Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Recent Reads - Three Trilogies

 I've been reading. A lot. I recently finished up three different trilogies. All could be considered YA, all are romances, with a strong female protagonist (well, two of the three anyway) ... completely different worlds though. Legend is a dystopian, a fractured land in the future. Ruby Red is set in modern day England for the most part ... there is time travel to the past. Defy is more of a fantasy world, with kingdoms and sorcerers and magic. I enjoyed all three trilogies and would recommend them.  Read on for a closer look at each one ... 

This series had been hit the lists and  was held up to such series as Hunger Games and Divergent ... and I do think it is deserving of the comparisons. I was impressed. My only regret with this was the wait between books. Unfortunately, I have no one to blame but myself there, because all three books were out when I read the first. My library only had "Legend" however ... and I'm just SO cheap, and couldn't justify purchasing the sequels when I have so many books already in my Kindle Cloud and library list. I shouldn't have been so cheap ... or I should have waited to start. I honestly don't know how people DO wait a year in-between editions. It was about a year before my library got the second and third books in and I happily grabbed them ... I realized I didn't remember. Anything. Vague recollections. I had to look up a summary online before I could start the sequel. I did read the final two book back to back.

I "read" read the first book, but downloaded the audio edition for the final two books. This is a risk, as I've often already formed "voices" in my head ... but it had been long enough (as mentioned above, I forgot everything!) that this aspect didn't impact me. Alternating POVs of June and Day were read by female and male narrators. My only issue with the audio was in a couple of the names. "Day" for one, as beyond his name, the word "day" also appeared a lot ... but the thing that drove me crazy was another name, Kay-a-Day (not how it is spelled, and I'd read it more like "Katie" or "Kaydee" when on my own). To have DAY and Kay-a-DAY all day long ... too many "days" left me in a daze.

I really enjoyed the setting. The world building and the characters captivated me. Full of action and romance and difficult decisions. Thumbs up.

I'd seen this Ruby Red series recommended, and it appeared to have high reviews. I must admit, I didn't even read the blurb, I had no idea what the book was about when I started. Based on the pretty covers, I was was thinking "princess" themes ... so I was quite surprised when I was plopped into modern day England, with a typical teenager protagonist. Well, almost typical ... there's this time travel gene that runs in the family, and she can see ghosts ... so a bit of the supernatural and time twists.

I really struggled to get into book 1. As everything was being set up ... introducing the characters, the whole time travel business ... I just didn't feel like enough was happening. I wasn't sure if it was worth continuing on, but book 2 was already waiting for me at the library, so I kept going. 

I liked the second and third books more ... maybe because I already knew what was going on. I wasn't totally committed to the characters, enough to really care and get emotionally involved, but it held my interest enough that it was a quick read and I'll recall it fondly.

I guess this series was originally written in German? Translated into English? I didn't take notice of the writing feeling stilted or anything, there was a nice flow. I did note, that there were NOT the English versions/spellings of common words (absolutely acceptable, especially with the story set in the UK, but they always jump out at my eyes as being mis-spelled even though I know they are alternates). There were a few British phrases/words ...  mobile instead of cell, lift instead of elevator. One character had "plaster" over a wound ... I wasn't familiar with that, is that used instead of bandage?

Anyway - I ended up liking the series. I really like the consistency of the covers.
The Defy series has great cover consistency too.

Finally ... the fantasy. Set in an imaginary land, with three distinct kingdoms coming into conflict. Blevin, Dansie and Antione. I honestly don't know if I have the spellings correct, because I never saw the names in print ... all three books were audio downloads, and I have to say, I think the audio added a completely different atmosphere for me. Narrated with a heavy English accent, it something I wouldn't have initiated on my own. It really added to the foreign, fantasy feeling. The narrator was great. I had a little trouble getting into the first book, as I was getting to know the characters and the setting and situation, and in book two I remember being a bit frustrated with Alexia (our protagonist) but by book three I was quite involved in the story and anxious how it would all end.  I didn't quite read the books back to back (waiting lists at the library, took them when I could get them). Defy in May, Ignite in July, and I finished up Endure in October. 

All three trilogies were quite clean - acceptable as YA reads.  No profanity that I recall (I do try to note it for my "parental perspective") ... the Defy series did have some tough situations. Orphan girls taken to the "breeding house" ... it is as the name suggests.  

Three different trilogies... three solid series.

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