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Search tags: Lauren-Destefano
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review 2017-11-13 18:22
Fever
Fever - Lauren DeStefano

Warning: There will be spoilers in this review for the first book in the series, Wither.

Gabriel and Rhine have escaped and they are on the run, trying to make it back to Manhattan in search of her twin brother when they are captured by the ring-mistress of a carnival of prostitution. Once again Rhine finds herself in a compromising situation, and her plan of action is to simply go along with everything, gain Madame's trust and wait for the perfect opportunity to escape. This was all too reminiscent of book 1.

I found myself cringing by Rhine's actions throughout this book. The only thing she seemed to excel at, was getting caught. Each time she was caught by someone sinister, and this happens multiple times, she does not put up much of a fight. In fact, not only does she not attempt to flee, at one point she even goes willingly. I was in disbelief.

Rhine is still wearing Linden's wedding ring. I kept wondering why she hadn't removed it, and why Gabriel didn't seem to notice or care. Why would she want to keep a reminder of the terrible situation she escaped from? That was one of the many reasons Gabriel and Rhine's relationship fell flat to me. I saw no connection, no passion. I also felt that Rhine and Gabriel spent most of the book drugged up, sleeping or hallucinating which caused the story to plod along at a snail's pace. 
 
I had a hard time liking the characters (new and old) this time around. As with the last book, I enjoyed DeStefano's writing style, and I am in no way averse to giving her other series a try. I'm afraid this particular series simply isn't for me.
 
-SW
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review 2017-10-26 02:05
Shattered: The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano
The Glass Spare (Seventh Spare Series, Book 1) - Lauren DeStefano

The Glass Spare tells the fascinating story of a young princess named Wil, the fourth child and only daughter of a powerful and ruthless king, who wants nothing more than to travel the world. When she is attacked she discovers she has the power to turn living things into crystals and gemstones, and she goes off on a journey to cure her curse, only to fall in with the banished prince of a rival kingdom who is determined to save his kingdom from ruin.

 

Wil was a really great character to follow around because she had an actual thought process. She thought about her situations and came up with answers to her obstacles. Although she was fierce and action-oriented, she had a clear and level head and made decisions based on observations and facts rather than simply reacting without thinking. I loved the way she responded to things, like leaping to rescue a damsel in distress, and the care and love she showed to her brothers and mother. Wil, despite being a good person who loves fiercely and genuinely cares for others, thinks she's a monster because of her curse... and then she actually meets one. I look forward to more of the monstrosity vs humanity debate being explored further in the sequel.

 

While I didn't feel distant from Wil and felt the suitable horror when the incident that banished her happened, I did feel a little distance with the supposed romance. I kind of felt like Wil wasn't really into it, and I'll go into that in just a moment. What I do want to mention is the third person narration, which is not my favourite type of narration, did lend itself to the occasional head hopping, and that's why it's not my favourite type of narration. Sometimes we were supposed to be seeing things from Wil's point of view yet we were told what Loom was thinking. That's just about my only negative criticism, though.

 

I want to address the 'romance'. Some have accused this book of being more romance than fantasy and some have accused Wil and Loom of 'insta-love'. I was 60% through when I made a status saying there was absolutely no romance so far. It's pretty much developed from about 70% onwards, so there is NO insta-love. Wil absolutely does NOT love the male character, Loom. It's explained that she is drawn to him, but she never even thinks she's in love, in fact she thinks the exact opposite, that she's NOT in love because she doesn't know what love feels like. SO THERE IS NO INSTA-LOVE. It's also NOT more romance than fantasy because although it was clear Wil and Loom would end up with some kind of feelings for each other (because that is how YA books work, nothing against the author, I think she did a really good job of it all), the book was well past the halfway mark before you even get the hint that Wil might be interested in Loom. Even then, right near the end it's explained why Wil is drawn to Loom and she acknowledges that she's not in love. You can't even tell she's developing an attraction until waaaaay in because she hates him at first: he's keeping her captive and she's literally escaping from him. It certainly isn't instant.

 

The worldbuilding has this fascinating mix of old-school fantasy and almost a steampunk-meets-digital advanced technology. There's dirigibles and solar power and data googles and it's a lovely mess of technologies: Wil's father the king is old school and archaic and won't build proper roads for electric carriages; the closed off Southern kingdom has more advanced technology yet that king's favourite method of execution is the guillotine. I don't think I've ever read a book with this kind of mix of technologies, magic and alchemy and digital and solar power and wind power and just wow, it was so interesting. I'd love to be able to go into this world and see the different technology the different islands have developed, and that obviously it's all come together because of trade and advancement.

 

I've had a really bad reading year due to personal issues and although this book was over 400 pages, when I did pick it up my reading seemed to go really quickly and I'd pass 5% of my ebook without even noticing. The pace wasn't neck-snappingly fast but it was brisk enough to keep me interested for longer periods of time including staying up til midnight to finish. It only took me a couple of weeks to read this and in comparison I've been reading another book for well over a year now. I loved it and I'm keen to receive the sequel. Thank you Lauren for writing a story about a magical princess.

 

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

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review 2017-10-16 19:15
Wither
Wither - Lauren DeStefano
In this dystopian universe females only live to be 20 years old and males live to be 25 before a mysterious virus kills them. Caused by a failed experiment to create a more perfect human race, only those of the first generation are immune to this virus, and live to see old age.

Young girls are disappearing, stolen away to be killed or to become unwilling polygamous wives of wealthy men and bear as many children as they can before they die. Rhine is taken, thrown into a van with several other girls, sedated and transported far from home to live in a secured mansion with four other sister wives.
 
I had a few issues with this book so I will start with some of those. Rhine is not the type of heroine who will fight tooth and nail for what she wants. It was a little frustrating to me when she would simply go along with everything that was happening to her. I wanted her to ask more questions, challenge authority, show some fire.
 
Her husband, Linden, is incredibly oblivious to everything. He was deeply in love with his first wife, devastated when she died, but seemed to move on fairly quickly with three more wives to take her place and warm his bed. Rhine has so many opportunities to help him see what was truly going on, instead she says nothing.
 
Gabriel didn't have much of a personality. He seemed content to simply live out the rest of his few remaining years as a servant admiring Rhine from afar. I can't really say that I was a big fan of his.

I really wanted to learn more about the virus, to understand how and why it works the way it does. I was a little disappointed that I didn't get all the answers I hoped for.
 
On to the things I liked about this book. The story line was different enough to keep me interested. I haven't read any books similar to this lately, so I enjoyed the change. All of the sister wives had interesting personalities, and most were likeable. I enjoyed learning more about them, their backgrounds, histories and what made them all so different.
 
DeStefano's writing style is beautiful, and there is so much that I want to know more about. I hope to see more world building in the next books of the series. When a book is frustrating, engaging, nicely written, and makes me think, I just have to continue on with it to see, where exactly, it will go.
 
-SW
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review 2017-01-10 00:00
The Glass Spare
The Glass Spare - Lauren DeStefano 10th January 2017: Reason for adding to wishlist: Bit iffy about adding, and I may change my mind at any time. Enjoyed the author's first trilogy. Haven't read her second trilogy (though it's on my wishlist). Decided to skip her middle grade books (MG books don't suit me). On the downside, I was told off for sharing pre-order links for her novellas in the past. That was weird.
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review 2016-11-04 05:23
Another dystopian teen meh
Wither (Chemical Garden) - Lauren DeStefano

It wasn't BAD. It wasn't good in any different or outstanding way either. Too many of it's type crowding the shelves, and some of them are decidedly better.

 

There were some nice bits on the relative strengh of the realtionships betweend sister wives and wife and husband, and there was some ring of truth in the blurriness between a self preserving act, compassion and true caring.

 

Most lacked any meat for me, and since it was set up as a first volume and little else, it did little to satisfy me in any respect unless I choose to follow up, and I really don't intend to.

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