The first 200 pages were not written well. I was bored and felt growing discomfort with the mangled Middle Eastern culture this fantasy book was premised on. At least the next 150 odd pages picked up a little in terms of plot and also storytelling, so I didn’t end up thoroughly hating Rebel of the Sands. Still, this book has so many problems, I’m relieved I didn’t order the sequels before finishing this one first.
Young adult books set in college, or even about the summer before college, aren’t all too common. That’s why I was surprised when I first learnt that American Panda is set at MIT. Well, Mei is 17 years old as she enters a year early but it works out well for this book. Mei had a sheltered upbringing, which is very evident as she tries to find her place at university.
Premise-wise, Everless was one of the most original books I’ve read in a long time. It was very intriguing, to say the least. It presented a world where life and blood are currency. I loved this idea and really enjoyed how it was integrated into the story. It was ruthless. I think the details were very well thought-out, especially when it came to how the rich exploited the poor. I also liked the legends that were incorporated and how they pulsed through the lives of the characters.
As much as I enjoy summer reads, predictability tends to be one strike against them. The Honey Farm on the Hill was no exception. I saw nearly every twist coming chapters ahead of them — from Nell’s discoveries about her long lost love to the mystery of disappearing bees to the resolution. Not much about the plot surprised me. Yet, I quite liked this book for the setting, the characters and the relationships.