Series: Covenant #1, This Is Not a Test #1
It’s time for another edition of Mini Book Review Round-Ups and this time YA Paranormals are the feature. I read more than I review and I get behind often, so this is just my way of making up for getting behind. I’ll be mini reviewing four YA Paranormal books that I read this fall. I’ll cover vampires, daimons, and some zombies. Let me know in the comments if you’ve read these and what you thought about them.
Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan. Team Human follows MC Mel, a high-schooler who lives in a town originally founded by vampires but now cohabited by humans and vampires. Each stick to their own areas and Mel doesn’t personally know any. Until one shows up at school. And then her best friend Cathy starts falling for him. Mel begins a quest to save her friend from turning Team Vampire all while searching for a missing person, teaming up with a human raised by vampires, and living a “normal” life. I gave Team Human 3.5 stars on Goodreads after reading it and I still stand by my rating. The book had very good, witty dialogue, but my main problem was the fact that it felt almost like two books. The first part was very funny and light, but the second half got very intense and sad. I enjoyed the characters, the story, the interesting looks at friendship and love, I just wish the two parts of the book had felt more congruous. 3.5 Stars for Team Human and recommended for fans of witty dialogue and mild mysteries.
Half-Blood (Covenant #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout. In Half-Blood we follow Alex, a half-blood who has been on the run with her mother from the Covenant and their world of daimons and pures and halfs, though she doesn’t know why, for the past three years. Upon being found and taken back to the school she attended before running, Alex must work hard to catch up to her classmates. But a pure, who steps in to help train her during the summer break, has her a bit distracted. Trying to keep from falling for someone off-limits to her and working hard to catch up so she won’t end up as a servant, Alex does everything she can to stay on track. But a surprise visitor to the Covenant and her inability to control her temper threaten to throw her off course. I gave Half-Blood 4 stars on Goodreads after finishing it. Half-Blood is one of those books that starts of quickly but it still took a bit for me to really grab onto. Alex is a really strong character, she works hard and doesn’t put up with anyone else’s crap. Even though she’s behind at school, she has real world experience that they all lack. When she meets Aiden, and he stands up for her, she’s intrigued and confused. I enjoyed their relationship a lot. They were both equals, most of the time, regardless of what the law said and I liked that Aiden treated Alex with respect. Other than their relationship, I wasn’t much into the book until closer to the end. When things started getting really interesting with what was happening with the daimons and everyone became vulnerable. The ending was intense and made me excited for Pure. While I’m not as big of a fan of this series as I am of her Lux series, I have enjoyed it so far. I gave Half-Blood 4 stars and definitely recommend it to fans of Armentrout.
Fang Girl by Helen Keeble. In Fang Girl we follow Jane as she wakes up to learn that she is a brand new vampire. Before this, she had no idea vampires even existed. Now that she knows the truth she must also learn who she can trust and where she should go. All in her first night she meets the vampire who turned her, tries to convince her family that she isn’t really dead anymore, and bites her first human. The story progresses and she meets a vampire hunter who either wants to kill her or is falling for her and uncovers an intense plan some old vampires have for wanting to rule the world. Jane just needs to figure out how she fits in. And how to keep her parents from wanting to become vampires themselves. This book is extremely funny, even silly. But even being goofy, but it also somehow manages to have a plot and several intense moments. I ended up giving this book 3 stars on Goodreads because while I enjoyed the fun of the book, the actual action parts left me a little confused sometimes. With so much happening and so many plot twists, I had a hard time keeping up and remember which side we were rooting for at that moment. Overall, however, the book was exceedingly fun and enjoyable, as long as you don’t take it too seriously. And without giving too much away, both IKEA and a vampire goldfish make an appearance in this book. I gave Fang Girl 3 stars and recommend it to people who enjoy funny books with lots of action and witty dialogue.
This is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. In this book we follow Sloane who, along with several other members of her neighborhood, have left their homes in search for a safe place to stay away from the dead. By the time they arrive at their high school, only six of them are left, many having lost family members along the way. After boarding up the doors and windows, it turns into a waiting game and the students must learn how to coexist in this now uncertain and terrifying world. This was one book that was given so many great reviews on Goodreads that I actually bought it before reading it. It turns out I did not love it as much as many others did. I’m usually a big fan of post-apocalyptic books that take a look at how people struggle to survive and what becomes important to them in the end. But this book was super depressing. Before the disease that turned humans into vampires began, Sloane was already depressed and dealing with a difficult home life. Afterwards, she was worse. There wasn’t a lot of fight in her, nor much determination to survive. The book was super angsty, very depressing, very gory, didn’t make me fall in love with any of the characters, and the end didn’t give me much hope at all. I know why others love this one so much. But I just wanted a bit more hope maybe or a break for the characters. Not so much despair. I felt completely hopeless and drained by the end. I wanted to board up all of my own doors and windows, fill my tank with gas, sit in the corner and cry until the inevitable end of the world came. It was not a pretty picture. I gave This is Not a Test 2 stars but still recommend it to fans of YA zombie books and those who love end of the world books or fans of Courtney Summers. I’ve heard this book has a similar feel and read to her other books.