Gilded Cage by Vic James

30258320Rating: 1 star

Series: Dark Gifts #1

Started off with a bang: a tragic death of a helpless innocent by a cruel guy with magical powers. A young child was the cause of all this drama. There was a sharp contrast in abilities and personalities of the cruel guy and his two brothers. My hopes of this being good were so high, and then I kept reading.

The POV kept changing with each chapter. They were switched up so much that I didn’t care about any of them. The characters were in drastically different circumstances, social circles, and settings that for the longest time the stories barely seemed interconnected. Literally I was at the 50% mark and was wondering WTF the point of this book was. It was all so damn boring. So many storylines were going on at once, but not much was happening with any of them until the end. By then I would have rather gouged my eyes out than keep reading, so I didn’t care that it finally tied together.

The elites who ruled the world had magical powers although they varied in ability and power from person to person. Since they were superior, regular people had to serve as slaves for 10 years at some time of their choosing throughout their life. Luke and Abi’s family decided they would serve as slaves because they honestly believed they would be able to remain together in slavery. How stupid were they to believe this? It’s not like they never had the chance to speak to people who had been enslaved.

The main characters were all teenagers or in their early twenties. Of course the power to change the world whether good or bad resided in their hands, because that’s so fucking likely. Since Luke and Abi were no longer disillusioned with their situations, they decided to do what every YA does in a dystopian novel which is try to make the world a better place.

There wasn’t much romance although it might have spiced this story up a bit if there had been. Abi and Jenner were the only people who cared about each other romantically, but based on their situations it wasn’t meant to be. Despite Jenner being a nice guy, Abi was his slave. When her thoughts drifted to Jenner, it made their situation seem more appealing than it was.

Silyen was demented and self serving. There was definitely more than meets the eye with him, but he was too heartless for me to care about him. Gavar was an asshole. Just because he loved his daughter it didn’t make him a good guy. Jenner didn’t have the balls to stand up for what was right. Bouda was a power hungry bitch. Daisy was a love sick fool for Gavar. Abi didn’t have the best instincts when it came to people. Luke was nothing but a pawn. Doc Jackson was slick and secretive at first but seemed dumb by the end.

I received this from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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The Magic by Donna Augustine

51qd3yjek0lRating: 4.5 stars

Series: The Wilds #4

A great end to a series that had bit of a rocky start. Dahlia aggravated me with her poor decision making, but I couldn’t help but like her. She did grow over the course of the series. Her actions were indicative of her age. As much as I hated some of the things she did, they were all done with good intentions. She valued the lives of others more than her own, and it was admirable.

Dax will be dearly missed. He finally opened up, well, just a little bit really but enough to be more endearing without being OOC. He was brutally honest, stubborn, and bossy but fair enough that he never came off as a jerk. Why can’t more leading males be written like him? He was so close to perfect.

Nothing was left unresolved by the end. How the world came to be in such a state of chaos was revealed. I liked the way it all went down. I hate it that it was the end. I really liked the world and the characters and it sucks knowing nothing new will ever be written about them again.

The Dead by Donna Augustine

18872656Rating: 4 stars

Series: The Wilds #3

After reading The Hunt I was ready to give up on this series. For some reason once I noticed The Dead had been released, I felt compelled to read it. This series has its faults, but there is something I really like about it. Surprisingly this turned out to be the best book in the series yet! All of the issues I had with The Hunt were resolved.

No more love triangle! I wish it hadn’t been included at all, but I applaud Donna Augustine for not dragging it out. She chose the guy I ship!!! It was awesome!

Dal was still immature at times. In all fairness she is in her late teens and was extremely sheltered while growing up. It makes sense that she doesn’t always read people right and understand certain social cues. OTOH she is maturing. She sorted out some relationship issues. An immature route was used to get there but nonetheless there was a resolution to the issues. Some of the things she did were brave and smart.

Finally another side of Dax was shown! I really liked him being playful and goofing around even if it was only a little bit. He was still serious and closed off at times, but that’s just him. One of the things I admire the most about him is how he’s fiercely protective. It’s easy to see how that could be considered somewhat overbearing, but his intentions are good. With this book it is official: Dax is my newest book boyfriend.

Some headway was made with the plague and the Dark Walkers. The plague was coming back, which made life harder for Dal since most people believe she spreads it. A lot more was learned about the Dark Walkers. Many of Dal’s friends were in danger. There was a cliffhanger at the end, but I expected it so it didn’t bother me. I really want the next one. It’s going to be a long wait until September.

Dark Night of the Soul by Kitty Thomas

513hywaxwjl-_sx323_bo1204203200_Rating: 2 stars

This world alternates between 1000 hours of darkness (night) and 1000 hours of light (day). People must be civil and obey the law during the day, but at night anything is fair game. Being caught outside at night was dangerous. Helene wasn’t able to make it home before night and was captured.

I didn’t like either of the main characters. At the beginning Helene was severely depressed. Although I understood why she felt the way she did, I couldn’t empathize with her. About halfway through her emotional state changed. I really couldn’t connect with her at that point. Her feelings just weren’t believable. Gabriel liked to be in control. The only thing to like about him was that he could have been worse and wasn’t.

The paranormal aspect was downplayed. Gabriel was a vampire. He drank blood, could alter people’s thoughts, and was weakened during the day. The paranormal stuff could have been taken out and the story would have been pretty much the same.

Gabriel’s behavior wasn’t any different than most powerful men in dark romances. Romance isn’t really the right word to define this story. There wasn’t any love or heartfelt feelings. Helene was Gabriel’s captive until morning came. It annoyed me that Helene was special in Gabriel’s eyes; he treated her differently than the average captive. There were several sex scenes, which were consensual, but they were more clinical than erotic.

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

11235712Rating: 2.5 stars

Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1

Cinder was a cyborg, and cyborgs were a degenerate group of humans according to the “normal” humans. Cyborgs were hated for being cyborgs. No valid reason was given. Haters gonna hate so apparently no backstory was necessary. This didn’t fly with me. Cyborgs were made after a critical injury that otherwise would have killed the person. It seems like saving lives should be a good thing, and if cyborgs were inferior why keep making them? It all boils down to extremely shitty world building.

All of the major plot points were incredibly predictable. Early on in the book Cinder was forced into a situation that killed all other cyborgs. What? Was I actually supposed to believe that the main fucking character was just a regular joe who would die? Yeah, well, it didn’t work. The special MC trope is overused and isn’t hard to spot. And the memories from the early part of Cinder’s life were missing. Shortly after it was mentioned that a person vital to saving the world had been missing. Hmmm… I wonder what that could mean?

Now onto the highlight of this amazingly original tale: the romance. Cinder and the prince met. Then they had several chance encounters after that. No witty banter ensued nor any in depth conversations, but yet they were drawn to each other. Why? I don’t get it. It’s not like the chemistry was oozing off the page.

The characters needed work. Cinder was okay but did a few things that were obviously going to backfire. Prince Kai seemed like an average teenage kid. I expected him to be more refined and sophisticated. Apparently he didn’t learn much from his father about being king. Diplomacy was not his forte. He had poor self control in regards to controlling his emotions. Being an effective king involves knowing when and when not to say what you really think. The lunar queen was just pure evil but not in an interesting way. She bored me.

There isn’t really much else to say about this. I didn’t hate it. I wasn’t bored, but I don’t want to read the next one either.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Rating: 2 stars

Series: Red Queen #1

In typical dystopian fashion, one group of people (the silvers) lorded their power over another group of people (the reds) essentially making them slaves. The reds had started their own rebel group to bring equality. A special snowflake heroine was discovered amongst the reds who could be useful to both sides.

If you can’t guess the gist of how this will end from this brief synopsis, then this is the book for you. Unfortunately early on I knew how this would play out. The subterfuge the author used to attempt to deceive me about the characters’ true natures was pathetic. It was painfully obvious who was good and who was bad.

The fact that Mare couldn’t figure any of this out made her highly unlikable and, well, frankly stupid. People kept giving her hints that she shouldn’t trust some of the people she was trusting. There was no reason to heed their advice because she knew it all. Only if I hadn’t seen the end coming long before she did it would have been a nice twist. In some ways it didn’t feel like she was all that much better than the people she wanted to defeat. She hated the silvers because they only saw what they wanted to in the reds, but she did the same with the silvers.

Mare was soooo special, and it made me like her even less. She barely had any redeeming qualities aside from her special power. This trope is highly overused and didn’t do this story any favors. Some personality, wit, and intelligence would have gone a long way towards making Mare interesting.

Aside from the incredibly predictable plot, Mare had not one, not two, but three love interests. Three FFS! Mare couldn’t get a good read on any of them although I think it’s fairly obvious who she will end up with. One of the them was the childhood best friend who had such a small role that I didn’t care or know anything about him. I was constantly told that he was worthy of being defended by Mare but not shown it. One guy had real potential and was the only character in the book I liked. The third guy was a power hungry jerk whose role was obvious from the start.

The world building could have been better. The reds definitely deserved better. They were living in horrible conditions and were treated like dirt although they were what made the way the silvers lived possible. The ultimate goal of the reds wasn’t clear. Do they want equality or power? It seemed like they wanted power, and it made it difficult to get behind their cause or at least to really believe they were the good guys.

Red Queen wasn’t original. It didn’t have enough action, and it had too much teen drama. I will not be reading the next one.