Top Ten Beginnings/Endings

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly book meme created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week she posts an idea for relating to books, and encourages other book bloggers to respond with their own “top ten” list.

This week’s topic is top ten beginnings/endings in books. Both of these are incredibly important: one is the first impression that you’re given of a story, the other is what will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. There have been so many times when a book has failed to capture my attention at the beginning or has let me down in terms of the ending, whether it was rushed, there was no resolution, or it just wasn’t as well-written as the rest of the book. Here are some of the books that got it absolutely right:

Best Beginnings

2b2
“The circus arrives without warning.

No announcements precede it, no paper notices on downtown posts and billboards, no mentions or advertisements in local newspapers. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not.”

3b“To say I’d been kept prisoner my entire life in an attic wasn’t quite true. It was only fifteen years out of eighteen, and I was allowed to walk in the gardens for a half-hour some days.”

4b
“Once upon a time, there was a girl who was special. Her hair flowed like honey and her eyes were as blue as music. She grew up bright and beautiful, with deft fingers, a quick mind and a charm that impressed everyone she met. Her parents adored her, her teachers praised her, and her schoolmates admired her many talents…

This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.”

7b
“Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love.

It did not end well.”

5b
“You saw me before I saw you. In the airport, that day in August, you had that look in your eyes, as though you wanted something from me, as though you’d wanted it for a long time.”

Best Endings

1b
“The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.”

6b
“A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR. I am haunted by humans.”

8b
“For the living and the dead, she would make herself a reckoning.

She would rise.”

9b
“I do, Augustus.

I do.”

10b
“And if the Thames that ran beside them, sure and silver in the afternoon light, recalled a night long ago when the moon shone as brightly as a shilling on this same boy and girl, or if the stones of Blackfriars knew the tread of their feet and thought to themselves: At last, the wheel comes full circle, they kept their silence.”

What are some of your favourites? Leave a list or a link to your post in the comments below.
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Book Review: Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson

Back in her hometown, Tori Beaugrand had everything a teenaged girl could want—popularity, money, beauty. But she also had a secret. A secret that could change her life in an instant, or destroy it.

Now she’s left everything from her old life behind, including her real name and Alison, the one friend who truly understood her. She can’t escape who and what she is. But if she wants to have anything like a normal life, she has to blend in and hide her unusual… talents.

Plans change when the enigmatic Sebastian Faraday reappears and gives Tori some bad news: she hasn’t escaped her past. In fact, she’s attracted new interest in the form of an obsessed ex-cop turned investigator for a genetics lab.

She has one last shot at getting her enemies off her trail and winning the security and independence she’s always longed for. But saving herself will take every ounce of Tori’s incredible electronics and engineering skills—and even then, she may need to sacrifice more than she could possibly imagine if she wants to be free.

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

Ultraviolet was one of the best books that I’ve read this year, and after finishing it, I immediately placed a hold on the sequel. I’m so happy to say that I enjoyed it even more than anticipated – which is saying a lot, considering that I had incredibly high expectations for it.

Like Ultraviolet, there is nothing typical about Quicksilver. Its characters have many aspects that separate them from the standard YA archetypes, making them that seem much more real. Tori is strong yet flawed, and though she is incredibly brave, she still struggles with fears that everyone has experienced at one point or another. I can’t really say what it is about her that makes her so intriguing without spoiling part of the plot, but it’s something that I’ve never seen in a YA novel before. As a female science student, I really appreciated how Tori’s passion for engineering was used as commentary on what it’s like to be a female in a male-dominated field.

I love how Anderson isn’t afraid to write the story that she wants to tell. Like life, there isn’t always a happy ending, and the characters don’t always get what they want. In Quicksilver, Tori is placed in several horrible situations – one scene in particular had me instinctively covering my face and left me sitting there in shock after I had finished reading it. It was so intense, so unpredictable, and so different from what the readers would have wanted, making it seem even more real.

I’ve avoided saying anything about the plot since it’s very easy to spoil what happens in Ultraviolet for those who haven’t read it and, like its predecessor, an integral part of the reading experience is going in with next to no knowledge about the story itself. I will, however, say that the plot twists are well placed and completely unexpected.

While I am satisfied with how Quicksilver ended, I hope that this isn’t the last we hear of Tori, Alison, and Sebastian. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed for another book in this series, but in the meantime, I highly recommend that you give it a try.

WWW Wednesday (July 17)

WWW Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Should Be Reading. To participate, answer the following three questions:
1. What are you currently reading?
2. What did you recently finish reading?
3. What do you think you’ll read next?

Here are my answers:

Currently Reading:

1I’m about halfway through Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi, which I had put off reading for quite a while because all of the mixed reviews scared me. Now that I’ve finally gotten used to to the flowery language, strikethroughs, repetition, and awkward-sounding metaphors, it’s turning into a decent read.

 

 

Recently Finished:

4I recently finished reading Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson, and I absolutely loved it! I highly recommend giving it a go. My review can be found here.

 

 

 

 

What I Think I’ll Read Next:

1 2 3

The first two are ARCs from Netgalley that I really need to read and review at some point soon. I only have five books left before I’m all caught up and free to request more, since every time I go on, I have to request something; it’s like an addiction. Inferno is a one week loan that I’ve been waiting on for ages, so I guess I should really start reading it before I start to rack up some nasty library fines (you’d think they’d cut a former library page some slack, but nope).

I’d love to see what you’re reading, so feel free to share your answers or a link to your own WWW post in the comments below! : )
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Book Review: Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

4Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.
This is not her story.
Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison’s condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can’t explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori — the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that’s impossible. Right?

My Rating: 5 cupcakes

Ultraviolet is one of those books that  you won’t be able to put down and will leave you saying, “wow, that was so neat.” Of course, an integral part of the reading experience is going in with next to no knowledge about the story itself, so I’ll try my best to keep this review short, sweet, and spoiler-free.

From the beginning, I was enthralled by the way that Anderson wrote this story. The descriptions of Alison’s world were so vivid and sensory that I felt like I too had synesthesia – a neurological phenomenon that occurs when sensory pathways are crossed, resulting in the ability to “taste colours” or “see sounds.”

”Doors flapped open and slammed shut, like the valves of a pounding heart. Footsteps splattered blue onto the fluorescent orange shriek of the alarm, and the air thickened with shouting voices.”

The story itself moved at an excellent pace. The plot didn’t progress too quickly; instead, it took time for Alison (and the reader) to piece together the mystery surrounding Tori’s disappearance while simultaneously building suspense. The plot twist was also perfectly executed. While I had a general idea of what was going to happen due to a fair bit of foreshadowing, I was still pleasantly surprised by the ending.

Overall, Ultraviolet was an engaging and thoroughly enjoyable read. I look forward to reading the sequel, Quicksilver, and anything else that this author has to offer.