Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Parasite Positive [Peeps] – Scott Westerfeild


“Hey, do you know you're carrying vampirism? What's up with that?”

Synopsis:  The book centres around Cal Thomson a nineteen year old Peep hunter. Peeps or parasite positives are basically vampires except there is no sexual or magical element to it rather they are just people were infected with a parasite. Cal himself is carrying one of those people who carries the parasite and can infect others but is immune to its maddening effects. He is on a hunt to find his 'progenitor' Morgan, a one night stand he lost his virginity to. In her old apartment he finds Lace, a tough journalist major and a new love interest.

Review: Okay what can I say about this book apart from I freaking love it. I mean seriously I don't remember the last time I was drawn into a plot line. It's a short read, I finished it within a couple of hours but I could not put it down. This book re-vamps vampires simple as that. Instead of sparkling or sexy vampires Westerfeild shows vampires as nothing more than victims of a parasitic invasion. He clinically explains the entire symptom of being a vampire. Photosensitive, Staurophobia (the fear of crosses) and even the need to bite someone is explained.
While the idea of using science to explain Vampirism is not unique per say Westerfeild's use of parasites is entirely refreshing. If you don't mind a bit of science with your super horny carrier (the parasite makes the host horny so it can transmit sexually) then this book is for you.

I loved Cal, as a protagonist he was likable and strong minded but you can't help but feel sorry for the guy who lost his virginity to the queen host of parasite positive. He is brave and smart all the things that make him a likable character but also has the lazy air of a nineteen year old which made him believable. Lace, as love interests go was a very good character. She is not the typical wimpy heroine but tough and intelligent. One thing I felt this book lacked in terms of Cal and Lace's relationship was emotions. At times I felt Cal did not think past her 'Jasmine smelling hair' otherwise they are a very good match.

I am especially a fan of Westerfeild's deviations. Every other chapter Cal takes time to tell us about some crazy, unique and somewhat morbidly fascinating fact about a chosen parasite. It might sound boring but it was written in a way that made it totally engrossing. I am also a massive fan of this edition's cover. When I saw it on the shelf at my local library I instantly wanted to read it.

There are a couple of things that bothered me about this book. First I would have liked a more descriptive details about the Night Watch, I felt like it was left a name rather than a real tangible place. Second while I loved Lace as a character she said Dude too many times for my liking (I guess that's one word I will be chucking out of my vocabulary this week). And lastly I feel like Cal accepted the surprising change too fast, there was no sense of betrayal just simple acceptance that seemed a bit unrealistic especially since he spent an entire year with Night Watch,

So here comes the verdict

I loved every minute of it. Westerfeild has succeeded in creating a world where supernatural powers are explained by scientific realism. This book might not be for everyone since it centres its explanation around evolution and scientific discoveries but as a fellow biology major I totally fell in love with it.

Overall:

I give this book a 4.5 out of 5. It was brilliant, funny, intelligent and totally unique intake on vampires. 











Product Details

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group (2007)
Language: English
Author's Website: www.scottwesterfeld.com
ISBN-10: 1905654073
ISBN-13: 978-1905654079

Exiled - RaShelle Workman


Synopsis:

Exiled is about a sixteen year old queen to be Princess Venus as she is framed for the murder of her disappeared family. She is exiled to earth and her ‘Formytian’ which is basically a bodyguard, Zaren makes sure that she reaches earth safely and continues to protect her once they get to earth but she has a week to live in earth since the atmosphere slowly deteriorates her body. Before she can return Kelari, which is her home planet the gods have decreed that she must help a human, Michael find his soul mate.

Review:  I first came across this book on a website called Wattpad and I can say I was seriously blown away, I mean look at it the cover was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. So starting this book I really wanted to love the book as much as I loved the cover.

This book is unique to say the least; it’s not about vampires, werewolves or any other supernatural creatures. Just refreshingly alien. The plot line was brilliant, I loved the idea of an over pampered alien princess being sent to earth and struggling to survive.

First problem I had with the book was the narrating style, it was bit unconnected. I felt like I was being jerked around from one mind to another but soon enough I got into the multiple points of view. I loved Workman’s world creation; Kelari seemed like an interesting world. I especially loved the way their world is slowly developed over the course of the book and the way they become immortal is amazing. Their gods, Ith and Aetha were really interesting as well. Their roles in Kelari and the Kelarians past, present and future were intriguing, and I loved how they introduces mythology to a Sci-Fi book. The idea of the boots was also pure genius.

Venus, despite being an alien princess was much like any other teen stubborn, blunt and overbearing at times but I found her confusion and cluelessness about love quite endearing. She is fearless and tough but also has a very beautiful heart which made her more appealing as a character.


Another aspect that I thought was really well done was how Venus reacted on Earth. Her body’s reactions to the atmosphere and her reaction to the new things she was observing was incredibly realistic, but equally I was confused by how much the aliens knew of the American culture. Coming from someone who has changed culture before a little ‘Earth studies’ should not familiarize that much with the American culture. 

The other main character is Zaren, he is by far my favourite character in this book. He is the mentor, the lover and the perfect protector all in one. Two of which Venus recognizes. He goes above and beyond the call of duty to protect her and does not take advantage of her inability to understand the kind of love between a man and a woman but I was a bit disappointed that his character was not developed as much as Michael’s.

The last main character in the book is Michael. The first human they find after landing and the one whose soul mate Venus has to find. Michael for me was a bit of a contradiction at the beginning of the book I sympathized with him, I even bought into the tragic hero theme but he sometimes got on my nerves. His thoughts seemed a bit shallow and cocky. I am not a fan of the love triangle in book either I felt like there was no winner. Venus seemed to bounce between Michael and Zaren not deciding if she was interested in either however far from criticizing this, I think it added to the realism of the book. Being a teenager I can relate to having more than one crush at a time.

The thing I loved the most about this book was the villain. Vinny is the stereotypical villain with an ego the size of Venus and a boss he sucks up to. He reminded me of the crazy scientist who hides in the lab while creating havoc for the heroes. He is ordered to kill Venus but cannot directly but who needs to kill directly when you have a bunch of teenagers under your thumb. I must say I really love his character build and Workman did an excellent job of making us truly despise him when he graphically kills the family. The scene was so gory, I loved it but I think that part should be censored for anyone who is under 14.

So here comes the verdict

This one is hard to rate there were numerous things I loved about it but equally there were things that truly annoyed me. I found at times my attention wondered a bit more than I would have liked.

Overall:

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 because Workman has created an intriguing and incredibly intricate alien-world that I found to be a pleasure to read about.

Product details

Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 684 KB
Print Length: 340 pages
Publisher: Polished Pen Press; 1 edition (2 Oct 2011)
Language: English
Author's Website: www.rashelleworkman.com
Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0615537456


If you would like to read this book for free just visit Amazon and download the free kindle edition

Monday, 16 July 2012

Vice & Virtue - Veronica Bennett


“It is clear you have the attributes required for a secret existence – suspiciousness, distrust, the desire to interrogate, the need for constant confirmation. Ans you have the wit to think your way out of any situation. You will make a most excellent spy, do you not agree?”

Synopsis:  Set in 1700 London, a time of unrest after the civil war of 1640 it tells the story of Aurora Eversedge. The oldest of three sisters, she takes it upon herself to restore her family's wealth by agreeing to marry a virtual stranger, Edward Francis. Little does she know Mr. Francis is not quite what he seems for she is the key to a revenge he has long been planning. From the moment she enters the marriage, she is pulled into the world of secrets, lies and deceit.

Review: So today I decided to take a leap of faith and read something outside my comfort zone- Historical Fiction. Mind you I have no problem reading historical books or fiction standalone but reading historical fiction has been one of those things I avoided doing. The reason being it often features a female protagonist whose helplessness simply frustrates me. So picking up Vice & Virtue by Veronica Bennett felt like a step in the right direction. 
In order to asses each book I have device a list of standards starting from aesthetics to the depth and quality of the writing. 

You know a saying 'Don't judge a book by its cover' well most people go around pretending they don't but that is total crap. We all do it; in fact I make it my number one reason for picking up a book. It was no different for this book.

I actually like this cover it had the right combination of simplicity and elegance but I was worried it was going to be the Gossip Girl of the seventeen hundreds. Pink and full of sexual scandals.

Structurally the book was flawless; it was easy to read and got me over my fear of historical novels. The protagonist Aurora Eversedge or Aurora Francis as she becomes known very shortly afterward is intelligent and quick on her feet. Her voice was strong and grownup, if not a bit too grown up but I suppose that was intentional on Bennett's part to show how girls were forced to grow up faster back in the 1700s. She is the oldest of three daughters and after her father's death she and her family are forced out of their lavish lifestyle and into the life of poverty.

From the beginning it is clear that Aurora is determined to get their wealth back in the only way a girl can – by marrying a rich husband. When talking about her future husband Bennett shows Aurora's age by expressing her wishful thinking but as great as this was I was left a bit disappointed by Aurora's reactions. Somehow despite her intelligence she seemed to have no reproach about marrying someone she did not love. In fact when she agreed to marry a seemingly dying rich man all she thought about was carrying his heir which seemed a bit too unrealistic.

The relationship between the characters was delightful. Aurora is a wonderful protagonist and you could not help but like her but some of the characters come out as a bit stereotypical – like Richard who is the typical knight in shining armor and Joe who is the typical bad boy.

I liked the mystery element in the book, it was as if every chapter you read there was something new to be found. The romance element was not bad either although I was not too impressed with it since it was done near the end of the book and I felt Bennett could have shown it progression throughout especially since I felt that Edward's confession of love for Aurora seemed a bit unconvincing.

So here comes the verdict.

I can say I mildly enjoyed the book but I am far from a fan. While the characters were believable I did not develop any emotional attachment to any of them, I simply did not care what happened to them rather continued reading for the interesting mystery. Even the mystery as surprising as the culprit happened to be, did not leave me on the edge of my seat.

Overall: I give this book a 3 out of 5  simply because it entice my curiosity enough for me to continue reading it but I was ready to stop reading it after the culprit was found half way through the book.

Product Details

Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Walker & Company (December 1, 2011)
Language: English
Author's Website: www.veronica-bennett.com
ISBN-10: 1406311405
ISBN-13: 978-1406311402