Book Review: Pawn by Aimee Carter

Pawn

Title: Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1)
Author: Aimee Carter
Genre: Dystopia, Science Fiction, Young Adult, 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publication Date: December 2013
Pages: 352
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand

My Review:

At seventeen, everyone has to take a test which determines their entire lives. Kitty Doe gets marked as a III – cleaning sewage pipes in a far off state is going to be her life. But she gets the chance to change everything. The chance to be a VII, a rank reserved only for the ruling family, and she only has a minute to think about it.

I loved Pawn. I had read Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test series and enjoyed it but found the romance a tad overwhelming at times. I was excited to read her new series and I thought the first book in the Blackcoat Rebellion was amazing! The world she has created is an interesting one. There’s a lot of political upheaval, dysfunctional family antics, passionate characters and an interesting class system.

Kitty is an intelligent young woman but because she is unable to read, she ends up in one of the bottom classes in society. She’s desperate and feels like she has no choice. She loves her boyfriend, Benjy, but doesn’t want to drag him along with her. Kitty is one of those characters that I didn’t like very much to start with. I felt like as the smart person she’s described as she could have come up with some better options and not been so rash however I do understand that she was stuck in a very difficult and somewhat unexpected situation. As the novel went on, Kitty grew on me. Her intelligence came out and you could see that Kitty is a force to be reckoned with. Her interactions with Knox, Grayson and Benjy were my favourites to read but the relationships she’s developing – and not necessarily good ones – with Daxton, Augusta and Celia are also great to read.

The First Family (the Harts) are so messed up. I love them. There’s so much I want to say about them but one of my favourite things about this novel was how much I loved not knowing what was going to happen next. I don’t want to spill any of the fantastic plot developments that I enjoyed so much.

Pawn is a great dystopian novel with a lot going on. There’s romance, murderous rebels, feuding families, and so much more. I can not wait for the next book in this series and see what happens next for Kitty and  the Harts.

 

Thanks to Harlequin Teen Australia for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

Monthly Wrap Up: November 2013

Monthly Wrap Up

 

Books I reviewed in November:
(Links take you to my reviews)

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits, #3)

Favourite Book Read in November 2013: Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3) by Katie McGarry

Fall For You by Cecilia Grey (Rating: 3.5/5)
Unchosen by Michele Vail (Rating: 3/5)
Love and Relativity by Rachael Wade (Rating: 4/5)
The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop (Rating: 4/5)
So Into You by Cecilia Grey (Rating: 3.5/5)
Diamonds are a Teen’s Best Friend by Allison Rushby (Rating: 3.5/5)
The Disgrace of Kitty Grey by Mary Hooper (Rating: 2/5)
Game Plan by Natalie Corbett Sampson (Rating: 4/5)
Break It Up by EM Tippets (Rating: 4/5)
Crash Into You by Katie McGarry (Rating: 4.5/5)
Sia by Josh Grayson (Rating: 3/5)
Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith (Rating: 4.5/5)

 

Also in November:

 

What’s Coming Up on the Blog in December?

I’m pretty excited about some of the books I’m reviewing in December. Pawn by Aimee Carter is the first in a new dystopian society. It’s got a different social class system, interesting technology and some great characters. On the 10th I’m taking part in the Amberlin Kwaymullina blog tour – The Tribe series looks interesting. I’ve been excited about Amberlin’s books since Mandee from VeganYANerds gave The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf five stars. I’m also taking part in the Captivate by Vanessa Garden blog tour (Friday the 13th is my stop) which is exciting. I love books about mermaids and the fact that Vanessa Garden is an Australian only makes me more excited! I’ll also be reviewing All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill which is an amazing thriller involving time travel.

That’s just the first two weeks and it’s looking like December is going to be a fantastic month blog wise! I’m going to Tasmania at the end of the month – which I am so excited for. I’ve never been before and can’t wait to see all the Apple Isle has to offer! I bought a copy of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and plan on taking them with me on my holiday – I’m finally going to read these classic books that I’ve heard so much about.

 

 

Book Review: The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

Title: The Goddess Inheritance (The Goddess Test #3)
Author: Aimee Carter
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Mythology, Last in a Series
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: February 2013
Pages: 283 pages
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can’t stop her–until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he’ll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity.

My Review:

I’ve been eagerly anticipating this book for a long time now. How gorgeous is the Australian cover? After the nail-biting cliff-hanger at the end of Goddess Interrupted, I couldn’t wait to see how the final war between good and bad was going to play out.

Kate’s been held captive by the evil titan Cronus and his sinister and sneaky goddess queen, Calliope, for the past nine months. Now the baby she never imagined she’d have is ready to be born. Kate’s maternal instinct kicks into overdrive and she does the unimaginable – she makes a deal with Cronus for the safety of her baby. For her and Henry’s son, Milo.

It surprised me how much I enjoyed the ending to this series. Kate’s grown up a lot since the first book and is now taking responsibility for her actions – as well as stepping up to the plate and accepting her role on the Olympus Council. She’s still prone to a little exaggeration and hysteria but I found her more likeable than I had in the previous instalments.

I loved meeting new characters and seeing the old ones again. The plot managed to keep me interested right up until the last page having action and drama happening on every page. There’s betrayal and misdirection with Kate never quite sure who she can trust. There’s mystic and an ending that I never expected. The romance was sweet and didn’t manage to consume the entire novel but rather made the read all the more worthwhile.

I’ve finally given up trying to work out the family tree. It’s too ridiculous – and I suppose in that way this book does somewhat represent an ancient myth. Everyone’s related to everyone and somehow you can be your own aunt on both sides with your mother also being your aunt and sister-in-law… it’s just plain crazy!

Overall, this series was worth reading. It brought a whole new twist onto the Persephone/Hades myth and evolved it into an entirely different story. If the author ever decides to write a spin-off where James finds his true love, I’d definitely check it out!

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository


Book Review: The Goddess Legacy by Aimee Carter

Title: The Goddess Legacy (The Goddess Test #2.5)
Author: Aimee Carter
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Mythology, Novella compilation 
Publisher: Harlequin Teen 
Publication Date: July 2012 (I received this book as a digital ARC from NetGalley)
Pages: 395
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
For millennia we’ve caught only glimpses of the lives and loves of the gods and goddesses on Olympus. Now Aimee Carter pulls back the curtain on how they became the powerful, petty, loving and dangerous immortals that Kate Winters knows.

Calliope/Hera represented constancy and yet had a husband who never matched her faithfulness….

Ava/Aphrodite was the goddess of love and yet commitment was a totally different deal….

Persephone was urged to marry one man, yet longed for another….

James/Hermes loved to make trouble for others-but never knew true loss before….

Henry/Hades’s solitary existence had grown too wearisome to continue. But meeting Kate Winters gave him a new hope….

Five original novellas of love, loss and longing and the will to survive throughout the ages.

My Review:

Usually I’m not a huge fan of novellas. But I really enjoyed reading this collection of short stories from the Goddess Test universe.

Whilst not imperative to understanding the novels of the series, this book does give a huge insight to why the characters behave in the way that they do. And finally I think I’ve got it straightened out just who is related/married to who and which modern names match up with each ancient god/goddess.

The first novella explains why Calliope/Hera seems to distrust her husband and why she hates Kate so much. The second focuses on Ava/Aphrodite and the exact relationship that exists between her and her husband. After being introduced to Persephone in the second novel, Goddess Interrupted, we’re shown just why she left the Underworld to be with Adonis. James/Hermes’ story is next and in it we get to see him not as Henry’s rival but as a romantic lead in his own right. We also get to see the beginning of how the gods and goddesses starting becoming the more modern figures we see in this series. The final story is that of Henry/Hades and how he made the decision to Fade… and how meeting Kate changed his mind.

These stories are entertaining and they answer a lot of questions that I’ve been accumulating since beginning the series. Why is Calliope so bitter? Just what is the deal between Henry and James? Who exactly is Ava in a relationship with?

But it also gives some much-needed insight into the behaviours of the characters. I think that from now on I’ll be seeing James and his actions in an entirely different light.

This was an enjoyable read for me. A little melodramatic at times but that’s just how these characters roll. And whilst I don’t think this is required reading to fully understand the events of the other books, I do think it adds just a little extra element to the motives of some of the secondary characters.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository


Book Review: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter


Title: Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter (Goddess Test #2)

Format: paperback

First Published: March 27, 2012

Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, teen romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads)Kate Winters has won immortality. But if she wants a life with Henry in the Underworld, she’ll have to fight for it…

Becoming immortal wasn’t supposed to be the easy part. Though Kate is about to be crowned Queen of the Underworld, she’s as isolated as ever. And despite her growing love for Henry, ruler of the Underworld, he’s becoming ever more distant and secretive. Then, in the midst of Kate’s coronation, Henry is abducted by the only being powerful enough to kill him: the King of the Titans. As the other gods prepare for a war that could end them all, it is up to Kate to save Henry from the depths of Tartarus. But in order to navigate the endless caverns of the Underworld, Kate must enlist the help of the one person who is the greatest threat to her future.Henry’s first wife, Persephone.

Review: 

I was going to hold off on buying this book for a few weeks. My to-read pile is enormous at the moment (I have two full shelves in my bookcase to read and don’t get me started on all the kindle books I have waiting for me).

But when I was in a store and saw the Australian cover? I couldn’t help myself! It’s gorgeous! I love the font, the colours… it’s beautiful! I bought it straight away… (Hi. My name is Kate and I’m a bookaholic… and I’m only half-way joking. I went out to buy milk last week… came home with 4 new books)

The story starts with Kate returning from her summer in Greece with James (otherwise known as Hermes). But things aren’t how she’d imagined them to be. There was no happy reunion with Henry (Hades) and one of the original Titans, Cronus, has started to break free from the prison that the six original gods had sentenced him to thousands of years ago.  It seems that Calliope (Hera) wasn’t happy with the punishment Kate bestowed upon her last winter – and she’s out for revenge.

The only way Kate can think to help the Original Six in their efforts to try to fight Cronus and Calliope is to track down the gate to the prison. The only problem is that the only person apart from Henry who knows that secret location is his former wife, Persephone.  Considering Kate is already suffering from jealous issues regarding the former Queen of the Underworld, you can tell this isn’t going to be an easy journey.

I enjoyed this novel so much more than I liked the first one in the series, The Goddess Test. I felt I got the know the characters and the motivations behind their actions a lot more in this one – maybe it’s because now we were in on the secret of just who each of the members of Henry’s family were.

Kate’s struggling with a lot of things in this novel; her place in Henry’s life, her new job as co-ruler of the Underworld, the whole Persephone issue, James – not to mention the whole Calliope wanting her dead and not caring who she has to hurt or kill to achieve it. All things considered, I think she handles her new position in life rather well. There are times when she came across a bit like a petulant child but I think that’s understandable. In terms of the gods and goddess, her lifespan is barely a heartbeat of theirs. They have thousands of years of experience and habits on their side and she has a mere nineteen. In all respects she is a child in their world. But she manages to grow as a person and a character as the novel develops.

I like Kate and her conversations with Henry in the latter part of the novel. I loved that she was staking her claim on her man! But there were times when I felt she took it a little too far – from assertive Goddess! to a little too whiny and too insecure for words. But she managed to come back from it – “I never would have gone looking for something better. You are my something better, and I wish – I wish I was yours, too.”

Ingrid was a pleasant surprise. She’s delightfully cheerful and up-beat whilst also being incredibly insightful and shows a wisdom beyond her years.

Another surprise for me was how much I liked Calliope as a villain. She’s good at what she does. I swear I could almost hear the evil theme music whenever she would appear on the scene. Her dialogue was perfect too.

The plot was well paced and interesting. The novel does end  on a bit of a cliff-hanger but leads in well to the next in the series. I’m definitely going to be continuing reading these books.

Rating: 

4 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Amazon / Book Depository

For my review of Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1), please click here

For my review of Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Hunt (Goddess Test #1.5), please click here

Book Review: The Goddess Hunt by Aimee Carter

Title: The Goddess Hunt by Aimee Carter (Goddess Test #1.5)

Format: ebook

First Published: March 1, 2012

Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, teen romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads)A vacation in Greece sounds like the perfect way for Kate Winters to spend her first sabbatical away from the Underworld…until she gets caught up in an immortal feud going back millennia. Castor and Pollux have been on the run from Zeus and Hades’s wrath for centuries, hiding from the gods who hunt them. The last person they trust is Kate, the new Queen of the Underworld. Nevertheless, she is determined to help their cause. But when it comes to dealing with immortals, Kate still has a lot to learn….

Review: 

Castor and Pollux, the Gemini twins who are now going by the names Casey and Lux, have been fleeing from the wrath of Zeus and Hades for thousands of years. Whilst still on the run, they come across James and Kate who are spending six months holidaying in Greece. When they find out that Kate is the new wife of their biggest enemy, they’re unhappy and with due cause. The Gods have now found them…

This short story served one real purpose. To show that Kate has no idea just how archaic and strict the Gods (including Henry) are. She has a lot to learn before she takes her place on the throne of the Underworld.

I’m not generally a fan of novellas for books in a series. Especially if they are centred around the main characters that a series follow. Why? Because normally they come in an anthology with multiple other stories for series I’m not interested it. Also, they’re often not long enough for me to really get involved with the story and the characters. Whilst this was a single story (and only $0.99!), it was a little too short for me to really get back into Kate and Henry’s world. I did enjoy the pseudo-love triangle that’s developing with James, Kate and Henry but in the end, consider Kate is married to Henry, I don’t see that little flirtation between Kate and James going anywhere.

I think that you could skip this story and not miss out anything important from the series.

Rating: 

2 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Amazon (kindle version)

For my review of Aimee Carter’s The Goddess Test (Goddess Test #1), please click here

Book Review: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

Title: The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (Goddess Test #1)

Format: paperback

First Published: April 19th, 2011

Genre: Young Adult, Mythology, teen romance

Synopsis (from Goodreads)It’s always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate’s going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won’t live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he’ll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he’s crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she’ll become Henry’s future bride, and a goddess.

Review: 

I was excited to read this book – I love stories with their basis in mythology and young adult fiction is a guilty pleasure of mine. However this is not the story of Hades and his bride as I’ve ever read it before. Aimee Carter has taken the classic story and cleaned it up a bit – sanitized it for today’s audiences. The gods and goddesses that appear in this novel are far from the raping, incestuous and scandalous beings I’m familiar with. But that’s not altogether a bad thing. Yes, there are so many differences that these characters barely even resymbol their other selves, but I found that I was drawn so far into this story that it didn’t matter to me that it wasn’t what I was expecting.

In many ways this book reminded me of a cross between Lauren Kate’s Fallen series and the Disney version of Beauty and the Beast. Girl moves to a new town where she seems to have a legacy she doesn’t quite know the truth behind. And then she sacrifices her freedom for someone she cares about to live in a mansion with a dark and mysterious captor. I had to stop myself from comparing the staff at Henry’s house with the magical enchanted household items that kept the Beast’s castle running in Beauty and the Beast. Despite the similarities, The Goddess Test managed to entertain me and surprise me. There were times when I couldn’t understand Kate’s actions and decisions but I liked her perseverance.

I liked time span of the novel. The romance was not rushed and whirlwind – it progressed at a pace that felt natural and right but at the same time I didn’t feel like anything was dragged out. The only problem I had was with Ava and James being Kate’s best friends after only two weeks… A little rushed but considering Kate’s been a full time carer for the past four years, I’ll forgive her the rushing their friendship.

I’m most interested in the sequel. This novel does stand alone rather well. There are hints at where the series might decide to go but I have to admit I liked how this instalment finished.

Rating: 

3.5 out of 5

Purchase book at:

Book Depository / Amazon FishPond