The Uninvited Series by Sophie Jordan | Book Review

This series is only two books! Genre: young adult dystopia. I would consider this review spoiler-free in that you can read it to see if the book series is anything for you.

Book one – Uninvited: four out of five stars. Pages: 384

Book two – Unleashed: three out of five stars. Pages: 368

Uninvited is an interesting twist to the YA dystopian story with the (US) government going after and locking away people with a specific gene, nicknamed the kill-gene. It’s supposed to make a person predisposed to becoming homicidal and violent, which is why they’re removed from society before they do something illegal. The main character Davy started out as a normal girl, a musical prodigy with a bright future, and has all that taken away from her along with her family when she tests positive for the gene and is sent to be amongst others with it. It forms a really interesting setting with characters on different places on a sociopathic spectrum everywhere, which felt similar to Divergent’s Tris first meeting with the Dauntless group.

There’s an on-going moral struggle and dilemmas through the two books about whether Davy thinks of herself as a killer, and what it would take to make her kill someone. If it really is okay to ban all these people from regular society, before they’ve done harm, even if some of them are obvious lunatics. It also has the usual YA romance aspects, made more interesting by the fact that sociopathy and manipulation is surrouding them and making it so much more difficult to trust.

I liked the second book as well, but it took a different turn and reminded me more of Stephenie Meyer’s “The Host”, with an underground hiding place with a certain hierarchy – only filled with persecuted, possibly dangerous people. In some parts the plot had easy and predictable ways to resolve things, which is why it got a lower rating. My favourite thing about this series is how Davy isn’t the “nice girl” even if she started out normal. She adapts and nearly turn ruthless, but then she also holds on to her moral qualms. She’s very clearly a survivor, because it all pushes her down and she still keeps fighting, and I loved that about her through it all. In general this series is all about a person’s nature VS how societal persecution and expectations affects behavior and choices. With some cheesy things and YA romance, so be aware of that. It doesn’t go that deep, but it does bring a new dimension to the usual dystopia. Would absolutely recommend!

Advertisements

Short Reviews: Fencing & Geeks

Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde

DNF at 25%. I went into this book wanting to love it, but while I’m a huge nerd I don’t immediately relate to this type of geek culture, especially if it’s (this I’ve just realized is a huge pet peeve) based on a made-up fandom. The protagonist seem great and the anxiety so well portrayed, I just didn’t like the writing, which would’ve continued to be a problem. Would still recommend others to give it a try and make up their own mind.

The main character is bisexual, also has character who have asperger’s & dealing with anxiety, and queer love. Ownvoices for anxiety and Asperger’s.

Fence vol. 1-3 by C. S. Pacat

I was very intrigued by the characters, the sport aspect and the conflict. I wanted to love it so much. But then the graphic novels just delivered a row of fencing matches, in beautiful art style, but with little other excitement. There were mentions of stakes and motivation, but in the end, for someone who isn’t into fencing, they’re just two people lunging until one lose. And it’s not like it was given extensive back stories on each of the players, so you’re really rooting for them. In that way it felt like a «final tournament» to something we’ve not been there for the beginning of? What am I missing? Why is everyone liking this? The gay vibes are great, of course. I just wanted to know more about the characters, so I could follow this with some more interest.

Exciting New Book Releases Autumn 2019

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Release date: 1. October

Why I want to read it: I’ve barely peeked at reviews, not wanting to be spoiled, but my excitement kind of faded with the mixed reactions I’ve seen. But it’s Leigh Bardugo and while I disliked the Grisha trilogy and loved the Six of Crows, I’m willing to give it a try. I do generally like darker themes in books..?

The Secret Commonwealth (The Book of Dust #2) by Philip Pullman

Release date: 3. October

Why I want to read it: I REALLY REALLY REALLY LOVED LA BELLE SAUVAGE AND IT’S SO SHORT TIME UNTIL THIS BOOK WILL BE IN MY HAAAANDS. yes i’m extremely excited.

Call Down the Hawk by Maggie Stiefvater

Release date: 5. November

Why I want to read it: I’M SCREAMING OF EXCITEMENT. IT’S RONAN LYNCH’S LONG-AWAITING STORY. IT’S STEIFVATER- ONE OF MY ABSOLUTE FAV AUTHORS.

The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer

Release date: 5. November

Why I want to read it: I grew up loving the Artemis Fowl series and when I heard of this I was so damn excited. Along with the new tv adaption I’m really hoping to not be absolutely let down.

Winterwood by Shea Ernshaw

Release date: 5. November

Why I want to read it: I liked, but didn’t love, The Wicked Deep by the same author, but still I really liked the tone and writing of it and willing to give this a try too.

The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black

Release date: 19. November

Why I want to read it: It’s the third book of The Folk of the Air and while I disliked the second book, I’ve got too much invested. Also Holly Black is one of my fav authors. I’m just really nervous where this is going and I don’t like Jude not being ambitious and as cunning as she has shown herself to be, without reason. Aaaahhh.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Release date: 5. December

Why I want to read it: The first book was a good fantasy, I’m waiting to see if this sequel can live up to it.

First weeks at university | Bi-Weekly Update

So I made a tiny update half a month ago, and then disappeared again. Well, it’s probably going to happen more this coming weeks. It’s currently 2 am, because that’s when I have actual time to myself anymore. Let start with some book things –

I’ve posted two scheduled posts, not even worth mentioning. What is more interesting is how I found “On Dublin Street” by Samantha Young from a twitter aesthetic photo, and started reading it immediately. It’s a not-at-all-well-written smut, but it was something to get me starting reading again between huge textbooks. In the beginning of August I also read and really liked the heavier and much more thought-provoking pieces of work that is Karamo’s memoir and Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan.

I’ve joined a book club on campus!

Or I’m going to, next week. I’m so excited about how cozy it’s going to be, and I’m definitely bringing blankets, sitting there sipping tea discussing books in real life for the first time in forever.

I’ve started university, first year bachelor in physics

My main worry was going into university with heavy courseload right off the bat, without time to get to know people. Well – yes and no? The first week was without many lectures or school, just a lot of info, but a completely full social program, meaning I was barely home from 8 am to like 2 am the next day. And then came a week with both MORE lectures than usual AND social happenings all the time (but luckily less partying, or at least I toned it down a lot). I’ve gotten to know the smartest, most inclusive, most nerdy (I really love how nerdy we all are) people. I really missed from high school the fact that, while I did have friends that cared about their subjects, I wanted someone to discuss things with that were genuinely interested in how and why behind science and not just focused on doing well to get into med-school or memorizing things.

I also live in a huge building with my own bathroom, but sharing kitchen with 14 other people. And while it does sound terrifying, it has gone okay (it’s still too dirty, we’re working on it), and it’s lovely to come home to people when you’re so far away from family. We have one international student among us, a master student from India, and he talked about how he hoped we would become a big family-like group. And I really hope so. I really connected with one girl and her friend the first day here, and she noted all of us living here were acting like “very introverted siblings who have care and warmth for each other when we meet in the kitchen, but all scatter to their own rooms straight afterwards to do their own things”.

I’m sorry to say I have had no time to catch up on people’s blogs! I miss writing reviews the most personally, and really hope things will calm down a bit sooner rather than later. It’s such a weird feeling being in this situation because every routine in my life has to be made from scratch, and until now I’ve had no regular schedule to work with. And also my room has been a mess of trying to find things packed in boxes. And I’ve been up to 2 am too often, and actually twice until 7 am, discussing books and the most nerdy shit at parties. While I’m not quite similiar to all the people I study with, I really find myself at ease among them.

Also, believe it or not (my parents surely don’t), I’ve already spent a lot of hours with my head in textbooks and chewing on pens trying to solve the same math problems for the past hour and getting ten different answers that all aren’t quite correct. (Fuck you, matrices). While I’m a physics undergraduate, I’ve got two math, one physics and one IT subject this year. It’s already been joked about how I, still using my fingers to count most of the time, managed to get into uni. Oh, how I wish I could calculate large numbers immediately as some I’ve met here. I’ve been warned by master students that this one physics course is THE TOUGHEST course they’ve taken (considering the level of knowledge they had at the time) and that the only good advice they can give is to just stick with it and never give up. So I’m planning on taking it one step at a time, trying to get to that finish line of first exams in December in one piece. But also, besides the book club, the math/physics students also have a lot of other things going on, of which I’m definitely joining producing 400 L of what’s called “wine” (with the quotes, yes I’m suspicious as well, something about making it from a concentrate).

In general, I’m so up in the skies, and so damn tired, that I really don’t know what to expect going forward. It’s been a lot this past month and while I’ve adapted to situations out of need this quickly before, I’ve voluntarily put myself out there and never before grown as much as a person as a result. Who knows, might be temporary.

Back to the books!

Added to my TBR recently:

  • The Incendiaries by R. O. Kwon (contemporary fiction. I saw something by the author on twitter – can’t remember what – that made me very interested in this book)
  • Wild by Cheryl Strayed (nonfic memoir)
  • Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee (sci-fi, space opera)
  • Conservation of Shadows by Yoon Ha Lee (short sci-fi/fantasy stories)
  • Bloom by Kevin Panetta & Savanna Ganucheau (lgbt YA graphic novels)
  • Sea Witch by Sarah Henning (YA fantasy, mermaids)
  • Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge (nonfic, feminism, race, politics)
  • Educated by Tara Westover (memoir)
  • Both these books were brought up and recommended by someone I got to know, so even if they’re quite out of what I would normally read, I’m hoping to pick them up and hopefully find some really interesting points in them

Yellow Cover | Friday Face Off

This is a weekly thing created by Books by Proxy, but currently run by Lynn’s Book Blog.

This week’s theme: “I wandered lonely as a cloud” – a cover that is predominantly yellow

My pick: The Master and Margarita (a classic I have yet to read) by Mikhail Bulgakov

Kindle 50th anniversary edition (2016) Penguin Books | Paperback (2004) by Vintage Classics

Paperback (1995) by Grove Press | Paperback (2007) by Penguin Books | Portuguese Paperback (2010) by Alfaguara

Paperback (2012) by Alma Books | Paperback (2011) by Wordsworth Editions

Turkish paperback (2018) by Türkiye İş Bankası Kültür Yayınları | Italian paperback (2014) by Feltrinelli

My pick

There’s soooo many editions of this book, I selected the funny and devilish cat covers on purpose. But also, as someone who’s not read the book yet, there’s way too many devil cat options. This Penguin classic option just made me laugh out loud with the surrealness.

Feather Cover | Friday Face Off

This week’s theme: “The haft of the arrow had been feathered with one of the eagles own plumes” – a cover featuring feathers

My pick: Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

Kindle (2016) by Orion Children’s Books | French Paperback (2017) by Milan | Portuguese Ebook (2017) by Gutenberg

Serbian paperback (2017) by Urban Reads | Ukrainian Hardcover (2018) by Vivat

Persian Edition | Collector’s Edition Hardcover (2019) by Orion Children’s Books

My pick

This collector’s edition cover is honestly the only cover I like. The HUGE ASS raven along with the golden brownish colors aren’t working for me.

*delete quickly* tiny uni update

I was going go write a normal bi-weekly update, but I just don’t have the time. Maybe I’ll incorporate this into it. I’m two days into university after spending the last three weeks moving, on my own. There’s sooo many changes. I share a kitchen with fifteen people, all of them really nice so far, if pretty shy. I’m surrounded by other physics & maths nerds and – two days in – nothing else seems to be important but those two subjects. Except drinking, of course. My feet are literally bleeding. The last two boxes that I’ve yet to move from the post office has all my rain clothes and I’ve been soaking wet the past two days. We’re having an introduction week socially and with subjects, meaning I’m running from school to home, quickly catching up with new friends here, back to school, then to some random house and then out (mostly partying so far). We’re all so adorably introverted that I seem like an outgoing social person in comparison to most. It’s such interesting people though. I just ended the night talking to three math students about the most geeky shit, some that went way above my head. My feet and back and everything really hurt, I feel like an old person, after so much running around and trying to figure things out. I love getting to know so many welcoming people, but I have no quiet private moments that I don’t desperately need to sleep/cook/eat. And even with the last two I rarely do so alone.

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson | Book Review

Genre: YA fantasy romance, fae creatures

Pages: 300

Synopsis

A skilled painter must stand up to the ancient power of the faerie courts—even as she falls in love with a faerie prince—in this gorgeous debut novel.

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

My thoughts

Rating out of five: two stars

I’ve got mixed feelings on this book, but mostly it felt like fanfiction or a draft nowhere near ready for publishing. I continued reading it to the end because I was waiting for some twist or new creative direction of the book and plot without that ever happening. My biggest problem was bad writing. The last sentence sums it up, because it could’ve been funny, I guess, if it wasn’t how the whole book was written:

And we wouldn’t live happily ever after, because I don’t believe in such nonsense, but we both had a long, bold adventure ahead of us, and a great deal to look forward to at last.

Isobel is interesting as a character that has value to the fae because she’s a great painter, and able to do something they can not, so it starts from a great concept. Especially when she so clearly from the beginning has her boundraries set and keeps a certain distance to her intriguing and dangerous clients. Not that that lasts long. It would’ve been fair to take inspiration from A Court of Mist and Fury, but this book is just nowhere near as good in its execution. Unfortunately, as lovely as the cover is, the story itself became unoriginal and uninteresting pretty quickly.

Pirate Cover | Friday Face Off

This is a weekly thing created by Books by Proxy, but currently run by Lynn’s Book Blog.

This week’s theme: “I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request.” – A cover featuring Pirates

My pick: Demons of the Ocean (Vampirates #1) by Justin Somper

Yeah you heard right – vampirates – vampire pirates!!!

Ebook (2008) Little, Brown Books – Ebook (2010) by Simon & Schuster UK  – Italian (2006) by Arnoldo Mondadori

Hardcover (2006) by Litte Brown and Company – Swedish (2010) by B Wahlströms – Slovak (2008) by Slovart

My favourite

The italian one looks extremely italian somehow. The one I read once upon a time was the first one, so it has a place in my heart as the ultimate pirate book cover. But the winner is truly this detailed one –

A Break-Up Letter to My Village

I’m moving. I wondered whether to post this or just keep it to myself, but why not. I’m currently publishing this from a six hours busride to the new city. I both love and hate this place I’m leaving behind, which makes everything so much more difficult. I’m reminded of Mary Oliver’s poems about her hometown, where she continually goes back in her mind to her love for the nature, but also she escaped into the nature – reading poetry collections in the forest – to get away from the awful parts. Also the italic parts are the ones you’re definitely allowed to skip because this is a roller coaster.

My grandpa was very ill when we made the choice to move five years ago, to this village in a valley with a thousand people living here. The reason we moved wasn’t because he was ill, but the connection to him and this place was why we moved here. And then – in the summer between the decision and the move – he died. My grandpa was a man who went through hardships in his life, including having his leg amputated after illness. Still, he also always seemed larger than anyone he was standing in front of. He wasn’t born in the valley village, but right across the deep ‘fjords’, on a mountain farm only accessible by boat.

When my grandpa was a child during WW2 his family hid politicans from the nazis in the area. It was a combined effort from multiple farms, but ours had a great & useful escape plan because of the mountain layout. One politician in particular made an impact on him, with the way he carried himself and spoke. That politican looks quite similar to the man my grandpa would become, going from leading the factory workers campaign to being the mayor and then getting better hospitals built in the district.

When we moved I spent one year in the village full-time, being very active in the community, before I started high-school in the city and chose to commute an hour each way by a tiny bus instead of moving straight away like most 16-year-olds did. And I continued to live there and commute one hour each way for the next four years.

What everyone asks me about: Isn’t commuting to school and waking up at 5 am every day fucking exhausting?

What I say: *insert one of five different standard answers, because i’m really bored of this question*. What I want to say: I really really really want this education and is willing to do anything for it, I already moved from across the country for this reason, I don’t think you understand. I learned my limits though – can’t sleep less than five hours three days in a row, or sleep only five hours all weekdays and expect to be functioning during the weekend. Also the lack of sleep is probably damaging in the long run, but I’ve not looked into the science behind this on purpose.

The commute took three different buses, meaning you never got to sleep for the whole hour. The worst period was when my joints were so bad that standing up and walking off the bus after half an hour was pure torture, not to mention half-jog to the next one. I really should’ve had crutches, but I never knew if my wrists or knees would be more locked up. But it hasn’t been that bad – I like daydreaming/reading/sleeping/creating stories while looking out on the beautiful nature on my commute. It does really dig into the time I have to study and other activities though, which is where the lack of sleep comes in.

I’m not the first in my family that commuted. At the beginning of this year I found a book mentioning how my greatgrandparents used to commute an hour and a half to elementary school from the family mountain farm across the ‘fjords’ – by fishing boat. The waters here are treacherous too often, so applause to them.

What I wished was the NR 1 problem in this village:

  • We don’t have any sun in my village for FIVE MONTHS from october to march. The tall mountains of the valley block any chance of seeing sunlight and it’s more depressing than you can imagine. It’s not like it isn’t dark enough up north during winter. My grandma hated it too, and she was from even further north, where the nights can be even longer.

What’s actually the NR 1 problem in this village:

  • As much as I’ve found community in parts of this village, with incredible adults behind them, I’ve found the darkest evil hatred as well here. In such a small community one person can do a lot of good, as well as a lot of bad. I got on the wrong side of one of the bad ones. And then – because it’s such a small town – each person has their own relationship and view of these people and then it takes a lot to try to change people’s minds or make them see the parts you’re seeing. I’ve done it for a few people. But then it’s not always worth it, and if you meet the wrong person, suddenly the target on your back has grown. There’s also a lot of willful ignorance here as well, besides the evil. The bullying is really bad. People are targeted and harassed for pointing it out to outside authorities. People’s lives are destroyed over it. More ignorance is spread as the kids in general internalize the culture. People who’s not grown up here is told they don’t belong here, also straight-out at community events. Because who’s here to reprimand them?

So I’m finally leaving, and I hope I can return and again see beauty here sometime

I don’t agree with how this village is run. I can appreciate the nature of it, the wildness and the history both I personally and my family has with it. But living here made me see something I didn’t when I came here on holidays and vacations – the corrupted unmoral souls of some of the people in charge. It makes some sense, the lack of people to double-check your decisions makes it easier to get away with being mean and unfair, until it grows into abusing your power outright and there being no system to rein it in because they either dissolved them or never set them up.

Sometimes I want to scream from the treetops what this village has done. To itself. To who knows how many people (I’ve heard a handful of tragic stories, who knows how many more there are). Or maybe it’s just a few bad people, but then the rest of us have kept our mouths shut long enough for them to gather that power, some too afraid of the consequences, some thinking it just doesn’t affect them. Staying quiet is like poison slowly working itself into everyone’s system until you don’t notice that it affects how you think and behave, until it seems like the only good choice.

My grandpa was never one to keep quiet about injustice. But I had to, to survive here as a teenager from the outside looking at all these youths who won’t know before they leave how unormal their surroundings are and hoping, crossing my fingers hoping, they’ve not internalized one too many bad lessons. I’m all for having small communities that can give safe enviroments to grow up in, or so I thought. But I don’t know how this village turned into what it now is, while also pretending and promoting how inclusive they are and making safe homes for children. I haven’t seen this type of evil until I came here.


I do really love the calm of this place and wondered long if I was going to be one of those people who just … stayed. Or left, but never really left, returning every weekend and eventually settling down with one of the few jobs here once they’ve gotten their degree. This all might sound dramatic, but typing all this out it feels more of an understatement. Giving out any details feels dangerous because I’ve felt the backlash during my time here. But also whatever I write doesn’t convey the ice-cold emptiness I usually feel instead of rage, because there’s this nagging self-doubting comments of “what did you really expect by speaking up”? as I pass the person who’s hurt me the most, for the first time in two years on a narrow street a sunday evening, both staring straight ahead.