Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Sunday, August 11, 2013


Hey, notice my title? Ha Ha...I can be clever and funny, too. Unfortunately, Rogue is over-packed/padded with this sort of humor, and it doesn't necessarily stand up any better than my feeble attempt.

Don't get me wrong...I loved the first two books in this series and was sorry to see it end. But when I got to this one, it just From the very first pages, it felt like it was missing something. Yes, it still had the snarky humor that is a hallmark of the series, and yes, the setting is unique and smart. But this entire entry just felt padded with way too much extra stuff, most of which could have been whittled down into a book about half its size. There's lots of anguish over what's happening to the Afterlife, what's happening to Lex and Driggs, what needs to happen. There's a bunch of "we've got to get through this obstacle to get to the next obstacle" action, and surprises that really weren't all that surprising. I just grew weary of the forced funniness about halfway through; a book that should have the excitement of protecting the Afterlife and the fun of teenaged hormones just didn't. And while the ending was not what I expected, I do have to say that it was actually different enough that I am left feeling bittersweet and bizarrely hopeful.

Still, there's a good deal to like in Rogue, including Lex coming to terms with herself and the bonds of friendship becoming stronger. I wasn't offended by anything, even the rough language and the sexual situations, but none of it hit an emotional chord with me, either. I just felt that the ultimate solution really didn't resolve anything fully, and there was way too much filler action. I liked Rogue, but didn't love it. And that's my Grim diagnosis.


Saturday, August 03, 2013

The Outside

The Outside follows The Hallowed Ones, a tale of rampant vampirism overtaking the world and even amid the land of the Amish. While The Hallowed Ones was one of my favorite reads so far this year, I was a bit skeptical that its follow-up could be as good. Color me happily surprised and deliriously engaged with the equally eerie sequel, which opens as Amish Katie, her Englisher sort of boyfriend, Alex, and her Englisher friend Ginger are cast into the vampire-filled world Outside, either to live or to die.

First, I'll say that my creeptastic monitor hit a solid ten early on with the appearance of the nasty vampires and the race to find secure ground every day as the night closed in. With just a vague plan to head north to Alex's family, the three outcasts head out, hoping to find food and shelter along the way. Time after time, Katie follows her heart rather than her head, almost getting herself and her friends killed; time after time, her instincts prove her to be correct. Not wanting to give any major plot points away, I will say that eventually a surviving group is encountered that might possibly offer hope for the future, but naturally major obstacles exist. Lots of action, lots of emotion.

It's Katie's struggles between how she was raised and what the world is now that held me glued to the pages; her evolving relationship with Alex rings very true, but it's Katie's growth personally and emotionally that is the heart of the story. I loved the symbolism of the water throughout, and I loved that Katie grew to be someone who decided to take chances, despite of her beliefs. I loved that Katie felt as strongly about animals as she did about humans, and I loved that she was ready to take on forces bigger than herself for what she felt was right. Most of all, I loved the creepy scenarios, with their dark spaces and terrifying moments.

The Outside is the final book of this two book series, and it's a well-written, unique sort of young adult book. Sure, it's post-apocalyptic, but the settings are different and the characters attach themselves to you. Definitely recommended for those with a strong stomach and eager for a good read.