The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen

28669595The Scourge is a disease that first appeared in Ani Mells land over three hundred years ago. Her people, “grubs” as they are called, are accused of originating the disease and this has caused them to be outcasts. A little over a year ago, the Scourge has returned. Now when anyone tests positive for the deadly disease, they are forcefully sent to Attic Island, a former prison turned refuge — and quarantine colony — for the ill. As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani Mells is shocked when she is unexpectedly captured by the governor’s wardens and forced to submit to a test for the deadly Scourge. She is even more surprised when the test results come back positive. However, Ani quickly discovers that ‘something’ doesn’t ‘feel’ right about the Scourge or the Colony. So, Ani makes it her quest to discover the truth and figure out what is actually going on.

Ani is fearless, snarky and hella fun but most importantly she is “not the type of girl who panicked over ordinary near-death experiences”. Ani’s people are referred to as “grubs” and town people are called “pinchworms”, setting up the stage for divisive class wars. The story is set in a sort of medievalish world plagued not only by disease but by divisive class wars. I love that Nielsen shows how these two groups have more in common and that coming together ultimately make them stronger against the “big bad”. Nielsen allows the reader to explore concepts such as hope, leadership, systems, fear, and cooperation. I really enjoyed the theme of friendship. It’s thoroughly explored through dangerous, precarious situations. While the book lacked world-building, I was okay with that because it gave off the impression that these events could happen anywhere.

The Scourge by Jennifer A. Nielsen comes out next week, August 30, 2016. If you are looking for a book with a strong female lead character than definitely check it out.

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Poisoned Blade (Court of Fives #2) by Kate Elliott

26853604As I was reading Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott, I was literally thinking why am I reading this? I think sometimes the OCD is just so strong that I don’t listen to reason. This was next on my to read list and so I HAD to read it. Thus, I pushed through it and read it. Basically so you don’t have to.

Poisoned Blade picks up moments after Court of Fives. Jessamy, Jes, is so indecisive about pretty much everything and waivers over everything until the very last minute, that I was left wondering who was more stupid, Jes or me? (Me for reading book two when I really didn’t like book 1.) Jes will continue to remind the reader that she is a general’s daughter and therefore smart, tough, resourceful, etc. Yet, moments later she makes ‘stupid’ mistakes that I highly doubt a general’s daughter would make. I couldn’t root for her or this story. Add the subplots upon subplots upon subplots and I left feeling with why did I even waste my time on this? I struggled with remembering who was who and what side everyone was on. I found myself skimming long passages because nothing was holding my attention. Finally in the last 100 pages or so“stuff” came together but honestly I don’t think suffering through the first 300 pages was worth it.

Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott comes out today. Seriously, don’t look for it. There are so many better books to read such as Every Heart a Doorway , The Lie Tree , or Wake of Vultures just to name a few.

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Court of Fives (Court of Fives #1) by Kate Elliott

18068907So I picked up a copy of Poisoned Blade at ALA but it’s kinda hard to review or read a book if you haven’t read book 1. I honestly knew nothing about this and figured why not. I’m starting to realize that this why not mentally is a blessing and curse.

Jessamy’s life is a balance between acting like an upper-class Patron and dreaming of the freedom of the Commoners. Jessamy, Jes, is what people in her society call a “mule”. Her father is part of the upper-class Patron society but her mother is a Commoner. It is illegally for her parents to marry. So for the last 20 years her parents have been defying society and living together as if they are a married couple. Jes’ father imposes a strict home-life so that no one can doubt her Patron heritage. But away from her family, she can be whomever she wants when she sneaks out to train for the Fives, an intricate, multilevel athletic competition that offers a chance for glory to the kingdom’s best competitors.

SOOOOO MUCH more goes on in this book, that if I tried to add it to the synopsis it would be a couple more pages long. Race, gender, political issues are just the tip of the iceberg for this book. Elliott is brutal honest and at times this book is difficult to read because it kinda slaps you in the face with just how much women are second class citizens, never mind the third class citizenship of Common women. That being said, there was never a point when I got sucked into the story. I definitely was forcing myself to read this because hello book two comes out soon and I gotta read it before it does so I can review it. Everything felt flat. So much goes on in this book and yet nothing really happens. It is as if to make up for the brutally honest parts, Elliott avoids developing the plot of the story or the characters. Even the Fives, the athletic competition, is basically lame version of Wipe Out.

WHY am I reading book 2? I don’t know but probably to tell you how bad it is, so you don’t have to suffer through it.

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