Review of Mortality by Kellie Sheridan

Mortality, by Kellie Sheridan, is the first book in a proposed series titled The Hitchhiker Strain.

MortalityDescription from the publisher:

After surviving a deadly plague outbreak, sixteen-year-old Savannah thought she had lived through the very worst of human history. There was no way to know that the miracle vaccine would put everyone at risk for a fate worse than un-death.

Now, two very different kinds of infected walk the Earth, intent on nothing but feeding and destroying what little remains of civilization. When the inoculated are bitten, infection means watching on in silent horror as self-control disappears and the idea of feasting on loved ones becomes increasingly hard to ignore.

Starving and forced to live inside of the abandoned high school, all Savannah wants is the chance to fight back. When a strange boy arrives with a plan to set everything right, she gets her chance. Meeting Cole changes everything. Mere survival will never be enough.

I enjoyed this book. It is the first zombie book I have read in a while and I really enjoyed the new perspective it gave. In this book, zombies were caused by a virus. The government then rushed through a vaccine against the virus that made things worse. The original zombies are reanimated corpses walking around, decaying, and eating anything. The second generation Zs were never dead, they are vaccinated people who became infected but now attack and eat other living things. Since they aren’t dead rotting corpses, they are a lot stronger and faster. So… you’ve got your slow shuffling traditional zombies and the super scary fast ones (I dunno about you, but horror movies with fast zombies are so much scarier!).

This book tells two stories concurrently which finally converge in the end. The two protagonists are Savannah and Zarah. I won’t tell you any more about them because that would be spoiling the fun. One thing I will say is that I really enjoyed how Sheridan added a new dimension to her zombie book by giving the zombie perspective (no, I haven’t read or seen Warm Bodies though I will eventually do both). I thought it was refreshing and added a new scope to the zombie apocalypse storyline.

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Review of The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite by Kiera Cass

The Elite is the second book in the Selection trilogy by Kiera Cass. It continues right where the first book left off. Of the 36 girls who were originally part of the selection, there are now only six remaining.

Description from Goodreads:

Thirty-five girls came to the palace to compete in the Selection. All but six have been sent home. And only one will get to marry Prince Maxon and be crowned princess of Illea.

America still isn’t sure where her heart lies. When she’s with Maxon, she’s swept up in their new and breathless romance, and can’t dream of being with anyone else. But whenever she sees Aspen standing guard around the palace, and is overcome with memories of the life they planned to share. With the group narrowed down to the Elite, the other girls are even more determined to win Maxon over—and time is running out for America to decide.

Just when America is sure she’s made her choice, a devastating loss makes her question everything again. And while she’s struggling to imagine her future, the violent rebels that are determined to overthrow the monarchy are growing stronger and their plans could destroy her chance at any kind of happy ending.

While I wasn’t sure I would like this series, since it seemed to me like a weird cross between reality TV, dystopia, and fairy tale, I actually ended up really enjoying the first book, The Selection. It had all of the things that turn me off of reality TV, but I found myself not minding so much as the story progressed. In the first book you have America, a reluctant participant in a competition to become the next queen of Illea who is only playing along so she doesn’t have to go home (for many reasons including a broken heart). As you learn more about the prince and the other girls in the selection, you start to recognize the usual tropes of “females in a competition to win a boy’s heart,” including the Bitch, the Quiet One, the Sweet One, and the Normal One.

Going into The Elite I was hoping that there would be more action involving America’s own private selection (Maxon or Aspen) and more plot twists with the other girls, I wasn’t  disappointed but I wasn’t satisfied either. In fact, it was America herself who let me down. In The Selection she seemed to have a much better handle on her own feelings than she displayed in The Elite. She kept deciding one way and then changing her mind a chapter later. She had extreme reactions to some minor occurrences which made her mood swings more apparent. The main event where America completely (and with reason) flips out, she shows a complete lack of sympathy to the prince afterwards which is out of character. When this is resolved in the end of the book, I feel like the author was just giving her readers a pacifier for having so cruelly abused her characters.

I think The Elite is probably just suffering from middle-book-in-a-trilogy syndrome and the third book, The One, will be all that I hope it will be.

If you read and liked the first book, I would still recommend that you continue on and read this one. I am still emotionally invested in the characters and I want it all to turn out all right in the end.

Review of Delirium by Lauren Oliver (audiobook version)

I recently finished listening to the audiobook recording of Delirium by Lauren Oliver read by Sarah Drew.

Description from Goodreads:

TDelirium by Lauren Oliverhey say that the cure for love will make me happy and safe forever.  And I’ve always believed them.  Until now.  Now everything has changed.  Now, I’d rather be infected with love for the tiniest sliver of a second than live a hundred years smothered by a lie.

Delirium is set in a future where amor deliria nervosa (also known as Love) is a serious disease that must be cured. All residents of the United States of America live in walled cities where they are safe from the wilds and from invalids, the un-cured people who live there. At the age of 18, people receive the cure which is a surgical brain operation that cures them of Love (and most other sympathetic emotions). Lana is just a few months shy of her 18th birthday and looking forward to being cured and becoming a normal functioning adult in society. After she has her first personal experience with active rebellion against society, she begins to have doubts about the procedure and about the “happiness” that supposedly follows.

Lana is a well written 17-year-old girl who has always lived by the letter of the law. Tragedy in her childhood made her crave the cure and the peace and tranquility that society promises after the procedure. As events unfold and fundamental truths about her life and her faith in society are shaken, her very human emotional responses are easy to empathize with: best friends fighting and the agony before making up again, the first time you break a rule on purpose and the fear of being caught, suddenly realizing that something you believed was true is not.

There was one plot twist towards the end that I felt was a little too forced, it is obviously the stimulus that will drive the sequel, but on the whole I found Delirium to be an excellent book. The reader, Sarah Drew, gives an emotionally stirring performance.