October 22, 2011

Review of "Blood Red Road"

Blood Red Road (Dustlands, #1)
My rating
Pub. Date: June 7th 2011
Pages: 459
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Source: Library
Edition: Hardcover and Audio CDs
Synopsis: Saba has spent her whole life in Silverlake, a dried-up wasteland ravaged by constant sandstorms. The Wrecker civilization has long been destroyed, leaving only landfills for Saba and her family to scavenge from. That's fine by her, as long as her beloved twin brother Lugh is around. But when a monster sandstorm arrives bearing four cloaked horsemen, Saba's world is shattered. Lugh is captured, and Saba embarks on a quest to get him back.
Suddenly thrown into the lawless, ugly reality of the world outside of desolate Silverlake, Saba is lost without Lugh to guide her. So perhaps the most surprising thing of all is what Saba learns about herself: she's a fierce fighter, an unbeatable survivor, and a cunning opponent. And she has the power to take down a corrupt society from the inside. Teamed up with a handsome daredevil named Jack and a gang of girl revolutionaries called the Free Hawks, Saba stages a showdown that will change the course of her own civilization.

Overall, I really enjoyed "Blood Red Road". The characters were great and the plot was fantastic. My major problem with the book is that I found it difficult to read because of the punctuation. I know this sounds kind of weird, but the fact that quotation marks weren't used really took a while for my brain to get used to. I kept getting confused about what was being said and what was an action. It also didn't help that I left my book at work and then started a new one while I was in the middle of "Blood Red Road" so I had to get used to the lack of quotation marks all over again. I know it shouldn't be that difficult on people, but my brain can get confused easily when it comes to reading. My other problem was that I just didn't like Saba for about a fourth of the book. I thought she was just cruel to her sister. My option completely changed by the end, but it was difficult for me to get over.

I like how “Blood Red Road” didn’t just focus on Saba’s search for Lugh. Saba learned a lot on her journey about both the world around her and herself. She was put in situations where she was forced to make tough decisions. Her journey to find her brother became so much larger as she learned more about the world around her. Even while fighting for her life, Saba couldn’t help but notice the plight of the people surrounding her. Whatever Saba thought of her father while he was alive, she had to realize that he was able to protect his children from horrors they couldn’t even imagine. I liked being able to see Saba grow through the book as her journey developed and morphed. Her original goal stayed the same, but as her social consciousness and self-awareness grew, Saba realized that she had a chance to drastically alter the course of humanity.

“Blood Red Road” has a great mix that will be a winner for many readers. It has action, adventure, mystery, violence, a bit of romance, a strong female character, a civilization full of evil, and great characters. Once I got into the book, I was able to fly through it in only a couple of days. I got so hooked on the book that I was actually listening to the audio book in the car and at the gym, reserving the book for every other free moment. I would recommend “Blood Red Road” to readers who enjoy dystopian fiction, especially to fans of grittier novels like “The Hunger Games”, “Maze Runner”, and “Ship Breaker”.

October 7, 2011

Review of "Drink, Slay, Love"

"Drink, Slay, Love"
Sarah Beth Durst


Pub. Date: September 13th 2011
Pages: 385
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Synopsis:  Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops. 

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.
The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?

I have read so many vampire romance books that I am kind of sick of them.  Even though I haven't had much of an interest in them this year, I was pretty excited to learn about "Drink, Slay Love".  I enjoyed "Ice" and "Enchanted Ivy" tremendously and I wasn't disappointed in "Drink, Slay, Love".  I have to admit I wasn't sure how the vampire and unicorn combination would work, but Sarah pulled it off.  This book does make fun of the vampire romance genre a bit, but in a playful way. 

I always love Sarah’s characters and her new cast is no exception.  Pearl is rough and sometimes cruel, but her attitude hooked me into this book.  She really struggles with the changes that come with being a vampire awake during the day.  On top of her new schedule, she is having feelings that go against all her natural instincts.  I loved Pearl’s cast of friends even if they were corny and uber sweet at times, it just worked.  The unicorn, which Pearl endearingly names “Mr. Sparkly-and-Pointy”, has personality.  All the vampires are unique, especially Antoinette who is obsessed with 80s pop-culture.

"Drink, Slay, Love" has drama, comedy, heart, unicorns, vampires, a bit of romance, and a splash of danger… what else could you possibly ask for?  This book was very fun and I breezed through it in only a couple of days.  I love the fact that "Drink, Slay, Love" doesn't take itself too seriously.  I would recommend this book to people who like paranormal romance, vampire books, comedies, and/or are fans of other of Sarah Beth Durst's books.

*I did receive a free copy of this book for review.