Atlantia by Ally Condie

Atlantia by Ally CondieTitle: Atlantia
Author: Ally Condie (Blog, Twitter, Facebook)
Format: Hardcover (298 pages)
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Can you hear Atlantia breathing?

For as long as she can remember, Rio has dreamt of the sand and sky Above--of life beyond her underwater city of Atlantia. But in a single moment, all her plans for the future are thwarted when her twin sister, Bay, makes an unexpected decision, stranding Rio Below. Alone, ripped away from the last person who knew Rio’s true self--and the powerful siren voice she has long hidden--she has nothing left to lose.

Guided by a dangerous and unlikely mentor, Rio formulates a plan that leads to increasingly treacherous questions about her mother’s death, her own destiny, and the complex system constructed to govern the divide between land and sea. Her life and her city depend on Rio to listen to the voices of the past and to speak long-hidden truths. Summary from Dust Jacket

UBAs soon as I heard Ally Condie was coming out with another novel, I knew I had to read it. I always love her writing and the worlds she creates. Atlantia was no different.

Atlantia led me to a world underneath the sea. I enjoyed exploring it while the characters went about their lives. The world-building in this novel was poetic and beautiful, just like Ally’s writing. Everything about it made me wonder what it’d be like to live in Atlantia and whether or not I’d choose to live in the Above or the Below.

The religion Ally created for Atlantia was interesting and intriguing. I loved finding out about its truths and myths along with the main character, Rio. It created a nice venue for the dystopian setting as the society in the Below and Above were governed by the religious leaders. Some were sincere and good people and some were drunk with power.

I thought the ideas of the three miracles were especially fascinating. The bats and sirens intrigued me. I loved Ally’s portrayal of the sirens. I loved seeing the differences in each of their powers.

I liked Rio and her story. I felt bad for her and all she had to go through. I do wish Rio weren’t so secretive and distrustful so we could’ve gotten to know the others a little bit better. Because of that, I didn’t feel like I connected with enough of the characters, other than Rio and maybe True. And even then I felt like we didn’t know True very well either.

I also wish that the romance were a little more fleshed out. It didn’t seem tangible enough to make a difference to the story. Rio could’ve ended up just as really good friends with “him” to help everything happen the way it did. The book was only 298 pages, so I felt it could’ve been a little longer to help make the romance more of a difference to the story.

I’m glad I read Atlantia. It was a fun story. While I didn’t love love it, I did like it a lot for its poetic beauty and interesting premise.


Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie MeyerTitle: Breaking Dawn
Author: Stephenie Meyer (Website)
Series: Twilight Saga #4
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Format: Hardcover (756 pages)
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"Don't be afraid," I murmured. "We belong together."

I was abruptly overwhelmed by the truth of my own words. This moment was so perfect, so right, there was no way to doubt it.

His arms wrapped around me, holding me against him... It felt like every nerve ending in my body was a live wire.

"Forever," he agreed.

When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife have led her to the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life--first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse--seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed ... forever? Summary from Dust Jacket

There are spoilers in this review. But, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, I’m pretty sure these spoilers aren’t anything new.

I first read Breaking Dawn when it came out in August 2008. I was so excited to read it because I needed to know that Bella and Edward would be together forever and that nothing could come between them.

I read most of Breaking Dawn in utter happiness. The wedding and honeymoon were everything I imagined between Bella and Edward. Bella’s transformation to a vampire was everything I had hoped for! And, I loved the closeness between Bella and Edward. The emotions I felt in their relationship were the same ones I had felt while reading Twilight, without the annoying love triangle that plagued New Moon and Eclipse. It was a dream come true. I got to have my cake and eat it too!

I’ll admit I wasn’t shocked to find out Bella was pregnant and I was even less shocked when Jacob imprinted on Renesmee. Before I read Breaking Dawn, there was a rumor that Bella became pregnant. I wasn’t sure how valid it was, but then it happened. As soon as I knew she was pregnant, it didn’t take a psychic to know that Renesmee would be Jacob’s “fix.”

Did any of this bother me? No, not in the least. In fact, I liked how it all turned out. I actually really loved seeing Bella and Edward as parents. I loved seeing the little moments between the three. I was a little miffed that Jacob still seemed to be in the way a little bit, especially when part of the book was written in his point-of-view. But, I have to tell you that even though I hated being in Jacob’s head, I loved the titles of his chapters!

None of the negativity about Breaking Dawn hit me until after I finished reading it and started talking to friends and reading the Twilight Lexicon forums. I was surprised by how vehemently fans hated this book. I just didn’t understand it and to tell you the truth, I still don’t understand it because of what I said earlier–it was like going back to Bella and Edward’s relationship in Twilight and that’s all I ever wanted. (One more thing–I’ve never understood everyone’s dislike for the name Renesmee. I actually really like it, especially more than Nessie. Ugh!)

There were only two things that bugged me the first time I read Breaking Dawn. First, again I didn’t like being inside Jacob’s head and I didn’t like that it seemed as if Renesmee spent more time with and cared more for Jacob than Edward. I wanted to see more daddy/daughter moments. Second, the ending was a little bit anti-climactic. But, I was so glad no one I cared for died (as witnessed in the Breaking Dawn, Part II movie) that it didn’t bother me enough to make a big deal about it.

Overall, I was so happy with Breaking Dawn that it easily became my favorite book in the saga. In fact, my favorite part of the entire saga are the last two pages of Breaking Dawn. Those two pages encompass everything I feel for this saga and I’ve always ended reading these stories with a smile on my face.

2014 Reread Thoughts

This time around, I noticed that my annoyance with being inside Jacob’s head wasn’t as great as it was the first two times I read Breaking Dawn, probably because I knew what was going to happen. I was eager to get out of his head, though, but only because the third book is my favorite of Breaking Dawn. I also noticed more intimate moments between Renesmee and Edward, which made me happy and smile. And, just like the Eclipse movie helped me with my unresolved feelings for Eclipse, the second Breaking Dawn movie helped me with the daddy/daughter scenes too.


Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer

Eclipse by Stephenie MeyerTitle: Eclipse
Author: Stephenie Meyer (Website)
Series: Twilight Saga #3
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Format: Hardcover (629 pages)
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In the dead silence, all the details suddenly fell into place for me with a burst of intuition.

Something Edward didn't want me to know. Something Jacob wouldn't have kept from me...

It was never going to end, was it?

As Seattle is ravaged by a string of mysterious killings and a malicious vampire continues her quest for revenge, Bella once again finds herself surrounded by danger. In the midst of it all, she is forced to choose between her love for Edward and her friendship with Jacob--knowing that her decision has the potential to ignite the ageless struggle between vampire and werewolf. With her graduation quickly approaching, Bella has one more decision to make: life or death. But which is which? Summary from Dust Jacket

There are spoilers in this review. But, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, I’m pretty sure these spoilers aren’t anything new.

I first read Eclipse when it came out in August 2007. I was so excited to read it. New Moon had left me with such anxious feelings and I wanted peace. I needed peace. So, I waited as patiently as I could to find out what would happen to Bella and Edward, and begrudgingly Jacob.

I read Eclipse in one day. I needed to know if Bella ended up with Edward. I needed to know that Jacob wasn’t in the way anymore. Unfortunately, I didn’t get quite what I wanted. Eclipse is what showed me that I detest love triangles more than any other literary device there is. I’d rather see my favorite characters die than in a love triangle. Sadly, love triangles are over-abundant in YA books.

I’m not one to throw books if I get mad at something in the story, but when Bella finally relented to kiss Jacob and discovered that she was in love with him, I very nearly threw my book across the room. I was so mad! I almost didn’t keep reading. It was my worst nightmare coming true. When I finished Eclipse, the peace and calm I had wanted about Bella and Edward’s relationship wasn’t there. Sure, she chose Edward, but it felt like she only chose him because she had to.

The epilogue in Jacob’s point-of-view bugged me too. I didn’t care what Jacob was feeling. I wanted more Bella and Edward. It almost left a sour taste in my mouth, but I got over it. After realizing that I liked most of the book and that Bella did end up with Edward, I was okay. I decided that I liked Eclipse, just not quite as much as I had liked Twilight.

Just like with New Moon, I’ve only read Eclipse three times now whereas I’ve read Twilight five times. I couldn’t bring myself to read Eclipse again until after I read Breaking Dawn and knew Bella ended up with Edward for good.

2014 Reread Thoughts

Reading what I term “The Great Dog Snog” (coined by some friends on the Twilight Lexicon when Eclipse first came out) was still irritating. It’s definitely not my favorite scene in the book. It’s seriously like the longest kiss in the world (Bella and Edward don’t even have that long of a kiss)! But, what I did notice this time around is that Bella wasn’t just choosing Edward because she had to. She chose Edward because she wanted him more and that made me feel better. I think in that respect the Eclipse movie helped a lot because of the emotions shown in the movie. So, now I can read Eclipse more happily than I could that first time around.


New Moon by Stephenie Meyer

New Moon by Stephenie MeyerTitle: New Moon
Author: Stephenie Meyer (Website)
Series: Twilight Saga #2
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Format: Hardcover (608 pages)
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I knew we were both in mortal danger.

Still, in that instant I felt well. Whole. I could feel my heart racing in my chest, the blood pulsing hot and fast through my veins again. My lungs filled deep with the sweet scent that came off his skin.

It was like there had never been any hole in my chest. I was perfect--not healed, but as if there had never been a wound in the first place.

For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning... Summary from Dust Jacket

There are spoilers in this review. But, unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, I’m pretty sure these spoilers aren’t anything new.

I first read New Moon in June 2007, right after I finished reading Twilight for the first time. When I finished Twilight, I wanted more so I begged a friend to let me borrow her copy of New Moon, thinking I’d have the same experience I’d had with Twilight. Boy, was I wrong!

When Edward left in New Moon, I was almost just as devastated as Bella was. I couldn’t handle having him gone. The whole reason I loved Twilight so much was the tension, conflict, and angst in Bella and Edward’s relationship. And, without Edward there, there was really no relationship. Plus, I just loved the idea of vampires, especially Stephenie Meyer’s take on them.

While I read New Moon, I was glad that Bella found Jacob and that he helped her feel better. But, I couldn’t help thinking that this shouldn’t be Jacob. It should be Edward. I was more anxious about Jacob being with Bella than I was when she was with Edward, even knowing Edward was “dangerous” to her. Jacob was trouble, in my opinion. I knew he could cause problems when Edward came back. (I knew Edward had to come back.)

I liked learning about how Quileute legends affected the tribe. I figured out that Jacob was a werewolf before Bella did and it was infuriating that it took her so long to figure it out. It was also infuriating that she thought the wolves were behind the deaths around the area. I also didn’t like that she was so worried about them since the legends plainly state that they were made to destroy vampires. I understood why she felt that way, having seen what a vampire can do, but still.

My favorite part of New Moon was Volterra. I loved learning about the Volturi in more detail. I had been curious about them ever since Edward had mentioned them in Twilight. I also loved, of course, the reunion between Edward and Bella, my very favorite scene being when he flipped her toward the wall to protect her from the Volturi guard. I was so glad he was back. And, then I realized that Jacob would be a problem and that I just couldn’t like him. And, thus began my first experience with a love triangle and my first experience with hating a character so much that I wanted them to die. (Yeah, I know. I’m a little melodramatic.)

While I’ve read Twilight a total of five times now. I’ve only read New Moon three times. New Moon is my least favorite book of the series. Until I had read Eclipse, I couldn’t bring myself to read New Moon again. And, then when Eclipse didn’t have as satisfying of an ending as I wanted in terms of the love triangle, I still couldn’t bring myself to reread New Moon. I didn’t read it a second time until after I read Breaking Dawn and knew Bella ended up with Edward for good.

2014 Reread Thoughts

During this reread of New Moon, I knew what happened. I knew how the whole story ended. Yet, I still felt anxious once Edward left. I had to reread my favorite chapters at the end of New Moon concurrently with the rest of the story to help me through the heart-wrenching parts as well as those parts with Jacob getting a little too close for comfort.


The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly BlackTitle: The Coldest Girl in Cold Town
Author: Holly Black (Blog, Twitter, Facebook)
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, YA
Format: Hardcover (419 pages)
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Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave.

One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself. Summary from Dust Jacket

I’ll admit it. I was drawn to The Coldest Girl in Coldtown because of the cover. I love it! Plus, I had never read anything by Holly Black yet and I thought this would be a good place to start.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect with The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, but what I got was a unique story that was fun, suspenseful, and even had a little bit of romance in it. I liked it a lot.

I loved the concept of the Coldtowns. I thought it was really unique and it seemed like a good way to quarantine the infectious vampirism disease. But, there’s a part of me that wondered if Coldtowns really could keep vampires in. I honestly don’t think they could, but I didn’t let that bother me too much as I read the story because it made for a good setting to the story.

Tana seemed a little aloof to me. I couldn’t quite pin down her motives or personality. She seemed to suffer from PTSD and maybe that was why it was hard to get a read on her. I really liked Gavriel, though. I loved how contradictory he was. He didn’t want to be a monster, but at the same time, he knew he was so he used it to his advantage.

I really liked the romance in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, but I wanted more. There were only a few scenes. The romance wasn’t the main point of the story, so it didn’t take over the book. I liked that about it, but at the same time, I think I would’ve liked this book more if there was more romance in it.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown is a stand-alone book as far as I can tell. By the end, the main conflict is taken care of, sort of. (It actually depends on what you consider to be the main conflict.) But, the story is left open enough that if Holly Black wanted to write a sequel she could. I kind of want her to, so she could expound on the romance more, lol.

Anyway, I really liked the story and the characters, but as I said, I was left wanting more. Maybe, I’ll just have to go reread Twilight to get “the more” I want.