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

My books of 2012 – Part Four: Young adult fantasy

Part One – Biography/Autobiography

Part Two – Non-fiction

Part Three – Historical Fiction

City of Stars (Stravaganza #2) – Mary Hoffman

250026“Georgia would love nothing more than to rise horses every day and avoid her annoying stepbrother at all costs. But she could never have guessed that a tiny, antique winged horse figurine would be the key to her escape to another world and another time. When Georgia arrives in a sixteenth-century city called Remora, she is plunged into a dangerous and treacherous world of horse-racing, family honour and deadly rivalry. And there, as a new Stravagante, Georgia will have a dramatic and extraordinary role to play…” – GoodReads

4 stars

City of Flowers (Stravaganza #3) – Mary Hoffman

295107“Everything changes for Sky when he finds a perfume bottle that whiskes him away to the city of Giglia, an ancient city similar to Florence. This may be the beautiful City of Flowers, but things that seems beautiful might also be deadly. As a new Stravagante – someone who can travel through space and time with the help of a talisman – Sky finds himself caught up in a deadly feud between Giglia’s two ruling families. Now, the Stravaganti must do all they can to avoid further bloodshed as politics, conspiracy and espionage unfold.” – GoodReads

3 stars

City of Secrets (Stravaganza #4) – Mary Hoffman

3169710“When Matt turns seventeen, he is shocked by how drawn he is to an old leather-bound book — especially since he is dyslexic and has never liked to read. But the book turns out to be far more powerful than Matt could have imagined. It is his talisman, an object that allows him to stravagate through time and place to a country called Talia. There, Matt arrives at Padavia University, where he meets other Stravaganti — including Luciano, who is in great danger after killing the head of the powerful di Chimici family in a duel. Together, Matt, Luciano and Arianna, a duchessa in disguise as a boy, must fight the di Chimici family before they make a terrifying breakthrough into our modern world….” – GoodReads

4 stars

City of Ships (Stravaganza #5) – Mary Hoffman

6671653“The new instalment in the critically acclaimed Stravaganza series transports readers to a world much like our own — but where magic and piracy come to life in the Italian town of Classe. The new Stravagante is Isabel, a visitor from our world who befriends Flavia, a successful female merchant of spices, silks, and tapestries. But Flavia soon finds herself an outcast and a pirate, while Isabel learns that Classe is under threat of attack by the fierce Gate people. What can she do to help save the city?
Fans of fantasy and historical fiction alike who have flocked to the Stravaganza series will welcome this action-packed adventure, which can be read alone or as a companion to the previous novels.” – GoodReads

4 stars

I like the Stravaganza series. It shows young people in a miserable life who find their purpose. Not all books are great though, especially the third one was a disappointment. Sky just wasn’t well developed.

Divergent (Divergent #1) – Veronica Roth

13335037“In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.” – GoodReads

Winner of a 2011 GoodReads Choice Award

4 stars

Insurgent (Divergent #2) – Veronica Roth

11735983“One choice can transform you–or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves–and herself–while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.” – GoodReads

Winner of a 2012 GoodReads Choice Award

4 stars

 

This is a great series (as shown by the GoodReads awards both books have won). It’s the story of how you can change the life that may seem predestined for you. You decide how your life turns out.

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs

9460487“A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here – one of whom was his own grandfather – were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow – impossible though it seems – they may still be alive” – GoodReads

3 stars

This book was a disappointment. I had high hopes because it was recommended by Jen over at Epbot. Most of the books I’ve read because she recommended them I have loved, this one not so much. I found the story lacking and the pictures more a gimmick than crucial to the story.

Die For Me (Revenants #1) – Amy Plum

9462812“In the City of Lights, two star-crossed lovers battle a fate that is destined to tear them apart again and again for eternity.

When Kate Mercier’s parents die in a tragic car accident, she leaves her life–and memories–behind to live with her grandparents in Paris. For Kate, the only way to survive her pain is escaping into the world of books and Parisian art. Until she meets Vincent.

Mysterious, charming, and devastatingly handsome, Vincent threatens to melt the ice around Kate’s guarded heart with just his smile. As she begins to fall in love with Vincent, Kate discovers that he’s a revenant–an undead being whose fate forces him to sacrifice himself over and over again to save the lives of others. Vincent and those like him are bound in a centuries-old war against a group of evil revenants who exist only to murder and betray. Kate soon realizes that if she follows her heart, she may never be safe again.” – GoodReads

5 stars

This was a very good read, set beautifully in Paris. It tells the story of two young people in love getting caught in a centuries-old war.

Unearthly (Unearthly #1) – Cynthia Hand

7488244“In the beginning, there’s a boy standing in the trees . . . 

Clara Gardner has recently learned that she’s part angel. Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do. Figuring out what that is, though, isn’t easy.

Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town. When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place and out of place at the same time. Because there’s another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara’s less angelic side.” – GoodReads

5 stars

Hallowed (Unearthly #2) – Cynthia Hand

11563110“For months Clara Gardner trained to face the fire from her visions, but she wasn’t prepared for the choice she had to make that day. And in the aftermath, she discovered that nothing about being part angel is as straightforward as she thought.

Now, torn between her love for Tucker and her complicated feelings about the roles she and Christian seem destined to play in a world that is both dangerous and beautiful, Clara struggles with a shocking revelation: Someone she loves will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.” – GoodReads

4 stars

A great series, engaging and a quick read. I couldn’t put it down.

Uglies (Uglies #1) – Scott Westerfeld

24770“Tally Youngblood is about to turn sixteen, and she can’t wait for the operation that turns everyone from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to party. But new friend Shay would rather hoverboard to “the Smoke” and be free. Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world and it isn’t very pretty. The “Special Circumstances” authority Dr Cable offers Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.” – GoodReads

4 stars

Pretties (Uglies #2) – Scott Westerfeld

24768“Tally has finally become pretty. Now her looks are beyond perfect, her clothes are awesome, her boyfriend is totally hot, and she’s completely popular. It’s everything she’s ever wanted.

But beneath all the fun — the nonstop parties, the high-tech luxury, the total freedom — is a nagging sense that something’s wrong. Something important. Then a message from Tally’s ugly past arrives. Reading it, Tally remembers what’s wrong with pretty life, and the fun stops cold.

Now she has to choose between fighting to forget what she knows and fighting for her life — because the authorities don’t intend to let anyone with this information survive.” – GoodReads

4 stars

A series set in a dystopian world where all teens get plastic surgery on their sixteenth birthday to be turned into a Pretty. Tally runs away on the night before her surgery and discovers the bad side of the world she wanted so badly to be a part of.

Angelfall (Penryn & the End of Days #1) – Susan Ee

11500217“It’s been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels’ stronghold in San Francisco where she’ll risk everything to rescue her sister and he’ll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.” – GoodReads

4 stars

I really liked reading this book, especially the banter between Penryn and Raffe (I’m a big fan of witty writing, as my love of Joss Whedon shows).

Untraceable (The Nature of Grace #1) – S.R. Johannes

12731861“16-year-old Grace has lived in the Smokies all her life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival.

When her dad goes missing on a routine patrol, Grace refuses to believe he’s dead and fights the town authorities, tribal officials, and nature to find him.

One day, while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent and a secret. As her feelings between him and her ex-boyfriend get muddled, Grace travels deep into the wilderness to escape and find her father.

Along the way, Grace learns terrible secrets that sever relationships and lives. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kick-butting heroine to save everything she loves.” – GoodReads

3 stars

This was not a bad read, but not a great one either. I did like that I could not predict the twists and turns, but the book could use an editor.

Winter’s Awakening: The Metahumans Emerge (Winter’s Saga) – Karen Luellen

12828201“Assumptions: I am a normal human being. I’m an average fifteen-year-old. I have always lived here, and I always will. This year will be like every other. But I’ll soon find out… none of these assumptions are true.” – GoodReads

2 stars

This was… eh. The book desperately needs an editor, and the religious aspect was too obvious.

The Trouble With Spells (Of Witches and Warlocks #1) – Lacey Weatherford

7507845“Portia Mullins had always lived the life of a normal teenager, up until her sixteenth birthday. She is then informed by her grandma that she is actually a witch who is a descendant of a long line of witches and warlocks. After overcoming her disbelief she finds that being a member of the coven comes with one great perk in the form of the school’s handsome bad boy, Vance Mangum. Vance and Portia have an immediate connection as a budding romance begins, only to be threatened by turbulent skies on the horizon as Vance’s checkered past rears its ugly head to haunt them. Portia is forced to use her untried powers in defense of everything she loves in a desperate attempt to hold on to the one thing that really matters in her life.” – GoodReads

3 stars

This took some time to get through, and the fact that I have no intention to read the rest in the series does not bode well for how much I liked this book.

Gregor the Overlander (Underland Chronicles #1) – Suzanne Collins

262430“When eleven-year-old Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, humans live uneasily beside giant spiders, bats, cockroaches, and rats—but the fragile peace is about to fall apart.

Gregor wants no part of a conflict between these creepy creatures. He just wants to find his way home. But when he discovers that a strange prophecy foretells a role for him in the Underland’s uncertain future, he realizes it might be the only way to solve the biggest mystery of his life. Little does he know his quest will change him and the Underland forever.

Rich in suspense and brimming with adventure, Suzanne Collin’s debut marked a thrilling new talent, and introduced a character no young reader will ever forget.” – GoodReads

5 stars

Great book! Suzanne Collins really is a good writer. If you enjoyed reading The Hunger Games, you should check this one out. The story is not as dark (no kids fighting to the death) but just as well told.

Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga #1) – Orson Scott Card

375802“In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race’s next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew “Ender” Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn’t make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender’s skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.” – GoodReads

5 stars

A sci-fi classic that I finally got around to reading, and I am very happy I did. Ender’s Game is a great book, very intriguing and I cannot wait to read the next book.

Hourglass – Myra McEntire

9182478“For seventeen-year-old Emerson Cole, life is about seeing what isn’t there: swooning Southern Belles; soldiers long forgotten; a haunting jazz trio that vanishes in an instant. Plagued by phantoms since her parents’ death, she just wants the apparitions to stop so she can be normal. She’s tried everything, but the visions keep coming back.

So when her well-meaning brother brings in a consultant from a secretive organization called the Hourglass, Emerson’s willing to try one last cure. But meeting Michael Weaver may not only change her future, it may also change her past.

Who is this dark, mysterious, sympathetic guy, barely older than Emerson herself, who seems to believe every crazy word she says? Why does an electric charge seem to run through the room whenever he’s around? And why is he so insistent that he needs her help to prevent a death that never should have happened?” – GoodReads

3 stars

This was an okay read, not great but not bad either.