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I Belong


Review: Shards and Ashes by Melissa Marr & Kelley Armstrong

Title: Shards and Ashes

Authors: Melissa Marr, Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, Kami Garcia, Nancy Holder, Beth Revis, Veronica Roth, Carrie Ryan, Margaret Stohl

Genre: YA Dystopian

Series: N/A

Publication Date: February 19, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 0062098462 (HarperTeen)

ISBN-13: 978-0062098467 (HarperTeen)

Reviewed by: Kayla

Synopsis:

Gripping original stories of dystopian worlds from nine New York Times bestselling authors, edited by Melissa Marr and Kelley Armstrong.

The world is gone, destroyed by human, ecological, or supernatural causes. Survivors dodge chemical warfare and cruel gods; they travel the reaches of space and inhabit underground caverns. Their enemies are disease, corrupt corporations, and one another; their resources are few, and their courage is tested.

Powerful original dystopian tales from nine bestselling authors offer bleak insight, prophetic visions, and precious glimmers of light among the shards and ashes of a ruined world.

Quick and Dirty: Nine heart breaking and creepy and all together compelling short stories tell the tales of the broken, the desperate and the clever.

Opening Sentence: “Black or red?”

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

This is a great collection of dystopian tales – some old worlds and some new ones. Some leave you bawling and some just in awe of the authors’ ingenuity. All of these short stories have clever twists and heart-wrenching moments (whether from romance or family moments or whatnot). Although this is only the second anthology I’ve ever read, this is the best one yet. There are no confusing plots or major cliffhangers (although some stories could be expanded into actual novels).

Veronica Roth’s Hearken is about a world where suicide biobombers are normal. But there are also the Hearkeners who can hear the life or death song of someone and create beautiful music. This story is well developed and beautifully weaves all of the background information into the plot all the way until the last concluding resolution.

Kelley Armstrong’s Branded does not shy away from harsh truths or bitter realizations. In a world where paranormals are outcasts that threaten to take over the world, Rayne is desperate to escape her cage of a village. Now with a part werewolf friend on the outside, Rayne just has to find a way to escape the guarded walls and make her journey across the wasteland to find him. Although not one of my favorites because of its terrible morals, this story always had me on my toes. I never knew what would happen next.

Margaret Stohl’s Necklace of Raindrops is a sweet depression story of a world where a necklace of beads controls your life. Jai’s family has already dropped (in order to leave life with a bang, people jump out of airplanes) and that only leaves herself with her 98% full necklace. Z shows her that life can’t be lived by just going to work and coming home. I loved the writing of this story. It has a pull to it that won’t let you go until the very end. And phew. That ending. If only there was more.

Rachel Caine’s Dogsbody is a futuristic story of a corrupt government and its rebellion. Full of action and suspense, this thriller can easily be read as a movie in your head. With an unexpected twist at the end, this story kept me attentive the entire time.

Nancy Holder’s Pale Rider is an odd story. You would think that since it had mythology I would love it, but I never really knew what it was about until the last couple pages. The story was boring with an insta-love that wasn’t necessary. I wasn’t a fan of this story.

Melissa Marr’s Corpse Eaters is just plain weird. A god of some sort has taken over the United States and sends his minions out to enforce the rules. But there are some that fight against it, saving the dying from getting thrown into a corpse stew that is fed to the monsters. Although it is fast-paced, the romance between the two characters is just plain bad. I think that’s just my morals, but still. I’m not a fan.

Kami Garcia’s Burn 3 is about the world with no ozone layer and pollution everywhere. Only those who live in biodomes can survive the heat from the sun while everyone else lives underground. This is a sweet story of a girl rescuing her sister and finding help along the way. Really, this is just a nice break from the previous emotionally-intense stories.

Beth Revis’s Love is a Choice was the story I was looking forward to the most. This prequel to Across the Universe gives us a glimpse into how Orion became the book keeper on the spaceship Godspeed. This gives an insight into Orion’s only romance and the choices that came with it. For those who haven’t read the series, this is a great preview to the books.

Carrie Ryan’s Miasma is a world where evil doctors take the sick away unless you have the money to pay otherwise. Frankie works at a richer family’s estate that has a garden of flowers that keeps the sickness away. Now with her sister growing weaker by the day, Frankie must hide her sister’s stench so that the masked doctors won’t take the only family she has away. This is a classic dystopian that closes the anthology with a sense of hope for the future. Great writing and great characters.

Notable Scene:

I stand in the shadow of the Recoder Hall, watching her go. I will stay here. I will be the recorder. The Hall is rarely used, and I can stay in the shadows. As long as there’s no more trouble, Eldest won’t bother to come down here again. He hates to be reminded of the world outside his empire of steel.

And meanwhile, I will learn every single last secret that Eldest has.

When the time is ready, I will make my move.

It might be years. A decade or more. But while I wait, I will construct a plan so foolproof that, even if I die, the revolution–the freedom–Mag wants will still be ensured.

If I loved Mag the way she thought I did, I would have stood beside her and died a ridiculous, noble death. But love is a choice.

And I can choose not to love her.

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Shards and Ashes. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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