Enders (Starters, #2)

Enders (Starters #2)
While Hyden (The Old Man's son) was hiding a big secret, I kind of guessed it at the beginning of the novel already. Blame it on reader's instinct that develops after you've read hundreds of books. Haha.

I somehow finished the story, but Enders definitely lacked the oomph that got me hooked on Starters. It's still quite alright, but I can't decide if I actually like it or hate it.

Rating: 3

Savage Drift

Book 1: Monument 14
Book 2: Sky on Fire

Savage Drift (Monument 14, #3)
Savage Drift
The survivors of the Monument 14 have finally made it to the safety of a Canadian refugee camp. Dean and Alex are cautiously starting to hope that a happy ending might be possible.
But for Josie, separated from the group and trapped in a brutal prison camp for exposed Type Os, things have gone from bad to worse. Traumatized by her experiences, she has given up all hope of rescue or safety. Meanwhile, scared by the government's unusual interest in her pregnancy, Astrid (with her two protectors, Dean and Jake in tow) joins Niko on his desperate quest to be reunited with his lost love Josie.

Niko, at first devastated over Josie's possible death, now embarks on a mission to save Josie after seeing her photo in the newspaper. Meanwhile, Astrid is getting suspicious that the government intends to experiment on pregnant women when she discovers that a fellow pregnant lady went missing from the refugee camp.

In this book, I enjoyed reading Josie's side of the story more, because it was portrayed as a hell on Earth. I love how Josie had become so strong, yet she keeps her power and rage in check at most times, exploding only when she is pushed to her limits (when someone messes with her new family in the prison).

The ending, though action-packed as usual, is lacking of its usual persuasiveness. Josie ended up in the USAMRIID testing laboratories, and after a deal with the Dr which allows her to see Niko, she signs the consent form allowing them to extract her spinal fluid for further testing (to which the nurse had warned her against). However, in the end, she was not tested on and was released, along with Astrid who was rushed into the same center for a C-section to deliver her huge baby. The baby was not experimented upon as well.

It is not logical that the government, with all the kidnapping of pregnant ladies for experiment earlier, would actually release these two mighty valuable lab rats without much hesitation, even though the Dr learned that they were actually all related to his now dead son Brayden in Monument 14.

Perhaps the author just wants them to unite with one another no matter what?

Happy as I was on their reunion, I had hoped that Laybourne would explore the possibilities of MORS following a testing done on Josie and Astrid's baby. But all in all, this is a real good series, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys Dystopian novels and appreciate a good, quick read!

Rating: 4.000

Sky on Fire

Trapped in a superstore by a series of escalating disasters, including a monster hailstorm and terrifying chemical weapons spill, brothers Dean and Alex learned how to survive and worked together with twelve other kids to build a refuge from the chaos. But then strangers appeared, destroying their fragile peace, and bringing both fresh disaster and a glimmer of hope. Knowing that the chemical weapons saturating the air outside will turn him into a bloodthirsty rage monster, Dean decides to stay in the safety of the store with Astrid and some of the younger kids. But their sanctuary has already been breached once. . . . Meanwhile, Alex, determined to find their parents, heads out into the darkness and devastation with Niko and some others in a recently repaired school bus. If they can get to Denver International Airport, they might be evacuated to safety. But the outside world is even worse than they expected. . . .

This is by far the best book in the series. It is raw, action-packed, and full of tears, heartbreak and kinship. 

Niko is someone you can count on, but below the tough-man appearance he has a loving heart. He cares for his young ones, and never complains. I feel that he's just the right guy for Josie and vouched for him from the beginning. However, he is able to put aside his love for Josie temporarily to lead the kids to safety. 

Josie is a type O without herself realizing it, but she is different from the other mindless killers as she can control herself from harming the ones she love. Love for a family without blood ties can go beyond value for one's life, as demonstrated by Josie who voluntarily ripped off her gas mask and turned O to save the lives of the ones she love. Now Josie is lost, but Niko swears to bring the rest of the family to safety. 
Back in the warehouse, where Dean, Astrid, Chloe (the 3 other O's who were left behind for fear of turning into killers) and the twins were situated, things were not that good with Alex (technical wizard) gone, Jake abandoning them for good, and Astrid pregnant with Jake's child. Dean still loves Astrid, but Astrid seems to have reservations of her feelings towards Dean.

Now the government plans to drop bombs in Monument in order to wipe out MORS-contaminated areas. Will Niko arrive at DIA in time to save the others left behind in Greenway supermarket? 

Sky on Fire is just brilliant. I finished it in one sitting. 

Rating: 5

Monument 14


Monument 14 (Monument 14, #1)

Monument 14

Fourteen kids. One superstore. A million things that go wrong.

In Emmy Laybourne's action-packed debut novel, six high school kids (some popular, some not), two eighth graders (one a tech genius), and six little kids trapped together in a chain superstore build a refuge for themselves inside. While outside, a series of escalating disasters, beginning with a monster hailstorm and ending with a chemical weapons spill, seems to be tearing the world-as they know it-apart.
Woah. This book just blew my hats off. The plot is so eventful and packed with suspense and fear of what lies ahead. While there are 14 different people trapped in Greenway (the superstore in Monument, Colarado), they all have different personalities which I grew to love and appreciate, even though some of the characters are douche-bags or spoiled/angsty brats. 

The main focus in this book is how the kids strategize to stay alive for as long as possible under the leadership of Niko, who used to be a Boy Scout and had the survival instinct and knowledge drilled in him. He made a good leader, but he was terrible at socializing and expressing his thoughts. 

Meanwhile, Dean has been in love with Astrid, the swim team goddess for quite some time, but Astrid seems to be attached to Jake, who is sometimes a good person, sometimes a bully. 

I find the most lovable part of the story was the presence of the 7 kids who each has a different personality. I love Max with his wild stories, Ulysses with his limited English and pot belly, Henry and Caroline the sweet-natured and docile twins and Batiste with his ultra-religious behaviour. They are quirky but simply adorable. Sahalia desperately wants to be an adult despite being 13 years old, and Chloe who is 10 is just a rotten brat, but I appreciate their presence throughout the book anyway.

And we found out about the MORS biological weapon which was leaked during the earthquake, sending people into a frenzy amidst a cacophony of disasters. MORS attack people based on blood groups, type A blisters up and die from tissue failure, type AB undergoes hallucination and paranoia, type O turns into raging monsters and type B becomes sterile. 

The author gives you a raw chunk of what is happening without any sugar-coating, which gives a real touch to the story, highlighting how bad it is outside. The way the children actually made a temporary safe haven out of the supermarket is actually quite impressive, despite the horrors ongoing in the outside world. 

Go ahead and read it, you'll like it!

Rating: 4.000