Review Post: TMI 6 – City of Heavenly Fire

The Mortal Instruments : City of Heavenly Fire
Title : City of Heavenly Fire  (The Mortal Instruments, #6)
Author : Cassandra Clare
Publisher : Margaret K. McElderry
Pages : 725 Pages
Year of Publication : 2014
Language : English
Genre(s) : Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance
Bought from : Periplus, Plaza Senayan, Indonesia
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
Synopsis :

In this dazzling and long-awaited conclusion to the acclaimed Mortal Instruments series, Clary and her friends fight the greatest evil they have ever faced: Clary’s own brother.
Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowhunter against Shadowhunter. Bearing the Infernal Cup, he transforms Shadowhunters into creatures out of nightmare, tearing apart families and lovers as the ranks of his Endarkened army swell.

The embattled Shadowhunters withdraw to Idris – but not even the famed demon towers of Alicante can keep Sebastian at bay. And with the Nephilim trapped in Idris, who will guard the world against demons?

When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon, and Alec must flee – even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned…

Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the terrible battle for the fate of the word in the thrilling final installment of the classic urban fantasy series The Mortal Instruments!

***

Finally, after waiting for like ages, I get to read the very last installment of Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series, City of Heavenly Fire. I was kinda annoyed with the fact that I could not have it at the very time the book released in Indonesia due to some issues of my life, like joining a 10-day experiential learning program from office, having some face treatment after struggling so much there, and finally after having time to go to Gramedia, I didn’t find this book there. It was not until I went to Periplus in Plaza Senayan that I grabbed this book and brought it onto cashier very soon. Lol

I really had a huge expectation for this book. I think Clare has done a very good job with the previous books of this series and I really hoped she would end it graciously and happily! Well, the later part was not absolute for me, as long as Clare made it reasonable not to end it happily. At least, the characters’ quality got more developed, especially my favorite ones, Jace, Clary, Simon, and Isabelle. >.<

And, if you asked me whether I got what I want, I would say YES! YES! THE END WAS AS GRACIOUS AND HAPPY AS I EXPECTED! See? And it’s written all-capital! With an exclamation mark! Can you imagine how fulfilled I am?????

So, wanna know a glance about the story and more details of what I meant with the ‘SO GRACIOUS AND HAPPY’? Better scroll down and read my entire review!! =)

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On the day Emma Carstairs’ parents were killed, the weather was perfect.

The story has some new characters and it all began with them; Blackthorne’s family from Los Angeles Institute was attacked by Sebastian Morgenstern (Clary’s big brother) and his dark soldiers, the Endarkened (the Shadowhunters who were turned with the Infernal Cup). Sebastian successfully turned the Head of Los Angeles Institute, Andrew Blackthorne, and his daughter, Katerina Blackthorne, to be the Endarkened. Sebastian caught one of his sons, Mark Blackthorne, the twin of Helen Blackthorne (Alice Penhallow’s girlfriend in City of Glass) and half-fairy, half-Shadowhunter to be handed to Seelie Queen. As a matter of fact, there were some kids left in that institute, Julian Blackthorne, the twinnie Tiberius and Livvy Blackthorne, little Dru Blackthorne and the infant Tavvy Blackthorne, and Emma Carstairs, Julian’s best friend. Sebastian knew this but was not interested because they were still too young to be turned; instead, he planned to kill them all. But Julian and Emma called for help to Idris and got out of Los Angeles Institute with a Portal sent from Idris while running from the death.

“…but goodness is not kindness, and there is nothing crueler than virtue.”

 Meanwhile, Jace and Clary still figured out ways to control the heavenly fire, caused by Glorious (Raziel’s sword), inside Jace’s body. Jace who had gotten much closer with Jordan and Simon followed Jordan’s meditation method to keep himself calm, thus leading the fire calmer. But it still didn’t show any result he wanted. He still could not feel too emotional or rage in order not to burn anything. Yes, the fire could really appear and burn what he touched so passionately. That is why Jace and Clary could not kiss too deeply. This is serious, fellas! This is the reason why there was not much intimate scene of them in this installment. =((

The other problem was Sebastian; as long as he was still around, Jace and Clary could never find their mind peaceful, let alone Clary who still couldn’t erase what her brother did to her and his obsession toward her.

Problems happening here is not only Jace’s and Clary’s. Simon struggled with his vampire’s life and now had to face a DTR—define the relationship—with Isabelle; in short, their relationship was left hung with no commitment, mainly because Isabelle didn’t seem to bother. Alec still tried to contact Magnus to apologize without harvesting anything and Maia’s attitude towards Jordan appeared too strange to ignore. But then all of them should distract their mind for awhile when news of Sebastian’s attack on every Shadowhunters’ institute around the world finally reached their very ears.

“No other family does so much for love, or feels so much guilt for it. Don’t carry the weight of the world on you, Jace. It’s too heavey for even a Herondale to bear.”

Jace, Clary, Alec, Isabelle, Jocelyn, and Luke went to Idris to attend Shadowhunters’ meeting to talk about Sebastian. Simon was left with Jordan and Maia because he was an ordinary vampire who did not have any powerful position in The Accord. Moreover, everybody thought he was safer in Brooklyn, especially with Jordan and Maia staying beside him almost 24 hours. Before leaving, Isabelle gave Simon her pendant which could sense a dark or demon’s energy that could help Simon anticipate them. But everything was not going as expected with Simon…

In Idris, there was a meeting held to talk about the attacks. The only institute left so far with people alive was Los Angeles Institute; the kids did arrive in Idris with Portal, as I told you. And they were asked to speak in front of everyone at the moment, giving their truthful witness about the situation while holding the Mortal Sword. Julian Blackthorne, as the oldest, was obliged to do that. Some of you might have known, but some might not, that holding a Mortal Sword is so suffering and Clary had proven it. Then, Julian, a 12-year-old boy, should do that and that is so unbearable, for Emma as his best friend and for Clary who had ever been there.

“All love is precious. It is why we do what we do. Why do we fight demons? Why are they not fit custodians of this world? What makes us better? It is because they do not build, but destroy. They do not love, but hate only.”

“Have you ever felt that you heart contained so much that it must surely break apart?”

“Weapons, when they break and are mended, can be stronger at the mended places. Perhaps hearts are the same.”

So the meeting was held but interrupted in the middle because of Emma who couldn’t bear to see her best friend suffer. In short, after knowing the situation, the meeting decided that they should send some of their Shadowhunters to get the Endarkened; not to destroy them, but to bring them back to Idris and to find a cure to make them as who they were. Jace, Clary, and others who had ever fought them at the Burren knew that was impossible to do. The Endarkened was not only like being possessed by devils; worse than that, they became the devils themselves, with their human bodies. Well, I don’t know how to explain this really well but the conclusion was they could never be back to who they were before. And the Clave would only risk so many Shadowhunters only for something unworthy. Jace told his father, who was also an Inquisitor about this but he didn’t seem to buy it. His father thought Jace only feared Sebastian. At the end, the Clave sent the SHadowhunters to battle the ENdarkened and get them back, with Jace and Clary insinuating between them all.

Without Clary or Isabelle’s knowledge, Simon was attacked by the Endarkened and fortunately he could have detected their presence with the pendant Isabelle gave him so he could anticipate them, along with Jordan and Maia. Simon was asked to flee while Jordan and Maia fought them but when he’s just getting out of their apartment, he was caught by some vampires by order of Maureen, the kid who was a vampire and the clan leader of LA vampire (she had killed Camille) and liked Simon really much. She caged Simon and put on him weird clothes. Simon was almost frustrated at that time, until finally a help came from someone whom he didn’t expect at all.

“You know me. I only have two reactions to bad news. Uncontrollable rage and then a sharp left turn into boiling self-hatred.”

“You’re brave and brilliant, and you’re perfect and I love you. I just love you and I always have. And the actions of some lunatic aren’t going to change that.”

After finishing the Endarkened, Jordan and Maia looked for Simon but couldn’t find him anywhere, near or far. Jordan was frustrated and quite blaming himself, but Maia couldn’t focus herself full on the matter of Simon; she was confused of whether it’s good or not to tell Jordan the thing she hid recently, that she needed to speak up as soon as things got far. But Maia did not think that was the correct time and tried to search for Simon, until suddenly a telephone came from Praetor Lupus, mentioning something about Simon. Jordan was nearly relieved but still finding it hard to fully calm, then he decided to go to Praetor Lupus to find out more and asked Maia to join him, and she approved. They went there but unfortunately, the Praetor Lupus they last saw some times ago was not the same with the One in front of them at the moment. And without their knowledge, something awful was about to catch them and Maia never found any chance to tell Jordan what’s happening with her…

So that’s it about the story. What do you think? Interested enough after reading in a glance? =)

Well, I want to share you more things that will, probably, make you interested with this book and push you to read this…

“It’s good to have people worry about you. It means they care. It’s how you know they’re good friends.”

“I wish I had a parabatai. It’s like someone who’s your family, but because they want to be, not because they have to be.”

First, the writing style; really, Clare really knows how to present her ideas, characters, plot really well! There is something with her style that always makes me couldn’t put the book down for a while and only spent my days on reading page per page (but often interrupted for other priority). She could make me feel like I was in every where the characters are. She really could describe the setting really well, really detailed, and I could picture them well too because of her description. Not to mention the way she joked in the book through every characters, how she could picture Jace, arrkkkhhh!! I love you, Clare! =)

Then, there is the characterization. I can choose my favorite characters but I can never choose my least favorite characters, because even Sebastian actually was… arkh, I will shut my mouth! Lol. I really like the characters there, perhaps because I have some of theirs and that made me easily connected with them. I really love Jace and Simon! Jace with his angelic physics, pride, yet soft heartened and often threw sarcastic jokes which made me craaazzzyyyy and Simon with his unexpected ideas and unexpected words and jokes and how actually he and Jace had cared for each other… Arkkkh the fan girl in me was awakeeeeen. They are my heroes! Lol

Clary herself was amazing! I have really sympathized with her since the beginning of this series. She was really tough and caring for the ones she loves, her mom, Jace, Luke, Simon, everyone around her and tried to protect them. I love how she could be calm and looking for solution to make the situations better. I love how she loves her mom! Lol. She was brave and authentic, confident being who she is.

Isabelle, she was so enchanting! She was bold, strong, beautiful, a speak-up person, yet quite reserved when it comes to telling she loves someone, including Simon. She really loves her family, even though she often throws harsh words towards or about her own parents. She ever made a mistake with Max and ended up regretting the action for almost her whole life, and I think that is make her like really human to me. She was not perfect but still she was really nice and I feel like wanting to be her best friend.

And I spent more than 2 paragraphs for telling you about my favorite characters lol.

By the way, I also put some interest in Emma Carstairs. She was such a cool teen girl, so brave to protect her loved ones, so caring about Julian and his brothers, even though she was quite clumsy in terms of love (and I think it’s appropriate for girls her age).

The last is the story. Some parts of the ending were like what I expected. I don’t think I need to tell you the details, perhaps an overview. The love story is like so happily ended, with a little spicy crunchy twist, and yeah, I like it. The twist is what made the ending unusual for me. I didn’t feel like Clare just put the characters together just to make us, readers, happy. I believe that it was the best for the situation happening, remembering what type of persons the main characters are. Remembering what is actually inside their mind and heart. You may say I just bluff, act like I know what’s on the characters’ mind, what’s on Clare’s mind while she was writing this, but it’s all up to you.

The way Clare put some new characters in this series is approvable. She gave them appropriate roles that showed why these characters are important for the plot, really contributing to the development of the story, not only just an eye-service to give a variation in the story’s moods.

Other thing I love from a whole series is the message about parent-son/daughter relationship. We can see here how a crazy ambition could lead a father, into madness that he made a pact with devil, gave his own son to the darkness even before he was born, how, as a man, Valentine also has made other family and his own broken into pieces. At the end, he got nothing but doomed.

How a mother, to protect her own daughter from their dark past, had to run and run along with her daughter without telling her the truth and carried the sorrow inside her own head.

How a boy could turn into evil because his father had made him be to fulfill what his father called ‘destiny’. A boy, so innocent he should be, turned to the most vicious and heartless man in the world. He was taught love as it is to destroy, hence never he knew what love actually is, how to love someone, and it is just so sad.

I feel so sorry that I hope if I could be given a chance to be a mother, parents, never would I hurt my kids like that. And I thank God that I have the most perfect family I could ever get in this world. =)

Then almost last, and of course not the least : There are two most touching scenes that, I figure, have a deep message about love; First one is when Clary finally told Jace she was raging inside towards Sebastian not only because what’s happening but also for he almost raped her. Jace was so angry and feeling like cutting Sebastian into pieces, how he wanted to be ‘not useless’ for Clary in this situation, and how Clary thought what he said was enough for her. Then when Clary asked him whether he would think of her any different, Jace, without a doubt, answered no. I think it was romantic, how someone sees you so invaluable that even though there is something potentially ‘decreasing’ some parts of you, causing a flaw in you, the man does not care about it and has a willing to go on with you.

The second one is when Jace told Clary how she had changed himself so much, that the cold and perfectionist Jace who always tries to be perfect to be loved (Valentine’s dogma lol), could finally become the quite light-headed Jace that believes there should be forgiveness in love for the flaws in the process of reaching the perfection because Clary showed him so. Yeah, something like that. I am quite like Jace in term of this thing, like I always want to look ‘everything is okay’ with me, that ‘I’m good’ so that everyone will not feel that I am bothering, thus they will feel comfortable near me or even love me hanging around and with them. I never let myself make mistake but if I do, I will blame myself so highly and feel so much guilty. And reading this scene just encourages me to look for an appropriate people that could help me know the world.

By the way, there is also a surprise for you who might have little interest in Brother Zachariah, one of Silence Brother. There is also a character from The Infernal Devices (a prequel of The Mortal Instruments) appearing in this last installment and it kinda pushed me to read that series too. Perhaps I should give it a try. I really like the world created in this novel.

To be more complete, I like Clare’s. I thank her to write this story and inspire me=)

PS : There will be a next ShadowHunters’ adventure!!! Be ready for next year!
I bet Emma Carstairs will become the favorite new character. =)
Rating : 5/5
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Review Post: The Perks of Being A Wallflower

The Perks of Being A Wallflower

The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Title : The Perks of Being A Wallflower
Author : Stephen Chbosky
Publisher : MTV Books
Pages : 213 Pages
Year of Publication : 2012 (first published in 1999)
Language : English
Genre(s) : Young Adult, Coming-of-age, Contemporary
Bought from : – ( I got the free e-book ^.^)
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
Synopsis :
And while he’s not the biggest geek in the school, he is by no means popular. Shy, introspective, intelligent beyond his year yet socially awkward, he is a wallflower, caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it.Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sidelines forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a deeply affecting coming-of-age story that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.

 

 

***

“Do you always think that much, Charlie?”

Here I am now, after a long, long time not updating this lovely place of mine, greeting you with a new book to review, The Perks of Being A Wallflower. Well, not a new piece, but I guess most of people here in Indonesia, especially the teenagers, haven’t read this novel. I really think this is a good novel for teens so it kinda pushes me to ask you, Indonesian teenagers, to read this and meet Charlie.

By the way, I forgot to mention that this book has been adapted into movie, starring Logan Lerman (the most charming man in Hollywood), Emma Watson (an adorable British girl-turned-woman), and Ezra Miller (hooooot!). Some, or perhaps, most of you have watched the movie version and had known the story plot, but I assure you that you need to read the book too! Really!!! Why? I’m gonna tell you!!

Okay, I’m gonna start with the synopsis.

“(To Charlie)He’s a wallflower … You see things. You keep quiet about them. And you understand. “

As you probably already knew, the main character of this story is a 15-year-old boy named Charlie, who just lost his friend, the one and only, who committed suicide and at the same time got in high school with no friends left. Charlie wasn’t really close to anyone outside his family member; the closest one with him is his big bro who’s an excellent baseball player, which brought him to continue his school to Penn State, while his elder sister’s quite hot-blooded but sometimes nice towards him. He with his parents was just like any other kids with their parents, I think. But the most impactful person to him was probably his mother’s late sister, Aunt Helen. Charlie had been so close towards her that he still remembered her in every single thought of his.

“…Even if somebody else has it much worse, that doesn’t really change the fact that you have what you have. Good and bad…I don’t think I have it any better or worse than she does… maybe it’s good to put things in perspective, but sometimes, I think that the only perspective is to really be there…it’s okay to feel things. And be who you are about them.”

And after his friend, Michael, left him to go to another world, Charlie had none to be friend at school. For some times, school days seemed so tough for him. But he never told anyone, not his parents, his sister, even his brother, except his ‘friend’. He wrote a letter to his ‘friend’, containing story of everything happened in his life, thought, feeling, and emotion he had toward people around him, and hope he had for them. He was asked by his therapist to do this due to something ‘disturbing’ from the past that affected him until then, but still unable to be figured out.

But those tough days softened when Charlie could get close with his English teacher, Bill. Charlie enjoyed the class for he had an enjoyment in literature a lot and Bill really was glad with that fact. Bill asked Charlie to read more literatures and write an essay for every book afterwards. Charlie enjoyed it a lot, including the time after class he had with Bill to discuss the book he read. Then more good days came when Charlie got to know Patrick and fell in love with his step sister, Sam, and could get close with both of them.

“Charlie, we accept the love we think we deserve.”

Patrick and Sam were really different with Charlie. Charlie was a vivid thinker, a very sensitive guy, so caring for others’ feeling, and a kind of homie-guy, even his own sister called him freak once. Patrick was quite frantic, so open about what he thought and what he felt, a risk-loving one, a party-guy, and Sam was pretty (according to Charlie), fun, ever known as a ‘blow-girl’ something, but deep inside she had a low self-esteem. Even so, they could hang out together. Patrick and Sam invited Charlie to their life which was containing of party, theater show, Saint-day, and many things, including introducing him to their senior  friends,  Mary Elizabeth (becoming his first girlfriend even though he’s so much in love with Sam), Bob, Craig, and Alice. Charlie finally got to know them deeper.

“I just think it’s bad when a boy looks at a girl and thinks that they way he sees the girl is better than the girl actually is. And I think it’s bad when the most honest way a boy can look at a girl is through a camera. It’s very hard for me to see Sam feel better about herself just because an older boy sees her that way.”

But the thing about Charlie was he kept everything he thought and felt inside himself. And like I said before, he’s a vivid thinker, so vivid that he never actually did things. Almost everything he wanted to do only ended up in his brain. He was too selfless and too sensitive of other people’s feeling that he did not want to tell them what he’s feeling only not to ruin their mood, to hurt their heart. That is why Bill once asked him to ‘participate in life’. That is why Sam told him not to ‘just sit there and … do things’.

Then I feel like hugging Charlie. If he were my brother or friend, I would.

And when I knew what’s going on with him and Aunt Helen back when he was very little, I felt really sad… Actually I have already known from watching the movie, but Charlie told me explicitly what’s happening and it made my heart more…broken? I really can’t comprehend. So terrible =(

“I’m not the way I am because of what I dreamt and remembered about my aunt Helen. That’s what I figured out when things got quiet. And I think that’s very important to know…I know what happened was important and I needed to remember it… I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we’ll never know most of them. But even if we don’t have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.”

I don’t know but I really got hooked. The glossaries were just simple and easily understood and the plot itself only had a few twists (and only one significant twist at the end of story) but I was really impressed with Charlie. How complicated his life became, due to his too-much ponderings. How he was able to press his needs and wants for the sake of others. How hard he tried to understand everyone and their motives. How brave he was to fight for his friends. How thoughtful he was. How wise actually he was for his age. And he was only 15.

I wondered how my 15-year-old me had been seven years ago.

But well, Charlie was too self-pushing, right?

I hope all teenagers read this; everything that is parts of teens’ life are summed up well here, dilemma, family problem, sex, drugs, risk-taking moments, love, school. I myself wish I had read this novel back then so that I would not only think about love so shallow, or see myself superior over my friends, and ponder more, think more, care more like Charlie. And for those who have teenage sisters and brothers, especially who loves reading, this book is a recommended gift for them.

“The good news is that I read the book, and because of its fantasy nature, I could pretend that I was in the book. That way I could participate and still read.”

In fact, I am disappointed with my review about this book. I feel like I could not represent what’s on my mind really well. Charlie!!!!! By the way, by reading this novel, I finally figured out why Charlie’s called ‘a wallflower’. Well, the movie explained it but I just couldn’t get it. Perhaps I can through the book for it gave me a greater picture of Charlie’s experience.

One statement that I like from this book  :

“I feel infinite”  

And I do now =)

PS : Though the movie version wasn’t adapting this book fully, I still love it! it’s recommended too for teenagers!!
Rating : 5/5

Review Post: The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars
Title : The Fault in Our Stars
Author : John Green
Publisher : Dutton Books
Pages : 318 Pages
Year of Publication : 2012
Language : English
Genre(s) : Young Adult,Romance, 
Bought from : – ( I got the free e-book ^.^)
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
Synopsis :
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.
 

 

***
It’s been a long time since my last review!!It took me long, really long just to finish one book. I made myself read more than 2 books, either fiction or nonfiction, at the same time so that I could go after my reading target this year and also reading target in some challenges I’ve been joining. It was not as easy as deciding which books to buy first, given some pocket money I was received. The time is enough, I think, but the one who uses it did not use it well. I always postponed my plan to continue reading and yeah, no wonder I haven’t finished , like, four books since March. =(And this is it, out of 6 I finally finished two and The Fault in Our Stars is one of the two. I have been really curious with this novel ever since I read the review about this book as well as John Green’s name as the author of this story. I have been interested in his other masterpiece after reading Paper Town so I thought I would like to give this book a try.

“But in fact, depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.”

First, before I jumped to conclusion, let me share a glance of the story to you. Situations happened in this novel was seen and told through the eye of Hazel Grace,a 16-year-old girl who has a thyroid cancer in her lung. She was unpleasantly and skeptically living her life, befriending but her parents and reading books and novels, repeating her favorite novels, An Imperial Affliction by Peter Van Houten, whom she considered her third friend. Her mother couldn’t bear seeing her like this made her join a Support Group, a group consist of some kids and teens with cancer that met up every week and share their (cancer) fighting story to each others. Hazel did not think this was her thing but she didn’t want to make her mom more difficult so she came every week, without sharing a single story but a single sentence ‘I had a thyroid cancer’ kinda. The only person she could connect with there was Isaac, a 17-year-old boy with an eye cancer. There’s not much talking between them (yet) but their eyes usually met whenever they thought something was too much. And things changed in Hazel’s life, too, because of Isaac (in my opinion lol); once, he brought his friend, Augustus Waters, to the Support Group. He had an appendiceal cancer, making him lose one of his legs, thus, making him wear a prost. From the description Hazel poured, Augustus was really hot. He was so attractive with his crooked smile and muscular body. That’s why Hazel was fascinated, and became more fascinated when he showed much interest in her.

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.”

Augustus, or Gus, said she’s so cool, looking like Natalie Portman in V for Vendetta, repeating it like more than twice. Gus so bluntly said that he liked her and wanted to go steady with her. Any girls and women will be like melting as well as feeling confused at the same time, encountering a boy like this. And since then, they became close. Hazel shared her favorite book to him, An Imperial Affliction while Gus told her to read The Prince of Dawn series, asked her to come to his place to play the game version also, with Isaac. Hazel also told him how she really wanted to know the ending of AIA which was left unfinished, how many times she sent letters to Van Houten without ever being replied even once. Gus, who happened to be interested in that book upon reading it, sent an e-mail to Van Houten and got replied. Despite her jealousy, it encouraged Hazel to send Van Houten an e-mail, asking about the ending of the novel. And finally, she got his reply! But unfortunately, the e-mail said that he couldn’t tell her the ending unless they met each other directly, meaning Hazel should go to Amsterdam.

“I’m in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.”

But things got rough all of sudden. Hazel, who was always thoughtful about how her parents and Gus would keep up living once she’s gone, got recurrence and forced her to attend the hospital. But after this, things got sweeter. After she’s back home, she developed more intimate relationship with Gus and told him that the only way she could find out about the ending of AIA was by going to Amsterdam and meeting Van Houten. In short, with a funding support from an organization concerning themselves in kids and teens with cancer, they’re able to go to Amsterdam and meet Van Houten. Sadly, he wasn’t as cool as what Hazel had extracted from his novel. She couldn’t get to know the ending she was dying to, but she really did not want to pass the chance to be with Gus so she decided to forget about Van Houten and the ending-she-was-damn-curious-about, and had fun with Gus in Amsterdam, including making love hehehihi. The nice thing doesn’t last forever, fella. I really didn’t figure it out before. Yes, it’s soooo improbably unpredictable.

“Oh, I wouldn’t mind, Hazel Grace. It would be a privilege to have my heart broken by you.”

But I will not tell you! Please, read it yourself =3 Though unpredictable, it did not surprise me. Perhaps because this is about cancer so, yeah, there is not much those unexpected things. And I really wished I would have cried so many tears reading this but in fact I didn’t. I don’t know if it’s because I read this in a very distant time that sometimes I forgot how the story had gone, or because I really could not feel the sadness Hazel felt, or it’s just the story that wasn’t really that sad at all. But I did feel touched when it came to Hazel’s parents. Well, you should read it yourself hehe. By the way, most of the narration and dialogue are quotable. They were so beautifully chained to each other =). Anyway, the main character, Hazel Grace, was just so mature for her age. There was no scene that she didn’t talk like a philosopher, a skeptic philosopher for exact. And I think she’s what differed TFIOS with other YA novels whose main character has a cancer; while most of typical stories offer an optimistic character with a great struggle, Hazel’s just so skeptic and perceivably effortless to live her life. She tended to ask ‘why’ to almost everything in her life, but she never questioned why she should be having the cancer. And Augustus, well, I don’t know what to say about him. Compared to Hazel, Gus was more optimistic and willing to leave his trace on others, though he knew he might hurt or even get hurt. He wanted to live his life being useful to other people, showing much love to them, especially Hazel. He was just so damn blunt! I wonder if there is a man or woman able to be so honest about his/her feeling towards the one he/she loves. How he was willing to sacrifice so much for Hazel was just so adorable.

“Do the thing you’re good at. Not many people are lucky enough to be so good at something.”

For teenagers, I think they should read this, especially the teen girls. Hazel is a character that they could learn from; such a skeptic yet brave and loving girl, and instead of crying over her ‘untied’ relationship with Gus, she could cope with her life and found things she could hold onto, things that could help her remember Gus. Even the love story offered is not the cheesy type. I myself learn to be honest with my feeling to people I love, though it may not be so good for me. And that everything has a risk, even in loving itself. But the return of it is great also, so don’t be afraid to love and just take whatever the risk might be. And parents are everything. Hehe.

“You don’t get to choose if you get hurt in this world, old man, but you do have some say in who hurts you. I like my choices. I hope she likes hers.”  

Rating : 4/5

Review Post: The Birth of Phoenix

The Birth of Phoenix

The Birth of Phoenix
Title : The Birth of Phoenix  (Phoenix Chronicles, #1)
Author : Candice Snow
Publisher : Create Space
Pages : 298 Pages
Year of Publication : 2013
Language : English
Genre(s) : Young Adult, Science-Fiction, Dystopian, Post-Apocalyptic
Bought from : – ( I got the e-book free from the author ^.^)
Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads
Synopsis :
Florence Nightingale lived the perfect life. She had loyal friends, loving parents, and comfortable living conditions in one of Brooklyn’s better apartment complexes. Then the Half War—a violent fight between races—broke out and her life was changed forever. Forced to leave her home in New York, Florence flees to North Carolina where she is reluctantly taken in by a mysterious rural community called the Colony. Ruled by a self-appointed King and Queen, the Colony is divided from within. Women are raffled off at the age of sixteen, breaking the law means certain death, and under no circumstances are races to be mixed.But Florence has never been one to follow rules. It isn’t long before she has secured a home for herself in the Cabin where servants are raised. Secluded just outside the confinements of the Colony, the Cabin allows Florence to mature in a peaceful environment. Here she establishes lasting friendships, bitter rivalries, and her first love.When her father is publicly executed for a crime he didn’t commit, Florence focuses her attention on rebelling against the monarchy and uprooting the truth behind the Colony’s darkest secrets. The only problem is that her marriage raffle is looming near, and the more Florence uncovers about the Colony—including the death of her father—the more it endangers both her safety and her sanity.

***
It’s been two weeks since I finished reading this novel. I am sorry for updating so late. Gonna try harder to be disciplined hihi.

“The phoenix flower was his greatest botany experiment. It was designed to enrich the soil of war torn earth, and can only germinate when in contact with fire. He named it after my nickname. I didn’t want him to, but my father used to call me his little phoenix because my unruly red hair reminded him of fire.” 

A young, free-spirited girl, Florence Nightingale, ran away from the riotous Brooklyn along with her father and her best friend, Sabrina, to small and isolated place, The Colony, only to find herself more trapped there with all the unreasonable rules and conditions to live. Besides the rules ‘not to steal, not to kill, not to commit adultery, The Colony, in my opinion, was a hell for a woman, or a man, or lovers! There were fewer women than men, which made women so precious that the only way to get them married was through raffle. Men, as long as they’re single, no matter how old they were, could join them. The women were enlisted in their 16th birthday. But the marriage could only occur among white-skinned people, whom I presume in this story was the Caucasian (because there was a dialogue that showed how Sabrina perceived her late Japanese friend as different). The black-skinned people were considered a disease, an abnormality, a curse. That’s why they were also treated so inhumanely, viewed as a low-class citizen there that only deserved a job as slaves.

The discrimination did not stop there; it occurred the white skinned themselves. Where they lived and what occupation they had was decided by a kind of psychometric test or IQ test (can’t make sure). The lowest among them were those who lived in The Third Level. These people working their ass off to watch Creatures work. The higher rank was The Second Level. These people worked as teachers for the society and the highest one, The First Level, was filled by the doctors and also the leaders of The Colony. One mystery that had been in Florence’s mind was if the black-skinned people were not allowed to get married, how could the Colonist leaders keep providing the town with newly born ones for filling the role as future slaves? Living there was like a hell for such a girl. Not to mention Flo should see her father, a biologist (who succeeded to produce a new phoenix), executed for the thing he didn’t do and the situation forced her to be independent. She didn’t live alone, though; she’s taken care in a kind-of-orphanage by Tabby, a black-skinned woman, in The Third Level, along with Sabrina and other black-skinned kids, including Tyresse, her soon-to-be lover. Things even got worse when finally, Flo turned 16, thus forcing her to join the marriage raffle and to forget her true love…

So, I can only explain the summary till this point. I am afraid I will spoil everything if I go further. In addition, the thing about dystopian story is the world-building explanation and how well you get along with it. I am trying to pull you with the world building first, you fall for it? Hehe.

I got the e-book version for free through a dystopian story lover group in Goodreads. They offered a free e-book as an exchange for a review I would make, with deadline of reading and reviewing in 3 weeks. I received this at the end of February, meaning that I failed to keep my promise T.T but I try to still write the review anyway Lol.

“The day you witness wrongdoing and fail to feel compelled to do something to stop it, is the day you’ve lost sight of what life is all about.”

This novel is beyond my expectation; when I began to read this, I kept in mind that The Birth of Phoenix was a masterpiece from a newly debuted author, Candice Snow. I didn’t mean to disgrace her, in fact I usually do that to keep my expectation as low as possible so that I can be more understanding with some perceived decays, like typos, unsmooth character introduction, and, because this book talked about dystopian society, lack of thorough explanation of the world. Those are merely the technical things I consider, not including the personal experience I had with the books, like a chemistry with the characters and other kinds. But I got those two aspects as I was digging more and more hehe. The world building was clear and understandable. The characters, their background and other details, were smoothly introduced and explained through the eye of Flo, because she was the story –teller of all the situations happened inside The Colony. In spite of producing a subjective perspective, but it helped me to know deeper about other characters and how difficult it was to live in the Colony, with all discriminations and hidden mystery.

“I drop to my knees, hanging my head in defeat. My eyes swell with hot, angry tears, but I refuse to let them fall. I refuse to cry. Crying is for the weak.” 

One thing quite discomforting me was Flo being too…emotionally explosive! Too easy for her to get exploded, perhaps there was too much fire inside her heart. She deserved someone soft like Tyresse. And she was too brave. Hmm… Oh, and things got more touching when the story was about to end…

By the way, don’t be too surprised if the economic system inside this novel is quite similar with the one in The Hunger Games’ Seam. As far as I could remember, there was no currency but a barter system to buy something. Tyresse himself reminded me of Peeta, of his cool-headedness and soft nature. But the similarity stops there. And I don’t mean to compare one another =)

In short, I RECOMMEND this for you! But I think it’s still difficult to find this book in Indonesia. I am currently looking for the sequel, Baptism of Fire. Huff… Okay, bookers! Have a nice day! ~~~ 

“Compassion has lead to many lives saved. Hatred has lead to many lives destroyed. But apathy… apathy lacks the passion of both hate and compassion. It is a void that is not easily escaped. Once you fall into its depths, it is extremely difficult to arise as anything more than a shell of a human being… It is a desire to do nothing, feel nothing, be nothing. It is numbness, simply put. And numbness towards life, Miss Aiden, is very dangerous.”

PS : An interesting quote I found in this novel
The one thing that everyone knows about sheep is that they are the dumbest animals on the face of the earth. They get confused on where to find their water even though their trough has been in the same spot their entire lives, they trust you wholeheartedly as long as you have food, but most of all, they go anywhere the herd is going … even if the herd is headed for the side of a cliff.
Funny but deep. Lol
By the way, I think I didn’t write too detailed. I lost my mood, it’s too loooong. I should have reviewed this long time ago =((. But still, this review is reliable haha.
Rating : 4/5

Review Post : The Racketeer

The Racketeer

The Racketeer

 Title : The Racketeer

 Author : John Grisham
 Publisher : Dell
 Pages :  400 Pages
 Year of Publication : 2012
 Language : English
 Genre(s) : Mystery, thriller,  suspense
 Bought from : Kinokuniya (Plaza Senayan)

 Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads

Synopsis :
Given the importance of what they do, and the controversies that often surround them, and the violent people they sometimes confront, it is remarkable that in the history of this country only four active federal judges have been murdered.
Judge Raymond Fawcett has just become number five.
Who is the Racketeer? And what does he have to do with the judge’s untimely demise? His name, for the moment, is Malcolm Bannister. Job status? Former attorney. Current residence? The Federal Prison Camp near Frostburg, Maryland. On paper, Malcolm’s situation isn’t looking too good these days, but he’s got an ace up his sleeve. He knows who killed Judge Fawcett, and he knows why. The judge’s body was found in his remote lakeside cabin. There was no forced entry, no struggle, just two dead bodies: Judge Fawcett and his young secretary. And one large, state-of-the-art, extremely secure safe, opened and emptied. What was in the safe? The FBI would love to know. And Malcolm Bannister would love to tell them. But everything has a price—especially information as explosive as the sequence of events that led to Judge Fawcett’s death. And the Racketeer wasn’t born yesterday . . .
***

“A trial was a spectacle, a farce, a ridiculous way to search for the truth. But as I learned, the truth was not important. Perhaps in another era, a trial was an exercise in the presentations of facts, the search for truth, and the finding of justice. Now a trial is a contest in which one side will win and the other side will lose. Each side expects the other to bend the rules or to cheat, so neither side plays fair. The truth is lost in the melee.” P.84 

Malcolm Bannister, a 40-something guy. A former lawyer yet a Frostburg camp inmate, and became one due to his previous job involving him to trouble. And ever since then, he has lost two important things in his life : his career and his family. Only his old man, his sister, and his brother cared for him. But with 10 year sentence, he always thought his life was horrible. Until someday Malcolm heard the news about a Federal Judge, named Ray Fawcett, was killed along with his secretary as well as mistress. He knew something behind this murder, no, he knew someone behind this all. Who killed both of ‘em. And with this, Malcolm offered his knowledge to FBI, but with the exchange of his freedom and security after telling these all. In US, there’s a rule named Rule 35 which enables a freedom of an inmate if he/she can help the police and government (If I’m not mistaken). At first, FBI could hardly buy his offer, but for the sake of the case’ development, they decided to give Malcolm a try.

“It would be wrong to get the impression that Frostburg is filled with Bible-thumpers. It is not. It’s still a prison, and the majority of my fellow inmates would not be caught dead in a church service.” P.138

After signing some agreement, finally Malcolm stated what he knew. He told them that the murderer had been one of previous inmates in Frostburg, who was judged by the late Fawcett and felt resentful towards him. He was Quin Rucker. And without further ado, FBI searched for Quin and caught him while he’s doing his business. Further investigation was done, but for few hours Quin insisted he did not do what he was accused of. But the FBI investigator threatened to put his family in jail if he did not speak the truth (actually, speak things FBI believed was true) and he forcefully confessed to be the murderer and his confession was recorded in a video. And Malcolm finally could easily breath and embrace his freedom. But to protect him from any threats Quin’s family might do to him as Quin already figured out who told this thing, Malcolm entered the Witness Protection Program. He changed his identity, alter his face and look, and learnt to behave different than he usually did. He deleted Malcolm Bannister’s life and welcome Max Reed Baldwin, the new him, who’s never a lawyer nor an inmate, who lived his life in Florida. He would never be able to meet his father, his brother, his sister, even his son who lived with his ex-wife but he chose to keep going on. But the story didn’t end there! Quin kept denying the accusation and told his lawyer the FBI forced him to confess. He knew the man behind this scene and asked his brother to look for Malcolm Bannister. He was really sure Malcolm used Rule 35 and changed his identity. And it didn’t take a long time for his brother to find Malcolm, who’s now Max Reed Baldwin, in Florida, enjoying his life to the fullest. Hearing this through their devices, the FBI freaked out and called Max that Quin’s guys already found him. Max blamed the FBI and chose to move to other places without giving a notice to FBI. With his new identity, he made a virtual documentary movie company and acted as a famous director who earned many awards in the field. With this, he began his true mission! The mission to catch the real culprit in Judge Fawcett murder and to revenge FBI, who made Malcolm Bannister’s life horrible. Through the eye of Malcolm Bannister’s, readers are brought to know about life in a special camp/prison, behind the scene of FBI investigation who sometimes intimidates the accused that he/she’s cornered and forced to do what FBI told. We know further about US Law System and its apparatus and how they coordinated with each other. And I bet Grisham put what his view of US Law System, FBI, and US special camp in this book (Well, almost all authors do that hhi). I find it interesting, though, it helped me to think critically of my country’s.

“I often wonder about their history. Who mined the gold? From which continent? Who minted it? How did it get into this country? And so on. But I know these questions will never be answered.” P. 350

First let’s talk about the characters. Here Malcolm Bannister a.k.a Max Reed Baldwin is the star. Almost everything in this book is explained through his perspective. Yeah, ‘almost’, because there are some parts in which he didn’t involve directly and those situations are described through third POV. We could see his subjective thought in every condition happening to him, which is undoubtedly suspicious towards FBI. In the beginning, I was sympathetic because seemingly he was a victim of FBI and the law system. But after he was set free, changed his identity, and finally known what he reported about Quin Rucker was not true, the sympathy gradually decreased. But still, I enjoyed to know what he’s been thinking, like it’s all unpredictable and brilliant. Even the FBI had no idea how to deal with the mess Max purposively created. His characterization was gradually revealed following the situations evolved and I finally could conclude how he was at the end of the story. In reality, I surely will not agree to how he solved problems, but it’s different when reading them through this book, like I think it’s funny hhi.

Others are also interesting, like Quin Rucker,the ‘victim’ of Bannister’s who just poured everything in his mind, ignoring the effect it could to him. I enjoyed reading his parts, and at the end, it’s also revealed he’s one of the mastermind along with Bannister! This story is really full of surprise! Victor Westlake was also a nice supporting character, a thoughtful and careful one. Actually his parts were only few but it’s stuck in my mind, because it always involved something funny, not meaningful though. Perhaps that is why I perceive this character is also interesting hhi.

The second one is the setting. I, and along with other readers, were brought to many places where Malcolm did his adventure; starting from Fostburg to Florida, and then to Miami, continute to Roanoke, then going to Jamaica, Virginia, and so forth (please note in mind that this is not the exact order, but these all are places in which the events took place). And before ending up with Vanessa, his friend’s sister , whom he had had a crush on ever since they met in the camp, Malcolm had a only-for-fun relationship with Eva while he was in Miami (not sure about this, I forget, sorry) and managed to flirt with other women lol. He definetly was more confident with his new look hhi.

Then if you asked me what’s the most special about this story, of course I would no doubt to say the plot! I think this is what those literature experts call the character-driven plot! The Racketeer, I mean, every characters and situations inside, are stirred by Malcolm. You know, especially the FBI was really only like a bunch of idiot puppets. It was really cool, in my opinion. Not all crime, mystery, and thriller authors can pull this kind of plot. So you already know for sure that I really had fun with this book and absolutely, this is one of my most recommended novel for you all, who love crime, thriller, suspense, mystery, law-themed books! No no no, not only for those kind, but also those who usually think this kind of books is not their cup of tea, because yeah, thriller, crime books usually are really serious and kinda boring.

But no, put aside that thought because you will have fun with this!! Trust me!! And I hope Indonesian publishers will translate this book to Bahasa so that people who enjoy reading in Bahasa can read this soon! =)) 

PS : I include this review as a part of my commitment in reading-along John Grisham’s books, hosted by Books to Share, under Mystery’s Books Club.

Mystery Book Club

Mystery Book Club

=) Rating : 5/5

Review Post : Heist Society

Heist Society

Heist Society

 Title : Heist Society (Heist Society, #1)

 Author : Ally Carter
 Publisher : Disney-Hyperion
 Pages :  287 Pages
 Year of Publication : 2010 
 Language : English
 Genre(s) : Cozy mystery, adventure, Young-Adult, suspense
 Bought from :- (e-book was downloaded in a website)

 Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads

Synopsis :

When Katarina Bishop was three, her parents took her on a trip to the Louvre…to case it. For her seventh birthday, Katarina and her Uncle Eddie traveled to Austria…to steal the crown jewels. When Kat turned fifteen, she planned a con of her own—scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, determined to leave the family business behind. Unfortunately, leaving “the life” for a normal life proves harder than she’d expected.

Soon, Kat’s friend and former co-conspirator, Hale, appears out of nowhere to bring Kat back into the world she tried so hard to escape. But he has a good reason: a powerful mobster has been robbed of his priceless art collection and wants to retrieve it. Only a master thief could have pulled this job, and Kat’s father isn’t just on the suspect list, he is the list. Caught between Interpol and a far more deadly enemy, Kat’s dad needs her help.

For Kat, there is only one solution: track down the paintings and steal them back. So what if it’s a spectacularly impossible job? She’s got two weeks, a teenage crew, and hopefully just enough talent to pull off the biggest heist in her family’s history–and, with any luck, steal her life back along the way.

***

Not many YA authors offer cozy mystery theme, as far as I’m concerned, particularly with a young girl as the lead character. Ally Carter, with her Heist Society series, has colored YA world with the theme and has given a new perspective that digging the teenage world through YA novels is not only from love, or triangle love. Well, actually this is not the first time for Carter. Her previous works in Gallagher Girls series which offered the same theme has gained much attention and also critical success.Okay, now let’s go dig this first part of Heist Society series : Heist Society!

This story stars Katarina Bishop, or Kat, a 16-year-old girl who was struggling to change her life. She had been a thief since she was only a kiddo, because she was coming from a thief-family. Her father, her late mother, her great uncle, her cousin, almost all her surroundings were thieves. But she really wanted to live like a normal girl, that’s why she chose to go to high school; and for reaching that goal, she broke some data in a junior high school so that she could fake her own data to be submitted to her targeted high school, Colgan. She pretended to be a young European immigrant.

But it turned out that her staying there didn’t take so long as her wish. There were some problems involving the head master’s car and school’s property, those two things were crashed together that they could not be identified what they were before becoming so broken. According to the record in CCTV, the culprit was a girl, and to be more particular, a girl with the same specifications as Kat. Kat’s being suspected and accused, and because she couldn’t prove her innocence, she had to step out of that dream school.

“If Kat had stayed at Colgan long enough, a teacher might have eventually told her what her family had been saying for generations : It’s okay to break the rules, but only sometimes, and only if you know them very, very well.”

And in the middle of nowhere, a rich yet naughty boy who happened to be her best friend, W.W. Hale the fifth a.k.a Hale picked her up and admitted he was the one who did that on purpose, to dismiss Kat from school. At first, Kat was angry, but not too much I figured because she just let things go so easily. She was still disappointed that she could not go to school, and confused of how to deal with her rest of family because she had made them so shocked she’s going to school and leaving family (theft) business, and now, she was going back. But yeah, she didn’t blame Hale so much, because Hale finally told her why.

Her father was in danger. He was accused of stealing five famous paintings from an Italian millionaire man, named Arturo Taccone. Her father was not the one doing that; he had been stealing another things in Paris at the time the paintings were stolen. But Taccone did not buy his story and haunted him. Kat then tried her best to save her father. She went to Paris to meet his father to ask for his explanation, but her coming quite confused her father because he expected Kat to study in Colgan. Kat didn’t feel ready to tell her dismissal and said that she was permitted with an excuse of being sick. Her father told her his alibi in Paris, which was supported by the Paris Interpol who had been following him ever since, even right then when they met up.

“The girls looked at him. When he spoke again, his voice was soft. “Arturo Taccone is in the business of evil.””

After explaining all things, Kat and her father went in different ways. But Kat ended up meeting with Taccone and she was threatened. Taccone said he still believed Kat’s father was the thief and he wanted his paintings back within 2 weeks, unless Kat wanted to see his father and people she most cared about suffer. No better options left, Kat chose to find the paintings even though she didn’t know anything. After some ‘researches’, he finally found out who the culprit was; a guy with an alias, a sacred alias that no random thieves will use it randomly due to its historical name value; Visily Romane.

And here started Kat’s adventure in saving her father. She was helped by Hale, her best friend as well as her crush (I bet she had a crush on him!!), her sexy cousin, Gabrielle, the funny Bagshaw brothers, and the clumsy yet genius Simon. Well, I will not continue the summary. It will contain spoiler! =p

“Running a crew means delegating, knowing when to sit out and let others take the lead. Understanding what your best resources are and exactly how to use them.”

This is a funny, entertaining, and also giving you lessons. I am not confused with any descriptions there, I think Carter composited the novel proportionally; the setting descriptions, the way she introduced each characters there, the surprising part in the end, they are well arranged. If it’s not because I had to do some things else—and also be distracted by many things else—I would have kept reading the books until it finished. It was such a page turner!

Not to mention that Katarina’s character is one of a kind, at least for a 16-year-old girl. She was kinda boyish but independent, caring her father so much, even still loving and reminiscing memories of her mother. She was not defined by her relationship with boys; I am sure she loved Hale more than as her best friend or partner in crime, but she didn’t let her feeling swap her focus and keep being professional in the field—by ‘field’ I mean when they did a robbery. But she was too innocent, no, I think too ignorant about her feeling towards Hale. And for me, her characters are what I wish I had in my 16-year-old era hhi.

“The people she most cared about were depicted there in black-and-white and the message was clear : Arturo Taccon knew how to find the people and things that were important to her, and if Kat didn’t do the same, he wouldn’t be the only one to lose something she loved.”

“For the first time in Katarina Bishop’s life, she truly understood that a picture is worth a thousand words.”

And for Hale, maan, I really love this teenage boy! He’s cute , and based on Kat’s perception, I mean Carter’s description of Hale’s appearance through Kat’s, Hale is a handsome boy. And though he was rich, he was kinda lonely. That is why he had fun with Kat’s family, even joined their business kekeke. And I thought his first encounter with Kat was lovely; he caught Kat in the scene when she was about to steal his Monex’s painting lol. His calmness, cheerfulness, and brilliancy in solving problems are so lovable!!! He also cared for Kat so much. Though I was quite pissed in the beginning because he made Kat out from Colgan, then I found myself like this character. Hhi.

A little spoiler, at the end, Hale did something to help Kat gain back her place in Colgan. =)

“Hale looked at Gabrielle and gestured at Kat. “She’s adorable when she’s jealous.” Kat kicked his shin. “Hey! It had to be done, remember? And contrary to popular belief, I don’t know that many girls.” They both stared at him. “Okay, I don’t know that many girls who have your special skills.” Gabrielle batted her eyelashes. “Oh, you do know how to make a girl feel special.” But Kat… Kat felt like a fool.”

And for Taccone, he was horrible, I think. He liked Kat’s wit but enjoyed seeing her struggle to help her father. He was protected by two guards and I bet he couldn’t do anything unless his guards stood beside him all the time. He was a bad millionaire, enjoyed collecting paintings in a bad manner, and enjoyed games in which someone had to suffer. At the end, he ended up so bad. He deserved it hihi.

I had fun seeing other characters too. I was not fond of Gabrielle at first, but gradually I began to like her. Perhaps because she appeared to be so feminine and sexy and often teasing Kat by being close to Hale. Simon’s soooo cute!!! He was a cute nerd and I wanted to pinch him! Hihi. Two Bagshaw brothers are lovely, too. I really enjoyed reading this story!

“She didn’t protest as Hale slid his arm around her and pulled her to rest against his chest. It was somehow softer there than she remembered.”

I think Indonesian authors who focus on writing teenage literatures can try this genre. It’s so rare here in Indonesia to find teenage books with theme like Heist Society. Not that I support swindling or robbery by teenager, but the values inside this story, reflected by each characters’ decision and act are important for teenagers’ growth, in my opinion.

Still, don’t do robbery, kids! Lol.

I recommend this book for you who want to enjoy the light reading but still contain important messages. Like I said, Heist Society is entertaining and sending good messages for young teenage girl (particularly). 

PS : But I happened to regret that in my teenage year, I didn’t read many YA-cozy mystery stories like this. Ever since I was in junior high school, I have been reading detective, crime, and mystery novels. At that time, I still didn’t know much about YA novels and I thought there were only stories about teenage love. But I was mistaken!! Well, I enjoy reading romance but teenage love is too fishy, I reckon. T.T

=)

Rating : 4/5

Review Post : There Comes A Prophet

 

There Comes A Prophet

There Comes A Prophet

There Comes A Prophet

 Title : There Comes A Prophet

 Author : David Litwack
 Publisher : Double Dragon Publishing
 Pages :  282 Pages (Paperback)
 Year of Publication :July 9th,  2012 
 Language : English
 Genre(s) : Young-Adult, Dystopian, Science-Fiction, Fantasy, Adventure
 Bought from : I got the e-book version for free as an exchange for my review =)

 Synopsis and Cover Pic : Goodreads

Synopsis :

A thousand years ago the Darkness came—a terrible time of violence, fear, and social collapse when technology ran rampant. But the vicars of the Temple of Light brought peace, ushering in an era of blessed simplicity. For ten centuries they have kept the madness at bay with “temple magic” and by eliminating forever the rush of progress that nearly caused the destruction of everything.

A restless dreamer, Nathaniel has always lived in the tiny village of Little Pond, longing for something more but unwilling to challenge the unbending status quo. When his friend Thomas returns from the Temple after his “teaching”—the secret coming-of-age ritual that binds young men and women eternally to the Light—Nathaniel can barely recognize the broken and brooding young man the boy has become. And when the beautiful Orah is summoned as well, Nathaniel knows he must somehow save her. But in the prisons of Temple City he discovers a terrible secret that launches the three of them on a journey to find the forbidden keep, placing their lives in dire jeopardy. For a truth awaits them there that threatens the foundation of the Temple. But if they reveal that truth the words of the book of light might come to pass:

“If there comes among you a prophet saying ‘Let us return to the darkness,’ you shall stone him, because he has sought to thrust you away from the light.”

***

“May the light bless our shelter…Not the light the Temple claims to own, but the true light that burns in our hearts.” p.30

Nathaniel, a coming-of-age boy who lives in a Little Pond, one of cities under Temple City’s authority, always hopes to be a part of something big.  He is always curious of the world outside Little Pond, outside Temple City. Though his surrounding people often asks him to stop thinking about that, he cannot stop his mind from dreaming. It is forbidden to leave that city without Temple City’s Leader, Grand Vicar’s knowledge because it is stated as one of rebellion acts against ‘The Light’. Even, to have such curiosity is not welcome there.

“First, we can no longer have illusions. We have to let them fade into the thin air from which they came. Second, we have to make choices. And that will be the hardest.” p. 41

Until one day, at annual festival celebrated in Little Pond, a vicar, the junior one, pays a visit and asks the elders whoever kids have come of age and deserved a teaching. Teaching is defined as an activity held by Temple City to give a deep knowledge to the chosen one about ‘the darkness’ or ‘the dark age’ which ever filled their realm thousand years ago and what impacts it had caused them, and thus, able to prevent the chosen one to follow the darkness and be loyal to only light. The dark age is the era in which people did so many evil things and caused suffer to others.  Every year every city of Temple City, including Little Pond, has to give one kid but Little Pond has given non for some years. This year, the elders should give one or else, their kids should be taken to receive the teaching. 

Why do they avoid the teaching so much? Seemingly, the teaching gives a desirable impact the Temple City Leaders want, but it really leaves scars to those who receive it. They changed after the teaching, had an odd fear that leads them not to dare challenge and question any rules. The teaching affected the life of the receiver so badly.

“The beginning of wisdom is found in doubting; by doubting we come to the question, and by seeking we may come upon the truth.” p.80

That is why finally the elders choose a newly coming-of-age boy, named Thomas, one of Nathaniel best friend. He is then brought to Temple City and receives teaching there. The teaching is so painful; he sees visions of people from the dark age dancing in dark place to the electric musics played there. He also sees some evil acts (sorry I forgot) that he can’t bear anymore and thus, pleads for the vicar to stop it. But the vicar wants some names who apparently are potential to rebel against the light; having dreams, questioning rules, anything similar. As it can give him freedom, he finally gives his best friend’s names, Nathaniel, whom he knows always hopes for an adventure and  Orah, who  is so knowledgeable of rules and obeying The Light. He then goes back to Little Pond with an unease and fear, leading to a behavioral change that affects his relationship with both of his friends.

“Eventually, the bad outweighed the good. There was a revolt against unfettered thought, and the wonders of that age were destroyed.”p.103

Nathaniel cannot feel calm seeing his friend so anxious after coming home. He knows what Thomas did and understands why. Though it will make him a main target for the next teaching, he worries more about Thomas and tries to ensure him that everything is alright. But fearing that the teaching will change himself also disturbs quite much that he chooses to disappear for a while when the vicar pays a second visit to take one more coming-of-age kid to a teaching. Unexpectedly, the vicar takes Orah. Fear of losing one more of his friend, Nathaniel chooses to come to Temple City to set Orah free and make him the one to receive it.

Well, it’s not as easy as it seems. The Temple City Leaders deliberate about this while making him a guest of them, who lives in a dark room nearly like a prison. In fact, it is actually a prison. There is also a room near his inhabiting by an old man named Simon, who’s been a lifetime prisoner due to a rebellion act against Temple City. The old Simon tells Nathaniel about the hidden secret of Temple City; that it’s not the darkness that The Temple City Leaders want to prevent. That there are so many good things actually existed in the age called the dark age but being kept by The Leaders only to maintain control and uniformity. And for these things to stop, Simon begs for Nathaniel’s help to restore the things that it used to be, to help improve the world and take down the control of Temple City.

“I know what they show in teachings-yes, it’s evil and true. But I also know what they don’t show, the good they’ve erased. Like a foolish parent, to save us from wickedness, they’ve given us a world of limits and not a world of possibilities. Do you understand what I’m saying?” p.63

And this is the beginning of Nathaniel’s dreaming adventure, along with his two best friends, Orah, and Thomas.

I got this novel from one of groups that I join in Goodreads, YA-Dystopian book club. They offered some free ebooks, and There Comes A Prophet was one of them. I should have finished reading and reviewing this novel within three weeks, but for some reasons I failed and I am really sorry. T.T

Honestly, I can’t say I had a good time reading this book. This book is not bad, I like the premise and how the author tried to focus on Nathaniel’s adventure and makes the love story between him and Orah only as an additional flavor. The world building is understandable and clear for me. The words, especially ones in characters’ conversation, sounds beautiful and quotable. But I could not connect with everything, like feeling the fear of Thomas, the fluttering feeling Nathaniel shares when he is about to decide to start his adventure, even I didn’t develop any tense feeling, which I think I must have because the plot is set for it. I also happened to feel confused of why Thomas tells that Orah is one of potential rebels. Or am I mistaken?

The characters are well-developed and in some way inspires me. Like Nathaniel with his indomitable efforts to be optimistic and encourages his friends to be when situations doesn’t seem nice to them, also his bravery to take risk for what he believes in. Orah with her smart brain and wise thought which helps those three friends to solve any problems in their way and thus leads them to achieve their destination, and Thomas, though he is naturally a coward and only thinks about fear and staying in his comfort zone, finally chooses to get rid of it for reaching a betterment of other people. But yeah, it stops there. I don’t feel any emotional attachment to them. They are just like a smoke who is blown by the wind in my mind. 

And those three remind me a lot of Harry, Hermione, and Ron. I mean, each of them kinda has similar roles with those HP characters.

What bothers me most is the ending. There is a twist in the middle of the story and the pace runs smoothly fast. It makes me genuinely interested and expects for more interesting acts, like a rebellion movement by all people in Temple City. It happened, but ended soooo disappointing for me. I don’t want to share any (more) spoilers so I’d better ask you to read this Litwack’s masterpiece your self.

And oh, by the way, I was quite mislead by the title. Though there does mention about a prophet and anything related to him, I don’t think this story is about the prophet. I don’t know, I might be mistaken. Well, just my personal opinion =).

For final statement, this is a light dystopian story and interesting enough for reading in your spare time. But don’t think it will be full of action scenes like in Hunger Games or Divergent. And anyway, I like the advanced technologies created in this story. I hope someday those things will really exist. Lol

 

PS : I wrote this review in present tense on purpose, because I like how sentences in present tense sound hehe. But when I explained about the moment I read this book, I used past tense. =)

This is the debut of David Litwack. Though I am still far from satisfied of this, I still have a willingness to read his other masterpieces. The second book of his is more of suspense, I heard. Perhaps, I should give it a try =). Hopefully, he can be more well-known, especially in my country.

=)

Rating : 3/5