After A Dance with Dragons I wanted something lighter to read, so I’ve been catching up with some great YA novels that came out (fairly) recently. No spoilers here, just brief reviews. A general guide to ratings:
5/5–I would buy this
4/5–I will re-read this
3/5–I might read this again
2/5–I have no interest in reading this again
1/5–I couldn’t finish this
House of Hades (Rick Riordan) 5/5— The 4th book in the Heroes of Olympus series featuring the wildly popular Percy Jackson and friends. This was a great read, though maybe not my favorite book of the series. Percy and Annabeth’s journey through Tartarus was pretty bleak and uninspiring; it had a lot of descriptions of them being tired and dirty and in pain, but able to carry on because the other is there. It sounds sweet at first, but gets a little old after the fifth repetition. However, the character development for Leo, Frank, and in particular Nico is really incredible. The book does re-introduce a lot of characters from previous books that I didn’t remember all that well. Just another reason for me to buy the series, so I can read the all again!
Hero (Alethea Kontis) 4/5— The 2nd book about the Woodcutter family, following Enchanted. I actually liked this slightly better than the first one–less complex and more focused. It stars Saturday “Works-hard-for-a-living” Woodcutter, with only minor appearances from Monday and Thursday among the sisters; the streamlined cast is much less confusing. It’s a fun adventure with some gender-bending motifs along the way. The ending opens up an overarching plot to lead into the next forthcoming book.
Fall of Five (Pittacus Lore) 3/5–The 4th book in the Lorien Legacies series. After their defeat by Setrákus Ra at the end of The Rise of Nine, the Garde survivors have regrouped in Chicago, and are heartened by contact with their last member, Number Five. But do the Garde know who they can trust? They discover they may have allies on the other side, as well as traitors in their midst. As with the previous books, it’s fairly light on characterization and heavy on action; it switches between 3 narrators, who can be difficult to distinguish. There are some good plot twists, and although you’ll see some coming, it’s generally a good ride (however I preferred Rise of Nine). There’s also a whole mass of short stories that go with this series which could be fun to read.
Divergent (Veronica Roth) 3/5–I wanted to read this before the movie comes out later this month. There are some issues with the premise of this dystopian society, but if you can get past that, the book has some really nice ideas about human nature, the nature of fear, and the intersection of attributes such as honesty, selflessness, and courage. The prose is average and the characters were not super compelling for me: Tris is a nice narrator, but so unlike me I couldn’t really relate, and Four is definitely not my type. Where the book really shines is the emotional core; if this book doesn’t make you feel something, I think you might be dead inside. Bonus: no love triangle!!