Top Ten Books Featuring Characters Going Through Hell

April 28, 2015
These are all books where characters are dealing with overwhelming personal loss, the books detail their emotional struggles and how they persevere through horrible circumstances. The links will lead you to Goodreads to check them out.
This is how my heart felt after reading these books. 

1. The Fifth Wave (The Fifth Wave #1) by Rick Yancey
After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.

Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker.

Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother—or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

I don't know how people are able to deal the rapid fire loss of eveything familiar and normal. But Mr. Yancey does a wonderful job of immersing readers in that uncomfortable place. The sequel to this is even better than the first and definitely worth checking out. 

2. Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron Foer
Nine-year-old Oskar Schell is an inventor, amateur entomologist, Francophile, letter writer, pacifist, natural historian, percussionist, romantic, Great Explorer, jeweller, detective, vegan, and collector of butterflies. When his father is killed in the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Centre, Oskar sets out to solve the mystery of a key he discovers in his father's closet. It is a search which leads him into the lives of strangers, through the five boroughs of New York, into history, to the bombings of Dresden and Hiroshima, and on an inward journey which brings him ever closer to some kind of peace.

The narrator of this story is a very intelligent and engaging young man, who is coping incredible loss while learning from the loss of others. Has some wonderful moments, and great writing.  

3. Angelfall  by Susan Ee
It's been six weeks since the angels of the apocalypse destroyed the world as we know it. Only pockets of humanity remain.

Savage street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night.

When angels fly away with a helpless girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back...
This was not at all what I expected out of Angel lore
I was pleasantly surprised by the world building and awesome writing. The love between a family is enough to drive them forward. The follow up is Awesome too!!

The Earth is dying. Darrow is a Red, a miner in the interior of Mars. His mission is to extract enough precious elements to one day tame the surface of the planet and allow humans to live on it. The Reds are humanity's last hope.

Or so it appears, until the day Darrow discovers it's all a lie. That Mars has been habitable - and inhabited - for generations, by a class of people calling themselves the Golds. A class of people who look down on Darrow and his fellows as slave labour, to be exploited and worked to death without a second thought.

Until the day that Darrow, with the help of a mysterious group of rebels, disguises himself as a Gold and infiltrates their command school, intent on taking down his oppressors from the inside. But the command school is a battlefield - and Darrow isn't the only student with an agenda.

This is an amazing story of perseverance, its full of action, humor emotion and Awesomeness!! How Have you not read this yet? Read My Review Here

5. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness 
The monster showed up after midnight. As they do.

But it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming...

This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor.

It wants the truth.

How you deal with grief and how it can manifest, into a very tangible part of your life is explored through this narrative. This is a short but very emotional read, have tissues handy. Check out my review Here

6. Oryx and Crake (MadAddam #1) by Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake is at once an unforgettable love story and a compelling vision of the future. Snowman, known as Jimmy before mankind was overwhelmed by a plague, is struggling to survive in a world where he may be the last human, and mourning the loss of his best friend, Crake, and the beautiful and elusive Oryx whom they both loved. In search of answers, Snowman embarks on a journey–with the help of the green-eyed Children of Crake–through the lush wilderness that was so recently a great city, until powerful corporations took mankind on an uncontrolled genetic engineering ride. Margaret Atwood projects us into a near future that is both all too familiar and beyond our imagining.
This has a wonderful mix of sci-fi and emotional turmoil, that makes you question how far your humanity or lack thereof will take you. 

7.The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
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.
This is a incredibly popular and heart filled book, that deserves the hype.  Although the dialogue reads like people much older are talking rather than the teens described,it's still awesome. Definitely something you should check out.
8. Unwind (Unwind Dystology #1) by Neal Shusterman
The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state, is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

This world is a place where your parents can decide your not worth more than the some of your parts literally. The morality described is twisted but the use of current news articles to remind you we're not as removed from this world as we think.
9. The Book Theif by Marcus Zusak

1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier.

Liesel, a nine-year-old girl, is living with a foster family on Himmel Street. Her parents have been taken away to a concentration camp. Liesel steals books. This is her story and the story of the inhabitants of her street when the bombs begin to fall.


It's a small story, about:
a girl
an accordionist
some fanatical Germans
a Jewish fist fighter
and quite a lot of thievery.


Death makes a very blunt, but interesting narrator. People love this book, and it is definitely worth checking out because of the premise alone. But I don't recommend it, without my reservations, see my review Here
10. The Twelve Tribes of Hattie by Ayana Mathis
In 1923, fifteen-year-old Hattie Shepherd flees Georgia and settles in Philadelphia, hoping for a chance at a better life. Instead, she marries a man who will bring her nothing but disappointment and watches helplessly as her firstborn twins succumb to an illness a few pennies could have prevented.  Hattie gives birth to nine more children whom she raises with grit and mettle and not an ounce of the tenderness they crave.  She vows to prepare them for the calamitous difficulty they are sure to face in their later lives, to meet a world that will not love them, a world that will not be kind. Captured here in twelve luminous narrative threads, their lives tell the story of a mother’s monumental courage and the journey of a nation. 
This is a very harrowing journey and emotional tale, that highlights many characters going through their inner mental stuggles which at times overpowers them physically. 

Link your Top Ten Tuesday posts below, and let me know what you thought of the books mentioned. Thanks for stopping by!!

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic #1) by V.E. Schwab

April 27, 2015

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, InToriLex
A Darker Shade of Magic (Shades of Magic, #1)


Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped.


I am a huge fan of Ms. Schwab, and thoroughly enjoyed her book Vicious. But this was more fantasy, less sci-fi and overall a let down from a great author. The storyline itself is confusing, I got through the first few chapters before I realized I needed to backtrack. The world building wasn't engaging, and I finished the book knowing it could have been alot better than it was. The emotional engagement wasn't there for me,which surprised me because it was what I enjoyed most from this author in her past work.
"Magic was truly a beautiful disease. But only when the hosts were strong enough."

It took me so long to read because I was sifting through wasted potential.  The relationship between the two main characters Kell and Lila, was relate-able and likeable, but  never fleshed out. Considering the partnership they decide to partake on together, their direct interaction  with each other, rather than others, was limited. I still don't completely understand how Red, White, Grey and Black London work, and there's no real way to get around that. Worldbuilding 101, don't make your descriptions unclear and don't rush through things which would provide more clarity. You shouldn't have to wait for a follow up to the book your reading to understand how it works.

The quote above is one of two, that I enjoyed and picked out while reading. This means most of the book is spent propelling the plot, with little explanation in between. But I finished it and at times felt enthralled and engaged with the action described. The pacing was good, and the Magic described was interesting.  Overall the book was likeable, but not really compelling, or above average for readers. This is a planned trilogy but I won't be reading any follow up books. If your a fan of fantasy, young adult and V. E. Schwab, check it out. But if your not really into it about a third of the way through, don't expect it to improve much beyond that.

Lazarus: The First Collection #1-9 by Greg Rucka (Writer), Michael Lark (Illustrator), Santi Arcas (Illustrator)

April 2, 2015
Comic Book Review, InToriLex

Lazarus: The First Collection


In a dystopian near-future, government is a quaint concept, resources are coveted, and possession is 100% of the law. A handful of Families rule, jealously guarding what they have and exploiting the Waste who struggle to survive in their domains. Forever Carlyle defends her family's holdings through deception and force as their protector, their Lazarus. Shot dead defending the family home, Forever's day goes downhill from there...



Throughout the series Forever Carlyle works hard to defend her family and home. But struggles throughout the series with her own identity. This series is violent, emotional and very entertaining. Throughout the series it highlights the great disparity in wealth distribution that exists in the world, people outside of family's or their service are considered Waste. The series was inspired in part by the Occupy WallStreet movement, so many parallels are intentional.
Forever is a feat of science, physically enhanced and perfected to be the Family's perfect defender. All of the powerful Family's in Lazarus have their own Lazari for their family. But Forever must grapple with the possibility she is not biologically related to her family. There is quite a bit  about how the allegiances are formed between families and the corrupt nature of this world, but how Forever deals with it all, is the most fascinating.

The large majority in this overpopulated world are Waste. Waste exist  at the brim of poverty and the mercy of the Family's charity. Most people work hard and go though a selection process called Lift that will make them valuable servants to a family and improve their status.

The action scenes are great along with the rest of the artwork, and this shifting perspective comic has alot left in store  for readers. Forever is not quite a super hero and the dystopian society brings a wonderful story line to the medium. If your not into comics but enjoy dystopias, this comic is definitely something you should check out. How wealth and power corrupt in this futuristic setting is close enough to home to make you think about the society we live in. (P.S. I  will only review larger collections of comics at a time.)

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