A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen

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Goodreads Blurb

From New York Times bestselling author Jennifer A. Nielsen comes a stunning thriller about a girl who must escape to freedom after the Berlin Wall divides her family between east and west.

With the rise of the Berlin Wall, twelve-year-old Gerta finds her family divided overnight. She, her mother, and her brother Fritz live on the eastern side, controlled by the Soviets. Her father and middle brother, who had gone west in search of work, cannot return home. Gerta knows it is dangerous to watch the wall, to think forbidden thoughts of freedom, yet she can’t help herself. She sees the East German soldiers with their guns trained on their own citizens; she, her family, her neighbors and friends are prisoners in their own city.

But one day, while on her way to school, Gerta spots her father on a viewing platform on the western side, pantomiming a peculiar dance. Then, when she receives a mysterious drawing, Gerta puts two and two together and concludes that her father wants Gerta and Fritz to tunnel beneath the wall, out of East Berlin. However, if they are caught, the consequences will be deadly. No one can be trusted. Will Gerta and her family find their way to freedom?

Review

I went through a phase when I was 11-13 where I could not get my hands on enough WWII books. I thought they were so interesting and I loved reading The Diary of Anne FrankNight by Elie Wiesel,  and Number of the Stars by Lois Lowry. I know it’s kind of morbid to be fascinated with that but I couldn’t believe that the Holocaust and life was that horrible! I never even thought about how the Berlin Wall affected people. This novel was an eye opener.

I love how the main character Gerta was so strong in her convictions. She knew right from wrong and owned up when she knew she had done something that wasn’t right. But she also knew she had to do some wrong in order to be reunited with her dad and brother in West Berlin.

Gerta’s mom wore me out in this novel. I understand why she did what she did and why she reasoned the way she did but good lord woman! You have another child over there! I’m glad she understood the importance of right and wrong at the end. I hated seeing her being so weak against the Stasi and Grenzers. What horrible people!

And Mueller… I feel like his part in the novel was poetic justice. The end with him and Gerta was heartbreaking but he was so mean! How threatens a little girl??? She’s obviously no match for a grown man.

It’s no secret that I’m a sucker for a happy ending and this novel gave me everything you could want out a book. Suspense, character growth, love, historical accuracy, and and understanding. I wanted to jump for joy at the end of this one. I was rooting for Gerta and Fritz the entire novel. I think this could be a great book to film adaption. I know a lot of families who endured WWII, the Berlin Wall, and the Holocaust did not have a happy ending but this book made me happy to see young girl stay true to herself and to her family. I think she has a lot to offer kids. I would definitely read this book in my class to teach tolerance, working hard, perseverance, and staying true to yourself and to what’s right.

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Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

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Goodreads Blurb

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.

Her opponents are men-thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for four years and then be granted her freedom. Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilirating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.

Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

Review

2015 has been such a great year for joining new fandoms for me. I jumped on the Rainbow Rowell bandwagon with Fangirl, I got hooked on new teen contemporary with Anna and the French Kiss, I stepped out of my comfort zone and tried out a sad book: We All Looked Up by Tommy Wallach, I stepped back in time a little bit and read the Jurassic Park books by Michael Crichton, I made a new author friend Susanne Valenti and fell in love with her books in the Cage of Lies series,  and now I have joined the popular fan club of Throne of Glass. I understand why people have been calling it the best YA Fantasy. The first book came out in 2012 and it’s been all the talk ever since in the booktube and bookstagram world. I’m not sure why I didn’t jump right on it in 2012. The genre was right up my alley.

I will say that 2015 has been a very experimental year for me literature-wise. Maybe it’s something about being in my twenties, and figuring IT all out. Whatever the proverbial “IT” may be.

I may be late to the party but I’m here now! I LOVE SARAH J. MAAS. Holy cow you rock! I’ll admit that I have not done a whole lot of research Ms. Maas but I do follow her Instagram as of recently and she seems pretty cool. We could totally hang out over some Starbucks and muffins. I saw where she has been in New Zealand and I think Australia and she went and saw the Lord of the Rings set. That earned her even more brownie points from me! She seems so chill.

This book was an adventure from the get go. I had so much sympathy for the main character. She changes so much but she’s already such a witty, intelligent character. She has a love triangle that she is apart of and it is the best love triangle drama since Edward vs. Jacob.

Celaena is juggling the crown prince whom she shares her wit with and the kings captain of guard, Chaol, whom she shares her toughness and also her struggle of breaking down walls. She and Chaol both seems like they have horrible pasts and have been too beaten down in life to actually open up to another person.

If I had to pick who she ended up with I would definitely pick Chaol. Dorian is a little too “princely” for me. A little too arrogant, and a little too much of a womanizer.

Maas has done an excellent job of creating this fantasy world. I would go as far as to say that it is comparable to Garth Nix’s fantasy world of The Old Kingdom. I love it. I like how the book took an unexpected dark turn. I wonder how long this series took her to plan out. There is so much back story. She could write books upon books just on the back story. I would love to hear more about Celaena’s past and how she became an assassin. Or even after the series is over I would like to know more about Nehemia and where she comes from and how she grew up learning the Wyrdmarks without anyone but her family knowing.

Or even about Elena and Gavin. That story seems similar to Beren and Luthien from Tolkien’s tales. It’s an epic love story of warriors. And one is half elf! She’s built an entire new fantasy world. She may even need textbooks written like The Silmarillion, to explain all of the backstory.

I bought the second book Crown of Midnight on my day off from work. I’m about 60 pages in and loving it. However, I did not see the 3rd book in paperback at the Barnes & Noble I went to and bought the prequel The Assassin’s Blade instead. I’m hoping it’s one that I can read after the second book. Let me know if I should read the third book before it! But I can’t wait to learn more about Celaena’s past about Sam, whom she lost everything for.

Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard by Rick Riordan

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Goodreads Blurb

Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.

One day, he’s tracked down by a man he’s never met—a man his mother claimed was dangerous. The man tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.
The Viking myths are true. The gods of Asgard are preparing for war. Trolls, giants and worse monsters are stirring for doomsday. To prevent Ragnarok, Magnus must search the Nine Worlds for a weapon that has been lost for thousands of years.
When an attack by fire giants forces him to choose between his own safety and the lives of hundreds of innocents, Magnus makes a fatal decision.
Sometimes, the only way to start a new life is to die . . .

Review

Going into this novel I thought it would be middle grade level like Riordan’s Percy Jackson, The Gods of Olympus, and Kane Chronicles series. While I wouldn’t go as far to call it Young Adult, I feel like this series is going to float somewhere between middle grade and young adult. There are some cuss words and one of the characters is betrothed to a young man because of an arranged marriage. Magnus is 16 years old where are the characters in Riordan’s other mythology series start off around age 12/13.

I very much enjoyed this book. I like how each of the different series feel different. You know that they are all apart of modern day time and coexist but the worlds that they live in are each so unique. It is almost like culture shock when you read stories like The Son of Sobek where Percy (Greek mythology series) and Carter Kane (Egyptian Mythology series) meet. And surprisingly, in this new series, the main character Magnus is a cousin of Annabeth from the Percy Jackson series. Whaaaaaaaat???!!! I know. Mind blown.

Every time they interact you’re like “OMG JUST TELL THEM HOW YOU’RE A DEMIGOD!” You know they would sit and talk for hours about it. I’m really hoping that by the end of all his mythology series that he is going to intertwine them in the end have an Avengers, all for one and one for all battle. Good ol’ fashioned Good vs. Evil be it Greek, Roman, Egyptian, or Norse!

I don’t want to spoilt anything for Magnus Chase but the beginning throws you for a loop. You’re like WHAT HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN THIS EARLY IN THE BOOK?! And the people that you think are going to be main characters are not. It feels a little hodge-podge in the beginning but it all eventually comes together and you fall in love with each character. It’s very much like the other series. You think “There’s no way this is going to make sense.” But Riordan surprises us and keeps us on the edge of our seats the whole way through.

In my opinion, his books can be educational as well. I learned so much from reading the Kane Chronicles about Egyptian mythology and the differences between Greek and Roman when I read his Percy Jackson and The Heroes of Olympus series. This novel was no different. Sure, I knew about Thor and Loki. I even knew a little about Freya from reading The Sea of Trolls trilogy by  Nancy Farmer. But I had very little knowledge of how Asgard and Valhalla interconnected. I knew one was where Odin resides and the other is the Norse version of Heaven. But I learned all about Valkyries, Frey, and Yggdrasil (the tree that connects the worlds).

I cannot wait until the next book that comes out. I hope there’s more Annabeth in the next one! I want them to connect the Norse and Greek worlds to defeat evil. I would like to see more Loki in the next novel too. He seems like a piece of work in this one.

On a side note, I finished reading Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas. I will be posting a review soon and today I started reading A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen.