Review: Ignite Me

  ignite Title: Ignite Me

  Author: Tahereh Mafi

  Release Date: February 4, 2014

  Publisher: HarperCollins

  Description: 416 pages, Young Adult Dystopian

synopsis

Juliette now knows she may be the only one who can stop the Reestablishment. But to take them down, she’ll need the help of the one person she never thought she could trust: Warner. And as they work together, Juliette will discover that everything she thought she knew-about Warner, her abilities, and even Adam-was wrong.

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After waiting a full half-year for Ignite Me’s release, it is with elation and the utmost indulgence that I divulge that this book was miles and miles away from a disappointment. Though I was honestly expecting something a little more different and incommensurable, the storytelling itself was exceptional to a scintillating degree, and the character portrayal was profoundly exhilarating. And while I do to admit to having missed Mafi’s bizarre manner of writing, featuring exorbitant strikethroughs, derisive metaphors, and flimsy run-on sentences, I did approve of the relatively austere and pretenseless writing in this one, which was in every way as ardent and sententious as before.

“Words, I think, are such unpredictable creatures. No gun, no sword, no army or king will ever be more powerful than a sentence. Swords may cut and kill, but words will stab and stay, burying themselves in our bones to become corpses we carry into the future, all the time digging and failing to rip their skeletons from our flesh.”  

First and foremost, Juliette’s character improvement was something of a welcome surprise, as I sure didn’t expect her to gather the grit and tenacity enough to rise above all odds after having the crap beaten out of her barely even a week erstwhile. She went from diffident and averse to headstrong and open-minded, and I loved how she handled her emotions maturely, as opposed to conceding to possible coercion into something she may regret for the rest of her life. Despite the unceremonious change in mindset, however, I never thought it was too hasty to be believable, because even then Juliette struggled and bent over backwards to take full control of her powers, and based on her travails and conviction, she deserved everything good that came her way.

Adam, on the other hand, despite having been bitter and ill-tempered for almost the entire duration of the book  (undoubtedly Mafi’s way of catering to her solid Team Warner readers, myself included), was someone I could not possibly detest or execrate for more than five seconds. The thing was, I completely understood where he came from, and why he chose to act irrationally, because love is a bitch sometimes, even if it isn’t even love in the first place. I couldn’t bring myself to forget everything he did to keep Juliette safe either, and everything he had to go through to keep his brother alive—he deserved reciprocation even just for the happy medium (though I refuse to spoil the outcome of the love triangle any further).

But holy crapola, those sexy times! The scenes between Warner and Juliette were scorching hot, and I shamelessly admit that they were by far my favorite parts of the book. The chemistry between them was just so damn overpowering, such that I found it hard to think straight, and could hardly keep myself from blushing beet red. Just another reminder of why I’m even on Team Warner in the first place. Oh and by the way? 55 is the new 62.

“I promise myself then, in that moment, that I will hold him forever, just like this, until all the pain and torture and suffering is gone, until he’s given a chance to live the kind of life where no one can wound him this deeply ever again.” 

Apart from the obvious gratification derived from Warner pulling those dead sexy moves, I also delighted in the manifold plot twists introduced into the story, undeterred by the partial absence of an actual plot. Many of the qualms and ambiguities I had in mind were given justifiable answers, and I caroused at how the characters fed on a sense of companionship and camaraderie. Needless to say, Kenji did not disappoint, though I hardly expected anything less, and his relationship with Juliette was probably the most refreshing and adorable sort of ardor, a love of the pure, platonic variety. Seriously. He just cannot get any better.

The only thing that made me scratch my head as I read was the fact that the pacing was a little off balance, because the remaining members of Omega Point spent at least seven-eighths of the book training for battle, as opposed to engaging in actual war. I couldn’t complain nevertheless, because I would have been much less satiated without some of the fundamental turn of events that took place as Juliette and her friends (and her ‘best friend’, if you catch my drift heehee) prepared for the onslaught, especially in terms of Warner’s relationship with Adam and Juliette alike. I still do believe, however, that we all could have done with a more climactic and unhurried conclusion.

But overall, I completely approve of the conclusion to this series, and despite not having been nearly as mind-blowing The Infernal Devices’, which closed the doors upon any and all apprehensions regarding the characters’ future, I drew solace from the fact that victory or otherwise, Juliette learned and grew enough to keep any of her efforts from futility.

So if you’re looking for a seductive, gorgeously written, character driven and overall stunning conclusion to a critically acclaimed trilogy, this book is definitely your one way ticket to satisfaction.

“Ignite, my love. Ignite.”  

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So what do you think of this book? If you haven’t read it, will you? Sound off in the comments below!

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Asking The Blogosphere (Episode 3): On Breaking Free, Falling In Love, And Favorite Fictional Love Interests

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This is a new feature I came up with, because lately, I’ve had a problem filling in my Wednesdays with relevant posts. It’s a discussion post of sorts, that revolves around books and your life outside of it. At the end of each segment, I ask you guys a few questions, ones you’re free to answer of course!

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On Breaking Free and Junior-Senior Prom

Almost two weeks ago, my school held the annual Junior-Senior Promenade at Crowne Plaza Ortigas, organized and sponsored by the Batch 2015 Junior Students and Parent Teacher Association. And in spite of the fact that I wasn’t even half as frantic and eager this time as compared to the first, the event itself was, beyond the shadow of a doubt, one hell of a night to remember.

Because come on you guys, it’s cause for celebration! We had cocktails, and barbecue, and piles of delectable, and not to mention free food, and there are photo booths purveying and catering to vanity (and we love that, because how many times a year can one even dabble in guiltless ostentation?) plus a massive, open dance floor, and let me just tell you, I’m a completely different person dancing to the beat of heavy music—I can assure you major-ass flailage (credits to Nara for coining the term!)

But the thing is, I’ve never really been the type of girl to party—at least not until the recent years. I’ve always culled to standing in the shadows of the limelight, never reaching out. As a kid, my life revolved around anime and school, and I never really made friends out of my small, eight-person circle, and honestly, I would have become an outcast had I not driven myself to popularity joining all sorts of contests and quiz bees. So I guess you could say that people looked up to me, but I never once felt that I ever really had a friend.

And I guess that’s why when I stepped into the jungle they fondly call high school, I decided to embrace the comfort that books could offer—whenever I read, I was detached and in traveling light, but I was never solitary, desolate, alone. I enjoyed the company of all sorts of fictional characters, and it was as if I existed in some universe between mine and theirs, where I could meet and interact with these people born from ink on those pages I so lovingly held pressed in between my fingers.

And for a time I was happy. Hell, I even made a blog to have something to show for it!

But I guess at one point I realized that I couldn’t keep on holding myself in abeyance within the confines of my shell– I wanted to fracture the perimeter of my hypothetical limit. So somewhere along the way, I learned to break free from reticence and inhibition, and that’s one of the most important things in life that I will forever be grateful to high school for. I’m graduating in less than two months, so you can hardly blame me for all this drama, but really. Reality has never felt this liberating.

So back to prom and how I shamelessly raised the roof at one point by then: well needless to say, I made the most out of the occasion. I decided to enter the venue in style, and while I give no credence to mastering a runway walk swanky enough, mine along the red carpet was worth it. And lookie! I found a good shot with a friend to show for it.

pic1Congrats for figuring out which one I am!

And then after the program, my friends and I decided to utilize the photo booths (though it took us approximately ten million years to reach the end of the line), and were even honored with guest appearances by our Prom King and Queen. I was capital S Starstruck, gotta admit.

pic2I’m obviously the prettiest one (lawl)

Hahaha I kidd, both of them are my close friends (and I’m proud to call myself their legitimate matchmaker).

And then of course, who can forget the heavy dancing, and hands in the air, everyone singing along to the earsplitting music (not even caring that our voices sounded like nails screeching against an uneven concrete wall), and it was tons and tons and tons of fun.

pic3With my fourth year buddies! 🙂

And then of course I realized my feet were bleeding (don’t worry, this is a metaphor), and I was getting a little lethargic, so I made my way to the lobby and paused to wait for my parents to arrive. So like I said, overall it was a night of reverie. Just another item to add to the overflowing list of items to cry over when all is said and done.

Have you ever felt that way? Like you want to leave high school and grow up, but not really, at the same time? It happens to me constantly, and it’s getting really confusing. But I’ll figure that out sooner or later. I have another formal event to attend on March the 28th (the Graduation Ball!) and because I’m extra excited for that, I’ll show you the inspiration for my dress, a Jovani ballgown number (I love their designs):

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Of course, I had mine embellished, because I can’t hope to wear another tube top without worrying about it accidentally falling off, but I hope it looks amazing once I get to see the finished product.

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On Falling In Love

Meanwhile, let’s forward track to the present day: here I am, eating from a bowl of double coated Tim Tams (they’re heaven on earth, I super swear), cramming my Physics concept notes, my head spinning and my heart recovering from having recently read Tahereh Mafi’s Ignite Me.

AND MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS WAS IT FANTABULOUS. You don’t need a genius to figure out how much I loved that book. And GUUUURL does Mafi know how to turn your engines up with those sexy times! No seriously, I can’t even count how many times Warner just Dave Franco’ed in my head like,

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I know you want a good taste 

Which of course meant that

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But I’m not going to spoil the rest of my review today, so I’m going to take a different approach for the time being. In fact, I’m going to start with a question that had me at a loss for good minute or two as I read through the book:

Do I know what it feels like to truly love someone? Have I ever been in love?

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Beats me.

Well the answer I currently have to both is neither. I’m not exactly into delineating terms that lead to trite remarks, but I just couldn’t stop thinking that because I’m around Juliette’s age, if only a year younger, I should be asking myself the same questions that have been gyrating through her head.

I mean, I’ve been in a relationship (or two, or three), but they were never official and were nothing like sparks flying and hearts intertwining and feeling as if nothing will ever be the same again in dearth of my better half. And that’s why in a sense, I’ve always been a little jaundiced by the heroines in books, because they’ve experienced a love so pure and infernal, and have loved without stopping to think twice about having meant it. So I guess I can never surmise a definition unless I’ve felt love in non-platonic tenor, and if you ask me about ever having been in love, I guess the definite answer to that is one big fat no.

But I still have my whole life ahead of me, so the thought is probably a little too premature, haha.

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On Love Interests In Fiction

And of course that got me thinking.

Why does it seem like a paltry endeavor for a fictional character to find the perfect guy? And no matter how Plain Jane these heroines are, in terms of appearance and personality alike, why do these guys succumb to attraction and fall head over heels in love with them?

Well I guess the answer to that is pretty simple. They were written to fulfill the fantasies of a predominantly teenage audience. In reality however, none of us are lost princesses, or superheroes, or average girls with cryptic and esoteric powers, so of course it’s hard to come by something that exciting.

As for me however, I choose to remain content with my collection of book boyfriends, and just because I’m feeling generous, let me share with you my favorite of the bunch at the moment:

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If you can button down the character by virtue of his features and quotes, well then, congratulations! Feel free to fangirl at your leisure. (Well, Hunter Parrish is a dirty shade of blonde, and he doesn’t have naturally green eyes, but he is the face of every Warner on Tumblr, and honestly, I’m pretty happy about that!)

But now it’s time for you to take the stage and tell me all about your opinions on the matters I just presented!

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What are your thoughts on prom? Are you ever excited for it? How did it feel, if you’ve ever experienced it? What is love, and do you think that you’ve ever fallen in love? Who are some of your favorite book boyfriends? And who would you cast for Warner if they turned the Shatter Me trilogy into movies?

And that’s it for this feature! If you want to share your own answers, please do! Leave a comment and make my day 🙂

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Review: The Moon And More

  moonandmoreTitle: The Moon and More

  Author: Sarah Dessen

  Release Date: June 4, 2013

  Publisher: Viking Juvenile

  Description: 435 pages, Young Adult Contemporary

synopsis

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough. Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo’s sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline’s mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he’s convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby? Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she’s going?
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The thing is, I’m a massive Sarah Dessen fan, and by her standards, this book was something of a catastrophe– for the most part, I was crestfallen. For starters, I was royally pissed at the heroine at variegated times, and to say that the whole enchilada was a disappointment is a colossal understatement. I found Emaline too equivocal and non-committal, not spunky and audacious enough, and if there was one thing she altogether lacked, it was heart. I did sympathize with the fact that she juggled a multiplex of problems around, and I knew how hard it must have been for her to adjust to unfamiliar ground because I’ve gone through much the same things. I however, cannot so swimmingly approve of the fact that it was too elementary for her to throw away a lot of the things that once meant something important to her without even fighting back, and she was too quick to change her mind and dismiss someone as ‘not the person I once thought you were’. Whatever happened to reconciliation?

“Life is long. Just because you don’t get your chance right when you want or expect it doesn’t mean it won’t come. Fate doesn’t punch a time clock or consult a schedule.” 

The plot was considerably singular and nonpareil, which made for one happy banana, but despite the fact that everything changed too abruptly, I could not wait to get past many of the scenes because they were that boring. In addition, most of the characters were too fickle and temperamental. Change is a good thing, yes, chiefly for the better, but if you don’t steadily transition from one version of yourself to the next, I’m never going to believe it. No offense to the idealists, but really, the shift in points of view of various characters developed or degenerated too abruptly and forthwith for my tastes—there was just no in between.

And this was a matter of preference, but many of the events I would have liked to happen did not, and many of the characters I would have recompensed with happily ever afters were thrown to the side and dismissed, rendering me devastated in the aftermath. I just… what sort of garbage is that? I resent plot devices, and even more so when the author makes one out of an exceptional character. The romance was bearable at its best, utterly repugnant at its worst, and in much the same way, everything progressed with no middle ground. It was simply make up or break up, and despite the fact that my heart welled with the knowledge that summer romances operates in that manner, I could not for the life of me understand what made Emaline’s anything special. She intrinsically blew off and pinned the blame on the first boy one second, and then shoved her tongue down the other’s throat the next. Who even does that? Why do they even like you? I just. Didn’t. Get it.

On the flip side, I was thoroughly smitten by Luke, despite the fact that he was a quintessential jock with the blonde hair and the beach body without the jerk-off persona, but he possessed a vibrant personality and I appreciated that. Theo on the other hand, was completely out of the ordinary and honestly a little bizarre, and I loved how free-spirited and ambitious he was, though I found him a bit pretentious and disapproved of his pomp– to me, there’s such a thing as excessively dorky, and he categorically crossed the line.

The one other thing that could have made for compromise was Benji, Emaline’s ten-year old half brother. He was fifty shades of adorable for the whole duration of the book, and I loved how his disposition made me appreciate all the little things in life that curl my lips into a genuine smile. Furthermore, he was an astute and innovative thinker for someone at ten, which of course was remarkably impressive. I do have to admit that the scenery sounded breathtaking, and the conclusion, despite not having been a complete picnic, was acceptable and of considerable redeeming value, but most importantly, reminded me of how wondrous I thought it was that Emaline could already manage to defend her beliefs and encourage people to do better. I also marginally approved of how the book wasn’t entirely romance-centric, and the family element to it made me feel relieved to say the least. SO I guess in a way, it wasn’t a total disappointment.

“When you have a kid, you sign on for the whole package: good, bad, everything in between. you can’t just dip in and out, picking and choosing the parts you want and quitting when it’s not perfect.”

But then again we’re talking Dessen here, and unfortunately it just wasn’t the same sort of magic. But if you think you can handle that, do try it out– and if you like it, tell me why and let’s see if you can convince me otherwise.

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So what do you think of this book? If you haven’t read it, will you? Sound off in the comments below!

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