Category Archives: Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic

Resistance by Mikhaeyla Kopievsky

In this brilliantly written dark dystopian, readers meet two sides of Anaiya 234 – and discover her mission will forever change her identity.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

AuthorMikhaeyla Kopievsky
SeriesDivided Elements, Book 01
Publish Date: January 20, 2017, by Kyrija
Genre: Dystopian/Post-apocalyptic
Source: provided by the author

Publisher’s DescriptionIn a future post-apocalyptic Paris, a rebellion threatens to upset the city’s perfectly-structured balance and plunge its citizens into anarchy.

The Announcer calls my name, but she does not speak to me. This macabre spectacle has nothing to do with me. And everything to do with them. This is all for the thousands below – the compliant citizens of Otpor, the witnesses to my Execution, the silent and transfixed. This is their moment. Their reconditioning.

Two generations after the Execution of Kane 148 and Otpor’s return to Orthodoxy, forbidden murals are appearing on crumbling concrete walls – calling citizens to action. Calling for Resistance.

The murals will change the utopian lives of all citizens. But, for Anaiya 234, they will change who she is.

A Peacekeeper of the uncompromising Fire Element, Anaiya free-runs through city’s precincts to enforce the Orthodoxy without hesitation or mercy. Her selection for a high-risk mission gives Otpor the chance it needs to bring down the Resistance and Anaiya the opportunity she craves to erase a shameful legacy.

But the mission demands an impossible sacrifice – her identity.

With this accomplished debut offering, Kopievsky presents a dark dystopian tale with complex characters, exquisite world-building and high tension. Divided Elements (Book 1) – Resistance is a welcomed addition to the intelligent speculative fiction tradition of Philip K. Dick, Margaret Atwood and Rupert Thomson.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

In Anaiya’s world, people are divided by various traits based on the four elements. She is part of Fire – impulsive, energetic, determined, and for the most part, unfeeling. As a Peacekeeper, it’s her duty to make sure none of the elementals in her world step out of line – after all, orthodoxy is key and heterodoxy is considered wrong and punishable by death. This set up reminds me a lot of Divergent and fascinates me because it has its own unique spin.

Resistance begins with writings painted on the walls of her city, several of which Anaiya is the first to discover. When the government in charge orders her and the other peacekeepers to action, the goal is to put a stop to this heterodoxy, this “resistance.” In order to do this, Anaiya must go undercover and follow a lead that the Air element is behind the vandalism and therefore, rebellion. But first, she must shift her “alignment” of fire to the most dangerous element: air.

After her transformation, Anaiya finds herself discovering things about herself she never knew or felt before. She dreams and discovers a passion for music and creativity. She feels love, compassion, and anger. And she remembers it was how her mentor, Kane 148, became the “traitor” people still fear – and how his story may become her own.

This is a fast-paced read full of creative world-building, complex characters, and vivid writing.

There’s a scene early on that, though I wasn’t fond of what was actually happening, really hits home with how dark the story will be and sets up the feel for the remainder of the book. It describes a female dog in labor, who gives birth to pups that won’t survive because they were in the wrong place. It’s sad and graphic, but that’s what really made me see the story in the light it was supposed to be in.

badge5v5I really like the character of Anaiya, who is young and determined to prove herself, especially since her mentor was executed for heterodoxic crimes. I like how after her alignment changes, her relationships do as well, including the one with Niamh, her sometimes lover, sometimes partner in the field.

All in all, this is a great book. Can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

Other recommendations…

Recommended for fans of Suzanne Collins, Veronica Roth, and Bella Forrest.

I received an ARC or review copy of this book from the author/publisher. All opinions are my own.

Red Rising by Pierce Brown

In this story of vengeance, war, and the continued struggle of power versus morality, former slave Darrow will risk everything to cut down his enemies, even if it means he has to become everything he hates to bring them to their knees…

red-risingTitleRed Rising
AuthorPierce Brown
Series: Red Rising, Book 01
Publish Date: January 28, 2014 by Del Rey
Genre: YA sci-fi dystopian
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionThe Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity’s last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it’s all a lie. That Mars has been habitable – and inhabited – for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labor, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield – and Darrow isn’t the only student with an agenda.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Agent_Annie_100Agent Annie says…

Red Rising by Pierce Brown is perfect for the avid teen reader in your life. It is similar to the Hunger Games and the Divergent series. It’s still young people being pitted against each other and is more bloody and graphic than others I’ve read, but I enjoyed the idea that humans had “evolved” artificially and that caste systems were created to perpetuate a society that had to flee a dying earth.

As the first in the trilogy, the author did a great job of world building, sucking the reader into the plight of the “Reds”, and creating characters that I cared about. The action certainly never stopped and I appreciated the complexity of the relationship between Darrow and Cassius and that Darrow had to learn how to be and to think differently than what society had taught him.

badge4v5The author has set the stage for the next book in the series, Golden Son, and I will be interested to see if the author brings in more of the other planets in the galaxy that are part of the world he created. I give it a 4 for creating a unique dystopian world and that it is well written.

Other recommendations…

Check out books by Mindee Arnett, Jack Campbell, and Veronica Roth.

Champion by Marie Lu

Boy, oh boy. It took me nearly a month to write this review. In that time, I finished several other books and still found myself reeling over this one. This particular book in the Legend trilogy REALLY hits a soft spot with me. I’ll explain why soon but let’s start with everything else first.

AuthorMarie Lu
SeriesLegend, Book 03
Publish Date: November 5, 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionJune and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps-Elect, while Day has been assigned a high-level military position.

But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them: just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything.

With heart-pounding action and suspense, Marie Lu’s bestselling trilogy draws to a stunning conclusion.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

I had several misguided speculations on how Champion would go and, with the exception of one, was very wrong about all of them. Marie Lu proves just how hardcore and unpredictable she is as she brings June and Day together for a brilliantly poised ending. Though the characters have led very different lives until the events of Legend bring them together, they are now irrevocably intertwined forever.

June is probably one of my favorite female leads of all time. She’s smart, fun, and leads with her heart AND mind, not as two separate entities. She really cares for a lot of things that people normally wouldn’t believe her capable of due to her past. In her story, she’s got to help Anden discover himself and lead a nation that half hates him, half respects him. She’s got to be able to lead herself and protect the people she’s come to care for. And she’s also got to learn how to let go of the person she loves.

Day fights his own battles in this too as he tries to let his younger brother, whom he’s very protective of, make a decision to help the very same government who experimented on him; he has to become a leader of a group of rebels known as the Patriots, who need him just as badly as he needs them; and he’s also got to fight off the sickness in his brain that’s slowly destroying him and the memories he holds dear.

There’s so much beautiful writing as this story comes to a close. I’ll admit this is one of the few books that has ever come close to making me want to cry. And it’s not because I’m emotional when it comes to books because I’m really not (to be honest, it’s EXTREMELY hard to get me to cry when reading a book). It’s just like I said – this book in particular, especially the ending, tugs at a very deep spot in my own past. Like June, I have had someone dear to me lose his entire memory – our friendship, love, and all that encompassed who we are, gone in just one moment. But unlike her, I wasn’t brave enough to let go. I stayed where she did not. I think that’s why I love her so much because she expressed to me another option I couldn’t envision and a rougher route I might have taken, but wasn’t courageous enough to go down.

badge5v5Champion is a phenomenal end to this series.

Our reviews in this series…

Prodigy by Marie Lu

In this action-packed sequel, June and Day are facing more enemies than ever before and learning that they don’t know as much about each other as they both assumed. Now they’ve got to come together to meet a common goal – even if that goal spells disaster for them both.

AuthorMarie Lu
SeriesLegend, Book 01
Publish Date: January 29, 2013
Genre: YA Dystopian
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s Description: Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games?

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

When I first picked up this series and began reading, I had to wonder why they were named “Legend” and “Prodigy” respectively, even though they were narrated by the two characters. But after I read Prodigy, I realized that the focus really is split.

In Legend, you learn a lot more about Day’s world and June is almost a side character as she helps him escape. Although there’s plenty of information about the Republic and June’s world, you don’t get as emerged into it as you do when it comes to Day. It’s all about catching the most wanted criminal, which June does, and therefore really sets the plot off.

But in Prodigy, the tables turn and this is June’s time to shine. She’s got to lure the new Elector into a trap – one where he’ll die – and Day’s basically helping her. It’s all about her morals, her decisions, her actions. The military prodigy who eventually returns.

In fact, I really loved June in this. More than I did Day. Yes, Day has a lot to rage over as he deals with the death of his mother and brother, the idea that he may or may not be in love with both his best friend and June, but doesn’t know why, and that he’s pretty bitter over everything that’s ever happened to him in his crummy life. But I don’t know.

I just enjoyed June’s half better. She’s got moral conundrums everywhere and that makes her very real to me. She’s tough but she’s also sensitive. And she’s not afraid to fight for what’s right, even if it means losing the support of the people she cares about.

badge5v5However, I will admit it took me a bit to get into this one. So much so that I almost mentally decided to rate it a four because I felt like it was missing something early on. But once you get to the part where the Elector’s assassination attempt starts, it picks up and I really love the action that comes with it.

All in all, I still love this series. Stay tuned for my review of the final Legend book, Champion!

Our reviews in this series…

Legend by Marie Lu

In this action-packed dystopian told in alternating narratives, we meet June and Day. One born into the rich elite, the other from the slums. When Day is accused of murdering June’s brother, the hide and seek game begins as one tries to save his family, and the other is set on revenge.

legendTitle: Legend
AuthorMarie Lu
Series: Legend, Book 01
Publish Date: November 29, 2011
Genre: YA Dystopian
Source: Purchased

Publisher’s DescriptionWhat was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

Possible spoilers beyond this point.

Kat_Mandu_100Kat Mandu says…

This is a phenomenal story. I’ve always been a huge fan of using two characters to tell each side of the story, which is why both Legend and Defiance (CJ Redwine) are two of my all-time favorite YA series. The alternating perspectives give you completely different sides of the story. I often use the same tactic in my own writing.

Day and June are young, both only fifteen. Day is a criminal mastermind who has managed to elude the government and military of the Republic for five years. Though he doesn’t work for their enemy, the Colonies, he certainly doesn’t want to help the Republic either. He’s got a family in the slums to provide for and that means he’s got to use his skill set – a wide range of fighting abilities, agility, and intelligence – to do just that. Now one of his brothers is seriously ill from the plague and that’s where the story begins, with Day trying to find a cure.

June, on the other hand, is a military prodigy, one of two (wink, wink) to receive a perfect test score on the “Trial” the government issues all ten-year-old children in the Republic. She’s a feisty troublemaker with a similar skill set to Day’s – very smart, very strategic, very controlled. And when her brother is killed in the line of duty – with Day as the prime murder suspect – she sets out to capture and hand out justice.

But alas, things are not what they seem. Secrets are unveiled, trusted characters are put in a different light, and desire blossoms in the shadows of heartbreak.

I enjoy the suspense of this one. It’s one of the main books I can’t seem to put down. Literally, when I’m pulled away for work, I’m like, “UGGHH I WANT TO GO READ.” And then I come home and read like 130 pages in the wee hours of the night.

I happened to catch a snippet of someone else’s review – it said someone hated this book and rated it only 1 star – and his main problem was that the characters seemed like the same person. But isn’t that the point? It’s even mentioned in the ending as both Day and June wonder what their lives would be like if they were switched. What would have happened if Day had become the Republic’s Prodigy and June the criminal Legend? I like that they share the same ideas, the same smarts – I think it makes for a more interesting story because then they have to do things BEYOND what they’re capable of to try to outsmart the other. It means they have to be on their game, no matter what, because most likely, the other is thinking along the same lines.

badge5v5I’m eager to read on and discover more about the world that Marie Lu has set up for us. Again, this is one of my favorite reads and I’m betting everyone will enjoy this series. I do every time I read it.

Our reviews in this series…