Book Review: “The Only Ones” by Aaron Starmer

This cover kind of sums up everything I love about this book.

Title: The Only Ones (Click to add to your Goodreads!)

Author: Aaron Starmer

Available In: HardcovereBook for Kindle, eBook for Nook.

Maturity Level: YA. Some violence and disturbing imagery.

You May Like This Book if: you enjoyed Lord of the Flies, The Maze Runner, or The Hunger Games.

You May NOT Like This Book if: you’re not fond of post-apocalyptic tales.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Martin Maple knows a terrible truth. He and the rest of the children who live in the commune that they have called Xibalba were not only left, but Forgotten. All of the adults in the world disappeared on one fateful Day, and the children are now alone.  But according to the animal-whispering “prophet” Nigel, Martin has the capacity to bring them back—and he just might be right.

I really, really enjoyed this book. It was very dreamlike and beautiful, if occasionally confusing. The paradox was very well done, and I really enjoyed the wistful, nostalgic finality of the last two pages. Martin was a very relatable main character for me, and I was pretty attached to Darla, Lane, Marjorie, and Nigel as well. The only thing that I didn’t like was that I really didn’t understand why Henry pulled his little stunt towards the end—it didn’t match with his prior characterization and kind of seemed to come right out of the blue.

Overall, this is a lovely little post-apocalyptic tale with a wonderful little paradox woven into it. Starmer’s really accomplished something here, and this book is definitely one of my favorites that I’ve read so far in 2012. Well done, Mister Starmer. Well done.

Pros

  • The Forgotten. Loved all their distinct personalities and the way in which their society functioned.
  • Nigel.
  • Marjorie.
  • Martin’s childhood. I loved that he learned through books—something that I can really relate to. 😉
  • The paradox.
  • The last 2 pages. So lovely.

Cons

  • Henry’s little stunt didn’t make any sense to me.

Favorite Scene (s)

  • Pg 18-20, when Martin is busy learning about the outside world through books. Really struck a chord with me.
  • Pg 58-64. I love this hands-on concept of the Internet.
  • Pg 318-319. Just so beautiful.

 

Favorite Line (s): “I’m sure your kitten is a prodigy.” ~ Darla to Marjorie, pg 245.

Star Rating on Goodreads: 5 stars.

Final Grade: A+. Such a lovely book. I’ll be keeping an eye out for Starmer in the future.

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Book Review: “Angelfall” (Penryn and the End of Days, Book #1) by Susan Ee

Title: Angelfall (Penryn and the End of Days, Book #1)

Author: Susan Ee

Available In: eBook for Kindle, ebook for Nook.

Warnings: PG 13 for violence, disturbing imagery, and  graphic portrayal of paranoid schizophrenia/accompanying issues.

THIS REVIEW CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS AND STRONG, HONEST OPINIONS. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

Angelfall takes place six weeks after the angels have come to destroy Penryn’s world. Scavenging for food and a roof to sleep under is now the norm, and Penryn’s already got her hands full with her unstable mother and paralyzed sister Paige when a wounded angel drops from the sky. When Paige is kidnapped, Penryn must make a choice—help the angel in order to find her sister, or let her prejudice be the cause of Paige’s imminent demise.

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I know why self-pubs tend to get a bad rap— lack of editorial direction, poor copyediting, self-indulgent authors who never stop to think about the audience they’re writing for—and none of these tendencies are exhibited here. In fact, I was surprised to find that this was a self-pubbed book—it could easily have been at home on a shelf beside The Hunger Games in my library, were a print version available.

And the characters! I simply couldn’t get enough of them. Penryn and Raffe were both excellently badass. Penryn’s mother was a perfect, chilling portrayal of a woman dancing with madness in a crazy world. Even side characters such as the spymaster twins, the leaders of the Resistance, and the albino angel were interesting and complex to a certain degree. The world was also nicely done—very rough and tumble, very post-apocalypse, though human society does seem to have degenerated exceedingly quickly for only six weeks of occupancy by the angels. It feels more like six months, or even six years, but I’m sure it would feel that way to live in Ee’s world so I count this as a nice nuance rather than a flaw.

In summary? Awesome book. Rather like Sandman Slim met The Hunger Games  and had an awesome YA baby. And at only 99 cents on Kindle/Nook, there’s no reason not to check it out! Book #2 is due out Summer 2012, according to Ee’s website, so grab Angelfall and read it now. You won’t regret it.

IN CASE YOU IGNORED THE SPOILER WARNING ABOVE, HERE’S WHERE IT GETS REALLY SPOILER-Y. IF YOU HAVEN’T READ ANGELFALL, STOP RIGHT NOW OR PREPARE TO BE SPOILED.

Pros

  • The world. Chilling, gritty, not a time I’d want to live in but a time that I freaking love reading about.
  • Penryn. I love several things about Penryn. I love that she’s a fighter, and that the reasons for her being a good fighter are explained. I appreciate the fact that her odd name is also explained, at location 1507 according to my Kindle app and my notes. I love that she loves Paige so much, and that she exhibits infinite patience with her mother. Mostly? I love that Penryn is the resourceful, awesome survivor that she is.
  • the  romance. I am always in support of badass x badass, and Penryn and Raffe are definitely badasses.
  • Raffe. An agnostic archangel with bucketloads of snark always makes me happy. It doesn’t hurt that he’s pretty to boot.
  • I really, really like how Penryn’s mom’s mental illness is handled in this book. It’s chilling, realistic, and does not dehumanize the character; rather, it makes her more human and more sympathetic to the reader.
  • Two words. ZOMBIE ANGELS. BEST PLOT TWIST EVER.

Cons

  • The romance. Which also appeared on the Pros list, but whatever. I always cringe a little when a centuries old, practically immortal being falls in love with a teenage girl, but in this case, the badass factor of both participants outweighs the squick.
  • Some descriptive passages could be shortened, and certain descriptive words are used repetitively (Paige’s face is described as being “pixie-like” on numerous occasions).
  • I felt the ending was a little abrupt, and was not thrilled about the fact that Penryn was paralyzed for the entire climax, but it did match the tone of the story.

Star Rating on Goodreads: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Final Grade: A+. Will definitely reread, eagerly awaiting the next book in the series.