’re not really related. So after this incestuous rollercoaster, we find ourselves at the start of this 4th book. Where Clary and Jace are together, and happier than ever. One problem, Jace is dreaming of murdering Clary. And not just killing her, but slitting her throat in the middle of hooking up and stuff. It’s all very Freudian. And it makes you think about the whole Nature vs. Nurture argument. Jace has angel blood in his system, (more than an average Shadowhunter), so you would think he would not be dreaming of murdering his innocent girlfriend. But he was raised by the sociopathic Valentine who experimented on his own children in the woom; giving his son demon blood and his daughter, Clary, angel blood. How’s that for Nature vs. Nurture?

Another, less intense, conflict in this book centered around Simon. Simon is Clary’s very best friend who was turned into a vampire previously in the series. Simon is also dating a Shadowhunter, Isabelle, and a werewolf, Mia. Simon was a nerd before he became a vampire. And really he’s still a nerd, he’s just also a vampire. So seeing him being a player is absolutely hilarious. This is a fun, light contrast to Clary and Jace’s drama, which is nice.

This book was great. I can’t believe I have to wait until next May to see what happens next! I definitely recommend this series to everyone. But I don’t think this book would be good as a stand-alone. You really must read the whole series to really get it.


Cover: 4/5 (that chick’s eyes are freaky!!)
Characters: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Individuality: 5/5
The Whole Shebang: 4/5