And the Series Continues. . .Terrific New YA Fiction

Winter break found us grabbing any free moments we could to curl up by the fire and read the addictive next books in a couple of our favorite series.  There’s something compelling about living through more than one book with a character, and having the chance not only to see their adventure unfold, but the characters grow and change.

ReachedRuth whipped through Reached  by Ally Condie (Matched Trilogy Book Three) in record time and thought it was the best of a great series:

Cassia returns in the conclusion to the Matched series. Her two love interests, Ky and Xander, return as well, all fighting The Society they grew up in, longing for the power to choose.  I’ve enjoyed the first two books in the series (Matched and Crossed), but not found them as satisfying as some of the other dystopian novels that are so popular right now.  That is, until Reached.  This final novel ties everything together in unexpected and layered ways.  The characters become more complex; the relationships believable.   The narrator shifts perspective from Cassia to Ky to Xander, rounding out the different points of view.  In terms of dystopian futures, this one is not as violent or bloody as say, The Hunger Games, or even Divergent. What has happened in the Matched society isn’t on its face horrible and oppressive. Many of the citizens of the society live very happy lives. But there is no creativity and no expression.  This final novel celebrates the power of the arts–the written word, visual expression, and the role of choice in our artistic lives.  It’s not really possible to discuss the plot without including spoilers. . .my recommendation is to trust Ally Condie and dig into this final incredible adventure.  It made me want to reread the entire series.

Days-of-BloodMeghan couldn’t put down Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor, and her one complaint was that now we have to wait a year to find out what happens to Karou and Akiva…

I found this book even better than the first.  I loved finding out more about the past of Akiva.  I adored the humanity (literally, as pretty much the only humans in the book) as well as the humor and gutsiness that Zusana and Mik brought.  I love that everyone is wrong, no one is right or without fault, and that this went beyond a mere Romeo and Juliet forbidden love for a reason no one could understand or recall, to examine inter-racial/ethnicity/special love and hate.  I was fascinated by how evil yet cunning the two main bad guys (Jael and the White Wolf) are.  I was frustrated yet sympathetic to Karou’s treatment of Akiva, totally pulled in by Akiva’s brother and sister as their characters were fleshed out, and gobsmacked (yet thrilled) by the twist at the end.  In short, I highly recommend that you get this and read it asap.  And if you haven’t read the first book (Daughter of Smoke and Bone), you should clear your calendar for the next week and just read them both back to back!

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