Saturday, September 28, 2013

Legend: The Collector's Edition by Marie Lu

As some of you may know, Legend by Marie Lu is an extremely special book to me. It was the first book that I ever reviewed; it is what made me start my blog and begin reviewing other books, as well. It is also my favorite book, so you could imagine my excitement when Gauntlet Press offered me the opportunity to review the Collector’s Edition of Legend!

The book is basically set up into seven sections: the introduction (written by Marie Lu), the actual novel, the Afterword (written by Ridley Pearson), the artwork, Day and June’s profiles, two “outtakes” from the original version of Legend, and two excerpts from a book that Marie Lu wrote in high school, The Glass Sonata. Every section was equally amazing!!

In the introduction, Lu describes how her earlier works morphed together and changed to become Legend. She also gives some inspirational advice and wisdom to aspiring writers (like moi J) that was really awesome.

The “novel” part of the book was, of course, WONDERFUL. I love this book and reading it for the third time this year, it was just as incredible as the very first time I read it more than a year ago! If you want a review of the actual story itself, you can find it here!

I swear that Ridley Pearson can read my mind. The afterword literally puts my pure, all-consuming love for this book and Lu’s writing into words. Lu is one of the most gifted writers that I have ever had the pleasure of reading, and Pearson’s praises of her are spot-on. She also offers some wisdom to those of us who want to be great writers like Lu.

It is in the next section where I start to get even more jealous of Marie Lu than I was of her writing alone. Not only is she an AMAZING writer, she can also draw. One person should not be graced with so many awesome talents! And I mean her drawings are SO GOOD! I can’t draw for my life; I may actually be the worst artist known to man, so I am exceptionally jealous of those who can draw. But I ABSOLUTELY LOVE the drawings that Lu has done of her characters, especially those of June and Day. They look exactly the same on a piece of paper as they did in my head and they are so beautiful, I love them so much! I’m tempted to hang the pictures on my bedroom wall so I can look at them every day, seriously!

The next part, the “profiles,” was actually really cool. It stated everything about Day and June that you could ever want to know, from their birthdays to their blood types, and their strengths and weaknesses. I really enjoyed reading this part of the book. One thing I must say, though, is that after reading these profiles, I will be even pickier about the appearance of the actors that are cast as June and Day in the movie. Because their appearances are so explicitly stated and detailed, those actors better look exactly how she describes them or I’m going to be really freaking angry! Just by reading the profiles, I fell in love with Day once again, for probably the thousandth time, and I noticed that June and I are really similar when all of her personal information was laid out so clearly. I mean, we’re both 5’ 4”, we’re pretty much the same weight, we both have brown hair and brown eyes, and we basically have the same exact personality, so if I were to be, oh, I don’t know, cast as June for the movie, I would be perfect for the role (*wink, wink, cough, cough*)! Anyway, enough about my freakishly close resemblance to June and my superior acting abilities…. J

After reading the two outtakes, it made me realize that an author cannot include everything that he/she wants into his/her book. I also realized that the ending of Legend as it was when it was published is INCREDIBLE. The alternate ending (which was one of the two “outtakes”) was definitely not as good as the ending that we know and love. If she had ended Legend with the alternate ending instead, the second book would have been completely different, which is crazy to think about since I love the second book so much! The second “outtake” was a scene that Lu had originally written into the story, but she ended up taking it out. It follows Day, Tess, and June as they steal some hotdogs from an unsuspecting vendor for their breakfast. It was a fun scene to read, but ultimately I agreed with Lu’s decision to cut it out of the final product; it wasn’t exactly necessary to the advancement of the plot, but it was amusing to read nonetheless!

The last section of the Collector’s Edition consists of two excerpts from a book that Lu wrote in high school called The Glass Sonata. This is where Day originally shows up, but his personality is more cruel and merciless than that of the Day we all know and love (a lot) from Legend. Even though she wrote it in high school, the story and writing are still amazing, at least in the two sections of it that I read. I really want to read the rest of it! The story was super interesting and it was a fantasy novel (and I love me some fantasy, let me tell ya) that followed a character similar to Day. In the book, society is divided into two groups: the Aristans and the Salans. The Salans are like slaves, while the Aristans are their masters. All of the main characters are Salans. We even see an early version of a Skiz fight, but it's more like if The Hungers Games and a Skiz fight had a baby, then it became even more intense than its parents. The narration of the story is told by Anden, the character who later develops into the Elector Primo’s son in Legend. There is also an early version of June in this book. Even though her name is not June and she comes from the lower, slave class rather than the high class (like in Legend), you can definitely feel June emanating from that character. I think that it takes amazing skill to be able to define a character so well that you can tell it is her, even when she is in a different body with a different name and completely different consequences. Even in high school, Lu was an incredibly gifted writer and I am even more jealous of her! But don’t worry; my jealousy only contributes more to my awe-inspiring respect of Marie Lu!

This book shows me that some people are just born gifted writers, and Marie Lu is definitely one of them. If you love Legend as much as I do, then you should definitely check out this book! It was completely awesome and wonderful and it offered so much new insight on the Legend series that makes reading it so much more enjoyable! I definitely recommend it!!

This was such an awesome addition to the Legend series! 5 Smileys!

Partials by Dan Wells

For some reason I randomly decided to take a two-week break from Partials by Dan Wells when I was fifty pages away from finishing it… I’m not really sure why, but I guess life just got in the way and I didn’t have enough time to read…. Anyway, this book took me about a month to get through, but that doesn’t mean that it was bad! On the contrary, I really liked it!

            Partials: humanoid robots that the US created to use in the Isolation War, but they didn’t think that the Partials would rebel against the government due to poor working conditions; the world was then decimated by RM, a disease that the humans believe the Partials created to kill them. It’s been eleven years since the Partial War and the release of RM and the human population is under 40,000, all of them living on New York’s Long Island in a town called East Meadow. With all of the newborns dying from RM, only those with the resistance survived, but none of the newborns now seem to be born with this trait. Trying to remedy this, the Senate established the Hope Act, which says that every woman aged eighteen and older must get pregnant as often as possible. There is talk of lowering the age to sixteen, which makes even more people angry and defect to the Voice, the rebel organization that fights against the Hope Act.
Kira works in the maternity ward and she’s tired of watching babies die. Convinced that the Partials are the key to curing RM, she goes to the mainland, captures a Partial, and brings him back to East Meadow, all without the consent of the Senate. Upon her return, she is punished by being the one to study the Partial. Upon regaining consciousness, the Partial tells her that his name is Samm and that the Partials were not the ones to create RM. He also tells her that the Partials are dying (for they can’t reproduce and the humans put a “time limit” on their existence when they created them). Both humanity and the Partials must work together to solve their problems. Will the decade-long enemies be able to work together? Or will both species go extinct before they finally agree to peace?

Whoo, sorry for that lengthy description! This book is just really super complicated, so I felt that it needed a long explanation or you just wouldn’t get it. Not because you’re stupid, just because it was a really complicated book. Anyway, the characters:

Kira was a really strong character, maybe not so much physically, but mentally and emotionally. Throughout the entirety of the book, she was willing to give up her life for what she believed in and when she made a promise, she kept it. Even though all of he other people in the community were saying “We need to save humanity and cure RM!” no one would actually go out and do it. Their only solution was to have a billion kids, but clearly that wasn’t working; Kira was the only one brave enough to put her life on the line for the rest of humanity and I really respect her for that. Overall, she was a really great character!

Marcus was the funniest person that I have ever met or read about in my entire life. The things he says are just so hilarious that I legitimately laugh out loud. He was hands-down the best character in the book. However, I don’t think that he’s right for Kira romantically; she’s destined to lead a crazy life full of danger, but he just wants a quiet life with a family, so I think that the Partial, Samm, is much more suited for Kira because he can take so much more of what life is going to throw at her because he’s kinda a robot… but also still human-ish… it’s complicated.

All of the other supporting characters, like Samm, Jayden (so much love for him), and Xochi were AMAZING. Except for Haru. I hated his guts and I just wanted him to go away; he was SO ANNOYING and he bothered me A LOT. I was secretly hoping for his untimely death the entire time… :/ oops I’m a bad person…

So the first quarter of the book completely bored me, almost to the point where I was dying a slow, torturous death. Literally NOTHING happened. NOTHING AT ALL. The only reason I kept reading was because of Marcus; he was SO HILARIOUS! He was definitely my favorite part of the book. The things that he said and the jokes that he made were so funny I was actually laughing out loud. I seriously wish that he was a real person because we would be best friends J However, after the first quarter of the book, it became COMPLETELY AMAZING. I got so caught up in the story and the characters that I couldn’t put it down! It’s actually the introduction of Samm that made the story so exciting. The characters ran into so many obstacles that it was really interesting to see how they dealt with them and got around them. There were points when I thought, “There is NO WAY they will be able to get out of this one!” but they would end up getting out of it in a completely believable, and surprising way. The ending was awesome and makes me want to read the next one SO BAD! It made me cry a little bit because *semi-spoiler alert, but not really*one of my favorite characters died and it completely devastated me. Like, completely L

It’s like you pay for the amazingness in the book with the near-death experience of reading the first part of it. After reading the whole thing I would say that it’s definitely worth it! I am SO EXCITED to read the second book, Fragments, after that cliffhanger ending!

I loved this book, but the beginning was equivalent to dying. 4 Smileys!