Halfway to Graduation! (August Wrap-Up)

august

August has been an insane month what with JZ’s 18th birthday, SG50 (the country we live in, Singapore, just turned 50 years old, for those who are wondering), finishing up our third semester in polytechnic and barely getting any reading – or blogging – done. Thankfully, the holidays have finally started, meaning I can laze around and do nothing for the next 1.5 months. Just kidding! It’s time to catch up on my horrendous review backlog (which I’m actually excited for since I’ve read so many good books) and… well, I’ll leave the rest of my holiday schedule to the Daddy up there.

We’re Halfway done with Poly! Wait… What?!

Adelena: I swear it still felt like yesterday when I first walked into Ngee Ann Polytechnic as an impressionable, hopeful, and thrilled freshman. I was so excited for the future and everything in store! Now? I’m still looking forward and impatient for everything to come but my definition of “future” isn’t the rest of my days spent in poly anymore, instead it’s everything coming after graduation. Which is still 1.5 years away, mind you.

Cliché as it may be, I’ve definitely learned a lot in the past three semesters and met numerous new people. However, it all felt like a stepping stone since I do have my entire life ahead. Here’s to the second half of my adventures in poly and one step closer to university/the mission field/God’s awesome plan for my life!

JZ: It’s insane how half my poly life is gone. Everything’s happening all to quickly and I feel like I’m not old enough to be a Year 2 student. The future can be scary but I’m growing more daring and confident to inch out of my comfort zone and try new things (be it wearing my hair differently or starting on a new story idea). Maybe one day I’ll be able to dive headfirst into crazy adventures! Continue reading “Halfway to Graduation! (August Wrap-Up)”

Review: Requiem by Lauren Oliver

Requiem

Requiem
by Lauren Oliver
Series: Delirium #3
Publication Date: 05 March 2013
HarperCollins, Hardcover, 391 pages
Source: Library

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

They have tried to squeeze us out, to stamp us into the past.

But we are still here.

And there are more of us every day.

Now an active member of the resistance, Lena has been transformed. The nascent rebellion that was under way in Pandemonium has ignited into an all-out revolution in Requiem, and Lena is at the center of the fight.

After rescuing Julian from a death sentence, Lena and her friends fled to the Wilds. But the Wilds are no longer a safe haven—pockets of rebellion have opened throughout the country, and the government cannot deny the existence of Invalids. Regulators now infiltrate the borderlands to stamp out the rebels, and as Lena navigates the increasingly dangerous terrain, her best friend, Hana, lives a safe, loveless life in Portland as the fiancée of the young mayor.

Maybe we are driven crazy by our feelings.

Maybe love is a disease, and we would be better off without it.

But we have chosen a different road.

And in the end, that is the point of escaping the cure: We are free to choose.

We are even free to choose the wrong thing.

Requiem is told from both Lena’s and Hana’s points of view. The two girls live side by side in a world that divides them until, at last, their stories converge.

Rating: ★★★★★

And so, another trilogy has come to an end. The Delirium trilogy has certainly left an impact on me, and one thing’s for sure by the end of Requiem: everything has changed.

Let’s kick off this review with the writing style of the book! Requiem was written from two perspectives: Lena’s and Hana’s. I did not expect Hana to be brought back into the story after she and Lena had been separated in the first book, but I agree with Adel that it was genius of Lauren Oliver to bring her back! I personally found Hana’s perspective intriguing, as it gives readers a look at what Hana’s life is like after her cure. Her thoughts have changed – which is a given – but it wasn’t exactly what I expected it to be. I had envisioned for her to be more stiff and uptight, but her thoughts seem to stray off what I would call ‘normal’ for a cured at times.

Hana also had an encounter with Willow (a friend from high school), which was definitely a creepy one. I suppose she would be labelled as a ‘reject’ after her procedure – her mind seemed to have been wired wrongly. There just seemed to be an air of gloom around her, and I absolutely detested the fact that a  perfectly normal person loses her mind (literally) after the procedure. How ironic for the procedure to be called a ‘cure’ when the people become crazy after going through it.

As for Hana’s fiancé, Fred, the only thing that I can say about him is that he is terrible. Absolutely horrible and atrocious! At times, the feels were so overwhelming that I just wanted to reach into the book and strangle him to death. I pitied Hana for the fact that she was engaged to this monstrosity of a man.

Now, on to the stars of Requiem – Lena and Alex! The tension between the two was simply intense – I would say it was to the point where it felt suffocating. From the end of Pandemonium, one can already sense the tensions rising between them, especially when Alex sees Lena and Julian embracing. *cue dramatic music* And as if three wasn’t big enough a crowd, Lauren Oliver decides to add on to the drama and bring a fourth person into the picture – Coral. As this whole Alex-Lena-Julian-Coral saga takes place throughout the book, I shall not spoil it any further for you readers, and let the story take you on a wild and electrifying ride. ;)

For those who are curious about Coral, here’s what I have to say about her: she wasn’t what I had expected her to be, and although I was suspicious about her character at times, she was truly a nice person. As for Julian, he really needs to know the meaning of ‘having good timing’. I know that his intentions aren’t bad, but they’re just not appropriate for that particular moment.

The ending of Requiem was open, and left for readers to create and choose what kind of ending they wanted. This idea was constantly reiterated throughout the course of the book, using the fact that Lena and the resistance were fighting for freedom to be able to choose what they wanted, even if it meant choosing the wrong things. This ending left me with this feeling of rushing at such a fast pace and abruptly coming to a stop. I would say that the lyrics of Taylor Swift’s Red does describe how I felt:

 … driving a new Maserati down a dead end street

Faster than the wind, passionate as sin, ending so suddenly.

Of course, ‘dead end’ wasn’t the case for Requiem. Like I had said earlier – we were free to choose whatever ending we wanted for the story. Although there wasn’t a sense of closure for Requiem, I’m happy that it ended the way it did. It fit the story just fine.

To end off my review, I must caution you readers to be prepared for huge revelations in Requiem. One left me hopping around with rage, and I was simply stunned by how huge an impact it made. It totally took me off guard, so brace yourself for it. You’ve been forewarned!

Yours truly

Signature--JZ

Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy

Prodigy
by Marie Lu
Series: Legend #2
Publication Date: 29 January 2013
Putnam Juvenile, Hardcover, 371 pages
Source: Library

Goodreads | The Book Depository | Amazon

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

Rating: ★★★★★

‘My life has been a lie.’

‘I can’t carry on with life.’

Those were the two most common things I said when I read Prodigy. It was filled with many unexpected twists and turns in the plot (do be mentally prepared for this. When I say ‘unexpected’, I mean very unexpected), all of which left me breathless and dying to know what happens next. It’s truly one of those books where you simply can’t stop reading. Prodigy was packed with non-stop action – there wasn’t a single dull moment when I read it. Even when I was three-quarters of my way through, I didn’t feel like I had read a lot, which goes to show how fast-paced the story was.

Like in Legend, Prodigy was written from two perspectives: Day’s and June’s. I personally found this writing style extremely effective in portraying the characters and things they experience. It was also well-blended to feed my curiosities as to what they were thinking, as well as their emotions towards the various situations. What I liked a lot about Prodigy was that I could relate well with Day and June – I understood where they were coming from, and shared similar doubts, thoughts and feelings.

Now, on to the story!

From the very beginning, everything was already going downhill. I felt like Day and June were drifting apart. Somehow, they seemed rather distant, and appeared to be hiding things from each other. There was a lot of distrust between them, in my opinion, as well as suspicions and possibilities of what could happen next. As the story developed, these feelings grew stronger – there were characters that told Day what he should do and what he shouldn’t. At first, it seemed harmless, like the characters were sharing how they felt and it allows the problems on hand to be viewed from various perspectives. However, it slowly started to grow annoying. I felt like they were pressuring Day when warned him of what could happen; it’s like they want him to stop what he’s doing, or change his course of action, or stop trusting June. All these were tearing Day and June apart bit by bit (and it was tearing my heart apart bit by bit, too).

More focus was placed on Tess in Prodigy, and it allowed me to learn more about her and understand her more. Initially, I pitied her. She deserved something good after what she had gone through for her entire life, but… it’s just not meant to be. Later on in the book, I started to grow really irritated with her – I would say that I actually hate her. She’s so childish! Not to mention unreasonable at times. I really could not stand her. I think that Tess can be compared to a rose: she appears as a sweet and innocent girl, but she hides her ugly side, and you won’t see it unless the situation forces her to. Nevertheless, I guess I understand why Day still cared so much about her despite their arguments – they’ve been living on the streets together for a really long time, after all.

Next, Anden. Goodness, I couldn’t stop going on and on about how good-looking he was, and I just swooned over him so badly. Here’s an extract from Prodigy, describing Anden’s looks:

“The light from the wall lamps catches the wavy edges of his hair, making it shine; his olive skin has a warm, golden glow; his eyes are rich with the color of spring leaves. … He’s some mix of Latin blood, but the ever-so-slight slant of his large eyes and the delicateness of his brow reveal a hint of Asian heritage.” 

I really loved him for the fact that he was nothing like his father – he truly wanted the best for the people of the Republic, and was trying so hard to find ways to do so.

I never really had a liking towards Kaede, but towards the end of Prodigy, I couldn’t help but love her. She sacrificed so much, and took countless risks just to help Day and June. She’s also super bad-ass! Every crazy and impossible thing was proved possible by her. And just as my liking towards her grew, BAM – she’s dead. Gone as quick as the snap of one’s fingers. I was breaking down on the inside. How can someone so awesome just leave like that?! I was terribly upset over her death, but oddly enough, it seemed to fit in well with the story.

To round up my review on Prodigy, I must say that Ms. Lu creates wonderful suspense, and the build-up for the climax at the end was marvelous. So was the descent after the climax – it wasn’t abrupt or awkward, but a very smooth one. And as for the ending, I was sobbing so badly. I re-read the ending of Prodigy three times ’cause it just wouldn’t sink in, and all three times I was a crying mess. I think that Taylor Swift’s Sad, Beautiful, Tragic fits well as a theme song for Day and June’s relationship in Prodigy. They’re like star-crossed lovers, and it was no doubt heartbreaking at the end. Still, I was glad Ms. Lu ended the story the way she did – it gave me hope that something good would happen in the last installment of the trilogy, Champion.

Prodigy was simply mind-blowing.

And now…

I can’t carry on with life (until I read Champion).

Yours truly

Signature--JZ