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Shards and Ashes (Various Authors) – Book Review


Overall rating 4/5 stars

A mixed collection of dystopian stories that started and ended really well. A couple were too confusing or didn’t give me a real sense of motivation or purpose but others were beautifully nuanced, scary or intriguing. One or two I’d love to see developed into longer pieces, a number would be great as episodes of a Shards and Ashes TV series.
I commented on each story as I finished it but here are my mini reviews.

Hearken by Veronica Roth’s – 5/5 stars

This was a beautiful tale of Darya who learns she has the potential to be a Hearkener, someone who can hear people’s life or death songs. This has potential to be a much longer story but shares a message in itself for us to listen to each other. To look beyond the surface. Highly recommended

Branded by Kelley Armstrong – 3.5/5 stars

I liked the voice of the protagonist Rayne and the story/world building of the fortress community. The second part of the story almost felt rushed and I just didn’t completely feel that it was satisfactorily explained. The conclusion would have been good had I felt able to understand motivation a little clearer.

A Necklace of Raindrops by Margaret Stohl 4/5 stars

This was a clever tale that kept me guessing about this world of necklaces and drops. I loved the title. I struggled to care immediately for the first character we met but cared about his sister. The idea of living without living was one people can connect with.
I wanted a slightly clearer explanation of the world though. It was there but I still didn’t quite grasp it.
The repetition at the end was both frustrating and poetic. It didn’t quite end in the right place and the final point of view distanced me. I wanted a little bit more from Jai’s perspective.

Dogsbody by Rachel Caine – 5/5 stars

Excellent story, great pace, a protagonist you are rooting for from the off. Revenge planned meticulously over years. Of course nothing ever goes to plan.

Pale Rider by Nancy Holder – 1.5/5 stars

Unfortunately I just didn’t connect with this one. The beginning was interesting, a character called Dana being very excited about finding some batteries. Had the story stuck to a dystopia and explored this more I think I would have preferred it. Instead it went into fantasy right that the end with a lot of telling not showing. I was left very confused.
Realised I have read Nancy before, she wrote some of the Buffy TV tie-ins.

Corpse Eaters by Melissa Marr – 3/5 stars

I’d have liked a little more meat on the bones of this one (pun intended). Liked the two main characters. Interesting story of a god/monster coming to earth and humans ending up as corpse stew. Harm and Chris are fighting back. Wasn’t that keen on the ending. As a longer piece I think this could be much better.

Burn 3 by Kami Garcia – 5/5 stars

Phoenix and her sister Sky live in Burn 3, that used to be New York before the holes in the ozone sent the sun out of control. Children are vanishing and, when Sky is taken, Phoenix heads into the Abyss and finds an unlikely ally in a one eyed crazy man who thinks the Skinners have Sky. This was an excellent short, just the right amount of world-building and tension.

Love is a Choice by Beth Revis – 5/5 stars

Set on a spaceship, a young man hides from Eldest, the ruler who drugs everyone on board to prevent a mutiny. With help from Mag, a girl who had taken her grandfather’s place as the Recorder (librarian of sorts) they plot how to overthrow Eldest. I believe this is set in an existing world and you could tell, although this story did stand alone. The ending wasn’t what I was expecting but certainly explained the title. Going to hunt out this author’s work now.

Miasma by Carrie Ryan – 5/5 stars

Love the word Miasma and I also loved this story. Almost a mythical Fairytale nightmare rather than dystopian. Beaked doctors and ferret like plague eaters with forked tongues. Reminded me a little of the Buffy episode Hush. A girl struggles to keep her sister’s illness hidden by stealing Rose petals from the gardens of the rich.

Big Week for Cover Reveals

With both the US and UK covers of Allegiant by Veronica Roth and the cover of Once We Were by Kat Zhang all released this week I thought I’d make a collage of all the covers from the Divergent series and The Hybrid Chronicles (I’ve found the images online but credit has to go to the cover designers – they are all beautiful). Can’t wait to read the books too.


#TeamAbnegationUK #INSURGENTUK

I am squuuueeee muchly (sorry couldn’t resist) excited to have been selected to receive an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) of Veronica Roth’s follow up to Divergent –  Insurgent.

(Images from and sponsored links to Amazon)

I have been allocated to #TeamAbnegationUK. Our challenge is to post the most book reviews in the week of release (1st-8th May) – no review allowed before that. If we beat gently pull ahead of the other factions (Dauntless, Erudite, Amity and Candor) we will win a goodie bag. Follow #INSURGENTUK on Twitter to see who else has been selected.

(Abnegation Image courtesy of serendipity_viv)

(Three birds Image courtesy of my invite e-mail from HarperTeen - a representation of Tris' tattoo?)

In Divergent the heroine Tris has been bought up in Abnegation so I’m very proud to have been selected to represent this faction. Abnegation are called The Selfless, they are said to put the common good above all and others above themselves. I can’t promise that I always do this but try hard when I can. I think in the case of this challenge though we’ll be rooting for our faction and blogging like crazy.

So far I have identified my fellow faction members as:

1. Faction Leader – @daisychainbooks (Twitter) – Blog – Daisy Chain Book Reviews.

2. Faction Leader – @serendipity_viv (Twitter) – Blog – Serendipity Reviews.

3. @sophie_waters (Twitter) – Blog – So Many Books, So Little Time.

4. @theprettybooks (Twitter) – Blog – Pretty Books.

5. @SamBella10 (Twitter) – Blog – Realm of Fiction.

6. @overflowingklc (Twitter) – Blog – The Overflowing Library.

7. @the_reader_room (Twitter) – Blog – The Reader Room.

8. @ChooseYA (Twitter) – Blog – Choose YA Books.

9. @cheezyfeetbooks (Twitter) – Blog  – Cheezyfeet Books

10. @jules_tgtgtb (Twitter) – Blog – The Great, The Good and The Bad

11. @yaindieprincess (Twitter) – Blog – YA Indie Princess.

12. @milelongbookS (Twitter) – Blog – The Mile Long Bookshelf.

13. And me

If the whole Divergent craze has passed you by you can read my review of Divergent here.

If you just can’t get enough:

Divergent  and DivergentUK on Facebook

The US Abnegation Faction Tumblr

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