What a fantastic fantasy world!
Kricket Hollowell has spent her entire life running from the Chicago foster care system. She’s no stranger to abuse and so she’s determined to stay clear of the system for the next few months until she turns eighteen and is free to make her own choices.
Trey Allairis was been sent to earth on a mission to bring Kricket home, but he never expected her fiery independent streak, or the hidden talents that would make the trip from earth to Ethar treacherous as hell, and full of nail-biting adventure.
Kyon knows the true value of Kricket, and is determined to claim her as his own. He’ll chase her across worlds to possess her talents because he knows that in the war to come, Kricket Hollowell will be the most valuable asset.
Under different stars starts with a bang. Amy Bartol throws her heroine straight into the action, and the character of Kricket responds with enthusiasm. She is feisty, independent and street-wise. This is one character who can truly ‘drive’ a novel! Every word of dialogue, every action and reaction is so adventurous, witty and passionate, you cannot help but fall in love with Kricket.
Admittedly, the sentence construction in the first part of the novel could have used a little more work, but the moment Trey and Kricket arrived in Ethar, none of that mattered. The fantasy world Bartol has created is nothing short of epic. What details! What imagination! From the prehistoric creatures to the Etharian rotations and societal tiers, this is a beautifully constructed, believable, fascinating world.
Romance, action, adventure, danger – this novel has it all and I can’t wait to find out more about how Trey and Kricket plan to realign the stars!
After the drama with Rose Hathaway, Sydney knows she’s skating on thin ice. Her fellow Alchemists have accused her of being a ‘vampire lover’ and she’s living under the very real threat of being sent away to a ‘re-education centre’. Worse yet, her actions may cause her sister to be dragged into the unsafe work of alchemy.
So when Sydney is apprised of a new assignment, she fights tooth and nail to be the one sent in place of her young and inexperienced sister, even though it means she’ll have to live with one of the ‘unnatural monsters’ she’s trying to protect the human world from. Secretly, Sydney knows that the gap between the Moroi and humans is smaller than she’s been led to believe. Living with Jill, the royal Moroi she’s been assigned to hide won’t be as bad as she thinks. It might even be fun, going to school and making friends. And nothing really happens in Palm Springs anyway…
After the Vampire Academy series, I think I expected Sydney to be similar in character to Rose, but I was pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, Rose is one of my favorite young adult characters, but a new series needs to have something fresh and exciting. Sydney is all that. She’s not your expected heroine. She doesn’t fight, she wears suits and she’s altogether quite lady-like. Some would say, she’s a ‘good-girl’, perhaps even a ‘walk-over’…Yet there is a hidden strength in her blood. Sydney is the girl who can get her own back without breaking a nail or lowering herself to her opponents level. She’s all business on the outside. On the opposite end of the scale is Adrian: bad boy and party animal. United by their concern for their young charge, the two opposites team up, to make a surprisingly great team. The character development on the part of both characters is definite and heart-warming. It’s probably my highlight in this novel.
I enjoyed this story, and would like to find out what happens next, but I have to admit that it didn’t enthrall me the way the Vampire Academy series did. Perhaps it was the lack of chemistry (excuse the pun!), the slower pace or the cliched feel of some of the interactions. Still a great read!
Carp is a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. It’s inhabitants trudge through the dreariness of a hard life, dreaming of one day leaving this messed up town in hopes of something better. That’s how ‘panic’ started. It’s a dangerous game of chance where the stakes are high, but the winnings are still enough to lure dozens of hopeful seniors each year to risk life and limb. This year, Heather, Dodge and Natalie will make the leap, risking everything for the chance of being able to escape their dismal lives in Carp. Each has their own reasons for playing, but none of them could ever realize just how dangerous ‘panic’ would be, nor how intertwined their lives would become as each fights for the chance to become the one and only winner. There is something very poignant and crisp about Lauren Oliver’s writing style. She writes with such flair that emotions comes spilling out of each character and it’s impossible not to picture in detail each individual eyelash and scar on the faces of her protagonists. The characters in ‘Panic’ are not starry-eyed teenagers. They’re thick-skinned, hardened by difficult lives. Each day is a struggle. And yet despite the hardships they face, each one of them is strong in their own right. The dialogue is real and the dynamic between the teens is fascinating. Each interaction and gripping story-twist is like watching two trains heading for a collision – it’s horrifying, but you can’t bear to look away because you never know, something could still happen at the last second to prevent the crash. This is a story of hope. It’s proof that a sad start in life doesn’t always determine the ending, that bravery will triumph and that love still has the power to conquer all circumstance. Yet another thrilling masterpiece from Lauren Oliver.