Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill #BookReview #YA #Dystopian

onlyeveryoursTitle: Only Ever Yours
Author: Louise O’Neill
Series: N/A
Format: paperback, 400 pages
Publication Details: July 3rd 2014 by Quercus
Genre(s): YA; Sci-Fi/Dystopian
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it.

Goodreads // Purchase

In a world in which baby girls are no longer born naturally, women are bred in schools, trained in the arts of pleasing men until they are ready for the outside world. At graduation, the most highly rated girls become “companions”, permitted to live with their husbands and breed sons until they are no longer useful.

For the girls left behind, the future – as a concubine or a teacher – is grim.Best friends Freida and Isabel are sure they’ll be chosen as companions – they are among the most highly rated girls in their year.

But as the intensity of final year takes hold, Isabel does the unthinkable and starts to put on weight. ..And then, into this sealed female environment, the boys arrive, eager to choose a bride. Freida must fight for her future – even if it means betraying the only friend, the only love, she has ever known. . .

Review

I’d heard so much about this book last year – nearly all of it good – so I was eager to make it a priority in 2016. But quite honestly, I’m not sure what I thought about it. 

Only Ever Yours is a novel that throws out A LOT of questions. I imagine that its aim is to make you question the world O’Neill has built and compare it to our own; to make you wonder if this horrifying vision of the future could ever come true… but for me, it was too unbelievable to get me asking these questions.

In O’Neill’s portrayal of the future, girls are bred rather than born, where they grow up in schools run by ‘chastities’ and are ‘trained’ how to be the perfect woman. They are all beautifully designed, they have a target weight they mustn’t lose sight of, and emotions or outbursts are seen as unattractive and are punishable.

Freida and her so-called friends are in their last year at school which means their whole manufactured lives have been building up to this moment. The Inheritants (the boys) have come to meet them and they will decide the girls’ futures. The three possible outcomes being companions, concubines, or chastities. Quite frankly, each option sounds pretty horrific to me, but of course, they know no different. Becoming a companion is what nearly all of the girls long for.

Argh! There’s too much I want to talk about with this book, but firtstly let me say that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Lots of testimonials say something along the lines of  ‘a horrific vision of a future that could easily come true’, and I think the reason I didn’t love the book is because I don’t believe that for a second.

I mean, I know I’m coming at this book from the perspective of someone who has grown-up in freedom with very little amount of prejudice and inequality – but for me, as a vision of the future it just wasn’t believable. I feel like we’re moving further away from what this book is portraying than towards it. Women are no longer supposed to be perfect, to serve men, to solely be the child bearers…are they? Hasn’t society already come a long way in making that future implausible?

And the same goes for the gay rights – or lack of- in this book. ‘Aberrants’ (gays) have been extinguished by pinpointing the ‘gay gene’ and destroying it somehow. Again, I’m fortunate to come from somewhere where gay rights have come a long, long way in a short space of time, and yeah there’s still further to go before equality is at 100%, but I can’t imagine a future where this would happen, a past perhaps – that I would believe.

I was also really disappointed at how slowly the book moved along. It took so long for it to get to the ceremony and not much was happening in the mean time! And when the book finally did start to wrap-up it was an anti-climax.

I was hoping and praying that at some point Freida and Isabel would either discover that there is an outside world in which life is not like this. That they had somehow been imprisoned and fooled into believing that they were bred not born and there is nothing else but there is. OR that they would start some sort of rebellion…but no. Rage.

Maybe that’s just the Hunger Games generation in me. Maybe I’m completely missing the point? IDK. I am glad I read it, and if this rant makes it sound like I hated it, I didn’t! I just thought it would be…more. Or perhaps I was just victim to the hype-monster again. Who knows! 

unicorn rating 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

Winter by Marissa Meyer #BookReview #YA

wintermeyerTitle: Winter
Author: Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #4
Format: paperback, 827 pages
Publication Details:  November 10th 2015 by Feiwel and Friends
Genre(s): YA; Fairy-tale retellings
Disclosure? Nope, I bought it!

Goodreads // Purchase

 
Princess Winter is admired by the Lunar people for her grace and kindness, and despite the scars that mar her face, her beauty is said to be even more breathtaking than that of her stepmother, Queen Levana.

Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend—the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long.

Can Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter defeat Levana and find their happily ever afters?

Review

Let me warn you now that is going to be more like a diarrhoea of emotions than it is a review…

OMG I cannot tell you how happy I felt reading this, and having all the amazing characters from the previous books finally brought together to defeat the evil Queen Levana! Insert fangirl squeal here.

Winter was everything I hoped for and more. Cinder kicked-ass, Scarlet was sassy and hilarious, Cress was adorably cute and Princess Winter…oh how I love her crazy ways.

And don’t even get me started on the guys. I mean, how are supposed to choose between Prince Kai, Captain Thorne and Wolf..? I just can’t even!

I don’t really want to give anything away plot-wise, but I’m just so happy that I wasn’t disappointed in this book. I was worried it was unnecessarily long (being over 800 pages) but it packed A LOT into those pages, and I think it both needed and deserved it. Also with this being the last book, I was worried that it wouldn’t have the ending I’d hoped for, but I think it ended in the only way it could without causing millions of readers to revolt!

I only had two (very small) gripes about this book, and it’s true for the whole series as well – I found it a bit annoying how each female protagonist was paired up with the man of their dreams. You know? It was all just a bit too perfect. And they got paired up pretty quickly as well. But I guess this is a fairy-tale after all. It would have been nice to have a gay character in there though…it was all very ‘traditional’ for a cyborg fairytale.

The second was Cress. Don’t get me wrong, I love her. But her constant insecurities in this book started to annoy me at times. I got over it though.

So there you have it. The Lunar Chronicles has been one of the most surprising, and amazing YA series I’ve read in recent years. A series that on paper sounds like it just shouldn’t work, but it’s a testament to Meyer how perfect it actually is.

I can’t wait to read more Marissa Meyer!

unicorn rating 4

Top Ten Tuesday: 2015 Releases

toptentuesday Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish (click the image to visit them) who pick a different topic each week.

This week the topic is: Top Ten 2015 Releases that I can’t wait for.

Excuse the lack of pictures/links in this post. It was a rush job before I left for work this morning – you know how it is. But I really wanted to do this list – because, excitement!

HEIR

1. The Heir (The selection #4) – Kiera Cass: Obvs. Released in May. SAD FACE.

2. The Darkest Part of the Forest – Holly Black: Released January 13th

3. Red Queen – Victoria Aveyard: Released Feb 10th.

4. Winter (The Lunar Chronicles #4) – Marissa Meyer: November 2015 – TOO LONG!

5. Shadow Scale (Seraphina #2) – Rachel Hartman: March 10th

6. The Orphan Queen – Jodi Meadows: March 10th as well!

7. The Girl at Midnight – Melissa Grey: April 28th

8. My Heart and Other Black Holes – Jasmine Warga: I’ve heard good things about this from fellow bloggers. Feb 10th

9. The Rest of Us Just Live Here – Patrick Ness: There’s not much info about this one yet…but NESSSSS! August 2015

10. Second Life – S.J Watson: Feb 12th.

*Fangirl Alert* Upcoming Release!

sera2

The kingdom of Goredd: a world where humans and dragons share life with an uneasy balance, and those few who are both human and dragon must hide the truth. Seraphina is one of these, part girl, part dragon, who is reluctantly drawn into the politics of her world. When war breaks out between the dragons and humans, she must travel the lands to find those like herself—for she has an inexplicable connection to all of them, and together they will be able to fight the dragons in powerful, magical ways.

As Seraphina gathers this motley crew, she is pursued by humans who want to stop her. But the most terrifying is another half dragon, who can creep into people’s minds and take them over. Until now, Seraphina has kept her mind safe from intruders, but that also means she’s held back her own gift. It is time to make a choice: Cling to the safety of her old life, or embrace a powerful new destiny?

Title: Shadow Scale
Author: Rachel Hartman
Series: Seraphina #2
Genre(s): YA; Fantasy
Expected Publication: March 10th 2015 by Random House Children’s Books (Hardback)
Goodreads

I did a bit of a squeal when I saw that the sequel to Seraphina had been announced. Seraphina was one of my favourite books of last year (making it to #4 on my Top Ten Books of 2013). I read it shortly before I started blogging so unfortunately I don’t have a review of it, but this is what I posted on Goodreads:

Love love loved it. Dragons, Castles, Princes and Princesses but different than the usual bumpf. I think I’ll be reading this again in the future.”

And now I have the perfect excuse to reread and review it, before Shadow Scale is released.

Not that I ever need an excuse.

March is so far away!