My Books of 2013 – Part 2: Young Adult Fantasy

Read Part 1 for my introduction and new rating system.

This will be the longest list of books as I love reading Young Adult Fantasy books. They are most often fun, fast and very enjoyable reads. The fantasy worlds offer an escape but also a reflection on our world. The difference with normal fantasy books, I find, is the names. They seem much more normal or at least pronounceable.

One thing I’ve noticed in compiling this list is that all YA books seem to be part of a series. For some I really like this because I like the world created and want to learn more about it. For others this feels unnecessary. Some books don’t need a part 2 or 3 or 4 or…

If you like reading YA books I would recommend following Epbot. Jen regularly posts book reviews of YA books.

Gregor and the Prophecy of Bane (Underland Chronicles #2) – Suzanne Collins

9226959In the months since Gregor first encountered the strange Underland beneath New York City, he’s sworn he won’t ever go back. But when another prophecy, this time about an ominous white rat known as the Bane, calls for Gregor’s help, the Underlanders know the only way they can get his attention is through his little sister, Boots. Now Gregor’s quest reunites him with his bat, Ares, the rebellious princess Luxa, and new allies and sends them through the dangerous and deadly Waterway in search of the Bane. Then Gregor must face the possibility of his greatest loss yet, and make life and death choices that will determine the future of the Underland.

If you enjoyed reading Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games trilogy (or you enjoyed the movies) I would highly recommend reading these books. They aren’t quite as violent as the Hunger Games books (no kids fighting each other to the death). Instead Gregor, our hero, needs to rescue the Underworld where he feels more at home than in NYC. He finds friends and foes among the rats, mice, cockroaches and other animals leaving below.

Jan. 21 – Jan. 26

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods (Underland Chronicles #3) – Suzanne Collins

385706Book Two left off with Gregor reading the Prophecy of Blood: a prophecy that calls for Gregor and Boots to return to the Underland to help ward off a deadly plague. But this time, Gregor’s mother refuses to let him return to the Underland… until the rat Ripred assures the family that Gregor and Boots are just needed for a short meeting, which the crawlers will attend only if their “princess” Boots is present. Gregor’s mom finally relents, on the condition that she go with them. The Underland plague is spreading, and when one of Gregor’s family is stricken, he begins to understand his role in the Prophecy of Blood, and must summon all his power to end the biological warfare that threatens the warmblooded creatures of the Underland.

March 24 – April 3

Gregor and the Marks of Secret (Underland Chronicles #4) – Suzanne Collins

319644It’s only a few months since Gregor and Boots returned from the Underland, leaving their mother behind to heal from the plague. Though Gregor’s family receives frequent updates on her condition, they all know Gregor must return to fulfill his role as the warrior who is key to the Underlanders’ survival. Accompanied by his now-talkative little sister Boots, still considered the honorary “princess,” Gregor joins forces with another princess–12-year-old Luxa–and Ripred the rat to defend the Underlanders and the vulnerable “Nibblers,” or mice, from the rat army.

April 9 – April 16

Gregor and the Code of Claw (Underland Chronicles #5) – Suzanne Collins

537070The stunning conclusion to the riveting Gregor the Overlander series.
Everyone in the Underland has been taking great pains to keep The Prophecy of Time from Gregor. Gregor knows it must say something awful but he never imagined just how awful: It calls for the warrior’s death. Now, with an army of rats approaching, and his mom and sister still in Regalia, Gregor the warrior must gather up his courage to help defend Regalia and get his family home safely. The entire existence of the Underland is in Gregor’s hands, and time is running out. There is a code to be cracked, a mysterious new princess, Gregor’s burgeoning dark side, and a war to end all wars.

May 9 – May 9

Boundless (Unearthly #3) – Cynthia Hand

15697999The past few years held more surprises than part-angel Clara Gardner ever could have anticipated. Yet through the dizzying high of first love to the agonizing low of losing someone close to her, the one thing she could no longer deny was that she was never meant to have a normal life. Since discovering the special role she plays among the other angel-bloods, Clara has been determined to protect Tucker Avery from the evil that follows her . . . even if it means breaking both their hearts. Leaving town seemed like the best option, so she’s headed back to California—and so is Christian Prescott, the irresistible boy from the vision that started her on this journey in the first place. As Clara makes her way in a world that is frighteningly new, she discovers that the fallen angel who attacked her is watching her every move. And he’s not the only one. . . . With the battle against the Black Wings looming, Clara knows she must finally fulfil her destiny. But it won’t come without sacrifices and betrayal. In the riveting finale of the Unearthly series, Clara must choose her fate once and for all.

I was really looking forward to this third book as I had loved the first two books when I read them last year. As you can tell from the time it took me to finish the book (2 months) I did not enjoy this one at all. Maybe it was the wait between reading the first two books and this one but I was no longer connected to the characters and the story was just meh.

Jan. 27 – March 30

Off to Be the Wizard – Scott Meyer

17713508It’s a simple story. Boy finds proof that reality is a computer program. Boy uses program to manipulate time and space. Boy gets in trouble. Boy flees back in time to Medieval England to live as a wizard while he tries to think of a way to fix things. Boy gets in more trouble. Oh, and boy meets girl at some point.

I don’t remember how or why I came across this book. I found it on my Kindle one day, started reading and fell in love. The premise is great for someone like me who knows a bit about computers and programming (the whole world is one big program saved in one single file that’s editable). It’s also very funny. I definitely recommend this book.

May 3 – May 7

Specials (Uglies #3) – Scott Westerfeld

6479322Tally thought they were a rumor, but now she’s one of them. A Special. A superamped fighting machine, engineered to keep the uglies down and the pretties stupid. But maybe being perfectly programmed with strength and focus isn’t better than anything she’s ever known. Tally still has memories of something else. But it’s easy for her to tune that out–until she’s offered a chance to stamp out the rebels of the New Smoke permanently. It all comes down to one last choice: listen to that tiny, faint heartbeat, or carry out the mission she’s programmed to complete. Either way, Tally’s world will never be the same.

I really enjoyed the first 2 books in this series. The premise is quite unique and scary at the same time. Children wait until their 16th birthday to get surgery to make them pretty. This third book wasn’t quite as good as the first two but still enjoyable.

May 17 – May 29

Across The Universe (Across The Universe #1) – Beth Revis

9583408A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder…. Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, 300 years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end 50 years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules. Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone – one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship – tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn’t do something soon, her parents will be next. Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed’s hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there’s only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.

I enjoyed reading this book but this was a book where I wished there were no sequels. I won’t read any of the others in the series. I liked this book by itself and that is the way it will be.

Aug. 24 – Sept. 2

Fallen (Fallen #1) – Lauren Kate

8145496There’s something achingly familiar about Daniel Grigori. Mysterious and aloof, he captures Luce Price’s attention from the moment she sees him on her first day at the Sword & Cross boarding school in sultry Savannah. He’s the one bright spot in a place where cell phones are forbidden, the other students are all screw-ups, and security cameras watch every move. Even Daniel wants nothing to do with Luce – he goes out of his way to make that very clear. But she can’t let it go. Drawn to him like a moth to a flame, Luce has to find out what Daniel is so desperate to keep secret…even if it kills her.

Like Across The Universe, this was a book I enjoyed reading yet I have no intention of reading more in the series. I’m also getting a bit annoyed by so many YA books being about angels. It’s starting to feel like some authors are copying other popular books. I’m sure they are not, but publishers are putting these out because that is what’s popular right now. Still, I would like some more originality.

Sept. 25 – Sept. 29

Allegiant (Divergent #3) – Veronica Roth

17406183The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered—fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

This is a very popular series (the first movie is coming out in 2014). The series is similar to The Hunger Games, I think. It’s set in a seemingly post-apocalyptic world with teenagers in the lead. This is a good series, but as with so many series, the third one is not as good as the first two books. Still, very well worth a read.

Oct. 25 – Oct. 31

Flora Segunda (Flora Trilogy #1) – Ysabeau S. Wilce

13648197Flora knows better than to take shortcuts in her family home, Crackpot Hall–the house has eleven thousand rooms, and ever since her mother banished the magickal butler, those rooms move around at random. But Flora is late for school, so she takes the unpredictable elevator anyway. “Huge” mistake. Lost in her own house, she stumbles upon the long-banished butler–and into a mind-blowing muddle of intrigue and betrayal that changes her world forever.

These books are set in a wonderfully bizarre world. They are a great read, very fun with a kick-ass and yet very flawed girl in the lead. I loved them.

Nov. 7 – Nov. 12

Flora’s Dare (Flora Trilogy #2) – Ysabeau S. Wilce

15745462Flora Fyrdraaca wants nothing more than to be a ranger, and for that she must master the magickal—and dangerous—language of Gramatica. But before she can find the ideal teacher, her aspirations are put to the test. Would a true ranger be intimidated by a tentacle that reaches for her from the depths of a toilet? Be daunted by her best friend’s transformation into a notorious outlaw, thanks to a pair of sparkly stolen boots? Be cowed by the revelation that only she can rescue the city of Califa from the violent earthquakes that threaten its survival?
            Never. Saving her city and her best friend are the least a Girl of Spirit can do—yet what Flora doesn’t expect are the life-altering revelations she learns about her family and herself.

Nov. 25 – Dec. 11

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) – Alan Bradley

6477877Flavia de Luce, 11, is an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison. In the summer of 1950, inexplicable events strike Buckshaw, her decaying mansion home. A dead bird is on the doorstep, a postage stamp on its beak. Hours later, Flavia finds a man dying in the cucumber patch. His last words must save her father imprisoned for his murder.

This was an enjoyable read about a smart young girl who is trying to solve a murder to clear her father. While I liked the book, this is another one where I will not be reading anymore in the series. I didn’t really like the lead girl enough to read more about her adventures.

Nov. 13 – Nov. 23

Continue with Part 3 – Fiction