Review: This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

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Synopsis: 10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama’s high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

10:03
The auditorium doors won’t open.

10:05
Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student’s calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

Rating: 5/5

Thoughts: *Thank you Netgalley and Sourcebooks Fire for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!*

The cover of this book and the title might have been what drew me in initially, but it was the contents of This Is Where It Ends, the haunting text and unfortunate characters that kept me turning pages. Let me just say that this book is NOT your fluffy summer read, perfect for reading on the beach (In fact, it comes out in January, one of the coldest months of the year.) It’s brutal, honest, and heartbreaking. Violence fills the pages, along with tragic backstories, terrified narratives, and acts of daring selflessness. Our main characters, Claire, Sylv, Autumn, Tomás, and occasionally Mei and other character via social media sites, all paint a harrowing tale as they and their classmates are held captive by an angry gunman… who also happens to be Autumn’s brother. Everyone in this story is well crafted, and all along, I was seriously hoping that everyone at Opportunity High would make it out alive. Of course, that wasn’t to be, but even so, the deaths that did happen were handled in a way that wasn’t too gruesome. Some of the deaths were very emotional though, and you’ll find yourself really feeling for both those who have lost their lives, and those left behind in the aftermath.

To speak, of the characters we meet here, I really liked the diverse characters in the novel, both racially and sexually. We have multiple ethnicities and lgbtia characters, which I feel might also make this book more appealing to a wider variety of readers, as there is representation of a variety of different groups. There are also a variety of interests, such as dance and social media, which are all used as plot elements in a variety of ways through. All of these elements are used by the author to create dynamic and realistic characters.

Marieke Nijkamp has done a great job of putting the reader right in the characters’ shoes. While of course no one ever hopes to experience a school shooting firsthand, this book is probably the closest you could ever get. You might be sitting comfortably in your living room, sipping a cup to tea, but you’ll feel on edge, smelling the fear and death and blood in the air. You will not walk away from this book squeaky clean and untouched. While this book is branded as a young adult novel, it could be easily read by adults as well as teens. I would recommend this to anyone who loves thrilling, emotional reads, or, honestly, to anyone. This is a book that I believe will explode in popularity in 2016.

Review: Noir by Jacqueline Garlick

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Synopsis: Losing him would make her overcast world one shade darker.…

Navigating her way through nightmarish lands devoid of sunlight, Eyelet Elsworth races to free her beloved Urlick Babbit, the first person to understand and accept her—differences and all. Framed for murder and sentenced to execution, Urlick is running out of time. And the Commonwealth’s tyrannical new ruler, Penelope Rapture, is strangely eager to speed up the clock.

Aided by a band of unusual yet loyal associates, Eyelet stumbles upon a startling rumor. And as she unravels a secret that could challenge Penelope’s claim to the throne, Penelope vows to divert Eyelet’s journey—straight to a dark and deadly end.

In Noir, the second thrilling addition to Jacqueline Garlick’s Illumination Paradox series, familiar friends struggle against new and old enemies, shocking secrets come to light, and the truth that could save this captivating steampunk world is revealed…if it doesn’t destroy everything first.

Date Finished: 9-27-15

Rating: 4/5

Thoughts: 

*I received a free ecopy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

Noir is the sequel to Lumiere, which I reviewed here. If you’ve read the first and are contemplating picking up a copy of the second, rest assured that book 2 is just as good, if not better, than the first. If you’re just getting into the series, go back and buy Lumiere. Trust me, you’ll love it.

Because this is the second book in a series, the need for fantasy/steampunk world building has gone away. By now, we know the overcast world our heroes and heroines inhabit, so we can jump right into the action. This book actually picks up right where the first book left off, so everyone is still right in the middle of the action. This book is much more action-packed than the first, partially because the worldbuilding is virtually done, but also because the events of the last book set so many things into action! Characters are split up, reunited, and plenty of new characters are introduced. New locations are explored, and old ones revisited.

Once again, there’s a cliffhanger ending. I won’t give anything away, but it’s very dramatic and will leave you on edge for the next book in the series. I personally cannot wait for the next book. I’m not sure if this will be a trilogy or a longer series, but there are plenty of things that need to be resolved, and whenever I think of this series, I can’t help but wonder how things might end.

I must say that I didn’t exactly like the many POVs used. In the first book, it was just Urlick and Eyelet, but in this sequel, 2 other character’s occasionally tell the story. One character speaks in a way which is a bit unappealing and difficult to read, and the other is a character who could be considered a villain. I understand that it’s supposed to add to the narrative, as there are some events that neither of our protagonists would have been present for, but I just couldn’t connect with them.

In the end, I would definitely recommend this book to fans of the first book, steampunk lovers, or fans of Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan series. There’s plenty to love, and at the end, you’ll be anxiously awaiting the next book!