THE SHADE OF THE MOON by Susan Beth Pfeffer Book Review
Series: The Last Survivors, #4
Publication Date: August 13th 2013 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Rating: – Poor |
Book Summary: It’s been more than two years since Jon Evans and his family left Pennsylvania, hoping to find a safe place to live, yet Jon remains haunted by the deaths of those he loved. His prowess on a soccer field has guaranteed him a home in a well-protected enclave. But Jon is painfully aware that a missed goal, a careless word, even falling in love, can put his life and the lives of his mother, his sister Miranda, and her husband, Alex, in jeopardy. Can Jon risk doing what is right in a world gone so terribly wrong?
Book Review Overview:
- Unlikeable protagonist
- Generic plot; more dystopian than post-apocalyptic
- Twists and turns that had me surprised until the very end
THE SHADE OF THE MOON by Sarah Beth Pfeffer is the fourth book in The Last Survivors series. Each of the books are told in a different perspective. The fourth book follows Jon Evans, the youngest in the Evans family. Jon and his family have left their home in Pennsylvania to join an enclave – a community slowly rebuilding itself after the apocalypse. But only three family members have passes to enter, and the rest must live in the outskirts of town in horrible conditions. Jon continues to be haunted by his past. As the social order in the enclave starts to be questioned, Jon must reconsider what is important.
PURE by Julianna Baggott Book Review
Series: Pure, #1
Publication Date: February 8th 2012 by Grand Central Publishing
Rating: – Acceptable |
Book Summary: We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.
When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.
Pure by Julianna Baggott Book Review Overview:
- Excellent world-building of a post-apocalyptic society
- Slow pacing that allows Julianna Baggott to develop the story
- Nail-biting conclusion that will make your jaw drop
What makes PURE by Julianna Baggott so different is the post-apocalyptic world that she has created. Her descriptive writing brings out the gore, mutilations, and sometimes the beauty from the pages. The writing is vivid that I can just close my eyes and see Julianna Baggott’s world come to life. The survivors of the Detonations are anything but pretty. They are strong and determined and unfortunately characterized by their mutilations.
PURE by Julianna Baggott is told from the perspective of various characters, but mainly focuses on the narratives of Pressia and Partridge. Though at first I thought that the other narratives were a bit distracting, they are integral to the overall story. Julianna Baggott does not include them just because. The characters’ narratives are seamlessly integrated by the end of the book.
Julianna Baggott takes the time to cultivate her characters and the world in PURE so the pacing was a bit slow. At first, PURE by Julianna Baggott was a page-turner because the world she has created is so novel and interesting, but after a while, the excitement plateaus when there is not a lot of action going on. Nothing really happens until the last third of the book. Usually, I would have Big Issues with this, but because PURE by Julianna Baggott is about a world that’s just so striking, I was willing to let the issue slide. Furthermore, that last third of PURE by Julianna Baggott was absolutely gripping and full of jaw-dropping awesomeness. The slow build-up made for a much more satisfying climax.
As a note, I do think that this one is more of an adult book than a young adult book, though the characters are mid to late teens. The themes in this book are a lot heavier than your typical young adult dystopian/post-apocalyptic. I think there is certainly a lot of young adult appeal for teen readers, but keep in mind that PURE by Julianna Baggott is a heavier read because yes, she makes you think. Julianna Baggott makes readers question the consequences of atomic and nuclear weapons. Yes, PURE is a work of fiction, but in reality, the effects of these weapons are scary, too. Julianna Baggott wants readers to think about Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The extent of the damage of the nuclear weapons used in World War II are still felt to this day. Furthermore, there was always the thought of what if lurking in my head as I read the book: what if this happened to us?
The world-building is fantastic and Julianna Baggott knows how to put her readers at the edge of her seat. But because of the slow beginning, I do believe that PURE by Julianna Baggott is suited for older readers who are already established fans of the dystopian/post-apocalyptic genre. I would suggest Borrowing this book before buying it, unless you really, really love this genre.
About the Author
Critically acclaimed, bestselling author Julianna Baggott has published fourteen books over the last ten years with five novels slated for publication in the next four years. She began publishing when she was twenty-two and sold her first novel while still in her twenties. There are thirty-one foreign editions of her novels to date.
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Summary: Alex has run away and is hiking through the wilderness with her dead parents’ ashes, about to say goodbye to the life she no longer wants to live. But then the world suddenly changes. An electromagnetic pulse sweeps through the sky zapping every electronic device and killing the vast majority of adults. For those spared, it’s a question of who can be trusted and who has changed… Everyone still alive has turned – some for the better (those who acquired a superhuman sense) while others for the worse (those who acquired a taste for human flesh). Desperate to find out what happened and to avoid the zombies that are on the hunt, Alex meets up with Tom – an Army veteran who escaped one war only to find something worse at home – and Ellie, a young girl whose grandfather was killed by the electromagnetic pulse. This improvised family will have to use every ounce of courage they have just to find food, shelter, while fighting off the ‘Changed’ and those desperate to stay alive. A tense and involving adventure with shocks and sudden plot twists that will keep teen and adult readers gripped.
- A gripping novel that couldn’t possibly be overhyped.
- Violent, disturbing graphic images – extremely gross and extremely cool at the same time
- The characters actually try to come up with a scientific explanation. Gotta love logic.
I was a non-believer. I knew that there was a ton of hype surrounding this book in the blogosphere, but the cover didn’t appeal to me. I was wrong. ASHES is hype-worthy. I can’t even count the number of times that I said “Yuck!” out loud. In a good way, of course.
ASHES is a non-stop sensory overload. And that’s how you know that Ilsa J. Bick is a fabulous writer. It’s one thing to see a scene unfold right before your eyes, but it’s on a whole different level when you can actually smell and taste what’s going on. She’s an unbelievably descriptive writer especially when it comes to the gruesome zombie scenes. The book gets quite graphic and violent so if you tend to get queasy, I wouldn’t pick this up… but then you’d be missing out.
One of the many reasons why I loved ASHES was the fact that Bick tries to get the characters to come to a scientific reasoning as to why everything is happening. Bick doesn’t take the easy way out by saying that everything happens just because she says it did. Alex’s knowledge is limited to what she knows from her AP Bio science class and random tidbits that she’s picked up over the years. She may not be a scientist, but she’s also not an idiot. I think it gives ASHES a more realistic feel because I think that people would definitely try to figure out what on earth is happening if they were in this situation. You can’t always be running from zombies. There’s definitely a lot of time to think about what’s going on. As to the question of if this can really happen? I’m not sure about that. I’m no science expert, but Bick’s writing definitely makes me hope that it never does.
Believe it or not, there’s actually a love triangle in this book. Uh oh. But for once, I can actually say that I did not mind. I know we’re all tired of the silly and unnecessary love triangles that are taking over the YA market but it actually works in ASHES. Why? Because ASHES does take place within a few months and SO MANY THINGS happen in that amount of time. I’d hate to give out spoilers, so trust me when I say that it works and it’s quite a dilemma.
So now that I’ve been properly exposed to a zombie book, I want more! Specifically, I want more ASHES. I felt satisfied once I completed ASHES but I feel an insane urge to find out what happens next. There is no cliffhanger ending, but you will be left with a ton of questions that will be dying to be answered.
Why I’m Biased: I’m almost immediately turned off by anything that sounds remotely dystopian / post-apocalyptic just because there were so many of them this year. I’m obviously way too quick to judge.
About the Author
Among other things, Ilsa J. Bick was an English major in college and so she knows that she is supposed to write things like, “Ilsa J. Bick is <fill in the blank>.” Except she hates writing about herself in the third person like she is not in the room. Helloooo, I’m right here . . . So let’s just say that she’s a child psychiatrist (yeah, you read that right)as well as a film scholar, surgeon wannabe (meaning she did an internship in surgery and LOVED it and maybe shoulda stuck), former Air Force major—and an award-winning, best-selling author of short stories, e-books, and novels. Believe me, no one is more shocked about this than she . . . unless you talk to her mother.
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